Archive for March, 2011

Today is the day I look for the positive, the good, the happy, the joy, the love, the beauty.

But I am ready to throw in the towel after only 2 Thankful Thursdays because of the name “Thankful Thursday.” I like the alliteration. I like having a designated day where I keep my post positive. I like thinking of things for which I am grateful and which make my heart light.

Here is what I am happy about right now:

Hello Kitty Band-aids


my 2 daughters

my collection of Swanky Swig glasses, or really all of my little vintage juice glasses. Do you know these? In their day, they were sold as containers for jam or jelly and then you’d get to keep the glass after you used the product. Such wisdom, such a great selling tool, such American ingenuity. Highly collectible, inexpensive, and easy to find. A balm.

Now that you’ve reached the end of this week’s Thankful Thursday, please consider leaving me your suggestion for a new name for these posts of levity and gratitude. I know it’s scary to leave a comment–you have to register your name and email (well, at least I think you do). Then it gets easier and you can comment quickly and easily any time. Yup. I’m waiting. Here. All. Alone. For a name.

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As we know, artists are often troubled souls. The following is Tucker, a supreme example of an artist who is able to play the piano with abandon, passion, and drama.

Happy Monday!

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I realized after my coffee concoction post that the name of the drink may be confusing to some. Why is it called a “Big Blue” drink? Where is the food coloring? Is it blue, like sad, like The Blues?

I was introduced to the concept of Big Blue-ness over 25 years ago by my great friend Sheila, aka, “Cheila.” This expression existed WAY before that super computer, but hey, Deep Blue sounds pretty good, too. I could live with that.

So, something Big Blue is intense, extreme, amazing, wonderful, awesome, the best, tops, to the nines…..and on and on into the wild blue yonder. Big Blue-ness can be applied in many circumstances, but it should not be used carelessly.

The above is a photo of a present that Cheila gave me years ago in case I needed something Big and Blue. Only the Big Blue truck is a toy truck and what I really needed and still need sometimes only rhymes with truck. That’s the real expression, as in “You need a Big Blue [rhymes with truck].Got it?

Now go try that coffee drink and you’ll see that it has earned its name.

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We all know that, by the calender, Spring is here. New warmth, less snow, longer daylight hours, but still cold enough for me not to want to wake up in the morning and put my bare feet on the bare floor. The time change 2 weeks back also leaves me groggy. It’s maple syrup time, but without freezing temperatures at night, there is no sap running. So, it’s a mixed season: “April is the cruelest month” and all, just around the corner.

I have lots of thoughts of waking up. Remember this post? And trying to find Frank Sinatra singing about Spring this week?

Many of you have seen this recipe before. I reprint it here so you, too, might wake up.

Before I make any claims as to the deliciousness of this drink and its ability to put you into a joyous coffee orbit while you kick yourself for ever turning over your money to Starbucks for the lesser “Frappacino,” make sure you have a substantial blender; you know, a blender that can handle the grinding of ice cubes. Grinding ice will destroy a lesser blender’s blade and may disintegrate the rubber gasket which will then leach into your coffee drink and make you very sick (this happened to me when I used a cheap blender in a rental unit on the Cape). You may also want to invest in some decent earplugs.

Warning: you may not get to drink this for several hours after you’ve brewed your coffee, so if you are really jones-ing, you’ll have had to start the night before. You dig?

Also, a disclaimer: I never measure any of this. I’ve tried, but by the time I’m thinking about making my coffee blended, I’m too excited to keep track of measurements.

First, brew up some of your favorite delicious-ass coffee (could be espresso, for instance). You’ll need about 2 C. Let cool.

Fill an ice cube tray with your cooled brew (you don’t want to pour boiling hot coffee into a plastic tray nor make your freezer work that hard), then FREEZE.

Chill the remaining (cooled) coffee in a jar (I prefer a large glass one) in the fridge-o-rama.

Once dem cubes is frozen, stick some in dem blender. I use about 8 (this is quite a buzzy amount).

Pour in about a TBSP of cream (heavy, half-and-half, light–whatever your preference).

Pour in about 2 TBSP of good maple syrup (more or less depending on your tolerance for sweet and the strength of the coffee). I use good local Massachusetts or Vermont syrup when I’ve got it, but the Trader Joe’s stuff from Canada is cheaper, Grade B, comes in a glass container rather than a plastic one, and just fine o fine. And don’t even try to cheat by using sugar. It won’t dissolve in ice or give you a subtle depth of sweetness. (Plus, they say maple syrup contains trace minerals). (I know,”subtle” and “depth” seem incompatible, but trust me).

Top it all off with about a half cup of the chilled coffee.

Blend on “high,” “liquefy,” “ice crush,” or “puree.” Experiment. You want a smooth and uniform result. You may need to add more liquid coffee if the cubes remain chunky; you may need to add more cubes if it’s too liquidy. Stick a straw in there and test for your fave sweet/bitter combination as well as for your fave texture. Keep adjusting.

It gets easier and soon you’ll be a pro, making these for your listless friends who need a jolt and don’t yet notice that the blood coursing through their veins is far too slow and steady.

I also recommend finding a few really good, wide straws with which to sip your concoction. A too-small diameter just won’t do. You could ask for a couple of the very wide straws at the concoction counter at a Panera Bread store. They come in 4 fabulous colors. I stick mine in the dishwasher, too, and reuse them again and again. I’m not afraid that they are a bad, leaching plastic. Who knows, though? The red straws at Bruegger’s are wide enough, too, but not all of their shops stock them.

Now the next time you order a $4 (or more depending on your proximity to NYC or Provincetown, MA) drink at a fancy java shop, remember to ask how they make it. This is often met with puzzlement or a defensive stance. Stand your ground and don’t buy it if it is made from a powdered mix. This is pure crap and it tastes like pure crap and I bet is costs 3 cents to produce. Some coffee shops do make an honest frozen drink, however.

Even though it’s made from a (liquid) mix containing some high fructose corn syrup, I am partial to the Bruggeracino (sp?) from Bruegger’s (no mocha, please, I am a purist). I occasionally allow some of the Monin vanilla syrup if a drink is made without sweetener and the shop only has sugar.

Best wishes and let me know how it works out after you calm down a bit. I’d love to hear about your adventures once the buzz wears off. Oh, and don’t forget to send me 50 cents every time you make this. I probably saved you $3.50 at Starbucks.

love, twinkly

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Thankful Thursday 2

It’s that day again when I shuck my cynicism, sadness, anger, and generally depressed nature to look for the shiny chestnut.

Here is what made it in this week:

The locally-grown freesia that I bought at the store and which is in a vase on my kitchen table. The smell is one of my favorite flower smells and when I used the self-cleaning feature of my oven last night, I just popped my nose into the freesia and I was given a brief respite. The heavenly scent has been fleetingly filling my kitchen all week.

The vase that the freesia is in. It’s a white milk-glass vase with sort of a hobnail, but not exactly hobnail, pattern. I got it a few weeks ago at the local Salvation Army. I love milk glass. I especially love the pink milk glass vase I have. It is patterned with raspberries.

I love that I just googled “history of milk glass” and pulled up all kinds of information–history, items for sale, photos.

Happy Thursday! love love love, twinkly

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Good Music Monday to you. Today, it’s It Might as Well Be Spring, music and lyrics by Rodgers and Hammerstein.

The crocuses were starting to open in yesterday’s full burst of sun, but they are tightly bundled against today’s continuing snowfall. It’s pretty cozy inside my house, but Sinatra’s voice makes me pine for something more.

I couldn’t find an adequate and free-to-link-to recording (or video) of Sinatra doing this song, so this Music Monday, you’ll have to troll around teh interwebs and find your own. I love Sinatra’s version the best, with Ella Fitzgerald running a close second. I couldn’t find Nina Simone doing it, but my guess is she, too, would do it justice.

The song generally seems to be presented as a saccharin confection; take for instance, Shirley Jones’, Julie Andrews’, or Andy Williams’ renditions. If I had heard one of those first, I might have dismissed the song as fluffy and escapist; it is after all from the 1945 musical “State Fair,” and though I have never seen it, I can guess at its sentiments.

Until you can find a recording of it, here are the lyrics. Beautiful really. Who writes songs like this any more?

It Might as Well Be Spring

Rodgers and Hammerstein

I’m as restless as a willow in a windstorm
I’m as jumpy as a puppet on a string
I’d say that I had Spring fever
But I know it isn’t Spring

I am starry-eyed and vaguely discontented
Like a nightingale without a song to sing
Oh, why should I have Spring fever
When it isn’t even Spring?

I keep wishing I were somewhere else
Walking down a strange new street
Hearing words that I have never heard
From a girl I’ve yet to meet

I’m as busy as a spider spinning daydreams
I’m as giddy as a baby on a swing
I haven’t seen a crocus or a rosebud or a robin on the wing
But I feel so gay in a melancholy way
That it might as well be Spring

It might as well be spring

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Police Blotter

One of my favorite activities is reading my weekly newspaper’s police blotter.

Each week I can count on a few steady pieces of news: a dozen DUIs (this being a college town), about 95% of which occur after midnight (LESSON: STAY OFF THE ROADS FROM MIDNIGHT TO 4 AM!!!); 2 or 3 drunken brawls that have spilled out of a bar and onto the sidewalk; several excessively loud parties; a mentally-ill, possibly drunk, belligerent man or woman (or 2) who has to be removed from the homeless shelter; also, a bit of shoplifting and a few stolen iPods (often from the drunken parties and bars). As unpleasant as these stories are, with potential deadly results for innocents, they tend to be predictably the same, week after week. What really turns me on are the quirks, turns, and certain, shall we say je ne sais quoi human elements that push a police blotter item into the realm of peculiarity.

Here are the week’s twinkly-worthy items (please note that although location details are provided in the original report, I have omitted them in some cases):

Wednesday, March 9

8:02 pm From the “What the Fuck?” Department

A teenage girl was caught shoplifting a $10 item from the supermarket. When confronted by management, the girl’s mother became argumentative. Both the girl and her mother were issued trespass notices to stay out of the store.

7:55 pm From the book So You Think You Can Farm?

More than a dozen cows were located in the middle of North East Street. The farmer was able to get the animals back into their field. The following day at 5:36 pm, the cows were again seen approaching the road.

Thursday, March 10

12:58 am From Adding Insult to Injury: A Book of Child Rearing

Police kept the peace between a man and a woman who were having an argument over getting a baby to sleep, which caused the infant to cry and disturb the neighbors.

Friday, March 11

7:38 pm From the “Who Me? Waste Your Tax Dollars?” Alliance

A Strong Street resident told police a telemarketer called her home offering a free smoke alarm system.

9:09pm From the “I Will Kick Michael Pollan’s Ass the Next Time I See Him” Guild

Four cows loose in the middle of North East Street were returned to their field by their owner.

Saturday, March 12

9:10 am From the President’s Council on “Writers are Special People”

A woman reported receiving a threatening and harassing email related to an article she wrote for an education publication. Police determined the email sender was just disagreeing with the content of her article and that he didn’t appear to be making a threat.

11:34 pm From the “I Thought ‘Clueless’ Was a Fictional Movie” Club

Police issued a verbal warning to residents playing a loud stereo. The residents agreed to turn it down, though they told police they thought it was OK to turn up the volume on the stereo since their neighbors are all on spring break.

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Martha Stewart has “Good Things” and Oprah has “Favorite Things” and I now join their ranks with Thankful Thursday. I know it sounds cheesy and not too imaginative, but the alliteration helps in designating another day of the week a theme day, just like “Music Monday” here at twinklysparkles’.

I get pretty cranky and I have thought how nice it would be to have a Rant Day. But no days of the week start with “R,” so I’ve had to put that one on hold until my creative juices find a solution. Not only that, but it could be potentially toxic for me to plan on ranting once a week. I need to keep it real, yes, but I also need to move in the positive a la Stevie Wonder: “when you’re moving in the positive, your destination is the brightest star.”

While these are not the only things that made me happy this week, they ranked high enough to make today’s post:

I found 1 nickel and 9 pennies on the ground of the parking lot outside the Stop and Shop. I picked them up, damp and gravelly though they were, put them in my pocket and dropped them into my coin jar when I got home.

My daughter wrote me a note and taped it to the front door the other night. It was waiting for me when I walked in the door after she had gone to bed.

Now you see how fantastic Thankful Thursday can be. I welcome your own additions via comments. No rants, just happy things, things for which you are grateful, sunshine and rainbows, Monster Trucks and apple pie. Whatever floats your boat, flips your wig, tickles your fancy, or puts a spring in your step.

I’m here, waiting.

Love, twinkly

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Ah, me. I hoped to post a music/video combo today. With all of the pain in the world right now, Japan and Libya, and even our own bubbling turmoils from Guantanamo to Wall Street to Wisconsin, I thought it would be nice to tip my hat to an admirable human trait–our ability to create Beauty.

Did you see the Tarsem movie “The Fall?” The opening sequence is an eight-and-a-half minute, black-and-white, slow-motion scene set to Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, 2nd movement. It ranks as one of the most stunning things I’ve seen on film and it literally took my breath away (unlike most Americans one encounters in interviews, I do know what literally means).

I saw the clip of the opening sequence of “The Fall” about 3 months ago on youtube, but is has since been pulled; therefore, dear ones, I cannot post it.

On another note, did anyone else feel sluggish yesterday? Were your children dragging ass on their way to school this morning? Tired in your marrow rather than filled with new sap running up and down the length of your limbs? I know for me it was the absurd time change (a not-so-admirable human creation).

Spring. Waking up. The Fall.

There is only one solution until I can make my coffee-blended.

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What if I throw in the towel and just write a quickie?

Here are some of my intentions and parameters for my blog, vaguely formed, yes, but somewhere in the back of  my mind:

I will not post completely insignificant crap (I know insignificant is relative and that for the most part, it’s all insignificant).

I will not post just because my cat threw up or my kid got an “A” or I had a cold or a broken nose or my car stalled out or there was a storm or my basement flooded or I lost my checkbook or I didn’t sleep enough. Well, something like that. I don’t want my focus to be so narrow that writing becomes a useless habit. However, if I can suss out what is significant and worth my attention around the mundane, if my cat throws up for say, two weeks in a row, or I don’t sleep through the night for the better part of three years, or all of a sudden I will only have sex in the back of a purple-polka-dotted cars, maybe those things are worth a post. If death is inevitable and beauty is all around us, what are the patterns? How does my experience fit into a greater whole?

I will try not to post links to other information without commentary or additional thoughts.  I would likely use Facebook for that. But who knows? I reserve the right to do it here.

I am allowed to be a jerk and I am allowed to make mistakes.

The color on the background of my blog’s “dashboard” is supposed to be a deep purple-y grey, but when I got my new Mac, it turned much purpler and much less subtle. I can’t really tell what color it is to you. Close your eyes and picture it to match the photo of the rocks and to not have any hint of rainbows and unicorns. It is a beautiful and solemn color and I am going to try to change it right now.

Sometimes the technology sucks.

I am allowed to use whatever language I need at any given time, including words like shoulder evil fuck cunt cock halo art angel God god terrible horror goddess feminist crap love gorgeous vulva anatomy vein spider asana fat. I do not fear words and I do not fear what is revealed when the flesh is stripped away.

I am but a speck in the eye of eternity, but I feel my life and labors intensely. The days flash before us and are gone. We are not meant to catch them and only by grace do we succeed in doing so.

I am the product of white privilege.

I do believe that to be human is to suffer and that the only way to be free from this bondage is to learn compassion. I am a pilgrim and a stranger.

I like the notion of opposites. One cannot have dark without light. I don’t believe that one should be positive if it is just an opportunity to beat oneself up for not being positive enough. Being positive is the same as being politically correct. It might be the wrong approach because it can lead to lies and self-delusion.

I do not know if I can write about politics or history though I feel passionately about both. I would like to be accurate and I am not sure this is possible. If I write about these things, it really will take me all night.

I do not use emoticons, but I will engage in ironic acts on occasion.

I am tempted to steal ideas and patterns from other blogs I like, but I haven’t yet for fear of boxing myself in and for fear of engaging in the immoral act of stealing.

I think about it, though. So, I have been doing “Music Monday.” What if I do add a photo day, a recipe day, a rant day, a praise day? I would love to do a word day. How many days in the week are there? Perhaps it could be every-other week, or every third Wednesday. I’m too goddamn busy, creative, and original to deal with these fucking restrictions.

Look at me. Sometimes I am beautiful.

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