Saturday, December 27, 2008

who is bacher?

A few posts ago I was angst-ing about my married name...but having (1) had a primary relative put my maiden name on a gift certificate and (2) having been greatly irritated by it has made me feel a bit more connected to my name. So that's good, right? :-) It has been over a year, after all.

I love you!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Katie Scovell



An old friend of mine from high school.

Katie Scovell. Hailing from a family of musicians, she is of the most talented people I've ever met and I'm so glad to see she's making music and sharing it with the world. Check her out!Right now!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Who are you?

Time for another poll, guys. What makes up your identity? How do you define yourself? Are there parts of your life that your reject as present in your identity? Parts you consider essential that only exhibit minimal influence? Parts that don't exist but you wish did?

or:

5 words to describe yourself. go!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Just an okay day

Today was an okay day. Woke up, drank weak coffee made with my broken french press (i.e. pouring loose coffee through the wrong end of a french press filter directly into my mug). Watered my sister in law's plant that did not take a trip across the state well. Logged onto facebook for the first time in months. Let my husband feel me up before work. Contemplated calling in sick to enjoy said feeling-up. Went to work instead. Got a bunch of shit done. (Despite feeling lousy. I'm looking at you, shiraz.) Got a cookie jar from my secret santa that is adorable. Skimped on the $3.00 donation for the taco bar (only gave $2.00. fuck, I donated extra last time. And yes, I'm copping attitude at a charity potluck). Appreciated my new boss for a few minutes when she made me laugh. Wrote yet another letter I know will be ignored to some fuck who bounced a check. Ate a christmas cookie. Stole some tortillas from work (not really stealing, but everyone acts like potluck leftovers are beneath them, so I take things home in stealth). Was grateful that not snowing today = not shoveling today. Acknowledged that my carnival squash is rotting, but neglected to throw it out. Wondered how long it will sit on the table before it starts to smell. Wrote some kind of stream-of-consciousness prose in my blog but was careful to tend to grammar and punctuation, as is my compulsion. Except for the sentence fragments. I happen to be fond of them. And as Lindsay likes to say: Bacher out.

Who the fuck is Bacher? Seriously. That's not my name. It's just what I go by now because I'm married.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Yearning.

I'm having one of my yearnings. I miss the Twin Cities. Every so often I get like this. I half-heartedly try to convince Erich to move out there and try to think about what it'd be like if I went back to school or even just got a job there doing something similar to what I am now. Only it'd be there instead of here.

It's funny. I have this job that I'm fairly good at. At least I hit the ground running in this new position. I'll probably become better at it in the next year. I take pride in it, but I have somehow managed to mentally compartmentalize it into simply something I'm doing right now. I mentally commit each day, but somehow, it still feels like I'm just filling in until I figure out what I'm really going to do. Even though I could also see myself working for this company for many many years. I suppose I probably will. We have a mutually respectful relationship, I'm treated well, valued, and I work hard to do a good job. Most people only dream of a job like that.

But there's still always that something.

On the other hand, I couldn't ask for a better situation for when I want to have kids. I know that I can go back full or part-time without a problem. I know that my superiors genuinely care about me, not just what I can do for them. And there aren't any stairs (stairs fuck with my knees). I know, I'm an old lady.

I think it's time for a visit.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My favorite kind of sunday


Today was one of my favorite kind of sundays, mostly. After waking up around 8:30 we threw on some clothes (sans shower) and ran to target to get some christmas shopping done. We did pretty well, despite my grumpiness at shopping without an adequate supply of coffee. After making a pretty good haul we got some groceries and then headed home. The rest of the afternoon was spent wrapping presents, baking cookies (ginger snaps! yum!), and drinking wine. I couldn't convince Erich to go to yoga and I couldn't convince myself to leave such a cozy living room, so here we stayed. My favorite presents this year were a dinosaur for baby Ethan and two little dino finger puppets I couldn't resist for our tree. And the charmed finger puppets:
I would like to admit right here and now that Erich was trying to pick out some very dignified, classy white christmas bulbs to decorate our little tree when I discovered the baby dinosaurs. I take full responsibility for their places on our tree.

However, Erich shares responsibiility for these:

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Scrubbing Bubbles!

What's inside?

Geek Trivia!

Keep your fucking hands of my Nobel Prize, Hitler.

Brilliance won for once, if only in a small thing. Read it!

Poached eggs

I wanted some eggs today, but I was sick of fried eggs and wanted something warm, so hardboiling was out. I decided it was time to try poaching! It was delicious!

Here's what you need:

eggs
large pot water
vinegar (We didn't have white vinegar on hand, but brown rice vinegar worked just fine.)
pinch of salt
large slotted spoon
small soup or other small bowl

1.) Fill a large pot of water 2/3 full, and bring to a boil.

2.) Arrange all your items the counter near your pot of water. Crack an egg into the small bowl. Be careful not to break the yolk.

3.) Once your water has reached boiling, add a pinch of salt and a drizzle of vinegar. (Maybe 1-2 tbsp.)

4.) Turn your heat down so the boiling slows. You want your water just below boiling.

5.) With your spoon, stir the water along the edge of the pot until you have a good swirling vortex. Be sure the water isn't boiling-if it is just turn it down a bit more.

6.) Carefully pour your egg into the center of the pot- the swirling vortex helps keep the egg white in one piece. It may look funny at first but let it be. Cook for ~ 2 minutes and then gently scoop out with slotted spoon.

7.) Shake gently to remove excess water. If your slots are completely covered with egg (this happened to me!) gently blot with a paper towl.

Serve immediately on wheat toast with a pat of butter! We addded grilled portabella mushrooms, avocado slices and some shredded Parmesan cheese to ours. I apologize for the lack of pictures-they disappeared too fast!

Don't be discouraged if the first few attempts end up a big shredded mess in your water. Just scoop out the offending egg, discard, and try again. It'll be worth it. :-)

Other tips:

* I used a metal tea filter to scoop up stray strands of egg whites in the water in between eggs. They don't hurt anything, but it's nice to be able to see how your egg is doing.

*Also feel free to cook the egg a bit longer if you are concerned about the runny egg yolks- it may make the egg a bit tougher but I couldn't tell the difference when I did. I even put one of the eggs back in the water when the whites didn't look quite done, despite having been over 2 minutes.

*Be sure to have any other food prepared before starting the eggs so you can give them your full attention. (I put my husband to work.) Watch the water and adjust the heat incrementally as needed to either keep the temp up (just below boiling) or to settle some sneaky bubbles.

Finally, if these directions aren't working for you, you can also do what I did- just google it and look for a video demonstration. There are plenty out there.

Good luck! Enjoy!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Right now...

I thought I'd take a page out of Soule Mama this morning. Right now, I am...


drinking my coffee and remembering I need to buy some more milk


appreciating that the furnace kicked on, because my feet are cold


looking at my very messy kitchen and laughing at it


thinking about work



wondering how I'm going to finish everything I need to today


remembering that I had a dream about work last night...never a good sign!



cheering (silently) because it's friday!



planning when I should start my vermi-composter (Erich finally agreed to it! Yay!)



and



listening to Erich snore

Product Review: New Glarus Fat Squirrel

Product Review: Toasted Coconut Sesame Brittle

Copping Out!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Product Reviews!

I've started doing some product reviews! Just because...I like talking about food and whatnot. So we'll see how this goes. Let me know if you have a product you think I should try!

My rating factors: (And keep in mind this is developing as we go):

taste
quality of ingredients
locality (where is it made?)
cost
Overall happiness factor

I realize the first couple don't address all these, I'm working on developing something more consistent. Give me some suggestions!

Calling for all suggestions!

How do you get yourself hepped up for the day? Drink a boatload of coffee? Positive self-talk? Tape happy sayings to your mirror? Go in early to get done early? Chain smoke?

I'm at an interesting place right now career-wise. I have a decent job that I neither love nor hate with a good company I'm glad to work for. Lately I've been getting up an hour earlier than necessary to have some time to drink coffee and browse the web and get myself otherwise awake. I can't seem to get myself enthused, though. Not the end of the world, but it would help if I were.

So, I can't complain. But I am curious to know what you guys do in the morning, if anything.

And now I'm off. Have a great day everyone!

Day 3

Alright, yesterday was a bust. We ended up having roast for dinner and popcorn and cookies and all kinds of S.A.D. food, but it was delicious! Back on the wagon today- have no idea what I'm going to do for lunch, I may just come home and make myself another smoothie...we'll see. The bananas are ripening but only about halfway where they need to be to eat.

Erich called me a bad name when he saw yesterday's video. Haha! :-P

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Adventures in Babysitting

We had our adorable cousins over for the night last weekend. It was a blast! 3 kids in all, a baby (the boy) and the girls (age 4 and 6). We made pizza, drew pictures, played games, made mini snowmen (because the snow was not pack-y) and even went to church and perkins.
And my absolute favorite:

Day 2



Breakfast: green smoothie (1 orange, 1 nana, 1 large handful spinach)

Lunch: apple, orange, carrots, green beans, almonds, walnuts, cashews

snack: granola bar and papaya juice (not raw, yes, I was hungry and needed more food than I'd brought to work. this isn't about starving, after all)

dinner: 2 beers, shit ton of cashews, and who knows what else. Waiting for E to get home so we can go to a lil' christmas party.

So, nothing is ripe. I put some horribly green bananas in a brown paper bag with an apple that I cut into (the apple hormones are supposed to help speed ripening) and I did see a noticeable difference today. However, it will still be several days before these are edible so I may have to buy more or have a super apple smoothie tomorrow.

Have a mango and some avocados too that I'm waiting on. And the whole time I feel guilty about not being satisfied with local goods. (potatoes, onion, carrots, oh my!). That's ok. Globalization continues whether or not I buy a few foreign fruits this week or not, right?

I did make some bitchin' pasties last week, if I do say so myself. Mmm, flaked butter and flour. Why did I start this again?
Oh how I miss thee. I'm not very good at this, am I? :)
Hey guys,

Erich and I have started to post some videos to you-tube that we're going to link back here. To start, I convinced Erich to do a 1 week raw vegan challenge with me. We'll be blogging about some of the recipes and whatnot. Erich's only doing dinners and I'm going to attempt 100% for the week. (I can already see I'm not going to succeed but hey, 80 or 90% is still not bad!)



Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I'm an Ingrid!

Okay, I know this is a little lame...but I liked the whole 1950's (or whatever era) actress bit.

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

You Are an Ingrid!

mm.ingrid_.jpg


You are an Ingrid -- "I am unique"



Ingrids have sensitive feelings and are warm and perceptive.



How to Get Along with Me

  • * Give me plenty of compliments. They mean a lot to me.

  • * Be a supportive friend or partner. Help me to learn to love and value myself.

  • * Respect me for my special gifts of intuition and vision.

  • * Though I don't always want to be cheered up when I'm feeling melancholy, I sometimes like to have someone lighten me up a little.

  • * Don't tell me I'm too sensitive or that I'm overreacting!




What I Like About Being an Ingrid

  • * my ability to find meaning in life and to experience feeling at a deep level

  • * my ability to establish warm connections with people

  • * admiring what is noble, truthful, and beautiful in life

  • * my creativity, intuition, and sense of humor

  • * being unique and being seen as unique by others

  • * having aesthetic sensibilities

  • * being able to easily pick up the feelings of people around me




What's Hard About Being an Ingrid

  • * experiencing dark moods of emptiness and despair

  • * feelings of self-hatred and shame; believing I don't deserve to be loved

  • * feeling guilty when I disappoint people

  • * feeling hurt or attacked when someone misundertands me

  • * expecting too much from myself and life

  • * fearing being abandoned

  • * obsessing over resentments

  • * longing for what I don't have




Ingrids as Children Often

  • * have active imaginations: play creatively alone or organize playmates in original games

  • * are very sensitive

  • * feel that they don't fit in

  • * believe they are missing something that other people have

  • * attach themselves to idealized teachers, heroes, artists, etc.

  • * become antiauthoritarian or rebellious when criticized or not understood

  • * feel lonely or abandoned (perhaps as a result of a death or their parents' divorce)




Ingrids as Parents

  • * help their children become who they really are

  • * support their children's creativity and originality

  • * are good at helping their children get in touch with their feelings

  • * are sometimes overly critical or overly protective

  • * are usually very good with children if not too self-absorbed



Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz at HelloQuizzy

Friday, September 26, 2008

bacon grease?

My dad makes the best pancakes in the world. As much as I like to cook, I've never quite been able to recreate them. I think part of it is that I have grown up and become more critical of food, but I finally admit that maybe (MAYBE) the reason they are so good is because he used to cook them in bacon grease. !! I know! Gross, right? Well, we had this great skiddle big enough for six pancakes and when he made bacon on it, the grease dripped out the botton through a little spout and it was collected, cooled, and saved. The bacon crumbles sank to the bottom leaving a fairly pure product on top. I never though twice about it growing up, but looking back...I suppose it's not any worse than butter. But seriously, I can't think of what else it could. Other than the whole dad thing.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Quiet Zone

Check this out, I thought it was really interesting:

http://www.pbs.org/kcet/wiredscience/video/308-the_quiet_zone.html

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Steve, Jamie, and a saturday of baking!


I've been away for a long time! Now that I've been away from the bakery for a bit, I'm getting back into the groove of things in my beloved kitchen. Plus, a surprise visit from Steve and Jamie, newly married!

It was really fun to have them here, Erich made curry for dinner and we had a lot of fun. Have a safe trip to Virginia, guys!

Now...for today:

Going clockwise, starting with the upper left: pumpernickel rye english muffin bread, pumpkin muffins and bread (the rounds are bread, one with oatmeal on top), and pumpkin biscotti.
Today was a great day for baking, it was cool and rainy, just starting to feel like fall.

The english muffin bread was a simple no-knead bread with only one rise. I used both my bread pans (one large, one small) so I made the pumpkin bread later in my 6-inch cake pans. They look a little goofy, but it worked. I felt tempted to stack them like cakes and frost them but didn't get around to it.I made half a dozen pumpkin muffins, but two vanished as soon as they came out of the oven. Erich managed to tear himself away from the computer to test them out for me. :-D


The biscotti were the most fun to make, and actually the easiest. Roll into a flat log and bake for 20 minutes, let cool, then slice and bake again. Twice baked cookies? They came out a bit soft and chewy, which I liked, but they should firm up by tomorrow.


Can't forget the goodies from the farmer's market!
And finally, the first tree to turn! I saw it on a walk this afternoon, and was just wishing I'd brought the camera so I could take a picture of it when Erich triumphantly produced it from his sweatshirt pocket! Good husband points! Of course I was so excited I had to go run under the trees and pose like a big goon.
Hope you guys all had a great saturday too!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

the end of dreads

Well, I ripped out my dreads today. Rather, I had two very nice stylists rip out my dreads for me. It hurt. A lot. A LOT. It took two hours just for the ripping, then a treatment as I looked like the Garnier Fructis girl with frizzy hair. Seriously, think finger in a light socket. All the other stylists kept stopping by to look and touch and comment on how my hair didn't stink like most people with dreads, as they put it. It was quite the event. They even had someone take pictures of my head (face omitted), probably to put atop a caption "Look what we can fix!".

The girls were cool, we laughed and joked and I grimaced and they thanked me for not being grumpy. I'm glad I did it, but I'll never do it again, that's for sure. Did I mention it hurt? I didn't cry, though, so I'm pretty sure I can handle a tattoo now. The main gal did a really great job cutting and salvaging as much length as she could, as she didn't want to see me shave my head. Her boss yelled at her for taking so long, but I think she ( the stylist, not the boss) felt invested in seeing my head resurrected. They charged me for it (oh yes they did) and I gave her a good tip since it took 4 hours for the whole deal. I thought maybe by the end of it we'd be new bff's but not so much.

At one point they both stopped at stared at one of my dreads and said "Oh my god, look at that!" and I though for sure they'd found a bug. I was mortified. Oh dear god.

No, no bugs (I did wash my hair after all) but a tiny little corkscrew of hair wound so tight it looked like a little piece of watchworks. It was very cute. We saved it and showed it to each stylists as they stopped by to question me. I saved it to show to Erich, who was thoroughly unimpressed so then I threw it away, but I think maybe I should have taped it up or something. Oh well.

Anyways, my hair smells good right now from the product they used, and I'm a little sad it won't smell like this for more than one day. It's always best the day you get back from the salon. I haven't gone in about two years, so it was about time, I think. Oh well. I was thinking about booking a couple's massage for us sometime soon but I think I'll wait. It's probably too girly there for Erich anyway.

So...I have hair again!

Monday, May 19, 2008

quality versus wallet

I have developed a new respect for the exchange of goods and services. Specifically, I have begun to really appreciate my ability as a consumer to exchange money for the product of someone else's talent. I can go to someone and say, hey, you're really good at this, can I pay you to do that for me in a fair exchange?

Obvious, right? Or not. Something's changed. I think you all know that I generally like to do it from scratch, homemade, by myself when I can. I like to make my own bread, my own pizza, ice cream, etc. And I enjoy doing these things - they are all good- but there are some days where I just want to enjoy a high quality product without having to suffer through all my experimental stages first. Sometimes getting the best 'deal' is not really the best deal.

I was thinking about this as I stopped at the store the other day, and was able to pick up a nice loaf of artisan bread, made locally, and enjoy it, thinking about all the work that went into it, and deciding that today I was going to enjoy the fruits of someone else's labor (and reward them, accordingly, by paying for it of course) instead of doing it myself and having to wait three hours to enjoy it.

This is obviously partly because I work with food all day now, and often don't even want to touch a knife or cutting board by the time I get home. I always used to prefer to save money by doing things myself, and I still do, generally. But sometimes it's worth the price of a quality product to have someone who really knows what they're doing make it for me. Sort of like how the people who buy lunch from our cafe might just get a simple soup and salad, but they're willing to pay to have someone else do the work and make it a pretty plate and provide a cozy atmosphere with festive music to listen to while they eat it. I get that. I still generally want something I can't make at home when I go out, but I'm starting to understand the big picture a little more, I think.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

ahhhh saturday night

Today was busy busy, 114 lunches (that's a lot for one little gal behind a lunch counter) and I handled them all ok. My boss kept giving me awkward white-people high-fives and her husband, the other owner said I was "awesome". Nothing better than that, plus a free soda when you missed lunch. We went out after to spend some of our totally unearned and misguided economic stimulus check on beer, dinner, books and cd's. A good night all in all. (We're planning on putting away the rest in our savings. I guess we're only sort of patriotic.)

Speaking of books, I've decided I should probably try and keep up with linz and kari for 50 books to read this year. I'm sure I'm a little behind, and since they count schoolbooks, they're a couple of cheats, but that's ok. So far, that I can remember, I've completed:

1984 (George Orwell) I think this is just one of those books everyone has to read once. I liked it because it had a sad ending. There's no triumphant victory over evil. Just an ordinary man who does what we likely all would do under similar circumstances, despite what we want to think of ourselves.

Eat, Pray, Love (Elizabeth Gilbert) I really enjoyed this book. A quick, fun, read, and it makes me want to take up meditation because if this crazy chick can calm her mind, so can I.

In Defense of Food (Michael Pollan) This book conviced Erich to throw out his marshmallow fluff and start eating whole grains. Need I say more?

I've started:
A Brief History of Time (Stephen Hawking) Really interesting, it makes me wish I liked physics more.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (some guy, I don't remember) The first chapter was motivating, the middle ok, the part where I set it down seems like a lot of fluff. Good ideas though, if not a bit overwritten.

The American Pipe Dream (about crack cocaine, Dale D. Chitwood et al) Haven't gotten very far yet, but interesting in that sort of sociology-class way.

The Vaccine Book (Robert W. Sears) Each chapter is devoted to one of the major childhood vaccines in the series generally recommended. I knew it was the right book for me when he said in the first chapter that he wouldn't talk about mercury excessively because it's been removed from 99% of vaccines, but that he would focus on the relevant things we actually needed to know about, from an intelligent scientific but not elitist standpoint. So no fear-mongering here, but also no "I'm a doctor, I know what's good for you, so just listen to me without question" either. (He does address it, of course, but directly and succinctly.) I'm only one vaccine in and I feel like I've already learned a ton.

For future reading, as part of my patriotic duty to save the economy with mindless shopping, today I purchased:

Night (Elie Wiesel)
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim (David Sedaris)
A Separate Peace (John Knowles)
The Things They Carried (Tim O'Brien)
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou)
Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
Those Who Save Us (Jenna Blum)

Yes, several of these were books I either heard of from NPR or Oprah. I'm okay with that. They all look good. I also feel like I read more than that but I can't remember them.

Erich found some cd's he liked and got a copy of Jackie Brown, which I think I've seen but can't remember. Also we played some frisby in the park, which is always fun. We're so wholesome. Is that a nice way of saying boring? To make up for it we got some beers at Titletown, then did the aforementioned shopping under a nice alcoholic veil. Well, at least me. Not so much Erich. We even chatted with a 51 year old man who was looking for a 'sassy bitch' while drinking alone at The Tilted Kilt. (They wear exactly what their little cartoon logo girl wears, btw, it's just sad-we left as quickly as we could finish an overpriced house drink.)

Anyway, tomorrow is the day of our mothers, so let this be a reminder to all of you to call your mamas and say "thanks for pushing me out". Or "thanks for allowing a surgeon to delicately remove me through a small incision". Either way, we owe them, so suck it up and call! My own mother will be spending the afternoon learning to shoot an unnecessarily large handgun with my brother, so I'll be making brunch for my mother in law, which should be fun.

Have a lovely weekend.

Friday, May 9, 2008

get fired up!

This is a little early-AM post to pump myself up for what is going to be a really hard day at work today! I'm doing breakfast and lunch today without the chef, A, who is taking a her first weekend off in a really long time (but not off-off, just doing something else). Yesterday was a really long day, so much so that I was all stressed out all evening, but today will be better! I will not screw up the soup again ((A fixed it)! I will not let bitchy customers upset me! I will be grateful that I'm making the food and not working out front where I can't pretend I can't hear the customers ( I do that a lot)! Also I will take 2 minutes to eat a sandwich before lunch starts so I don't get crabby. Also I will remember that at the end of the day I get to go home and see Erich and maybe even make out a little, which is (one reason) why my life rules. Okay. Time to go!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

duck crossing

I saw something that made me smile today. Rush hour traffic on webster stopped to let mama and papa goose cross the street with all their babies (about a dozen of them). Doesn't that make you smile too?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Dough renaissance!

This weekend has been a dough renaissance! Last night we made baguettes for the first time- think long thin french bread. Delicious! Turned out with a really good flavor and chewy, crisp crust. Kind of a goofy shape since we're not good at rolling them yet (but we're getting better!).

Next: saturday morning means chocolate bread with mascarpone cheese and mimosas. Since we slept late and the dough needed three hours to rise/rest, we didn't end up eating until around 2:45 pm, but it was worth the wait! We still have five more (small) loaves of choco-dough left to share, one in the fridge and 4 portions in the freezer.

Dinnertime: Honey oat whole wheat loaves- two biiig round ones. I kneaded the hell out of this dough just to see how dense a bread I could get- and I got what I asked for! Yum. Very heavy, thick, and delicious with some curry over the top. I think it'll be good for breakfast this week with some butter and hot tea. We also had one of last night's baguettes with some hummus I made with smoked sea salt, chipotle pepper/chili powder. Sooooo good.

Erich and I have been reading Bread Alone, a book Nat got me a while back with a lot of great techniques for artisan bread baking, and we're setting out to get our kitchen up to speed. First thing- time to get a bread stone or hearth bricks.

dread maintenance

Well after about 1 1/2 months my dreads are actually starting to look like dreads...for the most part. They're still pretty loose. I think I'm right on the brink of 'no return', the point I like to think of when I can no longer rip them out without having to cut off most of my hair. Actually, I have a couple big fat ones on the back of my head that would need to big cut off at this point. So, I guess I'm teetering. Or something.

I've been thinking about this as an exercise/experiment in commitment. Although I find it a bit of a paradox to commit to a negative action, that is, not maintaining my hair in the normal white/female coiffed standard. There's a little bit of positive action in the backcombing/braiding/rubberbanding, but still less effort overall over 6 weeks than daily shampoo/conditioning/straightening etc. (For those wondering, yes, I am washing my hair, but not daily.)

About 5 % of the time I will admit I have thought, "gee maybe this was a bad idea", but for the most part I am feeling good/neutral. Since I wear my hair covered by a scarf 6 days a week it hasn't been terribly obvious to people. I guess we'll see where this goes from here. Plus let's face it, I am partially doing this because 1) I always liked dreads and 2) I finally can (hooray for new jobs!)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

you uterus, you!

*Warning: This post contains many run-on and/or structurally questionable sentences. Sorry. I normally would fix that, but there are just too many. Also, I don't really feel like it. So, sorry if you get a little carsick. Thanks.*


I have a small beef to air. A minor complaint. It has to do with my uterus and associated organs. I hope you're all okay with that, and I think you are, otherwise you mightn't have made it past the keeper post. Anyway:

I learned at my last gynecological visit that I have a tipped uterus- meaning that instead of standing up fairly straight and leaning slightly towards my stomach like a normal uterus, it tips backwards towards my back. My first thought was- well gee, that's neat. A little weird. It occurs in about 20% of the female population so it's a little rare, but not that much.

My second thought was this- I'm 24. I've seen the gyno since I was 17. Why am I just learning this now? Did my other doctors (one woman and two men) not notice (I doubt that, they get pretty far up in there, for those that don't know) or did they simply feel it irrelevant, unnecessary to mention? Did they think I didn't need to know this? *Did* I in fact, need to know this? I think so, and here's why:

I decided to do a little quick research, a la the internet. Now I'll be the first to tell you that the democratization of information via the web has its downfalls. One of these is, of course, the phenomenon of people doing a small amount of research on a subject from an unreliable source (putting it politely) and then proceeding to spread such (mis)information like dogma straight from the angel Gabriel's mouth. We've all seen it-the 'modern asshole' as I heard once from an author I can't recall. I do, however, think that I can get a little basic medical information and trust it.

The first site I checked http://www.inletmedical.org/ stated that the two most frequent symptoms associated with a tipped uterus were pain during intercourse (check) and painful periods (check). However, these symptoms are both fairly generic and pain during sex can be caused by many different things. Most women report some pain during menstruation as well, but before I went on the pill (which is well documented to reduce pain and cramping) I used to have cramps so bad they would wake me at night and make me nauseous. Not kidding. So this struck a chord with me.

Other symptoms listed that I had suffered (but were incredibly generic) : lower back pain and pain/difficulty using tampons. The tampon issue is not so generic; I always found them problematic. The first time I used a tampon I laid on my bed and cursed my newfound womanhood and limped across the room until mom made me take it out. Obviously I learned better how to use them later, but still- I know no one else who experienced that.

However, this particular sight was also kind of promoting the 'Uplift' procedure where they lift the uterus to it's 'proper position' to alleviate some of these symptoms. Given the generality of symptoms, I felt a little suspicious of this site so I kept looking. Also just because it's not always positioned this way doesn't mean it is necessarily some kind of medical problem that needs fixing. It might just explain a few things.

So, next I checked out http://www.womens-health.co.uk/retrover.asp and found an identical list of symptoms. This made me feel a bit more confident that my information was accurate. I could keep looking, but my point is that when I complained of pain with tampons to my doctor I was told that I must be using them wrong, because they aren't painful. And when I complained of pain during intercourse I was told that I needed to relax and that the problem was basically in my head. What the fuck? When I complained of cramps making me nauseous, again, this was never mentioned. I was told to take an OTC pain reliever and try to ignore it.

Now obviously there isn't a whole lot that I could have done, had I know that I have a tipped uterus, but it would have at least relieved some of the frustration that I felt when dealing with the aforementioned symptoms. Knowing that it was a genetic thing, and that it was not something to worry about, but that it may cause some of these symptoms might have at least saved me the internal stress about whether I was somehow doing something wrong, I was too uptight, I was imagining my extremely painful cramps and otherwise creating things in my head etc.

Seriously. Do our doctors see so many stupid people that they don't even bother to educate their patients anymore? Or do they think we don't need to know any of this information if we can't do anything about it? I did have a gynecologist pepper me with questions about my sexual (in)activity at age 17 (apparently it was really hard to believe that a girl could get through high school without having sex; I was told "Look, I see 14 year olds that are pregnant who say *they* aren't having sex. You can tell me the truth")I could see how a doctor might think that it's not worth potentially giving a neurotic patient an opportunity to create a complex ('I'm so afflicted, I have a tilted uterus'), but I hardly think I fit that profile.

Anyway. That is my beef. It's pretty minor and relatively unimportant, but hey, it's my blog. I'm grateful to have access to good healthcare and doctors that take care of me, even if they don't take the time to discuss the nuances of every scenario with every patient. After all, I suppose they have all kinds of people with terrible problems to deal with, so the fact that my uterus was tilted didn't even blip on their radar. (She's not pregnant, no STD's, healthy weight- good to go! Now where'd that crack addict go?)

Oh, the only other thing was that it's been thought to contribute on occasion to infertility, but sources seem to vary on this. Some say that women with endometriosis can develop a tilted uterus as a side effect (or that it can happen after childbirth) and that the ensuing infertility can be mistakenly attributed to it (the tilted-ness). So-I'm not terribly worried about that. But you'd think they'd have mentioned it sometime in the first 7 years of exams.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sprouts!


I finally did it! I grew my own sprouts! I've been meaning to for well over a year and finally got around to it. They freaked Erich out a little (of course). But they were so yummy (and inexpensive) and really easy!

<--- This picture from GardenWise.
I really need to get a digital camera.

What you need:

a pint or quart sized mason jar (or some people use a tray or special sprouting contraption, but those cost more and are a little harder to find)

sprouting seeds - You don't want to use seeds from a gardening store, they may have been treated with stuff you don't want to eat. Bona fide sprouting seeds are still cheap, I paid $3.00 for a small baggie (Not hard to find at most healthfood stores). To put that in perspective, 2 tbsp seeds would make about a pint of sprouts (two cups), which would normally run you around $3.00- $3.50 alone at the store. Plus these are as fresh as they come, as well as nutritious. I've always been frustrated with the fact that sprouts I buy at the store always seem to go funky before I can finish them, so this is a great little project.

a square of fine mesh material (e.g. cheesecloth or something you can dig up at the hardware store) large enough to cover the jar

the part of the mason jar lid that screws on (minus the center part, since you'll have the mesh)

Put 1-2 tablespoons of seed of choice (quantity depends on size of your jar and type of seed, but this info is easy to find, so I won't get into it here) and fill jar with lukewarm water. Place mesh over lid and screw tight. Swirl gently to rinse seeds; pour water out, and add fresh water at a 4:1 ratio to your quantity of seeds. (e.g. I started with 1 tbsp of red clover seeds and added a final water amount of 4 tbsp water.) Soak overnight.

Rinse by filling jar to top, swirling, and then drain. Place jar at a downward angle in a bowl to allow any remaining water to drain. Repeat in the evening at a minimum, more often if you wish. (I did an extra rinse at noon.) The rinsing is supposed to help stimulate growth and inhibit bacterial growth. Repeat for 3-5 days and then eat!

I actually happened upon a set of mason jar caps you can use in lieu of the cheesecloth from Sprout-Ease that came in three sizes different size sprouts, but any mesh item would suffice. The caps claim to be made from recycled material, and I decided I'd probably have to buy something from the hardware store anyway to start this, so I went for it. Mom gave me a bunch of mason jars when I moved out, so if anyone wants to try it feel free to use of one my jars. I also have some mesh bags that plan on using for produce shopping and making nut-milks that might also have worked well. Haven't tried those , yet.

My red clover sprouts were tiny, only about an inch long but so crunchy and delicious! (I know, I sound like a sprout commercial or something.) I at them all at once ( about 1 cup's worth) in whole grain pita bread with hummus, tomatoes, cucumbers, and cracked pepper.

Some pics, not mine, but that portray the idea, also with some more specific instructions (although I'd say follow the ones on your seeds or sprouting lids first) and pics of the kinds of lids I used.

Growing Edible Sprouts


I'm starting another batch tonight, and I think I'm going to try and keep a rotating stock of some that should mature and 2-3 days or so. Hooray for sprouts!

Friday, April 25, 2008

homemade pizza

Homemade pizza tonight! I'm working on a longer post about a book that Erich and I are reading about U.S. food culture and why our focus on modified/imitation food and foodlike-substances (marshmallow fluff anyone? whole-grain fruit loops?) doesn't work.

In a nutshell: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." There's a lot more to it than that, but I can't get into it without going on a huge tangent, hence the separate post. But I can say that I HIGHLY recommend it. Even if you aren't completely sold, I can't see a reasonable person finishing this book without reconsidering their own habits.

When we say food, we mean real food, the kinds of foods that don't need sneaky packaging to give you an excuse to eat them. (Low-carb pork rinds! as an extreme example.)
Not adulterated/highly refined/loaded with hydrogenated corn and soybean oils food that a lot of people have a vested interest in us consuming unhealthy amounts of. (Wow....sorry about that sentence. Mr. Thompson would be pasting band-aids all over his computer screen right about now.) None of this is new, but somehow we got sort of lazy, I think.

Anyways, this author's argument is so well constructed that it's convinced Erich to throw away his ritz crackers and marshmallow fluff. I'm not kidding. This is HUGE! I've always been a little frustrated that I couldn't convince Erich that we shouldn't eat those foods, at least not often, (and of course I end up eating them if they're in the house...I'm human). Now we're finally on the same page! Yea! So tonight's dinner:

An organic whole grain millet/flaxseed pizza crust with a simple tomato sauce, spinach, red onions, garlic, green peppers, mushrooms, shredded wisconsin-made organic raw goat's milk cheese (not too much...but so good!) and organic chicken sausage (just chicken and some spices). The crust was purchased frozen from a local healthfood store, and was awesome! (Erich liked it, so you doubters should consider that.)I am actually planning to to make our own pizza crusts, biscuits, buns, and breads to freeze so we won't need to purchase individually wrapped ones often, but that is coming up for the future. I am also hoping to try making my own yogurt (thanks for the suggestion, Nat!) and have set up my sprouter (just a wide mouth mason jar with a screened lid) to grown some red clover sprouts.

Yes, I'm having a little bit of a field day.

There was only so much I was willing to do when I knew Erich would not eat many of the things that I made, but now I feel like I can really go all out. We went through our shelf 'o cooking ingredients yesterday and got rid of anything overly processed (i.e. refined flour, sugar, hydrogenated oils, etc) and shed a lot of garbage. Among the harder things to let go:

Bisquick pancake/waffle mix. Even though I don't use it, I usually make waffles from scratch now, it's still a staple from my childhood and reminds me of weekend mornings when my dad would made the best pancakes in the whole world. I think they were good because dad made them, though. Refined flour, hydrogenated soybean oil. It even has trans-fats in it. So sad.

Diet soda. I actually gave this up about two months ago along with coffee, and I don't really missed it anymore. (I have had coffee a bit, though. I get up at 4:30 on some days, so that's a bit slower going.) When I want something carbonated now I have been having a small glass of kombucha, a raw fermented tea that is very bubbly and supposed to have good bacteria in it, sort like how yogurt does. A small glass satisfies me, and I've noticed now that my stomach gets really full from anything else that is carbonated, like beer. Is there such a thing as carbonation tolerance? I can't have as much of it as I used to, which is probably a good thing anyway. I splurged and had a diet coke a few weeks ago and...it tasted terrible. Like artificial sweetener. I can't believe I used to prefer it to real soda! (Which is still a rare treat- I just drink water at work now with a slice of cucumber or orange).

It was easy, however, to see crappy spice mixes that mostly relied on salt and msg, weight-loss shakes and useless supplements go. I'm really eager to start experimenting with some new flours such as quinoa flour, sprouted rye flour, brown rice flour, among other to see what kinds of doughs I can make. Hopefully this will allow us to do more healthy meals together instead of us making essentially separate dinners most nights.

Either way, I'm loving Erich saying, "Let's put some vegetables on that pizza." Music!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

6 month anniversary!

Today Erich and I have been married six months. That flew by! So much has changed (for the better!) in that time! I quit school and my job, starting working in a kitchen, moved to a much more comfortable apartment...'go big or go home', right? When I started thinking about the wedding a little bit (I still haven't developed my pictures) the first thing I remembered was how struck I was at all the love and encouragement from all the people in our lives. Particularly from those who had been married and/or with children for many years already. It sort of felt like we were being welcomed into some kind of club; they knew far better than we did what we were getting ourselves into. I'm struggling to put it into words, but I felt so connected to the history of our families and how we weave our families together, generation after generation, and rarely consider the enormity of it. I think this is partly because it is so special and so completely normal at the same time. Babies are born every day, but it's hardly routine. Maybe after 5 or 6, I suppose. Maybe not?

It reminds me of how my paternal grandmother sat back at Christmas once, and said to me (and I'm paraphrasing here), 'Sometimes its hard to believe I started all that'. That being her 9 children and the 30 odd grandchildren and what is it, 5 or 6 great grandchildren now? There are two more on the way as we speak, plus the ones my brothers and I will eventually have, so you can see why I lose count.

Anyway, this is kind of a sentimental post. Sorry, they sneak in there sometimes. A more exciting note: tomorrow I start working with the baker! I have to get up at 3 am! Which is why I'm awake at 6 am on a sunday and Kari and Erich are sleeping in the living room. Wake up!

Friday, March 21, 2008

insert interesting title here

Well good morning everyone! I haven't posted in a while, it's felt very busy this week-I'm on every day this week with Easter coming up and while it's only about 45 hours, it's been knocking me out. I don't feel it too much until I get home at night and I'm ready for bed at 8:30. I've been holding out until 9 or maybe 10 at the latest because I want to spend some time with Erich at night, but I'm hoping I adjust to this new schedule soon.

Smoothie-land has been going well, but this morning I listened to my body and switched it up for a bowl of weetabix with kefir and a handful of raspberries, and it hit the spot! Mmmm...yum. I'll probably have half my smoothie yet this morning (it's usually about 3-4 cups depending on what's in it) and have half later tonight or tomorrow. Making them the night before has been helpful in the morning as well. I've also been increasing the veggie:fruit ratio since I want to have some of my fruit servings later in the day. Except for today, really, because I'm coming to the end of the week and running out of greens. Today was 1 small apple, 2 small oranges, a large handful of spinach and a handful of beet stems. Earlier in the week I'd been adding kale, swiss chard, beet greens, cilantro, or parsley.

Also, in case anyone is wondering, I'm eating big salad or sandwiches for lunch at work and having a fairly normal dinner with E. at night, so I'm not just drinking smoothies all day. On new recipe days I've been having whatever salad I tried (see below) with some of what Erich's made.

By the way, when shopping for my kefir I had two options- the plain, regular kefir vs. the lowfat strawberry version. You'd think the lowfat strawberry version would have fewer calories and less fat, right? Nope- more fat, more calories per serving and whopping twice as much sugar (due to the 'strawberry' flavor). So I am once again reminding people to read the nutritional labels when shopping! How is that possible? The plain version didn't have anything added, and originally used lowfat milk. Not to mention that the fresh fruit I added today tasted great.

Anyway. Enough of that soapbox. I tried a couple raw dishes this week, a spicy broccoli/nut salad and a marinated kale salad. The broccoli was good, I'll probably make that again, but the kale salad was just ok. Both use salt to wilt the vegetables to take on a softer texture, which requires a lot of salt, and then have a sauce to toss with. To the point where I couldn't eat the kale salad until I'd effectively quartered the salt by added TONs more veggies and making the dish much, much larger. The broccoli dish had the salt right in the avocado/pine nut/garlic sauce (which was quite tasty) and so was better, but I'd used half the salt right off the bat. Next time I'd even half it again. So, about now a simple salad is looking pretty appealing.

The other dish I really liked (Erich even liked it!) was a sunflower seed pate (from Ani Phyo), which consisted of blended sprouted sunflower seeds, garlic, lemon juice, tahini, cumin, chili powder, and then had chopped green onions/tomatoes stirred in. 1 scoop on a bed of spinach with some grilled salmon and steamed asparagus.

Well, I have to get to work. Have a lovely day everyone!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

damn car keys

Well, today was a bit of a trial, but it didn't really upset me so much as slow me down for a few hours. Today was my day off (so tomorrow will be pink bandana day) so I slept in (8:30-late!), did my yoga and went for an apple/banana/swiss chard smoothie. My blender has been getting louder after only 1 1/2 weeks of daily use, so I may have to get a new one sooner than I thought. Maybe a vita-mix, since that seems to be the blender of choice by raw foodies (who use them a LOT, in case you were wondering). Any suggestions?

Okay, so far so good-gave the new place it's first good scrub and made some fudge balls with almonds, unsweetened cocoa powder, a few dates, and a generous drizzle of agave nectar. I'm in love with agave-fantastic natural sweetener with a very low glycemic index, so it's not going to spike your blood sugar like honey or syrup would. Mmmm...fudge balls (insert unnecessary dirty joke _____ here) . Anyway, throw the aforementioned ingredients in a blender (chopped up a bit first) and blend until fairly smooth, and roll into little balls. Chill and yum! I also pressed a bit of it into a small creme brulee dish to act as a crust and topped with chopped pear (sort of an inadequate one-person adaptation of -this- I wanted to try it before I used up half my produce making it. I think the whole recipe with the orange-fig sauce would be better, but it was still pretty tasty.)

So, yummy morning, clean apartment, I scoot off to do a load of laundry only to discover that the clotheswasher is not working where I usually go, so I run a few errands with a basket full of clothes in the backseat (artfully drizzled in blue clothing detergent-ever wonder why it is blue? I do) and head home just in time to lock my keys in my car. Which is parked on the street. With a bunch of my little flowered panties in all their glory proudly displayed (blue streaks included) in the back seat. Great! It's like one of those ads for menstrual pads on tv, where they always use some mysterious blue liquid, even though we all know what color they really end up. (So misleading!) I have also conveniently forgotten my cell, so I had to borrow our downstairs neighbor's phone, who was quite gracious about it.

Unfortunately hubby was unable to answer my call until after work, so two and a half hours and many tiles counted later, I finally got into my house. Woo-hoo! Off to finally do that load of laundry elsewhere and then home for dinner, steamed asparagus and wheat pitas stuffed with avocado, red pepper, arugula(rocket), and a creamy raw vegan thai sauce that is AWESOME. (blend soaked pine nuts with basil, red pepper, garlic, shallot, lemon/lime juice, miso, jalapeno and maybe something else I'm forgetting.)

So a good day overall with some minor setbacks. I also am testing making my smoothie for tomorrow ahead of time and keeping it in the fridge overnight since the blender is really loud and might be a bit obnoxious for our neighbors at 6 am. Two bananas, 1 honey orange, ground flax, and lots of kale. I'm looking forward to it already.

Sweet dreams and good food everyone!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

new job!

Well well it's been a bit since I posted, things have been busy! I started a new job as a kitchen assistant a week after we moved in. I get up at at about 5-5:30 am, do some yoga, make myself a green smoothie, and get to work around 6:45-7:00. What's a green smoothie? Simply some chopped fresh fruit (e.g. an apple and ripe banana, orange, or pear), a generous handful of leafy greens (e.g. kale, spinach, parsley, or just some romaine among many others), and I like to add a small source of healthy fat like a tablespoon of ground flax seed or flax oil. Sometimes a dash of lemon juice. Blended in a blender, the smoothie turns bright green but tastes of the fruit, unless you put too many greens in, but it's kind of hard to do. (Careful with parsley, it's really strong....must be a small handful paired with a strong fruit like a very ripe mango or pineapple.)

At the same time (about 3 days before I started my new job) I gave up coffee and soda. I got a bit of a headache (as to be expected) but not nearly the type I've gotten in the past from caffeine withdrawl. I'd like the think the smoothies and the yoga helped. Either way I feel pretty good, but getting up early than I'm used to has been wiping me out around 8 or 9 pm. With time I hope to get used to the hours and stay up a little later so I can spend more time with Erich in the evening. However, I do like getting done with work between 12-2 pm and having a sunny afternoon to enjoy. :)

Here's my new job: Alpha Delights

Granted it's only been a week, but good so far: I'm a kitchen assistant, so I have done mostly prep work and preparing dishes for the cafe, but eventually I will learn some cake decorating and some bakery work. The best part? I get to resurrect my old scarfs to wear in the kitchen, since I need to have my hair covered. When I graduated school and got an "adult" job I thought I'd lost them to weekends forever...now I can go find some fun fabrics and make some more! So far I have learned how to supreme an orange (cut it out of the pith for pretty decorations), make a roux (water/flour mixture to thicken soups), hollandaise sauce, how to assemble almost all of the meals (not too hard) and have locked away a few recipe ideas to try at home. Also how to rolls croissants, but that's easy. The hard party will be making the dough, which involves 27 layers of butter/dough. Ever wonder what makes them so flaky? It is the butter. Mmmm.

I can't remember who I filled in on my little plan here...so in review: in December I quit grad school and my job, and decided to pursue a career in food. Good food for the soul and for healthy bodies, and a happy katie. That means a little of everything: healthy veggie-centered meals and the occasional homemade bagel or pastry, and even some homemade ice creams and cakes. The bakery seems like a great place to learn a lot and use as a springboard to future opportunities in a few years when I've learned some things. I'm done trying to be happy following the formula (lots of school, lots of student loan debt, job you don't really like so you can pay for all the stuff you want). From now on I'm doing what makes me happy, not trying to climb a social ladder on which I never had solid footing. While the pay cut stings, I'm in the fortunate position that some good budgeting and cautious spending will (hopefully) keep us caught up with the bills for now.

So. Here I am. I think tomorrow I will wear the pink bandana.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

all moved in!

Here we are at last! Our new apartment, the upper half of a 100-year old house is looking good. Still very messy of course, and full of boxes, but the kitchen and the internet are set up, which is all you really need to survive, of course. The apartment is sunny and has windows in every room, which means I get all the sunlight I want to nap in and I can have many, many more plants once everything is straightened out. The rooms are painted in mellow earth tones (beige, taupe, light yellow) which I'm loving and there's even an arched doorway like in the house I grew up in, about 5 blocks from here. Did I say there's a ton of sunlight? I love it. So far the only downside is that the smoke from our neighbors below seems to seep up through the vents a little, but a few minutes with the windows open seems to help that. Can't wait for spring!

Mom is coming to help me clean the old apartment out today. It's still ours until friday, so I have a few days to get it up to snuff. It's pretty gross right now. I applied at Breadsmith last week, and at Alpha Delights today, for those who are wondering about the job search. I'm crossing my fingers! Alpha Delights had a little section for me to go on about how much I like food so hopefully that will make a difference.

Ooh! We also ordered our washer/dryer yesterday and they'll be coming in late march. They're a good efficient set; actually they were on backorder. Consumer reports ranked them very highly; the washer is a Cambrio top loader (but without an agitator, it uses some other kind of technology) so it's still extrememly efficient compared to a standard washer. It was second only to a slightly smaller front-loading that didn't hold as large a load, so, I suspected I'd have to do more loads, thus negating some of its benefits. And we figured as long as we were at Best Buy and spending our tax return we might as well throw in Scrubs season 6. woot.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

just for colours!

One for Jasper (the rest are for you!):










snowy snowy day



It's snowing cats and dogs outside. Again! I managed to escape some cabin fever by trekking over to Patti's to work out at her nifty little in-house gym and do some much needed laundry. In the meantime hubby and my brother made a little meat pie so welcome me home. Snow day! Time to snuggle.

Friday, February 15, 2008

bagel love

Success! I finally tried a bagel recipe I've had for several years. The first batch was a bit rough, but the second batch turned out beautifully. Turns out bagels are first poached for a minute, and then baked at 500 degrees for only 10-15 minutes to get that very thin, crispy crust. I bagged them up and brought them to Erich's office just in time for work. I'm really starting to want a camera so I can take pictures of these things...instead of being perfectly symmetrical like a commercially made bagel, they sort of have a chubby bulky side that loops around and links together.

Monday, February 11, 2008

oat bread

Today I make my first trek out to find a job at a bakery. I did a quick google search, found a page and a half of initial options, and planned to collect a bunch of applications to fill out. I planned my initial rounds for bread and pastry bakeries, but included cake, chocolate, and candy places in case I had to go a bit off the initial course.

After heading out this morning, I realized there is some sort of secret industry rule that makes all bakeries of any import close on mondays.

After two hours, the first place I found open was not hiring, which made me unreasonably sad. :( That's okay, though, tomorrow I will head out again to all the places that were closed before going down to Madison to visit my brother. I'm not sure if he knows I'm coming yet. I should call him.

After lying on the couch and feeling unsuccessful I got up and tried a new project- oatmeal bread. Specifically, I ground several cups of oats and used this for my flour instead of wheat. Also included 1/2 cup amaranth and 1/2 cup ground flax. So if this works it will be my oatmeal flax amaranth bread. Or something. I used regular flour to knead it, and the consistency is definately thicker and more crumbly, so I'm not sure how it's going to bake up.

**edit**

The bread turned out nicely; it didn't spread too much on the baking sheet, so it's one of the thickest loaves I've ever made. It's a bit doughy, I think in the future I might use the oat flour as a supplement and not a main flour. :) I do like the fullness of it, it made a nice round loaf.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

an Ode to sexy librarians

Here's an ode to all the sexy librarians. I'm talking to you, linz. Not that I think you're part of 'the dark' but I liked the picture.




Thursday, February 7, 2008

snack loaf

Erich has deemed the new small loaves of bread I've been making (not because they fail to rise or overrise but because I've been making tiny proto-artisan loaves c/o Robert) snack loaves as they are a perfect size for him to slice in half and make a samich out of. (They have been turning out slightly smaller than the loaves I had with you guys, Nat.) Hooray fro the snack loaf. Not to be confused with the much less entertaining snackwich.

I just spent 10 minutes crying after watching a West Wing episode where one of the main characters realizes her dad has severe alzheimer's and visits him to find his house in shambles. I really need to stop this habit of picturing my loved ones in situations depicted on tv. Seriously. I need to stop that.

I finished my first scarf! I am going to give it mom. The crochet knit is a bit too feminine for Erich. I've been considering making another with manly black yarn and some kind of macho knot, but I think I'll make a little blanket instead. :)

Day 3-10 hours of data entry

Sunday morning I woke up early with Nat, Robert, and Fiona and we all had breakfast. It was nice to see people chipper in the morning compared to me and Erich, who are zombies that occasionally miss when we kiss each other goodbye.

Today I had expected canvassing all day in the cold, which I was not really looking forward to. I like to do more behind-the-scenes work, but I had come to help, so I was going to do what they told me. I skipped showering since I figured no one could smell through my coat and 3 layers of clothing and put my extra layers on in advance. I got to the office and didn't see anyone I recognized from friday night, so I headed upstairs to the room I'd waited in before. The people were polite but suggested I go wait downstairs, and I realized they'd brought me there on Friday because they didn't know else to do with me, but it was sort of their 'leader' space. I scooted back downstairs and after asking a few more people I ended up helping with data entry. Two hours later I remembered all my extra clothing (no wonder I'm so warm...) and changed, wondering if I *hadn't* dressed ahead of time, would I have ended up outside and freezing? I had called Johnny around 10, and still having not heard from him, I decided to officially defect to the office people, and kept working on data entry, pleased that I was doing something I was actually good at, rather than suffering minor anxiety attacks every time I knocked on someone's door. (Not that it takes a genius, but I'm pretty fast on a keyboard).

Around 2pm someone asked me to run an errand, which involved bringing a folder to location #1, picking up another folder, and then bringing them both to location #2. I say sure, mapquest it, and head out the door. I glanced down at the folder I'd been given, realized that it was a collection of walklists, or organized listings of doors to knock on. Fairly important since the whole point was to focus on getting people who we knew were for our candidate out to their caucus locations. This guy didn't even ask me my name and he was trusting me with this? Why? Well, that was actually pretty obvious, it was because I had a car, but still! Silently vowing not to get in an accident or at least not bleed all over the lists I made my way over to location #1. (I had to turn around a few times because mapquest had not done a very good job, but I got there intact.)

I picked up the papers and fielded a bunch of questions with 'I don't know' because I really didn't know, I was just the gal with a car. If I were them I would have been hesitant to give anything to me, but they did after verifying the person who sent me (short guy, thick glasses, poofy hair-that seemed to suffice). I tucked the papers in my bag and headed off to location #2.

This trip was not as easy; I had an alarming experience with a one-way that involved me driving onto the sidewalk for half a block, but I met my goal of not crashing and not bleeding, so score 1 for KT. Finally, on the way back, I got into an old fashioned traffic jam ( commonly known as rush hour in minneapolis) so I had a bit of time to relax, eat my apple, and shake my fist at whatever moron had parked his car in a driving lane.

Safely back at my desk I did more data entry until some guy from Illinois needed a ride home, so I gave him one and then did more data entry until about 9 pm. Apparently it all needed to be done that night, so of course my competitive streak came out and I had to try and do the most. Of course. I felt good about having actually done something useful, but my wrists were starting to ache. By the way, Johnny finally called me back around 5 pm that day. By then, of course, I had defected so I didn't really care.

So, back to Natalie and Robert's, where we chatted some more and then off to bed. The next morning I woke up and decided it was time to go home. It was readily apparent that Obama was going to win MN; Hillary had an event at a tiny college the day after Obama's that didn't even compare. It didn't really seem like she was campaigning much there, and focusing on other places. There were tons of people volunteering, which probably explained why I had to search for things to do. In fact at one point they stopped asking people to come in and just told those who called to spend an hour on their phones from home calling everyone they knew. Which is good- obviously they were feeling secure.

Anyways, I felt good about my small contribution, so I spent the morning with Natalie and Robert, made a trip to my favorite co-op and bought a nice grass-fed steak and a butt-roast to bring back for Erich, along with some other goodies like whole tumeric (it looks like orange ginger) and some hempseed bread (delicious!) for me. Also some little meat pies (sfeha) from my favorite little deli, Abu Nader Middle Eastern deli; he was unfortunately out of his homemade cheese, but he was pleased a gal from the cheese state was asking about his own.

The drive back sucked. It was slippery and one of my head lights was out, and generally stressful but I made it safely. The end!

Day 2 Part II - Rally at Target Center

Okay, so yesterday I forgot to mention the very cool guy who has drawn a photo-image quality drawing of Barack's face and was taking it up and down the line having people sign it. He was also trying to get someone to give him an extra ticket so he could get in and give it to the Senator. I don't know what happened to him, but I hope he got in.

So, after a band called 'Golden Smog' plays (interesting group of 7 guys, 5 of which take turns playing lead guitar and singing, and then on the last song they sing and play together, it was really quite something) the candidate took the stage. Before this the mayor of Minneapolis (I think?) had been having people in the front rows call those they knew and he'd briefly encourage them to go caucus (I assume, I couldn't actually here what was going on). The speech was excellent; he was relaxed, energetic, and actually surprisingly funny. You don't get to see the quips on the news. You also don't get to hear the occasional stutter or correction that reminds you the candidates are human. There was a little name dropping, as the legacy of Minnesota's beloved (now deceased) Paul Wellstone still holds much sway. I was okay with this; he sometimes seems to good to be true, so a little bit of that just makes him seem more realistic. Also he picked up on the second the crowd had decided he's used it enough ( 3 times total, 1st time huge cheers, 2nd time big cheers, 3rd time very few and then we were done).

Despite these very minor things the speech was igniting. Once he got into his cadence it was hard not to jump out of your seat every 2 minutes and wave your big sign around. (Which I did, a LOT). :-) Among things addressed: universal healthcare, veteran's benefits, plan for withdrawl from Iraq by 2009/foreign policy, green energies/technologies/jobs, $4000 college tuition credit, Darfur, education/teachers salaries/No Child Left Behind, immigration, and last but not least being related to Dick Cheney. Of course there was more than this but this is what sticks out in my memory.

After the rally Kari and I got some most excellent thai food on campus, and then I headed over t0 stay with my friends Natalie and Robert (and Fiona, age 1, so cute she makes me want kids. But don't get your hopes up, mom). We chatted a bit before the family went to bed and Robert showed me an excellent new way to make bread, which involves making one large batch of dough that ages in fridge. You pull of a chunk and make a little loaf or two for the day. It's excellent, I tried it already. :)

Nat also showed me her vermicomposter, which I've wanted to try for a while, but for some reason Erich won't let me compost in the apartment. He actually made a rule dedicated solely to forbidding me from composting inside. He likens it to me forbidding him to smoke, which is clearly not the same since the worms don't stink (they really don't, if you do it correctly! they're awesome little guys, and they only thing I smell when I check them out is dirt) and also they are doing good work, and not polluting lungs and sending nasty little free radicals wearing tar clothing into my body.

For more on vermicomposting . This is one of many sites, you can do a simple google search. Anyway, we always have fun exchanging ideas for decreasing our impact; Nat introduced me to the Keeper a few years ago and most of you all know how much I love it.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Day 2 Part 1- Rally at Target Center

Up at 8:30 and in the shower at the dorm. Fortunately Kari loaned me a pair of shower sandals. I felt very slow. It's been a while since I showered in my dorm and I had to remember how to balance my clean clothes on top of the shower door and hope they don't fall. Specifically my socks because I hate wet socks. I changed in the bathroom because of Kari's friend who couldn't make it home because he was too drunk to take the bus; he'd stopped by just as we were going to sleep. Kari had righteously banned him to the floor (and not just for my benefit), which I think was disappointing to him. Silly college boy!. After we'd gotten up in the morning, he seemed to want to hang around but Kari would have none of it and told he'd better not miss his bus. Ha!

We walked my things out to the car and drove down to grab a bagel before heading to the Target Center. Parking was pretty easy to find, since we got there at 10:45, and when we arrived in the lobby we were greeted by a swarm of people, all apparently there to volunteer. It was fairly obvious that people who hadn't gotten tickets were hoping to get in as volunteers. I called Johnny and he said something I couldn't really understand over the crowd, but he so we just kind of hung out, waiting. The head organizer got up on a table and made a disclaimer that volunteers would NOT be in the event, so if we wanted to see the Senator speak it'd be best to go outside and get in line.

People were making signs at a nearby table, saying such things like "This Mama is for Obama" and "Women over 60 for Obama (a neat looking group of older ladies used that one, they were my particularly fun). "Latinos con Obama". My favorite, which I saw later once I got inside, was a very small homemade sign held by a young Somali muslim woman behind me that said in proud, glittering letters "Immigrants for Obama"! She held it up triumphantly, hoping the camera panning the crowd would catch it and give it a little air time. I was hoping too. They didn't see it, but she and her comrades cheered their hearts out anyway. While the rest of the signs had been made by campaigners to hand out, this one had been made ahead of time, at home. I also wondered if she was an immigrant herself, or a daughter of one and thus able to vote. I'm hoping for the latter.

Anyway. After about 10 minutes, one of the other volunteers texted me and said he'd been told that they had enough volunteers and that he was just getting in line to see the event. I somehow managed to find Johnny, who told me to do the same. I didn't have my ticket with me as I'd been expecting to volunteer, but Kari had printed a second copy of hers (they were just emails), and Johnny told me to use that. I shrugged, met up with the other volunteer (Nicholas) and we all waited in line for 2 1/2 hours until they let us in. They did end up letting me in, as no one was actually checking the names on the emailed tickets, but I found out later that people were photocopying 5 or 10 copies and handing them out to people. I don't know how the organizers didn't see that coming, because it seemed pretty obvious to everyone else, but at one point they apparently started checking IDs as they feared people with legitimate tickets wouldn't be let in. Fair enough.

It was cold outside, and within a 1/2 hour we were all doing the cold-toes dance, but the mood remained cheerful. More superficial Hillary bashing by some nearby, which I promptly (but lightly) shut down by pointing out that pasty old white men likely did not have very nice legs either. I may be supporting Obama but that doesn't mean I'm not still a feminist.

A little while later a man with his daughter and son (maybe 12 and 10, respectively) arrived in line across from us (by this point it had snaked around the the corner and back up again). None of them had coats on. I think they had left their coats in the car and just planned to run inside, but the girl was particularly poorly dressed in a thin cotton shirt, skirt, and sandals. I imagine she'd had an argument with dad before they left the house and she'd won. She and her brother were taking turns wearing his sweatshirt, which was just maddening to watch. One of the guys in line with me was holding a coat for a woman inside, so I put my coat on her shoulders, told her to wear pants next time, and put on this other woman's coat. People were concerned I would lose my coat, but she kept track of me and we did the quick switch once they opened the doors.

The crowd cruised inside and we found some great seats 10 rows from the front, right behind the stage. This meant we got nice little signs to wave behind him so the cameras could see them. The Target Center holds I think 20,000 or 30,000 people. A LOT. It was half full within the first 15 minutes after opening the doors, and the rest filled up (including standing room only on the floor) over the next 2 1/2 hours. The mood was positive, expectant, hopeful. Rock, funk, pop played over the speakers, people did the wave (briefly), and started small group cheers. A friend of Kari's happened to sit behind us, and they chatted a bit. (Her friend is deaf, by the way, and she's really good- I didn't know she signed so well!) Later we spotted an interpreter, which elated her friend, and he scooted down to get seating with a group of at least 6 or 8 other deaf people attending.

More later.