Saturday, October 24, 2009

NaNoWriMo!!!!

This is my new thing for November. I'd heard about it some time ago, and I think I may have even signed up, but I don't think I did anything past that. The writers group that I am in is doing it this year, and I think it will be really fun. So what is NaNoWriMo, you ask? Well, it's really fun to say and it can subsequently replace nearly any word in any setting, as in:

"Hey, how was the meeting?"

"NANOWRIMO!!!"

Okay so maybe that's not a very good example. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. For the entire month of November, whoever wants to can go to the website and sign up to write a novel, starting November 1 and ending November 30. That is to say you can sign up anytime, but the novel must be written during this time. At the end if you reach the word count of 50,000 you get a certificate, I think.

It is not a contest except with yourself. Nobody wins against anyone else. I don't even think the novels get read. It's just a personal challenge type of thingy. Sounds like fun to me. Of course I am battling grad school, teething infant, potty training toddler and a whole bunch of other stuff. But I think I'd like to give it a shot. I already have a story floating around in my head and this will give me some direction.

So yippee!! Let the NaNoWriMo fun begin!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Yes, I believe I am that much of a dork...




... enough even to post it on the world wide web. So in honor of the next movie coming out soon, and of the Halloween holiday's just around the corner. I decided to make a batch of cookies. I had wanted to try this out just to see how they looked. You can't really see in the picture but the cookies with the white frosting have a little bit of sparkle in them if you hold them up in the sunlight. The other cookies are darker, furrier and hopelessly unrequited.


Oh, and the cookie recipe is a basic sugar cookie recipe except with whole wheat flour. This makes them less sweet to offset the icing.


Cookies:

1 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
4 cup flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Cream sugar & butter. Add vanilla, eggs. Add dry ingredients, mix well and chill. Cut into shapes or rounds (or do what I did and form them into balls and squash them). Bake at 375 for 5-6 minutes.


Then the icing is just some store bought butter cream icing with white sprinkles mixed in for the white ones, and decorative frosting for the black ones. I was trying to make them look like fur but I don't think I succeeded. That's okay. This was just a test batch.
Oh, and I can't figure out how to flip the picture over so its the right way.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Experiment Gone Awry

So while we were away I was given a Crock Pot by my MIL. I have wanted a Crock Pot for quite some time now and I am very excited to try it out. Apparently, the passing of the Crock Pot was quite an event for the family as owning one is a near requirement to be a W____. Henceforth the new theme of this blog will probably be Crock Pot recipes, and experiments gone awry and that sort of thing.

Once upon a time I stumbled across a bread machine at a yard sale. I had a similar feeling then, but I learned quickly that I'd rather just make bread the normal way. I have more control over the final outcome. It's more therapeutic and one doesn't end up with the annoying chunk of metal in the bottom of the loaf when one is done. The machine currently sits idly under my kitchen sink.

But that was the bread machine, which was a passing fancy. This entry is about my new true love, the Crock Pot.

Yesterday, I wanted to try it out, and I happened to have a bag of Marie Callender's Crock Pot creations stashed in the back of my freezer. Not the most authentic of foods but it was there so I decided to use it. Around 9 am I dragged it out, looking forward to a whole day of not worrying about dinner, plus the added bonus of the extra time to work on homework. I dutifully followed the directions to thaw out the sauce by running the baggy under some warm water, setting aside the baggie of potatoes into the refrigerator to be added later, combined the sauce and the chicken/ veggie mixture to the pot and put the setting on low. Done.

I went about my day, occasionally peeking at the stew mixture which seemed to be happily warming and cooking the day away.

Around 4:30 pm I wrapped up my homework and went in to finish up with the Crock Pot creation. My hubby was there washing up a few dishes. When I lifted the lid expecting a wafting aroma of stewed chicken and bubbling broth I was met with... nothing. No enticing scents of an awaiting dinner, no happy simmering bubbles, nothing. I dabbed my finger into the stew. Cold. Ice cold.

"Shouldn't this be hot?" I mused.

"Probably," my husband said peeking over my shoulder.

I felt the side of the pot. Cold. I examined the setting. Yes, I had turned it on. Hm. Then I checked the outlet. It was not plugged in. Of course.

So my first attempt with the Crock Pot turned out to be a wash, but we did end up having a nice extra cheese and toppings pizza, made from an Amy's frozen pizza that I got at the Co-op. After putting it in the oven for about five minutes, I added a few layers of ham, cheese and pepperoni. Then cooked it the rest of the way. Mm. Yumtastic.

But I am excited to try out the Crock Pot for real at some point, so if anyone has any cool Crock Pot ideas or recipes please, please, please let me know!

Monday, October 5, 2009

I am still here.

Dear Readers,

While it seems that Gothgirl may have vanished completely out of the blogosphere, I have not. I am still here, and I have not been abducted by the afore mentioned aliens. Though, I do think I have located the Loch Ness monster, but more on that later. No, we have simply been sidelined by things that occasionally happen in real life, which need not be detailed in this blog. School has been on break for about two weeks now and we had such great ambitions for the time off: open an etsy store, knit some stuff, paint some stuff, practice some more recipes, etc. As it is we have had to travel out of state twice now, and are currently readying for yet another trip back. On the upside I have acquired some free yarn out of the deal.

I have completed two experimental scarves and I am currently working on something that I don't know what it is yet. As soon as it is done I will post pictures.

Did I mention that I have taken up knitting too? When I am not wrestling with an infant or a toddler and can find a free moment for my hands I have decided to try the art of knitting. It seems that all the pseudo-closet-goth/ neo-punk kids are doing it. Plus, it's rather a 'mom' thing to do. Since I qualify as both, then I figured I'd better get with the program. Also, in the 'making stuff' category I am exploring and extending my knowledge regarding Steam Punk jewelry and what not.

See, I was paying attention when my marketing class taught us about 'brand awareness' and 'creating your market'.

On top of all of this I am also trying to acquire the resources for a HUGE writing project that I would like to undertake, you know, just for fun. Yes, it does involve the Twilight books. Hehe. But don't worry I am not running out and plastering my car with "Real men sparkle" bumper stickers yet or anything. And it's not fan fiction either.

So that's where I've been. I will try, try, try to stay more current but will need a few more days to wrap things up and finish things out. School starts next week so maybe more of a schedule will arise from that.

I hope my absence has not broken any hearts as of yet....

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Obviously...

We went to the park this morning. While there we saw a military plane fly by overhead, fairly low as if about to land. I said, there must be a UFO nearby, because that is what the military does most of the time you know. Then a short time later we saw a military helicopter fly by also sort of low. I said, see, that helicopter is also headed to the UFO site. Plus if we don't hear about it on the news then that means it was definitely a UFO, you know, because of the cover up. In fact there might even be a story about something completely different and that will pretty much guarantee that it's a UFO.

So we went to the park and did not see a UFO but I'm still pretty convinced that it was there.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Kitchen Snippets

Here's a few details about my culinary habits. Nothing earth shattering, but whatever...

1. I usually use cucumbers in a big cucumber salad.

Slice and peel the cucumbers. Put them in a bowl with water and vinegar, about 1/2 and 1/2. Add some sugar, about 1/2 a cup. Salt and pepper. and stick it in the fridge.

This way you can have cucumbers any old time you want. Plus, it goes really well with Italian food of which we have been eating a lot of lately.

2. Sometimes I eat cheese. No crackers, just cheese.

And that orange stuff that comes in little squares of plastic that some people put on sandwiches, that is not cheese and I would normally not have it in my kitchen. Fie! Fie!

3. My first starter cookbook is the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. It's the one with the red and white checkered cover. Everyone should have one even if you are only slightly cookishly inclined.

4. I'm beginning to like Agave Nectar. For one, it's dark instead of white like sugar, which goes with the whole "goth food" thing. For two you can put it in Kool-Aid and it doesn't make you all "g-g-g-g-g-g" the way sugar does. It also is good on cereal.

5. I like to use fair trade cocoa.

6. MSG is icky. Instead of the packets that come with Ramen noodles I use a few broth cubes from the freezer and melt them down to put over the noodles. Plus, it tastes better this way too.

7. I use old bananas and turn them into banana bread. Not too original I know, but you would be surprised how many people just throw away perfectly good bananas just because they are a little brown.

Well, there you go. Just a tiny glimpse into the world of Gothgirl.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Caster Semenya's Got Talent!

In today's world of sometimes blurred gender identity and ongoing discoveries of bizarre medical conditions, it can be confusing how to react to those around us who fall into these categories. But what does it say that when faced with a person of large build with short hair who turns out to be athletically talented, running for a female team, the assumption is made that something must be wrong. Surely someone who looks like this and is so very good at running can't possibly be all girl.

Can they?

Oddly enough, this is a true scenario. Recently, eighteen year old Caster Semenya was declared female after undergoing 'gender testing' the very same day that she smoked everyone in the 800 meter race in Berlin. She is broad shouldered, tall, stocky build and walks with a distinct sway that could almost be described as masculine. Oh, and she runs really fast.

What I can't help but wonder is why did the question arise. Granted, she was not accused of cheating in any way. Rather the testing she underwent had more to do with the possibility of her having a medical disorder which might blur her gender. But the outcome of that test just goes to show how ingrained and pervasive the ideas of what it means to be feminine can be. Was this testing done because of her appearance or because of her ability? Or both? It begs the question. A fellow blogger raised the question would this have been a scandal if she had been a svelte, blond Icelandic girl with long flowy hair and sculpted nails? And ran really fast?

She received a hero's welcome when returning home to probably the biggest show of "I told you so," in recent history. Which leads me to wonder then what if she looked the way she does and couldn't run really fast? What if she was just a regular non athlete girl? Would that diminish her worth in any way? Would she be expected to pretty herself up a bit for the sake of attracting a partner? Or fitting into some Westernized ideology of what a girl is 'supposed' to look like?

I can't help but be a bit outraged by this situation in that she obviously rose to the ranks of greatness within her field, but for whatever reason her gender identity was doubted causing the validity of her ability to come into question. More importantly the situation begs the question where do we perceive that a person's worth is held. Appearance? Ability? Talent? Does the answer change if the person is of a different gender? Apparently, it does.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

"The Graveyard Book"


Okay so the truth is that the Cheesy Bread stuff that I posted turned out kind of gross. It sounded good. It might have even looked good, but nay it did not taste good or sit on the stomach very well. So proceed with caution.


In totally other news however, I did recently finish reading "The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman. I have been a fan of Gaiman ever since his Sandman (genius) Graphic novel days, and he has only evolved since then. When he was promoting "American Gods" I had the life-completing opportunity to attend a book signing at Jo-Beth Cafe. Ever so much fun. Of course scads of people attended dressed up like his Sandman's Endless characters, myself included. Three guesses as to what character I picked. Of course there are about twenty more girls dressed exactly like me, plus a handful of Deliriums, and a very few Desires. No Dreams anywhere in sight. Bummer. So anyway, I make my way up to the line where he is signing the books. He is handed my books "American Gods" and "Death: the High Cost of Living". He pauses, his hand poised over the book cover. His eyes flick up to me as the lady next to him tells him my name. He looks me over solidly taking in my black clad get up, the ankh necklace, over sized belt, and combat boots, and says in his I'm-so-British accent "Well, I've never seen that one before," and proceeds to sign my book.
It was all I could do not to jump up and down and squeal.
As far as all that goes, it remains one of my favorite celebrity memories, right up there with David Carradine, and Amy Grant.
But back to his most recent endeavor. Gaiman is such a skillful story teller that you get plunged into the tale without even realizing that there is a moral. He is a master at asking the question "What if?" and then following through until the story is complete. The Graveyard Book is a story of Nobody, young Nobody Owens who escaped murder as a toddler and is thereby raised by a family of ghosts in a nearby graveyard, including a non-ghost mysterious guardian by the name of Silas. Answering to the moniker Bod, he grows up an anomaly, a living boy among the dead. The apparent macabre nature of the story is quickly balanced out by the innocence of the boy and the genuine affection that the disembodied souls have for him. The story of Bod, beginning when his a little boy jumps forward every few years. He is befriended by another living child at age five, a girl whose family lives nearby. Along the way he meets ghouls, werewolves, thieves and assassins. Ultimately the story culminates when Bod must inevitably confront his would be murderer, when he is a young man of fourteen.
One thinks this is just a story at first. The answer to the question "What if?" And while in many ways this is true, it is also very much a story about potential, about finding ones true self and being who you are. The story of Nobody Owens teaches that things do not always turn out the way you want them to but that that is also okay.
I cannot give anything by Neil Gaiman a bad review and so with that I must admonish all of you to go out and read "The Graveyard Book".

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cheesy Bread Pudding

This little ditty is actually something I made up. I sort of modified a bread pudding recipe until it was no longer sweet and had a bunch of cheese and meat in it. Yum. You will need:

1 lb. ground meat, I used turkey.

4 eggs

3 cups of cubed bread, I used the saved up heels of loaves of bread.

2 1/4 cups milk

3/4 cup cheddar

3/4 cup mozzarella

Oregano

Basil


Measurements are of course completely arbitrary. First I toasted the bread cubes in the oven for about 10 minutes at 300. This actually sort of over toasted them so maybe five minutes. Meanwhile I mixed up the eggs, milk, cheese and spices. Here you can also add red pepper or whatever you want to. Then I mixed the meat and bread cubes tossed together in a 2 quart, oven safe pan. Pour the egg mixture over this and bake at 350 for about 40 minutes. When a knife comes out of the middle with a clean blade, then it is done. That is a knife that you use yourself. It's not going to magically produce a knife like Harry Potter's hat or anything.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Writers, right?

So I just got back from a thing at the library where a bunch of writers get together to do writey stuff. These are actual writers, people who submit stuff to magazines and contests and take part in poetry nights, and know what a Seven Crown Sonnet is and stuff like that. My friend who told me about it has actually written and PUBLISHED an actual book. I haven't read it yet, but I will and then I'll have to review it. So here's little ole' me, peering out from behind my notebook saying, "Um, I have a blog?"

The thing is, I felt both wildly exhilarated and completely intimidated at the same time. If I start to go to this regularly then that means that I'll have to actually BE a writer. And write stuff. And let other people see it.

Auuuugh!

But then again, come December I am also going to have a Master's degree. Which means I'll have to do Master's degree stuff. I don't even know where to start with that one.

As far as being a writer goes, I don't know what intimidates me more, the idea of flexing my creative muscles or having to exercise my intellect a little, or both. I feel like the kid who has been bragging that he can bench press such and so amount and is now standing next to his brother's weight bench surrounded by his expectant friends who all have their arms folded and giving the look that says "Oh yeah? Prove it."

Thing is, I've always been a writer. I wrote in the fourth grade when I thought I was reformatting "Cinderella" into a novel, and on through college when I wanted to first be an English major, then took a brief foray into acting which turned into a career for a time. And now, oddly enough, a marriage, two kids and an almost-degree later, I am back to writing.

I always thought that writing was just like acting except it's on paper.

And the people I met today seem most like the kinds of people who would say, you have to start somewhere, and would be supportive even if all I can do is one sonnet at a time, or one chapter at a time, or even just one segment at a time. I'll just have to see where all this takes me. In the mean time I have an outline I need to finish.

And that's how it starts.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

November, sung to the tune of Annie's "Tommorrow"



New Moon'll come out, November!
They told us at the ComicCon that November,
Brings New Moon...

Just thinkin' about November,
Makes me want to reread and remember,
Till they're done,

I'm sure that the day was gray and lonely,
When Bella Swan lost her one and only,
Oh!

The movie comes out, November!
Relive all the drama in November,
Come what may!

November, November! It's too far, November!
You're only three months away!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I Can't NOT Say It.

Something has been nagging at me for the past week, ever since that tragic shooting in a fitness class in Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh. It seems that for the most part, the story was reported by the news, a few snippets here and there have emerged about the shooter, but other than that there seems to be radio silence in response to the event. Where is the outrage that usually accompanies this sort of thing? Why is no one shouting their solidarity with the women who were horrifically victimized by this criminal, as we did during the Virginia Tech shootings? Why does it seem that no one is truly disturbed by the actions of this man?

Not to long ago a famous incident occurred in which music icon Rhianna was brutalized by her then boyfriend Chris Brown. The response to that occurrence seemed to have been "Well, what did she do to provoke him?" or whatever.

Jump ahead to: Old-what's-his-name decides to take an automatic weapon into a room full of women, shuts off the lights, and starts shooting, killing four and wounding many. One of which happened to be an ex-girlfriend. It has since been found out that he planned this for quite some time, even chickening out at one point, to the extent that he felt that women in general owed him the time of day because he was a "nice enough guy" and he was "clean cut and wore a touch of cologne". (Paraphrased quotes). One could conclude that if some one had expressed an interest in him to the extent that he was seeking that this would not have happened. By that conclusion one could deduce that somehow it was the women's fault. So what did the ex do to provoke this kind of response? I'll tell you what:

Nothing. Period.

The reason this happened is because one man made a choice. That choice had nothing to do with anyone else's actions or lack there of. Chris Brown made a choice. That choice had nothing to do with Rhianna's actions or lack there of.

Are we afraid to align ourselves with the victims of this shooting? Or is the hidden truth that we fell into the trap of thinking that certain things are owed to us if we do our part? Are we afraid to examine the motives and thoughts of this mass murderer lest we find something similar to our own?

The news of the shooting is disturbing. The shooting reflects the motives of one man, but the media silence reflects the possible motives of an entire society, and that is what I find truly disturbing.

Monday, August 10, 2009

What?

Was anyone else bothered by Miley Cyrus's performance during the teen choice awards? First, she rolls out on stage on a platform with a huge pole sticking out of it. Then she sashays around singing about the US of A, wearing hoochy shorts and a sassy little hat that she keeps flicking. Then as the song ends she sends a shout out to all of her fans for voting for her, a thank you to so-and-so who wrote "the Climb", and then she thanked God the Father for putting her on this stage. Then the camera pans over to the ever-so-proud Billy Ray who is beaming and clapping and standing. What?

Can we say mixed message anyone?

I don't know, I just found it a little disturbing.

Just to clarify, I wasn't actually watching the teen choice awards. We had just flipped it over to see if the Twilight stuff was on. =)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A do over, this time with pictures.

The exact recipe as it is written on whatever long lost website I found it on, goes like this:
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs
water as needed.
Incidentally, the dough does freeze pretty well and the following is from a thawed out wad of dough from the freezer. It took about two days to completely thaw out in the fridge. Once it was thawed I put it onto a well floured surface, like so:
Let's see, next I divided this piece up into two smaller wads, took a rolling pin and rolled the first piece out as flat as possible. Once that was done I took the pizza cutter and cut the dough into this strips which might resemble fettuccine, like so:

Once this was done I transferred the strips onto a plate, covered with a paper towel and placed it in the freezer for just over an hour. In the mean time I defrosted some frozen leftover chicken soup. That took about an hour. During this time I also started some salted water boiling. One thing I learned recently is that I have been making the mistake of under salting my pasta water. You want the water to resemble sea water and be just slightly murky, maybe a couple of tablespoons per 4 quarts. Or so says Rachel Ray on some episode that I don't currently remember. Once all this was ready I took out the frozen dough strips and snapped them in half as to be more manageable and to fit into the pot of water more efficiently. Now it looks like this:

I transferred the noodles by quick handfuls into the rapidly boiling water and stirred frequently for about 3 minutes to prevent sticking. I then drained the noodles the usual way and added them to the now simmering chicken soup. This was enough for a light dinner (2 small helpings, or 1 large helping) for me, my hubby and my toddler daughter, who picked out the noodles and didn't eat any of the chicken.

Tada! Pasta from scratch. I think this is a good thing to make ahead so it will all be ready and not be overwhelming when you have nothing to eat and end up ordering Chinese food. The point is to NOT order Chinese food because you already have something yummy and easy to make in the freezer, thereby saving yourself some money. Nothing against Chinese food. Maybe I'll track down a good homemade Pad Thai and try that next.

And yes, I know Pad Thai is not Chinese but Thai.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Homemade Pasta

Yes, folks. Homemade pasta.

I have always considered pasta something that one buys, or comes from a tree or whatever. I just never put that much thought into it. But some time ago, I began to wonder just what would homemade pasta entail. How much work goes into it? I mean it had to originate somewhere besides a pasta factory. So I did a little online sleuthing and came up with the following recipe for egg noodles:

2 cups of flour
a few dashes of baking powder
and 2 largish eggs
Some water and salt

Many recipes say to do this part on the counter but I chickened out and did this part in a large mixing bowl. Combine flour, baking powder and a dash of salt. Make a well in the center. Add eggs. Mix with a fork from the center until dough becomes sticky. Then work it together with your hands, adding water a little at a time until dough is pliable. This part is supposed to be part of the 'magic' or 'art' or 'science' or whatever it is that separates magical cooking type of people from those of us who eat cereal a lot. Anyway, when the dough "feels right" roll it into a ball.

In several recipes this part calls for the use of a pasta machine but, my favorite recipe said that Italian grandma's have been doing this just fine with their bare hands for generations, so that's how I elected to do it. On a well floured surface knead the dough until smooth. Divide into three or four small segments. Roll one section as flat as you would like for it to be and then cut with a knife or pizza cutter into long or short, flat strips. These strips can be laid out to dry or hung up on a wire rack. They can also be plunged immediately into fast boiling water, but this part is tricky.

I wanted to go ahead and use my pasta so I already had a pot of salted water boiling rapidly. Once I sliced up my pasta into small rectangles I took my large spatula and scooped it up off the counter and into the hot water. The directions said to stir keep the water boiling and stir frequently to keep pasta from sticking, and only to boil for about 3-4 minutes since pasta is already soft.

When I felt like the pasta was done, (more 'magic cooking art') I drained it out. This yielded probably about 1/2 of pasta or two helpings.

I ate mine with some chicken soup that I had made with leftover chicken and veggies in a chicken broth. It was quite tasty. Even my husband approved, saying that they seemed a lot heartier than what you would buy at the store.

While the turnout of the noodles was nowhere near the store bought kind (they seemed more like dumplings), I did enjoy the process and hope to set aside a day for pasta making sometime in the near future. This way we can have some on hand, I will get practice at it, and most importantly I WILL KNOW WHAT I AM EATING!! which is really what this whole experiment is about.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

By Popular Demand...

The Yummus recipe!!

Take one can of Garbanzo beans, (I know it's not very real or whatever, but it's what I had on hand), throw them in the blender.

Add:

2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 tablespoons of Lemon Juice
1 garlic clove
a dash of cinnamon.

Blend well until mushy. If you have a food processor use that instead. I kept having to take a spatula and scrape the sides down to make sure it all got chopped, but it still turned out pretty chunky.

Also, I made mine too garlicky and I ended up feeling gross all day after eating it. I will probably experiment with roasting the garlic next time to try to get a milder flavor. Incidentally, I did pick up the garlic at the fabbo little veggie stand on Southland Drive. I think I have mentioned them before...

One can also add Tahini, but we don't have any and I don't really know what it is either. That's why I am not Paula Deen but the Gothgirl. =)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fresh Zucchini Fettuccine

Fun to say. Fun to eat.

Plus it helps to chip into that never ending stash of squash and zucchini that happens this time of year. Hehe.

Just fix one pound of whole wheat fettuccine according to package directions.
Lightly spray a medium sized frying pan and let it warm up on low heat.
Meanwhile, thinly slice one zucchini.
Heat over low to medium heat until crisp and tender. Try not to overcook.
Fix tomato pasta sauce to your liking.
To serve, top fettuccine with sauce and then with veggies. Keeping them separate keeps them from getting soggy.

Eat and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Summer Squash and Pesto Dip

In case anyone hadn't noticed, it's that time of year again. When you can't turn around and someone is handing you a plastic grocery bag full of zucchini and yellow squash. You sneak park the car down the street, turn off all the lights, refuse to answer the door, but low and behold the bag o squash turns up hanging on the handle of your front door just the same. Not that I am opposed to them, they're just, you know, everywhere.

Well, here's a little ditty to help you use up some of that pesky squash, and it's actually quite delicious.

Mix together about a cup of flour.
Add seasoning salt, onion salt, and pepper to your taste.

Slice on summer squash into medium slices.
Dip in egg wash (an egg tossed with a dollup of milk, or fake milk).
Dredge in flour mixture.

Fry lightly in heated oil until golden brown.

For pesto dip, I sort of cheated and just mixed mayo and store bought pesto together. A few spoonfuls of each. However my two year old really liked the pesto dip with her number-shaped chicken nuggets. Hehe.

But there you go. The fried squash even came in handy reheated the next day to substitute for potato chips with a sandwich at lunch. I feel healthier already!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Weird Thing of the Day

So I just got back from Target to pick up a calculator for one of my classes, and I stopped over in office supplies to pick up a few items like post-it notes and what not. I followed the sign that said "Home Office". I don't know if it meant Home/ Office or actually Home Office, but it was the only sign for office stuff so that's where I went. The weirdest thing though was that once I got there and started looking around I noticed that everything was pastel or sparkly or covered in kittens or stars. So not only was it feminized, but it was also very child-like.

I stood there in mild confusion for a moment wondering if I had meandered into the wrong section. As a marketing student with a feminist bent I could not help but try to figure out the motivation behind this theme-ology.

My first thoughts were that since more women are starting home businesses now, the powers that be are marketing home office supplies towards women. Then I thought about that and I know for myself I still want to present a professional image and be surrounded by professional looking stuff as a student and WAHP (that's Work-At-Home-Parent), as we do need to interact with others in our profession. But the more I looked at the wares presented the more I couldn't help but wander why everything looked so child-like. It's something to ponder. The only notebooks I could find that looked plain, for example costs nearly twice as much as their sparkly counter parts, or they had TV characters on them. I'm all for whimsy in ones daily life but we should at least have a choice as to what kind of whimsy and how much, and when it comes to office supplies why are the non-whimsical items so hard to find?

Maybe there is a rash of 12-14 year old girls who are starting their own businesses that I don't know about.

In the end I walked out with a small spiral notebook covered in sparkly flowers, rainbows and butterflies. No kidding. I picked it because it cost less. But I was reeeeeeeally close to paying more for the plain one just for the principle of the matter.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Easy Curry Gravy and Pasta Mystery

I made curry gravy. No, you don't understand. I made curry gravy.

And I didn't even measure anything.

Here's what I did.

A dollop of margarine, melted in a frying pan. (about a Tablespoon)
A Tablespoon of flour.
About 1/2 cup of liquid (stock, water, or milk for a creamier sauce).
Stir until slightly bubbly on lowish heat.
Add about 1/2 a teaspoon of curry powder, or more to taste.
Stir just about a minute more until smooth.

Remove from heat. Sauce will thicken.

I ate mine with rice, leftover chicken and a dollup of yummy homemade hummus (yummus?) for lunch today. Mmmm. I still feel sort of like a brain surgeon when I figure stuff like this out. I don't know why it's such a mystery, but it is. I'm sure I can't be the only one who feels this way.

In other news we at the Gothgirl household have a tendency to nibble in the evenings while watching out winding down TV for the day. However last night for dinner we had a lovely pasta dish with some ground pork, mushrooms and spinach. The difference between this dish and our usual fare was that this time the pasta was whole wheat pasta instead of regular pasta. Yum. As the evening progressed I realized I still felt quite full and satisfied and had NO urge to nibble or graze or whatever you want to call evening snacking. Hm. I am wondering if there is a connection between the whole wheat vs. white pasta and the full tummy feelings. I shall research and report back.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

More Harry Potter Perspective

Here is an article that gives a very eye opening view of the Hogwarts Gang. I have always found it curious why Hermione is perceived as "unpretty" merely because she's the smartest student at the school. I don't know if it is an American phenomenon or what, but the idea that a smart girl can also be naturally attractive seems to be an alien concept to many. I think part of the reason behind this is that we are inundated with images of attractive women who are one dimensional and oversexualized, in the media, advertising, movies, print, anywhere you turn. The concept of an attractive woman not using her looks (on purpose) to her advantage is simply not a reality to many people, which is unfortunate and lends itself to the school of thought that "women are.... (fill in the blank)", instead of accepting that women are each complex, individual humans, with separate goals, dreams, and motivations. It's really a simple concept, but for some it's still quite a head-scratcher.

http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2009/07/21/our-little-wizards-are-all-grown-up

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Top 5 Reasons for picking Ron Weasley

Of course there has been a great deal of media lately about the new Harry Potter premier of the Half-Blood Prince, and as such there seems to be several banner ads about who is 'hotter' between Harry Potter and Edward Cullen, the sparkly "Twilight" vampire. I for one choose Ron Weasley and here's why.



It would seem like the obvious choice would be the brooding, dreamboaty Edward Cullen or the Famous Boy Who Lived, being so misunderstood and desperate for a normal existence, Harry Potter. Between the two you have the perfect offset of the sparkly, eternally beautiful prince, and the down to earth scholar with the bookish charm.



And then there is Ron Weasley, the often overlooked sidekick. He's not quite as smart or as funny as his older brothers and his best friend is not only The Famous Harry Potter, but also star of the Gryffindor Quiddich team. If anyone has a reason to carry a grudge it might be Ron. But he does not. Aside from the occasional tiff he is loyal to Harry nearly to a fault. There were times (like when Ron was made prefect) that I thought Harry was being a bit of a baby, by letting jealousy rear its head, whereas the times that Ron was feeling left out I could not help but empathize.

And so without further ado, herein lies the top 5 reason to pick Ron Weasley over those other guys.

5. He has an even temper.

Both Harry and Edward both have a tendency to throw raging fits if they get upset, which by the way ladies, happens to be a warning sign for being abusive in the future. In "twilight" Edward rips up trees and shouts about his own dangerousness at Bella. Harry, blows his top mostly towards Dumbledore, on several occasions. But he does succeed at trashing his office more than once. When Ron gets upset he merely slinks away, storms out the door, works it out, and then comes back to apologize. Time and time again, he removes himself from the volatile situation, takes stock of his own ire and lets the situation diffuse.

4. You can't accidentally or on purpose get killed by hanging out with him.

Again, between Harry, Edward, and Ron he is the least likely to get you killed. His family has that nifty multipley-charmed-protected home that they live in, making for a great hideout place. Nobody is out to kill Ron or his loved ones, except in relation to his bff, Harry. Then with Edward Cullen there is that somewhat awkward dynamic of having to avoid certain, um, urges (which is an obvious metaphor and will be discussed in a later post), lest one accidentally get ripped asunder by Edward himself, what with him being a vampire and all. (I just wanted to use the word "asunder" in a sentence.) Plus, they both have big evil, scary, deadly, bad guys after them. Harry has Voldemort and Edward, the Volturi. Funny how both bad guys names start with "Vol". Hm.

3. The Weasley family.

You would get the family discount at Fred and George's joke shop. Sign me up. Plus his mom welcomes anyone into her home and makes that yummy Onion soup.

2. He protects his sister.

He steps in and gives Harry a good verbal what-for when it appears that he is pressing his advantage (really it was the other way around) towards his sister, Ginny. It was one of those moments that made readers go "Aw." Because a reasonably protective older brother is just so darn cute.

And the number one reason why one should pick Ron Weasley over Harry Potter or Edward Cullen is: (drum roll)

1. He's in love with the smart girl!

It might have taken him seven books to realize it, but ultimately what's not to love about the pairing of Hermione and Ron. He is the perfect foil for her if-its-in-a-book-she-knows-it-ness. He does carry a certain cluelessness about girls, but what he lacks in smoothness he makes up for with sincerity and genuine caring. The fact that he doesn't even realize what a great catch he is just makes him that much more adorable. From his truly tragic attempt at asking Hermione to the Goblet Ball, ("Hey, Hermione! You're a girl, right?") right up to the moment of declaring his concern for the Hogwarts House elves, the dynamic of will-they or won't-they kept me rivetted. And once the deal was appropriately sealed, I couldn't help but do a little happy dance for the besotted teens.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mt. Rushmore

For the past little while we have been teaching our daughter about the states. We have a gigantic floor puzzle that we put together with her which depicts the USA and each state is a puzzle piece. (Except for the teeny ones up by Maine and they are all glumped together into one big piece.) Each state has a tiny picture on it with something to do with that state, so of course South Dakota has a picture of Mt. Rushmore. We also have a Curious George story that involves Mt. Rushmore. M gets a kick out of matching that sort of stuff up together. For example if we are putting the puzzle together, she will find the South Dakota piece and point out her book on the shelf and knowingly nod at us and say "Mhmh!" It's really quite cute.

I don't know all that much about Mt. Rushmore, but it has occurred to me that at some point in time somebody somewhere had to have said, "Hey! Let's carve some giant faces into the side of a mountain!"

And the best part is that more than one someone had to have replied, "That's a really good idea!"

I feel like we are loosing the ability to have ideas like this. We live in such an age where everything has to be bigger, faster, better, more, go, go, go!!! But we don't actually take the time to enact quality or even to think about what we are doing. Change takes time and commitment, dedication and planning. I am sure that the face carvers didn't get halfway across George Washington's forehead and say, "Well this is too hard. Let's do something else." Even just small choices made regularly can have a big impact.

Funny thing. Since our "mishap" last summer we haven't bought beef at the grocery store. We have received some homegrown, grass fed beef from a family member who raises cows, which is in a whole different category. And I have been slowly integrating more natural ingredients into our diet, trying to reduce our chemical intake (MSG and whatnot), and electing to shop locally whenever possible. But it takes time. Time and commitment and dedication. Like the people chipping away at the mountainside hoping that what they are doing will eventually start to resemble a face. But one thing I am pretty sure about. I know it took more than one person to carve Mt. Rushmore, and I am curious how our collective landscape would change if we all lived what we believe regardless of how difficult or impossible that task might seem.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

My Own Thoughts

So that's really what started it all (See previous post.), this obsession of mine with natural foods and ingredients and what not.

Dinnertime should not be a game of Russian Roulette. Our food supply has become way too massively toxic and our health care system is not much better, in fact what happened to us is, in my opinion criminal.

Since that time a year ago, I can recall (no pun intended) at least three national food recalls that I have seen on the news. Not to mention the ones we did not hear about. Just within the last month there have been two in the local news.

That being said, food and cooking has always been rather a mystery to me. I understand how to follow a recipe in the sense that if I follow the directions, stuff turns into food. But what I don't understand is how to make substitutions or what to add if I want this to do that or whatever. So the cooking blog seemed like just the right medium for me to explore the cooking phenom and to see what I can do. I figured why not? Everyone who wants to can go on this little journey with me and we can all explore cooking together. Of course I would like to take a moment to encourage everyone to shop locally, take advantage of farmer's markets and co-ops, and buy fresh raw ingredients.

About a Year...

For those of you who didn't see it on FaceBook, my DH posted this under his notes:

This coming week will be one year since we almost lost our daughter, Milla, to E. Coli.June 26th 2008 I purchased ground beef from Kroger. July 10th 2008 we found out that there was a beef recall because of E. Coli on the beef I bought. Of course we had already eaten this beef. July 12th 2008, Milla woke up sick, fever of 103 and above, and diarrhea. After a couple hours and a half dozen diaper changes we called the pediatrician’s office. I talked to a nurse and told her what the symptoms were. I also told her about the recalled beef. She told me it wasn’t E. Coli but a virus going around.

July 13th 2008, more of the same.

July 14th 2008, more of the same and Milla stops eating and drinking. We called the pediatricians office to make an appointment. I talked to another nurse. I told her all of the symptoms, how long it had been going on and I told her about the beef with E. Coli. Once again I was told it was not E. Coli and just a virus. No appointment made.July 15th 2008, Milla is really sick. Diarrhea and throwing up. I called the pediatrician’s office again. I told this nurse the exact same thing, including about the E. Coli. She told me the same thing as the other two nurses. I told her I wanted Milla to be seen by a pediatrician today. She said “If you really want to.”We saw a familiar Pediatrician. Told her everything and yes about the beef. She said no it’s not E. Coli. It’s a virus going around. She did not do even one test and sent us home.This same pediatrician saw Milla the year before for a fever and a runny nose. She ordered every test there possibly could be. I know this to be true because I have Milla’s medical records. There are three pages of tests from that visit. (side note: The company I worked for went out of business in January ‘08. Along with losing my job, I lost my health insurance on the family. After a few months of looking for a job without luck, Rebecca and I decided to get Milla a medical card through the state) Lesson learned. As long as you have medical insurance and not a state medical card you will get decent medical care, and the physician will treat and look at you like a human being.

July 16th 2008, Milla is really sick. She hasn’t had anything to eat or drink in two days. I called again and told the nurse the same things. Got an appointment. Different pediatrician. We told him everything…the same thing. Once again, not E. Coli, but a virus. I asked him when we should start getting concerned about Milla not eating. He said in a condescending tone, “Last Thursday. Come on, do you feel like eating when you sick?” Then he gave Milla a lollipop. She held it to her nose and smelled it. He said, “Oh she’s fine. If she hadn’t done that I’d be worried. So she’s not that dehydrated. She’s fine. Just give her fluids.” We said, “She’s not eating or drinking and when she has tried to drink she has thrown it up.” “Well, if she throws it up, wait two hours and try again.” he says as he’s walking out of the room.Visit done…no tests…but at least Milla got a lollipop she wasn’t going to eat.

July 17th 2008, Milla can’t move. She’s not sleeping well. She can’t walk, she is so weak. We called back to the pediatrician’s office. I tell her (the nurse) everything we’ve been going through…and the E. Coli. I told her I wanted a straight answer about when we should be getting concerned about Milla not eating. Because everyone has told us not to be concerned because she just doesn’t feel well. She told me if Milla didn’t eat breakfast in the morning to call back.

That morning didn’t happen like that. We took Milla to the ER at St. Joseph East that evening. Where Dr. Anderson took us seriously and listened. He started the tests. He came back and told us Milla was severely dehydrated and she had kidney failure as a result of HUS (Hemolytic-uremic syndrome), a strand of E. Coli. He transferred Milla to UK Hospital. Milla went right to PICU (pediatric intensive care unit). Within minutes of Rebecca and I arriving at the hospital a DR. comes out to talk to us. We were informed that Milla would not have lived through the night. Her kidneys were not the only organs failing. Her liver, spleen and pancreas were all starting to shut down. She went into surgery the next morning to have a catheter put in for kidney dialysis. She wasn’t conscious for several days. When she woke up they had to strap her arms down so she wouldn’t yank the IV’s out of her. Seeing my 19 month old daughter lying there with all of this happening…I was angry. How could this happen? Letting a baby suffer because her parents had the damn poor man’s insurance.

Milla was on dialysis for 8 days and was recovering nicely. She was finally moved from picu to a regular room at 10 days. August 1st we got to take her home. Milla is doing great. The only way you know she was ever sick are from the scars on her belly, from the surgery and the scar on her neck, where she had an IV put in.I would like to thank everyone who helped us through last summer.Also, thanks to Dr. Anderson at St. Joseph EastThanks to UK hospital, Dr. Bernard and Dr. Chisti and all the nurses in picu, Ashley, Tara and many more. Thank you!

For more information on E. Coli http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/dfbmd/disease_listing/stec_gi.htmlFor more information on HUS http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000510.htm

Support Obama on the Healthcare OVERHAUL!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Beef Stock situation, part 1

Soup stock has always been a bit of a mystery to me. I'm not sure why, but I have never really understood the science behind it. I know it is fairly easy and takes a long time to boil, but that has been the extent of my stock knowledge. Until recently. I have always wanted to explore making homemade soup stock and recently I did so. First I researched several recipes and methods including a phone call to my cooks-everything-from-scratch sister. The time allotted for boiling ranged anywhere from a mere four hours to a full 24-36 hour investment if you have a crock pot. I do not have a crock pot so I improvised a little. I started in the early afternoon and boiled for about eight hours. Then refrigerated everything and boiled around eight more hours the next day. But I am getting ahead of myself. First I collected the following ingredients:

Beef rib bones

1 Onion

2 Carrots

Some celery

2 cloves of garlic
and you are supposed to add about a quarter cup of vinegar or lemon juice to help leach all the calcium out of the bones.

Chop everything maybe once or twice. Don't bother peeling the onion or anything. Just throw it all in the pot with about 8 cups of water.

I brought all of this to a boil, put on a lid and turned it down to simmer. I regularly checked on it and kept adding a small amount of water as it boiled down. About four hours in, I realized that I had forgotten the vinegar. So I did. Of course having read so many recipes and heard so many suggestions, I accidentally added a cup and a half of vinegar. This is not recommended.

At this point I also drained out the veggies by pouring the stock into a strainer over a large bowl. I picked out the bones to add back in, but threw away the vegetables. I always thought this was a waste, but it turns out that all of the vitamins and what not have been leached into the broth/ water so now your stock is becoming really healthy and the vegetables have become pretty much useless. Yay. So I added the bones back it and put it all back on the stove, returned to a boil and put it back down to simmer some more.

Whew!

Once bedtime rolled around I let the broth cool, then poured it into a large bowl with a lid, bones and all and stuck it in the refridgerator.

The next morning I put it back in the pan, returned to boil and turned it back down to simmer for about another eight hours.

Stay tuned for part two!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Find the Food!!

Ladies and Gentlemen! Let's play "Find the Food"!! Listed below are actual ingredients written from a can of vegetable stock that I, GothGirl recently purchased.

INGREDIENTS: VEGETABLE BLEND (FROM WATER, CARROT, CELERY, ONION JUICE CONCETRATE), WATER, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, SALT, MONOSODIUM GLUTIMATE, DEXTROSE, AUTOLYZED YEAST EXTRACT, NATURAL FLAVORS, DISODIUM INOSINATE AND DISODIUM GUANYLATE, CARROT POWDER, EXTRACT OF CARROT

Since 'from concentrate' isn't really real because it was first boiled down and then reconstituted, I don't really count that as food, and 'powder' isn't really real because carrots are not in their natural form, powdery, and extract isn't really real either because if it were the actual thing then that would be listed. And everything else is either a chemical or a sugar (or both!), so then the only thing left is 'natural flavors'. Hm. I can think of a lot of natural flavors that I prefer not be in my soup.

Let's say just say that I am henceforth jumping on the 'make your own soup stock' band wagon.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Meatballs, my way.

You will need:

1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, turkey, pork, or chicken.
2-3 cloves garlic, diced.
2 slices of bread crumbs.
2 eggs.
Oregano
Basil
Sage

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl mix all ingredients including a generous sprinkle of the spices. I used my hands to mix everything. Then in a large 15x10 baking pan flatten out the meat into one large rectangle. Using a large knife divide the meat into 24 squares, then roll each square into a ball and place back in the pan. This should create uniform sized balls according to the Better Homes and Garden Cook Book. In my case it did not. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

The resulting meat balls are very garlicy and yummy. We had ours with spaghetti and a rather plain mushroom tomato sauce which complimented the meatballs quite well.

Mmmmm!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

R.I.P. David Carradine


Some time ago back when I fancied myself an actress, I was working as a volunteer for an up and coming entertainment festival here in town. This was my second year working with it and this time they had hooked some pretty big name stars as panelists. The key note speaker was David Carradine, just shortly before the "Kill Bill" movies came out. Of course having dabbled in Kung Fu in my younger days I knew him from the epic TV show "Kung Fu" and "Kung Fu: the Legend Continues". For this venue however he was speaking as lead singer of his band whose name I cannot currently find.

Somehow when Mr. Carradine arrived, it was left to me to show him into the main room where the tables and displays were set up. Of course there was a subtle undercurrent of excitement when he entered the room followed by his entourage, but once we were all set up they had gone ahead to the table and I was leading Mr. Carradine down the hall towards the main doors. We passed by some young twenty somethings who blushed and fawned briefly and asked to shake hands with him. He graciously did so, and as we continued down the hall I couldn't help but ask him, "What's it like?"

He looked at me, "What's what like?"

"What's it like...to be on that side of it? All of these people here are looking up, but you are already there," (par.)

He smiled ever so slightly and said "You will see,"

That was the moment we reached the doors into the main room.

I have carried that memory with me as one of my greatest brushes with fame, as well as a kindred moment between two actors. Much more happened that weekend, not all of it suitable for blogland, but today I mourn with the Carradine family and friends upon his passing.

David Carradine, you were one of the greats.

Beef Broth and Local Veggies.

So I've been thinking about trying to be more stretchery with our food supply and my sister's blog gave me a bit of an inspiration. We recently enjoyed some ribs (homegrown at that) that my MIL brought us and I thought about saving the bones to make some stock. Seeing as we constantly have, like eight tupperware thingys of leftover vegetables in our fridge at any given time, I thought it might be cool to make some stock to throw together some soupage for lunches and what not. Stock, veggies and a handful of elbows just to round it out. Or maybe drop biscuits depending on my mood. I haven't made the stock yet but I will post on how it goes. First I have to go buy some onions.

That being said there is a fabbo little veggie stand on Southland Drive. She has said that she tries to sell at prices that rival the grocery store. She also stays out on days different than Sunday. I want to say Tuesday and some other day, but I can't find her website. I'll have to keep an eye out and find out.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

It started with Carousel

I remember it plainly, the moment I evolved into a full fledged feminist. The day was warm, school was out for the summer. My emerging teenage intellect had decided it was time to expand my knowledge of movie history and I went through a phase of renting movies that I thought to be wildly grown up, scandalous and thought provoking. I was renting such films as A Clockwork Orange and the Graduate, watching with furrowed brow while examining the deeper meaning in all of it. This movie watching phase eventually expanded into genres with which I normally did not tread, and it was here that I watched Carousel, a popular jaunt by Roger's and Hammerstein.

It started out innocent enough. Boy meets girl. Boy loves girl. Then it started to veer off into some strange territory. During one scene in which the two romantic leads are having what seems to be a "heated discussion" regarding his tendency to gamble or run around with ne'r-do-wells or what not, he grabs her and lightly hits her on the arm. She retorts wildly that she is pregnant and he should not do that and suddenly the mood of the scene shifts. He drops to his knees and coos at her to sit down, fawning over her, asking if she is feeling alright, yadda, yadda, yadda. Even this scene if I am remembering it correctly had an air about it that the apologies somehow made up for his previous actions.

But this was not the moment in which my epiphany occurred.

Towards the end of the film, the male lead has died and gets granted one day to visit Earth. During this time he comes across his 12 year old daughter on the beach. Not realizing he is the spirit of her dead father coming back to make amends, she shuns him when he tries to give her a gift. She pulls away from him when he takes her arm and in the scuffle he lightly hits her. She runs off home to her mother.

Even this was not my epiphanic moment.

Once the girl returns home she is recounting the event to her mother. The dialogue is as follows:

Louise Bigelow: I didn't make it up, Mother. Honest, there was a strange man here, and he hit me hard. I heard the sound of it, Mother, but it didn't hurt. It didn't hurt at all. It was just as if he kissed my hand.
Julie Jordan: Go into the house, Louise.
Louise Bigelow: What's happened, Mother? Don't you believe me?
Julie Jordan: I believe you.
Louise Bigelow: Then why don't you tell me why you're actin' so funny?
Julie Jordan: It's nothin', darlin'.
Louise Bigelow: But is it possible, Mother, for someone to hit you hard like that - real loud and hard, and it not hurt you at all?
Julie Jordan: It is possible dear, for someone to hit you, hit you hard, and it not hurt at all. [they embrace]

And their it was.

The light went off.

I had always known on some level that women in the past have had it worse then women today, but it never occurred to me that the moral statement of a very popular musical would be that it's okay to hit your wife as long as you are sorry for it later. The ramifications were staggering. My mind had been stretched further than it had been. This moment was the beginning of a path which would eventually lead me to seek out the meaning behind the phrase "rule of thumb", to examine the possible motives held by Emily Wilding Davidson when she flung herself onto an active race track, to pursue theatre with the hopes of injecting each character with a dose of reality, avoiding stereotype and caricature. It led me to allowing myself to realize on some level that no matter what I do, say or accomplish I would always be seen by somebody, somewhere as "just a girl".

Eventually, I decided that I was okay to live in such a world. I could handle it. However, Now that I have a daughter and a son I realize that I must do more. I cannot let them grow up in a world where labels are constantly thrown at them, saying here is how a girl or boy behaves. This is what's expected of you. Anything different is wrong or wierd.

The epiphanic moment that I experience that summer afternoon years ago has stretched accross my lifetime and I carry with my the outrage that I felt in that moment. Now I realize it is not enough just to feel that outrage. I must act on it. We must all challenge the notions handed down to us by faulty thinking. Examine why things are the way they are and what we can continue to do to change them.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Some time ago, I went to a henna party in which a good friend of mine had her very pregnant belly tattooed with a henna pattern. Each of us got our own little henna tattoo for the purpose of reminding us to pray for her whenever we saw the tattoo. Mine is here. It has since faded and my friend has since had her baby. But it was fun while it lasted.

This was mainly an excercise in learning how to uplead photos.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Open Letter to the Guy Who Complained About Me Bringing a Baby to the Computer Center

Dear Mr. Hat,

While I understand that it might be a little bit distracting for someone to bring a baby to a place where people are supposed to be able to study quietly, I also understand that we live in a society where parenthood is seen as an inconvenience at best. If there was some way I could have come to campus to finish my homework without bringing my four month old nursing baby, I would have done that. For one, it would be much easier for me to focus on the assignment without wrangling an infant. For two, the professor requested that the format be in Excel so I had to do the problem on a campus computer. I do hope that you will note, that I did come to campus early in the day so that I would be bothering less people. I also would like for you to notice that I sat as far away from you as possible, so as to not be a hindrance or distraction if he needed to be fed. And more specifically, I also hope you noticed that if he so much as made a peep, I took him out of the room. Perhaps you put too much starch on your bow tie this morning, but I found it highly unnecessary for you to go and complain to the office personnel that "you couldn't get anything done" with "that baby" in there.

The facts are this, sir. Motherhood is the highest calling there is. Many cultures in the world recognize this. Ours does not. If a woman quits her job to stay home with her children, she is looked upon as not living up to her potential. If a woman chooses to work she is passed over for promotions and not taken seriously as an employee because of her "other priorities". Working parents are seen as a liability, and on site daycare is found few and far between. The only place I have ever seen family or maternity parking is at Babies R Us and that's sort of their thing. Public breastfeeding is still scandalous to many and nursing sit-ins are still sometimes a necessary occurrence. In our culture children are often treated as something to be dealt with in the course of getting on with the rest of ones life. In some countries families get up to a year of maternity leave, paid! I don't see any American company doing that.

And so, Mr. Hat, I would love to hear your suggestions of what I can do with my nursing infant while I come to the computer center. What's that? A sitter, you say. Okay, do you know anyone who is available? I didn't think so. Leave him at home? Okay, I'll just add another two hours of time to my day (broken up in ten minute increments) so I can pump enough milk to leave him for that long. Do the assignment at home? Okay, are you going to pay for the Excel download for our computer? I didn't think so.

Next time, sir, I think I would prefer that you had spoken directly to me. No, I take that back. That would not have been pretty. If you are indeed so bothered then there is no solution, no detail that could be shifted to change your outlook. That, I'm afraid, will have to be up to you, and unfortunately the general populous as well.

Sincerely,
Gothgirl and her Infant Spawn.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lentil Bread Recipe

So by popular demand... okay one person, but you take what you can get. Here is the recipe. This is a combination of a few recipes I got off the internet and I didn't record the sources. First I will put the real ingredients, and then I will put what I did. Here goes.

1 1/3 cup water
2 cups wheat flour
2 cups bread flour
1 cup cooked lentils rinsed
2 Tblspns Olive Oil
2 Tblespns Honey
1 Teaspoon salt
1 packet yeast. 2 1/2 teaspoons

Oh, and the lentils can be used from left over lentil soup, which traditionally has curry in it but in my case did not. It had ham. So first I put the warm water in a bowl with the yeast and set aside. Then I mixed everything else except the flour into a large mixing bowl. Instead of olive oil I used canola. Instead of honey I used sugar and water mixed together. And instead of wheat flour I used 4 cups of white all purpose flour. So call the recipe police. Anyway, the last step is to mix as much flour in as possible, then knead the dough for a bit. I usually do this step in the bowl still. Cover the bowl and put it in the fridge for twenty minutes.

Next, heat some oil in the frying pan. Once the dough is done setting take a wad and roll it into a golf ball sized ball and then gently smash it flat. Dredge it in some more flour and place into the hot oil. Cook both sides till golden and crisp. The bread will puff up while cooking. Drain onto a plate with a few paper towels.

This is really yummy when fresh but can easily be refridgerated and reheated in the microwave for about 30 seconds each. Also, the bread does have some official fancy authentic Indian name but I can't bring myself to call it that since I changed all of the ingredients.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Host, halfway through.

I'm in the middle of Stephanie Meyer's non-Twilight Saga book, called the Host. It's pretty basic on the sci-fi angle: invasion of the body snatcher's, that sort of thing. I can't help noticing some bizarre similiarities between this book and some of the theme's from the Twilight Saga. Here is a girl, an outsider, becoming apart of a family like unit to which she doesn't belong. Two men, both good guys, are vying for the affection of one girl, for lack of a better term. Also, two beings sharing one mind. This part seemed to happen in Twilight ALOT. This time around they are actually sharing one mind, physically. Even the supposed romantic overtures of the guys comes accross as the wierdly protective possessiveness that showed up with Edward Cullen. Even some minor details are shared, like the big epic sports game in the middle of the story, and the reflective eyes which the invaded humans get is an echo of the reflective skin that the vampires get in the Twilight Saga. Currently Wanda, as she is called by the surviving humans, is sharing a brain with Melanie, who the body technically belongs to. She has found the human enclave and is living with them. Melanie has no control over the body as Wanda does. When Melanie was still considered "wild" she lived on the run with her little brother Jamie and her betrothed, Jared. Now that Melanie is dormant but still very aware, Wanda is receiving significant glances from Ian. He and Jared have just had the Talk about whose intentions are leading to what. Ian says that Wanda deserves a chance at life and love, because she has turned her back on her own kind, and has repeatedly proven that she is not a threat to the enclave. Jared maintains that the body belongs to Melanie and she is still alive and therefore Ian must respect the bond that they once shared. It is an interesting situation, and I am curious to see how it is resolved.

In other news, I can't help but be slightly chagrined that New Moon is being filmed. While I am wildly excited to see the movie, it means that I am going to have to relive all the emotional treachery of the Jacob situation. New Moon was probably the most difficult to read as it accurately captures the heartbreak of rejection. And shows a different side to Bella Swan. She is a much more rounded out character in the second book than in the first. I have to give it up the Stephanie Meyer in that she skillfully weaves these situations which seem to have no satisfying resolution and yet she manages to find a way to tie things up. I could go on about the ending to the Saga but I didn't put up a spoiler warning and I know some of you readers out there have not read all of them yet. None the less, I am extremely excited to see the next movie and can't wait to see how it looks on screen.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Why I love Susan Boyle.

Here is an object lesson. This humble woman who has lived most of her life in a small village in Scotland decided that she wanted to be a professional singer and went to audition for Britain's got Talent. She didn't say I'm not pretty enough, I'm not young enough, I'm past my prime. No, she stepped onto that stage and gave the audience what they had coming to them, a good solid metaphorical kick in the pants! They judged her by her appearance at first. Sure, she doesn't look like a singing star. Where is the gangly thin physique, or the glittery midriff? Where is the bleach blond hair and choreographed dance routine? Here is a woman who presents ridiculous talent unapologetic with no agenda towards being made over. Nor should she. And what peaks my feminist victories is not that no one cares what she looks like. It is that everyone I have spoken with does care what she looks like and celebrates it. The consensus seems to be that she should pursue her singing career without plucking or dyeing a single hair on her head. She has released a statement that she does not intend to be made over, that that would be dishonest. I can only say good for her. We should take the lesson to heart. Instead of scrutinizing hairline wrinkles, or cellulite which only our husbands will see (and I guarentee they don't care) we should take a good solid look at ourselves and embrace our talents, our strengths, and more importantly we should act on them, regardless of what preconception is being thrown our way from the world at large.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lp0IWv8QZY&feature=related

Friday, April 17, 2009

Nurosofice.

So we officially sleep in the living room and G is in a crib. We shall see how that goes. Of course the office computer desk is in the same room so it's not officially G's room. Poor little guy. As he get's older we will probably make it more his room, or move. Hopefully the latter. But currenlty we are all making do with the space we have, and stretching our money as much as possible. (Anybody need a facial?) Speaking of, I need to find something to do with the leftover ham bone that K's dad brought us. That should be interesting. There is still a LOT of meat on it because there was a second bone apart from the center bone and we couldn't cut the ham slices off on one side.

As far as the protesters I see on the news every night, I wonder why they are JUST NOW protesting government spending. Where was this outrage before? Where was it when an election was stolen out from under us? Or when we sat idly by as the government led us into a war based on nothing more than a pack of lies and a personal vendetta? Where is the outrage about a healthcare system that picks and chooses who gets a proper diagnosis verses an increasing attempt towards increasing monetary kickbacks? Seriously, the spending problem does not come from this admistration. It comes from a history of not looking into it and not keeping our government accountable. The spending bill is presented for people to see and I wonder just how many of the tea laden protesters have actually read it. That being said, I'm going to go have a cup of tea!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Viking Chicken

Take one whole chicken.
Rub with butter, margarine or cooking spray.
Rub chicken all over with a cut garlic clove.
Sprinkle with spices, italian or otherwise.
With a medium sized spoon, separate the skin above the breast of the chicken. Stuff the cut up garlic clove under the skin.

Pour about 3/4 a cup of coke over the chicken. Pour some under the seperated skin and also into the cavity of the chicken.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Why I like Jane and the Dragon

Currently reading: Harry Potter and the Sourcerer's Stone

The first book in the Harry Potter series is a nice comforting pallet cleanser after finishing the Twilight Saga. More on that later. It's quite comforting to be able to window shop in Diacon Alley, anticipate the sorting ceremony and meet again for the first time Nearly Headless Nick. I do not envy them the every flavored jelly beans however.

On to Jane and the Dragon. I'm a little miffed right now because they have rearranged the cartoon schedule for spring and I can no longer find this show in the Qubo line up. I have also decided to remove The Emperors New School from our Saturday viewing. I don't like how the main character (Kuzco) refers to the main girl character (who's name escapes me at the moment) as "Hotty hot hotty," every time her name is mentioned. Jane and the Dragon, however is a fine show about a young girl who shuns her life as a lady-in-waiting and decides to be trained as a knight. When she runs off to slay the dragon for the purpose of proving her mettle, she somehow ends up becoming best friends with said dragon. So the show encourages girls to step out of the status quo and challenge themselves to follow their own passions regardless of societal expectations. I give it an A+! Of course it is set in mid-evil times so it has lots of fun costumy looking characters. The humor is brilliant and intelligent, and the characters are all multi-faceted. Now to find it...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

And finally...

Spoiler Warning: The following entry may contain spoilers for all books in the Twilight Saga, including Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn. If you have not read this series run, do not walk to your nearest bookstore or library and sign up to get them because in all likelihood the books will be on back order or on a waiting list.

Now, I have enjoyed reading this series as much as the next person, and there is a great deal to like about the story. It has a strong and well written female lead character, a well rounded cast so to speak, plenty of dramatic tension and surprising plot twists. I must admit I have not been so riveted by a series since Stephen King's Dark Tower series. That being said there are some quite disturbing elements to this particular set of books, and I don't mean all the vampires and killing and such. The first book seems fairly straight forward: girl meets vampire, girl loves vampire, yadda yadda yadda. But even so I began to detect a few tendencies towards something deeper. I could not help but notice that most of the main vampires became so at the brink of death and were turned for the sake of saving their lives. What I found interesting was the pattern of having to be in a death like stupor for three days and then emerging as a new and reborn creature. Hm. Who else in history was dead for three days and came back all shiny-like? Related to this the vampires also have intentionally chosen a life against their nature in that they have committed themselves not to harm or take the life of any human. So even though they are constantly craving human blood, they sustain themselves on large wildlife like mountain lions and elk and what not. I found it mildly amusing that they also choose to live in areas with animal population control problems, so they don't mess up the eco system. So not only are they good vampires, they are eco friendly environmentally conscious vampires. He he. I digress. But the lifestyle choice seemed to be a parallel to persons of faith, who are choosing to deny their human or "sinful" nature and strive to be a better, more enlightened person. It is later revealed that this lifestyle choice permits the vampire family to create stronger relationship ties being more like a family than other groups of vampires. I also couldn't help but notice that the main character, an ordinary girl with a tendency towards clumsiness, has the name of Bella Swan, Bella being the Italian word for "beautiful". As the books progressed I did begin to see a bit of an 'ugly duckling' parallel in the arc of the overall story. I am curious to compare the meanings of the other names involved, specifically Edward Cullen and Jacob Black.

What disturbed me specifically about the first book, and became more apparent in the following books, was the tendency for Edward to be so very protective towards Bella. At the begining he wants nothing more than to stay away from her for the sake of saving her life. He seems to be over come with a pesky desire to kill her whenever she is around. Then out of the blue for some reason he decides then that he is in love with her, touching again on the theme of denying ones baser desires. As the story progresses, Edward exhibits behavior which would be nearly criminal in real life to the point of following Bella to another town when she goes shopping with some girlfriends. This of course is revealed when he swoops in to rescue her from a random group of thugs. His protectiveness teeters between sweet and cloying as the story continues. In later books he actually puts down an edict that she cannot be friends with certain people because they might be a danger to her, since they are werewolves and all. This coming from the vampire who is constantly struggling not to kill her. In one case, when Edward is out of town on a 'hunting trip' he even goes so far as to pay off his sister to kidnap Bella for a girls night sleepover, to prevent her from visiting said friends. All of this behavior is painted in such a way as to be a reflection of the great concern he has for her safety and evidence of how much he loves her. His affection for Bella is used as a way to justify the possessiveness and authoritative manner that he perpetually exhibits. Though, to the credit of Stephanie Meyer, Bella does stand up to Edward's behavior to the extent that she is able, but the result is usually that she is won over by his crooked smile, his smoldering gaze, and vampiric charm, which is described ad nauseum.

There are quite a few redeeming qualities in the story as a whole, and many points that I have been curious about for a while regarding vampire lore. For example, the question of what happens to a vampire's soul or what happens if they decide to try to live as a good vampire as the characters in this book do. I have been surprised that no writer has addressed these issues so far. (To answer my mother's inevitable question "Because I don't have time,"). Stephanie Meyer's take on the vampire legends is certainly unique. It is unfortunate to me at least that the characters have these questionable qualities, and I wonder now what effect the actions of the characters are having on the young female teen readership of these books. I heavily encourage parents of young girls (and boys for that matter) to read these books if your children are and be aware enough to discuss the actions with your children. My own daughter is only two but I am already hyper aware of societies brainwashing into what behavior she is supposed to exhibit. But that is fodder for a post on a different day... and I will continue my review of the Twilight Saga as well.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The same only different.

Quesidilla without the ques.

Peanut butter.
Chocolate syrup.

Mix well. Spread evenly over a tortilla and fold.

Bake at 375 for about five minutes. Enjoy.

It's gooeyer this way.

Being dairy free is officially starting to annoy me. I can't eat any lunch meat because it contains potassium lactate, or sodium lactate. The other day we made pizzas on tortilla's and I couldn't have any pepperoni because it contains a lactic acid starter culture! What is up with that! Why can't meat just be meat! And apparently some prepackaged meats also have this in it. So I can have cereal, vegetables, Ramen, and peanut butter. I might as well just become a vegan for the next 10 months. Aug! That would be like me stopping having green eyes.

I finally got the fourth book. A full review will follow as soon as I'm done with the series.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

dancing protesters and UK basketball

So currently the President is in London for the G20 summit. While watching the morning news showing coverage of the protesters, some of whom were dancing, I asked my husband what they were protesting and if they were good-guy protesters or bad-guy protesters. At just that moment the newscaster said that the prostesters were protesting capitalism. Then my husband said "I guess they are good-guy protesters," Yup.

Indeed I know I could use a little less capitalism in my life. Especially when it comes to health care. Plus, I'd also like to see more dancing protesters. Maybe next time I go to a protest I'll dance. Depends on the cause.

A few minutes after that the local news came on and said that there would be a live press conference at 9:00am to introduce the new basketball coach. I said "They are going to interrupt real, actual news for that?" Yeah, I said it. It seems absurd to me that this is what is preempting regular programing. Nobody died. Nobody went to space, and nobody cured anything. As far as I'm concerned those might be good reasons to inturrupt programing, but hey stop the presses!UK got a new coach! Whew doggie!

And I still haven't gotten the fourth book yet. *frown*

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Team Bella

SPOILER WARNING: The following post may contain spoilers for the books Twilight, New Moon, or Eclipse. Thank you! Also, this post has nothing to do with food.

I just finished the third book in the Twilight series (Eclipse), and I've decided that I am on neither team. I am on Team Bella. I am so devestated right now, and please don't tell me what happens in the fourth book because I'm going to read it soon.

I'll spare everyone the feminist tyrade about Edwards tendency to show warning signs and being uber protective of Bella, but did he really have to have Alice kidnap her? Couldn't he just as easily had Alice post outside her window or something? Seriously!

But in the mean time... I'm pretty sure somebody is going to have to die next.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Choconut Tortilla's

Peanut butter.
Chocolate Syrup.

Mix well.

With a spatula spread generously over warm tortilla shell.

Enjoy!

Spaghetto

It's a tasty little treat. First you take leftover spaghetti.

Add ketchup.

Generously sprinkle with garlic pepper, italian seasoning, oregano, or whatever you have on hand.

Heat, and enjoy!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

So far today:

2 Eggs scrambled
1 burrito shell rolled up with peanut butter and jelly.
1 cup of coffee.

The idea here is protein, plus I'm still dairy free which seriously limits my options. More to come as the day progresses.