No effort at all

In my default setting I am wearing pants, comfortable shoes, no makeup, my hair up in a ponytail, dressed to go to work for a long day. If needed, I can dress for war or I can dress for play, with the bold face and the accessories and toys. But I always revert back to the original setting.

In my default setting I am nice, sometimes funny, often grumpy, prone to moments of petty observations but not behavior, quiet around strangers and too honest around friends. I can make my “too loud” voice smooth out and speak about the weather and the food for hours if needed, without having said one real word, but that always takes more energy than I like to waste.

In my moments of comfort and joy, my voice and words will make you wince, wonder that I communicate for a living, look around to see who I’m offending, reminding yourself that the curses are terms of endearment. I can go quiet, with sweetness dripping from my sentences and movements, controlled propriety as I sit there being reasonable in response to your very bad behavior, and you may not understand you need to fear me in that moment.

What’s your natural state?

How to Prepare Cake Pans (video)

American’s Test Kitchen has an interesting video that shows us how to prepare a cake pan to ensure that the cake doesn’t stick to it. Honestly, it seems like a lot of work. If I ever get back to baking cakes again (which seems unlikely right now) I will keep this in mind… though I don’t think I’ve ever bought any parchment paper.

About the video:

Don’t find yourself in a sticky situation: http://www.onlinecookingschool.com/sc…

What is the America’s Test Kitchen Online Cooking School? We’ve taken our 20+ years of experience in the Test Kitchen, our favorite recipes from Cook’s Illustrated magazine, and your favorite chefs from our two public television shows and wrapped it all up to create a cooking school unlike any other. The America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School provides personalized culinary instruction from the comfort of your own kitchen.

Learn more at:
http://www.onlinecookingschool.com

Turbulence

After a few hours in your presence I am struggling for air
blinking furiously
trying to keep the moisture in my eyes
from becoming drops that will break me

It’s my fault, really
I became distracted
I forgot who I was with
I let too much of my real self shine through
I let me be me in enemy space

Your reaction was predictable
a blast of destructive cold
leaving an unforgettable aftermath
wondering if today’s scars will heal
when others haven’t

That I love you truly is not in doubt
I would give you my life
I would take someone else’s in your defense
I would not choose you, did not choose you
I do not like you
You do not care

Dangerous spider bites (infographic)

I am afraid of spiders. It’s a phobia. It’s a family joke. It’s something that defies logic and wisdom.

With that knowledge I share this infographic, letting me know which spiders are actually dangerous and which aren’t. (Even though, in my mind, they all are.)

Dangerous U.S. Spider Bites Guide

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

 

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Having trouble viewing this infographic? Click here to visit the original.

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The war of the dirty dishes

2014.03 tableware“I haven’t been able to eat at home for days,” my friend tells me over dinner.

“Too busy?” I inquire politely. It’s a common theme in our conversations, discussing how busy we’ve been.

She smiles ruefully even as she’s shaking her head, “No, it’s not that. I just can’t dirty any dishes right now.”

Feeling a little bit like she somehow spoke in code, I mentally go through what she just said. I understand the words, but somehow the meaning was just out of reach.

“Why can’t you dirty dishes?” I finally ask. Based on her answering grin, that’s exactly what she wanted.

This is her story, told through me:

My roommate and I have a dirty dish war going on.

It started when she began to leave the clean dishes piled in the sink. Not a big deal. A pile of clean dishes doesn’t bother me. And when I cooked or had dishes of my own I just cleaned them then put then on top of her pile to dry.

Then she started to leave a pile of clean dishes and a small pile of dirty dishes. So, when I cooked or dirtied my own dishes I had to put away the clean dishes, clean her dirty dishes, then clean my own dishes. This happened enough times that I finally decided that if I was putting away her clean dishes and cleaning her dirty dishes, that it was only fair that she wash mine. So I started to leave my dirty dishes piled up for her to wash. And she did wash them, for a while. Then she stopped.

I clearly remember the first time I saw the dirty dishes piled onto the counter next to the sink. So there was a pile of clean dishes on one side of the sink, a pile of dirty dishes on the other side, and a pile of dishes on the counter. My first reaction was disbelief. Surely she wasn’t so busy that she hadn’t been able to do the dishes at all! So I washed everything, put everything away, and forgot about it. Until the next time.

Suddenly it seemed like she never got around to washing her dishes. I would see the piles of dirty, and clean, dishes take up the sink and the counter next to it, and I would wait for her to clean them. And she never did. Eventually I had to clean them myself because I had to cook. So she was basically waiting me out.

One day, about two weeks ago, I got home, cleaned all the dishes, and put everything away. And I stopped dirtying dishes and I stopped cooking. If I make a cup of coffee, I clean and dry that cup immediately. I bought a bunch of frozen dinners and plasticware for lunches. I pick up to go food or drive thru meals for dinner, when I don’t actually eat out.

It’s costing me a fortune.

Her dishes stayed there for five days before she realized that this time she was just out of luck. And then her next batch stayed there for four days… which she eventually cleaned. Right now there’s a big pile of dishes again.

I think I can’t actually eat at home until I see that there aren’t any dishes piled up in the kitchen for more than one day straight. Which hasn’t happened in months.

I think I need a new place to live.

I think she just needs a good voodoo doll.

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In pain

OpenClips / Pixabay

The past few days have been marked by overwhelming and consistent pain in my lower back. It hasn’t been this bad in years. I’ve been trying to minimize it with a combination of over-the-counter muscle relaxers and pain killers, but that’s not working. Will need to go to the doctor’s office for real medicine, and a diagnosis on what caused the pain. I didn’t do anything, just woke up one day unable to straighten up. And the pain seems to be getting worse every day. Lovely.

Image source: OpenClips / Pixabay

Retail therapy that’s a family event

lizfranceli / Pixabay

Today, almost every female in my immediate family will be descending upon a shopping mall. More specifically, we are all going to one particular dress shop in a mall on the other side of town for a special shopping trip — my niece is picking out her prom dress(es).

I remember doing this with both  my sisters — going to the shops and trying on one dress after another. Driving the sales clerks to moments of panic and frustration over the thought that we’d never find that perfect dress. Eventually, the one dress that was “the one” would emerge from all the others. And it would be exceptional.

I think all the tías and abuelitas are going today/ My niece knew that, despite her recent tendency to keep her aunts and grandmothers out of the loop, today we all had to be included. There were two main reasons for that:

  1. we would have never forgiven her for “forgetting” to invite us to today’s outing
  2. with all of us here, she can fall in love with a dress in a higher cost bracket, secure in the knowledge that someone will say “don’t worry about, I’ll pay for the rest”

Regardless of the reasons why, today’s little shopping trip is one of those things I will remember when she grows up and becomes and adult. We’ll wax poetic over the “remember when” moments of today, adding them to when we helped shop for my sister-in-law’s wedding dress, my niece’s quinceañera dress, my outfit for my first TV appearance.

Pray for the poor sales clerks. There are a lot of us, all trying to help one teenager pick a dress.

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Recipes & Food Posts, March 7

2013.11 Recipes-smBacon

Want the best results from your bacon? Apparently you can reduce shrinkage by 50% simply by rinsing bacon in cold water before you cook it. Lifehacker also recommends cooking your bacon in the oven (which I recently started to do myself); best results are “baking” at 365 degrees for 10 minutes.

Bread Pudding

Food52 has a great post walking you through How to Make Bread Pudding Without a Recipe. To me, bread pudding is a Lent dish, so this is the perfect time of the year to attempt this non-recipe.

Chocolate Chip Cookies (Flourless)

I think I am going to have to make these. I like the idea of flourless cookies, and the recipe looks semi-easy.

Chocolate Souffle

If you’ve ever been tempted to make a chocolate souffle, then this post from Food52 is something you need to check out: How to Make Chocolate Soufflé + 3 Tips for Soufflé Success.

Chunky Queso Dip

April Monterrosa has a great queso recipe that includes sausage and ground beef. You make it in a slow cooker. Of course, it has Velveeta and Rotel. One to bookmark and make at a later date.

Curry Shrimp

If you’ve wanted to try to make curry at home or just want to find an easier recipe, then this Easy Coconut Shrimp Curry Recipe from Simply Recipes is one you need to check out. It’s basically the recipe I’ve already been following, but I make it with chicken. I keep coconut milk and curry powder in my pantry, as well as a bag of frozen shrimp in my freezer. I can make a curry dish on the fly whenever the mood hits. I am very fond of yellow curry. Try the recipe and let me know how it went.

Eggs

Did you know that you can freeze eggs? Momables gives some suggestions on how to do just that. Good info to have.

Microwave + Lemon = Clean

Did you know you can clean your microwave simply by microwaving a cut lemon in water, then using the steam to wipe it down? There are a few steps to follow, but The Kitchn makes it sound easy.

Popcorn

Mami Talks has a great recipe on how to make chocolate raspberry popcorn. I probably won’t included popcorn — I prefer nuts — but I am absolutely making this recipe.

Tomatoes

It turns out that you need to store tomatoes at room temperature. Storing them in the refrigerator, apparently, ruins them. Check out the Lifehacker article for more info.

A nervous tic

2014.02 eyeI can see my heartbeat… in my right eyelid. More accurately, my eyelid is fluttering to the tune of my heartbeat, showing me my pulse. If I place my finger lightly over it, I can feel it and count it out.

It’s annoying as hell.

This started a few months ago. At first it was once in a few days. Now it’s a few times a day.

I have a nervous tic. WTF???!!!

I read up and “pulsation of the lid it is usually due to stress, fatigue and caffeine intake.” Lovely. I’m not going to reduce my caffeine intake (it’s in the best interest of the safety of the world that that not happen), and my stress isn’t going away. Fatigue… maybe I can do something about fatigue. More sleep would probably be a good thing.

And my eyelid continues doing this fluttery thing… pulse, pulse, pulse, pulse. It doesn’t hurt, but it distracts me. That’s all I needed, one more thing to distract me, one more irritant.

Pulse, pulse, pulse, pulse. In the middle of meetings, as I try to edit videos, while I was recording a TV interview, while trying to focus and take photos… pulse, pulse, pulse, pulse.

Have I mentioned that God hates me?

A good daughter… and a bad daughter

2014.02 heartI got tired of being subtle… I volunteered to take my mother to see her mother. I can’t say the words, “You need to see your mother in case the worst happens.” I can’t tell her that she needs to see her mother before she dies, in case she dies. The words just will not erupt from my mouth. There’s a kind of block between what I want to say and the words themselves.

A visit to my mother’s hometown is not on my list of things I want to do. I am well acquainted with my inner selfish tendencies; I have long since accepted my inner voice. In this case it’s telling me that the timing is all wrong… I won’t enjoy the visit at all… I don’t have close emotional ties to that part of my family… I can’t afford the trip… I will be the only person there to provide emotional support (which isn’t my best thing)… I know, in advance I know, that I’m going to regret the trip.

The list of things running through my mind is endless. I hear each and every reason why I don’t want to go, very clearly. I just don’t say them out loud.

It was my idea. I’ve known for weeks that this trip has to happen. I’ve known that my mother won’t go on her own, that I can’t send her by herself. I know that I have to make sure that she goes. I volunteered. It was my idea.

I’m not a bad person for acknowledging that I don’t want to make the trip. But I never considered not making it. I never thought even for a moment that I wouldn’t go. I always knew that I was going to make this trip.

There is a part of me that knows that I want to make the trip for me too… in case the worst happens.

King Cake Recipe for Mardi Gras (video)

I am never ever ever going to make King Cake from scratch. But for those of you who want to give it a try, here’s a recipe from Martha Stewart. (I do love eating Rosca de Reyes, so I will absolutely go out and buy one.)

SOURCE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fCPbk1ei-k

7 Unexpected Ingredients You Might Be Eating For Lunch Today (infographic)

(From visual.ly.) Having trouble viewing this image? Check out the original!

7 Unexpected Ingredients You Might Be Eating For Lunch Today

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

 

Garage wars

2014.02 mirrorDear roommate,

in what world does it make sense that all of us have our cars parked outside overnight in 35-degree weather just because you had to park in the driveway in such a way that not only could no one park in the garage (which was empty overnight) but no one else could park in the drive way either?

And, of course, the spots to the left and the right of the house on this side of the street were taken with your “spare” truck and our other roommate’s car. I can’t park in front of a neighbor’s house because you have yelled at some, and threatened to poison the pets of others.

That is why I parked half on the driveway and half on the grass, ruining your lawn. Maybe next time you won’t be so selfish.

That is all.

Yours truly, Paloma.

Dispose of Used Frying Oil (video)

Video tips from America’s Test Kitchen:

All you need are four plastic bags and an extra pair of hands.


Having trouble viewing this video? Check it out on Youtube!

About America’s Test Kitchen:

America’s Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full-time cooks and product testers. Our mission is simple: to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most-foolproof recipe.

Each week, the cast of America’s Test Kitchen brings the recipes, testings, and tastings from Cook’s Illustrated magazine to life on our public television series. With more than 2 million viewers per episode, we are the most-watched cooking show on public television.
http://www.americastestkitchen.com

I don’t have the right clothes for that!

2014.02 suitIs it reasonable to pass up a job opportunity because you don’t want to “dress up” on a regular basis?

I once had a job where I had to wear business gear every day. That means wearing women’s business suits, complete with the low heels and the buttoned up jackets. The job itself was not that bad, I never did enjoy the “costume” required for it.

In fact, I had several jobs like that — a few in corporate America, one in politics. I don’t want another one.

One of the things I like about the job I have now is the fact that I get to be comfortable, or as comfortable as someone in my job can be. But that’s honestly one of the very few things I like about it these days.

So, as I go to a job I like less every day, is it a reasonable response to automatically discard the mere idea of a job that might be better long-term just because I don’t want the inconvenience of dressing up?

I didn’t think so. I’m just not normal and that’s not news.

2014.02 dress-shop

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