Tuesday, August 30, 2011

In my next life, I want to be the Stars Hollow troubadour.

On this first day that "feels like fall"...

Stand in the woods and contemplate something really deep and serious. I was surely doing so here.
Or, you could always skip. Enjoy your favorite magazine. (This is a new magazine - first issue should arrive in mailboxes tomorrow! - that I am helping with. It's a Real Simple/Southern Living/Whole Living/Garden & Gun put together by 20-40 year olds)
Find new uses for late summer/early fall supplies. Example: Turn your tomato cages upside down, gather the ends, and wrap lights around for outdoor decor.
Great idea for pumpkins or cushaws.
Make something that requires cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Below: cushaw bread, butternut squash pie, pistachio pear cake.

Start a Gilmore Girls marathon. Or, at least watch these two youtube clips that I'm having trouble embedding. Jess was always my favorite.

Play songs that remind you of fall.

Pistachio Pear Cake
Mix together:
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
½ c. oil (or substitute yogurt!)
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. soda
¾ tsp. salt
2 c. all purpose flour
1 ½ - 2 tsp. cinnamon
½ - ¾ tsp. nutmeg
3/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 c. toasted pistachios

At this point, the dough will be very stiff. Go ahead and add 4 c. of peeled, cored, and diced pears (or apples if you so choose). Don’t overmix! I baked in a springform pan at 315 degrees for around 75 minutes (I covered with aluminum foil; this is a dense cake – the top will brown before the center comes close to being finished so covering partially or completely is recommended)

Optional topping (if you decide to do this, I would cut back on the spices and sugar in the cake): In saucepan, mix ½ c. brown sugar, ¼ c. milk, ¼ lb. butter, and bourbon (to taste). Bring to a slow boil for 3 minutes. Pour over cake and return to 300 degree oven for five minutes.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Unobliging Vagabonds of the Closet

Charlie Chaplin played one in 1916; so did Sean Penn in 1997. The Man with No Name rather aimlessly drifted in many a Spaghetti Western. Japanese anime depicts characters referred to as "rurouni"s. According to Wikipedia - the harbinger of all truth - Rambo was of the soldier variety. And then apparently, there's me.

A few posts ago I mentioned how often I get asked what my tattoo means. Whatever figure I gave surely pales in comparison to how frequently I'm questioned about "how long I'm going to stay here" (Here: Cumberland County). Sure, I was living elsewhere for 11 years or so. I have had the opportunity to do some neat things in other places. I have friends in much larger cities who I love to visit. For some reason, however, a lot of people seem to assume that these collectively mean I can't be settled, that I can't be genuinely happy, in a place like Marrowbone. I have heard the "well, but how long is she going to be around?"s and the "she'll leave when she gets bored"s. I have caught the skeptical eye squints while trying to express (probably poorly) how much I enjoy being "home."

I've never denied that I need to be challenged. I like to feel inspired, I enjoy trying new foods and art and music and activities, I love to have ready access to cultural and sporting events. Combine this with a deep questioning, or at least exploration, of self and decision, and maybe the logical conclusion is that any vagabond tendencies will ultimately resurface.

I learned long ago to never assume what will happen years down the road; people and circumstances change, often without asking your opinion. But, with no reservation and no hesitation, I can wholeheartedly say that I AM settled. I am happy. I love my front porch. I love driving two miles to see my mom and sister. I love that Isabella and Leigh can walk to my workplace in about three minutes. I love Hamilton's BBQ. I love being within an hour of Dale Hollow Lake, and Mammoth Cave, and Cream & Sugar pancakes. I love having Sunday dinners with my family. I love that former teachers and mentors are now friends who come in the Library for our organic coffee and chocolate bar. I love the support this community has shown to my family and to Turner Farm. I love my garden beds. I love Houchens, even if most stuff is overpriced and about to expire. I love Main Street 210 and The Yellow Ribbon Trading Post. I love walking Lucy and Willie in my pajamas and still feeling perfectly comfortable waving at Misty Dubre as she heads to work at the Extension Office. I love interacting, as adults, with high school friends. I love how much we laugh at the Library. I love all the interesting characters that are town fixtures. I love that Tj, Todd, Allen, Stevie, Jimmie, and I had a goat follow us while running a few days ago. I love all the animals at Mom's farm.

When going through some of my storage boxes a few days ago, what I realized is thus: while to some - those who will actually believe me - I am vagabond no more, to myself, I never really was. In each of the cities, apartments, and houses I have lived, I have carted around and carefully stored pieces of family, reminders of friendships, tokens of laughter, and tangible connections to home and childhood. The ties have been there even if the strings were loosened.
These items have been packed. They have traveled. But they also speak of roots. (I have decided to focus on childhood objects and letters in this post. There will be a follow-up dedicated to Senior pictures and Senior Albums:)).
Grover was always my favorite. In this particular book, one filled with my green crayon marks, he plays hide and seek with the reader. I LOVED this book.
Mom and Dad gave me this doll when I was probably 8 or 9. If you are a Pillow Book follower, you might remember a post similar to this one where I showcased my packing techniques and strategies...I am amazed this doll is neither broken nor naked. And, I think she is just lovely. I would like to give her to a daughter (or if that doesn't happen, to Isabella) one day.
This just makes me laugh. For about 14 years, I have kept this button-inspired, ceramic paperweight of me giving a thumbs-up. Mrs. Charlotte, I either really liked art class, or I was astute enough to realize how ridiculous this would look tucked between my favorite childhood books and family heirlooms. Well-played 17-year-old Liza.

I am so grateful for my GSP experience. Were it not for this six weeks in Danville, I probably would have never gone to Centre, a decision that made me a better student, thinker, and human being. Plus, I got to have Philosophy class with a cute boy named John. That's right, I had a crush on a boy who signed his letters as such.
If any of you know a John Walker from the Ft. Thomas area, make sure you tell him that Liza Turner says "Hi" and is still hoarding pictures and letters from/of him. That isn't creepy at all.
This is one of the first, if not THE first, letter I ever received from Caroline Dale Kraft. Some 13 years later, we're still putting pen to paper.
Look! She even signed her last name:)
And I quote, "I like you more than any girl I've dated SINCE MY EX." Wow, that really wasn't a compliment at all.:)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Your Life in Six Words. Go.

I was looking through old Pillow Book posts a few days ago and decided that I wanted to update a couple of my favorite entries.
Smith Magazine is the online home of the "six-word memoir" project. The purpose is to encourage readers to think about perspective and significance without sacrificing clarity and conciseness. If you've read this blog much at all, you are well aware that I occasionally have trouble with the latter. This exercise, therefore, is a bit of a challenge for me. Nonetheless, I figure anything that somehow forces introspection and yet ultimately inspires simplicity is good for me.

Gypsy souls will not break me.
Watching Mom bushhog makes me proud.
Dad would've fussed, but slyly grinned.
My mornings seem better with yogurt.
I loved watching the garden grow.
Nonetheless, the cucumbers wore me out.
Wish I could just sit still.
I can be happy by myself.
I like responsibility, but I'm tired.
Why not finish the three-quarter sleeve?
What doesn't kill us still hurts.
Needing to exercise unhealthily consumes me.
I'm grateful for my amazing job.
Ice cream was a bad idea.
I won't look back and wonder. (Initial list; still true)
It's okay to feel crazy sometimes. (Initial list; definitely still true)
When was I at my best?
Simply because Awesome/Not Awesome lists are fun.
*Getting a simple, yet thoughtful and unexpected, text or email.
*Cooking your own garden vegetables.
*Someone taking control, grabbing your face, and just kissing you.
*The perfect iced coffee.
*Fresh herbs...on anything.
*Getting reacquainted with people, those you once knew only as Mr. or Mrs. XYZ, as an adult.
*Making homemade yogurt...and realizing it's actually the right consistency.
*Walking your parents' farm in cowboy boots.
*Mornings when it seems summer just might be turning into fall.
*Unexpected visitors at your workplace.
*Running Jackson Hollow...at the end.
*Having pictures on your dashboard that make you smile...even if it does make you look 16.
*Feeling inspired to write.
*Stray cats you grow to love.
*When your hands look like your fathers, stained and calloused from berries, gardens, and manual labor.
*Taking a picture and realizing it either turned out surprisingly interesting or accidently captures a perfect stranger's ridiculous expression in the background.
*Having someone take a candid photo of you (and a real one, not the "I'm going to pretend I don't see them, gaze off into the distance" kind) that you really love.
Not awesome:
And, Zach, I wholeheartedly agree with your profound conclusion: "this is Earth; this is the world." I know these are totally insignificant. That doesn't mean that they still aren't a pain in the ass.
*Swimsuits: one-piece, tankini, the tiniest of string bikinis...they are all little pieces of horrible.
*Being hot when you're trying to sleep.
*Wet grass on flip-flopped feet.
*The saying, "I'm a poet and didn't know it."
*Looking forward to a soda, opening it, and realizing it's flat or warm.
*When the ice machine at Minit Mart does not work.
*People who wear charm or dangling bracelets at meetings and continually hit the table with said decoration every time they write.
*Facebook misalignments. I "Like" the wrong thing about 14 times/day. Even better: finally typing a message in the correct comment box and then getting the "Sorry. Something went wrong." notification.
*Stuff underneath your fingernails (although stained hands = good).
*Being hot, taking a shower, still being hot when you're trying to get ready.
*Loud people at restaurants...especially when they are saying stuff they think makes them look cool or funny. Never ever has this been the case.
*Blizzards that's aren't thick. DQ workers that don't turn blizzards upside down.
*Eating something really hot, forgetting you picked up said bit of fire, and then rubbing your face.
*Mini-dishwashers. Kristi and Luke, I apologize for the dishwasher diatribes to which you have been privy. No actually, no I don't.
Let me hear your six-word memoirs or awesome/not awesome lists.
Little glimmers of fall air make me so very happy. I'm ready for hoodies, pumpkin-spiced cappucino, small town festivals, and weekend "let's go look at the leaves" drives.

Oh, and fall photo shoots.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

If I live the life I'm given, I won't be scared to die.

I get asked what the banner part of my tattoo means at least a couple of times a week. I typically just take the easy way out and say, "it's a song lyric." And it is (from the Avett Brothers,' January Wedding). But, here you go, the real reason, for any of you who are interested: "Cause it's simple" is this poster. It's about making A decision. It's about figuring out what is most genuinely important to you and choosing that above all else. It's about moving home. It's about trusting yourself. It's about just doing something. It's about recognizing the terrible beauty. It's about understanding that life is not a conspiracy against you; It's about getting over yourself. It's about surrounding yourself both with the people you love most and with those things that inspire you.

In previous posts, I have mentioned (or at least implied) my hatred of inspirational one-liners, of the "oh, it will all be fine" stuff that is so often inappropriately offered without request, of the empty mantras that ignite emotional response. For those who know me well, you understand that I'm frustratingly skeptical of "order" or "how things should be" or "reasons things happen." Thus, I know some will think I am teetering on hypocrisy here. I simply find so much more substance in these poster sentences than I do in most "life reminders" advertising. (While acknowledging that a few border on kitschy).

My favorites:
*If you don't like something, change it.
*If you don't have enough time, stop watching t.v.
*If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love.
*Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself.
*Go out and start creating.

Songs on my mind this morning:

I include this not because I'm trying to tie in some "it's gonna be a good life" connection, but because I like the video, the sound of the "when you're happy like a fool" part, and because it looks like the Santa Monica pier at the one minute mark or so. I have a lot of memories, including meeting J.J. from Good Times, on the Santa Monica pier.

Because I think Adam Levine is hot. And I like this song.

This is one of the Avett Brothers' new songs. I really believe they are some of the best songwriters of our generation.