Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010: the year of KENDALL!!!

Because this is my blog (and a "slow-going" blog at that, as one friend has vocalised...ahem...), and because a New Year arrives tomorrow (and what better time to reflect on where you came from, and think about where you are going), I thought I would totally indulge myself by showing you some excerpts from a journal I kept exactly ten years ago. I just encountered this journal in my tiny old nightstand. In every instance, I have done the bare minimum to edit into stand-alone excerpts.

(Anyone allergic to melodrama, or to teenagers who take themselves too seriously, should NOT read on. Even those of you not allergic, I bet I can make you cringe.)

Kendall Sand in 1999-2000. This journal houses the dreams and prayers of Kendall Sand (That is actual title of journal, as written by author on title page).
  • "I want to write. I don't know when or where, or for what. But I want to write and I see this as a chance to practice a little every day and become more aware of my voice. Who knows what the future of this journal, or my writing, may hold."
  • "If I ever write about being seventeen, I had better remember how much of my life revolved around the enigma of love. What the hell is it?"
  • "The comfort I find in solitude does not signify that there is something fundamentally malignant in the core of my being. I am okay!"
  • "I fear that I will be the kind of person who spends her youth dreaming about what will be, her adulthood dreaming of what was, and fails completely to ever feel content".
  • "Every so often, I think it is very valuable to sit down and think hard about who you are. It is late, and I am not up to the task of delving into the complex mystery of me, but this is a brief review:"
  • "My identity mantra: I know who I am, what it means to be me. I'll be okay."
  • (At this point, I had a terrible crush. Be especially gentle with 17 year old Kendall.)
    "He was polite, I was a kid he was polite to. But...did he have to be so nice, or so genuine, or so hot? Of course. That is what makes unrequited love the bitter pill that it is, the sheer beauty of its target. And he is beautiful, in a radical way that denies beauty, or transcends it. Alas, I am swept away by my much overheated, underused heartstrings."
  • "Do you know what I see when I picture myself in the future? Nothing. I have absolutely no idea where I want to go or what I want to do."
  • "Tonight marks the closing of a door. A door that, if it were up to me, should have stayed open. I crossed my fingers, said short prayers, and stuck a foot in the door just to delay its closing. But shut it is, and I bid a let-down goodbye to the high school football game."
  • "Wow, my first journal entry of the new millenium! I am pleased to report no cases of mass destruction or rioting. We're all still okay."
  • "When I go back through this journal, I just might barf at its shallow and superficial content. Rest assured, Kendall of the future, you worry about animals and pollution, you volunteer your time, and value the achievement of a deep and personal consciousness. "
Then the journal breaks down into several pages of song lyrics. That's right. Song lyrics. If I'm feeling really strapped for topics in 2010, I might just screw the pooch and reproduce them here. But they are very, very bad.

To recap:

At seventeen, I used words like "alas," and "enigma" and "underused hearstrings." I had an identity mantra. I valued "the achievement of a deep and personal consciousness."

At twenty-seven, I use words like "shit," "blam-o," and "wack-a-doo." I have an identity crisis. I value women who have long hair.

Oh good god, where is the coffee ice cream.

In the words of Andy Rooney, "Happy New Year, almost everyone."

See you back here in 2010!

Kendall of the future

Monday, December 28, 2009

I'll Keep My Eyes, Thank You Very Much

Last year, when I completely lost my mind and elected to take a poetry workshop, I read a really lovely book by Thomas Lux, called The God Particles. Lux is a smarty-pants, and kind of a rock-n-roll type poet, judging from his handsome cover photo. I had a crush on him--a literary crush--which means that my mind plays a weird trick on me where I want the author to like me, so I make sure I really understand and respond well to his work in case we ever meet (and in my mind, we do meet, and I am unbelievably charming and well-versed). It's twisted, but it's true.

So you can imagine my dismay to read his poem titled, "Eyes Scooped Out and Replaced by Hot Coals," where he writes:

"that the eyes shall be gouged out
and replaced by hot coals
in the head, the blockhead,
of each countryman or woman who,
upon reaching his or her majority
has yet to read
Moby Dick, by Herman Melville (1819 - 1891), American
novelist and poet.

Um. (ashamed whisper): I haven't read Moby Dick. That's bad, and I know it. It makes me a blockhead. Thomas Lux claims it merits the forfeit of both my eyeballs. MD is pretty much widely recognized as one of the most important things that ever happened to human words and human brains. I get it.

I just never had a clear sense of what the book was about. I knew that there was a whale; I knew that there was a guy named Ishmael ("Call me Ishmael," I say, whenever someone mentions the novel, because I was told once that that is the first line, and I hope saying it will keep the person from asking me straight up, "Have you read Moby Dick?") and there is a Captain Ahab (I think?); and I knew that I should never, in any of my graduate classes, or in life, on pain of death (or getting my eyeballs scooped out) admit that I hadn't read it.

But a New Year is on the horizon, and I don't need to carry all this baggage and guilt into 2010. (By the way, are we going with "twenty-ten" or "two thousand and ten"? I like the poetry of the latter.) So, I'm reading Moby Dick. I'm on page 21. Do you hear that Thomas Lux? Leave me my eyes!

You know what? I already get why the book is kind of a big deal. It's funny. I just finished the scene where Ishmael, stuck in an over-crowded inn, has to share a bed with a stranger, who just happens to be a harpooner named Queequeg, a cannibal and seller of embalmed heads. So, there you are, with poor Ishmael, hiding beneath the sheets when Queequeg comes in from a busy night of selling his shrunken heads and climbs into bed, weilding a tomahawk between his teeth. And Ishmael, of course, freaks out. Funny, right? Can't you just see Owen Wilson as Ishmael, and Vince Vaughn as Queequeg?

If someone had told me MD was a funny book, I would have read it years ago. Plus, Ishmael, the protagonist, feels super modern and human and flawed. So, here is my big revelation for you, and you're going to be so pleased that you stuck with me until now (did anyone stick with me until now?) : Moby Dick is good.

You can send your gratitude for this insightful review in the form of cash money, or a comment on the blog either about a) your own confessions about Moby Dick; b) your suggestion for another book adults must read, or else have their eyes scooped out and replaced with hot coals.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Cheap Shot. (I've got access to a photo scanner.)

I've got nothing for you today, really, except for this photo that is meant to distract you with cuteness so you don't notice the complete lack of interesting ideas in my brain.

I think massive amounts of food, chased by holiday-sized quantities of television and booze, have made my cerebrum into a total wasteland. Here is a visual representation of what happens when I try to think about potential blog topics:


So, I'm acknowledging this photo for what it is: a cheap shot to get me out of blogging. When the holidays are over, and I'm a little (a lot) less lethargic, I'll come up with something good to throw your way. Until then, look at me as a little kid, next to a snowman!

PS: I've never been so well-dressed as when my mother dressed me. Check out those saddle shoes.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

She's Making a List, Checking It Twice

Here we are: Christmas Eve. Last night, I said goodnight to my mother and little brother, and tucked myself away in my room to write a brilliant, brilliant blog that will change people's lives and fill them with so much HOLIDAY JOY that they are brimming over, totally absolutely uncomfortably engorged with the LOVING SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS.

But I got distracted.

"Are you going to bed?" my mother asked, as I headed to my room.
"Nope, I've got to blog," I said.
"I worry about your blog now that you're home," she said, "because you blog about what happens here."
"That's what this blog is, duh," I said. "It's about boring stuff that happens wherever I am at."
"Yeah. Like me cleaning up the cat puke."
"Okay, I'll be careful blogging about what happens here."
(And now I'm blogging about her! Again! Merry Christmas, Mom!)

Then, my little brother came in.
"What are you doing with your evening?" he asked.
"Huh?" I said. I squinted up at the clock. "Isn't the evening over?"
"It's only eleven. I'm going to watch a movie," he said.
"I can't," I said, "I've got to blog."
"Oh-ho," he said, as he headed downstairs. Then, cryptically, "The world is not safe!"
(What does that mean?)

I don't want this blog to scare my family! Or the world! (It wouldn't scare the world--at a generous estimate, there are about twelve people tuning in.) This is a happy blog! I want to reveal embarrassing things that I do, my neuroses, and also write about just how stupidly lucky I am to be surrounded by the people who surround me. This blog comes from a place of love. From a place of Christmas.

So, I slept on it for a night, wondering what to write about if not my family and my friends, and well, I have to write about them. They are my entertainment, my best material, and also, my greatest Christmas blessing. I'm going to have to paint my blog with them, and they'll have to accept their newfound publicity in the spirit with which I intended it: that's right--L-O-V-E.

Still, in honor of the holiday, I'm granting them a Christmas pardon, and instead of writing about how one brother smashed up his face in a fight at McDonald's (he won, he says), or how the other brother sent me out into the shopping mall, into the depths of hell, to do his shopping for him and will probably not pay me back (because I'll forget, I always forget), or the fact that my mother is cleaning up another pukey cat spot somewhere else in the house, I'm just going to write that I love them totally and without limits.

I'm also filled with Christmas warmth, and also just a pinch of Christmas shock, at you who have been reading this blog. Whoever you are, and however you got roped in, thank you for indulging me. It's a wack-a-doo experiment, and I like it. Most of you are my friends who are eerily, fantastically supportive and even though such loyalty leaves me scratching my head, I know better than to question that kind of luck. Santa would most definitely mark you down as "Nice."

I've become a little bit obsessed, lately, with uploading YouTube videos. So, here is your Christmas gift: a little Blog-Your-Own-Adventure. If you want to hear/see a classic Italian Christmas song about a donkey, Select Video A (I think you do want to hear/see). If you want to hear/see Jon Bon Jovi being dreamy, but not very Santa-like, Select Video B (this one's for the lonely hearts out there. Christmas is for us, too!). If you've been naughty this year, then Select Video C.

Christmas Video A (thanks to J.Lit for the recommend!):

Christmas Video B (thanks to Jon Bon for being dreamy):

Christmas Video C (this will turn you nice, I promise):

If you've been nice this year, keep it up, you Cherub! And if you've been a little naughty, I've still got much love for you--being good isn't easy. Now, go hug some people and eat some motherf-ing chocolate.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good blog!

Love and Christmas,

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Rainy Days, Mondays, and Drs Appointments Always Get Me Down

You know how there are those days when you just feel at the top of your game? When your teeth look extra white, your car doesn't have the weird smell it had for the past week, and not a single bill comes in the mail? You know how that feels?

Monday was not one of those days. Not for me, anyway. It started out pretty inauspiciously, with my mother cleaning up cat puke in my room, from, not surprisingly, the bulimic cat. (I should've cleaned it up, but I had already regressed to acting like my ten-year-old self. I pulled the oldest trick in the book: I claimed I didn't know how to clean it, then pretended to learn as my mother showed me, but really I just tricked her to do it for me. "Wait, wait," I said, "slow down. What was the step between using the carpet cleaner and then letting it dry? Oh, there wasn't one? I really think I'm starting to get it, Mom.")

Then, I fell. Hard. My right hip, and my pride, took the brunt of it. I fell in the entrance to Whole Foods, in the Pearl District, at lunch time. So, you know, a low traffic area. Only about one million witnesses to gasp in unison and offer their assistance, wincing as I got gingerly back onto my feet. There is really nothing quite like a fall to remind me that I am, well, fallible. Capable of being brought down by a rainy day, the wrong shoes, a slick floor, and my own foolish sense that I am busy and important and in a hurry. So far, I only feel the pain in my ankles, my right hip, my right arm and my neck. But especially my right arm. Blogging hurts a little bit, to tell you truth.

On top of that, today I have to go to the dentist. Oh, I hate the dentist. There is only one kind of doctor I hate more than a dentist, a doctor whose procedures and prodding are even more uncomfortable than a dentist's procedures and prodding, though really, there is some correlation between a dental technician forcing dental floss between your teeth, and a gynecologist with her speculum...but I digress! My point is, I'm seeing that kind of doctor today too! Ah, the luck. I have this shiny new insurance card (no thanks whatsoever to the US Congress), and I'll be damned if I don't go see all the doctors I possibly can, flashing my insurance at anyone who'll look.

But my poor gums think they're under attack. It's like some sort of floss blitzkrieg where every few hours, I am at them again, because I live in fear of the dentist accusing me of not flossing. The thing is: I don't floss. Not regularly. Do I even know anyone who flosses regularly? If you do, speak up, and explain to me how flossing is not one of the most boring, unpleasant events of your day. I have a feeling it is just something we all do when we know there is a dental visit coming up. Or is that just me?

A huge, huge amount of my self-esteem is wrapped up in my dentist's evaluation of my home tooth care. When I was sixteen, and acne-ridden, boyfriendless, and terrible at every extracurricular I tried, I went to the dentist and was told I had "excellent home care." The heavens parted, angels sang, and I felt the warm glow of accomplishment: there was something I was good at. Dental home care. Ever since then, I have fretted for weeks leading up to a check-up because, honestly, if the results were less than positive, I'd be destroyed. I'd self-medicate with chocolate, which I'm sure would only make my teeth worse for the next go round. If I get judged to have failed with my flossing, we might as well just cancel Christmas, because who can celebrate when she's got inadequate home care??

I've got to go floss. Wish me luck. I'm going to need it.

K. S.

PS: Have you watched the video yet? It occurs to me, watching it, that I kind of just got that Karen Carpenter haircut.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Weird Science

Wow! Did you miss me?!? It's like I got to Portland, and I was so busy talking to everybody all about my blog, that I forgot to write the stupid blog! But now, I'm back.

If the next few entries look or smell weird, it's because I'm writing them from Portland. It's different here. Portland is weird. I've come home to celebrate Christmas, but mostly to watch hilarious interactions between my mother's cats (the bulimic one versus the one with cacne, "cat acne"); to do a bunch of laundry for free; and to try to eat more than my brothers. It seems only natural that I blogtalk, for a hot minute, about Portland (though, who are we kidding, I live in Beaverton, which is a whole different ballgame. An altogether boring one).

A classic Portland bumper sticker says, "Keep Portland Weird." (This sticker may have originated in Austin TX, then P-town just changed the name of the city to suit our weird needs.) The slogan is meant to call attention to the fact that Portland is proudly, determinedly weird. Just a few examples: there is a velvet painting museum (I think there might actually be two velvet painting museums). Female strippers here get totally, totally naked. It rains all the time but you hardly ever see an umbrella. We've built a whole city for books. There is a forest in the middle of town. Etc, etc.

But what makes one place weirder than any other? One could argue that Moscow is weird. Is it not weird to live in a city that smells like a sewage treatment facility? A city that has cows with glass windows built into their stomachs? And a billboard outside a gun store that reads, "Your wife said it's okay, Buy a new gun today!"?

Still, I've compiled a list of events that have happened to me here in Portland in the past few days, and have never happened in Idaho.

*Hottest Bod in the USA. I met several friends out on Friday, where we drank fancy drinks, talked about online dating (good), online stalkers (bad), the inevitability that we will all accidentally bonk our future, hypothetical babies' heads on things based on our tendency to bonk our own heads on things (we decided they will turn out fine anyway), and of course, discussed who to vote for in the Hottest Bod in the World contest. This is something that happens when your friend is a public relations guru. JLG represents Bodman fragrance (we've all seen the "Hot bod!" commercials, right?), and she told us to tell the world--I was like, I'm bringing it to my blog, so don't worry, the world will know--to vote. Everyone, vote for Jordy! Not convinced, yet? Watch this video--and be warned, not totally SFW, since it features some awesome objectification of the male body. It is important to be an educated voter. But I think we can all agree that Jordy is the hottest bod.

*Singing Christmas Trees, and Progressive Political Carols. Notorious KMW suggested we go to a bar called the Slammer, because, as she said, "They kind of go all out with the Christmas decorations." She was not lying. I didn't get a photo, but it sort of looked like this, except a dive bar:

While we were there, guess who came in? Some progressive political carolers! They sang a song that went something like this (sung to the tune of "12 Days of Christmas"): "In the first year of Presidency, Obama promised me..." then, there were twelve things that included (I can't remember them all, but I think you'll get the gist): closing Gitmo, repealing the Patriot Act, reforming schools, no home foreclosures, and, instead of "a partridge in a pear tree," they sang, "open gays in the military." I said, "Toto, we're not in Idaho anymore."

Then, the owner of the bar gave the carolers twenty dollars, and the head caroler said, "Alright, now let's go to my Dad's!" And they were gone.

All that Christmas activism made me have to go the bathroom, where in the stall, right next to the toilet, I found a singing, gyrating Christmas tree! The song was an obvious one, "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," though of course, in the bathroom I had to change the words to "Squattin' Around the Christmas Tree." There was a woman putting on makeup at the sink and I said, "It's weird that this tree is singing to me right now." She said, "Just be thankful you're not really messed up. I was in here last week, and that tree totally freaked me out." I was like, "Keep Portland Weird!"

*Inappropriate karaoke ballads. The progressive political carolers, and the singing Christmas tree in the toilet, got me in the mood to sing, too. So, we went to a karaoke bar where I decided that probably, in honor of Weird Portland, I ought to sing this song to a room full of strangers, with much love and deference paid to Wanya, Nathan, Shawn, and to Michael, above all others:

*POUTINE. Singing that totally seductive karoake ballad made me hungry, and KW said not to worry, that "the carts" were just down the street. I was like, "What are 'the carts'?" And she said, "You know, just a bunch of food carts." I was all, "No, I do not know. Where I live, there is only sometimes a single hot-dog cart that sometimes runs out of hot dogs before you can even place your order." So, we went to The Carts, which was, as she described, a whole wagon train of food carts, circled up, with Christmas lights all around the outside signaling "Come, Eat, Be Merry." So we did.

We ordered poutine from the Potato Champion. Do you know what poutine is? It's french fries, with cheese curds and gravy! It's apparently a French Canadien snack, and it is delicious. To the great dismay of my friends, I took some pictures of the cart, because I think it is the best idea ever that these little food villages are popping up late at night, for people who have gotten really hungry singing all FOUR parts of a Boys II Men song.

Do you notice that the Potato Champion is also the "Department of High Fives"? They were getting high fives right and left (literally, get it, left-handed and right-handed high-fives). I was like, "Weird. Portland is weird."

But synonyms for weird, according to, include "awe-inspiring," "funky," "kinky," and "magical." Yes, yes, yes and yes.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Honey, will you take the blog out for a walk?

Seattle in pictures:

After a terrifying (terrifying!) trip through Eastern Washington and over the profoundly tall Snoqualmie Pass, I arrived in Seattle. On Wednesday, Katie took a "personal day" from work, and we ventured out into the neighborhood of Queen Anne. I did something I had never done before: I brought my camera along to document the fascinating items we encountered (so I could "blogument" my trip here, obviously).

1. We started out with a latte at Cafe Fiore. It was a quintessentially "Seattle" coffee shop (read: it was rainy, and we came inside where they made us coffee, which we paid for--so Seattle.) I told Katie I would take a picture of my latte for the blog. She said, "Don't they make leaves in the foam in Idaho?" (they do, if you go to the right place...a little corner shop called the OWC.) I said, "I think it's pretty. It will look pretty on my blog." I took a picture. Then, I picked the lid up off the table to put it on the to-go cup. Katie asked, "So, it doesn't bother you that your lid was face down on the table and now you're going to put your mouth on it?" I considered. I hadn't thought about it before, but it totally did bother me. Still, to save face, I pretended it didn't. I said something about the strength of my antibodies.

2. Katie said, "Look at that cool advertisement for Queen Anne Fresh Eggs." I was all, "Blog." Then, "Will you hold my coffee so I can take a picture?" (See #4.)

3. Weird. One white chair just sitting between two white birch trees. The only white items on the block, like some sort of display (only one white tree fit in the photo.) I wanted to sit on the chair, but I was pretty sure I would've ended up at Hogwarts, and, although I've fallen way behind in my reading, from what I hear, Hogwarts has become a pretty scary place.

4. Katie holding my coffee again, so I could take a picture of her holding my coffee so I could take a picture.

5. Orange vespa! Have you ever seen a cheerier color? But isn't the vespa missing a wheel? And doesn't it remind you, just a little, of a three legged dog? The dog's got no idea that it's missing something, so it's a happy dog, but you feel sad for it because a dog should have four legs! A tangerine vespa should have two wheels!

6. Manicure and pedicure. I don't get these very often, on account of I'm uncomfortable with the lingo (mani-pedi), and also being touched. I did very nearly kick the woman painting my toenails when she tickled a tender spot in my arch, but was able to retract my foot right before making contact. Then, she gave a little tug and popped every single one of my toes. pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-pop. All ten. Glorious! I didn't even know they needed it.

7. Chambord. Hello. I met Chambord. It is the reddest of red liqeurs, with an outrageously ornate bottle with gold. And a crown on top. It looks like something a witch would use to make a potion (at Hogwarts, perchance), or like something Katie would use to make French martinis for a really lovely holiday party with lots of lovely women, and baby Henry.

8. Finally, in conclusion, to wrap up all the ground-breaking lessons I learned on this trip, I took a photograph of white blossoms just because they reminded me of those Hostess Sno-balls (round twinkies covered with shredded coconut) you get at 7-11, and then I wanted a Sno-ball really bad.

All in all: A+(+).

Monday, December 14, 2009

French Toast: 0; Kendall: 1

This is what humble pie looks like. In case you can't tell from the stunning photograph, it was supposed to be baked apple french toast. It became mush, with a fine layer of leather on top. Carly, bless her heart, described it as a sort of "souffle. George, or Ciara, called it "custard." They're very nice people.

If we coated it with enough sugar, or huckleberry syrup, we could pretend it was french toast. But it wasn't. And I grew pretty despondent, after the success with the Brown Cow a few days before. Apparently, that had been a fluke, and now I was back to being a flake in the kitchen. Oh well, I thought, defeated, back to the grocery store vegetable trays I usually bring to parties.

I found out how humble pie tastes. It tastes eggy and burny.

Then, this afternoon, something happened. I was watching Holiday Inn, which is a strange movie starring Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, a bunch of spineless and thin-ankled women, and a really strange song dedicated to Abraham Lincoln that the whole cast sings in black face, and , my mind wandered, since the movie was making me pretty uncomfortable. My mind wandered back to every task I've undertaken and quit. Piano lessons, dance classes, singing in the choir (though, really, I had no business in any singing based activity), soccer, sewing classes, even this stinking blog.

In an effort to be less of a quitter, to do the sort of hard, introspective work that I associate with being an adult, I pulled myself up by my bootstraps, and I tried again. It wasn't quite perfect, but let me provide visual evidence for the fact that I at least got myself within the ballpark (is that even a sports metaphor? it looks strange.).

Better, right? Someone, somewhere, would believe that this was baked apple french toast.

I promise this isn't going to be a cooking blog, because I really don't EVER cook anything, and this past weekend was a total anomaly with two cooking events in three days. But now I'm set until 2011. Seriously. It's just really snowy and cold here, and I don't have anything else to be doing, and trying to cook--and trying to blog about it--is better than trying heroin or gambling or murder, or any other trouble I could go getting myself into.

In the spirit of this newfound determination, I'm going to attempt the Snoqualmie pass tomorrow, for some quality time in Seattle with Katie before heading to P-town for the duration. Wish me godspeed and good defensive driving skills for tomorrow. I probably won't blog for a few days (tragedy!) (people sobbing and renting their clothes!) (I'm sorry Melissa--keeping you from doing your real work is the very best reason I have for keeping up with this thing), but I leave you with this very, very dear Christmas gift.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

How now, how now, brown cow?

My friends really have it rough. Like, really rough. It's not enough that they have to field phone calls or emails or face-to-face conversations in which I ask them to help me figure out my life. It's not enough that they have to listen to my verbose explorations into the nuances of strange social interactions with boys. On top of all that, I do something even worse.

Sometimes, I cook for them. I say, "Friends, this is going to hurt me a lot more than it hurts you." And they say, "Doubtful."

Last night, was one of those times. The victims: Ollie, Jeff, and Carly. The device of torture: "Stuff-It-With-Bacon Meatloaf." (Street name: Brown Cow. Get it? Meatloaf is brown. It's cow.)

Want to know how to do it? You can make it in ten easy steps.

STEP ONE: Light the prayer candle that you purchased for seventy-eight cents from the Winco (I went a little overboard while in the Mexican aisle, prepping for a past week's taco night). The Saint: San Judas (pronounced Hoo-das), or St. Jude. Patron Saint of loaves of meat.

STEP TWO: Utter the prayer. "Dear St. Jude, Please allow me to make something that tastes good and makes nobody ill. Please watch over me and my questionable knife-skills, and allow me to keep all my fingertips. Help me not to freak out at the quantity of raw meat I'm about to work with. Amen. Sincerely, Kendall." (btw: I always frame my prayers in the form of a written letter. I think Saints appreciate the formality. Also, I'm Presbyterian, so do I even believe in praying to Saints? Bah, leave that for another post.)

STEP THREE: Lay out all the groceries. Arrange them so they look good for a photo, since this will be blogged about, obviously. (There is no way to make ground beef photogenic, so don't even try.)

STEP FOUR: Make some freaking meatloaf! Burn the bacon! Gasp when the bacon burns you! Cry your eyes out while you slice the onion, poorly! Get your hands in some meat! Put it in the pan. Pant. Wipe your forehead. Blow out the the prayer candle.

STEP FIVE: Go to the gym, to try and do something positive with all the anxiety you feel. Notice, as you sit on the exercise bike, that something smells a lot like bacon. Realize, shamefully, that it is you. You are the person in the gym who smells like smoked meat. Watch Ina Garten on the Barefoot Contessa. Observe how, when she cooks, it looks nothing like how you cook. Try to memorize everything. Think to yourself: I LOVE Ina Garten. I bet even when she cooks with bacon, she doesn't smell like bacon. Go home and take a shower.

STEP SIX: Realize that you are about to cheat. Look at the side vegetables--potatoes and green beans--and acknowledge that, besides "butter," you have no real idea how to prepare them. No matter, you will show up to dinner with raw vegetables, and then stand lamely in the doorway of the kitchen while Jeff (who is under the impression that you are making him dinner) says, "What did you plan to do with the beans?" "Uh...." "Did you plan to steam them maybe?" "Well, yes, yes I did." "Do you want me to steam them, then?" "Well, yes, thank you. Only if you want to."

STEP SEVEN: While Jeff makes the dinner you promised to make him, play with the cute baby. She is seriously such a cute baby. Decorate Christmas cookies--it doesn't matter that Ollie and Carly are substantially more creative than you. YOU'RE making dinner (Jeff is currently making dinner).

STEP EIGHT: Make sure people do not sit down to eat until they've have some wine, made Christmas cookies, and are feeling very generous of spirit, indeed. Bother your friends by holding up dinner to take more pictures for the blog you'll be writing the following day.

STEP NINE. Eat dinner.

STEP TEN: In between privately congratulating yourself for a meal well-made, and haranguing yourself for not actually making the vegetables (next time, next time), reflect on how lucky it is to have people to cook for--no matter how much fretting you do ahead of time--especially when those people tell you that what you've made is good. Think to yourself that the impulse we have to feed the people we care about is one of the nicest impulses of all.

There you have it. Probably, some big-time editor is going to read this blog (I do have FIVE followers, albeit shadowy, anonymous ones, so this thing is totally taking off) and I'll have my own cookbook before you know it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Nota Bene: Meat and Sex

I'm posting twice today, because, well, I don't want to grade papers!, and I have something mildly interesting to say, and also, of course, I am avoiding the kitchen and must keep busy.

One of the ways I've been learning about how to blog is by reading other blogs. Most of the time, I just hit the "Next Blog" feature at the top of Blogger, and that leads me to blogs that are based, almost entirely, out of Malaysia and India. They have awesome titles like, "Let Mother Nature Speaks," and "I'm Hundred Times Better." They are written mostly in English, but lapse without warning into the language of origin of the author. It looks like this:

"I am so tired today. We have had a big meeting that lasts until nine pm and mibi du ee tlaka pora musu abidi i miss my boyfriend so much. Maxa iodi butil paba linio xa i heart you baby."

These blogs are not entirely helpful, but it is remarkable how disoriented you get moving so fluidly from English to not English to back to English. Your mind stutters, like, "Wait a minute, don't I know how to read? Why can't I understand this?"

One blog that has been entertaining and helpful is, which features a really interesting book review of Julie Powell's new book, Cleaving, her memoir about being a butcher's apprentice. The review is slightly cutting (no pun intended), and I think anyone who has even a little bit of interest in the Julie & Julia story might be curious to see how different this new memoir is from the movie (I have not read the book because, frankly, I'm not much of a reader. Cuts into my TV time).

I thought Amy Adams threw a lot of softballs in Julie & Julia: her character seemed so sweet and plucky that even when her husband got mad at her for being narcissistic, I was like, "that's not bad. She's not bad at all. You want to see narcissism, read my blog." The movie was filmed with some real rose-colored glasses, overall, and I never felt like Julie was in real danger. (This is probably why the movie is so charming and fun to watch.)

Turns out, maybe the real Julie Powell was. I don't want to say much more, because I'd like you to take a look at the review, and feel as surprised/intrigued as I did. You can read it here.

Blog over.


PS: Doesn't her book cover look a lot like my meat cookbook, "for girls who love their meat," minus the high-heels?

This is Where I Draw the Line.


Do I look worried? That's because I am. Oh, I really am. I'm also a little hungry, but what has got me worried is also keeping me out of the room where the hunger gets taken care of.

Earlier this afternoon, I was cleaning my apartment in order to avoid any and all grading, and I got to the kitchen. As I was sweeping under the stove, it came to my attention that there are about four or five inches between the stove and the wall. I leaned in for a closer look. It appears that there are tortillas, tortillas, wedged back there. And, I think, cat food. Cat food.

Now, if I moved in last August, then the tortillas have been there no less than five months, and probably longer. The cat food, well, I met the people who lived here before, and they did not have a cat. If the cat food is from the people before the people before me, doesn't it stand to reason that the tortillas are as well. And whatever else may be lurking that I couldn't see??

I did what any sane person would do and attacked the dark pile of stuff with my broom. But kind of half-heartedly, like I was only going to pull out whatever wanted to be pulled out. Here's what agreed to come out and meet me: the plastic rings that held together some ancient six pack of soda; cat hair; cat kibbles; and something I don't want to tell you about. I don't want to write the word.

I could give a hint. It is teeny-tiny, and it moves (because it is alive), and they're always finding millions of them at the crime scene in any given episode of CSI. Grissolm usually holds one between his tweezers and explains to the audience that its existence proves how or when a person died. And they never travel alone. Ugh.

So I ran. I thought I'd come hang out in the living room, watching Law & Order, and blogging about all the new TV terms I'm learning from my research (like "treatment," "beat," "button," "tag," "act outs," "lead in," "cold open," etc.), but all I can think about is what lurks in there.

Now, I'm all for being an adult. I have a job. I pay my bills (when I remember). I make my own choices (as long as my mom approves). I floss. But this is where I draw the line. I don't want to be an adult about this. I'm not going back into that dark corner to "take care of the problem." I can't handle what I might find. As much as I value independence, and like to question gender norms, I'm calling a boy.


PS: Let's remember the old A-P-T in happier times. To your left, I present the offending kitchen, with the stove (and tortillas) conveniently out of the frame.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

An open letter to the end of the semester

Dear Semester's End,

How can I simultaneously adore and despise you so? My students would say, profoundly, as they say about so many things (their parents, their cell phones, Indian food), that we have "a love-hate relationship."

Indeed. First, you present me with this:

Portfolios and final essays up the yin-yang.
I have no choice but to fortify myself with this:

And this...

With an entire army of Christmas kisses.

And now I've got a nasty sugar rush. Look what you made me do.

But I can't be mad at you, because, End of the Semester, if you're here, then all of this cannot be far behind:

And that makes me really, really love you.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Oh snap!

I think I'm about to go public with this thing. I've drafted the email to send to my friends, revealing the name of the blog and asking you to take a look at it. The whole prospect makes me feel like this:

And even more like this:

Telling my friends about the blog makes me feel like I've gone out on the town wearing nothing but a raincoat. On my head.

But, no guts, no glory, as they say, so, welcome to my naked blog! Take a look around! Settle in! Leave a comment, if you're so inclined.

If you know how to upload video or music to a blog, go ahead and let me know because I cannot figure it out!

We'll make a little blogging community centered around my favorite topic, my area of expertise, moi! (Also, pop culture, current events, cute boys, and your opinions on all of the above).

Now, I just have to wait and see if anyone actually comes. Are you coming? Hello?

It's just like every party I threw in high school.


Christmas comes to 2nd Street (sort of).

Check it: I've been reading other blogs, and man, they do Christmas BIG. Like, really, really big.

Because I want to keep up, and because I want to be A Blogger, here are my Christmas decorations.


Yesterday, I slapped some Christmas lights up on my window. I got a little tree from Michael's craft store ($3.67 is just the right price for a Christmas tree when you're trying to ride out the last five days until PAYDAY). Then, because I was feeling Christmas, I blew off cleaning my apartment, doing dishes, or prepping for my final week of classes, to go see A Christmas Carol. In 3-D.

It was so fun to sit there with dorky 3-D glasses sliding down my nose (a nose that rejects the premise that it should hold any glasses up near the bridge. It says the tip of the nose is where glasses belong, so I am forever pushing them up, up, up), to watch a story that I nearly know by heart. It was even better to be passing candy and popcorn between friends who, on account of the glasses, kept misjudging the actual location of the snacks, and reached out to grab the air right next to the Sour Patch Kids I was offering. Ha!

But, sweet J, it is cold here in Moscow. Driving home from the Winco, where I was buying candy for my students to celebrate our last day of class tomorrow!!, I drove by the bank reader board that announced current temperature was 9 degrees! And, in a few weeks, I will be complaining--I will be WHINING--about the winter weather, but right now, the cold is just giving me all kinds of awesome excuses. Today, I didn't get out of my pajamas until 2pm on account of the cold--(too cold to be sliding on cold jeans!). I didn't go to the gym--too cold to sweat! And I didn't take a shower--way, way too cold to get out of the shower. I didn't accomplish anything on my to-do list, and I ate a whole, whole lot of macaroni and cheese (it's a little harder to explain how those two things are excused by cold weather, but it feels to me like they are).

On account of the cold, I had to make my laptop an actual lap topper, because a laptop is like the best space heater on the planet (except my actual space heater, which is really the best space heater on the planet), which meant lots of Hulu episodes, lots of reading crafty blogs (wowza, there are some crafty, crafty people out there--I'm trying not to let them make me feel too bad about myself), and a little bit of random googling. At one point, I landed on IMDB--one of the best time-sucks out there--and found out that the woman who plays the girlfriend of Matt Damon's character in his upcoming moving Invictus is only one year older than me. In my brain, I actually formed this sentence: "So, that means there's a chance for me!" What? Nevermind the complete lack of logic in that statement. It is just a sad (sad!) reminder that I've been waiting for Matt Damon for twelve years.

It also means I probably ought to get off the internet. And maybe go outside.

Friday, December 4, 2009

"Well, they were a bit bitey..."

Confession #....okay, why won't the italics feature turn OFF...I'm pushing the icon for undo computer is driving me CRAZY (and that word I actually did want in italics, but was forced to CAPS so you would know it was EMPHASIZED). Hold on...

Confession #7: Behold, My Dinner.

What? You got something to say about that? Jealous???

You want to know, Kendall, where is the glass out of which you'll drink the orange juice? Or, Kendall, where is the toast upon which you'll spread that peanut butter?

I'll spare you the suspense. I drank straight from the jug, and I double, triple, and quadruple dipped the spoon. Less dishes. :)

And if you think that's bad, buckle your seat belt because here's confession #8:

My Friday night:

But don't cry for me Argentina, because the truth is I'm pretty excited to tackle that pile of TV scripts (given, graciously, by a professor at the UI--and yes, that is the pilot episode of FREAKS AND GEEKS), find out even more about my parachute, which today I am pretty sure is chartreuse, and of course, I'll be watching some Criminal Minds, because I always watch Criminal Minds. I've got a thing for dreamy Dr. Reid.

(I put the glasses on the top of the pile just for effect. I'm near sighted, so there is no way I'd actually wear them to read. Terrible headache. Which is one of my greatest regrets about my eyeballs. I long for reading glasses, not stupid "be able to see oncoming cars or important traffic signs" glasses. Lame.)

Finally, today's blog title comes from a movie that I loved, but forgot I loved, until I saw it while I was at the gym today (ahem, please note, I went to the gym today): Shaun of the Dead. And you know, it might even be funnier with the subtitles we're required to use with the gym TVs on account of the equipment being from the early 1990s and--blasphemy--not hooked up to the sound from the TVs.


I never thought I'd say this, but what the world really needs is more romantic comedies. With zombies.

PS: I'm not totally convinced it is the blog's fault, but ever since I started keeping this thing, I've been reading a lot and writing more of my own stuff. Coincidence?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

These are my confessions...(and, Usher, when will you release a new album???)

I've already confessed to a few important facts here. And, when I say "confess," I mean, "admitted to myself" because--again--no one is reading this blog. Someone probably would, I suppose, except that I won't tell anyone what it's called, and when I bring my blogging up in conversation (because I bring up everything in conversation), I shoot my listener the old stink-eye, signaling: don't go looking for my blog. It's still marinating.

Confessions to date (both explicit and implied):
1. I'm a bit of a quitter (vis a vis my first, sad attempt in July).
2. I'm obsessed with thinking about my blog, then writing--in a blog--about what I think about my blog (and yes, my mind really is this circular all the time, something the blog makes abundantly clear).
3. I'm overwhelmingly anxious about being interesting (this is an important realization for me about me, so the blog is proving valuable in that regard).
4. My friends are very, very smart. (Smarter than you-know-who, that's for sure.)

Here is the latest confession I'd like to present to you, and by you, I mean me:

Number 5. My students are also smarter than me. Not all of them, and not all the time, but man--sometimes, they just school me.

Maybe because I am a young, and--as one student said on Tuesday--bouncy (and he means, so we're clear, that my personality is bouncy, which I think means bubbly, as in happy and good-spirited, but it has nothing to do with my anatomy, so we're clear) teacher, they know me pretty well. I mean, they get me. They're able to make astute observations about my character, and then I have to fake like I'm all mysterious and elusive, when really, they've got me pegged.

And they have a habit of asking me strangely personal, entirely off topic, questions about myself (Kendall, do you like chocolate? Why?! Do you have some?? No, I was just wondering.) And last week, when I was really thinking very seriously about getting a cat, what I would name it, and where I would store the litter box because I want a cat but I do NOT want an apartment that smells like a litter box, and would I be able to have appropriate boundaries regarding the cat, aka not treating it as a human being because I am feeling like I need something to love, I walked into class and was greeted by this:

"Kendall, do you have pets?"
"Do you want a pet?"
"Well, yes. I think."
"You should definitely get a pet."
"Because they're really good at keeping you company, and you're never alone."

What the...? Where did this come from? What was she suggesting with all the "never alone" talk?

Then, today (and I'd like to reiterate that these questions are posed right as I walk into the classroom, still wearing my coat and my bag and not at all prepared for the interrogation, because interrogation it is):

"Kendall, did you always want to be a teacher?"
"So, what did you want to be?"
(Here, I scramble because, honestly, I've wanted to be everything under the sun--my earliest career ambition was to work at Fred Meyer's, thereby having round-the-clock access to the bulk candy, my second career ambition: Baby from Dirty Dancing--everything except, maybe, for "teacher.")
"I wanted to be an actress. Then, a journalist. Then, a lawyer--"
"I can totally see that!!"
(Several other voices chime in, that yes, they can totally see me being a lawyer, many heads nod yes).
"Really? You can?"

How could she have known that I have, just this week, started reading What Color is Your Parachute? That later tonight I will be making lists of adjectives that describe my skill set, and answering a series of questions that will tell me what I am meant to do. That I am, right this day, struggling with whether I should have gone to law school, or should maybe go back to school for...something. If I'm going to look for a different job (and everything in me says that I need to), what job am I going to look for?

How do they do that?? My students. It's like they sense my deepest thoughts and worries.

No, I never meant to be a teacher, but here I am, with these crazy, ESP students and frankly, it really does not suck (if you don't count pay, benefits, job security, and Lewiston).

But here is Confession #6: I have this one idea of what I really, really want to do.

I think my parachute is TV colored. So, there's that.

And in conclusion, seriously, Ur-sher, MAKE AN ALBUM.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

There's something strange...

...about my place of employment.
They take their bathrooms very, very seriously.

Exhibit A: Look at those armchairs! So comfy! So inviting!

What are they positioned in front of? A big screen TV? A big picture window, perhaps?

Ehhhh. Two bathroom sinks and garbage can.

Exhibit B: Travel down two flights of stairs to another women's restroom, and here is your lovely picture window:

Just so we're clear--that is a painting of a window, over which actual drapes hang (also, fyi, there is already one perfectly good, real window in that restroom).

But, the most curious thing about this college campus and its crazy bathrooms is the plethora of unique, laminated signs that some unidentified individual has taken the time to print and paste to the inside of only some of the stalls.

Exhibit C:

.....and again....

Finally, the piece de resistance:

Yep. That's a tree, taking a pee, and asking you kindly to "please check to see that everything is flushed."

Obviously, several questions beg to be asked.

Who is responsible for these many postings? How much time must she spend searching Clip ART to find toilets with flowers bursting out of the bowl? A tree with toilet paper on its branches? And what traumatic, terrifying experience must this poor, haunted woman have had with an unflushed, or partially flushed, toilet?

(Someone mean-spirited who loiters in the dark recesses of my brain asks, "Ah, but Kendall, who walked around taking photos of bathrooms and then blogged about it??")

Aaaaand, that's what I've got for today.