Saturday, December 15, 2012

Cranberry Contenders

Pear Cranberry and Gingersnap Crumble

Cranberry Crackle Tart

Nantucket Cranberry Pie

Cranberry Caramel and Almond Tart

Upside Down Cranberry Cake

Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic and Cranberries

Rose Hip and Cranberry Compote

Cranberries Ahoy

So I stopped into the Winter's Farmer's Market (which is conveniently 3 blocks from my apartment, much like the Summer one is from my old apartment). I need to use up my $900 credit! So I spent $35 on lots of tasty things -- only to pick up three shifts. :-P So add another $200 to that credit...

In addition to all of the tasties I bought at my stand (two kinds of oranges, grapefruit, two kinds of cabbage, green beans, carrots, greens, shallots, potatoes and rutabaga) I bought some amazing looking Korma Kebobs at a butcher's shop and a pound of cranberries.

What does one do with cranberries? I keep meaning to get around to working with them, but Mister has always been of the opinion that unless I have a recipe and the actual intent to work with something I shouldn't buy it. But I can fill my OWN apartment with nommies!

I'm off to trawl the internets for cranberry recipes!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Just for Fun

I found, while digging through the archives on someone's blog, a list of books. Added here!

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you love.
4) Strike out the books you have no intention of ever reading, or were forced to read at school and hated.

The List

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 The Harry Potter Series - JK Rowling (Why is this in the Best Books Evar list?)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible (I've read more of it than I'd like)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman (I think someone forgot the word "series")
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis (why is this on here twice?)
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini (I think this was overhyped)
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
(not sure it should be included) 40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown (Don't think this should be here)
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood (Oh please remove it from life)
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon (Hate hate hate the writing style of this book)
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo- Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce,/br> 76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day- Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom (I hate this kind of book)
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint Exupery (Aussi, Le Petit Prince)
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare (and how is this different from the complete works of? wtf list writer)
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl (Not my fave Roald Dahl)
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

The woman I got this list from observed that there is no Twain on this list. Also, where's Poe? There is a lot missing, honestly. Thankfully no Ayn Rand. It pisses me off to no end that the Bible gets included on these lists but not any other religious texts. Also, what is up with the duplication? I don't get that. I think there are also a great many equally important books that are not acknowledged here, and I think that even attempting to MAKE a top 100 list is folly. But fun!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


So my last name is fairly common. When living in crazy house, my roommate was an alumni of MIT and managed to get me an MIT email address consisting of

Imagine my surprise when I apparently got an invite to join a research community and claim authorship of a biological paper! So I tracked down the person who invited me (because of course you need membership to email them through the research community) and sent an email explaining he found the wrong member of my clan, MIT address notwithstanding.

I think that's the only email I've received for that email address...

Monday, October 1, 2012

Foodie penpal

A quick ipad post to join the others. I have not yet received my package from my foodie penpal. I hope to get my free snacks soon.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fashion and Happiness

So those of you that know me in real life I'm sure are surprised by the title of this post. I certainly am not a fashion plate. And since moving to Beantown, whenever I'm bumming around, my mom's always like "really? I'd've thought that living in a city you'd be more fashionable!"

Yeah, fashion and I aren't always best buds.

But I've realized a lot of things about myself in the past few years, and quite a few have to do with appearance. For one, I tend towards pack-rat-itis. It's a hereditary disease. K, you are the only one among us who cleans out their closet regularly. For two, I feel AMAZING whenever I do dress up. For three, I always feel like a bum whenever I'm wearing ill-fitting clothes, no matter how nice they may be. For four, heels dress up any outfit and encourage me to stand up straight and walk proudly.

Knowing all of this, I went through several purges of my wardrobe, the most recent being prior to moving. Why move what I'm only going to get rid of? So with that in mind, here are a few of my own fashion rules.

-- Pick a look and maintain it. And then be able to change the look if it winds up not working. For example, my summer uniform was a cute summer dress and strappy sandles. This requires me to have a selection of cute summer dresses to choose from and said sandles which will look good with pretty much anything. I also wore a few pairs of shorts and tees for working at the Farmer's Market and light weight skirts and tops to round out the wardrobe. But it is both hot and humid in my area during the summer (think 90% humidity and 92 degrees. It sucks.), so it requires lots of bare flesh. I chose light summer dresses that, being small chested, I don't need a bra for. I searched for about three summers to have my full wardrobe of summer dresses. I now have about 10. It meant that I was wearing only two items of clothing in the heat -- a dress and undies. It got to the point where Mister was highly jealous of my wardrobe and wanted a male equivalent (but didn't want dresses... :-P).

-- If you don't love it, toss it. I stuck to this pretty strictly. Anything that I did not LOVE the way I look and feel while wearing it, I got rid of. Cute skirt that needs that tiny bit of alteration that I haven't gotten around to for three years? Gone. Cute summer dress that really needs that little bit of work that I absolutely love? Well, lets do the work NOW and see if that makes a difference. (Answer: it did.) This made the most recent purge the time that I finally got rid of most of my theatre shirts and bumming-around-the-house tee shirts. I have tank tops for that if I really need to bum.

-- Only buy high quality and only keep high quality. I recently removed the majority of the acrylic sweaters from my wardrobe. I think I have one or two that I just love the fit SO MUCH that I'll exempt it. This also meant that I got to be a lot pickier in the thrift stores that I frequent. I didn't even pull off of the rack anything that had ANY acrylic threads in it. Cashmere sweater? C'mere you! Ugly color? Well... maybe. By not actually looking at the sweaters until after looking at their fibers, I didn't allow myself to fall in love with a shitty but beautiful sweater that ultimately would not keep me warm and just take up closet space.

-- Know how to layer properly. It's cold in the north east, and my campus is RIGHT ON THE OCEAN. It gets really windy and cold. And I swear to the gods they don't actually heat those classrooms. So! I wear high boots (leather of course), knitted tights, leg warmers, slips, wool skirts, tank tops, underarmor, blouses and sweaters with a cardigan. I layer like it's my job. But, I also try to make sure it never LOOKS like I'm a bundle of clothing. The trick is again, high quality items. The thickest acrylic sweater will not keep you half as warm as a cashmere sweater with or without an extra cardigan. (Yes, I am sadly aware of the thinness of most cashmere sweaters.) Wear an extra thick sweater with your coat that STAYS with your coat (I did this one winter to get the most mileage out of my leather jacket). Scarves, hats and gloves are your friends. I wear them constantly in the colder months. This also gives me layering options from classroom to classroom as they are often up to 10 degrees different. I also wore thin gloves under my fingerless armwarmers/mitts so that I could wear my armwarmers if needed but still use my hands.

-- Know what tricks keep you happy. For example, these days my nails are always painted and I only wear heels. Why? Bright happy colored nails (often red or gold) make me smile whenever I see them and heels make me feel really sexy and give me confidence. They also help my posture by reminding me that it's a thing. Why yes, I do strut when I walk (not ridiculously) but enough to send the signal that -I- know that I look good and feel good and I don't care who knows. Not everyone feels that way in heels. It just happens to be -my- instant boost. For some women it's lipstick. For some it's a hat or scarf. But once you pay attention to what aspects of your outfit really boost your mood, try to incorporate that daily. How I incorporated nails and heels is simple. I removed all flats from my closet and I keep nail polish by my computer. I go down to the bare nail once a week and start over, and touch up chips while checking emails. And red nails DO require maintenance!

You might notice that I have yet to mention anything about make up and accessories, usually the staples of any fashion post. I wear a bare face daily (if I'm lucky, I remember to wash it) and I never remove my jewelry. Occasionally I'll change up earrings or a necklace, but I pick a pretty solid every day look and leave it. I DO however wear belts. That is pretty much my sole exception for accessorizing. I might also occasionally wear a scarf on my head like a headband (I read lots of vintage blogs this summer). The reason why I don't dwell on accessories is I find that with my now-fabulous wardrobe, it invites me to make each outfit interesting just because I love my clothes that much. Or I'll build an outfit around a certain piece. For example, today I wore new shoes which are a brown tweed heel with a bow on a mary-jane strap. This dictated that I wear browns today. So I pulled out my beige heather cashmere tunic sweater and brown pinstripe light wool dress pants. With the green beads that I wear daily and my bright red nails, it's an outfit.

The other thing that I do not mention is where to shop. Personally, I shop at Goodwill and other thrift stores. Why pay more than $10-20 for a cashmere sweater? But not everyone is as lucky to have awesome thrift stores nearby. Also, not everyone is looking for cashmere sweaters. So I think it's up to each person to find what stores work for them. I personally do not recommend shopping online, as the fit of any article of clothing is too important to me. I also find that a lot of the "cute clothing" shops use really shoddy workmanship and poor materials. But they're great source material and inspiration!

And here lies the majority of my new fashion rules. I now only have cozy sweaters, good-fitting clothing and heels in my wardrobe. And every day I get a boost of confidence from my clothes. Knowing that I look good every day gives me a lot of security. Now I only have to worry about what people think of me by what I actually say and do -- for I know that I look good. And I can b.s. my way through the rest. :-D

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Apple Pie Shots

So I learned recently that a friend with whom I've had a falling out has removed me from a shared google doc. That is excessive and takes going out of one's way IMO. All I did was delete her phone number. ... I almost feel like maybe I should one up her... (*mostly joking!)

So, I hacked into Mister's account and took the recipe from the shared google doc. :-P

Apple Pie Shots

In a large pot, combine:
1 gallon apple cider
½ gallon apple juice
10 cinamon sticks
Boil for 15 minutes. Add:
2¾ cups sugar (I use significantly less, ~1½-2 cups last time as I recall )
Mix well and allow to cool completely.
Finally, add:
1 fifth (750ml) of Everclear

Makes about 1½ gallons

Recipe Source:

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Jumping On the Wagon

So I'm going to try this thing called "Foodie Penpals". You sign up, get given a "penpal", and you send each other a food package, limit $15. Sounds fun, eh? You can sign up here if interested.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


As I've mentioned quite a few times, I volunteer at the Farmer's Market on Wednesdays. Today, my stand had a sale too good for me to pass up: Roma tomatoes at $1/#, with the option of buying a 20# box. Done!

So I bought 20# of Roma tomatoes and figured I'd start my canning-tomato-life tonight. (I know, I know, I move in 3 days, but I couldn't pass that up!)

Using this as my spring-off point, I canned half of my box tonight. It made 3 quarts and 4 pints. I put them all in the canner together, as I don't see that it will be a problem being as they need the same time anyways.

This'll be my smartest canning set-up in this apartment yet. I used Francesca's advice and heated my jars in the oven to sterilize, I used the magnetic telescoping wand from a screwdriver to fetch out my heated lids, and my canner has a basket that I will use to remove my jars!

They have to be in the waterbath for 85 mins, so we'll see how pretty they are when I'm done!

Update: lookit how pretty they are!

Also, this is all of the potatoes that I dug up from all of the potatoes that I planted:

For reference, the largest is about the size of a half dollar. :-P

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tough Decisions

So I made the call today and quit my new job. Yep, a week of training (6 hours paid) and one actual shift that I left early for. I'll have worked 10 hours of paid time.

But I thought about it. I'd've been working pretty much every single night I'm not in rehearsal (except Saturdays), I had to drop my jam band group, and it was hellish. I dreaded every single minute of it, I counted minutes like it was my job, and I was freaking the f*** out all day today about the fact that I had to work again tonight.

And I thought, y'know, if a single $8.50/hr job is giving me this much stress and grief, I don't need it in my life right now. So I applied online to work at the grocery store and called in my resignation.

'Cause really, working at the grocery store is about the level of thinking that I want to be doing for a part-time job. Please please please ask me to break down boxes for three hours. I'd love to get paid to do something that mindless. But actively try to get money out of little old ladies on Social Security when they tell me that they'll be dead before anyone's elected anyways? Yeah, not my bag. I also don't care enough about politics or the democrats in general to sell it convincingly.

Here's the problem with the job I had. Even if it's not cold calling, even if it's people who have given before and want to give again, no one wants to be called. Period. They also don't want to be upsaled. Upselling is the least enjoyable task I can think of. I had problems with it at LUSH too. I think that if someone's giving you money, you should say 'thank you' and end the call.

Bah. Over and done with, and I know yet another category of job that I can't do! (The list now has 2.5 items: housekeeping, sales, and a maybe for restaurant as I got badly burned in my last restaurant job.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Bit Sheepish

So, as well all know, I'm a cheapskate. Remember the scarf that I reverse engineered in order to not pay $7 to the designer? Well, my pride and close-fisted-ness has struck again. This time, it's a bag.

Look at this pretty little bag. It's got little fold away pockets for your jars and it looks solidly made. $27 for a bag? Nuh uh. But oh look! You can buy the PDF pattern for $5! Still not paying $5. So I figure I'll just make it up. How hard can it be? She gives a required materials list and measurements.

And here's where I screw it up.
The bag measures 9" tall, and 12" wide when laid flat.

Does that look like it's wider than it is tall? No! So between her using the wrong words and my not checking with the picture, I have a bag that is wider than it is tall.

This also means that I have a ridiculously large opening which flaps around. So I added little button tabs to keep it reasonably sized. So my bag looks absolutely nothing like hers, in addition to being made in a different manner, I'm sure.

Things That I'm Sure I Did Differently:
-- dimensions. Duh.
-- I can fit three jars, but have only two holders. Whoops.
-- I opted to have all of the lining pieces firmly attached to the outer pieces, instead of making two bags and attaching them together (which I think is what she did).
-- I didn't use fusible fleece, I cut up an old skooshy curtain and machine-quilted three pieces together for the bottom and for the jar holders.
-- I literally threw this together in a few hours. I think the original is a bit more planned and perfected.
-- I was too lazy to make straps. So I stitched together two lengths of ribbon (the red) anytime a strap was called for (also when one of my sides came up short).

So, that's my little fail-lunch-bag. I'mma make another one, and hopefully this one will come out a bit better.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Banana Crunch Cake

My friend M was supposed to stop by today. She's on a diet that is now dairy and gluten free and LOVES sweets. I figured I'd try to throw something together. Pros: it's delicious. Cons: M isn't coming over and I have to eat it ALL (Mister's experimenting with whether or not avoiding sugar and alcohol will cure what ails him. You don't want to know.)

CHANGE OF PLANS! M literally just called me and said "f--- it I'm coming over". I knew she couldn't resist a sweet. :-P

But here's the recipe, for what it's worth. It's all stuff I have in stock, and I now have TWO friends who are gluten and dairy free... both named M (actually their names are both unusual and ridiculously, eerily similar).

Banana Crunch Cake:

-- gluten free mix (I have a biscuit/all purpose mix in stock)
-- oil
-- non-dairy milk (I used coconut)
-- sugar
-- granola
-- banana
-- cinnamon

I oiled the bottom of my cast iron frying pan and preheated the oven to 350F. Put a healthy amount of gluten free mix in a bowl (about 1.5-2 cups). Add 1/4 c. of sugar and a pinch of salt if desired. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and 5 oz or so of milk. Basically, you want this to be a thick batter, but still thin enough to pour.

Pour into the frying pan and even out all the way to the edges.

Sprinkle a layer of granola over the batter.

Slice a banana very finely (I used a frozen banana -- worked like a charm -- just peel it AFTER slicing) and put slices over the top of granola.

Sprinkle a crap ton of sugar on top (around a half cup maybe?) and some cinnamon.

Put in the oven until batter is cooked through.

** Optional: I added more sugar and attempted to caramelize the top. I just had a few burned sugar spots and lots of non-melted sugar. Eh.

But this is delicious! I think the next time I make this I might try to make it an upside down cake.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Surprise Gifts

K -- let's not mention any of this to the parentals, ok? Mom and N are no longer really on speaking terms...

How did I forget to mention this? As many people who know me in person are aware, Mister's sorta-aunt N is very close to me. She's the significant other of Mister's uncle, but is already married... it's a nasty situation, and I hope to never need to make such a decision.

She is the one who was to host our wedding. She is the one who bought me my sewing machine (the glorious thing that it is!). She is the one who went fabric shopping with me and my mother. She is the one who lent me Mister's Great-Grandfather's and Great-Great Grandfather's autobiographies, feeling that if I was marrying into the family I should know that Mister gets his craziness honestly.

N is also the one who saw me at my lowest ebb the week that Mister and I called things off. I hadn't eaten for 30 hours (and not much when I last ate) and I was a messy ball of emotions. She is the one who emailed my mother and said that I was probably in emergency situation-land.

And thus, my mother appeared on the doorstep the next morning and apparently blithely told N that she must have been hallucinating. (My mother told me that N emailed, and also told me that she thought I seemed ok. I told her that yes, I was -better-, but not -good-. I guess it lost a bit in translation -- my mother apparently was quite rude, even if unmeaning to.) N told me later that if she'd had the legal authority to do so, she'd have checked me into a hospital that night.

I saw N again the evening of the fourth, when Mister and I went to his kid sister's concert. (It was fabulous btw -- I had no idea she had coloratura chops! Still a lot to work on, but she's only 16. She'll do fine.) I told her about how the trip to NY went (disastrous) and the initial discussion with my parents (worse than a disaster -- almost abusive). She was incredibly upset and worried for me, and told me that if I ever needed her, she was around. Which I appreciate. As I've said, she's very dear to me, and even knowing that she's technically part of Mister's family, I rely on her a great deal.

[My relations with my parents have become much more cordial. My dad apologized for things that he had said in haste, and my mother has probably forgotten what she's said. I have come out of it with no long lasting scars, and perhaps it was better to clear the air among the three of us. I have finally reached the point where I can talk on the phone with them, as opposed to communicating my email. Perhaps I was more hurt than I though...]

Monday the sixth rolled around, and around 5pm, N showed up at the front door. She had two dozen tea roses, a bunch of bananas, St. John's Wort, and multivitamins. All for me. I put the roses in a vase and ate a banana. I was incredibly grateful for the St. John's Wort, as I didn't have any in the house. I had chamomile, but that will merely give a gentle calm, as opposed to actually helping mood. N told me how a friend found that her mood and well-being were greatly improved by having a banana every day and drinking four tall glasses of water. The vitamin and the St. John's wort I didn't need telling to know how they can help bring some balance.

I've asked Mister if he's noticed a difference the week I've been taking these, and he said that there has been a significant improvement in my mood. Which is fabulous. I'm not sure how much is the St. John's Wort and how much is just having life going pretty well. Perhaps it feels like it's going so well BECAUSE my mood was already lifted by the St. John's Wort. I don't feel like experimenting with it right now. :-P

I am incredibly grateful for the effort that N continues to put into me and I hope that no matter what happens between Mister and I, we will be close. She is one of my favorite people.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Pretty Awesome, Actually

So, life is working out for me right now.

Firstly, I have a sweet apartment. I move in September 1st, two roommies, both dudes, both audio engineers. The one is more awesome than the other, as one reminds me a great deal of Jack Black. Eh, whatevs. But it's ridiculously cheap and near my friend J's house (which is where we've been having band practice of late). It's a third floor walk up, roof access, garden if I want (it's a jungle currently), screened in porch, an awesome big, black cat named Sgt. Pepper, and a WORK SPACE. My one roommate does a lot of bike repair, and I'll probably have my reed making supplies in there. Looking forward to moving in!

Secondly, I have a job! And I can work around school and ensembles. It's at a Call Center close to my home, where I'll mostly be calling for donations to political campaigns. So yeah, it's sales, but it's money and it's FLEXIBLE scheduling which is amazing. It's three shifts during the week and one during the weekend. Just what I need.

Funny thing about the call center, I missed a call from the manager last Friday (I was underground). As I'm sitting in my new apartment yesterday, hanging with my new roommies, one of the girls who is moving out mentions that she not only WORKS at that call center, but is really good friends with the manager who called me! So I stopped in personally today, filled out the application, did the interview, etc. while of COURSE dropping the name of the woman I met yesterday. :-P She of course swore up and down that she's known me forever and that I'm awesome. Serendipitous.

Oh, and the third thing that's awesome right now? Mister and I are on good terms. We're pretty much dating again, but we're both in therapy and I'm moving out. All of these are to help break the bad habits that we keep falling into. I'm still in this apartment until the end of the month, and we've both noticed old habits luring us in -- like my calling him all the live long day and cooking dinner for us and him buying me coffee in the morning. There's good reasons why we've been together for over five years, and there's good reasons why we need to work on the relationship. We both think that my moving into a different apartment (that'll have cool people! and a kitty!) will help break my dependency issues and be a non-subtle reminder to our thoughts that things are different and should be different.

It's funny though, with all of my books off of the bookshelves, Mister doesn't have enough books to fill ONE bookshelf -- much less the three that he has. Oh well.

I'll have to do a post soon figuring out what I'll need for the new apartment. But I'm so excited that life appears to be looking up!

Monday, August 6, 2012

No One to Brag To

I received books, thread and supplies for tatting for my birthday this year from my mother. Having had nothing better to do the past few weeks, I picked it up.

Needle tatting was definitely easier as a first go -- somewhere between casting on stitches in knitting and making friendship bracelets. But I couldn't figure out how to translate instructions for shuttle tatting to needle tatting.

So I attempted shuttle tatting. The first go was a horrible mess. I didn't understand the instructions, and there's a PAGE TURN in the middle of all of that. I put it back down. A week later, I picked it up again. Much better! But I stopped paying attention and got a nasty knot and couldn't unpick enough to make it worth while.

so yesterday I started anew. It is going well, and I have 13 little linked up rings. I'm not sure how far I'll take it, but the patter does also have a second row. I'm on Lesson Two in my book. I still cannot make any actual lace pattern, but I'm tatting.

And I don't know anyone around here who understands a) how complex this is and b) how exciting it is to learn a new lace making technique. I'll go put on black eyeliner and Bright Eyes and go sit in the corner with my tatting now. :-P

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


It's surprising, sometimes, how easy it is to not care. You'd think that after being with someone for five years, there would still be feelings.

But no. It is no more, and I can't even bring myself to care. I care more about the fact that he's being the biggest asshole on the planet regarding it, is playing the victim card without allowing me the decency of seeing that I might be able to call it myself, and he doesn't have to make a single change in his life.

I have to find a job, find an apartment, and figure out if I'm continuing school. I also have to call off my wedding, return wedding presents, and explain to my mother that I'm not getting married. Some of these tasks are harder than others. :-P

The sweet in the sour? He was out of town when most of the bullshit was happening, so all of our mutual friends heard about it from me. They got to see me fall apart, and hear about how he called the cops on me. He has lost a lot of friends through this. I didn't even know that some friends were more mine than his, I merely thought they were ours.

He apparently doesn't trust me, thinks that I've used him as the sole emotional support, haven't made any attempt to work out my depression and anxiety issues, and then there's the emotional terrorism I employed this past week.

I'll easily admit to emotional terrorism -- I tried asking for information nicely and politely (when he was coming home) and when I garnered no response, my texts and phone calls became wilder and wilder and more and more abusive.

The emotional abuse and abandonment that he showed? Apparently, I'm not "allowed" to count it because "he didn't intend for it" whereas I've admitted to intending to hurt him.

In the words of my friend J, I'm deeply disappointed in him. I just wish I could fast forward a year and not have to deal with this.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Corn on the Cob

Ah, seasonal eating. Mister and I don't usually strive too much for particularly seasonal eating, but there are some things that are available only at certain times. Any holiday food, for example. I could make rice pie at any time of year, but I only do at Easter.

But corn on the cob. Oh corn on the cob. I believe it is one of my favorite foods! That's right, it might overtake potatoes. And that's saying something. But whereas I eat potatoes in all shapes, varieties and recipes, corn on the cob is just that. I've talked about corn before, and how much I love it and can devour bushels at a time.

One of the fabulous things about this summer has been my working at the Farmer's Market every Wednesday. I've become close with a lot of the vendors (there's nothing like holding down someone's tent in gale-force winds to bring people together!) and there's the fabulous vendor discount.

Like my corn. The farm that I get my corn from (my farm does not sell sweet corn) refuses any payment. This is two weeks in a row I got a half dozen ears for free. I asked this week if they'd let me pay, and the response was that as they have even more corn now, it's even cheaper for them to let it go free. Since I love it so much (and they have GREAT corn), I won't push it. But I will offer to pay every week. :-P

But I love my market. There's N, the lady who runs the bakery stall across from my tent (we wound up discussing music and fanfiction this week -- K, she's the one that I got that amazing Harry Potter fic from). There's E, the super friendly lady who runs the wine booth that teaches violin in her spare time! There's the gang at K -- they sell fruit and different veggies from my stand. I love love love their fruit. It's a guilty pleasure. There's the folks at H -- where I get my corn and where we all buy lemonade during the day. The vendors pay $2 for a HUGE plastic cup of lemonade, and there's free refills. On a day in the 90s, that is very highly appreciated! There's Farmer A, who has a stand next to us, who is so adorable. I've bought his honey and it's too die for. There's the lady at W Meats -- I buy the best bacon in the world from her, and occasionally eggs. I used to get it at $4 per pound of bacon (it's $9 normally), but now I just trade produce for it. There's any of the fine ladies who work with S -- the Mediterranean food vendor that I worked for. It's always nice to check in with them. D, the market manager always has a smile on his face and is pleasant to work with. There are other stands, but aside from a smile and a nod to them, I don't really know them well. But it's my market. Best decision to work there!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hungarian Sour Cherry Coffee Cake

I was lured by the beautiful sour cherries at the farmer's market to buy two containers. I double checked -- "What do I do with them?" Bake was the immediate answer.

So I did a quick search on Tasty Kitchen, and found this recipe. It looked pretty tasty, so I figured I'd give it a go.

I was going over to my friend J's house for cards and home made pizza, so I thought it'd be nice to bring dessert. And he was raving about how awesome sour cherries are at band practice yesterday :-P.

Although the directions are quite fiddly, the results are delicious. And no, I did not follow them to the letter. I used fresh cherries instead of canned (I sprinkled some sugar over the top to compensate). As my friend M was to be at cards, I subbed out the butter for Earth Balance and the flour for oat flour. Oh, and I used four whole eggs total, instead of two eggs and two yolks. I'll never use those whites as I hate meringue. I also didn't chill the dough as long as I should. The step at the end with the final topping? Super obnoxious to deal with. But, as I said, it's delicious.

So, as long as you're willing to put up with a bit of finickyness, this is a good recipe to play with. I could also see a similar tart fruit like rhubarb, blueberry or cranberry doing well too.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Worries and Idiocy of a Sexual Nature -- Be Warned!

There is a serious problem going around. And no R, I'm not even talking about that rape joke you were discussing (which is horrid enough). It's 50 Shades of Grey and the rest of the series.

There are several things wrong with this series. The first and simplest being that it was written originally as Twilight fanfiction. The second being it's poorly written in general.

But the most serious crime? It's an abusive relationship. But the author doesn't call it an abusive relationship. Oh no, that's just the NATURE of Dom/sub relationships! No. No it is not. And the problem with this is people are reading these books and going "oh that sounds sexy! Let's try this out!" without actually doing their research. And a great many people are going to hurt themselves and others by attempting to live out the books.

There are a lot of difficulties in navigating such a relationship, and communication is key to solving ALL of them. Communication in discovering boundaries. Communication in determining safe words and how to use them properly. Communication in what types of kink you're exploring. Leaving the sexual relationship to sex only, and having a comfortable relationship outside of the bedroom. (You can have a D/s relationship that is non-sexual, but I'm assuming for these purposes that we're talking about a sexual one.) Trust. Trust is the key here as well.

Another key point in a D/s relationship is that a Dom is not "superior" than a sub, they merely choreograph, so to speak. Anyone who goes into a D/s relationship and receives unwanted sex-shaming (calling you a slut, or a whore, etc.), intentional disregard of opinions and preferences -- these people are not Doms, they are insane. They need therapy to realize that people are humans, not sex-toys.

This is also not to say that there are no relationships that involve terms like 'slut' and 'whore'. There are some relationships where that is AGREED UPON and DISCUSSED as appropriate in the context of play. There are some relationships that use shame and punishment, in the context of play, and there are some that do not.

But it REALLY SCARES ME when someone talks about how their friend/s is/are convincing them to read 50 Shades of Grey. For f*ck's sake, the man's got mommy issues that he takes out on his partners! How disturbing can you get?

That being said, enjoy the ONLY version of 50 Shades of Grey that I find palatable.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


It seems that so many people thrive on compliments to their physical appearance. It always nice to be told that I have great hair or a beautiful smile, but I’ve been spoiled by much lovelier strings of words.
“you’re such a kind person.”
“I admire your patience.”
“you make me proud.”

I came across this little tidbit today on someone's tumblr. I completely disagree with it. Their examples are horrible, anyway. A kind person? Honey, I am anything but that and I will laugh in your face if you attempt it. Patience? Perhaps, but it isn't hard. It's a combination of something called 'waiting' and 'sucking it up'. The magic of 'patience'. And finally, to make someone proud? Anything I do IS NOT for you, whoever it is that 'you' are. My actions are my own, and I'll thank you to leave them to me.

Also, what is wrong with a physical compliment? They are easier to give and easier to receive. I'd rather not be burdened with a sudden dose of self-awareness like the above quote attempted to supply. If I'm tootsing along my merry way throughout the day, I'll thank you to let me alone to do it! I'd rather not think deep thoughts about my own spiritual and mental make-up. But a compliment on my attire or hair or anything physical? I'll take that and gladly.

If you must compliment me, leave me out of it.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Music as Poetry

In a discussion with R recently, it came up that a lot of pop music is not interesting music, although the lyrics may be unearthly. I agree wholeheartedly with this conviction, although I do enjoy the ease of pop music upon the ear. I also enjoy singing it, all the more so if it is beautifully lyrical. Yet, I find that lyrics aren't as strong taken apart from the whole of the piece. If you can't feel the intent of the words with the singer's voice, why have the words in the first place? It is a difficult decision for me, deciding why a piece moves me.

For that matter, it's always been an odd mix of favorites for me. I prefer songs with a good beat, that keep me moving and are just enjoyable. Yet, upon listening to an album for the 40th time or what-have-you, I find the quiet moments hidden in the slower tracks. For who can have a serious thought with a heavy beat?

I just listened to some Cat Stevens on for a while. It has been so long since I've heard his voice, and I do miss it. Cat Stevens was a true Flower Child and his music brings to mind such beautiful imagery, self-exploration and understanding.

From simple, honest tunes such as "If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out" (written for the 1971 movie Harold and Maude) you just get the sense of joy that Cat Stevens found in the world and all of its differences.

And if you want to be me, be me
And if you want to be you, be you
'Cause there's a million things to do
You know that there are

Or the optimism and acceptance found in "Moonshadow".

And if I ever lose my hands, lose my plough, lose my land,
Oh if I ever lose my hands, Oh if... I won't have to work no more.
And if I ever lose my eyes, if my colours all run dry,
Yes if I ever lose my eyes, Oh if... I won't have to cry no more.

But then you have the dialogue in "Father and Son" that reaches most of us -- for who hasn't seen if not experienced the dismissal of young tempests by cooler, older heads?
I was once like you are now, and I know that it's not easy,
To be calm when you've found something going on.
But take your time, think a lot,
Why, think of everything you've got.
For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not.

How can I try to explain, when I do he turns away again.
It's always been the same, same old story.
From the moment I could talk I was ordered to listen.
Now there's a way and I know that I have to go away.
I know I have to go.

I don't know why I find the sentiments of old hippy songs more poignant and relevant to my own life than any modern attempts -- perhaps I merely am more familiar with the tunes of the 60s than today. Perhaps there is a sense of "why reinvent the wheel" when it comes to these feelings. They just make me want to look at my beautiful, shining moon and sing in the dark.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Oh My Neighbors

When I first heard the soundtrack to Rocky Horror Picture Show blasting through the air, I almost thought that my insane neighbor to my left was playing it. In which case, I'd have to forgive her of some of her nastiness. But no, it of course wasn't her. It was my amazing neighbor S who lives across the street from us. He plays classic rock, classical, ANYTHING so long as he can play it loud with the windows open. And I wholeheartedly approve.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


What kind of dickfaced sadshit has a problem with someone, and asks their MOTHER to call and leave a voice mail? Oh I cannot wait to get to the court house tomorrow and file my harassment suit!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Minty Things

So my sis totes gave me some delicious looking chocolate and mint items for me to think about.

Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Mint Brownies

Chocolate Mint Oreo Cupcakes

Oreo Mint Brownies

... I think my sister likes brownies?

50s Dress

So I'm not quite sure where the cord to connect the camera to the computer is... But I've been working on that 50s dress for my new buddy T, and it's going fabulously. I popped together a mockup Monday and had a quick fitting on Tuesday. Modified the pattern and sketched out the lining and had a second fitting today. Luckily, T isn't enough of a costumer to see where I screwed up the lining part for today. :-P It also was only 4.5 yards of fabric and it was TIGHT getting all of the pieces out, so the next lining layer is going to be a bit fuller. I also received in addition to the fabric T bought, the ripped out skirt and tulle from a wedding dress. As that's fairly stiff I will be using that inside the dress for T as well. It'll have to be lining as the wedding dress is white and T's dress is black... but that's not a problem! I actually feel pretty comfortable with where this dress is and how it's shaping up. I just have to NOT screw up the skirt pieces for this next piece!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Farmer's Market 5/30/12

So yesterday was my first shift volunteering at the Farmer's Market. I absolutely loved it! The stand that I was working for was selling greens, some turnips and radishes, hot house tomatoes, and lots of plants. Tomato plants, flowers, herbs, squash, eggplants, cucumbers, lettuces and cabbages.

I learned a lot, not in the least how to tell the different greens apart! I saw so many of the people that I know. When I was telling Mister about all the people that I know who stopped at my stand (including two of my baristas, my old landlady, old customers from the ice cream store, etc.) Mister said that it's a sign that we've lived in this neighborhood for a while! Even the people that I didn't know, I certainly recognized. There's something comforting about knowing "your people". And this neighborhood is certainly very community oriented.

I also chatted, while on break, with the owner of a new local brewery, and he was super friendly and was telling me about some of the fun things they offer on the brew tours. Jalapeno beer anyone?

Unsurprisingly, I'm damn good at running a booth and moving swiftly through a line. My new boss, C, seemed pleasantly surprised with my work and stated that it was nice to see such enthusiasm. Considering how much of an "interview" process they had (she didn't ask my name, I had to volunteer it -- AND practically push my information on her), I'm not surprised that she didn't know my predilection for such work.

One thing that's nice about working a booth is that most of the other vendors offer a vendor discount. I got the best bacon in the world for half price -- so I spent $4.50 a pound. I'm willing to PAY the $9/#, but half price is amazing. I will buy a pound a week, because as we eat it in one sitting, we don't need much more bacon than THAT in our lives.

I'm getting paid in credit amounting to $10/hour and any money I don't spend goes towards a winter CSA share. So in order to help my bookkeeping, I'm going to tally it up here as well.

Worked from 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
took one 15 minute break (paid)
bought: 2 baby bok choy at $2.50 a piece
Lemon Balm potted plant at $3.00
3 pop corn cobs at 3/$1
One head of greens in trade for hummus at $2.50

Earned: $90
Spent: $11.50
Credit for day: $78.50
Overall credit: $78.50

Garden Happiness

So even though I had read so many things that said that gardening is one of the many many things that require experience and lots of trial and error, I had thought that I was way too cool for that. And then I'd had so many summers of flops.

For the first time, I feel comfortable with where my garden is, and I have hopes that what I've planted is accomplishable. My basil seeds are sprouting, and I believe that ALL of my peas and beans sprouted as well. (I mistakenly pulled up two little plants, and replanted one of the peas when weeding -- whoops!) The potatoes either will or will not succeed. I don't care. They were an experiment that I've been intending to let do its own thing anyway.

Speaking of the potatoes, when I first planted them, something dug three of them up. It ate one the first night, and then the next night just dug up and left there two potatoes. I've been giving every squirrel in the neighborhood the stink eye. I also cut off some eyes from another patch of potatoes and planted some more of them, so perhaps I'll have potatoes from them too! I do so love potatoes.

I bought at the Farmer's Market yesterday a little Lemon Basil plant and separated the little stems and replanted them in Basil's old pot with some fresh soil and fertilizer. She's looking a little sad now, but I'll wait until tomorrow to do anything else to her.

I also received gratis two sunflower plants that I still need to put in the ground. But I already scrubbed my hands and washed my face... so I'm not itching to get out there again. :-P

I also put the trellising up for the peas and beans fully today. I had strung some denim "yarn" across each of the post sections parallel to the ground, and zig-zagged some cotton thread weight yarn all around for my little climbing plants. I'll check on them tomorrow as well to see if they need any help in the climbing department.

So I've already made one large batch of mojitos with that massive amount of mint back there. It took a mere two 15" stems. Any help for how to use up mint would be appreciated!

I've been collecting the german chamomile flowers daily, and I'm loving that ritual. It gets me outside, into the garden, and I can check on my plants and do a quick weeding. I've rigged up a screen in the pantry to dry the flowers. It may not have the best air flow, but it's out of the way.

I would like to get my compost set up today, but I'm not sure when I'll get to it. I still need to find a top for the bin, which is one of the reasons that I've been delaying.

So R -- how is this for not failing you?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wtf Google?

No, I do not want to sync my cell phone with my blogger account. No, I do not appreciate arriving at the screen where there's no "No Thanks" option. Yes, I have said OVER AND OVER AGAIN that I do not want my phone synched even though you keep assuring me how fabulous it is. Fuck off Google.

Friday, May 25, 2012


So I now have two part-time gigs. One, is that every Wednesday I help out at a farm stand in the Farmer's Market to the tune of $10/hour or its equivalent in vegetables. OM NOM NOM.

Also, I applied for, and got, a gig to make a vintage style dress for a lovely dude from Craigslist. He has a comedy act that involves dressing like Queen Elizabeth II, and his previous dress was a hacked together creation that is falling apart. So I'm going to work with him to create something beautiful and 50s style, and we'll probably work out some barter as he's a photographer and offered to shoot my wedding. Woot! I had completely forgotten about having to look into that!

I'm actually pretty excited to work on that dress, as it should be fun, and the guy seems awesome. We sent like 50 emails back and forth, and it should be an excellent collaboration. We're going to meet this Sunday to figure out exactly what we want to do.

Also, our band is now officially named: Ahab's Elephant. I've put in an application for this awesome seeming gig. An inn in Vermont will provide free room and board in exchange for musicians playing in their hall. So, hopefully they'll let us play!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Gardening 2012

Here is the current state of the garden. I finally got around to putting things in the ground (like the potatoes that were colonizing my kitchen). Except for the mint, everything is freshly planted. I'm planting potatoes based upon this method, which tells me to cover the shoots halfway everytime they reach 10-12" in height.

Because all of my seeds are so old, I've put two seeds of each type in every spot. We'll see if anything germinates.

I've made a nice bucket of compost tea with my chicken poop and I've watered all of my plantings with this.

I've also put basil seeds in a large gardening bucket that is on the front porch. Hopefully it'll grow because I do love basil.

I'm also well again into the war with the trumpet vine. I've had my third or fourth foray into the backyard to cut back everything green and trumpet vine shaped. It is friggin tough.

I would like to put vining plants along the side of the house, but it is currently full up on hosta and other type large green things. I will need more than a spoon and hands to get rid of it. A weedwhacker would be nice. But we'll see what I can come up with.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Kaiser Rolls

Mister and I have a friend who's coming to stay for nearly two weeks. In an endeavor to have food at home, we actually bought cold-cuts. This means that we needed either bread or rolls. Being much more a fan of rolls for sandwiches, I figured I'd make some rolls with my sourdough starter.

I had had a sponge in the fridge getting sadder and sadder for almost a week, so I tried to wake it up first. I added another cup of flour, a half cup of water, and put it in a warm oven. As it rose quite beautifully, I searched for roll recipes. I based my rolls upon this recipe. I poured one cup of bread flour on the counter, added 4 tsp of salt, about 3 or 4 Tbs of sugar, 3 Tbs of powdered milk, and another cup of bread flour on top of that. I whisked it all together and into a flat circle. I poured my healthy sponge onto this dry mix and proceeded to combine the two. While kneading this all, I also added about 4 Tbs of oil, in 4 increments and a single egg. After working it all together, I let it rest for about 5 minutes while I washed out and oiled the bowl. Re-kneaded the bread for a few minutes, then put it in the oiled bowl to rise in a warm oven.

After it had doubled in size, I dumped it on the counter (the oil helped prevent sticking), and divided it into 16. I shaped each piece into a little ball, and placed it on an oiled pan while working with the others. After balling each of the 16 balls, I then covered the balls with a damp towel while shaping the rolls.

To shape the rolls, I based it off of these directions. I sprinkled rye flour over the counter, and flattened a ball on the flour. Picking up little bits of the edge, I brought the edge into the center much like folding flower petals inward and with the final one, gave the center a good smoosh. I inverted the rolls onto a dish of poppy seeds, and put it poppy-seed-down on a pan lined with parchment paper. After all of the rolls had been shaped, I covered them with plastic and let them rise overnight in the now-cool oven.

This morning, I preheated the oven to 425F and, after turning each roll poppy-side-up, baked the rolls for ~25 mins, rotating the trays halfway through the bake.< br />
The only thing that I would do differently for the next batch is to twist the "petals" of the kaiser knot as I brought them to the center, as most of my rolls recombined and didn't have distinct markings on the top. But they're delicious! Mister and I have already made a breakfast sandwich with them with great success.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Grape Bitters

So remember when, a few years back, I gathered lots of wild Concord grapes and made grape cider and grape bitters? Well, I hadn't quite finished making the bitters.

I had soaked the grape skins and pits in grain alcohol for months, and did eventually strain it, but that is as much as I did. I even moved it into this place amongst the fridge items as purple colored grain alcohol. I got sick and tired of not working with it, so I figured I'd do some more research and finish it up.

Basing my recipe on this process, I steeped a mix of spices in my grape alcohol for two weeks, shaking it every day. I am now bringing to a boil water with my strained spices, and I will let that steep for a week, shaking every day. I will then restrain it, and add both the water and burned sugar to my alcohol. And that will be my bitters!

The spices that I used for 1/2 cup of alcohol are as follows: 4 pieces of fresh lemon peel, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 cardamom pod, ~40 rosemary leaves, 5 black peppercorns, 6 allspice berries, ~25 coriander pods. The spices are steeping in 1 cup of water, and I will use 1/5 cup burned sugar.

Hopefully this will be tasty!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Easter, Round Two

So Mister's mother, two sisters and a soon-to-be brother-in-law (I think we won't be related but he's a nice guy so I'll claim him!) were at our apartment Sunday for Easter. Mister's mother is Greek Orthodox (sometimes Russian, depending upon the community she finds), so she celebrated a week later than Rome this year.

In preparation for this visit, as Mister's older sister and fiance had never seen our apartment, Mister and I cleaned like fury. Saturday, I washed tons of dishes and cleaned the kitchen top to bottom, all while prepping bread and intending to make rice pie (we put the oven on self-clean instead, and that takes 3.5 hours. Nothing else was getting baked THAT night!). While doing this, Mister was running loads of laundry and putting away the massive piles of laundry that were on our floor. Did you know that you can WALK in our bedroom now? Shocking! Our energy fizzled out, and that was all that we tackled Saturday.

Sunday, we cleaned the rest of the house. I beat carpets outside, dusted all of the baseboards and chair rails (they're white -- it's super obvious when they're dusty), cleaned the bathroom top to bottom, and cooked. Mister got the main task of removing all of the schlock from the main rooms and either finding homes, or consolidating them in the study.

I did not take pictures of the food, because a) there was no one unified time when all the food was out and b) I was so busy chatting I didn't think about it.

But the food score! Mister's mother brought: greek meatballs, candy, baklava, eggs (which stayed in the car?), and greek olives which we never got into.

We bought or made: sourdough bread (made), bagels and cream cheese (bought), crackers and cheese (bought and didn't eat), horseradish and beets (made), rice pie (made), roast lamb (made), kielbasa (bought). I think that's about it. There was lots of food, to say the least.

Thanks to my beloved Rimi, our roast lamb turned out delicious! This was the way we cooked it (in her words):
I'd say about five to eight cloves of garlic, depending how large your leg of lamb is, plus half your average supermarket bunch of oregano, plus the juice of one lemon/half an orange/one small tangerine, plus a little bit of the sun-dried (or lightly toasted) peel of said lemon/orange, grated -- but taste this before adding to make sure it isn't bitter -- and some salt, olive oil, and black pepper.

Personally, I like rubbing in a little pureed or plain chopped tomato myself, but you'll have to decide whether you like tomatoes in the mix. Someone once told me adding some de-seeded, diced olives to the roasting mix is also a great idea, but I've never tried this myself. The basic trick lies in the citrus juice, garlic, oregano, and oil, and in making enough incisions all over the lamb and really rubbing the spices in. If you manage to do that, you're set :-)

We roasted it surrounded by potatoes and a few shallots. We might have cooked it a little long, but it was delicious and tender. We also added a bit more lemon juice and olive oil and marinated it over night to really work that flavoring in. Mister said that the lemon peel really did the trick. Thanks!

All in all, everyone liked our house, our hospitality and our aptitude for cooking. I do so love hosting events.

Monday, April 16, 2012

11 Questions

Continuing the questionaire that I picked up from Francesca.

1) What's your favorite meal? Probably mac and cheese. I also love steak, and ham, and sausage, and brussel sprouts, and...

2) What would you do if someone gave 1 million dollars? Put it into savings. And then probably buy a house when we find one.

3) Where do you see yourself in the future? Still in this area, maybe with cute little animals? Hopefully?

4) Which country/place do you want to necessarily see in your life? I want to go somewhere where I at least partially know the language to try and communicate in a foreign language. I've got a bit of French and Russian so far...

5) What moment made you very happy? Only one? I think after any success (such as how fabulous my bread turned out yesterday) I get quite happy.

6) What's your favorite author? (May we change that to 'who'?) Hmm... probably Vonnegut. I haven't read a thing of his that I didn't like.

7) What do you want to necessarily do in your life? Make food and eat it.

8) What movie made you happy? I want to say that the movie we saw last night made me happy (Cabin in the Woods) but it was scary as all get out. I really like the movie version of Chicago.

9) What are you afraid of? Confrontations.

10) What moment in your youth do you love to remember? Having a half day at school and going to the bridge with all of my friends. We'd sit and dangle our feet, nom snacks, and play in the creek. The fact that our parents didn't know where we were made it that much better.

11) Which season do you like the best? Honestly, I think spring. I get so excited seeing all the flowers coming up, how bright and happy everything is, I just wish it were warmer and less wet.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

New Beginnings!

I recently nursed started back to health. Last Saturday, in fact. I probably had ignored her for almost a month -- if not more! She had a solid inch of alcohol on top when I finally pulled her jar out and was all huddled in the bottom of the jar. But with warm air, warm clean jars, and fresh food, she soon perked right back up.

I pulled her out to feed today, although I probably could have done this yesterday or maybe even Tuesday. I had PLANS for her today. But when I washed out my Official Starter Mixing Bowl and tried to pour some starter in, she refused to budge. I shook the jar a bit. She made a huffing noise as air whooshed in and out. Left with no recourse, I pulled out a big spoon and ruthlessly divided her in half.

And onto the project! Y'see, Mister and I have been sneakily, behind starter's back, looking into recipes for rye bread. Apparently, most traditional german rye breads were sourdough based and cooked over a looooooooooong time to get that dark color (it's now common to use caramel coloring and cook it faster). With that in mind, we even bought rye flour. We bought this... oh probably close to two months ago now. And today I implemented it.

Half of starter got fed with rye flour and water. The other half got fed with all purpose and water, like normal. It did mean that this feeding I would not be able to bake, as when dividing in half, normally with the second half one would make two loaves of bread.

But so now I have two little jars of starter in the fridge. We'll see how the rye comes out! I probably won't be able to bake with it for at least 3 feedings or so, as I want the rye to be the dominant flavor.

Monday, April 9, 2012


So Easter with my family did not happen as planned. It turned out that Mister and I got sick over the weekend. A quick jaunt to the doctor's today verified that we each had strep. This would be Mister's second bout of it in as many weeks, and my first lately.

Because of the lack of traveling, Mister and I had Easter at home. I've been pining for such feasts as my family always prepares, so I attempted to recreate it, with a fair amount of success!

Here is our lovely table set with the new china from my mother, Warwick AB9428, and a couple of vintage embroidered cloths. Mister and I had our dear friend M stop by to eat with us. Set on the table you can see: sliced ham, sliced sausage (it claimed to be kielbasa but it lied!), cottage cheese, butter, horseradish and beets, hardboiled eggs (green Americauna eggs, so they sorta look dyed :-P), and bread under the embroidered napkin.

The recipe I used for the horseradish and beets is this one. I only used 3 good sized beets in lieu of the 10-12 small ones they call for. In retrospect, I should have used far more horseradish than I used. Also, it's surprisingly difficult to grate! It flakes more than grates.

I wound up making close to 4 cups of horseradish and beets. AND I managed to do it without staining my kitchen counters, any cutting boards, or my hands! Victory!

When making the paska bread, I based it off of this recipe. I halved the recipe, but kept the same amount of eggs, added in craisins (I didn't have golden raisins on hand and I hate cooked dark raisins). I also didn't have sour cream, but I DID have that cottage cheese I bought... so I mixed a bit of cottage cheese with vanilla almond milk and a dash of white vinegar. I shaped it into a boule, not a ring. I also removed the handle of our small 2 quart saucepan to bake it. It also took it much closer to an hour to bake due to it's shape.

Here it is baking.

This is all that remains now! It was a success -- although it could have used a bit more sugar and perhaps another egg or two -- or maybe just the yolks for color? But it was a good substitute for paska bread.

Aside from that, two things remain regarding my Easter.

We bought a little pot of daffodils! When we bought it Saturday, it had no blooms. On Easter morning, it had 2. By that afternoon, it had 4. And it now has 6. It's a cute little plant.

I dyed my first yarn! Since I had to boil beets, I had all this gorgeous beet water. So I boiled some peruvian wool from knitpicks for about an hour, while I was prepping other things Saturday night. But when rinsing, it turned out to be yellow (it is much closer to goldenrod color than is evident in the picture). Who knew?

And that was my exciting Easter!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Easter Festivities

I was telling my studio prof that I've been looking forward to April -- it is the month of tasty food. This weekend, Mister and I go to two Easter celebrations. Saturday is Easter dinner at my step-sister's house, and Sunday is Easter breakfast at my mother's house. Fast forward to NEXT Sunday, and Mister's mother and sister stop by for Pascha dinner. And then Mister's birthday is at the end of this month. Lots of tasty food!

I don't know what my step-sister will be serving, but Easter breakfast is highly proscribed. It's ham, kielbasa, cottage cheese, hard boiled eggs, horseradish and beets, and a rich, eggy, raisin-studded bread. So delicious. I dream of this meal all year. Luckily for me, I haven't had to deal with plaintive cries of "oh, you can't come home to do eggs?" as I've had to hear ever since I turned 18 and went to college. Since I left for college, I've never lived closer than 4 hours from my mother. No, I'm not going home to do eggs.

[I DID still have problems with mom concerning Easter. For some reason, she's convinced that the best way for us to get to my stepsisters is to go to my mother's house in Albany (3+ hrs), drive down to NYC with her (3+ hrs) and back. FYI, it's ALSO 3+ hrs to drive straight to NYC from Boston -- which is the option we've taken, and there are apparently hurt feelings involved. Wtf.]

Apparently for his mother's Pascha celebration, there aren't really hard and fast traditions like there are for my family. All that is required is lamb, which we are providing. The reason why it's at OUR house this year is because of his kid sister's boarding school. She only has the Sunday off, and rather than drive 6+ hours home and 6+ hours back, they are going to drive the 3+ hours to OUR house and back.

I'm honestly looking forward to roasting a lamb leg for the first time! Maybe next year we'll have a spit in the backyard... :-D

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Well, that went better than planned. The two mothers met today, Mister's and mine. Both stopped in for a whirlwind visit of only about 5 hours. After Mister's mom left, mine said that she was lovely, and as MY mother left, Mister commented that his mother certainly knows how to smile and nod.

Oh family. Think of what stress free lives we'd lead without them?

But I was able to have a long chat with my mother about our communication skills. Hopefully this will lead to much better relations.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Mock-Up Nearly Finished!

It needs sleeves, a finished edge along neckline, and either buttons or a zipper. But the main bodice and skirt are done!

Pride and Necklaces

Francesca's most recent post reminded me of a very old memory.

As anyone who has met me in person has realized, I love jewelry. It's my favorite thing. I've worn every single kind that there is to try. I currently am wearing 6 earrings (three lobes and a cartilege on my left ear, 2 lobes on my right), a mere three rings, close to 20 bracelets and bangles, and a single necklace (odd for me). Oh and now two little barbells on my boobs. I've tried toe rings (they hurt my toes), ankle bracelets, belly chains, ear cuffs, wearing jewelry in my hair, sparkly belts, up to 13 rings at a single time, the whole shebang. I love jewelry and always have.

I remember when I was finally old enough to get my ears pierced -- I was four. I had always wanted it done, and I picked the "prettiest" piercing earrings. They were shaped like stars. I got my second set in 5th grade, the cartilege in 7th, and the final one I pierced myself in 8th grade. I received rings and earrings from a very young age, and continually lost them.

But I remember one Thanksgiving at a family member's house when I was very young. I don't even know who's house it was at, I think my Aunt P and Uncle C. (I remember a few fun things about their house -- including Uncle C's collection of marbles, Aunt P's sewing room, and the chinese plates on the wall of the living room.) Another family member, either an aunt or an older cousin, gifted to both my sister and I (and probably other young girl-children of the family) beaded necklaces. But not just ANY beaded necklaces! These were quite interesting, and fun to explore. It involved a tapered tube of fabric with marble-sized beads INSIDE the tube, and smaller separator beads OUTSIDE the tube. Mine was periwinkle fabric with indigo beads. K, I think yours was purple with green beads.

I drew a quick sketch of what the necklace looked like: I think it would be an easy craft project.

Francesca, I thought of this because of the memories associated with your new bead necklace. And I though perhaps this is a Rebecca-friendly way for her to be beautiful like Mama. I know I felt really grown-up with this necklace -- both having been old enough to HAVE a pretty necklace, and seeing and feeling the weight of a pretty necklace. I still have it somewhere... :-P

Sunday, March 11, 2012

And Now For Something Completely Different

So K, you are going to judge me within an inch of my life. I merely request that this not make it back to the parentals.

So... yesterday I got my nipples pierced. It was something I'd been thinking about for a couple of years, and DAYUM does it look cute having sparkliness on my boobies. Seriously, I think my boobs were made for jewelry.

I had delayed getting it for several years because I was super afraid of how much it would hurt. That is sensitive tissue! It's not like piercing ears which have few nerves...

But we had the number of a highly recommended piercer and I called him with all my questions. He was very sweet, very informative and highly friendly (over the phone). He explained that actually a cartilage piercing hurts worse than nipples as it's harder tissue. That he always makes it incredibly quick and easy, and that the pain really is negligible.

In person, he was EQUALLY sweet, informative and friendly, but he was also very calming (I was a bucket of nerves) and highly professional. He methodically laid everything out in the procedure room in a way that even -I- understood without having to ask -- which I super appreciated. It was well set up.

As to the actual pain? The IUD hurt more because it was about equal pain but SUSTAINED. This was painful yes, but only for approximately 1 second, and then a different kind of pain to shift the bar in position instead of the needle (which is a really cool way that they do that -- the needle is hollow and the same gauge as the bar. So the screw side of the bar can fit inside the needle, and they just slide together until the needle is out and the bar is in!) and then it was done. The second one hurt a little more, not quite sure why, but I also jumped a little and got a tiny scratch. :-P

I was able to sleep on my side as per normal, and after about an hour or 2 after the procedure, my boobs were no longer like "OH HEY PAY ATTENTION TO US SOMETHING IS GOING ON" and merely commented if I bumped them. There was no blood, no nothing. My body takes to piercing surprisingly well.

In the aftercare discussion, I learned some surprising things. Apparently, it's no longer recommended to put hydrogen peroxide or alcohol on piercings as they can dry out and irritate the skin too much. They recommend a saline solution (no saltier than a potato chip) 2-3 times a day. Also, to not twist the piercing (as I'd always been told with earrings). Old piercings used less quality metal that was porous -- and the skin could actually GROW INTO the stud. Ew. But he uses surgical steel (non-porous) and the skin will heal much better being undisturbed. The other thing was he pierced with a barbell, and I'm pretty sure friends who got their bellybuttons pierced in middle and high school and they had rings put in. Apparently my piercer does not recommend rings because there's more surface area to get germs on, it's more likely to get snagged while healing, and it often twists in the hole. All of these lead me to say: thank the gods I have a smart piercer!

Also, in my worries about how much it would hurt, and everything involving getting pierced, I looked up a lot of information on the internet. It looks like a lot of people have had really bad experiences and poor piercers. I've also heard before that the part that hurt the most was the forceps being clamped on. No clamping, no pain with forceps at all. I've also heard so many horror stories about free-hand piercing with NO forceps (omg no no no), sideways piercing, piercing with hoops... etc. I think I lucked out with having the best gods-damned piercer in the area. And he was so nice to boot!

So! If you're in the Boston area and want a piercing (or a tattoo) go to Pino Bros in Inman Square, Cambridge.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Dealing With the Parentals

In response to my sister's post, I'd like to take a moment and discuss the problems of dealing with family. Francesca, this is obviously not about dealing with parents at the age your boys are, but rather navigating adult relationships when neither the parent nor the child are quite sure how to manage them. My mother brings out the 13-year-old in me every time.

For one, I'd like to say that neither my sis nor Myriad (her friend) are planning a wedding -- holy cow are there a lot of "requirements" that get blown out of the water. And although it's neither here nor there, Mister is not the kind of person who gives a flying f*ck about traditions that mean nothing to him. If it's not worth it, he's not going to do it -- no matter if it keeps the peace, perhaps ESPECIALLY if it keeps the peace because then he's "sacrificing principles" blah blah. K, you can imagine how well this goes with Mom if you haven't seen it in action any time recently.

So that's my one special parental problem, but I'm dealing with a few of the others as well. For one, I get a lot of the "if only you lived closer, we could see each other more" speech a lot. It got to the point a while back that I brought it up to Mister as a solution to stopping that complaint. His response? "She'd find something else to complain about." Since that's true, I've gone back to ignoring the "move closer" plaint.

I don't have to deal with any weight complaint issues, since she probably thinks I'm healthy -- I certainly look it enough, but I think I've got a ways to go in the exercise and stamina department. Mister made me take off the punching bag from the registry but I want one OH SO BAD. I just like to punch things. Super awesome stress relief. Also, one of the best runs I've ever had in my life was when I was so frustrated with something and had so much pent-up adrenaline I literally ran about a mile in 5 minutes. Just flat out. My mood went back to normal and I felt fabulous.

I think the one thing that bugs me the most in my dealings with Mom are her attempts to coach me in my relationship. I'm sorry Mom, but you have the most dysfunctional relationship I've ever seen, and you veer pretty close to man-hating. Have I mentioned the time that she told me that it was ok I didn't have a job -- I could just live off of Mister? Because, y'know, he's a man and he should expect to do that. (With the further implication that any money I make is mine, but his is OURS.) Just the sheer number of times she's tried to be all "Look, can I say this and you not tell Mister?" or "Can I say something and you won't get mad at me?" How I've dealt with this is by listening calmly, and explaining how I feel that our relationship differs from what she thinks. This is not to say that our relationship is perfect, but I feel that Mom has a particularly skewed view of it. For one, my mom seems to feel it's better to keep secrets than to be open -- and FYI I know what happens in my relationship if I try that. I'll give you a hint: it involves the biggest fights Mister and I have ever had.

(Another example of her man-hating is the way she keeps trying to get my sister and I to sponge more money and STUFF off of my dad. OMG LADY BACK OFF.)

One thing that I've learned recently about Mom is that she's even worse that my sister and I when she hasn't eaten. Oh she'll tell you she's not hungry, that she doesn't feel hungry at all (lemme tell you how emulating THAT attitude went for me... BADLY), but holy cow does The Beast emerge. When I was fabric shopping with Mom and N (Mister's almost-aunt and a very dear friend of mine), N was frankly shocked at how bitter, angry and verbally abusive Mom was to me and the world in general. We had a second shopping trip where we made a point to grab food (and have Mom NOT get lost and stuck in traffic), and she was absolutely pleasant. N was surprised at the Jeckyll/Hyde nature of Mom and had to revise her opinion of her. The first shopping trip, I was honestly embarrassed of and for her, as Mom normally tries to be agreeable the first time she meets someone! I just couldn't believe how much of a disaster it was. But! Thankfully, I now know this tip about feeding her and I will try to use it accordingly. :-P

If I could change ONE thing about my relationship with Mom it would be this: That when we have disagreements, she doesn't resort to nasty, snide comments about my abilities and/or decision-making. If she could reasonably explain why she feels a certain way, I could reasonably explain the reasons behind the decision-making. It wouldn't lead to such comments as: "Y'know, you're not really that good at sewing. You should just buy a dress" and would instead lead to: "Well, I understand that you want to make your dress since sewing and costuming has been a major part of your life since you were 4, but let's go try on some dresses for ideas". I had to find out through an intermediate party that that was the reason for dress shopping -- not trying to extort me into buying a dress.

I know that supposedly planning a wedding is one of the hardest things that one can do in regards to one's relationship with parents, as figuring out what to do that's right for the new family without compromising current familial ties allows a person to grow fully into an adult role in the community. (I read too many wedding blogs.) But boy oh boy do I wish it was already over and my mom and I figured out our relationship. We'll get halfway to having a real conversation, and then she'll suddenly remember I'm her kid and she'll flip into Mom-Mode and decide to lecture me about whatever it is that I've just shared (disregarding whether or not she's just shared the same bit of information). Bah.

Life is complicated, yo.