This ‘n’ That

I’ve been a demon for cleaning lately.  My goal is to actually have a working dining room sometime this year, and so I’ve been wading in and sorting, trashing and generally moving stuff out of my dining room which is still filled with computer stuff and packing boxes from the move nearly seven years ago.  I can’t work in there without saying “OMG, I forgot I had this!” or “So that’s where this has been.” at least once each session.  It’s a satisfying, frustrating, and really dusty experience.

This was what my dining room looked like at my old place.  When I moved, I sold all the furniture except for a beautiful corner cabinet where I now keep all the hand-painted china.  I loved the color I chose, but for this place I want something in a deep red-violet.  I keep finding colors I think are right, and then changing my mind.  Glinda just rolls her eyes every time I pick up a paint chip and say, “Definitely this one.”

I think a lot about what I’d like the room too look like, and honestly, I don’t even have a table yet.  But I have chairs.  I have a bunch of mis-matched chairs that I plan to refurbish.  Some I’ll paint, some will just get new seats, some are fine the way they are.   I keep a Pinterest board called “Eat, Drink, Talk, Laugh” with a lot of beautiful photos of rooms and tablescapes.  I hope I manage to pull something together before I’m too old to enjoy it.

In other, similar news, I did a new riff on the Breakfast Cookie.  I was going to bake up a batch of Nikolajs, but realized I was missing a bunch of stuff, so I improvised.  I cut the recipe down to a half batch and still ended up with three dozen cookies.  They’re triple chocolate-oatmeal-peanut butter and they’re really good.

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup peanut butter
3/4 cups white sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 eggs
2 T vanilla extract 
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 C cocoa
4 oz semisweet chocolate chips
2 T cocoa nibs
A splash of almond extract
Bake @ 350 for 13-15 minutes.

What I would do differently next time:  One of the reasons why I didn’t make the Nikolajs was because I didn’t have almond butter.  And while these are super tasty, the peanut butter is way more assertive in this than I would like which was something I was afraid would happen.  It’s why I didn’t add any spices or dried fruit or chopped nuts.  I figured that the chocolate and PB would overpower everything else, or turn this into a crazy cookie with so many competing flavors that none of them come off well.

Next time I’m going to have almond butter, or just use all dairy butter instead.  When I do, I’ll probably add dried cherries and coconut and more almond extract.  And that’s why I love this recipe, it’s so flexible and allows for so much customization.

While I’m on the subject of home and food and other things that make life good, I’m going to put in a plug for saving the Monarch butterfly.  They may end up on the endangered list soon.  Pesticides, loss of habitat… you name it, we’ve done it to these icons of summer.  But you can help.  Plant milkweed.  Seriously, plant milkweed plants in your garden.  You can get heirloom milkweed seeds at Baker Creek.  For more information go to the Xerces Society website and check out their information on Monarch butterflies and milkweed.  They also have a lot of information about helping to save the honeybee.

And finally, a couple of kitty pics to close.  Just because.

It’s winter; we’re all hibernating.


Found on a flash drive

I’ve been cleaning, and I found an old flash drive with this poem on it.  I kind of like it.

Death is a lousy boyfriend.
They told you not to get involved with him, but did you listen?
They said “He’ll take everything, leave you with nothing.”
But you were sure they didn’t see him the way you did,
The kindness in his eyes,
The soft forgetting of his kiss.
The infatuation is over now, and you want to get on with your life,
But he won’t move out.  He sits at the table, picking food off your plate
And reads the newspaper over your shoulder, commenting on everything.
“Shut up,” you say.  “Get out of my life.”
But he just smiles and calls you “Suicide Girl” in that soft voice of his.
“I never lied to you.  You knew what I was.”
He tells you “You’ll want me again someday.”
Then he sits down in a corner, or a dark closet,
Or goes to live under your stairs where you never look.
And the craziest thing is that you’re a little glad to have him around.
He makes you feel safe.

Happy 2015

I don’t make resolutions.  I will make promises to myself, though, and one of them is to be more on top of things this year.  Lord knows what that means in terms of my blogging, but I hadn’t been here in a while so I thought I’d share a couple of things today to get the year started on a good note.

First off, I got a couple of really cute figures as Xmas gifts this year, and today I introduced Eric the Tomten to Gerhardt Wasserbar, the Tardigrade.

20150103_102639 (1)

I think it sounds like a winning formula.  I really want to write this now.

Also, I found this 2015 reading challenge the other day and I wanted to share it.  It’s a bit different from many of the other challenges I’ve seen over the years in that it has a very broad focus instead of a more specific one (books by women, books by people of color, etc.)  Some of the items don’t make a lot of sense to me, and certainly there will be a lot of crossover with criteria this broad, but I think it’s worth a shot because it might well provoke me to read more widely instead of more narrowly.

What think you?  Does this sort of challenge appeal?