Tuesday, January 27, 2009

25 Ways of Randomness

So I got tagged on Facebook by a friend to list 25 random things about myself. It was hard, but fun, and people had nice things to say about my list. I figured I'd post it here too for your entertainment. Here 'tis.

1. I am left handed.
2. I no longer have my appendix, but do have my tonsils and wisdom teeth.
3. I would really like an apartment on Place Vendome in Paris.
4. I wear my tiara when I clean the house.
5. I miss my grandfather - a lot.
6. I have an irrational fear of kites.
7. Teddy Roosevelt is my favorite president. Most of my non-fiction books are about him.
8. I am writing a book, and I think it is rather awesome.
9. I really hate peas, but I'm cool with all the other vegetables.
10. I was almost not here. My great grandmother was supposed to be on the Titanic, but she missed the boat. My grandmother had not been born yet.
11. I can type over 100 words a minute when I'm on a roll.
12. Dear Chicago by Ryan Adams is my favorite song.
13. I have a rainbow slinky on my desk.
14. My heart has been broken once.
15. Taxidermy freaks me out.
16. I am growing my hair long to donate to locks of love.
17. I am giving blood for the first time on Feb. 1 to get over my fear of needles.
18. My favorite soup is tortellini on brodo, but it is impossible to find meat tortellini in Nashville.
19. I think I would clean up if I was a contestant on Jeopardy.
20. I absolutely love living in Nashville.
21. The building I work in has a secret passageway, and a ghost.
22. Mark, my husband, is my very best friend.
23. I go to the downtown library at least three times each week during lunch.
24. My cat, Inky, is 17 years old. She came down here from New York with me.
25. I enjoy cooking, but would rather have a chef!

Monday, January 26, 2009

An attempt to be quasi-social

As I have said before, I am a solitary person by nature. This doesn't mean that I am shy or antisocial or anything. I just tend to prefer being on my own.....except when I don't.

This wanting to strech and find something different in my life has happened before, and I'm sure it has happened to others. For example, when I found out that the main Post Office here in Nashville was going to become a museum, and they wanted docents (fancy word for educated tour guides), I was in the first class for training. I loved it. They taught us fundamentals, and for each exhibit there was education as well, so my mind was swimming with art all the time. I gave tours on Thursday nights - the only night during the week when they were open. There's just something about a museum at night. It's cool.

But anyway I gave that up when I became president of a local business association, that I fondly refer to as the Catty Bitch Associaton. BIG MISTAKE, but a good learning experience.

So I really havent done anything extracurricular and quasi-social since then.

One of my favorite things to do during my lunch break is to walk the short distance to the main branch of the public library. I love the library, and since my taxes pay for the service, I think it should be utilized, and boy do I. So the other day I was thinking about books, and wondered if there might be a book club or something convenient for my schedule. Turns out that my branch library has a club that meets every Third Thursday. Of course, I had missed the most recent class by a few days, so I called the librarian in charge of the club. She told me the title of the book that was chosen (Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo). On Saturday, I went to the library and picked up the book, and met the librarian I had spoken to just the day before.

She seemed like a nice lady. Will the other people be nice? Will they be freaks that smell like cabbage? Will this experience change me in a good way, like my docent and Catty Bitch presidency did? Time will tell.

I predict a follow up post on February 20, the day after the book club meets. Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Why I Am Not That Cool

So perhaps you think I am awesome, that's fine. I think I'm rather groovy myself. You may be wondering, why did I pick Not That Cool for my blog name? Well, I think it sounds funny, and I'm all about the funny.

Another resason I picked the name is because it happens to be the title of one of my favorte songs by a Nashville artist, Will Hoge (scroll down in the song list to find Not That Cool). I have extremely fond memories of seeing him in concert at various venues here in town. It's a fun, upbeat song, and I consider myself fun and upbeat, so there ya go.

But, in furtherance to support how I am "Not That Cool," I present the following truthful facts.

1. I wear extremely silly socks as much as I can.
2. I also wear a tiara, outdoors. I have been seen at Outback wearing my tiara. No lie. Here's a picture of me just before we left for Outback.

3. I really love the movie Xanadu. Don't even fight me on this point.
4. I have unnatural fears of kites and taxidermy.
5. I really hate ricotta cheese. This is tragic for someone that is from an Italian family.
6. I know my 16 digit library card number by heart.
7. I have been known to drink wine from a box.

Oh sure, there are more, and they make the wonderful person that is typing this post ever so interesting. So yeah I'm Not That Cool.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Heaven smells like bread

When I get in the mood to do something, I must do it.....dammit. So yesterday I was off from work, and I was sitting in the living room, catching up on The Tudors (oh hi hello Jonathan Rhys Myers). When I am home for any length of time, I feel the need to do something domestic. That morning was consumed with cleaning, and I did a good amount, but that afternoon, even though fixated on British sexiness on the TV, I wasn't in complete domestic bliss. I looked over at my clean kitchen, and decided it needed a thin film of flour covering, well, everything. It was just too clean. So I made bread.

I have a love hate relationship with making bread. Sometimes it comes out good, but mostly it is just ehhhhh....at least the house smells good. Well my two friends, the bread I made yesterday was smack yo momma on the fanny fantastic. I googled "very easy bread recipe" and was rewarded with this link.

I did exactly what the author said. I mixed and kneaded and let it rise for the exact amount of time specified. I punched it, rolled it out, and slapped it in the oven (boy I sound violent). I let it bake for precisely 30 minutes, and turned it out onto a rack to cool.

Y'all I think heaven must smell like baked bread, because that's what my house smelled like. As instructed, I let that loaf cool. I did not cut into it, even though I REALLY wanted to. Shortly after taking it out, dear Husband said "oh hi we're going out to dinner with the Smiths."

"Cool." I thought, since any night that I don't have to cook is good.

"They are treating." Dear husband said.

"Rawk." I thought, but then looked lovingly over at the bread. I went over to my creation and touched it. It was still warm, so I decided to leave it out whilst we dined.

I noticed throughout dinner that my hair smelled like bread. It's a sexier than Chanel y'all.

When we came back home it still smelled like bread. The loaf was cool, so I got out my bread knife, and cut. The bread kept its form, and the slices looked like real bread slices, like you might get at the store. My past attempts looked like mutants, so I was pretty stoked. I decided, since I usually don't eat the ends on store bought bread, that I would eat the ends of my creation that night, since they were super skinny.

OMG IT WAS SO FRIGGIN GOOD. The innards were soft, and the crust was buttery (since I brushed butter on before cooking) and flaky.

Friends, if you ever feel the need to bake bread, use the linked recipe. It is the bomb!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Say Hello to my Little Frennn....

I work in a building in downtown Nashville that was built in 1896. It is mad cool. There are a lot of old details that have been preserved, and we even have a secret passageway. In this day of homogenized and pasteurized buildings that touch the sky, I feel extremely lucky to work in such a fascinating place.

Except for one thing.....the creepy crawlies known as spiders.

Y'all here in my building there are two particular kinds of spiders. The first is the brown recluse, who really don't want to bother anyone, until they are, in their spidey brains, provoked, and then they bite you, and it is poison. Seriously it is some bad shit.

Then there is the other that I see every now and then, the wolf spider. They are ugly as sin, and kinda big as far as robust spiders go, so yeah it's not fun when you see one.

Did I mention that today I saw one? I was sitting at my desk, extremely busy, I reach for my attorney's directory, place it on my desk, and then the spider is flung out from the ring-binder book.


So I don't know how quick this booger might escape into areas unknown, or perhaps try to climb on to my shoulder and then into my ear to chew on my innards, so time is of the essence. I grab a receipt from the Secretary of State for some Articles of Organization that I filed perhaps an hour ago.

WHAM!!!! Buh bye ugly spider. Thankfully the, um, juicier aspects of the departed remained on my quasi formica desk. The document used for smashing was relatively unscathed, and is currently in the mail to the Register of Deeds.

The End, until the next encounter, with perhaps a vengeful cousin.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My two left feet

I thought I was so smart. I decided that, since I had two pairs of sneakers, one older than the other, I would bring the older pair to work, sot that when I had on heels or some pair of shoes that was uncomfortable for waking great distances downtown, I had an option.

Today I am wearing a pair of navy spectator pumps. They squinch my toes, but they look cute, and we all know that cute is important right? So it's lunchtime, and I decided that I would go to the library, which I absolutely love to do. I get the pair out of the closet here at work that I threw them in weeks ago (I usually wear comfy shoes to work, except when I don't). I put the left one on, and my foot felt very happy. Then I grabbed the other shoe. Yeah it is from my other pair of sneakers, and is meant for the left foot.

So there you have it. Two left feet have I. The library will wait until tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Apple Treasure Cookie Quest - Part 2

A few posts ago I lamented about New York foods I could not find here in the South. Well, I am happy to say that I am now well acquainted with my old friend, the Apple Treasure Cookie. I found a recipe online that sounded close to what I wanted to create, I just had to tweek it here and there. I substitued shortening for the butter, because the cookie needed to have a cake-like texture, and butter would make more of a crispy cookie. And, instead of buying many jars of spices, only to languish in my cupboard forever, I bought a tin of pumpkin pie spice, and it worked perfectly.

The ingredients.

Raw cookies.

Baked cookies.

Cookie about to go in my belly.

Scooter celebrating my cookie success.

Now, the cookies don't look sexy, but trust me, they are gooooood, and your house will smell awesome, and they freeze beautifully, so make a bunch and freeze them. Here's the recipe:

Apple Treasure Cookies

1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
3 eggs
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
6 ounces chocolate chips
1 cup diced apple
1 cup unsalted peanuts, halved

Cream shortening, sugar, molasses and eggs. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop spoonfulls on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 12-15 minutes (or longer depending on how big your spoonfulls are).

Monday, January 5, 2009

Tina and the Brain

I can't remember a time when I didn't enjoy being creative. In elementary school, I was selected to be in a special after-school art program, probably because I made the prettiest construction paper lantern or glued cotton balls onto my Santa's beard with precision. Art class felt like playtime to me, and I fully support playtime.
Me at the age of 5. Dig my vest!

Anyhoo, I never had any problem entertaining myself. There was always a supply of paper and pencils, crayons and markers in my house, and if I felt like doing something three dimensional, my Barbies got haircuts.

And I still have many creative pursuits today, but there are always a few projects going at the same time. A perfect example is the book I am working on. I recently went for a month, just typing away at my book, thinking of more things to add and story lines to make the characters more interesting, and then I came to a full stop, because I got a bunch of fun yarn as one of my Christmas presents, and all I could think about was that yarn.

So a-knitting I have been, and this weekend I finished a fab shawl, that is bunched and tied at the front with pom poms. POM POMS! I am convinced people would be happier if they had more pom poms in their wardrobe. They are so merry.

With the shawl completed, I gave my brain time to pause, to think about what it should do next. Has that canvas on the easel decided what should be painted on it yet? Nope. Do I want to rework those semi precious stone necklaces I made a dozen years ago? Hmmmm....perhaps, but I have so much jewelry that I would really need to grow new limbs to adorn.

And then my brain said "Tina, what about writing more on Josie's life at the house on West End? That would be a great way to expand your book and write more back story." And I was all like "Brain, that is a great idea!"

So my mind is now chewing on my book, and wonderful directions in which to take my heroine. My brain feels like a sponge soaked with water, and I just have to wring it out and pour it into my computer. I love that after I write I feel a laugh inside myself and I smile. I think I am on to something good.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Tree Wars

Tomorrow I will take down my Christmas tree, which is one of the worst household chores EVER. Seriously, I'd rather scrub the toilet. I don't like decorating my tree that much, but I like how it looks when it's done, so I put it up every year, but yeah really HATE taking that booger down. But alas, it must be done, so done it will be, and then the room will look nekkid.

So tomorrow morning, me and the tree will fight. The fake needles will stab my arms as I reach into the interior to get all the round shiny ornaments, then the ornament hangers, in cahoots with the tree no doubt, will entwine themselves further on the branches, and stab me like a fish-hook when they see a juicy target, like that space between your fingernail and finger.

And then the third wave of the battle. Once the balls and oraments are down, the lights will attack. As I pull the strands away from the branches, the needles will be loosed like a swarm of medieval arrows in my direction. I will wear my glasses perhaps, so that they cannot poke me in my eyes.

It will be a long and arduous fight, and I may be scratched and battered in the end, but tree you are coming DOWN.