Archive | April, 2015

Five Friday Things: Things I love that other people hate

24 Apr

If you remember the last Five Friday Things edition, I talked about the things I used to hate but now I love.

This time it’s about the things I really like that other people (generally) don’t seem to like as much as I do. This is all generalizations and I am prone to hyperbole. People might not HATE these things, but I feel, just from experience, that I’m way more into these things than other people.

Okay.

1) Egg Nog
Starting it out easy with egg nog. Not so divisive, but most people don’t like egg nog. As soon as I see egg nog on the shelves, I get pumped. I don’t let myself buy it till at least Dec. 1, but it’s so wonderful and amazing and tastes like Christmas and vanilla sunbeams and rich, tasty fat and hydrogenated oils. This strictly applies to grocery store, alcohol free egg nog. I have really no interest in making my own, egg-filled, hot, weird, boozy drink. bleh.

I heard someone say it was gross because it was like drinking melted ice cream. Um…why would that be gross? Isn’t that a milkshake? this is like a milkshake, but BETTER. Because it’s egg nog. I used to call it egg nob when I was little.

Man I just typed egg nog so many times, it is starting to sound less and less appealing. Egg based drinks sound gross…but just like the famous egg cream, there’s not really eggs in store bought egg nog.

2) Tattoos
DSC04404I think it’s pretty clear that I love tattoos. I have five, and three are fairly large and visible. I mean, I don’t know quite how to explain why I like tattoos, but I do know how easy it is for people to really dislike them, and come up with many, many reasons why.

IMG_2752The book in the picture, Bodies of Subversion, is all about women and tattoos, the history and the cultural significance of tattooed women and women tattooers. It’s really great, and I learned a lot and actually was empowered by this book. I learned the idea that all people get tattoos purely for aesthetics, no matter what you tell yourself/other people what it means to you, you’re putting art on your body because you like how it looks, and what to convey a certain image of yourself to everyone else.

This is from my favorite passage: “Women’s tattoos do have real-world ramifications to the extent that they defy socially sanctioned standards of feminine beauty for the recognition of new, largely self-certified ones.” That’s a thinker.

3) Buying People Presents 
Buying people presents is literally one of my absolute favorite things. I buy people presents like months in advance of their birthdays. I fantasize about having more money, just so I can buy that perfect gift for someone. And it really doesn’t matter who it is for. I got our mail-lady a small gift for Christmas (did you know there’s like a huge list of things you CANNOT give your mail carrier, including money and a meal??) and she was so thrilled, she wrote the nicest thank you note and it just made my heart so happy.

I get the impression from the people who don’t like getting presents for people don’t like it because they are worried the people won’t like what they pick out. I think the reason I love it is because I’m overconfident that I’ve chosen the most perfect gift. Maybe I’m not as good as I think I am, but it doesn’t matter. I still love it. I have 2 or 3 gifts in my closet right now for people’s birthdays that are still weeks to months away. and I’ve had them for several weeks/months.

4) Hardcore Music
I’m not really going to get into what this really means. But just trust that there is usually screaming involved. Loud drums and stuff. It’s not for everyone. It’s really not for most people. But I just love it. I didn’t always love it, but now I can’t get enough. It’s interesting, different, and pretty emotional. I think most people think it’s angry music.
DSCF2712DSCF2718
(Brent at I at Warped Tour many years ago, when he had long flowing locks. Pierce the Veil set above).

When my brother imitates this style of music, he usually mock-screams about hating the world and things along those lines. No one ever says that. Most of it is just like any other song, but just…screamed. For example, this line from “All Nereids Beware,” by one of my favorites, Chiodos:
“This spring of love resembles the uncertain glory of an April day…”

Oh wait, that’s not right, is it? That’s in a hardcore song? Sounds kind of like Shakespeare, doesn’t it?

5) Shakespeare
The line above is from Shakespeare. The Two Gentlemen of Verona,” in fact.

When I first realized this, my brain exploded. Chiodos has many, many lines from Shakespeare plays in their album “All The World’s A Stage.” (Which, if you’re keeping track, is a famous part of “As You Like It.”)

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I took roughly 5 Shakespeare courses in college. I still read it. I have a whole series of young adult novels about Shakespeare.

I remember listening to this hardcore band while reading plays for homework, and suddenly the band sings a line from the very same play I’m reading, my brain exploded.

Shakespeare can cross so many boundaries and genres and will still make sense. The band doesn’t make it obvious or clear that Shakespeare shows up in their songs. It’s like a little secret, and hordes of 16 year olds are totally oblivious that they’re screaming Shakespeare in the mosh pit.

THAT’S SO COOL YOU GUYS YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND AND NEVER WILL! Ugh. Okay, end nerd rant.

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Shop Talk

22 Apr

Shop talk today = the grocery store.

I love the grocery store. I also hate the grocery store. I think a lot of people feel this way, because 1) the grocery store has all the food and it’s fun to buy stuff. 2) when you don’t know what you want/where anything is/have the slowest cashier ever it is the worst.

But I mostly love it, because I love cooking and the only way to cook is to grocery shop. And I’m really good at grocery shopping. It’s one of my skills. I would put it on a resumee if people cared, along with my skill of pouring a big thing of liquid into a different container (another acquired skill). I’ve developed a method and gained wisdom from my several trips a week, and I’m here to share my insights and warnings.

1) You really do need a list:
People almost always tell me they don’t need a list. It’s in their head. They know what they need, screw your pen and paper. This never works. This means you forget at least  6 things and you had to go up and down every aisle since you did’t make a list and the aisles will jar your memory. This is why it takes you an hour and a half to shop. Trust me. I know this. This is why my husband hates the grocery store; PTSD from our college days of group grocery trips where no one has a list and everyone is going down the aisles at a different pace. It’s excruciating. (Don’t go group grocery shopping. this is a sub tip)

Make a list, people. Really, it’s not like you giving into everything you hate about domesticity. The list is all about efficiency. You don’t lose cool points for having a list.

And while I won’t tell you how to make a list, I think it would benefit you to organize your list in groups of ingredients (produce/meats/dairy/dry goods/frozen/miscellaneous). This helps you shop for things in the same area and avoids the trek across the store every other item, and lets you avoid going down every aisle.

(On that note, it wouldn’t hurt to plan a couple meals for that list. That way when you shop, you’re actually buying ingredients for an actual thing. So later on that week, you’ll magically have all the ingredients. but we’re getting off track.)

2) Try to go to the same store every time:
This is only because of efficiency. Eventually you’ll know exactly where everything is and what is down every aisle and you can zip around the store super fast. I get so disoriented even walking into the same name brand store but at a different location. It’s maddening. I get lost and it takes me twice as long.

Also, once you know the store really well, you’ll have a good idea if they will or will not have the item you’re looking for. My usual grocery store doesn’t have a great baking aisle and is often out of specialty produce so I have to stop by a different store that is better in this capacity. It’s annoying, but I don’t waste time looking for things.

3) There are good cashiers and bad cashiers:
Since I go to the same grocery store so often, I also know the cashiers. I have a favorite and go to her lane if she’s working it (I think she’s a manager or shift supervisor). She’s so fast and no-nonsense, doesn’t ask me lots of random questions, and knows every produce code and gets me out of there fast. She’ll help the baggers, too. I just love her. I might buy her a christmas present, that is how much I love her. (I’m not really going to do this, but I have considered it very seriously.)

The bad cashiers are the worst. They’re good people, I’m sure, but I have a hard time getting past how slow they scan every item. Or make a comment about every item. Or have to put on/take off/put on/take off their glasses to read the produce stickers. Or give me a spiel about the rewards card (even though I tell them I already have it).  Or don’t actually know what they’re doing and try to scan my reusable canvas bag (?), and then bag everything in a plastic bag, and then look puzzled when I ask them to use said canvas bag. This usually happens at Target, which is a bummer since I love Target, but now they have self checkout! (although, see #4)

Once, at Trader Joes, the cashier asked me if I had tried something I was buying. I said no, and he proceeded to tell me he didn’t like it and thought it was gross. Okay, dude.

4) Self checkout is a blessing and a curse
Sometimes, the self checkout is quick and painless. Sometimes.

Usually, it bites me in the butt. I’m so, so impatient in these situations.

Tip. Do not buy produce at target and then try to scan it yourself. Today I bought a lemon. A nice, simple, not even organic lemon. I placed it on the scale. I hit “find item.” I found the lemons. The machine told me “Set aside and seek assistance.” WHYYY machine?! Then, a manager had to come over and scan my lemon and I kid you not, it took at least 6 steps. Since the cashiers in this Target are so terrible, this was preferable. It’s a delicate balance.

The self checkout is use at your own risk.

Okay, I’ve probably sufficiently bored most of you…if you even got this far. brb, gotta go buy MORE STUFF THAT I FORGOT YESTERDAY. (sigh, my lists are not working, clearly.) Tell me your grocery store tips or stories in the comments!

lessons in fun (do what you want!)

15 Apr

“What do you like to do for fun?” “What are your hobbies?” “What are your favorite things to do outside of (job/school)?”

On the surface, they are simple questions, usually posed by those who’d like to know you better, or often included on an application or bio form. Fun is not complicated or difficult, but when you really want to give the question a good answer, what do you say?

A few years ago, I seriously didn’t think I had any hobbies. Is Netflix a hobby? (It really, really shouldn’t be.)

What are hobbies, anyways? Some people might think of hobbies are like stamp collecting or model-making, but I think hobbies are those things you do that you really enjoy, but you’re not making money from it. It’s just for the pure enjoyment and maybe your even passion for it.

I was telling Brent my despair at being hobby-less a few years ago, and he just looked at me and was like, well, cooking is your hobby, isn’t it? Oh. Right. That thing that I really enjoy because it makes me happy and is a creative outlet that I can share with people. The giant cookbook collection, expansive Pinterest food board, unnecessary amount of aprons and far too many rubber spatulas… Yes! I have a hobby! It’s very exciting to have a hobby when you’ve been hobbyless.

Chair and tires watching Chopped together.

Chair and tires watching Chopped together.

Brent was also lamenting his hobbyless existence not too long ago. He didn’t think “working on his car” was really a hobby, especially since he doesn’t have a lot of time (or money) to devote to it. But the stack of tires in currently hanging out in our living room and the abundance of car-related parts and pieces in our storage unit beg to differ.

I think that’s the thing, though. We don’t always realize we have a “hobby” because we just like to do these things. We’re not experts or professionals, and that’s exactly what makes us hobbyists. You don’t have to be really good at something for it to be your hobby. You don’t have to be the best, you just have to have fun. You have to get something out of it.

The lovely paintings from Rifle Paper Co. and the cutest animal jewelry from The Small Wild Shop has really been

you-make-everything-beautiful-illustrated-art-print-01inspiring me lately. I’d love to be able to draw/paint/sculpt like that, but I don’t really know how, and I’m not super great at it. I even try to mess around with watercolors and acrylic paints, but give up quickly because I just don’t know how to work with them, and nothing turns out right.

Yesterday I got the community college continuing education catalog in the mail. (Right after my mom was telling me to look into taking a community ed class…good timing, Mom!) They have EVERY class in there, you can learn how to sell things on etsy, brew beer, file your own taxes, and plant a garden. Oh, and learn how to bake alcohol infused cup cakes. Everything. Even painting.mallards

Guys, I’m doing it. I’m taking the Painting 1 class they’re offering this summer. I’m not good at painting, and I don’t know how. But it can be my hobby if I let it be. I want painting to be my hobby. That’s my whole point after 500 rambling words. I get to pick my hobbies and the things I choose to have fun with.

So, how do you answer the question? What do you want to do for fun?