Saturday, September 29, 2007

Amy Sedaris on Martha!

In case you missed it ... :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Another link dump

My computer has been acting funky, so I'm going to post a few more links here so I can close tabs & keep my system from crashing ... again. Grr.

My dream cooker:
If I were rich & didn't care about resale & such, I'd get that baby in red. With a matching range hood. Oh yeah, baby!

Southern Accents Design Assistant:

HGTV message boards - Color:

Charles&Hudson decorating blog:

Fancy french toast:

Monday, September 24, 2007

Link dump

Just dropping off some links to food sites.

Pumpkin muffins (from Smitten Kitchen):

More pumpkin muffins (with some additional instructions):

Molasses cookies:

Rose lassi:

If you like that, you'll probably LOVE my favorite site for food porn:

And totally unrelated to food ...
For those who have trouble understanding my husband (or some of the language I've picked up from him), here's a guide to British slang:

Friday, September 21, 2007


Tonight I made a custard pie. Or perhaps one might say that I'm still in the midst of making a pie, since it's still in the oven. I really love to bake but, oddly enough, I don't like making pies. There's just so much faffing about and it's messy and although the end product always turns out spectacularly well, I'm usually worse for wear at the end of it (Note: I have 2 burns on my right hand now & I can't even type with my left thumb. Grr.). I think the biggest annoyance in pie-making is that I insist on making my crust from scratch. I don't know ANYbody other than me and my mother who still makes crust from scratch. It's like a dying art that I kinda feel an obligation to keep alive. Too bad it frustrates the hell out of me ...

Here are some other things I made within the last week.

1. A necklace

On Saturday I spent the afternoon with Jennifer & Shauna at a bead shop in Cary. The necklace I made is a little unconventional compared to what most people make at bead stores, but I like it. The large white jade beads are meant to look like morning glories - a flower that my mother grows at her house in Oklahoma.

2. Rosemary & Olive Oil Bread

I cooked this up to accompany some stew. I got the recipe from Emily over at "Inside a Black Apple". So warm and soft and delicious and wonderful! I suggest you store it in a ziplock freezer bag instead of foil. It keeps for a very long time that way. Yum!

3. The bed

I love our bed. I like to think of it as a great, big, fluffy marshmallow. Light and soft and lovely. But I'm not always so good about making it. This week I decided to change that. I remembered that I always made our bed when we lived in Brighton and it made it look so much more inviting at night, so I'm re-adopting the habit. Now you know, Mom. It may have taken me 32 years, but I have FINALLY learned to make my bed everyday.

4. A Potter addict

Recently I mentioned to Tim that I have read dozens of books that he had recomended to me, but that he had yet to read a single, solitary book that I had suggested. Since Tim had just finished reading some lengthy three-book saga about sex-crazed fairies, he agreed that maybe he should finally - FINALLY - give the Harry Potter books a try. Afterall, all of his friends had read them and they liked them, so why not? He could just read the first book and if he liked it, then maybe he'd eventually get around to reading the 2nd one. No harm in that, right? Well, he gobbled the first book up quickly. And hastily moved on to the 2nd. He read Book 3 within about 24 hours (on a work day!) and he's about to finish Book 4. Yup. I think he's been bitten by the Potter Bug.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Kvetch Up

My favorite little on-line community has a thread called "Kvetch Up" that is very active. People mainly chat in that thread & talk about what is going on in their lives. We "kvetch" about the bad & annoying stuff, but we also list our "anti-kvetches" (the good stuff). Often times when I write my blog, I think of the layout of entries in that thread & it's hard for me to break out of that pattern. So I'm just going to embrace it.

Anti-kvetch: It's BEAUTIFUL outside! The air conditioning is off and the windows are open. On Friday we got a good rain for the first time in months and suddenly everything is crisp and cool and gorgeous. The plants are happier, too.

Kvetch: The cell phone reception at our house is worse than EVER. I cannot conduct a single phone call without the line going dead. The longest I could stay on the line without losing reception was 2 minutes. SUCKS.

Kvetch: My laptop tried to die yesterday. It kept freezing up & had to be rebooted. Sometimes it took 15 minutes for it to reboot. UGH. Understand that I spend many many hours sitting on our couch with this thing on my little lap desk in front of me. Losing my laptop would be like losing my eyes. It was super stressful. It seems to be better today, though (touch wood).

Anti-kvetch: About a week ago we ordered a fancy DVD/book case with glass doors on the front. It arrived yesterday and it is SO pretty! It's almost as tall as I am & it holds sooooo so much stuff. And it looks so much better than the pile of cardboard boxes we've had in the corner of the living room for the past 4 months.

Anti-kvetch: Mom called to tell me some good news. It's a long story, but basically I gave her some advice & she took it & as a result, she's going to graduate with her degree in Spanish in December! She thought she was going to have to wait until May or possibly even December '08, but that isn't the case anymore. Hooray! Woo hoo!

Anti-kvetch: Mom was so appreciative that she sent me flowers. Aaaaawww!

Thursday, September 13, 2007


I am a wimp. I spent a lot of time working on the garden, which has resulted in a blister on the palm of my left hand. Typing is kinda painful. At least the garden is looking better. Sadly, a lot of the plants are trying desperately to die (the drought here is terrible!). But somehow the camellias are thriving. In fact, they started blooming this week.

Monday, September 10, 2007

"This day could one day be ... an anniversary"

Five years ago today, I walked off of a plane in Manchester, England and met my future husband. He was wearing a blue and white rain jacket. That was the main thing I knew - look for that jacket! I was so nervous & shy - as was he - but we said hello and made our way across the airport & to the train platform, where the English sky was drizzling slightly.

Tim says that when he first saw me, he knew I was the woman of his dreams. Sadly, I was far too nervous. I wasn't convinced he was meant for me until we got to the train platform about 10 minutes later.

There is a song by Jets to Brazil called "Sweet Avenue" that always reminds me of that first visit. It's a beautiful song & often brings tears to my eyes.
Tasting you and rain I ... walk down to the train
Trying not to look down
This day could one day be ... an anniversary
Everything is light and sound
Facing forwards, going slowly, wait for you to show me
Where this train wants to go
Living by the hour I ... stop for every flower
Everything is soft and slow
Now all these tastes improve through the view that comes with you
Like they handed me my life
For the first time it felt right

If you'd like to hear the song, you can click here and watch a video on YouTube (just ignore the "Pride & Prejudice" film clips) or you can click here and play with the music player on the fan club's website. But whatever you do, please pick one.

Anyway. Happy 5th Meetiversary to us. Here's hoping we continue to meet on this day for many years to come.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Paint chips

From left to right ...
Southfield Green, Oklahoma Wheat, and Teacup Rose
All colors from Benjamin Moore

My thought is that I'd put the green in the dining room, the "wheat" in the living room and hallway, and the "rose" in the kitchen. Very colorful, yes? But is it too colorful. Hmmmmm. This evening I set out these paint chips for Tim and asked what he thought. He said to go for it. I suspect he may have just been humoring me. We shall see.

Friday, September 07, 2007

A bunny! And other randomness

Well, bother.
This week I set myself a little goal. I was going to try to make one post on my blog every single day. Afterall, a lot of my favorite bloggers make posts nearly every day, so why not give it a go? Sadly, I had to skip yesterday because I got busy. But I am not giving up! I shall continue to post for the rest of the week! Yes!

And, lucky you, I made another ultra-short video today. This evening Tim and I were doing a bit of work in the scullery/laundry room when Tim noticed a bunny rabbit outside the window. It was at the foot of our driveway, eating the stray bits of green grass that haven't burned up in the drought. So of course, I had to get out my camera & record the cuteness.

At some point I'll have to record a video in which I use my normal voice rather than my precious cutesy voice.

In other news, I spoke to my brother, Ray, and although his car is still a mess, life is doing quite well for him. Today the big corporation where he works named him the Employee of the Month! Hooray! And I think they'll be giving him some money as a reward. Excellent timing, yes?

I also spoke to george and picked on her because she hasn't updated her blog since she entered the Central time zone. She assures me that she has recently unearthed her laptop and will provide an up-date shortly. So yay to that, too.

As for me? I am mulling over paint colors for the downstairs rooms in the house. Ah, what a thrilling life I do lead, yes? God help me, but a strange part of me - a very strange part of me, no doubt - wants to paint the kitchen pink. I can offer no explanation for this urge. The problem is that every color I like seems to resemble that fake pink flesh color found on band-aids. Not terribly appetizing. Hopefully I'll find a warm yellow that is good enough to distract me from Benjamin Moore's "teacup rose".

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Shit+fan= life for my brothers at the mo'

This afternoon I received a phone call from my brother, Ray. One of the first things he said was, "You don't know how lucky you are to be suffering from a drought right now." It has been raining buckets in Oklahoma this summer. Flash floods galore. Today the torential rains struck again while Ray was driving along the Broken Arrow Expressway. His back wheels lost their grip near the Sheridan exit and he ended up hitting the barrier wall along the middle of the roadway. The good news is that Ray appears to be fine physically. Shame about the car, though.

In other familial news, my other brother, Mike, has been having a terrible time. First he was informed that he was being laid off (his last day is in about 2 weeks). Then an old friend died. And last but not least, he got a note from his landlord saying that his rent was going up about 53% in, oh, just 35 days or so. I am convinced this is not legal. And I am SOOOOOOOO UPSET that sombody is trying to pull this crap on my brother. It's really bringing out the Momma Bear in me. Grrrrrrr.

Things are looking up for Mike, though. He has been offered a place to live and he had a job interview today. If things work out right, he'll have more money than before & he'll have more time to do his photography. Imagine ... he may actually end up better off than he was a month ago before the shit hit the fan.

Is there a lesson to be learned here? Perhaps that sometimes beautiful things can come from the nastiest stuff? It makes one think. Do you think Ray's car wreck could result in something wonderful for him? Hmmmmm .....

Since I mentioned the drought before, yes, it's terribly dry here. Much of our lawn looks like a hashbrown. One of our trees was trying to die, so I'm watering it regularly now. The lovely by-product of this is that our rose bush has bloomed for the first time in 2 months. Yay!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

We have cats!

That is to say, we have panda cats ... As in panda catfish! This is my very favorite type of fish, which is why Tim bought some for me on Saturday. They are black & white and tiny (less than 2 inches long). And they swim in a cute wiggly way and they like to hang out in groups. They will even cuddle up together in pairs or groups when they sleep! Isn't that adorable?!

So that you can better appreciate their cuteness, I made a video.

"The panda cats are bein' cuuuuuuute!"

Monday, September 03, 2007

Experimental cooking

Other than fretting over the proper use of turn signals and illegal blood-alcohol levels (.08, thank you very much), I have also been cooking this week! I finally broke in my food processor and made a Bakewell tart for Tim. This was one of our favorite treats in England. The bed of the tart has a layer of rasberry jam topped with an almond cream filling & a nice thin layer of icing on the top. I tried making one a few weeks ago without the food processor, but it was gritty & wrong. This time it was sooooooo much better! Almost exactly like what we would have in Bakewell. And it's all thanks to my new food processor. It would seem that there is love in my heart for more than one household appliance, afterall.

I also made an attempt at dulce de leche. The ingredient list is very short & simple; it's little more than milk and sugar. Mostly it takes time & attention. And, as I have learned the hard way, practice. The directions said to simmer for an hour & a half. I stopped after an hour, but it still turned out harder than it should have. I was wanting a jam-like consistency, but it's hard as a rock unless you heat it up in the microwave. Oh well! Guess I'll just have to make more. Somehow I don't think Tim will mind.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Testing ...

This week I finally did something that I should have done a year ago: I got my North Carolina driver's license. My Oklahoma license was only good through the end of August, so I had no choice.

But why put it off? Well, because the state of NC makes you take a test if you want to have a license in this state. Luckily, it's only a written test, but I was still terrified of it (I'll spare you the details of my first failed attempt at getting my OK license). I was so scared that I would fail miserably. Driving is one of those things I just do ... without thinking. It's like walking and breathing. How good could I possibly do on a test about the finer details of walking?

I studied for the test for hours, but I still put it off to the last moment - August 31st at about 2pm. I was just so sure that I would get tripped up by some sneaky questions. And sure enough, when I walked into the DMV, the first thing I saw was a young man, politely disagreeing with the person at the front desk over his failed test.
"But I'm sure the question was wrong. I read the entire manual and it never covered that."
"I'm sorry," said the DMV guy. "I don't get to write the tests. I just give them."
My hands immediately started shaking. My palms were sweating. I considered just flying back to Oklahoma and renewing my license there.

But I stayed & it all turned out well. An hour later I walked out with my new NC driver's license. I got every single question right! Woo hoo! I even appear to be smirking in my photo. The license is good until 2015 - my 40th birthday. I'm afraid I may have to take the written test AGAIN at that time. What a fabulous birthday that's going to be. :P

And did you hear? George and Derek have moved back to Oklahoma! Took her long enough to mention it on her blog, though. I've been biting my tongue for weeks. :D