What is up, Buttercup?

December 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

Ohmyohmyohmy.  It’s so busy outside of these walls, and within, that it’s hard to know where to begin.  What’s new?

Bottle cap madness, as usual.  I need more bottle caps.  I need more time in the day.  I need a benefactor.

I’m in a band.  We play in the Cohen’s basement to practice.  I love playing music with Tara and Jason.

My niece’s hair got really long, it makes her look a lot older… like, 3.

But most importantly, I’m pretty sure I’m starting every day in exactly the wrong way.  The usual routine features a 6am wake-up call, early for lots but I think I can handle it.  I then snooze my cell phone, stay asleep until 6:30 if I’m lucky or 6:40 if I’m not, then run around the house tossing cat food in dishes, #1+#2ing, brushing my teeth (sometimes), grabbing food out of the fridge like a fiancée at a Sears grabs wedding dresses off the rack + finally making the mad dash to Westbrook, where I am usually 5 minutes late.


There’s so many things wrong with that I don’t know where to begin…

When I was little Dad woke up and every morning had a stretching/Qi Gong routine he would do.  I’d always wake up quietly to his little short bursts of breath and the sound of his knees and ankles popping as he knelt down and got up.  I’m not going to pretend to know anything about or have any patience for Qi Gong, but it does seem that some short, meditative period of time in the morning is probably beneficial.  A way to greet the day.  Something to look forward to that is more relaxing than sleep?  That’s hard to do.

I saw this guy on Congress St. playing a hang drum (pronounced ‘hung’) and that might be good wake-up music.  I could definitely use a stretch in the wee hours since my piriformis (butt) muscle is still a little tight, even after all the physical therapy.  It doesn’t hurt anymore, but it definitely could use some stretchin’.  Then I should probably be ready to feed the cats, pack food for the day, have a constitutional and dress myself properly before leaving the house.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

You Have to Draw the Line Somewhere

November 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

I pulled a crazy last night and attended A.C. Moore’s “Moonlight Madness,” purchased a meter-long receipt’s worth of beading supplies for my bottle caps, and then paid with a check, a coupon, and had a ‘points’ card.  The line was five people long behind me by the end of it, but the good news is they were all crazy coupon ladies with carts full of crap, too.

So tonight when we went to Hanny’s on Forest Ave. and the girl rang up our tangerines as ‘medium navel oranges’ (a $.38 difference, total) I managed not to say anything.  And even when I remember they have a ‘double your money back guarantee’ and I would’ve made $2.76 on their mistake I said nothing.  Because you’re only allowed a certainly amount of crazy before people stop talking to you.

Also – I work in Westbrook/South Portland in an industrial park by the airport.  In addition to this being totally terrifying, I also realized that when there are low-flying planes flying directly above me I have the same emotional/fight or flight response as when birds fly over me.  I legitimately think poo is going to fall on me.

It could happen.

In a Fog

October 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’ve been in a fog lately.

Having a hard time focusing on the positive, which is the normal M.O.  The negative is so much more appealing!  And funny.  Comedy counts for a lot the way I roll.

I think there is a paradigm shift bubbling up from under all the things that make up the fog.  They have to be there so they can be destroyed when the shift wants to reveal itself.  I’ve come to some conclusions lately, and here they are, disjointed and incomplete, which I hopefully will describe a little bit more in detail as soon as the weather clears:

-in recent years, there has been an emphasis on being a savvy consumer.  extreme couponing, etc.  I, myself, am guilty (although I do not have a garageful of deodorant.  my ONE deodorant is down to the stump.  anyways -)  I think everyone is missing the point.  Unless you’re a “Left Behind”-er, there’s no reason to stockpile for the apocalypse.  The key is to become an anti-consumer.  Re:  your grandmother, circa 1837.  Don’t shame her by buying all the Prilosec OTC at Walgreen’s just because you can.

our country is becoming useless.  More and more, jobs are being shipped off to other countries, manufacturing is being shopped out to places with cheap cheap labor.  Basically no one here knows how to do anything anymore.  Instead of just kinda hoping the product you’re buying is American-made, why don’t you actually check?  And if it isn’t, seek one out that is?  You know what’s cool?  Jiffy steamers (like, getting wrinkles out of clothes) are still made in the USA.  LL Bean boots are still manufactured in Maine.  At the minimum, at least buy second hand from any one of dozens of thrift stores in the Greater Portland (or wherever you are) area.  Those dollars stay here.

I don’t understand consequences.  I mean – I do.  But I don’t understand the more trivial ones like ‘what will happen if you don’t clean your room for six months’ and ‘what will happen if you don’t do the dishes for five days’ consequences.  I wasn’t trained to understand them.  I’d like to understand them better.

-You know what’s a good thing?  Not going on Facebook every twenty minutes.  I got stuck in the FB Vortex yesterday perpetually scrolling, not actually reading anything, for at least 10 minutes.  That’s 10 minutes I could’ve been learning about consequences or finding a Maine-grown alternative to coffee (is it possible??)


Paradigm shift… coming soon…

Growing Older

October 12, 2011 § 2 Comments

I turn 28 next week:  that’s not old, according to anyone I know who is even just 1 year older than me.  But it’s still older.

Descending from youth is way more fun than ascending to adulthood.  Why?  New mysteries.  One:  why do my knees hurt when I’m just sitting peacefully?  Two:  It appears my esophagus is aging less gracefully than the rest of my internal organs:  I can’t seem to lean over within two hours of dinner without puking a little.  It’s totally gross.

Next Monday the science experiment called ‘Audrey’ is turning its 28th year:  what new discoveries are in store for 2012?  Only time will tell.

Lorazepam Love Affair

October 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

The title above has nothing to do with anything, so don’t worry about me.  A friend reminded me of a whirlwind prescription I had back in 2007 doled out by a particularly pill-happy psychiatric nurse I was seeing about anxiety attacks.  About three months of steadily increasing use and a raised-eyebrow (but respectful) inquiry of “You’re looking kind of… thin?” from my mother dashed all my hopes at a trendy pill habit.  It took about two weeks to readjust, but by that time it was Spring and I was living in Maine again after 6 years in hell, or… what some people south of here call Boston.  Boston is for visiting, people, not for living in.

Another phrase that struck me today was ‘tenement seagull’ when I was describing the bevy of birds that flock on the roofs of houses outside our door.  The neighbors leave cooked rice for them on their yard.  “Waste not, want not – but I want not to scrape seagull crap off of my windshield four days in a row.”

I did so much today!


Socks! So pretty.

The socks will be on sale in my Etsy shop shortly, and are made to order.  The ankle-high house socks will be $29 and the double-height high top socks are $34.  Each sock is made to fit your exact shoe size!  I’m also hoping I can make as many pairs of these before Christmas so that I don’t have to buy anyone anything.  Bah Humbug!  😉


I love it when people put recipes on their blogs, especially when the food looks yummy.  These brownies are really yummy.  Here is the recipe:  take a box of brownie mix and follow the directions.  Then when you’re almost done just huck a bunch of Reese’s peanut butter chips in the mix and call it good.  I made mine in a teeny tiny muffin pan because it’s way cuter but maybe 10x as much work.  Ta-da!

I started a new pair of socks (the green yarn in the photograph above) and made brownies for when we go over to Brian and Tara’s (of the Rattlesnakes) house for a fire.  I also did a bunch of bottle cap work, watched three episodes of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos (studying up for my Halloween costume) and made chicken broth from straight chicken which is pretty damn delicious, if I do say so myself.  Jason went to that record sale and came back with Rolling Stones and Neil Young albums.  I love him.  I also did a bunch of dishes, took a shower for the first time in an embarrassing amount of days (hey!  Having a small business is like having a kid, y’know) and took photos of socks I’ve been meaning to take forever to put in my Etsy shop.

Amazingly, I have tomorrow off.

I love October.

Indecisive Moments #2

October 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse at Sunrise

Work brought me to Spring Point at sunrise, that’s at the tip of South Portland just past SMCC where that lighthouse sits at the end of the rock jetty.  The brother of a friend’s wife was full of baby, and they wanted some pictures from this time in their life.  I love people who think photography is worth paying for.

Early, before 7am, I walked around the grounds while the sun was still red and low, blasting the eastern sky with light.

We talked and worked for an hour.

On my way home, on Broadway, an ambulance passed by but the morning air was so quiet I could hear the sirens from a half mile down the road.

On the road a way’s down was an opossum with its head completely smashed off, crows picking at it gleefully before traffic became too heavy.  They barely moved for me.  Etiquette is so extremely relative, especially across species.

Outside a little book shop, a man stood flanked by two bins of books.  He was in a black beret, was pleasantly plump, and stood with his feet shoulder width apart and had an open book in his right hand, held at his waist.  He was looking straight ahead and smiling at the ocean.

When I got home, all the birds were warming themselves on the power lines.

East Bayside Birds by Audrey Hotchkiss

The Day In

October 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

I woke up late.  A big disappointment, every weekend, when I sleep past 10.  I think, rationally, it’s totally reasonable.  But my expectation as superwoman in training is to hop out of bed at 8, even after a rousing good time until 2 am the night before, and accomplish all things laundry, dish, and chore related.

Mango Floss Feet

So instead of writing about today, which was pretty excellent but mostly took place in two rooms, I’ll write about last night.

I am surrounded by people with intimidating levels of talent.

We went to SPACE gallery to see the Sunset Hearts CD Release show, with Mango Floss and Kurt Baker opening for them.  After seeing Mango Floss, I learned that my friend Kate was doing a stand up routine (what??  awesome!) at Geno’s.  I fled up Congress St., paid the $5 cover, got there just in time for her set (and the peals of laughter it created) and then jetted back down to SPACE without missing a minute of Kurt Baker’s set.  Whoa.

Ability to produce music and laughter is a skill I regard highly.

I feel like that’s it for today.

Kate's Back, Doing Stand Up

Indecisive Moments #1

October 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

smith street, east bayside

Yesterday — I walked up to Mittapheap on Washington Ave., our most local international grocer, because we needed a can of black beans to complete dinner.  I also added a Fanta, which was bright red and tasted like strawberry bubble gum, to the shopping list at the last minute.  The girl checking me out answered:  “Mit-uh-pee-uhp,” when I asked her how to pronounce the name of the store.  Pronunciations are so important — growing up with a last name like Hotchkiss you begin to learn this lesson at an early age.  Also:  spellings.  I always make sure to double, triple, quadruple check spellings of peoples’ first and last names.  It’s one of the many silver linings of many childhood complications.

On the way back down the hill, I noticed the squirrels are getting sluggish.  They’re fun to watch this time of year, because they are filling themselves to the brim with acorns and have a harder time scurrying between slats in fences.  Rodents are impressive looking, it’s their round, dark lobster eyes, I think.  Little onyx globes nestled in plush fur.

The best episode of my short walk was at the very bottom of the hill, outside my door, a man walking from the direction of Kennedy Park, soaked head to toe.  It was a nice evening out, so his being entirely wet was so out of place.  Did someone hose him?  He was swinging his jacket at his side in a serpentine pattern, and the water was dripping from it in a steady stream.  I gave him a good girth (you don’t walk too close to entirely-wet people on an entirely-not-wet evening in my neighborhood) but when I crossed where his path had been the great figure eights of water drops made careless patterns on the sidewalk and road.

Indecisive moments are the record of mundane events otherwise unnoticed:  but given attention carry much more weight than their worth.  Unexpected animals, dainties hanging on a clothesline, the way light lies against houses — all of these are indecisive moments.  It should also be noted that this series of entries is inspired by Cartier-Bresson’s “decisive moment” in which more specific, compositionally meaningful and fleeting moments were recorded by a photograph.

Abandon Bank of America, Go Join Your Local Credit Union

September 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Ok!  So I’m resuscitating this site because more and more I’ve had feelings/thoughts/wishes/violent reactions that I’d love to share on my other blogs, but to do so would be bad business or wildly inappropriate content.  Ok ok, mise en place Maine, you’re back.

Today’s vicious opinion is brought to you by the news that Bank of America plans to start charging a $5 monthly fee for debit card customers to use their cards.  Why?  Well, there is some cockamamy excuse like ‘debit transactions are replacing cash more and more’ … and this would totally hold water if they weren’t planning on excusing customers with a $1500+ balance in their account from this fee.  So obviously this debit card fee, totaling a modest (yet outrageous) $60/yr. for young people, students, the impoverished etc. is more a tax on being poor than it is an effort to save their business, otherwise they would charge it to their members across the board, no matter what their balance, if they are using a debit card.

Because seriously, even in my BEST times of earning power I have never, ever, ever EVER just had $1500 kicking around.  I wish!  This new standard totally blows TD Banknorth’s ridiculous $5 monthly fee for dipping below $100.

What needs to happen?

Well, first, let me put it bluntly that if you’re not pulling your money from big, monstrous, greedy banking systems and moving it in to a local credit union then you’re pretty much just trying to be poor.  I belong to Five County Credit Union, and all I had to do was live in Southern Maine to join — yes, they charge a whopping $30 fee when I overdraft, but the only monetary requirements to belong to their club is a $25 ‘deposit’ in my savings account, that will be returned to me if/when I liquidate my accounts… yeah, like that will ever happen –  I love them!

Or at least move your money to a state banking institution instead of a national/international one.

We need serious regulations on what kinds of fees banks are able to charge their customers.  $30 for an overdraft fee?  Why?  $5 for not having enough money?  That makes sense!  $25 for a missed credit card payment?  Why?  What is the formula for these dollar amounts?  There needs to be more transparency.

Bank of America is the same bank that ambushed me on the sidewalk my Freshman year at ART SCHOOL (Seriously?  Trolling for art students on Huntington Ave?  They are fishing for poor people they can wring money out of like a damp towel!) and gave me a shiny, new credit card that soon had a ‘limit’ of $3,000 (which then increased to $4,500 before I even had a job that paid more than $9/hr.)  Shady practices?  Preying on financially uneducated young people?  Yes.


Anyways, thank you, I’m so pissed at this news right now it’s excellent to jump on a soap box and air it out.  Bank of America is such an asshole that taking the money out of the bank and stuffing it in a hole in your mattress might actually be the best bet.  Now’s no time for inaction and apathy, people.  Go!  Join the C.U.!  And while you’re at it, why not Occupy?


June 27, 2011 § 1 Comment


Click on that picture to make it bigger.  So — I started couponing pretty aggressively again.  Why?

Two reasons:  although the State of Maine thinks I’m filling my bathtub with hundos and taking weird, unsanitary baths in all my riches and, thusly won’t grant me any EBT benefits, the truth of the matter is I’m actually not ‘doing so well.’  Clarification:  I haven’t actually ever applied for food stamps, but I know the requirements and Mama doesn’t meet ’em.  Additional clarification:  I am actually ‘doing well’ in that I have a roof over my head, generally pay rent on time, and enjoy some minimal leisure activities like dining out 1-3 times per week (on the chopping block, p.s. because of reason #2 forthcoming).  So in order to get ‘something for nothing’ I actually have to do a little work, find deals, match up coupons, and go to town.  It’s not actually that hard and I spend about an hour a week on it.

Reason #2 is that owning a house would be SUPER AWESOME (obviously there are unforeseen troubles that I’m not thinking about right now) and the first thing to do in order to get one of those house thingers is to save money, get your credit in order and then save up a down payment.  Hence stockpiling spaghetti sauce and wrangling free orange juice when you can.  By being a little forward thinking and stocking up MAJORLY on staple items (we eat pasta like it’s our jobZ) and not eating out as much (never?  Could we ever manage never??) then there will be more dollars available for me to sign over to Bank of America so they stop telling credit bureaus that I’m a dick.

Some other new developments came in to play that makes this easier.  One obvious one is that the kitchen and the table are now clean, conducive to an eat-at-home, keep-food-at-home lifestyle.  Magical!  #2 is that I found the ‘search’ feature at Shaws.com for their weekly flyer which allows me to just flip through the coupons I DO HAVE instead of scouring the little pictures and try to match them up.  Yes, progress.  Although that was probably there all along and I was just being a blundering fool about my deal seeking.

I plan on chronicling my adventures here at mise en place for you – not meant to be a ‘deal site’ or anything like that, but perhaps you can take my somewhat sarcastic but totally sound logic and put it to use in your own life.

Here’s last week’s story:

Shaw’s was having an awesome, 2/$5 deal on Newman’s Own Pasta and I just happened to have a little army of coupons for just that.  I don’t know why I didn’t buy more, because at $2.50 each with $1 off/1 coupons I should have used all 6 that I had.  Oh well – now I have three left and I can just jump when they’re having another nice deal.  Did not try to buy the organic because I wasn’t sure if the deal included the ‘good stuff’ because I shopped on the last night when they had taken all the stickers down from the previous week and were putting the ones up for the following morning (hint:  Shaw’s deals end on Thursday night and start on Friday morning.  I like to go on Thursday night because there are no psycho housewives dumping the entire Polar Seltzer display in the cart a la Supermarket Sweep).

I’m generally a pretty sheepish deal-getter, so when I saw that Activia was on sale (4/$10) and if you bought 4 you’d get a free thinger of Tropicana OJ I was at once excited and nervous.  OK – I eat Activia, yes, despite it’s fructose content it tastes pretty darn good and is way better for me than Dunkin’ on the way in to work.  But do I buy 16 little servings of it at a time?  Hmmm.  We love OJ – but we normally get “Simply Orange.”  Hmm again.  So when I got there I checked it out.  I had two coupons for Activia ($1 off/2, so $2 off the 4 I needed to buy) and the Tropicana checked out in the ‘doesn’t have gross stuff in it’ department.  Seeing as Thursday is payday I decided to splurge and, by all accounts, $8 for a thing of OJ and 16 breakfasts is not so bad.

I picked up some free relish and nearly-free Frank’s red hot sauce.  Word to the wise:  condiments can almost always be gotten for free with the right coupons and deals.  Shaw’s is all excited about 4th of July barbecues so the relish was marked down to $.99 and I had a $.55 off of one coupon for any Cain’s product.  Suckers!!

Don’t mind the Duncan Hines brownie mix party in the corner.  At the end of my shopping trip my blood sugar must’ve been low because I grabbed a couple of these that were going for 2/$3 for the Shaw’s deal and I had a ‘buy 2 get one free’ coupon from the manufacturer.  $1.00 each for brownie mix isn’t earth shattering but hello…. they’re brownies.  And they’re in my future.

All in all, the bill came to $40.43.  I had $8.80 off from Shaw’s savings and $8.05 off from all my little coupons.  Then $2.55 off for the free brownie mix totalling $21.03 for all the grub you see above.  That’s including Jason’s coconut water for his cold and the fact that my cats wanted to eat food this week, and that was kind of expensive and not in the plan.  Hoorah!

  • here i am!

  • cleanliness is godliness or whatever you want it to be

    learning or honing skills on how to cook for yourself and your family is probably in the top five important things in your life
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