Monthly Archives: September 2006

For the Love of Tea and Oatcakes

**Disclaimer: If you do not want to hear me natter on about tea and oatcakes and Europe, this post is not for you. (But then again, if you don’t like nattering, this whole blog is probably not for you.)**

Recently, a project manager at the center here returned from Uganda, bringing a box of Freshpak rooibos tea with her as a treat for staff. She and I spoke about our common love of rooibos. And, yesterday afternoon, I broke open the box and steeped a cup.

Yum!

I had forgotten what plain old rooibos tastes like with a bit of sugar and cream. I have to step back for a moment to explain this.

My First Taste of Rooibos, or One of the Most Important Nights of my Life
I spent the summer of 1998 in Europe, hanging out with my sister in Switzerland (where she was wrapping up a year abroad) and studying forensic anthropology in London. I will never forget the night that I was introduced to the wonder that is rooibos tea. We were having dinner at the apartment of one of my sister’s Swiss friends, who served us rooibos after the meal. [In another post, perhaps I will tell you about taking a cable car to visit the same friend at her home in the Alps and having tomato-cheese fondue and sleeping in her basement, which doubled as a nuclear bomb shelter.]

So good! In love! With rooibos!

In Cambridge (where I spent a week living and studying at King’s College and playing in private gardens), I stocked up on rooibos tea bags at a teahouse. In London, I bought a big bag of loose rooibos. I thought I was set.

An Empty Cup, or Mid-Missouri Sucked in the 1990s for Tea Drinkers
After coming back to the States and drinking the rest of my beloved tea, I was so sad. I could not find rooibos anywhere!! Ack! Mind you, I was in central Missouri and it was just the late 1990s.

A Better Day, or Celestial Seasonings Finally Test Markets Rooibos
Now, you can find rooibos in many places. However, it’s usually flavored with something else.

So, you see, I had forgotten the simple joy that is plain rooibos.

Another Flashback, or Where are the Oatcakes?!
While I was enjoying my cup of rooibos yesterday, I suddenly had a flashback to my tiny dorm room at Nutford Hall in London….. Waking up slightly hungover, boiling up water in the electric boiler, making a cup of tea (with cream and sugar, natch), and eating an oatcake.

OATCAKES!!!

Another thing I couldn’t find when I returned to the States. Not for lack of trying, mind you. I exhausted all of my resources back then.

I had kind of given up on this love. I mean, I always keep a partial eye out for them. I’ve looked at the international grocery in our neighborhood, and I asked Porkchop to look at the British kiosk the last time she went to Epcot. But I haven’t been in super-seeker mode lately.

But yesterday was different. Drinking my cup of tea, I wondered, why haven’t I looked online lately.

Lo and behold, here they are: Walker’s Highland Oatcakes!

Porkchop has encouraged me to order 4 boxes. I will at least order 2.

The End, or Thank you for Caring and Reading to the End of this Post
So, that’s that.

I will be ordering my case box of oatcakes soon. And enjoying them with rooibos tea.

Yum.

Also, have a great Friday afternoon!

P.S.
My favorite recent search-term hit…”hated grad school.” Yes!

Not a Real Post

Just a quick note to say hello and how inspired I’ve been lately.

Saturday night was Amy Goodman and her brother David Goodman. So awesome! It was great to see such a huge turnout for an event advertised only through community and independent media outlets in town.

Amy Goodman is an amazing speaker. I don’t know how she is able to remember dates, names, stories, and little details while building up big arguments. Looking forward to reading Amy and David’s latest book.

[Also, I ran into an undergrad art buddy of Porkchop’s. A lovely coincidence. I hope we can meet up with said friend again soon because she’s such a good person.]

Today, I heard Mark Rank (a professor at Wash U’s school of social work and author of this recent book) speak about poverty in America and how we are all directly or indirectly affected by it. Rank was a really really excellent speaker and delivered a quite rousing address.

The events for the Goodmans and Rank reminded me of how nice it is to be surrounded by groups of people who take certain ideas as foundational starting points. I love it when I don’t have to argue with others about why America needs universal healthcare, or about how our current welfare policy is junk, or about how corporate media outlets – even supposedly liberal outfits like the New York Times – are keeping American citizens uninformed about what’s really going on in the world.

Comfort zones. I like them, and I’m reminded that I need to seek these out more often.

In other news, I went to this reading tonight. It was enjoyable, except for the guy who kept asking questions like: “How do you start a blog?” Dude, you’re at a book reading for a book that started as a blog….surely you should have already asked yourself that question and perhaps looked on the internet to find the answer. The same guy also kept referring to the internet as the “net.” Does anyone really do that any more?? Web, maybe, but net? I don’t think I’ve heard that in quite some time.

Saturday night, I’m going back to Left Bank Books to hear Alison Bechdel talk about Fun Home (see here for event info). Like my friend BD, I used to read Bechdel’s Dykes to Watch Out For comic when I received the Lesbian Connection (oh my gosh! LC has a website!). If you ever attended the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, you probably also signed up for a free subscription to the LC. And maybe you read DTWOF, too.

Anyway, I’m interested to read Bechdel’s new graphic novel, since it’s about her childhood and growing up with a funeral home in her house and coming out and suicide. Sounds like it will be quite uplifting!

But, seriously, Porkchop received Fun Home in the mail last week. A mysterious package that turned out to be a present. So, I really don’t have a reason not to read it.

Have a good night!

Neighborhood Beats

Hi y’all. I love my neighborhood, I really do, but today’s festival in the park across the street is quite distracting. I was enjoying the Tejano music, but it seems that a different band is playing now…one that relies on more bass than fun singing.

I wish the park’s website had a comprehensive calendar of events. Instead, various festivals and concerts just seem to happen. Today is much better than the summer Saturdays, which often consist of bad “classic rock” cover bands. Blech.

Wait….why is “Wake up Little Susie” playing?? That’s not Tejano.

Anyway….here’s what I’ve been up to…

Wednesday
Before I left work, I was pulled into helping fake a work meeting for a group of documentary filmmakers from Hong Kong. Seriously. The filmmakers were documenting the center’s role in helping develop IDAs (individual development accounts) in rural China. They needed some B-roll footage, so whoever was left at 4:45 got to pretend like we were having an important conference.

I guess I could end up on the cutting room floor, or I could be seen by a (probably) limited audience in China.

Thursday
Work work work. Went to bed super-early to compensate for the paltry amount of sleep I’ve been allowing myself lately.

Before going to bed, cried from laughing so much during the season opener of The Office. Porkchop and I got such a kick out of it, but in retrospect, I wonder if non-gay watchers found it funny for the same reasons. Anyway, I loved the ending.

Friday
New employee orientation at work! The best part: free lunch!

Did you know that Wash U’s School of Social Work (where I now work) is rated second in the nation? It is. This makes me feel good.

Friday afternoon was crazy busy for me, since I had to cram a day’s worth of work into 2.5 hours.

After work, Porkchop and I met for dinner and then went to see Little Miss Sunshine. Wow, what’s with Steve Carell and the gay themes lately (LMS and The Office episode previously mentioned)? We thought the movie was fantastic. Yay! I loved how the family really rallied around Olive.

Today
In order to avoid the Sunday afternoon blues, I’ve already done my laundry for next week and straightened the apartment. I’m hoping that, by switching up my routine, I’ll actually enjoy Sunday instead of dreading the work week. So, I’ve mainly done business things today – exercise, dishes, cleaning, and laundry.

I’m also waiting for my friends BD and BP to arrive from Columbia. We’re having dinner and then going to hear Amy Goodman (of Democracy Now) talk at the Ethical Society of St. Louis. Should be good stuff.

Tomorrow
Soozi and I are going to Six Flags to visit Porkchop at the caricature booth. All employees receive at least 2 passes for family/friends, and since the passes expire October 1, we decided we should make a point to use them.

After riding a few rides, Soozi and I are then going to pick apples at Eckert’s. Then we’ll probably do some baking. With our freshly picked apples, of course.

Knitting Note
I really want to make the Steek Vest from Teva Durham’s Loop-d-Loop, but Porkchop has issued an edict: no personal knitting until I make holiday presents for my sister and mom. *Sigh*

But back to the Steek Vest. Instead of calling it a “vest,” I prefer to call it a “sleeveless sweater” because I generally abhor sweater vests. They are totally fine on other people, but I think I would have flashbacks to the 80s preppy styles if I wore a sweater vest. Sweater vests make me think of blonde-haired guys named Steve decked out in loafers and pleated pants. So, to circumvent these issues, I am calling the Steek Vest the Steek Sleeveless Sweater. I want to knit it because I think it looks fun, and I think it would be a good first step to sweater-making. Because, you know, I’ll actually have to check my gauge, which (ssshhh!) I’ve never done before! Ack!

Loop-d-Loop has another sleeveless sweater that I want to make sometime, too. It looks all outer spacey with a slit-neck and a high collar. It think it was inspired by Victorian clothing, but it looks more like something from Star Trek to me. Anyway, that sleeveless sweater will have to wait until after the Steek Vest (I mean, Sleeveless Sweater). Must work up to things.

Speaking of outer spacey knitted items, check out this website for Skif International. Can you believe these freaking cool clothes are designed over in The Hill??! My next mission: save up some money and go to the Skif store.

That’s all for now. Have a great weekend!

Stoplight Utterances

This morning, on my way to work, I pulled up by a Jeep bearing a bumper sticker that stated: Marriage = (man bathroom figure) + (woman bathroom figure).

I tend to mutter to myself in the car, so as I was sizing up the driver – a white guy decked out in bus-cas – I was talking to myself. More specifically, I clearly said “dumbass” just as this guy finally noticed that I was staring at him. And then I couldn’t stop staring….I was transfixed and enraged by this totally bland guy with a stupid bumper sticker.

I might also be hopped up on frappucino. (Yes, I know it’s sad that I can get hopped up on a store-bought, packaged “coffee” drink.)

Remiss

I am remiss in failing to mention in my previous post that Porkchop now has a kidney donation date scheduled.

October 25.

So soon! So scary! Yet, also, a big relief for Porkchop’s dad.

Hooray for kidneys!

Chicago Fun Times

Hi y’all! I’m coming to you over my lunch hour to tell that our weekend trip to Chicago was fanTAStic. Yay!

Friday Evening
B came over from Columbia, meeting us at our house around the time I arrived home from work. We drove and drove and drove up Illinois. Chicago always seems so much closer than it actually is.

When we finally made it, I was pleasantly surprised by K&B’s Humboldt Park digs. It’s pretty! It has a bathroom that is not falling apart! And, no bug problems! Yay!! K&B deserve a nice place after living in their CoMo shithole last year. But that’s another story…

K’s birthday was on Sunday, but Porkchop and I went ahead and gave her our presents: a matching felted bag and wallet combo. Actually, the items were just sort of felted. I took the bag out after just one cycle because I was worried that it would shrink too much vertically. Here it is:

Present!

Saturday
We started our Saturday outing with super-yummy sustenance from Bleeding Heart Bakery. Oh my gosh! If I lived in Chicago, I would never leave this bakery!! It is so pretty, so tasty, and so politically right! I can’t say enough good things. I wish I had brought my camera to document all of the achingly beautiful pastries. Sigh. While there, I settled on a salty caramel-chocolate mousse tart. Dang it, I wish I lived in Chicago so that I could try one of everything. Sigh again.

After snacks, K&B and Porkchop and I parted ways so that K&B could visit a friend who was in town from Minneapolis. That meant that Porkchop and I hit the Renegade Craft Fair by ourselves on Saturday. It was probably for the best – we were both overwhelmed by the visual stimulation.

What we purchased:

  • A t-shirt for me from Mary Ink. So cute! I will definitely buy more online in the future.
  • A t-shirt for Porkchop from a vendor that I don’t remember. Will update later. [Update, it’s by Alison Rose.]
  • Soap from Biggs and Featherbelle. Smells so good!
  • Map buttons from Emily Kircher, Recyling Artist. I was acquainted with Emily through a friend in Madison, and I love her rugs (already have one). She’s got some fun stuff, and she’s so nice. Check it out.

That’s it. We saw tons more, but you know, one can’t buy everything that one likes.

After craft fair shopping, Porkchop and I walked around the Wicker Park/6 Points area (I think that’s what it’s called). Our major stop was Quimby’s, where I was fortunate to find the Doris anthology.

And now for an interlude…

Why I Love Doris, Why I Hated Grad School, and Why I Like My New Workplace
I didn’t know it at the time, but when my friends and I were working on our zine in Columbia, I was really trying to do something like what Cindy does with Doris. Relating simple stories about everyday life to things much bigger than all of us. So, when I found Doris in Madison, I was floored: This is it!, I thought.

I love that Cindy doesn’t write Doris like she’s an expert on something, not even her own life. In the beginning of the anthology, Cindy writes about how she likes to learn dialectically. So do I, which is a big reason why grad school didn’t gel with me.

In grad school, I had to sit in tiny rooms with people who, when they spoke, sounded like this to me: “Fwhah fwhah fwhah, I once read a book about Derrida, so now I’m an expert on everything. Derrida, Derrida! Let me bore you with my secondhand knowledge that I will pass off as my expertise!” Even though these classes were supposed to be seminars during which we exchanged ideas, the meetings usually turned into one-pony shows. There were rarely exchanges, just monologues.

The place where I’m working now is so totally the opposite. The center’s purpose is to apply theory and research to the lives of real people. To make changes! To not just talk, but to do things and to listen to others! And they’re working internationally and locally!

Anyway, I love Doris because it’s full of vulnerability and secrets and knowledge. At the moment, I can’t quite articulate why this is connected to grad school and where I now work. But in my head, it is. I guess because I might actually feel invested in my new workplace. I haven’t felt very invested in anything (besides my relationship, close friends, and knitting) in quite some time. So, I think my new work and the Doris anthology are stirring up concurrently feelings that I used to have. It’s nice.

Saturday Night
After K&B and Porkchop and I reconvened, we went to Treat, an Indian-Mediterranean restaurant in the Humboldt Park area. Yum! Curry shrimp!

At Treat, K gave us advice on how to pose for pictures. Instead of looking straight on at the camera, tilt your head down and to the side. Porkchop and I practiced (note my super-cute new t-shirt from Mary Ink – also, I think the massive power supply plug really adds to this photo):

Pose Practice

After filling up on yummy food, we went back to K&B’s, where we had to rest before enjoying a slice of K’s chocolate cake with chocolate ganache (from the Bleeding Heart Bakery). Yum!

Sunday
Porkchop and I got up bright and early Sunday morning. After K&B roused themselves, we went to the Flying Saucer for brunch. Yum! The best brunch I’ve had in a while by far: crêpes with sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, pesto, poached eggs, and greens. With a side of roasted potatoes.

Afterwards, it was back to the Renegade Craft Fair. Porkchop and I mainly hung out by the dog park this time. Oh, and I bought a gigantic cookie at the Wicker Park farmers market. Happiness.

Later, we went to Filter for some cold drinks. There are some really funny and painfully accurate reviews of Filter posted on Yelp. I don’t know….maybe I think they’re funny because I think the hipster thing is just hilarious. I love it when K mocks the hipsters!

After Filter and after finally getting back to K&B’s via bus and our legs, B, Porkchop, and I had to leave. *sadness*

But, all in all, a very good weekend!

(Don’t) Mind the Gap

This is it, kids….

I’ve always been ashamed by my fondness for Gap clothes. Their jeans actually fit me, and I’m a sucker for little plain shirts.

But no more.

I wish I could say that I finally became fed up with their sweatshop labor policy, but it’s actually the Gap credit card that has sent me over the edge.

We didn’t receive a Gap bill in July or August. We’re always on top of our finances, but we’ve had a lot going on over the summer, what with our move, job searches, and whatnot. So, when we didn’t receive a bill, we assumed we had a zero balance. Because Gap doesn’t send a statement if you don’t have a balance.

Okay, fast forward to September when we finally receive a statement with 3 months of late charges!! (P.S. We received a bill in June at our new address, so that wasn’t the issue.)

ACK!!

I was going to call up the customer service people soon anyway, but I received a call from their collections department last night.

I can’t go into the details here without becoming super-angry again, but let me just say:

WE DID NOT RECEIVE A BILL FOR TWO MONTHS!!

What the freakity-fuck?! And now they’re going to slap us with late charges and give me a mark on my credit report.

BASTARDS!
BASTARDS!
BASTARDS!

Of course, the guy on the phone was like, “Well, if a bill isn’t delivered to you, we receive it back from the post office, but we have no record of receiving a returned bill from you.”

And then I say: THAT’S BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T SEND US ONE!!!!

BASTARDS!

Also, I should add that, until this month, you couldn’t pay your bills online or anything like that. So, if you didn’t receive a bill, you couldn’t just go online and take care of it. And, if you pay over the phone, you get charged a $10 service fee.

Not Alone
We’re not the only ones with this story, my friends. Do a Google search for Gap card complaints, and you will find people relating this same story over and over. And over.

It seems that Gap, or perhaps more appropriately, Monogram Bank of Georgia, doesn’t like to send people their bill.

What I Have to Say
Gap (and Banana Republic/Old Navy): HATE YOU!! Take your sweatshop-made, over-priced clothes and shove it!

Monogram Bank of Georgia: HATE YOU!! I know your out-sourced customer service reps won’t help one bit. So you can shove your shoddy billing practices and poor customer service!

Will this Help Get the Word Out?
Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card Gap Card

Monogram Bank of Georgia Monogram Bank of Georgia Monogram Bank of Georgia Monogram Bank of Georgia Monogram Bank of Georgia Monogram Bank of Georgia Monogram Bank of Georgia Monogram Bank of Georgia Monogram Bank of Georgia Monogram Bank of Georgia Monogram Bank of Georgia Monogram Bank of Georgia Monogram Bank of Georgia Monogram Bank of Georgia Monogram Bank of Georgia Monogram Bank of Georgia Monogram Bank of Georgia Monogram Bank of Georgia Monogram Bank of Georgia Monogram Bank of Georgia Monogram Bank of Georgia Monogram Bank of Georgia Monogram Bank of Georgia Monogram Bank of Georgia Monogram Bank of Georgia Monogram Bank of Georgia Monogram Bank of Georgia Monogram Bank of Georgia Monogram Bank of Georgia Monogram Bank of Georgia

Thank You
Dear readers, for your patience. Also, stand in solidarity with me and cancel your Gap card! And tell them it’s because they’ve screwed me over!

BASTARDS!

Lunch Breaks

So, I’m sitting here at my new desk at my new job, hating the hour-long lunch break that I have. If I’m not going somewhere or actually doing something, I’d much rather have a 15- or 30-minute break and then get on with things. But, unfortunately, I’m hourly here and it’s preferred that I’m here 8:30 – 5:00. And, by golly, I want to avoid working like I’m salaried if I’m actually not (even if I enjoy the work…workers have to stand up for themselves, you know).

I think I’ll enjoy this position, except for two things:

  • Parking at Wash U. Staff members have the choice between two types of parking permits: an >$800 one, and a >$300 one. Ugh! I’m going to try public transporation for a while because we get free Metro passes (and because it’s less wasteful).
  • The 8:30-5:00 bit. I appreciate the 7.5 hour work day, but I enjoy more autonomous schedules which allow me greater flexibility with arrival and departure times. I hate getting home after 5:00.

Other updates…

Knitting
I finished my latest project last night. It’s not exactly what I pictured…but that’s what happens when you stray from the pattern and use different yarn. Ah well. Maybe I’ll post a picture later.

Manic Episodes
I talked to my sister last night for nearly an hour. Hearing about her boyfriend’s little breakdown was much less traumatic coming from my sister’s perspective rather than my mom’s.

My mom has this way of speaking and delivering news that makes everything sound SO. BAD. For example, once when I was in high school, my mom accidentally turned a pot of beef tips onto high (instead of off) when she left the house for a couple of hours. When she came back, the house was full of smoke and everything stunk to high heaven. So, when I came home from school, she met me outside and said in a very low, grave voice, “Carrie, I need to tell you something.” OHMYGOD! I thought: THIS IS IT…MY PARENTS ARE DIVORCING. OR, MY DOG DIED. OR, MY SISTER/BROTHER IS IN A COMA. But, no, it was just that the house was stinky. She could have just met me outside and laughed and said, “you’re never going to believe this…” instead of scaring the daylights out of me.

Anyway, so my sister’s version was much less stressful.

And it was actually quite comical.

I mean, you have to laugh about being at Atlanta’s public hospital at 1:00 AM Saturday morning with your boyfriend who keeps running through the metal detectors and laughing while you tell the security guard that you are going to the 13TH FLOOR (i.e., the psych ward) and that you need an escort because of (nod nod to your boyfriend who is playing with the security equipment). And, once you get to the 13th floor, you find people who have been waiting in the lobby for more than 12 hours for a prescription refill. And that, when you try to leave the psych ward, the registration desk tries to stop you, even though they can’t legally hold you there.

And, during all of this, your boyfriend keeps telling you about all of the fun that you all are going to have.

If you don’t laugh, you’d cry, right?

Anyway, my sister is totally exhausted. But her boyfriend is safe in Florida with his mom, who is, quite coincidentally, a therapist of some variety. My sister says that he’s on mood stabilizers, seems happy, but still seems to think that he proved the existence of 11 dimensions using quantum mechanics. Or something like that.

A New Blog
Check out our friend Kathy’s blog, Five Months in Chile. Like the title says, Kathy has started her five-month stay in Chile, where she will be making all sorts of art (and learning more Spanish!). Yay!!

This Weekend
Don’t forget! Renegade Craft Fair! Chicago!

Mistaken Messages

Within the past 24 hours, I have received the following messages, obviously intended for someone else:

  • A text message reading “hola tio.”
  • An email message thanking me (or rather, Christena) for my interest in Campus Crusade for Christ and informing me of an upcoming informational meeting for potential student leaders.

I also received one message that I wish had been intended for someone else…my mom telling me that my sister’s boyfriend (of nearly 3 years) had recently suffered a nervous breakdown. He’s a biomedical engineering PhD student under a lot of pressure to write up his research. On Friday, he jubilantly told my sister that he had “finally done it”…finally solved some sort of mathematical equation that he had been working on for some time. When my sister asked to see his work, he showed her 7 pages on which he had written “I’ve finally solved it” over and over and over.

This makes me cry. I’m worried about him, my sister, and the frailty of us all.

Pretties

Before I get to my pics of pretty things, I should report that last night’s Over the Rhine show was terrific! It was just Karin, Linford, and an upright bassist, so rather intimate. They played what I found to be a nice mix of songs, including several older ones from Good Dog Bad Dog, so I was pleased. I was doubly pleased and nearly teared up when Karin starting singing Emmylou Harris’s “Orphan Girl.” When I was a technical writer, I would listen to Gillian Welch’s version over and over and over while writing release notes (hmmmm…maybe that’s why I was so depressed at that job).

Anyway, I love “Orphan Girl,” and I couldn’t believe it when Linford started playing it.

The bad things about the show:

  • We could hear people washing and knocking dishes around in the kitchen upstairs.
  • Annoying, tall late-comers who stood right in front of Porkchop. Seriously, just like 3 inches in front of her. Don’t worry, I asked them to move. Because, apparently, I’m one of those people now. Whatever… you can’t drag your 5’8″ ass in after the show starts and stand in front of Porkchop. So inconsiderate.

On to other things….

Edible Pretties
One of my favorite chocolate companies. Found at the Jonesboro TJ Maxx for cheap.

Mmmmm

Porkchop made these cranberry-oat bars yesterday. I ate two too many today…so good! I will include the recipe at the bottom of this post (along with the recipe for the rosemary-citrus cookies).

Yum!

Knitted Pretty-in-Progress
In this picture, my current project just looks like a tangle of electric green yarn. But it will be something soon. I can’t say anymore or show another picture until the intended recipient receives it. I will add, however, that this project is HOT! I’m double-stranding Lamb’s Pride Bulky, and, wow, I get really warm while knitting it.

This will be something.

Purchased Pretties
Porkchop picked these up at Trader Joe’s earlier in the week. The roses are a bit droopy now (and the photo is blurry), but they’re still pretty.

Flowers!

This afternoon, I went to Art Outside at Schlafly Bottleworks. It was nice to see some of the local artists. I’m usually not much into paintings, but I saw a few that I really really liked! But, of course, we can’t shell out $300 right now for art. So I bought some cheaper things like….

Fun Times

The card and buttons were made by the folks at Fire Cracker Press. You might not be able to see the buttons so well….one is a robot head, the other says “South City,” which is our part of town. Since I was by myself, I was able to engage in potentially embarrassing activities like asking the Fire Cracker Press guys all sorts of questions. Such as, do you rent press time? Do you know anyone who does? They were nice guys and said to stop by the press anytime.

Once I saw this pretty, I knew that it had to come home with me:

Pretty Serving Dish

The dish that I really wanted was $135, so I settled for a $35 one. Because, in reality, I need another serving dish like I need another black t-shirt. But handmade pottery is so appealing to me, and I love this artist’s designs. Her name is Carmelita Nuñez, and this is her website…it seems under construction still. Anyway, looks like she will also be in Chicago at the Renegade Craft Fair next weekend!

Pretty Recipes

Here’s the one for the cranberry-oat bars, from Everyday Food’s September issue (Hi Martha, love you! Don’t sue me for reprinting recipes!)

CRANBERRY-OAT BARS

nonstick cooking spray
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 bag (10 oz) marshmallows
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 cups toasted oat cereal (we used multi-grain cheerios)
1 cup dried cranberries

Spray 10×15 inch baking sheet or glass dish with cooking spray. Line with wax paper, spray paper with cooking spray.

In a large saucepan (nonstick for easy cleanup), melt butter over medium heat. Add marshmallows and salt; cook, stirring until marshmallows melt (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in cereal and dried cranberries.

Transfer to baking sheet or dish. If you’ve made rice krispie treats, you know what to do.

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

We made the following cookies for our trip to Jonesboro. Everyone – my parents, my brother, our friend V – agreed that they were yummy. Before making, note that the dough has to chill out in the freezer for a while before baking. Don’t try to be all last minute like I tried to do. Also, this recipe came from a Glad advertising section in Everyday Food, so the official recipe calls for a lot of unnecessary Glad stuff. Oh yeah, makes 2-3 dozen.

ROSEMARY-CITRUS COOKIES

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
pinch salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine flour, cornmeal, and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl on medium-high speed until creamy. Beat in egg, rosemary, lemon zest, and vanilla until fluffy. Reduce speed to low; gradually beat in flour mixture until just combined.

Tear off around 14″ of wax paper (or Glad press’n seal wrap). Spoon dough into a 10-inch log. Shape dough into a rounded 10 x 1 1/2″ log (do the best you can…shape doesn’t really matter!). Wrap well and freeze 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Unwrap log and cut into 3/8″ slices. Place slices 1″ apart on non-stick cookie sheets. Bake until edges are lightly golden (15-17 minutes). Cool on a wire rack.