Thursday, December 23, 2010

TRADITION!!

In my family, especially around Christmas-time, you inevitably will yell "TRADITION!" at some point. Sometimes, this exclamation comes while in your underwear, and at others, it comes while opening gifts. In my case (this year) it has come with the revelation to Shawn that I will be baking cinnamon rolls.

Traditionally, my family had lasagna on Christmas Eve, opened all the Christmas gifts from each other, went to midnight mass, came home to find our gift from Santa, went to bed, woke up, ate cinnamon rolls, "opened" stockings. The rest of Christmas is open to either playing with your new gifts, or, as my sister and I got older and had boyfriends, it meant that we could spend the rest of the day with them and their families.

So, yes, cinnamon rolls. Of course, this means I need to go get all the stuff to make them (okay, not ALL the stuff - just the milk, butter, stuff to make the glaze, and a bunch of those square throw-away pans).

Now then, if you want to follow along, you can find the recipe I'll be using over at Ree Drummond's site: Pioneer Woman

Monday, November 22, 2010

You put the lime in the Coke you nut

As a gift for one of my coworkers for his wedding, I offered to make a pie of his choice. His choice was coconut cream. A pie that I would normally avoid as if it were carrying a new strain of ebola because of two reasons: 1) Coconut, 2) cream pie. The best part about Matt choosing the coconut cream pie is that he chose it BECAUSE his new bride does not like it. Not that he ever even told her that I was going to make a pie for them, but that's beside the point (I think he totally told her today that I just gave them a dirty pie plate as a wedding gift so she would never even know that there was a pie).

I went out on Saturday and bought supplies (notably that sweetened coconut flake stuff ::shudder::). Then I came home and went to pet my cat. Except that my cat didn't want to be pet, and I think I surprised him. So he kicked out with his hind leg and this happened (note: picture taken 24 hours AFTER the scratching incident so it's not a bloody mess in this photo):

This of course meant that I needed to wash and bandage up my hand good and proper to prevent the gangrene from setting in. It should be noted that the cat scratched me, I went and washed my hand for 5 minutes, then got out the cotton wrap and compression wrap, broght them to the couch, sat down, wrapped my hand myself, and it still took my loving husband WHO WAS SITTING NEXT TO ME ON THE COUCH THE WHOLE TIME another 20 minutes to notice that my hand was wrapped up. This event (the scratching not the fact that my husband is unobservant) meant I spent all of Sunday with my hand wrapped thusly (FINALLY a use for all that left over cotton gauze and compression wrap):

Don't worry, I wore a nitrile glove the entire time I was actually doing the cooking, but I just wanted to point out that I had to do things left handed because I couldn't touch my thumb to any of my fingers without feeling like I was going to re-open the wounds.

The recipe:
This one. The one from Emeril Lagasse. The one that I've never tried (see aforementioned disdain of both coconut and cream pies). So I figured "What the hell, how bad can it be?"

Step one: Make the pie shell. Okay, this isn't too bad, but I much prefer the dump and press style pie crust--there's no rolling or chilling. way easier than this version. but it turned out okay (though I think the crust could have used more sugar, but whatever, I was following the recipe). Besides, there are so many other places to go off course anyway. Pricked because I don't have pie weights...or dry beans...mostly because I don't make this type of pie crust and I don't eat beans.


Step two: Make the custard. I've never made custard (okay, that's a lie, I made creme brulee once. But it was a mix and all I had to do was heat some milk, mix and chill). This custard required actually separating eggs and what have you. And, as I've learned from The Spiteful Chef, there are certain steps that must be followed with a custard. These steps basically mean don't follow the recipe as written on Food Network. There's a part where it tells you to boil the custard. I'm pretty sure that's a bad idea. So I used the ingredients, but followed Kristie's steps (which are actually written out and explained). Here is my set up:

Milk is being heated to 185 (yeah, we only had fat free...probably not the best idea to use that in a CUSTARD, note to self for the next time I don't make coconut cream pie), icebath is ready with a strainer to catch insolent little pieces of egg that don't want to become a custard, a wooden spoon for stirring and consistency checking of said custard, and a ladle to aid in the tempering of the egg yolks. Speaking of egg yolks, here they are just before having the almost boiling milk added to the cold, uncooked eggs:

Since the recipe doesn't explain it, tempering is basically adding a tiny amount (I used half a ladlefull) of the hot milk to the eggs. whisk, whisk, whisk. Add a little more milk. whisk, whisk, whisk. wash, rinse, and repeat until half the milk has been added to the yolks and then add the yolk mixture back into the hot milk pot where you heat but NEVER BOIL the mixture until it is thick and gelatinous. Pour into the strainer over the bowl in the icebath, press through the strainer, pour into the prepared pie crust. Now then, I'm not sure if I actually had to strain it, but I did since it seemed like a good idea. Cover in plastic wrap (like a Christmas present!) and place in the fridge to chill throughly. It will look like this (note: you will need approximately a 6-pack of Coke and chocolate chips to complete this look):

You can't really tell in the picture, but I wasn't sure if this would form that disgusting skin on it so I pressed the plastic wrap down until it touched the gooey innards of the pie (minimizing the amount of air that can get to the pie) and let it chillax for about 2.5 hours. Then I moved on to the meringue.

I think I tried to make meringue one time back in the day and it was disastrous. I found some tips online--like have the egg whites be at room temperature (yeah, I didn't do that, I took them straight from the fridge), and using 2 tablespoons of sugar per white (I didn't do that, I did double the amount of sugar from the recipe, though). It did have a tip that I did follow--I whipped those whites like a jockey on a horse in the Kentucky Derby BEFORE adding the sugar. Spread on top of the pie and place in the preheated oven...of course after doing that I decided I should actually Google whether or not Pyrex can indeed go from a 37 degree refrigerator into a 350 degree oven (apparently it can as long as the oven is preheated. That...doesn't make much sense to me--"yes, this dish can go from cold to hot as long as you don't try to ramp up the hot. quick and fast, that's the way to do it"). Then I decided I should take a picture of the pie in case the dish didn't make it through the oven cycle so I could at least say "look! I made you a pie! too bad my oven ate it. It liked it though, so be glad for that." Picture of pie in oven:


After about 10 minutes, it looks like it might be done, and because the recipe told me so, I take it out of the oven and TA-DA:

Look! It's ANGEL PIE! With the haloing effect...get it? no? yes...well...crap.

Of course it didn't look so pretty after I re-wrapped it in plastic wrap and took it to work this morning--it didn't like the 45 minute car ride in a warm car very much. Matt was still nice and said that it looked good. Plus I guess he ate all of it tonight for dinner. But then, I don't know if that really means anything because I think he'll eat just about everything.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Boston

Here are my Boston Photos...

Boston

700

As I'm sure you've noticed, I failed miserably in my goal of posting something every day of November. Le Sigh.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fini

I'm FINALLY finished with the latest (and possibly last?) of my "projects for my friends' babies." And I'm only a year behind. for this project, I once again made cubes with 4 sides being embroidered hot-iron transfers and the 2 remaining sides being a bandanna skull and crossbones number. I, however, did not take a picture...this is mostly because I was finishing up the sewing on it as we were driving to the kid's 1-year birthday party. Because that's just how I roll.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Big Bang

Have you ever paused the television while watching the end of the Big Bang Theory in order to read the Chuck Lorre vanity end cards? I did. Once. But good news, now there's no need to pause the tv and get all close to it to read it, now you can just go to this handy website which catalogues all the vanity cards for you.

http://www.chucklorre.com/

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fall

from my mom when she was down here in October:
"So the leaves haven't started turning yet. What color will they turn when fall finally hits down here?"

from my coworker:
"Do you consider brown a color?"

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Backpacking


on my birthday, Shawn and I went backpacking with our friend Lon, and his 4-year old daughter, Ma-belle. This is the only photo I took. I figured that it's his kid, he's the one that's in charge of taking the photos of her, right? I let her wear my hat the entire hike in because that's like an ounce that I don't have to carry myself.

Patriot Place

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Mark Twain

"When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years."

Friday, November 05, 2010

Columbus


And I shall call him 'Lord Farquad'

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Cat Food

I don't know how I managed to start feeding our cat a food that can only be found in 6 pound bags. And I can hear you asking me, "well, isn't that because your cat is on special kidney food?" and the answer is, "yes, but it's not that cat."

That's right, Quazi was put on a special food around this time last year. That food was Oral Sensitive by Royal Canin. The reason why he was put on this food is because he has the bad habit of scarfing food and then regurgitating it on the floor about 20 minutes later. The Oral Sensitive variety helps prevent this because he actually has to chew the food before swallowing it which means he eats slower and therefore won't act like an angsty high school girl. The food is good, Ivy likes it too, the only problem I have with it is that the big name box stores around here only sell it in the 3 pound bags, so I have to go to the ONLY store I've found thus far who sells it in the 6 pound bags.

Since I have to call in Ivy's food to the vet (prescription diet), I think I might ask if it's possible for them to order me Quazi's food too. Kill two birds with one stone.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Christmas

It's like I'm on a Holiday roll around here....

But, Machu Picchu, December 2011. What do you think?

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

November

You know what today is, don't you? It is November 2. 2 days into National Blog Post Month (NaBloPoMo). In other words, it is the month in which I regale you with crappy-ass stories in order to prove to myself that I can, indeed, post something on one of my blogs at least once a day for 30 consecutive days.

And you want to know something else? I've already screwed it up. I forgot yesterday was November 1. But, in the grand scheme of things, this is peanuts compared to the other atrocity that happened yesterday. The atrocity of which I speak is naturally the travesty in which I forgot to have the first two words out of my mouth on the 1st of the month be "White Rabbit."

Obviously this is Shawn's fault because he bothered to ask me a question right after getting out of bed. The question, of course, was whether Daylight Saving time ended on the 31st or not. I think he was looking forward to sleeping in for another hour. In any case, I'll take my semi lucid answer of "no, it ends next weekend, at 1am" over the phrase I kept uttering last night every time there was a clap of thunder that woke me up in the middle of the night...Though I would guess it'd be easier to remember to say "Holy Crap!!!" (and yes, apparently when I'm tired I cuss like a Mormon instead of a Sailor) the first of every month, rather than that silly "White Rabbit" phrase.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Nostalgia Sunday: Halloween Edition

As it is Halloween, and it is a Sunday, I figure a Halloween Edition of Nostalgia Sunday is in order. However, since there are so many preshus memrys, I am doing a bulleted thing instead of coherent paragraphs (oh who am I kidding, this is hardly ever 'coherent')

-My mom had the habit of making our costumes, this meant that a) we had to help out, and b) we had to fit them over our winter coats (okay not really, but it did help a bunch if we left extra room to wear sweatshirts and sweat pants underneath). One year we got some 'cut and sew' costumes that had glow in the dark piping. I was a witch, and Dani was Be-bop the robot. We'd go to the houses and Dani would say "Doop, beep, bop, eep! That means Trick-or-Treat in robot!"

-I don't ever remember truly going as a princess, but I think I went as an Indian (feathers, not dots) Princess when I was in third grade. And in 6th I was a Harem girl, which most people took to mean Jasmine from Aladin since that movie had come out fairly recently.

-Mom always made apple dumplings in the fall, and since it doesn't get cold down here until Christmas, it doesn't feel like fall, so I force myself to make apple dumplings on Halloween for preparation.

-My dad always decorated the front yard by raking all the leaves into a big pile under the tree, he'd then take an old pair of pants (usually Dani's), stuff them full of leaves and position them under the leaf stack like there is a dead little kid under the leaves (yes, they always told us the kid was supposed to be "sleeping"), the look would be completed by using Dani's old tennis shoes so you couldn't tell the pants were actually stuffed. Supposedly, one year the cops came to the house because someone had called it in saying that we had a dead kid in our yard. Of course, this all happened after Dani and I went to bed, so I question the validity of this claim.

-And finally, for YEARS I wasn't allowed to eat candy on Halloween night, all because of one measly sweet tart and an unfortunate event that happened later that night.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

On Fairy Tales

As we were backpacking this last weekend with a four-year-old (Ma-belle), we (her dad and I) started talking about fairy tales...don't worry, we were quite careful to make sure she wasn't listening as it probably would have crushed her heart to find out that living "happily ever after" sometimes just doesn't happen in the fairy tales. Generally speaking the fairy tales that originated in Germany are meant to scare the ever-living crap out of children so they'll do what their parents tell them to while the French fairy tales are totally raunchy and meant to entertain adults.

Here are some quick synopses of the original fairy tales:
Snow White (German): Disney was fairly accurate to the source material here; the evil stepmother queen has little (7-year-old) Snow White taken to the woods to be killed, but the hunter lets her go. Snow White lives with the dwarfs, and the queen tries to kill her 3 times; by poison laces, poison comb and finally poison apple (however, in the first two cases the dwarfs save her and in the last the apple essentially gets stuck in her windpipe). The dwarfs put Snow White in a glass coffin in the woods and the dashing young prince comes, falls in love and begs the dwarfs to let him take poor, comatose Snow White with him. During the move, the apple piece becomes dislodged and Snow White wakes up, falls in love with the prince and they marry. The evil queen goes to their wedding (not realizing that it's Snow White), and, at the wedding, is forced to wear iron shoes that have been placed in the fire until they were red hot. She either dances until she dies, or has a heart attack. In either case, I'm sure wearing the fire hot iron shoes didn't help any.

Sleeping Beauty (French): Again, Disney follows the source material at the beginning, but when Sleeping Beauty (who doesn't have a name, though her eventual daughter is named Aurora) is in her sleep stupor in the woods, the prince comes and rapes her, thus impregnating her. When the babies (yes, twins) are born they suckle on Sleeping Beauty's finger, thus dislodging the piece of poisoned wood that was embedded in her finger (apparently human babies now act like most other mammals where the babies must find their way to their mother's teat). Said prince keeps all this under wraps (as was the fashion of the times), but his mother finds out and plans to have the babes and Sleeping Beauty killed, prepared in a sauce Robert, and ultimately served to her son (to teach him a lesson I suppose?). In some way, shape, or form, it comes to pass that the cook tricks the mother by giving her prepared meats instead of the prepared humans. When the King finds what she's done (that she tried to kill the mother of his children and his children), he has his own mother thrown into a pit of vipers (Why'd it have to be snakes?).

The Little Mermaid (Dutch): The little mermaid goes to the water's surface on her 15th birthday and saves a prince from drowning. Since she wants to be human to be with the prince, she goes to the sea witch who agrees to give her legs in exchange for the mermaid's voice. The mermaid agrees even though the witch has warned her that it will feel like she is walking on swords, her feet will bleed, and if the prince doesn't love her, she will die. The prince falls for the little mermaid, but ends up marrying another girl at the behest of his father (it helps some that he thinks the girl he is marrying was the one who saved him from drowning instead of the little mermaid). On the morning after the wedding, the mermaids sisters come to the surface with a knife. If the little mermaid kills the prince, she will regain her fins and live on as a mermaid. In the end, she can't kill the thing she loves and so she dies and becomes sea foam.

Beauty and the Beast (French): Belle is actually a princess, who, to protect her life, is sent to live as a merchant's daughter. The merchant loses all his riches, and when he gets news that one of his ships has returned to port, he asks his daughters what they want for gifts. The two older sisters (who, by all accounts, sound about as nice as Cinderella's sisters), ask for finery while Belle asks for a rose. When the merchant finds that his ship has been taken to pay his debts, he can no longer afford to buy the gifts he promised. On his way home, he spends the night in a seemingly abandoned castle. He tries to take a rose from the garden and that's when the Beast makes him a prisoner who can only leave if he agrees to send his youngest daughter. Belle arrives at the castle and is well taken care of, but refuses to marry the beast (even though she dreams of a handsome prince telling her to marry the beast). At one point, she convinces the beast to let her go home to visit her family. He agrees but states that she must come back within one week. Belle's sisters trick her into staying longer, and when Belle arrives at the Beast's castle, he is almost dead from heartbreak. She agrees to marry him and he is magically turned into the handsome prince. They live happily ever after. It should be noted that the prince was turned into a beast because he refused to be seduced by an evil fairy (newer versions indicate that he was turned into a beast for not being nice to a homeless woman).

Cinderella (originally Greek):
Greek version: An eagle makes off with a maiden's sandal and drops it in the king's lap thus starting the quest to find the girl who owns that sandal.
French version: The Disney version (sans talking mice, and helpful birds)
German version: This is the version where the sisters cut off pieces of their own feet in order to get them to fit into the slipper. Pigeons alert the prince by pecking out the eyes of the sisters after their lies. (Sound familiar?) They spare the prince because he's just a dumb dumb.

And all this exercise really made me want to do is watch "Into the Woods." Most of these stories I pulled from Wikipedia and my memory from when I researched fairy tales for a history class project. We filmed the original Sleeping Beauty using He-man action figures and Barbies. Don't worry, we used a censored sign for the inappropriate scenes...though we did make reference to the JonBenet case, which was probably in bad taste.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Birthin' Butterflies


I helped this butterfly be born. I had gone outside to take photos of flowers and noticed that the chrysalis I had on the passionvine was really dark, which indicates that the butterfly is ready to hatch. Unfortunately, the chrysalis was already in the shade for the day, so I picked up the stem the chrysalis was attached to and moved it to the sun. Not 10 minutes later and the butterfly was out and sunning off its wings.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Ugh

I'm pretty sure we can now add a new allergy to my list: Ragweed. In addition to the Cedar Fever I already suffer from, this now means that from October til February I will be holing myself up indoors and getting high on allergy meds. And that's during the best part of the year down here. dangnabit!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Water droplets on Cat tail


The cats got stuck out in the rainstorm this afternoon. They weren't too happy about that turn of events.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Skillz

Two nights ago, I decided to make jambalaya. the zattarain's variety. (by the way, that scream you just heard is Kristie all the way in colorado.)

Anyhow, in this jambalaya mix, I decided to use our deer sausage (the link variety) that I got from a coworker.

Opening the vacuum sealed package requires using a knife.

A knife I sliced toward myself.

A knife that slipped and I ended up nicking myself on the hip.

Put a nice little hole in my shirt.

So I sewed that up right after eating dinner.

Yes, I have mad knife skillz.

I'm sorry, did I say 'mad'? I meant 'bad'.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cricket

No matter what type of day I've had, nothing warms the cockles of my heart more than seeing the kids playing cricket at the park on my way home from work.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Frost Bank Billboard

"If you want something done, tell a Texan it's impossible."
- Anonymous

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pedophiles

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but for whatever reason, it set me off again.

Why does it seem like I'm the only person down here (being Texas) that thinks those stupid window stickers parents put on their cars here are stupid? These window stickers usually contain the child's name, the sport they partake in, their jersey number, and the school where they play this sport. Plus if you follow the vehicle in question to their house, you now have the address of the potential victim.

I mean really, it surprises me there aren't more reports of kids being kidnapped.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Poker

Shawn and I have been watching Top Shot on Hulu recently. Top Shot is one of those reality competition shows, and in essence the premise is that team A is supposed to beat team B in a head to head competition that somehow is using some form of weapon generally used to kill people, and requires some skill to do so. And it's not like they just use your every day Glock, they switch it up between odd-ball weapons (throwing knives) and old-timey (1873 Winchester rifles). Oh sure they'll have some newer guns in there (like an AK-47 or sniper rifle).

The episode we watched last night (which is like episode 8 or something) involved an elimination challenge of using a Peacemaker (the gun Wyatt Earp used) to shoot at playing cards (face up) on a large board 25-yards away. The goal was to get the best poker hand possible if you were playing 7 card stud. Both players were able to get a royal flush easily. The second round was the same concept only with 5 card stud, and the cards that had already been used could not be used again.

Player A shoots for and scores a 2 of spades (slight confusion because why go for the straight flush when you can still go for the royal flush?)
Player B shoots for and misses an Ace
Player A shoots for and scores the 6 of spades
Player B decides to play defensively and gets the 5 of spades
Player A shoots the 4 of spades
Player B is going for the "4 of a kind" and gets the 5 of hearts
Player A totally spazes out and decides he wants, aims for, and shoots the 4 of hearts (WTF?!)
Player B shoots the 5 of clubs
Game over


Seriously, I want to play poker against that guy.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

August 15

To my dear and wonderful husband on our 5th wedding anniversary,

Thank you for not laughing too hard when I sliced my knee open on your license plate. Again. And thank you for putting up with my hysterics in regards to slicing open my knee on your license plate. Again. This time though, is just the equivalent of a paper cut. So, that's good. That means I won't be threatening to pass out and making you go to the store specifically to buy me butterfly bandages. But really, I could use some ice cream. That would definitely help. And I'll try not to do this again. But maybe it's a sign that I should stop doing laundry. You don't mind, right?

Yours,
Katina

But really, thanks for the last 5 years, they were wonderful. What do you say we give it another 5?

Friday, August 13, 2010

678: iPhone vs. Droid vs. Blackberry

I was forwarded this article from today: iPhone users have the Most Sex.

For those of you who don't care to read it, I shall summarize:

According to a survey by OK Cupid, iPhone users had the most sex partners, followed by Blackberry and then Android users coming in third.

I don't know what to make of this...but they're saying 1 of 2 things: girls with iPhones are easy or girls with iPhones are hot.

discuss amongst yourselves.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Pocky

Have you seen these delicious little cracker-sticks covered in chocolate? If you do ever see them, I fully recommend buying a pack and then eating them before you even get to your car.

Shawn has his first run in with the Pocky the other day. He was talking to it. Coaxing the broken halves in the bottom of the wrapper to come out because if they didn't, they were going to melt. He finally ascertained that they were indeed melted to the packaging and he stated "don't worry little Pocky! I'll save you!" before ripping the packaging to shreds and licking all the melted chocolate off of the inside of the baggie.

Seriously, almost as addicting as crack.

Monday, August 09, 2010

irksome

it really irks me when I'm watching Last Comic Standing and one of the comics does a bit that has been done by others far greater and far better.

The show we watched tonight had 2 such instances. One where Natasha (looking much like a little girl who decided to play dress up in Betty White's closet) did a joke that had already been told earlier this year and aired on TV. It was a bit about how reality TV competitions are out of control and the final two will decide who was the top six that will decide which 5 are going home or some such.

the second instance was where Greg decided to recite the last verse of Lazyboy's "Underwear goes inside the pants" song. Practically verbatim. Which, fine, I get that he was the one that did the speaking part on the song, and that the song was released 6 years ago, but still. It's been done.

The only bright spot thus far (we have 20 minutes left to go) was Tom Papa who is the host on the Marriage Ref ("men are like sick bears from Chernobyl...")

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Hammer and Coop

We were talking about this at dinner last night:



Now then, if only I could remember what I was supposed to watch...

Adventurous New Recipes

Earlier this week I took a day off, and Shawn had said that, as Sprouts was having a really good deal on Mahi Mahi, that I should buy some. He promised he would cook it since I have a rule that I do not eat fish, and therefore I will not cook fish. Shawn has told me that the problem isn't the fish, the problem is the type of fish I've always had (fish sticks and trout). I promised that, if he did indeed cook fish, that I would at least try it.

And I actually liked it! I don't think I liked it nearly as much as the CATS liked it, though -- I've never had to fight Quazi away from my dinner plate so forcefully before. Shawn of course kept claiming that he ruined it because he glazed the glaze for too long and so it was more of a gelatinous goo rather than glaze. But otherwise I thought it was perfectly fine. And as I said, the cats thought it was more than perfectly fine.

And I guess this is a plus as Ivy has the habit of not drinking enough water, and I found that I can trick her into drinking water if I put some fish in it.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Adventures in Home Ec

Bond has an overabundance of cayenne peppers from her garden so she brought them all in to work for everyone to share. At the end of the day, there were still like 17 peppers left so I decided I'd go ahead and take them, surely I'd find some use for them.

A few days later, Bond mentioned that she had been using the peppers to make some hot sauce and it was neon orange. And thus I had an idea of what to do with the peppers. Make hot sauce. I figured that since Shawn is so into spicy foods that he'd at least appreciate it.

I make the recipe as Bond had given it to me-- Cut off the tops of cayenne peppers, add them to boiling vinegar, wait a bit, add salt and sugar, add to blender...Wait, we don't have a blender...Well Crap. So I decide to let it cool off in the pot for a while before adding it to my plastic food processor. Shawn says that I should just use the stick blender we have.

After attempting this, we learned some very important lessons: The reason why you need this in a blender, or in something with a lid is because A) it will splatter, and B) it's heated through spicy peppers, you idiot.

Yeah, we effectively sprayed ourselves with pepper spray.

As we're standing there in the kitchen coughing, sneezing and eyes watering, Shawn suggests that maybe I ought to just let it cool down and then I can put it in the plastic food processor, which has a lid. Yes, well, duh.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Catholic Weddings

I was talking to my coworker about his upcoming nuptials via text message. A bit of back story: This coworker used to love Mel Gibson. Loved him right up to the Jewish rant a few months back.

"Are you going to have a recitation of the Apostle's Creed or the Nicene Creed at your wedding?"

"No, we're going to do a medley of my favorite lines from Mel Gibson movies. The priest will ask if I take sugartits to be my wife."

"And then he'll ask her if she takes Masterblaster to be her husband..."

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Text Message Conversation

To my coworker:
"Why is your Bella doll making out with your sunblock?"

The response:
"Who knows why Bella does these things?"

So accurate, really...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Bread 2, Shawn 0

Shawn attempted to make bread again yesterday.

It wasn't quite as bad as the first time in some regards (there was no yeast being thrown all about the kitchen), but it was worse in others.

Shawn has a case of ADD. This is the reason, he believes, that he does so well with drumming--it keeps him focused, and it's something that he can do mindlessly with his hands while his brain is elsewhere. Back in high school and college I remember that he NEVER stopped drumming. EVER. He'd be doing homework and his left hand and legs would be tapping out some rhythm, he'd be reading a text book and there'd be some tribal beat, and if his hands and feet couldn't move, then his tongue was always clicking away - seriously, he'd be good at speaking Swahili, I swear.

So it comes as no surprise that he needs a recipe to look at when he's making food. He just can't add things because he usually forgets that he added them in the first place. A recipe provides a nice little list that he just has to go off of. So now the problem is that the recipe that he keeps using for the bread is a recipe that makes 2 loaves. we only have 1 loaf pan. So he just halves the recipe. His brain can't do this because it's like "okay, the recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of sugar in 1 cup of water, so I need to put in 1/2 tablespoon of sugar and Oh Look! Shiny!"

so he managed to make the recipe correctly, but used a full cup of water instead of half a cup. Which means that he added more flour to get it to the right consistency, but once again, by the time he got to adding the flour he forgot he was halving the recipe so he didn't think of it until he was cleaning up the kitchen while the dough was rising.

He was so mad at himself and could not be made to feel better (though I'm sure the fact that every time he started cussing himself out I would laugh and tell him that it wasn't that big of a deal and I'm sure the bread would be edible didn't help much. But I was helpful in so much that I went and re-wrote the recipe for one loaf of bread instead of 2, maybe it will help). The dough rose, and it fell. Half was put in the loaf pan and the other was left to its own devices on a cookie sheet (looked roughly like a loaf of french bread). The loaves were allowed to rise a second time (as the recipe calls for).

and then the oven was turned on.

I have crappy cookie sheets and so the smaller 2 always make a large clanging noise and torque themselves into a funny, non flat shape when the oven gets above 250. And of course the oven was above 250, so it caused the French bread loaf to fall. And all of Shawn's hopes and dreams with it. (okay not really, but you get the gist)

In the end, I think it turned out better than the first time--some of it was probably because the bread wasn't as overcooked (I made him check the internal temperature about 10 minutes before the timer went off because I said it smelled like it was done to me). The French Loaf is all flat and looks a lot more like a biscotti loaf than a French loaf. The regular loaf looks like a brick.

He keeps insisting that it's him. I keep insisting that he try a different recipe. I figure he's got one more time in him before he calls off making bread of any kind for good.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Speeders


I found this spider out by our compost bin. Because I'm nice to insects outside, I refuse to break its web in order to spin the composter so the the compost is just sitting in there getting all nasty. The web is set up so we can still add stuff to the compost, we just can't turn it.

To give you an idea of how big this thing is, it's body from head to butt is about the size of a quarter. It is a Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia), and supposedly it is not prone to biting, and when it does, the bite is no worse than a bee sting.

Still. I think I'll keep my distance.

[I'll add a nostalgia section here about spiders, but I won't do it tonight, so check back later]

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Blogging Mojo

I'll start blogging again...as soon as I finish re-reading the Twilight Saga... Again.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bread

In Cow News, our beef is bing picked up as we speak. The prices ended up being very good. I think it's closer to $6.18/lb

But I digress.

A few weekends ago, Shawn attempted to make bread. If you know Shawn, then you know that he is a rule follower. A recipe is needed for things and you must follow the recipe. If there is no recipe then it is the end of the world, or at the very least it means that I must be the one cooking because I view recipes more as guidelines. Especially when it comes to bread items.

I view bread recipes as guidelines mostly because of my great-grandma's roll recipe. It's a recipe that she would use to make dinner rolls and cinnamon rolls. The problem with this recipe, however, is that it makes a very soft dough. A dough that does not lend itself to being rolled out very well. Which means that more flour is added just to get it to not stick to the rolling pin. This can be up to 2 cups of flour. But of course no one ever wrote out the actual amount to be added when making cinnamon rolls, just a note that the cinnamon rolls would use more flour. Shawn, however, cannot do this whole "well, I'll just add more until it doesn't stick" thing. If the recipe says let rise one hour or until double in size, that means one hour; no more, no less. The recipe says knead for 5 minutes or until elastic and tacky. That means knead for 5 minutes, not 6, not 4, but 5. He is also very precise in his measurements whereas I am not. I will use the same measuring cup for everything, and the same measuring spoon (hey man, some of my greatest foods came from mistakes--the chocolate chip cookies I made all the time in high school had 3 times the amount of vanilla in them than they were supposed to).

3 weekends ago when he attempted to make a whole wheat loaf of bread, the recipe from our KitchenAid Stand Mixer book o recipes, it didn't go so well (not that it was an epic fail either). He only broke with the recipe in one spot. the spot where it said to bake for 40 minutes. He broke with the recipe because the top was getting EXTREMELY done (read just shy of burnt).

When we tried the bread, it was okay, not the greatest, but not too bad either. the crust was very brown and thick, the bread itself was dense and I thought a little on the dry side. But Shawn dutifully used it for his sandwich bread for the week until the last two slices went moldy. It is apparently quite common for all whole wheat loaves to be very dense, and is the reason why most whole wheat bread recipes are actually half All Purpose flour.

This last weekend, I decided to make dinner rolls. Originally I was going to make the dill rolls from The Spiteful Chef (which, by the way, there's a very similar recipe in the Colorful Colorado cookbook), but the Black Swallowtail Caterpillars changed my plans so instead I opted to do Great Grandma's Rolls.

First I substituted Whole Wheat Flour for half of the All Purpose Flour, second I put the dough in a bowl to rise and then went and did stuff out of the house for an hour or two and then came back and kneaded the dough (the original recipe calls for rising overnight), broke it into largish balls, and let them sit on the cookie sheets until Shawn was ready to start grilling the chicken (about 20 minutes). I also had to cook them about 2 minutes longer than was written in the recipe (probably because of the largeness of the rolls). I made roughly 16 rolls instead of the 24-30 the recipe is supposed to make. I did this intentionally as I figured that they'd make good rolls to turn into sandwich rolls. Shawn, however, was a little disappointed I didn't make them slightly larger since then they would have been hamburger bun sized. But now I know--tennis ball = hamburger bun.

They were probably some of the best rolls I've ever had. Shawn made me promptly freeze 8 of them lest they go bad. I have a feeling that it's good that I made the rolls and that they turned out so well, otherwise I think Shawn might have given up on homemade bread (I have told him time and time again that bread is one of those things that you just have to keep trying to make it because it will take a dozen attempts before you get good at it).

Another month or two of bread making and we might just have the hang of it...then we can move on to making homemade pasta.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Yard Mateys! Part: the third

Today we will pick up where we left off:

Are the aforementioned Skil Shrub Trimmer and the Fiskars Momentum Reel Mower so easy to use, that even a baby could do it?

Today I will review the Fiskars, the Skil review can be found here

And as I edited in last time, I'm doing this of my own volition and was not paid or compensated in any way by Skil or Fiskars. We paid our own hard earned cash for these products, so they damn well better work.

Shawn had finished mowing the yard and I had finished using the shrub trimmer, when I looked out into the side yard and noticed some random blades of grass that hadn't been cut by the mower. I guess this is a common complaint when people first start mowing their yard with a reel mower after using a gas powered mower for years. It appears that grass needs to be 'trained' to be cut by a reel mower-mow one direction one week, a different direction the next until the grass learns to grow straight up (i get the feeling that the gas mower either blows the blades multiple ways so they'll get cut down by the blades, or it creates a mild suction which accomplishes the same thing). I figured that this was as good a time as any to start pushing the mower through the grass to see how it handles. Though I guess I should really wait until the grass is taller so I get the full experience rather than the grass is already cut and I'm basically just pushing a mower through it for no reason. But we'll deal with that later.

Oh I should mention that we've got St. Augustine grass. And, if you want to get a reel mower, you should really do some research beforehand to make sure that the mower you get is good for the grass you have. I believe the Fiskars and the Scotts are good for St. Augustine but the Brill isn't good for it. (thankfully the Fiskars and the Scotts are much cheaper than the Brill.) from the research Shawn's done, it sounds as if the thicker the grass (St. Augustine, Zoysia, and Bermuda...so basically the grasses used in Austin), the tougher it is for the lighter mowers to cut. All this means is that for our grass, you want something that is a bit heavier so it doesn't just rest on top of the grass not cutting anything.

So I start 'mowing the lawn' and let me just say that while it's nowhere near as easy as a self-propelled lawn mower, it is a hell of a lot easier than our current gas mower. I can barely push that thing up the small hill we have--I have to get a running start. No such need with the Fiskars. The Fiskars is apparently easier to push than other reel mowers because it's a 'touchless' system. All that means is that the reel and the stationary blades are insanely close together, but they don't actually touch. So there's no blade friction, and you can go YEARS without having to sharpen the blades.

The mower is obviously very quiet. Much quieter than the gas powered mower, and much quieter than the neighbors and their damn jackhammer. I don't know why they were jackhammering, but it was loud and it was annoying. Thankfully it was also 10 in the morning on July 4th when they started doing it.

The Fiskars throws the grass clippings in front of the mower so there's no green grass stains on socks...or grass clippings in shoes. Though to be fair I think ever since we've gotten this thing, Shawn's mowed in bare feet.

The only downside I really noticed was that it doesn't handle corners and edges very well. It's tough to get it to follow a curve (but then I'm not sure I would have done better with the gas-mower). And we've got the area by the drive way where the grass is currently growing sideways and the other mower pulls the grass up enough that it can get trimmed--with this one, we have to go out with the weed whacker if we want the grass along the edges of the driveway to get trimmed.

Overall I'd give it 4.5 stars out of 5. It gets major points for ease of blade height change (you can change it with one hand and without tools--there's a little knob that changes the height of the front wheels which changes the height of the blades), ease of pushing it (I'd never mow the lawn with the other mower), and quietness. Plus the touch-less system is pretty freaking cool, as is the spitting the grass blades out the front - makes it a lot easier to tell when an area is done. It loses points for the cement edge mowing, and lack of being able to cut up the long 'strings' of St. Augustine grass.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Yard Mateys! Part: the second

As I figured that i couldn't really do a true review on the new yard tools ifin I haven't used them, I decided that I should try them out to give you an idea on how well they REALLY work. Because, as we all know, sometimes Shawn thinks things are all unicorns and rainbows when really they aren't. Take linux for example. While I like linux and I willingly use it at home, the vast majority of the world does not use linux and thinks people who do are computer nerds (which, yes. that's true), and are a tad masochistic (that may also be true).

So, are the aforementioned Skil Shrub Trimmer and the Fiskars Momentum Reel Mower so easy to use, that even a baby could do it?

Today I will review the Skil, and I'll have the Fiskars post tomorrow or something.

And as I edited in last time, I'm doing this of my own volition and was not paid or compensated in any way by Skil or Fiskars. We paid our own hard earned cash for these products, so they damn well better work.

It's kinda hard to see in the pictures on Amazon, but the Skil, as with any other motorized, sharp bladed/pointy tool that could require a visit to the emergency room if you decide to use it while on valium, ambien, or some delicious adult beverages, has a safety switch. Now then, this safety switch doesn't require that you hold it down the entire time the tool is in use (like a gas powered lawn mower), but you do have to hold it down and pull the trigger to get the tool to start up, then you can let go of the safety switch and the shrub trimmer can trim the shrubs as desired. Every time you let off of the trigger, you will have to hold the safety switch down again in order to re-start the blades. Doing this action isn't too difficult, and I could easily do this all one handed, but I do have the habit of just holding down the safety switch (essentially treating it like a gas powered lawn mower)...which requires some hand strength. Hand strength which I do not posses. I guess it could also be larger hands which would making holding down the safety switch easier as well since I had to stretch my finger to do it. OR maybe I could avoid being a dork and only press down the safety switch when it's actually needed.

Anyhow.

I tackled the Scourge Released Upon Central Texas by an Idiot aka Asian Jasmine. I actually did quite a bit in the amount of time it took Shawn to mow the lawn, and was quite proud of myself. With the regular pruners we used to use, I would MAYBE finish going around the berm in the amount of time Shawn mowed the yard. With this little Shrub Trimmer though I got both Hell Strips, the Berm, and partway through the Rosebush area all in the amount of time it took Shawn to do half of the front yard and the entire back yard. [Insert picture of front yard here - see? I get so used to linux that I can't find any of my photos if I'm not using it. So I have to put notes to myself to do anything other than check my email on this silly windows machine]. I wanted to continue working and do the two crepe myrtle bush areas too, but Shawn told me to wait until next time.

Now then, as you can imagine, since I insisted on holding down the safety button, my hand started getting tired. so I switched hands. Only I'm not as dexterous with my left hand so I had to use both hands to hold the shrub trimmer. This worked out quite well, though as I was STILL stretching one of my hands to hold the safety switch, pull the trigger and still be able to hold onto the tool, I did end up with sore hands. Specifically a sore left hand. My right hand is perfectly fine.

After using the shrub trimmer for about an hour, I was finding it tougher and tougher to hold down the trigger. But this, I'm sure, is due to my wimpyness and not the Skil itself. Shawn's suggestion is that we should get a rubber band and put it around the trigger to hold it down. Yes, THAT sounds safe. Next weekend when I'm in the ER, you'll know why.

Overall: I'd give the thing 4 of out 5 stars. The battery lasted the whole hour, it's a much better design, and more powerful than the little edge trimmer thing I used to use as a kid. The thing is just top heavy enough that I find it helpful to use both hands to hold it.

I'll be interested to see how the battery holds up.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Yard Mateys!

Recently Shawn's purchased himself 2 new yard tools. These tools would be as follows:
Skil Shrub Trimmer and Fiskars Momentum Reel Mower

The Skil was purchased via Woot! about a month ago. And it was purchased specifically for the stupid devil weed (aka Asian jasmine) that is in the front yard. Shawn's used it about 10 times now and every time he uses it he cannot stop talking about how great that thing is and how he's so glad he got it. Admittedly, it does make quick work out of trimming the edges of that damn plant.

[aside] Shawn managed to get his parents to step into the 21st century and purchase something via woot. They purchased on of the vacuum cleaners that was featured around Father's Day. [\aside]

The Reel mower was purchased at Lowe's this last weekend. Shawn's mowed the front yard and the backyard with it and is STILL talking about how much he loves that mower. He can't wait to mow the yard again, and if we didn't need the rain to water our grass so badly, he probably would be pissed that it's been wet out. The main reason for purchasing the mower was really because with a reel mower he can start mowing the lawn at 7 am instead of waiting until 9 am. A secondary reason is that every time he mows with the gas mower it throws up dust and grass and what have you and then he's sneezing the rest of the day. And of course there's always the carbon footprint thing (though one does have to take into account the carbon footprint of creating the new reel mower vs the using of the older mower which was owned by the neighbors Shawn grew up next to). One of Shawn's coworkers pointed out yesterday that there's really no need to wait for the weekend to mow when you have a reel mower. And now Shawn's all excited about getting up extra early one day a week during the workweek to mow the yard so he has the ENTIRE weekend to do nothing.

I think I need to find some new chores for him, don't you?

Also, I feel the need to add this edit since there's some rule about the FTC getting all bent out of whack if you do not clearly state such things: I was not paid or compensated for this review of products and we did purchase them for ourselves. AND I'll have to try out the products so I can do my own review as opposed to just re-typing everything that Shawn's said.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Katina, P.E.

I found out 2 weeks or so ago that I had indeed passed the professional engineering exam. I knew this because a) I had checked scores on the Texas P.E. board website, and b) they had emailed me saying that I needed to get my rubber stamp. In that email, they stated that they would be mailing out snail mail letters and everyone needed to be on the lookout for them.

This is the order in which I received the snail mail letters (and indeed the postmarks show that they were mailed in this order):
  • 8x10 license (this is the thing you're supposed to frame and hang in your office. like a doctor, only not.)
  • wallet sized pocket card
and finally
  • Dear Examinee, we are pleased to inform you that you made a passing score on the April P.E. exam...
Now then, maybe it's just me, but I find it odd that the "Congratulations! You passed the test!" letter was the last one sent. Partially because in the letter it says to be on the look out for the other 2 snail mails which will arrive within the next few weeks. The other two snail mails which I received the day before.

Odd, that.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Baby Jesus Wear

I had a coworker once who mentioned that she thought it was idiocy to give people anything other than plain onesies for their babies because onesies are something that all babies can wear all the time. Shawn took this one step further and said he didn't see a reason for onesies even. He would have the kids wearing "Baby Jesus Wear" (TM circle, C circle, whatever).

Baby Jesus Wear is created thusly:
  • go out and buy (or find, or steal, basically somehow acquire) a hand towel
  • Fold towel in half (hamburger wise)
  • cut a hole in the fold. Make sure it's big enough for baby's head to fit through. You may find cutting an X easier than estimating your kid's giant noggin.
  • Slip towel over baby's head.
  • Secure below arms (the actual plan is to use rope of some sort, but if that scares you, you can use velcro, or safety pins, or duct tape).
  • Voila! Baby Jesus Wear. Now you have an outfit that the baby can make a complete mess out of and you won't really care because it's just some old towel you had laying around. That and you always have something handy to wipe spit up/drool.
  • ADDED BONUS: Depending on how messed up the towel gets, you could have the kid wearing the same towel for years--it would go from being dress like to being more like a shirt. Then all you have to do is fashion pants of some sort. Don't worry, I'm sure this would be fashioned out of a towel or something similar as well. Possibly a pillow case.
So yes, IF we ever have kids, no need to give us any sort of clothing, a nice set of towels will do wonderfully.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Story Arcs

I realize that I've had some story arcs that I haven't really ever given a conclusion to.

One of these was the Cable story arc, which I wrapped up here.

Another of these story arcs was Gray Kitteh! Gray Kitteh continued to come around, but became less and less intrigued with Quazi and Ivy. And, unfortunately, Grey Kitteh! went the route of disliking all other cats. Eventually Gray Kitteh! stopped hanging out in our yard. One day, when I was out front watering the plants, Gray Kitteh! showed up and he had been neutered and had an abscess on the side of his body removed. A week or so later, the neighbor (who is also from Colorado) came by to ask if we had seen their 8-year-old chihuahua who had gotten out the night before. I said we hadn't seen him, but we'd keep an eye out for him. I did also warn her that our fence in the backyard had a hole in it that the cats had been using. and that's when she told me that our cats are friends. I must have given her a funny look because she clarified that the gray tabby kitten, Remmy, was theirs, and that Quazi would come and visit them every once in a while.

Bike to Work month (or whatever the hell it is): We both signed up for it, Shawn did like 6 rides, and I did 8 (I got 2 extra trips because I rode my bike to the doctor's office). We live too far away from work to commute by bike every day (now, if we lived in the neighborhood I think we should move to, we could bike to work). Some of the problem is that we've really condensed our errands into one big errand trip so it's not like we're going to the grocery store and only the grocery store, it was more like we were going to go to the Sprouts grocery, and then to the garden center, then to the library, the bank and finally the regular grocery store. Or we'll go to the grocery store on the way home from work. Plus Texas is hot and trying to ride anywhere after 9 in the morning is idiocy.

Cow/Bread updates: The cow did, in fact, meet his demise on Friday June 18. And, because we went shopping at Sprouts last week when they had a sale on their in-house breads, we bought two loaves. This means that the bread making experiment is going to be put on hold until after we finish them. Shawn has decided that he'd like to try the whole wheat bread recipe that came in our Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer recipe book. I would like to try Kristie's Dill Rolls. We did learn that King Arthur flour at Randall's is $2 more than at H.E.B. Also, potato flour is freaking expensive.

EE-diot.

Sometimes I can be a total idiot. Usually these times are somehow related to numbers. Scary I know.

The other day, getting ready for the boat trip, one of my coworkers asked if I had change for a $20. He wanted to give me $10 (for food), and give Kevin $10 (cost for bringing a guest on the trip). I needed to give $10 for a guest. I had a $10 bill and a $20, David had a $20.

Are you keeping track?

So I made David give me personally his $20. I put $10 in the food envelope. And then I walked over to Kevin and handed him my $20.

And yes, this transaction took me like 10 minutes to figure out the logistics. And after I explained it all to David, he was like "why don't I just walk over to Kevin, hand him my $20, and you put the $10 bill in the food fund?"

And I kid you not, I said "no, that won't work. Give me your $20."

He handed it to me, and as I'm standing there with 2 $20 in my hands, I must have had that look of dawning understanding because David just sat there laughing at me. David. The man who's brilliance has given us comments such as "I thought the Canadians spoke Spanish because they said 'eh' a lot," and "Mother Goose totally wrote Green Eggs and Ham," and most notoriously, "why the hell would I want salad dressing on my chicken fried steak?"

I guess it's a good thing they don't ask questions like this on the P.E. test.

Now, I'm off to work out that "if you have a 5-gallon bucket and a 3-gallon bucket, and you need exactly 4 gallons, how do you do it?" problem. It'll take me like half the day, I'm sure.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Moving


Picture of Bob and Elsie in front of their old house. Taken minutes before pulling out for the long trip down to Texas.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Mooo

As some (okay most) of you already know: We're ordering one quarter of a grass fed local cow and splitting it among 8 people. This cow will meet its demise in one week. We will be able to pick up our meat on July 9th. You'll notice that I keep calling it "the cow." This is because I can't bear to give this cow, which I will never even see, a name for fear that I'll refuse to eat it when we actually get the meat. Because I am weird like that. Maybe we could call the cow "Dinner" or "Porkchop" or something. No, I think I will stick with "The Cow."

The reason for getting this cow is because I read In Defense of Food, we both watched Food, Inc., and Shawn read Food Rules.

Shawn still thinks it's all a crock though--the buying of a grass fed cow by the quarter. Since I went in with friends on getting the cow behind his back, he didn't find out about it until this last Saturday at a party. Good news: If your spouse finds out that you're ordering a quarter cow while at a party, he's less likely to kill you.

The one thing that has come out of Shawn reading Food Rules is that he wants to try his hand at making homemade bread. I think that will be something that happens this weekend. Maybe I'll even throw in making homemade pasta.

The thing that has NOT come from reading these books is the desire to eat more veggies (I, for one, think we need to eat more veggies. Shawn, while agreeing that we need to eat more veggies, does not agree that it should be in the form of fresh veggies).

Case in point: Farm to Work produce.

Now then, for $25 one usually gets an amount of vegetables and fruit that a family of 4 would eat in a week (give or take). When I do Farm to Work, I'll usually split the basket with a coworker so that there isn't a massive amount of veggies we have to go through. This is mostly because it's damn near impossible for us to go through a full basket of veggies. Especially when the basket it made up of kale, mustard greens and Swiss chard.

Anyhow, as mentioned before, I ordered the basket last week. And we managed to use all quick-perishable items (in fact, this will be the first time ever that we didn't have to throw something away because it went bad...we did, however, give away some of the veggies to his parents, also mentioned earlier). The only thing left from the order this week is the potatoes, which will last a while. The thing I didn't mention earlier is that this basket of veggies caused "The great produce crisis of 2010."

On Tuesday, for some unknown reason, Shawn got it in his head that there was no way we were going to eat all the veggies before they went bad. Because of this, he went and decided to freeze what amounts to one serving's worth of green beans. I don't know why. I would have made the green beans the next day when I cooked the corn, but whatever. So now we have one single serving of frozen green beans. Green beans that were not prepped other than being washed and having tops cut off. One serving of green beans, apparently, is the difference between "We're never going to finish it in time!" and "okay, we can eat all these, no problem."

That Mr. Shawn, sometimes he's a weird one.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Oh Yeah. THAT!

Time spent studying for the P.E. exam: 120 hours
Time spent taking the P.E. exam: 8 hours plus lunch and instructions
Dreams about the P.E. exam: 4
Time waiting for the results: 7 weeks 4 days

Passing the P.E. Exam: Totally and absolutely AWESOME.


In other news:
-CU has left the Big XII and gone and joined the PAC-10. The water cooler talk at work basically has said that the reason for this is because Nebraska was complaining about Texas and they said they were going to join the Big-10, Texas junior senators started worrying that if Nebraska left the Big XII and others followed suit, then Baylor would be left in the Big XII but CU, OU, OSU, UT, A&M and Tech would all go to the PAC-10. This is, apparently, some problem or something so he started lobbying to keep Baylor with the other Texas schools, which would have meant that CU wouldn't have been allowed to join the PAC-10. Thus CU is the first to jump ship and preemptively join the PAC to make sure they didn't get left in the cold.

-I have joined the FIFA World Cup Bragging Rights Only betting group. Basically it's a bunch of guessing which teams will do well in the World Cup and which won't. I don't know anything about soccer. Good thing it's for bragging rights only.

-And finally, the Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup. First time since 1961.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Rock your socks off

Recently I've been wondering where my socks have been disappearing off to. I do laundry maybe once a week and usually the socks can go a week or two (depending on sandal wearing) longer because I have a lot of socks. But all of the sudden it was like my sock drawer started eating my socks and I was running out of all my newer socks... the ones that aren't threadbare and full of holes.

This has probably been going on for a month or two.

Now then, I am lazy, and when I'm tired I tend to say "screw it, I'll separate socks tomorrow" and I'll throw all the clean socks in a pile on the floor and I'll fold them later. I, however, have been better about this...probably for a month or two.

I'm sure you can see where this is going.

Tonight is one of those nights where I decided to just throw my socks on the floor rather than fold them. And I found all my other socks. Sitting on top of a box by my nightstand, underneath one of my workout shirts.

Who said being lazy didn't accomplish anything?

"Spring" time Farm to Work

This last week, after guaranteeing that the Farm to Work basket would be food we would eat versus food we wouldn't (so squash vs. mustard greens), I went ahead and ordered a basket. Just for the two of us.

[aside] My family would be surprised to find out that squash is on our 'to eat' list. Mostly because growing up I never ate it. Ever. I remember the neighbor had an out of control zucchini plant and so they gave us zucchini and we gave them tomatoes. Those zucchinis sat on top of the fridge for about 2 weeks before my mom just threw them away. I tried spaghetti squash once in high school because the neighbor across the street loved them and told me I should try them. I think I took one bite and then threw away the rest of my dinner. So yes, it's quite the surprise that I'll eat squash now. [/aside]

The basket of food this week consisted of regular tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cabbage, zucchini, yellow squash, blackberries, kale, green beans, red potatoes, corn, cucumber and green onions. So far we've used a zucchini, half a yellow squash, half the blackberries, the green onions, a handful of green beans, a handful of cherry tomatoes and one regular tomato.

I gave my inlaws the cabbage, 3 cucumbers (Shawn won't eat them and I can't eat them all myself), a zuchinni and a yellow squash, and half the green beans. I also gave them a handful of green onions, lemon balm, and parsley from my garden. My mother in law seemed most saddened by the fact that my tomatoes aren't setting fruit. She recommended that I get some of the fruit set spray, which I told her probably wouldn't help much at this point in time since we are very quickly arriving at the point in time where the tomatoes won't set fruit no matter what (74 degrees and above night time temperatures mean that tomatoes won't set fruit. Fruit set sprays do seem to help with too cool of temperatures).

Since we've managed to already add squash, tomatoes, onions, green beans, and blackberries to our meal last night; it means we may actually manage to get through an entire basket of stuff before anything goes bad.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Canadians

Overheard at work:
"I thought the Canadians spoke Spanish because they said 'eh' a lot."

Also heard at work:
"My grandma's crazy. She uses rain barrels, is into organic gardening, and bakes her own bread but then she goes out every night with her rifle and shoots the armadillos in her yard."

Monday, May 31, 2010

haulin'

We unloaded the inlaws' moving truck yesterday. Just the 4 of us--two senior citizens, a scrawny chicken-armed Tina and the workhorse, Shawn. It was probably in the low 90's, so thank god for small favors.

Twenty-six feet long, seven feet tall, and about eight feet wide, and absolutely packed to the gills (no, seriously, there wasn't ANY space left). And it only took about 8 hours to unload.

In other news, my sister inlaw had her baby on Saturday evening. a bouncing baby boy, weighing almost 8 lbs. This is good because a few nights ago I had a dream that the baby was a girl and I was not looking forward to returning all the clothes I bought. I can't wait to see some pictures. ;)

Shawn and I also went to our friends' wedding on Saturday. Can I just take a moment to tell everyone how glad I am that it's a three day weekend?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Thoughts for the Week

When the BP exec said something about Obama being un-American my first thought was "Wait, doesn't the B in BP stand for BRITISH? So how is someone complaining about a company, based in a foreign country, un-American? Unless that guy has a VERY different idea than everyone else what is and isn't American."

and

Why haven't football and basketball had big doping scandals like baseball and biking?

The moving of Shawn's parents down here to Texas went well. The only real hitch was the problem with the towing hitch. (haha). Basically the hitch used to tow the car down was attached incorrectly and the Beetle came partially off of the hitch just north of Trinidad, Colorado. So Shawn spent about an hour and a half under the Bug on the side of I-25 banging some U-shaped piece back into shape in order for us to continue on.

The only other hitch would have been when we got to Brownwood, Texas to eat lunch on Wednesday. Unfortunately Underwood's Cafeteria is not open on Wednesdays so we walked some half mile circuitous route to the Schlotzsky's. Mostly because it's impossible to drive a 26-foot truck anywhere unless it's semi/large truck accessible (thus the walking). Also, Brownwood is not pedestrian friendly (thus the circuitous route). We walked down to one traffic light to go to the KFC but because of lack of cross walks, we ended up crossing the street closer to the Schlotzsky's, ergo we ate there instead.

Now, to unload a truck on Sunday. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

No Real Updates

No real updates here. Except for oh MY INLAWS ARE MOVING TO TEXAS. House is empty, and papers signed, truck, car and van are all packed, and money has been wired to Texas for the new house.

We're up here in in windy Colorado and are 45 minutes away from leaving for Texas in the moving truck (yes, we flew up here specifically to help Shawn's 'rents drive the moving truck down to their new house).

Based on how hard the moving guys worked to move some of the furniture, I'm a bit concerned that Shawn and I, and his parents aren't going to be able to move some stuff off of the truck. So, yes, that promises to be fun.

OH AND!

My sister in law is like 20 minutes away from having her second baby. Her due date is on Thursday of this week, but she's probably going to go into labor before that (at least I'm pretty sure she's hoping that's the case).

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Humble Indie Bundle

I heard it first via Wil Wheaton on Twitter. I think Shawn was a little surprised and disappointed when I already knew about it.

"it" is the Humble Indie Bundle.

The bundle is basically 5 games and a short that are "pay what you want." I think they made $1M in the first day or something like that.

Anyhow, we got them (yes, we did pay for them). Shawn's played them more than I have, but World of Goo did entertain me for a while (it's like an engineer's worst nightmare--building trusses with a gooey mass instead of solid bars). I haven't played the other actual games, yet. This is probably because the other games don't necessarily appeal to me--I'm not big into first person shooter games, or really any games where you have to beat a heavy. I'm into games where I solve puzzles. You know, like Myst, Phantasmagoria, and Mystery Case Files. As such, I was obviously most taken with the short game: Samorost 2. The basic concept is that you have to go around and solve various puzzles in order to save the main character's dog, who was dognapped by aliens. It's really quite fun, and challenging, and a lot of times there's some clicking on things just to see what they do as they alternately do things to look pretty (like plants waving in the wind), or sometimes they actually do something useful (like using a plant to wake up an animal).

Anyhow, yes, the Humble Indie Bundle. Check it out.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bike Ride

Today Shawn and I rode our bikes to the McDonald's for dinner.

Yes, I do realize how funny that sounds. Also, I had a salad, with light balsamic vinaigrette. And of course, the whole reason for going to McDonald's? well, 2 reasons--1) to get points on our May Commuter Challenge which we have been sucking at, and 2) to use the buy one get one free fruit smoothie coupon.

The quickest route to the McDonald's is to go along the busy highway-esque type road (McDo's is about 1 mile away), but because that seems way too dangerous, we decided to go through our neighborhood, under the highway, and then up the non-busy road to the McDonald's. And then back again. All in all the trip was 5.5 miles. Nothing at all like Grinder's 100-mile rides he does frequently.

We are so pitiful.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Documentaries

I really need to stop watching documentaries because they make me sad about the state of the world (heck, even Idiocracy made me sad about the future of the world).

Recently the ones we've been watching have revolved around the big guy picking on the little guy; and with a husband who is a Linux nerd, there's always a conversation about evil corporations. We just watched Food, Inc. and of course one portion of the documentary is about how many corporations there are that package our food. There aren't many. Just like there aren't many electronics corporations, or car corporations. And it's all because capitalism breeds monopolies. Not to say that all organic pasture fed stuff is 100% sustainable at the current levels of consumption of meat and dairy, but still, we can make choices to do better. Just like how we make the conscious choice to not use Microsoft or Apple products at home (though I'm sure both corporations are getting kickbacks from the technologies that we have purchased, so even though our computers don't run their OS's, we're still effectively paying them for the pleasure of not using their systems). Of course making the choice to go localvore is probably a bit more expensive at the onset than the using an Open Source OS, but in the end it might end up being healthier for us.

Also, I gotta remember to grow more spinach, less beets. And I think I'm going to need some fruit trees. Maybe for good measure we should just move off the grid and grow all of our own food...though I'd probably end up becoming vegetarian if that was the case--I just don't think I could kill my own food.

OH! and patenting seeds, and human genes is just downright wrong. How long until we start patenting having children? or every food we eat? This apple is now brought to you by Apple (insert Apple logo sticker on said apple).

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Double Flutters


Taken from my Garden Blog and reposted here for the 3 or 4 of you who don't read my garden blog. Hey, this was just too good not to share with everyone.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Meat

Last night we had our first taste of grass fed beef. And it was delicious.

The local Sprouts market has their organic grass fed beef on sale for 40% off so we splurged and bought some meat that was on sale for $7.48/lb. Said meat was from Uruguay. And the corn we had with it came from like California or something. So yeah, the carbon footprint of the meal was kinda dismal.

Just makes me want to get meat from here. Or anything from here.

If you are interested in lowering the carbon footprint of your meals, go to EatWild to find grass fed dairy/eggs/meat near you.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Law-Talking Lady

Since half of my readers are not in the Austin area, I point you to this news article. I will wait while you read it.

Official: Shots fired when census worker visited

That's right. A lawyer went and fired 5 shots at a census worker who showed up at her house. A LAWYER! 1) this wouldn't have happened if she had just filled out the damn sheet (hell, she could have done the same thing my coworker did and claim that "Texan" is a minority if that would make her feel any better). and 2) I did not realize that they were letting nutjobs be law-talking dudes now-a-days.

Texas: The only place where you can be shot at for going door to door.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I'm DYING!

AGAIN! I was fine for a couple of years there, but apparently I'm dying.

Again.

Went to the doctor and my bloodwork came back bad.

Again.

As I said, it was fine for a while there, and then it went down.

Just the usual--high cholesterol, high triglycerides, gain weight, exercise more, eat less calories. I'd like to see the physics for that one.

What they probably should have said was eat more good calories. As in whole foods, not processed foods.

Good thing I already read In Defense of Food and have decided to get rid of all the processed crap, and in order to get Shawn to let me get grass fed beef when we do buy beef, I'm going to have to give up my daily caffeine/corn syrup habit. (though I'm still working on that...I think the easiest way will be to make him read In Defense of Food).

And I decided to up the amount of spinach I grow this next year. More spinach, less beets.

Oh yeah.

And exercise. Boo! Hiss! But I'll do it. Because I don't want to be dying. Again.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Nostalgia Sunday: Falling

I noticed the other day that Snarkymommy hadn't been going through my rotation list meaning that either Amy hadn't been blogging or that her website had changed thus making my feed null and void. I checked out her site, and sure enough it had changed from www. to no www.

As I was catching up on her posts, she had one where her daughter fell down the stairs. And I started laughing. Not because her daughter fell down the stairs, but because it reminded me of my my sister fell down the stairs. And that story is as follows:

My grandparents used to own a cabin in the Colorado mountains. Since they both worked full time jobs, it meant that the only time anyone was at the cabin was MAYBE on the weekends. As such it meant that it was pretty open to having lots of people over when no one else was planning on using it. This usually translated to having extended family over, or my dad would take his coworkers, my parent's marriage encounter group would have a get-away, my uncle's minister friends would have a retreat, etc., etc.

During one of the marriage encounter get aways, someone (and I'm going to blame one of the boys for this), had the brilliant idea of sliding down the stairs on sleeping bags. Still bumpy, but the sleeping bag made it so you continued to slide the whole way. This was shortly upgraded to the twin air mattress. As you can imagine, this was great fun for a bunch of kids to do--toboggan down some carpeted stairs until the wall at the bottom stopped you. The boys and girls were greatly enthralled with this while the adults were all sitting outside on the deck and communing with nature or some shit.

After a while, it became boring to sit on the air mattress and go down the stairs (luge style), and shortly one of the boys decided to go head first (skeleton style). At some point, I started going down head first (great fun!), and started trying to talk my sister into doing it because it was SO much more fun than going down on your butt. She finally agreed to go head first, but only if I went with her at the same time. Since we were both like 5 or 6, it wasn't difficult to fit on a twin mattress. And so we prepped at the top of the stairs, hanging over the edge, getting ready to go. When I gave the word, the boys pushed and Dani and I started down the stairs.

I remember going down a couple of steps and feeling like something caught so I put my hands out and stopped us completely.

Only Dani didn't do the same thing.

Dani slid off the front of the air mattress and then tumbled down the rest of the stairs.

Ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump. All the way to the bottom where she probably landed on her head and her butt hit the log wall.

HiLARious. At least to the rest of us kids.

[aside] Kinda like the time when Shawn and I went backpacking and he twisted his ankle and fell down right after I told him not to twist his ankle, and so I could not stop laughing. [\aside]

We were told, in short order, to stop going down the stairs like that because someone was going to get seriously hurt. So instead we went outside to play with the bows and arrows my grandpa had made for us from aspen seedlings...much safer, I'm sure.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Doctor

So I just got back from the doctor's office. And I always have this one problem when I'm there: After the doctor has seen me, do I wait for the nurse type to come back and get me or do I just see myself out?

Unfortunately, this has been happening since college. It mostly started when I went to the doctor for a sick appointment and happened to mention that my dad had recently been diagnosed with diabetes. The doctor wanted to do a non-fasting blood sugar screen for shits and giggles. So the nurse did the finger prick and then said that the doctor would be in to see me. 40 minutes later the doctor walked by and happened to notice I was still sitting in the exam room and was like "oh my god! I'm so sorry, I didn't realize that the nurse didn't just tell you that your blood sugar was fine. You could have left 40 minutes ago." From that point on I just always left after they did whatever it was they were to do--if it's that important, they'll call me. Or at least that's what I told myself.

Now then, when I started going to the doctor down here, the first nurse flipped out when I walked myself to the lab for the blood-draw and I was apparently "missing" for a little while. (which really? jesus, I was already 22, it's not like I was likely to be kidnapped.) So ever since then, I've waited for direction (whether it comes from the nurse before, or the doctor during, I don't care). Today I waited 15 minutes for the nurse to come back and get me. And I figure it's because the doctor told her that she didn't think I had left the room yet and they should probably check on me to make sure I hadn't passed out or something. If the doctor hadn't noticed, I might have been there until closing and I could have pulled off the Veronica Mars goes searching for medical files thing.

Maybe I should go back to how I did it in Colorado--just walk my own ass down to the lab and leave afterward. They'll call if they need anything.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Houseplants

Houseplants to help you survive the Zombpocalypse. Written by Mr. Subjunctive. pure awesomeness. That and Bond already has half these plants in her office...which makes me think that she knows something I don't.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Eggs & Toast

A few weeks ago, I realized I was hungry for something I had never had before: scrambled eggs on wheat toast. I mentioned this to Shawn at some point and he said I was crazy. "No one eats scrambled eggs ON toast," he said, "they eat scrambled eggs WITH toast. But never ON."

So I decided that I was going to still make my scrambled eggs with toast, and he asked that I make poached eggs with toast. Since I am nothing if not accommodating, I did both.

Guess whose new favorite breakfast item is scrambled eggs ON toast? especially when served with a Kraft American Single?

That's right.

Shawn.

Last time he'll make fun of my food ideas.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Friday

On Thursday night we slept with our bedroom window open. Of course the damn doves started going off super early in the morning. I woke up honest to goodness swearing that my alarm clock ALWAYS made that "Coo coo ca choo" sound.

Friday, April 30, 2010

18

Yesterday Bond told me a story about the field work she was doing with our (female) intern.

they were out in the field, sitting on the bumper of the Escape and waiting for a third coworker to get back to the car so they could leave the job site. As they were sitting there, a man came up and asked if the lovely ladies would like to purchase an Adult Movie (bow-chicka-wow-wow). When they both declined, he then asked if they were 18. What would he have done if they said Yes to the movie and No to the 18+ thing? would he have demanded his movies back? Aside from the fact that we haven't even gotten to the question of this man's mental stability since the vehicles have a nice, big City seal on the doors. Yes, that's what us government workers do--avoid doing work by watching porn all day.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Friendship Bread

10 days ago, one of my coworkers gave me a starter thing of Friendship Bread. I have dutifully mushed it and added the various ingredients. It came time to separate it, which required adding more milk. Milk that we don't have. Oh sure, we have SOY milk, but I don't know if it would ferment the same as cow's milk. So thus, instead of adding ingredients and then separating it, I just added the remaining "to make bread" ingredients and forewent the giving out of starters. Sorry guys, I know how disappointed you are right now. Please try to contain your sadness.

There's another problem. I don't have loaf pans. So it is in a 9 x 11 (or some such) pan instead. So, we'll see how this crazy bread turns out.

The thing I find funny about this whole Friendship Bread thing is that it's like a pyramid scheme...AND they have this silly little admonition about not giving away all your starter because only the Amish know how to make starter. well, the Amish and Google. there's also the rule of "DON'T USE METAL BOWLS OR THE WORLD WILL END IN A FIERY FIREBALL!" And I find this ludicrous. What's the thing of 'no metal bowls'? is it supposed to make the recipe more "Amish"? It's basically soured milk and yeast. I've made soured milk and yeast things in metal bowls all the time without any ill effects.

So now the bread is baking away, hopefully it's decent. Maybe we'll have this for dinner instead of Breakfast Potatoes. :)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Beet It! (Part 2)

So, after last night's smashing success (and insanely long time line) of roasted beet salad, we decided that we should do it again. Only being industrious, such as we are, we decided to grill everything instead. The menu is thusly:
Roasted beet salad (on the grill via aluminum packets). Sliced beets (homegrown), parsley (homegrown), butter, garlic, salt and pepper with some sliced green onion (homegrown). Spinach, beet greens, and bleu cheese to go on after cooking with homemade dressing (which is basically condensed orange juice with olive oil).
Cheesy potatoes (on the grill via aluminum packets). Sliced potatoes, butter, garlic, salt and pepper with some sliced green onion (on mine). Grated Kerry Gold Dubliner cheese to go on after.
Filet Mignon for Shawn (I refused to eat it since it's ancient)
Grilled Chicken Breast for me
And likely, for dessert:
Greek Yogurt with fresh blackberries.

See, we can do this eat healthy thing if I'm forced to use produce from the garden. Come on spring garden, get a move on!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Beet it

I made roasted beet salad for dinner tonight. With homemade salad dressing. It was pretty good, not super great, but I do like the salad dressing a lot.

I used Michael Chiarello's recipe on Food Network. So there's a ton of prep work, but still, the outcome was pretty good. Good enough that Shawn said he liked it. Actually liked it. Beet Salad. Amazing.

Since I have like 20 more beets to go, I'm guessing we'll be eating this a couple times this week.

So, let's see, all the things used from the garden:
Beets + tops
Onion
Pea Pods

Things bought at the store specifically for this:
Spinach
Bleu Cheese
Orange Juice

And I already had lemon juice, salt, pepper and olive oil on hand. So, all in all, not too bad. And it means we ate healthy for once. Go health food!