Thursday, December 28, 2006

Pesto madness

While I was explaining to Zander's mom how sick I am of coming home from work and making yet another salad, (because it's quick and easy) she suggested having a few easy foods that I hadn't really thought of on hand. Pasta, pesto and shrimp would make a delicious dinner. Like practically everyone I know, I love pesto. It's good on anything, and it's good even when you're just licking it off your finger. I've made it myself plenty of times, and thought this time I'd try and buy a 'light' version. As far as I can tell, you cannot buy lite-pesto. So I made some. It's darn good. Spread some on your sandwich and see what you think.

1 cup of fresh basil
1/2 cup of low fat cottage cheese
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
garlic (I got a bit zealous and used 5 cloves! I'll reduce that to 3 next time)
a dash of tobasco, just because
salt to taste, but it's already a little salty from the cottage cheese

Throw it all in the Cuisinart and you're done.

Christmas Break

Jeez, I haven't updated this site in a while, and I still feel like I've got nothing but kinda boring stuff to talk about. Things here are good. Wow, having a little bit of time off has been FANTASTIC. We've been eating too much, seeing a couple of movies, spending time with our families and friends, making big messes in the house, and pretty much everything that has nothing to do with work. I love it. I've also been inspired to spend a little extra time at the gym with my new little ipod shuffle from Zander. I sound like a commercial, but it really is the size of a matchbook, holds 300 songs, and is so easy to use. I need tricks to get myself to do things that I'm normally lazy about, and this trick is working. Thank goodness, because seriously, by behind is on the large size these days.

Today I'm hoping to get a little sewing done. I just bought some gray cordoroy overalls for 5 bucks and now I'm hoping to turn them into a jumper. I've done this before, but this time it'll be a shorter version. As an overalls lover, I'm perfectly aware that they are not in fashion, but I wear 'em all the same. I've heard there is a scene in Mean Girls that I need to see that will make me stop wearing them. I doubt it.

Tomorrow afternoon we're taking a little trip up to Two Harbors for a New Year get-away. I don't know if there'll be any snow, but no dress-up clothes required and dang that makes me happy. Hope you all had a great Christmas!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

This sign has made a surprisingly big difference in my teaching career. While it wouldn't have been appropriate to hold it in the faces of the offending elementary students, it works quite nicely for that purpose in a high school setting. Now if only I could find one that says, "Throw clay and your grubby little fingers get chopped off. P.S. I don't care if you think it's funny".

Speaking of school, here's our shiny new raku kiln. Before I actually tried this process, I thought it was only for the renaissance festival folks, and that I'd either need to be into men wearing tights or braiding baby's breath into my hair. Not so. It's fun, pretty, and all about the anticipation. Oh, and you get to be outside. I'd like to document our day, so bear with me. First, put your raku in the kiln. Heat it up to 1800 degrees and heat up the next batch on the top of the kiln.

Next, open up the kiln and notice how boring the glazes look at this point.

The fun really begins when you throw these hot pots into a trash can full of leaves and newspaper. The change in temperature makes the glaze crack a little bit, and then the cracks get filled with smoke.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Well, even just a week later, things are feeling better around here. All the kindness that came our way was very-much-needed medicine. Thank you.

This weekend is a busy one. I'd really like to venture out and start some Christmas shopping, but I'm not sure that's going to happen. My co-worker (the ceramics teacher) recently bought a raku kiln and we're trying it out/firing stuff all day Saturday. I'm interested, but feeling over-worked right now, and the thought of going in on the weekend practically gives me hives. Especially when I really like to lay around reading books and drink coffee in my robe all weekend long.

I just finished Julie and Julia, and yes, I was drawn to it because of its elegant title. However, I finished it and LOVED it because the Julie in the book was so quirky, and smart and funny. She's also some-what impatient, which I can relate to whole-heartedly. All that reading about cooking got me to thinking about cooking something at home that is slightly more challenging than bagged salad mix and english muffin pizza.

Wouldn't this be a fun pan to bake with? The entire lasagna/brownie pan could have crispy edges! Link

Monday, December 04, 2006

Dear friends,

We recently gave you some news that we were going to have a little one this summer. We are sorry to say that this past Wednesday we lost our baby. At 13 weeks we believed we were out of the woods, and began to tell family and friends, but unfortunately luck was not on our side.

Julie is doing well after the procedure yesterday, and we are both feeling better than we were. The doctors are doing some tests to see how we should proceed from this point, and I'm sure they will find something that will help us. We are very lucky to have our health, each other, family, and friends, and we thank all of you for having been so kind and supportive and excited for us.

Zander and Julie

Zander sent this out to a few of you last week. Last night when I was trying (unsuccessfully) to sleep, I was thinking about how this terrible grief feels so many different ways. In the very middle of the night I thought I was pretty profound when it felt very much like a dip cone. Crackly on the outside, but soft and melty on the inside. One wrong step and what appears to be neatly tidy and delicious falls completely apart on your lap in a messy and inedible pile of mush. That's so me. I work really hard to smile and make it look like it's kind of alright, but I might also be fighting eye contact because I'm afraid that when that connection happens I'll just lose it. I'll get snot on your sweater or something. And really, I'm so thankful that we've got so much love around us that is more than happy to have to just wash that off a little later. For now, we're sad and vulnerable and raw. We are getting through it though. It seems impossible, but I already feel better than I did last week, and I trust that next week will be better than right now. I'm already looking forward to some happy day very soon where I'm camera*-ready, and wanting to get home and write all about it.

*I'm saving up for a fancy camera. When I was in high school, I'd blow all of my babysitting money right away. On hairspray and curling irons. When I was a little older, I was so broke, that there was no saving to be had- I was always scrounging for change under the seat of my car so I could buy a little bit of gas at a time. Now that I'm alright for gas, and don't need much curling or spraying, I'm ready to save up. In fact, I just got a $160 check from the consignment shop for a bunch of name-brand crap I bought at Saver's.