Archive for February, 2010

Her Cold, Cold Heart

I’m telling you, February is such a tease.  Take heart, though–one good March day will make us forget all of February’s abuses.

Links for Future Jillian

Last weekend, I went on a 48 hour, manic crafting spree.  I sewed a quilt top out of flannel shirts and sheets from Goodwill.  AND I recreated this for my very own home, with a different quote (“home is wherever I’m with you” from the song by Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeroes).  This frenzy of making is the direct result of seeing so many inspiring projects around the Internet that I really want to make.  Some of these projects are for babies (no, I’m not pregnant, only planning) and some are just for my house.  I wanted to do a bit of a link roundup so that I can refer to this again later.  When I have more time.  Someday.  Quit laughing.

Although I want my nursery to be super cool, I don’t get the compulsion to buy a whole $200 crib bedding set when you can’t use any of it but the sheet.  In fact, I might be able to get away with not purchasing any bedding at all, if I make my own fitted sheets for the crib with this tutorial

Although we’ve gotten away from making our own cleaning supplies a bit in the past month or so, we received home made multi-purpose, glass, and tub cleaners as a housewarming gift and my enthusiasm for them is renewed.  They just smell sooo good–none of those cloying, chemical fumes.  I’m considering making some laundry detergent for us, too.  I think these tutorials for vinegar fabric softener, scented baking soda laundry booster and linen powder would be a good start for that. 

Baby/toddler boy clothing tutorials.

Free printable….prints at Feed Your Soul

 

Reusable bowl covers.  If these actually work, they are a great idea!

I would really like to learn to embroider soon, because my current hobbies are not quite old-lady enough for me yet.  This site seems like a really good resource to get started.

Wouldn’t it be nice to not have a bike ALWAYS IN MY WAY?

So that’s it for now!  Maybe when the weather gets warmer/the days get longer/I win the lottery/I find a job where I only have to work 10 hours a week and get paid the same as I do now…with benefits, I’ll make some of these things!

A week’s worth of crap in 6 hours

Today has not gone well for me.  First of all, I left my iPhone at Raven’s house the other night and consequently, had to use David’s Alarm Clock of Anxiety, which I’m pretty sure uses the same ringtone that they used to signal the impending explosion of The Hatch on LOST.  I’m used to waking to the meditative peal of distant churchbells. 

By the time I arrived at work this morning, my nerves were just beginning to de-frazzle when, what’s this? a tiny winged insect was crawling up my office wall.  No big deal, I thought, I’m fairly rugged, I deluded.  I squashed the bug and continued on with my morning email runthrough.  Once finished, I began my midmorning Stare Vacantly at the Wall session, when, Hello!, two more bugs were making their way past my midwall southwestern themed wallpaper border!  Uhoh.  Since I work in a fairly rural area, my coworkers were not nearly as alarmed by this intrusion of Nature.  They handed me the Ant and Roach spray (although I’m pretty sure my unwelcome visitors are neither ants nor roaches) and I sprayed along the perimeters of my small office.  You can imagine the odor that this produced. 

Red faced and gasping for fresh air, I sought comfort in my blogs, but my computer, sensing the panic all round, lost its freaking mind.  “Attention: DANGER!  26 critical system objects detected!” “Stealth Intrusion!  Infection detected in the background!” “Your computer is now being attacked by spyware and rogue software!”  If this is, in fact, my actual antivirus software giving me these hysterical warnings, I think the writers would do well to use less spammy phrases.  So, I run a scan. Nothing.  I install updates and restart.  Nothing.  Shoot.  So, I act like nothing is wrong and try to get on the internet.  No dice. 

So I shut it down and went to lunch for a little respite.  Unfortunately, who decides to sit next to me but two freakin hipsters who want to ponder Important Questions like, “Why don’t we talk about Important Stuff anymore?”, while rubbing their ironic stubble. 

Back at the office, the bugs remain, the warning windows remain, the IT guy is nowhere to be found, and the office manager has promised she will call Terminix (WHEN????).  So I took my soy chai and my purse and moved to another office, where I will remain until the bug/virus situation is under control. 

Who knows what terrors await me this afternoon?  Maybe I should cut my losses and go home to bed.

I will never be warm again…

at least not until May.  February is my absolute least favorite month.  It’s all the crap of winter, but none of the festivities of November, December and January.  As a lifelong midwesterner, I should have developed a thicker skin when it comes to the cold and snow, but every year at this time, I follow the same cycle:

1.  Lose hope that winter will ever end

2.  Buy or make something new and springy to combat despair

3.  Start planning a garden

4.  Look outside/Watch a weather report/Get stuck in a snow drift in the driveway

Repeat till mid-May.

So, February sucks, but a few good things have happened this month.  For example: David was accepted into a PhD program here in KY!!  This was a very Big Deal for us as we had pretty much put all our eggs in one basket by only applying to one (fairly competitive) program.  So this was a huge relief, which prompted me to go to our local ReStore and buy David a lovely, mid century-ish desk to replace the small folding table he’s been using. ReStore, in case you are not familiar, is the part of Habitat for Humanity that sells used furniture, building supplies and decor, so the desk was marked $46, but I got it half off for some reason (SCORE!).  A beautiful solid wood desk for only $23 = awesome. 

On the homemaking front, I baked cookies from David Lebovitz’s blog and they were fantastic. 

The caramel filling was a bit complicated and required 2 attempts.  Let me tell you, caramel goes from done to burnt in about .000001 second, so be ready for that.  On the second try, I took it off the heat as soon as it showed a tiny hint of color and, as I stirred in the cream, the residual heat continued to cook it to a classic, creamy caramel brown.  Perfection. 

So, my effort to warm myself through increased biological insulation are going really well.  However, the problem, as we all know too well, is not the adding on of fat, it is its removal.  Well, May has never seemed so far away, so we’ve got plenty of time, right?

Lentils Lentils Lentils

Last night, we ate more lentils.  This has become quite the obsession, but I think we’ll be taking a bit of a break–not long, maybe just a week or so.  I think I just heard a faint “thank you” from my colon. 

We had the Lentil Burger recipe, again from 101cookbooks.  I’m now her biggest fan.  I actually made these twice over the weekend.  Once for 7 or 8 folks who joined us for dinner on Friday night and once for just David and I yesterday.  Just a warning–this was not really enough for that big of a crowd.  I ended up making them much thinner than the recipe called for and compensating with three sauce options, a big salad and two oven-fulls of fries.  The way these folks raved about those oven-fries–honestly, they’re just potatoes with olive oil,and what I like to call “the poverty spices”: onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. 

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If you make these burgers, I think you’ll appreciate how cohesive they are.  Often, veggieburgers are sort of crumbly, but I think since these are blended up a bit and fairly moist, they stick together very well and I had no trouble turning them.  Not sure how they’d hold up on an actual grill, though. 

Now I’m going to abruptly change the subject to something that’s been getting on my nerves.  My niece won’t speak to me. 

My sister and mother maintain that she talks ALL THE TIME and that she repeats EVERYTHING THEY SAY, etc, etc…  Then they say, Ellie, do you want to talk to your Aunt Jilly?  And she reaches out for the phone and I am saying hi and asking her what she’s doing and telling her I love her and popping blood vessels in my eyes with my excitement and high pitched talk-to-baby voice and all I hear in the background is my sister saying “Aww, Jill, she kissed the phone!” or, “She’s pointing to Elmo! She’s showing you Elmo!”  And then they take the phone back and I am defeated.  Again. 

This is driving me crazy!  Why is she so SILENT??  I think we’ll need to employ a webcam since she insists on only miming at me. But would my sister use it, or would I just be at my computer staring into blackness? 

Carrie?

Lentils, revisited

Thursdays may now officially be Lentil Night at our house.  Last night, I used another recipe from one of my favorite cooking sites 101 cookbooks.  This time for lentil almond stir fry.  Now, stir fry implies something very different from what this meal actually turned out to be, but it was a huge winner nonetheless and we both loved it. 

lentils

The changes I made:

Kroger didn’t have any “marble sized purple potatoes” (I know you’re shocked at this news), so I just used smallish redskin potatoes and cut them into bite sized pieces.  We have no Trader Joe’s here (sigh), so I just used the dry green lentils.  I’m interested in trying out different colored lentils, though because I think they’d look more appetizing.  Also, instead of the yogurt-mint sauce, I used goat cheese and added the juice of 1 1/2 lemons, chopped up mint leaves, s&p, and a splash of olive oil.  It was more of a dip consistency and, come to think of it, would make a really good and easy dip or spread for crostini or something.  You know, at your next cocktail party. 

I also forgot to add the almonds.  Oops!

Some notes about this dish: It’s not very pretty.  Also, when exactly did my tastebuds do a complete 180 degree turn regarding brussels sprouts and dates?  I hated brussels sprouts with a passion as a kid–even the smell made my stomach lurch.  Now I can’t get enough of them.  And Dates!  Hello!  I was (and am) such a sugar fiend–how did I not realize that they are essentially CANDY??  Kids are so stupid, no? 

Anyway, so the lentil obsession continues.  More to come.

First things first

Whenever we move, one of the first things we do is go out and get a new shower head.  Isn’t that strange?  But it’s true–we’ve replaced the shower head at almost every apartment we’ve had.  At this house, the old shower head sort of pummelled me with a single stream of water, so I had to turn back and forth to rinse out my hair and I was afraid when washing my face that the pressure would pop my eye right out of its socket.  An uncomfortable shower is a terrible way to start your day. 

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So, last night, we got a new one.  It’s a Waterpik EcoRain and this morning, I tried it out and I really enjoyed it.  It looks a lot like other more expensive shower heads, but we got it at Wal-Mart (I know–Home Depot was closed) for less than $30.  Our favorite thing is that it has a push-button to switch between the two modes (all over “rain” or a more concentrated stream), which we were excited about because all that turning of the showerhead this way and that at 6:30 in the morning means that you just end up keeping the same mode all the time, even though you’ve paid for a head with 14 settings.  This one is so easy to switch that this morning, I changed to the more concentrated setting to rinse out my shampoo and then back again for everything else and there was no cursing involved.  Anyway, I think I may have just reviewed a shower head, so that was strange.