Sunday, April 6, 2014

Counting Down the Days

I haven't updated in so long, guys. But I want to! I have a lot of things I want to talk about. But, real life is being a real ball-buster time thief nowadays, and I've been spending most of my time chained to my desk or vainly attempting 6 hours of sleep and in between wishing it were May already. I know you're not supposed to wish your life away, but work has dished out 10+ hour days on the reg this week. And to make things more awesome, I have one more week of grueling work days ahead of me, and I feel like I'm brewing up a good sinus infection, and all I want to do is lay in bed and eat doughnuts.

So I'm trying to keep on the bright side of things. Emphasis on trying.

Dates I'm looking forward to:


April 11: current assignment is over, and Mad Scientist Weekend

May 7: last payment on my loan and FREEDOM from all non-student loan debt

July 15-17: every baby ever will be born (seemingly)

July 15: second assignment is over

August! (the whole month will be good)

Sept 3: I see Joel again!

There's also a shit ton of birthdays and anniversaries and things thrown in there, too. The sweet things are coming. Until then, I just have to put my head down and do the work. And maybe order a million pizzas in the mean time (I mean, someone has to make sure my gym stays in business).

What are you looking forward to?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The day of annoying things

Most days, I'm Jeff Spicoli.

Most days, I can deal with the things that bug me with a modicum of eye-rolling and some distraction. 

But then, there are other days. Stupid Life Days, where from the moment I wake up, every decision and action is just excruciating. Like, the fact that I had to get out of bed and go downstairs to make coffee was approached with the same agony and fury that I imagine I'd feel if someone was forcing me to drown a baby goat. 

Yesterday was one of those days. By 9 AM, I realized I was having an above average amount of annoyances. So much, that I decided to list them out. To take away their power? Possibly. But more to just commiserate and spread my First World Disease as far as possible. So, this is by no means a complete list, as my brain is an irrational tangent factory, but here's the most of what I could gather:

Shit That Annoyed Me Yesterday
  • Facebook 
  • that it takes 7 whole seconds for the Keurig to warm up
  • that I don't have a shower machine that automatically cleans/dries/styles me
  • when the rim of my to-go coffee cup doesn't match up exactly with the cup
  • that the eye liner on one eye ALWAYS looks better than the other
  • that car in front of me with the GIRL POWER! bumper sticker
  • my weirdly placed guilt of being angry about a GIRL POWER! bumper sticker
  • my even more weirdly placed guilt about being angry about new feminism and girl's toys and the GIRL POWER! messgage
  • morning traffic on my 15 minute drive
  • that I have dual monitors but I can't have a different Excel sheet open on each screen
  • excel sheets printing out stupidly even though I chose the best settings
  • that Joel is on the other side of the world, not waiting at home with a box of doughnuts
  • co-workers who smoke from a pipe
  • co-workers who smoke from a pipe and then sit in my office to talk to me 
  • people noticing my hair cut
  • people not noticing my hair cut
  • being bcc'd on an email about a proposal I'm managing
  • that Reese Eggs aren't the size of my face
  • I walk into the bathroom at the same time as someone else, all 4 stalls are empty. I choose the first stall, they choose the stall right next to me, and let out an explosive poo. WHAT HAPPENED TO BUFFER STALLS?
  •  3 hours later, going into the same bathroom, and it still smells like poo.
  • co-workers who mean well, but just constantly fuck up
  • getting Shakira's Hips Don't Lie stuck in my head. 
  • spending 2 and a half days preparing for a meeting that everyone insisted was SO IMPORTANT, only to have no one show up.
  • a million different kinds of professional demoralization
  • Instagram not loading
  • finding old lipstick on a coffee mug half way through finishing a cup of coffee out of said mug
  • file paths that require 8 years of clicking through files
  • the gross images and sounds that are conjured after hearing the term "tongue punching the fart box"
  • that crunchy thing I ate in a meal that's not supposed to have crunchy things in it
  • getting into a fight with the Tech Support guy over an issue that wasn't really an issue because my boss purposely deleted the file and forgot to tell me
  • inserting/editing text in a PDF using Nitro
  • people who see I'm on my way out the door but stop to drag me into a 15 minute conversation
  • chairs that are slightly too high and tables that aren slightly too short and I have to sit at a weird side angle or squeeze my legs against the bottom of the table
  • the fact that my warmest, coziest, most un-failingly perfect and amazing slipper boots have disappeared since I moved home
  • unquenchable need to wear slipper boots
  • that Target only sells comfy slipper boots in the winter
  • that only after I get home do I remember that DSW is right beside Target and DSW sells comfy slipper boots
  • awesome sweat pants that are just too short
  • the god-damn cable box STILL NOT WORKING
  • when curling up in a cozy bed and watching trash TV while wearing my wolfy/bear hat just doesn't have the same magic anymore because my room is trash hole of donation boxes and Go To Storage boxes because some days you just don't have time to do everything and sometimes those days turn into weeks and damnit, I just want to clean my room.
  • realizing that I'm PMSing and that's why I'm Captain Grumpy Pants, but I've had my painful period all month thanks to endometriosis and Western Medicine so this is basically my life now.

Today's been kinda better. It's snowing, at least. Just not enough to let us go home early. 

Oh, whatever. I'll just add it to the list.

Here's to a better rest of the week!

*Ps. I think getting Hips Don't Lie stuck in my head was the very worst thing about yesterday. It's still there. It's never leaving. 

Shakira, Shakira Shakira.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Swapping Fun Savers

Joel is a photographer, and a really good one, at that. One of the camera hobbies he has is to take a Fun Saver camera around with him, and then develop it at home once it's used up. Even though he's tooling around with a $7 disposable camera, he catches amazing shots.

(c) Joel Westworth

(c) Joel Westworth

The nostalgia of the Fun Saver really struck me. I'm from that generation that used Fun Savers exclusively because film cameras were too expensive, and digital cameras were only something scientists and movie stars had. But, my uncle got me my first digital camera as a high school graduation present (it weighed 2 lbs and took 8 double A batteries, and had a 1x2 inch screen--and I didn't have a computer with a USB port, so I had no way to download the pictures. Ahh, 2003.) and I all but stopped using Fun Savers.

But, last year, when Joel and I were still getting to know each other, he thought up the idea of filling up Fun Savers and sending them to each other to develop--a cool little way to share each other's lives that wasn't Skype or an email. My first effort was... well, let's just say it'd been about 10 years since I used a camera. Lots of fingers in the frame, bleached out, blurry subjects, "forgot to turn the flash on"moments. You know, professional photography.

Hey Bill!
Hey, No Flash!
Hey, finger!
It was a lot of fun to get Joel's camera developed and see the views from his world, which were so different than my view of cats, sweat pants, and improper lighting.

The next camera took me a long time to fill up, putting a kink in our plans of doing this monthly (I am forever a procrastinator), but Joel took it back with him after his visit to 'Murica*, developed it and sent me the results last week. I'll say, this roll came out much better than the first one. haha

And while Joel and I were in New York, we carried a Fun Saver with us to document our adventures.

The creeper finger is quickly becoming my signature camera move.

One of my fondest memories of his visit is sitting in Washington Square Park in the cold, after we picked up the photos, and looking through them and laughing.

There's something so satisfying about printed photos.  Yes, the instant gratification of a digital camera is awesome, but it doesn't really compare to the anticipation of waiting for your film to develop, of the excitement of opening that big yellow envelope, at the surprise at what came out, of the actual artifacts to look at and hold onto for as long as you can. That visceral experience that comes from holding a photo in your hand will never be lost on me. And it's nothing that looking at or scrolling through photos on a screen can replicate.

It feels like printed photos are relics of the 90's, along with Blockbuster Video and landline telephones; or maybe they're just a snotty Hipster trend. But, some 1-Hour places still exist. And disposable cameras are still around. And even though I can tell the pictures I take because of all the errant fingers and blurred subjects and lack of flash, I like that he and I have this physical documentary of our time together. The memories aren't just in my phone or in my computer.  They're in a scrap book that I can take out and look at whenever I miss him. And it's forever better than looking through a Facebook album. It feels real. It feels permanent.

And I can't wait to have a shelf stacked with books of our Fun Saver adventures.

You know, if I ever get around to putting the shelf up. /procrastination

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Oscar Night!

Usually I watch all the Oscar nominated films and put way too much effort into Oscar pools before the big night, but this year, I barely know who's nominated.

I mean, from what I've heard, it's all American Hustle, and not even sneaking a Nalgene container filled with Mimosa into the theater made that movie enjoyable for me. I thought it was the cinematic equivalent of a half-chub. Blah. And I know Matthew McConaughey is nominated twice for Best Actor, but I think he deserves to win the special Oscar I've just come up with:

Best Actor Portraying Mostly Despicable Roles This Year and Yeah, I'd Still Hit That

Seriously. How does McConaughey play a 16 lb kinda scumbag AIDS patient with a pedophile mustache, a sleazy stock broker who'd most likely rape you in the bathroom of a nightclub and still come off as totally fuckable? 

I'm pretty sure it's because, unlike traditional humans, he is a charisma, not carbon, based life form. And he breathes in oxygen and gives off carbon-di-all-ladies-take-your-panties-off. Enormous acting talent, aside, no one can deny that the man is pure sex. Maybe he'll win a Special Achievement in Creepy Asshole Characters.

But, speaking of McConaughey goodness, I'm blowing off the Oscars so I can finish watching True Detective. Holy shit. That show is incredible. And if you haven't started watching it, DO IT NOW OK. 

Alright, I'm off to judge the dresses, which is the best part since the awards are mostly predictable and disappointing. And then I'll be watching True Detective. Which you should all be watching.

Happy Oscars, everyone!
(go watch True Detective)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Audrey Turner, budding Paleontologist

I have been lugging around with me a little file rack filled with keepsake papers to everywhere I've lived, and I haven't looked through it, maybe since high school. Last night, though, I was in a THROW EVERYTHING AWAY fit, and I sat down with the box, preparing to ravage it with my PMS-fueled feng-shui. 

From my 1st grade home school "Feelings Book" where I answered What do you like most about yourself with "I am P." to a 3rd grade notebook filled with stories and drawing of aliens who were trying to abduct me at night, to a 6th grade note pad full of "poems" about the boy who broke my heart, I ended up not throwing anything away--everything was amazing.  

However, nothing was as amazing as this, this 9 year old's guide to dinosaurs, the most definitive dinosaur book you'll ever need: 

Dinosaur Pictre Book
by Audrey Turner
(original title [as seen in a fury of erasings] The Life of Dinosaurs, with actevetys [activities?]) 

Just in case you thought that water was grass or something. 

um, brb, I'm dying.

this guy got his own centerfold

Not sure why, but this steggy has some serious Feels going on.

Whoa! Capter 2! Once again, a helpful note, in case you thought that fish was a sock or something.

These came from the Flying Animals with Severe Scoliosis archives

Um, who could forget the  most famous flying animal ever, the Starfish. 

I think this chased me in a nightmare once. 

The end! The erased title was "How to Draw a Dinosaur." Clearly I didn't think
anyone else could hack it. 

Some of you might be wondering, where is the velociraptor? And the answer is, I was only 9. At the time, my favorite dinosaur was the Brontosaurus--so much my favorite that when someone corrected me and said it's a brachiosaurus, not a brontosaurus, I refused to comply. Also, at 9, the dinosaur books I had didn't touch too much on velociraptors. 

At this point in my life, it would be 6 more months until that fateful day, when my parents and their friends took us to see Jurassic Park, and the velociraptor stole my heart. With it's Giant Hooked Claw. 

Also, also, I'm not sure when my Good Spelling gene FINALLY kicked in, but thank God it did. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Crossing Streams

When I was a few days old, my mom bundled me up, got me milk-drunk, and took me with her to see Ghostbusters. It was the first movie I ever saw. Well, as much as a newborn can "watch a movie."

I have always held fast to the belief that that experience shaped me into the person I am today. That it tripped some sort of absurd humor/extreme sarcasm switch in my baby brain that otherwise would have been left alone. And I absorbed all that movie greatness like sponge. I believe it allowed me, as a little kid, to watch and actually like movies such as Caddyshack, Stripes, Spaceballs, Dragnet and Raising Arizona--movies that my parents liked to watch and didn't see any harm in letting us sit down and watch with them. And lucky for me, Harold Ramis was responsible for most of those movies I loved that were well beyond my scope of reference. His name was one of the first "movie names" I recognized. And for a long time, I thought he was my dad's long lost brother.

My heart literally sank yesterday when I read the sad, sad news that Ramis died of a painful blood disorder. To quote my friend Scott, "There is no twinkie big enough to represent my grief."

So, thank you, Harold Ramis. Thank you, subversive 80's humor. Thank you, mom and dad, for fostering in me a love of good humor. We lost a good man, a comedy legend, and the inspiration behind many modern comedies yesterday.

*Often, I wonder what would have happened, who I'd be, or where I'd be now, if my mom had decided to see a shitty 80's rom-com instead of Ghostbusters. The horror.

Friday, February 21, 2014

One Cookie to Rule Them All

I started at a new gym this week, but that's all shot to shit because my mom developed the world's most perfect oatmeal cookie. And I've eaten my weight in their deliciousness.

Most people will brush off an oatmeal cookie. And why not? Typically, they're just oatmeal. No splash. No thrill. Having to eat oatmeal cookies is like being forced to hang out with your bland cousin--not the so creepy he's cool one who collects used ziplock bags, but the one who eats Vienna Sausages dipped in ketchup--when you really want to hang out with your awesome cousin who has a fake ID and a convertible (the cool cousin being chocolate chip cookies or snicker doodles or goat cheese sugar crisps or pan cookies or peanut butter florals or what have you.) (Whatever, I like the analogy)

Not me, though. I love an oatmeal cookie. The oatmeal cookie and all it's fiber-laden simplicity calls to the Midwestern genetics in me that my mom has worked so tirelessly to destroy (but somethings can't be helped; this love of sweat pants and trashy TV didn't evolve on its own, Mom). They're filling, but not too sweet, so you can eat about a million of them before you feel sick. And, you can convince yourself that since it's oatmeal, butter, and brown sugar, you're basically eating a bowl of oatmeal. That makes them a breakfast food. Aw yeah. But more than that, oatmeal cookies remind me of dad's mom, Gramma.

I didn't have close relationships with my grandmothers. Growing up in a military family, we moved a lot and it was never in the same area, or even state as them. So apart from family visits when I was younger and birthday cards and Christmas presents, I didn't really know them. I was an incredibly shy kid and couldn't pick up the phone, and I was a bad pen pal. By the time I was old enough to realize how cool it would be to know my grand mothers, Mom's mom, Grammy, had passed away, and Dad's mom, Gramma, developed severe dementia, and years later, passed away.

But, Gramma did leave an indelible mark on me in the form of oatmeal cookies. She had this recipe that was like nothing I've ever tried before. They were basic oatmeal cookies, but they were white. And they had this taste to them that I've never been able to replicate, or find in store bought cookies. It was like a raw cookie dough taste, rich, savory, but fully baked. It's plain, but it's haunting.

I couldn't get enough of them. And whenever we'd visit, she'd always make a batch just for me, and keep them in a big, round, blue tin. We have her recipe, but they don't taste the same. Whatever secret ingredient or method she had, I didn't pick up.

Enter, my mom's new oatmeal cookies.

These cookies are incredible and delicious in the own right. But after I ate my 6th one last night, I realized just why I loved them so much--they taste just like Gramma's cookies. I ate two more and slipped into a diabetic coma, smiling the fattest smile of a sweet, loving, food reunion. 

While she somehow stumbled upon Gramma's secret, she also added a lot of sexy ingredients that I usually sneer at, like coconut and white chocolate chips. And somehow, all of it works. The texture is soft with slightly crunchy edges, with almond-inspired sweetness that really sets it off. Even the color is luscious. This oatmeal cookie would put down the ketchup covered sausages, and totally let you drive its convertible. And then buy beer for you and your friends. 

So go on, put on some stretchy pants, make sure there's a gallon of milk in the fridge, and make these cookies. 

And after you're done eating the entire batch and hating yourself, call your gramma. 

The Superior Turner Cookie by Kim Turner

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all purpose flower
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup shaved coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips

  1. combine flour, almond meal, salt and baking soda, and set aside.
  2. cream together butter and white and brown sugars.
  3. add eggs one at a time.
  4. add vanilla and almond extract.
  5. slowly mix in dry ingredients
  6. slowly mix in oatmeal and other mix-ins (coconut, pecans, white chocolate chips)
  7. use an ice cream scoop to make balls of oatmeal dough deliciousness, and distribute them on baking sheets 
  8. bake for 8-10 minutes at 325*
  9. remove immediately from baking sheet and let cool on a wire rack. 
Mom's pro-tips*:
  • you aren't baking successfully unless you've dirtied up every measuring device you own. 
  • pull the cookies out when they're almost done. They'll continue baking when you bring them out of the oven, and it maintains the soft texture/crispy edge harmony.
  • For every baking sheet you bake, you get one spoon full of raw dough to eat. 
  • Therefore, use every baking sheet you own.
  • You can use parchment paper on the baking sheets to save on clean up. Or, if you want your daughter to work harder at washing dishes, don't. 
  • Don't be surprised when your daughter works up such an appetite scrubbing up the cookie dishes that she eats half the batch by herself. 

*these, in no way, have been editorialized.
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