Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day 9: Loves

Whew! After the last couple of posts, I needed something feel good to post about! Talking about things I love is easy, and uncomplicated. I don't question whether I actually love or like or somethingelse things. I just love them! Since we already discussed food, I'll go ahead and leave those off the list. Though truth be told, I love ice cream so much, it could probably go on this list too! Okay, so... stuff I love!

1. My family.


This picture is old (Thanksgiving 2006), but you get the idea. I went on about my family on day 1, so I won't do it again.

2. My friends!


I miss my friends.

3. Animals


I love animals. Even insects. It's part of the reason I'm a vegetarian, all of the reason I hate zoos, and my reason for smiling about a hundred times a day (a mouse ran across my path today and I squealed out loud).

4. Buffy. Seriously. I've seen this series front to back at least ten times since I discovered it. The dialogue is great, there's a great mix of the supernatural and the ordinary (especially in later seasons), and some of the most creative television ever (a musical episode? an episode where for half of it no one speaks aloud?). If you haven't seen it, give it a chance! But be aware that season one, while still having great moments, is pretty cheesy. Stick with it!

5. Books. I've been a reader for as long as I can remember. My first love is the short story, but I'm not averse to novels, any genre will do. I've read horror (a LOT of horror, actually), YA, romance, even a little mystery. The thing is, my love of reading combined with my near-crippling shyness makes it so that if there's a book or magazine within reach while I'm in an uncomfortable social situation, I'm reading it! Right now I'm reading The Girl With Brown Fur by Stacey Levine. I love this collection, but also understand it's not for everyone. If you prefer your books/stories to be plot driven, you'll hate this. Each story is like a dream. Things don't make sense, they meander, there's little if any resolution. But the writing is lovely, and the stories make you think.

6. Old Folks.


I worked at an old folks' home for eight years. Before that, my favorite day at the bookstore was Tuesday, Senior Day (I was in the distinct minority). There is so much to love about older people. It's not just the wisdom they impart, or that they always think you're younger than you are (and say things like, "Oh, dear, life doesn't get started until you're thirty!"). It's that they have so much love and care to share, and don't always have the chance to do it. Some of my best friends of the last ten years or so have been 75+. I encourage you to volunteer at your local old folks' home if you have a chance. If you're a little shy, go for the dementia unit. If you act like you already know them, you're in! Whenever I've found myself on a dementia unit, I've found myself instantly surrounded by friends.

7. Shoes! I won't even say how many pairs I have (I don't even know for sure), but I am a totally typical girl on this one.

8. Travel.


I first went on a plane in June of 2006 for my best friend's wedding. She got married in Vegas, and I considered driving, but couldn't take that much time off. Aside from a few involuntary tears at takeoff, I loved flying! I haven't looked back since. My hope is to travel the world, including a trip back to India.

And of course...



I may not churn out FO's like I used to (which still doesn't reach the level of some of my bloggy pals), but not a day goes by that I don't troll through Ravelry or knitting blogs or think in some way about knitting. It's with me for life!

Tomorrow (?), the last day of this challenge! 10 secrets. Better start thinking now.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Day 8: Fears

Well, rats! I missed a day! I'm still proud of myself for posting every day for a week though!

Today's topics is fear. What I like about this challenge is that I find myself really thinking about each one. On this one, I realized that I don't have many fears. I have a lot of worries, but they're all things I can sort through logically and talk myself out of. To me, a fear is something ingrained within you that no amount of bargaining with yourself will alleviate. As I thought to myself what my real fears are then, I thought maybe I was confusing fear with phobia? Because I came up with three:
1. The dark
2. Small spaces
3. Needles (syringes, not tattoo or piercing needles, certainly not knitting or sewing needles!)

So these last 5 are actually just my most profound worries.
4. Failure
5. Alzheimer's Disease/senility
6. Losing touch
7. Losing time
8. Losing control

Two more days! And coming up, we're supposed to get some sunshine so I can take a picture of my WIP!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day 7: Wants

Guys, I am honestly in awe of myself that I am on day 7 and have not yet missed a day! I don't think I've ever blogged every day for a week in my life.

Anyway, seven wants. This is hard, really hard. I'm one of those annoying people who, when asked what they want for their birthday or Christmas or whatever, always says, "Oh, I dunno. I have everything I need." And it's true! Over the years I've been lucky enough to obtain most everything I could want or need, excluding shinynew stuff. And honestly, most of the time shinynew just isn't enough to churn my butter any more.

Hmmm... a butter churn. My birthday IS coming right up.

Anyway, since I don't think I could even come up with seven things I want, I'll try to get a little less literal about this one. So sorry, Sister, this won't be a list of appropriate birthday gift ideas. (My birthday really is next week and she's been asking me for a month now what I want. I just send ideas as they come to me.)

Since this is going to be a little more personal than I usually get on the blog. I'll simply submit my list without comment. Read into it what you will.

1. Love
2. Happiness
3. To make a difference
4. To have work that I love, that challenges me and makes me happy
5. My bunnies back
6. 15 fewer pounds and the will to keep them off
7. Time

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day 6: Places

One of my favorite things is to daydream about places. Sometimes I imagine the places I want to go and the things I want to do and see there. Other times I fall into nostalgia for my childhood home or feel the desperate tug of homesickness. And then there are the times I'm on the train to work or sitting by the pond in the Common and think, "Holy shit! I live here!" Places are some of my favorite things to think about. My top 6?

Home. Home for me is Maine, and it always will be. Whether it's the wee tiny town I grew up in or the sweet city I lived in before I moved, Maine always gives me a feeling of calm.


Home now is Boston. There are so many things I miss about Maine: my family, friends, the beach, space... but Boston is pretty cool too. There's the Freedom Trail, which is a great walk. Delicious food options everywhere. Ducklings in the pond, museums (the MFA is my fave), streets soaked in history. I mean, I stood in Paul Revere's house!


Someplace I like to daydream about as home is New York City. I know I've only been once, but I just can't get the city out of my mind! I want the luxury of time to explore every corner of it and squeeze every drop of satisfaction I can out of it.


My dream is to travel the world, the whole thing! But the places that always come up again and again in my imaginary wandering are:
Paris! I want to go to the Louvre! See the Eiffel Tower! Drink a luxurious coffee with some pain au chocolat at a sidewalk cafe!

Rome! Again with the history and amazing food. And I don't know a single word of Italian that doesn't relate to a menu, but I'd love to listen to it spoken all day.

Alaska! I love being outdoors and whale watches, and Alaska seems like the greatest place on earth for both.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day 5: Food

Okay, I could get all philosophical here and wax poetic about feeding my soul, my heart, my mind etc. But I love real, actual food. LOVE! Gained over twenty pounds my first semester of grad school type love (oops). I've been trying to reverse that addition since December without much luck, but it's SO HARD when Ben & Jerry go and make something like this and I'm powerless... powerless I tell you!

Anyway, what a great lead-in to the introduction of my favorite food! Ice cream!


My mouth is full of sweet teeth already, but there's one that is wholly devoted to ice cream and all of its kin. Frozen yogurt, sherbet, sorbet, gelato, soft serve, frozen custard.... If it's frozen and sweet, I'm on it. My love runs so deep, I worked at Dairy Queen for five years and never got even a little sick of it.

On a healthier note, my mornings all start with this:


I even usually have raisins in it! I rotate between a few basics add-ins. The usual base is a healthy spoon of cinnamon and a good shake of nutmeg as the water heats (and maybe some cardamom, if I'm using raisins or blueberries), pour finished oats over fruit, usually banana, dried apple (which I put in while I let the oatmeal rest for at least five minutes after it's done cooking, if you like clumpy oatmeal, definitely do this), raisins, or strawberries. Something I add in some walnuts, I always add flax. If I have any, I add a nice dollop (about a tablespoon) of natural peanut butter (no spices, just flax and pb) and mix it in. Sooooo good. Mix it all up and pour some almond milk over it et voila! Breakfast!

My obsession du jour is hummus. I've always loved hummus, but now I have it at least once a day. It just doesn't get better than hummus and broccoli. For real.


My favorite is Cedar's Garlic Lover's Hummus. I love it as a dip with any kind of vegetable, I love it in a wrap with spinach and carrots and tomatoes and my next favorite food, I love it slathered on a bagel or as a dip for pita. I especially love it right out of the container with a spoon. My habit is getting so serious, I'm really going to need to start making it myself again!

For the longest time I was sure I hated my next favorite food, and I'm not even sure why! I have a vague memory of thinking it would be slimy, I guess. But I have more than made up for the years I spent without it, the mighty avocado!


My most favorite way to have avocado is over scrambled eggs, but I also love it in wraps, in maki, in burritos, chili, on veggie burgers, as guacamole. And, of course, straight up. My trick with avocado is to leave the pit in the half you're not eating right away (everyone eats them half at a time, right?), or in your bowl of guac to keep it from turning brown. It works!

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't include the food I always gaze at longingly every time I go shopping but hardly ever buy because it doesn't come in quantities small enough for a single person to reasonably consume.


Oh, baby! I love cheese in general (keep meaning to branch out a little), but brie is far and away my favorite. Maybe because I hardly ever have it? I love the texture, I love the flavor, I even love the rind. I'll spread or slice it into or over most anything. I most recently had it for the first time baked in phyllo and let me tell you, thank god I was at a party and couldn't just stand there and eat the entire wheel. MMmmmm....

Well, good thing I already ate dinner (a wrap with hummus) and dessert (a little (*pint*) of Ben & Jerry's latest offering. Otherwise, I'd be pretty hungry right now!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Day 4: Books

Did I mention that you need to make a list as long as the number of days of the challenge? It occurred to me that I may have left that part out. Anyway!

Day 4, books! As you might imagine, I'm a big reader. I don't remember a time in my life when I didn't read, anything I could get my hands on. This means I read some pretty questionable stuff when I was little (Jackie Collins, anyone?). There are only a couple of books I ever read that I couldn't even finish; a book has to be pretty terrible for me to not even want to know how it ends! Luckily, the thing with books is, it's very hard to crack into my top 10. Most of the books on there are ones I've read at least ten times (usually more), or only once but they affected me and my own writing in such a deep way, I can't stop thinking about them.


The first book I remember loving so much I couldn't stop reading it until it was finished was Charlie & The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. In fact, I loved it so much, I started it right over again when it was finished, reading it twice in a weekend.


I know that American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis is (or was, anyway) controversial, but I love the depths Ellis sinks into the mind of a madman. Whether or not Bateman is actually doing the things we read in the book is irrelevant. The long, rambling chapters on Genesis and Huey Lewis + the News and Whitney Huston... the minute attention to detail... the failure of anyone around him to recognize anyone else... these are at the heart of the book. I love the pace, I love the tone, I love the twisted voice of the narrator. This book also contains one of my favorite and most repeated quotes, "Disintegration - I'm taking it in stride."


During my undergraduate studies, I was forced to take a composition course wherein we were required to read a lot of really boring books. By the time we got to The Beggar Maid by Alice Munro, I was prepared to hate it. Instead, I was immediately riveted. It was my introduction to linked short stories, and I was entranced. Here was a way to get to a novel without all the intimidation of writing a novel! Munro's writing is also just incredible. This is one of her earlier books, and she just gets better and better with every new collection. If you appreciate really good writing, really good craft, pick up some Munro.


Closing out my list is one of the newer additions to my top ten, Blindness by Jose Saramago. I think I cried about five times reading this book. There are moments that are sad, moments that are heartbreaking, moments that are just so full of emotion that there's nothing to do but cry. The entire thing has the most enchanting, ethereal sort of voice, a contrast to the barbarism that happens in a lot of the book. I recommend this book to everyone I talk about books with. And now I'm recommending it to you!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Day 3: Films

So, for as hard as it was to pick two songs, it was almost harder to pick just three movies. I am a movie fiend. I'll watch pretty much anything, especially in the theater, and the list of movies I love grows by which one I've most recently rediscovered. There are a few though that endure, and always come to mind immediately when people ask what my favorite movies are.

Pretty in Pink is probably my number 1, all time favorite movie. The Breakfast Club comes close, and I admit I'm a slave to John Hughes in general, but Pretty in Pink just so perfectly encapsulates the teenage '80's movie. There's the hopelessly cool girl from the wrong side of the tracks you desperately want to be, the quirky nerdy guy you love because he's so funny and attainable, and the breathtakingly hot guy who is completely out of your reach. In my case, the hopelessly hot guy is actually Stef, not Blaine, 'cause James Spader? RAWR!

For as much as I love (x1million) movies from the '80's, my love for zombie movies runs as deep. I am a zombie purist, and worship at the altar of George Romero. The first zombie movie I ever saw was his Dawn of the Dead over Christmas break my Junior year in high school. At first, I just loved the gore and suspense, but then I started to really consider the zombie in relation to society and... I'll spare you. I can go on for days about zombies.

Since I'm basically doing my favorites of a genre, how about ending with my favorite for an actress? Like many others, I love Audrey Hepburn. Of course I love all of the usual suspects, but the one I've chosen here, Wait Until Dark is the one I think is her best. It's harrowing and suspenseful, sure to give you chills!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day 2: Songs

I've been thinking over this post since before I even started this meme. I love music, all different kinds, and have for my entire life, so choosing just two songs has seemed impossible. Do I go with firsts? (First album I owned on my own: Like a Virgin. First song that made me realize there was a whole world of music out there not on the radio: The Only Time by Nine Inch Nails.) Should I choose two of my most recent obsessions? Songs I can't stop listening to? (Because that's another thing; when I discover a song/album that I love, I listen to it on repeat for days, and when I'm not listening to it, it's playing in my head.) Or maybe a couple of songs with some history attached? The song that always reminds me of dancing in the kitchen with my dad, or the song I loved as a kid that I had no idea was so filthy. (Sugar Walls,, I'm looking at you!) In the end, I'm choosing two songs that I listen to when I'm feeling sad, hopeless, a little down... songs I can count on to make me feel happier and stronger, more able.

The first is from one of my favorite singers of all time, the inimitable Dolly Parton. I've loved Dolly since I was a little girl (my dad loved her too), and I just think she's so talented and positive. She's on the list of people I hope to get a chance to meet some day, even though I am certain I will make a fool out of myself!

(Bonus! Amy Sedaris is in this video!)

The second song is very different from Dolly! What I love about this song is that it's about powering through adversity and sadness, much like Dolly's song is, but in a much more aggressive tone. It's A Better Son/Daughter by Rilo Kiley. There isn't a video for it, so I chose one that shows the lyrics.

Friday, June 17, 2011

10 Day YOU Challenge!

So my bloggy pal Adrienne is doing a 10 day blogging meme. I clearly need some motivation not just to blog but to write, so I decided to take part! Part 1: Photograph

I have roughly one million photographs in my possession. Some are digital, some are actual printouts from the '50's and '60's, some are scans. I wanted to choose one photo that meant a lot not just because the photo was nice to look at or evoked an emotion like calm or giddiness. I wanted to choose one where the subject matter itself was important to me. This made it a much easier choice.


I don't have a lot of pictures of my whole family together. I have lots of my brother and sister and I, but Daddy is an elusive subject. Sure, this isn't technically my whole family. I have a mom and cousins, and a gramma and aunt and uncle, etc... but to me, to all four of us, this is our family. We fight, we tease, we bitch about each other... but at the root of it all is the most true, deep love anyone could ever know. We are always there for each other, even if there's an eyeroll involved (I'm looking at my brother for that one), and we always come together at important moments. Like holidays... and graduations. This is my little sister graduating with her Respiratory Therapy degree (I think I already posted it). She just got a job in Virginia, which seems as far away from New England as India. But even though I will miss her tremendously, I am so happy and proud of her. (I only wish my nephews were in this photo. As spawn of my sister, they are naturally added to the fold!)

Want to play along? Guidelines are here! Let me know if you do it. If I don't already follow you, I will!

So, along with the meme, I have actual, factual knitting content! I'm so close to finishing the U-Neck Vest!


I have a half inch to go until I divide front and back, and then I'll pretty much be finished! Just in time for my summer class to start! Ha ha

(And PS: Happy Happy HAPPPPPPPPPPPPY Birthday to Purl Diva! My most cherished, favorite of yarn stores, and my most favorite job ever! Congratulations on five years, and here's to at least ten times as many more.)

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Is This Really My Schedule?

Monthly? Really? Ha ha I really thought that once school was done I'd be posting at least weekly, but it seems like I've been so busy, I've hardly had time to write in my paper journal, much less blog. First, my BFF came to visit all the way from Texas!


She was here for almost a whole week! We went out for drinks, and tried some restaurants I've been wanting to go to and happened upon a street fair. This was taken in Chinatown, a place I'd had yet to explore. Holy hell! There are like five thousand bakeries tucked away in there, with the most delicious little tidbits! Totally rivals the North End. (Of course we made a stop at Mike's too!)


Right after that, my little sister graduated! I can not express how proud I am of her, finishing school while raising two children by herself. Not only that, but her kids I don't think ever even really noticed she was in school. She never missed a game, a concert, a play.... She is amazing. (The cast is from foot surgery she had a couple of weeks before graduation.)


Then it finally got nice out! The changing seasons always bring on bouts of extreme homesickness, and this slow churn into summer has me constantly craving salt air and trees and clean air. The closest I can come to these things is hanging out on the Common. With views like this, there are worse places to spend an afternoon.


This past weekend, I finally got to breathe in some salty air! I've been traveling home more lately to help out my sister (still hobbling around), but have spent most of my time doing things like running errands and catching my nephews' baseball games. I could have hung out here all day.

I actually DO have a knitting project going, the Back to School U-Neck Vest by Stefanie Japel, but the only pictures I have of it are pretty crappy. Next post I promise. More knitting! I have one month before my summer class starts, and I'd LOVE to finish the vest (well over half finished) and a pair of socks or a hat or SOMEthing!