Monday, August 11, 2014

Life's Like a Garden: You Only Get to Eat What You Plant

Kale

This photograph is titled "Where is Willy?".  Willy is the name I just decided upon for the turkey.


Fresh cut flowers

Hey, it's a cabbage patch, kids!


Cosmos and a roommate in the distance on a beautiful Sunday night in the community garden



Cabbage and dinosaur kale (the best type of kale, imo)


A little patch of nature and gardens within the city.  Excellent!

Shhh...be vewy vewy quiet.  We're stalkin' tuwkeys!
I'm a really excellent turkey stalker.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

A Very Crafty Weekend

The weather did not turn out as crumby as predicted this weekend, but it was certainly a little more chilly and rainy than usual on Saturday, and I used that as an excuse to craft my little heart out.  Sometimes I feel a little silly -- and a little reclusive -- when I go into let's-make-things mode (though since March I've had a wonderful craft pal [and oftentimes craft mentor] in my roommate, Annie).  But I have come to believe that I come by this mode honestly.

I don't consider my father's side to be very artsy craftsy.  My grandma can knit a mean blanket, and I've heard that my great-grandfather dabbled in painting, but that's it.  Growing up, there were many pieces of evidence of my mother's craft past around our house -- a dollhouse she painted and decorated here, an embroidered wall-hanging there, and a plethora of decorations that came out at Christmas from her time in ceramics classes -- but I never saw her actively making a craft during my lifetime.

One ceramic Christmas tree for the kitchen table stands out in my mind; there are fake clumps of snow on the branches, holes for dozens of colorful little lights, and when you wind it up it plays I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas.  I'm not sure if my sister knows, but when mom kicks the bucket, that tree is mine.

Anyhow..back to my main topic: where did my craftiness come from?  Probably not from dad's side...not really from mom...so, since my mother was adopted, it seems that the craft gene is one based in nurture not nature.  My grandma was the craft QUEEN, and I don't use that term lightly.  Plenty of people are quilters, or crocheters, or painters.  Excelling in any one form of craftery (all copyrights on that word belong to me) is impressive, but to earn the title of queen, you really have to enroll in a wide variety of schools of craft.  Enter Grandma Lea.  She sewed like a wizard: quilts, clothes, stuffed animals, and miscellaneous...you want to be a tyrannosaurus rex for Halloween but there are no such costumes to be found?  No problem, we'll drive to grandma's so she can measure every part of you.  She would knit, crochet, do needlepoint, embroider, cross-stitch, paint ceramics, and do totally random things like make a mouse Christmas tree ornament out of felt and beads and an unshelled Brazil nut.

(To prove that my last example was 100% the truth.)

I spent many a day at my grandma's after school, and like most children, would frequently utter the phrase, "I'm bored!" Unlike most children, I wasn't told to shut up, or to go watch television.  My grandma would go rummage in a drawer and produce the materials for me to create something fabulous!  I loved the needlepoint kits, the small window hangings I got to paint, and eventually...the basic sewing projects where I was allowed to USE GRANDMAS SEWING MACHINE!!  This was a huge deal because the one part of grandma's house that was 100% off limits to the grand-kids was her sewing area (aka half of the basement). She always said it was because there could be rogue needles and she didn't want us to step on them, but I'm sure that was just grandma code for "I don't want you to mess with all of my nice shit."

If she were still alive, I know that she would be very pleased to know that I can now afford to buy my own craft shit to mess with (from wherever she is right now, she is frowning at my use of profanity). Anyhow...that's where my craft bug comes from, and here's some of what I've been / am up to this weekend:

Ever since about three weeks ago when I confirmed that I could make a decent pillow, I've been wanting one with Poland on it for my bed.  My bedspread has tons of country and city names on it, so this is perfect!  I'm in craft love.  If you now need one, too, go here.

Michigan in one of my favorite prints!  I haven't decided if I want to frame it (see here) or make it into a pillow.  Thoughts?

 The beginnings of my first quilt ever.  It is a baby/child's quilt so that I don't feel overwhelmed by the sheer size of my first project.  I'm excited but nervous -- kind of like how I feel on a first date.
(If crafts make me feel this way, I'm certainly going to be single forever...)

My favorite part of this quilt??  The raccoons!  I had a moment in Jo-Ann Fabric when I grabbed the bolt of this fabric and then said to myself, "Beth...put down the raccoon fabric."  I laughed out loud at my own thought.  Not because of how preposterous it was that I was in a situation where it was appropriate to even say that to myself, but because the idea that I was going to walk out of the store without purchasing the racoonies was completely ridiculous.


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Humble Beginnings

If y'all are going to go with me into my future of eating, I need you to understand where I came from.  So I need to admit something.  I wasn't always an eater.

My mother loves to tell the story of how when I was a toddler, she began to get worried because I was barely eating.  She took me to the doctor and he tasked her and my father with writing down everything I ate and drank for a week.  My mom is much better at worrying than at keeping lists, so she stuck with that while my dad trotted dutifully after me with pen and paper.  They both quickly noticed a trend -- I was consuming incredible amounts of apple juice.  Sippy cups upon sippy cups.  I was apparently pretty sneaky about asking different family members for refills, so nobody realized the true rate of my consumption. The doctor confirmed my father's suspicions (Mom was still too concerned [about my little body and the toll all that Mott's might have taken] to be mounting suspicions): I was drinking so much that I was never hungry.  I was clearly just way ahead of my time on the whole juice cleanse trend.  Regardless, my juicing was restricted to the point where I began to eat again.  Selectively.

I liked to pick pepperonis and sausage off of pizza and leave the rest. I liked to eat the cheese off of nachos and leave the tortilla chips. I would not eat tater tots because I was positive my mom was lying when she said they were "just French fries."  I would not eat rice because something about its shape was alarming.  Orange juice? No. Bologna? Gross. Ketchup? Disgust-o.

I stuck with plain cheeseburgers, macaroni and cheese, turkey sandwiches, potatoes, pancakes, dinner rolls, and pickles.  And I loved chocolate milk.  My sister, who would always eat whatever was put in front of her, called my picky.  My friend's mother's probably hated when I came over.  And restaurants always messed up my order (how hard is it to leave off condiments!?).

My aversion to every unknown food item came to an end the summer after my freshman year of college.  I had gone to visit my (coolest) new college friend down in St. Louis for her birthday.  Ally's family and house and life seemed so classy in comparison to mine!  Her mom paid for us to get facials.  Her sister's summer project was translating a book into German.  I'm pretty the only "summer project" I had was hanging out at the mall and hoping to find a good deal on shoes at Payless.

I was trying hard to pretend like I wasn't horribly small-town and boring, and so when Ally's mom made dinner and pre-tossed the salad in something called ball-salam-ick, I shut up and took some.  Nevermind that I did not eat salad dressing. Ever.

Much to my surprise...I liked it. A lot! And the next night when her dad made salmon on his new cedar planks, I did not (as I usually would have) state that I did not eat fish unless they were in sticks and came from someplace called the freezer aisle. I shut up and ate it. And...liked it! A lot!!

I went back to Michigan with a whole new perspective on the world (ok, ok, mostly on food).  The first day I was back, my friends and I went to Macaroni Grill for one of our traditional dinner-and-then-games nights, and I ordered balsamic vinaigrette with my salad.  My friends looked astonished, and one (a fellow picky eater) exclaimed, "ew, Beth! That sounds gross."  I held my head high and declared that it was something new that I liked -- something they ate in St. Louis (note that this is maybe the only time in the history of St. Louis' existence that it has been used to refer to someplace posh).

That was the beginning of a whole new life for my mouth.  I fed it new things like green peppers, salsa, chili, sweet potatoes, zucchini, cottage cheese, seafood, olives, mustard, and a whole slew of other things that normal people eat on a fairly regular basis.

I still don't like everything, but I am fairly willing to try anything.  And isn't putting things in our mouths (at least once) what life is all about??

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Coworker Conversations

b: that sounds like a good ass wrap
b: a good-ass wrap
b: not a good ass-wrap

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a: wanna play with my hair?
b: if I can do it with my pants unbuttoned
a: nvm

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b: do you leave your socks on when you're being intimate with ladies
C: lol what do you think?
b: I'm 60/40 slanted towards no
C: hahahahahahahahahahahaaha

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

One Year Later

I remember everything about April 15, 2013. I remember how it started like any other work day, only I was more excited than usual because I was volunteering at the Boston Marathon from 2:30-5:30. I remember eating a quick lunch with coworkers before getting on a supremely packed T at 2:00. I remember all of the people pressed in around me.

The woman and her husband who were trying to make it to the finish line in time to see her brother cross, because thanks to an iPhone app, they knew he was on track to finish right around 3:00pm. The man who was with his young son and who had BAA passes for seats in the bleachers lining the finish line. These people who I still wonder about; if they had gotten to the finish before 2:49, if they were harmed, if they saw terrible things, if they're okay.

Everyone on the T was trying to decide whether getting off at Hynes or Copley would be faster.  I chose Hynes with the intention of walking down Boylston to Copley before turning back to the Marriott for my volunteer shift.  This was my first time seeing the Marathon, and I quickly realized that I greatly underestimated how packed the street was going to be.  There was no way for me to wade through the throngs of people from Dalton St to Dartmouth in a timely fashion, so I simply snapped a picture (time-stamped 2:17) looking towards the finish before making my way towards the Marriott.