July 21, 2014

avocado toast does not need a recipe

via Clean and Scentsible

Yesterday, I was mindlessly scrolling through pinterest, feeling sad that I will never be cool enough to actually be a "girl in white dresses" because that requires never having red wine or chocolate ice cream.

And then I saw it. A "recipe" for avocado toast.

A recipe? Guys, avocado toast is literally what is in it's name. Avocado. Toast. Maybe salt and lemon juice if you're feeling fancy. Ease is the entire point of avocado toast, the reason why it was invented.

But then. Oh but then. People got fancy. Add mayo! Cut it into hearts (see above)! Add eggs and siracha!

I'm not saying that any of these are bad. In fact, avocado toast with egg and siracha sounds delicious. But maybe, just maybe, we should hold ourselves to a higher standard of what constitutes a recipe. Maybe "more ingredients than what is listed in the title of the food itself?"

June 18, 2014

on pride and sunscreen




Recently,  I took a trip to Italy. On one of the days, we travelled to the beach and swam in the perfectly clear Mediterranean. It was glorious.

As previously mentioned, my skin burns basically within 0.56 seconds when exposed to the sun. I am a wise person about this, and came prepared with Yes to Cucumbers sunscreen and my new discovery, the Neutrogena sunscreen stick.

image via target.com
Things I love about this sunscreen stick: It is easy to apply, it didn't count toward my quart sized bag of liquids, and it was pretty effective at keeping me from getting sunburned.

Things I didn't love about this sunscreen stick: It is in a deodorant container, which makes it look like I think I stink so much that I am rubbing Dove all over my body. I got over this, because I like being sunburned less than I care about what people think about me.

Prepared with this and my Yes to Cucumbers stuff, I thought I was good to go. I applied sunscreen everywhere. This is where my pride came in. You see, when I put on spray sunscreen, I can cover my entire back.As I was applying lotion, I thought "oh yes for sure I can reach my entire back. I mean, I do yoga!"

About halfway through the day, as we were eating lunch, I realized that my back felt a little funny. Hmm, better reapply! Although it could not be possible, because my noodle-like arm ability to put sunscreen on my entire back, it felt like maybe I had a little bit of sunburn on my back? How weird!

My friend, Becca, helped me out and actually applied lotion all over my back. As we were heading home, she said "oh man, I must have missed some, you have a line...." I was all "psh no big deal probably nothing because remember I have excellent shoulder flexibility."

When we got back to their house and I looked in the mirror, oh man. I had made a dumb mistake. In a perfect, two inch line (minus one tiny part on my right shoulder blade where I had gotten some sunscreen a little bit higher than normal) was a sunburn from where my initial sunscreen application had missed.

When you have a sunburn, it's good to put lotion on it, to help your poor parched skin get some liquid in it.

When you have a sunburn exactly on your back where you couldn't reach, it is hard to put lotion on.

Pride comes before a fall. Or a sunburn. Learn from my mistakes. Ask your friends for help, before it's too late. Don't be like me, with a 2 inch sunburn line. And also, go visit Sicily because it's amazing (more on that later)

June 02, 2014

Watermelon is not a cake

Recently,  I've been seeing this picture all over pinterest.
via sprinklebakes.com 

Everyone is like "oh look what a beautiful cake isn't it awesome and wonderful! because look when you cut it open, there is a surprise! It is really WATERMELON!" 

via sprinklebakes.com 

This is not wonderful. This is terrible.

Now I love watermelon. I think it's a delicious, wonderful summery treat, especially when it's cold and eaten in big, messy slices. 

I also love cake. 

Watermelon and cake are most definitely not the same thing. 

As any good debater knows, you have to define your terms. The Oxford English Dictionary defines cake as "An item of soft, sweet food made from a mixture of flour, shortening, eggs, sugar, and other ingredients, baked and often decorated:"  Sometimes you use different types of flour. Sometimes you use more sugar or less sugar. Sometimes you use chocolate, sometimes you use red food coloring. All of these things are cake. 

Watermelon is a fruit. Made mostly of water. Not a cake. In fact, of the ingredients listed necessary to make a cake, watermelon includes exactly zero of them. ZERO! Watermelon is not soft. Watermelon is not baked. Watermelon is one of the most un-cake-like things you can eat. 

Secure in this knowledge, I hoped that this crazy idea of a watermelon "cake" would go away. 

BUT NO. It has risen, like a terrible 80s haircut, like it might be a good idea. My beloved Kitchn posted about it. People are branching out with multi melon "cakes." Joy the Baker pinned a "cake." Someone even made this...creation.

Join Americans for Cake Clarity today. This is a watermelon cake. This is fruit. Love cake. Love watermelon. Don't confuse the two. 

February 28, 2014

on quiet

Right now, my life is quiet. Quiet and cold.

There are big changes coming, a spring of work travel starting soon, and decisions to be made. But right now,  I can go to work, come home, and then sit in the stillness and read.

It's been a long time since I've had this much quiet. I think I like it.

In an attempt to reclaim the time, I'm aiming to read 50 books in 2014. I know that regular people use goodreads or something, but I didn't want to add another website, so I'm keeping my booklist on pinterest. If you have any suggestions, please, send them my way! My favorite so far of this year -- Where'd You Go, Bernadette about a reclusive architect, her microsoft guru husband, and their 11-year-old daughter's planned trip to Antarctica.



I know that compared to [insert your favorite colder place here] we have nothing to complain about. But it has been FREEZING in dc this winter and I'm ready for spring. Emily Dickinson said it well, except for the part when she tries to keep April away. COME ON APRIL I AM READY.

Dear March — Come in —
How glad I am —
I hoped for you before —

Put down your Hat —
You must have walked —
How out of Breath you are —
Dear March, Come right up the stairs with me —
I have so much to tell —

I got your Letter, and the Birds —
The Maples never knew that you were coming — till I called
I declare — how Red their Faces grew —
But March, forgive me — and
All those Hills you left for me to Hue —
There was no Purple suitable —
You took it all with you —

Who knocks? That April.
Lock the Door —
I will not be pursued —
He stayed away a Year to call
When I am occupied —
But trifles look so trivial
As soon as you have come

That Blame is just as dear as Praise
And Praise as mere as Blame —


October 26, 2013

Overheard

"I was so sick, I couldn't drink water, anything! Finally thy brought me champagne. The only thing I could drink was champagne." -girl on bus with weirdest illness ever.

October 18, 2013

to airports, with love

oh, TSA.
to the women who fly while wearing 4 inch heels: How do you do it? Do you never have to run for a tight connection? Do your feet never swell while you're 30,000 feet in the air? How do you muffle the cries of your knees and pinkie toes after a hike from your gate to the baggage claim at Chicago O'Hare?

to the people crowding around the gate when the gate agent is still on "if you need any special assistance getting on board. . . ": Here is a fun surprise. We are all going to get on that plane. That plane will not leave until we are all on it. Unless Dr. Horrible shows up and freeze-rays you in place, you cannot miss this flight. The gate agent will let you on the flight. You have more chance of missing your connection because you accidentally trampled a small child in your rush for the general boarding lane than because OH MY GOSH three people boarded in zone 3 before you! (Also, why is it that on US Airways flights, 92% of the passengers are in zone 3?)

to enterprise rent-a-car: No matter how many times you try to scare tactic me, I know that I don't need additional coverage on my car. Is there a way to permanently note this in my account?

August 23, 2013

and soonest our best men with thee do go

When I try to write my own words about my Grandpa, my own, my precious grandfather, it's hard to pick only a few things. My memories break apart into half-remembered tenderness--games of peggity for hours at the kitchen table and stories of his lapis lazuli ring from Afghanistan.

My Grandpa was not a set a piece in our lives--a relative that we were supposed to write on Christmas. His love and joy were a part of us, a heritage that he passed down from his children to their children. He would rub his face against ours before he would shave, making us squeal because of his scratchy beard. He would say "I have a secret for you," and then whisper "I love you!" into our ears.

He loved my Grandma--you could tell it in the way he would say "Lorraine," his deep voice rolling over the syllables. He loved her for traveling the world with him, he loved her for caring for him in these last years. Their 60+ year marriage is a testament to their love, commitment, and the gracious kindness of God.

Grandpa loved his Savior. I remember waking up on summer mornings to see him faithfully sitting by the grandfather clock, leg rocking as he read his Bible. I know that this morning he heard "Well done, good and faithful servant."

I already miss you, Grandpa. I love you more than I can say. I cannot wait to see you again.




July 11, 2013

when plane tickets feel like a giant game of chicken

I'm flying to Seattle for a wedding, which is very exciting.

But in order to GET to Seattle, you have to buy a plane ticket. That's less exciting, but still something that has to happen.

So I got prepared. I started watching fares six weeks ago. I looked online for cheaper fares midweek. I cleared my cache so KAYAK wouldn't know that I was searching for the same fare over and over. I know how this game works.

Most of the fares have stayed within a pretty specific range. I would  not break the bank if I went ahead and bought my ticket now. It will probably not get that much cheaper.

But look at this:

That's KAYAK again, helpfully telling me to wait. 79% confidence telling me to wait! 

I can listen to them. I can keep waiting. But they said this last week and the prices didn't drop. But maybe they'll drop this week and then I'll feel stupid for overpaying for my plane ticket! 

Oh you taunting orange line. 

maybe I'll just drive.

May 17, 2013

Chocolate Covered Bacon cupcakes


I know this sounds weird and possibly disgusting. Bear with me, because these cupcakes were delicious.


This week one of the attorneys at work had a birthday, and I knew that he particularly likes bacon. Even chocolate covered bacon. I've made chocolate covered bacon before, and it was time to take it to the next level.

Enter chocolate bacon covered cupcakes. The cupcake isn't too sweet, and the maple frosting makes it taste like the best breakfast ever -- chocolate chip pancakes with bacon.

Bacon Chocolate Cupcakes  
recipe adapted from 52 Kitchen Adventures 
Makes 14-16 cupcakes.

cupcakes
1 package of thick cut bacon
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup boiling water
1 1/3 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup bacon fat, cooled
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
3 oz dark chocolate

frosting
1 cup butter
1/3 cup milk
splash of vanilla
1/2 cup maple syrup
4 cups (or so) of powdered sugar

cupcakes
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare muffin tin with cupcake papers
  • Mix together hot water and cocoa powder until totally dissolved. Set in the fridge to cool. 
  • Heat up a pan and cook that bacon! Save the grease and pop it in the fridge to cool because we'll be using it in the cupcakes.
  • Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.
  • Cream butter, sugar, and bacon fat together in bowl. Add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla. 
  • Combine with dry ingredients, then add water/cocoa mixture. Add mini chocolate chips and mix until combined.
  • Divide into muffin tins, and cook for 15-19 minutes, or until tops spring back when touched.
chocolate covered bacon
  • Take that bacon you cooked earlier, and chop into bite sized pieces or smaller. 
  • Melt the 3oz dark chocolate in a double boiler or microwave until smooth
  • Take 2/3 of the chopped, cooked bacon, and mix in with the chocolate. Spread on a piece of waxed paper, spreading out the bacon as much as possible. (The clumps will dry together, so you'd rather have small pieces to cover your cupcakes with, rather than big pieces) 
  • If you're in a rush, pop this into the fridge. Let harden.

frosting
cream together butter, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add 1/2 of the milk and 2 cups of sugar. If too stiff/too soft, add more sugar or milk until frosting is desired consistency.

putting it all together
  • Frost the cupcakes with the maple frosting once the cupcakes are completely cool.
  • Take the cooled chocolate bacon and sprinkle over the cupcakes. Once they look chocolatey and delicious, take the non-chocolate bacon and fill in the gaps.

And there you have it! A weird (but delicious!) treat.


May 14, 2013

DC, my home.

A few weeks ago, quite a few people passed around this article. The author's basic thesis is simple (and explicit): "Life is too hard and too short to spend in the office trying to get ahead, while outside in the bright sunshine, the parade passes by."

However, some people who posted this on their facebook added additional commentary, simplifying the author's point  to something quite different, saying that it was instead a call away from cities and toward small towns.

A few days after reading the Business Report piece, I found "Capital Offense" on Front Porch Republic. The author, Jeffrey Polet makes a general point about capital cities,  using Washington, D.C. as his main example. He seems to make the same argument that facebook pulled from the Business Report piece: cities are bad, not-cities are good. Unfortunately, it's clear Mr. Polet never paid attention to "the bright sunshine [and] parade [passing him] by" right here in this city.

When describing DC, Mr. Polet says "Washington is a place inhabited by rich families in the SuperZips, by 20-something singles who want bars, restaurants, nightlife and shopping and who embody the nihilistic chic of contemporary culture, and by the avaricious and ambitious. It is a place no one is from but people flock to because it is a 'cool urban place.'”

While this may be true of some, to paint the entire city with such a broad brush necessarily stretches the truth. It is insulting to ignore the many families who are from DC and who have lived here for generations.  Mr. Polet continues the insult, lumping everyone together as "avaricious" and, used pejoratively, "ambitious."

Now to be perfectly honest, I am not "from" DC, in that I wasn't born there, and have yet to have a Washington, DC address. I am from Northern Virginia, the sprawling yet crowded suburbia that has to exist to support such a city. If anything, it's a social set up hated even more by the Back to the Small Towns crowd. The author also lived in one of these suburbs, so we're coming from the same place.

The description of Washington isn't the most frustrating part of Mr. Polet's article. He saves that for his very last thought.  He barely bothers to support this assertions, assuming that everyone will agree with him. "The capitol, the memorials, the museums – none of them connect to the heart like dipping in the salt-free waters of Lake Michigan, a lake trout snapping on a J-plug, the tulips blooming in early May, or a run down a sandy dune."

Perhaps the capitol, memorials, and museums didn't connect to Mr. Polet's heart because he didn't try? The other things he mentions are beautiful moments, but that doesn't mean DC is (somehow) both sterile and rotten. Did Mr. Polet really feel nothing when he walked the aisles of the Supreme Court law library, thinking of John Quincy Adams arguing the Amistad case in the Capitol basement? Has Mr. Polet never looked into Abraham Lincoln's statued eyes on a summer night, as the rain pours down outside, while silently mouthing the second inaugural carved into the wall, imagining the war torn nation hearing those words?

Did he ever go with his mom and spend hours at the Edward Hopper exhibit in the Smithsonian, tracing the lines of New England cottages with his eyes, learning to love beauty and each other? Or maybe he never got a chance to stand alongside the tidal basin at sunrise, eating bagels with his family while the cherry blossoms sing with life.

DC isn't perfect by any means, and it certainly deserves its share of critique.  Even Ryan Lochte makes fun of us. But to say the only thing one can experience here is "nihilistic chic" is lazy. If your heart is not moved by the history, beauty, and people here you are the one missing out, not the city. As Eliot says, what we call the beginning is often the end. Similarly, for every place that is someone's leaving, it is someone else's coming home.

There can be arguments made that certain places better create community than others, but you are silly to say there can only be community in particular places. The Business Report article got that--it wasn't about leaving the small town for the city, it was the author shutting his heart off from companionship. He watched his sister who had built a vibrant life, and saw that she had more than he could ever imagine.

Your door can be open to the stranger at the gates anywhere. You can say goodbye to the office and reach for the bright sunshine and the parade anywhere. You can find things to connect with your heart anywhere. Mr. Polet may not have found a home in Washington, DC, but I have, and it is very good.

April 22, 2013

iPhone restaurant reviews -- Skinny Pancake

I like it when people write blog posts and include crisp, beautiful pictures, taken by their DSLR with expensive lenses. I like it when I have time to take pictures and think about them and compose them and try again and again.

Right now in my life, I don't have time for that. 

However, my iphone comes with me everywhere (thanks, Steve Jobs) and I do get to visit a few different places across America. So here's a mashup of 3 of my favorite things: writing, restaurants, and travel! (Okay fine, 4 favorite things. My iphone ranks up there too.) Expect to see a few more iPhone Restaurant Reviews coming to the blog soon.

Our first iphone Restaurant Review takes us to Skinny Pancake in Burlington, Vermont. Nestled in with the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain, Burlington in general made me want to eat local food, braid my hair, and use natural coconut oil lotion. So using the ever helpful Yelp, I found  Skinny Pancake, who seemed to fit into that general vibe, while also fitting into my budget.

Skinny Pancake interior, 100 yards from Lake Champlain. Check out that light fixture!

First of all, it's called  Skinny Pancake because they serve crepes. Crepes of all sorts--Breakfast, savory, sweet, whatever you could imagine. All of their ingredients are locally sourced, and also are especially delicious. 

 

On my first visit, I tried "The Cattle Rancher." Filled with sliced sirloin tip, carmelized onions, roasted red peppers, and cabot cheddar cheese, this crepe was serious business. The meat was flavorful and tender, the cheese melted perfectly, and the chipotle cream on the side gave it a kick of spice. Also, the salad was dressed with one of those olive oil-lemon juice-salt and pepper concoctions that are so easy to make but make everything taste like freshness and life. 

Skinny Pancake also serves local soda. Since I was in Vermont, I had to try "maple seltzer." Ingredients: maple syrup, seltzer water. Taste: not too sweet, a nice light addition to my MEAT MEAT MEAT crepe.


On my way out of Burlington, I got to visit Skinny Pancake again, because they have two different locations in the Burlington airport. This time I went a little more healthy with the Sass-squatch. The squash puree, whole wheat crepe, apples and spinach was definitely less filling than the crepe I had eaten a few days before, but that was great for lunch.

Thankfully, my flight was delayed, so I had to eat a nutella crepe as well. No pictures of that, because I devoured it. Hopefully I don't have to describe how nutella tastes to you?

While I only tried two of the many options on  Skinny Pancake's menu, it wasn't for lack of interest. Skinny Pancake strikes a good balance between providing classics and thinking up some new combos which are tasty. If you're ever in Burlington, check them out!


Skinny Pancake, Burlington VT
Various Locations
$6-$15
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
4 out of 5 stars

February 28, 2013

I don't think it works like that.

Overheard on the metro:

"Do you prepare for sequestration like you get ready for a blizzard? Should I buy some milk and bread?"

February 24, 2013

25:40

The boy (young man?) stood by the Union Station McDonalds.
"Excuse me," his pitch would start, then fade off as people walked past him. He was thin, but not unkempt. "Excuse me," he tried again, this time to a tall older man carrying a law school textbook in one arm.

The man stopped, and started talking to the boy. His voice was kind when he asked "How old are you?" The boy's responses were inaudible to me, but the man obviously heard them. "19? And what do you do with yourself?" The two shared a joke, and then the man's voice dropped and I couldn't hear what he was saying. He looked earnestly at the boy, though, and at the end, patted his back as though they were old friends.

I had started to move away, it was time to board my train. The boy approached the McDonald's counter and ordered something. When the cashier looked at him for the cash, he looked back at the man in his wool coat and glasses. The man came forward and paid for the boy's dinner. He waved goodbye, then turned away, and boarded the train home.

February 15, 2013

valentine issues

the place: in line at target
the time: 8:30pm, Valentine's night
the characters: me, buying stuff.
The guy behind me, probably about sixteen or seventeen, holding a giant red cardboard box of chocolate.

him, on his phone: "Yeah, well I talked to Charlie about the project and that's all going well. Oh yeah, these chocolates are sugar free, hope she won't hold that against me. Seriously, it was the only valentines chocolate they had left."

yeah I think she probably will hold that against you.


February 13, 2013

chocolate orange valentine cookies



I've always loved valentines day. Folding lacy doilies into cool valentine cards, sitting in a dorm room surrounded by pink paper and glitter, and chocolate-y raspberry desserts!

This year, February has been a particularly busy season, but in an effort to at least make a nod to the holiday, I made these tasty cookies. They are adapted from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook which if you don't own now, you should. I added in the orange flavor to make them a little more interesting than your average chocolate cookie.


Chocolate Orange Valentine Cookies
Cookies
3 cups of flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 tsp table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 sticks (sixteen tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar (if you skip the glaze, I'd up this to 1.5 cups)
2 large eggs
Zest of 2 oranges

Glaze
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1.5 tsps of triple sec or other orange liqueur  

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Sift together flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder.
  • Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs, one at a time. Add orange zest.
  • Gradually add in flour mixture. 
  • Wrap dough in plastic, and chill for at least one hour. (Do not skimp on this or your cookies will be a PAIN to roll out.
  • Roll out cookies on a well floured counter. Cut into shapes (since it's valentines, I went with hearts) Put on parchment paper or silpat in pan. You can keep these close together, they don't spread much. 
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes. WATCH THEM CLOSELY. You will think they are not done, and then they will be overdone. It's nutty.
  • Once cookies are totally cool, melt chocolate and triple sec together. I did this by melting for 10 seconds in the microwave, stirring, and repeat. Be careful here, it's really easy to burn this little amount of chocolate. Alternatively, you could bust out a double boiler, but for this little chocolate it seems like overkill.
  • Place cookies on a cooling rack over a table you don't mind messing up or parchment paper. Using a fork, flick the chocolate over the cookies. Allow to dry and then enjoy! (You can also enjoy beforehand. But then you might get a little chocolatey.) 


January 17, 2013

a little rusty

When I blog consistently, like most things, it gets easier and easier. I notice things I want to tell the world, the small interactions that make life so funny and worth living.

But it's been an off time for a while. Between work and life and random extraneous commitments I feel like my time is hemmed in at every which way and writing takes a backseat to the pressing now.

Tonight I got home from work around 9:30. I could have gone to bed, right then and there, but I wanted to bake something. Something easy, something calming. So I pulled out the Smitten Kitchen cookbook (which if you don't have, I highly recommend) and flipped through to the cookies, because those are always easy to whip up.

Roll-out brownie cookies sounded perfect. There is a sweet calm in measuring flour--spoon, smooth, dump, spoon, smooth, dump, a reassurance of the dough forming beneath my hands, a small (and very sweet!) satisfaction when seven ingredients come together into heart shaped chocolate perfection.

So no, I didn't get to bed on time. But I made cookies, and felt better for it.

December 22, 2012

vignettes

walmart, the Saturday morning before Christmas

1. A young man (married), scans the coffee aisle. In one arm he holds a cheap coffee maker with filters balanced on top of the box. Grabbing a bag of dark roast, he dodges the carts of other shoppers and walks quickly toward the check out. I can just imagine the conversation that happened before he left the house.
him: "I can't believe your parents don't own a coffee maker!"
her: "I brought starbucks VIA packs."
him: "They're not the same."
her: "Can't you go a few days without coffee?"
him: "Nevermind. I'm going to walmart."


2. A man and his teenage son walk towards the back of the store.
Father: "Your mom said to get cheese and crackers."
Son: "Cheese? There's like a hundred types of cheese."
Father: "I think she meant something fancy."
Son: "I want American."

(and me? I just bought the apple juice I needed to make more apple cider caramels.)




December 03, 2012

why people text instead of talking

I have always loved reading, and plunged quickly into long chapter books soon after I finished the "a-a-apple" of phonics. This meant I knew a lot of words I had never actually heard said out loud, which led to some pronunciation issues. For example, one day I asked my mom the difference between crocheting and knitting. Except I said "crotch-ett-ing," and my mom started laughing at me.

With the advent of the internet, I can now avoid this embarrassment thanks to google. However, the other day, I didn't take the time to look something up before proclaiming that I planned on making an apple "guy-yette."

My mom: "I think it's just pronounced the way it's spelled. Gah-lette."



I realized if I had just texted her, she never would have been the wiser to my poorly pronounced ways. Now I understand you, texters of the world. (and how you can create the difficult to pronounce "ROFL.")

And yes, I did make this delicious apple galette, and you should too, because it's super easy, even if you're bad at pie crust. The apples taste like December candy joy. Shutterbean says use a food processor but I just did it by hand. There are no pictures on my end because it was kind of wolfed down by people in this house.

November 22, 2012

Now thank we all our God

 
Oh, may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,



With ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us;



And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;


And guard us through all ills in this world, till the next!



"Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God . . .  from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever, amen." (Romans 11:33, 36)


Happy Thanksgiving!




November 20, 2012

goodbye, hostess.

via facebook
After hearing the news that Hostess was liquidating, and no more ho hos or twinkies would ever grace our grocery store shelves, it seemed appropriate to buy a box of twinkies--in memoriam, you know?

I was visiting my friend E, and we headed out to the grocery store with her five-week-old baby, realizing with a touch of sadness that he might never know a world with twinkies, all of that overprocessed flour and crisco and filling that made your teeth hurt because it was so very sweet. We also realized that neither of us had eaten a twinkie in about ten years, and we didn't even like them all that much. But still! It was the principle that mattered.

At the first grocery store, the Hostess section was cleared out. Only a few bags of sad, powdered sugar donuts were left. The store had set up a Little Debbie display close to the Hostess display. Gloating, much? They did have Little Debbie "cloud cakes," which looked like twinkies, but obviously weren't QUITE the same.

No problem! There's another grocery store on our way home. We'll stop there and grab some twinkies. We walked toward the hostess section, and again, it looked like the hostess section was empty. There was a grocery store employee putting bread onto one of the shelves, so I asked him "Do you have any twinkies?"
He shook his head. "Are you looking to sell them?"
"No, we want to eat them!"
He didn't really seem to understand what I meant by that. "I would sell them. They are going for $25,000 on ebay."
"So you don't have any."
He looked confused. "You want to sell them."

Maybe he was trying a jedi mind trick on us? It wasn't working, and they didn't have twinkies. So we went home and ate regular food. Goodbye, Hostess. (if you want a more touching goodbye article, check out this NYT piece.)

November 13, 2012

music in the fall

For a few years, when our family was still in the "small enough to stay in one cabin in the Shenandoah" category, but "kids are old enough to remember what was going on," we would go out to the Appalachian mountains in the fall.

When it is fall, it seems best to listen to guitar based strumming and old songs that could have been sung in the mountains for generations. Thanks to my friend Mary Sue, I've discovered Noah Gundersen, who makes beautiful music that fits the bill perfectly. Check out a few of my new favorites below.


November 11, 2012

november, an apologetic

november sunset

“November is the most disagreeable month in the whole year," said Margaret, standing at the window one dull afternoon, looking out at the frostbitten garden. 

Nearly ever fall, I re-read Little Women. There's something comforting in seeing the March sisters grow up again and again, and I always find a part of the book that I hadn't quite appreciated fully before.


But this part--the part where Meg hates on November--has always bothered me. November is one of my favorite months. Why? Well,  election day, the weather (not so cold that you're sick of it), Thanksgiving, after-Thanksgiving-preparing-for-Christmas, mulled cider, and scarves. I mean, really--that's most of the good stuff in life right there.



October 24, 2012

the rise and fall of my ipod

(or: why you shouldn't run to catch your metro train.)

I bought my ipod classic about 5 years ago. That ipod has gone everywhere with me--from 15-passenger van rides in middle-of-nowhere Ohio for debate tournaments to when I was desperately trying to get the itunes store to work in Kunming, China, so I could download the new Josh Groban album.

Every once in a while I wonder if my ipod will die on me, but it was trucking right along, doing great, playing reruns of This American Life every day as I rode home from work on the train. I decided that my ipod and I would be together forever. I would be in a nursing home playing something better than "the junk the kids these days are listening to!" on my 2007 ipod classic.

But those dreams came to a horrible end.

I had gone to the library of congress, and after spending an afternoon wrangling bound books of newspapers from the 1850s, I was tired and ready to get home. I had to switch trains, and as I came up to the level of the red line train, I saw that my train was waiting there. "I can totally make it," I thought to myself. This was confirmed by the fact that we were at an intensely strummed part of a Mumford and Sons song, so I was filled with righteous inspiration. Ipod in my dress pocket, purse in hand, I started running.

The funny thing about my dress pocket is that wasn't quite as deep as I thought it was. 3 feet from the train day, I saw my ipod bounce out of my pocket, and fly up in the air. It jerked out of my headphones, and crashed to the floor. However, thanks to the streamlined design of Steve Jobs, it didn't just stop right there on the floor. It slid forward--but instead of sliding onto the train, it slid into the gap between the train and the platform. See below for an illustration of the gap.

a grainy cell phone pictures of "THE GAP"

MIND THE GAP little ipod! Didn't you see the signs?!

After walking up and down the platform with a helpful station manager, we couldn't see my ipod anywhere. I'm sorry little ipod. I did my best to save you.

So now I was faced with the sad  task of replacing my ipod. A new ipod classic seemed so--excessive. I didn't need 160GB of space. And an ipod touch?! How. . .newfangled. But I didn't really want a used ipod classic. Sure, my old ipod had been scratched and scuffed, but they were MY scratches and scuffs! Those are personal.

That was when my buddy, Blumby, came to my rescue. She had an ipod classic she didn't use anymore. And it was from our highschool and college days, when we were debate partners and friends, so it was like I had been a part of those scratches and scuffs.

So now I have a new ipod. Thanks, Blumby. I also have a newfound dedication to not running in the metro. Or at least, only walking really quickly.





September 27, 2012

multitasking while driving is bad

Yesterday, I flew into South Carolina, rented and car, and prepared for a 2 hour drive for a work meeting. I've done a fair amount of car renting and driving for work before, so I wasn't too worried.

It started when I got to the counter, and the guy couldn't find my reservation. "No problem," he finally said, after staring at his computer for a while. "We have a car for you. It's a toyota yaris. I only have SUVs and minivans otherwise, which I can't offer you, since you're under 25."

Its just me and my carry-on suitcase, so as long as the car has a trunk, I'm good. About 5 minutes into driving, I realize something annoying. This car has no cruise control and only one weird hidden cup holder. Oh well. 6 minutes in, I realized something even more annoying. The inside of this particular toyota yaris looks like this:

photo by onsurga.com

So yes, that means that the speedometer is in a dark, recessed area to the right of the steering wheel.  I'll just get used to glancing over to my right to see the speedometer, I can handle this.

Funny story about my eyes. My left eye is fantastic. It can do backflips and whatever in low light and peripheral vision. My right eye functions like dial up internet against cable--it's slow and can really only see what's directly in front of it.

This means that as I get on the highway and start driving a little bit more quickly, I quickly realize this will be non-functional. In order to check my speed, I have to turn my whole head, decipher the dark and incoherent speedometer, and then look back at the road. By the time I've figured out how fast I'm going, I've already blown through a red light, swerved across 3 lanes, and narrowly avoided a telephone pole. (perhaps I exaggerate.)

Realizing this was not an option, I used my handy GPS to find a nearby Enterprise rent-a-car, which I hoped would have more small cars, since the guy at the airport had told me they did not. Two enterprises without small cars later, I'm told to go back to the airport.

"But they said they can't give me an SUV."
"They should be able to."
"Are you sure they have a car for me?"
"Yes, I told him you were under 25."

Great. Back to the airport (I'm about 15 minutes away). I walk in. "I'm afraid I'm going to get into an accident. Do you have a car with a speedometer behind the steering wheel?"

The same Enterprise man who talked to me the first time says, "I don't know what to tell you. I don't have anything else I can give you."

At this point I was tired, in fear of my imminent car crash or ticket at the hands of South Carolina police, and feeling betrayed, since the other enterprise man said they DID have a car for me at the airport.

"But, the other guy said--"
"I don't know what you're talking about."

Then hero enterprise rent-a-car man showed up. He was apparently more versed in reading the "I'm about to cry in frustration and I'm really sorry that I can't drive this stupid car this is both embarrassing and concerning but I could really use another car" face I was making.

"We can have them pull up a Chrysler. No problem. I'll just update your paperwork."

.....

There had been another car there the whole time?!

So I drove 2 hours, and today am driving 2 hours back, in a perfectly regular car with a speedometer in a regular place, cruise control, and cup holders. Thanks, hero enterprise man.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...