Friday, May 29, 2009

Family Friday: She Who Smelt It


I'm getting sea-sick looking at this.

I used to stare at that china cabinet from the dining room table a lot... I wonder where it is now? Hm.

From left to right...
  • My cousin Genni the Lawyer, looking either guilty or like she'd rather be elsewhere.
  • My other cousin Jenny the... well I'm not sure, we lost touch, but she sure looks tickled doesn't she?
  • Yours truly in a bitchin' and very stretchy dress, glasses that covered half my face, and what appears to be a comb-over.
  • My Grandma, looking dishy yet disgusted. It was probably my dress. Or Genni farted. Maybe that's why she looked guilty and Jenny was laughing, who knows? I wouldn't have smelled it, due to those glasses cutting off the circulation to my olfactory nerves.
Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thrilling Thursday: Istanbul (Not Constantinople)

So my friend Chris is in Turkey. Turkey! She does more travelling, it's awesome. She's been to Africa, Peru... just all over the damn place.

The true beauty of this trip for *me* though (because it's all about me) was that she was able to text me, and I was able to fill in the blanks with my own overly-romantic imaginings of world travel.

Plus, OMG TEXTS FROM TURKEY. How fun!

It should be noted that Chris believes herself to be dreaming all this up - meaning her life, yours, mine, all of it. It just always seems that when she's into something everything around her seems to line itself up. Strangely, this came true as she was texting me while at Elitch's... I was standing outside, receiving a text from Istanbul, when this song came on!

I'm totally serious. (Also, enjoy the earworm... I guarantee you'll be singing this for a week.)

And so for your very own enjoyment, and because I know Chris will just SO APPRECIATE that I'm using her texts in public, the promised half-assed travelogue for the trip I'm not even on!

May 16:
"I'm in a taxi on my way to hotel. Let me know if u get this text." "It smells so good. Sea air, camp fires and kabobs. Oops just passed the fish market."

So descriptive! I mean can't you just picture it? Zipping along the busy market streets, window down in the Turkish-enscribed taxi, face tipped up to catch the wind and all the olfactory goodness riding it, and then BAM slapped in the face with fish-stink.

May 17:
"American brought swine flu here yesterday."

Oh fabulous. Good thing it wasn't her, or she might've ended up in a Turkish prison. I've heard that's terrifying.

May 18th was apparently filled with Turkish towels and baths and delight.

May 19:
"Saw some really cool stuff today. Going to see whirling dervishes now."

I can't tell you how many times I've used "whirling dervish" in a sentence in my life, and I have never once thought to find out what a whirling dervish actually is. Voila!

"I didn't suspect I would be attracted to Turk guys. SO WRONG! Some r crazy hot!"

And how! (Seriously, YouTube, you have something for everything don't you!) She tends to like really light-skinned guys, and I think she was thinking Turkey is much more Middle-Eastern that way.

"I'm getting ready to go up in a hot air balloon."

Can you even imagine? Up in a hot air balloon, looking at this:


Of course I don't know what exactly she was looking at, but this is what Google gave me for "Turkish Mountains".

May 20th:
"Adam lost?!"

I do so love Chris. Even in Turkey she's all over AI.

May 21st:
"You are going to go crazy for these pics I just took. In ancient caravan, big stone building. White orbs everywhere."


And another reason to love her... she hates ghost stories and ghosts, but she knows I totally eat that stuff up.

"I drank a Cola Turka for lunch. It's their own brand. Normal Coca Cola is everywhere. Way better than Pepsi, not as good as Coke. Will drink it anywhere I can get it here. I still prefer Coke, but when in Rome ya know."


Or, ya know, Turkey. That does look refreshing though!

"I'm in the tiny village. 4-bar reception. Walked around and people would join us. People just popping their heads out of windows to say hi. At least 3 people invited us to stay."

Now that's just awesome. I must say though, that it's really sad that she gets better reception in Middle-Of- Nowhere-Istan, Turkey than I do in my own house.

May 22nd:
"Hiked to Mediterranean mountain top. Had lunch overlooking a Roman necropolis."

This, of course, made me immediately think of something out of Army of Darkness (aka Evil Dead 3), but in fact:


That doesn't look like it would be terribly zombie-filled. But it's daytime in this picture, so you never know.

"I'm standing in the Mediterranean now."

I wrote back "Wish I was there!" and she said "Me too." Awwwwww!



May 23rd: Also apparently filled with more bathing, and thankfully no prisons since she texed me the next day. I'm fairly certain they would have taken her cell phone.

May 24th:

"Today sucked. 8 mile hike. Too hot, too humid, not terribly scenic. The ruins at the end could have been easily driven to. Now too tired for the steep 1km and back to the thing I really wanted to see... the Chimera Flames."

Okay those are too cool. Somehow she had to get it done! Sure enough, 4 hours later...

"I made it to the Chimera Flames."

I knew she could do it!

She managed to call me too, and told me she picked up the Turkish version of Twilight. Now *that* is a souvenir I can get behind!


YES!

Alas, her Turkish version must have included a lot more secrets of the Volturi (oh cram it, haters!) because all of a sudden she was awash in bloodletting of one kind or another. Gross.

"Have I mentioned there are tons of stray cats here? I got scratched by one today. Blended in with the rocks. Stepped on its tail."

That and she apparently stepped in human blood while in the village - the remnants of some violence in the street. The police were in the process of cleaning it up. Yikes!

May 25th:
"I stepped in human blood and have had minor injuries that drew blood 3 days in a row. Can I get through today blood free?"


See?

May 26th:
"Boat ride, gorgeous hike, had tea with a goat farmer. Good day. So far no blood. Knock wood."

I said something snappy about "knock wood, but hope there's no nail in the wood upon which you knock". Because I'm me, that's why. I guess that blood sacrifice paid off though... sounds like a delightful day!

"In an upscale bar listening to the wife of a friend of our guide singing The Cure. She's a brit."

Just Like Heaven, in case you were wondering. I was!

May 27th:
"My sunglasses died today. I bent them about a week ago and today one side just popped open at the end of the day. It was my fav I ever had. Alas."

A small price to pay to the Travel Gods, I think.

Well, hopefully she didn't laugh at bad karaoke, since that's the last I heard from her, but it was just yesterday and she's probably on her way home. Hell, she's probably still sleeping!

I hope you enjoyed THRILLING TURKISH THURSDAY!

Why did Constantinople get the works? That's nobody's business but the Turks.

Tomorrow... What's with the weird scrapbookification of this photo? It's a mystery.

UPDATE! SHE SPEAKS!

In order to get more out of her, I posted the tantalizing text "I'm blogging about your trip."

She wrote back:

"Do I get a final edit?"

I of course simply laughed, but I reassured her it's all good. :)

Later, I heard from her again:

"Just saw a freight ship that crashed on the Bosphorous Strait and almost hit a house. Look for it on CNN. Did you see a story on Paris Hilton in Turkey a few days ago?"

I assured I would (and did! - and am now terrified that there's a website called "Russian Spy"), and told her I hoped she didn't get herpes from Paris's mere presence in town, which is SO MEAN but I couldn't help myself. However...

"There was a story that she was thrown overboard for doing it with with her boyfriend on a ship in Antalya."

Ha! But untrue, per Paris herself. Also that's not nearly what I had pictured, which was the actual flinging of Paris Hilton from the side of an ocean-going vessel, post-coitus, which was funnier though of course I would never actually wish her harm.

Finally, she said:

"Back in Istanbul. In a hookah bar."

Naturally I initially read this as "hooker bar" and had to look twice because that's not really Chris's thing.

I quite like hookahs (hahaha say that out loud I *dare* you) - they're pretty, they don't stink when you smoke em, and they're basically just flavored water. Like a big, pot-free bong.

Except when you add marijuana. I'm just saying.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wonder Why Wednesday - Corporate Masters

It was a holiday Monday, and I have yet to get internet at home. Yesterday was a wash due to the glory of delayed flights, but I managed a basket and even got some of my not-really-a-craft-along bits done.

Didja miss me?

Today's Wonder Why has to do with guilt, namely Corporate America's deep-seated hold over people and their ability to slack successfully. While I'm all for being productive and earning your keep, why did I feel SO guilty yesterday taking the entire day off (unexpectedly, I really was planning on coming in) when my daughter's plane was delayed? I mean I *really* struggled with it!

I called everyone I could think of and even left a voice mail on the personal inbox of my uber-boss, just to be sure my overlords knew I wasn't slacking, and yet still felt like I was doing something bad.

Didn't I *leave* Corporate America behind like 3 years ago? So why am I still so unable to take personal time without involving some kind of self-flagellation?

The easy answer would be "because you have a staggeringly admirable work ethic, Mimi," but we all know where I am when I do my blog. Yeah. And what have I been doing the last half hour? Looking at Michael Ian Black's twitter site and laughing inappropriately. It's probably a good thing that Twitter doesn't seem to function at work as far as having my own or "following" other Twitterers (I refuse to use the term "tweeter" when not referring to stereo equipment), or I'd never get anything done.

Tune in tomorrow for a truly Thrilling Thursday... a half-assed travelogue based entirely around text messages about a trip I'M NOT EVEN ON, but wish I were.

Try to contain your excitement, and while you do, enjoy:

Friday, May 22, 2009

Family Friday: Happy Birthday Mom!

It was always a problem when I was young... my mom's birthday is exactly a week after Mother's Day.

Never one to get all "one present for both" lazy, this meant double shopping and cards... which of course I had fun with and gave me an excuse to hone my shopping skills.

This year she got a coloring book for Mother's Day and I'M NOT TELLING for her birthday, although it's all handmade crap just like when I was 12. Boring, but I know she likes it and that's what counts!

So HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOMMY! Have fun at the movies and don't let your dogs drool on your cake.

Go to her blog (and enjoy the Pickle Surprise) and leave her notes!


(Because she liked this one best.)

Oh, by the way? I am now the mother of an 8th grader. OMGWTFBBQ.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thrilling Thursday: Crazy Dames!



I used to love paperbacks like this, little story-filled wonders like Ellery Queen and Analog Science Fiction, but you could only find them in used-book bins and the side tables of summer rental cabins, or so I thought... even more thrilling than Ms. Sapphire Strumpet up there is the fact that both these publications are still in print! You truly do learn something every day. But I digress... the ones *I* read were old and falling to pieces.

While I do love that each of their covers smacks of those original 50's pulp magazines, which remains so for EQ and Analog, I don't think I could truly appreciate a brand-spankin'-new edition of any of them if it didn't have the musty odor and crispy, yellowing pages those old volumes possessed.

I wonder if they can synthesize it... the world may never know!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wonder Why Wednesday - Irrational Irritation

So you know me, I'm pretty laid back.

I don't generally let things get to me, and if they *do* it's because it's something that I feel needs to be fixed for the benefit of all concerned. Even then, I'll usually wait it out and see if it resolves itself.

I'm all about counting my blessings and letting things roll off my back.

But sometimes...

Sometimes, I just want to scream and yell and throw a tantrum and roll around on the floor like a 5 year old who needs a nap and has just been denied ice cream or a new toy at Target.

This leads me to our Wonder Why of the week... Why do some things get under our skins so completely that an otherwise even-tempered lass such as myself nears Defcon 5 when someone does something like click a pen repeatedly or say "Nuke-ular"?

We all have these little knee-jerk triggers... but why?

Maybe it's related to stress, since I've notice that sometimes my reaction to these little things is more strenuous than at other times, but I the reaction is always there in one form or another, so where does that intense dislike come from?

Who the hell knows. Maybe I'm just crabby.

All I know is that if one more person says "Happy Hump Day" today I'll have to kill them.

Fair warning!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cat Yodeling



It's important that you know how to do this properly.



The original... this had me all but howling with laughter, and I hope it brightens your day!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Weekend Catchup: Elitch's and Suburban Life

Oh hi!

Did you have a nice weekend?

Mine was not the hell I was expecting, you'll be glad (I'm sure) to know... Elitch's ended up being fairly fun, although a tad disorganized.

You know how I hate that.

Going to Elitch's was all part of the Trills and Thrills Festival, in which my daughter's school's 7th/8th grade orchestra (which she is personally in) and 8th grade band participated. They ROCKED THE HOUSE I have to tell you... they got a "superior" rating and a lovely plaque! They didn't even get any criticism from the judges! It was week 3 of the festival, and the judge on stage said "We've seen a lot of orchestras this month and you guys are absolutely one of the best."

The festival was held at an inner-city high school in Denver, and it really brought home how very suburban it is where we live. I went to an inner-city high school in Chicago, and so I know the smells of bleach and the look of industrial walls and old crumbly bathrooms. They feel like home to me, but they are absolutely foreign to the children where I live; I had to explain to more than one kid who asked me if it was a prison or military school that *most* schools are not new - they just got lucky. A couple of them were also really shocked to see an advertisement for a Teen Parenting class (I heard them discussing whether or not it was experimental, as in a Home Ec cart-the-bag-of-flour-around assignment, vs. being for actual teens who are raising kids); it's just not something that had occurred to many of them I guess, although I know that teen parents crop up in the 'burbs too... maybe they're just more sheltered from it. It really speaks to the social divisions between a big city and towns that are so removed from said metropolis.

It got me thinking about how very at home I felt though though, and I suddenly realized that these were the Naperville kids. When I was in high school, occassionally we'd host some sort of something that invited school groups from all over the state to show up, and to us it was always so exotic to see groups from Naperville or Glen Ellyn or wherever showing up... they went to these big clean schools, we knew from our own travels, and lived in towns without apartment buildings. It made me realize that we were absolutely as exotic to them as they were to us.

Just a thought that rolled through my head - no great revelation, just that suddenly I'm one of the Naperville parents.

So once that was done we loaded up the busses again and headed off to Elitch's, Land Of Overpriced Funnel Cake (8 bucks, I'm not kidding). I sort of liked the idea of having the kids be handed a ticket and told "be here at 3:45 or we're leaving you here" because nothing spurs responsibility like the threat of your parents having to drive an hour to come and get you because you were slacking.

However, they're still just kids. 12 and 13 and 14 year olds are not known for their high responsibility factor. Granted, there's only one way in or out of Elitch's (short of launching yourself from the Tower of Doom with a parachute), and the chances of someone snatching a kid by force are minimal since you can't even just walk out a door to leave, you have to go through a gate where someone is watching you leave and stamps your hand and stuff, but still.

As I mentioned last week, I went with to facilitate kids bringing lunch instead of their parents having to take second mortgages on their houses so their kids could get hot dogs. This went fairly well, although surprisingly only 10 kids brought their lunches out of 80 that went. I'm convinced this was because their teacher didn't actually send out a memo to the parents offering the option, after the initial email stating you had to bring money since you can't bring food into Elitch's. She left it to the kids to bring lunch from home IF THEY WANTED, and frankly not many kids will say "no no Mom & Dad, don't give me 40 bucks to blow on crappy food and candy, I'll just bring this here soggy bologna instead". Kuddos to the kids who were frugal, but you know if she had sent an email out there would have been easily twice as many once parents knew this was an option!

Things went fairly well, the kids all showed up save 2 (I kept a list so I'd know if I had everyone). The 2 that didn't were eventually located, none the worse for wear, but I was nervous all the same. As it turned out, one left early with his parents - so why bring a lunch I ask you - and one was late and didn't remember to call me and just ended up eating with her friends who had money. I felt better after I knew what happened to them!

In trying to actually get to the lunches, I had to rely on the boldness of children to try the cargo doors on the bus since (despite me telling them we were coming at noon for lunch) the bus drivers were nowhere to be found. They had cleverly left he bins UNLOCKED which would be fine except that hello I would like my coolers to not be stolen thanks! Not to mention the 2 large-dollar pieces of orchestra equipment that were *also* in the bin. Do you know how much a cello costs? A lot, that's how much.

Everyone else seemed unconcerned, so although I had every intention of sitting there babysitting the buses, I finally decided they're insured and if they're going to be dumb and leave these things unlocked that's not my fault. You know how I said I have to solve everything? This was one of those times, and I really struggled with feeling responsible, but I finally decided I was *not* going to sit in a parking lot for 3 hours on a glorious day.

I got 3 square inches of sunburn but that's not bad considering I couldn't actually access my sunblock, which was locked in the bus. Sunblock and backpacks = very important, but $3,000 basses, not so much. Now I know!

We really did have fun at the park, although I still think they're horribly overpriced and felt a little bad that I couldn't get all the fun stuff for the kid that she would have liked like funnel cake and a stupid hat, but she was unfazed by this. She did manage to get a $5 prize at one of the sucker-booths, one of the easy ones where they "guess your weight/age/birth month" and always lose, and you get a prize. You feel like you pulled one over on them, they get your 5 dollars, and your kid gets a pillow that looks like a demented pink Dia de los Muertos skull. Everybody wins!


Now you know. Make a note of it!

We were pretty tired so Saturday night we both knocked out early, and spent Sunday nursing our tiny sunburns and making cupcakes for dessert at the neighbors... the kid will be babysitting 2 days a week during July for the neighbor's 9 year old son, so we wanted to touch base and she loves to cook, so voila. Dinner!

Last but not least, I saw this in Walgreens, and although I personally LOVE me some Twilight, this went a bit too far even for my tchotchke-lovin' ass.


Click to see it larger... just so you can see the messages on the conversation hearts. Really, you need to.

Have a great week!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Family Friday: Before and After

Oddly enough, the before & after pictures have them pretty much in the same order (at least where there heads are placed in the first one, if you were to mentally photo-shop them into a line), minus the left-hand sister there, who wasn't at the party.

I do have a ridiculously attractive family, don't you agree?

Well, not counting the "perm years". But it wasn't their fault... the 80's were cruel to everyone.


Andie, Julie & Susie in the back, David, Don & Peter in the front.


David, Don, Julie, Peter & Susie

I love that picture.

When did my mom end up the short one? Nobody knows. I think it's all the jostling around on horses... compressed her spine or something.

Happy weekend! Go spend time with your family!

I'll be at Elitch's, getting a sunburn and being bitter.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thrilling Thursday: Princess Pantha


Holy crap!

There is so much thrill in that picture it almost punches you right in the nose.

Is it her bitchin name? That scary snake? Her unshaven pits? (Acceptable, she is a jungle princess after all - they're pretty short on Lady Bics there.)

Personally, I vote for her decidedly un-stick-like figure. I was born in the wrong era.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wonder Why Wednesday - Volunteeritis

I have this problem.

See, I love to fix people's problems... not a bad thing in and of itself, but it occasionally ends up with me having more stress than I probably would have if I'd just kept my yap shut about stuff that doesn't actually require my input.

But then I wouldn't be me, would I.

That, of course, leads me to my Wonder of the day... Why the hell can't I just say "mmhm, that sounds fun/bad/awful/dangerous/potentially expensive" and let it go?

Is it guilt? A need to control my surroundings? I don't know, but I always pay for it... so trust me, if you've ever been on the receiving end of one of my unasked for "informational lectures", I can assure you that I end up a lot more stressed about the situation than you probably ever were in the first place.

Then there's the other side of my need to involve myself... volunteering.

Sometimes it's great, though exhausting, like when I was a Girl Scout leader because there was no after-work troop and I wanted one for myself and all those other working parents. But sometimes I know, usually after I've already hit "send" or the word-vomit has flowed, that I should really invest in some duct tape.

Why, you might be asking, are you talking about this?

Elitch Gardens.

More to the point, Elitch Gardens, me, and 80 or so 7th and 8th grade orchestra and band kids with sack lunches because I was too poor to come up with the approximately $50 needed for the kid to eat lunch there, and figured there were probably a lot of other families that couldn't afford it either.

"There should be an option for bringing lunches!" I exclaimed.

"You should talk to the bus drivers about going out to a picnic area!" I advised.

"I'll chaperon and bring coolers and take names and shoosh kids in and out of the park to eat them!" I...

Oh no. Shit. Shitshitshit.

Why? WHYYYYYY?????? Why do I do this to myself? I now have obligated myself to spending AN ENTIRE DAY with these kids (fine) handing out lunches (also fine) at Elitch Gardens (NOOOO!).

I hate that place. I don't ride rollercoasters, I hate the arcade games, the food is expensive and it's a mass of annoying and ill-behaved, unmonitored children. Gag me.

So wish me luck!

*sob*

Monday, May 11, 2009

Weekend Catchup: Egyptian Goddesses & Green-Blooded Hobgoblins

I had a busy weekend!

I managed to water the lawn, plant flowers, watch half a series on DVD, spend an enormous amount of time with my kid, cook, clean, do all my laundry AND see Star Trek!

Friday I ended up at my friend Melissa's to watch The Secrets of Isis, this serial show from the 70's she loved as a kid. It was fantastic! The 70's were such a bad time for fashion though... I know we joke about that, but dayum.



Saturday morning I got up and got moving early... maybe thanks to all that Isis-infused energy! I had to get my car to the dealer... only 5,000 miles left on my warranty and the a/c is busted. They got done checking it over pretty quickly (a replacement for a leaky hose needs to be ordered), and I headed over to Lowe's to pick up light bulbs. MY WEEKENDS ARE SO EXCITING.

I got inspired while I was there though, and for the FIRST TIME EVER bought potting soil and flowers to plant. They'll be dead in a week, but still! This is thanks to my mom sending me a lavender plant of my very own which unfortunately arrived half-dead (they're sending a replacement). I finished the job by giving it *too* much sun - my backyard is an inferno, and so ended up with a pretty yellow pot that was probably going to be relegated to the garage for all eternity.

Instead, it now has lovely annuals... I've been told that's the best and least guilt-inducing way to start, since they're going to die anyway. We put some in a pot the kid painted when we first moved out here too... it had been sitting lonely in a cubby for ages and now it's finally getting some use.



Doesn't my front stoop look prettier now? Yes I know the grass needs mowing.

I was so inspired by all my planting that I made an awesome lunch after Colorado Alterna-Dad brought my newly rehabbed computer over (it was a mess). I grilled steaks and then made steak quesadillas.


They were bitchin'.

We went to Nova's for the afternoon and evening, as it was her husband's birthday and they wanted to go see Star Trek, so we sat for their kids. To be honest I thought her daughter was going to have conniptions but she had a grand old time high-fiving us all and running around looking cute. Her son was very cooperative considering he's 4, and helped clean up and keep an eye on his sister. They're both great kids!


Karma loves that wagon.

We stayed for dinner (a lovely roast) and then had to skedaddle... as you can see I'd had a bit of a long day and I was pooped by 8:30! We got home and I promptly fell into a coma. It was great - the first dreamless sleep in a week.

Sunday I was up early, natch, and headed to the grocery store for a few necessaries, then back home to get coffee made. The child wanted to make me breakfast in bed but frankly I don't like breakfast in bed... I spend the whole time worrying I'll upend something or get crumbs (and subsequently ants) in my bed. It's very stressful.

Instead we sat and watched the new movie I got for her (Howl's Moving Castle - she loves her Miyazaki) and she made me eggs and toast. Nice, right? We exchanged cards (some think it's odd but it's a tradition my mom started - I give the kid a gift on Mother's Day because I wouldn't be a mom without her, and I want to thank her for that!) and sat around all morning. Delightful.

Then, thanks to Nova's generosity...

STAR TREK

This was as fantastic as I hoped it would be. The casting was great, the action was exciting, there was a ton of humor, there were nods to the old characters without being overly campy... it was, in a word, awesome.

In looking for some pictures to post on my humble blog, I found a great write-up that summed up what I wanted to say about it pretty well without giving anything away... all I can say is if you've ever enjoyed Star Trek at all, you need to go see this, and on the big screen. You won't regret it.


Hells yeah.

Oh, just for posterity's sake, I finally posted a picture of the bunnies from Easter. Took me long enough!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Family Friday: Mother's Day

Well since I can only tell you so much about my family without having you decide you might need to alert the authorities, I've decided that Family Friday will be dedicated to posting a photo or two with my family *in* it, and then maybe tell you a tale...

But then again, I might just post a photo and let you be confused.

I'm such a bitch.

Happy Friday... and Happy Mother's Day!

Naturally, today's photos are of my mom. What can I say about her that isn't glurgy or obvious? We have a unique relationship, that's for sure... she's definitely the most interesting person I know, and in my adult life I find that I want to be more like her, and have managed so far.

You always hear people saying how they hope they don't turn in to their mothers but in my case? I'm slowly cultivating it, and look forward to the day when I can look around and realize that I'm my mom.


I totally want that shirt.


Our dogs Bobo and Murphy. Bobo was stolen before I really remember him, but Murphy was a big part of my childhood. She'd come clean up crumbs on command, and I still will yell for her when we've made a mess on the floor... it's just habit.


Dressage is one of her favorite things; she's really good at it although she doesn't get to do it much anymore, but she's got a decade and more of knowledge. That's pretty damn cool.


One of my favorite pictures; please to be noting the shawl, which she (of course) knitted her very own self. She's a ridiculously good knitter.


See? (Click em' for more glory. You can also see her stuff on Ravelry if you have an account there, along with some more cute pictures of her, or over on Flickr if you don't!)

She's really cool. If you happen to know her... lucky you!

Happy Mother's Day mom, wish I could be there to have brunch with you.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wonder Why Wednesday - Common Sense

I need to do more crafts so I have posts for you, don't I!

Well, today I shan't disappoint you... it's Wonder Why Wednesday!

Today's wonder is... where's the common sense?

Working at a University, you'd think I'd just be up to my armpits in people who can not only tell you the square root of pi, but can also balance your checkbook and will almost always have their shoelaces tied.

But you'd be wrong.

I hate to sound cynical (Psych! No I don't!) but it truly seems to me that the more degrees one has, the less common sense seems to be able to keep a toe-hold in the noggin.

I routinely have professors who will come to me, deeply puzzled looks on their faces, and ask "What do I do with this?". "This" might be something as complex as a notice from a supplier of the goods they use stating that there's a change to their policies, or "this" might be something as simple as an invoice.

I really really want to put up a flow chart in my office just for invoices.



Seems more complex than it really is, right? THIS IS HOW THEY SEE THE PROCESS.

These are highly-educated people, ya know? These are highly-paid leaders in their fields! The cream of the crop! The piece de resistance! Or something. Is there just not enough room left in their brains for this kind of stuff?

It's a mystery.

Here's hoping you have a common-sense filled day, full of people who know their asses from their elbows.

Tomorrow... my new cop-out: Thrilling Thursday, wherein I shall post a photo of something that gets the blood racing. It might be a roller coaster! It might be a stunning sunset! It might be Javier Bardem! You never know.

It's my service to you - something to give you a little adrenaline rush and get you through the rest of the week.

You're welcome!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Weekend Catchup: Sausage and Forward Momentum

I don't know what happened last week! I was minus my regular mojo all around, I suppose...

Well, I'm here to tell you I am back in action!

It's all thanks to Melissa's idea of making her own sausage. While a great idea in and of itself, if nothing else than for my selfish reasoning of "YAY, SAUSUAGE", she invited me to help. I did, and really got into it, and the whole process seems to have kick-started me back into gear.

YES! *Insert raised arms here.*

After sausage-making glory was had, I made strawberry tarts for Saturday's Beltane celebration (where I had a whole lot of mead) and made a bag for my mom's birthday (shocking due to the amount of mead I drank - seriously), so I'm feeling fairly accomplished, or at least back on the right track... since I found the missing not-ugly car bag, I wonder if that was the catalyst to all this progress!

This might even mean I get back to regular updates, you never know... try to contain your excitment.

Sausage Making Joy

Turn away now if you're a vegetarian, for there is carnage ahead...

Sausage making is surprisingly easy, and, except for the equipment, cheap! Melissa forked over $14 for a 5-pound pork butt and some casings, which amounted to about 20 sausages. That's 70 cents a link for how we did it, or 2.80 for a pack of 4 gourmet home-made sausages...that's a *whole* lot cheaper than Boulder Sausage, the local favorite that can be found at the grocery store, and trust me... ours was better! There was a bit of a learning curve, so I'm sure we'll be able to get more out of it next time, but for our first round that's not bad.

Well, I'm using "we" very liberally, now that I think about it... All I did was feed pork into the scary, scary machine and help Melissa stuff them, but she totally did all the hard work! She's a fantastic cook.

She made sage & red wine (a little salty, but good), garlic (strangely pie-like; the recipe called for cinnamon and nutmeg - really fabulous combo as it turns out) and Irish sausage (using fresh bread crumbs). All were delicious when we tested them out, so I can't wait to try them now that they're all sausage-ified! Especially the Irish Sausage. Yum!

It was surprisingly easy to do, assuming one has the correct equipment (check!).

START WITH THIS:


Mmmm, pork butt.

PREP MEAT:
  1. Cut meat into cubes
  2. Freeze a bit (so you're not making mush)
  3. Feed cubes into grinder
  4. Stop and turn grinder blade the correct way
  5. Re-feed cubes into grinder
  6. Marvel at your technical abilities
  7. Rush to insert meat faster because OMG that thing is fast when it's put together right

This is what you get when you grind 5 pounds of pork butt...a bowl full of goodness.

MAKE SAUSAGE FILLING:
  1. Season meat per various recipes available
  2. Test for deliciousness by frying up a patty
  3. Test a little more

Red Wine & Sage, Irish, and Garlic sausage stuffing...
What was left when we were done testing, anyway!
Click for bigger pictures!


STUFF:
  1. Put remaining sausage filling into stuffer
  2. Put casing on stuffer tube (surprisingly not gross but very condom-like)
  3. Tie off and carefully fill until you get to the end
  4. Tie off again
  5. Form sausages and twist like a balloon animal every 5 inches or so
  6. Swear when the casing breaks
  7. Repeat steps 1-4 again but limit the amount of stuff in the casing
  8. Repeat step 5, marvelling at your skills with meat
  9. Get mind out of gutter
  10. Dry sausages on a rack for 24 hours in fridge
  11. Fry or grill or prepare in some way that pleases you
  12. Eat and swoon all while patting yourself on the back - this takes some advanced skill, FYI.

See? Easy.

I hope to make more soon... we've been having fun coming up with inappropriate names for these, such as "The Italian Stallion" for the garlic one, because we have a combined age of 12.

Here's hoping for a productive week!