Saturday, July 31, 2010


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.


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

Of course you do.



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.


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. 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'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

Friday, July 9, 2010


(That sound up there in the title? Yeah, that's a train whistle. Go with it.)

Things I learned from Johnny Cash's "Orange Blossom Special" Album:

1) The Orange Blossom Special is the fastest train on the line. It will also bring your baby back and help you lose the New York blues, whilst you get some sand in your shoes.

2) If you happen to resemble a certain cold-blooded killer, try really hard NOT to be sleeping with your best friend's wife the night of the murder. Not a great alibi (not that you'll actually use it).

3) It ain't me you're looking for.

4) Crime don't pay. Just ask that guy in cellblock ten, where there's a lot of strange men.

5) It's not enough just to treat your man well. You gotta try REALLY hard not to waste his precious time. But don't think twice, it's alright.

6) Suicide by drowning sounds more poetic if you call it "becoming part of the flow"...but it's still drowning.

7) Before you choose to eskimo-hop with Red-Headed Lil at the Red Dog Saloon in Fairbanks, PLEASE make sure she doesn't have a jealous fiance sitting nearby. Seriously.

I don't know what inspired the previous bit of lunacy. It seemed important at the time.

-The GLS

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Word on The Word. Yo.

Scripture memorization is one of those funny things.

If you've never tried it, then just take my word for it.

One knows that it's important, and once one STARTS to memorize it comes fairly easily, but just the word MEMORIZATION sends people--meaning me--into a tailspin. Right back to high school drama, which I absolutely ADORED. I loved the being on stage, I loved the backstage craziness, I loved the people, I loved the long days and cramming homework into all of it. Rawr, good stuff.

The only catch? I didn't like to memorize.

It's not that I COULDN'T memorize, I just had a very stubborn streak that refused to see the fun in memorization. It was too much pressure and not enough action. It was boring. It was stuffy.

In any case, now that I'm trying to memorize bits of pieces of God's Word, I'm finding that I'm enjoying all of the same hang-ups and misgivings all over again. But this time, there's the extra added benefit of knowing that memorizing a play may be the biggest deal for a few weeks, but memorizing a scripture passage? Kind of a big deal forever.

So here goes. Without looking, Ephesians 6:10-13 (I need to memorize to 20 eventually, but we're taking baby steps, here) in the ESV:

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."

*does a quick check against the wee little green ESV sitting nearby*

Whew! Pretty darn close. Verses 14-20, here we come!

Gutsy scripture memorization? We're blogging about gutsy scripture memorization?

Er, yeah. For now.

-The GLS

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Don't Talk With Your Mouth Open.

There are a lot of words beating each other up in my brain right now, trying to be the first to escape through my mouth. So I'll keep things as controlled as I can. Some of the words will just have to stay in my brain where they won't do any damage, but I'll let these incongruous and innocent ones out:

1) Seattle Symphony is amazing, and so is Bugs Bunny.

2) I am happy that summer has finally deigned to show its face around these parts. I actually got *gasp* SWEATY today!

3) I bought a new tinwhistle. Stop rolling your eyes at me, I had a credit at my favorite folk music store. Why are you still rolling your eyes?

4)It's hard not to say things you really want to say, but you know it either won't make a difference or won't make a GOOD difference...or both.

Yep, that's it.

Oh more...

5) Someday I want to attend a performance of Wagner. The whole nine yards. Lohengrin, perhaps? Let's work on that.

-The GLS

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Brightly Lit Corners.

Go and get yourself some Emmylou Harris to listen to. Now. I'll wait.


Okay, here's the thing: my desk is currently aglow between three candles and one Little Red Kerosene Lamp That Could, so I'm pretty much in my version of earthly heaven.

(For the record...that red thing is not the kerosene lamp. It's a glassybaby.)

I took the day off of work, today. I also got a lot done, between marking up stuff for our impending garage sale (a several-hour process) and shopping for new jeans (highly important). But I also had time to pick up some new essentials.

I stopped by the bookstore today and made a beeline for the cookbooks, and picked up one that is entirely devoted to grilled cheese sandwiches. No joke. 50 recipes for different kinds of grilled cheese sandwiches, plus a few soups, salads, and toppings to go with. The pictures are making me drool all over the keyboard. Please excuse. I also picked up a Vegetarian cookbook out of mere curiosity at the range of things possible without meat, and also because the amount of curry recipes within make me want to cry. In a good way.

Besides, I have an uncanny ability to befriend vegetarians, usually without my immediate knowledge, and I'm sure I'll meet many more over the course of the rest of my life. Best to be prepared as a cook for whatever life throws your way, right? Right.

The mixture of smells in my room right now is making me dizzy. Kerosene and two scented candles, plus the Eucalyptus-Spearmint room spray I may or may not have over-sprayed in an effort to fully enjoy the scent. So sue me, it's nice.

Yep, this is a little corner of my world. In this picture alone you can see three hurricane lamps, if you look hard enough. And lots of candles. And the giraffes that my dad brought back from Kenya for me. And one of the set of six drinking glasses I may or may not have stolen from my married friends. But they didn't want them, as I recall, so I think we're good. That teacup and that fan were both my Nana's. I'll let you decide which of the two is actually authentically old. That purple feather is the top of my quill pen, and ring is my Claddagh. And that pitcher full of stuff? It has a bouquet of daisies and cornflowers (fake) in it, as well as knitting needles (not fake). Then there's the flowerpot full of pens and pencils, and the wall covered in photos. And my (not quite exact) quote from Rabbi Heschel: "I asked for wonder, and He gave it to me."

I think everyone needs a corner like this one. Well, not exactly like it. But something similar. Where everything just seems right. And good.

Anyway. About to pass out from the fumes. G'night.

-The GLS

Monday, July 5, 2010

I Have Met the Enemy and It Is Plastic.

I'm sitting here in a striped cardigan, with Paul & Art (yep, we're tight) spinning on the phonograph and a room that has spent all day under seige. Bags of recycling old schoolwork, bags of trash, bags of things to sell, bags of clothes that didn't fit me even when I bought them. Bags and bags and boxes and boxes.

Out of curiosity, since when did plastic become the height of aesthetic? Yeah, okay since never. I know. It merely became the height of convenience, didn't it? It's cheaper, and easier, and simpler.

And uglier.

Let's just be honest. Plastic is pretty ugly. Sure, pretty things can be DONE with it, but usually the things that surround us made of plastic were not designed with beauty in mind. Utility, maybe. Ease of cleaning, sure. But style? Not necessarily.

I know I'm a sap, but I have a Luddite depreciation for plastic. I use it, of course, when necessary. Where would I be without my vinyl records? Or my electric kettle, which is sturdy white plastic? Or the pens and mechanical pencils I use every day? Plastic is here to stay, of course, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

So I flew in the face of plastic today. Three times! First, I replaced a garish yellow plastic tub that had housed my nail polish since...what...fourth grade (?)...with a tiny wooden crate purchased secondhand from Value Village. Looks nicer, and now the yellow tub can go into the garage sale pile and be purchased by someone who actually likes it and will use it for the eons it will last. Thanks for lasting forever, plastic.

Second...well, and third...I bought two glass bottles. You know the ones. With the skinny necks and little pour spouts on them for oil and vinegar. But they're not FOR oil and vinegar. Not in my room, heck no. The small one is for liquid hand soap, yessir. And the bigger one with a cork in the top is for the honey I pour in my tea. Now the one is sitting next to my bathroom sink, and the other is very demurely waiting beside my electric kettle. And oh, don't they look so much better than plastic!

Now, to be truly eco-friendly I have to find a way of buying both honey and soap in bulk and refilling the bottles dutifully. We'll see how that goes.

However, plastic always wins, in the end.

I used my (quite plastic) debit card to buy the stuff.


-The GLS

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Hip Hooray for the Plaid, White and Blue!

(That's...what I was wearing today. Don't judge me.)

There's something about the Fourth of July that brings out the giddy little kid in me. I didn't realize it until this year, either. Something fun about the idea of barbecue, wearing the national colors, and watching the fireworks surrounded by friends and family. I get all excited, and a little choked up, and I'm not even sure why.

Granted, this year was pretty staid, as far as celebrations go. We had an ENORMOUS meal at my grandpa's house, and I even made peach cobbler (which was REALLY good...I blame the cast iron for that...). But it was raining at my grandpa's house, and it didn't feel like July, and it was easy to be ho-hum and irritated about the whole thing. know what? I love this country. Sure, I don't always agree with the direction it's going. And sure, I don't think we're always right. And sure, I feel stupid by default sometimes in foreign countries when I tell them where I'm from.

But I'm also related to several veterans, and friends with several more. And I can still appreciate the image of the flag waving in the breeze. And I'm not so jaded that I can't get down on my knees and thank God for a country where we're free enough to complain without fear of arrest. And I can still get a little choked up when I sit on the roof, wearing several layers in July, and listen to the explosions all up and down the coast and hear the cheering and KNOW that all across the nation there are millions more voices cheering, too.

I can still appreciate what has been done for me, and is CONTINUING to be done for me every day by people braver than I am. I may be a prospective hobbit wife, but I can still appreciate all that.

And for the record? Someday, my Fourth of July celebrations are going to be epic. There will be an enormous and thoroughly casual barbecue with free-flowing drinks and more peach cobbler than you could ever imagine. And when the darkness sets in, there will be a campfire for roasting homemade marshmallows and laughing and chatting and telling stories. Churning ice cream, checkered tablecloths, and most of all: good friends. Watching the fireworks blasting overhead and thanking God for who we are, what we are, and how we are free to live.

God bless America.

-The GLS

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Stupid Purple Scarf.

So, awhile back, I started knitting a Stupid Purple Scarf. To be fair, when I started it, it wasn't stupid yet.

It came directly on the heels of my first (inadvertent) shawl experience, the shawl which was SUPPOSED to be a scarf.

After I finished the Big Green Shawl, I still wanted to use the pattern to make a scarf, so I started a new one. Although this time, in shades of purple.

Well, I got a few stripes into it and then lost interest.

The stupid part started growing as I left the scarf un-knitted in the bottom of the basket I keep my mugs in. It took up room (being that it involved three skeins of purple yarn), it was teasing me to finish it, but I got so irritated with those darn STRIPES.

So I left it alone. For months.

Until a few nights ago, when I picked it back up and completed the pattern WITHOUT the stripes. It looked a little gawky, but at least it was DONE.

Then, I spent all of this evening putting tassles on the dumb thing. The tassles were to serve two purposes. One, to satisfy my need to put tassles on things. And two, to hide the ends of the striped section so I wouldn't have to weave them in. Because I'm lazy like that.


And when I say THICK, I mean THICK. Cushy, even.

But it's still wrapped around my neck, and it's quite warm and cozy, and it's even slightly big enough to drape around my shoulders as a shawlette.

The part you CAN'T see in these photos is that my brand new white tank top is covered in purple fuzz. But, you know, that's why this scarf is stupid.

-The GLS

Friday, July 2, 2010

Pledges and Purple and Peach Tea.

I just started on the second part of my exciting, summertime top-secret knitting project. More information as it comes, but it will certainly be fun. I think knitting in the summer is a strange, but perfectly acceptable form of entertainment. After all...knitting in the winter actually seems sort of weird. Don't you want the knitting DONE by winter so you can actually use it? Of course you do.

I'm also going to make a pledge to either frog or finish some of the projects that have been sitting around for months, like the Stupid Purple Scarf I started in, like, January. Finish the dang sucker, you!! So I will.

This holiday weekend is going to be very busy, very fun, and very full. Celebrations, cookery, knitting, books to read, music to listen to, baby showers to attend. So much hobbitness! Yikes! I can hardly wait to get started!

But for now, this week has completely mowed me over and I feel a cold coming on. So, if you'll excuse me, I'll leave you now so I can go sip some peach black tea and finish the Stupid Purple Scarf.

-The GLS

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Gutsy Little Novel...

Hobbies and passions are funny things. One day, you can be minding your own business, dabbling happily in a little knitting, a little cooking, ho-humming your way through life. Here a little singing, there a little picking at the piano. Nothing crushing. Nothing particularly inspiring. Just a bit of a muddle of things to do.

And old novel idea that has troughed and crested its way through your psyche for five years suddenly shows up, smacks you upside the head, and DEMANDS to be made front and center once again.

So now, I'm dragging out old inspiring songs on the iPod, looking for the best and most portable (but still thick enough/correctly-ruled) notebooks, and quivering with the excitement that only writing gives me.

Understand, I've been happily writing short stories here and there for a little while, so I don't think I'm going to leap into writing this stupid thing again full-tilt. This idea has a sign on it that reads CAUTION: VEHICLE MAKES FREQUENT STOPS.

But it's worth dragging out, dusting off, and trying again. Here a little sketching, there a few notes, character motivations, maps of unfamiliar landscapes, research of cultures and references, all that stuff that I get really excited just THINKING about! After all, if it's stuck with me this long and gone through this many adaptations, there must be SOMETHING to it, right?

Now, where do you suppose I could find a Moleskine at 11:00pm?

-The GLS