Monday, September 29, 2008

59. Yum Yum Yum!

My stomach is still recovering from a weekend of competitive eating. I am admittedly rather plump today.

For breakfast Saturday morning, I tried out this recipe I saw on "Party Line with the Hearty Boys". It's the most ridiculous show on Food Network, hosted by a pitifully preppy gay couple whose awkwardness isn't as endearing as it is painful to watch. Which I assume is why they're on at 4 in the morning...

The recipe came out great though, it's a keeper for sure. I made a few alterations (gotta make it my own, you know). Instead of prosciutto, I used a couple leaves of baby spinach and crumbled sausage. And I topped the egg with grated asiago instead of parmesan. It was hard to tell when the eggs were done, so I left them in for 17 minutes. They ended up cooked all the way through, so I'll have to reduce the cooking time when I try them again this weekend. They're supposed to be a little soft in the middle so they melt all over the other fillings when you cut into them. But even slightly overdone, they were delicious and very impressive looking.

Saturday afternoon Matt and I pigged out at Ruby's diner in the mall. I had a huge Double Vanilla shake and polished off a plate of Buffalo Chicken too. Piggie! That night we went to Meghann and Steve's dinner party, so I really should have passed on the afternoon meal and gone for a lighter snack.

Dinner was a fabulous three course meal plus dessert. The starter was a very finely pureed gazpacho served in a champagne glass and topped with mandolin-thin (but which Darron had sliced entirely by hand) cheese, asian pear, and I think cucumber? Now I don't remember for sure. And topped by ribbons of fresh basil. Yum!

Next was steamed mussels served with a delicious tartar sort of sauce that I would happily eat alone with a spoon. The mussels were HUGE and perfectly cooked.

The main course was roast chickens (a pile of them), served with white rice and a sort of eggplant ratatoullie, for lack of a better description. And also a tasty pile of sauteed greens. *Scrumptious* I really thought I was going to burst afterward. My stomach was so full that I actually got a really painful stitch in my side like I'd been jogging or something. Fortunately, I was able to recover enough over the next hour or two that I found some space to fit dessert. Pumpkin bread pudding drizzled in caramel sauce and topped with vanilla ice cream.

Meghann and Steve are awesome hosts, the whole night was super impressive. I can't believe they were able to pull off dinner for something like 15 people, and have the food come out tasting like they'd made it for 2. We tried serving 10 or so people last Thanksgiving, and overall, I really felt the quality of the food suffered as a result. Though having a larger kitchen would certainly help.

Sunday morning I woke up feeling exhausted and fairly hungover, so Matt made me the perfect breakfast to help me recover. A chorizo scramble served over home made tortilla chips. I felt much better after that, but managed to slip in a nap with the dogs anyway. An hour later I woke up to the sound of leaves rustling in the trees outside my window and realized I was wasting what may be one of the last summery days of the year.

We spent the afternoon canoeing around the Arboretum at UW. Our date was rained out last Saturday, so it was nice to get a second chance. We paddled around riding the waves of bigger boats and passing through groups of ducks. At the back of the Arboretum was a little hidden loop where we found a Blue Heron. We stopped our canoe a few feet away and watched him hunt a fish for a while. He seemed used to being around people, so we were able to sit close enough to have a good view without disturbing him.

Rowing works up quite an apetite, and Matt was beginning to get a little sunburnt, so we headed home after about an hour and a half. For dinner we used the leftover wonton wrappers to make steamed dumplings stuffed with pork and shrimp (among other things). Matt caught an episode of Tyler Florence that featured Martin Yan (Of "Yan Can Cook") recently, and he's had a bit of an obsession with dumplings ever since. I am entirely fine with this, as I think I could probably live on dumplings alone. We're going to try another batch as soon as possible. The plan is to make larger quantities and freeze them for easy weeknight dinners.

After a weekend like that, my stomach is in need of a serious vacation. It is now Monday morning and I am STILL full. Perhaps I should exercise.

"When I up, down and touch the ground
It puts me in the mood,
Up, down and touch the ground
In the mood for food

I am stout, round and I have found
Speaking poundage wise
I improve my appetite
When I exercise..."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

58. That's Gonna Leave a Mark...

Tonight I rode a horse named Guinness. Much like the beer he is tall, dark and handsome. I kind of loved him. For the record, that's 5 different horses in 6 lessons. Not that I'm complaining. I like getting to know the different horses, it's giving me a chance to see what sorts of personalities I get along with and which I don't. Sometimes it's frustrating because I spend most of the lesson figuring out exactly what it is I'm sitting on, but today was not one of those days.

Guinness is a perfect gentleman, except he has a bit of a flare for practical jokes. To illustrate: I'm picking out his left hind foot when I feel a tail swish against my ear. The next thing I know, he's pooping in my general direction. Were it not for my tingling Spidey senses suggesting I move out of the way [post haste], that poop would have been directly on my head.

Anyway, we get into the ring, and we're having a pretty decent ride. I decided to ditch my gloves this week because I have to carry a crop with Guinness, and as I discovered with Tucky the Narcolept last week, crops are difficult to get a grip on when you're sporting a pair of sweaty mitts. Guinness is a little lazy, but we seem to be communicating well, and I only have to pop him a couple of times to establish myself as navigator.

Around 45 minutes into the lesson, we reach the comfort level of cantering. Cantering is entirely too much fun, but can get out of hand rather quickly. Guinness is a pretty tall guy, with long gorgeous strides, and as soon as he decides to wake up, we're clipping along at speeds I am not so secure in.

Two other riders are having a private lesson in the same arena, so traffic is a bit thick at times. One girl is probably 9, on a sort of stubborn pony. I keep hearing her yell "Trot on!" as I pass. I think they argued the entire hour. The other girl is a blonde named Mary, who looks early twenties, and seems to be a few months ahead of me in skill. She's riding a grey horse named Joy and taking beginner jumps up to maybe a foot and a half. Guinness and I are tracking to the right, and so is the 9 year old, but they're walking. Mary and Joy are cantering in the opposite direction, hitting 3 or 4 jumps on each loop.

The next thing I know, the three of us converge, with Guinness and I in the middle. Joy is apparently pretty intimidating, because she makes a nasty face at Guinness, and he veers to the right. At the same time, we're quickly approaching a pole lying on the ground, and Guinness has no idea what to do. He can't tell if I'm asking him to jump it, ram Joy head on, or fly up the pony's rear. So he throws on the brakes and trips over his own legs. I see it coming, but it's too late to hang on. I just kick my feet out of the stirrups and dive off to the right.

Tomorrow is going to hurt. Lauren (my instructor) said I fell really gracefully and practically landed on my feet. She lies, but it was nice of her to say anyway. In reality, I landed on my ass, and caught myself with my left arm. My arm is sore from my elbow to my wrist, and my back and neck feel a little jarred. Nothing bad though. It was sort of like jumping off a swing from high up when you're going really fast, and not landing it at all.

I'm kind of glad it happened. I knew I was going to get tossed eventually, and in the back of my mind I was starting to build it up into something much scarier than it was. But it really wasn't so bad. It felt like it was happening in slow motion, so I had plenty of time to react. Now I just need to learn not to land on my arms.

57. Good Morning, Grey Sky

It's starting to look like fall around here I think.
The weather has been gorgeous, but I noticed this week that the grass is starting to be covered in a freckling of crispy leaves. One of the trees outside my house even has some tinges of red at the ends of its branches.

I'm a little sad that summer is ending. I was really enjoying the sunshine and perfect weather. Also, the wearing of floppy bare feet shoes is quite nice for the ease of kicking them off to scrunch my toes in the grass at the park. But fall is I think my very favorite season, so I can't be too disappointed. It's nearly time for cozy cups of chai tea and jackets, and pumpkins and warm kitcheny sorts of baking smells. I missed the fog that's returned this morning to loom outside my window. I think that must be why I'm so sleepy today...

I'm looking forward to this weekend a lot. I took Monday off for my last vacation day until I get more in October. I expect it will be oh so nice to sleep in and decompress after a very busy two weeks. I'm not even sure what was so busy about them really. My brother came to visit, but that wasn't really the busy part. It seems like I've been running lots of errands every day and not getting to do much else until last night. Matt and I walked to have some dinner at the Mongolian Grill down the street, and did some grocery shopping at the discount outlet. Afterward we walked the dogs for a while, though I'm not sure it was enough for the Frank-dog. He spent the rest of the night trying to get the cats to run so he could chase and tackle them.

It is my hope to spend my 3 days of my mini-vacation relaxing and putting myself back together in proper order. On Saturday Matt is taking me on a date, unless something happens to postpone it again. We're going for a canoe ride at the Arboretum after a happy breakfast out. We were supposed to go last Saturday, but there was a Huskies game, so the park was closed I guess. I wish the film I ordered would arrive beforehand, because I read that the park is exceptionally lovely. But it isn't due until next Wednesday-ish, so I may just have to bring the point and shoot instead. I suppose that's a better idea anyway; I'd be much more upset if I were to drop my AE-1 into the lake.

On Sunday we're disc golfing with Meghann & Steve, which I have never tried. Apparently it is nothing like frisbee, and shame on me for comparing the two...
I hope that to be the case, because I am a terrible frisbee-er.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

56. Truly Disconcerting Odors on the Rampage

I swear to you, there are Broccoli Zombies roaming the air vents in my office...
The stench is unbearable.

It is also a relatively slow day at work.

Monday, September 8, 2008

55. Rubble Monster

I feel as though I am falling apart today.
My insides are all crumbly and my chest is so tight and nervous that I think it has begun to restrict the oxygen getting to my brain. I feel dizzy and panicky.
Must escape to rock cave to hide, before there is nothing left of me.