Thursday, July 24, 2008

They better not screw this up.

Because I've always thought Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs would make an awesome movie.

I dig the disaster movie spoof spin, too.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Who, me, disappear off the face of the Internet?

No, never. I never go more than a week without blogging! Horrors.

Moving is a pain in the ass. (Also, I say the word "ass" in apparently inappropriate contexts! And then get called by HR people to be told so! And may miss out on jobs because of it! My potty mouth is getting me in trouble!) Kevin rented a truck last Saturday and together we moved half our stuff. We will be moving the rest of the big stuff this Saturday, only now we'll have a few extra hands. We've also been making car trips daily with our smaller stuff.

I'm basically living at the new house now, but for sleeping and feeding the rabbits. All my clothes, food, and shower items are at the new house, but the bed isn't moving until Saturday. I plan to move the rabbits midday Friday--before packing up my bedroom entirely--and sleeping at the new house on a couch or something. The rabbits have to get set up in an xpen in their space so they don't freak out too much over all the moving furniture. My sister is supposed to come down and help, too. Hopefully I'm not so tired that I get bitchy and she snaps at me.

The shower here (well, my shower--there are three full bathrooms in this crazy house!) is a million times better than what I had at the Campbell house. There, the tub was almost always stopped up and I found no chemical or tool that gave more than a temporary reprieve from giving my feet a filthy bath every morning. The showerhead itself was messed up, with only half the holes releasing water and the pressure being adequate at best. Here, I have a low-flow head (that Kevin wanted to put in my old shower but that head was not removable!) that has amazing pressure. The shower is a stall, not a tub, and its drain works fine. It's the best shower I've had in ages.

But moving is totally killing me. Our Campbell house is a mess and I'm constantly kicking up dust (mixed with hay and rabbit fut, no less) so it's allergy mayhem. Being this stuffed up makes sleep harder, and I get a little sore throat and chapped lip action, so that's awesome. Plus it's been hot and I'm carrying heavy things, which I don't typically do, so I'm sore and feeling icky.

I haven't been able to deal with serious job-hunting tasks all week. I am up for a job at GiggleSugar that sounds rad, and usually I don't name the places I'm going, but it's a blog. Blogs link to blogs, it's a rule. I had a few interviews last week that went somewhat well but I probably won't get those jobs. I randomly get emails from recruiters who find my resume posted somewhere, and while most of those are not jobs I qualify for or want, hell, they can have my resume in their system. I am in pretty dire need of a job.

Speaking of dire needs, we need to get rid of our crappy couch. I am getting no love from the Craigslist free section. C'mon, people, please come take my couch! We bought a pair of new (to us) ones that are comfortable and nice-looking. And huge. I think the seat cushions are almost as large as a twin bed.

I am looking forward to being DONE with moving and maybe having some people over to hang out in the new space. Katamari party, anyone?

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Today's menu.

In the midst of planning a move (we signed a lease yesterday for a place in East San Jose; it's huge and y'all can come visit!), preparing for TWO interviews early next week, doing a writing sample for another potential job, and dealing with my expired ATM card, today I am making good on a promise to prepare my friend Steve a birthday dinner (a couple weeks late). I came up with a few menu ideas and he chose the Middle Eastern theme, so I'm cooking up a storm, including a number of recipes I've never made before.

We've got:
  • Hummus -- my own recipe, though it came out a bit thick so I may reprocess it later.
  • Baba ganoush -- eggplant is roasting now.
  • Gibneh beyda a supposedly Egyptian dip with feta cheese, yogurt, minced herbs, and lemon juice. If Kevin weren't vegan this would totally go in the regular rotation. I used nonfat Greek-style yogurt and regular-fat feta, but I bet you could use reduced-fat feta and it would still be good.
  • Fattosh (Lebanese-style mixed green salad with toasted/stale pita)
  • Vegetarian kibbeh -- typically a Lebanese-style stuffed meatball, my cookbook suggests this bulghur-based nut-stuffed dumpling was devised by hungry Christians for Lent. It was surprisingly easy to make, though like many recipes involving stuffed something, I had at least twice as much filling as necessary. Snackable!
  • Mudarara, a simple rice and lentils dish with browned onions.
  • Egyptian-style spinach omelet -- the picture just looks so yummy.
  • Pitas -- I was going to attempt to make some, since flatbread is usually the only bread I make successfully, but I didn't have time to get yeast and decided to just buy some.
  • Apricot granita -- Steve isn't doing desserts now (one less person for me to force delicious cookies on!), but maybe a fruit slushie? Whatever, we had a ton of the damn things in our share this week and I think I prefer them frozen.

I may post pictures of things later. When I am too lazy to do all the other shit I need to do right now. Ack.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Sometimes ups outnumber the downs...

Does anyone else remember that song from Disney's Robin Hood? I always loved that song. No idea why.

It's been kind of an emotional roller coaster week for me. At its worst, I thought I was never going to find a job, I was going to be homeless, and I was going to lose my boyfriend. At its best, well, I could laugh and enjoy the things I do have and generally look with hope towards the future.

After looking at over a dozen houses, Kevin told me Tuesday afternoon that he wanted to buy a house in Boulder Creek, a place I never, ever want to live. He wanted to buy a house there to live in half the week and rent an apartment near work for the other half, and I could live there but eventually he'd want to be in Boulder Creek full time. I was really upset and failed to convince him through yelling and tears that his logic was an epic fail. He reconsidered on his own, and via an email I sent him saying the same things but, you know, typed, so there wouldn't be screaming and swearing and crying. He agreed that it didn't make sense to buy a house somewhere he couldn't possibly live any time in the foreseeable future, and I think he didn't want to lose me, either.

Of course, this means no Santa Cruz house (boo, that would be fun), but it does mean we can narrow our search to the Silicon Valley area and try to find the best place we can. He doesn't want to buy up here because he doesn't WANT to live here and apparently buying a house is forever to him (I think a place near the light rail would be a halfway decent investment, but I'm the broke girl).

Just as he was making more calls to houses for rent in San Jose, my cell phone started blowing up. Yesterday morning I received THREE CALLS about actual jobs*, only one of which I had specifically applied for (and actually, I think that was with a different magazine than I'd actually sent my resume for). One of them was from a recruiter I met at the seemingly pointless job fair the day before, and the other was a new opening with a company I interviewed with a couple months ago and liked. Guess they liked me, too, or at least my resume was well-placed in the HR person's stack.

Between the sudden reminders that jobs do exist and eventually I will get one, the decision to stay on this side of the hill with Kevin, and the possibility of culinary school, my worldview is turning up.

Now it is shower time (in my incredibly slow-draining shower, one of the two things I will not miss about this lovely house, the other being that the neighborhood is kind of a pain to drive out of), then meeting a friend for lunch, then looking at another probably-mediocre house for rent.

* If you post your phone number on websites like Monster, you might get calls from people who are hiring for a position you are (1) not qualified for, (2) not interested in, and/or (3) not quite able to discern the nature of over the phone due to the thick accent of the caller. (I communicate pretty well with people whose native language isn't English in person, but over the phone it gets muddled. I have a hard time understanding perfectly clear English speakers over the phone, so a heavy accent just makes the situation worse.)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Fast food tries for health food again...and fails.

This time it's Burger King's "healthy" kid's meal with a cup of Kraft mac and cheese and apple slices with caramel sauce. It doesn't take a nutritionist to see what's wrong with this picture.

Sure, I downed gallons of "The Cheesiest" as a kid, forsaking all others (they tasted funny). I recall once throwing a massive fit at a babysitter over some missing ingredient that ruined our entire dinner. I was an awesome kid. And I enjoy fruits and vegetables cut into a julienne for no apparent reason with some kind of dip.

But let's deconstruct. Kraft mac and cheese has about ten billion milligrams of sodium per serving. It's made with butter (or margarine, and I'm sure they're not buying Earth Balance) and milk, it's made with white pasta, and its cheese is the definition of processed food. Any protein is negligible, and there's nary a vegetable in sight. Even I preferred my Kraft adulterated with peas and maybe a cut up hot dog.

Instead, I'd use a whole wheat pasta, or even one made with an alternative flour--quinoa shells aren't bad--and definitely add a vegetable of some kind. Spinach is great, or any greens, as are peas. Diced tomatoes, broccoli--many options exist, depending on how picky the kid is. If you're lazy, you can buy Annie's (the bunny-themed brand) instead and mix their processed cheese product (still high in sodium, to be sure) with plain yogurt instead of milk and butter. The yogurt trick is one of my favorites.

You can, however, make a sauce from scratch--I actually like to make one sometimes with a simple roux (fat and flour wisked together over heat until creamy and browned a little), then garlic, and adding my cheese (whatever's around, really) and some of the pasta's starch-infused cooking liquid to sauce it up. No cream, just cheese.

Another option involves making a vegan "cheesy" sauce with nutritional yeast. There are a few recipes out there (oddly, I prefer the version from Vegan with a Vengeance recipe for fettuccine alfreda) so you can experiment, but the resulting sauces are, to me, a tasty and healthy answer to Kraft's processed, just-add-milk-and-butter powdered cheese product.

The apple slices are fine, though I'd question their quality--most places seem to rely on the Red Delicious, which is the worst apple ever grown. The caramel sauce--eh, surely you can eat a FRUIT without adding more sugar, but hey, even then, couldn't you just dust it with cinnamon or something instead? Maybe the cheese could be served with apples--a few slices of a good, real cheddar goes phenomenally well with a tart apple slice.

Even better would be oven fries. Either regular potatoes, new potatoes, or sweet potatoes, tossed gently with a touch of oil and a pinch of salt and roasted to perfection. Just like french fries, but better. And you can still have a little ketchup, provided it isn't your only other vegetable.

I mean, eat fast food if that's your thing, and you let your kid enjoy fries, but don't pretend like it's going to be a healthy option. You people know this--when are the fast food chains going to own it?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I'm trying!

Today I went to a job fair sponsored by Monster. The advertising for it suggested bringing at least 20 resumes.

I showed up at 11. There were a lot of people standing in line to sign in, so I ended up waiting for about 45 minutes to get into the fair itself.

Which had about 12 tables with employers and a bunch of people standing in lines. As I reached the front of the sign-in line, an organizer started telling the still-long line that the employers were getting "overwhelmed" with people, so they were letting people trickle in and she appreciated their patience. She also said to talk to everyone and not assume you knew what they were hiring for, that talking to a bunch of different companies is the point of these things. I agreed. Until I got inside.

Insurance companies, staffing firms, middling tech businesses, and an elementary school district in Arizona--I don't care what they're hiring for, I probably don't want to work in life insurance and I definitely don't want to move to Arizona to teach 7-year-olds. I waited in line for the two staffing/temping agencies and talked to a representative from each for about 30 seconds. I got rid of two resumes and received two business cards with instructions to visit their websites.

All told, I got an hour's practice standing around in uncomfortable dress shoes and something to talk about besides house-hunting when I met up with Jenn for coffee afterwards.

But at least I tried.