Sunday, 6 May 2012

Stationery Card

Clean Trio Blue Birth Announcement
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Monday, 20 June 2011

Cooking vs. Baking

The showdown is on. And you know who is going to win when Cooking takes on Baking.

Cooking enters the ring, wearing whatever it happened to have on, in a distracted and desultory manner. It isn’t excited to be here, it isn’t inspired or celebratory or even unusual. It’s just your run-of-the-mill ‘everyone’s gotta eat something so let’s get this done’ activity. Sure it’s got stamina – it’s been around forever and it rarely misses a day (although some of these heatwave Summer days prompt its absence with their menus of cereal, salads, and the very occasional [Louis Blue] otter pop). Still, Cooking stands if not proudly, then certainly steadfastly.

Then the upstart enters the ring. Baking is carefree, it’s whimsical, it dances around and joyfully sings out “special occasion!” Baking has its own special equipment, its own traditions (think licking the spoon/beaters/bowl, blowing out candles, decorating for godsake, and gift-giving), and its own mood. Tell me that you feel get as giddy broiling skinless chicken breasts as you do baking chocolate chip cookies. Go on…

You can’t. Because there is just no way.

So the problem is this. Baking, that seductive old friend with its come-hither looks and tantalizing smells is so much more fun, so much more satisfying … and yet, when dieting, so much more forbidden. Oh, sure I could bake and not EAT any of it, but what’s the likelihood of that? Pretty damn slim. I’m not even sure a mega-dose of raisins would keep me from the hot-off-the-cookie sheet goodies at this point.

The question is this – does anyone have anything that they cook that they think is actually as fun as something they bake? If so, I’d love the recipe. Or for you to cook for me, while I lament my erstwhile baking hobbying.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Catching Up!!!

So, it's March. And I had a bunch of stuff that I meant to post during the holidays. So here they finally are. Some tidbits.

Knit Goods
I decided to knit a couple of new-to-me scarf patterns. Eleanor's was very easy to knit, but required paying attention, a fact I was apt to overlook in the middle of random TV viewing. Michelle's was a snap -- and a mindless one at that! So I was able to indulge in trash TV whilst multi-tasking: soooo productive!

Christmas Scarf for Eleanor

Christmas Scarf for Michelle

Baked Goods
I bake pretty much year round, but thought I'd try some cute little bits for the holidays. I managed to give most of this away, a fair amount of which went to my sister and her family. My nephew Zach did the lion's share of the eating, or so I hear. He polished off a healthy portion of each of the below in one evening.

Shortbread Stars

Pecan Tartlets

Chocolate Spritz

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Eye Candy

Today was a spontaneous redecorating day in my cube, thanks to a visit from Kate in our UK office. She came bearing gifts. In the form of David Beckham. Okay, not him personally, but some posters. So I had to relocate the LPS4 poster to a new spot, making room for Becks in a place of honor. Or, to be specific, a spot which is in my range of vision all day. ALLLLLLL day.

Due to this shift, my good friend and cube neighbor, Gabe, now gets to ogle Kitty, Horse, and Cocker Spaniel whilst I feast my eyes on David.

Let's just say that he is not as pleased as I am.

Move over, LPS!

It's time for another view!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Let Them Eat Pie

It’s our annual pre-thanksgiving potluck at work today. Which means I spent last night in the kitchen baking. Really I could have gotten away with one pie. Or even (gasp) buying a pie … or something -- because let’s face it, I wouldn’t have purchased a store-made pie! But I was waffling between apple and pecan and so rather than make a decision I thought “why not both?”


Here are a few reasons why not.

It takes about 20 minutes short of forever to peel all those apples. Which is why I then feel absolutely justified letting the cuisinart do the slicing. And then, come to think of it, why wouldn’t I make the crusts (for both pies) in there too? So I decided to do that. But the thing with that is that it’s very hard to tell what’s going on in there whilst mid-mix. And making a pie crust is more an art than a science. I mean, sure, you need to not overdo the flour or the water or the butter, so you kind of need to measure correctly which is more like science. But really, cutting in the shortening and then adding just the right amount of water, well, it all depends frankly. Sometimes I’ve had to add the entire suggested amount. Sometimes I add barely half of it. It really depends. And if it’s all happening outside your line of vision (i.e., shrouded in the damn cuisnart), it’s really anybody’s guess.


But for some insanely stupid reason, I persevered with the cuisinart. Because in my head I KNEW it was “easier.” Ha! I needed essentially 3 crusts (2 for the apple, 1 for the pecan). Well, maybe I needed 3.5 or 4 (my pie plates are rather deep). But I must have made 10. Literally. So, no. I think I have now properly dispelled that misunderstanding. It is not easier.

Then when it came to pack up this morning I looked at both pies, pretty in their ceramic plates … and weighing in at about 8 lbs each. And I realized the problem with pies, is that you can’t exactly stack them. Or throw them in a big bag and go on your way. I have a proper carrier… but guess what. It’s meant for one pie. Because who in their right mind would make two that needed to be transported? No one. No one in their right mind.

Pecan Nom Nom

So I put one in the carrier and the other, foil-covered, I precariously ensconced in a thin paper shopping bag. Then I picked them both up, along with my coffee (it goes without saying that I desperately needed that coffee this morning after baking all night) and a tub of ice cream, and started the difficult journey from apartment to car to cube. And barely made it. But they’re here. Bon app├ętit!

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Breaking up is hard to do

Over the Summer -- at least I think that's when it was -- I broke up with my hairdresser. We'd been together for a really long time, maybe 10 or 11 years. We'd been through a lot: she moved, twice. I moved, many times more than that and once, even, across the seas to England for a spell. But then this past Summer, the long distance relationship just became too much for me and I broke it off. I felt bad -- I mean, we'd been together longer than I had ever been together with any other hairdresser. But making the hour-plus drive each way was taking its toll to the point where I wasn't even looking forward to our time together. So... I called it quits.

But of course, since then, I've played around a bit. Tried out a couple of different stylists, all of course conveniently local. But none of it is has been ... you know, quality. I mean, the cuts and the color were fine, sure. But only that -- just fine. No sparkle, no sizzle ... no real chemistry I guess.

Consequently, unsurprisingly, my hair now looks mostly like crap. I've taken to impulsively snapping up box-o-color shades like "flame roasted coffee" (brown with a hint of red, obviously) and spending an unsatisfying, messy, tedious weekend morning battling the ever-resurgent not-quite brown strands that are adamant about showing through -- and then vainly attempting to blot said flaming java out of the rental carpet.

All of this leads me to admit that maybe I was too hasty. Maybe I didn't really understand what a good thing I had. Maybe I took my stylist for granted.

Because, seriously, it has been a long time since I had this good of an idea about what my "real" hair color is -- and, frankly, the truth is somewhat surprising. I'm sure it wasn't quite so much this color the last time we were chummy, back in say ... 2001. So on top of the melancholy regret at letting a good relationship go bad, I'm also not in love with my hair.

I wonder ... if she'd ... you know ... consider taking me back.

Ah, well, time again to don the plastic gloves and unleash the hue-spattering havoc.

Friday, 22 October 2010

It's Nice to Be Nice

Probably. For the most part anyway.

I didn’t always feel this way and, some days, I still don’t. Maybe it’s a function of getting older and mellowing the F out, and I’ve definitely found this easier to achieve after a nice relaxing holiday. But it’s really much less stressful to stave off the furies and try to be nice. I mean, I end up in a much better mood if…

…on the way to work I politely let someone who waited until the last minute squeeze in front of me right before the turn we both need to make rather than tailgating the car ahead as I do my damndest to keep them out.

… I hold the elevator, smile, say good morning or have a nice day instead of attempting to make zero eye contact with anyone from car to cube.

… I laugh off the fact that someone want me to hunt through my inbox to find something because they haven’t bothered to keep track of it.

... I decide that my cube neighbors decision to have a loud and lengthy speakerphone conference call in her cube is a good reason to listen to music via headphones rather than grounds for a justifiable homicide.

… the Starbucks lady decides on a whim that I would much prefer to have a different coffee to what I ordered, and I sat to myself ‘oh, what the heck. Hazelnut can’t be that bad, can it?’ Actually this is an exception because it turns out that, yes, actually hazelnut can be that bad after about four sips.

So yes, there may still be a few exceptions to the “little things” (Hazelnut coffee, for instance) and certainly there are still loads of “big things” worth going stroppy over, but mostly life is better when we just laugh it off and let it go.

What “little things” can’t you let go of?