Monday, January 31, 2011

*Concerning the Previous Post

I'm afraid Roo's description of my run-in with the mosquito has portrayed me as a terribly selfish being; So, in my own defense, I have to point out that Roo wasn't being entirely honest about the situation.

The bug was at least twice as big as that picture.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Annie & George Constanza

Who would have thought that Annie and George Constanza (of Seinfeld) have something in common? Let's just say that both have a particular fear that runs very deep. George's fear is fire....Annie's fear is the Giant Mosquito:

Their commonality resides in the response to these fears: push off of helpless children to springboard out of harms way. Just take a look at the first 10 seconds of this video clip to see what I mean:

This is just what Annie did when she saw the giant mosquito flying in the nether-regions of our bedroom. Just replace the grandma with me (Roo) cradling sweet little Esmé in preparation for bedtime.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Father and Child

Thanks, Roo, for being such a patient and wonderful father to our baby!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dear Mitch Albom,

I know that a few years back, you were the cat's pajamas after that Tuesdays with Morrie business, but I didn't read that book. Nor did I read this other book you wrote:

However, I would be far more likely to consider this one should you choose to do a sequel:

I'm thinking, Chapter 1: Pol Pot. The other four are up to you, though I'd be happy to provide suggestions. For example, I think you should have Keith Richards show up, explaining that his status as "undead" actually allows him to pass from earth into Hell and back at will.

Now that's a good read!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

Best Screenplay

Mark Zuckerberg: If you guys were the inventors of Facebook, you'd have invented Facebook.

In my opinion, Aaron Sorkin definitely earned his award.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Vicarious Triumph

I, Annie, just north of five feet tall, have a child who is in the 75th percentile in height! That means she is taller than 75 percent of other babies her age.

Please allow me to take this moment to revel in her glory.

Annie's Choice Destination of the Week


Relatively light on tourists, it boasts the fantastic Julian Alps, a slice of the Mediterranean, and gorgeous scenery in between, not to mention a hearty local folk--Slovenian Davo Karničar was apparently the first person to ski down Mount Everest. So, they must be doing something right in Slovenia.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Changed Priorities Ahead

I've been reading through my old journal from my study abroad in Great Britain. There are a lot of things I liked about Britain, but when I came across a page of my own sketches of my favorite British road signs, I remembered that this was what I loved about Britain:

As if the badgers weren't bad enough:

I spent a while thinking about what that sign actually signifies, but I've got nothing.

Watch out!

Then come the exclamation marks:
Something which seriously warrants the public's attention:
Not just any squirrels, but:

This one can be interpreted a number of different ways:
As if driving on the wrong side of the road wasn't bad enough:

And finally, the truest sign of them all:
Rather delightful, wouldn't you agree?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Our Christmas

We were very lucky to have Grandma and Papa Tutu and Natalee with us for the week. We spent Christmas Eve eating dinner, looking at pictures, eating treats (namely peppermint bark), and opening a few gifts. Then we turned off the fire so we could watch While You Were Sleeping.

I was in charge of our Christmas feast. On Christmas Eve we had ham, potatoes, green beans, homemade rolls, fruit salad, and a chocolate cream pie. Considering my experience with the peppermint bark, I expected making a ham for the first time would cause the house to explode or something; however, everything turned out wonderfully. I was very, very proud of myself, I'm not ashamed to say.
Here is our array of treats.

90% of those presents were for her. (Just kidding :) Through most of November and December, we were finding more pressing needs for our Christmas money, so I really wasn't expecting us to have many gifts at all. So I felt extremely grateful and blessed on Christmas not only to have gifts for everyone but especially to have our family with us! It was so wonderful!

The rest of the week mainly consisted of:


The Houston Temple

And lots and lots and lots of eating!

So all in all, it was one of the best weeks of the whole year!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Joy of Cooking

Last week, with Christmas fast approaching, and being overcome with its festive spirit, I decided to make a quick batch of Peppermint Bark after seeing a recipe on Amy's blog. This promised to be a no-fail recipe as long as you were capable of mastering exactly two skills: melting and pouring. So pretty much anyone over the age of nine ought to be able to handle it. Fine.

Here's how it went:

1. Put wax paper over a cookie sheet.
Done. Took, like, two seconds.

2. Over a double boiler (make one with a pot of water about 2 inches deep and put a glass bowl on top), melt the milk chocolate chips.
Okay. So I find a glass bowl, prop it precariously over a pot of boiling water. This arrangement is called a "double boiler" so I probably should let the water get really hot, right? Wrong. I dump in the chocolate chips into the very hot glass bowl. The melting goes according to plan for about thirty seconds at which point the chips congeal into a grotesque, stiff, chocolate mass. They are burned. Strike one.

Grotesque chocolate ball is thrown into the sink. Thankfully, I have another $3.50 bag of Ghiradelli's finest chocolate chips on hand. This time I turn the stove down so the water is not quite so hot. I dump bag two into the glass bowl. I start to stir the chocolate. Everything is going according to plan until one stir proves to be too much for the precariously balanced glass bowl which tips over into the water, splashing it everywhere. Turns out, the water is still quite hot and it is scalding my face. I try to rescue attempt #2, but it has been tainted with hot water and is now a grotesque, stiff, chocolate mass. It joins its brother in the sink. That's $7.00 of chocolate down the drain, literally.

I'm out of chocolate chips. Being equally determined as I am angry at this point, I spot a bag of Nestle chocolate bells. I unwrap all 800 individually wrapped candies in the bag and place them in the secure glass bowl which is in the now lukewarm water. Ten minutes later, they are melting beautifully. Nice.

3. Add 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract.

4. Pour onto cookie sheet and spread.
Oh, that's easy. I pour the chocolate onto the sheet and admire my work. And then I read instruction #3. Crap! Since I missed the boat on adding the peppermint extract before, I decide to sprinkle the extract over the chocolate cookie sheet and carefully stir it in with a spatula before it hardens. Whatever works. Or doesn't work. Frankly, at this point I don't care whether it does or not.

5. Chill in fridge for 15 minutes.

Ahh. My favorite cooking instruction: chill.

6. Melt white chocolate chips the same way you melted the milk chocolate chips.
My initial reaction to this is, "oh, great." This time, I am successful on my first, very careful, melting attempt.

7. Add 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract.
Ah ha! You will not elude me again, peppermint extract! I start measuring a tsp of extract, holding the extract over the bowl of chocolate. While in the very process of triumphing over the extract, it slips (inexplicably) from my grip and lands in the chocolate, emptying nearly all of its contents in said chocolate. GAHH! I pour out what excess extract I can and then just stir in the rest--probably closer to a Tbsp than a tsp.

8. Pour over milk chocolate. Spread.

Using my peppermint-stained hands, I pour the white chocolate over the milk chocolate.

4. Sprinkle crushed candy canes.
I decided to use non-traditional candy canes. They are the butter mint type canes that are softer and yummier. I expect they will be simple enough to crush; however, they are harder than diamonds. I use the following tools to crush the canes: rolling pin, spoon, ice cream scoop handle, different spoon, garlic press. Meanwhile, I hear George Bailey on the TV about to jump off a bridge and I start thinking he's got the right idea. However, by alternating tools and positions, the canes become sufficiently crushed after fifteen minutes. I have sore arm muscles the next day. Seriously.

5. Chill.

6. Enjoy!!!
At this point, I can't make any promises.

In many ways, my Peppermint Bark experience is a metaphor for the past year. Amazingly, the peppermint bark turned out pretty good in the end despite the tribulation. And I learned a lot about myself in the process. And it cost way more money than I expected.

The rest of our Christmas festivities were wildly successful. More to come on that later.