Author Archives: Heather

About Heather

Fiction writer. Founder/EIC of Broad! (broadzine.com) and Managing Editor at Front Porch Journal (frontporchjournal.com). Assistant Editor of fiction at Arcadia.

Stuff Heather Thinks is Super Great

The redesign of the Broad! website.  Okay, so this is totally cheating and a shameless plug, since the Broad! redesign is what I spent my afternoon doing.  But… but… it’s so pretty and stylish and professional-looking!  Go on, go look at it.  Scroll over the About tab.  Do you see that submenu?  Do you?

I might cry.

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home

I did some thinking about home today.  I haven’t found a dentist or doctor in my area, so I came to my hometown for the day and stayed at my parents’ while they were on vacation.  Strange, to walk around the darkened, empty house at night.  It’s not as though I have never been alone in a house — for someone who lives with three roommates, I’m alone in my apartment surprisingly often — but I couldn’t recall being alone overnight in that one.  The only bed left is theirs; they sold mine some months ago.  I slept on my father’s Tempurpedic pillow.  Comfortable, but strange.  But of course I slept well.

I need to get surgery on my head, the doctor says.  But this is nothing to worry about, she told me; I do not have skull cancer; that is not even a thing.

Afterward, I went for a drive because I could.  Driving, just to drive, felt wonderful.  I must have missed it more than I realized.  (And my mom’s car is brand new, which doesn’t hurt.)  I drove around and through my old neighborhood, went to see the house I lived in my first twelve years.  We lived on the right side of a white condex that looked pretty much identical to three-quarters of the other houses on our street, which was paved with purple gravel and terraced, so each house had a hill in the backyard.  The street has been repaved in the past dozen years; the gravel is gone.  The house looks much smaller and duller than I remembered; the dog pen has been disassembled and leant against the shed.  They have boarded up our side porch.  When you drive up, you can see a plastic toddler’s playground in the back.  I was happy to see the shutters are still pink.  Do my old neighbors still live on the other side?  Two years ago, they did.  It’s difficult picturing them anywhere else.  It’s been half my lifetime and I still imagine us all sitting on the shared stoop, or winding up the tire swing so it spins like crazy when you let go, or kicking [redacted]’s shitbox car in the driveway.

I had forgotten the sheer number of trees, how they bend over the road to form a tunnel.  A ceiling of leaves.  Made, and makes, it almost impossible to see the sky as you drive down the perpendicular road, at least until you reach the dairy farm.  But the cows are all gone now, of course.  The farm went out of business and sold the cows when I lived in the neighborhood, and that was a dozen years ago.

The trees were overwhelming, in a good way.  I drove another hour just to see more trees.  For all its flaws, and all the reasons I so hated that town when I grew up there, it’s beautiful.  That surprised me.  In spite of all the time I spent hating my hometown, hardening myself against the boredom and nature and smallness, I really loved that neighborhood.  (Once, when we were making apple crisp, I told Rachel about the apple-peeling competitions my mom would have with our neighbor.  She turned to me and stared.  “Where did you grow up, Pleasantville?”  And it seemed like it, in some ways, it did.)

In my fervor over my new life, I think, I have neglected some people back home.  I must do better.  I will be better.

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sexy bold American summer

Tonight I went with a friend (hereby called the Girl on Fire) to something she calls “spinjam,” where a dozen or two dozen people gather together in a field and practice poi, among other things (e.g. contact and traditional staff, metal fans, juggling).  The Girl on Fire specializes in poi; I tried the poi, the staff and a weighted red stick on a string.  I’m not sure if spinjam is my thing, but it was pretty amazing to see everyone doing theirs.  After the sun went down, some people soaked the weighted ends of their poi in fuel and lit them on fire.

I realized, during this experience, that I am incredibly lazy.  (I wasn’t always.  I’m not sure what happened.)

Last summer was my Summer of 2011: Time to Be Bold campaign.  This year, the summer will be 2 Bold 2 Furious.  Thusly, an official Start of Summer 2012 to-do list:

  1. Learn advanced Photoshop.
  2. Learn basic CSS.
  3. Learn basic JavaScript.
  4. Learn how to do something in Excel beyond, like, typing stuff in boxes.
  5. Release Broad! #2 already.
  6. Find hobby that I am as passionate about as the Girl on Fire is about poi.
    1. Hip-hop?  Tango?
    2. Archery?
  7. Take far more baths.
  8. Read more (and actually complete the book — no more reading three books at a go).
  9. Finish that fucking story already.
  10. Swim.
  11. Go paintballing.
  12. Choreograph new burlesque routine; put together costume.
  13. Be more adventurous in cooking.
  14. Throw dinner parties.
  15. Submit to litmags for publication.
  16. Be the best aunt ever (i.e. buy her safari-themed baby things, read her books about magic and heart and feminism, talk to her in a normal human voice, pinch her tiny chubby cheeks).
  17. Camp.

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things I learned today

  • the origin story of M&Ms
  • how to “elevate the mundane”
  • “the #1 Fear He Has About Sex” (thanks, Cosmo!)
  • Alexis Bledel has joined Mad Men
  • proper techniques for ridding your bathroom of tiny black ants
  • it doesn’t matter how many times I submit a story for workshopping, it will still make me anxious all day
  • details re: the personal life of a certain doppelganger I know
  • how to battle your other self while time-traveling
  • paradoxes are likely unavoidable while time-traveling, but what to do if you need to undo one
  • I don’t like the cookies at [bagel eatery] nearly as much as I believe
  • I miss blogging?
  • if you squash bees to kill them, they release a swarm of pheromones upon the moment of death, hearkening a whole new crowd of bees to that spot

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the circle of life

I won a fellowship today.  I’m excited.  It funds part of the tuition cost to attend an international writing seminar later this year.

It’s highly unlikely I can afford it, though, even with the partial fellowship.  But damned if I don’t try.

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GGCEx: Breakfast Edition

For breakfast this morning I ate an avocado breakfast panini, or, as I like to call it, an “Egg Nacho Panini.”  Yeah, be jealous. (Oh, and happy Passover! or Easter!)

Ingredients:

  • white bread
  • shredded nacho cheese
  • avocado, chopped 
  • red onion, chopped
  • fried egg (with dill)
  • baby spinach

Results:

Not as good as I had hoped; not enough red onion, maybe.  In retrospect, I was in a mood for something spicier.  More flavor needed.  Maybe feta? Crushed red pepper?  I’ll make it again, though.  It’s still got avocado and cheese in it, so, duh.

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GGCEx: All of the Cheese

(Alternative sandwich title: So Cheezy, Ho, My Swag’s Got High Cholesterol.)

Sometimes you have the intention to make avocado breakfast panini you found on the Internet, but somehow by the time you get home it’s 9:12pm and you’re starving and the idea of cooking an egg and slicing up an avocado in ADDITION to grilling a sandwich seems waaaaaaaay too much time before you can eat, so you throw every cheese in your fridge into the sandwich instead.  Bam.  Oh, and you burn the sandwich because you’re busy writing a blog post instead of watching the George Foreman.  So your sandwich looks like this:

Image

Ingredients:

  • “country white” bread, whatever the hell “country white” means
  • American cheese, 2 slices
  • feta
  • shredded nacho/taco cheese, however much you want

Results:

Cheesy!  Duh.  Super delicious.  The individual cheeses are not terribly easy to distinguish once they’ve melted together.  I’d say that it tasted like boxed macaroni and cheese, actually, if you had bread instead of pasta.  So if you like the idea of a mac and cheese sandwich, this is the one for you.

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GGCEx: Croque Monsieur

Full disclosure: I am a bit drunk.  There’s a mason jar quarter-full of cheap pinot in front of me and NSync’s “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” playing on the stereo (and yes, I am singing along passionately.  Duh.  Why would you ever wonder).  My roommates have disappeared.  Why does everyone decide to go to bed just when I reach the point of pleasantly tipsy?  Is it because it takes ages for me to arrive at that junction, or because I am an obnoxious drunk?  Jury’s out.

I threw a small grilled cheese party at my apartment tonight.  The croque monsieur turned out to be a team effort, and took twice as long to cook as the recipe claimed, but was ultimately delicious.

Ingredients:

  • butter (unsalted)
  • flour
  • milk
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • nutmeg
  • Gruyere cheese
  • Parmesan (fake Parmesan-Romano works well)
  • country white bread, the kind with white flour on top
  • Dijon mustard
  • Black Forest deli ham

First off, this takes like an hour to make.  I don’t care who tells you otherwise, even if it’s Ina Garten.  And you have to grate a hell lot of cheese.  That being said, this sandwich is worth it.  Whoever looked at a loaf of bread and said, “We should put ham, cheese and a bit of mustard between two of these, and then blanket the top of our creation with what is basically alfredo sauce except with nutmeg added” is quite clearly the smartest person of all time.  S/he should have won the Nobel Prize of food.  S/he is the original Top Chef.  A Platinum Chef, even.

Also, I made double chocolate cranberry cookies and my friend brought over maple snap cookies.  After I wash dishes, I will probably eat one more of each, even though I ate like five tonight.

Where did my roommates go?  Do they have a problem with old-school NSync?  Are they robots?  Because who could have a problem with old-school NSync, amirite?

I am going to wash all the dishes.  Have a lovely Friday night.

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so here’s the thing

I don’t know how to make things up anymore.  And I don’t know how much I want to share things that are not made up.

That’s a problem that started more or less when my senior thesis ended, but that was May 2010, so….  I guess I’m stuck.  Also I have an enlarged spleen and most of my close friends have moved away, so there’s that.  But it doesn’t hurt to smile anymore!

I went to a hospital walk-in clinic about a week ago because I had been sick and couldn’t figure out why; turns out I have mono.  (WOMP WOMP.)  So my boss insisted I take all week off from work and my coworkers texted me to see how I was doing and the office even sent me a giant bouquet of flowers, which was all beautiful and touching and I felt loved.  But on Wednesday night, after a few days of being unable to eat or drink much (anything, really) and a solid week of a high fever, I realized I would have to go back to the clinic because there was clearly something wrong with me.  And I couldn’t think of anyone in my area who I could ask to drive me.

It’s not as pathetic as it sounds; my roommates would do it but they either have a 9-5 job or do not have a car.  I have a friend or two in the area who also would have done it, but (again) no car.  I couldn’t take myself to the clinic because it involves multiple transit methods and standing up was kind of a big deal for me at the time.  The Professor ended up rescuing me because she is a star and altogether wonderful human being — and thank god for that, since I had to be wheeled to the ER and pumped full of drugs — but all in all, it kind of sucks that I don’t have anyone I feel close enough to to ask a favor like this.  The Professor doesn’t live all that close, and she hates driving in cities.  The State lives twice as far as the Professor.  Both of them have lives.

It’s not that I don’t have friends here, either.  I have a lot of friends here, actually; it’s just that I am not on inner-circle terms with any of them (or vice versa).  I miss that.  I miss my close friends, but they have their own lives in their own cities.  I don’t want to go another year thinking I’ll make better friends than I did.

I also don’t want to go another year thinking I’ll write more/better/harder than I did, so there’s that, too!

Guess what I’m trying to say is: grilled cheese writing workshop party, my house, your wine.

 

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GGCEx: Buffalo Benny

I have three meals’ worth of leftovers in my fridge and two meals’ worth of space in my fridge.  One of these leftover cartons is large and housing Buffalo chicken.  I like buffalo chicken, cheese, and this recipe looked awesome.  So: buffalo grilled cheese!

Ingredients:

  • buffalo chicken tenders, cut up into bits
  • “farmhouse” sourdough bread
  • Caesar dressing
  • American cheese
  • goat cheese
  • cream cheese

Results:

Okay, so maybe I didn’t feel like buying the actual ingredients the above hyperlinked recipe called for.  I had three kinds of cheese (wait, no, four.  FOUR!) in the vegetable drawer already and didn’t foresee me using up all the crumbled blue cheese Shaw’s had on tap.  And like, why buy blue cheese dressing when you have Caesar’s you (eventually) need to use up anyway?  Right?  So this sandwich was going to be a cross between the sandwich linked above and the Buffalo Ranch Melt at Denny’s.  Except then I discovered my goat cheese was growing dark green fuzz and my cream cheese smelled kind of questionable.  Oops.

The sandwich went from a poor woman’s Blue Buffalo to a poor woman’s Denny’s, is what I’m saying.

It is probably the best sandwich I will make all year.

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