Craft Catatonia

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Hoo boy….I am beat down to a nub. I have been arts and crafting my ass off in preparation for the upcoming local county fair.

While the term “county fair” may imply something small and hick-ish, my local fair is anything but. It’s a huge event

Back in February, I visited with my godkids in Las Cruces, and they were all fired up about their own county fair coming up in September.

My niños are all about 4H and have decided to raise pigs this year to show at the fair. Their excitement was contagious, so I came back to Northern California fired up and ready to participate in my own fair.

In fact, I was so excited that when the guidebook arrived, I decided to sign up for four events. Four. Which means I’m either stupid or sadistic. I, uh, have a full time job.

Since the fair kicks off June 11, my four entries are due, oh, NOW.

The events I’m doing are: short story, photography, visual art, and baking.

Yes. I said baking.

The short story had to be turned in over a month ago so the judges had plenty of time to read and evaluate the stories. Last week I got the smoking hot news that my story won my genre category, which was Western.

Whoo hoo! The fair hasn’t even started and I’m liking this already!

The story will be published in an anthology of stories put out by the Fair and sold to benefit charity.

Pretty damn excited, I can tell you that!

The photography entry has gone fairly well, too. I knew which photo I wanted to use and it was a matter of getting a good print made (harder than it sounds) and then cutting the mat and framing the piece. I got that done mid-last week. Boom!

The visual art piece is a Dia de los Muertos inspired craft. Oh, how this work has vexed me. I had a *very* ambitious idea and have spent the last couple months constructing tons and tons of tiny details and figures and touches. The work, just finished this morning, doesn’t include all of the aspects I’d hoped to accomplish, but I have to say, I’m very proud. This project really pushed the bounds of my abilities as both crafter and storyteller.

Yesterday evening I slumped back in my chair, catatonic. I had nothing left. I had glue and paint all over my hands, sweat on my brow and an ache in my lower back that defies superlatives.

But yet I was still compelled to keep going and finish this piece on deadline, for no other reason than the pure satisfaction of having completed something so very boundary testing.

I did it. I DID it. I’ll be damned…I actually did it. Whoa.

Today I’ll turn in the framed photo and the art work and then I’ll do a little “I made it by the deadline” dance.

Then I’ll collapse.

But wait, there’s more! The deadline for the fourth event comes up next week. I entered the “ethnic desserts” category and I’ll be whipping up a batch of Biscochitos.

New Mexico! Representin’!

And then I will eat my fill of anise seed treats, slip into a sugar coma, and sleep for a very long time…or at least until The Muse taps me on the psyche again.





My Bounceback Done Gone

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First of all…I’m glad to be back on the interwebs. The hotel where I’m staying this week is supposed to have free WiFI, and in the past, it’s always been great, allowing me to surf and do email with ease.

During this week it’s been dog slow. At one point it took a half hour for a page to load. For three days I’ve been begging someone to restart the router on my floor and this netted me many a blank stare from the hotel staff.

They finally gave me a tech support number and the nice tech support guy in another country diagnosed my technical issues. And then he restarted the router. Sheesh!

Aaaaaanyhow….

Along with interweb woes, I’ve been living it up a little on the road food. (see my abject joy of Sonic post).

Lately (meaning, prior to this trip) I’ve been trying to eat small meals several times a day. Good small meals with lots of lean protein and less sugar along with going easy on the dairy, and no gluten.

God I’m getting old. Look at that paragraph above. Sheesh.

But…when I do all of that and throw in a little exercise, I feel pretty good. I sleep well. My brain is clear. I have energy.

Today, I had to endure a daylong training class. I did nothing more than sit on my rear all day. No exercise and boooooring. So to pass the time I poured milk in my coffee (bloat) and had a pastry from the oh too pretty plate of goodies (tummy gurgle) and ate a sizeable lunch on top (*burp*).

Now I’m all bloated up like Violet Beauregarde (the one who swelled up into a blueberry and had to be juiced) and wondering just what in the heck possessed me when I know better?

As I said to the good man via a whiny text message….”A few minutes of :) for several days of :( Ugh!”

Ugh, indeed.

It didn’t used to be like this. I used to be able to eat dairy and wheat and fats of all sorts of saturation with reckless abandon!

Where did it all go wrong?

I aged. That’s where it all went wrong. At 22 I could bounce back from a journey down cheesey tater tot lane in about a day. Now it takes me many days and some hard work and diligence just to come back to even.

*sigh*

Thus ends my whining for the day.

I know, I know…ya’ll went two days without a blog post for this? Hmph!

I’ll try harder tomorrow.




A Cacophony of Noms

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Over this past weekend, The Good Man and I got together to celebrate a belated Mother’s Day with my in-laws. It’s always nice to have a chance to catch up with family.

The place we chose to eat was a nice hotel with a Sunday buffet brunch and a live jazz trio to add ambiance.

The family all got dressed up and converged on the hotel. The jazz was lovely. The setting sublime. Mimosas were poured. Chatter happened. Then the waiter said “go ahead and get started” and we were off to wander around the wonderland of food.

I have to admit that at first I could only stumble about with an empty plate. I was both surprised and astounded by all the food.

Prime rib and pancakes, sushi and dim sum, a huge table of seafood of all varieties! And that was only the beginning.

One part of me was like “Yeah baby!” I could easily envision myself much like Cookie Monster, shoveling it all in there while grunting “ahm nom nom nom nom!”

But another part of me was almost turned off by the literal piles of food. Good lord! So much food! A first world problem, to be sure.

After walking around in a daze, I finally dove in. I made the conscious decision NOT to lay right down and devour the entire dessert table (it was tempting). Instead I chose only the things I knew for sure I’d like and in small amounts. I had to remind myself that I could return for more if needed. That ol’ demon self-control.

I think the key to a buffet is if you take something you don’t really care for…don’t eat it. Yes, I know for many the idea of wasting food is terrible, but in this scenario, it’s almost necessary.

In the past, I’ve had occasion to think about the “I have to get my money’s worth out of the buffet!” concept. This plagues a lot of people and causes the desire to eat as much as possible. This is fairly common, actually. I’ve personally succumbed to this thought.

To be honest, the cost of the buffet is less about how much one can eat and more about how many choices the establishment is able to provide. It costs money to have enough people to put on a spread like that.

A buffet is certainly a deliciously dangerous place for a food lover like me, but it’s also a boon for a food lover. A buffet provides a huge range of choices that I’d just never get with a traditional sit down and order off the menu type of meal.

It’s all about balance.

At the end of the day, the intent was to be with family, not Cookie Monster the entire meat carving station. Though the thought did cross my mind…





The Reckoning

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Today, the alarm clock went off and I groaned. Champagne, ham, prime rib, potatoes of all sort and way too many desserts slowed my senses and made me weak.

A Christmas hangover if there ever was one.

But this is December 27th. Christmas is over.

I knew what I needed to do. It was time to confess my sins.

Rising from my warm slumber, I put on the appropriate raiments and went to face the only entity that could absolve me from my indiscretions.

TM* looked at me with that one cold eye. He knew what I’d been up to. The last time we’d visited had been eight days ago.

Eight days.

A lot of bad behavior can happen in eight days.

A lot of bad behavior DID happen in eight days.

There was no turning back now. I entered the confessional and slowly began my ablutions.

The iPod went into my ears and shuffle fired up. No need for a hymnal, I know the words by heart.

Five minutes passed. Hey, I thought to myself, this is not so bad!

At about the fifteen minute mark, my left calf piped up. “Pardon me, but with all that booze you had, we’re a skosh dehydrated. Potassium low and all that. I believe I’ll go ahead and cramp right up.”

I said to myself, “just keep walking.”

At about the twenty five minute mark, my lower back chimed in. “Yes, yes, cramping does seem to be the thing to do. Huzzah!”

“Just keep walking.”

Then my feet had something to say, with a backing chorus from my knees.

“Just keep walking.”

My hip flexors asked, in a rather snotty tone, “Why *exactly* are we doing this?”

The very sweat glands of my body began exhaling stale booze and toxins.

I replied by turning my iPod up louder and putting an ever more determined look on my face and then I…

Just kept walking.

At the fifty minute mark, I’d said all the metaphorical Hail Marys and Glory be to the Fathers I could manage. I’d done my act of contrition.

I was absolved.

Kind of.

I suspect that tomorrow, I’ll need to go confess again.

You know, New Year’s Eve is just there on the horizon.

And the confessional is waiting.

*TM = Treadmill

Are you there, baklava? It’s me, Karen

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You know, I’m really very spoiled. Terribly so, and I must work to not let it all go to my head.

But, I must also say…I deserve a little spoiling now and again…

Like, say, around the celebrations of my birth? Yes. Always a good time to spoil me rotten, and my wonderful mom-in-law held nothing back.

In fact, Sunday was a darn good day in my life.

The day started with the opening of Localvision 2010, a photography exhibition. I was invited to add a photo to the event, and was totally geeked out by the first real gallery showing of my photography.

The Good Man and his mom went along with me to be my entourage for the fun.

It was really heady to see my framed print on the wall and to see people looking at it and talking about their impressions of the image. It pretty much made we want to go hide in the bathroom for the duration. But I held strong.

After the gallery opening, we went to my mom-in-law’s place for dinner.

And oh what a dinner.

For appetizers, there was guacamole (yum!) and Italian salami, and olive and feta cheese and oh my!

I was already starting to fill up.

But then, oh then…….

That amazing cook made me chopped chicken livers. Fresh! From scratch! I saw the actual raw livers before the magic began!

Oh my heavenly days! My love of da liver is well documented.

A whole bowl of homemade liver-y delight! All for me me me me!

Whooooo! I get dizzy just thinking about it. It was the best chopped liver ever in my history.

I almost wept. I really did. It was a brown lump of heaven on a cracker.

If loving cooked chopped organ meat is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

As I surrounded the bowl, my husband had to remind me that I could take some home, I wasn’t required to eat it all there. Seriously, I was afraid someone would take it away from me!

But there was more!

Succulent chicken for dinner with the most delicate and tasty potatoes on the side.

And then….

Oh then….

Homemade baklava for dessert.

For me! Me me me me me!

Ok, I shared the baklava with The Good Man since he’ll eat it (and not liver).

But damn!

I loved my multicultural dinner (Mexican, Greek, Italian, Jewish, etc). I felt so incredibly spoiled and it was one of the best birthday presents EVER!

Whoo.

Today I might need to take a walk and burn a calorie or two. I may have overindulged just a skosh.

And that baklava in my ‘fridge. It calls to me. Sings to me. Beckons me to come and sample of the tasty goodness inside.

I. Can’t. Resist.

The chicken liver is already gone. I couldn’t resist it so much I had it for breakfast, lunch and dinner and every snack in between.

*burp*

Feliz Cumpleaños para me!