My Pineapple Obsession Continues, Still

I mean, at this point, I’m not even trying to find pineapples. They’re coming to me. Seriously.

First, this costume:

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Pineapple Halloween Costume

I don’t know if this means pineapples have finally reached superstar status, or if they’ve jumped the shark. For $20, I was tempted, but then, this is a one-size-fits-most…children. I am most definitely not child-size. My head wouldn’t fit into that pineapple crown. Plus, I already own a banana costume. Heads might turn and rumors roll if I start dressing up as other fruits. (ONLY ON HALLOWEEN, people.)

Then, Real Simple came through for me, again!

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Pineapple Jack-o’-Lantern. Pineapple-o’-Lantern? Pine-o’-Lantern?

I can NOT wait to #IRL (@WomenIRL) this. That is, I can’t wait to make this myself. (IRL=in real life.) I have a hunch, just a little one, that it isn’t going to turn out as spectacular as the picture in the magazine (it never does, right?). The pineapple Jack-o’-Lantern is just so intriguing, I had to Google Dawn Perry. She’s the food director at Real Simple. I was kind of hoping she was a freelance writer cooped up in the Midwest and I could slowly befriend her, starting with following her on Instagram. Because, dreaming up kooky shit like a carved pineapple and writing about it for a national magazine is kind of my dream. Does such a reality exist for the freelancer?

I wonder what other pineapples the Universe is going to send my way. Stay tuned.

Cat Litter Pineapples

That title doesn’t seem to make sense. Cat litter pineapples. Pineapples in the cat litter? Cat litter made of pineapples? I know. My pineapple obsession has finally led me to cat litter. Fresh Step cat litter, to be exact.

I was flipping through the latest issue of Real Simple magazine, when I happened upon this:

FreshStep_01
Fresh Step, now with the Power of Febreeze Hawaiian Aloha scent!

Oh, just your average cat litter ad, right? WRONG! Do you see it? And, I’m not talking about the 3 kitty cats the art director “hid” in the ad. I’m talking about that BEAUTIFUL modern pineapple with the golden crown on the left!

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I bet one of those cats is going to knock over that pineapple out of spite. Because, cats are like that.

Gasp! What a beauty! And, I have to say, the plants are pretty impressive, too. (I’m a self-proclaimed indoor leaf-peeper, remember).

On a non-pineapple-related note, I bet creating cat litter–any cat product, really–ads are akin to beer and condom ads. When I was in ad school, beer and condoms were strictly off limits. Not because we were prudes, but because supposedly coming up with cool, clever ads for these categories was too easy. Ditto for cats, right? I mean, throw in a cat pun and you’re done. I’m not kitten!

Diary Keeping

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After a long wait, my name came up at the library for Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002) by David Sedaris. I’m a long-time Sedaris fan. I’ve read most of his books and I own 5 (he’s written more than that). I’m not crazy, though. Like, I’m not very motivated to attend one of his signings or readings. And, I don’t necessarily keep up with his pieces published in The New Yorker. (Sorry, David.)  Still, as soon as I read the introduction of his diaries, I was reminded just how much I want to write like him and write the same kind of pieces he does.

Maybe I’m on the right track, too, because I’ve been keeping a “diary” since July 7, 2001. I was 18-years old, a fresh graduate of high school, and it was before I really discovered Sedaris.

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I purposely cropped this picture, because the first thing I wrote is embarrassing.

Of course, I call mine a “journal.” I do that intentionally. Diaries just don’t seem serious enough, you know, “does he like me” kind of junk kept secure with a cheap lock that your brother just may pick or bust anyway. (You’ll find plenty of “does he like me” junk in my journals, though.) I just Googled the difference between a diary and journal and there’s a lot of weird explanations. My go-to dictionary uses each word to define the other. So I’m going to keep using them interchangeably. (Maybe I’ll keep calling mine a “journal.” But then, maybe Sedaris will convince me to start calling it a “diary.”)

Journals
My stack of journals. Newest to oldest from top to bottom. I finally got over feeling like that cloth-hardbound journal made me cool. The yellow one I made in portfolio school, which I thought had it’s own cachet, of course.

In his introduction, Sedaris explains the purpose of keeping a diary:

If nothing else, a diary teaches you what you’re interested in. Perhaps at the beginning you restrict yourself to issues of social injustice or all the unfortunate people trapped beneath rubble in Turkey or Italy or wherever the last great earthquake hit. You keep the diary you feel you should be keeping…

After a year, you realize it takes time to rail against injustice, time you might better spend questioning fondue or describing those ferrets you couldn’t afford. Unless of course, social injustice is your thing, in which case–knock yourself out. The point is to find out who you are and to be true to that person. Because so often we can’t.

Talk about the truth! Although, I think I’m still trying to figure out who I am. I’ve already instructed my husband that if I happen to die an untimely death, to burn my journals: don’t read them, don’t collect $200, just burn. A lot of it is just me rambling, trying to figure out how I feel. And, no one needs to suffer through that. I already have.

A week or two ago (before I picked up this book), I was writing in my journal and I had the thought, “Is this enough? Is writing here satisfying?” That is, I have this hazy goal of being published. It’s the reason why I’ve done all this. At times, it can seem slow–both slow in writing and slow at searching for opportunities. And, honestly, I answered, “yes.” Writing in my journal is fulfilling. If I could look into a crystal ball and see that none of my writing* is ever going to be published in a way that earns a living (which is the ultimate dream), well, then I’d still keep a journal and I would feel satisfied.

I’m still going to keep writing outside of my journal and pitching pieces until that crystal ball rolls along, though.

 

*That is, stuff I write outside of my job as a copywriter.

Pineapple Obsession in the Kitchen: Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

My pineapple obsession isn’t just about motifs. It has moved into the kitchen. Specifically baking, which I love anyway. On Labor Day Weekend, I had the opportunity to bake for a family gathering. I tried my hand at pineapple upside-down cake.

I went to my trusty Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, printed in 1973 (copyright 1969!). Sure, I Googled around for a recipe first, but c’mon,  pineapple upside-down cake is a classic, right? It just seemed right to consult the Ms. Crocker.

 

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Betty Crocker’s Cookbook

It was an easy cake to make. There weren’t any complicated steps. The best part was arranging the pineapple slices and maraschino cherries. I’m glad I cut them in half. It created more opportunities for a pattern and extra cherries.

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Golden brown downside-up.

Turning the cake upside down wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be. I let it sit upside down for the required “few minutes.” Still, my center pineapple and a couple of the surrounding pineapples stuck to the pan. But, using a fork and a butter knife, I easily placed the pineapple pieces where they belonged and and used the butter knife to scoop some of the lingering brown sugar-butter goodness to patch up the top.

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Gooey-sweet fruity fun.

I have to admit I wasn’t sure how I’d like this cake. Chocolate is king in my book. I was pleasantly surprised. The pineapple-maraschino cherry combo was bright and fruity. The cake was moist* probably because of all the butter and juice on top. The cake was rather small. It was just a single 9″ layer. Really, the perfect size. I don’t think leftovers would have held up for a day or two.

I liked this cake so much that I’m dreaming of what else I could upside-down. Peach upside-down cake? Apple upside-down cake? Hmmmm…and mmmmmmm…

 

*The only acceptable use of the word “moist” is to describe a cake.

2005

Eclipse_01

2005 is an anchor year. The year has a hold on me. In my head, I am 22-years old. I have just graduated college. I have just enough money to drive from Alaska (my home state) to Atlanta, Georgia, where I will study advertising copywriting. I know I will love a career in this industry. I don’t have enough sense to truly think through this decision. But, I have just enough sense to know that if I do consider all of my options and even begin to weigh pros and cons, I won’t make this choice, a choice that feels like adventure and fun.

In reality, right now, I am 34. I’ve grown timid in my decisions, mostly because I have more to lose than the boxes of books and the Ford Taurus they are loaded into. Every once and a while, I am reminded that it is no longer 2005 and I am no longer 22-years old. Here is a list.

Things That Remind Me It Is No Longer 2005 and I Am Not 22-Years Old:

  1. Every one of my children’s birthdays.
  2. Each and every one of my birthdays.
  3. I lost my wanderlust somewhere in Cincinnati.
  4. I no longer yearn to move to a different city or state.
  5. I no longer yearn to move all of my belonging every few years.
  6. The easy-going Midwestern attitude may have something to do with this.
  7. I have a lot more belongings, including the furniture that I so very much resisted.
  8. The top of my right foot hurts.
  9. My right shoulder feels rusty. Some days there are small pangs when I move it just so and I am trying to figure out if it is just the way I am sleeping.
  10. An alternative rock station is no longer preset on my car radio.
  11. I don’t buy CDs. Rarely do I purchase any form of music, for that matter.
  12. My college degree has my maiden name, which is now my middle name—a link to this degree and my past, perhaps.
  13. I haven’t had my Ford Taurus, my beloved first car, proudly purchased with my own money, since 2012.
  14. I drive a mini van.
  15. I really, really like my mini van. And it’s dual sliding doors. Trust me, they’re very convenient.
  16. I am beginning to yearn for the creative writing that I did in 2003-2005 in college. I want to do that again.
  17. If it was 2005, I wouldn’t have this desire for creative writing, because I would be doing it.
  18. I’ve held 2 full-time, permanent copywriting jobs. I now freelance.
  19. I’ve been making money at jobs that fall within what I consider a “career” for about 10 years.
  20. Having a career feels distinctly different than wanting a career.
  21. I know that there are seasons to life. Phases that are traversed. Like the open road, the dense forest slowly transforms into prairies fading into buildings and knots of interstates.
  22. Sometimes I wonder if this will be my new anchor year. A defining age that will demand comparison with the present.