Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I Look Dumb


I'm not a great sports dresser. Probably because I'm physically incompetent and I don't think I should look too flashy when I'm doing something athletic. It could set up false expectations. Also, I have no class. I couldn't resist these ridiculous pink tights. Oh well, I am what I am. And to be honest I like it that way. 

I guess the tights are flashy. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Friday, October 24, 2014

I Don't Know And It's Okay

You know that Tolkien quote, "Not all those who wander are lost"? Well I am. That's okay though because not all those who are lost need to know where they are.

So put that in your pipe and smoke it! Ha!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Some Things It Has Occurred To Me To Do Today

Call a closet organizing company
Call the post office and tell them that my new address is a residence and is not a business
Mail back some shoes that didn't fit
E-mail a vast number of friends to keep in touch and/or invite them to do things with me
Call and reserve a room for my Disney Princess Half Marathon
Give myself a pedicure
Clean my Crocs
Knit
Look for a job
Do some drawings
Organize a Dreaded Drawing
Think up a week's worth of healthy food to make
Get the ingredients
Make the food
Empty my e-mail in-box
Bathe
Get a composter from the Town of Somerville
Remember to bring my checkbook with me
Find a pot in which to put either the cyclamen or the cactus that I planted together in hopes of keeping the mice from eating the cyclamen. I've taken them to a mouse-free zone so they can be less neglected and hopefully thrive. 
Organize my room
Dishes
Make an eye doctor appointment and get new glasses
Make an appointment for a car tune-up
Sync my calendars and devices
Pin, Instagram, Tweet, Facebook, and otherwise feed my online persona (Blog)
Take in the trash can

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

BAB

I will never be a "popular" blogger because I can't be bothered to take a pretty picture or gussy up the ones I take. Some artist. I'm supposed to be all about aesthetics. I am. Just not conventional aesthetics.

Any hoo, I'm all excited because I sent away for some fitness shake powder thingies and they came! 


This is Skoop B Strong. It's supposed to speed recovery after a workout, among other things. 

Since you never know till you try, I got a sampling of their whole line. It sounds like good stuff. I'm all about healthy skin, a healthy body, and plenty of energy. Why not give it a shot?  Plus they donate a serving of fresh fruits and vegetables to school lunch programs for every portion sold. 


Yeah, I got the mixing cup too. The sipper cap part clicks tightly into place which is good. I'm much less likely to spray my entire kitchen with soy milk and protein powder that way. 

So how does this B Strong taste? It tastes gross! I've never been one to tolerate artificial sweeteners before. I HATE diet soda. YUCK! This has Stevia in it. According to the website stevia can support healthy blood pressure (which I already have) and, I guess do other things for me that I don't need. 

I don't know, I'll choke it down. I might get used to it. If it helps me feel great I'll keep drinking it. 

Of course the best way to take care of your health and have plenty of energy is to eat right and exercise regularly - which I do a pretty good job of lately - and GET ENOUGH SLEEP. I don't get enough sleep. 

Holy crap! It's almost two! There's always so much stuff to do! That's why no one gets enough sleep. Gotta go! Later!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Yoga Class #1

Well that was amazing. After years, probably almost twenty years, of toying with yoga and doing it once in a while because it's "good for me" I think the bug finally sunk its teeth in. I think I'm going to become a yoga freak.

Okay, just one class, who knows if a pattern will really develop but that felt life changing. 

I did a full-on backbend. I don't think I've done one of those since eighth grade! I wasn't at all sure I could do it then all of a sudden there I was, upside down, supporting my body weight on my arms stretched back over my shoulders and my legs doing what legs do (I guess). My mind was blown. It was almost like "where am I? What am I doing? Have I gone crazy?" Amazing. I live for amazement. 

One thing I hadn't thought about yesterday when I signed up was that I was going to have to get there wearing clothes and with a yoga mat. 

I don't want to make a huge, giant generalization here but SOME people have a pretty annoying air about them when they're coming and going from yoga class. Too smug and virtuous looking. I DON'T WANT TO BE THAT GUY! 

I'm a little too preoccupied with that. I want to look as awkward and schlumpy as possible on my yoga class commute. That right there is vanity. Just as bad as looking smug. Just don't think about what you look like. It's not important. Duh!

I was also uncomfortable walking to class in just the cropped leggings I feel totally fine about running in. I had to wear sweatpants. What a weirdo. 

I know I'll get over all that stupidness. Maybe I just did. I'm so lucky I got that two week pass. Extra incentive to actually go back and start to feel comfortable and maybe build a habit. The people in class were super nice and friendly. I do want to meet new people. 

So, go me! Yay yoga!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Random Day Stuff



It was a particularly beautiful day in Boston and vicinity today. This was the skyline view from around 7:30 this morning (I think it was 7:30. I don't really remember as I got about two-and-a-half hours of sleep last night. Some things are foggy today) I don't know if it comes through in the photo but I found the pink morning mist over the city a bit romantically sci-fi. I love that kind of thing. 

Pete and Nate have been touring as members of the band, Van Hayride, the countrified Van Halen cover band. They've been opening for the band, Puss N Boots. If either band comes to your town I highly recommend seeing them. 

Pete, Nate, and the incredible Daria Grace

Rod (far left, sorry, Rod, I don't know your last name) Pete, the obviously amazing Jack Grace, Daria (far right)

The women of Puss N Boots are forces of nature. They have a seriously entertaining, POWERFUL thing going. Plus they're really irreverent and funny. I cannot tell you how much I wish I could sing like any of them. In fact I was too stunned by their awesomeness to remember to take a picture of them. 

I got to hang around with everyone backstage last night after the show for a while. I ended up not going to bed until 3 AM. Rock 'n' roll. What are you going to do? 

The best thing was how really lovely all the people were. Everyone was so kind and inclusive. It was a family atmosphere, lots of love and fun in the room. Norah Jones is my new favorite famous person. (Did I have a designated old favorite famous person?) Sasha gave me a delicious cookie. Most importantly everyone was really nice to my boys, Pete and Nate, and I love it when people are good to the folks I love. I also picked up a great tip for dealing with a certain indelicate process (okay, farting - without naming names) that I'm definitely going to use later. Very worth the sleep deficit. 

In other news I signed up to take a yoga class tomorrow morning at the (new to me) local yoga studio in Union Square. I got a two-week unlimited trial pass too. I'm irrationally excited about this. I have never signed up for a yoga class on my own steam before. These days I'm all about trying new things. Billions of people go to yoga classes every day. It's not a big deal. I'm acting like it's some big adventure. Well you never know where something's going to lead...

Monday, October 6, 2014

How To React When Nothing Makes Sense





You know, in a way this piece made itself. There were a number of happy accidents that went along with all the hard work I put in. For example two flat tires prevented me from leaving town as I'd planned to do when it was better for me to stay and work on the piece. The stool, already in the gallery, was the perfect pedestal for the plate of treats. Also, I hadn't known that I'd want a backdrop for this until I got to the gallery and set up the stool and empty cake plate. Then I remembered that there's a fabric store in the building next door. 

I think people liked it. It's amazing how difficult it is to give away free home made pastry when it's part of a sculpture. People either think it's a facsimile of food and not edible or they're "afraid to touch the art." Or they're just afraid. Poor things.

One week after my post referring to people not Facebooking anymore I received my invitation to join Ello. Plus ça change...

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Why?


I am so tired I can barely move. I got four hours of sleep last night. I've worn out my arms and hands making things. I have to show again in two weeks. Nobody's even looking. Why do I go to all this trouble?  It's a compulsion. See? Nothing makes sense. 

The picture above is of an object. That's not an image I made with a graphics application. It would be difficult to make something so uneven in a graphics application.


See?

Time to eat something and get cracking on éclairs and haul them and my butt down to the gallery and set up and then stand there on the concrete floor for seven hours because if I sit my whole body will seize up from the physical wringer I've been putting it through. 

It'll be fine. It'll all be fine. This is my life. Better than working in a diamond mine. So unspeakably much better than working in a diamond mine.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Super-bakey

South End Open Studios is this weekend. I will be participating. I had planned to go down to our space on Monday and hang some kind of sculpture thing that I was going to make then and there. Instead I decided that the only honest thing to do would be to make meringues and chocolate éclairs and give them to people who come to our gallery.

I was partially inspired to do this by the random stuff being discussed on Facebook right now. I won't spell those things out as no doubt equally random things are being discussed on Facebook as you read this (unless no one Facebooks anymore and everyone's moved on to the next thing by the time you read this.) I was partially inspired by this guy, Tee Major. How did I get from a guy displaying his EXTREME fitness skills to making meringues and chocolate éclairs? Hmmm...


Long story short, nothing makes sense. The wonders of the world. All the bizarre and random things that happen every day, all the time. When nothing makes sense you can only do what makes the most sense to you. For Tee Major it makes TONS of sense to work out for thousands of hours so he can support his body weight on the tips of his fingers and do pushups during which he spins around in midair. I would say the vast majority of humans on this planet would have no need to use those skills but Tee Major WENT FOR IT. Dedication, determination, drive, practice, focus for hours and hours and hours. He can do Superman Push Ups. It's amazing. That makes sense to him and I respect and admire that.

On Monday I saw no difference between his drive to learn to master his body in that way and my desire to master making éclairs and meringues. You have to do what makes sense to YOU. That made sense to me. 

SO...
I couldn't believe it was actually working! The batter was rising!

Would you look at that - they're browning and look like real éclairs!

Naked without their chocolate ganache.
Éclair pastry turns out to be pretty easy to make. You use a saucepan, a mixing bowl, and a wooden spoon. The batter is made of butter, water, sugar, salt, a little flour, and four beaten eggs.  you heat the first four ingredients in the pan until the butter melts. You dump the flour in all at once and stir over the heat until the batter clumps into a dough and begins to leave a film on the bottom of the pan. Then you dump the dough into the mixing bowl and stir it to cool it for a minute or two. Then you add the beaten eggs in four parts, stirring well with your wooden spoon after each part. Bang - you got éclair dough. So simple no wonder I was surprised it worked. You can also make cream puffs and cheese poufs called "gougères" with this same dough. And believe me I will. Easy and like magic therefore fun.

Now the meringues. I used to make meringues all the time when I was a kid. Once our housekeeper, Sarah (who saved my life so many times in so many ways) showed me how to do it I never had a problem. Until this Monday (of course the last time I tried was possibly 38 years ago) Four disastrous batches before I got a passable one. Then these happened:

I might be able to use these failures for something.
These look horrible but they taste good. I used a recipe that suggested heating the sugar in the oven before you mix it into the egg whites to help it dissolve more quickly. I might try that again sometime.

Making my own superfine sugar.

The best way to have the sugar dissolve nicely is to use superfine sugar. I couldn't find any at the three markets I looked in so I tried making my own. It seemed to work. I never used superfine sugar when I was a kit though. Just normal eggs, normal sugar, and a normal handheld mixer.

One problem may have been that I tried using a carton of egg whites. You can buy a carton of just the whites. Don't do that for meringues. It's unreliable. The last batch I made with those whipped up beautifully. Nice and stiff until about two-thirds of the way through adding the sugar when the whole thing suddenly turned into soup. My worst batch yet. Down the sink.

Finally I did everything as super-right as I could. I separated my own whites (which I don't like to do because then you have yolks you have to do something with) let them come to room temperature, wiped down everything that was going to come in contact with the whites with white vinegar to eliminate any possible trace of grease (grease prevents the whites from whipping up) added cream of tartar, used brand new sugar out of a fresh box rather than the sugar I store my vanilla beans in (just in case there's vanilla bean oil?) and it worked perfectly. I don't remember having to be so fussy when I was a kid.

SUCCESS! This batch was a monster! It tried to escape from the bowl! Look at that glorious texture though!
I cannot tell you how exhilarating it was when the super-stiff egg and sugar batter started fighting me back! A delightful, white, fluffy monster! Trying to wrest the beater from my hands and to fling itself out of the bowl and all over the kitchen! So exciting! Maybe one day I'll figure out a way to just bake it all whipped in the bowl. Look how gorgeous that is!

Successful batch number two (out of maybe eight batches total) is pictured below.
Freeform

Piped
I wanted to make odd shapes and sizes. I made some big ones, maybe the size of a croissant, but I think I can do better with those so no photos. I want to make huge ones and ones in different colors. Pristine white was what I went for this time.

Now I'm absolutely exhausted and I'm going to bed late and I have to get up early so I can do more set-up stuff for this show. I still don't know how I'm going to display all this stuff or how I'm going to assemble the éclairs and get them down to the gallery on Saturday. 

I'm not even sure this was a good idea or that I fully understand now what I was thinking when I chose this course of action. Gonna have to cross that bridge when I get to it. That is how I like to make art. It usually works out okay.

I have to say that I have never had this much trouble in the kitchen in my life. Never! 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Neighborhood Adventure

I had an adventure today with a housecoat-wearing little old Portuguese lady. Well, she wasn't that old. Sixty-something, maybe.

I left the apartment on my morning pre-run, warm-up walk. As I neared the park on the corner of our street I saw a little lady in a housecoat coming in my direction. She was looking into the park with concern. The park, or maybe I should call it a "park," is one of those horrible parks they made in the seventies that is 95% paved and the only ones who go there to "relax and enjoy" it are pigeons and winos.

I followed the woman's glance and saw that there was another woman sitting slumped over on one of the benches. She was sitting, bent over at the waist so her face was below her knees. She was either sleeping off something incredibly powerful or she was recently deceased. Her face wasn't purple though - a good sign.

Housecoat lady and I conferred. If the woman was sleeping we didn't want to bother her but if she needed medical attention then she should get it. We remembered that the hospital was just around the corner and we could go there and tell someone rather than calling 911. So we set off together for the hospital. I could have done it myself but she came along too.

It's a short walk but there was time to make conversation. I found out that the lady was on her way to the pharmacy. I asked her if she was enjoying her summer. She said "I don't like summer very much. It's too hot. I don't like to be hot." Her answer delighted me. I said, "me too! I HATE being hot! This has been a very nice summer but still too hot for me." A kindred spirit! We agreed we preferred fall.

We got to the hospital and told the officers at the Public Safety window about the slumped-over woman in the park. They looked at us as if to say "why did you have to go and tell us this?" but they said they'd take care of it. The lady and I left, not knowing if we'd actually helped anyone or not.

I never know what to do in those situations. I feel cowardly for not just going and asking the person if they need help. I don't know - I don't want to go hover over some sleeping person. That's creepy. I don't want to be a condescending jerk either. "Oh you poor drug addict. You must need professional medical attention." Not that I'd ever say that. But, you know, sometimes people just want to be left alone with their good friend heroin (or whatever.)

The lady and I parted ways, she went off to Walgreens, I continued on for my run. We wished each other a good day and good rest of the summer. I hope I bump into her again. I had just been complaining to myself that I rarely meet anyone I feel an immediate connection with and along comes this lady and we go on a mission together.

When I got back from my run I looked into the park to see if the passed-out woman was still there. She was but she had shifted into a much more reasonable position, on her back with her head resting face-up on the bench. She was definitely on something but she wasn't going to die imminently - I don't think. I don't know if anyone had come to check on her.

Whether or not I did anyone any good, I'm glad I got to meet housecoat lady.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Good Cookie

This post was from the end of May. I just found it!

That John Gregg knows how to BAKE.