Thursday, December 29, 2011


Everyone is getting together some New Year resolutions right about now, and that's fine and well, except it means the gym is going to be crowded because of it.
My resolution has never been to go to the gym more often, specifically because in January, when everyone is delightfully germy, I do not want to touch the treadmills. Actually, I think one of my resolutions this year is to quit the gym. I never go. If I want to be rid of $35 so badly each month, I'm sure I can find a better way. In the meantime I will follow my regular fitness routine of sometimes stretching in the bathroom at work. You laugh, but I can touch my toes. Almost.

So my resolutions for 2012 are as follows:
1. Quit the gym
2. Get more exercise (ha, see what I did there?) Maybe from a yoga DVD I got at the library. I don't care.
3. Drink more water - I hate intaking liquids, I don't know why, but I can probably go a whole day and not notice that I'm thristy and not realize why I don't feel so great. That's a rare occurence, but it needs to never happen.
4. Drink more alcohol - One thing that happens after leaving college is you leave behind your drinking buddies. This isn't a bad thing, because sometimes they were your too-much-drinking buddies, but lately I drink so rarely that my head swims after two glasses of white wine. No more!
5. Use lotion often. Lotion is like lip balm, but for your whole body: it keeps you soft and kissable. Or, more realistically, it keeps you from having annoying itching fits because the weather is drying out your skin. Tediousness is no excuse. Full-body lubings commence!
6. Wear more makeup. I have a ton of it. Let's smear that shit on.
7. Understand technology. As a kid, I was a wiz at fixing the VCR with a fork. I never really progressed beyond this, and I should.
8. Do zany things. Maybe zany isn't the right word, but I mean do stuff like stick Valentines in strangers' mailboxes. Or at least swipe strangers into the transit system with my card. It makes me happy, it saves people $2.25. It can be redeemed for a prize at the Karma Points Counter. Like being a koala in my next life. I would really like that.

There are probably more things, but since resolutions are meant to be kept the whole year, I wanted to keep it small and simple. But maybe just two more things, which I started doing pretty recently, and am resolving to continue doing for at least 12 more months:

8. focus on the positive - I'm amazingly amazing at going down black holes of Everything Is Wrong Oh My God I Hate You/Me/Society/Rocks/Sea Urchins So Much. And when the walls start to Star Wars garbage-compactor on me, I think of the things that I'm grateful for and refuse to trick myself into forgetting them. Because that's what a crap spiral is: temporary selective amnesia. And,
9. Be kind. I haven't shoved past anyone on the train station escalator in months EVEN WHEN THEY STAND RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE. You're welcome, New York City.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Secret Santa

So it looks like the sometimes on, sometimes off block on "blogs and personal sites" at work is off today. So hi :)

This is probably the first year since grade school that I'm involved in a Secret Santa thing. It's at work, the amount is $10, and the person I'm supposed to get a gift for is a complete stranger to me. We say hi to each other in the morning, we talked about what her little boy wore for Halloween, and we wish each other a good night at the end of the day. I think I once told her that the cinnamon bagel she was toasting smelled nice. That's more or less it.
When I was brainstorming gift ideas with another coworker, who grew up in another country (and didn't have Secret Santa gift exchanges, I guess) she said she thought the whole idea was stupid. Her thought is that everyone buys a present, any present, for $10, and wraps it. The presents are then numbered, and everyone picks corresponding numbers out of a hat, and whatever present is labeled with that number, they get that gift. The end.
This idea never occured to me before, but as I shopped around for something reasonably nice for around $10, I realized a few things: (1) There is pretty much NOTHING worthwhile for that price. I'm a little bit obsessive about finding presents, especially for people I am not close to. If it looks cheap, I will not buy it, and unfortunately, $10 items tend to often look like $5 items. And WTF is she going to do with a smallish bag of cashews tied with a plaid ribbon? Or a ceramic ladybug-shaped kitchen jar? One sad tube of lotion from Bath & Body works costs more than $10, and isn't much of a present either, especially if you don't know what scent to choose.
I have a certain scorn for people who smilingly present me with useless doodads (giant yellow rhinestone brooch giver, I'm lookin' at you), and I don't want to be on the receiving end of those feelings. This thing is not supposed to embarrass me. Which brings me to
(2) Knowing which stranger to blame for your shitty present is evil. She's going to open my gift in front of everyone and have to act like it's "nice." In 6th grade we had a Secret Santa thing, and a boy we will call Joey unwrapped a gift from his secret santa, who he discovered to be a girl we will call Erin. The present was terrible. Actually, it was an adjustable plastic crown that blinked and played a dying-battery kind of jingle. It looked like something pre-owned by a toddler. Within a few minutes, Joey and his friends quickly proceeded to press all the buttons, wear it like a wrestling belt, and bash it against things until it broke. Joey was actually a pretty nice kid, but he was visibly disappointed to be stuck with the worst present in the class, and had not yet learned to handle disappointment gracefully. The whole class put down their new fluffy pens and action figures to make "what the fuck?" faces at Erin, and Erin probably never forgave her mom for regifting ostensibly weird shit to the worst possible demographic. Look, if there is a lesson to be learned from all this, it's don't be that mom. And lastly
(3) Someone, right now, is wondering what the shit to buy me. This person does not know me. I can say this because I don't really know anyone here. I'm notoriously bad at telling people what I want for a gift, but I like most things. Unless they're exceptionally stupid. But this person does not know that, so they're probably racking their brains for what not-embarrassing item to get the secretary. Or they're looking around their house for some crap to get rid of.
So the more I think about it, the more I agree with my coworker: buy an item, wrap and number it, no questions asked. That way, when you're standing around the company tree with eveyone and holding up your new chipped Reindeer coffee cup filled with peppermints, you can spare the object of your rage from catching some major bitchface.

Long story short, I bought some preserves. They cost $13, are boxed with a ribbon, and they come sealed in little glasses, so when you are done with the jam you can drink out of them (there are two). I bought preserves because I like preserves, and even if she doesn't, she can regift them (to up to two people!) or dump out the contents and keep the glassware. So what I guess I'm saying is, whoever got my name will be the recipient of more than one dirty look if it is in fact a reindeer mug I end up getting.

Friday, September 2, 2011

ginger tea

It does lovely things. Like aide digestion, cure nausea, help fight colds, and taste yummy if you like that sort of thing. (It actually took me 2 years of drinking Stash brand ginger and lemon tea "medicinally" before I developed a taste for it. And fresh-made tastes decidedly more ginger-y and spicier than the kind in teabags. I mean the tea is actually spicy and tongue-burny, just so you aren't surprised. But if that doesn't scare you, I suggest you give this tea a try. I drink it when I feel a cold coming on, when I ate something that doesn't 100% agree with me, or when it's rainy and gross out, which is going to be often since Fall is pretty much here).

It's easy to throw this together: you need a nub of ginger sliced very thin (a little less than a tablespoon's worth), lemon or lime, honey and water (measure using the cup you'll drink it from).
Bring the water to a boil, then throw in the ginger slices and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Strain into a cup and add lemon/lime juce and sweeten with honey to taste.
I may have also added a shot of brandy to this now and then, which adds tremendously to the warming sensation.
Actually, I've been trying for a while now to re-create a drink I had at an African-inspired cafe a couple of years ago. The principal flavors were ginger and lemon, generously sweet with a generous addition of brandy. The glass it came in was sticky (from lemon preserves?) and it tasted like drinking a warm bath. If I ever figure out exactly what and how much of what was in it, you'll be the first to know. Until then, I'll be spiking my regular old ginger tea and finding that sufficient. Because, actually, it's not bad.

My camera is out of commission, but while I had been neglecting this blog (and everything else), I did get a shmancy phone with a camera I sometimes use. So that's where my pictures will be coming from. And on that subject, look at this adorable cat napping with its face smooshed into a shop window:

Monday, August 29, 2011

and, and.

So this is what I did: I was making breaded pork cutlets when I was interrupted by my father. He disagreed, it seems, with my method of pounding the porkchops into thin cutlets. I was thwacking them mercilessly with the heavy bottom of a saucepan, which was both highly effective and therapeutic, whilst my father seemed to think it caused raw meat bits to spray on the clean utensils drying on the counter. I articulated my argument vis-a-vis effectiveness, and he pressed his point as well.
I called bullshit, threw the saucepan into the sink and told him to do it himself if he thinks he's such an expert.
Cut to now. The house is filling up with the smell of frying meat, which means he's actually picked up where I left off, and I want to go make myself a cup of tea but I can't because then I'll inevitably encounter him and feel the need to apologize. And then I'll be mad at myself for apologizing because I don't have anything to be sorry about. What may seem like an ovvereaction on my part is actually due to the fact that my father has had a habit of having something to say about the way I cook more or less since I picked up my first spatula. Despite the fact that he eats everything I make. And likes it. But also, just maybe, I'm a bit frazzled at the nerves right now.

I quit my job on Friday.
I quit it because it was becoming intolerable and because I wanted to go back to school. But was only able to schedule one class and then I had to drop it because the cost ended up being much higher than I counted on. I have an interview for another full time position tomorrow morning and I am freaking out about it.
I expect to be on edge for more or less forever. I expect to throw many things into the kitchen sink as I spend some of my new-found free time preparing meals and freaking out.

The job I had was completely uninteresting and totally unrelated to anything I wanted to do with my future, but it taught me a lot. What it taught me, though, is the extent to which discomfort is a way of life. The extent to which drifting and indecision contribute to backing oneself into a corner and trying to piece things together better from there. It taught me that I am a harder worker than I thought, but that hard work is always taxing but not always rewarded. Maybe I am a better person for knowing this, but a more nervous, more dissatisfied person.
If there is something I want to do, I should be doing it.
If there is something I need to do to do what I want to do, I should be doing it.

And if there is an Entenmann's cake somewhere in this house, I would really, really like to eat it.