Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Watchers

They follow me wherever I go, but are most visible and have the most character at home. The mysterious figures who watch me while I sleep.

In the middle of the night, I groggily shift my eyelids and catch a silhouette. Sometimes, in that first half-glance I can catch details of dress and demeanor. Of personality. A casual lean against the doorjamb. Writing on the door in earnest. Drinking a can of pop. Mocking curiosity.

Apparel varies also. The only female figure wore a drab brown drapey-type dress, reminiscent of movies of Roman times. The pop-guy was in basketball uniform (and quite tall). The curious one wore a green velvet cape with hood pulled up. Most frequent is a sly figure in top hat and trenchcoat.

In hotel rooms, they linger just beyond the crack in the curtains or around the corner in the "hall" leading to the door of the room.

Sometimes they scare me. Sometimes it's intrigue. Often I just want to know what they want. What is definite is that they disturb my sleep because, instead of simply half-opening my eyes when turning over in bed, I try to focus and concentrate on what I'm seeing. By the time I've fully waked and know what I'm seeing, they're gone.

Who or what are they? The play of light certainly draws them out. Here at home, they're most often in the doorway, where the streetlamp shines in through my study window and the bathroom light leaks through a crack in that doorway. I'm pretty sure that were I to permanently resolve that issue, however, I'd find my eyes pulled to another corner and there they'd be.

For now, I try not to wake J to tell him there's someone in the house and I focus on catching more details. Heck, they'll wake me anyway.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Four Years

Four years ago, J and I chose each other and tied the knot! Our anniversary was earlier this month, but the celebration is being drawn out. In part due to a shipping mishap. In part because J is so swamped with school.

The traditional gifts for the 4th anniversary are fruit and flowers, so I decided to give J miracle fruit. Looking like elongated cranberries, these berries coat your tongue with a substance that changes the way things taste for about half an hour. You get a bunch of berries when you order them, so we organized a quick tasting party with a few friends.

We had a full table of food to taste (and J raided the fridge for other flavors at one point) and berries enough for at least 2 per person. To taste:
Salt & vinegar potato chips
Balsamic vinegar
Bread & butter pickles
Dill pickles
Sour cream
Goat cheese
Blue cheese

The experience was fascinating! Reactions varied across the group. Some things now had no taste (grapes, unanimous), some had subtler flavors. Lemon & lime burnt our lips and the inside of our mouths, but were sweet on our tongues. Strawberries, pineapple, and raspberries had a wave of flavor that was a subtle sweet with more depth than normal.

We had a really good time experimenting and I'm seriously considering exploring miracle fruit as an alternative sweetener (you can find this in the crunchy section of Wegmans).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Oatmeal breakfast bars

This recipe came from an issue of Country Living. It's a bit of a PITA, but yummy.

1 3/4c flour
1 1/4c oats
1/2c wheat bran
1tsp baking powder
1/2tsp cinnamon
1/4tsp salt
1/8tsp nutmeg
1c butter, soft (need to blend w/ sugar)
1/2c plus 2tbsp brown sugar
2 eggs
1tsp vanilla
Applesauce (jelly also works,but we like applesauce better)

Combine flour, oats, wheat bran, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, & nutmeg in med bowl.
Using mixer, beat butter & sugar until light & fluffy. Add eggs, one @ a time. Add vanilla.
Mix in dry ingredients. Divide dough in half, wrap in Saran *NOTE - dough is VERY sticky, I usually use the plastic to grab half the dough and then try to neaten it up once contained.
Chill at least 1 hr.

Roll out 1 portion of dough between 2 sheets floured parchment paper to an 8x10 rectangle. (Usually works better if it's sat out of fridge for long enough to soften, but not long enough to get sticky again)
Cut out 2X5 strips. Place on parchment on large baking sheet. Put filling down center.
Roll out/ cut other half of dough. Top the bars on the sheet - crimp or press to seal edges.
Cover w/ plastic - chill at least 20 min.

Preheat oven to 375. Bake 20-25. Transfer to rack to cool.

Monday, October 18, 2010

To Owen

Particular, little fellow.
You loved Sonny with a devotion
bigger than your chubby little body.
And for that, I love you.
Ear rubs always.

Sunday food prep

I took time while J was on a school field trip Sunday to prep some fave foods for the week.

First, soda bread. I use a recipe from Williams Sonoma - it's a simple bread using plain yogurt for the liquid and has no sugar or dried fruit in it. I realized today, when trying to figure out calories for it, how many different kinds of soda bread are out there. Love this.

Next up, fresh spring rolls to encourage us to munch veggies more (with a bit o plum sauce). Yum. Just wish I had more time - could have rolled for a while longer.

Finally, J's favorite breakfast food - oatmeal bars filled with homemade applesauce.

The horrible track lighting in our kitchen not only makes it impossible to work on the counter without throwing your shadow on your creation, but also leaves no spot where you can take pics without throwing a shadow also. Can't wait til we can remodel lights, counter, paint in that room!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Art, music, and books

Sonny had an opening last night at Craftland Gallery. The show, called Lamp Lit, runs until 11/13 8pm.

Cozy (genre)

Danny is playing tonight at Boulder Coffee with the Meta Accord. Starts at 8pm.


Book #15
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. A reread from college. I remember writing a paper on this talking about how the monster's desire for affection and companionship was denied at every turn and it's almost reasonable to expect some of his actions. I got that this time, too, and more of a disgust for the over-dramatic Doctor who was so self-absorbed - and mentally frail.

Book #16 - The Red Pony by John Steinbeck. It says on the cover "The moving and beautiful story of a boy, a sorrel colt, and the sun-drenched California earth." I beg to differ. I know Steinbeck tends towards depressing stuff, but really. The novel is split into 4 vignettes that are quite distinct from one another. And it never really ends. I found it to be a big of a drag, overall.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I recently bought a pie pumpkin - it was locally grown, organic, and I thought it'd be fun to see what I could do with it. J isn't a huge fan of pumpkin pie, so I decided to try other things.

Stock Pumpkin on white background #2
Photo by shuttermonkey on Flickr.

First, I cooked it. And probably the hard way, but it worked. I peeled the pumpkin and chopped it into 1 inch square pieces. These I boiled until tender. There was a LOT of pumpkin (5-6 big mason jars)!

Now, I always forget to photograph the food I make, so I'll try to find photos where I can.

#1 - Pumpkin bars, from the Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts - think a pumpkin blondie of sorts. YUM.

#2 - Pumpkin Garlic Knot Rolls - from (never home)maker - (Ashley always has awesome pics, too) - The rolls actually are just yummy and not very pumpkin-y. J loved the garlic dressing.

#3 - Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal - from goodLife {eats}. This was the first time I had baked oatmeal in a ramekin - it was tasty and I loved having several made so I could eat it for dinner too, when sick. I didn't do the topping in Katie's recipe, but I don't think it needed it.

#4 - Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls - also from goodLife {eats}. These, too, were awesome! Again, I got lazy and didn't make the cream cheese frosting and I think it would have helped keep them more moist, but they don't suffer too much.

And I still have a jar of puree and half of the pumpkin garlic knot dough in the freezer!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

In a month of pink, a simple call for awareness

Alicia Staley, kick-butt cancer survivor, advocate, and twitter-friend, has pointed out that pink gets a little crazy in October. Yes, it's an important cause - but should it drown out everything else? I get this and pondered what I might do here. In the end, I decided to cover the one issue I really know - Long QT Syndrome.

I have Long QT - those of you who have followed this blog for a while remember the episode that lead to that discovery. My heart dallies a bit between beats. In extreme scenarios, the ventricles can get tired of waiting and decide to go off on their own, funky-style. Lack of blood to the brain. Body shuts down. Etc.

This disorder does not seriously hamper my lifestyle. Now that I have my bionic pieces, it should have no impact on the length of my life, either, as they'll work to correct any rogue activity. Relative to what too many people go through with other issues, this could be nothing.

What gets risky is lack of diagnosis. I found out after a too-close-for-comfort incident that landed me in the hospital for a week. Long QT can be triggered by adrenaline (hence the kaibosh on Derby for me), and there's a possibility that it plays a role in the death of child athletes on the field.

Diagnosis, contrary to the recent episode of House, starts with an EKG. And here's my plea. If you have family members who have died suddenly after passing out. If your child is on medication for ADD - especially if they play sports. Get the test. They say the syndrome is rare, but I'd rather not hear of kids dying at soccer games.