Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Teacup Candle

A few years ago my grandmother gave me her china set.  Well, she gave me what was left of it.  The remaining pieces that survived 70+ years and six kids consists of a serving plate, a few bowls, eight dinner plates, and four teacups and saucers.  Upon receiving them, I promptly broke the handle off one of the teacups, which is now relegated to housing my earrings on top of my dresser.  Realizing that I would probably break the rest of the set if I tried to actually use it to eat with, I hung the serving plate and a couple of saucers on the wall for decoration, and stuck the rest in a high cupboard.  

After languishing there for a few years, I've tried to slowly bring out pieces here and there to put around the house for beauty's sake, if not function.  One of the other teacups had a chip on the lip of it, so I figured it would be a good candidate for a teacup candle craft that I've seen all over Pinterest.  I dug up an old, dusty candle that's only been lit once or twice, and got to work.

Most tutorials say to chop up the wax (if you haven't bought wax for this specific purpose) and put it in a pan within a pan full of boiling water.  Or use a double boiler if you have one.  (I don't.)

I boiled some water in a pot and then placed a metal vegetable steamer inside so that my candle wouldn't touch the bottom of the pot, just in case the glass broke.  I then just stuck the candle jar in the water and left it to melt.

I will say that this probably took a lot longer than if I'd properly cut up the wax and put it in a separate container, but I was lazy.  Plus, this way I could just recycle the glass holder afterwards; no clean up!!  That's one thing I think would be a pain, to clean a pot that has melted wax all over it.  There was still a big blob of wax around the wick that refused to melt, so I just plucked it out of the jar by the wick and stuck it in the teacup and poured the melted wax around it.  The jar was small enough that I could just used some large tweeters I had to pull it out of the water.

End result:  not too shabby.  And clean up was a breeze.  Double bonus.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Summertime Blues

Man, I've been away for a long time.  I tend to reverse-hibernate.  While most people run to bask in the sunshine during summer, I prefer to close all the blinds and wait for it to be over.  I'm sure a lot of it has to do with the insane heat and the fact that we don't use the ac.  My body rebels by refusing to go any speed higher than sloth.

But now that September is almost gone, (don't let the door hit you on the way out, you hot, sweaty bitch), I am finally waking up and have a teensy-tinsy bit more energy.  I recently posted the following on Facebook and thought I'd share it here:

This year was the first time I read information on summertime SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Most people suffer from SAD during the cold, dreary winter months. To me, summer has always been pretty insufferable, especially since everyone else on the planet seems to love it so damned much. Personally, I'd rather hibernate in June, July, and August, and come out when the leaves start to turn.
I've actually hated it since I was a kid. Maybe it was because I was sure everyone else was off doing something fun and I was stuck all by myself, bored and alone. The days stretched out, unscheduled and endless. (I've always thrived best with structure.) Sure, my parents signed me up for swim classes and the like, but more often than not I was left to my own devices to fill my days. I guess I wasn't a very imaginative kid, because much of the time I just sat in front of the TV.
I think, to a certain extent, I still feel that way, especially as I peruse Facebook and see so many people's pictures of happy memories being made during these sunny months. (Don't worry, I don't hold it against anyone. Please, frolic away!) It's just that everything and everyone seems so amped up while I'm descending in the opposite direction into sloth mode. I can't seem to shake the torpor.
I think the main reason is the suffocating heat. (Summertime SAD tends to affect more people in consistently hot climates like India and other countries close to the Equator.) It's currently 92° inside the house (at 8:00 PM), and the days top out in the 100s pretty consistently. The heat saps every ounce of energy I have, and makes me just want to close everything up and hide from the world for a few months. (Circadian rhythms tend to get messed up this way, which I feel affects me, too.) Being outside is pretty awful until the sun goes down, and any activities that require movement pretty much go out the window until fall. And sitting around feeling sweaty and uncomfortable doesn't put me in the best mindset. Depression easily creeps in during these times.
I don't know if it's all the advertisements for Back to School, the fact that Labor Day usually marks the unofficial end to summer, or just that I feel summer's been long enough, but I finally feel a change coming on. It's still hotter than Hades, and I know that we'll typically continue with triple-digit temps for another few weeks at least, but I swear it seems like there is a different slant to the sun these days. Like it's dipping closer to the horizon, giving us respite from it a little sooner now. I finally have a tiny bit more energy, and actually look forward to getting things done rather than feeling like I just have a never-ending to-do list that haunts my nightmares.
I feel like I'm almost (ALMOST) ready to come out of hibernation.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Scarf-Tying Tutorial

Just wanted to remember this video so that I can look back at it when I'm tired of the same style.  Since they crank up the AC in here to make my workplace akin to the Arctic tundra, I wear scarves pretty much year round.  In Southern California.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


This is more of a reminder to myself than an actual foodie entry.  I came across this recipe and adapted it.  Ralph always tells me to write down what I change so I'll remember for next time, and I NEVER remember.  So... here goes.

1 large can tomatoes undrained
1 bunch cilantro
1/2 red onion (or whatever kind you have lying around)
juice from 1 lemon
1 1/2 tbsp chicken bullion
1-2 tsp garlic salt
1 jalapeño pepper
1 serrano pepper

Roast the jalapeño and serrano peppers by skewering them and holding them over an open flame until soft and blackened.  It's like roasting marshmallows for s'mores (which I happen to prefer charred).
Slice off the tops of the peppers and dump the remainder in a blender.  Take out the seeds if you don't want too much spice.  (I personally think it tasted great with no peppers at all, but I'm the minority in that respect, so I usually add a little kick.)  Chop off the stems of the cilantro and dump the rest of the bunch in the blender as well.  It doesn't matter if there are still some stems attached.  Throw in the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth, or just pulse if you like it chunky.  Add salt to taste.

[Here's where you can really tell I'm no food blogger, given that all I had to display the finished product in was some tupperware and an old spaghetti jar.  Plus I didn't have any chips to eat with it so I just cut up some cucumber to dip in it.]

I find it tastes best to have it sit awhile (even overnight) to let all the flavors intermingle, but I'm usually too impatient and dive right in.

Ralph surprised me after he saw me making this by frying some chips out of tortillas. And that made life glorious.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Joy Warrior

I am not someone who looks at a mud puddle and sees a rainbow.  I look at a mud puddle, and not only see it as a mud puddle, but I get angry at the thought that I could have stepped in that mud puddle and ruined a perfectly good pair of shoes and then also been late to a meeting I was rushing to.  How dare that puddle be in my way!  I won't be happy that I happened to notice it just in time, I'll most certainly think about the times I didn't see one in time, and how I ruined my shoes,  my day, and what the hell, my whole life.  Those damned puddles!  Everything in life is out to get me!

See where I'm going with this?  I'm not a glass-is-half-full kind of person.  Most days I convince myself that I don't even want to be that kind of person, that naive, head-in-the-clouds ninny who lives in a fantasy world.  "I'm not a pessimist, I'm a realist!"  Problem is, that does nothing to help my depression, my relationships, my thoughts of the future.

I heard a term recently:  joy warrior.  That struck a chord with me.  Not because I resemble one in any way, because I can't just find joy.  I have to fight for it.  I have to push past all the negative feelings I carry with me at all times.  I have to block out all the nay-sayers I seem to have surrounded myself with over the years.  (Misery loves company, I guess?)  It is a full-on battle for me.  And some days, most days, I wonder if I have the energy to fight.  But I have a feeling it's vitally important for me to try.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Thank God That's Over With

Buh-bye 2013.  Don't let the door hit your a** on the way out.  

Would you believe the holiday season was relatively drama free?  I can hardly believe it myself.  2013 definitely went out more quietly than it came in, and I was beyond happy about that.

Last year I made no resolutions, no "one word" promises about the year, except perhaps to SURVIVE.  And amazingly, I did.  It was one of the toughest years yet, but I still managed to take in breath each day, keep my heart pumping, and my body and mind (fairly) intact.  Considering all the complications the year brought, surviving was a feat in and of itself.

I'm still not going to make any resolutions this year, and I'm still not really sure what I'm going to do here on the blog, if I'm even going to post anymore, but I will say that I'm feeling a lot better than I have in a while.  Oh yeah, depression still knocks on the door at a regular basis, and there is still stress and many, many complicated situations, but I'm really trying to focus on being content.  And I've been getting better at that.

Slowly, slowly, oh so slowly, I'm starting to peek my head out from under the covers and trying to work on living rather than simply surviving.  And it's hard, believe me.  There are so many days when I want to dive back under the layers I've built around myself and simply hunker down and wait out life.  But that's not a very fulfilling way to live, if you can even call it that.   So I'm trying to send out some tender shoots above ground, testing gently.  Growing slowly.

Who knows?  2014 might be a year to smile about this time next year.

One thing I can smile about?  The fact that I'm sitting in 75° temps unlike the rest of the country.  Below, Coco is demonstrating one of her favorite "winter" activities.  She love to push out the straw that we use insulate the dog house, and instead lay on it in the sunshine.  The snowflakes are just for effect.

Monday, November 18, 2013


I often think about posting more, but everything I think of to write about makes me sound like a whiny, opinionated, sanctimonious a**hole.