Monthly Archives: August 2013
I was hometown-bound this weekend for the wedding of an old friend, someone with whom I was very close in my teen years. The wedding was very lovely. The ceremony was outside and, luckily, the weather was perfect. The reception was in a hall, very nicely arranged, good food, fun dancing.
I spent some time with family, puttering around town, having lattes and pizza and such. It was an enjoyable time. Since I knew I wouldn’t be able to get anything done anyway, I wasn’t worrying about being unproductive, so I was pretty relaxed and unstressed.
Then I got home and all the things I don’t like about my living space were there to greet me. I am so fed up, but I really don’t think there’s anything to do about it…
I’ve been thinking about what I want in life and wondering how to get it. From what I can tell, there are some people who are really good at getting what they want. I don’t understand them at all. I can’t figure it out. If getting what I want requires the cooperation of anyone else but me, it usually doesn’t happen.
Time always seems to be the biggest problem. I need more time in the day that’s open for sleeping, and longer breaks from real life to relax and try to organize my life into schedules or routines that actually make some sense. Instead, everything just piles up until I have no idea how to sort through all the wistful wishes and necessary chores and get anything at all done.
All I can do is rant about it on the internet. How productive and healthy.
Ah, my least favorite morning–that is, tied with any other morning I have to wake up early to an alarm in order to do something I don’t particularly care to do…
There have been many moments lately when I have felt extremely jealous of people who seem to have lives closer to the life I want. These people I’m sure don’t have all the things I want and they probably have certain things I don’t care for, but there is without question something there that I desire for myself.
I already know that being jealous of another person is, for lack of a better word, kind of stupid. Or pointless. Or, rather, just a mistake.
That’s because it’s a conclusion based on incomplete information. When I look at someone who has that thing, and I feel jealous, I don’t know what aspects of their life exist that are unwanted. You can’t separate the different pieces of life and only take the good ones. By definition, that is not how life works.
Or, coming at it from a different angle, if you’re feeling jealous of someone who is very successful in life, when they worked very hard to get where they are, you’re only wishing for the end result. Chances are if you put in the hard work you would definitely get somewhere.
Maybe you’re jealous of someone who was born into money. Their life seems easy. But maybe they are severely depressed and hate their life. Maybe they have trouble with relationships. Maybe they find having money stressful and would rather have had less of it.
You know those movies about people who overcome incredible odds to succeed? They can’t really capture how difficult it was.
And in the end, wishing for someone else’s life makes no sense because you can only have yours. Stop wasting time and make your own life better.
Well, it’s about half of a medium green pepper, a handful of cherry tomatoes cut into eighths, two eggs, and cheddar cheese, cooked into a sort of omelet-frittata hybrid (frittatelet? Omelata? Comment and tell me which you like), on brioche buns from the day old bread section of Cafenation. Also mustard, mostly because I didn’t have any mayonnaise, but it was a good addition.
They’re almost like egg burgers! They were very tasty. This “recipe” is easily adaptable because you could add anything you want to the eggs, and top it off with other things like bacon or avocado, or some interesting condiments if you have them. Try it out!
Ah, Mondays. The beginning and ending of an ever-present torture cycle.
The entire point of starting this segment(better word?) was to ease myself into the week by just writing whatever came to mind. I could sit and sip coffee (probably my second cup) and have music playing in the background, most likely not having gotten dressed yet. It was going to be wonderful.
Unfortunately–and I really don’t have any easier way to put this–Mondays are evil. Even if I managed to get plenty of sleep during the weekend, the idea of waking up early enough on Monday morning to write a blog post at home is hilarious. Even waking up in time to have breakfast can be a challenge sometimes. I would rather not do the posting at work, but I wouldn’t mind it if I were early. Unfortunately, arriving to work early requires leaving the house before 8, and would also mean I’m sitting in the boss’s house possibly before they’re prepared for it (because the office is in their house. Saves money I guess).
I’m sure they would like to have a real office as much as any of the rest of us.
But back to the point. I was trying to create a writing frame for the week for myself by doing Monday Madness here, and Five Things Friday to wind down on my writing blog. However, in addition to the other things that happen in framing the week (including me being lazy), I haven’t managed to figure out a way for this to go off smoothly.
In other news, I accidentally spent a bunch of money on some really awesome stuff, and I’m still terrible at youtube videos, but I have to stop complaining about needed a camera, because that’s not going to change the circumstance.
Monday Fail “_”
While distracting myself from work by wondering what I would eat for dinner, I determined that if I bought pizza dough (I know you CAN make it, but that’s way too much time spent on a pizza for me), I could make a sort of “Mexican” pizza. I put Mexican in quotes because it is in no way remotely authentic. It just had some flavors in that category…
This is now two weeks ago, or something along those lines. Might be longer. So to the best of my ability, I will try to describe what I did for you.
First, I bought dough from Whole Foods. You can buy fresh, uncooked pizza dough from most grocery stores, I’m pretty sure. You can also buy pre-made crusts, which is an option if you want it to be a bit quicker.
Having made pizza from a store-bought dough several times, I recall having lots of trouble getting it to stretch, so I turned to the internet to figure out how to stretch it. My inclination that it would have to sit out at room temperature for a while seemed correct. I covered it in flour and left it there, returning later and stretching out the dough fairly successfully. Look up how to do this: I am not the person to instruct you on the method.
Once it was fairly stretched I plunked the dough down onto a (possibly over-)greased cookie sheet. I do not own a pizza stone, sadly. I want one. And then toppings went on.
Okay, so that picture is actually after it came out of the oven. I didn’t get any before pics.
As I got the dough ready I cooked up one patty of Trader Joe’s Chili Lime Chicken Burger. If that sounds kind of bad to you, I assure you, they are DELICIOUS. If you like those flavors in general you will like the burger. I actually would have made two for the topping, but I only had one left. It was very sad.
If I can remember right, the toppings went like this: first, sliced tomatoes and salsa as sauce. I tried to sauce it sparsely because I didn’t want to overpower it. I highly recommend using a SPOON to spread the salsa, as if you just pour it on you very well may end up with too much. Second, cheese. I THINK it was cheddar. I generally prefer mozzarella on pizza, but I didn’t have any. Third, diced red pepper and pieces of a chicken burger. I did my best to distribute things fairly evenly, but of course some sections of crust still ended up larger than others. if I added any other toppings or seasonings, I can’t remember.
The pizza went into a preheated oven at about 425°. I would say it cooked for around 20 minutes, but once again, I don’t really remember. Then I took it out and let it cool for a little while.
Cutting it was interesting because it might not have been cool enough yet, and also I don’t have a pizza cutter and my sharper knife wasn’t clean. But I managed.
I think I ate two servings’ worth of this pizza. You can’t blame me, it was delicious–you probably would have too.
Overall it was quite delicious. The crust was slightly crunchier than I generally like but it was still very good. I do recall wanting it to be spicier, though. Should have used more salsa.
Monday mornings, generally being the re-start of waking up entirely too early for my tastes, can be very unpleasant.
I really think that the biggest morning problem I have is not being able to get into the bathroom.
I’m not a fan of waking up too much before 8. Especially if I’m not too excited about what I’m doing that day. However, since I do in fact have to get up and go to work, 6:30 would really be the perfect time to get up. However, that is usually the time my roommate goes to get into the shower. And here, I have a huge problem.
Generally the first thing I do, whether or not I’m showering in the morning, is head to the bathroom. It’s so ingrained as a habit that if I know the bathroom is occupied, I just WON’T get up. The delay should just be twenty minutes or so, and I could probably still do just fine if I got up at 7. But I can’t seem to do that. I either get up at (or before) 6:30, or continue to press snooze until well after 7–occasionally almost 8am, at which point I can’t do anything but get dressed and run out the door. No choice but to buy both breakfast and lunch, unless I happen to have some easy-to-grab yogurt and fruit.
This morning I managed to drag myself up around 7:30, after having my plans of getting up at 6:30 foiled yet again by the sound of the shower turning on. (To clarify: this is my fault, not my roommate’s. I don’t absolutely have to do the bathroom first. It’s mostly just stubbornness.) Yes, I went right into the bathroom. Then I put on a pot of coffee, and scrounged some form of easy breakfast.
Not really having time to relax with breakfast, my “second” cup (really third, if you consider the size of the mug I use) went into a travel mug. A horrible, coffee-flavor-altering travel mug.
I like travel mugs in theory, but I have two problems with them:
1) All my mugs but one seem to change the flavor of the coffee, so it tastes like pretty much nothing, with a slight tinge of coffee and plastic/metal. It’s pretty gross, generally. I have one ceramic travel mug, and it doesn’t do that. You know what else it doesn’t do? Keep my coffee the slightest bit warm.
2) The only beverage I ever use travel mugs for is coffee.
MUGS MATTER. I thought I could get around this this morning, but in the end it made me feel very disappointed with my morning. I don’t believe it’s the caffeine that really perks me up, but the flavor and the time spent lingering over my delicious roast. Coffee that tastes bad just defeats the entire purpose. The morning ritual is not fully necessary, and some people don’t need it at all. However, to grumpy risers like me, it’s very important. Without an uncomplicated, unstressful morning, I can’t have a really GOOD work day.
As I posted about six months ago, my birthday plans were ruined by a giant blizzard. So I decided to give myself a half-birthday party. I just invited a few people to hang out on my porch and eat yummy food that I prepared.
This is, in fact, the first time I have ever hosted a party at my home and had to acquire all the food and stuff myself. The last time I actually prepared food for numerous people, I’m pretty sure it was at my mom’s house (therefore with her money). Ever since then, I generally plan parties as outings to restaurants I like. I didn’t realize how much money it cost to get all the food. Especially because I’m just so fancy, I wanted to make seafood. Next time… probably not. Luckily, alcohol came with the guests, or else we would have all had to be sober the whole time 😦
I don’t want to go into the details of shopping for stuff, except to say that I’m glad I didn’t try to do it all in one trip, and that I did it in advance. This is my advice to you: IF you are planning to do all the shopping in one trip for a party, make a comprehensive list and do it AT LEAST one day in advance, so that if you couldn’t find certain items you’ll have a chance to go to another store for them. I made a list, but the way things go, inevitably you’ll forget to get something and you can’t carry it all home at once anyway, so at least two trips are necessary. Technically, I think five shopping trips happened, although only three of them were me going for food.
So here we go: I’ve gotten myself all ready and some of the food. Care to see?
It wasn’t a fancy party by far, really, but I hate to pass up an opportunity to dress up. Wearing a bright red dress makes me feel so fun and sexy. So why not? Heels, too. I mean, maybe they aren’t the most practical shoes to wear in the kitchen, but if we were all to go around being practical all the time, no one would ever wear heels. EVER. Except maybe really short people.
For those who might be curious: My dress was purchased from Modcloth, shoes from DSW, and my tights and apron (shown below) from Anthropologie.
In terms of plates and decorations and stuff, nothing was remotely interesting or worth mentioning where I bought it. So, moving on…
As it turned out, most of the guests didn’t arrive until the dinner part was mostly done. But that’s ok. So I got started on the food. Most of the work was just chopping. Then things went into the oven.
That’s a green pepper I’m slicing up there. It got mixed in with various other vegetables and shoved into the oven for roasting.
As people finally started to arrive so the party could actually be a party, the dinner was just about done and I laid it out on the table. And took pictures of it.
And yes. I did make the mango salsa. Thanks for asking. Of all the things I made I actually think it was the most successful individual item. Recipes vary. For reference, this is what I used: two mangoes, five or six (maybe seven) campari tomatoes, one whole jalapeno, and cilantro. I kept the cilantro in a separate bowl because I wasn’t sure if there were people who didn’t like it. But they got mixed together when I put the leftovers away 😉
The shrimp did get a bit more dried out in the oven than I would have liked, but they weren’t badly overdone or anything. Still perfectly edible and tasty. The rice was rice, the veggies were well-roasted and not overcooked. Everyone said they really liked the food. This is definitely the largest number of people I’ve ever cooked for, so I’m pleased that the dinner was well-received. A little it of digestion time later, and it was time for dessert.
…Dessert was sponsored by Sesame Street and the letter C. Apparently.
The cupcakes and champagne were brought by one of my guests, and since I rarely ever have desserts made for me, I was very grateful to her. I requested buttercream frosting knowing that it might not hold up all the way over to my apartment. So really, it’s my fault they look like that. I am certain that, as she says, they looked very pretty in the morning. However, they were still delicious, and that’s what really counts.
And that’s it. We hung out a bit longer, enjoying the last of the champagne and listening to ridiculous covers of Lady Gaga. The guests trickled out, we put away the leftover food, and that was the end. I am thinking that half-birthdays might be the thing from now on. August is much more likely to give me good weather than February, don’t you think?
I think I will have to count this as my first actual adult party. And it went pretty well.