Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Lamprey

 Once upon a time, a young boy did a report on the lamprey, the most disgustingly vile creature you've ever beheld in your life.  It is foul. And, as he is prone to do with all things wicked, disturbing, and otherwise generally rejected, he fell in love. He uses it as a moniker for video games, he includes it in writing assignments in school. It's his personal mascot. I think it replaced the evil entity he adopted from a scary episode of Scooby Doo. Since we had but two precious years left to participate in valentine's day boxes for school, we asked Julian what he wanted to make with Sean, and of course, he said, "a lamprey!"  So that is what they did.

Also, Julian and I looked it up recently and made the horrifying discovery that we'd been pronouncing it wrong this entire time. Instead of "lamp-ray," like you would think because of rays that live in the sea, though this is neither stingray-like nor generally found in the sea (I think they might hang out there but go to fresh water so spawn. See, I know things)  it's actually pronounced "lamp-ree."  He wishes he never knew, but also he can't say it wrong because that would go against all he is inside.  Like when I made that horrifying discovery about my pronunciation of proboscis

First, a link to the google image page of the lamprey. DIS-GUSTING. 

Here you go, enjoy:


why? Seeing this thing, sitting mouth agape from across the room was an unpleasant experience.

                                                













now with a cute frame for the little cutie.

                                                  







Wednesday, January 20, 2021

January Is...

 Before I begin, in the name of transparency, let me just say that it's actually March 2nd today.  I'm backdating this blog post for three reasons: 

1- Because it's less effective to write about a month during a different month, and I'm looking for maximum impact here.

2-  If I post-date, then we can pretend I published this then and that YOU'RE the one catching up, not me. 

3- It could potentially make you feel like a little bit of a time traveler. And when are we not looking for an opportunity for that?


That being said, I am crying on the inside that it's finally March. And to celebrate and perhaps make things even more confusing, here's a Julian quote from the end of February.

I was commenting on his shorty shorts and summer attire and he calmly said this, which I jotted down: 


Which I fully and completely understand. There's a limit to what we can handle until we must do what we must. 

But during this month of January [that we are currently, presently experiencing right now], I've noticed a few things. We all know it's a subdued time of year. We eat a little bit/lot more, we hibernate, we calm our list of expectations waaay down.  This we know. But in addition, I noticed there were a few activities we ourselves engage in this time of year that feel uniquely, distinctly January-esque, if you will. So, like I do with most things in life, I started a list and taped it to the wall, where I could add to it, look at it, collect what might be a collection, and inevitably later blog about. Here are the things I listed that I would say are activities particular to the month of January, that give it its feel, its vibe:



I don't know about you, but along with food being a major highlight of the January day, comes food fatigue. Coming up with new and interesting things to eat. Because I am as lazy as I am hungry. So I started to have breakfast foods delivered to me and Sean. I found a surprisingly decent place that offers healthy egg bowls with chick peas and spinach and sun-dried tomatoes, as well as pretty amazing bananas foster pancakes that thereafter frequented my pancake daydreams. In addition, they offer a BLT with scrambled eggs that totally hits the spot. Basically it tasted like good food you just made yourself but didn't, a beautiful thing. Since we didn't ordinarily order breakfast for delivery, this brightened up our month exponentially.

My geese excitement grows every year. I love them. And I now know I can count on them like clockwork. If I lived in the wild I would keep time by geese. Or at least when I heard them, I'd know it was January. Incidentally, we just finished reading My Side of the Mountain, about the boy who decides to just up and leave NYC for the Catskills and amazingly has all the knowledge and skills required to make it a full YEAR.  But he didn't use the geese, so looks like he doesn't know everything. (it's actually a cute book which was perfect for wintertime) 

TV. Yes, yes.  January should be National TV Month.  Someone write someone about this and make it official.

Since there was nothing to do and nowhere to go except food places, Sean and I started making dessert runs. In the dark, because it was--sorry, is dark at 5:30.  Our favorite was is hot chocolate in Provo. You may think it silly to drive 30 minutes just for hot chocolate but i think YOU are the one.. that is silly. Totally worth it. And like I said, expectations in the negatives here. 

Nerf wars. Self-explanatory. We have a good setup for them and we got the Rivals for christmas that shoot yellow pellet-balls at a billion mph to up the excitement/pain. 

One afternoon I was, as usual, sick of our food, and bored and when that happens? You make egg salad at odd time o'clock.  I always forget about egg salad, but I like it. And i made myself a new sandwich at 2:00 and felt very January doing it. 

Lastly, it's not on the list, but when I went for my post-its I saw I'd written down something that appears to be unfinished but which feels complete in its simple summation of how I've been feeling for the past several months. I don't know what I meant when I wrote it then, but I'll use it now and add it as the final thing on my January Is list. 


 It's not actually writing fatigue, it's just fatigue from other things that makes all the words fall asleep and eventually slip into a coma inside of me.  Also, why yes, I do have a personalized notebook, why do you ask?



Thursday, December 31, 2020

Shut the Door in its Face

I found this post in my drafts that I wrote in early January of this year and, well, can we say prophetess...?

2020 is finally here.  The best year and we don't know why other than it's TWENTY-TWENTY.  It just sounds so great. It has to be good. Maybe whatever happens will be amazing simply by having occurred in the year 2020.


 OR NOT. 

Monday, December 28, 2020

A 2020 Christmas

This year was all about self care and a return to simplicity.  The great thing about survival is it really helps you prioritize all your stuff, and fast.  In what felt like a heartbeat, everything that was useful, necessary, beneficial or remotely redeeming became crystal clear. All of the nonsense faded away into the shadows so that scarier, more pressing items could take its place.  Having officially entered middle age this year, I spent the entirety of it thinking about mortality, the future, and allowing myself to have all kinds of crises-- midlife, pandemic, the extremely depressing state of our country and the world combined, and more.  

So I leaned into myself this year.  Which is both centering and extremely terrifying, because there's all kinds of junk about "facing your darkest self" that takes place.  The journey is ongoing but I just wanted to give a brief and super vague summary of how 2020 was for me.  

For Christmas, we celebrated the best that we could. Simply, quietly, together.  Here are the pics to prove it: 

First, is there anything cheerier than a festive plate of Christmas cookies? 


We got a record number of neighbor gifts this year. I think it's because I had a surplus of Christmas card supplies so I used them up and we gave them away to EVERYONE.  And we cashed in on all the goodies from caring neighbors. Love it. Bath salts and plaid masks, goodies galore, a pair of scissors. It was amazing. Next year I'm going to save everything and heap it all into a pile for one glorious picture. Assuming, of course, we are still in good standing with our neighbors.  Time will tell. 

I was in no mood to get a Christmas tree this year.  Until I finally was, on like December 7. I felt ready. Usually we get it earlier but not this year. I just couldn't force it.  So i was happy that the moment finally came. We visited our local tree lot which has turned out to be kind of adorable with happy, woodsy people to run it.  I expressed a desire for a slimmer taller tree. Sean was fully on board. Julian was not.


The tree sellers saw our pick and were like “oooo, that one just. Came in from Montana. We’ve been ogling that one! You’re going to LOVE it.” 
1- Thats a good sell. They are good at what they do.
2- They were absolutely correct. Best tree we’ve ever had. It smelled so good, the needles were just right for ornaments and it NEVER dried out. We had nary a dropped needle. It was just as fresh a month later as when we bought it. Beautiful little tree. 

Sure was a lot easier/lighter this year. 

Julian, though, hated the tree initially and expressed this many, many times. Until a couple of weeks later when he conceded it wasn't so bad, and maybe he liked it after all.  His approval is hard won. Best not to hold your breath. Fortunately it gives us an opportunity to remind him that WE DON'T CARE and that he doesn't have equal weight in all our decisions, a confusing concept for him and, at times, all of us. Having one child is weird.  But I definitely like having moments where i can set him up just to shoot him down. Gives me a warm feeling inside.  



I have a pen pal who lives down the street. She loves old timey letter things too and we type letters to each other on our rusty typewriters.  This year on her Christmas card envelope were VINTAGE CHRISTMAS STAMPS. I immediately threw the card to the side and laid my lusty eyes on those stamps. I had to have them for my collection, so I set to work steaming them off the envelope, taking great care.


 


She said she got them on eBay. Who knows how many, or how long it took her. I don't know why I didn't think of this.  I was/am bitterly jealous. 

We didn't do much by way of activities outside of the house. A few drive-thru light shows which I think I'm getting too old for.  Epilepsy is going to kick in any day. We usually see a play but that didn't happen either. But it was ok. It was nice to have time to just sit in the season and not be controlled by it. We loved Christmas this year, and missed it when it was over. 

I did take a Christmas card photo with some gal pals from church, which made me real happy. 




Snowy canyon called to us again toward the end of the month. 





Over the break, Sean and I decided to do a Bob Ross painting sesh. If you've ever done this, you know how intense it can be, in spite of Bob's soothing dulcet tones and encouragement. This time was no exception and unfortunately, we apparently selected a scene high on the difficulty/stupid scale. When it was over, I thoughtfully and angrily declared that barn a "buttface" and even Sean, the profesh, was annoyed at the difficulty and shared in the vexation. 

Here we are pre-barn, when life was simpler and full of hope: 

Bob Ross's painting we’re trying to emulate:


Here's mine. Nailed it. By the end I was DONE, as you can see by my weird rolling waves of snow along the path and ridiculous afterthought trees. 

Sean's, with a more structurally sound barn and no lapping waves of snow:


We'll try again sometime with a new scene. Posting this has stirred up angry barn feelings.

Fortunately I gifted Sean/myself this Bob Ross paint with water book. MUCH easier.  Calming, meditative, completely stress-free:

A masterpiece every time. 

I also got Sean an order of all the makings for pork buns from Momofuku, a restaurant in NY owned by David Chang, for whom Sean is a fanboy.  He enjoyed making them:



And I enjoyed eating them. Delish. 




There was one Christmas miracle this year. And it was the miracle amaryllis.  My mom gifts us these every year and often comments on what a lucky thing it is to get one that has two buds.  Not only did we have two buds with four blooms each, but we got this latent BONUS bud shooting up out of nowhere!



T'is a thing unheard of! I took it as a sign and gift from the heavens above. To mean what, nobody knows. But what a joy it was to have that extra flower after the others had shriveled and gone. 

Our Christmas Eve dinner. Food pics are rarely appetizing but it doesn't mean we shouldn't document it. Sean makes fondu and all kinds of stuff to dip in it. It's so good. 

Another new favorite tradition introduced to us by our friends of German heritage-- Christmas mustard. It's a must have this time of year. The big tube of it.  Sean would eat that with anything.  


Lastly our Christmas card.  I sort of had a vintage/throwback theme going this year.  Going back to simpler times, handmade times. Slower times and times of handwritten messages.  So I bought a ton of vintage Christmas cards which filled me with IMMENSE amounts of joy, we made some funny stickers of our faces, and I handwrote cards until my wrist froze up.  We also included pages from my cherished Dec. Good Housekeepings--not shown, complete with commentary. Because I can’t help but offer up my 2 cents. But dang if I did not love this year's card.  What a pleasure:


A collage of only some of my favorites. 


So much texturized gold and embossedness! Gives me heart palpitations just to look at these. 



60’s-ified sticker faces

Our friend Emma in NY makes pop-up cards every year. She's amazing and we've stolen ideas from her before. Here's her card this year (designed to insert a tealight candle) and I'm just so blown away. We keep them all and use them as decor every year. 


 Also behind it is a hot chocolate advent calendar- 3 cheers. 

Merry Christmas, 2020. 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Thanksgivingtime

Thanksgiving, when isolation is punctuated.  Fortunately we are old hands at doing stuff on our own and though the change was a big blow to my parents, who I don't think have been alone for Thanksgiving... maybe ever?  We three, on the other hand,  were just fine.  I did miss cooking with people though.  It's hard to justify cooking at all, let alone when you're doing it by yourself for a holiday that is celebrated by eating.  It's taken me a long time to come to terms with Thanksgiving but years spent with Sean's family where people have often been staying with us (his brothers, mostly) have taught me that the cooking together—let’s call it “party cooking”— with others is the best part about the whole thing, even more than eating the food, which says a lot, because I love food. 

So this year was chill. Since it was just us we decided to eat later, closer to dinnertime as a large midday meal will personally set me back for days. The bad side of this was that we ended up cooking all day as opposed to half a day. Hmm.  Not sure I thought that through. Julian was in charge of the jello and pumpkin pie, his pie of choice.  I made the other pies and we left EVERYTHING ELSE TO SEAN.  Ha ha ha, he was so wiped by the end. So sorry, Sean.  I'll do better next time. We whittled down the menu, something Sean has always wanted to do--he hates the hodge-podginess of Thanksgiving potluck dinners-- and we had:

1. The most delicious turkey I've ever had in my LIFE.

2. hasselback sweet potatoes, where you slice them and splay them and stick stuff in-between. Love those sweet potatoes.

3. Mashed potatoes.

4. Stuffing, sort of the weak link for me.   

5. Other stuff? I don't even remember. Gotta scroll down and look at the pictures, I guess.   

Let's have pictures:

Here's Julian setting the table like a pro and being super precise about it:



Seannnn! It was so good. 

Here are the pies:



Psych! That's a picture of date mousse pie or some disgustingness from my vintage Good Housekeepings I had my face in the entire holiday season. Here's the recipe if you want it:



actual pies: 
apple, chocolate torte w/caramel, and pumpkin. we ate all three of them by the end of the break. 
Good job, us. 




We spent our time going on walks and watching John Candy movies.  Planes, Trains and Automobiles which I had never seen and which was hilarious, as did Julian.  And then Uncle Buck, since that one got me all in the mood.  


Some beautiful leaves from a walk Julian and I went on that was so blustery. Oh, you know what? It was ELECTION DAY.  One of the most nerve-wracking days of the whole year.  And it was weird and stormy and rained for the first time in months, as what happens when there's finally a break in the interminable doom and gloom. So these leaves are symbolic and sacred. 

Speaking of holy beauty, our little japanese tiger shrub was the star of the show this fall:



More than one neighbor let us know how happy it made them. I agreed and said it was the hero we needed right now.  What i love is that when it's all done it looks like NOTHING.  You can't even tell there's anything growing there.  And then it starts budding in summer and then KABLAM--out bursts that come falltime.  It was like a beautiful fairy friend, come for a short time to carry us through. 


Speaking of my magazines, I was obsessed this year.  They are so amazing, especially the holiday ones and poring through each page was a favorite pastime. 


 I came upon this recipe, tried it, and loved it.  I recommend you do the same: 





What?? Are they not amazing.  Fluffy egg white clouds with the yolk in the middle.  So fun. 



I can count on one hand the number of days we've received precipitation of any kind this whole year, and one of them happened this fall when we got a sprinkling of snow in the valley. But a sprinkling in the valley means a good-sized smattering in the mountains so I donned my snowy apparel and drove myself to investigate.  I couldn't get over the beauty. It had been so long since I'd seen anything beautiful in nature and it was a welcome shock to seize upon.  I recklessly drove through and took pics from the wheel.  


Here's my "can't handle it" face. 


So beautiful. 


I love a good, quiet, winter walk in new snow. 
 

Here are some more pictures on a different day, different spot, perhaps same snow.










End of post.