Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Hierarchy of Needs, or My Endless To-Do List, in no particular order...

  1. My house is a mess. It needs to be un-messed, in steps that are too overwhelming to detail.
  2. Rabbits are messy. Their mess should be removed as well.
  3. Too many blank walls. Too many piles of artwork waiting to be hung, or framed and then hung. Each placement is a new debate.
  4. Dear god, will the dishes ever be done?
  5. Work. I work five days a week and I am always busy the whole entire day and sometimes after. Work has its own to-do list, which company confidentiality rules compel me to avoid posting here.
  6. OK, mostly I am working on a tool thing and also planning for how we will show elections-related stuff in search results. This does not sound very involved when I put it like that. It is, in fact, very involved, and I have buried myself in it. This is 40+ hours each week of my head being chock-full of thoughts that cannot be displaced with "life."
  7. The yard. It's useless. Full of weeds and a "compost pile" that's really just a heap of food waste that we hope rots nicely. We need the yard to not be full of weeds and mulch but rather pavers, wanted plants, fruit trees, and some comfortable patio furniture.
  8. To de-shittify the yard, we need to find some kind of landscaping contractor to do the job, which involves spending more time on Angie's List than anyone has any desire to, plus actually contacting, consulting, and negotiating with said people.
  9. Also the front yard, which has fewer weeds but a small lawn we want to kill and replace with native plants. The killing and the planning and the digging and the planting represent far too many items on the to-do list, not to mention item No. 1, which is getting up the energy/wherewithal to actually start.
  10. I like reading books. That's good for your brain, right? I want to spend more time doing that.
  11. Get out of the food and cooking rut. Get excited again.
  12. Actually speak to and spend time with other human beings outside of a work context. Being friendly with people I am engaging in some kind of transaction with does not count (see also: why I love Sunday mornings).
  13. Groom the bunnies, even though they hate it. Especially Ollie.
  14. Magazines! I'm behind on every magazine I subscribe to. That also counts as brain-reading, right? It's not like I read Cosmo. These are, like, feminist magazines and stuff.
  15. Sleep more.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

This father's day marks the ninth without my dad.

I tend to ignore the holiday when it rolls around--not much I can do. I'm not within grave-visiting distance, and honestly, sadness and missing come in their own time, not according to the Hallmark calendar.

More than half the men I know now are fathers. There's newborns and toddlers right on up to the parents of grown children. (Mostly I know the parents of young'uns, of course; that's just the age I am.) If I think too hard about it, about their age and their kids' age, I compare it to my own age and my dad's, and line up timelines like they're some kind of meaningful statistic. They're not.

One of my good friends, who had a daughter with his wife two years ago, is about to turn 40. I remember my dad's 40th birthday. My mom organized a big "Over the Hill" surprise party at a hotel restaurant, with family and friends. I would've been 8. At the time, 40 seemed so old. At 30, 40-year-olds seem downright youthful. But mostly I remember it was just a lot of fun--a fitting celebration for a good man and a great father.

I don't know what my friend is doing for his 40th, though I wouldn't be surprised if there's a party. When they had the baby, we slowly lost touch. Now I mostly see them when we happen to be at the farmers' market at the same time, and there's about 10 minutes of catching up and a minute of promises to make plans, which never happens. Who knows whose fault that is.

We only got one more milestone birthday with my dad, his 50th. I think there was a party then, too, but things were different. I was a senior in high school and my dad had been diagnosed with terminal cancer a few months earlier.

Ten years ago in August. That's when we lost my dad. I am not sure when I last saw him, anymore; I just remember I wasn't there when he died. I was busy trying to sleep--opening shift at work the next day. My cousin banged on the door for an hour, and eventually my roommate let him in, but it was too late by the time we got to Olympia.

That cousin is getting remarried this summer. I haven't seen him in ages. I remember he wanted my dad to officiate his first wedding, but my dad, a man of strong faith, wasn't comfortable with the role, not being a priest and all. He didn't make it, anyway.

It's hard to say how much losing my dad changed my life. I have a good idea how much it changed my mom's and my siblings', but I was older. But it still hits me at the most random times, as well as the expected ones.

I hope my friends who are fathers get lots more father's days.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Weeds I have known and do not love

This isn't about food. And this isn't a blog I update much, since Facebook is a million times more convenient, but for fear of annoying everyone, ever, I just want to post about the weeds I am trying to remove from the backyard. And how much I hate them. In fact, this list is in ranked order.

8. Miners lettuce - it's edible, but dying off, and tends to come up when I remove other, more noxious weeds.
7. Oxalis or creeping woodsorrel - I'm not sure which it is, to be honest, but they don't bother me that much.
6. Groundsel and black nightshade - easy to remove, not that annoying.
5. Filaree - they look nastier than they are (spiky, but not really), but sometimes the buggers are hard to get out.
4. Field madder - dislike largely for its prolific nature and tendency to grow up between the chain link and wood fence, making it impossible to remove completely.
3. Sowthistle - meh to thistles and dandlelions, for they are often spiky and big and have soft stems that are difficult to pull out, roots and all.
2. "Little" mallow - this garbage's about 6 feet tall in spots, with roots as thick as my arm and impossible to pull out with my bare hands.
1. Catchweed bedstraw - hate it! Sticks on everything, then you find little burs and leaves on your clothes later, plus it is a skin irritant. Die, you horrible little plant, die.

Sometime soon, I hope to have happier topics. Assuming I ever update the blog again.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wordle: vegancooking

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cold weather solutions, one pot at a time.

Despite predictions of a stormy, gloomy, perhaps even snowy weekend in the Bay Area, I awoke to blue skies. It was admittedly chilly, though. I've been on a cooking roll lately, but I haven't been much for soup until today. Soup is the kind of thing I usually throw together sans recipe, so every time it's a little bit different. Here's what I made today.

Leek, kale, and white bean soup for a cold winter's night
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 leeks, cleaned and chopped (I like to slice the stalks lengthwise into quarters, then chop into 1/4" pieces)
  • 3+ cloves of garlic, crushed and minced (I think I had 7-8, but they were small)
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1/3 cup dry sherry
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp. dried tarragon
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 4 red potatoes, diced about 1" (bite-size)
  • 1 can cannellini, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped small
  • salt and pepper to taste -- I love black pepper in this kind of soup
In a large heavy pot, saute the leeks in olive oil on medium heat for a few minutes. Add the garlic and cook until the leeks are starting to cook down. Then add the carrots and cook until things begin to brown. Turn the heat on high and add the sherry to deglaze, then stir. Turn the heat down to medium high and add broth, dried herbs, potatoes, and cannellini. Bring up to a boil, then add the kale and turn down to medium and let it simmer until at least all the vegetables are cooked through. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then let it simmer a few minutes more before eating.

Once I had the soup sorted out, I figured out the direction I could go for a side: rosemary quick bread. I found a recipe that had been taken offline, but still available as a cached copy. Its original source was the '97 Joy of Cooking, but I had to veganize it, so it ain't cheating.

Rosemary olive quick bread
  • Flax egg replacement: 2 tbsp. flax meal mixed with 1/2 cup water, stirred and left alone for a few minutes
  • 1 cup unsweetened plain rice milk
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1-1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 4" sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped fine
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • handful chopped kalamata olives
Preheat the oven to 350' F. Whisk together the flax meal egg replacement, rice milk, and olive oil in a large bowl. Add the flours, baking powder, rosemary, and salt and mix to incorporate. Fold in the kalamata olives. Pour batter into a lightly greased pan--a bread loaf pan would be ideal, but I just had an 8" square glass dish that worked fine. Bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

...aaaand I just spent 20 minutes writing about my food instead of eating more of it. Now I'm cold and still hungry!