Spirituality. Or something.

3 05 2013

While jokingly discussing past lives in the car today:

Her: I was a piece of hair in my last life that got pulled out.

Me: Wait. That GOT pulled out? Or that GOD pulled out?

Her: GOT.

Me: Oh I thought you meant God. Like, maybe God is this guy with really amazing hair, but he has an anxiety disorder so he pulls out his hairs and every time he pulls one out, it falls to earth and becomes a human.


Her: I think every time I pull out a hair, I’m actually killing a person.

Me: Wait. Are we the gods? Or are we god’s hairs?

Her: We’re the gods.

Me: Maybe it’s like the Neverending Story. We’re the hairs of God and we’re the gods of hairs.

Her: WHAT.

Me: Remind me to blog this conversation when we get to Starbucks.

Eleven is Hogwarts. Also: The Best Ever Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pasty Recipe

27 04 2013

Oops I forgot to Instagram this yesterday.

My daughter has been really into Harry Potter lately. Which I approve of, of course. Except that, to be honest, I can feel my position as Family Expert on the Wizarding World slipping away as she gets nerdier about it. She keeps quizzing me on little details and while I do pretty well for the most part so far, I can tell it’s not long before she wins that game.


In any case, the traditional celebration for eleven is Harry Potter, of course. And even though I swore off any more birthday parties until she turns 18, I totally got sucked into another one this year. And it was really, really fun. This is the kind of party I could do over and over again. I did some sewing, I did some baking, we had the party at a park, I did nothing else. WIN! Money is very tight right now so my goal with this party was to make due with what resources I have on hand as much as possible. Not counting the food, I probably spent just over $30 on this party. WIN! WIN!

magic stones and wands by ollivander

The thing about inheriting rocks is that from now on all your kids’ birthday parties will be heavily infused with rocks. For a Wizarding World-themed birthday, the rocks become magic stones the kids can take home. A giant slab of quartz geode can become a perfect weight for keeping the handmade goodie bags from blowing away. Tapers can sit in a little glass bowl filled with garnets. Because what the hell else will you do with all these damn rocks? I don’t know if it’s ghetto as hell or just awesome to send my friends’ kids home with rocks, but it seemed to be well received.

what? you don't use fancy polished geodes as paperweights at your kids' parties?

My life is so weird.

I don’t know a lot about sewing. I’ve been playing around with it since I was a kid so I know the basicest basics. But I’m the kind of sewing person (sorry, I can’t call myself a sewer in writing) who needs to google how to thread a machine every time she uses it. But I knew people did sewy things for birthdays so I decided to give it a shot. AND I DID SUPER AWESOME. I made little bags for the favors in house colors without even using a pattern. For the flag banners I read a how-to post online, but no real pattern there, either. I am so stinking proud of myself.


But even more exciting than that is the fact that I’ve finally found a kickass gluten-free pasty recipe. (That’s pass-tee, not paste-y. Just to be clear.) I’ve been trying to find one ever since we went gluten free and I’ve tried various ideas, but none have really worked very well. It’s the gluten that makes dough so flexible, so it’s hard to replicate in this sort of recipe where flexibility is so important. But these are not only workable, but they are strong and flaky. I’ve honestly never had any gluten-free pastry taste so gluteny. The original recipe for the crust is here, but I had to tweak it a little bit because my kids are sensitive to waaaay more things than just gluten. We’ve made this recipe with various meat fillings, too, and it’s delicious savory or sweet. I’m dying to try it with scrambled eggs and bacon or nut butter and jelly. For the pumpkin filling I used a modified version of the pumpkin pie recipe from the La Leche League cookbook. Here’s the whole recipe, put together.

pumpkin pasties

For The Pastry
2 cups white rice flour
1 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp xanthan gum
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
8-10 Tablespoons cold water
1 c water
1 c palm shortening
1 egg, for glazing

In a large bowl mix together the rice flour, tapioca, quinoa flour, xanthan gum, and salt. Cut the palm shortening into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter. Continue mixing until the dough looks like small peas or a sand like texture.

In another bowl mix the apple cider vinegar, eggs, and cold water.

Slowly combine the liquid with the flour, kneading to incorporate all of the water.

Once all the liquid has been added knead for 1-2 minutes to ensure everything is combined well. The dough should be slightly sticky but not too wet.

Cover the dough and refrigerate for 1 hour. (I didn’t really do this step because I am lazy.)

For The Filling

1/2 can butternut squash (I KNOW. Even the “pumpkin” is a lie. But you can totally use pumpkin.) (You can freeze the rest of the squash or double the pastry part of the recipe.)
1 egg
1/8 cup sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all that together.

Putting It All Together

Preheat the oven to 425. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Take a palm-sized ball of dough (that’s palm of your hand, not palm tree, to be clear) and roll it smooth before flattening it into a circle. Drop a small dollop of the pumpkin mixture in the center and carefully fold the pasty in half, pinching it closed into a half-circle.

Once all your pasties are ready to go, brush with beaten egg to give them that pretty, shiny glaze. Put them in the over for 15 minutes at 425, then lower the temperature to 350 until the pasties are beautifully golden.

PhotoJojo University

21 04 2013

Back in March I took a month-long iPhoneography class from PhotoJojo. It was a really fun class that pointed me to some cool new apps, showed me a few things about my phone I wasn’t aware of before, and taught me some techniques I’ve been having fun playing with. These are my favorite photos from the class.

#pjuniversity Tower. Double exposed.

#pjuniversity #nofilter Squirrel's eye view.

Pine and oak bokeh. #pjuniversity

And then we practiced quidditch. #pjuniversity #fastcamera Contrast adjusted in #snapseed

7 Days: Day 3 (Triplets)

#slowshutter #snapseed

Say Anything

18 04 2013

I have writers block or something. I have all these posts that come to mind. But I sit down and I can’t even post pictures. All I’m good for right now are one-liners on Twitter.

But then earlier this week I somehow found myself rewatching Pretty In Pink. I love Pretty in Pink. It’s one of my favorite 80’s movies ever. But I’m not sure how I actually watched it. Normally I put things in my Netflix instant queue with good intentions, but find myself watching The IT Crowd over and over again instead. But this week I had a shitty Tuesday and needed some good old fashioned fluff/love/OMD and Pretty in Pink fits the bill. And naturally I had to follow it with Say Anything. Naturally.

I love Say Anything even more than I love Pretty in Pink and almost any other movie, actually. But parts of it hit fairly close to home so I haven’t seen in in a few years. Cause, see, Diane Court’s dad is totally my mom. I told this to Bethany over Twitter and then made myself a promise that I’d journal this out here because it’s way too complex for Twitter. And also because I need to type something here.

I don’t know what my mom actually had – according to her medical records she was diagnosed as bipolar, but my understanding is that to be bipolar, one must exhibit both highs and lows. And I cannot think of one instance in my entire life where my mom was in a manic phase. I think it is more likely that she had some personality disorder. Paranoid maybe. Or depressive. Maybe borderline.

My mom was charming and charismatic and used these qualities to form unnaturally strong bonds with people. In some cases it would be an intense, but short-lived, friendship. In my case it was a controlling need to have me as her “best friend.” Which is confusing for me now that I’m a mom, because I’m always afraid I won’t know how or where to draw the line in friendship with my children as they grow. I think the biggest thing I can do, that my mom was unable to provide for me, is to give them the opportunity to question me, stop me, and make me apologize when I screw up. In my mother’s case even her apologies were manipulations, deposits into some emotional bank account she’d withdraw from the next time it suited her.

Diane’s dad has a similar relationship with her. He genuinely loves her, but he isn’t capable of love the way a parent should give it – freely. His love is controlling, but disguised as friendship. He tells her that she can tell him anything, but of course she can’t because he can’t actually handle it. He can’t handle the idea that she could be growing up and away from him. When I was 13, 15, and 18 – all significant ages in terms of growth into adulthood – my mom would go through a very difficult phase where she would become belligerent and angry with me. We’d fight all the time and I’d be punished for things that normally would not be an issue (for instance, one day I arrived home only five minutes later than we’d agreed on due to car trouble – I was grounded). She would repeatedly accuse me, “You’ve changed.” Which, of course, I hadn’t. I’d grown. But each time I grew a little more into an adult, she knew she was closer to being alone and she grasped desperately at me. It’s a bloody miracle I wasn’t entirely stunted by her manipulations. Being that I am, to this day, so open to what those I care about think of me, I don’t know how I remained strong and continued in my right growth pattern.

I don’t think Diane’s dad was quite as desperate as my mom in that sense. He still functioned in society and had friends. He didn’t have that same distorted need to keep Diane as close to him as possible. Still, there is definite dislike of Lloyd Dobbler, and I don’t think it’s only because he is worried that Diane will lose sight of her goals. I think it’s because he’s afraid that Lloyd will show Diane things her dad has kept successfully hidden from her. Lloyd is honest and that threatens Diane’s father. Truth always threatens liars. So he spends days trying to talk her into breaking up with Lloyd. And she allows him to make that decision for her. I’m not unfamiliar with this scenario. My mom convinced me to break up with my high school boyfriend.

“I just want you to have everything,” he tells her. “Is that wrong?” Suddenly switching from intense pressure on her to break up with Lloyd, he swings into Loving Father mode. Guilt. She has no right to be angry at her dad because he’s just acting out of love. She’s primed for the next step: sympathy for him. He’s being pestered by the IRS, he’s innocent, there’s so much on his plate right now. No. But don’t worry about him. “Live your life.” And he walks away, mid-hug.

And it’s done. She’s decided to give Lloyd a pen.

And the lies. I lived for years choosing not to see my mom’s lies. They were obvious, so obvious. Embarrassingly obvious. But for one reason or a hundred, I didn’t let myself see them. And I can remember the day I finally had to face them. It was also the day my relationship with my mom became irreparably broken. I see the look in Diane’s face when she goes to the IRS to plead for her father. She gets home and sits for a moment, trying desperately to stay in her safer world of denial before her need for truth takes control and she searches the house, eventually finding the evidence she needs to tear down the facade of her entire world.

“This money’s for you!” Guilt trip.
“I make their lives better!” Excuses.
Switch tactic.
“Go ahead. When I’m old give me someone like me. But go ahead.” Passive aggressive. Distract from the issues. Guilt trip. Make excuses. Gaslight.
Switch tactic.
“Is this because of Lloyd?” Angry. Denial. DEFLECTION.
Switch tactic.
“That’s right. Work it out.” False sympathy. Gross.
Switch tactic.
“Take it easy how bad you make me out to be. I’m the only dad you’ve got.” THREATS.

And she’s done. She’s so ashamed. I know, Diane. I totally know.

Later, from jail: “She can’t still be mad at this?” Actually, you know? She kind of can. Maybe you didn’t notice, but you tore her entire world apart. That’s going to take more than a few weeks to heal from.

And she turns to the only person she has left. Lloyd. And she loves him. She absolutely does. But she runs to him not because she needs him, but because she needs someone. She’s not being dishonest – she doesn’t know how to be dishonest. She’s just reeling, she’s confused, she doesn’t know which way is up. She doesn’t actually know what is real. There are aspects of this that I relate to as well. Needing someone. Running away. Needing to get my bearings. Only I had kids in the middle of that and got stuck as a mom before discovering what my world actually was and exploring it on my own, as an adult.

Maybe that’s why she chose her dad over her mom. Because she was already emotionally tied to him. Or maybe her mom is just that much shittier a parent – she doesn’t represent herself real well in the scene she’s in.

I made the choice, too. Sort of. There were times when I couldn’t stand to be at my mom’s. I remember briefly moving into my grandma’s house as a teenager. Because drunk grandma was better than drunk, lying, hoarder mom. But it didn’t last long. A week? Less? Because I missed my mom.

She always told me that if I lied to her, she’s have a hard time believing me because trust is very hard to rebuild. Ironic, isn’t it? Is that denial? Or was that a subconscious cry to me to stop believing her? In any case, she was right.

There was a time, a few years ago, where her friends called me and told me she’d stopped drinking. And I didn’t believe them. When we cleaned out her house we found no evidence of any alcohol. So they were right. Only. She’d been prescribed a heavy dose of morphine. So how sober was she, really?

So. Say Anything is kind of a heavy movie for me in many ways. And this post was pretty heavy, too. I just don’t have much of the funny writing coming out these days. I mean. Except for those tweets.

Catching Up On Tweets

11 04 2013

I would just like to share that my daughter is singing Depeche Mode in the shower. I am such a proud mommy.
Feb 1

Yoda: “May the Force be with you.” Random kid on Star Tours: “And also with you.” <–Exactly what I always want to say!
Feb 2

When you see a Lamborghini race a Nissan on the freeway and lose you can know that you've seen the Worst Lamborghini Driver Ever.
Feb 3

Things you say while playing Wii Play Motion: Did Jesus and Voldemort just snorkel past?
Feb 5

My kids are cracking Jungle Cruise jokes at each other. I could not be more proud.
Feb 11

I don't mean to micromanage your job performance, Leia, but FOR GOD'S SAKE DON'T LET THE SPIDER GET AWAY.
Feb 17

Kids happened to catch Wheel of Fortune for the first time ever and they are SO INTO IT.
Feb 27

When "Homey don't play that" falls out of your mouth for some reason, it will require you explaining all of 90's pop culture to your kids.
Feb 27

Hint: There's no explaining 90's pop culture.
Feb 27

Margie, regarding Delores Umbridge: "This lady is a common butt cheek."
Feb 28

Elliott has taken to wandering around the house and letting out long melodramatic sighs. I ask what's wrong and he says, "I miss Legoland."
Mar 1

Elliott, regarding ET: You know I starred in that movie. I played myself.
Mar 4

Elliott, regarding me tweeting everything he says: When you tweet about me, I become famous.
Mar 4

Never in the history of all the Fandoms have I shipped anything so hard as I shipped Sawyer and Juliet. ALL THE EXPLETIVES. ALL OF THEM.
Mar 7

Barista: "The large is the taller one and the small is the shorter one." I CANNOT MAKE THIS SHIT UP, PEOPLE.
Mar 8

The neighbor cat is such a bully to my cat. Sitting there on the fence. Just… sitting. What an asshole.
Mar 11

Elliott: "Shakespeare? He's from Doctor Who!" Thank goodness the BBC is there for my kids when I fail as a parent.
Mar 17

Starbucks barista: "Your name is Monney? Like my name but without an M?" You guys? His name was Sam.
Mar 20

Time for bed but I can't use the bathroom because the cat is eating a spider.
Mar 23

I must express my extreme relief at the fact that in Britain they pronounce the word "solder" exactly the way it should be pronounced.
Mar 26

Lost and Doctor Who: A Comparative Essay

8 03 2013

Because there is so much going on in my actual life and my emotional health (I’m way less emo, you guys), but I can’t seem to find the time – well, actually, the energy – to write about it. So let’s nerd out instead, mkay?

Season 5 of Lost is eerily relevant to Doctor Who. I’m sure a lot of that is the whole time travel thing. Certain plot lines, complications, and literary devices are particularly inclined to time travel stories. And, of course, both shows contain intricately-developed characters which lends itself to having similarities in that aspect, too. But what these two ingredients amount to is an insane overuse of caps lock by yours truly. Let’s examine this.

Earlier in the season we have Some Like it Hoth/Father’s Day in which Miles = Rose and we have the emotionalness of going back in time to meet your dead father for the first time in your memory. And also meeting your baby self. But in only one of these stories does the TARDIS stop working and weird gargoyley-buggish things come to “clean the wound”. In Lost there are pretty much no physical ramifications of messing around with time. Except possibly getting shot by your mother while she’s still pregnant with you. But I mean “physical” in the sense of the universe, not individual people.

And, of course, there are characters that exhibit similar traits. For instance Locke (whose name I just typed as “Jocke” which will become funny to you in a minute) has, from day one, taken it upon himself to imagine he knows what’s best for people, without actually considering or listening to their personal opinions. For instance, early in the show Locke sent Boone on a trippy trip by dosing him with hallucinogenic… plants or some shit with the goal of helping Boone… like… see his point of view or something? Most people choose to do such things using archaic tactics such as “having a conversation”. But Locke is highly evolved. Or an asshole. Hard to say.

The Doctor tends to do this sort of thing, too. While I think the Doctor is slightly more justified than Locke since he’s usually operating on limited time and generally acts to save lives rather than to just give people island-made LSD, I also think he’s generally wrong for assuming he always knows best. I haven’t forgiven him for, among other things, what he did to Donna. When we meet Donna she’s fairly aimless. She’s rooted in the world. She senses that there is more out there, but she isn’t able to figure out how to reach for that so she flounders in her life, never really going anywhere. Just waiting. And then she meets the Doctor and travels with him and finds her path. She becomes this wild, wise, strong goddess. And then the Doctor takes all that away from her. He thinks that living a vapid life is better than death for her. In reality what he fears (beyond merely adding another loved one’s demise to his conscience) is his own death. Despite her begging him not to send her back to empty ignorance, he does what his own fears tell him is best and erases all her wisdom and knowledge.

At this point in Lost, Jack “Emo Jack” Shepherd has evolved as a character from the Man of Science who worked against Locke. He’s now reached the point in his personal growth where he becomes Locke’s disciple and is acting now entirely on Faith. Hence “Jocke” giving me the giggles. You, too? No? *ahem*

Jack is following through on Daniel’s plan to reset time back to before Flight 815 crashed. Before Charlie got clean and fell in love with Claire. Before Claire got to meet her baby and decide to keep him. Before Desmond found Penny again. Before Sawyer found peace (um, through, you know, murder). Before Eko found his brother. Before Shannon found… sunscreen? Before Kate didn’t change or grow even one little bit. Sorry. I got nothing there. Every single person was effected massively by that plane crash (excepting, of course, Kate). Every single one of them made some emotional growth. And Jack wants to undo all that in the name of “saving” them. Define “save”. Because, honestly, River being locked up in some computer FOR FUCKING EVER AND EVER AND EVER WITH NO END EVER EVER is not my idea of being saved. And taking away all my emotional growth that I worked really fucking hard for? Also not my idea of being saved.

I just got a little verklempt. The Cleveland National Forest is neither in Cleveland nor is it a forest. Talk amongst yourselves. Also: Buttah.

You’re lucky I steered away from that Dumbledore reference earlier. This post is positively swampy with the fandoms.

Arguing against Emo Jack we have Sawyer trying to explain that Flight 815 was a fixed point in time and shouldn’t be changed. He’d considered the idea of going back to change his own history. To save his mother and father. Just as the Doctor talks about wanting to save his family, his species, his planet. But there is always a consequence. Loss of wisdom, imbalance in time, a Universe ruled by Daleks. The wisdom is to know which is the righter answer. And that doesn’t come easily nor without consequences of its own. Pain, guilt, self-hate.

At some point, though, the reason for which I may have missed because I was busy tweeting all this in caps lock, Sawyer jumps on the Jocke wagon. So they scamper off to detonate the bomb that will reboot the Universe. I mean. The bomb to try turning it off and on again. I mean. The bomb that will create The Incident which will (no it won’t) cause the Dharma people to never build the Hatch (they totally will) so Desmond won’t ever crash the plane (he still does). What seems futile (because, for their goal, it actually was) does, in fact, get them back to present day with smart phones and Google, so it’s not a total loss. Except that Sawyer doesn’t suddenly have parents and he can’t just remember Juliet back into existence (the plus side, of course, being that she never becomes a plastic Auton with guns for hands). Otherwise it’s pretty much exactly the same.

So I don’t know if it’s just that I’m too wrapped up in fantasy worlds, or if this is the Truth of Literature (where Literature = television), but this seems, as I said above, eerily relevant. I don’t think the writers were specifically inspired by/plagiarizing each other, I guess I feel it’s just the magic of story. But dear god how I love the magic of story. And being nerdy. Being nerdy is great fun.

January Tweets

17 02 2013

That awkward moment where Target skips Valentine’s Day and Easter to put out the summer stuff.
Jan 2

Watching Alice in Wonderland and Elliott got excited when he recognized the music from the teacups ride at Disneyland. #doingitbackwards
Jan 4

Jan 4

The dinner I made tonight was unanimously declared “infinity delicious.” Here’s hoping the apple-pear crisp scores as well.
Jan 5

I guess VH1 ran out of decades to love because now they have a show called “Best of I Love the 80’s”. Desperation? Maybe, but I’m watching.
Jan 5

Remembering the 80’s makes me feel old. Remembering “I Love the 80’s” is like a punch in my old face. Look how young Craig Ferguson was! Oy.
Jan 5

And yet I’m so glad I’m a child of the 80’s because, like, what would I do if I couldn’t put the word “totally” in 40% of my sentences?
Jan 5

After I belted out the “My Buddy/Kid Sister” jingle, Margie asked: “But you made that song up, right? Because it’s terrible.”
Jan 5

The benefit to having geeky kids is that when I screw up the Mickey pancakes, they simply become Hidden Mickeys.
Jan 6

Five cop cars outside Starbucks. And still I stop for coffee. This is totally normal behavior.
Jan 8

I think three weeks of no lessons have changed my physiology so that I literally cannot be human before noon.
Jan 8

Someone needs to clone Jon Stewart. So that A) We can all marry Jon Stewart, and B) We can populate the world with Jon Stewart.
Jan 8

Lady at Ikea just spent no less than 15 minutes loudly discussing how her child is ALLLLLLMOST tall enough for the playroom.
Jan 11

Everyone on Facebook is listing what they’re drinking and watching on Netflix. Not totally sure yet, but leaning towards mocha and Sherlock.
Jan 12

Although I think I missed the point since my mocha isn’t alcoholic.
Jan 12

I just want to say that last night in some areas of San Diego it got down to 13 DEGREES. #deargodsaveusall
Jan 12

This weather is pretty much exactly the plot of The Day After Tomorrow. So. You know. Watch out for random wolves.
Jan 12

That said, I’m heading outside now. If I don’t return, send Jake Gyllenhaal.
Jan 12

Doctor Who and Instagram presented my dream last night in which I took a photo of a sunset & dolphins through a wall of (psychic?) bubbles.
Jan 15

Because the kids’ medical insurance is changing they temporarily want me to MAIL MY PAYMENTS TO THEM like it’s 1997 or some shit. Lame.
Jan 15

Elliott: “What the what heck? Cuss poop stupid. Butt crap.” What the what heck, indeed.
Jan 19

Sometimes Margie tricks me into letting her stay up late with requests like, “No, do tell me all about Herman’s Hermits.”
Jan 19

Instead of sleeping I: learned about Sacajawea, googled the link between PMS and insomnia, read Anne of Green Gables. Need pots of coffee.
Jan 23

Oh. Also I scooped the litter box at 4am. Because that’s normal.
Jan 23

I survived Sea World on only 3 1/2 hours of sleep. I deserve an award. And that award should be sleep.
Jan 24

Rainy night on San Diego freeways means people driving anywhere between 33 and 80 mph. Yay.
Jan 26

I went yarning with @bethanyactually, walked to my car in the rain, and drove home listening to Patsy Cline. It was a lovely evening.
Jan 26

You know what, Uterus? I give up. You just go ahead and have a period whenever the heck you feel like it. Whatever.
Jan 30

No but really. It’s a lovely day and we are RIGHT NEXT TO a park. If your kids need to run and scream, take them out of the library. Gah.
Jan 31

Margie: I have a salad and a sandwich. I feel like I’m at Disneyland ALREADY.
Jan 31