Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More cats!

In continuing with today's cat theme, the following was a post on today's Ithaca Freecycle Digest:

RECEIVED: cat absorber

Posted by: "C--------------- S----------------"

Wed Oct 29, 2008 10:50 am (PDT)

thank you so much for drop it off to our home and may god be with you alway amen c-------

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Back to top
Reply to sender | Reply to group | Reply via web post
Messages in this topic (1)
First of all, I'm very glad this man's prayers were answered and he received a cat absorber. Secondly, what's a cat absorber?

Ahh! A fluorescing cat!


"Named Mr Green Genes, he look likes a six-month-old cat but, under ultraviolet light, his eyes, gums and tongue glow a vivid lime green, the result of a genetic experiment at the Audubon Centre for Research of Endangered Species in New Orleans." - From the Telegraph

I wonder if Frank Zappa had any idea?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Homeless people walking around in pant suits.

When I first heard that Sarah Palin spent that ridiculous amount of money on clothes for the campaign trail and that "It was always the intent that the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign"according to a campaign spokesperson, all I could think about was homeless people walking around in pant suits.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Injury update: I stayed mostly immobile today and yesterday and as a result am in much less pain. HOWEVER. I feel like a lazy slob as a result of this, so am not sure which is worse.
My husband has asked me to knit him a scarf. I love scarves. I love scarves so much that I have one of those Ikea shoe holder things just for scarves...I also have them for the various pairs of shoes I own, but that's another entry.

Ryan however, has never worn scarves. Apparently he isn't constantly cold, like I am. Of course I start knitting again and start having all these fantasies of knitting all my Christmas presents for everyone. Socks! Bags! Felted Slippers! Watch out, friends and family members! Start practicing masking your disappointment with fake smiles as well as the phrases, "Well, it's the thought that counts really. She meant well."
In other news, I have just learned that there are two kinds of biodegradable when it comes to biodegradable plastic bags for dog shit. The kind that actually biodegrades and the kind that is labeled "Biodegradable (except as defined by California)."

I discovered this by Googling '100% biodegradable except as defined by California' after Ryan pointed it out on the label of the packet of 120 "faeces bags" (as they are written on our shopping lists) that we bought today. How depressing.

Monday, October 20, 2008

further injuries to my person

To add insult to injury to pre-existing injury (the broken rib is from a few days ago), I have a problem of an indelicate female nature, in the form of a mild UTI.

After drinking a bunch of cranberry juice (which is fine, because I love it) and monitoring my discomfort, much in the same way that La Nina does in this entry, I finally asked Ryan to drive me to the drugstore, to get some of that stuff that makes your pee orange (I had to ask Ryan to do it, because, I remind you, I cannot turn my head left which makes driving a rather precarious activity).

I found the pharmacy version of Phenazopyridine Hydrochloride, called "Urinary Pain Relief" - very succinctly titled I might add. When I went to purchase it, after a bit of a kerfuffle about the bag, he said,

"Have a nice evening."

And I thought, clearly, based on my one purchase, my evening has been anything but nice. That's the one thing you can be sure of, when someone is purchasing a product labeled "Urinary Pain Relief." But I suppose one can't make assumptions like these, after all, I may have been purchasing them for someone else. I'll never forget my horror, when purchasing condoms at Target once, when the cashier (female) picked up the box, examined it and then exclaimed, loudly,

"Oh, I've never tried these. Are they good?"

As if they were candy or something. I mumbled something to her about not have tried them either and then fled the store and my shame.

Injured and watching Stephen Fry Documentaries.

I have a cracked or sprained rib and woke up this morning unable to turn my head to the left. After a hot bath and 2 aspirin, taken with watered down cranberry juice, I settled down to watching Stephen Fry documentaries. The first was about his secret life as a manic depressive, which was entertaining, but didn't really give me much information that I wasn't already aware of with regards to depressive disorders.

I am now on to Stephen Fry in America, which should prove interesting. The first episode starts with him driving from New England all the way to Washington DC.

Why is it that British comedians get old and then start making documentaries?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ice Wine

I went wine tasting with Larke this weekend. It was so wonderful to see her and really exciting to find local wine I enjoyed!

We had a Cabernet Franc Ice Wine from Sheldrake Point Winery (Larke and I decided that we need vacation homes in Sheldrake Point, by the way) that was unbelievable. I'm still thinking about how delicious it was. We made our way all the way round Lake Cayuga and I think we are at the autumn "peak" where all the trees are in the midst of changing colours and the hills are a sort of tortoise shell of oranges, reds, pinks, maroons, purples, greens, yellows - it's truly everything everyone's ever told you about Autumn on the east coast. Wine tasting in the Finger Lakes costs a dollar a tasting and the whites are actually quite reasonable (I even bought a bottle of Miss Chevious from the Lucas Vineyards - which is maybe the first time I've ever bought a bottle of white wine that wasn't expressly for Nikki). Sheldrake Point even had some real red wines that tasted like red wines are supposed to - the others generally left a little to be desired. They were not full bodied enough and the wine didn't "sit on your tongue" as Larke put it, the way you want a red wine to. For some reason I have yet to find a Pinot Noir from here that is the right colour.

We went to dinner at Just A Taste, a tapas place that I've been meaning to try and was excited that we finally had a good reason to go there.

All in all, a very successful weekend.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Moving to Idaho

So...I don't know if it's because I'm spending time in a former communist country, or because I've been noticing how strenuously Sarah Palin is branding dissent as "Unamerican", or if it's because I'm expecting my period tomorrow and that usually guarantees one day of feeling completely hopeless, but I am suddenly scared about the possibility of America becoming a police state in the near future. And this didn't help at all:

"They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control"

Um, anyone want to join me in buying fireams and forming a separatist militia in Idaho? Or something?

My friend La Nina sent that out today. I'm sure it was partially in response to all the uproar about Barack Obama's alleged ties to a Bill Ayers. I read about/saw it on the BBC news site - Sarah Palin smugly shrugging that she'd read about it in the New York times (like she reads the New York Times. Like she even reads). So smug, yet unable to do the math to calculate that Barack Obama was 8 years old when Bill Ayers was blowing up buildings. It was a little sickening to see how excited she was because she didn't really know what she was excited about, she was like a child who'd been given a pat on the head by a normally inattentive parent. The worst part though, the absolute worst part, is that it doesn't matter to the McCain campaign that no media person or anyone with a brain will take her seriously. All that matters is that there are some idiots - plenty of idiots (people cheering when she "revealed" this "dramatic" piece of sensationilistic tripe that has no bearing on anything whatsoever) - that will actually believe that this piece of information means Barack Obama has the intentions and connections to blow up the Pentagon.

ARRRGH. I've complained about it before and I'll complain about it again: WILLFUL IGNORANCE.

For extra creepiness, because it's nearing Halloween and I have yet to find anything scarier than this picture:

(I guess they have to use a lot of fake tanner in Alaska because of the lack of sunlight part of the year? Maybe it's a safety thing, being that orange, so you don't get shot? This is a seriously weird picture.)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Redemption! Acorn Squash! Apologies!

I have redeemed myself. Tonight I made the most perfect meal I've made to date. Not only was it delicious, it turned out exactly the way I'd planned it and looked beautiful too! You'll have to believe me because we ate it before I could think to take a picture of it.

I have given it the fancy title of Autumnally Themed Galette or How I Redeemed Myself From The Last Cooking Disaster* and it is based on this recipe.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
8 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, diced
1 large egg, slightly beaten

1 Acorn Squash, peeled (this is annoying and tricky but possibly with a potato peeler and sharp knife)
1 Crispin apple (any good baking apple would do, I happened to have Crispin apples handy - complain as I do about Ithaca, the apples here are plentiful and delicious)
1 small yellow onion, peeled but leave the root intact to hold it together (I love onions, but they don't really like me very much - this recipe allows thorough cooking though, which always helps mellow them out)
3 tbsp melted butter (I melted mine in a bowl suspended in boiling water as I do not have a microwave)
1 tbs1.5 tsp zata (you can just use thyme or thyme and rosemary or whatever. Fresh would be best. I used zata because I had no thyme, rosemary or anything really like that. Plus zata is delicious. The amount is approximate)
salt (to taste, I have no idea how much I put in, maybe 1.5 teaspoons?)
fresh ground black pepper (I started with about a teaspoon of peppercorns)
2 teaspoons real mustard (the dark coloured stuff with actual mustard seeds in it, none of this bright yellow crap. The original recipe called for more, but I really hate when mustard overwhelms things that are a little sweet already. This amount provided enough bite without making it too mustardy)
1/4 cup grated sharp chedder (what I had in the fridge - stilton or bleu would go wonderfully as well)

Measure out the flour in a large bowl and stir in the salt. Add the butter and mix with a pastry knife or fork until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal with a few bean-size bits of butter in it. Add the egg and mix it together more. The dough should be a little crumbly. If the dough seems very dry (as mine did), add a few drops of water, bit by bit, as you mix it in - do not over water. Bring the dough together by hand - if this is proving difficult, add a few more drops of water as needed. Form into a ball, the dough should be flaky but still sticky enough to do this. Flatten dough into a disk about 6 inches in diameter, wrap in plastic, and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (I did 1.5).

For the filling: Halve and core the apple. Cut each half into 8 wedges and put them in a large bowl. Slice the squash about 1/4 inch thick and add to the bowl. Cut the onion into wedges; some of the wedges may not hold together, but that's okay. Add the onion to the bowl. Add the melted butter, zata, salt and pepper to taste, and toss gently to combine.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll the dough on a lightly floured work surface into a 12-inch disk, the dough should be about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet and brush with mustard. Starting 2 inches from the edge, arrange the slices of apple, squash, and onions, alternating and forming overlapping circles. You may have leftover filling, as I did. You can either roast them on their own or reserve them for a second galette or toss them in a soup or do whatever you like.

Fold and pleat the dough over the edges of the filling. Bake until the crust is deep golden brown, and the apple, squash, and onion are tender and caramelized, about 35 minutes. Scatter the cheese over the filling and bake until melted, about 5 more minutes. Cool the galette briefly, then cut into wedges and serve.

I served it with diced tomatoes, spinach and diced garlic that I steamed quickly while the galette was in the melted cheese step - I tossed the garlic in a cast iron skillet with some olive oil, then tossed in the diced tomatoes. Then I tossed in de-stemmed spinach leaves (put the stems in your container in the freezer that you keep for stock flavoury bits), squirt a bit of lemon juice over it. The liquid from the tomatoes both steams the spinach and, because it's acidic, picks up a some of the iron from the skillet. That combined with the high iron content of the spinach makes this a very good source of iron for those of you who are in need of it.

Once you the spinach is sufficiently wilty, serve it along side the galette for a great contrast.

*Samantha from Earthbound Farm commented on that entry where I grumble and groan about the butternut squash gnocchi recipe. She said that they had taken the recipe down until they could further test it. I'd like to say that I really appreciate the attentiveness and it furthers my faith in Earthbound Farm, even beyond their delicious boxed salads that I used to buy when I lived in California - theirs was the only packaged salad that I have ever found to be satisfactory. I would take them on airplanes with a 3 oz container of homemade dressing and be ever so happy. I did not mean my blog entry to reflect anything negative about the company, merely that I had had an unsatisfactory experience with that particular recipe - which I wouldn't have even tried, had I not felt it came from a good source.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Axel F and Williams-Sonoma styrofoam

Last night I spent about an hour with Ryan trying to cram our "new" mini couch in to the spare room. We ended up [sssh!] taking part of the door frame out because our house was built 100 years ago and I guess people were narrower then.

A fat person could not live in our house. Yesterday I was carrying bags of styrofoam packing material (damn you Williams-Sonoma! Can't you think of a friendlier way to pack wedding presents than stuffing the boxes full to the bring with such guilt-giving material??) and imagining what it would be like were those bags of styrofoam actually unshiftable collections of fat, attached to my body and yes, you would not be able to maneuver comfortably from the front door to the living room, nor would you be able to enter the spare room or reach the closet in the bedroom.

Morbid? Yes. But it was for science.

We took the bags of styrofoam to a dumpster near Wegman's because Ithaca has this really strange way of collecting garbage where they charge you by the amount as well as weight. You have to buy tags for each collection, which on one hand works great because we never had enough garbage in Palo Alto for weekly collection, but we had to pay for it anyway. This way, we put it out when we have enough and stick a tag on it and they pick it up. The tags are for 35 lbs of garbage per bag/can. The silly thing is, they will not take your garbage if it is more than 35 lbs, even if it's all in one can. This leaves you the difficulty of having even more garbage the next time - this has happened to our neighbour twice now. They don't even give you a "warning" as I'm sure they would in the litigious neighbourhoods of Palo Alto, they just leave your garbage. And if you have lots and lots of lightweight garbage (ie styrofoam), you have to put multiple tags on it anyway, despite it being under the weight limit by a lot, because it has to fit in so many conatainers. I'll be damned if I have to pay $16 for the garbage men to take away 5lbs of styrofoam! So we went dumpster hunting and were successful in thoroughly shirking our responsibility, in the name of being cheapskates, all the while pretending that we were doing something highly illegal instead of marginally immoral and that "Axel F" from Beverly Hills Cop was playing in the background.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Breast milk and arguing with hippies.

Apparently there's been a saga going on with regards to the breastmilk ad I saw on Craiglist:

re breast milk..

Reply to: see below
Date: 2008-09-30, 8:38PM EDT


I've complained before about people who TYPE IN ALL CAPS when placing an ad. Usually the ads written in all caps are the ones that make the least sense. Anyway. There was a response:

Those who are bashing my Breast milk

Reply to: see below
Date: 2008-10-01, 8:30AM EDT

I'm sorry you are offended. I am trying to help someone in our area who would like to give their baby the best milk they can and can not breast feed themselves. Where do you think babies in NICU's get their milk from when the mothers are not able to BF. Most NICU's try not to give formula's (at least the one's i know.) that way they give their child the best start they can. You can buy BM threw banks so no it's not illegal to sell it. You want my medical records, i am clean and have been. They test you every pregnancy for any STD's or anything else you can transmit.

to the one who posted the link. Thanks...I never got a response from them when i did try and donate with them

Damn hippies, arguing without having all the facts again. It's still gross, no matter how wonderful you think it is - who knows what kind of crap you eat, drink or smoke and why should anyone believe you when you say otherwise?
One time I got in an argument with a hippy who told me paying attention to politics was a waste of time - that the real path to change was communal meetings with other people, in the mountains and in the forest. He'd just got back from a "gathering" in New Mexico that was so awesome, I wouldn't believe. I told him that hanging out with your friends in the desert, smoking pot and talking about yourself for a week sounded like a lot of fun but it certainly wasn't an instrument for the sweeping reform this country needs. He said I didn't understand the power that can be created at gatherings. I asked him what they had accomplished during this particular gathering that he had just returned from. He said it was just the love that they all grew together. I said giggled and said no, that was from the mushrooms. He told me I didn't get it. I told him he was taking the easy route. It's disheartening and depressing to follow politics but going and hiding in the desert while your whole world is coopted by evil millionaires is irresponsible. He gave me a disgusted look. Or maybe it was disgusting. He did have horrible greasy dreads and hadn't showered or changed his clothes (admittedly! he admitted it!) in about 3 weeks.

Breast Milk Is Best!

Reply to: see below
Date: 2008-10-01, 9:18AM EDT

Studies have found that breast fed babies are healthier through life than non breast fed babies. They have less infections and colds and overall health and brain function is better. Hats off to you girl'! If you can produce it good for you and god bless the babies that get iT!