123Valerie Strikes Again

Unprecedented Self-Indulgence.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Pun for the Road

So, my brake lights seem to no longer work. I replaced both bulbs, and nada. Nothing. Zip. Zilch.

I'm taking the underlying symbolism as a good sign: There's no stopping me.

But in the world of Reality, the Department of Transportation frowns heavily on non-functioning brake lights, so I shall remedy this. Fixing things seems to be the reigning theme these days.

It's cool. There's a season for everything. I was just telling Adelka Ann how I feel like I'm in a preparation phase. I have no idea for what I'm preparing but, again, it's cool. The map will unfold sooner or later.

But in the meantime, making an appointment with a mechanic is rarely enjoyable, unless the name of your mechanic's business is The Lusty Wrench. Then you know you're in for a good time.

No, really. I mean, I love a good pun for sure and for certain, but I'm looking forward to meeting these people, largely because of this excerpt from the LW's Web site:

"Since we don't rely on bullshit, we welcome questions."

You gotta love a business person who uses profanity on his Web site. You've got to.

Plus, the mechanics (technicians?) all have their pictures posted and one looks hot. Bonus. I'm drawn toward men who work with their hands; I would gladly date a blue-collar guy given that most of the "intellectuals" I've known over the years have had the emotional IQs of gnats.

That's an unfair stereotype, I know. I apologize to all of you emotionally-solvent smarty pantses* out there. I would be stoked if you could prove me wrong.

Oh, hell. I didn't mean to go down this rail. Let's get back on track here with a totally random recipe for roasted chick peas. The personal trainer (PT) has given my old eating habits the heave-ho, so I've been trying to find healthy snacks to replace the 'tato skins and pork rinds I normally gravitate toward.

So, my dear Al Bal gave me this idea.

Preheat the oven to 450.

Open a can of chick peas (garbanzo beans), drain and spread them on a cookie sheet.

Drizzle with olive oil (about 2 tablespoons), sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. (You can add any spices you like, really. Go crazy.)

Place in oven for approximately 20 minutes, turning the beans once or twice, until they are roasted.

You can make the little buggers as crunchy or as soft as you'd like. I like mine a little crunchy. These will keep for a few days in a covered container (I don't refrigerate because they get soggy).

And there you have a healthy snack.

In the Comments section, tell your ideas for healthy snacks.

*Not saying that blue-collar guys and gals aren't smarty pantses.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

You Can't Always Get What You Want


"Yes, I really want to be blonde."

"No!!!! You have such pretty red hair!"

"I know," I said, "But, I've had pretty red hair for more than a decade. C'mon, you can do this. Dig deep--it's within you to color my hair."

As I cajoled the stylist, my ambitions went from platinum to a nice strawberry blonde. About 90 minutes and enough chemicals to reignite the Cuyahoga River later, I emerged with this:

Sorry for the crappy cell phone pics again!


It is … blondish. But very nice, if I do say so myself. And very different. It's swingy and chic and grown-up--the low-grade cell phone pics don't do it justice. Cori, my stylist, is a genius.

The funny thing is, Cori was right: I don't think it's the color that needed updating—just me. I don't know. Well, I feel like a different person now that I've "lightened up" and "straightened out."

I've oft said that Love Monkey and I are blogging soul mates. If you don't already follow her, well, then you are sorely missing out on some good stuff.

But, one of her most recent offering is about being a redhead and learning to love it, despite what other people think. How many of us have come to love a part of ourselves that previously caused us abjection? (My hand's up.)

Not to hit on the obvious, but I think of my rack, which caused me great consternation early on, not to mention my off-kilter outlook. I used to wring my hands because I didn't see things the way others did. Now, I am very, very grateful.

I don't know, kids. I've just really been hearing a repeating loop in my (newly-blondish) head: If not now, when?

So, I did another thing that I hope will alleviate something that's been weighing on me for some time – I signed on with a personal trainer. I sold a kidney bit the bullet and ponyed up the fee. I'm fighting the urge to call the move ridiculous because it's not—you can't put a price on self esteem.

Oh, and I'm not drinking these days. I haven't for quite some time, actually. I've hesitated to share that with you, my pretties. I don't know why. But, there it is. I've gotta say, on the whole, it's working for me.

Megan Jane shared something with me that one of her professors said that has really touched us both:

"No growth can be made with out great loss. I cried when I wrote that."

So true, no? It's a sad and accurate statement, but I don't know that I've learned a whole heck of a lot from the "gifts" that life has given—it's always been the losses.

At this point, I've "lost" the late-night boozy antics (all-right, the mid-morning ones, too), I've lost some of the darkness in (on) my head and I hope to lose a little bit (just a little bit) of the actual me. But, I'm gaining a lot. Mostly credit card debt thus far, but I'm hopeful.

Yes, the Stones had it right: You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes and pay out a lot of money, you just might just find, you get what you need.

Actually, I'm going to amend that: You CAN always get what you want, but sometimes you have to temporarily settle for what you need.

There, that feels better.

In the Comments section, tell me what you want most right now.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Blonde Ambition

I've been a redhead now longer than I wore my natural color, and I think a change is in order.

(I do this when I realize that bigger life changes are necessary but I'm either uncertain of what they are or scared shitless -- or both -- so instead I change my hair. Just play along with me that this simply a surface thing.)

I love the vibrancy of red, but as Megan Jane recently pointed out maybe (in solely my case, not all of you other gingers out there) it's projecting a tendency toward recklessness for which I no longer want to be known.

I suppose no one wants to be known as reckless, but for a long time, I didn't really mind it. Now I do. Now I want to be less of a wreck.

I know the stereotypes about blondes might seem to counter the centered, focused persona I want to embody, but I'm drawn to the literal and figurative idea of lightening up. And, since I've been damn near every other color under the sun but blonde, it's time to explore uncharted territory.

So much of my life seems to no longer fit, like every day I'm waking up and putting on someone else's clothes. I might be covered up and warm, but it just doesn't feel right.

My boss reads (or at least knows of) this here blog, so I feel obliged to say: No, I'm not quitting my job or even entertaining the idea. While I'm glad to be able to say that we have very open discussions about the many, many, many, many drawbacks of our work, it's everything else that feels off.

Well, I made an appointment at the salon for tomorrow night because if I can't indentify the bigger changes that are necessary, at least I can update my 'do.

In the Comments section, tell me if you think blondes have more fun.

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

If You Can't Take the Heat

My sister, Susie, was cleaning out her kitchen and graciously offered a bunch of her culinary offal, which we gladly accepted. I was super stoked to go through the box, finding mini casserole dishes, paring knives, muffin tins and a pregnancy test.


Well, how about that.

It was new—still in the box, thank God, but it's hardly what I'd consider standard kitchen equipment, unless …

She has ONE hot kitchen.

Spicing it up, fo sho.

Don't get me wrong—I'm grateful for the castoffs. Especially now that I'm the proud owner of a matching twin-set of fondue cookbooks. A fonduo, if you will. Yes! Grab a skewer.

But then my other sister, Maryannie, pointed out that maybe, because it wasn't 1972, we didn't really need dueling fondue cookbooks. Quite honestly, though, I was tickled to have a back-up copy, considering all of the risks associated with fondue parties, what with the open fire and the hot oil and melted chocolate.

But illustrations like that are starting to help me realize that maybe my thinking is just a hair different than most folks'. For instance, you all remember the pink, fuzzy coat, yes?

While I fully admit it's a generally ridiculous article of clothing, I've taken to walking the dogs in it because:

A. It's warm.

B. It's been about -5 degrees up here with feets and feets of snow falling daily.

C. What exactly IS the right occasion for such an item?

So, I was tooling along the lane, walking by a local antique store, when the owner of said store stepped out into the arctic cold to flag me down and say, "I don't mean this unkindly, but you look like a Dr. Seuss character in that coat. I think it's fabulous!"

Why, thank you Very Gay Sir. I know who's getting the first invite to my next fondue party.

In the Comments section, tell me if you like fondue cookery.

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