Posts Tagged With: Birthday

Just Birthday Things


I feel like I have not had a break in ages, although all the things I’m not getting a break from are fun and/or relaxing.  My birthday adventure turned out to be a trip to Big Bear (!!!).  It was hot up there, but not nearly as hot as it was in Redlands (which reached 103, I believe).  SUCH a good idea.  Brian and I wore ourselves out hiking in the morning, and then decided that we did not want to venture out for dinner.  Instead, I cooked ribs and artichokes on the grill in our little condo, and they turned out AMAZING.  Brian made me a Funfetti cake, which is my favorite, and we rented a movie.  On day 2, we visited the Big Bear Museum – best thing EVER! – and then loafed around until it was probably time to come home and get ready for the week.

I am now frantically trying to get all the laundry done before I have to pack for Massachusetts.  I ran all the errands for Dramamine and gum last night, the turmeric cooking stain has come out of my white pants, and I have an official packing list.  So I’m feeling pretty accomplished.  I mostly just have to put things in suitcases at this point.  We’re going to take the train into LAX on Friday morning, which will make our trip out an epic journey.  But by some miracle, our flight is direct.  Crazy, right?

I am so thrilled to be going.  I don’t get to see that side of the family nearly enough.  Plus Plimoth Plantation.  My love for that place is embarrassing in its effulgence, so I try to keep it cool.  Which, of course, never works.

I am excited for a fairly free weekend upon returning, too.  At Brian’s grandfather’s 90th birthday, a cousin of his brought a large manila envelope filled with canning books.

“Does anyone can?” she asked.

“Casey does!” said Brian.

I tried to protest that, because I wasn’t officially a blood member of the family, if anyone else wanted them they had first dibs.  But it seemed no one else did.  When I opened the envelope later, it was this treasure trove of amazingness.  There are instructions from the 1970s on how to make a home fruit dryer.  There is a cookbook from the 1950s that is full of how to can meats and vegetables, complete with revolting recipes in the back telling you what to do with all that canned meat.  There are clippings from the newspaper with recipes for lye soaps.  But my favorite is the cookbook from the 1940s.  It extolls the virtues of canning for Victory (yes, with a capital V), and informs you that the wide-mouth jars best for fruit preparations are unavailable in wartime, but that you should look out for them afterward.

Minted pears, fruit leather, chutneys made from oranges and pineapple, tomato sauce, chicken soup, olives… it’s all in there.  Anything you can think of wanting, and several things you never would have thought of but must have immediately.  I got SO excited.

The only problem? I didn’t really have the equipment.  The pot I have is smallish, fine for ½ pint jars, but no good for the big ones.  The water wouldn’t cover them all the way.  I also didn’t own a jar lifter to grab them out of the boiling water.  I sighed, and figured I would buy a jar lifter and some small jars and see what I could do with what I had.

Brian fixed all of that with my birthday gift.  I now have ALL THE THINGS, a nice big pot with a rack that fits perfectly in the bottom, a small spatula with a ruler on the end so I can measure headspace easily, a magnetic lid placer, a lid tightener, a jar lifter, a super wide mouthed funnel… even extra jars.  There is nothing I’m wanting.  There will be no “making due,” because I have it all.

The only problem I see now is what to do with all the copious quarts of yummy things I’m going to have in jars around the house.  That is, however, a problem I’m willing to tackle.  With a spoon.

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A Week of Miscellany


Oh man, I’m feeling like I have nothing to write about today.  Which is probably false.  It’s just been such a whirlwind of a week that I’m looking forward to snuggling on the couch with Anydots, eating leftovers, and watching cooking documentaries on Netflix until I inevitable pass out at 8:00 pm.

This week, I:

  • Played DnD on a school night (on Wednesday)
  • Went to see Community Voices at Chapman on Thursday (6 30-minute documentaries made by students, and SO GOOD. The Casa Theresa one had me laughing and crying, but the rest were amazing too.  Only the Cochlear one made me mad – SO INNACURATE)
  • Had the weirdest meditation experience on Friday in which I felt both lectured to and appreciated, for some reason.
  • Celebrated my grandfather’s 90th birthday on Saturday by going to a fancy lunch at Panda Inn and then eating mass quantities of pie at his house after.
  • Celebrated my amazing mother on Mother’s Day by cooking her Eggs Benedict (with Belinis) and then taking her to a movie.

So perhaps it’s no surprise that couch-potato me is a little frazzled.

On another note, for the first time EVER I am only 1 book ahead on my Goodreads reading challenge.  Last year I was perpetually 7 books ahead.  This year, I’ve been clocking in at about 3.  I’m claiming that it’s because I’ve been reading a bunch of non-fiction lately and those always take me longer.  But yikes!  I might swap out documentaries for a good book instead tonight.

I also want to mention, for anyone who is female and has unpublished stuff lying around, Half Of The World is running a literary contest for which the ultimate prize is $50,000.  No restrictions on genre, but it must be a screenplay, short story, novel, written in English It also has to feature a well-rounded female protagonist.  I mean, you might as well, right?  There’s no cost to enter.  Go check it out!

Categories: Life, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Red Head


I had been talking about dying my hair red.  I’ve been wanting  a change, and envying all the ginger tresses in my life, bottle-got or not.  “I’m really going to make the appointment,” I told Brian.  But then I didn’t do it.  I thought about the myriad of Graduation pictures I would be taking in a few weeks and thought, even if I like it, I won’t look like myself.  I decided to dye it the day after graduation.

Then, I thought about it a little more.  I’m no hairdresser.  My cousin just tried drugstore red to disastrous consequences.  I would have to go to a salon and pay vast sums of money to have it done.  Spending vast sums of money the first time would mean I had a commitment to uphold – a salon appointment every six weeks or so to get my roots done, investment in fancy shampoo.

It was too late.  I had over thought.  I was officially not dying my hair, although the yen for red had not faded.

“What do you want for your birthday?” Brian asked me.

“I want a Brian adventure,” I said.  This is when he plans something fabulous, tells me nothing about it, and I find out when we get there.

“Dress casual,” he told me.  “We’ll have lunch somewhere, and then we’ll go.  It starts at 4:30.”

I stuffed myself with tapas at Tu Tu Tango, and tried to guess where he was taking me.

“We’re going dancing, in the late afternoon, and I’m just dressing uber-casual for some reason.”

“We’re attending a comedy show that just happens to start really early in the day.”

“There’s some sort of class at the Botanic Gardens.”

“You’re taking me mud wrestling.”

“We’re cross country skiing, um… in the summer, so without the skis.”

“That’s exactly what we’re doing,” he said.  “Except that most people just call that hiking.”

“Fair enough,” I said.

I was not at all expecting what I got.  We pulled up downtown to my hair salon.  He booked me an appointment to become a red head.  He’s so good at giving me the kind of day I didn’t know I wanted more than anything else.

It’s been a strange change.  I have always been a blonde.  Any hair dye I’ve used has been to make myself more golden.  The first day, I loved it more than anything and couldn’t stop looking at myself in the mirror.  I washed it, re-styled it, and decided on the second day that I didn’t like it after all.  It was too much of a change, and who did I think I was anyway?  I’m not fun enough to be a red-head.

Today I love it again, more than I ever have.

On another note, Brian was hilarious in the Salon.  They have a little vacuum set in the wall where they can sweep the hair and it sucks it up.

“Oh my God, COOL!” said Brian, very loudly.  He was impressed that they had wine, too.  Before long he had helped pick a shade of red for my hair, and was getting the stylist to regale us with stories of hair color gone bad through customer idiocy.  We played Settlers of Catan on his tablet while we waited for the color to set.

“This is way better than my $12 a cut barber shop,” he said.  “And there are a lot of guys here too.”

“Male haircuts are $35,” said the stylist.

Brian coughed.

I laughed.  There’s a reason I used to only do this once or twice a year.  But now I’m a ginger, with a six week commitment.

Today, I’m loving it.

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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