Sunday, May 29, 2011

The New Addition

Today we welcomed a new member of the family. Ava weighed in at a whopping two cheese sticks shy of 10lbs and is in command of a very robust set of lungs. Unlike every other baby on our side of the family, she was born with hair. None of my siblings or I had hair until we were nearly three years old. Seriously, my brother was so bald for so long that his scalp was practically shiny, like a baby Kojak.

Ava - Day 1

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I See... - A Moleskine Doodle

Inspiration courtesy of my six-year old nephew who just learned this educational ditty.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Learning Every Day

Today's Fun Friday Factoid:

Did you know that in England the word "fanny" means vagina?

Gives you a whole different perspective on the fashion faux-pas known as the fanny pack, doesn't it?

Gosh. I love learning.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Glorious Morning Glory Muffin

Since having a close brush with a series of deadly tornados earlier this week, my general attitude towards life has been "every day above ground (alive/not cowering in a storm shelter) is glorious". When I came across the America's Test Kitchen recipe for Morning Glory Muffins, I knew they would be perfectly suited to my mood. What's more cheerful and soothing than a muffin fresh from the oven?

Ahhhhh... muffin therapy.

They were a little work intensive for a girl who's idea of the perfect breakfast muffin is a 70cent box of Jiffy fauxberry muffin mix. For the most part, I would say they were worth the extra effort. The recipe called for all sorts of healthy goodness - once you got past the flour, sugar and an entire stick of butter - coconut, walnuts, apple, carrot, pineapple, and golden raisins. It made a batch of 15 good sized muffins.  

Dressed up in a butter hat...

Or rolling totally casual.
I ate five in a span of about 20 minutes. I have no self-control when it comes to baked goods. For my own continued health and well-being, I split the remaining muffins between the work crew and my neighbor. Everyone who ate one claimed they were excellent and went on to live a normal life, so I think I can give this recipe a thumbs up. The taste was very good particularly if you like your muffins a bit more hearty and less like a cupcake. The work involved toasting the coconut and walnuts, grinding, grating, whisking, etc. (vs. cracking open a box of Jiffy and adding an egg) seemed intensive to produce a humble muffin though. For this Morning Glory Muffins recipe, I give it... 

7.5 Toques

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Are You Lion to Me? - A Moleskine Doodle

Scribble... scribble... scribble... lion

He's looking a little surly.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Book Review - The Wise Man's Fear, The Kingkiller Chronicle, Day 2

I fell in love with this author when, after having read his first novel, The Name of the Wind, I was checking out his profile and saw he was wearing a t-shirt that said "Joss Whedon is My Master Now".

Since I have a t-shirt that says "Willing to be Joss Whedon's Baby Mama", I determined at that moment that Patrick Rothfuss and I are soulmates.

The Wise Man's Fear is the second installment in the Kingkiller Chronicles, a fantasy series detailing the life and times of Kvothe, a legendary warrior-mage who is now trying to live the peaceful, non-descript life of a rural innkeeper. The Wise Man's Fear picks up the story-within-a-story style begun in The Name of the Wind, told as Kvothe relates the true story of his past to a Chronicler. The story doesn't, however, lose any of it's potency or it's immediacy for all that.

Despite its length of 1008 pages (Hey, it's epic fantasy. What did you expect?), I didn't skip a single page. OK, the descriptions of the boobs and general nekkidness of one of the fae characters, Felurian, started to get a little old after a while, but I still didn't skip ahead. There were nights I burned the 2AM oil just so I could finish one. More. Page. Maybe one more. After this one I'll stop. I'll stop at the next break. Next chapter, maybe.

If you are a reader, you know how that works. I haven't found a fantasy novel that's done that for me in a while.

BEST PART: Rothfuss' development of the Adem culture was, for me, the best part of the novel. I hope someday Rothfuss writes a novel just about the Adem mercenaries and their schools. The whole idea of their language and how emotions were expressed was brilliant. I experienced the whole "God, I wish I'd thought of that" surge of writer's envy.

Both The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear are driven by extremely well developed, fleshed-out characters. Rothfuss doesn't seem to be in a rush to get us to the end prematurely (I like that in a man/author :)). He's willing to go the extra mile with his world-building, including all the fascinating details that make reading fantasy worthwhile.

Read the books in order. You won't be able to pick them up out of sequence and enjoy them fully. And take your time. These books are to be savored.

WORST PART: The damn book weighed 3 lbs. I tore the bottom out of a new purse hauling that thing around. Next time I buy and read it on my Kindle, and purchase the hardback for the shelf.

Take good care of yourself, Rothfuss. Eat healthy, exercise, and look both ways when you cross the street, because I expect you to be around to write these books for a long, long time.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

This Weekend in the Laboratory...

...otherwise know as the Kitchen, I cooked up my very first Stromboli.

What is a stromboli you ask? No, it is not a strumpet playing a a trombone in Tripoli like I first thought. Turns out it's like the worlds largest pizza pocket. Or a miniature replica of a spice worm from the movie Dune.

Pizza Pocket or Spice Worm? You Decide.

For an America's Test Kitchen recipe, it was surprisingly easy to make. Starting out with a pop-tube of refrigerated pizza dough, you layer on provolone, salami, capocollo, roasted red peppers and shredded Parmesan. Then you roll it up in a tube, pinch the ends shut, brush the top with some beaten egg, and sprinkle with a little coarse salt and sesame seeds. Bake, slice, and eat hot out of oven with a side of marinara. Then open your mouth like a beached grouper, and wave your hands uselessly in front of your piehole while sucking air because the molten cheese has melded itself to the roof of your mouth and given you 3rd degree stromboli burns the length and breadth of your soft palate.

 But it was a good pain and totally worth talking with a lisp for the next three days.

Next time, I'll use a lean ham instead of the capocollo to make it a bit less greasy. For ease of preparation and sheer nummy goodness I give it...

8.8 Toques

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Creative Tuesdays with Mr. Toast

The theme for this week was "purple".

Life Lesson

Sorry I'm late, Mr. Toast.

Monday, May 9, 2011

My Crew - A Moleskine Doodle

They are a quiet bunch, but don't think they won't cut you.

I call them Pete and Repeat.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Letter To The Lady In the Jeep

To the Lady in the Jeep in Front of Me on the Drive to Work -

First of all, a Jeep isn't a Jeep unless it has dirt on it.

Preferably, stratified layers of dirt that a thousand years later will be excavated by a team of curious archaeologist who will wonder who you were and why you were buried propped up behind the wheel of your beloved vehicle with the keys clasped in your hand. They will speculate that your idea of heaven must have been a rough, rocky, treacherous, mountainous country and they would be right. They will be able to trace your life's journey based on those layers of grime.

Lady, your pristine, white Jeep sparkled in the morning sunshine. Actually SPARKLED.

Your vanity license plate said "Princess".

I thought I was going to be sick.

Secondly, a true Jeep (Wrangler) should not be four-door.That thing is nothing but a glorified Hummer and I'm sorry, but Hummers are stoopud. Jeep doors are supposed to be attached with a single steel bolt and a strap for quick removal and storage in the garage. This prohibits options like power locks and windows. The roof should be completely removable as well. As a result, at least once, the Jeep should have been filled to the windows with water because you forgot to put the top up and there was a freak summer thunderstorm. Or you drove into a river.

Lastly, Jeep manufacturers would weep - weep, I tell you - if they had seen you slow down to creep over those railroad tracks one wheel at a time. I sat behind you in my dirty red Jeep with a few of last years dead leaves still tossing around in the backseat and yelled, "Really?? REALLY??!" The crack in my windshield was catching the glare of the sun so I couldn't get an accurate description of you, or I would have reported you to SAVAJ (Society for Abused Vehicular and All-terrain Jeeps). I waited the ten minutes for you to finally get across and then gunned my own vehicle, flying over the tracks and jouncing so hard at the end of my seatbelt tether that it left a bruise.

Get a Beemer, Lady.

A Jeep Owner

Sunday, May 1, 2011

And We're Running... We're Running...

I’ve decided to start running again.

Just as I was forking a second serving of cake into my face, my sister Kell suggested we train to run a marathon next year. I told her to eff-off. There's a damn good reason why, in the story, the poor bastad who ran the 26 miles to deliver the message of the army's triumph at Marathon freakin’ DIED after. It is not my idea of fun to run and then DIE.

Kell snorted in distain and called me a weenie. Then she ran away. She’s faster than I thought. If I ever manage to catch her I’m going to demonstrate my karate skills until she takes it back.

‘Til then I’m just going to lay here in the floor for a while and wheeze. Maybe have another slice of cake.

She had a point though. I am as un-athletic, unmotivated and un-skinny as I’ve ever been. In 2010, I didn’t run a single race. I went from 5K to Couch, which is the exact opposite of what the Couch to 5K plan recommends.

I used to run. It was never enjoyable for me though, because the fact remains that I am essentially not built to be a runner. Genes are hard to dispute. If you trace back along my family tree to the Stone Age, you’ll see that I take after the ancestors who had the stand-and-fight body type rather than the run-away body type.

Kell got the cheetah genes. I got the rhino genes.

Even though I haven't run a race since Dec. 2009, I still subscribe to Runner’s World magazine, which I’m sure my postman finds hilarious. In the same delivery for me he’s got a Runner’s World magazine, a See’s candy catalog, three Netflix, and a postcard from Weight Watchers saying that they miss my fat ass. How Mr. Postman must laugh and laugh and laugh.

Being a postman is a thankless job. I am glad I can brighten his day.

I have no desire to run a marathon. None. EV. ER. However, I am not opposed to shedding a few pounds, participating in a 5K, the Bolder Boulder, or even a local ½ marathon. I miss being fit. I miss the power and confidence of it. I also like knowing, in case of zombie apocalypse, I have the #1 Rule (Cardio) covered.

Next week I’m starting back to the gym with a copy of Runner’s World: Run Your Butt Off and a plan. We’ll see how it goes from there.