Monday, November 17, 2008

new job, new place

Makes me wish I had blogged about it at the time.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Old Knees

Last night we watched "So You Think You Can Dance." After too many hours of sitting stupefied on the couch, admiring the energy and grace of teenagers and twenty-somethings, I went to change for bed. However, I stopped in front of our full-length mirror to attempt a plie or two and wonder whether 65 was too old to begin ballet lessons. It was quiet and as my knees straightened back up, they crackled. They didn't creak; they crackled. Perhaps I will stick to watching dancers -- or join the percussion section of the band.

Friday, May 16, 2008


The day's festivities were long and tiring. It may have been less tiring in cooler weather. It's nice to see friendly, familiar faces. I'm glad it's over.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Looking for Netflix for shoes

I need a shoe collective. Lately while tidying various areas of home and car I've been reminded of the fact that I have too many shoes that I bought for a specific or occasion, worn them once and never again. It displeases me. Not so much because I feel the money has been wasted (I refuse to pay much for these shoes), but because all of these one-time-use shoes are taking up space.

Possible solutions:
1. Refuse to succumb to social pressure that requires that shoes and outfit match in terms of color and formality.
2. Refuse to attend occasions where such matching shoes and outfit are required.
3. Find a shoe collective where I can rent shoes for specific occasion and return them immediately thereafter.
4. Be more willing to get rid of unused shoes, perhaps at Goodwill.

Option #4 sounds the most promising at the moment.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

$2 coin-operated car wash.

I finally washed my car today, after several months of neglecting to do so. The accumulation of filth upon my car had seemed gradual, but I think it had lately reached a level where the amount of additional dirtiness necessary for me to perceive that it was actually becoming more dirty was severe.

I learned something about this fact of human perception, perhaps in my high school psychology class. When a stimulus is rather strong, the amount of increase necessary for humans to perceive the change becomes greater. I think the example I learned from back then was sugar in iced tea. If you have no sugar in the iced tea, after you add a heaping tablespoon you can notice the change. But once you've dumped half a cup of sugar into your iced tea, the addition of a tablespoon will not taste like much. Unfortunately I don't know what this phenomenon is called, so I cannot cite it here.

So anyway, my car had reached a level of dirtiness that caused additional dirtiness to be imperceptible. I started to feel embarrassed about the uncleanliness of my car. And in a series of events over the last several days, which included 1) dreading that my mother would see my dirty car when my parents came to attend my thesis defense, 2) attending a friend's wedding at a fancy house in the hills and having to hand my car over to (and pick it up from) valet attendants, and 3) deciding to park around the corner from my parents' place, so as not to smear our mothers day visit with dirt from my car. So this morning I knew what had to be done.

I pondered the manner in which I should wash my car. The first option was to wash it in our apartment's tiny parking lot -- once when I had talked to my neighbor about my dirty car with chagrin, he offered the hose he had for the water spout out back. Also I could take it to one of these hand car was places (although maybe they are a combination of machine and hand car wash) all over Los Angeles. But an investigative report that the Los Angeles Times printed a couple of months ago made me feel like these are shady operations. I didn't really want to get involved. Finally, I could take it to a coin-operated car wash and spraying it clean myself. There are also quite a few of these places around L.A. And option #3 is what I chose.

The coin-operated car was is a pretty good deal. It cost me $3, or 12 quarters, which is a pretty good deal considering that I spent $1 somewhat frivolously on 4 minutes of car VAC, not that there was so much dirt inside my car. So the wash itself was two bucks. The nozzle sprays different liquids. I used the spot free stuff (a foamy blue cleaner) and HIGH PRESSURE RINSE. The hose really sprays water out in a high pressure way. I felt as though, if bad guys approached or something, I could turn the hose on them and blast them into oblivion, or at least knock them onto their behinds. There wasn't a really good way to dry the car off afterwards. They didn't have any blow dry equipment as far as I could tell, though a couple people were using rags to wipe their cars down.

All in all, the car is now clean and I am proud. Why didn't I think of doing this a long time ago?

$2 coin-operated car wash. Small price to pay for a bit of self worth, confidence, pride.

Monday, May 12, 2008

broken glassware

This morning while washing dishes (a fair number had accumulated as the result of general busyness of recent days) I was scrubbing a small glass bowl and I broke it with my bare hands. The bowl just cracked somewhat down the middle and left me holding two bowl halves of approximately the same size, one in each hand. I inspected the fault line to see whether I could assign fault to some original and inherent weakness in structure, but had no idea what I should look for with just my eyes. The last time I broke a dish, I think I had put down a glass too hard and caused it to crack. Because I like to read into things I decided that destruction of dinnerware means I need to be a more careful, sensitive, or gentle person. Though I'm not yet sure how to operationalize any of this.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

popsicle stick crafts

On my evening walk along Venice Blvd (always heading west, then coming back up east) I saw a bird fly by with a stick in its beak, as though it were collecting construction materials for its nest. I turned my head as it flew by, and my eyes followed it to a ledge above a convenience store. It landed and walked towards its nest, presumably to add the popsicle stick it had just procured from the streets of Los Angeles.

Dissertation writing takes its toll

1. My car is so dirty that it's no longer recognizable as white, and I worry when I'm driving that I'll get pulled over for having illegally tinted windows.

2. My hair is longer than it has been any time in recent memory. I think I'm also losing my hair because it gets pulled off when I take out hairbands. A haircut would be a good thing.

3. My right contact lens is partially torn. Not a tear right down the center, but a tear in the corner, and I am out of replacements so I will keep wearing this one until I am bothered to make an eye appointment. My eye used to get irritated because of the tear, but I have been wearing my broken lens for months.

4. We haven't been to the gym in forever. That discounted corporate membership to Ballys, alas, going to waste. I feel myself getting increasingly soft and blob-like.

5. The pile of recycleables continues to accumulate, not just in the apartment (since we would be overwhelmed), but in our vehicles. The other night I dreamt of being buried alive in all of this recycleable trash.

6. We actually managed to run out of scratch paper. We figured it would never end, some six or nine months ago, which is why we were willing to recycle a whole bunch of it. Statements from our financial institutions that come in the mail have become fair game.

7. We had Hamburger Helper for dinner last night (not with real hamburger), which I am convinced was the cause of my evening-long gastrointestinal woes. Yes I did add spinach, and OK, it tasted pretty decent, but is stuff that come out of a box ever really food? Ok, so I was curious about it because I had never tried any and a friend was eating it. But that's besides the point.

The point is that dissertation writing hasn't been all that bad (nobody died and no animals were harmed in the process), the whole experience is practically over, it's seriously an excuse that I use not to take care of random stuff that I've decided is not urgent. It will be great to take care of these silly, day-to-day, kinds of things once the dissertation is over and done.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


Kefir: yogurt for people who like liquids better.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

New Moon

Due to my mixed feelings regarding Twilight, I wasn't sure if I wanted to forge ahead and read the second book in the series, New Moon. But I started reading, kept reading, and finished it last night. Yes, this after I stated that too much could rot your brain. All in all, I preferred this second book to the first one. Less swooning/obsession/fawning, more pain of love lost, and finally more action and backstory. The werewolves vs. vampires thing is an interesting layer to the story. I actually found myself tearing up, which made me feel a bit silly -- guess it was an emotional day.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Chimpanzee retirement

I Chimp Therefore I Am
Originally uploaded by wokka.
Apparently in the U.S. we have chimpanzee retirement communities. I just learned about this from the Human Resources episode (podcast) of Chicago Public Radio's This American Life (which I love). The episode aired a couple of months ago. I only listened to it now because I like to have a healthy backlog of podcasts so that I don't feel as though I'm in danger of running out.

According to the episode, as well as this article from the NYTimes, we have an excess supply of chimps as a result of AIDS research in the 1980s. At the time it was believed that chimpanzees could be used for medical testing of the AIDS virus. Since researchers figured that testing on chimps might be able to procure a cure, many primates were bred for this purpose. Only, they weren't really useful at all, because they didn't really get sick from AIDS. There are also a bunch of chimps who have been actors in Hollywood. But they are only suitable actors for about 5 years, at which point they become too strong and rebellious to cooperate. So lots of chimps that are no longer useful.

But unlike scenarios where we have too many rats, pigeons, or dogs, we don't put down chimps because we have decided that it is unethical. After all, they share a ridiculous (98%) of our genetic makeup. So in 2000, then-President Bill Clinton signed the Chimpanzee Health Improvent, Maintenance and Protection (CHIMP) Act, and now chimpanzees can spend the rest of their days in locales such as the Chimp Haven. As described in the podcast, chimpanzee retirement experiences range from wilderness preserve to extremely human. Cheeta, who acted in many Tarzan films, is over 75 and spends his days eating Doritos, tickling the ivories now and then, and watching his own films. Some former research subjects have one foot in each world, having to learn how to forage for food in a wilderness setting but also being fed three square meals a day and enjoying General Hospital now and then.

What would you choose?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Twilight = candy = tasty, but too much will probably rot your brain

Yesterday I read Stephanie Meyer's Twilight. It's the first book in a series of books named, coincidentally, The Twilight Saga. I first learned about the book via YouTube vloggers, fiveawesomegirls, who seemed to be fans -- so much so that they traveled to the middle of nowhere, where most of the book takes place. Then a week or so ago, one of the Culver-Palms Youth mentioned having just read the first book and also liking it a lot. It's a Young Adult book, but I happily read through all the Harry Potter books last summer, and the Twilight books have really good review ratings on, so I figured I'd give Twilight a try.

I have to say that I was disappointed.

I suppose it's not a bad book, but a mediocre one. When I actually browsed through the reviews and read what readers had to say, a pattern seemed to emerge. A number of the reviews indicated disappointment with the book for its shallow characters and dialogue, melodramatic plot, and rather inane lessons for adolescent girls. In this first category, this one's my favorite. A number of comments leapt to the author's defense, mentioning how much they loved the book, how well they could relate to the characters, how it was the best book of all time. On the whole, it seems like this first group of reviews is written by adults. The second group of reviews, by teenagers (who often mentioned the fact that they are teenagers and could totally relate).

There are about 1500 reviews right now, a lot of them which seemed to convey disappointment but the vast majority of which gave the book 5 stars. I'll give the book some credit for knowing its audience, and recognize that even I like to eat candy sometimes. I mean, for all of my complaining to Alex throughout, I did keep reading.

best supermarket checker ever

Is it appropriate to call them checkers? Checkout person?

I started shopping at Vons (associated with Safeway and Pavilions) when I moved to Palms at the beginning of grad school. I noticed that, unlike at Ralphs, where I'd grown accustomed to shopping in college, at the end of VONS transactions, they thank you and wish you a good day, referring to you by name (or the name printed on your receipt). Employees in the store, whether reshelving, stocking produce, or some other activity, always ask how you are doing and whether you're finding everything okay. And this is all good. But one supermarket checkout clerk goes above and beyond the call of awesome.

She appears to be middle-aged, and her English carries a heavy Cantonese accent. I first made mental note of her when she refused to sell me grapes.

She refused to sell me the grapes because I had picked up green grapes, which were not on sale. They were something like 3.99/lb, unlike the red grapes, which were .99/lb. that week. She told me she could just keep my stuff there, and I could put back the grapes I had picked up, and get the correct grapes, come back, and finish being checked out. Not being particularly wed to the green grapes, I complied. Pretty cool, I thought.

She is also unwilling to let customers miss out on VONS Club savings. If a customer comes through the line without his card and could potentially miss out on VONS Club savings, the checker lady will ask other customers in line whether or not they will lend the fellow a swipe of their card.

My most recent visit to VONS included such an experience, and I happily let the other customer take advantage of my VONS Club savings. The supermarket checkout lady pointed to the two cartons of ice cream among my grocery selections and noted that they were Buy One, Get One Free that week. Remembering the incident with the grapes, I asked whether she memorized all the week's grocery deals. She said she HAD, and that before coming to work each Wednesday (the day that the grocery stores' weekly specials kick in), she goes through all of the grocery store flyers for the local chains.

"So you know the deals at Albertson's and Ralphs?" I asked. (their rival stores)

"Yes!" she said. And proceeded to tell me that chicken was on sale at Ralph's this week, telling me how much per pound of what.

I am humbled by her dedication to her work.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

How far is the East from the West?

[cross-posted on my xanga]

Lately I am reminded of how gracious God is, and how much we fall short of the mark. For four years in college I was extremely active in my campus Christian fellowship, so that I'm almost certain that the number of hours I spent in fellowship, evangelism, and bible study was equivalent to (if not more than) the amount of time I spent on schoolwork. We forged friendships that were supposed to be good for a lifetime, and then some. And as far as friends go, I owe to my college fellowship some of the best friends I have had.

But as Christians, we're not just supposed to be there for our dearest friends. We are supposed to love our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, the poor and the disenfranchised, the widows and orphans. Easy, right?

We are also called to love those who suffer from mental illness. We are to love those that we don't know how to deal with because they are struggling with questions of how to be Christian and transgendered. We are to love those who are trying to figure out how to be Christian and gay. In the past year I've had three different friends approach me with these issues. And they have indicated in various ways the belief that our Christian friends from college would not be or have not been supportive.

This is how we lose people. It's not necessarily that we push them away; we just fail to bring them in. Because they're not extroverted, successful, funny. Because they're sometimes awkward or moody. Because they question their identity in ways that we don't understand or have decided are wrong. Because they don't nod their heads in agreement with every word the preacher proclaims True. Because their political opinions differ from ours. Because they don't fit the mold.

When we respond with instant judgment, disapproval or even disdain, it's easier for them to decide that perhaps Christianity is not for them. And we are happy to let them go, because it's so much easier than having to deal with the questions.

It breaks His heart.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Glorious tedium

So far it has been a glorious, work-filled weekend. Although writing is an enjoyable task, revising, proofing, and cleaning up references are not. To me, these activities are the opposite of fun. I look forward to a future in which word processing software automatically pulls references from the interspace and attaches them to in-line citations it extracts from reading my mind. Until then, here's to Endnote--combination friend and foe.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Doin' stuff, learning things.

This week has been awesome because I forced my class to edit Wikipedia as one of their assignments, and they did because it was required. I wasn't sure how it would work out, whether or not they would get things working, whether it would be worthwhile. But most of them completed all the activities, and despite some initial deletions of articles they had created, I think my students found the experience to be a good one. There were many comments about how they didn't realize how easy it was to edit Wikipedia. And of course, before I forced myself to try so that I could compel them to do so, I didn't know how easy it was either. In general I am in favor of learning activities in which the learner is challenged to try new things. It's great fun to watch and to see them learn.

Gherkins, Baby

Gherkins, Baby
Originally uploaded by Kevin Lawver.
Oh, yeah. The funny thing is that I made up the phrase 'Workin' like a gherkin'", and I frequently ask Alex if he's been workin' like agherkin. Or if I have been persistent in reading, writing, class prep, etc. I will proclaim to him that I have been workin' like a gherkin. It has probably been about a year or so since I started spouting this nonsense. But the other day, I decided to look "gherkin" up on the Internet. I'm not sure how I got the spelling right, but, LO AND BEHOLD! A gherkin is a cucumber. So all this time I've been working like a cucumber. Which obviously means that cucumbers work pretty hard.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Workin' like a gherkin

I'm not sure how I inadvertently turned our blog (well, mostly my blog) into a food blog. It was unintentional, but probably related to the fact that it's pretty easy to blog stuff based on photographs, and I tend to take pictures of food. Also, I'll blame Cathy at My Epikorean for getting me all excited about her decision to food blog.

Anyway, completely unrelated to food (?), we the residents of Apartment C have been pretty on-task all day. Allowing time for meals and bathroom breaks and the occasional venture off-task to Wikipedia or YouTube, it ended up being some 12 or 13 hours of straight-up MENTAL LABOR. I was hoping for 15, because then I think someone should publish a book with the title, Writing Your Dissertation in 15 Hours a Day. Because, you know, writing your dissertation in 15 minutes a day is for the weak. Or, alternatively, for the disciplined and well-organized.

Nevertheless, I think we are both seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, a tunnel which has been twisty and windy and included trails off the path now and then. Still, (I think) I can't wait to get out.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Where can I get some tran fats? Nowhere, according to US labeling

I had a revelation at the drug store as I was checking out a package of ethnic-looking cookies at CVS's "food" section. I have never seen Nutrition Information claiming a product to contain trans fat.

When I first heard that food manufacturers would need to start labeling the amount of trans fat in their products, I was thrilled. When the new labels started to appear a year or two ago (though not legally required in the U.S. until January 1st, 2008) I was surprised to find that a number of products I had assumed to contain trans fat (due to their listing of partially hydrogenated oils in their list of ingredients) claimed to have none. Then I learned that food companies were allowed to round down. If the amount of trans fat per serving was less than 0.5 grams, they could label the amount as 0 (while having to advertise as NO TRANS FATS per serving). I thought this was sort of a cheap play, to allow rounding in such a manner (0.49 grams/serving could get away with 0).

According to the FDA (according to Wikipedia), the average American consumes 5.8 grams of trans fat per day (2.6% of calories.) But I bet if you added up the number of grams of trans fat on the labels of everything the average American consumes, you will get a big fat zero. The labeling requirements in Canada allow products with less than 0.2g of trans fat per serving to advertise 0/serving.

Upon realizing that I have never seen anything above 0, it made me wonder whether companies have dropped the amount of hydrogenated oils in their recipes, or whether it has always been the case that labeling the amount of trans fat per serving would always allow it to appear as though there are none. Which makes me wonder what you have to eat in order to see any Nutrition Info change. Because it would be funny if we forced everyone to change their labeling, just so that everyone could label the amount of trans fat as 0.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Utilitarian Eats - Veggie Patties

don lee veggie patties I like to spend time preparing meals that are appealing not only taste-wise, but aesthetically as well. But I've been busy (as perhaps is evident by the infrequent blog posts), and sometimes you just eat to live instead of living to eat. I packed lunch to bring to campus today, as I often do. After meals consisting of Powerbars or other similar energy-dense food, this is probably my next most utilitarian meal: two veggie patties.

Mom and dad drove up to LA to have dinner with us last night, and they brought with them a box of Costco-purchased Don Lee Veggie Patties. They're pretty good -- not really the sort of veggie burger stuff I am used to (usually primarily soy-based and attempting to look and feel like meat). Rather, it looks like a mash of carrots, celery, onion, and hash browns with some sunflower seeds mixed in. They came fresh, not frozen. The flavor is quite decent. After microwaving them for a minute in my tupperware-esque container, I mashed it up with a spoon so that it would look more like a meal.

I think the two mashed-up veggie patties are not as efficient eats as protein bars. I think a major advantage of a protein or other energy bar is that they require no preparation whatsoever besides unwrapping the bar. I actually had to put the veggie patties into the tupperware container this morning, and remember to pack a utensil of some sort. The protein bars, however, you can unwrap and instantly eat on the go. You just bite pieces off -- there's no need for a fork or a spoon.

How much longer must we wait for the meals in a pill that we were promised by the Jetsons?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

I always wondered who gets the non-fruit toppings.

pinkberry with fruity pebbles
Originally uploaded by eraine.
I saw these being constructed as I waited for my own, and was intrigued by the combination of fruit + fruity pebbles + granola, so I asked the designers if I could perhaps photograph their yogurt cups.

Being rather boring, my own yogurt just had toppings of fruit.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

vegetarian tacos

Vegetarian tacos
Originally uploaded by eraine.
I was quite happy with how these turned out.

inspired by the purchase of:
soyrizo, meatless, soy-based chorizo (which was on sale at the grocery store)

while cooking on the skillet, I added:
great white northern beans and little red beans (previously crock pot cooked)
chopped tomato
chopped black olives

from our organic veggie box:
red leaf lettuce
roma tomatoes

topped with:
3-cheese mexican blend (shredded)
greek style plain yogurt

all on a:
soft taco flour tortilla (from the oaxacan market down the street)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Real, Korean kimchi

real, Korean kimchi
Originally uploaded by eraine.
Ever since our visit to Korea in January, I've been regularly craving kimchi. I didn't go out of my way to find any. I just put some in my basket while shopping at VONS. But while telling some people about this, the Real Live Koreans expressed dismay that I had been eating VONS kimchi and recommended that I get some higher quality kimchi from the Korean market.

So yesterday on my way home from campus I went through Koreatown and stopped by The Galleria at Olympic & Western in search of quality kimchi.

At the supermarket, it took me a while to get to the kimchi section. I entered near the produce and made my way across the store to the frozen section, and I felt a sort of buildup as I wondered when I would run into the kimchi. When I finally saw it, I was not disappointed. The humongous jars of kimchi I saw were Costco-worthy, and now I am really curious as to how long the huge jars ($18.99) would last a Korean family of four. Cathy at Epikorean tells me -- about a week, or two weeks MAX. The kimchi section had kimchi for sale in pouches, in addition to the stuff in jars.

I went home with this (pictured above) 48 oz. container of kimchi. I would say this is a mid-sized container, relative to the rest of the options I had available. I got nappa cabbage kimchi, which I think is the most generic (common?) sort.

About this kimchi, it's pretty spicy. It's more intensely red and spicy than the kimchi I've picked up at VONS in the past, and Alex said "it's because you're white and wimpy". I disagreed about my being white.

So now a question I have is, how much kimchi consumption is too much? Are there dangers of eating too much kimchi? As a probiotic, it's supposed to be good for your intestinal tract and improve your digestion. But all those spices have to be taxing on your system, right?

Friday, February 29, 2008

coupons and other costs

I am trying to blog regularly, so I decided to make this comment a trackback instead of a comment to the post.

Jerome was highlighting some of his recent triumphs with coupons.

Coupons can be pretty great, although the one time my 'no purchase necessary' coupon was rejected at Ralph's has left me with slight fear of coupon rejection. I had gotten this 'Free box of any Kashi product under $4.50' for filling out an online questionnaire and sharing my very valuable opinions about whether I thought 'cheese and pimento' crackers sounded more appealing that 'sun-dried tomato and pepper' (these flavors just now made up on the spot). Anyway, my checkout guy refused to take the coupon, perhaps because it looked as though I had printed it out from my computer, despite the fact that the coupon was supposed to have some sort of code thing to verify its value. Oh well.

Alex and I went bowling last night at AMF Mar Vista and for 2 - $4 games we got 2 buy-one-game-get-one-free coupons. This is awesome because I think it will help our goal to bowl more frequently. We also bought bowling shoes to help with the process. Neither of us have ever owned bowling shoes. At $50 each (, price includes shipping) it will take us slightly over 11x bowling to recoup the cost. Barring traumatic injury or early death, I think it's doable. If we expect to live 60 more years, that would mean bowling at least once every 5.4 years. Although this is assuming that we'll both be able to bowl in our 80s. Maybe by then we'll break 100 regularly.

Finally, the other thing that is coupon-like but not exactly a coupon -- rebates. Rebates can seem like a good deal, but these days I'll only buy something w/a rebate if I would be willing to buy it anyway (w/o rebate), since the money often doesn't come back. I've never tried to hunt unreturned rebates down, but I've been burned too many times.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

penne rigata in white sauce

penne rigata in white sauce
Originally uploaded by eraine.
pasta, spinach (fresh or frozen), milk, white wine, vanilla, olive oil, butter, garlic, basil, salt/pepper

1. cook pasta according to box directions (whole wheat penne rigate used here, 8 min.). water is salted to ocean-ness, a la alton brown
2. while water is boiling / pasta is cooking, crush and mince garlic (1-2 large cloves, 3-4 small ones)
3. pour several Tablespoons of olive oil into pan, and allow garlic to sit in the oil for a few minutes. a couple of teaspoons of basil (chopped, dried in my case) too. add some white wine (maybe 1:2 ratio of white wine to olive oil) and pinches of kosher salt
4. put oil on low heat until pasta is cooked. drain pasta.
6. add spinach (approx. 2-3 cups frozen in my case) to heating pan. pour in some milk (whole), a few Tablespoons and a wee bit of vanilla
7. then pour drained (not rinsed, so it's still hot) pasta over spinach
8. toss pasta in oil and spinach, adding a small amount (1/2 a pat) of butter for taste. add kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste as well.

served 2.

tasty possible future modifications:
toasted walnuts
sauteed mushrooms
slow-roasted tomatoes
asparagus (if alex is not too averse)

Friday, February 22, 2008

rainbow blueberry banana bread

rainbow blueberry banana bread
Originally uploaded by eraine.
I thought it was going to be much more disgusting-looking, based on my peek into the top of the bread machine before the bread was done. All I saw was a dark bluish-green color, reminiscent of inappropriately mixed play-dough, dirty water in which one rinses watercolored brushes, and creatures from the swamp.

I guess that's what you get, since yellow + blue makes green.

We had a couple of overly ripe bananas, so I thought I'd give banana bread a try. Alex even had a recipe written down for some already. But of course, I can never leave well enough alone. I cut back on sugar and added blueberries to the mix.

The coloring wasn't uniform and the bottom was caked with flour because I didn't know how to use the bread machine. The batter probably could have been stirred a bit before starting the machine. Also, according to our resident bread machine expert, it helps to put the liquid ingredients in first.

Easy Spirit -- darn comfortable shoes

In preparation for my campus visit last week, I upgraded elements of my wardrobe. So far I am very satisfied with the expenses incurred.

1. Pant suit set (obtained during Ann Taylor's suit sale) -- quality and classic. I do so much shopping online these days that I was very tempted to get an outfit online. But I did go to the mall, and I was pleased.

2. No-show trouser socks from Target. Pleased, although they are so thin that I'm not sure how they will fare in the washer+dryer. I felt it was necessary to get some socks because even I know better than to match the dark pant suit with my white athletic socks.

3. Black loafers from EasySpirit. I am especially happy about how well these shoes worked out, since I have been the victim of lovely but uncomfortable/painful/torturous (depending how long they are worn) shoes many times before.

As soon as I considered getting interview shoes, I decided that they should be appropriate but comfortable. I wanted to be comfortable, and it was likely that I'd have to do some walking on the campus. I was tempted to try the whole athletic shoes with suit thing, but decided that professional basketball players are the only ones who can get away with that. So for comfortable shoes I headed to EasySpirit. Because even their store name seems comforting.

Although I had never purchased shoes there, it seemed like the right thing to do at the time. I browsed their selection carefully before trying on a couple pairs. I was in the store for 20 minutes or so. During that time, several people and couples came into and left from the store. Not one of them appeared to be under the age of 50, which caused me to question whether it was okay for me to buy EasySpirit shoes.

But they were comfortable. So I did. And they are still comfortable. I think those older folks are trying to keep this secret for themselves.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

cauliflower, oven roasted in cast-iron skillet

My first time using the cast iron skillet in the oven. I was pleased. No measurements, because I'm lazy like that.

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) Chop head of cauliflower into florets.
3) Mince 2 cloves of garlic and toss with cauliflower and extra virigin olive oil.
4) Season with garlic salt, oregano, coarse black pepper, nutmet.
5) Sprinkle with shredded romano.
6) Pop skillet into the oven for 30 min, agitating contents every 10.

I reduced heat to 325, maybe halfway through.

Numb3rs -- Thnks fr th mmrs

Numb3rs Season 2 DVDs
Originally uploaded by eraine.
We tried to watch Numb3rs. We really wanted to like it. Unfortunately, watching episodes eventually became an obligation, and I found myself saying things like, "We should watch Numb3rs". A couple episodes were decent, and Alex liked talking about the mathematical aspects that he understood, but this box is probably going back to eBay unfinished.

Props to the actors in the show, who made the experience more worthwhile.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

How to make your kids eat brussel sprouts

We don't have kids, but I suspect that most kids (or adults, for that matter) will eat pretty much anything you put on pizza.

Shopping list for today:
- tofu and other non-meat things, maybe veggie burger patties, quorn "meatballs"
- cheddar, perhaps shredded
- tortillas
- quinoa,
- tomatoes -- small or roma
- cream of mushroom soup
- extra virgin olive oil
- onion
- frozen corn