Monday, June 30, 2008
Yesterday we slept in until 10:30. I can't remember the last time I was able to sleep in that long. This was, of course, after getting up at 5:00 AM to let the dogs out and feed them breakfast. Husband was hungover so it took some convincing to get him up. I was starving and full of energy. We had breakfast at Hot Plate, then I had to go to Michael's to pick up stuff to make the Greatest Skate Bag of All Time©™§µω.
Neither of us was excited about going home so we went to Como. After fighting off the hoardes for a parking space (there may have been chainsaws and golf clubs involved) we took a stroll around the zoo. The Como Zoo is much smaller when you don't go through the buildings. And what happened to the bears? It's been a few years since I've been there. I used to go almost every weekend when I lived in St. Paul. Almost had a social anxiety meltdown in the Conservatory so we got the heck out of there and went down to the lake. We wanted to rent a paddleboat but srsly? $15/hour? No thanks, guys.
I got soaked in the big fountain and was fully expecting to hang out there until I dried off but Husband wanted to get moving. So we took my damp ass to the Humane Society to pet the fuzzies.
Husband was having a serious sushi craving so we checked the ol' bank account to see if my paycheck cleared and -- woo hoo! -- it did. Too bad Tanpopo was closed because I was having my own udon craving. It's OK because it looks like they don't have much for sushi anymore. We went back to our 'hood, went to Ba-Gu and feasted. Unfortunately the patio was full but whatever; the food was good and it was happy hour. I had some of the best tako nigiri I've ever had.
Friday, June 27, 2008
1. Do you like to have music playing while you work? Why or why not? If yes, what is your favourite music or type of music to hear then?
I occasionally listen to music at work but mostly I'm an FM107 junkie.
2. Do you like to have music playing while you travel (walk, drive, ride, etc.)? Why or why not? If yes, what is your favourite music or type of music to hear then?
Yes! I need music when I'm driving. It's imperative when I'm driving by myself because that's my chance to sing. So naturally I choose singable stuff. Tori Amos and Lily Allen are frequent guests in my car. Whenever I wear my full face helmet on my scooter it's like I'm in my own personal recording booth so I get to sing to myself without anybody knowing.
3. Do you like to have music playing while you have sex? Why or why not? If yes, what is your favourite music or type of music to hear then?
Yes. Metal. Never found anyone who also enjoys this, however.
4. Do you like to have music playing while you're relaxing or having fun? Why or why not? If yes, what is your favourite music or type of music to hear then?
Yes, of course. My playlists include punk rock, metal, rock, pop, j-pop, classical, classic rock, oldies, and a tiny smidge of hip hop -- Brother Ali.
5. In general, what role does music play in your daily life?
1. You have the summer and plenty of money to travel abroad. Where all would you go?
Southeast Asia. Thailand, Vietnam, Bali, Indonesia, maybe up into China.
2. What foods would you be sure you got to eat?
Everything without bird, mammal, or insect! Everything! NOM NOM NOM
3. What landmarks would you be sure you got to see?
4. What airline would you use?
Whatever had the best deal.
5. Would your knowledge of other languages influence where you went? (i.e. would you be more likely to go to France if you spoke French)
1. Who would you take with you on a road trip?
My husband, duh.
2. What states would you visit?
The Southwest and West Coast.
3. What national parks and/or monuments would you go see?
The Grand Canyon, any number of desert national parks, the Pacific Coast Highway, Yellowstone, Devil's Tower.
4. Las Vegas: Overrated or a Must-See?
Eh. I'd mostly go to eat.
5. How long would you be gone?
Ideally 2.5-3 weeks.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Edit: thanks, Spicehound! I've only been to Ohio once (Dayton) and was traumatized. No offense. ;)
Yesterday was an absolutely stunning day. It was my non-running day (I'm trying to do two on, one off) so I buckled down for a strength training challenge from a group on SparkPeople that has been kicking my ass, Project Mayhem. Yes, like Fight Club. I started with 20 minutes of moderate cardio, then did 20 minutes of circuit training working mostly the abs. Husband came home and I hemmed and hawed and ultimately decided to join him on his mile run. Whoops, I wore the wrong bra and only got half a block (OW). I walked home, put on a proper boob holster, then met up with him halfway on his route.
We ate some leftovers but we were still hungry so we decided to go to the store and get stuff for salad. At the last minute husband decided we shouldn't waste the beautiful day so we grabbed the dogs and went to Minnehaha. Dodged the Minneapolis Park Police (whoops -- we're not paying for off-leash licenses!) and took the back trail down to the dog park.
Shillelagh, the puppy, has been thus far very non-Chessie-like when it comes to water. She would only reluctantly go in and she wasn't too happy about it. Like a light switch being flipped, she decided that water is the COOLEST thing EVARRR. Dada and Mama threw sticks for her to retrieve all night. Bindi even got in for a swim, which is really, really, really weird. So after a couple of hours of hiking around we went back to the truck with two dogs who were not as exhausted as they should have been and two humans who were paying the price of stupidly forgetting to bring bug spray.
Side note: if you've never been to Minnehaha Falls or the dog park, GO THERE. It's absolutely the most beautiful park in the Twin Cities. Even if you don't have dogs, take a walk down to the dog park. It's worth it, trust me. Just remember to bring bug spray.
We stopped by the store and got our salad supplies, went home, and had pre-bedtime giant salad.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Lesbians sentenced for self-defenseRead the rest here.
All-white jury convicts Black women
By Imani Henry
Published Jun 21, 2007 2:58 AM
On June 14, four African-American women—Venice Brown (19), Terrain Dandridge (20), Patreese Johnson (20) and Renata Hill (24)—received sentences ranging from three-and-a-half to 11 years in prison. None of them had previous criminal records. Two of them are parents of small children.
Their crime? Defending themselves from a physical attack by a man who held them down and choked them, ripped hair from their scalps, spat on them, and threatened to sexually assault them—all because they are lesbians.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Oh, the children.
The oldest one, a girl, is polite and not a problem. The boys are rude, foul-mouthed, and disrespectful. They range in age from probably about six or seven to maybe ten. The boys like to shout things at me and anyone in our backyard from their upstairs window. Rude things. Horrible things. personal things. They've done this to just me, me and my husband, our friends, my family, and my husband's family. We have up until now been taking the high road and just ignoring it. We didn't want to encourage it or make it escalate into anything worse, if that was possible.
Last night after an extremely long and taxing weekend entertaining out-of-town guests my husband and I were sitting out back and trying to decompress. From the window come the familiar voices. "Hey! Hey you two! Look up here! Hey! Hey girl! Hey young girl!" ("Young girl?" I guess I'll take that as a kind of compliment.) "That's an ugly outfit you're wearing!"
I pleaded with my husband with my eyes. He wasn't aware of the things that they said to me when he wasn't around. I told him. Sure, I may have been baiting him a little bit but I was just tired of it. I am a non-confrontational person 99% of the time. He's got the deep, booming voice and communication skills. I'm 5' tall, apparently young-looking, and I have a stuttering/stammering problem when I get flustered.
Our backyard is supposed to be our sanctuary. These kids have desecrated that.
The kids came running outside (they had been going in and out all night, alternating running down the alley and yelling from the window). My husband got up and told them to listen up. The kids froze. I guess they thought the young white kids were going to let them walk all over them forever. One of the adults was further down the alley and they called him over.
My husband told him that the harassment needed to stop. The man was huffy and puffing out his chest. Why? I don't know. We've never so much as had words with him. I've said hi to one of the adult ladies several times and was only met with blank stares. I don't know what we've ever done to piss any of them off. I wasn't about to start a deep, meaningful conversation and question the household's parenting skills. We were just letting them know that we weren't going to take it anymore.
"Why wasn't I told?" the guy kept interrupting.
"I'm telling you right now!" said my husband. I mean, seriously, duh.
The guy finally backed down. "Oh, well then that's cool."
And to my amazement, he (mostly calmly, which was unexpected) talked to the kids and told them to knock it off.
Is it finally over? We'll see. If those kids so much as utter a sound in my direction I'm marching my ass over there again. And if it happens one more time I'm filing harassment charges. I hope to hell it doesn't come to that.
All I'm asking is to live and let live.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
Friday we had an impromptu cookout with friends. Saturday I put up a simple fence around the garden so the dogs can't dig up my future sustenance anymore. It actually turned out really nice, considering it was just bamboo poles, plastic poultry fencing, and twist ties. I had a minor morality issue with buying the plastic fencing over the regular metal chicken wire, but having worked with and drawn much blood by the regular stuff I decided to go the non-green route. The packaging said that it's supposedly recyclable so I'll hang on to that. I still have to get a couple of bags of garden soil to finish filling in some of the dog holes but overall the garden looks pretty great.
I also moved two tables and a full box of free stuff out to the curb. By the end of the day 90% of the stuff was gone. It's amazing the things people will take when you put a free sign on it. Plastic travel soap dish? Seriously? OK, cool. I just hope that someone takes the old birdcage sometime this week.
Dan and I were sitting by the fire pit that night around 10:30 when there were some flashes of lightning and a couple of raindrops. All of the sudden out of nowhere the wind kicked up like crazy and we had to rush to bring in what was left of the free pile. I was sure some of the giant oak trees on the next block over were going down. Thankfully the wind just got a few stray branches that didn't get knocked down in last week's storm (or the week before's).
Yesterday was Father's Day. My dad said that all that he wanted was for everyone to go to his airplane hangar and clean things up so that he can get one of his 4.75 (non-working) planes in the air. So that's what we did. And we even scrubbed the fuselage of Cessna #1. Then we went back to my parents' place and stuffed ourselves, watched golf (I fell asleep), and played golf on the Wii.
YES, CAPN UNDAPANTZ, I WENT TO MERCADO CENTRAL AND GOT SOME TORTILLAS.
Oh my, and what amazing tortillas they are. I got a package of 36 ($1!) and also got a tostada to go (delicioso!). Dan got a Cuban at Manny's, as is his tradition. I think I ate four or five tortillas straight out of the bag between Minneapolis and the hangar. I put together some fish and shrimp tacos. My sister-in-law made bulgogi skewers (I took some of the bulgogi sauce and put it on some seitan for me… yum!), veggie, turkey, and ham roll-ups; fruit salad, and dessert. We were all stuffed. Now we've got a ton of tortillas left over so I think I might make my own tostadas tonight.
I feel very behind on things online right now. Since it's summer I don't feel bad. ^_^
Friday, June 13, 2008
Wait, that's not rhubarb upside-down cake. That's the salad I had for dinner last night. I was craving a giant salad (yes, that's a mixing bowl. And yes, it was all for me.) so I picked up a couple different types of lettuce, some spinach, a pint of strawberries, crumbled feta, and poppyseed dressing. It hit the spot.
But onto the main event. When I was at the store I picked up some rhubarb. It may be the biggest rhubarb I've ever seen. I told my husband that you could probably beat someone to death with this mutant rhubarb.
You start off by soaking 1/2 cup oats in 2/3 cup boiling water while you prepare everything else. The recipe called for quick oats but I had old fashioned so I just let them sit longer. The cake turned out just fine.
Mix 2 tablespoons melted butter and 1/3 cup sugar in an 8x8 baking dish. Put 2 cups of chopped rhubarb on top of this and set aside.
This is a boring picture. It's a medium bowl in which I have mixed 1 cup flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp salt.
Here are the wet ingredients. Why is sugar always a wet ingredient? I have no idea. But you mix 2/3 cup sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 egg, and 1/4 cup oil in a large bowl.
Add the flour mixture and the soaked oats and stir until juuuuuust combined. Lumps and white streaks are OK.
Pour this mess over your rhubarb and bake in a 350 degree F oven for 50 minutes.
This is why I don't bake more often. I feel like I have to clean EVERY DAMN DISH in my kitchen afterwards.
After you pull the cake out of the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes, put a serving plate (or an old, mismatched orphan plate) on top of it and carefully invert. It's an upside-down cake, remember? Some of the rhubarb stuck to the pan so I just scraped it out and plopped it back on top.
This is why I should bake more often. This would be AWESOME with whipped cream or vanilla frozen yogurt, or perhaps fresh cream whipped with a touch of Cointreau and cinnamon.
Full recipe at Better Homes & Gardens.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Here are most the ingredients assembled: 2 cups cheese (I used Colby because that's what we had and it's nummy), 1 bunch of broccoli cut into small florets, 1 small diced onion, 1 diced clove of garlic, 1 thinly sliced medium carrot, 1 chopped red bell pepper, about a tablespoon of chopped parsley, simple pizza dough, and a few leaves of basil finely chopped. I also used 1 egg, some shredded Parmesan, salt and pepper, and crushed red pepper.
I'm going to skip some pictures because I assume you've all seen garlic and onion being cooked until soft in a pan. I also assume that you've blanched carrot and/or broccoli in boiling water for a minute and a half until they are crisp-tender. The basic building blocks of cooking make for boring photography.
To make the dough, combine 3 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon each salt and sugar, and 1 packet of yeast. Add a cup of hot or boiling water (no need to worry about killing off too much yeast since we're not looking for a good rise), cover, and let sit while you prepare the filling.
Put all the veggies, cheese, and herbs in a large bowl and mix well. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Maybe some oregano would be nice. Whatever you like.
Divide the dough into four parts and roll them each out to about an 8" diameter circle. Plop down as much filling as you dare on half of the circles, leaving a 1" border around the edge. Pull the free dough over to form a semi-circle (duh, it's a calzone and we all know what those look like, right?) Seal the edges with water and crimp down with a fork.
I lined two cookie sheets with parchment paper (leftover from my last cookie adventure -- reduce, reuse, recycle!) and put two calzones on each. Brush them with a beaten egg...
... and top with Parmesan cheese. Prick the tops with a fork so they don't blow up. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. If you use two sheets on two different oven racks like I did, rotate them after 15 minutes.
Et voila! Your calzones are complete. Serve with warm marinara or leftover spaghetti sauce pulled from your freezer.
I had quite a bit of the filling leftover that is going to make fabulous omelettes tomorrow morning.
Delectable Vegetarian Calzones
PikaPikaChick's additions in italics
Make extras of these filling calzones, and serve them with warm marinara sauce.
For the filling
1 medium carrot, sliced
Broccoli florets from 1 large head of broccoli
1 3/4 cups soy cheese
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1/8 tsp. black pepper
salt to taste
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
For the dough
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 package (or 14 oz.) active dry yeast
1 cup boiling water
Preheat the oven to 350ºF and spray a baking sheet with vegetable cooking spray.
Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil over medium heat, add the carrot and broccoli, and cook until crisp but tender, about 1 minute. Drain and rinse under cold water.
In a large bowl, combine the carrot, broccoli, soy cheese, and red pepper. Mix well.
In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until softened, about 3 minutes. Add to the vegetable mixture. Add the parsley and pepper. Mix well.
For the dough, combine the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl.
Mix in the boiling water. Divide the dough into 4 balls. Roll each ball into an 8-inch circle.
Place the filling evenly over half of each circle, leaving a 1-inch border. Fold the dough over the filling and pinch the edges together to seal.
Place on the prepared baking sheet. Prick the tops with a fork. Bake the calzone until golden brown (about 25 minutes). Serve hot.
Makes 4 servings
Monday, June 09, 2008
This is, without a doubt, the most amazing picture I've ever seen.
I've been reading up on desert survival and camping tips. I came upon an article about rattlesnake bite season wherein I found this little gem:
There is ample supply of rattlesnake anti-venom, but it's expensive, about $1,200 a vial, Bernstein said. And a nasty bite could take 18 or so vials to clear.Ouch. And have you seen what rattlesnake venom does to you? The article says that the majority of bite victims in the USA are young, drunk males who get bit on the upper extremities. Oh men, you are a wacky gender. Death, disfigurement, and bunkruptcy are evidently not enough of a snake deterrent for the male bravado.
Not that I'm guy bashing, because I'm sure there are a few dumb women out there who utter those fateful words, "Hey, hold my beer and watch this!"
Even with the scary local fauna, I'm still really excited. I've had this intense need to go to the desert for over a year now. I can't explain it, I just know that I need to go. I'm absolutely intrigued by Arches National Park. I want to hike around and, I don't know, have a spiritual experience or something. I'm smiling just thinking about 6 A.M. yoga in the desert.
Saturday, June 07, 2008
Here are all the ingredients in one place. Slice a whole large eggplant into 1/2" slices, cover with boiling water, and add a tablespoon of cider vinegar. Weigh it down with another bowl filled with water and let this sit for 15 minutes while you prep your veggies. Dice 1 large zucchini, seed and chop three Roma tomatoes, dice a large onion (or 2 small, whatever floats your boat), and finely chop about 2 tablespoons of fresh basil. I bought pre-sliced baby bella 'shrooms even though I don't usually go for the pre-handled produce. In this case, however, it was more cost effective over getting the whole ones.
Here's the frying station. Drain the eggplant and douse the slices with milk. Mix together some whole wheat flour (or regular white flour) and some sesame seeds (I used about a cup of flour and 2 Tbsp sesame seeds -- twice the amount called for in the recipe. YMMV). Season with freshly ground pepper.
Dip the milky eggplant into the flour mixture and fry the slices in olive oil over medium-high heat until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
Mix together 2 cups plain breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup (or more) of shredded Parmesan cheese, and a cup of broken walnuts or almonds. I used almonds because that's what I had in my cupboard.
Spray a glass baking dish or casserole with cooking spray or just rub it with the oily paper towels you used to drain the eggplant. Put down a layer of eggplant, then a cup of sliced mushrooms, then all your tomatoes and basil.
Extreme close-up. Vegetarianism is pretty!
Now take half of your breadcrumb/cheese/nut mixture and sprinkle it over everything in the pan. Add your onions and zucchini.
Cover everything with the rest of your eggplant and the rest of the breadcrumb mixture. Drizzle with olive oil. Pop in the oven at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Keep an eye on it so your almonds/walnuts don't burn.
Makes 6-8 servings
1 large eggplant
1 tablespoon of cider vinegar
2 tablespoons non-fat milk
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
3 medium tomatoes, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped or 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
2 cups stale breadcrumbs
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 large zucchini, diced
2 small onions, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut eggplant into half-inch slices. Place in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Add vinegar and let stand for 15 minutes, then drain and pat dry.
Mix flour and sesame seeds together in a large, shallow bowl or plate. Dip eggplant slices in milk, then in the flour-sesame seed mix. Heat half the oil in a large frying pan and add half the eggplant in a single layer. Fry until lightly browned on both sides. Drain on absorbent paper. Repeat with the remaining slices.
Place a layer of eggplant in a shallow ovenproof dish, top with mushrooms and tomatoes, and sprinkle with basil.
Combine breadcrumbs, walnuts and cheese in a small bowl and sprinkle half the mixture over tomatoes. Top with combined zucchini and shallots. Cover with remaining eggplant, then sprinkle with the remaining breadcrumb mixture. Drizzle with oil. Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown.
Serve with a fresh bean medley: butter beans, french beans and broad beans topped with a little fresh-ground pepper.
Nutrition Information per Serving
Calories 370, Total Fat 18g, Saturated Fat 2g, Cholesterol less than 5mg, Sodium 330mg, Total Carbohydrates 43g, Protein 11g
Friday, June 06, 2008
1. What's your weather?
It's gray outside but it's warm-ish. It's windy as all hell so scootering home is going to be interesting.
2. Where are you on your way to?
Nowhere. I just got back from my lunchtime walk.
3. Are you good with directions?
Yes, I guess. I prefer a combination of cardinal directions and landmarks.
4. Do you know your neighbors?
Some of them. I'm not even going to go into the ones on our left side.
5. What do you smell?
The Alternative Friday Five
1. What creative things are you doing?
I have two blank canvases sitting at home waiting for paint. I'm probably going to whip out another tube of henna this weekend and pretty myself up. I've been trying to get my husband to write me a song that I can put lyrics to.
2. What motivates or enables you to get them done?
It comes and goes in spurts. I've just been too busy and too stressed out to commit to anything lately.
3. What creative things do you want to be doing, but aren't?
I'd like to paint more. I'm stuck with oils right now. I'd like to try watercolors or something with more intensity.
4. What stops you from doing them?
It's a money issue.
5. Are you distressed at the thought of the things you aren't doing? Why or why not? If yes, how do you deal with this distress?
Yes, I guess I just don't think about it.
The Friday Five
1. if you had to participate in one olympic event what would it be and why?
Do you really need a reason for table tennis?
2. what is the one song you always sing along to?
Journey - Don't Stop Believin'
3. do you wear a seatbelt in the car?
Always. Seriously now, who's stupid enough not to these days?
4. car, suv or truck and why?
SCOOTER. Because it's a scooter.
5. are you a good/bad driver? explain
I'm a good driver when I'm by myself in the car. When someone talks to me I get distracted and take wrong turns.
What? What? WHAT?!
When my husband got home we had to go back out into the maelstrom because we had nothing in the house that could be pulled together into a coherent dinner. So off to Aldi and Cub, which were both ghost towns because everyone else was
I made tofu banh mi for dinner (delicious!) and then I baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Ohhhh man, I really need to make those more often. Wait -- no, I'm on a diet. Ho hum.