Thursday, December 30, 2010

Second Chance: Sizzling Bombay

Ross decided we should have Indian food tonight since I won't be having Rasika for restaurant week. I was way too sleepy to go all the way down to Charles Street, so I thought we could give Sizzling Bombay a second chance. Our first experience at the restaurant wasn't great.

This time we had vegetable samosa. Man, I love potatoes. Ross ordered the masala chai and the waiter said it would take at least 5 minutes because it had to be cooked. It was basically fresh ginger milk tea. It was very good.

I ordered the chicken tikka masala and Ross ordered the malai kofta. The chicken tikka masala was great. I could taste the jalapeƱo. It had some sort of green peppers in it that were good and some onion too. I think it was basically a chicken tikka kabob that was dumped in some awesomely creamy sauce. The malai kofta was a bit mushy, but the sauce was very good. We ordered the garlic naan again and they gave us two orders. We really only needed one. Oh, and the rice was very fragrant--spiced with cinnamon.

The whole experience was much better this time. I'm glad we gave it a second chance, I just wish it wasn't so expensive.

I'm really full now and so Ross and I are going to chill and have some chainog (we decided it is pronounced k'nog) -- malsala chai with egg nog. I was so happy today to find that the store still had a cooler full of egg nog.

Timer

If you could know exactly when you were going to meet your soul mate would you want to know? That is the premise of the movie Timer. In Timer-land you get a timer implanted into your wrist at puberty or whenever you want to after that.

Ross and I really liked the movie (available on Netflix instant watch). The writing was great. The acting was good. The movie was funny. The main character had great clothes--for some reason I just couldn't get over that. It was a movie that really made you think. Would you get the implant?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Poster Progress

Along with cutting, I've been doing some pasting. I was sitting on the floor, so most of the progress has been on the bottom of the eye poster.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Suddenly Relieved

I don't really like talking about being a doctor (because I graduated from medical school), but not really (cause I never finished a residency). I've never really been totally comfortable with my decision to quit. That's what I did. I quit. I'm a quitter and that sucks. I didn't get the residency I wanted, so I said screw it, went home to Texas, and looked for something else to do.

This weekend I talked with Dishi, one of my medical school classmates, for a long time. She was telling me how she works long hours and her husband (also a doctor) is on call. I would have been miserable throughout residency. I'd be miserable working long hours and being on call (the one year I did endure nearly drove me off the deep end). I suddenly felt relieved. I'd love to make more money, but I hate working and high stress. I don't want to be miserable, so I'm suddenly feeling better about things.

If only I could teach yoga full time--but I'm not ready for the stress of opening my own studio (and I'm not even certified to teach yoga). Maybe someday. Maybe someday I'll have Brown Cat Bakery and Brown Cat Yoga Studio. For now I'm just happy I'm not on call.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Latest Addiction

16 and Pregnant is a train wreck of a reality TV show. Depressing, awful, predictable, but I can't look away. I can't get enough. Each episode follows a separate 16 year old girl from 24 weeks pregnant through birth to a couple months after birth.

The episodes are so similar that they are all starting to run together. The girls want the fathers to help more. The fathers are usually older, and much more immature. The teenagers, are, well, teenagers. They don't understand how a baby will completely change their lives. They fight over the silliest things. They don't understand or accept the responsibility. They are the future of America. Depressing. Still, I keep watching.

The good part of this addiction is that I find myself thankful. I'm thankful that I never had to deal with that situation. I'm thankful that even now I don't have to deal with a baby. I'm thankful that Ross has a job. I'm thankful I don't have to pay for daycare for Bailey. I'm thankful Ross and I both have educations. I'm thankful I have internet and I can watch awful reality television whenever I want.

Wristcutters: A Love Story

As there was nothing on TV last night Ross decided we could watch Wristcutters: A Love Story. We were both glad to finally find dark comedy that wasn't all dark. The movie was about the afterlife of those that have killed themselves. It was funny, but not cheesy. Tom Waits and Will Arnett make appearances. Good ending. I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

That Was Scary!

I was in the middle of feeding my latest addiction (more on that later) when I heard a snap and the lights went out. I could see the lights on outside, so I knew it wasn't a power outage. The time was still showing on the microwave, and the bathroom light worked---so I had tripped the circuit breaker. I wasn't sure how though, because I hadn't plugged in anything new or done anything different. I opened the circuit box and tried to flip the circuit back on, but it wouldn't stick. I unplugged everything in the living room, and I just couldn't get it back into the on position. I called Ross and asked him if he had any ideas. He was stumped because I had indeed actually flipped the circuit all the way to the off position and then back on, but it wasn't working. While I was on the phone with him I tried it again and heard loud crackling, crunching noises coming from the wall above the circuit breaker. That scared me and Ross said he was coming right home. Another try and I heard the same noises. Third try and the lights came back on. I walked out of the bathroom (where the circuit box is) and smelled smoke. I immediately turned the circuit back off. I started to freak out a little. I was terrified that there was a fire in the walls or ceiling. I was walking around sniffing everywhere and feeling the walls to see if they were hot. When Ross got home he definitely noticed the smell. Ross immediately called the landlord--who still hasn't called back. He got to sniffing and then noticed smoke stains coming from the entryway fixture. Ross took down the light fixture and found where the fire had been. I'm so grateful that it didn't spread. We went to Home Depot, got a new fixture, and Ross put it in. Everything is back to normal now, but I'm really annoyed that the landlord still hasn't called.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Back to Being Creepy

This weekend feels like the first care-free weekend in a while. Ross is done with school for the semester, and so am I. We didn't have anything planned for today. Ross is indulging in Call of Duty Black Ops, so I decided to get back to being creepy.

I want to knit, but for some unknown reason my knuckles are really hurting. Just on my index fingers. I need to do some sort of exercise, but this crud I've got makes me feel exhausted. So--I'm back to being creepy.

Don't understand the creepiness? Check out this post.

Do You Believe in Santa?

Last night when we sat down to dinner with the Lusters Evelyn asked me if I believe in Santa. I told her that was a hard one. She let me off the hook because she said that people who believe in Hanukkah don't believe in Santa. It was a big weight off my shoulders not having to answer that question.

You see, years ago I participated in the fleecing of a child. A young girl was desperate to know the truth about Santa, and I participated in the deception by writing her a letter from Santa. I will never forgive myself. Really. Growing up I never believed in Santa. My parents didn't lie to me and tell me my gifts were from some jolly fat man. Sometimes I wanted to believe, but I always knew it was just a story.

I don't feel like I missed out on any part of my childhood by not believing that Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy were real. When I lost a tooth, the fact that my parents could put a quarter under my pillow without waking me up was miracle enough for me.

I will never understand why parents lie to their kids about Santa. I guess it is easier than the truth. I don't want to hear bull about childhood wonderment. There are plenty of real things that kids can be amazed by. And don't even get me started about how Christmas is actually supposed to be a religious holiday...actually, don't get my mom started.

I'm really thankful my parents were always straight up with me (about everything). I was never blindsided by the truth coming from somewhere else. When kids ask me a direct question I want to tell them the truth. I guess I'm lucky Evelyn asked whether I believe in Santa, not if Santa is real. If she had asked if Santa is real, I would have had to say no. I just can't lie again.

Tron Legacy

On Friday we saw Tron Legacy. I didn't have high expectations, so I was pleasantly surprised. If you haven't seen the original, you'll miss a few things, but won't be totally lost. The story is interesting, the acting is good, overall I'd recommend the movie. There was no kissing in the movie (Hurray!), which is an improvement from the original.

I was particularly interested in the age regression of Jeff Bridges. I didn't really like it. The age-regressed Jeff Bridges looked like the characters in Beowolf. The mouth just wasn't right. Also, I don't think they changed Bridges's voice, so there was a mismatch between the way he looked and the way he sounded.

Ross had a lot more to say about the movie than I did. He was a lot more critical. I didn't really even notice the things that bothered him. I think I agree with Ross though that the first movie was better.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Everything is Illuminated

Last night we watched the Netflix DVD that we've had for the past two or three weeks. Ross says I had the movie on my instant watch queue, but it is no longer available on instant watch and he ordered the DVD because a coworker recommended it.

Ross and I really liked this movie. The movie is based on a novel and was adapted for film and directed by Liev Schreiber, which I find odd. Everyone in the movie is ugly, but the acting is great.

I can't seem to help it. I'm always drawn to the stories about Jews. I'm like a Jew-story magnet. When I go into the library and pick up a book: BAM! It's about Jews.

Hmm. I guess that isn't much of a movie review, but we both give it a thumbs up.



Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Warm Pillow

I woke up one morning and this is what I saw--Bailey curled up on Ross's head. The photo isn't great because I took it in low light with my cell phone, but I knew if I got up to get the camera Bailey would follow me.

Bailey is funny in the winter. She suddenly wants to snuggle up because she is cold. We all know she gets under the covers and sleeps there during the day, but at night she acts like you are crazy for even suggesting getting under the covers. I cover her up, but she protests if I cover her head. The other night it was so cold I put my big ol' hand around her head and pulled the covers over it. She didn't notice. Two nights ago she got upset when I was snuggling up to her like a pillow. She uses Ross as a warm pillow all the time, but if I try to do it to her she gets upset. Typical cat.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Evidence of Life

Penny, my orchid, has lost a few more leaves, but isn't entirely dead. I haven't watered it in two weeks and when I went to check it out today I noticed a little green sprout coming out of the bottom of the largest stalk. I guess I'm having a little success with the orchid! I watered it today and I need to remember to open the blinds in the morning so that it can get some light. I'm excited that despite the cold weather Penny is still alive.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Self Conscious, but Warm

This is an old photo of me in my fur coat. I have been wearing it this week because the temperatures in the morning are below freezing. I feel like people stare at me when I wear this coat. I feel like people are giving me the evil eye. The thing is, it keeps me warm. I hate to be cold, and why should I be when I have a fur coat?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Reflections

One of my favorite parts of the Air and Space museum (we went on Sunday) was the gallery of photos of the different planets. Ross and I particularly liked Saturn. I tried to take a photo of the photo, but ended up with a lot of reflections, including another cool photo of Saturn. I was disappointed that they didn't have a postcard of any of the planetary photos in the gift shop.

Safety First

Always remember to wear a helmet when snowboarding in the living room.

Dem Bones

video
Ethan entertained us while we waited in the cold at the Greenbelt Metro stop.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dollar Days: World Trade Center Observation Deck

After lunch at Five Guys on Saturday we decided to go up to the observation deck of the World Trade Center in the inner harbor. It was a great view, and it only cost us a dollar apiece.
The aquarium is in the foreground.
One of the views from the top.
Hopkins East Baltimore campus.
Ethan took this photo of us.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dollar Days: National Aquarium

On Saturday we braved the cold and the lines and the crowds to see the National Aquarium. The line actually wasn't so bad--it moved quickly. We headed straight for the Australia exhibit, and then went through the main exhibit.
This is the back of the building. The line then wrapped around the front, and through a cattle shuttle to the ticket booths (green building in the foreground). We arrived around 10a, stood in line for about half an hour, and our tickets were for 11a, so we warmed up a little in Barnes and Noble.
My cutie, Ethan, pointing out a fish in the Australia exhibit.
A spotted ray.
The sea anemone.
Not a great photo, but this is the octopus. It was awesome. The octopus is new to the aquarium, and very shy. We weren't supposed to take photos (I'm so bad). This was definitely the best part. Ross also loves the dogfish, trumpet fish, and the puffer fish. I have to get stills from the videos I took. They were swimming around so fast it was hard to get a good photo.

I am so glad we braved the crowds and went to the Aquarium. Can't beat seeing all that for a buck!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Double Take

The last few days I've been doing a double take when I go to get into the car. I've been driving Ross's car because I couldn't pick up our friends from the airport in my car. Ethan has a booster seat, and seeing it in the car freaks me out.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Burlesque

The whole family went to see Burlesque over the Thanksgiving weekend. Yeah, I know Dita isn't in the movie, but she's what I think of when I think Burlesque. That won't ever change.

We all loved the movie, including my dad, who only really likes comedies. The music was pretty good (but it wasn't a musical, everyone was thankful for that), the acting was decent, and there were plenty of hot bods to look at, including a naked (but not full frontal) guy.

Ross thought that Cher's singing would have been better. I don't know. It was okay I guess. I know that this sounds corny and trite, but when Christina Aguilera started singing I got chills (my mom admitted that she did too.)

I'd totally recommend this movie. It is fun and flashy. The only downside really was that all those beautiful dancers made me feel chubbo.

I just checked Dita's website. She's performing in LA this month. I really want to see one of her shows, I need to checking her site to see when she's in NYC. She's got a dvd out. Maybe I should buy that.

Drink Much?

I was looking for some pu-ehr tea this morning, and discovered that I had to open a new package and put some in the appropriately-labelled tin. I realized I had a lot of bags from Tea Embassy and a few empty tins, so I labelled the tins and emptied some of the bags into them. The tea cabinet looks a little better, and I found some things I didn't realize I still had.

Do I buy too much tea? I don't think so. I think the problem is that I don't drink enough! Ha!

I'm a chaholic, but I'm a binger (as with everything). I need to drink more every day, instead of just binging and drinking more once in a while.

And why pu-ehr? I read it can be slimming, and I'm desperate. With the discovery that I have a huge bag (that I just opened today), I will be binging on something that might help me slim down (instead of my usual binges).

fyi--this is by no means my entire collection.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Do Rag

On Saturday I let my mom wash my hair. Afterwards we really didn't have the time or energy to blow it out, so we wet-set it. I didn't take a photo of the wet set, but I had to have my mom take a photo of my do rag. She didn't want my curls to get messed up on Saturday night, so she wrapped my head in this old silk scarf. I was really rockin' it!

My hair was very soft after she washed it. I kinda didn't want to wash it this morning for fear I'd lose all the softness.


Mein Noodle AKA Menudo

One of the highlights of my weekend was eating menudo. I had it for breakfast and dinner on Saturday. Mein noodle and tamales are two things that I rarely get to eat (which is probably a good thing since both are loaded with corn). I could make them myself, but they both take a lot of work, and I won't eat either one unless I know the person who made it.

I used to feel a little guilty eating menudo because for some reason I thought that organs weren't kosher. Well, I was wrong. I ate up the posole (hominy) and hoped it wouldn't tear up my tummy. Amazingly, it didn't. The menudo was perfect with just a little added cheese. I didn't even add lime!

Mmmmm. Mein noodle.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Observation

I'm not all that observant. I guess I don't pay attention very well. My memory isn't what it used to be either. I think Patrick Jane on the Mentalist is cool. He's just basically super observant and has a good memory. Ross and I were walking to the grocery store the other day and saw the dentist's office. Neither one of us could remember if that had always been there or not. I also just block some things completely out of my mind. The parking lot of the grocery store has a Waffle House and a McDonalds in it. To me, the McDonalds doesn't exist. If someone asked me where the nearest Mickey D's was, I'd have no idea. When I visualize that parking lot, there's nothing where the McDonalds actually exists.

Self-observation is particularly hard. In yoga we are always being told to observe our breath. It is hard to just pay attention and not change the breath. Lately I've been trying to notice how I hold the steering wheel. It is hard to know what I normally do, because I'm thinking so hard about it I know I'm changing things.

Being observant is hard work.

In yoga last week the teacher was talking about the five spiritual elements in Buddhism. Two of them are mindfulness and focus. Those are two things that I really need to work on.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ciambella alla Menta (Mint Cake)

One of the only things Ross wanted for his birthday was a cake. We had some mint in the fridge, so I decided to make this cake. I got this recipe from the Italian cooking magazine I bought the last time we were in Italy. I've made it a few times, and it is super-duper tasty. The Italian cakes I've made don't use leavening (they use whipped egg whites instead) and they aren't overly sweet. Also, they are kind of small. So, I'm going to share the recipe with you, and even translate it for you. I'm even going to do the weight calculations.

Ciambella alla Menta

240g sugar (7/8 c. + 3 Tbl.)
150g butter--softened (10 Tbl.)
3 eggs
one lime
one bunch of mint--leaves sliced into thin strips--reserve some leaves for garnish
confectioners sugar
200g flour (1 3/4 c.)
salt
butter and flour for the pan


1. Beat the butter with 200g (7/8 c. = 1 c. - 2 Tbl.) of sugar until well combined and fluffy.
2. Add mint, some grated lime peel, some lime juice, and 3 egg yolks.
3. Mix until well combined.
4. Add flour and mix well.
5. In a separate bowl beat egg whites with 40g (3 Tbl.) sugar and a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form.
6. Carefully fold egg whites into flour mixture.
7. Transfer batter into buttered and floured bundt pan.
8. Cook at 180 C (355 F) for about 45 minutes.
9. Turn out onto plate and dust with powdered sugar and garnish with mint leaves.

I cooked this yesterday at 325 F for about 55 minutes because I use a heavy, teflon-coated pan. I just noticed that the recipe calls for 3 eggs, but the how to photos show 4 eggs. I think it would turn out a little less dense with 4 eggs.
Ciambella

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pumpkin Brownies

I've made pumpkin brownies a couple times already this fall. I developed this recipe a few years ago and it took about three tries to get this recipe the way I wanted it. I like it because you just basically dump everything together and mix it. The longer you cook the brownies, the firmer they become. Then they kind of form a couple of layers. The bottom is really dense and chewy and the top is a little more brownie like.

I don't know if the frosting was originally called Fall Frosting, but that is what we call it. It is also really easy to make and the flavors go together really well.

Pumpkin Brownies

4 eggs
1 c. melted butter
1 2/3 c. sugar
1 large can (30 oz) pumpkin
1 Tbl. vanilla
2 c. flour
Nutmeg, allspice, ground cloves, cardamom
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Beat eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, and pumpkin until fluffy.
3. Add dry ingredients--spices to taste.
4. Mix thoroughly.
5. Spread into 9x13 pan.
6. Bake 35 minutes or up to 50 if you want them firmer.
7. Cool and top with fall frosting.

First set of ingredients.
Dry ingredients.Pumpkin brownies spread into the pan.
Cooked pumpkin brownies.


Fall Frosting

1 c. butter--softened
3/4 c. dark brown sugar
3 Tbl. molasses
1 Tbl. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. orange peel
2 8 oz. packages cream cheese--softened
1/3 c. powdered sugar

Whip all ingredients together until well blended and brown sugar is dissolved.

Whipped frosting.
Frosted Brownies.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Irrational Aversion

For some unknown reason rectangular insulated lunch bag/boxes make me cringe. I don't like them. Of course I see people carrying them every day. Half the time they are also carrying 3 other bags and I think to myself "Why can't you put that into one of your other bags?" It is completely inexplicable, but I'd rather see people carrying lunch pails or paper lunch sacks.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Best Crackers Ev-ah!

I have fallen under the curse of the Crunchmaster. Back in March or April I bought a box of these Crunchmaster multi-grain crackers at Costco. I was really happy to discover that they don't have corn or wheat in them. So, I can eat them without worrying about what they will do to my dig tract, and I can eat them during passover. They are certified gluten-free, and they are wonderful. Now, the curse. After we finished the box this Spring Costco didn't have them for months. I became a bit obsessed. When they started carrying them again I bought two boxes to start, then bought another box every time I went to Costco. Ross told me I could ease up on the cracker-buying, and I did. We polished off our last box of crackers during the pumpkin carving party and now Costco doesn't have them again! Ross searched the internet and found out they sell them at Safeway. I went today and bought two bags. The bags aren't as big as the ones that come in the box (4 oz v 10 oz). And they were much more expensive at Safeway. Still, they are so good that I'll be buying them at Safeway until they have them at Costco again. Oh, and FYI, they don't have them at any Costco in the Northeast. I hate that. Costco gets you hooked on something, then they stop carrying it (too-ey, too-ey, too-ey), at least they still have my milk (I panic when they are out).

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ooops

My computer was giving me trouble. We backed it up before sending it in. The backup didn't work like we thought it would. The last time I had backed up my music was 13 months ago. Long story short--I lost about 300 songs. Oops. Over the weekend I've tried to get my computer looking the way it was before I sent it in to be fixed. I've manged to recover about half the songs. I've also downloaded a few (only 150) songs and some photos onto my new phone. Maybe next weekend I'll work on ring tones. I'll also work on downloading some of the other songs I lost. I'm missing most of my Magnetic Fields and a lot of Nouvelle Vague. I'll find it all eventually.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Hoarders

I finished watching the first season of Hoarders on Netflix. Hoarders is like a train wreck. Horrible, but you can't look away. I come from a family of hoarders. My parents are hoarders. My mother's parents were both hoarders. I try really hard not to hoard. I can be messy, and there are certain things I find hard to resist. I love paper. I love shoes. I don't love putting things away. I was looking for something in the back room recently and I found two other things back there that I didn't know I had. That's bad. I didn't find what I was originally looking for. I need to clean up back there. The last episode of Hoarders featured a 7 year old hoarder. The psych gave him rules. 1. Don't drop things. 2. Everything has a home. Not dropping things is great advice. That's how things get messy. That is how things get lost. Hoarders makes me feel good because I'm not as sick as the folks on the show. Hoarders makes me sad because those people are so sick that they lose all their relationships. Hoarders makes me feel bad because I know I could be better about keeping the house clean. I can't wait for more episodes.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

New Phone. Finally!

I've had the same kind of phone for years. I've had three of them. I knew that this one wasn't going to last much longer because the clear coating was peeling off. A few Thursday's ago the mic died. I could hear the person on the other end of the phone, but they couldn't hear me. Ross says I killed it with boob sweat cause I carry the phone in my bra.
After a bit of shopping we both got new phones. This is mine:

I'm so excited. I've finally upgraded to a more modern phone: the LG Chocolate Touch. Today we went and got a micro SD card for it. As soon as I get my laptop back I'll be loading it up with songs, ringtones, and photos. Oh, and that jade bling on the side is new. It might end up being too big or heavy, we'll see. I also have to figure out how I'm going to carry the phone. I don't want to kill this one with boob sweat too.

Pumpkin Carving 2010

Last night we had a pumpkin carving party. We had lots of fun and the pumpkins turned out great. This year's orange food was curried butternut squash soup. We also had andouille sausage. And oh, we finished off a bag of crackers.
Ainsmar carved the small one in front with the musical notes. Monica carved the witch and Richard carved the jester. The one on the bottom right is mine. I really liked how it turned out.
This was Ross's tiger pumpkin. Every other year he has a dud pumpkin. This year was a dud. This photo actually makes it look pretty good. On the first lighting of his pumpkin (by the gentiles) Ross hadn't scraped the wall of the pumpkin thin enough and all we could see was the two round circles and the oblong shape above them. Oh boy, did that give us laughs--especially when Ross asked Richard to blow his out for him.
That's mine. I really like how the circle and the orange glow turned out.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New Vanilla

A long time ago (we used to be friends) I bought a vanilla infusion kit. I had seen vanilla made with bourbon, and I loves me my whiskey, so I decided to make vanilla using bourbon. I bought some Knob Creek and added it to the bottle with a couple of split vanilla beans on September 4th, 2008. I put the bottle in the cabinet, and it has been sitting there ever since. As you can see in the photo the liquid didn't turn black. It smells slightly like vanilla. I really expected more vanilla flavor after two years. I started using the vanilla a couple of weeks ago, and it gave the butter cookies I made a little something extra. A mellow bourbon flavor.
I've also made vanilla sugar using vanilla beans and regular sugar. We were running out of vanilla sugar, so I decided to buy new beans. When I found the beans I also found some vanilla paste. The vanilla paste is awesome. It is like a thick vanilla speck syrup. You get the vanilla flavor and the nice little specks. So far it makes great steamed vanilla milk and vanilla cappuccinos.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Musical Shabbat

Last night I went to a synagogue for the first time in years. I heard about a musical shabbat service on the radio and decided I'd like to go. I have a lot of anxiety about going to services. I don't like people talking to me and asking me questions. Of course, the people are just trying to be nice, but it gives me horrible anxiety. I was so happy when the service actually started and the woman who was talking to us went to sit with her kids. Ross says I just want to be left alone with my god. That's funny, and silly, seeing as I'm going to a service with other people, but that's really how I feel.

Part of the thing I like about going to services is that the words have been the same for thousands of years. The tunes however, are not always the same. I don't like that. I find comfort in the prayers and tunes that I know. I was expecting an upbeat services with singing and instruments. Instead the songs were almost all slow. One or two sounded like lullabies. One sounded really depressing. I felt like Carol King was singing the service. It was odd. The instruments included a drum, a tambourine, and a guitar.

I did really like the Rabbi. This week's Torah portion is when god tells Avram (who later becomes Abraham) to get himself going. Perfect. That's exactly what I need to hear, and exactly what I need to do. Get myself going. I wasn't a big fan of the cantor. He wasn't too operatic, but it was still too much for me. Then, there was a little girl up at the front who had her own mic. She was cute, but annoying.

I don't know if we will go back. The parking situation kind of sucked. I knew we were in the right place when I saw a security guard outside. Sad, but true. The seats had no leg room. I don't know when I will have the courage to go to services again. I wish I didn't have to go so far....

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Good Stuff

This is where we stayed over the weekend--the Cider Mill House B&B. On Friday night we had the entire house to ourselves. When Ross got up at 4am to go to the bathroom we realized the power was out. It was pitch black and eerily quiet. Well, at least for a little while, then I could hear the cows and goats and the rooster.

Breakfast on Saturday morning was enough to feed at least 4 people. We started with cranberry muffins. Then we had a small fruit smoothie. Then the main course came. We had gigantic omelets made with fresh eggs from the farm. We also had turkey sausage over sauteed pears with maple syrup glaze, two mini croissants each, and roasted potatoes. I couldn't even manage to eat half of my omelet. I love potatoes, so I kept eating them. Then came dessert--a cup of sauteed pears with some kind of sauce and home made raspberry sorbet on top. I was completely stuffed.
Luckily I had packed a lunch to eat on the train. For lunch we had rolls, cheese, and honeycrisp apples. The actual train ride was very nice. The views were amazing. We could see the hills starting to change colors, and we got to see some really striking colors up close. It was a very nice day out, but we were enclosed in the air conditioned car. We were able to go between the cars to experience the open air. There was an open air car, but it was very far up the train, so we never went up there.

When we got back to Cumberland we walked around. I bought some earrings made from scarab beetle wings. The shops were cute, and things were reasonably priced. I wish we'd had more time in Frostburg and Cumberland. The pie was a perfect dinner. On Saturday night I could hear a fox calling out to declare his territory. Of course Ross sleeps through everything.

Sunday was awesome. Breakfast started with pumpkin bread and some other kind of raisin bread. I only had one slice of pumpkin bread because I knew there would be a lot of food coming. Instead of a smoothie we got sliced bananas and strawberries with really good yoghurt on top. I traded my strawberries for Ross's bananas because he's allergic. The main course was orange French toast with a slice of orange, turkey sausage over apples, and roasted potatoes. I only ate one of my three slices of toast. Dessert was home made apple pie filling with whipped cream on top. Of course I ate all that. I also had at least 3 cups of tea.

I wish I'd had time to visit with the goats and cows, but we had an appointment. We went to Berkeley Springs State Park for a bath and a massage. The water from Berkeley Spring is heated to 102 F for the bath. The steps down into the bath reminded me of the mikvah. When I came out of the bath I felt really good. We had to walk to another building for our massage and the cooler air felt refreshing. We both had hour long massages. I was good and told the girl when she was being too rough. I came out feeling relaxed instead of like I was in a car wreck.

We left the car in our prime parking spot and checked out the Apple Butter Festival that was going on in town. We walked around--looking at the booths and in shops. I got a lemonade, then we went to lunch. We had bbq, and it was surprisingly good (I'm picky.)

We searched for some apple dumplings and when we finally found the booth they only had trays left, no more individuals, so we bought a whole tray (5). We've been eating them for dessert this week. Last night we went and bought whipping cream and we had one with sweet vanilla whipped cream.

So that's the good stuff. Lots of food and a hot bath.