Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tales From NaNo, the End.

What, already??

I'll admit, none of my wordiness went into this blog for the past month. And I'll further admit that it was kind of nice to take a brief hiatus while I launched pell-mell into an insane amount of creativity.

The past month has been very busy, in very many ways. I'm making my very first pot of homemade turkey stock just today. I baked a few loaves of bread. I scrambled more than a few eggs. I've also started and finished several knitting projects, helped my dad make the pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving this year, and worked on not going crazy.

But NaNo was a big part of the month, obviously. 50,000 words is nothing to sniff at. And for the first time in my life I have a novel that is more than just a collection of writing exercises. It's the beginning--the seed, if you will--of an extraordinary opportunity to rewrite and mold until a novel possibly emerges. How wonderful!

Halfway through my novel, I experienced a character coup. My 20-something librarian main character told me very plainly that she wasn't going to do anything else in my story. Nothing. Standstill. It was awful. So I struck her with amnesia, had her wander off into the sunset, and took stock of my options.

In the end, I promoted my 60-year old supporting character to the spotlight. And BOY was she a heck of a lot more entertaining! I ended up naming the whole bloody novel after her! And though I have a million things to rewrite (including...all of part one?) and a million ends to tie up, at least now I know where I'm going. Because I went! And I conquered!

So here's to all of the NaNoers who embarked on such a foolhardy and fantastic mission, this month! It's been fun, and it's only the beginning.

And good news...the blog is probably officially revived, as of now. Because where else am I gonna shove all of the writing I need to do on a daily basis? ;D

Thanks for the patience. Hope a few of you are still with me!

-The GLS

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Ballad of the Kettle (A NaNo Tale).

Everyone who has done NaNo before knows that you need a few things in order to be successful. Grit, determination, and a mindless disregard for your own mental well-being are chief among them.

But another thing that is essential? Your inspiring drink of choice.

I dare not assume what that might be for other people, but for me? It's tea. Tea of all kinds. And for a very long time, the only way I could rely on a steady source of tea at all hours of the day or night was my beloved Braun electric kettle. It boiled water within moments, gave a nice CLICK when it was done, and never gave me problems or talked back. For at least three years, we were happy together.

Until a few days ago, when the poor thing started leaking from its base. Suddenly everything changed. It was no longer my loyal companion. And a quick Internet search revealed that OTHER people had experienced the same with THEIR Braun kettles.

I was crushed, but I started the search for a new kettle. I thought I had ended it last night when I bought a black Proctor Silex for a lovely $20--so inexpensive, I thought! But so necessary, right?

Umm...well...

I pulled it out of its box and it was...large. Really large. Tall, really. Tower-like. And shiny and black and so...so...PLASTIC.

I named it Darth Vader, laughed a little, and tried to settle it in on my desk. But it wouldn't settle. I didn't like it. I didn't like the looks it kept giving me. It wasn't friendly, like my Braun. It kept glancing at my laptop, like at the first opportunity it was going to fall over and douse my MacBook with boiling water. Malevolent and angry. I wondered what had been done to it in its past to make it so aggressive.

I resolved that it simply could not stay. This morning I packaged it back up. It snarled at me as I closed the lid on the box, but I was adamant. No more angry kettles in MY room.

After returning the Proctor Silex with no problems, I headed over to the wonderful Land of Target. I perused their offering of kettles, mostly unimpressed. There were some very dignified metal ones, and some happy-go-lucky white ones, and some more aggressive black plastic ones like the Proctor Silex.

And then...oh, then...that's when I saw him.



He was sitting there SO demurely, humbly, just waiting for me to notice him. His cheery red exterior and kettle-shape said, "I'm happy if you're happy!" but his all-stainless steel makeup stated, "I'm very serious about boiling water for you."

His entire appearance, automatic shut-off feature, drip-free spout, cord-free serving, and concealed heating element (plus his meager $35 pricetag) said, "You want me."

And I did. And I do.



To my beloved Braun: Thank you for your wonderful years of service. You have given me tea, soup, hot chocolate, and oatmeal. You showed me that hot water does NOT always come from a stove or a microwave. You opened my eyes, you carried me through.

Welcome, Hamilton Beach. Together we will conquer NaNo 2010...and the world!

Now. Where my tea?

-The GLS

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tales From NaNo, Part 1.

I know what you're thinking...why the HECK am I posting on my blog instead of tap-tap-tapping away at my NaNoWriMo novel?

Because, like the hare of racing legend, I am WAY ahead of my necessary wordcount and need to take a moment to breathe. Hopefully not too long a moment, otherwise the tortoise of my lazy brain will overtake me completely, and it will be too late.

Also, the NaNoWriMo servers are busy (not surprising, considering how many people are doubtless visiting it right now), so I can't comfort myself with forum-surfing and staring happily at my own displayed wordcount.

But I must say, I AM a little miffed...my dear electric tea kettle has a leak in the bottom. This makes it not only difficult to use, but an electrical hazard. So my supply of hot water at all hours of the night has been cut off. Want to know how to make me grumpy? Cut off my tea supply. That'll do it.

However, I shall prevail! I will vanquish NaNo like only the Gutsy Little Shit can! I will take it down to the ground! I will conquer!

Now, if you'll excuse me. I must plug in to my iPod, tune out of the world, and give my wordcount at least two hours of boost. See you on the other side...

-The GLS

PS: Congrats to all of you Americans who voted! Though I got my vote in a very short time before the ballot boxes closed, I am proud to say that my vote was present and accounted for. It's a hard-won right, people! Exercise it!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Spinach, Honey, and Stevie Nicks.

Work ended a bit early, today, in honor of Halloween. I think this is somewhat silly, truth be told, because I was never all that into Halloween. True enough, I enjoyed getting candy as much as the next kid, but it didn't keep me up nights dreaming and wishing the way, say, Christmas might have.

Anyway...

I got home and realized all I really wanted to do was...brace yourselves...go buy my weight in secondhand books and LPs.

So by golly, I did.

Currently, Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" (50 cents!!) is crooning from the phonograph in the corner and I'm a happy, spoiled little gal. Four LPs and at least five or six new books. Plus I stopped at Jo-Ann's and got myself a new stitch counter (to replace the one the fairies stole) and a new circular knitting needle. Rawr, life is good!

But I got home at 8:30 and realized I hadn't eaten a thing. My, my...what to do? Experiment? Forsooth!

Sautee three diced cloves of garlic in some olive oil, add a box of Trader Joe's chicken stock (how I love it so), season with salt, black pepper, and red pepper, then once it's boiling nicely add in a lot of frozen spinach, mixed tricolor kidney beans, and a beaten egg.

Dinner of champions. Especially with a glass of sweet Riesling and some whole wheat crackers slathered with sunflower seed butter. Gosh, I'm still experiencing the joy.

For the record (ha, get it?), I'm a bit in awe of the fact that I've recognized every song so far on Rumours' A-side. This doesn't usually happen to me. I follow a pretty strict "Do not buy the record unless you know and love at least two songs on said record", and I've toed the line quite a bit on a few purchases. But this one is in no danger, on that front.

Have a great weekend, y'all. I fully intend to.

-The GLS
(NaNoWriMo starts in a few days!! AHHHHHH!!)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Impatience Is My Virtue.

I'm not tired.

I'm what you might call weary. I feel weary. Which is different than tired. Tired can be a good, satisfying feeling. Weariness just feels like a weighty version of tired.

But before I sign off to assuage my weariness with the balm of sleep, a list entitled "I Want":

1) I want to simplify.
2) I want to grow things.
3) I want to feel the seasons change at their fullest depth and know they're changing NOT because the calendar told me so but because I experience it.
4) I want to be off the grid.
5) I want to remember what it feels like to be excited by snow, but also respect it for the power it can be.
6) I want to nestle deep into the earth.
7) I want to put down roots.
8) I want to begin, continue, and complete, then begin again.
9) I want to set a feast before friends and family.
10) I want it all right now.

Sigh.

That #10 is a kicker. It really is.

-The GLS

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Lotto Man Cometh.

My, my. What a world, what a life.

This has been a crazy, crazy weekend. Between the storm front outside and the hurricane INSIDE, I haven't quite known what to do with myself.

I said in my last blog post something about cleaning my room. And I made all sorts of quips about how it would be a bloody fight, and blah blah blah.

Let me make this clear: I was kidding. Joking. Making jest.

But it has been no joke, this room cleaning business.

For serious, I took almost everything out of my room, moved furniture around, pitched stuff I didn't want anymore, vacuumed the heck out of whatever was left, threw dust in the air, organized my bookshelf, found space for my great-great-grandma's rocking chair, took my desk apart, cocked my bed perpendicular to the window, took everything off of my walls, gave my record player its own surface, gave myself a nightstand for the first time ever, and finally removed every trace of my color-scheme from eight years ago (including a dark green area rug and a dark green bedskirt that had been clinging to this room for FAR too long).

And then...today...oh, today.

I bought stuff. Two new lamps, a new rug, a wicker hamper (for the end of my bed), a new bedskirt, and a new doormat. Holy cow, I'm on a roll, and my room looks brand new! Very exciting. Especially if you're me.

So I'm sitting in the newly-feng-shui'd-wreckage and surveying my castle and thinking lovely thoughts.

It's funny how a new space can give you a new feeling about, well, everything. Like I'm starting over, in some way. Feels almost like a new me. But it's not. It's the old me with a cooler room.

Oh, and did I mention I'm full of Guinness stew? Shoot, what a great way to end the weekend.

Hope everyone else is as contented as I am at this moment. Please say that you are. I care about you. All of you, whoever you are. :)

Love to you and yours,
-The GLS

Friday, October 22, 2010

Miss Clean Jeans.

Funny, isn't it? We have these ideas for how we want life to look, and it doesn't pan out the way you planned.

Actually I'm not being sweeping and profound, here. I'm talking very specifically about the appalling state my bedroom/bathroom is in.

Really, it's awful.

And I ought to know better. How old am I...22, now? Yes, 22. I really ought to have more gratitude for what I've been given, and be more inclined toward organization, and blah blah blah...

But really, I don't think my awfully messy room has anything really to do with a lack of gratitude for what I have. I think I just have WAY TOO MUCH STUFF.

So tomorrow? Oh, tomorrow. Tomorrow is Saturday. A Saturday with nothing but family plans to look forward to, later in the day. Which means...what?

It means, the battle begins tomorrow. The war, if you will. The crusade against the terrible state my room is in.

If I don't return by Monday...this means the room has won, and you will find me buried under a pile of shoes, tinwhistles, and miscellaneous papers including bank statements and artwork from four-year-old Picassos.

Gird yourself.

-The GLS

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Go Do.

Oh, dear. I appear to be deep in thought, preparing for this year's NaNoWriMo novel. My notes are open, my character sketches are getting filled in, and names are tripping across my brain and out through my tongue.

Apologies.

I'll leave you with this loveliness.

...and I made homemade ginger cookies. But you can't have any.

Narf!

-The GLS

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Anachronistic Love of Iron.

Oh, shoot.

Did you know...when you mix rolled oats, sugar, melted butter, honey, and vanilla all together, stick it in a jellyroll pan and bake it at 350 for 30 mins, it will become caramelized, oaty goodness?

I didn't either. But it's true. You should try it sometime.

Got back from camp a few hours ago and needed to bake something. Desperately. I've been on this kick about not using pre-packaged foods wherever possible, and instead of popping open cans of pre-made high-sodium soup for a quick dinner, I try actually MAKING a quick dinner from scratch. Tonight I made (and ate) the creamiest scrambled eggs you ever tasted (farmer's market eggs, no less) with a side of Irish cornmeal griddle bread and an apple. Not fancy, but MAN it tasted good. Especially because the griddle bread was made with my cast iron skillet. Love me some cast iron. I also made some more butter with the heavy cream left in the fridge and used the buttermilk from the butter-making process in my griddle bread. I feel like I need to sew my own dresses, hitch up the wagon so I can head into town, and marry someone who will bring me some freshly killed game to cook. This is getting outlandish.

(I may or may not have been born in the wrong century. But I digress.)

I made popcorn
My breath was visible
You told me you were tired.
Tired of helping.
Tired of being.
Tired of it.
Just tired.

I wanted to tell you
In my visible voice
That we all get tired.
Please don't stop.
Kids need someone like you.
They need you.

But I handed him a bag of popcorn instead,
And replied in a poem.


Camp is a very, VERY important thing. Kids need camp. But they need the attention and love of adults they know and trust even more. If you work with kids, consider yourself deeply blessed. We all need mentors to look up to. Childhood ain't as easy as it ought to be.

I know it's a weird way to end this post. But it's on my heart tonight. So there.

-The GLS

(My poem is addressed to a youth worker whose name I don't know. So it's a mostly true story.)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Weather-Proof.

I weather-proofed my suede boots today.

It's actually a very simple process. You spray on the stuff, let it sit for an hour, then wear the boots all the time, even while you're sleeping. Or...at least that's what I do.

Funny thing is, I tend to think of weather-proofing for shoes as if there will never be any more weather, ever. Like as soon as my boots are weather-proof, their little boot-lives are suddenly going to be weather-free. No more rain! No more snow! Just happy, sunny days forever!

Gosh. That doesn't make sense.

Doesn't make sense in my life, either.

And just because I've "weather-proofed" my life with the love of Jesus and the grace of God, doesn't mean my life is never, ever going to get rained, snowed, and thundered on. Doesn't mean it's sunny days until I die.

So why do I expect that?

The rain is going to fall just the same, and I have to live with it. But being weather-proofed means just this: I don't have to get sopping wet anymore. It rolls right off, eventually.

And that's alright.

Writing from a rainy season,
-The GLS

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bless the Bread.

It's been a uniquely culinary weekend, but I think the fairies are after me.

This morning, before church, I wanted to try a rumor I had heard about shaking heavy cream in a glass jar to make butter. It worked like a charm. It seems I have butter luck.

So when I got BACK from church I decided to do some major butter-making, only this time by using the closest thing I have to a butter churn: my dear Ada, the Kitchenaid Mixer. I ended up with a nice-size lump of pale, creamy butter. I added a pinch of salt and decided that my butter luck was absolute.

With some of the leftover pasty filling from last night, I made a pot of soup and two small loaves of brown bread. I dutifully blessed the bread (by cutting the traditional slices in it before baking), but I completely forgot to let the fairies out (by pricking the middle of each loaf).

Too bad, too. Because despite the fact that the bread, butter, and soup were all delicious, the fairies must have been a bit miffed at my culinary success and at having not been referenced in my making of the loaves.

As a result, they pinched one of my favorite earrings. Can't find it anywhere. I don't blame them for taking it, it's quite a pretty thing. But I would like it back.

If you have any suggestions on how to appease fairies once they've been offended, please feel free to share your expertise.

-The GLS

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Teddy Oggin.

I guess I'm never really all that happy about my blog unless I blog about food. Plus, I watched Julie & Julia again tonight and it always puts me in a bloggy mood.

Luckily, I can offer you not only food...but PHOTOS of food, which is always exciting!

So, on we go...



This, for the uninitiated, is a pasty. Pronounced not as "pay-stee", but as "pah-stee"...at least in my family.

According to popular tradition, pasties come from the British Isles where miners would take them as lunches. They were filled with a stew-like mix of meat, veggies, potatoes, and a gravy, and packed into tough pastry that was rolled into turnovers. This made them easy to hold and transport, kept the hands warm, and kept the coal dust out of the food. Common tales insist that miners would discard the pastry after eating the stuff inside, mostly because it was dirty from their coal-covered hands but also as a sort of offering to the mean little sprites living underground that might lead an unsuspecting miner to danger. Apparently, mean little underground sprites like coal-dust-covered, second-hand pastry. Who knew?

My parents made a delicious pork roast the other night, swimming in onions and pepper and other such delights. With the leftover pork, my mom requested pasties. (And yes, for those playing along at home, it is NOT a REAL pasty if the ingredients are pre-cooked before going into the pastry. Thank you for pointing that out. Next time remind me not to link back to Wikipedia.)

I had never made pasties before. I made little venison pies a few weeks ago, which turned out alright but not perfect, so I was a little hesitant.

But digging in my Irish cookbooks I found a recipe for pastry dough that knocked my Connemara wool socks off (flour, butter, AND heavy cream.....what?!) and suddenly I had to try it.

Pork, peas, garlic (from the farmer's market), a gigantic fingerling potato (also farm-fresh), a carrot, some leek, canned mushrooms (we can't have everything we want, now can we?) and a whole lot of cooking sherry. My very first roux (!!) thickened it up nicely, and some dried thyme and black pepper gave it a little zip.

Granted, by the end it was not the desired consistency. I was hoping for more distinct pieces in a sort of gravy, but I added the pork meat WAY too early and it turned into carnita-like shreds by the time I was ready to stuff the pastry.

Boo and bother, it didn't matter one bit. Because they were DELICIOUS. Especially with some HP Sauce and some of my mom's famous salad.

Before:



And...after:



Notice that the HP Sauce has not moved much...but the pasty, broccoli, and tomatoes (in the salad) have all mysteriously vanished. It's uncanny, really.

In the end, I am full of goodness. Happily sipping chamomile tea while I surf the Internet for things I will probably never buy but enjoy looking at anyway.

Incidentally, this is cute.

-The GLS

Friday, October 8, 2010

How To Slaughter a Chicken.

My life is now learning how to slaughter chickens and forage for mushrooms, hang game and categorize watercress. It's like this is what I've been building toward my whole life long.

(Dramatic much?)

Tonight was a great capper to a fascinating week of yelling and general stress. I kindled new friendships, ate cream of kale soup with black pepper biscuits (delish!), played a bit of old-timey music and generally had a grand old time. This is what life (and Fridays) ought to be about.

And slaughtering chickens. Gizzards. Indeed.

-The GLS

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Should I Sit In It, Or Eat It?

I am very full of cinnamon rolls.

Seriously, it's awful.

But also great.

I'm also thinking a lot of Jim Gaffigan-ish thoughts.

So here we go.

Goodnight.

-The GLS

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Knit, Purl, Repeat.

Say you're knitting a scarf.

Say this scarf has a big fat cable running through it. Say this requires use of a stitch counter so you know when to cable. Say you're not entirely joyous about the product, but you're continuing just because it's something to do.

Now, say you lose your stitch counter. It mysteriously vanishes. You can't find it anywhere. Now you can no longer comfortably cable without marking your progress on a piece of paper or some other such bother.

Lesson: When your stitch counter vanishes and you can no longer easily cable, frog the darn thing (which was turning out fairly ugly anyway) and make stripes instead.

Somewhere a deep life lesson is buried in there. Something highly metaphorical. But I'm too cross-eyed from 1x1 ribbing to figure it out.

-The GLS

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Don't Crowd the Pan.

Ahh, what a day. This is the sort of day that Saturdays were invented for, I think.

A quick sprucing-up of the room? Check.

A walk down to the final local farmer's market of the year? Check.

Using the ingredients from the farmer's market to make potato leek soup and beer bread? Check.

Taking said soup and bread to my sis-in-law's house for a visit? Check.

Squishing adorable baby niece? Check.

Coming home to sip wine and watch episodes of Julia Child's "The French Chef" with my mum? Check check.

Finding out that my Irish Fairy-Soupmother has three other cookbooks and feeling the overwhelming need to buy them? Check check check.

Lesson learned. Saturdays rule.

-The GLS

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fancy Dance, Cranky Pants.

Ahh, Moby.

Tonight's dinner provided by QFC, and I feel very fancy and continental just saying it: a juicy Fuji apple, a half of a mini-baguette, and a small wedge of delightfully buttery brie. I feel French or something. C'est bon!

To be honest, today didn't start out good.

Wait, I'll rephrase: This WEEK didn't start out good.

I started it in a funk. A restless, unhappy funk. I felt all squirmy, like one of my daycare kids during naptime when they have to lie still for two hours in the dark. And I was grumpy. And I did a lot of yelling, mainly at work, though a lot of the loudest yelling was actually in my own head.

But today? Today I knew I had a choice to make. I had squirmed and wiggled and made a general crank of myself for two full days, and it was time to make a decision: is this the way I'm going to freeze myself to be for the rest of the week, or am I going to get over it and stop being a jerk to myself and everyone else?

Welcome back home, Forced Attitude Adjustment. I missed you.

Where is it written that life has to pan out exactly the way I want it to? Who ever said things would be easy? Who died and made me empress of the known world?

No, things are still not the way I want them to be. No, my life isn't picture-perfect. No, I'm not Miss Ever-Happy-Ever-Smiling-Ever-Bright, and I'm not even on the list to be empress of the known world.

But my life is pretty damn good. And my attitude need not reflect the few icky things that have decided to rear their ugly heads. I'm better than that, and I know it.

Now I just gotta show it.

Sheepishly yours,
-The GLS

Monday, September 27, 2010

Meow!

I love it when Colin Mochrie has to finish the Irish Drinking Song all by himself because everyone else is cracking up from his last verse.

It happens surprisingly often.

Classic.

In other news...

What do you do when you have ground venison in the freezer* and some time to kill?

Make experimental wee pasty-pies in your antique graniteware muffin tin, of course! Onions, fresh rosemary, peas, brown rice, and a pie crust made almost exclusively of butter. Side of ketchup, we're in business.

Could I get any more hobbity?

(I'll post pics and possibly the recipe soonwise.)

-The GLS

*Thanks for the venison, Papa Park! Good shootin'!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Glowing Battle-Axes.

Apologies for my absence. I spent the weekend in the arms of my crazy and wonderful family, 2 hours south of home, celebrating my aunt and uncle's 50th wedding anniversary. Which is, you know, an extremely big deal. 50 years is a wonderfully long time.

Movies were quoted, wine was consumed, and graniteware was purchased. It was an epic gathering of black dresses and spray-painted shoes. Except on the guys. My uncle wore a gold caftan, though. (Okay, so I bought the graniteware on the way home...but still, it happened. And so did the caftan.)

They're a smart bunch, my crazy family. Passionate and educated and hilarious to boot. And I love them for all their craziness, and I'm proud to discover that I'm becoming a bit like them all.

With one notable exception, which is that I have to my name only a 2-year transfer degree from community college.

Which doesn't necessarily mean anything bad. I like my silly little degree. I'm fairly proud that I even got it. I'm happy to have a diploma.

But there's a yearning. A stirring. A part of me that still wants to transfer and get a BA, even though money is a major issue.

Thanks to my aunt and uncle--who were both college professors for years--and my cousins--who are very persuasive--I've made a promise to go back to school and finish.

Shoot.

Promises are tough. Because even if they don't hold me to it, I HAVE to do it, because I promised, and it's more important to me to keep a promise than be lazy and comfortable.

*gulp*

Yeah, money is still an issue. And yeah, this will mean a lot of shifting and moving. And yeah, I was kinda happy not being in school this year. But I think I've decided that having a passion and moving toward it is more important than all of that. Money will come. Nothing is insurmountable. I'll get there.

I think.

-The GLS

Friday, September 24, 2010

Do You Have A Dollar?

I can't help it.

I need to go do my laundry, now.

-The GLS

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Do You Like Beethoven?

"Manny, bring me everyone."

"What do you mean, everyone?"

"EVERYONE."

Classic.

I'm watching a whole heck of a lot of Gary Oldman right now. Don't ask me why, it just feels right. The above bit of lunacy was inspired by "The Professional" which I've seen mostly the whole way through...too violent for me, at times. Also a little too awkward with the whole Natalie Portman being twelve thing? Yeah, if you've seen it you understand.

But Gary Oldman is in it. And he's his usual drugged-up off-his-rocker self. And that makes for good viewing.

Kinda.

"I like these calm little moments before the storm. It reminds me of Beethoven."

Ah, Gary.

-The GLS

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Nobody Said It Was Easy.

The answer to the question, "Was it something I said?" is "Yes."

Multiple times.

I'm sorry. I'll work on it.

-The GLS

Monday, September 20, 2010

Vignette.

The classroom is dark, because it's naptime. I'm sitting at the teacher table, reading about a long journey down a rust-red trail on an ornery mustang. It's mostly quiet except for the rustling of the light sleepers and those who don't sleep at all. The wind blows the curtains open and lets in a bit of sunlight. The bathroom light clicks on, hovers like this for a moment, then clicks off again and plunges the room into darkness.

There's a little boy whose mat is in the corner. He's four years old, and he's probably the most restless of them all. He's always talking and standing and shifting and making noise. He never sleeps. He never stops. He doesn't know how to whisper. And today--at a fairly loud level of volume--he says something new from his spot in the corner:

"Sally, I want more music."

And, I'll be honest, I don't know what he is necessarily referring to.

But if I were at liberty to speak my mind, I would have said, "Damn straight."
I would have gone out in search of more music for him, and for me. And we would have listened to it together, because kids know better than adults what music is. And he could have told me what colors and lines he saw in the music, and he would have danced crazy while I watched and laughed awkwardly and told him not to hurt himself. And when I clocked off that evening and went home, I would have screamed my music in the car and gone on a pilgrimage to find as much music as possible and surrounded myself with it like a big blanket full of colors and lines.

But it was naptime. So I just said, "Shhhhh!"

-The GLS

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Brevity.

I wrote a very long blog post just now. It was insightful and had dazzling displays of rhetoric. It was fantastically crafted, ironic, and somewhat humorous with a dash of poignancy. It was phenomenal. It was extraordinary.

It was fluff.

But when you take all the fluff away, it essentially said this:

I cannot BELIEVE how good the God I love is.
And you cannot BELIEVE how much He wants to love you.


And I think that reads a lot better. Not as entertaining, perhaps, but far more true. A bit easier to divine, you know?

I'll shout it from the rooftops, if I need to, just so you'll hear me.
He reminds me every day.
God is so good.

-The GLS

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Wee Bit of Trivia.

For those who commented on my last post, thank you for your kind words. Sometimes we all need a little space to unpack it all. I'm just glad I have this little corner of the Internet. :)

I'm currently watching Stephen Fry's "Quite Interesting" on BBC. Such a good show! Funny as all get out, and you learn so much useless trivia.

Like, "What flavor is the oldest known soup?"

Answer, "Hippopotamus."

Apparently that's true. Oldest recorded soup was made from hippos. Which...doesn't inspire me to try making it, by the way. I'm not too sure that PCC or Metro Market carry hippo stock. I would be concerned if they did, actually...

Also, the longest animal in the world? NOT the Blue Whale, incidentally. It's actually a tie between the Lion's Mane jellyfish and the Bootlace worm. The longest Lion's Mane jellyfish was 160 feet long, the longest found Bootlace worm was 180 feet long. However, Bootlace worms can stretch far beyond their real length, so it's possible that the worm's body stretched after it died (it was found washed ashore in England somewhere). Therefore it's debatable which animal is longer. But it's not the whale. Sorry, Monstro*. :(

A blue whale can only swallow things NO LARGER than a grapefruit. According to Stephen Fry. And though he sounds incredibly posh and knowledgeable, I could easily imagine it all being an act. But we'll believe him for now.

Check it out. I'm addicted to this show.

-The GLS
*Yeah, okay, FINE. Monstro was a sperm whale. Back off. I was trying to be funny.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Catharsis.

For some reason, I've been thinking back a lot lately. And this tends to have several effects on me. My blog posts get whinier and more scatter-brained (don't tell me you haven't noticed...whoever you are), I don't play around with my beloved collection of hobbies as much, and I play the piano (my melancholy instrument) way more than I should.

But the upshot of all this backwards-thinking is that I inevitably end up learning something about myself. Which, you know, can be good.

This time, we're learning something that goes a little something like this:
Isn't it amazing the difference a year makes?

Yea verily, you say. So what?

I'll tell you so what.

A year ago, almost to the day, I was sitting in another country feeling very small. I had paid for the trip, I had wanted the trip, and I GOT the trip. Two weeks exploring, meeting odd and wonderful people, and forging my own way.

I did a lot of things I had never done before (and probably won't ever do again). And though each little episode meant nothing in itself, it stood for something a lot bigger in my psyche.

That one time I talked to those people I thought were cooler than me and discovered they were just like me? Yeah, that was me walking up to my Self Esteem Issues and pointing at them, saying, "(Gulp) You d-don't scare me!" and being shocked when they vanished. That walk through the dark of Dublin at 5:30am? A walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. That time I went solo to the pub and actually survived the experience? A moment of pure she-warrior-ness.

And I made decisions. And I grew up, if only a little. And I got a bit tougher. And my horizons got broadened. And the things that I didn't need anymore? I left them on a distant shore, hidden under an unimpressive rock on a faceless shifting beach. And I thought that was enough.

A year later, they come back to my door and knock occasionally. It's easy to forget that I left them. But I have touchstones to remind myself. I'm a different person, now. I dress a bit differently. I eat more greens. I use less plastic. I listen to a different spectrum of music, perhaps. I'm more likely to tell you when I don't like something, but I'm ten times more likely to gush praise at you until you blush (if I think you'll let me). I've got a lot more antiques in my room, now, and I cook a lot more. I never did focus on one hobby...I focused on ten, and life has been all the richer for it, and I regret none of it. I intend to learn tens upon tens more.

But most importantly: I surprised myself with a precious gift. I finally said it was okay to know who I am, and to make guesses, and to be wrong. To follow the clues in God's Scavenger Hunt, each one better than the next, leading me on toward Me. I'll be damned if I ever let anyone else sneak a clue in there to try and lead me off the right track.

And I'll be further damned if I don't rip up those false clues from years back, the ones that seemed so real, the ones that seemed right because of who said them at the time. I'm still putting band aids on the scratches and scars from forays through brambles and thorns, following clues to my personality that made no sense. But I pressed on, because I thought for certain they were true. And I thought for certain they were right. And I so wanted them to be right that I tried to will them into truth. And I bled.

But only a bit. And only for a time.

So a year later, I'm sitting in a very normal place, at a very normal time, thinking very normal thoughts. I'm thinking back to how it used to be, and flipping through the roadmaps, and clutching the clues to myself, and wondering where it goes from here. And thinking I could never imagine where I'll be in twelve whole months from now. Putting another band aid on the scratches and the scars, glad that they're getting smaller and less noticeable by the day (because they're nothing but a silly hindrance, anyway). It's a different sort of evening already. I can feel it coming. Daybreak is on its way.

And that's so what.

Yea, verily.

-The GLS

Monday, September 13, 2010

Haha...ish.

Okay, I don't really want to think about this, but there's a LOT of vampire-themed knitting going on over at Ravelry.com's recently-added patterns section.

It's a little disturbing.

In other news...

I have never found female comedians (or comediennes, I suppose) to be all that funny. I don't know why.

Although to be fair, male or female, I'm not crazy about American comedians anyway. But that's beside the point.

Female comedians. Don't find them that funny. And for a long time, the only exception was Josie from "Whose Line is it Anyway?" because she was the only chick they had on there with any sense of timing. The rest of them were kinda like politically-correct punching bags for Ryan, Colin, and Wayne to toy with. And really good props for when kissing was a possibility. And I know I sound terrible for saying so, but go watch some of the episodes with Kathy or any of the other ones I've forgotten and TELL me the boys were anglin' for some kissin' throughout the episode.

But I can learn. I'm an adult. I'm still growing and attitudes are still shifting. I'm not set in my ways, yet. No one ever is, really. And the walls of prejudice CAN come crumbling down.

So I'm watching "Chick Comedy" on YouTube in the name of broadening horizons. I'm saying it's good for me, you know? Spending some quality time. On YouTube.

I know what you're thinking. This sounds like an excuse not to go to bed, right? Oh, how wrong you are. You're just jealous that YOU'RE not doing something gutsy like sitting on your butt and allowing the expansion of your mind simultaneously.

Here. Have a link. Enjoy.

That's right. I'm like...a pioneer.

So there.

-The GLS

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mary First, Martha Second.

Wow, there's just so much PARADIGM SHIFTING going on around here!

It's crazy.

For one thing, I need to clean my room. And that isn't a paradigm shift per se, but it kind of is, because I tend not to understand the importance of proper resource usage and allocation (TOTALLY my mom's phrase).

Second, I need to stop treating my body like a bottomless pit and just EAT RIGHT already. It's getting ridiculous. Next time I blog about snacking or update a Facebook status including any key words like "cookies" or "chips", please feel free to virtually smack me. Or literally smack me, if we are blessed enough to live in such proximity to one another. I think my problem is that I'm not very disciplined. And discipline is important. And I think I've blogged about this before...

Okay, the real point is this:

There are a million things I want to be and do. Well, maybe not a million. But an important few. And they all involve having a few things squared away before I embark upon them. And they're all fairly internal and personal in nature, so I won't expound on them here. But it sucks knowing exactly what's necessary to be rid of, and not being able to rid myself of those things. Laziness, and blame-shifting, and flakiness.

I like a lot of things about myself, spontaneity and eccentricity included. But there are...side effects to those things. Side effects that don't help. They hinder. They drag me down. They cause me to sit in front of the computer and hit "refresh" on Facebook every ten minutes instead of doing something productive or WAY MORE FUN.

*sigh*

I know I'm not the weirdest, most mercurial person ever. But sometimes it feels like it.

Dear Lord, please give me the heart of Mary and the hands of Martha.

-The GLS

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Spaghetti Alla Curry.

Kind of a weird evening. Feeling a little dazed, for some reason. Listless.

But sometimes you don't know what you want until you start cooking it.

Tonight, all I wanted was...apparently...spaghetti alla curry. Which I invented. A few hours ago. Out of some leftover spaghetti noodles and a lone Italian sausage. And a few other things.

Here's how it works:

1) Sautee about a third of an onion and one minced clove of garlic in some canola oil.
2) Toss in a handful of frozen peas.
3) Dice up some garlic-flavored sausage. Toss it in.
4) Add the desired portion of cooked spaghetti. Your total mileage may vary on that one...
5) Add a dash each of: cinnamon, cumin, coriander, curry powder, red pepper, black pepper, and salt. Check seasonings. You want it to be extraordinarily yellow. Unless you don't like curry. In which case...why are you reading this?
6) Cook for a bit over medium-high heat. Keep it moving so it doesn't stick. Add a bit more oil if necessary.
7) Serve into a deep bowl. Consume greedily.

And there you have it! Spaghetti alla curry. It was eaten WAY too quickly for me to get any snapshots, but believe me, it was beautiful. And delish.

I also took myself back-to-school shoe-shopping at Target.com. Except that I'm not going back to school. I just really like autumn. And shoes, sometimes. And I have a clothing budget, which is always exciting.

Now I get to wait eagerly for packages in the mail, again. I love that!

-The GLS

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Palomino.

Shameless musical plug:

Trampled By Turtles, a Minnesota bluegrass band. They're awesome. Go. Seek. Listen. Dance in your chair. Realize just how awesome that fiddle player is. Figure out that you really should purchase a mandolin sometime soon, no matter the cost. No matter how much money is involved. No matter how many stores you have to go to. NO MATTER BLOODY WHAT.

...

Maybe that's...just me.

-The GLS

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Confession Of Gutsiness.

I just wrote a REALLY AWFUL song. Just now. I mean, really awful as in it will never see the light of day.

But it got me thinking...

I really don't dance very well.

And, that's honestly kinda by choice. I don't feel the need to take salsa/ballroom/swing lessons, or what-have-you. I know it's good exercise and that it's a cool way to meet people. But I really don't have the drive to do anything like that. It's not really imprinted in my brain the way it is for some people.

And I think it tends to disappoint.

This has happened to me very rarely, but whenever I get put into situations where I will potentially create a public display of rhythm (this phrase shamefully stolen from an episode of "Frasier"), I get really uncomfortable and fearful that people will be shocked by my uncoordinated, awkward self. It's not that I lack rhythm. It's that I lack physical imagination. And I really hope I never have to say that last sentence ever again, because I just made myself uncomfortable all over again...

I didn't go for freak-dancing in high school. I didn't take any classes. I don't go to clubs, and the last one I went to I was wearing big heavy rainboots because I didn't know we would be going there (and it was IRELAND for crying out loud!). The most dancing I usually do is spur-of-the-moment, or mostly-in-my-head. And in my head I look and feel FANTASTIC. But it doesn't translate outwardly.

This doesn't prevent me from dancing, when the situations are right. But it does prevent me from cutting loose. Fully giving in. Just letting the moment take me.

This is why the crux of my AWFUL song was a line that--admittedly--made me smile when I think of it, "The girl who tends to disappoint when she starts to dance". I think people expect me to be funkier and more of a dancing-eccentric than I really am.

That said...I'm not telling you this to get sympathy or suggestions. I'm telling you this because I consider it one of my gutsy failures.

Next time I go to a music festival, I'm kicking my shoes off more often and pulling the hairband outta my ponytail.

So let it be written...

-The GLS

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

An Old Favorite. Listen, Repeat.

The Penalty
-Beirut

Like in ancient day, and I'm on trial
Let them seize away, this once was an island...
And I could not stay for I believed them,
Left for the light always in season.

Impossible night in a crowd of homesick
Fully grown children, you'll leave the light
Your family may not wait to see you breathing
Or bend through the day they find us kneeling
Let them think what they may, for they don't reason
Left for the light always in season.


Love to you and yours on this dreary, rainy, truly sublime evening.

-The GLS

Tap Tap Taparoo...

This is what happens when you're staying in a hostel and some guy in your room is deciding--at 2:30am--to type what sounds like some sort of hastily-written essay or treatise on why late night typing is cool.

You write blog posts.

Hi, everyone!

Like I said, it's more like...3:00am, now...and I'm tired but can't sleep. So I thought I'd retire to the hostel's web cafe with a big glass of cold water and recap a bit of this weekend. And hopefully bore myself enough that I'll sleep like a baby.

Onward we go!

10 THINGS I LEARNED AT BUMBERSHOOT 2010:

1) Follow the pink unicorn.
2) The Decemberists are not who I thought they were. But they're better.
3) No one can really truly understand a word Bob Dylan says, and it doesn't actually matter.
4) Courtney Love is still nuts. I know you were concerned. You're welcome.
5) Billy Bragg is NOT Bill Bailey. But he WILL stick it to the Man for you, and sign your sweatshirt without making you buy a wristband. I mean...he IS anti-capitalism, after all.
6) You always meet really nice people on the last night of a trip.
7) Don't be fooled. Eating by yourself at a restaurant isn't necessarily hellish. However, picking a time to eat during the lunch rush is never a good plan, no matter who you're eating with.
8) Chicken tikka masala is delicious.
9) Elephant Ears are a necessity.
10) Free Spaghetti.

I hope this was an important part of your day. I know it has been an important part of mine.

Well, the typist in my room got kicked out. He just came past me into the web cafe. I think it's safe to go to bed, now. 'Night, all! Sleep tight, I know I will!

-The GLS

Thursday, September 2, 2010

It Means Umbrella, Actually.

I think I need three days of music, music, music.

And rain.

But mostly music, music, music.

And festival food.

But...music. And music. And music again.

Oh, could I have some Bob Dylan, too?

Think I could manage that?

Yep. I think so.

Good deal. See y'all later.

-The GLS

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Way, WAY Too Catchy...

Question:

Do you ever vow never to buy music from iTunes ever again, noting the extraordinary suck of financial resources it is?

And then...

Do you ever get a song so interminably stuck in your head that your only source of relief--beyond allowing your own head to explode--is to buy it on iTunes?

Well, I am currently stuck in this whirlwind of conviction and challenge.

Curse you, Muscles!

Welcome, "Chocolate, Raspberry, Lemon, Lime" to my family of iTunes favorites.

-The GLS

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

You're Mine!

For some reason, I'm feeling very contented.

I've written a new short story that made me smile.

It rained today.

I made the mulligatawny soup that Nuala Cullen (my Irish Fairy Soupmother) put in her fantastic cookbook.

I'm listening to Muscles and bouncing around in my chair.

I'm wearing flannel.

I watched the 2008 remake of "The 39 Steps" and it was patriotic suspensefulness. Well, in a British sort of way.

And I'm making plans. I like making plans.

'Night, all.

-The GLS

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I Scream, You Scream...

(Listening to "Ice Cream" by Muscles. It just seemed appropriate.)

Dear David Lebovitz:
I have never actually seen you face to face, but you are a beautiful man. I love you...if only for your ice cream recipes.

Sincerely,
The Gutsy Little Lover Of Your Ice Cream


Sorry for that little aside. But it needed to happen. Because...with the help of my Fairy Godblogger*, David Lebovitz...I have created a beautiful, beautiful ice cream.

Banana-Brown Sugar Ice Cream
, to be exact.

If you have an ice cream maker, you need to try this recipe. If you don't have an ice cream maker...buy one, and try this recipe. And there's NO excuses, because it's even vegan! Ha! Beat that!

Can you go wrong with bananas caramelized in brown sugar and coconut milk, pureed to smooth perfection with vanilla and a pinch of salt? Then frozen into a delightfully creamy creation and drizzled with chocolate syrup? Can you? CAN YOU??

No, that's right. You can't.

Excuse me. I'm in ice cream bliss. Must go smile some more.

-The GLS
*Ignore that. I don't know what came over me. That's weird.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Wa-Wa-Waaaaa!

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

Wow.

Okay, let me first admit that I wasn't going to watch it. Despite my recent addiction to all things taking place in the USA from 1860 to around 1900 (ie...Westerns)...I knew that spaghetti westerns were a bit different, more graphic, etc. I wasn't really all that interested, to be honest.

But I'm a curious critter. And I had exhausted most of the American-made westerns I wanted to see. And...I mean...it's Clint Eastwood.

So I borrowed it from some friends and gave it a good, honest watch this evening.

Wow.

I'll further admit that the first hour and a half were underwhelming. I mean, I was tracking with it, but I was still getting used to the overdubbing and the fact that Eli Wallach is the REAL main character of the movie (sorry, Clint...Eli gets WAY more screen time).

But then? Ah, then. Around the point that Tuco and Blondie get taken to the prison camp and Angel Eyes is posing as a Union sergeant...then things REALLY PICKED UP. The rest of the film was fantastic. And I think I'll need to watch the beginning again, now that I know what to expect.

Don't worry. Clint is still the man.

In other news, I went to Half Price Books today. Regular readers of this blog (if I have any) may recognize that this is a bad sign. I DID spend money, yes, but not all of it was for me. A bit of it was, though. Enough for three LPs (Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens, and Paul Simon) and a book of Old West folklore published in 1951. Yeah, I know you're jealous.

For the record...I promise that this Westerns thing will pass eventually. Also, I haven't bought a Stetson, cowboy boots, or an amazing array of handkerchief-patterned clothing. I don't listen to modern country music, on the radio or otherwise, and I don't have any overwhelming urges to start.

Phew. I had to get that off my chest.

Now, to go proudly belt "Tea for the Tillerman" at the top of my lungs. And then drink some chamomile.

-The GLS

Friday, August 27, 2010

Do-Over!

My attempt at using up leftovers was very nearly a total bust, but only because I mis-used some of the herbs from my beloved garden. I wasted a whole box of chicken stock, a clove of garlic, and some stovetop energy on disgusting, bitter grossness.

But hey, nobody's perfect.

Actually, I'm glad I was only in the beginning stages of the soup when I messed it up, and not serving it out to be consumed.

I know, I know. You're wondering what I did to mess it up. I'm not telling, because I'm still a little bummed about it.

However! After starting afresh, I created an unusual and tasty Palak Paneer soup. Since the Palak Paneer was readymade from Trader Joe's, giving a recipe seems a little weird. But it was basically Chicken stock, leftover Palak Paneer, garlic, leftover brown rice, and a few other spices.

It was good. But I ate too much of it, methinks.

I am now watching an array of strange and wonderful martial arts movies. Like, obscure ones. Because I can.

Mmmm...Stephen Chow.

-The GLS

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Elementary...

Watching a video of a Gogol Bordello performance. While I like GB, watching them perform in Letterman...is...an interesting experience. I mean...it's Letterman. And...it's Gogol Bordello. I dunno. You be the judge.

I'm a wee bit tired. I watched the new Sherlock Holmes (finally!) this evening at a movie night of good friends. Dogs and babies were everywhere. Food was spilling off the table. There was laughter and someone threw a bottle at my knee (I'm still holding a grudge!). But it was good, clean, wholesome fun.

And Sherlock Holmes, or what I caught of it between snuggling the kids and smushing the dogs and snacking on snap peas (don't get all of that confused), was pretty darned cool. And gritty. I think gritty is the word that all the reviewers used, so I'll use it too. I mean...does it get any better than Robert Downey Jr? I love that man. And I love waistcoats. Did I mention I love waistcoats?

Off to bed.

-The GLS

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Catching Up.

I don't know how this happens! I head off to vacation, turn off my computer, and Blogger's issues magically heal themselves.

Here's the cake I made:





Don't I look proud?

And here's the birthday gift to myself from Anthropologie:



Measuring spoons! They're hefty, they're awesome. I love them.

Oh, and thanks to vacay time, this is my new favorite author.

Okay, I think that's it. Now I need to get back to 3:10 To Yuma, because the odds just got unbeatable, and I can't help but love a Western with unbeatable odds.

Mmmm...Christian Bale. And mmmmm...Russell Crowe creepiness. And mmmmmmmmm...unbeatable odds.

-The GLS

Friday, August 20, 2010

It's Nothing Personal...

For the next five days, the gutsiest thing I will do is do nothing.

I'm going on vacation.

Hiatus.

Leave of absence.

Holiday.

Read my text: I'm gone.

I will miss you all!

(And goodbye for now, Blogger. I hope you figure out your photo issues by the time I get back. Don't make me hate you.)

Sincerely,

-The GLS

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Holmes, I Presume.

So...this is odd.

I wanted to explain how good my cake was, and show the pics.

I also wanted to introduce you to one of my many birthday presents to myself. This one belongs in the kitchen.

I thought I might even show my new hat I made. It's cute.

But I can't, because Blogger doesn't recognize my newest imported photos. They're there in my computer, alright, but Blogger doesn't seem to notice them.

As my gutsy act for the day, I'm going to try and solve this ridiculous little mystery. And if you have any clues, please feel free to share.

-The GLS

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Take the Cake.

Well, it's happened. I've finally done my first unassisted two-layer cake.

Yes, it was from a mix.

Yes, the frosting was from a can.

No, I'm not Martha Stewart.

My mom wanted a chocolate cake with rainbow-chip white frosting (because, let's be honest, how AWESOME is rainbow-chip?), so I set out to make it.

I like to cook. And I like to bake. But I'm not a cutesy baker, nor am I even a creative baker (usually), so decorating a cake seemed a daunting task. But it turned out pretty nice, if I do say so myself!

Ummmm...here was where I had two pictures of the cake to show you. But...my photos won't upload to Blogger. Hopefully I can fix the problem and edit this later. Suffice it to say, I made a cake. And it will be delicious.

Technology. *sigh*

-The GLS

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sticks and String.

You know, it's funny how hobbies ebb and flow. I hadn't even given a thought to the fact that I hadn't been knitting, lately, until my mom mentioned it last week. So I found a pattern for a slouchy hat and whizzed my way through it, starting late last night and ending about ten minutes ago.

I'll post pics tomorrow, since the knitting is done but the hat is still sans decorations (because, you know, I'm all about at least a LITTLE bit of embellishment).

This post is also by way of an apology, because I didn't post last night, and this is because I couldn't stop knitting this stupid hat. It became a night of "just one more row! one more row!" and I was up pretty late.

Now, to buttons and pom-poms and fringe, oh my.

-The GLS

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Starting Tonight...

(Tonight's soundtrack: "I Wanna Be Loved" by The Andrews Sisters. Classic.)

So, awhile ago I wrote this post in which I extolled the virtues of tiny Le Creuset casserole dishes. However, after doing some research, I determined that they were WAY out of my price range and would stay that way.

And then PCC happened. And this was the result:



Yep. There's four of them. They were $12 each. Ummm...I can't pass that up. And aren't they adorable? Yes, in this photo they are sitting on my roof. Because that's the only place where there was enough light left to take a picture. I don't make a habit of keeping cookware on my roof.

I also got a haircut, today! You can't really tell unless you're me. Frankly, it's probably the first time I've walked out of a salon feeling good about the way it went down.

(shallow)
I'm growing my hair out, because I haven't had it long since high school. However, because my hair is thick and curly, it inevitably gets too much weight around the ENDS and drags the stuff on my head down flat, so I look like a cocker spaniel. Today I finally asked someone to give me a shape other than triangular. And she delivered! I feel really good about it. I also feel really good about the fact that it was only $28. I mean...it could have been a LOT WORSE.
(/shallow)

Anyway, here's a rough idea of how it turned out:



Yep! I like it. I say "rough" idea because you probably can't even tell the difference. But I can. And that's what matters.

Especially for 28 bucks.

Hey, big spender.

-The GLS

Friday, August 13, 2010

Go Fish for Trinkets.

I bought a few lovely things today.

One, I finally found a peasant skirt that I like the color of AND that actually looks halfway decent on me.

Two, I found a print of Mr. Jeremy Fisher (a Beatrix Potter character) for my redone bathroom.

And three...my birthday present to myself.

I'm a little giddy with glee. How cute are those? I've been ogling them for awhile.

Also...tomorrow there may be a subtle but important aesthetic change to my general appearance. We'll see if I decide to splurge on it. Hint: it has to do with the unruly bush growing atop my scalp.

-The GLS

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Because...

It's my birthday, today! And I am 22 years old!

The kids I work with said I look taller. And gave me pictures they had drawn. Of princesses, ice cream, bridges, and Adam Clayton from U2 (no...I don't care to explain).

I ate my weight in Thai food and walked down to the beach near where I live.

I spent time with friends.

I laughed a lot.

The gaiety will continue tomorrow with fancy yummy dinner out.

But for now? What is my gift to myself?

Tonight is the second night of the Perseid Meteor Shower. And I don't have work in the morning. So I'm gonna be up for awhile, I think, counting stars.

And if you watch it, too, it's like we're sitting side by side!

Goodnight, lovely people.

-The GLS

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Be Vewwy Quiet...

(I went to a speakeasy last night.)

...SHHHHH!!...

(It was very secretive. No neon signs. Just a doorbell on a faceless building.)

I said SHHHHHH!!

(Had a Pimms & Pomegranate. Was served by a man in a waistcoat.)

(Have I mentioned I love waistcoats?)

Oh yeah. SHHHHH!!!

(There was a chandelier. And reservations are made by text message.)

Do I need to say it again?

(It was fun. I'll be back. But you didn't hear that from me.)

-The GLS

PS: This is a true story, by the way. There's a speakeasy on Capitol Hill, and it's awesome. But I ain't telling you where it is, because I like to think I'm in on some sort of top secret knowledge that few Seattlites know. Which is probably untrue. But it's my birthday tomorrow; don't burst my bubble.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Distrust, Fireballs, and Green Apples.

Today...was a weird day.

Usually I find some sort of rhythm, even on cloudy days.

But today, no such rhythm existed. It was a strange, floaty kind of day.

It wasn't altogether pleasant. But it also wasn't terrible. I'm looking forward to some sun, later in the week. It might make things a little clearer-feeling.

But last I left my characters, they were eating green apples from a mysterious source and one of them was about to pull a gun on the other.

(That's how I roll.)

I'd hate to leave them floating like that, because I know how it feels. So I'm going to get back to them.

Goodnight.

-The GLS

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Flying Purple People Eater.

To continue with what appears to be a "People of Gutsiness" series, I hereby give tonight's gutsiness points to Sheb Wooley, famous for acting roles in numerous 1950's and 60's Westerns, including some personal favorites of mine (being High Noon and Rawhide).

I watched High Noon this evening, again. Seriously brilliant movie. I don't care if it was made in 1952, it's still fantastic. And Sheb gets to play a bad guy, which is fun if you've ever watched him be good ol' Pete in Rawhide.

But Sheb's gutsy points are not due to being a fantastic actor, nor are they given for being ruggedly handsome (which, you know, he is). No, Sheb's gutsy points are awarded for this monstrosity.

Don't watch unless you have a strong stomach. And speakers that turn way down.

But really, we have to be thankful to Sheb for something like that. Because honestly, without songs like the above, how would we be able to discern what is good and wholesome in this world?

My hat is off to you, Sheb. I think I'll stick with watching you act instead of listening to you sing. Makes me more inclined to like you.

-The GLS

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sodo Mojo.

Tonight's Points of Gutsiness go to Franklin Gutierrez of the Seattle Mariners.

It's okay, Frankie. It can't be easy to stand in front of thousands of screaming (and not-so-screaming) fans in the bottom of the 9th, 2 strikes, 2 outs, and no possible chance of success...and then strike out.

My hat is off to you, Gutierrez, for even trying. We still love you. Even if you made us groan in anguish.

But then, the Mariners tend to have that effect on people.

-The GLS

Friday, August 6, 2010

Garlic Spray, Please.

Five Good Reasons to get a Rooftop Herb Garden:

1) Fresh herbs. Duh.

2) You can worry over something other than homework, work-work, or housework. You can even worry over them while you're DOING homework, work-work, or housework.

3) You can bring up your herbs in anecdotes and conversations, in lieu of children or pets, and carry pictures of them in your wallet.

4) You can feel connected to nature, especially when an errant earwig attacks you from under a ceramic pot.

And finally...

5) It's just a really great excuse to go climbing on your roof at all hours of the day or night.

This list brought to you by an amateur horticulturalist who has just discovered POWDERY MILDEW (grrrrrrrrr!) on her lemon thyme plant. Hoping to treat the poor thing tomorrow, but until then...I needed to list the reasons I am glad I am gardening. For my own edification, you see.

Dreaming of happy herbs...

-The GLS

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Stars, The Moon!

Okay.

This Florence & The Machine business needs to stop.

But not tonight.

I fully intend to buy the album "Lungs" in a few precious moments.

And I can't stop listening to "Cosmic Love".

This is madness.

Gotta go open iTunes.

-The GLS

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

You Better Run!

Tonight's soundtrack, "Dog Days" by Florence & The Machine. To make it better, watch the video as well. She's trippy in the best possible way. :)

I'm too lazy to go back and check, but I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this here before. As a writer, I have a REALLY hard time writing villains. I don't know why this is, although I think it has to do with being perhaps a bit too sympathetic. I honestly can't see anyone as irredeemable, and I never write villains that are self-servingly vile, because they don't seem realistic.

I mean, let's be honest...Adolf Hitler and his ilk are rare enough that we notice and remember forever.

My philosophy on villains can be pretty well summed up here.

Ah well. Perhaps that is tonight's writing assignment: a fantastic villain, redeemable or not. Let's get to it.

-The GLS

Monday, August 2, 2010

Latchkeys & Light Pollution.

Tonight was supposed to be an Aurora Borealis sighting here in Washington. I looked, and I didn't see it. Interesting how your eyes show you what you want to see though, isn't it? I kept SWEARING I saw a smear of light, or a ripple in the sky, or something to show that I wasn't sitting on my roof for nothing.

To be honest, even though I'm fairly sure I didn't see Aurora, I wasn't on the roof for nothing. I saw a half-dozen spectacular shooting stars and some sort of lightning storm in the east, somewhere. I think it might be Lake Chelan, which seems unlikely, but it's the only place east of here that was expecting thunderstorms tonight. And yes, I looked.

I like the sky. I like that it's huge, and I like that scientists don't really know what to do with it, sometimes. I like that Seattle weathermen are usually wrong. I like that I can see a lightning storm that's happening miles away.

What I don't like: the fact that we think we know everything there is to know, and when we don't know we come up with a half-assed theory instead of simply saying "I don't know". I also don't like light pollution. Boo on light pollution.

But supposedly the Aurora is going to flare up again at 1:00am. Am I going to stay up? Do you even have to ask?

See you sleepily tomorrow.
-The GLS

PS: Latchkey connection? "Dial M for Murder"...a GREAT Hitchcock film with a freakin' incongruous score. Go watch it...and ignore the music. I think Dmitri Tiomkin was having an off day.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

72 Angry Men.

Film Alert!

I'm back on my Western kick. This time it was "The Ox-Bow Incident" with Henry Fonda. And it was...uh...depressing, actually. Really. It was one of those 1940's films where they wanted you to think at the end. Which I don't mind, but I was kinda hoping for a good old-fashioned shoot 'em up. And instead, you're given tragic irony. I hate tragic irony. It bugs the heck out of me.

Well, back to my Civil War research. Did you know that there was a place in the Indian Territory (Oklahoma, now) that was called Honey Springs? And that there was quite the decisive battle there, in which white soldiers were the minority? Mostly it was African American and Native American regiments fighting. I had no idea. Makes me want to write stuff. I believe I will.

-The GLS

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Multipass.

By the by, all you budding film students out there who want to know whether "Editor" could be a fun job...

Go watch The Fifth Element, and tell me that the editing alone in that movie isn't one of the funniest characters in scifi.

Anyway.

Purchases of gutsiness, today!

I'm wearing these RIGHT NOW, in fact:



Yes, these are my new PLAID headphones.

I love them.

They make the Sacred Harp music I've been listening to really rock.

Well, sort of.

I think it's time to open up GarageBand and start recording some craziness.

-The GLS

Friday, July 30, 2010

A Most Peculiar Day.

I'm doing a lot of research on Antarctica at the moment. Don't ask me why. It's an arduous tale.

Today was a very odd day. My dad has a major virus (he's okay, honest...), I had to give myself an olive oil hair treatment (yeah, don't ask), and my creative breakthrough kind of, sort of, struck me full-on as I was walking back from Tully's to work on my fifteen minute break. It was...jarring. And it kind of has to do with Antarctica. Kind of.

In any case, my mom and I watched the remake of "South Pacific" with Glenn Close tonight. We love that movie. I haven't seen the original, but I HAVE seen Rossano Brazzi as de Becque, and...wow. The original may be a classic, but Rade Sherbedgia is amazing in the new one. And not made of cardboard. Which is, you know, a plus.

See, this is the kind of day I'm having. I've degenerated into talking about obscure actors in obscure roles (not that South Pacific is obscure...but...it kind of is, anymore...which is sad...).

And I'm listening to Miley Cyrus right now.

I think I'm too off-kilter to be gutsy, at the moment.

Tune in tomorrow.

-The GLS

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Stick Up For Yourself, Son.

There's something really, really big on my creative horizons.

I can just feel it.

It's there, lurking between the five potted herbs on my roof and the name Harkness Mushgrove III. It's weedling into thoughts of Confederate Army uniforms, subterranean civilizations, and needlessly complex linguistics. It's wrapped in a burlap hood, eating a plum sandwich, and galloping across the barren landscapes of my brain on a Gypsy Vanner mare.

Now, if only I could find a way to find it, tackle it to the ground, and tickle it until it submits to my authority.

Maybe I'll start by investigating my roof and see what turns up.

Ten bucks says it's fairies.

-The GLS

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mrs. Beran's Tobosch Torte.

I have a lot of cookbooks.

One for soups. One for grilled cheese sandwiches. One for Irish soups and breads, one for homestyle vegetarian, and one for farmer's market finds. One devoted to teas, and one devoted to canning and preserving. Two bread bibles, one blank recipe book for writing down favorites, and one large encyclopedia of herbs. I also got one recently detailing how to stock a creative, earth-friendly, and rustic pantry.

But the newest one is probably the most meaningful of all.

It's called "In Memory's Kitchen", and in it are recipes collected from women who were being held in the Czech concentration camp called Terezin.

Now, I learned about the Holocaust starting in middle school, and I became markedly jaded about the whole thing. After reading a million books--fictional and not--and studying documentaries, and going to plays, and watching movies...you start to get desensitized. Sure, I understood that it was horrific, extraordinarily tragic, and mind-numbingly barbaric, but when you're thirteen years old your brain shuts off to the sadness and just focuses on how boring all the schoolwork is. It was a bad mistake to make, on my part.

Now, holding this book in my hand, I'm overwhelmed with a completely different side of the Holocaust. These Jewish women had been separated from their families and brought to Terezin, most of them to await extermination at Auschwitz. They were crowded together in miserable quarters, made to work, and starved to within an inch of their lives.

But in the huts, and down the work rows, while they were starving, do you know what they talked about?

Food. They exchanged recipes from their days as wives and mothers. Some in detail, some in almost none at all. And a woman named Mina Pachter collected these recipes on scraps of paper, passing them around Terezin until the war ended. Mina Pachter died in Terezin in 1944, but the recipes from the women around her were found, translated, and published in 1996.

I know it seems morbid to cook anything out of a book written by victims of the Holocaust. And maybe it seems odd to use recipes that are often incomplete, translated from a foreign language, and of a culinary tradition I was not born into.

But I've already dog-eared a few pages, and I fully intend to try Mrs. Beran's Tobosch Torte and Mrs. Weil's Farina Souffle, among others. You know why? Because that's the reason I have this book. Food was their touchstone to a world they were forced to leave behind, and food is the connection I have to these women, whom I will never meet. Maybe, in my mind, I'm still a pimply-faced middle schooler who's tired of reading Elie Wiesel and Anne Frank. But now I'm nearly 22, and I still may not be able to wrap my mind around all of the facts, and I still may be numb to all of the horror, but I sure can wrap my heart around what it means to cook, to eat, and to feel a sense of well-being based on food. And that, to me, is where the human side of the Holocaust brings me to my knees.

Yeah, it took me awhile. But I think I'm getting a little piece of my lost humanity back. It's about time.

-The GLS

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Herb-an Renewal.

The music: Ambling Alp by Yeasayer. Go forth.

Contrary to popular opinion, I wasn't sitting at home rocking back and forth sucking my thumb for the week and three days (ish) I was without Internet here. I felt like it, at times. But thanks to my brain (which won't shut off), and my need for hobbies (which won't shut up), I was able to make my own fun, starting at the end of last week.

It's all because of this new book I read, called Urban Pantry. It's fantastic. And in it, she discusses the whys and hows of planting a rooftop herb garden.

Now, this was revolutionary, because I've had a flat roof for as long as I've lived in this house, but due to a screen on my window I never felt the need to use it for anything.

After discussing the idea with my mom (she of the green thumb and, up til then, a daughter disinterested in her favorite hobby) she wholeheartedly helped me pop the screen out of my window and set up the beginnings of my very own rooftop garden.

Thanks to the fact that I can't let anything go once I've had the inspiration, I started last Friday by buying two thyme plants: one English thyme, and one Lemon thyme. So, my wee garden started out quite small. One concrete pot, two thyme starts, and a tiny ceramic cottage.



But could I stop there? Do you even need to ask?

Sifting through my herb encyclopedia, I dog-eared a few herbs that I wanted. The criteria would be:

1) Happy in small containers.
2) Have multiple uses (not JUST for a particular sort of food/medicinal effect).
3) Be able to flower, eventually. Because I like bees. I can't help myself.
4) Not necessarily the herbs everyone THINKS of when they think of herbs.

Now, not quite a week later, my wee garden is still fairly wee, but it has definitely expanded. A few more miniature houses*, some Value Village pots, and some bricks (that my mom says have "character") later, my garden looks like this:



Sorta fun, no? The cast of characters, left to right: black candle holder (not an herb, obviously), chamomile (in the teapot), curry (tall one in the back), the thyme twins (I think I'll call them Simon and Garfunkel), Miss Katherine-variety pink lavender (tall and stately, she is), and dwarf marjoram (which is essentially mild oregano).

So far they seem to be loving the full sun they get all day, and my hope is that they'll grow big and strong, winter over, and give me a lovely crop and happy flowers next year. :)

The moral of the story is, happy things can still happen when the Internet goes away. You DO realize there was a world before Internet, don't you?

Happily blogging again,

-The GLS

*The miniature houses are not just to be cutesy. I happen to have more than my fair share of them, and it seemed a fun way to display them. And, you know, why not?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Oh, Mr. Postman?

The mail is a funny thing. I'm waiting on a few things to arrive in it.

Like my new modem. And the tickets to the way-cool festival I'm attending at the end of the summer. And my bank statements (except I'm pretty sure I went paperless a LONG time ago...what's the deal?).

But as infurating as it is to wait...I like snail mail. I like that it's slow, for some reason. I like the anticipation. I like chewing my fingernails and staring at my walls for days and days just HOPING that the mailman will bring good news.

Okay, scratch that last one. That's pathetic.

But I read a letter from a friend the other day, and it made me smile, and I decided that snail mail must never die. If it ever does, I will start my own Pony Express. It'll just be me. And a messenger bag. And a pony, if I can find one (or else just my Toyota Corolla, and I will rename it "Pony"). And I will deliver your mail, never fear. It just might take me awhile, though, especially if you're sending it Airmail. Maybe I need a plane, too. Named Pony.

Care to join me? If not, would you mind donating? Because the cost of boarding a pony is pretty high. And if that falls through, gas for Pony the Corolla will be monumental. And the price of a plane can't really be chicken feed.

But maybe if it's a plane named Pony it doesn't have to be fancy.

I love snail mail.

(But I want my new modem, now.)

-The GLS

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Peaches. And Cream. Lots.

I'm blogging quickly, because I'm at the Library again and I kind of need to be getting home...

In a short time, I will be making homemade Blueberry Peach Ice Cream.

A few things I've learned already:

1) The inside of a blueberry is not, in fact, blue. It is fleshy whitish green. But I guess calling them Fleshy Whitish Greenberries just didn't stick.

2) Vanilla extract is not, in fact, sweet. It tastes like alcohol. Which makes sense, because it usually has alcohol in it. Often bourbon, but in my case, vodka. Cheers!

3) You don't even WANT to know how much cream is in ice cream. Seriously, you really don't. But I don't, in fact, care.

Happy Sunday!

-The GLS

Friday, July 16, 2010

Mr. Murphy, I Presume?

You may be thinking to yourself, "Say, GLS, you're posting awfully early, ain't you?" (you often use 'ain't' in your inward conversations, by the way).

And yes, I AM posting early! But that's because I'm posting from the library.

...do you want to know WHY I'm posting from the library?

Of course you do.

Because...because...

I HAVE A NEW MACBOOK PRO!!!!!!! :D

Now you may be saying to yourself, "Say, GLS, that doesn't make sense. If you have a new MacBook Pro, why ain't you using it to post instead of posting from the library?"

Fantastic question. The answer is that I no longer have Internet at my house. Because of my MacBook Pro.

"...?"

That's right. See, I went and bought my new baby (it's SO SHINY!!) and brought it home, and when I tried to hook it up to my wireless it wouldn't connect. But my old Powerbook always worked just fine.

"Hmmm."

Exactly. So I called Verizon, and a very nice lady named Linda (they have REALLY improved their customer service since a year ago) tried to puzzle with me on this problem for about an hour and a half. And by the end of it, the modem, who would NOT be upgraded nosiree, triumphantly fizzled and died.

Linda was mortified, I actually laughed (because, really?) and the upshot is that Verizon is sending me a new updated modem because it was pretty much their fault.

So, I not only get a fancy shmancy new laptop, but a new modem out of the deal, too! I'm kind of on cloud 9 right now.

The only issue? I have to wait for the new modem. Which means no home Internet for about a week. But that's okay. I can deal. The library is very close.

And a sincere thanks to Linda for bearing with my weird computers and weird modems and their weird relationships with one another for WAY longer than she had to. Hats off to you, Tech Service Lady. :D

And that, darlings, is why I'm posting so early.

Now ain't that a fine story?

-The GLS

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Salmon Rillette: A Love Story.

I'm really full.

No, seriously.

My parents and I spent the day exploring an island north and across the channel from where we live. It was a beautiful day, and I may have fallen in love with the idea of living on an island (in dreamspeak, not necessarily in a practical sense). The water was gorgeous, the views spectacular, and there was enough antique architecture to keep me whipping my head back and forth, trying to catch every house as we drove past. Rolling hills and lush forests...gah! What a place.

But the FOOD. So much delicious FOOD. We stopped for lunch on the north-ish part of the island in an adorable little town (who am I kidding, the whole island is full of cute little towns...but I digress...) and went to lunch at a family-run bakery there. I ordered a turkey and cranberry cream cheese sandwich with lettuce on homemade whole wheat bread...with a side of African peanut soup.

Holy cow. African peanut soup is a revelation! The sandwich was almost forgettable next to a bowl of that luscious stuff! Sweet with curry-like spice and full of tomatoes, rice, peanuts (of course), and green peppers. Rawr...so good.

After driving around for a few more hours, we got hungry again, so we stopped at ANOTHER cute little town and realized that their bistro was in the middle of happy hour. So we ordered wine (I got rose...which was quite nice) and then proceeded to go crazy with the happy hour menu.

I need to get this off my chest. We ordered...

-Salmon rillette (a salmon spread with capers and served with crackers)
-Pork rillette (same diff...but with pork)
-Cashel blue cheese (Irish cheese, and it makes you want to cry...it's like butter)
-Burrata (Caprese salad, basically...tomato slices with basil, fresh mozzarella, and olive oil/vinegar)
-Green salad
-Warm marinated olives
-Bread and butter

Seriously. It was bad. There was THREE OF US AT THE TABLE. We left there feeling a bit...stuffed?

BUT, get this: Though I'm not a huge fan of olives, the BEST part about the olive plate was that the little things were served in the tiniest green Le Creuset I have ever seen! It was probably 3.5 inches in diameter! I squealed when it came to the table, I had never seen anything so wonderful! And now I need one.

Oh, I shouldn't even admit this. But we also ordered molten chocolate cake for dessert. What is our collective problem? And why do I not feel as guilty as I probably should?

Because it was delicious, that's why.

Off to research the prices for tiny Le Creuset. Excuse.

-The GLS

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Oh Captain, My Captain...

I'm listening to "Evacuate" by the Boxer Rebellion. It's like a party and a revolution all rolled into one, and it makes me want to scream my barbaric YAWP while running along the edge of Puget Sound. Yep. Music has an interesting effect on me.

I have a barbaric YAWP, and I also have a place to which my mind and body--nay, my soul--has to go before I can sound it aloud to the world.

Music does it to me, mostly. Fantastic conversations. Illuminating discoveries. Sentences so perfectly crafted they make me want to laugh and cry and rip things apart and patch things back together again. Maps of foreign countries. Instances where love wins out. Tears for no reason at all, or for every reason in the world.

In that paradoxical contradiction--between supreme emotions that do not often live together--I find what I believe to be bits and pieces of the eternal. Things that God leaves for us to know what it is to live forever in longlasting joy. The kind of joy that makes you want to implode. The kind of joy that comes from deep, deep, and goes higher than anything. Sweeping, glorious, breathtaking, scandalous joy.

The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains of my gab and my loitering.

I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric YAWP over the rooftops of the world.

(Walt Whitman)

-The GLS

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Con Te Partiro...

The above, according to Andrea Bocelli, means "Time To Say Goodbye". I don't know if that's true. But regardless, it may be time to express that sentiment to the dear almost 10-year-old PowerBook G4 on which I write this message.

Seriously, this has been an awesome computer. It was the first Mac I ever owned, and has permanently converted me to Appleism. But it's also getting to the point where it's running slow, overheating, and just plain behind on the times. I love it dearly, but it was secondhand when I got it, and I think I need to be with someone new.

The gutsy part? I have NEVER bought a new computer for myself. I've never walked into a store and said, "Umm...gimme." and handed them my debit card. Truth be told, I've never had enough money saved up. But I do, now, thanks to some generous gifts from my beloved family for my graduation in June. I've always had secondhand computers, and the one "given" to me my freshman year by the university I attended was great...but I didn't pick it. They picked it for me.

I'm pretty thrilled at the prospect of buying a new computer, and I think I know what I want, but before I make any choices I'm gonna saunter into the nearest Apple Store and ask some serious questions. Like, "What does this button do?" and "Is that amount in dollars or in Icelandic krona?"

This should be fun.

-The GLS

Monday, July 12, 2010

Old Time Movies.

It's important to remember that classics are classic for a reason, and that there's nothing wrong with cut-and-dried good vs. evil cheesy lovely entertainment once in awhile.

For instance, is there anything like an old episode of Rawhide to bring a family together? To make a group of three tired people collapsed on their sofas suddenly rise in loud cheering and triumphant applause* when old Jeremiah Walsh strikes the axe home and dumps the whole tankard of buffalo whatsit on the two outlaw bad guys, while Gil Favor covers from the cabin? Not only saving himself and his homestead, but saving also the trail boss and the random photographer? Causing his young wife to see him as being more attractive than she ever thought possible?

Well, is there??

I thought not.

Color TV good. Black and white BETTER.

-The GLS

*True story. I think the neighbors are concerned.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bread, Cheese, Ham, and Jam.

I should probably stop entering blog giveaways. But I won't. So...yeah. Nevermind.

Today was a culinarily ambitious day. This morning I woke up and immediately ran to PCC to buy some pretty awesome ingredients for today's lunch. Ready for it? Tomato gazpacho (from Martha Stewart, modified by moi) and grilled mozzarella, prosciutto, and fig jam sandwiches (from my Grilled Cheese cookbook).

I started the gazpacho this morning before church, because it needed a chance to chill. I pureed the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, a dab of pesto, and fresh rosemary and put it in a glass container to chill in the fridge.

On the way HOME from church, I suddenly recalled that I had forgotten to both add and even PURCHASE a key ingredient for the gazpacho: tomato juice. Otherwise it's just pureed tomato fluff.

Raced to the grocery store, bought the juice, and headed home to save the soup.

The soup was saved (never fear) and as my parents arrived home I started the sandwiches. Ciabatta rolls layered with the cheese, ham, and jam. Lightly buttered on the outside, then set on a hot griddle and weighted down with a cast-iron skillet so that they get flatter, crunchier, and more delicious.

The sandwiches were pure heaven. The gazpacho? I wasn't a fan, but my mom LOVED it. So it just goes to show you, preferences are alive and active in my household. We ate outside under the canopies still set up from our yard sale yesterday and enjoyed the sunshine. It was a lovely day.

Tonight I made a very special treat...which I can't divulge, because I'm bringing them to work tomorrow. And I don't know if anyone from work reads the blog, but on the off chance they do...I don't want to ruin it. Suffice to say, they're really good. I hope they're even better after sitting overnight. :)

My parents are watching Julie & Julia downstairs, so I'll say in closing...

"Bon Appetit!"

-The GLS

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Re-Gifting, Re-Using, Re-Loving.

I have several cookbooks open around me, because I would like to cook lunch for tomorrow and I'm trying to figure it all out. I'm thinking some lovely chilled Gazpacho, plus a grilled sandwich of some sort. Got to give it more thought.

In other news, today for several hours there was a rather intense yard sale happening in our yard. Hence the name.

We put TONS of stuff out. Truth be told, we didn't get a lot of customers (although we put out signs and everything), but we did get a few. And our big-ticket items sold, which was nice.

But it puts me in a wistful, contemplative mood thinking about how awesome it is to pass unused things from our possession into others'. And I know that people buy things they don't need, and yard sale purchases may languish in garages or sheds for years until THEY choose to sell it, but that's not always the case.

The lady that bought our Casio keyboard made the purchase because her son has always wanted a keyboard with a lot of modes and rhythms and all, and now he can have it. The lady who bought our vintage radio bought it for her son who is a collector. The woman who bought bags of my plastic toy animals bought them for her class to play with, because she's a teacher. The gals who bought up most of my stuffed animals bought them as prizes for Bingo Night at an old folks' home.

As they left with arms full of my once-beloved stuffies, one of the ladies turned to me and said, "Don't worry. They'll be well loved."

And I almost cried. Because I'm a sap, yeah. But also because it does my heart good to see these things that I loved so well being used for a MUCH better purpose than just sitting in a bag in our cellar.

Maybe if we shared more than we threw away, and maybe if we passed along more than passed up, and maybe if we chose to give rather than keep, this world would be a much better place.

Just a thought.

-The GLS