Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I just want to be me: Ramblings and Philosophizings (... is that a word??)

Sometimes I weary of having to put on a face for people; a face that they will be OK with so they can get on with me in public. I'm pretty sure most people are just a show. What we are around any other human isn't really who we are because we just might make those other people uncomfortable. That makes me sad. It feels tacky.

I wish I could just be me, straight up. I want to be able to say what I think and feel and share the opinions I have now (I feel excited about them! But I can't tell you), that are so very different from the opinions I had a year ago and will have a year from now. I want to be me without people jumping on me and telling me I'm not right or that I'm going to hell or that there's a better way or I'm not getting enough fiber. Please. Just ... leave me alone.

I'm not sure if that's really what I'd want to tell them. I'm not quite sure I can put a finger on my feelings. But I do know that I would love to say what I think and listen to what other people think and just be cool with those thoughts being completely different from, and perhaps even in opposition with, each other. I don't want to be debated. I don't want to debate. I want to drink coffee and sit on my couch and talk to you and have you talk to me and just let ourselves be real. Be candid. Be very open.

Why are some things so taboo?

Why can't we talk without arguing?

Why do I have to agree with you?

There is no point in being here - living our one, short life that we ought to make the most of - just to battle with one another over manmade opinions and manmade arguements - manmade conclusions which we can't even prove.

Do you want to know what I think? Really? Because really, I'm scared to tell you. I'm pretty sure you'll get that offended, flared-nostril expression on your face like a scared horse when I tell you that I don't agree with you; that I don't agree on a lot of the issues that (seem to) define us. I'm pretty sure your eyes will dilate and you'll sigh loudly and start telling me about the 'hard facts' that prove I'm in the wrong and you'll start talking louder and your voice will quaver. So will mine when I try to defend myself. I am my father's daughter and a debate gets me hot and heavy in no time flat. Even a debate I didn't ask for. A debate I hate. I would rather throw up than talk to you about your religion or your politics or what you think is wroung about me. Last time I checked, I didn't ask to have my opinion changed by a high-and-mighty like you. I'm just sorry I'm not articulate enough to make you understand why I don't agree with you.

It makes me upset that I can't tell you everything I want to say and just ... leave it at that. I want to hear about you and what you think; and I want to tell you what I think, too. Can't we just ... leave it at that? Can't we just talk and philosophize and emote? And just be.

No I suppose not. Most people seem to think there are absolutes and since I don't align myself with those absolutes then obviously, absolutely, I'm in the wrong. Which most definitely requires a long debate at the end of which you, absolutely, win.

Maybe that means I just don't need you in my life. Does that offend you, too?

I want it to be OK for me to pick the people I spend my sacred minutes and hours and days with instead of you making me feel guilty for making that choice. It's my life. I let you be who you are, let you believe what you believe and tell me about it all the time. I tell you what I have heard about such-and-such and that it may not be quite the way you see it, I even smile and accept it without any comment at all sometimes. I can tell you feel comfortable telling me about you. That's great.

But why don't I have that with you? Who out there is OK with me telling them who I truly am? Are you sure about that? Can anyone just be cool with me and let me disagree and be confused and doubt and yell and be scared and confident and changing all at once?

Is that OK?

Monday, August 8, 2011

My New Etsy Shop!

Hello, faithful followers and readers! I wanted to share the link to my new Etsy shop - NLMdesigns - that I have finally decided to get up and running. I have posted several items there already and I would love your feedback!

There are so many more items to come, but I hope to get a good reception for what I have already before I add too much more. Hopefully people will like my stuff and I'll be encouraged to add more products. We'll see!

For now, I have about a dozen different pieces of handmade jewelry in my shop (a few of them are pictured below). I have been beading and jewelry-making for over a decade (I remember many sleepovers in the late 90's with my long-time friend, spent making jewelry and giving each other pedicures!) and I decided - partly at Kevin's encouragement - to finally set up a little shop and see what happens.

Lemon Drop Earrings

Teatime 'mismatch' Earrings

Turquoise Lady Earrings

BoHo Chandelier Earrings

Rock On - Necklace Pendant

There is also a selection of my photography from over the years. In high school I worked with a professional photographer - as well as venturing out on my own for a couple years after I graduated - photographing weddings, families, graduations ... and often we would spend the day scouting out new areas and taking a bunch of pictures, just for fun. I used to take tons of black and white film photography at that time (whenever film was still sort of popular - makes me miss the darkroom!). So there is some of that as well as more current work, some color and some digital.

Box Car


Arts District

Lost Bike

Palm Sunday

Thanks for taking a look and letting me know what you think!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


A couple weekends ago, we had Kevin's grandma to stay with us. She only lives about 30 minutes North but we don't see her all that often. She's busy watching Westerns, taking waterobics classes at the "Senior Citizen" (which is Grandma for the "Senior Citizen's Center", but apparently "'s Center" is unimportant) and annihilating her fellow octogenarians in fiercely-competitives rounds of Rummikub. I was quickly informed that the correct pronunciation is 'Roomy-Cube'. I have said and heard 'Rummy-Cub' my entire existence but ... I defer.

We spent the weekend watching movies she hadn't seen before (Sahara, Secondhand Lions) playing games and enjoying the cats. She doesn't have pets right now and she liked it when Charley (omg, I haven't posted pictures of my new kitten!!) would come and nap with her on the couch. I made Chicken Enchilada Casserole on Friday night for her first dinner and Breakfast Tacoes on Sunday morning. On Saturday (while Kevin and I were both gone, poor thing!) she had entirely TOO many Reese's Pieces and M&M's and made herself sick. It's like having a kid in the house. ;) I had to administer some Lemon-Lime Alka Seltzer as soon as I got home from my appointment that morning. Speaking of which ...

During this weekend, I had a previously-scheduled appointment at my hair salon for Saturday morning. I should add that I had scheduled a haircut for a couple of weeks before, after we got back from California; I had gone into the salon that evening after work only to be told my stylist (my very favorite stylist Anita) wasn't there and they had cancelled my appointment. Good to know! So instead of suffer through the poor, sweet, blabbering girl at the front desk who simply doesn't know how to schedule appointments, I just said I would call in to schedule an appointment later. So Saturday morning rolls around and I'm ready to go - I have needed a haircut for like a month and look like a wild animal, I'm already a little turned-off by the staff at this salon because of past experiences and I'm ready to just get it done. I was told the color and cut would take a couple of hours. My appointment was at 10:30am.

They didn't start mixing my color until 11:30am.

I didn't leave the salon until 3:30pm.

That's right. 5 hours of my day spent sitting in a salon chair.

The gal who was my stylist/colorist this time was very nice; we carried on conversations and laughed and everything seemed hunky dory. Til it was noon and I had all of 4 foils on my head. I had asked for highlights which she was calling 'dimensional color' ... apparently this takes like 3 days to complete? Oh, but not as long as gray cover-up would take. I don't have gray hair, she said, so it won't take THAT long. Ok. Good to know ... ??

Not to mention the seat I had this time was apparently located in the eye of a big fat black hole for cell phones. I felt like an amputee. Once I had read through Spring 2010 issues of every magazine they could find for me, I wasn't even able to text or call my husband (or check Facebook. unthinkable!). He had to call the salon to track me down to ask "Where the flip are you?!" (flip is not the real word that was used; word has been changed to protect innocent eyes ;) around 2pm by which time I was truly seething - beyond seething.

I am not the kind of customer who starts railing on the employee under circumstances like this ... maybe I should be. But I don't feel like that gets anything accomplished. Except of course for showing people my ass. So I put up with it. I keep waiting. She keeps saying that the color hasn't "taken" yet and "doesn't look like the picture". I tell her that doesn't matter (that stopped mattering a long time ago!). I say I have a house guest AND a party that evening that starts in a few hours and I really need to get this wrapped up. Like, now. The manager comes by a few times to check on her. Around 2:30pm she is like "She is still here? Hurry up!" I'm like "No joke!!" ...

I thought she said I DIDN'T have gray hair? That it wouldn't take "that long"?? I kept checking my watch with as much ado and associated huffing as possible.

Do you know how much it sucks having like, 278 foils on your head for 4 hours? And having towels draped over them to "keep them warm" while people pass your chair and noticably ogle you in the mirror like you are nuts? Seriously people, NOT my fault!

Once they start taking the foils OFF at last, I am told that they don't have time to cut my hair (which was driving me absolutely cuckoo at that point) because they had taken so long with the color. By now my 'sideburns' are epic and my neck shaggy like a hobo.

They had another appointment at 4pm so I would have to reschedule a haircut for another time.


*deep breaths*

*don't make eye contact*

*don't say anything or you may regret it*

The stylist finally gets all the abominable foils off my head and washes my hair. She asks me to hold her watch so it doesn't get wet. Really?

Then she has the audacity to try and style my hair for me before I go. I just say "don't bother drying it, I usually just damp style it anyway". So she puts some gel in to try and give it a toussled look and flops her hands around on my head like they are steaks. Have you styled hair EVER in your life!?, I think. She complains that it "looks so flat". Of course it does you imbicile! I say nothing but I end up styling my own hair because I just can't deal. I didn't even want it styled. What's the point at that point, ya know?

After all that, I realized when I get home that the highlights had been so poorly applied that they are a good 3/4" from my roots so it looks like I haven't even maintained my hair color in weeks and just let it grow out - all over my crown and where I part my hair. Seriously? After all that I can't just be left in peace to be grumpy and slowly get over it after telling Kevin the story 6 times in gross detail?

So I call the salon. I just can't take it. I can't not say something!!

I talk to the manager of the managers who says I "should have said something while I was still there". I remind him (I had already recapped the enter ordeal) that I was there for 5 hours. That I didn't have the time or mental endurance to even bother. I told him the stylist wouldn't listen when I said to please hurry and that it didn't matter if it wasn't an exact match to the picture she was using as a color guide. She didn't even cut my hair!, I said. He ended up apologizing and saying I could come in and get the color fixed by another stylist at no cost and to get my haircut (which I would have to pay for) and that someone would call me to get my appointment rescheduled.

I'm going back in this weekend to get it fixed and to finally get my haircut (third time's the charm??).

At this point I'm sort of embracing my shaggy hair. I wanted a shorter cut, like more Emma Watson (heart!) and less like Elisha Cuthbert ('24' ... ugh). But I think I'm actually 'working it' now and once my sad highlights are fixed and my hair trimmed and cleaned up, I could pull off Audrey Tautou or Katie Holmes.

Me on vacation on July 4th, dark (natural) hair with just a few highlights:

Me on Monday, July 25th with blonde hair! First day back at work (I was wearing a couple bobbie pins this day - I really didn't have the energy to style it)

This one's sort of blurry but it shows just how gold/blonde my hair is now. You can see some of the 'dimensional' highlights (pfftt) ... there is red as well as blonde:

After the stress of that appointment has diminished, I actually do like my haircolor. I panicked at first thinking I had gone entirely too blonde. The last time I was blonde, I was 3 years old and had Annie ringlets all over my head. I just had to get used to seeing myself like that. I don't realize how much of a change it is until I see it ON my head.

But everyone says they love my new color! Including Kevin who is my toughest critic so, I think the color can stay for a while. At least until I really, really have to have black hair. Or auburn ...

PS - The party on Saturday night that I mentioned was my friend's bachelorette party! We had a really fun time and all her sweet friends ooh'ed and ahh'ed over my hair. A much needed ego boost and girl's night with plenty of drinks and Mexican food. score! 

She is now married as of this Saturday, 7/30. Congratulations, Ashley and Daniel!!

Dinner Last Night

I really can't believe it's August.

This year has passed by pretty quickly, but has been full - we've been busy and have traveled and hosted parties and dinners and overnight guests. One of the things I like about having an extra room or two is being able to provide a place for out of town guests (or Kevin's grandma, even though she lives just 30 minutes away). My house is far from finished or attractive or stylish at this point. I am starting to feel like I should just give up because all my efforts seem lost and when I do make an update or a change, I don't like it so I feel like it was all a waste.

I don't like the blue paint in my kitchen, the rest of my house is still unpainted (meaning it's still the boring white and tan it was when we moved in over a year ago) and my 'decor' feels cluttered and entirely too 'lived in'. Of course we live here; we can't help it. But surely I can keep those piles of 'Martha Stewart' and 'Better Homes' OFF the floor and in a cute basket or something? I need design help, that is a fact.

Anyway, the point of this post isn't to vent about my desigh woes, though this is as good a place as any to do so. I wanted to post some pictures of our dinner last night. It's been a long time since I've posted anything about food (I have quietly skipped any coverage of my birthday party for so many disasterous reasons) and I thought I would share this dinner since it was sort of new (the salad part) and really good. I'd make it again, with minor tweaks to the salad which I will mention later.

Turkey with Greens and Beet Salad

I started by pan-searing/grilling/whatever some turkey cutlets. I just sprinkled some sea salt, cracked pepper and some parsley on each side as it was cooking in a tiny bit of olive oil and and even tinier bit of butter. I'm trying not to use butter and other fats since I'm dieting but the oil was splattering a little too much so I added just a pat of butter to tame it. It won't take too long to cook these but just make sure they are cooked all the way through - this is poultry we're talking about.

While these were cooking I coarsely chopped up one bunch of collard greens. They are so cheap right now (no more than $1 per bunch depending on the store - we found some for $.89 at Minyard last week) and so good for you. They are coming into season along with a bunch of other greens like spinach so it's the perfect time to add them at every possible opportunity. I just set this in a large high-sided skillet ... don't start cooking them til everything else is done because the only need a few minutes to wilt.

Once everything else is done, turn the heat on the greens and let them wilt til they are cooked to your preference. I like leaving mine still bright green and crisp. Jurt turn them a few times to make sure it's cooked evenly. No seasoning needed because they are amazing on their own! But we sometimes squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the top.

I was trying to think of a salad I could make that was different from the usual. I typically make salad with lettuce and cabbage and mix in a bunch of chopped or grated veggies with a homemade vinaigrette. I'm not sure how I got 'beets' in my head but I browsed the web for some ideas and then blended a few of them to come up with my end result which was actually pretty good. Kevin said he liked it, too but maybe he was just being nice. ;)

I mixed 2 cans of beets (I am so aware of how inferior these are to fresh, oven roasted beets but I didn't have time for that), about 1/3 lb of fresh, pitted cherries, halved, 1 segmented orange and 1/2 an apple, very thinly sliced. For the dressing, I combined 1/3 a can's worth of the beet juice I had reserved, about 1 T olive oil, 2 T red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Then I decided it needed a different texture - something crunchy. I thought some nuts would be nice and toasted a couple handfuls of coarsely-chopped almonds. I added these at the very end (actually I completely forgot about them and Kevin added them for me).

Overall, it turned out great. I love turkey and I would like to use it more often and the cutlets are a nice way to do that. I think people use it primarily as a 'replacement' for ground meat but as a stand alone flavor, it's excellent and NOT just for Thanksgiving!


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