Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cats in Wigs!

Here's a new book I know you'll all want to check out: Glamourpuss: The Enchanting World of Kitty Wigs.

And Mithra, Gary's cat, representing:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

No Coffee for Me

I've been trying not to spend money lately because I have some big house repairs coming up, so I just checked my three starbucks cards that I've been keeping around to see if I can get some coffee without paying out of pocket (can you tell I work for a health insurance company?).

They all have zero balances. Sad day for me.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sick and Tired

So weary ... Breathing is an effort.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lovely Beans, Wonderful Beans!

I've been making a lot of food from scratch lately- chocolate chip bran muffins, all types of bread, hamburger and hot dog buns, refried beans, dried and frozen strawberries.

I love the creamy refried beans I get with my Mexican dinners in the restaurants, so I finally looked up a recipe and learned how to make them.

Soak your beans for a few hours in cold water (I left them soaking for 10 hours while I was at work yesterday).

Alternately, you can boil water and cover the beans with that and let them soak for an hour.

Change water and simmer beans for an hour and a half or two hours, or until you can smash a bean on the side of the pan with your wooden spoon. Add some salt and simmer a bit longer. For added depth, boil beans with a ham hock or a few pieces of raw bacon.

When your beans are almost done, saute up half an onion and a few cloves of garlic in oil. When they are soft, add the beans and mash them all together, saving the warm beanwater (I use a potato masher).

When the beans are all mashed, add your warm beanwater (doesn't that sound appetizing? You can drink the leftover beanwater if you want) and stir. Make your beans a little runnier than you would like because they harden up when they cool.

Voila! Delicious refried beans. Enjoy in burritos or my favorite, with Doritos.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sew Sew Sew

I've been sewing a bit lately, which is unusual because it's mostly a winter hobby for me.

For my cousin Jennifer's baby's birth (I think she had her c-section a couple of hours ago. Eee!), I decided to make her a quilt. Since she not only threw me a baby shower but also cleaned the dirtiest parts of my house (bathroom and kitchen), and I offered to throw her a shower and then didn't, I racked my brain to figure out what could make up for that heinous shortfall.

A homemade quilt seemed the closest thing, so I got some brown and periwinkle (Baby Jimmy's colors of choice) animal prints and a big swath of robots and astronauts on the moon (for the back).

I made a baby quilt from a kit a week prior, and the tiny blocks with slippery minky and satin fabric took much longer than I'd anticipated. I made the blocks for Jen's quilt nice and big, and I only used cotton. It went much faster and was a lot easier to cut and sew. Nuts to that synthetic fabric!
Everything went swimmingly until I got to the binding. It's a nice bright orange to match the lions, two inches wide and satiny soft. I made my dad a minky blanket for Xmas and completely butchered the binding, so I kept that in mind as I attached my hulking zig zag foot to my sewing machine (a vintage Singer 301A which only does straight stitches).

I practiced a bit and figured out how to make nice wide zig zags, then started in on the binding. Modern sewing machines zig zag by moving the needle, but my 1950s machine has a big foot that actually moves the fabric. Side to side it zigged and zagged, I pulled on the binding, and after a couple of feet I could tell that my top layer of binding was getting longer than the bottom layer.

I ripped it all out and am now on the prowl for a new machine. (Whether I can afford one or not is a matter of debate.)

My darling friend Dawn is going to finish sewing the binding for me and if it's anything like the blanket she made for Smacky, it will be perfect. Then I can get a new machine that's a little more sophisticated, and I can start using my feet to do all the work. There's a foot for almost everything, even making ruffles. I have been living in the dark ages, I tell you. The DARK AGES!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

This Year's Performance

I suppose it's a cardinal rule that if you don't want people to know about your skills and talents, you don't reveal them.
Most of you who know me know that I have little patience for karaoke. I can listen to classical singers who are learning or trying, but drunk people who are singing pop or rock, hideously, no.
Unfortunately, I gave in to peer pressure at a holiday party a couple of years ago, performing the singer's Christmas carol, O Holy Night. (Singers, am I right? Is it not the least cliche Christmas carol and the most fun to sing?)
Ever since then, the CEO has been trying to get me to sing at the Sales and Marketing Celebration that LifeWise puts on every year to talk about the year and recognize accomplishments.
Last year I declined because I wasn't sure how pregnancy would affect my singing (not much, after all). This year I figured I'd better do it or else, so I talked to my coworker Kristin, who also has a music degree and plays the cello. She was so openminded (or flumoxed, like me, by the lack of literature available to soprano and cello) that she allowed me to choose the song AND wrote her own part. Whee!
This year the performances were a talent show of employees, and we were all competing to win $5000 for the charity of our choice. Since I didn't think my choices of Planned Parenthood and Naral would go over well, Kristin chose a junior diabetes organization.
We added some stupid funny to our performance of Verborgenheit by Hugo Wolf, with fake crying, me pulling a tissue out of my bra, etc, and the crowd roared when we were finished. Although we didn't win, someone took a photo and it ended up on our company iWeb. Look at me, all grunge! I wish I'd had a Nirvana t-shirt, my skateboard and/or my big black doc martens.