Monday, May 27, 2013

A Soldier's Recollection

Once upon a time, I was studying the Civil War. Many of the accounts of the battles stuck with me.  I personally have grandparents (however many generations ago) that fought on both sides of the war--many Americans do.  Most of my family fought for the Confederacy--well, "for Virginia, and these Confederate States"-- but I have a healthy smattering of "them d#$% Yankees," as well. Some battles list family members, by name, that met each other on either side of the battlefield. As I was pondering the 'real story' behind the war--the personal courage, the families torn apart by death and violent disagreement, the loyalty and fierce patriotism experienced by members of both armies, the death and misery and destruction of those on the battlefield--I wrote this poem. It came into my head as lyrics, sung to the tune of "O, Holy Night," which, for those of us familiar with the original song, lends a hauntingly ironic quality to the latter stanzas.

It is not clear to me whether this is one man speaking, multiple men speaking, or what side they are on.  It is not even clear to me, as the author, whether the speaker lives or dies. Perhaps the last stanza is a dying man, metaphorically waving the flag of those for whom he was fighting. Or, perhaps he is the sole survivor of his unit, proudly flying the colors as the opposing army leaves in victory, leaving him to cry for the brothers and friends dead and dying around him. Perhaps. 

I don't know. 
I don't know that it matters. 
May we remember the fallen heroes. May we not get so caught up in politics and policies that we forget the real stories, the real people, the real sacrifice and pain and loyalty and courage that the sons and daughters of God experience in the face of such conflict. 

A Soldier’s Recollection Sabina Safsten
Intended to be sung to the tune of “O Holy Night”

The mists of the rain fall gently o’er the clearing
blind to the fear and the sadness of war
The night- it has gone, the dawn is swiftly nearing
I wait with dread– what does the day have in store?

The bugle sounds, it breaks through dismal darkness
as brethren rise to greet the fateful morn
        Oh, if I die, remember me, my brother
        Remember, and do not mourn when I am gone– oh, do not mourn

The corporal arises, we wait- intense, courageous-
We calm our fears with sincerest of prayers.
Long are the shadows and great the expectation--
I see the sun and shield my face from its glare.

Blue or Grey- the enfilading gunfire
knew naught but death as it tore along its way
       Truly it was through the valley of the shadow
       of Death we plunged that hellish day

Forward we run- the enemy is shielded
by mists and trenches with head-logs above.
Headless of danger, my heart and ears are pounding
I feel the pain as a shell rips my side

The shell and shot around the men are flying
and all around lay the dying and the dead
      O’er across the field, I see the foe assembling
      “March on, boys!” he cried as all around my brethren died

The battle is o’er, the valiant men have fallen
all wait for dawn, when we’ll again resume the fight
Thousands of wounded anguished brethren calling
As I lay still through the fearful, miserable night

The foe retreats, I hold aloft the colors
I stand as tears flow for the brothers gone
         Onward, and on, the battle-cry of freedom
         Forever carries on if we remember those who’ve gone
         Our freedom will live on, and on if we remember brave ones gone

Saturday, May 25, 2013


I've spent most of my time the last few days pondering things that do not belong on the bloggosphere. However, I wanted to write an update so I don't fall out of the habit of doing so.

tonight, I came home from work a little late, so, around 830.  I wanted some ice cream, but had no chocolate fudge sauce. Seemed a little silly to eaet peppermint ice cream without any fudge sauce, if I could help it. So, I threw in a stick of butter, cup and a half or so of 60% dark chocolate chips (whatever was left in the bag. It looked like enough...or, as close to "enough" as a finite amount of chocolate could be).  Also, a can of sweetened condensed milk. Melt the butter, throw in chocolate til melted, as milk. Incorporate til smooth.
Beautiful. And easy.

So then I'm playing brain training memory and arithmetic games on my computer. that's cool. Start reading over my transcript from last night.  Finished ice cream (notice there was no mention of dinner, or lunch in my daily run-down). Took a mental nap, while physical brain stayed mostly awake.

Woke up. Turned on my music to Vocal Point, made bananas foster, put away the chocolate sauce, gathered stuff for crepes, made 1.5 lb ground beef, cleaned my fridge, macerated 3 lb starwberries, did tons of dishes.

yup.  Productive Friday night! 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Missionary Send Off

Robert left on a mission today. I will miss that kid.

He left Mom and I notes before he left, with instruction not to read it until he was out the door.

Mom opened hers, and was tearing up, and....yeah pretty much burst into tears, saying things about her stripling warrior and how awesome he was going to be, out serving God for two years full-time, and all that.

I go in the kitchen to open mine, anticipating something similar.

"Dear Sabina:  You better write me!! And cook me food!!...."  with further instruction to not mess up his Facebook. Also, that I need to work on my Lord of the Rings quotes while he is gone, as my skills of "recitation of Theodin King at the drop of a hat" need some work.

Thanks Robert, for those words of wisdom.

Godspeed, Elder. I've got to go put your first package together. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013


"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."  
--Mahatma Ghandi    

Food Allergies, meet Sabina.  You've been long-time companions.  She has never considered you an enemy, nor really a friend. Just a companion she received to help teach her things in this life she is trying to live. It's time that you knew her name.  I am writing on her behalf, with a message of both urgency and weighty import. 

I feel I must make you aware, Allergies, that Sabina no longer cares about you, and will do what she wants. 

"What she wants" includes being a phenomenal chef, of both the Professional and Sought-After varieties. 

This requires her to be able to be around food. Including shellfish, tree nuts, and other allergens. 
So kindly back off. 

Now, Allergies, don't think I am demanding too much of you.  She doesn't actually have to EAT the food. You can still have that part. You have been a long-time and faithful companion, and shall have at least part of your required payment for such loyal company. 

She will take the medication that you have required, and participate in ridiculous-looking protections such as medical-grade gloves (though your agreement with Mr. Latex makes it rather complicated to do so) and breathing masks. I ask you to see reason, Allergies, and you must accept this as a reasonable compromise. 

As I have stated:  you agreement to these terms is not required.  This letter is strictly for your information. Sabina will now continue to be Awesome.  It is fully expected that her sheer force of willpower* will leave you in the dust. See Ether 12:27 for further explanation. 

Sincerely No-Longer-Yours,
Mae   (Mental Alter-Ego)
On behalf of Sabina Michelle

*Willpower: an energetic ability and control one has over ones own behavior, reactions, responses, and actions.
 As we exercise faith, we willingly hand over our will (willpower) to the Lord, giving him control over our behavior, reactions, responses, and actions.  As we do so, He will endow us will the power we need to move forward and the strength we need to be happy. Cool, right?   (of course there is a lot more to think about with that, but it's a jumping-off point). 


Once upon a time, Sabina was very tired. 
She bought some crystallized ginger from the store because she was running low. She also bought some peanut M&Ms. 
She then went to meet the boy on the mountain to watch the sun set. 
forty five minutes later, she found herself sitting on the boy's couch in his living room, hanging out and eating peanut M&Ms. 
Boy went to go get water. 
Sabina saw a clear container on the table with pieces of candied pineapple. She wanted one, because candied pineapple is delicious. 
So she ate one. 
But then, it wasn't actually candied pineapple. It was the whole pieces of crystallized ginger. 
And her mouth was unexpectedly sort of on fire. 
The end. 
Epilogue: Boy walks  back in room with the water and laughs at Sabina. What college boys would keep fancy containers of candied pineapple on their coffee table? Not these college boys. 
Silly Sabina. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Ghost of Halftimes Past

Today, I was at work, handing out crepes and strawberries like a good Foodie.  No big deal; just some of the best food people have ever eaten. The normal amount of life-changing culinary magic. 

All is well and generally normal,  when suddenly an older-side-of-middle-aged woman cries out "Hey! I know you! You played the cymbals!" 

O.O ... <.< ...  >.>...o.o

I stand there, not quite sure what to do. Kind of a deer-in-headlights reaction. Strange. 

My meta-oriented alter-ego marvels at my own reaction (or, lack thereof) for a moment. 

Woman-whom-I-do-not-yet-recognize continues her exclamatory explanation. "You twirled them around like a Crazy! Right in the middle of that really cool halftime show! Remember??" She proceeds to imitate me twirling cymbals.

                     In the middle of the grocery store. 
                                      In front of my boss. 
                                                 And The Big Boss. 

I couldn't help it-- I burst out laughing. She grinned and we chatted back and forth for a bit. 

"I always wondered what happened to you," she says. "Somebody told me you were injured! And that's why you never came back! Well, you're better now!! What are you doing here?? Go join the marching band! Are you still a student?"
I explained I was a culinary student. At that, she decided to eat the warm, paper-thin crepe with balsamic strawberries, creme fraiche, and lemon sugar that was nestled in the souffle cup in her hands. 

"I admit," she says, " This is YUMMY. Are you here all the time? I suppose I shop here, now. And I guess I will just have to watch for you on the next celebrity chef cooking show....I'll send them a clip of you in the band...."

 ..... that halftime show was in 2009...almost 4 years ago now. Must have made an impression.

Thank you, random store customer. That was extremely validating. 

Future Husband

Dear Future Husband:

The best, best, BEST way to make me feel loved, appreciated, and all the other things you want for me? I'll tell you. No, it is too much. Let me sum up. The last six and a half minutes of my life have been spent writing you a note, preemptively, to take out all the guess work.

I don't need gifts, though they are nice.
Roses are sweet, but won't suffice.
Kisses, travel, homemade dinners
Chocolate, too, they all are winners!
But number one of all my wishes?
Mop my floors, and do the dishes.

There you go, handsome. Easier than a microwaveable, pre-made, shrink wrapped little pie.
Love you already. I'll talk to you soon.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Once upon a time, I liked to cook. 

Actually, two parts of the same story:
A particularly handsome man-person went across the world on a study abroad. Upon his return, he brought me a plethora of exotic and expensive spices. Not the least of which was a giant, 36 g container of saffron. 

For those that don't know: that's really... rEaLLy...REALLY cool.  Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. It runs between $2,500-$5,000 a pound--or more, depending on the variety. Saffron comes from the red stigmas of a blue crocus flower. It takes around 80,000 crocus flowers (about a quarter million dried stigmas) to make 1 pound of saffron. Hand picked, hand processed.'s expensive. Especially in the States. 

That being said, I didn't have the opportunity to use saffron much until it was gifted to me. I have since experimented quite a bit. To the point where, when another particularly handsome man-person goes across the world, I will be sending money so that he can bring me back some more spices...okay, more saffron.
During the time said boy was away, I sunk into a deep depression. I have been dealing with a lot the last few years, and I think my mind and body and spirit just kind of ran out of steam. I was having a really hard time. 

That's enough of THAT part of the story. Gosh, what a downer. Back to the handsome boy part, Sabs.  

Okay, so handsome boy-person gets home and gives me crimson gold. I start experimenting.  During this time, I gradually start feeling much better. I am working things out and getting my life back on track. I'm working really hard, and it doesn't always help, but I can tell the fog is lifting a bit and I'm feeling better about life. The depression doesn't "go away," but I'm managing it a bit better. I joked with this boy that ever since he got back, my depression was getting better, and he was good medicine. haha, right?

So today, I'm doing a bunch of research for work, and it leads me to some phytomedicine/ethnopharmacology journals. Basically plant medicine and traditional healing methods. 
REAL SURPRISE TIME:  Turns out, saffron has been used as a legitimate anti-depressant agent for centuries. Current medical journals have been studying the difference between a daily dosage of saffron and a daily dosage of Prozac. Saffron has seemed to be just about as effective. :-D  Cool, right??

Now, obviously I haven't been taking saffron in 15 mg daily dosages. But hey, at least I'm not crazy!  It really could be helping!  :-D We live in such a cool world. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Birthdays Remembered

So I realized today that I had about a month until my birthday. I want to celebrate, but have no idea what to do. My friends come from all sorts of circles, many of them have left Utah, and I live kind of far away from the ones who've stayed, and I don't have roommates. I didn't really have birthday parties as a kid, but I've done different sorts of things since I left home for school. While it doesn't really help me figure out what to do for my birthday THIS year, it is fun to remember the last few years. 

2013: I don't know! That's what sparked this post. 

2012: Last summer, my birthday was odd. I was supposed to go on a picnic with a friend, but he had a family emergency, so instead I watched Criminal Minds. **shemar moore** Then that night, a bunch of people came over. My roommate had driven to Nevada and had bought illegal fireworks, and brought them back to Provo. We had some sort of food something or other, lit off the rocket dealio, and people said a whole bunch of nice things about me and came up with some sweet wishes. Many of which, actually came true. :-)

2011:  I lived with my cousin/bff Caitlin. A man-boy-guy-friend of the time (see 2010 "not-date") surprised me by taking me out to lunch and getting milkshakes. It was super fun. Then Caitlin surprised me by inviting a bunch of people over that night. They said lots of nice things about me and came up with really cool wishes. 

2010: I lived in Lehi, and hosted a small dance out there at my grandpa's house, just before my birthday. Everybody dressed up and it was super fun. I ended up spending most of the evening with a boy who was not my date...but that was okay, since my date was spending most of the time with the girl who was not me. We all would randomly realize that we had switched, and go back to our "dates"...and it was a little awkward...and we ended up back with the "not dates".  It was pretty hilarious. On my actual birthday, I went in to Provo and got a job. Who was there in the interview room, but the "not date" I had spent so much time with at the dance. o.o  I feel like we went out to dinner or something that night, or maybe a movie. I don't remember exactly. But it was pretty great. 

2009: Biggest birthday on record. I threw a really big dance party in the rec area of my apartment complex. Also, I had gotten 3 new roommates that day, one being my cousin/bff Caitlin see 2011--we were roommates twice.  I got to see her mom--my Aunt Rachelle--that day, which is always super fun. Also, I had stayed up all night the night before making refreshments. My coolest runner roommate Emily was the DJ; she totally rocked. (also, she had baked me a birthday cake out of brownies and andes mints (I don't like cake, and she not only remembered that, but deliberately went out of her comfort zone to MAKE me a brownie cake.It looks fabulous and tasted AMAZING). I had tons of friends show up to the party;  that made me feel really special. I think someone counted 113 people through the course of the night: married friends, single friends, wardies, roommates, pretend roommates, kids from classes, man-people, band friends, all sorts of people.   I was able to introduce my roommates to a ton of people, and we had a blast! Really attractive guys kept coming up to me and giving me hugs. Some really awesome Africans (who ended up being my roommates in 2012) taught me some sweet dance moves. Even the Bishop showed up to the party for a little while. Also, I worked at ColdStone Creamery at the time, and the cake decorator there made me a GIANT pink ice cream cake. So many people who meant so much to me were there.  I don't think I had ever felt so loved up to that point, in my whole life. :-D  Also, it was an EXCELLENT ice-breaker to welcome Caitlin back to the States and into college life. 

2008:  My roommate Cassia and I hosted a three-course murder mystery dinner, The Last Train From Paris, and invited 8 of our closest friends. We all dressed up, and got really into the characters. It was super, super fun!! I still have some of the props from that night. The people that came are still considered some of my dearest friends. This was before I'd decided to be a chef, but spending three days prepping the meal didn't seem out of place at all. I think that was a clue for me in my eventual life course. 

2007: I still lived at home at this point, so I'm not sure what happened, exactly. I probably went to work, and I think someone was in the hospital. We always joked that there couldn't be a holiday or birthday in our house without somebody injured or seriously ill. ;-) I'll have to go back in my journal and look. :-)

So, birthdays are great. It feels a little awkward for me to throw my own party, but welcome to adulthood, I suppose. The super-fun thing I haven't done yet is a bonfire...but ManFriend O'Texas has a birthday the day before mine, and HE always does a huge fire. And it's awesome. Since we share many friends, it seems silly to have two fires in the same weekend.

So, if you are still reading this, and have suggestions....I'm open to them! :-D

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Wish I Had a Time-Turner

The other day, I had a passing conversation about a cafe in the area "that you've probably never heard of," you know? That kind of place. A lot of my friends like this cafe, and it had come up as a recommendation for where to go to dinner. I don't know anyone who works there, and I don't frequent this particular restaurant. I do, however, love the food, and the set-up. It's a cool concept. 

Anyway, I had a good evening and kind of forgot about the conversation. 

On my way back home, I had just gotten on the freeway when I realized I had a missed call. Didn't recognize the number, so I called it back. 

le Me: "Hi, this is Sabina. I missed a call from this number?"
adult female voice: "Oh!  Great! So glad you called back! thisissoandsofromsuchnsuchandiwascallingtoask: do you have a job?"
le Me: "uh.....what? I didn't catch that.  Who is this?"

afv: "Oh! Sorry. This is (so-and-so), calling from (the cafe I had been talking about earlier)."
Me:  "Oh! [there were a lot of "oh!"s in this conversation] Uh, cool! what's up?"
So-and-So: "Well, we were just calling to see if you were interested--see, your name came up, and it looks like you have quite a bit of kitchen experience, and you come definitely recommended. We are looking for a kitchen manager, and we're wondering if you already have a job, or if you would be interested in looking at the position."

To my knowledge, I have never applied to this cafe before. I had no idea how they got my number or my resume and asked her to clarify said points. 
I'm still not sure how they got it. She just said that "they" said I was "highly recommended." 

My little mental alter-ego--the one that you see cartoon-ified on Facebook occasionally--was SUPER, SUPER excited. With just a titch of "say wuuuuuuuuut??" 

Unfortunately/fortunately, I already have a job requiring me to work afternoon/evenings. Were I still in my 3am-noon position, I may have actually tried to do both. And then I would have died. 

It was a flattering event. Even if it was just a small little Provo cafe. Started me to thinking that, while I'm not anybody in the culinary world yet....there's that little three-letter word. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Watermelon Jam

I made Watermelon Blackberry Jam today. Well, I should say that I made my first round of Watermelon Blackberry jam today.

And actually, I used marionberries.

It was delicious. I will try it again with a low-sugar pectin, and will probably drain off some of the watermelon liquid about halfway through. And I will add some lime zest. I added lime juice, but I want to retain the fresher taste of the zest. I also think I blended it too much; I prefer preserves with big ol' chunks of fruit in them.

I will share the recipe. I think I will make another batch tomorrow afternoon, and will edit the recipe as I perfect it. But if I don't share it now, I'll forget.

Makes about 1 cup of jam

Making time : Appr. 45 mins...or an hour...or 90 minutes. Who knows? I was reading Ender's Game and lost track of how long I was stirring. 

Watermelon - Appr. 2 lbs or 900 gms ( Without the rind and hard seeds)
Sugar - Around 3 Tbs--err on the generous side [maybe more]
Blackberries/marionberries-- a handful (or as much as you want)
Cinnamon - A couple of pinches
Cardamom --a little bit, couple shakes of the shaker, eh. 
Vanilla powder (Can substitute vanilla bean, paste, or extract) to taste
dash of Salt

Lime Juice from half of a fruit, OR few squirts of key lime juice 
[zest from lime]

Cut the watermelon flesh into small chunks. Mix spices with sugar. You can vary the sugar and spice quantity to your taste. Simmer the fruit, sugar mixture and lime juice. The fruit will start breaking down. There is no need to add water as the water from the watermelon is sufficient. Keep stirring constantly as the mixture thickens and use a ladle to mash the chunks. [drain some water] When the mixture has reached the consistency of a jam, take it off heat and use a hand blender or a regular blender to grind it to the desired consistency. Return to heat and simmer for about 5 more minutes. Let cool and refrigerate. The jam will stay fresh for about 10 days. I hope.

This stuff is addicting.
I need more watermelon. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

ManFriend O'Texas

Earlier today, I ended up in a familiar neighborhood of Provo. As I was walking down the sidewalk, I saw a friend of mine I hadn't seen in a while--he was across the street, talking to someone.  I kept walking, not sure who he was talking to and not wanting to interrupt. To my surprise, he saw me and gave me an enthusiastic wave. I took it as an invitation. When I got across the street, he gave me a big hug and immediately integrated me into the conversation. At its conclusion, we walked back to his house. Even though he was getting ready for a ward event, he still took the time to talk to me, and asked about my life! He even remembered silly details from the last time we talked. I inquired about his life, too, and we had a very pleasant conversation. He even gave me Mini Wheats! I LOVE Mini Wheats!  He sent me home with a whole back of them. We had an excellent discussion about food, and he let me brag a bit about my English placement test results--without making me feel awkward or anything! I love that he is honestly supportive and enthusiastic for other people. I'm sure I'm not the only one--he just makes people feel like they are awesome, and they do awesome things, so why shouldn't we all just share how awesome we are?? He's not threatened or self-effacing. He just builds people up. (Unless you're an idiot. Then he'll tell you so....but mostly so that you can fix it...or go away. :-) )Seriously, though, he defended me to non-present foes when I shared a "somebody did this and it bugged me" anecdote, and he even defended me to myself a couple of times. He has opinions, but wants to remain well-informed and likes listening to people. 

Anyway, the whole "event" was only about 45 minutes. But I felt so great. ^_^ I felt appreciated! I felt important! I felt blessed! AND I felt like I was going to have a really yummy breakfast of gifted Mini Wheats tomorrow morning. 

As a side note, I appreciate that this man friend also appreciates food. It makes me feel less crazy when I mention lamb-burger with feta and spinach, on ciabatta, with garlic that is a totally normal topic of conversation. He isn't a "chef," per se, but he has a ton of sous chef experience and definitely appreciates good food. 

Such a short but comprehensive friend interaction was exactly what I needed to recover from my weekend. 

I am so blessed to have such good friends. I forget a lot. 
And it's good to know that lamb burgers (with an appreciative fellow foodie) are somewhere in my near-ish future.

Placement Tests

One last hurdle in my culinary school admissions: gotta go take the Accuplacer exam
.for English.  
I haven't taken math since my sophomore year of HIGH SCHOOL, and they are cool with my "30" ACT score for that. (I thought ACT expired after a few years??)

But apparently,  my "36" ACT scores in comprehension and grammar, and my English grammar MINOR, and the 6 EXTRA literature classes I took at the Y aren't good enough. o.O

Oh, well. At least I don't have to study.

Quotes of Joy and Grammar:

“One of the major problems encountered in time travel is not that of becoming your own father or mother. There is no problem in becoming your own father or mother that a broad-minded and well-adjusted family can't cope with. There is no problem with changing the course of history—the course of history does not change because it all fits together like a jigsaw. All the important changes have happened before the things they were supposed to change and it all sorts itself out in the end.

The major problem is simply one of grammar, and the main work to consult in this matter is Dr. Dan Streetmentioner's Time Traveler's Handbook of 1001 Tense Formations. It will tell you, for instance, how to describe something that was about to happen to you in the past before you avoided it by time-jumping forward two days in order to avoid it. The event will be descibed differently according to whether you are talking about it from the standpoint of your own natural time, from a time in the further future, or a time in the further past and is futher complicated by the possibility of conducting conversations while you are actually traveling from one time to another with the intention of becoming your own mother or father.

Most readers get as far as the Future Semiconditionally Modified Subinverted Plagal Past Subjunctive Intentional before giving up; and in fact in later aditions of the book all pages beyond this point have been left blank to save on printing costs.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy skips lightly over this tangle of academic abstraction, pausing only to note that the term "Future Perfect" has been abandoned since it was discovered not to be.” ― Douglas AdamsThe Restaurant at the End of the Universe

“The rule is: don’t use commas like a stupid person. I mean it.” 
― Lynne TrussEats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation

Friday, May 3, 2013

Real Reason

I'm pretty sure the real reason I'm not married is that, before being married, I would have to be engaged.  

And that means engagement pictures. 

And that means me, in front of a camera, with a fabulous looking man... feeling like an idiot. 

I never know what to do with my face. Or my arms. Or the rest of me. So I stand there looking awkward. I'm not good at standing still! Any particular still shot of me is going to have a hard time capturing who I am, because very little of me is actually still. Ever. 

I have insecurities like everybody else has--I don't like my teeth, I'm too short or too fat or too white or whatever. I tend to get over those later.  Mostly the problem is a camera makes me uncomfortable, and that is not a natural state for me. So all my pictures look awkward--because I FEEL awkward!

I should work on that. 

...Or I could just stay single. ;-)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Sound of Silence

I am very excited to someday, for some brief amount of time, live in a place where it is actually quiet. Not all the time--just SOME of the time. Simply put, no "filler" noises (ambient TV/music, talking about nothing) only there because the other people are uncomfortable with quietness. Also--the inspiration for this post--no neighbors blasting metal and screamo loud enough to hear it in my kitchen, OVER the dishwasher.

It takes a LOT of mental energy for me to process audio signals. It is difficult to listen to music or TV or other potentially engaging sounds at the same time as doing something else requiring focus--like, thinking. Sometimes I can, but it's not common practice for me. Background audio signals that I need to track is fine (children I'm babysitting, for example). But trying to filter other audio is hard, and very distracting. Once I do actually get the mental filter up (not an easy task), trying to get my attention becomes difficult--so I don't put it up often. Mostly, this leads to background noise driving me crazy--because my brain is processing all sound as equally important, and therefore gets overloaded and distracted. Especially when sleep deprived.

People tend to be surprised by this problem, as I am so flipping loud ALL THE TIME, especially when I talk. And I sing loud. And drum loud. And many other things...loud. But it makes sense, with the hearing loss I have had since I was a small(ish) child. If there's noise and you try to talk to me--without visually get my attention first, or calling out and get eye contact--chances are I'm not ignoring you. I'm just not registering--or not hearing you in the first place.  Sometimes this leads to me seeming very rude. 

Don't get me wrong, I love listening to music. I guess I just need moments when I control my own audio surroundings. My roommates and neighbors last summer were AWESOME about that. And I miss them.