Sunday, August 29, 2010


Josh and I went camping yesterday.  Just one night...we tried to bring as little as possible.  I feel we could have done a better job, but we did play both games we brought.  Mostly we brought a lot of extra food...

We didn't buy any food though for our lunch today.  I am pretty proud of that...we were going to buy Ritz crackers and fruit, but we ran out of time.  What I did instead of just gather all the little bits of snack food and half empty chip things we have and brought those.  Then we didn't even eat lunch!  What we forgot was eggs and coffee for breakfast.  I brought two potatoes though because they are so delicious (Yukon Gold Potatoes) and I just wanted to eat them at some point.  This turned out perfect because we had them for breakfast!  I sliced them, added some beef jerky, butter, salt and pepper, and left over red pepper and onion we had cooked up the night before as hotdog topping.  I wrapped all the food up in tinfoil and Josh made a little fire to cook it over.  It was amazing!!  Josh and I have decided that any food cooked over fire is the best.

We stayed at a campground that's about 10 min from where we live, half way to my work.  It was built by they Army Corp. of Engineers, and it is by far one of the best campgrounds I've ever been in.  It only has 36 sites, and each one is fully surrounded by trees and brush, so you are about as isolated from your neighbors as you can be for a campground.  Several sites are right on the lake.  I would call it the beach, but it's a man-made lake and there is no sand.  We did not get any of those sites, but next time we will.  You can make reservations online.  The only down part was the bathroom...there were way too many daddy long legs on the ceiling for my comfort.

This morning we went to the swim area/beach part, that costs 4$ to get in or free if you are camping.  Except on the day you plan to leave, then you have to argue with a mean old old woman with a blow horn and gold cart, and she says that we have to pay unless we leave before 2:00 when check-out is for the campground.  And then she highly disapproves of you going in for free promising that you will leave before 2:00.  We left before 1:00!!

The beach/sand part was very narrow (3ft) and the sand was separated from the grass by a sidewalk.  It was all silica sand and must have been shipped in and placed there.  You could only swim out about 30 feet, and if you swam past the floating orange tube, the mean old lady would drive by in her golf cart and yell at you with your blow horn.  We also suspect she highly disapproves of making sand castles and digging too much into the sand as well.

Besides all of this, it was wonderful to be finally swimming in a lake again.  I wish we had been going all summer.  It wasn't even cold like Lake Michigan or Superior, but perfectly cool.  It's a very large, long lake because it is formed from the back up of a river by a dam. 

Finally, another interesting part, is that I think Josh and I were the only white people there, everyone else were hispanic.  There were large families all hanging out together and having picnics and hanging in hammocks they brought.  I wish a little, that my family was like that...but then we would all have to live near together, and my parents should have had a few more kids, and Nate and I should have had kids as well already.  Family oriented, etc.  But we are not...I would feel trapped.

I missed Ackbar a lot and all the butterflies I saw reminded me of him...because they are so beautiful like him.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Risking the Pickles

Now that I am done with school it's up to me to teach myself new things.  I find it a lot harder to do now than when I was in school.  It's a risk to learn new things because you might fail.  Which is funny because of course you WILL fail.

So far I have learned how to knit cables, drive a stick shift, and make pickles.  The first cabling project I made I had to restart about 7 times, but I didn't care.  Knitting mistakes bother me very little, the only thing you waste is time, and I don't feel it's too much wasted because I knit for the act of knitting, not for the finished product.  I was very worried and scared of making a mistake while learning to drive a stick because I was afraid a mistake would lead to an accident and then death.  There were some scary moments, but I made it through, and I'm much more confident in my driving now.  I'm not so sure what my mistake of making pickles was...maybe that I left the cinnamon stick in the jars so I think I have 4 or 5 jars that taste like Christmas.

Making pickles was the most mystifying.  I didn't know really what I needed or what to do.  Turns out just some equipment and very expensive spices.  I think pickling is one of the easiest things I've ever cooked.  Far easier than pie, and more fun than cookies.  I even bought and installed a shelf in the laundry room to store all my bread and butter pickles in.  I only made that one kind because they are my favorite and my Oma used to make them.

First to make pickles, you cut up the cucumbers and the onions and mix them with canning salt and let them set in the fridge for 4 hrs (or over night).  Then you drain and rinse them.  Next you combine the spices in a big pot while waiting for the larger pot full of water heat to boiling with the empty jars in it.  This is to sterilize the jars.  You also boil the lids too.  The spices include sugar, cinnamon, allspice, clove, mustard seeds, and turmeric.  Turmeric is the worst...all my white tea towels are now stained yellow.  No big deal, they were bought with possible stains in mind. 

Then you add white vinegar and apple cider vinegar and heat to boiling. I think that at this point is when I would remove the cinnamon stick.  The cinnamon, clove and allspice are all added in berry/stick form as well as powdered form.  I think the cinnamon stick may be left out entirely.  Of course, early (but not too early) in my college career, I had several bad experiences with cinnamon liquor, and I've never really felt kindly to any cinnamon flavor or scent since.

Then the cucumbers and onions are added and the mixture is reheated to boiling.  This is one of my favorite parts, I like watching the bland, sorta-lame-in-comparison cucumbers change color and texture into delicious pickles.

In the mean time, take out the sterilized jars and set them on a towel and prepare all your tools.  You DO need the wide mouth funnel, it is worth the money to buy.  My mom and my pickling friend never heard of the measuring stick, but it came with the pickling kit I bought, and I found it quite helpful.  You rest it on the edge of the jar to help measure how high the pickles are filling the jar.  There is also a magnetic stick to pick the lids out of the boiling water.  I feel this wasn't too necessary and made it harder because it kept on grabbing two lids at once.

Finally you fill the jars with the pickles.  First you put in the pickles and then add the syrup sauce after until the jars are full to about 1/2 inch from the top.  Then the lids are put on and the pickles are put back into the larger pot and boiled for 10 minutes.  My favorite part of it all is next.  When you remove them and let them set you can hear the lids pop in and that's how you know you did everything right.  If they don't pop in, there isn't a good seal and you have to eat them right away and not store them in your pantry, or laundry room in my case.

The scariest part of all of it is the very large pot of boiling water.  I bought the cheapest one I could find at Kroger and I kept vividly imagining it bursting open and spilling boiling hot water every where.  I don't think I could ever be brave enough to use a pressure cooker!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

There is no such thing as a free lunch...but there is a free breakfast!

Just read my last post.  It annoys me.  Please disregard it as a lapse in my judgment.

Stay tuned for future posts of backing, cooking and pickling which will include pictures!

I received a free breakfast today from my apartment complex as I was leaving.  My first reaction was "What do you want for it?  Do I have to listen to you talk about God or donate money or promise to vote online for your cause?"  But no, I think I just have to spread the word of my happiness of a free breakfast to everyone I know, then you will want to live at my apartment complex as well.  Phew.  I almost named it for you, but then I remembered that you are The Internet and according to stereotype and common belief, there is a 97% chance that you are a rapist or child molester.  The other 3% are people who look at funny cat pictures.

The breakfast was orange juice (which I'll save for my smoothies this week), an apple, and a muffin.  I won't eat the muffin, it's a prepackaged thing, and I don't like mass produced prepackaged and free baked goods.

Oh my new favorite website: 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Damn Hipsters

I go back and forth about whether or not I am a hipster.  They are ironic, therefore I think that no matter what I'm screwed.  It just so happens that I love irony.

I met a new person the other day (friend's cousin) and she is in college still.  She is very nice and pointed out that many of my interests such as steampunk and Rock-a-billies make me a hipster.  Though I want to make it clear, I do not like rock-a-billies, I just like some of the stuff they like, such as Roller Derby and Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band.  Though I think the Rock-a-billies that make up Roller Derby are not the same as the typical ones, they are tougher and more into blood and fighting.

When I went to the last Roller Derby bout of the season last weekend, I felt at home in Nashville for the first time since moving here.  And not because these people are just like me, but that there is such a variety of people and types that there is no feeling of "why are you not like us?" going about.  Plus Roller Derby is a good cause (all proceeds go to charities) and so people go to have fun, not be seen.

Seeing and being seen.  That is something that definitely goes on here in Nashville.  Probably due to the fact that there are so many start up artists AND hipsters.  Hipsters all about being seen.  To be cool you have to go to all the coolest things, nonchalantly of course, and then be seen by all your friends there.  Maybe you smoke a cigarette outside between sets and start up a convo with the bass player from Cheer Up Charlie Daniels. Maybe you sport your newly grown molester stach to the viewing of the newest indie film at The Belcourt.  See, I do none of those things.  In fact I avoid them mostly.

I saw a video on a website I just discovered that isn't supported by google or anything.  I think it's called Dramatipedia or something like that. Dramatica Wiki?  I don't remember now.  I think it's a homeplace for trollers, but you are going to have to wiki what an internet troll is because I don't really understand it yet myself at all.  Though I do know it doesn't mean a really ugly girl sitting at home trying to sex chat.  I figured that much out.  Anyways, there was an article to go with the video, and I really really wished I had read the article first before watching the video, then I would have been spared the shock and disgust.  The video took place in a crappy undecorated apartment in Chicago and it was filled with hipsters, and they were way less cool than the ones in Nashville, and there were maybe 40-50 of them sitting and standing, and in the corner cubby area was this girl doing her "performance".  First she took 2+ min. trying to open a can of spaghettios which was irritating and boring, then she put it in a pot.  Then it was black! and she smeared it all over her chest and tshirt. Again, pretty boring.  I didn't have any sound, so I don't know what the audio was like.  Then...out of no where she whips out some scissors, cuts a hole in the crotch of her pants and stick her spaghettio fingers way up into her cooch.  The End.

Yeah...I hate hipsters a little more now.  I can never unsee that.

I only clicked on it the article because I wanted to get a feel for the website and Spaghettios seemed innocent enough.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Tickler

I was reading a blog/webpage thing today called 43 Folders that is a blog but is so much more than a blog.  It's about how to make the most of your time and to get shiza done.  So of course it's going to be more than a blog, this dude knows how to do things! 

I was reading his post on what he thinks makes good blog.  He's upfront about how it's all his opinion and we are free to disagree with him...and I like that.  I hope you, my following, feel the same way.  You can always disagree with me.  Becker, the 90's sitcom that is either funny or uncomfortable with Ted Danson, precursor to House, is a lot like that too.  Full of opinions and he don't care if people agree with him or not, he's just going to spew what he thinks.  Anyways, what makes a good blog, or part of what he says, is that the blogger is obsessed with something.  That they have all these thoughts and words inside of them that just spills out and that's why they write in a blog.  Well, that's how I feel, sometimes I have so many words inside of me they just have to come out.  Sometimes I don't have enough people to talk to, and after I call my mom for 45 min., write pages long emails to my friends, to my siblings, to my other family members, and talk to all my coworkers, I still have more and more and more and more to say.  But what am I obsessed with?  All I can come up with is my own thoughts.  Or my own life.  Or just life in general and everyone in it.  I like that answer the best, but I don't know if it's true or not.  I'd have to go through all my posts and categorize them and then do some sort of statistical curve with it and find the mean, median and average.  Maybe there'd even be a derivative or two.  Yeah right...I've never understood derivatives!  A derivative has no unit, and I have a very hard time comprehending the point of unitless numbers.

Did you know I've been blogging for 6 yrs?  This is my third format and the first truly public one.  It's a sign of me growing older and more mature.  Yeah, I'm holding things back now...just imagine what it was like before!  Mostly I used to use other peoples names and complain about different people a lot.  Now I don't complain about people unless they are true strangers or belong to this list:
1.  Kathy Griffen
2.  Al Roker
3.  Woody Allen

They are my three least favorite people of all time.  I have a hard time deciding who I dislike more, Al Roker or Kathy Griffen.

Do you know where the term 43 Folders comes from?  It's a filing/organization system where there is a flat folder thing with a file for each month and then a file for 31 days which is 43 files total.  It's called a Tickler.  I own one now for work.  A tickler!  Because you put papers and reminders in it for the correct month, and then when it's that month you move the reminders to the correct days (1 through 31 files), then you look at the correct day file everyday and it tickles you to remember what you need to do.  Or something like that.  It just reminds me of a professor I had at CMU where he had nightmares as a young child where a monster that I suspect looked like a banana with arms would tickle his feet when he was in bed and he called it the Tickler.  I'm actually apart of a facebook group about that.

The last thing the guy said in his post about good blogs is that it's okay to break your rules every once in a while, and he proved it by making that post a list, and apparently he doesn't like list posts.  Which I, of course, disagree with.  But in the spirit of things, I broke my rule with this post.  I don't like it when bloggers discuss their own blog in their post!  I read their blog not to hear about their blog but to hear about their life...but sometimes they just sort of intersect.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Day to day

I had what I would call an anxiety attack today.  And I can't really say what started it off.  Actually there were several events that could lead anyone to an anxiety attack:
1.  I payed bills before I left for work and once again will not be able to pay off the credit card...BUT we are moving to the positive and not falling into the negative.
2.  Then I went to the dentist's.
3.  The ridiculously expensive dentist.
4.  Then when I got to work I was asked why I didn't just take a sick day.  Because I'm hardwired to work no matter what.  Them cows aint gonna milk themselves!  That's what my family always says.
5.  Then I had to call the insurance company and found out something unsettling that I still have to fix.
6.  Then I called my mother.

See?  That would do it to anyone.

Only I really freaked out a lot, bad enough to justify going home sick.  I had to decide what would be best for me, and I decided to stay at work.  Work doesn't stress me out in the least (ironic huh?) and if I focused on it as hard as I could, it would keep my mind off everything I worry about and the looming black hole.  Only if there truly was a real black hole I'd be scared and very excited to see what was through it.  Not what I feel about this proverbial one.  If I went home instead of working, then I would just sit there and my list of worries would grow. 

But now, when I'm slightly more rational, I'm like, what was I worried about? And I honestly couldn't list to you anything worth stressing about.  I couldn't really even tell you one big one.  This is different than when you are busy and overwhelmed with stuff, this just sneaks up on me and then leaves me feeling exhausted, heartburny, and depressed.  My outlook on life is pretty bleak right now because I have no energy or drive to accomplish things that I worry about.  So I worry about them more.  Like...I should be working on my knitting, or my mosiac coffee table, or cleaning the bathroom, or organizing my closet so that my clothes are lined up by color and style.  Actually, I would have to do it by color first and then decide if that's what I wanted and then try it by style later.  BUT first I would have to hang up a lot of clothes and probably steam the wrinkles out of the ones that need it and maybe iron that one shirt I love way in the back that the wrinkles won't steam out of.  And while I'm at it, laundry should be done. 

And where is Josh during all of this?  AT SCHOOL DOING WHAT HE"S SUPPOSE TO BE DOING AND NOT STRESSING ME OUT!!!!   That makes me pretty happy actually.  Oh and he vacuumed today.  He vacuums a lot.

I lie a little though, I did accomplish one thing today at home, I made another batch of bread and butter pickles.  That makes three so far and I'm super fast at it.  After the cucumbers are cut and cured with salt for 4 hrs it only takes me 45 mins. or less to do it all and most of that is just waiting for the pick pot of water to boil.  I think I have 3 or 4 batches left to make (I bought a lot of cucumbers last weekend), so I need to buy more jars.

The weirdest thing I worry about is Ackbar.  I worry simultaneously that he is getting too fat and that I am starving him.  He weighs 14 lbs.  But 3 of it has to be from furr because he sure is fluffy!

I bought my life planner to help with my worries, and it does for the small day to day stuff.  But what can it do for this? A worry that has no name?