Thursday, March 25, 2010

So now I'm... a gardener?

When I was living in *that place* where I couldn't breathe the air, a friend brilliantly pointed out that perhaps some living green in my apartment would be a good idea. It certainly couldn't hurt. I, of course, have a history of killing plants. (And pet fish, but that's another story for another day and no I never did it on purpose and yes I still feel bad about it, thanks for reminding me.) In an attempt to change my track record, I acquired a couple of cute, extremely low maintenance, cacti. (Can we call them cactuses? "Cacti" just feels silly to me.)

By the time I came back to NJ I had kept my little cactuses alive for more than two whole months! They even survived the move! (They're hardy, those little buggers, and go for $10 or less at the grocery store around the holidays. Just sayin.)

So I was sitting around with nothing much to do but try to get healthy and watch my plants grow (or not grow - I don't think they've done anything other than not die so far), and I got to thinking about what life might be like once I get past the recovery phase and the preparation-for-what's-next phase, and I decided I'd like it to include more plants.

Of course I've had all kinds of fantasies about growing and canning my own tomatoes and harvesting my own strawberries grown in one of those funny terra cotta pots. But for the sake of starting off a little more pragmatically, I bought three packets of seeds, three teeny plastic pots, and three small plastic trays to catch the water that runs out the holes in the bottoms.

I planted basil, rosemary, and thyme. (Yes, like the song - sort of.)

I totally haven't killed them yet! They're growing! Soon I'll have to move them to bigger pots (since I put an entire packet of seeds into each 2" diameter pot, which is patently absurd)! I'M GROWING PLANTS AND THEY'RE NOT DYING!

I'm a little bit excited.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Is this really necessary?

I'm writing cover letters, which is among my all time least favorite things to do. Honestly, I'd rather scrub the bathtub - at least then I'd know a nice bath was coming at the end of it. Writing cover letters just feels like useless bragging, a giant pissing contest against a bunch of people I'll never meet. I'm so not into it. If I could, I'd send this to every potential employer:

To Whom It May Concern:

I'm AWESOME. You should hire me.


I mean, that's all a cover letter is, when you get down to it. Why bother dressing it up all fancy? Let's get real here, people. I need a job. You need someone remotely competent. This could be the start of something moderately unpleasant but generally beneficial for us both.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Flour in jars shouldn't make me this happy.

Why didn't anyone tell me that "sweet" rice flour and "glutinous" rice flour are the same thing? Does everyone but me already know that?

Ohwell. At least my two identical flours are housed in totally awesome jars (! I really wanted to buy about a dozen of each size, but settled for one small one and three of the next size up... to start with. As soon as I decide what else to actually keep in them, I'm going back to IKEA and buying as many as I can carry. I don't know why I love them so much, exactly. I think it's something about the realness of them, the old-fashionedness, the fact that glass has never had BPA (and we did away with the lead a long time ago), the fact that they look so clean and orderly and purposeful in the kitchen...

Be careful. Soon this may turn into a blog about real estate I'm drooling over and will never be able to afford, and kitchen makeovers that fill my nightly dreams.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

An Open Letter (5)

Dear Lady at the DMV,

I'm sorry you're not any good at your job. You seem like a nice lady, and I really didn't mind your slow pace... for the first half hour. The second half hour started to drag a little, though your sunny disposition did help somewhat, as did the promise of concluding my business and not having to return to the DMV for a long, long time.

It was the third half hour that got me. 90 minutes is just too long to stand at a counter at the DMV, especially when you were THISCLOSE to finishing after an hour, and then things went wrong and you had to try again.

So I'm sorry you can't work the computer very well. I'm sorry your coworkers don't seem to like you. I'm sorry you'll likely get fired, because I got the impression that this sort of thing happens a lot and even at the DMV there are (apparently) standards of some kind (though I do find that a little hard to believe). I hope you find a job doing something else - something you can do without quite so many mistakes. But please, please, please never wait on me at the DMV ever again.

Monday, March 8, 2010


It's been a long time since I tuned in to an awards show, and much longer since I watched one all the way through, but man am I glad I did tonight. It took 82 years, but a woman has finally won an Academy Award for Best Director. YES!!!!! She has made history... and made every step for us that follow her just a little bit easier. That was so worth watching.

Friday, March 5, 2010

I need a bigger shoehorn.

The unpacking is, let's say, 85% done. And it'll probably remain between 85% and 92% done until I pack up and move out again. (Not like I'm saying anything we don't already all know.)

In a certain way, I love moving. Weird, right? But I love the fresh start. I LOVE getting to organize everything, decide where everything's going to go, make it all fit nice and neat. I also love the excuse to throw things out, because lord knows we in this family are not the best at throwing things out. (Did I ever tell you about my grandparents' collection of Natural History magazines?)

But for the last week I've felt like I just don't have a big enough shoehorn. Moving into a house that's already full - of other people's stuff - is so not fun. There's been so much "am I allowed to put this here?" and "if I squeeze this stuff together can I have that shelf space?" that I'm feeling a bit claustrophobic in spite of this being my largest abode of the last, oh, well, 30 years I guess.

It makes me really excited for having my own place, where I don't have to ask permission before unpacking my electric can opener onto the kitchen counter or hanging pictures on the walls. I worry, though, that this means I'm rapidly becoming a *grown up* - kids don't really fantasize about owning a modest home with hardwood floors and lots of kitchen counter space, do they?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


So, I was going to make that awesome-sounding cake recipe, but then I couldn't find guar gum in the store, and I was already a little bit nervous about using fake butter in a recipe that called for that much butter, and in the end I chickened out and bought a mix.

However, the mix ended up being quite tasty! I realized that it was the first layer cake I've ever made, and I think it turned out really well. Even my gluten-eating family members thought it was totally edible and maybe even kinda good. Here's the finished result, complete with "butter"cream frosting (which worked fine with fake butter, probably because a it's hard to go wrong with A POUND of powdered sugar):

Now we get to find out how well it freezes, because I probably could eat the rest of it before it got stale, if I really tried, but it would be a terrible idea for oh so many reasons...

(p.s. The cake mix was Namaste brand. Next time I'm going to try separating the eggs, beating the whites, and folding them in at the end for an airier (hopefully) texture...)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Adventure Continues

Well, folks, I'm back in New Jersey. It's been an intense couple of weeks - packing, selling, donating...and saying goodbye - but everyone seems to have survived, which is nothing short of miraculous. Of course, I kind of feel like I've been beaten very thoroughly with a baseball bat. At the same time, though, I've felt extremely well cared for through the entire process, not just by everyone involved but by everyone nearby. There's a list of people that I just can't thank enough.

Special kudos go to my awesome big brother, who took nearly a week out of his busy life to fly to Tennessee (Tennessee, people!), carry everything I own down a long flight of stairs and pack it into a fifteen foot truck (fifteen feet!), drive said truck nearly a thousand miles over the course of three days, and then carry everything I own into my parents' already full house. And not once did he and I argue.

Everyone should be so lucky as to have family like I do.

Now I'm taking a break from the unpacking to say hello to you all and pick out a chocolate cake recipe to try this evening. I think it's going to be this one: (scroll down). (I love reading Shauna's blog - I like the way she writes, I like the passion she has for food (REAL food), I want to meet her because she just seems awesome.)

Happy March! Go eat some chocolate cake.