I’m coming back tomorrow.

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*snarky*, *snarky*, Halloween!, *snarky*

no pictures yet.
it’s just not time.

While waiting in line at Ragstock in Iowa City I was watching a girl run around the store trying to figure out what to be for all three nights of Halloween. You heard me correctly THREE NIGHTS. In Iowa City you have to dress up Thursday night for Thirsty Thursday, Friday night cause it’s Friday and Saturday night cause it’s Halloween. Right.

Anyway, while waiting in line at Ragstock I was watching a girl run around the store trying to decide what to be…
Does she need to buy cowboy hat to be a cowgirl?
No, her friend has one she can borrow.
Can a biker girl wear a navy bandeau?
Yes, it’ll be dark enough no one will know.
Are the peace sign earrings the right symbol for a hippie?
Yes, they should work, it’s very Paul McCartney.
What color peace signs should she get? Orange?
**(PLEASE get the orange ones. They will match your orange spray tan that matches your orange hair and then all you’ll have to do is put on some black lipstick and you’ll look like a pumpkin! Please!)**
No, the light blue one’s would be better.

Eventually the girls walk out with nothing and the line is that much shorter.

Did anyone else learn to spell Halloween with a song?

H, A, double L, O
double U, double E

walk in beauty,

H, A, double L, o
double u…

p.s. It would seem I was incorrect about the number of days you have to get dressed for Halloween in this town. It’s really four instead of three. Yup, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday each have to have a different costume. Good thing that only happens every 7ish years.

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talk soup

It is windy in Iowa. The kind of windy that shatters the picture windows in my apartment buildings and rips the car door out of my hand leaving dents in the next car over. (The first one happened today, the second I just live in fear of.)

And due to that wind I just couldn’t face eating leftovers today. Veggie Chili Mac is all fine and good, but I don’t want it again on a day like today.  Enter Exotic India.  I love all forms of food, but I for sure have a bigger soft spot for Indian food than most people. I love the blends of spices, the mix of hot and sour, the naan and all the wonderful aromas.  And one other thing, but we’ll save that for the end.  Exotic India, like many Indian restaurants has a lunch buffet. It’s smart because I always want a little bit of everything, so when I go usually end up with something that looks like…

…this lovely plate of goodness.

There is some tandoori chicken, a samosa, zucchini kofta, chicken saag, and some broccoli on that plate. But the crowning glory is in that bowl with the spoon…

…daal soup.

I don’t know what they put in that soup, I don’t think I really care. It is the most mouth-watering soup I’ve had in years.


Yes, years.

So let’s talk soup. I don’t like them really thick, really creamy, or really sweet. I do like cold soup, I like partially blended soup with just little bits of texture and I love soup with corn in it for some reason. This soup, the daal soup, hit high in almost every category. It was thin enough to actually dribble off the spoon and had been blended a little, but still had a bit of parsley? and lentil floating through to make sure you chew a little and savor. It was not overly spiced or oily, but there was a distinct flavor of something buttery and a strong savory smell. I had two bowls. It was that good.

I am a bit torn about this meal. That soup was good enough for me to want two bowls, but one of the reasons I love Exotic India so much is the chai. It truly is the most delicious chai in the world. Tastes like tea and milk and a bit of sugar and spice and is better than dessert cause it’s so simple and wonderful.



I’m going to leave you dreaming about he most delicious chai in the world.

walk in beauty,


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Hott for sure, but not the kind of cranberries I’m writing about today.

That’s more like it.

I went to the grocery store last night in order to pick up the fixins for breakfast burritos. While wandering through produce, what should I come upon but cranberries!

It is officially my favorite time of year when these little babies show up. It means the heat of summer is officially over and we’re looking forward to fall and winter. The leaves are crunchy and scattered about and pumpkins in the field are being harvested.

I wish I could find my pictures from my trip to New Jersey last October. My Momma lives minutes away from some beautiful cranberry bogs and when we were there last year we were able to see some of the aftermath of the harvest. I’ll be the first to admit I picked up a few of the strays and munched on them right then and there.

And yes, I am the kind of person who can eat cranberries raw and unsweetened. They have such a satisfying pop when you bite into them and the sour/tart is only made better by crunching through the little ventricles with all the tiny, tiny seeds.

It is cranberry season and I am a happy girl.

walk in beauty,


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sweet sweat

Today I am reminded that construction workers smell like a mixture of dust, chew and sweat. Good Lord, I love that smell. It’s almost as good as the smell of service members who smell like a mixture of ironing, brasso/shoe polish and sweat.

And now for a train of conscience moment.
I vividly remember learning the difference in spelling between sweet and sweat. In one of the American Girl Kirsten books, there is a passage in which Kirsten is remarking on the smell of her mother and baby sister and she uses the phrase ‘sweet sweat’. The first time I read it I just could not understand what she was saying. I wondered if it was a typo and thought it should have been caught by the time I read the book. As someone who read above her age group I was used to coming across words I didn’t understand and usually if I kept reading I would either understand from context or find it didn’t make a big difference to the plot. This was a little different. I knew I should know these words and knew my brain was just being stubborn. I was one of those kids who didn’t stop while reading though, so I just pondered a second and kept reading. Eventually my adolescent mind figured it out, but I think I had to read the book a few more times before it finally clicked. Sweet, Sweat! Sometimes sweat just smells bad, just think about a teenage guy, and sometimes sweat smells wonderful and clean like when someone has been working outdoors in the winter. In this case, Kirsten is referring to the wonderful smell of her hard working mother. Sweet sweat indeed.

walk in beauty,


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after the storm photos




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cross stitch

I’ve started a new epic project. Almost ten years ago I bought a beautiful cross stitch kit with the thought that I would make it for my grandmother. She is the one who taught me to cross stitch and measure ingredients when cooking and to listen to my friends and buy myself a nice dress every now and then and respect my family, but also be fierce in my beliefs. Grandma loved roses and this kit is a large (15″x20″) grouping of pinky-mauve roses in a sterling bowl on a black background. It’s going to be beautiful even though now I’m making it for myself and not for her.
You see, she passed away about a year and a half ago. I had two really clear thoughts amid the pain and frustration I felt when I learned she was gone. First, I was upset with myself and somewhat relieved because I had never told her I am queer and she never knew about my girlfriend even though her only wish for me was that I would find someone who would be my great love. My second thought was about this cross stitch kit. I knew right away I would need to complete it anyway. It will become one of my greatest remembrances of her.
As I started working on it last night, I was thinking about why I like the process of cross stitch.
1) Take stock of your floss, needles, aida cloth and pattern
2) Center your cloth and secure it in the frame
3) Start stitching in the center and work your way out binding the loose ends in the stitches. There are no knots.
4) The first time through a section will take time as you follow the pattern
5) The second time through a section will be easier and you can enjoy following the hard work you did earlier.
6) As you move around the piece, there will be some large expanses to cover and some single and double stitch details to complete. They are both important to the whole piece.
7) When done, step back and enjoy. For me most of the time this is also followed by give it away.
There are no major revelations here. I cross stitch, other people run or do yoga or cook to get some stress relief and small sense of accomplishment and focus in their life.
One sort of side thought. When I describe the women who have helped make me who I am, I always think about two of them in this way. My grandmother taught me how to follow the rules and my mother taught me how to break them. Both systems serve me well in life.
walk in beauty,
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office colds

More than half my office has a bad head cold. That’s right, six of us all desperately trying to work and get better.We’re all coughy-sneezy-sniffly and working hard to not fall asleep.

Time to take some more cold medicine.

walk in beauty,


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Summer Storms

Many years ago, I learned it was ok to enjoy a summer storm until the sky turned green. That’s when the tornadoes are coming and its best to retire to the basement.

I have lots of storm stories. There are the many times the creek overflowed up to the basement door. The time Ellen crawled under her bed when she first heard a storm siren. The time Roy told us about why Iowa storms are even better than LA sunsets. And the time I listened to a tornado sweep by like a freight train going 500 miles per hour while I sat in the bathroom at my first apartment.

They are all good stories, but I want to tell you about storms and driving. It’s important to know just in case you’re driving on I-80 and you run into a doozey.

This is a cautionary tale.

While driving back home to Iowa City from Des Moines this Monday night I started seeing flashes of lightning running north to south in front of me. Normally it wouldn’t bother me (I like driving in rain), but this was a lot of lightening and it was blinding.

So there I am driving along at about 70mph and I run smack into a wall of rain. As I said, I like driving in rain, but this was too much so I slowed down, annoyed some of the truckers who now needed to pass me, and got off at the next exit to waiting out. It didn’t take long, so I was back on the road in about ten minute.

And here’s where the cautionary tale part comes in.

I must have been nearly through the storm when I stopped for those brief ten minutes, because I caught up to the dang thing about five minutes later. You know, its like one of those story problems you get in junior high: If a storm is going 40mph east and a person is driving 70mph east how many times do you think she’ll drive through the same storm before she figures it out and just drives through the thing to get it over with?

For me, it ended up being three times. The first time I stopped. The second time I slowed down to get behind it. The third time I got off to take a deserted two lane highway so I could go 50mph, get through the storm and not piss anyone but myself off.

walk in beauty,

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I woke up this morning and said to my girlfriend, Happy Surgery Day!

So no, I’m not having surgery, but my dear, sweet Catherine is.

She is having knee surgery to repair her knee from a fall over a year and half ago. Last year at this her Mom and I were sitting in the same waiting room we are now, waiting for news on a different knee surgery. That one was more minor and very hopeful at the time. She was able to be up and moving with three small scars in a matter of hours.

This time, she is getting a donor MCL and will have a much bigger scar let alone a longer recovery time. The most disconcerting part is that the surgeon, who is a very good one and the head of the department, has only performed this surgery twice in twenty years and this type of surgery has variable results.

Also, it is Friday the Thirteenth. Seriously?

I don’t have a lot of super introspective thoughts about surgery. I’m neither pro or against, but right now its what I’m thinking about and worrying about.

walk in beauty,

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