Friday, December 4, 2009

All I want for Christmas.... is couscous

I must admit, I'm quite bemused at the news networks out there, and how they would have us believe that the future of our economic security rests on how much junk consumers buy for each other this Christmas. Maybe it does, what do I know? So what are you waiting for? Go save the country and buy me a present!!!

Seriously, I don't need any presents. I have a roof over my head, and food, and a job, and two awesome roommates, and a cat, and good friends, and... honestly, all the junk I could ever need. Well, I might be needing a new laptop soon. Mine is over 6 years old, which in computer years is more like 86. But I'm sure I will find the money for one, in time. I'm not writing that on any Christmas lists.

So I'm sitting here during my lunch break, which is a whole hour, but always feels much shorter. I just ate my pb&j, and am now surfing a recipe site to try and figure out what kinds of things I should cook this week. I'm specifically looking for something to do with couscous.

I bought a whole bunch of whole wheat couscous in bulk at Whole Foods, and it's good stuff, which I ate a lot of in past months. I usually cook it up with chicken broth and whatever veggies I have on hand - onions, carrots, mushrooms, etc. It was cheap, and quick, and filling, but I just kinda got tired of it. So I'm looking for ways to spruce it up a bit more. And I've found some very yummy-looking ideas. And garlic is included, which is always a plus.

Speaking of spruce, I'm getting a Christmas tree this weekend! I'm gonna haul the cah up to the 'rents place and grab a hacksaw and go into the woods and find one that's the right size (not very big), and then I'm gonna chop it down! And haul my conquest back to my cah, which should freshen up the old cah smell right quick.

I swear I'm not a redneck. Anymore.

Merry Christmas. Shop, cut down trees, and listen to (good) Christmas music, but don't forget Jesus. He's kinda the one who made all the rest of it possible :-)

Monday, November 30, 2009

It was a beautiful letdown

I failed NaNoWriMo this year. I got a good start, then had to take five days off for DC, and a couple more here and there, and before long I realized I had to make a choice between "winning" NaNo, and getting enough sleep to be functional human being. Call me a bad novelist. Perhaps success will continue to elude me until I become a zombie-fied, coffee-addicted, over-dramatic hermit. But it's okay. There will be time for writing. Something tells me it would be far more prudent to develop the discipline to write during months other than November - which I have yet to get very far with. I'm blaming facebook.

But you know what? I'm glad I failed. It meant I got the chance to travel and spend time with some awesome people - it meant I had the time to read and study other books besides my own - it meant my other work wasn't as rushed as it would have been otherwise. It meant I got sleep. It meant I actually talked to people this month, rather than retreating further into my shell.

I won NaNo last year, and all I have is 50,000 words of unedited fiction. I love the characters - it wasn't a total waste, and it gave me good experience on scene-writing. But it's still just laying there. If I'm ever going to do something with it, I'll need to develop more of a routine.

This year's novel is stuck in the middle of the discouraged, seeking, self-absorbed brain of its main character. If getting out of that early meant that that wasn't the case for my own brain, then yes, I'm glad I failed. I hope to always continue failing at my own projects if they only lead me more into the dead shell of myself. There's much more on the other side!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Christmas songs

Ah, Christmas music! It may be a little early, but I'm loving the old memories of last year... and all the years previous. The traditional carols, the newer additions, the musical magic and seasonal serenity - I love it all.

Except that darned Christmas Shoes song.

Why? Are we running out of inanimate objects to attach contrived sentimentality to? Were there not enough songs of sleigh bells and trees and cookies and chestnuts and silver and gold and two front teeth? Christmas shoes? Seriously??

Not to frown upon anyone who likes the song. I understand. Well, I understand everyone's different. It just seems fake to me. Either way, enjoy it if you do. We certainly have an odd variety of songs to choose from sometimes!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The meaning of ignorance

The dictionary defines ignorance thusly:
"The condition of being uneducated, unaware, or uninformed."

This is a common "condition" that can be found in the perspectives of everyone in some way or another. I guarantee that there are some things (most likely obscure and relatively unimportant) I know that you don't. In that one sense, you are more ignorant than me. On the other hand, the more refined our own respective fields of knowledge become, the more subjects there are that you know much more about that I do, making me more ignorant than you.

However, this is a more specific application of the term. If someone was to be called wholly ignorant (of everything), that would imply that they have no education whatsoever, are unaware of what's going on, and aren't informed about anything. In truth, I think there are very few people who fall into this category.

What I'm seeing a lot of though, especially in a climate of high political intensity, emotion, and name-calling, is this term being used as a general insult, applied in a general way over a dispute that is usually about subjects that are much more specific in nature.

It's like another way of calling someone "stupid" but in a slightly more grown-up and politically correct way. It's still intended to have the same kind of sting. Like I said, there are people who are (willingly or unwillingly) very ignorant, but I've come to believe that when the average person calls someone this, all they're really saying is "you don't know the same things I do." News flash. Does that really make a person ignorant in general? I don't think so.

In this case, a good response to this is "ignorant of what?" Get the person to give up their secrets - spill exactly what it is that they know that you don't. Most of the time, all this uncovers is that both people do indeed know things the other doesn't, but that this stems more from a difference of opinions and choice of sources rather than general stupidity.

Two people can both be completely informed, educated, and aware of the stories broadcast by their favorite news network, but if that network has a bias, or the news is inaccurate (which is the case to some degree with every network), then both people will call each other ignorant, simply for following different sources.

For example, global warming and its causes. I'm often annoyed by the scare tactics involved in spreading "awareness" about it, and also the apparent disconnect between this and the previous generation's certainty that we were on the verge of another ice age. But no matter. The point is, I will be the first one to admit that I'm ignorant about many of the sources of this hysteria. I don't know many scientists personally, nor do I spend large amounts of time reading and researching scientific data. I don't know who started this craze (besides Al Gore), who is currently studying it, how many scientists are involved, how many have differing opinions, and how many of these people are really qualified to be making such statements about earth's climate anyway.

Nor am I asking anyone to comment and give me all kinds of data :-P Because that's the point... what I've read about this subject comes from different sources than what many other people read - therefore we're all ignorant. If you're not a scientist doing all of this research yourself, then you're most likely getting any information from second or third-hand sources anyway. I'm also ignorant of many medical conditions. Really, the majority of us are, since very few people are actual physicians, and even physicians don't know everything. Even the "experts" (in any field) must ultimately apply their own interpretation to any data they may find.

There are also "experts" on every side of things. Ever watched a court trial, and seen the experts from both sides give completely opposite interpretations of an autopsy, or other kind of evidence? Who's ignorant? One or both?

Of course, I'm not saying there's an excuse for being willingly ignorant...for refusing to learn or at least hear other sides of things and take other perspectives into account. But I've found that calling someone ignorant just because they have a different opinion than me isn't very smart... it generally means I have three fingers pointing back at myself. The real difference is worldview - I don't believe humans have sole control of the universe, and therefore my views on global warming will automatically be different than someone who believes the opposite. But that doesn't mean I'm ignorant.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The meaning of hate

It's no secret to many people that this world often has (and has had, all throughout history), some very screwed-up definitions of love. I know this partly through observation, but mainly because I've seen seeds of the same misunderstandings in my own heart. True love doesn't just mean reciprocating feelings that others already have for you anyway. Sometimes it means caring about people who don't like you. Real love is not lust, or puppy love, or even emotional affection or casual friendship. But these are all things that the title of "love" is often incorrectly applied to. Using someone else for your own pleasure is not love, and yet it's often labeled by that word.

Most people would readily admit this, because we've all seen examples of it somewhere or other. But one thing that I think is often overlooked is the fact that the word "hate" is sometimes just as misapplied as love. I'm seeing this more and more with the heated political debates, while people take sides on issues and begin applying generalized epithets and political buzzwords to their opponents.

"Hate" is one of these. And I would never dispute the fact that we live in a world with a lot of hatred. Both past and present again provide much proof for our self-centeredness and utter disregard of human life. There is also a good deal of genuine hate in politics. But like I said, this word often becomes just another name for people to apply to their opponents, regardless of the subject matter.

Let me use an illustration. In the movie "V for Vendetta," there is a scene where V breaks into a TV station and airs a message to the people of futuristic London. They are living under a government that rules them by means of fear and injustice, keeping them in submission through regulation and violence. V points this fact out to them, and invites them to join him in standing up to the dictatorship. Once his message is cut off, a regular broadcaster immediately comes on the air and apologizes, explaining that a terrorist had hacked into their system in order to "broadcast a message of hate."

This movie, like most, is fairly manipulative, and audience sympathy is easily shifted away from the government and towards this terrorist and the people he claims to stand for. But that is what makes this scene such an odd contrast - the hero of the movie is aiming to save the people by standing up to the government, and yet his message is labeled as hateful. Clearly in this sense, "hate" is only being used to express disagreement.

But is that what this word really means? I totally agree that there are a lot of people out there who are very hateful, and will use those feelings to destroy others. There are terrorists, yes, but you do not have to be a terrorist to employ hate. This is, however, a very strong word, and I feel that it is often used very inappropriately in political mudslinging. Essentially people are simply aligning their own views along their own idea of "love," and therefore anyone who has any kind of opposition to it must be full of hate. That simply isn't true, anymore than a shallow, lust-based relationship can be called "love."

The word "ignorant" is used much the same way, essentially coming to mean merely "those who don't know the exact same things that I do." But that's a different treatise for a different day.

When it comes to politics, there are many issues that I am for, but there are also many issues that I have no choice but to oppose. Sometimes the government oversteps its bounds (well, a lot of the time actually) and attempts to reassign meaning to things that simply don't mean that. You don't have to agree with me. But don't call me a hater. If you want to assign that word to me, find some evidence for it first, and I'll be willing to talk with you about it - if not, don't just use "hate" to refer to the position opposite to your own. That's a sad misuse of the word, and it cheapens the term when it's applied to instances of actual hate.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sunday, October 11, 2009


There are many writers in this world. It's a trait perhaps more common than commonly thought. And I firmly believe that it's a title that should never be applied solely to someone who writes for a living. Writing is a tool, and anyone who employs it effectively as such has the privilege of referring to themselves as a writer - money means nothing.

I came to think about this because I noticed that there are many people who have lives full of activities - meeting people, leadership positions, traveling, etc., and yet keep a blog or journal on the side to record their thoughts and observations all the while. Sometimes I wonder, how do these people have time to write? And I'm not talking about celebrities with ghostwriters or committees to update their facebook statuses. I mean real people with richly useful lives.

But then it occurred to me... really, what other kinds of writers are there? What would writing be without a wealth of experience and observation preceding it? I began to wonder, is there really any other way to be a writer? We can't all be world-travelers and great leaders, but I've come to see writing as not an end unto itself, but a process by which we take in the world around us - people, events, beauty, nature... and turn that into a shared experience to communicate with others. Which is indeed the very definition of communication, like I've spoken of before. Full circle!

Friday, October 9, 2009


It's weird trying to figure out the ripeness level of produce I hardly ever purchase, such as mangoes and avocados. I attempted to make some lassi this weekend - it was a simple recipe, so I thought I'd remember it, but I didn't - it's 2 mangoes, 2 cups of plain yogurt, and 1/4 cup of sugar in the blender. Mine ended up having half the yogurt and sugar. It was actually not bad though... a little tart, but yummy. I had it as a smoothie last night and then ate the rest of it like soup during lunch.

I suppose most fruit is the same - it's best to eat it after it starts feeling a little mushy. Well, apples don't fall into that category, but weird fruits usually do. I hear avocados are better when they're dark. I'm going to attempt to make some guacamole sometime this weekend. I think the avocado ripeness level will be the hardest part.

I found a few recipes for it online, but they're quite varied. Apparently true southern guacamole has to have something like cream cheese in it. I can do that. It also needs cilantro. I'm not adding that the first time I do it, just because I don't even know if I like cilantro. It's one of those things I've heard of, and have probably tasted at some point in my life, but if I had it in anything I wouldn't recognize the flavor.

Ah, the adventure!

Friday, October 2, 2009


I don't know why the big Blogger symbol in the corner has a piece of cake with it - at least on the profile page view it does. Maybe it's the B's birthday or something. That's a pretty long birthday though. I want cake. But I had a klondike bar last night, so I really don't need any.

It's October. For real. I've officially been working in the same place for one year. Only 9 months as a full employee, but still, that's a decent feat. The only other place I can say that about is Fuller's. That was more like 3 years, but it was off & on, and some weeks were slower than others. And I didn't have a computer. I like that aspect of this job.

I went apple-picking a few days ago, and have yet to really do anything with the apples, other than randomly eat a couple of them. I was going to make a pie, but now I'm leaning more towards apple turnovers. I've found a couple recipes online, and a lot of them call for refrigerated biscuit dough. Since I view such substance as a creative cop-out and harbinger of laziness (well okay, I'm just afraid of it because I've never used it before), I'm thinking I can probably do the same recipe if I just make up some of my own biscuit dough beforehand. It doesn't take long, and it can be whole wheat that way. My only concern is that they may be too soft and biscuit-y rather than flaky and/or crispy. But I won't know until I try. So I will. Yay.

Friday, September 25, 2009


I think it would be fun to start a cooking blog. But as that's not something I do every day, it may be slow going, and in that case it's probably more worthwhile to not make it a separate blog. I thought no movie could inspire me to cook more than Ratatouille, and perhaps that's still true, but seeing Julie & Julia has also shown me the possibilities of chef-blogging in the digital age. I still feel weird calling this the digital age... especially when compared to all the other "ages" in the past, such as stone, iron, bronze, etc. People used to build and make weapons with stone... then they started making weapons out of iron... now... we make weapons out of pixels on screens? I guess that's safer. But I digress.

Anyway, I'm always looking for new ideas on cooking. I work full-time, and have extra activities going on at least three nights of the week, so sometimes I have to find ways to make quick & easy meals that don't come solely out of a box (not that all boxed/frozen dinners are bad... I just couldn't eat them more than once a week... yuck).

Most of the time, I'll make a large casserole or other dish during the weekend, usually Sunday afternoon, and then spread that out over the next few days. This week was whole wheat spaghetti with vodka sauce (Newman's, not home-made, haha). Pasta is good for such things. This week I'll probably do slow-cooker macaroni & cheese, with broccoli.

One of my favorites that I've done recently was breaded orange chicken with almond wild rice. It was a great combination, and while the seasoned bread crumbs kinda overshadowed the orange flavor, the chicken was very tender. I think I could make that into a casserole too, theoretically. I got both recipes at, which is a nice little community of recipes and cooks. I may try a cooking blog there, but it's so hard to be spread out over so many different sites. Ah well.

I should do some e-mail before my lunch break is over... namarie.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


From what I've been able to discover about this site, it's perhaps a little less social-networking-site than Xanga was attempting to transform into, which is nice. I can scroll through profiles of people who have common interests with me, but due to there not being an overarching search feature (at least, not one that I've been able to locate), I'm finding it harder to find people that I know are on here. So it's both good and bad. Either way, it's not a bad thing to have to exert a little more effort in these things. Social-networking is always plagued by "friend"-addicts who will simply use you as a boost to their numerical popularity count. I'm looking for something a little deeper than that in blog world...

I suppose I should explain my title a little bit. Both my original (and Xanga) blogs user-names have contained the name Eowyn. She's a character in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings who I can't help but admire for her bravery, and sympathize with for the whole 'unrequited love' deal. At least she took her rage out on a Wraith instead of turning emo.

Anyway, I guess I'm going for a more general feeling with the name 'Rohanite.' That segment of the movies was so wonderfully done - the music, dialog, atmosphere - all served to bring me back to the days when I was a little home-schooled girl living in Scotland, going on numerous field trips to castles, both of ruined and well-preserved variety. I love that historical feeling.

I could never presume to be as bold, fearless, and attractive as Eowyn, but I still identify with her far more than any other female character in the stories (all 4 of them). What's the deal with this Arwen girl? She may have looked all cool and feisty on her horse outrunning all those Wraiths in the movie, but in the books she did absolutely NOTHING but marry Aragorn. Eowyn is cooler. End of story.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Why blog?

I would like to say that I'm starting a new blog here - that this is a fresh page, a new leaf, a brand new start, blah blah blah. But really, it's not. I'm the same person as I was at all my other blogs, and if the new name and template alone don't urge me past the blissful honeymoon stage of blogging, then I have failed as a blogger.

Whoa... draft auto-save? Sorry, I got a little distracted there. Why didn't they have that on Xanga? This is great!

Anyway, as a form of introduction, I am Laura. I've been blogging/diarying since I was 16, but anything produced within 2-3 years of that time was so hideously awful and melodramatic that I can only hope none of it shall ever see the light of day again.

I've really only kept 2 blogs before with any great regularity. The first one that stuck was on the little-known site of Diaryland, begun at the age of 17. I'll probably never leave it. A girl needs to have her roots, ya know. My other main one was Xanga. Myspace came along and left very quickly *shudders*. So basically, for the past few years, Xanga has been my public blog, and Diaryland the one that only good friends or complete strangers ever visit. I'll probably never abandon Xanga completely. I just like this format better, and honestly, most of the friends I signed onto Xanga to follow have since ceased blogging there. Somehow this template makes me feel more serious and will therefore hopefully contribute to a stronger sense of motivation when it comes to writing.

Writing has always been one of my preferred methods of communication. I haven't always been good at it (much carefully-censored proof of that fact still exists), but really, the only way to become good at something is to just keep doing it. I use blogs to communicate things I couldn't say in person, either to the right people, or at all.

Not to wax too philosophical or contemplative, but what is communication? My good friend defines it thusly:

"the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs."

That's the second definition. The first one was one of those lame definitions that uses the base of the word to define itself, which has never helped me out very much.

Anyway...good definition. However, I'd like to propose another one, and this is not something I thought up, but rather one that was shared by a professor of a class I took called "interpersonal communication." He defined communication as simply "a sharing of experience."

At first that seems far too general. I've always seen communication as more of a linear transfer - as in, me somehow imparting my knowledge into your head, via speech, writing, "body language," or ESP (just kidding). But I like seeing it as more than that. This definition opens it up into something that sounds far more communal than linear, and I like that. Experience isn't limited to cold hard facts, or bubbly emotional expressions. It encompasses just about everything you do, everyone you interact with. I want to communicate, but even more important, I want to be more valuable to the communities I exist within, and if something as minor as a blog can assist with that, then I shall take the plunge once again.
Blog on!