Thursday, July 31, 2008


I really like hot dogs! Really, really, really. I especially like the hot dogs that get a little burnt on the grill.

And I'm not talking about turkey dogs, or soy dogs, or reduced sodium dogs, or reduced fat dogs. I am talking about full-fat, full-sodium, ideally all-beef HOT DOGS, with a little ketchup and mustard.

How about you?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Food Nerd.

My Pops! came out so darn well that I bought the book.

Oh, yes, I took photos for you all, but it turns out that food photography is hard, especially with a popsicle melting into sticky juice all over you, and that's why there are other people to specialize in food photography.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


The Summer Intern* had time, and I did not, so she checked some revised pages for me. When I stopped at her desk two days later to see how it was going, I learned that she was done. She was done, but never brought the pages back to me. That's okay, I thought, maybe she doesn't know where I sit.

"How did it go?" I asked, "Were they clean?"

"I didn't find any edits," she replied.

"None? Or no big ones?"

"I didn't see anything," she said.

For those unfamiliar with publishing, I will note: That never happens. NE-VER.

I checked through one chapter. Oh, there were edits. Small ones, mind you, but mistakes were present and unaccounted for.

Thankfully, an assistant (a paid employee who wants to be there) had time to check these pages again. She found edits. She cleverly found additional errors. She rocks, and so we shall focus on her, rather than the intern.

*That is, the summer intern who is studying nursing but is spending the summer with us because her mom's a sales rep for the company, not because she is interested in publishing.

This Workout Is Hard. And Fun.

And based on capoeira!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Cross Your Fingers...

...burn some incense, light a votive, send me good thoughts.

I have applied for a job and I just have a feeling about it.

We shall see.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Happiest Place on Earth

Is Lowell, Massachusetts, during the annual Folk Festival. After class yesterday afternoon, I made the pilgrimage to Lowell, not yet knowing it was a pilgrimage, and spent the warm afternoon blissed out on music, sun, good vibes, and food. I felt completely in love with the whole world, and in particular, the musicians. I was grinning at them like such an idiot.

All of downtown Lowell, a pretty old mill city, is blocked off to traffic, and 6 stages play folk music from around the globe for 2 days straight. Admission is free--that's right, all the first-class world music you wish to absorb completely free of charge (unless you count the reasonable $10 parking). The streets are filled with stalls selling every kind of ethnic food you could want. There are crafts, too, but I know my priorities: music and food.

First, I ate a samosa while listening to the Lonesome River Band, whose music is fiddlin', foot-stompin', virtuoso banjo-pickin', harmonizin', Appalachian awesomeness. When their set was over, I called my parents to wish them well on their trip. (Message they left me Friday night: "We can't join you for the Lowell Fair. We have to pack for our trip to Bermuda at our friends' timeshare." I love that they're enjoying their retirement.) I chatted with them while standing in line for Greek food.

Then I ate my souvlaki while enjoying the dramatic sounds of Portuguese Fado music. Once I finished my souvlaki and began feeling annoyed with the woman who had wedged herself in between me and the wall of a building, dripping ice cream in hand, I wandered over to the Official Stuff tent, where I found a festival program/map and purchased a Lonesome River Band CD. Reading the program, I discovered that Penpa Tsering would be playing his traditional Tibetan music at another stage in 10 minutes. A second chance! Penpa played at our Sand Mandala Festival in May, but I was too worn out from folding and fryerlatoring endless dumplings to stay for the performance. I wandered through the hot streets thronged with grinning people gentled by music to the St. Anne's Churchyard Stage. My last few steps were steeped in the sounds of Tibetan chimes and overtoning. Then I saw the rapt crowd, silent, gazing at the man clad in traditional costume with long, glossy black hair, who was the source of this mesmerizing music. I fell completely in love with Penpa Tsering. The smile! The sweet dances he does during the traditional Tibetan guitar songs! The soaringness of his flute playing!

After my 45-minute musical meditation, I knew it was time to find the Dance Pavillion. I had no idea who or what Puerto Plata was, but I knew that was where I had to go next. I found some nocciola (hazelnut) gelato at one booth and treated myself to a little scoop. By now, I was completely blissed out, between the gelato, the music, the love, man, the love, and the sunshine. I briefly felt sad that no one had chosen to join me for this festival, but then I felt like every single other person present was my best friend. I was there with everyone! (I swear, I wasn't smoking anything at all.)

I walked through the sprinklers to cool off. The Dance Pavillion was tricky to find, tucked at a far end of the festival so that its raucous tunes wouldn't overwhelm the other performances. At the end of a long line of ethnic food booths (including Laotian and Thai, and yes, I was curious, but no, I did not have any more room in my belly) was a gigantic tent from which was emanating the most booty-shakin', joyous, Dominican guitar music anyone could ever hope for. I made my way into the tent, off to the side of the stage. The biggest dance floor I have ever seen was packed with throngs of happy, dancing people. I mean, this dance floor was taking up the better part of a parking lot. I stood off to the side, again gazing at the musicians in rapt wonder. Puerto Plata, it turns out, is a super-cool old Dominican musician. He's so cool. He is the coolest cat I have ever seen. You know how some people are just cool? He makes them look warm. He wore tan pants and a bright blue shirt with something like a pheonix or a dragon on the back, glasses, a cap. He danced. But in a cool way. Soon I was dancing, too. It couldn't be helped. By the time the band cranked out "Guantanamera," I was helplessly dancing.

I left before they finished the set, gauging that I was more hot and tired than I realized. I wandered past a Chinese dragon dance (thrilling and loud) back to the CD table where, sun affecting my brain, I bought 3 more CDs. (They had two Puerto Plata CDs. How was I to choose?)

I slept for 12 hours last night.

Friday, July 25, 2008


I am so very excited to be making POPSICLES! this evening. I still haven't decided whether to do the Mexican chocolate variety or the grapes and mint floating in a sea of limey ice variety.

Update: grapes-mint-limey ice variety is in the freezer! My goodness, it is tedious to cut 2 cups of little red grapes in half.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

SO Much Trouble

I am having, writing my key professional beliefs on teaching. It's one of 3 assignments for our class portfolio, and mine is gunky, lean, and bordering on incoherent.

I used to write great essays all the time, banging out several a week at the height of AP English. Twelve years later, I'm a little rusty. Oh, I sure can copyedit your essay, my essay, anyone's essay--but generating content and affixing it in words arranged in clear, un-choppy sentences ordered in sensible paragraphs? That is another beast entirely.

Add to it the fact that I'm not actually a teacher so my beliefs are at worst fiction and at best theory, and we have...a mess.

At least writing my lesson plans is going better.

P.S. I can also write an incredibly effective email for you in about 1 minute. When I was accustomed to the academic essay, I could not have done this. I suppose I am having difficulty elaborating on ANYTHING after years in of need-to-know corporate communication. Want an email? So glad you asked.

Hi George:

I've uploaded the art for chs 1-4 to your ftp site (folder: art.7.25).

Please note:
Figs. 1-2, 1-4, and 1-6 require revision. Scans w/edits attached.
Fig 2-4 is FPO. Please leave 24p wide x 13p tall.
Please adjust color of fig 3-5 to grayscale.

I would appreciate seeing pages for Friday, Aug. 1.

If you have questions, you know where to find me!


Update: Thanks a great deal to Narya, my essay is now a thing of pride. Woo, and indeed, hoo!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Code Red Stress Alert

Please leave your encouragement and sense of perspective in the comments. Thank you, my friends.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Child Street Dreams, Send Me a Beam

I've been waking up every morning this week with an old pop song running through my head. Raspy-voiced singer, smooth 80s synthesizer. Bizarre, right? What have I been dreaming about? The lyrics, as far as I could hear, went

Child Street dreams
Cast your light on me
You are the magic
You're right where I wanna be
Child Street Dreams
Send me a beam
You keep the spirit alive, going on.

I mentioned this to G., who was all looking at me like I'm crazy, "I don't know what the hell you're talking about. I've never heard that song in my life."

And I was all, "You must have! It goes,
Charles Street dreams
Shine your light on me
You are the maaagic
You're riiight where I wanna be."

And he was all, "Nope."

And I was all, "Well, maybe the lyrics are
Orange Street meat
Send me a fleet."

And he was all, "OK, I'm going back to sleep now."

So tonight, we had dinner with people who are old enough to remember the 80s better, and so I asked K., "Hey K, do you know that song, I think it's Michael McDonald, and it goes,
Chilling Street dream
Cast a light on me
You keep the spirit aliiiive, holding on."

A pause. I added, "I think it's from a movie."

She thought for a moment. Then she knew what I was talking about! She said, "I think it's called, Sweet Freedom."

And I said, "Oh, is that what he's saying?"

And she said, "You can never tell with Michael McDonald."

You can't tell! You can't! Check it out--turn off the sound and try to read the man's lips. You'll additionally note that although Gregory Hines memorized and anunciated the lyrics (it's that theater training!), Billy Crystal and good ole MM are clearly just MSU*.

What he's allegedly saying.

*Makin' Shit Up

Friday, July 18, 2008

Revelations from my pyramidal master: Pizza

Wow, pizza has a lot of calories. Where do they all come from? How do they fit so many calories in those yummy triangular slices?

I've devised a quick formula for pizza nutritional info:

a2 + b2 = c2

Where a = cups of non-vegetable toppings, including cheese
b = hypotenuse of one-quarter of the pizza,
and c = resultant radius of the gluteal region

Did I eat pizza tonight? Yes. It's delicious. And I like to be "bad". Watch out, squares!

MDD (Motivational Deficiency Disorder)

Throughout the last couple of weeks, I've been righteous, a pillar of Protestant* work ethic, my Pagan soul screaming. I've had so much work to do at work and for class, and when I wasn't working, I was serving my Two Harsh Masters, The Food Pyramid and exercise.

Today I still have tons of reading for class (which is tomorrow), a shiatsu client, and hospice visits. And I DON'T WANNA.

*I'm not Protestant

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Make This. Eat This. You Will Like This.

I would never lie to you. Here. Enjoy. Come tell me about it afterwards.

PS We used light coconut milk. We actually prefer it. Less, well, heavy. Lets the spices come through.

God Bless the Chiropractor

Volleyball is being unkind to my rotator cuff. I love my chiro. He's non-nonsense, capable, friendly, and authentic, not one of the "salesguy" chiros. He popped my humerus back into the socket, put my best friend the "muscle stim machine" on my neck for 15 minutes, and gave me a sheet of exercises to strengthen the rotator cuff.

I am eager to become good enough at volleyball not to hurt myself.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

If only...

...One could chose where they were to tone up first.

Hello, Body? The shoulders were pretty OK in the first place. And we're allowed to have some extra weight in the boobies. Why don't you keep it there and BURN SOME OF THE FAT HANGING OFF THE LOWER BELLY AND SUFFOCATING THE HIPS???

PS I expressed these woes to a colleague who lost something like 80 pounds over the past 2 years. She nodded knowingly and replied, "My fingers lost weight first."

Work Tales

I've been enjoying work much more lately, even despite the rodent that died in my office vent, forcing my evacuation to less noxious space. This new enjoyment is ironic, given that I may be at long last extricated from this job in the near future. Why do I enjoy it more? Is the work better? Is it the new title I received in February? The raise? No, it's that I at last have a good friend at work.

Now, I have many work friends, but that's different. Then I have some people-I-like-to-hang-out-with-outside-work, but we are too busy to talk at work and not that close, in a sense. And I have three or so people at work whom I once would have called "friends," no qualification, but I've realized something: It is not a friendship when I am the "therapist". I spend all our time together either 1. listening to their problems, or 2. enjoying a shared activity, but there's no, "How are you today, kStyle?" Granted, these three or so people are truly having hard times in their lives, but it makes a person feel used after a while, to be the sounding board and therapist, but receive little care back.

But I've become actual, real friends with one coworker. We catch up each morning, unless it's very busy. We take a daily afternoon tea/snack break together. We converse with each other--mutually--about both work and our lives. I referred her to my super-gentle dentist, because she has panic attacks at the mere thought of visiting the dentist, and she called me from the parking lot after her first tooth cleaning in 6 years to tell me how it went. (It went so well she gave the dentist a hug! Ha!) Now, in case this sounds creepy and seventh-grade, I hasten to add that we don't often take our lunch breaks together and we do talk to other coworkers. But we have clicked in a way that I was missing, and that I didn't know that I was missing. I haven't had a true friend at work, I would say, since C. left 5 years ago.

Do you have a real friend at work?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


My luvs,

I may not be posting much for a spell. The Day Job is crazy. The Class Work is crazy. the Registration for Fall Classes and the Applying for Financial Aid? Crazy. Add to it trying to maintain a reasonably healthy lifestyle (exercise, food, sleep, and occasional hygiene) and cultivating my mind via Dharma, and we have--slightly less crazy (thanks, Triple Jewel! thanks, endorphins!), but even more busy.

I'll hold you fondly in my thoughts 'til we meet again--