Monday, August 25, 2014

United Sweets Of America


So today Slate published an interactive map of desserts from all 50 states in the union, the United Sweets of America.

I am not ashamed to admit that I got so excited when I saw it that I had a hard time typing that first sentence.

Add this to the list of recipes that I will be making and writing about in the fall. I think I will start with whatever states we have lived in, then move on to whichever we have traveled through, then go with what is seasonal when I am baking, then finish up.

I would love family recipes if you have any; if they are top secret, contact me privately through this site, and I will bake them but not publish the recipe.

Start your engines...


Sunday, August 24, 2014

It's A Sign


From my Free Will Astrology horoscope for this week:

"There is a proverb from the American culture of the 21st century that I'd like to run by you: 'Never reveal all you know, confess everything you feel, show how much you care, or give all you have.'

Prove this proverb wrong. Cultivate power by revealing all you know, confessing everything you feel, showing how much you care, and giving all you have."

I have been sick of hearing my own voice in my head for the past week. Sick of writing about the drama of the move, the lack of housing, woe-is-me diatribes that are getting old, quick. When someone comments, "What happened now?" on a random Facebook post, that is a clear sign from the universe that pretty much everyone else is done with it also.

So it is odd to see this horoscope today. Not that I make all of my decisions based on astrology, or even most of them, or even any appreciable fraction of them, but on occasion I will experiment and use this particular horoscope site to guide me. Just because sometimes it feels good to not have to make the decisions All. Of. The. Time. To have a break.

This is probably the same thing that religious people do when they say, "Let go and let God," but I am not there by a long stretch. I prefer my voodoo to be inclusive and not the reason for mass slaughter throughout history, which is why organized religion and I are not friends. So when I look for guidance outside of myself, I see what Rob Breszny has to say first. Sometimes I ask a question and open a book with my eyes closed and point to a sentence in the book and treat that sentence as the answer. Or sometimes I use random tweets or instagrams or reblogs as a "sign" of sorts. Anything to avoid, even briefly, making another decision that could possibly be the wrong one. Or making a decision, period.

That being said, all signs are pointing in one direction. I think the time has come to move outward. Every time I think of my own issues these days, I think in my head, "Is this ebola-level bad? Or Gaza Strip-level horrific? Or shot in the street because of the color of your skin and an enduring history of racism that has been swept under the rug-level heinous? " It's perspective. Always helpful. It's time to re-visit the cultivation of gratitude, like the 100 Happy Days project. It's time to give more than I have been receiving, in a tangible way.

I don't know what this means yet, but I am working towards something bigger and more than what's happening in my tiny little life now. I think I am ready.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Internet Tests Hold The Key


So this has been quite a week.

I lost my debit/credit card. According to the bank, with my complex system of mail forwarding, I should have another one in THREE WEEKS. And I have two paper checks left, so when those are gone my access to cash money will be seriously compromised.

Did I mention I pay the mortgage and several other bills with the stored number of the misplaced card? So that should be fun.

But that's not even the worst.

This week I took a scientific internet test and found out that I am 67% right-brained and 33% left-brained.

Devastating, to have this kind of affirmation of my inside-the-line-coloring, clean-desk- having, order-craving self. I think I was beginning to understand this when I realized that non-fiction is really my strong suit (for writing, anyway), and that I am absolutely HORRIBLE when it comes to picking colors for a room.


To have the verdict delivered to me in cheery comic sans, with an exclamation point, no less. I could have been devious and skewed the results horribly if I wanted to. My brother pointed out, accurately, after I correctly identified myself as being all-Pittsburgh (another internet test, and no, I am not even remotely close to partially Pittsburgh) that I am a good test taker. I could have cheated. Lied. Brought about the verdict that I wanted, which was to be An Artist Who Has Impeccable Taste And Effortless Creativity.

But on another internet test I took I was identified as being Highly Moral and Incorruptible.

Huh. Sexy. NOT.

So my desk is organized, I am borderline OCD with my "systems," and my time management is flawless.

According to all that is internet holy, this makes me an incredibly pragmatic, can-do type of person.


Maybe I should take a break from internet tests for a bit.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

If Wishes Were Candy..And The River Was Whisky


I am tired.

I am sore.

I am grateful for rain, M&Ms, my kid, and people who will take me in even when I am an asshole (thanks, Mom).

I would like to wake up in my own bed (which no longer technically exists, as I gave it away before we moved), in my own house.

I am grateful for steady writing assignments and dogs that sleep on the bed and love you SO MUCH when you wake up.

I would like to be done with this quest. I would like to no longer be on this path, or at least I would like to step off for a few moments and just be light and free. It is wearing, to have the steady hum of missing a person and reforming a life without them be the background white noise to your entire life, but not really knowing it until something quiets just enough to hear the hum. I wish I could quiet that hum.

I am grateful that I live in a place where I get to wish for that. If wishes were candy...and the river was whisky...

If the river was whiskey and I was a duck

I'd dive to the bottom and I'd never come up

Oh, tell me how long have I got to wait?

Oh, can I get you now, must I hesitate?

I am also grateful that I am not a black man in this country, but that's a whole other blog and so heart-wrenching and awful to me right now that I cannot even give it too much space in my head for fear that it will take me to a really bad place. It's hard enough to take small sips of the violence in Gaza and the poverty in the world without having to think about how little has really changed in the minds and hearts of the U.S. since Jim Crow.

But I digress.

I should go to sleep now. I should eat less chocolate so I can actually do that.

Tomorrow, I will worry less. I will breathe more.


Monday, August 11, 2014



I love it.

All kinds.

I have a particularly fussy belly, though, so it has been problematic, this love of food. I also am not able to physically eat very much, so quantity is also an issue. I will never be able to sit down to a 35-course tasting menu. That might amuse my bouche, but not so much my belly (Anthony Bourdain writes about the gastrointestinal perils of large tasting menus in graphic and amusing fashion at the beginning of his second book, Medium Raw, right after he tells the story of eating ortolan, an illegal albeit delicious activity in most of the world. But I digress.).

But I. Love. Food.

Real food. Sweet, juicy peaches from the local orchard that taste like the sun has been captured in their warm, fuzzy flesh. Sandwiches from Parts & Labor, tender and succulent thin slices of pit beef drenched in tiger sauce and stacked with thinly sliced red onions, or an epic BLT with bacon that is neither too fat nor too thing, too crispy or too flimsy - Goldilocks bacon, if you will. Spicy chocolate gelato, with a dusty brush of cayenne on the finish. Pizza with fresh tomatoes and homemade mozzarella. Basil-honey-lemon salad dressing that is like tangy velvet on the tongue.

Oh, my.

Recent freelance writing opportunities have included recipe development, food blogger, and food website content writer. When you are a freelancer, one of the things you do is apply to everything that is interesting, send it out into the universe and hope that something comes back. You can't get too invested in the outcome because so many people are doing the same thing.


I would very much like to broaden into food as a writer. I need an excuse to try new things and an expense account to help me do that. I am still planning to make everything on my Pinterest Food board and everything I have reblogged to Tumblr once we get settled into a permanent house, but that could be awhile.

So I humbly petition the universe to throw me a bone (with warm marrow and toast points) and let one of my food freelancing jobs come through in the meantime.

Bon appetit.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

In Limbo


(City Forever. Honor to one who earns it.)

It's odd, living in limbo.

It's even odder that I am not tremendously upset by it. Yes, I miss having my own true space. No, I cannot find anything in my mother's kitchen. Yes, walking the dogs every day is annoying (but we need to get used to that, and so do the dogs. Right now, Winston has issues with going #2 while hooked on the leash. Bashful? Stupid? Who knows? But I digress).

But I am not particularly frantic. We need to find new digs, it's true, but with the street in front of the rental house completely torn to bits, and other options for short-term furnished rentals running at $4K+ a month, mom's house it is for now.

And as I found out yesterday, I may not be frantic, but it is a bit wearing. The city had a weird vibe yesterday, and my patience is thin. I have not done yoga in ten days  now, and that is difficult, but not living where we are supposed to be living is frustrating. The Child has found a softball team I think, but the commute to practice will be a minimum of 1 1/2 hours, without traffic. That's rough.

This is an exercise in patience? Character building?

We have plenty of character at this point. But thanks, universe.

In limbo. Waiting.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

19 Hours


(This picture is deceptive)

19 hours.

This is how long it took for us to go from Tybee Island, Georgia to Baltimore, Maryland yesterday, and we are not in Baltimore yet.

Say what?

Sicily pointed out as our drive began to go downhill that in her time on this earth, we have had four major moves, and each move has been disastrous.

Move 1: Seattle to Georgia. All our stuff was stolen.

Move 2: Marietta to our "dream" house on 5 acres. Someone broke into our house. Stuff was stolen.

Move 3: Out of "dream" house back to the townhouse. Dane died.

So here we are, move 4: Georgia to Baltimore.

If this had not happened to us, if someone else was writing this or telling me the story, I would not believe it.

First, the cargo platform we had installed on the Cube dragged on the ground. Turns out, a Cube is pretty much only capable of carrying what you can cram into it. The guy who installed the cargo platform drove to Atlanta to pick up the correct roof rack and installed that, removing the hitch receiver. We waited for four hours in a shop with two dogs and a cat.

This was, in fact, the highlight of the move.

Minus the brief sojourn in Tybee, which was lovely. If we had not had that, I am not sure how I would have handled yesterday.

I will cut to the chase. We spent 12 hours getting to Baltimore to our rental house, where our electronic key didn't work. Called the landlord. No love. Best friend out of town, so no house there. Called and texted the landlord again. No answer. Called Nana. Woke her up. She said come on up (she lives 1 1/2 hours from Baltimore). Time: 10:25 p.m.

Hop on the highway, get 15 minutes from the house, landlord calls. Says oh-gosh-sorry-house-manager-didn't-reset-code-try-again. Turn around. Drive 15 minutes back to house. Code works. Pile into the house. Unload car.

Start feeling queasy. Start sniffing in. Realize that the house REEKS of gas. Sicily starts feeling queasy. Text landlord. Landlord says It-should-be-fine. It is patently not.

Book dog-friendly hotel, 25 minutes from rental house. At the tone the time will be: 11:44. BEEP.

Drive down to hotel. Hotel has no record of our reservation. Search, search, search. Travelocity website hold time is one hour, 15 minutes.

Did I mention that in all of this driving, the car is getting 20 miles a gallon so we have to stop every 200 miles to fill up? And that is has rained the entire trip and is currently raining?

Call Nana in tears at 1 a.m. We are coming, we say.

We of course have to stop and get gas.

Did I mention that all I had eaten at this point was jellybeans and Cheetos, plus a handful of fries?

Pulled into West Grove, PA at 2:30 in the morning. Crashed liked dead people around 3:30.

Woke up to a text this morning that there was, in fact, a gas leak. The landlord was actually very, very nice, but the house in uninhabitable at this point. So we have no place to live.

At least no one died in this move. Maybe we have broken the streak. #Perspective

But GODDAMN, universe. Really?

I can say unequivocally, though, that we have the best animals on the planet, and that my kid is the best kid in the whole wide world. And I don't care what you say. She just is. She folded her long legs into two square feet of space in the front, wrangled the dogs and the cat, never complained not even once. Seriously. At one point the absurdity of the whole situation struck us and we started laughing. What else can you do?

So this week should be interesting.