Friday, February 25, 2011

Not So Simple

It may be that we're gearing up for a major rant around here.  It's making me antsy to be the target (as we all are) of constant advertising.

"Real Simple" is chafing my friend, Aqua Nettie, on a daily basis.  As for me, I found out more about the soak off gel manicures they were pimping to "change your life (and make every day a little bit easier)" in this month's issue.  The manicure is supposed to be completely dry "within minutes" and last two to three weeks without chipping.

It turns out that they are often done improperly and don't last as long as they're supposed to.  Also, many manicurists are not interested in removing them correctly because soaking them off takes too much time.  Instead they just file the gel off, removing enough natural nail material to damage and weaken nails in the process.

The gel can be removed at home if you want to make sure it's done right.  To do so you have to soak a piece of cotton in acetone and wrap it around your nail with aluminum foil for ten minutes - a little labor intensive and you have to involve aluminum foil.

If you want to do your own gel manicures at home you need to invest in the curing lamp for them, the gels and brushes.  The article I read didn't mention how you clean the brushes.  Probably more acetone.  So you're generally better off going to a nail salon and hoping they're perfectionists.

A (truly) simple google reveals all. (That's where I got my info)

Personally I'm fine with regular nail polish which I can do myself when I have the time and inclination.  There's also Sula peel off nail polish which dries very quickly and doesn't require a solvent to remove.  It's not meant to last much more than a day though.  Speaking as a color fiend, that doesn't bother me - I can change Sula colors a few times a day if I want to.

So, "Real Simple," to you again I say: PHOOEY.

Also, I was flipping though the latest Williams Sonoma catalog (at least it's obviously trying to sell me things rather than pretending to care about my too-busy life) and wondering who the hell buys that stuff. I mean, I admit I lust after some of the knives (I LOVE good knives) but there is absolutely no point in owning an avocado tool.  Unless your kitchen drawers are waaaay too empty and you think they look lonely.
Look how bulky that thing is.

Maybe later I can work myself into an amusing tizzy and put in a full report.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ain't That Too Bad?

I'm having one of those moments where I know I have zero clue.

I was just looking out the window into the back yard at what appears to be a path through the snow-filled woods behind our house.  I know that there isn't really a path there, the way just looks like it's clear.  If I were to go out and try to walk on that "path" there would in fact be all kinds of rocks and fallen branches, probably some brambles and definitely soft patches in the snow that would trip me and send me face first into a nearby tree or something. Trip!  Wham! Blink, blink blink... snow all over my face, sticks in my hair.

That is exactly how I feel about life right now.  I feel like I'm walking around with a bag over my head and I can't see where I'm going or if/when I'm going to bump into something.

Only I can see.  I can see beautiful things and sad things and neutral things.  I just can't see the route to take that would be the most beneficial.

I want some answers!  I want explanations!  I want to know!  Ain't that too bad?

I know you're supposed to "enjoy the ride" but I find that hard to do when there are so many sudden smacks in the face along the way.  It's enough to make a girl want to just get right back in bed.

It's not even like I have a well thought out plan that I'm putting in motion.  I'm just going to the studio every day to work.  I don't have massive goals to thwart.  Why do I feel like I'm about to fall down a hole?

Monday, February 14, 2011

In Making News

I did manage to make chocolate chip cookies with bacon in them today.  I cut about two tablespoons of butter and half the salt from the original recipe and added half a cup of cooked bacon in with the nuts and chocolate chips.  They came out good.  Pete approves and he wasn't so sure it would be a good idea.

I wish they were a little more bacon-y.  As you can see I broke the bacon up into chocolate-chip sized pieces.  Some of them broke down even more when they were incorporated into the batter.  I think they should be bigger so I'll use larger pieces next time (whenever that is - I don't usually buy bacon)

Also I'll try to use some solidified bacon fat in place of some butter for more bacon flavor. I'm not positive more bacon pieces is the way to go.  When you eat the cookie the bacon breaks down more slowly than the rest of the cookie and you can be left with, well, meat dregs in your mouth.  Kind of like the coconut when you eat a Mounds bar.  It's not a huge problem but I'm not sure I like that.

Whenever I use the oven Fay has to be banished to jail.

This is because she has a life-long hatred of ovens and will attack them if she knows they're in use.  Don't ask me why - I don't know of anything an oven ever did to her.  Except once she was able to bite an in-use oven and she got burned on her lip.  She was so busy beating up the oven though that she didn't notice until afterwards.  I'm sure she had no idea why her lip hurt.  So you see, it's jail for her.  She protests.

Poor thing - the whole house has smelled like bacon all day.

Say What?

What is the MATTER with people?

Real Simple magazine is claiming that hair and eyelash extensions will change my life (and make every day a little bit easier) I am OUTRAGED.  That's just two of the five beauty treatments they mention on the cover.  The other three are Keratin treatments (which require both the stylist and client to wear safety masks during the process due to toxic fumes) to keep hair frizz (the bane of human existence) down, a gel manicure (not so bad I guess, considering) and laser hair removal.  What do any of these things have to do with SIMPLICITY? I ask you!

I find it very simple, easy and cost effective to not feel that I ever have to try to look like a supermodel.

In O Magazine they're telling us that we need to organize the bacteria in our guts.  It mostly boils down to eating real food instead of processed.  Ta-dah!  Rocket surgery!

Finally, Anthropologie is selling this $298.00 bathing suit.

If that seems outrageous to you you could go for this faux tankini for only $278.00.

Sigh.  What's a reasonable* person to do?  My plan is to forget about all this crap now that I've complained about it publicly.  Real Simple's in the recycle bin.  There are still a few articles I want to check out in O though.  That one's always a mix and you have to expect it.  At least it's not claiming to be the opposite of what it really is.

UPDATE: Michaela did a little research and found that you can get a flight from Boston to San Juan, Puerto Rico for $232.00 including tax.

Also, I have no problem with hair or eyelash extensions or fake nails or hair dye or most of the things people do to try to make themselves look better or different.  A lot of them are or sound like fun.  What I object to is the claim that they make your life easier.  No they don't.  Sorry.

*Like how I'm calling myself reasonable when all I think about is shoes?

Sunday, February 13, 2011


I know you're sick of hearing about it but I think Irregular Choice is trying to kill me.  Yes, they are still adding new styles and colors every couple of days.  Here's the most recent pair to catch my eye.

How am I supposed to resist this onslaught?

The pair below is not for everyone (including me, as much as I love bats)  They have the amazing Shirley Temple heel and leathery bats on the front.  They also come in black.

My beloved friend Michaela (also here) was AWESOME enough to say to me last night that these shoes (any of them - she didn't mean a specific pair) are not that expensive and that it's probably worth it to buy some (plural!) - even if they aren't in my size - just to make art with them.  Spoken like a true friend, artist and understanding shoe fiend.

Of course I completely agree.  So many of these fit in uncannily with the novel I wrote and the comic book/multi-media project I've been working on.  I'd almost be an idiot not to stock up.  By God these things look like my art work.  The only trouble is that there are SO MANY I love so which do I choose?  I can't have them all.

In bacon news, I postponed making the cookies until tomorrow.  I spent today crocheting large flowers for another piece I'm working on instead.

So much to make!  So much to make!!!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Chocolate, CREEPY, Bacon

Today I made chocolate chip cookies for Pete.  I think I may have eaten six of them myself already.  BAD MEL!!!  Maybe it was only five?

Anyway, while I was doing the dishes I had VPR on (yes, I'm a member) and "Radiolab" was on.  They were discussing the Uncanny Valley effect.  This is what you get when someone attempts to make a facsimile of a human (say a robot or a CGI character) and they get pretty close but not close enough.  Anyone viewing the not-close-enough facsimile gets creeped out* and can't stand to keep looking at the thing.  They said a scientist tested the effect with monkeys and the monkeys all got creeped out too.

This completely explains my lifetime aversion to that Scientology guy who jumped on Oprah's couch.  (Ew.  I don't even like typing his name in my blog.  Ick!  I typed it but I had to change it!  Shudder)  Brad Pitt is headed that way too.  When the posters for the film of "The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button" were up everywhere I couldn't stand to look at them either.  CREEPY!!!  Giant photoshopped faces of Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett.  Yeee!

Bad plastic surgery causes the same effect.  They'd better watch it out there in Hollywood.  I wish someone would fund arts education at least for the folks who decide which people we all have to look at in our popular culture.  Wabi-sabi everyone!  Please!

I'd better stop thinking about this because I'm giving myself the heebie-jeebies.

I will move on to state that tomorrow I plan to make another batch of chocolate chip cookies.  This time I will be putting fresh cooked bacon bits in with the chocolate chips and walnuts.  I need to find out if it works!!!

*becomes profoundly unnerved.  See, I don't have to talk like a hippie.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Loony Winter Weather Lover

I know this is only more evidence that I am crazy (why should I try to deceive you?) but now is one of my favorite times of the year.  

This is the time of year when nobody seems to feel entitled to demand that I stop what I'm doing and devote myself to their problems.  It's also the time of year when if anyone does demand any such thing I don't feel bad declining.  In other words, this is the time of year when I have most of my time to myself.  This is when I get most of my work done.  If I had better interpersonal boundaries I might be able to get work done year round.  Maybe I should work on that.

Also, I like snow and cold weather.  Snow is beautiful.  Cold weather is bracing.  I even like shoveling snow.  It's great full-body exercise.  Shoveling snow is in fact pretty easy: all it really takes is patience and determination and you can shovel all the snow you need to.  Okay, it's not as easy in urban areas where you need to be very careful about where you place your shovel-fulls. Still, that just requires more patience and determination and maybe some resourcefulness. Those are skills that I find it really rewarding to practice. When you shovel  a lot of snow you feel like you've really accomplished something. 

That said, I'm not a huge fan of slippery sidewalks.  

I am a huge fan of s'mores and fondue.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Just Bragging

I'm a brute!  Look what I did!

Pete dug the garage out while I was emptying the deck.  Now I'm going to lie on the floor and ask for schnapps.

It's Winter

My deck is pictured below.  Yes, I will be shoveling later today.

No need to worry about running out of ice this time of year.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Wild Women

Pete, Marc and I went to see Neko Case on Thursday night.  She was excellent.

There was something about the crowd that surprised me though: it was packed with prim looking women and their suit-clad dates.  The women had perfect hair and tasteful cardigans and silk scarves knotted daintily at their throats.  This was not what I was expecting at all.

Maybe I was envious of their perfection but they made me want to be more messy and unruly. 

Neko Case is kind of a barely-contained force of nature.  She has thoughts and emotions she needs to GET OUT.  When she sings these thoughts and emotions are ejected right out of her body.  It's powerful and beautiful to see.

Watching her also made me want to be more messy and unruly. 

Overall the whole experience made me want to be worse.  By worse I mean I want to feel good about dropping balls, doing things wrong, not doing what I'm supposed to do, going out with bed head, basically exploiting my flaws.

I don't want to go overboard and start wearing a hipster homeless-Bjorn-Borg costume or anything.  I'm not going to invent new flaws for myself.  It's just that being comfortable inhabiting your entire self including the ways you fuck up has to be really powerful.

So I think I'm going to start taking it easy on my rougher edges.  Maybe I can talk myself into seeing my failures as successes.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Big Plans For Today (Plus Shoes)

It's supposed to dump two feet of snow on us today so I plan to shovel, keep the fire going in the fireplace and knit.  These are all things I can do with or without power.  I'm hoping to do them with power.

Now for the shoes.  Irregular Choice keeps adding new ones.  I don't know how long they can keep it up.  I mean, how many out of control shoes can a company sell at one time? I know I've posted a lot of shoe photos here but I still have not posted all the styles and colors they have.  These are from the U.S. site:

Hi plow guy!  Thank you!!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Another Brown Mass

Hey look everybody!  I made another brown mass!
These are the sticky buns that it took me all frigging day to make (not counting making the dough last night) They are tasty but there are eighteen of them (well, seventeen - I'm eating one) and I'm just one gal.  Hello neighbors!  This time I used 100% new, unexpired ingredients.  Not sure how I'm going to store them all but I'll think of something.

Last night I made Cincinnati Chili for dinner.  See how happy that oyster cracker is about it?  You know, the one kind of towards the middle of the plate with the saucy smile?

It's sacrilegious but I made the chili with vegetarian "crumbles" so as to avoid the beef pool. I try to avoid ground beef unless I know where it came from.  I once met a guy who's a muckety muck for the CDC and he said hamburgers are the one thing he doesn't dare eat.  Maybe I should be afraid of hot dogs too?  And heck, if there's a beef pool there's probably a pork pool and a chicken pool.  Yuck.  Now I've got to remember whose husband he was and ask her.  The chili came out fine though.  There are so many spices in it that the meat/meat-like substance is pretty much a vehicle.  

Ooh, you know what?  I just finished my last bite of sticky bun and it was good.  I kind of want another one.  But no - I'll wait till tomorrow.

So I have a big day of snow shoveling planned for tomorrow.  Very exciting.  I tried to do everything that would require electricity today: laundry, using the Kitchen Aid mixer, charging my necessary devices, etc.  I'll also be keeping a fire going in the fireplace so the flue doesn't get clogged.  Maybe I can knit a lot too tomorrow.

You never know though, the power could stay on.  I have to say CVPS, our electric company, does a fantastic job of getting things fixed in a timely fashion.  Thanks, CVPS!  Keep up the good work!