Wednesday, January 27, 2010


If you haven't heard about the Sleep Talkin' Man blog, you must be living in a cave somewhere. It was even on the Today Show last week! Seriously, go check it out, the guy is absolutely insane when he's asleep.

"Butt cheeks ahoy!"

I don't get it

What is the big deal with the Apple iPad? It just seems to be a bigger iTouch. It doesn't even seem to run regular programs (you know, desktop applications, like MS Office or whatever the Mac equivalent is), so why would you get this to replace your laptop? I can see buying it for the color e-book factor, if that's your thing, but otherwise I don't see the point.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


The beginning of the year is a time of renewal for me - even more than the start of the school year. Fall is great because the "normal" routine resumes, but you're heading into the holiday season soon, and the start of the school year is always a busy time. So when the new year rolls around and the holidays are over, I start thinking about household projects.

This year, we are redecorating Rugrat's room and re-landscaping the front yard. Those things were actually planned several months ago, and we are plugging along at that.

We're moving the old furniture out of Rugrat's room (a very nice bunk bed/desk/dresser combination that I bought when he turned two) and replacing it with a drawing/drafting table, a new bed, and a bedside table. He decided that since he hangs up most of his clothing, he'd prefer a drawing table to a new dresser, and he's using the elfa drawer system and some underbed storage for the remainder of his clothes (pajamas, shorts, underwear & socks). We're planning to stain the new IKEA bed frame black, and paint his walls in two shades of slate blue. The curtains will also be replaced, with new black & white curtains. I bought him a new duvet cover & sham set at IKEA as well - a very Nightmare Before Christmas-ish black and white print. He's got new lamps and a task chair too (all in black).

The front yard is Mr Wonderful's big project, and I know he's looking forward to some warmer weather so he can start on the changes.

This year we also decided to upgrade our living room a bit, as an early anniversary present. It started with a new big screen tv, and progressed on to an upgraded sound system, since the old one wasn't compatible. Then we decided we needed a new entertainment center, because the old one is far too tall, but the TV won't fit inside it - so we ordered a new tv stand that will be the perfect size, and looks a bit more modern, with a nice dark stain on the wood. Now we just need a great storage ottoman for the living room, and we'll be all set. (Well, that and a universal remote, because four remotes is just way too many to have to wrangle.)

Pictures will be up once we get the projects finished! What are your big projects going to be this year?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Birthday Risotto

I made this a few weeks ago, and Rugrat liked it so much he asked for seconds! And when I asked him what he wanted for his birthday dinner this year, this is what he chose. :) Risotto only seems difficult if you've never made it before. And this version is fancy enough to serve at a dinner party (although maybe I'd use fresh asparagus instead of frozen peas, in that case).

Birthday Risotto
2 Tbsp EVOO
1 Tbsp butter
1 small onion, diced
1 c arborio rice
1/2 c dry white wine
4-5 c chicken stock
1 c tiny bay shrimp
3/4 c frozen peas
1 c shredded parmesan cheese
1 tsp white truffle oil
salt & pepper

Put the chicken stock in a pot over medium-high heat until it's simmering, then reduce temperature to maintain a simmer. Meanwhile, in a large, heavy-bottomed pan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the diced onion, season with salt & pepper, and saute for about 7-8 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the rice, stirring to coat all the grains in the oil/butter, and turn the heat down just a smidge, to medium-low. After a minute or so, add the wine. When the wine is nearly all absorbed, add 1/2 - 1 cup of the simmering chicken stock. Stir frequently, until the chicken stock is nearly all absorbed. You'll know it's time to add more stock when you run your spoon along the bottom of the pan and you can see the bottom of the pan for a split second before the liquid rolls back over it. Keep adding stock, about a cup at a time, stirring frequently, until you've got about a cup of stock left in your pot. Taste the rice, and if it is still very raw, you'll want to add a bit more chicken stock to your simmering pot, because one more cup won't be enough. It takes me about 25-30 minutes to cook the rice. (One more way to tell if your rice is almost done: it starts absorbing the liquid MUCH slower -- your last addition of stock seems to take forever to absorb.) When the rice is al dente, throw in the shrimp & frozen peas. Let the risotto get hot again, turn off the heat, and then add your parmesan cheese. Finish with a drizzle of the white truffle oil.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Prop 8 Trial

While I am disappointed that the Supreme Court refused to allow the Prop 8 trial in SF to be videotaped and uploaded to YouTube, I am able to keep updated by checking in on the Prop8trial Twitter feed list. There are several people who are live-tweeting the trial and anniekate76 has made a list of some of them.

Best Gmail tip ever

I generally import all of my Gmail into my Outlook and read it there, but doing that leaves the messages "unread" on the Gmail server (which is especially annoying when I check mail on my iPhone). So, I periodically go into Gmail and clean it all up - labeling various messages, deleting junk, and marking messages "read". But it means that I have to scroll through pages and pages of mail, since some of it is already marked "read" due to various filters I've set up. I finally found a great trick to use to pull up just those messages that I need to address: in the text field above the mailbox, enter "is:unread" and click the Search Mail button. This will bring up only those "unread" emails.