Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I don't even speak japanese!

I found some hat patterns online, thanks to intrepid link following...a sewing blog linked to a sewist's flickr set, and whilst perusing her photos, I came upon some hats that she had sewn. In her comments she provides some handy links to other hat patterns. I decided to give one a shot, despite instructions being written in Japanese, using some scrap fabric that I had on hand. Mickey is modeling the outcome below. It's reversible! And too big for my head. According to the pattern (I think), you were supposed to use six pieces. Six pieces created a hat that was too small to fit around my head, so I expanded to eight pieces. It's now just a tad too large. It will work, but not on a windy beach day.

I will definitely make more hats! This one took absolutely no time at all, so it's very handy when you want a quick project.

Monday, April 27, 2009


This weekend was the first amazing weather that we have experienced all year and I spent it feeling like a pile of "hydrogenated dog shit." Is it the plague? Is it allergies? I have no idea. All I know is that I have been gargling salt water, eating oranges, laying on my couch like a pile of mush, and working through a steady supply of lotion infused Kleenex. I knew this was going to happen. The moment that I looked into the 7 day forecast and got excited, I could have predicted that I would be too sick to enjoy it.

I did eat some food and make a silly hat this weekend, but I didn't have time to upload my photos. That's right, I was too busy watching Brendan Frasier's Journey to the Center of the Earth and Kitchen Nightmares to plug my camera in to my computer.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Last night I concocted a delicious tofu stir-fry and served it with brown rice (conveniently prepared in my Cuisinart Rice Cooker, because I can't be bothered to cook rice in a pan on the stove, unless it comes in a bag or is of the "a roni" variety). Alas, I took no photos. The tofu was marinated in a mixture of Kikkoman Soy Sauce, cooking sherry, sugar, and few squirts of my new condiment-love, Sriracha. I sauteed the marinated tofu in a touch of canola oil until crispy and removed it from the pan so that I could cook the veggies: onions, carrots, broccoli and mushrooms. Once the veggies were ready, I tossed the tofu back in, added the remaining marinade to the pan, and allowed the mixture to heat through. It was delicious, and healthy. I was psyched to pack a serving for today's lunch. But then today's lunchtime arrived. The thought of reheating the tofu actually made me gag. Luckily, I had an Amy's meal in the freezer as an emergency back up lunch.

This has happened to me before with leftovers. I bring them to work to eat, and I end up tossing them because I just can't stomach them, even though I may have loved them at my first go round. It's really bizarre.

Monday, April 20, 2009

It all started innocently enough...

The weekend, that is. The following post will be long. I apologize.

On Friday night, while CPM was busy playing a punk rock show somewhere in Pennsylvania's hinterlands, I went to the mall with my sister and grandmother to get a pedicure. We shopped a bit, and grabbed a late dinner at a favorite local Mexican restaurant. I OD'd on melted cheese. Life was good.

On Saturday morning, CPM and I headed downtown for brunch. We've worn out the Sabrina's thing lately, don't really care for Honey's, have only done the Morning Glory thing once on a weekday, and have decided to search the city for other delicious brunchy goodness. Farmicia has been a favorite dinner spot, but apparently, they also have a weekend brunch! After perusing the online menu, we decided to give it a shot. What can I say? It easily replaces Sabrina's as a new favorite brunch spot because: a. the food was delicious and b. at 10:45 am on a Saturday morning, it was not crowded, and we were seated immediately. Score!

We started off with a cheese sampler. Who gets appetizers at breakfast? We do, apparently. We love this...the fruit chutney makes it amazing:
Cheese Plate

Since I've been craving the yolky dippyness lately, I had a simple breakfast, 2 fried eggs with whole wheat toast and roasted potatoes:
2 Eggs

CPM had the eggs benedict, and he asked them to substitute vegan sausage for the bacon, which they did without any trouble:
Eggs Benedict with Vegan Sausage

Farmicia, we will be back, and I will be ordering that sour cream pecan waffle next time!

CPM soon left on a trip to somewhere in Brooklyn to play more punk rock. I decided that a bike ride through Pennypack was in order. After I completed getting sweaty and grungy, I was visited by an old neighbor. We walked to and I had my first Rita's of the season (small lemon with a pretzel, thank you). We chatted. We stoop sat. Then my phone rang and the night went insane.

My sister had a male friend visiting her from North Jersey. He has been training for a marathon. He needed to a do a run, and decided to head into Pennypack Park, since it's nearby and has a great trail. He left his cell phone with its helpful Google Maps/GPS feature and assorted necessary phone numbers at my sister's house. (Brilliant, since he was running in a strange city.) He left and said he'd be back in about an hour/hour and a half. 2.5 hours later he hadn't returned. It was dark. My sister was worried. He had to be lost.

My sister first drove herself to the place where he was supposed to exit the park. She then hit a few other park entrance openings. Another 45 minutes passed with no sign. She came to get me, my two flashlights and my mace. We were going to have to go into the park and look for him. Let me say this...the park is a creepy place at night. There are absolutely no lights. There are large trees. There is a creepy mist coming from the creek. The sound of a lone geese honking becomes the sound of some faceless monster. We again drove to the few local park entrances, and went into the park a little ways with our flashlights. We soon realized that there was no way he could be in the park...it was too dark for anyone (except perhaps teenagers) to be in there. Luckily, at our third stop, we happened upon some helpful park rangers who offered to drive the entire 8 mile trail and call us if they came upon my sister's friend. Brilliant! Thank you rangers!

We headed back to her place to see if he had exited the park at the wrong spot, found a payphone and perhaps called his own cell phone, since he didn't know my sister's digits by heart. (Note to all people...memorize important phone numbers, it will save you time in an emergency.) Eureka! We had a mysterious phone call from a Philadelphia number! But no voicemail. And no idea where it came from, except that it was probably a payphone. Minutes later, we got a mysterious text message. I kid you not, it said "Last known location..." followed by the location. I called this helpful person. They had seen my sister's friend and he had asked if they could send this message to his phone. Great! Except then he kept walking. Um, yeah. If I'm ever lost like this, I plan to find a retail establishment, and sit my ass down, call whomever I can and WAIT for help. I will not keep walking in a strange place. I swear.

My sister and I headed to the "last known location." We then scouted in many directions from the "last known location." We finally were figuring out that her friend was obviously directionally challenged, because the "last known location" was so far south of her house. We decided that we would think like a directionally challenged person and look for him even further away in the wrong direction. Except then his cell phone rang, which I was carrying with us to ensure we caught him on the next call. My sister's apartment number showed on the caller ID. He had made it home.

Where was he? He exited the park about 3 blocks from my house, hit a CVS for gatorade and bought a map. (At least he took his credit card with him.) Except, duh, the only street maps sold in CVS show the streets of Center City Philadelphia. This is not helpful when you are in the far NE. He then used the payphone to call his cell phone. No answer, because at that point we were out talking to park rangers. He then decided to keep walking. In the wrong direction. He found those helpful people at the "last known location." He kept walking. In the wrong direction. He ended up in a bowling alley at Oxford Circle where he finally decided to call a cab back to my sister's apartment. The end. I got home at 11:30 pm and finally had dinner. Lean Cuisine and wine. Yum...

On Sunday, I was still alone. CPM was out punk rocking somewhere in Jersey. I decided to sew something. Since I have thrifted so many shirts recently, I decided to refashion one using Simplicity 4077. I wanted to see if I could do a better job on the gathers than I did on my first version. I still reused the existing button holes, but found that I had to make 2 more using my automatic buttonhole feature. They came out great! So, if you look closely, you can see some wonkiness, but eh, this is totally wearable:

Simplicity 4077

My weekend ended quietly, thank goodness. I had enough excitement on Saturday night. This week I will get to see CPM play some punk rock at a show with The Bronx. I will take the following day off from work just because. I will pray for the warm weather to return and stick around for a while...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Pants! Pants! Pants! also Sewing!

Things have been getting desperate in the broomcakes closet. Don't tell Stacy and Clinton, but I've been wearing the same 4 pairs of pants to work for the last 3 years. See, the dress code at work is business casual. I've translated this to mean "boring shirts plus black pants." Hey, I frequently have to clip a walky-talky and a cell phone to myself when I leave my desk. Wearing skirts is difficult under these circumstances. That's not to say that I don't do it occasionally, but when I do, everyone notices..."OMG, broomcakes, you have legs!" Har har har. Thus, on Saturday, I forced CPM to take me to the consumer mecca that is King of Prussia Mall so that I could restock my work pant collection with items that were not faded and threadbare. (It wasn't hard to convince him...I just dangle the prospect of Fazzoletto in front of him, and he's waiting for me in the car.) Apparently, everyone in the tri-state area had the same idea because that place was packed! Someone needs to tell people that the economy is in the toilet, because it sure doesn't seem that way when you hit the mall on a rainy Saturday. After lunch, and 3 hours of traipsing around the mall, I had 4 pairs of pants that fit (2 in black, 2 in khaki--sorry). I had to hit 3 different stores to find them, and try on multiple sizes in every store to determine where I land on each brand's mysterious size chart. I also broke Stacy and Clinton's multiples rule...that's right, I bought two pair of the same style pant in different colors. Sue me. A big thank you to Banana Republic, Gap, and Ann Taylor Loft for figuring out how to make pants that fit the height challenged curvy bottomed members of the population.


While many households may have observed Easter yesterday, in the broomcakes household, we chose to observe a day called "oh crap Target isn't open today." Thus, I went to Walmart to buy a zipper and spool of yellow thread so that I could sew something and I emerged 18 yards of sale fabric later. While that new fabric was in the laundry, I thought it would be a good idea to use up the Alexander Henry Baddana fabric that I washed 3 weeks ago. Out came Simplicity 3835. This time I went with the mini-skirt, which I intended to wear like a tunic (because I am 32, and too old to be worrying about whether my undies are showing when I bend over). Here is the result (CPM took the photo):

I'm glad I used a busy fabric, because you can't see the wonky sewing around the zipper. I made the mistake of following the pattern instructions when inserting the zipper. Next time, I'll just do it the way I know works for me. I have one more fabric selection for this pattern, for the dress option. Maybe next weekend...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Things I Did This Morning

1. Joined Metallica fan club.
2. Purchased fan club pre-order tickets to Metallica's show on November 14 at Madison Square Garden.
3. Ate a celebratory red velvet cupcake.

I Hate Comcast

I thought that I hated PECO and PGW, but yesterday, I realized that I hate Comcast even more. A little background...

When CPM and I first moved into our house, we had limited basic cable and a tiny 27 inch television. That was almost 10 years ago. I repeat: we had no premium channels and only 1 television in the house. Oh, the horror. My cable bill was less than $20. Somehow, over the ensuing years, we became the household with a 52 inch flat screen HDTV in the living room, a 32 inch flat screen in the basement, all of the premium channels, and the added bonus of HowardTV. We have high speed internet access. We have VOIP. What does this mean? It means Comcast screws with me, regularly.

Two years ago, I signed up for whatever combo package Comcast was pushing at the time. It combined TV (with HBO, Showtime and Starz), internet, and phone for one spectacular price, but you had to sign a two year commitment. During that time period, I also added an HD box and HowardTV. Sure, I hyperventilated when paying the $170 cable bill every month, but it was worth it. How could I miss Entourage? Big Love? Dexter? Secret Diary of a Call Girl? I need my premium channels! I need my OnDemand!

An aside: The funny thing in my marriage is that I am the gadget geek. CPM would be happy watching old episodes of A-Team on DVD on a tiny screen. I need the full movie theater experience--surround sound and a giant screen.

Yesterday, I received Comcast's latest attempt to kill me. My bill, normally in the $170 range, had jumped to $215. Let's pause here while I clean up the brains from my computer screen, because my head just exploded again. Apparently, my sweet package deal had expired. Thanks, Comcast, for giving me advance notice and the chance to call you up and yell a month ago! Instead, I had to call you while I was shaking in rage.

After getting the first customer service representative (speaking broken English, probably located in India somewhere) on the phone, I expressed my displeasure and was told that I must speak to another representative--ahh, right, the "customer retention specialist." The CRS was very cheerful. I managed to keep my temper in check, even as I inwardly fumed that Verizon FiOS is not yet available in my area. What can I actually threaten to do, switch to DirecTV? I don't think so. Comcast knows this. I know they know this. (The CRS nicely asked if there was anything I could give up to save money. Um. No.) They have me over a barrel and they know it. I'm like a heroin addict with my dealer. I hate them, but I have to have their product in order to function in society.

As the call ended, and I reflect now on my choices, I'm not sure I made out much better. I'm now paying $200 per month, a whopping $15 savings. But, Comcast has added a DVR and Cinemax to my package. Woohoo. Bastards. I guarantee you that when the DVR box arrives at my home, I will hook it up, follow the set-up instructions, and be forced to place a service call. This has happened without fail each time I have upgraded my service.

Fucking Comcast.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Desperate Times

Welcome to pollen hell. In desperation, I took a half dose of Benadryl this morning in an effort to keep the eye headache and allergy related fatigue at bay. Drug induced fatigue is just so much more fun, especially at work. I cold easily fall asleep at my desk. I wish Claritin or any of the other "non drowsy" allergy remedies worked for me. They don't.
This weekend was action/food packed and yet I took not one photo. I feel remiss. On Friday, CPM and I, along with other friends, joined Richard for his art show at Metropolis Gallery in Lancaster.

Luckily, the fine owners of the gallery took a few shots. Here's proof that I have culture--please note, I am not in None More Black, as the photo label on Flickr might indicate. I am just married to 25% of it. Ha!

CPM bought me this because I couldn't stop drooling over it. See? Culture!

On Saturday night, I got my frozen pineapple margarita on at Cantina Dos Segundos. This was followed by losing games of Buck Hunter and bowling. I'm blaming the margaritas. And the fact that I have an abnormally large thumb joint, which is unsuitable for proper use of the free balls at the bowling alley. (ha! i said balls!)

On Sunday, we traveled to Sabrina's for breakfast. Remind me not to order the Eggs Benedict Florentine again. My food was delicious, but eventually turned out to be a trifle unsettling. Later in the day, CPM decided that we needed to stuff Richard before his return to Orlando, so we visited Pizzicato in Old City (hey guys, fix your website!) for some tasty pasta, followed by a quick stop at the Franklin Fountain for ice cream.

Thus, in addition to sneezing, I am currently recovering from food overload. Today's breakfast: peanut butter on toast. Further bland meals will follow. I must atone.