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Interlude and Deliciousness

Once again I’m struggling with bloggy guilt. It’s been too long, but I’m busy and tired and did I mention that I’m tired? Oh, and also, tired. It’s our crazy season at work, but every year it seems to surprise me anyway. And life has been interfering with pretty much everything lately, and we’ll talk about that, but not tonight because I’m not ready yet.  And of course it’s the holiday season so there are three times as many things happening and all at the same time, and there’s shopping to be done and gifts to make and Halloween decorations to put away. (What? I said I was busy.) And tired. The Tide and Drano and soda and toilet paper (read: all the nonperishable items) I bought recently stayed in the trunk of the car for about two weeks because unloading them seemed to be too much effort. (Thank you, Klondike, for unloading all my crap last weekend.)

Aside regarding the Halloween decorations: I put them away, in the attic, all by myself, like a normal human. This is pretty much the first time I’ve gone into the attic for more than a thirty-second dash since the first bat episode almost four years ago. Yay me!

Every year we shut down the “office” (air quotes now since we work from home and the office is virtual) between Christmas and New Year and given the way the holidays fall this year, I’m trying to figure out how many bonus days I can tag on. Two weeks sounds pretty awesome, not gonna lie. 🙂 I’m counting down. Wendy Staycation 2013 is going to be a blissful slugfest!

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Updated….I totally neglected to include the part where I’m not sounding lame! I had tap class tonight – woo hoo! I was TIRED (perhaps I’ve mentioned this) and it’s cold out and I really wasn’t feeling like going to class. But every week, even when I feel less than motivated, I leave class feeling happy and lively and in a supremely good mood. I love spending time with my friend Jon, and it’s great to have a standing weekly time to catch up with him. And the class is FUN. It’s challenging and Miss Donna is really pushing us now to learn more and do more and there still is not going to be a recital so stop asking. 😉  I love it, even when I feel clumsy and like I’m never going to get the hang of something. So YAY, it definitely helped me shake off my slump today.

Ok, now, back to where we were before I remembered that I forgot. 😀

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And because I sound of like a downer, let’s move on to something better, like DESSERT! A few of my Facebook friends asked for the recipe for the pear, cranberry & gingersnap crumble I made for Thanksgiving. It’s SOOOOOOOO delicious, and super-duper easy to make, I promise. And it’s fruit, so come on, it’s like health food. The recipe comes from Smitten Kitchen, but I’ll share it here too, because I hate blogs that just tell you to click through to other things.

Crumble
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons packed dark or light brown sugar (I like dark)
1 cup gingersnap crumbs (About 16-18 store-bought cookies, smashed to bits. You could use a food processor to make really nice, even crumbs, but then you would have to wash it, which is why I never use my food processor for anything. I put them in a large Ziploc bag and pound the hell out of them with a rolling pin.)
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon table salt
Pinch of white pepper, especially if your gingersnaps aren’t particularly snappish
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Filling
4-5 large ripe pears (about 2 pounds) (The original recipe suggests Anjou, but I’ve used whatever nice pears I’ve been able to find in the store) peeled, halved, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick (Peeling the pears is the only part of this that sucks – they’re slippery. Enlist someone else to help, then delegate pear peeling while you do all the “hard” work – thank you, Klondike.) (There are a lot of parentheses in this step!)
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) fresh cranberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Stir together the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, gingersnap crumbs, ginger and salt. Stir in the melted butter until large crumbs form.

In a 1 1/2 to 2 quart baking dish, mix the pears, cranberries, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk the sugar and cornstarch together then toss it with the fruit mixture in the pan. Sure, you could do this in a bowl but then you’d also have to wash that bowl and hooray for fewer dishes. (Thank you Smitten Kitchen.)  (I think I’ve also made this in a 9×13 baking dish before, too. There is plenty of crumble to cover a larger surface area, not to worry.)

Sprinkle the gingersnap crumble over the fruit. Set the crumble on a foil-lined baking sheet (in a 2 quart dish, mine didn’t come close to bubbling over but I see no reason to risk it) and bake it for about 45 minutes, until the crumble is a shade darker and you see juices bubbling through the crumbs. See how long you can wait before digging in.

Did I mention that it’s delicious? Because it IS! And it’s so pretty! Look! Pretty!

pears & cranberries, pre-crumble

Pre-crumble topping

Just out of the oven - yum!

Just out of the oven – yum!

Ooh, and I should mention that the Lovely Lettie is the one who put me onto this recipe in the first place, a few years ago when I was doing my annual plea for new dessert recipes for the holidays. 🙂

A post about nothing

Um. I haven’t written anything in a while.

Correction. I haven’t posted anything in a while.

And now, so much time has passed that the voice in my head is saying, “Oh my god, are you kidding me, your next post has to be something really awesome to have made it worth taking this long to come into being, like having had a dragon land in your yard or something.”

A dragon has not landed in my yard. Just FYI.

What I need to do is post something, so I can get back into a rhythm without obsessing (which I do, but we’ll get to that later). So this post is about nothing. (Call it my Seinfeld post.) In fact, you probably shouldn’t even read this. It might be boring.

I don’t even have writer’s block, really. I have started writing about a number of things.  There are no fewer than five open Word docs on my laptop right now, in addition to this one. I have about 20 or so other starts in a folder. Some of them you may see someday.  Some will languish forever. Maybe because they aren’t fully formed ideas, but also maybe because I’m wayyyyyy better at starting things than I am at finishing them. Someday we can talk about Narnia, which, funnily enough, is what I call my Spare Oom. (Which probably isn’t funny at all if you haven’t read the first book.) Why Narnia, you ask? Well, in addition to the normal way to enter a room (through its doorway), you can also get to this room through a closet. Hence…yeah. Anyway, Narnia is filled with unfinished projects. The dollhouse I bought when I was 13 (which is currently disassembled because it kind of fell apart when I moved). A large bag of yarn that I bought to crochet an afghan for my ex-husband, which for obvious reasons I lost interest in when I got divorced, and also I no longer work with my Crochet Mentor who could teach me how to make things even though I can’t read patterns and do everything backwards because I’m left-handed. A big box of clippings and mementos for a nonexistent scrapbook. A box of mason jars for when I, you know, take up canning. (WTF.) And those are just the things I know off the top of my head. There are boxes in there. And bags. And piles of stuff. It’s not pretty in Narnia. It’s an uncompleted project wasteland.

Maybe it’s because I get distracted easily. I’m now mulling over the words “incomplete” versus “uncompleted”. I’m not actually sure uncompleted is a word, but it doesn’t have a red squiggly line under it, so it must be.

It’s officially autumn now, which we know not because the temperature is cooler (I had my air-conditioning on over the weekend), or because the leaves are turning, but because my TV is exploding with new television shows. As a pop culture junky who is also a little obsessive, I watch way too much TV in the fall. I used to limit myself to one new show a year. Now I identify every show I might be interested in and set my DVR to record the first episode or two, in addition to all the other shows I already watch. Because the slightly obsessive part of me can’t just watch a show from time to time. I have to watch all or nothing.  I started watching Scandal midway through last season, and over the summer I had to binge watch everything that came before. Same thing with Good Wife the year before, except I had three seasons to catch up on. So when new shows start, it feels like my opportunity to get in from the start and not be forever playing catch-up. Yes, I watch too much TV. I recognize this. It’s kind of sad how liberating I find it when summer gets here and my DVR can go back to storing movies for me to delete unwatched at a later date when it gets too full. But too much TV is another one of the lame reasons I haven’t been blogging.  Although some TV makes for good blogging background noise. Dancing with the Stars is the perfect companion for writing. No intricate plotlines to keep track of. At the moment I’m writing while attempting to watch new show Hostages, which is far too complicated for me to follow while doing something else. This suggests to me that I will be cutting it loose soon, if I don’t care that I’m not giving it full attention.

Speaking of yarn (well, you know, I said the word “yarn” a while ago), I was walking through Michael’s over the weekend while on a quest to find inspiration to fashion my own tie-backs for my living room curtains. Which was a failed mission. But I did get kind of swoony over all the pretty yarn. Way too swoony for someone who doesn’t actually know how to knit (at all) or crochet (without major guidance). It made me want to work on a project. WAIT, OMIGOD, I CAN TIE THIS ALL RAMBLING NONSENSE TOGETHER (sort of)! Because when I’m crocheting while watching copious amounts of television, it makes me feel productive, and like I’m not being a totally useless human. Plus, when it gets cold out, having a pile of yarn on your lap is warm and snuggly. Anyway, I’m thinking of attempting to figure out how to make something on my own. Eons ago, I bought a teach-yourself-to-crochet book. Even though I’m inept and left-handed, I’m not a complete idiot. Surely I can figure out how to do this. If I can find the book. It’s probably buried somewhere in Narnia.

And if a dragon ever does land in my yard, I hope it looks like this. I like how in this picture, Ruby and the dragon aren’t being confrontational with each other. (See tiny Ruby on the patio?)

Wendys Yard Dragon

(Thanks, 3Names.)

Sigh…..

Remember when I used to blog?

Oh May, why are you always so crazy?

I’ll be back in my groove soon.

In the meantime, I subscribe to a bunch of comics via email, including reruns of Calvin & Hobbes, which is still awesome. I’ve never really identified much with Calvin, but this made me giggle and reminded me of this.

Calvin & Hobbes

 

The Narcissism Project: A Year in Review

side mirror

One of many pics of Ruby Dogwonkafonka from the phone purge….

My blog reminded me recently that it was our one-year anniversary. To celebrate, let’s take a moment for reflection on what we have “accomplished”, shall we?

Looking back at my very first post, I find myself laughing that nothing much has changed, except instead of downloading 1200 pictures off my phone this past weekend, it was more like 1700. Most of them were of Ruby. Shocking, I know.

“Write more” was my New Year’s resolution, carried out here, with a desire to average a post a week. And with this being my 57th post, I achieved that. I think this might be the first time I’ve ever seen a resolution through to completion. Completion? What happens now? Was it only a one-year project?

Negatory. I like it too much.

I will say that blogging has made me a total narcissist. Hmm. Or perhaps it revealed how full of myself I was to begin with. I mean really, how impertinent of me to suppose you want to know what I think about anything – or perhaps more accurately, about nothing in particular. And about four seconds after publishing my first post, I became a stats junkie. I stare at the counts, I marvel over the countries, I laugh over the search terms bringing people here.

The countries, yes. WordPress started tracking for us what countries the views come from. It’s kind of fascinating. I have a friend living in the UK and another in Taiwan, so when I get hits from there I chalk it up as likely being them. But Bhutan? I don’t know anyone there, but I’ve had one view from there. Since WordPress started tracking this, I’ve had views from 31 different countries. I’m totally flattered. And mystified. And hopeful I haven’t made that one person in Moldova think that all Americans say “fuck” all the time. Some of us do. But a lot don’t.

Although, that’s another lesson learned through the stats: Apparently you people like f-bombs. Especially when in reference to my family.

I find myself incredibly gratified when a stranger likes or comments or follows. In some ways it’s more satisfying than from my existing friends – and that maybe sounds awful, and I don’t mean for it to. But a stranger doesn’t already have affection for me or familiarity with my sense of humor.  It’s nice to be appreciated. I like to state the obvious, too.  😛

The search terms people used that brought them to Wonkafonkaland….oh man.

  • “purple toaster” (you know you’re jealous of my purple toaster.)
  • “Weird squishy bump on elbow”
  • “rainbow shower head misleading” – clearly they bought a different model, less awesome than mine.

Some of them are horrifying, however, and I can’t even bring myself to share them with you. Suffice it to say, they were probably pretty disappointed when they got here.

I can see who my most frequent commenters are. Thank you, Coopy and Kristin.  😀  And which posts were most commented on.

Y’all like controversy. The most popular post so far was the one about my email interaction with the small-minded aunt of a former employee. But I’m pleased to see a happier post, the one with the oatmeal cake recipe, is a close second. And it’s good to see that why being single is awesome has almost twice as many views as why being single sucks.

Hmm…..this post feels like it’s getting boring…..enough with the “me, me, me”. Thank you for all the nice comments and supportive things you’ve shared with me over the last year. To celebrate, I got the blog and me a little present: our own domain. Woo hoo, wonkafonka.com is in the hizzouse! Yeah, that’s stupid. Pretend I didn’t say that last thing. Fo shizzle.  Let’s distract you with something funny. It’s your favorite: a member of my family and an f-bomb.

I think a lot of Damn You AutoCorrect is probably fake, and this isn’t that anyway. It’s my dad using Siri’s “dictation” feature and it’s flipping hilarious.

Dad - autocorrect

Thanks for reading. 🙂

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!

Argh.

I have not had time to blog.

It’s stressing me out. I have a handful of blogs I read on a regular basis, and I haven’t been reading those, either. Because reading other people’s blogs makes me feel guilty about not having written anything in a while. Which is kind of ridiculous, because I do this for me, and no one knows better than I do that I’ve been insanely busy. And then I’ll have a free hour and I’ll think ok, I should write something, but by the time I’ve checked what’s happening on Facebook and looked at my email and whatever else, I’m too tired or it’s time for bed, and I feel guilty and the cycle continues. Gah. How long has it been, I don’t even know…. let’s go peek. Yes, I avoid my own blog because if I pretend it’s not sitting there languishing, waiting for my attention, it’s not really happening, right?  May 10. Oh holy crap. That’s way too long. I’m sorry, blog. I promise I’ll be better. My goal when I started was to post about once a week, but I’ll settle for an average at the end of the year.  It’s not even like I don’t have things I want to write about, because I do. Sigh. Stupid time, or lack thereof.

So tonight I’m shaking it off, letting go, moving forward, getting back into the swing of things. I’m still busy, but I recognize this is a priority for me, so I recommit to making time for the project. You’re my witnesses. 🙂

Wanna catch up a little? There are some random things floating in my head tonight I feel I should share. And by “should”, I mean “want to”, as I’m sure you’ll agree once you see how silly they are.

I had a big salad for dinner tonight with fresh blueberries. I love blueberries in salads. Love. You should try it. Seriously. Like right now. Go make a salad. I can wait.

(whistling…….)

(Are you back? Ok, good.)

I’m camped out on the couch tonight under three (THREE!) blankets because hello, it’s COLD. And I am stubborn and refuse to turn the heat back on, because hello, it’s JUNE. And I am, of course, watching “Say Yes to the Dress”, because it’s Friday and I can’t stop myself. How is it possible that there is someone named Lindsey on every episode? Sorry, friends named Lindsey, I’m not bashing your name at all, just had no idea it was so….prevalent.

I have not washed my hair in two days, and it is enormous. It also looks marvelous. Seriously. I would post a picture, but it’s only my hair that looks awesome, the rest of me looks like I’ve been camped out on the couch all night.

Tonight I was also browsing the web for pot brownie recipes. For a friend. Truly. And I found this great site that had an illustrated recipe. I don’t know why I’m so tickled by it; it’s just so thoughtfully done. Look how cute this is. Honest, not for me though.

Did I mention there are THREE NEW EPISODES of “Say Yes to the Dress” on tonight? It’s a banner night. And also, the three blankets have worked, so it’s time for ice cream. I’ll be back soon. I mean it. In the meantime, what’s new with you?

NAKED

Perv. WordPress suggests using attention-grabbing headlines. Worked, didn’t it? But you’ll see – it’s relevant.

This is going to be harder than I thought. Again, not writer’s block. I’ve finally stopped tweaking the shade of lavender, and even though I’m sure there’s a way to make the “W” at the top of the page bigger and more interesting looking, I’m reminded that this was supposed to be a writing endeavor, not a design project or a software lesson, and since I know how to write and post, I should stop fucking with the way the page looks. (Holy. Crap. That’s a long sentence.) (And oh yeah….in case you don’t really know me, I cuss. A lot. And if you don’t like it….fuck off. AHAHAHAHAAAA!!!) (Kidding. Kind of.)

So what, you may ask, is the problem? Exposure. Much like I started seeing the world in Facebook stati, blog topics are appearing everywhere around me. I am not at a loss for ideas. The challenge is getting beyond being quippy and revealing my gooey center. Today I considered and rejected a variety of hilarious topics (possible overstatement) that ended up being very personal. Duh, Wendy, that’s what blogging is. Apparently I just hadn’t thought about it. If I’m going to do this, clearly I need to grow some thicker skin. And then I can run for office, because I’ve always said I take things too personally to do that. Of course, I’ll have this blog out there rife with f-bombs, and no one will elect me. 😀

AND, anyone can read this, which means if I say something about my ex-husband, for example, he might read it. (He won’t. But still.) Not that I would. (Ok, I might.)

Or you might know my friends, so mayhaps I should use clever nicknames to make it harder for you to identify whom I’m talking about. Like if I talk about my friend Mourtney, that’ll protect her identity, right?

Anyway, it’s just a new set of considerations, which I hadn’t considered. I thought about establishing some ground rules. Things like: don’t tell ________ if I write about him/her/it. Yeah, that’s cheating. If I put it out there, it’s out there. I’ll work on that part – putting it out there. And hopefully this will be the last post about not actually writing a post. If that makes sense.

OMG. The things spell check wants to correct are awesome and hilarious. Apparently “Mourtney” isn’t actually a word.