Wednesday, October 21, 2009

junked

I'm bringing back the junk drawer.

Surely you're familiar with the household junk drawer. In my parent's house it is in the kitchen, on the island, next to the drawer for placements and napkins, and regularly stocked with rubber bands, ballpoint pens, a screwdriver or two, school papers, polishing cloths, post its, batteries, coupons, newspaper clippings, and the occasional action figure. The junk drawer was, inevitably, a constant frustration. The contents were haphazard; they would overflow, preventing the sliding drawer from comfortable closure. Resigned, my mother, normally a lightning rod for organization, didn't even both with its innards. The chaos in the junk drawer would be contained by neither plastic caddy nor the most rigorous filing system. It remained in our kitchen a satellite nation, like American Samoa, unincorporated and unorganized.

As a child, I embraced the junk drawer. It was one of four hiding spots my mother had for Hershey's miniatures, and could occasionally yield unexpected delights in the form of crayons or rubber bouncy balls thought to have been lost forever. Yet, as I grew older and my mother's organizational tendencies revealed themselves in my maturing brain, I began to reject any clutter, no matter how harmless. Tensions grew between areas I strove to corral, and the need for catchalls to contain life's everyday trinkets.

If you were to look in my e-mail inbox, both at work and home, you would stifle either an eyeroll or a laugh. There are nearly as many folders as there are e-mails. I have been known to tell people "sour cream? top shelf on the right behind the jelly stacked on top of the margarine." The need for neatness pervades my home and office, of course, but bleeds into my personal relationships and inner perspective as well. I either want wrinkle-free, categorical, polite to the point of inane or I want guns blazing, emotional firecracker frippery. Club soda might seem more bland than your Great Aunt Nana but it will still explode when shaken (or frozen).

Which is why I'm going on blogging hiatus. I want my writing to be better but at the moment that needs private practice. I'm sure I'll be back; I'm too often struck with the need to assault you with my drunk-girl-tall-heels-stumbling words. Until then, all my previous posts will form a collective junk drawer. Unrestrained, disconnected, jumbled. I'll be back when I'm ready to embrace it.

love,
hannah

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


The past four days of my life have probably been the funniest [to others,] but they were too overwhelming [to me.] Will write when I'm ready to joke.

photo from here

Friday, October 9, 2009

sew fine

I have been a little missing in action this week. I would like to say that this is because I lead an extremely glamorous and important life, but honestly it's because I've been reading quilting blogs all week (insert gratuitous eye roll here). I've become a little obsessed with seeing people's massive stashes of fabric, well organized workspaces, and finished creations. A Quilt is Nice, Film in the Fridge, and several others, not to mention hours spend drooling over Heather Ross and Bari J print fabric. My AARP card is due on the mail any day now.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

color envy


I want to stomp up to this sweater on the playground and give it a nice solid shove. The thing refuses to go on sale in the color I want! Misty lavender? Yes. Warm mustard? Sandalwood? Check and check. But heather gray? Absolutely not.

stubbornly priced sweater from here

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

sauced

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My goal of making at least one vegan recipe per week (as opposed to hastily making something up) is going pretty well; last night I made this pasta and it was awesome. Oh who am I kidding? It was a disaster. The recipe calls for you to make the sauce in a blender. Do I have a blender? No. Do I have a hand mixer? Yes. Did I for some reason thing one could be substituted for the other resulting in chopped tomatoes being flung into the far corners of my apartment (full disclosure: this means like four feet in each direction, max), tofu cream cheese in my hair, and my roommates freshly made chicken being knocked to the floor, breaking a plate? Maybe. But I will say this, the pasta was pretty tasty. I made it will farm fresh tomatoes I bought at this random apple festival on a farm in Queens (I know, I'm weird) but next time I'm going to use tomato paste from a can. No hand mixer required.

photo from vegan yum yum, if you think mine looked like that, you're clearly new to this blog


Friday, October 2, 2009

proof

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Proof. Proof that my father once wore a watch. Nerdily, strap side up, natch. Stringy hair, Fender banjo, thick glasses, high forehead, rubberband bracelet, straight nose. All things I've inherited. Toned arms, deep tan, center part, natural sense of timing, propensity for going shirtless. All things I haven't. The background as familiar as a childhood blanket or old friend or first kiss, the holler he grew up in, where my grandmother lived and died. A place where I never wore shoes, where I climbed trees, baked biscuits. Played in a creek, walked the gravel road to the corner store for Klondike bars, feared the neighbor's dog who lived at the top of the hill. Peered into the deep well, lit firecrackers, had a drawer in the laundry room full of nothing but tiny aprons, and shucked green beans on the porch swing. Learned to crochet, went to Sunday School. Rolled sugar cookies, drank pop, played dress up, roasted marshmallows, opened Christmas presents, grew up. Not glamorous, not wealthy, not well lit. Well loved.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

some whiskey in my whiskey

  • Did Autumn totally sneak up on anyone else? I just put my bathing suits in my underbed storage like three days ago and haven't even pulled out the jackets yet. I'm not ready to see the sandals go.
  • I may or may not have rewarded myself for going to my first "woman doctor" visit (yes, I'm 22 and it should've happened years ago, I don't want to talk about it. Although if anyone needs tips for avoiding medical procedures, just let me know, I'm a pro; it took my dentist four years to get me to have my wisdom teeth taken out) with a J. Crew shopping spree. Everyone walking down Broadway just looked to well put together yesterday and nothing makes you feel frumpier than a surgical gown and shame.
  • I answer the main line in our office and you would be amazed at how many times a day I have this conversation:
Me: Good morning/afternoon, Strapless Living Incorporated
Caller: Hi, may I please speak with John Doe
Me: I'm sorry, I believe you have the wrong number, we don't have a John Doe in this office.
Caller: Is this 555-555-5555?
Me: No it is not, this is 555-555-5555.
Caller: Do you know how to get in touch with John Doe?
Me: No, I do not know John Doe.
Caller: *suspiciously* ...okay....

I would never, upon dialing the wrong number, assume that the person on the other line knew the phone number of the person I was attempting to call. Just because I know how to answer the telephone doesn't mean I have memorized the yellow pages.
  • Gratuitous song of the day from my latest obsession, The Felice Brothers (who are playing a New Year's Eve show in Brooklyn this year and who might cause me to end my "never go out on New Year's ever again," streak).

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

wardrobe malfunction

Somehow, magically, I have made it this far in life without a pair of black trousers. Please, please don't tell any television makeover personalities. I know every woman on the planet swears "it's so hard to find clothes that fit me!" but I'm going to toss my hat in the body-shape-issues-ring nonetheless. I have long legs (which are neither toned nor tan and constantly covered in mystery bruises so no jealousy needed), which defy even "tall" inseams. I have no hips. Small, but if I do say, perky, rear end. What I will lovingly refer to as love handles. Since I don't know any fruits that bear a resemblance to my middle half, the following is probably the best visual representation:
photo from here


Unfortunately the time has come where I can no longer operate in skirts alone. The blazers this season are just too enticing (it doesn't look the same with skirts, trust, I've tried). Because shopping for pants falls just below "being trapped in an elevator with Rush Limbaugh," and "going spelunking with the Duggar family," on my list of things I'd like to do on a Saturday afternoon, I keep putting this particular chore off. I have, however, set a deadline for myself. When I go home in October for a weekend, I am dragging my pathetic, oddly shaped self to J. Crew and trying on ever pair of wool-twill-four way stretch-trouser-superfits they have in stock until something fits. Or fits close enough so that I can scream my credit card number over the big red in-store phone to order the tall version, obviously.

Any more well balanced, or at least well proportioned readers out there? Is there anything you absolutely hate shopping for?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

word vomit

  • I got my copy of Vegan Yum Yum in the mail today (thanks to Mama Strapless Living, an exceedingly generous woman when it comes to Amazon.com) and am very excited to make all sorts of crazy tofu things. My only concern is that because I'm not really going vegan full blast, but rather meekly avoiding most dairy, that I'm going to mess up some of the recipes. I've got the soy milk, sure, but egg beaters instead of complete egg replacer. Also, I don't have a food processor, which seems to be a bit of a problem for a lot of the recipes (see earlier posts re: size of my kitchen for explanation as to why procuring one isn't particularly practical). Regardless, I'm going to try to do at least on recipe a week; I'll let you know how it goes.
  • Speaking of not eating dairy, I agreed to babysit for a friend of mine who just had a baby (I know, I know, this totally contradicts my fear of babies, but I couldn't say no) and she graciously insisted on making me dinner. Since she just birthed a TWELVE POUND baby a month ago, I didn't want to unload my dietary insanity on her and will be eating Spanish Tortilla tonight. Fingers crossed no heart attacks.

gratuitous plaid love

  • List love is spreading. Since I am usually unable to write things not in list format, perhaps I should submit something?
  • What should I write a list of? How to act like a geriatric? Members of bands one should try to avoid losing their virginity to in the back of rental cars? Ideas welcome.

Monday, September 28, 2009

weekend notes

  • Made my first trek to the Pacific Ave. Target in Brooklyn on Friday. While their homegoods and shampoo selection were noticeably lacking, can I get an "amen!" for $4 prescriptions please?
  • The wireless connection in my building was no longer cutting it so Time Warner put in my new internet and cable this weekend. I tried to refuse the $100 triple play package (digital cable, phone, and internet for $100/mos) but when they tossed in free DVR it was over. You know what else is now over? The likelihood that I will do anything besides watch TV for the next six months.
  • Veganism is going...okay. Tried making this on Friday but it ultimately tasted too yeasty for my liking (I recognize this could have been user error, certainly). Tried eating fish yesterday (barf, will have to get omega-3s elsewhere). Managed to avoid "Pizza Fridays" last week at work (!!!) but am not sure how to reconcile my need for mayo. Eating vegannaise is not an option (too many chemicals, plus it just seems a bit douchey for my taste) so will have to savor minuscule amounts of miracle whip on special occasions.
  • You know what is really fun and awesome to do if you are poor and have unfettered access to Quicken Online? Trying to fit J. Crew cashmere v-necks into you budget. Hours upon hours of fun!

Friday, September 25, 2009

unfortunateness

You know what I haven't blogged about recently? All the tremendously ugly stuff Urban Outfitters sells, which, hello! is my favorite thing to talk about! On the chopping block today? The following boot trend:



This is one of those looks that all the magazines and all the blogs will try to tell you is "SO HOT RIGHT NOW." Do not listen to them! They are liars! Or well meaning but ultimately hazardous ne'er do wells! Are you Olive Oyl? Are you trying to rid yourself of a Cockney accent with a doctor by the name of Doolittle? Are you an in the midst of an Okie dust storm during the great depression? Are you perhaps in a stage production of "Oliver," for your local theater troupe? Are you a time traveler on your way to the Victorian era? Are you someone who suffers from chilly ankle disease? No? Then move on, nothing to see here.

photos of overpriced, overglorified footwear from here

Thursday, September 24, 2009

accidental vegan

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I am 22 years old. I am 5'10, and at any given time weigh between 138-142lbs. I am a vegetarian. I don't smoke, and a modest drinker by 22 year old standards. Which is why when my doctor called yesterday to inform me that my cholesterol level was obscenely high, even she sounded confused. The first thing to try, she said, was a low cholesterol diet: no dairy, no meat (non-issue), no trans fat, no saturated fat, no dairy, no dairy, no dairy. Here's the problem: Some of my favorite foods, in no particular order, are: quesadillas, chocolate chip cookies, bagels with {lots of} cream cheese, fried egg sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, quiche, fettuccine alfredo, and grilled cheese sandwiches.


Honestly, and I know this is going to sound dramatic, but when I heard this at 5 o'clock I bitched and moaned but dismissed it. Then at 7 o'clock I opened my cupboards in preparation for making dinner and burst into tears. I couldn't think of a single thing to eat. I'm southern for God's sake! We invented deep fried butter! My grandmother, upon hearing I was a vegetarian, said things like "well this only has a little bacon in it."




Eventually I pulled it together enough to make tacos with kidney beans, lettuce, onions (unfortunately my red bell pepper had turned for the worse, or that would have been in there too), and salsa. No cheese. No sour cream. (the horror, the horror). They weren't bad, they're weren't awesome, but they weren't bad. Since I am pretty much being forced to empty the contents of my refrigerator and start over, I've decided to treat myself to delivery from Fresh Direct (update: just found out the Fairway in Red Hook delivers, so scratch the Fresh Direct). Soy milk, egg beaters, lots and lots of beans, tofu, more Kashi, whole wheat everything. I'm going to try to avoid the faux-dairy products (see: cheese made out of rice and other such crazies) for as long a possible in order to occasionally reward myself with minute servings of the real stuff.


*vegans stop reading at this point*

Honestly, I hate this crap. I hate that when I got Gwyneth Paltrow's patronizingly obnoxious GOOP newsletter this morning, replete with gluten-free, dairy free, and sugar free cookie recipes, I was one of the people who actually needed something like that. I've been a vegetarian for more than half of my life but I have never once considered going vegan. I think eggs and milk and leather are wonderful gifts from beasts of burden that we should appreciate and enjoy. I am not a foodie. I do not want to know the answers to questions like "what is pudding made out of?" But I don't want to have a heart attack either. When being referred to a as "heartless bitch," I want the comfort of knowing there really is a heart in there, happily beating away. Which is why I'm going to hunker down and figure my shit out and do what I'm told. Anybody know any good dairy-free resources that won't make my apartment reek of patchouli or force me to eat quinoa (I'm looking at you Jules!)? Send them this direction please. And if you happen to walk past me in the grocery store, curled up in front of the dairy case, just know that it is part of my grieving process, I suspect I'll be in mourning for a while.

photos from here