Sunday, December 21, 2008

holiday cheer!

yes, i needed this! i am not home enough, nor was there time enough from thanksgiving to christmas, to put up my tree.

but, for some reason, there was "enough" of something to warrant buying this set of figurines from rudolph the red-nosed reindeer (ps. i got the set of misfit toys too!).

they're awesome. beyond cute. they make me smile each time i look at them.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

a little home improvement

a week or two ago, i did a google search on a solution for my pot lids. my search mostly yielded pot racks. i did find a person with a solution though ... he used either a towel rack or expandable curtain rod.

here's my solution though ... for about $10 ....

the rods are 30" and about $2.49 each. the wall mounts come in pairs, and the retail price is the same (i think).

funny thing is, these appear to be the same as my (worthless 18") towel rack in my bathroom. good to know how little $ my landlord invested in things around here ....

Sunday, November 16, 2008

odd couple

these are two of my favorite plants. they get to share a shelf together. i just realized that they're both "holiday" plants ... a christmas cactus, and a shamrock.

i love the shamrock. i wish i had one of the purple varieties, but i wasn't willing to pay the price for one from a nursery, and got this one from a grocery store.

they'll come back, year after year, if planted in the yard. i don't have a yard, so mine kinda stumbles through the winter and early spring, in a pot, indoors. perhaps it needs a bigger pot. maybe some fertilizer? i don't know ... i water it when it looks limp. it rewards me with springing back life and putting out wee flowers.

my christmas cactus? i'm not sure how long i've had this one, but i'm sure it's overdue for a larger pot. it often looks sickly. i'm certain i don't take care of it properly. it's probably been near death more than once. but, i do know that if i leave it outside as long as i can into the season, that the cold weather will stimulate it to bud.

we had a cold snap not too long ago. it budded. and now, before thanksgiving, my christmas cactus is popping all over with blooms!

but, it's okay. it's doing what it's suppose to do. it just means if i want flowers around here during the holiday time, i'll probably have to put some paperwhite bulbs on rocks & water.

Friday, November 14, 2008

shopping experience

it seems that ravelry has more to offer than just knitting and crochet ....

Hmmm - it would be interesting if there were any way to track a different “voting with dollars” - stocking up for the future. For example, if sales at Sam’s Club and Costco increased dramatically before the end of the year due to people stocking up on food and other items.

I belong to a food co-op, and remember the large orders in preparation for Y2K. I just placed a smaller version of such an order (oatmeal, flour, sugar, some canned goods, etc). DH & I are calling it preparation for the Obamanation.

i found that quote after i came home (after shopping @ sam's club), and did a search on one of my favorite websites.

aside from the political statement, i finally realized tonight how cheap some stuff can be (per unit) when bought at sam's. the caveat is 1) do i have enough space to store it? 2) will it spoil before it can be used?

answers ... yes and yes, if i shop carefully. of course, it kinda sucks to carry all the heavy things in like a squirrel stocking up for the winter.

i'm never in a rush at sam's. that place amazes me. everything is B I G. the carts are big, the aisles are wide, the portions are huge. it's kinda crazy.

Friday, October 31, 2008

of course ....

this time of year, my thoughts turn towards food. yesterday (?) i cooked off some chicken. i had chicken quarters leftover from a recipe. i don't like chicken quarters ... or more specifically, i don't like to prep them (all that fat and skin!).

so, i poached them, and pulled off the wee amount of meat. i saved the broth.

the broth, i used tonight for a vegetable soup. hey, what's veggie soup w/o a meat base? (that's kinda like a veggie burger w/o bacon.)

veggies? what i had ... celery, carrot, stewed tomatoes, frozen cauliflower, frozen lima beans, onion, chopped green cabbage, etc ... lots of misc. veggies. and it was delicious =)

i had a hearty bowl of soup with the bread i made last night. now, talk about homemade .....

Thursday, October 23, 2008

meat loaf, pt.2

so, sometimes when i make something, i kinda get on a kick and want to try variations. since my first meat loaf was of the 'gourmet' variety, i wanted to make one more 'traditional'.

i went online searching recipes, and found paula dean's old-fashioned meat loaf via the food network website.

making two was an accident. apparently, when i was chopping the onion and green pepper, i thought i was measuring with the 1/2 cup, but was actually measuring with the 1 cup. oops.

that required another quick visit to the grocery store to buy another pound of meat.

but, a happy accident it was ... nothing wrong with leftovers!

jackie also made some delicious butter beans she'd bought at the farmer's market. i didn't take notes on her recipe, but she did cook the beans in bacon fat, and used this lonesome slice to add in later (lucky it didn't get eaten before then).

and mashed yukon golds with parmesan and garlic! wow! now that's a solid southern dinner .....

i think my meat loaf phase is over ... for now. though, i haven't tried it yet with ground turkey.

pesto meat loaf recipe

bring on fall and all the yummy foods of the colder months! i have been trying to conjure fall for awhile, with chili, enchiladas, bean soups, bread making, etc.

my most recent venture was into the wide world of meatloaf.

pesto meat loaf

2 pounds lean ground pork, s&p to taste, if desired
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1 cup fine bread crumbs
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
1 cup finely chopped, loosely packed fresh basil
1/2 cup finely chopped, loosely packed parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
fresh tomato sauce (recipe below)

1. preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. put the pork in a mixing bowl. add salt and pepper.
3. heat the oil in a small skillet. add the garlic and cook, stirring, until it is wilted. add to the pork.
4. add the bread crumbs, pine nuts, basil, parsley, parmesan cheese and egg. blend well.
5. put the mixture into a standard six-cup loaf pan. pack it down and smooth over the top. place in the oven and bake about one hour or until the internal temperature registers 165 degrees. remove from the oven and let the meat loaf stand about 15 minutes before slicing and serving with the tomato sauce.

yield: six to eight servings.

fresh tomato sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
2 cups peeled, chopped fresh tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
s&p to taste, if desired
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1. heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onions and garlic. cook, stirring, until they are wilted.
2. add the tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper and bring to the boil. cover and simmer about 10 minutes. stir in the butter and basil.

yield: about 1 1/2 cups

this recipe was given to me by a friend that knows how much i love food (thanks winnie!). she had clipped it from a newspaper years ago. i have lost my copy twice now, so i figured i should post it here incase my page gets lost again.

this was my first meat loaf. holy crap, it was the bomb! sadly, i won't be making this again 'til next summer or early fall, as you have to have a ton of basil ... either from the farmer's market or someone's garden. see that big bunch above? that was from winnie's garden. that was enough basil to make a dozen loafs or an amazing batch of pesto. sadly, i did not have the energy to make pesto. for some reason, i always start this cooking thing too late at night.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


what possibly could stuart do to end up in a freezer quart bag?! well, whatever it is ... he's staying there 'til laundry day ....

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

short holiday

... but so worth it! some very dear friends, ms. chak-a-khan and the hippie, invited me to join them on a portion of their vacation. jackie rented a beach house on the north carolina coast.

the drive down was much better than i anticipated (i don't like to drive. i'd much rather have a driver. no, i am not 70 yrs. old. i just don't like to drive). i drove down on sunday, and the traffic was light (for an interstate that connects both coasts), and the smaller highway was 4 lanes altogether.

i had wavered on the trip because of the time to get there and back, and the amount of time i could spend there.

i have this little "rule" ... don't spend more time getting to and from a place than you spend at the place .....

even if i had spent less time there than travel time, it still would had been worth the trip.

i was SO relaxed!

who can pass up on this?!

the last photo is of dinner preparation. jackie is (of course) a southern fried cook. at somepoint (whether there or not) we've had a discussion about this. she is southern. i am not. i was born and raised in the south, but i was not raised by a southern woman. that makes all the difference. seriously.

the food! holy crap, the food! when at the beach, it is only proper to eat beach critters, ie: shrimp, crab, grouper, tuna, ham/egg/cheese sandwiches (?) ....!

here's my thing. i am not a great cook. i am better than i use to be. and when i go somewhere i love, at the very least i can bring the "food" back home with me. when i came back from mexico, i was eating lots of mexican fare and avocados. and now, returning from the beach, i want the same foods i had there (sandwiches, seafood, quiche). the joke is, whatever i eat on sunday, it will be cooked again (by me, solo ... or with 'tech support') by tuesday. sigh. it's true.

last pictures? from the beach .... what's down time w/o knitting?! i was able to finish a sock, and mostly finish a blanket started ages ago. and stuart? he likes being wherever i am.

man, i had an excellent 2 days. 2 days. wow. i wish i could go back and finish up the week there, but i cannot. damn.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

in the kitchen!

apparently, i can bake. and perhaps the measure is a certain recipe vs. the results. perhaps some recipes have a bit of leeway ....

and perhaps, i used the most fool proof recipe on the face of the earth!

but, it worked. i was amazed that it worked. my dough was quite gooey. it never made into a proper "ball". i even plopped it into my stock pot seam side down. so, lots of things working against this loaf.

but still, it worked.

and it was delicious. fresh from the oven, i went over to a friend's house, where we spent the afternoon in great company, filling ourselves on bread, butter, and wine.

and the weather couldn't had been better ... it was all drizzle and rain, and cool blustery breezes .....

perhaps fall is coming? and perhaps, next week, or so, the news will be all about the indian summer (as if it doesn't happen every year!).


my parents crack me up. they send each other little messages based on how the toys on their bed are arranged.

... notice how goofy (dad) is falling off the bed .... hmmm .....

Thursday, August 21, 2008


i am tired! so tired. and wired. and i hate that combo. it happens sometimes ... when i've had a(n) (extra) long day (a polite way of saying today 'sucked ass').

i need to get into bed so tomorrow doesn't suck as well. (yawn ... again)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

police convention

just another day in the neighborhood. when i first noticed, they had a guy cuffed across the street. but then, they uncuffed and walked with him back to the house next door. i guess it's "shoot first, ask questions later" ?

of course, this brings on all kinds of onlookers. including myself. but, i have a very clear view from my upstairs apartment, right next door to the house that's always involved with the action.

wonder what was going on to bring out 5 cars including k-9? ... must be a slow day .....

Monday, August 11, 2008

overdue art

when i was in the domenican republic last december, on my next to last day i was in santo domingo. i spent the day wandering around, looking for my souvenier. funny thing was, my souvenier was the first thing i had spotted when i got to my hotel earlier ... but across the street.

on the other side of the street was an artist with a tiny tiny studio space. he had lots of drawings and paintings, some on display outside, most in stacks inside.

after wandering around the city all day, i went back to him to negotiate for the painting i loved. i think we worked something out to please us both.

i've had this since december. people ask me "what is it?" ... hmmm ... to me, it's two robots riding unicycles. to me, it's the experience of an artist doing his thing every day, in a small small space, hoping tourists will like his work. and to me, it's a bookmark in my life.

leanne was instrumental in me getting this up on the wall. the canvas had been removed from the stretcher to get it home. i had no idea it was a standard size (16x20") until leanne said, "i bet that's ____". and she was right. we bought a cheap canvas at a craft store, stripped off the cheapie stuff and used the frame to stretch mine over it.

and today, i put the hardware on the back to hang. it's up, above my desk.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

dios mios!

so, apparently when i am gone for an extended trip, my home becomes a mousie playhouse. i have found evidence, in places not expected (ie: bedside nightstand?!).

i posted on ravelry a shout out asking for advice as to what to do regarding exterminating. i quickly received some excellent advice and shared experiences.

i chose to go the traditional route, though, i fear the "clean up". ick ....

holy crap, look at the size difference between the mouse and rat traps!

... baited with some yummy peanut butter !

if traditional traps don't work, i will get one of these and electrocute the little bastards.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

light house day

the day before our departure from cozumel, my family rented a car and drove around the southern half of the island. one of the destinations was the lighthouse at the southern tip. it was skinny ! but the view from the top was spectacular!

Monday, July 28, 2008



... so tired, and i want to update. but, soooo tired! finally, i am going to bed.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

bundt cake!!!

i made a mad dash to the mall today to pick up one of these ...

i have this strange fascination with bundt cakes. i don't even remember if i've had a bundt cake, ever. but, something about their history and style is so appealing to me. plus, their recipes can be either sweet or savory, and of course, i prefer the savory.

while i was trying to figure out which pan to purchase (and where i could get it locally w/o having to have it shipped), i ran across a link to martha stewart. there is/was a martha stewart episode where her guest is one of the co-founders of nordic ware, and this woman, Dorothy Dalquist, made this fabulous sweet potato bourbon bundt cake.

i'm going to make it. i got all the stuff today. but today, with it being so late, the best i can do tonight is to go ahead and cook the sweet potatoes, so they'll be ready to roll tomorrow.

and the next time i go to the mall, i'm picking up one of these too ... holy crap! SO CUTE !!!!

$34 to make bug cakes !!!! got. to. have. it.

details on buggy pan over here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

seriously ....

8pm and still ! 94* outside. sh*t.

little things ...

... make me happy :)

like, my new laptop lunchbox! i had seen these long ago, on the blog vegan lunch box.

since i have been commuting, taking my lunch daily had become a greater daily challenge. at first, i was driving, so the container didn't matter so much (ie: i could take a big heavy pyrex thing with saran wrap over it). but, when i started having to walk a lot further, and riding the bus, i switched to what leak proof plastic containers i had. it takes me about an hour to get from my home to work ((includes walking to the bus stop, waiting for the (usually late) bus, transit time, and walking from the drop off to work)). so, keeping the meal cool, especially now in the early HOT summer temperatures, has become an issue as well.

so, i got this ....

can you see it?

well ... it's in there ..... amongst the other dishes .......

it's pretty cool. i also got the bento sleeve with ice pack to keep the coolness snug against my lunchbox, w/o the excess bulk of a "proper" case.

and you know, another cool thing is there's a flickr group if i'm looking for some inspiration or ideas about what to pack.

i think what i like most is the idea of portioning and variety. that's what all those spaces/places make me think of.

ps. i found an online coupon for a 10% discount ... though, i cannot find it right now to post here ......

Monday, June 02, 2008

happy birthday GOOMBA !!!

happy birthday!

happy birthday to my BBF

don't be deceived ....

... by this pretty flower ... nothing is at it appears!

it was one of those days .... lately, i have been waking up before my alarm, as it's pretty light out before 7am. i'm pretty good about getting up, usually. if it's light. if i know i won't fall back asleep, i just pop out of bed. it amazes me how bright it is now compared to when daylight savings changed. it was hopeless then. i could not get out of bed when it was still darkish at 7am!

but, that doesn't really have much to do with this. unless, you think, "gosh, you got up at 6:50am, surely you could get to work on time!".

i could, if the buses displayed the correct route in their electronic signs !!! i missed two buses today because 1) i am a rookie and 2) the buses had their signs wrong.

what i did not realize is that only one tta bus comes down my street. and, if i am ever in doubt, i should stop the bus and ask. so, now i know. and i was 30min late to work.

but, i should not have to do that. i did my part. i got up, i got up early, did my "stuff". got to the bus stop on time ... and the first two buses screwed up. i did my part, they need to do their part !

(sigh) ... i finished knitting a sock on today's ride(s). and on the way home, i was a 'big girl' and "mastered the system" !

i got off tta at a requested stop, walked X blocks to the shopping center with the grocery store, did my shopping, and then proceeded to wait at the stop for the city bus that could take me as close to home .....

i do not mind riding the bus at all.

it's always an experience ... interesting folks, questions about my socks, and the weather is a constant consideration .....

i understand that at times it may not be on schedule, or conducive to my schedule. but, it's a good thing overall.

tomorrow will be better .....

regarding flower ... i often buy bunches of spider mums at my local grocery store. they're inexpensive, and stay in bloom for 10 to 14 days.and, they're pretty !

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

first things first ....


YAY! i purchased my pass today. i had planned (originally) to ride in extra early this morning, and buy my pass, and then take the bus back out to my jobby job ... BUT, i strained my back last night, and did not sleep well, and had doubts about my mobility and stamina in the morning.

but, thanks to doses of ibuprofen, i am feeling much much better. and, i drove in. we had a scheduled fire drill today, so i took that time to cruise on over to the transit center and purchase my pass. it will be activated the first time i use it, which will be tomorrow ... rain and all.

yesterday, i went for a walk. it was nice to get out and about in the neighborhood on such a fine evening. as much as i like to check out people's houses and gardens, i do spend much time looking at the ground, because the sidewalks here are reminiscent of an earthquake zone. if you don't watch, you will trip.



one of my favorite views

the last shot is my favorite ....

Friday, May 23, 2008

news from the 'hood

i do love where i live ... though, there are places i imagine i would love more ........ ie: asheville.

but, i don't live there, i live in the 'hood, elsewhere.

and, it 'is what it is'.

for example:

the weather right now is awesome. it's in that transitional phase of perfection ... days that are true 'carolina blue', sunny and comfortable, and simply perfect. on days like that, i like my windows open for fresh air and a breeze, not for an obnoxious musical selection. i think these guys think a lot of themselves .....
perhaps i could had drowned out their music with mine, but i was more in the realm of peace and quiet.

in other news ... gas is getting more and more crazy expensive. and perhaps we have been spoiled compared to other countries, but, $3.99/gal today is the highest i've ever seen it.

and today was the first time i did this ...

i rode the bus !

it was fine. it was easy. it was friendly. and, i did NOT have to drive! i think my outgoing bus of the morning was late. i hightailed it to the bus stop, in fear of missing the bus. but ... it wasn't on time anyways.

and, it was the same on my way home. SO, the bus is not for people who want to be more in control of their schedules.

and, i did find some time for knitting. i think i picked a pattern that is too complex for the distractions of commuting. i will have to find a mindless project before tuesday ....

socken on bus

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

too pretty to eat

'sweets' from india

these were on my desk when i arrived at work yesterday. i am not a candy person, but perhaps i've been converted ... LOOK HOW PRETTY!

they're "sweets" from india, via kerstin. (thanks kerstin!)

they have the texture of marzipan. they're not overly sweet either (thank goodness) ... and i especially love how they're kinda covered in silver leaf.

and, i like how some of them look like hatching alien eggs!