Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Xmas Eve Equals Quiche

For a few years early in our relationship, CPM and I would spend Xmas eve with his side of the family. His aunt always made quiche. Now, we practice a form of "pretend Xmas is not happening" while together, and I give gifts to our nieces and nephews who are still too young to understand our form of Scroogedom. I still miss the Xmas eve quiche.

Thus, this past Xmas eve, I was searching the interwebz for a quiche recipe. I wanted it to be cheesy and mushroomy. I found a couple that looked promising, then decided to just wing it. Did I take a picture of the finished product? Nope. Because we didn't get to eat the darn quiche on Xmas eve. My beloved spouse is frequently called to perform "emergency heating service calls." Which means he got home too late, and I was already gone to celebrate Xmas with my side of the family. The finished quiche sat in the fridge for 3 days until we had a chance to eat it. It was still terrific. Here's what I did.

1 pie crust (I make my own, feel free to use a refrigerated version)
2 8oz packages of mushrooms, sliced (wild, portabella, whatever)
Some oil of some kind to saute stuff in
1 medium onion, diced
1 package of tempeh bacon, chopped
1 10oz package of frozen spinach, thawed in microwave
4 oz goat cheese
5 eggs
1/4 cup half and half
3/4 cup greek yogurt
A sprinkle of parmigiano regianno/romano/some other stinky cheese
salt/pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place pie crust in deep dish pie pan. Crimp edges, then refrigerate crust while you cook up the rest of the ingredients.

Saute mushrooms, onions, and tempeh bacon in a pan until the mushrooms have become soft. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Thaw the spinach in the microwave and squeeze the water out.

In a big bowl, whisk together the eggs, half and half, and greek yogurt. This mixture will have a thick, custardy texture.

Get the pie crust from the fridge. Dump the mushroom/bacon/onion mixture in the bottom of the pie pan.

Spread the goat cheese over this layer.

Spread the spinach over the goat cheese.

Pour the egg mixture over everything.

Sprinkle the stinky cheese of your choice on the top.

Bake uncovered in the oven for 40 minutes or until the egg has set.

I can attest that this lasted really well in the fridge for several days. To reheat, I put it in a 350 degree oven for an hour. I served it with mashed sweet potatoes.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Oh the drama.

As much as I appreciate my life suddenly becoming "blog worthy," I could do without all of the personal drama.

Somehow I misplaced my keys yesterday...both car and house. After looking in all of the usual places (various surfaces throughout the house) and the unusual places (refrigerator, trash cans, cupboards, etc.), I can only postulate that I dropped them outside. This means that:

a. Keys are buried underneath a four foot high snow drift in my yard, and will reappear sometime in the spring.

b. Keys were dropped right outside my back door and have been retrieved by the helpful people who have been breaking into cars and garages in the neighborhood lately.

CPM is spending the morning changing all of the locks on the house and I'm taking our car to the dealer to be reprogrammed. Great. This is exactly how I wanted to spend that Amex gift card that I got yesterday.

Edited later: I am an asshole. The whole time we were freaking out, the keys were sitting on a kitchen chair that was pushed under the kitchen table. They must have slid off the table during my morning prep routine of piling shit there as I get ready to leave. Thankfully, CPM was able to return all of the new locks that he purchased, and I canceled my reprogramming appointment. Let this be a lesson to me: I should not combine a full dose of Benadryl with a full dose of cough syrup, no matter how badly I am coughing at night.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

It's Snowing. I'm Sewing.

I owe this blog to Jaime. Last night was supposed to be her Mad Men themed holiday cookie exchange. Unfortunately, her little girl came down with a stomach plague earlier in the week, necessitating the postponement of the one holiday party I actually look forward to attending. Boo, stomach germs! Boo, puking. Boo!

As part of the party, invitees were instructed to come dressed in clothing inspired by Mad Men. I decided that this meant I should make something. I found someone's entry on the Sew Retro Blog and admired the dress made with Simplicity 3673. So, I decided to try it.

I used some suiting fabric that I had in my stash (leftover from when my mother in law worked for Jones New York...she had an unending supply of designer fabric remnants). I lined the top with leftover pieces of an Ikea Gaspa sheet (very silky smooth, and easier to work with than normal lining). I really should have lined the whole thing, to cover all the unfinished seams (don't have a serger yet), but the dress has 8 darts. That would have meant sewing all 8 darts twice. No thank you. I'm all about instant gratification and being lazy whenever possible.

Altogether, I spent several evenings working on the dress. I've learned that more complicated patterns are better split up in this way. I make fewer mistakes and am way more careful. There are still a few wonky points, but thanks to the super black fabric, you don't really notice them all that much.

A self portrait would be nice, but thanks to crappy winter lighting and a broken tripod, you get this:

Simplicity 3673

Rest assured, it fits rather well. Well done, me!

I spent this morning in my PJs, alternately sweeping up snow from my front steps (hello to the blizzard of 2009), playing with my dogs in the snowy yard, and working on another version of Simplicity 3835, the Built by Wendy top/tunic that everyone in the world of sewing has made at one time or another. I myself have made two other versions. This time, I decided that I wanted a casual bathing suit cover-up for my upcoming trip to Hawaii, so I went with the tunic length, but used the elastic neck instead of the zip up back. This meant that I was able to omit the center back seam, and just cut the back piece on the fold, which was nice, because I used a striped Kaffe Fasset cotton, and matching lines would have been irritating.

I experimented for the first time with french seams on this project (again, no serger for seam clean up). I used this tutorial. They were super easy, and look very nice.

Still, the neck elastic casing is a little messy, and I think I may have twisted the elastic during insertion, but eh, I'm only wearing this to the beach. It doesn't look too bad. It's very muumuuish, which is appropriate for Hawaii.

Simplicity 3835

I have plans to make another version of this in a different print. Maybe later tonight, between shoveling snow and eating these cookies that I made.

Monday, December 7, 2009

And now for what I did all weekend...

Now that I've ranted about my stolen sunglasses (shaking fist at the world), I can tell you what I did this weekend. I read! Two whole books! And then watched a movie! In other words, there was a whole lot of loafing going on! And lo, it was wonderful.

On Friday night, I sped through The Abortionist's Daughter. It was a pretty entertaining murder mystery, which is surprising, since I don't really enjoy these too regularly. Why, you ask? Well, because I have an uncanny ability to predict (book/movie/tv/etc.) endings, and most mysteries are entirely too predictable for me. For instance, in this one, I knew who the bad guy was right away, but the book remained entertaining because it was interesting to see how the characters were going to figure this information out. That, and I had nothing on television calling me away, and no one to play Facebook Scrabble with.

On Saturday, I read The Heretic's Daughter (apparently, I was on some kind of thematic kick at the library on Friday). This book was really good, if a bit dark. I cried through about 30 pages and just couldn't put it down until the end. I also didn't shower until 4:30pm on Saturday, and only managed to do laundry and clean up leaves before the gloomy rain/snow storm set in, so I was in the mood to sit on my ass and read a book before dinner. Unfortunately, I selected a book that gave me another reason to be ashamed of my Waspy heritage, but there was a semi happy ending, so I'm okay with it.

On Saturday night, the spouse and I happened upon the film Taken. Watch this if you want to watch Liam Neeson kick people's asses for 90 minutes. That's the main plot: kicking bad guys asses, also shooting bad guys and stabbing bad guys. It was fun, and killed time before bed. Enough said.

Stay tuned for next week's blog entitled: Why I Should Sue Showtime for Stress Related Injuries alternately titled Dexter is Giving Me a Heart Attack.

I hate people.

After this weekend, I can now say that all of my vehicles have been broken into right in front of or behind my house. In the course of ten years living at one address, I have owned three different cars. All of them at one time or another have been entered by someone that didn't belong inside them.

The first victim was my 1996 Geo Tracker. It had a soft top. Prior to moving to our "nice" neighborhood, it had been violated at least three times. Of course, this was to be expected in a car that had a zipper on the rear window. I learned to never keep anything of value in the car. Once, while at school, I returned to my car to actually see a thief running away with my rear side panels, containing my stereo speakers, in his arms. That car looked like a big time hooptey. I kept it because it was so cute. I got rid of it because the last thief to enter it decided to cut the plastic window and break a portion of the anchoring system to get in. (He got away with a set of Walmart stereo speakers, a big score!) This enraged me. Why didn't he just unzip the rear window like all of the other thieves? I traded up to my Chevy Malibu the night after discovering this crime. I was tired of being a target.

My Chevy (with it's actual roof and real windows) fared better. She was only violated one time, while parked on the street on the side of my house (easily viewable from the living room windows). Coincidentally, I had just loaded up the ashtray with ten dollars in quarters, for meter parking on weekend excursions to the city. I remember being so proud that I was so well prepared. That same night, I forgot to lock the car doors. The next day, those quarters were gone. I blamed myself for my carelessness, vowing to always remember to lock all of the car doors, especially whenever I wasn't parked in my driveway behind my house.

After nine years and only the one theft, I moved up to my new baby, the Honda CRV. She is spoiled. I feel guilty whenever she isn't parked in the driveway, like I'm putting her at risk of injury. I always remember to click the lock button on the key, only feeling safe when I hear the car beeping back to me that she's armed. Somehow, I must have forgotten to do this last Friday night. I came home from my sister's house and parked in my driveway. I can only think that I was in a rush, because I was hungry, wanted to make myself dinner, and still had to let my dogs out to pee. I think I forgot to lock the car. But it was in my driveway, with the ultra bright motion sensing halogen lights of death! Apparently, car thieves don't care about motion sensing lights. Sometime on Friday night, some asshole went into my car, rooted through my glove compartment and console storage unit. They piled everything on my passenger seat: ATM deposit envelopes, tissues, iPhone chargers, Fossil non prescription sunglasses, work ID badge, etc. It was only when driving in the bright sunlight yesterday that I realized what was missing: my prescription sunglasses. So, to the world's most idiotic car thief, I say this: I hope you are as near sighted as I am. Otherwise, those glasses are useless to you. Asshole. I hope you die of swine flu.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I suppose...

I should be writing about how awesome our Thanksgiving was. It was. We ate with our close friends. The only bad side: their lovely lovely lovely little girl is afraid of CPM and refused to sit at the table with him. Thus, she spent Thanksgiving picnicking in their living room. I admit, he does look a little scary right now, all unshaven and sporting his long hair. Still, I'm hoping she outgrows this by next year, because it bums me out that our friends can't have a special holiday meal with their daughter.

Lovely table setting.

I should also be writing about our post-Thanksgiving trip to Toronto, where we met up with another set of close friends and their 2 year old son. I took maybe 6 pictures the entire weekend, because we spent most of the time walking the city. I walked holes into 3 pair of socks, and practically broke my feet, because I am an old lady, and my orthotics are not as great as they should be. It was cold, and we saw the sun only a few moments on both days that we were there. But we ate incredible food, including some delicious chocolates. We learned about Yo Gabba Gabba from a baby who spoke french, spanish, and very little english. I bought a cool necklace made by this Canadian jewelry person. It was a good weekend.

My recommended food establishments:

Strong Hearts Cafe, Syracuse, NY
Strong Hearts Cafe, Syracuse, NY

The above is the only food related photo that I took on the entire trip, and it doesn't even feature food. Trust me, though, the food was worth the four hour drive. It was exactly what I needed half-way through the 8 hour drive to Toronto (which stretched to 10 hours after a long ass border crossing wait). I actually looked forward to stopping here on the way home.

In Toronto, we enjoyed:

Fressen, Toronto
. Delicious fancy vegan food. Make reservations to ensure you get a table.

Fresh Restaurant (we ate breakfast at the Spadina location). Tasty quick vegan breakfast. The pancakes were a little blah, but the tofu scramble was tasty, as was the vegan sausage.

Harvey's Harvey's gets its own paragraph.

Harvey's is a fast food chain, like McDonald's (except better), and is only found in Canada (that I know of). Harvey's makes the most incredible veggie burger that I have ever tasted. They also custom build the burger to your specifications. Finally, the menu features poutine, perhaps the most delicious junk food item to ever be invented (fries + cheese + brown gravy = awesome). On every trip to Canada, I must have Harvey's. On this trip, we saved up our Harvey's visit for Sunday night dinner (oooh fancy). We walked (a really long way in the cold rain) to where we thought there was a Harvey's, and found no Harvey's. Oops. We then hopped on the closest subway to head to the Union Station Harvey's (which I knew existed because I had mapped it as closest location to my hotel...yes, I am insane). We get off at Union Station, and still couldn't find the place. We wandered around a bit, and finally had to ask a security guard for directions...turns out Harvey's was right above us, in the actual station waiting area. Good lord. When I finally bit into that burger, even though they forgot my cheese, it was still the greatest meal I had ever eaten.
Note to American fast food restaurants: why haven't you sent your spies to Harvey's and stolen their veggie burger recipe? I mean, I'm glad, for my diet's sake, that there isn't a Harvey's within a reasonable driving distance of me, but still, it would be nice to be able to tempt myself with the occasional poutine purchase...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Mannequin Dress

I'm referring to the finished product of Butterick 4790 as The Mannequin Dress. It looks great when you stand still, but when you move, all sorts of weird things happen. The straight under-dress rides up (see photo below, where I obviously didn't adjust it down before CPM snapped the shot). If you take a deep breath or bend the wrong way, the snaps might pop open, and then your lady parts are exposed for all the world to see.

Me Not Moving:

Still, I liked the way the bottom skirt was all twirly and fun. I had to find a way to save it for at least one wear. So I dug through my closet and found my favorite sweater. I think I can make this work, if I add a few extra snaps to the waist portion for added insurance and use the sweater to cover the top part not fitting me as well as it should. Also, I should probably wear a bra. I just threw this on from wearing my PJs and skipped that important foundational undergarment.

Maybe This Can Work:

Monday, November 23, 2009

In progress...Butterick 4790

I'm breaking my usual rule. If a pattern features a drawing on the cover, and not an actual human, I normally don't even attempt it. I don't trust that the finished product will actually look good on a human. But I was intrigued by Butterick 4790 after I saw this post on the Sew Retro blog.

You must understand how enthused I was about making this dress. (I don't actually know what came over me, I never get that focused about a project.) I had to go out and buy the pattern on Friday night after dinner so that I could have instant gratification. I couldn't order it and wait. I also luckily had exactly the right amount of fabric in my stash: a king sized Gaspa sheet from Ikea. When I got home from dinner/shopping on Friday, and my husband went to bed (at 7:30pm, go party animal!), I spent the next two hours cutting the pattern and fabric and pinning the darts.

On Saturday morning, I resisted the call of the sewing room in favor of working out and cleaning. Once the chores were out of the way, I allowed myself to be sucked into the sewing...fast forward several hours of sewing and hem pinning (mostly hem pinning, there really is a lot of hem to this dress). I should have been planning and cooking dinner during the latter portion of my sewing time, but I allowed myself to be convinced by my husband that going out to eat was the right choice, because it maximized my sewing time. When we got back from dinner, I sat on the couch for two hours and hand sewed the massive hem on the rear wrap portion while we caught up on our "programs." (I love our DVR.) This dress is a serious committment! I was then able to finish all of the bias bindings before hitting the sack.

So, I have no progress photo. I have to sew on a few snaps, a few buttons, and finally put it on. I have a feeling that it is 1 size too big for me, but I am determined to make this thing work, even if I have to stuff my bra! Stay tuned...

On Sunday night, I made these pumpkin scones. I highly recommend the recipe. The scones are incredible. I was craving a pumpkin scone from Starbucks all week last week, and these are even better. Of course, I didn't unload the photo from my camera yet, so all you have to go on that is the satisfied sound of my belly digesting the one that I ate for breakfast this morning. *Gurgle*

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Universe is Trying to Make a Point

I get it universe. I get it.

My whole life, I've gotten canker sores in my mouth. Through high school and college, I would frequently have multiple mouth wounds tormenting my existence. Add to that my love of spicy and acidic foods and you have a recipe for constant oral misery.

I don't really knows what causes them in me. Stress? Fighting off infection? Hormonal changes? I just know that the last few years have been blissfully free of major canker sore attacks. Then in the past month, I've had a series of doozies...two inside my mouth appeared and healed, to be quickly followed by two on my lips. One cleared up very quickly (thanks Abreva), but one refuses to disappear, probably because it opened up before I could treat it. It's gross and ugly (CPM calls it my second mouth). It's not taking longer than it should to go away, just longer than I think is attractive. It's not nice to feel like you have the herp. It really does a number on one's self confidence.

Maybe I'm stressed. I didn't actually feel stress in my life until just this week. Something pretty stressful, but not internet safe, occurred. Is it possible that my canker sores are prescient? I have psychic ulcers! Woohoo! (I can't wait for the google searches that bring people to this post...)

Monday, November 16, 2009

What a weekend!

Whew. I got nothing practical done this weekend.

On Saturday night, I saw Metallica for the second time in a year. We traveled from Philly to NYC, parked on the street for the cost of a $2 meter, had some sushi at West Side Sushi (yum), walked 16 blocks to Madison Square Garden, rocked out, walked back to the car, and then drove to Brooklyn for a midnight snack with some friends that I wish lived much closer. At that point, I told CPM that I was going to sleep in the car. And I did. I would periodically wake up and glance at the speedometer, see the needle hovering near 90, have a heart attack, and then close my eyes again. We made it home from Brooklyn in about an hour and 20 minutes. That is insanity. I got 5 hours of sleep that night altogether.

On Sunday, I planned to get together with my sister and her three kids to photograph them in Pennypack park. Great idea, right? The weather was perfect, the light was perfect in the park, I was so excited. What I forgot to figure in was that two thirds of the nieces and nephews are a bit, how do I put it, delicate. The photo session went something like this:

Me: Hey guys, go sit/stand/lean on that huge old log.
Niece: Ew, there's dirt on that log. I'm not touching it.
Me: Could you at least stand in the general vicinity of the log, then?

Me: Hey guys, let's walk down to that huge boulder and climb on it.

**We walk. We have to cross a little stream to get to the boulder. My sister goes first, to scope the safest/driest path. She reaches the other side, looks down at the leaves on the stream edge and...

Sister: Hey guys, check out this little snake on the edge of the stream! Cool!
Niece: (Shriek is audible for 10 miles around. Eventually she is cajoled into crossing stream and looking at snake. This kid has balls of steel. Sometimes.)
Older Nephew (who, at 10, outweighs me by 20 pounds, and looks down on my head): No way am I crossing that stream or going near that rock. There are snakes and they will eat me. I'm standing right here. (And he did.)
Littlest Nephew: (Carried over stream by me.) I'm being a good boy, Aunt Hedduh. You taka my pikchah and I get banana bread when we go back to your house! (Yes, I bribed him to behave and to take pictures using banana bread. It worked like a charm.)

We finished up at the boulder and decided that the whining (dirt/bugs/leaves/hunger/etc.) from the older two kids had reached its peak, and were walking out of the park. My sister and her kids were a bit ahead of me on the trail, as I followed behind shooting artsy "walking ahead of me photos." They were bickering the entire time, but the photos make them look like the worlds's happiest family. Ha! And then my sister says to my niece, "Hold on a sec. What's on your neck?" And my niece then has the world's most impressive meltdown. You know when kids have to be held down to get shots/be examined? It was like that. It took two of us to hold her still enough to flick off the tick that had luckily not yet attached to her neck. The whole time she was slithering around, whipping her head away from us, kicking, screaming. It was really a sight. We found it funny. So we laughed. Laughing at her misfortune is the surest way of pissing my niece off. The screaming then became even louder. Her face was red, and she was yelling at us to stop laughing at her and crying at the same time. This made us laugh even harder, which made her scream harder. By the time we reached the car, my niece (who is only 8), had settled into a very impressive pre-adolescent pout. It was quite dramatic. Luckily, I had a fresh pack of colored pencils waiting for her at my house. (See, more bribery!) It is my most effective tool as an aunt.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Simplicity 3692

What the hell. I spent 2 hours putting together this knit top. I should know better. I have no serger. I used a cheap Wal Mart knit with horizontal stripes. I was also an idiot, and cut 2 back yokes instead of 1 front and 1 back. By the time I realized my error, I decided that unpicking seams would make me want to stab myself, and I'd rather just go with the flow. I know a wadder when I see one. I considered this more of a learning experience. Gathering knits: check. Making a yoke and yoke facing: check. More practice attaching sleeves correctly: check. I can wear this to clean the bathroom, so it's not a huge loss.

The pattern is Simplicity 3692. I've seen it done in wovens, and I may try that next. Eventually I'll get a serger and return to the land of knit.

It looks much better on the hanger than it does on me.

Simplicity 3692, Sort of.

Let's Pretend...

That the following four pictures of food make up for me doing absolutely nothing useful with my free time lately!

First up: a quick week night meal. I knew I had some veggies rolling around in the fridge. I also knew there might be a box of couscous in the pantry. Score! Roasted veggies with couscous. It's healthy. I think I ate Halloween candy for dessert to keep my diet balanced.

Roasted Veggies and Couscous

Next: A good use of a Quorn turkey roast that had probably been in my freezer for a few months. I invented a mac and cheese to go with it. Ingredients: 16 ounces of half and half, a whole stick of butter, a block of sharp cheddar, a block of asiago, and a big log of goat cheese. Melt dairy, cook pasta (orecchiette in this case), toss together in baking dish, top with bread crumbs, and bake. Probable caloric content: 1 million calories. The asparagus makes the dish healthier. Also, balanced this meal with Whole Foods bakery brand chocolate cake.

Quorn Turkey with Mac N Cheese

Next: The banana french toast from Vegan Brunch. Serve it with Tempeh Bacon. And fruit sauce. And maple syrup. And powdered sugar. Take a carb loaded nap after eating.

Banana French Toast

Finally: Seitan Cheesesteaks. These are only good when you use Ray's Seitan and good rolls. Any other seitan (including the crap you make yourself) is sub par. One day I will probably learn that Ray's puts cow blood in the seitan, and I would still eat it. These are topped with shredded cheddar jack cheese because I was too lazy to stop and get American on the way home from work.

Seitan Cheesesteak

I have had a "to do" list of sorts rolling around my brain. Some of it is done (winterized Vespa, check), some of it is not (make fall skirt). CPM and I are going to see Metallica this weekend. And then CPM and I are going to Toronto for the weekend at the end of the month. Eventually, I'll have interesting things to write about. Until then, eh.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Wedding Crashers

I feel bad when I go to a wedding and the food that I'm eating sucks. I just hate knowing that someone has paid an arm and a leg for sub par catering. That's a major disappointment. It's even worse when the sub par food is the (unlisted) vegetarian menu offering that costs even less to prepare than the chicken/beef/fish. How do you mess up pasta? (Answer: by overcooking it, and then topping it with an oily/mushy mix of broccoli and green beans and calling it "primavera.") Thus, I am calling out the Stuart Thomas Manor in Farmingdale, NY for having shitty wedding food. Brides and grooms of Long Island, take your business elsewhere, lest you have a room full of hungry and disgruntled reception attendees.

I'm so glad that I eloped.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Mojo = Back!

I took a trip to Joann fabric yesterday. I had a list of assorted notions that I needed. What I didn't need was fabric, but I bought some anyway. Sari fabric was 50% off! I decided to use some to make myself a small "evening" bag for a wedding that I have to go to this weekend.

The pattern that I used is free here, except you might have to register to see the page.

Finished result:

Retro Tie Bag

I have enough fabric to make about five more of these bad boys. Woohoo! It was super easy and came together in a little over an hour and a half. This is my kind of project.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Up in the rafters.

CPM and I went to see Pearl Jam last night. We sat behind the stage, up in the 300 level of the Wachovia Spectrum. As high as the seats seemed to me, there were people even higher, in the 400 level! That's what $77 per ticket gets you. If you want good seats, you have to spend over $100. These were a last minute purchase, gotten from a coworker who needed to dump them. I'm glad I jumped on the opportunity. It was a phenomenal show.

Breaking the clearly stated "no video recording" rule, I used my iPhone to take a video of them playing "Speed of Sound," which is on their newest record, Backspacer. I've never actually seen a concert at the Spectrum before, but even through the iPhone video camera, you can tell that this room sounds amazing. Too bad they are tearing it down to make way for something else.

Yeah, we were up high, but the iPhone video camera actually makes it seem like we were even higher than we actually were. I could differentiate between band members, which is not obvious from the video.

Monday, October 19, 2009

When it rains...

I stay inside.

I left my house exactly 3 times this weekend. Once, for an emergency cupcake recon mission on Friday night. I needed to acquire Genuardi's store brand cupcakes. They are strangely delicious, despite their chemical laden ingredient list. Next, for an actual food-shopping trip to Acme on Saturday. Finally, for a Target trip where I purchased 10 bags of Halloween candy.

CPM and I did not eat out once all weekend. Okay, that's a little lie. CPM worked early on Saturday morning, and ended up eating at Sabrina's for breakfast. He brought me home an order of stuffed french toast. I ate half of it.

For the rest of the weekend, I cooked. I made risotto for dinner and apple pie for dessert on Saturday. Blueberry pancakes and veggie sausages were our Sunday breakfast. I made my seitan pot roast, roasted sweet and yellow potatoes for dinner on Sunday. We followed it up with more apple pie. I also baked two loaves of banana bread, and made a batch of pineapple salsa to freeze. At one point on Sunday, I realized that I had spent the majority of my weekend in the kitchen. That is not necessarily a bad thing.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A bad morning.

I hate people.

I hate people who have cats and who let them run around outside.

Cats are not outside pets.

If you have a cat and you let it run around outside, you are an asshole.

Thanks to some idiot who doesn't care for their pets properly, I had the distinct pleasure of running over a cat on my way to work and watching it die in the street this morning. The cat darted out in front of my car before I could stop. There were actually two cats running together. The other cat was lucky enough to be far enough behind the one that I hit that he survived unscathed.

I cried hysterically all the way to work.

It's going to be one of those days.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A public service announcement.

If you are in the Philadelphia area, are vegan, or are in the company of vegans, and in need of brunch, you may be tempted to try Mi Lah Vegetarian's prix fixe Sunday brunch. Let me save you some heartache. Don't go. It's not worth the $20 per person price tag. The servers are inept and the food is sub par. It's a shame. A place like this should be awesome.


One year after we repainted our kitchen, and got new dining furniture, I finally spoiled myself with new dishes. Oh, Ikea, there are so many reasons to hate you (for instance, because you force me to self check out, and I charge myself for one more cereal bowl than I have actually purchased, which I do not realize until I am safely back at home). But I can't be mad when you sell the exact rounded corner square plates that I have been wanting for ages.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Newsflash: I made soup and it was great!

Normally, I would wait until work to post this, but this soup was so good, it deserves a home based post.

I found this recipe for Potato Leek soup on a blog that I follow, Last Night's Dinner. I knew I had to recreate it. Except, CPM, my beloved spouse, despises mustard. I decided to modify the recipe just a tad.

I did everything almost exactly the same...sauteed the leek in butter with kosher salt, added the broth (Imagine Brand No Chicken Broth) and potatoes, brought it all up to a boil, and simmered for about 20 minutes until the potatoes were soft. (I used my Cuisinart to slice them, and I also left the skin on.) Once the potatoes were ready, I pureed using the emulsion mixer. Then, the piece de resistance: a gigantic log of goat cheese went into the soup. It was about 1.25 cups of goat cheese. I stirred it over low heat until the cheese melted, and served it just like that. A little sprinkle of salt and pepper helped kick up the flavor, but otherwise the soup was perfect. I didn't have any bread, but I'm thinking a loaf of Metropolitan Bakery's rosemary bread would have been perfect.

Apparently, I live in the ghetto.

This was supposed to be a triumphant post about how I finally finished my very first quilt. So here's that part...I finished my very first quilt! It's loosely based on the lap quilt in Amy Karol's Bend the Rules Sewing. I just tore strips of fabric (purchased ages ago from Reprodepot)for the top and sewed them into long strips, and combined the long strips into the quilt top. It measured about 42" by 60" when completed. I did that back in June. Then I put the top away and forgot about it. I didn't really make much of anything all summer.

This weekend, I decided to finish the darn quilt. It was hanging over my head. Luckily, the fabric that I bought was large enough to act as a back without any piecing. Go me and my over shopping. I made the quilt sandwich and then quilted via the "stich almost in the ditch" method. You know, the method you use when your seams don't line up perfectly, and you don't really care that much because you think it gives the quilt character. I made the binding. I attached the binding. A huge thanks goes to Oh Fransson's binding tutorial. Amy Karol's instructions are very overview-ish. I needed detail, because I've never done this before. This tutorial rocked. My miters are almost nice. My next quilt binding will be better because now I've done it and understand what needs to be adjusted. I also learned that I won't be making any king sized quilts ever because all that hand sewing of the binding would make me want to stab myself to death.

Quilt Top
Quilt front

Quilt Back
Quilt back

After I finished the quilt, I felt like reading a bit before hitting the hay. It was 10:30 on Saturday night. CPM was already in bed. I read in my living room until near midnight (finishing this set of books by Garth Nix). The entire time I heard loud voices outside of my window. I ignored them, because I assumed it was my neighbors, who keep late hours and like to hang outside.

When I went up to bed, I peaked out of my bedroom window to see that the noise was not my neighbors. It was quite a large group of teenagers congregated in front of my house. I watched them for a while to see if they were up to no good. Eventually, I just decided to go outside to ask them to move, because they were so loud that I would never be able to sleep with them hanging outside.

I went outside in my pajamas, my phone in my hand. I asked them to move. At first, they were nice and said, "okay." When I asked them to make sure to collect the two dudes who had strayed a bit apart from the group, things got ugly. One of the young women began screaming obscenities at me, and walked at me in a threatening manner. I used my phone to call 911. I told them that I was calling 911 just before doing so. The screaming continued, but the young woman's friends wisely pulled her away. I went back inside. I tried to fall asleep, but I was shaking in fear and anger.

I am still disgusted. I was told on Sunday that my neighbor came outside after I had gone in, and found two of the kids remaining, and taking a pee in the bushes across from us. Nice. This has made me hate my neighborhood, hate parents who don't provide supervision for their teens, hate teens who have no respect for anything, etc. Yes, once I was a teenager. But if an adult had asked me politely to move along, I would have gone. I never would have begun screaming curses at them.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Paralyzed by Indecision

Do you know how debilitating it is to be a "planner?" To be "organized?" To need to think through the details of every decision in life before doing anything, considering all possible positive and negative ramifications? After months of waffling in indecision, second guessing, and general whineyness (in my head, anyway), I finally decided that it was time for a vacation. Yes, internet, I waffled over whether or not I should plan and book a vacation for CPM and myself.

We're DINKs (double income, no kids). But the economy is in the crapper. CPM's job is with a family owned small business that is hanging on to life by the skin of its teeth. I work at a non profit, where 10% of the staff were laid off this year and the remaining staff got both no raise and a benefit cost increase, amounting to a pay cut. Ouch. We spent a lot of money on improving our house last year and vacationed indiscriminately. Then we bought a new car because I had to have one.

When I thought about all of this, I felt guilty for wanting to go on a trip anywhere. I felt guilty that I wanted to spend money on leisure. I felt like I should be socking away each and every spare dollar for... something.

I can't live like that. We have savings. We have emergency funds. We also have needs. I need a vacation. I need to lay on a beach and read a crappy book. So I did it. We're going back to Hawaii in January. (Dear internet robbers, my house will NOT be empty...we have three dogs, they stay home, and a whole family moves into my house to care for them.)

This will be our fifth trip to the fiftieth state. That seems crazy to some folks. But consider that I think it's crazy that people go to the same Jersey beach houses year after year. This is the same kind of crazy. Also, two weeks in Hawaii is less expensive than renting that Jersey beach house for a week. It's also more fun, in my mind.

The countdown begins. Aloha, bitches.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles

I know what cookie I'm taking to Jaime's holiday cookie party this year:

Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles

Recipe here. Amazingly, they're vegan.

I coated them in Sugar in the Raw, because I like the chunky texture on finished baked goods. They're definitely spicy!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I will make this again!

Last night I made this risotto recipe. It was exceptionally easy and incredibly delicious.

Finished Product

Red Pepper Risotto

Since I can never follow a recipe exactly, here are the details of my methods and modifications:

-I added a minced clove of garlic to the pan at the same time as the chopped onion. What is food without garlic?
-I added a pack of mixed wild mushrooms (probably about 4 ounces) to the pan at the same time as the red pepper. I wanted the extra richness of mushrooms. I also only used 1 red pepper because the other one that I had in the fridge got cooked the evening prior when I grilled dinner. Oops.
-I used Imagine brand No Chicken Broth instead of actual chicken juice.
-I got a cheap bottle of Sauvignon Blanc for the recipe and surprised myself by really enjoying a chilled glass as I cooked. I'm usually a full on Shiraz girl.
-I used 5 ounce container of spreadable chevre and the prescribed amount of grated parmigiano-reggiano for the cheeses
-I didn't add the turmeric. I might next time, just for the hint of color it would lend to the dish.

So, I've never made risotto before this, but I've eaten tons. I've been wanting to attempt one on my own for quite a while. I made this on a work night, which is impressive in and of itself. The prep is minor, just some chopping of the onion, pepper and garlic, it's the stirring of the broth into the rice that takes all of the time. I hovered over the stove with my laptop open on the counter, and a glass of wine nearby (losing a game of Scrabble to CPM, as usual). As I stirred the broth into the rice, I sampled, and it seemed flavorless. The magic happened when the cheeses and a bit of freshly ground sea salt were added at the end. It became a rich and creamy delight. I meant to prepare some vegetarian sausages to go along with this, but I honestly forgot about them while I was cooking. This would also be good with some oven roasted Ray's Seitan, which I would "serenade" in my magic recipe marinade.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I've got nothing.

Really. I've got nothing.

I'm busy absorbing the warmth and sunshine of summer's probable end.

I'm not sewing. I am uninspired and lazy.

I'm eating out too much. Follow me on Twitter and you get to see pics of the delicious food. Find me on Yelp to read my reviews.

I'm riding my bike as much as I can while it's still warm and the roads aren't covered by wet leaves.

I'm dreaming of a beachy vacation.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Best Laid Plans

A four day weekend! The last of the summer! I had big plans, mostly involving riding my bike. Here's what actually happened.

On Friday, I got my haircut. It was supposed to be a trim, but the guy went a little nuts and I now resemble a Romulan. It's okay, a little hair product fixes it right up. I then took a really long nap and woke up in time to go out for dinner. Missed workout day 1.

On Saturday, I intended to take a really long bike ride, then go out for brunch. 11 miles into my ride, I got a flat tire, and had to be rescued. I still went for brunch. Then I took another really long nap. When I woke up, the spouse and I went to get pizza. Missed workout day 2.

On Sunday, I wanted to make up my missed workouts with another bike ride. Instead, the spouse and I had a home cooked breakfast (eggs, homefries, tempeh bacon, english muffins) and then decided to drive to Atlantic City for the day. Missed workout day 3.

While in Atlantic City, we decided to try Buddakan for dinner. Full disclosure: we are mostly vegetarian with some leanings towards pescetarianism. Sometimes we eat seafood. This was one of those times.

Scallops in Black Bean Sauce
Scallops in Black Bean Sauce

Wild Mushroom Chow Fun
Wild Mushroom Chow Fun

Chocolate Pagoda
Chocolate Pagoda

Coconut Rice Pudding
Coconut Rice Pudding

Not photographed because I was fighting with the dark lighting in the restaurant: Edamame Ravioli and Wild Mushroom Dumplings.

The food was awesome. The service was eh. Once we placed our order, we were fine, because the food runners just dropped the food off as it was ready. We simply waited a bit longer than we would have liked to place the order. Perhaps we were just hungry.

I'm currently waiting for the spouse to fix my bike tire so I can not miss workout day 4. He's in his comfy chair. I'm not sure he really wants to get up.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Happy Anniversary

6 years ago today, I was in Las Vegas, about to get married. I remember waking up in our hotel (the Aladdin Hotel and Casino, which is apparently now the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino), and turning on the news to a weather forecaster wearing a parka, because it was in the low 70s that morning. Brrrr. Break out the cold weather gear people! Later that day, when we stepped out of the limo at the cheesy wedding chapel, the temperature was 105 degrees. (Everyone says this, and it's true...it was a dry heat!)


No one, with the exception of a few friends, knew that CPM and I were eloping. For almost a year prior to the trip, I researched, plotted and planned "our vacation." We left home on a Sunday morning, arrived in Vegas in the early afternoon, checked into our hotel, and then went straight to Chipotle for burritos. CPM was super excited to have me experience Chipotle. There were none around us at the time. When I took my first bite, I knew this trip would be amazing. A chorus of heavenly beings erupted into song as I partook of the most holy of meals...the fast food, built for me burrito. It was obvious from my burrito infused joy that this marriage was meant to be.

That night, we acquired our marriage license at the appropriate office. About 10 minutes after that, we were playing on the slot machines on Fremont Street. No rehearsal dinner. No fist fighting in laws (yes, I've seen this happen). No stress. Just pure fun.

Taken right after we got our license: look how happy I am!
Just got our license!

My first foray into the seedy world of gambling!

Naked Ladies

The following afternoon, we were married by Elvis. He wore a black jumpsuit and sang a few songs. As part of our vows, he made us promise not to step on one another's blue suede shoes. Immediately following the Elvis ceremony, we were actually legally married by the judge who acted as our witness. We exchanged loaner rings, since we had only decided to get wedding rings on the day before we left home. We took a bunch of pictures in the Doo Wop Diner. We conversed with our Elvis and chatted with our limo driver. The whole process lasted a little over an hour.

Our name in lights.
Our name in lights!

Cheesy. Incredible.
Wow. Cheesy.


Still awesome.

After the ceremony, we went back to our hotel room, changed into "street clothes," and proceeded to walk the entire strip, and ride every roller coaster thereon. Okay, so we drove to the ones at the Stratosphere, the Sahara, and Circus Circus. It was hot! We did walk over to the one at New York New York.

Our wedding dinner was at some cool Italian restaurant that was in the mall in our hotel. For the first time, ever, I drank an alcoholic beverage in front of CPM: it was a Cosmopolitan (I'm sure I was obsessed with Sex and the City at the time). Such a momentous occasion. (Now I'm a full fledged lush!)

I would highly recommend the whole eloping experience to anyone considering marriage. No fuss, no muss, no stress. It was a vacation, except, we also got married.

Friday, August 28, 2009

My Favorite Blogger

It's posts like this that make me love Dooce. Read this post. Read others. I think I have to get her books now.

For the record, almost the exact same thing happened to a coworker when he bought a brand new Maytag front loader several years ago. Except Twitter wasn't around, he doesn't blog, and he didn't get his machine fixed, even after several visits--it got "clunkered." He got to buy a brand new cheap top loading washing machine, which he claims is the best thing that he ever did.

After my coworker's Maytag nightmare, when it was time for me to get a new washing machine, I went with LG, based only on reports that their customer service is pretty good. I figured that things like washers break, especially the fancy ones, and I want to deal with a company that actually cares when things break. So far (fingers crossed, touching wood, etc.), so good. Love the LG.

My So Called Rewatch

It's all over hipster blogs by now, but My So Called Life is available on Hulu.

Oddly enough, one of my house guests happened to be carrying his DVD box set of this very same series a few weeks back, before I knew about the Hulu thing, and I begged to borrow it. I loved this show when I was in high school. I wanted to be Angela Chase. I wanted to make out with Jared Leto. I wanted to live in a suburban home with two "normal" parents and "normal" neighbors. I did not want to be getting up at 5:30 a.m. to get ready for school, thence waiting on the crack vile strewn corner for the first of the 3 bus routes that I had to take to acquire my education. Hail Northeast! (Follow up note: I did not, however, wish to make the move to the suburbs between my Junior and Senior year. I actually wanted to live in one house/neighborhood from birth, so as to ensure that I had established friendships and social circles. Funny, I'm going off on a tangent that might require another post...short message to parents--DO NOT MOVE YOUR KIDS WHILE THEY ARE IN HIGH SCHOOL, THEY WILL NEVER FORGIVE YOU. EVER.)

Back to MYSCL. Magically, I loaded the series onto my computer for transference to my 32GB iPhone 3GS. (Thank you HandBrake and Apple for being awesome.) I've been watching episodes during my almost daily lunch break gym visits. And you know what? Sometimes, while watching, I want to pop Angela upside the head for her vapid stupidity. I also get pissed at the "happy family" dynamic and convenient plot resolutions contained in every episode. Yes, there is tension and teen angst, just not enough to make it "real," whatever that means. And finally, the way those kids speak...ugh. That was not my adolescent reality in the 90s. Honestly, it gets me through the workout, but I can't recapture that "loving the show" feeling that I know I had when I originally viewed it. I'm not sure if I'm upset about this or not. Maybe I've changed more than I thought I had.

One show that does hold up for me is Buffy. That show will rule for all time and eternity. The end.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I love my iPhone. I'm testing blogging via text. Because I just have so much to say.

Holy Moley Marriage

I owe a new post here according to Jaime. While I'm thinking of something to write about, you should go here and read what white middle class teenagers in 1962 were taught about marriage. I am both horrified and sickly fascinated.

Side note: I read a lot of "mommy blogs." I am not a mommy. I have no interest in being a mommy. I just find stories of parenting to be interesting/amusing and useful as birth control. I also like looking at funny pictures of kids.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I married an actual maniac.

On Thursday last, I went to watch my husband play a little show in NYC.


CPM and I are such total opposites. I hate being the center of the attention. The few times that I have been on stage in my life, I have been absolutely terrified. CPM is a natural performer. I am in awe of his musical talent and ability to make an entire room full of people laugh. He made me laugh hysterically on the first day that we met. This is no small feat, when you consider that I mostly laugh "on the inside," and rarely let a full guffaw escape my lips.



So, here's a moment from that show he played on Thursday night at Webster Hall. I have my own video, but it's on my iPhone and I'm too lazy to upload it at the moment. Also, this person's video sounds much better than mine.

Edit to add: My videos are here, here, and here. The sound goes away sometimes. I think the iPhone is too much of a pussy to handle the rock.

Monday, August 17, 2009

No pictures, please.

The most important part of this blog is that as it is being written, my husband is in the same country as I am. I did end up having to retrieve him from JFK airport on Saturday, a 2.5 hour drive from home, which involved crossing three bridges (ugh, hate driving over bridges, hate hate hate). It was worth it. To calm my nerves, the spouse took me to lunch at Papacito's in Brooklyn. I took no photos, but thoroughly enjoyed my Chile Relleno Burrito. I was sending mental images to the blog, though, I swear.

CPM brought me lots of chocolate from Europe. I have to take pictures. I asked for one bar of lemon chocolate. I got about 12 bars of chocolate, in assorted flavors and sizes, including lemon, lime, ginger, and tangerine.

Finally, I've been to this pizza place twice, and have yet to mention it, so here it is: Jules Thin Crust. I took pictures, but I was rushed because somebody just couldn't wait for me to focus properly, so the pictures were crap, and I deleted them. Trust me: you have to have this pizza. My favorite is the Veggie #2: fresh chopped organic tomatoes, basil, arugula, garlic, cubes of fresh mozzarella, organic tomato sauce, mozzarella.

Friday, August 14, 2009


In a little over 30 hours, the spouse returns home. I am so excited and happy to see him. I am drinking a medium decaf iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts (cream, 2 splenda) in celebration. There is enough caf in the decaf to keep me bouncing around all day. I had a late night last night: "late" means "went to bed later than 9:30 p.m."

Last night I went to see a friend's band perform (I would link to their myspace, but the powers that be have blocked my ability to access that page from this computer). They play some scary black metal, which is not usually my preferred style of music. However, they were incredible! I was quite impressed, even though it was tough to hear the vocals. (Dear Johnny Brenda's: hearing vocals is actually important to me. Fix your mix. Thank you.) I also enjoyed standing out like a sore thumb. I was there with Perry. We were the only two people wearing white shirts. Perry's was way cooler than mine, as it featured Howard the Duck. Everyone else was wearing black on black on black. There was a family with matching bullet belts, possibly purchased on sale ("Look Ma, they're three for $20."), and one dude came in full face make-up to pay homage to the headlining band, Marduk. Alas, I lasted only through Black Anvil's set, and left at 10:30 to go home and go to bed (see also, all posts and tweets about my dog waking me up at 4:30 a.m.).

I've made it a point this week to keep myself busy every night, despite it being a work week, to make it fly by. My tactic was a success. The week passed in no time, and tomorrow I get to retrieve CPM from the airport. I'm so excited.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Punch Buggy Red No Punch Backs

I have no idea why I'm thinking about this right now. Maybe because it's overcast and gloomy outside. Maybe because I'm reaching that point I always do: about 2.5 weeks into a CPM tour, I start to get jealous, angry, lonely and depressed (Lucky for him, he comes home this weekend, before I can start my usual barrage of insulting email messages, in which I try to make him feel as bad as I do). I'm possibly trying to distract myself from those feelings with semi-happy thoughts. Honestly, I have no idea. I just know that I keep thinking about how when I was a pre-teen, I dreamt of having this as my first car:

My first actual car was a 1987 Mazda 323 hatchback with a manual 4 speed transmission, no air conditioning, and no working stereo. It was given to me by a relative during my first semester in college, right around the time that CPM and I began dating. CPM put a tape deck stereo in it for me. The stereo was one of those sexy pull out monsters that was approximately the size of a refrigerator. The stereo worked 70% of the time. If you hit a bump driving, the stereo would probably stop working for a while, until you hit another bump, and then it would resume working.

I loved that car. She was covered in stickers. She took CPM and I to lots of shows in distant places. I freely admit that I abused her. Neophyte car owner that I was, I didn't understand about old cars and the need to check their oil regularly. At least once, I was driving her without any oil. Whoops. It came as no real surprise that a few weeks after the night when the oil light went on, she died on the side of Route 55 in New Jersey, on the way to visit my gram at her shore trailer. The engine basically exploded. CPM and I had to be towed back to my parents house in the Philly suburbs. I got to ride in the cab of a gross tow truck with a sketchy tow truck driver for 88 miles (a tow that was covered completely by my AAA Plus membership). Exciting.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

New Math

What do you get when you combine:

1. A thrifted table cloth in a vibrant shade of yellow.
2. A hat pattern.
3. Lots of uninterrupted time to yourself on a Saturday night.

Answer: The Lady in the Yellow Hat (thanks Jaime, for the inspiration.)

I made a hat! The pattern is Vogue 8405.

I'm making the cranky face because I still can't quite figure out the perfect self portrait technique. My camera doesn't let you see the shot in the screen, so I'm always guessing what I'm aiming at and focusing on. Gah.

Those sunglasses were $7.95 at H&M. Such a deal!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Heights and Tunnels Freak Me Out Now. Thanks, Old Age.

Last week, I spent a day with my sister and my niece at Dorney Park and Wild Water Kingdom. The last time I had been to Dorney was when I was a teenager. Based on my memories, I was not expecting to have much fun. The place was run down and pretty dirty as I remembered it. Something happened in the ensuing years. Someone spent a little money, cleaned things up, and added some awesome amusements. I would "do Dorney" over Six Flags any day of the week now. Plus, it was super cheap. For both parks, since we went on a weekday, and ordered our 4 tickets online in advance, it was $30 per person. That is cheaper than going to the boardwalk in Wildwood!

We had a beautiful day to be there...temperatures were in the mid 80's, there was brilliant sunshine, with low humidity and a light breeze. The breeze made the water park a challenge. After getting off of one water slide to go wait in line for another water slide, I found myself wishing for a big fluffy towel to cover myself. Thus, we only spent a few hours on the water park side. Once we changed into dry clothes, got some fried foods in our bellies, we headed over to the amusement side. (This was after I discovered that I have developed a teeny tiny claustrophobic streak on a water slide that involved a few tunnels...even thinking about it makes it a little hard to breathe. When did this happen?)

My niece is 8 years old and she is an absolute maniac. Not only did she ride every roller coaster (except for the one where the operator was super strict about the 54" height requirement, and her 53.5" just wasn't good enough), but she rode many scary rides all by herself because Aunt Cakes, designated scary ride escort, has lost the ability to do rides that spin in circles without vomiting as she has aged. I can do roller coasters that loop, things that drop you from heights and bounce you around, but put me on the Musik Express or the Tilt a Whirl and I just wish for death for hours afterward.

The Niece, after her blue slushy thing.

Why do I do this to myself?

I skipped this one. This is why.

Greatest roller coaster ride!

Good thing we rode the log flume when the sun was shining.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Random Monday Night Trip to the Mall

My sister wanted to go to the mall last night to buy a dress for a wedding that she is attending. I invited myself along. She was going to leave her 2.5 year old son with me, and take her 8 year old daughter with her. Realizing that I would be forced to hang outside all night because the kid loves to not be in the house (and who could blame him, since he's still too young for Facebook), I just forced my way into her car and decided to play babysitter at the mall.

Observation 1: If you park at the entrance near the carousel, the kids must ride the carousel. Twice.
Observation 2: The dude running the carousel looked a lot like the guy who hosted The Frugal Gourmet.
Observation 3: Escalators are thrill rides in the eyes of a two and a half year old. We rode every escalator in the mall multiple times.
Observation 4: When you are two, hiding from your aunt amidst the clothing racks in Macy's is mandatory.
Observation 5: Build A Bear is the store with the grumpiest employees ever. I seriously think that the woman stuffing the nephew's bear mumbled something about "stupid kids" under her breath. Um, maybe you picked the wrong retail job? (Don't judge me, they are running a SPECIAL! $29.99 for any animal, one outfit, and shoes in the month of August. See! A DEAL! Also, the niece is a little bit manipulative...okay, so she just asked and I was all "whatever, I'll buy you a bear. Wee, spending money makes me feel better about being alone for 2.5 weeks.")
Observation 6: Being two, a boy, and potty trained means getting to demand a special "lift" so you can pee standing up in the public restroom. "Hold me so I can pee Aunt Headuh."
Observation 7: One piece old lady bathing suits with mid-section slimming ruching are HOTTTTTTT. That's what I'll be telling myself this Friday when I sport my new sexy one piece at Wild Water Kingdom. Honestly, I was afraid that any of my "cute" two piece suits just wouldn't hold up to the violence of a water slide splash pool. I don't want to be "that lady whose boob popped out of her top on the tube ride" or "that lady whose bottoms floated away in the wave pool."

Monday, August 3, 2009

I think I gave myself whiplash.

I've been able to ride comfortably on 2 wheels since the age of 7. (Shut up, I was a late learner.) I can honestly say that I can't remember when I last fell off my bike. I can't say that anymore. I knew it was just a matter of time. The new road bike is far less stable than my comfy hybrid, or even my trusty old mountain bike.

15 mph. Sharp curve. Gravel. Wet asphalt. Yeah, you will probably eat shit. And then you will still need to ride yourself home. Of course, you might actually clean the wound BEFORE you photograph the evidence. But maybe not. Maybe you are insane and hopped up on adrenaline, feeling no actual pain.


The highlight of the incident was the fact that I was riding solo. My spouse and riding partner is gallivanting in Europe with H20. Laying on the bike trail, I realized that if I had broken anything, I'd be calling 911 for myself (thankfully, I do take my cell phone). Then I got the giggles.

So I rode home giggling. Before I could enter the house to clean up, I realized that my elderly neighbor had left her garage door open all night. She's 85. A widow. Lives alone. Visions of her laying on her living room floor flashed through my head. I walked around to her front door to knock, dreading that she might not answer. After several pounding knocks and one doorbell ring, Mrs. P came to the door in her jammies. She had simply forgotten that she was in her garage the prior evening, got distracted before closing the door, and left it open. In hindsight, I was covered in blood and dirt. If I had had to call 911 for her, I'm not sure what the responding officers would have thought.

After all that excitement, I was happy to join Jaime and family for some gelato at Capogiro's later in the day. They picked me up. We got parking right in front of the South Philly location (almost impossible)! I had Mexican Chocolate (too spicy) and Turkish Coffee (too mild). We then returned to my house, where Jaime's awesome kid wore my dogs out. After the family Avon left, my puppies were sawing some serious logs. They even let me sleep until 5:07 a.m. the following morning. Luxurious!

All in all, it was a pretty exciting day.

Friday, July 31, 2009

It's 4am. Why is the cat yeowling?

Option 1: Because he is an ass.

Option 2: Because he misses his daddy. The same daddy who never feeds him, kicks him off the bed, doesn't scoop his litter, and once demanded that we "get rid of the cat" because he scratched the leather recliner, but who still manages to get more purry kneady love from said cat.

Option 3: Because a moth the size of a pterodactyl has invaded the house, and the cat believes he will be able to meow him down from the wall and thence munch on him.

Option 4: Because it's fun to wake his canine brothers and sister up early. They are too dumb to realize that it's not actually time to be AWAKE and GET FED and GO OUT IN YARD TO BARK AND PEE.

I'm thinking it is a combination of all four options that inspired today's early morning howling. There really was a moth in the house (flew in after the final dog walk last night) and it really was enormous. But Rocky also ALWAYS starts his early morning wake up calls when CPM is away. It's ridiculous.

I can guarantee you, cat, your father does not miss you ONE BIT.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Day 1 of Spouselessness or I Had the King Sized Bed All to Myself, Woohoo!

I feel like I'm doing homework in preparation for this.

I've read Julie and Julia.

I'm almost done with Julia's autobiography, My Life in France.

I'm ready. Bring it on.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I feel all girly and crap.

Since I cute my hair off, you can now see my earlobes all the time. I've had pierced ears since I was small, but in the last 10 years, have only worn earrings for special occasions. I've just been too lazy to decorate myself. No more! In addition to a set of cheapy H&M earrings that I recently bought, I also "splurged" on an etsy purchase from the shop of Shlomit Ofir. I got these:

I like that they are different than your average hoop. Instead of going through your ear, they sit on the lobe like a little "o."

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tequila will do that to you.

Last night I dreamt that I received a Comcast bill in the amount of $987 dating back to 2005. It had been sent to my mother's house in the suburbs, which she moved out of years ago. When I woke up this morning, my first conscious thought was, "Oh crap, I'm going to be on the phone all day straightening this out." Then I realized it was just a dream. A very scary dream.


Jaime asked me to join her for a trip the Headhouse Farmers Market. In theory, I love the idea of farmer's markets. Fresh produce. Independent vendors. Locally sourced cheese. Since they always seem to take place at inconvenient times, like when I want to be cleaning my toilets or riding my bike, I've skipped them until now. I'm glad I went. My wallet is not so glad. I bought expensive chocolates, delicious cheese, and very ripe peaches. If CPM were not leaving for Europe on Wednesday, I would have gone crazy and bought fancy eggplants and stuff. Instead, I will subsist on scrambled eggs and frozen pizzas for 2.5 weeks. Ah, the single life.

See...expensive chocolates!


The broomcakes homestead is once again hosting house guests. This time they are French Canadian. House guests are an excuse to eat too much food!

I made the house guests peanut butter cup ice cream. CPM helped stir the peanut butter and sampled the makings. When his eyes rolled back into his head in ecstasy, I knew I had done well. I used the basic chocolate ice cream recipe from the Cuisinart manual, and simply added 1/2 cup of natural creamy peanut butter to the "batter." Once that had churned for 25 minutes, I dumped in 8 chopped peanut butter cups--I used the full sized version, and froze them in advance for easy chopping. Also, I had run out of white sugar, so I used brown sugar. This was easily the best ice cream I have ever made.

CPM's new favorite toy, the peanut butter stirrer, goes to work.


Perhaps eight peanut butter cups was a bit much, since they almost overflowed the machine.

The house guests had to have dinner before the ice cream. We took them to El Camino Real in Northern Liberties, to sample veggie wings and bbq seitan sandwiches, and to see a friendly favorite server who had migrated from another of our favorite eating establishments. We were lucky enough to get to sit outside and listen to people butcher "The Humpty Hump" and Biz Markie's "You Got What I Need" via karaoke. I may or may not have had a mango margarita.

Ok, I had one.


CPM had a Mexican Coke. This is how Coke should taste.

There were definitely veggie wings at the table. I have friends who will need to order these "mild" or they will sweat profusely. I love spicy. These were for me.

There were also bbq seitan sandwiches and delicious fries. Notice my focus is on the fries. I loved those fries.

CPM had the seitan stuffed chile relleno. Is it wrong to admit that I prefer the cheese stuffed version at Las Margaritas?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I hate getting political or controversial in any way on my fun blog space. But this article scares me. Maybe because my books acted as my best friends when I had very few real friends (you try making friends when you are super shy and move to a new neighborhood every 2 years)...the thought that someone could take them away is just...I can't even find words to express the shiver that crawls over my skin.

Side note: as a child, my mom would "ground" me from reading books as punishment for misbehavior. It was the only punishment I actually feared.


I'm a nerd.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The 3 Day Work Week Should Be Mandatory

I had off yesterday because we had house guests for the weekend. I did lots of fun stuff...mostly involving food, beer, and wine.

Ate some cake...Peanut Butter Bomb by Vegan Treats

Knocked over some pins...


Rode some bikes...alas no photo.

Visited a prison...

Did some shopping...thank you H&M.

Almost toured Independence Hall...just couldn't wait in the line due to someone's ADHD

Back to the grind today, but off on Friday!