Thursday, June 24, 2010

I cry shenanigans!

Okay, today's going absolutely insane and quickly. It's a total comedy of errors.

Plan A: Wake up at a decent hour. Throw in a load of laundry. Get to the gym. Have lunch at home. Go to work from 2-5 & bike it, if weather permits. Make pizza dough. Enjoy pizza for dinner.

Plan B. Wake up a slightly-later than decent hour. Check weather ... green light for biking. Find out that work hours have changed from 2-6, necessitating pizza dough creation prior to lunchtime. Throw in a load of laundry. After putting clothes & detergent into washer, discover that husband has, in fact purchased fabric softener, not laundry detergent. This explains much. Get out fish to thaw in empty sink. Start yeast for dough ... discover we have only 1 tsp yeast ... recalculate quantities to make less dough (fine, we only need 1 pizza, not 4) ... follow directions for making dough on "flat surface." Discover that the recipe creators at Men's Health are idiots. Slowly poured water results in rivulets pouring down all sides of carefully constructed, deep well o' flour. Attempts to capture it result in sticky, doughy hands and a whole counter of ICK. Go to wash hands ... discover fish in sink. GAH. Creative use of elbows allows fish to get out of flour zone. Camera retrieval to document said disaster shows that batteries in piece of crap Olympus FE-310 are dead. Again. In less than 24 hours. (Olympus told us this problem would be resolved if we switched to expensive rechargeable NiMH batteries. Bullshit.) It is now 11:09. No way do I have time to get to the store to get either yeast or laundry detergent. The rest of the laundry will have to wait. The pizza recipe is being destroyed, and we're freakin' going to Steak N Shake. I give up.

edit: I've now (at 11:30) just learned that a 1/4 mile stretch of road is under construction, right in my biking route. To reroute would add about 4 miles onto my bike. No way do I have time or energy for THAT. Car it is. *grumble*

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ah, just like Grandma used to make

No, seriously ... we're making strawberry jam, just like Grandma used to make. In her canner, nonetheless. We're not yet trying out the pressure function on the canner ... we're just using it as a boiler water canner. This thing is freakin' humongous.


We bought strawberries at the farmers' market today, 3 quarts of them. Turned out we only needed about half that amount. Still. Lots of berries.


We had to bring a LOT of water to a simmer in the canner. Pay no attention to the grim reaper appearing in the steam. We do not think it is an omen. Still. Cool.


I took the responsibility of actually making the jam, so if it doesn't turn out because it wasn't boiled long enough ... yeah, my bad.


My honey was in charge of all the very hot things. Like wiping down the jars once they were full, then attaching the lids, screwing the tops on & immersing them in hot water.


The whole process took just over 2 hours. We could only make 4 pints of jam ... and all 4 are spoken for.


If you're drooling about now & say to yourself, "Hey! I want some summer/fall canned goodness!", give me some canning jars ... for every 4 jars you give me empty, I'll give you one back full! I am totally serious on this. By now you should know how I feel about stuff laying around not being used. Find me some jars so I don't have to buy new ones ... and I'll buy/harvest the food. Heck, you can bring me some stuff you want canned & I'll work out a similar deal ... give me enough foodstuffs to make 4 jars worth of things & I'll give you one back. It's kind of labor intensive, but I love the concept. If we could just do 2 hours every weekend & have things set by for the winter, that would be so very cool.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Snap out of it!

Both of us have been in a slump for the past couple of months. March was a really rough month. I mean ... really really rough. Probably the most emotionally draining & difficult time in a decade, for me at least. April was a little bit better. May was marked by a really cool vacation & a couple of birthdays, so that was a significant improvement. But we can do so much better. So, now that we've hit mid-June, I'm just telling myself to SNAP OUT OF IT!

We've got fresh food from the Farmers Market ... fresh air (even if it is cloudy & raining) ... cool cats (even Isabelle, whose sassy attitude continues to persist despite her tumors) ... fabulous cooking skills ... great friends & family ... and my sweetie fixed my bike seat ... and the front flower garden is coming together nicely ... and we have fresh herbs from seeds sprouting up quite well ... and we've got some massively groovy music to bounce around to ... and really, life is quite nice.

We just need to get our heads back in the game & to just relax a bit about the things that aren't coming together the way we'd like. I'm going to do some purging of stuff & junk, 'cause that makes me feel better. If anyone is looking for crafting goodness ... or anything in particular ... speak up. If I'm purging it, it's yours.

So there.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a book I normally wouldn't have given a second glance, but it was given to me by a dear friend with a stellar recommendation. That, plus Sara Gruen's endorsement (her Water for Elephants was another surprise hit for me), was enough for me to give it a chance. I am so very glad it did. With wonderful pacing & eloquent writing, Garth Stein creates a fabulous tale with classic questions about the nature of the human spirit. I thoroughly loved Enzo's canine perspective, & I cried to see the inevitable come to pass. I cried even harder at the epilogue, but for different reasons. I will be happy to recommend this book to many friends, especially ones dealing with loss & love.

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