Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Coney Island Hot Dogs. Don't they make you think of internal organs? No?

Since this is sometimes a blog about thyroid cancer, I will confess that my most recent check-up was really bothering me. I didn't realize it, of course, until it was too late. I scheduled this routine follow-up ultrasound appointment six months ago, put it on my calendar, and watched it approach. No big deal. This cancer almost never comes back.

But I somehow worked myself into a frenzy before the appointment. To add to the fun frenzy feeling, I was of course running late. And the car was in poor repair. Plus I'd just had a hard week at work (apparently I can't do "whatever I want", management approval is required. The golden girl has left the pedestal.). So, I was driving through Parchment, frantically looking for a sign that things would be all right.

And there was LITERALLY a sign. It said, "I love you. - God". One of those infernal, cheesy, horrible church signs that all the cool kids mock. Okay, I thought. That was ridiculous. (I don't believe in the Old Man in the Robe "God" anyway, but I'm cool with the "universe" or "everything is god" god.) There's got to be another sign.

The next sign said "Sunny Burns." Might have been an accountant or lawyer. I'm not exactly certain I read it correctly, but it made me laugh anyway. Because Sunny Burns and Sandy Bottoms are the denizens of the beach. The beach where I've had the best times with friends. My friends that I love.

So, I made it to the appointment, rolling on love. The doctor declared my lymph nodes "beautiful", then apologized for getting so excited. (They were pretty cool looking on the ultrasound, but they didn't really look like hot dogs. I just like that picture.) I walked out into the unseasonably beautiful spring day and tried to relax. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What I Have Learned by Baking Bread

Lesson 1. I suck at baking bread.
But being an optimist, I always think it's because I haven't tried very hard enough. So I tried it again Monday night. Dough looked good (why didn't I go to Mark Bittman first?), I had new fresh yeast on hand, and it was actually growing. But then, things slowed down. My generous schedule got tighter, in that daylight savings time was making me sleepy, but I needed MORE second-rising yeast action before I could bake it, and then 40 minutes for baking. So I went to bed, and baked it when I woke up. Hot buttered bread for breakfast! Which didn't suck, when I think about it.

(It was so nice, I braved a run-in with a huge spider on the bread knife this morning. Well, I waited until he went to investigate a different knife in the block. Then I snatched my serrated knife, which actually wasn't the  bread knife but would have to do, and got my slice for the toaster. Realizing that the knife block was right next to the coffee maker was my next problem... but the spider was really into a paring knife by that point.)

Lesson 2. Some things should be left to the professionals.
The bread that I bought Friday from the Victorian Bakery was just dandy. Said bakery is, what, 4 blocks away? Why am I doing this to myself?

It started with the Sarkozy Bakery fire. We probably stuffed an oatmeal loaf a week in our collective craws, if not two loaves. It was simple, delicious bread and it was no longer available. How hard could it be? I am handy, crafty, smart. I have cookbooks. I CAN FOLLOW DIRECTIONS! which is pretty much the theory of my life.

But as you could probably surmise, I was lacking time. I don't have the simple farm girl schedule. Bread baking is a time-sucking old-world housewife drag. Bread machines seem like yuppie cop-out techniques. Walk to the bakery, or stop on the way home. It's the easiest way.

Lesson 3. Carbs! I am delusional.
The most ridiculous part of this, I don't even really eat bread (in my mind). Nope, I never eat bread. Except for the occasional slice of toast for breakfast. And grilled cheese sandwiches. And freshly baked bread. So, in an effort to replace a food item I don't actually eat, I quadrupled my bread consumption.

You're right. I've actually learned nothing. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How to waste 24 hours in 24 hours.

Richard was gone for the night. I had 24 hours. Here's how I wasted it in photographs. Bad, point and shoot photographs. Read on if you'd like to waste 2-4 minutes.

Saturday afternoon. One-day sale. Well, that must mean the deals are EXTRA great, right? So, yes, I went to the mall. But I only entered Macy's. I was hunting for bread pans, actually, but first I tried on every clearance dress or top in my size. Depressing, then ridiculous, kind of hot and sweaty. No sale. I then checked out shoes (see below). Loaf pans were very non-climactic at that point. Also no sale. I stopped at the grocery store on my way home to get the rest of the bread ingredients, plus dinner. Roses for myself.
I grilled my coffee shop sandwich at home, had some computer time.
Played with the cat.
Finally got a text that included an invitation for the evening. 
Off to visit Scott and Sara. Cats were explained.  
Hats were put on cats.  

Then, we went to the bar and tried hats on people.  

Morning view. It's Sunday now. 

Time to work on the bread. 
Yes, it looks doughy and small now, but just wait! This should double in size and make a delicious fluffy oatmeal bread. 

Any time now.....
12 hours later... I gave up and baked it. 

It's an oatmeal brick. It tastes a little doughy (surprise!) and alcoholic. It's very solid and full of fiber, though. No empty calories here. 

I do wish I had wasted my 24 hours a little more productively. (You are missing the photos of a craft project and some attempts at choreography. You should feel very lucky.) But I don't really have regrets. Puttering and socializing are my two favorite hobbies.