Wednesday, May 31, 2006
So last nite I made a single batch of sugar cookie dough (seriously wondering if it should be a double batch), peanut butter dough, and a double batch of chocolate crinkle dough.
Tonite I baked off all but eight of the chocolate crinkles (froze some raw dough balls for us later), all the peanut butter cookies (we're not loving the Jif recipe), and made a batch of fudge (half plain, half walnut).
Also made this recipe for royal icing - turns out nice! Won't be coloring or using it til tomorrow evening, but I'm excited to give it a try. Has a texture similar to a thin marshmallow fluff maybe?
Then we went out to dinner with Rick and Carolyn - had to hose myself off first, as it seemed I had powdered sugar everywhere. Pancho & Lefty's Mexican was the original plan, but since that's the last thing Carolyn had last week before catching the puke-up-your-guts bug, she requested somewhere different tonite - so we went to Applebees. Still having a taste for ribs after Randy's oh-so-good ones on Memorial day, I got the riblets (with fries, baked beans and coleslaw). Mmmm....loves me some southern food! Would've been perfect if they added fried okra (eh, Peter!?). Brought home half the riblets - was surprised at how much I got.
We stopped off at Giant Eagle on the way home "just for some apple juice" - and came out with apple juice, a red grapefruit, 4 oranges, a clump of bananas, tomatoes (I want to make tabouleh with the mint out back soon), and a jug of Rolaids. Oh, and a rack of ribs!! I'm going to try Randy's recipe - slow cooker for 5 hrs, then grill and sauce - perhaps this weekend?
And then it was back to making cookie stuff. In talking with Rick over dinner, I decided to work a half day from home tomorrow, and then take half the day off. I can work on cookies and peanut brittle with a bit more time to spare, and if that goes as planned and if the weather cooperates, I might even be able to visit the garden. (Not holding my breath - 60% chance of thunderstorms - which is what it started doing about 10 min ago!)
Since I've got more time to spare tomorrow, I decided to just make the snickerdoodle dough and leave it at that. This is Sally Brown's snickerdoodle recipe. Kevin Brown was one of my friends when I was in 9th and 10th grade in South Korea. His mom Sally made THE BEST snickerdoodles - we always said she baked the perfect one and then cloned it. Somehow, even with her recipe, I can't get consistant results - so I'm nervous about making them for money! They can turn out GREAT, or be lead sinkers. Sometimes they seem to taste too much like the baking powder in them - a bit metallic? (Maybe that's when I've bought cheaper brands of baking powder?) What do my baking friends say?
Anyhow, I've also noticed there seem to be two ways to make snickerdoodles out there. One involves the typical creaming of sugar and butter, and maybe has a few more ingredients, and then Sally's is very simple, where you melt a cup of butter slowly on the stovetop, then stir in two eggs and a cup and a half of sugar, then add 2 3/4 cup flour (mixed with a tablespoon of baking powder), and that's it. Chill at least an hour, scoop, roll in cinnamon sugar, and bake.
Oh well - fingers are crossed for the snickerdoodles. And the hopes that my one batch of sugar cookie dough will cover the 24 graduation caps I need to bake and ice. Annnnnnd that if we DO have rainy weather tomorrow that it doesn't affect the making of the peanut brittle - I know some candy recipes don't like humid weather. And I'm a little nervous about the royal icing - I usually just mix powdered sugar, almond extract, vanilla and milk - but the icing never sets up. So this time I'm going with royal icing, which should harden up nicely and be more consistant in it's texture. Wish me luck!
Once all this baking and gardening is over I SERIOUSLY have to buckle down and get some freelance client web work done!!!
Wish I had some fun picks to share... Maybe after all the cookies etc are done! :)
Got out of work a little late - there's often one of those "Hey! Are you busy? Can you order some hardware/software for me?!" just as I'm ready to power down. An advantage of working a slightly earlier shift that your coworkers - getting to leave earlier! A disadvantage - they forget you plan to leave earlier!
Rushed home, changed clothes, loaded up the car with shovel, rake, hoe, the last of the tomato cages, all the remaining growies started from seed excluding the tomatoes, seed packs, water, camera, etc... Met up with the neighbors as planned, only a little behind schedule.
From 5:00 to 7:00pm Claire, Miranda, Ainsley and, yeah, even little Connor helped with the gardening! (Well, Connor helped the girls make mud) Claire told me awhile back that the girls would appreciate getting to come out and help start the garden this year - while it doesn't make things real efficient, and requires a lot of supervision, it's definitely entertaining and educational for all involved!
We didn't get as much in the ground as I'd planned to - lots of "no no, THIS is 4 inches apart...that's more like 12...no, that's closer to half an inch.... Let's try again - make a fist, lay it down next to the first seed, and plant the next seed to the other side of your fist. Perfect! Wait...why are you putting the seed over there?" LOL!!!
So we got in most of the taters (planted WAAAAY too close together - I have to plan better and give them more space next year!), more beans (Contender and Dragon Tongue), all the remaining parsley and catnip I'd started from seed but didn't pot up at home, 36 lettuce plants started from seed (three varieties - hope it doesn't get too hot!), okra (two varieties), swiss chard (those I started from seed, plus we tossed some more seeds in) and scarlet runner beans. Poked in a few nasturtiums and zinnias for fun.
STILL need to get squash and pumpkins in the ground!!! Hopefully this Sunday when we're scheduled for a dry day! Plus the tomatoes - oy!!!
The girls did a great job of watering the peppers, beans and onions I planted on the weekend. Boy was there a lot of mud! ;-)
After everyone was hosed off and we drove home, Brett and I watched a little tv while eating leftovers, and then I got started on cookie doughs for his coworker. I don't know why I thought one batch of chocolate crinkle dough would make 4 dozen cookies! So I made a second batch after deciding the first one was two small. Also made the peanut butter cookie dough (I don't do these often - trying the Jif recipe this time), and the sugar cookie dough. Tonite I hope to bake those off, and make the fudge and peanut brittle. Tomorrow I plan to ice the sugar cookies and make the snickerdoodles. We've also got dinner at Pancho & Lefty's with Rick & Carolyn tonite! I can do all this! I can!! (So why does Brett keep saying he's nervous about how little time is left til the cookie trays are due?!?!!)
Sorry no pics today!
Monday, May 29, 2006
We got up to Cleveland to find awful traffic jams all through the streets near where we'd hoped to park. Way worse than ever expected. Seems like there was a parade getting ready to start? After quite a bit of driving around, we convinced a guy to let us park in a hospital lot where they were restricting access from people looking to park and see the parade. We honestly had no intentions to see the parade - we didn't even know about it, and were there for the Botanical Gardens, so he let us park- cool!
As we were walking the several blocks over to the Botanical Gardens, we came across the crowded sidewalks of observers for the parade, and some of the craziest sites we'd seen in a looong time! Turns out Parade The Circle was just starting - Cleveland's art parade! Trust me, you've never seen anything like it! Talk about some cool stuff - quite a bit of imagination went into the displays, props, costumes, make up, and dance routines...we saw walking whoopie cushions, vikings, African tribal dances, the four seasons, a spooky giant werewolf-like skeleton, kids on parade, a winged rhino, the Golden Gate Bridge, an onion, and more...
Even though we had assured the parking lot attendant we weren't there for the parade, we did end out watching - there was just too much to pass up! We were glad we had the camera along with us - I think we took more pictures of the parade - check 'em out!
After the parade ended we found our way to the Cleveland Botanical Garden (basically right where we were watching the end of the parade - couldn't have been easier!). We spent quite awhile enjoying all the indoor plants and artificial landscapes, the outdoor gardens (including the kids tree house!), and the butterfly display...
And as a bonus - FOOD! After we left the gardens, many of the food vendors were still set up in the park outside, leftover from the parade. I loves me some food! So Brett and I went over and tried some international fares...I don't remember what exactly at this point, but I do remember it was good stuff!
Turns out mom and dad are driving down to visit us the weekend of the parade this year. Since they're only driving down on Friday and heading back to NY on Sunday, I don't know how they'll feel about heading up to Cleveland for a daylong adventure and heavy traffic. I don't remember why we couldn't make the parade last year (maybe we drove to NY?). Hopefully I'll be able to convince mom we should take in the adventure!!
And please - if you're ANYWHERE NEAR Cleveland Saturday, June 10th, make sure you stop and check it out!! Take your loved one, take your kids, take your friends - GO!
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Got up this morning, stalled a short bit, ate a little cereal, and loaded up - tiller, plants, tools, tubs in case I brought composted horse manure to the garden like last year, cooler with drinks and snacks, iPod in case I was in the mood for that, etc. Brett was kind enough to volunteer to come out, help me unload the tiller and take some pics - cool!
Here are the two plots - end to end. You see grass in the foreground (the driving/parking area), and then it drops off at the marker (#60 has been my plot since I started doing this, and then the second plot got added last year), and then you see alllll the fun weeds that have sprouted this season. Another handy reason to have the tiller - tear 'em up! Those taller patches of green halfway back were a ton of volunteer sunflowers - I didn't plant sunflowers at that area, but they could've been mine or Barry's (neighboring gardener) that got moved by the plow. Even after all of the tilling, I left some of the edge ones - love the sunflowers!Here Brett caught me in action moving homegrown flats of plants - I think that's nasturtiums, dill, and cilantro? Take note of The Devil's Tiller behind me...
And here's the bane of my existance - the tiller I rented from Home Depot. Remember how I said the guy was very helpful and informative? Apparently he forgot to tell me that the wheel on front was only for transportation - NOT for tilling. Hey - all other tillers I've seen have wheels, so why wouldn't this one? I didn't know!
Note the amazingly muscular calves as I try to force the tiller through one of it's many stops - the wheel was a constant pain, catching in divots in the ground. It didn't pull itself forward, and the tines didn't do a good enough job of pulling (because there was a wheel still attached!) Those sunflowers you see in the pic? They only have a few more minutes left to live...
"Do you want me to beat you like the red-headed stepchild that you are?!?!"
Oh - and I'm still not sure why there's a dividing line down the middle of the back plot. I took care of that! ;-)
And thanks to the delay here (that was a particularly troublesome corner of the garden, with or without the wheel problems).
Annnnd we're going again...but not for long, trust me!
So it wasn't until about two hours later (yes, two), with more struggling, that the front wheel suddenly fell off as I was wrestling with the tiller. This wrestling usually meant pushing all my body weight against it to nudge it forward and, when that didn't work, I'd pull it back through the dirt (sucker's HEAVY) and get it going again, hoping it'd work it's way through whatever was stopping it. Often this also didn't fix the problem, so I'd have to go around to the front, lift and pull, and start it on a fresh un-tilled patch of dirt.
When that wheel first fell off I KNOW my first thought was "oh shit! at least I paid the extra $5 broken parts insurance!" and then "ah ha - screw you evil tiller - you had that coming!"
But then I tried the tiller without the wheel. WOW - that was a lot easier! Believe me, I HAD considered the wheel maybe being a problem, but I couldn't find a pin to pull out and release it (turns out the pin was missing - hence the "falling off" part) Suddenly things started going well - I still made a number of more passes width-wise and length-wise through the two plots, loosening up the soil so it was a nice fluffy area free of growing weeds (yes, I realize some will come back - but DEATH TO THE ONES THAT WERE ALREADY THERE!) >:-)
With all this craziness, I think it took me maybe 3 1/2 hours to make all my passes through with the tiller. By that time I was physically exhausted (yes, that sounds like a drama queen thing to say, but seriously, I was WORN OUT). I'd stopped a few times to drink water, drink Coke, eat a banana over two breaks, eat some peanuts for energy (thanks to the personal trainers!), etc... Once all the tilling was done, I really didn't have much energy to form nice rows and plant stuff. I'd get a cramp in a leg muscle, or just find I needed to sit. (Call me wuss)
I DID manage to form two rows just short of half the length of the plot, and got in all the peppers, all the onions (red, yellow and white), and three types of green beans (Maxibels (LOVED them last year), Blue Lake (reliable) and Gator Green, which I'm trying for the first time this year). I'm too tired to list the peppers right now - but there are quite a few varieties, and MOST of my pepper seedlings have survived so far - hopefully they make it out there in the big cruel world!
I met a friendly, chipper couple out there as well - Brian and Jenny. They'd started considerably earlier with their two plots - two weeks ago - and had feared they lost some of their tomatoes to the recent frosts (luckily all is good). They seem to have a really organized garden, and have only been at this two years. Last year they gardened at home and found they wanted more space. Well, with two plots, they sure got it!! We swapped some "what are you growing" stories, I shared some experience with all the evil bugs they'll meet this summer (including, sorry Steven and Farmgirl, some very NON-organic solutions!), and Brian was kind enough to help me re-load the tiller into the back of the CR-V.
I'm a bit disappointed in myself because I ended out packing most of the plants back up in the car and bringing them home. I didn't want to stay out there more than the five hours I'd already spent - I wanted to come home, shower, and eat. When I got home, I informed Brett I was NOT cooking dinner. Turns out Olive Garden was quite yummy - we really enjoy carry out from there because each person EASILY gets two meals from their servings. I HIGHLY recommend one of their current specials - the Chicken Caprese - which is sauteed chicken over angel hair, basil and tomatoes with a garlic sauce, all topped with mozerella. I have to say I really didn't find more than a couple flecks of basil, but was too tired to add my own - tasted just fine as is, and certainly gave me another recipe to try to imitate. Normally I get their Herb Garlic Chicken con Broccoli, which is SOOOOO GOOD. I'm glad I got daring and tried something new tonite.
Turns out Brett picked up a couple super cheap movies while running his errands, so we watched The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury with dinner. It was an Aeon Flux-animation-like short movie (30 minutes?), telling the story of what happened between Pitch Black and the Chronicles of Riddick sequel. These are two of those movies that soooo many people panned (at least the second one), ripping to pieces, saying they hate Vin Diesel, etc. Sorry folks - but we ain't that fancy! We really enjoyed both live action movies, and this little animation flick was quite enjoyable as well... Although I AM glad Brett got it for only $.50! ;-)
Oh, dead tired, need to get to bed. Finished making vanilla bean ice cream a short while ago (half of which I added Ghirardelli semi-sweet choc chunks to), and now I've got chocolate ice cream about to come out of the ice cream maker (one of the perks of having TWO ice cream makers - no waiting 24 hrs before making another flavor!). Since we were assigned "dessert" for Randy and Larry's Memorial Day Cookout With The Guys tomorrow, I figured it was a great chance to show off the homemade ice cream that none of the guys have gotten to try yet. PLUS we'll pick up some store baked brownies on the way - should be a nice combo! (Yes Peter, STORE BOUGHT! GASP! I KNOW! LOL) I'm too tired to do anything else tonite - I'm not making brownies... 'Sides, this way the ice cream will get the spotlight (HOPEFULLY!) [Mmmm...just tasted the chocolate - needs a few more minutes]
I really SHOULD get out to the garden early in the morning and plant more stuff, but I doubt that's gonna happen. I'm hoping to get a nice peaceful nite of sleep - hopefully without anymore acid reflux attacks like the last two nites (Brett thinks I might have an ulcer?)
Oh heck - one last garden pic. This was just after we got there - I don't even think we'd fully unloaded the CR-V yet? Let's call this "oh crap, what have I gotten myself into again this year?!?!" LOL
HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!
Saturday, May 27, 2006
Don't take it TOO serious people! Enjoy! We sure did - and I plan to write more about it in the next few days...
So we pretty much assumed I had the stomach bug that seems to be sort of making the rounds... Got over the symptoms by the end of the week and was back to work on Friday.
Last nite - woke up around 130am - same stuff all over again - nausea, bloatiness, acid reflux big time. Came down and did a little web research - mixed up 1 tsp of baking soda and some water to drink. That really helped - within an hour I was back in bed. Deciding this might be more stress related rather than a bug, I decided to try something I know is supposed to help alleviate stress - make a list of all the things you have on your mind that you need to accomplish - a To Do list. And then, as you clear them from your head, and especially as you're able to cross things off, you're supposed to find more relief. I filled up two legal pad pages, including: three web sites I need to be working on; the two trays of cookies, fudge and peanut brittle I need to have prepped by the end of the week that one of Brett's coworkers has paid me to make; figure out if I can get a rototiller in my car; get said rototiller out to the garden and FINALLY get started (weeks late); get some new computer parts finally ordered; get more Pro-Mix from Donzell's and get the peppers potted up, and more...
Well the baking soda trick must've been the bigger solution at 130am because I was back up around 430am - more acid reflux. Came downstairs, did the same treatment, and slept sitting up in the comfy chair here in my office.
Brett thinks I've maybe got an ulcer. Fun!
Today we got Rolaids, Tums, and some generic version of Xantak (?) that Brett had me pick up while we were in Walmart. Oh - and my exciting snack while watching Nanny McPhee? Saltines! (Which, actually, ARE a nice snack - would've liked 'em with butter!)
We'll see how things go tonite! I managed to cross off seeing X-Men (hey, I added a few fun things as well), get all the ingredients for the cookie trays, get the tiller, order the computer stuff, and a couple other things. Hopefully this has me on the right track! :)
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Just finished watching the Idol finale - wow, now THAT'S entertainment!!! They had some great guest appearances, and lots of good humor. Just my quick thoughts before going to bed:
- Puck 'n' Pickler? Fun! She does ditz SO well!
- Mary J Blige and Elliott - I think Mary forgot it was ELLIOTT'S turn to shine - she totally out-sang him, and took over...
- Toni Braxton and Taylor - um, did she think she was filming a porn movie? That outfit, those moves, the fact she didn't seem to know she was supposed to be singing the song with him (did she just forget the lyrics?). Poor Taylor did a jump back when it started getting raunchy! (Thanks to Dave for correcting me on this - I kept thinking it was Deborah Cox)
- Clay Aiken and ??? - I forget the guy's name who thought he was a Clay clone. I'm no Clay fan, but I would've been offended. Still, tonite's performance with those two was INCREDIBLY entertaining, and I felt so good for that guy. I bet this really made his life!
- Kat and Meatloaf - whoa! Now that was just crazy! He's still creepy! But they did a great performance together!
- The guys vs the girls - the guys' performance, ending in some great Fleetwood Mac, was so much better than the girls' performance. Gotta say I think the girls should've done Lady Marmalade - how fun would that have been!?
- Lisa - the girl needs to get out of the late 80s/early 90s with those clothes
- The Bling! - I don't normally pay attention to jewelry, but after Brett mentioned what the girls were wearing, I couldn't stop noticing how white and sparkley and EXPENSIVE their jewelry looked! WOW!
- Chris and Live - eh, that didn't sound like a very good pairing
- Bucky and Raindrops - Bucky sounded more polished tonite than any of his performances in the competition - you go Bucky!
- Ace and Melissa - eh....they each did good on their own, but not so great together
- Mandisa - yay! loved seeing more of her!
- Dirty Dancing - LOVED Taylor and Katherine performing The Time Of My Life together - that was good stuff!
- Prince - he's still a creepy little man if you ask me...
- And the winner is... Eh. My boyfriend's a super happy camper right now. I would've PREFERRED Katherine won, but I like Taylor, so I guess I'm ok with it. I just think Taylor needs it less?
Will really enjoy seeing them live in July!
Sunday, May 21, 2006
And here's the Top 12, who'll be performing specifically for us!! (Peter, stop drooling!)
After having access to advance ticket sales, and missing good seats a few times because I thought "oh, I'll try ONCE MORE and see if we get better pickings" (it NEVER works out for the better, Mr Greedy!), we decided to wait and see what came available at 10am Saturday morning, when tickets were opened up to general sale. After only two or three refreshes of the tickets we got ones I was happy with! We'll be sitting in Section 125, Row K if I remember correctly... Yeah, that's a LITTLE close to the stage when sitting that high up, but I think we'll really enjoy it! Last year we were in Section 124, Row B? Can't complain - this time we're paying like HALF the price since I got them through eBay last year (yes, I'm an idiot).
Last year was fun because, just by chance, we crossed paths with Mel (from work) and her daughter Emily - WHAT are the odds of that? Out of all those thousands of people showing up! I believe Emily's seeing Idol in Columbus or Cincy this year, so we won't be seeing them. But Pam, my massotherapist, and her daughter and a couple other family members are going, so who knows, maybe we'll cross paths with them instead. (Pam's one of those people that I'm CONSTANTLY crossing paths with out there in the world - often when out for lunch, but sometimes we'll be sitting by each other at a stop light - 10+ miles from where I got to her business! You know, you all have someone like that, that you cross paths with in the weirdest of places)
Anyhow - back on topic... Tomorrow nite's the final sing-off between Katherine and Taylor, and then Tuesday is the finale! That's 1 1/2 - 2 hrs of our lives we'll be getting back each week. Gotta say I don't really even have a preference at this point - I like 'em both! I will miss Elliott though...
Thursday, May 18, 2006
They're practically swarming on the sidewalks now. I can be walking on the sidewalk into work, my head in the clouds, or wondering how late I am to work, or what I might be cooking for our dinner, and then it happens... I look down, and see worms all over the place. Most are kinda wiggling along, some are just lying there (basking?), and then there are those that've been stepped on, and that's when I feel the guilt. Yes, they're just worms, but I feel bad that they're lying out there vulnerable, and someone accidentally steps on them. Squish! What'd they ever do to us?
Well, if you were to ever read Amy Stewart's '>The Earth Moved, you'd certainly have a better feel for all of the amazing info there is out there about worms, and what they do for us. There are now waste management plans that actually use critters like this to break down waste, and they help break down leaf litter in forests and fields, which in turn provides natural fertilizers for the earth. And, heck, we know what they do to dead bodies that aren't packaged up in boxes before buriel - I'd rather have the worms break me down and get some use out of me once I'm dead! :)
Amy's also got her Worms of Endearment blog that I check in on once in awhile. I haven't yet found is as rivetting as a paperback book on the subject that I can read before going to sleep, but I do check back in on it every once in awhile!
This all reminds me of one my old classic Peanuts comic strip books, where one of the kids (I think Lucy or Sally?) were walking in a rainstorm, saw worms all over on the sidewalk where they were walking, and made one of those great faces where you could just tell they had the heebie jeebies! Wish I still had it...
So as you're walking around in these rainstorms, take note of where your next footstep will land - watch out for the worms, and give 'em a break. They'll pay you back for your kindness!
PS What's with this new AmazonOnlineReader interface!? Ew - I don't like it! For one thing, the book pages/cover always scroll off the bottom of the page. Maybe it'll grow on me. Maybe they'll improve it... ;-)
PPS Apparently my attempts to link directly to The Earth Moved will dump you over to Amy's other book (also a GREAT read), From The Ground Up. Sorry. Wanna see The Earth Moved, just click on over to it from From The Ground Up's page...easy enough!
I used to read the strip this movie is based upon yeeeeears ago in the gay papers you'd pick up at the bars and local restaurants - check it out:
Checked out the trailer and it looks kinda fun. Not like an AMAZING movie, but definitely a cute sorta love story/getting through life movie - and I always enjoy those (yes, I'm a sap!).
And on a PURELY superficial level, check out those two pics of cast from the movie. Yum! Definitely worth seeing for that. Still, I'm wondering how you cast a cute young blonde guy with a goatee for a comic strip character who's always had dark hair, no goatee, and a nose that hung down as low as his mouth! LOL I'll forgive the nose length - no need for Cyrano de Bergerac-level prosthetics for this movie! And as I said, the guy playing Ethan's a total cutie, so I guess I can forgive everything else! ;-)
Now we just wait to see if it ever shows in this area or, more likely, comes out on DVD. The Cedar Lee's usually a great place to see this kind of small showing movie, but the site doesn't actually list it coming near here.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Here's the description:
"God War," part 1 of 6. Seed Nineteen (a bizarre name for the most bizarre characters ever to enter the lives of the F.F): Threshold, Fountain, Magnificent Brute, Dreamcatcher. These incredible entities hold the key to a cosmic conflict that has raged for untold millennia and now involves our quarrelsome quartet.
And with names like that, it sounds like it could be the Members of the Forever People - see Wikipedia description - although it lists five members and for some reason I only ever remember four?
I figured it would be either Elliott or Kat voted off Idol tonite, but it was a tough call. Seems like the rest of American found it to be the same - such CLOSE results!! That's got to be such a backhanded complement to get voted off now, and yet come so close to getting to stay...all within less than a percent of each other.
Kat almost seemed to have given up this week at times - like she was tired of the negativity from the judges, coming so close to getting voted off, etc. Plus it seemed like maybe she was a little let down to not get quite the same turnout in LA that Elliott and Taylor got in their home towns. Sure, she pointed out things are a bit different in a big celebrity-driven town like LA, but still, to not get the parade, the thousands of people turning out, etc...must've been a bit of a downer? Maybe now she'll find her second wind for this final week?
LOVED Taylor dancing up on the stage with Elliott and Kat - that was fun! We couldn't tell if Kat wrapped it up with Taylor's quirky dance moves, or if she was worried the stage would come crashing down. All three had great performances tonite actually. Kat's "Think" (which I've always assumed was "Freedom") was superb!
I think we were shedding a tear just like everyone else after Elliott's segment. Man... So sentimental!! I really hate to see him go, but I guess it IS a contest and there can only be one winner. I just hope this isn't the last we see of Elliott (besides the fact we're working to get tickets to see the July concert in Cleveland!). (Thanks to Emily for getting us the advance ticket sales password!)
BTW - Good to know I'm not the only one who's been spelling Elliott with one t. I noticed my buddy Dave was doing the same thing in email tonite. And yet on the signs people were holding up at the parades, etc, it had two t's. Where'd we get the wrong spelling!?
Looking forward to next week!
Made a pretty darn good chicken pot pie from the chicken I speed-roasted at super high temp on Saturday nite (it was still done too late for dinner - was a BIG chicken!). In addition to all the mixed veggies, creamy sauce and tons of chicken, I tossed in the remainder of our Uncle Ben's wild rice mix from the nite before - pretty good actually! We're finding I'm getting good, consistant results from the Barefoot Contessa pie crust recipe, so I think I'll stick with her! :) Still, I might've pulsed the dough fixin's a few too many times in the Cuisinart - it could've been improved with slightly bigger chunks of fat in the final product. I'll add a picture when I can.
And that brings me to....no internet. We lost internet sometime between 5 and 6 last nite I think. I don't know if it's just us or the entire street - maybe it's because of all the rain? I don't know, but we both agreed that a lack of internet can be worse than no electricity at all....quite frustrating. Good thing I was busy with cooking, cleaning and watching American Idol, or I would've gone a little nutso! (Yes, I'm an internet addict - I fess up!)
Speaking of American Idol - last nite was ok. Based on last nite's performances I'm afraid Elliot might be the one to go? We're at a point now where I can't pick a favorite contestant, so no matter who goes I'll still be happy for the remainders. Elliot was looking sharp! Taylor had some amazing performances. Katherine's "Over the Rainbow" was amazing (she should do more performances like that!), and I think her third song would've gone over better if anyone knew it! And it was fun seeing Paula and Taylor dance together... How many others can say they danced with Paula Abdul on live TV!?
That's all for now! Hope all's well out there for the rest of you! Oh, and if anyone knows any girls looking for a volleyball partner in the San Diego area, please let me know so we can put them in contact with Sharon!
Monday, May 15, 2006
First it's got Allison Hannigan as a main character (Lily).
Recently we were introduced to Robin's co-news-anchor (Sandy something or other - slimeball), played by Allison Hannigan's husband, aka Wesley from Angel.
And tonite we got to meet one of Doogie Howser's (love how I get the character's screwed up with their former shows?) former conquests, played by Amy Acker (aka Fred on Angel).
And since this all started off as a comic thread...Amy Acker also provided the voice for Huntress on the Justice League Unlimited cartoon quite a few times!
Perhaps next we'll see Gunn or Anya? I doubt we'll ever see Angel - he's on Bones.
Time for bed!
"NBC on Monday announced Heroes, a new, one-hour series that will air Mondays at 9 p.m. beginning this fall.
Here's how the network describes the show:
The epic drama Heroes chronicles the lives of ordinary people who discover they possess extraordinary abilities. As a total eclipse casts it shadow across the globe, viewers follow a genetics professor (Sendhil Ramamurthy) in India whose father's disappearance leads him to uncover a secret theory -- there are people with super powers living among us.
"A young dreamer (Milo Ventimiglia) tries to convince his politician brother (Adrian Pasdar) that he can fly. A high school cheerleader (Hayden Panettiere) learns that she is totally indestructible. A Las Vegas stripper (Ali Larter), struggling to make ends meet to support her young son (Noah Gray-Cabey), uncovers that her mirror image has a secret. A prison inmate (Leonard Roberts) mysteriously finds himself waking up outside of his cell. A gifted artist (Santiago Cabrera), whose drug addiction is destroying his life and the relationship with his girlfriend (Tawny Cypress), can paint the future. A down-on-his-luck beat cop (Greg Grunberg) can hear people's thoughts, including the secrets of a captured terrorist. In Japan, a young man (Masi Oka) develops a way to stop time through sheer will power.
'Their ultimate destiny is nothing less than saving the world.'
Heroes is executive produced by creator/writer Tim Kring, Dennis Hammer and David Semel, who also directed the pilot."
Hmm.... I LUVS me some good superhero action, but I have a bad feeling about this. It's very similar to soooo many comicbook ideas (The Strangers, The Freshmen) where they all seem to get their powers at the same time. It also seems like, for the most part, they're going with low budget fx powers (although if the series takes off, this could change over time hopefully). Even reminds me a bit of one of my all time favorite shows from when I was much younger - The Misfits of Science (Courtney Cox's first big acting gig, if you don't count that Bruce Springsteen video), and we know that went nowhere. :(
The painter guy looks kinda cute! And I've always loved Ali Larter - she was the hottie "Rain" in Final Destination (with an odd wig?), and was also in the first Legally Blonde (never saw the second). I know I've seen her in other stuff...
Will have to wait and see how this turns out, but I'm not holding my breath...
Sunday, May 14, 2006
(Apparently I can't find any of my "big piles of tomatoes" pictures from the last few years, so here's a photo from the end of last summer where I had "unknown squash/cukes" (turns out they were luffa - didn't taste good at all!), the last of the tomatoes, and just some of the peppers I picked...)
Spent yesterday afternoon transplanting all my tomatoes into pots of various sizes - whatever I could get my hands on! I know I'm probably not going to have enough pots to do the same with the peppers... Anyhow - trimmed out all but the strongest tomato/pepper plant in their little peat pots and then potted up and tagged all the tomatoes. The cats were out with me while doing that - Notch was well behaved, and Tucker required lots of "Dammit Tucker! Get BACK HERE in the backyard!" as I chased him back from the front yard or the neighbors' with the squirt bottle (turns out the $1.00 squirt bottle has much more range and effectiveness than my arms!). The cats even stayed out with me when the rainstorms passed through (for the most part), so of course we were all a wet and dirty mess! Still need to clean up the patio - all the aborted seedlings and potting dirt are still on the patio.
We did some much-needed clean up around the house this morning, and then Brett's parents and brother came out for Mother's Day. I snipped salads and grilled several chicken breasts (during an odd period of sun) while Brett entertained. Brett took orders - just like a waiter with his little notepad and pen - each person had custom ordered paninis for lunch, made with the his folks got me for Christmas (we LOVE it!). While I normally prefer the grilled sandwiches we make with deli meat and cheese, Brett and his mom had me do up grilled chicken, swiss cheese and BBQ sauce on a panini they split - seems that was the most popular sandwich of the day. Tasted great! We included a variety of mustards (including a really good cranberry mustard), cheeses, meats, and breads (with my favorite being the multigrain tuscan bread from the local Giant Eagle).
Dessert was the two ice creams we made earlier this morning - french vanilla and mint chocolate chip. YUUUUUM! The ice cream makers we got a couple months ago have been some of the best purchases ever! >:-)
Looks like some birds had a party in the birdfeeder on the front porch. Went out to water the hanging baskets and it was almost like cartoon characters falling down on a bunch of marbles! Bird seed EVERYWHERE! Will need to sweep that up... At least Brett's folks didn't slip on it when they left.
We picked up a new incline/standard/decline weight bench at Dick's yesterday - had a $15 off coupon! Love the savings! Still need to get that up to the bedroom and put it together (and figure out where my brother's 18 yr old weight bench with almost no padding will go).
Tomorrow's Monday - time to go back to work. :(
Was bummed last nite - it was the series finale of Justice League Unlimited. The last few years with this cartoon has been one of those things that, as a kid, you always thought would be cool but just knew would never happen. A cartoon based on one of your favorite comic books, starring more superheroes, including some of the more esoteric ones, that you can shake a stick at. I don't know how many times we'd be watching it and I'd start listing off the characters in a crowd, and Brett would pause, rewind, and have me list of every character (and oftentimes their backstory), then we'd unpause, get a different view of the crowd with different characters, pause again, etc... Talk about fun stuff! So now both the Teen Titans and the Justice League cartoons are done with. Bummer. I really did look forward to watching them, seeing if they pulled in some old storyline from the comics (with a modern twist), etc. The POTENTIALLY good news is that a Legion of Super Heroes comic is due out later this year. From the only image I've seen so far, it looks like they're taking some creative liberties with the characters. I've seen a number of comments out there where people wish it were Supegirl, not Superboy, on the team. Eh, I'm probably ok with this...altho I wonder if one of the recently JLU stories (with Supergirl joining the LoSH) will be reflected in this cartoon - I figure they're two totally different takes so it may not happen. Anyhow, these characters look a little different from the average comic book representation, but at the same time they're not as manga/anime as the Teen Titans were (which I hated at first, but came to love). So we'll just see what happens. At least they've got Timberwolf - woo hoo! (But what's with Brainy having PINK eyes?!?)
Farmgirl's got a new entry for today with an adorable story about Cary (short for Caraway), one of her lamb's that's needing extra TLC. If this story doesn't make you feel a little weepy, you have no heart.
Over at dirt sun rain, Steven's written about potatoes... I've got garden center-purchased potatoes (I think four varieties?) still sitting in a paper sack in the garage, waiting to go in the ground. I should check to make sure none have rotted. And as a little extra experiment this year, I picked up some Russian fingerling potatoes from the grocery store and have them juuuust starting to sprout in a bowl on the kitchen counter - will plant them as well and see if I don't get some good crops of taters from them!
Peter's a geek - see the picture for proof! (ok, in his defense, he's dressed for a 60's themed party)
Ok, need to stop stalling... Gotta unload/load the dishwasher, do up some icon graphics and logo design for some freelance work, maybe put together the weight bench. It's already going on 7pm. Where'd the weekend go?
Saturday, May 13, 2006
This JUST happened while I was here on the computer...There's often lots of purring (that's Tucker), lots of moaning (that's Brett complaining about the rough tongue action going on, plus the claws in the neck), and lots of kneading with the paws (again, Tucker). This is some seriously heavy action we're talking about folks! Then after a few minutes of that the purring stops and Tucker passes out.
Seriously - he konks out and power naps! That doesn't last more than a few minutes, and then he gets up, looks around dazed and confused (usually with the hair on one of his eyebrows all messed up, matted and exposing skin underneath), and stumbles away (probably looking for a cigarette?). And then we all feel a little dirty after the experience (even though I'm normally just an observer), and Brett grumbles about how he never again wants to be used for that...
And a few minutes later, after the dirty deed...
I feel dirty just sharing this with you all! Please don't think poorly of us.
Again, while looking through pics on the hard drive last nite I came across these... It really bums me out that Sharon's no longer here to go on hike and after-work 6-mile speed walks while we talk about all things tawdry!
Friday, May 12, 2006
Ok Peter and Sharon, go ahead and start with the "your boyfriend is soooo cute" comments! I know, I know, I'm a lucky guy! ;-)
He's cute! Fuzzy! Likes comics! And mentioned Buffy... And then it hit. I miss Buffy.... Yes, it's just a TV show. Yes, we've got Willow, er, sorry, Allison Hannigan playing "Lilly" over on "How I Met Your Mother" (GREAT show!), and Willow WAS one of my favorites on Buffy. And sure, we're due to pick up another season of the show - something we haven't watched on DVD in probably a year.
But I miss the newness of it. I miss the cool oddity of the characters, and their quirky expressions. I love the lesbian witches! And the funky demons-turned-humans that can be evil as hell AND afraid of bunnies. I miss how a person can suddenly have a teenaged sister that she never had before. (No no, not like "oh, you were taken from us at an early age and we've just found you again," but more like "oh, the universe just rewrote itself and where I never had a sister before, I do now!") I miss sexy-slayers-gone-bad (why oh WHY didn't Eliza Dushku take on a Faith series after Buffy?). I miss Joss Whedon's fun writing style and quirky characters (although I AM reading his Astonishing X-Men these days - wow, that's some really good stuff!!)
Joss' "Firefly" series became an incredibly fun, action-packed movie in "Serenity". I know it's pointless to even hope for it, but wouldn't it be cool if there was a "Buffy" movie sometime?