October 31, 2012

Wednesday Wabi


In Canada, there are duplexes that have non-matching facades.

In Canada, the blocks are a quarter mile long.

In Canada, you can get something called a Jamaican Pumpkin. (I still don’t quite know what a Jamaican Pumpkin is.)

In Canada, you can get the best orange juice you’ll ever drink in your life. It is the President’s Choice brand Valencia juice, and it’s probably better for all concerned that I can’t get it in the states because that’s all I would drink.

In Canada, you can go to a wax museum so terrible all of the wax figures have nametags so you can find out who they are.

In Canada, the post office is in the drugstore.

In Canada, they make really tasty gluten free pizza.

In Canada, you can go to a completely gluten free restaurant and somehow magically get glutened eating poutine.


(click on this one for a panoramic view of Kensington Market)

Aforementioned poutine of hate. Otherwise delicious! And now I know what it tastes like so I can make it at home.

Twenty feet from the edge of Niagara Falls!

View of the Falls from the restaurant where we had dinner.

Same view, at dusk.

Ceiling of the conservatory at Casa Loma.


There’s never been a cuter skeleton than my nephew.

September 12, 2012

Wednesday Wabi


I was probably the last to know about PSY and his satirical Gangnam Style video — there were 93 million views when I discovered it — but I can’t get enough of him and his hilarious dancing. This article from the Atlantic makes the story behind the video a little more clear.

In what feels like another lifetime, I wanted to be a cultural studies academic. That’s not likely to happen now, but I can’t stop thinking in those terms about how great the internet age is. Ten years ago, most Americans would have never heard this song and now it’s viral and there have been almost 153 million views.


PSY teaches Britney Spears (surprisingly nimble in crazy high heels) the Gangnam Style dance.


Can’t stop laughing.


My passport plans continue apace, and I so can’t wait until I can tell that whole story. Otherwise I’m filling my time with researching things to do. So far our only real plans are: Niagara Falls, taking a ferry to Toronto Island to have a picnic, this restaurant with gluten free poutine that I found today. POUTINE. I NEVER THOUGHT IT WOULD BE POSSIBLE. THEY SHOULD HAVE SENT A POET.


I can’t stop using ALL CAPS for EMPHASIS. The other day Colleen thought I was using an acronym, but I was just EXCITED.


This article, from the New Yorker, about a French man who pretended to be a teenage boy, and the consequences when he posed as a missing kid from Texas. There’s a documentary, too, that I’d really like to see.


I feel like I’ve been counting down the days til APPLE SEASON forever but maybe just since July. This year I would like approximately one million billion honeycrisp apples, a few that are from other interesting apple trees, and one giant apple cider slushie. Please and thank you.


August 29, 2012

Wednesday Wabi


For whatever reason, this video of a cat performing the Game of Thrones theme makes me laugh until I weep. This and the Panda cheese commercials are the funniest things I’ve ever seen on the Internet.

I’ve seen a lot of things.

My favorite is the one set in the hospital.


P and I have decided to take a trip to Toronto this fall, which is super exciting because I’ve never been to Canada before! After checking out some hotels and practically choking on the price, I found a great little apartment on AirBNB that’s half the price and even more awesome because I can cook a lot of my own food in the kitchen. Though I hear Toronto is great for people with Celiac, I do get a lot of relief knowing I can make food for myself instead of having to venture out three times a day and hope that I don’t get sick. Still, beyond accommodations we have pretty much no plans whatsoever, so if there’s something amazing we should do, let me know!

Of course, this is all predicated on the hope that the State Department will actually issue me a passport, but that’s a story for another time!


Though I don’t like to play favorites, Rachel Ries is probably my favorite singer ever ever.

Without a Bird is her 2007 release, and she hasn’t had any solo work since then. Because I don’t pay attention to new releases, I had no idea that she had a new EP! Laura Lake came out in February, but I didn’t find it until Sunday which was exactly when I needed to hear it. Rachel is one of the few musicians whose albums I listen to all the way through. They’re all beautiful. Buy them, buy them!

August 15, 2012

Wednesday Wabi


I found out a few months ago that, in addition to having Celiac, I am allergic to rice. And corn. And a whole host of other things, but we’re here to talk about the rice. I accidentally didn’t eat rice for a few days and the infernal itching that I’ve been suffering from for a year or so was about 80% gone. And then I accidentally ate some rice (damn you delicious gluten free donut from fancy donut place in downtown Chicago!) and it’s back. To which I say BOO. I’m having to recalibrate my food options, since obviously I rely a lot on rice, which is OBNOXIOUS but UNFORTUNATELY NECESSARY.


In addition to the GRRM mentioned last week, I’m poking around in the paleo cookbooks I have. They’re great resources for grain-free food. The best I’ve found is Well-Fed, by Melissa Joulwan. Pricey but worth it.


This week’s CSA box held the first kohlrabi of the season. After I tried to scare P with them by poking him in the ass with the stems, I decided I was going to try this recipe for kohlrabi cakes. I think they’ll be a little like my beloved zucchini fritters, but if they end up more like the broccoli fritters I tried (TOTAL DISASTER) then it will still be okay. I mean, I can’t go wrong eating more veg.


I finally started using my tumblr again. I stopped visiting the site during the Great Internet Pause of 2012 and for whatever reason I was gunshy about using it again. Probably because I can spend hours finding dumb cat pictures to reblog. At any rate, if you’re interested in seeing what bubbles up from my subconscious (typically quotes about writing, tattoos, cat pictures with special dispensation given to calico cat pictures, flat-faced dogs and Doctor Who everything) then my tumblr is the place to go.


The World’s Most Expensive Cat is doing much better and has more energy than she has had in weeks. I have to poke a pill down her throat for a few more days, but really, she doesn’t bite nearly as much as River Song does, so I’m keeping my puncture wounds to a minimum.


Anyone use a Water Pik? I already have a Sonicare toothbrush which makes my teeth feel minty fresh and clean and also a toothbrush timer app that applauds when I’m done with my two minutes of brushing but I feel like flossing could have a little more whimsy.

August 8, 2012

Wednesday Wabi


I can’t stop playing SongPop, which is a game that works on i*things and facebook, so mostly I’ve been listening to tiny snippets of songs. Hopefully in 1.2 seconds or less.


I’ve finally succumbed to the George R. R. Martin books. I held out as long as I could, because of my impatience with dragon stories, but I was clearly dumb. The books are cracktastic! I’m halfway through the second one and already quite worried about who is going to die next. NO SPOILERS


Like everyone else, I’m hooked on The Olympics. Mostly gymnastics and swimming, because I don’t have cable and therefore no access to everything else. My favorite part of The Olympics is how everyone becomes an expert on whatever sport happens to be on TV. I may have never gone off a diving board, but I know when someone isn’t tucking his knees correctly!


Yesterday I visited the pork vendor at my local farmers’ market. I might have gone a little crazy (two pork shoulders!) but it’s worth it. Her bacon is the best I’ve ever, ever had, and I managed to snag a pound of ground pork so I can make my own breakfast sausage using the spice blend I got from The Spice House. (Don’t click that link if you’re hungry. But if you do click that link, may I recommend purchasing their garlic pepper blend? It has been amazing on EVERY SINGLE THING I’ve put it on, from chicken to veg to… just everything. I’m already kicking myself for not buying a giant refill bag the last time I was in.)


The World’s Most Expensive Cat strikes again, this time with a lovely infection that only two weeks of antibiotics will cure. We had to learn a new way to pill her, since the last method ended in tears. I found this video:

While of course our experience is much more bitey and scratchy than that one, I’m still able to get the pill in her about 75% of the time without a spitting incident. That’s what we call success around here.

July 25, 2012

Wednesday Wabi*


So first I heard this song, which is a cover of this song,

but really it’s a cover of this version

which is just so perfect I can’t even. I’ve listened to it 10,000 times (15, according to itunes, not counting any youtube views) and I think P is ready to invest in earplugs.


Season 1 of The West Wing. No spoilers!

He brought her a goldfish and stole my heart. Also, P was quite amused to find out that Timothy Busfield is more than that guy from Thirtysomething. He’s also Poindexter from the Revenge of the Nerds movies. Those movies somehow played a big part in his childhood. I don’t know. I didn’t ask.


My dear friend Holly McDowell‘s King Solomon’s Wives: Hunted debuted last month! KSW is a serial novel; the chapters come out in installments and you can do cool stuff like vote for characters you want to see in the next episode. It’s ebook only, but you can read it on your computer if you don’t have an e-reader! Get on that!


I got a giant flat of softball-sized peaches from Costco last week and they’re all ready right now. I even ate one in the shower. I feel like I’m up against a deadline. A nommish deadline.

*Wednesday Wabi is a new thing I’m going to do here, where I round up all the media I’ve been consuming and such. The title came about after a fun brainstorming session with my dearest darlings Colleen and Megan, who have been friends of mine since childhood. Wabi is a Japanese word meaning ‘beauty judged to be the result of living simply.’

June 29, 2012

There, I said it.

I hate summer. I loathe summer and I have since I was old enough to know there were seasons to hate. There’s a world of difference, though, between New Mexico’s desert-dry heat, where little girls can go outside barefoot and run on the driveway so their feet won’t get burned to Chicago’s hateful humid death bowl where it’s just as hot as New Mexico but ten bajillion times more humid.

Stolen shamelessly from someone on Facebook.

It is possible I’m a wee bit cranky.

Or maybe it’s just that when I tell people I hate summer they look at me like I killed a puppy and start ranting about the winter. Look, I love winter! Sometimes it snows so much that leaving your house isn’t even allowed, so when I don’t go anywhere it’s socially acceptable! Not like summer, where if you stay inside people think you’re a weirdo, even if you’re not going outside because that’s where the bugs are.

Also maybe because I have been on Twitter hiatus (Woe!) for like eight weeks or something, I don’t know anymore, maybe I should be keeping a captain’s log. “Day two hundred and four. No one to laugh at my bon mot about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes divorcing. Am I even human anymore if there’s no one around to think I’m funny?”

So I’m trying to find ways to make summer a little better and not mourn the fact that I probably won’t be able to roast a chicken until October.

First, let’s talk about food. Glorious summer vegetables! And this year I got clever and joined a CSA that DELIVERS. To my HOUSE. On Tuesday nights I get a cheery little text message and go on to the porch and there is a giant box of vegetables there, all for me! And they also sell pastured eggs! We have finally passed Greens Season (what am I supposed to do with eighteen servings of chard, I don’t know, but we have been Making the Best of It) and are headed right into Zucchini Town, which might just be the best part of summer for me.

I could eat zucchini every day of my life and never get tired of it. Last weekend I went on a leetle bit of a zucchini bender and made these zucchini fritters multiple times. WORTH IT. I made the recipe gluten free by substituting a scant 1/4 cup of almond flour for the AP flour. I like how the recipe author suggests you have the oven on 200 to let the fritters stay warm. Yeah, those fritters aren’t going into the oven before they fall into my face. I tripled the recipe the second time around, cut the eggs to two and used about 2/3 of a cup of almond flour. Still amazing. If you don’t have a food processor, I don’t know that I’d suggest you make them. I think I’d grate my knuckles and cry, but you are probably braver than I am. Make sure not to skip the salting and squeezing out the water step, because that makes a huge difference and also it’s funny to watch P go all stress ball on a wad of cheesecloth. Probably you are a nicer spouse than I am, too.

So, yes. Summer food, as long as I don’t have to stay in the kitchen where the heat machine lives. I have the slow cooker going today, which smells amazing. I found out recently that you can make caramelized onions in the crockpot if you have like twelve or more hours. Don’t listen to that recipe, though — use real butter (not margarine! What is this, 1958?) and you don’t have to melt it. They freeze well and just need a little finishing in a pan when using them. Om nom.

Summer is also a lovely time to mainline TV shows. We recently watched The Wire in a few big gulps and mostly I’m just mad at myself for never watching it before. It was amazing, as amazing of a television show that has ever been made. I love Doctor Who for many fannish reasons, but I love The Wire because it was, more than anything, beautifully crafted. That first season is perfect. The whole show is a Greek tragedy in America and if you haven’t watched it you really should. If for no other reason than that this video will be ten times funnier if you know what they’re going on about:

Finally, this summer is about this little monster:

It’s a little disappointing because you can’t see her gigantic bushy feather duster of a tail, but apparently she doesn’t like to “stand still” for “photo ops.” I’m not used to having a kitty who’s only two years old. The elder generation of cats in my house are more into sleeping all day and getting insulin shots and eating the Early Bird Special. But not her. We had to get a laser pointer to tire her out before she tires us out.

Her name is River Song, and if you’re caught up on your Doctor Who you can probably guess what her name was in the shelter. If not, well. Spoilers, sweetie.

The cardinal rule of cats is that they all get a nickname that’s probably completely unrelated to their real names. I don’t know how to spell it, but this is what we call her:

(If you have a little time, go through the videos from PronunciationManual. They make me scream with laughter, but I’m also a nerd, so…)

If you’re here from Twitter, I’m not back! I’m sorry! This summer is for writing, buckling down, and until I hit a goal — a big goal, a tattoo-getting goal! — I can’t return. Alas.

Back to the word mines, darlings. It’s either that or watch the birds outside my window. I saw an oriole back there, I think. So maybe summer’s good for more than I thought.

April 18, 2012

So much fun it got its own hashtag

If you want to learn all about the adventure I had last week with some of my writing friends, check out Erin Knightley’s coverage. She says it all much better than I can!

But I will add this: if you’re a writer and you haven’t had a few days with only some other writer friends to sit down and really get some work done, you’re missing out. Even if you do end up showing up at a giant conference you had no intention of attending, followed by a bellman with a cart full of your groceries, hanging up from a rack like you were maybe a visitor from the Beverly Hillbillies. Never been so mortified in my life.

March 19, 2012

#Scintilla, Day Four. My childhood bedroom.

I think you could probably learn a lot about me if you had a look at my childhood bedroom. I was always lucky enough to have my own space, from the little house we lived in on a street called Acoma to the bigger house on Aspen we moved to when I was a teenager, to, well, now. We won’t talk about my freshman year of college, when I had a roommate. A lovely girl, but I am just not built to share my space very well. My husband’s lucky he’s nice or else we might be those sort of people who have separate bedrooms.

I am and have always been a messy person. Okay, a slob. My mother likes to tell the story of when I was young, probably four or five, and she sent me in to excavate my bedroom. I don’t know how it happened — or how it happens now — but my room was always ankle deep in stuff. Books and toys and the important things that four or five year olds collect. I always needed a lot of supervision when I was meant to be cleaning my room because I would find an interesting book and just lose myself in it, not looking up until she came back to see how I was doing.

I think I should point out here that my mom always kept a very clean house. We cleaned the whole thing top to bottom every weekend. It’s not like I didn’t — and don’t — know how to tidy up. I just don’t see the mess.

So that day, like dozens of others, she came back in to check on me. I, of course, had done absolutely nothing. My little sister was just big enough to walk and talk. She toddled in to the room and grabbed my mother’s leg. Surveying the mess, she muttered “Well, I’ll be a son of a bitch,” she said, in that deadpan way some children have.

So that’s actually the story of how my dad got in trouble for cussing around us too much.

(So behind on Scintilla! I’m hoping to catch up over the next couple of days!)

March 14, 2012

Who Are You? #scintilla

Who am I? I’ve been thinking about that question since I got the Scintilla email this morning and I don’t know that I’m any closer to answering it than I was the minute I read it.

Start big. Cis-gendered woman. Wife, daughter, sister, friend.

No one’s mother.

But what do those broad categories tell you about me?

When I turned thirty, I spent some time thinking about when I turned twenty, and how I’ve been three people since then. It was easy, then, to know exactly who I was. I wore an armor of the music I listened to, books I read, movies I watched, as if any of those things matter when looking into the heart of someone.

Okay, think back in time. What’s the identity I’ve held the longest? I was always the Smart One. Never the Pretty One. Until I wasn’t the only Smart One. Who do we become when our primary identity isn’t ours any more?

Crazy ex-girlfriend, once. Or Party Liz, which is a nickname I had when I was 19 that I didn’t learn about until I was 31. Long enough later to actually become funny instead of kind of sad. Halfway decent employee, one eye on the clock the whole time. Celiac — but am I Celiac? Or do I have it? Am I ready to become an official Sick Person? Is that Who I Am?

Writer, of course. Always. The one identity that hasn’t left me ever.

When I think about all of these identities, the ones I’ve had and the ones that I’ve lost and the ones that I purposely abandoned, I picture a Venn diagram, fluttery, a riot of colors. I think of digging down to where all of these things overlap. Is that the heart of me? Is that who I am? I feel as if I know less now than ever.

Is what I choose to tell you as important as what I don’t?