Coming soon

Direction. Redesign. Real posts, including a recap of how my much-fanfared Golden Year went.

This site isn't really going anywhere, but at the same time, it's not going anywhere. If you get the drift.

Be back in an internet jiffy.

Can’t lose

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Today marks the beginning of my golden year.

Now, first things first: I don’t put a lot of emphasis on my birthday, typically. The only other birthday I remember vividly looking forward to was my 23rd, and I have never been able to figure out why being 23 was such an enormous deal to me. But I was convinced that 23 was going to be an exceptional year… and, looking back, it was kind of was. And I do remember being very excited about being 23 that entire year.

This one… is a little different. This is almost too close to things like palm reading and astrology for comfort, but while I’m not a superstitious type (or at least not seriously; I half-subscribe to magical thinking but know I’m being ridiculous for doing so)– my golden year! Turning 28 on the 28th! Sure, this year could very well be like any other year, as far as the world is concerned*, but isn’t life what you make of it? And this is as good an excuse as any to do my damnedest to get the most out of the next 365 days.

(Oh. 2012 is a leap year. 366 days! IT’S A SIGN.) 

I’ve never made an official life list, and I don’t know if I really want to make one, but this will be the year I finally accomplish things I have wanted to do since ever (like go to Wales, properly). Since mid-September, my life has been in perpetual motion, and I’d like to continue that momentum through Year 28. Truth be told, I’m not always sure which direction things are taking me, but I do know it’s forward. Or up? Both? You get the idea.

I’ve been cooking and baking and food-experimenting a ton more recently, with surprisingly high success, and I have plans and people (plans with people?) to keep that going. I’ve picked up new hobbies and interests and am working still on cultivating the old ones– ditto with friendships. Admittedly, I took a break from decorating my house, but I bought a lot of great artwork that now just needs to be framed and hung, and I’m slowly sketching out ideas for the last two rooms. Year 28 is going to be a year of Doing More and Waiting Less, which sounds like I’m encouraging impatience, and yeah, maybe I am. I was going to contest that, but the truth is, in these days and weeks leading up to turning 28, I’ve lost my patience with unnecessary waiting and holding off and hemming and hawing. I’ll still wait for something worthwhile– you won’t see me taking off for Wales tomorrow (the weather would be just awful this time of year, and anyway, it’s meant to be early summer)– but I’m also much more adept at recognizing a lost cause, these days. 

To quote an ever-quotable scene: “Get mad, you sons of bitches! Get mad!

My life was a self-induced whirlwind of chaos and cacophony for so many (so, so many) years. After it finally settled down, I embraced the peaceful change so blindly that I failed to notice the stale silence that crept in. So now, I’m kicking up the dust again, but on my own terms, and with clear eyes this time… and, yes, a full heart as well. 

Here’s to my golden year. I hope it’s golden for you, too.

 

 

*As far as the world is concerned, this year could very well be filled with DISASTERS. Like, my cat could decide she wants to pursue a life of forever chasing squirrels and run away from home. Then again, maybe that’s less of a disaster and more of an opportunity to finally get a kitten. Hm.

 

I don’t drink coffee, so I need to waste my money on *something*. I guess.

Three posts in the last year. Awesome.

I've been writing a little, elsewhere, here-and-there-abouts. Nothing particularly noteworthy. Some long pieces are due and on their way to being in-the-works, but I don't know if I'll piecemeal them out for Posterous or just slap them up here. I suppose that's a hurdle to consider when I actually have something to potentially piecemeal, though.

There's a tiny writing project that *is* in progress, though I'll need to do it consistently for two weeks before I'll take it more seriously. I recently had a modern-day Hemingway sweep into my life (truth: the more we interact, the more I suspect he's actually a modern-day Steinbeck, or maybe just the love child between the two) and it's inspired me to re-negotiate my relationship with the written word. Or rather, my relationship with the writing of words. I get along just fine with the consumption of written words.

I hope you're well, friends, strangers, comrades.

Muesli is better than Christmas

I.

I first took notice of muesli when I was young, maybe 10? I was reading Sharon Creech's "Walk Two Moons", and there's a fantastic dinner scene where a picky guest is relegated to eating a dry bowl of muesli. At the time, I had a vague understanding that muesli was like granola, or Kashi, and while I have been a lifelong fan of eating dry cereal, it was clear from the book that dry muesli was not an enjoyable sort of meal. I also formed the association of muesli to long-bearded hippies wearing earth sandals and carrying nature sticks.

II.

While in Bali last year, our hostess recommended a little restaurant just down the beach, saying she absolutely loved their muesli (Bircher-Benner!). We went, we ate, we equally enjoyed. After we got back to the States, I looked up the Bircher-Benner recipe on Wikipedia, noted how it's proportionally opposite to what's mostly eaten today– far more fruit to grains– and carried on with my life. I was having a tremendous love affair with the Maple Frosted Shredded Wheat cereal at Trader Joe's, and there simply wasn't any room in my world for another cereal.

III.

A few months later, we ended up in Europe for 10 weeks. Europe, sadly, does not have a Trader Joe's, and what's more, they are very deficient in shredded wheat, frosted or otherwise (there was plain Nabisco shredded wheat in London, which I ate dry, to everyone's horror). However! London had Weetabix! Having never eaten Weetabix before (I'd read about it in the Babysitter's Club books, when the Australian family that had that son whom Mallory got all super-crushy over moved into the neighborhood), this was a glorious find for me and I dove in head-first.

Then we continued on to Amsterdam, and while perusing the tiny selection of cereals in an Albert Heijn, I decided to shake things up and go with muesli alongside the Weetabix. And then we got to Berlin, where there was no Weetabix (except at one organic earth-happy convenienvce sort of store), so that's when I really, really got into serious bran cereal. And then, for the rest of the trip, we started every single morning with the same breakfast: a bowl of muesli, bran (Noah wasn't as keen on the bran as I was), soymilk (almond when I could find it, which was only once in Sorrento), and yogurt. Every. Single. Morning.

And I never got tired of it. Sometimes we would have it for lunch as well, if we were stuck on a long train ride. There was even one night when we were taking a ferry from Croatia to Italy and ended up having this for lunch, dinner, and breakfast, and IT WAS STILL AMAZING. Other meals occasionally disappointed, but the muesli never let me down.

IV.

Since November, I've been experimenting with different eating habits, and my most recent iteration is vegan, gluten-free, no processed sugars (minimal natural sugars) and minimal grains. I was really hoping to go completely grain-free, but then I found a recipe for gluten-free muesli– and that hope has just completely flown out the window since.

What I ultimately made was a modified recipe, but eating it in the morning is like being back in Europe. Which admittedly was far from a glorious expedition, but nostalgia cleverly elbows out all the negative components and showcases everything else in a radiating golden light. To put it another way, when I eat muesli, I am the happiest pig in the prettiest mud puddle this side of Denton.

It's to the point where I long for mornings, for that shining moment when I get to have my small bowl of muesli. I look forward to it the way kids look forward to Christmas or their birthdays–sometimes, I contemplate going to sleep earlier just to make the morning come faster, thus bringing my muesli time into existence that much sooner.

I know the dangers of nostalgia; I don't deny that many, many parts of that trip were an absolute hell. But the muesli was always perfect, and I like the peaceful memories it invokes. So grains be damned– I plan on making (and eating) this for quite some time.

[Edit: recipe]

In which I take forever to get to the point because I don’t give a damn about SEO

We recently upgraded Macbooks, and in the process of doing so, I came across the dilemma of what-do-I-do-with-my-iPhone-now? Having never owned an iPhone, or really even an iPod, before last September, this had never been an issue for me throughout the past three laptop switches.

Managing music on an Android phone is fairly easy– you have a memory card, you have a dedicated music folder on said card, you drop music files into said folder, and done! Music can be added from any computer, music can be accessed from any phone that reads said memory card.

iPhones? Bit more complicated. I greatly prefer the folder method on Android to the notion of syncing, and thus have always chosen to manually manage the music and video on my iPhone. The well-documented-and-bemoaned problem here is that one can only manage one's iPhone library from one specific iTunes library that is not linked in any way to one's iTunes account, which really just boils down to: iPhone == computer. New computer? New iTunes library! New iTunes library that politely demands you erase all the content on your iPhone before it allows you to manage that phone again!

Apparently, if I migrate my user account from the old computer to the new one, I can use iTunes like normal, no problems, no hassle. Except I don't want my old user account. One of the joys of a new computer is getting to start fresh, like moving to a new place– you delete all the stuff you suddenly realize you don't want and will never need, back up the things you also don't want but suspect you will someday possibly need, and then you begin your brand new computer life with a clean, clean slate.

Anyway. I found, as one is resourcefully wont to do on Google, articles on how to sync an iPhone on more than one computer (technically in more than one iTunes library). Tried them, got nowhere. Turns out all those articles only refer to versions of iTunes earlier than 10. Dug through Google a bit more and found this gem on MacRumors, which worked in principle but not verbatim. More or less, this was my process:

How to sync your iPhone/iPod/iPad/iWhatever to multiple computers running iTunes 10!

  1. Uninstall iTunes 10 on the new computer and delete all the files (including iTunes Music Library.xml and iTunes Library) in Music > iTunes
  2. Install iTunes 9.2 (http://forum.gsmhosting.com/vbb/archive/t-1028451.html). Open the app, do quick setup, then quit.
  3. Follow instructions here and disregard the iTunes 10+ revelatory claim. For the clever lazies who also don't need screenshots, the instructions are:
    • Open iTunes Music Library.xml in your old library and copy your Library Persistent ID. Paste it somewhere.
    • Open iTunes Music Library.xml in your new library. Find the Library Persistent ID. Copy the new ID and paste it somewhere. Replace it with the original ID. Save the file and close.
    • Download HexEdit here (somewhere else, obviously, if using Windows).
    • Open the (new) iTunes Library file in HexEdit. Search for the new Library Persistent ID (Hex, not ASCII). Replace it with the original ID. Save, close.
  4. Download the latest version of iTunes.
  5. Ta-da!

Note that if you don't have access to your old computer/iTunes library, you're screwed.

Also note that if you're the type who wants to treat your iPhone like a multifunctional hard drive, you're probably also going to be the type who wants transferring media to be a two-way street, so if you don't have a weapon of choice here yet, I highly recommend expod.

Before he said “Natalie Portman”, my first guess was going to be “P.S. I Love You”, but that’s Gerard Butler. Also, not Julia Roberts.

“He also recommended– no, wait, he’s looking forward to seeing ‘True Grit’.”

“What’s that about?”

“It’s a western? Something like that. With what’s-his-name. Owen Wilson?”

“Ugh. Really?”

“Or, no, Clive Owen?”

“Oh! I like him.”

“Or Clive Olsen?”

“Uh, no.”

“Really? There’s not someone named Clive Olsen? That sounds like it could be someone’s name!”

“No.”

“Clive Olsen! Okay, wait, Clive Owen is the guy with the crooked nose? The other male model?”

“That’s Owen Wilson.”

“Are you sure there’s not a Clive Olsen?”

“You’re thinking of the Olsen twins.”

“Well who’s Clive Owen, then?”

“He was that guy in that movie that you have, with Julia Roberts. And Natalie Portman.”

“…”

“…”

“… ‘Stepmom’?”

[Edit: I just looked up the cast for “True Grit”. There are no Clives, Owens, Wilsons or Olsens anywhere in the first billing. I need to start subscribing to Star Magazine or something.]

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It’s mostly the former, actually. I’m kind of a jerk like that.

Noah's been gone enough by now that I can't remember how this started, but all I know is that when he's not here, Bean sleeps on my pillow and I sleep on his. I referenced it enough to him to where the last time he was home (for a day), he asked if I wanted to just switch sides, since I seemed to like the new sleeping arrangement so much. I declined, but then he pulled some shifty magic in the middle of the night and stole my pillow and I ended up being shunted to his side of the bed anyway.

So.

The uncertainty is regarding whether I first started sleeping on Noah's pillow, whereupon Bean decided to start sleeping (and shedding all over) my pillow, or whether my cat kicked me off my pillow first (why can't anyone in this household just let me be when it comes to orders of the sleeping kind?). But either way, this is how it goes, now: Noah leaves, and suddenly I'm sleeping on the right side.

Truthfully, I prefer the left side. It's closer to the windows, so I get more of the morning light (which I crave). But also truthfully, even if Bean weren't here, in Noah's absence I'd probably still sleep on his side of the bed. Partially from the "forbidden fruit" aspect (even though I realize it's not exactly "forbidden")– in the same way that I listen to Coldplay and Norah Jones, or do the Shim Sham in the kitchen in the middle of the night, when he's gone– and partially because it helps me miss him less. Like how I used to wear his enormous Cal hoodie in our first year of dating whenever we were apart. Sleeping in my normal space and not feeling the warmth of his presence as he moves ever closer until he's practically shoved me off the bed entirely just makes me lonelier, so instead, I sleep in the space he's supposed to be occupying and somehow, somehow, that's enough for now.

I also tend to avoid my voicemail inbox like the plague, which is why I never promise to return your call if you leave me a message

My family is not big on telephone communication, and by "my family", I'm including myself. I remember using the (landline) phone more when I was in junior high and high school, but even then, I was hardly the stereotypical teenage girl who could never get off the phone. I distinctly remember starting to feel a definitive disinterest for phone calls during college, especially when so many of them were heated conversations ("arguments") with boyfriends.

Either way: we're not phone people. My mom and I e-mail several times a week, and that's about it. When she does call, it's usually for an immediate purpose (do you know where this document is, I'm at the grocery store and they have almond milk on sale but I can't remember what kind you like, etc.)– everything else can be communicated online. This has resulted in my always making sure to answer my phone when I see that she's calling, because she never calls "just to say hi". She bought an answering machine for the house phone in order to avoid people who do just that.

My dad and my sister, on the other hand, NEVER call me (and vice versa). *This* has resulted in my momentarily freaking out whenever I see that they're calling, because my first reactionary thought is: "Something bad has happened to my mom and they're calling me to tell me the bad news because whatever has happened is so bad that she's not capable of calling me herself which means she's either unconscious or in an ambulance or dead."

Example 1: My sister called me a month ago. I was at work and had my phone on silent (as I always have it, actually), and didn't see the missed call until an hour or so later. She'd left a message, so I listened to it (with apprehension), but all it amounted to was, "Hey, call me back." And she didn't sound like she'd been crying, and I hadn't also missed a call from either of my parents, so I knew she hadn't called with bad news about someone in our family and I figured it also wasn't about one of her pets dying. Which left me stumped, because I couldn't think of any other reason why she would call. But she hadn't been crying, so it couldn't have been urgent. Maybe my mom had been bugging her to call me in order to nurture a sisterly bond? In which case, definitely not urgent.

I called her back after I was done with work, which ended up being a lot later that night– and as it turned out, the news was simply that her boyfriend had proposed and they were going to be married next year and I was going to be a bridesmaid, and so on. So, good news! It was a good news! call. And yet had she simply e-mailed the news to me, I honestly don't think I'd have been surprised or dismayed at the communication channel of choice. Precedents, after all. The only other phone calls I really remember from my sister are: her cat died (2000?), my cat wasn't moving (2005), and "What do you want to eat for Thanksgiving?" (2008, but she knew I was in my car en route to San Diego at the time, so obviously e-mail would have been a poor choice).

Example 2: My dad called me on Friday. While I was at work (which he knew), and while he was at work (well, actually, it might have been one of the Fridays he has off). I panicked, answered immediately, and the first words out of my mouth were: "Hi, what's wrong?"

Yeah. Nothing was wrong. There was just paperwork on my house loan that needed to be signed ASAP and he needed to know when I was flying back to Vegas, and was there any way I could get back by Tuesday? (My flight was already scheduled to arrive Tuesday morning, so that worked out perfectly.)

*****

There's not really a point to these anecdotes, but if I had to English-major one up, I'd say it's that I apparently only think that disastrous news warrants a phone call from my family. Which says something about either how easy it is to get a hold of me via e-mail, or how much I really hate being on the phone.