Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Thousands and Thousands of Words...?

This took way more time than it should have. Way more time.

Here's what you do:
1. Go to flickr
2. Type your answer to each question in the "search" box.
3. Using only the first page, pick an image.
4. Copy and paste the picture to your blog.

1. What is your first name?

2. What is your favorite food?

3. What high school did you go to?

4. What is your favorite color?

5. Who is your celebrity crush?

6. Who is your favorite Disney princess?

7. Favorite drink?

8. Dream vacation?

9. Favorite dessert?

10. What do you want to be when you grow up?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

First Day

First Day of Work, as Told by My Hair: a photo essay.

Leaving for work, day 1: Buttcrack o'dawn.  Got my pin curls ready for the girls in hair and makeup to mess around with.  Please also note the thick layer of pale, matte foundation.  Can a girl get some CULLAH?!

Home after work: 1:24am.  Tight pin-curls have been transformed into a lacquered shroud that is surely nearly bulletproof.  This is my tired/happy face.

The morning after.  Bulletproof cloud of hair has seemingly grown in volume overnight.  Subject so alarmed, photo documentation is required despite a complete lack of makeup.

On to day 2...

Monday, April 21, 2008


I went home this past weekend, for the last time in I think a very long time.

I got to see one of my favorite boys off for prom.

We are a dream team.

Taught my favorite mini-me nephew how to bake strawberry shortcakes.  (And by "taught to bake" I mean, propped him up on a stool next to the counter and watched him scream with glee as he pressed his face to the side of the mixer and the whipped cream splattered his face.)

I mean, just look at his faux hawk-- how can I not be in love?

Visited with another one of my favorite boys for the first time since he was born.  Call me biased, but I think my best friend has the cutest babies.

It should be noted that approximately two seconds after this photo was taken, Nathaniel threw up all over himself.  It should also be noted that this only happened after I turned him away from me.  Thus I attribute his slightly pained expression here to the holding in of his little baby vomit so as not to spew all over my cashmere v-neck.  Clearly manners are already his forte, little dear...

And that's what he has to say about that!

Trying the "anti-pap" face on for size.

Baby, baby.

Okay, enough of my favorite boys (just call me Mrs. Robinson)-- I also found a few gems in the old family photo album...

My (third? fourth?) birthday party with my best friend.  For the record, hers is the gorgeous baby you see above.  Yeah.  I can't believe we've been friends this long, either...  But I'm SO glad.

Less than a year old, with Dad, Aunt Nannette, and Mom...  Can you believe how cool my aunt is?!

I also found proof that my love for all things domestic started young...  Baby Betty Crocker, in tha' HOUSE!

And there we have it!

Oh, and one more thing...  I got a new job that starts on Wednesday.  You might want to keep an eye out for a new six foot blonde on Sunday nights... :-)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Spell

I know this isn't a real post, but something needed to be done with this...

To him she seemed so beautiful, so seductive, so different from ordinary people, that he could not understand why no one was as disturbed as he by the clicking of her heels on the paving stones, why no one else's heart was wild with the breeze stirred by the sighs of her veils, why everyone did not go mad with the movements of her braid, the flight of her hands, the gold of her laughter. He had not missed a single one of her gestures, not one of the indications of her character, but he did not dare approach her for fear of breaking the spell.
-Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Someday.  Someday the spell will be broken.

Monday, April 7, 2008


I don't know if I've ever mentioned it here (though you've PROBABLY picked up on it... Was it my paragraph-long description of the perfect bowl of cereal that gave me away?), but I have a deep, true love for good food. I like eating it, making it, talking about it, reading about it, watching other people make it, watch other people talk about it, watch other people eat it, look at pictures of it... Eating is required on a physical level for our bodies to subsist, but we are more than physical beings, and I truly believe a good meal feeds more than just our cells-- it feeds our hearts, our imaginations, our memories, and our ideas. What is better than good food?!


In this age of Clif Bars and protein shakes and trying to figure out what the right carb/ protein/ fat ratio we should be eating for "optimal performance" (whatever that means), whatever happened to eating to sustain AND please our bodies? I've discovered that if I really just allow myself to be still inside for a moment, my body will tell me what it needs. Whether I've been on a long walk, and a pulpy orange, heavy with juice that runs down my wrists is what I ache for, or I've been sitting behind a desk all day and nothing sounds better than a big bowl of cereal (with extra nuts!) as I curl up on the sofa, or it's my birthday and nothing but a big slice of chocolate cake will do... I love my body, and my body loves good food. So I try to listen.

Sometimes, Deep Dark Chocolate Cheesecake is all that will do. For a full week I had been wrestling with a craving for the deepest, darkest, most intense chocolate THING I could get my lips around... Thus, this momma of a cheesecake was born.

I made this quinoa salad today. Quinoa has become pretty trendy among the health food crowd recently because of its status as the only grain that is also a complete protein. I love it because not only does it treat my body well, but its nutty, silken pearls are the perfect backdrop for some really yummy add-ins. I whisked up a white wine vinaigrette, poured it over the steamy quinoa, tossed in some feta and almonds, and a truly fantastic lunch was born.

Jessica's Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Cool, tangy feta resting in a bed of warm, oily quinoa with the salty bite of roasted almonds, this salad would be the perfect accompaniment to a Mediterranean-inspired dinner. But I think it's perfect on its own.

1 c. uncooked quinoa
1/4 c. white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 c. olive oil

salt and pepper

4 oz. feta cheese

1/4 c. roasted, salted almonds

Rinse quinoa under cold water until water runs clear. Then put in a medium saucepan with 2 cups of water, and boil. Then reduce to a simmer and cover until quinoa is translucent-- about 15 minutes. Set aside.

Combine vinegar, mustard, and sugar in small bowl. While whisking constantly, SLOWLY add olive oil in a constant stream until completely combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour dressing over warm quinoa, and stir until absorbed. Cube feta and toss on top with almonds. Serve warm or cold. (Serves 4 as a side, or 2 as a main dish.)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tide Turner

There are things about my childhood that come back to me in pieces. Moments like broken shards of life that I seem to catch in my feet as I walk along, suddenly registering and sending long, stinging flashes through the flesh of my memory.

I remember standing against the wall in the hallway of the dirty home I grew up in, little brother trembling beside me as Mom let us have it one afternoon. I remember gritting my teeth, refusing to cry, refusing to show emotion as, out of the corner of my eye, I saw hot tears stream down my brother’s chubby pink cheeks. Fear turned to anger as I had suddenly had enough of my mother’s tirades that day. Mouth pressed in a thin, hard line, I silently dared her to yell more. My eyes burned with hot defiance as I stared at her, knees locked, absolutely refusing to show that I had been moved. I can feel the vaguely damp carpet beneath my bare feet, and the tension gripping my locked knees and the rod of boldness shooting up my back. I can hear my brother’s soft, childish whimpers as he shakes next to me in fear and sadness. My palms are pressed against the wall. And then abruptly it all goes black.

Why does this moment all of a sudden come back to me? Where did this tiny pocket of time come from? It’s always been there—memories don’t leave, they just lower themselves into deeper pools of the soul—so what does that moment say about me? And what, I wonder, did it change in me?

It probably shocks you to hear me talk about my mother in such a way—my beautiful, wonderful, wise and sweet mother who I miss so terribly and am soul-achingly blessed to call my own. But just because someone dies a sad, sweet death doesn’t make them perfect, and my serene and thoughtful momma was not always so. I remember a lot of yelling when I was younger—outbursts at things I can’t even recall. I remember her throwing a butter knife in the kitchen when I was very small, explosions in the car when James or I hadn’t done our schoolwork like we should… Pockmarks on the canvas of my childhood. As I got older, she changed, softened, became more whole. The yelling ceased. If you had asked me about early memories with my mother two years ago, I would have answered that our childhood was quiet and uneventful. It’s amazing what reform can do.

In recent days as I’ve built up the courage to read through her private journals—writings she started when she was only three years older than I am today and lasted over the course of several brilliantly bound books through the days she breathed her last—I see a woman in battle, a tender, aching woman who wanted truth more than anything, and healing above all. She was a woman walking upstream, the majority of her life spent fighting the lies and abuse and curses she inherited as a child, and she did it not only for her own good, but for mine.

Years later, I remember sitting across from her at a rickety iron table in a strip mall by our house, her napkin laid across the metal grate between us as she took a pen and illustrated how all the trauma that had been passed down through the long lines of her family stopped with her—it didn’t belong to me, and had no authority in my life. And I remember squirming in my chair, rebellious adolescent blood coursing through my veins, just wanting to get out of the awkward, scarring event of being forced to sit with my mom in public. But now I see that she was right. She fought for me, and it stopped with her. The ugliness I saw seep out of her early on was only the lies and brokenness that had been bred in her heart throughout her life being drawn out like poison from a wound. All the pain I saw her endure all my life—like she was taking blows from invisible adversaries—I now see as waves crashing over her as she stood between us and the deluge of lies that sought to consume her. My mother was a turner of the tide.

Now when I look back on all the things that stab at my memory every once in a while—the painful, ugly things that hurt to remember—I see with new eyes. I see that hearts can be broken, but they can also be put back together again. I see that even the deepest of wounds can be sealed up and restored. And I know that above all, there is always, ALWAYS a fresh start worth fighting for.

I am the trailblazer.