Tuesday, February 28, 2012

birthday blues

My birthday is a few days away, queue the crazy.

Crap, I thought this year was going to be different. I thought that this would be the year that I allowed myself to enjoy my birthday detached from unrealistic expectations, overwhelming feelings of inadequacy and anxiety about whether anyone could ever love me. I may have eaten half a pint of Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Therapy for dinner last night. Yep, I'm fighting the crazy here, let the plans to dissuade the birthday blues commence.

Agenda may include a pedicure and certainly a manicure; baking a birthday cake with my lil sister (who could be grumpy with a birthday cake like this?); and my favorite veggie burger with rosemary fries. I'm feeling better already.

Monday, February 27, 2012

adventures in feminism

This past weekend was our stake conference - which means there was a special meeting at 10am and we were done by noon, pretty near perfect time and length for church meetings, if you ask me. Our current schedule is 3-6 and I do my darndest not to complain about but it was nice to have a change.

Unfortunately the content of the meeting left me feeling rather agitated and quite depressed. And despite Elder Scott's exhortation that I embody respect my womanhood (which, best I can tell, means: dressing modestly; acting like a lady and requiring others treat me as such; and acting as support staff to all my familial relations), I went home, donned some ill-fitting jeans, sweatshirt and sneakers and went outside to work in my garden.

Which reminded me of this, I think she gets it.

 Ann-Margret singing "How Lovely to be a Woman" in Bye Bye Birdie.  

It was a beautiful day to dig in the dirt and plant some seeds - arugula and peas, for now. It may be too soon, time will tell, but I can always replant in a couple weeks. It felt good lug around those big bags of mulch, compost and vermiculite, to get some dirt under my nails and to turn on the hose again. I do love the experimentation, the intersection of biology and creation. There is something truly fascinating and invigorating about organizing life within 9 square feet of soil.

Does this qualify as nurturing? What if I put some flowers in the mix?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Puxatawney's got some explaining to do

This has been a strange winter - maybe we should just call it a non-winter. Honestly, after weathering winters in Alaska, New England, Finland and Northern Utah, I was sort of done with winter. And now, wouldn't you know it, I sort of miss it. A few weeks ago, I was looking through old photos from my time in Finland and I became intensely nostalgic for snow. Snow is something that I haven't seen this year (flurries don't count) and I don't miss the logistical nightmares (like commuting through 6" of heavy slush with hundreds of drivers who haven't the slightest idea of how to drive in snow, or the countless times I got my car stuck in a snow bank in my own driveway) I miss the muffling effect, the magical ways in which snow can transform a landscape. And there's this sick part of me that loves those super cold days when everything is frosty and frozen the the ground just sort of crunches under your feet like styrofoam. Alas.

As much as I enjoy the beauties of winter, I think spring is the best season of all. And if spring wants to come early, I'm ready to embrace it. So long as it stays for a nice long while (not ready for an early summer).

Yesterday, I may have spent nearly $40 dollars on seeds - crazy, I know. My head is all filled with plans for my little garden this year. I'm learning from last year and rethinking the tomato situation, giving up on zucchini, and planting peas this weekend (it's early, but I'm gonna give it a go). And I've decided that there is nothing wrong with gardening on Sunday - it's no more "work" than knitting or cooking, though perhaps more strenuous - I think that it's a lovely way to connect with nature, and clear my mind of worries of my week. 

I'm really excited to be able to pick fresh tomatoes and arugula from my garden - honestly, that's really all I care about arugula and tomatoes, everything else is just an experiment.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Let's talk about Downton

Well it's happened again, my day job has negatively impacted my blog. There is simply too much to read and not enough time to read it all let alone write about it. And there's so much I want to talk about. First of all, Downton Abbey ... SPOILER ALERT!!!! ... if you haven't watched the season finalle yet I advise you to do so and come back so that we can all gab about it.

So we finally got to see the Christmas special - even though it's mid-February, I'm not complaining.

Were you surprised when Matthew proposed to Mary? I'm sure there are speed bumps ahead but I think they sort of deserve each other - if that's really possible. And will Edith end up with the old guy? He is rather handsome and rather charming in his own way - What about Patrick or the farmer? Will either of them make an appearance next season. I think Patrick will make a comeback, I've never cared so much about entails and estates in my life, thank you Downton for making that dreadful property law class feel slightly relevant.

And poor Mr. Bates, I'm glad that they were able to successfully appeal the capital sentence. I've got a feeling that they're going to find a way to prove his innocence next season, it'd just be too sad to end the show with him rotting away in jail and Anna left pinning.

So, we've covered property and estates, criminal law and procedure, contracts and family law thus far. Maybe next season they'll round it out with a some torts. Oh, the nerdery. Well, I guess I've got something to look forward to next January to chase away the winter blues.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

a day at the national gallery

I enjoyed a truly lovely 3-day weekend, repleat with tasty food, fantastic weather, great art and a parade too boot.

On Saturday I took my lil sis to Paul for sandwiches and mini pastries, followed by the National Gallery. It was almost like being in Paris only cheaper.

My favorite artist of the day, Alexander Calder.

I could watch his mobile sculptures for hours. At one point, one of the sculptures set off an alarm - I'd like to think that'd make the artist proud. Talk about art taking on a life of it's own. 

And Calder's Red Horse - striking against a clear blue sky, reminded me of a Giant Dala Horse.

Because I like to tie everything back to Nordic folk art.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Grammy's buzz

Blast! Work has gotten busy and I just don't have the time to aimlessly search the interwebs like I used to. Consequently my blogging has suffered but since I've made it this far I'll just say a couple of things about the Grammy's.

1) We all know that Chris Brown is a dirt bag for what he did to Rhianna a couple of years ago. But should they have welcomed him back to the Grammy's? Well, I don't really see why not. Artists will continue to disappoint us with their actions and shortcomings, should we allow our personal disdain for their bad acts taint everything they do? That's up to you, but if we started censoring artists because they made poor life decisions, we'd be left with a very small and boring library.

Honestly, before Sunday night, all I knew about Chris Brown was that he beat up Rhianna. But I watched him perform anyway - and guess what, I was impressed. He's quite a dancer.  

2) Adele is fabulous! I loved her hair, her dresses, her nails and it's so good to know that she got her voice back. And I guess I'm not alone in my adoration - 6 Grammy's not too shabby. Can anyone explain to me the difference between an album and a record?

3) Was Lady Gaga wearing a muzzle? or a poor man's face lift? I'm so confused. But I've got to give it to her for bringing back the scepter.

Sorry, no time to link anything. Gotta get back to work.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

all you need is love

I've never really understood Valentine's Day, but I think these sort of sum it up nicely.

This reminds me of the one time I did have a boyfriend and failed to do anything for him on Valentine's Day. I think it was the beginning of the end for us.

This is absolutely tragic, and a little funny - I'm a terrible person. I had to finish watching the second half of this weeks Downton Abbey last night because it was another 2-hour episode that I had not anticipated while watching the Grammy's Sunday night. (Maybe I'll talk about the Grammy's tomorrow if work isn't too crazy, because I've got lots to say.) But wholly shocker! I've said it before and I'll say it again, DA is the best thing to ever happen on television.

And while love may elude me, I'll always have NPR. A few weeks ago, I decided to be a grown up and start contributing to my NPR station. And I'm mighty proud of myself, I mean it's about time and if I waited for Ira Glass to call me up personally and ask for a donation, it may never happen. (Ira, if your reading this, feel free to call me anyway, I may be persuaded upgrade my sponsorship.)

Friday, February 10, 2012

shark jumping and other silliness

Indulge me as I talk about television. Again. Last night on Grey's Anatomy, a van crashed into the hospital. Let me repeat a van crashed into a hospital. And while this is by no means outside of any realm of possibilities, I laughed, because a van crashed into the hospital. Seriously? Who is writing this stuff? Because, while at times Grey's features some truly great drama, vans crashing into hospitals do not in and of themselves make good drama. It was completely unnecessary. It furthered no plot lines, it was the catalyst for no moving interactions, it was superfluous violence. Please, if you're going to indulge into the ridiculous, use it do something interesting.

When that gunman was roaming the hospital shooting people, that was likewise ridiculous, but it was also incredibly good drama. So good that I didn't have time to think about how crazy it was. I had to remind myself to breath, it was so good.

So I hope that you enjoy the weekend. Are you excited as I am for a new episode of Downton Abbey? I'm hoping that now that the war's over we can get some new flavors of man candy and not just the sad wounded types - though they are kinda sweet when they aren't knocking up the help.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

you've got to be prepared

And I'm not talking boyscout prepared.*

I know I said that I was imposing a temporary yarn-fast but that was after I'd already ordered a bunch online. Truth is, what I lack in food storage, I make up for in yarn. I'm just hoping that in the event of a natural disaster, there will be high demand for hats and mittens so I can barter for food. And let's be honest, I'm not the type to survive a zombie apocalypse or any other type of apocalypse for that matter. Though, I have been wondering if the NRA should think about funneling some of their support into the zombie movie industry because I've never been inclined to buy a gun but after a good zombie movie, I feel a little naked.

So I bought enough for a sweater, but I haven't settled on a pattern yet. So many options, I just can't decide. And would you believe that there isn't a pair of size 8 needles to be found at my house? For the love! I guess I'm not as prepared as I thought I was - this is seriously impeding my swatching ability.

*Oh, Captain Ron, I'll take you to Disney World anytime.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


My birthday is coming up and for first time in YEARS I'm not anxious. I'm not mourning my spinsterhood, clinging to the dregs of my youth. I'm not even that bothered by that same biological clock that rang so loudly in my years as I approached the dreaded 30.

While in my twenties I had a couple of friends, a decade older than I, that assured me that life got better after 30. They knew something that I didn't, because I couldn't. You see when you are miserable in your twenties, you think that it's all about you and your failings and flaws, but really it's just an awful decade that we're all forced to live through. A decade filled with unrealistic expectations, anxiety and naivety. They saw my pain and knew that I would overcome it, that I would evolve and learn to embrace my life. I felt my pain and saw only uncertainty and potential for unending misery.

The build up to 30 was the WORST! I dreaded that day for years. Why? Because, I'm a masochist, but really I was scared about what it meant and ashamed by the things that I hadn't accomplished. And though I bribed myself with a lovely trip to Hawaii, I couldn't shake the gloom of that day that came and went.

31 was better. Though it fraught with it's own challenges, I felt better prepared to face them. I had stopped doing what I though I should, and started following my heart. While still finding my footing in a new town and a new phase, I was finding unexpected satisfaction in the process.

And now, as I approach 32, I couldn't be happier. It's funny really. Because I have none of the things that I envisioned for myself. I have plenty of reasons to be miserable, except I'm not. As it turns out, all of those things that I thought that I needed to make me happy, may in fact lead to happiness and I may never know for sure, but I've learned that there are many ways to be happy.

Friday, February 3, 2012

What are men to rocks and mountains?

I think that Elizabeth Bennet would have found this an perfectly indulgent way to get over Whickham, but then she may have never reconnected with Darcy, and the whole story would have been ruined. Still, you should watch this, it literally took my breath away.

Yosemite HD from Project Yosemite on Vimeo.

P.S. Watch it in full screen.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

austerity measures

I've got a pretty serious travel bug. And along it's sister ailments, spring and cabin fever, the travel bug is nothing to scoff at. It afflicts large swaths of the privileged first world population every day.

I've got my heart set on Sweden for Midsommar and now I've just got to raise the capital. And that's why I'm working on a plan - we won't call it a budget because though I can be quite frugal, I haven't the stomach for budgets, but there will be cutbacks including a temporary yarnfast and diy manicures. 

This may or may not have all been inspired by the Kristen Bell video that's been making its way around the interwebs. It's certainly good for a laugh but it also made me wonder when's the last time I was anywhere near that happy. Don't get me wrong I'm pretty happy - certainly happier than I was for most of my twenties. But, I couldn't help but crave that sort of happiness that may only be found in the delivery of sloth to my doorstep by Dax Shepard... Midsommar in Sweden it is.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

what? wait. NOOO!

Um, hi.

I thought this was really amazing. Wonder what a camera could catch me saying while watchin' Downton?

And a big Thank You to the folks at Pop Culture Happy Hour for bring it to my attention.