Little Ms. Polymath

aka the know-it-all

early and busy. October 28, 2010

Filed under: life — mspolymath @ 11:15 am
Tags: , , ,

Things have been a bit hectic lately so I’ve tried to get the most out of everything. For example, I had an essay due earlier this week, so I grabbed an old blog entry and prettied it up for submission. And today, I feel like I should give you a blog entry, so I’m posting an image I grabbed from somewhere. I had the very best intentions to credit this picture, but it’s not in the cards today.

And yes, I do feel a weird conflict when I post images like this. On one hand, I feel like a clichéd teenage girl looking for inspiration in sad songs and affirmations printed on magnets. On the other hand, I like sad songs and affirmations printed on magnets.

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tiger suit. October 22, 2010

Filed under: music — mspolymath @ 6:54 pm
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One2One Network sent me a copy of KT Tunstall’s  new CD and asked me to post a review on my blog*. You probably know Ms. Tunstall thanks to her rollicking “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” song that was all over radio a few years back. While I didn’t know much about her, she seemed like a talented musician and I love checking out new music. So I agreed to give the record a spin.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the disc. Tunstall is a decent writer and most of the songs are hooky and serviceable. I suppose that’s part of the problem – there was nothing that grabbed me by the throat (or balls) and really made me want to listen. The tracks are consistent and pleasant – it’s sort of like having a classic rock station on for an hour. You don’t need to change the channel because everything sounds familiar and comfortable. But nothing really excites you, either.

There was one exception – “(Still A) Weirdo,” the ninth song on the CD, did resonate with me. Tunstall’s lyrics about trying to blend in and be “normal” struck a chord (ew, bad pun, sorry) with me. “Golden Frames” was also good, though I couldn’t help second-guessing some of the phrasing. And while it’s not Tunstall’s fault, there are a few songs in which her voice reminds me of the grating car crash that is Melissa Etheridge’s vocal stylings. That more than anything probably worked against Tunstall while I was listening to this release. Sorry, I’m unfairly prejudiced. I think KT will get over it.

So, download “Still A” Weirdo if you’ve ever felt disenfranchised. And if you’re a Melissa Etheridge fan, buy this disc. Otherwise, you can probably pass.

Sorry KT. It's not your fault you sound like Melissa Etheridge.

 

*fine print – I am eligible to win a $50 gift certificate by participating in this project.

 

bye bye 35. October 19, 2010

Filed under: life — mspolymath @ 5:23 pm

So, it’s my last day in the 35-and-under set. As of tomorrow, I will be closer to 40 than 30. I don’t give a shit about the number – I don’t have any vanity when it comes to my date of birth. However, I think I will always measure accomplishments in relationship to age – I do this for myself as well as other people. 

For example, a lot of people have one or more children by my age, and/or they’ve been married. I haven’t done either of those things. Then again, when I was 16 I spent a summer in France without my family or friends. When I was 20 I spent weeks wandering around Europe with nothing but a backpack and some pages ripped out of a Lonely Planet guide. No credit card, no cellphone…no Internet. Yes, I did have Western Union and the help of my mom, but still. I’ve met some of the biggest rock stars in the world, started my own business and earned a platinum record, a Billboard Magazine award and was nominated for a Cabletelevision Advertising Award. I’ve worked on an organic farm, testified in court (oddly, something I always wanted to do) and am working to overcome my smothering fear of water. I’ve moved to cities sight unseen and built networks of friends. I’ve been to the top of the Eiffel Tower at night, co-founded my own ‘zine (back when people actually printed things) and paid my own college tuition.

I guess I spend a lot of time worrying that I haven’t done enough, or that I’m not on pace with where I’m supposed to be at this point in my life. But how old are you supposed to be when you eat an omelet with Bob Dylan? I was 19 – does that give me points against not being a corporate vice president by 30? I feel weirdly defensive about what I have done and what I have yet to do. Am I the only one who feels this way? Is it a generational thing? A Libra thing? A girl thing? I suppose I’m really only racing with myself, and my idea of who I am supposed to be. I look at what others have achieved as a barometer because it’s easier than exploring my own innermost wishes. Maybe.

It’s not all competition and comparisons, though. My advanced age has given me a better appreciation than ever for the strong friendships I’ve cultivated, my relationship with Jason and my love for my family. It’s also helped me sever ties with those who served no purpose but to hurt me, even though convention would advise I stick the relationships out because, well, that’s what most people do. Ultimately, I am super proud of what I’ve done with my life thus far. I’m a fiercely independent person who has tried to carve her own path out of life. Sometimes I look over the hedges and feel wistful I don’t have the John Hughes house and the trappings that come with it. But if I’ve done anything in my life’s first 35 years, I’ve cultivated a life of freedom that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.

Completely unrelated - I got some flowers at Trader Joe's yesterday and they included this cabbage rose. Gorgeous, isn't it?

 

thorazine. October 11, 2010

Filed under: this week I really love.... — mspolymath @ 3:47 pm
Tags: ,

Finally! A cure for agitated seniors! Thorazine, you had me at hello. (FYI – today Thorazine is used to treat schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders – and unfortunately, not old age.)

 

. October 8, 2010

Filed under: life — mspolymath @ 4:54 pm
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I suppose there are plenty of ways I could track my monthly lady time. But I have no need for science or calendars thanks to the massive chin pimple that arrives, without fail, the week before my period. This is coupled with a suffocating need for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, which just so happen to be on sale at Walgreen’s right now.

Now, you might say to yourself, “Sure, she breaks out and wants smooth, melty chocolate mixed with rich peanut butter, but I don’t see that as empirical evidence that her menstrual cycle is on its way. I’m pretty confident suffering from acne and a love of chocolate are key components to her personality.”  Touche, my friend, but there’s more.

What exactly seals the deal? How do I know I’m about to enter the red zone? When one adds the first two components to the sudden outbursts of inappropriate and baffling emotion, I know my period can’t be far behind.

Exhibit A: I tart crying uncontrollably when I learn actor/singer Jamie Foxx takes care of his sister, who was born with Down Syndrome. Foxx features his sister in videos, takes her to award shows and is a decent human being. For some reason this information resulted in a near-catastrophic 10-minute crying jag, snotty nose and all.

Exhibit B: While driving to the library this morning, I hear 10,000 Maniacs “These are the Days” on the radio. I haven’t heard this song in 15+ years and really couldn’t give two shits about it. I never owned anything involving the work of Natalie Merchant and she generally irritates me. Yet hearing the song, which was released my senior year of high school, smashed open some emotional floodgates and I found myself sitting in the car, overcome with feelings of nostalgia, sorrow and some sort of weird optimism that was totally misplaced for someone who was about to return a library book.  

And that pretty much sums up my morning: pimples, peanut butter cups and tears. Such are the joys of being a woman.

I'm not sure where I found this, but it's pretty on point.

 

indian summer. October 7, 2010

Filed under: this week I really love.... — mspolymath @ 11:48 am

My new hobby is swimming. I never, in a million years, thought I’d write that sentence. There’s something so lovely about moving weightless through the water. While I’m not a fan of showing off in a bathing suit, since I swim at 5:45 am, most of my fellow swimmers are elderly so I like to think a combination of manners, indifference and cataracts means no one is paying much attention.

I love autumn, and I love the weather lately. It’s a blessing to get an Indian summer. As I was walking home from a luncheon yesterday I couldn’t help but swoon a bit over the vista – changing leaves framing a gorgeous blue lake. I felt really lucky not to be stuck in a cube.

I’m coming up on a birthday soon – not a milestone, but a birthday nonetheless. Since I am a consummate measurer and note taker, I often take stock of where I am and where I want to be and progress and feelings and all of that crap. And this birthday, for the first time in a long time, I’m really happy with how I spent my year. I’ve tried new things, gotten out of my comfort zone, maybe grown up a bit in a few areas, and escaped from corporate oppression. I feel free. Sure, there are a lot of things that still need to change, and I’m not done growing up yet. But man, I am in such a better mood than I was last year at this time. I can’t say enough good things about controlling your own destiny. It’s everything it’s cracked up to be and more.

Same goes for you.

 

harvey house. October 1, 2010

Filed under: life — mspolymath @ 6:37 pm

Last weekend Jason and I headed to Oak Park to visit his sister and stay at the fabulous Harvey House. I cannot say enough good things about this bed and breakfast – it’s like staying at a relative’s place when they’re not around. I loved the soaking tub and aromatherapy selections, the homemade brownies and the wine. It was so relaxing there – we’ll definitely be back.

Another fantastic facet of this bed and breakfast? The breakfast! I’ve never been much of a granola person, and I don’t like nuts – but the Harvey House granola blew my mind. It was delicious – and yes, I picked out the cashews. 

We also had the egg cups, which were also wonderful.

If you’re looking for some fabulous granola, here’s the recipe, straight from the Harvey House website:

Harvey House Granola

Ingredients

9 oz or 3 cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats (not quick oats)
4 oz or 1 cup Raw sliced almonds (from Trader Joe’s) can substitute slivered almonds if raw sliced are not available.
1 cup Cashews – make sure not too salted!
3/4 cup Shredded sweet coconut (you can also use non – sweetened)
3 oz or 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp Dark brown sugar (must be dark brown not light brown)
4 1/2 oz or 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp Pure maple syrup or a combination of algave syrup (recommended 50/50 split)
1 3/4 oz or 1/4 cup Vegetable oil
3/4 tsp Salt (If nuts have salt, omit or reduce salt)
1 cup Raisins or dried cranberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees
  2. In a large bowl combine the oats, nuts, coconut and brown sugar. Make sure there are no clumps in the brown sugar and all ingredients are evenly separated and combined.
  3. In another bowl, combine maple syrup, oil, and salt.
  4. Combine both mixtures and spread onto two cookie sheets.
  5. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color.
  6. Remove from the oven and transfer into a large bowl. Add raisins or dried cranberries and mix until evenly distributed.