Monday, October 30, 2006

Sinus gunk and poison ivy

GPG and I had a very nice weekend all planned out for this past weekend: sleeping in, going the zoo to see the baby elephant again, and watching Much Ado About Nothing
at the Alley Theatre. And, generally, it was a good weekend. Of course, it would probably have been better if I hadn't gotten sick, and he hadn't gotten poison ivy all over himself.

I was plagued with gunk (the proper medical term, I believe) in my sinuses all weekend long, and I still feel lingering sickness. I always forget how unpleasant it is when you're stuffed up in there. I think I'm getting better now, and I have a huge jug of orange juice to drink in my refrigerator, but it was awfully inconvenient to get sick on a nice weekend.

GPG must have brushed into some poison ivy at the zoo while he was taking pictures. He said he didn't immediately realize what it was because the rash that started emerging on his hands didn't behave like poison ivy. Just in case, though, we ended up stopping at home between dinner and the play at the Alley so he could wash himself with Tecnu, a special soap that washes out the oils in poison ivy. It was only the next morning, when his rash had gotten redder and had started blistering on his hand, that he realized that he really did have poison ivy and had done a pretty good job of spreading it all over himself. We both washed with Tecnu then. All over. From what he tells me, he's now pretty red all over.

I think that I didn't get any of the poison ivy from GPG, but that doesn't mean I didn't engage in a lot of psychosomatic itching yesterday. (It doesn't help that mosquitoes are rampant in both Houston and Austin.) And when I was getting ready for bed last night, I wondered if the poison ivy was starting to show itself: Was my leg itching? Were the backs of my hands getting red? Was I starting to get a rash on my foot? Ack!

Paranoid, I refused to rub lotion on myself after taking a shower last night, for fear that I might spread the poison ivy all over myself. And I wondered if you could get poison ivy in your eyes, since I had handled my contact lenses. I tried to fall asleep with the resolution that, if I indeed had poison ivy in the morning, I would head straight to the HEB and pick up some Tecnu.

Now it's the morning. No poison ivy. I feel somewhat foolish for all that paranoia yesterday. But I also feel somewhat relieved. Who wants to get poison ivy in your eyes???

Monday, October 23, 2006

Zoo babies

Unfortunately, it turns out that when GPG and I were at the Houston Zoo this past Saturday, GPG's old digital camera--the one I now have--decided to conk out on me. It's still currently broken, and I am not sure how to fix it.

But, luckily, GPG had his snazzy new SLR there and took lots of nice pictures of all the adorable baby animals at the zoo.

First, remember the baby giraffe from this past March??? Well, he's gotten bigger . . . and he also has a playmate!

The giraffe in the foreground is the baby from March. I am not sure when the other baby in the back was born, but it must have been soon after, because the two babies are almost the same size. They were both very cute. The older one in particular was quite frisky, kicking around and generally making a ruckus every now and then.

And, of course, there was the BABY ELEPHANT!

This is the best picture we could get, considering that it totally clouded over and he was somewhat far away. He has hay on his back because he would get down, lie on his side, and flop his legs around a bit, then get up again and follow his mom around. Very cute.

We didn't get a very good picture of him with his mom to show just how itty-bitty he is. This one below gives some perspective:

He barely comes up over her knee.

The picture also shows something he was often doing--he would rub two legs together a lot, both in the front and the back. I wondered if the mosquitoes that were eating me were also bothering him!

Lastly, we went to the orangutangs, where the oldest male was out there with the two youngest ones. One of them was very interested in hanging out with the older papa orangutang:

The other one had a lot of fun playing with a fluorescent pink plastic jack-o-lantern. We have some funny pictures of that one, too, but that'll have to get posted later. Now that GPG is again the only one with the digital camera, I have nothing to post until I see him again this coming weekend.

In the meantime . . . if you have a chance, go check out the Houston Zoo! GPG and I always see something new and interesting when we go. I'm definitely a big fan.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Zoo Boo

This weekend and next, the Houston Zoo is hosting the "Zoo Boo" to celebrate Halloween. GPG and I went on Saturday and discovered that the zoo went crazy with pumpkins:

In addition to a bunch of plastic jack-o-lanterns hung up in the trees, there were lots of real carved jack-o-lanterns in a long fountain in a central sort of promenade in the zoo. Some of them were very well done:

The zoo also gave lots of animals pumpkins as a treat. Many omnivorous and herbivorous animals had them in their compounds.

In addition to pumpkins, we saw a lot of little kids dressed up in costumes. We saw pirates, witches, princesses/fairies, a ninja, a dragon, a tiger, and lots of generic superheroes. (Or, maybe the superheroes were today's brand-name version of the Power Rangers or the Thundercats or something like that. I couldn't identify many of the superheroes and felt very old.) There were also a tad too many goth or Ren-Faire type adults with cloaks and white face paint on.

And why were we at the zoo in the first place? Not for the Zoo Boo, I can assure you, although it was fun to see all those kids dressed up in costumes. We were there . . . to see the NEW BABY ELEPHANT! He was awfully darn cute. Stay tuned for pictures of him, plus pictures of baby (well, not so baby anymore) giraffes and orangutangs!

Recent adventures in cooking

Although I've had GPG's handy-dandy Olympus digital camera for the past couple of weeks, I have been pretty bad about actually taking pictures with it. It sat in its box for quite a while before I finally resolved to be better about documenting things I did. I have yet to take pictures of my knitting, but I was much better about taking pictures of my cooking this past week.

I have been trying a lot of recipes out of The Best Light Recipe by the good folks at Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen. I like that the recipes are relatively healthy, but more than that I like the fact that the recipes are for fairly complete meals. (The regular The Best Recipe, which I also have, has less useful recipes for someone cooking for one. Many of those recipes are for components of larger meals, like vegetable dishes, meat dishes, etc. This is not an entirely bad thing, but it's a bit trying when you're pressed for time. The Best Light Recipe has more one-pot meals, so I've been using it a lot more than The Best Recipe.)

One thing I've been trying a lot of is the stir-fry recipes. They are fabulous. Below is an attempt at chicken and broccoli with a hot-and-sour sauce:

Unfortunately, I don't think that the hot-and-sour sauce is one of the best sauces in the book. So far I've tried the oyster sauce and garlic sauce, and those are damn tasty. But the hot-and-sour sauce is only so-so. I probably won't make it again unless I'm in a pinch.

I also tried the peanut butter cookie recipe for a dinner party I attended last Thursday. The cookies had a fairly decent texture, but they weren't terribly pretty:

At least, not for peanut butter cookies. They were also not as peanutty as I would have liked them, but this is probably because the recipe only called for 2 tablespoons of peanut butter (in interests of cutting down on fat and calories). The cookies weren't so bad, but I probably won't make them again unless someone I know is hankering for low-fat peanut butter cookies. If I'm making PB cookies for a crowd, I'd be more inclined to use the full-fat recipe from The Best Recipe just for taste's sake.

Despite the rather negative comments I have about these two recipes, I've had a lot of success with everything else I've tried from this cookbook. I'll just have to try to document those attempts a little better from now on.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Random things about me

Wow, I hadn't realized that I hadn't posted in so long. I knew it had been a while--I've had proper 3L ennui for a few weeks now--but I didn't know just how long.

And, even now, I won't post anything substantive. I'm just taking a break from reading for Fed Courts. More substantive posts to follow soon. I hope.

48 Things You Couldn't Care Less About

1. FIRST NAME? Seedless Grape, of course.

2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? In real life, a Biblical character. I'll let you guess which one.

3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? I teared up in the last Grey's Anatomy when Izzie listened to the voice message Denny left for his parents. The last really good, sobby, hiccuppy cry I remember was the Grey's Anatomy season finale when Denny died. Shut up. I like Grey's Anatomy.

Plus, I'm sure there were other cries in between; I just can't remember them. I cry pretty easily.

4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? No, not really. I tend to scrawl when I'm not paying attention and then my writing gets illegible.

5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT? Well . . . in interests of health, I'd probably pick ham or turkey if I had to eat a sandwich every day. But I do enjoy a nice roast beef sandwich with a little bit of wasabi mayonnaise, tomato and lettuce. Very tasty. You can get one here in Houston.

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Depends on who I was! I think I am pretty picky about the people I really call friends, and I'm usually cordial to everyone else unless I can't stand you, in which case I'm pretty prickly towards you.



9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Probably. But I have already skydived and that's probably a lot more fun. If I had the choice of bungee jumping for the first time and skydiving again, I'd probably pick skydiving.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? I like this "Heart to Heart" substitute for Cheerios that's put out by Kashi.

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Yes. The shoes I wear with laces are my running shoes, and I like them pretty tight when they're laced up.

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? I am a bit out of weight-lifting shape, but I think I'm relatively strong for my size. I can at least do chin-ups and other general fitness things like that without too much effort.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? Hmm. This is a very difficult question to answer. I like certain flavors from certain retailers/brands. So, I like Cherry Garcia from B&J; I like chocolate ice cream mixed up with mint peppermint patties when I got places like Amy's Ice Cream and Marble Slab; and I like coffee-flavored and mint-flavored ice cream in general. The problem is that coffee and mint don't really go together, so I unfortunately can't mix the two when I go to gelato places, like here.

14. SHOE SIZE? Around a size 7. It varies depending on the brand of shoe.

5. RED OR PINK? Red. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a very strong aversion to pink. I finally bought my first pink shirt this past summer, but it was a strong, bright pink with lots of red mixed in--more like a fuchsia. I will not wear pastel pink. Ever.

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? I tend to have a high tolerance for clutter. This means I don't put things away very much unless I make myself. When I do, I realize how much happier I am with a clean desk/apartment/whatever. Despite this happiness, though, clutter has to build up again quite a bit before I will do anything about it.

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? This is hard to say. I have some very good friends whom I haven't seen in a while, including the Aspiring Ecologist in NC and the Aspiring Anesthesiologist in CA. And the Chairpeople are in Japan. And GPG is in Houston. I kind of wish that I was back in college, where all your pals live in the same dorm and you can run into each other's rooms at a moment's notice.

18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? Well, considering that I'm doing this for my own procrastination benefit and not sending it on, no.

19. WHAT COLOR PANTS, SHIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? White t-shirt from the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Navy blue shorts that I bought a long time ago with the Aspiring Ecologist. Running socks and Brooks running shoes.

20. LAST THING YOU ATE? A piece of pineapple.

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? People yelling at each other in my journal's office. The fan on my laptop.

22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? What kind of weird question is this? I'd probably be blue, but I'm trying to branch out in my color selections for clothes/yarn/etc., so I should choose green.

23. FAVORITE SMELL? Things baking in the oven.


25. THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO? Hmm, I don't know. I don't really feel strong attractions to anyone except for GPG, and I don't remember what I first noticed about him other than that he was really, really tall.

26. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON you stole THIS from? Yes. At least, I like reading her blog. Go check her out.

27. FAVORITE DRINK? Hmm. I drink a lot of water. But I also like chocolate soy milk, hot chocolate with mint syrup, and Earl Grey tea.

28. FAVORITE SPORT? Depends on what you define as a sport. I like to play flag football, but if rock climbing is a sport, I'd prefer to do that, even if I haven't done it in a while and am totally out of shape. I also used to swim and will always have a special fondness for swimming in my heart.

29. EYE COLOR? Brown

30. HAT SIZE? Small. I have a pretty small head. Or, maybe the people for whom I knit hats end up having very large heads.


32. FAVORITE FOOD? At the moment, anything out of Cook's Illustrated or The Best Recipes cookbook series. Those people know how to write a recipe. Everything I've made from America's Test Kitchen (who publishes both CI and TBR) has been absolutely fabulous.

33. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Happy endings. I don't do scary. At all. I cover my eyes. Seriously.

35. SUMMER OR WINTER? Um. How about California weather, which is temperate all year long?

36. HUGS OR KISSES? All of the above.

37. FAVORITE DESSERT? Ice cream.

38. WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? See question 18.


40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? Hart and Wechsler's The Federal Courts and the Federal System. It's a bundle of fun here at Seedless Grape's desk.

41. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE Pad? I have no mouse pad.

42. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV? Nothing, because I have no TV.

43. FAVORITE SOUNDS? I haven't really thought about what sounds I like. And now that I am thinking about it, I can't think of anything.

44. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? Tough call. Probably the Rolling Stones, since I don't get as tired of their music as quickly.


46. WHAT'S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? I can make pretty good chocolate chip cookies.

47. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Pensacola, FL

48. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Stolen from January One.