Thursday, January 29, 2009
1. I've been on the birth control pill (I accidentally just wrote "birthday control pill", ha!) since I was about 16, when I started dating my first serious boyfriend. That boyfriend has since died, when he drove off the freeway into a wall, but I've continued to take the pill, whether or not I have a boyfriend.
2. Speaking of Planned Parenthood, I recently went in for full STD testing. The first time I got tested for HIV was a year prior, and holy hell, have you ever done that??? It's fucking nerve wracking. Ya know, I KNEW everything would turn out fine (and it did, both times), but actually hearing it for certain is a relief you don't understand until it happens.
3. I stopped listening to the radio on my drive home recently as I realized it was causing me a lot of stress (NPR, mostly) and since then I've had a lot more time to think. My favorite realization so far has been that the safest I've ever felt, the most calming place I've ever been, the place I would move to if it actually existed IRL, is the beginning of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride (which I called Carrots of the Piribbean when I was little) at Disneyland, when you first get on the boat and you're floating through the swamp, past the restaurant? Yeah, there.
4. Since my mom has started reading this, I may as well throw one in for her: Mom, once when I was little, I was mad at you and you asked me to set the table...well I spit on your plate and rubbed it in before setting it down at your place at the table. Sorry, but you probably deserved it. I promise not to do that again when you come for dinner this weekend.
5. Here's one for my brother: Asher, remember when we were kids and I told you to close your eyes and open your mouth, and then I stuck a kleenex into your mouth and ran away? Well I lied, I had actually just blown my nose on the kleenex. Sorry, but you probably deserved it, too. I promise never to do that again...maybe.
6. I like to think of myself as a fairly intelligent person, above average at least, but sometimes I do the dumbest things, which leave me questioning my intelligence completely. For example, a few years ago, when I first started cooking, I was using a food processor (which I had never used before, in my defense), and used a knife to push something down through the spout on the lid WHILE THE FOOD PROCESSOR WAS ON. Yeah, well the knife hit the spinning blade and was propelled up into the air. Instead of landing, I don't know, IN MY HEAD, it just fell innocently to the floor. Good god.
7. During my entire five year relationship with my ex boyfriend, I only farted twice...and both those times were accidents. Farting embarrasses the hell out of me (when I do it, not when someone else does it)...burping though, that's another story.
8. About every year or so I find myself working in an office that stocks the kitchen with V8, and I get it in my head that, although vegetable juice has always made me gag almost to the point of vomiting (I mourn the lack of Bloody Mary's in my life...they look so GOOD!), maybe my taste buds have matured and V8 will be a good way to get some veggies in my person. Today was one of those days. I just opened the can and when the smell hit me, I gagged. I'm going to plug my nose and chug it, and then chug some coffee after...wish me luck.
9. Speaking of vomiting, I have a really high tolerance for it, in that it doesn't bother me that much. I know some people freak out at the thought of it, but ya know, if it happens it happens, in my book. I don't do it often, but when I need to, it's pretty easy for me. I guess I have an amiable gag reflex?
10. Speaking of vomiting, again...V8 can go fuck itself. Ugh.
11. The last time I stole anything was about four months ago, when the line at the grocery store was super long, and all I needed was a little bottle of dried herbs for something I was cooking. I stood in line for ten minutes before sighing in exasperation and sticking the damn thing in my purse and walking out. I don't make a habit out of stealing, in fact it had been years since I had done so, but I don't feel badly about it. I don't plan on doing it again anytime soon, though.
12. I'm pretty certain that I've dreamed a lot of things that have later happened to me. It's all little things, at least the details I can remember, and it's different than deja vu in that I know it was from a dream. Sometimes I'll wake up from a vivid dream and think to myself "That's going to happen in the future". Just yesterday I got up from my couch to grab something off my kitchen table and the way I was standing, the way my living room was laid out, every detail had happened in a dream I had years ago. Too bad it's not useful shit like winning lottery numbers.
13. I've had close to 20 jobs in my life, but the very first one was my favorite. I worked in the bakery of the family-owned market that I grew up across the street from. When I went back to visit my old home a few months ago, I jaywalked across the street to the market, just like I did a thousand times during my childhood. I sat outside the place where the market had been, which was now sectioned off into a few nondescript stores, and stared. I would work in a bakery for the rest of my life if it was feasible (and write, of course).
14. Although they're adorable, sea lions scare the shit out of me because you can tell they're just dogs that decided to go swimming instead of hang out on land with humans a million years ago. Seriously, have you ever really looked at one? It's like one pack of dogs were all "hey brah, I'm gonna go swimming", and the other pack was like "cool, I'll be on land chillaxing with the humans if you need me. later days."
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Most of my recipes are variations of those I find on food blogs and cookbooks. Also, I rarely step foot in supermarkets, as one thing I absolutely hate is being blatantly advertised to. Don't confuse that with me being a yuppie; I almost never buy organic, at least not on purpose, hate farmer's markets, and clipping coupons is one of my favorite things to do on a Sunday. Most everything I buy comes from Trader Joe's or the ethnic market down the street from my house.
I cook within my means, both capability and financially speaking, and I'm slowly but surely gaining confidence. When a now-ex boyfriend once burnt the every-loving hell out of scrambled eggs (which I make with ease), I thought "huh". When people go apeshit when I bring rice krispie treats to a get-together (which seriously take minutes to prepare), I'm surprised. I make the best damn chili in the world, but it's embarrassingly simple to make. I guess I'd be a good role model when it comes to demonstrating that cooking yummy, affordable, accessible food is incredibly easy. So with that in mind, I've decided to start Domestic Tuesdays, where I'll post a recipe that I've made and loved, or tried and failed and then tried again, and post photos and commentary along with it.
If you're looking for expert tips and beautiful photos, try Smitten Kitchen, Use Real Butter, or Yogurtsoda (all of whom I plan on stealing recipes from...with credit, of course). If you want to know how to impress a date with a thinly veiled Rachel Ray recipe, how five ingredients totalling under $10 can feed you for the week, or how to turn boxed cake mix into beautiful cupcakes, you've come to the right place.
Lets start with that last one. I keep a couple boxes of cake mix hidden in my cupboard at all times. Although I usually make the frosting myself, I don't really see boxed mix as cheating, as all it consists of is pre-measured dry ingredients...think of it as a shortcut. Of course, I'm not quick to offer up this fact when my friends are praising me for my yummy cupcakes. "What they don't know...", right? So last week when I found myself invited to a last minute potluck to watch the season premier of Lost, I was happy to have a box of carrot cake mix on hand.
The problem, though, was that when I'm in a hurry, I always end up making the BIGGEST mess.
After almost crying, coming This Close to flaking on the potluck, having to put my hair in a ponytail because I didn't have time to shower, and almost having a panic attack, the cupcakes turned out okay in the end. Not best I've ever made, but better than the time I used olive oil in place of vegetable oil back when I was a rookie. I ran into a snag when I realized the only honey I had for the honey-cinnamon frosting was lavender honey, so the cupcakes ended up with a bit of a potpourri flavor.
Notice how I grated a carrot on top to make them look more home-made? That's called "camouflage".
Honey-Cinnamon Frosting - I like to add a pinch of nutmeg to this, and sprinkle a little cinnamon on top of the cupcakes when I've finished frosting them. I've used this frosting for both carrot and spice cupcakes, and it worked well on both. Enjoy!
I should have a new camera by next week, so the photos will look prettier (although I can't promise the subject will be any more attractive). If you have a suggestion for a recipe, something you've always wanted to cook but can't figure out, let me know in the comments and I'll give it a go.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
I pulled the rug out from under my own feet when I came back to LA. I went from having my best friend with me all the time, from never worrying too much about making girl friends, as I always had a companion on Saturday nights, and if I didn't feel like going out, having someone to make a cozy bed on the couch and watch movies with, to being in my later 20's, in a big, unfriendly city, with the weight of my future riding on my people-skills. I had panic attacks.
It was overwhelming, although it turned out fine...better than fine, just like I told myself it would over and over again - although I didn't believe it half the time. I remember having to pull my car into a parking lot to talk my panic-ridden-self into breathing while on the way to a pot luck with people I didn't know very well, but wanted to be friends with. I hadn't felt that need to be liked since I was a child, but those negative voices came back with a vengeance, angry for having been ignored for so long.
It took a few sessions with a wonderful therapist, where I surprised myself by crying over the infamous de-pantsing incident of my childhood (an incident that I realized had a lot to do with the "everyone hates me I'm the biggest dork ever" mantra I had developed), a prescription for Welbutrin, and becoming close with a few truly wonderful people to get me back to being my vivacious, outgoing, confident self.
The phone number change isn't a big deal. Granted, my phone number was a mere three digit difference from the ex's, and when I'd give my number out I'd get the "are you from San Francisco" question, which I think I liked to answer. I'm not letting go of the part of me that called San Francisco my home, a phone number change doesn't have the strength to do that. That part of me is still tucked away in my memories, where it belongs.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
The "artsy" girl who lived there before me came up with the solution of hanging panels of cool wallpaper from a row of clasped rings which could be slid aside using the bar mounted on the ceiling (kinda like a shower curtain). This was a good idea, and I appreciated the creativity, but she failed miserably in execution. I pulled the ugly wallpaper panels down as soon as I moved in, but left the gold rods which had been drilled into the ceiling, not wanting huge holes left behind.
I mounted a basic curtain rod above the closet, and hung pretty curtains from Ikea, like one would with a window . It was easy and cheap, and drilling things into my wall using my power drill always makes me feel independent and self sufficient. But what to do about the ugly gold bars with their clasped rings hanging down? At first I thought about hanging origami from little strings: swans or frogs and that sort of thing. But then, around Christmas, I found clear ornaments at the 99 Cents Store, so I bought two boxes. Finally, I hung them yesterday.
I'm very happy at my new apartment, so all is well.
I have a running post called "Things in my house" over on my Tumblr. If you want to see the useless but cute crap I spend my money on (and other nonsensical posts), go here: http://georgiahardstark.tumblr.com/
Thursday, January 15, 2009
- Finish a few short stories, or at least keep working on the ones I've started.
- Spend more time in the kitchen; cooking, baking, playing with tupperware (did you know that I'm obsessed with tupperware?).
Part of my tupperware collection
- Finish watching Grey Gardens (which I had never watched until last night, for some reason) because, oh my god, it could always be worse (conversely, I really want to start talking/dressing like Little Edie because, my lands, isn't she just the most???).
- Look into renter's rights in California so I can stop obsessively worrying about the certified letter I got from my ex-landlord the other day, that was essentially a bill for an ungodly amount, with a promise of another forthcoming bill due to that whole "people kept getting killed in my neighborhood so I broke my lease and moved" thing which, despite my most valiant effort to pretend that whole part of my life never happened, continues to exist.
- Get my car fixed. done!
- Adhere those little but loud burglar alarms to my windows, which in turn will help me sleep at night because I'll stop obsessing that someone is going to break in while I sleep, which causes me to sleep without ear plugs and with the lights on which results in the WORST night of sleep ever. Really, I think lack of sleep is a big contributor to my current predicament/unhappiness/unmotivatedness.
- Start taking drum lessons again...and practicing again. Find some friends to "jam" with so I don't feel like I'm putting effort into something fruitless.
Hardstark: the band that never was [I know it looks like I'm picking my nose in this photo, but I'm not, I'm "contemplating"]
- Join a dodgeball team and start playing again. Nothing gets out pent-up frustration like getting sweaty and whipping balls (ha!) at people, all while wearing short-shorts and knee socks.
- Write for This Recording more often. It makes me happy.
Tell me, dear reader, what's something you could you do to make yourself more happy? It's delurking week, fyi, so you're kinda obligated to comment. Sorry, I don't make the bloggy rules, I just twist them to use to my advantage in order to feed my ego (i.e. comments make me happy).
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
I think it started a week ago today, when a woman was run over by a bus outside my office. One minute she's walking through the crosswalk, and then next minute...well, I won't get into details for the sake of the squeamish, but lets just say - bus: 1, woman: 0. It just made me so sad for this woman, and I'm sure it selfishly has something to do with knowing that it sooo easily could have been me. I walk through that crosswalk everyday...make that twice a day, at least! I keep playing it over in my head, even though I didn't witness it, and every time I picture it, the scene just gets more and more horrible and I swear I can feel the terror she was feeling for a fleeting moment. I have a vivid imagination, I always have. I can make myself cry with the scenarios I concoct in my head, alone. Add this to the fact that I'm an incredibly sensitive person, and well, lets just say this Xanax prescription is burning a hole in my pocket.
Friday, January 9, 2009
I see now that I was using my first boyfriend, whose name is so incredibly and uniquely Jewish that I can't write it for fear that he'll stumble upon this post, and his sole purpose as a cute-enough, popular and cocky - yet harmless peer was to bestow upon me my first kiss. Sure I liked him, but if you gathered all the guys I had a crush on in 7th grade you would find yourself knee-deep in WASPy, adolescent, mid-puberty boys from upper-middle class backgrounds, and really?, who wants that? The truth is, I had my line cast out, and he just happened to bite.
Which brings us to the birthday party of a friend whose name is lost in my memory sadly, as she proved herself to be a good confidant as she was key in planning and executing one of the most diabolical plans of the 20th century - initiating a game of Truth or Dare, and nonchalantly daring my ex-first-boyfriend-ever to kiss me. I remember every second of it, five of them to be exact, as that's how long the length of the kiss was dared to be.
Thinking back, perhaps she should have made us go in the closet, or somewhere private, and it strikes me as a bit creepy that my first french kiss was in the center of a circle of classmates and friends. Luckily I didn't turn out to be one of those weirdos who can only get off while being watched, and instead prefer my intimate moments to be shared solely with the group of strangers I'm intertwined with at the time.*
*do I even have to mention I'm totally kidding?
Anyway, the entire five seconds of it (eight if you count the second to crawl into the center of the circle on our knees, one second of hesitation on both our parts, another second to retreat back to the circle after) remains one of the highlights of my adolescence. No other moment or milestone ever met the expectations I had been culminating from years of watching trashy t.v. dramas, reading Young Adult paperbacks, and hearing stories from friend's big sisters and even my own older sister. It was exactly what I wanted it to be: heart poundingly, dizzingly wonderful.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Sadly, it seems as if I'd met the exception to this rule. The exception's name is Curtis, and he's a fucking jerk. When my last (and I mean "last" in "most previous" and "last ever", hopefully) roommate and his cat Curtis moved in with me and Elvis, I had dreams of our respective cats becoming close friends, and fantasies of what it would be like to have one cat to cuddle while the other one was giving me the cold shoulder. While Curtis can be quite cuddly when he wants to be, he spends more of his time doing the following:
- biting me
- biting Elvis
- chasing Elvis
- chewing through expensive electrical cables
- digging through the cat box for NO FUCKING REASON
- eating enormous amounts of food (which I pay for)
- clawing everything but his scratching post
- trying to jump up to the top shelf of my closet which results in things coming crashing down on top of him every single time but which he still insists on attempting
- trying to escape the house EVERY time the front door opens and being successful about half of those times
- being a general nuisance
I just don't get it. While Elvis has the patience and demeanor of a dignified animal, Curtis is wilded-eyed and disobedient. I don't think he knows his own name, and shouts of "NO!" don't even cause him to flinch. He walks underfoot constantly, demands attention and then pays you back by biting the shit out of you, seems to think that my putting on black pants or tights is his queue to rub all over my legs thereby leaving white fur all over me, and thinks that his being locked out of a room is a mistake that can only be remedied by yowling and loudly throwing himself against the door.
What's funny is that about a year ago, Elvis was doing similarly wild things, and I thought that companion would solve these problems. "He's bored and lonely", I figured. Well his problems have been solved, except now he's a shell of the cat he used to be. Though he was once a chatterbox who you seriously couldn't get to shut up, typical of Siamese cats, it's now almost impossible to illicit a peep out of him. He sits quietly and never greets me at the door like he used to. He cuddles with me less, too, which sucks.
So tonight I'm bringing Curtis back to my former roommate, whose plan is to find him a home where he can be loved and hopefully trained. I'll honestly be so relieved when he's gone.
Also, Elvis is back to his old self.
Monday, January 5, 2009
My apartment is pretty adorable, and I find myself looking around and reminding myself that this is MY apartment...that I live there alone and no one is going to walk in the door unannounced, or I'm not going to come home to find that someone disrupted my little sanctuary. I guess it just feels as though that little part of my brain that calms me down when I'm in a stressful situation, or points out the irony or humor in a situation I'm in, the part that loves solitude and tucking away with a good book? Well it feels like that part got turned into a tangible thing in the form of a tiny apartment in Hollywood.
I can see myself living there for a long time, and that isn't just because I have a year lease, as we all know what I think about year leases (I think they can be broken if there are multiple drive-by shootings in your neighborhood, that's what) or because my rent is insanely cheap (seriously, I can't believe I got so damn lucky).
Last night I couldn't sleep, and I was lying in my bed and my cat was curled up under the covers with me and I thought about how happy I am when I'm alone, and worried that I liked it a little too much. I had spent the entire day inside; cleaning, making an elaborate lunch that I ate while watching an old black and white movie, napping, reading a book while drinking a glass of Makers, cooking a big pot of soup for the week...and I was perfectly happy. I talk to my cat to avoid both too much silence or too much brain activity (I tend to get to thinkie), and when the silence becomes deafening, I put The Simpsons on the DVD player as I go about my business which acts as soothing background noise (I've always found music too distracting).
Anyway, something made me think of myself as a child, and I thought about what I wish I had done differently to have made my childhood more enjoyable. "I wish I had worried less" is what immediately came to mind, and I laughed because, still, I AM ALWAYS WORRIED!!! Nothing has changed, and I pictured myself in my later 30's wishing I had worried less in my 20's.
So I'm not going to worry, or at least I'm going to try. I hadn't meant to make this post about the New Year, and I'm not one for resolutions, but I guess that's what it's come to. I'm starting 2009 in a Good Place physically, mentally, and emotionally (aside from a little that-time-of-the-month outbreak the other day) and it would be nice to stay in that mindset. So I guess it's come to this; I'm making a New Years resolution to Worry Less. There, I said it.