erisiansaint: (Default)
( Feb. 15th, 2012 08:13 pm)
Well, not actually band camp.  Just went to a major band concert for the schools.  All the elementary schools, the middle school and the high school.  It only lasted an hour, and Tadlet sat in the front row, showed off, talked a lot, and actually played his flute.  (I was really proud of him, in spite of the teasing.  My kid?  No stage fright WHATSOEVER.)  But he needs to NOT sit next to his friend during a concert, it's amazing they stopped talking long enough to play. 

But seriously, remember the end of "The Music Man"?  The part where the kids start playing and they're SO BAD and the parents are kvelling anyway?  Well, these kids were much, much better than that.  But we parents were still the same.  "THAT'S MY FRANKIE!  PLAY TO ME, FRANKIE!"

Next week, he has off: mid-winter break.  (I honestly think kids get more vacations than when I was a kid.)  But the band concert's over and I'd very much like him to continue playing music in school.  

I like band geeks.
erisiansaint: (Default)
( Feb. 8th, 2012 03:51 pm)
So, as anyone who's been reading me on LJ (or is reading this now,) I have a son, who I've nicknamed "Tadlet."  And he's eleven.

Yes.  He's actually eleven.

And for some time, he's been bugging me to know why I cry when I cut an onion and bragging that he's immune, because he's never cut one before, and doesn't know what it's like.  Until today.

I'm making corned beef, today.  (My usual MO for corned beef is one onion, rough-chopped, the pickling spices in a cheesecloth bag or, (as today,) a fill-your-own teabag, and a few spoonsful of brown sugar to offset the salt.  Boil until tender.  Serve with mashed potatoes.)  And so, I cut the onion in half, and then had him peel them and rough-chop them.  (Yes.  I supervised.)  And at first, he didn't get it.  Then he started to, as his eyes started to burn.  Then it dissipated, and he complained vociferously.  So he voluntarily held his head over the pot with the onions in, until his eyes started tearing up, and then he started rubbing his eyes and then I realized that he needed to wash his hands free of onion juice, so I sent him off to do it.  Then he came back and declared that he was wrong, he's not immune.

I'm still giggling over this. 

Finally found the first post, so anyone who wants to start this blog from the beginning and go through to the end, start here: http://longforgottenhauntedmansion.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2010-04-25T19:40:00-07:00&max-results=1

(Yes, I just linked it AND posted the link. Shut up.)

Man, I feel like I could tell people far more about this ride than anyone cares about, and I haven't even read the book that got written about it. (Although, I now want to.)



So, I was reading TheBloggess.com, a wonderful blog that usually makes me laugh myself silly, and she put up a post about something I've seen before: some of the artwork from the stretching portraits at the Haunted Mansion ride in Disney. (The post in question is here.)(First note: I've never been to Disneyland, just Walt Disney World. And I never went to this ride until Grad Night, in high school. What I discovered that night is that the ride is /charming/. I also discovered that it's a good ride to make out on, as long as you don't get so engrossed that you forget to keep an eye out for mirrors.)

And that post had a link that led me to a blog that is entirely about the Haunted Mansion ride, an utterly fascinating blog that analyses nearly every single thing about that ride, from the Imagineers who created it, to the characters that they wrote and the way that the gags have to be humorous moments that you can pick up on in less than five seconds,  to the very wallpaper and the throwaway tidbits that people might not even be able to see, but are there to add to the feeling of the ride.

I do find it fascinating, what people will choose to geek out over, and the fact that the workers on this ride loved it so much that some of them wrote fanfiction about some of the ghosts, which is why the three hitchhiking ghosts, (all three are built around hitchhiker tropes: the Travelling Man, the Escaping Convict and...and the bald one who got named Ezra.  And I have just lost what trope he is.)  There's also a bride ghost, and the speculation about whether she's one of the ones from the stretching portraits and the family graveyard outside, (although that graveyard has been replace.  I never knew that the headstones were either characters or tributes to the imagineers who made it, but either way, I always loved those fake headstones.)

Anyway, the blog is called Long-Forgotten, and it's utterly brilliant.  I spent FAR too long reading it last night and plan to go back and read more of it today. 

Also, go read the saga of Beyonce, the 5 foot metal chicken.  You're welcome for that link.
It's been about a year and a half or so, since I posted here. (I'm not really sure how long, I am having massive brain drain and math is NOT my friend.) (Dreamwidth post, btw. I'm erisiansaint over at DW.)

But what with LJ fun all over the place, I'm thinking this is a good place to be. I should post on my LJ to let everyone know who I am over here, too.

Let's see. In knitting news, I'm working slowly on the Darrin cardigan from Knitty.com. Except I screwed it up and have to rip out pretty much everything I've done except the ribbing. Siiiiiiigh.

In cooking news, on Sunday, we'll be making a ton and a half of ribs, because we all decided to say "screw tradition, we want RIBS." I see no problems with this. Also, sadly, I tried making Smitten Kitchen's maple-nutmeg butter cookies. It was not a good idea. That much nutmeg just tastes WEIRD to me.

I know there's something on BBCA that I want to watch tonight. Now ask me what. Go ahead. I dare you. Then I shall laugh at you.

That's about it, for the moment. I'm going to go have cramps and wait for the Tylenol to kick in.
I am terrified of knitting socks.  

I don't begin to understand this.  I've knitted 2.5 pairs of Knitty's Twinkletoes, and those have a heel and a toe, and I shall be finishing the end of the third pair as soon as the recipient has tried them on.  (If they're too big, which I expect they are, I shall either rip this one out and redo it in a smaller needle size or finish it in this needle size and give them to a different recipient.  I haven't decided,  yet.  Either way, I am dissatisfied with the way the edging turned out, I may knit that back and redo it.)

And yet, I have never knit a pair of socks.  Or a sweater.  Scarves, shawls, hats, slippers, lace. 
Tags:
The cake ended up getting 2 cups of blueberries in the cake itself, instead of half a cup.  The agreement on that side is all positive, we LIKE it that way.  (That's not counting the half cup sprinkled on top, so there's a LOT of blueberries in this cake.)  The cake?  Scrumptious.  And a lot like coffee cake.  Just talking about it has me wanting some.

Next.  I have a cyst on one eyelid, my right one.  It hasn't gone away, in spite of doctor's visits and lancing it.  I get to visit a specialist to get rid of it, and that's already scheduled, but not until 7:15 am on Aug. 16th.  In the meantime, if I sleep lying down, and sometimes when I sleep sitting up, the goddamned thing ends up pressing down on my eyeball and it HURTS, which means I wake up, have to pry the eyelid open with my finger, and then hot compress it.  I am also officially sick of feeling like there's a grain of dirt in my eye all the time.

(I woke up that way again, this morning, so I am kvetching.)

 

That is all.

So, I want to make a cake, Blueberry Boy Bait from Smitten Kitchen.  And it's the right time, the You-Pick is open, so yesterday, my boy and I ventured out to go get blueberries.  (They're infinitely cheaper when you pick them yourself.)

First stop: the store, for cash and a drink.  Next, the farm.  Except most of the blueberries were either withered or not ripe yet, so we picked about a cup's worth, checked out, (thirty-six cents) and while it was a lot of fun, we ended up hot, a little tired, and without enough blueberries.  Which meant back to the store for blueberries and dinner.  (Luckily, the blueberries were on sale.)

I still haven't made the cake yet, I can't bear the thought of turning on the oven, it's too hot.

I went to bed far later than I should.  So, that's number one and a given.

Then, my son had a nightmare, two hours after that and woke me up by peering at me and whispering "Mom?" which meant I jumped.  I got him settled on the couch and went back to bed.

Half an hour after that, the cat knocked a container of LEGOS off the headboard, causing my SO to yell and jump out of bed, which, (since I had just gotten back to sleep) caused me to scream.  It took me a solid half hour to calm down, and another half hour after that to go back to sleep.

Two hours after that, the alarm went off.

One hour after that, I ended up holding a conversation about laundry with my SO.

An hour after that, the cat decided that if he headbutted me enough, I'd let him out.  It didn't work.

Half an hour after that, the phone rang.

Another hour after that, I became aware that my son was coming into the bedroom, repeatedly, to see if I was awake, yet.  He was very quiet, but I was still noticing.

By which time, my cat had decided that, since I hadn't let him out, yet, he'd start walking around on me.

I have now given up, but I am NOT sentient.  And I'm mean.  Excuse me, I've got to start laundry.

erisiansaint: (Default)
( May. 7th, 2010 11:30 am)
I'm sure most of you have read about the AAP and the ritual nick rather than actual female genital mutilation.  And I've seen a lot of arguments against it.

Some of them are from people I respect, whose arguments I respect, even if I disagree.  Some, I respect less, while still disagreeing.

Here's my take on it.  

This ritual nick means antiseptics, it means medical supervision, it means less girls taken to other countries to be treated worse than the cattle.  If it saves ONE baby girl from being mutilated, it's justified its purpose.  If it saves ONE girl from sepsis and death, it's worth it.  If it saves a lot more girls?  Then it's even more justified.  Some things are non-negotiable in our culture.  But by the same token, some things are non-negotiable in other cultures, and if this opens a point of negotiation, isn't that a good thing?   

Because, until we find the lever that will force the other countries to stop brutalizing their women, shouldn't we, as thinking people, be doing what we can to find ways to protect them?  Even if it means giving a little on things we find horrible, isn't a single drop of blood better than mutilation and possibly death?  And please don't give me the 'slippery slope' argument.  I don't buy it.  There /is/ a line.  The line is where you actually start mutilating people.  THAT'S the line, for me. 

(And if you want to bring circumcision into it, yes, I have a son.  Yes, he is circumcised.  Yes, it was done in the hospital, by a doctor, and not by a mohel.  Yes, I do consider it to be a form of mutilation, as it is, in fact, the changing of the body with outside tools.  And yes, I've been wondering ever since, if I would have it done again if I had to choose now.  I'm up in the air about it.)

I welcome thoughts, but if you want to flame me, be aware, I flame back.  

Edited to add:  Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] eevieivy , I can offer this article on female genital mutilation, it's not pleasant, and it's what the ritual nick is supposed to be preventing.  It's text, and it's...unreal.  I could only scroll down so far, and now I need to go throw up and cry for a while.  Yeah.  I'll take the nick over this.
erisiansaint: (Default)
( May. 3rd, 2010 11:58 am)
I devoured this book like it was human brains and I was a zombie.  I've also thrown it at my SO, and he's doing the same thing, and I have at least two more people to hurl it at.  (I'm suddenly picturing me throwing this book at loved ones, shrieking, "Read this now!" except that I only throw books I can't abide.

It's 20 years after two wonderful things combined (a cure for cancer and a cure for the common cold) to create something terrible: a plausible way for zombies to rise.  News is still the same, except that bloggers have become far more important, and politics is something else, as well.  I can't really say too much, I don't want to spoil it.  There are more comprehensive summaries on various places, including Amazon, or www.thefeedbook.com or miragrant.com.  (Nifty icons, too, and wallpaper, at least, on the latter.)

For some amusement, if you're interested, there's a group on Flickr, (if you have a Yahoo account, use that as a login,) called Apocalego.  They're dedicated to interesting scenes based on post-apoc stuff and zombies, all in LEGO.  [livejournal.com profile] amezuki  posted there about the book, so there might end up being interesting LEGO scenes from it, still to come.  I'll relay links, if it happens. 

(And, for the record?  Yes.  I really, really enjoyed this book, a great deal.)

Edited to add: It's made TV Tropes.  
So.  My sister bought me the Ad Hoc At Home cookbook, as I think I've mentioned, and I already knew that the Roasted Chicken on Root Vegetables recipe is heaven

Today was the turn to try the Leek Bread Pudding.  It's a savory bread pudding that he intends as a side dish.

Oh, did I mess with this recipe.  To start with, I didn't measure anything beyond the cream, milk and technically, the eggs.  I did slice the brioche bread into cubes and toast them...for half the time called for.  (I might go for the full 20 minutes, next time.)  I diced up half a pound of bacon, and browned that up, then pulled it out.  (Using good bacon means not a lot of fat gets rendered, just the right amount for the three leeks I used.)  I sauteed the leeks in the bacon fat, roasted the asparagus (which was already cut into chunks,) for 20 minutes with some truffle oil and kosher salt.  I chopped up the leftover chicken from the earlier recipe.  I made up the custard, and then realized that there was not enough liquid (my own fault, I deliberately shorted it,) and fixed that.  And then I put it together in a dutch oven: a layer of bread cubes.  Some chicken, some bacon, some asparagus, some of the leeks.  The rest of the bread cubes, the rest of the chicken, bacon, asparagus, leeks.  The custard.

Then I shoved it in the oven.  Then I came back, an hour later, to find that the oven was...off.  I burst into tears, turned it on, and an hour and a half later, found that it was PERFECTION.  It was so good, I nearly cried again.  Tadlet ate some of it and decided he didn't like it.  C ate some and said it was 'ok, but didn't knock his socks off.'  My roommate ate some and proclaimed it AWESOME, and could she have more, please.  There's about half of it left, I made a lot.

This stuff came out light, fluffy, savory, tasting lightly of the thyme I put in and not at all of the marjoram that I noticed.  It was just barely salty enough, between the bacon and the actual salt I added.  The brioche gave it enough sweetness to offset the bacon.  The chicken gave it a nice meaty texture and let me pretend that it was a balanced meal, between the chicken and the asparagus.  I added the last layer as leeks and those got lovely and crunchy.

It ended up being a lot of work, so this one won't be done too often.  I'd like to have a proper casserole dish to put it in, too, because I used the large pot that I make my mashed potatoes in, and it filled it most of the way.  Half the amount would make one /hell/ of a stuffing for a turkey, if you took out the chicken and possibly added some kind of fruit, instead.

I'm drooling, again.
It has often been noticed that I'm not-quite-obsessed with Sweeney Todd, in the method of anyone who's ever been stagestruck. 

So I offer this link of Lego Sweeney Todd, via [livejournal.com profile] amezuki .

(And I did pass on all messages about calling.  Several times.  I promise.)
erisiansaint: (Default)
( Mar. 7th, 2010 09:20 am)
Yesterday was Abby's present to [livejournal.com profile] closer2myself: the three of us went to go see Chicago, live at the Paramount. I squeed like a kid, personally. Aside from the fact that I love that musical, there were certain things I particularly adored: all the costumes were black. All of them. Occasionally, the black would be relieved by a white shirt, in the case of a few of the men. The lady playing Mama Morton is the same lady who did the gospel part of "Let It Be" in Across the Universe. (Wow, that woman has a set of pipes on her!) The orchestra was on the stage in what was described as a jury box. More amusingly, the cast interacted with them directly. For instance, Roxie, when showing off her headlines, handed the newspaper to the conductor and took over his baton for a bit, then told him she'd always wanted to try that. Or Billy Flynn told the conductor that if he played a real instrument, they'd give him a chair. The dancing was superb, the staging was fascinating, the singing was wonderful, and the crowd was fairly rowdy in its appreciation. (Amos was so appreciated that he was the one who got the standing ovation at the end. I am amused at the sheer amount of attention Mr. Cellophane garnered.)

Today is [livejournal.com profile] amezuki's birthday. (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SWEETIE!) I am making a thrown-together birthday peach bread pudding. (I don't know if amezuki will want any, since he's generally iffy on sweets, but my son is slavering and drooling.) I had two leftover brioche rolls from yesterday and they go stale as soon as you look funny at them. So Tadlet tore them into bits and cracked the eggs for me. I used the last of the cream, and a lot of cinnamon and a tiny bit of vanilla and forgot the sugar until the end, so it won't be very sweet. Amezuki's going to his friend's house today, so my sister, my son and I, (and possibly [livejournal.com profile] closer2myself, if she wants) will be going to IKEA for Swedish meatballs. Yeah, I know, shut up. She needs a rug and a little end table, too. Tonight, Amezuki, Tadlet and I will do the dinner thing.
So, I got inspired again by this recipe for pineapple upside-down cake. (Food blogs are wonderful.) A friend of mine made it and said it was fantastically delicious, so I'm trying it.

My version is using butterscotch schnapps, not rum, because we're out of rum, and dark brown sugar instead of light, because we don't have any light brown sugar. But I /am/ using the 10 inch cast iron skillet.

I tried a lick of the batter and nearly wept tears of joy just from the uncooked batter. (The batter includes vanilla extract, a bit of rum, and half a cup of unsweetened pineapple juice.) And I didn't buy an entire pineapple. (Next time I shall, as I understand roasted pineapple is one of the most heavenly things on the planet, according to Carol Blymire.


Ok, the cake part is, on sober reflection, just a little too sweet for me. It needs a little more flavor, somehow. Maybe something like powdered cloves and some triple sec instead of butterscotch schnapps. Or rum.

I may not make this again for years, honestly. I don't get cravings for this kind of cake often. But it's lovely and what I've wanted to try making for years is a plum cake, in the upside-down fashion.
erisiansaint: (Default)
( Feb. 4th, 2010 09:24 pm)
So, I've been minorly obsessing, lately. I had a cast iron frying pan, from Lodge, pre-seasoned. And I've been lusting after a dutch oven for many years, now.

Well, turns out that Lodge sells a 5 quart dutch oven, (the non-enameled kind) for thirty bucks. This is half what it is from the catalog, and also half of what the enameled kind is. And I made a beef stew tonight. (One huge turnip, three red potatoes, one daikon radish, some carrots, and stew beef. I dredged the beef in seasoned flour, browned it in a bit of bacon fat and tossed the bacon into the stew, not much of it, though. 1 qt of beef stock, thyme, celery salt, onion and garlic powder into the flour I dredged the beef in, and a bay leaf into the stew.)

This was not my best stew, ever. But it was WAY up there, maybe second-best. I loooove this dutch oven. The funny thing is that the recipe that inspired me to buy it, finally, was turnips, carrots, parsnips, potatoes and onions, diced in a large dice, and using that as a bed for a chicken. Roast the whole thing for about an hour and a half or so, (until the chicken's done,) and then reduce the pan juices. Bloody lovely. I mean, seriously lovely.

But the thing is, the vegetables are so much better than the chicken that I keep not having enough vegetables. So, dutch oven, because it'll hold more. Siiiigh. Happy sigh.

Sometimes, cooking is just inspiring.
I've been a cranky, curmudgeonly bitch, lately, hating people in general and being rather growly.

But sometimes, I look around and people become rather less objectionable, in a stunning fashion. 

Never mind Pat Robertson.  He's a non-entity, a cranky child saying anything to get attention.  On the other hand, you have Médecins Sans Frontières, Doctors Without Borders.  They were already in Haiti, and their hospital got damaged, so they're working out of the courtyard.  President Obama has already sent help, and is quietly and personally invested in saving lives: he even thought to send a ship with a desalinization plant.  People are donating relief and aid in droves and it makes me want to cry.  Sometimes I just love people.

For the record, if you want to donate to MSF, for Canada, donate here, for the US, here, for other countries, here.  Thanks go out to the Yarn Harlot for offering up the links.  If you want to donate to the Red Cross, donate here.  Epicurious.com has a page with links to various organizations to help with food.  Daily Kos has a page with links to go to to donate, as well.

And if you can afford to help, even five dollars, please do.

Edited to add: I will be editing this post at random, if I find more links to go to for helping.
These wishes for a better year and a happy birthday go out to both [livejournal.com profile] mariness  and [livejournal.com profile] emokideeyore .

Happy birthday and good health to both of you, and many happy returns of the day!
Ingredients:
Potatoes: a bunch. 5 lbs for a big soup, less for a smaller batch. Peeled and diced
Leeks: again, a bunch. For a big batch, 4 or 5 good sized ones. Play with it. Chop them.
Chicken stock. (For a big batch, I use two boxes of Kitchen Basics, I totally cheat and that's the brand with the least salt. It's also good tasting.)
A pound of bacon, diced and fried to your liking, but a little crispy is better.
A stalk of celery or two, optional
Spices: I use a little marjoram, a bit of thyme, a lot of parsley, celery salt and kosher salt.
Heavy cream: about a pint for a large batch, or a few cups of milk. Cream makes it ungodly good.

First up, get your ingredients ready. Fry the bacon first, as you'll use some of the grease, (not a lot, just a little) to soften your leeks. (I use about half a teaspoon of butter and about the same of bacon grease, it's a flavor thing.) Also, put a bit of celery salt on the leeks while you're sauteeing them. Toss the leeks, bacon grease/butter and all into a big-ass pot. Add in enough chicken stock to cover them and simmer them for about ten minutes, then toss in your potatoes and spices/herbs, and the rest of your chicken stock. Add enough water to cover your potatoes, cover and simmer until the potatoes are mushy.

Now, if you're fancy or better equipped than I am, here's where you blend your soup. Me, I only have a potato masher and a hand-mixer and a regular blender, plus, I actually prefer mine all rustic and chunky, so I mash the potatoes by hand and leave it like that, all thick and yum. It's good the other way, too. If you find that your soup is still too watery after mushing your potatoes, let it boil down a little. If the potatoes fry a little on the bottom, it's ok, it adds character. (I found that one out by experience and holy cow, the YUM.) Turn off/down the heat and add in your cream or milk, stirring it thoroughly. Serve topped with the bacon bits, and if you have it, a few drops of white truffle oil, which brings it to ethereal soup of the gods.
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