Rearranging

This is totally gross, but I think there’s bugs in the spare bedroom I use as my office/sewing room/closet. It’s probably related to the fact that we’re living next door to a jungle – I’ve seen way more bugs recently than ever before. But actually, even before these bugs started turning up, I was in the mood to really clean and reorganize, not just that room but the whole house. But I’ll start with that room because I spend so much time there, and it’s really full of stuff. I think I’ll really have to re-evaluate all my craft supplies. I have tons of fabrics and things, and I’ll probably never use them. It’s a shame, but I’ll probably end up selling or donating most of my stash. I’m also thinking about rearranging in there again. I haven’t been happy with the layout of that room for a long time. I have a new plan, so I’m going to see if I can get GG to help me move the furniture around sometime. (We did this a while ago, and it just didn’t feel right so we put everything back the way it was, haha!)

After that room, the next one to be hit for sure is GG’s art studio. It’s a small bedroom, and we actually started cleaning it up a while ago, but then I think he started a project or something so we put cleaning on hold. And I know he tried to clean once himself. It won’t be that bad, he just has a lot of papers and things that are potentially important and never got filed away. Then we can start working on his music studio in the basement, that is truly the dumping ground for everything he “puts away” from elsewhere in the house.

Or… we could just move. But that’s not really a possibility right now, until we have a little more certainty about the future of both our jobs.

Ming Tsai Fusion Pan

I hate getting presents because usually I end up with random junk I don’t need at all. But for my birthday this year my mom gave me a Ming Tsai Fusion Pan, and I was actually really excited to try it out! So far I’ve made three things in it, so I figured I’m qualified now to write a review.

The pan is a really good idea. It’s sort of an egg shape, and there’s a little “well” in the narrow end where you can put water to steam your food without having it sit in water itself. Or you can put some other flavored liquid in the well (like soy sauce, or liquid smoke) to infuse the flavor in whatever you’re cooking. I have the blue pan, which is a really fun color, but I have to complain here: after the very first use, the paint on the bottom of the pan had burnt off (and was on the burner of my stove, though I was able to remove it). I don’t know if the heat was too high or what, but considering you’re supposed to be able to put it in the oven up to 350 degrees, I think you should be able to use it on the stove without paint peeling off. The pan is really heavy, but not unmanageable, and there are nice rubber grips on the handle of the pan and the lid.

The first thing I cooked was the asparagus recipe that comes with the pan. It’s minced onion and asparagus, with water in the well, and it turned out great! I love me some broiled asparagus, but this is a great way to do it, too – steamed without getting floppy. That same night I made the steak recipe that it came with. The steak was marinated with some soy sauce and ginger, and then cooked with green beans in the pan and soy sauce and liquid smoke in the well. The steak actually turned out pretty nice, but the green beans were not my favorite. (I think I was turned off because they got a little sickly brown looking from being “infused” with soy sauce.)

Last night I did my own pork dumpling recipe in the pan, and they were fantastic! I was able to just put a little oil in the bottom, and some water in the well to steam them. Even though you’re supposed to, I never steam these dumplings when I cook them because they get all wet and floppy. But by keeping the water in the well they stay crispy. They cook really quickly, too (a little too quickly – I burned the first batch).

Thursday night I’m doing pierogies in the pan…

Brows, Trucks, Party

On Friday night GG and I went to the mall for dinner, and also I had my eyebrows threaded again. This was my third time going, I’ve been getting them done every four weeks or so. I like the lady who does it, but this time she was doing her sales pitch for passers-by while doing my brows, which was kind of off-putting. The thing that really got me was that she asked me if this was my first time, and I was like, “No, this is the third time I’ve been here,” not that I expected her to remember me or anything, but still. Then, moments later, she calls out to this lady walking by about how she should get her brows done, and referring to me she’s like, “She comes here all the time!” Um, until a minute ago you thought you’d never met me, lady!

As we neared our house driving home from the mall, we saw a lot of lights and firetrucks and ladders in the street. It looked like they were right in front of our house! I’d seen them setting up some tables or something by the fire station (a block from our house) as we left, so I thought maybe there was some sort of get-together. But GG was like, “No, it’s another 9/11!” Well no, it was a Fireman Convention. We had to go a block out of our way because the street was closed off and it was full of fire trucks from all the stations in the area. We went home and got our cameras and came back out to take some pictures. It was pretty surreal. Also, a lot of fire fighters are also smokers!

I stayed home Saturday and just cleaned and stuff until it was time to leave for MB and Alan’s housewarming party. (They are one of the only reasons I will ever voluntarily go to New Jersey.) Their house is nice, it’s like a house where grown-ups live with their children! And there are tons of closets! Though I supposedly went to college with most of the other guests, I didn’t really know them because they were 2-3 years behind me, and MB knew them from the Catholic organization. It was still cool, though. Of course, GG got drunk right away on Alan’s homemade beers, and spent the rest of the night being alternately funny and annoying. Don’t worry, I drove (yes, in New Jersey – and in the rain).

GG had to work on Sunday, so I went out to Target (disappointing! I can’t wait until they’re done remodeling) and did our food shopping for the week. I have something to cook for dinner every night this week, hooray! It’s going to be a weird schedule for me because of the way the first of the month falls this week, so I don’t get my mid-week break that I’ve become accostumed to. But I do have next Monday off!

Heroes S4 E1&2: Orientation and Jump, Push, Fall

Last night’s Heroes premiere was surprisingly not disappointing. I like the direction they’re going with everything… except maybe those stupid carny folk.

So welcome back, returning characters. We’ve got Claire, who has a new hairdo I like, and the most annoying character of the season, her roommate, has already been killed off – sweet. Second most annoying is her new friend Gretchen, who happens to drive a Nissan Cube. Claire’s dad is back, and was almost killed twice last night, so watch out, Noah! And with him was “our Haitian friend,” good to see him again. Oh yeah I guess Tracy Strauss is back too, but now she’s more watery than icy, or something. And Danko is out of the picture finally, thank goodness. Also returning is Matt, who somehow didn’t notice until just now that the water delivery guy has been spending a lot of time at his house (even though I think it was totally innocent, he just seemed like a nice guy, not trying to hide anything). And inside Matt’s brain is Sylar and his eyebrows – and can I just add that he did an awesome job being all sassy and snarky last night?! Mrs. Petrelli has returned and is uneasy about her “son,” Nathan, gosh he just isn’t himself lately… Meanwhile Peter’s actually doing something pretty awesome, trying to right wrongs, etc., but I saw in the preview for next week (so it’s not a spoiler) that people are thinking he’s causing the accidents so he can then go save the victims, so maybe he’d better watch it. And what, is Legal Sea Foods a sponsor of the show now, too?! (They do make a pretty awesome sangria, though – skip the chowder and pick up a jug of that next time, Peter.) Hiro and Ando are back and goofy as usual, though now that Hiro’s changed the past, Ando is more comfortable and confident with his “Kimmy” – which, while I’m happy that he’s happy, is not a minor change to the storyline, so I’m curious to see what other effects this has on the present. And Hiro is once again about to be misled by a blonde guy with an accent. (Also, the nosebleeds – Heroes/Lost crossover?! “Time travel is a b*tch!”)

As for new characters, we have a speedster of some nature (who, according to the graphic novel, is or was maybe romantically involved with Lydia?). Then there’s Lydia, and Samuel, and I don’t really know who’s powers are who’s. He can move dirt, but he can also move tattoo ink? So can Lydia sense things or see the future or something, and then it’s Samuel who moves her tattoo ink to actually display on her back what she’s seeing? What a bunch of whackadoodles, I hate carnys. Their “carnival” started following me on Twitter last night – they had a bunch of tweets from the past week or so all signed “Joseph” (the guy they were burying at the beginning of the show, who apparently doesn’t know that you don’t sign your tweets), and then the last one was from Samuel. I’ll let them follow me, but I’m not following them, because I don’t like when TV interacts with real life.

Are they ever going to tell us how Sylar ended up in the South American jungle that one time?

“Rapture Ready” by Daniel Radosh

I saw this book mentioned in some Duggar-related capacity, and decided to check it out. In Rapture Ready, Daniel Radosh (who is Jewish, by the way) explores the world of Christian pop culture, which basically parallels secular pop culture – they have their own music, books, magazines, wrestling, theme parks, raves, comedians, etc. Without disguising himself or anything, he goes to these places to meet and interview the people involved.

The early chapters were pretty interesting to me, talking about the Christian music scene and Christian books – including different versions of the Bible for different demographics, and how they are marketed. Then he kind of lost me toward the middle, when he was visiting with Bibleman and Christian DJs. Around this point was when he started going to some festivals where organizations promoted things like “IVF violates human dignity,” which offended Radosh, as his kids were conceived via IVF. So a lot of the middle section of the book is actually the author getting preachy himself, either in writing or being directly confrontational with the people he’s interviewing.

The chapter on abstinence-only education caught my attention again, but it was way too short. I would have liked to see more information about that. I mean, he only just mentioned “purity balls” – he could’ve gone much more in-depth about what they entail. The chapter on the Creation Museum was also interesting. His visit took place before the museum was fully completed or open to the public, but it would be interesting to see what he thought of it now that it’s open. (The Duggars visited there a while back. Ugh.)

The best part of the book, however, was when Radosh caught his Christian subjects as they realized their own hypocricy, or at least the hypocricy or poor behavior of their fellow Christians. Here’s some favorites:

From Jay Howard, co-author of Apostles of Rock: The Splintered World of Contemporary Christian Music, sociology professor, and former Christian radio DJ:

“The Bible has more than two thousand verses about poverty and maybe five or ten that you can interpret as being about abortion, but we’re all about abortion. Those two thousand verses about Christians’ responsibility to widows and orphans and aliens and strangers and the poor? We manage to be blind to all of that, but we can find those five verses about abortion.”

From Doug Van Pelt, editor of HM, the Christian “hard music” magazine founded in 1985 as Heaven’s Metal:

“Most Christians are intelligent, and they get to the point where they realize, ‘I don’t have to worry about hearing an errant idea. The truth can stand on its own. It doesn’t need to be protected. … Bible good, secular bad is very close-minded and very small-minded. There are a lot of teachers that encourage people to think, use their brains that God gave you and engage the culture, learn things from a nonbelieving person. You know, it’s kind of a radical idea for some people.”

On dominant husbands and submissive wives, from Intended for Pleasure, by Dr. Ed Wheat (this passage I marked mostly because people seem to worry about couples like Josh and Anna Duggar, where the men have been trained their whole lives that their duty is to be dominant over their wife, and the women have been trained to be submissive to their husband, and people worry that this could lead to abuse):

“A wife gladly submits to a husband who loves in God’s way … but neither can demand the appropriate response from the other. It must be a gift.”

Christian sex therapist Christopher McCluskey on a husband asking him to tell his wife she’s in sin because she’s witholding her body from him:

“Does he have scriptural basis for every argument he’s making? Yes. Is he right? No. He’s totally missed the spirit of the act, though he could back up every point with Scripture. I tell him, ‘Everything you’re saying may be right by the letter of the law, but it’s so far from the spirit of the law that you’re the one who’s in sin, because you’ve totally missed the spirit. And if you force your wife to submit to you in giving you her body, Satan will be glorified through what you do.'”

One more really neat feature of the book is its “multimedia appendix,” GetRaptureReady.com. This site has links to a lot of the bands, books, etc. that are mentioned, as well as photos and videos from the places Radosh visited. Overall, it was an interesting book, but considering my level of knowledge of the Duggars and their beliefs, I didn’t really feel like I learned much I didn’t already know.

Weekend with a Baby

Jess had asked me weeks ago if I would go to this whoopie pie festival in Lancaster with her this Saturday. I looked at the web site for the event and said it sounded like some little thing at a restaurant, so was it really worth driving all the way out there? But she said she was looking forward to this as much as she’d looked forward to having her son, so, okay, we could go! Rob couldn’t make it, because he was so busy with his job and schoolwork, so it was just GG, Jess, the baby, and I. I ended up driving her car, so she had all her baby stuff in there, and she could sit in the back with him.

When we got out there, the place was packed! We ended up having to park in some grass on the side of a hill. The actual festival was in this huge area behind the restaurant. There was a large field where they had whoopie pie throwing contests, there were inflatable bounce things and pony rides and other activities for kids, a band playing, craft vendors, and other food for sale. But we were looking for the whoopie pies, which were in a few large tents by a pond. They claimed to have over 100 flavors, but it turned out that there were no samples or anything. You had to just buy the ones you wanted. So that kind of sucked. If there were samples, we would’ve tried a whole bunch. GG even suggested it could be like the beer fest, where you pay some amount to get in and then have all the samples you want. Jess suggested to someone working there that they should offer samples and the lady was like, “Do you realize how long that would take to prepare?!” Eh, they seemed to be doing fine business without the samples. I got one that had Andes mints in its filling, and it was pretty good – but so huge, I could only eat about 3/4 of it. GG finished mine, and had a pumpkin one. I forget what kind Jess had there, but she also got a peanut butter and chocolate one to take home to Rob, and he told me today that it was good.

After spending some time among the crowds, we had lunch at Fuddrucker’s (none of us had ever been before), and then headed back home. I held the baby for a while, and GG got concerned, so I have to keep explaining to him that spending time with Jess and the baby just convinces me more that a kid is something I don’t want to have. I mean, it takes like 10 minutes just to get in or out of the car!



Lots and lots of whoopie pies


Jess and that baby she keeps with her


Last night we were e-mailing and Jess invited me to go to the WC Restaurant Festival with her and Rob today. GG was working, so I went with them. So crowded. Seriously, the crowds didn’t even move at some points. I hate stuff like that. And I know it’s not easy for them to maneuver their big stroller through all that. If there had been half as many people there it would’ve been perfect. But as it was, we just tried to get up and down the street and back to the car, and overall we were there for four hours! We didn’t even eat that much. We each just got one or two things, and then split a funnel cake, which was the beginning of the end for me, because I felt sticky and sugary for the rest of the day.

GG and I got home at exactly the same time, and I promptly collapsed on the bed and fell asleep for probably half an hour. Eventually we both pulled ourselves together and went out food shopping. I got stuff to cook in that crazy pan my mom got me! Steaks, green beans, and asparagus…

I watch a lot of TV.

I have been a bad blogger this week. Well, last week and the beginning of this week were totally insane at work, and I’ve spent the rest of the week trying to catch up with my regular work that I let slide in the meantime.

On Monday I had my appointment with the GI doctor. I made the appointment over a month ago so I actually feel much better now, though occasionally still get the chest pain and fast heartbeat, but I haven’t even taken my drugs for like a month now. So my options from him are basically: a) I’m crazy, b) I’m better, c) I may or may not be better but if I want to find out they have to stick a camera down my throat. So I’ll go with option B.

My mom came over on Monday night to bring me birthday presents! I hate presents, actually, but she didn’t do too bad. She gave me a very cool frying pan that I’m excited to use, I just haven’t had time to shop for food or cook recently. (The charming Ming Tsai designed this pan and demonstrates it in a video at the link above.) Then she and GG and I went out to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner, and walked around the mall for a little bit.

On Tuesday, the birthday celebration continued as GG and I went to Qdoba to use the birthday coupon they sent me. Then I came home and knitted a couple Waldo hats (already sold one!) before bed. Oh and of course I watched the Duggars. I twittered a lot during the show and posted on TWoP, so I don’t know if I’ll add anything more here.

Wednesday I worked from home, did a bunch of stuff around the house, and went to band. It was only our third rehearsal, but man, band is silly this season!

Last night I went out to dinner again with my mom, and my grandmom. We’re all very similar, it was funny. We all ordered almost exactly the same thing, and then we unrolled the napkins from our silverware packets and set up our place settings the same way… I watched the season premieres of SNL Weekend Update Thursday, Parks and Recreation, and The Office (all great!), and was going to switch to the Fringe premiere at 9:30, but then I decided to just watch Fringe all at once and instead watched the premiere of Community. I don’t like it. Will not be watching. Sorry Joel McHale.

Tomorrow GG, Jess, the baby, maybe Rob, and I will be going to do something fun and potentially silly. I will report back!

Birthday Weekend 2009

Well, I’m 27 now.

GG was sad that I didn’t want to go down to Virginia with him while he was working over Labor Day weekend, so to appease him I suggested we go this weekend for my birthday. I really didn’t want to… but it was nice to get away for a couple days anyway. So we both left work early on Friday and headed down around 1 PM. We stopped for late lunch/early dinner at Sonic on the way, and got to Chincoteague around 5:00. The first thing GG’s grandmother said to us? “Oh it’s been a terrible summer for fleas, there’s fleas everywhere, all the cats are covered with fleas…” Umm… I do not want to stay in this flea house! I didn’t want fleas on us or our belongings, and didn’t want to bring fleas home to our own kitties! However – I did not see a single flea while we were there. GG’s mom apparently combed a couple off the cats every day, but I never saw them.

Since we’d eaten late, we didn’t really feel like dinner. GG’s parents were coming down late (they’ve already gone back to work here in PA), and since the weather had been pretty bad, there really weren’t any customers anyway, so they didn’t bother to open the shop. With the night off, GG and I went to the Island Roxy theater (I’d never been there!) and saw Julie & Julia. It was cute, but I would have liked to see more about Julia Child. I could care less about the horrible Julie Powell, who’s since left her husband. (No, it’s not a spoiler – it’s the subject of her next book.) I have Julia Child’s biography on hold at the library :o)

One of the highlights of the trip was seeing the little kittens GG’s parents adopted, Figgy and Puffy. Puffy was the runt of a litter of stray cats living by their house, and GG’s mom took her in at the beginning of the summer. A month or so later, Figgy was found crying under a fig bush (hence the name) after a big storm. They were going to look for another home for her, but she got along so well with Puffy that they decided to keep her, too. So they left PA with one cat and will return with three! The kitties are so fun – they’re living in the screened porch, so they run around, play with toys or bits of leaves that end up on the floor, and climb up the screens! Then they snuggle up together and sleep.

Saturday (my birthday!) morning, we went out for breakfast to this place that’s new this year. It’s actually always been there, I think it just has a new name and was redecorated – now it sort of looks like an elementary school, with yellow cinderblock walls and kids’ artwork hanging everywhere. The food was okay, but not as good as the place we used to go for breakfast – however, the chef at that place apparently quit recently, and now the waitresses are cooking or something? So that sucks. Later in the day there was a motorcycle run and poker game held by the police to buy toys for kids or something. So they closed off a section of Main Street and everyone parked their bikes in the street. It was crazy. GG and I walked down during the day to check it out. (Can you imagine if someone bumped into one bike and knocked it over? GG was very careful while he was walking among them.) Then we ended up walking around the island for a while, before coming back to the house and relaxing.

After resting up, we went out to my favorite restaurant on the island, the Seashell Cafe, for dinner. (Remember when I mentioned it last year? Someone from the restaurant e-mailed me and was like, “Don’t worry, we’re not going out of business.”) GG had surf and turf, and I had a steak. Everything was delicious, and the waitress was great. Our only complaint probably was that the place was full of kids! There’s a lot of echo in there, even though they have some accoustic tile on the ceiling. (GG and I ate at this resturant a while ago that seemed like it would be loud and echoey, but they put accoustic panels on the bottoms of the tables, so they didn’t mess up the decor, but they really worked to absorb sound – hint hint, Sheashell Cafe!)

Around 5 PM, the bike run thing turned into a street party, with a band playing and people dancing out in the street, so GG and I went to check it out for a while. It was pretty cool, and the cover band that was playing, the Island Boy Band, was really good – I liked the sax especially. We eventually left because so many people were smoking. It seemed like every time we moved away from one smoker, another one would light up. Gross. GG had to work in the evening, so I read my magazine and played with kitties. Also, he made me a birthday rootbeer float.

We left pretty early Sunday morning, maybe around 9? On our way home, we stopped at this restaurant in Delaware that GG’s parents recommended, Border Cafe. It’s a Tex-Mex restaurant, and it was pretty good. The chips and salsa were awesome. I had some sort of chicken tacos, which were pretty good, but something in there was a little too spicy for me. Of course, nothing is too spicy for GG, who had blackened chicken fajitas. After lunch, we were back on the road, and got home in the early afternoon, so I still had time to do laundry and clean up a little.

Here’s all my pictures from Chincoteague this weekend. Mostly cats and funny signs.

No, I did not see Kanye West on the VMAs, but I can’t help but think that the whole thing was some sort of publicity stunt. (Especially since he’s supposed to be on the premiere of the new Jay Leno show tonight..?) I did, however, catch the update show on our favorite primordial dwarf, Kenadie Jourdin-Bromley. GG doesn’t like her as much since she’s talking a little now. I still think she’s cute.

09-09-09

I felt like I should blog on this historic date that won’t happen again… until next October. Also, as of 999, GG and I have been married three years, three months, and three days.

I’ve had a nice quiet day working at home, with my kitty companions snuggled up next to me. In a little bit I’ll make some dinner, then take a short nap before band practice. I’m still a little overwhelmed thinking about what a busy season this is going to be (though maybe less busy than usual, since we’re planning on having our concert programs printed and assembled professionally – that means I don’t have to spend a week printing and folding a million pages).

Speaking of being busy, I’m extremely busy at work preparing for the 15th of the month. It’s one of my two monthly busy days that I always have, but this week just involves so much extra work. One thing I’m doing involves 11 pages of updates – it took me an hour yesterday to get through just one. Hopefully they’re not all like that. And then in the midst of all this work, you just think… What’s the point? In a few weeks it might not even matter anyway.

Starting this weekend I’m also going to be busy every weekend! I feel like quite the social butterfly, because for all of September and October I have some activity planned with friends. And then in November I’ll be busy with my band concert. Ugh, I just want to nap!

Hair Product Reviews – I attempt going wavy!

My hair is naturally wavy, but not the good kind of wavy – it’s the kind of wavy that just makes a big puffy, frizzy mess. I blow dry it straight every day, and have also been using a straightening iron most days for the last couple years. Even then it still explodes into frizziness the moment I step outside. So my usual look is straight-ish hair with a halo of frizz.

A few weeks ago I put out a call for suggestions of products I could put on my hair while wet to enhance the waves, reduce frizz, and if possible, get it to dry faster. I got a lot of suggestions, and in the end went with John Frieda Dream Curls Curl Perfecting Spray. It definitely reduced frizziness, and seemed to enhance the waves, but it did not speed drying time at all. I was working at home the day I tried it, and didn’t have to go anywhere that night, so it wasn’t a huge deal, but eventually I got fed up with my head still being wet, so used my hairdryer on its lowest setting, scrunching as I dried. That sort of destroyed the whole thing, and most of the curls went away or poofed out. I did like how it looked at first, though. (It smells nice, too.)




Yesterday, I tried another product, Garnier Fructis Wonder Waves Wave Enhancing Spray (which also smells nice). The wave-enhancing results weren’t quite as noticeable as with the John Frieda spray, but it also reduced the frizz. This time around I tried blow-drying lightly first, then letting it air-dry the rest of the way. Not sure what type of difference that makes.



I still don’t see myself as a wavy-haired person, though. So when I bought the Garnier spray, I also got a bottle of Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Anti-Humidity Smoothing Milk. It actually hasn’t been all that humid for the last week or so, but humidity is my number one hair enemy, especially in these PA summers. I am using this product today. It has “fruit micro-waxes.” I don’t know what those are, but so far, I like it! I used a regular, hot hair dryer like I usually do, and then I just used the straightening iron on a couple sections around my face. It’s still remarkably soft and non-frizzy! (And did I mention it smells nice?) The only thing I really don’t like about this one is the pop-up bottle top – like a water bottle. Kind of awkward, and stuff gets all over it when you squirt it out. [Edit – 9/7] Bonus feature of the Smoothing Milk – instead of the normal tangle of hair I usually wake up with, my hair was still straight and smooth when I got out of bed this morning! [/Edit]