Monday, December 29, 2008

Rebecita's Non-Vegan Christmas Lunchbox and miscelaneous holiday food tidings

I finally got around to making (err, loosely adapting) that Christmas Limas and Brussel Sprouts recipe from Vegan Lunchbox I've been drooling over for two years. My tinkered-with recipe is on the recipe blog over here. Luckily I had leftovers for my lunch so that I could post a proper tribute! Limas and brussels topped with Texas pecans and some local blue cheese. Cornbread muffins with sage and molasses (my muffin to be thankful for minus the filling) and baked sweet potatoes were my contribution to Christmas Eve. A hardboiled egg and pippin apple round out the lunch.

You can check out a few more holiday pictures at fotki, most of which seem to feature food, which is clearly not a misrepresentation of how I spent the holidays. Featuring Steve's Birthday Latkes.

Most produce courtesy of the Jack London Square farmers market, by the way. This market doesn't have quite the stunning selection as the ones in Berkeley, but the remarkably higher ratio of fabulously old school purveyors who chat you up and swap recipes : crowds of hipster/hippies? Priceless. In addition to my previously mentioned Berry Guy, JLS also features my Apple Guy and my Brussel Sprout Guy at adjacent stands. Brussel Guy notes that with the cold snap the sprouts seem even more tender, identifies with my preference for long-cooked sprouts (none of this al dente business, he says), and makes sure to give me a few extra handfuls so I can try some new recipes. Apple Guy picks out his favorite applesauce blend from his 15 or so varieties, including the latke-condiment-appropriate King David, and gives me the rundown on his sauce method. (AG: How do you make your applesauce? With a food mill? You like that baby food consistancy? Me: Um, yes?) Then he picks out his favorite eating apples, including the one-week-only Christmas Grannies (he eats them for lunch off the ground with a fine cheese and corn chips) and the knock-out Hidden Rose with a pink flesh. God bless the farmers.

Otherwise, I lit the candles 7/8 nights. Natalia dragged me to a hipster dinner party to revive our tradition of spending Nochebuena together. There was plenty of rum and hip hop, no family, no carols, and no tamales. I've decided I need my holidays to be slightly more wholesome. Or, you know, nonexistent... I then proceeded to sleep from 5 am to 5 pm on Christmas, with a brief interlude around 11 in which Inder woke me up to get some last minute jam and attend to urgent present opening.

And, it's a wrap.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

XXmas in review

(Looking to see what Santa brought; pumpkin fritters and goose gravy; the Christmas sweater; with Quincy on the back porch; R and the mighty chiminea; Bill and his cherry cobbler*; wrapping up the evening right: Tiny 2-Tones, dominoes, and one last round of 4-part caroling.)

*A few details on the cobbler: Please admire cuisinally impure but thematically magnificent red and green sugar sprinkles on crust. Also, please enjoy with me the fact that Bill poked an "X" in the crust that was supposed to be the "X" in "Xmas." But he made it so big that the rest of the word wouldn't have fit. So he did what any enterprising baker would do at this point: shrugged, and poked a second "X" next to the first one.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Behold the Christmas sweater

Please note fur-trimmed hood and pom-poms on drawstrings. He's hoping the co-worker who loaned it to him on Christmas Eve will let him keep it.

Merry Christmas, Gentile friends! Here's hoping your blessed day was as awesome as this sweater.

Also, stay tuned for photos of Christmas with B&Q, in which the sweater makes its triumphant return. (Along with a button-down shirt and tie... it's tres Mr. Rogers.)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Bring me flesh and bring me wine

(Cita, that one's for you. Clem!!!)

Captured on film: basses at the caroling party, during the acapella portion of the evening. I believe we were spending some quality time with King Wenceslas when this particular shot was snagged by Quincy. Wot holiday cheer!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The playing of the merry organ / sweet singing in the choir

Just ducking in to wish everyone a happy Chanukah, if tonight's your night. I'll be squeezing in some candle-lighting in the short window between sunset and Bill & Quincy's annual Christmas party (sorry, God... I promise I'll celebrate Your miracle appropriately with latkes and applesauce next Sunday). In the meantime, here are some recent stats from the homefront:

1am: The hour I was up until last weekend making kimchi. I think I might be turning into That Crazy Kimchi Lady. Every household needs one, I guess.

2: Number of nights we went caroling with our friends this year, for our second annual door-to-door caroling extravaganza. You'd better look out for us on a sidewalk near you... we're the ones singing four-part harmony and holding votive candles in mason jars to light our way, and we KNOW you're in there, we can see you through the window, we can tell you're not opening the door ON PURPOSE... (In our defense, we only sing at houses with Christmas lights, and for every door that didn't get opened, there was another family with little kids who came out and sat on the porch and listened in wonderment, or a guy who went and got his girfriend out of the shower so she could stick out her head and listen. It's enough to grow your heart three sizes.)

2 again: Number of weeks of holiday vacation I have. I love working at a nonprofit with two full-time staff members so my boss can say, "I think our office should be closed starting on Monday" and I can say "Okay" and then we mark it on the dry-erase calendar and it's decided.

4: Approximate number of hours I spent out of my pajamas yesterday, in what I'm hoping will set the tone for the remainder of my vacation.

Okay, I'll wrap it up there... I have all sorts of home-related projects on the vacation agenda, so I can't promise too many extensive updates, but I'll try to pop in with at least some pictures. In the meantime, hope everyone's holidays are safe and lovely!



Saturday, December 20, 2008

The ox and lamb kept time...

Still freakishly cold here. Holiday stuff very late this year. Finally succumbed to cold that's been going after everyone near me. I felt the tickle in my throat just as I was crossing the bay bridge to see Slumdog Millionaire with Natalia.

1) CBEST - Thanks for the good wishes folks. The testing conditions were actually vastly superior to any other standardized test I've taken. No more creaky high school desks, number two pencils, and teenage hormones filling the air. One of the benefits of the computer test is that they give your unofficial score on the math/reading right away, and I safely passed the very very low bar. Assuming I strung some sentences together aceptably on the writing, I'm all set. I don't think I can share the actual essay prompts since I signed some confidentiality business on pain of death, but suffice it to say they were slightly less lame. Actually, they were equally lame, but easier to answer. Think less coffee talk and more beauty pageant.

2) I finally put the finishing touches on my christmas mix (maybe in time to arrive in your mailbox by christmas?) My personal favorite addition is a cut from the only existing recording of Britten's Ceremony of Carol's as conducted by Britten. The funny thing is that it gets poor reviews all around (bad tuning, the Copenhagen kids have a thick accent) but I had picked it out as my favorite in a blind test of dozens of recordings available on itunes. There's just something about the crackly old recording and the way they scoop a little on the high notes in the round section is totally chilling.

3) And finally, the jam is here! All 201 jars of it. (Not including the dozens of jars I've already gifted/sold/consumed this year.)

With huge apologies to Richard, who whipped me up a lovely logo without me even having to ask, I couldn't get the idea of doing a vintage label out of my head. I photoshopped it out of this real vintage label.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Standardized test questions roasting on an open fire

Because apparently I didn't have enough going on this week, I'm taking the CBEST in 4 hours. The california basic educational skills test, that is. The first of many hoops to jump through to get an adult ed cert. I'm taking the new computer based test, because it's offered more often, for which I get the pleasure of paying $64 extra and being on lock down for 5 hours. No food or water allowed. All personal items must be left in a locker outside the room. They photograph, fingerprint/palmprint you on arrival and verify this information if and when you plan your escape to the bathroom.

The extent of my studying? The practice exam I'm halfway through gave over a while ago to email snark about the writing prompts. And has clearly now degenerated to full on blogging.

Ernest Hemingway once commented, "As you get older, it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary." In an essay to be read by an audience of educated adults, state whether you agree or disagree with Hemingway's observation. Support your position with logical arguments and specific examples.

Alternate topics so far include why Hemingway is a terrible hero and why educated adults should not use "sort of" in their essays.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tasty books and winter flavors

Well, I think it's safe to say that the last thing I need under my christmas tree / menorah is more precarious stacks of books. However, I'm still allowed to drool at pretty Up With Food type books. Chews Wise posted a holiday booklist... with the exception of CLH's picks at the bottom, I would clear a coveted spot on my actual shelves for any of them. So not allowed to acquire anymore books until I finish one of the 6 I'm in the middle of. Bear Ye Witness, my End of the Year resolution is to finish said books. Summerland, Roots, Lolita, Wuthering Heights, The Sound and the Fury, and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. Hmm, can't help but notice I'm struggling on the classics here in 2008! Odd because all of those books, with the exception of Summerland (eh) and WH (ugh), are fabulous. It's just my adult onset ADD.

Back to food, good lord have I been loving the farmer's market lately. I don't know about my complexion, but foodwise I am such a winter. I heart those root vegetables and long-cooking methods. I need to break out some macrobiotic winter menus. Tonight I roasted up a Japanese sweet potatoes with the most delicate skin and sweetest dessert caliber flesh, german butterball potatoes, golden beets, and a purple top turnip. Plus a side of tofu roasted with fresh oregano and smoked paprika, with a squeeze of backyard lemon. Why don't I eat this everyday? Last week I pretty much subsisted on a big bag of mushrooms and spinach (advertised as "rich and creamy"), in omelets, miso soup, tortillas... mmmmm. Walking back from the market today I had the most intensely flavored apple I've ever encountered, it was like biting into tangy candy. I almost needed water to wash it down.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I promise this is my last post about the weather

Marveling at Austin weather is so 2006. But hot on the heels of LAST NIGHT'S SNOWFALL, I have just discovered that it is 35 degrees in Austin, Texas and 63 degrees in New York City. Winter! We welcome thee to Texas!

And now back to our regularly scheduled 74 degrees and humid.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Good old Austin

Today's high: 78 degrees, 95% humidity

Tonight's projected low: 36 degrees, 40 mph winds

So. Confused.

Back to your regularly scheduled cynicism

Just in case Illinois thought it could bask in the hopeful glow of its native son for 4 years...

... the governor was arrested this morning for TRYING TO SELL OBAMA'S VACANT SENATE SEAT. Yeah.

Monday, December 08, 2008

More wedding photos!

This time courtesy of my mom.

Check out all that two-stepping and waltzing action, including my personal fave:

She loves it so much

The latest record of my compulsion to hug inappropriately hard, sharp, and/or rusty objects:

Generally it's junk sculpture, but I'll settle for rocks when I have to.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

As God as my witness, I'll never be cold again!

(Insert dramatic footage of me digging for spare bedding in our backyard, silhouetted against the fading sun...)

Hmm, what could POSSIBLY be in this box?

Thanks mom!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving in Texas

Many thanks to give this year for beautiful friends, family, and thousands of other blessings that I won't get into here. But please a) know that I appreciate YOU, and b) enjoy a few snapshots from Thanksgiving weekend! [Credit to B&Q for the first four.]

Puttering around Alexa's kitchen like good little Thanksgiving elves. Please take a moment to admire R's handmade chicken apron, a wedding present from Sandy.

Alexa preps the festive table. We ate on the balcony because it was so warm. Oh Texas.

The dazed, self-satisfied smirk of a woman who finished her ENTIRE GIANT PLATE OF FOOD before anyone else at the table. So bloated. So queasy. So pleased with myself.

R says: How can I possibly live up to THAT??? (What you don't see is the 10 minutes before this picture was taken, when his plate was entirely covered in smoked-pork-drippings-based gravy. With the skill of a seasoned professional, he somehow managed to eat only the top layer of his dinner, leaving the gravyless bottom layer intact. We're also missing the 10 minutes after this picture was taken, when he poured out some more gravy and showed the rest of his dinner who was boss.)

Today we drove out to Enchanted Rock State Park with some friends for some leisurely hiking.

That rock isn't Enchanted Rock, but we posed in front of it anyways.

Hope everyone had a lovely holiday!

Friday, November 28, 2008

lazy black friday blues

Mmm, best day off working retail ever.

My accomplishments so far

Stare at wall
Stare at computer
Wash the last of the dishes.
Eat two kinds of pie with whipped cream (butternut squash and apple, my contribution to Thanksgiving) followed by mac and cheese and brussel sprouts (Inder)
Stare at Inder and Linda knit and sew.
Go back to staring at wall/computer.

OK, I'm going to attempt to stare at a book for a while.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Just in case you're making a last minute pie...

I finally remembered to post my apple pie over at the recipe blog. I'm making another one now, plus a pumpkin (actually a butternut squash!).

Check out my beautifully imperfect farmer's market pie blend apples. With my too cute autumnal pie cutouts.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Grumpy :: Happy

So as you may have noticed, it's been a ridiculously long time since my last post of substance. And since we spent maybe 48 hours total actually preparing for the wedding (not to be confused with thinking about preparing for it, or putting off preparing for it, or experiencing the nagging sensation that maybe we should be doing more preparing for it, or making Rebecca prepare for it), I can't even claim that as an excuse. Since I haven't done anything particularly interesting in the past few weeks, I'll share with you a few lists that have been bumping around my head: Things That Are Making Me Grumpy These Days and Things That Are Making Me Happy These Days. Let's get the icky stuff out of the way first.

Things That Are Making Me Grumpy These Days:

1) The title of the cover article in this month's Advocate. "Gay Is the New Black" is apparently about the much-hyped-of-late "black-gay divide" in California's Prop. 8 win. Because all gays are white, and all black people are straight. (For a classic example of this jackassery, see Dan Savage's article; this link sends you via Racialicious so at least it comes served up with a little intelligent commentary.) In the Advocate's defense, I haven't actually read the full article yet. In my defense, the Advocate has never yet been known to provide a nuanced, complex analysis of any issue involving race, so I'm not sure why they would start now.
2) The statewide coalition project I'm spearheading at work that's slowly eating my life. It's good, and necessary, and exciting, but it also makes me break out in a cold sweat at 1:30 in the morning. I'm appreciating Bernice Reagon's statement on coalition-building: "I feel as if I'm gonna keel over any minute and die. That is often what it feels like if you're really doing coalition work. Most of the time you feel threatened to the core and if you don't, you're not really doing no coalescing."
3) Accidentally continuing to pay for a month and a half of individual health insurance after my employee health insurance kicked in. (But oh man, if anything had happened to me during those six weeks I would have been SO COVERED.)
4) The stupid book I'm reading. I've slogged my way almost to the middle and I'm too stubborn to just stop and return it to the library in spite of its dreadfulness. It's a fluffy historical fantasy that I picked up in the hopes that, based on another book that this writer co-authored, it would have an enjoyable gay protagonist. I would even have settled for throwaway gay subplot. So far, nothing but insufferable heterosexuals as far as the eye can see. And worse yet, it takes place in 18TH-CENTURY FRANCE, my most hated combination of century and geolocation in the history of the modern world.

Things That Are Making Me Happy These Days:

1) Overnight applesauce made in the tiny slow cooker. Chop up a few Granny Smiths before you go to bed, put them in the cooker with some water, cinnamon, and sweetener, and behold! Hot tasty applesauce for your breakfast. Oh how it makes me happy.
2) Bessie Smith. I got myself a 2-CD retrospective of her work at Half Price Books, and have been loving up a storm for Bessie since I first cracked it open. World's most awesome 1920s corn-liquor-drinking, unfaithful-husband-shooting, chorus-girl-bedding, white-society-rejecting, self-made blues singer? You decide!
3) Cold weather! Admittedly, lows in the 40s and highs in the 60s hardly qualify as such. But thanks to the magic of Texas-style insulation, our house has spent a lot of time sitting at a pretty consistent 58-61 degrees. Which makes me feel like it's 17 degrees outside, even when it's actually warmer than our living room...
4) My leftover pedicure. As you may recall, Rebecca and I got ourselves painted (at Austin's only formaldehyde-free nail salon!) just for kicks the day before the wedding. And while I'm pretty sure I'll never get another pedicure again as long as I live, I keep being tickled when I look down and see my pinkish-gold toes. Welcome back to 9th grade. Except back then they were probably alternating green, blue, and purple.

And there you have it. I wanted to make each list a nice round 5 but apparently I just don't have that many things in my life that make me either grumpy or happy. Which is kind of good and pitiful all at the same time.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Okay, I think we ALL wish we went to seminary now

From Jenna:

"this is what we watch as classwork in seminary. it does relate to
augustine's doctrine of grace, go figure."

Monday, November 17, 2008

The revolution in cute pictures

Just a fun slideshow to illustrate the previous post. You may remember my very first paying chef gig was an after-school program I helped design, which we very creatively called Kids For Health. We somehow pulled off a fabulous 4 session pilot program. Each session organized around a theme (Eat the Rainbow, Choosing Healthy Snacks) and complete with integrated nutrition lesson, fitness class (mostly capoeira), cooking class, and family style meal.

We put in a lot of hours, we carted a lot of equipment, the kitchen didn't have a stove, I had to get fingerprinted and poked for 2 TB tests, and I may have griped a few million times, but it was hands down amazing. The kids (2-4th graders) were enthusiastic beyond my wildest dreams, hands straining in the air to answer questions, desperate to do-it-selfs every single job in the kitchen down to washing dishes, gamely trying all kinds of new foods, bringing recipes home and cooking with their parents, composting, downing homemade herbal tea from the school garden. I was blown away by how easy it was to make healthy cool for that age group.

Please note:
- Kids making nori wraps in front of boxes of frosted flakes. A very sad looking woman would come in while we were setting up, pull out disposable bowls of sugar cereal, crates of government milk, and plastic utensils (PLASTIC WRAPPED PACKAGES OF NAPKIN AND ALL 3 UTENSILS just to eat cereal) to distribute to the poor kids in the other after-school programs. Our kids definitely knew they were getting the better deal.
- The fabulous decorations they made to their own aprons.
- Kids intently measuring, washing hands, following recipes, reading labels.
- "Secret Ingredient Chocolate Pudding" (Spoiler, the secret is the avocado.) decorated by the kids with pomegranate seeds and mint from the school garden. And last but not least decorating Mason's face.

Photos are over here at Fotki too.

Up with food, the personal and the political

So remember how I went to culinary school? Are you still waiting for me to make waves with my fabulous cooking career? Yeah, me too. I'm feeling better about that lately after comparing notes with fellow Bauman alums and concluding that not a single one of us has achieved world domination, and have mostly plum gone back to doing what we were doing before. Shiloh and I spent some time tonight commiserating over post-hippie-school depression and general lack-of-life-directionness. Fortunately she's decided to escape the hellhole of LA and we have concocted all kinds of reaffirming plans for business parternship when she hits the bay area. In other not-working-retail news, I'm back on the warpath of education job applications. Also, I'm just going to suck it up and get a California teaching cert. Or at least the bootleg adult ed version. I'm announcing it and everything so that I have to go through with it. (Not a guarantee.)

At least some other people are a bit more coherent and active than I am at moving this food revolution along. I finally got around to reading Michael Pollan's open letter to Obama, and YOWZA. He does a brilliant job of articulating the intimacy of food policy with national security and energy policy and healthcare and wrapping it up in a new mantra of moving back from oil-based agriculture to sun-based. Best of all he says loud and clear that this is no mere liberal agenda. A) Really, we don't have much choice at this point. The era of cheap oil is over. B) He calls local food movements a truly conservative cause and draws on the spirit of our agrarian heritage and civic pride.

The article is lengthy, so if you've read Omnivore's Dilemma or In Defense of Food, or if you're at all familiar with the arguments about reclaiming the food system, you could give it a good skim. The big difference here is that he's literally advising the president on agricultural policy, rather than the average consumer on what to eat for dinner. (And being heard. Obama has read and discussed it.) The new and fun stuff shows up at the end, where he starts giving specific advice on cooking and gardening at the white house.

Excuse me as I excerpt excessively:

To change our children’s food culture, we’ll need to plant gardens in every primary school, build fully equipped kitchens, train a new generation of lunchroom ladies (and gentlemen) who can once again cook and teach cooking to children. We should introduce a School Lunch Corps program that forgives federal student loans to culinary-school graduates in exchange for two years of service in the public-school lunch program. And we should immediately increase school-lunch spending per pupil by $1 a day — the minimum amount food-service experts believe it will take to underwrite a shift from fast food in the cafeteria to real food freshly prepared.

Hell yeah! Sign me up.

You’re probably thinking that growing and eating organic food in the White House carries a certain political risk. It is true you might want to plant iceberg lettuce rather than arugula, at least to start. (Or simply call arugula by its proper American name, as generations of Midwesterners have done: “rocket.”) But it should not be difficult to deflect the charge of elitism sometimes leveled at the sustainable-food movement. Reforming the food system is not inherently a right-or-left issue: for every Whole Foods shopper with roots in the counterculture you can find a family of evangelicals intent on taking control of its family dinner and diet back from the fast-food industry — the culinary equivalent of home schooling. You should support hunting as a particularly sustainable way to eat meat — meat grown without any fossil fuels whatsoever. There is also a strong libertarian component to the sun-food agenda, which seeks to free small producers from the burden of government regulation in order to stoke rural innovation. And what is a higher “family value,” after all, than making time to sit down every night to a shared meal?

... Your sun-food agenda promises to win support across the aisle. It builds on America’s agrarian past, but turns it toward a more sustainable, sophisticated future. It honors the work of American farmers and enlists them in three of the 21st century’s most urgent errands: to move into the post-oil era, to improve the health of the American people and to mitigate climate change. Indeed, it enlists all of us in this great cause by turning food consumers into part-time producers, reconnecting the American people with the American land and demonstrating that we need not choose between the welfare of our families and the health of the environment — that eating less oil and more sunlight will redound to the benefit of both.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

7 degrees of Katie and Richard's wedding

I know what our readers want. Heck, even I don't want to read the blog unless it's about the wedding. So I've invented a new game. I start out with the big day and work my way back there in 7 steps. It's fun, you try! Bonus if you include pictures.

1) Burn out. Everyone keeps asking me if I cried at the wedding... thank god I was working too hard to get worked up. It turns out I was too busy to even be oversocialized by my trip to Austin, but what I really burned out was every last brain cell capable of productivity. Somehow I squeezed out a week of work and an election without the energy to do more than blink. I hadn't even cooked anything more advanced than microwaving Inder's leftover pasta and beans.

2) Up and at them. (No, "Up and atom". Up and at them. Better.)
But on Sunday I emerged to the land of the living! I got up early for breakfast downtown with Crystal. We braved some of the singularly worst service I've had in a while (the restaurant literally ran out of silverware for a while) but it was all worth it for pancakes and catching up with her and her son. Then I walked over to the Jack London farmers market, where I was hoping to catch the end of the raspberry season after the extreme success of that last batch of jam. My new favorite berry guy remembered me, asked after my jam, and gave me a great deal on a flat of raspberries. Yay! Then it was back home where I got Steve's help on installing a new headlight. Uh, turns out it was pretty much easier than changing a bulb in my room. No chair required. I didn't do this 6 months and one fix-it ticket ago... why?

THEN I tackled the frightening Room Cleanup. It wasn't quite the transformation that K and R pulled, but, well, let's do a quick visualization excercise. Clear your mind. Picture my "clean" room, featuring a giant heap of clothes, stacks of jam jars both full and empty, and towering piles of books. Now pick up your mental leafblower. Go ahead, turn it on. Really go at it, work out some agression. Congratulations, you have experienced the tendency of my room toward entropy. De-leafblowerification? Extremely necessary, especially to make it presentable for first time visitors / notoriously neat mothers.

3) Train kept a rolling, all night long...
(aka the Rock Band song that never. ends.) So much catching up with old friends! Natalia and her mom came over for a lovely evening of food, laundry, and rocking out on fake instruments late into the night. Hadn't seen her mom since... last February?? People that I love, stop moving to Delaware! (Or more of you move there, so I have a reason to visit!) The big N, pobrecita, broke her ankle in her last derby bout and missed out on a trip to Mexico! She can't even "go groceries" on her own any more! So her mom came to town and they eventually deposited themselves on my doorstep heavy laden with dirty clothes. Not that it was necessary (I told her that I spent so many hours camped out at her house growing up that she has accrued a lifetime welcome to any and all homes I might inhabit.) but Cynthia repaid our hospitality with loads of Mexican comfort food!

4) Bounty. Speaking of feasts, it's finally autumn even in California! Inder and I had a harvest-licious meal tonight. Wild rice pilaf, roasted butternut squash with texas-fresh pecans, and roasted brussel sprouts with maple/mustard/balsamic glaze.

5) Happy belated birthday! Speaking of Inder... I forgot to mark the occasion before I went out of town. Just two of the reasons why Inder is just all right with me:
- Our idea of a thrilling evening? Drowning our depression woes in Depression cooking. Inder made a masterpiece Mac n cheese. Then she helped me shell black eyed peas and read to me from a book entitled: "The Old-Time Art of Thrift" while I made veggie stock and strawberry jam.
- We both have stupid eyes! That don't work together so we have bad depth perception and can't see 3-D! (So I eventually got over my childhood bitterness at this deficiency, and instead starting wondered why even people who could see 3-D images were so excited since it's all obscured by the red and blue of the glasses anyway. Turns out? If your eyes work properly you don't see the colors. Oh. OK, I'm bitter again.)

6) Birthday pie! Happy Birthday Inder Mini Apple Pie! Complete with freshly whipped cream, soy candle, and scary bachelor cook card.

7) Wedding Pies! Speaking of which, if you ever show up on your friend's doorstep to "By the way, want to make some wedding dessert?" I highly recommend that you have gone on a pie-making kick the week before. Coming soon to a recipe blog near you.

I stole this Authentic Greg Bartlett Wedding Photo, you can see Jessica cutting into my pie as well as her own beautiful pecan creation in the foreground.

With the leftovers I made a few minis for post wedding celebration, since I knew none of us were going to be in any condition to savor the food the day of.

You'll be happy to know that in a nod to tradition, I made KT and R feed each other mini wedding pie. Alas, I couldn't convince them to freeze one for posterity.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Wedding photos, get yer wedding photos...

At long last, we've managed to cull through Greg's nearly 800 wedding weekend photographs and pick out the highlights for y'all.

Before I go on, let's all please stop and take a moment to love Greg Bartlett, who flew out from San Francisco to donate his time, talents, and joie de vivre, all while charming the pants off of everyone he met and uncomplainingly sleeping on various couches and floors...

And now, without further ado, I present to you:


P.S. You might need to view the photos using Internet Explorer or somesuch mainstream browser. We can't get it to work on Opera. Not sure about Firefox.

P.P.S. Credit to Jenna for the photo above. I'm also stealing another one of her photos because she appears in barely any of the wedding photos on the Shutterfly page and that is just plain wrong. Also, her outfit was fantastic. So here's proof that she really was there. Just look at how much Scott and I love her!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Life as we knew it

I'm still trying to take in the watershed events of this last week. After so much buildup to the wedding and the election, how will I go on? What possible meaning could there be to life?

Here's what I DO know how to deal with...

Banners. See above for a cheesy special limited edition victory banner!

Bad news: Prop 8 has PASSED! Woe, woe, woe! I am so deeply shamed on behalf on my state. Going home to Massachusetts and Connecticut is sounding better all the time.

Pretty pictures: Since I will have no more cute gay celebrity weddings to lift my spirits, I'll have to turn back to Katie and Richard for comfort.

A few more of my favorite photos.

The wedding party

The Officiator

A Very Special Mahoney Day

Monday, November 03, 2008


If only I could learn to write a brilliant Sacred Harp song entitled Fischer, I would have the perfect wedding present for Katie and Richard. On November 1st that little town was witness to the radiant young couple, their fantastic friends and family, the shortest and sweetest ceremony possible, the second oldest dance hall in Texas, divine weather, traditional Korean bowing, delicious food, cold beer, cowboy boots, two steppin, and just a dash of roof raising singing to top it all off. Absolutely everyone enjoyed themselves super immensely, and most of them weren't even getting to see their two best friends get hitched. The frighteningly large grin I was sporting all night still didn't feel large enough to express my joy at the occasion. You shall get to judge for yourself very shortly as the pictures are already working their way online. I'll leave it to Katie and Richard to unveil them when they're ready, but I hope they won't mind if I share a preview.

All following amazing photographic credit goes to Greg, of course.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Note to yesterday... you thought YOU were crazy?

Fortunately, staying up late... it's what we do best. It's 3 am, the pies are coming out of the oven, the guests and R are sleeping, and KT and I are off to beeeeeeeeeeeeeeed! Next stop... wedding!

I leave you with... KT and R's first mani-pedi!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Lest you think I've forgotten my favorite Ecuadorian holiday, feliz dia del escudo nacional

Unfiltered late night blogging

Err, I wrote this late last night but didn't have any reception at my mom's crazy hill country resort place. And I don't have any time to reread it. Who knows what I wrote. Enjoy!

So much for another play by play. I can't even remember everything we crammed into today. Just picture a montage of the incredibly mundane, random assortment of tasks that go into pulling off a big event. Or perhaps some type of human interest segment on these kids today and their crazy weddings.

Open with footage of me making a manicure apt whilst unloading cases of beer. Maybe accompanied by dramatic voiceover about "honor attendants" caught between pulling best man and bridesmaid duties (cut to "reenactment" of KT and Richard sharing a blissful minute of engagement before devolving into argument over who gets to have me on their side.)

Cut to segments on How to DIY, where you will see such fascinating clips as: me comparing funnel ownership with Richard* as we wait for KT and Greg to buy PVC piping and cement**, steaming dresses in the back room at Whole Earth, the whole gang sprawled in the waiting room of Alexa's massage practice waiting to borrow her rug for the bowing ceremony, my mom and I busily doubling recipes and shopping for pie fixins.

Other segments might include Last Minute Fixes (Richard dying his belt to match his shoes) and How to Entertain Out of Town Guests (Greg buys cowboy boots, R and KT at the obligatory family clan hotel dinner, me at Ginny's for the second night in a row, making sure my mom soaks up some local culture. Where it happens to be their annual Hoe Down. Roll the credits as people two-step in overalls and pigtails and step up to the actual potluck in the bar, complete with corningware.)

And don't worry, there's still plenty on the cutting room floor.

*Because I know you were wondering, I have two canning funnels and one spice funnel, and Richard has a motor oil funnel and a funnel for brewing beer. Sounds about right.
**make sure to pronounce that SEE-ment.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The marriage of the Lamb has come / The marriage in the skies

The answer to the cliffhanger questions are, respectively: Probably, apple pie/lemon zucchini bread/chocolate almond midnight, not today, and yes thank god.

Veggie lunch with Katie at Mothers where we reviewed chick lit and the general public's befuddlement at her refusal to fulfill wedding stereotypes such as centerpieces and cold feet.

A stop at Katie's work where she got out time sensitive material and I made some spare keys and chatted with my dad about the competing wedding he's attending this weekend.

An airport run to pick up ex-PVPAer and current fellow bay area resident Greg the photographer. Like all of Katie's friends I've ever known, he's delightful. And a ridiculously good sport... we immediately dragged him to the mall for slip and sweater shopping. Where we mocked the christmas decorations and convinced ourselves we're doing our part to stimulate the economy. Rather than drag our dresses along, we definitely each bought two things and plan to return one, so there is another mall trip in our future. Rejoice.

Then off to a particularly fabulous Austin singing! Besides the unfortunate double blow of Whitestown AND War Department, it was a great turnout and I got to sing i-ron twice.

After some fried eggs (fresh from Katie's sensei's chicken) we rounded out the night with a trip to Ginny's, the local bar. If it doesn't hold the world title of best country dive bar, I'm not sure what does. I sampled my first Shiner and dug Bill's friend's band. Stand up bass, steel guitar, etc. Bill even sat in for a couple songs and serenaded the happy couple while they took the obligatory dance. This is probably the closest we're going to get to a dress rehearsal for the wedding.

Someone get us out of this godforsaken hellhole. I mean, goshforsaken heckhole.

Despite all of our best efforts to avoid it, serious last minute planning is underway around here. KT and I have serious intentions to go slip shopping before making an airport run (yay, girly not-a-bridesmaidly duties for me!) but so far this morning has consisted of non-stop calling and emailing to and from friends needing shelter/transportation, caterers needing directions, and so on. At one point I answered the door for a package from Korea which turned out to contain a comically oversized outfit for the bowing ceremony. Now, if only my fancy shoes that match my fancy (not-a-bridesmaid) dress would show up too.

Will we all manage to cover our bodies with appropriately sized clothing, shoes, and undergarments? What kind of desserts will I make? Will we ever have time to meet up with our respective parents? Will we ever leave the house? Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Visions of apple pies and electric sheep danced in her head...

Unexpected highlights of my travels included >0 hours of sleep last night, a stop in El Paso and a flight about 80% filled by the Japanese Air Force. Good times.

My first stop in Austin:

I'm already on a high of wholesome KT and Richard quality time (or maybe just the latte from their Brand New Fresh From the Registry Espresso Maker). And at long last I've acquired plenty of wedding related duties! Rejoice! On the docket for tomorrow is vegetarian lunch with my mom, shopping at R's store, and singing! I'm a happy Texan. Goodnight y'all!

Housecleaning hysteria

Nothing like an inaugural visit from Richard's parents to make housecleaning a little more, um, urgent than it generally is. For once, we bypassed our usual solution of taking everything cluttering up the living room and kitchen, hiding it in one of the bedrooms, and closing both bedroom doors. Here's a sneak preview of some of the fruits of our labor. (More to come once we actually finish cleaning anything besides the guest room.) Disclaimer: not for the faint of heart.