Thursday, July 31, 2008

Flip it.

Wah. Work has been really busy for me this week. We found out on Tuesday that a whole lot of stuff that we didn't think would need to be done by the end of this week, well, needed to be done by the end of this week. I'm hoping this means that next week will be really quiet. During which time I can catch up on reading everyone's blogs that I like to read. And take my cat to the vet. And obsess over the finale of So You Think You Can Dance. Yeah, that would be good.

Oh Mark! My Marky Mark is gone (yes, this is what I call him). I miss him already. I love my little quirky Mark. I'm slightly less excited about the finale now. But it'll still be good. I want another one of those Tabitha and Napoleon lyrical hip-hop deals. Okay, I'm going to stop blathering on about reality TV now.

So my sister-in-law sent out some photos today of the kids and their new house overseas. Get a load of these mugs:

I mean, come on. The good news is, there is a whole lot of grandparent energy that can be put into those three and their seemingly unending cuteness. Which pretty much guarantees that there will never be any pressure on me to reproduce. Thanks bro! I already have plenty of societal pressures to partner up and make babies. I'm so glad none of that is coming from my parents.

Eh, what else. I am..

..learning how to knit.
..hitting my usual summer eating nostalgia disaster. At some point during the summer I seek out hot dogs, puffy cheetos, and lemonade. And for desert, peach cobbler and Blue Bell ice cream. You'll notice there's nothing green in that assortment.
..also rediscovering fruit roll ups.
..reading the hub-bub I seemed to have missed regarding Ellen Tien's story in the May Oprah magazine about divorce. It was all over the blogs a few weeks ago, and people, in discussing it, called her some not-so-nice things. Not that anyone cares, but I know Ellen and her husband, and they are both lovely people and have both been nothing but good to me. And not that this is anything new, but people shouldn't talk smack about people they don't know.
..discovering Joe Venuti. Do you use that Pandora thing? Go to Pandora and plug in Joe Venuti. I listened to that all afternoon. I like when the Stephane Grappelli comes up on there too. Jazz violin. Who knew?
..trying to figure out what the flip is up with my flipping kitchen sink. Every time I put even the tiniest bit of food through the disposal, the flipping sink gets stopped up. I poured flipping drano in there that was left over from the last time this happened, when I was able to successfully de-clog it. That time, I'd put in a huge pile of stuff that I later realized I really shouldn't have. This time, we're talking like not even a handful - less than a handful - of flipping peach peel. And the flipping thing isn't draining again. Fliiiiiip!!!!
..trying not to curse in my blog.

OH, and one last thing! My coworker has started her etsy shop. Of course my favorite is the little bear.

He comes in a set of vintage-y baby cards. If you know a lot of pregnant ladies, you ought to buy some. I know two right now myself. Down from 4 I knew six months ago. Up from 1 I knew one month ago. Yay for babies! I also dig the sweet wagon.

It's so unexpected and happy and bright! The best news? I don't have to pay shipping (because I work with her). Ha ha suckers.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Reading, and chocolate, is fundamental

I bought some knitting needles today. I'm very excited to test them out. I have a book that a friend lent me, which seems to explain things clearly. I'm sure I'll still have questions, but I'm looking forward to giving it a try. My first crochet attempts were rather lumpy but I still wear those early scarves with pride.

I also whiled away a huge chunk of time in Half Price Books. I find these days I really don't like buying new books. It seems wasteful. I'm sure I'm way behind the curve on this one, but it's a semi-recent thing for me. Well, for a while there I wasn't buying books, because I was getting freebies at work (magazine editors get loads of books, and I worked for one). When that eased up, and I got to where I was wanting new reading material again, I just couldn't bear to pay full price. So maybe this is more me being cheap than eco-friendly. Oh well. Ain't no shame in digging around in thrift stores for books (I do this too).

So back to Half Price Books. It's no Strand - God I miss the Strand - but it'll do as a substitute. It's a good bit easier to move around in on a Saturday afternoon, at least. Though it's harder to find things I'm interested in. Those big tables at the front at the Strand - I would always bust the budget before I made it past them. Here, I went in circles. The hunting and finding was not as intuitive. But I did find a couple of books I'd been wanting to read, plus that Ogden Nash collection I'd been hankering for. Remember that E? You don't need to get me one now. :)

It contains such gems as this:
I test my bath before I sit,
And I'm always moved to wonderment
That what chills the finger not a bit
Is so frigid upon the fundament.

It doesn't get much better than that. I love that this copy is old, and the pages are yellowed around the edges. I had to wait forever for my pad see eiw order at Titaya's, so I was glad I'd just bought it, and had the sense to bring it in. It kept me from getting too grouchy.

Speaking of food, this cake was part of me maxing out on my summer zucchini allotment. I'm not interested in eating any more. No thank you. I had bought a lot to make the pie (remember the pie?), then found I didn't need that much. So I had some left, and then brought more back from my dad's - fresh from the garden too. So it just couldn't go to waste. Finally I was so maxed out that I found a way to eat it in a cake. Yes thank you! I'll take that. Yum.

As usual, I took a big hunk of it into work, cut into easy-to-grab squares. It went over so well that I had to share the recipe almost immediately. You want it too? Okay. This comes from my From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce cookbook, and is credited to Scotch Hill Farm. Enjoy!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Cake

3/4 cup oil
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini
1/2 cup sour milk or buttermilk (I soured some milk with lemon juice)
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon and cloves (I didn't have cloves so I did 1 teaspoon cinnamon)
2 1/2 cups flour
small bag of chocolate chips (here I bought a bag of dark chocolate mini chunks from Whole Foods and poured in half the bag - I think the amount worked well, and the dark chocolate was a nice touch)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients and pour into greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake 30-35 minutes. Consume.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

M. F. Squirrel

It's too good. It's all just too good. My newest Etsy crush is on Elloh (also known as Ellen), a gal in Philly making art, who also happens to have a strikingly similar taste in movies and TV as I do (the 80s, Hitchcock, Amelie, and a strong love and adoration for The Office). She's also got this Sarah Vowell thing going on with the obsession with presidential facial hair. I dig it.

So she's this week's "Stuff on Etsy I'd Like to Buy." Here are some highlights from her shop. You have no idea how hard it was to narrow it down.

Pam from The Office. In fact, Ellen has painted ALL of the characters from The Office. And not just the American version. The UK version too. You can find them in her Etsy store. They're amazing. Now that is a labor of love.

The characters from The Breakfast Club. This was the first one I saw where I thought, Okay, maybe I need to buy one of these. This would be an ode to my youth. My brother had videotaped this movie and Pretty in Pink (she memorializes that one too) off of cable, so I grew up watching it with all the curse words in it. I thought it was weird when I got to high school and didn't hate my parents.

I had a love affair with the movie version of To Kill a Mockingbird when I was in high school. We had to read the book, and it was great, but the movie is what really got me. Gregory Peck as Atticus. I love my dad and all, but having Gregory Peck be my dad was sort of a dream of mine. And of course I thought the world of Scout. This set of paintings of her is the best - I love Scout as the ham.

Also, Berkley Illustration is having another "vote on your favorite animal for Ryan to do up in people clothes" thing, and if you love polar bears and/or love me, you'll go vote for the PBs. Clearly I am doing a lot of kissing up to them but so far it has done me no good.

On the homefront, I should point out that it was discovered that the culprit of my plant upheavals was indeed a squirrel. I caught one in the act last week. I called Nicole (who has had similar problems) that morning and was like, "M. F. squirrels this!" and "M. F. squirrels that!" Except, you know, not abbreviated.

In addition to uprooting my plants from time to time, I discovered a wee pecan tree growing from a buried pecan in my hydrangea. I will also blame this on the squirrels. There seems to be a seasonality to the rodents bothering me. The birds eased up after the spring (migration perhaps?), so now we've moved on to the squirrels. What's next? It's like freakin' animal kingdom out there.

Meanwhile, when I get filled with squirrel animosity, I like to watch this video. If I had a yard, I'd get one and watch the squirrels go flying off all day long. The fun really starts at around 3:40.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Me watching TV

Back in town after crazy traveling all last week. Kitty was cranky when I returned, plants were shriveled, and I was exhausted. And of course lots of catching up at work. I'm afraid this'll be it for a few more days. Make it last!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bat Town

It was almost too hot to do much of anything this weekend. My pal B and I did some serious movie watching (Baghead at the Dobie and Swing Time at the Paramount), vegan eating (Mother's and Casa de Luz), and evening baseball watching (Round Rock Express getting pounded by the Oklahoma Redhawks). We also spent the early part of Saturday strolling South Congress and doing a bit of shopping. I need to stop doing stuff like that because I buy stuff.

The damage wasn’t too severe. A small antique desk lamp, a couple of succulent plants for some empty pots around the apartment, and this photo, which could not be ignored or left behind.

It is dated February 1972. I can tell that I’ll never tire of looking at it. Ever. It is perhaps the earliest lolcat. Maybe its caption should read, "Sevendys kitteh woold lik u to pass deh weed. Kthx, stay gruuuvy."

One particularly interesting development on Saturday was that I saw The Polar Bear Tray (yes, that one) in the flesh. This made me feel better about possibly purchasing it because (a) I’ve found it for cheaper online – which makes me think I’ve got a good deal on it if I do buy it, and (b) it looks lovely and more vivid than you would expect in person. I also got to hold one in my hands and inspect the material it’s made of (high pressure laminate over pressed wood and paper board). Very cool.

Speaking of pining after things, Uncommon Objects (home of the aforementioned lamp and kitty photo) had a gorgeous mid-century Danish modern table stashed in the back. With chairs. And leaves. It was HUGE. And expensive. I’ve been doing a lot of interweb-surfing lately for this style of furniture, and while smaller objects can be found at semi-affordable prices, the dining tables – not so much. They’re always a fortune. Which is why I really love this table and chairs from West Elm.

Not the tree stump chairs but the oval back chairs. Yeesh. But I’m thinking I’d like to pair mis-matched chairs with it anyway, instead of the ones shown, just to mix things up a bit. By “mix things up a bit,” I mean “I love the chairs too but I can’t afford them.” Let the sale stalking begin.

Another thing I coveted but didn’t buy was this shirt. But unlike the huge modern table, I actually might someday. I think it’s adorable. And a nice alternative style-wise to the ever popular one that is, well, quite similar to the name of my blog. I don't like the font on that one so much.

Tomorrow I’m leaving for a trip to the wilds of east Texas to explore corners of the state that no one should ever have any reason to visit. At least I'm getting to take a friend, so it should be fun - I’m not sure I could bear the whole thing alone. And Wednesday and Thursday night’s motel better get good FOX reception, and I know you know why. Oh, yes you do.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

You'll pay for this.

Work slowed down just long enough for me to go get an oil change today. It's my new car's first oil change. I agonized for days over where exactly to take him. Obvs, the usual suspects (Jiffy Lube, etc.) are out. I prefer locally owned. Good rep would be nice (a little googling will turn up any customer rants). It was the first time I'd gotten an oil change in a long time - I forgot how expensive they are. That's the price you pay for getting to call yourself a vee dub driver (no small thing).

He looks good there, but he desperately needs a bath now. And as we're still in the honeymoon period, I'm still doing the bathing by hand. Myself. Place bets now as to how long this will last. It's quite a chore when you live in an apartment building. The other day, as I was climbing out of the car, I nailed my knee on that big plastic deal under the steering wheel. Yeah, we've still got some growing pains.

So any guesses as to what did this to my plant?

Actually it did it to three plants. And has done it on several occasions. This last time was the worst, though. He/she/it all but uprooted my aloe plant. Some things to consider:
-I live on the third floor (top floor) of an apartment building, the plants are on my balcony.
-No trees, stairs, etc. touch the balcony. The only way onto it from the outside would be if you scaled the walls of my building or made a very strategic jump down from the roof.
-The amount of soil dug out of these plants was often several handfulls worth.
-My cat is not responsible.

Ideas? This happens very sporadically. Like maybe once a month.

A high school friend is coming in tomorrow - we're going to paint the tooowwn. Well, as much as myself and a vegan, elementary school teacher can. Hey, we're in our 20s. There's still hope for us.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

When in Austin

Barton Springs Pool

I'm phoning it in today. Work is a little hectic and I am so behind on my blog reading. Quelle horror! I did see this blog entry from Stacey, wherein I was tagged, before I left. Indeed, I would have done this so much sooner had I not been on my way out of town. I think I’m still recovering from the 16-plus hours of driving I did between Thursday and Sunday. Good grief.

Stacey, by the way, is one of those really cool people whose blog you discover, who is very crafty and grows things and makes things and has a cute home, and then you think, “Dang, it would be cool to meet her someday.” And I work with her. How cool is that?

Okay, onward:

Mostly I remember my grandmomma’s laugh, and that she said “Daah-lin” – just like that. My granddaddy always had a corny joke ready to go. Loved that about him. My mom’s parents died when I was pretty young so I don’t remember those things so well.

Yeah, the Sex and the City movie. Nothing since then.

The Da Vinci Code. No really. Am perhaps last person ever to read it. I was prepared to hate it but I’m finding it surprisingly entertaining.

I used to play Life a lot. And Monopoly. Who doesn’t like Monopoly?

The one I work for, of course. I would have said that before I started working here. It has long been a favorite. I’m also a big fan of Cook’s Illustrated.

The ocean on a warm, sticky day. Also, fresh baby.

Church bells.

Oh, geeze. I dunno. Thinking about when my cat’s going to die. You do that a lot when you have a 15-year-old cat.

This morning, it was, “If you don’t get up and go walk, you’re going to be pissed at yourself later.”


This week, it’s Kate.

How much is a lot? I want to buy a house.

Not really.

Up until about four months ago, yeah, I did. Sad but true. There’s no man in the bed so what are you going to grab onto, ya know? Sometimes I just wanna hug on something and the kitty’s not always up for that.

Oh, usually very cool. Since the window blowing out incident, though, I’m kinda freaked out about them. I think when I move out of this apartment, which sits high on a hill on the top floor with all windows facing west so I can watch – and feel prone to – all large storms coming toward me, I’ll be back on the cool bandwagon. Having a new car and nothing to park it under has also made me less of a fan.

Oh gosh, this BOAT of a car: an Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight. It was a hand-me-down. Hey, when you’re sixteen, you’re just happy to have wheels.

Cherry Limeaid from aforementioned Sonic.

Try to make more things, learn more crafts. Cook more. Read more.

Sure. You don’t?

I do dye it from time to time. Usually “Light Golden Brown”, which is very close to my natural color. If I had the money for the upkeep, I’d be blonder.

Fort Worth, TX
College Station/Bryan, TX
New York, NY (Brooklyn and Queens)
Austin, TX

College football. Hands down. Only two more months to go!!!

I think I covered this up top. :)

Lots of stuff. Sweaters. Moving boxes. Large plastic containers. My cat, usually.

Sure. Nobody’s life is perfect. Plus I have an awesome family.

Night owl.

Over easy.

Home. Or my dad’s house. Because sometimes when I’m at home, I feel like I need to “do stuff.”


Oatmeal Cookie Chunk from Ben & Jerry’s

I'm going with Amanda H., but could be Elizabeth...

Elizabeth and Amanda H., your turn. Nicole, this will be an opportunity to update that neglected blog of yours. You are tagged too. Mwah.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

One more

Okay, just one more before the holiday weekend. I mean, c'mon, it's a video with cute polar bears in it. This can't wait. My favorite bit is the little girl waking up with the polar bear curled up on the floor beside her bed. Oh, if only.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Not long now and I'll be headed for this lovely place.

I'm envisioning this particular spot on a sunny day - with my niece and nephew splashing in the water, and a gaggle of people eating watermelon, burgers and brats. Maybe potato salad too. Whatever. I'll eat it all. I'm bringing my own wine. Yes that white wine. I've already downed several bottles since returning to Austin. Why it was so hard to find in New York, I have no idea. But Central Market has cases of it.

Then later, once it has gotten dark, firecrackers from the dock. I remember a Fourth of July like this when I was young. I was the one splashing around in the water. It rarely came together like that so well. And of course, my grandparents won't be there this time. But I'm looking forward to it. Not so much the long drive, but, you know. Once I get there.

Since I'm leaving Thurs directly from work and since tomorrow night I'm going to the Fleet Foxes show (yes, those Fleet Foxes!!), I'm getting my last entry in now before the weekend. In between paragraphs, toenails get painted. You get the idea.

So I finally re-covered this little footstool I bought in May. It was simply a matter of finding my fabric. Once I did that, it was done that same afternoon. A recommendation from a crafty co-worker led to the wonder that is Ginger's Needlearts - this lovely little quilting and embroidery shop. And instantly I found exactly the fabric I wanted. Just like that.

So here's before:

Here's after:

And here's a closeup of that gorgeous fabric. To say I'm smitten with it would be an understatement. And so much better than the stuff that was on there, which was slightly sticky all over. Ew.

It's that lethal combination of blue, white, and orangey-red for me. I just swoon over it. And that's not burnt orange, mind you. Orangey-red. Like the color I'm putting on my toenails right now (Maybelline calls it "Racy Red"). It's actually a rather patriotic-looking combo, but that's not what I think of when I see it. I just think, "ooh, pretty."

Have a good Fourth everyone!