Tuesday, September 30, 2008

If bacon is fat, I don't want to be right. [RECIPE]

Ok, so that title is a variation on an hysterical comment Bubba made regarding his recent pie gluttony (If pie is fat, I don't want to be right), but really, it goes just as well here.

Y'all, as though I was trying to reinforce the shakiness of my Jew-y center, we just had ourselves a very porky, bacon-y weekend.

I do believe we had a pork item in 3 of 6 meals over the weekend. Sometimes, there was more than one pork item in a single meal.

A SINGLE MEAL WITH TWO PORKS? Bad Jew, Good Sammich.

See, I will blame this on Donk.

She sent me, because she is a lovely friend who knows me right down to my soft seemingly unJew-y center, a recipe for Bacon-Cheddar Quick Bread, which arrived on Friday afternoon folded into an adorable card and tucked into my mailbox just like in the olden days.

FUN! Real mail that doesn't want me to do anything except bake with bacon. I love that a lot.

And since we still had some of our bacon share left this month (applewood smoked maple bacon AT THAT), I decided that after my Run That Doesn't Suck, I would bake us up some of this alleged "Quick" bread for no other reason than we had bacon and then all the other things the recipe called for.

Including fresh sage which is random because who has that on hand? Not usually me, is what I'm saying.

And then, my friends, genius struck.

BAM

What if we had some of last garden tomatoes on this "Quick" bacon bread with some lettuce and the rest of the bacon and called it a BBLT?

IT WOULD BE A BACON SANDWICH WHERE THE BREAD WAS BACON.

Oh damn. That is genius!

See, told you.

Anyway, it goes without saying that the proposal for Bacon Sandwiches Where the Bread is Bacon went over very well with Bubba and no one paid any mind to how many B's were in that sentence or anything. We all just started drooling and getting excited for lunch.

But first, I baked the bread as follows. And, you know, you could, too. And you could also have a Bacon Sandwich Where the Bread is Bacon if you wanted to. Bad Jew or not.

Bacon Sandwich Where the Bread is Bacon
Recipe adapted from Bacon-Cheddar Quick Bread with Dried Pears, Bon Appetit 10/08
My changes in bold

Ingredients
5 bacon slices, cooked/chopped
1 cup shredded white English cheddar
1/2 cup or so of 1/4" white English cheddar cubes
1 T minced fresh sage
1 3/4 c flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t fresh ground black pepper
3 eggs
1/3 c evap milk (we never have milk)
1/3 c extra virgins
(I left out the pears and walnuts because that's stupid)

To make
Crispify your bacon and let it drain somewhere nearby.

Preheat that oven to 350.

Grease or spray flour a metal loaf pan.

Mix all the bacon, cheese and sage in a bowl. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in another bowl close by. Whisk eggs, milk and extra virgins in YET another bowl. Pour the egg mix over the flour mix and mix together until just blended. Don't get crazy here. Add the bacon mix and stir some more.

It'll be WICKED sticky.

And also look nasty.

Spread that whole mess in your prepped pan and bake it up for about 55 minutes or until it's browned on top. Try checking in at the 35 minute mark to see if it's looking burny, and if it is OR you're worried it might go in that direction, cover it loosely with foil and put it back in to bake until that toothpick comes out clean like it's supposed to.

Does not taste like the doody it looks like.

I cooled mine on a rack before we charged into it and I think it helped, but the longer you let it cool, the more solid the bread will be and the easier it will be to slice it and sandwich it.

That in there? That is love.

OH! That reminds me, if you need instructions on how to make a BLT or if you just want to see the pictures I took of ours, please follow along:

Those are some of our last tomatoes. Weep.

Ingredients
Bacon bread (see above)
Lettuce leaves
Garden tomatoes
Mayo (OH YES)
Black pepper

To make
Yes, we put mayo on bacon bread. SINNERS.

Slice all ingredients to your own specifications. If you're filthy (we're filthy) shmear a bit of mayo across one or two of those slices of bread and layer tomatoes, bacon and lettuce with a lid of one slice of bread. Eat damn it.

Bacon x2 - so beautiful.

Whether you choose to do so while being surrounded by suspicious looking beasts, that is up to you.

I will have to open my mouth very big to eat your whole sandwich and arm, Mom.
Like so.

And then whether you decide to get the cat into the action by dropping a piece of bacon on her fur and then directing the dog toward it is also up to your discretion. I will say that it adds an entertaining element to lunch time, if you're into that kind of thing.

No cats were harmed during the lunch entertainment.

Enjoy.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Yard fashion. Don't you call it pointless.

During a recent Goodwill purge, I finally gave away all the old and oversized Tshirts I'd been hoarding for no other reason than I had some absurd attatchment to their sentiment, logo, midwestern girl's bowling team of which I was not a member or otherwise.

I held on to them all for a long time, I guess under the assumption that one day I'd enjoy wearing unflatteringly large hot pink Tshirts advertising the Pink Lady Bowlers or that maybe Bubba would develop a festish for red XL tshirts proclaiming Wellman Family Farms as the pig farm of rural Indiana. 

Sure, that *could* happen, but I needed the drawer space for shirts that actually fit me and also proclaimed sentiments in which I believed. So, I Goodwilled the big sack of shirts and, after refolding everything in the drawer, realized I didn't have room for anything new but *could* now shut the drawer without having to do that hold everything down by force while sliding the drawer closed and almost slamming your hand in there thing. 

Good times. Tshirt issue resolved.

Then we did AIDS Walk and some nice woman from another team who I will not refer to by name snuck extra XL tshirts into our team's box to "thank us" for an unspecified reason which I do believe was "for taking some of these shirts so I don't have to carry them to the car."

Hey! Thanks lady! Next year you may find a folding table in your purse. As a token of our esteem, of course. Beotch.

Hey, no one said you had to be nice in order to raise money for a worthy cause. 

ANYWAY.

I've had this blue XL Tshirt with its logo so suspiciously similar to one our team has historically used BUT WHATEVER hanging out on the craft shelf for some time, awaiting its final form which would for sure not be that of an XL Tshirt. 

On comparison, it seemed that this Tshirt was a skoshe large for me.

Because who wears an XL Tshirt, I ask you, and also how come no one's ever off-loading Tshirts in a women's medium, for instance? And then, what the F am I going to do with this big ass shirt?

Ah, and then entered The Answer in the form of this CRAFT: blog post tutorial.

Make a cute draped neck top from a fugly too-big Tshirt? Yes, please.

Of course, there's nothing in the tutorial about wait two months and THEN make the top, but that's what happened until last weekend when I realized it was now or never because October is a big mess and BAM: New draped neck top for moi.

Future Tshirt abandoners: I wear a women's medium.
Now, yes, I should have cut the back of the top from the FRONT of the Tshirt so that I'd have had enough room to cut the front from the plain BACK of the Tshirt to avoid including the plagaristic logo, but well, sometimes these things happen and you end up with some random shit on your chest.

WOW. Moving on...

I was pretty excited about this little craft that turned a useless giant Tshirt into a cute casual top for $0 until Bubba asked me where I was going to wear it and I said oh, like to work in the yard or something and he rolled his eyes right at me because I'd just spent an hour making a yardwork shirt when he could have just reached into the easy shutting drawer and found one for me BUT WHATEVER. 

This is not about efficiency in yard attire, people, it's about yard fashion. I mean, how fun will it be to put this shirt on with my sorta worn-in yard jeans and go out to prune the lavender?

FUN.

Anyway, if you've not yet shuffled all your big useless Tshirts off to the Goodwill, maybe you want some fancy yard fashion, too. Then we can all prance around with our pruning shears looking way hotter than those other yard whores in their ratty too big tshirts who are not sexy at all.

Because thinking you look hot when you really don't is all the rage in household delusion these days.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sometimes I fry things in order to kill them. [RECIPE]


Yes, these vegetables may show up at my house all fresh and new and healthy, but I don't think there are any official rules about don't bread them and fry them.

At least, I hope there's not because that is just what I did because SORRY but I can't think of a ton of things to do with eggplant other than grilling which I'm not doing unless some kind of meat is going on there.

Something about a grill full of just eggplant seems stupid to me.

So, when the farm share insisted on delivering yet another week's worth of eggplants I had to, again, turn to my handy Stalker Book and figure out what the fuck to do with them before they turned into purplish poo in my crisper. Sadly, Stalker Book didn't have any recipes that suited my taste for something that didn't need to be grilled. So I gave up and went back to the old standby: Joy of Cooking.

Perhaps Serving is too cool for frying or something because Joy had a great idea and wasn't afraid to say it: Eggplant Parmesan.

YES, please.

I'm not sure how I'd forgotten about this gem of a standby recipe, but after seeing it in the book, and then deciding I didn't care about the fatness for five minutes, the deal was done: Dinner Tonight = Eggplant Parmesan.

Of course, when it comes to dinner at our house, I have ulterior motives that drive my decision-making. Such as; how to get rid of as much farm share as possible. And that means we have no less than two farm share (or garden) items in our dinner at any time and we use the whole share of them.

So, if I have a 2 lb. sack of green beans or twelve tomatoes or a bunch of basil that could double as a push broom, we eat it all. No discussion. And then sometimes dinner gets scary because eating a whole plate full of chard can get dicey even if it's mixed with bacon. The last time we tried to get rid of a share of chard in one sitting our meal resembled some sort of food death march. Our teeth were tired after.

ANYWAY.

If you would like to live out your fried vegetable and farm share killing fantasies, please to enjoy the following run-down of this recipe I barely fucked with.

Eggplant Parmesan
Adapted from Joy of Cooking
My changes in bold
Ingredients
1 recipe of The Best Tomato Sauce Ever. Yep.
2 medium eggplants (or whatever size comes in the farm share)
1/3 c flour
2 eggs
1 1/4 breadcrumbs (fresh or not, I couldn't care)
1/4 cup + 1 T olive oil
2 t dried oregano
1/4 t fresh ground black pepper (fresh please, I do care about this)
1 1/2 c shredded mozzarella
2/3 c shredded Parmesan (or however much you grate because who measures this?)
2 t mixed dried Italian style herbs (you choose)

To make
Start the tomatoes roasting in the oven for the sauce . And don't try sneaking in some nasty store bought sauce if you have the stuff to make this. FOR SHAME.

Cut the eggplants into 1/2 thick rounds. No need to peel them if you don't want to. Which I don't because of my laziness. Whisk together the eggs and 1T olive oil. Mix together 1 T of salt with the flour. Dredge the eggplant slices in the flour mixture, then egg mixture, and finally the breadcrumbs. Set them on a rack for 30 minutes and contemplate the universe while taking your tomatoes out of the oven.



Finish making the sauce and LEAVE THE OVEN ON AT 420 THANK YOU.




Heat your olive oil in a skillet and fry your eggplant slices until they're golden on each side. You can put some salt and pepper on now, if you want. Don't bother measuring it because that is retarded and messes up clean utensils for no good reason.



Spoon some of the sauce you just made (right? you made it didn't you?) onto the bottom of a 9X9 baking dish or whatever size you have on hand. Then lay your eggplant slices on top of the sauce (you can overlap the slices if they don't fit) and cover the eggplant with the rest of the sauce.


Yes. It is indulgent.

Put the oregano and some pepper on top of all that and then all the cheese. Again, indulgent. You can now finish with the Italian herb mixture of your choice and I will not rub in the fact that I used my Sardinian mixture from Italy which I hoard with all my might because of its awesomeness.


Bake this mess until it's bubbly and browning, which is about 10 minutes.


Plate with a nice big spinach salad to make you feel better about eating so much cheese and fried stuff. Maybe put some fresh basil on top because you brought in a truckload from the garden.

Then, enjoy it up.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

MENTAL NOTE: Say things quietly to myself first.

Sometimes I say things that seem fine in my head but then sound totally different, and sort of felonious and irresponsible, to others when said aloud.

"So, what are you guys up to this weekend?" says Friend as we carpooled home from work.

"Oh, we're just going to hang out, smoke some stuff and then obviously eat and pass out." says Me as casual as the day is long.

"WHAT? Aren't your friends coming to town?" cries Friend as she physically swivels herself in the passenger seat of my Prius which does not have swiveling seats.

"Um. Yes." I am now raising my eyebrows because I'm afraid and confused. I also begin to think she might be simple.

"Don't they have a baby?!" she continues to ask me in that what are you insane voice that people sometimes use with insubordinate spouses and the desk people at the DMV.

"Um. Yes." I reply again, now wondering if there's yet another aspect of child-rearing that has escaped me. Like, what, are they all allergic to BBQ?

"What? Are they allergic to BBQ? These babies?" I ask. Because obviously this is the only reason she'd be freaking out like this.

"WHAT?!" (her)

"WHAT?!" (me)

And then Jack, Chrissy and Janet come running through the car, all Chinese Firedrill style, each wearing one too few items of clothing or something equally innocuous but still confusing.

"Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. You meant meat." As she reswivels and sits back in her seat. Breathing, what I consider, a bizarre sigh of relief about the potential hazards of bbq on infants.

"WHAT?!" (me - I'm simple.)

See, while I was innocently fantasizing about all the MEAT we were going to SMOKE in the SMOKER and then EAT while my friends were in town, she thought I was just all casually planning a weekend when we all get super high, order in Thai food and then pass out, leaving the baby to his own devices.

OH.

Yeah, no.

This was the big weekend when we smoke meat.



(Sidenote: If you say "we're going to smoke meat" to unsuspecting coworkers, it will usually illicit similar confused reactions because it sounds a lot like "we're going to smoke weed" and that doesn't do a lot to help unconfuse the friend from the carpool and it might also get your "personal record" a thorough checking into. Just saying.)

ANYWAY.

We finally got our act together and aligned the stars so that we could smoke some brisket and pork shoulder before the frigid snows of NorCal flew and we were up to our toenails in winter. Somehow the summer escaped us and we found ourselves in the middle of September without any BBQ about which we could reminisce.

WRONG.

So, last weekend Bubba dressed up the smoker in some new rustproofing paint (HOT) and this weekend we went to town on some brisket and pork.

And, please note, all the while I'm saying "we", you all know I mean Bubba. Because my only expertise in the BBQ area has to do with my ability to eat my body weight in brisket and not at all in my ability to create it.

Thankfully, Bubba knows just exactly what he's doing and doesn't need any interference from me, thankyouverymuch.

In fact, he created these masterpieces without any of my motherhenning:


And we all had ourselves some fabulous KC style BBQ without permanently damaging any babies or learning first-hand the intricacies of applicable health and safety codes.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Running update: 12

So, like most of you wise folks guessed, I did the full 12 miles.

What I liked the best was that you mostly based your guesses on the fact that I have a soft guilty Jew center rather than the fact that I am an amazing and dedicated athlete. 

What? You are not fooled by my faux athlete exterior? I thought it was maybe a little bit convincing. I have Nike shorts after all and I use BodyGlide a lot. Mostly for running.

Funny to note here that my Jewiness has some ironic limits since I feel guilty enough to run a full 12 miles but no guilt at all about doing it on a Saturday morning when, if I were a real Jew, I would be walking to shul with the nice men in their tallis and dark suits who I pass around mile 4.

WHATEVER. I ran 12 miles. 

And, hey, didn't die at all or shit the road or get the debilitating case of hot dog fingers about which I'd previously worried

(For the record, and specifically Lera, the condition known as Hot Dog fingers is not a real thing. I think Jack in the Box made it up and I've adopted it as a real thing in my life for the humor value. Also, I love hot dogs and wouldn't be sad at all if my fingers turned into hot dogs because WOO, handy snack. HAHA.)

At the end of the day, the run went fine. I had a particularly happy moment around mile 11 when I realized HEY this is the last long training run I'm doing before The Race Itself and next weekend, instead of trodding out 12+ miles, I'll get to start The Taper and run a distance more amenable to my Inner Lazy.

And then I gave myself the douche chills because I called it, in my head, a Fun Run. Like they call the 5k runs that go before the marathons so that the lazy people (me)can make themselves useful while other *real* athletes are doing the *real* races. 

At the time though, a run of any single digit distance sounded fun. Much like how my 12 mile runs must sound to someone training for a marathon. Boh - 12 miles? What's the biggie? 

Those marathoners are such self-important jerks. 

The point is that I did the 12 mile run in a time that indicates I *may* have the *chance* of *maybe* PRing this time should I not collapse into a heap of shame during mile 13. And that would be something.

And then, this weekend, I get to go on a Run That Doesn't Suck (new name, less douche-y) because I've decided that I'll just put on my iPod and run through all my favorite areas until I'm bored or tired and then I'll just go home. 

I predict this run will last no longer than one hour and may or may not include a stop at the donut place.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Running update: So profesh

So, it's funny how I got myself all psyched up to run 12 miles this week because WELL I totally ran 12 miles last year before this race so I better do it this year, too.

Except, no.

Thankfully I have this blog to remind me when I'm full of shit. Like the time I said I ran 12 miles before last year's race which WHOOPSY I totally did not because I was injured and, until now, had totally forgotten about that.

OH.

And ever since I realized this error in my very technical training schedule while trying to plot out a Brand New Never Done Before 12 Mile Route, I've been considering not doing it this year either.

Because why? Why put myself through that extra mile when 11 miles is already pretty far and, plus, what if it gives me the poops again? 12 miles could be worse! I could start barfing, too! Or something else filthy could happen like a permanent runny nose or I could develop the condition known as hot dog fingers.

WHAT THEN?

Really, now. This is perhaps my Inner Lazy trying to win out. We're getting close to the race and I'm semi-burnt on this whole spend two+ hours of your Saturday morning running all over town so you can be exhausted all day thing and I am thinking a lot more about the race being over than the race being underway, which is what I probably *should* be thinking about, but I'm not.

I didn't even do the sweat through my work clothes thing when I opened the race packet from the mail the other day. Which is what I did last year. While I was not running my 12 miler due to injury.

It was a stressful time.

So, I'm at a crossroads and considering my Tomorrow Morning options:
  • Run the 12 mile route as planned one week ago during a moment of obvious insanity 
  • Run the 11 mile route from last week and try not to feel guilty
  • Run 0 miles and sleep in! Blissful sleep, I miss you!
  • Run 0 miles and sleep in and feel painfully guilty until the race comes and I inevitably die during the Untrained Mile 12. 
I'm going to go eat some pizza (oh yes, this is my pre-run dinner of choice because I'm so technical and profesh) and mull my options. I'll let you know how it pans out.

This is how the dog mulls things. Also, very technical.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

About those brownies



I am about to let you know my favorite food secret, which I'm sure is not a secret at all, but I like to hoard things, and so I've been doing some hoarding of this particular fact: 

Nonfat plain Greek yogurt is made of magic. Specifically, it doesn't taste nonfat at all.

It just doesn't. It defies logic. It tastes rich and creamy (hate that word) and luscious and it's a nonfat miracle. And to add to its incredible greatness- perhaps it should be sainted, that wouldn't be a stretch for me - it also swaps all Even-Steven like for butter in baking.

WHAT? Nonfat yogurt can taste as good in a brownie or something baked as butter? LIAR YOU SAY!

No. It's true. Really now.

Those Greeks - they really know food. And beaches. And how to whitewash walls and write in a weird alphabet, but whatever. The important thing here, for my purposes now, is that nonfat Greek yogurt is really good however you want to have it. 

This time, I made brownies with the yogurt, instead of butter, and SWOONED my ass off.

Then I ate so many of these brownies that it totally negated the lower-fatness of them, but that's OK, this was a one time Love At First Sight kind of thing. Next time I will exercise restraint. Or maybe I just won't tell you when I eat the whole batch. We'll see.

Another fun surprise here was the fact that this recipe came from a weird unexpected place. Namely, Shape Magazine. And it wasn't just surprising because it was from a fitness magazine that usually only likes to remind its readers every.single.month that they need to drink 8 glasses of water a day and sleep for 8 hours a night and do everything in 8's including reps of bicep curls and washing of hands after potty. It was also surprising because I cancelled my subscription a while ago (I know about the water thing already, thanks) and it keeps showing up.

Whatever. At least there was a recipe in there.

Not surprisingly, my favorite feature of this mostly useless POS is the Recipe Makeover section where they take a fatty recipe (for example: brownies) and fix the recipe to make it more healthful by ripping all the good stuff out.

Now, usually this enrages me because I love butter and bacon and cheese and these are always the first things to go, but this time they swapped the butter with nonfat Greek yogurt and there wasn't any bacon or cheese to get rid of, so I decided to give them a go.

I mean, if a brownie can go from 17 grams of fat per to 5, I'm all about trying it out. If it tastes like crap, I can feel reaffirmed in my Butter Faith and if not, I can eat a brownie without the post-chewing remorse where I think about cutting myself. (Not really - don't email me about this)


Not Fatty Brownies
from Cocoa Brownies, Shape Magazine

Ingredients
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons espresso
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


To Make

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil; spray foil lightly with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, salt,and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar at medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, or until combined. Add egg, egg whites, vanilla and coffee. Continue beating until incorporated.
  4. Scrape down sides of the bowl and reduce mixer speed to low. Slowly add flour mixture to the bowl, followed by yogurt, and mix gently until combined. The batter will be thick.
  5. Stir in chocolate
  6. With a spatula, spread mixture evenly in pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of pan comes out dry. Cool on a wire rack before removing from pan and slicing into 16 squares.
Recipe makes 16 2-inch by 2-inch servings.

Now, I know there is SOME butter in there, which I'm not 100% sure is necessary, so I'm considering going back for a remake. In this remake I will be replacing the butter with NFGY 1:1 and swapping out regular sugar for Splenda. 

I realize this may get gross and I'm willing to accept the consequences because JUST IMAGINE if it didn't taste like ass. That'd really be something. And then we could all stop hating brownies because they taste beautiful but make our rears look like barn doors. 


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Squash Killer [RECIPE]

You know I took down the Magnificent Squash Bug Attracter (aka the Ronde de Italia squash) long, long ago when I got tired of ker-smashing the beetles that were multiplying between its every fold, but alas, the farm share has ensured that I still have lots of squash.

And might I just say that THANK GOD I pulled that squash plant when I did because otherwise I'd be in big trouble right now with the fatness

Why the fatness? Well, let me tell you.

I've found the best way to get rid of loads of squash (zucchini, crookneck, whathaveyou) is to shred it with The More Trouble Than It's Worth Mandolin and put it into chocolate cake.

Because everyone loves chocolate cake and since they don't know that there's evil monster squash inside, they eat it all up like WOO CHOCOLATE CAKE and I go WOO THE SQUASH IS GONE and then WOO MY PANTS FEEL TIGHT because I love chocolate cake, too. Whoopsy.

But the satisfaction I get from stowing two or three huge squash in something that will be readily disposed of is extreme, and so I carry on. Let's hope my jeans make it through squash season. 

Wow. That's something I've never said before. 

ANYWAY.

If you want to hide all your squash in a cake (and let's face it, who doesn't? It's very fun.) maybe try this recipe from my favorite cookbook of all time so far, Serving up the Harvest by Andrea Chessman (thank you, Jeph!). 

This time around I actually almost followed the recipe to a T, or whatever, because it was the first time I made it, so I wanted to make sure I knew what it was supposed to taste like before I started fucking with things and got a cake that tasted like a good ol' horse's ass or something.

If you want to know what I'll do next time (you want to know. Go on now.), I'll be swapping the butter with nonfat plain Greek yogurt because The Pioneer Woman says so and also I did this on a recent brownie recipe and YUM. Later on that though, let's make the cake.

Or rather, the cupcakes. I find a whole cake is hard to give away, so I make cupcakes. It helps my jeans to fit.

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes
Adapted from the Dark Chocolate Zucchini Bundt Cake recipe
in Serving up the Harvest, Andrea Chesman

Ingredients
2 1/2 C flour
3/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1/2 t ground cinnamon
2 C brown sugar (make sure you have this before you make the whole recipe)
1/2 C butter (or, in the future, maybe nonfat plain Greek yogurt)
2 eggs
2 oz baking chocolate, melted + cooled
1 t vanilla extract
1 C coffee
3 C grated squash (WOO)



To make:
Preheat oven to 350

Grease your cupcake tins (this made almost 2 dozen) in whatever fashion suits you. I just tried that Pillsbury Flour spray or whatever and really liked it. There's some purported No Fat Cooking going on there, but who knows what that means.

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a bowl. And really sift it using a sifter or something because it mixes it nice and gets rid of lumps. No one wants to eat a lump of baking powder, y'all. That's nasty.

I have no lumps.

Beat together the brown sugar and butter in a mixer and add the eggs one at a time until they're combined. Add in the chocolate and vanilla until combined and then switch off adding the coffee and flour mixture until it's all in there. Scrape down the bowl and then mix in the squash. 

Pour the whole mess into the cupcake tin and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the toothpick does the Coming Out Clean thing. 

Allow to cool and watch for Cupcake Monsters that do shit like this:

Our Cupcake Monster is called Bubba.

And then, once they're cooled and you want to impress people, add some powdered sugar to the top to be fancy. If you want, you can use the FANCE method I learned while standing in line at the store.

See, as I was buying the brown sugar I thought I had but didn't and was soothing my aggravated soul with a free sample reading of Real Simple, I came across this month's New Uses for Old Things (best magazine section ever methinks) that was to use a tea ball to shake powdered sugar over things. 

I do believe I said aloud to myself: YES. I WILL DO THIS. 

And then I did. See below.

Tee dah! That shit is perfect.

But, if you're just going to be shoving all the cupcakes into a zippy bag and taking them to work to pawn off on your coworkers who still fit in their jeans, feel free to ditch the fancy ass sugar and just leave them plain. They're still real good. Promise. I even ate one in the car to prove it - so there.

Now go love on your zucchini. GO.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Running update: 11 miles

Wow. That went better than I thought.

Well, the run did anyway.

I woke up at 5:30am on Saturday morning with a shitty bastard headache, but all other elements were perfect; my favorite running shorts and top were clean, I had new music, it was cool and foggy and dark outside, I had my Luna Moons and Camelbak all ready, so I choked down two Excedrin Migraines and and went TO WORK on my 11 mile run.

And I mean, I made that run my bitch.

I did the first half without any strain or pain whatsoever. Knees were fine, hips were fine, boob pain was fine, feet were fine, ALL WAS GREAT.

I wasn't even psyching myself out like I usually do by going "OH, you've passed the usual turn, this is all new territory, you'll die soon!"

And then a long-feared landmark came up.

See, there's this fance grocery store we go to for meat sometimes because they have a great butcher counter. But those trips are sorta rare because it's so far from our house that it takes us all of 15 minutes to drive there.

I suppose we are the slightest bit lazy. Whatever.

Anyway, when I started to plot out my 11 mile route last week I realized that adding another mile meant that I was going to be running right by The Super Far Away Lunardi's and WHOA that freaked me out a little bit.

I mean, this is the place that's too far to drive and now I'm going to run there? And back?

That seemed wrong. But, again, the numbers didn't lie, that was the halfway mark for an 11 mile run (if I wanted to be able to run back past the community garden, which I obviously did), so I settled it in my mind and went on with my life, not really believing that I was going to run to The Super Far Away and Too Far to Drive Lunardi's.

But then I did. I ran there and turned the corner and down the road and then all the way back past the community garden (LOVE) and home. Without stopping for lights or dodging hoses draped across sidewalks because running early on Saturday means you can run in the street and against lights because there are no cars.

YAY.

But then I got home. And after a few minutes of icing thy knees and stretching thy muscles and throwing the ball for the dog, I began to feel not well in the belly.

Now, I'm no stranger to post-run nausea, but this was different. In the sense that it felt like something was eating a hole in the pit of my stomach and was then going to come shooting out my WOW-hole along with last night's dinner and perhaps yesterday's lunch.

Quickly, now.

Yeah, so, it would appear that an Excedrin Migraine, Luna Moon and tap water-fueled run is not advisable for those who want to spend any significant time away from the loo during the remainder of the day.

Sadly, I wanted to be one of those people out gallivanting about the hardware store and what not (because that is what I do with significant Time Away From the House, I go to the hardware store like a loser), but with my innards all pissed off about their satanic morning cocktail, I was going nowhere that didn't have a bowl and a flusher.

Too much?

Sorry, that's the ugly news. I've managed to turn the tables on my running life now to the point where the run is fine, it's the body-falling-apart-after-the-run that is not fine, as I had no indication during my Fabulous Run That Will Live in Infamy of what catastrophic disaster awaited me upon my return.

Anyway, I'm betting it was the Excedrin that tried to kill me. In retrospect it does seem like a bad thing to have bouncing against the walls of an empty stomach since it tastes like glue going down and smells like burnt rubber in the bottle. Imagine when it starts to dissolve? Bad idea.

So, moral of the story: Don't take migraine medicine on an empty stomach and run 11 miles unless you want to experience the condition known as Firehole.

GOT IT.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Running update: Off schedule

Someone asked for a running update, and by someone I really mean someone because they posted their comment anonymously so they could be anyone! Or someone.

You know.

And since I'm not one to keep my anonymous readers in suspense over the very technical schedule I'm running, the running update is this: when I last ran my 10 mile run (last Saturday), I ran it 2 minutes faster than the time before that (2 Saturdays ago).

Which is something I'm calling progress because my other running update news isn't as encouraging.

See, while I was out running this 2-minutes-faster 10 miles and all not dying or anything, I suddenly realized OH SHIT I'm running 10 miles and that must mean that the race is close and then I realized - LO - it is 3 weeks away.

*SHITS PANTS*

Yes, even as I redid the math in my head (and on my fingers, fine, I admit to running and counting on my fingers) I still came out with the same number - 3 more Saturday runs to train for this thing and WAITAMINUTE I am only running 10 miles right now.

What about the I can't do it if I haven't seen myself doing it that made me run 12 miles before last year's race? What ABOUT that anyway?

Well, these were among the things rattling around in my head while I trekked through my run and by the time I got home I'd written a check My Tomorrow Self will be cashing as I'd decided that I should just add a mile a week to my long runs and then, no worries, I'll be all ready to run 13.1 on race day.

Because jumping from two 10 mile runs to an 11 miler and then the next week to a 12 miler and then the next week to a 13.1 miler is LIKE WICKED EASY AND FINE.

That is all in caps there because I do not believe it to be true. In case you couldn't sense my sarcasm.

Easy or not though, I can't see getting to Race Day (also known as the Day I May Shame Myself Publicly) having only run 10 miles in training, not knowing for sure whether my This Year Self is up to par with my Last Year Self and able to run a respectable time. Which, for the record is any time faster than 2:35:28.

And that, my friends, is the root of all my evil right now (big root, yes I know ha ha ha YOU'RE VERY FUNNY) - the scary thing about doing the second half marathon is my fear of Sophomore Syndrome.

When you run your first one it's like, WHOOPIE! I finished! Who gives a crap how fast (or in my case, slow) I ran it? It's done and I did not die or disqualify myself with extreme shame. Score one for me! But with that second half marathon - there are a whole new batch of worries in addition to what if I die and what if I shame myself so irretrievably that even the dog won't kiss me at the finish line?

Specifically, what if run it slower than last year?

Does that count as public shame? I mean, the number is going to be right up there with 10,000 other times just for anyone's eyeballs to see. What if it says 2:35:29??

I'm actively nauseous at the thought.

But, alas, there are some things keeping me going. Specifically, the glorious month of October when I *may* not run at all. Like, I might not run even shortie runs during the week. What if I did that? Can you imagine the scandal? I know. It's heart-stopping.

Also nice is the fact that, as of this moment, I don't have any serious injuries keeping me from training like I did last year. Yes, I have a remnant bruise "under the armor" (as Bubba calls it) of my kneecap from falling over a dog gate at work (long story) that still likes to haunt me around the 1 hour mark and I did manage to pull a muscle under my boob during strength training in the gym this week (where do these muscles come from?), but I don't have any blisters or crippling pain and my knees aren't threatening to collapse and neither are my hips, which are all signs I see as positive.

So, tomorrow morning, while the stars are still out and the fog is still wrapped around San Jose like a cozy not-sweaty blanket (Sun - you stay away!), I am going to trot out my 11 miler with my Camelbak and Luna Moons and new tunes (yes, I'm getting frivolous with the iTunes purchases at this point and I don't care to be criticised) and fantasize about sleeping in on a Saturday morning in one month's time.

Oh my god the luxury of it all.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The F Word

I've decided to just go ahead and say it out loud...

I'm ready for Fall.

There! It's out! I can't put it back in the horse! I hate horses!

Whatever.

To celebrate this moment that Bubba has been taunting out of me since July (the man is solidly off his nut) I present to you, the many times aforementioned, Ugly Librarian Sweater:

Like they say to the ugly kids, it's what's on the inside that counts.

Now, notice I'm not modeling it for you and instead it is hanging over this chair here. That is with good reason because this sweater is in no way flattering and I don't need photographic proof to tell me that. I also like to live in a fantasy world where no matter what I'm wearing, I look totally hot.

Funny since I'm fairly certain that 99% of the time I'm at home I look nowhere near hot but whatever, in my head, things look good.

For the record, however, I have not worn the Ugly Librarian Sweater yet THIS FALL (gotta say it loud so I can get used to its sound) because I've had other semi-ugly-yet-warm things to wrap around my shivering bod during those brief moments when NorCal has gone from sweltering to vaguely cool.

Like yesterday morning when I walked the dog at 6:30am and it was, I do believe, a full 53 degrees out. WOWZA. I didn't even unzip my sweatshirt the whole time and, I'll tell you, I was liking it.

I KNOW! Just shoot me now because I'm actually looking forward to FALL and I'm sort of not afraid to admit it.

What I'm not looking forward to is having to fire up the furnace because WHOA that shit is scary. And now I will tell you the embarrassing story that I didn't tell before because I wasn't ready to admit that I almost blew my face off and brought down our wee house all with one match.

Here goes:

Once upon a time I was working from home in the early months of fall. Perhaps it was October or November, I don't really recall exactly.

Anyway, I had on The Ugly Librarian Sweater (tm) and socks and leg warmers (yes, they're hot pink - awesomeness) and jeans and a long sleever top and fingerless gloves and slippers. To put it mildly, I was cold. And when I got sick of shivering despite all my clothes and layers, I decided it was high time to face my fear of the furnace and just turn that bitch on already.

Then I reflected briefly on the times I'd watched over the rim of my G&T while Bubba was doing it. And then I removed the grate (floor furnace people, you have to remove things to start them, it's scary) and used the key (remember: old house) to turn the pilot on.

Then I capped the access for the pilot light and went on a hunt for a long match.

Let me repeat that last part: Then I capped the access for the pilot light and went on a hunt for a long match.

See, this was where things began to go horribly awry in a very death defying way. It would seem that when I was so carefully watching Bubba light the furnace as I finished my cocktail, I neglected to recall that moment when he turned on the pilot and then immediately stuck the match down through the very open access shaft to light the pilot.

For some reason (drunkenness? Who's to say?) I thought that one should cap the pilot access, turn the gas on and then walk around the house and garage for twenty minutes looking for matches so that the gas has plenty of time to build up to Nuclear Holocaust Level in the access shaft.

When I returned triumphantly to the furnace with my handy dandy match and struck it on the top of the grate (it was one of those Strike Anywhere kinds) I should have known something was afoot because I'm sure the precarious Uh-Oh Something Awful is About to Happen music from Bugs Bunny was surely playing nearby.

Loudly.

I then lifted the cap off the pilot access shaft and before I could say OH SHIT (which, believe me, was the least this occasion called for) the lit match combusted with a sound and resonance much like that of a dumptruck falling through the floor of my house.

BAM

And then silence. And then me realizing I've jumped (been blown back?) down the hallway toward the bedroom door and WHOOPSY have no eyelashes, am missing half my eyebrows and have lost all the baby hairs around the crown of my forehead.

Plus it smells like gas, burnt hair and FEAR.

I sat silently for a full 10 minutes, unmoving, while I contemplated the severity of the situation.

I then let out a low, "Oh Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo" and went off to look for Rocket, who was outside sleeping in the dirt. Totally unscathed, but wondering who this eyelashless freak was approaching her with shaky hands.

Yes, people. I tried to blow up our house by collecting gas in the furnace and then lighting it with a match because I'm retarded.

Thankfully Bubba, when arriving home and evacuating us all due to the remnant gas floating around the house, was kind and helpful when presented with the story of how I tried to blow up our house (and my face - that's important, too) instead of rightfully alarmed and angry with my stupidity.

Yes, instead of beating me with the furnace grate or sending me to live in a tent in the backyard, he instead walked me over to the furnace (after all the gas cleared, this is important) and showed me, step by step, how one goes about SAFELY lighting the pilot and managing the heat flow.

Oh. It's really not that hard.

I mean, it's not easy like Sunday morning or anything. Like pressing a button on a wall thermostat, which is all I think I should have to do, but it's not too bad given that this heater is 100+ years old and still works like a fucking champ. Also, we're never going to get the permits to fix it and we aren't putting in central heat, so it's going to have to work. Thankfully, I now know how to make it work without taking our household out in the process.

And so, with that, I welcome fall.

BRING IT.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I'm wearing this today.

Sarena (shrug)
Yarn: Stupid Lion Brand Cashmere Blend in Camel
Needles: US 8 circular, Tapestry needle
Pattern: Free
Raveled here

It's been a while since I knit anything and my favorite excuse has been that it's too damn hot to be touching yarn and I'm surprised anyone's knitting anything right now because obviously we should all be running amok in our bikinis and drinking icy things with umbrellas in them.

But then, I'm not doing that either. Sad.

And that's because I decided to go back in the water with the evil yarn and needles to knit something. ACTUALLY, I finished knitting something. Perhaps just so that I wouldn't have to run around in my bikini because hellooo. Still though, let's not get distracted.

Please join me while I gape in amazement because this knitting business has been a rare occurrence despite the header up here that's obviously a liar.

Thanks to Philigry, who makes a million gorgeous knitted things at a rate that is just thisclose to nutty, I found a pattern and an FO that convinced me to stop whining about the utter failure of my Hourglass Sweater (I don't want to talk about it) and just get back on the horse that is knitting.

And, y'all, I do not like horses. Big scary teeth, etc.

Anyway, I think the thing she said that convinced me went something exactly like, "This is a great beginner pattern. If you can knit, purl, cast on and off, you can make this."

Yes. My thoughts were that I might as well be a beginner with the shit sandwich I made of that Hourglass sweater, and while I clearly can't do math, stitch a consistent gauge when using two needles of the same size (Addi, I have a bone to pick with you, beotch) or make two things the same size (Sleeves, you're not my favorite either) - I was confident that I could still HOPEFULLY knit, purl, cast on and cast off.

Thankfully it appears that this confidence was not misplaced. And, AND the sleeves are the same length, size and gauge which I think you may realize is a small miracle.

I'm sad that this is a reality of my life.

But I am happy to say that when presented with a project that, by all accounts (Philgry + Ravelry + Berroco = All) is "very easy", I can actually follow the 4 line pattern through 8 skeins of yarn and turn out something that resembles the pattern instead of a big pile of horse doo.

What I'm not happy to say is that I was too gun shy from previous horrible failures to buy yarn for this going back into the water business, so I went into my stash to see if I had anything I needed to use and wouldn't make me want to cut myself if it got jacked up from intense frogging which resulted in me unearthing some Lion Brand Cashmere blend. This sad yarn was purchased during a misguided whim back when one of their catalogs showed up at my house with a pair of awesome "Cashmere Arm Cozies" knitted from this "cashmere" yarn.

And you know how I can't resist fingerless gloves y'all. And that is just what "Cashmere Arm Cozies" really are - fingerless gloves with long arms.

Now, why, after all this time avoiding their prickly nylon-y yuckiness, I decided it would make sense to buy four skeins of their yarn for the purpose of knitting cabled fingerless gloves WAY beyond my threshold of patience, I do not know. But I did it anyway. And then I knitted about four inches of one "cozy's" arm before throwing the whole thing in the WIP basket and walking away.

Because I hate cabling (sorry, I have anger issues specifically with cable needles) and also because I was not so wild about the blend of this particular yarn. Because it's not so much a cashmere blend as it is WOOL (see I can't wear wool) with some nylon (EW) and a scant amount of cashmere (specifically 13%). And, according to my fellow Ravelers, it pills like a bitch.

OH WHOOPIE. Something to look forward to.

So, here is what I learned in class today:
  1. Never use Lion Brand Yarn when you could be using Lana Grossa Pashmina
  2. I can knit things that don't look like poo
  3. Cabling is not for me
  4. This is a nice shrug for those days when September thinks it's fall (today)
  5. If I try not to think about it, I might get through the day without ripping the 72% wool away from my skin

Monday, September 08, 2008

Oh. I wish I'd thought of this before.

Dear Donk,

Remember that I GIVE UP moment at Hancock's I had last year during the making of the placemats and napkins? Where I ended up buying some mostly butt-ugly (to me anyway) striped fabric to match the mostly awesomely adorable (to me anyway) butterfly fabric? Oh, and let's not even mention that heinous hand-painted floral fabric. GAG.

Anyway, yes. I found a purpose for that leftover yard (!) of pink striped fabric and that purpose was this Tri-Pocket Ticking Tote.

Let me just say, bless you for choosing this as the project (and not only because we're running out of good projects in this book, whatever) and also for deciding we should be making this bag for others because:
  1. I wanted to make this bag
  2. Until you said make it for someone else you selfish whore (I added that last part in my head) I couldn't justify making another bag just because it was cute and I wanted it
Yes, even the depths of my childish desires have limits.

So, even though the pink stripey fabric wasn't "ticking" or "canvas" or any of the other very-specific-for-no-good-reason fabrics that the book called for, I had a yard of it I wanted to dispose of, the stripes would work well for the pattern and I happen to have a goddaughter who likes pink and green so there.

Well, I assume she likes pink and green, but who really knows what kids like? Certainly not me. I'm the one who gave a hand-knitted angora bunny to a newborn. What am I, simple? Anyway.

I'm not going to get into the exact number of times I didn't follow the pattern properly because we'd be here all day and you'd disown me as a friend, but let's say that while this is probably the simplest project in the whole wide world, my mind was preoccupied with the fact that it was 95 degrees outside and since we don't have A/C, I was doing this project while standing over a steaming iron in my house that was no less than 90 degrees inside, which resulted in a lot of DAMMIT and then seam ripping and then the use of stitch witchery which is not called for anywhere in the pattern. And then I ended up ripping out the stitch witchery and going in a whole different direction altogether.

Long story short, I forgot to sew seams on the tops of all the pockets at the outset and had to go back and sew them in once the tote was sewn together.

Yes, imagine that scenario, will you?

*Sigh* It's amazing I can put on pants.

At the end of this process, which I estimate took 50 times longer than it should have, I had a cute little library tote for Emma, Goddaughter to the Stars which I shall gift to her filled with some of my favorite childhood books and maybe a coloring book or something at a future gift-giving holiday.

These books are for demonstration purposes only and will not be gifted.
Thankyouverymuch.


Or maybe I will just hold on to it for a while (her birthday's not until April and I already have something for her for Christmas) and let it hang from the hook on my bookshelf as is since it's currently holding (and separating nicely) gifts I'm collecting for friend's birthdays.

Which is a nice idea. I mean, who couldn't use a Gifts to Give Bag, right? See, there's the reason I could have used to make this bag for myself. Anyway, too late now. I'm out of ugly striped fabric.



xo,
Finny

Friday, September 05, 2008

Adopt a Crop Finale: Pickle Visitor


Unfold the rickety sofabed and put away the good liquor because someone is getting a Pickle Visitor.

(As you can see, I'm a fantastic hostess. Ahem.)

First, let me thank the random chooser thingee for its unbiased randomness. I prefer it this way so that no one blames me when they don't get a Pickle Visitor. It's not my fault! Blame the random chooser!

And if you still want to be sad about not getting a Pickle Visitor, imagine how fun it'd be to get a Pumpkin Visitor or a Pepper Visitor or a Visitor of some other vegetable variety that you prefer? Because I think I liked the Adopt a Crop bit we had going here and I think I'll try it again next season so that y'all can choose another random (from a list of four of my choosing which is sort of random) vegetable for me to plant, torture, trick into growing and then ship off to you - future potential recipient of a Vegetable Visitor. Tune in around February to get on the excitement and inappropriate joke-making from the start.

See? It's hard to be sad now. Think of the possibilities! Think of all the vegetables that look like penises! We could make a million jokes.

Anyway.

If you're Betsy from Apples and Onions - you don't have to be sad at all. And that is because you are the illustrious winner of a Pickle Visitor!

WOO!

I know you're excited. At least you should be. Because it's possible that these pickles are decent. Now, I'm not making any promises because I haven't tasted them yet (which I think you'd prefer given the possibility of contamination by finger cooties if I were to root around in your pickles), but I did actually follow a recipe on this one and didn't go fucking around with it like I normally do because of The Fear that I'd do something horrible to my beautiful cucumbers.

SO - odds are, they're edible. But, if they're gross, let me know so that I can give my Ball Blue Book of Preserving a big middle finger and start over next year with another recipe.

Unless we don't grow cucumbers (pickles) together again next year. I mean, you guys could choose ANYTHING for Adopt a Crop 2009 (from a list of four of my choosing which is sort of ANYTHING). Hell, we could be growing loofah squash for all I know (let's not) and I don't even think you can preserve that shit.

So, let's everyone give Betsy a big hand and wish her well for her forthcoming Pickle Visit. Betsy, if you wouldn't mind, please send me your mailing address to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom and I'll get Fluffy started on his journey.

And then you can prepare yourself thusly because, I'll tell you now, this pickle is a handful.

HA! OK, that was my last phallic pickle wiener penis dick joke for the season.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Update on my melons [SHORT]


I'm going to knock off two birds with one stone here.

First - I'm going to try to write a shortish post per Bubba's recent suggestion.

Second - I'm going to update you all on the glory of my melons. Yes, let's all laugh briefly at that statement. I'm very humble.

If you'll remember, when we last checked in on my melons (tee hee, this never gets old for me, just so you know) they were undergoing some kind of miraculous rebirth. Perhaps they were glad to have me out of town on vacation where I couldn't probe them inappropriately, or perhaps the bugs stopped bothering them.

Who can say?

Anyway, there were six melons looking very happy-ish in the garden and I was hopeful. Not counting my eggs before they were hatched hopeful, but more like crossing my fingers and hoping for the best hopeful.

It was apparently a good strategy because somehow, despite nightmares to the contrary (I had a nightmare two nights ago about my melons shriveling (HA) on the vine and all dying at once. It was very scary and sad.), the melons have finally ripened and are, alas, VERY TASTY.

In fact, I can now even tell you people who asked (sorry, can't remember exactly who or when) that you know these Midget Melons are ripe exactly the same way as when you know regular sized cantaloupes are ripe - they turn yellowish on the skin and smell like cantaloupe. Plus, they pop really easily off their vines.

Well, then.

Isn't that nice that they are consistent despite their size? I'm sure there's some sort of philosophical theme I could derive here, but I'm not that contemplative right now.

HOWEVER, I have decided that there is still much beauty in this whole scenario:
  1. My Midget Melon experiment was successful and the plants didn't die.
  2. I managed to fend off a barrage of advancing bugs.
  3. The melons ripened, so now I know when they're ripe and can stop picking them with they're green and bitter. Whoopsy.
  4. They are truly delicious and single serving sized which is, at once, convenient, efficient and adorable. A fruity trifecta, if you will.
So, the update/status of my melons (one final HEE HEE) is that they are great. Tried and tasted great. In fact, I'm eating one right now because I brought it for someone at work who I didn't end up seeing so whoopsy I'm totally eating her melon.

WOW.

Anyway, if you're looking for melons to grow next year and you want ones that have a compact growth habit (vines 3-ish feet) and single-serving sized fruits - I can now endorse the Minnesota Midget as being a fine fruit for Zone 8-9 climates.

Ok, was that short enough?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

I won't talk about my birthday after this. Promise.

I know I promised to turn 29 forever every year just like every other newly 30 year old, but I'm just going to stop that charade right now.

I'm 30 and I've decided it doesn't suck. So why pretend to be 29, even though it was proven to be rad?

See - you know what I mean. You newly (and oldly) 30 year olds, you.

Plus, how cliche to be all Oh I'm 29 don't you know even though I'm so not 29 and even when I was 29 I felt like everyone thought I was 30 because of how everyone lies about this age so I kind of felt like saying I was 30 (or 25) even when I actually was 29 so people would believe me or at least not think me some sort of shallow liar.

Which I obviously am not because I didn't try to lie even though saying I was 25 had a nice little ring to it. From what I recall anyway. That was a while ago. Ahem.

So - 30 is AOK with me and let me share with you the festivities because they were festive and suitably sucked down a good week+ because I'm very self-involved and can't be satisfied with one single day for my birthday of all birthdays, no. A week or more will do nicely, thank you.



Clearly, there was drinking.

I think I've moved successfully into my Tanqueray 10 stage, although I still love Bombay Sapphire very much. Which is a good thing because a lot of the bastard bars around here don't have 10 on hand and that officially irritates me.

Also the fact that ZERO bars have Diet Tonic enrages me to no end, but it doesn't stop me from asking while I cross my fingers. And I'm such a spoiled little Do you have any Diet Tonic beotch that I have actually started just ordering it as a "Diet 10 and Tonic" which I think is the equivalent level of annoyingness to ordering a coffee at Starbucks using no less than 10 words that may or may not exist on the menu. At least given the way the bar whore looks at me when I ask this anyway.

I don't really drink coffee, so I don't know if all these words are necessary, but since I don't order my drinks with any manner of whip or sauce or nuts on top or frosting or half-caff anything, I might still be less annoying than those people. Or not. You decide.



And because we are who we are, and that is to say we are food-centric whores, there was some eating.

I mean really now, we ate a ton. Bubba and my friends and my neighbors and my family indulged my every food-related fantasy over the week or so that I claimed as My Birthday Now Let's Do What I Want.

My belly really ran the gamut from the best cupcakes to authentic German pretzels to melon fresh from my garden to fried artichokes to poleta with truffle sauce to roasted green beans to pizza to, well, you see. I ate everything. And I didn't even feel bad.

Now, though, I feel bad. In the I-have-made-PMS-worse kind of way. I won't go into details, but I try to be really good right before PMS happens so that I don't balloon into some sort of circus sideshow during My Monthly Time, but this month I was 100% bad and now I feel like I should be saddled up and ridden around.

Take a moment to imagine this. It's truly horrible.


And when I wasn't eating or drinking (there were times, yes), we did a lot of fun things and then I did some things that are only fun to me and a weird chosen few and then we did some things that shouldn't be fun for anyone, but I'll get to Pineapple Express in a minute.

One of my favorite things in the whole wide world is the beach. And my favorite thing in the whole wide world is my dog at the beach because she loves it more than I do which is barely possible unless you're a dog with a big smile like this one.

When we get to the beach and I have her sit before I take her leash off (because I'm a mean dog mommy) she looks at me like, Really!? I get to run around? Here? I WILL BURST LET ME OFF THIS FUCKING LEASH! but all while she sits there and smiles and stares at me and wags as hard as she can because she's about to burst. And then I take her off the leash and she runs off into the waves and up onto the rocks and back and forth and sometimes even after the ball I keep throwing (and retrieving myself because she could just give a shit about it) and looks to me exactly like what Happy would look like if it were a thing.

Which, if you're her, it is a thing. A beach thing.


And in the category of fun shit that I like to do, I did some canning and freezing for winter because I think I'm a homesteader or something equally ridiculous given that we live in northern California where there's no real winter to speak of and Trader Joe's is like right there, but whatever.

And in the category of shit no one should like to do, we went outside of our usual repertoire of weekend and/or birthday activities and went to the movies. Something about hoards of people sitting in a big dark room watching a loud film of questionable quality where they can freely chew and talk on their cell phones even though the big talking box of popcorn says not to just isn't our thing.

But there we were, on Monday, our blessed holiday day off, sitting in the theater suffering because of my poor judgment that decided we should go see Pineapple Express because I'd heard it was hysterical and oh you'll totally love this movie, it's so YOU.

Wrong.

I won't go into specifics, because you all can decide what you like and don't like and what makes you lose hope in the American film industry all by yourselves without my interference, but I will say that the fact that someone thought this movie was so me is just depressing and also wrong. At least from my POV.

Because, from the inside, I don't feel like a disjointed, pointless, unedited, sloppy waste of time, which is what this movie looked like to me. Although, hey, from the inside, this movie might feel more like an intelligent 30 year old with better things to do than stare at a mindless and unclever swear-fest while seated next to The World's Worst Father and his seven year old son who was quickly memorizing all the braindead lines in this shitshow.

And yes, I did criticize this movie for its swearing-ness. Which, I think you realize is really something coming from me. And also ironic, but that's not the point. I mean, maybe I was just infinitely aware of the toddler mimicking the dialogue next to me while his Bastard Father took a nap, but either way, this was an awful and painful waste of my holiday afternoon and I was only half way through the thing when I knew I'd be wishing for those hours of my life back.

And I liked Superbad and Grandma's Boy (loved) and Jackass Number Two and Borat and a million other so-called retarded movies, but I do believe even my standards are too high for this lameness.

We will probably never go to the movies again.

And because the theme of 30 should be AWESOME instead of horrible, as my last rant would insinuate, there were a few life changing-ish events that occurred during My Birthday Now Let's Do What I Want that I should address. Specifically those that have to do with riding a bike.

A bicycle bike.

Oh yes, let it be known that 30 is the year that I went back into the water with self-propelled wheels and *GASP* had fun. More on that soon.

And with that, let's end the I'm 30 talk.

It's September and people (assholes) keep saying "Fall" and football starts next weekend *pees pants* and my race is in less than a month *shits pants* and my best friend is coming for a long weekend soon and holy crap the tomato plants think they're going to produce a third crop for me. And OH MY HELL I am actually knitting something.

Oh, and don't forget to put your name in the hat for a Pickle Visit.

That's all the randomness I'm prepared to put out there today. You're free to go.