Culinary Concoctions

I used to burn every single piece of toast that I’d attempt. Seriously. Before my Sophomore year of high school, making perfectly browned toast was way out of my culinary comfort zone.

I learned how to cook not out of desire, but of necessity. I’ve always been obsessed with eating, but just preferred to remain ignorant about the process of how things got on my plate.

Yet when I moved into an apartment my Junior year of college, I had a monumental decision to make: Live off cereal and peanut butter, or learn to operate the oven. The first step? Practicing preheating. But I learned, and slowly but surely, I was able to make an assortment of foods.

I still had one thing curbing my culinary skills: Recipes. Science is not my strong suit, and following a recipe reminded me way too much of science lab, which was something that I’d avoided setting foot in since I was 15.

When I did risk using a recipe, I had a few minor issues. My 1001 Fast and Easy recipes has sat on my shelf ever since. Yet my addiction to food blogs has encouraged me to step out of my culinary comfort zone.

I attempted a real, live recipe yesterday. It was for something that sounds disgusting: A smoothie made with Spinach. Apparently I am encouraged only to test recipes for things of which I lack nearly every ingredient or sound as if they would be preferred only by Popeye.

But alas! It turned out fabulous. So great, in fact, that I have eaten the Spinach Smoothie (also known as ‘A Green Monster’) two days in a row. It made me wonder: Why have I ignored the world of recipes for so long? Recipes are supposed to be the safe route. Following instructions is a faster, friendly way to make food.

Until now, I’ve taken the unbeaten path: Being my own personal (highly, highly untrained) chef. Smoothie surprise has encouraged me to give recipes a redo. Although I should probably start at square one. Easy Bake oven, anyone?

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Rise AND Shine?

One of my favorite phrases growing up was “10 more minutes.” I never woke up without being shaken by my mom (alarm clocks didn’t do the trick). I struggled to go to sleep, and STRUGGLED to wake up. If only I had known the joys of caffeine back then…

I have now become the person I never possibly thought I could be: A morning person. I bound out of my bed for breakfast. Sleeping past seven is a struggle. Swapping my sleep schedule would be a positive if I were an adult. I know, I know: 22 is sort of adult-age. But until my “going out” consists of weddings and holidays, I can’t fully consider myself an adult.

My sleep schedule is completely out-of-wack for being sociable. I can do without a morning cup of coffee, but would likely fall asleep at the bar if I didn’t sip one at 6PM. The caffeine causes a vicious cycle, however: I fall asleep just fine after going out, and am wide awake at 7 as usual. I’m wide awake until about 10. Then, I’m sipping caffeine like crazy—or just cranky.

I don’t want to sacrifice a social life. I just wish I could rewire my clock for the weekend. I’m pretty certain no one else is ready to sing “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” as the sun rises.

…Alot MORE to Learn

Oddly enough, we had a discussion about necessary life skills in class today. I am playing a nerdy Freshman for my Video Production class (I sincerely hope that this is somewhat strange), and we were debating whether I should blow bubbles during the broadcast. I admitted that I cannot. It then branched into a full discussion of other skills that I lack. I had clearly missed some key ones yesterday:

1.) How to blow a bubble. This lack actually angers me a bit. I love gum (Read: I chew around a pack per day) and honestly admire people that can blow bubbles as big as their face. I can’t even make one a little bulge.

2.) How to whistle. Another skills that I sorely miss. I LOVE cheering at sporting events, and do so extremely loudly. However, I am unable to cap off my cheers with a whistle. A whistle is a wonderful, mysterious sign of support that I cannot show.

3.) How to form my tongue into a taco. This trait is supposedly genetic. However, every single member of my family can accomplish this. I look like a lizard when I attempt.

I have a feeling that this list will be continued.

Learning Laziness

I love to learn. The problem? I like to learn about things that I like, and am extremely lazy about things that I don’t. As a result, I don’t know how to do some simple things that I should certainly know at age 22 (if not age 3). Here’s a sampling of the skills I could never make stick:

  • How to tie my shoes. I’m an expert at bunny ears, but never mastered that whole ‘the bunny goes through the hole’ thing. Seriously.
  • How to shuffle cards. Instead of doing it properly, I simply push the cards together and hope for the best. This usually results in an incredibly “lucky” hand for someone.
  • How to sew. I tried in my pre-teens, and have never attempted since. I don’t even know how to thread a needle.
  • How to fold clothes. This sad fact limits my part-time job opportunities, which, in this economy, could be a huge problem.
  • How to park. Confession: I am actually ecstatic when I am able to make it into a straight parking spot on the first try. Parallel parking petrifies me.
  • How to label tools: I honestly do not know the difference between most tools in a toolbox. I have brought my dad a hammer instead of a screwdriver more times than I would like to admit.

Please tell me I’m not the only one with these glaring gaps. Better yet, make me feel better and tell me a skills that you lack that I may actually have learned.

Really, Responsibility?

One thing I’m absolutely awful at: Calling in sick to work.

It doesn’t matter if I’m swamped, spent, or even actually slightly sick. I will make it to work. There have been many days where I’ve contemplated calling in, but then that pesky little things called ‘responsibility’ and ‘guilt’ step in.

I have only feigned sickness twice. It was twice during the first two years I worked as a Summer Day Camp Counselor. I was sick exactly 2 days. The same day, each year: Field trip to the Roller Rink. The reason? I cannot even stand up on Roller Skates. I finally manned up my third year and went to the rink. I had to have six-year olds hold my hands the entire time we skated while trying to escape the thirteen-year-olds who recognized my disability and decided to skate in circles around me to witness a counselor collison.

I’m posting about this now because, for the first time since that frightning field trip (three years ago and I am still traumatized) I am contemplating calling in sick. The reason? It is Drake Relays week. Anyone who attends Drake knows it’s the best week of the year. By far. Relays is actually a huge Track meet full of incredible high school through Olympic athletes, and is the most incredibly inspiring event I have ever encountered first-hand. For everyone else on campus, it is pretty much an excuse to party for 10 days. It’s a pretty big discrepancy between the two sides. I love Relays probably more than most because I have a deep love for both.

Unfortunately, this year I will not be able to live up Relays as much as usual. If I act as the responsible employer I should, that is. I have class ALL day Saturday (8:30-4:30), tutor during my favorite running events (the Distance Carnival—aka, probably the least exciting event to everyone who doesn’t run distance) and have practicum hours/babysit all day Friday (8:30-3). I do get to attend Relays after that, but it’s to work a camera shift from 4-6 for my Video Production class. Yeah, I wouldn’t trust me to work a camera either.

I want so bad to be irresponsible and call in sick for all of the aforementioned responsibilities. I know, of course, that I will not. The reason? I cannot lie. I’m not necessarily against lying. I’m just a horrible liar. And a liar that feels extremely guilty/gets caught every time I attempt.

I need advice on how to be a good liar for once. As in my Roller Skating story, sometimes lying can spare you humiliation. And in the case of Relays, it can help you attend an epic Track meet and then toss back (more than a) few.

Celebrity Sighting

I am, unfortunately, obsessed with celebrities. I am an avid watcher of E!. I get slightly angry when I can’t recall a B-List celebrities child’s name. I actually remember where I was when I first heard about Britney’s shotgun wedding.

Don’t get me wrong: I do not idolize celebrities. I am simply fascinated by them. There are few things that I would enjoy more than an impromptu celeb sighting. An area of which I have had little luck. Case in point: The following “celebs” I have ever sighted are the following:

-Tina, the Season Two winner of “Survivor” (Location: Airport. I was with my family. Picture was taken.)

-Jamie, contestant on “The Bachelor” (Location: Southside Irish Parade. I was with friends. Picture was taken.)

-Josh Duhamel, teen heartthrob (Location: New York City, outside having a smoke. I was with friends. Picture was not taken in order to avoid embarrassment of said friends).

That is it. Yes, the only “celebrities” I have ever met were those whose fame lasted (not even) fifteen minutes. And whether it actually was Duhamel is still debatable. I had visions of what I would do if I were to ever encounter a celebrity. Say hi (hopefully not obnoxiously). Pose for a picture. Prolong the conversation as much as possible. Possibly ask them to attend an upcoming party.

My fantasies became a reality on Sunday. I spotted Shawn Johnson at Forever 21 examining the accessories. It had the ideal encounter criteria. She was alone. The store was nearly empty. I actually wasn’t wearing sweats.

And I did absolutely nothing.

I was shocked. I have always thought that I would be a pseudo paparazzi were I to encounter a celeb—particularly one of Shawn’s caliber. But I refrained. I realized that celebrities are real people who simply want to make a purchase without a photo op. I recognized that she would probably get stopped for a snapshot a significant amount of times during her Sunday shopping. As much as I thought I wanted the awkward exchange and accompanying photo, I couldn’t do it.

Don’t get me wrong: I did play peek-a-boo with the clothing racks to catch a glimpse of Shawn’s every step.

Salute to Shorts

My love for shorts is far too significant. I wear them to bed every single night, every season. I wear them regardless of whether the the weather man puts on a winter advisory. If the sun is shining, I can assure you I’ve deliberated Daisy Dukes.

The slight problem to my shorts obsession? I have arms as long as an ape. The only way I can get my shorts to reach the “proper” finger-tip length is by wearing basketball shorts (which I definitely do). Now, it’s not a huge issue—college students can wear short shorts if they so choose. However, when I was in Junior High it was a huge problem.

I was actually nearly suspended for wearing shorts. Mind you, I was threatened this by Nurse Stersky, who thought that wearing baseball hats in a gym was as bad as wearing gang symbols all over your attire. Still, though, it was pretty serious. I had to wear a Men’s XXL t-shirt all day, and then promptly went to Old Navy to buy shorts from the women’s department to still wear my precious shorts.

Why do I share this story now? Because, apparently short shorts are no longer the school suspension threat they once were. During my practicum yesterday, there was one high school student that had shorts—I kid you not—shorter than some of my underwear. You could see her cheeks. Unfortunately, the girl also loved strutting her stuff and got up every single moment she possibly could.

It was like watching a car accident. I couldn’t help but stare. Even though I desperately wanted to channel Nurse Stersky.