Friday, December 31, 2010

Checking in

 Greetings and Salutations friends! I wanted to pop in and say a quick Hello! I hope you all had a great holiday season, mine was full of rain rain and more rain but the holiday celebrations themselves were quite delightful. Before I sign out for the year, I wanted to share some photos from my annual "Last Sunset" celebration down at the beach and ask how you spend New Year's eve.

Happy New Year to all!

Much love~Giggling Ninja







Sunday, December 5, 2010

[experi]Mental Baking Project part 1

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     Last weekend I went to the Patchwork Indie Arts & Crafts Festival to scope out the market and see if there would be a place for my little shop there next year. Whilst I was wandering and perusing the various and assorted wares, I noticed people gathering around this one particular tent, so naturally, I had to investigate! The booth had baked goodies, mostly shortbread, which was being handed out in the form of tiny little samples (and it was delish!) but the thing that drew me in was the sign that said, “bacon chocolate chip cookies $1”. What is this madness? Bacon now in a cookie? Well, I’ve seen bacon chocolate bars in the gourmet markets, but in a cookies…I was intrigued! I’ve been a vegetarian for over 20  years now, but I live amongst carnivores, so I decided to grab a couple of cookies for the dudes and see what they said about bacon and chocolate chips paired in a cookie.

     The reviews weren’t bad but they weren’t glowing either. My son said he liked them but wanted me to make him some since my cookies are the best in the world. It’s true you know, they really are! The bigger dude said he only tasted a hint of smoky bacon-ish flavor but that the bacon was a strange consistency and there didn’t seem to be much in the cookie. So, being me,I decided that I could make them better.

    The first step in making a better bacon chocolate chip cookie was choosing the right bacon. Again, since I don’t eat bacon, I have to go strictly with instinct. I scoped out the choices and settled on an all natural, nitrate free apple wood smoked bacon. It looked, well, like bacon, but I supposed it looked like nice bacon? Is that like a high class bowling alley? Anyway…the second step was cooking the bacon. Going with the comments on the cookies I purchased, I decided that baking the strips on a baking sheet lined with a piece of parchment paper would be the way to go, hopefully resulting in crispier bacon that didn’t simmer in it’s own fat whilst cooking. What I did to prepare my bacon before shoving it in the oven will forever remain a secret! *cut to maniacal laughter* Your cookies will never be as good as mine! Mwah ha ha ha haaaaaah! Oh,sorry, forgot I was with an audience.

    Ok, so after that, all I did was whip up a batch of my divine dark chocolate chip cookie dough, scoop out 2 dozen meat free cookies for my daughter & I before adding the bacon, and then I filled the house with the sweet smoky smell of bacon chocolate chip cookies. I have to admit, if my body could digest meat, I would have eaten a handful of those cookies! I’m definitely going to add those to my holiday baked goods platters I deliver to my neighbors, friends,  and family. Those who eat meat anyway.

     Have any of you ever had bacon chocolate chip cookies? What did you think?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bless me Ed Begley Jr for I have sinned

     I wonder if there’s a 12 step program that can help me? I reduce, reuse and recycle. My offspring have been taking their waste mega penis, umm…I left my laptop unattended when I went into the kitchen to take my blueberry cake out of the oven and my 14 year old son added “mega penis”…so, where was I? Oh yes, my offspring have been taking their waste free lunches including cloth lunchbox sized napkins in awesome fabrics (made by me, let me know if you want a set *end shameless self promotion*) for years now, I bake, grow a fair amount of my own produce, shop locally, use only organic body products, etc. etc. etc. green goddess blah blah get to the point you crazy woman: I TAKE REALLY LONG SHOWERS!!

     There, I said it. Despite all of my efforts to be an environmentally responsible global citizen, I loooove taking long showers! I know it’s wrong, I do, and this summer, when it was warm and toasty in the house, I actually did the start/stop shower method where I turned off the water when I’m, well, not standing in it rinsing. But now that it’s a wee bit chilly, all that does is make shaving the goose bumps off my legs that much more painful. All of those green living books recommend keeping your showers around 5 minutes, no more than 10. Right. How am I supposed to exfoliate wash condition shave whathaveyou all my various and assorted bits and pieces in 5 minutes? Plus, I have some of my best ideas in the shower! Cutting down my time might thwart my creative flow and we can’t have that, can we? What to do? Anyone? Ideas?

   I have mentioned to my family on more than one occasion that I could benefit from a pool boy. It was then pointed out to me that I don’t have a pool *sad face*, so there went that dream of an extra set of hands to expedite my showering, or something like that. Now that I see that in print I suspect that a pool boy would have added more time to my shower ritual. Ok, back to the drawing board…

   Oh! I have a great idea! I should take a shower and see if I can think of a solution to my long shower addiction ☺

    What’s something you do that you know you shouldn’t?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

[un]common threads

     Today I finished embroidering the name on a stocking I sold over at my etsy shop. I taught myself to embroider through trial and error and that trademark fearlessness (insanity?) that has gotten me through most of my 41 years of life. Once I was finished stitching those 5 very important letters onto the pretty stocking, I held it out at arm's length to study my work. I don't have some fancy expensive embroidery machine, so the letters aren't exactly the same size and the spacing might be a wee bit left of perfect, but I do put something into each stitch that a big fancy computer programmed embroidery machine can't, I put my heart, love and soul into it. Sure, maybe that sounds schmucky, but if you've ever made something with your own hands, you probably  understand what I mean. At first I worried that maybe the hand work looked dorky and amateurish, but after letting the stocking hang where I could see it for a few hours, I think it's truly magical. Magic that I made and someone else saw and wanted to buy. That's a great feeling.
     In an age of devices, convenience, mass marketing, outsourcing, and an insane need to have everything done immediately if not sooner, taking the time to do work by hand despite the fact that there are several machines available for purchase that will do the work for me might seem like a ridiculous waste of time. For me, it's kind of like writing letters to friends, it's a lost art in need of revival and I am proud to be one of those deeply entrenched in a community of crafters & artists devoted to keeping this art alive.
    Admittedly, without devices of electronic convenience, I wouldn't be typing this on my laptop for your nearly immediate reading pleasure. I'm not bashing all modern conveniences and implying that I want to live an Amish existence. I have grown rather fond of my little smart phone and shiny new laptop with all the letters still on the keys. I do like wandering around a shopping center once in a while looking for things I'm convinced I could make better. And...I even enjoy the occasional meal of take out food! (Shocked? Get used to it, won't be the first time!) As much as I'd love to live on and feed my family from my own sustainable, Eco-friendly, organic farm, I live in a Stepford like master planned community (but I do manage to grow a fair amount of my own fruits, herbs, veggies &  5 varieties of very very hot peppers in my suburban back yard!) Most days, I'm designing and creating with the din of explosions and chaos coming from an X-box being played at a brain addling volume on the obscenely large television my spouse just had to purchase, but despite all that, my hands are happiest when they are making something nifty.
     What's your favorite way to shun technology?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Go Ninja Go Ninja Go!

     What a crazy exciting wonderful weekend it has been! Yesterday I was up at the world headquarters for my form of Karate testing for my 2nd kyu, in plain English, that is the 2nd level of brown belt putting me one test away from my blackbelt test. When I woke up yesterday morning, it was the first time since my very first test for rank that I was nervous. I wasn't just nervous, I was chills and nausea kind of nervous, which is a very very rare thing for me. I don't know why this test was different from the others, maybe because as you inch ever closer to blackbelt you know the expectations are so much higher? Maybe because I'm 41 and competitive martial arts are really more of a young person's sport and I did get a little bit of a late start in my karate career? Who knows? In any case, I sacked up and went for it.
     As fate would have it, I was again the only woman testing in my group and I was called up first, and alone! There I stood, all 5'3" of me feeling like I was 15 feet tall standing proudly in front of the head of my form, a grandmaster blackbelt and karate legend, and a panel of esteemed blackbelts who's sole purpose is to watch every single move I make(hoping I have them all convinced that I'm a bad ass!). Demura sensei tells me to call my kata, and in keeping with my streak of insanity, I aimed high and called the most advanced kata I know. 47 moves later I finished and I didn't make any mistakes! *whew!* After that, the nerves faded and the nausea went away and the rest of my test was much less stressful. I won't have results for, well, it could be the end of the month or it could be the end of the year...but even if I didn't pass this time, I know I gave it my all.
     A few hours after I got home and showered, the head to toe muscle aches began setting in. You don't realize how hard you're working when the adrenaline is coursing through every cell in your body, but after kata, basics, one point and free sparring, my body was tired! Ugh, don't you hate those moments where you're reminded that you aren't 20 anymore? The most ambitious thing I felt like doing was curling up with my blanket and a stack of magazines, so there I was, doing nothing in abundance when my cell chirped. Hmmm, an e-mail, let's investigate. What a great surprise to see that the universe rewarded my hard work with my first etsy sale! Whee! A good day just got even better! I think, in that moment, my grin could be seen from space. Usually it's my hair that can be seen from space.
    This is a long post, but I'm excited, so feel free to go get a snack and stretch before I finish, I'll wait...
    OK, we're back. To recap, testing, etsy sale, today...Everyone still with me? Today my son & I were competing in a karate tournament, both of us entered in kata and free sparring events. My son was pleased that for this tournament he was at the top of his age division, that's a good thing for a teenage boy. This is his 17th tournament, so he's seen all kinds of fighting styles and all that good stuff. I'll just get right to the facts: He took home the gold medal for kata and a bronze medal in free sparring, victories made more impressive by the fact that he beat out red belts, which are Jr black belts in our style (our style doesn't give black belts to students under 18, kids don't understand the honor & responsibility that goes with being a blackbelt), to earn that gold medal. For free sparring he got moved up an age division because of a 7'' growth spurt over the last year that made him taller that all the kids his age, so he went up against a 16 year old red belt for the semis and finished 3rd. I am so proud I could burst!
    I earned silver medals for both of my events, losing my sparring match in a most amusing way. My son's kata event was doing their medal ceremony when I was fighting and when I heard his name called for the gold medal, I turned my head to look. In that split second, my opponent smiled at me just before she kicked me in the head. I didn't care, I'll take the kick to see my boy leaning in to receive his first gold medal. It's tough to switch back & forth between fighter and mom, but I will always be mom first. Once again, my grin can be seen from outer space.
   

Saturday, November 6, 2010

My hook kick brings all the boys to the yard

     Karatepalooza has kept me away from both my sewing machine and my laptop this week. I can tell when I'm long overdue for making something nifty when I start to get snippy with all the other members of my household, OK, with all the other members of society. Lucky for you, right? Thing is, it's tough to get my craft on when I'm ear deep in training, teaching, charting, testing and preparing for a karate tournament. To add to the insanity of things, my 14 year old son is a karate bad ass too, so he's got high school, homework and the aforementioned karatepalooza too. I don't believe in over scheduling our offspring, I think kids just need time to be, you know, that rare and elusive "me time" most adults pine after? So, karate is his "thing" aside from school and generally being a really great kid. I can't wrap my mind around how many times some mother clucker has smiled insincerely and asked me, "What do YOUR kids do?". After I finish my elaborate fantasy about stepping past her and delivering a swift and painful hook kick to the back of her empty head and hearing Michael Buffer announce "Winner by KTFO, Giggling Ninja!" I usually answer with something along the lines of "Well, my son is currently working on his doctorate at USC and my daughter is touring the country with the Boston Pops Orchestra". Dumb asses. They smile vacantly and nod their empty heads, the sounds of  gravel rattling around in their skulls distracting them  long enough for me to make my hasty escape.
     I'm rambling, and I'm OK with that. I don't have the time today to overthrow the dining room so I can design, cut out and sew something, but I need a diversion so I'm not obsessively going over katas in my head. Sewing centers my head and calms me. What do you do to prepare for big events and/or find a little patch of peace in a hectic time?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Witchy magical pumpkins

All done freehand by Me!
Left to right we have Raven sitting in a tree, Howling wolf and a Dios de los Muertos skull



Saturday, October 30, 2010

Rant-o-rama-lama-ding dong the witch is back

     Tomorrow is Halloween, and I LOVE Halloween like any good witch worth her broomstraw, but I tell you, there are A LOT of assholes and dimwits (no, that is not a new country music group) out there making it really tough not to roundhouse kick them in the head! So, people, let me just explain to you a few of the reasons why I'm going to knock someone the fuck out, that way, when you regain consciousness, you'll know why. I'll number the reasons, because it's fun and it's my blog, so I'll do what I want. Got it?

1) The Whorification of Halloween.  The ancient Pagans/Celts/Druids and other peoples who began Samhain (the real name for what is now known as Halloween) did not go out shopping at the local polyester and toxic vinyl mask mass marketing shops to persuse the plethora of ass length Alice in Hookerland or Spongebob Whorepants costumes to get in touch with their inner slut (and trust me, there's an inner slut in all of us!). No, we didn't! So why do women, who have valiantly struggled for years to be taken as seriously as the penis persuasion, decide that on Halloween the best choice for "dressing up" would be something ass length paired with a corset, fishnets and high heels? I myself love corsets, fishnets, high heels and dresses, not ass length dresses, but this isn't about what's in my closet, is it? I'm aware that it's the right of every person of legal voting age to whore up at will, but what really chaps my ass is how many girls at my daughter's elementary school were all whored up for the Halloween parade on Friday! Little girls in ass length costumes complete with fishnets and corsets? I don't understand what's going through a  parent's mind (or place where their mind would be if they had one) when they whorify the baby girls and send them to school [un]dressed like that? Hmm...we can dress our 10year olds like women who get paid via dollar bills shoved in their g-strings and send them out in the dark to ask for candy from strangers? What's the worst that could happen?
That kind of decision making skill takes buttfuckery to a whole new level! Moving on---->

     2) Witches being portrayed as gnarled and hunched and green and warty. I do not have a long twisty nose, pointed chin, warts, and I'm not green. Witches aren't bad, just so you all know. We are amongst you every place you go. Paganism isn't contagious, it's not Satanic, it's not bad, evil, we don't sacrifice anything, even on Halloween, plus, do you have any idea how difficult it is to find virgins around Halloween what with everyone all tarted up? Sheesh! So skip over that inaccurate portrayal of witches for your Halloween decorations and perhaps go with something TRULY frightening, maybe a life sized cut out of Sarah Palin? That would scare the living crap  out of me, that's for certain!

   3) The churches being so determined to steal EVERYTHING the Pagans do by branding their October 31 events as "Harvest Festivals" and making claims that one and all can come enjoy a family friendly night free from all of those scary witches and Pagan types. If the Pagans and our celebrations & rituals make you uncomfortable, why do you keep ripping them off? I'm sorry, I ended my sentence with a preposition. Why do you keep ripping them off, assholes? It's a Pagan holiday, for crap's sake. Then again, pretty much all of the holidays celebrated nowadays were ripped off from the happy dancing pagans. Why would this one be any different?

     Ok boys and girls, I should pace myself. I've most likely offended quite a few folks with this rant-o-rama. I told you I didn't know how to behave. I'm a boat rocker, but I'm an excellent swimmer!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Isn't this special

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a Mary Frickin Sunshine type who plans to bend you over and shove my ray of positivity right up your...butt, I mean but, or do I? Where was I? Oh yes, today I was at the beach listening to the waves & seabirds & letting the sunshine warm my skin & trying to let the raging bitch I've been for the past few days wash away with high tide. I think it worked, I'd tell you to ask my family but I haven't fed them just yet so they may have a skewed perspective.
Now about that family I mentioned...Since this blog is a new neighborhood for me, I've decided to do something I don't usually do. Ahem, no...I ALWAYS do that! I'm going to share a little. If you're a glutton for punishment, you peeked at the short but sweet bio I'm eternally revamping so you know I'm a karate instructor. In karate terms, I'm a 3rd kyu brown belt bad ass mammajamma. In English, I'm a belt below black belt & busting my round booty to earn myself that coveted black belt. I teach the 7-14 year old beginner class, which, on it's worst days, is like nailing jello to a tree and on it's best days it's one of the most fulfilling things I've ever done. Kind of like being a mom! Speaking of Mom, I have two fruitloops of my loins; a 14 year old son & a 10 year old daughter, see above reference to nailing Jello to a tree. Or maybe putting socks on a chicken?
Well, the 10 minutes I've spent checking my shop, email, facebook and blogspot are over and there's a hungry tribe I need to feed before the teenager & I head off to karate. Stay tuned for more warm moments of inappropriate touching...In the meantime, what are you making/having/hunting/gathering/buying for dinner?

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

But wait...I needed that!

     Sunshine makes me happy. It's true, as those of you who are familiar with my work know. For those just joining us on this slow boat to sillytown, I'm solar powered and for the last 9 days (give or take a day either way) the sun has been m.i.a. Having used entirely too many words to say not much of anything, I'll stop dicking around and let you know that this morning, the sun finally returned!
     So here's a little tidbit about me-Most Sundays, I wake up much earlier than I'd like so I can gear up and attend karate classes. I am a ninja you know, and a karate instructor, so it doesn't look good if I miss classes just because I want one more day to sleep past 5:30am *sigh* (but I really do want just one more sleep in day!).
    Now, imagine my giggling delight to wander out to my kitchen this morning and see this sight out my sliding glass doors:
Sunshine!
     Amazing how a few shining rays of sunshine started my day of karatepalooza off on the right foot! I was training for the better part of 6 hours today, but I ate my lunch sitting in the sunshine, so I was happy.
     This blog isn't really about anything, I'm still getting back in the swing of blogosity again.
So, tell me, how was your weekend?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The letters make typing slower

     After spending the majority of the past week locked in a battle of wills with my laptop, I made the announcement to no one in particular that I needed to buy a new one. Apparently, announcing such things aloud (to no one in particular) is exactly how the Matrix likes it because it just so happens that my favorite geektropolios had a great deal on a Toshiba lightning fast fancy new laptop! So, you guessed it. I bought one.
    Isn't it just the way things go that one finally masters their electronic doodad and then for some reason or another, ends up needeing to go out and purchase something new? Last week I reluctantly gave up my trusty little cell phone for a smart phone that initially made me feel quite dumb. I can only hope that no other electronic device malfunctions or I may go back to sending messsages in morse code or via carrier pigeons.
    Cut to a few hours post purchase of aforementioned laptop: After 5 years of furiously pecking away at the keys, downloading thousands of pictures, and being the gracioius recipient of a veritable buttload of music, most of the buttons had been stripped of their letters, numbers or symbols and quite honestly, I never looked at the keys anyway. Tonight I am not only making a slow return to blogging, but I'm inexplicably distracted by the shiny keys proudly displaying ALL of their letters, numbers & symbols. It slows me down, but all the same, I do like my shiny new laptop.
    Well friends, I've spent enough time on the vurld vide veb this week & I have a waaay too early morning karate class tomorrow, so let's call it a night and head to bed.
    Peace love and throwing stars~Giggling Ninja

And so it begins...

    After over a year of all but vanishing from the wilds of the blogosphere, I have decided to rejoin the blogging community. Oh who am I kidding? Truth is, I opened myself a little shop here on the Internet and quite frankly, I have a lot to say and decided to do something with all those words throwing elbows in the mosh pit of my mind.
    So, before we go any further with this social intercourse, let me introduce myself. I'm Amy, and I'm a Giggling Ninja.