Fulfilling Your Stereotype.

I fulfill many of the stereotypes that one might suppose I would.  I like a lot of the things on Stuff White People Like.  I am a liberal who likes NPR and the New York Times.  I'm a woman who likes to waste money on nail polish.  I don't hold this against myself. 

But every once in awhile, someone fulfills that kneejerk image you've built of them SO WELL, that it must be shared, and expressed with glee to the masses.  My dear friends, this is one of those times.

Today on my way back to work from lunch, I pull up at a long stoplight next to a truck.  A big, dirty truck.  It has wheels the size of my cubicle, and a choice bumper sticker.  Fortunately, it was a long enough red light that I had time to get a picture. 

oh, and a close up of the bumper sticker.

Now, we all know what guy we think drives this truck.  In our fantasy it's a guy with spiked hair and an Ed Hardy t-shirt and gold rings on at least 3 fingers.  He hates his beautiful cluless wife, and he's the one who becomes beligerently drunk at your office Christmas Eve party by the time you're slicing the pumpkin pie.

I don't know (and from this angle I actually can't conceive) that he saw me take this picture, but when the light turned green, he sped off, and then tried to pass me rather aggressively.  I decided not to let him cut me off and squeeze his giant truck into the tiny space between me and the car in front of me, and speedily encouraged him to get behind.  Next, he slams on his breaks, swerves his monstrosity in behind me, and I see a flash of white in my rearview mirror. 

what I saw was the sheen of his bedazzled hand pointing and um, rudely gesturing at my vehicle.  with all its might.  Why all his might you ask?  Well, because he was SO SHORT behind his GIANT STEERING WHEEL that it seemed to require his entire stature to get his hand high enough that I might see it in the mammoth windshield of his truck.  He was so short he was actually peering at me through his steering wheel, with only the spikes of his bleach gelled hair appearing above the curve of the grip on his wheel. 

I mildly tap my breaks, bringing my car from 40 in a 40mph speed limit zone, to maybe a 37.  Because I have to see if he's really who I think he is. This is enough to make this (undoubtedly 'roid induced) road rager flash his lights, blast his horn, and approach my bumper within mere inches.  As soon as the lane next to me empties, he tears out again, leaving a giant puff of black smoke and deafening motor revs in his wake, before finally turning into Hogle Zoo. 

Sometimes I wish my husband were as badass as him. 



Big thanks to Random.org for choosing Dan the first time.  Proof that this is random, since I clearly do not want that picture burned.  But I omnipotently decided that it would be ridiculous if Dan won, so congratulations to......

MULEMAMMA!  You will receive all your hard earned prizes in due time, and I truly appreciate all of you who participated in our first annual Lorraineinspain giveaway!  This won't be the last, methinks.


Tidings of Comfort, Victory, and GIVEAWAYS!!!!!

1.  My Cranberry pie finally won!  After a tragic finish at an ugly sweater party, and being overshadowed by the chocolate pecan pie at Thanksgiving, my Nantucket Cranberry Pie (which I took to the next level with a chocolate cream cheese icing)  got first place at the office holiday party Top Chef competition. I am happy.

2.  I also coincidentally won a caption contest on my favorite horse blog, and for my witty mockery was awarded a gift certificate for horse tack!  As I currently don't have a horse of my own, I'm giving it to Camp K.  I hope my mother and her 3 horses, 2 mules and 2 donkeys forgive me.  But I'm still claiming victory on that one, and relishing in being mentioned on my favorite blog in the same post as my international heroes.

3. GIVEAWAY!!!!  I was inspired by a number of blogs giving away x-boxes, TVs, designer handbags, and gift cards to the moon, but I decided that you don't actually need to be rich to share the love.  Therefore, I am announcing the very first Lorraine in Spain BirthdayChristmasNewYear giveaway!!!!  And entering is EASY! All you have to do is leave a semi amusing or extremely funny comment on this blog post, and then I will choose a winner using a randomizer found on these here internets.

So, what are you going to win????

 a) one stoneware ceramic creation glazed and fired, created by yours truly.
b) one splendid thing I find on Etsy.
c) one silly ghost written letter from the President of my University thanking you for any fake donation of your choice (as long as it is in good taste. make good choices) on University letterhead.
d) a picture of Dan doing something ridiculous. 

I KNOW YOU WANT TO WIN THIS. If you've never commented before, don't be afraid! We're all friends here, and I will not hold your secret stalking against you.  So go for it kiddies, and merry holidays! Please comment before Christmas to be eligible!


TT3: Fleet Foxes Sun it Rises

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This entire album is the very soundtrack of my trip to Eastern Europe.  It reminds me of many moments from that trip, but MOST vividly, it reminds me of Kiev.  I still dream about Kiev and the monastaries and communist apartment buildings and dazzling trolleys and subways.  And I hear these songs and I am immediately there.

I especially recommend Ragged Wood and White Winter Hymnal, but the whole album is another time and place so sweet, so bright, and so unearthly that it makes me want to spit fire at the monotony of a desk job and whisk myself and my dearest love away to the cold and steamy air of the good people of Ukraine and live out our days in a freezing 10th floor cement apartment building teaching english and never looking back.


TT2: Me and Charlie Talkin' by Miranda Lambert

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I love me a good Jaw Harp.  I was looking for a more spectacular anthem during the plane ride to the World Equestrian Games, and though this song seems to have no connection, there's something about Miranda Lambert's twang and the nostalgia of childhood that was all too perfect for a horse kid's dream-fulfilling-trip to the Bluegrass State.   Enjoy.


An Unexpected Snow.

Okay, Maybe it wasn't unexpected for everyone else, but I don't listen to weather reports. 

I prefer either the doom and gloom of NPR, or the happy tidings of Solos Exitos on 106.1, which is currently playing a smattering of Spanish Christmas music.

But the good news is that it was a delightful surprise when this morning the campus looked like this.  The students are mostly gone, the few peaceful sounds are muffled by the layer of the Lord's sound insulator.

And then five campus shuttles go by, pound my car with black slush, the parking meter nazi is watching me to be sure I put enough change in my meter to keep his preying bloodthirsty claws off my wiper blide, and I almost get hit by a University sidewalk truck.

Don't be fooled by it's peaceful columns.  On campus, chaos is eminent. Or at least a parking ticket. 

I escaped that one today. 

I hope you've enjoyed these ramblings of a working woman.  Merry Snow Day.


Bizarre Breaking News

1. That lunatic accused of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart was found guilty, not insane. So apparently he's NOT a lunatic, he's just a despicable human being.

2. I kissed a boy and I liked it. (to mock dan for the fact that he owns cherry chapstick and is the only person on planet earth who did not associate that ownership with Katie Perry's pop sensation.)

3. My crazy sport of 3 Day Eventing is currently considering the possibility of requiring a buckled and approved safety helmet at all times. That would mean the end of the dismal derby hat on Day 1, and safety at all times for all riders. For a sport known for it's danger, it's a delightfully conscious effort. We should have an official answer by next week.

4. Not exactly breaking news, but I did spend my lunch hour at Camp K to help with the "Horses for Heroes" program, in which we invite war veterans to come up and ride, which helps with mobility, PTSD, and, duh, makes you feel good. One of the vets with a long white beard and the bluest of blue eyes had a hard time getting on, but once he was in the saddle, only wanted to gallop! His old pal happily obliged and dociley tore around the arena to the Vet's delight. It was hard not to appreciate how fun it was for him. I rode bareback, which was a stark reminder of how much I've lost in my old seat, but the 4 year old mare I was on was nothing short of a total hoot. Easily the best lunch hour of my whole entire life.

5. I had to make 2 dishes last night for 2 food contests today. My artichokes with vegan dip lost today. BUT, there is still hope for my Nantucket Cranberry Pie tonight. Cross your fingers, mateys!

6.  I just accidentally posted this on my work blog instead of this blog.  That was embarrassing.  Blogger says no one was viewing the page in that past hour, so here's hoping that no one knows I complained about losing the office vegan cook-off.  yeesh.


Dog Days Love the Way Your House Built Me in Recovery Because I Need You Now, you Fame Monster.

I promise to get another Traveling Tunes up soon.  In the meantime, here is a playlist that I compiled of various Grammy nominated artists this year who in my opinion don't suck (a la, Justin Bieber is not in this playlist, even if he probably WILL win the best new artist of the year. shudder.)

While I find the Grammys to be political and contrived, and giving awards for something as subjective as music to be laughable, I do like being exposed to good tunes I might otherwise miss (especially in more obscure genres) and to see ground breaking artists being rewarded for trying new things (coughmirandalambertcough). 

Enjoy.  Disclaimer: Playlist doesn't give me edited version options, and some songs have "adult language."  Make good choicez, yo.

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Kosher is Komplicated.

When I was living in Arlington, VA, I had a catholic roommate.  Said Catholic Roommate was a real Catholic, or perhaps a Less Common Catholic, as she actually went to mass every week,  was a good woman in myriad ways, and would've made the loveliest nun if she hadn't been engaged to (and now married to) a good Catholic italian hunk.  But I digress.  Catholic Roommate took part in Lent of course, and because I have a condition known as "worshipus infectious envious,"  I joined her in Lent, and took on the great task of not eating out for 40 days.  It was hard, I broke down once for a McFlurry on a particularly terrible day of work, but otherwise remained devout and saved a great deal of money in the process.

So when Hanukkah came around this year, I reflected on my Jewish Ancestors, pulled out my simple little menorah, and thought to myself, "I ought to do more than light a few candles.  Maybe I should try to be Kosher!" and so began my experiment.

I made two enormous assumptions: 1) that I can do anything for 8 days and 2) being kosher means like no pork and no shellfish, right?


The part that is actually the hardest is the rule that says that you should not eat meat and dairy (or their derivatives) in the same meal, and should wait 1-6 hours between partaking of the two.  this rules out the most elementary of things, like cheeseburgers, sandwiches, creamy chicken soups, sausage and pancakes (unless you make your pancakes with water- no wonder Jews like potato pancakes), or if you're like me, love a tall glass of milk with pretty much any meal.

Even food that seems safe, like cereal, is only REALLY safe if it has the right symbol.  Unless you're Jewish, have Jewish friends, played a devout Jewish person in some sort of theatrical telling, or have an obsessive compulsion about reading everything on a nutritional label before shoveling something down your piehole, you probably never noticed that there are kosher symbols all over your packaged food.  They will look like one of these things, generally: 

and that is just confusing as a pig in a car wash.  (which I'm guessing would also be some form of non-kosher, seeing as how they don't much care for pigs.)

And don't even get me started on eating out. 

Essentially, I've more or less become a vegan for Hanukkah, which is cool too.  A lot of beans, salad, rice, fresh vegatables.  And I will admit that 6 days in, a lot of these rules get aggravating, and seem to have no logical application, and other rules are really sort of neat, and dare I say even remind me of the word of wisdom?

For example, the meat/dairy rule effectively cuts your ability to make a lot of meat dishes, which aids one to eat meat sparingly.  When I HAVE eaten meat this week, it was planned, thoughtful, and deeply appreciated.
Kashrut also requires you to only eat domesticated animals, which doesn't necessarily come up a lot, but I really like the sentiment of letting wild beasts and birds just be. 

And one of the most interesting:  it is strictly forbidden to eat insects.  And while that only seems to be a bother if you have a hankering like John the Baptist for a good locust and honey lunch in the breakroom, it actually affects all sorts of Kosherness.  It means you can only drink certain juices, have to wash all your fruits and vegetables to the nine (you'd be surprised at how often insects linger in your cabbage unnoticed) and perhaps most daunting of all for 98.2% of all women who end their day with a coin sized dove bar or equivalent: virtually no chocolate.  there are a ton of bugs in your chocolate, it's true, and while undectable to us, it's not undetectable to a rabbi.  So chocolate must be specially prepared and blessed by a Rabbi (this also applies to some meat, wine, and a variety of other goods)  and I tell you what, I haven't found it yet in Salt Lake Valley.

Paradoxically, this also means that I can't eat the chocolate treats from my Advent calendar. grrrrr.

But honestly, it's been an entertaining ride, And I have immense respect for the 1 in 6 Jews who live their whole lives by this law.  They are good and merciful people, who might even be so good as to forgive me for completely spacing all kosher sense last Saturday and ordering a bowl of clam chowder at Soup Kitchen. 


Why My Mom is Pretty Much the Greatest Person on the Planet.

Somewhere in the innumberable horse blogs that I check every day, I stumbled upon a link to the logistics company for the World Equestrian Games (that little diddy of an adventure I went to in Kentucky back in October, you may remember me pretty much self destructing with dangerous mixtures of devastation and glee over a 4 day period.) 

Anyway, this company is selling off "used WEG" items, including rubber stall mats used by the horses that competed at the World Equestrian Games.  As one delightful equestrian blogger put it: "That is, if you want to own a piece of history by buying something that a French reining horse crapped on."

And the answer is of course, yes, yes as a matter of fact I DO! 

What makes this awesome is that since I don't have a horse, or a stall for that matter, I always pawn horse items off on my mother to buy for HER horses.  It's a happy relationship.

My mother's reply:  yeah, cool, find out how much for shipping to 92084 for 10' x 10'

And that's why my mother is ACTUALLY my best friend.