Monday, September 29, 2008

blog #161 >> Date Cake

Last week I was at the store and for some reason dates sounded really good. So I went over to the bulk food section, pulled down on the lever and... nothing happened. They were all stuck. Well, after a great deal of shaking the bulk food container and hitting it a few times, they came out... and they came out fast. And since I couldn't put them back, I ended up with over a pound of dates. Now I like dates, but I hadn't intended to get that many. So, I asked myself, "What can I make with a whole bunch of dates in it?"
According to my Betty Crocker Good and Easy Cookbook, Date Cake is the answer. And it's the perfect addition to a "Box Lunch for a Business Girl." Sounds perfect. Basically, it's an English Sticky Toffee Pudding with a nutty-date topping. And it's super tasty.

Friday, September 26, 2008

blog #160 >> She came in the Mail!

Ahh!!! She came in the mail today! It's the Esther Bot! I've been eyeing the Bots made by Anatomy of a Skirt for a long time, just waiting for the right bot to come along. And, "Behold!" here she is. My robotic twin Esther, complete with cat-eye glasses and a beaded necklace. She's the perfect bot to hold an extra pair of glasses or some of those swell bejeweled broaches of mine. I'll have to make her a nice robotic cardigan sweater and get her some books for her library. If you want your own bot visit her blog Robot a Day to see a new bot everyday. Or buy one here on Etsy.

p.s. And if I had more money... I'd buy her a boyfriend!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

blog #159 >> I laughed 'til I cried.

If only Papyrus was the villain and Comic Sans wasn't the hero.
All I can say is, "Scissors, Arrow, Mailbox, Open Mailbox!"

blog #158 >> Book of the Week:
Accordion Sheet Music

Last night I was thinking, "Hmmm... I haven't posted anything about accordions in a long while." And I realized that it's about time. My accordion playing has been going very well lately. With practice, I can play any song I hear. So I'd say I'm doing pretty good. Well, all except that whole reading notes thing. I'm still very bad at reading notes. I just can't connect a dot, to a letter, to a note, to a sound. And I honestly haven't even practiced reading notes since sometime last month. I just have such better songs to be practicing than "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean." But one thing's for certain, I will never run out of sheet music to practice with. My dad's accordion came to me with a whole collection of sheet music, most of which were his when he was a kid or my great-grandpa's. My great-grandpa came from Switzerland and played the accordion at the Swiss dance hall that they ran in Damascus. Anyhow, here's some of that swell sheet music.

(Palmer-Hughes Accordion Course Book 1 ©1952) The book that started it all. If you want to learn to play the accordion start with this book. Both my dad and my brother learned from this book. It's great. Not too hard, and not too easy, at least for me. I've actually completed this book and it has some great songs like "Vegetable's on Parade" and "Charlie the Chimp."

(Palmer-Hughes Accordion Course Book 2a ©1961) The book I'm in now. I just thought this little picture of the romantic accordion players was priceless.

(Schweízer Ländler Album ©1946) This one must have been my Great-grandpa's because it's all in German. He translated part of it though. But it's still too hard for me. If I could hear them, I think I could play them. I've just got to get back on the reading notes thing.

(Wacky Polka ©1944)

(Scandinavian Dance Album ©1935) From this we learn that both my aunt and my dad promise to practice slowly.

(Red Wing ©1928)

(Moon Winks ©1904)


Monday, September 22, 2008

blog #157 >> Autumn Falls: Garden Update

This morning I woke up, it was dark, and I was cold. Autumn's definitely here. And I'm actually excited about it. I love the smell when the first rain comes. And I get to wear my favorite coat and scarves again. Anyhow, here are some shots of the garden this fall.

A butternut squash.

Some lemon cucumbers growing up the fence.

Lettuce flowers.

A very large tomato. See how big it is compared to my hand?

Cherry tomatoes, but don't let their name mislead you, they taste nothing like cherries.

And here are some little zucchinis.

Here are some pictures of my porch this fall. I think I'm going to cry when I finally have to throw away the hanging basket. It's already starting to fade a little and it's only a few inches from touching the ground.


blog #156 >> Lobster Jello

Here's my Goodwill find of the week. I've been looking for one of these forever! A lobster shaped jello mold. Perfect for those jellied seafood salads. Mmm... Only since I prefer my jello without veggies and meat. I made a Marciano cherry jello mold instead.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

blog #155 >> Sunshine Carrots

Today these carrots (and two beets) from our garden got cooked up into Sunshine Carrots (cooked carrots with melted butter, fresh ginger, and an orange juice glaze.) They are amazing. Best way ever to eat cooked carrots.

Friday, September 19, 2008

blog #154 >> Talk Like a Pirate Day

Today be the day t' talk like a pirate. Why? 'Cause if ye don't talk like a pirate, they'll pillage and plunder ya ship. Harrr Harrr! Well... ye may not have a ship or plunder, but that be alright. They'll take what they can. Arrr! So ye all wear ye best jewels, peg-leg, and eye-patch, and fly ye jolly roger high. Mount canons to ye desk and shout, "Back, ye scurvy dog!" to anyone who tries to hand ye a work order. Call ye coffee, rum. And call ye-self, "Capt'n (insert your name here) the Bloody" or "Mad Dog (insert your name here)" or "Dread Pirate (insert your name here)" Arrrrgggg! So now that ye have the idea, go let loose ye new found vocabulary on the world!

Here's a show t' teach ye t' talk like a buccanneer...

Here be some seafarin' hearty links to teach yar the way.

Here be a link t' find ye a new pirate name:

This here be one o' the bands: Cap't Bogg & Salty's sea shanties.

and this be one fer if th' show dasn't work.

Farewell me harties,

Thursday, September 18, 2008

blog #153 >> Book of the Week:
1000 Ways to have Fun with Professional Magic

Meet a swell fellow! His name is Pumpernickle and he's been my friend for many a year. He's the cutest little monkey around and he loves hanging out in the pages of this old magic catalog of that was my grandpa's. If you're ever looking out for a corny practical joke this is the book for you. It's full of "pocket tricks, illusions, and joke novelties." And I always enjoy looking through it. Where else can you find "Snowstorm Pills: Place one of these harmless pills on the end of a lit cigarette and in a short time you will have a perfect indoor snowstorm. 2 boxes for 29¢" or the instructions for "Walking Thur Steel: The last word in solid thru illusion. A committee is invited on stage to examine a solid steel plate in a framework. While committee surrounds the plate, you actually walk right through it!! Presentation secret and drawings. Just 50¢"
©1963 Vick Lawston

Monday, September 15, 2008

blog #152 >> You say tamato, I say tomato...

Let's call the whole thing off, and make them into soup! mmm.... There's nothing like homemade creamy tamato, I mean tomato soup made with our homegrown heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil from the garden. I'm not so fond of tomatoes fresh, but cook um up and they're amazing. Yum! Here's my recipe, from I just strained it instead of blending it, since I don't have a blender.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

blog #151 >> I did really well.

Scott brought this into work today from this month's Reader's Digest.
I thought it was really funny, and I did really well.
These are two things I like.

blog #150 >> Driving the Behemoth

I like little things: Buttons, pebbles, baby booties, mice, things that are small. Therefore it would make sense that I would enjoy driving something small, and I do. I by no means love my current car, but it does get me to where I want to go... most of the time. However, this week my little fuel efficient car is in the shop, the blower on the AC/heater/defroster bit the dust. And until it returns, I'm borrowing THE TRUCK. My parents graciously let me borrow their extra car, (a full-sized truck) until I get my car back. And now I'm a nervous wreak. And I hope I don't wreak it! It's like learning to drive all over again... downtown... in a steamship.

I can't wait to get my car back. Parking the truck is not fun. It's too big to park in the lower parking lot at my apartment because the spots are too small. Just a couple days ago, I had to move my little car because I couldn't open my doors to get out after I squeezed it into one of the spots. And I can't pull out of the upper parking lot with it because the lot is right on an intersection. So parking for me must be on the street. I can't parallel park on my best day and it's even more complicated when you're at least two feet longer and wider than everyone else. Pulling out with it is even worse. There will be no shopping trips for me this week. I don't think I could even get through the driveway at New Seasons with it. Luckily, I can park in the empty church lot a couple blocks up from where I work. So parking there isn't a problem. To add to its difficulties, it's too tall for me to get in and out of while wearing a skirt.

I can't wait to get my car back. Driving the truck is not fun. All the streets are so narrow in Portland, and I can't even make a corner without driving into the other lane or going over the curb. Today I did both several times. I had such a hard time at the round about on Clinton and 36th. I couldn't see until I was in the street and then someone was coming and then while I was waiting for them, someone else came the other way and couldn't get around me. So then I had to go, but couldn't make it around the center island and had to drive over it. It was very embarrassing. I'm just not used to how it handles yet. It's like steering a ship.

I can't wait to get my car back. Stopping the truck is not fun. The truck does not stop like a car. You must break a long time before you actually need to stop. And every time I break, it will lurch forward before the breaks catch and actually start slowing it down. Yellow lights are frightening. There is no stopping or speeding up really. You just have to keep on going. Fortunately, I'm never going very fast. Giant monster trucks are not known for speed or the ability to take off quickly. Today a poor little squirrel ran out in front of me. "Run little squirrel! Run!" I just couldn't break fast enough. He did make it to the other side alive, but just barely.

I can't wait to get my car back. Other people do not think trucks on the road are fun. People are not kind to you when you're driving a truck in the city. They are angry just looking at you. They will not show any mercy or compassion for any reason. They do not like that you are big and taking up over half the road. They do not like that you are slow. They do not like that trucks use more gas and let off more emissions. And other people enjoy showing that dislike in rather aggressive and hateful ways. If you are in a truck, you are the enemy of drivers everywhere. Other drivers will not let you in, will tail gate you, will shout obscenities at you, and will flip you off. Last time I borrowed the truck someone actually left their box of leftovers under the rear tire so I would smash it when I pulled out. Luckily, I caught it and threw it out before I backed up. But really people! Must you be so cruel?!?

I can't wait to get my car back. But I need to remember the benefits to driving a truck this week. a) I can haul stuff if I need to. It would be a good time to take a trip to IKEA, if I hadn't just gone. b) I can tow stuff. I have no idea what I would ever need to tow, but I could if I had to. c) I have four-wheel drive and can go off-roading. Those little unpaved streets that connect neighborhoods in Portland, won't be a problem now. d) I can see above other cars really well. And it doesn't have much of a blind spot. e) It's got an all year State of Oregon Park Pass in the window. If I weren't working this week, I could get out and enjoy nature for free. f) I don't have to take the bus. g) If some rude driver is flipping me off, well then, "Hey, I'm a lot bigger than you!" And I can drive them over and smash their car!

I guess driving the truck won't be so bad after all. I'll just try to stay as much out of everyone's way as possible.


Monday, September 8, 2008

blog #149 >> The Phailure of the Opera

First of all, just let me say, "I really love The Phantom of the Opera." I love the music, the sets, the costumes, the plot. It's a great play. If you've never seen it, you should go rent the movie. (RIGHT NOW!) The movie is fabulous. And the more I see it, the more I like it. The actress who plays Christine has a phenomenal voice. Singing seems as natural to her as breathing. Although the actor who plays the Phantom can't sing as well, at least he seems dangerous and doesn't sound like a wimp. I saw the play in a theater for the first time when I was thirteen and it really made an impression on me.

(Scene from movie, which is excellent.)

Anyhow a couple weeks ago my mom bought a CD with a collection of songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals done by the London Philharmonic. Well, it was really good and got passed around between my sisters and I. And this of course this brought back memories of when we last saw it, and how great the play was. Soon we all wanted to go see it again.

It turned out it was currently playing in Portland at The Keller Auditorium and it had only a few days left before moving to Seattle. My grandma offered to buy us all tickets, and before you knew it, we were off in high hopes to see the show.

Little did I know, it was to be the worst show I've ever seen in a theater. (And that includes high school musicals.) It didn't start well, and ended worse. Almost all the characters had understudies playing their parts. Charlotte was played by an understudy. Christine was played by the understudy of the understudy. And The Phantom was played by the understudy, of the understudy, of the understudy. I'm just not sure I can describe in words how bad this show was. We paid money for this? When it started bad I thought, "Well, we haven't seen any of the main characters sing yet. Let's just wait until Christine comes on and then we'll see some good singing." Charlotte came on and sang her part. (Off-key and poorly as she's suppose to.) And when Christine sings the same song. (To show she can replace Charlotte and sing it waaay better.) She was even worse! Ah! How can this be? She was off-key, couldn't sing the high notes, and warbled worst than Charlotte. It's like they were making an Alto sing a Soprano part. I just wanted to help her through it. The poor thing! I felt so bad for her. I just wanted to say, "Here let me give you the note to start out on." And it seemed like everyone was mumbling every word. (Probably because they forgot half of the lyrics.) You couldn't understand anything they were saying. It's a good thing I knew what was going on or I would have been lost.

And if Christine was bad, The Phantom was worse. The acting throughout was horrible. And The Phantom was the worst of all. "The Music of the Night" he sang in a whiny voice and sang half of it while crawling of the floor. "Um... Why are you rolling on the floor? Are you trying to swim?" People were actually laughing during the murder scene. (When The Phantom hangs a guy during a performance.) "Um... That was suppose to be the scary part." But I have to admit it was pretty funny. It was like murderous shadow puppets on a sheet. "And next The Phantom will be creating a bunny rabbit for your enjoyment." Oh, it was bad. Raoul has never looked like such a good choice. Only I'm not sure Christine deserved him. She should have stayed with The Pathetic Loser Phantom and they could have squealed sweet songs together in the night.

I have to admit though, the orchestra was good, the costumes were great and the stages were nice. But it's really the singing and acting that matters. You can get by without costumes, music or stages at all if the acting and singing is good. It was like a huge moldy cake covered in pretty icing. It looks nice, but that's not what really matters. Raoul was an okay singer, and so was Charlotte. What they should have done, was replace Christine with Charlotte. You could tell, Charlotte was only trying to sound bad, but could really sing well if she wanted to. But overall... Ah, it was bad.

They even cut parts out. Like Christine receiving red roses tied with black ribbon from The Phantom. And the sword fight in the graveyard. I want to see them fight! And isn't the chandelier suppose to fall at the very end, after the opera of Don Juan? I don't think it's suppose to fall before intermission. And flames! I want to see flames during Don Juan and "The Point of No Return." I'll admit, it had been a long time since I saw it in the theater. But I'm sure that version had roses and a sword fight. What happened? Did we have our expectations too high? Did it seem more impressive last time because I was so young? Is it because we went to the matinee instead of the evening performance? Is it because everyone acting was an understudy? No one else in the audience seemed to notice the horrible singing or acting. They all stood up cheering and applauding with a standing ovation at the end. Were they just being polite? Was it a plant? Did they pay a couple of people to stand up in the front to make everyone else stand up? My family and I can't be the only ones who thought it was bad.

I just don't get it.


p.s. Okay, now I'm feeling guilty about about all the mean things I said about The Phantom of the Opera. I really do like the play and the movie. It's just that, that particular performance wasn't very good. But it was still really fun to go and spend the day with my sisters, mom and grandma. And afterwards we had a lovely dinner together. So I feel like I shouldn't be complaining...

Corrections: In the movie the chandelier falls at the end, but in the play it falls before intermission. In the movie there is a sword fight, in the play the Phantom is suppose to throw fireballs from his magical staff.

p.p.s. Stop telling me all the funny things you thought of and post them instead so other people can read them too.

Friday, September 5, 2008

blog #148 >> I Heart Coffee

I heart having an espresso machine at work. Normally, I'm a tea person. But some days I need coffee.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

blog #147 >> Paint Chip Dilemma

Help! My bedroom is blah.
And since I'm not painting the walls in my apartment, I'm thinking I'll paint the furniture. Why have white walls and white furniture? But what color should I paint them? I've narrowed it down to these five colors. I kinda like the "Marsh Green." But I think after two months, I'd be sick of the green. And I do like the "Hawaiian Sky" with the pink 50's things. I just don't know. I'm terrible at picking paint colors. I think I'm over thinking this. I should just go with my first choice of "Pursuit Of Happiness" and run with it. Does anyone else have any input? Here's some photos I played with in Photoshop to show what they'd kinda look like painted.
1. State Of The Union
2. Pursuit Of Happiness
3. Hawaiian Sky
4. Far Away
5. Marsh Green
(Aren't paint chip color names crazy!)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

blog #146 >> Hats off to you

Here's the new hat I also bought yesterday while out and about with my mom. It fits a However, I think my hair may be too short to use one. Does anyone know how to use a hat pin?

blog #145 >> Book of the Week: Cookbooks

Yesterday I spent the day with my mom and we went shopping around town. At Troutdale Antique Mall we found these great cookbooks. The Cooky Book and the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book are almost just like the ones my mom uses. And both the New Cook Book and Sewing Book were just $3 each.

The perfect basic cookbook.

If I lived in Cookie Land, this would be my house.