Monday, September 29, 2008

What Keeps Me Going Sometimes

Oh Chicklet. You are the apple of my eye.

Thank you, D., for sending these to me exactly when I really needed to see them.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Exxtreme Nesting

This weekend was the big biker rally. Although I have gone the previous two years, in order to take pictures...this year I just didn't have it in me. I couldn't leave the house all weekend, actually.

Top Chef should do a challenge where the chefs have to make a multi-course meal with only the items in an agoraphobic's refrigerator. So...I got desperate and made do with a lot of things I found in my freezer.

For the rice, I sauteed garlic and turmeric in some olive oil and then added some brown basmati rice. I always toast my rice before I cook it. I think it makes the rice nuttier and fluffier.

Meanwhile I marinated tofu chunks in a combination of soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and onion powder.

When the rice was nearly done, I added the last of a frozen bag of edamame. That bag has lasted me for months. I like to throw a handful here and there into whatever sounds good.

A bag of frozen vegetables (soggy) and the tofu and marinating liquid. Stella and I though this meal was very good. D. ate popcorn.

I had apples that would go bad this week and a half package of filo dough that's been in my freezer for well over a year now. I chopped up the apples and added to them some brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, ginger powder, and, because I didn't have any lemons to juice over it all, a tablespoon or so of Limoncello cream kept in the freezer. I rolled it up in the filo dough and they made for delicious and easy pseudo turnovers!

D. takes his with vanilla AND chocolate. Chocolate? With baked apple things? Hmm.....

Then, this morning I still felt like making special things so I made whole wheat buttermilk pancakes. I like for the batter to be thick enough for the scoop to stand up straight:

Oh hey, what do you know? I had a tiny bit of frozen wild blueberries in my freezer as well. Those got added.

And topped with real grade B Vermont maple syrup that had been bubbling on the stove with toasted pecans and a vanilla bean. Mmm-mmmm.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

End Of An Era

There will never be another like him. This makes me very sad. Have you ever seen anyone who had near as much fun as he did, just being alive?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Project Runway Rant

KENLEY MUST GO!!!! I honestly do not know why she is still on, if only because of that little blurb they have at the very end of the credits that says something like "Judges receive input from producers before making their final decision." Villains make for good tv. But my god! The whining, the giggling, the back-talking, the interrupting, the justifying, the one-note vintage style, the enormous ego.....she makes me insane!!! I haven't been so annoyed by a contestant since Wendy Pepper! Or Angela of the rosette appliques.

Did anyone see that horrendous excuse for "hip hop" last night? COME ON!

Here she is in her Bravo tv publicity shot...all "I'm so great. I don't need to listen to that Tim Gunn. What does he know anyway?" Oooh, she just burns me up.

Kelly? Can I get some backup?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I Need Your Help, Internet

This past weekend a word, painful.

I've had headaches since I was probably 11 or 12 years old, sometimes pretty bad. I can usually knock them out with large dosages of ibuprofen, water, and sleep. In the past six weeks, however, I've had to miss two days of work due to REALLY BAD headaches. Friday morning I took 35 students to Little Rock for the weekend. I do this trip five times a year so it's no big deal. We always keep the same itinerary and I've done this so many times that I could lead all the tours myself at this point. I hadn't eaten all day (not all the unusual, unfortunately) and hadn't drank as much water as I should.

By the time my friend Miranda came to meet me at the hotel for dinner I had started to feel the early twinges of a headache but brushed it off. We had a glass of wine before dinner and the headache was getting worse and worse. I thought I just needed to eat so we left for dinner (side note: we went to Star of India and I was so excited to eat some good Indian food). By the time our food came my head hurt so badly I could barely talk and nausea had started to set in. I was so sad I couldn't eat my delicious saag paneer. I asked Miranda to just take me back to the hotel, that all I could was try to sleep and hope that I would be fine in the morning.

What followed was one of the worst nights of my life. I was paralyzed with pain and nausea. I had a completely natural childbirth, but I think think this might have been the worst pain I'd ever experienced. I couldn't sleep all night.

The next day I juggled chaperone duties and went to the doctor in Little Rock for two shots of Toradol and fenegrin (sp?)...for pain and nausea. I was able to hold it together until we got back to Fayetteville, where I then collapsed for a solid 24 hours.

So I guess this was a migraine, huh? Now what...??? I am keeping a headache journal, so I can try to figure out the triggers. Does anyone else go through this? What helps? What doesn't?

Now I'm so afraid that it might happen again.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

...And The Other is Gold

I don't know about the rest of you...but I can barely get out of bed in the morning, what with all the ubiquitous political and financial craziness. But I do. Every damn day.

In much happier news, I received a phone call a few weeks ago from one of my oldest and bestest friends in the world. Ginny called to tell me she and her sweetie are getting married next summer. And since, apparently, we plan our vacations around out-of-town weddings, I'm thrilled that she's still living in Colorado.

Because I've spent the past ten days in a full-blown, debilitating nostalgia-coma, courtesy of a certain Facebook group, it seemed only fitting to drag out old photos of Ginny and me. I am so happy for her and can't WAIT to finally see where she's lived for the past few years.

Here we are as members of Eureka Springs Junior High's Homecoming Court. 1988, probably. I think the concept of a junior high homecoming is hysterically funny. My dress is Gunne Sax, I think purchased from The Brass Buckle at the mall.

8th grade Halloween. 1989? I would call this our goth pagan phase.

1999. We were at a masquerade ball for the May Festival of the Arts in Eureka. I'm Aphrodite and she's Medusa.
New Year's Eve 2001. I was living in Eureka again and she came to visit for the holidays.

This is the last time we hung out - 2003. I brought my bead stuff over to her mom's huge deck. We drank beers, slapped mosquitoes, and caught up.

I can't wait to add to this photo timeline. There is something very special about having friends for more than 25 years (and counting!).

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Super Productive Weekend*

I feel like a got lot done this weekend, even though I slept past 11 on Saturday (so luxurious!). I made a big-ass pot of chili and two skillet cornbreads for an international dinner. And I finally got a chance to get all my bead stuff out to work on necklaces - something I haven't had time or energy for in faaaaaarrrrr too long. It took me a good 3 or 4 hours to really get into the creative zone. I must've put together and taken apart the same necklace 15 times before I hit on a pattern that resonated with me. Once I get going, though...I keep at it. I don't get tired, I don't get hungry, I don't want to do anything except for keep making stuff. It's exhilarating!

These pictures are awful because I waited until the sun was down before I took them....they're just on the kitchen table with the overhead kitchen lights. Yuck. Oh well, click on them anyway to make them bigger (and even more out of focus and colored wrong!).

This is all black, green, and teal. The beads are onyx, black glass, moss agate, and freshwater pearls. The pendant in the center is lacquer with labradorite inlay.

I love this one. Love it. Chalcedony chunky slab beads, sterling silver spacers and off-center red coral and sterling beads.

Black onyx faceted round beads, puffy smoky quartz round beads, square aquaramine beads and an aquamarine & smoky quartz pendant. All cool grays, greens, and black.

This one took me get the right amount of randomness, spacing, and color layout just right. I started with the big shell pendant and then decided I wanted a bunch of random beads to echo the colors of the shell - pinks, greens, yellows, and pearlescence. The beads are all kinds of stones - peridot, citrine, apatite, pearls, peach moonstone, moss agate, Swarovski crystals, and all sorts of other stuff I picked out.

*To be sung to the tune of "Supergalactic Lover" by Kool Keith.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wednesday Night Dinner

I pulled this dinner out of my ass (ew, Alannah...was that really necessary?) and it was a smashing success, if I do say so!

Fettucine with shrimp, arugula, edamame, shallots, and lemon basil. ginger peach upside down skillet lemon corn cake!
It worked!

First I melted some brown sugar and butter in the skillet, then I added minced ginger and the peach slices. I let it all sizzle on the stovetop on medium heat for about 10 minutes - then I put it all (still in the skillet) in a 350° oven while I made this cake batter, except I substituted lemon zest for orange zest. I took the skillet out of the oven and plopped the batter on top of the carmelized peaches, gently spreading it out. I baked the cake for about 30 minutes before taking it out to cool. Afterwards the cake slid perfectly onto the plate, peaches perfectly intact on top. The final touch was a healthy dollop of crème fraîche on each slice.

A piece of that cake and this week's heck of a Project Runway episode. LIFE DOES NOT GET MUCH BETTER THAN THIS! Not often does something surpass my expectations....but this cake was a definite winner. As for the designers/contestants? Not so much. What happened this week?? Did the designers dive headfirst into the crazy end of the pool or what? And so much passive-aggression....jesus. That Kenley...ooh, she's really cruisin' for a bruisin'. It's hard to imagine someone might really be that deluded and tacky and overly confident, but I think she might be. I don't like how she sasses the judges, either. And Blayne? Here was our proof that all his time in the tanning booth has cooked every last brain cell and taste molecule. Bondagewear meets beige nightie meets unitard meets wadded cascading layers of bright fabrics. Unbelievable. I'm rooting for Korto, not just because she's from Arkansas, but because she has been quietly and surely doing incredible work from the beginning (that seatbelt kimono!) and also for Leanne who seems to have grown from doing weird, artsy, and sometimes ugly, clothes to glamorous, interesting, eye-catching designs. She's coming into her own, whereas I think Korto has had a strong point of view from the beginning. It's getting good, y'all.

I give the whole night an A+.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Food Talk

I always feel so much better when I get to cook more at home. Abbey and Gijs came over for dinner. I'd been craving Indian food so I made chicken madras and served it with saffron basmati rice, steamed cauliflower, and a cucumber raita. It's been misty and cool and crisp and sunny. This drop in temperature make me immediately feel like stirring a few bubbling pots and smelling lots of warm spices.

Tomorrow night we're having more people over for dinner. What sort of dinner do I want? I don't know yet. But I have ripe peaches that I need to do something with. I started thinking about some sort of upside down cake-y thing. Then I started thinking of skillet cornbread. Although I believe it is blasphemous to put sugar in cornbread, I like the idea of a sweet corn cake. So I'm thinking of making/inventing some sort of peach upside lemon corn cake, cooked in a big cast iron skillet, and perhaps sweetened only with honey. I might put some almonds in it too. And definitely ginger. Ginger lemon honey corn cake topped with carmelized peaches. Sounds awesome, doesn't it?

So I've got dessert covered. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Thank You Sweden

Monday, September 08, 2008

It's True What They Say About My Brain Rotting

I lost approximately 8,502,114 brain cells last night when I watched the full two hour season premiere of America's Next Top Model. I don't even really have anything to say in my defense. I was comatose in bed, worn out from the weekend? Nothing else was on? I'm getting progressively dumber and stupider? See, I got nuthin'.

Now, I know ANTM is bad. But I used to think it was just bad in a guilty pleasure good sort of way. Those days are gone. This was so bad I couldn't stand it (but, careful readers will note...I didn't turn it off, either). It was not sleazy-bad like Rock of Love. It wasn't disturbing-bad like To Catch a Predator. It was just BAD BAD. As in, bad special effects and horrendous "acting" and I just cringed the whole way through it.

Why should I be the only one to suffer? See for yourselves. Especially around the 1:30 and 5:37 points...

Let's Hear It For The Boy*

You've got to hand it to my sweetie - in the past five days he played six gigs PLUS mixed a CD for a band he recorded in our living room, AND sold a bunch of stuff on ebay. If you know anything about any of those activities, then you know how incredibly time-consuming and energy-draining just one of them can be.

He did it all without one single complete emotional meltdown, temper tantrum, hissy fit, or crying jag. Which proves that he is far more advanced as a human being than I ever will be.

Also, I don't want to embarrass Stella but she did call me on Saturday with the news that a certain x- and y-chromosomed individual asked her out. Chalk it up to another first. Yikes!

*God, I really hate that song. Now it's stuck in my head. Remember those ear-piercingly shrill vocal trills she did in that song? Pre-Mariah Carey. Yuck.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Clickety, Clickety, Click

I keep bitching and moaning about how I'm not reading any books or catching up on my getting-higher-by-the-week stack of New Yorkers but that doesn't mean I'm not reading enjoyable things. I'm always up for at good tumble down the rabbit hole of Wikipedia research, for one. It's crazy how you start with one innocent search for, say, busking...then next thing you know it's hours later, you have to pee, your eyes are burning, and you're reading about The October Revolution...or does that only happen to me? I'm a huge fan of categorized information. I used to read The Encyclopedia Brittanica, volume by volume, when I was a kid. I think I've waited my whole life for Wikipedia, where each underlined blue word is a new journey.

And then there's blogs. I want every one of my friends to have a blog! That means YOU Ang, Debbie, Sarah C., Christina, Ginny, Carrie, Sarah S., Kelly S., and all the rest! Your lives are INTERESTING and I want to hear more about wine, selling your vegetables and flowers at a tiny farmers market, financial management office politics, forensic anthropology (or whatever the hell it is you do, Sarah), and professoring. I want to see pictures of your kids and pets. I want to hear all about your boring-ass lives! Don't be shy!

It's so great to regularly read about what's going on with Amy, Jessica, Carolyn, Alisson, Stacey, Megan, Sarah, Stephanie, and Marty. I love how my friends filter the world around them

I love discovering a blog and then the exciting realization that there is an extensive and delicious archive to dig into. I've been experiencing that with Fear Ants, who I can't believe I haven't met yet and now I just can't wait to, Evany Thomas, who is hilarious and appears to live the most fun life ever, and Chocolate and Zucchini, who has already perfected that envious perfect French woman bit.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Things I Learned Rocking On Jude and Donna's Porch Swing

  • Hummingbirds chirp!?
  • Squirrels can eat a porch
  • There really is an Orgasmatron. And it really does make you feel unbelievably good.
  • I am very blessed to have an incredible daughter, sweet boyfriend, and so many amazing friends (and pets!).
I hinted previously that Stella and I were experiencing another rough patch. Whenever I feel like we're getting too far apart and don't understand each other, I instinctively rein her in, usually by forcing her to spend more time with me. I try not to make it as boring as it sounds, so it's fun when we can go away together. And here's the deal - it always seems to work. We have actual real conversations and for a few brief moments we're not Mother and Teenage Daughter, but two people who have known each other intimately and lived together for 13 years. I keep saying that parents and kids are relationships just like any others and sometimes need to be revived and nurtured.

It worked out perfectly to go to our friends' cabin in the woods for a few days over Labor Day Weekend, then. We took Lucy the dog with us because D. had gigs in Eureka. Stella and I hadn't taken a road trip, just the two of us, in years, so it was really fun to just get in the car and drive for a few hours. I may get her to appreciate classic rock radio stations as road trip soundtracks after all! She recognizes Led Zeppelin now because, as she says, D. "made" her listen to them.

I can't believe she didn't retreat to the safety of her iPod even when I found the "soft rock" station and sang "Sad Eyes" and "Somebody's Baby" at an alarmingly loud volume (see D., it's really better that you didn't come along).

We laughed, we cried, we stopped at gas stations for junk food. I had one of the best weekends in months.

We just needed Jude time, maybe. She is the first person to touch Stella and welcome her to this world, after all.

Here she is on her back porch.

The lizard who also loves the porch.

And Lucy who got to fulfill her fantasies of being a country dog.

South Sylamore Creek. Perfect swimming hole on friends' property.

Lucy and her mini twin version!

These were growing all over the banks of the creek.

Donna and Denise.

Donna's flat rock sculpture.

The perfect 90° angle rock, also shaped like Utah, that sparked the "rocks shaped like states US map" discussion. I really love river rocks and can spend hours digging around gravel bars.

The view from Jude and Donna's back porch Monday morning.

When we got home, we still had some mango/black bean/habanero salsa that I'd made. It was begging to be combined with fish, so I stopped and bought some fresh Orange Roughy and pan-seared it, topped it with the sweet/spicy salsa and threw together a quick salad. Yummy mouth flavors!

We paired it with this wine that was a gift from a student from Chile. Perfect.