Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The week in photos

blue christmas

Jelly thumbprint cookies

Rataouille done!

Spring rolls

The ring

That's right--my honey-pie and I are engaged!  You should click on the phot above and check out my excellent octopus ring (just click and you'll see what I'm talking about).  We're driving down to Houston over the next couples of days, so my absence on this blog will continue at least until the end of the week.  I hope everyone has been enjoying the holidays, and have a happy new year!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I've often faced the dilemna of buying a carton of cream (or buttermilk) for a recipe, using a couple tablespoons, then having all the leftover cream just sit in the fridge until I decide to throw it out.

Apparently, the answer to this problem is just to cook with cream more often! I'm down with that.

Crustless quiche

Specifically, I originally bought the cream for the sauce for Thursday's ravioli, and most of it was leftover. I finished it off in the crustless "quiche" shown above (recipe by Mark "The Minimalist" Bittman). I just got Bittman's book How to Cook Everything, and I'm so excited to start making things from it! I've got to admit, though, that reading it before bed is probably not the best idea.  *tummy grumbles*

*Rhymes with "quiche"

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bored? Play Free Rice

I'm sure everyone remembers Free Rice, the vocabularly game that donates 20 grains of rice to the UN World Food Program for every correct answer you give.  For awhile earlier this year the site got tons of traffic, but it's been tapering off since then (people get bored of it, it's not mentioned on the blogs any more, etc).

I thought it might be good to remind people that it still out there (with even more options during play than before).  If you find yourself stuck at home during the holidays with nothing else to do, why not spend a few minutes learning some new words (or proving to yourself how many you already know)?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

On holiday

I'm in St. Louis for the holidays. There's freezing rain coming down outside, and it sounds like it's going to come right through the skylights. Anyway, I have been keeping busy indoors:

Halfway there!

Ravioli with artichoke heart filling and fresh tomato sauce

Blackerry sorbet

I'm planning an exciting multi-course meal for later in the month; the ravioli and sorbet from tonight were experiments to see if I can pull of some of the things I'm planning (answer: yes!). In the meantime, I have also been seeing some old friends, sleeping in, and enjoying the company of kitties:

Leia in her chair

Leia is in my lap right now, insisting that I pay attention to her, instead of this machine (she reminds me a lot of this kitty, but meaner).  Andrew and I are getting a kitten when we return to Houston! I'm pretty pumped.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

From an email from my mom:
You must be so excited – finishing college and getting hired for this job all within a few days!
Damn straight.  =)

I have a job!

...in Houston, that is. For an awesome non-profit! Woo-hoo!

I'll be working for Reasoning Mind, a Houston/Moscow-based company that is working to recreate a culture of intellectual curiosity among American students. So far, they've developed and implemented an internet-based computer program to help 5th and 6th graders develop their math skills. The focus is on one-on-one instruction, and students move at their own pace through the curriculum getting support from a variety of angles. I can say more about it, but chances are if you're reading this you've heard about it from me. To date, 4,000 students in Houston and Compton (outside of LA) are using the program, and the results a pretty inspirational. Even if they hadn't offered me the job I would be talking about this organization.

I'll be working as a program coordinator, in the implementation department; my job will involve getting the system set up in schools, training teachers on the curriculum and working to make sure the program runs as efficiently as possible and students make the most progress possible in each of the schools I'm assigned to, communicating with school administrators about results, and managing the program's reward system. Or so I've been led to believe; I guess I'll find out for real in January.

It promises to be a challenging, rewarding job, and I couldn't be more excited.

Plus, I HAVE A JOB. Which is pretty great in and of itself, but it's a million times more exciting because it's a job I really really want.

Hooray for me!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Goin' out in style

And with gusto.  The first night of my last week in Chicago has come and (nearly) gone; 'twas dinner and conversation with jazz with Alex--we ate leftover meatball soup, brussels sprouts, and baked chocolate chocolate ship cookies--followed by swing dancing at Fizz (I finally made it there, after three+ years of living here).  

I've got quite a lineup for the rest of the week: movie tomorrow night, Pub Wednesday, champagne and oysters Thursday, blues party saturday, Chinatown Sunday, interspersed with work and lunches...  I need to find some time in there to pack, but I'm not too concerned.

On a separate and random note: I keep imagining the taste of Pappasito's tableside guacamole.  And I'm not even that big a fan.  I guess it's a good sign that I'm having vision of Houston though, right?

Sunday, December 7, 2008


...with college.


It's true that I still have my thesis to write.  And technically I haven't turned in my final final yet.  But, my classes have ended, I've written my last final ever, and I'm leaving a week from tomorrow.

I'll post something more thoughtful soon.  But for now, this brief update will have to do.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A good day

Snow covers the ground outside.  I am polishing off a late-night snack of leftover pizza, following an excellent-as-always They Might Be Giants concert.  God I love that band.  Good music, good friends, cold-ass weather--all is right in the world.

Tomorrow begins with waffles, and ends hopefully with me having basically finished my last final of college ever (whoa?).

Good night!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

For the record:

Old laptop versus new:

Old vs new

At 65%, the Acer netbook has 3:45 hours. The Satellite, on the other hand, doesn't even have a battery anymore. It is also refusing to connect to the internet, despite the fact that it tells me it is connected. WTF, Satellite. You are basically a brick containing all of my photos and music now, except that a brick doesn't have to stay plugged into the wall.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Nostalgia...or not

Earlier this evening, I actually found myself preemptively reminiscing about the chasm-like stairwell of the library. Bizarre. I also realized that tonight was my last show at the movie theater. And I bumped into an old friend in the library who pointed out that this could be the last time we see each other for decades.

But right now? All I want to do is get out. Tonight I was on a roll with my work...and then it stopped going so well. I was happy that I was spending my last quarter of school studying things I enjoyed...and now I'm ready to move past them. It's true that there are people who I like seeing around campus who I won't see any more, possibly never again...but at the same time, most of the people I see these days are unfamiliar to me, and the friends I envision and plan on keeping in touch with are fairly few.

For better or worse, all of it, I suppose.

On a completely different note, I had a thought the other night, inspired by something a professor said in class about how many aspects of modern life have developed as they have because they make things more convenient for us.

Now, I happen to like internet television. However, I believe that there is value in doing things that are inconvenient. Not unpleasant, mind you, but things that do take effort. Maybe it's why I like cooking my own food, or visiting friends on the other side of the city. We should not allow ourselves to become complacent, or satisfied with what we have simply because it is more convenient to feel that way. And I'm not trying to be political here--I really do mean the little things.

Anyway, just a thought I wanted to share.