Tackling Projects Family Style

So my lovely parents came to visit me this weekend, largely to help me buy a car, because the last time I bought a car it was a really weaselly high pressure sale situation and I didn’t want to do that alone. Turns out the folks where I bought my car don’t play that game, and I had Janice squared away in a few hours on Friday night. (Signing all the paperwork took longer than anything else.)

So on Saturday we all got up around 7, had breakfast burritos, and then swung by HomeThing, picked up some boxes, and started packing and purging. Dad took care of all of my good china, the tea sets, and my serving dishes – destined for storage at their house for the time being. Mom and I purged the refrigerator, made lunch, went through all my decorations and purged them down to one large and one small bin. We went through the Steamer Trunk as well (though most of the stuff in there is staying in there), and added some things to it for long term storage.

We also took two trips to Goodwill with donations (including a set of dishes), a trip to AutoThing for a sun shade for Janice, a trip to Armand Bayou to walk around and enjoy the weather (which was brisk but pleasant) and the fully-in-bloom Oasis Garden, and a trip to Specs, followed by Birthday Dinner, showers for everyone, and into bed.

This morning, Dad built the cat-stairs for the bedroom, Mom and I finished up some stuff in the kitchen, and I got them on the road around 10:30.

After which I flat crashed for about five hours.

Right now I’m in the process of purging and organizing the pantry (which is narrow, deep, and kind of a black hole).

I’m looking forward to going back to work tomorrow, just so I can get some downtime, lol.

Introducing Janice

In 2004, my dad and I went car shopping, and I drove off the lot with a 5-speed manual Toyota Corolla that I promptly named Luna.

Luna the Corolla was my companion on about 160,000 miles of adventures, but last year after she valiantly got me home and I had to give her a new clutch, I started to realize the end was near. Recently she’s had a number of systems fail, and her inspection/registration was due at the end of February, so I started looking for new cars.

Now obviously, in 2004 I was a college student. I had very different needs for a car than I do now, as a single adult, moving into a house, with two cats and a full-time life. So I settled on purchasing a small SUV – when I’m relocated back to Denton, I won’t be driving as many long road trips, and I just needed something larger, safer, and more suited to the kind of things I need in a vehicle.

I settled on a 2018 Mazda CX-5 or a 2018 Honda CR-V as my top choices, based on a lot of reviews, anecdotes, and reading and looking. Buying Luna was an ORDEAL (and not the good kind) so I asked my parents to come down to help me buy my new car, mostly for moral support. They arrived at 5 on Friday, and by 5:30 we were at the dealer to look at cars.

My top choice – a tricked out CX-5 – had sold out from under me the day before. So I ended up there, test driving a “diamond pearl” CR-V with only 25K miles and a practically pristine interior. I fell in love, and three hours of signing paperwork later, I drove off the lot, leaving Luna with a hug and a goodbye and a thank you for years of safety and good adventures.

The new car was going to be called Pearl until a friend on Facebook suggested Janice, for Janice Joplin’s album Pearl, and I immediately knew that would be her name.

So welcome Janice. I hope we have many thousands of miles of adventures to go on together.

I made a bread

Using Jim Lahey’s “foolproof” overnight method

3 cups bread flour
1/4 tsp fast-acting yeast
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups lukewarm water

Mix all ingredients until shaggy dough forms. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm-room-temp location for 12-18 hours (this loaf got an 18 hour ferment, and it might be slightly over fermented, but my apartment runs 75+ degrees in the afternoons even in winter).

Turn onto a floured surface and let rest 15 minutes. Shape into a ball, place on a piece of floured parchment. Flour top of loaf and cover for 60-90 minutes.

Preheat oven to SCREAMING HOT (my dutch oven lid will only take up to 450, so 450 is what I used) with the dutch oven in the oven. Once bread is approximately double in size, remove pot from oven, place bread (parchment and all) in the pot, add the lid, put back in the oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 20-40 minutes or until deep brown and hollow sounding.

Cool on a wire rack.

Once it’s done cooling, I’ll eat half the loaf and we’ll see if I get sick. The dough smelled and tasted just like the sourdough I made with my friend in San Francisco last fall, so I’m hopeful.

On Gluten, IBS, Celiac, and Fermentation

So I’ve long wondered if the suspicion that folks have about “bread” making people sick (including me!) has as much to do with HOW we make bread and WHAT we make bread out of as it does with the supposedly evil gluten. There’s long been some anecdata that says that fully fermented wheat doughs are easier on the stomach than regular commercial bread.

As with all things n=1, so your mileage may vary, but so far this is what I have discovered:

I can eat naturally leavened, fully fermented sourdough without any issues. I cannot eat pasta, regular bread, or crackers. I can handle a small amount of soy sauce (which is fermented), but not tempura (which has flour in the batter).

This has been revelatory for me, as it means I have SOME bread back in my life, but I’ve been buying sourdough, and I miss the very primal act of MAKING bread myself. So I am experimenting now with a very-long-rise, fully fermented dough, but which doesn’t require a sourdough starter.

This is the recipe I’m using – it’s got great reviews, and I have made similar breads in the past, so I think it should turn out okay. Only thing is to figure out if my tum will be okay with it!

It’s a 20 hour ferment, so I’ll be starting it soon (it’s currently almost 2pm here), and then finishing it tomorrow morning. My apartment is on the warm side, so I doubt I’ll have any problems getting yeasty beasties going.

I’ll post pictures when I’m done!

Thoughts on “Style” and Dressing Your Truth

So I watch a youtuber named Diane in Denmark – she used to be a FlyLady Premium mentor, and started making videos that I really enjoyed listening to and that were really motivating to get my house put together. And she had a really strong sense of personal style.

She talked about a system called Dressing Your Truth, which is (yet another) thing that you can look to for determining the way you’ll look your best. It’s more than just colors though, it’s design, fabrication, texture, pattern, etc. Anywho, it’s made by a lady named Carol Tuttle, and she looks like your typical new agey white lady, except that something about the energy typing system stuck in my brain. A lot of her stuff strikes me as pretty kooky, but for some reason the style stuff I kept going back to.

This was … well over a year ago at this point, and I recently went back to it, since I’ve stubbornly not lost any of the weight I gained in 2017, so I have been getting some new clothes. There’s a free course here – https://course.liveyourtruth.com/ – and I watched it a few times. Dabbled around with it for awhile, and then decided to just try it for real and see what I think.

After joining Lifestyle over the summer, with an annual membership (like a good little pagan, I gave myself a year to decide if I like it or not), I was wearing Type 2 stuff (soft, subtle, lots of grey and mauve) and Carol saw my posts and suggested I contact her team to be officially typed as part of a Facebook quiz thing. I was selected, and ended up getting typed by Carol herself, as well as well over 200 other women who agreed with her, and I’m now living in the world of the Type 4 – Bold, Striking Woman.

(Oddly what had kept me from selecting Type 4 for myself was that I didn’t think I was stunning, striking, or symmetrical enough – basically I over analyzed, decided I wasn’t perfect enough, and went for the next closest thing. Also oddly, this is apparently incredibly common for Type 4 personalities.)

This has been an adventure. I don’t know how much I buy into the whole thing, but a lot of it is VERY true for me, but I also know that personality tests are like opinions these days. As a system for style, the Bold, Striking Woman wears pure hues – white, black, and other pure colors – in structured, clean, refined styles. And to be honest, that’s a lot of what I had in my closet (what wasn’t already Type 4 was Type 3 – rich and dynamic – hues with black mixed in for a lot of depth).

And so I’m now trying out “dressing my truth” – and I honestly really like it. It makes shopping easier, I’ve discovered I look STUNNING in a true red or true raspberry lipstick, and I feel at ease in the clothes that I’ve been picking up (mostly from ThredUP – thrift stores FTW).

It feels a little silly to have decided to do this – I’m 35, like I can’t figure out how to dress my own god damn self? But it’s fun, and it does make shopping easy, and so far everything I’ve picked up that is true to type has looked amazing on me.

(Go figure, the Italianate woman looks good in black and red.)

We’ll see if I’m still into it in a year.

It’s a mad mad mad mad world

This is the shape of my last few months:

  • November 23 – drive to San Antonio, pick up friends, drive to Austin, Critical Role Live Show, drive back to San Antonio
  • November 24 – drive home to Houston
  • November 25-27 (work)
  • November 28 – drive to DFW, celebrate Thanksgiving
  • November 29 – spend day juggling friends and additional Thanksgiving
  • November 30 – drive home to Houston
  • December 2-6 (work)
  • December 6-7 – ADF mother Grove meeting
  • December 9-13 (work)
  • December 14 – Fly to Nevada
  • December 16-18 (work from Nevada, starting at 5:30am)
  • December 18 – Fly home
  • December 19 (work)
  • December 20 – solstice cooking, Grove Yule ritual, work
  • December 21 – solstice dawn ritual, pagan and eggs with local community for 3 hours
  • December 22 – finish Christmas
  • December 23 – work a 12 hour day
  • December 24 – drive to Waco, tank my family for Christmas Eve
  • December 25 – Christmas Day, Christmas dinner with 20+ people, drive home to Houston
  • December 26 (work)
  • December 27 – drive to San Antonio, pick up a friend, drive from San Antonio to McKinney, set up for a 19 hour fire vigil
  • December 28 (today) up at 6 am to start the vigil at sunrise, on and off around the fire under a canopy in the pouring rain. (I am support for this event, thankfully, but must stay up until it’s completion at 2:30am)
  • December 29 – close ritual, drive from McKinney to San Antonio, drop off friend, drive home to Houston (this will mark 1500 miles of driving in 5 days).
  • December 30 (work)
  • December 31 – fly to Nevada, Roaring 20’s NYE party
  • (Fucking rest, sort of)
  • January 7 – fly home
  • January 8-10 (work)
  • January 11 – Winter Crown Tourney in Livingston TX
  • January 18 – drive to Denton to look at houses/apartments
  • January 19 – drive home to Houston
  • January 20 (resume normal schedule maybe please I hope)

I’m almost done, but holy crap y’all!