I drank myself to sleeplessness last night, I always do

So I had a job interview for a barista position today that I somehow got from sending this as my cover letter (they asked for favorite band and a current photo, I didn't just include it for fun):

I've never been good at the favorites game. I can never choose just one, and when it comes to music, my favorite changes with my mood. I can tell you right now I've been listening to Band of Horses a lot, that some days my favorite song is "Good Feeling" by the Violent Femmes and that when I need to get my house cleaned I either blast the Old 97's or the White Stripes but The Decemberists are probably my favorite band to see live, with Stars being a close second. I have a soft spot for Willie Nelson, early Tom Waits and Bob Dylan.

I have some previous barista experience though I've primarily been a back of house girl and I am incredibly passionate about excellent coffee. Having recently moved from Northern California, I've found delicious coffee a little short in supply in New York and am anxious to spread the good word. I've worked far worse hours than opening at a coffee shop and survived and I'm comfortable working at a fast pace on my feet for many hours. I learn quickly and have a great a smile. Attached you'll find a picture that shows it.

I mean, I have to imagine there are plenty of actual baristas looking for work but I'm assuming I impressed the manager with my intense hipsterness of music choices. Or the fact that my resume is actually probably really interesting to people regardless of its relevence. It goes something like this: working with drug addicted teens, chocolate, pastry, pastry, pastry, more chocolate, more pastry, fill in front counter staff, cake decorating, teaching English in Turkey, volunteering at orphanages/mother Theresa's hospital in India.

I mean, fuck, if I read my resume I'd want to meet me even if I didn't actually have the skills for the job. I look pretty cool on paper guys.

Anyways I went to the interview and I think I kind of rocked it, despite the fact that I was operating on three hours of sleep. Mostly because the manager looked like she was my age and also seemed to be operating on three hours of sleep and ten cups of coffee. Also she had these big glasses that were super adorbs that made me wish I needed glasses and that if I did I could pull off glasses that awesome. Also, there's a staff book club, how ridic cool is that? (I've decided whole words are doubleplusbad apparently) Obviously the pay is shit because it's a barista job but at this point I have not actually worked for a month and kind of feel like I'm going crazy (that might also be due to the insomnia, but whatevs) so I agreed to come in for a one hour trial tomorrow. Or as Mia puts it, I agreed to go give them my labor for free which shouldn't even be legal. Considering back of house usually has to work for free for at least a whole day, giving away my labor for free for an hour sounds pretty cool.

Of course, I got back from that job interview checked my email and had five actual pastry positions finally respond and I was like "But noooooo, I was sold on the book club, now I'm going to have to give up the book club to work in my actual trade for possibly more money," which really shouldn't sound that bad. The thing is, I'm kind of excited about the prospect of getting back in a kitchen but I'm also kind of terrified.

In the past, Alana in the kitchen=crazy workaholic, no sleep (I AM SO GOOD AT BEING AN INSOMNIAC IT'S NOT EVEN FUNNY! Oh my god it's really not I'm so fucking fuckity fuck tired), no fun, career Alana. Or given that I now live with Mia who can drink like I can, Alana in the kitchen might equal workaholic/alcoholic Alana. Alcoholic Alana is pretty fun though, so maybe that wouldn't be so bad (you're going to have to take one for the team, liver).

Really, I think that there are a lot of other circumstances that made me burned out and unhappy in food service and that getting back in the kitchen now might totally rock my world. I'm pretty sure one of the places that responded was the one that said working on menu development was a requirement of the job which pretty much makes me want that job right now even though it's a restaurant not a bakery. So tomorrow after my hour of working for free I've got a lot call backs to make because it didn't seem like cracked out three hours of sleep me who thought it was a good idea to eat half a jar of nutella should talk to anyone on the phone, especially potential employers.

In other news, my room is starting to slowly look like more of a room.

  P1040853

Note my fancy computer desk/charging station and picture board, both created by covering cardboard with scarves. Someday I'll get some sort of actual tabley/desk thing over there but the free stuff on craigslist just hasn't had anything useful yet. And by "yet" I mean "in the last week". I keep forgetting that I'll only have been here a week tomorrow. Weeks seem longer when you're an unemployed insomniac.

  P1040852

I just thought you should see how heavily I'm relying on scarves to make my room look exciting and inhabited. They're frakkin everywhere.

Oh also, in case you're wondering why I don't just drug myself to sleep- per the drematologist I'm only allowed to take tylenol for I think another two weeks and then I can reintroduce one drug per week just in case I have some sort of crazy allergic reaction because apparently that's just how I roll now. Remember that time I was hoping for super powers? I'm not even allowed to roofy myself this time. Fail.

It's a piece of cake to bake a pretty cake

December 6 – Make.

The last thing I made is always food. Last night I pan fried a pork picnic steak (my CSA likes to give me cuts of meat I've never heard of before) that had been rubbed in a vindaloo spice mix and cayenne pepper. We ate it with butternut squash soup that I made a few days ago which had been made with chicken broth that I had frozen a few weeks ago after making it from the carcass of a chicken I had roasted. That's just how we roll around here.

Tomorrow we're getting our Christmas tree and I plan to spend the day decorating and making candy for Christmas care packages I'll be sending out.

**Spoiler alert: If I told you you might be getting a surprise sent your way don't read this next bit**

I'm going to be making a maple bacon toffee, adapted from this recipe over here, some peppermint marshmallows (a variation on this), whiskey caramels and fudge. A caramel and fudge recipe as well as a maple toffee recipe may make it up onto Butter is Love, but no promises. I still need to get a bunch of butter and then some sort of nifty packaging for everything. I'm hoping to find some sort of shiny pretty chinese take out boxes. We'll see. I'll probably update this post with some pictures when I'm done.

A woman wants her cowboy like he wants his rodeo

You're probably thinking, "Really, we're done with the boy, aren't we done with country music?" but alas, no, because there's still so much "what the fuck were you thinking?" followed by "oh, wait, I see why you were suckered in" followed by me still living in the country which means that I drive around in my car yell-singing "I hate that stupid old pickup truck you never let me drive". (Yes, I just admitted to listening to a Taylor Swift song all the way through, please judge me, I would, the alien that sometimes controls my actions even does) Because I do hate that stupid old pickup truck he never let me drive, seriously, I hated the issue of whether or not I was allowed to drive it. This is never something I thought would come up in my dating life. I really wouldn't care except that he offered me his BMW to drive home one night when I wanted to head in before him (who lets someone drive their bimmer before their truck?) AND he had seen me drive the same exact truck (albeit older and belonging to my grandpa) on many occasions and would comment on how sexy he thought it was. Stupid country boy machismo. Lame sauce.

Back on track, I don't know if I actually ever stated this a year ago in my blog, but my plan after breaking up with Jacob was to remain single for a while. I hear this is the reasonable thing to do if, a) you're ending a really long term relationship and b) you've spent more of your life in relationships than out of them and you're only 24 (or, at the time, 23).

There was no plan when I broke up with the boy, because we hadn't really been dating. I started the whole online dating plan in the period when we were still occasionally sleeping with each other and he was sleeping with other people because I had conversations with five people in two days in which they recommended online dating and Ms. Mae told me she thought the only reason I kept sleeping with the boy was because I was afraid that nothing better was ever going to come around. So I figured I might as well give it a go. Oddly, I'm really happy that I didn't go on any dates before telling the boy I had no interest in being friends or even talking to him anytime in the near future. I proved to myself that I could take that risk of not having anyone other than my incredibly loving and supportive friends and family and that I respected myself enough to not let the boy treat me like shit anymore.

(You might be asking why a woman of twenty four who has spent more time in relationships than out would ever be afraid of not finding someone and it would probably be a reasonable question. I don't know.  I guess I'm just insecure and human like that.)

This time 'round I feel the exact same way in a not at all sort of way. I realized as I was looking through OkC profiles and finding dealbreakers I didn't even know existed (Did you know there are still people that think Dan Brown is a legitimately good author?) like using commas instead of periods for ellipses (I think, why else would you put three commas at the end of every sentence?) that maybe I don't actually want to be in a relationship. I mean, I do. I want someone to bring me that giant bowl of mashed potatoes. But I only want it if it's amazing. I'd rather take the time to take a deep breath and figure out what the hell it is I want before I accidentally go on a date with somebody I've thought was a douchebag since about 8th grade and have the emotional rollercoaster ride of my life for the next ten months because it turns out, he is still a douchebag.

So let's figure it out by breaking it down; every other boy mentioned in this blog vs. the boy:

-Jacob: This would be my high school sweetheart. He's still one of my best friends; we watch project runway, look at cardigans and talk about video games. If I has to suddenly face some sort of major life crisis/event he's most likely the person I'm going to call. He is probably the reason music is such a big part of my life. His college major has changed from structural engineering (wait, or was it civil first?) to electrical engineering to architecture to, finally , math. I would not describe him as manly, but he can wire houses and use power tools, so that's something. An all around very nice, nerdy, well dressed (though it's taken some effort to find clothes to fit his 6'6" frame) guy. This is not at all relevant, but he has a Great Dane puppy named Charles that is the cutest thing ever and can probably already fit my whole head in his mouth.

-Just My Type Boy/The Boy's Best Friend: One of my best male friends growing up. He had a crush on me from sometime in middle school until possibly sometime in the past year, or now, I don't know. I've had crushes on him off and on that whole time. We talk about girls being stupid, video games, traveling and watch really bad movies (Like Conan the Barbarian). We've jokingly propositioned each other so many times that I'm fairly certain we've finally ended up in each other's friend zones. He was a biology major with a math minor. Despite being a seemingly oblivious sort of guy, he always know what to say to cheer me up; whether it be telling me I'm amazing or joining in on the self deprecation. I hear he can be a bit of an ass to date. He climbs a lot of rocks, so he looks pretty muscular and manly until he opens his mouth and you realize he's mostly a pretty nice, somewhat awkward, nerdy guy. He also has an adorable puppy, her name is Claudia.

-Charlie Trouble: In case you've somehow missed the me making out pantless in a bar posts, this would be the boy who I may have crushed on, impulsively slept with and broken the bed of while in New York. He might've announced to a bar that I was his future girlfriend and just didn't know it yet and suggested proposal as a method to keep me in New York. We were both inebriated for one of those statements and neither of us were for the other; I'll let you guess which. I feel like it would be a bit silly to write out a whole bit when I've just written about him. Let's just say one of his jackets has a WoW patch, he has a LotR tattoo, I told him I would marry him if he built me the Enterprise... I think you can see where this is going...

But if you want me to spell it out for you: I am a sucker for nerdy boys.

For serious.

(If I ever start a dating only blog I'm pretty sure it's going to have to be titled "Let's talk math baby, and could you be a little awkward about it?".)

-Ché/The Boy: Apparently had a crush on me from third grade until I broke his heart when he asked me to go to a dance in 6th or 7th grade. I don't remember this at all. We had all the same friends but were never particularly good friend with each other. Sometime in 8th grade this changed, probably around the time I called him a chauvinist ass and he called me a bitch. I have no recollection of why this happened, just that it did. I'm sure I had a good reason though. We mostly avoided each other freshman year of high school and then I transferred out of that god damn hick school to the fine/performing arts magnet and forgot he existed until he popped up in my people you might now thingy on facebook. I remember at one point in time thinking he was a nice enough intelligent sort of guy so maybe I was wrong about the whole chauvinist ass thing. We started writing each other daily. He bought me nice dinners, he has a nice car, he knows how to say all the right things he has the responsibility of taking care of things around his and his mother's ranch, he reads a lot, he once asked me if he looked homeless in all brown when he was wearing a very green shirt and he knows how to use a chainsaw. He was a history major, but mostly only likes the old white guy war stuff as far as I can tell. When he'd come home to find his roomie or best friend and me playing MarioKart he would make funof us. Our common interests include talking about our dead fathers, booze and sex. With a heavy emphasis on the booze and sex.

My friends, his friends and he have all stated that he must have been an incredibly long rebound/I was just going for the opposite end of the spectrum, but I think that's only 75% true.

Both of us have an odd, idealized love for country life. I'm not going to lie, it really does give me great joy to drive around in a giant truck blasting country music because it's just straight up fun, so is drinking by candlelight in the barn and being in a house full of people drunkenly shouting along to "Friends in Low Places". However, I do not want to do those things all the time. I like the environment so I like my fuel efficient car. I like going to indie rock shows. Also the ballet and museums. I'm a contradictory sort of girl.

But I think there's a part of me that's a sucker for the ideal of the educated, sensitive country boy. You know, he knows how to have a good time but he also can take care of his responsibilities. He appreciates food cooked from the plants and animals he's grown. He spends days with the woodsplitter so his mother can have firewood for the winter. He'll probably mostly make sure you're happy and you get what you want, but he's not a pushover. He can fix things And, obviously, he knows how to handle a gun when the zombie invasion comes 'round. (And yes, the boy is part of the constantly talking about the zombie invasion club.) This was the impression the boy gave me when we first started seeing each other. I am not actually a sucker for the country boy who wants to get drunk every single night, tells me I can be a god damn feminist as long as I still shave my legs and would like to be able to use his guns to shoot pretty much anyone that pissed him off.

The country boy image still appeals to me, but I'm pretty sure that if I have to choose my type, I'm going back to nerdy but preferably with some of those other qualities thrown in.

I would like a boy that is something like 75% nerdy, 15% country (I may settle for not a pushover and can fix things without actually being "country") and 10% hipster (alternatively, not actually hipster, but likes music a lot).

So basically, right now, I'm going to be ludicrously picky because I'm not in a hurry and I don't ever want to pretend it could possibly work with someone not even remotely my type again. I'm sure I'll relax my standards once I've been single long enough. Maybe I'll even stop judging people by their taste in authors and ability to write out full words (when hell freezes over) but I don't really know.

And the part where I feel exactly the same as last year...

Once again, how does this whole single thing work?

The kind of kid who goes down chutes too narrow

I'm not gonna lie, this semester is starting out a little rough for me. Right now I have a burning desire to drop all my classes and become a crazy workaholic and reclusive writer.

(Also to really thoroughly clean my house, which is weird, because cleaning really is my downfall as a potential housewife. I'm going to go ahead and blame this on growing  up with a housekeeper and my grandmother's belief that it's more worth it to pay people than do things you don't have a strong preference for doing. Not very long ago she showed my a pile of leaves she was really proud of herself for raking. I think I just looked at her strangely and walked away... anyways... I'm a compulsively organized person, but I'm not a compulsive cleaner, except apparently now I am and it's strange.)

( I'm not saying I want to be a housewife, just that I have the skill set required except I would hire a housecleaner because in the world where I'm married to somebody rich enough that I can stay at home, they're also rich enough to hire a housecleaner. I feel like I'm just digging myself into deeper and deeper holes here...)

I think they're a lot of factors contributing to this non-excitement about school.

1. Money.

Let's face it, you can only be broke for so long before you get tired of being broke. Since I didn't live the poor college student lifestyle in my early post high school years, it's a little rough trying to handle it now. You mean I can't put chevre in every meal or buy every pair of shoes that is both on sale and I want? Champagne is a sometimes beverage? Ludicrous. It's not like I was rolling in the dough before by any stretch of the imagination (except I was, literally rolling the dough... haha... oh god, somebody should shoot me for that) but I did make about 3 times as much as my current income of jackshit. If I become a crazy workaholic and reclusive writer I can make slightly more than jackshit (I really can't actually 'cause there's no way to make up for the pay cut without working about 60 hours a week) and I won't have time or desire to spend it. Because in my spare time I'll be wandering around my house, following one of my aunt's suggestions, in a bathrobe with a glass of whiskey. I'll probably have to take up smoking and buy a typewriter for this plan. This seems reasonable. Except I don't really want to write a book because I can't write fiction. But I guess neither can John Irving to a certain extent and I love him, so maybe I'll be the next John Irving. But in my books everyone will grow up to be pastry chefs after spending time in India or Turkey instead of Berlin/Vienna and have attended a public fine arts school instead of Exeter. There will still be bears though. Don't worry. Oh, and then I'll take that jackshit and my novel and move to New York. Where I will find a bakery that wants to pay me real money or an entrepreneur that thinks a whiskey and fancy caramel shop is the best idea ever and wants to give me lots of money. I don't really know what the deal with the novel is. Maybe I'll give up on the typewriter and keep writing rambling blog entries.

2. Work!

When I took this job I decided I wasn't going to put much effort into it because I didn't (don't) get paid enough to care. But it turns out I'm incapable of keeping myself from going above and beyond the call of duty in a struggling business. Part of this is that I just can't work in an inefficient environment in any circumstance, but especially in a kitchen. Kitchens should be models of efficiency, that's how you make a profit. So I started trying to organize, I made daily production lists, I got my boss to sit down and tell me what the orders coming in are on an almost daily basis (still working on just getting a god damn order book so I can see for myself) and since he's a reasonable man, that fully acknowledges I have far more professional kitchen training and experience than him he pretty much will implement any change/suggestion that I make. Which is pretty awesome.  Since I started caring about my job I've been pretty much able to turn it into exactly the job I want; my hours are fairly flexible, I have control over my production schedule and at the moment, the majority of my job is recipe development. Recipe development is really all I want to spend every day doing. I kind of turned my job into my dream job. But in my dream world I would also be able to take over ordering and inventory so I always had all my ingredients and I would get paid at least twice as much. And that's in a totally reasonable dream world. Really. Since I took over the baker's job and will now be doing recipe development for that as well, I've become the chef. Even the final versions of the chocolates my boss develops don't go out without me having a say. I'm part of his long term business plan. All this is great. But did I mention I get paid jackshit? Also this means I'm working full time. The whole point in moving home was to be able to afford working part time and going to school. Working five days a week and going to school two is already feeling brutal.

It's also somewhat of a de-motivator for the whole school thing. I went back to school at least in part, because I thought I wanted to change careers, but right now I'm actually doing what I want in the culinary world and don't really have a strong desire to do so. I still want to go to school for education's sake but I'm feeling more of the slow leisurely I'll get my bachelor's degree eventually pace right now.

I also do not want to get stuck in Sonoma County that long. Powering through two years at the JC so I could transfer and get the hell out seemed like a stretch. It's gorgeous here, there's no denying that. I just want to get a little farther (ok, a lot farther) from home before I settle. In that sense, I have no desire to be part of my boss's longterm business plan, because I don't want to feel obligated to be here longterm. I just want to work like crazy to give him a good solid base to expand on and then get the hell out of dodge.

3. School itself.

I swear to god, if my anthropology teacher emphasizes the importance of studying cultures within their own context one more time, I'm going to just get up and walk out of that class. I really think I would find cultural anthropology fascinating if it were not oversimplified to the point that I thought I was taking a "general intro to the overall concept of anthropology for third graders" class. I have no problem with lecture classes, my favorite class last semester was Race, Ethnicity and Gender in U.S. history and was basically just hours and hours of lecturing, but it was also expected that you had the basic intelligence and vocabulary of a college student. My anthro teacher asks if we recognize words all the time. You know, like "plethora". And then, even if nobody is confused, stops the lecture to spend ten minutes defining and giving examples of said word. It drives me insane.

And calculus, oh calculus. I stopped taking math in high school because I've always hated doing math homework and consequently, despite being fairly advanced, I got terrible grades. Mostly I understand things, I just hate showing work. It turns out most math teachers like you to break down your problems into the most ridiculous step by steps. It's like micromanaging a math problem. It's stupid. I still hate doing math homework. This is not going to go well. Also, I forgot what any of the buttons on my graphing calculator do. And my math teacher is crazy intense. Blech.

Having said all that, I think for the most part this year has started off in a much awesomer way/better place than last one. Even though I'm struggling with the whole going to school thing, I have goals and desires to work towards and I don't feel like I'm living my life getting through one week at a time. Goals make me happy. Plans make me happy. Stepping back and seeing where things went wrong and where I can make them right in the future makes my world.

Right now, I'm here, in California, in the boonies, monetarily challenged and maybe thinking a little too much about a boy across the country, but I'm more than willing to work my ass off, make changes and not settle for less than the things I want. 

I swear I will make twenty four my year if it kills me. 

Plus I always wanted you, you liked to rock it in the car

Just my type boy looked at me one night and said "you know, you're a talented, creative person, I don't see any reason for you to settle in any part of your life," and I thought, "shit, he's right, I'm 23, working at the terrible muffin job, living in a barn ('cause I still was at the time) and dating the first guy, a guy not at all my type, who attempts to woo me, what the hell am I doing?".

It's haunted me the last two and a half months. Have I been settling? Did I just fall back into my old, play it safe habits?

There was this brief period of time where I convinced myself I wasn't settling. I was back in school like I wanted, I have my own little house in the redwoods, under the stars, and I've managed a whole month and a half without falling entirely back into my serial monogamist ways.

But then I started thinking about it more.

I'm going back to school to be an elementary school teacher, which is fine. But I could major in anything and then go through a credentialling program. Sure it might take me more time, but I might as well be majoring in something I really want to major in if my plan is to be a teacher anyways. Why not major in English or linguistics or French or gender studies if I'm already planning on using my liberal arts degree to be a teacher? So next semester I'm going to go ahead and take some classes that I just want to take. I'm going to learn for learning's sake. Calculus and Physics and more French, here I come!

My own home, living in Sonoma County. It was a little terrifying for me to move back home. It still is a little terrifying even though my biggest fear, my fear that I would just hole myself up in my room and have no life, hasn't happened. But what I really want, is to have the courage to move somewhere else completely. Barring that, what I really want, is to go back to my travelling ways. The boy keeps travelling, just my type boy is going to Thailand soon, and it's making me jealous. I want to go to school and keep my job, so I can't go on any big trips, but I'm going to find a way to travel some. I decided just the other night that I needed to make this happen, sat down and applied for a birthright trip. So, fingers crossed, I'll be going to Israel for ten days for free this Winter or Spring break.

Then we come to the relationship situation. Let's face it, I'm playing it pretty fucking safe. I mean, I basically have this boy that I have all the aspects of a relationship with but without having the risk of a real relationship. We're both big fat chickens and I thought I was totally ok with it. I have someone to snuggle up next to watching television, to fall asleep on, to make brunch with and maybe that could slowly turn into something more but if not, no big deal. He could be my placeholder. But the longer it's gone without progressing, the more I've thought about whether or not I actually want it to or if I even want to be in a relationship at all. There's the conflict of feeling the "fuck relationships" and the "there's a hot, nerdy,  kind of awkward boy who compliments me all the time and I sleep cuddled up next to once or twice a week who really is just my type". Right down to not really knowing what he wants to do with his life. Maybe a little too my type... And I keep wondering if a huge part of the attraction is the comfort and the familiarity, the doing what's expected mixed with old, unrequieted feelings and lingering sexual tension. It could be so easy. There's no being swept off my feet, there's no infatuation, there's no "oh my god, I'm so in love with you" but there's the making me laugh, my lack of self consciousness around him, the always having a good time. I just don't know if I'm prepared to stick myself out there right now and I don't know if that's settling or if the sweep you off your feet sorts of feeling are always going to be the ones that don't last (like the boy).

Then there's the whole question of whether or not I'm actually over the boy. I really really thought I was, that I could just think of him as an asshat until he started sending me messages on facebook and commenting of pictures and such. Then I realized I miss him. A lot. Not even necessarily in a "I still want to date him" sort of way, I just miss having him to talk to I think. And I know objectively I just should move on, but as my friend Kay pointed out, there's a lot of stuff that gets in the way of thinking objectively. She was asking how I thought things would be when he got back and I really didn't have a good answer. I really don't know. I don't know what it means that he's communicating with me so much and hasn't really talked to Kay or just my type boy at all. I really don't think I'll know how I feel about him until I see him. I don't think I want to go back to dating him no matter what. Again, I'm just not prepared for the risk right now.

So welcome to me no longer settling, to hopefully being proactive and getting the things out of life that I want out of it. It's going to take me a bit, but I will learn to take risks with my future if it kills me.

Edit: Just my type boy and I have been playing phone tag for a few days (which means it's been a whole four days since the last time I saw him) and my phone just got enough reception for me to listen to a voicemail he left a couple of hours ago about wanting to hang out and missing my amazing smile... yeah, as of this moment, I'm pretty certain I'd be ok with having a relationship with this boy.

Don't start a revolution just because you're feeling bored

It's been one of those weeks where things keep coming up and I think "oh, I should write a blog entry about that" or "oh, that would be a good thing to rant about" and then whatever it was gets filed somewhere in the back of my brain and I hit refresh on twitter fifty times in two minutes and wonder why season 8 of 90210 isn't on DVD yet.

So mostly, I've got a lot of half developed thoughts. Interested? 'Cause that's the best you're going to get right now.

Inspired by Erica's protips entry at You Should Only Know, my own list of general life advice protips:

  • It's worth it to make everything from scratch once, even if it's only to find out that you don't need to feel bad about not making it from scratch (so far, the only thing that this has actually been true of for me is pumpkin puree- it tastes the same as the can)
  • Pretty much everything has a stage at which it freezes well, if you're making something labor intensive (chicken stock, puff pastry, more muffins than two people can eat in a day...) always make enough to freeze so next time you want it you don't have to go through the process all over again
  • Everything goes on sale eventually. Try things on in store so you can obsessively check a store's website and order it immediately when whatever you want becomes affordable.
  • Attempting serious conversations when either one, or both people having the conversation are drunk, is never a good idea
  • If you have a family member that drives you insane, it's rarely worth it to engage
  • Vaseline will take the scuffs off patent leather
  • Never expect a cat to act in a rational manner
  • Being on time may not be fashionable, but it is polite, and common courtesy never goes out of style
  • If you're short, learn how to hem things.
  • And, my grandmother's favorite preface to free advice giving "remember, advice is worth what you pay for it"

More half developed thoughts coming soon...

  1. 90210 reminds us that we all grieve differently
  2. soon there'll be no going back
  3. hard drive failure
  4. the good, the bad and the ugly, take 2

If that list doesn't make you want to stay posted, I don't know what will.

Give me spots on my apples but leave me the birds and bees

Hey, remember how my life used to not be falling apart and I blogged about things like crafts and kittens and silly things? I now present: A Break from My Angst: Kitten in the Tomatoes or You Don't Need a Yard to Eat Homegrown Lettuce

P1010594 Convinced I was going to kill everything, I planted waaaay too many lettuce seeds, so then we had to thin them and eat fresh sprouts. How do we survive such torture?

P1010661 My lettuce now! Look how big! (Yeah, I realize that this is not very exciting to people who regularly manage to keep their plants alive or who have room for a real garden, but I'm pretty proud of my balcony mini garden)

P1010667 Pilot in the tomato jungle. Most days this satisfies his urge to go outside so we don't have to look ridiculous walking him. ("walking him" generally translates to "holding his leash while he sits and sniffs things)

P1010671Such a big handsome boy these days! Mastering the look of disdain just like a real kitty.

P1010678Showing off his new collar in his favorite box. So far he's too much of a fraidy cat but someday he might jump off the  balcony so better safe than sorry.

P1010664 Back to the garden! This is the whole thing (and yeah, I know you should really grow tomatoes in larger pots, but my balcony is not that big) lettuce, 3 tomato plants, oregano, thyme, basil, chives and an Anaheim chili plant.

Also, as the boy pointed out "Don't you just feel stupid when you have to buy dirt?". I mean seriously, it's dirt. That shit should be free.

P1010602 Look! My early girl has flowers!

And, on a somewhat unrelated note, this is one of the kittens we're kittensitting this weekend! It's ADORABLE!

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How To: Shrink Art Jewelry

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 So a while ago I wrote about how awesome shrinky dinks are. One of the things I made during my pre holiday shrinky dink extravaganza was a Unitarian bot for my roommate Lara. (She'd wanted a robot necklace for a while and I didn't want her to have to choose between reppin' the UUism and a robot) Ever since, I've been jealous and wanting my own baker bot. So today I finally sat down and made my own and took pictures along the way to create a basic working with shrinky dink tutorial (in case you maybe haven't worked in the medium for say... 20 years). The advanced techniques shown here certainly don't need to be limited to making robot jewelry but I think everybody probably could use a robot representation of themselves... so go for it!

Things You'll Need:

  • Shrinky Dink Plastic
  • Colored Sharpies
  • Scissors
  • Clasps, rings, pin backs, earing hooks... whatever you need for the type of jewelry you'r making
  • Pencil and Paper for sketching your design
  • Cookie sheet
  • Oven
  • Standard hole punch

Preheat oven to 325˚F

P1000579 First off, draw your pattern. It's going to shrink to about ⅓ the original size, so you can start off pretty big. I drew Baker Bot on an index card. Sure, you could draw directly onto the plastic but drawing usually involves erasing everything 50 times for me, so I draw on a seperate sheet first.

P1000581 Place the plastic sheet over your drawing, rough side up and trace over your initial drawing in the color of your choice. I usually use a fine point black sharpie.

P1000582 Color it in! Don't worry about covering up some of the lines, this is going to be the back of your piece.

P1000584 See? This is what baker bot looks like from the front. Notice the flames for eyes... she can bake a pizza just by looking at it!

P1000588 Cut around, as close to the edges as you want. I decided to punch a whole right in her hat but you could also cut out a tab at the top in which to punch a hole. Make sure not to punch the whole too close to any edges or the plastic will just shrink into non existence and you'll be left with a weird dip or a not structurally sound piece (ask me how I know...). Place it rough side up on a piece of thin cardboard on top of a cookie sheet.

P1000592 Stick it in the oven for 2-3 minutes. It's going to curl up as it shrinks and then magically uncurl.

P1000593 Even if rolls over onto its side, don't be concerned! It's magical!

P1000594 When it has flattened back out pull it out of the oven! You can continue baking it if you want the colors to darken. If it's not completely flat, use another cookie sheet or a pyrex pan to flatten it out.

P1000596 Woo! Look how much finished baker bot shrank!

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P1000615 Attach a ring and put it on a chain or cord, attach it to an earring (you might want to make 2 for that plan) or use super glue to attach a pin back.

Complicated, I know.

Remember Shrinky Dinks?

It turns out shrinky dink is still awesome when you're an adult. For my birthday last January my aunt gave me a "Shrink Art Jewelry" Klutz book. The pictures in it look awesome but I figure there was no way mine would turn out as well. Today I decided to try out making some to make some Christmas presents and they turned out really really well. About a million times better than I expected. The book comes with a whole helluva lot of patterns, pictures and designs for you to trace as well as some of the things needed to assemble jewelry (so far the only thing I've bought are pin backs). The patterns help a lot for me because drawing is not really my strong suit. If you're pretty swell at making your own designs than I highly recommend buying some shrinky dink plastic and giving it a try.

 

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My Peacock Costume

Img_0226_2 So here's my how to for making my AWESOME and fairly easy peacock costume.

All you need is a leotard, a tutu, about 25 (or more) peacock feathers, thread and rhinestones.

I also found a premade thing of feathers on a stick to use in my hair at the craft store but you could make your own with some more peacock feathers and flexible wire probably.

Img_0227 I started to attach the feathers by making a single stitch through the feather and the waistband of the tutu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Img_0233Then I stitched around and into the waistband to secure the feather.

Img_0236_2 I attached eight feathers around initially to give me an idea of how to space it evenly.

Dsc02686 This is how full it was with 25ish feathers. If I had had more money and inclination I probably would've used more but I think it was a pretty good amount to start with. Next year I'll probably add some more to it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There isn't a picture, but I glued rhinestones over the stitching to cover it up and add a little sparkle. In truth, they're barely noticeable.

And the completed look:
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I used Special Effects fishbowl and blue velvet to dye my hair.
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My eye makeup all came from Target. I just tried to find the colors that best matched the colors in a peacock feather.
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Not the most flattering picture but the best to see my cool head feathers and my friend Elise's fantastic cardinal costume to give you some more bird costume inspiration.