Or maybe none of the things. I suppose this is the new semi-annual blog post, full of apologies for not blogging and bursting with excuses about life and time and blah, blah, blah.
I mean, it’s fine. There are only like, 3 people that read this anymore and I’m fine with that. The thing that *does* bother me is that I actually like doing this whole blogging thing regardless of readership. I’m definitely that kind of idiot that laughs at my own jokes and appreciates my own honest stupidity. I like documenting the good and ridiculous parts of my life–the minutiae that makes me happy and frustrated and moronic on a daily basis. I hate only keeping a secret hidden diary that goes in depth with all of the über-dark feelings that are terrifying in the light of day. I’ve been keeping a list of things I want to blog about and if I really applied myself like all of those teachers in middle school told me to do, I would have ten thousand pages of content.
But yeah, no.
In the past 6 months or so there has been so much going on. Things that in the moment feel like tumultuous life changes, both positive and negative but now, over time, don’t seem nearly as big. For the most part, this is a good thing. I don’t want an exciting life. I’m old, goddammit and I’m tired and I want the enjoyment of predictability, not the anxiety of a shit storm around each corner. Life in general has been overwhelming and I feel a desperation to shoehorn in ME time. And then I feel guilty when I’m so tired that ME time is just playing cell phone games or watching YouTube videos about washing cars. Seriously, if you’re not subbed to Stauffer Garage what are you even doing with your life?
I have 3 hours of dedicated work time on Saturdays (more on that eventually) so ideally I’ll use that time wisely and write at least a little bit. Until the next super delayed post!
Of all the bullshit things going on in my mind right now, I need to discuss a serious medical condition: Puzzle Eye.
In a different time in history, I may have been accused of witchcraft or vampirism because I. cannot. stop. with this fucking puzzle shit. If I am chasing you, just throw some puzzle pieces at me and it will drive me mad until I can put it all together. If I can’t work on actual jigsaw puzzles, then I play virtual jigsaw puzzle games or some sort of matching puzzle game. It’s getting to be annoyingly problematic. As an aside, I’ve passed this condition on to my son, but not my daughter. She tries, but she can’t. In fact, she bought a puzzle for herself that she worked on for all of 10 seconds before giving up and passing it on to me. She never should have brought it into this house! It’s become the bane of my existence. 300 pieces shouldn’t be a difficult puzzle. It should not. A 300 piece puzzle is an easy Sunday afternoon for me. But fuck this puzzle.
It’s cheap and doesn’t fit together well and it’s a complete nightmare to put together. I don’t know whether I’ll paint it not. UGH, this puzzle. I absolutely hate it but I will absolutely finish it.
Aside from that bullshit Color-Me puzzle I’ve been out of practice for a while because once I start I can’t stop and my life is too busy to lose a couple of days at a time to obsession. Having said that, I have still been collecting puzzles even if I haven’t been putting them together. Ravensburger is still and always will be king and their Challenge Series is a favorite of mine. They are generally 1000 pieces and of decent difficulty so it’s hard enough to be interesting but not so difficult as to be stressful.
Ravensburger’s Krypt Series is amazing. Once I’ve figured out the ‘trick’ of it, there is a great sense of accomplishment and I feel like a goddamn genius. This feeling occurs when working on regular puzzles, but it’s really tenfold on these krypt puzzles. I think that’s when puzzle eye kicks in. I see a piece and just know where it goes. I’m not a doctor so I don’t know how it works but I’m pretty sure it’s magic. I have a plethora of amazing yet useless skills. The spiral one I have hanging in the classroom but I found no reason to put a silver square on the wall.
Previously, my largest puzzle was Ravensburger’s Tarot which was so incredibly satisfying. It took 2 days of intense focus–and very little sleep or interaction with anyone. This is what I mean about how ridiculous I am with puzzles. This isn’t good behavior for normal people let alone for a spouse or parent, so while I still completed puzzles, I didn’t do any as larger or as involved.
Until now. [ominous music!]
A few years ago I acquired my most intense challenge yet: Ravensburger’s 5000 piece Sistine Chapel
Amazon has it listed for $68 but I picked it up on clearance somewhere for $20. $68 is actually much less than what it was listed for previously–around $80-$90. I want to do this so badly but I need to work up to it. I have a few more untouched Challenge puzzles and a whole box of cheap grocery store puzzles of varying difficulty that I recently rediscovered tucked away in a box in the classroom. I’ve been retraining my puzzle eye, just doing easy 300 and 500 piece sets, maybe a 750 piece one. I may even complete another Challenge Series puzzle before I
attempt begin the Sistine Chapel. This training regimen has been fraught with frustration.
I actually threw away this cute doggie puzzle. It was only 300 pieces and fun of course, but I knew it would be incomplete. I had to find out how incomplete though, and a few hours later I was left with four missing pieces. The cheap grocery store puzzles are kept in Ziploc style bags (as opposed to the individual jigsaw puzzle boxes that we’re used to seeing) and have been moved throughout the house countless times. Some of these puzzles have pieces are missing. I can’t express just how much this irritates me. How much an unexpected missing puzzle piece makes my skin crawl. Now, like the dog puzzle there are some sets that I know will have missing pieces; some sets that have been attempted by small hands and abandoned. That’s okay. I’m prepared. My fried chicken* is ready. But the ones that should be complete? The ones that have not been touched and yet still come out with one piece gone? Oh fuck them. FUCK THEM WITH THE BRILLIANT RAGE OF A THOUSAND SUNS.
I’m not giving up. I’ll keep looking and maybe a miracle will happen and I fill find it. In the mean time, I’ll continue to re-focus my puzzle eye and work up to that doozy of a challenge.
So the very talented Xingible/Yushinz has often used the phrase “my kokoro” which is an abstract term generally meaning heart but more like mind/body/spirit. I say this phrase to myself from time to time, mostly when my kids do something amazing or when I see something just incredibly heartwarming.
I say this because I was watching a new (to me) anime called Isekai Izakaya: Japanese Food from Another World. It’s very cute and because I’m a pig, I love learning about food and seeing people (animated or not) being excited about eating. At the end of the episodes, real people either create or seek out the food featured in the episode. In episode 2, Juicy Kara-Age Japanese style fried chicken is explored and damn if it doesn’t look delicious. In the ending segment, Kenichi Nagira finds a restaurant named Kokoro where they are famous for their fried chicken. Simple enough, a restaurant named Kokoro that serves among other things, fried chicken.
My exhausted 1 AM brain short circuited and blurred all the lines.
Somehow, for a just a moment, the term kokoro translated in my head as fried chicken. Oh my kokoro had a new and hilarious meaning.
So now, “oh my fried chicken!” is obviously going to be my new phrase. There is no other option.
I am really enjoying Isekai Izakaya: Japanese Food from Another World, so check it out if you like food and the juxtaposition of medieval Germany and a modern day Japanese restaurant. While you’re at it, check out Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family, based on Fate/stay night. Very cute. All of these food shows remind me how much I love Japanese culture, but also how desperately fat and American I am. I want to eat all of it, times four.