Saturday, September 22, 2007

Housekeeping

There are days when I just want to be lazy and stay in my pj's all day and not think about laundry, bills and dishes. Today is one of those days. But as time keeps ticking, I am losing out on house selling days, and am beginning to think I will have to search for a roommate instead.

This makes me sad. I'm still hopeful that someone will snatch up my little house simply because it's cute, and cheap. But something tells me that's not going to happen. So today I've been rearranging and cleaning and later I may paint trim and clean out closets.

I have garbage bags everywhere and boxes that need to be stored. Basically, the house is a mess! And what I really want right now is someone to make me a grilled cheese sandwich and let me curl up on the couch with a book and a blanket and just be a cuddly vegetable.

I hate being an adult.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Zoe Go Pee Pee

Zoe and I are in a fight. Not the kind of fight where we'll break up or anything, but the kind of fight where he is in one room and I am in the other. Why? Because Zoe go pee pee.

On my couch. And floor. And I'm sure everything else.

Now, he is male but he is also fixed. And, he does go to the bathroom in his box. Which means he is marking his territory. I don't know how to stop it. Today I bought some natural spray that takes away cat pee smell from furniture. I sprayed it, and it helped a bit, but not 100%.

I also bought a spray that calms cats, and is said to stop 95% of spraying. So far, he doesn't seem to be responding. I kind of sprayed it too soon though, because I was anxious.

So, does anyone have any suggestions? Rocket, "Get rid of him" isn't an option at this point...sorry.

He is not sick with a urinary tract infection and there hasn't been any major changes since he's moved in...ideas? Cures? Suggestions? Please help!

Top Chef Results

This week's winner is.....
ONE DISH MEALS!!!
The recipe and pictures will be posted sometime between now and next Thursday...thanks for voting everyone!

The Second Sister

As is the case with most siblings, one was cooler than the other. And, though they looked exactly alike, it was easy to tell which one was Beth and which one was Kate.

Beth's stance was stronger, tougher and less feminine. She'd often stare at you with a defiance that was unmatched by any, making you feel like you were weak and unimportant. Kate, on the other hand, liked dresses and flowers, and seemed to be cut from the cloth of a hippie.

They lived in a mansion by the stream. It was rumored they had an in the ground pool and tennis courts.

Beth and Kate (never Kate and Beth) had, for the most part, the same circle of friends. Their group always had the nicest clothes, the best toys, and parents who seemed perfectly attentive. They had an older brother-just like I always wanted.

The twins were mean to mostly everyone that did not fit into their click. They are the sole reason I begged my parents to buy me a Coca Cola rugby shirt (which they never did) and Guess Jeans (again, I went without) so that I had a chance to hang with them on the playground. They were my idols in 6th grade.

One day my cousin (who was my most regular playmate and friend) was busy and could not come over after school. None of my other friends were home and I was extremely bored. Taking a chance-probably the biggest chance I had ever taken in my 6th grade life-I called the house of twins and asked for Kate.

This in itself was a bold move. No one asked for Kate first. Beth was the leader, everyone knew that. If you wanted Kate, you went through Beth-it was an unwritten rule. Nevertheless, when Kate came to the phone, I hurriedly asked her if she wanted to come over to play.

I couldn't breath, my mouth was dry and I am sure that my hands were shaking. But when Kate said "yes" I jumped up and down silently and told her to have her mom drop her off. And then I changed my clothes.

I don't remember what we played that day but I remember that we had fun. I remember thinking that if she wasn't part of a duo that we would probably be friends. And I understood that because she was Kate-and not Beth-that we never would be.

When she left she said thank you and told me she had fun. And then she explained that her sister was away visiting family with her father, and she didn't know that Kate came over-and could I please keep it a secret?

Of course I was crushed, not only because I couldn't tell everyone that THE Kate played at my house and actually had fun, but also because I was an embarrassment to her. I told her that I would indeed keep it a secret, and up until today, I have never told anyone that I asked for Kate and she answered.

I don't know what ever happened to the twins. I know that their parents divorced and the mansion was sold, but I don't know where they went. My only hope is that over the course of these years, that someone else had the nerve to ask first for Kate and that she was able to answer them too.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Cookie

A young lady was waiting for her flight in the boarding room of a big airport. As she would need to wait many hours, she decided to buy a book to spend her time. She also bought a packet of cookies...

She sat down in the VIP room of the airport to rest and read in peace. Beside the armchair where the packet of cookies lay, a man sat down in the next seat, opened his magazine and started reading...

When she took out the first cookie, the man took one also. She felt irritated, but said nothing. She just thought:

"What nerve! If I was in the mood, I would punch him for daring!"

For each cookie she took, the man took one too. This was infuriating, but she didn't want to cause a scene. When there was only one cookie left, she thought:

"Ah-what is this abusive man to do now?"

Then, the man, taking the last cookie, divided it in half, giving her one half. This was too much! She was much too angry now! In a huff, she took her book, her things, and stormed to the boarding place...

When she sat down in her seat inside the plane she looked into her purse to take out her glasses and to her surprise her packet of cookies was inside-untouched and unopened! She felt so ashamed. She realized that she was wrong...

She had forgotten that her cookies were in her purse.

The man had divided his cookies with her, without feeling angered or bitter...while she had been very angry thinking she was dividing her cookies with him.


And now there was no chance to explain herself...nor to apologize.

There are 4 things that you cannot recover.


The stone...

...after the throw

The word...

...after it's said

The occasion...

...after it's lost

The time...

...after it's gone

Pop Pop, Fizz, Fizz

This is normally the kind of thing I only mention to 2 people-my friend Megan and my sister Lauren (the younger one).

Don't you hate it when you are walking along, all normal and lovely and then all of a sudden, unprovoked and unannounced a little bit of air escapes from your buttocks?

Did I have gas? No.

Did I eat beans or broccoli? Negatory.

Then WHY oh WHY does this little peep come out as you are walking?

And why is it never when you you are alone in your house but when you are the hallway of your busy office...

*sigh*

Top Chef

Welcome to another week of Top Chef. This week there is only one poll and it is very generic. The reason is simple: I'm poor. I would like to continue doing Top Chef every week, but the ingredients needed are sometimes expensive and I just can't do it. I may have to start doing Top Chef once a month and just post some recipes for you guys instead.

That being said, I'm going to try it this way...you tell me what kind of food to cook and I'll share the recipe. This way, I will be able to use what I have in my house, and may only have to buy a few things. It will almost always be one dish of the "Dinner for 2" and I'll suggest what you can serve with it. What are your thoughts?

What about the "What's in Your Pantry?" thing I did once? Did you all like that? Would you like me to start that instead? Let me know-I'm willing to modify things so you enjoy coming back!



Thursday Thirteen: Today


Thirteen Things I Like About Today



1. There is only 1 more day until Friday!
2. I don't have to make a cake that will taste bad
3. It is sunny and somewhat cool.
4. I did not get sick after drinking 4 martini's and 1 shot last night.
5. There is a craft fair & bake sale during lunch today
6. I am wearing sneakers instead of heels today because I felt like being comfy
7. It will be nice out when I get out of work and I can mow my lawn without sweating
8. Open windows in my house=nice cross breezes
9. I received another donation for my Breast Cancer Walk (But am still short of my goal-PLEASE donate!)
10. Even though I didn't do my hair today, it is soft and flowy and not at all frizzy (Even though they confiscated my hair cream at the airport!)
11. There are only 3 more days until I get to see Rye Bread, C-Unit and Flipper. And lots of animals.
12. Zoe only needs 5 more days of medicine to get rid of his little cold. (Yay!)
13. I am alive and smiling. What more can I ask for?

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Top Chef: Recipe

Hello chums*! Last week, as you recall the winners were: Tilapia, Artichokes, Lemon sauce, Asparagus...I perused the local grocery and found that they were out of Asparagus. Therefore, I chose green beans. I hope you don't mind.

Another twist was that this is not a healthy meal. Being that I was craving something crispy and warm and also because I've always wanted to try, I decided to make fish and chips. The twist is in the chips-and also in the sauces that accompany them.

If you would like me to provide a recipe for a non-fried fish dish, email me and I'll find one for you. But I can tell you that the batter I used for the Fish was fantastic, and I really, really enojoyed eating it.

Fish & String Bean Chips with Lemon Oregano Vinegar and Artichoke Aioli

For the batter:
2 C. Flour
1 T. Baking powder
1 t. Kosher salt
1/4 t. Cayenne pepper
2 Generous Dashes Old Bay Seasoning
1 Bottle brown beer, cold
1 1/2 pounds firm-fleshed whitefish (tilapia, pollock, cod), cut into 1-ounce strips Cornstarch, for dredging

Method:
1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cayenne pepper, and Old Bay seasoning. Whisk in the beer until the batter is completely smooth and free of any lumps. 2. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. You can make this up to 1 hour in advance, but no earlier than that.

To Fry:
1. Allow oil to reach 350 degrees. Lightly dredge fish strips in cornstarch.
2. Working in small batches, dip the fish into batter and immerse into hot oil. When the batter is set, turn the pieces of fish over and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes.
3. Drain the fish on the roasting rack. If you are not ready to serve it immediately, hold in a 200 degree oven-be careful not to do this for too long however-you don't want to overcook it! Serve with Lemon Oregano Vinegar. >
For the Green Bean Fries I simply washed and stemmed fresh green beans, rolled them in cornstarch and dipped them in the same batter as the fish (do the green beans first to avoid cross contamination). Slip them into the hot oil until golden brown, remove with a slotted spoon and season. Serve with Artichoke Aioli.

Sauces:
Lemon Oregano:
Juice from 1 large lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4-5 Dashes of Malt Vinegar
Salt & Black Pepper TT

*Mix all ingredients together at least 1/2 hour prior to serving to allow flavors to love each other. Serve cold, or room temperature.

Artichoke Aioli:
1 Clove of garlic, peeled
1 t. Kosher salt
1 Egg yolk
1 t. Dijon mustard
About 2 C. Olive Oil
Lemon juice TT
1 Can Artichoke Hearts, drained & Chopped
Salt and Pepper TT

1. Make a paste with the garlic and the salt.
2. Place the egg yolk and mustard in a bowl and whisk
3. Add your olive oil bit by bit. Once you've blended in a half cup of the olive oil you can start to add the rest in larger amounts.
4. Add the garlic and lemon juice and artichokes. Season to taste with s&p.

Note: I loved the Lemon Oregano Vinegar and think I will use it from now on when I make fish and chips instead of just plain malt vinegar. I think I could also use it as a vinaigrette too, which is nice, if I just add some olive oil and emulsify it. I have to be honest when I say that I don't care for Aioli's or most Mayo type dips/dressings, so I didn't like this Aioli, but the flavor was there and I know I would have liked it had it not been...well, aioli! If you try it, let me know your thoughts.

**To serve the aioli, as you can see, I used the left over lemon half that was hollowed out from my juicer. It adds color to the plate and is kind of fun!

*I know this is English because Claire always says it!

Tripping

Hi everyone! Did you miss me TONS?!?!?! (Clue: The answer should be YES) I actually had a really good time on my business trip and even enjoyed touring the boiler and power plant that my company designed and built. This is the view as you approach the plant:

This is the view as we were about to climb this sucker-26 stories high!
Walking around on these (yikes!)If you look to the top of this photo, you can see a mountain of coal. This picture doesn't even come close to showing you how much it was, but this was enough coal to keep the plant running for about 30 days! That's a lot of coal!!! (About 2000 tons per HOUR) One of the fireboxes-he would open it up and tell you to put your hardhat in front of your face in case the down draft wasn't working and it spit a fireball out at you. I opted not to look into the fire, but just stand in the back and look from there. It was very neat to see these, especially because the first unit we toured was being worked on (pictured) and then we toured the other unit that was completed. Very cool to see the difference and the finished product. With all of the pipes and the workers in the unfinished unit, it reminded me of an underground world-almost like The Mole People living under the subways. Of course I found this intriguing.
*
Sunday I flew down to South Carolina-after a 45 minute delay of waiting on the plane we took off. The reason we were delayed? We were waiting for 2 golden retrievers to be loaded into the luggage area! After 45 minutes, we were told that they dogs would not make it, and they escorted the owners of the dogs off the plane. We were kind of upset because you know they wouldn't wait for a passenger for that long!
*
I was lucky enough to get a seat in the bulkhead and sat next to an old woman who told me I had to climb over her because she had trouble standing up. Ok...no problem...I climbed over her, and as we were flying, she put her little old lady legs up onto the wall almost above her shoulders! First of all, I hope I'm still that flexible when I'm that old, but also-you can put your legs up over your head but you can't stand up? I don't think so...
*
Monday after work we all went out on the town for a pub crawl and dinner. One of my coworkers does not drink so we had an automatic DD, and we sure did need it. 3 of us got stupid drunk, which was fun as I almost never get the chance to let loose like this. We went to an Irish Pub and had Guiness (well, I had a Snake Bite), a BBQ restaurant's bar for Sam Adams, the bar at the restaurant we ate dinner at where their specialty was Bloody Mary's of all things-and when someone says it's their specialty, you get it...I think this was my downfall. Then after dinner we went to a cool jazzy bar with live music and had many, many drinks and shots...
I've only been sick 3 times in my life from drinking-and Monday night was the 3rd. I woke up around 1:30 and was so sick...and again at 6am. Not a good feeling the day you are flying back home, but I made it. Today I'm tired but happy, and glad I got to spend time with my coworkers. It felt more like a mini-vacation than a business trip, and that is always good.
*
Plus, I didn't have to pay for a thing!
*
I have photos and a recipe for top chef that I will post sometime later (maybe)...now, to catch up on everyone else!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Leaving, On A Jet Plane

This afternoon I am leaving for South Carolina to visit a job site that my company is working on. It should be an interesting time-hopefully. I am the only one who is not an engineer and also, the only girl. I am friends with all of the guys going though, so I'm not worried about it being awkward, and we are planning on doing a little sightseeing or having a nice dinner on Monday night after our tour.

I am bringing my laptop, however I am not certain that I will have access to the internet-if they have a normal plug in, I will be OK but if it is a wireless connection, I won't be around until Wednesday.

So...it might be goodbye for now. If something happens to me or my plane, please know that I love you all. ;)