Monday, July 27, 2009

it's a cupcake.


You're welcome.

Monday, April 20, 2009


All few of you: until further notice, this blog is being moved.

Comments are enabled, so it'll be pretty much like here, but with extra stuff, a different url, a different name, but otherwise completely and totally the same!

Add it to your RSS reader of choice, or just click follow if already on tumblr.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

places i exist on the internet.

I'm having a blog problem, and have been for quite some time. The problem is that I never quite know what to do with this place. I'm not very inspired to write here, and when I do it seems to take forever.

Meanwhile, I love my tumblr. I can collect pretty things I find on the internet, post very short tidbits, and hell, even call in and ramble on my birthday. I like the way it looks, and often I am looking for things to make it look even nicer. My tumblr doesn't have comments, but I get feedback via the little liking heart.

More importantly, people actually pay attention to my tumblr. I don't mean to complain, but this blog has been around forever and has a small handful of google reader subscribers. Meanwhile, my tumblr has twice as many readers on google, and TEN TIMES as many followers on the tumblr site. Most of my hits here come from people searching for pictures of ______. My last haiku post, when posted on tumblr, got three little "liking" hearts fairly immediately. Here? Tumbleweeds. Silence. Some hits, but only after I hawked the link on twitter a day later.

I don't really know what logical conclusions to make from this, but the possibly convoluted ones I come up are along these lines:

1. People don't like reading what I write and would rather look at pretty pictures of my choosing.
2. People don't like reading bloggy type blogs in general and would rather look at pretty pictures. (And hey, I am quite honestly one of those people.)
3. This has nothing to do with me, but rather Tumblr is just a much more active and social site which encourages participation amongst followers.
4. Maybe the issue is just promotion, and I should promote this more, but really, this is only the eighth time this year I've updated. What is there to promote?
5. I should probably just move this entire operation to tumblr and call it a day.

Right?! EXCEPT. I have this silly idea in my head that tumblr is not a place to post long-winded anything, it is a place for links, and short quotes, and pictures to scan. Nothing more than a paragraph. I get annoyed when I see very lengthy posts thinking, tumblr is not your blog! It's where you post things you enjoy with little or no commentary! But maybe this idea is wrong, as I guess this whole internet thing evolves or something.

There are places that can juggle this whole blog versus tumblr thing. Such as bits and bobbins. The site is mostly text, with some pictures of course. The tumblr is pictures and quotes, with very little additional text. A perfect website marriage, but can I really pull that off? Not so sure.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

my trip, in haiku

mumbles nyc
misunderstanding cafe
try the gruh mah blah

oh oh uniqlo
seller of cheap threads, soho
my best purchases

ruins, haunting, beautiful
perfect with the rain


cute boys in Philly
smile after eye contact
here and nowhere else

the liberty bell
symbol of freedom and all
kind of a big yawn


got on bus that left "early"
Penn Station, that way

hello, dear Brooklyn
sorry I did not see you
'cept the museum


oh look, here I am
on avenue A again
with new companions

below the seven
is a wonderful building
covered with color


tried without success
topshop and magnolia
lines around the block

black and white pudding
is not actually pudding
but meat, so much meat

irish breakfast

dear northwest airlines
are you delta or compass or
just late all the time?

[crossposted for experimental reasons]

Saturday, March 07, 2009

it cuts the mustard.

I like mustard. While I don't eat it a whole lot, I really enjoy how it gives sandwiches and such so much flavor without adding any fat and few calories. So when my bottle of dijon started to run out, I decided that instead of buying a new one, I would make my own mustard.

mustard seeds

Grainy Mustard

1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
1/4 cup brown mustard seeds
1/2 cup vinegar (at least 5% acidity)
1/2 water or red wine
dash of salt

Recipe from Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything Vegetarian

This recipe is ridiculously easy and it even looks pretty while you complete it. First, you combine the above ingredients in a jar or some sort. I used an old salsa jar, which also happens to be a mason jar, which would be helpful later. I also halved the recipe since I don't use mustard all that much. (Well, and also because I was bad at estimating quantities of bulk spices.)

seeds and vinegar, part 1

It looks really brown because I used a teaspoon or so of balsamic vinegar in the mix. You let this little jar sit for a day or two. Soon, it will look like this!

seeds and vinegar, part 2

Aww, look at how much our little mustard seeds have grown. Now is the time to blend. HERE IS A FUN FACT, INTERNET LISTENERS! Did you know that mason jars fit into blenders? They do! Don't believe me? Have a look!

mason in blender

I learned this from some blog a while back. It's not a trick I use often, but it does come in handy from time to time. Look, all I have to clean is the blades afterward! And there's no pesky transferring the mustard from one container to another!

Wow, that's a lot of exclamation points for mustard. Anyway, you blend the mixture until it's mustard-like, adding water as needed. (no, it will not be perfectly smooth. this is okay.)

grainy mustard

Ta-da, grainy mustard! You can do lots of variations too, like adding honey or using beer instead of water for brewhouse mustard. I tried a little of it on its own, and WOW, it is some strong stuff. The recipe warned me of this, saying that it will mellow over time. I first tried it on a fried egg sandwich - tasty, but I was timid with it because I thought the mustard flavor would overpower the rest of the ingredients. Live and learn. Meanwhile, all of you can stop being slaves to Grey Poupon and make your own mustard today. Hooray!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

neighborhood love.

I have been feeling a LOT of malaise with my apartment lately - for instance, right now I want to rearrange all my furniture and paint all the walls, and yet certain built-ins and a supposed no painting policy are getting in the way of that.

So while I'm feeling bored with my abode, I have to remind myself that there is a lot of awesomeness in my neighborhood, my dear Cathedral Hill. Three examples.

1. Mango Thai Restaurant

(photo courtesy of their website)

This space popped sometime in late summer, I think, and I was taken aback when I ran by. What used to be a sad, tiny looking thai place now had people inside, tables outside, fancy lights, and sidewalk heaters? And yet it still took me months to actually eat there. Yes, the food is tasty, especially the super fresh spring rolls, beautifully presented. They don't have a liquor license, so it's BYOB! A perfect date scenario would be as such: spring evening, walk from my place to Solo Vino, tell them we're going to eat Thai food, please recommend a good bottle? Then we would continue to saunter on down Selby (I'll be wearing a skirt, boots, and carrying an umbrella just in case), share some Pad Kee Mow and Panana curry, drink some wine, and stare into each others eyes dreamily.

2. The Happy Gnome


The Happy Gnome has such a fabulous beer list, the only disappointment is that they might have already run out of your favorite by the time you decide. The Gnome has also been friendly to me lately, giving me free beer on my birthday, and also many free samples of scotch from probably the best bartender ever. (Hint: go upstairs.) In fact, that imaginary date we started earlier? Let's stop here next.

3. Moscow on the Hill

maruysa gold

It is a shame that I have not eaten Russian food here yet, instead I have only imbibed on martinis, cocktails, and most recently caramel flavored vodka (free birthday shot, surprisingly tasty and smooth). But really, the martinis are great and not ridiculously priced. The decor is not nearly as chic as Mango Thai, but they have a lovely, leafy patio for those warm summer days. And hey, if that date is STILL going well, we could always stop here. Or save it for another date. There are so many options.

Wow, this really makes me want spring. And cute dates. And dresses. SIGH.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I turn 27 tomorrow. I turn 27 tomorrow and I still carry my belongings to work in a backpack. It is not cute. It is sort of useful, in that it has various pockets for things like laptops and pens, but it is not cute. It's easier on the shoulders when carrying heavy stuff, but all I carry most days is my lunch and a few other papers. It's also decidedly not professional, but I'm not sure this really matters when people think it's worthwhile to complain about not being able to wear jeans to work.

[An aside, but I abhor the word professional when used as a noun. "I am a young professional." Turn-off.]

So here I am, ready to make the big bag switch to a big bag. Only past shopping experiences have shown that I am very picky when it comes to bags. I don't like excessive buckles, or weird textures, or anything too shiny. To make the whole process even harder, I wanted something big enough to fit papers, a lunch, and preferably with some separate compartments so there's some internal organization.

These bags exist, they do. The problem is that they all look something like this:

Fossil Executive Top Zip Tote

I mean, really. If I can barely tolerate the word professional, do I really want a bag that's called executive? No. I could wear this to work if I wore pantsuits and pumps every day, but thank god, I don't.

So off I went to other outlets. There were some contenders, but I had a really tall order to fill. (I also didn't really want to spend $200.)

the annie leather bag

xl tote shopping bag (sold)

As I looked at my options that were okay, but not perfect, I kept thinking back to that Target bag I spied a few weeks ago. Large. Simple. Cheap. I finally just bought it, knowing that it could be returned. But I tell you, it is growing on me.

bag frontbag

I like that it has convertible straps (good for biking!), and it is nice and roomy for all sorts of things. It does have a divider and one internal pocket, but nothing else to help organize everything in such a cavernous space of a bag. That worries me a bit. But for $23, it's really not bad.

Anyway, if any of you shopping savvy folks have other ideas, let me know.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

smashed chickpea salad, and variations.

A few weeks ago I came across the recipe for smashed chickpea salad on the Smitten Kitchen, and I was like, HEY! Hummus without having to use a food processor! Brilliant! So I made some, stuffed it in a pita with spinach and ate it for lunch. Yum!

[As an aside, this has been my new go-to food blog. I'm not sure how I missed it for so long.]

Then last week I had extra cilantro and felt like using it. (Why did I have cilantro? Oh, because I was making another smitten kitchen recipe instead of watching the super bowl a few days earlier.) Instead of using chickpeas, I just used a can of black beans, lime juice, olive oil, and the cilantro of course.

beans and green
(It looked better pre-smashing. I smeared it on a tortilla and heated it up with pepper jack cheese.)

This weekend I roasted red peppers without any idea of what to do with them. The answer became clear sometime today:

smashed chickpeas and roasted red peppers

Smashed chickpea salad (yes, AGAIN) on a pita with roasted red peppers. SORT OF like pizza, though not really. Yummy, though.


Monday, February 09, 2009

on cleanliness, and trying.

I grew up in a slightly messy household, though one that certainly aspired to be clean based on how often my mom told me to "find my floor." ("It's right there!" I would respond, snobbishly.) My room was pretty much always dirty, and it was always a point of contention. Yet at some time after moving out, I got better at cleaning. Not great, but better.

I firmly believe that messiness or neatness is mostly a byproduct of being bothered by the mess. Neat people will go nuts if a single extra credit card bill sits on the desk. Messy people will think nothing of the three foot pile of clothes in the corner of the bedroom. I'm somewhere in the middle, but I'm trying to become one of those people who becomes so incensed by clutter and messiness that I am driven to clean everything up straight away! I will no longer settle with having my window air conditioner sit on the floor of my living room for the entire winter. Clothes will be put away in a timely manner. This cookie recipe that has been sitting on my desk since December will find a new home!

This is all part of my general apartment improvement plan, which was mostly inspired by reading a bunch of old Domino magazines at the Y. I've lived here a while. Some things need changing. Or just cleaning.

First accomplishment: Covered that stupid old pillow. (it used to be clouds. hello, college!) In the process I learned how to make buttonholes. Folks, there is no stopping me now!

new pillow cover

Stay tuned...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

picture books, the bad.

I came across this book in school once - it's a very easy book, meant for very low readers. We had a lot of these books around for the newbies, and pretty much all of them were boring and very simple. But this one has always amazed me. It's called The Good Life, and you can see the whole book here.

The setting is a house, where two brightly colored birds are in their cages, chatting. Kip talks about wanting to live somewhere else.


Kip's housemate Bud describes his old home, Moon Island. He flew free there, he could play in the mud. But then Bud warns that island life wasn't as good as it seems.


On Moon Island, no one gives you food! Or fresh water! Sure, he had friends, but he also had birds who ripped food right out of his mouth!


After this thoroughly convincing argument, Kip decides that maybe Moon Island is not the place to be after all. For instance, he can fly around the living room every afternoon! Living in a cage, that's the good life!

Every time I read this book, I start thinking of it as some sort of backwards reasoning for why slavery is a good idea. I mean, seriously? The good life is spending time in a cage in a LIVING ROOM for your entire life? Being free to fly around the island is such a drag? I mostly just disagree with the whole message of not following one's dream, and instead staying where things are safe, where you can be waited on, but life is boring.

So, children. Follow your dreams! Go to Moon Island, or anywhere else that can make you happy!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

maps won't show us where we're going.

1. Hey, remember that time I turned a panda into a puppet for my world traveling friend Joel? Here's a write up of his adventures! Read it and be jealous.

2. I haven't mentioned it yet, but I am typing to you from my brand spanking new macbook. It is so pretty, I gasped when I took it out of the box. (Pathetic, I know.) Then I had some issues transferring files and yadda yadda yadda but NOW everything works and ohhhhh my. Still great.

3. I'm going up north for the long weekend and I abhor packing, as usual. This is the second time using my new luggage in two weeks!

4. Uhm, stuff. That's all.

Monday, January 12, 2009

picture books, the good.

It's true, I love picture books. It's in my blood, I cannot be the daughter of an elementary school librarian and not adore them. I especially like reading them as an adult, finding the meanings that a lot of kids might miss, perhaps slyly inserted by authors for the entertainment of us older folk reading them to kids. [Imagine my surprise when my coworker saw my copy of Swimmy, and immediately noticed the little fish all swimming together to make a big fish was also a symbol for union organizing. Or socialist organizing? Either way, it makes sense...the little fish getting eaten by the big fish until they band together for a revolution!]

Right, so there's a lot to love about picture books, especially the pictures themselves. Thus, I was really excited to hear that there exists an entire museum devoted to picture books and the art within: The Eric Carle Museum Of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Oddly, I was just thinking the other day about how pages from picture books would make lovely wall hangings - but to do so you must destroy the book, which seems a travesty. So I looked through the store hoping to find prints, but all I could come up with was large posters and postcards, only in packs of ten. Guess I'll just to go to MA.

The coolness is not over, though. The online shop also sells Eric Carle inspired fabrics, and asks those who have bought it to show off their work on flickr. I looked at a bunch of pillows and quilts until I came across this:

Holy cow, a dress with the Hungry Caterpillar print! Nice. Picture books inspire us for years to come.

(This is the part where I would post a bunch of pictures from my favorite books, but they're rather hard to find on google. Sigh.)

Addendum: I actually agree with Mr. Bush on this one: "One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures." (from Top 25 Bushisms)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

sweet potato and bean enchiladas.

sweet potato bean enchilada

I've been on a sweet potato kick in the past week, but after a while I got tired of simply baking them and eating with butter, salt, and pepper. (Still absurdly delicious, though.) I remembered a recipe I made years ago from one of the Moosewood cookbooks for sweet potato and black bean enchiladas. I looked it up quickly, but the truth is, it's one of those recipes that doesn't need a recipe.

First, you take 2-3 sweet potatoes, peel and cube them, and throw them in boiling water until they're nice and soft.

While this is happening, chop some onion and garlic and saute it in oil. Add spices like cumin, chili powder, cayenne, and red pepper flakes. (And salt.) Also, drain a can of beans - black or pinto work fine.

When the potatoes are nice and mushy, drain them and mash them in a bowl. (In the original recipe, this is the part where you're supposed to use a food processor. You know what? Not necessary, as you're essentially putting tasty mush in a tortilla, so it doesn't really matter that it's perfectly smooth.) Then add the onions and the beans and mix.

Then put a nice sized amount of the mix into a tortilla, roll it up, and place in an oiled baking pan. Repeat until you run out of stuff. Bake at 350, covered with foil, for about 30 minutes. If you wanna go crazy, add shredded cheese on the enchiladas, remove the foil, and bake some more until it's all bubbly. Serve with salsa and sour cream if you want. YUM.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

happy new year.

Oh hey, kids! Happy New Year! Happy Holidays! Happy Most of December! I'm sorry I've been absent. My winter break was nice and long. New Year's was fantastic. Driving all over Wisconsin (or so it felt) wasn't super great, but the people are good!

I'm not going to talk about resolutions, I'm going to talk about goals. This is not organized at all.



- NEW BIKE '09! With a firm intention to use it and often. Also, take a bike maintenance class.
- Learn how to spell "maintenance" without spell check.
- Be more social with more people. Have more dinner parties. Dance more, karaoke more, do things that are fun.
- Stop buying things I don't love, with an increased focus on buying used or making it myself whenever possible. (Re: not buying any new clothes for a year - I just don't think I can do it, and I've already broken that resolution anyway.)
- Some kind of race longer than a 5k. Either half marathon, full (eek), or a triathlon.
- Make the absolute best of things here, or move already.

That is all I can come up with right now. Hope you are well!