Sunday, December 18, 2011

I just don't want to eat anymore

In the last week, I have eaten enough food to sustain three average Americans.

Work has been a parade of sugar.  I have been too tired to cook, so I have been fast-fooding it.  Last night was my mother's birthday, and we went out to dinner.  I had a slab of prime rib that was far too big for one person.  Finished it, and a cupcake afterwards.  Today, I was experimenting with pie-in-a-jar recipes, because I'm teaching a food-themed camp next week and I wanted to figure out if it was easy enough for kids to do.  It is, and it's delicious.

I feel gross, however.  I really don't like the idea of eating more food this week.

Tomorrow the roommate is having people over, and I promised I'd make my Eye of Newt.  I'm not making food with the kids tomorrow, we're going to discuss food safety and then go play games.

Tuesday is apple-butter day at camp, so I can avoid eating things there.  I'm not eating apple butter straight.  I will probably eat a lot of peelings, though.  I like peelings.  Later, I'm going to dinner at a coworker's house.  There will be an embarrassment of food.

Wednesday is Pie-in-a-jar day at camp.  I have no food related events to attend on Wednesday.

Thursday is Ladies Night at a seafood place.  Not only will I eat, I will probably drink, too.  And it's s'mores day at camp.

Friday is a non-food-event day.

Saturday is dinner at Mom's house, with more prime rib.  It's great, but uuuuuugh.

Sunday is all-day food at my brother's house.  It's great, but uuuuuuugh.

Thank gods that I do not have leftover problems.  All the holiday food is staying far away from my house.

I really don't like how I feel right now.  I kind of want to do a juice cleanse, for no other reason than it doesn't involve heavy digesting.  I have a coupon for one from the local raw-organic-nosugar-nogluten-hippiedippy juice place.  Three days of green shit in a bottle?  Sounds pretty frickin good.

The pie-in-a-jar is really quite special, though.  Here's the test run.  It's not technically pie, it's a crumble, crust is a pain in the ass.  Pie is easier to say than it is to make.  Crumble is easier to make than it is to say.
How to do this:

Peel and dice an apple.  Mix it with a squeeze of lemon juice and a tablespoon of sugar.  Throw in some cinnamon, if you're feeling that way.  In a different bowl, combine a cup of rolled oats, a cup of brown sugar, 3/4 of a cup of flour, a half teaspoon of salt, and a half teaspoon of cinnamon.  Cut up a stick of cold butter into tiny bits, and then mix it into the dry goods with your fingers until it looks like damp sand.  Stick the apple into a wide mouth half pint jar, and cover it with the damp sand stuff.  Put the lid on the jar, and stick it in the freezer.  The damp sand recipe makes a ton of topping, so make many pie jars.  I used about a quarter cup of topping per jar.  

To cook your pie-in-a-jar:

Take the lid off the frozen pie jar.  Put the jar on a baking sheet to catch possible drips.  Put it in a cold oven.  Turn the oven to 375.  Once it hits 375, let it cook for 40 minutes.  Eat it right out of the jar, with whipped cream or ice cream or whatever spins your wheels.

If you don't like apples, you can use any sort of pie fruit.  It's a cup of fruit to a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of flour per jar.  Apples need more sugar and no flour because they're kind of dry.  Super juicy fruit might need a teaspoon and a half of flour, and you can adjust the sugar to taste.  Make a bunch of pies.  Use frozen fruit if you want.  Make a whole slew of tiny pies.  I have a freezer full of emergency desserts ready to rock.  Unexpected visitors?  PIE.  Shitty day at work?  PIE.  Need a last-minute thing to take to a party?  MANY PIES.

Go forth.  Play in the kitchen.  It's criminally easy.  I'm making five-year-olds do it later this week.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Comfort and Joy

So, this month we're supposed to talk about how we take care of ourselves.

I'm not sure I've ever thought about this before.  I just sort of go about my day.  

If I'm having a shitty day, and I want to make myself feel better, I'll cook one of my stock dishes.  

Something Green in a Red Sauce.  Not shown:  Pasta

Mustard Beer Beef Stew.  Not shown:  crusty bread

Vegetable Orgy.  Not shown:  Debauchery

Things never captured on camera: 

Eye of Newt (basically, Chicken A La King minus the butter, to be served with biscuits, it's unbelievable)

Sweet Potato Taco Base (cubed steamed sweet potatoes tossed with cumin, black beans, corn, and chicken, to be served with salsa, cheese, sour cream, and jalapenos, also unbelievable)

My roommate is Syrian, and sometimes I come home to this.

The hummus fairy strikes again.  She decorates mine with onions.

On a less gustatory note, I am a fan of the pedicure.  I used to be a fan of gettin my nails did, but my favorite tech moved to Texas and I'm still not finished mourning.  She was that good.  Now I just look at my hands in despair.

90% of my wardrobe is comfortable enough to fall asleep on the couch in.

My dog is rather huggable, so that's sort of a comforting thing.  I have flannel sheets and a space heater, so that's pretty comforting.

Honestly?  I think I treat myself pretty well all the time.  I don't let myself get worked up all that often, I don't generally have a stressful job, and I don't beat myself up over much.  I don't usually need to actively unwind, because I'm usually already unwound.  There are times when I overdo it, and need a vacation, but it's rare.  I think I'm probably in the minority here.

Perhaps I should go for a massage.  Ramp it up.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Yule came early this year.

I work at a nature center.  We wear staff tee-shirts (the last place I worked had polos, so I'm not complaining, at least a tee-shirt can be girlified).

Most of those shirts are shades of green and brown.  I have nothing against green and brown, except I don't generally.... you know... wear them.  Mixed into this pile of earthtones are some harvest orange shirts (not a cute color on me), some light blue shirts (stains, yo), a few navy ones (nominally acceptable), a teal one (super flattering color, but I only have one), and a pink tie-dyed one that was a sample from the printers, because I'm the only one in the office who will wear pink.

I have been lobbying for black tee shirts for the six years I have been at the nature center.  Or at least grey.  Come on, grey is a natural color.

Today, a  magic box arrived for the store manager.  What did it contain?

Black work shirts.

AND charcoal grey ones.

AND girly pink ones.

I almost passed out from glee.  I got a black one free, and I'm seriously considering buying a new work wardrobe of blackgreypink and retiring my earthtones.

I am currently painting over the white silkscreen logo on my beautiful black shirt with glittery holographic paint.  Glittery black work shirt.


Monday, December 5, 2011

30xSomeoneElse's40, and feeling snazzy

So, I'm climbing on LeProfesseurGothique's healthy bandwagon, because there is more of me than is comfortable to carry and not enough muscles to carry it all with.  My eating habits today have been rubbish.  RUBBISH.  I ate ALL the chicken masala and ALL the palak paneer and SEVERAL pieces of naan and I had onion rings at lunch, but I'm still feeling okay about life.

I did it all knowing exactly why I was doing it.  I'm having an exuberant, abundant sort of day.


I am poor.  Not in the absolutest sense, because I have a nice place to live, and a nice car, and a smartphone, and enough food on my plate.  I am poor in the sense that I have $30 in my checking account the day before payday.  I coast into payday on fumes.  I also have animals who have fantastically strange and expensive ailments, and this has put me in debt to my mother, who (bless her) has been financing my vet trips for the last 6 months.

My computer, while trusty, is nearing the end of it's useful life.  I bought it in 2005, and I've already replaced the hard drive once.  It can't be updated anymore, because nobody is running my OS, and I can't update my OS because my processor is antiquated.  It sputters.  It coughs.  It's old, and it might be time to retire before it croaks and makes the decision for me.  Not that I can afford a new computer.  Poor, remember?

Cash-poor, but I have a mother with a powerful packrat gene.  She convinced me to buy bonds on my 16th birthday, and upon graduating from college.  I had money back then.  Little rainy-day funds.

She turned to me the other day and said "I think it's raining."

By Jove, I think she's right.  So I cashed one.  AND I got paid today.   So that's sort of exciting.  I'm going to pay my rent and a few bills, and make my final car payment, and my Roth IRA contribution, and repay my vet bill debt, and then....

Then I have spending cash.  Intoxicating, intoxicating abundance.

I'm going to take the dog to the eye specialist for a checkup (she's got an eye thing).

I'm going to have her teeth cleaned (she has a stank-breath thing).

I'm going to buy a new computer, and not have to wonder what that burning smell is every time I try to watch a video.

I'm going to buy a few Giftmas presents (oh, how I like mailing presents).

And then?

Well, I'll probably squirrel the rest of it away again, for a future rainy day.

But first, I'm going to eat $26 worth of Indian food and not feel an iota of guilt.

Such abundance.  So exuberant about it.  And I have tikka masala on my hoodie.  Don't care.  Don't care.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The other yearly tradition.

A partial list of warm fuzzy cuddly platitudes, GO.
The fact that most of yesterday's list was composed of first-world problems.
Clean drinking water.
Abundant calories for me and my beasts.
Competent vets.
Gypsy hasn't done anything truly unpleasant in a long while.
The dog is better.
Those who protect and serve (most cops I know are good folks).
People who think shit through before deciding to procreate.
People who raise their kids properly.
The Toaster, even if it's getting more expensive to drive.
Fusible interfacing and zigzag stitching.
Free dental care.
A Roommate who puts up with all sorts of bizarre things.
Family who will throw me a life ring.
Friends who understand that I'm never coming from a malicious place, I'm just socially incompetent.
I'm employed, and I do not have many unpleasant tasks to perform at that job.
My bicycle.
My safe neighborhood.
My short commute.
The military and their families who loan them to us.
A very select few politicians.
Glorious internet foolery.
My dark, dark bedroom.
My roof, and all the termites holding it together.
Sudafed, Benadryl, and nasal spray.
Mortuary professionals.
(insert profession here)
Bill in the Midwest who sells me purple carpet-cleaning bacteria.
The fact that I can say "XYZ Political Leader is an idiot and a crook" and not get shot in the face for it.
The fact that I can say "I don't believe in XYZ Religious Doctrine" and not be burned at the stake for it.
Sharpie markers.
Outlets for my ranting.
My proximity to various types of ecosystems.
The goblin that returned my earring.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

This is a yearly tradition.

IIIIIII have been drinking whiskey with ginger grated into it, and I am a leetle bit drunk.  And it is the day before Thanksgiving, which means it's time to list up the things that can go right to hell.  TOmorrow will be the warm fuzzy list.

The fact that Blogger doesn't seem to remember who I am following, and constantly drops blogs from my feed, does this happen to anyone else?
Vet bills
Doggy lupus
Doggy pancreatitis
Cat diabetes
Cat shit
Cat arthritis
The sore throat I am brewing
Not being able to sleep in
Firefly getting cancelled all those years ago
The smell coming off the panels I painted in the garage yesterday
The scar on my neck
Dry cuticles
socks with blown-out heels
no cake
clogged drains
lawn that needs mowing
entitled little bastarcd children
their entitled bastard parents
being destitute
stains on the carpet
assholes in the parking lot
sinus problems
skin problems
hair that is falling out for no good reason
poor cell reception
bicyclists who seem unaware that they have to follow traffic rules too
exercise induced athsma (fuck it, how is that shit spelled?)
slow processors
Hollywood hasn't had an original idea in eons
my pants are falling apart
people who keep leaving fliers on my porch
people who don't understand that "NO SOLICITORS" applies to them
the price of gasoline
folding laundry
doing dishes
leaf blowers
people who beat up fans of rival sports teams
people who beat up other people in general
hidden cilantro
my cherry allergy
my sheep/goat allergy
all my goddamn allergies
rat tumors
rat short lifespans
rat pee everywhere
the bank parking lot
most politicians
people being dicks to each other
trainwreck dates
lack of dates in general
the clogged drain
whatever is making that clanging sound outside, is that from an airplane?  Airplanes should not make that noise.
Okay, I think I'm done now.  I will write happy shit tomorrpow.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Because it makes me happy.

I have a tattoo.  Two, actually, but only one is visible most of the time.  He's on the inside of my left wrist, and he's about the size of a nickel.  He's nothing fancy, just there to amuse me.
This is Doug.  He's a dung beetle.  I could say all sorts of pithy things about life being akin to a giant ball of crap that we have to roll around, and if you're happy with your crap then you win at life, or about how it's the ancient Egyptian ideogram for creation or beginning... but truth is, I just like dung beetles.  I think they're funny and charming.

I teach children.  I don't wear a watch.  The children see my tattoo.

At least twice a week, I am asked by a child (interrupted mid-sentence, usually) "WHY DO YOU HAVE A BUG TATTOO?"

I usually just reply "I like bugs."  It is true.

What amuses me about this little exchange is that they always look faintly disappointed in my answer, like they were expecting some elaborate story.  Part of me wants to supply that story.

"I was raised by beetles.  This is a portrait of my grandmother."

"I was living in the jungles of the Congo, and a beetle crawled under my skin and lived there for a while.  One day, he left.  I missed him, so I tattooed his image there to remember him."

"I am actually a superhero, and this is my identification mark so other superheroes can recognize me when I'm not in my uniform."

"What tattoo?  I don't have a tattoo.  I have no idea what you're talking about."

Just for kicks, here's my other tattoo.  His name is Ogdred.  He's on my heel.
Five points if you can identify his source art.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Naked November

I finished my assignment early, because my weekend is being eaten by a scheduled appearance on our local morning news.  I am presenting a furoshiki workshop, and they wanted to do a 3 minute bit about it on Sunday morning, so I have to drive up to LA and teach the anchors how to wrap a gift in fabric in about a minute and a half.  Local news glory, here I come.  GOOD THING I'M AWESOME.

I do not have a problem showing my naked face to the world.  I prefer to put on eyebrows, but that is because they do not exist past the arch.  They fell out recently.  So did many of my eyelashes, and a good amount of the hair along my hairline.  The doctors say I'm fine.  Probably just stress.

I generally don't wear makeup (except eyebrows) to work.  I always look very tired, because I have allergies beyond compare, but I don't care.  

Here is me, today, on my couch, after work.  I am not even wearing eyebrows, because I cut bangs again and now you can't see that they aren't there.
That's an impressive dark circle.  That, my friends, is the work of acacia pollen.

I think I look like a Muppet a lot of the time.  I also have very little visible eyelid. 

I act like a Muppet a lot of the time, too.  Also visible in this photo are my wonky tooth, my rather attractive nose, and the aforementioned Impressive Dark Circle.

I am of the firm belief that lighting is more important than makeup.  Exhibit A:  wearing only eyebrows, eyeliner, and a smile.  I don't even have any concealer on.  Still no eyelids. 
I have big teeth.  All the better to eat you with, my dear!  >chomp<

I do have a story to share about my face, however.  It is not entirely natural.  Not only are my teeth the product of years of orthodontic work and some cosmetic bonding, but my chin is not the one I was born with.  

I have had elective cosmetic surgery.  I am not shy about it in the least.

My father's side of the family has no jawline to speak of.  Our chins just slowly drip into our necks.  It's easy enough to disguise in pictures from the front, but from the side it's really noticeable.  Now, I am not alone in having this trait.  Many people have this same look, and I do not loathe it on them.  I loathed it on myself.  I can handle my dark circles, and my lidless eyes, and my intensely furrowed brow, and my farmer tan, and my beer gut, and any of a dozen other "flaws."  I just hated my chin.  I have hated it since I became aware of it, somewhere around the age of 11.  

Here is the picture that I refer to as the "Before" shot.  It was taken by the photographer at my dear friend's wedding reception.  I have no idea why he thought it was a good idea to get on the floor and look up at everyone- it's just not a flattering angle, ever. 
Ten years younger, twenty pounds lighter.  Ahh, genetics.  I think my head looks like a potato in this picture.

When I was 31, I had it sucked right the hell out.  I also had a chin implant.  The plastic surgeon suggested that I also have a lower facelift (I have a LOT of extra skin- "laxity" they call it- and it's also genetic), but that would have added a few grand to the total cost.  Someday, perhaps, if they can't tighten it up with non-invasive techniques.

Two days before my 32nd birthday, I went in for the facial vacuuming.
Lookit that poor fool, she has no idea what's about to go down.  

What went down was brutal.  A man with a metal cannula repeatedly jabbed me in the flesh for two hours, and then crammed a blue silicone crescent under my skin.  I am told that the stuff they removed was approximately the volume of a hamburger patty.  So that's an awesome visual.

Apparently, anesthesia turns me into the Fonz.  Like what's happening near my eye?  That felt great.  The tape over my chin is to keep the implant from drifting up.  I am Admiral Edema.  The swelling will get worse.  The crap on my chest is Betadine, not blood.  It was a pretty bloodless procedure, really.  The whole thing required an incision less than an inch long, under my chin where everyone has that scar from the time they ran into the coffee table as a child.

Upon arriving home, my nurse/mother strapped an icepack to my face.  It remained there for several days.  It did not help.  I swelled up like crazy, and since the pressure dressings kept my neck and chin under control, it went everywhere else.  Like my eyelids and cheeks.  I could barely see out of one eye. I wore this dressing for about ten days, growing ever greasier, ever itchier.  I clawed at my skull like a woman possessed.  My hair began to form angry little horizontal dreadlocks.  My mother helped me comb it out.  I could not open my mouth to eat anything more than pudding.  Brushing my teeth was also a no-go.  Listerine sufficed.  I was terribly sore and intensely cranky.  My only goal in life was to get the dressing off my head.

When it finally came off, I looked like hell.  All the swelling sloshed into the newly freed neck.  My father was horrified.  I had to keep reminding him that it wouldn't be settled for another few months.  Didn't put him at ease.  He resigned himself to having a daughter with a Mister Incredible jaw.

Did I mention the bruising?  I didn't care, all I wanted was a shower.  It was easily one of the three best showers of my entire life.

This, incidentally, is pretty much what I look like from the side now, minus the yellow and purple.  I like it better than it was before.

I had to wear an elastic pressure thingy at night for about six months.  It was difficult, because it holds your jaw shut.  I have allergies, so my nose rarely functions properly.  Breathing and sleeping were not compatible.  That was a fun six months.  The first elastic thingy developed a crease that was very painful, so I tried everything I could think of to pad it out.  The solution turned out to be "buy another elastic thingy that isn't defective."  

After a few weeks, the swelling and bruising had gone from "Jeez, what happened to you?" levels to "She has a very manly jawline" levels, and within six months my jaw is what it is today.  

The liposuctioned areas have one little ripple where things adhered a little too vehemently (oddly enough, it's the place where the crease fell on the elastic thingy), and it's visible in certain circumstances.  The implant sits on top of a nerve that controls my lower lip, so I can't make some of the goofy faces that I used to be able to ("llamaface" is less llama-y now).  Sucking out the neck fat made my jowls more noticeable, and I really should have had the lower facelift to get rid of some of this extra skin.  I am usually aware of the implant.  It doesn't hurt, unless I've been sleeping on my face or something, but it's definitely THERE.  It makes me wonder what people with breast implants feel.  Their implants are squishy, and mine is firm and sitting on a bone, but are they as aware of it as I am?  Can they sleep on their stomachs?

I'm generally happy with what I did.  I don't think about it at all anymore, which was the goal.  I do not live in fear of the candid photo.  I stand up straighter.  I used to stick my head forward like a turtle to try to create a tighter profile.  Now I just stand there and make whatever strange face I feel is appropriate.  Most people can't tell I had anything done until I show them the "Before" picture.  Most people asked me if I had lost weight.  

Yes, I did lose weight.  A few ounces, from a very particular spot.

I tell my tale not to be shocking, but because I do not like the culture of shaming we've developed around plastic surgery.  We do not shame people who dye their hair, or wear heels, or wear colored contact lenses.  All these things carry risks.  Sure, it seems extreme to cut your face to change your appearance, but consider orthodontic work- you're using wires and clamps to rearrange your skull.  Rearrange.  Your.  Skull.  Over the course of months and years.  Beauty is a gruesome thing, it just depends on degree.  Compared to the 4 years of braces I endured, this was cake. 

I do advise people who are considering liposuction that it is far more painful than they can imagine, and the results will not look like whatever Photoshopped bikini model they've envisioned.  A very thin person who has liposuction will have visible rippling.  Ironically, you need the fat under the skin to disguise the liposuction.  It's not a clean surgery- it's widescale damage, and it takes a long time to heal up correctly.  Pressure bandages suck.  And it will damage nerves.  

It WILL NOT change your life in any sort of significant way.  It will just change a very particular part of your appearance, which is not, in the long run, terribly important.  It is not a magic wand.  It's more like having a really reliable eyebrow pencil.

I disliked my chin.  I had it changed.  I don't dislike my chin anymore.  Simple as that.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

THAT'S what that lyric said!

I, like most people, mishear lyrics all the time.  Part of my problem is that I can't really understand people unless I'm watching their mouths when they speak.  I don't have a hearing problem, people just don't speak very clearly (myself included).  

I have been a fan of "Labyrinth" since forever.

I even understood what the little goblins under the brick on the path said.  "Your mother was a fraggety aardvark" is one of my favorite insults.

Today, it suddenly occurred to me what Jareth sings in the Escher maze.

20+ years, people.  20+ years, all I heard was "youstarreneeressussmee."  Never thought to look it up.   Sang along with it a few times.

You. Starve. And. Near. Exhaust. Me.

Jeez, that makes so much more sense.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Cranberry Praline Pumpkin Upside Down Cake

I don't recall where I lifted this recipe from.  Probably Sunset magazine.  It's kind of amazing.

Preheat oven to 350.

¼ cup butter or margarine
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 ½ cups whole cranberries
2/3 cup chopped pecans
2 large eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt

toast the pecans in a 350 oven for 7 to 10 minutes.  (I don't actually do this part)

Butter a 9 inch square pan and line bottom with parchment paper.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.  Whisk in brown sugar until combined.  Pour mixture into prepared pan, evenly covering bottom.

Spread pecans over the sugar butter mixture, and cranberries over that.

In a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed, beat eggs, pumpkin, sugar, and oil until smooth.  In a smaller bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Stir flour mixture into pumpkin mixture until combined.  Pour batter evenly over cranberries and pecans.

Bake in a 350 oven for 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes.  Run the point of a thin knife around edge of cake to loosen it from the pan, and invert cake onto a serving platter.  Remove pan and parchment, and let cool 10 more minutes before serving with whipped cream.

It’s best on the same day it’s made.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

It's the most wonderful tiiiiiime of the year

Halloween is my favorite holiday.  Every year, I go WAY OVERBOARD with the costume, especially considering that I don't really have anyplace to GO.  Most of my friends don't live around here, and the ones that do are all homebodies.  I went to a party thrown by my brother's friends, and I was there for approximately 3.5 hours.  

I still went all-out.  Wanna see my costume?
Here's what's under the white cloak.  My bathroom photo studio is fancy, no?

I'm a ghost.  Boo.  You scared?

How about now?  That's not Photoshop, those are creepy-ass white mesh lenses.  They make the world sort of foggy and blurry, like you're already 5 beers into the evening.  When I took them off halfway through the party, I immediately felt sober, just because everything was suddenly in focus.

I still have white makeup on my hands and on the front of my neck, I showered and scrubbed to no avail.  I'm pretty sure I can recycle the wig and the lenses into a Storm costume another year.  The cloak is homemade, and is made from white rayon that takes dyes like crazy, so I might try to do something else with it.  I don't have much call for a white cloak and a white dress.  Perhaps I'll get off the couch and do proper moon rituals one of these days, I imagine that would be good ritual wear...

I also decorate my house.  I showed the indoor pics a while ago, but the outdoor ones are cute, too.
My front porch.  The witch must have dissolved into liquidamber leaves and tingting grasses, leaving nothing but her shoes and a poor little frog.

The other side of my front porch.  The Roommate and I keep adding little treasures to this vignette.  It doesn't look the same day to day.  

His Filthiness, Gypsy, likes Halloween, as it goes well with his fur.  He was a little puzzled as to why he had to sit in the chair, though.  He doesn't understand photoshoots.

Trixie LaRue is better at photoshoots.  Here's her "Trixie or Treat" pose.  The treat goes in her mouth.  She's gone awfully grey in the snoot lately.

I will finish with a tale of woe and gore.  Well, maybe not gore.  Definitely discomfort, and some squidgey pics.

I threw a Ladies Night cocktail party for the people I work with.  No boys allowed.  This was mainly an excuse to clean the house and show off my decor.  Roommate came home with lovely little Xmas lights to festoon the porch with.  To keep the extension cord from becoming a trip hazard, I needed to hammer a nail into the overhang.  So I needed a hammer.  Which led me to my garage, which is piled high with old tools and whatnot.  Heaven forbid I actually ORGANIZE the workbench.  No, things just stack.

I reached in, pulled out the hammer... and also managed to knock a staple gun onto my foot.  An old, heavy, bricklike staple gun.  I said rude things, hissed, and went outside to nail up the extension cord.

Only then did I look down and notice that my foot was swelling.  A lot.

I peeled off my stripey tights and saw this.
Holy crap.  That's not good.  Is this going to stop?  Is it possible to die of internal bleeding... in the foot?

It eventually stopped getting bigger.  The next day, I gingerly laced it into my Docs and went limping off to work.  Bending my foot was a no-go, as it felt like squeezing a water balloon inside my flesh.  I did not photograph this, but it was swollen all the way through to the sole of my foot.  You could see the swelling from the bottom.  It was quite grotesque.

Here's what it looked like after a day of being confined to a boot.  I think it squeezed out some of the swelling.

Here's this morning.  I decided that I was not going to let a purple foot interfere with my annual Halloween pedicure.  I feel a little uncomfortable with the first two photos, as my toenails are unpainted and I feel really naked.  Some people can't leave the house without makeup- I can't handle unpainted toes.

I am going to document this bruise, because I imagine it's going to go through some really interesting colors as it heals.  Healing flesh amuses me.  Next month, for the Professeur's "no makeup" homework assignment, I'm posting the healing pics from my plastic surgery.  No makeup, and no dignity!  

I'm sure my fascination with swelling says something about my psyche, but I don't care to think about it.

Happy Halloween!  Pass out the good candy!  Don't be THAT HOUSE.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Product whore

So, in the last few weeks, I have purchased many many MANY things in order to create my Halloween costume (I'm going as a ghost, and it's not as simple as it sounds).  In the hopes that this might help anyone else, here are some product reviews.

For the record, I bought all these things.  I am not a corporate shill, I just like what I like.

Tarte EmphasEyes Inner Rim Liner:  RUBBISH.  Waxy and crumbly and weirdly pigmented.  I'm returning it in the morning.

Mehron Celebre Foundation in White:  PRETTY DAMN GOOD.  No weird smell, no lanolin (I'm allergic), nice smooth coverage.  I've had a splotch of it on my forearm for several hours, and it has yet to smear of, because of...

MUFE HD Microfinish Loose Powder in Translucent:  ALSO PRETTY DAMN GOOD.  Weird silky texture, no weird smell, no color at all, and it's keeping the foundation firmly locked upon my arm.

EcoTools Foundation Brush:  FANTASTIC.  I love EcoTools brushes.  They're cheap, they're quality, and they feel nice.  Screw MAC, I like these.  The handles are stubby, if you're into that sort of thing.  I am.

NYX Slide-on Pencil in Black:  GOOD FOR CERTAIN THINGS.  It's the holy grail of black pencils.  It's creamy, it's smooth, it's REALLY black, and it doesn't move once it's dry.  That said, it's not great in the waterline, as it moved around quite a bit on me.  Maybe your eyes are different.  Either way, it's BLAAAAAACK.

Costume Lenses from  I'M PRETTY HAPPY HERE, GUYS.  The "Dolly-eye Blues" are very opaque, very comfortable (I don't wear contacts, and this was my first experience with them, they might suck but I had no problems with them), and wildly unnatural looking.  Coworkers thought I looked creepy.  I have really small eyes to begin with, and once these monsters were in, I looked like a blue-eyed shark.  The "White-out Mesh" lenses are less comfortable, but still doable.  They obstruct a fair bit of your vision, so don't drive or operate heavy machinery while wearing them.  It's easier to see in a darkened room than in a light one, oddly enough.  Like looking through fog, but still a neat effect.  The shipping was free, and they were in my mailbox within a week, which is great, considering they came from England.

I am still test-running Maybelline's "Lasting Drama" Gel Eyeliner.  I am sitting around my house looking like a raccoon, trying to find the one black eyeliner that won't migrate off my waterline and into my eye. It, too, is REALLY black, and I have no complaints about the application.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Festive Attire

We have a pumpkin patch every year at my work.  It's a big ole thing, and this year I was the "grill manager."  Mostly, I was in charge of condiments and getting coworkers plates of food.  I am an apron kind of girl, so last year I made myself a festive vintage-style apron to wear at this event.
Here is what it looks like laid out on my office floor.  The original pattern had scallops that made it look very round and bubbly, but I decided to invert the scallops to make batwing shapes.  That should be easy, right?


There was a lot of math involved, and many paper mockups to make sure the proportions were right.  Let's not even get into what a pain in the ass it is to put seam tape on the edge of a batwing.  This is over and above the usual "I'm 5'11" and not rail-thin" pattern alterations that I had to make.

Whatever, it's still cute as hell.  Spiderwebs!  And this pin makes me ridiculously happy.

My socks are black with purple stripes, and each stripe has a lime-green spider on it.  EEEE!

I will state that I do not generally wear my hair down.  It is usually in two buns on top of my head, and today there were orange and purple flowers wrapped around each one.  The outfit, minus the apron, is fully typical.  It's sort of my uniform- long black skirt, black shirt, striped socks.

A kid said "you're dressed like a witch."
I replied, "No, I'm a witch and I'm dressed."

Monday, October 3, 2011


My poor, old iPhone has finally died.

It was inherited from my father, who gave it to me when he upgraded.  It replaced a pink Razr, which I still think was cute.

I am in no sort of financial situation to replace my phone, so I am basically unreachable.  I have a land line, but the only people who call me on it are my mother and telemarketers (7 so far today).

I very much want to play WordsWithFriends, but that's out.

I don't even know what time it is- all my watches have dead batteries.  I didn't realize how much I relied on my phone for some very basic things until it died.

I truly hope that Apple announces the iPhone 5 tomorrow, because it'll cause the price on the 3 and 4 to drop.  I get paid on Wednesday, and my mother is allowing me to pay off the money I owe her in installments.  She is a saint.

I am always very broke in October, and it's my favorite time of year.  I can't ever afford a damn thing when there are bats in every store.  I haven't worked out WHY I'm always destitute in October, but for the past few years, it's been the case.

Of course, all my problems are very first-world.  Boo hoo, I made my car payment twice and now I can't afford a new fancy phone.

The white rat, Lena, has a mammary tumor.  That's a real problem.  Fortunately, while I am responsible for her physical care, I am not financially responsible for her.  I can tend wounds, I cannot afford surgeries.

It's supposed to rain on Wednesday, that will probably make me feel better.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Rattus norvegicus

Today, I picked up two new "coworkers."

Lina is a pink-eyed white.  She is fat, and cannot see very well, and will lick your teeth if you smile when she's sniffing your face.

Ingrid is an agouti hooded.  She is much smaller than Lina, and has tried to groom my eyebrows already.

Both of them are ridiculously adorable, and they both seem to think that carrots are fantastic.  Neither of them were too interested in having their photos taken.  These are the least blurry shots I could get with my phone.

Lina is busy stuffing shredded junk mail into their sleeping box.  Ingrid is trying to figure out how to run laps around the cage.

Tomorrow, I will make them a pink plastic sleeping box to match their pink hammock and pink feeder dishes.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Distracting myself from the cat's issues

I am very enthusiastic about Halloween.  This is the first one in 10 years that I've been living in a place where the dominant decorating scheme hasn't been red and green.  It's pink and green, and it's easy to hide the pink with black.  LET THE HAUNTING BEGIN!
Pink chair?  Mummified chair.  Scarab pillow to come.

Chest covered in Japanese antiques?  Chest covered in Spooky Things, including a glass skull, a few crystal balls, and a real spiderweb (it's the black oval thing on the right).

Tasteful floral arrangement?  How about a phrenology head in a mask and a goblin gazing into a crystal ball?

Here's the goblin.  His name is Derp.  I made him last summer at a sculpting workshop put on by the Frouds.  Yeah, those Frouds.

The curtains are about halfway done, using GothItYourself's no-show curtain technique (STILL GENIUS), and I have to get some upholstery pins to cover the other two pink chairs.  The couch is lavender-grey, and I have to do something to replace a very large Japanese painting full of pink peonies. I have a black canvas with the visible night sky painted on it, but I don't know if it's going to be big enough to fill the space.  I suppose I could paint two long skinny canvasses to flank it...  bats, perhaps?

Bats are ALWAYS appropriate.

When it rains...

A large percentage of my waking life revolves around animal waste.  Glamorous, I know.  At work, I am half-in-charge of our animal collection, which currently comprises 4 snakes of various species, 4 toads, a fence lizard, a bearded dragon, a salamander, and a tarantula.  All of them poop.  The ants love this, and will swarm their tanks almost instantly after one of them relieves itself.  Lately, the ants have also taken to eating snake sheds.  My morning consisted of changing out ant-infested litter while the shedding snake thrashed about trying to get the ants off her head.  I think I preferred it when they just ate poop.

This, however, is my main Waste Generator.  This is Gypsy.
Don't let his bedroom eyes fool you.  

Gypsy is old.  He's 12 or 13, I can't remember anymore.  Neither can he.  He's diabetic.  He has arthritic hips.  He hates my dog (the feeling is mutual).  Gypsy's bathroom habits are dismal at best.

He has an enormous litterbox, with nice low sides so he can get in and out easily.  It's in a place far from the dog, and he doesn't have to share it with anyone.

He hits the box about 10% of the time.  His main issue is that he barely gets in, turns around, and then pisses OUTSIDE the box.  He won't take the extra two steps into the box so that he actually hits what he's aiming for.  

My solution?  Puppy pads around the outside of the box.  Clever, no?

No.  He barely gets on the puppy pad, turns around, and pisses OUTSIDE the pad.  You prick, are you doing this on purpose?

His other favorite trick is to get into corners and pee there.  He's not allowed in my bedroom, my roommate's bedroom, either bathroom, or the office, because he pees in there every damn time he's there.

Every.  Damn.  Time.

He almost ruined the carpet in the den, until I found the miracle cure for cat pee on carpet- it's called 1-2-3 Odor Free.  They don't give me any compensation for promoting them.  I'm not a shill.  That shit is just magical.  However, I'm all out, and I don't get paid for a while.

I cleaned many boxes out of the corner of my living room, and now I'm terrified that he'll pee there when I'm not looking.  He already took a giant dump on the garage floor, about a foot away from his box.

Come on, man.  Are you sick?

I wonder what sort of weird karmic debt I'm paying off.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ch-ch-ch-ch changes

I am not a small woman.

I am 5'11" in stocking feet (and I have to prove it regularly.  "You've gotta be 6 feet tall!"  Nope, I am exactly 71 inches tall.  You're just shorter than you think you are.)  I weigh about 184 pounds at the moment.  That can fluctuate up to five pounds in a day, so I'm guessing.

I have been this tall since I was 13 years old.  I have not been this weight since I was 13 years old, although I have always been bigger than what the fashion mags would have you believe is normal.

When I was in high school, I was a swimmer.  I worked out somewhere between 2 and 4 hours a day during the season, and I ran around the pool deck in a Speedo like it was nothing.  I never watched what I ate, and I always had a little gut, which made me feel like a house compared to the girls who had Speedo bikinis and flat abdomens.  I weighed approximately 145 pounds when I was swimming, and about 155 pounds when I graduated high school.

Looking back, I realize I was overly harsh on myself, as most teenagers who spend their days in Spandex might be.  I looked fantastic, gut and all.  Granted, I still look fantastic, but there is more of me.

In college, I did not immediately put on the Freshman 15, as I was at a very high altitude, had no car, and lived on the third floor of a building with no elevators.  I actually lost a few pounds and had rather ravishing legs, as I recall.  By my sophomore year, however, I had a vehicle, I lived on the ground floor, and my body had adjusted to the lack of oxygen.  Pounds crept on.

I still looked fantastic, there was just more of me.

By my second senior year of college, I had finally been diagnosed with ADD, and was given prescription Dexedrine, which is basically speed.  The first month that I was on it, I lost 30 pounds because I forgot to eat.  I was told that it would be a side effect.  I don't recall feeling like I looked fantastic, I just recall having to buy a lot of new clothes.  Fortunately, it was a "pink year" for fashion, so everything I bought was just adorable.

I looked fantastic, but I was too busy feeling like I was finally in control of my own brain to notice the body it rides around in.  Also, I had a pretty amazing haircut at the time, so that's what I was aware of when looking in the mirror.

The appetite-suppressant side effect dwindled, and I put all the weight back on, plus some.  A fondness for food paired with a disdain for exercise caused more pounds to creep into my flesh.  Despite having a relatively active job, I managed to hit the 200 mark before my 30th birthday.

I looked fantastic, but I was starting to not feel fantastic.  Perhaps this was too much of me?

My knees, wrecked on a long-ago backpacking trip, started to complain about my lack of muscles and the weight they were having to carry around.  I halfheartedly switched to diet soda.  I paid attention to what I was eating. In an unrelated incident, I adopted a large Poodle, who needs a lot of exercise.  I managed to drop down to about 175.

I looked fantastic, and my knees weren't complaining as much, either.

For my 32nd birthday, I had submental liposuction and a chin implant.  My double chin is (was?) genetic, and was getting worse, and I hated any picture of myself where I wasn't posed in a really contrived way.  So I had it vacuumed out, and I don't think about it anymore (unless the implant hurts, which it does from time to time, especially if I've been sleeping on my face).  However, not being able to chew for a week and a half brought back all the usual eating habits, and I put all the weight back on within 7 months.  Bad habits, and all that rot.

By the beginning of 2011 I listened to my angry knees, which were now joined by my angry ankles, and started paying attention again.  By May, I was back down to about 180, which is the threshold for ankle pain, apparently.  Then the cat tried to die, and then the dog tried to die the weekend after that, and the stress of two terribly sick animals paired with the stress of work woke up all the bad habits again.  Mindless mindless mindless eating.  There is no reason a human should consume as much food as I was consuming.

So here I am again.  Back on the calorie-counting, mindful wagon.  It's not very fun, but it's probably better for my poor, yo-yo'd body.

Still fantastic?  You best believe it.  Although, I'd look better if I wasn't so damned tired all the time.  That's a separate issue.

This time, I think I'm going to switch tactics.  I need to overcome my hatred of exercise, because I'm pretty sure that's 70% of what my joints are complaining about.  They'd like the support of muscles, please.  Yes, I should still pay attention to what I'm cramming in my eatin' hole, but this isn't about weight anymore.  Now it's about strength.  I used to be terribly strong, and now there is no difference between "relaxed" and "flexed."  It's all just.... mooshy.

They say that it helps to commit the goal to paper.  Well, I'm committing it to Google (>waving to the Google Overlords<).

I'd like to be able to do a real pushup.  I've never done one before.  Ever.  Even in high school.

I'd like a visible bicep.  I had a visible tricep once, and I'm pretty sure I could do that again, but I never had a visible bicep before, and I'm thinking it might be sort of amusing.

I'd like to be able to not think about my knees or ankles.

I'd like my belly, when I'm sitting, to stick out less than my boobs do.  It's making my pants uncomfortable.

I'd like my inner thighs to brush up against each other less, because it makes skirts an uncomfortable sweaty mess, and tights just don't work on me.  They're all too short and I run every pair I wear.  Not every skirt looks right with leggings.

I think these are reasonable, healthy goals.

I bet a bicep would look fantastic.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Gloom Lifting

My gloom at being aloooooooone is lifting.  I don't know what came over me the other day- could have been hormones, could have been stress.  I feel better.

Halloween is 3 months away.  I am planning to change out everything in my living room to reflect the holiday, come mid September.  The pink decor will be hidden away, and replaced with greys, purples, blacks, and greens.  I'm even changing out the art.  The pink chairs will be slipcovered.  The gloom will settle on the room like mist.

My only problem?  The lamps.  The lamps are all shades of pink.  I am not changing out the lamps.

I wonder if it's possible to cover the lamps with the legs of black tights?  Keep the shape, change the color. I doubt that most people have ever considered putting tights on a lamp before.  Well, outside of "A Christmas Story."

I am also at a point where I realize that I should be doing some sort of exercise and muscle building.  I do not want to do this thing, but I am painfully, perilously weak.  I have no upper body strength, and that is not good.  I am not good at delayed gratification, and exercise and weightlifting are very much a delayed gratification sort of thing.  I don't get runner's highs.  I just get sweaty and sore.  Last time I did a workout video, I couldn't cough for a week straight.  It was a ten minute ab routine.  Ten minutes.  Oy vey.

Rode my bike to go get frozen yogurt.  I like riding the bike.  Burns almost no calories, but hey, this ain't the Tour de France.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


I am surrounded by people, but I am always alone.  I have a roommate, who is rarely here.  My family is near, but they have lives.  My closest friends are very far-flung.  I like my coworkers well enough, but that's work. I interact with children on a daily basis, but I wouldn't choose to be in the company of children if my paycheck didn't depend on it.  I have a dog and a cat who are comforting, but don't really speak English that well.

I am lonely most of the time.

My life is not set up to interact.  I do not have social hobbies.  I don't go out.  My animals only get me 8 out of every 24 hours, so I often feel guilty about going out and leaving them at home.  I don't make friends easily.  Dating has been an unmitigated disaster.

I check Facebook obsessively in the hopes that the little red notification button will be lit up, telling me that some sort of social interaction (however artificial and contrived it may be) has occurred.  Someone in the vast world has noticed me, and thought fit to acknowledge my existence.  The slow decline of FB is causing me panic, as it is my only source of friendly contact with others.  My Google+ page is empty.  I have no idea if it's a good platform or not, because I have precisely zero connections.

Perhaps it is the lot of adults to be alone.  Perhaps this is why people have children.  I'm not doing that, so I am more aware of the vast space between myself and other people.  I have no play dates, no screeching toddlers, no mommy's groups to blur the void.

Abalones reproduce by flinging huge quantities of eggs and sperm into the ocean.  These cells collide with one another, and another generation of abalones is born.

Abalones are essentially extinct in Southern California.  There are individuals out there, to be sure, but they cannot reproduce.  No matter how many eggs or sperm the individual abalone spills into the current, they will never be fertilized, because it will never encounter the eggs or sperm of another abalone.  They are simply spaced too far apart from each other.  They are alone.

I wonder if they are aware of their plight.

The irony in this little essay?  It, too, is thrown up into the current of the Internet.  It will probably never encounter another individual.

And yet I write.  I hope it will make me feel better.

Friday, July 15, 2011


I have an unhealthy relationship with glitter.  I own basically every color that Martha Stewart Crafts has put out.  I like it on almost anything- furniture, ornaments, my toenails, you name it.  This week, I discovered that it was possible to glitter an entire concrete floor.

I have never wanted to rip up the carpet so badly IN MY LIFE.

The problems?

This is not really my house.  I rent it from my mother, it was my grandmother's house.  While my mother understands my love of the garish, I can't see her agreeing to a whole-house sparkling.  It's a bit over-the-top.

I am poor.  Redoing floors is not cheap, even if it does involve epoxy and polyurethane.  I'm pretty sure the floor is cracked and uneven and a whole host of things that would require expensive fixes.

The silver (glittery) lining:

When I showed my mother the pictures of the glittered floor, she responded with "What, are you going to do the garage floor?"

That sounds like a green light.

Friday, June 24, 2011


Today, as I was researching ways to teach kids about consumerism and the Advertising Machine that gets them to buy crap and then throw it away, I was reminded of the Toyota Highlander commercial starring the blonde kid in the bomber jacket who makes me angry enough to want to punch someone.

I'm not linking to it, if you want to see it, you have to search it out on your own.

The gist of the ad is that a snotty 8-year-old is imploring parents to not be "lame" by driving a particular type of SUV.  He tosses pitying looks at kids in other cars, and rolls his eyes a lot.

I would love to know what the thought process behind this ad was.  What ad exec decided it was funny and acceptable to suggest that 8-year-old's opinions should be considered in the carbuying process?  Who thought that adults should give two shits about what a kid thinks is "cool" when making a huge purchase like a vehicle?  And who thought we'd all find it charming when this kid is telling us that we should seek his approval?

I have had kids tell me that things I am wearing aren't "cool."  I simply reply that "you're eight, and I don't consider your opinion when I get dressed."  When did we start worrying about shit like this?  I understand that the ad probably has an element of absurdist humor, except that it wouldn't be funny if it wasn't actually happening to some degree.

More importantly, I find it troubling that we're suggesting that behaving like an asshole is okay if your possessions are sufficiently stylish.  Studies have basically proven that kids under the age of about 12 can't really distinguish between advertising and regular programming, nor can they understand the rather sophisticated mindgames that advertisers play.  All they see is a blonde kid being a dick, and having that behavior rewarded with leather seats and built-in LCD screens.  I see these kids every single day.  The ad isn't that far off the mark.

I'd love to see someone make a spoof ad involving the blonde kid expressing embarrassment about an older, more modest car, and hearing the parents say "Gee, if you don't like the car, I guess you never have to ride in it again.  I hope you enjoy walking."

If you'd like to read some horrifying, depressing stuff, start here.
Children as Consumers

Just to be clear- I adore my bike.  It does not define me.  Neither does my car, or my pants, or my shoes.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My love affair

On the Saturday before Memorial Day, I met the new love of my life.
"Ghost" is a Gazelle Basic 3-speed, from Holland.  She is far more beautiful than a bike should be.

I use her to ride to work, so she needed a crate to carry things.  A few flowers never hurt anyone, either. She already weighs a ton, what's a few more ounces for flowers?

Okay, maybe a LOT of flowers.  Sometimes I go overboard with things, and Ghost is no exception.  Because I bought the soberest, most BH&G-approved color possible (Rembrandt White is the least definite color ever), I strapped as many fake wisterias to her as I could.  She's really quite a sight to behold.

In Autumn, I will replace her wisteria finery with leaves and miniature fake gourds.  My small, clip-on raven may or may not ride on the handlebars.

Ghost's headlight does not appear to be working.  It is powered by a dynamo in the front wheel, so it never needs batteries, but it also means I have to be riding the bike to establish if the light is functioning.  I am wary of riding up and down a dark street, attempting to lean over my handlebars to see if a light is working.  The taillight works, but it's battery-operated.

When I ride her to work, the only thought that goes through my head is
I love this bike
I love this bike
I love this bike

This weekend, I plan to ride her all around the neighborhood to see what local eateries and shops have bike racks.   

I adore my Honda Element (it's lime green, it makes up for the sober adult color of my bike), but it's just not nearly as fun to travel in a box.  You miss all sorts of things.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Posting the first

Greetings, bittens.  I am Tante Fledermaus.  My primary purpose for creating this blog is so that I can leave comments on blogs that I already lurk on.  I figure it's only polite.  I might also post random thoughts and rants from time to time.