Top Annoying Things This Month

In an attempt to be less serious this evening, here is a simple list of things that are so minor they shouldn’t even be mentioned.  They aren’t pet peeves.  They are just moments that make me yell “Dammit!”  I hope maybe you can relate to a few and then I won’t feel so crazy.

  • Sneezing after I apply my mascara.  I did this twice last week, probably because the spring weather approached us early and the dawn of allergies.  I tried to keep it in, but instead of trying to fight it too hard and allowing my eyeballs to pop out from the pressure, I went with it.  I looked like I belonged in the Clockwork Orange.  I should’ve rocked the derby at work that day.

  • (Stares at open dresser drawer with eyes wide)  “What do you mean I’m out of underwear??”  Ok, maybe it’s time to start buying colors that fit into all three of the laundry color piles.  I’m required to wear clothing that my company has us buy and so is my husband.  It’s ALL navy blue.  Just like our jeans.  We primarily rush to get these done and the other colors get a little neglected.  (Just in case you’re wondering, though you likely aren’t, I didn’t go commando.  I found something very small and uncomfortable to wear and put laundry on the top of my “to do” list that day.  What am I, single?  Who wears these things?)
  • Really, did I just make a Lawrence Welk reference to be funny?  What am I, 90?  I’m an old soul, I know.  Thank goodness hubby is.  But every now and then I let something slip around the late 20-somethings (who act their age) and they just stare.  “What?  I don’t get it.”  If only Gram were around, she’d laugh.  I was later reprieved when SNL started doing skits about the Welk show by the way.  Justice!  Next I’ll start sharing the highlights of last night’s Jeopardy.  Oh wait, I did that too.  The good news is, the clip was all over YouTube so it must’ve been worth mentioning.  Lots of self-justification going on here, huh?
  • I’m a good person.  I work hard.  I help others.  I rush to take out the recycling before I get in the car for work…and I step in my dog’s crap.  All I had to do was drag that bin from the backyard, get it to the curb and boom, gone.  No.  Not today.  And we’re wearing your sneakers with all the little grooves in them.  Wonderful.  We’ll just get the keys out of the car that’s warming up and change.  Don’t worry though, if you step in crap early, the day will only get better.  And it will.
  • When sunglasses drop on concrete, is it required that they only scratch right at the eye line; that miniscule space on the big lens that your eye lines up perfectly with?  Thanks.
  • Mythbusters tested it, and I don’t remember if the myth was busted or not, but I can tell you; buttered bread or anything with substance will fall face down.   I don’t need scientific testing to agree.  Also, spaghetti sauce will get on your white shirt.  I would like to get in on that study and just eat pasta all day to see what happens.  They can supply the clothes though.
  • Last but not least, as I sit here with my drooped shoulder, I will address depth perception.  Mine is completely off when I switch from contacts to glasses.  Worse without either.  I will get ready for bed, don my glasses and run into a doorjamb with my shoulder.  Maybe it is because one is set for astigmatism which causes a slight fishbowl effect.  Still,  I do it all the time and I constantly forget to anticipate it.  But, on a lighter note, I feel like I look thinner when I see myself in the mirror through my glasses, so I won’t say it’s a fair trade, but it softens the blow.  Boo.  Bad joke.

Luckily for people in real life, I don’t walk around lamenting about these things, but since they managed to collide recently, I thought it was worth sharing.  As always, if these are the least of my problems, I will take my Clockwork Orange-self and run into a wall a few times to set myself straight.  Life is still pretty good.

How Do You Get Out of a Slump?

My writing has suffered as of late, but I refuse to give up.  I can tell that it’s suffering because not as many people are reading it either.  I’m mentally preparing for some pretty big decisions in my life and that has launched a grenade into my creative thinking brain space.  I’ve learned that there are few things that don’t fix this struggle:

  1. An ice cream and cookie diet.  One, it makes everything feel messy, like my keyboard, my phone, my face.  I’m not a slob; I think that eating unhealthy food just makes everything feel gross; including the extra pound or five.  It’s really only made me feel worse about myself and worry more.  This does not lead to creative brain activity.
  2. Diving into a romance trilogy.  As hereditarily impatient as I am, I must finish a book immediately after starting it.  So, last week I cracked open a romance trilogy about Irish sisters and it’s consumed my free time.  I honestly find solace in reading things like that now and then because I get a cheap giggle and get all sappy without making my husband watch a terrible chick flick.  Plus, I’ve always been one of the guys, so these allow me to be a girl without publicly announcing it.  Oh wait, I just did.  Regardless, these books only make me long for something, which makes me restless.  This one is making me Ireland-sick.  It’s not my home, just a place we’ve spent a month, and that I long for regularly.  This could lead to daydreaming and hence inspiration though, let me mull over this one.
  3. Neglecting friends.  This is never a good idea.  When I’m feeling uninspired though, I become a hermit and increasingly lazy.  Do not think about looking at my house right now either.  Where did all these clothes come from by the way?  Have I always shedded this much?  What a mess.
  4. Lacking a theme.  Months ago, I initially hoped to focus on being an old soul.  It has made an appearance through several posts, but for the most part, this blog has lacked consistency.  It most likely just emulates my mind’s patterns. I simply have too many interests.  That should be the biggest goal, to lay down a solid foundation and finish out the rest of the year right.  If you’re been reading this, I’m more than open to any ideas or inspiring thoughts on how to do that without creating a mundane goal.

Well, as one not to dwell too long, tomorrow I’m going to hesitantly go to a happy hour, socialize with some friends, eat healthy and finish that trilogy before I go to bed so I have free time this weekend.  Ok, that last part is a lame attempt to justify staying up late and appease my curiosity.  But I do it for my craft.  Maybe I’ll even dust on Saturday.

Then, with a clear mind, I’ll recreate myself.  How do you find inspiration, especially if you’re writing a 365 blog?

Such Odd Things to Be Grateful For

I fell asleep with my computer last night.  It was not quite romantic.  I did wake up in the middle of the night, however, with a great idea for a topic.  Supposedly.  I noted it on my phone, but it was so vague; “Grateful for odd things”.  Although, I am grateful for odd things, I think most people are.  It’s the simple things in life that really make a difference.  Although I don’t know what examples I may have had while I slept, I was able to coherently think of some of my own today.

And so, I give you, odd but significant things I am grateful for.

  • My husband isn’t a video game addict.  Hell, he doesn’t drink or gamble in excess or zone out into any sports on TV (that’s more me).  He does watch cartoons, but not if we’re home together, because we have a lot in common and that is not one of them.  Its not cartoons that bothers me, because I’ll watch Bugs Bunny or SpongeBob myself, but these cheesy Anime ones.  He watches them in fast forward too, which leads me to believe that are just as enjoyable as I think they are.  Regardless, I am grateful that he is unlike the many men I know our age who ignore the world around them, as they lose all reality to the outside world with controller in hand.  So, thank you honey.
  • My Aunt recently brought to my attention that I should be happy for my chubby cheeks.  “Look at Sally Field.”, she says, “She’s got fat and cologen in her face because of her cheeks and she’ll never look hallowed out.”  Of course, she continued with things what sounded like back-handed compliments, but I realized she was right.  Not only will my cheeks be beneficial as I age, they give my friends great humor.  My cheeks were (ok, are) big enough that when I smile, they push up my eyes quite a bit.  Although I’m of Irish/German descent, they often claim I’m in fact Asian.  This doesn’t bother me because it is not offensive, but simply odd.  Regardless, I’m grateful to you, chubby cheeks.
  • I’ve always been on the thin or appropriate weight for my height.  I also have a stomach that is very picky.  I hate that.  But, it is the reason that I don’t eat unhealthy or unnatural things.  Thus, I keep my figure.  I think it’s a good idea to turn every annoying negative into a positive.  It also saves us money because we don’t buy take-out very often, so well done finicky stomach!
  • I’m just shy of 5’9, but I have small feet.  Sometimes I am as small as a 7 shoe, but mainly 7 ½.  I feel gangly as it is; have long legs, long arms and a long torso, so this makes me feel that I’m petite in some way.  And I’m grateful for that.  Although, I do believe it aids in my klutziness.  We are convinced that my feet are not big enough to keep me sturdy, which is why I topple.  This is not medically or scientifically based, but it seems good enough of a reason to me.

I am grateful for so many “real” things, and some of these are really just silly.  But I imagine one day, if these all didn’t collide (cue time travel music); I could look like a skeleton droopy face with big feet, obese and married to a World of Warcraft addict.  Ah, but now everything will be perfect.

This is probably my most bizarre post.  Bear with me, it’s been a long week.

I Can Eat a Quart of Ice Cream Because I Ate an Apple Yesterday (and Other Excuses)

I did it again.  I woke up in the middle of the night, eyes wide open.

“Damn, I didn’t post!”

But, Tuesday hasn’t technically started for me, even though its 3:00am, so I can write now and it will still count for yesterday.  It’s still Monday night, right?  I mean, I didn’t mean to fall asleep, I had plans to write.

Then I starting thinking how late I’ll be if I woke up now and became functional, only to go back to sleep for two hours until my work alarm goes off.  So I got up, turned the TV off, lights off and hit the shower.  Better to get ahead of the game, plus I do some of my best thinking in the shower; except that I usually get on a mental “roll” in there and forget what I was going to write by the time I’m done.  I started thinking that I should keep a recorder outside of the tub in case I have any ideas that are earth shattering.  Then, because it’s 3am, I came up with a silly line about I can make a joke about those plastic flute-like recorders 4th graders get, and how that wouldn’t help my blog writing.  Sure glad I didn’t use that one.  Whew.

But really, I’m sure I’m not alone in the incessant excuse making.  I don’t think I use them when it comes to others, pretty much just for myself.  I’m a selfish excuse maker.  Here are some of the best I’ve come up with in the last week.

  • I’m not going to the gym.  Those people who never go and make a New Year’s resolution go and it gets too crowded.
  • I’ve gained a few pounds.  It’s probably because I’m stressed at work or my metabolism is starting to slow down at 28.  It can’t be because I’ve been on a cookie diet since Christmas.
  • (To my husband)  Yes, I saw the apples went bad.  Why didn’t YOU eat them?  I didn’t eat them because I didn’t want leave you without any.  (Ok, so maybe I’m not so selfish with myexcuses after all.)
  • I had to buy those boots, because they sent me a $10 coupon and then there was another sale ad for 20% off.  It would be like wasting money if I didn’t use them.
  • I know we just bought the Girl Scout cookies, but if we don’t eat them it’ll be like the tragedy of 2011, when we forgot about a box of shortbreads on top of the fridge and they got stale.  (Reference second excuse here)

At least I’m not murdering people or doing harm to others with my excuses.  They are really harmless.  Oh man, I just tried to validate my excuses.

As Our Christmas Cookies Go Stale

December went entirely too fast.  I never even got a chance to make my cookies, though our scale showed no regrets.

I decided that the Christmas season is not going to put a timeline on when I can bake and I will use any color sprinkles I want to.  Besides, there’s so much more time to create tasty confections when the holiday sales have past and the wrapping paper fills the recycle bin.

There’s a cookie I remember eating when I was about five.  It was pale pink, and in cut-outs like a regular sugar cookie, but it had a distinct taste that I now know to be rose water.  I always hoped to find them again.  Believe it or not, I recently found the recipe my Mom had copied from that lady who made them, when flipping through a stack of photocopied recipes she gave to us.  So not only do I get to relive a sensory memory, but the oven will do wonders to heat our little house this weekend.

If you’d like to give them a shot – I think it would be a perfect treat for Valentine’s Day in the form of hearts too.  The recipe states that it is originally from French origin.

Petticoat Tails Recipe

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 & 3/4 cups flour (Do not use self-rising flour)
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. rose water
  • red & yellow food coloring (no particular measurement)
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • Sugar-nut topping or Confectioners’ sugar icing (below)

Cream butter and sugar; add egg and mix well.  Stir together flour and salt; mix into creamed mixture.  Divide in half.  To one half, add the rose water and red food coloring.  Mix well.  To the remaining half, add the almond extract and yellow food coloring.  Mix well.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Roll dough 1/8” thick on well-floured cloth-covered board.  Cut into desired shapes.  Place on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake 6-8 minutes.  Cookies may be sprinkled with sugar-nut topping before baking or may be decorated with confectioners’ sugar icing when cool.

*Sugar nut topping: Mix 6 tbsp. finely chopped nuts with ¼ cup granulated sugar.  Sprinkle over cookies before baking.

*Confectioners’ sugar icing: Blend 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla and 2-3 tbsp. cream (or evaporated milk), adding cream in small amounts.  Stir in food coloring.

Despite the recipe, my memory recalls a dusting of confectioners’ sugar and those small silver balls that threaten to break your teeth, as opposed to these two options.  I don’t care what anyone says, those are not edible.  I hope to make these tomorrow and share pictures and results, with teeth in tact of course.

Grandmom had it right

Here in 2011, we are a paranoid society.  We also tend to be gullible and believe every new study and every statistic the news tells us.  Being a news junkie, it is hard to decipher sometimes what information can be taken with a grain of salt.  Then I wonder, should it be sea salt?  But what if I don’t get enough iodine?  It’s all too much.

My Great-Grandmom passed away a couple of years ago, at the age of 97.  I learned so much from her, not necessarily through our conversations but by observing her habits.  Obviously, by the time I came along, her life had a routine to it and the news blips about nutrition were most likely not going to sway her longstanding habits.  To be perfectly honest though, growing up in an anti-bacterial obsessed society, every now and then I got a little worried, secretly of course.

The woman never refrigerated her ketchup, butter or mayonnaise.  Expiration dates were nothing to be concerned with and fruit didn’t need to be washed.  Depending on how many visitors filtered through her guest stash, my Pepsi can could reflect a Christmas theme from the year before.  But Grandmom would never lead us astray.  She ate what she wanted, when she wanted, but in moderation.  Stroehmann white bread was truly a staple, served with most suppers.  No whole wheat here.  She sprinkled sugar on her corn flakes (real sugar) and enjoyed bacon or scrapple with fried eggs regularly, when the mood struck, and always with a morning cup of coffee.  She loved to nibble on sweets too.

Grandmom was to me, the epitome of moderation and hardworking character.  She didn’t go out of her way to do anything that the news obsessed over.  She never got a flu shot even.  She did leg lifts every morning before she rose.  She lived out in the world as long as her knees would allow her to roam.  She enjoyed the little things that made her happy, all the while not dwelling on the million little rules we’ve let consume our lives, even when it came to age.  That’s probably why no one believed her when they heard she was nearing 100.

Her habits and self-sufficient ways of life are part of the inspiration behind this blog…coming soon, my attempt to can my own jam.  She’d be so proud.