Ten Things I Discovered/Learned Since I Last Wrote

It has truly been a ridiculously long time since I last wrote here, but life spiraled in a dizzying display of color and sudden collision of activity that did not inspire the proper energy for writing. I will eventually relate the adventures, but for now I feel inclined to give a taste of those adventures through newly acquired knowledge (be it of myself, or just knowledge of a general topic).

1. I really like wine. I used to consider myself strongly a beer person, but now I understand that I was just approaching the grape-based distant cousin all wrong. Turns out I am in some fabulous wine country and I am surrounded by local vineyards with a plethora of wineries attached. I have only sampled a few, but suffice it to say I am extremely impressed with my sampling. I still dearly enjoy beer, but wine has now subtly shifted into a similar placement on my enjoyment scale.

2. You can tint gloss sealer to be fun colors while still maintaining its transparency. I know, I know, try to contain your excitement. The reason this is fun will become apparent once I can post pictures of the show I am currently working on (and almost have completed hallelujah!!)

3. I learned to set in sleeves on a knitted sweater. May not sound like much, but it is a new technique that I was avoiding because I was afraid that I would:

a.) Make a terrible mess of the thing.

b.) Find it really boring and tedious, thus shoving the gorgeous garment even further into my bag in the hopes that the dark recesses would convince the garment to mutate to include the offending sleeve caps

Thankfully, neither scenario occurred thanks to this video. Knitpicks is a godsend I swear it’s true. I actually really enjoyed the process and I am now galloping off towards a complete cardigan that is so pretty I can barely wait to traipse about in all its turquoise glory.

4. If you are in a shop that sells various jams and jellies, be very careful grabbing what looks like a stuffed animal bear. It may actually be a covert jar cozy housing a 12 ounce jar of jam that may then, jostled by your careless bear -grabbing, go tumbling off the counter and shatter into a bajillion pieces.

5. When drinking tea, one should actually slurp it loudly and with abandon so that the drink hits every single portion of the tongue, thus releasing all the flavor that was intended to be experienced in the blend.

6. Night air shows are really freakin spectacular. Seriously.

7. The reason the water in Lake Michigan is so clear is because of an invasive species called the zebra mussel . Even though the clear water is super beautiful, apparently these boogers cause a great deal of grief.

8. I am still a capable swimmer even when slightly intoxicated. (Don’t worry, I did not learn this while swimming alone.)

9. The Seal of the President of the United States is a giraffe and a half of ridiculous to recreate from scratch.

10. Michigan wins the award for best summer weather ever. The hottest it ever gets is 90 and I can only count on one hand the number of times it has gotten that hot since I arrived in June. Last year this time I was a puddle of Florida goo. Now I still need a sweatshirt on some July mornings 🙂

Stick with me guys, I swear fun pictures and stories are on the horizon.

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From MA to NY, an Adventure: Day 1

Last week into early this week was a furious spin of beautiful and productive travel that has left me reeling. I chose to visit two of my very dear friends, Persephone and SexyHistorian (was formerly SexyLibrarian, but I just decided that the second portion of that pseudonym was slightly limited) , in Amherst Massachusetts. They currently are roommates, and both are pursuing their Masters degree at the same school within the consortium that exists in that area. I arrived later evening on Wednesday evening, and I enjoyed a rousing trivia night with SexyHistorian at one of her favorite haunts in East Hampton (I went to this place again during my stay, so I will describe the venue more fully in a later post). Thursday is where I shall begin…

Thursday found me driving SexyHistorian into work, which is located in the town center of Amherst. Persephone was off teaching for the day, and SexyHistorian be at work for a large chunk of the day as well. Originally, I planned on bumming around their apartment. However, once outside and in the town center, I could no more think of staying inside than I would consider kicking a kitten. The day was absolutely stunning, all molten-blue sky, sunshine, and a fine breeze blowing through the midst. SexyHistorian was kind enough to point me in the direction of an inexpensive cafe with outdoor seating, and then she whisked herself to work. I spent a couple hours consuming large amounts of tea, reading a very hefty historical romance, and knitting. Once bored with that, I began to traipse about the town center. For those who have never been to this area, tis a place one could fall in love with as quickly as it takes to blink. My love only grew the rest of my stay, but the first deep seed began to sprout on this day. The town is a glorious collection of historical and bohemian charm that left my face aching with smiles. I would walk about viewing a plethora of pleasing architecture and shop fronts, and then I would happen upon a green area where I could plant myself to read and otherwise enjoy being still. I was so enamored of my surroundings, I texted Persephone begging her to join me once she was out of school. She agreed, and my day was further enhance by her generous company as we walked about together. That evening, when we all were back in the apartment, it was decided that the next evening (Friday) we would all get prettied up and head out to bar for cocktails and general mayhem. Thus ended my first day.

Slices of Perfection

The last few days have been perfect in a way that I have missed. Perfection in totality is not something I ever expect, but hiding in various places is not too much to ask.

The first place where I am gifted a slice of perfection is that I am working this week. My sister was kind enough to get me a brief gig as a sound board operator/sound technician for a show which she is the music directing. It’s been so long since I actually have been a part of the actual run of a production, let alone running sound. Last time I did that kind of tech work consistently was in high school. Yet, I had forgotten how much I actually enjoy running a show in this venue. Sound production, at least the very simplistic type that I am capable of operating, is one of things where I feel a full competency and rhythm that even painting doesn’t always afford me. You have your mics, a schedule, and many little knobs before you that can manipulate the voices in such a way that they sound as if the person/people is/are singing in the seat next to you rather than from a faraway stage. As I said, I’ve only operated shows where I only had to worry about a few body mics, some stationary fixtures, and possibly an effect or two. The show here is incredibly simple, but it has offered a chance to enjoy myself and get paid while doing so. Tis and excellent reminder of why I seek to consistently have a job where joy has a place.

 

Second slice of perfection is being with my sister. I will not pretend that we are those 50’s-TV siblings who get along so swimmingly it would inspire a live-audience to an “Awwwww.” However, we are unusually close for being so completely different. I have not spent such a long period of time with her since I went to college, and it is a special brand of lovely to actually stay with her for more than a couple days. Again, we definitely have our points of disagreement, but those points are eclipsed by the fact that we do love and like each other more often than we argue.

 

The third slice is simple. Alone time. While my parents have been awesome about leaving me to my own devices, the fact is that they spend a great deal of time in the house (I know, the nerve of them spending time in their own home!). Anyhow, I pray this does not sound whiny, but going from my own apartment to a shared house where I am never really alone is a difficult adjustment. I am an introvert, and I am used to spending large chunks of time completely by myself. Not a matter of  being anti-social, just a simple matter of needing not to be in anyone else’s energy space for a time. While my rents, as I’ve said, are excellent about leaving me to myself, just the sharing of space is hard for me. While staying with my sister, I have been granted the unexpected treat of being left alone in her place for large chunks of time. Between her various jobs, and the fact that she is an extreme extrovert who abundantly enjoys going out, my sister is not always here. Thus, I have blocks of time where I can just languish in solitude with only her wonderful cats for company. Right now, I stare out the front window of her place (totally awesome window, huge with a view full of trees and sky), just savoring the rain outside. What more luxury could be desired than sitting cuddled in a blanket, cup of tea in hand, as a dreary day melts the world around you into a monochromatic wash that so nicely contrasts your own circle of light?

Kentucky Journey Part 2: Good Food, Good Company

My journey did allow for some time to enjoy myself. What better thing to do on such a trip than to have excellent food in even more excellent company? So, starting from the beginning….

If you go back a couple posts, you will encounter a whopping helping of chicken and waffles. Handsome found this tiny little hole-in-the-wall called Hammerheads that served this monstrosity, and holy mercy was that dish one of the best things I have ever tasted. I could not do it more than once a year, but once I dug into the thing with my bare hands as my only utensil….let’s just say I was lost. In terms of the next wonderful meal, it starts with the fact that a portion of my former professors were at the conference. While I certainly enjoyed seeing all of them, one professor (who will henceforth be known as the Alchemist) was someone whom I shared a strong relationship as a colleague, professor, and friend. When I discovered he was at the conference, I immediately contacted him. After a series of texts, we agreed to go to dinner on Friday night. I told him I would be accompanied by Handsome, and with that said I eagerly awaited that evening.

We had decided to do Ethiopian food, because rumor had it there was a particularly good restaurant near the hotel. I will be completely transparent with you and say that my palette is extremely limited, particularly when it comes to ethnically based foods ( in my mind that means things like Indian, Thai, Afghan etc.) It breaks my heart, because when I taste such food, I can tell it is really delicious. The problem is that the taste is just not jiving with my personal buds. The usual culprit? Hot spices. Yup, I have the same tolerance to spiciness that a seagull has to Alka-Seltzer (supposedly seagulls explode from the inside out when you give them this fizzy product). Despite my misgivings, I knew Handsome and the Alchemist would enjoy it, and I usually always try all types of food regardless if I think I will like it or not. Thus, I found myself in a tiny Ethiopian restaurant called Addi’s Grill in excellent company. The man who ran the place also took our order, and after many apologies for the wait (apparently he was not used to the amount of customers that an influx of theatre-people can provide), he recommended that I get the vegetarian dish as it would be the least likely to burn my mouth off. I gratefully agreed, and this was what was given me

20130315-184549.jpgYah dude, I was a little speechless. That bread type substance is called injera, and it was kind of a cross between a flatbread and a pancake for me. You break off pieces of the injera and use it to scoop/grab various things on top of the even bigger piece of injera underneath. What I will say of the meal is that I really enjoyed how you have to eat it with your hands. Again, I could tell the food was good, and while I did eat a generous portion of my meal, I do not think I will be seeking Ethiopian food again outside of rare occasions. As for the company, I could not have picked two better gentleman to hang out with for the evening. Not only did I have the distinct pleasure of sharing a meal with two people I know, but I also introduced two kindred souls. We were having such a good time that (naturally since we are all beer lovers) we went out to a local brewery that the Alchemist had visited the previous evening. My heart was warmed not only by the excellent drink (suggested by the Alchemist, I got a beer that also had mead mixed in, which is probably one of the best things ever!), and the fact the Handsome and the Alchemist were clearly getting on as if they had been friends since college. The evening ended on an excellent note, with a suggestion from the Alchemist on where we should go for brunch the next morning.

We decided to take the Alchemist’s suggestion, and mercy alive we were not disappointed! What do you get when you combine a kitchy atmosphere,

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scrumptious brunch food…..20130315-192307.jpg

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and the most sensuous tea I have ever encountered?

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why, that would be this place 🙂

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Hillbilly Tea, is a most lovely place, and I truly wished I could have gone more than once. I did purchase two of their excellent teas to enjoy from my own loose lease infuser, and both have proved most fitting choices for my tea tastes.

That’s that then. Truly a most glorious collection of experiences indeed.

Success Before the Storm

A day full of rousing success stories. First of all, epic laundry day was an extremely smart thing to do as early in the day as I could. By the time the last load was done, people were already pulling the classic, “I’m not going to wait ten minutes for the dryer, so I’ll just dump the clothes inside over here.” Well, whoever it was, he/she was at least kind enough to put it on the table and not the floor. Anyway, my next task was the farmers market. ZeldaStark introduced me to this farmers market while my lovelings were in town, and it is a truly remarkable place. I have always loved accessible local produce, and this place is absolutely bursting with goodness. From apples to Tupelo honey, I feel glowing all over when I can get wonderful food for an excellent value. Happily today, ZeldaStark joined me again. We even enabled each other to purchase some delightful baskets that incited some spontaneous singing (may or may not have included lyrics about provincial towns). We also stopped by the tea lounge, because, darnit!, I need more morning tea! My evening brews are enough to last for a bit, but I positively drag in the morning without my little tea lift, and the backup is almost out. Thus, some delectable local tea was acquired, and I bid the fair ZeldaStark adieu with wishes for safety during the hurricane. The last thing on the list, a trip to Lowes to gather the last few pieces of storm equipment that I sought. My favorite surprise purchase was a bag of reflective gear that included a vest and support belt (and the bag itself is a nifty little carry bag). While not absolutely necessary, it was cheap and could come in handy in other situations so why not (plus, I totes look fantastic in true neon). On my way home, Baloo called with the news that the park is closed tomorrow and thus no work. While a tiny part bemoaned the lost pay, more of me felt relief. Aside from the storm, I am tired from the 30 hours in three days that just happened. Today was to be my only day off before next weekend, and I spent most of it running to and fro. Knowing that tomorrow can be spent hunkering down to ride out the storm brings a huge wave of calm, and a bit of planning. What are the plans tomorrow? Besides the usual pursuits of knitting and reading, this lady is going to attempt to block a shawl when she has neither carpet nor blocking boards. How will this experiment turn out? We shall see 🙂

“These are a few of my favorite things…”

Just a few things that I think are awesome…

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The toaster is definitely an appliance that I was dearly missing. Tried going without, and my bagels just aren’t nearly as satisfying without that extra crisp.

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Okay, I know, this seems really up there with something Cinderella might have squeed over. However, do you realize how clever this thing really is? It gets in every corner, does not require a plug, does both wet and dry cleaning, and that shade of green is so damn cheerful!

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Does this really need an explanation? Baby clementines in the arms of Jack Skelington def a win for any kitchen.

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Ahhh, the joy of tea. Everything I need to enjoy a most exquisite cup of gladness.