30 March 2010

my kitchen has called a truce

derek started making his own wine a few years back. it's nothing too fancy, but showing up to a party with some tasty homemade wine is a crowd pleasing event. honestly, the whole process isn't too difficult if you just go buy a mix of the grapes already done. the initial purchase of tools and equipment can set you back a bit, but after that it's a lot of watching the sediment settle after you've added the proper amount of this and that before you bottle it up and show off. sorry derek - did i take away the mystery? don't worry. people will still clamor for a bottle of the "crack wine" when we go to see friends.

imagine my surprise when derek showed up at the house this weekend with supplies to make our own cheese! at first i was quite suspicious and my impulse was to have him take it all back to the store. it couldn't be easy enough for me to do, could it? so we laid out all the stuff and the directions before us on the counter. the next morning, before i was going to book club, we got a gallon of milk and proceeded to make a honkin' ball of fresh mozzarella cheese! it only took about half an hour to boil things, curd it up, drain the whey, and squish it around into an oozy lump of goodness. yes, i made cheese. no, really - i'm not kidding. as further proof of my new prowess, i took it to book club with me and they scooped it up with joy.

"this cheese is still warm and fresh. it's really good."
"i made mozzarella with derek today."
"i love mozzarella cheese. where did you get it?"
"i MADE it this morning."
"WHAAAA...?!?! you MADE cheese? YOU made cheese?"

and thus, i had to tell everyone (twice) that we made cheese at home. they looked at me to find the telltale marks of my recent cloning in an effort to discover what someone had done with the real george. hey, if i can't find my alien implant, it's a hard bet that you can't find it either. i have more access to a wider range of places on my body.

it would seem that my kitchen and i have gradually made friends over the years without me knowing it. my kitchen has always been like an adversary to me, one of places i communed with only in the name of cereal or sammiches. vee and holly both told me over the past week that i am a good cook. it was stunning. have i possibly overcome my kitchen hurdles? in thinking about it, i do whip up a mean quesadilla. i've been known to make a roast lamb shank surrounded with a creamy pear polenta. (that truly was a freak showing, but i might try it again someday.) i can walk in and concoct a faboo eggy bread, completely by accident. my rice is fluffy and wonderful every time, which is a skill unto itself.

oh, but there is still one thing i cannot do unsupervised. i officially suck at cooking any part of a chicken. the easiest things are the hardest bits to me. without derek around to poke at my attempts, i could have killed someone a long time ago. once again, i am totally not kidding. i can hope that my new george foreman grill with the detachable plates - thrift store find where i saved like seventy bucks! - can help me with this. hey, we're both georges, so it must be fate, right? so far we've only done steak on it, but i can tell you already that this thing is a pretty cool gadget. it must have been my good karma for handing over my sparkly like-new toaster oven to holly. in any case, we'll see if the death knoll, or we could call it the death bawk, of my chicken cooking adventure continues.

until that happens, i've made a new hobby of popcorn. remember jiffy pop? we absolutely, one hundred percent lived for that shit in the seventies! jiffy pop is exciting stuff. i grew up with jiffy and air poppers and stir crazys and microwave popcorn, so it never occurred to me that you don't need to get actual jiffy pop to make popcorn on the stove. it kills me with laughter sometimes how modern life has scratched away at my noggin. after some experimentation, i've discovered that a bit of oil can be heated with my favorite spices in a skillet pan, and when i throw in some corn to be popped with the lid tilted just a teensy bit, voila! by the way, the skillet pan did better at distributing heat and popping all the kernels than the stock pot. plus, i could make a smaller batch for snacking much easier. there's that whole "fill it to the top" urge we all get, you know? the funny thing was that it takes about three minutes pop a bag that i inevitably burn at the bottom in the microwave, but it only took maybe five minutes to do an unscathed batch on the stove. talk about bringing sexy back to the popcorn.

for those of you that grew up in a kitchen-functional household, this all might sound silly. for those like me that had the choice of either ultra chunky protein shakes and vitamin supplements in one house or little debbies and boiled veggies from a can in the other while growing up, you can relate to such a kitchepiphany. we're not looking to start a luddite household around here, but knowing what's in our food and maybe even how to cook a few things is a really big deal for me. i've literally spent years in an effort to figure out a use for wax paper beyond making crayola art with an iron. thank goodness for rhiannon and ladonna, the two people in my life most likely to tell me "what that thing is and what the hell it's for" without making me feel like an asshole.

insert commercial here - ladonna's fancy foods on cherry street ROCKS! she's fancy alright, but in a way that makes you feel fancy, too. tankoo berry mucho, my little kitchen saviour. you're impressed with every hurdle i can go over in my foodventure.

derek wants to make yogurt next. i'm up for the experience, but he has to taste it first, just to make sure. i'm not sacrificing my own life just to make better friends with a room in my house, and i'm not above watching him vomit from one of my creations. just because vee and holly have faith in me doesn't mean i've gone all stooopid. but i promise not put chicken in the yogurt. if i kill him, who would be around to supervise?

selfishly looking forward to:
jason's wedding
emergence project auditions
cleaning holly's closet

25 March 2010

kawaii i heart cuteness

derek is so terribly cute when he's watching top gear. sometimes i think his little giggles will end with food shooting out of his nose. every few minutes i hear the tivo give off a beep because derek has laughed so hard at something that he feels the need to skip back five seconds and see it again, only to begin laughing harder. see, derek isn't really a laugh out loud kind of guy, so watching him watch top gear is one of my joys in life. i especially get a kick out of those moments when he has to pause the show and squawk out, "you GOTTA see this part!" on those occasions when i'm doing other things at the same time, like right now. i'll watch it later on and i can just about guarantee that he'll be sucked into seeing the same episode twice... with approximately the same amount of laughter, if not more.

this is the sort of cute happening i live for, the sort that keeps my day going. when i get a text from vee that her snowman has been violated, i show it off to everyone. when rhiannon sends me an email that snorting while laughing is hereditary, i laugh until i snort. (i've already got theories that it's actually contagious in my urban tribe.) when dizzy rolls around on her back, belly fuzz all flopping about, i can't help but curl up to watch the show.

cuteness to the point of ick makes me want to barf on myself. we'll just leave the precious moments to someone else so that i can have the rather ridiculously absurd moments i completely adore. that's my hyper-version of kawaii. while the plague of cute internet animals does make me squee like a slide whistle, it's nothing compared to having the accompanying bit of true comedy in my midst. regular cute fuzzy kitty? small squee. cute fuzzy kitty riding in a plastic custom made elevator? EEEEE!!!

derek just giggled again. i glance over my shoulder at him and see his toes wiggle as he rolls around on the sofa. that sort of giggle that makes me look at him and smile. his respose to me? "whuuuuut?!? it's funny!" i love top gear.

songs i keep hearing in my head:
cruel to be kind - nick lowe
must i paint you a picture - billy bragg
change the world - nellie mckay
downtown - petula clark
i touch roses - book of love

22 March 2010


not only did we get snow, but they even got it in dallas! in march! how fucked up is that for the first day of spring? the crazytown weather report for the past few days is as follows:
friday night: 70 degrees and balmy
saturday morning: 30 degrees, sleet, wind, snow
saturday afternoon: snow, slush, wind, more wind, salt
saturday night: wind, flurries, ice, cold
sunday morning: overcast, drizzle, very busy at target
sunday night: slight chilly breeze, slushiness
monday: 60 degrees and sunny, of course

i have to say that i saw two different snowmen made by friends. veronica and travis versus ed and rhiannon... sorry, but the fact that vee's creation got perverted by passing teenagers later in the day makes it the winner for sure. i can just see her now, clumsily running out into the yard with shouts of "damn kids!" while travis rolls around on the couch with the animals laughing himself silly. the thought of it makes me happy.

what i should be doing right now:
taking a shower

18 March 2010

the healing power of cheese

so right now i'm on spring break. how's that for going back in time, eh?

last weekend was fairly pleasant, except for one small thing that almost led to my complete downfall. i hurt my hiney in the bathroom. somewhere in my travels i caught a mystery bug that left me with severe abdominal cramps for three days. i mean, i'm not saying my organic yogurt was to blame, but i am saying that was the only thing i ate around the house that derek didn't eat during said time period. let's just say that the expiration date isn't something i look at very often when i'm rooting around in the fridge, because we have a teeny tiny fridge (i got this diminutive size on purpose to keep from having too much in there at once) and i eat like a teenage boy. there's no way in hell my yogurt could have time to go bad only a few days after my trip to whole foods. and besides, it's yogurt! what the fuck happened to my butt? i wallowed on the couch making little grunty, groany noises while derek tried not to laugh.

by sunday morning i was sta-arr-arrrrrrrving for something to eat. three crackers and a cup of hot tea was not my idea of a well-balanced weekend's worth of food. after innumerable shots of hot water mixed with baking soda, i'd had just about enough of temporary home remedies for a screaming digestive system. in thinking of how i usually cure nausea, i decided to go the other way entirely by consuming as much greasy crap as i could. this would either make me vomit and uhhhh, whatever else, or it would be a signal to my body that this crap was enough. yes, of course that is a pun intended. you know me well enough to know that.

taquitos to the rescue! who would have thought that the best cure for gassy cramping was many a stick of warm cheese in a fried thing? i would, that's who. and it didn't even surprise me when the trick worked like a charm. let this be a lesson to you - baking soda can only get you so far. you have to go for the melty cheese, or whichever other fried food you prefer, by yourself after that. whatever does not kill you settles your stomach.

thank goodness i felt like a new person by monday morning. it was time to run off to david's bridal in search of a dress for jason and alicia's wedding! she is blissfully cool about the whole affair and sent us several options of what she wanted to make sure we don't spend too much on our simple, all-occasion bridesmaid dresses. i found a nice little black satin halter with a white sash. one store, one hour, one big task finished. yay! you had to feel sorry for the people working there. it's spring break and you'd have thought the lords of the shiny ruffled gowns had descended on the place. the fact that i was so nonchalant about what i needed must have been the defining factor in my extra thirty bucks discount on everything. lesson number two of the day - sympathize with the salesgirl and you shall derive the financial benefits of the hunt. thirty dollars is a lot of cat food, you know.

bonus alert! what does a girl do when she's stressed about spending money? she goes and finds something on the clearance rack to buy for herself so she can equalize the situation. buying a new black dress can be a chore sometimes, but when you follow it up with a trip to the gap where you find the perfect blue and grey plaid seven dollar skirt you feel better. in fact, you feel so good that you whip open the fitting room door to ask the employee if you can wear it out of the store, totally forgetting that you don't have on your trousers. she smiles and runs away to take off the tags in hopes that you'll cover yourself up, for crying out loud. meanwhile, you're busy rummaging through your purse wondering if that gift card for some random shop you found on the floor has any money on it. you pay for the skirt (that you are now wearing) and wander off to the shop, only to find that you have fifteen dollars of free money! lesson three - making someone else laugh can pay off in ways you hadn't thought of before. it may have just been coincidence, but i'm going more with the theory of reciprocity. by this point i was up to an extra forty five bucks and a clearance deal that rocked.

somewhere in all this digestive kerfuffle and shopping serendipity, i managed to make it to a production meeting and even auditioned for another show. it would seem that both went very well. my latest project is to put together an evening of one act plays using beginning directors and playwrights. we have five plays slated for the evening and we're all excited to see how things go for the show. we keep joking that the first one to cry has to cough up cash or snacks for everyone else. let's hope i'm not that one, like i was the first time i directed. as far as the audition, there were callbacks last night and things look good. if there's something fun to distract me before my graduation, i think i can make it through for another six weeks. it'll be just like groundhog's day, only i'm waiting for phil to see his shadow in my textbooks.

in other news, i'm wondering what kind of wedding present to get for jason and alicia. this is just one more excuse to hit target for some shopping, right? hmmm, their registry doesn't look like people have beat me to the punch on the good stuff. maybe i should give linsey a call and force her to go with me soon. i just have to see the doormat that says "well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit, look who's here!" you gotta love these people.

oddness of the week:
they say it might snow here on saturday. snow?!? in march? it's sixty degrees out right now! if there's one thing i think of for spring break in flyover country, it sure ain't a winter wonderland. i'll let you know.

06 March 2010


did you know that you can find instructions on how to play "butts up" in wikipedia? truly, we are an information overload society! you can also figure out how to play one of my all-time favorite card games, bullshit. some days i really heart the internet.

the urge to click is one i find hard to resist. wanna learn how to wash a cat? wikihow has at least three different pages about the topic. see that link on the bottom of the page about hoarders? go on, you know you wanna be whisked off to yet another page about squalor and messiness. how awesome i find the wealth of complete crap and pop culture that beckons my irresistible click through habit. to make things even worse, mr. derek "did you know?" boyfriend regularly sends me messages with stooopid links to things like daily squee. SQUEEEEEE!!!! i mean, he's as addicted to cute internet animals as anyone else.

uhhhh, this doesn't mean i'm ready to be bombarded with more links from people. i get quite enough of those, thank you very much. just thought i might do a preemptive strike on that one before my mailbox gets filled with even more links. oh, and by the way, please clean up your forwards as a courtesy to the rest of us, okay? i don't need to see the email addresses of your hundred closest internet pals before ever getting to that photo of a dachshund dressed as a hot dog in a bun.

in reality, my click-o-rama habit comes about due to the fact that i'm the worst googler in the world. i swear, i could google the word google and go to the wrong site. when i need net research done, i should just send mary and derek on the hunt. otherwise, i have forty billion windows open at once and spend two days without sleep just reading trying to find what i'm looking for on any given subject. those two, to the contrary, can magically enter any word in the english language and have the perfect results come back in less than a second. my specialty is the element of serendipity on the web. did i look for results about cognitive behavioural therapy? well, i found a link to the latest production of grey gardens, the musical! the next thing i know, i'm sending off an email to an agent about an unpublished play because i saw an interview on youtube talking about the suppression of freedoms by the power elite of a society. how do i do it, you ask? it's a bumpy ride to go googling with me.

someone, please... tell me i'm not the only one like this.

the term "search engine" seems wildly appropriate to me. it might be even more fitting if it were called a runaway train search when someone like me goes to hit enter and sees all the wondrous results. click - how to make wasabi! click - the butterfly effect! click - laws about gay marriage! oh sure, i can find it all on the web, just without ever trying to get to that page on purpose. it's fascinating, reall, how one person can learn about robots as modern golems by accident. i'm like the internet trivia roulette master. who needs random searches when you have me around the house? is there something you never knew you needed to know anything about in this life? no problem, i can find that for you. just don't ask me to find a simple recipe for what to do with leftover chicken. that's a hopeless cause.

art doings:
bought some cheap dollar frames for old pieces.
jenny, holly and i met with an artist to hang a show.
i'm working on some new marker sketches.

05 March 2010

it must be contagious

what will i have to bitch about when i finally finish school?!? even after all of my complaining - okay, so let's call it whining - about college, i've somehow given off the impression that's it's a nice hideout for those of us that can't face the real world. how do i know this? derek just enrolled for the rest of the spring semester.

in the great tradition of people who need something to do until they get a better gig, we've both resorted to higher learning as a way to fill the time. true enough, mine was a barrage of peer pressure from my friends. (thanks a lot julie, mary, kris, barbara.... and on and on.) in the end i hope to be pleased about it, though i'm pretty sure relieved will be the correct adjective. derek isn't going on the same logic; he's simply trying to fill out his resume gaps with something that appears to be productive. looks good tp potential interviewers, you know? jeez, if i remember correctly, that's how i got into this mess in the first place.

it's almost as if we're recapturing our youth. i look back and think of the days when i first moved out on my own as a little bitty sixteen year old girl. some nights i would sit up and wonder how i was going to get by in the long run. besides just working myself silly and becoming a weekend alcoholic, i weighed my options carefully.

should i just give up and get busted robbing a liquor store? that would give me a place to live with no rent, free food, and maybe even some hardcore street cred. they even have cable tv in those places. should i join a convent? surely god would take care of me, never mind that i don't believe in god. i would never have to decide what to wear. should i go into the military? i'd get a skill and a free workout routine. they would have me travel all over and i'd be eligible for military discounts. those uniforms have shiny buttons. (laugh if you will, but i did almost join the air force at one point - little known fact. but i've never been arrested.) in the end, i chose door number four and went to college. it wasn't because i had a burning desire to be an academic, but rather for the "time well spent" effect on my resume and the student loans. if i went to school, i could pay the rent and look like a well-rounded person all at once. you can see now why the deja vu feeling is upon me now.

they say the secret to life is keeping young at heart. well, i work with teenagers on a regular basis and i've gone back to getting student loans. all this comes at a time when i've finally paid off those old student loans from the first go at school. ironic and cute, isn't it? not that i'm alone in my pursuit - i have derek to struggle right next to me now. well, him and about a gajillion other people who are taking the same path of avoidance these days. fund higher education! it feeds your friends and neighbors! wow, do i feel young or what?

random fact:
i ride an elevator every day

03 March 2010

excited and boring

in case you were wondering, i have officially gone two weeks without any sodie-pop or candy. only a few more weeks to go until i get to try out that heritage dr. pepper. me and my lent buddy are hanging in there pretty well, and it's actually gotten easier as the days have passed. let's just hope i don't go hog wild at the end of this. i don't think i've lost any weight, but my pants keep telling me i have. my skin looks nice, so i'll go with it.

quite by accident, i have discovered my trigger food for dr. pepper cravings. i thought it might just be junk food in general, but it turns out to be one very specific thing. i was at the theatre over this past weekend and we had a pizza day after painting. almost as if by magic, my hand started to reach out for a can. ding ding ding! not yet, i said to myself. this means i have to avoid pizza for the next few weeks, too. well, i was already trying to eat a bit healthier, so i guess this helps by eliminating lumps of yummy melty cheeses and greases. it's a good thing i have quesadillas to fall back on, and i can easily incorporate more veggies that way.

school still sucks.

i'm starting on a new theatre project this month, this time at the helm of teenage writers and directors. reading through the scripts so far is getting me hepped up to see what the directors are going to do. julie and i wanted a chance to help develop some of the younger artists. plus, it's an effortlessly foruitous sense of revenge knowing that they'll figure out what it takes to put together a show. i keep joking that my part in this is to point and laugh when disaster strikes and they start to cry, but mostly i can't wait to see how they navigate the project and how we can help them get it done.

can i say something unpatriotic here? i'm getting tired of hearing about the woeful economy. not that i think we should all go out and just spend spend spend willy nilly, but it's time to stop freaking out a la chicken little. the hour of fretting needs to pass - it isn't helping to solve anything and it's only leaving this country in a state of panic. we all hear stories about setting goals and positive thinking and all that, right? so how come people only seem to apply this to losing weight and practicing sports? maybe if the attitude shifted to more of a "fuck it all! let's get to it!" mood, we could move on and get things going again.

it's kinda like when there's a house fire. you can just sit there and whine, or you can pool your resources until your house is back in some sort of order. i mean, you can only lament the losses for so long before you have to realize that you're also getting a fresh start. after all, flames are the least painful way to get rid of terrible birthday presents that you haven't re-gifted yet, and you know you wanted a new sofa anyway. i've often heard that the most dangerous person is the one with nothing to lose. it's also been said that by declaring a goal out loud to other people, you're more likely to achieve it. by combining these two theories in a good way, maybe everyone could just chill out and pull up those bootstraps. even if it just gets us out of wallowing and worrying, it might just be helpful. there's a certain sense of freedom that comes from being pissed off and hungry for a better life.

i've been reading classic american documents lately, what with that whole political ideology class i'm taking. in looking it over, the recurring theme isn't entitlement, but rather a sense of being pragmatic and progressive. it's more about possibility than about permanence. this is one of my favorite concepts. to allow for the chance of something else, to look for the exception to the rule, to see what isn't there - these are things that excite and inspire me. i am, as the old saying would go, in the pursuit of happiness. i am not yearning for some kind of changeless happy plateau, for that would rule out possibility. yuck, how lacking in genius would that be? but i digress... as usual.

for now i'll just plod on with whatever, hoping to get some government cheese and finish out the next two months of school. i'll keep myself busy and enjoy diversions like cute internet animals and selling off my cd collection. it's funny to realize that all the money we've spent on the house since we moved in here has been covered and more just by shipping away my music. it's a good thing i'm done buying furniture, because i'm running out of things to sell. oh! and i finally got my hair done, too! it looks awesome, take my word for it even though i never seem to post any photos. at least i went out and spent some money, right?

things i should be doing right now:
reading journal articles
cleaning my desk
making lunch
finishing an improv list