January 14, 2011 § 1 Comment
New Year’s Eve I sat on the couch and watched Clueless with Alex and my dear friend, Amy Orr. I was sick. with the flu.
Come midnight, I was lying on the floor and staring at the ceiling. Still, I was wearing a sparkly tanktop with my sweatpants, sweater and scarf — I needed to maintain some appearance that this was an evening to party.
For some reason, my resolutions this year all have to do with heart health. Someone, please interpret that for me. They are, as follows:
-eat dark chocolate every day
-drink more red wine
-watch (or at least be aware of) my intake of saturated fats
It’s kind of like how last year, I decided I needed to start wearing sunscreen more often. All throughout junior high and high school, I thought being tan was “cool,” so sunscreen was the thing holding me back from coolness, like when a sixteen year old first gets his license but has to drive his mom’s white minivan to school and social events.
I’ve had the (strange? late?) realization that my skin belongs to me, and so I should take care of it. This does mean applying sunscreen, and wearing a hat occasionally. This doesn’t mean leaving the sunscreen off in hopes of a bronzed tone that I really can’t achieve. My heart and its health are mine to care for, in so far as I can.
Yea, but who am I kidding? Who wouldn’t want to take care of their heart, if it means eating an ounce of dark chocolate daily and savoring a glass of red wine?
December 30, 2010 § 2 Comments
-that our dear friends invited us over for dinner the night we returned from a week with family in san diego. in light of the sadness that comes after the end of cherished time with family, God gave me a sort of buffer and reminded me that He has provided friends where we are now.
-that i did not get sick until the day after we returned from san diego.
-for my husband, sitting on the floor, with his headphones on listening to a french lesson and pronouncing random words and sentences aloud.
-for my new scarf.
-for the chance to get a massage tomorrow.
December 16, 2010 § 2 Comments
Well, it’s been some time since I’ve had the misfortune of dropping things, burning things, or generally creating messes in the kitchen. In the past two weeks, though, I made up for it. In the past, I’ve thought to myself that increased opportunities for cooking mean I will grow in my experience and expertise as a cook. While this is hopefully true, I was not prepared to grow by means of failure.
Holiday Baking Endeavor 1 – Chocolate Chip cookies
Everyday Food had the greatest looking recipe for chocolate chip cookies – classic. I set out to make them and was doing well, with minimal clean-up to do in the kitchen. However, when I went to turn on the mixer to add in the dry ingredients, my hand slipped and I flipped it to high speed with about 3 cups of flour in there. FLOUR EVERYWHERE. On the floor. On the wall. On me. On our appliances. Behind and under our appliances.
Failed on one count.
Holiday Baking Endeavor 2 – Orangettes
These orangettes (chocolate covered candied orange peel) needed to be boiled in sugar water for 1 hour. Despite the recipes heeding to check frequently less they burn, I happily bummed around on facebook instead and then leisurely went to check on them after what I thought had been an hour. SMOKE EVERYWHERE. To the extent that my eyes started burning, I was coughing, and there was a slight haze throughout our house. In an attempt to air out the apartment, Alex placed our box fan on our dining room table, level with the windows in that room. It fell off. Twice (loud noises). The second time one of the blades broke off.
Failed on two counts?
Holiday Baking Endeavor 3 – Cranberry Upside-down Cake
In preparation for a craft tea a friend and I hosted this Saturday, I decided to make a Cranberry Upside-down cake for the main feature of the food table. Yum. This cake is where it’s at — a “topping” of cranberries, orange juice, brown sugar, butter.
After you bake the cake, you have to turn it upside down onto a plate or cake platter of your choice. When I went to do this, I noticed that the center of the cake looked rather…gummy. gooey. totally and completely not finished, with absolutely no way of getting it back into the pan or oven, and a total and complete need to get driving up to Pasadena. Another friend of mine was driving with me and encouraged me that maybe it would “set” in the car or in the fridge once we arrived.
Friends, it had no chance. 85 degree heat in bumper to bumper traffic for an hour (My, how I love how L.A. brings in the Christmas season), that uncooked cake center broke a hole through the cake’s exterior and began making its way around the plate.
Facing the fact that we would have to throw the cake in the trash, we consoled ourselves by sampling the edge — it was DELICIOUS. Once we arrived, we offered a sample to the other hostess — she agreed. We couldn’t throw the cake away. We cut off the edges and served it as “cranberry coffee cake.”
Failed on 3 counts (uncooked cake, heat, traffic). Succeeded on 2 (deliciousness of cake, ability to salvage cooked pieces).
Holiday Baking Endeavor 4 – Buckeyes
Last night, I made buckeyes with my friend Janna. We mixed the peanut butter center, carefully dipped them in tempered chocolate, and set them on wax paper, layed out on a baking sheet. After we had finished, I suggested we put them in the fridge to harden the chocolate. I grabbed the baking sheet, walked over to the fridge, and tried pushing in a drawer with my foot so I could open the fridge door. Not so good. The shift in balance caused a slight tilt to the baking sheet. The wax paper slid off. In. slow. motion. all. the. buckeyes. fell. to. the. floor. CHOCOLATE EVERYWHERE. PEANUT BUTTER EVERYWHERE. SADNESS, DISAPPOINTMENT EVERYWHERE.
Fortunately, the wax paper saved most of them from touching the floor.
Fortunately, we had more chocolate to re-dip them, as any elegance they had had departed after their 3 foot descent and encounter with the counter, the cupboards, the floor.
Fortunately, the combination of chocolate and peanut butter tastes good enough that looks lose their importance.
Failed on every count except one (the extra chocolate/peanut butter we got to snack on due to this incident).
Sometimes I do wonder how I got this way.
November 20, 2010 § 2 Comments
Something about this month is beautiful. I could say that about every month — being out of school, each month is no longer peppered and pressured with deadlines, and I am learning a new character of the calendar.
November is an orange and blue-gray month. Daylight savings brings brighter mornings and earlier evenings. The first hours of the day verge on being cold; the afternoon sun is still warm. Sunny southern California (hopefully) kisses summer goodbye.
November is a month for anticipating. Thanksgiving, Christmas, time with family, the end of the calendar year. These things come in quick succession, and once they begin sometimes reflection and preparation is no longer possible. The first few weeks of November are maybe the last “normal” weeks of the year.
Tonight Alex and I went out for a pizza. We walked from our apartment, in the cold air. Now we are back, I am wearing a wool sweater, and we are each enjoying a glass of Chianti.
Oh, November. You and your occasionally sullen skies can visit anytime.
November 20, 2010 § Leave a comment
Listed below are the books I have picked up and put back down in the last four months. Forgive me, I’m afraid my attention has been hard to catch.
1. William Faulkner’s “The Sound and the Fury”
2. T.S. White’s “The Once and Future King”
3. Madeline L’Engle’s “The Severed Wasp”
4. Rodney Stark’s “The Victory of Reason”
However, the following literature has caught my attention. Perhaps this is a “non-fiction only” time of year. Or a “spend most of your free time cooking, cleaning or sleeping” time of year.
1. Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin’s “Three Cups of Tea.”
2. Paul Miller’s “The Praying Life.”
3. Real Simple‘s October, November and December Issues.
4. All the emails in my inbox.
5. Multiple cooking blogs and design blogs, a few thought-provoking blogs and the updates from my friends’ blogs. Blog is a weird word.
Books on my “need to read” list?
1. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
2. Mind of the Maker by Dorothy Sayers
3. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer (I actually have this one checked out and sitting on my nightstand. Thanksgiving read?)
November 6, 2010 § 4 Comments
Currently, it’s Saturday morning. A (that stands for Alex) is still sleeping, I have been up since the crack of dawn (actually, before dawn) because I had to work for a couple of hours this morning. It is only 10:30, and I have already driven the town, drank some coffee, worked two hours, had my bangs trimmed, put away clean dishes, and made and eaten breakfast. What a Saturday.
Now I sit at the computer, whose power cord is so finicky that when I breathe it comes disconnected, and panicking, I fiddle with it as the computer plunges towards its speedy demise. So I hover over this keyboard, afraid of typing too vigorously lest that little green light turn off.
The rest of the day should be filled with normal Saturday things — a few errands for him, a bit of pilates for me, some requisite tidying and cleaning, maybe an episode or two of Friends.
This is what A and I are as a team — doing life together by being in the same space and enjoying one another’s company on this Saturday. Supporting each other in our separate tasks and different ambitions. Working together to ensure that chores get done so that we can live in a clean, functioning space, working so that we can move forward together into whatever is next. I know being a team in marriage works itself out differently in every stage of life. This is what it is for us now.