Sunday, April 26, 2009

blog #282 >> The Garden is Planted

Now the work begins...
I got most of the garden planted today.
Except for the tomatoes and zucchini, which we'll plant when it's a little bit warmer.
(Get well soon Trina!)
I can't wait for stuff to grow!

The garden in all its glory. I know it looks like a bunch of dirt right now, but if nothing else, I'm sure some weeds will grow pretty soon.

Here's the celery we planted. I'm not really sure how it will do, I've never planted it before. But I figured I should probably give it some room.

The saladish part of the garden.

The wild strawberries.

Pea and bean poles and onions.

Strawberry flowers.

And this is rainbow Swiss chard... I'm not really sure what chard is or how you cook it. But it was a really pretty plant so I got some anyhow.

Dandelion! For good luck and to ensure lots of weeds in the future.

Onions at night.


blog #281 >> Meeting Little Stella

My trip to go visit my new niece, Little Stella can be summed up with: Lost, Tram, Lost, Nice People, Lost, Baby, Lost, Dinner, Home.

Unfortunately, I have not been blessed with a keen sense of direction. And whenever I cross the river into unfamiliar territory, this becomes very apparent.

Friday, I got off early from work and decided to go visit my sister and her new baby at the Med. School. Since parking there is annoying, and I live just on the other side of the Ross Island Bridge, I decided to take the tram to go visit them. Taking the tram was a good idea in theory, but my plan wasn't flawless. The longer I live in the city, the more I realize... I'm not cut out to live in the city. I have the street sense of a hamster.

I got lost going to the tram, since there is no good way to get under the bridge from going over the bridge. And there is not a single sign saying, "This Way to the Tram." "The Tram is Here." or "Park Here for the Tram." or "You just passed the Tram, it was back there." Signage is very important, and they could have used some. After passing it and coming back at it, which isn't easy as it is a one way street, I finally found the parking underground... underground lot. I should have guessed. So, then I just had to find where to get on the tram. Follow the cables and you'll find where it ends, and where it ends is where you get on. Perfect!

My tram experience improved from this point. It was easy and obvious how to buy a ticket. And I heard someone shout, "Hold on! There's ONE coming!" There's one coming is right, I was the ONLY one coming and the only one on the tram. The diver said he had only taken the tram up empty two times, and until I came he was thinking it'd be three. Well, the doors shut, and off we went. And I must say, riding the tram is pretty fun. It was worth the $4 just for the ride. The view was amazing! It was a beautiful clear evening, and I had a great view of the city and Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens. I didn't take any pictures though, I thought I'd take them on the way down instead.

Anyhow I arrived, and started off, flowers in hand. But why must hospitals be designed like giant mazes? Well, I made it to the 13th floor, and to room 16... but that's not her room. That's strange... I know I'm on the 13th floor. And I know this is room 16... Did I forget and write down the wrong room number? So I found some friendly nurses to help. It seems like usually when I need help, the only person around to ask is some grumpy or snoody or crazy or angry or mean or drunk person who knows absolutely nothing and who is less inclined to help me than a sea-sick shark. That's why it so refreshing to know that there are real people out there, who are happy to point you in the direction you need to go. And the direction I needed to go, was to the other building. Other building? Well... that explains it.

...However finding the other building wasn't as simple as going back to the 9th floor. Turn right, go down the hall, turn right again and you're there. Somehow I ended up outside. Hmmm... I don't remember any outside in those directions. I retraced my steps and found another friendly nurse. This nurse also knew where to go. And not only did she give me directions but took me there herself. She was just starting a shift in the maternity ward. Great! It's so much easier with a guide and I would have never found it alone. The hall between buildings is long and dark, and I just tend to stay out of the dark corners in hospitals. There again, signs would be a help. Anyhow I found room 16 on the 13th floor at last!

And meeting new little baby Stella was well worth the journey! She's adorable! You can already tell, she's going to have blonde hair and bright blue eyes, just like her sister. And when I got there, my sister Carrie and her husband Chris were already there, as well as my brother Frank and his wife Amy and their baby Ada. It was really fun getting to visit Amy, Greg, and Stella together.
(I'm borrowing some photos from my sister Carrie, since I held Stella almost the whole time I was there and didn't get to take any pictures.)

Frank and Amy and Ada meeting Stella.

Ada was happy to not be on the elevator anymore.

Carrie and Stella.

Me and Stella.

Stella with socks on her hands so she wouldn't scratch her face anymore. Stella didn't like the socks.

After visiting Stella, I went with Carrie and Chris out to dinner. Which of course meant finding my car at the tram parking. And after spending about three minutes trying to figure out why I couldn't go down in the "up only" elevators, and finding the right elevators back down to the parking garage. And after trying my darnedest to feed my crinkly dollars to the parking pay machine. We were off to a dinner at Lauro down the street from me. It was really nice to have a dinner with my sister and brother-in-law. The food was good. I got a beet salad, which must have given me a lot of energy because by the time I got home at eleven o'clock I felt like Mrs. Howell after eating the radio-active beets, and cleaned house until midnight... at which time I crashed and went to bed...

And that finishes my adventures of visiting Miss. Stella.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

blog #280 >> Almost Perfect Earrings

Tahiti Earrings from linkeldesigns. – $9.50

Super Fun 80's Inspired Big Ball Dangly Earrings available at moxibird. – $10

BIRDS on a Wire Earrings available at GlitzyLadybug. – $7.50

Owl at night earrings from WinterberryJewelry. – $12

Wonderfully Red and Yellow Dangle Earrings available from CreativeConcepts. – $5

Happy mushroom earrings from cuteandfun. – $5

I learned a valuable lesson today. You can't have more than one mini-etsy. So much for scheduled postings. I knew there was a reason I always posted etsy things this way and know I remember why...

Anyhow, I'm still searching for the perfect earrings. I'm having a really hard time finding them because I know exactly what I want. I'm looking for silver earrings with a small teal bead, followed by a large red bead. It's pretty simple, don't know why I'm having such a hard time finding them. I love all these earrings above, but they're just not quite what I'm looking for. I think I'm going to need to stop by the bead store and just make some.


Monday, April 20, 2009

blog #279 >> A New Blog: The Joys of Jello

Well, I guess I started a new blog. I can hardly keep up the one I've got, but I really needed a place to organize all these bits of random Jello... things. So another blog it is. All future Jello posts will be here at The Joys of Jello.
Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

blog #278 >> Orange Creamsicle

An orange Jello mold with one part boiling water and one part vanilla icecream.
See basic Jello mold recipe here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

blog #277 >> How did they get on the show!

Here are some really funny game show moments:


Monday, April 13, 2009

blog #276 >> Cable Knitting

I've finally learned to cable knit with the help from this handy book my sister lent me. Now all I need is one of those fancy little bent needle things.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

blog #275 >> Jello Eggs

Here's the recipe for my sister's Jello eggs that she makes every year.
I can't wait!
See Here

blog #274 >> He Is Risen!

Happy be your Easter!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

blog #273 >> Coffee Coffee Cake

Yes, a coffee cake, made with coffee, with a coffee filling, and a coffee glaze. mmmmm... the smell of it baking... how I long to eat it now... but I can't. It's for Easter breakfast tomorrow. I even went to Stumptown and had them make me five shots of espresso for it. And the currants came from Limbo down the street. I'm so glad I found them! I was about to give up. I also need to thank Amy for the loan of her Bundt pan.

And since there is so much mixing involved with this cake, I decided to finally try out my mixer. This is the first and last time I will ever use that mixer. No matter how many times I've had 50+ year old appliances blow up on me, I still insist on using them. I never seem to learn my lesson. But I'm afraid the coffee coffee cake was too much for my 70 year old mixer. First, the handle got hot, (strange right?) and I should have stopped right there. But it seemed to be running fine, and I just had a little more mixing to do. Well, it sort of went crazy on me and it decided it only wanted to run on full speed. (or perhaps faster than full speed.) And the next thing I knew I had batter all over the kitchen. Well, I had to finish the job with the little 50's pink hand mixer. But it all turned out alright anyhow.

Recipe below:

Mrs. Johnson's Coffee Coffee Cake

2 cups flour
1 tea. baking powder
1 tea. soda
1/8 tea. salt
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 T. strong coffee
1/2 tea. vanilla
1 1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup currents
(soaked in hot water for 8-10 min.)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 tea. ground cinnamon
2 tea. instant coffee powder

1 cup powdered sugar
3 T. strong coffee
1/2 tea. half and half
1/4 tea. vanilla

1. Grease Bundt pan.

2. Mix flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Add coffee and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.

4. Add flour mixture alternately with sour cream, beating well after each addition, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Set aside.

5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

6. Prepare filling: Combine drained currants, brown sugar, walnuts, cinnamon, and instant coffee.

7. Spread a fouth of the batter into Bundt pan. Sprinkle with a third of the filling. Repeat layering twice, ending with batter.

8. Bake for 55-60 minutes until tooth-pick comes out clean.

9. Cool on wire rack or 20 minutes. Remove cake from pan.

10. Prepare glaze: Whisk together the powdered sugar, coffee, half-and-half, and vanilla until smooth and creamy.

11. Spoon glaze over cake. Let glaze set.

(alterations: I used regular butter and omitted the salt. I used regular brown sugar instead of dark. I used milk instead of half-and-half. And I used espresso in the filling instead of instant coffee.)

(If you wanted you could also substitute raisins for currants and use instant coffee instead of espresso. Mix 1 tea. instant coffee in 1 T. hot water for each tablespoon of strong coffee.)


blog #272 >> Making New Friends

Why is it when I find a slug in the garden I quickly relocate it to the city dump, but if I find a snail I think it's really cute and take it's picture? Really they're almost the same thing. A snail is just a slug with antennae and a shell. But that shell makes him really cute.

In fact, I've found a lot of neat bugs in the garden this week. But I'm having a hard time catching them to take their picture. Some are too quick, and some are too crafty and get out of the bucket when my back is turned. I saw a centipede last night, but it hurried off.

But this caterpillar and snail were both very slow moving and they managed to stay in one place long enough for me to go get the camera. The caterpillar was almost to the edge of the garden by the time I got back. But the poor snail was stuck going around in circles judging by his trail of slime. Now they're both happy over in the mossy corner again.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

blog #271 >> Build a Robot

What am I going to do with all these strips of leftover brown paper?
Build a robot!
Download your robot now!

Monday, April 6, 2009

blog #270 >> An Evening in the Garden

This weekend and today has really been the first nice days we've had all year. And as I was sitting at my desk, staring blankly out the window at work, all I could think was, "I wish I were outside. I wish I were outside. It's sunny outside. See the flowers on the trees. I wish I were outside." Unfortunately, this made for a very unproductive day, and it soon became my goal to try to get out of work as early as possible.

I knew exactly what I wanted to do when I got home... start fixing up the garden. The garden at the apartments is back in the corner, where I don't walk pass unless I have a reason to. I think the last time I was back there, was before Christmas in all the snow. Obviously it had changed a lot. I was thrilled to see the onions growing and doing well after I had separated them into neat little lines last fall. The strawberries had spread halfway across the garden. The beets had survived the winter and were finally ready to be picked. (which I'm eating as I blog.) And there were hardly any weeds yet and the ground was perfect for digging and turning the dirt over. I actually got a lot done. And Dave and Trina came out a little later and moved the herbs over by the house. So I'd say I had a pretty productive day after all.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

blog #269 >> Meet Horace

I'm not really one for pets... but I'm really alright with plants.
I've found that carnivorous plants are actually the best pets for me. They need very little care outside of sunlight and water, which is perfect because I've got a lot a both.
This is my new little inhabitant, Horace. He's here to keep Vinnie company, even though he looks capable of eating Vinnie. However, I've never heard of carnivorous plants being cannibals, so Vinnie should be safe. Horace enjoys sunlight and eating small unsuspecting insects. Horace does not like small children, who turn his cage upside down. I'm also not sure how Vinnie's doing right now. He never really came out of winter hibernation. He's not really dying either, just not growing. This may be because I never feed him. After I fed him a fly once when he was new, I felt so bad for the fly, I've made him fend for himself ever since. Poor Vinnie. Let's see if a few sunny days will perk him up.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

blog #268 >> Maggie's Mural

... was barely finished by bed-time.
I spent my entire Saturday painting this mural. It is for my sister who's redecorating Miss. Maggie's bedroom to accommodate little Miss. Stella, who will be arriving at the end of the month. I'm glad we got it finished today. It turned out so cute. I'm very proud of it.

Friday, April 3, 2009

blog #267 >> Happy!

Today at work we had doughnuts, candy, two pineapple upside down cakes and then I went and had some tea with Trina. And this is how I feel after I've had too much tea and too many cookies... HAPPY!!!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009