July 28th, 2007

made for greatness, greatness

Who Am I?

"I wonder if I've been changed in the night? Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I'm not the same, the next question is 'Who in the world am I?' Ah, that's the great puzzle!"

*yawn* Blogathon Begins.

In this world of generalizations, stereotypes, shortforms, and labels, how do I define myself? Who is the person writing this blog?

"Who are YOU?" said the Caterpillar. This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation.
"I -- I hardly know, sir, just at present -- at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then." said Alice.

I am Twyla, my given name. The only nickname anyone has ever given me is "Twilight" and I usually spell it with a "y'' because I think it looks neater. Some of my closer friends call my "Twy" but only they get away with it. I wouldn't change my first name for the world, though with marriage some distant day it's doubtful my last one will stay. I am newsong on the internet when I can be. I am sometimes forced to choose other titles. I used to be supergloofy, but that's an old version of myself that I can no longer identify with. I am an eBayer. I am a churchgoer. I am the annoying cackler in the movie theatre. I am a woman. I am young. I am alive.

Let's consider your age to begin with—how old are you?" asked the White Queen.
"I'm seven and a half exactly," said Alice.

"You needn't say 'exactly'," the Queen remarked: "I can believe it without that."

I have been alive for 7935 days. It is exactly 100 days to my birthday. My blog ID for the blogathon is 222. I watch the clock for 12:34 and 1:23 and 5:55 and 3:14. I am 5'9" tall without shoes. A numerophiliac then, but I hate equations. Music and language and color, three of my favourite things, can each be reduced to mathematical quantifiers. It all adds up. And so because of my dogged pursuit of the truth, I dare to even call myself a scientist...

I am a 20-something. I am a LiveJournaller, an icon maker, and a blogger with a small B, and an internet-savvy member of my generation. I am a webmaster and a web designer. I am a robot enthusiast. I am a sesquipedalian. I am extreme and pensive and intense and talented and useful and functional. I am a Conservative in politics. I am a La-Z-Boy activist. I am a college student.

I am an artist. When people ask me what I do they expect to be told something. I am a graphic artist, that is what I say I want to be when I grow up. But since I never intend to stop growing and changing, that grown up person is a non-entity, and thus the question is moot. Though someday perhaps I will properly inherit the title. I am also a writer. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I am intolerant, and my own self-improvement project.

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean--neither more nor less.'

I am controversial. I am opinionated. I am goofy. I am pretentious sometimes just for fun and humble for the grace that is given me. I am fearless in most areas of life. I am innocent. I am blameless. I am redeemed. I am a Christian. I am dead to myself and somehow truly alive. I am purposeful. I am loved. I am romantic. I am logical. I am very selective about the reality I accept. I am individual. I am Canadian. I am creative. I am a think tank. I am a geek and a nerd, by my own definition. I am unmovable, unshakable, insidious and warm. I am rarely blind to the faults of others or myself. I am "excessively frank." I am a virgin. I am looking forward to my wedding night, even though I have no idea how long I'll have to wait for it or if I'll ever see that day.

I am planning to have an "Elopement Ceremony" where I invite everyone to see my husband-to-be helping me escape out the window of my house in a flowing, simple white dress instead of a conventional wedding. What could possibly be cooler?

I am among the rich when compared to all the people of earth. I am successful. I am grumpy and stubborn and hard to get along with when I'm tired or hungry. I am sweet and compassionate and care-filled. I am cold. I am hot. I am on fire. I am subdued and a rule-follower. I am the one who starts the revolution. I am the one who steals the idea and does a better job of it. I am a city slicker. I am a Saskatchewanian. I am Canadian. I am savoury, colors, and lights. I am a synesthete. I am a fangirl, but never rabid. I am human. I am built like an ox.

I am beautiful. But I don't always believe it.

I am an abolitionist.

"Contrariwise," continued Tweedledee, "if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic."

So now the question is, who am I not? And how much broader is that question. It will be covered later.

'Begin at the beginning,' the King said gravely, 'and go on till you come to the end: then stop.'

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This is Twyla's post #1 in BLOGATHON 2007.
Hello to all my visitors! Please comment to let me know you were here.
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logathon Sponsors have pledged/donated $565 to the cause as of this post.
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does anyone know

Who Am I Not?

"I wonder if I've been changed in the night? Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I'm not the same, the next question is 'Who in the world am I?' Ah, that's the great puzzle!"

The real puzzle in today's world, I believe, is finding out who you are not. There are many things to be a part of, and many people who just want to be a part of something... But that kind of thinking can fracture you. I just want to be whole. I don't need your approval to find my worth.

"Who are YOU?" said the Caterpillar. This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation.
"I -- I hardly know, sir, just at present -- at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then." said Alice.

I am not crazy. I am not a social climber. I do not like chocolate. I am not fickle. I am not a turncoat. I am not an atheist. I am not an addict. I am not a freakshow. I am not sadistic. I am not painful to be around. I am not selfish when I can avoid it. I am not merely a speck in the wide world. I am not important to many. I am not patient. I am not kind enough to others. I am not one to give out compliments I don't mean. I am not a gossip. I am not a romantic in that I expect things to be done for me, but because I want things to be done because someone thinks I'm worth something.

But I am not insignificant. I am not yours.

Let's consider your age to begin with—how old are you?" asked the White Queen.
"I'm seven and a half exactly," said Alice.

"You needn't say 'exactly'," the Queen remarked: "I can believe it without that."

I am not old, nor will I ever be. I am not just a number on a page. I am not my student number. I am not my SIN number. I am not priced out. I am not your object to be quantified. I am not a mathematic genius. I am not as amazing as some people think I am, but just amazing enough to make up for it.

I am not an artist in the famous sense of the word. But when people ask me what I do they expect to be told something.

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean--neither more nor less.'

I am not shallow. I am not emo. I am not goth. I am not a scenester. I am not a drama queen. I am not high maintenence. I am not worthy. I am not the kind of person you want to mess with. I am not afraid to die. I am not afraid to live. I am not a celebrity. I am not an angel, nor will I ever be. I am not evil. I am not yet pure. I am not perfect. Yet.

I am not beautiful sometimes, and I don't lie.

I am free. I am not for sale. I am not going to stand by and watch someone else be sold, either.

'Begin at the beginning,' the King said gravely, 'and go on till you come to the end: then stop.'

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This is Twyla's post #2 in BLOGATHON 2007.
Hello to all my visitors! Please comment to let me know you were here.
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logathon Sponsors have pledged/donated $565 to the cause as of this post.
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pleased

Spin Cycle

the world keeps spinning 'round
my world's upside down
and I, I wouldn't change a thing


Life is kind of like a spin cycle in a washing machine. You know how everything goes around and around and it's mesmerizing? And depending on the quality of your machine, and how good or bad your soap is, you might just get a load of nice fluffy wash to put in the drier. So if you look at it like a metaphor, it's very much like one of my favourite metaphors - the rollercoaster. Always moving and some people get really queasy and want to get off... But usually you have to wait until the end. Your life is like a washing machine load, you and friends keep spinning around...  Then one day, if you're lucky, you might come out clean. Or you could just get the stains embedded deeper.

It all depends on which detergent you use, and whether you invested in that washing machine in the first place, even if it wasn't yours to choose growing up. Maybe later you chose a different washing machine. Maybe it was better for you, but looks can be decieving whether they're good or bad. Whether you do maintenance on it, or pay someone else to, that machine needs to be kept going or it will tear the clothes. Maybe some kind soul who's good at fixing things will arrive to help you out. Either way, you've got a better chance with help, just like in life.

I hope one day I come out clean, and my friends can be my company in the drier of the hereafter.

EDIT: I know, I know, there's problems with the analogy. Like every analogy it is flawed. But it was fun to write about anyway =D



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This is Twyla's post #3 in BLOGATHON 2007.
Hello to all my visitors! Please comment to let me know you were here.
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logathon Sponsors have pledged/donated $565 to the cause as of this post.
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openmic

Daylight Savings Time

Crazy daylight savings time! I was on the phone with Lewis from the internet radio, an hour earlier than expected, and I had a leftover chicken finger in my mouth when he called me. Isn't that how life always is! Good times.

So since I mentioned my artwork incentives, I thought perhaps I should at least give you a link to see some of it here!

Audible RedBull, © Lewis, Ladies and Gentlemen. Check it out!

Anyway, while I'm on the topic, you know what the hardest things about being a blogger from Saskatchewan is? Daylight Savings Time. Because we don't have that here. And it's stupidly confusing to everyone involved. I had to triple-check my start time in the 'thon! And then triple check it again? And people keep getting to me an hour or so earlier than everyone else. Crazyness.

And starting my ever-building and kind of weird thanks list: Thank you Mom for pestering me into learning to type properly. If I wasn't doing this at a blinding speed, I wouldn't be doing this Blogathon. One of the best learning investments pretty much ever.

I am so excited though? This is going to be the greatest day.

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This isTwyla's post #4 in BLOGATHON 2007.
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the last goodbye

Death Is About Really Living

And this is how I choose to live
As if I'm jumping off a cliff
Knowing that you'll save me

Never forget
There's life after death (and taxes)
Forgiveness comes
And all of the rest, it just passes away
Death and decay can't touch us now


So yesterday I was at a funeral. I tend to get angry at funerals, especially Christian ones, but not for the reasons you'd expect... Usually I'm angry at ignorance. Most of the funerals I've been to are not directly connected with me - the deceased are usually relatives of my friends, as was the case yesterday. Still difficult, but somehow removed. I always get angry when people talk about "God's timing." I'm sorry, but the God I know as a Christian doesn't whisk people away in fiery crashes before they're done with the things they want to finish. He's not into that. I mean, I've heard of a couple of people who died FINISHED. Really finished! They weren't longing to have done something. They weren't sorry they didn't get to see their granddaughter's wedding, they were actually, really done. And I've seen hundreds of thousands of people who died before they were finished, and that's the way the whole world thinks. We don't believe it's possible to finish the race of life! We really don't believe that, and it shocks me. Sure it can be taken away suddenly, but that's not a kind of pessimism that's helpful for your judgment. That's fatalism. There's so much more to hope for!

I am going to do my level best to live life to the full, so that one day when I hit my late 80's, I'll have done EVERYTHING I wanted to do. Getting married, raising a family, going to Italy, doing a wall mural... If I haven't done all those things and a thousand more by the time I hit old age, then I'll have failed myself in some way by not living the dream of doing everything. And if I died suddenly, I want people to be able to say of me, "There's someone who COULD have done everything, and she was on her way to doing it! She made every day count." I want my funeral, some day in the distant, distant future, to be nothing but a celebration of a life lived to the full. And that is how I'm going to live, and how I've been living.

If I had to pick a role model for real, I'd have to pick someone like that. Someone who died when they were done, and lived like they planned to. That's what makes life truly worthwhile. Does anyone know someone who died like that? I want to hear your story. Comment!

And so that's my challenge to you right now: When you die, will they be able to say that about you? That you took life, day by day, and did your best to really live it? That you mattered to people? That your relationships with your friends were strong and unbreakable and beautiful, and people liked you? Isn't that how you want to be remembered?

Thank you to all the people who taught me and encouraged me to live like this.

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This isTwyla's post #5 in BLOGATHON 2007.
Hello to all my visitors! Please comment to let me know you were here.
If you enjoyed this post, consider helping to stopslavery in our lifetime,
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logathon Sponsors have pledged/donated $565 to the cause as of this post.
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wikisurfing

Eureka, Stretch, Atlas

Wikisurfing on a Theme: Volume #1

When I wikisurf, it generally means I've been thinking about something, and I needed a detail to complete some factoid in my mind. Today it started because I was stretching, and thinking about stretching, and thinking, "What was the name of that guy who saw the lion?"

Stretch is a word that you hear in so many contexts. It's a stretch sometimes to figure out how much you use this word, and it's one of those things you do in the morning that's more a part of your routine than brushing your teeth. Or at least, it is for me. A re-alignment. The cracking sounds in your body are good for you. Unlike the cracking sounds you hear when you twist your ankle and stuff.

Have you ever heard the story of Charles Atlas? He saw a lion stretching at a zoo one time in the early 1900s. All that lion did was lie around and stretch, and he was fit. So he developed a series of excersises based on stretching. Very interesting stuff. Most of the best discoveries were lightbulb moments like that. Eureka moments.

Eureka is apparently a good place name? There's two of them in Canada alone - one in Nunavut, our new territory, and another in Nova Scotia. We have some pretty goofy place names in Canada. We have a lake in Ontario? Crotch Lake. I mean, could it be much worse than that?

More Wikipedia later on... right now I'm on a fridge mission to get some blueberries.

Don't forget to enter my Topic Raffle contest if you'd like to hear my talking about your topic... As always, I promise I'll pick them out of an actual hat when I print them off my new printer. There's only 7 entries so far so GO TO! I won't start picking until later this afternoon. I'll have to dust off the hat. (I'll try and get a hat picture for you all =)

In other news, plans have changed yet again for me. I've been in contact with the lovely sheana, and my blog would have to be taken down off the site if I don't keep going, so I will be trying to get as close to 24 hours as possible =) EDIT: For those who don't know, I'm a recently sewed-up woman - I had surgery a week ago Thursday to remove my gallbladder and I'm definitely not at 100% yet. But sitting in a chair and typing isn't too strenuous really?

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This is Twyla's post #6 in BLOGATHON 2007.
Hello to all my visitors! Please comment to let me know you were here.
If you enjoyed this post, consider helping to stopslavery in our lifetime,
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logathon Sponsors have pledged/donated $565 to the cause as of this post.
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made for greatness, greatness

3x the Hatred, 3x the fun! - Chocolate

Ack! Post #7 already!
Okay, here's one three for you. I was inspired to do three by my lovely 'thon friend, bettybaker, who you should all go check out. We're Gtalking through this baby.

I hate chocolate. I hate cat macros. I hate tolerance. Let me explain, one at a time.

When I was a kid, I was allergic to cocoa, chocolate, and caffeine, among billions of other things like peanuts and the outdoors. Which covers a lot of ground. But since I was allergic to chocolate, my body is just disgusted by smelling it and everything. I can't stand chocolate. I hate watching people eat it because I think it's the most disgusting thing. I kind of screw up my face sometimes when I watch someone eating it? When people have a chocolate bar with peanuts it's twice as bad.

I get a lot of reactions to this, the first of which being pure, unadulterated shock. Afterwards, the person will usually exclaim, "We are SO not friends!" in a joking manner. Some of them are the least hint serious... So what's up with this affinity for the cocoa bean, asks me, totally unaffected by the addiction it seems to inspire in others? It brings me no pleasure whatsoever and so I am considered weird. What about you, weirdos? Do you have to be on a drug all the time to enjoy life? I mean, there's tons of awesome drugs in moderation. It's when you spend your life buying coffee and a chocolate donut every day I have to ask myself if you're compensating for something. Like a life you hate.

And I, being the normal one, am wondering if we should give you people Chocoholics Anonymous classes. Then I realize just how bad an idea that is. Because then you'd all just talk about chocolate? I can just see a swarm coming out the door and heading down to the corner store for a raid. Kind of silly, if you think about it.

I am a fan of A&W Root Beer, but I missed out on a lot of drinks as a kid because I was allergic to caffeine. I am no longer allergic to it, but it has effectively zero effect on my sleepyness factor. Sugar, on the other hand, is a very effective anti-sleep device, as long as the sugar input is constant so you don't get that awful lull. I prefer my sugar inside fruit - I'm not big on desserts in general. Mostly because all the "good" ones are chocolate? It's a never-ending cycle with you people! Agh!

Chocolate and caffeine don't work on me, and I'm probably also allergic to alcohol. It's a good thing I'm the drug-free type.

If there's anyone else out there who hates chocolate, I want to know. We must form a peoplehood. What! I can't use brotherhood, or some schnook will tell me I'm being politically incorrect? Wait! That's another thing I hate... *pencils it in*

And I just dumped a half carton of blueberries onto my floor. Now I have to pick them up, inidividually so they don't stain my floor, and go wash them. I'd say I hate that, but I love blueberries so much it makes up for the occassional dumping them on the floor issue, and really, I've been shaky since the surgery? At my Jello party on Wednesday, I dumped stuff over and over again and people were notlaughing with me. I am unused to being clumsy. Bah.
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This is Twyla's post #7 in BLOGATHON 2007.
Hello to all my visitors! Please comment to let me know you were here.
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logathon Sponsors have pledged/donated $575 to the cause as of this post.
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pleased

Hatred - Deux

Gah, I'm struggling to find a good color combo that doesn't kill my eyes on Semagic. =) They're playing Iris on Blogathon Radio! YES!

Alright, I think my second thing I told you about was Cat Macros, correct? I know I'm treading on dangerous ground here when I say a big part of my not liking cat macros is that I don't like cats. All the cat lovers get ticked at me when I say that. I don't really hate cats. I reserve hatred for the most unimportant things in life, it's a big energy waster. Pets are important. Just ask so many bloggers in the 'thon who are doing their bit for the animal kingdom. I don't really like big slobbery dogs either - small dogs are just fine with me, but big ones nosing in your crotch... (Okay, that's the second time I've used that word in the 'thon. I'm putting a lid on it. I won't say crotch again. Whoops. Third time's the charm?)

Getting back to the cat macros: Of course, I also don't like bad grammar. It makes me cringe, so that really does have a big effect on the whole cat macros thing. To me, cat macros are like another method of swearing instead of using, you know, actual language to get your point across. I don't mind other macros, though? I like the tiny turtle macro! So much that I made it into an icon! And I have a ROFL icon of a seal or a walrus or something too.

I also found this sweet website of robot macros that I really enjoyed. So I guess it all comes down to the cats? We had a nasty neighbor cat when I was a kid. Maybe that had something to do with it?

Yes, I realize that me saying I hate cat macros is an invitation for everyone to spam my comments with macros - so do it! I want to see the best and worst of macros. I want to groan and laugh and cringe. Comment with your favourite or least favourite macros, people. =)

And those of you who are looking at me funny because you don't know what image macros are? Check out Wikipedia's ideas on the subject.

Shout out to my first sponsor that I believe I haven't had any contact with? feralnothomeless, THANK YOU!

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This is Twyla's post #8 in BLOGATHON 2007.
Hello to all my visitors! Please comment to let me know you were here.
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logathon Sponsors have pledged/donated $580 to the cause as of this post.
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compromise

Tolerance

"Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it."

I hate tolerance. I said it three posts ago in my original list of three things I hate... but most people would be shocked at me saying something like that. Especially seeing as I am Canadian?

My profile here states my position on two things - "Political correctness changes with the tides and tolerance is heavily subjective..."

And that's exactly it. I don't think I can count the number of times I have been chewed out, in person or over the internet, for being intolerant. How hilarious is that really? You should be tolerant of my intolerence! That's the way it works, right? Not. You have to be tolerant of what is politically correct. Not what is true for you, even. Just what society considers to be worthy of going under the radar.

My foundational issue with the lovely word "tolerance" which is sadly something us Canucks are known for is this: the official definition states that tolerance is "a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one's own; freedom from bigotry." Lies! It is rarely fair, and usually subjective! And as far as permissive - that means that you're okay with that stuff going on. Now I don't know about you and your views, but I'm not at all okay with most things that people are asking me to be tolerant about.

Tolerant means I'm tolerating you! One of the official definitions of tolerating is that you're "putting up with" it. I don't want to put up with stuff I disagree with! I want it to stop! I'm not going to be tolerant of little things, because that leads to being tolerant with the big things I don't care for. Like slavery, for instance.

Tolerance is the worst form of apathy. It is destructive. And guess what? It's what our society is built on, because we'd rather be tolerant of the things we dislike than be supportive of the things we like. Wouldn't that be a better world? With a focus on help, rather than ignoring what you aren't down with? I think so.

You can disagree...

They're playing Grapefruit Diet on Blogathon, which reminds me that there was a Weird Al concert here a few days back...

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This is Twyla's post #9 in BLOGATHON 2007.
Hello to all my visitors! Please comment to let me know you were here.
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logathon Sponsors have pledged/donated $580 to the cause as of this post.
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Kite-Eating Tree

Recipe!

Getting close to lunchtime. How about a recipe?

My Grandma, who owns the house I live in, is a most wonderful cook. She's not had enough stamina to cook a lot for the last couple of years, but every once and awhile she cooks up a storm in the kitchen, and the result never fails to be mouthwatering. So here's a recipe for everyone of some pasta sauce she made for me on Thursday by editing a recipe she found on the internet. Yep, my Gran is internet savvy at age 74, mostly for recipes and gardening sites. She's never been one to be afraid of change... She dives right into everything. I wonder where I got that from? And today I even made her an LJ account so she could comment on my Blogathon participation. She's jazzgran. Hooray for 74-year-olds in the Blogosphere, eh?

She's also seen the word sauté so many times she knows which accent to use on it. Which is just testament to the fact that Gran is a food artist. Also amazing, she can explain how to make food in a way that puts cookbooks to shame and makes it possible for dorks like me to make amazing food. A good cook and a good teacher in one person is very valuable. I think I'll try and get some more recipes from her to post on LJ!

jazzgran's Vegetarian Pasta Sauce

Grate 1 Medium White Onion . Pour a 1 1/2 Tablespoons Olive Oil into a medium-sized cooking pot. Add the onion and 5 Cloves of Garlic, finely chopped.

Sauté on low to medium heat until onion is soft and shiny, which is probably about 10 minutes or so. Add 1 Cup of Mushrooms, thinly sliced. (We didn't have any, but it would have been excellent if we had.) Sauté until they are soft. STIR CONSTANTLY! Don't let the onions get too hot though, because they have a lot of sugar in them and they'll brown. [You totally can't rush good food. Wisdom of the elders, people.]

Add 2 Tablespoons of dried Oregano, and 1 Tablespoon of dried Basil. Stir well, and add a 28 oz tin of (Utopia brand for us, but crushed tomatoes are pretty uniform?) Crushed Tomatoes and A 5-8oz tin of Tomato Paste. Stir while evenly adding about 1 Teaspoon Salt.

On low heat, bring to a boil, and keep stirring for 5 minutes after it gets to boiling point. Because it's quite thick, it will spatter with boil bubbles if you don't keep stirring it. Have your favourite PASTA ready to serve this good a sauce over. [Or if you're desperate and don't have pasta, just eat the sauce alone.] Eat up! Enjoy!

RECAP OF STUFF YOU'LL NEED
Medium-sized cooking pot
1 Medium White Onion
1 1/2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
5 Cloves of Garlic
1 Cup of Mushrooms (Optional)
2 Tablespoons of dried Oregano
1 Tablespoon of dried Basil
28oz Crushed Tomatoes from the tin
A 5-8oz tin of Tomato Paste

*Corrections have been made to the olive oil since I first posted it.

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This is Twyla's post #10 in BLOGATHON 2007.
Hello to all my visitors! Please comment to let me know you were here.
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made for greatness, greatness

Bread

Bread. It's a very symbolic thing. We use it to symbolize food in general, don't we? For me as a Christian, Bread is also a big part of Christianity - one of Jesus' neatest and most well known miracles is the feeding of the 5,000 people with bread that multiplies.

Can you imagine what your life would be like if the only thing you ever had a hope of eating was bread? There's people in the world for whom that's true. Can you imagine the anticipation for it, the flavour of it if it was all you had?

Here's where I encourage all of you to go click the button on the Hunger Site. Or check out some of the lovely bloggers in the 'thon who are blogging for hunger. I'd imagine a lot of the slaves in the world might be getting a lot of bread, you know, as opposed to any really good, less cheap food. They might not even be getting bread.

But really, is bread symbolic to you? I have always loved the smell of fresh toast in the morning. Bread goes with sandwiches, like the one I'm about to make myself. It goes with each meal of the day. Warm bread, fresh and scented, is one of the great pleasures of my life. Not the type that you generally talk about, of course. But bread with my Grandma's crab apple jelly? MAN.

I love garlic and cheese toast, I love Subway sandwiches on "Italian Herbs and Cheese" and I like Honey Oat bread and whole grain... I've never been a fan of white bread, though. White bread is symbolic to me, too. Firstly it's pure sugar and not good for you, and it doesn't really taste all that awesome. I'd rather have bread with flavour. And then it's white bread. I mean, what else can you say about it?

I remember when my Grandma used to bake bread all the time... I loved the smell of that. It's totally a part of my family life... And when I take communion, it's the body of my Lord. Can you get any more important than that for a symbol?

In conclusion: Bread. It's what's for dinner. With other stuff of course.

And I'm going to go make a sandwich, because I am HUNGRY.


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This is Twyla's post #11 in BLOGATHON 2007.
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made for greatness, greatness

Baker's Dozen. Not.

Sweet! They're playing Unbelieveable! And Tal Bachman. This is going well so far for radio... =D

Okay, 12th post of the series, so we'll talk about the Dozen. Point form, 12 points of course, but I wasted time getting my sandwich.

* Dozen is from the french word douzaine meaning group of 12, other words with similar meanings include quinzaine (a group of fifteen), vingtaine (a group of twenty), centaine (a group of one hundred), etc. Cool, huh?

* I thought bettybaker was going to win LJ Idol. She didn't get the championship, but she made it to the top three, and that's quite an accomplishment. She's blogging the 'thon and chatting with me now. =D

* Dozen is one of those neat words that starts to break down and look odd when you look at it for too long.

* The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker... Three men in a tub? Bloody, waxy, flour-covered men? EW!

* Sherlock Holmes is one of my heroes. He lives on Baker Street, which is why he's included here. I always liked the way I couldn't figure out Doyle's stories like I could all the other mysteries. He ruined me for the mystery genre...

* Fake baking doesn't really impress me... But if you look better and you can afford it, go ahead =)

* Baked beans are an amazing food. Especially maple baked beans, Heinz brand. Good stuff. Except for the aftermath? BEANO! Actually I've never used beano.

* Baking soda is the cheapest bath accompaniment ever, and it makes the water so soft!

* Baked on pasta in the pot is my nemesis when it comes to making myself food.

* I got an Easy-Bake Oven when I was a kid. It was fun!

* I know this has nothing to do with baking, but they're playing the song I requested on Blogathon radio =D Lenny Kravitz - Fly Away. Major high school memories.

* Bacon. It's one of my favourite foods. It sounds like "bake" right? And I'm running out of time of the 40 seconds left variety...

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This is Twyla's post #12 in BLOGATHON 2007.
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get out of my house

Flowery Goodness

At about 11:13 today, having had a little extra time on my hands due to my Granny's recipe being already typed, I took a quick walk outdoors with my digital camera to capture some of the bounty for you! Here's two of our big bunches of awesome.

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Hope you enjoyed them! I don't think we have any of my favourite flower, the Bachelor's Button, this year. I didn't see any of them anway.

This post is short to give me time to move this joint outside, because it's beautiful out there today and I don't want to miss it all because of the internet =) I am actually posting this from my deck, with Blogathon Radio playing and the wind going through the wooden chimes... I am having so much fun sitting here, petting my puppy dog. Here's a picture of him that I took literally moments ago.


We'll talk more about him later =)

So since this is post #13, tell me some weird superstitions you've heard of...

Also, has anyone read The Historian? I tried but it was just too slow for me, though I may try again in a more Tolkienesque mood? It seemed like it could be good, anyway, for a vampire novel...

Best thing about being outside? A dragonfly just landed on my monitor edge. Beautiful!

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This is Twyla's post #13 in BLOGATHON 2007.
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So...Snoopy

PlanetMike meets TwylaCentral

The guy who's blogging over at PlanetMike.com has given out three questions he'd like other bloggers to answer for charity donations! Here goes.

Name a childhood regret, something you did as a kid that you wish you hadn't done.
Oooh, a toughie. I'll come back to that after answering the other two. Alright. When I was a kid, I wasn't too fond of regret. In fact, I rarely did anything I regretted. But when it comes to friendships, I really could pick 'em. I had a girl who accused me of abusing her when I was in my pre-teens, and it was totally crazy and sad. I had one friend who was basically the most insulting person ever. I was like any other kid of course - attention was attention. Thankfully my parents were really good at getting me out of these situations, but what I wish is that I'd never developed a bunch of harmful friendships and had to go through the pain of betrayal so many times as a kid. It was just the kind of thing that I could have done without, although they've helped me learn how to develop strong and authentic relationships today, so aside from the pain of it, those situations were kind of beneficial...

Name something you love to do, but wish you could do it better.
Now this one is really easy - ultimate frisbee. It's big on my campus and with my friends - because it's really fun of course. Now that I've had my surgery, I won't even be able to practice up this summer for the fall season on campus, which really sucks. I pretty much suck at anything but the basics of the game, even though I really enjoy playing. I think I could be a decent player with some practice, but still.

Name something really big you want to do but it is so huge you can't even get started:
Huge, literally? A mural. I've always wanted to paint a mural. I don't like painting on the small scale much... And it's really expensive to do a mural - the paint costs a lot. I'd have to do one for a business, and it would have to be something someone would need to approach me about. I'd like to do something really edgy and colorful that would still have an impact for many years. So that's a big dream I have. And it's one of the things I'd like to do in the next 5 years or so.

Dragonflies who have sat on my laptop screen count = 4. I'll try and snap a pic, but they rarely stay that long.

My Mom, who is the best just brought me an ice cold punch. And they're playing Pour Some Sugar On Me for the second time today, which is fine with me.

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This is Twyla's post #14 in BLOGATHON 2007.
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So...Snoopy

Firefly, Dragonfly, Fly Away

I sent the Firefly theme song in to the Blogathon Radio! I think I stumped the poor girl. I'm sorry. She's thinking... "They're floating around in Space..." She's onto it, but she can't remember it. So cool. They're playing it twice. Nope, she didn't get it! Too bad! The radio is making this whole thing 10x as fun.

Alright, so since we're talking about Firefly, it's definitely one of my newest series favourites. Since my friend Kate had a Firefly watching party, the evening before my trip to the Emergency room in extreme pain from gallbladder issues... But really, that series just has the greatest characters, it's a shame it was on for only a little while. I'd love more episodes. But I will make do with what I have, which is just a few absolutely amazing characters. And everyone else's fan fiction, which I haven't started reading yet! =D
Did you know that dragonflies eat mosquitos? I found that out a few years back... That definitely moved them up in the rankings for my favourite winged creatures. They're right up there with hummingbirds and bats now.

Send me some pictures of the most beautiful dragonflies you can find! Artwork, macro photos, I want to see them!

This lady has some neat dragonfly artwork...


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This is Twyla's post #15 in BLOGATHON 2007.
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stomping on things

All that you can't leave behind

And love
Love is not an easy thing
The only baggage you can bring
Is all that you can't leave behind


My friend has an icon on her love posts journal. It reads, "And she's so scared to get close to anyone, 'cause anyone who ever said 'I'll be there' left." As long as you restrict the leaving to the male gender, we've pretty much just described the situation of each woman in my immediate family. But you know, the great thing about it is that the men who left us were never really worth keeping.

I'm just grateful that I've met so many wonderful men that I can't ever make a broad generaliztion. I know there's wonderful men out there. And horrible women, too. People, of any age and gender, have the capacity for great good and despicable evil. Unfortunately, the despicable evil pack has been mauling my family for years. We're not alone. But we are scarred. I didn't realize just how deep the cuts were in my own life, just from the effects of understanding the level of hurt involved in abuse.

Most people think it's not their business. And they're wrong. It's everyone's business. It's your business.

I say this by way of explaining just why I got interested in human rights, women's rights specifically. I get tired of a lot of the big tenets of modern feminism, but there's one thing that's very true - the stats on the abuse of women worldwide are staggering. Did you know that about 1 in 3 women in North America have been raped or sexually abused in some way? That statistic gets even worse outside North America. Have you really stopped and thought about how many people are in this boat? Has it been you?

There's a big thing about people who have experienced abuse. They're the ones who come out of it ashamed. Isn't that disgusting? Blame is handed around and rarely lands on the bastard who did the deed. I could tell you horror stories, but the fact is, it wouldn't take you long to find them on your own.

You know, most of the time the abuser ends up going scot free and ready to abuse another. At least in North America, we think they're scum, some places that's the norm. And you know, there really isn't any justice in this world for these people. That's the sad fact. But we can help some of them, because it's never an excuse.

I challenge everyone to find out more about the rights and freedoms of women worldwide. It's a matter of freedom. And that's what I'm blogging for.

Lift me up so high that I cannot fall...
Lift me up when I'm falling
I'm weak and I'm dying
I need you to hold me
And keep me from drowning again


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This is Twyla's post #16 in BLOGATHON 2007.
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chillaxin

Cars

I do have a test today... It's on European Socialism. I mean, really, what's the point? I'm not European. I don't plan on being European. So, who gives a crap if they're Socialists? They could be fascist anarchists, it still wouldn't change the fact that I don't own a car.

I have always been a bit of a car person. I enjoy the sound of a good motor. I must have inherited it from my Aunt. For years my favourite car was the Charger from Dukes of Hazzard, and it remains right up there. I wouldn't want the symbols, though Orange would be fine.

I always loved the scenes of Ferris Bueller where he's drooling over a car, because then and now I identify. Public transit isn't too bad in my city. Well, most of the time, at least for comfort. But when it really comes down to it, nothing beats driving. Which is why I'm very excited to be trying for my driver's test again in the next few weeks. Hopefully this time I'll be able to pull off the perfect parallel park I can do when I'm not in the test, right?

Yesterday I was out for lunch and all the fantastic top-down purring babies were out. There was a sexy purple BMW. Now, not all vehicles are sexy, but that one. Woah. Here's one in lime green. Definitely my kind of car.

One of my big goals for the future is learning more about the inside of the car - my tastes run purely to colors and shapes - cars to me are an artform, and I'm not all that familiar with their insides. Someday, though, I really want to be taught about that part of a car. The under-the-hood mystery area.

Also, the animated movie Cars was fantastic. I laughed pretty hard.

Today it is 36 degrees outside with the muggy factor. That's 96 for you Americans. It's hot and muggy and every time the breeze comes up I breathe a sigh. But truthfully one of the reasons I am out here is that I can hear the hot rods go by. The sound of a car is music to my ears.

As is the sound of my family coming and bringing me food. I'm like the healthiest snacker ever today. I've had a soup and sandwich lunch, I'm having peas and various fruits... It's a good life, chillaxin' out here on my deck with the fireflies and the dog =)

Only downside... I can't swim until my wounds are totally healed =(

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This is Twyla's post #17 in BLOGATHON 2007.
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made for greatness, greatness

Counterintuitive

So here's a big pet peeve of mine: Things that are counterintuitive.

Two things among them, the doors at the Safeway by my workplace - you have to go in to the left (nearer the building) and out to the right which means you run into absolutely everyone who is leaving on your way in. I've seen collisions. I guess it must have seemed a good idea at the time?

And then there's beziers in Illustrator. Okay, I know that sentence makes no sense to any of you who aren't familiar with Graphic editing. But they are counterintuitive! I still haven't really figured them out, and I can't find a reliable source who's got a way of explaining it either. Everyone's like, "Experiment with it!" and usually that helps, but not in this case?

I also think iPods are kind of counterintuitive? I'm okay with the shuffle but the others just don't work for me. Also, Apple computers in general - the interface isn't as good as Windows for knowing what's going on. Case in point the fact that in the last version I used for more than 5 minutes, which was awhile back so I don't know if it's still like that, you could have an open program with no windows open? Bizarre.

Bizarre is turning out to be one of my favourite words today? Cool.

Of course, Windows fixing processes are terribly counterintuitive as well. And since that's what you end up doing all the time... Yeah.

The king of counterintuitiveness though is Myspace. That website is IMPOSSIBLE to navigate. I mean, I'm eclectic, but I get the fact that website navigation is not supposed to be that way! Facebook on the other hand is nigh on perfect. As a designer, I aim for intutive interfaces for the user. My way of saying, I want my website to be idiot-proofed. I want a person who has never seen a website before to figure it out quickly. That's my quality promise =)

I have a little freakout session everytime I come into contact with things that are causing issues because they go against the normal way of doing things in the public space. I'm a big believer in the power of intution and habit, so

My Grandma just popped outdoors to tell me about a spelling error - I had written "Crap" apples instead of crab apples. Geez. Also, dragonflies that have sat on my monitor count is now 5.

I hear Blogathon just broke $100,000 donated! FANTASTIC!

Thanks to everyone who's been coming by. Don't forget about my Topic Raffle! I'm going to start doing it for the second half to keep my brain turned on!

Also, despite the fact that I have a Family Guy icon, I'm not much of a fan? Just had to say it.

My lappy is feeling pretty warm, so I'm really impressed that it's working so well for me. I guess that person who fixed it was a good choice!

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This is Twyla's post #18 in BLOGATHON 2007.
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Brevity

Coffee and Funerals

The first time I ever drank a cup of coffee, it was at a funeral. Starbucks had actually donated all the coffee for the funeral, because this man, my Pastor, who I dearly miss, loved Starbucks coffee so much. I bet he's enjoying the coffee in heaven.

Since that day, Starbucks has become a place I go to for comfort drink - when I'm just finished a huge and stressful midterm, for example, or after a class that really upset me. I usually use it as a meal replacement. Not the healthiest of options, but I mean, I didn't even buy junk food for the blogathon and I'm pretty cool with fruits and veggies, so when I decide to let myself go on Starbucks there's not too much to stop me.

Tim Hortons is also a big part of my life, and the lives of most Canadians, especially students... There's two on my campus, and probably one or two more within 15 blocks or so. The food is amazingly cheap and fast. It works for everyone.

The lineups though, are deadly, in more ways than one. Most Tim Hortons are located in busy areas. The traffic jams around the on and off ramps are horrid, and more than once I've seen people inches from causing a major accident, with their heads below the dash trying to settle in their Iced Cap and a cell phone in their other hand. It's terribly unsafe.

If people keep up this kind of thing with there might be a funeral or two of people who died waiting in line for coffee. At least maybe then they would give all your friends and relatives some free?

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This is Twyla's post #19 in BLOGATHON 2007.
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goals

The big 2-0

It's the perfect time of day to throw all your cares away
Put the sprinkler on the lawn and run through with my gym shorts on
Take a drink right from the hose and change into some drier clothes
Climb the stairs up to my room sleep away the afternoon

Like a dream you try to remember but it's gone
Then you try to scream but it only comes out as a yawn
When you try to see the world beyond your front door
Take your time is the way I rhyme gonna make you smile
When you realize that a guy my size might take a while
Just to try to figure out what all this is for


That's totally my Halifax song from my trip there. I don't have time to write about it right this moment, but if you'd like to read about it, check out the Halifax tag on the blog... Oddly, I went there in February? It was just the right mood of song for me. Now it's the right weather!

Well, I've finally reached a milestone - 20 posts. I've been blogging for like 10 hours, isn't that bizarre? =) I'm totally going to have to count the number of times I use that word. For anyone who missed the memo, I'm back to blogging for 24 hours with the official Blogathon 2007 so they can keep me up on the site and whatnot. I'm very excited about the Blogathon today, and I'm honestly having the time of my life.

So here's the schtick - if you're another 'Thon blogger who has stopped by to say hello, leave me a comment and I'll come visit you, too... If I like your charity I'll post a link for sure!

I am so thankful that I prepped ahead of time so I could offer you all such great topics, because right now my brain is seriously starting to buzz with topics and I need to nail it down to one all the time.

This post is going to be pretty short because the next few are all really sweet, so stay tuned =)

It's audience participation time! I need to know your favourite colors - everyone who reads this post?

My current favourite color is a wine color that I'm using on my business website. It's #83094C for all you net people.

It is a beautiful day today. A perfect day for making over 100,000 for charity!

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This is Twyla's post #20 in BLOGATHON 2007.
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crocodile smile

Porcupines

Quick and Easy Porcupines
Another Recipe by jazzgran for you all =)
If you missed the first one, find it here.


This is a dessert that kids and even Grandmother's love! Melt a 1/2 cup of Eagle Brand milk (the sweet, canned kind) with 3 toffee bars, best ones are Mackintosh's 56g bars. Get a bag of large marshmallows and cut them in half, or leave them large for a big mouthful. Coat them by dunking them - quickly so they won't melt - in the carmel milk mix, and then roll them in some Rice krispies you've set aside. Corn flakes also work... Set them down to cool... See if you can wait that long.

It's totally snack time. For 21 years, my Grandma has been making food for me. She does a crazy good job of it. And here I get to share her bounty with all of you! This one of my favourite desserts, and that's saying something because I'm not always that into sweet stuff and deserts. When she handed me this recipe, I was like, "Are you making these?" Unfortunately I don't get them today, but you could. Have some for me!

While we're talking about porcupines, how about some porcupine facts from various net sources?

Did you know that porcupines are rodents? The name "porcupine" comes from Middle French porc d'épine "thorny pork", okay, I had to laugh at that. I heard once that it's very painful for porcupines to mate... So the fact that there are porcupines in the world means those critters are pretty driven. Babies are one at a time, 7 month gestation, and come out with soft quills. They harden shortly after birth. Porcupines are herbivores. Porcupines are downright awesome and have a fun to say name! =)

There will be one more recipe for you tonight at suppertime...

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This is Twyla's post #21 in BLOGATHON 2007.
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ineffectual scrat

Co-Workers

Tell me, did you fall for a shooting star,
One without a permanent scar
And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there?


My Mom came outside for a moment, and I asked her for a topic. Co-workers. That's what she said, just ask her.

Alright, I'm giving myself a few minutes to write about my co-workers.

I have been really fortunate in my life to have gained a number of really wonderful co-workers.

At my current office, they are the most wonderful people. My boss is fantastic and has a neat sense of humor as well as awealth of information on any topic related to his job. The people in the offices nearby give me a sense of true camraderie. In fact, my one co-worker (and sponsor!) Marion is even helping me to get my licence and letting me use her car! How generous. There are always going to be tense moments, disagreements, and problems as there are with any people in groups, but I've been fortunate to have always been in jobs that were good for me!

My current job is really fun most of the time. I get to work with PowerPoint and kids games all the time... I've been doing a lot of themed ones this year... A lot of the times when my co-workers walk by they get all excited. I have a pretty fun job really.

Thinking about art stuff makes me miss school a little? I mean, I'd be a fool to really miss winter and textbooks when I'm sitting here blogging in the cool of the shade, but there are parts of school I really like - like having studio space to work in. That's not something I have much of at home.

Sorry for the shorter post, I'm working on a couple of monsters for you, so trust me there will be good stuff ahead.

I think it's time for another 3-part series? Might be broken up a little though =)

Did you know that today, the day of the 'thon, is exactly 100 days before my birthday? Cool, huh?

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This is Twyla's post #22 in BLOGATHON 2007.
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logathon Sponsors have pledged/donated $580 to the cause as of this post.
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Postal Service

Tribute to Savage Chickens

Excellent, I got in increase my donation number =)

My next set of three posts are going to be about my favourite webcomics! You simply must see Dan Savage's chicken comics. They are quite witty. I have made a number of icons from them, and some of them are just side-splitting.

Complete with chickens and recurring characters like Timmy Tofu, who is tasteless in both the conventional and the moral sense, PROD who is a robot carrying a stick with a nail and encouraging productivity in the workers, and even a couple of different kinds of blobs. The fun never ends.

For example... my icon. The best thing about Dan is that he is consistently funny. I look forward to seeing S.C. every weekday!

Here's a number of my favourites which is FAR from an exhaustive list.

Realization
Glass Half Empty
Protest Rally
Chickens on the Moon
The Voices
And a great one to end on that smacks of truth: Summer Day
Doug, if you make it on over here, thanks for coming =)

Next: One final recipe!
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This is Twyla's post #23 in BLOGATHON 2007.
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summer

Halfway mark! A hamburger recipe...

Everlast Hamburgers
The final Recipe by jazzgran for you all =)
If you missed the first two, find them here and here.


To extend the amount of patties to help feed unexpected guests or for a large family, my Father (jazzgran's of course), who was an excellent cook, would make patties using ground meat, approximately 1 1/2 pounds of beef or pork. This was more than 65 years ago during my growing up years. He would mix in 1 medium to large finely grated potato and 1 medium to large finely grated onion with 2 whole large eggs. Then he would put salt and pepper to taste. You knead all the ingredients together to make sure they're well mixed - you might need to use your hands - and set out a Large fry pan with approximately 1 tablespoon of butter or oil on medium heat. Form patties about the size of an egg. Flatten slightly and place slightly in the frying pan. It's important that they're roughly the same size so they cook evenly... When you notice the ones touching the bottom of the pan becoming golden brown, turn them and watch for a good color. If you wonder about when they are done, simply use your flipper to split one in half down the middle - if there's any pink they're not done yet... Enjoy!

That list again:
1 1/2 pounds of beef or pork
1 medium to large finely grated potato
1 medium to large finely grated onion
2 whole large eggs
1 tablespoon of butter or oil
Large fry pan

Trust me - from experience, these burgers are a million times better than the usual all-beef kind. Try it sometime, you might be surprised! Those are the burgers we had tonight for supper =)

I suggest two that you try it with grated carrot salad - there's a secret to that, too. If you grate up a bunch of carrots and toss them in some mayonaise and sugar, it's the most wonderful thing to go with hamburgers. If you're feeling adventurous, try putting in some apple or pineapple, too!
HALFWAY DONE the Blogathon. I'm kind of tired and brainfrozen already, but I'd imagine everyone is... My family keeps plying me with food, so I'm enjoying things.
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This is Twyla's post #24 in BLOGATHON 2007.
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Nothing is ruined.

XKCD

Alright, post #2 from the Favourite Webcomic series. This moment: XKCD. I have to show you a recent one:



I do this at McNally Robinson ALL THE TIME.

XKCD just has everything from chess on rollercoasters to romance with geeks. It's coming from a guy who turned his whiteboard into a wikipedia entry, with some of the listed langauges being Braille and Cussin', and even made a terraformed map of the internet. I have loved this comic from the moment I saw it, even with the warning that it may be unsuitable for Liberal Arts majors. Really, I have enough friends in the sciences that they can explain things to me, and most of the merely geeky stuff I already get. The romance is amazing and I love it. There's even commentary on cat macros and growing up...

In conclusion, the algorithm killed Jeeves. This is not the algorithm. This is close.

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This is Twyla's post #25 in BLOGATHON 2007.
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made for greatness, greatness

50 Things

Another interruption in the flow of Comic entries... I'm working on some monster posts still, and I want them perfect. First post that requires a cut! More work I've done ahead of time =)

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This is Twyla's post #26 in BLOGATHON 2007.
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goals

Dinosaur Comics

I've always been fascinated by both text and visual media - so when I stumbled across Dinosaur Comics, I thought it was a really neat idea. Much the same way as with XKCD, I quickly began to enjoy this comic daily very soon after we met. Here's where T-Rex would probably make some kind of comment about the Ladies?

Each of the following can be related to my posts...
The Sexes
Feeling Reflective
Everybody Dies

Dinosaur Comics, in conclusion, is an eclectic mix of philosophy and a bunch of dinosaurs in fact, the same dinosaurs every time. Dinosaurs talking about philosophy of life? I mean, what's not to love.

Also, kudos to anyone who understands why I say this now: Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!
Now I'm getting tired. Second wind! Second wind, where are you!

Also, I have an alterior motive to posting all of these - I get to keep myself entertained looking at my favourite comics!

My favourite dinosaur has always been the stegosaurus... Do you have a favourite dinosaur?

Keep tuning in for more interesting posts, I'm going to stop slacking now and write you all some real posts =)

I got to lie down on the lounger for awhile before. Mmmmm. Rest.
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This is Twyla's post #27 in BLOGATHON 2007.
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2cute

Carlos the Great

I think this is a great time to write about my chihuahua, Carlos. My icon is a photograph of him and me, and easily one of my favourite pictures ever taken of me.

Carlos is very photogenic. I took this photo of him, for instance, when he was a tiny puppy who could almost fit in your hand.

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Now, my nickname for Carlos is Dogface. Now some of you might be thinking that's a rather odd way to title your pooch, but when I say Dogface, I'm referring to the phenomenon known as puppy dog eyes. Our little dogface has eyes that can melt your heart.

We've had Carlos for 7 years as of August. There's a story. Our last dog, Teddy Bear, a sharpei, had to be put down. I was sitting on the bed with my Grandma and looking at the newspaper the next day. We'd known for awhile we wanted a smaller dog, and we'd settled on a chihuahua. There were some for sale, and I called them and they said to come over that evening. The next thing I know, there was a tiny bundle resting in my arms on the way home. He was a goofy little one... We used to play all the time with him pouncing on your hand on the blanket when you'd scratch the pillows...

He fit into our family right away, no puppy withdrawl. And he loves all of us very much. I'm pretty used to the pouncing by now. He's a little Tigger, he jumps on your belly - which I have to be really careful of right now, post surgery. The sound of your "Ooof!" is often heard through the house...

And when he cocks his head at you? It's golden. =)

I just called him over here to pet him, and he came! Lovely little beast.

I was really hoping to write about the little guy here, because he pops up every so often in my posts and I generally don't have a chance to explain that when I'm cuddling with Carlos that's my dog, not an *ahem* good latin friend.
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This is Twyla's post #28 in BLOGATHON 2007.
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awaken me

Touch

Touch is one of the forgotten senses. People are always so focused on what they can see. It's probably odd for me as an artist to say that I have less respect for painting that doesn't have texture, even if I'm not allowed to touch it. There's something about visual texture that still appeals to your sense of touch, even though you might not be touching the object, you know what it would feel like if you did. So, it still has an effect on your subconscious.

My aunt is one of the most touch-sensitive people I have ever met. Every time we walk into a clothing store, she offers me the sleeve of some shirt and says, "Feel this." She's been doing that for so many years that I never really think about how much it's effected the way I think about touch. I told her a couple of weeks ago that she's definitely the most picky person about fabrics that I've ever met. She's sensitive about her shoes. She is always very attuned to the way things feel against her body. I think that's somewhat of a gift. Most people in today's world are so focused on the visual and the audio that they don't come to an understanding of their other senses. They eat food in a rush, because they're always in a hurry, so they don't really taste that either. And, usually the only time people notice a smell is when it's very strong and disgusting.

So, to me, touch has been a big focus of my thought processes as an artist and as a person over the last couple of years. I am determined to bring touch and all of the other senses into my final project in Art. I don't think it would be a full expression of my artistic awareness if I didn't.

A friend asked me, a few days ago when I was in the hospital and we were playing the random question game (one of my favourite games) over email, what my favourite thing was to touch. I answered her that my favourite was pretty much human skin....nice soft skin of a young or an old person, it doesn't really matter. The texture is really quite amazing. Conversely, my least favourite is probably dry and cracked or damaged skin. I also like a lot of fabrics and rough textures....sandpaper, wood, bark...a lot of the run-of-the-mill ones that everyone seems to like as well. One of the ones that I don't really like that everyone else seems to is silk. It feels okay, but I really wouldn't want to be touching it all the time. Silk feels... fake. To me.

I wonder sometimes how much other people are conscious of the things they touch, or the things that touch the different parts of their bodies; their shoes, their hair...something that touches them. I realize that touch is a big part of relationships between people and I think that it's often overlooked. When I was young, my family wasn't into hugs all that much. It wasn't because they didn't love me, just because it was our style as a family. For a while there, from my early teens, nobody really touched me at all. One day a friend touched me on the shoulder and I nearly jumped through the roof. I guess it makes me understand more the concept of 'untouchable.' Can you imagine what it must have been like to be a leper in Biblical times...even today. There is leprosy as a problem in other countries, although it's an easily cured disease in today's world, people are too poor to afford even an inexpensive treatment. Such people spend how many years of their life without touch? It must be one of the hardest parts. If you don't have a mirror, you don't see the disfigurement, and after awhile the pain is constant, it can all blur together. But I think you'd probably come to miss touch very quickly. Even something as simple as a handshake would mean something to you. For someone to touch you would be an absolute gift.

It really makes a person consider the reality of touch in our society. We may not think it's very important unless we're being intimate with someone, but I don't think that's really true. I think there's a moment of connection every time you touch somebody. If we can learn to enjoy those moments more, we might have a better experience of the world.


If this post has inspired you to learn more about leprosy or make a donation, you can start here:

     
 
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This is Twyla's post #29 in BLOGATHON 2007.
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holding out for a hero

Why I Collect Nutcrackers

Pretty much the only thing that I have collected consistently in my life is nutcrackers. I've had a couple of friends ask me why, so I thought I'd try and explain it during the blogathon. I'm not exactly the classic knight in shining armor romantic. Let me clarify, I am a romantic ...it's just that every fairy tale I ever read, I identified more with the knight than the damsel in distress. I'm an adventurer. Even in my own story, Deleran, an RPG that I made up with my friend Ricki and some of our extended friends as well, my character was very strong and adventurous, not the type who would need rescuing.

Part of this is because of the mentality of my family. For us, everything has always been, "Do it yourself if you want it done right." I remember hearing that said often when I was a kid, usually in a scoffing manner. But, I guess, the charm of it wore off over time. So, here's where my collection comes in. If any of you have ever seen the ballet or movie or read the story of The Nutcracker, you might wonder why I would be interested. When it all really comes down to it, I think the reason I collect nutcrackers is because they've become my symbol for the knight in shining armor. The difference between a classic fairy tale knight and the nutcracker is that knights tend to be proud and haughty and egotistic and self-serving. The Nutcracker, on the other hand, is self-sacrificing and truly cares for those he protects.

There's something so much more powerful about a self-sacrificing hero. It's the reason I like Spider-Man better than all the other heroes. Superman, on the one hand, doesn't need to give anything up to be himself, at least, nothing he might not get in the end. Batman has everything taken from him, and lives most of his life in bitterness, even if he tries to do the right thing. Spider-Man continually enacts self-sacrifice, not just for his girlfriend, not just for his family, but even for the common person. For the police officer in the big city who has his hands full, even if he does it in a naive and immature way, it still counts that it's part of his character. Even if he whines about it a lot, he'll still do it in the end. I guess maybe that's the true mark of a hero.

Certainly, people that the world labels as heroes in real life are often those who have been willing to sacrifice themselves for a person, or even an animal. Someone who sacrifices himself to try and get his computer out of a burning building would be labeled a fool, not a hero. A baby, on the other hand, is a totally different thing. For him to go into a burning building to rescue life is honourable. But, it's the self-sacrifice and not the rescue in and of itself that gives people the right to say that he is a hero.

I read this neat book one time about super heroes and philosophy. It definitely better outlined some of my ideas about these things. I guess part of me hopes that if I have an army of nutcrackers and each of them represents the possibility that someone out there has a heart that good, maybe some day I'll find out that I was right. I already know a lot of men in my life are like The Nutcracker to me. They're encouraging to find among men, given my family's history with the male gender. So, in some way a part of me is hoping that every nutcracker I acquire will mean another friend with a heart of gold.

So that, in a nutshell, is why I collect nutcrackers. Also because they're cool and colourful and artistic...but I wouldn't keep collecting them just for that. If I can have a little bit of majesty on my shelf, that is better than just knick-knacks.


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This is Twyla's post #30 in BLOGATHON 2007.
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<input ... ></input><input ... >
 
desert music

Piano Musings

My piano struggles have been going in on some way or another since I was a little kid. It always fascinated me, but I've always pretty much sucked at it until recently. My aunt once remarked to me that it seemed like I was an all or nothing person, that I could either do things or I couldn't. It usually had something to do with my age. Piano was one of those things.

I remember having piano lessons when I was young, and they just didn't agree with me. I really hated it and didn't see that it would ever do me any good. When I achieved my dream of getting into one of the top spots in the university music program in university, I figured that the music immersion would make piano less painful. I was right....but only half right. Oddly, it was my music theory that was better than piano, music theory being a combination of different kinds of math, that really surprised me. Piano quickly lost my focus, and I didn't have a love for it, not being forced to do it, anyway. And, in a strange turn of events it became a catalyst for me making the decision to leave the music program. It's not that I don't regret the decision some days, especially when I go to a really good show where a lot of my friends from the university are performing. But, I think all in all I did make the right choice.

This journal, newsong, was created around the time that I started that year. Even though my focus is now art, it really still fits. But, that's just a side note.

When I was in university, I found a used piano that was on sale and I convinced my mom to help me buy it. Since then, she's actually paid for the whole thing and given it to me as a gift. For a long time now, it's layed under dust. I plunked on it occasionally. But, this summer a change has come over me and I feel a lot more comfortable with the piano. I borrowed a couple of books and some sheet music with friends. Although I don't spend as much time on it as I would like, my playing is at least tolerable instead of terrible. If I can discipline myself to spend some time on it over the coming year, I can start developing something that I will be able to take with me for the rest of my life. So, in the end, it's a good thing we bought that piano. It was an investment, just not for the reason we thought. Now I get to use it for learning new worship music, as I'm a worship leader at my church. The fact that I'm no longer completely abysmal is heartening, and I'm looking forward to the day when I'll be able to sit in front of some sheet music and get through it on my first try. I know it'll take a lot of work to get there, but I've come to a point in my life when I think it's worth it. Music has always been so much a part of me that I'm finding it necessary to make sure that I have instruments that I can play and don't have to rely on other people for creating music. I'll be making up new songs as I go along.

Piano.. It means quiet, but it's quite the opposite. My favourite piano piece, by the way, is Chopin's Nocturne in E minor.

Be sure to check out my topic raffle. There's still only a few people who have entered, and I have lots of space left for pulling them out tonight. I'm looking for at least 3 more people to enter the raffle. Please find it in your heart to be one of them.


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This is Twyla's post #31 in BLOGATHON 2007.
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peril

Fear, No Fear, Fearless

I will not fear.
Fear is the mindkiller,
Fear is the little death
That brings total oblivion
I will permit my fear to pass
Over me and through me
And where it has gone
I will turn the inner eye
Nothing will be there
Only I will remain.

I remember reading the Bene Gesserit mantra in Dune when I was in high school. I went through a phase where I was into reading the heavy stuff, and Herbert's series fit the bill. I loved the discussion and the historicness of the fantasy. I've always been into historical fiction, it's basically my favourite book drama, and I like it even better when it's not actual history - so I guess that makes me a Sci-Fi buff and explains my attraction to things like Firefly and Star Trek - even though they're supposed to be set in the future, to me they're very much historic in a strange way.

Fear is an interesting phenomenon. I am convinced that fear is the opposite of love. This is an opinion I've come to over time. But just think how crippling fear is in the lives of those you know... Some people can have everything stolen away just with a moment of fear. If you really think, it makes sense.

I find that watching CSI is a place where I think a lot about fear. One thing I've noticed is that I seem to be strangely lacking in it, especially considering today's world. People are afraid of so many things - even themselves. I was never like that, nor do I know how to be. When I see teenagers wearing "No Fear" t-shirts, I often smile wanly, knowing that it is bravado that wears the T-shirt, not the child inside who wants to be loved and accepted. Fear is a destructive force, and I cannot see how a little bit of it could be "healthy."

A little bit of respect, a little bit of wisdom maybe. But Fear? I can't see anything good coming from it. I remember never having any fear as a performer or anything as a kid. It's pretty crazy to think about it that way. I was not afraid, and I'm still not.

I finally made it on to the IRC chat, so if you see me say hello! My first time on IRC, too. I'm just learning the ropes now, but it really appeals to my geeky side...

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newsong3, sfnewsong

Stretch!

Okay, IRC and the radio are totally draining my time, and in a really good way. This is so much fun. I had to find an emergency post with 3 minutes to spare!

Stretches for my fellow 'thonners - we can't get too stiff!

SPINAL TWIST: Lie on back, bring up knees and to the side, arms out, shoulders on the ground. Hold, repeat other side. Or with one knee.

LOWER BACK STRETCH:
Adopt a position on your hands and knees, with your back flat.
Point your fingers forward and your toes behind.
Drop your head downward, pushing your shoulder blades upward and outward as you elevate your upper back. Relax, then repeat several times

BACK EXTENSION:
Start by laying on your front, with your hands close to your chest, fingers pointing upward.
Exhale, pushing yourself up with your arms while keeping both feet firmly on the floor and your hips down.
Look up toward the ceiling. You should feel the stretch in front of your neck too.

I can't do most of these because they'd tear at my incisions, but I promise to get up and stretch.

Also, a little bit of wisdom from my Mom: "Stop and smell the roses?! Carry them with you, then you don't have to stop to smell them."

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This is Twyla's post #33 in BLOGATHON 2007.
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I don&#39;t want to get up

Calvin and Hobbes is <3


It's not denial, I am just very selective about the reality I accept.

Pretty much my favourite physical comic would have to be Calvin and Hobbes. Now I must note here that second comes Peanuts... I have a lot of icons from both of those, and it's super hard to pick one to post with... But I think this Calvin one pretty much represents me every morning before work, so it wins. I'm sure the rest of the icons will make an appearance for the rest of the 'thon.

The comic I've posted above is a big part of that - he covers art, my big area, so this makes me guffaw whenever I see it...

I think my generation is pretty much the Calvin generation. We're incredibly creative, incredibly lazy, and really, really bent on getting our own way. But if there's a little bird... Calvin and Hobbes is totally my childhood. I mean, I had a stuffed raccoon. Which reminds me of the baby raccoon storyline... But that's not really the reason why I identify with Calvin. It's because I was the philosophical kid. I didn't talk too much, I wasn't too popular with other kids... But I could have been the one with the Transmogrifier? I could have been the one debating the various challenges. And man, I could have challenged my Mom with the opinion polls!

 I guess I just think so many of us looked up to Calvin. He was braver than we were a lot of time. Got away with a lot more... I mean, Watterson dealt with death and all sorts of other huge philosophical areas - I mean the guy named his characters after philosophers. He dealt with the issues with humor and sweetness, and we loved his little boy and that stuffed tiger with so much wisdom.

I don't feel like I can do my feelings for Calvin justice here tonight, so that's all I'm going to say. Calvin and Hobbes = <3

Anyone have favourite comics/quotes of Calvin?

This blog post goes out to my lovely friend [info]jesusphreaq, who shares my love of Calvin and Hobbes! Missing you, my friend.

 
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This is Twyla's post #34 in BLOGATHON 2007.
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