Monday, March 31, 2008

Real Time Dinner Blog!

As we speak, I am enjoying tonight's dinner! (The Husband has gone upstairs to put Miss Baby down for bedtime...) I've made Penne alla Vodka based on the recipe on page 217 of the Gourmet Cookbook. It has been just a little over a year since I made this, and it has been too long! The recipe is ridiculously easy. I add more tomato puree, cream and vodka as otherwise the portion sizes are a bit too small. I've also made a caesar salad, with red grapes. Yummy!

Paperback Wrapper...

The same woman also guessed "Spanning the Bible" on this evening's Wheel of Fortune.

Correct Answers: Paperback Writer and Spanning the Globe.

Smitten Kitchen

It's been almost four years now and we've finally decided to step closer to taking the plunge.... of remodeling our kitchen. By remodel I mean gut, or more possibly, firebomb. That being said, we are completely enamored of our appliances (other than our gas cooktop) and noting that due to electrical problems in our current wiring (see: original installation by Edison, Thomas A.) our "double" oven is technically more of a "single" oven, with lighted storage compartment.

Alas, the local Home Depot was sponsoring the "Ultimate Kitchen Event" wherein, if you spend X amount on such-and-such you get some sort of discount on Y, etc., etc. It's been so long since we scheduled our original measurement I've completely forgotten what discount it was that motivated us to finally do this in the first place.

Part A of this process entailed a strange little man coming to measure our kitchen and utility room, even taking pictures. While he did measure a lot of the aspects of our kitchen, he apparently didn't measure the existing cabinentry or appliances, which has caused somewhat of an issue with our "design consultant" (more on that later...)

Once the measure was finalized we made an appointment to visit the store. In preparation for this visit we perused four years' worth of "This Old House" magazines looking for design ideas and dug up all of the specs for our existing appliances. We also had the hard wood floor guys come back and give us a ball park estimate on refinishing the existing floor (note to self-- we really don't want to find out that what lies beneath the existing floor is either a) dirt or b) the remains of Claude Musselman, thus refinishing, rather than replacing, is our option of choice).

Unfortunately, it would seem, any prep work we did was all but in vain. Once we met up with our "Design Consultant" she made every attempt possible to convince us that the design plan we had in mind was ridiculously impractical and even more simply put: stupid. What about the work triangle? She mused, she, after all, is the "expert"! Why, her design even has room for hidden garbage cans next to the sink and a cubby for a microwave! (Needless to say, Design Consultant doesn't quite grasp who she's dealing with).

We tried to hold our tongue, but only after getting into a semi-argument about why we didn't need to lower the ceiling in our utility room. Then we had a small blow up about whether we could move the door to the utility room. Design Consultant baffled at the concept that the interior kitchen wall is concrete. The initial meeting was more stressful than a conference call from The Job!

We took about an hour and a half (which was frequently interrupted by other customers and various phone answering by DC)... then we rescheduled for a second visit.

In our second visit, DC actually put together a design plan which was somewhat in accordance with our request. Indeed, there is an island and she did have the fridge and stove at opposite ends of the room (work-triangle be damned!) A few moments into our visit, however, DC received a phone call from one of her other co-horts in the design department. From DC's end of the conversation all we heard was an aggravated "these people are real pains-in-the-asses" sound, which was clearly in response to the person on the other end asking, "how are things going?" Only moments later we got into a battle of wills over whether or not there is a three inch waste pipe running behind one particular wall of cabinents. She was convinced it could not possibly be there, as the cabinents are clearly 24 inches from the wall, as depicted in the photos. We said, but there is a waste pipe that comes from the bathroom above and it exits the house on the other side of the kitchen, trust us, the pipe runs *behind* the cabinents. We've seen it, we know it exists. No, you're wrong, it can't possibly be there. (Fact: cabinents are 27 inches from the wall. 24 inch standard cabinent bases, with 3 inch gap... so much for the "photos").

This was much like when DC was convinced that I just *had* to have at least 18 inches of countertop on either side of my existing cooktop. I said, nope, I have not more than 12 inches. She whips out the photos and proceeds to tell me that I have no concept of space.

I went home, just to prove she was wrong and measured... I have 12 inches of countertop on the left side and 15 inches on the right side (however, that fifteen inches is taken up with a utensil bucket, kitchenaid artisan stand mixer and a 3 piece set of Emile Henry bowls so actual usable space is about 4 square inches.

Anyway. DC is then telling us that we don't want marble, it stains. AND, when we told her that we wanted to move the fridge from one wall to another she insisted it was impossible to do so. We also noted that we didn't want any wall cabinents in between our two windows, instead preferring a flat screen tv. DC actually said that she would "compromise" with us and let us have the TV instead of the wall cabinents, but only if we keep the fridge where she had originally intended it.

It took every fiber of my being to keep from asking her just how much of this remodel she intends to pay for....

So, that's how its been so far. We have yet another appointment this Friday wherein I'll have to break it to her that *YES* I do want to move my sink to beneath the second window, despite the fact that DC claims that "no one really looks out the window when they're using the sink." I beg to differ, when your kitchen is effectively in a hole and the window is at ground level, you'll notice you do tend to look out it. AND I'll also get to try and convince her that a) we don't want undercabinent garbage facilities and b) we are the only people in the developed world that do not use a microwave. Wish us luck.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

It's Not You...

I liked this article in the Times today. I guess I have some nerve given that I've noted on the sidebar of this page that I'm currently reading "STori Telling..."

Ye Old Incompatible iPod...

I know I've written about this before, but I just get a kick out of it every time. This evening I'm adding to my iPod. Who would have ever guessed Vicki Carr would be iPod'd at the same time as LL Cool J? Ladies Love Cool James! :)

Letter of Day

We switched over to Verizon Fios on Thursday. During the conversion process it was rather traumatic-- we lost PBS for a good couple of hours which meant that we had no idea what the letter of the day was. Then, once our new cable was up and running it turns out that we have lost our Delaware/Philadelphia PBS station which means no more Sesame Street at 10am. Then, just to add insult to injury, in the family room, the Verizon guy completely forgot to even program our new DVR box and when we try to watch *any* PBS station they're "unavailable". When I called Verizon this afternoon the representative actually said she was shocked that we're getting any tv reception at all in the family room as the installation tech failed to register the box with our account. I think it's just the PBS gods trying to make us feel guilty for not donating.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Rolling Blackout...

This is an interesting concept... a rolling blackout around the globe on Saturday at 8pm local time. Go out and see the stars!

Save H20 Part Deux

Today we went to return the cable boxes to Comcast. A Saturn pulled up into the space next to us. It had all sorts of "save the planet" type environmentally themed bumper stickers. Ironically, the woman driving it had to leave it running while she went into the Comcast office. I don't think it was because she was in a hurry.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Fun Day....

Yesterday Miss Baby and I headed into the city for a visit with Thisbe, the Wee Kraken, Call Me Mommy and Baby! As always it's wonderful to see the ladies and babies and we had a nice lunch at 40 Carrots. Unfortunately, The Job crept in via Blackberry. I did, however, feel some vindication in being able to send a semi-snotty email to a partner at another firm, all the while, standing in line at the checkout in the baby clothing department at Bloomingdales!

Fortune Cookie!

This evening we had PF Chang's.

My fortune was: "A friend in the market is better than money in the purse."

In this market? Not so much.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Interesting!

410e9th has added a voting button in which blogreaders (such as yourself) can vote on whether 410e9th is taking this blog too personally, or not personally enough! Do go and cast your vote (what a fun web-gizmo!)

ps. usually I'm just trying to get to a punchline (but Hillary does scare the bejeezus out of me!)

pps. I thought it was awfully lame when today on "The View" none of the women on the panel could remember that Bill Richardson was the Secretary of Energy. I'm guessing then they certainly couldn't recall any of that whole "Wen Ho Lee nuclear espionage scandal...."

Oh, Dear

Apparently, a number of well known companies have be put on the S&P Watchlist, including (gasp!) Loehmann's. (No, not Loehmanns! We love Loehmann's!) and, oddly enough, the Chiquita Banana people. Hmpf.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Breakfast for Dinner!

We have leftover ham. A lot of leftover ham. For years I've been hearing my mom say how she uses a hambone when making split pea soup. That's the plan for Wednesday, tonight? Tonight we used leftover ham for..... (drumroll please...) Eggs Benedict! Woo-hoo! I got ciabatta bread from Wegman's (instead of using English Muffins). I fried up pieces of ham (sliced thanks to the Husband), poached eggs and then made hollandaise sauce (okay, that was from a mix). On the side I made hashbrown potatoes with red peppers (ala Sarabeth's...)

Not a bad first benedict effort, if I may say so myself!

Yay!

Oddly,

today we saw a wild turkey crossing Promenade Boulevard. Nobody ever asks why the turkey crossed the road.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Itsy Bitsy Yoga!

Is on again for tomorrow. We'll see how it goes. Last week was a surprise success, with seemingly fun moms, tots and a nice instructor. (Though the parking situation at the Gym was awful.... really, everyone goes to the gym at 9:30am??)

The project continues!

Today, after but a few moments of checking through one of the cabinents in the family room I uncovered our old VCR. I've gone ahead and reserved the first three movies through the NYPL online. We'll be getting started pretty soon! Who's popping the popcorn??

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

NYPL!

The library card has arrived.

SAVEH2O

The other day we were out and saw a first generation Prius loaded up with a bunch of environmental bumper stickers and sporting the vanity plate: SAVEH2O. Do you think the NJ vanity plate charge is waived when your plate is a PSA?

A More Perfect Union...

Okay, so I know I'm going to get stoned to death by a jury of my peers for this one, but what the heck.

This is a link to Obama's "A More Perfect Union" speech, which he apparently mostly wrote himself. Question-- how is it that someone who can prepare such eloquent speeches and profess concepts of unity and understanding and hope possibly could have sat through the diatribes of Rev. Wright for so long if he really objected to the "offensive" portions of their content? From an intellectual level alone you'd think you'd either say something to the guy or get up and leave (long before now). I think this would all make a lot more sense if he just did a David Patterson and came clean-- all he has to say is that he was just going to church to make his wife happy. That, to me, is a more plausible explanation. ;)

ps. this is, in my opinion, another reason for the importance of the separation of church and state. Unless it's Shirley MacLaine, it's always a deal-breaker for me when politicians have prominent spiritual advisors. But that's just me.

Why, Mom,


are you interrupting me while I'm watching Wheel of Fortune??

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Yee-Haw!

All I have to say is, the pony's been booked.

Monday, March 17, 2008

A lot's been going on,

but no blogging.

Saturday marked my first mom's day out since December (I don't count the two bar taking days...). Last time I hit the town with the Dad, seeing the Homecoming and hitting up Sarabeth's for brunch. This time it was catching up, chatting and shopping with Leda and Mel! A fun time was had by all, and we must do it again soon!

Sunday Miss B and I headed up to Connecticut to see Thisbe in her show! Leda, Demetri, Mel, Mike and Moritz also hit up the matinee so it was quite a fun event! Thisbe was fab and Miss B really liked the music and all of the singing (though we did have to head out to the lobby on a number of occasions as Baby wanted to join the chorus).

Today was a fast-paced day of lunch with the Husband at Panera, a visit to Babies r' Us (where we snagged a truly adorable baby Yankees cap!) and grocery shopping at the Wegmans. Leave it to the Wegman's cashier to put my loaf of pepperidge farm bread in the same bag as a five pound sack of potatoes. Furthermore, my baguette arrived home at a 45 degree angle. Clearly this man had an issue with carbs.

On the meal front, it's been a fun past few days. The other day I made a great tomato bisque soup thanks to an organic tomato soup from WF (doctored up with some special ingredients including a can of fire roasted tomatoes, a bit of cream and some various spices), a nice caesar salad and herbed goat cheese toasts. Then we had do-it-yourself soft tacos, and finally, rounding out Friday night with sliders and french fries. I had been using 80/20 ground beef from Wegman's (Bobby Flay had recommended 80/20 on the burger episode of "Throwdown") but instead this time I got 85/15 from WF and it was really great! Tonight we did Croque Monsieurs with a nice salad (topped with lemon vinagrette from one of Ina's cookbooks). I'm still getting back into the swing of theme weeks. I've gotten some great cookbooks from the Mom recently (including a Jamie Oliver and two Lidia cookbooks, so we'll see what the future holds!)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cutie!

Kung Fu Cable

For the past three days the cable in the family room has been broadcasting the sound about a good 10 seconds ahead of the picture. While watching animated children's programming the difference doesn't seem too bad, since cartoon mouths usually onnly move marginally to match the words anyway but it has been pretty disturbing to watch regular tv. I feel like I'm perpetually in a badly dubbed chinese movie.

Other tvs? Fine.
This tv when watching a DVD or a Tivo'd show? Fine.
Switching from Comcast to Verizon? Can't happen soon enough.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I'm going to get you a library card...

So, the game is on. Today I signed up on the internet for a NYPL library card which will give me access to those Best Pictures not yet on DVD! This, thanks to the fact that the NYPL will give a free library card to anyone so long as they live, work, own a business, own property or go to school in New York State (let's hope that the new Governor doesn't make any changes to these policies ;) Thanks to the fact that I maintain a work office in the city, I filled out the form and was all ready for my card! Not five minutes after I sent in my application I got an email back from the folks at the NYPL. The email indicated that they wouldn't be able to send my card out of state to my home address. I'd either need it to be sent to my work address or I'd have to pick it up in person. So I gave a call, figuring I could arrange for a pick up since if it went to my work address god only knows when it would get forwarded home. I spoke to a lovely woman and I mentioned that I was working part-time and that it would be a while before I would be able to get mail from work. I couldn't even get out the suggestion that I'd pick it up before she said, "I'll mail it to your home." Yes! Now when I go to pick up my reserved tapes I'm going to have to show proof of my NY address. I'll be digging up a business card and then I'm good to go!

Top Chef!

It's Back! Woo-hoo!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Mark Your Calendars...

the local mom's group sent out this reminder:

Mark your calendars, Hindi for preschoolers tomorrow at the W. Windsor public library!

Monday, March 10, 2008

A New Endeavor...

The Husband asked the other day if I was having a hard time unwinding from the bar exam. I responded that I thought I wasn't having any problems, but then realized that over the past week I had made appointments with every kind of contractor known to man (carpeting, cabinent/countertop people, hardwood floor restorers, fencing installers, mason/stone pointing people), read a 315 page nonfiction book, caught up on two months of periodicals, entered two more art contests, began making felt play food for Miss Baby, and prepared a full punjabi dinner (both meat and vegetarian).

So maybe there was something to this idea that I haven't been able to properly relax since taking the bar. Since taking care of Baby and working part-time from home leave me with such a lot of personal time, I've decided to watch all 80 Best Picture Academy Award winners. Why not? I can do it while knitting (Dad-- your pumpkin hat is almost done!) Below is a list of the winners. Part of the challenge of this project is a) finding all of the movies on VHS or DVD and b) locating where I put my old VCR. Oh, the other rule? I have to watch them *in order*. If you have any of the movies below that you wouldn't mind lending, it would be much appreiciated! Oh, and of course, progress will be reported on the Blog.


Wings
The Broadway Melody
All Quiet on the Western Front
Cimarron
Grand Hotel
Cavalcade
It Happened One Night
Mutiny on the Bounty
The Great Ziegfeld
The Life of Emile Zola
You Can't Take it With You
Gone with the Wind
Rebecca
How Green Was My Valley
Mrs. Miniver
Casablanca
Going My Way
The Lost Weekend
The Best Years of Our Lives
Gentleman's Agreement
Hamlet
All the King's Men
All About Eve
An American in Paris
The Greatest Show on Earth
From Here to Eternity
On the Waterfront
Marty
Around the World in 80 Days
The Bridge on the River Kwai
Gigi
Ben-Hur
The Apartment
West Side Story
Lawrence of Arabia
Tom Jones
My Fair Lady
The Sound of Music
A Man for All Seasons
In the Heat of the Night
Oliver!
Midnight Cowboy
Patton
The French Connection
The Godfather
The Sting
The Godfather Part II
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Rocky
Annie Hall
The Deer Hunter
Kramer vs. Kramer
Ordinary People
Chariots of Fire
Gandhi
Terms of Endearment
Amadeus
Out of Africa
Platoon
The Last Emperor
Rain Man
Driving Miss Daisy
Dances with Wolves
The Silence of the Lambs
Unforgiven
Schindler's List
Forrest Gump
Braveheart
The English Patient
Titanic
Shakespeare in Love
American Beauty
Gladiator
A Beautiful Mind
Chicago
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
Million Dollar Baby
Crash
The Departed
No Country for Old Men

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Interesting....

Tim Yeo of the Financial Times notes, "the most important though so far largely overlooked consequence of Fidel Castro's long-awaited retirement is its significance for golf." Tiger Woods, watch out. Who knew, in addition to baseball, ol' Fidel is a PGA pro??? (Actually, Tim claims that Cuba's the next Pebble Beach... intriguing.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Friday Night...

It's 10:56pm on a Friday night and I'm watching "The Making of Miami Vice"-- not even the Don Johnson version, but the Jamie Foxx Colin Farrel one. This does not bode well for the weekend.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

We're Back!

So, now that the bar exam is over we can go back to real cooking! Tonight we had Chicken Makhani with Naan (from WF) and homemmade potato Samosas! I had seen a recipe in Real Simple for the samosas using (oh, my god...) left over mashed potatoes and ready made puff pastry. Needless to say I did not use left over mashed potatoes, but I did use Pepperidge Farm ready made puff pastry. For the samosa innards I boiled golden potatoes that I had rough cut. Once boiled, I drained the potatoes and added petite sweet peas, fresh cilantro, olive oil, garam masala, ground cumin, mustard seed, salt and garlic salt. I also diced a jalepeno and added that as well. The samosas were really good, though I think they could have stood for a bit more spicing.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Hmpf....

Nothing says "glamorous afternoon" quite like ordering 60 pounds of cat litter on the Internet.

Gemini's Twin...

This week's US Magazine horoscope for Miss Baby indicated that she is a techno-junkie. "Geminis, like you and Natalie Portman, need to put down the Crackberry". I guess it's not all wrong, Miss B does really enjoy playing with the remote control, cordless phone and she would certainly chew on our cellphones/blackberries if given the opportunity.

Where There's a Will....

So starting last May, for 85 days, Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman rode through Africa for their "Long Way Down" trip/documentary. For fans of "Long Way Round" this was quite exciting! I found out about the BBC website documenting the trip last summer (and added a perma-link, shown on the left side of the page...) and had been waiting this fall to see if the show would be carried on any stations here in the US. Unfortunately, only BBC Two seemed to air the episodes. Then I kept my eye out for the DVD-- no luck. Finally, we did a bit of research and decided to just order the damn thing from the LWR website. We've finished watching the DVD and now I'm starting to read the companion book (also unavailable in the US until June, but I managed to get a copy thanks to Amazon Canada!) Here's to looking forward to Long Way Up!