Friday, May 28, 2010

Internet Bounty

How To Clean Stuff dot Net. Thank goodness, because I am a spaz.

5 Minute Chocolate Cake. Baked in a coffee mug, in a microwave. This is a dangerous thing for me to find, so I'm sharing the peril.

Six Months of Rules. From "Premise," For the last six months of my twenties, I am going to follow "the Rules" of dating (or my best interpretation of them) and write about it.

Just reading the first few pages... Madam, you have way more patience for this than I would. Good luck with your project :-)

Are You Eating Yourself Into Debt? From Man Vs. Debt.

I definitely was.

Welcome to the Institute for Beyonce-related Cultural Studies. . . A despicable charade where so much is demanded of women, so much compliance and poking and prodding, so much effort to make ourselves beautiful and radiant and perfect, so much forcing of square pegs into round holes, just so we could meet it all, do it all, get close to the apex of perfection and still be worth nothing.

The Beyonce song reminds me of some back-foot humor. "How is a girl like you still single?" How are you dumb enough to ask me that question?

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Was out with some people, one in particular, a few months ago when the word "dating" came up. Looking around the bar at all of the different types of interactions going on, I started comparing and analyzing until I came up with some defining characteristics. It seems to be a vague and hazy concept for most people. But here I go...

Date: An agreement to engage in a social activity with one other person, and give each other your undivided attention.

In my mind dates can be romantic, or not (that's my own skewed point of view and sense of phrasing). But it does constitute an interest to be in the presence of that person in particular, to set them apart and treat them differently than you would treat other people. Which are good tactics when trying to put something romantic together.

One point I can't quite figure out is "movie date" but I suppose after the movie is over the undivided attention starts up again. "Double date" is also tricky.

In this case, hanging out with a big group of people is not a date. Going to see a person's show is also not a date, at least not with that person. A passing kiss on its own doesn't make a date, although it is often a nice ending for one.

Dating seems to be about effort and attention, which in some cases may lead to commitment. In other cases, ideally, "I don't feel like making an effort with you anymore. We should pay attention to other people." "O.K."

This comes up because the person I was having that conversation with a few months ago seemed to think we were dating. Possibly? It was hard to tell, he wasn't the sort of person to communicate things clearly. Likewise he never put any clear effort or attention to me, so I was confused. I cannot be dating someone if they have never actually asked me out on a date. And "Lets just see what happens..." does not count.

I like things to be defined. I like it when people are clear about what they want, even if its a brief snuggle in the back of a bar before moving on to the next girl. But I wonder if this is really me, or my reaction to lots of people giving minimum effort and expecting maximum attention? I've been jerked around a lot over the last few years, and don't have the energy for that game anymore.

Just defining things takes effort. And if I'm not worth that much effort to another person, they are clearly not worthy of me ;-)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tuna Overload

My preferred cooking style is to have a food-prep marathon for a few hours every weekend. I make a ton of stuff that can be packaged into lunch boxes ahead of time. Leftovers from that can be nibbled on whenever I'm at home. Usually it's a meatloaf or roast chicken, but now that the weather is warmer I'm leaning towards things that don't require so much heat.

Packing lunches ahead of time saves me money and time. Mostly I lose the time wandering around the Village looking for somewhere to eat, because I have trouble making decisions when I'm hungry :-/ These days my brain tends to star shutting down on its own before I even start feeling hungry. The people at Cosi's know my first name and my usual order, so that's probably where most of my income has been going this month.

This week's lunch: Tuna salad (with mayo, celery, a little bacon, and spices), celery and carrot sticks, a suggested serving size of triscuts, 1 oz of dark chocolate.

Yikes, that was a lot of tuna. But I had a full package of celery to use up, so why not make five cans worth? I sometimes wonder how much variation factors into a person's diet. There's plenty left over in the fridge to pack more lunches, or have on toast for dinner.

The blog has finally become "What I had for lunch." I'm not sure if this is good or bad. It's a lot harder to misinterpret lunches than lifestyles.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The "No Buy" List

For the most part, my lifestyle improvements are about planning ahead rather than outright denying myself. But I'm going to try something slightly more difficult with grocery shopping. Or easier?

There is a list of things I'm no longer buying at the grocery store, which includes almost all of the snack foods I can think of. I still buy crackers, because sometimes my stomach can't handle more than saltines, and Triscuits are an OK substitute for bread when I don't want to make sandwiches. Its fine so long as I don't eat the whole box. They make rosemary flavored Triscuits now, ZOMG.

BUT I am OK with eating desserts if I make them myself. I can usually make it better ;-) I even have an ice cream maker, but am sticking to sorbet for the time being.

Also on the list are most dairy products. I've had a LOT of chest colds this spring, and dairy makes them worse, so I'm staying away from cheese and ice cream for a while. I used to buy corn chips primarily as a vehicle for eating as much sour cream as possible, so both of those are gone. Butter survived the purge because I bake with it.

I'm trying to stick to products with ingredients that I understand. Crackers are an exception, but WOW bread is hard to shop for now. Its like I can only have ingredients I recognize *or* high fiber content. WTH. Canned soups are also annoying as I work through the backlog of items purchased before I made this list. Mayonnaise is mostly recognizable except for the preservatives.

I cut out most sodas when I went caffeine free 5+ years ago (this freaks people out WAY more than my teetotaler habits). I really only drink water in my house, or fresh brewed tea, or sometimes I have a bottle of V8 in the fridge. Liquid products are super heavy to carry home from the grocery store anyway.

I like my food products like I like my people: able to clearly communicate what they're about.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Noms Begin

As previously stated, I'm re-evaluating my relationship with food, because I would never be able to break up with it. *sigh*

I don't really like the term "diet" because it brings up too many images of obsessive compulsively counting calories, owning a scale, and being miserable. I am cutting back on buying and eating certain things with other intentions in mind than my weight, namely to feel less tired and save some money.

First goal: I want to cook more and eat out less. This satisfies so many things I'm trying to fix.

I'm lactose intolerant and have other similar whiny-stomach issues, so cooking for myself is a great way to avoid these conditions. I'll know exactly what I'm eating because I made it, and it's all exactly the way I like it.

And it can save lots of cash, depending on where you buy your groceries. But I'm not allowed to go back to Whole Foods until I scale back some more credit card debt.

It is annoying to wash all of those extra plastic containers from bringing my own lunches to work, but I'll just grit my teeth and deal.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Building a Better Spinster

Yesterday was my birthday (YAY!), and that tends to get people all introspective about their lives and choices.

There are things I don't like about my lifestyle. Because my enormous wealth of friends, and the abundance of information and guidance available on the internet, I'm starting to focus more on fixing them. May as well blog about it ;-)

1) I'm in credit card debt. Not to the point of declaring bankruptcy or eating pb&j for every meal (which actually wouldn't be so bad...). But after four months of carefully tracking my $$ habits I've come to the conclusion that my relationship with money is not healthy.

2) I'm a bit overweight. I am 26 on the BMI* which is not the end of the world. But weird cholesterol problems and diabetis run in my family, and i miss wearing some of the clothes I had when I was 24 on the BMI.

3) I have mood swings, depression, and insomnia, which I think are related. I am in therapy for clinical depression, and doing A LOT better than when I started 2 years ago, but I'd like to do more tinkering between sessions. I am "tired" much of the time, sometimes its emotional, sometimes physical, often both. The ties between mind and body are very interesting.

4) I keep getting sick! I get frequent "chest colds" which eat into a lot of my social and work life. I've missed many cons/parties/shows/classes/goodbyes to this over the past few months, grrr.

5) I am bad at keeping up with my part time business. I'm making an effort to spend less $$ on the jewelry business this year, and use the materials/resources I already have. But it's super hard to keep focused between illness and social life.

My goals are not super exact at this point. In part because I'm tired and have trouble focusing. But if the interwebs are watching, I hope to have more motivation to get it together. Right now I'm doing some major tinkering with the financial, and more minor tinkering with everything else until I find things that fit. I'm also taking advantage of having a job with health care benefits, and getting all of my check-ups and tests sorted out. ESPECIALLY the allergist/immunologist.

Many of the ideas and plans I'm coming up with interrelate these problems, the best example being a change in my diet that is going to work with all of the first four points, I hope. Regular exercise is something I miss, but item four keeps getting in the way of me going back to tai chi and yoga classes. Grrrr.

This may evolve into regular posts about how I'm doing, maybe with numbers and statistics. It will definitely include links to other blogs where I've found a lot of food-for-thought on these subjects. Just remember that my own advice is not infallible ;-)

Luv, Spinster One.

*The BMI, by most accounts I've seen lately, is really not the best health/weight/fat guide. The height/weight ratio does nothing to differentiate between the different materials that make up the human body, which all have different densities. But I'm shy about recording my actual weight, so its good enough for this purpose.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Latest Links

Despite my extended break from blogging, I have found things both awe and ire inspiring all over the interwebs :-)

Imaginary Bitches on Youtube
! A woman who is the last single girl in her group of friends suddenly develops a pair of imaginary friends. Friends who are total bitches. Awesome hijinks ensue. Totally free to watch this online tv show, but I wish they'd get on with season 2.

The Technique of the Love Affair. A romance self-help book penned in the 1920s, reprinted with commentary. It's a super interesting read if you are a student of history and feminism, or have a Machiavellian view on relationships. And the more things change, the more they seem to stay the same...

Rape Culture and Road Rage, on Livejournal. A conversation about rape culture, and how baby steps can go a long way towards dismantling it.

Contrary to the Myth, Abortion is NOT the Most Controversial "Choice" Issue: Words of Caution for Elena Kagan
Yet another double standard. Western culture still doesn't know how to deal with women (single or otherwise) who don't want to have children.

No More Sex in the City: NYC women are going celibate - and they feel happier than ever. Um... This article has some interesting points, but is annoying overall. I don't like the NY Post's point of view that all women in their 20s will eagerly hook up with someone they met on the subway. And how two weeks without sex is some enormous personal achievement. And the last line, “But I think it’s harder to not have sex than to have sex.” Speak for yourself.

For the record, I'm not celibate, I just have standards. And so do most women in NYC. Like a friend of mine replied on Facebook, "Not having sex or a relationship is not some horrible fate that bad sex and bad relationships will somehow improve upon." Srsly.

And because 'tis the season, Doctor Who - Tenth Doctor: The Musical. No time for boys right now, it's Doctor Who season!! I'm loving Doc 11, but I am still not impressed with Moffat's ability to write female characters.

Spinning Back Out

Wow, been a while! Sorry about that... I guess? Meh, its cyber-space, things happen.

My absence was caused by a combination of things to do outside of the blogosphere, and a lack of people really getting me here. I also found the wonderful website, which says everything I want to say but without all of the patronizing but well(?)meaning readers commenting "Tut tut, I'm sure you'll find someone someday..." *headdesk* Very discouraged, I lost interest in the uphill battle of making myself understood.

But I'm back now, possibly to take this blog in a slightly different direction.

When last we saw our Sassy Spinster, she was bemoaning the lack of not-busy friends to hang out and game with. This situation has more than reversed itself. I became addicted to improvised comedy shows, and then got sucked into the Cult of Improv itself. Now I'm taking improv classes at The Magnet Theater in NYC, and going to lots of shows and mixers. When I have class shows, my friends-of-old come out to see me perform, and take a break from school, work, and weddings. I take a metric ton of show photos. Good times!!

At least, I was doing all of these things, until I started getting sick once or twice a month without any clear reason. All respiratory stuff. My allergist just confirmed that I'm allergic to everything she has a standard test for, so that's a start.

Now that I am too sick to go out a lot of the time (I used to love Springtime D-:) I have time to blog again. I have also been losing/finding my feet in other personal matters, like finance, health, and nutrition, and am looking for a place to put all of those thoughts. I still have my Livejournal friends, but I'm hoping it will be easier to keep up with my own improvement plans if they are in a public forum.

So I'm back. Yay!

<3 Chrysilla, the Sassy Spinster