Friday, August 28, 2009

New Light is Shed

Literally. For over a year now, the dining has been without over lighting, a gaping hole with dangling wires where a light should be. Mainly because we took down the hideous monstrosity that was the previous light fixture. It hung so low, you could see the light bulb. And way too modern for our tastes:

We'd been putting off getting a new light forever, when Kyle went to turn on the kitchen light one day and the chain came down with his hand. This light/fan fixture was really, actually worse - it was very country, white and too big for the kitchen (old photo - the kitchen doesn't look anything like that anymore - DIE WALLPAPER DIE):

So he ripped that one out - and now we had TWO holes-with-wires. But then, my wonderful husband went off to Home Depot one morning and returned with two fixtures.

So now not only do we have a new, smaller-yet-brighter kitchen light:

We also have a lovely dining room light as well!

(Please ignore all the booze - it's left over from the wedding - AS I SAID IT WOULD BE...)

Here's a close-up:

I think he did an awesome job and I'm so pleased to be able to see what I'm cooking and eating. :)

Friday, August 21, 2009

It's a Man's World

(For those of you who received an e-mail, or saw my post on FaceBook, I apologize: I'm talking about this article friggin' everywhere. Feel free to come back next week when I'll regale you with tales of husbands doing fabulous things around the house and puppies making it through typical-yet-traumatic-for-me surgery.)

I was supposed to be looking for gardening book reviews in the New York Times, but I stumbled upon this article, "The Women's Crusade." I feel very strongly about this article. It touched my heart, and I feel compelled to share it with as many women as possible.

In many parts of the world, women are second-class citizens, literally at best and basically slaves in the worst places. There's a growing awareness that half of the population is considered a burden only because they're forced to be as such - with tiny loans to start businesses, education and health care, women can become part of their country's solution instead of its problem.

Emily will find a pleasant surprise in the article - a group she's helped is mentioned in an incredibly touching story.

I know it looks long, but if you give it a chance, I think it will "grow" on you. :)

The Women’s Crusade
Published: August 23, 2009
The liberation of women could help solve many of the world’s problems, from poverty to child mortality to terrorism.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Kick-Ass Cookies

Warning: Completely self-indulgent, horn-tooting, post.

Kyle loves chocolate chip cookies. Given a choice when I'm in the mood for baking, he always goes with chocolate chip. I had just made a small batch a week or so earlier, so a few nights ago when we were planning on leftovers for dinner and I decided to bake, I thought I'd make something different.

I was flipping through my Cook's Illustrated book, "Baking Illustrated" and came across pecan bars. Hmm... tasty...

"Ooo, are you making cookies?" Kyle wanted to know.

"Well, I was thinking of making pecan bars..."

His face falls, ever so slightly.

"But I can make cookies."

"Yay!" His face lights back up.

So I found a recipe for "Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies." As the book says, the goal is to recreate those huge, sinfully rich cookies you find in boutique bakeries and fancy hotels.

And damn if they weren't just as good - if not better!

Not only were they delicious, but they actually looked good too. I think the secret to that was size consistency (you portion out a "scant" quarter-cup of dough per cookie) and the strange technique of pulling the dough ball apart and squishing the two "broken" halves together, "broken" side up - this makes for a craggy top.

I was so pleased, I took a photo!

(On my trusty Silpat - a non-stick liner made with silicon and fiberglass. No, really. It's awesome.)

Kyle loves them. I took a few to work today (the recipe only makes 18, and they are for Kyle, so I split them in half) and my coworkers really liked them as well.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Gift from Italy

My cousin Rich, who is stationed in Italy, sent me a wedding present!

His wife is due with their first child any day, and I was tickled to see that items in the box were wrapped in baby diapers! Diapers have come a long way - did you know they have Velcro flaps now? Amazing. Anyway...

They sent us two beautiful Italian crystal wine glasses (suckers are HUGE), a bottle of wine and best of all - boxed wine!

Now, I know what you're thinking. "They shipped a big 'ol box-o-wine to the U.S.?" But that's what's so awesome - it's not what you think it is.

In a cardboard sleeve were three little boxes - juice-box style! Individual servings! I couldn't get over it. So cute!

On the bottle of wine was a blue sticky-note that read "For celebrating!" And the boxed wine has a note reading, "For on the go! :)"

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Rock T-Shirt Update

I open my e-mail Monday morning and find this:

Subject: RE: Never received my shirt
Date: Sun, 2 Aug 2009 15:46:02 -0700

Hello Jennifer,

We sent another shirt out for you on Friday. You should be getting it in a few days. Thank you

I think, "Oh, finally - they've sent the shirt out - great!"

And it was. I came home Monday afternoon to discover the t-shirt delivered. Awesome.

But then, this morning, as I'm cleaning out e-mail, I re-read the e-mail and notice something that I hadn't before.

"We sent another shirt out for you on Friday."

Another shirt?

Huh. So, basically they just half-assed admitted that they've sent another shirt to me previously which never made it into my possession. And all this time it's been nasty "How dare you involve PayPal before contacting us" and "We told you it would take five weeks" messages. How lame is that? Instead of acknowledging their mistake ("Dude, we have no idea what happened to the shirt we totally sent you, so we're sending you another.") they just act casual and try to slide it under the rug.