a drawer full of unmatched socks and other great mysteries of life

This morning, I decided to wear socks. It is, however, becoming more and more of a decision, especially when summer, disguised as spring, is already here in the South. (I did pass a billboard the other day that read, “Summer is almost here.” Spring started a week ago, people!)

I am a lover of summer, don’t get me wrong, but in all honesty, I prefer socks to bare feet. I wear socks even around the house. I usually wear socks to bed. My mother can attest to the fact that sometimes I even wear socks outside just because I don’t want to take them off. But socks, much like the Grand Canyon’s formation, are one of the great mysteries of life.

Back at home, we have twice as many baskets for unmatched socks as for the matches. Maybe we should opt for a sock display like this one?

I can give the closest attention to getting each sock in the same load of laundry as its coordinating sock, but regardless, when I shuffle through my drawers on days like today, matches are few and far between. I pulled out about seven individual socks this morning before finding one pair, and of course it was a hole-y pair with non-stretch itchiness.

the challenge

Start a blog about the great mysteries of life, those things that baffle you or leave you in awe. Some, to be sure, are mundane, while others are more extraordinary. Include comments and details about why these mysteries are so . . . mysterious.

possible blog names

  • MysteriesOfLife
  • MatchlessSocks
  • MysteriousToDelirious
  • SockStealingElves
Advertisements

volunteering :: from us, for us

Have you ever stopped to think how many of the places and organizations you frequent or enjoy the benefits of or simply believe in not only accept volunteers, but even depend on them? As in, they wouldn’t be around if it weren’t for people willing to help out, expecting nothing in their pockets afterwards. When you think of the idea of volunteering, maybe you think it’s lame. Maybe you think volunteers walk away empty-handed. But I suppose it all depends on perspective. I think they walk away anything but empty-handed.

 

Volunteering is giving to someone else while also giving to yourself.

 

Although it’s over a week in, the new year is still fresh on my mind. As I’ve thought of my post 365 and 52 (project): the numbers of 2012, I’ve wondered what I’d do one on if I did one. I like writing. I like blogging. I like making waterballoons and eating spoonfuls of peanut butter. I like taking photographs of my goofy but loveable friends and attempting to draw obscure flowers like mountain laurel.

But what is one-year-of-my-life worthy? What is one-year-of-my-life blogworthy? It’s strange how thinking on what you blog about inevitably leads you to think on what your life is about. (And for any first-time readers, this is probably the most philosophical I’ve ever waxed in a post. I’ll try to throw in a few jokes or puns before it’s all over.)

Well, here’s what I decided: whatever you blog about, you are promoting in some way. I always blog about blogging, because I, of course, promote readers to begin blogs about the random things I write on. But this year, I want to promote something else, too. I want to promote volunteering, giving back, helping people, putting into those people and places that provide so much for you and your community.

So, here’s the goal: volunteer at one place in my community per week this whole year. I already have a list of possibilities. Along the way, I hope anyone in the area will join me in my ventures. In fact, I hope never to go alone. I’m not sure yet if I’ll blog about this 52 project, but someone should start a blog about it.

Example blog: http://volunteer52.wordpress.com/ (Perfect example, might I add! And I thought of the idea before even seeing this blog, but it goes to show I’m not the only one around here with some good ideas.)

The promised joke: A peanut walks into a bar, and then . . . Snickers.

quick, easy meals for non-chef, experimental kitchen inhabitants

I’d like to begin this blog post with an audacious statement: is there really any ordinary part of a day that’s better than food? That might have sounded like a question, but no, it was really more of a rhetorical question, which is in practical terms much more like a statement since everyone knows the answer. I can’t think of any other just “normal,” “mundane” part of human existence that is so fulfilling and filling both. Think about it. We often plan out our days around meals. We share meals and food with those we’re closest to, and that time is often the most conversational and heartfelt. In the Lord’s Prayer, the only physical request is “daily bread.”

I like to cook. I did maybe as much cooking as Mom growing up, just because work often kept her late. Still, somehow, I’m not a chef. I’m a non-chef, experimental kitchen inhabitant at best.

This last semester was my first semester “out on my own.” All the meals were up to me. And to be quite honest, I rarely cooked. I heated things up in the microwave. I made sandwiches. I snacked. I ate at Chick-fil-A and McDonald’s weekly. But cooking was more like a full moon in the phases of food attainment.

But it’s a new year, right? I like how you can make even the smallest changes and claim that for your reasoning. New beginnings and fresh starts (just like coffee and peanut butter) inspire the best in us – in me, I know. So I’m aiming to cook more this time around.

Attempt #1: Salmon Patties – This has been one of my favorite meat entrees that my mom makes for many years. She’s always told me it’s very easy, but I’ve never really attempted it. Today was a first, and they turned out deliciously!

Sizzle, sizzle.

Ingredients (in order of appearance):

  • olive oil
  • 1- 14.75 oz. can of salmon
  • crackers of your choice (I used Great Value’s Mozarella and Sun-Dried Tomato crackers, which added a burst of flavor.)
  • 1 egg

Directions: In a pan, heat oil over medium heat. In a mixing bowl, add canned salmon. Do not drain. Crush approximately 20 crackers (my estimation). This part is where you just have to use your best chef judgment. Add the crushed crackers in the bowl with the salmon. With your hands (the chef’s secret weapon), mix together the salmon and crackers until all the mixture is of the same consistency. It shouldn’t still be juicy, but it should be fairly moist – about as moist as meatloaf before it’s cooked. Finally, add an egg to the mixture and stir together with a spoon. Using the spoon and/or your hands, form circular patties about 4 inches in width and 1 inch in depth. Fry each patty for around 3-5 minutes on each side, or until brown. Remove from pan, let cool, and then devour. If you’re feeling daring, eat them with ketchup or barbeque sauce. Makes 6-8 patties. Time: 25 minutes. (Of course, if you buy pre-crushed crackers, it may not take as long. But this may take away the joys of making loud noises in the kitchen and being questioned by family members.)

Delicious salmon patty, served with brocolli and cheese.

Wow. That was extremely fun – writing a recipe out. Wouldn’t it be great for someone to start a blog with more quick, easy meals for non-chef, experimental kitchen inhabitants?

when the icecream truck arrives, the icecream arrives

When it rains, it pours. We all know that this familiar phrase means something along the lines of, “Bad things always happen in pairs.” This phrase always reminds me of that motif in movies where the characters are broken down on the side of the road, the closest gas station is 25 miles away, and they open the trunk, only to discover that their dog Scruffy (who was being stowed in the trunk for some unknown reason) has eaten all the food supplies. But, inevitably, one character will console the rest by proclaiming, “At least it’s not raining.” And, boom! As if it was an invocation of Zeus himself, it starts to rain.

Well, I like to consider myself a very optimistic person, but yet, I can’t think of a single proverb that means the opposite (that good things never happen alone, either). That’s why, for the sake of this post, I had to create my own: When the icecream truck arrives, the icecream arrives.

Icecream trucks are a delight in their own right. They’ve got it all. Dainty music looping. Pictures of children scooping. Chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry grouping. (This paragraph reminds me of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” so far.) I don’t know anyone who doesn’t get excited when they view an icecream truck driving down the neighborhood street.

Have your icecream truck and your icecream, too.

But when the icecream truck arrives, so does the icecream! That’s the best part, no? Icecream sandwiches, popsicles, sprinkles everywhere, cones, and bars. If icecream trucks weren’t enough, you get icecream, too!

Now, at this point you may be wondering why I have gone to great lengths to explain a fabricated proverb about icecream trucks, as you well should be. Keep reading. You’ll see soon.

When I first started this blog, I envisioned a sweeping phenomenon of readers grabbing hold of each post and starting their own blog that I could showcase along the way. I’ve enjoyed writing the blog, reading comments, hearing feedback from friends and bloggers, it just hasn’t been the way I envisioned.

But dear readers, the icecream truck and the icecream arrived this week. After posting 365 and 52 (project): the numbers of 2012, I had three good friends decide to start a project/blog in part because of the inspiration of this post. I couldn’t believe it!

So now, it’s only right that I let you in on their blogs!

FewFavorite – 365 Project of photos highlighting some of my sister Kerrie’s favorite things

Felicityefriann – 366 Project (because 2012 is a leap year) that shares a photo about my friend Felecia’s day; She’s also trying to learn one song on the guitar each week.

Revolutiondude – My friend Lucas’ daily blog about finding meaning in the small things

Blog on, bloggers!

365 and 52 (project): the numbers of 2012

One year. One project. Are you in?

The official WordPress blog recently encouraged readers to “Kick Off 2012 with Project 365.” Though this project is most often associated with taking one picture each day for a year (There’s a whole site for it, 365project.org, with over 70,000 users uploading one photo from each day of their project.), the concept of a 365-day project can be adapted to fit any project you hope to work on during 2012.

Another variation of the project is a Project 52 (I’m not sure if that’s an official term, but we’ll agree on it, okay?). The idea is much the same, only you do what you do to add to your project once a week instead of every day. My friend Michael Gibbons is working on a 52-week project (Check out his Scottish spiel by following the link. End shameless promo.) in which he hopes to make one video each week of 2012. He even has a theme for each week that the video must express! (Talk about project-ready.)

Now, if you’re numerical and all, then you may have gathered that 365 days and 52 weeks are two equations both equal to one year’s time. (I really don’t make these mathematical statements to insult your intelligence, dear reader. I’m just not very mathematical and like to pretend I am every once in a while.) You would be right.

Today is January 1, 2012.

So if you’re right (365 days= 1 year and 52 weeks= 1 year) and I’m right (Today is January 1, 2012.), then I believe there’s a little more going on here than math. Yes, an idea that’s brewing like hot coffee at a corporate office. Because today is the first day of a new year, it’s the perfect time to start a Project 365 or 52. So why not?

A new year is the ultimate in late Christmas presents.

Now, you know I have to throw in a little promo for starting a blog (I’ve been promoing all over the place in this post.), but I’d like to give a list of ideas for projects, and you could do these whether or not you decide to blog about it. (Of course, I’ll be the first to subscribe to your blog if you do blog about your project.)

PROJECT IDEAS

Remember: Do/Make/Take/Write (about) one per day or week.

  • Photo
  • Video
  • Meal/Dish
  • Illustration
  • Interview
  • Song
  • Poem
  • Short story
  • Craft
  • Form of exercise
  • Restoration (car, antique, etc.)
  • Review (book, restaurant, movie, etc.
  • Page of your next book
  • Invention
  • Update on your ventures in …
  • Way to give
  • One Dress Protest or other social activism
  • Letter
  • Development of a skill 
  • Experience at a new job
  • Conversations
  • Tour (of your hometown, or the world)
  • ((Insert your creative idea here))

This isn’t an exhaustive list, because you could Project 365 or Project 52 almost anything. But if you do, start a blog about it . . .

movies to watch for (and my predictions for best movies of 2012)

Someone should start a blog about movies to watch for . . .

Every time I’m ready to head to the movies, I have not the slightest clue about which ones are out, much less which ones are worth seeing. I probably can’t name a single movie out in theaters right now.

Someone should start a blog that keeps updated posts on movies to look out for in the near future. The blog could also include some movie reviews (after the fact), but it would focus mostly on upcoming movies.

Hm. So what kind of factors would the blogger have to consider in calling these movies worthy of “look out for this one” status? Probably, at minimum, these things:

  • Actors/actresses in the movie and their roles – Is this Harrison Ford in another Indiana Jones type film, or is he branching out and playing a softie minivan-driving dad?
  • Director, screenwriter, and the other big shots – If James Cameron is directing, it’s probably a winner.
  • Plot originality – No offense to the genre of romantic comedies, but if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

Anyways, in celebration of the almost new year, I’d like to give my predictions for movies to watch for based on these factors.

Predictions for Best Movies of 2012

1. The Hobbit

Peter Jackson directing. Most of the original cast returning. Based on the novel by Tolkien. Follows in the footsteps of the trilogy for The Lord of the Rings, one of the highest-grossing film series of all time. Need I say more? Look for it in December.

Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins

2. The Great Gatsby

Sure to be another great book-to-movie, this adaptation of Fitzgerald’s novel stars three big names: Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, and Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway. The film is directed by Baz Luhrmann, whose previous work includes Romeo + Juliet (which also starred DiCaprio) and Moulin Rouge, which was nominated for Best Picture back in 2001. I’m personally stoked to see this film, since DiCaprio is my favorite actor by far for his history of films like Titanic, Revolutionary Road, Inception, and Catch me if You Can, to name a few. I also look forward to seeing Mulligan’s development as an actress. For her work in Never Let Me Go, she was described as an actress who “feels” instead of acts. I can’t wait to see the two together. This one also comes out in December.

Cast of The Great Gatsby

3. Men in Black III

Though worldwide earnings were “down” to $442 million for the second movie, I believe it’s safe to say that people like the Men in Black movies. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are back in their classic partnership. Can you believe it’s been over 10 years since they first hit the big screen together? Smith has developed so much as an actor since then, breaking his “funny man” stereotype with roles in The Pursuit of Happyness, Seven Pounds, Ali, and I am Legend. Though he’ll likely be cracking jokes on screen for this one, I think his recent successes will bring a loyal fan base to theaters in May.

Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith in Men in Black

4. The Wedding

Although I haven’t heard much talk about this movie, it’s one of those “ensemble” or “all-star cast” types, with the big names being Diane Keaton, Robert De Niro, Katherine Heigl, and Robin Williams, plus more. I won’t claim the plot is very original (it’s one of those “let’s pretend we’re married for this-and-this reason”), but similar films like The Family Stone, which Keaton also starred in, have done well. It’s sure to appeal to families that want a good laugh. Look for it in October.

5. Les Miserables

This must be the year for novel-to-movies, because yet another classic, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, is lighting up the screen. The film will attract not only the literature lovers and those just curious enough to see a movie about a book they read in high school, but also those wanting to see how the producers have adapted this from its popular stage form to film. (Besides, Susan Boyle popularized the song “I Dreamed a Dream” from the musical version in 2009. When things like that seep into pop culture, people don’t forget it.) Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, and Anne Hathaway are the three main characters. Expect to see it in theaters in December. (Are you, like me, starting to wonder why all the good movies come out in December? It’s gotta be some kind of marketing scheme to steal our money intended for Christmas gifts.)

6. Safe House

This is a suspense/thriller, and the main plot is that a CIA agent (Ryan Reynolds) must move a criminal (Denzel Washington) to a new safe place before violent forces kill them both. I believe the movie has a few things going for it: Denzel, the genre, and, of course, the whole CIA ingredient. It’s out in February.

7. The Vow

Starring Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams and based on true events, this is the story of how a couple’s life is torn apart when a car accident takes away the wife’s memory, and she can no longer remember her husband. He has to try to win her heart all over again. The film hits theaters in February, the perfect time to catch the romantics looking for a good Valentine’s Day date. Both of the stars previously acted in Nicholas Sparks book-to-films, so they’re sure to know how to pull the heartstrings.

The Vow

*** If you’re mathematical, unlike me, then you might have noticed that 3 out of 7 of my top picks are book-to-movies. I can’t tell you what percentage that is, but I would like to recommend reading this recent post, What Should Come First . . . by fellow blogger BookBlob, if you need help deciding whether to read the books or watch the movies first.