Monday, April 29, 2013

Gin!

Next Bay Area outing should include a tour of the St. George Spirits distillery as recommended in this rapturous blog post. Oh and Danish dear, another thing you were right about, I do enjoy watching Qi episodes on YouTube. The show is obviously intended as mainstream tv entertainment and I find it delightfully different from American game shows. I detect some sexism and anglocentrism that somehow does not detract from their appeal.   

I've mislaid my camera and am getting a bit sad about it not turning up somewhere around the computer desk as I expected. Pumping up the entropy in search of ultimately more order I've unloaded three of the five shelves in our largest bookshelf. We have many piles on the floor in the living room. We also have a box of giveaway books. I found our Fluxx game! and this is a good opportunity to go through stuff. 

Saturday was chilly and grey all day. We watched a lot of The Last Airbender episodes. Sunday was clear as a bell and upper 70s. We all came out of our holes to frolic and play. 

Lexi has been baking from the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. She's made pumpkin pasties and big blueberry muffins. The pumpkin pasties were my favorite. I'm leaving the muffins for the girls to eat. Each recipe used a stick of butter so I'm ready for non-butterfat-based foods now.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Everything that spring can bring

Bouncy castle wins hearts and minds! Bun's birthday party was delayed until her parents could get their act together and so that Nod was back from Santa Fe. Now that I count, it was only eleven days after her actual bday so stop it, guilty conscience! We opted for the bouncy house rental, they brought it over and set it up in the parking lot, then took it down again three hours later. Thought I might have to limit the number of kids but the dozen we had all fit just fine. A few bumps but nothing serious. They bounced. We broke for cake and ice cream and presents. They bounced again. The rain held off and we even had some sun. Lovely day, thank you to Bun for having a birthday. It's good to throw a party every once in a while even though it throws both Nod and I into frenzies of doubt. My cupcakes (chocolate cake recipe from a Hershey's cocoa box and buttermilk cake recipe from JOC) rocked. Bun decorated copiously with sprinkles. They ended up looking a bit Pollock, definitely modern art.

We kicked the kids out just before our time was up and Nod and I jumped. I loved bouncing in the inflatable. I wish I could do it every day.

Twice in the last two weeks I've let people into the house and they've commented on its clutter. Gently, both of them. I'm letting the distress/guilt/anger float off into the sky and instead trying to use this as a constructive place to start. We married people agreed that we need to get rid of some stuff. I fantasize about keeping a bookshelf empty in order to put our library items on it. We have a box by the tv but with the four of us we overflow sometimes and on the floor is not ideal. Clearing an entire shelf sounds both possible and impossible. I'll have to make a stab.

Just heard a Tom Waits song on the college radio station: You Can Never Hold Back Spring. I think I'll learn it. I'd like to know another spring song. I heard part of an interview with TW in which he said that his job as songwriter was not important but it was wonderful. "I get to make jewelry for people's hearts." Wow.

Despite the season it's a fall recipe that caught my eye: pear cranberry cobbler. Smitten's Bee Sting Cake is wonderful to read about but probably more challenge than I need.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Quotidia

Dreadnought
Thunder and rain last night. No hail, we put our new used car under the carport just in case. We bought a 2006 Subaru Outback from a local used lot two weeks ago. It's beige (but nicer looking than that sounds) and although it is only three years younger than the Mazda, it feels much newer and deluxe. The kids were very excited. I have a few more hoops to jump to get it inspected and tax paid and so on. I named it Dreadnought which I think is funny. We couldn't call it 'the Subaru' because we already had one. Nod got the old burgundy wagon running again. It turned out not to have a cracked radiator and be much less costly to resurrect than we had assumed. Nod even took it on the freeway when he went to the airport with no bad effects. We're all vehicled out here.

Forward facing
I woke up with a swollen lip. My rosacea acne is showing me a new trick. It was less bulgy by the time I got to work. I'm trying to drink more water. I'm just about ready to try a magic spell.

Awash
Bun still wets the bed. We've dropped the pullups and mostly I'm washing a lot of bedding. For a few weeks I tried waking her once a night when I got up. Sometimes it worked. My sleep was not vastly improved by this system. Now she's setting her alarm clock for once a night. At least she can be woken by an alarm, that is a new development. When she was younger she would have slept right through it. It's not showing much progress. But I like that she gets herself up, if needed finds new pj pants and a towel to put on the wet spot and goes back to bed. Without waking me up! Farewell to symbiosis. I've been anti underpants-alarms (from a general feeling that underpants should not contain alarms) but if this goes on til summer I'll be ready to try. 

Hope springing
I don't think I have any other afflictions to report. I have been managing to get up earlier and that makes mornings better, more on-time-y. Exercise hasn't turned into a habit yet except for left lifts every day and pushups alternated every other day with planks. Went for a walk/jog on Sunday and hope to do some more of that. I am realizing that this is middle age and I am a little stout but I am not yet resigned. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Salvage

Question: Is it worthwhile defrosting the old dented bananas I found at the bottom of the freezer shelf?
Answer: Yes! Make banana cake and do it now!
Recipe from Blue's Clues uses no butter, yes, really. 2 mashed bananas, 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar (scant), 1/2 tsp baking soda, one pinch salt. Bake in greased/floured pan at 350 for 23 minutes. Can be frosted but perfectly good by itself.

Bun helped to make the zucchini muffins she wanted to take to school for her birthday. She was good help, is definitely ready to do more cooking stuff. She says she likes bringing zucchini muffins and grossing out her classmates. Once they smell the gingerbready smell and have a taste they are won over.

Kat was looking for fabric for a sewing project. She brought several things up from the rag bag and the fabric box in the basement. One item was a pair of pants Nod gave me several years ago. They are XL and swamped me at the time. Since then I've gotten thicker around the middle. I did make a feeble attempt to pin them up and hem them. But they're rayon and slippery and I couldn't get them as straight as I wanted and I never sewed them. Kat made a bag with a contrasting tie from some other scraps and I decided that it was time to rehabilitate these pants. I hemmed them quickly using a much lower standard for accuracy and wore them for pajama pants last night. So much turnover happening in my pj wardrobe, land sakes.

Question: Could a week long headache and extra tiredness be allergy symptoms even if I don't have a runny nose/sort throat?
Answer: Maybe. Zyrtec and a cup of coffee before my shower seemed to help enormously. I'll take it for a few days and see what happens.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

That Week

From last Friday 4/5 to Monday spring cleared its throat and started singing. The forsythia was out last week. But it wasn't until Monday that I saw the pear trees covered in white blossoms on campus. There are tulip trees that are almost in full bloom. Yesterday I was driving down Tennessee and looking at the still bare tree branches. Then I passed one tree that is showing a green mist from the first new leaves. When I saw it I felt my shoulders relax. Didn't even know I was holding tension there. The henbit weeds are everywhere and need turning under. The gardeners were smug about Sunday night's rain that came after their work was done.

Smitten Kitchen is currently featuring a lentil and chickpea salad. Which sounds to me like a dish of virtue with some persistence on top. Speaking of virtue on a plate, I made corn and kale skillet cakes last night. Nod, Kat and I ate them out of the pan as soon as they had cooled enough for our hungry maws to chomp them. I made Bun eat one and it took her twenty minutes. I asked her toward the end if it was the taste or the texture she didn't like. She said taste. The look of mild disgust mixed with duty on her face as she ate it was hilarious. I paid for that humor at her expense by having to sit at the table until she was done. I gave her strawberries and kiwi after for staying the course.

Nod and I had a little face-off recently about Bun's eating. He gets really worked up about her not liking many of the things we eat. He was calling her a picky eater and said that she only likes cookies and ranting at the heavens about it. I told him that if he lectured her at every meal she would be sure to have emotional issues about eating. There has to be a more positive way of steering her toward healthy eating. I won't have her chided and shamed for her choices. I suppose my supervising her eating a portion of something I cooked isn't the 100% Positive solution, but it worked okay last night. I wish she could just live in her own little apartment and have scrambled eggs with toast and jam for dinner until she got sick of it. I guess we save that for the college years.

I've started Raven Black by Ann Cleeves. On the cover it self-identifies as "A Thriller". That term gives me pause but so far so good and next door neighbor Gen recommended the series.

Took the girls to see Oz the Great and Powerful on Sunday. I loved the opening credits. Everything about celeb-Franco creeps me but I don't think I've ever actually seen him act before. He did a fine job. It was entertaining if not very substantial. It did a more subtle job of playing between the movie and the books than I expected. Theodora as a wide eyed innocent was quite interesting. Wish we'd gotten more of that. Glinda was nuanced, not just a patsy or a pollyanna.

Lord, you need to read this Tom and Lorenzo entry about Robert Downey Jr.'s fashion failings. The reason it's a must see is their description of Johnny Depp who they contrast to RDJ thusly: Johnny Depp, who actually does have a well-cultivated personal style (even if it is self-consciously quirky and makes him look like an elderly gay windchime).
 
Could that be any more spot on or funny?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Oysters

Around December 6th I put chocolates in my purse for a child who had no pockets. (It was St. Nicholas Day, at church the kids have their shoes confiscated at the beginning of service and find chocs, peanuts and oranges in their shoes afterward.) I just threw out one last remaining Hershey's kiss as it had been through the wars and was no longer looking appetizing. Luckily Easter has come and new exciting candy is all around. Puzzlingly my co workers have given me a small heap of chocolate bars. My need for the next exercise phase is becoming more and more urgent.

My trip to San Francisco was a delicious dream. Rain and rainbow, ballet and experimental dance, feasting and laughing. As I told Nori, the Danish's consort, seafood was an excellent choice for a vacation theme. He worked his kitchen hard and treated us to fish and clams and crab and the most creamy tempura mussels. There were multiple courses for every meal and amazing feats of cooking magic. Another night Zorro got his friends who live just up the street from Anchor Oyster Bar to capture a table for us and we had delightful raw oysters and cioppino and wow. In between the feasting was lots of walking. North Beach was on its good behavior. My hosts took us to Tony's Pizza Napoletana and words fail me. I had a gourmet Manhattan with my lunch that I remember with great clarity. In fact I wish I had another one in my hand right now.

Reunioning with old friends was wonderful. It was all delightful until we lost Rob but luckily he turned up before Marian got home. Quite different from my day-to-day. Quite a floating feast of a visit.