Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Find your own purple gloves

I regularly want to write a book of tips on living well.  It would contain some entertaining tidbits, lots of pleasures to be found in small details, and humorous stories about how much my life improved once I stopped drinking sparkling wine only for named occasions and started making occasions to drink it.  I swear the book wouldn't be nauseating.
I'm reading one such book at the moment: Alexandra Stoddard's Living a Beautiful Life (1986) which I received as a birthday present.  And it is nauseating, when it's not being right on, charming, out-dated or insightful.
Stoddard is a interior decorator who emphasizes arranging one's life around where one actually spends time [e.g. spend effort arranging the kitchen and bathroom comfortably before decorating an unused living room] (right on), treating everyday tasks into sensory stimulating rituals (with suggestions that are sometimes insightful), surrounding oneself with books and flowers (charming, and, in my book, right on), and making sure that one's phone cord is long enough to reach the kitchen sink (outdated).  She also suggests one "save old, worn-out white gloves and wear them as silver-polishing mitts"  (Whaaa?  Not from the universe I inhabit)*.
Living a Beautiful Life reminds me of the futility of my (never-to-be-written) book. Living well in the details is personal.  I love making rose petal and violet ice cubes.  Stoddard must love the scent of burning orange, based on her repeated suggestion of throwing orange peels into a roaring fire.  Both of our ideas have limited applicability.  While I think that hanging clothes outside to dry is a pleasant (and money and environment-saving) task, I can see readers bristling, "Like anyone has time for that," the way that I bristled about Stoddards daily "puttering" and "clipping" rituals.
I have a good friend with a lab job.  The gloves in her lab are purple.  They make her smile when she puts them on, and she puts them on every day.
That's really all that needs to be said in such a book.  Find little things that make you smile.  Do them regularly.  Notice them and smile.
Find your own purple nitrile gloves.
If that doesn't work, use them for polishing the silver.

*Alexandra Stoddard is still working, by the way, and that her web page calls her a "philosopher of contemporary living" doesn't do a lot to reduce "for real?" factor.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Dianthus and Aster

February in OK
Life is good
Searching for prairie turnips at sunset
Mule in March
Picking peas with Grandma in Jun
If Dianthus and Aster grow up to be sad, whiny creatures, it will not be for lack of educational play opportunities, for lack of time spent outside, or for lack of people to love them.
But it might happen anyway. (You can envision photos arranged in such a way to support this small bit of text).

Life is rough
Spring Break in OK

Spring Break on The Ranch
Fishing with Grandpa
April in Colorado
Maple helicopters abounded
Has meanest parents in the whole wide world

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I'm 40 and my hair looks great

In second grade I met a girl who became my best friend.  We were friends for years and did classic best friend things: we had a secret club, a collective crush on the cutest guy in the class, and spent way too long analyzing most anything on the phone.  And then one year she didn't invite me to her birthday party and we were suddenly no longer friends.  It was all very seventh grade.
Except at that time of the birthday non-invite, we were 25 years old.  We had been friends for 18 years. I was crushed. It hurt worse than any romantic break-up I've experienced.
The day after my 40th birthday, almost 15 years after she quit speaking to me, we became in contact again.  It was all very Beaches.
Except that there was no dying, no children, no fight over men, no fight at all and no drama involved.  And Beaches didn't take place in the time of facebook.  So, while my ex-best friend has long reminded me of Bette Midler, it wasn't like Beaches at all.
She sent a friend request. I accepted. We wrote each about our hair.  We're judging by little thumbnail photos on facebook and we each think the others hair looks great.
I expected some personal drama around turning 40.  I expected some personal drama surrounding my first re-acquaintance with the ex-best friend I've always known I would someday see again.  I did not expect them to be one and the same.  Or both entirely devoid of dramatic tension.
So, I'm 40.  My hair looks great.*
Ex-best friend is still 39.  Her hair looks great too.
That's that.

*Photo taken immediately after blowing out the candles on my birthday.  And, alas, my hair frequently doesn't look this good, but I like to think that it always could.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Spoons are for wusses . . .

or those lacking a certain panache with shimmering, semi-solid accessories.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Acid on the eggs?

When dying Eater eggs this year (yes, back at Easter time) I noticed that the instructions have changed since I was a kid (on both Paas and another brand).  Now there are three levels of color: for pale colors, drop the tablets in water, for classic colors, use lemon juice, and for ultra-bright colors, use white vinegar.
Growing up I remember using vinegar and water in every cup and I had never heard of using lemon juice.
Dianthus used the pure vinegar method this year.  I observed that the colors were much brighter than those I remembered from my youth (and I'll admit to dying eggs every year at least through college and actually much later, so these are not ancient memories), and they dyed the eggs much more quickly, but they actually had poor adherence if you left the egg in to soak for a while, and they did not blend well.
Has anyone else experienced this?  Does anyone know if it is a different formulation or just the switch to vinegar?
And what's up with lemon juice?  Do any of you use the commercial egg dyes with lemon juice?  Is it different?*  How?
In any case, Dianthus was pleased with the results, found all the eggs the next morning**, and ate most of them.
*Lemon juice and white vinegar have nearly the same pH, so this is bugging me.
** He was better at searching for eggs than he is at his new game, hide and seek, during which he will either tell me where to hide or all of the places I should look before I find him in the bed.