Monday, December 15, 2014

So turns out I've never cooked bacon before...

....except that one time in junior high when my friend Mindi and I *tried* to cook bacon and mostly just set off the smoke detector.

Maybe it was residual trauma from that experience, but I realized tonight: I don't know how to cook bacon. I mean, I do EAT bacon....but always at the hands of someone else's labor, turns out. I think I've even been assigned to bring bacon to breakfast gatherings, but someone else always ends up cooking it. Shrug?

Fact: I actually BAKE bacon all the time.....wrapped around lil' smokies and covered in brown sugar.

Other fact: Bacon-wrapped lil' smokies are the primary reason people keep inviting me to potlucks.

My friend Chantal came to visit this weekend (pictures/stories to come), and being all hostessy, I was like, "I'll make bacon!"

But then we didn't end up eating bacon, so I still had it in my fridge as of today. I was feeling ambitious about dinner I guess, because I pulled that package o' bacon out of my fridge and set to work. I grabbed a frying pan, I opened the package of bacon, and then.........well, what then? Oil, right? So I grabbed my trusty jar of coconut oil and put a spoonful in the pan. Immediately thereafter, I fretted to my sister via Voxer (more on that below) about whether or not coconut bacon was a) glorious or b) the nastiest idea in the world. I couldn't decide, and the coconut oil was already in the pan, so, westward ho!

I then decided to send my sister a picture of the bacon all laid out in the pan....



....which resulted in the unhinged state of THIS RECORDING. (Have you ever used Voxer? Pretty sure it was originally cool like.....erm, half score and 7 years ago, but I've only recently gotten into it. The point is, it's like texting with little voicemails.......and if you do one thing today, maybe listen to me hysterically losing it about the bacon picture via that link above. Oh, here it is again.)

ANYWAY.

The raw bacon did ultimately turn into normal-looking cooked bacon....but only after much shrinkage and questionable behavior, including spatting hot oil onto my arm. Bacon, you little jerk.

So, I ate it. And it was delicious and didn't taste a thing like coconut......but man alive it was REALLY salty. Wha? I didn't even add any salt. You'd think you'd get better quality when you buy the cheapest non-turkey bacon available. What does a girl have to do??

Lesson: Bacon is not the time nor place to shop by price. Follow your heart, not your wallet. Teach all the children. Teach 'em good.

I accompanied my salty bacon with two avocado-and-honey sandwiches (Don't even question it, just eat one. Half an avocado all smashed up, and a generous drizzle of honey. It just took me 3 tries to spell generous.) (This sandwich is actually best as an open-faced sammitch with the bread toasted, but the handle may or may not have broken off of my brave little toaster (no seriously, it's a brave little toaster) this weekend, so plain ol' non-toasty bread it was.)

This is my story. Let it be an inspiration to you all. 

Now please excuse me while I drink like a gallon of water to combat that pile of salty bacon I consumed a few minutes ago. I don't want to shrivel up -- I know how dehydration and osmosis works. I'm no fool. (Actually I only have vague memories of learning about salt and water and their relationship with osmosis in 9th-grade biology.....I just know I'm really thirsty. SCIENCE!)


(see how artistically I arranged that??? #pinterest)


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Dear Pixar: You're Not Doing Fatherhood Any Favors

Not to go there, but OK, let's go there....

(Posted this on Facebook earlier and decided I wanted to house it on my blog as well to maybe hit a different demographic and further the discussion. Hi, welcome!)

Pre-req: watch the new Pixar Inside Out trailer. Oh look, embedded here for your convenience.... (I'm so giving!)



OK, my thoughts:

I'm reluctant to be one of those "find controversy in everything" people on the Internets, but I'm actually curious to hear some thoughts on this one to see if it's just me who thinks what I think.

I'm super not into gender stereotypes in TV shows, and not just from a feminist perspective -- I always cringe at the "bumbling, clueless dad" persona. You know the deal: the sassy, successful mom who has it all together and the oaf husband who's just trying to keep up. I'm sooOOOooo not into this, I don't think it reflects reality (but maybe does unfortunately influence reality and make us think this is how marriages/parenting should work -- yikes) and I dislike how commonly it's portrayed. Not doing any favors to the misconception that men lack emotional intelligence and can't have thoughtful, emotionally intimate relationships with their children and equal-parenting-skills status with their wives/partners.

Disappointed that Disney Pixar plays into this with its new trailer. I'm sure the movie will show more redeeming parts of the relationship as a whole, but the "ummm what were we talking about, let me try and not make a fool of myself" reaction from the dad, and the eye-rolling "I will now fantasize about that hot Brazilian pilot I could have married instead" from the mom, is frustrating for me to see perpetuated again on the screen, especially in a kids' film. I'm pretty sure this scenario would have been shot down immediately if the gender roles had been reversed, with the mom being portrayed as even slightly incompetent while the dad pictured an attractive, exotic ex-girlfriend in his head.

Those are my thoughts, but, family systems portrayal in the media is a pet topic for me. Just me? Has anyone else noticed how rampant this is in other shows?

(I considered making this longer than my original Facebook post since I could talk for dayyyzzz about this and give many good/bad examples of fatherhood in TV shows, etc., but I'll save us all the time and leave it at this for now!)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Moment of Silence, Please

I don't spend much time with silence.

The main reason being that I love music. In fact, Spotify told me that in 2014 I listened to 42,658 minutes of music.....the equivalent of 29.6 solid days of music listening. Haha! Not surprised. And when I'm not listening to music, I'm usually talking to a friend or listening to a podcast or watching a TV show. I listen to music when I'm running, when I'm driving, when I'm working, when I'm showering (yep), when I'm cooking (hhahahah JOKE -- I never do that),  when I'm.....just always. I'm always filling my silences in one way or another, I guess.

Today I went running after work, out in the Baylands. The Baylands are basically a giant marsh full of....swampiness and....random birds and.....water and.....bay............haha. Well, it's nice and scenic once you get past any of the stagnant puddles and the industrial equipment at the head of the trails.

I'm a staunch believer in listening to music while I run, because it pumps me up and distracts me and......OK real reason, I like that it drowns out my distressed breathing. If I ever hear my own heavy breathing while I'm in the "I want to die" warm-up parts of a run, I am immediately convinced that I must stop because I am, in fact, going to die. So, music with a beat it is. And boots with da fur. (No?)

When I was out among the marshiness at the end-ish of one of the trails today, I paused to take a picture and accidentally switched my music off in the process. I was immediately struck by what I heard because......I heard nothing. I stopped and kept listening, and I did hear some things after all: the water moving, random birds in the distance.....but no cars. No people. No keyboards clattering. And it was beautiful.

I think I need to make a more deliberate effort to spend time in silence. And I realized today that maybe that means physically taking myself to places where distractions aren't immediately on hand -- no work to do, no people to talk to, no chores to be done, and nothing with me but my running shoes/shorts/shirt and my phone in airplane mode.

"The reinvention of daily life means marching off the edge of our maps." 



Friday, December 5, 2014

GIVEAWAY: Canon EOS Rebel T5

Oh heyyy friends!

Giving away something pretty neat. I won't steal an image from the Internets for this post, but here's a link to what the camera looks like. Yay. You have from now until Dec. 19 to enter :) If you already follow me on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter.....you're three steps ahead. Neat-o. Now here's all the infffffo! 

I am pumped to be teaming up with 15 other bloggers to give away a Canon EOS Rebel T5 with two lenses. We decided to mix things up this holiday season -- with so many other cash giveaways, we decided to get a giveaway going that was a special gift just for one of you! Because we know the cash is going to all your other holiday gifts we decided to find a way to treat one of our lucky readers to a gift for themselves. And just in time for the holidays and the new year! You can check out all the ladies joining me on this giveaway by clicking on their images below.




Image Map
So what're you waiting for? It is your chance to make some photo magic with your family. The giveaway will run from December 5th to the 19th and it is open to US and Canada only. All entries will be validated and if there are any issues with your entry all will be voided. So you better be honest because we are going to be like Santa and check it all twice. Good luck! And happy holidays!


a Rafflecopter giveaway




  Disclaimer: This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada residents only. This blog and any participating blogs did not receive compensation for the published material in this post. No purchase required to enter this giveaway and there is a limit of one entrant per household. Void where prohibited. Odds of winning are determined by the number of valid entries received. Entries will be verified. Winner will be chosen by Random.org and will be emailed via the email address used to enter the contest. New winner(s) will be chosen if original winner(s) has not responded within 48 hours of email notification. This giveaway is not administered, sponsored, endorsed by, or associated with Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest or other social media outlet. Disclaimer is posted in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. I

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Very Tahoe Thanksgiving

Tahoes before bros!

JK, I don't know where I'm going with that phrase. But I did spend my Thanksgiving weekend at an Airbnb cabin (cabungalow) in South Lake Tahoe with several amazing new friends. I only knew two of them before we headed out, so I was kind of like "ummmm what will this weekend be like" but then it was like seven levels of amazing, so we're good.

We ate a Thanksgiving feast at one of the girl's family's house on the way to Tahoe, we watched important and deep films like Dan in Real Life (from a single perspective, that movie is so relatable it makes me cringe inside but I can't look away) and Pitch Perfect (along with some necessary episodes of Parks & Rec) (which resulted in frequent sing-talking like unto Jean Ralphio) (and also, what is more perfect than viewing Ron Swanson whilst at a cabin in the woods?), we talked about life/love/etc etc etc, we wore flannel and wool socks, we came up with an extremely marketable idea for a tame burlesque show (Burlesque With Borders -- it's a thing) since a couple of the girls missed their younger dancing days (and what is better than a burlesque show with uniforms of capris and turtlenecks??), we hiked up a ridge overlooking the lake (and it was freeeeeezing up there!), and OF COURSE, we spent some time out in the hot tub on the deck amongst the trees and the frigid breeze. We also ate a lot of food. I may have had a handful of peanut butter m&m's as a pre-game for breakfast one morning. Or two mornings....? We also woke up to snowfall the last morning and I was like "it's magical!!" and then we went outside and I was like "I'm freezing and wet, this isn't magical!!" So, typical.

Basically it was all awesome. And I love making new friends. Especially since most of these new friends live up in the city (San Francisco) and I'm always looking for reasons to get up there. Such lovely people, and there's really few things better than a cozy cabin in the woods.

Also on the drive home, a couple of us got hooked on the Serial podcast. I'm now all caught up. Talk to me, fellow listeners!

And now, pictures!











Sunday, November 30, 2014

Coming Clean

This morning I woke up to gray skies and little waterfalls of rain pouring off the roof and past my bedroom window.


I love me a good rainstorm, and California doesn't get too much of it lately with all that drought business going down. The rain feels healing, especially given the drought, like the parched earth is finally soaking up mouthfuls of water. I woke up this morning, after a weekend away in Tahoe (pics and stories coming soon!), with messy hair and fuzzy eyes, and sat on my gray sheets, wearing just my underwears and wrapped in a gray-striped down blanket, and watched the rain come down.

And then I decided that watching from the dry side of the glass wasn't doing it for me, so within a few minutes I'd pulled on a pair of stretchy pants, a semi-waterproof-seeming jacket and a baseball hat, plugged my headphones into my ears, tuned in to a favorite playlist and ran my way to the park up the street.

At the park, I took shelter under a tree and caught my breath, before deciding to climb said tree. A shoe-full of mud later, I perched on a branch and watched the rain from there. It was breathtaking. And pretty soon, I pulled off my baseball hat, walked to the middle of the field, and just let that icy rain soak through my hair and splash all over my eyelids and down my cheeks. I think I may have concerned one lady who was out walking her dog, with my standing-soaking-in-the-middle-of-the-cold-wet-park activity. But, eh, it's northern California -- too many hippies here to feel even remotely out of place by doing any weird outdoorsy connect-with-nature shenanigans :)

I had a conversation this weekend with a friend about mindfulness, which from what I've gathered, is the art of learning to be present in every moment with your thoughts/feelings/etc. instead of being caught up in the past or the future or whatever. So, I stood in that field and thought about....just being there. I paid particular attention to one raindrop at a time, as they hit my head and ran through my hair, leaving icy little trails down behind my ear and into the collar of my soaked-through jacket.

I think I threw some of you off with my last blog post, when I was all angsty and vague and "stuff is hard and I can't talk about it." I think this, because the comments/texts/emails I received after publishing it pretty much told me so :) Blogging about things that hurt is uncomfortable because it opens me up to something I don't like being open to: pity. Like most people, I much prefer it when everyone thinks I have my shiz together. I realized this weekend that, when I've blogged about harder stuff in the past, it's either been topics that are easy to be public about (e.g. unemployment), or it was after-the-fact kind of blogging, when I could say "and here's how it all tidied up and I got through it and yay!" But blogging the raw stuff, the really insecure stuff, right in the moment when it's not all tidy, is a whole different ballgame. And in this particular case, it's stuff I wish I could be more transparent about, but I can't -- because some of it has to do with dating, and since that involves other people's lives, that's a line I don't cross unless I'm being general/vague (but here's one honest insight: it's so great to wake up to an ex-boyfriend's wedding photos on social media wait no it's not it's terrible almost every time). But yeah, very few dating specifics around here -- personal blog rule. And the rest of my current troubles fall more in the realm of religion and faith, and.....the Internets is no place for kindness/understanding in that department, let's be real. So though I wish I could spill more of my thoughts about all of the above, it just feels best not to go there. But I do hope that clarifies things, at least a little bit. And I do so much prefer not being an angsty, woe-is-me blogger....because vulnerability, yikes!....but I guess that comes with the territory when you're trying to be real and reality is not always sunshine and Beach Boys songs.

But back to the park and the rain.

When I was thoroughly soaked and done "being present," I ran my way home. The fiery red leaves (because fall is still hanging on around these parts) stuck to parked cars and floated down the street around me like little rain-made lava rivers. At my front door, I pulled off my soaked shoes and walked directly to the bathroom, where I peeled off layer after layer, discovering mud smudges and grassy stowaways along the way. I turned on the little wall heater (which is the best thing a bathroom in a cold little apartment can have, btdubs) and plopped down on the bathroom floor, amid my pile of wet clothes with my bare back pressed against the wall. My tangled, dripping hair plastered itself to my face and took up residence on my shoulders, all heavy and wet.

And I felt clean.

Even before climbing into the hot shower, even with the mud smudges on my ankles and the grass stuck to my right arm and the rainwater mingling with post-running sweat in my hair, all wrapped around my head, neck and shoulders, I felt clean. Like that cold, morning communion with a gray, waterfall sky had washed off a little weight, a little angst, a little ache. Because I'm starting to feel more and more lately that cleanliness isn't necessarily the absence of this or that sin, or this or that stress, but more like maybe cleanliness is just honesty. And there is something fresh, open and clean about knowing where you're at, and where you're not at, if that makes sense.

And now I am warm and cozy, wrapped up back in my bed with almost-dry hair and my space heater doing its thing and a quiet, gray-skied afternoon stretched out ahead of me.

I hope your Sunday (rainy or otherwise) can feel cleansing and honest, in whatever way and to whatever degree. (And I also hope I don't get pneumonia from my spontaneous little mindfulness-with-a-rainstorm activity :)


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The $30 Therapy Session

"Write hard and clear about what hurts."

....Ernest Hemingway.

In 9th-grade English, we had to memorize a long list of famous authors and their most well known works. My friends and I came up with fun/weird tricks to keep it all straight. For Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, we told ourselves that Hemingway sounded like hemorrhoids, and hemorrhoids make your arms fall off. There may be some sliiiiight scientific/medical inaccuracy to our methods, but.....looks like I still remember that book title, 14 years later. I win, science. I freakin' win.

This blog post is totally not about Ernest Hemingway, anatomy, disease or memorization techniques. It's about that first quote up there....the one about things that hurt.

I'm never quite sure how to write about stuff that hurts, in a public setting like a blog. I can get real honest in my personal journal, and in emails to close friends, but when it's a public setting I'm suddenly tap-dancing all over that line between "relatable and honest" and "TMI this is getting awkward" or "you're being so vague I actually don't know what you're talking about or specifically going through."

Two nights ago, when I was alllllmost asleep, I burst into tears for no apparent reason. (How's that for specific?)

We're talking, full on woke myself up crying and took a few minutes to calm down. And when something like that "randomly" happens, I think it's pretty safe to say mayyyybe there's some unresolved troubles floating around in your head/heart/soul/cells.

You know that particular way that your whole body can physically hurt when you've gone through something emotionally traumatic? It usually happens to me after bad breakups. Why do I feel heartache in my arms? No idea. It has no business being there, the tactless little jerk.

Anyway, after this onslaught of bedtime tears the other night, I laid there and felt that ol' throb in my chest and arms. And then I had one of those "being single is the ultimate worst" moments, because how nice would it have been to not be totally alone in my room/bed at that moment? Real talk: being single has its perks. I know I get to have many adventures and run around all fancy free and be the envy of all my friends who can't live that kind of spontaneous whimsy. But then there are nights when your eyes are leaking and your arms are hurting and there is not a single soul around to make it better, so, don't get too jealous of my freedom too fast. I'm not a really touchy person in terms of casual physical affection with people I'm not dating, so, it was definitely an anomaly in that moment when I was curled up all small in my bed and thought, "I just want someone to touch me." Which I don't know how to word in any way that doesn't sound creepy or molest-like, but, you know what I mean. I needed the reassurance of some solid physical human contact, not in a weird way, and I had nada on hand. And since I'm not into cheap thrills, my options boiled down to........

Booking a massage.

There's this fab little $30 full-body Asian massage place ($30 for an hour!) up the street from me (I love you, California) that I go to from time to time. And after my little midnight bout with my lonely demons the other night, I knew I needed this. And so I went. I totally didn't have time to go, but I went. It meant working late, which is kind of my M.O. lately anyway (you could argue that this is why my body is stressin', but I like my job and I need the $$$ so the long days/nights just are what they are right now because times and seasons of life, yo, and that's what I want/need to be doing right now), but I still went. Because it was either that or real therapy, and I can't afford real therapy. Well, I could afford it if I didn't spend money on travel or books or eating out or movies or french fries or all the things I like to do, but, then my life would be sad and I'd need even *more* therapy. Maybe that's how they hook you, come to think of it.

I'm going to sound like an infomercial for massage therapy for a second, but I really do believe there's restorative power in physical touch. Five minutes into my massage, my head was still buzzing with all sorts of buzzy things. But twenty minutes in, I'm pretty sure I briefly fell asleep. Or, at least entered some kind of zen, dreamlike state. Which, was everything I needed right then in that moment. It was a delicious 60 minutes, let me tell you.

Buzz kill: I don't feel all better -- I wish I could say I did.

My head and heart are at so much war right now. Not with each other, just with.....things. (Ah, vagueness again. I am failing Ernest Hemingway so hard right now.) My head and heart aren't at war with each other, which is what most people seem to mean when they say that. They're actually in league together, and at war against a whole tumult of outside circumstances. So at least we're all on the same team inside my bod, if I'm focusing on the positive :) (Another positive: since I felt better during my massage, maybe I just need one of those daily. Is that in my budget? Shhh) (Twice a day? YEAH GO TEAM!)

I haven't even gone back to read this ramble and I'm already fairly confident that it might not make a lot of sense. And it certainly isn't as clear as Mr. Hemingway urged me to be. So maybe I'll never end up on a list of authors that some kid has to memorize someday (at which time they hopefully associate me with an uncomfortable medical situation, because, karma). But maybe I just wanted to write hard and clear about the fact that something DOES hurt, even though I don't feel like I'm quite at the point to open up about what/why.

So there you go. Hard and clear. Emphasis on the hard. Emphasis on the $30 massage therapy. Emphasis on the it's time to wrap up now or this ramble will only get worse and....it's Thanksgiving Eve, you guys. I'm headed out of town for the weekend with a couple friends because I saved my trip home to AZ for Christmas, and, every single lady and fella knows that the last thing you should do on a holiday weekend is sit around your own apartment by yourself. That's like the first rule in the handbook, and I'm no fool.

Also I got a Christmas tree and she is beautiful and you will get to see and hear everything about her at the end of the month because I have to make sure I have all the good stories lined up and visitors photographed and gosh if she isn't having her own party next week and you know I have to save her blog feature until after that. Stay tuned for tales of the tree, and.......

HAPPY.THANKS.GIV.ING.


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