Friday, May 30, 2008

Wende's Meme (instead of pictures which I still haven't taken)

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?

Summer of '98 I would have been bumming around after high school ended for the summer, working out a lot and going to my part-time job at the teddy-bear store (none of that build-your-own crap, this was a high quality place with the most incredible hand-carved dutch doors covered in dancing bears with a forest full of stained glass bears in the windows. They didn't kid around).

2. Five non-work things to do on my list today:
a. doctor's appt. this a.m. (done!)
b. pick up Rx at drugstore (not yet)
c. clean out the trunk of my car (still got a bike rack in there, my bike is currently not functional)
d. dinner with the neighbors (Golden Flower again, nothing's better than pho when you're feeling poorly)
e. type up the upshot of a discussion about my thesis with one of the people on my committee (two of my committee members are on completely opposite sides of the fence when it comes to how to analyze my data, I am trying to placate both of them, bleah).

3. Snacks I enjoy:

Lately, the store has been carrying rosemary ciabatta and all I want is to eat it slathered in butter. Not so good. Snacks I have been working on liking with a moderate success level, weirdly enough, apples and cauliflower. Well, not weird so much as random, I guess.

4. Things I would do if I was a billionaire:

Honestly? Retire somewhere in the Portland, OR area in a little Craftsman bungalow where I could grow rhododendrons successfully and get back into things like quilting. Also, a HUGE endowment for the Biology dept. at my old college, they could use it and they were awfully good to me for four confused years.

5. Places I have lived:

Los Gatos, CA (born and raised), McMinnville, OR (happy college memories), and Reno, NV (slogging through the evil thesis and distracting myself with WT).

6. Jobs I have held:

Aforementioned teddy-bear store, brief outdoorsy clothing retail, lots of goofy student-y stuff like filing sheet music, horticultural intern (cheap yard labor at a fancy garden), and grad/research associate/intern stuff which I am trying to escape now...

Yes, I used to work here, and yes, they did, at one point, film Dynasty here.

Tag: Susie, SCB, lorijo and Alana (if you haven't already all found it on Wende's page), I want to know!

Their legacy remains...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Quote of the day (re: Wardrobe Therapy this week)

"A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika"

- Diana Vreeland

More on that theme later, or when I decide how I feel about it. I generally don't dislike my wardrobe but it is very basic. I like being able to add color with bags (we're talking burgundy batik elephants, not red leather) and scarves (I LOVE scarves, a very nice middle Eastern gentleman came very close to suckering me out of more money than I own recently just by draping me in gorgeous scarves and shoving me in front of mirrors). I want my jewelry to be able to function similarly when it is too hot to be swathed in scarves.

I need to stop picturing myself as the Sundance Catalog woman (I am much less earthy, I guess my style statement would be something in the neightborhood of earthy sporty preppy which is a complete contradiction which is why I haven't figured it out yet), and more of the woman.

These are gorgeous. I want to be the fancy person that wears them. I am not she. Or at least I don't have her budget.

I should probably go buy this right now. It still looks very dressy to me but, somewhat like my new bronze sandals (which I haven't worn since we've had a spate of storms and several inches of much-needed rain), I need to suck it up because it is totally my style and I should just channel Tim Gunn and "make it work".

I'll try to do a jewelry box post in the next few days. The earrings are pretty good but most of the necklaces are just too small. The tiny pendant on a thin silver chain isn't good for me. The only necklace I consistently get complimented on is a massive purple lampwork bead on the same damn tiny silver chain, but the bead is big enough to be visible, and that's what I need.

Monday, May 26, 2008

On Cooking For Other People (and why I like it), Also Possibly Bragging A Little Bit

People have told me I should open a restaurant. I have laughed at them.

I love cooking for my friends. My family and friends, I should say. Last Thanksgiving none of my sisters wanted to host and I volunteered. They are all 6-12 years older than I am with their own families etc. and little kids. I had been married just over a year and my husband has lots of family too...

I made two turkeys. Also four pies. We called it a potluck and invited all of our family and another dozen friends, who all brought stuff too. It was awesome.

So yesterday I had some people over for brunch. We had o.j. and pancakes. And cinnamon bananas sauteed in o.j. and rum, and mixed berries, and the random bottle of champagne that somebody brought over a while ago got used for mimosas. It's not hard to feed people well if you're motivated. It's harder to feed fewer people because you're just not as motivated.

We're having some more friends over for dinner tonight. It's another excuse to cook. I love it. I'm marinating a tri-tip in red wine, garlic and rosemary. I'll roast some peppers and squash in the oven, and I'm making mousse. Because I can. I love cooking for people. Small groups is ideal: tonight is two couples, yesterday was three of our good friends (one of whom brought the champagne, that's a savvy guest right there).

Also, gotta plant my new tomatoes and peppers today. I'm excited for all of my new seedlings, I need to get some tomato stakes. And propane. Especially propane before I am supposed to be barbecuing tonight... figures the one thing I forgot is the most crucial (other than the food, I suppose).

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

On Frustration (or why I hate shopping)

So I am trying to buy a greenhouse. One that will be able to withstand +50 mph winds, freezing winters, snow and +100F summers (not all summer, but still...). I have been trolling the internet for far too long now with little to no success. There are too many brands, too many websites and too few reviews for me to read. I don't want to get it wrong on an expensive investment that should hopefully invigorate our veggie gardening for years to come. And there are so many accessories! I have been working in a huge greenhouse so I can't imagine any greenhouse in Nevada working without evaporative coolers, thermostats, shade cloths, and all sorts of extras. I guess I could buy that stuff after the fact if I decided I need it.

AND they all come as kits. Which means I would have to assemble whatever one I chose. I hate assembling huge complicated things with no help.

And the help, oh yeah. The help says, "we need that, you should get it". But the help is the one with the fancy job and we do not have a joint bank account. So whenever he thinks we need something expensive that I would never think of buying on my own, I do all the shopping and all the work and end up putting it on my credit card where it sits for weeks until I badger him into paying me back. He doesn't get it. I wouldn't be doing this if it was my budget, and it's still weird to be doing it on his, apparently for both of us.


Breakfast alternatives: granola recipe

This was one of those vague "oh this recipe looks good and I sorta have the stuff to make it" cooking experiments. It makes a lot. I used pecans but in retrospect I wish I had used almonds. It's got to be healthier than just having lots of slices of hot, buttery toast (mmm, toast) for breakfast and nothing else. Crap, now I want toast with my granola.

Dry ingredients
2.5 cups rolled oats
1 cups raw almonds or pecan halves, or a mixture
1/2 cup hulled raw sunflower seeds
2 T. ground flaxseed
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. salt

Wet ingredients:
1/2 cup unsweetened apple juice
1/4 cup agave nectar
¼ cup honey
2 Tbsp. canola oil

Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 300°F.

In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Stir to mix well. In a small bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients. Stir to mix well. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ones, and stir well.

Spread the mixture evenly onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until evenly golden brown. Set a timer to go off every ten minutes while the granola bakes, so you can rotate the pans and give the granola a good stir; this helps it to cook evenly. When it’s ready, remove the pans from the oven, stir well – this will keep it from cooling into a hard, solid sheet – and set aside to cool. The finished granola may still feel slightly soft when it comes out of the oven, but it will crisp as it cools.

Scoop cooled granola into to a large zipper-lock plastic bag or other airtight container. Store in the refrigerator indefinitely.

Original source:

Coming soon: the continuing "I have no pants" saga...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Some days I love Nevada

Other days, not so much.

There are two kinds of taxis in this town now. They all carry ads on top of the cars, but one advertises for the Mustang Ranch (as far as I know, only a strip club, not a brothel, but I'm not up on that stuff so I couldn't say for sure), and the other advertises about waiting until you get married to have sex (something to the effect of "a real man knows that it is not passion that makes the man, but the ability to control his passions"). On a taxi. Sheesh.

That said, all summer there are free outdoor concerts downtown and they are doing all sorts of stuff to revitalize downtown and bring people to non-casino-oriented events. Riverfest last weekend was an excuse to close the main street downtown and there was live music and kayaking competitions. The Truckee River runs through downtown and they have made a park in the middle of downtown and turned that section of the river into a kayaking course so they attract good pro kayakers which is pretty cool. There is a thriving outdoor-oriented culture around here that supports live music.

And it's gorgeous out here in the right places.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I always forget to put titles on these things

Whoo, Blogger is going all wonky on me, we'll see if this posts or not.

So I had a little expedition yesterday, I took a pile of clothing to Rad Betty's: the semi-upscale, partially just weird clothing resale store and, while most of my stuff was too wintry for her to take, she did take a few things and gave me some trade, which I used to get the perfect spring/fall coat. It's hip-length, plain and lined, burgundy wool (not black!) and my out-of-pocket expenditure was $2.15 total. So of course I find it during the first heat wave of the year, but as multiple people have already said to me this week, "This is Nevada, it could still snow next week".

Then I hit Ross. I was debating driving across town to Banana Republic to look at some pants on sale on their website but decided it was too much for one day (new mall, fancy, other side of town, whine whine whine), so I went to Ross by my house since they have been hit or miss for pants and I figured it was worth a shot. I went through my pants drawer the other day and realized, I basically own four pairs of pants I don't hate - two are jeans, and the other two are too nice to wear to work. I also have two pairs of wear-to-work jeans that I have shrunk and they make me crazy but are still useful enough to work in. When I shrink my jeans, this means that they are high waters and show off my socks, which drives me crazy. However, due to the aforementioned heat wave, I am now cuffing them and wearing them to work at capri-length.

Anyways, the point was, no pants at Ross, except a new pair of those long workout shorts that I have been looking for to wear to the gym, and I found a nice top (I wore it out last night and someone asked me if it was from Banana Republic, I thought that was entertaining). A nice, not black top that doesn't show too much cleavage - some nice tops are going out tops for evenings etc. but this is a nice top that I could wear out to brunch with my parents. Also, not black. Sort of cream-colored pattern on a nice red background. I cannot tell you how much of a triumph this is.
But it does mean I still need pants.

Also, I missed going to the gym before it closed today (it closes at 4 on Saturdays - lame!) because I was on the phone to my mom for an hour and a half. She and my dad just got back from an awesome vacation to Hungary where my dad grew up (and hasn't been back in 40 years) so I needed to catch up and it was cool, they went to a porcelain factory that we've got some old family pieces from , and they just had to tell me that the new stuff wasn't as nice as the stuff we lost in the 1989 earthquake , and that it is insanely expensive now. I thought that was really funny, for some reason. I mean this is pretty: But not a thousand bucks pretty. Am I wrong?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

new quote of the week (hahahaa)

"I used to jog... but the ice cubes kept falling out of my glass"

-David Lee Roth.

Below are “106 books of pretension,” compiled from the books most frequently marked unread by Library Thing users.

Books I’ve read are in bold; books I’ve started but haven’t finished are in italics; books I own but haven’t read are marked with a *.

Total books I've read: 38

1. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

2. Anna Karenina

3. Crime and Punishment

4. Catch-22

5. One Hundred Years of Solitude

6. Wuthering Heights

7. The Silmarillion

8. The Life of Pi

9. The Name of the Rose

10. Don Quixote

11. Moby Dick

12. Ulysses

13. Madame Bovary

14. The Odyssey

15. Pride and Prejudice

16. Jane Eyre

17. The Tale of Two Cities

18. The Brothers Karamazov

19. Guns, Germs and Steel: the fates of human societies

20. War and Peace

21. Vanity Fair

22. The Time Traveler's Wife

23. The Iliad

24. Emma

25. The Blind Assassin

26. The Kite Runner

27. Mrs. Dalloway

28. Great Expectations

29. American Gods

30. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

31. Atlas Shrugged

32. Reading Lolita in Tehran: a memoir in books

33. Memoirs of a Geisha

34. Middlesex

35. Quicksilver

36. Wicked: the life and times of the wicked witch of the West

37. The Canterbury Tales

38. The Historian: a novel

39. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

40. Love in the Time of Cholera

41. Brave New World

42. The Fountainhead

43. Foucault's Pendulum

44. Middlemarch

45. Frankenstein

46. The Count of Monte Cristo

47. Dracula

48. A Clockwork Orange

49. Anansi Boys

50. The Once and Future King

51. The Grapes of Wrath

52. The Poisonwood Bible : a novel

53. 1984

54. Angels & Demons

55. The Inferno

56. The Satanic Verses

57. Sense and Sensibility

58. The Picture of Dorian Gray

59. Mansfield Park

60. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

61. To the Lighthouse

62. Tess of the D’Urbervilles

63. Oliver Twist

64. Gulliver’s Travels

65. Les Misérables

66. The Corrections

67. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

68. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

69. Dune

70. The Prince

71. The Sound and the Fury

72. Angela’s Ashes : a memoir (I think so)

73. The God of Small Things

74. A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present

75. Cryptonomicon

76. Neverwhere

77. A Confederacy of Dunces

78. A Short History of Nearly Everything

79. Dubliners

80. The Unbearable Lightness of Being

81. Beloved

82. Slaughterhouse-Five (honestly, I can’t remember if I read it or not, that's how much I like Vonnegut)

83. The Scarlet Letter

84. Eats, Shoots & Leaves (I have been wanting to read this one for a while)

85. The Mists of Avalon

86. Oryx and Crake : a novel

87. Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed* (a signed copy, no less)

88. Cloud Atlas

89. The Confusion

90. Lolita

91. Persuasion

92. Northanger Abbey

93. The Catcher in the Rye

94. On the Road

95. The Hunchback of Notre Dame

96. Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything

97. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values

98. The Aeneid

99. Watership Down

100. Gravity’s Rainbow

101. The Hobbit

102. In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences

103. White Teeth

104. Treasure Island

105. David Copperfield

106. The Three Musketeers

I thought this was an interesting list, there's a lot of stuff on here that I remember having to read in junior high or high school (Frankenstein, Catcher in the Rye) and there are a couple on here that I adore so much I can't believe people haven't read them (the Count of Monte Cristo, American Gods, the Hobbit). And it was also a good reminder for some books I'll have to pick up as I have heard good things about them, I just haven't gotten to 'em (Persuasion, Poisonwood Bible).

How many have you guys read? Can anyone recommend any others on here that I should read?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Stop and smell the flowers (then declare war!)

Sooo, you may have gathered that my backyard is an ongoing project. The tomatoes seem to be doing well on the sunny side of the patio, but on the shady side I am doing my darndest to cultivate some shrubs. Over the past couple of years I have planted smoke bush, lilacs, viburnum and dogwoods. The smoke bushes are doing ok, my sister just gave me a third one and the first two are finally leafing out (they're very slow to grow and spring is late and short in this neighborhood). The lilacs are small but seem to be doing ok. Between the shrubs I've got smaller perennial stuff that doesn't get too tall, so eventually the goal is that it will be a bit of understory action when the shrubs get nice and big (their eventual sizes range from 6 to 10 ft. high and 4 to 6 wide, nothing is over 3 feet tall yet though). This will eventually be a border around the future flagstone path/patio area which will require minimal water once established.

So who cares, you may say... but this inventory list is not what the story is about. It is about my dogwoods. My lovely glorious dogwoods. I had one that I planted last fall and it did so well that I planted two more in March of this year. They have been growing by leaps and bounds and looking absolutely lovely - they have glossy red stems and bright green leaves, except for the variegated one that has creamy outlines on its bright green leaves. But all is not well in dogwood country. I thought maybe I just needed to fertilize them, but the new ones looked almost as unhappy as the old one, and they got fertilized when I planted them. My lovely bright green leaves were starting to curl and turn brown. The older leaves looked better, but the new baby leaves were coming in curled and dying...

...I hit Google, and did some searching for "dogwood leaf curl" and similar such nonsense. Found some good diagnostic pictures of diseased dogwoods and then went outside to compare. Taking what was perhaps my first close look at my poor plants, I noticed they were covered with aphids.


Quick trip to the Home Despot followed by a short session I wish I had pictures of - me, in the waning twilight, with a headlamp on, spraying my biggest beloved dogwood with a handheld spray bottle full of insecticidal soap. This bright purple bottle has such a tiny spray range I had to spray each twig individually. But it's got a nice strong spray so hopefully it also knocked off a lot of the little buggers. I ran out before I got to the second bush so, since that one wasn't as bad, I refilled my bottle with plain water and dish soap - for some reason the soapiness is what matters, also key is knocking the aphids off of the plant. Therefore, on the healthiest one, I just used the hose on a really strong setting and sprayed the bejesus out of the whole shrub. I plan to do this (the plain water option) a couple more times this week to all of them and then see if they look any better before buying more insecticidal soap or anything.

SO big points to anyone who made it all the way through this, the whole point is, the house projects are all on standby right now until I finish writing, the big flagstone back patio project is on hold until I finish all this crap and graduate, so right now ALL I WANT IS FOR MY SHRUBS TO SUCCESSFULLY GROW AND BE HAPPY, DAMMIT!

Further updates as events warrant...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Movie post (part 1)

Movies I love - not in order of preference, but vaguely categorized.

Foreign films - Cold Comfort Farm (awesome movie, I recommend it to everybody, one of the few book-to-movie adaptations that really does the book justice, to me), Amelie, Room with a View, Monsoon Wedding, Much Ado About Nothing, Wallace and Gromit, and Flushed Away.

Superhero movies - X-men (that's a lot of classically trained Shakespearean actors hamming it up there), Spiderman 2 (Dr. Octopus is a tragic hero, I tell you, at least when he's played by Alfred Molina), and the new Iron Man (or maybe I just adore Robert Downey Jr. in that movie. Talk about OOZING charisma, oh my God).

Stuff I have memorized since I watched it to death as a small child - Labyrinth, Princess Bride, Help! and Yellow Submarine (I also wanted to marry Ringo when I was very young, I thought he was very underappreciated).

Very random stuff that I happen to own - Sliding Doors, 10 Things I Hate About You, early Mel Brooks (Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein).

Musicals - more stuff I grew up with, pretty much always the Broadway cast version: Kismet, Kiss Me Kate, Singin' in the Rain, High Society, American in Paris, Silk Stockings (the musical version of Ninotchka, with Cyd Charisse in the Greta Garbo role - absolutely gorgeous), and I'm sure I forgot some more.

I'm sure there's more, but nobody would get anything if I did the movie quote meme. This way I just get to share.

The grand experiment

I have now planted:

three tomatoes
one zucchini
one cucumber
one cauliflower
and one artichoke (hey, who knows?)

along with a bunch of curly kale seeds, and a batch of "mixed mesclun" in a pot. We'll see what happens.

In a couple of weeks my seedling order comes in, which will have three more tomatoes, two more peppers and an eggplant. I just have to figure out where to put them. I really hope all of this stuff survives and thrives, I need to remember to water it regularly (the goal is to put out a soaker hose once the rest of the stuff is in, so I can just go turn it on and forget about it since we've got a timer).

Tomorrow I need to finish the weeding and plant two shrubs and my basil plants since they're going to go in the shade of the shrubs. None of my herbs have seemed to do well with full sun exposure (which the veggies all supposedly need) so they are going along the fence in the shade of the shrubs. This may replace my gym attendance for the weekend, we'll see. I am tired after today, I think it must be the weeding. We've got nasty bermuda grass where I want to put my flagstone path and it's still early enough in the growing season that I want to get it before it gets my yard! Not that it will take over and be lawn-like, just scruff up the path area so I can't lay it nice and flat. The flagstone for the backyard is the big fall project - aka I am not allowed to start it for real until I have graduated (August, which will be too hot to do more than shop for flagstone, so...September).

Last night we went to a BBQ, I brought a bunch of appetizers, which were a big success (Trader Joe's saves the day!) and Matt's band played, which was also a big success. Also, I wore my new sandals and even got complimented on them (another big success, although they'll need a bit of breaking in, which is ok as ALL the reviews said they break in nice and fast).

I will post some garden pictures when I finish getting everything in, at this point, I am going to go finish my movie and contemplate everyone's movie lists while I think about making my own favorite movie list (clearly this is the wrong crowd for movie quotes).

Friday, May 9, 2008

Le jardin

The tomato plants on my kitchen windowsill are starting to have little tiny buds on them! I've got a yellow plum tomato, a sweet 100 cherry tomato and a beefsteak tomato as well as a big bell pepper plant, all shoved on my tiny windowsill. The goal is to get them planted this weekend, as well as my lettuce and curly kale seeds. Last weekend I went to the local food co-op and put in a seedling order with them, so in two weeks I will be getting even more tomato plants! They're locally grown so they're supposedly going to thrive, so I got three more types of tomato, two more peppers and an eggplant. We'll see. I also want to hit my favorite local nursery and get some seedlings of some different lettuces and hopefully a couple of zucchini plants. I have high hopes, I know, considering this stuff will have to survive me leaving town for a week at a time for work (I need to put the drip hose in so Matt can just turn it on and they will get water).

Matt has also hinted that we might be willing to invest in a greenhouse for the backyard (too many visits to England, I think. Everyone he knows over there has one, so we've got to find one that can make it through the snow and wind..) so this will be my test run to see if I can get this stuff to survive on my own without heaters and fans and all the accouterments before we seriously start thinking about investing in one so we can grow our own veggies year-round.

Also, the new shoes came, they will need a bit of breaking in in the toe straps but so far they are possibly the most flattering and comfy dressy flat sandals I have ever owned. I love Clarks, and tend to wear them into the ground so it is nice to have a pair of sandals that actually look good with skirts or pants and that I can wear to dress up. I like how I look in heels but not so much how my feet feel, so I will be getting my money's worth from these babies (also, they aren't such a weird color but a mildly metallic bronze that I am going to call a neutral and wear with everything I own).

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Me day/ the good things about sisters

So I've been indulging myself a little to try and feel good about myself, it's not really necessary but it's nice. I went and got that haircut after all and I really like it (we'll see how I feel about these bangs after I sleep on them), went to Target and picked up some new Boots cosmetics as a treat, and ordered a pair of sandals from Zappos (I'll post a pic when they show up/if they fit).

I also stopped by my sister's and played in the yard with the kiddo for a while, he's so industrious with his tiny shovels and dump trucks but he always needs somebody to use the other shovel. It's adorable. I brought her a sweater and a shirt that are too small on me and some shoes that she's going to try and eBay for me (stupid final sale suckering me into shoes that don't fit with no returns, grr), and she gave me a shirt that's too big for her and a shrub that her husband wanted to get rid of since the puppy chewed it up (it's fine,. he's just picky and it needs a little love). Whenever I shrink clothing I take it to her, and since she lost the pregnancy weight I've gotten a couple of cute shirts (broad shoulders will apparently sub for pregnancy boobs in a lot of stretchy shirts). It's not a bad deal having her around, I have to say.

You keep a knockin' but you can't get in

So I went and saw Iron Man the other night, and while the main take-home message is that Robert Downey Jr. is a hell of an actor because nobody else could have pulled off that role and still made the movie fun (also, yummy)...
I want her hair so bad. Her character, meh. But I am seriously considering trying to find a better picture of her in this movie so I can take it to the hairdresser and say "I want shaggy sideswept bangs like Pepper Potts". And can you believe that's her character's name? Oh well, off to hunt for more pictures...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Speaking of makeovers

Possibly the creepiest makeover ever: the movie is Mirrormask and the heroine just basically got kidnapped by an evil queen who thinks the protagonist is her daughter. So it's kind of an evil princess makeover. To a Carpenters song. With creepy robots. Seriously.

This is actually a very neat movie, it's one of my favorite authors and the effects are Henson Studios so it's visually stunning. That, and the heroine was just told that we are "not at home to Mr. Grumpy". I need to use that line more often.

Stepping out into the light (a bit of a ramble that may or may not make sense)

I have been following along with something called Wardrobe Therapy, and many of the full-time participants have been added to my list of links on the sidebar. But they (Susie in particular) have brought up a good point, which to me is as follows:

How can you spend time on your appearance and try to improve yourself on the outside while still avoiding being judged solely on your appearance or thought to be frivolous for thinking about how you look instead of reading Nietzsche and growing your own rutabagas?

Things to be taken into account: I was never the pretty one, so I spent most of my growing-up period letting my mom buy me clothes. I love my mom, but now that I buy my own clothes, I am much more willing to hunt down the perfect pair of women's size 12 shoes instead of just buying men's shoes instead. I have an appearance I want to project. At work, I want to look relatively professional among the students in ill-fitting skimpy clothing, I don't want to look like a student, but I don't want to wear clothes that I mind getting acid spilled on. This limits my options. A lot. Outside of work, I want to look feminine and feel comfortable. Having never been petite, I don't want to make myself look wide and stubby when being tall with broad shoulders is NOT a bad thing. Having spent too much time as a kid with unfortunate haircuts and being mistaken for a boy, I am trying to spend the minimum necessary time and funds on my appearance but still be happy with how I look and how my appearance makes me feel about myself.

I guess I have been lucky, I have never felt judged by my appearance as I feel my appearance to be generally unremarkable. I am trying to take more time and put more effort into putting myself together, but I have spent a long time being ignored and that is why I do things like take up the tuba instead of dressing up - it may be less efficient but it gets people's attention.

At this point, if I can find pants long enough to cover both my buttcrack and my ankles, and shirts long enough to cover my belly and my bra, I will often consider myself just fine. I want to be able to do more than just the bare minimum without feeling frivolous for caring. I want sleek, comfortable clothing for my sleek, comfortable life. I want to have a personal style that is defined by more than being the girl with the interesting scarves (because that only works in the winter). I want my wardrobe to help me feel like I am worth taking time for and not just enable me to fade into the background.

At this point, feeling frivolous for being concerned about my appearance seems to be one of my lesser worries.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Quote of the day

"Stevie Ray Vaughan is dead and we can't GET Jon Bon Jovi in a helicopter!"

Sunday, May 4, 2008

For my own reference, and also to share with anyone who likes crab

I went on a cooking bender last week, and this was one of the recipes that surfaced. I ripped it off from here:

and then did my own modifications.

Crispy Cilantro Crab Cakes (serves 6-8 as appetizer, 4 as entree)
3 cans Trader Joe's lump crab meat (6 oz. ea.)
1 box Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
3 green onions, chopped
2 eggs, whisked
Salt and pepper to taste (approx. 1/2 tsp salt)
canola oil for frying

In a large mixing bowl, combine crab, Panko and herbs. Season with salt and pepper and fold in the eggs. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Form mixture into 6-8 patties. Make sure to press firmly; they take a bit of force to hold them together. Pan fry in 1/4 inch canola oil over medium high heat, approx. 4 minutes per side or until nicely golden brown (careful not to burn yourself on the flip). Serve hot!

I served them with some faux-aioli, I just mixed some mayo with quite a bit of lemon juice and cumin and it was the perfect little dipping sauce combo. We had a nice little green salad on the side with the rest of that diced red bell pepper and a glass of leftover white wine. It was an awesome dinner. I highly recommend it, even though I am usually not one for frying stuff (I always make a mess).

This totally made me smile (watch to the end).

Linky love.

So I'm working on my list of links over there, it's a bit messy right now but it's everyone whose home renovations I'm spying on, the fashion blogs I have replaced my Glamour magazine subscription with, and people I just want to keep an eye on.

My first Meme (from Wende)

What accessories do you wear everyday?
My wedding ring. It's this one but just plain diamonds. I mostly wanted something I could wear in the field without worrying about sticky-out bits. Also I like the eternity band idea but this way it looks more like polka-dots.
What is your beauty routine?

Ideally, wash with Cetaphil and then Purpose lotion with sunscreen, followed by Rx acne scar fader from the dermatologist. Then usually Clinique foundation (some perfectly something or other) on the blotchy bits and Benefit Dandelion blush so I don't look like a zombie. Also, whatever I have in my purse on my lips - this can be Burt's Bees lip tint, Benetint or Clinique Almost Lipstick.

What was the last item of clothing (for yourself) that you purchased?
A pashmina, yesterday. I know they're "out" but I am a scarf whore and it is the perfect shade of green (not too bright, leafy as opposed to limey).

Do you use a dresser, closet, or both?
Both. Dresser is for foldables - t-shirts, sweaters, pants and misc. Closet is for dressy clothes and outerwear.

What type of earrings are in your ears right now?
None, I just got out of the shower. Normally if I remember I like dangly earrings on hooks, I lose the backs of posts too often and hoops just aren't my style.

Do you wear glasses?
Yes. Also contacts, more glasses now that I finally found a decent style for my face, more contacts in the summer though so I can wear my sunglasses.

Do you wear makeup?
Yes, see above. Mostly Clinique, Benefit or Neutrogena.

What is your favorite perfume?
I don't really like perfume, however, the Body Shop sells a product that smells like Spiced Chai Tea and I love it. I just usually get it in lotion form. I don't like the alcohol-smell of most perfumes.

Is your motto “quality over quantity” when it comes to clothing and accessories?
Not as much as it should be. I like Banana Republic and J. Crew as I think they are respectable quality but I will not buy anything from them for full price. I am a sale rack raider and it has gotten me in trouble sometimes (especially trying to buy pants - optimism and a final sale, no return policy has bitten me in the butt recently).

Do you wear rain boots?
Nope, ask me about snow boots though.

Do you wear socks or slippers when your feet get cold?
Of course, sometimes both. Our house is freezing.

Do you have a set of travel luggage?
I guess it's technically not a set since it
doesn't match. But I have a carry-on with wheels, a carry-on backpack, and a big rolling bag with wheels. We have relatives that we like to visit in cold places and while I like not checking bags, when it's northern England for two weeks in January, I will give in and check a bag just so I can have lots of warm layers. Not for a week or less though.

If you are married, did you wear a veil with your wedding dress?
Nope, and my dress was short, princess-y and chartreuse. It wasn't a veil-y type occasion.

Do you wear a watch?
Not as often as I'd like. I got one for Christmas and I love it but I still forget to put it on.

Do you prefer zippers or buttons?
Zippers, really. Button-up shirts tend to look odd on me and button-fly pants are really just a cruel joke.

Forget it Jake, it's Chinatown.

There's just too much nerdy stuff to share! I had to do it! This is my new blog!

I make no commitments to posting every day, I just resign myself to the need to have a blog (not a livejournal that I haven't updated in three years and need to shut down). There are too many people online that I have been half-heartedly interacting with because they all have blogs and I don't. I want to participate!

Although, on a limited, trial basis for now - I am SO almost done with my thesis! I will fully commit to blogging regularly after this summer when I graduate. Until then, definitely a limited basis just so I can get in on all the action I have been a spectator for.