Friday, May 30, 2008

When your man wanna get buck wild.

Last night I experienced some futuristic karaoke. Have you seen this, where there are a few touch screens instead of a pile of grimy binders? Or if you know what you want to sing already, you just write it down and voila, the dude has it? (Aside: I was going to send you to the dude's website, but it's one of the worst websites I've ever seen.) Well, it's magical. I did "Kiss on My List" by Hall and Oates (with a hat tip to Melinda for the suggestion) and "Hit Em Up Style" by Blu Cantrell and I had "Wuthering Heights" in the queue but it was after midnight and the place was packed with fratty-bo-blattys and we had to go. Also "Wuthering Heights" probably would have been a huge drag for most of the audience, even though I would have been in hysterics the whole time and both of my sisters promised to do interpretive dance.

Also, my brother in law sang "Take On Me," which was awesome. And my boyfriend did a sweet Mick Jagger impersonation, with stomping and everything. And I have jillions of bad phone videos of the event. We'll see whether any are fit for mass consumption. My guess is no.

In other news, I have just achieved positive net worth, which I'm pretty excited about.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Reading material.

If you don't already read Salon or Jezebel, and whether or not you have read the Emily Gould piece about oversharing online in the NYT Magazine, and also if you have been blasted with Sex and the City movie hype, and most especially also if you are concerned about women writers and double standards, allow me to recommend Rebecca Traister's piece about most of the things I just listed. It's a good, pithy article (and short, unlike Emily Gould's 10-pager). And the excerpt below sums up my basic feeling about SATC:
What provokes such fury, over Carrie Bradshaw, and -- for a flash -- over Gould (barring a book deal and TV show that will turn her meanderings into cultural furniture) is that in a media landscape in which there are a severely limited number of spaces for women's writing voices, the ones that get tapped become necessarily, and deeply inaccurately, emblematic -- of their gender, their generation, their profession. More annoying -- and twisted -- is that those meager spots for women are consistently filled by those willing to expose themselves, visually and emotionally. And not accidentally, by those willing to expose themselves in a way that is comfortable, and often alluring, to many of the men who control the media, and to many of the women who consume it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Some stupid problems, thanks to my conservation efforts.

We don't use garbage bags, the big black hefty kind, for our garbage. We keep a wee trashcan in the kitchen and line it with leftover plastic bags from various shopping escapades. The trash stays small and goes out regularly, before it can get too fragrant. I like this system. But I'm not really buying stuff anymore, or at least not the kind of stuff that comes in plastic bags. No trips to big grocery stores where they bag your food in little portions with a double-layer of plastic bags. No random trips to Marshall's for, I don't know, socks or a cheap shirt or household flair or whatever. At Goodwill I just fold my clothes and carry them out by hand.

And about paper bags. We folded them up and collected them under the sink for ages, to be reused at the co-op or to sort and contain the recycling or to corral donations to Value Village. Then I finally got in the habit of carrying at least one of my million tote bags at all times, for those impromptu food stops. The result: we keep running out of paper bags, and the stupid recycling guidelines specifically tell you to put your sorted recyclables in paper bags and set your bags in your blue bins.

I think there has to be a better way for recycling, but I am stumped about the trash. I'm not going to a store specifically to get bags. That would totally defeat the whole reduce-reuse part of the equation. I'm going to have to start pillaging the plastic bag recycling bins at the co-op or fishing the bags out of trees. You know how plastic bags are always caught in trees?

In the meantime, those fucking produce bags are multiplying like rabbits, even though I am constantly washing and reusing them. Washing plastic bags is at the top of my list of unfavorite kitchen activities, but what am I going to do, just chuck them? I don't think so. Too bad they're too weak for garbage. And ultimately I'm going to end up buying or making reusable produce bags anyway.

God, it's so harrrrd being a hippie.

I think we're going to try a little compost pile this summer. There's not a lot of food waste because I'm saving odds and ends of vegetables in the freezer for stock and chucking wilted leafage out for the animal friends and there's a garbage disposal to boot, but I'd be interested to see how much composting reduces our trash heap.

Ideas welcome.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

If any of youse out in readerland own pressure cookers, please weigh in on the model(s) you've personally used and the usefulness of the item. As a frequent bean-cook I think I'd probably use one, but maybe I should just sock the money away for the high-powered blender I want.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day.

Eddie H Schaefer, radioman 3-C.
That's Uncle Eddie up there on the right. He was a radioman 3-C. I've been looking for his obituary on the internet, and I can't find it--I can't even find a date of death, though I did find out that he was born August 17, 1922. But MAN it is crazy what you can find when you start down the genealogical garden path. A few clicks and suddenly there are the names of all your great aunts and uncles. I am totally going to be one of those nutters who spends retirement trying to find out where we all came from and making diagrams and organizing documents.

Happy Memorial Day.

[ETA: I am dumb. My mom just emailed me to say "Uncle Eddie is not dead." No wonder I couldn't find an obit. That photograph had his name, rank, and the name of a newspaper on the back, so I assumed it was submitted for an obit. Moral of the story: check with people who might actually know what happened. Uncle Eddie, this one is still for you, since I didn't even know you were out there.]

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Why I let my subscription lapse.

There's an old issue of ReadyMade in the bathroom and this little snippet of hipster prose on how to paint "space-defying white floors" has been peeking out at me all day whenever I pee:
1. Put on a jumpsuit. 2. Attach a paint roller to a broomstick. 3. Pour some white matte porch paint into a tray. 4. Paint floors from one end of the apartment to the other. Keep plenty of rags on hand to pick up any dust or dirt as you go. For best results, work while listening to Led Zeppelin III and making progress through a 12-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Emphasis mine, obviously. Do you think that guy who writes Stuff White People Like just pages through ReadyMade for inspiration?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Family jewels.

Just in case you haven't been following the dialogue on my photos (and why would you?), I give you the following comments on this picture of a motel in Jackson, MS in 1949.

Motel in Jackson, MS, 1949.

A particularly good exchange.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I can feel it coming in the air tonight.

Food choices have been my ad nauseam personal development topic of the year, I think, so I was pleased to read Dom's post today about the changes brewing in his diet--pleased because for once someone else is sounding off about it, and pleased because it's all positive stuff about laying off the sugar-crack and giving up the meats. I was gunta spare you another post about my new experiment, too, but he gave me a little charge, so I don't mind telling you that I've gone weekday vegan. The mac and cheese was a nice little sendoff, though I didn't plan it that way. I just got up Monday morning and thought "aight, I'm going to try something else now."

I don't have a lot to report about the experiment so far, except that it hasn't been difficult and I feel good.

It's weird: I feel like I've been working through some resistance about various things over the past few months, without really knowing that that's what I've been doing. Take, for example, the biking: in the past, I always threw out a lot of reasons why it wasn't a viable choice for me, and while a lot of those reasons still stand (like, riding to a rehearsal is a bad idea, especially if the weather is crappy, because your voice will be thrashed when you get there, from the panting if not from the cold air rushing past your vocal folds), most of the reasons have evaporated in the face of how slick a mode of transport biking is, and how good it feels to do it.

Again I should reiterate that this is THE PERFECT time of year to start biking for any reason, and I'm kind of hoping that by the time the weather goes to shit, biking will be habitual enough that I will change my other habits to suit it. I will for example allow more time to get places (so far so good), and wear the right kind of clothes for the job, and shower at work if I need to, or buzz my hair off, or whatever.

Anyway, there's also been some food resistance going on, which I haven't totally thought through--I've just sort of noticed it here and there. It's possible I'm coming out on the other side of it now. But I have this feeling I'm going to go off coffee eventually. I don't know when. It just seems likely, based on everything else that's been going on.

I don't know what will be next, but I welcome it because it all pretty much falls under the grand question of "how will you live so as not to make a mockery of your values?"

PS: If you google "placatan" I'm in the top ten results. What.
Damn! I punked out on yesterday's daily post. But I did post a recipe for this:
Carrot Apple Beet Slaw with Chickpeas.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Yes you do care what I had for lunch.

I want to give some love to Solomon Snacks and Bakery, even though they don't have a website, even though I haven't been to their storefront, because their whole wheat bread is OFF THE HEEZIE. I've been sitting here eating it lightly toasted with one of my all time favorite things, mashed avocado with salt and pepper. When you have a good avocado (check) and good bread (check check) this is one of the world's great snacks.

I am also jazzed about this salad I just made up, a carrot-apple-beet slaw with chickpeas, which recipe I will blog about later. It is delicious and it looks even better than it tastes, I think, thanks to the gorgeous beets.

And and and, I'm about to make a shake to take with me for this afternoon/evening's teaching stint, and that shake has me jumping too: soymilk, frozen bananas, cocoa powder, peanut butter. PLACATAN!

Best of all: the weather is perfect and I'm riding to my teaching locale along one of the best bike trails in the cities. Sweaty ass be damned!

There's one thing I'm not psyched about, though, and that's my first experiment with turmeric dye. I was trying to dye this dress and it turned out to have invisible pit stains that SUCKED UP all the orangey color, far more than the rest of the dress. I still want to salvage it, but I'm not sure how. It looks like crap. And it also turned out kind of sports-team gold. Alas. Not everything can be rosy.

Monday, May 19, 2008

I was just looking around the innertubes for ideas about what to do with all this anise seed I happen to have. Probably I should toss it, because it's old, but it still smells good and that has to count for something, right? Anyway, the point is that the latin name really tickled me: it's Pimpinella anisum. If I were a drag queen, I might choose that for my name.

Also, "Celtic Thunder" is even more of an abomination than "Celtic Woman." Just saying. Can you tell I usually blog in front of PBS? It's true.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Working it on out, part infinity.

I went for a run around the lake this evening right when the sun was going down and the full moon was waiting in the wings, a ghost of itself in the blue sky. Everything is blooming, finally, and the trees smell delicious. I did a pattern of running 6 minutes, walking one minute, repeat repeat repeat, which meant I only walked a total of four minutes in my three mile run, minus my warmup and cooldown. This is good for me. I mean have you SEEN my physique? I am what you might call "bottom-heavy." I'm a very earthbound runner, and not a really motivated one.

I'm doing a 5K, my first ever, in a few weeks. I keep mentally pooh-poohing it because it seems like most anyone can get up in the morning and crap bigger than a 5K, but it is actually sort of big for me because, while I like sporty stuff, I've had such don't-wanna attitude about physical training of any kind for most of my life. Seriously, when I played volleyball in high school, I'd be the one faking that my contact popped out during wind sprints and I'd go away to the locker room. Unfortunately coach would be waiting for me to finish the drill and she'd run it with me, just like a good coach, but mentally I'd be doing ugly crying and flinging myself face down on my bed the whole time.

So it's a change for me to adopt any kind of conscientious training regimen, however half-assed. I'm not talking about regular old exercise. I'm talking about like running even when you have a stitch in your side. Here's a true confession: until about two months ago, I had never ever continued running through a stitch. But one day I had one, and I was like "fuck it, I'm going to do this," and I kept going, and it sucked for like 8 minutes. But then it was gone and I could get back to the normal kind of running hate instead of the special side pain kind of hate that usually just makes me abandon the whole project.

You may remember awhile back I wrote something or other about wanting to try things I'm not good at, in order to get some humility and work at getting better. I may not have written the thing about humility, but I do think that's partly what it's about. I've realized in recent years that there's a life lesson I seem to have missed as a child, and that's the lesson about plain old persistence, about working really hard in order to accomplish worthwhile things. (It's not your fault, Mom. You probably told me and I just wasn't listening, or you were busy trying get Hobby to use the toilet.) I was good at a lot of schooly stuff and I liked accolades. Naturally I focused more on the activities that got me positive attention than the ones that required a lot of work and maybe involved delayed gratification. That's how I've rolled.

Anyway, ramped-up physical activity is fitting the bill right at the moment, for that particular life lesson. I mean, look: practically everyone is faster than me, lots of people are stronger, and most people are more motivated. But I am still going to do this little race, and then maybe I'll do another one, and then maybe I'll think about a sprint triathlon. And I'm riding my bike to work, and maybe I'll start riding other places too, even places wayyyy over in St Paul that would have seemed too far away last year for anything other than a recreational day trip.

I smell like a campfire right now. We just burned a big load of scrap wood in the fire pit, and it was excellent, all orange sparks leaping up into the midnight blue while the solar path lights struggled to stay lit in the blaze. There's a "men in hula" documentary on in the background, so every once in awhile I look up and see some dudes practicing their hip swivel. Go men.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Sing out loud, sing out strong.

Oh man. I just whipped up some Chipotle Mac and Cheese and I am having such a passionate affair with my dinner plate right now. It's a good thing I only make this stuff every two months.

The BFS's birthday was yesterday and some of us convened to celebrate, but we will also be convening on Tuesday night to do karaoke in honor of her birth. The rule for that night, apparently, is that you can only sing a song you've never karaoked before, and I'm baffled. At one point I was keeping a little word file of things I might/should sing at karaoke and very recently I deleted it because I thought "you are an idiot for having this." But now I wish I hadn't.

So what should I sing, internets? I'll tell you what's off-limits, based on my past karaoke stints:
Patsy Cline: "Crazy"
Justin T-lake: "Cry Me a River"
The Cardigans: "Lovefool"
Gloria Gaynor: "I Will Survive"
Queen: "Another One Bites the Dust"
Young MC: "Bust a Move"
B-52s: "Love Shack"
Wham: "Everything She Wants"
Cheap Trick: "I Want You to Want Me"
Deee-lite: "Groove is in the Heart"
Atlantic Starr: "Always" (obviously)
Hall & Oates: "Sara Smile," "I Can't Go for That" (oooh, I can sing a LOT more Hall & Oates)
Most of Madonna's catalogue
And others I'm forgetting.

I tell you, what I really want to sing is "Cool it Now" by New Edition, but I'm not sure I'm going to find that on any karaoke list. This particular DJ is really good, though, so maybe he'll have my back. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Sorry: this made me laugh out loud.

"If I punched every bitch who called me fat, it would be dead bitches all up and down the highway." — Star Jones.

Saaaad.

I just went to put soymilk in my coffee, and I opened the fridge and grabbed the nearest carton and dumped before I realized it was orange-peach-mango juice.

Verdict: assy, not recommended. I had to toss it and start over.

Good morning.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I rode again today and I am ready for a break because my ass hurts. But it was another awesome day for biking, and I rode part of the way home along the river, and it was beautiful. This is a lucky place to live for scenery, especially if you like bodies of water (apart from the ocean, obvs).

I think it's likely that if this biking thing continues for me, it's going to be another one of those decisions that reverberates through many areas of my life--much like the decision to quit eating meat lo these many years ago, which started off as distaste and turned into an ethic. I think, for example, that if I bike regularly, there will probably be yet another wardrobe/style shift, one that makes function far more central. I was heading that way anyway, after a year or so of many-layered style experiments and lots of dress-over-pants. Now I kind of just want a uniform. I have an idea in my head of what I want to wear, and the problem of course is that I'll never find the pieces, and in the meantime will probably draw pictures and have half-assed ideas about designing and making my uniform(s). The stuff would be Dunderdon-esque, but would include jumpsuits, just FYI.

Anyway, I went out tonight and got myself some sporty pants to ride in, so at least that's taken care of.

In more serious and exciting news, you've probably already heard about In re marriage cases, the California Supreme Court case that has made marriage equal for all Californians regardless of sexual orientation--as of today. Here's a good bit from the opinion:
[W]e conclude that … the constitutionally based right to marry properly must be understood to encompass the core set of basic substantive legal rights and attributes traditionally associated with marriage that are so integral to an individual’s liberty and personal autonomy that they may not be eliminated or abrogated by the Legislature or by the electorate through the statutory initiative process. These core substantive rights include, most fundamentally, the opportunity of an individual to establish – with the person with whom the individual has chosen to share his or her life – an officially recognized and protected family possessing mutual rights and responsibilities and entitled to the same respect and dignity accorded a union traditionally designated as marriage…
(Link takes you to the entire legal opinion, if you're into that sort of thing.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

First I'm going to give a little shout-out to the weather: Thank you, weather, for perfecting yourself today. The ride to work was decent, but the ride home was glorious. I rode an extra mile and a half winding between and around the lakes, just to soak it up. You should have seen the evening sun glittering through the weeping willow when I rode under the bridge next to the creek. Crazy goodness, I tell you. When I got home the Brit told me I looked euphoric. I think I picked up a tailwind on the way home, too. Or something. Whatever the case, all signs were pointing to Ride Your Bike, Fool.

So I'm going to do it again tomorrow, I think.

I really don't even have anything else to report. It's only 9:30 but I'm going to go get in bed and read Jeeves and Wooster, and then I'll probably wake up nice and early and have hours to dick around before I go to work, which means extra coffee, which means extra jitters!

My favorite scan of the day:
Kodachrome.
That's my grandparents and aunt in 1963.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Footwear. And other nonsense.

I tried on some of the Nike Free 5.0s the other day--they're the shoes that are supposed to mimic being barefoot--and I might be a convert. Unfortunately they were coral red maryjanes with flowers all over them and I just wasn't in the mood to drop 50 bucks on such a shoe, but dudes they feel REALLY GOOD. They weigh nothing and your foot just spreads out and grips the ground. That's what I'm talking about.

My crocheted spring earrings arrived today and they are beeeyoootiful. However, it is cold and assy outside. So much for spring earringwear. So much for spring.

Oh hey you know how I dropped my laptop last month? Perhaps you'd forgotten. Anyway, the impact compromised the screen's functionality and I always have my work laptop handy, so I just sort of stashed my own personal laptop and put off dealing with it. Over the weekend I finally opened up the computer--I mean really opened it up, and it was filthy. It was appalling. But the point of the story is that I found the point where the screen had disconnected and reconnected it. And then I felt like a magical supergenius. Moral of the story: look inside the computer. Not only is it interesting, but you can figure out many things yourself. Also you can remove the hair and crumbs that have gotten all up in there.

Another thing that happened over the weekend: my boyfriend climbed a tree in my grandma's garden.
Man and tree.
I tried to do it too, and promptly gacked my armflesh so bad I had to drop out. Sad.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Trivial.

Okay CHEATERS. See how you googled all your trivia answers and you STILL didn't win? We knew "funambulist." And we knew "Frostbite Falls." And the "Four Quartets." And we knew other things that did not begin with the letter F, like how basketball is the most popular sport in Lithuania (that knowledge was mine, thanks to an ex-boyf). All this is to say that WE WON and BOOTIE QUEEN IS BACK.

Also I posted recipes and financial whatnots today.

Also Summit Maibock is quite strong. The Brit says it makes people hallucinate and I believe him.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

To all the fly mamis.

We spent the day at my grandparents' house today, raking up the yard and cleaning things and eating and celebrating all the mamas. Right now I am way down a rabbit hole because of the photo albums I grabbed with Grandma's (somewhat bewildered) blessing, so that I could scan them. I could stay up all night scanning, too, believe me. But I won't. I'll just tell you that there's a lot of this:
40s trousers.
(That's Grandma on the left; one of her sisters is on the right.)

Grandma and Kathryn roosting on a chicken coop.
Grandma and her sister on a chicken coop.

And my favorite:
My grandma.

Let us not forget my very own mama:
Me and mom in 1975.
The back of the picture says "sad movies always make us cry."

Happy mother's day, y'all.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Plugging.

I just did a teeny update to my etsy shop. I have more maxi dresses to post, but I can't handle editing any more photos.

Also, I bought these amazing earrings with my paypal mad money:

They're by etsy seller TaniaNovaCrochet.

I am hoping their arrival heralds the no-looking-back portion of spring. I've about had it with the weather backsliding.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Backlash spectacular.

Just a little linkage for you, though I've got more to say about this (naturally) than "just read it." It's Katha Pollitt's most recent column for The Nation, and it provides a nice little roundup of a bunch of recent news items that show us how very far we need to go before women and men get equal treatment in this country.

I also got an email from MoveOn today about the Fair Pay Act, which got shot down by McCain and co recently because it would lead to "too many lawsuits." I know, the horror. The email looks like this:
Hey,

Yo momma's so underpaid she only makes $0.73 for every dollar a man makes doing the same job.

Yo momma's so underpaid they wrote a whole law called the Fair Pay Act to level the playing field, and Senator McCain and the Republicans opposed it.

Yo momma's so underpaid—and McCain said that the real problem is that women need more "education and training."

What?!?

It's my favorite MoveOn email ever, maybe.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

How we roll.

Some sample bowling names from the weekend:
Bowling names. We like to keep it real.

I want to ride it where I like.

This morning I enacted yet another resolution for my well-being: I biked to work. I launched my freshly-showered and street-clothed arse out on a mission to bike commute once a week. It's sort of a wussy resolution, but one day of biking will save me almost a gallon of gas each week while injecting stealth exercise into my schedule. (It's stealthy only in the sense that it's a matter of transportation rather than being specifically a workout. I will be entirely aware of the fact that I am getting exercise. In fact, I will probably be engaging in the same type of exasperated hate [exasperhate] that is usually reserved for running.)

The plan seems very doable right now, but then I picked the perfect day to launch: 55 degrees and sunny, no big wind. Wait to hear how loudly I moan when it's 85 and about to thunderstorm. The genius of my plan, though, is that I can choose the day I bike commute based on the weather report (and whether or not I need to see people when I get to work).

Today I learned some things:
-My bike is slow, but then I myself am not fast.
-My helmet hair is not so tragic as I forecasted.
-I took a slightly stupid route that I won't repeat on the way home.
-I should probably get some wicking underwear.
-Being sweaty for the first half hour of work is no big deal.
-I will probably end up buying a different bike if I keep doing this. Or at least skinnier tires.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Bowl-a-thon Update.

I owe you a little update on the Pro-Choice Resources Bowl-a-thon, which was almost two weeks ago. I know you've been waiting with bated breath to hear about how I bowled, and the answer is: decently. I broke 100. More importantly, I raised $1415 for PCR's programs, passing up my goal by $415. (Plus I won 6 free months at the YWCA, which is pretty rad.)

I know I'm pretty much preaching to the choir here on the subject of reproductive justice, but I believe that it is fundamental to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It's not enough to say "people need to quit having babies they can't afford" or that parents need to teach their kids about sex and birth control and STD prevention. Both things might be true, but it's also true that people need the right tools in order to be able to choose whether and when to have sex and/or to have children--especially when the "abortion expert" and "teen health expert" on allexperts.com actually works for a crisis pregnancy center, especially when abstinence-only educators propagate misinformation about birth control, especially when the "American Life League" has launched a campaign against the birth control pill because it "kills babies," etcetera etcetera ad vomitum and despair.

I think it's morally wrong to keep people in the dark about their bodies, choices, and the way things actually work. So this is me doing my little part to get the word out to folks, especially women and girls, who might not get the word otherwise.

Thank you so much to everyone who donated.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Where every seat is a nosebleed seat.

I got a nosebleed today, which probably hasn't happened in 20 years. I was playing the piano when it started, too, which made it extra-dramatic, though there was no blood on the keys or anything.

Hours later, I'm still sitting here with tissue stuffed up my nose because, as you may remember, I have a cold and I am still snotty and it is almost impossible not to blow my nose. And if I blow my nose the nosebleed will start over and I will have to go to the school nurse just like skinny little bleeders in elementary school.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Irrigate your schnozz.

I don't remember where I first heard about neti pots, but I started using one about 10 years ago for both prevention and treatment of upper respiratory crud. I may have heard about them from another singer. Singers loooooove neti pots, since we like our respiratory tracts clear and primed for optimal performance.

Mine looks like this:

It is the entry-level model you're likely to find at your local food co-op, hippie store, or Whole Foods. You can also order them from any number of internet stores.

The basic function of a neti pot is to irrigate your nasal passages with delicious salt water in order to keep things moving along, thereby preventing irritation and infection from taking hold. It's especially useful if you have allergies, sinus problems, the delightfully-named post-nasal drip, or are waging war against invading virus or infection. So basically, that means all of yous.

This is the instructional video for the neti pot, a work of film that is notable for its dead-eyed neti practitioner. It's particularly spooky with the sound off, which is the only way I've watched it. Not surprisingly, there are LOADS of neti pot videos on youtube, so if you are not sure you're doing it right OR you simply would enjoy watching a bearded comic book artist flush his nose with various liquids including coffee and bourbon, please be my guest. (It's the "Jackass" of neti pot videos.)

To harness the power of the neti pot, fill it with warm water and mix a fat 1/4 tsp of non-iodized salt (I use pickling/canning salt) into it. When it's all dissolved, I taste it to make sure the water is salty enough. Too little salt and the shit will BURN. Too much and ditto. Anyway, tilt your head to the left, plug the pot into your right nostril, and let gravity do the work. When the water has run its course, blow gently to clear things up, and repeat on the left side with a new tank of salt water.

Also, be sure you are standing over a sink.

Under normal circumstances, you will blow out mostly clear and innocuous stuff and you will feel light and cleansed. If you're on the downside of a cold, like I am, you will blow out all the sticky noxious stuff that is hanging around up in your grill, clinging to your sinuses, and refusing to be blown out into a kleenex. It is a totally gratifying process, one I could probably be doing 3 times a day with copious results each time.

There are simple yoga stretches you can (and should) use to make sure all the water is out. You don't want water sitting around in your nose.

There were years when I did this every single day. More recently I've felt like I cannot possibly add another thing to my pre-bedtime routine; it's hard enough to take an extra minute for flossing. However, you can bet that if I had any chronic schnozz problem I would be doing this on the regular. In conclusion: neti pots are rad. Clear nasal passages: radder still. Taking control of your respiratory health: raddest of all.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Okay so what does it mean if the blacklights come on at the bowling alley and suddenly you can see a yellow blotch on your hand, but when you're in regular light your hand just looks like a hand? I'm thinking alien abduction/chip implantation but I welcome your theories.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Photoblogging totally counts.

I subscribed to Jezebel's feed yesterday, which happened to be the day they posted a love note to From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, one of my all-time favorite books. The love note is here and it is worth reading even if Claudia Kincaid was not one of the heroes of your childhood. Well, maybe not. Let's just say that if you loved the book, please go to the review and think "ah yes, you are my people." Plus there's a picture of the cover that I remember, the cover on the copies that I still have (I think I have two).

Also, we went to the zoo today, since I had to sing in the sunken garden this morning (don't ask).
Yee-haw!

The koi were going crazy, so I mostly took pictures of them.
Koi swarm!

And a few flowers.
Orchid.

Just FYI, there has been a reader request for a neti pot review. That is forthcoming. But I just reminded myself that it's time to dose again before I head south 75 miles to hear my friends sing in a concert. Road trip! Road trip!

Friday, May 02, 2008

The value of ideas.

If perfectionism and obsessing over finding the right idea or the right approach keeps you paralyzed indefinitely, but you have a mediocre idea you could implement right now and start enjoying the results, that’s basically a no-brainer, isn’t it?

More linky for you, plus the best cold EVAR.

Again through the magic of flickr clickage, I have found some more reading material, this time from a nutritionist--a strict vegetarian who breaks it all down for you with cold hard facts. Go check out BeanDiet, where you will be enjoined to up your fiber intake in order to save your life. I love this kind of stuff. This post about great-grandparent nutrition is a good starting point for omnivores--it tackles the question of how our great-grandparents could've been so much healthier than us even though they ate meat, eggs, and dairy.

(Insert segue here.)

So you know how I was laid up with a cold earlier this week? It has turned out to be the most classic, predictable cold I have had in years and I am weirdly proud of it. I've known exactly what to expect each day. I also think this is the first time in years that I haven't been stressed out about being sick and I am proud of this as well, though really that's just an accident of timing. It's amazing how just saying "oh laaaaa, I guess I have to call in to work and cancel some lessons this week" has allowed my bod to protect and regulate itself.

In years past, when I was singing constantly and always having to be performance-ready, I dreaded getting sick and stuffed my face full of supplements at the slightest hint of a cold. (You get kind of high-maintenance as a singer, since sick=can't sing=canceling gigs=no payment.) I used to swear by Zicam, until I read about people permanently losing their sense of smell as a result of shooting zinc up their nosies. And you know what? I don't think any of that stuff helped me get over a cold more quickly, though maybe it reassured me that I was being proactive. This time around, being relaxed and pragmatic, sleeping a lot, eating whole foods, and using my beloved neti pot are all doing the trick and I should be back in fighting shape in no time.

I'm sure there's some lesson here about not getting fussed that I can apply to the rest of my life.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

I've got shoes, you've got shoes.

I keep forgetting to tell y'all about this article in New York Magazine that describes how shoes are ruining our feet, knees, ankles, back, and everything else. I'm talking ALL shoes, too, not just the usual suspects like high heels and pointy boots. It's a long article, but worth reading--even the comments are interesting, since lots of "barefooters" weigh in with their experiences. People who've been barefoot for like twenty years. Did you know it's not actually illegal to go into an establishment without shoes on? Nor is it illegal (or unsafe) to drive without them.

I tell you what, internets, if my reading keeps taking me in these directions I'm going to end up living barefoot on a farm off the grid and eating only raw foods. I'm only partly kidding.

I'm blogging every day this month, by the way. Happy May Day, bitches.