Sunday, March 30, 2008

Part of the host have crossed the flood / and part are crossing now

Jack Kramer: Crossword puzzler, dessert connoisseur, pirate.
March 24, 2008.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The incredible, edible jar

If you've seen me in the last year, you probably know that I've become "the jar lady." Or you may remember that back at our staff appreciation party in November I was voted "Most Unflappable and Most Likely To Be Seen Carrying a Jar." Yes... I am those hippies whom I used to mock in college.

After the moonshine jokes die down, usually someone will pipe up with "no really, why the jar?" It's been a while, but I got questioneed again today by my new coworker (an OCer who plays nothing but John Mayer and DMB. What is this, 2003?)

OK, here is my Full Jar Disclosure

1. I have lots of jars. LOTS of jars.

2. I never liked using plastic as it tastes gross and gets moldy. The new awareness of dioxin and everyone going green was a good excuse to just toss the plastic habit.

3. Unfortunately, I've never been a good owner of permanent containers. I guarantee the first time I sport a pretty metal bottle, I will LOSE it. And the second time. And so on.

4. So I tried reusing glass bottles like honest tea. Whoa... I could leave my water in the car all day and it still tasted great! (And I felt less likely to come over with a case of cancer in the morning.) But the problems with this were trifold - I rarely imbibe anything but water so I was buying tea just for the container, the bottles are easily breakable, and the second you set one down someone is sure to recycle it.

5. In the beginning...
Day one: Out of desperation, I grab a mason jar on the way out the door. Huh, look how perfectly it fits in my car drink holder.
Day two: I need caffeine. Huh... I can start out with hot tea in the morning and switch to water later.
Day three: I drop it several times and marvel at not having to back away guiltily from a pile of shards. Huh... tempered glass you say...
Day four: I leave it behind. Oh well, I have 238478 jars just like it. (Also, the upside to being "the jar lady" is that even without a nametag or a trendy sticker everyone knows the provenance of my errant jar and will be sure to save it for me.)
Day five: I move into a house with a dishwasher. Huh... I can easily sterilize my jars for canning or drinking...
Day six: I plan a short hike. Huh, this half-pint jelly jar is the perfect size to fit into my little pack...
Day seven: I marvel. Wow, what CAN'T you do with a mason jar! It's totally the new duct tape. (Hey N, remember that guy who wrote his junior theme entirely on duct tape?)

Discussion topic: Was my jar habit created in just 7 days, or is it a metaphor? You decide.

Pitfalls? I have found exactly 2, neither of which apply here in california.
1. Hot weather. Texas in September? Hello condensation. One of those beer cozies in a large size, please.
2. Cold weather. New England in March. Not looking forward to transporting an icicle, I went without my trusty jar for the first time, and bought my first and only 2 plastic bottles of the last year. One before each flight.

Speaking of flying, I did bring a jar on my southwest adventure trip and bravely faced my first forray into non-plastic traveling. I mean, if folks looked at me askance in SANTA CRUZ...
Airport security: "Is that a jar in your bag?"
me: Yes.
me: Damn you, The Man was supposed to hassle me some more! How am I supposed to feel quirky and self-righteous now!

But look, No Impact Man uses a jar too! Ah, feel that sense of superiority rushing back.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Signs of Spring Cleaning

Forget the fact that all members of the household might now have something resembling habitable bedrooms... the important thing is that all our spices are in order. Alphabetical order, in fact. Please feel free to zoom in and check.

And all my bulk food has been wrestled into assorted jars and containers. Inder seemed amused at how much I enjoy molded food and made me take this picture.

And speaking of cornmeal, I actually updated the recipe blog! To date, the most incontrovertible sign that I'm out of hibernation. Add it to the almanac, folks.

And it was on a Sunday morning / about a hundred years ago

You all woke up to Steve Goodman's The Easter Tapes, right?

Actually, my day kicked off with a massive bout of spring cleaning, turned into a whirlwind of Natalia's family / tasty food / Rock Band, and wound down with a screening of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Best. Easter. Ever. But the cherry on top, as it were?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Credit where credit is due

I almost forgot - I've been meaning to post the following list of R's accomplishments for some time now. Without further ado, I present to you:


1. Ran his first marathon in 3 hours and 47 minutes.
2. Accidentally walked off a small cliff into a pond.
3. Unintentionally had to camp at the peak of the Cascade Mountains in the middle of a snowstorm.
4. Saved up to open me an IRA for my birthday.
5. Ate a muffin without realizing it still had the paper on it.

These are just five of the many reasons why I will be marrying him this November.

Now I'm off to bed for real. Two posts in a row is plenty.

Now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of them that slept

Happy Easter! Thanks to R for the reminder of my favorite train sighting from Road Trip 2005, the epic journey that provided such lasting souvenirs as my t-shirt from the Country Music Hall of Fame, Rebecca's new driver's side rearview mirror, and, of course, this blog. Nothing says birthday like a bunch of boxcars.

It was a nice birthday... we had a little party the Saturday before involving grilled pork chops (one thing I will miss about Texas is birthday barbecues, even though they always consist of meats I don't eat), crepes, dominoes, and Celebrity. Yes, after years of me and Alexa halfheartedly swearing we're going to teach everyone here how to play Celebrity, I finally asserted my birthday dictatorship privileges and made it happen. (Jenna, you will be proud to note that you were inexplicably one of the celebrities. I think Scott wrote you down. You were also in the company of two separate Pamela Andersons and an Uncle Remus.)

I had my birthday off from work because that's the kind of new age feel-goodery I work at. My boss said to me two weeks ago, "You're taking your birthday off, right?" Since I hadn't been planning to (who on earth refuses to work on their birthday???) I started hemming and hawing, and was interrupted by my co-worker whose birthday is the day after mine, who piped up, "I'm taking MY birthday off." Well, damned if I was going to be the only one working on my birthday! Sorry, reproductive rights in Texas, you'll just have to protect yourselves on March 18 from now on.

Richard also had the day off and we decided to cash in my free passes to a spa/wellness retreat center outside of town that I won at my karate kickathon by having the most people donate to me. (This is because I have the most fantastic friends ever. If I still owe you a thank-you note and package, that comment is particularly directed toward you.) It was pouring rain for most of the afternoon, but we still managed to squeeze in a complimentary hippie buffet, a very wet hike through the woods, a swim in the pool, a couple of dips in the hot tub, and a visit to the dry sauna. For dinner we used another gift certificate and went out to dinner downtown. Then we picked up our mail from Bill & Quincy, dropped off some homebrew at Jeff & Jessica's, stayed to listen to a recording of Obama's race speech, and came home to find a phone message from LeJay (pronounced "Lee-Jay") who works at the bowling club that's a subsidiary of the agricultural society that also manages the old dancehall out in the country where we want to hold the wedding. We got our date confirmed, LeJay put our contract in the mail, and we now have the deceptively self-satisfied feeling that we're actually good at wedding planning and now that that's settled, we don't have to think about anything else for at least six months. This is a lie. But that doesn't really bother us.

This weekend was no less exciting... on Saturday we went to the wedding of a couple of people we sing with. It was our first Primitive Baptist wedding, which meant I got some ideas of how to possibly incorporate Sacred Harp into our own ceremony. Maybe, maybe not. We'll see. And this morning I went out to Easter brunch with my friend Cindy, her grandfather, and his partner, who were in town and told her she could invite "one friend." Sorry, Richard. (Now now, don't look at me askance... if someone offered to treat you to brunch at the Eastside Cafe, you'd abandon Richard on Easter morn, too.) Gramps and David were utterly delightful. The best part about going out to eat with old gay men is that when you tell them you work for an organization that lobbies for reproductive rights and comprehensive sex education, and it evolves into a discussion about David's days as a community health educator in New Orleans, you don't have to lower your voice even though you're talking about condoms because Gramps is slightly deaf in one ear and won't be able to hear you if you speak in a polite murmur. So when David told us about unrolling a condom over his right arm to prove a point to the teenage boys who were complaining that condoms are too small - by god, you can bet the whole front room of the Eastside Cafe was listening. They're moving to Austin this spring, which I couldn't be more tickled about. Maybe they'll take me to the Houston Opera with them sometimes.

We finally saw the Simpsons movie tonight. And now it's officially the day after Easter. And I am going to bed. Effective as of the end of this sentence. This sentence I'm typing now. Period.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Look, Katie, a train!

I mean, look everyone, it's Katie's birthday!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Who wants to build me some shelves?

For the ever spiraling number of books I am bringing home.

This stack is just what I acquired from a week in New England, and is a surprisingly good summary of my time there.

From the top: My haul from Raven Books in Northampton, last year's minutes (one guess for who led 13 songs at his convention...), a New Haven veggie cookbook from Lo, and my grandfather's bread bible. This last one will probably be the subject of its own post as soon as I try out some of the recipes. I got so spoiled eating all those sandwiches made with Katie's homemade bread and hummus. Conveniently I inherited this lovely book, enjoy making things from scratch, and am very poor. Have invested in dried chickpeas and flour.

Also pictured: laptop, Omie, fire.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


R's untimely retrospective: Filler? Is that all I am to you? You said we'd always have 2007... you've changed, man.
R: Keep your pants on. You know I could never leave behind my obsessive nostalgia. It's just that, well, since I wrote you I sort of found this new life, and I wanted to post about that for a change. And how about some gratitude, huh? I could have left you languishing unpublished in draft form forever. You're lucky my brain currently consists of Diana Jones on repeat insulated by a thick layer of congestion, effectively prohibiting production of original content. In point of fact, I don't think I'm up to blogging at all tonight....
R's brain: Keep it down, would you? I'm trying to listen to another song about death. Just go split the post down the center and see who loves it the most. And hand me the sudafed.
R: Noooooo! Not my beautiful post. I take it all back. Most esteemed readers, please don't judge this retrospective for its utter lack of relevance, it wanted to be published in January. You may direct all hate mail my way.


2007 not in books.

Assorted musical obsessions:
Sufjan Stevens, Songs for Christmas
Patty Griffin, Children Running Through
Nick Cave
Owen Family cd
Neil Young, Live at Massey Hall

Favorite cds to play at the store:
The soundtrack to I am Sam
De Jérusalem à Cordoue

States sung in:

Best DVDs:
Children of Men
Best of the Johnny Cash TV Show, 1969-1971 (Do yourself a favor and watch this. Right now. Even if you're not a Cash fan. (Wait, who's not a Cash fan? Get off my blog!) Watch it for the jaw dropping performances from, well, everyone. Watch it for the best Linda Rondstandt story EVER.)

Worst movie:
I Think I Hate my Wife, edging out September Dawn only because I didn't shell out any money for that one.

Best concerts:
(3x tie)
Dale Ann Bradley at Don Quixote's
Old Crow Medicine Show at The Catalyst
Psalm One at Slim's
Runner Up: Crazy xylophone girl with a painted on zorro mask for sheer jaw dropping santa cruz entertainment

Best fruit picking:
Backyard Lemons
Runners Up: strawberries from the HGP, blackberries from Sue's

Most memorable meals: (Any kind of Best Of being impossible to judge accurately due to the sheer amount of attention I gave to food this year, and the fact that I've already blogged about most of it. heh. So I'll just go at it stream of consciousness like here):
Chicago (Cousins on a rainy day, late night lentil soup with my dad, late night salad with my mom, tapas with Natalia's posse, a Bridge Thanksgiving, gingerbread pancakes)
My kitchen (My macrobiotic menu, zucchini blossoms, tamales with Gabriel, entire meals of jam sampling, latkes)
My neighborhood (Avanti's, Mobo sushi, free soy mocha chais at work, the hot bar at Staff of Life, La Vie after our last class, every meal at school, my first and last meals cooked at the Homeless Garden Project, similarly my first and last meals cooked for Kids for Health, late night at Pizza My Heart )
Travels (All the fries Richard made me eat, the only two restaurants in Austin, dinner on the grounds anywhere, raw food in Sedona, South Indian feast and Derby Pie in Louisville, noodles with Berry, tiny cakes and so much cheese at the Mahoneys)

Monday, March 10, 2008

O once I had a glorious view / of my redeeming lord

Richard is currently reading Thornton Wilder to Rebecca in the living room (utilizing a highly inappropriate Cary Grant-esque accent), leaving me free to steal some of her pictures and post them before she can. Sucker! Unfortunately, I don't know how to resize them on this computer. So here they are in all of their thousands of kilobytes glory. I guess that makes me the sucker. Or maybe all of you...

All my vacation schemes (snow, sleeping until 11, friends, singing, and overindulging on tasty food) seem to have come to fruition. I won't bore you with many gory details at the moment (since another one of my vacation schemes is to never get on the computer, at which I am clearly failing) but a couple of illustrated highlights are in order, including:

Lauren and Ruth! I hadn't seen them since before we moved to Texas (which is just so utterly pathetic), but we fit in a quality afternoon and evening with them last Friday in their beautiful New Haven apartment:

Please note that even standing on the sofa, Lauren is only slightly taller than Ruth. I think we all wish we could be as tall as Ruth.

Sneak preview the second: convention was amazing, even more so than usual or perhaps I've just been away for too long. There were over 400 people registered over the course of the weekend (props to Jenna for her mad arranging skillz are once again in order), which meant lots of doubled-up leading in order to get through everybody:

Me and some guy leading 406. Apologies for the blur.

Okay, I'm off to check on my bread. You'll be happy to note that even 2,000 miles away, I'm still compulsively baking bread.

Tragically, vacation is over tomorrow, so you'll probably have to wait until I'm back in Texas to hear more. You know you want to.



Thursday, March 06, 2008

"So... blogging..."

Notes Richard astutely. After criticizing my typing efficiency. And I can hear Dan demonstrating his professional umpire moves, and I'm full of birthday cake, so that can only mean one thing... WMSHC time at the Mahoneys! I did in fact make it here in one piece, and in plenty of time for some extra quality pre-convention singing. Hoo boy. Can't believe it's been a year since I've been here. The longest I've been away from New England since adopting it back in 2000. There have already been two trips to the airport, meaning ample opportunity to catch up on all my favorite 91 landmarks. (Look, Katie, Warehouse Point! Look, Katie, the Dexter D. Coffin Bridge!)

Yesterday also featured a walk in the fine New England air, last-minute convention shopping, and more used books than I have any business buying outside of my place of employment. And now we're off to visit our respective grandparents and assorted beloved friends, and squeeze two more visitors into Chez Mahoney late Friday night. Happy singing to all of us!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


My bags are packed and waiting by the door. My cab is scheduled to arrive in 5 minutes. This state of readiness is not something I am very familiar with. Of course it can't bode well for the rest of my journey. One or many things are sure to go wrong. But I'm crossing all my fingers and toes, and setting my sights on singing 12 hours from now. Helen Hills Hills Chapel or bust. Woo!!!