28 July 2006

"i was keeping a list...

...of problems for an ambitious theory of cryptography. I was interested in the classical problem of producing secure conventional cryptosystems." - Whitfield Diffie

(Of course. What else would you have been doing?)

I'm a lister. Just ask my lovely husband. If we're having a busy day, there is definitely a piece of paper guiding us through it, with little tick marks added by yours truly as we go. I don't need special notepads; I will write on anything. Receipts, my agenda, leftover newspapers... And I don't number. That would just be silly, not to mention overwhelming.

Speaking of my lovely husband, when he left for the weekend earlier this month, I realized I had the place to myself, which is a nice way of saying really I wished he were still here or that I'd gone with him. But there was much to do chez nous, and I intended to make a dent, so the listing began! I then reviewed and counted twenty-one things on the pre-Sunday-9am calendar. Ambitious. And no, not twenty one Steps To Accomplishing Something, as someone one asked me. That would be cheating. The list is things that need to be done, such as, in my mother's listing vernacular, "Paint LR"...

When we would get our lists for the weekend back in the day (aka the 80's), all the rooms had their own (rather obvious) abbreviations: Living Room = LR; Dining Room = DR; Your Bedroom = Your BR; etc. I am now physically incapable of spelling out l-i-v-i-n-g--r-o-o-m on a piece of paper.

The LR did get painted, and not the color we'd originally planned! It is now a lovely dark blue. That first shot turned out more "electric" than "sophisticated," and the people at the paint store were not remotely helpful, so we returned to Lowe's for Olympic Paint. And I have to do a little unpaid endorsement here: I am not someone who really minds the smell of paint, but this paint HAS no smell! You can actually sleep in the room after you paint it. Bravo, Olympic People. (Maybe you should work on those world game thingies...there is some room for improvement there.) Anyway, as mentioned in one of my recent posts, the digital camera is under the weather, so I don't have pictures of it yet, but it does look great!

Today I have been working on another list, which includes lots of presents for people who just got married, people having babies...it's all so happy and exciting! But first I think it's time for a nap in the BR. After I clean the K.

25 July 2006

giving baby nightmares

In helping a friend who's expecting shop for a rug for her nursery, I came across this monstrosity being sold by Target:

Who did that?!


Is it called "Tobacco" because it looks like that's what was spat on it?

It gives me a headache combined with a seriously nauseated feeling...and not a small dose of irritability.

In case you are not adequately offended, may I just share that it comes it two other, ummm...colors.


and Peridot:

I am offended for the real peridot, by the way.

Do these look better in person? or worse, maybe?

And let's just touch on the fact that if you buy the largest version, you're dropping more than a grand on this putrescence!

culinary dervish

I have been cooking up a storm these past few weeks! Must be the fresh summer produce, or the plethora of food blogs I've recently found...or that it's too hot to go outside...

Unfortunately, the digital camera is sick again. So I don't have enticing pictures to share. :( But I do have ideas!

Per Suburban Apron's suggestion, I made Martha Stewart's Crustless Broccoli-Cheddar Quiche for dinner one night. Yum! Instead of four ramekins, I used one large dish. The only downside was that it had to bake for nearly an hour rather than 35 minutes. But it puffed up so prettily and tasted so good that I didn't mind in the end.

Once upon a time I did not like cherries. Well, nevermind to that! I was wrong! WRONG, I tell you. Three words: Chocolate Cherry Muffins. They are to die for --but beware, they are not sweet, so if that's what you're looking for, keep looking! (By the way, I don't know what those non-chocolate muffins are doing in the picture. They are just in the way.)

Back at the grocery store, the red Swiss Chard looked too good to pass up. We usually just chop it up and sauté it with onions and a little olive oil, but I decided to try something new. Gourmet's Swiss Chard Gratin was delicious. Don't be daunted by the roux.

More soon! Happy cooking!

16 July 2006

to market, to market

I've been wanting to visit a local grower to buy produce, and finally, yesterday, I made it out to Potomac Vegetable Farm. I didn't want to overdo it, so I just bought what I know I can use this week...even though my imagination was running wild.

The Delicious Bounty:

And they had pick-your-own blackberries!

As if that weren't enough, (and perhaps so much for the "just what we can consume this week,") on my way out, I could not resist the peaches.

What to make with all this?! I am inspired by Cream Puffs In Venice's delight in berries...need to get my hands on that Berry Bible book...but I also think a blackberry cobbler sounds pretty perfect. And I've been meaning to post my mom's cobbler recipe. It is oh-so-easy and always delicious.

Fruit Cobbler

1 stick butter
2/3 cup milk
4 cups fruit, washed and dried*
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup sugar, divided

Melt the butter in a 9-inch square pan or deep dish. Mix flour, salt, baking powder, and 1/2 cup sugar in small bowl. Add milk and stir until just blended. Spoon batter over melted margarine. Do not stir. Pour fruit over batter and sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar (or less if your fruit is sweet!).

Bake at 375 degrees for 35-45 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

*If you're using peaches, etc. To Peel or Not To Peel is up to you. I love fruit peel, so I leave it on.

**You can substitute the flour, salt, and baking powder in this recipe for 1 cup self-rising flour if you prefer.


13 July 2006

there's a reusable fiber for that

I started to type this story and then realized there were so many explanations required that you'd need a legend to read it. So here you go:

SmallBean = my sister. That's been her nickname for a few years now. It's a long story but it stemmed from a misunderstood reference to a "small baby," and once someone else heard us laughing about "small bean," and said, "that would be a good nickname for you!" it stuck. No, it does not make sense, technically speaking. It's just somehow the most perfectly-suited nickname ever.

NewBean = my brother-in-law. SmallBean married him just a few months ago and I am almost as happy about it as she is! He doesn't have a Bean Name yet, as we ran out of bean varieties a few years ago. On that note, yes, I'd love to know more, so do tell. But really, we've tried. I mean, there's already a GreatNorthernBean.

Special note: I have a shockingly bad memory. If a UFO ever lands in my backyard (though really I imagine them as much larger than that) and the cameras show up, I will be the woman on the news saying, "I was just in the keechen' and tarned around and, laaaandaaaamoses! it was THERE and then it was just GONE." And that will be all I can remember. Not just because they zapped me. Or maybe they already have.

Story: I was on the phone earlier tonight with SmallBean. I was standing in the kitchen and had just handed something to my Lovely Husband. I don't remember what it was (see?) but it must have been dish that was still a little wet, because he promptly tore off a paper towel to dry it. And I said to SmallBean, "He just wasted a paper towel!"

Right now you're probably thinking, "Wasted? Didn't you say it was wet?" or "A paper towel? How much do those cost, anyway?"

But not my sister, no siree. Without missing a beat, she shot out, "NewBean wasted a paper towel a few weeks ago!!!"


We're related. And we grew up in the same house. Sourcing things via heredity vs. environment doesn't really work for us because those two things are virtually indistinguishable. All those genes and experiences have been combed and worked over by so many hands and woven together just like the cotton for a dish towel.

12 July 2006

stalking implies denied reciprocity

Here is the start of a list of people I am totally friends with, but they just don't know it yet:

1. Ina
Ina Garten = The Barefoot Contessa = show on the Food Network
Love her, love her food, love how cute she is about her husband, love her friends, love her garden, love her house, love that my husband bought me a cookbook through her website and requested that she autographed it and she did (nice!) and she wrote, "Dear Kathryn, Have fun! Ina" And you know what? I AM, INA! I'm having a great time! Thank you! Oh, and did I mention that every single one of Ina's recipes works perfectly and is delicious? If you are on the Food Network, I think that's an unspoken expectation of your viewers. Alas, it is not true for all the hosts. (This means you, Rachel Ray!)

2. David Sedaris
Anyone who avoids the use of singular nouns because he cannot remember their gender en francais is a friend of mine. Two tomatoes, please. Not to mention he's a North Carolinian. And we know those are always cool. If anyone who ever reads this knows David Sedaris (or IS David Sedaris -- why dream small?) could you please request that he start a blog? He can even charge for a subscription to it. That's fine. I will pay in tomatoes.

3. Stacy and Clinton
Some people tout Trinny and Susannah, and here's what I have to say about that: in general, they look great, but very few of the people they dress do! Not fair! Are they trying to up their odds of pretty by comparison?! Not nice. Bad Brits. Whereas Stacy and Clinton always look smashing, and they do not let people buy ill-fitting clothing (Jackets must button! Yes, Clinton, you are right!) and they pay attention to personal style (No making a stay-at-home Mama buy a suit she doesn't need. Flattering leather blazer, yes. Dark three-piece, no.). Also, Stacy shares my, um, affinity (it's my blog, I can call it what I want) for pointy-toed shoes. If only everyone watched WNTW, they would know that our toes are not crunched into the end and if the shoes fit properly then no, they do not hurt. AND, Stacy seems to have located every single v-neck, empire-waist, eye-popping color blouse or shell on earth. Good job.