Blogs – long or short?

I’m playing with WordPress and Tumblr, so I think I’m gonna try intertwining the two – I’m sure there are better ways to do it, but I’m thinking WordPress for longer posts, like The Darkness Within and the recipe, but Tumblr for the shorter stuff…I’m almost up to technology from 2009, baby!

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Fancy cooking.

Living with someone means rarely getting to wander around the house naked just because you feel like it compromising on many things, and one of the hardest, in my roommate situation, at least, is food.  We like enough of the same things to purchase groceries together and share food, but there are just enough differences to mean we usually try to cook something that can be customized (homemade pizzas, tacos, stirfry, etc.), and we don’t branch out into new and exciting stuff very often

This means that when the roommate is away (like right now) and I get a chance to cook just for myself for a few days then all bets are off (I can also listen to my music as loud as I want in the morning, see the kitchen clean first thing in the morning AND not have to wrangle someone else’s laundry when I want to use the washer and dryer, but this post is not about that).  Generally this is the time when I break out the recipes with ingredients she doesn’t want to eat (cold black beans,  chipotle-spiced anything, basil, dates, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and pretty much any creature that came from the sea).   But I didn’t really feel like cooking today, nor did I feel like going out to eat or even going to the grocery store, which eliminated many of the things I wanted to try sometime when she wasn’t around (side note: apparently the only things I did feel like doing today were roasting vegetables, walking/playing with/snuggling with the dog, napping, reading copious amounts and doing laundry, laundry and more laundry – seriously, how does one person dirty so many clothes?  See, if I could just go naked more often that wouldn’t be as much of an issue!!).

So I turned to the fridge and freezer and cupboards and did the ol’ “smidgeon of this, dash of that” thing, and came up with something that is definitely getting codified into a sort-of actual recipe and added to my spring/summer meal rotation!  It’s still a slap-dash sort of recipe, but somehow it came together into a really, really tasty salad’ish thing that is also easy AND healthy…I’m not sure how that all happened by accident, so it must be kismet or serendipity or something that means random good stuff has to happen to balance out the random crap that hits the fan on a regular (yet random) basis.

  • Roasted asparagus – however much you want
  • Roasted grape tomatoes – however many you want
  • Roasted red peppers – however much…you get the idea
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed (or use chickpeas if you like them better 😉
  • small jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
  • vinaigrette – 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar, 1/4 c. olive oil, 1 t-1T Dijon mustard (use however much you like), and a sprinkle each of dried oregano, thyme and basil, plus a dash of salt and freshly ground pepper.

Toss it all together, let it sit in the fridge for an hour or four to meld the flavors together, and serve it with grilled or broiled shrimp and naan from Trader Joe’s, if you are like me and loooooove the carbs.

Oh, gods, I just posted a recipe on a blog…if I start posting crafts next someone please take me out to a music show and get me blindingly drunk because I will have turned into someone I don’t want to be (the good thing is I don’t actually do any crafts, so it should be safe – but feel free to take me to a show and buy me a drink anyway, as a precautionary measure).

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Actual conversations I have recently had

Me:  “The dog has decided the best way to get my attention is to sit on my foot.”

Other person:  “That is disgusting!”

Me: (pause) “You do realize that was ‘sit’ with no ‘h’ in there, right?”

Other person:  “Ah.  I thought you were handling the whole poop-foot thing really well.”

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A “Dear John” letter

Dear 5 a.m.

I know this might be hard to hear, but I can’t keep seeing you. I don’t WANT to keep seeing you.  The first few times it happened I thought, “this is OK, it’s not a serious thing, it’s just an occasional thing, no harm done.”  But the more I see you, the more I find myself being cranky and tired – instead of bringing out the best in me, like a good relationship should, you are just sucking the energy right out of me.  I try to ignore you, but you just keep pushing your way into my life, and I don’t like it.

It’s not you, it’s me – well, maybe it is  you, because there are several people I know who, frankly, just don’t like you much either.  But that seems so harsh – I know there are some lovely things about you.  You can be so quiet and peaceful to be around, but in the long-run, those qualities just aren’t enough for me to want this to be a permanent thing.  Find someone else who will appreciate your better qualities, and just leave me alone – it will be better for us both.

P.S.  If 6:30 a.m. is available, I’m totally open to starting something there, so put in a good word for me, OK?

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GOP = giving out poverty

I know the GOP is not seen as a proponent for the poor, but they are definitely going to drive me to the poor house.  I made a decision earlier this year to start donating money to non-governmental agencies that directly effect populations for whom conservative politicians are trying to phase out services.  Even if I do a small donation of $10 a pop, I’m looking at about a billiondy-two dollars by the end of the year.

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The Darkness Within

That is an awesomely portentious title for a blog post, and my melodramatic drama queen side couldn’t resist.  It also possible portends an essay much more thought out than the one I’m typing out here, pretty much stream of consciousness, but you’d be less likely to read a blog entry called “stuff I think when I’m freshly awake and trying to process things I’ve been thinking over the last 3 days”, so we’ll go with the one I’ve got up there.

And it’s actually true – I do believe that everyone, EVERYONE has some darkness inside…it could be that little bit of schadenfreude someone gets from passing the jerk who was just cutting in and out of traffic, trying to get ahead of everyone.  It could be an enjoyment of gory mysteries or slasher flicks.  It could be something less socially acceptable, like an liking for erotic films, something “normal” but that we’re not proud of and don’t like people to know (maybe you donated to SarahPAC?)…the point is we all have some darkness inside.

So I guess that is one of the reactions I have to an article published over the weekend in the WSJ, titled Darkness Too Visible.  It’s ridiculous to assume that no one has any darkness inside them until it is put there – has that woman not ever met a child?  Children can be so offhandedly, unintentionally and intentionally, cruel that is leaves you breathless.  And they are not living in a little universe where they never see or hear or think bad things, no matter how much you protect their world.  But these points have already been made, by far better writers, so I suggest you go here and here and here and even here for more of that.  The point I am going to/attempting to make is this:  you don’t have to have a trauma in your life to want to read about it.

Here’s one of my deep, dark secrets:  I had a pretty trauma-free childhood.  I was raised in the Midwest when everything still felt pretty safe, my parents are still married and didn’t have obvious marital difficulties until I was in college and only aware of it tangentially.  There were no abuse issues, physical, mental, emotional or substance, and no major health issues – my parents have both dealt with cancer, but when I was an adult, so better (?) able to deal with it (or as better as one is able to deal with the “c” word).  I had a good support system, I could talk to my parents about issues as much as any teenager could, and for all intents and purposes, I had a “normal” and “healthy” adolescence, even with all the drama and emotional upheaval that comes from friends who aren’t and boys that didn’t like me when I liked them, and boys who did like me when I thought of them as just friends.  And, guess what?  I read books.

I read The Outsiders and every Judy Blume book I could get my hands on.  I read the smutty romance novels (including one with sex scenes AND slasher scenes of a character who turned out to be Jack the Ripper).  I read everything that looked good in the kids section and, after a time, everything that looked interesting and had a flashy cover in the adult section (yes, I’m still influenced by the cover).  I didn’t read V.C. Andrews or Stephen King – I tried, but Andrews squicked me out (ew, that’s her brother!) and King freaked me out (I’m never sleeping again!), so they went by the wayside, unfinished and unstarted again.  The thing is, I was able to self-select what made me uncomfortable and what I didn’t want to read about, as many others have mentioned – let’s give teens credit where credit is due.  If it is something they don’t want to read about or is beyond their ken, they generally WON’T read it…unless you make it taboo and thus alluring.

But even more importantly, the other thing I did was to read about people who were not being raised in “whitebread” situations, who did not have two parents who took me to dance class and coached my softball team and attend spelling bees where I was competing.  And that was a very good thing.  It opened my eyes as to what other people were going through out there in the world, stuff that hadn’t occurred to me.  Did it make me afraid?  Well, for me, no, because I still had my insular world with my “normal” life, and besides, stuff like the Cold War, and The Day After and AIDS and the Gulf War (that’d be the first one, for you young’uns) and spaceships blowing up (goodbye Challenger, I still think of you) were making me more aware of the bad things out there than the books ever could.  The books, in fact, were comforting in many ways.  It was a way to escape the bad stuff – even when bad things were happening in the books, they gave ways to deal with the bad stuff, they addressed the bad stuff as though they COULD be overcome or solved, and there was generally some ray of hope or way out of the darkness…unlike the real stuff I was seeing on TV and in the news and studying in school, the real stuff we usually refer to as “real life”.

It also gave me some real empathy for what other people went through in their lives.  I credit that opening of my eyes to why I became a social worker and then, a librarian – I wanted to help people, not out of a sense of pity and “I will bring them up out of the darkness” (although there was some of that – I was 21 when I got my BSW and started working as a social worker – idealism is what we DO at 21).  It was more an awareness that things were not as peachy-keen out there for everyone else, and maybe I didn’t have to let that be OK.  Maybe I could make a difference.  Whether or not I have or do remains to be seen – I might never actually know.  But the point is that if kids without trauma in their lives don’t have a way to find out about it in a safe way, they are never motivated to do anything about preventing it for others.  Give teens some credit, give them some tools to learning about more than just their own sphere of influence, and give them the opportunity to talk about the things that make them uncomfortable.  Or curious.  Or passionate.  Don’t assume they can’t be the candle in the darkness, or the flashlight in the dimness or whatever other metaphor floats your boat.

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Everybody poops

I went to visit a school today to promote the Summer Reading Program and to talk about some high interest books to get the kids interested in before they leave school for the summer and none of them pick up a book again before September.  I didn’t take the book Everyone Poops, since I was visiting 1st and 2nd grade classrooms, although I did mention moths that camouflage themselves by having wings spots that look like bird poop splotches.  Play to your audience, I always say.

The best part of the visit was when one of the 1st graders got so excited about the idea of reading that he started a litany:  “I love to read!  I read at breakfast, I read at lunch if my mom lets me, I read at dinner, I read when I go to the bathroom!”

When you work with things that people from the “public” touch, let alone take out of the building and bring back, you like to fool yourself into thinking that they come back pristine and germ free and that they NEVER come into contact with ANYTHING that has been in ANY bathroom ANYWHERE  (I’ve never read a book on the pot, of course, certainly not a library book.  Ahem.  But since I poop rainbows there would be no harm if I did do it, is all I’m saying).  It is hard to fool yourself when you find things like bacon used as a bookmark, but I’ve taken advanced classes in denial, which helps with longer term delusions (see also: every relationship I’ve had in the last 4 years).

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