Tuesday, May 24, 2022
Sunday, May 22, 2022
Wednesday, May 18, 2022
I never shy away from bringing big prints. And in this post I bring a bunch, including polka dots, zebra, plaid, checks, and hearts. Also, a harmonica necklace. You may remember the first harmonica necklace I made using a bright green New Year's Eve party favor. Well, last week I found its tangerine twin behind the TV. I can only imagine that it landed there during one of my long-ago, four-person ragers. Anyway, I was excited to spot it. Even as I tried very hard not to think about how harmonicas are associated not with fun and games, but with jail and, in this case, orange jumpsuits.
Still, I'd be remiss in not mentioning that other big house big on big prints, namely old-timey prison-esque black and white stripes. And that house, of course, is Sephora:
I love its sentiment as much as its billboard-bright colors: "We belong to something beautiful."
We do, Sephora, we do. So think of this orange harmonica riff of a necklace as a symphony written, not in a penitentiary but in a palace, its bittersweet citrus notes sounding -- and in the spirit of perfume also smelling -- just for you.
Saturday, May 14, 2022
I was driving to the ATM to get tip money for the lovely ShopRite delivery people who help make my hermit life possible when I caught Joan Osborne's "One of Us" on the radio. I was so happy to hear this '90s classic, especially the chorus "What if God was one of us?/Just a slob like one of us/Just a stranger on the bus/Tryin' to make his way home?" When I was in seventh grade, our music teacher used to let us bring in our favorite songs to sing, which was pretty cool of him, and someone brought in this one. When the "just a slob like one of us" part came on, our teacher balked, "I'm no slob; speak for yourself!". Apparently, his coolness had limits.
Today's outfits have nothing to do with this. Unless you count the tenuous connection of Lisa Frank and Ms. Osborne being '90s pop culture icons.
Which, of course, I do. Because they're both passengers on this bus called life.
You too, whether you want to be or not, Mr. Z.
Tuesday, May 10, 2022
I never wanted to try fried cheese curds until I read Amy E. Reichert's novel The Kindred Spirits Supper Club. I was so intrigued by them that this post's working title was Word to the Curd: Make Whey for More Cheese. Indeed, The Kindred Spirits Supper Club is set in the Wisconsin Dells and as such celebrates all the decadent eats that America's Dairyland has to offer. But this culinary rom com isn't all cheddar and spiked ice cream. It's also about something deeper.
Home for the first time in a long time, journalist Sabrina Monroe is struggling. Unemployed and in debt, she's forced to move in with her parents and take a job with her high school bully. Anyone would find this situation trying, but for Sabrina, it's an emotional minefield. That's because she suffers from social anxiety. Talking to people is so fraught with stress that she goes out of her way to avoid it. Her only friend is Molly, a glamorous ghost who used to work in a candy-shop-slash-speakeasy.
"Um, what?," you may be thinking. "This chick can't make small talk in a grocery store but clicks with someone last alive when Pink Squirrels were illegal?" Yep. But Molly is an innocuous spirit, like the ones on that delightful CBS sitcom Ghosts. In fact, she's much nicer and more accepting than the people on Earth, and that's more than enough for Sabrina. That's precisely why she evades the attentions of handsome supper club owner Ray Jasper (and no, that's not just me being cute; apparently, supper clubs are a thing). When Sabrina and Ray meet in the crossfire of a waterpark food fight, Ray is instantly smitten. Sabrina feels it too but can't risk getting close to Ray. Even if he is patient and kind and makes the best fried cheese curds in the greater Great Lakes area.
To me, the most interesting thing about this story isn't the romance or even the ghosts. It's how Sabrina handles her unique challenges. So many books are about women trying to balance work and family, or about singles surrounded by girl squads, hitting up parties and juggling suitors. It was refreshing to read about someone so different, far removed from both of those worlds. And so it's in that, ahem, spirit, that I share this admittedly spoiler-esque quote:
"She no longer tracked how long it had been since she'd last spoken to someone, not because she'd found a hidden extrovert inside herself but because it no longer mattered. She was who she was, and the right people loved her for it." (329)
I couldn't have said it better myself. So instead I'll say it with cheese:
I made this Fabulous Felt Cheese Please Barrette many years ago.
But as every dell dweller -- and introvert -- knows, cheese only gets better with age.
Also, patience and pasteurization.