Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday, life

Mis-interpretation of references are one of my favorite frustrating things. Ever.

For instance. I love the show Parks and Recreation. A lot. Last week, given the responsibility of naming our trivia team I instantly came up with "Rectangle...America...Megaphone" in that format, exactly. See, it is a wonderfully hilarious referential moment from the previous episode of P&R.

My real issue is this: I love inside jokes and references. But they are NEVER repeated back properly [when written down]. When our team was announced for winning first place, they called us the Rectangle American Megaphones. What the fuck. It entirely crushed my feeling of victory. Do you not see the ellipses? Those call for a pause. Plus it says AMERICA not AMERICAN. Anyways. Lesson learned. Never use anything funny or referential in a public trivia setting. It won't pan out for you.

In other news.

I completed my hardest/most tedious baking job to date last night. Fingers were burnt, stuck together, nougat was too hard/too soft. But I persisted. And damn if I'm not tickled pink I did.

Pearson's style salted nut rolls. They were created because of a ridiculous idea I had after eating a similar version with homemade marshmallow. I decided to up the ante and make homemade nougat, replicating the actual form in its entirety. This plan was explained to my friend Scott, who expressed his love for these treats. And tomorrow is his birthday.

Happy early birthday, Scott Johnson.
Bringing this post full-circle: Photo taken just after Rectangle...America...Megaphone's victory at trivia last week.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday, living

I always forget when it's Friday. And then come eleven a.m. I start scrambling for things to do

So I came up with list of options for tonight (and tomorrow, and Sunday). These are things I want. Some are actual possibilities:

Skeeball at Chuck E Cheese, resulting in fingers trapped [in] Chinese finger traps, and parachuting army men.
Get shitty and drink tequila, pretending it's tropical outside. Chances are it'll feel warmer once I drink said tequila.
Watch Parks & Recreation and laugh. Alot.
Eat pizza and drink beer. Mmmmmmmm.
Play cribbage with The-o and co and CRUSH THEM, showing no mercy, all the while eating shitty food and [probably] drinking shitty beer.
Build an igloo. It's been on my brain all winter. No explanation necessary - who wouldn't want an igloo?
Go to a sports bar. Yep, I totally wasn't kidding when I said it before: Sports bars.
Make homemade salted nut rolls. Yes, like the Pearson's ones, but with marshmallow & caramel made from scratch. I know, it sounds amazing.
Go on a mini trip and not tell anyone. Just up and leave. Maybe Duluth (I found a couple's package for super cheap including a bottle of champagne. Maybe I'll lie and say my significant other is sick. Or dead. And use it for me) Or maybe just drive like I used to, no destination in mind and see where life takes me.
Attend the Walker Screening/Performance of Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then.
Work out.
Be entirely spontaneous and experience pure joy.

The makings of a potentially fun-filled-stuffed-to-the-gills weekend.

Don't limit yourself. Make lists and consider what you really want to do. What would make you happier beyond all else? Do it. Hopefully someone else will experience as much, if not more, joy as you while partaking. Let life happen.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Thursday: Living.

The immortal words of Cowgill have been streaming through my head: I've failed you. To most anyone, that would have no leverage, no pull, no nothing. But to me it's a cringe inducing voice to hear, but one so loaded with sentiment and weight. It feels apropos to fight back just as I used to, insisting to Bob that of course he hadn't failed me, quite the opposite.

So here I sit, reflecting on my entire inactivity. My failure to produce anything in the past three days. I failed Monday and Tuesday. And Wednesday. For some reason I couldn't bring myself to write anything. Perhaps it was the snow. Or maybe it was because my brain was stuck on other things. And since I told myself I'd be accountable this year, that I would at bare minimum produce a small thought each day, my conscience has taken over.

And here I am; Making-up for/explaining my lost time but not necessarily making-up for insight. Maybe breaks are good. A sabbatical, hiatus. (What would the plural form of hiatus be?) Not a failure.

Anyhow, I have been busy. I don't feel bad in the slightest. I have been living. Holding accountable to yet another promise I've made. Get out and live your life.

Here, in brevity, is what I have been up to, learned, experienced discovered.

I started dreaming again.

My father started reading my blog. Welcome. And while it's fine and good that he does, it's a strange adjustment. I promised myself I would in no way edit my posts for anyone or anything. And I won't. What I have found is that it has changed our conversation course: He already knows what I'm going to say, as if reading my mind, and completes my sentences.

The cabin is my favorite place I have ever been. In my life. I could spend the rest of my life in the Beaver House and be entirely content.

I won Mexican Train and lost $40 at a casino

My mother won a meat raffle and chose bacon. What a good woman.

In jest I have said I will spend more time in sports bars. Last night I ended up at a place called Sports Page. You connect the dots.

If you consider how and why you do things, spontaneity may be lost. The possibility of coincidence, of chance. Allow yourself to stray. Go off track for a while. But reflect on the diversion. Chances are it was entirely worth it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday: Living, well

On how to live well.

Such an opinionated, loaded phrase. Living Well. How relative. For instance, last night I had quite the to-do list and by-passed dinner, eating a grapefruit, some crackers/pate and two peanut butter cups. Although not constituted as a "traditional" or "good" meal, it satisfied me. Is living a satisfied life living well?

I think so.

I've been thinking a lot of things as of late. This morning I had the urge to not come to work for the first time. Ever. Yesterday I read the semi-finalist nominees for the James Beard Awards. For pastry chefs, you have to be active for at least five years to be considered for the nomination. In five years I'll almost be thirty. All I could think was, I need to get a move on. It's a strange and seemingly thin line in pursuing passion with regards to a career. Part of me still thinks I want to work in publishing. But a larger part of me keeps saying, Go with this; you are a baker, and eventually you can write about it. It will all come together, I promise.

Needless to say, in the interim, I still feel that sense of purgatory I've felt for all too long. I will never know if I'm doing the "right" thing but I want that reassurance, somehow, from somewhere or someone, that indeed I am making the right move. Maybe that's why I've been reading my horoscope more closely. I'm waiting on by pins and needles. In the meantime my anxiety is showing through my everyday. The other day I closed an e-mail with "They are dangling my heart on a string." The response referenced the closing remark and noted that I am sounding like Cowgill more and more each day. He would hate/love to hear that and deny it entirely. I'd like to think that most of what I do is performed with him in mind. It's a strange beast, pride.

Your pride is not getting in the way of you following your ideals. If it is fear that is inhibiting you, let it go. So what if you fail or do the wrong thing, say the wrong thing, lose money, have to start from square one, move across the country, live with your parents. Those are just some examples. Is that so bad? What have you got to lose? Consider this. The feeling of regret you will feel when you're older will far surpass any hurt or failure you experience from trying. Do something. Do it for yourself, and then tell Bob. He'll be really happy for you.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thursday: This probably means nothing (living)

You are both diplomatic and tolerant. You wouldn't dream of imposing your will on a group of people who do things differently than you do. That's why your contribution and leadership are so necessary to your team.

I trapped myself in a ridiculous habit when I was seventeen by looking at my horoscope daily. Obsessively. And I had convinced myself that the Libra horoscope was so directly related to my life that it actually had an impact. To the extent that upon reflection of my horoscope and my day, a complete parallel would reveal itself. The routine of clipping out my astrological fortune from the StarTribune became part of my morning. I obtained a black box to hold them, because as my now swayed superstitious mind thought, if I threw them away, they wouldn't be real or valid or something bad would happen. Or something. (See: Faulty Logic) Anyways, I digress.

What this leads to is this: Each morning, I still read my horoscope. I don't cut it out, I merely look online. Although no longer thoroughly engrossed, it still stays within my subconscious, and I think it effects my actions, even if only slightly. Today for instance, I got in a stupid, stupid argument. And then let it drop because I am diplomatic and tolerant (See: Above). Apparently I am diplomatic and tolerant. I read that this morning, it stuck with me, and in the midst of the argument I thought, You need to be more tolerant, got all diplomatic with my viewpoint and allowed the issue to drop. And the best/worst part about it was: I was arguing whether or not nerdy girls are hot.

Can I just go ahead and say, What the fuck? OK.

What this leads to is maybe you need better things to occupy your time. Stop reading your horoscope. Or don't; perhaps it is teaching you to be a better person. Regardless of your horoscope, consider what you spend your free time doing. Perhaps you are being productive, who knows. Just be aware of how you occupy your boredom; you have found yourself quite bored lately. Make it positive whatever it is, and most of all, take note. It's important somewhere, to someone, somehow.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wednesday: Amendments, Living

An amendment to my winning list:

Parking. I have acquired the nickname of "Eagle Eye" because of my keen ability to spot the most phenomenal parking spots. It's sort of like a spidey-sense. My parallel parking skills are also top notch.
Multi-tasking. It's not so much a skill, but a way of life. And my multi-tasking-attention-deficit-juggling-doing-a-million-things-at-once competency is baffling. And since it is a way of life (as I learned from the If-Than/Proofs in ninth grade math), it subsequently means I win at life.
**Pineapple upside-down cake. See below.

On the topic of productivity and multi-tasking...
Immediately after work last night, I headed to the gym, ran 2 miles, and then went to the grocery store. I then made dinner for me and Mikey and simultaneously baked two pineapple upside-down cakes. Although I wanted to partake in spin class at the gym, cakes took precedence. Raincheck on spin, cake for the win. Add my first attempt at pineapple upside-down cake to the amended list. Win.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuesday: Winning (life)

Winning. To succeed, be victorious, rank at the highest level of achievement.

For some reason today I feel it necessary to remind myself of the things I win at. Or have won. Ready, go:

Cribbage. Saturday February 5th
Trivia. Monday February 14th
Shopping. The ability to find something I need and/or an incredible deal is astounding.
Baking. 2nd place MN State Fair, August 2010. Ok, didn't win, perse, but won a ribbon. Winning.
Friendship. I have really awesome friends. And am pretty ok at being one (I think).
Useless knowledge. The knowledge retention and ability to conjur up with little-to-no-notice is stifling.
Eating abilities. Apparently I can eat a lot. Who knew?!
Having a super stupid sneeze. It's really girly. And sounds fake. And it's entirely real. Win.
Procrastination. If my grad school application isn't proof enough, I don't know what is.
Organizational compentency.
Being pro-active/taking others by surprise
. I joined a gym. Nothing else needs to be said.
Napping. I'm really good at this.

Perhaps you need to make a daily list of things you excel at, win, achieve. Although in jest you say "I win at life," with regards to various aspects of your life, consider that perhaps you do. Have you thought of that? You are alive afterall. That has to count as an epic win somewhere, to someone. So take your victories where you can. And mark them down. Someday you will have a really impressive trophy case.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday: Valentines Day, Cliched Living

Your passion for learning grows exponentially as you enjoy getting into the more nuanced layers of a subject. For you, it's not about becoming an expert. The joy of learning is its own reward.

Hopefully my horoscope from today is a sign of some sort. Foreshadowing. I really love foreshadowing.

Speaking of love. It's Valentine's Day. One thing should be stated: I don't hate Valentines Day.

It's simply a signified day to love all of the things I love (as if I didn't already). Last year, I listened to Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs in its entirety while I baked, which was apropos and pretty awesome. I'd never had a complete, one-sitting listening. So I baked and had a great soundtrack. This may become a tradition.

This weekend following suit with the "love" category, I bought myself a Le Creuset tea pot. Because I earned it, as Satchel Moore would say. I also got tulips, Godiva truffles, a Le Creuset butter dish, and two pairs of shoes. All things I love, naturally.

Today gets filed in the happiness category. Don't think of what you don't have, and think of what you do. What makes you happy and what do you love? Consider, it doesn't have to be a who necessarily. You love a lot of things. Today will be a good one.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday: Life

Did you know that I hum sweet few second melodies in the solitary company of my cube? Or when I'm in my kitchen. Or in my car. At the grocery store. Occasionally I'll let out a whistle too. And on rare instances I'll click my tongue three times.

This self awareness seemingly came about when I found myself laughing aloud. This was last night and I was alone. Downstairs I could hear my landlord being crazy and pounding on things as he continues to "renovate" and work on "cleaning out the thirty years life has compiled" from his place. He's a hoarder.

I sat at my kitchen table watching Parks & Recreation and caught myself laughing loudly and genuinely. Milk almost projected from my mouth from the spontaneity of the laughter. Never before had I noticed myself doing anything like this alone. It was as if experiencing pure joy for the first time.

And then I stopped. I realized at this moment that I can exist alone. That I am content spending evenings only in the company of myself, regardless of what I do.

You will find that your interactions with others are in turn more sincere; that you are genuinely excited to talk to people and find a happiness in understanding their joy. Savor this. Some people will recognize this, and some won't - it doesn't matter either way. It is in the intention and simple recognitions that make days all the sweeter.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Living; Thursday

The morning started off by finding macaroons from Patisserie 46 hanging from my mailbox. It was single-handedly the sweetest gesture I can recall in quite some time. French Macaroons are my favorite treats; Everytime I'm in San Francisco I stop at Miette in the fairy building, buy a hazelnut macaroon, get a macchiato from Blue Bottle, and enter a euphoric state of bliss.

My dear friend knows all too well of my affection for these treats. She is well-known for doing secret acts of kindness. And today she knocked it out of the park.

Pretty much the only way this could have gotten any better is if somehow, a Blue Bottle macchiato magically appeared as well. But I realize the limitations of the magical things best friends can do. California is just too far away today.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday, living

Today - at least not yet - no insight or thought worth writing about has revealed itself. Maybe I am simply being lazy. Perhaps I have simply been distracted by conversations with my co-workers. That sounds like a stupid blog in and of itself - Conversations with my Co-worker. But I'd never make that, mark my words. Anyways. It's nice. And has consequently hindered my usual daily posting today. My conscience has gotten the best of me and is making me post something.

So here we are.

Out of boredom I started paging through different blogs. Mostly food blogs. Some culture and style. But mostly food, as it consumes roughly 73% of my thoughts and is at the center of most activities I partake in.

I went to, which I love. It's lovely, hence me loving it. Anyways. I saw a link on her sight "17 and Baking" which I found to be clever with regards to that shitty MTV reality show. Then it hit me. This is a blog of a 17 year old baker. Upon entering her site, I find breathtaking photographs, innovative culinary/epicurious adventures, and above average writing. Upon clicking the"Featured On" I found a list longer and more credible than could have imagined. Ready Made, Jezebel, SeriousEats, PaperMag, just to name a few. And she's seventeen (well eighteen now, sixteen when she started the site).

Then I asked myself, Why the hell have you not made a food blog yet? You're hitting the status of Senior with regards to age in comparison to those "making" it out there, apparently. I cook, I bake, I document. And occasionally I write. So, because I have been "showed up," if you will, by a seventeen year old and my ego some how feels mildly bruised or damaged -although not directly - I will start one. Mark my words.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday: Life, running away in boots.

Upon walking into my front porch yesterday afternoon, I saw a large envelope sticking out of my mailbox and almost started crying. Part of me considered not going inside, so as to not pass and consequently have to take the mail . Part of me wanted to start running, and run for a long time, without looking back and no destination in mind.

I want a large envelope to show up in my mailbox. Really, I do. But I've come to realize, I don't want the contents of said package. Neither response will do. I don't think I'm ready to deal with either option, hence me almost breaking down in tears at the sight of a large envelope. If there is one thing to learn from college and Arts High admission, it's that large envelopes are good, little are bad. So this could have been a "good" scenario. But it merely turned out to be letter from my insurance company. Neutral mail.

Maybe it's related, but probably not. I've been having a reoccurring dream. It's winter, grey skies, snow on the ground. I can see myself from across a street and I start to run. Initially I start in the city by my house but then continue out to the country. The only thing on my person are my boots. Something triggers me and I start running, pulling off my jacket, all of my clothes, and I run with only my bra, underwear, and boots on. I am on a mission in my dream. To go somewhere. Anywhere. In my dreams I never get there.

If you are trying to make positive steps for growth in your life, consider what makes you happy and what hinders your happiness. Is there anything holding you back? If there is, you should eliminate this.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday: living (refreshed)

I am pretty sure I have been stuck in this position all weekend. If only that were the case.

My thoughts have been consistent, of movement and making. Of thinking forward.

This usually coincides with starting to read again. In this instance, I have started to read again due to a plethora of free time. Through this vast amount of time (spent reading), I discovered Miranda July's new film, and stumbled upon her Union Square installation from this summer. And boy, how I want to create again.

The initial steps have been taken. Such a long time coming.

I feel released from a suspension, in space and time. The past year, quite honestly, was a wash. A good wash, but a wash none the less. It does seem, in retrospect, to have been rather necessary to stir, to settle, to become discontent. What was created is that awful/wonderful thing called perspective. Perhaps it merely feels strange because I've never gone through a lull. Of really doing nothing with myself besides work. Twenty-ten will go down as my year in purgatory.

If you feel stuck, know that eventually you will be unstuck. Unless of course you are happy being stuck. But most of the time, the connotation of stuck is not a positive one. Understand that when people say, It'll all make sense eventually or Everything will work itself out, it probably will. In the meantime, you may feel terrible, like a waste of space and air, continually recalling days of yore when you created, were invigorat(ed)ing, and life was continually refreshing. In due time, the recycle will occur and you'll be back. You will always come back.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Oversleeping on a Saturday.

At noon I met up with a friend to play cribbage but could not focus. I lost by six points.

I came back home to clean my house and hopefully collect myself, find focus.

The house was cleaned. Bob Dylan sang from my kitchen about girls from the north country and for an expanded moment in time, I felt un-real as in not real, not existing in current time - year, moment, seconds passing at regular intervals. I was the only person who experienced this moment. It was beautiful.

A friend summarized me as the simplistic observations and ideals of Miranda July with the unfortunate awkward scenarios of Larry David. I decided to let this one ruminate.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

You Obviously Know What I'm Talking About

New environments reveal the less than savory idiosyncratic tendencies of people. Or more so, my own idiosyncrasies have become painfully apparent. And the more I experience it, the more I think about it. And the more I think about it, the worse it gets. For example.

I prefer to enter the restroom at work when no one is exiting, washing their hands, or currently in a stall.

Nothing out of the ordinary.

The eye contact is really what gets me. Or the lack there of. There is nothing comfortable about connecting glances with other females while entering or exiting a bathroom. It is even worse if you're both washing your hands simultaneously. The cake-topper: people brushing their teeth. Who does that? You are in a public space with people just trying to get in, do their business, and leave. And there she is perched over the sink, scrubbing her mouth and spitting. This is at the top of the "do-not-make-eye-contact" list.

But let's consider the eye contact. If you make eye contact on the way to the bathroom, perhaps exchange a forced "Hello," you know you're going to be sitting down at the same time. And thus begins the waiting game. Nothing comfortable about waiting for them to make the first move, but it's also hard to make yourself go under so much pressure. It's a game of wits. Usually I win, rush to wash my hands and leave. We will never speak of this interaction.

Next, if you're entering when they're exiting, you seem somehow excited. They pull open the door when you were trying push through. You essentially fall into them, make eye contact like, "I'm sorry, but you also entered the bathroom not that long ago, don't look at me like I'm crazy," give the "Sorry" smile, and proceed.

Also hope that you are not walking past a stall when someone is leaving one. It's just strange because you don't really want to feel like a robot who does not acknowledge another person's presence, but consider. Would you really want to make eye contact with that person leaving their stall moments after they did their business? It's like you're looking into their soul, saying, "I know what you just did. And everyone who comes in will, too." And no one wants to be on the giving or receiving end of these glances.

Find a happy medium. Know what your eye contact expresses. You don't want to appear to be the new person with zero confidence, but you also do not want to be the excitable, over eager one either. You enjoy simple interactions with human beings. Let the nuances happen. Acknowledge them. Smile. Learn from the everyday.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

[cue the repetative alarm clock] Wednesday.

Catagorize this under "Living."

It's February second. Perhaps my favorite irrelevant holiday. Consider it a day to celebrate perhaps one of Bill Murray's best roles in the aptly titled Groundhog's Day.

As for today, according to the lack of Punxsutawney Phil's shadow in Punxsutawney, PA, spring is coming early.

But if I were to take a note from the film, today -- a bitterly cold and windy day -- will repeat itself over and over again. Even if I try to steal Punxsutawney Phil, the weather will not change. And how vague is his shadow! "Spring is coming early." Meaning a day? Because really, six more weeks of winter (the alternative) is quite a reality anyhow for us Minnesota tundra dwellers. I digress.

What should be said is love where you live. If you continually go through life yearning for something to come faster, to end sooner, you will never be able to enjoy. Things are always brighter somewhere else, sure. But move there if you're discontent. Your Norwegian blood loves this weather. So soke up what last bit of winter you can.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

tuesday living

When guessing the caloric intake of a particular food item, aim low. It would seem the other way would be the "smarter" "more health conscious" way, but trust me, it's lower than you think. Don't learn the hard way again when trying to settle a tie in trivia. But don't fret, you didn't let your team down. All of you could be better listeners to the quiet but slightly sure voice at the table.

Related but entirely off topic.

Follow through is entirely crucial. Your punctuality has slipped mildly in the past months. Regain this. It's one of your best attributes. So this said, when a reservation is offered, happily accept and follow through. Although you may be skeptical, put yourself out there, show up on time, and enjoy life a little bit more.