Of BFF’s

Lainie wearing a balloon hat

My roomie – rocking the first balloon hat I ever made.

Lainie is my roommate, bestie, and fellow dancer. We met as extra follows when we were part of a swing dance performance team. She made me mac-n-cheese. I made fun of her tiny excuse of a living room. And we’ve been friends ever since.

Lainie greatly enjoys trying to make me do things that I really should do, and I want to do, but require effort. Things like: start a vlog, stretch, make a choice for dinner, or write a blog post.

Which is why when she sarcastically stated, “You should write about me!”

I said, “Fine.”

You’re welcome Lainie, it’s officially time for your long overdue spotlight:

I’ve never met someone so determined to stay in a cozy corner of denial. Course, I understand, making effort sucks. It’s scary and undesirable – I too, avoid it as often as I can, especially in the romantic realm.

For Lainie knows as well as I – there is little more horrifying than confessing your feelings to someone who does not return them. That leads to awkward encounters, tears, and hours of bitching out your friends who pushed you in that direction in the first place. Denial is best, even if at times it’s a wee bit lonely.

Though I feel it’s important to stress her absolute hypocrisy. She has a tendency to call me out on my shit, quite often. Rather than being a polite friend who will let me sit in my preferred bubble of denial. It’s dreadfully annoying. So of course, I return the favor and call her out whenever necessary.

But still, I let her hang around.

For despite the fact that she throws pillows at me, lightly hits anyone who says something dumb or offensive, is convinced that billowy shirts make her skinny ass look fat, and watches that awful Once Upon a Time show. She’s still the first person I go to when I have a problem, am confused about life, or want cookies made.

After all, what more could you want in a best friend, than someone who makes a killer soup, is willing to watch Gilmore Girls for hours, and also finds puppets hilarious.

Plus, we have a pact: “Roomies till partners!”

So I couldn’t get rid of her even if I wanted to.

Of Supper Time

Michelle Tanner - Full House

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I truly loathe being the only person eating in a room. Especially, when everyone else has recently finished eating and I showed up just in time for washing dishes. I can just feel eyes burning down on me. I know that they aren’t thinking anything awful – but jeez is it ever uncomfortable.

My family has a tendency to start supper without me. I’m not talking the normal 6 pm dinner that, in theory, most people take part in on a daily basis. I mean supper supper. A Midwestern supper full of Norwegians, to be specific.

Supper starts on average around 3 pm – definitely not much later than 4 pm. The whole family (grandparents, uncles, and all), sit down at a table full of hot dish, some form of meat, potatoes, lefse if we’re lucky, and of course, Jello. Personally, orange fluff Jello is my favorite. I’ve never cared much for the plain strawberry Jello with marshmallows on top that my brothers always voted for. Anyways …

Even though we all live in the Pacific Northwest now, those traditions still reign true when it’s time to eat with the ENTIRE family.

But here’s the issue. I work basically every stinking day of the week. So I don’t get home until 5 pm. Thus, when it’s time for a good ole fashion supper, I get home just when Grandpa finishes his last bite. And because they are VERY Norwegian, they keep offering me food until I say yes.

It’s impossible to not eat when surrounded by a bunch of Norwegian’s who are convinced your hungry. You have to say yes to something or Grandma will ask you every thirty seconds if you want food or drink. Once you say yes, they quite eagerly prepare your plate. Set it in front of you. And stare at you until the plate is finished.

Always awkward.

Of Sickness

Jim Gaffigan

I couldn’t find a fitting photo so I picked this amusing image instead (Click image to view source).

Being sick makes me feel powerless and weak. Like I’m only five-years-old. I’m now the victim preyed upon by a heartless virus. My glands swell. The fine hairs on my body stand up. Every touch uncomfortable. Every sniffle a reminder. I may try to power through the impending doom. Convinced I’ll be fine. I shiver. I shudder. I’m not fine.

I need my mom to bring me tea and popsicles, to sit on the couch and watch so many hours of television that the rectangular screen becomes a blur, to whimper at the sight of food, to groan when I see a loved one has texted me, to whine, to bitch, to sleep till I feel this intolerable suffering chassé into the next poor soul who happened to cross it’s path.

I need my strength back.

Of Baking Adventures With Friends

Girls Cooking

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Today I got off work and the sun was actually out! A true rarity in the Pacific North West, a land of gray clouds for miles with little spats of sunshine that tease all of the locals on a daily basis. The only clouds I could see were little white ones hovering over the mountains, and unless the wind changed they wouldn’t reach my doorstep for a couple of days. I mustn’t let this day go to waste, I thought. I’d been spending far too much time inside, and despite my whole four hours of sleep the night before I denied myself the act of hiding in my room and taking a nap. So I called Lainie, one of my dearest friends, and inquired about baking a pie – she eagerly accepted. I smiled, I can always count on her for kitchen adventures.

Yes, on a bright and sunny day, I chose an indoor activity involving a hot stove – who says I don’t make great life choices? In my defense, at least I was inside with another person instead of the usual sitting on my bed watching Netflix.  I’m inherently an indoor person, I’m happy looking at a pretty day through a window while I drink coffee and attempting a task of some kind. In this case the task at hand was baking a pie, ideally a fruit pie – let’s go with an apple pie. It’s classic and American.

I arrived at Lainie’s front door with one of my cookbooks. But here’s the funny thing about baking with friends, you almost never do what you set out to do. It seems once you’re in the presence of your fellow baker something clicks in both your brains and a different recipe sounds way better than the one you initially agreed on. This also means that you’ll probably have to go to the store for ingredients. And it’s guaranteed you’ll make something extra awesome, if for no other reason the sheer spontaneity of it all. So we went to the store and got our ingredients for apple crisp.

I’d nearly forgotten about the crisp until I opened the book, but it certainly is way better than pie. I’d never made it before but I’d watched my mom sit peeling apples at least a hundred times as a kid. Apple crisp was always my favorite dessert. In the way that muffins are like cake you can eat for breakfast, crisp is like pie – only better, with a crumbly topping.

There is no doubt in my mind that the key to a successful baking adventure with friends is to select good music. I suggest something upbeat. The music drives the mood, and in turn the tone of conversation. Without music baking turns into a silent endeavor with the only sound in the room being that of wooden stirring sticks and knives against a cutting board. This is dangerous territory that could bring about serious or negative conversations that may ruin the beautiful day. No one wants that, especially when people are holding knives. 

And so Lainie and I began our baking. She peeled the apples, since I suck tremendously at the task, and I chopped them up into smaller pieces. I marveled at the texture of the apple. It’s so similar to potatoes in everything from the color to how it felt in my hand, and yet it tastes so much better. Gosh I love fruit. Eventually we moved on to the crumbly topping, we tossed in an assortment of cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar (among other ingredients). Lainie, in her bakery genius, was able to figure out how to make our own Allspice as well as a means to make the recipe fit the dish we were using. And lastly, we popped it in the oven.

And that was it.

Thirty-five minutes later we pulled out our delicious dessert but we didn’t eat any. It’s been six hours and we still haven’t cut it up into slices. We just wanted to bake, not necessarily eat the damn thing. That’s the quirky thing about baking with buddies, after all is said and done eating the desert is not the point. It’s cheesy, silly, and a whole mess of shit you’d see a housewife do on a 1950s sitcom. But sometimes, even on an incredibly warm sunny day, we want to grab a cookbook, turn on some music, dance, and make sugary treats that eventually we’ll share with our close friends.

I gotta say, I’m psyched to try our apple crisp.

Of a Baking Fiend

Shay Mitchell Cooking

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I’m a self-proclaimed lazy cook. I don’t particularly enjoy cooking but that doesn’t mean I can’t do it. I might not be able to invent my own concoction but I can follow a recipe. And I don’t understand how people burn and ruin their food when they are following instructions. And yet over the past five days I’ve been baking. Not the same as cooking granted, but it tastes a whole lot better.

It started off with Butterscotch Oatmeal Bars, a delicious recipe given to me by a nice Italian lady I met during my Western New York days. I made these for a picnic date I had planned for last Thursday. They turned out well and the picnic was adorable, complete with my vintage picnic basket.

The next day I was going to go to Canada for Blues dancing at the Blues Cafe in Vancouver, B.C. But we had some time to kill, meaning five hours till we had to leave. So I proposed we make Lemon Bars. I sifted through the MidWest/Minnesota/Norwegian cookbook my grandma gave me for a recipe that looked simple and fast. These were a success, they had more of a cheesecake consistency but they were still tasty.

Today I did next to nothing. I read Paper Towns by John Green and did some dishes. My sister came over and while we were playing Harvest Moon (Super Nintendo Edition) I had the sudden urge to make something. I settled on Snickerdoodles, since I always have the ingredients in my cupboard. So now I have a pile of cookies in my kitchen that I really do not feel like eating. But there they are … maybe I’ll bring them to work this weekend.

I think I’m becoming one of those stress bakers. As graduation looms closer and closer, and as I continually find excuses to not search for jobs I keep on finding myself in the kitchen – a place I normally avoid.