Monday, May 21, 2012

Friends, loyal countrymen/women, Alliteratus, lend me your ears

You may have noticed that we haven't updated in a while. In fact, on April 2nd I said to come back in two weeks. It's, uh, been a few more weeks than that, and we're not here.

Nor will we be, for the foreseeable future, I'm afraid.

You are witnessing the death of a blog. A much beloved, much belabored blog.

Each of us have loved the Archives in our own ways, and each and every one of you for reading it, but we all agree on one thing:

It's become a chore.

So, no more excuses. No more "we'll be back in ____" and then multiplying ____ by 10. The only thing worse than not blogging at all is blogging poorly.

Plus, we kind of hate the word "blog". Or at least, I do.

Anyway, my friends, while it pains me to say this, the Archives are about to become just that-- shadowy echoes of former selves and lives; a warehouse full of cobwebby thoughts. We may come back someday with a broom and sweep out the attic and dust off a shiny new post, or we may not. We all agree we don't want to make any promises. We don't want to disappoint you anymore.

But! We're still here! We still exist! We still want to hang out and chat! So come find us in our other spaces, where we clean regularly and post more sporadically-often.

You can find me (L.T. Host) at my other blog, updated almost never but a slow simmer in my mind always, with the intent to thrive again:

 My Life is (in) a Zoo

Or on Twitter, as @LTHost .

And I hope you will, and actually talk to me because I'm horrible about starting conversations I always think I'm not cool enough for people so feel free to break the ice first I promise I won't bite. Phew.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for being you.

I'll try and get the rest of the Alliterators to post their preferred contact info here, too. But no promises. We're really bad at keeping those.

Good night, sweet blog. Good night.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Regenerated Tradition

Hello *cough* *sneeze* Excuse me while I clear away some of the dust hereabouts. I am here because some of you may remember this post about kitchen disasters and I believe I promised to keep you updated on future attempts.

It's a few days late to report but for Thanksgiving I braved another try at making pumpkin rolls. In fact I upped the stakes a bit. I decided to vegan-ize it. That's right. I decided to take a beloved family recipe that I could not hereto conquer and eliminate the eggs and dairy.

Is anyone biting their fingernails yet? I know I was. To make matters worse I didn't have time to make it until the day of. No room for mistakes.

I was half convinced my late aunt (featured above) would haunt me for destroying her recipe.

But I had made the decision. I was going to try.

I mixed up:

2/3 cup pumpkin

1 cups sugar

Egg substitute for 3 eggs (Not to promote brand names but because there is a big difference between the way different kinds work, I used Ener G)

Baking soda because egg substitute doesn't rise well. I didn't really measure how much I used. I just sprinkled until it looked right.

A sprinkling of cinnamon

A sprinkling of ginger

A sprinkling of nutmeg

and poured it onto a greased cookie sheet. I sprinkled chopped walnuts on top (the recipe said 1/2 cup but, again, I just did it by feel)

I placed the pan in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

While it cooked. I mixed up the frosting:

Vegan cream cheese (most vegan cheeses are . . . less than adequate but as a cream it works)

Dairy free butter spread (a lot of margarines are already dairy free)


How much of everything? I have no idea. By this time I was just going with my instincts. I didn't measure any of it.

When the bread was finished I took it off the pan. It *gasp* didn't stick. I spread the frosting, rolled it up and . . .
A pumpkin roll. It didn't fall apart. It wasn't raw. Ok. The edges weren't real pretty but it was delicious and no one knew it was vegan until I told them.

Things I learned:

Keep trying
Trust my instincts
Even baking isn't an exact formula
Be myself (vegan-ized and all)
A tradition can be preserved and given new life at the same time

Monday, April 2, 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

Dream a little dream for ZZZZZZZ

Aw man, this topic makes me want to take a nap.

No really! My tiny adventures? They're my dreams, people! And I don't mean my "get a book published and have an art show and adopt a kid" dreams...I mean my honest to goodness "I dreamt I was in a tea house with Sailor Moon but Sean Connery was there reciting The Wrath of Khan and I think you were there too but you had octopus legs" dreams.

Now I won't turn this into a journal for my sonambular disturbances because nothing's more boring than other people's dreams...sometimes. But I truly LOVE my dreams. I've been writing them down for a long time and because I do that, I tend to remember them for an equally long time, down to the itty details. (Why yes, I DID have a dream about Sean Connery reenacting Wrath of Kh---oh, you're not listening anyway.)

My dreams often play out like full blown movies in my head. Movie with characters, plot and settings to beat the band...every other night is an adventure in itself! At the risk of sounding like a certain famous vampire author, I have to admit that a good amount of inspiration for my stories comes from my nighttime brain parties.

I know it's not an adventure for everyone. Heck, my husband hasn't remembered a dream in 12 years (he still talks about the Saddam Hussein lunchtime one he had in college). But to me? It actually makes me WANT to relax and go to bed. This, for a chronic stressball who sleeps on her manuscripts, is a big deal.

Have you ever had a dream that found its way into a manuscript? Or a dream that stuck with you for years and years? Come adventure with ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ 

I should get up and go do something and stop dreaming and NOPE ZZZZZ

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I'm Loooooooooooost!

For someone who likes to travel I have a horrible sense of direction. I also have a strong tendency to be uh . . . less than calm when I don't know where I am.

Thus, when I told a friend of mine that I would visit her in Imperial Beach (A whole *gasp* hour and half's drive from where I lived) I was already nervous. Yeah, I wanted to see her but but I don't KNOW those roads. How will I know I'm going the right way? How will I know which lane I should be in? What if I have to pass through down town?

Calm down Taryn. You're going to be ok. You got this.

No. I don't. You're totally lying to me.

Probably. Just go with it.

So I listened to my inner liar and got the directions to my friend's house. Only the directions were coming from my house not the campus where I happened to be when I set out.




Oh, calm down. You know how to get to the eight from your school. You can just start the directions after that.

After taking the one freeway I hate most in all of San Diego unscathed, I was ready to go. On the right track. I could even see all the nice signs telling me I was headed toward the right junction.

Until I stopped seeing them.


Let me back up a bit. (aka this is where I stop the action for an undisquized info dump) About a week after I got my driver's liscence I got in a hit and run downtown San diego. No one got hurt and I was able to fix my car within a week but that was after three hours waiting around in a neighborhood I don't know with a bumberless car, making reports to the police, making sure it was legal to drive home etc. It was SCARY. Also about a month after that I got on the eight west instead of the eight east and ended up downtown instead of home. Also, also, the friend I was with during the acident was the same friend I was going to see in the adventure I am currenly relaying to you. I was really freaked.

So I got off at the next off ramp and called my friend to ask her where I was, where I was suposed to be, if I was going to die. She told me, yes, I'd passed the first junction but there was another coming up. I'd be fine.

Reluctant to believe her, I got back on the freeway. I watched the signs carefully untill I saw the next five junction. I merged into the correct lane. Yes. I got this. Everything is ok. Wait. That sign says LA.

I"M NOT GOING TO LA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I pulled out of the lane at the last minute and got off the freeway to make another phone call. My friend sighed, told me that yes, that off ramp led to LA, but it also branched off to the correct freeway. (stupid sign, not telling me this) She even patiently looked up how to get to said correct freeway from where I was. So I followed her new directions and was finally on the right path. No more worries.

Until I realize that the five zips straight through downtown.


Calm down. Don't painic. Don't think about getting rear ended. Don't think about one way streets. You're on the freeway. It will go straight through. La la la la la la. I don't even see those sky scrapers reminding me of my back bumber dragging behind me as I look for a safe place to stop my car. Everything is honkey dory. Except without the honking because that means angry drivers and angry drivers are mean and don't let me get in the lanes I need. I'm not thinking about mean drivers.

Finally I got past my inner horrors. Just in time for new ones to set in. My friend didn't tell me how far exactly it would be before I got to the off ramp. I knew what it was called but what if I'd passed it? What if I couldn't get to the lane in time when I finally saw it? What if I suddenly couldn't remember what it was called? I'd never been on that part of the five in my life but I was pretty sure if I just kept going I would end up in Mexico or soemthing.


Calm down. It's ok. The off ramp will be really soon. Any minute now. Probably the next one. Or the one after that. Ok, the one after that. Although that last street name was awfully similar . . .

Eventually I pulled off at the right place. In releif I started looking for the cross street. Eleventh street. Ninenth street. Seventh's street. Ok. I'm looking for third. I'm definately goint the right way.

When suddenly the streets stop having number names. Instead of a residential nieghborhood I am on a long stretch that says "scenic rout". It is very pretty but it tells me I am going to Corodado.


Not knowing, what else to do I stayed on the road for some time, riduculously hoping the number names would come back. Finally I pulled over in what looked like a very private residential neighborhood and called my friend again. She had forgotten to mention that I had to merge to stay on the right road.

I'm not going to lie. I was in tears by then. But I turned around and eventually found third street. And I talked my friend into comeing home with me so I wouldn't get lost on the way back.

I don't like getting lost.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

One Ring to Rule Them All

Mundane adventures can sometimes be the most interesting. The movie "Jingle All The Way" comes to mind, where Arnold Schwarzenegger spends the entire film hunting down a particular toy for his son. He gets into loads of hijinks along the way, culminating in a parade where he ends up on a float as the character who the action figure is of.

My own mundane adventure isn't anything like that, but it was one of the most interesting--and not in a good way--experiences of my life.

Those who've followed me for awhile have heard about Her Highness the Missus before. What you don't know, however, is that the engagement ring she now wears is actually the second engagement ring I bought her.

Let me paint the scene. It's early 2008, and I'm busy making plans to pop the question. HHTM spent much of those weeks emailing me choices of engagement rings to buy her. I was perfectly fine with this, since it meant all I had to do was pick from a list and would be guaranteed to get something she likes.

The ring that I ended up purchasing was a trinity tri-stone ring with princess-cut diamonds, similar to the one below.

This was roughly four years ago now, and I was able to find the same store I purchase the ring from but I'm not sure if this is the correct ring from their stock.

Anyway, I ordered the ring from the store--which ended up being a sole proprietor who traveled around to Renaissance Faires and the like. I mention that piece of information because it's going to be important later.

So we get to Disney World for our August 2008 vacation, and on the evening of August 4, 2008--our one year-anniversary by the way--I propose to HHTM after taking her on a horse-drawn carriage ride at the Port Orleans resort. I even sprang for a pillow made of carnations, which included a tiara and a glass slipper. (Yes, the Cinderella theme is not lost on me.)

HHTM loved the ring. The best part was that she bragged about it coming directly from Ireland. And, after we got back from Disney, she told practically everyone about it.

Here's where the adventure part comes in. The Saturday after we returned from Florida, HHTM was making the bed in her room when she hit her left hand. Then something terrible happened ...

One of the diamonds fell out.

I received a frantic phone call right after it happened and rushed over to calm her down. I got handed a bag with the diamond and the ring inside it, and was asked to take care of either getting the ring fixed or replaced.

So I called the man I bought the ring from. He wasn't available, having traveled to a Ren Faire in Ohio or some such. (Again, nearly four years ago.)

Then I tried to call the manufacturer in Ireland, but I didn't have a phone that could dial internationally. So I sent an email. I waited until Monday to get the reply from the manufacturer, who said I had to go back through the gent I purchased the ring from.

The store owner finally got in touch with me after a few days, and I told him what had happened. He asked me to bring the ring back to his shop so he could see the ring. Only then would he consider refunding my purchase price so I could get another ring.

While we were waiting for a response from someone, we took the ring to a local jeweler. This particular jeweler is the place my father-in-law has patronized for roughly 30 years now. The jeweler refused to fix the piece, and was the one to tell what had happened--one of the arms holding the diamond in had broken clean off. It was poor construction, according to him.

Anyway, I finally got time to take the ring back to where I bought it. The owner looked it over as I told him what the other jeweler said. Thankfully, I didn't have a fight on my hands ... even though I was prepared for one. The owner immediately offered me a full refund, which I gladly took.

I then went back to the jeweler who'd inspected the ring, and bought HHTM a 14 karat gold, 1/2-carat princess-cut diamond ring. This is now the ring she's wearing along with her wedding band. And we've never had a single problem.

So that's my mundane adventure. What's yours?

P.S. The second ring was a few hundred dollars cheaper than the first one, so HHTM likes to say I "cheaped out." This is despite the fact she actually loves the ring, which I quickly remind her of.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Quest for Converse

This week's theme at the Archives is "Mundane Adventures." Yesterday, L.T. Host relayed the perilous tale of driving in the rain on San Diego freeways. My adventure was just two weekends ago, during one of my best friends weddings (in which I was the matron of honor - by the way, my speech went very well!).

The bride had ordered a pair of purple Converse from the online store to wear at the reception. Her groom and the groomsmen we wearing green Converse, and she wanted purple to go with the wedding colors. When they arrived, she realized they were just a bit too big so she sent them back and requested a rush order. However, the people at Converse must not have understood that she REALLY meant it. The following Tuesday just wasn't going to cut it. So this is the adventure we found ourselves in, less than 24 hours before "I Do" ...

'Twas the night before the wedding, and all through Orange County, not a purple Converse shoe was in a size 7, not even a knock-off. The bride and her bridemaids rushed from Target to Wal-Mart, the only stores still open at 11pm, to find the elusive purple shoes. One was too faded, another just too hideous. We were glued to our phones and Yelp apps searching for the nearest shoe stores, calling when one looked promising.

And lo! A glimmer of hope! There was a Converse store a mere two miles from our hotel that didn't have purple, but they had some new ivory ones with gold trim. The salesperson promised that they would be perfect (she was a bride-to-be too). Our bride was elated - gold would go well (she was wearing tall sparkly gold heels for the ceremony, after all). We ended our pursuit for the evening.

After just a few hours of sleep, we awoke on the big day! The pouring rain outside wouldn't dampen our happiness and excitement for our friend. The hair stylist and make-up artist arrived a little after 7am to make us look picture-perfect. Myself and another bridesmaid got prepped first, and then we offered to get the shoes even though we still had clips in our hair and make-up undone.

The store was in an outdoor mall. The wind and rain whipped and swirled around us, flipping my brand-new umbrella inside out and mussing our hair. Water soaked through our shoes and pants. After a few wrong turns, we found the store and were presented with the golden Converse.

Our faces fell.

These shoes would not do. They were not the "classic" Converse our bride desired. And to be honest, I thought they were ugly. After confirming with the bride, we began a new quest in the store. Surely we could find something suitable in these many racks of Converse shoes.

In the clearance aisle, in the corner of the store, I found them. A classic Converse shoe with shimmering silver stripes in size 7. They looked like wedding shoes. We snapped a picture and texted it to the bride (which I don't have, but these are the shoes - much prettier in person!).

And she said yes! She was ecstatic!

Our quest complete, we returned to our hotel room and ventured through the hairspray fog (seriously, we had to leave the air conditioning on to filter the air!) and handed the shoes to the bride. They fit perfectly. The stylist fixed our hair and our Cinderella was the bell of the ball in her sparkly Converse shoes.

Mission accomplished.

Have you had any mundane adventures lately?