Monday, September 29, 2008

Girls Getaway 2008: Day 1

I just got back tonight from Katie & Rebecca's Girls Getaway 2008: The New Mexico Edition, and am still too keyed up on vacation endorphins to do what I really should do, which is get 8 hours of sleep before going back to work tomorrow. Instead, with Rebecca's presumed cooperation, we'll subject you all to our recounted adventures as we do what we do best: blog instead of going to bed. Allow me to begin.

So the irresistable combination of Albuquerque's shapenote convention and my free ticket from Southwest that was going to expire in November provided the perfect excuse to go play in New Mexico with Rebecca and visit with the most excellent Eric, who I hadn't seen in two years. After a combined total of 6.5 hours of sleep between the both of us (1.5 of which took place on our respective planes, and the other 5 of which took place in my bed... poor, punchy Rebecca...) R&I met up at the Albuquerque airport, procured a compact car in a shockingly fast and pleasant manner, and drove up to Santa Fe. Props to Alamo for not foisting an unwanted minivan upon me the way Enterprise did this summer, to New Mexico for being cool enough that we could roll down the windows, and to Rebecca's parents for providing her with, respectively, the fancypants GPS that told us how to get to downtown Santa Fe and the Elvis mix that accompanied us there.

We were staying at Eric's parents' house, but Eric and his mom weren't getting there until 10pm or so because he was teaching a singing school down in Albuquerque that evening, so we had all sorts of time to while away in Santa Fe. We did lots of aimless wandering around downtown, became official Santa Fe tourists by purchasing some lovely jewelry at the market stalls, and took a drive up to Santa Fe National Forest. I had tasked Rebecca with finding us a good place to eat dinner and she totally came through with a delicious pizza place slash microbrewery, thus launching our long weekend of cheesy, calorie-filled edible debauchery. Mmmm, so worth it...

Later that night we met up with Eric and his delightful mom at the house, which is currently 100% empty because they moved away and are trying to sell it. We're no stranger to sleeping on the floors of other people's empty homes (as Ruth may recall), but Eric's mom came through with air mattresses, sheets, blankets, towels, washcloths, a coffeepot, iron and ironing board, broom, bath mat, and various other accoutrements that resulted in the room Rebecca and I shared being more comfortably furnished than my own bedroom at home. (She was going to bring two pillows for everybody, and apparently only left half of them behind because Eric was otherwise in danger of not fitting into her car.) Greetings, toothbrushing, and bed ensued.

Okay, that's all I got. Must sleep. Here are my Girls Getaway pictures if you want to spoil the suspense. Your turn, Cita.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ramrod? Seriously?

Richard's been telling some pretty good stories lately. Yesterday in the car on the way home, he told me this one: "Once there was a man named Paul Bunyan. [Interjection from Katie: "Paul Bunyan? What do you know about Paul Bunyan? I bet you can't even tell me what his giant ox was named."] He had a giant ox named... Ramrod. Paul Bunyan travelled all across the land, sowing appleseeds everywhere he went, which Ramrod would pound into the ground with his mighty hooves. And that, my child, is how the tiger got his stripes." Yep, that's pretty much verbatim.

He's also been carrying on his tradition of inexplicable late-night philosophical questions. The latest: "Katie, which is more miraculous, the US Olympic hockey team's 1980 triumph over the Soviet Union, or the fact that I can fit into a pair of size 28 jeans?" You tell me, dear readers.

Speaking of inexplicable, I was in a foul mood this afternoon, so to get myself out of the house I went to the mall - where the nearest LensCrafters is - to look at glasses frames. I ended up happily shopping for an hour or so, and came home with two plastic bags of clothes, feeling vastly more cheerful than when I left. I'VE BECOME EVERYTHING I HATE and/or watched obsessively in 8th grade.

Aside from the aforementioned confusing mall episode, it was a pretty quiet weekend... dojo board meeting, starting to clean the living room and losing the will to go on, making foods that I can eat leftovers of for lunch all week. I've been on a dinner-pie-inventing kick lately, and while they've been surprisingly successful, my zucchini pie last week was so yellow with turmeric that it looked like quiche and so just made me sad that it wasn't, and today's savory sweet potato pie keeps being disappointing because it's not a pumpkin pie. I think Michael Pollan wrote something about how what makes a McDonald's french fry so satisfying is that it exactly fulfills your expectations of what a french fry is and should be. (Ha, don't I sound like I've read any of his books? I haven't.)

Now I'm off to bed, where hopefully no soul-searching questions await me. Oh, and let's not forget - countdown to Rebecca & Katie's New Mexico extravaganza: t-minus 5 days and counting!

Friday, September 12, 2008

From the archive, birthday edition

Which is creepier at age 5... the Lisa Frank hat or the circus cake?
Which is the best part at age 11... the ice cream and gummy worms, or the Welch's jelly jar?
Which hair accessory is the most fabulous?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Confession of the day

I'm working from home this afternoon, which means I can listen to the Les Miserables soundtrack as loud as I want and no one makes fun of me.

Friday, September 05, 2008


I finally noticed an earthquake tonight!!! Other reactions were less enthusiastic. Steve and Inder are kind of over the novelty and were more practically bracing for impact. I was on the phone with my dad at the time, and I think he wishes he could order me back to solid Midwestern ground.

Back to the really burning news around here... it's harvest time, and what have I been eating?

Well, the heat wave this week has really tipped the garden scales. The tiny little pruned Peach Tree That Could out back managed to put out a dozen or so giant fuzzy peaches! Mmm, localest peachest ever.

Master tomato thieves, who, us?

The fact remains that since the plants have gone behind bars our yield is way up. The heirlooms are ginormous, the green zebras are delicious, and the romas made for a tasty pizza sauce last night. Someday I'll get some in a jar.

Um, this guy is a little beyond good eatin. But, pretty!

In the continuing adventures of my new bundt pan, I finally made my favorite zucchini lemon bread with backyard zucchini and lemons! Pictures and recipe over here.

I picked most of Sue's delectable Bartlett pears. What didn't get eaten out of hand or snacked on at the weekly singing turned into 17 pints and 5 half-pints of pearsauce. Sooo sweet! Says 8 year old Frankie upon sampling: "Rebecca makes really good appleasuce." Plus a load of divine pear butter. I haven't been so happy with a lot of the other jam I'm made this year, but I'd have to try pretty hard to screw up these pears.

And there's all kinds of fresh shelling beans in season for once!! They might be my most missed Ecuadorian food. There's no substitute. Lately I've had cannellini, romano, and cranberry, but I'm most excited about the fresh black eyed peas! They're cute and green! I cooked them up diner style a la my braised lima bean recipe which I recommend as part of a complete power breakfast. (My version comes with a fried egg and english muffin with fresh pear butter.)

Hungry yet? Before you run off to the farmer's market, here's my favorite summer supper.

Tender, flavorful haricot vert / french filet beans topped with a squeeze of backyard lemon and a generous sprinkling of barbeque potato chips. Seriously, this is amazing. The juxtaposition of flavor and texture... it's kind of like green bean casserole redux. I could eat it every night! And she did.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Plus ça change...

Creepy proof that pretty much nothing about me or my life has changed in the past four years:

Katie after the Pioneer Valley All-Day Sing, circa 2004:

Katie before the Southwest Texas Sacred Harp Convention, circa 2008:

Rebecca and her Star Trek novel are so giving me a mental high-five right now.

We had a great convention this weekend, followed by a much-needed Labor Day holiday. I think every weekend that you go to a Sacred Harp convention you should automatically get Mondays off. Who's in charge of these things? Maybe I'll write to Jesus and propose it. ("Dear Mr. Christ, Please consider cancelling work on the following dates: January 28, March 10, March 24, April 17...")

In other news, we actually got a little wedding planning done this week. Please join with me in a moment of silence to commemmorate this shocking turn of events.


Nothing much on the agenda until my GIRLS GETAWAY to Albuquerque with Rebecca at the end of the month. Work has been crazy busy of late, since one of my two co-workers left in June and I inherited half of her projects. Every time it starts to get overwhelming, though, I think about one of the campus organizers I'm supervising this fall: a single mom who's working five days a week while getting her Bachelor's degree and taking care of four kids. And interning for us. Amazing. My life is big, fat, and lazy by comparison.

Finally, a paean to frozen bananas eaten like popsicles: My undying love for banana desserts and the texture of frozen fruit has finally found the perfect vehicle. 'Tis an addiction fit for the angels in heaven above. O Lord, let us give thanks for the mighty banana. And the noble freezer. Amen.