Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hope for our Future

Dear No One in Particular,

I don't know about you, but I have the worst case of election-fatigue. 6 days feels far too long; I feel like we know all there is to know, and I can't stand to hear any more.

But then I saw this video and .... and ....

I'm all verklempt.


Monday, October 27, 2008

T-Day minus One Month

Dear No One in Particular,

I am sitting on my couch watching Paula Deen make fudge with Max Brenner, and I can't bring myself to think about anything other than cooking. Specifically, cooking Thanksgiving dinner.

I love cooking, baking especially. I bake to reduce stress, which means that there's almost always cupcakes or brownies in my fridge. As much as I love my Boy, he can't cook. Like, at all. I once caught him trying to boil sausages in a frying pan. Natch, I do pretty much all the cooking for the both of us.

We're both stuck in Hawaii for Thanksgiving this year, which isn't a big deal so far as I'm concerned. I really don't like Thanksgiving -- I know, there are people out there ready to shoot me for such an admission. Honestly, I hate most traditional Thanksgiving foods: turkey repulses me, cranberry jelly with the can ring-imprints terrify me, and I HATE pumpkin pie. That leaves a handful of side dishes for me to munch on, so I don't really get that food-coma that most of my family self-induces. And don't get me started on the Pilgrim-Indian nonsense.
I've slowly started to come to terms with Thanksgiving. I've realised that this is a holiday that most people really, truly enjoy and look forward to; in order for me to enjoy it as well, I had better take the reins, culinarily speaking.

That said, I'm getting more and more excited about this Thanksgiving. While I know the Boy is disappointed that there won't be any turkey or pumpkin pie, he trusts that I can pull together a great meal for the two of us.
I've created a preliminary menu; it looks like a ton of food, and well, it is. Especially considering that I'm cooking for just two. But! I believe that if we're going to have Thanksgiving dinner, we may as well have the 3-weeks worth of leftovers, too.

Amanda and the Boy's Thanksgiving dinner (so far):
--mulled wine
--roasted chicken with sage and herbes de Provence
--cornbread stuffing
--bourbon sweet potatoes
--spiced cranberry sauce with pear
--brussels sprouts au gratin/green bean casserole*
--maple apple crisp a la mode
--pumpkin gooey butter cake**

So, internets, what are YOU having for Thanksgiving?


*I haven't decided which one to make yet.
**Just because I don't like pumpkin pie doesn't mean I don't like pumpkin -- quite the opposite! And we need a pumpkin dessert.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Too Good!

And now, for something completely different:
Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segal from"How I Met Your Mother" sing the confrontation song from Les Miserables.

It is so much more awesome than you would think. And, yes, I know you're thinking awesome on the level of unicorn tears.

I have to say, I'm a little shocked at how good NPH does Javert. I've heard him sing as Toby from Sweeney Todd, which is really high (originally a boy soprano), it's no where near the range of Javert (baritone to bass-baritone). That he's so powerful (and can sing so low!) is really awesome.
But the real standout in my eyes is Jason Segal. He sounds eerily similar to original Valjean Colm Wilkinson.

I have to admit, I've watched the video about 4 times now, and it never gets old. It's amazing every damn time.

I wonder where my old musical soundtracks are ....


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Love is All You Need

Dear Body,

I know we've had some issues in the past, and I haven't treated you as well as I should have. So today, in honour of National Love Your Body day, I'd like to apologise for all the cruel things I've done over the years.

I'm sorry for all the Chinatown haircuts, and that it took me so long to actually get a real, flattering hairstyle.
I'm also sorry for getting bangs in the 5th grade. That was a really bad idea.

I'm sorry for all the In-N-Out burgers and Jack in the Box fried mac-n-cheese bites. (But they were totally worth it, amirite? Fuggedaboudit!)

I'm sorry for all the times I ate a Cliff bar and called it a meal.

I'm sorry for the days when I just ate a cup of pasta, but spent hours at the gym, burning calories I didn't have to spare.
I'm sorry for forcing you to drop 3 dress sizes in a month -- you looked bangin', but you felt shitty. I'm sorry for making you feel shitty.

I genuinely apologise for all the yo-yo diets. I want to eat healthy, for once.

I'm sorry for not having my wisdom teeth extracted yet. I promise I'm going to take care of that this winter.

I'm sorry for moving to Hawaii, and for staying here. I know you're unhappy here -- I have the skin issues to prove it. We're going back to calmer climes soon!

I'm sorry for not sticking with the physical therapy.
For that matter, I'm sorry for causing all the back problems. I don't remember what I did to cause them, but I'm sorry all the same.

I'm sorry for wearing flip-flops for so long, and I'm sorry I haven't put insoles in my shoes to correct the damage.

I'm sorry for not wearing my glasses.

I'm sorry for that pedicure -- you know the one where the woman slashed open the top of my big toe? Yeah, that one.

I'm sorry for carrying around gigantic purses loaded down with tons of books and crap. I'm also sorry to tell you that it's not going to stop any time soon. What can I say? I have a lot of junk, and it needs to get hauled around.

I'm sorry I don't like vegetables, and that I keep forgetting to take my vitamins.

I'm sorry for all the times I stuffed my size-10 hips into a size-7 skirt.

I'm sorry it took me so long to get a decent bra.

I'm sorry for cutting, for pinching, for scratching, for twisting the skin off my hands and arms. And I'm truly sorry for not getting help sooner.

I'm sorry for not telling you "you are beautiful" every single day.
We are beautiful.

Love with all my heart,

Goodbye, Victorian Rose

Dear No One in Particular,

I received wind of some particularly sobering news this morning: American Girl has announced that they are discontinuing the entire line of Samantha dolls. For good. Tears all around.

Samantha was my absolute favourite, but she wasn't my introduction to the American Girl series.* I remember seeing her picture in the catalog and falling in love with her because we shared a hairstyle (I could be a very shallow 8 year old, but at least I liked to read historical fiction). But really, Samantha was the bomb-diggity. She was incredibly rich, with all the best toys -- her party set was THE best thing a girl could have: little painted petit fours, a working ice cream maker, and don't get me started on her fabulous wardrobe! Fur muffs! Velvet dresses! LINED PURSES, YA'LL. I seem to remember a steamer trunk, too, but I can't be quoted on that.

But despite her very My Super Sweet Sixteen-seeming lifestyle, Samantha was the tops as a girlfriend. She was BFF with her maid/"servant girl" Nellie, and somehow, the relationship didn't seem contrived or condescending. Samantha truly saw a kindred spirit in poor illiterate Nellie, and it didn't matter the stations they were born into.

Samantha was witness to a changing world (really, most of the girls were) and her experiences shaped a lot of little (real) girls' view of history and the world around them. Samantha's grandmother was a hard-ass Victorian prude, but her beloved uncle and his glamourous girlfriend were automobile-owning suffragettes! Samantha was privileged, but she was by no means sheltered. I remember reading the historical notes at the back of "Samantha Learns a Lesson" and crying over the pictures of children working in factories. I had no idea how good I had it, and neither had Samantha. Petting her long brown curls, I realised that we had both learned a lesson about the world and it's cruelty.

R.I.P. Samantha Parkington, raddest American girl of them all. (Kit Kitredge is a punk.)


*That would be Felicity, the spunk sprightly colonial girl ... or something to that effect. My grandmother gave me her entire set of books one Christmas and I read them until they fell apart. I blame Felicity for my love of colonial American history.

Monday, October 13, 2008

#184: Jump in with your clothes on

Dear No One in Particular,

I'm supposed to be writing a paper*, but instead I've been spending time poring over what is quite possibly the sweetest website ever: 1001 rules for my unborn son.

I've made it known that should I ever have a son, I plan on raising him to be a gentleman. The author of this website appears to have the same agenda I do. It's filled with advice, sometimes common sense, sometimes hard-won knowledge. All of it is heartfelt, humorous, and true.

While some of the rules are submitted by readers, it is plain that whoever is lucky enough to have the site's author as a father is blessed indeed.


*It seems that college is nothing more than hundreds of term papers of varying lengths and subjects spread out over the course of 4 years.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Barack the Vote!

Dear No One in Particular,

Are you registered to vote? I sincerely hope so, since a lot of state deadlines have already passed. We're getting so close to the election, and despite what we've been told, every vote counts.

I know a lot of people who refuse to vote simply because they don't like the candidates. I think this is unbelievably selfish, especially within the context of this election. Simply look at the candidates' voting records and you can see the ramifications of a non-vote. Look beyond your own personal misgivings and think about how the presidency in the hands of Candidate A would be be different from Candidate B. Consequences people; nothing occurs in a vacuum.

I would like to say that this is perhaps one of the most important elections in history, and it's true. We have the opportunity to vote a minority into the White House -- why this hasn't happened before, I don't know. But it's more than that: women's rights are on the table, inexplicably, Roe v. Wade is on the table.

I wasn't going to write a pro-voting post, but reading about a 106 year-old nun voting for the first time in 52 years is an incredible inspiration.
So please: do like Sister Cecilia and vote.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Friday, October 3, 2008

La Cocinetta

Dear No One in Particular,

It's pretty well-acknowledged that I don't work well with most standard kitchens. I'm wee, see, and most counters are about 3-4 inches too tall for me. If I were to have a dream kitchen, most normal people would have to squat to wash their hands.

Which is why I think Pottery Barn might have a solution to my problem: a gourmet kitchen for children.*

Ok, ok: it's actually too small for me.** I feel like Goldilocks. Perhaps I should just buy some fabulous supplies from retail heaven, aka Anthropologie. Ooh, sale section!


*First of all: where the hell was this when I was a kid? Not at Toys R Us, I assure you. Second of all: who the hell has $899 to spend on toys for their children? Please, come forward. With that kind of money, you can single-handedly bailout the economy. No new taxes!

**Yes, I busted out the measuring tape to check. Don't judge.