Tag Archives: faff

Friday Faff: gelato edition

Faff time!

* Last night, I made chocolate pomegranate cluster thingies. Basically, I took the arils out of a pomegranate, rinsed and let dry. Then, I melted some chocolate chips and dumped the arils in. I stirred it a bit, then used a teaspoon measurement to drop spoonfuls onto a wax paper-covered cookie sheet. I froze them until they were solid, then rolled about half of them in a mixture of powdered sugar and cocoa powder.

* This morning, I had to buy a 9 volt battery from the hardware store at 7:45 AM so the automatic cat feeder would function. I was surprisingly more functional at that hour than I would have expected considering I probably didn’t fall asleep until after 1:30 AM.

* Today, after hitching a ride to the bus depot in Santa Rosa, I took a bus to San Rafael and then transferred to a different bus to get to the east bay. While I was waiting for the second bus, who should appear but my awesome cousin!!!! I hadn’t seen her since before she left on her big four-month adventure in Africa (she just got back a week ago) and it was totally off-the-wall random that we’d run into one another. I love small world things like that; plus we got to have a nice little catch up visit during the bus ride and the BART ride.

* The reason I came down is because tomorrow at 7 AM Dan and I are flying to San Diego. We’ll be attending my cousin’s wedding in a small town in the eastern foothills, for which I’ll be doing the flowers. Dan will be exploring Julian and eating apples and pie. On Sunday night, we get to spend some time with Oldest Friend in San Diego before flying back up to SFO on Monday morning.

* Today, once I dropped my stuff off at the house where we’re staying the night, and caught up on my internets, I walked to downtown Berkeley through my old stomping grounds just north of University. I basically walked most of the route I used to run when I lived above the Body Time shop at Shattuck and Berkeley Way. It’s fun walking through that area, because I always play the “which stores/restaurants are the same and which ones are different?” game, and I always have flashbacks to specific memories from specific spots. I got to try about 8 different flavors of gelato from my favorite gelateria (Gelateria Naia) and settled on small scoops of cassia cinnamon and pumpkin. Yum.

* Tonight, Dan and I got to have a date night for the first time in I don’t even know how long. We literally could not remember the last time just the two of us went out for dinner. We had really great Indian food at a place in Albany, and it was quite inexpensive for the amount of food we got. Two thumbs up.

* Holy crap, a 7 AM flight is going to SUCK.


Friday Faff: Lights Out Edition

I believe I’ve mentioned before that we live in an 1895 Victorian house, with original windows and no air conditioning. We had a bit of a heat wave last week and over the weekend, and things were roasting in Chez Stryker by Monday evening. We listlessly discussed what we might have for dinner that would require no use of a heating element that could contribute to the temperature being even higher than the 82F it already was in our house.

And then the power went out. Luckily, it’s June so even though it was around 6:30 PM, it was still plenty light outside. At first we figured it was because the power grid was overloaded from too many fans and air conditioners running at once, but then the plume of black smoke to the east and the plethora of sirens convinced us that something else might be going on, but because we had no electricity we had no television, internet, or plug-in radio to inform us of the deets. We sat outdoors with peanuts and cold drinks and read our books, waiting for the power to come back on. It was hot, and only the occasional warm breeze punctuated the stiflingly still air.

After a while, we realized the power wasn’t going to come on anytime soon, and it was starting to get dark. We decided to have turkey sandwiches and leftover potato salad and cole slaw for dinner, since Dan was uncomfortable cooking in the dark, and since neither of us wanted to contribute any additional heat to the house, especially considering our fans weren’t functioning. We ate our cold meal at our dinnertable in the last light of the evening, reminiscing about power outages we remembered from childhood. Most of the ones I remembered happened during winter thunder-and-rain storms, so a hot summer evening was a totally different experience.

When we finished eating, we retired to the living room. Dan found his head lamp, and lit several of the decorative candles we normally have in our non-functional fireplace. And we sat in the hot, stuffy room, full of food. There wasn’t quite enough light to read, so we just sat. I thought about how much we depend on electricity for just about everything.

The kitties, expectedly, were more than a little freaked out by the situation. Humans at home! but no lights on! and no delicious, delicious fan! Why so hot, humans? Why no lights? Something was Just Not Right.

And then, for about 3 minutes, the lights suddenly came on.

A half hour after sitting in the dark, digesting dinner and watching the decorative candles flicker, they came back on for good. We found out that the cause of the blackout had been an explosion at a nearby power station, right near a hospital. Apparently some of the patients had to be medevac’d out when the hospital lost power. I thought some more about how much we depend on electricity for everything, for large, life-saving things, and for small things like an evening’s entertainment. It was kind of nice to have no teevee and no internet for an evening, but to not even have enough light to read by was more than a little disturbing. It was a little like camping, except in our own hot, stuffy house in the middle of the city rather than under the stars. I’ll take the lights when I’m home, thank you very much.

* * * * * *

Two bad things this week, offset by two good things today:

First, I’m going to have to find a new shampoo. Again. I’m still bitter about the last time, and after over a year of looking I finally found something that wasn’t horrible. And effing Pantene had to go and change up all their products again, the bastages. I bought a cheapo clarifying shampoo and I’ll know in a week or so whether or not I hate it. Why the hell do hair product companies have to change up their ENTIRE PRODUCT LINES when their customers already like what they have to offer?

Second, I was really looking forward to doing some swimming this summer. I’ve been trying to change up my workouts a bit, and thought the chance to spend some time in a pool would be lovely. The City of Denver’s outdoor pools are only open in the summer, so when I went to the website for Congress Park’s pool I was dismayed to learn that they’re only open from noon to five. WHEN I AM WORKING. My only other nearby option is to pay $5 a pop to swim in an overpopulated indoor pool. No thanks. (Harrumph.)

Today, two good things happened. First, I found a key that had been missing for at least six months in the pocket of my jeans (a pair I hadn’t worn since sometime this winter.) Yay! Also, I won another theoretical cooking contest. This one was more of a Chopped-style challenge than an Iron Chef one. It involved red bell pepper, walnuts, and artichoke bottoms in the appetizer round, pork loin, coconut, and lima beans for the main, and sour cream, candied lychee and pretzels in the dessert round. I think all three of my recipes would be top notch if I were to actually make them. (Especially dessert!)


* My brother-in-law came to visit over the weekend. He prefers to go incognito. (The weather in our part of Colorado was not especially warm on Saturday, hence the hooded sweatshirt.

* I got a haircut.

* Robin spent a not inconsiderable amount of time walking on the floor this week. Yes, this is progress.

Yep, that’s about it. What’s new with you, internet?

Joining the 21st century

I’m not one for what you might call technological innovation. I resisted getting a cell phone until I moved to Denver in 2003 and discovered that a basic cell phone plan (including free long distance) was the same price as a land line. I’ve never done much with any cell phone other than make phone calls; I send and receive so few texts that we don’t even have texting on our phone plan and pay for them piecemeal.I know my current phone has a camera, and I’ve used it twice (once to take a background photo of Loki and once to snap something in a store) and have no idea how to get the photo off my phone and onto someplace more useful. I didn’t get a digital camera until Dan gave me one for Christmas in 2004 (?) For someone on the cusp of Gen X and Gen Y, I’m startlingly old-school when it comes to gadgets and gizmos and The Latest Thing. We’d probably still have the same old non-HD, non-flatscreen TV had we not gotten a fancy TV as a wedding gift.

As with technological devices, so too am I often behind the curve when it comes to web-related stuff. I never programmed my own website or learned HTML. I have Friendster, Tribe, and MySpace accounts primarily because for some time or another they were the only way to communicate with certain of my friends. I joined Facebook, finally, about a month after we got married, since it seemed everyone I knew had migrated there from previous social networking sites. And for the past couple of years I’ve been reading people’s individual twitter feeds from their blogs or on twitter directly.

It occurred to me, the other day, that there was a lot I was missing out on by not having everything in one place. And so, internet, you can now find me and my inane drivel at Twitter, username pantalonesfuego. I have finally submitted to the dark side of the force internets.

Fantasy, reality

I am a roller derby queen.

I am in graduate school.

I am someone’s mother.

I am living in California.

I have an awesome job.

I have a renewed passport and a fabulous trip planned.

I am blonde and it looks good on me.

I’m a redhead and it looks good on me.

I have straight, white teeth and pretty skin.

I have a tattoo.

I am a size smaller.

I have a tarantula.

I have completed a marathon.

I own a house. It has an amazing yard/garden.

I have a kitty.

I have a moustache.

I have a husband who loves me very much.

I’ll take it.

Snack fail

So someone has been bringing in these assorted “100 calorie packs” of snacky things like cookies and crackers to my office, and I thought that today I might sample one, just to see what all the fuss is about. I’ve spent my 7+ hours in the gym this week and been eating mighty healthily these days, and it’s Friday, so why not, right?

For the record, the 100-calorie pack of “oreo thin crisps” tastes nothing like Oreos. They taste sort of like chocolate graham crackers. And now the inside of my mouth feels funny in kind of a bad way. SO not worth the 100 calories. I mean, I’m not a huge fan of Oreos to begin with (I like the chocolate cookie part, not so much the sweetened crisco filling), but damn, yo. Those things taste like ass.

I think I’ll have to make up for it when I get home by having a slice of homemade oatmeal molasses bread with butter on it.

The blahs

As you may or may not have noticed, for the three of you still reading this, I haven’t been posting much. I think it’s because I have the January blahs. For the past few years, we’ve gone on a fun trip in January. Not this year – the double whammies of Petra’s illness/death and Christmas, coupled with the furlough (unpaid) days I have for work now, meant that we couldn’t afford to do any of the trips we talked about.

So here I sit, in the blahs. The sky is gray. It’s cold outside, not horribly cold, but not pretty and snowy either. I’m still not over my mild cold. I want to go snowshoeing, but we have to buy snowshoes. I feel as though I’m once again stuck in a rut, unable to move in any direction.

We’ve had friends and relatives over the last couple of nights for dinner, which has been a nice change from the usual routine of computer-staring and TV-watching. I haven’t yet mustered the energy to start any new projects. At least the house got cleaned over the 4-day weekend I just had.

I think January blahs are normal; however, in recent years there’s been a trip to look forward to and/or go on, and this year, nothing. We have a new little kitty, growing daily, who has helped to bring some laughter back into our house of Dead Kitty Sadness, but even that isn’t enough to get me out of the doldrums. I continue to go to the gym nearly every day, trudge to and from work, and wonder when I’ll feel inspired again.