Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bucket List

Who has not thought about what they want to do before they die?  Some want to do the crazy, others the impossible, while most just want to put down into words all the things they have been meaning to get to but never quite have.  Pondering on this, I felt the need to put down some of my own things I have been meaning to get to, to make my own bucket list.  While this list is by no means all inclusive, I think these 75 public goals are a pretty good start.  And yes, there are 25 other goals that I will not share with the general public.
100 Things To Do Before I Die

1.  Ride in a helicopter and not on a stretcher, I would like to be able to sit up and see out the window
2.  Learn to swim but I fear the five year olds in my class would show me up
3.  View the Constitution in person nerd trap
4.  Learn another language, most likely Spanish or Sign Language  is it wrong that it is mostly for the dollar rasie I would get at work
5.  See a musical on Broadway I'm not even going to apoligize for that one
6.  Learn to play an instrument I think I can get a triangle on eBay for pretty cheap
7.  Crowd surf or I can just get a friend to grab my butt several times in a row, same difference
8.  Shoot a hand gun (shhh....don't tell my dad)
9.  Do a backflip on a trampoline Currently I look like a flying fish before I fall and kick myself in the back of the head
10. Go to England and drive on the other side of the road or go to another country and be a horrible driver there too
11. Buy a house I think a Barbie dream-house might be what I can handle right now
12. Write a book or get published I hear true crime sells great, lock your doors
13. Take a cruise I bet that seal clubbing cruise I looked into last year is pretty cheap right now
14. Master making bisque or just pick McCormick's and pass it off as my own, who would know?
15. Be an extra on a TV show After my true crime book, I can ask America's Most Wanted or Cops to help me out with this one
16. Go to Hawaii and see an active volcano I bet the Mirage would be just about the same, maybe I will just do that
17. Trek to see the painting "Guernica" then burn it to the ground so I was the last one to enjoy it
18. Meet John Irving Doesn't have to be THE John Irving, any will do, I will just pick one out of the phone book
19.  Got to Chicago I hear they have the best meth there.
20. Be pregnant I am calling a surrogacy agency as we speak
21. Go on photo safari Point and shoot of a different variety
22. Go skinny dipping Believe it or not, have never actually done this
23. See the Yankees play where they will surely beat the Mets
24. Cook Thanksgiving dinner, turkey and all If the turkey takes as long to cook as the whole chickens I made, I should start cooking a week from Tuesday
25. Ride on an elephant You think Babar is free?
26. Color my hair  I am like 10 grays away from this already, genes are being jerks
27. Finish my Radcliffe 100 Greatest Novels list, including Ulysses I could not finish Ulysses if the secret to alchemy was in there
28. Honeymoon in Miami And avoid running into Dexter in the process
29. See the Aurora Borealis LSD might give the same affect but way cheaper
30. Fall in love with a great pair of shoes?
31. Master a video game Does World of Warcraft or Starcraft 2 make me hotter to nerds?
32. Hold a baby tiger and avoid the momma tiger in the process
33. Learn to write left handed I am so tired of being right all the time
34. Finally learn how to wear eyeliner correctly RaccOOns are sexy too, right?
35. Go deep sea fishing and catch something amazing Here Flipper, Flipper, Flipper
36. Finally join my family at Burning Man with a blindfold, I don't need to see my dad naked
37. Visit the Harry Potter Experience in Orlando My letter is coming by owl any day now
38. Learn to juggle more than one boy at a time
39. Get a bachelors in English My other useless degree feels lonely
40. Ride on a dog sled Carson tied to a wood box just isn't the same
41. Have the perfect kitchen made just for me Complete with built in floor shackle
42. Have a room that is literally my library Single old maid dies in avalanche of books
43. Attend a fashion show please fall, please fall
44. Participate in Holi, the Festival of Colors then again, me putting on makeup is kinda the same
45. Get in a girl fight The first rule of Fight Club is you don't talk about Fight Club
46. After learning to swim, scuba diving Why are those sharks following me?
47. Dance on a bar Coyote Ugly taught me I need closed toed shoes for this, mental note made
48. Learn to walk on my hands because I am oh so graceful on my feet that I need more of a challenge
49. Dance Tango with an Argentinian Rose is optional
50. LARP  No comments please
51. Do a project where I have my friends send me back letters I sent them Looking for some cheap kindling this winter
52. Be completely honest with everyone in my life You suck, you're ugly, and I hate you...
53. Ride on a tandem bike does the bike come with a friend too?
54. Picture with the Eiffel tower I will add it to my collection of pictures of me with other phallic shaped objects
55. Have a major effect on some one's life Running someone over counts
56. Professional photo shoot Clothing optional?  What does that mean?
57. Restore my dresser Because who wants to just pay for a new one when they can do countless hours of tedious work?
58. New Year's Eve in Time Square I love getting pick-pocketed
59. Get a submission on one website I follow: Awkward Family Photos, Text From Last Night, etc. For the bishop's sake, lets shoot for the former
60. Eat in the restaurant Picasso's here in Vegas Anyone know a millionaire I can date?
61. Save someone out of hospital with no meds, no monitors, and no mask. Ew, that just got all over me.  Awesome
62. Get a sleeper car on a train Where mystery and intrigue surely wait for me
63. Make out at the drive-in Teenagers make this look so easy to accomplish
64. Try Thai Food and not vomit afterwards
65. Tell those who know the whole me how much they mean to me Can I have your brother's number?  I have something to tell him, nope nothing to tell you, just him.
66. Stay in a Strip hotel A hotel on the Strip not one you have to strip at...geez
67. Write my living will So you jerks don't "accidentally" trip over my ventilator cord
68. Sign up for my 401K (blush) Also have not done this
69. Kiss a man in uniform on Veterans' Day It is just downright patriotic
70. Fly First Class  You may call me Ms. Riggs or Master, now run along and get me my soda
71. Go to one of those trapeze experiences Surely easier than swimming
72. Paint on a decent sized canvas I hear they are looking for a new painting to stand where "Guernica" used to be
73. Eat a salad Does fruit salad count?
74. Have my dad walk me down the aisle ...of the grocery store
75. See Ludacris in concert Welcome to Atlanta and the reason you got a tetanus shot last year

Monday, August 23, 2010

Lust: One of the Seven Deadly Sins

I am unsure how polite dinner conversation turned to the question of hot guys, but somehow it did.  The Black Widow was trying to get The Face to pick a crossover guy, and unable to think of one, she offered several choices for him to chose from.  I am always flustered in these situations because I know there are so many ultra attractive men in Hollywood, but am for some reason never able to recall them off the top of my head.  After everyone left, I did my research and complied my very own list of some pretty attractive men.  I will not call it definitive, for I am sure as soon as I post, someone will point out someone who should have been on the list, but I just did not think of.  Perhaps The Face could even pick someone from my carefully crafted list.

10. Kevin Connolly - Every time I tell people I have a crush on Kevin Connolly, they are like, that guy?  Well, we shall just say I have a bit of a thing for short guys, and he just so happens to be 5'6".

9.  Paul Walker - Dumb as a bag of rocks, but I don't really care.  He doesn't have to say a thing.  Turns out the second thing I am a sucker for is light eyes and his practically glow.  Look at them.  Whew wee....His movies suck, but I could not care less, I would pay to watch him read a book for two hours.  That is assuming he can read.

8.  Jake Gyllenhaal - While The Face already turned down Jake as a possibility, I would be quite remiss to not put him on the list.  He is gorgeous.  While he does not have blue eyes, he does have the third thing that I love, and that is facial hair.  Have you seen him grow the full mountain man beard?  It is slightly this side of amazing.

7.  Channing Tatum - (ahem) I assume I do not need to say more.

6.  Chris Evans - Light eyes, facial hair, and body hair to boot, what is not to love?  Plus, he kinda looks like he would be sensitive, and want to hold my hand and skip in a meadow.

5.  Bradley Cooper - You cannot have a thing for blue eyes and not be in love with Bradley.  Those eyes are so blue, that they can see into your soul.  One look from those pale pools and I am pretty sure I would give him anything he asked for.  Sigh.

4.  Mark Walberg - He wants to father my children, I am just sure of it.

3.  Jonathan Rhys Myers - Gay as the day is long, but I don't care who's team he is playing for.  This must be what it is like for gay guys when they look at Brad Pitt or Justin Timberlake.  They know they can't have them, but then again, even if he was not gay, I probably still could not have him.

2.  Wentworth Miller III - Unfortunately, I think Jonathan Rhys Myers has a better chance of getting with him than I do, but lets just say I did not watch three seasons of "Prison Break" for the amazing plot.

1.  Ryan Reynolds - I am pretty sure this was the moment I fell in love with him.  Muscled bound, over six feet and brown eyed, logic says he should not be my number one, but oh, me oh, my.  I nearly met him when I almost mowed him down in an Austin movie theater.  He was just as attractive then as he is now.  I would take him anyway you slice him.  If he wanted to be friend with benefits, he wanted me to send him off to war and wait for 12 years, he wanted me to be a surrogate mother for him and his barren wife, I don't care.  Plus he was in an X-Men movie, so take his normal hotness and multiply it by the power of nerd.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Borrowed Story In My Own Words

Tonight, while search for inspiration for what to post, I came across a blog post entitled, "Like a Girl Who Barely Notices You Are Alive?".  Reading the post, I felt moved by the general sentiments of the post and would love to explore his ideas further.  So tonight instead of proclaiming with my own voice, I tell his story with my own words.  My version is first, and his original version is at the bottom in purple.

What a waste is my self-loathing for it curries no favor in his eyes.  Every night I endure this torment with no reward, lost and alone in my own pity.  Hopelessly romantic, I oft feel if I do not allow my love to die, if I stoke the flames long enough, then like Heathcliff, I can meet my love in the hereafter.  Find him in a place where we can finally be together in bliss.  Alas, this is all my own work, for if Catherine was truly destined to be with my Heathcliff, then it would not take death to unite them.  All Catherine would have to do was bridge the gap between our hands and hearts and take me back into our love.  

To live in such fantasies is a self defense, because otherwise the pain of his ebb and flow of affection would kill all that still breaths inside of me.  To pretend my suffering is for a larger purpose is to feel that I am investing in a higher goal, and it makes the agony of every passing moment tolerable.  His cruelty is almost enough to smother my already waning ability to trust.  For the sad truth is despite his best attempts to convince me it is not so, I feel broken in a way that cannot be fixed.  How can I blame him for a lifetime of being afraid, for my constant fear of rejection?  It lives with me always and denies me the knowledge of what comfort feeling happy can bring.  I fear the good, because the darkness is all I have ever known.  

It is always at the end when we look back, trying to see the exact moment that it all went wrong.  While I am left here to deal with the carnage, I do not allow him to see it.  Impressions that all was well with me was exactly what I hoped he would get from my pantomimed half of our final conversation.  Only by playing this scene several times before was I able to finally give a convincing performance.  But when he left, he took our life together with him.  I am now the lone child on the playground, tentative on the edge of the blacktop because I can not count a single friend among the gleeful faces.  All of them sense the darkness that is inside of me, so I am merely tolerated, never loved, never adored.  Is this why he could never love me, my inability to love myself?

Is he the target of my anger?  How can he be?  For was I not the same when I was his age?  My desire to assign blame to him is from all the ways he disappointed me.  Though a portion of blame is my own for the foolishness of setting forth expectations he could never meet.  I set him up to fail before we even began.  The pain he dealt to me was pre-prescribed, but perhaps necessary, for pain provides the world's oldest education.  

So now I stand alone and question my purpose, if my purposes was not to love him.  Perhaps my purpose is to someday finally gain understanding from others that my voice is not common, my words are not theirs, that my ability to create emotion and love where none was before is worth the investment of time.

Hey Stupid - 

She is not into I tell myself everynight feeling sorry for myself.  I am one of those stupid poetic idiots who thinks hey why not be sad about a girl for eternity and then be heathcliffe and meet her in the afterlife.  The only problem with this logic is you are not catherine's dream or she would of been with you in life.  I call it the silly lies we tell ourselves because it is less painful then she treated you like a yoyo, one day I love you the next day I do not and you have no trust in women after it.  You are glad you are friends but you will never trust another could love you because you are broken in a way that can't be fixed.  It is not her fault but a lifetime of being afraid.  It is never knowing how to be comfortable with being happy.  Fearing the good more than the bad because bad is all I will ever truly know.

It was a success in terms of relationships.. I did leave things ok.. which is something I have had trouble with in the past.  Now based on her actions I am the guy in the school yard with no real friends.  I am tolerated not loved by any because I could not love me.  it is the age old curse.. I really want to be angry at her but who is not like that when they are 20.  It is my fault for being silly about it.. for not understanding the flaws in expection.. I am angry but I do not who to be angry at.. it all is a mess with no real understanding who to blame.. and if blame is even the right word since pain is the worlds oldest education.  It is like we are being made for someone purpose. someday people will understand my voice is not common, my words, the way I am able to create emotion is something worth having.. until then I go broke hoping for a single company to get their head out of their ass and realize I could be a advertising star if I could find a company with someone to mentor me on the x's and o's of the industry.  Will they?  No because companies want the degrees with no life experience.  You can't learn what I know in school. 

I have no idea what was the point of this blog.  I never do as everything with me is random.  It is so annoying never having order in my life.. I dream of order but end up floating away.. bye

Thursday, August 19, 2010

After 30 Years of Service

Boom, that just happened.

After years of telling myself I did not need one because I had a functioning Oster Regency, and ten days of intense drooling, I finally bought myself the ultimate kitchen indulgence.  In 7-10 business days I will be the new owner of an Empire Red KitchenAid Artisan 5 quart stand mixer.  Just thinking about my new kitchen companion has me all atingle.  Before the Big Red takes her place upon my counter, let us have a moment of silence of the one who went before.  

My parents have had this mixer since they were married in the early 80s.  It was the mixer I grew up with.  The mixer churned hard to put out our Thanksgiving mashed potatoes, every birthday cake I can remember, countless loaves of bread, numerous sauces, an abundance of pie fillings.  It was nearly ten years ago that I was bequeathed the mixer.  It was there for me as I grew into the cook I am today.  

While she was not pretty, she got the job done.  That mixer was there for my first pie crust, my first carrot cake, my first double batch of chocolate chocolate chip cookies, my homemade icing, oh the list could go on and on.  It was three years ago I broke her large glass bowl with peanut butter cookie slicked hands, but after a metal replacement, we soldiered on.  So many great memories started with the soft fop of a cake mix into the bottom of the bowl, or the crack of an egg, or licking the beaters clean of my latest concoction. I will miss you my dear friend.  May whom ever I bequeath you to take great care of your never failing motor, your turnable base, and countless attachments.  Happy trails to you.

RIP Oster - Thank you for years of service

Monday, August 16, 2010

With Friends Like These

We have a great deal more kindness than is ever spoken.  In the still of the night it is the thoughts and prayers another says for your aching heart.  In the center of your joy it is the ones who bask in your light and share in your triumph.  In the chasm of time it is those who are ever present on your path.  Our lives, while perceived as short, are a series of moments that yawn out in the past and make up the intangible essence of our future, congealed together to form years, decades of existence.  It is not good for man to walk this earth alone; to help us endure this journey we have the rarest of gifts that can be given by another, friendship.

Each of our hearts will testify differently to what defines the value of a friendship.  Some will say it consists of the ever bubbling font of desire that wants nothing but the best for the other.  Some will claim it is lies in the capacity to feel sympathy and empathy for the other's lot in life or the compassion to make that lot theirs as well.  While others will assert it is the honesty that exists in that space; an honesty so bright and pure that it can even be spoken when the truth is the hardest to hear.  Surly all would agree that it consists of the mutual understanding of the scrubbed down essence of one's self and the trust that blossoms from it, enabling each the emotional support that can only be found therein.

While all can denote the generals, for the answer to what is the meaning of friendship, it lies within our hearts, because true friendship can only be felt, and not expressed.  The intimacy nurtured there is the fodder for our souls, allowing us to just love and be loved in return.  Friendship is the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words.  It is the acceptance that comes on a consistent basis that makes out lives rich of color and full of vigor.

Of late, I spent days in the company of my oldest friend.  He knew me before I knew myself.  Upon the cusp of adulthood, I was brash and unrefined.  Yet, when I was new and friendless, Tass brought me in to his fold and gave me a warm place to blossom.  I wonder what has made our friendship endure while so many others fell by the wayside.  Our longevity is beauty; our relationship is the very essence of friendship.  Although not immutable, our endurance has proved that we are able to be there for each other at all times, ebb or flow, ups or downs, light or dark.  Being each other's friend has required understanding, which has shown me how to be sensitive.  Being each other's friend has called us to always give the benefit of the doubt, which has helped to mold my ability to allow love to overcome my pride.  Being each other's friend has compelled us to share unconditional acceptance of the true base of our beings.

While Tass is my oldest friend, there are so many others who have come into my life like a star aglow.  Lustrous and luminescent, each one has changed me in enduring ways and ameliorated my character.  Ranger showed me the joy of letting go of judgments and allowing myself to be love unconditionally.  Her openness gave me the bravery to allow myself to be open with others.  The Preacher gave me the courage to rebuild when I though all was lost and the bliss honesty can bring.  He challenged me to be more than was expected of me and to give more than was required.  Red taught me the value of self-examination, self-discovery, and the immense value of self-control.  She allowed me to open myself to new wonders and the importance to love yourself first.  Frankie challenged me to be better at all that I do no matter how small the task, to let go of my neurosis, and to see every situation from the other person's perspective.  His ability to show me ways I can elevate myself is a skill now so precious to me, I scarcely can imagine my progress to this point with out it.  The Peacemaker showed me how the utter value in being nice, and inspired me to emulate her.  Princess drilled into my consciousness that self-pity was of no value and had no place in a happy life.  Flip has demonstrated that others can accept you for all that you are, even the parts of yourself that you fear sharing the most.  His ability to create a zone free of judgement and ridicule that allows me to be so honest, that I am able to discover things about myself that would have been lost otherwise.

The value I place on friendship, I can liken to no other.  Each friend gives to me something so pure and essential that while it is not visible to the eye, it is always felt by my heart.  Although some have been lost along the way, the values and lessons they all have left with me will not be forgotten.  All are the rocks and rill that direct the path my flow goes.  They are those that make my burden lighter, the ones with whom trust is more than a word, the ones with whom who loyalty is freely given, the ones who accept the shortcomings, the ones who stand by you during your darkest days, the ones who can listen without just waiting for their turn to talk.  To all my friends out there, I want to thank you for the part you played and all that you are.  Thank you to those who understand my past, believe in my future, and accepts me just the way I am.  Thank you for just being you.

Monday, August 9, 2010

When Is A House, A Home?

Home is such an elusive concept.  Trying to define the word runs the gambit from your mother country to your adopted land, from the place you grew up to the place where you put down roots, from a mere place to store your belongings to a sacred, nearly mythical place.  What everyday magic occurs when you cross your own threshold?  Entering your home allows you to turn and to close the door on the chaos of the world, making a declaration that of all the miles upon the Earth, this tiny spot is completely unique, for unlike all other places, this one is yours.

Nowhere else can you lay claim, like the claim you can lay to your home.  While blueprints can show exact dimensions, carpet can cover carefully measured square footage, and feature listings can read of crown molding and granite countertops like a resume, these things do not make up the essence of home.  Your home is an extension of self, ego suffused into the smooth rills of the plaster, soaked into the porous chalk of the drywall, permeating down to the foundation beneath your feet.

This concept was not innate within me.  I do not know if I can say I knew what a home was before my father welcomed me into his.  Upon leaving his house, my first home, I have only lived in four places.  I lived in the same apartment my entire college career, my first apartment out of school was my sanctuary for ten years, the duplex might have been my last address because it suited me so well, had I not decided to change every line of my address label sans my name, and finally my current apartment.

Each place I was hesitant to leave because of how much I put of myself into them.  My mere presence in them deemed them to be safe, a place where I did not have to explain myself to the world.  My memories existed in ever door handle, paint scrape, and carpet stain.  Sentiments of the life I had lived while outside the walls and the safe haven they were inside those walls endeared each to my heart.  The love I gave, the heartache I endured, the mistakes I made all were inseparable from that space that each set of four walls provided me.

Leaving each was like closing a chapter on my life.  After all the boxes were gone, all the cabinets empty, and the place cleaned for the next one who will call it home, I would take a moment by myself to walk through, and recall all that had happened there.  Who I was when I came, and who I was when I left.  My footsteps would echo emptiness mirroring my feeling inside, like I was losing a friend.

Soon it will be this place that I walk alone through.  I have decided to buy a house and make myself a more permeant home than I perhaps have ever had.  I wonder what I will see through those eyes as I close this chapter of my life.  I hope I will see the bravery it took for me to take a leap of faith with a cross country move in hopes of making my life better.  I am sure I will see the amazing people who have come into my life and have given me more courage to just be myself than anyone ever has before.  I pray I will see all the love and acceptance I have given to those around me.  And above all, I hope I will see that I left a better person than the one who first walked through that door, into a place that I now call home.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

New Scrubs!

I have been badly in need of new scrubs.  Don't get me wrong, I have a drawer full of them, they just all happen to be two or three times to large on me.  You may not remember this, but my camera sure does, but there used to be way more of me to love.  Right as I was starting to lose the weight, I left the hospital and went to work in a clinic that provided scrubs with the company logo on them.  Hence my own scrubs sat in a drawer for two years and were only pulled out recently when I started working at the hospital again.  I have needed to buy smaller ones for several months now, and tonight I finally did.  Check out what I got!

First Top - Alice In Wonderland.  Besides being cool and a big hit with the stoner crowd, I like them because you don't get many literary reference in scrub tops.  Plus we used to live on Lewis Carroll lane when I was younger so there you go.

Second Top - The Hulk.  How could I not get these?  I mean they are amazing right?  Plus if I get really pissed at work, I can just rip my top off and blame it on my inner monster.  I feel like that is a good plan.

Third Top - Iron Man - These might be my new favorites, dethroning my sushi scrubs.  It is a great color, a great character, and will surely make my key demographic turn their head in appreciation.  I mean if I have to wear shapeless smocks to work, I have to give the boys something to turn their heads at.

Fourth Top - Spiderman, spiderman, does what ever a spider can...  Now while I am excited about these, as you will see below, there were two other designs that I liked better but were special orders on ebay out of cotton material, which sucks in a scrub top.  I have several cotton tops that I never wear because they are constantly in a ball of wrinkly mess.  Cotton-Poly blend is the only way to go.

Here are some designs that I did not go with because as stated previously, they were all cotton.  I wish I could have each and everyone one of them.  Who does not love the Transformers?  I love cars.  I love robots.  Transformers are the best combo since chocolate met peanut butter, only they won't make me as big as I was in that first picture.

I loved this one because it was referring to a book, but also it was like I had a dirty word on me and no one could say anything about it.

I am pretty sure I would be obligated to eat pizza every time I wore these and be able to get into deep philosophical debates about why Leonardo has so much angst.  

While ordering these might have meant I would have to bone up on my marine history, be ordered to do push-ups on the nasty hospital floor, or try to make devil dog jokes that I don't really get that miss their mark, they still are pretty freaking cool.  I think Flip would approve, and they would be a great conversation piece with the night security guard, who just so happens to be an ex-Marine.  

While I think I like the first Transformer design better, this one still deserved mention.  Optimus Prime looks kinda bad-a in this one.

I already have a pair of Simpson's scrubs, but these take the best of those scrubs and add the "Where's Waldo" effect.  The only thing I would be worried about is where Bart might end up on my scrubs.  Then I would never quite know if my patient was a dirty old man, or taking the Bart challenge seriously.

These were the Spiderman ones I really wanted, but what is the point of having the Amazing Spiderman if he never leaves my drawer?  It would just be cruel.

Same goes here.  Look at those moves.  I just realized how limber Spidey has to be.  Do you think he works out?

I would have ordered these in a minute, but they are sold out.  Please feel free to order them for me for my birthday.  February 17.  I like pink bows.

While the last comment was kind of a joke, this one is not.  They are totally sold out of these and I cannot find them anywhere.  I would do unspeakable things for anyone who found these for me.  Extra-small, don't worry about the matching bottoms, I can find them later.  

While I have four pairs ordered, I will need plenty more.  Please feel free to link me any scrubs you think I would like or seem oddly appropriate for my personality.  Before you check Red, I already searched for Diet Coke with Lime scrubs to no avail.  

Saturday, August 7, 2010

This Is How I Roll

I make an effort not to repeat topics for posts.  No one wants to hear me blather on and on about the same thing.  If I have already blogged about it, there should not be that much more to say on the subject.  Tonight I made sushi for the first time, and although I recently posted a blog about how much I enjoy cooking, I decided to since I did not actual cook anything in the process, that the subject was safe to broach.

I have been told that my ideas can sometimes be a touch "outlandish". I see nothing wrong with driving four hours to L.A. to shop at Ikea, getting dressed up to go eat at On Top Of The World on a Tuesday night, or sitting in line for eight and a half hours just to pick up my new iPhone 4.  When I had mentioned that I wanted to learn how to make sushi, my idea was called outlandish and was predicted to be a pain in the rear.  Despite this, I still kept the idea alive like a glowing coal in the back of my mind.

Faced with an opportunity to cook for a party, I considered making my long talked about tarts.  I went to Williams and Sonoma and picked up the tart pans and everything.  While I am still excited about making tarts, I decided since I had already made a sweet dish this week (lemon raspberry cake) that I should do something savory instead.  With the idea of making sushi at the fraction of the cost of going out to sushi, a quick trip to Whole Foods to pick up the sushi mat and seaweed, and I was off to make my outlandish dreams come true.

With having eaten sushi only once, I was going to have to do a touch of research before I could embark upon this endeavorer.  While most of the recipes looked easy enough, I was unsure about using the raw fish without guidance.  Since the California roll uses crab meat that is ready to use, I figured this was a safe bet the first go around.  Shopping list in hand, I head back out to the store.  

Back in my kitchen, armed with my Mac, I got to work.  First, let me say, every last one of the "tips" I read on line was spot on.  If you decide to make sushi yourself, listen to them, they know what they are talking about.  The first tip was, "make more rice than you think you need, because you will need even more than that".  I made five cups of rice, which is as much as my rice maker would hold and still had enough supplies to make another two rolls had I not run out of rice.  

With all the veggies cut, the crab unwrapped, the rice rested and tossed with the vinager (which I am nervous about, and convinced if the rolls suck, it will be because of that), I was ready to roll.  Great tip number two, wear gloves.  I was not prepared for how much the rice would stick to EVERYTHING.  Turns out it is called "sticky rice" for a reason.  I pulled out a pair of gloves from my first aid kit and used Pam instead of mayo like suggested to keep them slick.  I cannot imagine making sushi without them.

The next great tip is to make a log with the rice.  This helped to keep it from sticking to the gloves so much and it made it easier to spread with just my fingertips once it was on the seaweed.  When I ate sushi, I was not a huge fan of the seaweed and had the chefs spoke a word of English, I would have asked them to make it without it.  Now I see how impossible a request that would have been.  Maybe I will just have to invent a tastier thing for rice to stick to.  Then I can sell it and be a millionaire, and no you can't borrow a ten spot.

Once the rice was evenly coated across the seaweed, you lift it up and flip it over.  This step was surprisingly easy due to another tip; cover your sushi mat in clear plastic wrap.  Not only did it make the flip easier, but it was amazing for the clean up.  I stacked inside each wrapper three avocado slices (peeling those was a touch of a nightmare), a crab stick cut in half and an entire strip of cucumber.  This part was rather easy, but I cannot even imagine what a nightmare cream cheese must be to put in there.

Once all the ingredients are in there, and there is less than a pound of rice sticking to your gloves, you just use the mat to roll it up.  This picture is of my first roll which was quite a disaster because I did not follow two other tips, don't use to much rice, and don't overstuff.  It was huge and hence not very cohesive.  Another great tip that came in handy when I was working with the correct proportions was do not squeeze to hard or everything will come gushing out the ends.  How true that was, and only needed for it to happen once before I was more carful.

After each roll is completed you cut them into six slices.  You are supposed to trip the edges so they all look the same, but that felt like another cut and a waste of good product.  These are the overstuffed ones, and you can see how they are trying to come apart.  I made eight rolls total, and have tons of crab left over that I can use in another recipe because I counted on each roll using two sticks, instead of one.

Not including the rice, which I already had, or the sushi mat, which is a one time investment, I spent a total of eleven dollars on crab, cucumber, wrappers, avocado, and rice vinegar.  Taking into account I have one and a half packages of crab left, I say that I made 48 sushi for approximately $8 total.  I looked up how much a California Roll is at a local restaurant, and at $8 a roll, I saved $56 dollars by making them at home.  Not to mention, I got the enjoyment of making them myself.  Turns out, I love to cook.  Like I mentioned, my next project is tarts.  I will see if I can rationalize blogging about them too.