Saturday, December 22, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
I've come to the conclusion as to why I don't like Christmas as much as other people. I hate Santa Claus. I have no cheery memories of believing in him or thinking that he would actually bring me presents(we didn't even celebrate xmas until I was 3). So, in my mind he exists simply as a rather creepy lie that adults, particularly parents(who are supposed to be the most trustworthy people), tell children. Presumably to control them, at least that's must be how it started out, during the tedious, cramped indoors months of fall and winter. These adults, in fact, go to great lengths to keep the children in the dark about the fact that he isn't real. And we wonder why people in our society grow up without an honest bone in their little bodies. I can't believe all the deception and tricks that people pull on sales clerks around this time of year. It's rather appalling, even at our tiny shop for rich people we've had quite the round of dishonest maneuvers from customers.
So, Matthew picked up the Sufjan Stevens Christmas boxed set which is fantastic. X-mas songs are the only part about christmas that I really like(that and chubby stockings hanging about the house) so I was very excited about this set. It is fantastic, and did not disappoint in any way. The funny part is that one of the songs is titled "Get Behind me, Santa," which I took to be a play on the Biblical phrase, "Get thee behind me Satan." Now that I look a the title and words I don't really know if that's true. But my new catch phrase for this year is "Get thee behind me Santa!"
In my flurry of making gifts for people and working extra so that I can buy gifts for the people who I can't make them for, I have had little time to blog. Perhaps that'll pick up after the dreaded holiday, which actually proves to be potentially pleasant. It always does and it usually disappoints. But, you never know what could happen =)
Monday, December 3, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Sticky Toffee Pudding
6 oz stoned dates, roughly chopped
1/2 pint boiling water
2 oz butter
6 oz caster sugar(I used regular sugar)
8 oz flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 medium egg
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 oz butter
3 oz brown sugar
2 tablespoons double or single cream
Set over to 350 degrees F. Pour boiling water over dates and bicarbonate of soda and leave to stand. Cream butter and sugar together in bowl until pale in colour. Gradually stir in the egg, flour and baking powder. Stir in the dates with the liquid and lastly add the vanilla. Put mixture into a greased 2 1/2 pint ovenproof dish and bake for approximately 40 min. until risen and firm to the touch. Make the sauce by boiling the ingredients together for 2 min. and pour over the warm pudding.
Make this recipe Today.
I spent this evening by myself since Matthew was at his beer brewer's meeting. So I watched the movie The Children's Hour with Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine. This was such an excellent movie. I've always loved Audrey Hepburn movies but I've avoided this one because it sounds so depressing and it is rather a bit, but it is too well done not to watch.
Anyway, it's been a jolly little week.
Friday, November 23, 2007
We had a nummy meal of baked ham, garlic mashed potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts, gorgonzola and roasted beet salad and pumpkin pie. Really, we had more than enough food and now I can make the other items for when we'll really enjoy them with out them having to compete with the main dishes.
Thanksgiving was fun and full of yummy food, but perhaps next year we'll just go out for sushi.
Friday, November 16, 2007
She was so cute, the little girl, about my age, who came into the shop yesterday to buy an apron. Now, I love the aprons we carry. They are fantastically expensive($70-140) but fantastically well made(think double sided so two aprons in one, thick creamy cotton, fitted). So, when she came in to buy an apron I basically dropped any interest in other customers and focused on helping her pick out an apron. After all, one of my favorite things to do at work is try on the aprons. It was a fun day!
She was so cute people, so, so cute!
Sunday, November 11, 2007
I guess some people aren't anti-germ freaks like me =)
* by "people" i mean matthew and rachel since you two are my only readers =) don't you love how I refer to you with such grand generalizations?
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
♥squashed grain moths and baby worms that were anxiously waiting to to grow into moths. We found them eating away at the "reindeer food"(really just a sack of wheat berries in a pretty red bag with bells on it)
♥got into a rather heated argument with some bitchy old british lady when I attempted to defend myself from her verbal abuse. She was horrid people, I tell you absolutely horrid. I would have gladly slapped her but she probably would have squashed me as she was shorter and wider than I.
♥had to track down the stuck up little blond high schooler who parked her golf cart behind my car, apparently for the evening with no intention of moving it.
♥unpacked some of the most idiotic christmas merchandise I've ever seen and in the process covered myself with cardboard dust and particles.
♥listened to the first Christmas album of the year and determined which songs I'll be skipping on that one.
I'm so not looking forward to the Holidays.
Monday, November 5, 2007
I fully intended to post earlier in the day but I was way too busy with chores and errands. In fact, I intended to post a number of times over the past week but it just hasn't happened. So, Halloween was lovely, I dressed in my usual pink fairy costume and handed out candy to hundreds of children who came by the store. It was adorable. Lots of cute cute costumes. I must admit though, my favorites are the homemade ones. I really don't like seeing 50 kids, all in identical costumes.
I also had one of the most delightful birthdays. Matthew went way overboard with the presents which was fun for me =) We went out for Chinese food which was always my choice for birthday dinner when I was a youngster so I thought I'd keep the tradition. The next day I went out with a co worker and a former co worker for drinks at the Pink Elephant. So cute, bubbles and little elephants everywhere. I got the pink princess drink which was silly sweet but fun. It was at this point when I realized that my Oregon ID really was no longer valid. I showed the bouncer both my official but one day expired ODL and then my very shoddy looking CDL papers which are all easily forgable photo copies. The guy says "good thing you have that stuff cause I wouldn't let you in with your expired license." What?! what kind of craziness is that? I'll tell you what it is, a terrible reminder that I'm no longer an Oregon citizen. So sad!
Other than that sad bit of realization it's been a lovely birthday weekend. The weather has finally been feeling fall like(as much as it will down here); in celebration I made the most delicious little fall dessert of Bartlett pear crisp with Pumpkin ice cream. It tasted exactly like a bowl of fall. Nummy!
Matthew really went above and beyond with my b-day gifts. I'd seen these Hello Kitty car floor mats a week before and didn't have money for them so he knew I'd like those. But he wasn't sure if I'd like a Sony reader. Of course, as an English major, naturally I'd like a tiny little machine that can store hundreds of books for my reading pleasure. It is fantastically impressive. So tiny, but it holds so much information and works perfectly. I love it.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007
I altered a recipe from my new birthday cookbook from my mother, The Cook's Illustrated editors' cookbook. Which goes against the very idea of using a perfected recipe(which is all they have in their book), but I never make a recipe correctly, ever.
Mix 1 cup flour, 1-2 teaspoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda together in a bowl. In a 2 cup measure, mash 1 banana and whip it until it is mostly smooth. Then add milk(I used almond breeze) to the one cup measure mark and mix again, then add one egg and whip it up. Then add 2 tablespoons melted butter to the liquids and mix again. Add liquids to the dry ingredients. Spoon little pancakes onto a med-hot oiled skillet. While the wet batter side is still up, place two thin slices of banana on top. Flip over then they're ready. The banana caramelizes a bit and gets soft while the second side cooks. These are very very good with sliced banana and Hawaiian coconut syrup on top. Like I ate way more than I would have if they were just regular style pancakes.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Yesterday was the second time in the past couple weeks that I have forgotten that my grandfather died, it just happens for a second but it really knocks me for a bit of a loop. It's such an overwhelming surprise to be going along, thinking about him in the present and what I'll say to him the next time I see him, but then I remember that it isn't possible.
Since Matthew's parents are in town, they wanted to tour the Midway, so we went along(we'd never gone before). At one point while I was traveling through the corridors of Engineering I briefly thought, "I've got to tell Grandpa about going through the engineering section and tell him how difficult it looked to work in that section." I was a little worried that I'd become hysterical while wandering around a museum; the emotion was that strong.
It was enough to make the rest of the visit a bit less cheerful, well that and the fact that we were touring planes that were designed for and that had killed many people. I think the museum has a certain weight of darkness just by virtue of it's purpose.
All in all a very interesting opportunity to understand the military and to understand my grandfather from a totally different perspective, one I never would have been able to imagine. I kind of wish I'd done it while he was alive.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
All that little tangent to say, I'm not writing a food blog(Matthew!) so don't mistake it for that =).
Instead of making a full on cake I decided to make a half batch of the recipe and to put the batter into little shell shaped madeline molds that I stole from work(they were rusting at the bottom of a bin). They were darling and delicious, but not too sweet, which is why I always like Clotilde's recipes. I, of course, did not follow the recipe exactly; I never do, much to Matthew's consternation. I left off the topping since I was not making a normal cake and I didn't put in the chocolate chips because I'm still trying to lose a bit more weight and I was already proud of myself for baking anything at all, baking being an activity I've tried to avoid since the tragic weight gain of '05.
Basically the impetus behind this project was a couple containers of grated zucchini in the freezer. It was going bad, I had to save it, so I stuck it in the freezer. Like I always say, "I'm a child of the Depression without ever having been within 50 years of it, all because my dear Grandmother passed on her depression era values so well when I was a child. So, I didn't even get to grate the zucchini in my new baby processor, but he didn't seem to mind.
Matthew really liked the wee cakies too, so they must have been good!
Monday, October 15, 2007
I think it's funny that I bug Matthew relentlessly about how silly he is for keeping all his old socks with holes in them, but then I do the same thing. Of course I insist on suffering through the day with my heel or a couple toes sticking out of the sock. The big toe sticking through is the worst, especially when I try to use it to keep the hole tucked under my toe, therefore I walk funny and my foot gets sore.
There has to be a better use for these socks. I always say to myself "well, someone, somewhere doesn't even have socks so who am I to just throw partially deteriorated socks away?" My grandmother has always used her old socks and undies and t shirts and long johns as rags. She has tons and tons of rags all cut up into neat little squares. But I don't have room to keep rags. My mother taught herself how to darm socks and so spent hours and hours darning one sock just to have it feel very uncomfortable under her foot. Can I make a rug out of the socks? I don't know, it's a thought that crossed my mind. Would that just be so beyond tacky that Matthew would lock me up in the tacky asylum? I don't know, possibly! And then, once the rug wears out what to I do with what's left? I think some people make paper out of their rags but it doesn't really work very well.
So, my burning, all-consuming question: what the hell do I do with all this old clothing that I can't wear? (I suspect that Rachel has a very Ukrainian answer for me=) I hope so)
Saturday, October 13, 2007
since my plan to walk to the ferry/work have been brutally interupted by the rain. I staunchly planned to walk no matter what the weather was like. When I heard rain I still got up; I dressed in my silly little striped stockings and short pants(so i wouldn't have to endure wet pant cuff syndrome, and cause they're friggin adorable). I bundled up so I wouldn't get too wet but about 1/2 a block out I realized that the wind and the much harder-than-expected rain had totally defeated me. I would not make a very good seattlite. But in my little head I tell myself their rain isn't as meanacing and it wasn't this August but I am sure they have storms too. Of course that is the Only kind of rain San Diego gets, storm rain. So I'll catch up on the blog post I was going to do last week among that flurry of blog posts, speaking of storms, that was quite the little rain storm.
So, recently I've seen my fair share of crooks and creepies. Finally! I think I noticed someone shoplifting. I still don't know 100% for sure but I'm fairly sure I saw a rather snooty little girl(about my age) dressed in pointy black shoes and a bell skirt(she looked rather fashionable and well off) steal a pair of beer mug sunglasses. She stole them for her boyfriend! Wicked wicked girl! I think she had an older woman(her aunt?) helping her, wicked wicked woman! She distracted me while this little girl tucked the glasses into her bag but I didn't see her do it, I just noticed that there was one pair of glasses missing but I didn't know if she had set them down somewhere else until I went over to look after she left. I should have smacked her to the ground and made her confess, but I didn't. I'll just speak of her evilness for years to come.
The other crook who stole from the little shop was a crazy man. He bought a small item and when the other girl gave him his change(I didn't ring him up, I came to the register half way through the transaction) he fumbled through the money as though counting it and then claimed that she had given him a $1 instead of a $10. Well, we believed him and thought it was very odd, but promptly forgot the situation, even when he was being frisked and arrested on the tree directly outside the shop door. Yes, we are that stupid =) that naive! We just thought he was creepy. It was only when we were closing up that we realized that the missing $9 from the register meant that he lied to us. Such naive little girls we are.
It has rather shaken my trust in everybody, which I forget that I shouldn't do, trust everybody. I'm a silly silly little girl! easily duped by creepies and crooks at every turn in this evil evil world!
Monday, October 8, 2007
Well the new little processor has been introduced to the kitchen. He Cheerfully sliced mushrooms, grated cheese and blended milk and eggs for a tasty quiche. I made a quiche since that was something that required the processor for each component(would have worked for the crust as well if I hadn't been evil and used a trader joe's pre made one). He has met fellow kitchen aid product, stand mixer. They will be quite a pair in the kitchen.
I'm so excited to see what other things this fine little machine can do!
Okay, so my friend gave me permission to post these darling photos. I just about hopped onto a plane bound for Taipei when I saw these this morning. These were taken in the Hello Kitty Lounge at Taipei's airport. How cute!
I kind of figured that in keeping with the theme, I should pink out her face instead of blacking it out. I think it's kind of a cute idea = )
So, I find that I often impress myself with my own cooking. I've always prefered either mine or my mother's home cooking over anything else(a point of contention for Matthew and I since all I do is compare every meal to something my mother makes or to what I could make). So, last Saturday I invited our friends Pat and Matt over for a yummy Pork loin roast dinner with mashed potatoes, broccoli salad and desserts from Bread and Cie.
The Pork Loin recipe as adapted from some odd Betty Crocker cookbook that was given to me as a gift.
One pork loin(mine was very small, not quite two pounds)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
3 garlic cloves chopped fine
mix all but the loin together and then rub it onto the loin(I wash all my meat) after you've stabbed the loin a few times with a sharp knife; try to get some of the rub into the stab holes.
Roast in a skillet or other roasting pan for an hour pouring like 1/2 cup water into the pan half way through cooking. Pork loin should roast for 25 min per pound at 325 F and should be 160 at the thickest point when done. Mine was like 175 in the middle but it was fantastic.
Then spoon over this yummy raisin apple sauce.
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 apple chopped
1 teaspoon cornstarch(or potato starch if you forgot to buy cornstarch, like i did)
1 tablespoons cold water
Boil first 4 ingredients for five min then add apple for another five min and then add cornstarch and water slurry for 1-2 min.
slurry is mix of starch and water
The sauce is great on everything!
We served a really nice Pinot Noir(gift from friend Cole) with dinner and then had a lovely blackberry dessert wine with dessert which was yummy.Matthew and I really like red wine with Pork. White is just too light and pork has so much flavor.
So, for the past two weeks the shop has been fairly calm. Nice and relaxed. So no real crazies to contend with. Basically this is the time during which I get to sit around waiting for customers and listening to the music, if it can be called that. This is when I really start to notice the music and wonder if I would prefer the craziness caused by customers over the craziness caused by listening to Kenny G five times over in a day. Terrible terrible selection at the shop and so last year about this time I brought in some of my music that can slide under the shop appropriate music radar. This was great for the first year, now my three cds that met with approval are starting to wear on me. I realized (the processor came!!! yeah yeah yeah! the poor UPS man had to practically set the dogs on me to keep me from grabbing it from his arm, I tried twice and he shooed me away) that work music can not be personal music. They must be separate. In some situations it would work fine, but not in a place where the only decent music is what I've brought in and I play it over and over again in an attempt to avoid listening to piano musak of popular pop songs and terrible jazz and other such stuff. So now my approach is to just pick the worst of the shop music and play it to watch others suffer as well.
Other shop news. I'm not sure what kind of crazy vibes I'm giving out. I think people can sense certain things about me, such as: I hate wasting bags, I am an overbearing sales person and I love to act as everyone's personal information booth. Okay, only one of the above is correct.
I can't count the number of times people have, before the entire sales transaction is over, asked with some slight rude tones in their voice "can't you put that in a bag?" Usually I say "sure, of course you can have a bag" with notes of surprise in my voice, but occasionally I say "Oh, you want a bag for that? you don't want to walk down the street juggling all of your purchases?" and then I smile to show it's just a funny little joke and they are a complete idiot.
I guess I look like an arm twister, cause most of the time when I greet people who walk into the shop, they say "I'm just browsing" with an attitude that says "I can see it in your eyes, you want to sell me on something and I'm not interested." The thing is, all I ever want to say is "of course you're just browsing, what else is a shop for? That's the whole point of this shop existing is so that you can browse and then suddenly find something you want and buy it."
And I guess as a shop girl I'm supposed to eat at the terrible, overpriced restaurants near by so that I can tell tourists which are the better of a whole mess of evils. Usually I just tell people I don't eat in the area and then recommend some random place. It's very silly.
Friday, September 28, 2007
Yesterday I had this sudden case of nerves while I was working. One of my employers asked me to perform a task which I've done dozens of times over the course of working in the shop. Basically, four identical gift baskets had to be made up, and in an unprecedented show of faith in my abilities she asked me to make them. Now, when she isn't in the store I make these things all the time. It's usually fun, but this time I got nervous. I guess it was just with the weight of expectation (all presumed of course, based on former gift basket making sessions with her). I mean this task is easy but I suddenly developed shaking little arms and hands and I was obsessing over every little detail that I normally just take care of without thinking or blow off.
I was amazed at my response to such a situation. I know I get nervous easily, but this was just silly. By the third basket I was mostly back to normal.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
So often people come into the shop and we go through the usual, "hello, how are you today?" "oh fine thanks, I'm just looking" "okay well let me know if I can help you with anything." I see them go to the back of the store, look at the shelf unit in the kitchen and after that point I never see them again, not even leaving the store. I've even gone in search of people upstairs and in the bathroom because I never see them leave and I wonder what has happened to them. Surely I can't be so oblivious as to miss entirely someone's exit from the back of the store to the front door.
I am now quite sure that the door way between the front of the shop and the back room can transport those who know how to use it into a magical world. Otherwise, how else do these people disappear? I never hear the back door open or close, I never see them leave via the front door, I never find them wandering around upstairs or nor even crouched in the bathroom.
Now I want to know, what magical fairyland are these people transporting into? And can I come?
Monday, September 24, 2007
The whole problem is that if someone I respected had said this to me then I would listen and maybe consider it, but this woman is one of the strangest people I've met. We all try to avoid talking to her because we know we'll get sucked into a strange, drawn out conversation with her. Who does this weirdo think she is claiming that Oregon is full of weirdos? But really, truth be told, Oregon is weird and is full of strange people, and a nice mix of them at that. That's what I like about it. The weirdness isn't all the same variety.
So, she can have her fantastic Kansas, the whole midwest for that matter, and her California roll land and never have to visit Oregon and it's weirdos.