Tuesday, January 23, 2007

to slay a dragon

My niece was very specific in her birthday cake request this year--a pink dragon. Wow. That was a new one.
Not too shabby, right? My sister came up with the idea of using the candies for the spikes and horns, and also for using the party straw for the fire. Shaping the body and icing the cake was a group effort. The finished product uses two round cakes, four Ho-Ho's, and three Ding Dongs. And all that frosting? That took 13 cups of powdered sugar.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

two of my favorite things

While there are many things I love in this world, there are two products that I have such tender feelings for that had I talked about them on the playground I very likely would have been told, "If you love them so much, why don't you marry them." Ahhhhh, third grade jokes are the funniest.

Sun Shades lip balm, from the Melaluca company. My favorite flavor is Pina Colada. Somebody likes Vanilla Bean. I like that they not only give moisture to my lips, and are SPF 15, but when I'm wearing it, sometimes I'll think, "what is that delicious smell?" and then I'll remember that it is my very own lips. Yum.
Stonewall Kitchens Maple Vanilla Pear Butter. We found this gem when we were shopping for souvenirs in Maine. I'm sad to realize that the jar is almost empty and once it is I will have to go back to using regular butter on my toast. This tasty treat is a substitute for both butter and jam on toast, but the consistency is just like jam, and the taste is sweat but not overwhelming.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

things i learned this weekend

1. Even if you like a movie the first time you see it, that doesn't necessarily mean you should rush right out again in the same weekend to see it again. Give yourself some time to forget some details so that you can enjoy it again.

2. After you've seen a musical, it is perfectly okay to sing and dance around your apartment--especially if your husband is joining you on the chorus.

3. Not all cd's and cd players want to be friends. Perhaps you should consider formal introductions before you try to force a relationship.

4. My space heater is set to automatically switch off when the temperature in the room reaches 60 degrees. It hasn't shut off, even once, all day. Bread dough will not rise in apartments that don't get warmer than 60 degrees.

5. Soy milk makes yucky tapioca pudding. Don't even try it.

6. It is possible to make it through a long holiday weekend without watching any TV at all.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

a total cowboy

This morning my car insurance company called me and said that they were going to pay to repair my car, and that they would be sending an ample amount of money my way to make the repairs. Yahoo! Then they called again six hours later and said they had made a mistake and would actually not be paying for my repairs. Boo-hoo! They have decided that the value of the car does not make it worth repairing. What do I do now? I know they will pay me the "market value" of my vehicle, or pay me a lesser amount to keep driving the damaged one, but I'm not sure how to decide which one of those to go with. And I was just getting excited about the idea of having the car all fixed, and thinking that it was worth enough to fix. My bubble is burst. So, I guess we'll shop around now to see if there is anything better than what we have in a price range we can afford. What are the chances of that happening?

traveling pants

I was just a Costco and saw this:

It's out! It's available to read! Now I just have to find a friend who purchased it and wants to let me borrow it. My friendship officially costs $10.49.

a lot like chow-dah

Scrumptious Cupcakes gave us a great cookbook for Christmas called Healthy Cooking for Two. Last night we tried our first recipe and liked it enough that I deem it share-able.

Baked Potato Soup with Broccoli & Cheddar

3 baked russet potatoes
3 cups 1% lowfat milk
2 cups chopped broccoli, cooked
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut the potatoes into chunks and combine them with the milk in a blender. Process the mixture until smooth. Add the broccoli and process, pulsing the motor on and off, until the broccoli is coarsely pureed. You should still be able to see tiny broccoli buds.

Transfer the mixture to a heavy 2-quart saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove the soup from the heat, then stir in the cheddar, salt and pepper. Serve hot.

We made a few minor, yet I’m sure very healthy, adjustments. First, we reserved one potato and cut it into very small cubes. Then we cooked five pieces of bacon. We crumbled 3 pieces into the soup at the same time we were added the cheese. We then cooked the reserved cubed potato in the bacon grease (I know. Healthy.) and we added them to the soup. The remaining bacon we crumbled over our soup in our individual bowls for visual appeal, and, well, more bacon. Yum. This was a very quick, very easy recipe. We will definitely be making it again. Oh, and we found this made three large portions. By the way, the soup was good before we added the bacon, so don't feel like you have to add that in order to try the recipe.

Oh, also, the cookbook recommended this great way to bake potatoes. Preheat oven to 400. Wash potatoes and place in microwave oven on high power for 6 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to a baking sheet and bake them in the preheated over for 15 minutes, or until they are tender when pierced with a fork. They end up with crunchy skins and fluffy innards in a fraction of the time it would normally take to bake them.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

things i've done this past week

1. Attended the best nacho party ever. My new slogan for this year is “2007: The Year of the Theme Parties.” It will be the best year ever. And just in case we thought that the yummiest nachos I have ever eaten (no lie), Richard, and DDR were not enough to make the evening great, we also had some karaoke DDR. With medleys! Although afterwards Somebody said, “It was obvious that you wanted to sing. Why didn’t you just take the microphone?” I’m not sure, still, what my reaction to that comment is. Am I embarrassed that it was “obvious” that I wanted to sing? Should I be worried I was acting crazy? Am I concerned that he didn’t follow up his comment with, “And you should have taken the microphone, because you have a great voice.”? Does he think I can’t sing and is secretly relieved that I didn’t? Huh. Mostly, though, I think, “Yeah, I did want to, but not alone. I’m content to sing backup.” Seriously great party, though.

2. My boss boss asked me to write an article for the Alumni Association “Grad Guide.” Just a short little thing about staying educated after graduation. I’m flattered that he thought of me as a writer, but now a little worried about turning in something worth publishing. It’s due to the editor by tomorrow, and I have nothing more than a general outline, and instead of finishing it I’m writing this paragraph. Another reason why I have never been the staff of the year.

3. Somebody got his travel parole. Yes, that is what the U.S. government calls permission to leave the county: parole. Although, technically, he’s getting permission to come back in to the county, it’s still amuses me that it is the same word we use when people are let out of prison.

4. After two weeks and three estimates on repairing the damage to the car, we are still waiting to hear from the insurance agency as to whether they will pay for the repairs or decide the car isn’t worth repairing and call it totaled. I’ve been praying for two weeks that they will just pay to repair it, because I’m emotionally attached to the car and because I don’t think we could get something as good for the amount of money they would pay us. We’ll know soon, hopefully.

5. I remember one night many years ago, at a girl’s weekend gathering, that we were all watching the movie Return to Me. I thought it was the cutest movie ever, but I remember that my sister was there and, crying, said that she didn’t like it because she didn’t like that he fell in love again after his wife died. (Do you remember that, Karla?) At the time I thought that was kind of a silly thing to think. And besides, the movie was so cute, right? Anyway, last weekend I went to see The Holiday with Sarah and Chloe, and had exactly the same response as my sister had those years ago. Overwhelming. Make me want to cry huge gasping sobs. How could he love someone else like he loved the wife he lost? It was painful to see. I was in agony at the thought that there could be something greater than, even comparable to, the love he had for his first wife. I do realize it was my pain at thinking that Somebody could love again the way that he loves me. That he could look at someone the way he looks at me. That anyone could ever know him, and see their life with him, as intimately as I do. Heart. Wrenching. Pain.

P.S. I’m sorry if you haven’t seen the movie and I spoiled that secret for you. You should see it. It’s cute and funny and very enjoyable. During the parts where I wasn’t crying my tears of pain I was absolutely enjoying myself.


I’ve started another semester of Chinese class and quickly realized that I’m definitely not advanced enough for 102. I need to retake 101. I wonder why I didn’t learn enough. Was it because I never studied or did the homework? Was it because I stopped going to class the last month? Huh. Do you think we will ever know? Anyway, it’s only three days into the class, and I’ve only attended two of them, but I’ve already turned into “girl who cries every day” much like I did last semester. It’s painful, you know, to want to know something so badly, but every time I open the book the feelings of overwhelming frustration, embarrassment at my lack of understanding and comprehension, and guilt at wanting to give up completely overpower me and I start to tear up. From just opening the book. Even now, when I think about how frustrating it is, I want to cry. And in the mornings when I think about going to class: tears. After class, walking to the car, thinking about how I didn’t understand anything in class and felt so stupid: tears. In the evening, when Somebody very patiently tries to review things with me: tears. At night, when I’m supposed to be falling asleep: tears. Luckily, I drink enough water to replenish my body’s supply, but, still, it’s got to stop. Somehow. There has never been any subject, in my entire life, that has been as difficult for me as this one.