Sunday, February 27, 2011

7 til 25


and I'll never stop playing make-believe

or wearing silly hats that I steal from my friends

who also play make-believe

and own silly hats


Everyone should be legally required

when they begin to question their life choices
to put on a silly hat

and smile for the camera

or in my case, I suppose, hide from it


or, uh, make faces at it

in conclusion:

I am seven days from being 25

and I don't think this is what they meant by adulthood?

but I like this way much better.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Will Work For Candy?

In 10 days, I will be 25 years old.

I'm a little bit excited. It's not like there is a huge milestone when you turn 25, just a continuation of the responsibilities of adulthood getting heaped on you. I'm still pretty thick in my "what have I been doing with my life" crisis.

But I'm still a little bit excited.

Last time I was home, I made off with some of Mom's old photos, so I could scan 'em in and have them for my very own.

So I just want you to know:


This used to be me. Climbing up things was kind of my hobby.


That used to be me, too.

Although you cannot see it, I am holding a sign I made myself which says "Will Work for Candy". With a little drawing of a tootsie roll or something next to the words. And some wonderful random marker zig-zags.

Clearly, an artist in the making, that one.

Also look at that shirt and pants. Just... just look at them.

Oh, the 90's.

More on that later.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Loss & the Granola Experiment


 My family back in Illinois is dealing with another sudden loss; not a member of our family this time, but a friend, a woman who has existed so permanently in my life from the moment I have memories that I kind of can't imagine my little hometown without her. One of those adults I took for granted, because she had always been there.

As I grow older, life conspires to ensure I realize just how many adults I have taken for granted.

From this far, there is very little I can do except send my love and condolences her family's way. My fingers itch to start baking or something, to show up at someone's doorstep with a casserole, but let me tell you, casseroles don't really go through the mail all that well. Also her family will be so inundated with food for the next few weeks they'll be thawing things out of the freezer for months.

God hold you and keep you, Mary Ann Bottoms.

I wanted to make that note, because I wasn't sure what to say or how to talk about it or if I should... when something occurred to me. I signed up to start this particular blog mainly to update my family and friends on things I was up to, at first while four hours away from one side of my family and a good twelve hours from my (at the time) brand new South Carolina family... and now I update from roughly ten minutes from my in-laws' doorstep and a good twelve hours from my parents and my whole extended family.

(And 18 hours of driving away from my brother Bryan, who by the way should move to South Carolina because it is awesome here, so there. I'll get you out here for good one day, big brother.)

In any case, where I was getting at before I got distracted by my attempts to convince my family to move out here was that it had occurred to me that I am under no restrictions to only write about certain things, and my discomfort with writing about death is entirely my own and has to do with my own anxieties and issues more than anyone else's.


I tend not to write about these things because they start up this whole cycle of worry and yes, fear in my mind. Writing about losing my grandma was a shift from all of that, and while I have written about what it means to lose someone who is so much a part of my heart, there's a lot I haven't really said either. Mostly due to that whole cycle and my inability to write anything that doesn't eventually just boil down to It's not fair in a whole lot of words.

But I'm not going to fall into that cycle today. I think you can write about life being sad and those things that make you happy at the same time, without it being a problem.

It's been decided.

Instead, I'm going to write about granola.

...

See, now, there's a definite shift in mood for you.

I like granola. There, I admit it. I'm a closet hippie at heart. There are so many photos of me in tie-dyed T-shirts... that whole thing at the end of eighth grade and the beginning of freshman year where, I kid you not, I wore flared jeans with butterfly and peace sign appliques, smiley-face necklaces... that time where my mother remarked often that if she'd only saved her entire high school wardrobe, she wouldn't have had to buy me any clothes for a year or two because I was just wearing everything she had once worn.

I like peace, love, and happiness for all, man.

Dude.

Far out.

Groovy...?

See, now this isn't going anywhere at all.

In any case, I am a closet hippie.

I also love granola.

Granola, however, is expensive. At four dollars a box, you often expect to get more than you really do. Everywhere I looked, websites were touting the ability to make the initial investment in making it as a way to save money on buying it, since you spend some money at the outset but then aren't spending 4 dollars a week on a few ounces. I've been researching recipes for homemade granola on the internet for a few weeks now, and Jason and I finally decided to give it a try. I used a couple different recipes to come to my decision: The Best Granola Ever from Heartistic Desires and Toasted Almond Granola from Joy the Baker.

Last night, Jason and I went ahead and made it.

And it is so good... even if I sorta let it cook too long so it's a wee bit closer to burnt than it's actually supposed to be...

Homemade Granola


What You Need
 4 cups oats*
(steel-cut is usually reccomended... I seriously just used our Quaker Oats stuff. As long as it's not instant oatmeal packets, it's all good)
2 cups sliced almonds, unsalted
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, unsalted
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup raw sugar or brown sugar (you don't want to use refined white sugar)
1 teaspoons vanilla extract

Onto Creation

  This is actually really, really basic.

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. The recipe I had said to preheat to 325, but as I said before, my granola got a little more cooked than it was really meant to be, so I think how hot your oven gets might have something to do with it.

Take the first four ingredients and put them in a very large mixing bowl. Mix them around until they are thoroughly combined, and set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt your butter, vegetable oil, and honey. Add sugar and boil, just slightly, while mixing constantly until sugar is melted. Once the sugar is as close to melted as you're going to get (mine never quite did melt all the way, but maybe I was just impatient), take off heat and add the vanilla extract. Mix until combined.

Take your hot liquid and pour it over the mixing bowl, then toss and toss and turn and toss some more until every bit of the granola mixture has some of the sugar/honey/oil mixture on it. Just keep doing it. This part took a while for me.

Spread your thoroughly combined mixture onto foil-lined baking pans. I had to use two, so unless you have a gigantic baking pan, I think you'll need to use two as well. 

Place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. You want to pull the pans out to stir the granola around at least three times during this time period. I would do it every seven minutes or so. I waited almost eleven minutes the first time and I think that was part of my granola-gets-kinda-burn-y problem.

Once that's done, pull out and allow to cool on the baking pan, and try not to eat all of it. Once it's cooled, put into airtight containers for storage. Granola keeps for a few weeks, easily. I'm not sure ours will last that long. This made about a cereal-box-and-a-half of granola. With the supplies I have on hand right now, I could make another two batches without re-supplying on anything but the oats.

I am eating it for breakfast mostly with a little maple syrup and a lot of good plain yogurt. Loves me some yogurt.

Also, dried fruit is a good addition when you're eating it. Or a cut-up banana. 

I love bananas, too.

And that's the note I'd like to end on.

Friday, February 18, 2011

It's Friday


... and this is a duck.

I am making a grocery list, checking it against coupons and recipes and ideas and so on and so forth. It's domestic, sure, but then you look at my super messy apartment that neither Jason nor I have really had the energy to do anything with this week and that whole domestic illusion? Totally shattered.

All I've managed since 9 AM when I dragged myself into semi-productivity has been going for Day 2 of the (modified) C25K I'm doing, working on this grocery list, fiddling around with photos I took with my camera yesterday, and... well, does talking to friends count as productivity? I'm not certain if it does or not.




I'm pretty sure it doesn't.

In a couple hours, I'm going to go wake Jason up, and we'll go get groceries, drop some books off at the library, maybe go pick up my paycheck. This week has been fantastic; when I'm not working, we get to hang out when he wakes up. When I AM working this week it's been day shifts, so I come home and he is awake, and we have hours to see and talk to each other and in general act like giggly flirty crazy people before he has to go to work.

I've slept better this week, which is probably a sign I really don't need to stay up until 3 A.M. doing a whole lot of nothin' just because.

I don't know that it will stop me from doing just that, however.

I just don't know.


It's absolutely gorgeous here. 72 degrees. I did my running stuff between 9:30 and 10 AM in this beautiful balmy spring weather. I could feel sunlight on my skin, and I ran in a T-shirt and running pants, no jacket, no nothing. I could feel the wind against my ears and the back of my neck.

I think I could get used to spring in South Carolina, this odd February spring. Green things popping up all over the place.

I'll probably wear sandals when Jason and I go out to get groceries later.

Yeah, that's right.

Three days in a row, people. Sandals. In February.

I hereby officially renounce all my affection for Illinois and its harsh icy freezing winters. I am going to be a southern lady once and for all. Southern ladies get to have southern winters and southern springs.

Now come talk to me again when it's 100 degrees outside with 100% humidity in the middle of the summer and see how I feel then.


... this is also a duck.

Different duck, though.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Camera, Chicken, Coffee, Cup

The title of this particular entry makes me feel like I'm on Sesame Street.

 My camera has arrived!

I had begun to despair.

And of course, while yesterday and the day before were both gorgeous days, today is gray and dreary.

Such is my luck.

Jason and I have wandered around a store called Earth Fare a few times. It's kind of like a tiny neighborhood Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, without all the blaringly bright lights, but still with all the cheerful people in aprons asking if there's anything they can do for you. The last time we wandered around in there, I took a newsletter, and it said something on the front about signing up online for coupons and freebies. I did just that, and discovered the "yay! you signed up!" coupon was for a free "Dinner for 4" with a ten dollar purchase.

So last night Jason and I went back, bought some tortilla chips, a little bit of delicious cheese, and dessert... and received, via the coupon, a bag of baby carrots, a little 1 lb container of mashed potatoes (with the skins left in! Nom nom nom) from the deli, and a tiny whole chicken. Okay, so it wasn't tiny. But still! It was a whole chicken!

We looked up how to cook the chicken.

And then Jason made this:


And it was incredible.

In other news... it's warm here. Like, warm. At 10 in the morning, it is currently 52 degrees... on February 17th. That's notable. Yesterday, with all the sun shining on my back, it was wonderful. I keep opening the porch door to let air in, and then having sort of pinch myself because it's February.

Last year at this time, I was taking photos of snow-covered fields and writing poems about winter. This year I'm walking around in T-shirts and sandals.

Which I have not been writing poems about.

I might write an ode to the coffee I'm drinking right now, though.

Ahem.

Not really.

I worried you for a second there, didn't I?



This is the coffee I'm drinking right now. It was reccomended by some friends of ours... I didn't even know it existed before I woke up at their place one morning, went a-rummaging, and found that the great coffee James and Jessie had been making came from this place. West End Coffee is on the other end of Greenville, roasting coffee beans and selling them around town. We found this in Earth Fare, at a really good price for locally roasted stuff. 

I bought the milder stuff, although they have a Smoky Mountains Blend that's very dark. Since I mostly drink my coffee in the 'morning' (morning being a relative term for someone who will routinely go to bed at 3 AM and wake up at 11 AM given half a chance) I like to stick to milder stuff. 

Plus... it works better with my french vanilla half-and-half and milk concoction I tend to drink my coffee with.


It starts out that light, but let me promise you, I add more and more coffee as I drink it, and don't add any more half-and-half or milk. By the end my coffee looks a little less froufy, I swear.

So now that we have witnessed the Return of my Camera, perhaps I will force myself to get dressed and go for a walk... or something.

Or maybe I'll just paint.

Jason picked up a book of photos from NASA's explorations in space from the library, and it reminded me so much of the mental place I was in when I painted this last year, I don't know. My sketchin' hand is itchin' to start something. My paint is itching to paint and I just haven't been able to think of anything to paint. I've got several empty panels sitting here waiting to be filled.

So I suppose that means, despite not having to work, today will hopefully be a busy one for me.

Monday, February 14, 2011

On Brad Land's 'Goat'

I picked up a few books at the library Saturday. Two cookbooks and two non-fiction books, Goat by Brad Land and The Well Dressed Ape. I read all of Goat in roughly three and a half to four hours.



It's a quick read, written by someone who doesn't really seem to be a trained writer (although Land has a master's in Creative Writing) when he's telling the story.

The chapters are more like conversations you have with someone, where you sit and listen, at first with morbid interest and sympathy and eventually with outright concern and occasionally horror to the story of their life unraveling.

The book starts with Land being the victim of a kidnapping, carjacking, and vicious assault. How "the incident" (as it is referred to by awkwardly well-meant friends and family, unable to really deal with what occurred) affects Brad is obvious in a few ways; he both pulls away from and desperately clings to his close relationship with his brother Brett, follows Brett to Clemson University, and begins to pledge the same fraternity Brett is in.

Like I said, the book is a super fast read. It's also disturbing.

Fraternities and sororities have worked hard on the surface and often all the way through their many ranks to do away with 'hazing', the isolating psychological mess forced onto prospective members to make them prove just how much they want to be there.

Brad attends Clemson when this hazing, according to his fraternity's handbook, doesn't exist.

It does, however, and the relationship between his assault and many of the things he goes through during the hazing process will make you shift, uncomfortable, wondering at the ways people can be absolutely vicious to each other, then go out for drinks and a cigarette like nothing happened the next day.

Brad's story isn't really a happy one, but the absolutely natural tone of his writing is really impressive. I couldn't stop reading the book, even as life went on around me. I kept waiting for Brad to throw his things down and quit in a rage, or for Brett, his brother, to realize the damage the hazing process was doing to someone he loves and to he himself. Whether or not that occurs, well, you'll have to read the book.

I know I don't really do book reviews, but I really really liked this book, and I wanted to talk a little bit about it. I'm a big non-fiction reader, and I know some people who can't stand it because they feel non-fiction is invariably 'dry'. I can tell you, this book does not read like non-fiction, like a memoir counting off events and their significance. This book reads like a conversation, a rambling drunk-chat in a bar just before last call, when you realize halfway through that the person you're talking to may simply be unable to stop, at least until they pass out face-first in a bowl of peanuts.

It's a small book, but it sticks with you. It's not exactly something you give to a high school graduate as they're going off to college... or maybe it is, if you're the kind of person trying to scare some sobriety into the high school graduates you know. The matter-of-fact descriptions of parties and the ever-present alcohol and expectation that one be drunk, hung over, or preparing to drink as opposed to having anything to do with actual schoolwork or classes were familiar reminders of so many people I knew at SIUC when I attended that school.

Like I've said... I really liked the book, but it's definitely one to read and then sort of turn over in your mind. Land takes a pretty hard look at his own life, and is really honest about what those years were for him and for those he knew.

So...

I'd say 4/5, if I had a 1-through-5 rating system.

Which I suppose I do, now.

Hmmmn.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Great Milk Debate


Jason and I have a divide growing between us. We are in the midst of the Great Milk Debate.

No, this is not the whole milk vs. 2% vs. skim debate. That debate doesn't exist in my house; we buy skim. I've always drunk skim milk. I will continue to drink skim milk. The other stuff leaves a kind of film on my teeth.

Unless I'm at Justin's house, because he drinks 2% so if I drink coffee there, well, my choices are somewhat limited. I'll never turn down good milk for my coffee. I'm not that ungrateful or picky of a houseguest.

Just, you know, in my house, we drink skim and wait a second... I think I just rambled off in the wrong general direction.

Let's get back on track here.

Ahem.

Jason and I are in the midst of a debate.

A divide grows between us.

This divide begins and ends with a very simple statement, from me.

"Honey, we need to run to the grocery store and pick up a couple of things."

Jason's response, in that voice that means he is being absolutely reasonable:

"We just went to the grocery store a few days ago, there's not really anything we need."

I point out that we are out of milk.

"So?"

Who really needs milk? All I do is add it to my coffee.

I point out that we are also out of coffee.

He stares at me. He points out, in that same voice of absolute reason, the absolutely correct and reasonable fact that when we went shopping, he asked if we needed coffee then, and I declined to buy any.

My answer, frankly, was pretty silly. I think I mumbled something about not realizing how low we were on coffee just then, and then I made some for Justin and I when the three of us had dinner and Venture-Brothers-marathon Saturday and by the time I finished making my French press full of coffee for Sunday morning... well...

No more delicious coffee.

I mean, this is the stuff that makes me stop snarling in the morning and start either smiling or not-actively-growling-at-people. That shift in mood is a very important one.

However, Jason points out that in his opinion, we don't really drink that much milk anyway, so really, we could stand to wait until the next time we go grocery shopping, couldn't we?

I repeat that it is a staple.

He repeats his belief that it isn't, not really. We don't even drink that much.

The last time we ran out of milk (or actually, it went bad a whole lot earlier than it should have and we had to toss it) I drank coffee with  raw sugar but with no milk to add creaminess and really, I just don't like coffee all that much without at least a splash of milk. I mean, I'll drink it, but really, why would I do that when delicious milk exists in the world?

And so the divide widens, between "We just got groceries. You are talking about making a completely unnecessary trip. Seriously." and "But... we need milk! Also coffee! Really, we need coffee, and I put milk in my coffee, so we need milk too. But milk! MILK. I will say milk as many times as I have to, here."

So I pose a question to you, friends, family, and random strangers on the internet:

Is milk a staple in your house?

When you run out of milk, do you make your way down to the corner store or to the supermarket pretty quickly to pick up some more? Or do you just wait until your next grocery run, you don't drink that much milk anyway? (For this question, any milk alternatives do count as milk; soy, almond, rice, hemp, etc and so forth that you drink for milk purposes count as milk).

Milky-milk milk milk?

Milk?

A tisket, a tasket

Today, I wish I had my new camera already.

The cat's been adorable,

Jason is in the kitchen throwing something delicious together for breakfast.

Last night I could have taken photos of this crazy-good dinner I made (Rachael Ray, you have redeemed yourself). It was chicken I thawed out yesterday drenched in Buffalo Sauce and a touch of olive oil, baked in the oven with onions rings and then placed on top of some mixed greens with a bleu-cheese-and-sour-cream-and-celery dressing thing that was so good we could have eaten it right out of the bowl.

As a dip.

With crackers.

Or a spoon.

You'll have to content yourself with words, I suppose, for the moment. It should be soon! Hopefully tomorrow or Tuesday.

And then you'll be inundated with mundane pictures of my life all over again.

In the interim, I'll have to leave little tidbits of information, and otherwise sit here and sip my coffee, slathered with milk, sugar, and some cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice for flavor.

In the meanwhile, I want to point out a couple of blogs I follow:

With a Heart Full of Daisies belongs to a woman, Kate, who I knew back in high school, as well as working with her for a summer cleaning college-students' apartments after they moved out. She talks about wedding fashion (she's engaged!), style, design and home decor, food, personal life stuff... basically anything that catches her thoughts long enough to be written down. I really enjoy reading blogs by people I actually know in real life, it's kind of a special sort of cool.

When a Southern Woman Rambles... is run by L. Avery Brown, who is hilarious, the kind of woman whose work you can read and hear her inflections and accent in your mind while you do. Her stories and anecdotes and quips are a ton of fun to read.

rockstar diaries is a new one I picked up, written by Taza, this vibrant smiling lady. She just had a baby, as in roughly two weeks ago she had this baby. I only started reading her about a month ago, so I'm almost as new to all her stories as you will be when you click!

Stealth Jew is another new blogger, a friend of mine. She has three small children, a husband, and an incredibly hectic day-to-day schedule. She's got a wry, sarcastic sense of humor and a great way of saying "Well, isn't THIS interesting" to all life throws at her.

So there are a few blogs around here that I keep up on, some new, and some not, and I think you should give 'em a try, too!

I'm going to finish my coffee now.

I wonder if I went through my archives, how many of my entries directly reference either the fact that I am drinking coffee now or will drink coffee in the future.

That's probably a very, very good question.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Spring Things

I would like spring to come back soon please.

People in colder states/areas probably think I'm hilarious for this, since winter here is so incredibly mild, but I'm tired of being chilly and of everything being vaguely greenish-brown, short days and weak sunlight. It's pretty much time for green to come back, real green.

For the kudzu to wake up and start moving, like some massive mindless predator, to cover everything in its path.

A working artist from Greenville is in this month's Southern Living, in an article that showcases some artists and craftswomen working with old furniture to refurbish and give new life.


Barb Blair owns knack (and also, lucky for me, has a blog! A new blog to follow! I already follow like eight hundred but this is a Greenville blog). I thought some of the photos in this month's issue of the furniture she's worked with were really cool.

Perhaps I'll have to make an appointment to mosey on over there and talk to her about getting her start, making a business out of what she is doing, and all that stuff.

You know, life stuff.

In the meantime, spring things. Things that make me think of spring. Maybe I just want to type the word spring a few more times.

Spring is a good season for me. Spring is new flowers and a new humid warmth to the air in Illinois (I can only imagine that my concept of humidity will be vastly changed by living here in South Carolina now), spring is my birthday which always seems kind of fitting, really.

I know I just did a 'pretties' post not too long ago, but really, sometimes I just want to look at pretties... especially when I have no camera to take pictures with (YET, only a few more days!) and not much to talk about except for my own propensity for navel-gazing and worry, two things I am going to try and spare my readers.

So spring things it is.

Things that make me think of spring.

Spring spring spring.

This woven basket from Coldwater Creek.



A photo I took last year, spring flowers in Illinois.


This ladybug-and-leaf necklace from The Brass Garden.
 


These articles on growing strawberries in hanging baskets or colanders.


These shoes from (who else?) Privo.



This photo, taken last year in April on the Greenville Daily Photo blog.

While I think of these things, it's almost fifty degrees outside and pretty gorgeous. 

Jason will wake up soon, we'll take a walk around the apartment complex. I will bemoan my lack of camera. He will remind me that the camera is coming to me soon.

I will bask in sun, and Jason will, too. The days are getting longer, which we can only be thankful for. Those times Jason gets actual time in sunlight, soaking up vitamin D, are pretty important to us. He went too long driving home from work in dark mornings, waking up to the sun beginning to set at four-thirty in the afternoon. 

That is not a good way to wake up.

I need a walk. Or a nap.

Or more coffee.

Or spring.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Don't Carry It All

I know, I know, it's been something like six days since I last updated. That is quite some time for me to go without updating when I'm right here at home, with no good reason not to update.

Well, I haven't had much to say, is all.

Life goes as it goes, in fits and starts, here and there. I'm a little discouraged and frustrated at where I am right now- not location, but rather what I've accomplished or what I haven't. I'm about to turn 25, and I had all these grand plans for where I would be and what I would be doing at 25.

So many of them come to nothing. Some of that is through no fault of my own, and some of it is my fault. It is due to my lack of motivation, my willingness to exist in certain areas I am not necessarily okay with staying in just because it's more comfortable or easier than taking a risk.

I go over and over my decisions in my mind, the ones so far back I can't change a moment, those I wouldn't change even if I could, and those I wish I had.

I'm going to turn 25 in less than a month.

I'm not where I thought I would be. This was the year I had planned to start having children, and I can basically guarantee on several levels that that's not going to happen. I had ideas for what my career would be, and I can't say I even have a career... just a job. A paycheck.

There's nothing wrong with having a job as opposed to a career, really. I just... kind of wanted a career.

But then, I have to stop myself from wallowing in all this melancholy and tell myself that what's more important is what I do have, those things that make it all worth every second.

1. I have a family that is endlessly supportive, and endlessly plain-spoken. Both at the same time. And I can't even vocalize how wonderful it is to know there are people who have your back no matter what, but who will nonetheless let you know that this isn't a good idea... but it doesn't mean they won't be behind you every silly step of the way.

2. Jason. I never could have planned to meet someone as perfect for me as he is.

3. My brilliant singing questioning princess-dress wearing mud-puddle jumping niece. I see her grow in photos and videos my sister sends to us through e-mail, and it reminds me how much of life should be pure joy at the fact that we are living.

4. Books. A world with no books would be so very, very grey.

5. An occasionally surreal bond with basically all cats who get anywhere near me. Even those cats deemed shy or hostile tend to let me pet them the first time, and come to me to get petted after that. Really, I could just type 'cats' in here, or 'animals'. Or 'pets'. Small dependent creatures with heartbeats.

6. An apartment we can afford, jobs that make enough money for us to go on vacation and put some away in savings, a car that keeps running, central air conditioning and central heating, living in a city with shops and gas stations and an economy right down the road from us.

7. In-laws who are endless wells of support, conversation and southern food. Have I discussed the lima beans and banana pudding and gravy these people make? Have I? I might need to, if I haven't. There's a whole education in cooking down here.

So there you have it, the stream-of-consciousness ramblings of my quarter-life crisis... at least part of them. Some of them. You really don't want to hear all of them.

At least food for this week promises to be incredible... last night was Cod with Cornbread Crumbles (originally cornbread-fried-cod 'til I realized too late that Rachael Ray has no idea how to fry things and I trusted her recipe and not my instincts) and a red-cabbage-and-carrot salad/slaw thing with lemon vinaigrette. Today's lunch was spicy roasted chickpeas with leftover red cabbage slaw, tonight is Chicago-style hot dogs (I'm feeling very northern today)... and tomorrow I'm testing out my ability to make a pimiento-cheese-sauce to top chicken and broccoli with, as per  the Southern Living 1,001 Ways to Cook Southern: The Ultimate Treasury of Southern Classics I received as a Christmas present (I am feeling very southern lately, too... maybe that's why I've been staring pretty hard at hush puppies recipes)...

It's that kind of week.

I apologize for almost a week of silence. I've been trying to figure out how to word an entry if I did talk about what I'm thinking right now, or if I should just not talk about it at all. I suppose you know what I decided on, if you read all the way to this point.

My new camera, my birthday present from Jason, should come in a few days! We got it on sale. Once it's here, I can start showering you with photos again!

Won't you just be thrilled.

I know I am.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Few Things

1.  So it occurs to me that I haven't actually pointed out on my this here blog that I actually don't have a working camera right now. Indeed, my camera, she is gone. I was able to save the memory card to get my photos from Colorado, but the camera itself, well.

The camera has gone to meet its maker, so to speak.

It's a long story.

Well, no, it's not.

It's a very short story that kind of embarrassing and honestly I just don't want to get into it.

So, until we are able to purchase a new camera, I am camera-less. I will do my best to post some old photos, or something to keep up visual interest. But honestly, it shouldn't be very long before I have a new camera and we can start seeing new pictures again!

2.  I went to bed at 3 A.M. last night, just because.

Now my head is all foggy and odd.

You might think I would learn my lesson.

You'd be wrong if you thought that.

I'll probably be up til 3 A.M. again tonight... just because.

3.  Exciting news!

I am going to New York City in early April!

My little cousin-in-law (which it's kind of odd to say that, as she's 18, but let's just move on) will be singing at Carnegie Hall! Several of my lady in-laws are going to go see her perform, and we'll get to spend a long weekend in New York City!

So there's another place I've never been before!

I can only say thank you, Robin, with complete sincerity, because that is going to be so cool.

Well, once we're there.

I suppose I'll have to go into more detail when I warn them about what happens to me during takeoff and landing on planes...

I mean, honestly, by the time this year is over, I will have been in a plane something like ten times.

Hopefully that'll help me flail a whole lot less during takeoff.

Especially since this time I won't have Jason or Jason's poor understanding best friend Justin to clutch onto. I think I left fingernail marks on one of them last time.

I'll just have to work a little harder to be calm this time.

4.  Our order from Amazon came yesterday (thank you, gift cards!). I have been listening to the new Decemberists' album nonstop, as well as the Laura Marling CD I got. It's so wonderful to finally not be listening to Laura Marling on youtube, but on my CD player, that I actually own.

Adding to that is another book I bought, Suck Your Stomach In and Put Some Color On!: What Southern Mamas Tell Their Daughters that the Rest of Y'all Should Know Too by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson. I bought it on a bit of a whim. The books by Celia Rivenbark (I talk about falling in love with her humor writing here). I know it seems like I'm falling too hard into this reading-up-on-bein'-Southern thing, but it's just so funny to read these books and go "Yep, I know people like that now. Yep, and that too. Heard that before".

Maybe I'm just trying to fit in.

Or...

maybe I just like funny writers?

5.  I need coffee. I will groan like a zombie and head into the kitchen now. And there I will make the coffee.

Brrrrraaaaaaiiiinnnnnnsss...

I mean cooooofffeee....