Sunday, October 28, 2007

All dressed up

We attended a birthday party last week with a jungle theme. Andrew's costume took him days to create, and I made mine it about ten minutes. I think I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Friday, October 26, 2007


To celebrate Fall's arrival, I took a drive through Shenandoah National Park last weekend. It was perfect weather - a bit windy and cool, but sunny. We left early and so avoided the other thousands of Washintonians who thought this would be a good day trip. We snapped lots of pictures like the one below, but they don't really do justice to the beauty.

And now it's been cold and rainy for the past two days. (I'll skip the picture of that and let you just imagine the gray.) But at least it's not hot and humid anymore!

Friday, October 19, 2007

These boots were made for wokking

My camera woman gave me a thoughtful birthday gift this year. She's aware that I don't cook Chinese food often, so she wrote up a half a dozen Chinese recipes that she cooks well, and then presented them to me, along with the ingredients necessary to make them. (This was especially helpful with respect to the dried mushrooms, because they all look the same to me and the careful labeling in Chinese does not help much.)

Alas, it appears that I don't cook Chinese often because I am no good at it. I have so much knowledge about cooking, which mainly originated from training with French and Italian cuisine. When I taught myself Indian, these European cooking skills were still useful. Once I mastered toasting my spices, many of the ingredients (milk, tomatoes, carrots, and potatoes) and techniques (long slow simmers, frying) were appropriate. But when cooking Chinese, they're useless. Faced with a sauce that's too runny, I would add some cream and boil it down quickly. But, um, Chinese doesn't do dairy. The dish is a little bland? I've got olives, pesto, nut oils, and cheese for Italian dishes. For Chinese I have.... um, soy sauce and sesame oil.

So, I may give up for a while. Last week we got bok choy in our farm share. I pretended it was Swiss chard, mixed it with a bechamel sauce, and topped it with bread crumbs and cheese for a killer gratin. Of course, my camera woman almost cried when she saw what I had done to the poor bok choy, but boy was it good.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Weekend Projects

The pattern that seems to be developing at our house is that I have brilliant (if I do say so myself) ideas for projects around the house, and then I convince Andrew to complete them. Often he is not as convinced as I am of my brilliance, but afterwards he usually likes the results. Below is one of these projects. I bought an old desk at a thrift shop (Eight dollars! And just look at those lines! I fell in love fast) and then he removed one of the drawers and lowered the bottom a bit to make room for the computer tower, which is now neatly tucked away. We're still discussing if we should just leave it like this or build a cabinet door over it.

(And before you ask, because everyone does, he also removed the drawer back so the computer is cooling just fine.)

A second recent project, which I completed myself, was the quick conversion of a new garbage can to a compost bin. Yes, all I had to do was drill a bunch of holes in it, but I was still proud of myself.

I did a lot of painting this weekend, too, but pictures of that will have to wait because it really doesn't look that impressive in its as-yet-uncompleted state.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Rain, rain go away

Every week we play laundry roulette, and last night we lost. We've been making an effort to hang our laundry outside to dry (which makes us rare - does anyone else do this anymore?). What happens is that Andrew washes the clothes when he comes home from work, then looks at the weather report for the next 24 hours to see how likely it is to rain. If it's low then the clothes are hung outside so that they can dry the next day. Last night the prognosis was a 10% chance of rain during the night, but two hours after the clothes went out we got a good, drenching downpour. However, it's supposed to be windy today, so we're waiting to see if they'll dry anyway. Then we can just count it as a second rinse cycle.

Monday, October 08, 2007


My brother called me last night to tell me about someone who had done something not very nice to him. (Since this isn't his blog, I don't think I should be any more specific than that.) It made me soooo mad. Even though my brother is thirty, has a wife and a child, four cats, and a mortgage, I still like think that as the big sister, it's my job to protect him, and I hate it when people don't treat him right.

I offered to go over to Ohio and straighten this guy out, but my brother thought that he could probably take care of it himself. Ahem. I suppose he can. I guess I'll just sit here and think revengeful thoughts on his behalf.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Pork and more pork

Sorry I've been AWOL for a while. This week has been pretty exhausting, as I took my regular responsibilities and added about 15 hours more work to it. My students had their first exam, which I now need to grade, and I did some interviews for a project that I'm working on. I still have lab notebooks and regular homeworks to grade, which means that my desk is just one big mess of papers waiting for my marking pen. What a fun weekend...

But I can report that the pig roast was a great success. I didn't have to do much at all, as my mother had been preparing side dishes and desserts (plus three different homemade barbecue sauces!) for about a week and my dad and uncle manned the pig roaster itself. (Apparently possession of a Y chromosome is required for this type of work).

Andrew and the physics friend who had accompanied us feasted heartily on the meat, as demonstrated here:

For even more, check out my uncle's post on his blog, de-Intimidator which gives all the gory and glorious details.