Thursday, February 28, 2008

Surviving February

What has another week brought? It brought definite good news for my friends Aaron, Anica, Chris, Sarah, and Stacey. Big applause to each of them for landing a clinical psychology internship for next year. I am real proud of all their hard work and wish them each good luck as they embark on this exciting new stage in their effort to complete their Ph.D program. Part of me was selfishly wishing for Aaron to be in Cinci and Anica to be in Indy. I'll just have to use some of my accumulating vacation time to head out to PA and IA to visit during the next year. The last few days in my old job have been twinged with some difficult emotional minutes. I really like these people. I got lucky in the random assignment of employees and ended up with a great bunch. I think it will be nice to not be their supervisor and suggest we meet up after work on a Friday someplace. I'll be moving to a new building next week - I'll probably get randomly searched by security when I leave on Friday taking with me my personal office supplies - because I could not function without hand picked pens and pencils, not to mention the desk caddy to store them in.

Starting next week I am going to try and get up even earlier than my current 5:45 alarm with the intention of hitting the Y before work. Going to the Y after work is just not an option - I have to many other things interfering. I tried the gym a few times before work in MtP and it worked out. I was pretty energized for the whole day and didn't have to suck down a couple of large soy milk lattes from either Java City or *$ to make it through work. One of the few things I miss about working in the HPB is that there was a nice coffee shop a couple of hundred feet from where I was working. While it can be expensive to have a $6+ a day habit for beverages it was often very convenient if you forgot lunch or needed an afternoon pick-me-up. It should be noted that people are not things in regard to what I miss about the HPB....

I am starting to try and find an apartment. My current free ride of house sitting comes to an end in Mid April when my spectacular grandmother returns from her winter escapades in Naples, FL. I hate the idea of moving - mostly out of sheer laziness. This also means I have to get some new furniture since I gave so much away before moving here. I have strong ideas about what sort of furniture I would like but I am also faced with the reality of what I can afford. Both my ideas and pocketbook will come together in my desire to live a less cluttered life. It will take me years to build back up the amount of books and collected paper that I had before moving. As to finding a place - I don't want to live in a huge apartment complex. All the noise and people that produce the noise are very unappealing to me. I need to find a cat friendly apartment even if my cat is not overly friendly. On that note Cairo the beast is looking rather trim these days and I am glad for it. She has also become much more socialble having spent some time under the tutelage of Craig and Cheryl. I am also thankful of that - so are any guest I have over. She has even felt kind enough to let me sleep until 6:30 - 7am on Saturday before she demands breakfast by jumping on and off the bed with enough force to wake me while wailing about being starved.

Did anyone catch 2.26.2008's No Reservations on Romania? It was hilarious! While I had to watch it on Wednesday evening thanks to the technology of DVR it was still so funny that I started to develop a side stitch from laughing so hard; by the end I had raccoon eyes from laughing so hard tears spilled down my face making my mascara bleed. Bourdain had some good snark going for the episode. Kudo's to Bourdain for recently quitting smoking for the health benefits to his young daughter. I wish I had made it to Miami for the Golden Clog awards - by all blog accounts that I could find it was a hilarious and liquor fueled snark-fest complete with Rocco showing up and in good humor presenting an award named after him.

My parents (and me) had people over to their house 3 nights out of the last 6 nights and I baked a lot of treats for work during the same time frame. It was lots of fun to try out new things and taste the results with friends. I have decided that the secret to good chili that is mild enough for my parents to enjoy is beer and tequila. Not to drink along side the chili but to actually put into the chili right after the meat and aromatics are finished caramelizing. Another good tip is to soak cut potatoes in cold water for at least an hour before cooking them - it helps pull some of the starch out of the potatoes. I roasted a pan of cut Yukon golds with garlic & rosemary seasoned olive oil. Having soaked the potatoes none of them turned mushy or stuck to the clay baking dish not to mention that the heavenly scent of olive oil with roasted garlic and rosemary permeated the house and the clothes I was wearing. I was tired enough from cooking on Sunday afternoon that my mom was able to shove me out of the kitchen and take over baking a birthday cake for our friends celebration. She did a damn good job too. While the cake didn't rise as expected the texture was lush and the taste was really good. She also made the German chocolate cake icing. Its fun when someone surprises and impresses you. She did leave the icing of the cake to me - and I was happy to lend a helping hand.

I have made several things lately and their success was dependent on the quality of the cheese I bought to go into the dish. There is something about smoked gouda and smoked mozzarella that elevate the cheese to a different level making them both taste more full bodied and rich. It was well worth it to drive over to Lotsa Pasta on Saturday to buy a good block of Parmesan and some good aged 5 year sharp cheddar. The extra expense of the drive and the cost was worth it in the final product. Then again any dish with roasted red peppers, toasted pecans, and fresh rosemary ought to turn out well just from the heady scents those ingredients add.

I am looking forward to a weekend that is going to be in the mid to upper 50s. There will also be lots of fun with my now 10 year old super niece Delaney. I am anxious to hear how her big slumber party turned out last weekend. As a special treat I'll cart my laptop around so she can go to her favorite site and play her games... somehow I bet she talks me into getting her another Webkinz. - I have to admit that some of the stuffed animals are cute and cuddly. She does get the full retail prices worth of fun from them as she tears through the various games and earns points to decorate the animals houses. Perhaps I can interest her in some macaroni and cheese that doesn't come out of a box with a pouch of powdered cheese this weekend. I should just break down and buy a Wii and provide us all with hours of entertainment. I wonder if 10 is too young to try and learn Cribbage?

Well I am off for at least today - be well and be safe


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