Thursday, April 29, 2010

Art car

This is totally awesome. Thanks again to Pathy for the link to That Will Buff Out.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Stir crazy and on house arrest

So Friday night we had a scare. I called the doctor's office and got the doctor on call (not my usual doc), who told me I was probably fine and to settle down, and told me also to take it easy, keep down with my feet up, and not do any heavy lifting. He told me to call my doctor Monday morning.

I called my doctor on Monday morning. He told me to take it easy, keep down with my feet up, not do any heavy lifting or housework, and call him Wednesday morning.

So I called first thing this morning, and haven't had a call back yet. I think that the baby and I are okay -- although I'd rather he had brought me in to confirm that -- because symptoms fell off rapidly and were gone by Sunday, and I feel... well, um, pregnancy-great, which means "pretty gross" to the rest of you. Sore boobs, nausea, sleepiness. When that's the stuff that reassures you, you can understand that the brain gets a little crazy.

And I'm still waiting to find out if AIM approves me. It ought to, but damn, it needs to get on with it. Yesterday I should have received notification; they are supposed to respond within 10 days of getting the application. But maybe they don't check their P.O. Box every day. I'm giving them until tomorrow before I start making phone calls. Maybe.

I am also trying to knit a wool soaker. Do you have any idea how tiny these things are? The waistband is like a wrist-band. So. Tiny.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Brutal and brilliant

Mark Dery rips Lady GaGa a new one. Brilliantly.

Political blog I like

Have I shared No More Mister Nice Blog with you yet?

Every day it gives me at least one belly laugh (often rueful) and at least one thing to get active about. I like it lots.

Infomercial World

Serious Eats found a couple funny videos, in which the incompetence featured in infomercials (the part where the screen is grayed out and everybody turns butterfingers) are showcased. Enjoy.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bad form, WellPoint (and the rest of these companies)

We lost my mother-in-law Carol to breast cancer. My beloved cat Pepe was a breast cancer survivor for 8 years of her kitty life (it recurs in cats; she had 6 mastectomies but handled them with hardy grace). I have many friends who are survivors. I've had two scares -- one a little blood clot, probably from a bruise, and the other mastitis from the hormones brought on by a miscarriage -- and I am religiously scrupulous about getting checked, eating my fruits and vegetables, and not smoking.

Breast cancer is so common and so dreadful that we try to donate a bit each year to research to fight it. It's so horrifying that WellPoint cancels policies for its policyholders who are diagnosed with breast cancer. And that is, of course, outside the horror I feel that they are betraying not only their contracts but the trust of their clients.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Now THAT'S vanity publishing

OMG. OMG. [link may be NSFW; certainly is NSFHumans]

I kyped the link from a Regretsy commentator. You know, just so you know I'm not actually searching for this kinda thing.

Do you use your slow cooker a lot?

This article at Cook Like Your Grandmother was really eye-opening. The most interesting thing for me is the way manufacturers have been cranking up the temperature on slow cookers over time; I noticed my new ones have been hella hotter than my old ones were, but had figured this for a flaw in cheap machinery, not a design decision.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Japanese Curry, from scratch

Make this.

Japanese Curry, from scratch
makes 4 very generous servings or 6 for people with lots of restraint

2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, sliced thinly
2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
1 or 2 small Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced or diced as desired
2 or 3 carrots, sliced or diced as desired
1/2 large granny smith apple, diced (or 1 whole small apple of whatever type)
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon garam masala (and if you don't have this in your kitchen, you need some)
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups broth or bouillon in water
-salt to taste (go light - I needed 1/2 teaspoon and used low-sodium broth)
-brown sugar to taste (if needed - up to 1 teaspoon)
-small squeezes of any of the following (which I totally didn't need) to bring up tartness, complexity, and the love level: ketchup, tonnkatsu sauce, or Worcestershire sauce
-a sprinkle of cayenne or other hot pepper

You will also need rice and your favorite crunchy-crusted cutlets for serving (might I recommend either Chik Patties by Morningstar Farms or the delicious Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomicon, if you don't want to fry chicken or pork cutlets?)

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan. Add onions and stir-fry until onions are richly browned. The browner the better. (Burneder is not better.) Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant. Add 2 1/2 cups of broth and bring to a boil. Then add potatoes, apple, and carrot, and allow to simmer until vegetables are very soft.

If you prefer your curry uniformly thick and saucy, you may puree the veggies. If you like it with recognizable veggies, leave them alone. I split the difference and just sort of drive-by'd them with a potato masher, which made an unattractive but delicious curry. Next time I'll puree, and the time after that, I will probably leave them whole. :) What I'm saying here is whatever suits you is fine.

In a skillet, melt the other tablespoon of butter and add the flour to make a roux. Cook and stir until flour loses raw smell, but don't brown. Add the curry powder.

Options for finishing: 1) If you did NOT puree the veggies, dip some of the broth out of them into the skillet with the roux and blend with a whisk; once you have a thick gravy in the roux skillet, add the roux mixture and garam masala to the vegetable mixture and stir. Add peas and let them defrost. Then serve a couple ladle-fulls of this on rice and cutlets.

2) If you DID puree the veggies, you will find that the broth in them is too thick to dip into the roux. That's okay. Add another 1/2 to 1 cup of broth to the roux, and blend with a whisk; once you have a thick gravy in the roux skillet, add the roux mixture and garam masala to the vegetable mixture and stir. Add peas and let them defrost. Then serve a couple ladle-fulls of this on rice and cutlets.

Optionally to the whole cutlet plan (although I scoff at your cutlet-rejection), you can add 1/2 to 1 pound of boneless chicken to the browned onions, and go from there. You won't be able to puree this option without it being gross, though. And you will miss out on the cutlets.

Do this.

I don't want to give the Colonel press...

...and haven't eaten at his death factory in decades. However, the new too-gross-to-be-true sammich without buns is getting a lot of (horrified) press online, and -- with complete revulsion -- I find it giddily hilarious (in that This Is Why You're Fat way. Think of it as Failblog for your arteries.)

Although it only begins to address my problems with the original and is in no way a comprehensive retrofit, I find this Vegansaurus overhaul delightful. And still hilarious.

Monday, April 19, 2010

And less churlishly...

The Flight of the Conchords making with the silly.

The conversation in the park is the best.

Wonderful churlishness

I love this thread and its fictional letter to the non-pregnant people in a pregnant couple's life. It's making the rounds at BabyCenter even among those of us not due in August.

Having been threatened with a long visit (i.e. the visits to another relative have been measured in MONTHS, not days) at the child's birth, while I was all of five weeks pregnant, I feel especially sensitive about the invitation issue. I'm not such a private person that I am mourning lost privacy, and nobody's been lunging to touch the belly yet, or anything like that.

What do I do about that visitation threat? Lie about my due date? Tell them I've moved to New Zealand and I don't know my new address yet? Threaten to kill them if they do it? Simply not allow them in when they are not wanted (which, hinty hint, will be most of the time for about three weeks of sleepless bonding time)? Ack!

Friday, April 16, 2010


I'm starting to show.

I'm starting to feel really queasy.

I'm starting to have cravings.


The best thing: when I went into my mom's office to make copies (of my AIM application, in fact), she was looking at an online week-by-week pregnancy guide. She turned around to me and announced that this week my baby is growing fingerprints, and they are unique. I responded that the baby is also working on eye pigmentation. We both grinned like idiots.

Life's good; I just see less of it, since I'm sleepin' a lot.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sesame Miso dip for artichokes, crudites, or whatever

I normally serve artichokes either 1) with melted butter (which is how I grew up with them, but Pat doesn't love butter all that much), or 2) with mayonnaise mixed with grated ginger and soy sauce to taste -- which is incredibly delicious enough to be popular with Pat even though he loathes mayo in its native form. However, I needed more protein in my day today, so I made a kind of half-assed tofu mayonnaise (i.e. I didn't make tofu mayo separately and then flavor it, I just chucked everything into the jar all at one time) with the same flavor profile. My, my! So delicious!

Sesame Miso Tofu Dip

1 sterile-pak of silken soft tofu
1/4 cup canola oil (maybe -- I eyeballed it, but go light. You can add if you want.)
juice of 1 key lime (or regular lime would do)
1 tablespoon or so of rice wine vinegar
1 very rounded tablespoon sweet white miso (this is my most favorite thing)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons ginger, minced
3 tablespoons or more of soy sauce
sprinkle of salt, just to bring up the level if needed
black sesame seeds, for sprinkling (you could omit them, but you'd miss them subconsciously)

Blend until smooth (I used my handheld thing). Sprinkle with black sesame seeds and serve as a thinnish dip for artichoke leaves, raw vegetables, or whatever your little heart desires. Would be (and the leftovers WILL be) dynamite as a pasta salad dressing.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Interesting Slate article: "It's okay for vegans to eat oysters"

I just thought this article was interesting.

I am by no means living the ultra-ethical environmentalist lifestyle that I would ideally live, but I agree in principle with most of this unusual article. Why am I not? Well, the exigencies of the moment are always something we define for ourselves, and I have made hard decisions to suspend my harshest judgment in favor of what I feel is my best judgment. I know some of you get varying mileage, here, and I respect any well-considered lifestyle -- whatever your reasons.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I love me some pasta, but Scordo's challenge project to eat every known type of pasta (within a year and a half) is a little bit crazy... albeit in a wonderful way. It's got me thinking about similar, delightful food challenges. Wouldn't it be fun to try, say, 52 soups in a year? Or 52 baked good recipes? (Or hell, lots of pasta, why not?) What can one do to broaden one's culinary horizons in a year or so, if one is really trying?

So I am going to push back against the sameness that creeps up on the omnivorous American quotidian diet. (When we were vegetarian, our cuisine tended to be far more experimental... and I know we can do it again!) I just don't know the dimensions of the project, yet. Any thoughts?

For the moment, it might have to be a brussels sprouts or cottage cheese challenge, since I have a vigorously developing passenger that seems to be a nutrition freak. I am fortunate that all of my cravings (except the odd pickle, olive, or lemon wedge -- I am into the sour/salty things! -- and one stray, mad passion for waffles) are for healthy foods: rye bread, spinach stems, carrots, red bell peppers.

Here's the critter:

(Yesterday the critter measured 7 weeks 1 day.)

We got to watch the heartbeat fluttering on the ultrasound monitor, and Pat got to watch me submit to medical indignities extensive enough to embarrass him. I will remember the joy we felt at seeing that heartbeat, and our tight hug afterward, me still hospital-gowned and ooky from the sensor goo, for the rest of my life.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Boners. Tea hee!

Via Warren Ellis, a collection of Tea Party signs featuring boners of grammar or spelling (or both!) rivaling G.W.B.'s malapropisms. These are amusingly being called "Teabonics."

In related news, my stepmom dropped several during her visit; although she certainly has her fair share of wingnuttery in her head, she was talking about innocuous things at the time. My favorite was when she described how a little tweak to a cooking recipe made the results "excrementally" better. (My brother made a click like a bomb about to explode, then refused to meet my eyes. Pat elbowed me furiously -- I thought because he thought I was very naughty for seeking Rob's gaze, but I discovered later that it was because he wanted to know if I'd heard it.)

I'm gonna say it: the original Tea Party was full of shit, too. (Mind that my source isn't exactly official, but #5 and #2 here sum it up nicely, if somewhat controversially.) But the current movement is not populated by our intellectual cutting edge. And that's all I need to say.

Today would have been my Grandma Red's birthday. She taught me how to embroider, bake, and drive, and was one of the darlings of my life. Her wise and temperate advice about marriage, I think, is the principal reason our marriage has flourished so well; she gave me a realistic and ambitious approach to relationships that contributes to my every day happiness and joy. She loved Cecile Brunner roses, lemon cucumbers, and birds. She also had a wicked sense of humor and she and my mother were locked for her entire life in a death-spiral of terrifying April Fools' pranks which I did my best to dodge lively. The last time we spent her birthday together, we frosted a cake with wasabi for her. Damned if she didn't eat her whole slice, saying, "There's some spice in this -- it's good!" while we all slowly choked down our own, wondering when, God, WHEN could we quit eating it?

Love you, Grandma.