Monthly Archives: February 2007

A Dozen Umbrellas

I just bought a dozen umbrellas at Deals.

Our conference starts tomorrow night, and we don’t want the attendees walking in the forecasted rain, now do we? I am so exhausted from conference prep…I don’t really care if the attendees get wet.

I cannot wait until Sunday morning, when I will awake without a conference thought.

Here are my highlights from the past week…

Thursday

We made tomato-peanut soup.

Friday

We watched For Your Consideration, which was amusing but did not match Waiting for Guffman.

Saturday

We lunched at Stellina’s Pasta Café. Don’t judge them by their website, okay? Everything was super-delicious. I know that’s not exactly insightful, but I’m tired.

Porkchop had the turkey sandwich and surprised me by saying, “sunflower sprouts are the best thing ever.” Crazy! I had the butternut squash lasagne; it was just what I wanted. Butternut squash and bechamel sauce goodness with whole wheat (organic, of course) lasagne noodles. For pre-lunch dessert, I had a little coconut macaroon with a drizzle of chocolate.

I guess the word is getting out about Stellina’s….the place was so packed, we had to wait for a table. But it was definitely worth it.

So, not only did I see a co-worker at the café, I also saw a woman who I haven’t seen in 13 years. I knew her for 3 weeks the summer between my sophomore and junior year in high school when we attended the Missouri Scholars Academy. I saw her, and I kept saying to Porkchop, “I think I know her.” But I do that I lot, and sometimes I don’t know the person. So I didn’t say anything this time. It made me quite happy when she came over to our table to say that she thought she knew me.

After going to the library and Target, Porkchop and I went to her brother’s house, where I read while everyone else played the Wii.

Sunday

After brunching at Mokabe’s, we did a lot of household tasks, like laundry and dishes and taking out the trash. Exhausting.

We also made a super-tasty dinner of oven roasted tofu with sauteed apples and my favorite cranberry-almond bulgur pilaf.

Yum! Check it out:

Have a great week! See you maybe on Sunday!

P.S.

Nobody was hurt, but this sucks for my parents.


The Sonic in Dumas is the primary source of my parents’ income right now because the other store is sucking. So, the good store is going to be out of commission for a while.

Fortunate Fortunes

Porkchop and I dined at Mekong tonight, and these are the fortunes we received respectively.

This all makes sense.

We were at Mekong because Porkchop was waiting for me after my haircut finished at Salon St. Louis. She was waiting for me because she had opened a letter from the Tamarind Institute and left the apartment running. Luckily the salon is nearby.

Yay! Porkchop has been accepted to Tamarind’s printer training program!!!

Of course, this leaves us with complicated decisions. I think I’ll be staying in St. Louis. I mean, I really want to have 22 days of vacation, and I like where I work. The training program is just 9 months…2 years if one is accepted into the master printer program (which Porkchop surely will be if she applies).

We’ll see about these things.

Oh, and my fortune…I think it means I should go back to vegetarianism, which I’ve been considering for the last couple of weeks.

We’ll also see about that.

Have a good night!

Thank You!

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been stuck on replying to compliments, complaints, and just plain old comments with a “Thank you!” like David Sedaris says in “SantaLand Diaries” after a guy tells him, “You look SO f***ing stupid.”

Thank you!

There’s something about how he says it that makes it get stuck in my head. And, I haven’t listened to Holidays on Ice since December 22.

I did, however, listen to Naked while driving to my parents’ this weekend, so maybe that stirred it up.

The trip also stirred up my sinus problems. Once I hit Cape Girardeau Friday night, I was sneezing up a storm and otherwise feeling like crap. Yesterday evening on my way back into St. Louis, I ended up stopping at a walk-in clinic, where I received a diagnosis of sinusitis and an antibiotic prescription.

I also received compliments on my blood pressure, which was 111/72. I DID NOT say, “Thank you!”

Okay, so maybe you’ve figured this out, but this post has nearly nothing to do with recipes or my cooking or knitting or other crafts. Why? Because I’ve been feeling crappy. Also, I’ve been reading.

My Current Book
I’m reading What to Eat. The cover of the book is, unfortunately, a bit misleading. The tag line might make you think it’s another book touting the latest miracle foods or some fluffy thing about nutrition.

In reality, it’s a smart, accessible analysis of the food industry and the politics behind what makes it into the grocery store. It’s really, really good, and I highly recommend it. Unless you want to do your grocery shopping in an uninformed manner, read this book.

Of all the disturbing things I’ve learned about the influence of lobbyists and Big Food on the FDA and other regulatory agencies, I’m actually most distraught knowing that the whole “baby carrot” thing is a bunch of baloney. Actually, it’s a bunch of carrots. Regular carrots. Cut up and shaped to look like miniature carrots. Porkchop keeps making me feel stupid for not thinking about this before, but I seriously believed that these were dwarf carrots! I’ve been duped!!

On Saturday night, I woke up 3 times with the same bad dream. Some asshole conservative food producers were trying to revise the USDA’s organic standards to make them pretty much meaningless. This bad dream actually nearly happened a couple of years ago. Under pressure from lobbyists, the USDA nearly revised the standards to allow sewage sludge fertilizer, irradiation, and some other non-organic things.

I’m glad to be reading this book, but it also makes me nervous to eat anything from the grocery store.

Last Week
Thursday was the highlight of my week because the present Porkchop had meant to be delivered on Wednesday arrived at my office.

A box of 18 truffles from Bochner’s chocolates in Iowa City (one of the few good things about Iowa City). I haven’t found truffles in St. Louis that measure up to those from Bochner’s, so it was an especially sweet (ha!) gift. Yay!

The pictures I took of my truffles are kind of bad, so look at the website. Actually, their website could use a few more pictures.

I also received flowers on Wednesday. Yay!

Work Busy-ness
We are hosting a seminar next week. The research panels on Friday are open to the public and are only one day of a four-day long stretch of craziness. Seriously. Who wants to begin a conference each day at 8:30 am and end after dinner around 10:00 pm. Also, I have to be at the school at 7:00 am. Crappers. I will be so tired. Also, probably not updating this here blog.

Random Things

Number One
Last Wednesday, in the middle of a day of super crazy busy work stuff and sinus congestion delirium, I took a walk to the library. On the way, a guy walked past me, and I noticed that slushy water was getting kicked up from his boots onto his lower pant legs as he walked.

And I thought, what about mud guards for boots? Kind of like guards on bicycle wheels, but on the backs of boots.

And then I thought about Oskar Shell and his “what abouts” and smiled.

Number Two
I was reading the Little Birds blog this morning and clicked a link to this blog. I scrolled threw it and noticed the post on February 17 (my dad’s birthday, FYI, and the reason I went to see them) in which the blogger drew pictures of other people who share her name.

One of the other people is from my hometown, and I went to school with her.

How random is that?

On that note, good night!

Blue

Dear Gentle Readers,

I am still not feeling well – perhaps it was a dairy overload or perhaps it was overexposure to the cold air on Saturday. Since I am resting on the couch, my kind secretary Porkchop is taking dictation for this post.

Last night, Porkchop and I went to the Blues game against the Sharks. Here we are in our Plaza level seats. Note that, while I look happy, I am still not feeling well.

Even though Bill Guerin delivered a hat trick, it was not enough to overcome the Sharks. The Blues had plenty of opportunities to tie up the game during the last minute, and even though they did not succeed, we still enjoyed the game.

Porkchop especially enjoyed getting a free case of Wild Cherry Pepsi, even though she does not drink it. I think her recent Mountain Dew cessation program has driven her to desperate measures.

Responses to Comments

I have enjoyed reading your many recent comments and I have been wanting to respond to them. Unfortunately, my work has been quite busy and cutting into my blog time. So, I will address your comments briefly now.

  • Robin: Thank you for your sock knitting encouragement. I also made a pair of fetching mitts, so I must also have the necessary sock knitting skills, right? I will look at patterns and yarn, so I’m sure it will take me another three months to make a final decision.
  • djeh_b: Thai Pizza Company is on Eastgate off of Delmar. If you look through the Riverfront Times Restaurant Guide, you’ll find a PDF of the Thai Pizza Company menu. One of my co-workers swears by it and supposedly goes there a couple of times a week.
  • Val: I’m so glad you like my recipe posts. I hope you are using and enjoying the recipes!
  • getinmymouthstuff: I’m glad you appreciate nattering.

My apologies for my absence and for my brevity. I must go now to finish the dairy products that I’m eating, and to rest.

I Should Say This First

No knitting was done this weekend.

While I thought about knitting a lot, I didn’t pick up my needles at all. I looked at a lot of yarn – at Hearthstone Knits and Knitorious – and touched a lot of yarn and nattered on about sweater patterns and how maybe I should try sock knitting again, but I didn’t actually do any knitting.

The bottom line is this: my bottom line is painfully small and I don’t want to go into debt just so I can make a sweater. That’s it and that’s that.

I’m stuck with smaller projects for now.

Saturday
Besides going to two yarn stores and grocery shopping, Porkchop and I met two of my co-workers and their partner-people for dinner at Thai Pizza, which totally exceeded my expectations. We didn’t have the pizza, but their peanut sauce and Thai iced teas were darn good. Also in the party was a co-worker’s 3-year-old (super-cute) and the person who used to have my job.

After stuffing myself on tofu and peanut sauce, we finished the evening at Ben & Jerry’s…which made our insides match our outsides, as the person who used to have my job noted.

Sunday
Even though I woke up feeling lousy from sinus drainage, we arose bright and early (for a Sunday) and started the day by making cheddar scones. I highly recommend this recipe. It’s very straightforward and the results are awesome.

Here are ours (minus a few already-eaten ones):

Porkchop had hers plain while I enjoyed the scrambled egg-cheddar scone breakfast that I had been thinking about since Friday.

After doing things like exercising and taking a walk in the park, we ran some errands. These included picking up coffee for my dad’s birthday. We stopped by Kaldi’s on DeMun, and it was CRAZY!!! But the smell was heavenly.

Another errand was picking up a couple of pots and potting soil so that our plants have room to breathe and grow. Since I was feeling yucky, I watched while Porkchop did the repotting.

Porkchop repotted five plants in addition to the two baby plants that we added to our plant family. One of these new plants is a little jade plant. Jade plants are my favorite, but the last one we had died a mysterious death. I hope we’re better now and don’t do this one in.

After the plant extravaganza, we made this soup.

So much yum! From me, anyway. Porkchop did a really good job eating it for dinner, but she’s not too keen on taking it for lunch. But, soup and a scone was the perfect lunch for me, what with my sore throat and all.

Today
Busy. And tired and a bit sick feeling.

Blech.

Tomorrow
Blues game.

Plaza seat tickets courtesy of me….and Ticketmaster Tuesdays.

Bleary

I didn’t want to go to sleep last night, and I didn’t want to wake up this morning. Murrr!!!!

I just ate an asiago cheese bagel to stay awake…but that doesn’t really work, now does it?

Earlier, I was cleaning up some files on our website server. After deleting a batch of really really old things that the public should no longer see, I tried accessing our announcements page (run off a database), and it wasn’t working! Oh how my palms began to sweat thinking that I had broken the thing (I inadvertantly messed another webpage yesterday, but it totally wasn’t my fault….how was I to know that someone had updated code on the remote file, but didn’t do the same on the local?). Luckily, after waiting a few breathless moments, it started working again.

Anyway, that’s how my day has been….moving through a sleepy fog and hoping that I don’t mess up anything.

St. Raymond’s
I’m glad to see others enjoy the Wednesday luncheon!

Also, if you must get your fix of raw kibbeh, I hear that they serve it around special occasions. My co-worker said that she had tried it there before.

I think my mom would enjoy the raw kibbeh…she grew up eating raw meat because her parents had their own livestock and could trust their butcher. I’m pretty sure I had raw beef as a kid after seeing my mom take a pinch or two of it.

Oh my.

This Weekend
I’d like to make some cheddar scones tonight and then have scrambled egg-cheddar scone sandwiches for breakfast tomorrow.

Yes, I think that’s a good plan.

Also, I hope to start on Sheldon. I would link to the Knitty pattern, but I’m too tired for that.

Food Report

So…when I last wrote, I was preparing to go to the Lebanese lunch at St. Raymond’s. As expected, it was quite good and a bargain. I had a spinach pie, a cabbage roll, rice and lentils, and flatbread for $6.80. For an extra $1.35, I had a piece of pistachio baklava. The 75-cent Lebanese coffee taunted me with its rich-looking color, but I had to pass of course.

Lest you think St. Raymond’s doesn’t offer the national dish of Lebanon, don’t worry. Kibbeh is well represented in its fried, football-shaped form. I had a small bite of it, but that’s waaaaayyyy too much meat for me.

The food is very tasty and all made from scratch by volunteers. The great-uncle of one of my co-workers told me that the taste of different dishes can vary from week-to-week, depending on who is in the kitchen. The great-uncle was fabulous – cute and little and funny. He encouraged us to come back, which I’m sure we will. Next time I will have some of the salads and the spinach with cracked wheat. Yum!

Also, I promised a picture and a recipe.

Here’s the picture:

And here’s the recipe:

Whole-Wheat Walnut-Cranberry Biscotti

vegetable oil, for baking sheet
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup walnut halves
1/4 cup cranberries (the recipe actually calls for golden raisins, but I prefer cranberries)
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Brush a baking sheet with oil.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; stir in walnuts and cranberries.

In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and vanilla. Add to flour mixture; stir until just combined.

On a lightly floured surface, shape dough into a loaf (1″ x 2.5″ x 7″); transfer to baking sheet. Bake until risen and firm, about 20-25 minutes. Cool completely on sheet and reduce oven temperature to 300 F.

Transfer loaf to a cutting board and cut diagonally into 1/4″ thick slices. Place slices on baking sheet in a single layer. Bake, turning once, until dried and golden, 20-30 minutes.

Yum!

Have a great Friday!

Preview

In about a half hour, I’m going to St. Raymond’s with a few co-workers. No, we’re not attending a mid-day mass! We’re going to hit the Wednesday Lebanese lunch! I’m excited and will issue a full report later.

Also!

Last night, not only did I make our favorite tomato-basil bisque, I made whole wheat walnut-cranberry biscotti. They are good but almost too crisp. I will post a picture and the recipe later.

Have a wonderful Wednesday afternoon!

The Russian

Last night, Porkchop picked me up from work and we went to dinner and a movie…all spur-of-the-moment and against our new fiscal ethic, but we have had rough times lately and needed a distraction.

Dinner was pizza at Cicero’s because we needed something fast. Not quite fast enough, but we made it to the cinema during the previews.

**EDIT** Let it be noted that Porkchop suggested that we order a pizza topped with green peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, AND portabella mushrooms! What does this mean?! And, what’s next?! Universal healthcare??

Porkchop continues to impress me with her food selections as of late. Previously Porkchop abhorred all things on that pizza (green peppers not so badly, but mushrooms? that would have been considered disgusting not so long ago). I don’t know what to make of this.

Movie was Volver. As with all of Almodóvar’s films, I was entertained and deeply disturbed. I never know quite how to feel after seeing his work.

I thought Penelope Cruz did a pretty good job, but I don’t know if she deserves any big awards for her performance. Maybe her breasts do, since they were featured just as much as Penelope’s acting.

It was a good film, but I would have appreciated more social commentary on some of the themes raised in the film. But, of course, you don’t see an Almodóvar film for explicit social commentary.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. I am not a film critic of any sort. I barely managed a B+ in my Intro to Film class as an undergrad.

More About the Cold

When I’m feeling chilly, I check out the weather for Madison.

A high of 16 looks pretty good next to a high of 2. And last week, a high of 0 made me feel so much warmer.

Of course, as Porkchop pointed out, people in Wisconsin know how to heat things. And how to build foyers and entry-ways.

Our first apartment in Madison, all 600 square feet (or thereabouts) of it, had its own little entry-way with a heavy-ass door to keep out drafts.

And radiators, oh my, how I love radiators.

That’s all…I’ll say nary a word about the cold from here on out.