Monday, November 29, 2010

Weekend Update

I hope everyone had a happy T-Day (or a nice weekend, Canadians). This was one of the nicer Thanksgivings in recent memory, we drove down to my aunt's house in Winters (outside of Sacramento) bearing pies and apple butter (Xmas presents for people we won't see later). I helped with potato mashing and Matt led a family jam. Winters relatives have a musical bent so there are generally percussion items for small people to bang on. And guitars and pianos for big people to bang on. My mom's sisters are nice and mellow and only one of my sisters was there (we are less mellow and there are a million nieces and nephews) so it was a refreshingly peaceful day.

The potatoes were a mix of generic yellow (yukon gold?) and purple potatoes so they came out a delicious shade of lavender. The apple pie was declared by the five-year-old to be the best pie he had ever had. So overall a success. That night we crashed in Davis and went back for breakfast the next day. And can I say, baking leftover mashed potatoes with cheese on top until they get crispy edges has to be one of the better uses of leftovers in our family.

Then we trucked back to Reno and sat around on the internet looking for jobs. The rest of the weekend mostly involved being cold and going to other people's houses to eat their leftover turkey soup. Now I am sad that I don't have my own leftovers. I might just have to pick up some purple potatoes. Also my whole family is excited for me to move into my grandmother's house. All I have to do is communicate that I am not attached to any of the big dark old paintings even though they are of family. And that I could really use some of the furniture. I am also back to collecting inspiration photos.

Unlike my (cozy, brightly colored) house, the new place has wood floors and white walls (gasp!) and white curtains. So we will see what we can do to make it feel like home.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I am thankful for all my loving crazy family and friends, and for the new adventure to come! Hope all my readers/crazy friends are having a happy T-Day full of love and good food. 

Settle Station

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Drop in the Bucket.

In between applying for jobs I am starting to attempt to clean out the house. I just got rid of a lounge chair/ottoman thing via Craigslist and it took so long. Curse you, winter storms. I need to have a garage sale here! Can it please not be 35 degrees out this weekend? Talk about bad timing to start getting ready to move.

I want to take about half this stuff with me. Matt wants to store way too much of it for just-in-case purposes, which might kill me (esp. in the cases of a lot of the random crap we've NEVER used). But at the very least it is not getting trucked to California. And he knows that. So it's a start. And he knows we are not paying to store anything. And his dad (of the 5 acres of sagebrush with plenty of spare room...) knows that too.

I figure, if we really need it we can come get it out of "storage" or replace it via Craigslist because the Bay Area CL is so much better than the Reno one. And I am realizing how many people I have missed that I will be able to see again down there. Not the least of which is my grandmother, but also my parents and sister and Reno peeps who have moved down there and LG peeps who have never left. So I am getting excited!

Tomorrow we go talk turkey with my dad, see what kind of shape the stuff in the house is and what of it we can still use. Also, eat real turkey. I am bringing a pair of pumpkin pies and an apple pie with obligatory homemade crumble crust. Pumpkin pies are done, pain-in-the-butt pie is all that's left to do other than pack the car and get a haircut. Matt has been taking videos of me with his new phone and other than generally objecting to their existence, they showed me that I really need a haircut. So I guess their existence isn't completely offensive, just mostly.

Also, does anyone know how to put pictures in Blogger now? I have some home inspiration photos I really like and it wants me to put them in Picasa so I can upload them. It seems silly to not be able to upload directly from My Pictures any more. And posts with no pictures are exponentially less fun :(

Sunday, November 21, 2010


We just called my parents and asked them if we could move into my grandmother's house. They offered in the past but now it's serious. Also it is a lot smaller so we are really going to have to do some cleaning out now. We will store some stuff with Matt's parents unless we can get somebody we like as a renter and then we might be able to rent this place partially furnished. But we are still moving somewhere smaller and even though the job market is WAY better I still don't have a job.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Canning Success. I Guess.

A big chunk of Christmas is now taken care of. The second batch of apple/pear butter was much more successful. However, I am unable to keep my stove at a low enough simmer so I have to turn it off and give it an extra stir periodically so it doesn't bubble to enthusiastically. This would be fine if it didn't have a tendency to blorp a lot and make a big mess. And spit scalding brown liquid IN MY EYE. It's gonna be a cranky Christmas, I can just feel it.
Apple Butter
From somebody much more organized. I got about a dozen jars of this size as I made two separate batches that were both small enough to do in my Dutch oven. They will probably just get a nice ribbon and a little label pasted on and be good to gift.

However, peppermint bark is thankfully pretty much idiotproof. I will post a recipe as soon as I make a batch and remember all the things I always mean to write down. I am so lazy I tend to gift this in a ziploc bag with ribbon tied around it. But I assume everyone else eats it as fast as we do so I figure it's not a big deal.

Monday, November 15, 2010

That Was Interesting

Had a nice visit home this weekend. We are looking into renting this place and moving down to the Bay Area. I still can not wrap my head around that. My grandmother is in a care home and we would rent her house from my dad, and then we could go see her more. But I think the whole landlord-in-law thing is freaking Matt out. BUT, I can't even find jobs to apply for here. So we will see how things work out.

Current free time projects are thus a. job hunting and b. getting this place potentially rental-ready. Which kind of kills me since I just repainted my office and it looks nice and green right now. Sigh. We will put that bit off for a while. Maybe we can find a renter who likes a little bit of color.

Also, a tiny little part of me is excited about leaving the allergies and the cold and getting to decorate a new place and whip a new yard into shape. Even as a renter. Am I crazy? Maybe.

Monday, November 8, 2010

I Am Still Terrible At Titles

Sunday turned into a very fun day! Beauty and the Beast was a very well-done production, and I have never seen the Pioneer Theater so full! It was a matinee, too, so there was a very high percentage of little girls in princess dresses too. My niece made it through the whole thing,but she did spend most of act one on her grandma's lap and most of act two on mine. I think her mother was probably aghast. But there were lots of other kids sitting on people's laps so I figured it was no big deal.

Anyways, the show was fun, but they definitely didn't add much in the music department. I recognized most of the songs from the movie and they were solid but the filler songs that were added were all pretty weak and the kiddo and I both got fidgety during those (they were all ballads too, ugh). Costumes, sets and effects were all lovely. There were some neat bits when they're being attacked by wolves in the snow in the forest so they had a transparent scrim come own at the front of the stage and then projected blowing snow on it and they had people in black behind it doing big wolf puppet things that looked pretty darn cool. That was a terrible explanation.

You know what else was terrible? The sound, dammit. I swear all the sound guys in this town are deaf! The whole show is very lyric-heavy and a lot of the big numbers are already a little hard to understand but when the pit is miked and totally overpowering it is kind of annoying. For the prices of these tickets we should be able to hear and understand at least the leads, if not the chorus as well. Although understanding the chorus is a pet peeve of mine, and also why I wish all English operas had supertitles, especially Gilbert and Sullivan.

Overall, a fun show, and suitable for modern wannabe princesses of all ages, although clearly 4.5 is a hair on the young side. Belle is interesting and proactive, always trying to stand up for herself and what she thinks is right. There are a lot worse Disney princesses out there to choose from. Also kudos for a show with both male leads NOT being tenors. I love me some baritone goodness.

And then Matt and I went to a gorgeous, mostly vegetarian dinner party. I need to replicate the non-veggie bit, it was this amazing shrimp in a cream sauce but it involved flambe'ing them in Sambuca first and it was so subtle I never would have been able to ID the flavor if it hadn't been for the big poof of flame. Then there was an amazing Thai-inspired beet soup and zucchini fritters in homemade tomato sauce. Personally I like a fritter to be crispier, but it was a grand showing from someone who would normally prefer to feed us steaks and things stuffed with cheese.

Now I just have to figure out what to make next time we have him over. Last time if I recall the starter was a creamy corn chowder (very time and calorie intensive but worth it, only in corn season though) and then a ridiculously nice piece of halibut from Whole Paycheck. I love dinner parties.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hoo Boy

I have been a bum this weekend but I will make up for it by getting out and being sociable today. I get to go to the touring Broadway version of Beauty and the Beast with my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law and my completely princess-obsessed four-year-old niece. Can a four-year-old sit through an entire musical in a possibly stuffy and hot auditorium on a rainy Sunday afternoon? I guess we'll find out.

Also, any excuse to get dressed up. Boo yah. I wonder if I have an outfit that justifies my grandmother's pearls? I might have to go work on that. I wonder what my junior high tomboy self would think of me now? She'd probably be pissed at me for not figuring out how fun dressing up is years ago.

Now I know I could totally rock a shiny silver muumu. Partially because I think I am about a foot taller than the pixie in the picture.

Or I could rock my grandmother's best striped teapot. Also, I wouldn't need a raincoat!

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Pros And Cons Of Netflix

I have been watching some fun stuff on Netflix Instant recently. And some not-so-fun stuff, too. Recently I clicked on Easy Virtue, a Noel Coward play made into a movie with the awesome Kristin Scott Thomas and the normally adorable Colin Firth. However, this is apparently not a comedy originally, and they attempted to make it into one. Colin Firth is a depressive war veteran and Jessica Biel, of all people, is the sassy daughter-in-law trying to stand up to Kristin Scott Thomas. Kristin Scott Thomas, people. Seriously. She could pick her teeth with Jessica Biel. I gave up about 20 minutes in, after JB sat on KST's dog and tried to hide the expired carcass in a throw pillow. Pathetic.

Then I remembered a movie that SCB has mentioned in the past:

This is Noel Coward done properly. Jeanne Tripplehorn is the scheming soon-to-be daughter-in-law and the matriarch is the fabulous Julie Andrews. There is a minor Baldwin brother who isn't terrible, and Stephen Fry is the obligatory butler AND Colin Firth is the much more entertaining nephew. This is much more fun and a much better way to spend an evening. Clearly I need to get some Noel Coward plays from the library.

Also, apple butter updates are forthcoming, the first attempt will probably be tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Facing The Holiday Onslaught (And A Question)

I know the holidays aren't really that bad, but I am trying to do my prep EARLY. The goal is to spend minimal $$$ while not appearing cheap and/or neglectful. Top three candidates for adult friends/family presents are:

1. apple butter
2. herbed sea salt (for the cooking-inclined, but is this too chintzy?)
3. peppermint bark (mine is way more awesome than Willams Sonoma's and also much cheaper to make!)

That way we only do actual shopping for the kiddoes, and since I am up to EIGHT of them now we will optimally be coordinating with other family members on some group gifts. So they get good stuff instead of just junk in mass quantities.

T-Day will be hosted by another family member so I am off the hook for that other than for a couple of pies. But that is when I will see most of my family members before Xmas so the goal is to give most of them their misc. perishables then instead of after the fact. So this month I will be making apple butter for sure (and I also owe one fruitcake).

So I finally get to bust out my handed-down apple butter recipe and do some real canning! It doesn't look that scary. Right?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Quote of the Day, Week, Month...

I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. And try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka, and have a party.

- Ron White

Or maybe I should go with Dory instead -

Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim.

Now it's time to turn that resume into GOLD.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It's Already Tuesday!

Yes, I early voted and NO it wasn't for crazy Sharon Angle. Also, I am so tired of applying for jobs and not hearing anything back from anybody. So I just got a nice email from my old boss with lots of good tips on re-formatting and polishing up my resume and that is the project for the day. I've got another half dozen jobs to apply for so I am just going to keep on plugging away...