Tuesday, January 31, 2012

231. Expletives.

Day 2 of insanely amazing unseasonably warm weather, and I have yet to get to indulge myself in any of it. I even left work two hours early today, with every intention of taking poochers to the park for a long, stress-relieving walk through Tower Grove. That didn't happen.

Instead, I came home in a panic again, over how much homework I have to do. I finished my assignment for math, due tomorrow, made a lurvely soup, and spent the next 4 hours reading 1 chapter in my history book. 30 pages of dryyyyyyyeeeeeeee information that I cannot absorb to save my life. The part about the Salem witch trials was pretty good, but otherwise, I have very little idea of what I read. It probably shouldn't have taken quite that long, but my attention kept drifting to a PBS documentary on Annie Oakley...

I owe you two apologies today, if you have the misfortune of reading this blog with any sort of regularity.
Apology #1; Sorry for the Mad Madame Mim yesterday. I was delirious with financial glee.
Apology #2; This one is going to be a recurring theme, because I'm apologizing, but it doesn't mean I'm going to stop. I am really really sorry for the constant stress-bitching in regards to school. I have learned my lesson, and will never attempt to take 10 credit hours (or four classes, whichever the case may be) while working full time again.

I'm drowning.
The Wizard is going to be out of town M-F every week for the next...four months? Approximately? So I have these four classes to keep me busy, but I'm trying to get all of my work done during the week while he's gone, so that I have my weekends free to spend with him. This plan isn't working so well, I want to cry because every waking moment of my days are packed with work and school, and I'm going to end up crying all over him because I'm so stressed and/or miserable about the whole thing.

This is week 3 of 16. I know I can do this, or I wouldn't have tried. I just have to breathe and keep the pressure on. What concerns me is that so far, I have a B in two of my four classes, when I refuse to accept anything less than straight A's. I need to be spending more time focusing on each class and ideally spending at least a little time on myself...like walking my dog or running.
Only I can't.
There is no time.

I'm seriously considering dropping something, except that the one thing I could honestly drop without losing ground would be yoga, and yoga is both the easiest A, and the one stress-relieving activity I have to look forward to. I could drop history, but I won't.

Anyway. I just wanted to say that I'm sorry for not being interesting. I've never had such a packed schedule before, and it just happened to coincide with my decision to blog every day for a year.
It might be a really long year.

Here's something better to end on... Go check out some artwork by my brother.
I'm going to try and pretend my dog didn't just fart right next to me. (o__O)

Monday, January 30, 2012

230. In Which I Win the Federal Lottery.

My dearest friend Soren and I like to argue over our varying approach to taxes whenever the topic arises. To be fair, Soren and I like to argue in general, because we always remember that we love each other at the end of our fights, which makes yelling loudly in one another's face quite a lot of fun.

Soren is pragmatic. He doesn't like to loan Uncle Sam his money all year long when he could be using it for things he needs now. Instead, he prefers to ride that line, where he balances the numbers just perfectly, trying his best to maintain a completely neutral position. He doesn't want to owe, but he doesn't want a refund either.

I, on the other hand, am not so practical. I like to use my taxes as a sort of piggy bank. I let the government use it for the year and pretend it was never there. I anxiously await tax season as if it were Christmas. And when it finally arrives, I file so fast you could blink and miss it.

My approach is wrong. I know this, and I don't care. I am addicted to tax refunds.

I received the w-2 I've been waiting on today, rushed home, and had filed by 5pm. After I finished, I felt a little shiver of anxiety when I realized that there is still one day left in January for things to be mailed, and in theory, I could still receive some unexpected tax document. But seeing as how I have both w-2's and the 1098-t from my student loan, I can't imagine what that surprise document could be.

The 1098-t seemed innocuous. I borrowed approximately $1500 for last semester, and didn't make any interest payments. I don't make a lot of money, and prior to entering that piece of information, Turbo Tax was estimating something like $768 for my return. But today, the magical munchkins of Tax Land were smiling upon me, probably with pity. In fact, I bet they weren't smiling, so much as grimacing and wringing their munchkin hands. Whatever the reason...the deduction gods prevailed, and that 1098-t resulted in a total return of $2200. Somehow, I still owe the state of Missouri $154...but WHOOOOO CAAAAAARES?!
I can literally hear my credit card balance weeping with joy.

Soren may be right, but I really don't care, because I win.
I WIN!!!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

229. Sundae

The highlight of my Sunday was eating a ham sandwich while at my parent's house. I love ham. Seriously, I could live on ham sammiches, and I would be completely fine with that. That may have been why it was the best part of my day, but I think it has a lot more to do with the fact that the entire rest of the day was spent doing homework. I'm so tired it feels like my eyeballs are melting down my cheeks.

Johnny left on tour this morning, and won't be back until Friday night. He's in Springfield tonight, and Branson tomorrow. I hate spending that long apart, but at the same time, I took this many credit hours because I knew he'd be gone and I wanted to keep myself occupied. Since I am quite busy, I'm hoping I won't have time to notice he isn't here.
Except that I do notice. And I miss him already.

Last night I worked on the awful painting pretty late before I gave up on it and cried a bunch. I promise I wasn't expecting it to come out well. It's just that after spending several hours on something, you feel pretty emotionally invested in it. By the time I was done, I realized that I had painted a sad, cyborg version of myself. And now I have to paint over her, which feels a little like destroying a piece of myself. That feeling might only make sense to other people who do creative things, I don't know. Once I realized that, I was fine. The Wizard was also exceptionally supportive and sweet, which helped a lot.

So I plan to try again. I'm hoping to get it primed and start a new painting if I can find some free time this week. This time I will try to take it more slowly, and be more patient.

Besides that, my fingers are crossed and double-crossed that I get my last w-2 tomorrow. I am dying to do my taxes, so I will know if I can afford any sort of travel in the near future or not. I neeeeeed a vacation. Oh, MAN.
Somewhere with sand, and a nice view of the sea would be perfect.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

228. Argh.

Painting is hard.

I learned this in the past hour.

Ok, to be honest, I knew it wasn't easy. I've studied art. I've gone to museums. There is definite skill required. So when my darling Wizard stuck me in front of a large blank canvas this evening and told me to paint, I was overwhelmed. I immediately began mixing black and white, and smearing a sort of stormy grey background all over it because it seemed like what I should do.

Much to much like that Counting Crows song, grey really is my favorite color. It's soothing and pleasant, and I gravitate towards it even more than green, which I love nearly as much. Unfortunately, after getting it all up there, I've come to realize that grey is my favorite color for a lot of things, but it makes for a pretty depressing painting. I look suicidal.

Grey notwithstanding, it's bad. It's amateurish looking and I cringe to think that I did that. There isn't even a subject yet, and already, I look like I'm badly copying my boyfriend's style because I have no idea where to begin.

Have you ever waited for paint to dry?
The suspense. Yee.

I know I've begun something awful, which I intend to continue until the end on the basis that I fucking started this shit, and I can't even move on, because I have to sit here and wait for Layer 1 to finish drying. In my impatience, I attempted to slap some yellow handprints across it, like an Indian might have imprinted his palm on the ass of his war pony. Bad idea. It looked horrendous, and I had to go back and paint over it.

At this point, I think I'm painting angry. I want to give up and get all Jackson Pollack on this canvas. I love the Wizard's paintings, but I don't want to look like a sad imitation of them. This entire venture feels like the culmination of all my frustrations lately. I don't want to deal with college this semester, I don't want my job, and I want to go home (Seattle). I'm pent up and I'm pissed off. And this canvas is mocking me.


Friday, January 27, 2012

227. Dinner and a Play

Date night happened. We went to a little sushi place down the street called Cafe Mochi. I've been there once before, and was both surprised and relieved to find that it is possible to get some decent soosh in the midwest. It's not quite as rich and perfect as west coast seafood, but it's far from disappointing. Taste buds rejoiced.

Being that it's Friday night, we should have allotted more time for dinner. We squeaked out of the restaurant at a quarter to 8, and had to dash across town so I could sign in with my professor before the play started. Luckily, I am awesome at driving race car style, and made it with 5 minutes to spare. Much credit is also due to the Wizard for dropping me off at the door and parking the car on my behalf.

Oleanna was intense. It ran 90 minutes, and the part of John was played by a guy I swore looked just like Elsworth (see Deadwood), and who reminded the Wizard of Richard Dreyfuss à la Mr. Holland's Opus. Whichever you choose, he was fantastic. His timing, his reactions, his mannerisms...stellar. The girl playing Carol was also good, but I think I am less enamored with her because she made me deeply uncomfortable. I suppose that means she did exactly what she was cast to do, and therefore, deserves equal credit for her performance. We left the theater babbling at each other all the way to the grocery store to buy eggs, all the way home, up the stairs, into the house, and for another 20 minutes or so. Total date success.

Now it's late, and it's pouring rain, backlit by streetlamps. We're drinking cheap sake and watching Mayday run catnip laps around the apartment. The Wizard is doing his taxes. Frank-dog is napping on his purple pillow and casting pitiful glances in my direction.

Happy Friday, Internets.
Until tomorrow...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

226. That's More Like It

I have just returned from my first yoga class (because last week didn't count, all she did was read the syllabus for an hour).

It was sooooo gooooood. UUUUGGGGGGHHHHHH. I needed that. Perhaps you could tell, I've been pretty edgy this week. Stressed, all wound up, and full o' rage. At the beginning of class, I could barely stretch because my shoulder blades were so tight, and by the end, I practically floated out of the room. It was lovely; I'm very glad I signed up.

Besides that, I spent a lot of my day researching flashes for my 30d. I'd really like to get one prior to this little shindig we're throwing in April. I have a point and shoot with an adequate flash situation if needed, but I would love for these to be of better quality. Something that makes everyone go "Ooo", and "Ah!"

I have a feeling that won't happen, though. The one I think I really want is $250. See? A less expensive option is this, but I'm leaning toward ol' pricey on the basis that it seems to have additional features. Either way, I want it to be something I can use for a long time. More research is needed while I *attempt* to save up funds.

Besides that, I also priced remote shutter release buttons, because I'd really like to try doing some nighttime landscape type stuff. I found some in the $25-$40 range, so I suspect that will happen much sooner.

And now, I have to go, because I have more history to get through before I can take my quiz. Which I need to get done either tonight or first thing tomorrow afternoon, because to-morrow, is DATE NIGHT!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

225. Blood and Guts

Thanks PBS. You have made me realize that I have no desire to be a biologist. In theory, science sounded really intriguing. I was all sorts of fascinated. Noncommittally, of course, being the indecisively inquisitive sort that I am. But that show just now, where you dissected boa constrictors? And the one right after, where you dissected a sperm whale with the aid of a bulldozer?! GROSS.

Please show me more art detective work about Leonardo da Vinci mystery paintings, ok? Charcoal etchings and libraries don't make me vomit while I try to concentrate on algebra homework.

Sweet Mary, Mother of Jesus.

Maybe this weekend I'll have time for a real post...apologies for the last couple of days. I should just quit my job, go to school full time, and live on student loans the way most people do. I think I'm already burnt out.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

224. January 24, 2012

My head hurts and my eyes are on fire with sleep-deprivation, so I'm going to keep this short.

Work: Stupid.
Dinner: Homemade pizza - Whole wheat crust, topped with artichokes, onions, part-skim ricotta, and dill havarti. It's what we had in the fridge, but it was completely fantastic.
Television: 30 Rock, a PBS documentary on Wyatt Earp, and the State of the Union.
Homework: Hours and hours wading through the overly-generalized piece of garbage I call my history book. Seriously, it is nearly impossible to get anything out of the text, because it covers such a sweeping period of space and time. There was even a sentence that started and ended in the word "deforestation".
For real.

That was my day.

Monday, January 23, 2012

223. LKR2012

Long day.
Hand. So cramped.

Work was work. 8 hours of data entry intermingled with the tedium of removing staples, scanning documents, replacing staples, and stamping documents. Home briefly. Stuffed face with leftover Chinese. Tried to power nap, but cannot nap when I know I have to leave. Pretended to nap while breathing shallowly and squirming a lot. Math class. Lots of note taking. Crunchy school chair.
I am left tense and drowsy.

My bestest pal Janelle and I did manage to get a lot accomplished in regards to the upcoming Lindenkids Reunion we're planning. For those reading this who have no idea what I'm talking about, that would be my giant group of friends from all of our first attempts at college. This was like...geez. 12 years ago. When we were all young and dumb and rebellious.

I would estimate hardly any one of us actually graduated. I don't know if that means we were all a really terrible influence on one another, or the school really was that awful...I like to blame the school. I mean, they kicked me out twice, and let me back in just because I said I was sorry. Once was for grades. Once was for discharging a fire extinguisher (for funsies) on the third floor of the boys' dorm in the middle of the night...which set off the building fire alarm...

I must also admit that I went to college with no idea what I wanted to major in, or be when I grew up, or any clue how I was going to pay for it all. I was burnt out from high school, and it was my first time living away from home. I think these are all ingredients that, when added together, have no option but to equal total failure. I will say, it was the most glorious failing I have ever taken part in. I would go as far as to say it was epically awesome.

Anyway. It was worth it, if only for the memories. Ah, the memories...
Or at least the ones I can actually remember. Some of them are just plain hazy with alcohol.

Point is, I made some of the best friends I have ever been lucky enough to know in the short two years I was there. I even met The Wizard there. That's how long we've known each other.
We keep marveling over that...

So somebody decided last fall that we were all long overdue for a real reunion. It might have been Elkins, I'm not sure. Getting approximately 50 people to buy plane tickets and get themselves all in one place takes a lot of orchestration, but it seems to be coming together. Today, we secured the space for our silly gathering, along with a 4 hour open bar and hors d'ouerves.

The Wizard and I have been diligently working on the invitations, though all of the Photoshopping credit goes to him. I was the photographer, and have had a lot of input conceptually, but after that, I really haven't had much further involvement in their creation. Or rather, degradation.
I took photos I felt really proud of, and The Wizard's job has been to break them down in order to achieve that certain je ne sais quoi. He's doing a great job, in spite of his frustrations.
 I'll post the final product, as well as the original photos, after the invitations have been mailed out. I don't want to spoil the surprise for those readers who will actually be receiving one.
The surprise is the best part!

Besides that, The Wizard and I have also put together the initial design for the reunion t-shirt. Because every reunion needs a t-shirt. I think that's actually a law, or something. It's still in the early stages, and I expect it's going to take a bit of manipulation. There will probably be a lot more swearing at Photoshop as well. Fortunately, Janelle knows a print shop we can use. Once the design is finalized, we should be good to go.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

222. The Ensuing Hangover

Of course, I'm hungover. I stayed up like...all night, drinking champagne/vodka/pineapple juice cocktails and wine. Eating like my efforts would solve world hunger. YouTubing G.I. Joe PSAs and My Drunk Kitchen. It was a grand time. Today, I have managed to be productive enough to finish writing my response to David Mamet's Oleanna.

I can't honestly say I enjoyed the play, but I can appreciate it. The characters weren't terribly interesting to me, and the dialogue was stilted to read. Live might be a lot better, and the ending should prove intense. It's one of two plays that I'm required to see live for my class, and we have tickets for next Friday. We're planning to make it a date night, and hopefully grab dinner nearby beforehand. I'm just relieved the boy is interested in coming with me because I really didn't want to go alone with a bunch of strangers from an online class.

I feel like a zombie. All I want to do is sleep and eat super-disgusting greasy food, like extra cheesy burritos or something. Only I don't feel like expending the effort to make said burritos, I just want someone to bring me the food. Perhaps today will need to be a Chinese food kind of day. Our favorite place in the area delivers the food in plastic containers, so ordering Chinese is also like shopping for tupperware. And since we're about due for more tupperware, it's a win-win.

In other news, someone that Johnny went to art school with wrote him yesterday to ask about my photos. Apparently, she was interested in purchasing one. I'm pretty sure the only photos she could have seen were iPhone stuff she found through his Facebook page...but I'm flattered, regardless. I don't think I've ever printed one of my "art" photos, and I've definitely never tried to sell one. I'm not even sure the digital ones would be worth printing, since they were all saved as large jpegs and edited really quickly.

We had talked about the potential for doing an art show together when we first started dating, and the subject came up again this morning. Neither of us really has much to show at the moment, but I think that we could probably get some things together by fall. I actually have an idea for a series of photos I've been wanting to do, if I could just make myself get up early and venture out into the cold on a Saturday morning. I've been going through some Photoshop tutorials, and I'm feeling a little more confident about shooting and editing in raw format. I don't know the first thing about putting together a show, but I can defer to Johnny's expertise there. The hard part is finding a place to have it. After that it's just like throwing a party, right?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

221. Party Time. Excellent!

People are coming!

We're entertaining some friends this evening. I have a glorious array of tasty snacks. There are veggies and homemade hummus, grapes, chex mix, pita chips, french bread, a cheese spread of brie, dill havarti, and sharp cheddar. There will be cocktails!

Preparing all these snacks had the added benefit of giving me the opportunity to take some pictures...

Hipstamatic finally released a food friendly add-on recently, The Loftus Pak, and I can't get enough of it.
Delicious, no? Look at these grapes!

It even works pretty well on non-food items. Like Frank! 
Hi Frank!

You can see more Loftus Love in my previous post on veggie burgers. It'll be getting lots more use in the future, I'm sure. At least until I figure out how to take an appetizing photo on my dslr, but I wouldn't hold your breath...

I can't leave this post all fluff. Here's a fantastic recipe for hummus. The credit for this version goes to my previous someone, who was kind enough to write it down for me because he knew it was one of my favorites. It's really easy to put together, and leaves plenty of room for experimentation. For a little variety, try roasting the garlic first, or adding extra garlic for spice. Crushed red pepper goes nicely, or you might try roasted red peppers. 

Taste-testing is important, because all of the seasonings can be adjusted. Go slowly. You can always add more, but you can't take them away once you've overdone it. And keep in mind that things like the garlic will become more intense with time. If you're serving it today, you may want to add extra garlic, but go with less if you're planning to refrigerate it overnight.

  • 1-2 cloves of garlic (I like to use more, myself)
  • 2 cans of garbanzo beans, one drained
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2-3 Tbs Tahini
  • Salt, Pepper, and Cumin to taste
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup olive oil
Peel garlic and chop in food processor. Add both cans of beans (one drained) and blend until reasonably smooth. 
Add lemon juice, lemon zest, tahini, salt, pepper, and cumin.
Blend and taste...correct seasoning as needed.
Slowly blend in olive oil until hummus becomes fragrant and has the desired consistency.


Friday, January 20, 2012

220. National Boss' Day Off

As the title implies, my boss had the day off today. The Wizard's boss also stayed home today, leading me to make it an unofficial national holiday even if no one else participates.

I like when my boss doesn't come to work because she sits in the cubicle next to me. This means that when she isn't there, I have occasion to slack, which is the way I prefer to exist. Today's slackery involved taking photographs of my headphones with my iPhone, reading David Mamet's "Oleanna" for class, picking my nose, browsing apartment websites, and taking an extra long time to eat a veggie wrap for my lunch.

Other news; Etta James died today. What I didn't know before NPR told me, is that she was pretty much the black Amy Winehouse. Actually, that's too harsh. She was at least coherent when she performed...but she did have a drug problem and spent a lot of time in rehab. I think sometimes that being really great at something comes with not being able to handle your own mind full time. Anyway, she'll be missed. Especially on those rainy Sunday mornings, when I'm feeling especially...well... Etta.

I'm hoping for a fairly uneventful weekend, save for plans with friends tomorrow night. Right now, it's ice-raining outside, or I might have considered going to the gym. Fortunately, my fridge is filled with beer, my stomach is full of pasta, and we've got Hot Rod on Netflix.

Yep. It's time for awesome.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

219. FAIL.

Last night was frantic. My first night of math class, after a long day at work, after a night of not much sleep, because SOMETIMES I just need to spend quality time with the Wizard. Those sometimes are actually a lot of times, and I am willing to give up most, if not all, of my sleep to do it. I mention all of this because by the time I got home, around 9, I had just enough energy to pretend I was reading my history assignment for an hour before I gave up and went to bed. Without blogging.

I failed, and the worst part is that I only made it two weeks. It never even crossed my mind to write something last night.

No one cares that I forgot. Except me, because I was really excited about this challenge. Maybe I'll just start over, with today being Day 1. We'll see... I have a feeling that I will forget many more times throughout the coming year. The only consolation I can give myself is that I am so focused on school, nothing else really matters. As Howard Schultz would say, I am "laser focused".

Tonight is my first yoga class. I'm actually about to leave, so I'll have to let you know how it went in tomorrow's post. All I can say right now is that I am growing increasingly concerned that I have overloaded myself. I may end up having to drop yoga in order to focus on the other, more time consuming classes. I would rather believe that I am a machine, and machines do not feel stress.

Today is also my dog's birthday. He's 6. I wish I had time to take him to the park for a game of fetch, but I don't. I did bring him a birthday bone, though, and he seemed pretty delighted.

Happy Birthday Frank!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

218. Where's My Homework?

Just like I thought. Stress. Lots and lots of stress.
I think the reason this happens is because I insist on taking online courses in order to fit in as many credit hours in a single semester as possible.The great thing about online courses is the freedom to show up and work on your assignments whenever you want. The downside of this is that the professors seem to like to give you mountains of homework to make up for it.

Additionally, the layout of online courses on Blackboard is a mess. It's like a scavenger hunt, in which you have to follow a trail of crumbs from one note to the next. Hopefully, you'll manage to find all of your assignments in time to complete them, thus avoiding total failure. I find this unnecessarily stressful, and if I were involved in any sort of computer programming/design pursuit, I would make it my mission to streamline the entire system. Higher education should not remind oneself of Where's Waldo.

I've gotten some introductory stuff done, but I should really get back to it. Till tomorrow.

Monday, January 16, 2012

217. January 16, 2012

Today I heard on the radio that Jay-Z and Beyonce are to be the first couple to make a music video in space. The first thing I thought was, "Other people have made music videos in space?"
They haven't.
But yeah... It's apparently true.
In other news, it's Betty White's 90th birthday tomorrow. I learned that on the television at the gym.

Yep. I went to the gym again. But not the same gym as last week. They only gave me one day for free, and then they said I had to pay them if I wanted to come back. You can imagine the surprised look on my face when I was told I would have to pay to use their equipment.

So I found another gym. This one says that I can come for a week without paying them. It's a much nicer gym, too. It has televisions and a juice bar, and it doesn't smell quite so funky.
It's not that I have a problem with paying for a gym membership. But it seems pointless to pay for one when I won't use it that often. I just need something to get me through the frosty times, and then I will run outside again. For free.

Actually, I would enjoy having a personal trainer for a little while, but I can't afford it. Besides, if I had that much money, I would ride horses instead, and be the happiest person on the planet. So for now, I will enjoy my free trial as a gym tourist.

School starts tomorrow. I'm not as excited this semester, probably because I'm expecting to spend the next four months stressed out about EVERY LITTLE THING. I don't know. I just don't really feel up to it. It seems exhausting, yet I spent most of my Christmas break wishing I had assignments to work on. Graduation is way too far away...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

216. The Swedish Version

We're probably 3/4 of the way into The Girl Who Played With Fire, original version? Swedish. I know the books were really popular, and I actually enjoy the way this movie was filmed. It's very attractive. I really just don't care much for the story, and I feel like I should feel bad about that. Lisbeth Salander herself, is a really interesting character.
I don't know. I didn't read the books, because they're not the genre I usually go for, and I knew that. I do love foreign films, however, and this has been a nice scenic view minus all of the blood.

My Saturday to-do list went almost exactly as stated, except for Niche and the Resistall show. Dinner didn't happen at all, which is fairly disappointing. Maybe some other time...
We did go to the Schlafly Tap Room around 8, and stayed for a couple of hours before hitting The Firebird, but had to leave before we actually saw anything. The Wizard had thrown his back out earlier in the week, and just wasn't up for it. Sometimes things do not work out as planned.
Often, things I plan do not work out as planned.

I did get to see the Star Trek exhibition with my parents, which was better than I expected. Mostly for the costume displays and the recreations of things like Jean Luc Picard's quarters, the bridge of the Enterprise from Next Generation, and the transporter room. Nerdiness abounded. I think my favorite things were Uhura, Spock, and Seven of Nine's costumes.

Today has been mostly lazy. A visit to The Wizard's parents'. Afterward he gave me an introductory lesson on driving a stick shift in the parking lot between a Kmart and Sports Authority. Scary! I did a lot better than expected, but do not expect to drive on a road near other vehicles anytime soon. We visited the art supply store in U-City, and had lunch at a teeny Middle Eastern market nearby, with excellent felafel. That word doesn't look right, but spell check says it is. Hm.
We got home, napped the afternoon away like cats, ate leftover lasagna for dinner, and split a bottle of wine over the movie. I should have gone jogging. I regret that, but I was cold, and had no motivation.

I do not look forward to tomorrow. C'est la vie.
I apologize for being dull today. That's all for now.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

215. Saturday.

I'm going to do a quick morning post today, because I have many plans for this frosty Saturday, and I'm afraid I won't be able to find time later.

The day should look something like this:
  • Breakfast: Cantaloupe, scrambled eggs, toast, french roast. 
  • Errands: Banking, oil Change, mailing an English textbook to Amazon. 
  • Lunch: Leftover lasagna. Rad. 
  • Afternoon Outing: A visit to the Science Center with my parents to see the Star Trek exhibit. Hopefully silly iPhone photos to document said outing. 
  • Dinner: A dinner date to Niche in celebration of the Wizard and I's two year anniversary. I had to save it for today because I got paid yesterday, and Niche is SCHMANCY
  • Punk-rock Show: Our friend Laurel used to be in a band called Resistall. They broke up forever ago, but are having a reunion show tonight, opening for The Dead Celebrities at The Firebird. I'm bringing my dslr, but just for practice. The Firebird is quite dark, and I don't have an external flash. But if anything comes of it, I'll post the results. 
Gosh, I love the weekend. xo Kisses! xo

Friday, January 13, 2012

214. Learning Lasagna

Well that went well. Amazingly.
No, seriously, I just made lasagna. For the first time ever, and it was quite tasty. Though, to be fair, I think that my version shared more qualities with a vegetarian deep dish pizza than it did your standard lasagna, but who am I to say what lasagna is supposed to be? I've eaten almost no lasagna in my entire life, and it really just seems like a towering stack of noodles and sauce and cheese and noodles and sauce and cheese and on and on...

I rely mostly on the Wizard's reception of said lasagna, because it is a dish he is far more familiar with than I.
He endorsed it wholeheartedly, and that makes me glow with stupid-girlfriend delight.

It was also mercifully simple. I really was nervous about the whole thing, and then it came out splendidly, in spite of my alterations and additions of flare, and the fact that I had very little idea what I was doing. It just isn't that hard. For reference, I loosely used the recipe on the back of the lasagna noodle box, because all of the recipes I had found on Epicurious were much more elaborate and "Gourmet" than I wanted for my first attempt.

Lame confession: I just spent the last 20 minutes trying to make the Gourmet Magazine logo small enough and crisp enough to fit where I typed, "Gourmet". And in MS Paint, because I do not have Photoshop installed on this laptop. I am not that talented.

Next time though, I intend to try something much sexier, like this. Mine actually had swiss chard, mushroom, and ricotta, but it did not have béchamel . Béchamel is sexy. SEXY.

I have no idea where to go from here. I've been discussing lasagna as if it were breasts. Lasagna is not, and will never be, breasts.

In fact...
You know what?


Thursday, January 12, 2012

213. Today Feels Like Friday, But It Isn't.

It snowed all day. Thanks to the poorly executed response by my fair city, traffic was a nightmare. Two hours after I left my house this morning, I finally arrived at work. Somehow...that didn't really bother me at all. In the end, my boss let me leave early so I wouldn't have the same experience on my way home, meaning I only had to work 5 1/2 hours. Awesome!

Getting home early gave me time to make a more elaborate dinner, though it turned out not to take nearly as long as I thought it might. I decided this morning that I wanted to make a coconut tofu mess over brown rice. Usually I don't bother with brown rice because it takes twice as long as white rice to cook, but I really do prefer it. It has such a fantastic texture and flavor.

Feast Magazine, one of my two favorite free publications, had an article this month about another type of rice I'm dying to try. I had never heard of Forbidden Rice, and I'm hoping to find it this weekend at Whole Foods. Whole Foods is my foodie paradise, and I cannot afford to buy all of my groceries there, but I do like to go whenever I get paid. I've found a lot of the prices are actually comparable to what I pay elsewhere, but not so much that I could do all of my shopping in one place. I try to buy organic and sustainable whenever possible, and seem to be doing pretty well at it shifting between Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and the regular stores. I also have a soft spot for Jay's International Foods on Grand for more exotic ingredients, but I'm fairly certain that everything there is conventionally farmed. Mostly, I go to Whole Foods because it's a magical food heaven where everything is beautiful and fresh and smells wonderful.

Back to dinner. I tossed together a concoction of tofu, onion, water chestnuts, and snow peas in a spicy coconut milk curry, which was served atop brown rice. It came out much better than anticipated, so I'm thrilled. Over the past two years I've been cooking a lot, and I think I'm finally reaching a point where I have a fair understanding of what flavors work well together. I usually only reference recipes for ideas, unless I'm baking or doing something else where proportions are particularly important. I think that tonight's creation was nearly exactly what I meant to do. Though, if I made it again, I think I would probably use full fat coconut milk, because it could have been quite a bit creamier, and I may have overdone the red peppers just a touch. I love spicy food, and it wasn't too hot...it just wasn't as balanced with the rest of the flavors as I would have liked. Honestly, if the sauce were creamier, the amount of peppers might have been just right.

Tomorrow, I'm hoping to attempt a lasagna for the first time. I don't think it's going to be complicated, except as usual, I've decided to come up with my own version rather than follow a recipe. Which might not be wise on a first attempt, but I can't resist. I bought fresh spinach, rainbow chard, and mushrooms to include in the layers. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

212. BoringBoringBoring

Unfortunately, I don't have a lot worth posting today. Whenever I found a free moment at work, I toyed with a *very* short story I've been picking at for a while. I've never been very good at coming up with plot lines, so I usually don't get very far once I come up with a character or two. I'll still post it as soon I'm done, of course. I actually really like it, even if it is smaller than bite-sized.

It is my secret wish to one day write fiction, but it's not looking very promising thus far. Like everything else I fantasize about doing, I don't devote nearly enough time to honing my skills. I think the problem might be that I want to be good at too many things, causing me to be a dabbler, rather than a master. Maybe it's time to start narrowing my focus just a little. I'm hoping that over the course of the next year, posting on this blog every day will have the side effect of developing greater self-discipline, if nothing else.

Other things... I went to a gym down the street today and got a free trial pass to check it out, but I didn't end up buying a membership. All I did was run on a treadmill, which is something I can do outside, for free. The only reason I haven't been running is because I get home after dark, and my neighborhood is, how do you say...sketchy? Yeah. So I run occasionally, but only on the weekends when it's nice and bright out. I thought that having a gym membership would give me more chances to run, but I decided perhaps my money could be better spent in other ways.

While I was there, I ran a mile all at once, and then I think another mile, but it was broken up into 1/4 mile pieces with walking breaks. I am sadly out of shape.
Next week I start my yoga class on Thursdays. The college version is a ton cheaper than a studio membership, and it should get me back into a routine where I actually crave exercise instead of making excuses to myself about eating cookies and drinking a lot of beer. I look forward to fashioning my limbs into spaghetti noodles again.

That's about it. I'll leave you with a really great song and corresponding music video.
It's been one of my obsessions this week. G'night!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

211. Snot.

Considering the fact that Tom Waits is unquestionably one of my favorite people on the planet, I have no good excuse as to what took me so long to see The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, but I finally got around to it tonight. Somehow, I also failed to realize until the very end of the movie that it was directed by Terry Gilliam, another person I enjoy. All except for Tideland, that is.
Do not watch that movie ever. I'm not joking.

So I live in a hole, and Imaginarium was pretty entertaining. 'Twere no Baron Munchausen, but I liked it nonetheless.

The boy is out of town until Friday, wizarding, as wizards often do. Which leaves me and the pets to hang around making soup and watching television. I had originally planned to go to the gym tonight, but gave up on that, as well as rudely bailed on a dinner invitation, because I feel like poo.

I am highly allergic to Missouri. Not all the time, but today was definitely one of them. I am also out of Allegra. I may have been delirious at one point because I flaked out and wrote a poem about my misery when I should have been working. I think my boss might have seen me.
It's terrible, and mostly true. Enjoy!


There is a dripping
accompanied by a tickling
and an itching
in my nostrils
that pours forth
as a tiny Niagara,
soaking me through my tissue,
and punctuated by an A-CHOO!
so big that everyone around me
turns to look.
I cringe, embarrassed,
but the dripping carries on
unaware that I dislike attention,
and completely unconcerned.
“I have allergies”,
I weakly explain,
but I can tell by their expressions
that no one believes me.
I am a threat;
the plague-bringer,
come to infect them all
with some anonymous cold.
It is 9am.
There are eight hours to go
and already, my desk
is littered in paper mache
stones, made heavy with snot.
A post regarding neti pots
appears on the company intranet,
and I self-consciously decide
the message is personal.
I cast paranoid glances
over my shoulder and wonder,
"How do they know?"
The clock drags itself
to 10am.
I am shipwrecked
in a sea of soggy dumplings
with little hope of rescue.
I Google things like,
“How long does it take to drown?”
and, “How to make anti-histamines
out of office supplies”.
I begin to imagine 
my discarded tissues as
unintentional origami,
but give up on the idea 
because no matter how hard
I squint,
none of them resemble cranes.
Only six more hours...

Monday, January 9, 2012

210. Suck it, Monday.

Let it be known and officially documented, I hate my job. It has its perks, of course; 3 weeks of vacation a year, getting to listen to my headphones while I work, and once I've been there a year, I'll be eligible for tuition reimbursement. All good things! But there is no opportunity for movement within the company, nor are my talents noticed or appreciated. I am held to inhuman expectations for perfection by my supervisor, yet my job is void of any mental stimulation. I don't think I would be capable of devising a better form of torture for myself.

A retarded robo-monkey could do what I do, and for a lot less money. In the 8 months that I have been employed, I have not made a SINGLE FRIEND. The coffee is terrible.  I spend nearly every day, all 8 hours of it, grinding my teeth and feeling like my blood pressure is so high the top of my head is going to blow off. I drive a soul-sucking 45 minutes each way, and I skip my lunch break every single day, just so that I can get away from there 1/2 an hour sooner. If flames and lasers could come out of my eyes literally, rather than just figuratively, I would use them to start a small fire under my desk and burn the entire building down.

This...is...my life...I am Peter Gibbons...

I should find something else, only that is, for the most part, corporate America. I don't think I'm wrong in believing that I will have the exact same complaints no matter where I go in this city, and that on the off chance I do find something better, it won't be any less of a commute.

Guh. Thank you for letting me vent.

In other news, I went through some pretty fantastic video tutorials today. If there is a piece of software that you would like to learn, I highly recommend Lynda.com. It's $25 a month for a membership, but in one day, it has already demystified a substantial portion of Photoshop for me. I think I may finally be able to start trying to shoot in raw format on my digital slr, and I'm very excited about that.

I also stopped by school to pick up my textbooks, because classes start next week! EEEK! I'm taking 10 credit hours this semester, and I'm hoping I can squeak through without destroying my 4.0 in the process. I enjoy a good challenge. YAR!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

209. Creative Chameleon

I'm going to be honest. I'm freaking tired. I just spent my evening at Punch Drunk Comedy drinking beer with my Wizard. Then I come home and stuffed my face full of pretzels, peanut butter, and swiss cheese. Not all at once, just switching off between peanuts and cheese on pretzel sandwiches...I remember getting exercise. Many months ago. Or even a year ago, when that exercise came at regular intervals and all year round. Those were the days. But back to this evening, and the point of this post...

There's this fandom thing that I hate about myself, where whenever I am surrounded in other people's creativity, I want to partake of said creativity too. If you put me in a room by myself, I'll immediately revert to photography, doodles, and on occasion, poorly crafted poetry, because that's me.
I think.

Or maybe that's just the lazy portion of myself, in which I choose to shoot photos because it's instant gratification, and not necessarily because it's my natural talent. Or I sling words around because it's satisfying without actually having to try. While that question remains unanswered (in my mind), here's my point; I have definite chameleon properties, which means that the people I choose to surround myself with determines the sort of person I begin to resemble. It's not that I am intended to be anything in particular, but I am to a great extent, a product of my environment. I suspect the same could be said for just about anyone.

In a sense, that's a useful trait. I can choose to place myself among people who I admire or desire to be more like, and I will start to emulate those same qualities. But it can also be incredibly confusing, when, for example, it leads me to place myself in a situation I am less than comfortable with. Being on stage has always been one of the latter examples. I love theater. I love performance. Yet I have never been able to translate my appreciation into one of participation without becoming paralyzed by extreme terror. This sucks, because it leads me to feelings of inadequacy, failure, and incompetence that I shouldn't really feel. I think that mentally, I might be a lot healthier and balanced if I never knew there were such a thing as being the center of attention, or that a person could compete with other people and come out of it feeling superior in some way.

Still. The idea holds a lot of thrill. Like getting away with putting graffiti on a wall that doesn't belong to you, being bold enough to get on stage and perform feels like a victory. And it's one that I haven't really ever gotten to enjoy, but in the most miniscule portions. My "stage" experience is limited to things like speaking in front of 4-5 of my co-workers during a meeting at work. Or wearing a panda suit and dancing around in front of little kids, knowing full well that the suit grants me full anonymity from being recognized or remembered by anyone I encounter.

Then I go to some stupid comedy show and sit there thinking to myself that I could do better than that. Not because comedy is easy. It isn't. I just have that accursed superiority complex that makes me think I am somehow more talented and smarter and faster, etc. etc. etc., than the majority of people around me. The only reason I haven't acted on it is that I know for a fact it isn't true; that the only reason I feel that way is because I am delusional and sort of in love with myself, and that makes me believe myself when I think things like, "I could do better than that."
I'm not sure how I came to be equipped with both the exceptional ego gene and the self-defeating gene at the same time, but somehow, they seem to cancel each other out. I just end up sitting at these sorts of events thinking, "I could totally do that," and at the same time, "I couldn't possibly do that if I tried with everything I had." 
It's all very confusing, and probably the entire reason I never get anywhere.

By the way, I tried a new beer tonight. It's Scottish, and made out of seaweed. Quite good, really, I recommend it if you get the chance.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

208. An Anniversary

Two years ago today, I got on a plane feeling terrified, nervous, and full of regrets. My marriage was over, and even though I had decided to put off the conversation until my return, we both knew this was the last time we'd call it quits. As I waited to board my flight, I sat at the gate crying into a cup of Starbucks drip coffee, trying to make sense of what I really wanted in life. I had no idea what I was doing, I just knew that I needed to see someone, and that if I saw them, everything would make sense.

It was early in the morning when I left Seattle, and as the plane moved eastward, I watched the sun rise out the window to my right. During that flight, I listened to a lot of music, but the only albums I can remember were the soundtrack to Lost in Translation, and the Dark was the Night compilation. I'm not sure if I had even considered how perfectly they fit my situation when I put them on my iPhone, I just copied as much music as I thought would fit onto it, packed more clothes than I needed, and headed off to the airport.

There was a brief stop-over in Denver, and another hour and a half or so to the Midwest. By the time the plane landed, my heart was slamming through my chest with every beat. As I made my way to the baggage claim, I got a text message from the person who was supposed to pick me up. They said they were running late, and it would be a few minutes. I couldn't make myself sit down, so I paced. 10 minutes later, I was still pacing, when suddenly time seemed to slow, and the crowd of people parted exactly the way it does in the movies. My breath literally caught in my throat, and we locked eyes as he emerged from the throngs of travelers swirling around him.

It was freezing out, and his ears glowed bright red against his blonde hair and black leather motorcycle jacket; the same jacket he'd been wearing for as long as I'd known him. All at once, I knew everything was ok. That everything I thought I felt was real, good or bad, and that today I could start fresh, however I wanted to be from now on. With a running start, I leapt onto him so hard that he had no choice but to catch me or fall backward. Fortunately, he caught me, and I hugged him harder than I had hugged anyone in a long time.

And that was it. I will remember that weekend as one of the best weekends of my entire life until the day I die. In 3 days, I realized how to finally be honest with myself, reconnected with some of the best friends I could ever ask for, and discovered what needed to happen in order to truly be happy. Because of that, I consider January 7th to be an anniversary of sorts. Rather than mark the end of a relationship, or the start of a new one, I think of today as the day my entire life changed for the better.

Friday, January 6, 2012

207. Experimental Food Adventure

Tonight is about food, mainly because nothing really interesting happened today. In fact, the only thing that happened at all was the fact that I missed a nearly 70 degree day of perfection, in JANUARY, because I had to WORK. I came home feeling pretty disappointed, and at a complete loss as to what to make for dinner. While staring blankly into my refrigerator hoping for answers, I discovered a tupperware container of leftover white beans and decided to try making veggie burgers. Patties. Things...
I'm not really sure what to call them, because they tasted more like falafel without the spices than they did a burger of any kind.

These are the second veggie patty thingies I have ever made. The first attempt was a few months ago, and consisted of black beans and broccoli. They were also delicious. The nice thing about bean patty creations is that you can make them a million different ways. Today, I opted for a pretty simple white bean and kale situation.

Place Northern White Beans in a bowl, and finely chop two large leaves of kale. Or, if you have already chopped kale, just chop up a handful a bit finer.

Add the chopped kale to the white beans, along with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Or other seasonings of choice. Mash all of the ingredients together to the best of your ability. I do not recommend using a food processor because it purees the beans too much, and they don't form quite as nice of a patty in the end.

Much like making a meatloaf, you need something to bind it all together. Add one egg, and as many bread crumbs as needed to create a consistency somewhat like mashed potatoes. If you are vegan, I can't really help you with an egg substitute, though I suspect something like vegannaise might be a good selection? Feel free to add suggestions in the comments.

Form patties using your hands. Keep in mind these do not shrink as they cook, and a thinner pattie will cook through faster than a thick one. Obviously. Science.

 While the patties are cooking, prep whatever sorts of toppings you'd like. I would have been especially excited about sprouts today, as the crunch would be an ideal compliment, but we don't have any at the moment. But I do have tomatoes and avocado, which are excellent choices as well.

 Don't forget the toast! Hello, toast.

 These didn't take a long time to cook, so pay attention! Be vigilant in your cooking duties, flipping the patties when they have turned a lovely golden brown on the bottom. Try not to burn the precious patties, as it would be a tragedy of the worst kind.

Assembly time! Assembly is the best part, because afterward, you eat, and eating was the entire point. Bon appetit!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

206. It's Nerd Time

Confession. I have spent my entire evening doodling Star Wars characters, which I am not going to post because I don't feel that I'm ready to plunge into the world of fan art just yet. They weren't very good, anyway. (Note to self. More art classes, please.)
Now I'm going to play the original Oddworld from PS1 and drink Cosmopolitans. Yep.

Post script. I wrote this before reading my pal Josh's vow to blog every day for the next 365 days, just because. I like challenges, and I like Josh, so I'm in. Does that count as a resolution? Let's not call it that then, because resolutions are made to be broken. I'll just try my best, ok?

Post, post script. Have you watched the video for M83's Midnight City yet? I guess it came out a few months ago, I'm just behind. Whatever. Just watch it and wish that you could blow doors off their hinges with your mind.

Monday, January 2, 2012

205. Off to a Good Start

NYE was...strange. Not what we expected AT ALL, but we had a drunken blast. The speakeasy party was so, so bad. Tons of people dressed in 20's outfits, with a burlesque show featuring music from the 40's, a dj playing hits from the 80's, and a 40 minute wait in line to get drinks at the bar. But the venue was pretty, there were hors d'ouerves aplenty, and the bartenders compensated for the lengthy wait by giving out generously strong drinks, which they mixed for you two at a time.

We spent most of the night taking really ridiculous photos of each other, ate a ton, and the wizard and I got our dance on. Back at our friends' hotel were more drinks, followed by our making friends with some foreign exchange students from Dubai after I impulsively stuck my head in their room when I heard them laughing through the crack in the door. 

Yesterday was spent recovering. The wizard and I grabbed breakfast at a crepe place downtown, called Rooster, and then cabbed it back to Mad Art to pick up his car. I recommend the restaurant, it's great. 

While waiting for the taxi, I snapped this photo, which I entered in this weekend's hashtag project on Instagram. (That's my wizard, in case you're wondering.)

It was actually the second photo I entered, but definitely better than my first attempt. This morning I got a message that my photo was one of the team's favorites out of the 800+ submissions they received, and it was featured on the Instagram blog. Which prompted me to run screaming through my teeny apartment, like I'd won the lottery or something. I know it's not a huge thing, but I think it's the most recognition that a single one of my photos has ever received, and I am so excited/flattered I could die. I think it may have made my entire year.

Then later, we stopped by Walgreens, and I found a $20 bill lying on the ground! That never happens!
If 2012 continues this way, who knows what could happen...

Happy New Year to you! I hope it's starting out just as good as mine!!!