Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Playlist

So that certain people will stop asking me if it's a Watershed song...

1) Baby Got Back -- Sir Mix-a-Lot
2) Slowly Then Suddenly -- Watershed
3) Einstein On The Beach (For An Eggman) -- Counting Crows
4) Wallflower Child -- Watershed
5) Answering Machine (Live) -- Matt Nathanson
6) Sing -- The Dresden Dolls
7) Allegory -- Murray Attaway
8) Romeo And Juliet -- Indigo Girls
9) Mr. Jones (Live) -- Counting Crows
10) Happy Now -- Tim Easton
11) Therapy -- Watershed
12) Breathe Me -- Sia
13) Tracing -- John Mayer
14) Fall to Pieces (Live) -- Matt Nathanson
15) How Do You Feel -- Watershed
16) It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) -- R.E.M.
17) Ridin' -- Chamillionaire & Krayzie Bone
18) Sorrow -- Bad Religion
19) Number One Spot -- Ludacris

And now to feed myself.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Cat, With No Hat (And No Eyes)

Yay for schwubbie! (Now, I know that you-two-who-might-read-this already know my pets, but I love to talk about them and take their pictures...) So this is the first-of-four in the irregularly posted introduce-the-cats series of posts.

Name(s): Leanie (officially)
Schwub, schwubbie, shrubs, shrubbery, Turbo, Turbie, Turbiekin, Turbhat, Turbcat, Turbear, Cheekon Keeton, Schwubchicken, Chick Chica, Schwurbs, Strawberry, Stray Berry, Stray Cat, Lilli, Lillian, and I'm sure that I've forgotten several (thousand) -- pets around here tend to have lots of names.

Hobbies: sleeping, chasing intruders, more sleeping, being a ninja...


Schwubs, up close and personal (catal?):

She's very photogenic because she never blinks when I'm trying to take her picture. (For those who don't know, Schwubs had nasty eye infections when she was very very young and they had to surgically remove her eyes. No, she's not asleep; no, she can't see; yes, she does bump into things sometimes; no, she's not unhappy. Just to answer everyone's questions...)

Schwubs, doing her ninja thang:

She was swatting at Loki (Ms. Dog-on-a-Blog) who insists on putting a paw on any cat that she can reach...

And this is schwubbie doing her best chicken imitation:

Pretty darn adorable if you ask me :)

And this is a never-ending pasta salad:

Ridiculously easy (once you get past the chaos of making the pesto...which, really, you don't even have to do...just go buy some. I'll post my veganized recipe sometime in the future when I get the "measurements" right...all that I know is that I messed it up and that I had to add more basil about 5 different times...) Pasta (drained and rinsed in cold water), vegan sour cream, pesto (about 2 T pesto to 1/2 c. sour cream), carrots and green beans (drop them in boiling water for about 3 minutes, then rinse them quickly with cold water to stop them from cooking anymore). Mix, salt and pepper to taste, the end. I did run the pesto/sour cream mixture through the Cuisinart with some fresh basil leaves just for color, but you could either chiffonade the extra basil or just leave it out entirely. Yay for pasta salad!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Monkeys with Typewriters title is somewhat double-meaninged. I love ambiguity -- except in knitting patterns, grrr -- and so take of it what you will, but here's what I was thinking. A short interview with the author:

Me: So, what were you thinking when you wrote this title?
Me: Well, the title refers to a quote that I heard once; it said that a thousand monkeys with typewriters would eventually reproduce the works of Shakespeare.
Me: I see. And how does this relate to your literary vision?
Me: One one level, I see most bloggers as monkeys with typewriters -- we're all just throwing thoughts out there, hoping that someday they'll be read by people other than the two (Hi Beast! Hi Kabs!) who encouraged us to write them. On another level, it's how people learn to do things...there are streams of sajhfoaensoifwetjfdlkkkkdsgnreiu before you ever get a "To be or not to be..." and that is why I love my digital camera. (Thank you to the family!) I can delete all of the too-dark-too-light-out-of-focus-just-plain-whoops pictures and keep the good ones. And on another level, I just like to say monkeys with typewriters. It should be a punk band (all good phrases should be punk bands), but as far as I know, it is not.

Now, for all of you graphics-oriented types, the pictures:

And this one is my favorite:

And just to keep up the booty-fruity theme (see Beast's blog):

And that is about all the pics that my computer can handle for now...

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Happy Garden Moment

Sounds a little like Engrish...but Happy Garden Moment is not a Japanese beverage of any sort. (I matches on Google, of any sort. I appear to be the queen of unpopular cool-sounding phrases recently.) Nope, Happy Garden Moment is what happened earlier this morning. I came home from walking the dog, stopped to examine my "garden" (the collection of potted plants on my front "lawn"), and noticed the following:

Yep...tomatoes. Now, most people wouldn't think that there's anything miraculous about tomatoes on a tomato plant (because it is, indeed, a tomato plant), but I haven't successfully grown a plant in over 5 years of trying. Well, one year I got a single tomato...and I think that the sheer shock of that promptly killed the tomato plant. Here's hoping to avoiding that this year.

I also have some beautiful basil:

And probably some neighbors that think that I'm crazy for sitting outside, taking pictures of plants. I was having fun messing with the settings, and also figured out, completely by accident, how to turn off the flash. (I was going to take a picture of what button to press, but it's kind of like you can't carry yourself in a wheelbarrow... as far as I know, it's impossible to take a good picture of the back of one's own camera.)

My poor plants probably felt somewhat like the Jolie-Pitt children. I, however, am unable to afford to buy a compound in Africa to protect my tomatoes from now their picture will be splashed all over the web -- damn the consequences! :)

Friday, June 23, 2006

Bad Mood = Bad Haiku


My dog is a brat
Cubicle's sucked my soul dry

And that about covers it for today.

But, just to avoid making it a total waste of a post, I'm going to give you my recipe for the best soup ever. For real. (It's not quite as photogenic as I may have hoped, but, dang, it was I allowed to swear on here?) So anyway, the bek-cipe. (Since, you know, there's no measurements and stuff.) It's very flexible, but here's what I did. Feel free to throw in whatever veggies you have lying around.

Take 1 can of vegetable broth, 1 chopped onion (can sub leek or green onion or shallot), 1 HEAD of chopped garlic (no substitutes for fresh garlic!), a handful of dried shiitake mushrooms and 4 cups of water. Put into a big pot and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Let simmer while you prepare the other veggies: peel and dice 1 smallish-mediumish butternut squash (can sub 2 sweet potatoes). Add to the pot with 1/2 cup quick-cooking barley (can sub small pasta or instant brown rice) and let simmer 15 minutes or so. Roughly chop 1/2 bunch kale (can sub any green, just keep in mind that spinach will cook very quickly) and add to the soup along with 1 can kidney beans and 1 can chickpeas. Let cook about 5 minutes more, and add salt and pepper to taste. (Not that y'all didn't know that already...) Voila! (NOT viola, people.)

This soup was inspired by 2 soups that were served at Whole World Restaurant: spinach/barley/leek and kale/sweet potato/chickpea. Mine is what happens if you mix them together with a splash of bek...wahaha!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Dog on a Blog

Surprisingly, "dog on a blog" brings up fewer than 10 hits on Google. I do forget though, that not everyone likes Snakes on a Plane and Dr. Seuss as much as I do. But anyways, this is a followup to "The hats, without cats..." and I do promise that, someday soonish, I will post "The cats..." --with or without hats yet to be determined. They haven't been very photogenic recently, but this is probably one of the greatest pictures that I've ever taken:

That's me on the right and Rai (short for Raina) on the left. It's one of the few shots that I got where she doesn't have ridiculous red eye. (I really need to sit down and figure out how to turn the flash off on my camera.)

But this is dog on a blog, so here's the dog. This is well-behaved Loki:

And this is regular Loki -- she's trying to get the popcorn that I was holding (a nice bribe to get her to hold still for the picture above):

She's harmless, folks, I swear. But anyways, on Monday nights I volunteer at the Physicians' Free Clinic, and I also work 9-5. So I decided to hire a dogwalker to come and tame the tornado (aka walk the dog). I was pretty terrified that I was going to come home to a shredded house, but I really lucked out and got an awesome dogwalker. She walked Loki for an hour, and left me a "report card", and...since it was hot on Monday, she took Loki out for ice cream. No chewed-on furniture, no "puppy presents", nothing. Life is good.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Love It or Hate It

Since my camera is on hiatus (dead batteries) and I haven't had a whole hell of a lot of time to cook (summer job), today's digression will "focus" on one of my favorite foods ever, which, if you didn't guess from the title, is:

Which is surprising, since I am a born-and-bred American who didn't encounter the stuff until my 20s. Most people react a little differently -- my mom (shall I say mum here?) literally ran to the sink and started gulping large quantities of water, and still makes priceless faces whenever I mention it.

And in fact, there's an urban legend/joke wandering around online about an American businessman who's in England and develops an appreciation for Marmite. After learning that it's nearly impossible to find in the US (which is still kind of true, although it's gotten easier), he has a case shipped home to his wife. He flies back from his trip, gets settled in, and asks his wife if she'd like to join him for a Marmite sandwich. "Honey," she says, "I had to throw it out. It was all black and gooey and smelled terrible. Maybe next time you can get some that hasn't gone bad."

I, however, am addicted. I can't hear about Marmite without being overwhelmed by a craving for Marmite broth (with lots of freshly ground black pepper) or Marmite mashed potatoes, or Marmite on toast (rye bread is best, but onion bagels are good too...) Mmmm. One of the best sandwiches that I ever had -- a pantry-cleanout in my usual fashion -- was a bagel (Asiago I think) with Marmite, avocado, sliced Roma tomato, and radish sprouts. While I can't recommend it to anyone else (even if you like Marmite...because radish sprouts are really bitter, and most people don't like them either) I really want another one. Like, now. So I will leave.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The hats, without cats...

So... Kabs knits. Beast knits. Several thousand other people that I know knit too. And publish gorgeous patterns, ugly patterns, easy patterns, and complicated patterns. Or they just knit on a whim, and don't deal with patterns at all. (I envy them...patternless knitting for me just doesn't work. I almost never follow patterns exactly...but I'm an editor, not a writer.)

And yes, I knit too. And I attempt to crochet. I have made only 2 crocheted items ever. One, a hat, the other...

It goes by the name "Lumpy Masterpiece"...note the uneven brim, excess fabric at the top, and the misguided attempt at the bow. The "pattern" for this was to single crochet a rectangle, seam it to form a cylinder, gather one edge (to form the top of the hat) and then fold up the other edge to form the brim. It's actually very easy and I wish that I remember where the pattern came from. However, since it was my first project, my "rectangle" was anything but. (It's cute in its own abstract way...honest.) It's sitting on a ball of Diakeito yarn that is awaiting size 13 needles, so that it can become a headband. Or maybe I will peruse One Skein and see if there's anything else that catches my attention.

For a while, I knit only baby hats -- instant gratification and easy enough to knit while paying attention to other things (like professors, or television). I've made about 50 in the past year, and here are two that I haven't sent yet -- I donate them to Touching Little Lives, which is where I got the pattern.

They're being watched over by Mama hat, which I did not knit.

I'm currently working on a larger project, which I will post later.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The buttshroom returns!

Per audience request...the many faces of the buttshroom :)

Better Late Than Never...But Better Never Late

I heard that once and it made me unhappy...because I am chronically late. (I can't help it...I swear.) So, since I am unable to commit to "better never late", here's "better late than never". My blog about food, and knitting, and pets, and school, and events and websites that interest me, or that piss me off. And random thoughts...they're inevitable around here.

I'll start with food. Tonight was grill night. I love grilling. And even though the grill is very old and cranky and threatens to kill me every time I light it, it still makes fabulous food.

The menu: artichokes and mushrooms. (No, vegetarian grilling is not an oxymoron...)

The mushrooms:

Though I am a "mature" person (old enough to be kicked off of my parents' insurance), I still think it's funny that this mushroom looks like a butt.

So anyways, I mixed up some soy sauce and sesame oil and minced garlic and black pepper, rubbed it on the mushroom caps and grilled them for maybe 10 minutes. The finished dish:

I put most of them in the fridge to go with salad and pasta and rice and sandwiches for the rest of the week. (Leftovers = my friend.)

I've been addicted to grilled artichokes ever since I had one at Northstar Cafe. They served theirs with a remoulade...but I'm not a huge mayo fan. Anyhows, I destroyed my first batch (artichokes to ashes, and lots of dust) but both the second and the third batches have turned out really well. Basically, you boil the artichokes whole for 20 minutes, then cut them in half, remove the choke, brush them with olive oil and grill (8 minutes on the uncut side and 4 minutes on the cut side). I'm going to be very distraught when artichoke season is done.

"Action" shot...artichokes battling leaping flames!

And how they turned out. I actually burned them a little bit on purpose...that's my story and I'm sticking to it :) The sauce is soy sauce, sesame oil, cayenne pepper, ginger, brown sugar, and lime juice, aka "cupboard sauce"... different every time.

And that's all for tonight!