Thursday, February 26, 2009

This might confuse you if you don't understand the metaphor.

The Husband and I got "the hiccups" last weekend. Bad. So, we did what any normal couple would do. We drank salt water while standing on our heads and sang the alphabet backwards. And I think they're gone now. Or, at least, subsiding. I really hate hiccups.

However, since then, I feel as though I'm kind of floating about, trying to touch down on even ground, but not really sure where that might be. Who knows, maybe I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things. I mean, it would appear as though I'm blogging again. (I won't say "regularly" until tomorrow.) The other stuff? Like baking and photography? Yeah, it's kinda like my kids just watched me throw something heavy and breakable at Daddy's head and are taking a while to warm back up to me. Like, fuck, am I going to do the same to them?


Found this on my cell phone. Totally wish I was here right now.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Writing with nothing to say.

I haven't unpacked my camera or my laptop since I came home from Utah last Tuesday. I've been wondering, do you think there is a predetermined amount of stress for each individual that will completely alter their life's path? And I'm not trying to come off as some all important philosopher, but I just can't help but wonder if one life-altering event can come rattling through like an earthquake that, when the shaking finally stops, has completely tossed you onto a different course. Not that you even know what that course may be what with all the rubble blocking your view. I suppose the only thing to do is to start picking up the pieces, rebuild and figure it out as you go along. Stumbling through the aftershocks..

It is interesting, though, because not only does it make you wonder where you'll eventually find yourself, but it completely puts everything into perspective. What's important, what's not. And let me tell you this. As much as I enjoy my hobbies, they're not important. And stressing over them is a waste of time. I would like to stress over that which means something.

Correction. I'd like to stress not at all, but if I'm going to, it should be over something worthy. Something important. Something life-altering.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Goodbye forever and I need your help.

If I can get my shit together here, I will soon be on the road to Utah. Hopefully before the storm hits 'cause the storms we've been getting here in southern California have been closing roads and freeways and the thought of getting stuck somewhere by myself, unable to get home or to my destination, really freaks me out.

I'm going to visit my older sister, T. I miss her. She has five kids, all of whom wake up at five in the freaking morning and don't know how to whisper. I will come home sleep deprived, but it's worth it. I love those kids.

I'll have my computer, but I imagine I'll be a bit preoccupied and won't post again until I get home. So, in the meantime, I have a hypothetical scenario for you and I'd be forever grateful to hear read your opinion. Here it is.

Your spouse comes to you and says:

"Honey/sweetheart/dear/baby/whatever, your new friendship with so-and-so-of-the-opposite-sex has been making me feel very uneasy. I realize I have never met him/her before and this may be completely irrational, but I can't seem to help these feelings. Yes, I know he/she is married and has two kids, but I'm still very uncomfortable."

Your response?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The I don't remember what these are called cookies.

I made these cookies weeks ago, but completely forgot about them until I stumbled across the pictures. Unfortunately, the cookies themselves were quite forgettable. The frosting on the other hand? Amazing.

Basically, they were chocolate cookies that I rolled out (I despise rolling anything), cut into thin strips, baked, and frosted. The cookies were good, just... bland. (I might have overcooked them.)

In fact, I was so unimpressed with the cookies when they came out of the oven that I went back to my computer and forgot about them until the next day.*

*This did not prevent me from picking out and eating the crooked and deformed ones every time I walked by the kitchen.

The only reason I spent any time at all frosting them was because I didn't want to keep eating these not-so-great cookies and I felt bad throwing them out. I figured I'd frost them and take them to my dad.

Except, something magical happened when I made the frosting. I think it was made up of espresso powder, powdered sugar, cocoa and butter. I think. The buttery frosting with that hint of espresso powder was holy-mother-of-God-amazing. Seriously. I used a small plastic bag to pipe the frosting onto each cookie and when I ran out of cookies, I frosted my mouth.

The frosting definitely improved the taste of the cookies. But I think the frosting would improve just about anything, to be quite honest.

In fact, I may have used too much frosting as it oozed over the edge every time I took a bite.

Wait. What am I saying? Of course, there's no such thing as "too much frosting."

Happy Love Day, peeps.

(I'll update this later tonight when I can get my hands on the recipe... just in case you're interested.)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Random things I was thinking about at six a.m. this morning.

I took this picture of the moon on Sunday. It was playing peek-a-boo with the clouds and looked really neato-mosquito, but… did you know it's really hard to photograph the moon?

People have told me this before, but I didn't really understand what they were talking about until I tried it.

For one, the moon is really bright (reflects the sun blah blah blah) but since the surroundings are so dark, the camera thinks it needs to use a really long exposure. Which, of course, completely blows out all your details. Like this:

But, if you expose properly for the moon, everything around it gets lost in the darkness because the exposure isn't long enough to capture anything BUT the moon. See?

So, I cheated. I admit it. I'm a cheater. And I also cuss like a sailor. There, I said it. Happy?

Okay, actually, cheating was much more difficult than I thought it'd be.

I took two shots. One exposed for the moon, one for the clouds. And then I thought I was so super freaking cool 'cause I'd just use magic Photoshop to superimpose one over the other and make one good photograph. (Okay, one so-so photograph.) (Hey, I'm still learning!)

Except, the moon? Yeah, it's moving. Constantly. So trying to take two photographs with the moon in the exact same spot is nearly impossible. Even after just a couple of seconds, it's in a different spot, so trying to combine the two images wasn't as easy as I thought it would be.

Yeah, turns out I'm not so cool after all. Please don't tell anyone.

But, it was fun to try. Okay, moving on.

I seem to be coming across a lot of giveaways these days and, you know, that's awesome. (Who doesn't love free stuff?) But I can't help but notice that several of these "free" giveaways have a lot of stipulations. Stuff like "you must create a sculpture of what you think this blog would look like in stone and ship it to me and then post a picture of it on your blog and a permanent link in your sidebar for five years."

I understand people are trying to drive traffic to their own sites. I totally get that. Hey, I'd love to drive a lot more traffic to my own (I think), but... this space here? As small and insignificant as it may be, it's mine and what I choose to display is totally up to me. And I don't want anyone to tell me what to do.

And I want The Husband to stop giving me grief about spending money.

I know what you're going to say. I don't have to participate. No one is forcing me to. I can just shut up and leave well enough alone, but... well, it's been weighing on my mind and I don’t know why I feel the need to share, except it's Wednesday and I'm standing here thinking about it and this is what I do.

I hope I haven't offended anyone. Have I ever told you I have an absurd, ridiculous fear of offending people? I do.

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the subject. (Really.)

I saw Benjamin Button last weekend. I thought it was freaking fantastic. I love movies that allow you to get absorbed in the character's lives. Especially when the characters themselves are so wonderful.

And, right after, we went and watched The Reader. (Yes, we movie-hopped. Yes, it's technically stealing. Yes, I feel bad. Sorta.) The movie frustrated me. I hate movies that frustrate me. But, I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it. (COUGH wait for the DVD COUGH)

So, what was the last movie you fell in love with?

I think, before Ben Button, it was Walk the Line. I had a huge crush on Joaquin Phoenix for, like, a year afterward. I think my mother still has one.

Unfortunately, I just found this very disturbing article.

Can't they just... be normal?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cake Balls. Cake Pops. Cake Nuggets. Whatever.

I think Valentine's Day is a joke. With that being said, there is no better reason than Valentine's Day to decorate everything in pink. This may just be the one time of the year I can get away with decorating these cake balls just so. If I did this in, say, July, well people might look at me funny and I really hate drawing any kind of attention my way.

This was my first attempt at cake balls (just to warn you, you're going to see the word "balls" in here a lot) and, boy, did I ever destroy my teeny tiny kitchen in the process. But, holy hell, it was so worth it. I mean, it's cake, people. COVERED IN CHOCOLATE. How can you possibly go wrong?

I used these to decorate and I realize I went a little overboard taking pictures of sprinkles, but something comes over me when I'm around chocolate and cake and I really can't explain my actions. And I love pink. And I'm sorry.

There are plenty of people who can explain cake balls better than me (like her and her), but, in case you get the urge to make these yourself and you've never done so before, please let me give you a tip or two.

Don't be an idiot overambitious. Like me. I made two cakes, one vanilla and one chocolate, and ended up with over a hundred freaking cake balls. I didn't even decorate them all. It was too much! About thirty are still sitting in my freezer. It was just... too much.

Use a food processor. Trust me on this one. I used a fork to crumble one cake and the food processor for the second. I wish I could go back in time and use the processor for both. It was magical.

Don't get ahead of yourself. I am a total retard and will jump ahead several steps just to go back and finish something I had started an hour ago. Not only did it cause me frustration, but it made the whole event take a lot longer than it should have and my kitchen was turned into a national disaster area in the process.

If (when) I make these again, I will follow these very simple and uniform guidelines:

1. Make (one) cake and let it cool.
2. Crumble cake, mix with frosting, and form balls.
3. Chill.
4. If you're using lollipop sticks (and you should, it makes things so much easier) insert one into each cake ball before you start dipping.
5. Dip all the balls. (Do not start decorating until every last ball has been dipped in chocolate.)
6. Set aside until firm. (I used foam blocks to hold my "lollipops" upright while they hardened.)Use this time to clean up. (This would have been very helpful had I thought about then.)
7. Now decorate.

I'd recommend a double boiler for dipping your cake balls, but microwaveable bowls for decorating (that is, if you want to use more chocolate to decorate, which I suppose you don't have to, but it's awesome). (Or I suppose you could go buy some of those little tubes of frosting instead of going through any other trouble like melting more chocolate and piping it on, but I don't know anything about making things easier, just more difficult. Just ask my husband.)

These were really fun and delicious (again, chocolate covered cake, people!) and super cute. I sent the best looking ones off to work with The Husband, 'cause, you know, cool wife and all that.

Gosh, they're so stinkin' cute. Even if I do say so myself.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Admit it. This lamp makes you sick, too.

(Not really, but I'd like to.)

(Just sayin'.)

Friday, February 6, 2009

We're so the Flinstones.

The tragedy I'm about to share with you happened many, many moons ago. In, like, December. And it still pains me to talk about.

See, I was on vacation and I was having the most productive day. I was cleaning and baking and the total domestic package.

Then I went crazy. Sometimes these ideas just pop into my head and I have to drop everything I'm doing and pursue it. In the past, this unfortunate, uncontrollable occurrence has caused me to waste absurd amounts of time and money, much to The Husband's consternation.

Anyway. J had been playing with my cell phone, which happens to take the worst-quality videos ever (see example here), but we have fun with it. And as I watched her take random 10-second video after random 10-second video, I thought VIDEO CAMERA.

Funny story about our video camera. The Husband and I bought it while we were living in Monterey. We'd had it maybe a year when we moved back to southern California and left poor video camera behind. Since we'd had a rocky relationship with our landlord, we never expected to see it again. But, when we went back to celebrate an anniversary, we bumped into said landlord and it was as if he'd been driving around with out forgotten box of stuff for a year just waiting to run into us. We got our video camera back! Which we took home, put away, and promptly forgot about. Guess we're just not video camera people because it's been three or four years since I've had any interest in using it.

Well, that was pre-blog. Now? I'd love to upload video. I mean, personally, I love watching videos on other blogs. It's fun getting those little snippets and insights into people's lives.

But I digress.

On this day in December, I got the uncontrollable urge to get out the video camera. After fiddling with it for an hour (and watching video of the drunken night before our wedding), I just had to figure out a way to get the videos onto my computer.

I didn't have any cord that worked, but figured I must've just misplaced it because, surely, in this advanced digital age, I would be able to upload the videos.

It was just after four when J and I ran off to the store. We had to stop by the grocery store and then we were going straight to wherever it was I had to go to make this work.

Except it was outside the grocery store when J started saying something about the clouds, the sun, the potential sunset blah blah blah. And by "blah blah blah" I mean we had to dash over to the beach in case she was right because I'm a total sucker for a pink sky.

And, no, I didn't have my camera, but that's okay! I have the video camera! I'll be able to post a VIDEO of the sunset! Awesome!

This is what we found when we arrived. You know what it reminds me of? Toasting marshmallows. You know, you don't have to hold your mallow very close to the flame for it to ignite.

It was like the sun had ignited the clouds. God, I love a pretty sunset.

This is where I made an illegal left turn. And the cop that was parked there totally ignored me. We're, like, so laid back in Huntington Beach. (Or something.)

And this is where we had gotten out of the car. At this point I was in tears over having left my camera at home. Am I destined to always be unprepared?

And this is when I turned around, looked at the houses directly across from the beach, and muttered "bastards." You would have totally heard that on the video.

Oh, that's right! The video! I bet you're wondering where it is. You'd like to see it, wouldn't you?

Well, turns out we bought a video camera straight from the stone ages. There's no way to get what's on this camera to my computer, unless I buy a converter to transfer the video to a CD. This costs about as much as a new camera. And The Husband won't let me buy either.

All I could do was plug the video camera into my television and watch this glorious sunset on TV.

And then we made fire for the first time ever and it was awesome.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Cranberry Oatmeal White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I made these cookies because I have a burning desire to please everyone.

Okay, actually I made them because I saw the recipe on the back of a bag of Craisins and thought best of both worlds. I don't know what's up with my addiction to fruit lately (specifically in my dessert), but add chocolate to the mix and I'm a goner.

And, I've never told anyone this before, but while I was growing up, I didn't like white chocolate. I know! I'm much smarter now.

These were pretty good even if I couldn't get the timing or oven temperature right. (Yes, I followed directions, thank you very much. My bottoms still darkened much too fast.)

Although, and I hate to say this, but... they just might have been better without the Craisins. They just tasted a bit too similar to raisins and (I realize I will get shit for this next statement) I just don't care for raisins in my oatmeal cookies. Or anywhere else for the matter. Raisins? No, thank you.

But, in case these are right up your alley, here's the recipe.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I Heart Faces: week 4

On Sunday we went to a Super Bowl party (what else?). And, at this party, I realized something. The Husband and I are the last childless couple anywhere. And by "anywhere" I, of course, mean of all the people we know. Or, at least, that's how it seems.

Luckily our friends have more than enough kids to keep people occupied and almost, almost, prevent them from asking when we're going to have children. A question that makes my hair hurt since, apparently, it's unheard of for a couple to be married for five years and not have any children. (Insert angry growl here.)

But I digress. The Husband's best friend and his wife have two of the cutest kids ever and my camera is glued to my face whenever I'm around them. However, I haven't been able to get very many pictures of their baby boy (born in October) since the last couple of times we've gotten together has been at night, in poor lighting, with several loud adults (including grandparents) battling to hold the baby.

Finally, on Sunday, I got my chance. I snapped as my photos as I could in the brief moment The Husband held him. And I loved almost every single picture. I knew I would use one for this week's I Heart Faces contest, but I struggled over which one. Just you look at these eyes, these cheeks, and then try to tell me you're not instantly in love.


And I chose to submit this photo of my boy, Luke, because it's always been one of my favorites. (See, who says I don't have kids?)

I took this photo of Luke about a year ago, when I still didn't really know what the hell I was doing with this camera. I love the light, his eyes and the fact that he's laying on our shoes (which he does regularly). And there in the background? His girlfriend sister, who kept trying to get my attention.

Now, go check out all the other gorgeous faces!