Words….Witticisms…Whimsy…Whatever!

Archive for November, 2012

It works both ways

Awwww, my mom sent me a note in the mail!!! How sweet is that?


Apparently she reads the blog.   😀

 
And dig it, she used a totally cool Griffin & Sabine card, which is also completely appropriate.

 

If you’re not familiar with Griffin & Sabine, I highly recommend you check it out. I’m going to read it again right now. Although I swear I had the entire trilogy, yet only one book appears to be on my shelf….curious. It better not be a casualty of the Great War. I didn’t really inventory my books when I packed. Anyway, it’s a charming book of correspondence between two people who have never met, and it consists solely of their letters and postcards back and forth. The art is lovely, and some of the letters are actually in envelopes mounted in the book, and you take them out to read them, and it’s great fun. Thumbs up. You can borrow mine if you PROMISE to give it back in pristine condition.

 

OMG, why is WordPress suggesting “Cuban Missile Crisis” and “Soviet Union” as appropriate tags for this post?

 
Ok. Going to read. Right now. Ciao!

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The Handwritten Mission

Last week my friend H stopped by to surprise me with a “just because” present.

I’m a big fan of “just because” presents, both giving and receiving. (Duh, who doesn’t like presents?) Just a little something to brighten the day. And what did she have for me? Muppet note cards. (I. Love. That the world knows I love Muppets. Because I do. Because they are awesome.)

She said, “I don’t know if you would use these, but I saw them, and they were cute, and I know you like the Muppets.”

Cool.

And then I thought about putting them in my antique secretary with the many other note cards and lovely stationeries I have accumulated there, and what a waste that was.

And then I thought about how much I love getting a handwritten note in the mail. Don’t you? Mail these days is boring. Bills and junk mail, with the occasional charitable solicitation. Birthdays and the holiday season are so much fun because the mail might come with colorful envelopes and sparkly cards with messages from friends and family. It’s lovely. Maybe you get lucky every once in a while and receive a thank you note or some other off-season communication from a friend.

It’s definitely a sign of the times. In college my best friend and I sent long, chatty letters back and forth between Bloomington and Ann Arbor. I kept a supply of funny cards on hand to mail to out of town friends for when I wanted to catch up. Now we are super connected with Facebook, and texting and email are faster and cheaper and more efficient than mail. So doesn’t it make you feel a little special when someone goes to the trouble to write a note, to rustle up a stamp, to actually be able to produce your address?

And the thing is, it doesn’t actually take that much time and effort. I know this because after H left, I took my new Muppets cards to my desk, sat down, and used one to write her a thank you note. It took all of five minutes to write, address, stamp, seal, and pop into the mailbox. I thought to myself, “I should do this more often.”

This would require overcoming my graphophobia. Holy shit. That is a real thing. Did you know that? I did not. (As previously mentioned many times, the internet is effing amazing.) Once again I’m feeling a wee bit of remorse for what sounds like I’m making light of something that might actually be a serious affliction for someone. Although as I’m perusing some of these sites, I do probably fall somewhere into this. My handwriting is atrocious. And I am extremely self-conscious about this. Unreasonably so. If I were to write you a note, I would freak the fuck out about my sloppy penmanship. I would be mortified by my inability to write in anything resembling a straight line, and how I can’t actually write in cursive, and instead do this weird hybrid that is mostly printing, and also, as a southpaw, am afflicted by smears and blots. It would look like a first-grader wrote the note. A first-grader with bad penmanship and really good spelling.

However. I recognize that everything I just said, while true, is also ridiculous. And that you might be willing to overlook my first-gradeness and simply appreciate the wonder that is the unexpected piece of mail that merely wants to say hi and make you smile. Which is a very wordy way of saying that I am embarking on a mission.

I am going to write more handwritten notes.

I am going to do it on a regular basis. Like, say, once a week. That will be my goal. It’s not going to be hard & fast – I don’t want to miss a week and beat myself up about it and let it derail me and declare it a failure resulting in abandoning the mission. I want it to be an enjoyable project, not a task. Writing to your friends should be fun.

This will allow me to use all the fun note cards and stationeries I already own, and then get more. A fringe benefit is shopping? Suh-weet. I am a sucker for pretty papers and fun cards.

Tangent: While we’re talking about stationery, can we please take a moment to discuss the correct spelling? For the last 10 or 15 years I’ve been on a quest to get the entire world to learn this. “Stationary” means immobile or having a fixed position, like a stationary bike at the gym. “Stationery” is writing paper. And here is a silly mnemonic trick: stationery with an “e” goes in an envelope.

Ok, let’s sum up:

  • I have horrendous handwriting, and this causes me anxiety.
  • However, my desire to make you smile supercedes that.
  • Hence, I am going to send you surprise notes.

And if you want a note, make sure I have your address – if you leave it here, or send it to me because of this post, I promise I will write to you. I don’t know when, I don’t know why, but that note will come. And I’ll give y’all updates from time to time by way of a loose sort of accountability, so that I stick with it.

Who is shoe fan?(A story in pictures)

Ok, so something fun happened the other day. And a little odd, but mostly fun.

I got a package in the mail. I wasn’t expecting anything. The return address simply said, “shoe fan”. Hmm, curious.

 

 

Inside, I found a custom-printed card.

 
With a lovely, mysterious message.

 

 

And underneath the card I found this.

 

 

Which caused me to do this.

 

 

And then this.

 

 

But mostly just this.

 

 

Here it is in its new home.

 

Hoops & YoYo sure seem impressed by it.

I wish I could tell Shoe Fan

 

This will have to suffice. But know that you made my day with your funanigans. 😀

I cooked a chicken, bitch!

Last weekend I did something I’ve never done before: I cooked an entire chicken.

This may not sound like much to some of you, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never before cooked anything with a bone in it. (I’ll pause now for my friends whose heads are exploding due to euphemism overload.)

I really don’t like to know my food in ways that remind me it was once alive, and bones have a tendency to do that. Plus, bones in food are just kind of gross and annoying. Most of my cooking of animals revolves around boneless and skinless. But I kind of had chicken & noodles on the brain. The weather got cold and something warm & smushy (which is how I tend to define comfort food) was sounding good, and I’ve never made it before, so I thought why not? A Google search for “easy chicken & noodle recipe” yielded several easy-sounding chicken & noodle recipes. (The internet is amazing, no?) And they all called for cooking a whole chicken. Okey dokey, I can do this. Plus, someday soon I would like to cook a turkey, and cooking a chicken is probably a good gateway poultry opportunity.

I am not scared of you.

I addressed the chicken situation immediately so I could get the traumatic part out of the way.

Okay, I am a little scared of you.

Fortunately all I had to do was cut it up a little bit and throw it into the pot. Am I the only one who always starts with too small a pot? Anytime I make soup or chili or anything in a big pot, I always underestimate the size of the pot necessary. Which meant I had to touch the chicken again. Ew. But once the chicken and vegetables and broth are in the pot, all you do is wait – it really was ridiculously easy.

Ooh. Except for the noodles. All the recipes I found also called for making your own noodles, which wasn’t on my radar at all. But all these yahoos on the internet were doing it, so how hard could it be, right? I figured I’d give it a try. That was my only real mistake. I need to remember that things involving rolling pins are not in my skill set. (Seriously. I cannot make cutout cookies. It’s the weirdest thing.) Although someday I will make a delicious pie crust. I truly believe this. Will report back on that one. Anyway, the noodles….eh. I wasn’t very precise in my sizing of the noodles, so some of them got….unwieldy, shall we say. And doughy. I did eat a meal of the chicken & homemade noodles and they were fine, but not delicious. I think I could tweak what I did and figure out how to make them better, but the better solution was to fish out my ridiculous noodles and throw in the bag of egg noodles already in my pantry. When I had that the next day in leftover form, the whole thing was yumtastic success.

And being just one person, I had enough for multiple meals, plus froze two large batches for future enjoyment.

I took a little bit from a couple of different recipes on allrecipes.com, and made a couple modifications of my own, so here’s a rough estimate of what transpired – not to suggest this is a breakthrough into some innovative culinary world of chicken & noodles.  🙂 I just figured I’d share, as long as we’re both here and maybe you now have a similar craving – save you some browsing time.

Easy chicken & noodles
Cut a whole (2-3 pound) chicken into pieces. Which I barely did – I think mine was two large pieces. That whole not wanting to handle it thing. Put the chicken pieces into a large (um, yeah) pot with four or five stalks of celery (diced), 1 onion (halved), and a handful or two of baby carrots, or chunks of carrots, or whatever shape you like your carrots to be. I really like cooked carrots, so I think next time I would use more. A lot more. Like a pound of baby carrots, if I were cooking a whole chicken again.

Pour three 32-ounce containers of chicken broth into the pot, and add salt and ground black pepper to taste. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until chicken is tender and falls from bone, approximately 45 minutes to an hour.

While chicken is cooking, realize that making your own noodles is completely unnecessary and go sit down.

When the chicken is done, turn off the heat and remove the meat so it can cool for a few minutes. While it’s cooling, strain the chicken stock. Reserve the carrots and celery to go back into the pot.

Remove the skin from the chicken and pull the meat from the bones. Add the meat, carrots and celery back to the broth, and bring it to a boil. Add the noodles of your choice and cook till they’re tender and ready for eatin’. Fewer noodles = brothier and more like soup. More noodles = thicker and more like something to eat with a fork.

And as some of these dishes tend to be, this was even better the second day. Although that could have been due to Operation Noodle Replacement. And if you DO make your own noodles, I tip my hat to you. 🙂