Law & Order: Traffic Court

31 01 2011

Scene opens on a cold morning after a rainstorm. It is far too early and there is no coffee; it was presumed that coffee would not be allowed inside. Our heroine, Zebra, has decided to arrive early only to discover a line into the building which takes nearly half an hour. Said line is full of people carrying coffee. Zebra has a head cold and feels slightly dizzy. It does not help when a very polite homie stands in line behind her making himself deaf with music in his headphones loud enough for everyone with five feet to hear (the politeness came when he accidentally stepped on Zebra’s shoes and he apologized profusely). Zebra is bitter and wallows in her misfortune.

Once inside she heads upstairs to Line #2 which is slightly shorter, but moves more slowly. At least this time there are chairs to sit in and she can read while she waits. At the end of the line she is sent across the room to wait some more. Everything is more confusing than usual due to the sickness-induced brain fog, and she is unsure what to do when the Deputy Sheriff doesn’t call her name. It turns out she waits. She should not be so surprised. Eventually she is ushered inside a room where she… waits. But this time not very long – she is the fourth or fifth person to be called to the podium. Arraignment… She has watched enough Law and Order to know that’s something for Bad People. This makes her feel slightly excited and dangerous. She pleads Not Guilty and is ushered into the bail room (dangerous!) to… wait. Eventually she is given a court date to return for a hearing (dangerous!) and some paperwork to sign.

At the end of the two hours she had spent a grand total of five minutes actively fighting the traffic ticket. On March 7th she plans to bring coffee and not be sick. The rest is up to fate. Oh and the judge.





My First Vlog

29 01 2011

All the cool kids are doing it!

Word list:
Aunt, Route, Wash, Oil, Theater, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, Ruin, Crayon, Toilet, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Spitting image, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Syrup, Pajamas, Caught

Questions:
What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
What is the bug that when you touch it, it curls into a ball?
What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
What do you call gym shoes?
What do you say to address a group of people?
What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
What do you call your grandparents?
What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
What is the thing you change the TV channel with?

Notes:
1. As it turns out, the mayonnaise story wasn’t really that funny. Sorry about that.
2. When I say “Sprite” what I really mean is “Shasta” – my grandparents never bought name brand sodas. That would be frivolous. This is a good example of why I don’t vlog often; I can’t hit the backspace key and edit it.
3. I’m really frankly disappointed wash wasn’t on the list. That’s a big one, in my opinion, since certain regions (which ones I cannot tell you) add a random “R” in there for fun.
4. When I’m using the front view camera, I get distracted by myself and forget to look at the actual camera. I did my best to try to look at “you” here. You’re welcome.
5. The app is here.

Your turn! Leave me a link in the comments if you play along, mkay?





Lavender Cookies

26 01 2011

i nommed it

One of the best parts of my swap package was a recipe for lavender cookies complete with lavender buds. I’ve had them stuck to the fridge for weeks now, drooling every time I walked past.  I considered saving them for my birthday next week, but I finally couldn’t stand the suspense any longer and I made them last night.

I don’t typically cook at night. I don’t know why. I think it began when Margie was a baby and refused to be put down or to stay asleep if so much as a pin dropped within several miles. And then it just became a part of how I do things. But knowing Bethany who often (unless maybe she’s all drugged up on nursing hormones) bakes the night away has made me realize that just because my kids are asleep doesn’t mean I have to be glued to the couch – particularly now that Margie sleeps like a normal kid.

And so I baked cookies last night. And it was a good idea.

lavender cookehs

Corey’s recipe called for almonds, but I had some pecans left over from holiday baking so I used those instead. I also subbed out the butter for palm shortening because I am low on Earth Balance and also because Claire informed me that palm shortening is a totally better choice anyway. I subbed out the wheat flour for my basic gluten-free mix and I think the white sugar (or, you know, organic evaporated cane juice) probably helped stabilize the dough to make them as perfect as wheat ones would be. And then, for the last few cookies, I added chocolate chips and you know what? Eh. The lavender itself is incredible – believe it or not the chocolate actually takes away from the perfectness. Such a rare event is bound to be evidence for how awesome these cookies are. So you should make some.

and then i added chocolate chips

The problem is that now I want lavender in everything. Brownies? YES! Coconut bark? YES! My friend makes a kickass lavender lemonade, and another friend gave me lavender chocolates for Christmas. I am pretty sure this year is going to be all about lavender.

And now, Corey’s recipe – thanks again, Corey, for letting me share this!

1/2 C butter
2 eggs
1 C sugar
1 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
2/3 C almonds
1 Tbs lavender buds
pinch salt

Stir lavender and sugar together. Combine remaining ingredients. Cut in butter. Beat eggs and combine until a dough is formed. Drop on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes. Makes 3-5 dozen.





Blind Spot

23 01 2011

Wow, that could be a title for a really deeply philosophical entry. But it’s not. Sadly, it’s a lot more expensive than philosophy.

A few weeks ago I was driving the kids to PE on a Tuesday afternoon. We were running late so I felt rushed but I don’t think I was speeding. I did not, however, make a full stop before making a right turn on a red light. Even so, the maneuver wasn’t unsafe. I pulled into traffic and knew there was a car on my left. We passed another intersection and headed down the hill towards where I would have to make a left turn. The street was not long so I turned on my blinker right away, checked my mirror, glanced backwards and did not see the small car that had been in that lane there. I adjusted my speed slightly to make sure he was gone (I assumed he had turned left at the previous intersection), double checked my mirrors and changed lanes. And then the missing car honked and, according to the police officer a few minutes later, slammed on his brakes. I feel he must have been trying to make it impossible for me to change lanes since he clearly stayed in my blind spot even though I adjusted my speed.

I was flustered due to being late and not entirely sure at this point why I had been pulled over (was it for the California roll at the red light? had I been speeding?) so when the cop asked me if I knew why he’d pulled me over I told him quite honestly I did not. Hell if I was going to incriminate myself further, but I think the answer set him against me from the beginning. He did not believe me when I told him I’d looked in my mirror and my window. And so now I have my first moving violation.

And this is where I ask your advice, dear readers. I have a court date a week from tomorrow at 8am. According to the paper I’ve been sent, I must pay my fee in advance even if I am going to plead not guilty, although when Alex got a ticket a few years ago, he did not have to pay anything. So I’m confused. Traffic school is, naturally, more expensive than the ticket itself. I’m frustrated because money could not be tighter right now and I’m just not really sure how to handle this. Have any of you had any experience with this? Even if you haven’t, I would appreciate all the good wishes and prayers you have to make this go away with as little effort on my part as possible. I have to put my effort elsewhere these days.





A Few Photos from the Wild Animal Park

21 01 2011

Want to read more about our day with Sonja? Clicky here!

flowers

beginning and end

wooden fence

sunset on cacti

see how lucky I am today?





Latkes? Cakes? Patties? I don’t know, but they were yummy!

15 01 2011

I have this quirk where I generally refuse to follow recipes, patterns, instructions, et cetera. (Except for when I do, of course.) This leads about half the time to failures but the other half the time I’m so damn proud of myself for doing it on my own that it completely obliterates the fails from memory. I feel this whole cycle enhances my cuteness. This recipe is a story of a WIN coming from a FAIL(ish).

This week I made some quinoa that came out rather, er, fluffy. I had intended it for a salad mixed with some kabocha squash, but the quinoa was sticky and much softer than usual so it didn’t mix well. It tasted ok, but the consistency inspired me to make this delicious fried patty.

I don’t measure things (please see the first paragraph) so I can’t really offer you more details than this.

Cooked quinoa
Roasted, cubed kabocha or other squash
1 egg
Flour (I used coconut which is a VERY VERY thirsty flour so I only used a rounded tablespoon – basically use the amount you’d use in a meatloaf or meatballs or just enough to make it moldable without being sticky)
salt, pepper and probably garlic power (what? it was days ago, I can’t remember what all I put in it!)
If I’d had scallions I would have liked to add those.

Mix with your hands, form into patties, fry in a pan full of oil (I used coconut).

frying

I served these with some chicken salad and pickles.

squash and quinoa latkes

So what do you think? What shall I name these?





Cold Winter’s Tweets

13 01 2011

ZebraBelly is watching the Twin Peaks episode of Psych. I’ve not yet seen Twin Peaks, so this is all going way over my head. “Dual Spires” -I get that.
1 Dec

Margie: Today’s a ripass, kickass day!
2 Dec

ZebraBelly is camping out for the parade, knittin’ an orca.
4 Dec

I really feel that motorcycles racing down the road full of pedestrians at or above the speed limit is just not safe. Even if they are cops.
4 Dec

A car with a spaceship just went by. Airbrushed on the side: WELCOME YOUR SPACE BROTHERS. I think that wins this year’s parade.
4 Dec

Ok. Low rider just broke down in front of us. Perhaps THIS wins?
4 Dec

Oh. Now a truck just drove by and handed out canned food. In the parade.
4 Dec

Stormtroopers!!!! Darth Vader!!
4 Dec

Guess who needs a new tranny!
7 Dec

Different kind of tranny. Way less fun. MUCH rather have Tim Curry than a transmission.
7 Dec

Well to be honest, I don’t have a diagnosis yet. We take it in tomorrow to the trans place. Mostly I just wanted to say “tranny”
7 Dec

OK, I know a CSA is a wonderful way to enjoy natural stuff, but does that have to include hitchhiker spiders?
7 Dec

While I am sad to say goodbye to the prospect of Tim Curry, I am THRILLED to say my current tranny is totally FINE.
8 Dec

Margie: It’s so hot outside I was feeling frisky like a Labrador pup!
8 Dec

Why yes I did just cuss out my son’s car seat. It deserved it.
16 Dec

(Watching TV) Alex: Oh wow! Me: Non-Newtonian fluids! Alex: I know! Right? #Nerds
19 Dec

Margie: I like purses. They’re fun. And it’s easier than hauling all my stuff in a hat.
20 Dec

Let 2010 be known as the year my kids finally made an attractive gingerbread house!
20 Dec

I realize I washed my debit card, but everyone besides my own bank can still read it. Chase, just another reason you suck.
21 Dec

Holy crap. Onion Sprouts, where have you been all my life?Can we get married??
21 Dec

Dear Me, just because you can handle SOME milk chocolate doesn’t mean you can handle holiday amounts. Kindly remember this next year. Thanks
24 Dec

FYI: Gravy jelly beans are, sadly, not as wonderful as you would expect.
25 Dec

OMFG, you can get some Harry Potter books in Latin, Welsh, Ancient Greek and Irish. #nerdgasm
25 Dec

Elliott, watching the bad guy scene in A Christmas Story: “Oh, the mimes are dead.” Mimes are bad guys, too, so I didn’t correct him.
25 Dec

Elliott last week, when I wore lipstick for the first time in his memory, apparently: “Mommy? What’s WRONG with your mouth?”
25 Dec

ZebraBelly is standing in line behind a woman who clearly forgot her pants.
27 Dec

Guess who can totally honk again? Also roll up her window?and all for $700 less than expected! Woo!
28 Dec

ZebraBelly is teaching her children about the world that is The Brady Bunch. Because I am just that great of a mommy.
28 Dec





MOAR GHOSTS!

7 01 2011

On New Year’s Eve, we tried that whole Haunted Limo thing again. This time it worked! Hooray! The only hitch was that originally we had a group of seven people, which would fit perfectly in the seven person limo they ordered for us, but then two more joined us late. Which made for a very crowded haunted limo. Luckily, after the first stop, the two young couples decided to lap-sit which made everything a lot more comfy for us, if not for them.

The Whaley House was closed that night (so was all of Old Town, it was very strange) so we didn’t go inside, but to make up for that, we got to attend a seance at some awesome old historic home. But we did stand on the porch of the Most Haunted House in San Diego and listen to some stories. And there I spied the shadow of a ghost on the door frame! Just kidding, it was the tour guide’s shadow.

ghost?

Really the best part of this tour was the history. I had no idea that Wyatt Earp was linked to San Diego. Normally I have a strong aversion to cowboy-westerny things but now I’m curious to learn more about him. Our second stop was the hotel he used to stay in. This hotel, and another, were moved several blocks and combined into what is today known as the Horton Grand Hotel. Presumably formerly the Horton and the Grand, but I have a short attention span and kept forgetting to listen.

wyatt earp's room

hanuted rooms

It was here that I photographed a ghost. Apparently this is the ghost of Ida Bailey, San Diego’s most famous madam, who had her brothel in this spot before the hotels were moved here.  We were told she often hangs out on the stairs and that we should try snapping some photos. That’s not why I took the pictures, though – the staircase is just plain photo-worthy. As soon as I took the third one (and the only one relatively in focus) I saw the spot there on the stairs. She looks more blue and blobular now than in her photographs.  I did not notice the spots in the other two photos until I got home. While these might be simply light orbs, I’m choosing to go with the supernatural because it’s more exciting that way.

MOAR GHOST!

MOAR GHOST!

ZOMG GHOST!

And then we had to drive over the bridge. On New Year’s Eve when the streets are simply teeming with drunk people and I had no easy way to jump out of the limo in case it flew off the bridge. Hello, anxieties! You will be happy to know I lived (or maybe you’d think it would be cooler if I was a ghost writing this. Sorry to disappoint you. Asshole).

But at the end of the bridge lies the Hotel Del which is possibly my favorite place in San Diego. I am no stranger to wandering the halls there and, in fact, as a teenager I’d lead my friends on my own haunted tours of the place, telling the story of Kate Morgan and showing off her room. There were no limos involved in my tours, although we did sometimes steal toiletries. On this tour we were not, technically, allowed to go exploring the hotel, but we were given a free fifteen minutes and the room number just in case we, er, were into breaking laws. And we totally were. Well, Summer and I were. I don’t honestly think anyone else left the lobby. Chickens.

ghost of the del

haunted room

Back across the bridge (picture a sped-up scene like that of the boys racing to and from the bullies in A Christmas Story), and to the seance. This was weird. There were candles on the table and we all held hands and invited spirits to join us. The candles flickered to answer, “yes.”  I’m not clear as to how they could do that, but I’m also not really buying it. I tried breathing hard to see if I’d make the candles flicker. It was unclear. Some random child ghost tried contacting Summer for no reason. Real helpful, child ghost.  Thanks.  The people across the table from me had lots of activity. Maybe they breathed heavier than I did.

seance candles

And then we drove up to Presidio Park, had some champagne to welcome in the New Year, and climbed to the top of a little building that has a pentagram tiled into the roof. There are no ghosts here, as far as I can remember, but we were told that witches (both “black and white” – and it took me a full minute to understand that he wasn’t talking about race) hold circles there. Indeed there were stumps of wax in the center. I was, at least, happy to hear him speak nicely of the “white” witches, and to clarify that they work in love only. I don’t really feel I fit into Wicca, but, being Pagan, I do feel related to them somehow and get defensive when people misunderstand. I am still having a hard time believing “black” witches exist in any form other than annoying teenagers.

new year's champagne

limo & the presidio

We crossed the street to the edge of the hill and were told a story of how Charlie the rainmaker came to San Diego in 1916 and gave more rain than was bargained for. Awesome. I mean. Not the flood and destruction part, but the fact that the city hired a rainmaker. Awesome. Apparently this flood was so powerful that all of Mission Valley – all.of.it – was under water. And this caused the bank of the hill we were standing on to erode. And that hill? Happened to be a graveyard. Awkward.

Our last stop was the graveyard in Old Town where I tried once again to photograph orbs, but did not succeed. We did get a photo with the tour guide, though.

us & the tour guide

Happy New Year, Ghosts of San Diego!





Moving Forward

3 01 2011

collage detail

I considered naming this post, “Back to My Future” or “From Here To the Future” but then I vomited a little and decided that it’s probably best to keep things simple. You’re welcome.

This year has been BIG for me. You have no idea the things that have gone on within my head. Years worth of healing have led to growth which has built the platform for the things to come. I have identified and begun to conquer some childhood demons, I’m finally beginning to Embrace the Flaky, I’ve made peace with the religion of my birth (I mean, except for the assholes who abuse it, but there has never been peace to be made with them), I’ve reconnected with my instinctual self, I’ve learned to love my anxious self while still pushing myself through those anxieties, I’ve made some goals and acted on them, I’ve learned that I’m not stagnant at all, but that sometimes I have to let my Oak Tree lead me.

mirrors

This upcoming year, in lieu of resolutions or Uberlists, or a Word of the Year, I set my deepest intention simply to allow my Oak Tree to guide me. She knows what I do not, and so far she’s always been right. I believe she always will be.

me!

I will, though, re-begin a list of goals to accomplish. This list has no time limit, as life does not conform to the Western 365-day calendar.  It’s also lighter, not heavy like the soul-work that happens all on its own.  I don’t want to call this my bucket list, or even my life list, but I’m not sure what to call it yet. My Keep-Me-Busy List? My Richness of Life List? Please do comment on each of the lists within this list and share your recommendations with me. I intend to refer to this list often, but I hereby declare that if I do not, that is OK, too, because a List is just a list and I will not allow myself to kick me for anything ever. (Hear that, subconscious?)

vision board 2011

This year, primarily thanks to Karen and Own Your Beauty, I made myself a vision board. I did this one primarily on instinct rather than conscious intent, although I do not believe there is any wrong way to envision a year. I chose gold paint for the background for the obvious reasons (I am often drawn to gold and purple, colors of richness and royalty, when I do soul-art), but as I was painting it, I was reminded strongly of Leslie’s gold room in Bridge to Terabithia and I felt the joy that came that afternoon when they were finished. (Someday, I will have a gold room of my own. With a happier ending.) I used a technique Claire taught me which involves cutting up an old calendar and gluing the squares down into a grid – I intend to focus on organization this year. I threw on a small collage in the corner which represents various things to me in various levels. To finish, I added mirrors around the edge to remind myself always to reflect and to see me for who I am.  I had planned to write words on it, but then decided I didn’t need to.  If I had the words would have been something like: listen, reflect, remember art, ground yourself in nature, breathe deep. Originally I wanted to frame this so that I can keep the current year on top of the older ones, but in the end I wound up with a canvas. I may layer next year’s vision on top of this. We’ll see. I love it. It’s beautiful. At least I think so.

How about you? What has 2010 meant for you? What do you foresee for yourself for the future?





APU Swap 2010

1 01 2011

Can you believe I didn’t photograph the things I sent out this year? I was madly knitting quite literally up to the moment I packed it all up sent it off (one day late) and I guess in the shuffle, I forgot. What I sent was a little craft kit for the kids, a decorate-your-own-cookie for Brian, and I made Jessie a hat and scarf set. I tried choosing a color she’d like that would compliment her winter coat. I hope I did an OK job of that.

I also sent a bunch of Mexican candy because Jessie had mentioned being interested in recieving food or other things that were local to her swap-sender’s area of the world. If I am remembering right, I sent her some pico, some saladitos (naturally), some mango-chile suckers, and some tamarind candy. I also threw in some Pinguinos and some Bimbo conchas because I’m super mature. Oh, also because I used to buy conchas at the local panaderias before going gluten-free.

My swap-sender turned out to be Corey who sent a bunch of really incredible stuff. I am typically not a present-shaker. I am happy to wait until gift-opening time to be surprised. But this year, due to that big East Coast blizzard, there was talk of delaying the opening of the gifts (we all open them “together” in a chat) and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to contain myself. I did, and it’s a good thing, too, because this is what I found when I opened the box:

thank goodness I didn't cheat

I also found this note describing everything in detail.

spolier alert!

And then the kids opened their big gift. What was inside is one of my favorite things this whole year.

opening a gift

leia ornament

indy ornament

And then my stuff. There was a big chunk of soft lovely purple yarn, some goat’s milk soap (Corey knows these goats personally!), a handmade (and I believe hand-grown) lavender eye pillow, some note cards with local-to-Corey apple packing crate labels on them, a set of magnets, and this sweet little clay dish I am absolutely in love with – it deserves its own picture because I have honestly never seen anything like it.

mah loot

my new favorite thing

There were some other things, too, that didn’t make it into photos for one of many reasons (most likely: I got distracted). A woolen Navajo-design rug, a pair of psychic socks*, a hand-made card with a recipe for lavender cookies inside (and the lavender to make the cookies!), as well as some candy and tattoos for the kids. I think I am remembering it all. It was a really sweet package. Thanks, again, Corey! And, thanks, APU, for always being you. I love you all.

*The socks themselves were not psychic, but the fact that Corey bought them last January, long before she know I, an avid lover of socks, would be her partner, adds a very cool element to the story.








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