Friday, May 28, 2010

Weekend in the woods

We're going backpacking this weekend!

I love a relaxing weekend camping in the woods. Well, of course by relaxing I mean anywhere between a ten to twenty mile hike through rough terrain, unpredictable weather, digging a hole and calling it a latrine, bathing in a near-freezing stream, purifying your own water and pitching a tent at the end of all that, only to have a curious little mammal scratching at your tent in the middle of the night, scaring the bejesus out of both of you.

I love it!


From my last trip in the Catskills.

During my March/April break, backpacking in
the beautiful Shenandoah Valley.

It's been a while since we've been to the Catskills, and it will be nice to hike a new peak. The Catskills are a nice challenge because of the nature of the geological history there. The trail often cuts over and through large boulders transported through glacial activity and erosion of the sedimentary bedrock. And the water is delicious!

Except I did get a parasitic infection the last time we were there. Three days of not being able to stray more than twenty feet from a bathroom is not my idea of a souvenir.

Pictures to follow, along with my take on Leave No Trace.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I'll do it tomorrow..

That's pretty much the theme song that I've got following me around day to day. "I'll start packing tomorrow." "I'll grade these tests tomorrow." "I'll finish this paper tomorrow." "I'll get to writing tomorrow."

Replace the word "tomorrow" with "after whatever the heck is my current preoccupation." Right now, I'm fretting over this.

Ignore the Amish dress hanging off of the boxes of books,
it just hasn't made it into a box yet... oh I'm sorry.

Yes, there are 22 boxes of books in this stack.

And this.

Why is there an iron on top of these boxes?
I'll just pack it back up tomorrow...

In the last four years, my partner and I have moved four times. You would think we have this down to a science, and pretty much he does, while I just putter around waiting for him to finish.
There's a reason I haven't shown you my packing. (Hint: It's not done yet.)

I can't pack my clothes because how will I know what I want to wear?

I can't pack the ice cream maker, what if I want to make some ice cream? Even though I've three pints of Tofutti in the freezer that I won't be able to finish in a month. Homemade ice cream is so fulfilling...

I can't pack the slow cooker. Granted, in the four years I've had it, I haven't used it, but what if in my last month in this apartment I want to slow cook?

You see my problem with this whole packing business. So while I'm worrying about what I should be doing, I'm pretty much not doing anything at all. I'm planning a story, currently setting up the time line but can't actually commit myself to sit down because of all the other stuff I could be doing.

I just need to remember...

to breathe.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Veggies don't make good writing parchment

I know. I suppose semantically, "Powered by veggies" would be more appropriate a sub-heading, but I'm not a high-powered individual.

I just really...


really like fruits and veggies.
Shout out to the quinoa and chai-blend yerba
mate hiding in the background!

I didn't always. Even after becoming vegetarian four(ish) years ago, I would pass up legumes for a Boca burger. Even after transitioning to veganism, I was not in love with leafy greens. I still preferred Oreos, one of the foods on PETA's I can't believe it's vegan! list. No guys, I'm not a card-carrying member of PETA!

Becoming vegan opened me up to a wider variety of cuisine. (WHAT? Yes!) Being vegan forced me to become more creative with my foods. I ran out to Strand to buy the Bible of veganism, the Veganomicon. The difference between Isa Chandra-Moskowitz's cookbooks and others that I've purchased before is that all of the ingredients are from real food. I had to, for the first time, make dinner out of a bag of flour, potatoes, cauliflower and be creative with what amateur kitchen equipment I had. Around this time, tofu began to make me ill. I think because I relied on it too much as my staple source of protein. My dinners became more varied and delicious, and progressively less-processed.

Where to get my essential amino acids? (This is the question that boggles the minds of non-vegans the most). Soy is not the only complete protein, and I was more than happy to fit more quinoa in my dinner. That ancient little grain packs a lot of flavor and nutrition! I also looked at some raw food blogs for creative recipes, and still refer to a few that have been able to hold my attention or encourage me to practice yoga!

So when I say that I am "writing on veggies," essentially EVERYTHING I do is plant-powered!

(Even my caffeine indulgences!)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Just going to put it all out there..

Because why not? With the Internets being the way they are today, you could pretty much Google my name and find out at least 90% of what I'm about to tell you anyway.

I know hiding somewhere in the depths of my family's "Oh we just can't throw this away" pile lies a stack of writing that is proof positive of my early inclination towards putting words on paper. I was not a very articulate child (and as an adult, my debate style is still very much, "Oh yeah? Well... oh yeah?!", using the angry Italian-American inflection that my father is notorious for).

I relied on writing to put my thoughts into words, and wrote voluminously in journals. When I realized that it was easy to make my journal entries more... interesting by adding some fictional flavor to them, I became utterly lost in the world of writing. My grandmother still tells stories about how I would beg to go to work with her and my grandfather so that I could type stories on their typewriter. This was before I had met a computer....

Fast-forward to Spring/Summer 2009. My partner and I were taking the garbage to the dumpster one afternoon, and took a gander into the bulk garbage room. (Neighbors use the bulk garbage for items too large to fit in the dumpster, or for furniture and things that are still in good condition. We don't turn our nose up to the term "dumpster diver," we've gotten some great things from there!) Tucked away in the back corner of the room was a clear plastic bag filled with books, and I quickly attacked it. The books were in excellent condition and included, among other things, several Ellora's Cave and Harlequin novels, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Charlain Harris books, and a vintage copy of The Time Machine, one of my favorite books. What I wound up keeping filled two bankers boxes, much to my partner's chagrin. (At least as he is packing for us to move at this moment, grumbling about how he'd have two extra empty boxes if it weren't for me!)

I didn't leave the apartment for a week.

Just a small sample of the books my partner "forgot"
to pack... I just finished reading
Tithe. Excellent!

I quickly became engrossed in the world of romance novels. I blew through the EC books, and scrambled to the library to fill the need to just read more. I subscribed to the Silhouette Nocturne line, signed up for the Harlequin forum, and decided I was going to start writing my own romance novel!

....So, here I am!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Breaking in my new shoes blog

So after months of saying, "I'll get around to it," and weeks of exclaiming, "It has to be done!", days of staring at an empty blog screen wiggling her fingers over the keyboard, Leah has entered the blogosphere.

...Now what do I do?