Hobbies. Kind of.

May 15, 2009

I'm trying out Plinky this week, because I just noticed that it's been two full weeks eleven days (I can’t count, hurp derp) since I updated. I'm sort of butting heads with writer's block right now, so I figured I'd let someone else come up with topics and I'd just ramble on and add some pictures. Uh, enjoy!

I don't really ever de-stress, as it were. I do a few things seasonally to shut my brain down for a while, but I've never been any good at relaxing.

During spring and summer, of course, I garden. I garden pretty much unceasingly, dawn to dusk, even though there's not all that much to actually do in my few pots or the garden box. Sometimes, "gardening" looks a lot like "sitting on a chair outside, sipping a soda and gazing at the plants." I grow mainly tomatoes, because the smell and feel of them triggers a sort of sense memory of happiness — my great-grandmother grew tons of tomatoes, and I spent entire summers in her back yard, with nothing to do but be a kid. (I also grow them because they taste good, of course.) I guess I really shut my brain down by sniffing and fondling a few plants each summer, but I call it gardening in order to come across as slightly sane.

In fall and winter it's harder. I cook often in the cooler months, and I enjoy it enough to edit a food blog and talk kitchen tools and herbs for hours, but it's not really a de-stressor. It's a distraction, maybe, and sometimes it's a comfort — but really it's a way to pass the time and nourish my family until the sun gets stronger and the leaves turn green. It's a way to feel competent, too; I'm so often overwhelmed by raising a kid and keeping a house and paying the bills that it's nice to have one normal thing I can manage. But it's not particularly relaxing.

The closest I come to relaxing in the house is when I read. I read pretty much all the time (all the time that I'm not actively raising the kid or washing the dishes, anyway), and I figured out years ago that it's a defense mechanism. I read things online, I read library books, I read newspapers, I read magazine clippings. I read cereal boxes and shampoo bottles and the packaging from Connor's toys. I read like breathing, and between that and my garden I do all right. Even if I don't ever actually relax.


My website is worth $1686.30!

November 12, 2008

My site is worth $1686.3.
How much is yours worth?

Or, you know, it would be, were I to post more than twice a month and then decide to sell a WordPress site to someone who did not realize that WordPress sites are free.

So! How are you? Long time no type, for I am one lazy ho. There has been nothing of note in my life lately, and I’ve been far too gray and mopey and exhausted and ennui-stricken to make anything seem noteworthy. Thus I present to you a list of Things That Have Happened and/or Things I Have Thought About Recently:

1) I started correlating what I eat with how I feel, and surprise! Turns out I need to eat meat on a nightly basis or I will wake up with a death wish! I thought the daily death wish was just my general state of affairs — you know, oh this modern lifestyle, how it scalds my gentle soul — but no, it was just low protein. Also, did you know that fiber can, like, regulate your blood sugar and keep the brain-fog at bay? Because it can! So now I eat copious amounts of Triscuits and cheese for lunch every day, and steak or pork or delicious, crackly-tender roast for dinner. FOR MY HEALTH.

2) ChaCha implemented a new system that, quite literally, doubled my average earnings overnight. And then! They broke it, and my earnings have dropped to something like $2/hour for the past three days. I am certain that they will fix it, but in the meantime I am living on the edge, and my in-laws actually loaned us $20 the other day for gas because I’d already spent eight hours that day making money at snail’s pace for Connor’s medicine.

3) Oh, yeah, that. Connor is sick. It’s just a cold, but he is endearingly attention-hungry in a stalwart way — he’s incredibly, in-your-face cheerful and brave about the whole thing, as if to let everyone know that he is suffering horribly and yet soldiers manfully on. I’ve slept in his room the past two nights because once it gets dark he is too miserable for me to remain unmoved, which means that I’m due to come down with the plague any minute now.

4) I discovered a recipe for strawberry-margarita cheesecake, and I’m trying to convince myself not to make it until Thanksgiving. With holiday cooking nigh upon us, I don’t think I should be leaving strawberry-margarita cheesecakes lying about in proximity to my gaping maw, but oh how it calls to me.

5) I did, however, make almond-poppyseed muffins today, and I’ve spent the whole day wishing I could get my hands on a home drug-testing kit so that I could test positive for heroin just once before I die. MythBusters told me that this is possible, and now I must try it! Though last time I got my hands on a home substance-testing kit (a drugstore Breathalyzer), the results were dismal — I found that my overall tolerance is much lower than previously suspected.

6) I am starting to plan out my holiday cooking, and I have realized that I’m not really sure how to brine a turkey. Do you just make some supersaturated saltwater, plop the turkey in, and leave it there for 24 hours? Is there a special mixture that one needs to have on hand, like supersaturated saltwater, sage, eye of newt, and three hairs of a virgin? I am strangely disinclined to Google “turkey brining methods,” probably because I fear Google will lose all respect for me in the morning. Also, as long as I’m supersaturating water with salt, surely I could then leave the water to evaporate and lick the resultant salt crystals? I just need information here, people.

7) I don’t like multiples of three. Thus, a seventh, non-essential, item.

There! I feel I’ve done an admirable job of bringing you all up to speed. Now… turnabout is fair play. The comments section awaits!

It’s not you.

June 16, 2008

So, the CPA who was all gung-ho to hire me has not emailed me in almost a week. We have not finalized the contract, she has not let me know what she wants me to start on, there is a total communication breakdown. This makes two jobs in two weeks that have totally fallen through post-hiring, leading me to think that HA HA HA, maybe it’s me. As in, maybe I am doing something horrendously wrong, or perhaps my personality is off-putting, or… or I smell. I don’t know, but I am starting to get seriously worried, not that it’s edging into paranoia or anything because it’s TOTALLY NOT. Except at three in the morning when I am lying awake and freaking out about money. Then it’s paranoia! Yes indeed!

Hi. How are you?

Today is another day of resumé sending, just in case, and tomorrow will be another day of local job hunting. Just in case. We just did our grocery shopping for the month the next couple of weeks, and I am having my usual attendant “oh my goodness, everything has gotten SO EXPENSIVE” spazz attack. We have company coming in next week and OH MY GOD, HOW WILL I FEED THEM? I mean, it should be okay, except I don’t want to make my usual busy-mom-on-a-budget stuff. I, of course, am DEAD-SET on preparing fantastic meals with rich meldings of savory flavor and, um, angel wings or whatever. I should probably not panic about this because it’s not like we won’t be able to buy more stuff when the company gets here, but then I think OH MY GOD, HOW WILL I FEED THEM? Which is not — I repeat not — a legitimate worry in any way (I mean, we are not destitute), but damnit, I remember when the food I bought today would have only been maybe a hundred bucks and today it was TWO HUNDRED.

Hi. How are you?

I am also irrationally panicked about gas prices because HOLY HELL. Gas is over four dollars a gallon here, and our ancient Chevy Tracker is currently getting something like eleven miles to the gallon. Did I mention that I have company coming in next week? Because I do and OH MY GOD, HOW WILL I TAKE THEM OUT? Also, Michael has to get to work, Connor has to get to playdates and the park and the pool, and I have to… well, look for a job. Again. FOUR DOLLARS PER GALLON, people. I know it’s probably worse in other places, but I keep thinking about when gas was 88 CENTS per gallon, and I just want to cry a little. There was some ad on the radio today for a contest in which first prize was a $100 gas card, and I could not keep myself from snarking on it a little. “Oooh, enter to win A TANK OF GAS. No, wait, maybe A TANK AND A HALF OF GAS. What a MARVELOUS prize! So EXOTIC. So USEFUL. We should go enter, because A TANK OF GAS is worth its weight in gold!” And then, of course, I realized that a tank of gas probably is worth its weight in gold.

Hi. How are you?

Anyway, the lunchmeat I bought today offers me the chance to win $50,000! Now that’s a prize I can get behind! Desperate times, right? In case you’re wondering, I would buy a house. If it was a cheap house, I would also tune up the damn car. (ELEVEN MILES TO THE GALLON.) What would you do?

(As an addendum, you should go check out 3trillion.org. I have already solved the oil crisis, the housing crisis, the education crisis, and the food crisis! Happy spending.)

Questions/Rambles: Fin.

March 26, 2008

The very last question in that whole “go on, ask me anything” meme was from Rory, who wanted to know about RECIPES!! or MASTURBATION!! It’s going to be brief, because today is my birthday, but here are the recipes to which I would masturbate if they involved some tasteful leather or perhaps John Rzeznik:

Soda Bread! This isn’t exactly how I make it, but it’s pretty damn close.

Bruschetta! Except that recipe is quite fancy, whereas the way I do it is not: Chop tomatoes. Sprinkle with basil. Apply to toasted French bread in great, gaping spoonsful. Shove into ravening maw. Still, you could always give the mincing and the onion and the cheese (!!) a try.

Autumn Pork Roast! This is fucking delicious. I transfer the softened squash and onion into a casserole dish before placing the roast on top, but otherwise I just follow this recipe and it never fails.

Bouillabaisse! Oh, sweet heaven, I love bouillabaisse. I’ve never actually made it because there is a shocking dearth of fresh fish in New Mexico, but someday… someday I’ll achieve that dream. In the meantime, I will eat any bouillabaisse that happens to cross my path. (As an aside: the proper thing to drink with bouillabaisse is beer. Not wine. Don’t listen to the wine people. Nobody knows why this is, but believe me when I tell you it is the truth. Beer.)

Sweet Potato Minestrone! This is a nice variation on the vegetable soup that Adri taught me to make. The original soup was potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, and stewed tomatoes in Swanson’s vegetable broth, but we were constantly expanding the recipe by adding other stuff. (My favorite addition: kidney beans.) This sweet potato minestrone is the same idea, only sort of Italian, and it tastes like huors spent in the kitchen.

Mushroom and Potato Chowder! It’s no substitute for the potato-corn chowder my mom used to make, but it’s really, really yummy. Really. Yummy. I think the addition of barley would make it even better, and I tend to scale back the cheese, but it’s delicious by the recipe as well.

Just for kicks, here is my favorite marinade ever. I use it on everything that is even vaguely meat-like, and it always produces spectacular results. You can even brush it on triangle-sliced tortillas and toss them in the oven to make delicious homemade chips.

Finally, here is the part where I beg my mom to post her burrito recipe (minus soap, ahem) in the comments section, because her burritos are SERIOUSLY SPECTACULAR. I hate burritos, truly, but my mom’s are out of this world. So, hey Mom! Get postin’.

(What about y’all? I think you should post some recipes too.)

(Also, that was not so brief. Am big, huge, lying-type person. Can say nothing but, hey, food makes me talk a lot.)