Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I don't want to name names here but

Things I have seen on the side of the road since leaving California (that were still alive): Ostriches, cows, horses, donkeys, goats, camels and at least one little dog running alongside a dude cycling on the side of the freeway.

Things that I have seen on the side of the road since leaving California (that were less likely to be alive): Deer, opossum, and things that may have been a cat, an armadillo, a porcupine and some kind of cougar type thing.

Number of tumbling tumbleweeds that I have run down accidentally: 4.

Number of tumbling tumbleweeds that I have run down out of sheer spite: 2.

Number of rest stops I have visited across the US so far: How many you got? Because I am sure I will need to use each and every one. And hey, by the way West Texas, what the hell is up with the open-air restrooms? It’s bloody cold out there in the middle of the prairie. That was one chilly toilet!

It’s warmer in Louisiana but since I am still headed north, it is bound to get colder. Huntsville, then Norfolk then New Jersey. So far so good.

P.S. I don’t want to pick favorites here but East Texas is a little more pleasant than West Texas. And it’s warmer. AND the rest stop had HEAT LAMPS! Get your act together before I come back West Texas or we will have to have a talk!

P.P.S. I am doubting internets from here on out. If you gotta get in touch, try texting or calling.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The stars at night, are...obscured by thunderclouds actually.

An awfully big adventure or an awfully big mistake? Not sure yet. Held up due to snow in Flagstaff, hustled out and south the next morning, 250 miles out of the way just to see if we still wanted to do this. Decided we did but now Texas seems really big. And wet.

So far: snow? Check. Freezing rain? Check. Crappy misty drizzle? Check. Creepy motels? Check. Cold weather? Check. But also, seeing new things? Yep. Saw Juarez, Mexico. Man is that a crazy place. Seeing Texas for the first time ever. Yep. Pretty interesting.

Would I do this again? Hmmm…ask me tomorrow. Last night we stayed in a paper-walled motel next to a guy who liked late night television. We were pretty worried about being stuck in the snow and some of us ate too much at dinner and weren’t feeling all that well.

At the moment I am just futzing with a crappy wifi connection and wondering why I am not asleep yet. Tomorrow we will get up early and see just how far we can get. I am hoping to get the rest of the way through Texas and well on our way to our first “real” stop, Huntsville, AL. A girl can dream, cant’ she?

Monday, December 18, 2006


Currently holed up in an Econolodge in Flagstaff, Arizona, waylaid by snow. But we only stopped a few hours early and better safe than sorry they say. And hey, even though I don't like snow, it's sure starting to feel like Christmas around here. BRRRRR.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Ready to vacate.

I am blowing this pop stand on Monday, so here are my holiday wishes to you and yours:
if you need me, you know how to find me. And if you don't know how to find me...well, you probably don't need me. I will be probably be unplugged for most of the vacay too, so don't bother with your new fangled e-mails and interwebs, we don't cotton to that kind of thing in the pine barrens.

Happy Christmas (or whatever you want to be happy)!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

2006 Christmas CD cover...
with apologies to Apple.

I know I should have done this cover about four years ago. I am just a little slow and not all that clever.


Tired? Me? Well, I do have this twitch over my eye that makes me look slightly (more) insane. I have been going to bed before 1 a.m. because I can’t keep my eyes open (but then, man, are they open once my head hits the pillow, which may explain the tired). I did fall asleep at my desk very, very briefly yesterday. And last night, on the way home from work, I drove right past my exit.

Yeah, I’m kind of tired.

BUT! The truffles are made, the burbon balls are made, the shopping is done, the presents to be presented on Saturday are wrapped, there are TWO large trays of brownies just waiting for parties. It’s getting there. Now all I need to do is clean the apartment, pack my bags, pack the presents, get those last two perishable presents, make sure the cat is taken care of, finish sending out cards…

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Dear Chocolate Gods (QUETZALCOATL, MOCTEZUMA, EK-CHUAH, et al),

Thank you. Lesson learned. I get it now. I will always pay attention when I am tempering chocolate and things will be just fine.


P.S. Come by for some Guinness truffles, I hear they are good!

Yep. It worked this time. I paid attention and I did it old school and the chocolate didn’t seize and I don’t mind telling you that I actually felt sick as I was tempering it. I was so worried that it wouldn’t work…again. But I now have 5 or 6 dozen beautifully dipped chocolate truffles. Which I don’t even like. But my mom and sister-in-law like them. So they make good presents.

I actually don’t like to eat them and I don’t like to make them, but somehow I can’t NOT make them. Originally, when I first started making them years ago, they were intended as a gift for a friend who loves Guinness. I made a batch for him and he never showed up to get them. I gave them to my family to spite him. Turns out he had been in a car accident and was in the hospital. Oopsie. But now it is…I don’t really know how many years later and he STILL has never had one of the truffles. But everyone else seems to like them so I keep making them. I am a sucker for the “ooohs” and “ahhhs” they provoke.

I also made some coffee lollipops the other day. I have not done a lot of hard candy making so it was an experiment. The flavor is lovely and despite the fear of pouring hot sugar all over me, it went well. No burning occurred. I did hand pour them though so they are rather unwieldy. Next time I will invest in some lollipop molds so they stay a more manageable size. The strange thing was that when I mentioned to people that I had made lollipops several of them said, “How do you MAKE lollipops?” Dude, they don’t actually grow on trees beneath the Big Rock Candy Mountain. I promise you they don’t. I am a little disturbed to find out how little some people know about the origins of their foods.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

We don't need another hero...
We don't need to know the way home...

On Monday my Christmas holiday will start. Here’s the interesting part…the husband and I are driving cross country to New Jersey for Christmas. This is tending to polarize our family and friends. Half of them say “Cooool.” And the other half? Well, generally their comments have included swear words and the suggestion that we are mad. Personally, I don’t see the big deal. “What if you hit bad weather?”, the naysayers…say. Then we pull over, attempt to wait it out and if worse comes to worse, we turn around and head back to California. We ARE traveling major roads here. There is lodging available and we fully intend to use it. There will be no short cutting onto unblazed paths. There will be no unnecessary risks taken. We intend to stay as sane and sensible as possible. That said, there is totally a “Beyond Thunderdome” sensibility behind all this. We both know that there is the possibility that “Two leave, one comes back.” I have been advised that if it throw him out of the car, to throw his bags out with him. That way it just looks like he is a hobo.

But honestly, I have taken many a car trip and I rather like them. In this case it will be nice to actually move while in a car as opposed to sitting in traffic for looong hours. I am looking forward to seeing some states that I haven’t seen before. And we think we have planned the time well enough that hey, if we really want to pull over and see the world’s largest ball of twine, we can. In any case, I have never enjoyed the holiday flying panic and in the long run, if everything goes well (because it ALWAYS does, right? RIGHT?) this shouldn’t really be any more expensive than flying once you factor in the cost of shipping of gifts, paying extra for heavy luggage, the cost of a garage for the car that we leave at the airport, the possibility of a rental car…all that stuff really adds up, and people who don’t travel at Christmas tend to forget all the mitigating factors of frustration.

Wish us luck. One of us will be back in the new year. I am hoping it’s me.

But hey, I am still here until Monday, I can still back out…

Monday, December 11, 2006

Temper, temper.

I was going to say that I had a weekend of bad candy-making mojo. But in retrospect, that’s not exactly true. I successfully made bourbon balls without first drinking all the bourbon. I made some beautiful coffee lollipops. Some adequate matzoh toffee (which contained no alcohol whatsoever) and I made the truffle filling for Guinness Stout truffles…but I did drink the rest of the Guinness…candy-making is a grown-up thing in our house. However, when it came time to dip the truffles in their beautiful little chocolate coats I managed to make one and one half pounds of chocolate seize. Carpe chocolem…seize the chocolate.

Seizing chocolate sounds good, no? Sounds like “grab all you can before you get caught”. Handfuls of chocolate for everyone. What it really means is that your beautiful, glossy coating chocolate has gotten a little, tiny drop of moisture in it and is now a dull grainy mass. Useless as far as dipping is concerned, but perfectly edible otherwise. Problem is, I need to dip truffles. And to get the proper consistency of chocolate, you need to temper it. Temper is the right word, let me tell you. I have sorrowful little good temper left. But these truffles WILL get dipped, oh yes they will!

In between candy making related temper tantrums, I did do a little Christmas shopping at the Felt Club Christmas event, which was ok but really turned out to be a vehicle to get me into a gelato shop and have some excellent vegan gelato. Vegan gelato…who knew?

So that was my weekend. Messing up some chocolate, eating some gelato. Thanks for asking. Oh…wait…you didn’t. Oh well. On to bigger and better things. Successfully tempered chocolate. Nicely wrapped gifts. Presents made with love and care. Well…let’s just say “presents made” and not assume too much else.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Christmas Playlists.

Yvette asked what some of the playlists on my Christmas mixes have been and I looked around but only found a few. For the first year of two I made a different mix for each person, but that got old real fast. And, as you will see by these examples, I do go in for the most traditional of Christmas songs. Also, a few are classics that tend to get used over and over. It’s just not Christmas without my beloved Shane McGowan (of the Pogues) singing “Fairytale of New York”. Oh and that thing where the dogs bark “Jingle Bells” that’s a favorite too.

This is a the playlist for a cd I made myself a few years ago:
  • December Twenty 5- The Flashcats (this is an amazingly bad song. It’s a take off on “Mambo Number 5” by Lou Bega. But damn it’s got a catchy tune.
  • 2000 Miles-The Pretenders (Such a pretty, sad song.)
  • Fairytale of New York-The Pogues feat. Kirsty Mac Coll (Probably my favorite non-tratitional Christmas song. How can you NOT love a Christmas song featuring verse “You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot”?)
  • Merry Christmas (I don't want to fight)-The Ramones (I miss you, Joey Ramone!)
  • Another Rock 'n' Roll Christmas-Garry Glitter (Um, this was before all that creepy stuff came out about him…)
  • Space Christmas-Shonen Knife (Rock!)
  • Santa's Beard-They Might Be Giants (Another classic of the non-traditional variety.)
  • Careless Santa-Mono Puff (I don’t think I have ever heard another Mono Puff song…)
  • You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch-Whirling Dervishes (I love the Grinch, this ALMOST does justice to the original song as recorded by Thurl Ravenscroft, not Boris Karloff, who did the narration.)
  • Christmas Scat-The Muppets (OK, the truth is that I do not love puppets, but I do love Muppets. And I only recently found out that a friend of mine worked on A Muppet Christmas Carol (which this song is from) and I got all giddy.)
  • Christmas Day-Mxpx
  • I Wish It Would Be Christmas Everyday-All Star United (This one is happy and poppy. Not at all my style.)
  • You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch-Cast (The original recording. Brilliant.)
  • Blue Christmas-Bright Eyes (I have since decided that I am not that big a fan of Bright Eyes. But this one song is ok.)
  • Happy Christmas-John & Yoko (My second favorite non-traditional Christmas song.)
  • Do They Know It's Christmas? -Band Aid (Did you know they recorded a follow up to this last year?)
  • The First Noel-Billy Pilgrim (I like Billy Pilgrim. That Andrew Hyra has a good voice.)
  • 25th December-Everything But The Girl (Aw, Tracey Thorn can make me cry.)
  • Santa Baby-Madonna (I like her cover well enough but you haven’t really heard this song until you have heard it sung by Eartha Kitt. There is actually a follow up to it called “This Year’s Santa Baby” that is quite funny.)
  • Jingle Bells-Bing Crosby (A most excellent version. I think it also includes…the Lennon Sisters singing back-up… maybe? I’m not sure.)
  • Cool Yule-Louis Armstrong (I’ve always liked his rusty voice. It’s so cheering.)
  • All I Want For Christmas Is You- Olivia Olson (From “Love, Actually” which is kind of a depressing film in some ways but has a character with my name so I got to hear Liam Neeson say my name several times. The character is married to Alan Rickman in the film but I don’t think he says her name even once. Believe me, if he did it would totally be my ring tone.)
  • The Rebel Jesus- Jackson Browne (This is a really beautiful song that really says more about Christmas than almost any other song I know. It’s told from the point of a “heathen and a pagan” and points out that Jesus was a rebel in his own time and would not be thrilled with some of the modern aspects of a holiday entwined with his life.)
  • Christmas Is All Around-Billy Mack (Bill Nighey sings this in “Love, Actually” and damn if it doesn’t make me laugh every time I hear it.)
  • Sled Get Trunk- The Prisoners (Recorded by some friends of mine. One of the best Christmas songs of the past ten years.)

Last year there were two mixes. The “Peace On Earth” Mix:
  • Little Drummer Boy (Up the Khyber)-Hoodoo Gurus (Man, I love me some Hoodoo Gurus!)
  • Christmas Love-Luann Olson & Pigs on Corn
  • O Christmas Tree-Russell Malone
  • O, Little Town of Bethlehem-Young Fresh Fellows
  • What Will Santa Claus Say When He Finds Everybody Swinging?- Louis Prima
  • Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer-Billy May & His Orchestra
  • Baby, It's Cold Outside- Doris Day & Bing Crosby (I feel kind of ashamed that I love this song. It’s totally about a date rape in progress. It’s sounds cute but it’s incredibly sinister.)
  • Santa Claus is Coming to Town-Dave Brubeck Quartet
  • Here Comes Santa Claus-The Skip-Jacks With Esquivel & His Orchestra
  • It's Beginning To Look Like Christmas-Bing Crosby
  • Feels Like Christmas-Cyndi Lauper
  • It Doesn't Often Snow At Christmas-Pet Shop Boys (Have I ever mentioned that I have a crush on Neil?)
  • Sleigh Ride-The Brian Setzer Orchestra (OK, have I mentioned that I have a crush on Brian Setzer?)
  • Here Comes Santa Claus-Clockhammer
  • All I Want For Christmas Is You-Olivia Olson
  • Santa Baby)-Kylie Minogue
  • Hark! The Herald Angels Sing! -Sufjan Stevens
  • Everything's Gonna be Cool This Christmas-Eels
  • Kings of Orient-Odds
  • O Holy Night-The Brian Setzer Orchestra
  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas-James Taylor (Yeah, I’ve got one on James Taylor too. Obviously I am easily crushed.)
  • Jingle Bells-The Singing Dogs

And the “Bah Humbug” mix:
  • You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch-Cast (So you can see the repeats starting)
  • Please Come Home For Christmas-Holly Cole Trio (If I could sing, I would totally want to record this song with The Prisoners.)
  • Fairytale Of New York-The Pogues (Still my favorite.)
  • Forget December-Something Corporate
  • I Hate Christmas Parties-Matthew Thiessen And The Earthquakes (Ah, this one is a fairly recent discovery. Really good and really depressing.)
  • Santa's Beard-They Might Be Giants
  • I Won't Be Home for Christmas-Blink 182
  • Christmas Blues-Holly Cole Trio
  • Christmas Is Going to the Dogs-Eels
  • Father Christmas-The Kinks (I may have once had a crush on Ray Davies, but that was along time ago.)
  • That was the Worst Christmas Ever! -Sufjan Stevens
  • Last Christmas-Fonda
  • Blue Christmas-Elvis Presley
  • The Winter Song-Eisley
  • 2000 Miles-The Pretenders
  • Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) -Death Cab for Cutie
  • Yellin' At The Christmas Tree-Billy Idol
  • Sled get Trunk-The Prisoners
  • Christmas Sucks-Tom Waits & Peter Murphy (I still have a crush on Tom Waits though…his voice…sigh.)
  • t'was the Night Before Christmas-Henry Rollins

There you go. Nothing too traditional but I try to keep it entertaining.

Monday, December 04, 2006


These are some cd covers from previous years Christmas compilations. I started making them so I could listen to exactly the songs I wanted to and not have to skip over the stuff that annoyed me but it has since become kind of a challenge to make a mix that other people will enjoy too. The music leans heavily towards the type of Christmas song you are unlikely to sing in church. Or, at the very least, a style you are unlikely to sing in church.

Last year there were two separate cds. The “Peace on Earth” version of happy, pretty songs. And the “Bah Humbug” version of not so happy, not so pretty songs.

This year’s mix need only be burned now. But who knows when I will actually get to that?
I like to cook. And I like to think I am a pretty good cook. For the most part, I like everything I make. And I am pretty skillful with recipes. I can adapt and create and what have you. I know what things taste like (unlike people I know who will bite into asparagus and say, “Wow, this is good broccoli! …seriously) and how flavors and clash or complement one another. And most importantly for me, I know what flavors I like. I know what to avoid to make something taste good to me. So technically that is all that matters, right? I can cook well for me.

But I do a lot of cooking for other people and sometimes I wonder. Are they just saying nice things to appease me? This weekend I made my first ever German Chocolate Cake as a gift for some friends. I had tasted all the components and they were fine but I was unsure how they would all be together. The friends seemed very excited about the cake and I tried to be honest yet gracious by saying that I had never made one before and let’s not get all excited until we taste it, people.

Personally, I thought it was kind of nasty. Everything was made just fine but apparently, I am not a German Chocolate Cake kind of girl. Same thing with lemon cake, which I also made this weekend. I guess it was ok. But when you make something that you have no real interest in, how do you know? I can tell it was moist enough and flavorful, but it’s not really a flavor I care for, so it doesn’t really taste GOOD to me. But everyone else seems to like it.

I sometimes worry that I am not a very good cook at all and people just take pity on me for trying so hard. It’s probably a foolish worry but it’s there all the same. I’ve never seen anyone spit out any of my food and I haven’t found any in the bushes around the apartment yet either (not that I look…really…). I guess I am just terribly paranoid. But then watching all those celebrity chefs can do that to you. When Martha tells me that green peppers are great, I’d better believe her…right? And when Alton tells me that I am a terrible person for preferring dried black pepper to fresh ground, then I’d better reconsider my stand. But I don’t. I know what I like and while I am not afraid to experiment, I am afraid that other people won’t agree.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


So, having said I hate decorating the tree I also have to say that I do have a lot of really lovely ornaments (less the ones that were smashed on that fateful night). My mother has been giving me ornaments since I was a very little girl, so a lot of them seem to apply to another life. Lots of ballerinas. Lots of pink. Lots of cats. So maybe not another life, since I still love all those things (although (random side note) I didn’t have a cat until I was an adult. My father swore he hated cats and that there was no way he would allow me to have one. So instead, I was given every object ever to be adorned by a representation of a cat, ornaments, stationary, mugs, you name it. (Further random side note) When I finally did get a cat, my father appeared to be the one who loved her most. He taught her to bark. Seriously. When he was visiting a few weeks ago, he sought the cat out to pet her and bark at her. Seriously.)

Where was I?

Ornaments. I sorted them out and kind of left some of the random teddy bears and kitty cats and ballerinas in the box this year and just put up my favorites. Same for the husband, although most of his ornaments were passed down through the family.

So when the tree was finally decorated the other night, I took a few photos of my favorites. I am kind of surprised that they are all commercially made. I have a lot of lovely hand made ornaments but these, for some reason, really seem to sum up my ornamental life:
Paddington Bear was my first British love. Even though he’s Peruvian. I didn’t look for a date on this ornament but I suspect it is around the same time that I was actually reading Paddington books, which I still love. And just the other day I happened across some mystery books by the man who created Paddington that I have decided to take with me for the Christmas vacation.

Hellboy is a recent acquisition. My brother and his family gave him to me for Christmas last year. He (Hellboy, not my brother) has a moody little half-lit grotto near the bottom of the tree and he makes me oddly happy. I guess I just love the fact that there is a demon type on my tree. Just the other day I was in the drugstore eavesdropping on two cashiers as they discussed their decorating plans. I sided with the girl who wanted a black tree with little skulls all over it. Hellboy will do for now. Oh how I love him.

My stegosauruses…well, who doesn’t love a Christmas dinosaur? Stegosaurus has always been my favorite of the old guys and somehow I have managed to get not one, not two but THREE of them on my tree (the third one is too reflective so I didn’t take a photo). It makes me absurdly happy that I have three stegos, if you happen across anymore please let me know.

The Joan Walsh Anglund ball…well, JWA is an artist who I think was particularly popular during my childhood. I have always loved her simple lines and sweet faces but it was only as I was hanging ornaments this year that I realized that what really appealed to me about her art is the lack of mouth. Weird hunh? But I am also very fond of Hello Kitty and she is also mouthless. But I don’t have a Hello Kitty ornament. But looking at JWA’s art again made me realize how much my own was influenced by having her books around when I was a kid. I still really like her art. It’s cute, almost too cute. But the clean style makes up for any sappiness in my eyes.

Finally…I said that I put away some of the ornaments that I felt represented my earlier life. But I had to keep the unicorns. Who doesn’t love unicorns? I only found two in the boxes but I have a sneaking suspicion that there are more hidden away somewhere. Look, I am a child of the 80’s. There HAS to be unicorns.

I have a lot of beautiful ornaments (including one made by my great-grandmother), I have a lot of really cute handmade ornaments, mostly chosen for their quirkiness. But for some reason it is these few mass-produced decorations that caught my eye and made me smile while I was swearing about how much I hate decorating the Christmas tree. Go figure.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

O Christmas tree.

Here is my big holiday secret. Because it’s the holidays now, right? Or did they start last week? Or right after Halloween? Before Halloween? Whatever. It’s the holidays so here is a holiday story. Well, it’s a holiday confession AND THEN a holiday story. Of sorts.

Confession first. I like Christmas trees. Pretty, shiny. What’s not to like? I’ll tell you what’s not to like. Decorating them! OH GOD JUST TAKE ME NOW!! I seriously find no pleasure in decorating a Christmas tree. I know that there are people out there that I can pay to decorate mine and someday, when I actually have money, I fully intend to do that. I know it should be some “dahoo-doris” holding hands around the tree kind of thing. It should be sentimental and lovely and there should be carols on the radio and the smell of gingerbread and hot chocolate in the air but really what you end up with is the sound of me swearing like a sailor and the smell of must and dust in the air. It’s miserable and, as far as I am concerned, only marginally worth it. And the cat just eats the tree anyway. I don’t know why, it’s plastic, but she will gnaw on it continually until January.

I hate it.

And as if that weren’t enough, here is my Christmas tree story:

When I moved into my very first, big girl apartment, with my BFF, at a much older age than I would like to admit, we decided that we would do Christmas big. We would decorate the whole (beautiful Victorian) place and have a REAL Christmas tree. The kind that you go out and buy at a lot! The kind that doesn’t come in a box. The kind that you have to water everyday and it still becomes a fire hazard within twenty minutes. The kind that will shed needles in your car that you will still be finding ten years later (seriously), the kind that has a stand that no matter how well you try to protect your floors will leave a freaky stain. But I think I am showing my cards here. I’ve already stated that I don’t like the whole Christmas tree she-bang and this tree was pretty much where I realized that.

Anyway, we got in the car and drove to the lot on a very cold December night. I knew that my night wasn’t really going to go all that well when I woke up. Not in bed. Not that morning, or from a nap that afternoon. When I woke up flat on my back, staring up into the wintry night sky, in the Christmas tree lot. Black ice, ‘nuff said. The BFF says that she had just gone into the trailer to pay the guy for our beautiful, giant tree and she turned around to tell me to pull the car around and I had disappeared. I was there, I was just a lot lower to the ground than she expected. She drove home. I moaned a lot and we both dragged the tree up to our second floor apartment, shedding needles all the way. The rest of the night is a bit of a blur. I remember a headache, some nausea and a few ornaments, but eventually we got the tree up and running, as it were. I seem to remember it taking a while to decorate, possibly because I had a concussion, but there could have been other reasons. But when the last ornament was finally hung, the last light set just so, the star set at the top…BFF dimmed the lights and stood back basking the glory of the first real grown-up tree. She started to sing “Oh Christmas Tree” in her high, sweet voice, “Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree, how steadfast are your branches, Oh Christmas tree OH MY GOD CATCH IT!” And down came baby, cradle and all.

Ornaments were smashed that night. Much like my skull. I don’t think I have ever truly recovered.

Monday, November 27, 2006

That last little bit of turkey? Just throw it away.

Ah the long weekend. Gone. Sigh.

It actually took me two and a half hours to get home from my office on Wednesday. That was not a good omen for the weekend to come. Luckily it was not an omen at all and the weekend was nice. Once I got home, that is.

There was a pretty typical Thanksgiving dinner, minus relatives and proper place settings. In fact, it actually involved tv trays and some show about American food inventions. High class? Not at all. Relaxing? Oh hell yes. I like the big gatherings but it was nice to not worry too much. And what was to worry about anyway? My cooking timing was pretty good and everything was edible. I have previously stated that turkey is the one thing that may keep me from being vegetarian, but you know what? This turkey, while moist and flavorful, was not great. I don’t think it was anything I did. It was just and oddly fatty, yet stringy turkey. Moist, yes, but not great. Oh well. It was totally eatable but eh. If we do the dinner alone again, I will probably just chuck a couple of turkey legs into the crock pot.

Everything else was good though. I did realize that I just don’t like cheesecake all that much but it was fine. Maybe next year will be some sort of pumpkin cake. Or maybe just brownies. Can’t go wrong with brownies. Oh and the cat? She likes turkey. A lot. Almost enough to climb into the oven with it. She will actually fight you for a piece. It’s funny but dangerous. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

So then there was Friday which I will sum up in one word: migraine.

Then Saturday. Which I will sum up in two words. Christmas tree.

And finally Sunday in three words: Stupid fucking tree.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The wisdom of my elders.

Since I got a little bit older a few weeks back I have been wondering what exactly I have learned since the last time I got a little bit older. I would have to say, in general, not much. That’s probably not at all true but it really doesn’t feel like I have learned much. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention.

Jules and I decided a long time ago that there is a certain point in a woman’s life when she must be presented with a magical book of wisdom. You know the one. The one that has all that information that your mother and grandmother had but couldn’t explain where it came from. Like how your mom knew that you were cold and should put a sweater on. It must all be written down somewhere and I would like to know when I get to see it because I feel like I am missing out on something.

I suppose that I learned a lot of important things from my elders. How to cook, how to (ahem) clean, how to be a good and tolerant person (I'm trying! I swear!). But where is all that other stuff?

Why did my grandmother know that barley holds heat and therefore urged me to be careful when eating vegetable barley soup? Where is all that information stored?

Friday, November 17, 2006


I like JustJENN’s Christmas wish list and I considered doing one of my own but suddenly, I cannot think of the real things that I want. The Christmas list with which I will be supplying my husband is mostly little things, a staple-less stapler, a business card holder, a few sweaters, and my Amazon list is mostly books with a few cds and cooking supplies thrown in, but nothing all that amazing or surprising if you know my tastes. So instead, I thought I would make a list of the things I would like to have but probably won't ask for...well, I'll ask for the pony. I always ask for the pony.
Ever since A.C. sent me a virtual hamster eating a vegan cupcake for my birthday, I have been wanting to draw that but instead, in honor of her recent bloggy name change, I present to you…THE ANATOMY OF AN AMBITOUS HAMSTER…(because I didn’t feel like working for a few minutes).

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Sleep Aid

I didn’t participate in Namoblopomo or whatever it’s called because I knew I would be “out of the office” for several days while my parents were visiting and also because I DO NOT FOLLOW! I AM NOT A JOINER! Heh, strong words that actually mean, I AM LAZY. But this prize for participation made me sorry that I didn’t join in (scroll down to the second image…I like the first one too!). But all this just reminded me of something a person I did not like wrote in my best friend’s high school yearbook (did you follow that? there was a person who I didn’t like who wrote in another…never mind). She wrote, “be a leader, not a follower.” Astute. And a phrase that my BFF and I toss around to annoy one another. Can you imagine a crappier thing to write in someone’s yearbook? She totally sucked. But the point here is actually, I would have liked to participate, if only for the love of that painting. But I didn’t. So there.

So anyway, I was talking to a friend about, of all things, Shakespeare the other day. I’m a big fan. So much so, that I had actually intended to go to graduate school to study him, because what’s more original than that? But alas, time and money were against me and although I was accepted into the ranks of even higher learning, I did not go. But now, when I cannot sleep, which is often, I work on my dissertation in my head. I have two, one for Chaucer, had I studied medieval literature, and one for Shakespeare. The Chaucer was to be titled “Chaucer the Feminist” and the Shakespeare one was something like “Shakespeare hates the Drama Queens.” Chaucer is, despite what we know about the general treatment of women in his time, pretty darn good in writing strong, smart female characters while Shakespeare, who also was more likely than not, feministically challenged, wrote strong, smart, comedic female characters, but the women in his dramas all pretty much…well…a lot of them just die. For really crappy reasons. Seriously, who the heck dies for love? Sure we all SAY we would, but really? Nah. And my very favorite example of the crappy Shakespearian death scene for a woman goes to Desdemona, not only is she killed by Othello in a jealous rage, she comes back from the brink of “not quite dead yet” to say “Oh hey, no, he didn’t do this to me. It was all my fault.” And yet the same writer created the sharp and clever Beatrice of Much Ado About Nothing and the fiery Katherina of The Taming of the Shrew. What the heck was going on there?

Anyway, that’s how I fall asleep. Now it’s probably how you fall asleep too, thinking about Shakespeare and Chaucer.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

It snuck up on me.

Hunh. So Thanksgiving is next week. Go figure. I guess I wasn’t paying attention. Luckily I am not cooking for anyone else this year or I might panic. It will be just the two of us for the first time in…well…ever, I think. As far as I can remember, we have always spent the holiday with friends or family. But I don’t mind. I do like Thanksgiving so we will have a traditional meal, it will just be considerably smaller than usual.

Every year I suggest the homemade tofurky and every year it is rejected, so again it is the traditional roast turkey. Which is fine with me, in fact, if I ever do actually go vegetarian, the turkey will be one of those things that I will miss. Personally, I am fond of bread stuffing. Not cornbread, not sausage and oyster or any of the various exotics, I like seasoned bread cubes, a butter type substance, some onions, some celery, tons of spices and some broth. That’s all. That’s just the way I am. And as long as we are talking starches, there also needs to be potatoes, both mashed and sweet. Sadly, I hate to make mashed potatoes for no apparent reason, but I will buck up for this one occasion. And as far as sweet potatoes go, we have this family recipe from my sister-in-law that now kind of defines Thanksgiving for us. I guess there should be some kind of vegetable too if there’s not going to be a tofurkey…I am opting for something broccoli-like but I suspect the husband will prefer peas, which are not technically a vegetable, are they? They are a legume, which is slightly different but hey, who am I to argue?

Anything else? Well, I have decided to shun the pumpkin pie tradition as I really don’t care for it all that much. One slice is fine but then there is the rest of the pie to consider. This year I am thinking there will be some experimentation and perhaps some pumpkin/chocolate cheesecake squares. So far James seems to be agreeable to this but he can turn at any moment…

Finally, I am feeling the need for crescent rolls this year. The kind that come in a tube. The kind that I would generally not make. The kind that have long been eschewed for homemade bread, or biscuits or rolls. I don’t know where this desire has come from but I am thinking about giving in. Why not? In fact, someday I intend to host the Thanksgiving dinner that has all those traditional American classics that I never really got into, the sweet potatoes with marshmallows, the green been casserole, the jello salad…someday. Maybe the same year that I finally make the tofurkey.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

What's going ahn? (that's a song title there...did you know that?)

What I’m reading: Well, I still have Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell on my coffee table but I haven’t been reading it, I don’t know why as when I do read it, I really enjoy it, but it’s a big book and I am not inclined to carry it around with me, so it just sits.

Also, I just started reading Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh. I read The Loved One last year because I have an odd obsession with funereal trappings and I rather enjoyed it. Then I saw a movie called Bright Young Things (David Tennant is in that one) and I thought I would like to read Vile Bodies, on which the movie is based. My dad noticed the book sitting on the table and commented on how much he disliked the author. I don’t know how I feel about it yet but it’s a pretty short book, so I think I will finish it and reserve judgment until then.

Today I received a box of books that are intended to be Christmas gifts, but I couldn’t resist buying something for myself and I had been awaiting the publication of The Omnivore’s Dilemma in paperback, so here it is. I read the first chapter while eating lunch and although I suspect that this is not the kind of book one should read while eating, it hasn’t hit that point yet and I liked what I read. Michael Pollan appears to be a very thoughtful writer and I find the subject of food interesting so I have high hopes for this one.

Next: Hmmm…well I just don’t know. I have some mystery novels by the man who wrote the Paddington Bear books, but I also have several borrowed books I need to get to, one loaned to me by my brother almost two years ago (Requiem by Graham Joyce) but for ten years now I have been intending to read a biography of Charles Darwin. I like Darwin and I am terribly interested in his life, but it’s another one of those big books. Same with the biography of the Mitford sisters that I have. And I took a break from Ulysses but I think I’d like to get back to it…decisions, decisions.

What I am watching: With no new Doctor Who’s until Christmas, I have been longing for a little British sci-fi action. I may have gotten my dirty little mitts on some episodes of Torchwood but I have been instructed to not watch them until certain friends are free to watch them with me…sigh. And with the advent of our new DVR, I have a backlog of Battlestar to watch, but I have noted my reticence to watch that show lately. So for the fun viewing, I have pretty much been watching House. Also on the recorded list are Vincent and Criminal Minds, which I cannot defend as a GOOD show but I like it anyway.

Next: My viewing habits have become decidedly anglophilian and I am eagerly awaiting new seasons of Doctor Who, Life on Mars, Hustle and Waking the Dead. At least I hope they all have new seasons coming out…I know the doctor and LOM will be back…I guess I’d better check on the rest before I get too excited.

What I’ve been cooking: Well, despite the gifting of the lovely Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World book, I haven’t tried any of the recipes yet, which makes me kind of sad. In fact, the last two things I cooked were decidedly unvegan, but tasty if you can justify eating it. I made excellent (if I do say so myself) carnitas the other night. They were perfectly spicy and lovely and I really shouldn’t eat pork but I do anyway. And there were homemade tortillas to go with the carnitas. And then last night there was chicken and dumplings. I do like the dumplings…someday I will try them in a vegetable broth and see how it goes.

Next: I’d really like to get to some of those cupcake recipes particularly the toasted coconut with coffee “buttercream” frosting. Doesn’t that sound awesome?

What I’ve been making: Well, the SnarkyDork’s birthday was like a month ago and I still haven’t finished her birthday present, I really need to get that done. Then it’s Christmas candy. Every year for the past…well, I don’t know how long, maybe 5 or 6 years, I have made candy for my friends and family. I make Guinness truffles and bourbon balls and some times caramel fleur de sal truffles. This year I am thinking about adding some coffee lollipops to the mix, but we’ll see how ambitious I am when it gets a little closer.

What I should be making: I’d love to someday make ALL of my Christmas gifts. And someday I will, but not this time.

“Movies?,” you ask: Ah there are a few I would love to see! I am a diehard fan of Aardman animation so I am intrigued by Flushed Away. I am trying to not have high hopes for it as it is not actually a Nick Park film, but I intend to show my love. There is also Casino Royale. I grew up watching James Bond films with my dad and although I know it’s so uncool, I confess that my favorite Bond is Roger Moore. I know his films were silly and camp, but I have fond memories of them and, quite frankly, I just don’t love Sean Connery. But, I think the character of Bond is kind of a cold, hard creep, so I am curious to see how Daniel Craig does it. Personally, his face is not attractive to me but um…well, he can take his shirt off anytime he likes. Also, I saw him in Layer Cake and thought he was excellent, so…yeah, I am hoping to like that movies. Finally, I want to see A Good Year. Look, it’s Russell Crowe and wine and Albert Finney, what more do you want? Oh, I also would like to see Marie Antoinette. The costumes alone would make it worth it.

What movies I have sitting, waiting for me to watch at home: V for Vendetta. I should really watch that.

Who I am crushing on: It’s none of your business! You don’t know him anyway!

I never did get a birthday cake...

I love vacations but I hate that “I need a vacation to recover from my vacation” feeling. Yeesh, I am tired, but I did get up at 5:45 this morning…and then again at 6:15…and then again at 6:30 before I could finally get in the shower and set off to return the ‘rents to the airport. Heh. Turns out that they were SUPPOSED to have left yesterday but my dad read the tickets wrong or something. Luckily they are seasoned travelers and didn’t freak, they just called their travel agent, paid a little extra and hopped on the same flight one day later. At least I got an extra day with them!

I know that most people love their parents. I love mine but I also like them. We have a really good time when we are together and this was no exception. We did a little exploring, visited some new places and just hung out. My mom has a black belt in shopping so we spent some time exploring little boutiques and the Rose Bowl flea market with her. And my dad loves pretty cars so we took a trip to the Petersen’s Automotive Museum, which I highly recommend to anyone visiting L.A. Pretty, shiny cars! The current exhibit is of some Big Daddy Roth stuff, which was really fun to see. In fact, I think I may have to go back.

There was some birthday revelry in the form of not one but two dinners at my two favorite restaurants and there were presents, oh how there were presents! What does it say about a person when they receive a bottle of wine, a bottle of whisky, a bottle of champagne, a pair of slippers and a vintage Doctor Who play set? I think it sends some mixed messages but you can explain that to me when you find me sitting on the floor, wearing my slippers, drunk on blueberry wine, playing with the Tardis…because you will find me like that…eventually. There were many other lovely gifts and a dozen oysters and a creme bruleé and good times were had by all.

Sigh. I will miss my parents but I will be happy to move off the futon and back to the bed. And I will get to see them again soon, so that’s nice. All in all it was an excellent week of visiting and birthdaying and for the record, I have no idea how old I am. Every time someone asks, and really, you aren’t supposed to ask that question, I have to do the math. Suffice to say, I am older but no wiser.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


YAY for visiting parents! I usually only get to see them once a year but today they arrived in town and we have 5 days to spend together.
YAY for days off from work. It's nice to not be there!
YAY for birthdays. I like presents. (And I never expected a vintage Doctor Who playset OR gourmet marshmallows AND it's not even my birthday yet!)
YAY for days off...did I say that already?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Ring a ding ding.

When I agreed to do the whole comic-con thing, it was a big deal to me. Not because I would have to talk to people, because, despite my lack of conversational skills, I can SELL things. I sold shoes and adult pleasure toys, for heaven’s sake, I can sell! It was also not because, as someone suggested, I was selling off a part of myself by selling my “art”. HA! Please! I draw silly little pictures, I think I can afford to sell off those parts of myself…and a lot of other parts for that matter. It was really more an issue of my stuff being on display for people to comment on. I don’t mind if you insult my skills, I just don’t really need anyone insulting them to my face. It’s fine if you don’t like what I make, but I don’t want to have to hear about it. Who does? I have plenty of self-confidence but not enough to handle that. And so I was scared that I would be openly mocked. Which I was not. In fact, people were incredibly kind and supportive to me. Which was great. But, like I said, it was all quite a big deal to me. So I made a bargain with myself. I told myself that if I sold some stuff at comic-con, I could buy myself a piece of jewelry that I have had my eye on for quite some time. It arrived today and I am enchanted

If I were the more philosophical and romantic sort, I would say that it serves as a reminder for me to “just bee” and not worry about what anyone else thinks. But I am not and it’s really just a pretty ring with a lovely bee on it.

I found it here. It’s beautifully made, heavy but with delicate cutwork. And you can choose the color of the glass behind the image. Each piece is made to order so it takes a while but it’s well worth the wait.

And clearly my hands need some moisturizing, but don't mock me for that either. It's really dry here!

Big black nemesis parthenogenesis.

I came to a realization the other day that made me feel terrible. Oddly, it pleased one of my friends to no end. She was actually gleeful. Me, not so much. I realized that…this is embarrassing…I have a nemesis. Doesn’t that sound terrible? A nemesis. How awful a person must one be to have “a formidable and usually victorious rival or opponent”? Technically not so awful.

Actually, years ago I CHOSE a nemesis. And that nemesis remains a nemesis but pretty much just for comedic purposes. It happened one day at work, we all decided that we needed an evil nemesis and I chose a co-worker. He actually chose Yum-Yum Doughnuts, so you can tell we weren’t being all that serious. But my new nemesis…this person just makes me feel like crap. As if nothing I will ever do will be good enough, or cool enough. And I realize that it is totally ME putting that out there. Well, they certainly sent some nefarious vibes my way, but there was no actual threatening or mockery. Just the feeling that no matter what I do, I will always be inferior to this person and thus I must not like them.

I have had a real nemesis once before, in college. That time it was a guy who was basically me as a dude. We met because I was wearing a Hoodoo Gurus t-shirt (with boxer shorts…in public…yet another shame of the 80’s) and he saw me across campus and yelled “Hey, Hoodoo Gurus! Come here!” Turned out that we had pretty much everything in common, and that made us…enemies. In him I could see every thing that was annoying about myself, and I am guessing he saw the same in me. I KNEW when he would procrastinate on a project, or not show up for a meeting, because they were the same things that I would do and man did that annoy me! But through it all, I thought we were friends who just irritated each other. Little did I know that our irritation was evident for all to see. It became interesting when we were both invited to the same party. One of the hosts called me the day before to “warn” me that he would be there. She wanted me to know in case I would have issues. I didn’t. As far as I was concerned, he was a friend. Turns out, she did the same to him. So our rivalry or nemesisery, or whatever you would call it was apparently…apparent.

I don’t like feeling this way about people but I suppose in the long run, or at least, I HOPE that in the long run, it makes me a better person. If I can recognize the bad parts of me in others, maybe I can make them better. And vice versa. Or what have you.

(And I’m am not suggesting (by the title) that my nemesis is big or black…that’s just the lyrics of a Shriekback song…and the color and size of my horrible soul for having a nemesis at all.)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Day of the Wed

Oops. I totally meant to post this picture on the first but flaked. No big surprise there.

This is actually the topper from our wedding cake. But it is also a day of the dead figurine. We saw it just before we got married while shopping on Olvera Street and thought it was fitting. We both have a fondness for horror, and in particular, I have a fondness for skulls and although we don’t have any sort of Mexican background, we felt that it represented our new lives in Los Angeles and the culture of our new city. It was, to us, a perfect cake topper.

It wasn’t until years later that I found out that my mother was none too pleased with it. To her credit, she never said a word and it only came up in passing much, much later.

We still love our little skeletons and they sit in a place of honor in our living room.
Ok, I am going to make a little confession here that is certain to stir up something distinctly shitlike with a few people. I am a bad, bad geek but I am finding that I just have no desire to watch Battlestar Galactica. I know! I know! (and I can already hear Jodi telling me that’s ok but that I am still a dork. Dork.) Ever since we got the DVR there have been episodes just sitting on there and piling up. But James doesn’t really watch it…although he is starting to… and so I watch alone. And the show can be so depressing at midnight that I have been avoiding it. It’s a good show. Far better than most in fact, but it wears me out. Sigh. I won’t give up yet but…yeah. They really need to give me something pretty to look at…OK, well, my kind of pretty, not Jodi’s kind. Jodi’s kind is good…but I need me something 50ish and British. Get on that right away SciFi network and I will return to my former geeky self.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Ten other things.

In contrast to the “ten things that have annoyed me in the last 24 hours…no, wait…ELEVEN” here are nice things that have happened to me too. See, it’s not always raining here!

  1. My two younger nephews sent me a beautiful bouquet of fall flowers.
  2. While speaking to said nephews on phone I got to discuss lollipops with the youngest and “Fart-o-meter” costumes with the elder. Don’t ask. I don’t know. But it was still entertaining.
  3. I was gifted with a cookbook that I very much wanted while being treated to a posh dinner by friends. How nice is that?
  4. That cookbook has very many lovely pictures of vegan cupcakes. That can’t be bad.
  5. I received an adorable photo of Josh’s adorable daughter in the mail. I like adorable.
  6. My parents are coming to visit for my birthday. I like my parents.
  7. There is a very good possibility that my “art” (and I do use that term loosely) will grace the library card of the town in which I spent my formative years. I find this quite exciting.
  8. Jodi said that I was “far more Strawberry Shortcake than goth”. OK, maybe that wasn’t meant to be nice and I would say that I am far more “My Pretty Pony” than “Strawberry Shortcake” but it still made me laugh.
  9. The winter comforter on the bed makes sleeping even better. Now I really want to take a nap.
  10. Cooler weather has convinced the cat that she is now a lap cat. Awwww.

Hey, don’t get used to this…I can’t be cheerful all the time, it’s far too taxing.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Not a fan.

Wanna upset some people? Tell them you hate Halloween. Wanna upset them more? Have some sort of vaguely “goth” leanings, like a fondness for skulls, or a primarily black wardrobe. Wanna really, really piss them off? Tell them Valentine’s Day is your favorite holiday. Never fails.

Yeah, that’s me. Not a fan of Halloween despite a deep and abiding love for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, books about monsters, a dresser full of black t-shirts and one really cool pair of skull and cross bones earrings. And yes, I really do like Valentine’s Day, although to say it is my favorite holiday may be a bit of a stretch. I think Thanksgiving actually wins that prize. And before you get on your “Hallmark Holiday” high horse, let me point out that I do make my own Valentines and um…have you been to Hallmark lately? It’s kind of full of Halloween crap. As is the grocery store. And the drug store. And every other store in town. You don’t want to get into the commercialization conversation on this one.

Halloween has never been my thing. I always liked to dress up, but was never terribly fond of the scary stuff. And the candy, well, how many Necco wafers do you have to eat before you decide that most Halloween candy is yucky. I’m going to say “One”. Yeesh. And the spooky stuff? No way. I hate haunted houses, haunted boats, haunted hayrides and haunted…things. I don’t enjoy being startled and I certainly have no desire to pay for it.

Like I said, this is nothing new with me. I have hated rubber masks since I was a wee lass. And I have always preferred high-end candy. But I participated. Dressed up, walked in the Halloween parade, went trick-or-treating, went to parties and studiously avoided the haunted houses unless I could work in them.

If you come to my apartment, I will give you candy. If you make a nice costume, I will be appropriately awed. But Halloween is really not my thing. Sorry. Call me around Thanksgiving and I’ll happily make you a turkey though. Or stop by in February and see my Valentines.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Two things I am usually not...

  1. early
  2. not scary

But this time...well...a little bit early and not at all scary. Go figure.

Wait...I mean to say I am usually scary...not NOT scary...but...oh damn. Add a third to that list...not clever.


...never mind.


Friday, October 27, 2006

Ten things...

...that have annoyed me in the past 24 hours:
  1. Traffic…obviously
  2. Rush Limbaugh
  3. and Jim Caviezal and Patricia Heaton
  4. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
  5. The radio
  6. More specifically, Beck and Lakshmi Singh on the radio but the radio in general as well
  7. The fly in my kitchen
  8. The last 2 minutes and 13 seconds of 30 Rock
  9. My hair
  10. That dude in the crappy blue Corolla who felt the need to pull out of the traffic, pass ten people on the right and then push back into traffic

You can contact me if you need more clarification on any of these. But you probably don’t.

WAIT! I forgot one!

11. R2D2! Damn he was annoying!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

In search of...

I am not very big on the idea of “perfection”…obviously. In fact, it just took me three times to type that sentence because it kept coming our “I am not bog on the idea odf perfection…okbviously”. But I did bother to fix it, not for the sake of perfection but for the sake of readability. I honestly don’t believe in perfection of any type, but I still search for it. Some people search for it in nature, but nature is as imperfect as everything else. Some people search for it in themselves, seeking to improve their bodies, their minds, their souls. Me, I look for it in three things. Eyeliner, handbags and shoes. And so far…well, let’s just say we are getting closer but we aren’t there yet.

I need the perfect eyeliner. I have been looking for years, wasting money and time and hazarding serious eye infections along the way. I have tried pencils and liquids and gels and even an “eyeliner sealant” which is almost as scary as it sounds. I have blended with brushes and sponges and fingers. My eyes have been lined in blue, green, purple, gray, black, bronze, gold and brown. And pink…and burgundy. I like the gold best but I generally retreat to brown because it tends to last longer. I want something that will make my eyes glisten and dance. In a good way. Not a crazy way. I have tried high-end make-up and drugstore make-up and what may well have been a briquette of charcoal in pencil form. But none of them are perfect enough. In fact, I am not sure that any of them have even come close to perfection. I keep looking. I will keep looking until I am blinded by all the chemicals that have slid into my eyes from all these concoctions.

And the handbag? It needs to be the right size, more oblong than long, more east west than north south, if you know those handbag design terms. It needs to have a zipper, because although that may not be the most beautiful fastener for a hand bag it is, let’s face it, the smartest, things don’t slide out and sneaking hands don’t get in. It needs some pockets inside for cell phones and mp3 players and the like, but not so many pockets as to lose things in. And it needs to be a neutral enough color to go with everything but happy and bright enough for me to want to carry it. It should fit a book and a wallet and all the various things of day to day life (eye drops, compact, notebook, 3 pens, painkillers, tampons and a pair of socks if necessary) but never feel heavy and the straps should be long enough to go over my shoulder, possibly even across my chest if my hands are full, but not so long as to drag on the ground when carried in hand. This bag…it does not actually exist, but I keep the hope alive.

The shoes...don’t even get me started on the shoes.

I seek perfection. But only in the things I need everyday. Who needs a perfect body when they can’t carry around the stuff needed to maintain it? Who needs a perfect soul if the eyes that can’t be properly lined in a beautiful color that won’t wear out after an allergy attack and a few tears over a spilled coffee, are the window to that soul? Why seek perfection in myself if I can’t find a damn pair of shoes that I like?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Etsy Plug

Oooh, I got a package in the mail today! It contained my first purchase from, a pair of fingerless gloves from TaranehsBazaar. They are very nicely made and cute to boot. Someone even told me that they were “fashionable”…go figure, I own something fashionable! Mine have blue and brown stripes and a pink peace sign. I love blue and brown together, and how in the world could a resist a pink peace sigh? Well obviously I couldn’t. My hope is that these fingerless gloves will keep my hands a little warmer this winter when it’s a balmy 70 degrees outside and a chilly 60 in my deep freeze of an office while still allowing me to type. We’ll see.

Now, truth be told, I can sort of knit and it is possible that this is something that I could make myself. But I haven’t yet and I only recently discovered that I knit backwards. Don’t ask. But TaranehsBazaar made them real nice, far better than I could, so why not go the easy way?

Etsy is a really nice idea and I have seen so many things there that I would like to buy. There is a great range of product and a great range of prices, so you may want to consider looking there when doing your holiday shopping. And when you do, maybe you should check out JustJenn’s shop too.

So that’s my plug for this week. I don’t get paid for this stuff, I do it out of LOVE!

Bye-bye, Weekend, I'll miss you!

I am sad that the weekend is gone, even though I didn’t really do much to take advantage of it. Well, there was some cleaning, a thing which must continue as the ‘rents are coming for a birthday visit in a few weeks and while our apartment is not exactly a disaster…it’s a clutter. Seems like every corner has collected stuff. Stacks of books, books of dvd's, piles of cds, piles of storage boxes purchased eight months ago to house the cds but as of yet unfilled because said cds should really be organized and one box should be for opera and one for jazz, but what to put in the other two? That kind of stuff. It’s getting there. And it WILL be tidy for the visit. But it’s the getting there that I am not enjoying.

Aside from that there was some baking. This year, for the ‘rents “special days” (i.e. birthdays, mother’s day, father’s day) I decided not to buy them presents but rather, to make them food, largely because it’s disposable (ok, technically, I should say it a “consumable” but it’s also disposable because if they don’t like it, they can just throw it away). For mother’s day and dad’s birthday (they tend to take place together) it was two kinds of scones and challah bread, for father’s day it was lemon cake, sliced and sealed in serving size packets, just ready for the freezer. So this weekend I made cookies for mom’s birthday. Whole wheat gingersnaps and almond scented sugar cookies, packaged in fours and wrapped for freezing. I hope she likes them, we thought that the ugly ones were pretty good (she only gets the “pretties”, even though ugly cookies still taste good, it’s all about the presentation).

Then there was dinner. James does not eat pasta. I know, I know, it’s crazy. Pasta is that go to dinner, the easy choice, the quick fix. Well, that dog don’t hunt in our house and pasta is a no-go. Well, I suppose I could make it and he could just have sauce, but that just seems cruel. So this weekend I did a little experiment. I have made spaghetti squash for myself before, but I checked with James and he agreed to try spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs. It was a hit. It gave me the pasta like feeling that I so miss without the griping about “if I wanted to eat wet bread, I would just eat wet bread”, both parties were happy and this will go into the recipe file. I thought the spaghetti squash would be too sweet but I tossed it with lots of black pepper and a little olive oil and it was just fine. And it’s an extra serving of veggies, so that’s a nice bonus.

Now I am off to try to design a logo based on the information “she needs a logo…something that evokes memories. And uses a star…and turquoise and orange.” Sigh.

Oh, and I hear that Torchwood is a smash in the U.K. I’ll have to see what I can do about that over here!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Random Ten and a kid with antlers.

For a while, I was trying to give the SnarkyDork ten questions every Monday. They were fairly random and for no reason other than because I could. I got out of the habit…well, actually, I ran out of questions. But this week they are back and more random than usual. But, as I normally do, I answered the questions that I posed to her because that’s just fair, and because what the heck else do I have to do?

Ten fairly random questions that you (I) may expand (expanded) on as you (I) see (saw) fit…

  1. What is the last song you listened to?
    Last song was “Disco 2000” by Pulp. Current song is “Pencil Skirt” by Pulp.

  2. What makes you swoon?
    Winking. I like being winked at.

  3. What is your favorite cupcake? (heh, trick question! ALL CUPCAKES!! No seriously, because the next question is…
    Chocolate with vanilla frosting.

  4. What’s your favorite sweet?
    You know, it used to be chocolate pudding but now it makes me sick. I’m gonna stick with cupcakes for now. And Jodi, it’s ok if you don’t CARE about cupcakes because I know you LIKE them once in a while. And that’s all that really matters.
  5. What kind of writing instrument do you prefer to use?
    My favorite current pen is a Uniball Signo. I like to sketch with it. Since my sketching skills are…well…sketchy, I don’t like a pen that provides a smooth line, I like all the little skips that a ball point provides. And I have this great ball point pen that was tucked in a package from Taggd Apparel. I don’t know why it writes so smoothly, it’s just a cheap ballpoint, but it really feels good, nice and smooth. My mom does always say that the pens from hotels are the best, so maybe the freebies from catalog orders are good too!
  6. What fascinates you, yet would surprise us that you are fascinated…by…it. That’s a really poorly formed sentence but I think you know what I mean.
    Um…science in general. Forensics in particular. But not to see, just to read about. I would be a theoretical forensic pathologist, one who just figures out how it happens without having to deal with decay and stuff. And also, in that vein (heh), the commerce of death fascinates me.

  7. What did you NOT do in high school that you wish now you had?
    Since I hated marching band so much, I kind of wish I had been a cheerleader. But our cheerleaders were not the fluffy blonde type. Oh not. They were big…and scary.

  8. What kind of candy will you give out on Halloween?
    NONE! No kids come to our apartment. But that said, every year I buy a bag of something that I like, just in case we do get some kinds and then if we don’t, I put it in a candy bowl on the coffee table and somehow, everyone else eats it and I never get any!

  9. What gadget would you love to have but wouldn’t spend the money on?
    Ooh, I don’t know. I would like one of those laser level thingies so I can hang pictures straight. And I’ve been wanting a cordless drill for years and never buy one. And I wouldn’t mind a video iPod. Or another computer. Or a really, really small computer. Or something like a Blackberry, or a new fancy phone or maybe a big food processor, mine is kind of small, or a new stand mixer, mine is from the 1940’s….I could go on…

  10. Do you like horror movies?
    You know, it’s funny, I used to really like them but now I am afraid of them. I worry about having nightmares from something gory. But that said, two of my favorite movies of the last few years have been “horror-esque”, Shaun of the Dead and 28 Days Later, so maybe I like being scared more than I think. It’s just stuff like Cabin Fever and anything with rotting zombies that gets me. I know, I know, Shaun of the Dead has zombies, but not the gruesome kind. And no way will I watch anything like House of Wax I remember watching the old one with Vincent Price when I was a kid and it still gives me nightmares.

And speaking of nightmares, I almost forgot my mom’s birthday…but I remembered just in time to send her some cards. Here is the art from one of them. I never actually had an antler costume, but I think I would have liked one.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Guess who is wearing her crankypants today!

I apparently live in the noisiest neighborhood in the known universe. Last week a truck backed up FOR HALF AN HOUR at 6 in the morning. As I live on a short block and the I’m-backing-up beep went on and on, I can only imagine that the truck rolled very…very…slowly down the block at less then one quarter of a mile per hour. This morning a car alarm went off at 4:45, which left me awake but too tired to do things I needed to do (I don’t think it would be a good idea for me to do taxes or bills at 4:45 in the morning. I don’t think it’s a good idea for me to do much of anything at 4:45 in the morning). I finally fell asleep and the neighbor who can only be a chainsaw artist started working. I have no idea what kind of work other than chainsaw artist requires the use of a chain saw EVERY MORNING. Unless maybe he is a very active serial killer.

That’s all in the morning though. At night I have the neighbor that plays some video game at top decibels, the neighbor who comes home drunk and stands outside with his friends “chatting” at the top of his voice, The guy who calls home long distance to India, right under my bedroom window and the guy who vomits every morning at 3 am. Seriously.

I know that I must make noise that I am unaware of but really people! But to be fair, they are all nice enough to shut up if you ask them politely. But I kind of feel like I really shouldn’t HAVE to ask someone to not stand under my open window at 2 in the morning having and argument on their cell phone. My window is in a little alcove, it’s not like he is standing on the street.

Needless to say but said anyway…lack of sleep makes me cranky.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Do you have a preferred tipple? Do you know what tipple means? Because it’s not nearly as dirty as it sounds (I say that a lot, I think everything sounds dirty. So immature!).

See, I had a few drinks this weekend and I was thinking about how I came to be a whisky drinker. It really was a random choice. We were talking at work one day and somehow we all decided that we wanted to start sampling whisky, so we did. And now, quite randomly, I am a whisky drinker, as in, whisky is my drink of choice, which is not entirely true actually now that I think about it for a second. Whisky is my drink of choice in the winter, gin and tonic in the summer and beer with food. But I am pretty picky about all of them. I have kind of expensive tastes. I would rather drink water than drink a beer I don’t like. Same with whisky I think, although I am more flexible with gin because I prefer to mix it with something (soda, tonic, olives, ice…although I may have had a gin and juice more than once in my life because yes, I am that ghetto (Dude, I am so NOT ghetto even when I try to be)). I did the “extremely cheap alcohol” thing in college, I don’t need to do that anymore. Seriously, you can only be friends with Pepe Lopez for so long.

Wine is another story though. I can appreciate a fine wine but what I buy is actually either the best cheap wine in a box I can find (I am totally serious, stop looking at me like that), or the wine with the prettiest label. As I am prone to headaches, I tend to avoid reds and stick with whites. I don’t like it too sweet, but I don’t like it too dry either. But all that is really beside the point as I have often said to my friends while drinking something that could be wine or could be anti-freeze “I have never met a wine I wouldn’t drink.” I have had Nightrain and Mad Dog and I’m not even a hobo! I may have even drunk Boone’s Farm from the bottle with a crazy straw, I ain’t sayin’ one way or another. Me and wine, we are long time friends.

But in reality, I am not that big a drinker (shutup Jodi!). Saturday night marked the end of a particular bottle of whiskey that I have been nursing for two years. And it was sad. I didn’t want to say goodbye to my “The Speyside” (that’s the name of it, you have to keep the “The” in there, other wise you are just talking about a type of whisky, see, not only do I drink it, but I know things about it! That’s what makes me a “drinker” not an “alcoholic”). Naturally, there is another bottle that is already taking its place. And there is one in line for after that, but extrapolating from the previous bottle-drinking rate, I think it will take a while to get through these. Wanna come over for a drink? I gots lots to share!

(psst...In case you were wondering, "whisky" is the preferred spelling for the drink that comes from Scotland. Which is what I usually drink. But I am totally open to other spellings and other "whiskeys" if you are buying.)

Friday, October 13, 2006

Searching for answers. Finding nothing.

Lately it seems popular to post what people are searching for when they wind up at your blog. I always find this fascinating. Mostly people who just Google and up here are searching for The Rolling Stones “Some Girls” album, info on Ciaran Hinds, Bruce Parry or a 1976 Cutlass Oldsmobile. I even cut some of my links to that stuff in order to not mislead traffic. Today, however, I went to Google to search for something and I noticed all the searches I have done since I last emptied my cache. So, instead of presenting you with the odd searches that got people here…here are the odd searches that got me somewhere. I am amazed by the number of comic book references, although I suppose I shouldn’t be. I also tend to use Google Images a lot for picture reference, so I left out the less interesting searches like “mermaid” and “crown”. The really odd thing is that I can remember what almost every single one of these searches was for (go ahead, ask me why I wanted to know about “cram cream”, it’s not as dirty as it sounds), I mean, why I wanted the information, obviously I can tell what I searched for…duh. I haven’t linked anything because, well, aside from the fact that I am far too lazy, I suggest that if you really can’t figure out why a person would search for…let’s say…“cockney rhyming slang+Britney”, that you Google it for yourself and see what comes up! It could be an entertaining waste of two seconds.

Hunh, now I am going to get weird random hits on things that I have gotten weird random hits on…weird.

And please don’t ask why I was searching for “sweet dreams romances”…I just was, OK?

ali g
all this is mine
american library association
anderson website had wedding date wrong
archie comics
arthur rimbaud
big boss comics
bird in a skirt
black bush whiskey
boom! studios
bree walker
buddha machine
buffalo tofu
clementon park
cockney rhyming slang+britney
convert c to f
cram cream
dream dictionary
dudley moore+dance sequence
eddie izzard+lowlife
elizabethan hats
eric powell
esa pekka salonen
eu de cologne
fake girl scout badges
fan museum+london
fat tony diamico
flip flops
folding cane
for better or for worse+blinking
general public
gentleman zombie
giant fortune cookie
good goth
headache map
headbandshealth by chocolate
henry: portrait of a serial killer
honey ice cream
how do i store fresh tofu?
how do you feel today?
hyde park+chair rental
is tmj hereditary?
is yawning and involuntary reflex?
is yawning contagious?
jeff levine+comics
jeremy lambros
jin vase
johnny speedpants
justjenn designs
kristen bell
l u v+ new york dolls
last kiss comics
lemon cake
lionel richie
lismore single malt
locks of love
mc steamy
me and ro
milville, nj
mr. toast
my precious
nutritional content calculator
nick fury
nicolae ceaucescu
oni comics
one inch buttons
paddington station
piggy bank
queen of england
radiation treatment for cancer
raina tegelmeyer
reverse phone directory
richard iii+ring
richie rich
rick geary
road closings october 3 los angles
roman dirge
run lola run
sad robots need love too
shiba inu
silent devil comics
silver bullet comics
slave leia
smart monkey raw food
songs on “house”
soy yoghurt
sugarfree peach pie
sweet dreams romances

Damn, this is along list AND it's edited AND it only goes to "s". Well, maybe someday I will do the rest of the alphabet. Heck, it amuses me!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Oh Cupcakes, I love you.

So, the vegan baking experiments have continued. There has been much cupcaking. Chocolate, vanilla (two different attempts) and orange. All have been pretty decent, some have been excellent. Next up, perfecting the icing.

I am not such the icing fan. My default icing is whipped cream-cream cheese icing, which shouldn’t be too hard to veganize. It will be thicker than the original but who cares? As long as it tastes good. And I have been pleased with the results of all the experimentation so far, so I am hopeful that it will taste good. And hey, there are plenty of hardcore non-vegans who seem to be enjoying it all as well. The girl in the office upstairs just opened the window and yelled down that she loved my chocolate cupcakes. Unless that was some kind of disturbing come-on…no, no…she was talking about the actual cupcakes.

As well as potentially saving some animals and resources, I am finding vegan baking to also be very handy. I am not one who eats eggs really to begin with, so when I do have them around it’s often a question of…um…how old are these? And you can do that whole float them in water thing but I never remember if it’s good for an egg to sink or swim, so cutting them out of the recipe entirely is just safer. Same for the milk, I don’t drink it so I don’t generally know off the top of my head if there is any about, but since these recipes don’t call for it, no worries. Very handy that.

But so far, so good with the vegan baking. Come on over and try it for yourself…actually…don’t. I won’t answer, you’ll see my shadow through the peephole but I’ll pretend I’m not home. You’ll know because you’ll hear the television suddenly mute.

Oh wait, one more thing…does anyone know if the expression “humpy daddy” is pretty much exclusive to the gay community? I thought it was kind of on par with “yummy mummy” but after a quick google, I find mostly links that I don’t want to click…go figure. And if it is, what would you say is the male equivalent to a “yummy mummy” (which is the polite terminology for a MILF). And if you have no idea what I am talking about at all…don’t do a search, for the love of Pete, DON’T DO A SEARCH!

Monday, October 09, 2006


I was reading April Winchell’s blog and if you don’t read it, it’s worth a look. She’s very funny and she has a great and disturbing mp3 collection. She was recently interviewed for a Japanese women’s magazine. They told her that they always ask 5 questions and…well, you can read it all at her place. But I was intrigued by the questions. I have an ongoing interview with myself in my mind, just so I won’t get caught off guard when the time comes so I decided to go ahead and answer these, just to keep in top form for any future interviews…

  1. Do you have any good luck charm? Do you practice any ritual to make your work successful?
  2. I always want to believe that I have a good luck charm and over the years I have carried many different things in my pockets for good luck; a jade fish, a St. Christopher card, various pebbles and shells, you name it. But in the end, I really don’t believe in luck, I just believe that I should have a good luck charm. At the moment, I have none. I do, however have a 128MB jump drive in my pocket, so today, that is my good luck charm. So far, it’s not working. And I don’t practice any ritual to make my work successful, but I probably should just practice, that would make me better at it.

  3. Three things you always carry in your purse?
  4. THREE? Are you serious? Only three? Well, there are tons of things I THINK I need in there, but I do always have eyedrops, lip balm and at least three pens in there. Oh and come to think of it, I have a key card from a vacation at Disney World in my wallet. It’s five years old but I guess I do keep it as kind of a good luck charm. But really it’s just a “good day” reminder.

  5. Where do you go for relaxing?
  6. Now, if I had the money and the vacation time, this question would have a very different answer, but as it stands right now, I go to the bathroom for relaxing. And that’s not just for the obvious reason, but because I know I can be alone in the bathroom. People don’t like to bother you there. Needless to say, I spend a lot of time hiding in the bathroom.

  7. One book you will bring with you for your travel.
  8. Again I say ONE? JUST ONE? I always travel with far too many books. Today, I have…3 books and two magazines with me. One book is The Moor by Laurie King, the other two are guides on hand made books, one magazine is High Fructose, because there is an article about Mark Ryden in there that I have been trying to read but I keep getting distracted by the crappy editing. The other magazine is a music magazine called Magnet. I haven’t really read any of it yet.

  9. What kind of compliment do you like to hear most about yourself?
  10. I like when people tell me I smell good. You could tell me I looked nice, I wouldn’t believe you. You could tell me that I am funny, I would strongly doubt that. You could tell me you like my hair, my eyes, my whatever…not interested. But if you tell me I smell good, I am flattered. Because I think I do. But you have to be really close to smell me and I’ll probably punch you before you discover that the combination of coconut body butter and honey shampoo is really nice.

    I think scent is one of the least regarded senses, until something smells really bad, that is. I assure you, most of the time, I smell pretty good or not much at all. Most of the time.

Right now: I am listening to this dude. I downloaded his stuff for free (it’s there for a limited time so snap it up if you are interested). It’s intriguing. I keep thinking “Hey, I really like this dude” and then all of the sudden he does something that I really don’t like. So at least he is keeping me on my toes. See, kind of like rehearsing for that one big interview. There it is all tied up in a neat little package for you. There you go.

This makes me so happy.

I miss Sifl & Ollie.

I tried.

For the record, I just want to announce that I did TRY the Pumpkin Pie Latte thing. Schwee was kind enough to offer me the first two sips from hers. She told me I had to take two because after the first one, I would not be sure if I liked it or not. She was right. I had two. I have decided that I don’t need anymore. I did, however, enjoy the Maple Macchiato. But I will return to my café Americano until the White Chocolate Peppermint Mocha arrives, I will have one too many of those and then I will go on back to plain ol’ coffee.

I won’t declare the Pumpkin Pie Latte experiment a failure. Not like the ill-fated Banana Mocha Frappicino experiment. But I don’t think I need to try it again.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I just don’t know what to think of this whole “pumpkin pie latte” thing. Schwee has had several times now and every time I think…”Oooh, that’s sounds good!…no, it sounds wrong…no, it sounds good.” Today she said “Oh, come on, if you could get a Boston Cream Pie beverage, you totally would!” But the interesting part of a Boston Cream Pie is the differences in texture, I argued. Then she said that a Boston Cream Pie drink WOULD have diffences in texture…I shudder to think. I’m sticking to my Café Americano for the moment. Or, as I like to call it…coffee.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Wow, not a lot has been going on lately. Well, I did get to meet Mr. Palmer for dinner last week…he says it was not awkward, I am shocked. I don’t know how to be anything other than awkward. Actually, I had a really nice time hanging out with him and hope he comes back with the family. And my family too, for that matter. But there is your example of yet another blogger meeting that doesn’t end in tragedy.

Ah, what else? What else? Well, I did go grocery shopping yesterday, which is hardly news but I was totally fascinated by the other people in the store. See, I am a pretty organized grocery shopper. I make lists, I arrange the lists by aisle. I know what brands I want and all but if I send James to the store, I make sure I give him an incredibly detailed list with weights, colors of the packages, brand names, if the generic is ok, stuff like that. (Apparently, sometimes I go overboard. Once I sent him to the store for confectioner’s sugar. I am pretty sure I gave him the bag weight, and probably wrote “10x confectioner’s sugar” on the list. He called to tell me that the store didn’t have any confectioner’s sugar and could I possibly use powered sugar instead. Sigh.) So there was this guy in the store shopping by himself, but every time I passed him he happened to be one the phone with whomever he was shopping for. I ran across him and evesdropped during the “brown sugar” discussion:

“Well, they have light brown and golden brown. Oh wait here is the dark brown. But you want light brown? Is that the same as golden brown? Do you want it in a box or a bag? Well, they have a bag but it’s not re-sealable. Well, they have the dark brown in a re-sealable bag. Is golden brown the same?”

I grabbed what I needed and carried on. I must have passed him at least four times and every time he was on the phone. I don’t know what to make of that. I think it’s nice that he’s concerned enough to get EXACTLY what the person on the other end of the line wants, but man, what a tedious conversation if you are that other person!

Then, while in the soup aisle, I passed a couple shopping together. I woudn’t have noticed them except the man SHOUTED everything he said to the woman. I guess she could have been hearing impaired but I got the impression that he was just loud. She was scurrying ahead of him, shivering and muttering to herself. At first I thought she was afraid of him but then I realized that I shiver in the grocery store (it’s cold in there!) and I surely mutter to myself if I take a loud male with me…not that the male I take is loud…heh.

So he was running down the aisle after her yelling, “Hey I’m going to get this soup meal. Right? Because you said the food won’t be ready for a while? So this way I won’t get hungry, right? See? THIS SOUP MEAL.”

That’s all. Just observing. I like to shop alone but I take James with me a lot of times so he can pick out what he wants. It’s not quite that bad with him. Not quite.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Friday Thirteen..I mean...eight.

There is this little weekly meme called Thursday Thirteen that I ran across while following links. Now, I am not at all a joiner, and I fancy myself as something of a rebel, but because I can’t think of anything else to write about today but I still feel like writing something, I am going to do a list of thirteen things that people who know me, probably don’t know about me. Why? Well, why not?

1. I really like fairies and butterflies. People are generally surprised by this as I don’t seem like much of an airy-fairy kind of girl. But good fairy art, is sadly, a rarity and bad fairy art abounds, but the good kind, I just love. And butterflies are pretty, so there. AND I like bees too. A lot. BEES!
2. I don’t really like soda all that much. I drink it because I like the bubbles. Through most of my teen years I paid full price for seltzer at fast food restaurants because they didn’t want to give it to me for free. Half the time I had to show the counter people how to get seltzer out of the machine in the first place (there’s a little tab on the side of one of the soda spouts that will give you seltzer, no syrup).
3. And speaking of beverages, I like coffee just fine but I generally prefer to drink it in the evening. Sadly, I can’t because I am also an insomniac and I don’t need any extra chemicals making that worse.
4. I hate wearing socks but my feet are often cold.
5. I have a serious addiction to bags. Handbags, tote bags, wallets, pouches, you name it, I love them. And once I start thinking about one, I have to have it. And then I decide I don’t like it and I give it away. It’s a sickness.
6. I started Christmas shopping this week, and I feel bad about starting so late.
7. There is a light-up jawa on my desk.
8. Hmmm…I am boring enough only to make it to 8 before I give up.