Wednesday, August 25, 2004

good biscuits

the hippie has a theory that a woman can't make good biscuits until she is like 35 or has at least one kid. and you know, i think he is right. only in the last 2 months have i finally gotten the hang of The Biscuit. and damn, dude--my biscuits are the bomb now.

of course, this comes on the heels of learning how bad all the things in biscuits are for me. crisco, one of the major food groups in the South, is just TERRIBLE. nothing but pure trans fats. so now i am trying all kinds of shit to avoid crisco in the Southern Cooking that i do. not that i cook in a traditional southern way all that often, but still... so i have been doing things like making fried chicken with olive oil. and it's pretty good. but you can't make a good biscuit without some solid fat in there--the choices are a) butter, which is pretty bad, b) lard, the mere mentioning of which causes the bulk of the population of america to burst into flames, and c) crisco, which SOUNDS better because it is made of vegetable matter, but which is actually the worst one of all, contatining nothing but nasty bad evil trans fats. the bottom line: biscuits are bad for you. (note that in my list of solid fats, margarine is not listed--margarine is food of the devil, both vile and evil, and is not allowed in my house. that is why it is not an option for my biscuits.)

to make matters worse, the best thing to eat on a biscuit is honey butter. but i can get by on some homemade peach preserves if i gotta.

but here is what i think about all this. some foods that are too good to resist are just bad for you. i think you just have to get over it. the key is to limit yourself as to how much and how often you eat them, right? when i was a kid, there were ALWAYS biscuits. now, i make biscuits like 4 times a year. and god knows, i make some other bad for you things that would make my minions cry if i stopped: chocolate pudding (with half a cup of heavy whipping cream in every serving), fried chicken (with the skin ON), homemade macaroni and cheese (with like 4 kinds of cheese and cream in it), chicken and cheese enchiladas (we call them fat bombs, even as they are being consumed at an alarming rate). i just don't make these things all the time. most of the time i make simple things like salmon and stir-fried vegetables. i use a lot of olive and grapeseed and avacado oil. i roast, i bake, i saute. i do not generally fry or boil the shit out of anything. but that said, sometimes you just gotta have a fucking biscuit.

and lately i have been learning all about nutrition, and i have come to the conclusion that eating these things once in a while is a WAY better choice than what half of america eats every single day. at least these fat saturated items contain real ingredients, and not weird chemical experiments from the 50s designed to make food cheaper.

i think i might be a food snob.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


ok. i was going to post something yesterday on my actual birthday, but instead there was a bout of food poisoning. i spent the afternoon on the couch, not on the computer. until the ups guy woke me up pounding on the door with the strength of ten men, but i digress...

so i am thirty-five.

i don't FEEL thirty-five. well, sometimes i do. but for the most part i just feel a little cheated that this much of my life is over already. i want more. MORE! there are too many things i want to do, and now i feel like maybe i won't fit it all in. hmmm--i guess the coming years will show me how much i can do under a little more pressure.

BUT, all that said, i feel pretty good about my life. here is a list of 25 things i feel i have accomplished. i have learned to:
  1. make biscuits (more on this later)
  2. knit (finally!)
  3. cook like my grandmother
  4. cook NOT remotely like my grandmother
  5. solve partial differential equations by more than one method
  6. write html
  7. say some big words correctly
  8. take care of a child
  9. paint a room
  10. paint a portrait
  11. make a stained glass window
  12. dream big dreams
  13. keep hope in bad circumstances
  14. love a man
  15. live with a man
  16. create a home
  17. make people feel welcome
  18. make friends
  19. keep friends
  20. learn a new software package in a week or less
  21. accept myself
  22. find the hamiltonian
  23. design a fabric
  24. make a quilt
  25. appreciate my life
i feel pretty good about that stuff. especially the biscuits.

and just for completeness, here is a list of 10 things i want to do before i am forty:
  1. get in and stay in good shape
  2. gain financial stability
  3. buy a house
  4. juggle all the things i love to do withut giving anything up
  5. find a way to make a living that involves BOTH sides of my brain
  6. spend some time in europe
  7. have a real studio, with room for all my artistic endeavors
  8. paint a large canvas picture of the surface of the sun
  9. master the art of fried chicken (it's coming along)
  10. improve my pastry skills
so there you go. thirty-five. so far, i think the mid-thirties are a lot easier than the mid-twenties. but maybe that's just me.

Friday, August 20, 2004

gender roles

the hippie and i have noticed that we fall rather naturally into very distinct, traditional gender roles. our friends notice it. and the other night, it was very very apparent that our friends jenn and harry do the same. i mean, we went to their house for dinner, which was grilled by the men, after being prepared by the women. then after dinner--jenn put the baby to bed and i started knitting while the boys retired to the deck for pipe/ceegar smoking, and some scotch drinking on the hippie's part. and then jenn came back and we both knitted.

the hippie was telling me later that he and harry were on the porch talking about how cute it was that we were knitting, and how they both get a sense of satisfaction out of us being so girlie. funny--i get a sense of satisfaction out of him doung "guy things" as well.

and yes, i am pretty comfortable with this. it is bizarre to me HOW comfortable i am with it. i mean, i have multiple degrees and have always been pretty damned independent. but this last year and a half with the hippie, i have learned that there is a bit of joy in codependence. i LIKE our gender roles. i like that i do most of the cooking and he does most of the heavy lifting. i like that i make the drinks for our friends who are over while he entertains them. i like the whole set-up, and how much i feel like he is taking care of me, while i am taking care of him.

the weird thing is that i feel no less a feminist for all this. i am glad i have choices in things, and that i have had the opportunity to do what i want with my life. i am grateful to the women who came before me for fighting so that i could have those choices. i am glad i have the same rights and the same power as he does. i like that he listens to me and that he respects my brain even while he is grabbing my ass.

i like that this weekend, harry and the hippie are off having a boys weekend, playing D&D, going to hooters, and probably seeing something awful like alien vs. predator (which i will get out of going to see thank god!!!), while jenn and i get to be girls and go on a ninja ikea run.

this is a great time to be a girl. you get to have it all.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

taking over the art world, one wire thing at a time

here i was ready to give up on my wire things. here i was, all ready to throw in the towel. after months of no activity to speak of on this little business i am trying to run on the side while still frantically job hunting, one of my stores sent me a consignment check today. there it was in the mail, looking suspiciously like a bill or a letter telling me that no one inthe world would ever want to buy my artwork ever again. i was almost afraid to open it.

but i did.
and it was a check.
a fabulous little sum of money.
for five pieces of artwork.

not exactly sweeping the art nation, but hey--it's SOMETHING. and damn, that feels good.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

baby explosion

my baby count for 2004 is up to 14. that is 14 babies i can name who were born or are going to be born in 2004. and my 2005 count is starting to add up as well. it is really amazing to me how many people i know who are breeding at the same time. i mean, i know i am the right age for this, but damn people! do you have to do it all at once??!

as a woman about to turn 35, this does have an effect on me. i think thoughts like--am i ever going to have one? the jury is still out on that, but i feel the pressure of my age to make up my mind. i can't wait TOO long, or my body will answer that question for me. i feel like hitting 35 means hitting a fertility wall or something, like my ability to get pregnant, should i choose to do so, will be irretrievably impaired just by crossing that one line. and yes, i realize this is slightly irrational.

i also think about the friends who are having babies now, and the ones who already have them--really good friends. the hippie and i talk about the need to have a few baby things in the house for their babies, things like a toy box, a place for them to sleep, a high chair we can keep in the basement and bring out when we need it. and it makes me reaize that if i AM ever going to have a baby--i want it to be able to grow up with these baies all our friends are having. i want our baby to have cool baby friends, too. as a child who was much younger than the children of my parents' friends, i do not want to do that to our baby, if we do have one. it SUCKED always being the baby, literally 6 years younger than the nearest kid. i want our baby to have that sense of belonging and community that i never had from having a bunch of family friends.

if we have one that is.

like i said, the jury is still out...

Monday, August 16, 2004

working out

there is not enough room on the entire internet for me to talk about all my mixed feelings on this topic, so i am going to try to sum it up.

right now--fucking hate it. loathe it. dread it every day with every fiber of my being. i go to the gym, i feel self-conscious the ENTIRE time i am there, i count the minutes till my workout is over, and i am exhausted when i get home. half the time it is all i can do not the throw up on the treadmill. it is all i can do to make myself go.

and sometimes i don't, and it fills me with self-loathing.

but here is the thing. i need it. i know i need it. i know that this is a change i need to make for the good of me, my body, my future health, the future health of my possible future children, and the happiness of my hippie, too. (not because he judges me, but because he worries about my health.) right now i am heavier than i have ever been, and i feel it all through my body. my energy is lower, my blood pressure is higher--i have to take medication, which then makes me even more sluggish. and if i can get myself to consistently work out, then all that will definitely change.

i know that eventually i will come to like it. i know that eventually i will even look forward to it. i know because that has happened to me in the past. i long for the day when my workout ends with endorphins instead of exhaustion. and i know it will come if i keep it up.

but here is the thing about gyms today. this gym we go to pushes the personal trainer like nobody's business. and damn, how the hell can anyone afford one? a woman at the gym actually suggested to me that i get my boyfriend to pay for it when i explained to her that i just could not afford it! holy crap! do i have to pay out hundreds and hundreds of dollars to someone so that i will feel guilty enough about NOT working out that i do it? i have to make myself accountable to another person to follow through with a commitment to myself now???

and the other thing i totally fucking hate is how these trainers are so goal oriented. "we need to get your body fat percentage down to blah." "what is your goal weight?" who the hell cares about that!? i know, and anyone who has read anything about anything knows that this is all just simple math. if you put more calories in than you expend, you gain weight, and vice versa. further, losing a massive amount of weight is only possible with a lifetime commitment to a lifestyle change, whether you need to eat less, work out more, or both. i mean, why can't i just focus on getting this shit into my daily routine. why do i have to think about my goal weight and how low i need my body fat percentage to be? that shit overwhelms me and makes me want to crawl into a hole and give up and go ahead and die of a heart attack.

screw that.

and man, i know self discipline and denial are so not my strong suits. but damn. i can do this.

steve the sleuth

sadly, our romantic weekend getaway was squashed by all the hurricane madness attacking the north carolina beaches. *sigh* no worries--we will reschedule it! but, some clandestine activities on the part of our friend steve were revealed as a result of the cancellation. apparently, he read my previous post, called around, found the number for stardust, where we were planning to have dinner, and called them to pay for our meal as a birthday surprise. how cool is THAT??? steve is bona fide awesome. that is all there is to it.

so saturday, as i sat knitting on the couch while the hippie smoked a ceegar on the porch, steve called me to find out why we were not at the beach. i explained of course. he noted that hurricanes don't hit phoenix very often. i concurred. and he sent us to sullivan's for a birthday dinner on his tab. let me repeat: steve is awesome.

so we go to dinner, and dinner is great, as it always is at sullivan's. the waiter, however, is a patronizing ass, who neglected to ask the two important questions: 1) "have you been here before?" and 2) "are you celebrating anything special?" he explained every single tiny piece of the menu to us, the ordering process, the sizes of the sides, the sauces we could get on our steaks, the way the meat would be cooked, etc., etc., etc.. wanted to slap him. still kinda want to slap him. oh well--my steak was absolutely fabulous. i will remember it fondly on the actual day of my birthday. :)

thanks, steve!

Saturday, August 07, 2004

some stuff i found while cleaning

yes--i have finally stopped procrastinating and am cleaning out the last room in this apartment that needs to be totally overhauled. the bad thing is that this room has been the catch-all for EVERYTHING since we moved in. and god is a lot of it CRAP! for example, WHY do we have all these bags of bags here??? are we releasing the rednecks within us both in this one tiny room in the house? this shit has GOT to stop! i am trying really hard to stop being such a packrat--throwing things away like crazy.

but dude--i am KEEPING that morgan freeman can.

anyway--here is some shit i found while cleaning today:

things i hate about airports
(in no particular order)

1) TVs--loud, always on
2) HUGE # of people
3) lines
4) overpriced bad food
6) lack of electrical outlets
7) never a clock when you need one
8) carrying all my shit everywhere
9) obnoxious airline people
10) too much perfume--tne it DOWN people!!!
11) unwashed passengers

some quotes written on random pieces of paper:
  • certain organic chemicals of value to me are bound up in your body. kindly die and rot. --jeff freeman 02-23-2001
  • he was using a method of distraction as a fixer-upper for a lack of personal responsibility. (no idea who said that)
  • one must have chaos within oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. --nietzsche
what you really need to get through some serious cleaning is a girlfriend to park near you with a pile of magazines to make rude comments and hang out with you while you do your thang. snaps to my friend sam for talking to me on the phone through a lot of the madness even though she could not be here in person...

i know sam is a true friend because i can call her "dumbass" and she doesn't get mad.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

newsy babble

had kind of a rough day yesterday. my hippie is in california at a meeting--a meeting i would almost certainly be attending were it not for the fact that that company laid me off last november. and i have to say--i have been jealous. and angry. and lonely. all week. and no--i don't miss working there at all! i have been much happier since i lost that job actually. but i DO miss the people and the interaction and the social aspects of that job. and all the people i miss are gathered in one place for the whole week. and i want to be there too--schmoozing, staying in the nice hotels, drinking the fabulous drinks, passing notes in the boring meetings, and yes, even staying up half the night ranting about the company! but hey--it is a trade-off right?

so to get out of my stupid, partially hormone induced funk, i went to the stained glass store. love being in there--they have so many cool little things that are just inspirational to me. i have been working on a design for the hippie to do this fall, and now i am working on some things for me, too! some friends actually want to hire me to make an enormous panel for them, so i have been working on some rough sketches for it. hate trying to determine how much to charge people, however. i never feel like i am justified asking for what i know a piece is worth, even though i know they are still getting a huge discount having me do it rather than a professional custom glass person. i am in such a state with this job search that i wonder about everything i like to do--could i make a living doing this? stained glass is certainly high on my list of things i like doing right now, so who knows...

in other artistic endeavors ( i always have about 50 things going!), i am taking a knitting class tonight with a friend, and i can't believe how excited by it i am. it is SO old school. but then, so is the quilting thing. and the stained glass for that matter. heh--like i keep telling the hippie--i really am just a farm wife at heart. except for the actual farming part--screw that!

fabulous friends from california are arriving today. always wonderful to see them--how i wish they would move home already!!! but like everyone else, they are constrained by the job market. i look for jobs for him almost as much as i look for myself! they are having a baby in the fall, so the drive to get them home is stronger than ever, and not even just for selfish reasons! :)

i would give just about anything to get my friends all in one place! oh well--at least this way i have an excuse to travel.

and speaking of travel, i have made some little getaway plans for me and the hippie. our birthdays are so close together, it just made sense to do something together this year instead of trying for the elaborate presents we can't really afford anyway. so--we are going to the beach to stay in a little B&B with a claw footed bathtub, the cedars. and we have reservations at our favorite restaurant in the state, Stardust, with our favorite waitress there, Darla, and we will hopefully get to do a little sailing as well. very excited!

and now that i have procrastinated as long as humanly possible, i will go do some work on my workroom--really want to get my own little space set up so that i have a place to draw. but, oh the work to get it set up...

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

beautiful day

driving today, after a grey and dreary morning, i was nearly overcome looking at the clouds. the sky here in the south is usually hazy, but not today--the rain cleared all the haze away and it was blue blue blue--as blue as our bedroom walls... and i realized that although there are many things going wrong in my life today, the fundamentals are alright, and it was really just a gorgeous day.

wanted to write that feeling down.

i have been thinking about starting a blog for some time now, and have been strangely reluctant. the blogs i love to read are the ones where the folks posting are the most real, the ones that make me feel like i know the person writing. and i thought, "am i ready for that?" i guess we'll see...