Written on Apr, 14, 2014 by in | Leave a comment

If you’ve been around me at all recently, you may have noticed me gazing at my nails more often than usual. I’m in awe at them. Never before have I had such long and healthy-looking nails. They’ve always been strong, yes, but I’m actually trying to see how long I can get them and if they’ll stay just as pretty.

long healthy nails

look at those nails! still working on getting the strength back from The Job That Won’t Be Named but getting there.

I did mention discovering Accio Lacquer, did I not? I went from her Nails 101 down the rabbit hole of a few “how I care for my nails” blog posts and worked out what would help me.

The thing is, the media would have you believe that beauty is effortless, when no, upkeep and making sure your nails are strong and healthy and moisturized, it all takes time. Moisturizing your cuticles all the time, using a cuticle oil at night, it takes time and effort. But for long and strong nails having well-moisturized cuticles apparently does something.

Can I just say how much in awe I am of my right thumb?

right thumbnail

long and strong!

My left thumbnail still breaks from time to time and has to be filed down, but my right somehow avoided disasters. I mean, my nails in general aren’t perfect; the dry environment in The Job That Won’t Be Named really messed with my whole body and most of it is still recovering. So just the fact that one nail is pretty great is exciting to me.

Other things: filing [dry nails] seems to be better than clipping them, and I grew up clipping my nails (wet). They are definitely retaining their shape better with filing rather than clipping and I’m never in that situation where I clipped a nail TOO short. I’m trying to stop picking at them so much, too.

I’m not sure why this seems like a fun goal to be working on right now (I mean, really? long pretty nails? that’s a goal??), but, y’know, to each their own. They’ll be a great base for nail art, and maybe that’s the point: to me, playing with standards of beauty means being able to create my own image, and in that creativity there is freedom.

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Written on Mar, 31, 2014 by in | Leave a comment
spring nails

need some spring in my step

This morning, when I woke up and logged online, a friend wanted to show me her makeup from the weekend. This led to squealing over makeup and beauty and suddenly the question—can we please have a makeup blog together??

I’ve become an avid follower of Makeup and Beauty Blog and Accio Lacquer, and I’ve been using makeup lately as a creative outlet (can’t knit, the clowns will eat me um, I mean, tendinitis). So the rest of today has been consumed with brainstorming, finding themes, starting write-ups.

It’s been a good day.

I’m off to Zumba with a dear friend and starting the rest of my life today. Retail work was hard and it was taking away from who I am. All the people who care about me supported my decision to leave and take care of myself and so, here I am.

Hello, World. Did you miss me?

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Written on Oct, 14, 2013 by in

Once upon a time, personal web sites were places to showcase your creative works. The online version of my paper ideas journal. These days, seems like they’re all blogs about showing off how creative you can be. (Can I be? We’ll see.)

I need a place to let thoughts marinate, to explore the world and take up space in it.

(Aside: Women are taught not to take up space.

It is time for me to stop creeping, stop tip-toeing unseen from place to place, to be unabashedly.)

Who is this woman? What does she know about herself? What does she have to live for, and will she leave any footprints behind her?

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Written on Sep, 02, 2012 by in | 1 Comment.

My annual visit to the Minnesota State Fair took place yesterday and as usual it was a delight. My Flickr State Fair set has twenty-two photos from the awesome time I had at the fair, but I thought I might share some highlights here.

The seed art, aka art made from seeds, actual seeds, was a treat as usual, and this “VOTE NO” art made me laugh out loud:

Seed art - VOTE NO

Before heading to the fair, we looked up where to get cheap fun snacks, and found s’mores on a stick – 50ยข or three for $1.25.

S'more on a stick

Also, this is the place where you can get anything on a stick:

quilt on a stick

As for this, I think I need to enter this contest next year:

ribbons-bread

THE KNITTING.

knitting-SOCKS

knitting-mittens

knitting-gloves

I was really impressed by the knitting this year. I only saw a couple of things that I felt like I could do easily, which is an improvement over last year. Go knitters!

My new favorite State Fair memory is heading to the exit at the end of the day and passing by the French Fries booth, where the employees were all doing some type of flash mob dance to “Jump On It”. I will continue to randomly sing “JUMP ON IT! JUMP ON IT!” whenever the notion occurs to me now.

JumpOnIt2

Dear State Fair, you’re a great experience and one of the many things I love about where I live.

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Written on Aug, 15, 2012 by in

Do you remember at one point I was going to take pictures of my cooking and share, to make sure that I was actually cooking and everything? That worked out pretty well, didn’t it? After sinking so low last month that I actually miss food—the act of savouring each step in a meal—I decided to recommit myself to beans, legumes, rice, and vegetables this week. With a fantastic farmers market in the area and a fair growing season for summer vegetables, now is the time to try new things! Especially with the help of books like How to Cook Everything and the Veganomicon. I can do it!

Even with those two, though, I found myself looking at some friends’ cookbooks… and then borrowing some of theirs. It turns out that this week is Try All The Indian Recipes week.

food prep - mushroom bhaji

Sunday was kitchri (rice and red lentils, and yes I love red lentils), Monday was mushroom bhaji. Tuesday, once I tried to get asafetida and cumin seeds, was a chickpea, tomato, and spinach concoction. I am in desperate need of leafy greens.

Here’s the bhaji results.

and done food

I realized near the end that I did not have any tomato paste, even though I thought I had, so I substituted a fresh tomato or two. Not quite the same thing in getting a thick sauce around the mushrooms, but it worked out all right and is delicious, which is the important part.

And here is the chickpea/tomato/spinach concoction, which took close to two hours with all the chopping involved, but is MUCH more than the four servings specified in the recipe:

chickpeas with spiced tomatoes

I’m not sure if it’s amazing enough to take as long as it does, but at least it got me many good nutrients and will last through the rest of the week. I bet I would make it again. I definitely would make the mushroom bhaji and kitchri again, so I could see myself stealing this cookbook and not giving it back… ;)

I even made lime cooler from the drinks section yesterday. Great way to use my overflowing mint plant. I wish I’d discovered it sooner; it’s been a hot hot hot summer!

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Written on Aug, 08, 2012 by in

After a sudden, sharp panic attack at the library this afternoon, I picked up my things and raced out the door, hopped on my bike, and got home as quickly as I could. Now I’m trying to catch my breath (half an hour later) and wondering what caused my heart to jump to my throat. Is it the weather, a sickly grey, amazingly cooler than it’s been in weeks, with wind rustling odd patterns through the trees? Is it some sense of foreboding, something within me that I managed to awaken while soul-searching the past few days? Is it something else?

One secret that I’ve kept from this blog is a long-standing interest in the pagan and metaphysical. Over the past few weeks I have noticed that my psychic skills have gotten more accurate, and while I’ll brush it off with a joking “Yeah, I’m psychic”, but I’m not sure joking about it is going to cut it anymore. It’s keeping me from trusting my feelings, all of them, which is keeping me from being whole.

Last night I re-read Note to Self: On Keeping a Journal and Other Dangerous Pursuits and what struck me was the chapter “Sense of Self”: being honest with yourself about what you’re going through. My sense of self has both expanded and shrunk in the past year, and my writing habits have not kept up with the changes. I’m a different person than I was a year ago, two years ago, or five years ago. I know that much. But by not recording the changes, I can’t pinpoint how I am a different person: just that I am and it’s important.

The thing that really gets me is that I’m finally understanding just how much writing means to me. I used to have in my sidebar a text that said “I can’t seem to stop writing.” I had better not stop writing, or I’ll lose myself.

How’s that for a re-commitment to my blogging and journalling?

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Written on May, 25, 2012 by in

I keep thinking of all these posts I’m going to write, then when I sit down I get distracted by something else. Mostly job hunting, writing, volunteer things, hanging out with friends. Just in the last week, though, I started thinking about knitting more and more. I have too many things I need to knit for others still, but Phoe posted a knit from a lovely pattern and I think while I’m slightly in between projects for others, I might start that today. I desperately miss knitting socks, but I still feel slightly unsure about starting a pair for myself. So, another shawl I don’t need it is!

I also have a finished and blocked shawl waiting for pictures, and I think I’ll take those pictures and post them over the weekend. I’m hoping to have plenty of knitting time this weekend. Until then, have some links!

I hate to admit it, but a meditation retreat sounds incredibly appealing. Ten days without phones or internet or people? What amazing feats could I come up with if I were on my own? I know I have a lot of untapped potential because I’m so often thinking about others rather than quietly dreaming by myself. What could I do with ten days truly away and taking care of me? And what kind of energy would I bring back?

Phoe says, I Refuse. If I had the courage to refuse? I think I would refuse to conform to society, but that won’t get food in my belly.

How to be Fearless in the Workplace. Though mainly I suppose I’d like to be a fearless adult.

Because I have been going going going so hard the last month: 5 reasons why you should take the day off. Someone help encourage me to take a day off for my mental health and stop looking at me askance!

The Place Where Things Collide: a reflection on the different identities in the world.

I’m off to knit now. I finally have some good news in the job hunt department, so I am going to reward myself by starting something new and actually RELAXING. Three cheers!

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Written on Apr, 21, 2012 by in , | 1 Comment.

People have talked about this before, in newspapers and on the internet. We’re disconnected and don’t talk to each other and we rush about and we are out of time all the time. I am a part of this generation. All I really know about is trying to fend for myself without a whole lot of support. When I was in high school, I took care of myself, got a 4.0 GPA the whole time, and made dinners and drove my brother and myself to the places we needed to be. I was the second mom in my family. I did not make lasting friendships and I did not have a mentor and I did not feel supported by any one outside of my immediate family.

To the future and college age, I did not make friends easily. I was too used to taking care of myself. I rarely asked for help from professors and counselors. I thought I was on my own for everything, and I assumed everything would be up to me. Saving the world. Stopping genocide. Maintaining a 4.0. I had to be on top of all of that and I had to do it all myself, and no one reached out to me to say, “Hey. It’s really okay. We’re in this together.”

I hit a pretty low period at the beginning of my junior year of school and near the end of that year I fell apart. Since then I’ve been putting together the pieces that are truly me, and trying to discard what isn’t. It’s been difficult, so difficult. I’m at the point where I’m happy with my friends and generally content most of the time (which I couldn’t have said much in my life before 2010), and I feel like I’m always discovering something that needs to be tweaked to work better in my life. Right now it’s community.

I grew up in the digital world; my community ties are almost all online. The people who have known me the longest are friends in far-off places that I’ve only communicated with via text. They supported me, but they were also lonely and far away. They were all young people without a sense of community in their geographic location.

Becky and I were talking the other day, as we do very often, and mentioned how we wish we had had a mentor growing up. And still wish we had a mentor. Growing up is difficult and lonely, and I never feel like I’m doing the right thing. I feel like I have all this responsibility and none of the words of wisdom. I don’t (and won’t) belong to a major religion, so those community ties are not available for me. So what is? Where do I get someone older and wiser to tell me things are okay? How do I work with people in all stages of life to be an example to me? And I an example to them?

Questions that I’ve been pondering.

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Written on Apr, 20, 2012 by in | 1 Comment.

I’ve been thinking about mindfulness all day. I think it started because lately I’ve been going and going and my head just hasn’t stopped and I fear I’m going to die from the adrenaline rush of the past few weeks and future few weeks. So today I’ve been trying to disconnect a bit from the world, and it’s gone pretty well. I talked with a friend in a coffee shop and I feel a lot better about myself and how I’m doing. It’s a beautiful day out, so I also took a walk. My fast-paced life hasn’t given me a lot of time for ME, which I find hard to swallow. Everyone thinks that being unemployed is sitting around in your pajamas and playing video games. Even if I wanted to play video games, I doubt I’d have time for them. I spend too much time chatting to people over instant message, browsing message boards, keeping up with people who are important to me, job hunting, and volunteering.

Reading 10 Ways Meditation is Green, Frugal, Healthy and Sustainable a few days ago was frustrating. I have heard before that meditation is a really good practice. I’ve heard tons of good things about it. So reading a blog post that had to justify why someone was meditating was jarring, to say the least. And has me noticing even more the fact that our culture does not value time off to be yourself. Job hunting has me feeling like I’m a square peg trying to fit myself into a round hole; either the jargon of a job posting throws me off, or the bizarrely long listing of responsibilities and qualifications. I feel like I’m supposed to fit like a cog in a machine, and I don’t know how to.

So while I’m struggling between trying to fit into the machine and trying to figure out how to be human, it’s a lot easier to throw away being human because the work world and job hunting tells me the only thing is important is doing the things in the job description and making money for that. There is no “wellness” or “mental health” in the work world. It’s just work. You produce value. You have no worth without that. You are not a living, breathing human.

Which I am having a very hard time accepting.

Hi, Sunbeam Soapbox. I’ve been super busy.

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