Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Things I Desire

Memorial Day Part Two:

Last day of my Memorial Day Weekend I went shopping...
Ok, I didn't actually buy anything, but I window shopped. Modesto does not have the most fabulous shopping mall, but it is getting better. Lately, I've been liking Bebe, Charming Charlie, and, of course, one cannot go to that mall without taking a little dive into Sephora (aka Make Up Heaven). So I ended up making one of those mental shopping lists that one makes when they do not have nearly enough money to buy what they desire most. And I can certainly desire!
Oh and I found out we are getting a Foreign Exchange! I've never bought anything from there, but looking at their website it appears that it won't be that way for long.


And still, the list just keeps gettin' bigger

Monday, May 28, 2012

Just Around the River Bend

This Memorial Day Weekend was great! I will share it in two parts.

Part one

In Which the Ransom Family + Goes Camping at Feather River
(Siblings brough friends)

It was my first time camping there.
It was also my first time fishing!

It was my first time in my own little tent!

It was my first time being completely in charge of all the food for such a trip as well.

It was also my first time completely forgetting the tools to cook the food I prepared with! But no bother, I am a very resourceful Ransom.

No spatula? A plastic fork and knife work wonders. No lid to boil water? Bust out the detachable griddle. Haha, boy do I deliver.

All in all, it was a gorgeous camping trip, only one night, but still great!
And part two is still to come!
But until then...
Here's the song I listened to in the comfort of my little tent with the stars above me and a light drizzle pitter-pattering from above. It's one of my favorites. Plus the bells in the background remind me of crickets, which weren't out sadly.

Hope you had a great holiday!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

With Crumbles Like These, Who Needs Blueberries?

Mother's Day was a week ago, and now I'm finally posting about it.
(this is thanks to my NEED to finally start looking for a job)
But! I think any day is a good day to do a blog post about your mother.
Don't you think?
My Mother's Day gift was the best one I could give.
I like to cook food, and I know for a fact that my mother likes to eat the food I cook.
She comes up to me all the time when I'm in the kitchen and I can see that warm grin on her face. It's got something sneaky behind it too. And that's when I know exactly what she's going to do.
Yep, she comes over and pats my bottom and says,
"Bo, bo, bo," with every pat, "My little cook! My little daughter is a chef!"
I throw my head back and yell, "Mooooom!"
But really I like her cooing and her love pats. And I know too, that she likes that I like it.

What did I make?

Blueberry lemon muffins for breakfast! These, my mom later told me, were her favorite of the day. I doubled the topping recipe, as I so often do. It allows for extra sweet goodness. Be lavish with the topping, it makes the muffins!


Pastrami Sandwiches--The Rachel for lunch! They were so delicious! My dad is a professed sauerkraut hater, but not any more after these sandwiches, which have the sauerkraut mixed with a home-made thousand island.

Berry Crumble for dessert! The reason for this post's title is because of this recipe. I loved how it let the berries (blueberries, rasberries, and strawberries) show off their great flavors all on their own and then topped it off with a crumble that was a little unique and seriously tasty! This was my dad's favorite of the day. He told me that I should open a restaurant because of this dessert...

And I got a little messy!

But I don't know if I could ever be up for that.
I just finished this book!

Charlotte Silver grew up sitting at the velvet booths sipping shirley temples in her mother's restaurant, Upstairs at the Pudding, in Harvard Square, Massachussettes.
This book is not slow, but rather it simmers on the stove like the cassoulets they make in France. You know, the legit ones that take hours...and hours to prepare.
This book is sweet, but not just in the way that makes you smile contentedly. It is sweet, at times, in the way that makes you a bit uneasy or unsettled. Is this a bad thing? I don't think so really. Because if all art was perfectly sugar coated, then you wouldn't ever get a sugar rush, which isn't always the most pleasant of experiences and which is also what happens in real life. All sugar lovers, like me, I think, can agree.
This book is not a punch of flavor, but it settles on the tongue, spreads like melted butter over the tastebuds, and lingers in its aftertaste.

It also has an excellent mother-daughter story. Wich is fitting.
Because it was just Mother's Day.
And also because this book was a gift to me from my mother.
And I often forget that she knows me the best.
Charlotte's mother is different from my own mother, but as I've grown older I've realized things about my mom, things I never could have realized--or appreciated--when I was younger. Charlotte Silver does a good job of relating this,

"My mother had taken her sunglasses off, and I could see, so close to mine, her face, as stylized after it's own fashion as a Kabuki mask: the lustrous lips, sea foam powder applied at mysterious, softening angles around her eyes, and the doll-like contrast of arched black eyebrows and teased blonde hair. She had put on this face while her stage set--her restaurant--was crumbling right in front of her.
It took me years, years after that night, to understand her attitude. And, later, to even admire it. The style; the verve; the queenly exit strategy; nothing apologetic, nothing wistful, nothing weak, about it."

Happy Mother's Day!
Happy not-Mother's Day!
Happy eating!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Da Polka Bot: Winning

Da Polka Bot: Winning: Warning This post has nothing to do with Charlie Sheen. Therefore, if that was what you were hoping it was about, and are generally close-m...


This post has nothing to do with Charlie Sheen. Therefore, if that was what you were hoping it was about, and are generally close-minded, you might not be interested anymore. That's sad because this post really is about something that I think deserves reading.
Exactly, it's about winning.
There have been two instances that have happened in my life very recently that relate to winning.
Yesterday, a Certain Little Sibling, who happened to be in a very bad way at that moment, was upset that they could not get another one of our siblings to go with them to the store to get something that was VERY IMPORTANT for school.
I offered to go instead.
"No! I want (Certain Other Sibling) to go with me!"
...argument ensues...
A few minutes of arguing later things are looking up.
But then, "I need $20 for the store!"
Earlier, said sibling had said the Dollar Store. therefore I wondered aloud, "You need $20 for the The Dollar Store?"
"No, I need to go to Walgreens now and I'll need more than $20!"
...argument again unsues...
A few more minutes later we're about to head out the door.
Me, "You can only spend that money on school and nothing else,"
Certain Little Sibling, "Wait I need my allowance,"
Mother refuses.
...Bigger argument ensues...
Several minutes later we somehow manage to pull up in the Wallgreens parking lot. The allowance argument has turned into a I need to buy some gum!!! argument.
I say ok, but only with your own money.
Certain Little Sibling, "What?! I don't have enough money. Why can't you help me out? It's just a little gum."
I break down. In anger and frustration.
"(Yell Certain Little Sibling's name!), First of all you are clearly just trying to think of something to argue about and that is why nothing is getting done! I am trying to help you out, and all you are doing is finding a way to complain! First, it was (Other Certain Sibling), then it was school, then it was your allowance, and now we are arguing over a STINKING. PACK. OF GUM! This is not about anything important, it is about you winning!"
She is silent.
...I digress...
"Alright (Certain Little Sibling), I will agree to help you out if you PROMISE that you are going to have a serious attitude check and drop all arguments from here on out. Promise?"
She agrees.
So we go into the store and things are going fine. Arguments forgotten.
Then we get to the candy isle.
Certain Little Sibling eyes a colorful patch of assorted candies, our eminent demise.
"Sissy, can I get the candy instead,"
I am shocked and then silent, weighing the situation at hand.
Me, "(Certain Little Sibling), do you realize that you just threw that huge fit over needing some gum, and now you are just dropping that to have candy instead?"
"Yes," Certain Little Sibling says sheepishly.
I look up in frusttration, "But no, really. Really! Do you realize that you just threw that HUGE fit because you HAD TO HAVE THAT GUM and now you want candy."
I pause once more.
"Ok," I say, "I'll tell you what, (Certain Little Sibling). I'll help you out, but I want you to do one thing for me. I want you to look me in the eye right now and say that you threw that huge fit for no reason and that you only did that to create an argument in the first place."
She looks at me and smiles, and I can't help but smile a bit too.
Because I know I've won.
(Certain Little Sibling) says it all, right there in the candy isle, even while some lady passes us by quietly. And then I say, "And...?"
"I'm sorry," says Certain Little Sibling.
The taste of victory is sweet on my tongue.
So I buy the candy, but not before making sure Certain Little Sibling cuts me a fair share.

So many arguments with (Certain Little Sibling) that I find myself in I try to come out on top, but said sibling is a fighter, and I am not. Said sibling may be as wrong as christmas colors in June, but I hafta say, I don't think I ever had that kind of fight in me when I was that age. Not that I support that behavior with parents/family (which for Certain Little Sibling is still a work in progress) but every now and again these arguments lead to positives. Like when I wrapped my arm around said sibling afterwards and talked about how this was a learning experience and that next time we found ourselves in a pointless fight, we would remember this fight, and hopefully be able to fix things sooner. Also save our blood pressure a bit too.

The Generationals; When They Fight, They Fight

In a second recent instance, Victoria Forester wrote The Girl Who Could Fly. You should read it, don't pay any attention to the fact that it's about a little girl or that it's a bit dated or that there's no kissing of boys or that it's even a little wierd. It's a really good book. I wish I had been a little more like Piper McCloud when I was younger. But Piper did remind me on occasion of Certain Little Sibling. She said,

"A person wants to believe in folks and trust in things, and when you can't, life doesn't seem worth living anymore. That's exactly how I felt. Like it was hopeless. But the more I got to pondering it, the more I figured that even if some folks are bad, there's others who aren't. So I reckon I just won't give up my flying for anyone ever again. I don't care what they tell me. There's just some things you gotta keep for yourself, no matter who asks you or how nice they're being. Then it doesn't make any difference if folks are good or bad 'cause they can't do anything to me if I won't let 'em. Know what I mean?"

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Day Off

Here’s to my first day off! What a wonderful day it was. And so I shall share with you…in a list…of phases. J

Phase 1: Sleeping in. Ok, that’s a given, but if I told you I “slept in” till 8:30 would that give you a better perspective? Granted the past week, which I have had off of school only, did allow for some sleeping in; however, the two people I share a room with typically get up before 7 am, allowing for no sleeping in time whether Kateri likes it or not. But today it didn’t faze me. Honestly I was so out of it, the whole thing felt like a dream. And sleeping in was great! Albeit till 8:30. But I like getting my day going so…

Phase 2: Breakfast! Favorite meal of the day, though I had frosted flakes. But hey, at least that’s my favorite cereal and there happened to be a mini chocolate donut left. So not too bad, right? This was followed by two episodes on the cooking channel (my usual) and then an episode of What Not to Wear (only thing I hafta say, 38C to a 34G? really?)*

Phase 3: Dishes. Ok, it’s good to be at least a little productive in your day off right? Plus I listened to Naked and Famous radio on Pandora.

Phase 4: Get dressed. Wore my new Forever dress that reminds me of Cher from Clueless for three reasons. 1. It’s yellow. Quite yellow. 2. It has spaghetti straps. 3. It’s short. And I wore it with a thrifted Levi denim shirt and a braided leather belt at the waist from my sister and Toms. New Toms, see?

Phase 5: Walked to Raley’s with computer, book, May issue of Elle Magazine, other random things, and towel in big bag. The walk wasn’t necessarily bad or anything, but I must say I can’t wait till the day I can move to a town where I am able to walk down a busy main street and not feel like people are looking at me like an endangered species or something. Yes, I am a girl walking alone. No, I do not wish that I had a car right now because frankly the weather is great, the store is close, and the exercise is refreshing. However, I do like to tally how many honks I get. Today I only got one. Perhaps they were too distacted by my yellow dress. My quite yellow dress. ;)

Phase 6: Bought a cake at Raley’s. Not a whole friggin cake, but the ones they sell that are like nice little 4x4” flashcards, packaged all neat and efficient for your individual cake consuming pleasure. I eyed the lemon cream with temptation, but instead opted for something a bit different than my usual. So yellow cake with chocolate frosting it was. Are you noticing a theme with the yellow here? I swear it’s not intentional.

Phase 7: Went to the park. I sat on my beach towel, kicked off my shoes, loosened my belt, and then when I’d taken enough time savoring the moment—because I could—I ate my cake. I feel wussy in admitting that I didn’t actually eat it all. But now I can brag that I am being a good daughter and giving the rest to my dad. And hey, it was a DGC (aka—damn good cake!) This phase also consisted of writing on my computer, which was different, though in a fun way, to do out in a wide open, sunny park. For any of you writers, this tactic comes highly recommended.

Phase 8: Really, the only downer to my day, I hate to say it, was that with the timing of my situation I had to walk home right when my high school got out. (Since graduation I’ve visited once and the experience was nothing short of weird, but that’s a whole other blog post) Basically the nostalgic angst flashback I experienced made me want to curl up in a corner with a Sarah Dessen book, which would be so much more enjoyable under just about any other circumstances. Nothing against Sarah though cause she’s kinda awesome.

Phase 8: Read at home for a while. The Girl Who Could Fly! More on that later.

Phase 9: Little sister comes in begging to wash mom’s car. Then comes back begging to have a water fight. I was currently enjoying my time on my bed reading previously mentioned book, but soon realized I had no real reason to say no. And so we washed the car and had a water fight. I tried relating to her that these kinds of things are supposed to be spontaneous, not planned. But who was I to talk, we had so much fun! (And I’m not just saying that because I had the hose while she had the little super soaker**)

Phase 9: Ate dinner. No explanation needed. That is, if you know my relationship with all things edible.

Phase 10: Wrote this blog.

Phase 11: Don’t ask me. Who’s telling what will happen next and, um, do I look like I can see the future?

Anyone have a good day off lately? Anyone have a great day off lately?

*They make G’s?


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Originals

I have so much in mind for things to share and relate in the future. Lots of randomness really, but it all does relate to myself as an individual somehow, and so to me that makes for just a fine blog experience. So I definately wanted something, not quite random persay, but unique to share first with you. So lets get things off to a rolling start!
If you want to know one thing about me it is that I love good movies. I don't, however, get to watch them very often ( more on that later, I'm sure) but one way that does often work out is all due to my mom, who I can easily say likes them more than I do. Now, by this I mean mostly the classics. Ya know, black and white, credits at the beginning, fainting woman during the bloody scene, dramatic kiss where the orchestra kicks in and you're like, "ok, who kisses with their ENTIRE FACES lodged into each other?" But really, these movies deserve more credit and viewership than they normally get. I am not so in love with them as my mother, but there are a few that I hope to own one day so I can rewatch them at my own leisure instead of having to youtube or netflix.
Drum roll please...
Aaaand here they are!

Bunny Lake is Missing: Probably my absolute favorite of these all. I always said that if I could live in any era from the past it would either be the Victorian age, the twenties, or the sixties. However the Victorian era got cast out when I took women’s history and learned of the economic and social horrors that faced being a woman at the time. And then I eliminated the twenties because that would mean that I would later have to go through the Great Depression, and I am not travelling back in time—away from a recession—only to be depressed for over a whole decade.
So the sixties. Ah, the fashion, the music, the emergence of technology, that feeling of moving forward. All things I tend to associate with the sixties—of course there are other things…but they do not interest me. Know what I mean? AHAHA.
Anyhoo, Bunny Lake is Missing is set in the sixties and it is a psychological thriller of the best kind, in my opinion. That quiet, unsettling build of emotions and tension that totally gets you with the confounding twist of events in the end. The plot centers on a mom who moves to London with her love baby, Bunny, away from her ex-lover and finds soon that her daughter has gone missing. What does this lead to? You guessed it, suddenly there was no Bunny. Her things are missing and her records are gone. You might have heard this story a thousand times before, but trust me, the originals are always worth giving a chance, especially this one.
The Americanization of Emily: Who doesn’t love a Julie Andrews movie? Maybe you’ve seen this. I know her most popular are Sound of Music and Mary Poppins…and I must mention Princess Diaries, all of which I adore as well, but this one is in all respects a total 180 from the Julie Andrews you might know. This movie is hot, and mostly because of her. Not to mention the adorable, teddy-bear manliness of James Garner. It’s adorable and funny, but with a slightly surprising, underlying flavor of solemnity because of the World War II setting. Basically a laugh then cry then laugh again movie.
You Can’t Take It With You: Though Bunny Lake is Missing is my favorite, I am definitely guilty of having watched this irresistibly adorable movie more times than I can count. There is romance—James Stewart and Jean Arthur, how could you not?—and a sweet, witty old man, an absolutely ridiculous ballerina, a Russian? wrestler/ballerina teacher, a firework maker, all contrasted by Stewart’s character’s disgustingly rich and snotty family. When he and Arthur’s character fall in love, oh what fantastic atrocities and preposterous miscommunications ensue. The story is heartwarming and truly telling about friendship, love, and character. If you don’t think it lovely, then I recommend taking up the harmonica.
Rebecca: Another thriller, and also psychological. This was based off the book by Daphne Du Maurier, of which I own, and also of which I have not read. (But more on that some other time.) It’s equal parts romance and mystery. Set in a sweeping old mansion by the ocean Cliffside. Everything about this movie is romantic and wistful…and haunting. I can’t wait to finally read the book, it’s been sitting on my shelves for far too long, waiting very patiently, it deserves to be opened this summer. But until then I have the movie—did I mention it’s a Hitchcock movie? There, that’s reason in and of itself you should watch it. And of course Joan Fontaine is gorgeous in it!
The Prince and the Showgirl: Ok, so simply the words Marilyn Monroe should be enough in their own respect. Can I just say a stuffy, passionless prince meeting the vivacious and, in no better words, swinging HOT Monroe, who exudes the perfect amount of effortless naiveté, make a match in romantic comedy heaven. Sort of like Roman Holiday (with Audrey Hepburn)—another worthy recommendation—only funnier and with bigger, sassier curves.

These are all on netflix and at least most on youtube. So check them out! Tell me how you like them! I'd love to hear, especially if you've never seen  a movie from beyond the 70's. Wait, wouldn't that mean no Wizard of Oz and A Christmas Story? I shudder. Well, there's a first for everything right?
Oh and happy May!