Saturday, November 7, 2009

Death by Dusk

Seriously- I know it's been a while since I bothered to post anything and I kind of hate to come right out of the gate with a complaint... but really? Seriously? It's only 9:42pm and it feels like 1 in the morning.

More importantly I wanted to inform you all (all two of you) that Properly Salted is officially going on hiatus. It's definitely been fun to have an outlet for all my ranting and raving but a few complications have set dear Salty back in the last few months. Essentially, Mr.Mr. and I have no money so I can't exactly write about all the great food we could be eating, the awesome knickknacks I could be buying, or all the fun places we could be visiting. And I'm so busy with school that I hardly have the time to read other blogs, watch tv, or read anything but articles on german case bindings which leaves me little to comment on in my typical Salty fashion.

So until I can determine what I want to broadcast my thoughts on and why, we shall part as friends. Let's make a point to keep in touch though, eh?

xo, Salty

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Last Thursday in Portland

Mr.Mr. and I headed over to Alberta street last week for the famed Last Thursday Art Walk. We had heard a number of conflicting opinions on its popularity and were hoping to swing by the stand of a fellow Scrap-er to check out her crafty wares. Little did we know, the entire street was closed to traffic and event staff had been hired to coordinate the evening's vendors and visitors. Needless to say, I've never seen more people in one place in Portland like this. It was the capacity equivalent of a large annual street fair like those held in Seattle (think Fremont Solstice Parade, UDistrict Street Fair, or the Ballard Sunday Market on speed)... only this happens every month.

One artist we spoke to seemed to think the event was on the verge of collapsing in on itself due to the size. According to him, the event had evolved dramatically over the past five years and both patrons and vendors were reaching a saturation point. Adding fuel to the fire, the Last Thursday event is a largely unregulated free for all when it comes to setting up and maintaining a booth. It's first come, first served for space on the busy sidewalks and there are no entry requirements or booth fees. If you're picking up what I'm laying down, this means the city of Portland is both opening themselves up to potential safety/legal issues and passing up a big opportunity to turn a profit on this year-round, popular event.

Logistics aside, we made the grave mistake of parking on the East end of the street which resulted in our walking directly into the sun for the entire length of Alberta, shielding our eyes with the Noir issue of Bitch magazine we picked up for free. The discovery of the evening was the work of the very talented Yellena James on display at the Together Gallery. Ms. James crafts gorgeously vibrant pen and ink drawings on clay board that seem to be a combination wandering notebook doodle and naturalistic illustration from some psychedelic hiking guide. Bright colors pop out among undulating tendrils and cellular shapes, creating a fantastic combination of pattern and color. I am absolutely smitten with her work and will have to begin saving some serious pennies to add one to my collection sometime soon. Check out Yellena's work or visit her blog to see for yourself.

Monday, June 29, 2009

New slang

All over town (by town, I mean webernets) there are these hoards of people who lurk in the dark shadows of popular blogs and online publications, voraciously devouring every word written, waiting with bated breath to pounce on something... any small morsel they can concoct an elaborate vitriolic diatribe around in the comment section. This brand of feedback is almost always entirely indicative of their lack of comprehension of the writing's true content/purpose and generally serve to disparage the author in some ridiculous, single-minded way without addressing any larger issue.

Frequently rife with misspellings, poor sentence structure, and/or faulty grammar- these diarrhea-of-the-mouth style (for lack of a better expression) missives serve no purpose other than to chip away at the self-esteem of the writer (or worse, the subject of the post/story), while demonstrating the higher intelligence/morality/social standing of the commenter.

Ladies and gentlemen of the webernets, without further ado... allow me to introduce you to:

Netpicker (n) - Original Etymology, Nit Picker (n) 1951 - pedantic critic. Adopted for the web (or internet) in 2009. - Specifically characterizes an individual who seeks to criticize the work of another in the public forum of the comment section of any online published content with thinly-veiled attempts to elevate his/her own standing on unrelated grounds.

Synonyms: Hater (variant, "player" hater), troll, sniper, naysayer, @sshole, misanthrope.

I should add here that I've been very fortunate to avoid the steel gaze of most netpickers by flying largely under their radar with this fun little blog of mine. I've come up with this expression to put a name to the endless supply of jack@sses I come across while enjoying the work of other bloggers.

Most notably, I'm alarmed on a regular basis at just how many readers flock to Heather Armstrong's thoroughly amusing and insightful, seemingly for the sole purpose of netpicking. She regularly posts excerpts of her most amusing hate e-mails and I applaud her for taking it all in stride. Netpickers should largely be ignored... but it's about time we put a name to their nasty little spiteful faces.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

What are the chances

...I'll be able to convince Mr.Mr. to wear this to our next summer social gathering? Maybe it's the East Coaster in me, the part that thinks a mauve, oxford, button-down shirt and grey, lightweight, argyle sweater is entirely acceptable as evening wear (with the sleeves pushed up to three-quarters and the cuffs rolled around the sweater- of course)... but I'm digging on this. Perfect for an afternoon game of croquet, n'est pas?
Found via What Consumes Me, originally on Kempt.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bruises be gone

I'm not sure how it happens, but right around summer time when I'm ::gasp:: ready to bare arms in tank tops and swimsuits (perhaps less so the latter), I start to notice all the tiny bruises I've somehow managed to inflict upon myself in my daily wanderings. I suspect some happen without my even noticing as most are smaller than a quarter, but there's always a fond memory or two of running into the coffee table or cutting a corner too close. Ahh, memories.

Fear not, my pallid friends- there's help out there for you and your splotchy spots! Brown Butterfly of Bellevue, WA makes a fantastic body oil called "Athlete" that contains natural ingredients helping to bring back the healthy coloring of your skin after a nasty bump. If I recall correctly (and with the help of my own bottle's label), among the fantastic ingredients of Athlete oil are arnica, sweet marjoram, black pepper, and hazelnut oil. Arnica is the sneaky little helper that works to heal your bruises, while the black pepper works like magic, creating a warming sensation as the oil meets friction, be it between your hands or working on weary muscles.

I first met Fran, the husband of BB's founder at one of the many summer festivals in Seattle when I worked a booth as regional brand manager for a national food company. Fran is the cutest, most sincere gentleman you'll come across at one of these events- unassuming and polite while offering a bevy of details about the products his wife has created. He patiently explained that Brown Butterfly's oils are processed differently than your average body oil which results in smaller beads (molecules?) that absorb into your skin more easily- leaving less of the residue that gives you that greasy afterglow... which is great. Plus- it smells heavenly. Earthy without the dirty mustiness of the natural oil black sheep- patchouli, and warm without the heavy-hitter scents such as cinnamon or clove.

You can find BB products online or at local farmer's markets throughout Seattle. I've had my 4 oz. bottle for probably four years- a little bit goes a long way, and the stuff has yet to go rancid or otherwise lose potency. Plus, the packaging is clever and minimal which is another winning feature. All in all- a must have for anyone who bruises easily or enjoys a nice back rub from time to time. Christmas in July, anyone?

Monday, June 22, 2009


Gustavo Aimar's blog, La Mesa de Trabajo (The Month of Work) chronicles his mixed media collage and illustration work in photographs of his studio, works in progress, and completed pieces. I am completely struck by this one in particular.

There's something captivating about the detail of this figure. The delicately ornate eyelashes, straightforward and expressive eyes, high, rouged cheeks and Mona Lisa-like, reserved smile. The punctuated eyebrows and halo of blue around the face add a really interesting element and the chalk-white pallet of the face is so great. of At a mere 36 years old, this native Argentinian is a true talent and artistic inspiration. Not to mention I completely envy his studio and collection of antique papers.

What, What!?

Be there or be square on June 27th! This will be my first trip to the barn and I absolutely cannot wait. Just take a gander at the site to see a sampling of the gorgeous wares on sale. Drool-tastic!

Somebody better start saving their pennies... You and me, both!

Photo courtesy of Queen of Tarte.

New mantra

"Everyone does better when everyone does better. "
Paul Wellstone

(As seen on a bumper sticker posted in a jeweler's workspace at The Shop People Industrial Arts Club in NE Portland.)

This couldn't possibly be more true.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Must have hair

Quick tip for ladies and gents seeing signs of the recession in their languishing locks: try a beauty school for a cut on the cheap. Recently I stopped into Phagans' School of Hair Design in NE Portland and inquired about a trim. I couldn't have been more shocked when the receptionist informed me I'd have to shell out only three dollars. You read that right, three dollars for a haircut (with a shampoo it would have been a couple bucks more). Now, I don't know about you but my wallet is tight these days and any time I can make a purchase with only the contents of my change bowl- I'm a happy lady.

It turns out Phagans' offers a steep discount on all services after 6:00pm to encourage patrons to support their evening students in their efforts to complete training hours. All services are performed under loose supervision of teachers with a final review and check to ensure clients are satisfied and the student has performed well. Bring a photo if you're looking for something specific or somewhat complicated and don't hesitate to ask for a student with more hours if you're concerned your style might require a little more skill. Be prepared for a little less small talk and your trim or color to take a bit longer than your traditional stylist as most students are very focused and take a deliberate pace to ensure accuracy.

All in all, you could easily have a luxurious night at Phagans' with shampoo, cut, color and nails for less than your average haircut anywhere else.

Phagans' School of Hair Design
1542 NE Weidler
Portland, Oregon 97232


16550 SE McLoughlin Blvd.
Milwaukie, Oregon 97268

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Granola for cheaters

I've always been told granola is easy to make at home but never really believed it until a couple weeks ago when I pulled out ye old Joy of Cooking to try it out myself. The first few batches were good but a bit too crisp, and one ended up on the floor after my kitchen counter gave out on me. Thankfully, with this last batch I think I've cracked the code. Based on how quickly this stuff disappears at our house, I think you'll enjoy it too!

Kitchen Sink Granola (grossly bastardized from the Joy of Cooking)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Scatter over a large baking sheet and toast in the oven about 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes:

3 cups oats

Mix in a large bowl:

1 cup coarsely chopped almonds, pecans, or walnuts
1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 cup generic cornflakes

And any/all of the following:

1/2 - 1 1/2 cup almond meal (you can find it at Trader Joe's)
1 tbsp - 1/2 vanilla protein powder, soy powder, cocoa powder, or wheat germ (I haven't tried the latter)
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 - 3 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
1 - 3 tbsp brown sugar

Add toasted oats to the (mostly) dry ingredients above.
Heat in a small saucepan over low heat for 5 minutes:

1/2 cup vegetable or coconut oil
1/2 - 2/3 cup honey
1 - 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Stir the honey mixture into the (mostly) dry mixture. Mix thoroughly with tongs or a large spoon. Spread in a thin layer on the baking sheet (use 2 pans if necessary) and toast, stirring frequently, 45 - 55 minutes, or until all the ingredients are lightly browned. (This is where I got myself in trouble the first few times... if you get obsessed with everything being brown and crunchy- it will be too well done. If you remember that as the granola dries, it will harden and lose some of its moisture, you'll be all set.) Let cool, then store in a tightly sealed container. JOC says 5 days or 1 month in the fridge. Salty says, 10 days or... if you do this right, it won't even last that long.

This stuff is excellent as a snack, over yogurt with fruit, or delicious as a simple cereal with a little low fat milk. Seriously- I may never shop for granola again. Eat your heart out hippies!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Too little time

How irrational is it that having been unemployed for 8 months, I still feel like there isn't enough time to accomplish all the projects I'd like to undertake? What, exactly- keeps me from just sitting down and doing them? And lastly, how is it that days seem to drift by slow as molasses or, alternately, at breakneck speed without my even noticing. We have a joke around the house that it doesn't really matter what day it is when you're unemployed. Basically, your entire week is the weekend. And I think that's really the problem. Without the confines of the work week, I don't value my time the way I should. It reminds me of an article I just read in the Atlantic Monthly- my new favorite magazine.

{In summary- the article postulates that just as most people are likely to put off future (negative) experiences/tasks such as going to the gym (sound familiar?), eating better (getting warmer...), and saving money (BINGO!)- we're also prone to delaying gratification when there is no specific time frame allotted. It's very counterintuitive which I love. ...Yadda, yadda, yadda the main point is that both marketers and consumers alike to should be aware of this tendency and try to navigate the muddy waters of behavioral economics with caution.}

So I'm going to spend a little time thinking about how best to bring back the routine of my week. My motivational circadian rhythm is all out of whack and needs a serious makeover. If you have any tips or tricks of your own, I'd love to hear them. There's nothing worse than wasting time.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Something to think about

Conceived by Bud Caddell- a man who clearly has a direct line to my brain lately. Now if only I could find my "hooray!" spot.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


...I know I'm just a pawn in this whole "vintage papers" game but seriously. For reals.

Just a sneak peek at what's on offer at Papier Valise.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Things to do

-Learn calligraphy (properly this time)
-Begin collecting old stamps
-Buy a super eight camera
-Listen to more music music
-Use my gocco more

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Meet TED

My dear saltinies,

If you have not met Ted- you're missing out. Please. People are doing amazing things, and you need to hear about it. It's for your own good.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

The big spoon theory

It's pretty simple: the bigger the spoon (fork, spork...utensil) you eat with, the more you will eat. I have no idea if it's true but it dawned on me this morning that it might be. Here's how the lightning bolt hit me: I'm a teaspoon girl, tried and true. I don't use the bigger of the two spoons (the tablespoon, I'm assuming) ever unless I'm serving something. However, Mr.Mr. is the exact opposite. He's a big spoon guy and if provided a little spoon, he'll actually get up from the table and get himself a new [bigger] one. If I think really hard, I'm not sure I can come up with a time when my childhood dinner table was ever set with larger spoons. Whereas Mr.Mr. has told me many times about his afterschool ritual of pouring cereal into a mixing bowl and going to town. And understandably- you would need a big spoon for that job. ...I'm taking too long to get to the point.

So- there were no small spoons for me this morning. Every last one of them was in the dishwasher and I was hungry for my morning bowl of FMV Flakes (also known as "poverty flakes" around chez Salty since they're only $0.99 a box). So I figured, hey, no big deal- I'll just use a big spoon. Wrong. The first bite I tried to take nearly required an additional hand stretching my mouth open in order to accommodate the massive scoop of cereal. And my sisters will tell you, it's not for lack of a big mouth. You see, I was loading the spoon up the way I would with a small spoon. Only in a big spoon, that meant about twice the amount of food going into the old piehole. And I got to thinking. If the theory about smaller plates equalling smaller meals is true, the same should hold water for the size of your utensil. A small fork can only balance so much pasta/salad/chicken/whatever and you'd never dip your giant spoon into a bowl of soup and only fill it a third of the way. And because we all eat so fast, we're done with our food (care of our aforementioned giant utensils) before we can blink and of course we're still hungry. Am I right? Come to think of it, I imagine if you paid attention, you'd notice restaurant utensils are usually on the large side as well.

So as part of my general efforts to eat well and within reason, not only try to remember to breath in between each bite, drink more water, and finish chewing and put down my utensil before going back to the plate for more... I will I continue to use my small spoons. Now if only I could get someone to test this theory. I'm certain there's a press release from the FDA just waiting to be published on this one.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Put a smile on your face

(click to enlarge)

Is the email I got back in response to my email regarding a craigslist ad for a free eames-style chair and ottoman. The posting specified it would be removed when the chair was taken so I figured I had a shot. And who would pass up something like that? So I get this reply and oddly- rather than getting completely annoyed that some random stranger would send me this bite-sized (no pun intended) directive... I barely blinked and kept scrolling through my inbox as if it had been another email offering to enlarge my penis. Mr.Mr. insists I send a reply and kindly recommend the sender "eat poop" but I've refused despite his nagging that I really should  be reacting in a more shocked way. Actually, I've managed to get quite a few laughs out of the whole thing since then. 

The fact is, someone took time out of their day to tell me- a complete stranger, to "eat poop." That's like saying, "eat butt" - and it's about as offensive. If they had just changed a few measly letters, delivering a more profane message- I would be singing a different tune entirely. So thank you, mister/ms. - you totally made my week.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Words of wisdom

"One of the worst traps
is finding yourself
despising someone
really good.

There they are
wearing a miniskirt
talking dirty
but washing
the filthy
feeding the hungry
defending the poor
befriending the dead.

& all you can
say in your

their bleached hair
& studded
hardly goes
with so much

-Alice Walker (from Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Is it just me...

Or are these two eerily similar?
(Comedian Joan Rivers of ABC's Celebrity Apprentice and the puppet face mask from the SAW movie franchise.)
This particular resemblance struck me as I watched the train wreck that is Donald Trump as he one by one, solicited opinions and feedback from booted contestants and then summarily insulted, cut off, or dismissed them entirely. How exactly, does anyone take that man seriously? ... And let's not even get into his hair.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Work in progress

I've recently been trying to learn how to balance my desire to be fit (eat right, go for walks, go to the gym, sleep enough)- with my desire to be creative (stay up late, snack intermittently, watch tv while I work, stay indoors huddled over my table). You would think I could do both but strangely I have yet to master that. It seems my window of opportunity for any type of forward momentum (be it physical or mental/creative), is a rather small one that typically occurs during sunlight hours. I've tried all types of routines lately... each for more than a couple of weeks and at least one for almost a month. To no avail. You would think with all the time in the world on my hands I could sort out my own circadian rhythm- but it eludes me still.

In the meantime I've begun work on a new collage. It's anchored in a photo of three small girls standing together, and I started sketching out an idea for it in my moleskin about three months ago. Finally, the piece is slowly coming to fruition. Here's a sneak peek at the subjects... more to follow once it's complete.

I love the little girl on the left. She's got a massive mess of hair framing her face and if you could see the rest of the image, you'd be charmed by her proud rotundness as she stands with hands tucked neatly behind her tilted torso. The girl on the right reminds me of a young Jackie Onassis. And it's hard to tell but the eldest of the three has the slightest smile playing across her lips that I rather enjoy as well. Potential a plenty.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Human feats

This is really long but play it in the background while you check your email and just remind yourself from time to time that these are people... not machines making these noises.

I really need to learn a skill... stat.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I can't wait

Tomorrow night I will have the esteemed honor of hearing this man speak on the subject of "The Transformative Power of Reconciliation in Society." Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is a well known religious, political, and social figure renowned the world over for his equal rights work. I'm not certain I can bring a camera to the event but I'll definitely be taking notes because... and I'm just guessing here- he's probably got some very important things to say.
If there are tickets still available I'd highly recommend joining me. Er, I mean, me and Mr. Tutu.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sisterhood of the traveling [fat] pants

Okay folks. Do the math with me: 9 days divided by 9 pounds = NOT COOL. It would appear that while I gallivanted around the East Coast splinting days between siblings and palling around with the parents- I managed put on some serious weight. Perhaps they were sympathetic pounds for my sister who just gave birth? Oh wait- that's supposed to happen before the baby is born. Riiiiight.

So I'm stressing the seams on my fat pants and am resolving to get back into the gym, cut back on sweets, and generally eat more healthily. I'm hopeful I can stick to my guns but it ain't gonna be easy. When you love to bake as much as I do- it's hard to resist the sweet strains of a chocolate spice cake with hazelnut toffee sauce and toasted salt and pepper pecans or chewy molasses cookies encrusted with chunky sanding sugar (a la Not Martha). I made both this week for hospitality's sake, the former for a dinner we hosted at the house and the latter we brought to a friends house for a showing of Caprica.

The cake itself has risen to superstar dessert status in our house for its delicious decadence and crowd-pleaser promise. So, in order to free myself from the benevolent curse of being "only one who can bake it" which of course means I get to lick the spoons clean and snatch up errant crumbs, I am posting the recipe here for all to use. I guarantee you will love it. Almost as much as I do... if that's even possible.

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (+ extra for dusting pan)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
a pinch of salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 - 1 tsp ground ginger (depending on your love of ginger)
1 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup safflower or canola oil
2 large eggs, beaten
2/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

(Preheat oven to 350 and prepare baking pan (or cupcake pan) with nonstick spray and a dusting of unsweetened cocoa powder.)

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ground ginger into a large bowl. Mix in the sugar and make a hollow in the center.

Put the oil, eggs, sour cream, and applesauce in another bowl and beat well. Add to the hollow in the dry ingredients and stir gently until thoroughly mixed.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30-45 minutes depending on the pan (less for cupcakes, more for a sheet cake or bundt cake), or until a skewer inserted in the thickest part of the cake comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan for 10-20 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack and let cool. Serve at room temperature or slightly warm. Leftovers can be stored for about a week in an airtight container.

Hazelnut Toffee Sauce (adapted from same)
3/4 cup firmly packed moist light brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 tsp Frangelico or other hazelnut liquor

Put the sugar, butter, and cream in a small saucepan and heat gently until melted. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 3 minutes until thick and toffee-like. (I never really get to a super-thick state but it tastes delicious either way...) Pour into a heatproof pitcher and let cool. Stir in the vanilla and liquor. Depending on the final consistency, pour or spread over your cake to serve.

Toasted Salt and Pepper Pecans

1 1/2 cup shelled pecans (halved, whole, or crumbled)
1 tbsp salt
3 or 4 grinds of fresh pepper from a shaker
a few shots of canola cooking spray
Heat pecans in a nonstick pan over medium until you begin to smell the toastiness. Evenly spray the pecans lightly with canola oil spray and toss to just barely cover. Add salt and pepper and toss gently over medium heat until pecans are slightly browned. Remove from heat and transfer the pecans to a bowl. Either chop, crush, or pulverize as desired and sprinkle with wild abandon over your toffee covered cake.

*This book was a fantastic find and I would recommend it to anyone- though not at the price listed at Amazon. I've had nothing but success with all of the recipes I've made, including the Citrus Summer Cake (see photo) and the tangy Lemon Curd. If you're in a pinch and need a fantastic, easy cake- I'd pick up this book.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Travel made [more] tolerable

Check out this clip on YouTube of a unique pre-flight experience. I'll be crossing my fingers that the next plane I board has an equally talented crew.

Thanks MYM!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Patio Days

The spring/summer patio in all its camping-geared glory. The random green bin is going to be our master composting spot. Once we get a lid and get it straightened out.
To the left are our mizuna starts and an herb pot with sage, cilantro, parsley, and dill. To the left are the plants that require some space of their own: rosemary and chives. The two empty pots wil hopefully hold the beginnings of carrots and fennel.
Our pea starts are already growing... about a half inch last night alone!
You can just see the tiny tendril of a brave pea shoot setting his anchor to the hanging wire, preparing for a long climb.

Our lovely outdoor table and the new geraniums that can be seen from indoors as well. At night, the string lights and candles make a lovely light by which to enjoy a fine take out meal from Cha Cha Cha or a round of speed Scrabble.

My tiny gardening table made from cinderblocks and a pretty piece of recyled glass from SCRAP*. And yes, those are mini-kegs in the recycling bin. Mr.Mr. loves himself a mini-keg. The white pail will be used for food scraps to be composted. YAY!

*SCRAP is quite possibly, the best place ever. Please check it out.
p.s. I'm posting this from the patio to be as authentic as possible. Got to love the laptops.

Springtime starts

Well folks, it's been a long, dreary winter and I'm not nearly foolish enough to think we're in the clear... but the sun is shining and the birds are chirping and the flip flops have come out of hiding. For a little over a month now I've been on a reduced-internet consumption diet, focusing on starting my day without firing up the computer and spending time in (ooooh ahhhhh) reflection and practice instead. I retooled my morning routine to include time journaling, reading, walking, and flossing. Yep- you heard me- flossing. It could be the excitement of new habits, or that they were on sale, but I even bought two rolls of floss. Two! Like... I might do this forever from now on! Can you imagine that? Even I knew this meant I was serious.

So regardless of the weather I spend at least 20 minutes on foot in and around my neighborhood, greeting neighbors along the way and enjoying sightings of odd birds, bushy-eared squirrels, and the ocassional child in a tree. The latter are the best. I've also been paying more attention to the houses around us and thinking a lot about the way I had hoped to have my own sometime soon. It might sound strange but I've been slowly realizing just how much is must cost to have and maintain a house. From the cost of landscaping to repainting, installing windows or a fence for the yard- it must add up at a dizzying rate. And here I had been thinking Mr.Mr. and I should consider buying something between a live-in-ready and fixer-upper type house. Ha! Perhaps not. It has given me a different type of respect for homeowners who are able to make ends met between their family and the roofs over their heads.

And oh the reading! The local library is a short walk from our place and I've once again begun my love affair with all books borrow-able. The possibilities are endless. My library card is like a secret weapon. Thyroid problems? Check the library. Want to know how to build a birdhouse? Check the library. Have an odd, unidentifiable ant army taking up residence in your houseplant? Check. The. Library. True, true- it's not as fast or easy as the internet. But it's worth it. Trust me. And I've regained the understanding that reading someone's work and experiencing a resonance in their writing, their word choice, or their sense of humor- can be enjoyed simply and on its own. The blogs I've followed over the last three or so years have a lot to offer by means of inspiration, insight, and information... but books don't give me that illusion of being connected to the writers. I can be seduced by prose and poetry, cleverness and craft, for that joy alone.

So perhaps I'm back? In bits and pieces.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I can't wait to have kids

If you promise I can take them to the dentist.

I wish Mr.Mr. had been even one fifth this loopy when he got his wisdom teeth out. Sadly, he was just a bloody, gauze-stuffed mess of limbs. I did, however, have to school him regularly on not smiling or talking, much like David's dad tells him not to touch the stitches. I think this should win best webernets video of the year. And they should send it in to America's Funniest Home Videos. I can't stand that show but the kid could easily get a year's worth of college tuition out of his narcotic-induced episode.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A storm's a brewin'

A BRAINstorm, that is. I've been trying to think of a clever business name to successfully umbrella all the craft things I've been making or thinking of making lately. I'm also considering which small-sales website to use for said business (i.e. Etsy [again], or Big Cartel, or some other site) and how best to garner some attention and sales. And as I tried desperately to fall asleep last night (three- count them, three hours after downing a vietnamese coffee milkshake with chocolate syrup*) I wondered- do most people brainstorm with their eyes open or closed?

I lay there, eyes closed, thinking that was half way to sleep, right? And realized that I may actually be more creative with my eyes open... able to look around me for inspiration with colors, real items, words, etc. So that got me thinking: What are the elements of a perfect BRAINstorm for you? How do you come by your best ideas?

*I'm still recovering from the tonsillectomy, okay- I'm allowed to eat anything I want! ...As long as it's pureed.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Again with the commercials. Since I watch an alarming number of self-improvement shows (thank you TLC), I inadvertently watch a lot of self-improvement commercials. Whitening toothpaste, self-tanning moisturizers, feminine odor powders, hair dye, and of course, makeup. So much makeup. Fortunately, I'm almost 100% impervious to makeup commercials. I wear makeup for work or for special events. I have some makeup I've owned for, ::gasp:: six, seven, eight years? I use the same brush for my concealer and my lip liner. I use hairspray to kill spiders, not fly aways. And... listen up world wide webernets: I did my own makeup, with the ages old aforementioned supplies, supplemented with free samples from Sephora... for the "most important day of my life" - my wedding.

And I'm starting to think that these companies are just blatantly lying about what their products do for you... specifically when it comes to anything that's supposed to defy your age or make any part of your face longer, smaller, shorter, whatever. Which is where I take a beef with Maybelline. They have this new "Maybelline Lash Stiletto" that claims to lengthen (or stretch... ouch!, depending on who you consult) your lashes seductively, give it a shiny patent finish and strengthen and condition your lashes.

First- who needs to "condition and strengthen" their lashes? Are men (or ladies) just rubbin' up on your lashes and getting pricked and scratched, poked in the eyes? Don't those things fall out, like, every two days? Why waste time conditioning? Second- a "shiny patent finish?" How the hell are you supposed to know? Those things are like, microscopic! That's like saying that spider's legs have a shiny patent finish. Who could possibly tell? And lastly, this "lengthening." I call BS. Perhaps the mascara has a super science ability to clump up on your lashes and back up on itself in a linear, uniform way, which gives the illusion of a lengthened lash to the naked eye. But I guess that would be too much of a mouthful for their gorgeous spokesperson de jour.

Maybe it's Maybelline? Maybe they made it up.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Do a what?

Okay... I'm home a lot. I mean- a LOT these days. And with my tonsils out, riding the crazy train to oxycodoneville most afternoons- there's not much that's safe to do without supervision except watch tv. A lot of tv. And I'm finally starting to wonder what the F is up with Daisy sour cream. Their whole campaign suggests you, "Do a dollop [of Daisy]" - implying sour cream can go with virtually everything and a generous "dollop" is the right size helping.

I'm sorry- do the folks at Daisy know what sour cream is? I think they may be in cahoots with those crazy high fructose corn syrup people (or maybe they've just been drinking it straight) because one of their main suggestions is dipping vegetables and potato chips into a plain bowl of sour cream. Have we heard of cholesterol?

Just checking.

Oh, and Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee. Is this how America cooks? I mean- I guess I should be glad that people are getting into the kitchen, period- but what is up with her ingredient distribution? 70% store bought and 30% fresh? I think this just makes me sad. Most of the pleasure I derive from cooking comes from the magic of transforming basic, raw, ingredients into totally different, interesting, and complete meals. It's not even that starting with premade food feels a little like cheating because ultimately- it's not about how quickly you make it to the finish line- it's how you get there and if you enjoy yourself along the way. Don't people want to know what's in their food?

Argh. Enough ranting for the moment. It's hardly fair to welcome readers back with a big old complaint-fest. More random musings to follow. Oh, and I've abandoned the final chapter of my San Francisco trip for an unspecified amount of time. Travel notes don't seem to generate much conversation so I'm going to quit giving myself a hard time for not wrapping that up with a bow.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Dancing Queen

Why is it that I've never been recruited to take part in this type of AWESOMENESS?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bastardized Panaforte Ice Cream

...Otherwise known as, "My Culinary Last Hurrah" in anticipation of a tonsillectomy.

(Adapted from David Lebovitz' The Perfect Scoop.)

1 cup half and half
3/4 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg (fresh if you're fancy)
1 cup 2% milk*
1 cup half and half*
4 large egg yolks
3 tbsp full-flavored honey
1 1/2 tbsp lemon zest*
1/4 cup minced tart, dried montmorency cherries*
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped*

Warm the 1 cup half and half, sugar, and spices in a medium saucepan. Cover, remove from heat, and let steep for a half hour.

Rewarm the spice-infused mixture. Pour the cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. In a separate medium bowl whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to avoid cooking the eggs, then scrape the new mixture back into the original saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat using a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens to a light "custard" and it coats the back of the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and mix it into the cream. Discard the cinnamon stick. Stir the custard until cool over an ice bath. While it cools, warm the honey, then stir it into the custard.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator (overnight, preferably), then freeze it in your ice cream maker. During the last few minutes of churning, add the zest, chopped cherries, and pecan pieces.

*These ingredients have been adjusted from the original recipe. Let's hope all is well in the land of ice cream when I freeze it tomorrow afternoon. :)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Musical stylings from across the pond

...And they say the British have no sense of humor.

Courtesy of Mary the awesome.