Sunday, July 22, 2007

Ouch

This morning, as I stumbled out of bed, I announced that all of my joints felt like they were filled with pain gel. Not sure what pain gel is, but I'm pretty sure it's in all of my joints.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Yo, yo-yo

I cook. I sing. I lactate. I raise a girl. I am vain. I am a virgo, and I fight it. I am thin, and I hate it when you point it out. I am left-handed. I love "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." I read all the cartoons and then the movie review in The New Yorker before I read any other articles. I listen to "A Prairie Home Companion" every week and am not ashamed, but I prefer "The Writer's Almanac." I don't have a TV (anymore). I am self-righteous. I am self-deprecating. I will go out of my way to avoid a conflict, but I scream at people in my dreams. I drink dark beer, but only in small amounts because I lactate. I am almost 35. I type the right way. I'm always thinking about what to say and that often keeps me quiet. I look forward to weekends even though I'm unemployed. I am deeply lazy. I struggle with housecleaning. I hate IKEA, but forget that I do every few months and go back. I am getting more and more impatient with everything. I wonder if people who move to other cities bag on those cities to natives the way people do when they move to L.A. I am a hypocrite. I can crochet, but I wish I could knit. I am a night person married to a morning person. I forget to floss. I am tired. I am scared. I think everything will be OK. I gave away my red suede rollerskates. I fell on my bike. I was a dancer. I was a writer. I was a car chick. I miss some people, but not enough to call them. I say "we" too much. I get lucky sometimes. I'm trying too hard. I forget why I started.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The PCH and other atrocities

Hey, all you folks who do not originally hail from Southern California. I have some information for you regarding the way we do and say things around here, starting with the one that irks me the most:

The PCH
Where that "the" came from, I'm not sure. Maybe it's an assumption that because we use the article before the name of most of our freeways (the San Diego Freeway, the 22, the 10, the 110), you assume that the same goes for Pacific Coast Highway. But it doesn't. Don't know why. It just doesn't. You probably heard one non-native call it that when you were still a newbie and now you're spreading the disease to countless other helpless newbies. Stop calling it "the PCH" or I'm going to shave your backside with a hubcap and send you back to East Whatsitcalled.

And, see, I'm nice IRL, so I can't just bust out and correct you when I'm talking to you in person and you offend with the the. So I'm relying on everyone reading this here or hearing about it from their uber-cool friend who read it here.

And now I've gotten myself too riled up to think of any other things to complain about right now, so I'll have to take this back up later. Nighty-night.

Clausen is dead. Long live Clausen!

I killed my sourdough starter two days ago. Much like purebred collie dogs, sourdough starters are pets you have to feed every day, a lesson I have now learned the hard way. I let my life get in the way of my Clausen-tending and after 24 hours of neglect, he got moldy and nasty and that was that. Just one missed feeding. Just one!

My sadness is tempered a bit, though, by the memory of two wonderful breakfasts that Clausen provided us (one decent batch of pancakes and one delightful batch of waffles) and the knowledge that in two weeks, I'll have an active starter again, easy peasy, and we'll be off and running on the breadful path. My mourning will be brief and disinfecting, and involve two shots of whiskey: one for me and one for the jar.

And like cats named Snowball on Evergreen Terrace, the new starter will also be named Clausen, natch.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Yucking My Yum

Well, Son of Clausen didn't taste so hot. The Second Loaf was better, but still not great. Turns out that I jumped into breadmaking too early. In talking to my friend Munky Jason, who has a degree in pastrymaking and some experience with starting starters, I discovered that it takes at least 2 weeks for the little yeasty buggers to get hearty enough to make a decent loaf of bread, not 3 to 7 days, like I initally thought. I was glad to hear this, since it means that I haven't totally failed as a sourdough girl. In another several days I'll try again and hopefully have better results.

I also made some sourdough pancakes the other day, and they weren't too bad. The batter was uber-thin, so it took forever (I never actually made it through the whole batch of batter, due to Little N's request for love and attention) to cook, but the flavor was kinda pleasing.

I have high hopes for future Clausen Spawn.

***

And speaking of such things, it appears that our new neighbors have been enjoying of the ganja this afternoon. I just installed a temporary screen door flap thing on our french doors and was appreciating the breeze while N was napping and what started out smelling like a mid-afternoon barbeque somewhere in the vicinity has definitely turned out to be weed smoking. Made me laugh and also made me wonder just how much contact there needs to be for a 16-month-old to get a contact high. Hmm. We'll be closing those french doors now, methinks. Voila.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Son of Clausen


Three days into my relationship with Clausen, it appeared that he was ready to produce some bread, so I followed Homegrown Revolution's recipe as best I could and a day and a half later, we have bread! It's kinda flat and doesn't smell too strong, and it stuck to the towel I used in the proofing bowl, so it looks pretty funky, but it's bread!

We haven't cracked it open yet because E wants to photograph it as part of his brown food series (seriously), so I can't say whether it actually worked. I have a feeling that it's going to be too dense and sticky in the middle, but I'm hoping I'm wrong.

I also have another loaf in the works for tomorrow, hoping to learn from the first spawn of Clausen today. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Clausen


The urban homesteaders over at Homegrown Revolution, in addition to being supreme bad-asses, make insanely good mostly whole wheat bread using a sourdough starter they cultivated from scratch, and we were the lucky recipients of a gorgeous loaf of hearthy goodness recently. It didn't last through the night. I would have eaten the whole thing myself if my excited email to E hadn't spilled the beans on the existence of the loaf in our kitchen back at the old place.

I've been curious about sourdough starters for years now and have always wanted to launch my own attempt to cultivate one. I'm using the setting up of a new kitchen as a reason to stop procrastinating on this and am therefore proud to say that tonight I took the plunge with the combining of flour and water.

Meet Clausen, my very own whole wheat-based sourdough starter, who I am raising in a giant pickle jar (hence his name) graciously donated to the cause by my mother-in-law, and who I hope will be the progenitor of countless loaves, pancakes and the like.

I Just Had the Weirdest Dream: Part 1

Two nights ago I am awakened by The Kid for nursing in the wee hours immediately after having this dream:

I'm at a Tupperware-style Diana Ross Wig Party at Diana Ross' house (Big D is there modeling the Wigs and pitching their Wonders to all in attendance), and I get talked into spending $250 on a Diana Ross Wig of my very own by Gwen Stefani (or Katie Holmes, it's been too many hours since the dream and I can't remember which of them it was) and I just keep thinking "E's going to freak out when he finds out I spent $250 on a wig." But in the dream, I really really wanted that Wig, in all it's floppy puffiness.

And now I can't get "Love Child" outta my head.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Leaving Culver City

Yeah, so, in yesterday's post about the kitchen, I mentioned that we moved last week. After more than 10 years in the Heart of Screenland, we've ventured back into L.A. proper and it feels weird but good, since the Heart of Screenland has turned into the Heart of Poo Land as of late because of all the rich folk who act like they've discovered this "great" "cute" "new" place called Culver City and are willing to pay outrageous rents. If I weren't so nice, I'd say that they all can kiss my bony white ass between their sips of vino at Bottle Rock and bites of (admittedly delicious) flatbread appetizers at Ford's Filling Station.

I am simultaneously bitter about having to leave a place we helped make cool and thrilled to be engaging in a massive life change.

But the truth is that downtown Culver City sucks now. It's too crowded, too expensive, and the few good things that all the development has brought to the place (truthfully the only things I can think of right now are Ugo and the Kirk Douglas Theatre) don't come close to making up for all the bad that it's done to the neighborhood.

Blah, blah, blah, classic gentrification at work. Our kitchen's still a disaster, but at least we don't have to fight our way through scores of clueless moviegoers unfamiliar with the quirks of the stoplights in downtown Poo Land to get there.

I'd like to end on a positive note, though: if you have to move anytime soon, I HIGHLY recommend the Delancey Street Foundation's moving services. The guys were AMAZING and it's a hugely good organization to support.

Kitchening

So we just moved into a new place last Tuesday (the downstairs unit of a great 2-bedroom duplex in the Mid-City area) and I've been struggling to set up the kitchen this week, a sisyphisian (sp?) task of vast proportions made triply so by the addition of our boisterous 16-month-old daughter and her unending pleas for entertainment, love and food. Sheesh.

We were at our last home for 5 years and I had that kitchen (which was woefully lacking in cabinetry and counter space) dialed in like crazy.

I know that this new kitchen will eventually find its groove and flow and that I have to be patient, but ugh. I didn't realize how much it was going to affect my sense of well being. Getting dinner on the table before 8:30 each night is hard enough without the halting cadence of the 'where are the spoons-spatulas-skillet' dance tripping me up.

And I haven't even mentioned the Italian tile floor that put me on the couch with an icepacked knee the first night we were here. This shit is brutal. Who decided that tile was a good idea for a floor you stand on for hours? Jeeeezus.

Gotta sleep. More soon.