Uterine Fingers

10:05 PM Posted In Edit This 3 Comments »
So I just posted a thing on Craig's List to hopefully sell my GRE prep book, and it popped up with one of those little confirm-you're-not-a-spammer things where you copy the words in the box and they look all crazy. Well, this time the two words were "Uterine fingers." It's just so funny and weird, I thought I'd share :)

Salary begets drones

11:16 PM Posted In Edit This 2 Comments »
Maybe it's just me. But at a certain point as the evening progresses, I stop doing actual productive work and switch over to non-productive, time-wasting, not-getting-paid-for-it work. Like google, wikipedia, grad school applications. Okay, no, maybe the latter can't be classified as work, but you get the point. I could choose to do more work, but after 7pm it's just not allowed. I have morals, people! Sometimes the draw is magnetic, but...
Okay, I'm being very vague. Here's what got me on this. It's 11:00pm, later than I usually go to bed. I'm done with any work allowed for the day (I finished at 8:59pm, so 2 hours later than previously specified) and I'm blog-stalking. Meaning, I'm sitting in front of my computer, too exhausted from yoga to walk up the two steps to my bedroom to sleep, reading all of the blogs that are listed on the side of my page, and some of the ones that are listed on the side of, say, my brother's page. Blog-stalk, silly, agreed. SO... that's what I'm doing. It's not work-related, it's a diversion. I considered posting earlier tonight, but I didn't have a good topic to rant on. Shopping? I made a trip today, looking for pants with a 25% off coupon to the GAP. I came home with pliers. So I was content to blog-stalk and get ready to hit the sack.
When suddenly, at 11:08pm, I get an email from work. "I haven't received _____, please email me ____ as soon as possible." Girlfriend, don't you sleep? (Just so you don't think I'm a slacker, I didn't know I was supposed to email it to her. I emailed it to someone else.) So then here's the question: I'm at my computer doing nothing productive, and I got that email when it was sent. Should I feel like "busted! I'd better email that off tonight!" or should I feel like "okay, as soon as possible will be within 24 hours, because I don't work past 8:59pm tonight, I loaf." I'm going to go with the second option, because I don't like doing administrative junk like billable hours (my dad groans with me on that one. But he has the flexibility to BS it, because he's important. I'm not.) I like the nitty-gritty with the kids. So, I go to sleep. Just because you're on salary... don't work all night! Do something fun, like looking up "esotericism" on wikipedia!

(PS, if you're someone from work, and you're reading this, DON'T FIRE ME. I'm not saying anything negative about the company or the people in it. Just mentioning how I value a little unstructured free time.)

Merely a coincidence?

9:57 PM Posted In , , Edit This 0 Comments »
...or is someone out there in cartoon-land reading my blog? Or looking into our windows when mom's feeling punchy? Because these things don't just happen:

Caroline pointed out that it was very different, because mom doesn't wear the outfit.
And mom said "I'm not the only hip mom!"

The most pimpin' version of the ABC's

8:20 PM Edit This 0 Comments »
Here's one of my fave bands, Tilly and the Wall, on Sesame Street, tearin' it up.

Tilly & the Wall on SESAME STREET from Team Love on Vimeo.

Magret de Canard au Porto

5:34 PM Posted In , , Edit This 1 Comment »
For all of the cooking I do, I rarely make forays into French cuisine. Last night, however, was an exception. I had a friend come over for dinner, and given the choice of Indian, Thai, or French, the guy chose French. For all of the cooking I do, I happen to not be entirely comfortable with French cuisine, though I whole-heartedly enjoy it. Since most of the readers of my blog cook, I thought I would share my experiences. I arranged everything very beautifully on a platter and had the table set quite nicely, but I failed to take pictures like I had planned. So, do your best to envision it!
I decided first to make mousse au chocolat for dessert, since I've made it before and I feel pretty comfortable with it. It doesn't take much prowess to melt chocolate and mix it with sugar. It did turn out better this time, however, because I took more care with the eggs. The feature of (real) chocolate mousse that makes it fluffy is beaten egg whites carefully folded into the butter-chocolate-sugar-egg yolk mixture. (Note that some poseurs mix together chocolate pudding and cool whip
and call it chocolate mousse. Impostors.) So, this time I beat the eggs together longer than last time, and as a result my mousse was much fluffier. Muito benne.
The main course was trickier. I pored over my two french cookbooks until deciding on squab, with a back-up plan for rabbit. The trusty internet, which only tells the truth, assured me that the Whole Foods in Pasadena always has a reserve of squab. I learned my lesson about blind trust and foodie blogs...
I walked away from Whole Foods with two whole breasts of duck, a small bottle of Port, a bunch of carrots and a turnip. And a T-shirt, but that was an unrelated impulse buy. It's cute though! And organic! I rallied all of my wisdom when I left the house with my favorite French cookbook, so I had back-up recipes at my fingertips when the dudes behind the meat counter turned down my several initial requests for less-than-American meat. ("No, but we have a pheasant!" Next time, I'm going to get that dang pheasant.) As an aside, I felt pressure to get an exotic game bird for my dinner, because they're contraband. When my parents go out of town, I like to be called "Contraband Kate." Pretty self-explanatory: wearing tank-tops around the house, eating smelly cheeses, and buying the meat of lesser-known fowls with little bones. My mom said to me before she left, "haven't you noticed that I don't serve anything with little bones?!" I laughed and made plans for dinner.
So T-shirt, cheap wine, and root vegetables in hand, I cooked. I roasted the carrots and turnip with two potatoes in olive oil and salt and pepper, but I don't think I got quite enough oil on them, because they tasted a little charred on the outside. Whatever, roasted veggies. On to the "Magret de Canard au Porto." Basically, I skinned the duck breasts, fed the skin to my dog, pan-seared them, put them on a bed of pan-seared golden delicious apple slices, and topped it all with a golden raisin and Port sauce. Sounds pretty good, right? Pretty easy? Pretty flawless? The thing is, magret is technically the breast of fattened duck. In America, we fear fat. We are fat, but we fear fat. In France, they laugh in the face of fat and are skinny. There have been books written on this paradox, but I think it's just one of the cruel truths of the universe: the French shower less, eat butter for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and wear the same outfit two days in a row, but they're still hotter than us. Who knows. But I digress... the duck I got was not fattened, so in pan-searing it, even with a few tablespoons of E.V.O.O., I had hardly any juices to show for it. Meaning, the apples didn't get cooked in any juices. Meaning, "deglazing" the pan yielded no extraordinary results, for there was nothing to deglaze. Meaning, I ended up with slightly charred-tasting duck to match the slightly charred-tasting vegetables. Of course I'm going to be critical of my own food- I'm sure it was pretty good. But next time? I'm just settling for the pheasant.

An Ode to the Belmont Public Library

5:26 PM Posted In , , , , , , Edit This 1 Comment »
So I thought that to absolve my sin of not blogging, I should expound a little bit on what I've been up to instead. Alright, I admit it--I've been reading! Lately I've had my nose in a book more than I had my nose in my "notebook."

Here's a list of what I've enjoyed lately:
"Peony in Love" by Lisa See
--This is just a fun little novel written about a lovesick 16 year-old girl in China, back when foot-binding was sexy. I liked it well enough, it was entertaining and educational, but I think it would have ended better if the novel ended with Peony's death and didn't follow her into the afterworld. It would have been the perfect tragic novella.
"Born in the Big Rains" by Fadumo Korn
--This is the autobiography of a Somali woman. She spent her childhood as a nomad in the steppee, wandering around with camels, playing with cousins, oh- and getting circumcised on a metal bucket, causing extreme emotional distress and rheumatoid arthritis to set in by age 10. Fascinating, beautiful, and educational. She lives in Germany now, and is an anti-FGM activitist.
"Emergence" by Temple Grandin
--Temple Grandin is a woman diagnosed with autism, who happens to be very high-functioning and has a Ph.D. in animal psychology. When she was a little tyke she didn't even talk, just screeched and "peeped." This book gives a fascinating glimpse into the world of an autistic person.

I'm currently reading:
"The Serpent and the Rainbow" by Wade Davis
--This is an anthropological text, which reads more like a novel or a well-crafted memoir by someone very educated that happens upon tangents now and again. It's about Haitian voodoo, which the author calls "vodoun" in order to distance itself from the hocus pocus that a lot of Westerners associate with this ancient African religion. His original point in visiting Haiti was to find a "zombi" poison that voodoo priests used to cause a death-like state in victims, while not actually killing them, so that they would be buried alive and re-emerge as zombies. His backers were hoping to find pharmaceutical uses for said poison, and then the interest shifted from the poison to the secret socities of voodoo.

Next on my list are:
"Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger
"Lord of the Flies" by William Golding
--Most people have read these books by the time they're my age, but somehow I squeaked through high school without reading them. According to my mother, it's because at my high school they weren't part of the Honor's curriculum. Oh, BHS, what a funny place. I would have loved to add "1984" by George Orwell to my stack at the library today, but the library in La Cañada is DINKY! How could a library not have 1984?! Really?! Never again will I take for granted my belovèd Belmont Public Library, where I spent countless childhood hours.