August 21, 2016

Falling Far from the Tree, or What to Do When You Fucking Hate Your Ancestors

Don't get me wrong. My family of origin is not all bad. My parents are pretty cool, if not sometimes a little old school in their thinking. My extended family isn't bad either, if you can excuse the fact that they know nothing about me and don't seem to want to, and we don't have two common values between us to rub together.

(Somewhat) recently, I saw some stupid inspirational picture on Facebook or Pinterest or some bullshit, and it basically said "REJOICE for you are the product of a 1000 loves!" And I guess that's true. Well, I don't guess. It IS true. But what do you do when your family is basically pro-life, in that they only care about you until you're OUT of the womb? (Yes, that was a cheap shot, and yes, I'm taking it).

Lately, I've been working on connecting with my more distant ancestors by learning Icelandic. I don't have Icelandic ancestors per se, but my understanding is that Icelandic has remained more unchanged over time than Norwegian or Swedish (where I do have ancestors). So I've been giving that a shot.

The other thing that's probably the most useful is making your own tribe, and putting in the effort. I suck at this. I'm an introvert with a social anxiety problem. You can take a guess as to how much energy I have for friends, and you probably wouldn't be far off. But at 3 AM when you're questioning your whole existence and how you came to be the proverbial lotus flower out of the cow shit covered cess pool that is your family tree, having those people in your back pocket that appreciate you for you is a terribly useful asset. And it's actually a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy technique. I am literally making a list of reasons why I am lovable, instead of focusing on the reasons why I am not (because my family doesn't get me and they're all stupid heads, etc.)

I also try to focus on positive ancestor imagery, or PAI (trademark pending). I think about things I enjoyed about my childhood or look at pictures that I love instead of focusing on why I didn't get an invite to so and so's birthday party. My parents think it's kind of weird some of the things I've hoarded over time, but they're special to me. I have my grandfather's busted ass mantle clock that he got for his retirement, as well as this hideous 80's style framed picture of the factory he worked in. They're stupid, broken, old, and yellowed, and not even my style in the first place. But when I look at them, I think of how many times he changed the batteries in the stupid clock, and how many times that picture got dusted (read: every day). I also try to give my grandfather's fishing boat a good cleaning once a year whether I use it or not, and keep the little outboard in good shape as well.

Y'know, I think I've reached that point in my life where I need to take the advice I always give others, which I stole from someone else entirely (thank you Dr. Angelou). When people show you who they are, believe them. And then meet awesomer people and hang out with them instead. (I added that part in myself.)

May 26, 2016

Crackin' Open the Blog...

Because this can't go unsaid.

You've been a huge part of my life. I remember skipping physics class (and numerous others) in order to be the first of my friends to buy Hip CDs.  I forget the physics, but I remember the power your words had over my teenage angst and melancholy, and the memories it still brings. My first dance with a boy was to Wheat Kings. My first credit card purchase was tickets to see you at the ACC two days before Christmas. Kingston means two things: limestone, and The Hip.

Fuck cancer in the fucking ass.



October 1, 2015

About the Messing-Up of Kitchens and the Making of Black Walnut Dye

Recently I went on a quest to discover the species of my newest friends, Walnut Tree #1, and Walnut Tree #2. (They haven't told me their names yet, so I've assigned my own).

I thought I'd post about my walnut husking adventures herein.


ACK WAIT! Before you start, don't use ANYTHING to do this that you want to keep for your best guests. This stuff stains EVERYTHING. It even makes stainless steel hard to clean. You've been warned.

Step One: 

Aquire a walnut tree, or borrow one from a friend.

Step Two: 

Wait until Fall.

Step Three: 

Go around your yard every day or two and collect the lemony little citrus tennis balls that will contain your walnuts. Do this, like I said, every day or two, or you will be overcome in a walnut-ocalypse after any windstorms (speaking from experience). They also dry out irrevocably after a few days, so best to avoid this.

Step Four: 

SMASH 'EM!!! I've tried this several ways. Two methods stand out. There is the rock-stump method, in which you smash said tennis ball walnuts with a rock on the nearest stump, or the squish-it-with-your-foot method in which you stomp on them on a hard surface until they make a satisfying *pop*, but before you crush the goodness within. (Less stomping, more increasing pressure like a gas pedal). I have been doing too many walnuts, and got into a kind of repetitive strain tendonitis thing ("You've made your arm so sore doing what?" - my doctor), so I suggest you try the stomping method. Provided you have shoes you don't care about in the least, because they will be stained after this, and covered in walnut goo. Pick up your husks and put them in a jar or ziploc in the fridge. (If you're planning on getting a mess of them, that is. If not, continue on with what you have).

Step Five:

Grab two bowls, a barbecue scraper, rubber gloves and a garden hose. Change into your grubs. Maybe even don safety glasses or a face shield if you have one. This part is messy, and I have many freckles on my face and arms that weren't there before from walnut juice. This stuff will make your hands black as night. If that's what you're going for, then have at 'er. I prefer a cleaner approach. (You'll get dirty enough anyways). Have your tools assembled thusly: bowl full of walnuts, hose, scraper, clean bowl.

What I do, is stand on my deck at the railing, and line everything up production-line style. Take a walnut, hose it, and then use the barbecue scraper to get off any extra fibrous stuff. Once you're done scraping, hose it off again, and place it in the clean bowl. Then hose off your gloves, and everything else, because the goo builds up quickly.

Step Six:

Take your walnut husks, place them in a pot, cover them with water, and boil the crap out of them for 1 hour or more. Try to boil off as much water as possible... it should be a runny tomato sauce consistency, with bits in it of course. Use a potato masher to squeeze all the juice you can out of the bits.

Protip: Don't use your husband's expensive stainless steel cookware. He will not be pleased. Buy yourself an old army cook pot at a thrift store.

Step Seven:

Bottle it up! I used a strainer to get out the big bits first, then used a funnel to put the dye into mason jars. You can store it in the fridge. I'm not sure if it'll go funky after awhile (you might discover walnut hooch inadvertently if you don't keep it cold... could be good). 

When you're done, you'll have a big pile of crap that looks like coffee grinds. You can put this in cheesecloth and weight it if you want maximum walnut juice extraction, but I didn't get much more for all the effort I put in (and the extra mess).

Walnut.... bits.

So yeah! This is a fun and messy way to pass an afternoon. You can put the walnuts somewhere where they can dry out (on a cooling rack or something of your own devising). I hit up the dollar store for some cheap ones and got 10 for $5. The walnuts will be ready to crack and eat in 6 weeks or so! I haven't tried any yet... here's hoping they're tasty. Otherwise, I am going to be very popular with the squirrels around here.

Happy walnutting! :)

August 27, 2015

Name That Tree!!!

Anyone have any idea what it is? :D

Thanks for looking!!!

Leaf arrangement and fruit


Inside of nut husk I found on the ground

June 11, 2014


123 has been popping up everywhere for me lately. So, in an effort to figure out what the number 123 is supposed to mean for me, I give you Shakespeare. Timely, actually. (Pun TOTALLY intended). 

Sonnet 123

No! Time, thou shalt not boast that I do change:
Thy pyramids built up with newer might
To me are nothing novel, nothing strange;
They are but dressings of a former sight.
Our dates are brief, and therefore we admire
What thou dost foist upon us that is old;
And rather make them born to our desire, 
Than think that we before have heard them told.
Thy registers and thee I both defy,
Not wondering at the present nor the past,
For thy records and what we see doth lie,
Made more or less by thy continual haste.
This I do vow and this shall ever be;
I will be true, despite thy scythe and thee.


February 25, 2014

The "I Quit" Manifesto

  1. I quit being somebody's lab-rat, and being at the whims of the team of medical "professionals" I have been given to. I will do something, or not do something, as I see fit, even if it makes absolutely no sense to anyone with an MD behind their name. My body, my mind, my choice.
  2. I quit on my dreams. Holding out hope for "a better day" is only stressing me out. I've been off work for four years as of my upcoming birthday, and the more I think about that, the more I want to fucking end it already. 
  3. I quit focusing on the future. I'm going to find peace in the moment instead. Maybe there isn't peace to be had, but that's nothing clonazepam won't fix.
  4. I quit giving a shit what other people think of my illness. It is what it is, people. If you know me, you know I am a crazy type A perfectionist. If you think I chose to be mentally ill because I'm "lazy" or can't pull myself out of it because I'm not trying hard enough, it says everything about you, and very little about me. 
  5. I quit caring what my "best" is. My best might be perfecting my ass-dent in the couch for the next 40 years. 
  6. I quit feeling guilty for ANY REASON. Including, but not limited, to the following: not returning a phone call, not calling someone on their birthday because I feel too shitty, not attending someone's baptism because I can't be in crowds, etc. I'm hard enough on myself without help from stupid social expectations.
  7. I quit attaching my self worth to what I "used to be" and what I used to be able to accomplish. That was then (and a very dishonest then I might add), and this is now. Now is nothing like then.
  8. I quit worrying about what some third-party thinks or decides about my illness. It does NOT equal truth. Third-parties cannot see me in my day-to-day things, and therefore, can't comment accurately.
  9. I quit doing anything that does not feed my soul. Including, but not limited to: attending Christmas ANYTHING, family functions, visiting toxic family members, keeping toxic friends around, etc.
  10. I quit being around anyone that makes me feel lesser for any reason. I don't expect anyone to understand what's going on with me, but I do expect people to be understanding. 

February 16, 2014

Don't Be Alarmed...

I'm merely using my current situation as inspiration for material. 

I'm pretty fucking sad. LOL. Whatever. At least I get a poem out of it I guess. 

Can anyone hear this?
I'm alone in the abyss
Comforted only by my own echo.

Hollow and sunken,
My head has been blown in,
Not sure how much lower I can go. 

Becoming a quitter,
Who will be my pinch hitter?
I'm not sure I care anymore. 

You've got to be loud,
When you're alone in the crowd,
Painfully slowly, falling to the floor. 

Time has been frozen,
Where has my mind been?
Lines under my eyes belie my age. 

Too delicate for this world...
My life not yet unfurled,
Will I ever have the wellness to turn the page?