Archive | August, 2010

Have I Sinned?

24 Aug

oh, look at the delicious grilled cheese and tomato soup…

No.  It’s not tomato soup. We are out. It’s organic marinara sauce thinned with water and white wine. Then spiced back up with Bragg’s Liquid Aminos.  He doesn’t know.

“It’s tomato soup!” I chirp. Then bend over silently laughing in the kitchen because of my totally ridiculous relapse of Catholic guilt over “lying” about the sauce turned soup.

Tell me,

Have I sinned?


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Thrifty Granny Spirit Possession: Project #1

23 Aug

Da’ Bike Bag

Oh believe me, it’s not like I am the first one to make a bike seat bag.  There’s nothing new under the da’ sun and I’ve seen this project lately on a couple of my favorite bike blogs.  On the heels of many people’s concern about my riding at night (oh my!), I make this bag to soothe their little souls with safety by ensuring my own with tools and supplies to fix flats plus much whatnot: in addition to wallet, teeny moleskine & pen, bike lights, and cell phone there is also room enough for my fave-o-rite coffee cup.  If I’m gonna spare the air by biking I might as well save a tree and bring my own cup too, right?

So how about da’ bike seat bag?  Hate the idea of going to buy one that looks like all the others.  So, in the spirit of my fave-o-rite bike blogs, my being possessed by thrifty grannies, and all do-it-yourselfers worldwide, I went to the thrift store and finally found the proper purse to outfit the Nishiki.  (I will have to catch you all up on the drama timeline of the roadbikes…but not now.  Now, we honor Nishiki who is not only a solid dependable renegade but also unbelievable fun.)

And finally, yes it really is as simple as it seems.  I found the purse at the thrift store, cut off the straps, clipped two “S” carabiners (or “S”-biners) on the metal loops where the straps formerly hooked, decorated the already gaudy black and dayglo pink purse with dayglo yellow reflective tape, filled it with goodies/necessities and clipped it to Nishiki’s seat. Done. Done. Done.

Total project cost?

purse: $2.99

S-biners: 2 @ $2.25 each

reflective tape: $5.00 (used half. so technically, $2.50)

About ten bucks.

Plus a short latte at the Flying Goat where they kindly deduct .25 cents if you bring your own cup: $2.25.

So, purse + caffeine = $12.25. Sweet.

LOOK!

Possessed By Thrifty Granny Spirits

16 Aug

#1

Confession:  I am possessed by thrifty Granny spirits.  It began within the past few months.  Seriously.  Not just any Grannies.  My Grannies.

So, no need for exorcism.  I quite enjoy them.  And, it’s probably no surprise then, when I tell you that seeing the WWII propaganda slogan: “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” (on Craigslist, painted on the side of someone’s stolen RV of all places) made me giddy. That, I credit to the granny possession. Not because the war or the historical reference are exciting but because the meaningfully revived slogan is freaking rad.

I’m pretty sure that both of my grandmothers have formed a peace treaty with each other and converged in my brain since my birthday back in June.

There’s Viola, the pie baking, flower and squirrel loving, sewing grandma–stylish because she made all of her own clothes and had bra and underwear repair kits in her sewing box. And, she was a little crazy, but then, who isn’t?

And Josie, the Maltese, bourbon and 7 on the rocks drinking grandma that made use of every scrap of food in soups, pastas, salads–you name it–fed you from the moment you walked in the door until you walked out (even then sending you home with more food) and had brand new back-up flannel pajama sets hanging in her closet until the day she died…but never wore them because she just kept repairing the old.

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” was second nature to my grandmas and is easily becoming my manifesto these days as well.  During WWII, it was a suggestion that spurred U.S. citizens to actively care about community by doing. By doing what was within their power to do.  Everyday people created social change and positive economic impact through everyday actions.

In this process of thought to action to support the war effort, people also preserved their environment by not overusing, wasting, or taking more than their share of food, materials and resources. People not only became self-reliant by growing and canning their own foods from their “Victory Gardens” but they also created community and relationships through giving and sharing with neighbors, friends, and family. The acts of growing food, redistributing, reusing, repairing and repurposing was simply, smart and friendly.

Now, I’m not gonna lie. I don’t get warm and fuzzy because of the patriotism. No, what I take from it is the idea that  people worked together for the greater good. And greater good, however inadvertently, also encompassed the benefit of the environment.  There was no reference point for labels like “hippie”, “liberal”, or “tree hugger” as those social labels weren’t coined until later in history.  People were just doing what was “right” by way of their actions being practical and making sense for everybody. Since the Granny possession I have been looking closely at my habits and beliefs and here are some changes I’ve made so far:

  • Saving tons of money by cooking at home (of course there is the occasional Chinese, Thai, or super burrito outing) and bringing home food leftovers or perfectly good, lightly blemished fruit and vegetables from work…for free!!!
  • A garden is in the works…our summer never really arrived, so it will be a winter garden.
  • My wardrobe has been about 99.7% thrift store for several years now. The change? I won’t buy something unless I absolutely adore it…
  • ***Most importantly***I’ve ditched driving (99.9%) in favor of riding my bike for transportation because it’s fun! And healthy! Yes, I’m obsessed.  And possessed. It is one less car on the road and one healthier human…it clears my mind, keeps me positive, and provides the physical challenge I need from day to day.  And did I mention how it makes my legs, heart, and lungs, healthy and beautiful?! Yes. It’s fun! And healthy!
  • Or, I walk

Realizing that spirit possession and thrifty living cannot be covered in but one post, imparted wisdom from here on out will be on Thrifty Granny Spirit Possession Mondays or Wednesdays, I think. My commitment issues prohibit me right now from deciding on the specific day. But I’ll give you a heads up: It’ll probably be Mondays.

Many people are affected by economic change…and environmental change.  Are you affected? How? Are you not affected? Why? Have any ideas you’d like to share? Love to hear your stories and comments!

Dude, I SO wish that spammers and sex sites…

14 Aug

Weren’t the only freakin’ things frequenting my blog. Seriously. Get out.

I don’t need a penis enlargement. Mostly because I don’t have one. And I don’t want your cheap freaking pleather purses.

Oh, and my college loans?  Already consolidated. Thanks.

DIY Graham Cracker and Beer Mega Dinner

11 Aug

Some nights call for a light dinner.  If you find that a sound proof room, punching bag, and serious kickboxing gear is still required after yoga:  Lost Coast Brewery Tangerine Wheat Beer and graham crackers are your friends. Below I walk you step-by-step through making DIY Graham cracker and Beer Mega Dinner.  If you carefully follow each step the first time, next time is as easy as riding a bike!

figure 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 6-pack Lost Coast Brewery Tangerine Wheat beer (note: if you feel like feeling crappy, choose another beer.)
  • 1 pkg. Graham Crackers

Materials:

  • “Church key” or other beer opening device
  • paper towel
  • your fingers
  • a bad attitude and/or irreconcilable ennui

Preparation:

  • Beer:
  • Open
  • Drink
  • Note:  I use the old school device pictured to the right. This dazzling piece of airtight construction was procured straight out of my father’s silverware drawer where the not fine not silverware resides.
  • Graham Crackers:
  • Open
  • Crack off a graham
  • Eat
  • Repeat

Suggested presentation: See figure 1, above. Use paper towel to wipe a clean spot on the table, then place graham on clean spot. Place beer nearby.

Final Note: for these particular evenings, I prefer using crappy lighting (see photos). It accentuates the overall feeling of crappiness so that the flavors of the meal really pop.

Bon Appetit! Buen Provecho!



How Do You Spell Freedom?

9 Aug

B-I-C-Y-C-L-E

(Nishiki and Zephyr rest in the kitchen after a Sunday evening cruise to Chinese food and a fast, furious night mission flying through quaint neighborhoods. Yeah!)

Backstory: When I was a kid, I had a sweet pink Schwinn with a flowered banana seat. I didn’t really ride it except when we lived in a housing subdivision for like, six months.  Then we moved back to the country and it ended up rusty and neglected outside the garage beside the three trash cans.

Living in the country, there were no sidewalks. And riding over the crumbly uneven soil just sucked. Our house was on a big hill and my sister and I invented ways to use gravity to our advantage in things that had wheels. Mainly, an old rusted Radio Flyer wagon.  Bikes? Not top choice.

The one time I decided to ride down the hill on a bike?  **H-A-Z-A-R-D** Underneath the field of long, golden California grass…the ground was riddled with gopher holes and probably snake pits and who knows what other kind of wild animal dens.  Long story short?  I took off helter skelter planning on the ride of my life; fast and thrilling.

Turns out, the only thing fast and (not) thrilling was my tremendous triple flip dismount over the handlebars when the front tire caught up in probably like, a badger burrow or something. And I ejected, a failed circus act, straight off that little flowered banana seat.  The bruising and shame of it all pretty much squelched any further daredevil tendencies.


Flash Forward: Until now.  Now, not only am I deep, deep in bike love but I am also reunited with my inner accidental circus rebel.  And now I bring common sense to the ride as well.  There is nothing like flying on an old steel road bike.  Life is right in front of you!  Butterflies graze my helmet, sun shines directly on my skin.  I am one layer closer.

I mean, you drive a car and to randomly stop at a garage sale requires work.  You have to execute a three point turn (only three if you’re lucky), you have to find parking, get out, lock the doors…by  now you’re probably a block away and you walk. Ugh. Walking good. The rest of it? Drudgery!

Ride a bike, spot a yard sale, crash up over the curb into the driveway and voila! You’re shopping. And there are shortcuts.  That actually make traveling shorter. Shortcuts in cars?  Never really shortcuts. Cutting through parking lots in a car requires waiting for other cars, following arrows.  You’re performing complete stops, losing patience.  Blahblahblah. On a bike?  You’re in. You’re out. Blam! Just like that. And you’re still obeying the rules of the road. Yeah!

Anyhow, about the Chinese food outing?  Hilarious.  So, we attempt to lock our bikes to the street sign in front of the joint…only to be thwarted by the polite yet insistent hostess who tells us repeatedly in loud clear English (with a thick accent) that we must park our bikes across the street. Upwards of ten times, even as we are moving our bikesthe shouting continues. Pointing to the city ordinance painted on the curb, and then to the bike rack directly across from us, she offers help and then I swear I hear her say, I wait for your ass.


And she did wait. Right inside the glass doors. With a deep bow, she seats us by a window with a perfect view of the bikes and announces–loudly–You watch bikes, see? And points.

There they are. Awesome.

The menu? Plum wine…of course. Mushu vegetables. Almond cashew chicken. Steamed rice. Yum.

The ride home?  Dark, cold, fast. Awesome.





Renegade Anti-Twotter

3 Aug

I meant Anti-Twitter. Oh, come on, you mean to tell me that the only way I can get my blog recognized is to Tweet about it? I can’t even use the word Tweet with a straight face. It’s embarrassing. I cringe. Moreover, the “but-everybody’s-doing-it” mentality makes me gag and barf.

I also hate the word blog. But I have one. I got used to it. I still hate the word blogosphere. Then there’s social networking. I like the word social. I hate the word networking. Why is the information age so annoying? And yet so convenient that eventually you give in. What choice do you have? Blogs that actually have readership all suggest the same things:

  1. Consistency and timeliness of posts
  2. Unique, audience worthy content
  3. Self-promotion via social networking

I actually considered Twitter today. I’ve been bucking tweets for Twitter’s entire existence.  Sure, on some days I have crickets and tumbleweed rolling across my blog stats.  Not gonna lie. I’m no pro. But I have standards. Freaking Twain didn’t Twot (ha. I said twot.) or Tweet or whatever the past tense of twittering is. Nor did any of the likes of the antique literati. Folks, ask yourselves: What would Hemingway do?

My dream has always been to write books. Books! Tangible and now apparently antiquated…possibly retro? What beats a bound story that you hold in your hands and feel the dry, thin paper between thumb and forefinger as you turn each type-print page? Ahhh, the comfort of a book with riffled pages and dog eared corners. You can’t dog ear Kindle. You also can’t leave Kindle on a park bench or at a bus stop with a note scrawled inside saying something about hoping the person who finds it enjoys it as much as you did.

The lure to be published is strong enough to consider sacrifice of myself to the little pastel blue bird and one hundred and forty characters. Yet, the distraction is just too great. I seek to keep life simple.

Sure, life is about adaptation. A fable:  I rode the sweet cruiser (below) to yoga yesterday evening and the partner in crime told me my tire is low. We stopped at the gas station for air and as I fumbled around getting increasingly annoyed when I couldn’t get the air hose fitted to the tire he said, If it doesn’t work that way, try it from a different angle. You always gotta try different angles. Adapt and overcome. (his military training is reflex).

I give myself wiggle room yet still cling steadfast to the old school. Let this be a tribute. I’m going to see what I can do on my own at the level of technology to which I’ve already made a commitment. Let’s document how far I get without the cute little bird and the cute little obsession with cute little tweets, hmmmm?

I may change my mind. But not today.