29 December 2009

A Christmas Miracle

Our landlord just said, yes, okay, call the handyman and ask him to fix the main heater, the one that was designed to be used in a home and has the potential ability to actually maintain 65 in all livable rooms in your apartment.

IT'S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE! A few days late, yes. But wheee! We were rereading Seattle Tenant Law last night and were just about resigned to getting an estimate on fixing the heater, notifying the landlord of the estimate, paying for it ourselves, and deducting it from the rent (because you can do that here, which is pretty cool). But this is what I really wanted--for him to pay for it.

Other Christmas happenings/miracles: great dinner with Noah's aunt and uncle; recurrent chest colds for both of us; great time with Seth; great video chats with family on the 25th; a Kindle; waltzing lessons with Noah; an upcoming trip to Vancouver, WA to visit with Noah's older brother and family for a day or two, since they're visiting our sister-in-law's family there; a visit from our friend CJ, who drove the bus Noah lived on for most of the three years he lived on it, who is now a pilot in Alaska and has amazing photos of Alaska that make me want to go there; and ... I'm sure there's more, but those are the main ones.

Now that we're both recovering from our colds--still sick but able to stand up and walk around--a kitchen full of disaster awaits us. Hooray. And more editing awaits me, which is just fine. And a million loads of laundry and lots of other housecleaning and all that. Yay for the new portable dishwasher!

20 December 2009


Noah is back! And how wonderful it is to be together again. We haven't been apart that long since he went to Japan for six weeks in 2006. Together, together, together. I will say it is weird having him in the apartment after being here alone for that long--whose dirty dishes are those? Who ate all the cereal?

I am still sick, or sick again, it doesn't matter which. Focusing on moving past it, which involves sleeping 12 hours a night and feeling lightheaded for a good part of the day and coughing until my chest hurts. Please, echinacea tea, make me well again. Please, green soup with ginger and sweet potatoes, heal me.

Our new PC is here, and tomorrow we should have Windows 7 from Seth for a decent price, and I will actually do some editing for the two clients I have with manuscripts of the same length (200 pages), due the same time, in mid-January. I may disappear after tomorrow for a while, surface for Christmas, disappear, surface for New Year's, disappear, surface for my FIVE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY, and ... hopefully be close to done. It isn't that much editing, really, since I am not working any other jobs. And I can probably average 5 pages an hour. So, 80 hours worth? I will make the deadline for both of them.

Remember my repetitive stress injury? And my worker's compensation claim? It is settled, 1.25 years later, I have the check, I am depositing it, and that is done. If only I was healed all the way. Still, it is enough money to start the yarn-dyeing business and to throw some serious money at whichever student loan I choose. For that I am thankful. I am also thankful that I have less constant pain now that I ever have since the injury, that I'm more aware of how to manage the pain, what to avoid, what I can do. What I can't do. I had some really amazing occupational therapists to get here, and I am most thankful for them. The lawyer, eh. The doctors, no. But Becky the therapist, yes.

And so, in the middle of this, our new life here in Seattle, we are making enough money to get by without trouble, but we want to pay off all of our loans as quickly as possible while rebuilding our savings that have been totally depleted by leaving Urbana in August and moving to Seattle in November. And trying to set aside money for things like our car which will inevitably die some day and need to be replaced, and how great would it be to buy our next car flat-out in cash, like we did this one because of Noah's careful planning, and not have payments? And set aside money for a house? A house, here in Seattle, where houses in my current neighborhood start at 300k? And the fixer-uppers start at 150k and are described as "needing new plumbing and being stripped down to the studs"? I am handy but that kind of house ... that is a lot of work.

But what I came here to write about is cooking, and eating, for less money, but cooking and eating well.

--use this woman's meal plans--they seem a little boring, but I can use her plans and sub in my favorite recipes with the same ideas, with the goal of feeding the two of us for about $200 a month
--make bread at home, since I love making bread and homemade bread is delicious
--make yogurt at home, in the crock pot?! That's revolutionary.
--make our own cleaning products when possible, with vinegar, baking soda, and a basic degreaser like castile soap, and maybe essential oils that I already have

Now, don't get me wrong--we're planning on buying an LCD TV that is somewhere between 32" and 40" sometime soon. But being thrifty some places means we can spend in other places, right?

On to knitting for Christmas!!

14 December 2009

Guess What? Still Cold

If you are in my family or follow me on Facebook, you already know that my apartment is inadequately heated with 1) a gas heater that hasn't worked in two years, 2) a gas heater that was intended for use on a boat, 3) an electric/ceramic space heater that works well but can only heat a room at a time, and 4) an oil/electric space heater that just doesn't do much. Add to it an old, lathe-and-plaster house that probably isn't insulated at all, old drafty windows, old drafty door with an open gap under the door, in the sill, that leads down into who knows where, a back room that is falling away from the house at maybe a 5 degree angle, leaving a one-inch gap between house wall and room wall, and a two-inch gap in one of the windows that won't close because the room is so out of plumb.

So it's cold. Yeah. Colder than 60 when I wake up, maybe getting up to 65 or 67 on a sunny day in the main room, with both heaters on, with the room totally closed off from the rest of the apartment (which makes the bathroom cold, kitchen cold, hallway cold, office/back room cold, bedroom cold). Cold cold cold.

And I am used to cold. Iowa. Central Illinois. I lived in a turn-of-the-century house in Iowa for a year with four windows in my dorm room (beautiful), and I had a travel alarm clock with a digital thermometer, so I always knew my room was 64 or 66 degrees in all of January when I was taking an American literature survey (month-long class) and reading, literally, 8 hours a day, 200-400 pages a day. I spent the whole month in my down sleeping bag on the couch in my room, reaching out to my electric kettle to boil more water for more tea.

In Illinois almost three years ago, we had a blizzard and campus closed for two days. Something like 15 inches of snow in two days? Last winter, the temperature didn't break 15 for at least a month, maybe a month and a half. One day the high was 0 degrees, and I drove to work, amazed that my little Civic started, made it to work, made it home. That was really cold. The kind of cold that you walk out in and scream as you run to the building, then wish you'd closed your mouth because now your mouth is really cold.

But this cold, in Seattle? Outside it is not so cold at all. 38 or so right now. But inside it is not even 30 degrees warmer. And that is frustrating.

I wrote my landlord a huge email, quoting the Seattle building code's requirements that permanently installed heaters (which is only my boat heater) must maintain an average temperature of 65 in all livable rooms. Ha! Ha ha. I can barely maintain 65 in one room with the two heaters going. And that means all other rooms are 62, 60, 57, 54 or so.

So there's a lot of hat-wearing, fingerless-mitt wearing, technical hiking gear wearing (Patagonia capilene tops and bottoms, fleece jackets, down-filled booties). And a lot of thinking about residual heat from my stove, range, and bathtub water. (I have to bake cookies, right?) A lot of tea drinking. A lot of brainstorming ways to get out of the house and go somewhere else with better heating to thaw for a while.

And Noah is out of town--has been for a week, will get home on Friday night. So it is cold and a little lonely too.

But! Fear not! Seattle is awesome. It is just my landlord that is terrible.

Seattle, home of excellent Thai food everywhere I go, the best coffee I've ever had, a wonderful neighborhood that I'd like to live in forever (Wallingford! Or Green Lake! not sure which one I'm technically in), nice people, and absolutely gorgeous. This town does not hold the title of prettiest place I've ever lived (hello Tetons--that is the view from the part of the park I lived in), but it is indeed a close second. And the artisanal ice cream available does put its total score of awesome a little higher, in a way.

The chickens? I love them. The yard, the gardens, the layout of my apartment, the clawfoot tub (best baths of my LIFE, I am never going to shower here, bath only forever), the giant kitchen, the view of the Olympics from my windows, etc.

But I miss my family, and my friends, and I miss knowing how people drive (hard to put a finger on, but it is quite different here). I miss knowing how to get somewhere without using my GPS. And I think we moved here at the worst time of year, in terms of enjoying Seattle. Everyone we meet is like, Don't believe the weather is always this bad! This is the worst it's been in years, YEARS! Like they have forgotten the blizzard they had last year that caused two buses to dangle off a bridge.

I remember the stories of that storm, how Microsoft told Seth and all other employees to work from home, and then they all logged on to their remote server at once, and they crashed their servers. All of them. For the whole day. Oh, Microsoft.

Noah is liking Accenture, what he's learned of them so far, at least. He's doing a lot of training that seems newer to everyone else but replicates things he's already done before. Good job, Illinois and Noah. His trainers put him and other new hires in a mock client interview to gather specs for a new project, and the other five new hires had never done that kind of interview before. And I guess, they are new hires, they are also fresh from school, but Illinois had Noah doing that for his senior design project and then deliver a completely implementable solution to the problem. Perhaps Illinois is as good at training engineers as they think they are.

Noah's wardrobe is quite different now, though--Accenture requires business casual that is basically anything up to a suit without a tie. So, dress shoes, dress slacks or suit pants, button downs. We thought it would be suits, so he has suits and ties now, too. But, for me, this makes Noah the only person I'm related to directly who has ever worn suit clothes to work. My dad: jeans, Coveralls, work boots. My brother: navy Dockers to cover up all the oil stains. I guess other people wore nurses' uniforms. But I wore jeans and skirts and stuff, but suits? This is foreign.

And I am the girl who focused on textiles in her art degreee and didn't know how to iron. I scorched a lot of white t-shirts before my professor stopped me. Good times.

So, today? Freelance editing, hopefully, if it works on my now-dual-booted MacBook that starts up as a Windows machine, eliminating the virtualization that was killing Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Our new PC is coming sometime this week, though.

Editing, tomato sauce, maybe blanching carrots and kale to freeze, hopefully these cookies. And a walk to a coffee shop to thaw at some point.

20 November 2009

SEATTLE WHAT WHAT and a long drive to get here

Yes, yes, we are here. We arrived just over two weeks ago, are still painting, are still unpacking, are still without a kitchen table, a desk, much-needed additional bookshelves, a mattress, a wardrobe/armoire deal ... Noah gets paid in a few weeks, so until then, there may not be much progress on that front.

But who needs furniture when you can buy an as-is futon from Ikea, disassemble it, fit it into your Civic, and sleep on that?

And more importantly, who needs furniture when you live half a mile or less from these following gems: an artisanal ice cream shop (so amazingly good); literally ten or more Thai places, one vegetarian, another one in a beautiful all-wood temple-ish place, and another one with a super-secret, super-hot red curry; a beer shop that serves and is full of punk music but without any lame attitude (it is obvious everyone is focused on beer completely); a teahouse; a lake; a park; a zoo ... We haven't been to all of those places yet, but we will.

Okay, honestly, I still would like furniture. Ice cream and furniture are not the same thing. But we split a sundae last night made with one scoop vanilla bean, one scoop theo chocolate (I think local chocolate?), cranberry orange chutney, candied hazelnuts, and candied orange slices. I enjoyed it more than I enjoy bookshelves. So maybe they even out.

Now, to share pictures chronologically or what ... I go with chronology.

Niece Liora driving our car as we leave St. Louis ... what a good driver, that one. Knows her colors and how to shift lanes ...

Sunset in Oklahoma or Texas, I am not sure which.

A big, beautiful canyon in ... New Mexico? Arizona? We drove from St. Louis to San Diego really, really quickly, though not quickly by Adam's standards (who took two days to get from Florida to San Diego in a van, carrying his Vespa and books).

Southern California or western Arizona--at this point, I am constantly saying to Noah, Wow, we are in the West! This doesn't look like Missouri or Illinois anymore! And he patiently nods, being the 49-state traveler that he is. That black spot is a cow.

Sequoia National Park! Wherein we leave the cats in a Motel 6 and ascend 6000 feet in our car, then hike around for the afternoon with much gasping for air. But where are the sequoias?

Oh, here they are.

They are really big and beautiful. This was taken in a meadow where, the last time Noah visited, he was within fifty feet of a bear eating lunch. However, I am myself bear repellant and we saw no bears. I have never seen a bear in person in the wild, not in the Tetons, not in Yellowstone, not in Sequoia, and not even when everyone else in the car saw one--when I looked, it was gone.

We drove through Kings Canyon National Park on the way out of Sequoia, since they border each other, and it was beautiful too.

Then, north to San Francisco for dinner with Noah's friends from his years of touring, and then, we thought, let's drive the coastal highway through California and Oregon! It will be legendary! And it was.

But even before this was taken at Muir Beach, our older cat Hobbes was throwing up because, you see, the coastal highway is full of things like hairpin turns at 15 mph and no guard rails and lots of hilliness. So we went back on I-5.

And here, in Oregon, it was still gorgeous. Next, on to Seattle and our apartment!

What's that in the background? Is that FLORESCENT ORANGE PAINT beneath the chair rail and dingy yellow paint above in the main room? Are those paint chips on the floor? Oh yes, they are. Here begins the saga of the apartment. The following photos are all from our "evidence of how crappy this place was/is" file, taken the day we moved in.

Hmm, nice architecture, nice bo tree, nice cat, but really, that color orange? Someone mixed that paint for you? They should be fired.

The bedroom! Pool blue walls, a bright yellow ceiling, and spackle everywhere from the landlord's handyman. When we got in, we asked him, So, are you painting? His reply: Oh no, I let the tenants paint and I'll pay for paint.

Two weeks of painting literally every paintable surface in the apartment, I understand the great deal he is getting from our labor.

The clawfoot tub is truly awesome for taking baths, but it may or may not fall through the floor someday. May neither of us be in it or our neighbor be below it when it does.

This is the "second bedroom"--maybe 8 by 8 feet, two orange walls, one yellow wall, one red wall, and a yellow ceiling.

And ill-fitted carpet.

And a window that doesn't close. Not at all. I stuffed the crack full of bubble wrap yesterday, and it's warmer already.

And that room? With the many-colored walls? It's essentially an insulated second-story porch, and it is falling off the house proper. On the left, it's porch, and on the right, it's house. May it also not contain us when it falls, or hit our neighbor, or hit the chickens.

"After" photos later!

So, as you sit in your centrally-heated places of residence, think of us and our one natural gas heater ... and honestly, it is starting to look a lot better.

Keep in touch, y'all! I will try to do the same.

08 September 2009


Severe allergic reactions. Today I told Noah what to do if my throat is really closing (take me to an ER for some epinephrine) even if he has to trick me: "Let's go to a movie!" At least I wouldn't drive myself this time.

I'm trying out this set of actions: nasal wash; Flonase; Claritin 40 mg (like they take in Europe, unlike our 10 mg dose). I'm also going to try eating foods that cut inflammation down ... nuts, fish, red grapes, apples, oranges ... we'll see.

So far, my throat is still itching and feels swollen, my ears still feel weird, my skin is a little itchy but no hives, I have my sinuses calmed down ...

Pretty brain dead with it all. I will tell you I'm thinking about the GRE, about running a business, about making things full/part time ...

Life is quite different, and it is only beginning to sink in.

27 August 2009

Cursed by The Wheel of Time and ...

Here I am in the city of my childhood, living this beautiful little time wherein I can sleep and eat and play with nieces and go to Friar Tuck down the road, and read, and rediscover my humanity and my writing life and my art making and blah blah blah, and what do I end up reading?

Effing The Wheel of Time, for a third time, and Twilight.

Now, to argue for whatever remaining brainpower and coolness I might have in your mind, I am rereading The Wheel of Time again in preparation of THE LAST BOOK coming out on October 27, while I will be en route with Noah to Seattle. There is an entirely likely possibility that I will read it to him in the car while hopped up on anti-nausea meds. And sadly it is not even the last book--it is part one of three parts which together make up the last book, which is cheating, because the now-dead original author wanted the last book to be one book, even if it was 2000 pages long, which it would be, because the man has introduced at least 200 characters worth following by book 7 of 11 so far. As a former worker in the publishing industry (former, yall!), I can admire the brilliance of publishing three things for a loyal reader to buy instead of one. And I will buy them all and love it.

Twilight ... do I have an excuse? Not really. My brother's wife owns all three, and I saw them on their shelves, and I wanted to read something while he was bleeding my rear brakes in his little alleyway parking space. And then I read 57 pages without stopping. This is why I don't pick up bad novels--I will read them all the way through, I will read every word, and I will do it in like five hours. I read wickedly fast, which is why I love reading The Wheel of Time, because I can read it over a few weeks since each book is 800 pages long. (I know, I know, I'll read Infinite Jest some day.) So now I am reading Twilight, and it is terrible, and I know exactly what will happen, and I don't like any of the characters, and they talk crap about the Pacific Northwest and rain and that hurts my feelings. But I am reading it anyway.

I would ask for reading suggestions, but to be honest, I won't take them. I have two series of novels to work on between apartment hunting and car repair and reading books to my nieces.

25 July 2009


Well, well.

We're leaving Urbana in two and a half weeks, moving to Saint Louis for two months, and then moving to Seattle in mid-October. I'm done working my job in a week and a half! Wahoo!

We're using ReloCube to store our stuff and move it to Seattle for us ... should be interesting. Lots of breakables to pack ...

and since we'll be only taking the Civic to Saint Louis and Seattle, and the two cats are moving with us, we will have really limited amounts of stuff with us for a while. Makes me think, why do I have the rest of my stuff? So the getting rid of things ensues.

I am actually excited about it, just also low-key.

28 June 2009

Thinking in Colors

Maybe this is what I'm here to do: think in colors, textures, fibers, spaces, and sometimes lines and paragraphs. That's where I feel peaceful these days, in colors. It's hard to explain, but it's like the weight of color theory, art history, and tunnel vision on one presentation of color all happening in my mind.

Blue like cobalt glass, like cobalt oxide, like my 75 ceramic tiles, like cyanotype, like blueprints, like a weaving made with blue cotton thread.

I'm not a weaver, but I'm thinking in weavings, too, and I could learn to weave. Noah's mom had a beautiful loom that was offered to me after she died, but with no skills and no place for it, we couldn't take it. I think it's okay. Sad in that way of things passing but okay in the way of art equipment being in use by someone somewhere.

We're starting to look for apartments in Seattle, and we're trying to find one with room for me to do some serious dyeing. I need big flat spaces, a sink, and a stove, so it shouldn't be too hard. It feels incredibly self-validating to say, I need studio space, and then to look for it.

Green like summer sunlight through the maple leaves, like the spring on its way to its deepest point, like new growth on a philodendron, like my batik piece, like lots of yellow dye with a tiny bit of blue.

I'm using my pastels now to try to get these colors down. They all have descriptions written next to them. Oh, typical, can't have images without words, can we?

I keep thinking, I have an unlimited color palette in yarn dyeing. Oh my god. That is unheard of. I was a ceramicist first, happily stuck with the colors of things that would form a glaze on clay. I loved my ash glazes--gray. My iron-rich clay from Missouri--red, then purple in the kiln. I was never a painter, never a photographer; in surface design, I was most excited by cyanotype and its one color, blue. Maybe I'll end up moving towards natural dyes because of this, just in an effort to limit the palette.

When I decided to try painting pictures at home, I bought black paint and nothing else.

But I have these memories of colors, of skies, of times of day, of plant textures, and I think, I would wear those as socks or a scarf. I would wrap the night sky full of fireflies around me; I would put summer green leaves on my feet. There is a joy in this functionality, this object-making, and in my part of that process, producing color.

I miss knitting so much, more than I can explain, more than I miss almost anything else connected to my arm injury. But this is a good way to stay close.

And who knows, maybe I'll end up weaving yarn. Sometimes I imagine giant weavings full of dropped stitches hanging from the ceiling against the wall ... in a medium brown, mud brown, burlap brown. It's been a long time since I took the things from my mind and made them happen; maybe it is time.

08 June 2009

I Haven't Died

Believe me.

My younger cat Eto got sick yesterday after drinking the water-vodka-essential grapefruit oil infusion I made to freshen up my house (DIY reed diffuser, yall), as he knocked it over and drank it and then threw up and squeaked a lot. Terrible and funny. It felt like coaching a kid sneaking booze ...

My brother may be getting a new job, a dream job, doing vintage restoration on cars from the teens to the 80s. Pretty sweet, but we are both not getting our hopes up.

I feel kind of bland, can you tell? Kind of white rice these days. Kind of.

Tell me all how you are.

20 May 2009

Kale Pesto

It was a hit, on its own and with 8 oz. linguine. (Doesn't that sound fancy? Would your mind change if I told you the linguine might be four years old and might have moved between two apartments?)

Kale Pesto

1 bunch kale (99 cents at the grocery store; buy some already)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced (maybe unnecessarily minced)
Zest of half a lemon
Small handful almonds
Small handful walnuts
Tons of olive oil

Boil 2-3 quarts water; add trimmed kale. (The easiest way to trim kale is hold it by its leaf end and pull down away from the stem, against the vein grain.) Boil maybe three minutes, stirring a little. Drain quickly. Do not overcook!

Add with other ingredients to food processor. Puree as much as possible. Maybe pour olive oil in through the chute while it's running; maybe not. I can't tell if that actually helps.

And eat it ... yum. It ends up tasting like some vaguely parsley-spinach pesto, kind of. The lemon is great.

18 May 2009

Showing Back Up

Sometimes we entertain and go to gatherings many times in a row, like this last weekend, and we end up bringing home leftovers or leaving leftovers, and suddenly, I don't cook for days. It is always odd, this huge energy of cooking and then the leavings after.

Regardless, I go to a grocery store midway through the mayhem and buy things like kale. Kale, kale, kale. I am in love. (I also lust after golden beets.) It's also full of iron, so maybe I'm anemic too. And today I thought to myself, hmm, kale pesto. That sounds crazy. That sounds like that terrible hummus you made when you were drunk several years ago that included canned peas. (It was awful. We'd been aiming for spinach. I don't recall exactly why we used peas, but I regretted it immediately. There is no redeeming canned peas.)

But then the people at the Times go and write about kale pesto ... and I'm entranced. I'll probably eat it tomorrow. Maybe without cheese. Not sure yet.

I dyed more yarn, and every time I do, I feel like I could do this for a living. With some surface design and writing thrown in. I need better tools and I'd like more room, but I am happy to have space to do it at all. I need to make a niddy noddy. I shall make one out of PVC pipe.

My arms are not better. This is still very sad.

The weather is turning, and that is not sad.

I'm trying to take full advantage of living so close to the library, what with my new library card and all. I want to read books about bookmaking. It makes me feel like a cannibal.

Noah has graduated, and, in a fitting end to his terrible semester, his group members have not turned in their final project correctly and he has to take care of it. No big deal, but a terrible last note.

We are finally both out of school. It is shocking. I'm sure we'll establish some kind of more-normal cohabitation, but so far it's a lot of looking at each other and watching TV online together. As it well should be.

Eat your kale, friends, and enjoy the height of spring. Make merry with me, ye who have been studying too hard. Come into the sun.

07 May 2009

Being Homemade

Because aren't we all, in a way? Or VW bus-made if you let my mom tell you a story ... which can stop right there, Mom! Geez.

I mean yogurt, granola, bread, dinner. Dear Jeff sends me good reading, which is not so different from when he was a student of mine (ha ha! compliment complete), such as this woman who did a cost-benefit analysis on homemade vs. store-bought goods. And she apparently loves this granola, though I argue for this one. Really, the second one is called "honey-toasted" and it didn't burn in the oven like my last batch.

I think my own cost-benefit analysis would turn out differently because we eat differently. And what I make has a lot to do with what doesn't hurt my arms and elbows, so it has to fall into this easy-to-make category of homemade. So, in the last six months, we've gone from eating, say, pasta with crockpot sauce heavy on onions and red wine to marinated, then baked, tofu and frozen stir-fry vegetables. Not a terrible change ... but you should notice the lack of chopping, the lack of stirring, etc.

I shall, then, list out what I make at home and wouldn't change:

1.) Yogurt. No question. I crave the taste of my own yogurt. I drained some yesterday and drank the whey mixed with peach nectar. I put the drained stuff in a yogurt tart. I love love love yogurt and, even with shopping at Aldi, making our own is cheaper than buying. Not by a lot, but by enough, and the taste is much better. I haven't tried the easiest method of making it, which involves letting it sit in a warm place overnight--I'm still using a hot water bath--but the 8 hours would be even easier.

2.) Bread for the right occasions. Mostly that means weekend eating. (Don't you eat differently on the weekend? We graze like crazy. Good crusty bread facilitates this.) Homemade, good bread is easy, I say, and I've been doing it for eight years now, off and on. My bread now veers into no-knead, or all mixer-knead, but either way it is great. And I love the original no-knead recipe--I bake it in my 8-qt. steel stock pot with aluminum foil to cover. Which is developing a roasty patina.

3.) Bath salts. Not edible, but if you take a lot of baths, there is no question. Sugar scrub too.

4.) Hummus. Though I'm disappointed lately with how mine turns out.

Okay, I can go on, but mostly it comes down to me saying, "People still buy that already made? Why?"

And in arm news, I may not get better. This is too sad to say much about. So that is the end of that.

Off to rest, shall we?

04 May 2009


Only to say I finished editing 300 pages in 1.5 weeks and am now editing 42 pages in 2 days. Which is a much better editing-to-days ratio. Good lord the end of the semester! I'm not even a student and yet it haunts me still, with all this work, all these people who pay me. I do like getting paid.

I may have found my perfect granola/muesli recipe, with 3/4 c. honey and 4 T. oil; I love my yogurt; I cook sometimes, things like carrot-potato soup with nutmeg, honey, and leftover quinoa; and Noah buys the best groceries. I haven't been going with him lately, as I can't carry or pick up things, really, and am mostly useless and grumbly because of that--anyway, he goes and I don't and he gets home and I'm all, wow food! Avocados! A block of cheese! Wow! Best way to receive groceries ever. Excellent at grocery-shopping, that one, buying frozen pepperoni pizza rather than sausage because pepperoni is easier to move off of a half (for me).

Am I really an editor? All this editing and my grumbling about it make me wonder if I really am suited for it, or if it's something I can just do. Like algebra--I can do algebra but don't love it. You know? I grumble about style sheets and people who don't know how to use commas (I don't mean errors, I mean AT ALL) and inconsistently styled headings and question myself about my understanding of hyphenation rules. I don't think I hyphenate as correctly as I could.

So, maybe not a real editor. Maybe a pretend editor. Or a skilled editor who'd rather be making anything at all.

It's been five years since I graduated from college, this spring. Oh my a long time. I think the art degree and the head copy editor job I had there are the two most useful things I got out of college. Loved the rest, for sure, but those are the useful ones.

And I'm definitely moving to Seattle in late October.

22 April 2009

Am I Really Okay with This?

Doing some editing on a dissertation, and the references have no style. Fashion police, no; they adhere to no one school of style. And this really bothers me. BOTHERS ME.

But they are mostly consistent to themselves. And the dissertation committee members apparently do not care.

However ... I care. Poor little unstyled citations, I care about you. Because I know three different schools of style and can recite them. Honestly. I recognize them on sight. I am an editor. This is what I know.

I am leaving them alone. I am. I am. I am. Breathe.

And should I capitalize "with"? I am undecided on that one.

14 April 2009

Squash, Rotten, with Deceit and Broccoli Pesto, Updated with Photos of Railings

I slow-cooked a spaghetti squash today. Set it out last night and everything. Made this broccoli pesto with generous amounts of parsley. Tossed and ... tasted and ... it was totally rotten! I should have surmised that from the weird root looking things inside it with the seeds when I cut it open.

Definitely the first time I have cooked something ROTTEN without knowing it was rotten. Oh squash and slow-cookers, so useful, and with a hidden currency of deceit. Deceit!

The broccoli pesto was tasty with some whole-wheat fusilli, though.

Should I walk to the library now? Yes I should.

Update: Kaffe Fasset's book, Glorious Color, makes me wish I was twenty years older, living in Fasset's pattern photos; Gary Paulsen published a book for adults in 1992 that I picked up, fell in love with, and thought sadly, No one publishes books like this anymore, on great paper with full-color paintings, with no real plot; David Sedaris is really funny but I keep hoping for a happy ending anyway; and these photos of railings make me feel indelibly peaceful. LA, maybe? I don't know.

13 April 2009

Oh Hai Guyz

Aren't you always thinking in lolcat?

Let's see ... hosted a Passover seder, chopped things with few painful repercussions. Went to a large Easter brunch full of excellent largess. Am making the second batch of chocolate matzo crack right now. Dyed yarn; feel like I'm getting somewhere on my dye trials. Good lord I am the same girl I was in college, mostly; I think in the same trials, I record results the same way (haphazardly), I try to be kind of scientific about all of it, and I freak the hell out when I encounter toxic materials.

Oh, toxic you say?

The dyes I use are only toxic in their dry state. Once water is in there, well, I wear gloves and wouldn't drink it, but it won't kill me anymore. But, let's say, a container full of dyestock leaks and leaks through the plastic bag and leaks into the large bin it's inside of and ... all the liquid evaporates. And there's dry dye everywhere. Oddly enough I moved so fast I forgot to wear gloves during the whole ordeal. And given the lack of migraine or sinus freakout, I am assuming I have not absorbed too much toxicity.

In college, I used cyanide to make cloth blue in the sun. I crushed glass and didn't wear a mask or gloves (bad idea) with a hammer inside a piece of canvas. I mixed clay in a room with an incorrectly-installed vent fan, which pulled nothing out of the room. Yay clay so light it floats on air, living in your sinuses for a few years. In grad school, in my ceramics class, I angrily and kind of crazily left the clay lab in a blaze at the end of the semester ... and forgot my beautiful particulate filter mask.

Well, I'm sure I'll get a new one soon enough. Because I have sinus trouble and I don't want to die. From my dye ...

I think I just forgot my laundry. Uh, bye again!

01 April 2009

Darning Socks, Insulting Peasants, and Food

Perhaps I am overly excited about this, but I just watched a video on darning socks, and let me tell you, I have more socks that need darning than I want you to know about. I am a bit of a sock lover, a sock-wearing fool, and I decided in college that it would benefit me far into the future to amass as many high-quality wool socks (Smartwool, really) as possible. And to love them forever. And hopefully own enough to only do laundry every two weeks ...

Anyway, few of my to-be-darned patches will match, you know, at all, but the holes will be filled!

Brief interlude: younger cat Eto just brought home another maimed bird, two in two weeks; I am closing the blinds again, as I cannot take such violence. I think some of my neighbors are witnessing this as well ... I hope it's the dog-owners whose dog maybe, hopefully, scared Eto away and hopefully didn't see him and his bird-victim, or maybe one of the many immigrant neighbors, who I imagine are not as freaked out by this, since they cook a lot of cabbage and peanut oil and onions, which I find to be earthy, like peasant/farm earthy. I am revealing all my assumptions, aren't I? In other words, maybe peasants don't mind animals eating animals? I am two or three generations removed from farming, so I should be more realistic about this. And the main neighbor in question is a graduate student in physics with a gigantic Apple TV or iMac thing.

Since I am not making a lot of things right now except food, and am insulting my neighbors, all farmers, and all peasants, I will change topics. I plan to write more about those foods I am making in days to come.


--Mole skillet pie with greens, teamed with sauteed corn, red onions and kale
--Chinese noodles with stir-fry vegetables and orange pan-glazed tempeh
--No-knead bread with steel-cut oats, served with roasted carrot "fries," garlic tahini sauce, sun-dried tomato hummus, and parmesan-yogurt sauce (which is exactly what it sounds like)
--Lentil soup with spinach, teamed with poppy-seed polenta (accidentally made with 3 tablespoons, not teaspoons, of poppy seeds, postponing all possible drug tests by necessity)
--Almond-quinoa muffins with dried cranberries (they are a bit weird, almost too health-food for even me)
--And lots of nori rolls, when the mood strikes, rolled by Noah the master roller

We are eating more home-cooked food because my arms are a little better and I am chopping a little more. Yum, food. Yay, lower food bills. Yay, food that is more real-ingredient-centered.

It's NaPoWriMo and I am not participating. Go elsewhere.

18 March 2009

Change in Plans

Well ... we won't be moving to Seattle until sometime between September and November. Not May or June. Accenture can't start Noah until then, which has some very real effects on our projected income ... and where we are working, and how we are living.

Anybody want to sublet my place after we move? Heh? Or, you know, let me live in yours? While you live somewhere else, I guess? This is a quandry. We have some time to figure it out, though--August sometime.

All cost-saving and money-making ideas are welcome. Comment below, pls. And I'm already planning things like selling books and clothes and other things ... we live very low-cost, so looking for ways to lower cost is difficult. But not impossible. We will work it out. Positive thinking.

I've been wanting to dye yarn a grey-blue shade, and I looked at the nearly-raining still-winter sky a few nights ago and realized that was it. Yarn to come in some semblance of shade.

I keep singing Arcade Fire songs out loud, and they make no sense at all. "Come on Alex / you can do it / come on Alex / there's nothing to it" ... "All the neighbors can dance" ... "The crown of love / is now upon me" ...

And, yesterday, while cleaning our apartment in ways it has not been cleaned in some long, long time (with baking soda! mixed with rosemary essential oil! it smelled great in here--spring cleaning!!!), I took refuge in not one but two Saint Louis radio stations, KWMU the NPR affiliate, and KDHX the community-supported independent station. I know one of the DJs, I grew up listening to this, and I have positive associations with nearly every show of theirs. Yesterday I was all, "Mid-Day Jamboree! Wahoo!" And now I'm all "Songwriters Showcase!"

I'm sure there are good radio stations wherever I am, hopefully, but maybe there are not, and maybe I am lazy--whatever the case, hearing those two stations shout out their call signs is comforting wherever I am.

16 March 2009

Oh, And Kelsey Keyes! Or, Increase Your Karma Now!

If anybody here has time on their hands, click through the links below ... and help out my friend Kelsey.

Karma! Do it! You don't need to know why! The more clicks the better.






Christine (yes, me)

















Library Cards and Turmeric-Infused Trash

Yeah! Changing it up, "blog redesign," etc. Soon I will figure out the graphics stuff about what I'd like to see in my banner. I am perhaps surprisingly inept where design and computers interact.

And now Goodreads.com can tell you what I'm reading. And seeing it here will remind me to actually read rather than watch Project Runway and Legend of the Seeker. Put that Book Gem to use.

I got a library card today! This seems ridiculous, to have not had one in the public library system here AND have lived here five years. I found the textile area (746.42, oh yeah) and didn't leave for a long time. Eventually they will see me every week, I am guessing.

While "business plans" are something I have never dealt with in my life, except for that sport management skills book, wherein I read about them via flowcharts, I am probably going to write one with Noah sometime. About yarn. And dye. And etsy.com. And on and on.

You know, being a maker and all that.

I am also a maker of lentil soup and no-knead bread. Served together with some turmeric-infused yogurt. Somehow my jar of turmeric shattered inside its lid ... it's a latch-top jar, so maybe it fell and the force of impact messed with that part. I do not know. Noah sifted some out through my teeniest whole-leaf-tea filter. The rest is in the trash. Turmeric-infused trash, that is.

And after a day at work, of a literal five hours of voice-typing and index-reformatting (loop "move left, move down, tab" in my scraggly voice), I am amazed by voice typing as an entity and am also tired of it. Or perhaps more tired of index-reformatting. Freelancers, beware: format your work correctly. I have no sympathy for incorrect formatting. Honestly, no sympathy at all.

Neverwhere or Fabric, huh? Where to start.

15 March 2009

Making What?

* yogurt again

* dyeing yarn again

* headway into new apartments in new cities

* headway also into what to eat, when, how: I finally started using the power-flow timer thing, like plant grow-light timer, for my crock-pot dry-bean cookery: turn on at 1pm, turn off at 4pm, and since they're just beans, the time spent soaking before cooking probably won't kill us

* tofu pasta bake with friends--yes, it sounds awful, but it is intensely delicious, and perhaps using four cloves of garlic in the tofu cheese was a little much, given Noah's reaction when I came home: "Garlic! Ahhh!"

Perhaps in my next life (which is not so far away) I will be making things with fabric and yarn and dye, selling them, healing this injury, cooking good food, living calmly, maybe teaching or tutoring or freelance editing part-time. I should learn to be a better blogger. The artist bloggers are all so hip.

13 March 2009

Oh Ye Booyahs

Sentences like this make me first laugh then desperately want to be asleep (taken from the good folks here):

Mr. Cramer, the host of “Mad Money,” barely had time for his usual shuffleboard games at the Elk’s Lodge near his home.

The lodge “is a booyah-free zone,” he said, using his trademark exclamation. “I was not able to get away from the booyahs this week.”

Nor, sir, have I been able to get away from the booyahs for a long time. Oh ye booyahs, persecuting me for my many, loud personal contributions to this economic crisis. Pain is not felt for ye.

Also, I played shuffleboard in middle school gym class for a while and loved it. LOVED it. Anybody besides this dude that wants to play shuffleboard, call me up.

Other news? I am talking with a new surgeon dude who will hopefully not be a terrible person who disrespects me for twenty minutes and then expects me to say, "Yes, please cut me up in a procedure with a 20% complication rate of nerve damage." I did a lot of dishes this week. I found an old, wonderful friend online after losing touch for five years. I am planning to wear a t-shirt and pearls tomorrow, or some such outfit, to an organic wine tasting with friends to be followed by frozen treats and hot chocolate sauce. Some things are really bad; other things are not so terrible; and every day that passes makes more of the bad things a little farther away.

06 March 2009

Green Spinach and Green Shirts and Greener Towns

I decided to cook saag paneer ... with tofu instead of paneer, having leftover tofu and lots of spinach and some kind of comfort food association with curried spinach. So I took a vegan saag paneer recipe and added yogurt to it. Can't be vegan for the life of me.

Well, no grad school yet, thinking surgery might be a good idea, got a lawyer (!) who seems nice and wanted my case, and ... you know, not sure what I'll be doing in three or four months, but I know we'll be living somewhere with lots of water and trees. And kayaks and lattes and local berries and, and, and.

Moved offices at work today, to my first single office ever, and I pretty much hate it. I have had seriously great office mates, and the silence is deafening, and it is as cold as a meat locker, and dark enough that my plants will surely die. Glowing, huh? It should make voice typing easier, though.

Enough typing for today, however. Unofficial and Noah's out drinking; I inadvertently wore green today and felt stared at by all U of I alumni at work. No, I am not taking body shots today or drinking colored beer. No, no. Just like green.

03 March 2009

I Have to Stop Having This Kind of a Day

Was not offered admission into UW's PhD in English program. This makes moving to Seattle considerably more complicated.

I'm betting on things being okay eventually, though. Me and the pan of brownies will make it through.

I Might Be Okay, Actually

I'm keeping my job! I'm protected under FMLA!

Oh I'm breathing again. Breaaaaathhheee.

01 March 2009

Still Got the Check, But No More Claim

My worker's compensation claim was denied on Thursday evening, after a great meeting at work about this very thing earlier in the afternoon. Totally shocked me and the insurance case worker, but to no avail, claim is denied. They're paying for everything up until Thursday, which is good and reasonable, but ... the only reason they denied the claim is because the independent doctor they had me see read my EMG results and said, "no pre-existing condition, and not work-related"--with no explanation. I'm talking to a lawyer.

So, imminent medical bills, not sure what this changes for me at work, not sure that they won't try to let me go ASAP, which I would fight, and this is all back to terrifying.

It is good to be back in OT--they'll be making me new splints for my thumbs, for the de Quervain's tendonitis there, and I have a new stretch, and I got to use their magical heat packs again. Three times a week and then two times a week--I'll see lots of them. My main therapist there says there's a 50/50 chance that OT will work it all out, or that OT will help and I'll still need surgery. So we're doing intense OT for a month and reevaluating.

Now, to make yogurt, to dye yarn, to make a plan for myself titled "how to survive: eating, sleeping, and thinking well." Surely we can make it until July in Seattle. Right?

23 February 2009

A Two-Item Bulleted List

* Is there any way that any one can convince me to actually like red kidney beans? Please suggest ways if you have them. I can buy them cheaply but I think they are gross. Sad quandry.

* I am enthralled with mint.com. Totally in love. I wanted to set up my E*Trade account with this level of filtering, but this mint thing is much much better. And faster. And yes I/we have very negative net worth but you know ... okay I have no consolations. It's better to know about. (And my biggest loan isn't even loaded on there yet! Ha! Sigh.)

* BONUS ITEM I am trying new things with my hair; this is embarrassing. I do think about my hair, but I also go to lectures on design by guys from Patagonia and walk out feeling certain I could have explained the brand and business model better BY FAR. Hello stand-up shorts and the history of recycled fleece? Hello great cuts for women and a mind for color? And he didn't mention their "send it back" program. Which I hope still exists ... oh good it does, with less glamorous shots of beat-up shorts than I remember in decade-old catalogs.

22 February 2009

Calmer with Fingerless Mitts

All right, I'm feeling a little calmer.

Not doing hardly anything at all makes my arms feel so much better. It's ridiculous. No pain meds today, and I'm feeling fine so far. Of course, the most intense things my arms have done today is 1) hold a phone and 2) mend some knitted fingerless mitts of mine that I literally WORE THROUGH, breaking the yarn (not even at the end!) and subsequently patched up some hanging loose stitches. Oy, how much I rely on these mitts, which hopefully you can see on here ...

Anyone who's wishing they had something to knit, I can hook you up with yarn and a pattern ... and you can knit me new ones! I have yarn and ideas for two, maybe three pairs. The faster you knit, the better.

My friend Adam is doing a cool thing, publishing a handmade chapbook of one poem (of someone else's) and distributing them for free.

Feeling also absent-minded today, like, what should I do today? Huh? How many hours just passed? Wha? Eat cookies and plan installation art in my head? Sounds all right.

But perhaps the big thing is ... career, job, life, injury, what to do, what to decide not to do in order to stay better, and weighing, where can I convince people that my voice software is awesome and will be great for me, that yeah giving me a single office is totally worth it, and that, while I could invoke the ADA whenever, they really want to hire me before a legal battle ensues ... and I don't really want to get into any of that. Today, I want to design fabric in a really large workspace and run some installation shows. Maybe sell on etsy.com. Forget words; words, you bring pain, lately. I want my knitting back.

19 February 2009

What Not to Talk to a Hand Surgeon About

My new doctor wants me to have radial tunnel release surgery. One of the main risks of the surgery is that you can lose nerve ennervation and muscle strength in the back of your hand ... and the pain might not go away, and the compression might not be over. Oh and they can accidentally sever the nerve. And it puts your arm mostly out of commission for over a month, and it's only fully back after three months.

Not a surgery I'm interested in. He is a hand surgeon, so I guess his recommendation would be surgery.

Totally disheartening visit ... left me really hopeless, i.e., will I ever get better, why am I not better, why is the world so bad, when will I get better, will it be before my life changes drastically as everybody thought in September when I began treatment ... this could make moving cross-country v. difficult ... why does this doctor act like I'm lying to him about where I feel pain, saying crap like "I only have proof that you have radial tunnel and that your forearm should hurt" but clearly more hurts than that, et al, et al. So I dropped out of the world for the evening and feel better now. And I did dishes, and I don't feel like I hurt myself, and that is awesome.

17 February 2009

Official In The Way That Only A Big Check Can Be

This claim thing is official. The check for back-pay (for temporary partial disability pay) came in today, and wahoo, I am breathing a little better. And I talk to a doctor on Thursday! For the first time in two months! Unbelievable. I started this claim almost six months ago. But it is happening, and that is a blessing.

I don't think or talk blessings a lot these days--I'm not sure what I think about them--but today I am thinking about them in an essentialist manner, kind of like I know it when I see it. This claim is a blessing in that way. Also there's anger in a "I got hurt doing my job correctly" way, but leaving bitterness aside, I am focusing on knowing the medical bills are paid, and focusing on recovery.

Recovery ... which still means doing nothing, inexplicable pains in my arms, and, despite being careful, wearing elbow pads and lately wrist braces, being totally achy and done after six hours of work. I feel like I should be able to carry things with my arms and hands by now. And do dishes every day. And not be in pain after doing NOTHING AT ALL. But this is the nature of injury, I guess; I can tell my body is happiest when I am totally resting, relaxed, and on enough pain meds. I should probably meditate daily. Meditating is really hard, though. You would think that years of hippie training would make it easy. I am a high-anxiety hippie, though.

The other happy thing that came in the mail today is my book holder. I am in love. Back story: holding books open hurts my thumbs, palms and elbows, really my whole arm, and books are obviously something I will not go without, unlike, say, the act of vacuuming. (Thanks, Noah!) And a book holder is cheaper than a Roomba. Off to bed with my electric blanket and book holder, to swoon together and approach old age before my third decade.

16 February 2009


Or would the style authorities I know call that an unnecessary hyphen? CMS might.

I will attend a yogurt-making class on Saturday at my local co-op! I am so excited. I do vaguely know how to make yogurt, or perhaps more accurately I know how yogurt is made. Even the class description mentioned that 4000 years ago, people were making yogurt, without a $50 W-S yogurt maker. (No hyphen that time. I should write a style sheet for myself.) But I am no nomad, I do not have this dairy-curdling in my mostly northern European blood, and for a $5 attendance fee I could have bought yogurt. And then I would eat it and it would be gone, but the eight ounces of starter I will take home after the class will make LIMITLESS YOGURT.

Yogurt is one of the top reasons I'm not vegan--soy yogurt is pretty gross. Maybe making my own could be better ... not sure of that one.

Okay, really, whenever I talk the big vegan game, someone should say, "Hey, remember that time in college you told your friends you might as well be vegan--while eating a piece of pizza with not only cheese, but ham and pineapple on it?" Yeah, I remember.

Also, the co-op sent the email today at 12:30pm, I read it around 1, and when I signed up at 7:55, I took the last spot. YOGURT-MAKING IS HOT.

Slouchy Slouch

Maybe I'm watching too much Project Runway.

Book holder, oh when will you arrive? I have real books to read.

15 February 2009

Cookies and Kelsey Keyes

I bet Kelsey would make cookies with me. Like espresso-chocolate shortbread, and toasted coconut shortbread, and super ginger cookies.

I want cookies.

Kelsey Keyes, make me cookies!!! Okay you don't have to.

12 February 2009

Procrastination, Dinner, and a Poem, but Not AWP

For all writers of all kinds: Shauna talks about procrastination.

Yeah, I might not eat meat anymore. Like for real.

How good it is to have burritos with a friend, and some wine, and some assisted paper-cutting.

Enjoy AWP, yall. Maybe I'll see you in Denver next year. I do love Boulder.

I wrote a poem today; my hands ached like crazy after handwriting for a few hours at work today; I had tasty dinner; I had tasty wine; I did not make truffles. I really want to adapt this recipe to make cardamom-infused truffles. Yum, cardamom and dark chocolate.

Yeah, I did write a poem today. I'm back to my every-six-months routine, unlike some people I know, cough adam cough. It's a poem about winter and losing earrings in snow-covered parking lots and finding them in spring. Mashed flat by your car.

Talk about spoilers ...

11 February 2009

Newsprint and Fountain Pens

Today I discovered I really like writing on newsprint with a fountain pen. And if I listen to Vaughn Williams' "The Lark Ascending" while I write with those two things, I can write about difficult things without freaking out too much. So, big yay for newsprint and its cheapness, the fountain pen I already own, and last.fm having "Lark" easy to find.

Okay weird right hand middle finger knuckle aching, I will go to bed.

10 February 2009

Victory! I think!

My worker's compensation claim was finalized today, in my favor, as in, "yes this is work-related." I will really believe this when I get a check for 66% back pay, and I see that the medical bills this has already accrued are paid.

But really dudes!

I see a doctor next Thursday who is going to treat me!!!

The final final final word on my diagnosis seems to be:
radial tunnel syndrome
de Quervian's tenosynivitis
and more tendinitis
and maybe there were carpal tunnel symptoms, but maybe not, early on.

Which means treatment is blessed hot packs, massage, and ultrasound, and stretches galore.

Today, though, is sinus headache day, which I've been hitting back with yogurt and granola. And decongestant etc. Off for more of that.

08 February 2009


Today I am doing things!

I want to be eating these cookies. Maybe I will make them and THEN eat them.

I'm about to be dyeing yarn in a orange red pale color. Hard to explain. I have the image in my head and can maybe make it happen--which makes me feel like I'm composing again (I composed classical music for strings for a very short time a long time ago) because I composed multiple parts in my head and then had to figure out how to write it down.

Also I hung some art for the first time and switched out some other art today in my apartment, and it is like I have a new apartment. Or at least I'm noticing a wall now that I didn't notice before because it's white like the other walls ... suddenly my apartment is bigger.

Perhaps I am reading a little too much design*sponge, or not enough, but I want to do everything. Or at least hold stamping classes and charge $90 a person per hour.

My arms are starting to feel better than they did a week ago, when the pain went crazy. Doing nothing at all has been good to them. Imagine that--stop using a body part that's injured and it heals a little. Rest = less inflammation and compression. Insert a Neo whoa here.

I am also about to purchase a book holder. Holding books open is proving to be pain-inducing, which is what happens when your thumbs are injured ... and palms ... and elbows ... anyway, since all of you readers are also readers of books, I may end up recommending the thing if it is as good as it seems. Suspend judgment for now.

07 February 2009

Shout-out to Kelsey Keyes! And food!

I'm going to be writing today about my friend Kelsey, that's Kelsey Ann Clough Keyes, who is great in a multitude of ways. This is going to be different from the kind of things I usually write about my blog, so you may want to stop reading now. However, if you have some time to waste, I'd appreciate it if you click on the links I'm going supply below. This is all in an effort to spread peace and love about Kelsey throughout the Internet, with a secondary purpose of manipulating Google’s search algorithm.

My favorite things about Kelsey have a lot to do with some of my favorite things in life -- knitting, eating food, watching good television, and hanging out with friends. Today I'm going to focus on eating food and how awesome food itself is and how awesome the food that Kelsey feeds me is, in particular.

There is a memorable roasted garlic soup. I think it was winter. I remember it was just as salty as it should be, and there were a lot of tomatoes in it, and that bread plus that soup made for a really tasty time of eating.

I should also mention the hot buttered rum, the very messy mango lassis, and the bars of chocolate, and a plate of ridiculously good cookies and confections that she left me before Christmas. She also left a plate for my neighbor, which almost did not make it to him because I was going to keep them all and eat them. By myself.

Let it be known that my friend Kelsey is ridiculously awesome, a really good baker and cook, a friend to vegan food, and a friend to me. You can read more about her at the following blogs:


04 February 2009

An Unnumbered List of Beautiful Things

"Yes, the springtimes needed you." -- Rilke, first elegy

Empty glass jars.

Winter overcast light.

Bare branches.

Sleeping faces.

Creaking, drafty, unevenly-sinking homes.


All the candle holders I received as wedding gifts: the glass block ones, poured in a mold that left edges like a milk carton would; the single piece of sandstone for four votives in a grid; the small mirrored tray with glass votive holders and molded glass edging. How they all fit on the edges of my bathtub.

Books with their set type and unmoving written language.

* * *

Do the springtimes need me? Do they need me to survive the winter, to witness their arrival? Will they happen if I don't watch?

* * *

Big spike in pain this week, no reason why. Lots of baths with epsom salt and lots of painkillers. Think anti-inflammation and anti-compression thoughts for me.

30 January 2009

The People Have Spoken

You get an updated blog.

The updates are not so big, though. It's winter. I finished all my grad apps. My arms still hurt all the time.

I haven't had a migraine since I stopped drinking red wine and champagne. This is both great and terrible news. Not too important, though.

I made the no-knead bread today, and, perhaps because I am a multi-generational and amazing bread-baker, it was really good. And my arms do not hurt. And my 8-quart stainless steel stock pot survived being in my miniature oven at 450 for an hour and a half. Nothing died! I made bread!

So ... I haven't wanted to update because I want to tell you all about a terrible thing, but I don't want to, but I do, and I am. One of my cousins in Texas was killed in a car accident the week of Christmas--it was the morning, he was driving, he got distracted and swerved into oncoming traffic and collided with a gravel truck. He was killed instantly. He was 26. 500 people went to his funeral. I did not go; I stayed in Missouri/Illinois. We were close in a way; I'm closer to his immediate family, but he's in the group of cousins I'm closest to. His mom has been battling pancreatic cancer for half a year; I heard Danny, her youngest, had been killed and figured she would die within a month. Instead, her doctors can't get any visual confirmation of her tumor. As in, her tumor disappeared the week after he died. Her doctors told her it was a gift from God and to accept it. He was my responsible cousin, the one who had a professional driver's license and drove trucks full of explosives for a living, who was quiet and handsome and tall like his dad and loved his niece and nephew and was nearly engaged and ... was 26.

I want you all to be safe, and not swerve, and not be killed.

Okay? Okay.