Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Not sure how I should feel about this.

When I start to get exhausted (like right now when I am juggling 2 internships, a job, classes, and job-hunting), I start to get foolish with my sleep.  As in, I tend not to get enough of it, and by the time I get into bed, I'm really dragging.  E is much more of a night person than I am, so he's normally getting into bed at a time I reserve for frantic ends-of-semesters.  One of his favorite things to do on such nights is to talk to me while I drift in and out of sleep.  He gets a window into my weird subconscious, and the next day, I get stories about whatever ridiculous things I said the night before.

The other night, for instance, as I struggled to stay awake, I told E to just "ask the cookie vendor" rather than talk to me.  In my head, we were in the holiday market at Grand Central Terminal, and there was a guy selling lovely frosted cookies.  In reality, we were in bed in our freezing cold bedroom in Queens. Six of one, half dozen of the other.

A few minutes later, I started singing a variation on this classic Fats Domino tune:

...except I basically just sang "We're talkin', yes indeed..." over and over.

I can't even get back at him, because once he falls asleep the only noises you'll get out of E are teeth-grinding and various emissions.  Oh well.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My first ravioli adventure!

Another busy weekend has flown by, and now I am staring down the dreaded Monday morning once again!  Ah, well, at least it was a good weekend.  Friday night, E and I got right down to business with some couscous and feta stuffed peppers.  The filling for these peppers was absolutely delicious even on its own!  I'm picky with stuffed vegetables; I want the filling to be moist, dense and full of flavor.  This recipe definitely fulfilled all of those requirements!  E, though, often suggests we make stuffed peppers for dinner and then once they're on his plate he remembers he doesn't even like the actual roasted peppers.  Right?  Anyway.  He ended up simply scooping all the filling out and leaving behind the peppers.  Whatever floats your boat, I guess.

We were supposed to have a quiet night in, but 2 of our friends were back in town after time spent away, so we wandered over to their apartment, drank wine and ate fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies while arguing about the necessity of the Oxford comma all night (it's not necessary, it's not! it's not!).  We had a much later night than expected and I woke up with a slight headache, but it was worth it.  The Oxford comma debate continues, with everyone we discuss the issue with fiercely divided.

Saturday night E and I parted ways, he bound for a party at his friend's house in Brooklyn, I heading to a neighborhood Cuban restaurant for dinner and drinks with our friends and their house guests.  It was a great night, and thanks to the time change I  was even able to get a full 8 hours of sleep without feeling guilty about sleeping late!  Huzzah!  Today E and I have each been wrapped up in work all day, but this afternoon I ventured into the kitchen to make some ravioli from scratch.  My dad's family is Italian, so we have ravioli and seafood pasta every year on Christmas Eve.  Growing up, we made dozens and dozens of homemade little pillows of pasta dough and ricotta cheese, though in recent years the scattering of cousins and everyone's hectic schedules has led to store bought ravioli.  I have lots of fond memories of helping to make ravioli late every fall in preparation for the holidays, but it's been a good 10 or so years since I had the chance.

I used this recipe, and they were surprisingly easy and expectedly delicious!  The whole process of making the dough, letting it rest, making the filling, rolling out the dough, assembling the ravioli, and cooking everything takes time, but it's not hard at all.  It's so satisfying to have a belly full of mushroom-y goodness when all is said and done.  There's something that feels really badass about putting together a handmade meal that you usually buy preassembled, if you will.  It's the same feeling I have when i watch a pot of jam come together on the stove: You just feel badass!  One note on the ravioli: we made the filling as described there and have waaaay too much of it!  We used probably less than half of what it calls for for 10 very stuffed 2-2.5 inch ravioli.  It's not a huge tragedy, since we'll use the leftover filling in eggplant rollatini, but you might decide it's not worth it to chop all those mushrooms up!

I'm excited to have entered new ground (for me) in the kitchen, and now I am lusting over pasta makers and other kitchen gadgetry!  Some day we'll have room for more kitchen stuff, but for now this is all the space we've got:

Yeah.  Someday!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkins as people and dogs as cops.

This weekend, in pictures:

This weekend finally felt like Fall.  We carved a pumpkin Friday night, and Saturday we drove upstate for some foliage and trail wandering at Bear Mountain Inn.  Unfortunately, the leaves don't really change colors here in NYC -- they just kind of stay green forever and then suddenly one day they all fall off the trees.  As a native New Englander, I miss vibrant foliage so, so much!  We originally went to Bear Mountain to partake of their Oktoberfest, but by the time we wandered around Hessian Lake (how badass, right?), the crowd had gotten pretty thick at the beer/food stands and I didn't feel like waiting an hour for an experience we could get at our friendly neighborhood Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden.

Sunday I made pumpkin pancakes and we made pizzas to try to use up the food in our freezer since it decided to stop working. All in all, even with the malfunctioning freezer (and possibly refrigerator, now, as well), it was a delightful weekend.  This weekend will likely be crazy with all that goes along with Halloween (though we still don't actually have costumes and we're attending a costume ball Thursday night), but I'm looking forward to it all the same.

Friday, October 22, 2010

My thesis, in one 3:46 clip

I'm in my last semester of graduate school, and I am writing my thesis about American history as it is portrayed in Disney theme parks.  Basically, within the parks, narratives of progress are translated into meticulously controlled physical space for consumption by millions of middle and upper class paying "citizens" of the Disney nation. 

In Epcot, Disney's "permanent World's Fair in Orlando, there is an "American Adventure" pavilion which includes a 45-minute show MC'ed by Ben Franklin and Mark Twain audio-animatronics (robots), that takes visitors on a whirlwind tour of exactly what Disney wants its visitors to know about American history.  The finale, shown in the video below, is basically a montage of 5-10 second video clips of What It Means to Be American.

It's pretty incredible. Louis Armstrong! JFK! JFK Jr.! MLK! Elvis! Gloria Steinem! 9/11! Eagles! Clouds! Soaring music!  AMERICA!!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Unfortunately, "taking walks" wasn't really something we could do together in our apartment.

I want so badly to post a few recipes I've made in the last few weeks, but this is turning into a straight up food blog, so instead of my usual recap, I will do a link-and-one-sentence-review for each:

  • Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins: I've been using this very recipe for a few years now, and they never fail to disappoint -- fool proof, and they always come out moist and dense -- just don't add more chocolate chips than it calls for (they just get too chocolatey, and I'm saying that as a chocolate fiend).
  • Split Pea Soup: Growing up, my mom always made split pea soup, so I was excited to see it is, as I assumed, very easy to make vegetarian. I added some peeled and diced potatoes, and a package of frozen petite peas, and I used vegetable stock instead of just water.
  • Ziti with Roasted Zucchini: Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm (used 2 shallots and 1 red onion instead of alllll those shallots... delicious. Never too much zucchini. Will add mushrooms next time. It will be amazing.).
In non-food news, the weather on Sunday was essentially perfect: around 70 degrees, light breeze. E and I grabbed lunch with a friend and her boyfriend after said friend photographed E and I engaged in every day activities for her summative project as a photography major. We had to do things around our apartment that we usually do together. After a lot of waffling about what we do together (in the apartment? Not much really -- usually E is working at the desk in the bedroom and I am cavorting in the kitchen/living room), we settled on two activities. First, we hung out at the table in our kitchen/living room, each of us on separate computers but chatting and sending each other cat macros and videos of Conan O'Brien washing his desk. Then, we prepped all the veggies for that ziti zucchini dish up there, since we cook together most days of the week and, if this blog's slow devolution into recipe folder is any indication, food is a major part of our lives. She took some great pictures, and made our apartment look much more... atmospheric... than it is in real life.

And then there was lunch and a long walk to the park. Astoria Park is pretty big, and is a really pretty park built around and between the foundations of the Triboro and Hell Gate Bridges. The city just built a new skate park beneath the Triboro, and so we watched people of all ages on wheels there for a few minutes. This summer we hung out there a bunch of times, having picnics or watching fireworks, but we never made it to the amazingly huge swimming pool! They held the 1936 Olympic trials there, and it is massive:

The pool is closed until next summer, but we checked out the preserved 1930's entrance to the pool:

Crappy iPhone photo, but you get the idea!

Maybe next summer we'll get our acts together and make it in time to actually take a swim!  If not, I'll be pretty okay with another fireworks show from the hill at the park.

Oh hey, another crappy photo!  Whatever, I'm too busy living to carry a camera around all the time, gosh.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Food Budgets

A couple days ago, after I whined on Twitter about my dwindling money supply, a friend of mine told me about Frutober, an initiative started by a blogger who decided to only spend 75$ on food and 25$ on fun for the month of October. I am intrigued by this idea, and want to try out a modified version of it, but probably not til November. So it'll be... Fruvember. It doesn't have quite the same ring to it, but it does have the added bonus of Thanksgiving leftovers, which I should be able to live off of for a few days, at least.

In general, we don't spend all that much on food. Our grocery bill probably totals a little over 200 dollars a month for 2 people, so we're not spending too far over 75 a month per person anyway. However, if we were more diligent in planning our meals and buying things in advance, we'd waste less and save some more money. Our refrigerator is small, but usually pretty packed full of produce, so it's not uncommon for a plate of leftovers or bag of grapes to disappear long enough that we have to pinch our noses and scurry to the garbage can with it when it resurfaces. It happened with some grapes this week. And with a container of Greek yogurt (mmm) this morning.

Another major budget buster for us are vegan alternatives for butter and cheese (and occasionally meat) for E. We bought 8 ounces of fake cheese made from tapioca rice today, and it was 5 bucks for the back! And we found a tub of fake butter for 3.50 and nearly shat ourselves because it was such a bargain. Also, since I have no trouble with dairy, we end up buying the alternatives for him and the regular stuff for me, so we double purchase a lot of items. It's cheaper overall, since the margarine I buy costs 89¢ instead of 3.50 (or, usually 5 bucks), but it is kind of lame.

The mind behind Frutober advocates for stockpiling necessities in September, but I found out about the initiative at about 10 pm on September 30th, at a real low point in our pantry supplies. We've been out of eggs, bread, grated cheese, vinegar, olive oil, and various other vital parts of our diet for a few days now, and if I had restocked the cabinets as part of my 75$ monthly budget, I would have only had enough money left over to eat ramen for the rest of the month. So, I'm not sticking to a 75$ budget this month, but I'm trying to stick to spending more than $6 on dinner every night (which will hopefully include leftovers). In general, this shouldn't be too hard -- tonight I plan to make a pot of lentil soup that will cost about 4 bucks total -- but it will require a bit more thought and frugality. No more wild mushroom agnolotti for us, I guess.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Turning vegetarian

E gave up all meat/most dairy products about 4 months ago now, to manage some digestive issues.  It's helped immensely, and he feels much better since then.  We had already been on a low-meat diet for environmental reasons for a long while, so day-to-day the change didn't affect much.  Cutting out meat, though, does require a bit more creativity in the kitchen to prevent us from eating a big bowl of random veggies every day, which is what most of my omnivorous friends assume I do anyway.

When we ate meat, I often felt like we fell into a cooking routine.  Each of our meals would just be meat + starch or grain + vegetable.  Usually, each component complimented the other nicely, and there was some thought behind that, but it was often pretty boring, required a whoooole ton of pots and pans and dishes to accomplish, and left us feeling sluggish and vaguely sick. Once in a while, we fall into a seafood-heavy rotation (fish/shellfish doesn't affect E the way meat does, and it is just so delicious)  and I feel this way all over again.  We also relied a lot more heavily on processed/pre-packaged/frozen foods, which was expensive and not healthy.  Now, we do just about all of our food shopping at the local green grocer, and just about everything that comes into our kitchen is whole, green (or some other nutrient-rich color), and infinitely satisfying to eat.  And a fiber rich diet does help keep the plumbing in working order.

So yes, I can't say enough good things about our new diet, especially about how we each feel to be putting so much good stuff in our bodies.  Our meals are simple, fresh, and fantastic, overall.  There have been a few bumps along the way.  Sometimes it's frustrating that I have to accommodate his dietary needs when other options are cheaper/easier (one evening where I blew up because I was making brown butter gnocchi and we were out of vegan butter and E said I had to use olive oil instead of real butter comes to mind), but I think we're both happy with the switch -- and I'm just glad E's feeling so much better!

And honestly, there aren't many recipes I have to miss -- so many things can be easily made vegetarian.  E can't do fake meat (and I'm not a big fan, either), so we usually just skip those alternatives.  Last night, for instance, I made a vegetarian minestrone because the weather has definitely taken a turn for the autumnal.  Instead of using beef broth or any meat to flavor the soup, vegetable stock and some carefully used spices does the job.  In under an hour we had a giant bowl of hot soup bubbling away on the stove, for under 10 bucks.  We froze about a meal and a half's worth right away, and I am enjoying a leftover bowl right now!  I highly recommend this recipe, which is the first I've made up on my own for minestrone!

Shae's Rough Vegetarian Minestrone Soup

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed (this can be reduced... we eat a lot of garlic and are desensitized)
  • 1/2 cup white onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1/3 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (one of those big guys)
  • 1 can cannellini (white kidney beans)
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 3/4 of a bunch of fresh spinach, chopped (I am not sure how much spinach is in a bunch... probably close to a pound?  Feel free to eyeball this, but don't get too skittish -- spinach cooks down a LOT)
  • 2 pounds zucchini, diced
  • 8 cups vegetable stock (homemade or using bouillon, like I did)
  • a glug of wine, white or red (this is very scientific)
  • oregano, basil, black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 a pound of Ditalini

  1. Heat your oil in a large pot on the stove over medium heat.  Add the crushed garlic and the onion to the oil (Sidenote: to peel garlic easily, cut off the hard tip of the clove and crush it with the side of a knife. The skin will come off in one piece, and then you can prepare the garlic however you want).  Stir to coat, and let cook for about 2 minutes, and then add the carrots and the celery.  Let it cook until the onions are transparent and the garlic is fragrant.
  2. Add the contents of the can of crushed tomatoes.  Let it simmer for a few minutes while you cut up your zucchini and spinach.
  3. Add the vegetable stock to the pot.  Stir well. Once everything is incorporated, add the cut spinach and zucchini to the soup. Stir well, though the spinach won't wilt for a few minutes and might seem to refuse to mix in. It's okay.  Its time will come.
  4. In another pot, start boiling some water for your pasta.  Cook it until it is slightly underdone.
  5. Drain about 3/4 of the liquid out of the cans of beans.  Dump them into the soup pot.  When the pasta is ready, drain it and put it into the soup as well.
  6. At this point, I poured a glug of white wine in, which I think helped bring the flavors in the pot together.  I used some crappy wine we bought for cooking, and it worked great.  I think a red would be even more delicious, but I didn't have any on hand.  I also added a bit of dried oregano, a few leaves of fresh basil, and a healthy shake or two of black pepper to the pot at this point.
  7. Simmer the soup for 20-30 minutes, until the spinach and zucchini are cooked and it smells divine.  Serve with a shake of romano cheese and some crusty white bread. Makes at least 6 servings, depending on how hungry your crew is, and it's a satisfying, inexpensive, healthy meal.

Tessie doesn't even have to wear high heels, ever.

I am tired. The kind of tired that makes me really, really wish that there existed, somewhere, a pillow big enough for me to curl up on. And don't say, "What about your bed?" because that's clearly not the same. If I had a featherbed, I might say, "Oh, you're right, I have this featherbed," but I don't have a featherbed, so it's definitely not like a pillow. I also wish I had a tail so I could cover my nose with it when I sleep for optimum-comfiness, but that, also, is not really possible.

Anyway. Part of my exhaustion stems from my busy schedule, yes, but this weekend was also a doozy. One of my friends from my hometown is getting married in, oh, 11 days or so, and her bachelorette was this weekend. We went to dinner with her family and then went down to lovely New Haven, Connecticut, where we had a hotel room, and went out to a few bars to celebrate her last night out as a single gal impending marriage to a wonderful guy. Abbreviated siderant: I'm actually not a fan at all of the last-night-of-your-life nonsense surrounding America's pre-marriage rituals. That's not the point, guys.

Included in our girls' night out were plastic jewelry, little black dresses, and way too many uncomfortable heels.  We had a long night, and luckily the only one of the group who was really hard hit the next morning was the bride-to-be -- as it should be.  I, myself, felt great, and hopped in the car to drive to Rhode Island for an afternoon with friends.  So, it was a long weekend, but a great one, and in light of that fact I'll try not to complain too much about how gosh-darn tired I am.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I am back in school. Classes started about 2 weeks ago, bringing to a close a very, very hectic summer full of weddings (and their auxiliary events), babies, and the first job I've ever worked that I loved enough to not dick around while on the clock. Hence my general absence from the internets.

But now I'm back in class, with lots of weird little snippets of downtime and a million overlapping activities. And, of course, plenty of time in which I should be doing things I don't feel like doing (not that this is what's going on now. nuh uh, no way, no how). This is my last semester ever (!!!), and it is terrifying and exhilarating and did I mention TERRIFYING? There are basically no jobs out there. But I am trying to distract myself from that frightening reality by making my last semester count. There are the two classes I'm taking:
  1. Interpretation & Architecture: This doesn't sound that cool, but the big project for it is developing programming (interpretation) for this property about an hour upstate! Yay hands-on stuff!
  2. Social Science Approaches to Analyzing Biographical & Life History Information: Okay, that is the longest title ever, but it's a class in the oral history program here, and it seems really great based on the syllabus. Right now, I am taking a break from a reading about how people become Nazis, and generational identities, and biographical versus systemic historiography and IT'S NERDY BUT COOL, OKAY.
I'm also interning at 2 different museums and working at another, and I am writing my thesis, as well. If I ever get the topic finalized and my proposal approved, sigh. It definitely seems like a good set of classes/activities to round out my educational career -- representative of many of my interests and ideas. So yes, this semester looks to be very, very busy, but I'm hoping it will go by quickly and that one of the museums where I work will find me indispensable and decide to start paying me for my awesomeness.

Here's hoping.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Neighbors and Birthdays and Dogs, Oh My!

Tonight, in celebration of a friend-who-just-moved-into-our-neighborhood's birthday, we went to Manhattan.  That's right, folks, we outer borough folk do head into Manhattan for some entertainment and merrymaking!  Yes, we will continue to try to lure you into our realms ("I'll take you to the Beer Garden" being one of the key baits), but we also head over to the island once in a while.

Anyway, this friend and his roommate, also a friend, recently moved into our neighborhood -- a few short blocks away from our crappy little prewar apartment, in fact! -- which is very exciting because, well, as an outer borough person, most of my friends live in other, fancier outer boroughs, or in Manhattan, or even in New Jersey.  So it can get lonely out here in Queens on occasion.  But now there are people around the corner with whom we can grab lunch in a Greek restaurant, or make friends with the panhandlers on the N or Q into Manhattan, or sit at the Beer Garden and talk about how awesome Queens is, and how smart we are for living here.  I'm stoked.

But yes. Birthday.  So we went into Manhattan, and we took advantage of the absolutely beautiful day by getting a round of drinks at Pier 66 Maritime, which houses an historic barge (now a bar and grill!) and several historic ships, including a fireboat and the Lightship Frying Pan, which was underwater for 3 years before being pulled up and restored.  The weather was absolutely glorious, and it was awesome to be on the Hudson, enjoying a beer, even if the swaying of the barge on the river gave me a touch of the queasies.

Afterwards, we headed down to the High Line, a relatively new park in Manhattan, reclaimed from an old elevated freight train line that was abandoned for about 50 years.  Nature took over, and then landscape architects came in, refined the plants that were already there, built benches, and made it a really beautiful park for strolling above the city streets.  We walked the current length of it, from 20th Street down to about 14th, and I can't wait to see what the next section to open looks like.  It's a really lovely space where urban and natural mix wonderfully, and the breeze and views from that elevation are fantastic.

As the sun was setting and we hadn't eaten yet, we wandered around for a while before ending up at Benny's Burritos, which, sneakily enough, is part of the Blockheads mini-chain of Mexicali food establishments.  After a much shorter than anticipated wait (think 8 minutes instead of 40), we slid into a table in the very noisy dining room and proceeded to gorge ourselves on chips, salsa, guacamole, burritos, and 3 dollar margaritas.  Delicious, cheap, and a hit with everyone involved.

We split up after that, with the birthday guy having a bit more party in him than the rest of us, and E, our other friend and I ended up on a train back out to Astoria.  A man got on with a service dog that must have been in training.  He kept standing up rather than laying beneath the man patiently, and at one point the motion of the train must have got to him, because he vomited in the corner.  I don't think I've ever seen a dog so happy to get off a subway as this dog, who practically opened the door with his nose once they got to their stop.  He was clearly trying very hard, though.  I have a huge place in my heart for service dogs.  They're smart!  They're well-behaved!  They're helpful!  You can't pet them!  Seriously, all I want to do when I see a service dog is give it a giant hug and belly rub.  This urge is probably largely because I know you aren't supposed to distract them from their work with lovin', but it doesn't stop me from wanting to more than anything else in the world at that given moment.

Tonight was no different, because the dog was young, and trainsick, and SO SO CUTE.  If I had any ability to give away cute things, I would totally train puppies to be service dogs, but I wouldn't be able to give them up.  Also, puppies are hard.  They require walks and they puke and pee on the floor and lick you and are kind of smelly.  When my cat pukes, I tend to pretend I don't know what happened until E steps in it on his way to bed and has to clean it up himself*, so I can't handle dog puke, which is obviously much more gross.  Gosh, what will happen when I have children?  I don't want to think about it.

*This may or may not have just happened.  He's a pretty good guy!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A lot of fruit has come into this house.

This summer has been positively flying by. E and I have each been very busy with our summer jobs, and we've also spent many weekends trekking to Connecticut for various events and goings-on.

We've also been perfecting our jam-making skills, as mentioned previously.  My best friend is getting married next weekend (!!!) and I offered to make jam for her favors.  Once they're done and wrapped up looking pretty, I'll take a picture of the jars, which are little and adorable.  In this photo, Tessie is supervising E's strawberry-slicing. 

The bride came down last weekend, and even though our original plans to work together on the jam fell through due to some logistics issues, we finally got to bring her to the Beer Garden, and she agreed that it was magical. Luckily the weather was basically perfect, unlike today, when it is hot and humid and our air conditioner conveniently decided to DIE overnight. I am so upset, and don't anticipate sleeping much over the next few days as the mercury creeps higher...

In other news most people don't care about, I found the most amazing nail polish at CVS the other day!  This photo below, of my nails with Rimmel London Lasting Finish Pro nail polish  on them, was taken a full EIGHT DAYS after I applied it. Minimal damage, despite my marathon jam-making and doing dishes and type-type-typing at work and home!  And for only 3.99?  I'll take it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Broke AND BORED sometimes maybe.

So, sometimes that whole, "Hey, let's take advantage of all the awesome free stuff to do in NYC," thing doesn't work out. Like, epic catastrophe doesn't work out.  I know, because it's happened to me.  Last Friday, after a crappy weather forecast forced me to cancel outdoorsy plans with a friend, the skies miraculously cleared at the last moment and E convinced me it was a good idea to go to the free New York Philharmonic concert in Prospect Park.  I begrudgingly agreed, even though:

  1. We decided to split a PB&J that had been bouncing around in E's work bag all day to avoid having to buy dinner
  3. Our work schedules didn't line up and my office building has a strict GET-THE-FUCK-OUT policy on Friday afternoons, so I had to go sit on a bench on a traffic island outside of E's office for 40 minutes. It was hot.
  4. Neither of us had ever set foot in Prospect Park!  I know, this is crazy, but honestly, we're rarely in Brooklyn.
  5. Because of our work schedules, we were destined to make it to the park around 7:15, a mere 45 minutes before this free concert in the city's most populous borough was set to start.

In the end, he convinced me to go by talking up the fireworks display set for the end of the evening.  However, beginning when I sat outside of his office building for 40 minutes, sweat literally dripping down my legs, hungry and tired, I was cranky.  And it didn't stop when he got out of work, or when we were on an air conditioned subway train, or when I finally had a bottle of cool, delicious water in hand.  While we wandered aimlessly through the massive massiveness of Prospect Park in search of the Long Meadow, I whined.  I whined about the heat, I whined about the fact that we saw about 500 fireworks displays earlier this month, I whined about being tired, and hungry, and about my feet hurting. I refused to take off my cardigan on principle, so I could have something else to whine about, because I was being passive aggressive.  I whined about the crowds and the heat (IT WAS HOT, GOSH) and the impending long ass commute back to Queens.  I was a real terror, and it was not my proudest moment.

But then we found the Long Meadow (after E sent like 6 people off in the wrong direction as if he had a CLUE where we were), and we got seats, and we ate the PB&J and hung out.  And it was still hot, and we didn't have a blanket so the grass was scratchy, and I wasn't able to flag down one of those guys who sells glow-toys at fireworks displays, but it was kind of nice.  The Philharmonic started out with a couple of fun pieces, including some West Side Story stuff, and we started to relax and have fun.  There were cute kids everywhere, and they all seemed to be enjoying themselves, so why not?  Then it was intermission, and more kids bought more glow toys (but I still didn't), and the sun went down so the temperature dropped, like, 3 degrees.

But then. THEN. The Philharmonic came back and played an utterly interminable, very, very slow-and-quiet piece. It was SO. LONG. And we could BARELY. HEAR. IT.  I get it.  The people in front are the people who are donors and ~serious music-y people~ and whatnot. BUT YOU'RE IN A PARK. There are a few thousand people sitting on the grass to hear you play. Melting in the heat. Listening to other people's conversations. Tolerating other people's children and their glow toys. They are obviously dedicated.  PLAY SOMETHING THEY CAN HEAR.  Every time the music stopped (which we mostly marked by the polite applause of people closer to the stage, but not close enough to know you're not supposed to clap between movements or w/e), we watched hopefully for the conductor to turn around. He never did. It was excruciating. At some point it devolved into a giant glow-toy swordfight.

And then it finally ended, and the fireworks started, and... they were kind of crappy. And over in like 3 minutes.  So that was that. And E had to use the restroom for about an hour, and I was getting there myself, so as soon as the "grand finale" (I use the term loosely) had ended, we hightailed it out of there (the perks of not having blankets or luggage or children) to beat the crowds to a restroom. We walked past the port-a-potties in the park and to the nearest food-selling facility, a bakery about a block away.  We bought a god-awful red velvet cupcake so E could use the bathroom, only to find out that the bathroom was out of service. After wandering a bit, we realized that there was nothing else around, and found ourselves heading back to the park. For the port-a-potties.

I hate port-a-potties. HATE. There are few things as revolting to me as a portable pisser. So, on a night when it was still in the 80s hours after the sun went down, when thousands of people had probably relieved their full-to-bursting bladders there, I knew these things were going to be rank. AND OH MY GOD THEY WERE. To think about it now causes one to nearly vomit in one's mouth. Utterly miserable.

Having survived that experience, we dashed to the subway and began the long journey back to Queens. You would never think that Queens and Brooklyn abutt each other on the lovely Long Island based on the ease of public transit between them. It's sort of astounding. But so it goes. We made it home, immediately showered to try to rinse the port-a-potty grime off of us, and I mentally swore never to get suckered into something like that again.

...Until I was. But that's for another time.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I just want to ensure a magical start for my kids.

After reading this interesting tidbit today, I have a new life-goal:

Main Street USA was the scene of the first appearance by one of the Disneyland's most magical guests. During a busy Fourth of July in 1979, Teresa Salcedo became the first baby born at the park, weighing in at 6 pounds, 10 1/2 ounces. Mickey Mouse later presented the baby with "Disneyland Birth Certificate No. 1" in recognition of the event.
A couple sources say she gave birth on a bench near the Plaza restaurant, which also makes me giggle.

So, you're not supposed to fly when you're really pregnant, right?  I guess it'll just have to be an epic car ride down to Florida -- with many pit stops to accommodate a pregnant lady's body/bladder -- in order to secure a Disney World birth certificate for the future MiniGenFab.

Come on, it would be hilarious.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Can't wait for that little rain icon! Our apartment is a boiler right now.

In other news: Oh, hey! I have a blog!

Triumphant return soon.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Summer = delicious, cheap fruit

It's been a few weeks! I've been settling into a full time internship and trying to enjoy the beautiful weather before it gets too hot around here! I kind of hate the summertime.  I mean, I love the lush vegetation and abundance of fun activities, and there's nothing like a warm summer night spent outside drinking, but I wish it never got above 80 degrees.  Ever.

I've also been buying lots of fruit!  I offered to make jam for my friend's wedding favors, and even though the wedding's not for 2 months, the berries I'll be using are abundant (and cheap) now.  So, the other night, for instance, I came home with 7 quarts of strawberries for 10 bucks -- and they're even cheaper now! Serves me right for jumping the gun, I guess.

I'm freezing the berries until we get all of the other supplies -- jars and such -- and experimenting with freezing techniques.  The ones on the left are cut up and frozen with about a cup of sugar, which the internet tells me will help to preserve the fresh strawberry flavors.  The ones on the right are cleaned, cored, and frozen whole on a baking sheet before being put all together in the bag.  So far, I'm more excited about the whole ones -- they seem to be in better shape overall.  We'll see what happens when it's time to make jam, but I'll probably augment the frozen berries with some fresh ones.

Here is a batch of blackberries ready for the freezer.  I decided to go for the whole-frozen setup with these guys, and they're all washed and placed on a wax paper on a cookie sheet, not touching.  Tomorrow I'll bag them up and fill my freezer until it's time to get cooking!

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Twilight of my Unemployment.

Today is my last weekday off before I start interning full time for the rest of the summer, so I am trying to enjoy it even though there are about a billion things I should be doing instead.  Like finishing the last paper I have to do for this semester. The semester that ended 2 weeks ago. Whoops.

Instead, you can find me here, enjoying the one air conditioned room in our apartment and reading Twilight. Yes, Twilight.  I've resisted for a very long time, but now I am reading it and enjoying it, the same way I enjoyed the Draco Trilogy of Harry Potter fanfiction.  Terrible, but delicious.  I will, however, say that whoever published these books has obviously never read a lick of fanfiction, because Twilight is honestly more akin to fanfic in style and content than just about any book I've read, and I've read my fair share of fantasy series and historical fiction (read: socially acceptable romance novels for people who raise their noses at romance novels).  Before I ever read Twilight, people said that Bella was Mary Sue at its best, and it's true! She is!  An awkward, socially-reluctant bookworm who is snarky all the time and has never known how attractive other people find her?  Pure Mary Sue.

The text is absolutely dripping with adjectives, and full of awkward descriptions of clothes and hair and weather patterns using words that don't quiiiiite work. She overuses semi-colons, dashes, and ellipses. And dear sweet Jesus, if I have to hear about how god-like and statuesque Edward is too many more times, I might puke.
Again, the fabric clung to his perfectly muscled chest. It was a colossal tribute to his face that it kept my eyes away from his body.
HAHAHAHAHAH SEE?! SEEEEE?! Although, I'm not sure I could be too into his perfectly muscled chest were it peeking out from beneath his unbuttoned, sleeveless button-down shirt.  Yeah. This.  Edward dresses like a 40 year old man in 1993, cream colored turtleneck sweater under beige leather jacket and all.

And I won't even get into my huge issues with the romance going on.  I mean, you have Bella doing everything she can NOT TO DO ANYTHING THAT WOULD MAKE HIM KILL HER. Oh. Okay.  That sounds healthy. But she's ~*~sew in love~*~ and he loves her, too, but, like, he can't, like, control himself sometimes and, like, it doesn't mean he doesn't, like, love her.

Also they are already talking about doing the dirty and I'm like halfway through the first book and people let their young children read this?!

None of this is to say that I'm not enjoying it.  Quite the contrary.  I am devouring it. Bwahahaha. 

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Not innovative, but delicious!

For the past week, E and I have been eating a largely animal-product-free diet, and it's been great!  We originally decided to take the plunge after we noticed that a lot of meals in which we ate meat, or eggs, or dairy left us feeling less than 100% great.  So far, the vegetarian diet has served us well!

Luckily, the transition has been pretty smooth, since we had already limited our intake of meat to about 2-3 meals per week for environmental reasons.  One slight problem has been my reliance on soups and stews in creating veggie meals, which aren't the most appealing things in the heat of summer.  Sunday, for instance, I made what amounted to veggie stew with zucchini, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and some other odds and ends with a side of couscous.  Delicious, yes. But had it been 10 degrees warmer, I don't think we would have been so jazzed.

Monday, though, I threw this together and it came out great.  I adapted this recipe -- minus the pine nuts, plus some perfect cherry tomatoes, and with twice the garlic -- and I highly recommend it!

The other interesting culinary experiment we conducted was spaghetti squash.  I've been meaning to try this for a while now, but the only other time we remembered to pick it up at the grocery store, it fell off our kitchen island and broke and got moldy. So that didn't work out.

It looks strange, but it was pretty tasty!  The texture was a lot like pasta, but it was crunchier, like squash.  This will definitely be back on our shopping lists in the future because it was easy and satisfying.  As a side dish, I made some Greek lemon rice using this recipe, but I used vegetable broth instead of chicken. I've used the recipe a couple other times, and it is a favorite side dish.

Last night I made a sort of eggplant lasagna.  The internet also taught me a new trick -- to peel the eggplant, slice it into rounds, and then salt the rounds and let them sit for about a half an hour.  The salt draws out the bitter juices in the eggplant, so you get a more flavorful, sweeter vegetable.  You can actual see the liquid gathering on top of the sliced eggplant.  After a half hour or so, you just rinse the salt and juice off, squeeze the eggplant dry, and cook with them as usual.  In this case, I pan cooked the eggplant for a few minutes and layered it with sliced mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, fresh spinach, a couple of cooked lasagna noodles, and a sauce I made from tomato puree, a bunch of garlic, and some chopped onions.  After about 40 minutes in the oven at 375 degrees, we feasted.  Came out great!

I'm excited to continue expanding my vegetarian repertoire. I've been gently pushing E to go more veg for a while, and I'm glad we're both on the same page with this.  And we're both feeling great after a week of our new eating routine!  

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Where I talk about things I would buy were frivolity and money no object.

A custom-built bike from Urban Outfitters!  Look how cute it is!  I had no idea this was even an option, not being a big UO shopper myself, but I am totally smitten.  I don't even ride bikes! I bought a bike at a tag sale before we moved to Boston in 2008, and I never once took it out of our apartment building's basement.  We lived halfway up a giant hill on a busy street and I am a big baby.  And then I was going to sell it before we moved here, but decided to keep it because I wanted to become a big, tough, bicycle-commuting (or at least picnicking) gal.  But again, it sat in the lobby of the building, unused, with deflated tires, for months before it disappeared.  So, no, I would likely not get as much use out of this 400 dollar custom-built bike as I should were I to blow money on it.  BUT IT IS SO CUTE.  It has RED TIRES, people, RED TIRES.   And no worries, I even have my eye on a few not-totally-fugly helmets already, for when I win the lottery and can buy a bike and matching helmet to sit in my building's lobby -- this time with a lock.

Monday, May 24, 2010

One year ago...

Today is the day, one year ago, that E and I returned home to Boston from our first "real" vacation together: a trip to Walt Disney World!

While we were there, it rained in Future World (Epcot)...

...and it rained on the streets of New York (MGM)...

...and it rained on Cinderella Castle (Magic Kingdom)...

...and in China (Epcot again). 

And yes, I am sort of really embarrassed to say that we rocked the ponchos. We brought some from home, and then I had to buy a stupid 8 dollar Disney one on the last day when it was downpouring YET AGAIN and I was poncho-less.  It rained every day! And not just the quick afternoon thunderstorms Florida is famous for. No, no, it was full-on, all-day monsoons all but one day we were there.

And I hurt my foot on the first full day of the trip, so E's view for the rest of the time was this:

Ridiculousness aside, we had a blast, and I can't wait for our next adventure together in far off lands (probably our honeymoon... wherever that may take us)!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Broke, but not bored -- the out-of-town visitors edition!

E and I had what was, quite possibly, our best weekend since we moved to New York this past weekend.  It helped that E was finally done with the semester and hadn't yet started his writing competition thing yet (oh law school, and your endless deadlines and projects).  Of course, it was great that the weather was breathtakingly perfect at 75 degrees and sunny all weekend long.  And, we had some of our favorite people visiting.  But we also spent almost all of the weekend out of the apartment, without going broke[r]!  Which just goes to show you, you don't have to spend a boatload of cash (even in New York City) to have a good time. 

Here's what we did:
  • Saturday morning, at almost exactly the same time, 2 of our friends, with whom E went to undergrad and who lived basically down the street from us when we lived in Boston, and E's dad arrived.  Everyone was about an hour early, thwarting my plans to pick up fresh flowers at the market and feel fancy, but luckily we had cleaned the entire apartment Friday, so it worked out alright!  We hung out at our apartment for a few minutes, getting caught up.
  • We headed into Manhattan and up to Columbia, where we stopped by the photo exhibit I curated.  Two of the panels somehow got switched out of order, which I don't really understand, but I am beyond the point of asking questions. While we were in Morningside Heights, we went to a deeeeelicious Cuban restaurant for lunch. Plantains and stuffed peppers and yellow rice, mmmmm.
  • We then headed downtown, saying goodbye to E's dad at Times Square (he had a birthday party to get to on Long Island).  We got off the subway near the World Trade Center site to see the progress on the construction there, and walked down to Battery Park, pausing outside the New York Stock Exchange in front of Federal Hall on Wall Street to bitch about the economy.  In Lower Manhattan, we went to the National Museum of the American Indian, where we saw a few interesting exhibits, marveled at the gorgeous old building, and even saw a dance demonstration by Native Americans.  Then we wandered through Battery Park to the shoreline to gawk at the Statue of Liberty from afar.
  • Next it was off to the Lower East Side!  We met a friend of our friends for french fries at Pommes Frites, and tried a bunch of gourmet dipping sauces.  Mmmm, so delicious.  The friend then took us to Grassroots Tavern, which was the diviest dive bar I've ever encountered.  We got a pitcher of beer and talked about LOST for an hour or so, and it was fantastic, overall.
  • We wandered up to Union Square, from where we took the train back out to Queens.  After an hour of resting our tired legs and watching basically every Lady Gaga music video ever made, we ventured to the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden, favorite summer drinking base camp and site of my St. Patrick's Day escapades this year.  Ever since we moved to this neighborhood, we've wanted to take these friends to the much-loved beer garden, and this was the first visit they made in nice enough weather.  It didn't disappoint.  Despite long bar lines and large crowds, we managed to snag a table (and beer from friendly neighbors!) and hang out through our second winds, debating a wide range of very important and controversial topics, much to the chagrin, I'm sure, of those around us.
  • We got back to our apartment and ordered a pizza from the only pizza place still open.  Not great pizza, but not terrible, either, and once you've had a few beers, anything will do.  We went to bed with full bellies, and all woke up hangover free to watch the only Lady Gaga video we hadn't watched the night before.
  • Bagels. BAGELS.  So delicious.  I want to eat them every day but I know then that I would weigh about 800 pounds in no time.  This time I got an everything bagel with veggie cream cheese and fresh sliced tomatoes on it, and it was amazing.  E tried a breakfast sandwich on a bagel, and also loved it.  This place can do no wrong in my book.
  • After we all devoured our toasted, perfect bagels, our guests packed their bags and we all got on the train to head into Manhattan so they could catch a MetroNorth train home.  SADFACE.  We had time before they left, though, to check out an exhibit on archaeology at the South Ferry terminal at the NY Transit Museum's gallery annex at Grand Central Terminal.  It was so cool!  Tons of really old remnants of a New York City that is no more. Also, if I ever move away from NYC, I am planning to dump a lot of cash in their gift shop, first. So much cool junk!  This has definitely whet my appetite for the real NY Transit Museum in Brooklyn, which is in a decommissioned subway station and includes antique train cars to explore!
  • We got them to their train on time, and headed out to Bryant Park to enjoy some sun.  The park was suprisingly uncrowded given the perfect weather, and we got to hang out and watch babies learning to walk on grass and get a little pink on our shoulders.  Bryant Park is really beautiful, and I can't wait to catch a movie there during their free summer movie series!
After that, we headed home so E could watch the Celtics game and I could fart around on the internet.  I made roasted veggies and couscous for dinner, and we spent a lot of the night intending to watch a movie but accidentally talking until it was too late to start one, since I had to get up early to intern. 

So, overall, this weekend was the best kind of busy, full of fun exhibits and activities, and exhausting enough that I slept super soundly last night!  And the best part of the weekend?  We didn't spend a dime on activities.  Yup.  Every activity we did was completely free, we just spent money on food and booze.  Which is my favorite way to do things, duh.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Family and food, as usual.

Sunday was Mother's Day, and my older sister and her husband and kids came in to the city to celebrate.  They went to the Gazillion Bubble Show, and then I met up with them and we went to the Central Park Zoo!

Here are the backs of my nephews' heads while they watch the Polar Bears rip open bags and dig through buckets to get some fish.  I had so much fun hanging out and looking at the animals with these two, and with the other grownups, too, of course.  I had to scurry home to finish my paper after the zoo, but from what I've heard, they had a very successful trip to an Italian restaurant, where dessert was ice cream shaped like a bear.  

The nice thing about living in New York City is that, even though we're far from family and friends, the city usually convinces people they want to visit without us having to do much work.

I finally turned in that paper yesterday morning.  The topic was too broad; it would have been much better as a longer paper in which I could have explored things more deeply.  Oh well, it'll just have to be a book, I guess! Research trip, anyone?

Strawberries are on super sale everywhere.  I read a while back that unseasonably warm temperatures in California and Florida meant that both states were flooding the strawberry market at the same time, leading to a glut on supermarket shelves and lower prices.  I'm not sure if that's still affecting prices, but over the weekend we got 3 packages of strawberries for 5 bucks! I decided to make some strawberry jam.  We usually have preserves in the fridge and eat them on toast/sandwiches/waffles, but I also absolutely love to mix them into Greek yogurt.  So good!  But I saw a blog post about making strawberry-rhubarb jam the other day, and it looked pretty easy, so armed with my piles and piles of strawberries, I got to cookin'.

It came out great!  I used these directions and it only took about an hour.  Since it was kind of a spur-of-the-moment decision, I didn't have any canning jars around, so I sterilized an empty pasta jar and used that.  I filled it to the brim (we have enough strawberry preserves to last us a good long while) and screwed the original (sterilized) cap back on, and the cooling process even pulled the little button on top of the lid back down, so it popped this morning when I opened it!  Next time I'll probably use a little less lemon zest, but it's delicious overall.  And, given all the talk of what the incredible high levels of chemicals in our food and our environments can do to us, I'm happy knowing that the strawberry preserves in my fridge are just strawberries, sugar, and a little lemon zest.

The bread is left over from last week, when E and I made Spanglish sandwiches for dinner.  Known as such because they were created for the movie Spanglish, a lot of people think they are the only good thing to come out of the film.  I actually didn't hate Spanglish as much as everyone else did, but I do have to agree that the sandwich is pretty amazing.  It's basically a BLT with monterey jack cheese and a fried egg, and goodness gracious me, it is delicious.  I overcooked the egg a bit (it was HARD multitasking that much!) so we didn't get the runny yolk effect, but I can't wait to try again and get the full experience. 

I'm off to campus for the last time this semester, to finish up my work-study tasks!  Last time being locked in the scanning lab til Fall, hopefully.  Is it bad, though, that I want to bring this book on Disney design and architecture and scan every page?  Some of the concept art from the 50s and 60s is SO COOL, and I don't want to return the book to the library!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

We interrupt this paper writing...

I have 2 papers standing between me and the end of the semester, and they're both due in like the next 3 days, so then I'll be done!  Huzzah!  The return of warm weather round these parts has meant several things:
  1. The return of floral dresses without tights.
  2. The return of Dunkin Donuts iced coffee.
  3. The return of ice cream trucks.
  4. Bright Ass Nail Polish.

1. The return of floral dresses without tights.  I love dresses. Especially floral dresses. Especially with bare legs and sandals.  Especially on sunshiney days, in grassy parks, alongside rivers, at the seashore, while visiting museums and going to concerts and having fun times. I have broken out the dress collection in a big way lately, and I am really enjoying only having to put on one item of clothing in the morning and looking put together. Faaantastic.

2. The return of Dunkin Donuts iced coffee. I am a New Englander. We live by Dunkin Donuts.  Not Starbucks.  Dunkin Donuts. Tourists in Boston used to ask if we gave directions based on Dunkin Donuts stores, to which we sweetly replied that there were too many, and stupid tourists would get confused if we tried to do that.  Iced coffee never really goes away for me -- I'm about as likely to order it in January as in July.  But something about a warm morning and a cold cup of DD iced coffee -- Medium, French Vanilla, Light, 2 sugars -- is pretty awesome. And caffeinated.

3. The return of ice cream trucks.  New York (and I'm sure other places) has ice cream trucks we never in my home city.  Instead of just selling prepackaged frozen novelties hawked by your friendly neighborhood presumed pedophile, they also have soft serve ice cream! Genius!  It's usually rather melty and the sprinkles are always stale, but it's still pretty fantastic that there are mobile soft serve makers wheeling around (and playing something other than pop goes the weasel).

4. Bright Ass Nail Polish.  I keep my nails painted most of the time, and usually it's not a fancy-grown-up-job acceptable color.  Spring, though, has inspired me to step it up a notch on the fingernail front, and here are my current favorites in heavy rotation:
The best part is, 3 of these bottles cost only 2 bucks a piece!  The Sinful Colors and Wet n Wild ones are cheap, and the Sinful Colors polishes in particular are ridiculously long wearing. Like, I can go a week without any real chips.  Pretty fantastic.  The light blue is Essie brand (which, little did I know, is based out of my neighborhood!) and more expensive -- about 6-8 dollars a bottle -- and I love the color, but the wear isn't quite as great.  If you're looking for a pop of color on your fingers (or toes, for those of you in conservative professions), a lot of polish lines are coming out with great brights for spring and summer.

Unfortunately, though, I can't quite bask in the summertime glow for a couple more days.  About that paper...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Frozen Grapes!

I bet this super futuristic spaceman at Disneyland in the 1960s ate frozen grapes.  via

It is hot in NYC this weekend.  Like, for real hot. Not just normal, late-spring warm. Yesterday wasn't bad, but today, with the humidity from an impending storm system setting in, it's miserable.  We live on the fourth floor of an old, poorly insulated apartment building, and all of our windows face east.  It's nice because the sunlight helps wake you up when you have to get up early, but we have no cross-breeze, and the morning sun manages to heat our apartment up by like 20 degrees in the summer. Oh, and, the sun helps wake you up even when you don't have to get up early.

So anyway. It's hot.  E and I had decided to wait until June 1st to put in our air conditioner, but that's mostly just because we forgot how miserable it is in here without the AC (and with it, truth be told, but the heat is greatly abated).  So today, while he escaped to the law school library to do some studying and soak in the air conditioning, I've been melting here.  And yeah, I could go to campus myself, but somehow spending 50+ minutes each way on public transportation doesn't seem like the best use of my time when I should be working on the presentation I have to give tomorrow morning.  So, I suffer.

I did, however, decide to make frozen grapes!  The internet has been exclaiming the wonders of frozen grapes for a very long time, but I have always been skeptical.  However, with the temperature climbing and grapes available for practically nothing a pound at the fruit stands around here, I decided it was worth a shot.  And they are DELICIOUS!  Why didn't I trust the internet, that magical beast that brought me lolcats and babbies* and catsinsinks?!  For shame.

They are sweet and juicy and COLDCOLDCOLD, and the texture is really pretty awesome.  They do not turn into little stones as I suspected!  I highly recommend them as a sweet, cold treat that won't wreck your waistline.

*E accidentally wrote "babby" in his law school notes.  As in, a woman went on a 3-day crack binge and her babby (sic) died from dehydration. As in, it's really not funny, but it is. I am a terrible person, and if I believed in Hell, I would certainly be on the fast track. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What I've done, what I'll be doing...

The exhibit I've been working on for class is being installed on Monday, and the opening reception is Friday!  Here's the blurb:

Wandering the World City documents the unparalleled cultural diversity of New York City in the 1960s, as seen through the unique lens of Belgian-born artist Jan Yoors (1922-1977). Best known for his writing, tapestries and sculptures, he was also an avid photographer. Join us for an exhibition of a small selection of his black and white photographs, which reflect the changing urban landscape he explored. 

I'm excited to finally see it up on the walls!  If anyone's planning to be in the NYC area in May with a bit of time to kill, go check it out (directions on the site).  It's been a long semester, full of frustrations and excitement in regards to this exhibit, but it's all come together pretty nicely, if I do say so myself!

But phew, it seems as though every aspect of my life has decided to get crazy at exactly the same moment.  This has so far been a week of dashing between different appointments all over the city, and somewhere in there I need to find time to research, create presentations, and write papers. Yikes!  However, I did finally get an offer for a summer job, so now I am just waiting to hear back from one other place before I make a decision.  But, I mean, really? Who wouldn't want this guy among her colleagues?

Happy Hump Day!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Taste the rainbow.

Ahhh, the colors of cooking.  One of my favorite things about creating a meal is playing colors off each other.  Tonight, I made my favorite lentil soup, and I love seeing the vegetables against each other as I'm getting everything prepped.

After such a lovely dinner, I decided to continue the colorful theme.  Tomorrow is my last class with my Masters cohort, so I made some rainbow cupcakes as a treat.  I'm a little unsure of how to transport them, especially since I have an interview across town early in the morning, and the class isn't til 3 pm, but I'm still pretty excited about them.  

I got lazy and just bought a box mix, which ended up kind of throwing me for a loop.  Normally, when I make cupcakes from scratch, I can fill the tins almost all the way in order to get a nice little top.  These guys swelled up and over the sides of the cups like crazy!  So, they're giant, which complicates my original Rubbermaid-box plans for transporting them.

But c'mon, it's worth it.  How often (outside of a Skittles ad) do you get to eat all of these colors in one delicious set of bites?  Yeah.  That's right.  Never.  This is the second time I've made these, and I was less shy with the food coloring this time (get gel food color rather than liquid -- it's brighter and allows you to add more without diluting the batter) to get colors I was much happier with overall. Could still add some more red to avoid the hot pink, though.  

E's pretty annoyed that they're leaving the house with me (although I'm not sure what he thought -- how often do I put this much effort into something that will just sit around our apartment?), but he'll live.  I've got a few other recipes I want to try out in coming weeks, anyway, so there will be more than enough for him.

Monday, April 19, 2010


...on Too Tall Bunny.

Saturday afternoon.

Monday morning.

Looks like good ol' Mr. Sun had it out for Too Tall Bunny as well. 

Not so tall anymore, are ya, Too Tall?

That's what I thought.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Crazy comes in all forms.

E and I went to Disney World last May, and it was kind of a short-notice trip. As in, we decided to go and booked it about a month and a half before we left.  I hadn't been in about 3 years and E hadn't been in, oh, 13, so we were pretty excited about it.  I even downloaded a Countdown widget for my Dashboard to help me get jazzed about ice cream shaped like Mickey's head and fireworks every night and glorious sunshiney Florida days. Of course, that last bit didn't quite work out, since it rained. All. Day. Every. Single. Day, but it was still awesome.

Since the day of our departure came and went, the countdown widget has been counting the days since our trip.  E was teasing me about it the other day, so I fiddled with the settings a bit ... and lost the countdown. Gone! We were at -327 days and I couldn't get my countback back.  I was pretty sad about it, but since there wasn't really anything I could do, I decided to do the mature thing, and count down to our wedding instead, as so:

What was I saying about maturity?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Too Tall Bunny is a SHAM.

For Easter, E's mom got him this adorable basketball wielding chocolate bunny.  His name is Too Tall Bunny, and he's sooo tall that his ears stick out the top of the box (and he had to start playing basketball because he had no marketable skills aside from his height).  E has had this sitting around the apartment since April 4th, because apparently his reaction to chocolate is not the same as mine (which is, basically, STUFF IT ALL IN YOUR MOUTH RIGHT NOWWW NOW NOW NOW).  The other day, though, I noticed something.

YEAH. TOO TALL BUNNY ISN'T REALLY TOO TALL, HE'S JUST STANDING ON A PLATFORM. His little bunny feet start right where that clear plastic window starts on the box.  He is not actually too tall, he is lying to us all.  And, judging by that embarrassed, panicked look on his little bunny face, he's just been waiting for someone to expose him as the impostor he is.

Whatever.  E and I just ate his ears off, so now he fits in the box, platform or not.  That's what you get for trying to FLIM-FLAM THE WORLD, Too Tall Bunny.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Weekend dreaming

It promises to be a soggy weekend in a rainy time of year, but you know what they say April showers bring: Pilgrims! Right. So. This time of year is tricky, because the weather swings from 85-and-sunny to 55-and-dank on what seems like a moment's notice.  It's such a tease to be able to wear a floaty dress and light cardigan one day, and be bundling up in thicker sweaters and slacks and jackets the next.

E and I still have our much-loved Crate and Barrel bedding out.  Most nights, it's fine, but more than once in recent weeks I have woken up sweating in the middle of the night, which is pretty annoying.  I've been thinking of the DwellStudio for Target coverlet we put off buying in store a month or two ago, and hoping it finds itself on my bed soon, since the quilt I've had since middle school really shouldn't be used for anything other than picnics and beach days at this point, it's so ratty.  We're also planning to renew our lease in the next couple of months, so we're probably going to paint our apartment.  We have various paintchips in lovely soft shades of grey on our bedroom walls, and I can't wait to take the colored-wall plunge.
Other plans for this weekend include a much-needed thorough apartment cleanse before the craziness of the next few weeks, and the last throes of hearty comfort food.  We'll likely finish the beef stew I made earlier this week (My first attempt, and it was delicious! I adapted this recipe for Drunken Irish Stew from The Crepes of Wrath), and I want to tackle some hearty, oaty, homemade bread as well.  Bread, for some reason, is really intimidating to me, but hopefully it will be successful. I love winter food (soup! stews! more soup!), and so even though I'm excited for light, fresh summery foods (sandwiches! salads! veggie stir-fries!), I'm a little reluctant to phase out some of the staples of our winter diets.

Other than that, I hope to sleep in (ahhhhh), wear comfy shoes (my feet are dying from a week walking all over the city in fancy-pants work appropriate shoes), and spend a few hours being productive in the library.  So, a quiet but happy weekend in store, which is just exactly what I need right now.  Maybe we'll even make it to brunch, my favorite!  At the moment, though, I should probably focus more on finishing up the workday. Pssh.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

School is cool.

So, after complaining yesterday about the sheer amount of schoolwork that is piling up in my household, I do want to say I am lucky to be studying things I like.  That's the nice thing about grad school -- no general education courses.  Every class I take, I take because I'm interested in it, and I pretty much never have tests and usually just have to write a research paper for each class for the end of the term. It's pretty sweet.

Right now, I'm taking a class in the architecture department on space and the politics of memory, which basically focuses on the ways in which we as humans create meaningful space, and the ways that created space impacts our collective and individual memories.  For my final paper in that class, I get to combine 2 of my favorite things: Disney theme parks and Cold War era thought and perception! Huzzah!

These are all of the Disney books I have out of the library right now.  For anyone who's ever said there's no reason to take an academic interest in Disney, HA! Look at all this material! And I've requested a few more books from partner libraries to continue the Disney-book apartment takeover in progress.  Okay, so the bottom book is actually basically just a picture book about the design process for the Disney "mountains" (Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, the Matterhorn, Everest, and Space Mountain, which is the one that's actually relevant to my work), and I actually own that one, but whatever.

Anyway, I won't say too much in case I ever decide to write a book on this or something equally awesome, but I'm writing about Disney's portrayal of the future in Tomorrowland, one of the themed "lands" of the Magic Kingdom. I'm interested in the ways in which the construction of the future in the parks changed from the 1960s (when there was an earnest effort to immerse guests in a utopian imagined future) to the 1990s (when Tomorrowland was completely remodeled to instead portray a "future that never was," ie a retro, stylized, 1950s-esque "future") and how thus giving up on imagining the future and focusing instead on the past relates to the conception of history and of the future in the collective public imagination.


Now if only I could somehow work in a research trip and get the school to pay for it...