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Happy Purim! I made the hamentashen cookies today, 38 of then, in three batches. I made the dough in the morning and put it in the fridge and then made them in the new oven after Tanya's nap so she could help me. She and Bear buttered the tray and she had fun trying to roll the dough and made little balls out of leftover dough. And she liked eating the cookies, although not the jam part. I used fig jam and black raspberry jam this year that my Mom got in Home Goods. Before dinner, Tanya asked for another cookie and I told her she can have some after she eats her dinner. So she ate her meatball and a little cauliflower and pasta and drank her milk. Then I gave her the cookie, she sniffed it and realized she wasn't hungry anymore so she told me to eat it. :) I wish I had the self-control of a two year old about food sometimes.

My Mom was supposed to come yesterday to make it with me since she wanted to try my oven too, but she got a cold. Didn't come today either. My Dad just stopped by on the way to visiting his parents (they are still in the recap place but my grandma is finally going home next week. My grandfather had a bit of a set back and had to go to the hospital again for another foot surgery, but he is better now and back at rehab place). So this weekend was the first weekend in a while that is was pretty much just Bear, Tanya and me and it was very nice and domestic. We are getting used to the new place for sure - it is feeling much more homey now.

It is cold outside, so we were home all day yesterday (Bear did go to the store to get chicken, mushrooms and eggs for me and I just went to check the mail downstairs), but today they did go to the playground in the late afternoon. Good thing too as it tired her out and she went to sleep ok at the new Daylight time (I'm sure her bath helped too). I'm not a big fan of the time change, mostly because I'm already lacking on sleep, and I always worry about Tanya adjusting, but she seems pretty fine. She is still waking up at night calling for me, so sometimes I need to sit with her a while, so I have been a bit groggy. It depends on the night. Yesterday wasn't too bad; she let me go after 15 minutes or so. The worst was Friday to Saturday, where she would not let me leave from 2:30 to 4:30, and even woke Bear up. I know it will take some time and at least she is sleeping on her own, but man, I feel that co-sleeping was definitely the right call for us for a while.

Over the last week I cooked some in the new kitchen, mostly soups and meatballs for Tanya, and a little for me like potatoes and a turkey burger. But on Saturday I finally did a meal for all of us, with pasta, brussel sprouts/mushroom/onion stir fry and chicken. And I baked today. So I'm starting to feel this kitchen now - making it mine. The oven is really nice, it warms up quickly and the cookies came out nice and soft and lovely. The third batch did try to escape a bit with the jam, but it was still delicious. I don't care about aesthetic of it too much, just tastiness.

I've been catching up on TV - I caught up on most of the Grimm, and Supernatural and Flash and Supergirl. I'm glad Supernatural is not back until the end of March though and Victoria is done. There is just a little too much to watch. I'd rather be reading lately and have been enjoying "The Goblin Emperor" when I have the time. Next week is Spring Break, so I don't have to go in to work, but I have a lot of papers to grade. And Bear is going to leave tomorrow night (Monday) until Saturday (his work has meeting season where he needs to stay late there and makes more sense for him to stay at his parents, which is much closer to work. In return, he has Mondays off, and he watches Tanya when I work. And he gets free dinners at work. And brings me back brunch food for Sundays). He was supposed to go on Tuesday late morning, but we will have a giant snowstorm apparently, so he will leave a little earlier. That way he can also shovel snow for his parents.

The old apartment management was surprisingly efficient and already sent up our security deposit back. yay. Tomorrow we will go to our accountant and do our taxes. And now, a little more book and early bedtime to catch up on some sleep. Tanya's night soothing is already preparing me for the baby :)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Monday, June 1st, 2015 09:28 pm
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Yesterday was my grandfather's 88th birthday. My parents came over in the morning, and while my Mom walked with Tanya, my Dad and I drove to my grandparents' apartment. They live maybe 15 minutes away by car. We stopped by the russian store to pick up some bread that my grandfather asked us to get, and I got ice-cream for my grandmother and a cheesecake snack (syrok) for me. My grandfather is diabetic so he can't have any desert. He was planning on a birthday cognac, We got my grandfather two books (he is a avid reader as is my father - and I -, but he does prefer memoirs and biographies while we lean toward science fiction a little more). I also brought him a few recent printed photographs.

After our visit, we caught up with my Mom on her walk. My parents stayed until lunch and then went back home. They brought lots and lots of food from Trader Joe's and lots of fruit.

In the afternoon, Tanya and I went to the playground as we started doing lately to go on baby swings. But the weather turned colder and darker and the storm was obviously approaching. Lately, the weather was super warm in the morning but cooler and windier in the afternoon. Last night we had a storm with thunder and lightning and flooding. Bear finally finished his work meetings last night and came home, but his commute back took two and a half hours instead of just an hour. At least he will now be on the regular work day schedule for the summer.

And the weather turned cool and rainy today. It's around 65F today instead of 78-85F we've been having. The rain, though, has been annoying. Mostly it means Tanya naps at home instead of going for a nice walk, so no walk for me. (I put a pedometer on my phone and on Saturday I walked for 6 miles, yay). And also it means that we won't go to the aquarium tomorrow for my birthday like we planned but will postpone the trip for two weeks and go on Bear's birthday instead. I hope not all my birthday plans will be dashed. My throat has been scratchy a bit and I don't want to get sick because I'm planning a birthday gathering on Sunday, and with all the kids attending I can't be sick for it. At least Bear will be home tomorrow and my parents are coming over, so hopefully it will still be nice, despite the rain and being stuck at home.

I did make it out of the house today, during the rain interlude, to go to the post office and the bank (birthday money from grandparents), and to the store. I've decided to finally tackle making a cheesecake, which has been on my resolutions list for this year. I got graham crackers, cream cheese, heavy cream and wax paper. (and stopped by the Chinese bakery for a pork bun for Bear - he loves those). My mother-in-law gave me a Cheesecake recipe book called "Cheesecake Madness" a year or so back,which belonged to her mother, when I first expressed interest. So I make the very first recipe in it, finally, - plain traditional cheesecake.

The cheesecake making did not start auspiciously. I rolled a jar over the crackers pretty easily and was mushing the butter and sugar in the bowl with the crackers to make the crust. But as I went to put the crust mix into a pan to make the crust, the bowl slipped and the whole mixture fell on the floor. Argh. I had to start again. At least it was just the crust part and that wasn't a waste of too many ingredients. The rest of the process went smoother. The cheesecake is in the fridge right now, and tomorrow I will add powdered sugar on top and maybe some fruit (I have blueberries and strawberries) and we will try it. I don't know if it's any good yet. Bear thought it was a bit sad that I'm making a cake for my own birthday. But I did that for a reason - I finally tackled something on my list. So I'm excited about it I do like baking - but I want to venture out with it and be more adventurous in baking. Usually I make banana bread or muffins or muffin bread. Occasionally a cake. Nothing too fancy. My parents are still going to bring a small cake from the Russian store - just in case. If this works, I can tackle other cheesecakes in this book; there is a lot of variety.

Dante Project
Inferno. Canto 1 and 2.
We are reading a verse translation by Allen Mandelbaum.

I thought only the first canto was preparing for the journey but it was really the first two. In the first Canto, Dante finds himself in a dark wood (at the age of 35!) and the way up the mountain is blocked by three beasts. Virgil appears to offer to guide him a long way around through Hell and Purgatory. In the second canto, Dante has second thoughts, but Virgil talks him through it by mentioning that his guidance is motivated by a request by Beatrice, Dante's love.

Dante is such a fanboy. He not only stares at Virgil when the latter introduces himself but quotes Virgil's own poem and examples to him when expressing his doubt about continuing. It's pretty fun. (I remembered, as Bear and I were reading this last night, that in high school when we read Inferno and had to do a creative paper on it, I used Isaac Asimov as a guide, since I was adoring his autobiographies at the time. I want to try to find that paper now. I wonder who I would pick as a guide now.) I have also read Aeneid in English and in Latin since I read the Inferno, so I get the references to the Aeneid more easily now.

I do like the message of the second canto. How often we want to do something but then second thoughts and over thinking derail our plans. Virgil tells Dante to stop being a coward and take action. And, of course, three saintly ladies provide support here. When I read this book before I never thought about the role of women in the story - now I automatically pay attention. I also notice the narration within narration. Dante hears Virgil's recap of conversation with Beatrice which includes a recap of conversation with Lucia which includes a recap of conversation with Mary.

In Canto II, Dante also asks Virgil if "the force in me is strong enough". I pictured Virgil as Yoda for a second there.
bearshorty: (Default)
Bear went to work today and I was pretty much home all day. For the first half a day I was a little sluggish from yesterdays’ pulse thing with remains of a heavy head. Pouring rain didn’t help. But by the afternoon I was feeling fine again.

I did leave the house to get ingredients for banana bread since I had some bananas that were going soft and brown. It came out pretty good too. I even put one little loaf in the freezer to give to my parents later.

And since it was the first time I used the oven in the new apartment, I accidentally ended up baking and melting the food bags and cellophane wrap. I kept them in the broiler under the oven, and in my parents’ house, that doesn’t matter for their stove. My stove, apparently, gets hot all over so I can’t really store those things there anymore.
bearshorty: (Default)
I think that the “On hold” music that companies play is deliberately annoying; I was on hold with Costco for a few minutes and after a few seconds I wanted to throw the phone far, far away.

I went food shopping before breakfast. I needed milk and other baking stuff. When I got home around 10, I put my kettle on and started baking my cranberry orange muffin bread for Thanksgiving. Only after I put it in the oven, I ate my breakfast while waiting for the muffin bread to bake. And I cleaned up the whole kitchen too. I need to figure out a better way to grate orange peel – that always seems like the hardest part. But it came out well, I thought. There was enough left over batter for a second baby bread to leave for my parents too.

After Bear came over and ate lunch we went to the Russian store for bread and snacks. (I always bring over smoked salmon and I like buying the Russian bread to go with it). And, of course, I manage to get smacked in the head by the store refrigerator door a little. Because of the store we started our drive a little late but we made it right in time for dinner. Traffic wasn’t terrible – 2 hours 15 minutes travel time. Bear and I listened to Monty Python’s “Not the Messiah” and Christmas songs on the way.

Right as we pulled up in front of his parents’ house, his Dad called to ask where we were. And Bear, of course, proceeded to joke that traffic was terrible and we were hours away. Then he promised to create a wormhole to be right over. His parents were not too happy with that joke, they bought it for a second there. We did all have a nice dinner. And I met the newest kitty, Bear’s sister’s cat Leo. He is tiny even for a kitty. Very curious little thing. I will try to get a picture of him and all grown-up kitty Katie tomorrow.
bearshorty: (Default)
I baked this morning. I was planning on two batches since I was making one muffin bread for Bear’s parents and one for my neighbors. But the disposable pans were small this year, so I had some batter left over. I made a little bread for my parents. Mama usually says she doesn’t like it too much since it is a bit dry for her taste and Papa, while eating it wholeheartedly, starts suggesting other ingredients I can put in, like nuts. And yet, both of them pretty much ate it by the time Bear picked me up. :)

The day was mostly about getting ready to leave – I packed my bag, I got ready all the food I’m taking with me (wild smoked salmon and Russian white bread to go with it, candy from Costco and my parents’ gift of a large tray of dried fruit, plus my bread). It was actually a nice day to relax for me.

Bear drove up at 5 and we had some food since we were expecting to be stuck in traffic. Usually it takes us an extra hour on Thanksgiving Wednesday. But, miracle of miracles, there was no traffic. There was a tiny bit by the airport but nothing major at all. As we were driving I had to stop myself from commenting about it since I didn’t want to jinx it.

In the evening, we rented “Iron Man 2” but I kept falling asleep in parts. It looked just like an ordinary movie and it was not sustaining my interest for me to keep awake. We gave up about midnight (Bear saw it a month ago).
bearshorty: (Default)
This is actually a muffin recipe from Betty Crocker cookbook. I like making it as a bread more and I substitute Craisins for real cranberries because I like it sweet. Also sometimes I add a little vanilla.


¾ cup milk (three-quarters)
¼ cup vegetable oil (one-quarter)
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar (one half)
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt (one half)
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1 cup coarsely chopped cranberries

1. Heat oven to 400ºF. Grease the pan. (I use 9 x 5 or 8 x 4)

2. In large bowl, beat milk, oil, egg and orange peel with fork or wire whisk until well mixed. Stir in flour, sugar, baking powder and salt all at once just until flour is moistened (batter will be lumpy). Fold cranberries into batter.

3. Bake. The time will vary on whether it is glass pan or aluminum pan. Glass pan bakes almost twice as fast. Check after 25 minutes. It is ready when it is golden brown and when you insert a toothpick it comes out clean.
bearshorty: (Default)
This morning I basically packed for my long weekend and baked. I made two cranberry/orange muffin breads, one for Bear’s parents and one for mine. Because the one I made for my parents was in glass dish and not in foil, it actually took much faster to make. Almost half as little time. I don’t think I ever take foil and glass side by side, so it was an interesting experiment. But I did enjoy listening to my IPod, dancing in the kitchen and baking. It made me feel normal.

Bear came around three and after he had a late lunch and I finished packing we left around four. It usually takes about an hour and a half to drive to his house but with the holiday traffic it took us about an extra hour. But it was actually fun sitting in the car and talking and listening to the radio and mocking songs. Going to his house for the holidays always feels homey and I look forward to almost five uninterrupted days together. His parents are not going to have a large Thanksgiving or anything but there will be Turkey. I also like coming home and having Mama’s rice and mushroom turkey stuffing.

SYTYCD. Alice in Wonderland inspired group dance was weird and interesting and I was surprised to find out that Tabitha and Napoleon choreographed it. Victor and Karen went home, which is the result I expected and it was pretty much a good result.

I saw Pixar’s “Up” tonight. I think I liked “Wall-E” better overall, but this movie did make me cry at several segments. Damn Disney emotional storytelling. I’ve read that the first ten minutes and very mushy and sad and very romantic and that was certainly true. Carl and Ellie’s life and romance was very sweet and sad and great and made me cry. The little jokes about what it feels to be old were funny too. I think the movie was a bit too long in the middle section but the emotional core of the story was so strong and wonderful. I don’t know if children would even get it, but Pixar has always been good with storytelling for adults. Carl was certainly one of the best Pixar characters.
bearshorty: (Default)
I got to sleep in today. I do love Tuesdays. I did have a pretty ordinary morning, nothing too special going on. But I did get to sleep in.

After lunch Mama and I went for a walk, so I figured we might as well go to the store to pick some ingredients for my annual cranberry/orange muffin cake. I’m making two tomorrow – one to take with me to Bear’s house for Thanksgiving and one for my parents. I picked up some milk, flour, an orange (which I made sure to tell Papa not to eat) and the disposable baking bread form that I always forget the name off.

On the way back we saw our neighbor kids, Alexis and Andrew, just get back from school. So they ended up coming to our house to do their homework and hang out. They got too much energy and can’t sit still. Still it was fun to have them around, I always feel like a kid myself. They did their homework and then I gave them some art supplies and they had a little art competition. We also played a little uno. Then my head got heavy for some reason. I just drank water, just in case, and send them home after a while. Maybe the weather is changing. I’m just pretty much just ignoring my head. We hung out for about two hours, I don’t think I have the energy for more, but it was fun.

SYTYCD. This was one fun night for me. I always forget this show is on until about 6pm and I check to see what’s on TV. (I’m conditioned for it to be on in the summer) But I love this show once it starts and today was especially good choreography and dancing. There were 12 routines, two per couple, so there was little filler and much dancing. My favorite couple is Jakob and Ashleigh and they hit both their dances: a Sonya’s jazz and a cha-cha. They are just beautiful. Ashleigh certainly won me over in the last five weeks. Ryan and Eleanor are my second favorite couple and they had a good night too with a lindy-hop and a broadway. They always get into character well. Legacy and Kathryn are third for me and while their waltz was alright, their Sonya’s jazz was awesome. Now that Mia is not choreographing this season, Sonya took over in originality. The other three couples are OK but I’m not really invested in them. Russell and Noelle had an ok samba but a great Tyce contemporary. Nathan and Molly still dance like two little kids and their hip-hop was alright while their can-can (yes, can-can) was a lot of fun. Karen and Victor had a nice tango but a really sucky hip-hop. Overall, I enjoyed most of the dances and will probably vote for Jakob/Ashleigh and Ryan/Eleanor. Yes, I actually vote sometimes.


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October 2017

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