Sunday, January 31, 2010

Selling 1/2 of your House

Sadly, I attended a meeting last week, where the RI Foundation reported that the state of RI ranks among the lowest per capita (in the US) in philanthropy and volunteerism. Ugh.

A poignant story about giving 1/2 of your house, and how it can increase quality of life, from the New York Times last week: "What could you Live without" (here).

This month I've been negotiating new terms with the company managing my grad school loans. I can't help but consider to what extent these loans (and my current salary) will extend the time period that we are throwing our money away on rent. I'm also acutely aware that the next phase in our lives is conducive to us getting on that 'treadmill of accumulation' Kristof describes in his article.

Friday, January 29, 2010

You know you need it bad.

It's freezing today.
Thought you might like this 70s commercial for Florida...

Flordia Video on Flickr from the State Library and Archives of Florida.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Fan of Joe Hays' blog (here) and love that he's a fan of Jay-Z.

Remember that Coldplay Remix, Lost, first performed at the Grammys...where Jay-Z comes in 1/2 way through? (video on youtube)

Why didn't that get more air time?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Cosmic Bowling

Cosmic Bowling with the fam, St. Louis, 1/16/10.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

january update

1. Lately...weeks that feel longer than they really are,
no blog postings, no picture-taking, over-flowing to do lists.
And desperate attempts to turn off the brain with crime drama novels.

2. Out with friends a lot this weekend. Feeling fortunate to know such great people, but wondering if it would be a problem to turn off the phone tonight.

3. Not particularly interested in seeing Avatar, despite the hype, and realizing that I'm too scared to see Paranormal Activity at the dollar theater.

4. Researching if they make hot tubs small enough to fit out on the deck. And whether or not I could buy one for $50 or so.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010



Ever seen a cat that sleeps with its face against the wall? Socks, my parents' cat (& the last of 4), has been doing this for a few months now. She sleeps on the stool every night (and often for chunks of the day) and my parents keep the light on at all times, since she seems to like the warmth. Cookey.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Polly Pockets

Khloe (at Rick & Liz's), 1/17/10.
Currently she hates crunchy vegetables and loves strawberries. Precocious, quick, creative, and a big fan of distinctions ("NO, you can't take the heads off Polly Pockets, only the Bratz!)...I can't wait till Khloe starts spending summers in Providence with us. We've promised we'll take her to get her first tattoo.
I can't believe she's only 4! (left camera at home, these are mom's pics)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Being a Business Analyst

1. Spent the day considering a career change. Next up: business analyst.

2. Heading to St. Louis for the weekend to see the fam. Can't wait to see Khloe!!

3. Our house guest from this week just left today. Sad to see him go, but thrilled about the books he picked up for Chris & I. New Books: A mystery novel by Alexander McCall Smith, Sense and Sensibility & Sea Monsters (my choice, not our friend John's), and book 2, 3, and 4 of the Scarpetta series are on their way by mail. Currently reading A Gracious Plenty, by Sheri Reynolds.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Recipe Rursday: Chris' French Omelets

Around here, Chris makes the omelets. Some time in 2009, everything changed. His omelets went from good to 'holy crap that's good'. Now we eat them for dinner (thus the night-time photo). And we eat them often. yum.

Chris watched a omelet-focused episode of Alton Brown's show Good Eats (see: a Youtube video of the 'technique' and Part II of the video, here). Since then, Chris' style/technique changed (see minute 9 in the Youtube video), the length of cooking time become much shorter, and the taste of the omelet improved tremendously. Even his presentation of the omelet (the fancy 3-fold, fold-over) got, well, fancy. The only major difference between Alton Brown's omelets and Chris' is the amount of butter used. Chris only butters the pan and calls it a day.

Given this recent skill development, a family member sent Chris a very nice omelet/crepe pan for Christmas. It cooks evenly throughout, has a shallow slope (which allows for ease with the classic french omelet fold-over), and has resulted in many more omelets for dinner.

Alton Brown's French Omelet Recipe (on FoodNetwork)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbls milk
  • Pinch kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbls unsalted butter
  • Omelet filling suggestions, optional, follow

"Combine the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl and mix very well with a fork or a whisk.

Set a plate by the stove. Heat a small (about 6 in.) seasoned omelet pan or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is warm, add the butter (it should sizzle gently). Swirl the pan to distribute the butter as it melts. When the butter stops sizzling and the foam subsides add the eggs. Pause to let the eggs heat slightly and then stir vigorously, with a heatproof spatula, making sure you include the sides of the egg mixture occasionally so the omelet cooks evenly. Once the eggs are just set, bang the pan gently on the burner to release the omelet from the pan. Check to see that it is not sticking to the sides or bottom of the pan, if so release the omelet with a heat proof spatula. Hold the pan at a 45-degree angle to the stove and carefully fold the omelet like a business letter. Cook just until the desired degree of doneness lifting the pan or reducing the heat to prevent browning. (A classic omelet doesn't have any browning on it.) Transfer to a warm plate and serve.

...Once the eggs are set add any ingredients before folding. Possible ingredients: 1 T finely chopped fresh herbs, or 2 - 3 T cooked vegetables like, chopped asparagus, spinach or other greens, zucchini, mushrooms, eggplant or peppers, or 2 T diced fresh tomato or avocado, 2 T grated cheese, like Gruyere, Goat cheese, Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Gouda, Feta..."

What else can I say? Don't over cook the omelet! And Chris sautes spinach and garlic (with EVOO) separately and adds them in with a bit of cheese before the fold.

** For more recipes, check out the RedPepperFlakes Recipe Archives.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Going Metal

For the past two years, I've been teaching Chris the basics of guitar-playing. He's been learning on my acoustic electric, which is tough to play. (Though he has already put on a mini-concert for my friend Elizabeth and I, with a full repertoire). For Christmas this year, we decided to forgo buying gifts for each other in favor of a fairly inexpensive electric guitar & amp. Which means we're only drums and a bassist away from a band. Rock on.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

All around the mulberry bush...Holiday Pics

Latest addition to the tree...snork?
For the past decade, we've added (and friends have contributed) handmade ornaments to the tree each year. The tradition began in the Bronx, with clay shapes (in '01 or '02), and have since included photos/construction paper ornaments ('03), plastic beads ironed together ('04), Styrofoam snow people (& sumo wrestlers) ('05), and holiday warm fuzzy creatures ('06). Then we moved to Providence and new additions included glass balls ('07) and sparkly cinnamon birds ('08). This year, we were traveling and decided to skip having a holiday party...meaning I didn't have a chance to force a craft on everyone. Handmade additions were contributed, nonetheless! Above is an ornament made by my friend Elizabeth...something along the lines of a festive mushroom snork. I love it.

It was the year of many Christmases. We gathered and celebrated at Chris' parents' place, at gma's, at my aunt's, and in upstate NY (near Poughkeepsie) with the Chus. It really was a lovely Christmas, full of warmth and taking it easy with family and friends.
This holiday season involved lots of snowflake making...even at work. Maybe next year I'll stick snowflakes in people's cards.Bonus pic...because Cat has been racing around the house, on a daily basis. Crazy eyes.