Saturday, January 30, 2010

Actually Trying New Things...

On March 18 of last year, I wrote that I wanted to try the Couch to 5K program. I did not.

This year, inspired by the various physical accomplishments of friends Beth (who trained for and ran an entire marathon) and Katie (who trained for a breast cancer 3-Day, though she was rained out of much of her actual walk), I have actually started it.

This past week, I walked/ran on Monday, Thursday, and today. Monday, I finished about 1/3 of the intervals, Thursday finished 1/2, and today finished an entire week 1 session! I feel incredibly proud of myself so far. Some of the women who I work with are runners and they are encouraging and are going to sign up with me for a 5K in May, as soon as we figure out which one.

On to week 2!

In other news, I present to you three odd stories from NPR from the week:
- Why we make the wrong choice: an overloaded brain
- Finding a picture of Phineas Gage, a man who had a railroad spike driven through his skull in 1848 and lived to tell the tale, albeit with a different personality
- The formula for perfect parallel parking: apparently it's all about the math (shocker)

Happy happy birthday this week to a few of my favorite people.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I feel a little like my friend Jen when I post recipes, but I'm not trying to steal her thunder. Just explaining what I did with my weekend. Yesterday, I made crumpets and today, I made quiche.

2 c. warm water
2 c. flour
1 T. or packet dry yeast
1 t. salt

Mixing and Rising:
Pour the water in a mixing bowl. Blend in 1 c. of the flour and the yeast. Allow this mixture to grow and develop for 10-15 min before you add the balance of the flour and the salt.

Mix the batter thoroughly, cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap, and let rise for 1 to 2 hours.

After the batter has doubled in size, stir it down and let it rest for 5 min while you heat your griddle.

(In England and certain places in America, you can buy rings to cook crumpets in, but we can approximate them by using tuna-sized cans with the tops and bottoms cut out. Clean them thoroughly and grease with butter. You can also buy the rings from various specialty places online. I got mine through the King Arthur Flour website.)

Lightly grease and then heat your griddle over medium-low heat. Place as many rings on it as you have room for. Fill each ring with about 1/4 inch of batter (about 1/4 cup in my rings, which are 3.75 inches in diameter). The batter should be thin enough so that holes develop.

Cook until the batter is beginning to dry on top and brown on the bottom, about 6-7 min. Remove the rings, flip the crumpets, and finish cooking. This will take 1-2 min.

I like to toast mine and add Nutella. Yum!

Basic Formula of Ingredients:
1 pie crust, prebaked for extra crispness, but not necessary
3 to 4 eggs
3 T. flour
1 to 1.5 c. liquid (milk, evaporated milk, buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream, cream, etc.)
1.5 to 2 c. cooked, chopped veggies and/or meat
1.5 c. grated cheese (anything goes)

Prep the custard:
Combine the eggs, flour, and liquid. Pour some on the bottom of your crust to seal it and keep the juices from soaking in. Strew the pie shell with veggies, meat, etc. and then sprinkle and cheese over all. Pour the remainder of the custard over the whole thing and bake for 35 to 40 min at 375 degrees.

Today, I used leeks & feta cheese. Tasty!

Sunday, January 17, 2010


One of the best parts about my job is the weekend. That's because I don't do work on the weekend. It's pretty glorious. I gave up summer, but in return, I got evenings and weekends. I'm still getting used to it, I admit, which sometimes leaves me at loose ends. But I'm getting better at it. :)

This weekend? All MHC, all the time. I saw 6 MHC alums in less than 24 hours, in 3 different social situations: a party to celebrate the adoption of a classmate's child, coffee this morning, then brunch today. I'm counting down to Reunion, excited about the fun that will be had by my classmates who can make it. Those who aren't able to come will miss lots of fun, but I know that they'll be there in spirit. Need to figure out how to get more stuff online so that lots of people can participate virtually.

Much love for "North by Northwest" -- a true mid-century movie. Google would have cleared up the whole "mistaken identity" conceit quickly & that fun on the train? Never would have happened. Also digging "Ocean's 13" tonight. It's been a while since I saw that movie in the theater.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti and all the rest of it

Haiti. Oy. I read Mountains Beyond Mountains last year. Poor Haiti, in so many many ways. And now this earthquake. The quacks all came out to play. I won't be mentioning the name of one of those quacks, as he doesn't need any more publicity than he already gets, but I do love the fact that the Minneapolis Star-Tribune has published a letter written by "the Devil" back to him. You should read it.

I've been thinking this week about what happens when people can't get their shit together, how people deal with major (and minor) events, how to be brave. More on that later, maybe.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lost in the Shuffle

Thinking today about what happens when things get lost in the shuffle, proverbial or actual. How information can get missed and become either tragic or funny when the truth comes out later.

A friend of mine somehow missed the fact that my brothers are twins. How? I have no idea. As another friend put it, "Um, that's the thing to know about your brothers." I guess when your friends haven't actually met your siblings in person, it would be difficult to miss. On the other hand, I feel like I always talk about them as a unit. Perhaps that's just how it seems to me, since clearly it was a fact that was missed. How did this missed piece of information come out? I showed him a picture of the two of them from M's wedding this summer. His response? "Wow, they look... a lot alike!." "Um, because they're twins?" "No, really?!?"

That's just one example, of the funny variety. We'll see if I can come up with a tragic example, though I'm sure I've posted about one before.

On another note, I'll be happy when my birthday's over in 43 days.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Add Another

Add another date to the things that I'm looking forward to this year: the family reunion in July. It's our 4th annual and it, like the others, promises to be fun. There's food and beer and loud people and pictures and card games. Bring it on.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Actually the New Year

Happy actual new year now. I did not get the quarter, but it's probably better that my uncle did anyway. He could use it more, I'm thinking.

Things to look forward to this year? My 10-year college reunion. That's going to be one fun weekend.

I was talking with a friend earlier this week about traditions that my family has for the holidays. Here's one of my favorites, a card game that we call "Boofoo." (Note: spelling is not guaranteed. The rest of the world calls this game "Oh Hell" or something else entirely...) We have been playing this game after every large family meal ever since I can remember. There is score-keeping, trick-taking, trash-talking, and no one plays nicely. What I mean by that is that no one's going to let you win just because we're related or you married into the family. Dad used to keep score (and win too, but that had more to do with his phenomenal memory) and now my brother tends to do so. Some of my best family memories are wrapped up in these games, laughing and being rowdy around the dining room table.