bon appétit.

i saw the movie julie & julia last night. i am now in love with julia child (well actually, i am in love with meryl streep channeling the late julia child). her counsel is genius, "always remember: if you're alone in the kitchen and you drop the lamb, you can always just pick it up. who's going to know?" obviously i never try to drop food on the floor, but unconditional permission from a le cordon bleu chef completely emancipates the home cook from potential fear of failure. okay, let's be realistic. i've never met the famous lady chef and unless the marbles start falling out of my head, i am not meeting her anytime soon, since she cooks in the tall-countered kitchen in the sky. the result is that i am bent on finding any other means to haul her spirit into my kitchen, which leaves me inclined to run out and buy her magnum opus mastering the art of french cooking. actually, i have already instructed the mister to procure this jewel for my christmas present.

i doubt that i will be as zealous as julie powell, who cooked all 524 recipes in 365 days, but perhaps one day i will find myself in the kitchen stabbing a lobster between the eyes. there is no doubt that if this comes to pass you will read about it here. of course, that leads me to wonder if there are any living beings perusing these ruminations of my brain. considering that the mister reads this page only with persistent reminders (read: nagging), it seems unlikely that any other souls are stopping by. interestingly, this does not seem to bother me. there is some cathartic release in conversing with an imaginary audience.


felines & canines.

i just saw a commercial for chef michael's canine creations, which prompted me to ponder a unique species...pets. now don't get me wrong, i have had pets. my parents indulged my brother and i with our desperate need to raise fish, cockatoos, a dog, cats, and even ducks. these creatures thrived in our care (okay fine, it was most frequently my mom's care), but they were never mistaken for homo sapiens. no no. truly, i never fully understood the phenomenon of pets being pseudo-human. i saw a lady taking her dog for a walk....but....was the dog walking? oh no. that might be too stressful. the dog was riding in a doggy stroller. i am serious.

back to my original point. what is going on with modern pet food? i think that some cats and dogs are eating more gourmet than myself and the mister. i consider myself to be a rather wonderful cook, but let's be honest..i am not a trained chef and i cannot make rotisserie chicken or porterhouse steak. actually if we are unloading the nitty gritty, i probably cannot even afford to create, let alone eat, these bits of delicacy. perhaps the mister and i should join the ultra-gourmet crowd and start eating dog food. after all, the pooches have nightly victuals that are far superior to what we send down our gullets. anyone for a visit? we are serving filet mignon flavor.


stitch me silly.

sewing. sewing. sewing. four skirts in two days. yes, i am aware that this might be a bit excessive, but i have determined that a self-imposed uniform is the wave of the future. that's right kids. a uniform for work. i do not want my employer to dictate what i wear, but i loathe the daily routine of selecting attire. it would seem that a voluntary uniform solves the problem. i get to wear what i want, but i don't have to think about it. a skirt and polo shirt. every day. is it possible? of course. considering the abbreviated "year" of my industry, if i maintain my current skirt output, it will only take me 90 days of stitchery madness to facilitate a daily wardrobe change. 180 skirts. hmmm...that is a plethora of skirts. currently sharing a closet with the mister. call me crazy, i do not think the mister will appreciate being squeezed out of our shared closet by 180 skirts. perhaps i could reduce the number. keep it within two digits? okay, 99 skirts. each one will be represented twice during the educational grind, with nine extra skirts to spice up my life. i can work with that.


beach bum.

sand. seaweed. shells. salt water. breasts. WHAAAAAT?!?!?! people. we are NOT at a nude beach. there are rules. you cant just flounce around without your top. yeeeeesssshhhhh! you might think that since we live a mere 1.4 miles from the beach, we spend massive amounts of free time frolicking in the waves. not so. we seem to only visit with our visitors. today we have visitors. today we went to the beach. all was going well until we discovered that in setting camp in the only shady spot, we had unwittingly situated ourselves directly between two bare-breasted dames. as adults, we are all cognizant of the existence of these globes, but needless to say, visiting a REGULAR public beach, this was not the spectacle we had signed on for. undaunted we dumped our towels, water bottles, and shoes, and headed for the water where we pretended to be fish. except that fish are not perturbed by the endless supply of seaweed. ugh. and salt water. yechk. and sand. argh. after almost two hours being trounced by the waves, we surrendered to hunger and exhaustion and left the beach behind. or so we thought. unknowingly we brought the beach with us, but this was not discovered until AFTER we tarnished the spic and the span of our recently (yesterday) scrubbed clean abode. as we shed our suits, torrents of sand and seaweed spilled across the floor, seeking shelter in every nook and cranny. the mister provided accommodation to an extra pocketful of sand, which he presumably acquired when he buried himself. i suspect we will be finding sand for months to come.


over the moon.

the storage bins are complete! i finished up my twelve boxes. decorated, decopaged, and already filled to the gills with all my doos and dads for sewing. and yes, they are numbered. i might be occasionally disorganized, but that does not make me any less neurotic. there is an entire box just to hold all the little bits of fabric that i can't bear to part with, but are too small to do anything, or are they? crumbs, we quilters call them. i've never made a crumb quilt, but now that i have my crumbs in such a gloriously accessible box, perhaps it is the time.

i spent twenty minutes explaining to the mister why these new creations should be admired. i am not sure that he fully appreciates their usefulnes, but he said they look 'nice'. mmmhhmm. i was going for 'stunning', 'out of this world', 'awe-inspiring', etc. but, i'll try not to be a whiner, and i will be satisfied with 'nice'. it's better than 'fine'.
since i know you are dying to see them, here are the before and after pictures. you be the judge. are they nice? or are they stupendous?




wonka wonka.

did someone say candy? yes. sugar is the word of the day. you have previously discovered my passion for candy, so imagine the sheer agony i experienced when i opened a good & plenty package and the pink and white nuggets did not slide into my outstretched hand. lacking anything resembling patience, i hastily clawed open the package and found a solidified mass of plenty. no good. i hung my head in despair.

chin up lassie! there is more candy in the cupboard. no self-respecting candy junkie buys a single box of candy. run run, go grab the sweetarts. yeeeeeeee! almost to the sugar rush. but wait. what's this? speckled and mushy discs? these are not sweetarts. i pour out more candy. same spots. same mush. have the candy gods forsaken me? am i no longer deserving?

at this point, my gloom has turned to indignation. immediately i accessed the websites listed on the candy boxes and hurled my complaints into cyberspace. within 24 hours hershey replied with an apology for my negative good & plenty experience and a promise to send a reimbursement. no word from nestle. but good things come to those who wait. 48 hours after i began my squawking, i received the following message from willy wonka (all names have been changed to protect the innocent):

Dear Pickel,

Thank you for contacting Wonka® SweeTARTS® Candy.

From what you are describing it appears to be malic acid spots. Malic acid is an ingredient which provides the tart flavor in the candy. Light or dark spots can occur when the color on the outside of the candy migrates toward or away from a granule of malic acid on the surface. You may also see a tiny cavity or indentation. This can be caused by storage in humid conditions. Although this appears unappetizing, it does not pose a health risk.

I would like to assure you that your experience has been reported to our Quality Assurance Personnel and I will be mailing full value coupons to the address that you provided. Please allow 7 to 10 business days for delivery.

It is also helpful to our Quality Assurance Personnel if you are able to provide the net weight in oz. of the package that you purchased and the name of the store where you purchased the product. Please email this information back to me at your convenience along with the reference number at the end of this email.

We appreciate the opportunity to explain this to you and hope you will visit our website often for the latest information on our products and promotions.

Wonka Lady

Consumer Response Representative

holy cow! i can't decide if this is overkill or good-ole-fashioned incredible customer care. probably both. regardless, apparently our kitchen is not overly humid, because the little discs of packed sugar, while still speckled, have resumed their proper hardness. how do i know? i am eating them. i dont know what malic acid is, and while it sounds lethal, the wonka lady said it poses no health risk, so i figured that flinging the little sweets into the garbage would be a waste.



i have a ridiculous fascination with cake and all television shows related to cake. i watch all the shows. i watch the reruns. i watch the competitions. i am hooked. i have yet to figure out the nature of my obsession. it could be the visual extravaganza (although some things should never be made into cakes). it could be the sheer impossibility of some of the creations. most likely it is probably due to the fact that i love to eat cake, and let's face it, these cakes include a whole lot of cake. however, the excitement of some of these cakes is waning in the face of all of these television shows. too much information. i mean, since when do rice krispie treats count as cake? don't get me wrong, i love rice krispie treats, but if i want cake, i don't reach for rice krispie treats. i think this is cheating. let's not even get started on the wood, plastic pipes, cardboard, and other odds and ends that are in the middle to provide structural integrity. really. you cant serve cake with wood in it. that's pure insanity! that could take a tooth out. i shouldn't know so much about this, but its the only decent television between 2am and 5am. since you probably sleep during these hours (i claim to be studying during these wee hours of the morning), i find it necessary to enlighten you. do you feel illuminated? i don't. i feel hungry. for cake.


ding ding ding.

ding ding ding ding ding. sharpie pens are on sale at target. what a joyous day. i am a bit obsessive over my pen selection and sharpie pens are my current writing utensil of choice. considering the number of pens already present in our house, it might be best if we don't tell the mister about the newest additions to our writing implement collection. i only got six. two black, two blue, and two red. they leave such juicy streaks across the paper, i am in heaaaaaaaven. i used them to brainstorm the stripes patterns for my storage bins, which, if i may say so, turned out swimmingly.

now in and of itself, the journey to target was not as blissful as typically are my target escapades. while i was waiting in line, some brainiac dropped a mondo bottle of lime green dish soap. apparently the employees have not been trained in cleaning up this type of goop, because they fervently wasted paper towels to no avail. seventeen pounds of sodden paper towels later, one of the managers had a moment of inspiration and remembered that they have a liquid absorber at their disposal. sprinkle, wait two seconds, sweep and voila, no more mess. i guess that's why the managers are paid the big bucks.

after watching this display of human intelligence i was ready to be home. not so fast tiger. first you have to meet up with one of the octogenarians who pop up everywhere in this neck of the woods. rather than worry so much about medicare, i think there should be federal funding for senior styling. someone needs to tell these people that when their clothing has faded in the sun, while FOLDED, it is time to get a new pair of pants. yeeeeshh!! this type of nonsense turns your backside into a visual magnet to which my eyes do not care to be drawn.


the agony of projects.

i am in pain. physical pain. my fingers hurt. my hands hurt. my arms hurt. my legs hurt. my bum hurts. my back hurts. my neck hurts. and my brain hurts. i feel like i have been run over by a mack truck. i am in agony in the name of painting boxes. twelve boxes. painstakingly (literally) painted inside and out. a luxurious display of torment. adding to my anguish is the nature of the paint. it is everywhere. it has obliterated the deliciously turquoise manicure i gave myself last week. it is in my hair. it is all over me. it is all over my painting clothes. it is all over the floor. and yikes!! i just remembered, the painting implements are all soaking in the bathtub. must finish cleaning up. must eat. must sleep. for two months my husband has tried to figure out how to restrain me from staying up all night. little did we know that painting a boatload of boxes would do the trick.

coffee and cardboard.

i arose to the scent of a coffee-free house. what a nightmare. it all started yesterday when my motivation to visit home depot erased all of my survival needs, including drinking coffee and eating breakfast. you see, every morning my husband makes himself coffee and leaves a half a pot for me. when i decide to rouse my sleepy self there is a half pot of cold coffee waiting to be transformed into an icy coffee delight. however yesterday, in my haste to visit home depot, i neglected to drink the cold coffee. now in my coffee-snob world, when the coffee doesn't make it down the gullet, it goes down the drain. drinking day-old coffee is a sign of sheer desperation.

this morning i was left in a coffee-free zone, when rather than make a fresh pot of coffee, my husband drank the day-old coffee. aaaaaack!

knowing that my husband isn't desperate, i can only conclude that he's apparently not a coffee connoisseur. i guess i should have figured this out when his recent visit to starbucks was a shambles. he doesn't generally visit this froofery coffee house without me, and i always perform the tongue-twister orders. poor guy couldn't remember the name of his favorite drink, so he went with what sounded properly confusing, and ordered a cappuccino. he wanted a frappuccino. umm...so close in name, but sooooo different in reality. needless to say he whined about it later.

speaking of whining...my fingers hurt. i spent the day doing a little bit of classwork and a whole lot of storage bin construction. six hours of slicing, scoring, folding, and gluing boxes. one blister and three cardboard cuts later, we have twelve boxes ready for decoration. my brain is happy, but my fingers hurt. but you know what they say...no pain, no gain.


here pretty pretty.

i love home depot. this love is not of the same caliber as the love i feel for my husband, but it is a deep love. why? they have paint chips. for free. lots and lots of paint chips. and the paint chips are pretty colors. lots and lots of pretty colors. and they can turn a gallon of paint into any color i want. i bought a gallon of "water mark" colored paint. it is a lovely shade of pale aqua blue. cynical folks would probably call it blah white, but i won't let them see it. i am going to slather this delectable hue all over the yet-to-be-constructed storage bins.

yes, the storage bin project. i am thrilled with how things are progressing. i came up with the official template today. i am starting to think the outcome might be even more splendid than i originally imagined. i have my fingers crossed that if i keep him well fed, the hubby won't go crazy when i make a big mess.


cardboard conundrum.

this is the last week of my summer courses for graduate school, so what better time to dilly dally? the fun factor of procrastination significantly increases as time runs out. since i have to read charlotte's web in its entirety tonight, i thought i might as well put down the book for two hours to ensure that i will have to stay up all night. i know what you're thinking...charlotte's web is for kids. yes, that's right. it is. i am working on a masters in children's literature, so i spend my time reading kids books. the difference between myself and the kids (yes there is occasionally a difference) is that after i finish reading the book i have to analyze it, research critiques of it, and then write a two-thousand word paper detailing the represented theories.

as i am sure is totally obvious by now, tonight it was important for me to endlessly d
awdle to maximize the sheer terror i will experience in six days when the paper is due. i figured i might as well drag my husband around some stores looking for the perfect cardboard boxes for my storage bin project. i have to say, the mister is a total trooper. he traipsed through four different stores looking at cardboard boxes. he even stepped out of character and encouraged me to buy some lovely canvas covered metal baskets, which are about as close to exactly what i want as possible, because he figured it would save me time. i had to explain to him that the thrill is in making a giant mess of the house while eliminating the cluttered chaos on the shelves. not sure that he fully appreciates my need to be constantly submerged in a thousand craft projects, but we've only been married for two years. maybe in another few years this part of my existence will start to make more sense to him. probably not, but one can always hope.

our search ended in home depot where we finally found what i declared the perfect boxes, for the perfect price. sadly, the forklifts took over the paint aisle, so i will have to go back to buy the paint, but i did bring home some samples of "off-white." it's always a bit surprising to see how many different versions of "white" you can find in a paint store. i am leaning towards a creamy pale pale pale yellow. i think it will look lovely with the fabric i already purchased. tomorrow i will start putting together the boxes. after all, doing research for my paper is on tomorrow's schedule, so what better idea than to start a major project.


don't burst my bubble.

today marks two years of marriage to my husband. happy anniversary to us!! it's strange how time flies. it seems like just yesterday that we said our i dos. everyday i thank my lucky stars that such a darling man picked me. i must have been born under a lucky star.

speaking of luck...while running an errand this afternoon i found myself smack dab in the middle of the miami fabric district. luck be a lady who finds beeeee-U-tiful fabric. oh how i love fabric. the idea that i have somewhere in the neighborhood of one hundred yards of unused fabric might lead you to believe that i have no business buying more. i beg to differ. i was only in the market for skirt lining material, but since i drove all the way to the fabric district, i might as well have a looksee. holy bananas!! i found genuine african wax print cloth, imported from various locations around the united kingdom (that's right..genuine african cloth is conveniently made in the UK). it's not like i need the cloth, but oh how gorgeous it is. when i showed it to the mister, he actually said "that's nice." i think that's a better reaction than the typical grunt that results when i show him my "necessary" fabric purchases.

continuing my lucky streak, i also found the perfect fabric for my next house project. the neat freak lurking inside my noodle can no longer stomach the clutter zone that exists amongst the shelves in my sewing area. considering the freakishly large stash of fabric that i have, which continues growing, and growing, and growing, i have decided that storage bins must become a part of our life. i found some darling bins at tjmaxx (my personal heaven on earth), but i need ten bins and these are $13 a pop. i refuse to shell out $130 for storage bins. project time!!! yeehaw! the perfect excuse to buy fabric and make a projecty mess of the house. fun times ahead for all (well probably only me, but lets not focus on that). there is not much likelihood that this project will get off the ground this week, but when my summer graduate courses finish in eight days (hallelujah!!), watch out!



i seem to spend a dizzying amount of time dealing with disturbing details.

it all started when my darling husband decided to bake. scary? possibly. but not upsetting. when he isn't roasting chicken gizzards, his cooking is delectable. the disturbing incident was when the oven decided to go on the fritz for the umpteenth time. our oven has an infuriating habit of incapacitating itself for a few weeks a year. typically it starts the fritzing in the middle of a baking project and a few weeks later, when i am at my wits end and about to drop $600 in the sears appliance department, it suddenly reverts to "normal" behavior. why why why? perhaps i have bad appliance karma. hmmm...that could explain why last year our air conditioner went into an extravagant leak mode, dumping massive quantities of water onto the water heater below it. not surprisingly the electric water heater was averse to be doused in water and at two in the morning, showed us its displeasure by catching fire. needless to say, two days later both the air conditioner and water heater were replaced, but not without a serious output of cash. end result is that our air is deliciously cold, our water is sumptuously hot, and our appliance closet is exponentially more energy efficient. back to my point of displeasure..the oven. at the moment it is not displaying an error message, but it is also not in use. we'll see what happens when i cook dinner.

the disturbances continued when i spent a moment yesterday starting to think i should be concerned about my candy consumption. some might say that it is excessive. however, i quickly reconsidered determining it to be necessary sustenance in the face of daily fourteen hour study sessions. or perhaps i am just thrilled with the chance to relive my childhood days, when my mums allowed me to select one item from the refreshment shack to reward me for sitting through my brother's little league games. either way, the disturbance was relieved. fun dip. need i say more?

unfortunately, my candy habit is probably not strengthening my teeth, which should terrify me considering my next disturbance. my candy epiphany was quickly followed by a television commercial featuring denture glue. having not had to resort to dentures i am not fully appreciative of their existence and i am apparently not psyched enough about dental glue, because it doesn't send me into fits of song. aside from the obvious awkwardness of the product, i was a bit horrified that the commercial featured an altered version of bye bye love. the actors were actually singing "bye bye ooze, bye bye messiness" and simultaneously making grotesque faces. awful. i have no further comments, but if you're a glutton for punishment, click here.

speaking of punishment. yesterday afternoon i was sitting in the living room diligently working on my schoolwork, while my husband watched a movie. i am rather adept at tuning out television, music, people, etc., making me capable of studying amidst a lot of craziness. however, when the characters in the movie started shrieking i glanced up. what did i see? a man strapped to a chair screaming his head off, because another man was about to remove his eyeball with pliers. umm. what the @%#@$#@?!?!?!? my husband assured me that the villain was not removing eyeballs, merely yanking out the victim's eyebrow ring. oh. right. as if that makes the scene so much better. AAAACK!! needless to say the movie, aptly named the punisher, is not headed for my list of favorites.

i seem to have a never ending supply of disturbing experiences, but i will save the rest of them for another post.


fresh in the water.

greetings one and all and welcome to the inner workings of my brain.

this is it. the official blog of pickel. lately i have been spending inordinate amounts of time by myself, which has prompted me to spend perverse periods of time contemplating the meaning of life. what better thing to do than share my lunacy with the world? okay fine. my reclusive behavior is 100% attributable to my desire to earn 1/8 of my masters degree in a six week period. seeing that i am second to only one in the world of procrastination, i spent the last six weeks engrossed in a plethora of activities purely designed to postpone the nightmare of daily coursework. one of my courses indoctrinated me into this strangle little world of blogging and then i met a lovely lady, who writes a fabulous blog (http://mymomsanerd.blogspot.com/), so i decided that i wanted to join this merry little band of bloggers.

since this is my first blog, who knows what direction it might take. for now i am thinking that it will just be a glimpse into the weird little world that i inhabit. i am sure my darling husband will be thrilled that i have decided to post our life on the internet. luckily for him, this post is about MY world, not his, so other than the fact that we cohabit the same world, he'll be immune. mhmm, sure. i predict he will be mentioned in every single post. so much for immunity.

current status: procrastinating. yes that's right. i have four papers to write today, totaling about seven thousand words. rather than even pretend to work on those papers, i decided to start a blog. this might be the most perfect tool i have ever discovered for delaying the inevitable. only my first post and i am already hooked.

unfortunately, i think that i should stop being so obvious about my dallying tactics. me thinks i shall go and peruse my favorite cookbooks. if i can write a shopping list before the mister gets home i might be able to prey on his hunger and convince him to go grocery shopping with me. since both grocery shopping and cooking qualify as official domestic business, they have every right to postpone studies. yesssss!! are you starting to get a picture of my capacity for lagging?