So the one thing I wish was different about my car: The cassette player. My car is a 2006. A cassette player, really? I wish it had some sort of hook-up for an mp3 player. Today I was bumming around at Marshall's, avoiding doing laundry, when I found this gadget. You put it in the tape player and plug the other end into your music device. I couldn't wait to try it. I tore open the blister packaging without harming myself and shoved the thing into the cassette player. I plugged in my phone. Nothing. Just a little static. Well, it actually worked when I pressed play on my phone! At first it was very static-y, but when I cranked up the volume on my phone I was able to turn down the volume on the car stereo and rock out without static.
I paid 4.99 for this little gem! In the past I have tried adapters that transmit to the FM radio. They never worked well for me and they always required batteries. This is great. Now I can listen to all the music I have on my phone (probably close to 25G) and I can listen to it through my awesome car stereo system, not my little phone speaker or a cheapie bluetooth speaker. Now I'll have more surround sound than tin sound.
I went to a little pot luck get together last night. I didn't want to go to the store and buy things to make a main dish (I had originally thought of making gnocchi del Cassentino), so I decided to bake a cake. I mean, if there's anything I am in the cooking department, it's a cake baker. I figured I had everything to make Dad's Mexican Sheet cake. I measured, and I only had 4 Tbl. of cocoa. Oops. I had to go to the store anyway to buy cocoa powder. Still, this cake is easier than gnocchi. The cake was a real hit last night and I promised to post the recipe. So--full credit to my dad, Rod Burton, who perfected this recipe (and of course I still mess with it).
Rod's Mexican Sheet Cake
1 c. butter (2 sticks)
1 c. water
6 Tbl. cocoa powder
2 c. sugar (I skimp a little)
2 c. flour
2 tsp. vanilla (preferably Mexican)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. pasilla chile
1/2. tsp. chile arbol
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (I omit this sometimes and just throw in some other kind of chile powder)
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
2. Spray 9 x 13 inch pan with nonstick spray.
3. Bring first 3 ingredients to a boil.
4. Add sugar and flour and mix to combine.
5. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.
6. Mix in vanilla and spices.
7. Stir baking soda into buttermilk and to chocolate mixture.
8. Mix thoroughly.
9. Pour mixture into pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.
10. Nom. Nom. Nom.
For the fancy lace top: use either a paper lace or lace fabric and lay it on the cake. Sprinkle powdered sugar over the cake/lace--I use a fine mesh thingy and tap it to sprinkle the sugar. Then carefully remove the lace. Don't put too much sugar, or it will go everywhere when you try to remove the lace. I use a lace shirt that I have to do the design. Last night I was really tempted to add black pepper to the cake, but I decided not to. Maybe next time.
If you like this cake you might like my Chocolate Pink Peppercorn Honey Cake. I used my dad's sheet cake recipe as a base--along with a ginger cake that I've made before. I guess I really like pepper.
We had our first freeze last night. We moved Limerick and Bo into the house, along with everything else from the front porch, and of course Gingie. I also moved all my jades and cacti away from the windows. Limerick's limes are ready to harvest. I think we will pick them tomorrow and make limeade.
This photo was taken May, 1996 in Austin, TX. Sometime around my college graduation. My fine fashion is from JC Penny, where I was working at the time. My strappy sandals are Nine West and I thought they were the bomb. I think Ross is wearing my sunglasses. This was before I had surgery. And before I had my teeth fixed--but my smile looks pretty good here. Dang, my hair was long.
Earlier this week as I was leaving for Yoga I noticed that Bo's one fruit had fallen to the ground. It had been raining and the wind had been blowing. The outside of the orange was yellow and green, and the inside was yellow and pink (not yet blood red.) Because this was Bo's first and only fruit I really wanted to try it. I peeled the orange and tried a few segments. I was pleasantly surprised that the fruit was not sour. I only ate some of the orange--unfortunately part of it has started to grow mildew.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that next year Bo will bear more fruit.
In April of 2000 Ross was doing wind tunnel testing in Virginia. I flew over to visit. I'm pretty sure this was the first time I touched the Atlantic Ocean. I loved those 100% linen Laura Ashley pants so much. I still miss those pants.
I started knitting this sweater in January. It went very quickly, then I got distracted. I picked it back up, finished the body, then got distracted again. When I finally started the sleeves I didn't like them and ripped them out. I restarted the sleeves in July, but didn't work on them much. In September I resolved to finish by Halloween. I knitted, knitted, and knitted the sleeves longer. The original pattern has a shorter body and short sleeves. I didn't see myself wearing it if it was a super short crop top and a short sleeve sweater is kinda strange, so I knitted the body longer and made the sleeves extra long. Of course all that added to how much and how long (time-wise) I knit. On Monday I finished knitting the sleeves. I washed and blocked the 3 pieces (body and 2 sleeves) on Tuesday. Yesterday and today I sewed the shoulder seams and sleeves. That was the first time I really had to sew anything knitted. After the experience on the first sleeve I think I did a better job on the second sleeve.
The sleeves had stretched to be TOO long when I blocked them so after I finished piecing the sweater together I washed and blocked the sweater again. It didn't really help, so I sprayed the sleeves with water and put it in the dryer for 10 minutes on high heat. Voila. Perfect length sleeves.
The sweater can be worn 3 ways. I don't see myself wearing it wrapped around my neck much, unless maybe under a coat. It is just hard to get it to lay nicely while it is twisted. At least I knitted it big enough that I don't feel like it is choking me and it doesn't look too much like a boob sling.
So here is the first way to wear it: with the drape in front.
This is how the back looks with the drape in front.
Here is the twisted version.
Wearing it backwards with drape in back.
This is how it looks with the drape in back.
I got really warm during the photo shoot--and I was only wearing a camisole underneath. The yarn is a wool/silk blend and very soft and warm. I'm pleased with the end product and I'm looking forward to wearing this--I'll have a chance soon, as I'll be off to Massachusetts next week.
Back when I bought my yoga mat in 2008 the only color choice was black. Now Manduka mats come in all sorts of different textures, thicknesses, and colors. The Manduka is made to last a lifetime, so I won't be getting a purple, pink, or any other fancy one. It doesn't matter though, I really love my extra long black Manduka, and it still looks brand new. I was thinking though (making my hair even curlier), maybe I could paint something on my mat. Hmmmm. Yet another project to ponder. I'm good at pondering the projects, not so good at completing them.
On Sunday we checked out Skyline Trapeze in Dallas. I was hoping to see Donovan, but he was out of town. We did see Daniel, one of the catchers from Austin. I really just wanted to have fun. I hadn't flown at all since May, 2013. I had high hopes of a back-end whip. The really high hopes were to get into it gracefully with straight legs. Never even came close. I kinda scrambled into it. I forgot how quickly things happen up there. I'm sort of amazed I actually got into the position and got caught.
Ross worked on his swing. He says he misses trapeze.
It was great to be on a properly set up rig. I didn't feel like I was fighting the bar or the lines. My take-offs were actually decent. Today my chest and arms are really sore. Oh, and of course my shoulders. I had a lot of fun, and the weather was beautiful--perfect for outdoor flying. We will definitely fly again when we are back in DFW.
I had so much fun this weekend there were times I thought I was going to burst with excitement. We spent about 4 hours walking around at the fair. I'm so glad we go every year. There were old favorites, new things, and changes.
A big part of the State Fair is food. Our first stop when we arrived was to buy some fried guacamole. The guac part is spiced and mixed with finely shredded cheese. The batter is spicy and crispy. I could eat two orders all by myself, but we shared one.
I wanted something sweet, but not too sweet, so we got a belgian waffle with whipped cream, strawberries, and powdered sugar. We asked them to go light on the sugar and it was perfect. The fried guac and waffle was our lunch.
We went to see the arts and crafts exhibits. Every year they have a butter sculpture made with hundreds of pounds of butter. This year the butter sculpture was horses. We didn't see the decorated shoe exhibit in the crafts area. That is usually one of my favorites. After arts and crafts we saw a milking demonstration.
The baby animal barn is my favorite part of the fair. This year I got to pet a baby zebu, a kangaroo, a zonkey, a baby buffalo, a porcupine, and even more animals.
We saw a lot of sheep in one of the barns. We even saw some tiny lambs. One was only four days old!
Ross's favorite part of the fair was the pig races. The piglets ran so fast!
I wanted to ride the ferris wheel, but the line was pretty long. I didn't have the energy or patience to stand around and wait. Next year we will have to hit it up as soon as we get there.
We rode a shuttle back to the parking area. The young girl that sat with us told us that they didn't eat anything in Dallas because of ebola. The hysteria and ignorance about ebola is insane. These people didn't have any trouble going to the fair with a bunch of strangers, but they wouldn't eat the food. Great.
Bailey got sick about two weeks ago. She stopped eating. Then she started vomiting and having diarrhea. Ross took her to the vet and she got some meds and fluids. After an ultrasound the vet diagnosed her with pancreatitis. I had to continue giving her pills and subcutaneous fluids. She's getting fluids in the photo. After about 10 days she was completely back to normal. She'll have a recheck at the vet next week. We'll see if she has to get subcutaneous fluids long term. Ross doesn't like needles and kinda wigged out when I gave Bailey fluids in front of him. Bailey doesn't seem to mind too much--especially if I heat up the water. I'm crossing my fingers that this was just an isolated thing and Bailey will be fine from now on.
We drove down to Boerne, TX for the union of Monica and Richard. We had a great time at their wedding. I'm not sure what was my favorite part. Maybe the flowers. They were lovely. The wedding ceremony was outside. It was cool and breezy. Quite a change from the previous days.
They cut a pie instead of cake. The little jars had individual pies in them. The jars with white stuff: ice cream.
On Sunday Ross spotted this cow chewing a long piece of rubber. We made a U-Turn to take a photo.
I actually had some fun dancing at the wedding, but we didn't get any clear photos. It had been a long time since I'd been to a wedding. It was a blast.
So something I've been getting riled up about lately is germs--specifically germaphobes. I've already ranted about how toilet hoverers are one of my pet peeves. It seems I've met a lot of folks lately who are scared of germs. Well, I think I'm in the opposite camp. I eat bacteria on a daily basis. I love my yoghurt. Most bacteria is good for us.
Studies are coming out saying that overuse of antibiotics plays a role in obesity and food allergies. If we don't kill all our good bacteria, we do better. Fecal transplants (which are basically bacterial transplants) are going to be commonplace soon. They seem to cure problems caused by eradication of all our normal gut bacteria.
Now, I'm not saying we shouldn't use antibiotics, nor am I recommending you go lick a toilet. What I'm saying is that people are paranoid. Antibacterial gels and soaps aren't really necessary. Just wash with soap and water. I'm not sure what people think they are going to catch from toilet seats or other random things. I actually had a couple of ladies tell me they won't buy spices in bulk because what if someone touched them, or breathed on them, or cross-contaminated them. What? So they go to some specialty shop and pay extra because only the employees--not the general public--touch and breathe on the spices. Whatever.
So sometime in August my laptop died. I didn't lose any data, but I had to get a new laptop. I took that opportunity to ditch iTunes and try something different. I'm now using MusicBee. Ross sometimes complains that I don't have entire albums in my music library--just a song or two from each cd. That's because I didn't have a lot of memory back in the day. So last month I obsessively uploaded all my cds. And then I went to my mom's house and uploaded some of hers--she had some eminmem! It took a couple of weeks, but I got it all onto the computer, and I made sure to back it up. I'm pretty happy with MusicBee. Annoyed a bit with Windows 8, but that's a whole other story.
So I don't have a facebook account. I refuse. Nicole said I might like having an instagram account since I take a lot of photos. And maybe it will be easier than posting on here--as you can see my photo a day for this month didn't happen at all. So I bit the bullet and created an instagram account. My userid is browncatbakery, and I have it set to private, so I have to approve follow requests. In a way I want everyone to see my photos, but I still find that kinda creepy.
I still want to post on here. I have a couple of rants that I need to get off my chest. And I'll still post photos here. We'll see if this instagram thing goes anywhere.
So along with the PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte), all sorts of pumpkin spice items are available right now. Today I gave into the pumpkin spice rage and bought a pumpkin spice Cho. I prefer my pumpkin mousse. The yoghurt was too heavy on the clove.
I've also seen pumpkin spice gum, pumpkin spice chai, pumpkin spice coffee, pumpkin spice rooibos, and pumpkin spice bagels. I've even heard they now have pumpkin spice Oreos.
At least my yoghurt had actual pumpkin in it. I think I'll make pumpkin brownies soon. I like pumpkin. I'm not so hot on pumpkin spice, but I like pumpkin. Mmm. And ginger. Now I want gingerbread bars.
I'm going to try and post a photo every day this month. I was able to recover some old photos, so I'll definitely post some flashbacks.
Spinne is still gracing us with her presence. She seems to be spinning her web earlier and earlier. Recently we spotted another, small, spider (the one on the left) hanging out in the window. I was teasing that Spinne might have a boyfriend. Sorry for flash in the center. It is really hard to get good shots in the window.
This is a quince. They are odd. Kind of fuzzy, but like a pear on the inside. I used quince instead of pear in a recipe last weekend. My mom gave me some quince preserves that she made. The quince was kind of like thick applesauce. I used it and a little cinnamon to flavor my Greek yoghurt.
Our spider is named Spinne and this is what she looks like from top side. She still lives in the same window, but lately she has been spinning her web a little higher--up behind the blinds. Maybe she got tired of us shining the flashlight at her. On nights when she doesn't spin a web we can see her hanging out in the top corner of the window. I'm very interested to see how long she will live with us.