Monthly Archives: January 2007

Keys

I just saw a maintenance person wearing a veritable scarf of keys. Hundreds of keys on multiple rings slung over his shoulder! It was beautiful, and I wish I had a picture of it.

It reminded me of This American Life’s “The Super” episode, which I listened to last night. It was really good. I’ll have to re-listen to it later because I was reading while listening, and that can be difficult for me. I end up only catching half of both things.

Porkchop and I have both finished Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I found it bitterly delightful. Oskar Shell is one of my favorite people ever. Also, I like how even Oskar is relevant to my “Keys” post.

Last night, while listening to TAL and multi-tasking, I tried leaving a comment on a certain blog. I failed the word verification security feature a total of 4 times! Is it just me? Is something wrong with my laptop’s keyboard (to tie to this post)? I ended up having to use the accessibility option, and I somehow managed to listen and type in the recorded numbers correctly.

This is not the first time I’ve failed a word verification multiple times. Since this feature is used to screen out spam robots, I’m starting to think I am perhaps a robot. A robot who can’t use a keyboard!

About those Brownies

Here’s the brownie recipe that I mentioned yesterday. Although I was at first skeptical about these brownies – I mean, nothing can beat my mom’s recipe – they turned out really well. You just have to wait for them to cool and firm up.

This morning, I bagged a nice little brownie for each of us (Porkchop and me) for a treat later. Porkchop was initially upset that I gave her such a small (regular) square, but then she couldn’t eat the entire thing in one sitting. So it was a good thing. Of course, keep in mind that Porkchop is a chocolate wimp.

I’m not posting a picture of these brownies because they’re plain old brownies. Nothing exciting to see here, folks.

CHOCOLATE FUDGE BROWNIES
1 2/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons water
4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, broken into pieces
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Microwave sugar, butter, and water in large, microwave-safe bowl on high for 4-5 minutes or until mixture bubbles, stirring once (or heat the mixture in a medium saucepan). Add baking bars, stirring until melted.

Stir in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla extract. Gradually stir in flour, baking soda, and salt. Pour into greased 13×9-inch baking pan.

Bake in preheated 350 F oven for 15-20 minutes or until wooden pick comes out slightly sticky. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

Makes around 2 dozen…depending on how you cut the brownie.

Enjoy!

Celebrity Sighting

This afternoon, Porkchop and I made a trip to Trader Joe’s. While I braved a busy aisle to pick up pizza sauce, Porkchop waited by a beer display.

Fighting a crowd, I emerged from the aisle to see Porkchop speaking to a stranger, saying, “Yup, I’m the kidney donor.”

Turns out, the stranger was a regular reader of Porkchop’s kidney blog and recognized Porkchop from her pictures. Crazy!

That wasn’t the only exciting thing that happened this weekend…

Ice Festival
On Saturday, we headed out to St. Charles to see the ice carving going on at the ice festival.

We saw a lot of standard nature scenes….like…

…bird, fish, and bear…

…and, horse versus bear…

We also saw some different things…like…

….a dog on skis…

…and a surf scene…

All in all, it was a nice outing. We especially enjoyed the little wood fire stoves stationed on each block. Also, we had lunch at a place serving chicken and dumplings as a special…I had been craving just that a few days ago.

Most of all, we just enjoyed being out of the apartment.

After the ice festival, we went to a mall, where I made a huge buy-nothing month transgression at the Limited. I couldn’t resist pants and a nice green cardigan for 40% off!

Today
We started our day with yoga. Yay!

After that and a bit of lunch, we did our grocery shopping rounds. At home, we made chocolate fudge brownies. Since I’m too lazy to take a picture or retrieve the recipe right now, I’ll post those later.

We also made a pizza. Yum yum yum! We made our own pizza crust and topped it with fresh mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, and pesto. It was one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had.

My mom gave us the baking stone a few years ago, and this was our first time to use it. I want pizza every weekend now! So good.

Knitting
I had to call another knitting break this weekend. The nerves in my right index finger are going crazy…I just have random pain in it. Since I’m constantly touching my needle tips with my right index finger, knitting really really hurts.

So I’m taking another break.

Blech.

On that note, must go since typing is also painful.

Have a great week!

Obviously, This is What I do at Work

Obviously.

So….the upcoming Interweave Knits has a whopping 3 patterns piquing my interest.

  1. Entrelac socks. Remember how I’m not a sock knitter and never learned entrelac? For this pattern, I would knit socks and learn entrelac. I *heart* knee-high socks, and the socks in the picture are really freakin’ cute. Cute! Five skeins of yarn for two socks? Sign me up!
  2. Green tea raglan. I’ve seen a lot of ugly, offensive-looking sweater patterns out on the Internet today, folks. This raglan is neither ugly nor offensive. This is a possibility for a first sweater, I think.
  3. Slanted neck pullover. I also *heart* asymmetrical clothing items! I’m wearing one right now! Also a first sweater (or pullover) possibility. Just not in that blue (the color isn’t ugly, just not for me).

Do I have to wait until February 20 for the new issue? That sucks.

Anyone else cringe upon viewing the knitted thong on the IK website? Seems like that would be a tad uncomfortable. But maybe it’s not for wearing.

Copacetic

That’s how things have been.

The work at work has been busy, my scarf has been growing, we’ve been cooking most nights, and the sun is shining through my office window. For a garden level office, I receive a good amount of sun.

After knitting a few rows at lunch today, I walked to the campus library to pick up a book (Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close…yeah, we’re probably among the few who haven’t read it yet). While walking, I took long draws of the sunshiny air and kept a leisurely pace. On the way back, I tried to devise a longer-than-necessary route, but it wasn’t long enough.

The sun also shone on Tuesday. It was warmer, and I didn’t need a jacket when walking to a meeting next door. For the first time in a few months, my fingers felt alive and part of my body. They usually feel like bendable icicles connected via wire and about to shatter at any second.

I wish I could be outside. Walking with a warm beverage.

Overall, I am glad to be in Missouri, where snow melts the very next day. That was my problem with Wisconsin (and Iowa, but who cares about Iowa?). I couldn’t take the snowy expanse of January through March. I have to see the ground, even if the grass is brown and sad. I have to know that the earth is still there.

Oh, Iowa, I am slowly erasing it from my memory. After I receive my Iowa W-2 and send my taxes off, I can forget it completely.

Some day, Porkchop and I will be reminiscing (what we call “relationship reconstruction”) and one of us will say, “And then after Madison, we moved to St. Louis.” And then the other will say, “Wasn’t there somewhere between Madison and St. Louis? Somewhere desolate and that made us sad? Where maybe we cried explosively every couple of weeks? And maybe hated every single God forsaken day?” And the other will shake her head, take the other’s hand, and say, “….No, no, I think that must have been a bad dream.”

Speaking of memory, the last few books I’ve read have concerned memory in some form. It’s strange…how one will unknowingly start a reading trend. The Memory of Running: reliving forgotten memories and finding one’s self again. The Uses of Enchantment: making up memories. Man Walks into a Room: losing 24 years of memories and, for the most part, not wanting them back.

Here is some of what I remember of this past week….

Knitting
As stated, the scarf is growing. I’m well into the second skein. It’s still a leisurely pace, made even more leisurely when my left hand starting spasming like you wouldn’t believe. I could barely type! That necessitated a 2-day break.

I am bored with my current knitting state. I’m finally ready to broach a sweater, which scares the heck out of me. Gauge-checking, seaming, the possibility of me screwing up big time…yikes! Under consideration are the hourglass sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts and a build-your-own from a website that I can’t recall at the moment.

I want something simple that won’t give me a headache or make me cry. And I want yarn that’s a silk/cashmere blend. And green…a nice vibrant spring green.

Baking
Yeah….no baking post this week. I wanted so badly to make brownies Sunday night, so imagine my sorrow when I realized we didn’t have enough cocoa.

Porkchop offered to go get some, but I couldn’t send her out into the dreariness. So, we made M&M cookies instead. Good, but not brownies.

Maybe I’ll be adventurous this weekend and make fancy brownies.

Cooking
Porkchop made yummy chicken with plum chutney Monday night. Her roommate from college, who works and lives at the World Bird Sanctuary, joined us for dinner. We heard a lot of bird stories.

Last night I made a yummy bean and pasta soup using sundried tomatoes, regular tomatoes, navy beans, and pasta. Always satisfying.

We haven’t gone to a real restaurant in quite some time. I’ve been fine, but I can’t wait to go somewhere that’s super fantastic.

Our Gas Bill
This was $300 last month. Yeah, WTF??

Thanks to Porkchop’s alertness, we realized the bill had been estimated. Oh, but not just that bill, all of our readings since we’ve moved in have been estimates! Who knows if these were close to reality, as we have no idea what the baseline was.

We’re starting to read our own as of now. Our next bill should only be $100-$150.

This Weekend
No solid plans as of yet.

Maybe we’ll go see Volver, breaking our buy-nothing rule a bit. Last weekend we caved in and rented a movie, Everything is Illuminated. Neither of us have read the book, so I have since requested it. This also explains my trip to the campus library today.

Elijah Wood creeps me out ever since I saw Sin City. Let me note that I didn’t realize that the movie I was going to see was that movie; otherwise, I would not have gone. More like Crap City. Yuck.

Photos
Hopefully some will be posted tonight. We’ll see.

Have a good afternoon and night! Enjoy the sun!

You Always Know What to Say

A coworker just asked if I have a bruise under my eye.

Uh, no….those are just my tired bags. Thanks!

Actually…not bags…more like caves.

On Being a Sloth

Hi!

I don’t have much to report because, as of late, Porkchop and I have been slothlike in the evenings. This is due to our drafty apartment and the pain involved in removing one’s self out from under a blanket and away from the spaceheater. Also, we have watched American Idol auditions the past two nights.

After the auditions last night, I pinned the spots where I wanted slots on the knitting needle case that Porkchop made last month. Then, she even sewed it up last night.

Pretty! See:


It is the best.

Porkchop is also the best for getting up early on her day off yesterday and taking me to work and then picking me up. Yay!

I have a staff retreat all day tomorrow and I so DO NOT want to go. You might recall that this retreat was cancelled the last time because of the big ice/snow storm. I would wish for another cancellation, but that would be mean, what with everyone just getting powered back up and all…

P.S. I will post bigger pictures tonight. It looks like I only have the thumbnails with me.

This is also Here!

When I composed this morning’s post about the sun finally shining, I meant to make another “it’s here!” declaration. Yeah, time for Edy’s Girl Scout cookie ice cream!! I purchased our first carton of thin mint yesterday.

Also, if you know a Girl Scout in the area, count on me for at least a couple of boxes. I spent a good 10 years in the cookie-selling trenches, so I love to help a scout out, especially one who always just barely earns the smallest badge available by selling 25 boxes, primarily to her family. Yeah, that was me. While my fellow troop members were related to half the town and easily sold 250 boxes (no joke) and came away with the huge-ass badge and extra prizes, I only made it to the second tier badge once. And, really, I think my dad bought half of those.

Whatever, I earned my Gold Award anyway. BTW, now scouts have to earn “charms” as part of the Gold Award?! WTF! Actually, there’s a pretty good article in the recent Bitch about the new face of Girl Scouts. Also in that Bitch, a good article about tying activism into knitting.

Finally, on another note, here are those deviled egg recipes. While I don’t condone eating only the yolk filling, Porkchop and I do enjoy little sandwiches made with the extra filling. Yum! Enjoy!

Deviled Pesto Eggs
6 hardboiled eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon pesto
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Parsley and capers for garnish

Do the usual egg prep: peel, slice, remove yolks. In a bowl, mash yolks; add mayonnaise and mustard, blending until smooth. Stir in pesto, Parmesan, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon filling into egg whites. Garnish and refrigerate until serving time.

Curried Stuffed Eggs
6 hardboiled eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons sour cream
1 1/4 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet relish
1 green onion, chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
Salt and pepper to taste
Thinly sliced green onion for garnish

Do the usual egg prep: peel, slice, remove yolks. In a bowl, mash yolks; stir in remaining ingredients. Salt and pepper to taste. Spoon filling into egg whites. Garnish with sliced green onion and refrigerate until serving time.

Tomorrow
I’m back to riding the bus tomorrow morning because Porkchop has the day off. I do not look forward to waiting for the bus or the walk from the train station.

However….I must say it is not that cold. A news guy tonight kept on talking about the “St. Louis winter.” Yeah….remember when it was in the 50s maybe a week and a half ago? Buddy, this is not cold. Until my snot freezes in my nose, it is not so cold.

It’s Here

The sun is shining! So excited! Wish I could be outside instead of in my office, but at least I have a window.

The last few days have been nothing but dreariness. Blech blech blech.

Porkchop and I were stuck on Grand for more than 20 minutes this morning – and that was just between Arsenal and I-44, which normally takes maybe 2 or 3 minutes to cover. So….that put us off on the wrong foot. The traffic signals at I-44 seriously need to be replaced; they go out during even the smallest thunderstorm. Grrrr.

It is hard to be back at work after training last week and my 3-day weekend.

P.S. While I’m disappointed that Little Miss Sunshine didn’t take best movie at the Golden Globes, I’m thankful that it didn’t lose out to that stupid Borat movie. Enduring Baron Cohen’s acceptance speech for his individual award was torture enough.

Go Go Go!

Hi!

This weekend was full of activity. Busy! Fortunately, we received hardly any ice and our power never wavered. (Knock on wood.)

Saturday
Before the day really got started, Porkchop took a fall down our front steps because the bottom two were a bit iced over. See her livejournal or kidney blog for a gruesome photo. Ow! It seems that we have a hard time staying upright around here.

Anyway, the other big event was going to the Blues game. The owners wanted a super-good turnout because the game was broadcast nationally, so they decided to give away hot dogs, chicken tenders, popcorn, peanuts, soda, and bottled water. You see, the Blues have sucked for the past year and a half. Even with the recent turnaround with the new coach, people still aren’t flocking to see them. So, free food! Again, see Porkchop’s lj for more details and a photo.

After we returned home Saturday evening, I started to feel a bit icky. My cheeks flared up and I was a tired-head. Instead of going to Suzi’s with Porkchop, I stayed home and didn’t do much at all. I didn’t feel like knitting, reading, or watching TV. What I really wanted was a picture book. Seriously! Something to occupy the no-thought part of my brain yet provide some stimulus. Instead, I fiddled around online and looked at blogs from bed.

Sunday
With nearly 12 hours of sleep, I woke up with a major sleep hangover. Murrr!

But, I quickly recovered and started to make up for lost time. First up was straightening the apartment and starting laundry. I’ve done at least 6 loads this weekend. Clothes, towels, sheets….it never ends.

Next, I started making lunch. This was no small task, as we were having a chicken and edamame stirfry. Yum! We were both pleased with the results. If you look at the recipe, you can see that it would work equally well with tofu instead of chicken. Maybe next time!

After lunch, I knitted a bit. The cabled scarf is slow going….it’s a nice leisurely pace. Here is the scarf status as of this morning (note Keetah and her special princess pillow in the background):

Here’s a pic of me knitting. Keetah always likes to be close to the knitting action…even if the quarters are a bit crowded. (P.S. When I got up to do something, Keetah immediately stole my spot in the chair.)

After knitting and more laundry, we made deviled pesto eggs. Super-yum! We love deviled eggs!

These eggs are one of our favorites because you use pesto, lemon juice, and Parmesan cheese (in addition to the mayonnaise and dijon mustard). We also make a curried deviled egg recipe that is kick-ass.

Of course, some people can’t take these fancy deviled eggs. Last year, Porkchop took the pesto ones to a work potluck and one of her co-workers said that they tasted like turpentine. That was before he realized that she brought them (actually, I think she told him that she brought them and he thought she was joking). Anyway, be careful about who you share your eggs with, I guess.

If you love deviled eggs as much as we do, I’ll give you the recipes.

After eggs, I made cornmeal-cranberry cookies. I give these a so-so rating. They’re okay, but not wow! yum! Also, I burnt the bottoms of nearly half the batch. Chalk that up to a thin baking sheet, uneven oven heat distribution, or my failure to use parchment paper. Does parchment paper have an effect on crispness? Since I didn’t have the paper, I just lightly greased the pans.

Anyway, here’s the picture:

And, if you must make these, here’s the recipe:

CORNMEAL-CRANBERRY COOKIES

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 cup dried cranberries (or cherries), finely chopped

In a medium bowl, whisk together first four ingredients. In another bowl, use a mixer to beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in vanilla, egg, and orange zest. With mixer on low, add dry ingredients; beat until just combined. Fold in cranberries.

Transfer dough to a piece of waxed paper. Use the paper to pat the dough into a loaf, 8 inches long by 2 inches wide. Wrap in paper and refrigerate until firm (at least 1 hour).

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (or grease them with butter). Cut dough crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place on baking sheets, 1/2 inch apart. Bake until cookies are firm to touch, 10-12 minutes (rotate sheets halfway through). Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.

Other Things
As requested, here’s the link to the recipe for porkchops with sage-cider cream sauce. The recipe is for 1 chop; when we make the recipe for 2 chops, we do not double the sauce part because it makes quite a bit. However, if we make 3 chops, we do double the sauce part.

Also, I have tomorrow off. Yay! I already have my day planned out…exercise, Hartford Coffee for knitting, lunch, grocery store, dinner. Awesome.

Have a great week!