Monthly Archives: January 2012

health, baking, and being a type-A eccentric.

Jesus H Christ.

I guess the fact that my chosen career path is more along the lines of creative ideals is a good one.  I am terrible, I repeat, TERRIBLE at sustained changes.

There was a fitness center that opened up around near us.  We paid ahead for what seemed like a great deal: crossfit style classes with total personal attention.  Or as it turned out, too much personal attention.  Not enough people signed up and the trainers (a married couple, and we really liked them) had to up and leave.  Eventually we’ll get our money back.  Eventually.  Hopefully.  Ugh.

T-storm even went so far as to get on their eating plan, which was like muscle milk followed by rice, broccoli & either tilapia or chicken like 6 times a day.  (The muscle milk being breakfast.)  Since our friends have been gone for a few weeks, tonight while helping me with my baking supplies run at 8:30 on this Sunday night (he drove the getaway car), he bought a box of Oreo Klondike bars.  How little time it takes to slip back.

We both admittedly eat more fast food than we should, as our jobs are stressful and the last two weeks have been a lot of 10-12 hour days.  And as a result, we exercise less.  The proximity and the ass-kickingness of our trainers was helping us.  Over my break, I did 275 push-ups in two days.  Yes, me!!

When I see people talk about making positive life changes, and creating habits that are lifelong, I try to think that way.  I try to zen out and think of the future.

But screw that.  I am a competitive, project-based kind of thinker.  I don’t think of what will get me somewhere in the long run.  I think of getting this task done.  Hence why I loved being a college student, and extended my stay (willfully) in undergrad.  Hence why I loved wedding planning (stressful and bonkers as it was).  PROJECT!

So tonight I tried to take on a project – a banana bread mix with vanilla pudding mix in it.

And shortening.  For the first time, I find myself cooking with shortening and I look at the ingredients.  WHOLE BEAN NON-HYDROGANATED PALM OIL.  It’s like nutritional heroin.  NOTHING ABOUT THIS IS GOOD.

I suppose I could be a wretch and just um, eat butter instead.  And really, that’s a pretty damned good idea, because butter is just BUTTER.  It’s not horribly processed worst imaginable part of a vegetable.  Dearest Gina (the other half of the Five Percent Rule) gave us some Rebel Nutritionist Rules in the past, one of them being “eat more butter.”  Not like on or with everything.

But I sure eat real butter when butter comes up, and I also drink real half & half, rather than the International Flavor junk, which is all full of palm oil stuff and horrible other things that humans were probably never meant to consume.

Anyway.  Seeing that I’m totally forgetful and tend to live from project to project, and not with any real true stability in mind (don’t even talk to me about finances), we are missing something important at home.  FLOUR.  And we really like our neighbors (at least the ones across the hall) but we’re not close enough to them that we’d ask them to borrow some flour.  I went through an insane baking streak on Christmas Eve this past year and had my mother-in-law bring some back over.

We had enough for those cookies.  No extra.  So we made a bonus trip to the store for shortening and chocolate chips (which are much healthier than the shortening) and now even though I started late I can’t bake the extra moist chocolate chip banana bread.

Like I said, everything is a project.  As my mother would say about me, I get a “bee in my bonnet” and I just have to do something, at whatever moment it is, regardless of how convenient it is.  Which in some manner of speaking gets me a reputation for getting things done, and in others makes me a nutjob.

Back to shortening.  Just the thought of scooping it out made me feel like Paula Deen.  Ugh.  I’m not the healthiest person, but I am also lucky enough to not take a liking to the most unhealthy foods.

And healthy eating is like fitness for me.  My next goal is running a half marathon.  A friend of mine who’s been doing lots of exercise craziness and Paleo diet with her husband for the last year or so posted a little graphic on Pinterest, stating, “I’m not training for a 5K.  Blah blah blah.  I’m not trying to impress you.  I’m saving my life.”

I can’t operate like that.  I don’t work that way.  I need to have a project.  I want to run a half marathon.  Because giving myself an end goal will make me do it.  And in the way that my bizarre little brain works, as long as I have constant goals and projects on the horizon, I keep busy & productive.  I want to train to run a half marathon…because it’s a project.  It’s a source of motivation.  It’s the way I work.

Tonight I was defeated, even though the goal turned out to not be something that was going to be terribly good anyway, and it was frustrating.  I was about to join my husband in eating a completely unnecessary Oreo Klondike bar.

But alas.  Sitting in between him (playing Skyrim) and the sleeping orange cat calms me down.

New “project”: attaining a healthy balance between things I have to do, things I enjoy doing, and things I should do to stay healthy.  (Next goal: getting better at these lifelong “projects”.)

AND pertinent links:

Give up coffee?  Never!  (And the ramifications of that.)

Paula Deen’s diabetic shitshow.

 

***UPDATE***

Found a non-life-threatening alternative recipe!!  YESSSSSS!!

Petite Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Loaves!

(Also, if you post a delicious looking recipe with “skinny” in the caption, you will be the most popular person on Pinterest.)

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Filed under health, home, ranting

that’s not my name

Whenever I hear that song in a bar I’m transported back in a weird way. And a little bit annoyed.  Anyway.

So I am in the process of  changing my name.  For freelance writing that I do, I’ll keep the old girl.  It’s just easier.  Further separate my personal and professional life.  That’s okay by me.  Also my new name makes it really really easy to explain six-eight time to other people.

But at work, my co-workers are refusing to call me by my new name.  I know there’s a learning curve and an amount of time until people learn it.  And shoot, I haven’t even officially changed anything as far as legal documents.  I have done nothing to get the name-changing off the ground.

And then I get confused and I don’t know how to more correctly introduce myself to others, or to identify myself on the phone.  I dislike it intensely.

But still, I tell people my new, bizarrely spelled, Eastern European, weird consonant, three syllable last name, compared to my super duper common single syllabic maiden name.  And then people hear the new name, and they say, “I’m not calling you that.  You’ll always be Miss Name here.”  (Instead of Name, there goes my old name.)

I want to say to these people, “Well, I’m going to call you Captain Fartface, and that’s not your name either.  Would you mind terribly calling me by my name?”

It’s a weird identity thing, and I want to do it and not be a dick about it.  It’s not my intent to make others feel uncomfortable.  One of my very good friends has a very good friend who is experiencing a transition into being a transgender/gender queer, and I keep accidentally calling said friend by the previously used female name.  At a recent event, I tried to say goodbye to said friend, and called the female name instead of the androgynous name, and said friend didn’t turn around.  Later, it was explained, “I didn’t know you were talking to me.”  What wasn’t said was, “That’s not my name anymore.”  I was like WTF.

I wasn’t doing it on purpose.  I wasn’t trying to be obnoxious about it, i.e., I don’t accept you for who you are, or who you’ve found yourself to be.  In this case, I just slipped.  I hadn’t gotten the very important speech about what to call this person now.

But maybe (s)he’s on the right idea.  Truly, it’s not her name anymore.  It’s not her identity any longer.  (Pronouns get confusing here…I’ll figure that part out later.)

My change is obviously less dramatic.  It’s a rite of passage in a heteronormative society.  But it is a change in the most fundamental part of my identity – my name.  One of the most imperative things you can do with kids is get their names correct, and make sure you learn all of them, because that’s important.  That’s who they are.

And while I was a little put off by the “I didn’t know you were talking to me,” who am I to tell someone else who they are?

I just get annoyed that the people who I work with, and who I have worked with don’t seem to want to make an effort.  It’s two more syllables.  I also work with a group of self-contained students, whose (more so) mental & (somewhat) emotional disabilities are too severe to put them into normal classrooms.  Many of them cannot even really read.  But damned if every single one of them doesn’t call me by my correct married name – without having to be prompted.

No excuses, fully grown and in no way mentally impaired co-workers.

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Sunday Morning in downtown Wilton Manors

1) Tomatoes and bananas are indeed just as inexpensive at outdoor markets sometimes as they are at Publix and Publix never signed on to make sure tomato workers were safe in South Florida.  Damn straight.  

2) There are no Asian restaurants open before about 2pm on Sundays down here.  Surely this would be different if we were in the more urban northeast, or definitely on the West Coast.  But for as diverse as South Florida is, we are not the most idyllic place to be Asian, or to have a taste for Asian foods (like my husband who lived for a year in Vietnam).  We went to a free Digital Underground show last night, with a number of Miami food trucks in attendance.  That was pretty awesome, except for my husband’s inability to get the lo mein he so desired.

I guess we have to go to Orlando, where you can get GLORIOUS Asian food near Mills & 50, and lots of different types.  Including the vegan-alicious Loving Hut (which also has its own traveling truck, and has for years).  I really hope that development in Orlando never gets rid of those glorious places.

3) I think I had a priest compliment me today.  We were walking to get some type of food, Asian or not, and a guy in some sort of religious gear said to me either “nice glasses” or “nice breasts”.  I know that the fact that he was apparently a man of some kind of cloth doesn’t exempt him from being a perv, even on a Sunday (have you ever worked food service in a God-fearing town on Sundays?  BONKERS).  What made me relatively sure that he was complimenting my glasses was that we were in front of Java Boys, the most rainbow decked coffee shop I’ve ever witnessed.  

As I’ve mentioned before, I could walk outside in my neighborhood stark naked and not be harassed.  And I think unless you wear black leather and spikes to the club Ramrod, harassment in Wilton Manors proper is on the low side. 

 

So was our Sunday morning jaunt about town.

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ng + afp = less than three

So when I was a teenager I got into Tori Amos.  We’ll talk about why or why not that is later this week.  As a result of being into Tori Amos, in college-ish I became familiar with Neil Gaiman.  After college I started actually reading his stuff (not just the liner notes for Strange Little Girls).  One year for Christmas my (not-yet-then) husband purchased me the short story collection Fragile Things, with the aforementioned SLG inserts as a part of them.  (As for his liner notes, many of them are better than some but not all of the songs on that album; sorry you guys, but Tori’s cover of “Heart of Gold” is among the worst of all time.  “Reigning Blood”, however, is a thing to behold.)

“October in the Chair” is one of my favorite bedtime stories.

Anyway.  Almost two years ago I found Neil on twitter.  And thus found Amanda Palmer, and was like “WTF why haven’t I been listening to her for years!?”  (I know why – I was too preoccupied with twee & Sonic Youth throughout college.)

I’ve been rabidly following their relationship like it’s a tabloid, proving again that people writing their own shit on twitter is so much better than 90% of mainstream news publications.  And just yesterday, Palmer posted their epic, epic wedding blog, marking their one year anniversary.

EPIC.  http://blog.amandapalmer.net/post/15120706154/the-wedding-blog

Two things that she writes apply to well, everyone and everything.

nowadays, at some level, everybody loves a bride.
and everybody loves a bride, i think, because a bride symbolizes hope.

in a world filled with NO NO NO NO NO and fear and terror and doubt, a bride fills up the space in the minds eye as a giant white tulle YES, and you don’t need to know the romantic backstory. somehow, through some miraculous chain of events, this woman has decided to throw herself into a life commitment. and it means something different now than it did 100, even 50, years ago. because nowadays she has a choice.

SIGH.  I walked down the street in my white tulle poof on my wedding day and felt exactly exactly exactly that way.

Also, this is the kind of house I want to have one day:

the third inspiration was to call upon neil’s other writer friends, michael chabon and ayelet waldman, whose home we’d already been welcomed into the year before.
michael and ayelet have a kind of a dream-home, filled with four astoundingly awesome children, random instruments, rugs, books and all manner of homey-goodness. we asked if they would have us and armistead and lance and company over to dinner and by the way get married right before we eat and by the way would rosie possibly mind being our flower girl. they said yes, and rosie, age six, began aggressively plotting her outfit. things were officially underway.

(Yeah, we plan on one day having children, and I totally want to have a cadre of little girls who aggressively plan outfits.)

Anyway, the whole piece is beautifully wrought.  Insightful and just wonderful.  This is why people still get married.

Also, a video of AFP playing with the Boston Pops, as she mentions earlier in the post.

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Filed under advice, books, love, nerds, wedding

happy new year

I hope that you guys & gals take good care of your friends in this new year. One of the last things we experienced “last year” (as in “last week”) was a very close friend losing both his father & step-father in the span of about 3 weeks. His step-father died on Christmas Eve. And to see all of his friends encircle him and take care of him was beyond incredible.

Anyway. Point being. Take care of each other. The world is horrible and cruel and ridiculous. So take care of each other.

Also this is essentially where we spent the ringing in of midnight.  Watching Bear Bartenders in a video where they lip-synched Lady GaGa’s “Edge of Glory” and looked almost exactly like this video.

And lots of people had Lincoln beards.  So maybe Electric Six is more responsible for the bear trend of the last few years than say, the dude from Iron & Wine?

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