In celebration of Christmas Eve and Santa's imminent arrival, I thought I'd post some of my favorite Santa-themed wrecks from Cake Wrecks (and yes, I do check that site nearly every day).
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
In celebration of Christmas Eve and Santa's imminent arrival, I thought I'd post some of my favorite Santa-themed wrecks from Cake Wrecks (and yes, I do check that site nearly every day).
Sunday, December 21, 2008
*my mom's maiden name (and my middle name)
In other news, the high temperature today is 8!! 8!! Right now, the wind chill is -15!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
3/4 stick (6 TBSP) unsalted butter
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder (not dutch processed)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla (my mom leaves this out; I usually add some but not all 1 1/2 tsps)
Melt unsweetened chocolate, butter, and 1 cup chocolate chips in a saucepan over low heat (or in the microwave...that's how I always do it). Cool.
Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt
Beat together sugar, eggs, and vanilla with a mixer until pale and frothy (about 2 minutes). Mix in melted chocolate mixture and then flour mixture at low speed until combined well. Stir in remaining cup of chocolate chips. Chill covered until firm for two hours. Preheat oven to 350.
Roll heaping teaspoons of dough into 1 inch balls with dampened hands and arrange 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake in batches in middle of oven until puffed and set, about 10 minutes. Cookies will be soft in center. Transfer to racks to cool.
That's it! Let me know if you have any questions.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
This year, we are spending Christmas in Indiana (my first ever Christmas away from home!), so I can't make any cookies with my mom until after Christmas. But I can't wait that long, so I spent today baking. I made four types (plus an insane amount of Chex Mix---known as Nuts and Bolts in my family because we add Cheerios and Pretzels).
These are butter cookies with cream cheese frosting. I have yet to meet someone who doesn't like these cookies, and I've met several who are smitten with them, including Heather who made them for their Christmas party. These are a family recipe that my Grandma Alice got from a neighbor.
These cookies contain three types of chocolate and only a 1/2 cup of flour (they would certainly be Ramona's favorite were she allowed to choose). They are a relatively new favorite but have become a staple. My mom, who is an amazing cook and baker, thinks these are hard to make because you have to let the dough sit in the fridge for 2 hours before baking them (impatience runs in our family).
Not technically a cookie as these are a toffee topped with chocolate. I always make some with nuts (I use pecans) and some without. Another family recipe. Every year, my mom, my brother, and I would make butter crunch that was far inferior to my Aunt Jackie's. Hers was always the right amount of crunchy, while ours was chewy enough to take your fillings out. Finally one year I asked her what the secret was. We had been following the recipe, cooking it until 'hard crack' stage at 285 degrees. She had a simple answer: "I cook it until it is the right color." Ever since, my butter crunch has come out perfectly (...except for the year that I wasn't patient enough to wait for the golden toffee color...).
These are not a family recipe, but they have lots of ginger and cinnamon and taste quite Christmas-y, plus I love anything that has molasses in it. I still prefer my Grandma Ellen's Gingersnaps, but I made them for two reasons: 1) Andy really likes them, and 2) making cut-out cookies by yourself is decidedly un-fun (similar to Pancakes for One).
Monday, December 8, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I don't want to hear about anyone else eating salmon for Thanksgiving, so make sure to eat some turkey tomorrow!
Monday, November 24, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
For those of you who didn't know me in college, conversations with me frequently went like this:
Unsuspecting Person: "Hi Elizabeth. How's it going?"
Me: "LBJ got screwed by the Vietnam War. He was meant to pass sweeping changes on the domestic side."
Unsuspecting Person: "Uh..." (backing away)
I wrote not one but two papers on LBJ in college (and remember now I was a science major). The first was called "A Legislator in a Guerrilla War: Lyndon Johnson and the Vietnam War" and the second was entitled "The Man vs. the Myth: How the Legacy of John F. Kennedy Affected the Presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson" (note that the actual file name for this paper is my great obsession.doc).
I am still completely proud of the fact that I managed to bring the Vietnam War into a presentation on mangroves in my Conservation Biology class (by the way, I am also fascinated by the Vietnam War and mangroves).
So, now you may be asking yourself...why was Elizabeth so interested in our 36th president? Many who studied that era would choose John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, or Martin Luther King Jr. I am not saying those three weren't important or interesting; they certainly were, but for me, the tragedy of LBJ's presidency is what draws me to study him.
He had many flaws and made many mistakes, the biggest of which was entangling us deeper in Vietnam. He badgered people into agreeing with him. His personality was...uh...challenging. Here's a quote I took from one of my papers. Joseph Califano, his special assistant for domestic affairs, stated that Johnson "could be altruistic and petty, caring and crude, generous and petulant, bluntly honest and calculatingly devious---all within the same few minutes." He picked up his beagle by its ears (strangely, he also named his beagles "Him and "Her").
On the other hand, he got the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act passed. He started Medicare and Medicaid. He appointed Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court. He passed legislation to fund public schools. His interests and his strengths were on the domestic side, but his legacy will always be the Vietnam War. Surrounded by Kennedy's advisors (he kepts most including McNamara well into his presidency), he led America further and further into a war we could not win and shouldn't have been fighting (my opinion there). The truth was he never wanted to go, but he felt like he had to. That does not take away his responsibilty, but it further illuminates the tragedy of Vietnam.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
By the way, it looks like the final tally will be 365-173. If you haven't seen this yet, check out Obama's new website. He's not messing around! I am still fired up!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I am also ecstatic that Indiana went for Obama! And that NC is super close and hopefully will swing that way too (at the very least, NC got rid of dead weight, barely North Carolinean Elizabeth Dole and brought in a new democratic governor).
I could probably ramble for hours, but I'll just say it's a good day to be a Democratic Hoosier Tar Heel!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
We're going to have so much free time when the election is over...here's hoping we are happy enough with the results to enjoy it!
Friday, October 31, 2008
Here's a brief time line of our relationship....
October 31st, 1998: We meet at a Halloween party in the Villas, the classiest apartment complex in Bloomington. Andy's "dressed up like the Cure" which means he has painted his fingernails black. I'm not in costume...and am the DD for my group. After talking to Courtney and John (who should have won a costume contest), Andy is dragged over to meet me...we talk for a long time about music and find out we are both giant fans of Ben Folds Five and Wilco and both hate Dave Matthews.
November 1998: We go out a couple of times...then I freak out...no communication for months.
April 1999: Realizing the school year is ending and his phone number is going to change, I call Andy. We go out a couple more times...then it's summer, and I head home to NC.
Summer 1999: We communicate via email and mix tapes.
August 1999: Back in Bloomington, we start dating for real.
August 2000: We break up...perhaps this could be described as me freaking out again.
August 2001: I move to Portland...
January 2002: 2,313 miles can't keep us apart!
August 2002: I move back across the country, and we move in together in Columbus, Indiana. At this point, we also "rescue" Sydney from my parents.
August 2003: Grad school time: we move to Seattle together.
June 2006: We get engaged and Ramona.
August 2007: After 5 years of 'living in sin', we make it legal and get married.
February 2008: We move to Indianapolis and buy a house. And here we are.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Filling in that circle for Obama felt really good.
I started thinking about my ability to vote because my dad sent me an email telling me that I'd been getting robocalls at their house (against Kay Hagen who's running against Elizabeth Dole). I haven't voted in North Carolina since 2001 and have voted in THREE other states since then. So, I went to the NC Elections Board website and checked....and yup, I am still registered to vote there. I checked Oregon and Washington too, and Oregon has kicked me off, but Washington hasn't (Andy's still registered there too). Perhaps these republicans that are so worried about voter fraud should put more effort into states updating their voter rolls. (and no, tempting as it is, I am not going to try to vote in three states).
In other news, the Indy Star didn't endorse either candidate in the presidential election. The editorial board was "evenly split." Lame.
Friday, October 24, 2008
First of all, we went to the Obama rally at the American Legion Mall in downtown Indianapolis yesterday. It was fantastic. The IndyStar reports 35,000 people being there, and I can believe that. It was noticeably more well attended than the rally we attended at the same venue before the primary. There is an FFA convention in town this week, so it was fun to see all of the future farmers with their navy jackets declaring what state they are from. I saw two form Puerto Rico!
Included to the right is a picture from the event that Heather posted on their blog taken from here. We actually are in the picture; Elizabeth went to the trouble of circling us. She's rubbing her eye and I'm wearing shades and my white Obama hat.
After the rally I was fired up enough that I decided to go vote. Today is the first day you can vote at the satellite voting locations, so I went to the J. Everett Light Career Center.
The parking lot was packed and the line was long, stretching out the building and partway down the sidewalk. It wasn't quite as long as as some of them you see on the news, but it was encouraging none-the-less. I'd say that about 20% of the people there were African-American. The two kids in front of me were in high school, had been at the Obama rally, and were going to the Gwar show later that evening. I'm also pretty sure I saw a middle-aged lesbian couple. I feel safe in jumping to the conclusion that these were all likely Obama voters.
Now for the bad news: none of these people actually got to vote, at least not while I was there. They were having a computer problem. They were (paraphrasing here) unable to upload to downtown. Someone was coming to fix it, but it might be two hours before they were able to vote anybody. I had to pick up Paul at the airport, so I couldn't hang around that long.
But I did wait a little longer because there were three or four local politicians there greasing palms and making their pitch to voters as they waited in line (See Campo in the picture to the right). The first one I talked to was Michael W. Rodman, Democrat for Treasurer. He seemed pretty cool, goofy, just trying to seem like a nice guy while wearing an Obama button. He did not feel it neccessary to point out (as previously noted here) that he has a Graduate Degree in business vs. his opponent who has an undergrad theology degree.
Then there was Gabrielle Campo, who I didn't really want to talk to. She's the Republican that was slammed onto the ticket after Jon Elrod chickened out in his race agains Andre Carson. I will say this for Campo; she's much hotter than Sarah Palin. She also seems significantly more liberal than Palin, but not enough so that I (or the majority of the 7th district) would take her over Carson.
Finally, there was Steve Keltner. He's running for Indiana Senater. The incumbant repbulican is being challenged by a democrat who is in the hospital with a serious illness. So Keltner's pitch seemed to be, 'I'm not a Reblublican, and I'm not almost dead. Why not vote for me?' He was very personable and convincing with his pitch. The problem is that since I didn't vote, I came home and researched him a little. The "issues" section of his website seemed to not quite say anything substantial about anything I cared about. I'll have to do some more digging before I figure out if I'm going to float him my vote. He seems to be trying to obscure the fact that he's a Libertarian.
So that was my Politico Thursday...I'll have to try to vote early again sometime soon, hopefully with more success.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Time for a brief break from the election. Believe it or not, I've been thinking about blogging about this topic for some time now. It was The Soup that introduced me to Hip Hop Harry, which is like Barney except you know hip hop and apparently Australian.
Here's his water propaganda song:
I can't resist adding something a little election related...check this out.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Plus, a new poll came out today showing Obama up a couple points in Indiana and up nationally. There are so many polls out---it's hard to know if this means anything, but this article on salon.com is promising.
Don't get me wrong---I am still paranoid, anxious, worried, nervous, and frustrated but also excited and hopeful.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Here's a short clip of the interview where the endorsement comes (I highly recommend you seek the whole thing out---it's worth watching in its entirety).
Also, it may be the least surprising endorsement for Obama, but The Stranger's take is amusing and worth reading anyway.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
***I'll try to post something non-election related soon!***
Thursday, October 16, 2008
For you non-Hoosiers, check your local papers, or for you lucky PNW'ers, start reading those voters guides you receive in the mail.
Can a native Hoosier please tell me why coroner is an elected position? At least for Marion County, the requirements don't seem that strenuous. If I am reading this correctly, you just have to live in the county for a year, receive some training, and "speak for the dead." Both candidates for Marion County have MDs, but the democrat shares my birthday, so that seems like a good enough reason for me...again, why am I voting for coroner? We also vote for surveyor (which is more common I think)...but again, I ask why?
Also, this picture from last night's debate (which Obama won) is unrelated...but still quite amusing. And, if you didn't see it, check out Maddux's blog post from yesterday.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
From The Onion...we could be in trouble...
October 13, 2008 | Issue 44•42
Bakula, who was last seen jumping from the body of a fighter pilot he helped to escape the Bermuda Triangle, will reportedly spend the next three days in the 72-year-old's body, where he will attempt to solve the financial crisis and learn to respect the opinions of young people. Bakula will then be jolted unexpectedly through time into a 1950s-era African-American man, before next landing in the body of a free-loving female Woodstock attendee who must make a very difficult decision about abortion.
Witnesses said they first detected a difference in McCain's demeanor yesterday, when he paused suddenly in the middle of a speech about Obama's tax policies, shook his head and demanded to know what year it was. Others were reportedly confused when McCain abruptly left the stage to find a mirror and softly touched his face while whispering to himself, "Oh, boy. Who am I this time?"
A number of McCain supporters have said they hope Bakula, with the assistance of a cigar-chewing holographic projection known as Al, can help the Republican's chances by gaining ground in key battleground states, making love to his wife for the first time in ages, and staying up late baking a batch of his famous blondies for everyone on the trail. Bakula said he would try to tip the campaign into victory, but his main goal was to teach McCain about what's truly important in life.
As of press time, McCain is projected to lose by more than 150 Electoral College votes.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
We've been gone now 9 months, and I am feeling at home in Indy. I like my job a fair amount now and have found lots of things to like about our new town. It's strange though because Seattle just still feels like home. We've haven't even been gone long enough to see a turnover of waitresses at Easy Street (they do have new menus though). Our old haunts still feel familiar rather than nostalgic. And visiting with friends...well, it just seems like we've waited too long to make plans rather than catching up over a visit. I am sure as time passes, and more things change (like the loss of the cafe at Capers), Seattle will feel more like 'a place we used to live' and less like home, but for now, it's just plain homey. And, I'm okay with that. It doesn't seem like a bad thing. Sure, the nachos at West 5 kick ass but so do the ones at the Broad Ripple Brew Pub (though if I had to choose, I'd go with West 5's). And, it's true that we haven't found a burger as good as a Circa burger or a Vietnamese restaurant like the Tamarind Tree, but we do have an incredible Belgian brewery that has 11 different dipping sauces for their frites. I guess Seattle is now our 'home away from home.'
Sunday, October 5, 2008
As this posts (thanks to delayed posting), I'm on way to Seattle for a conference. I am not sure I'll have time to blog while I'm there...hopefully, Andy will get a post in before I get back (though he still hasn't set up a separate account for himself!).
Friday, October 3, 2008
I'm lousy and don't blog very often anymore (funny what having a job can do to a guy!), and that's partly because of my obsession with the election. Elizabeth and I have both been working hard for Obama when we can, and I check websites (all too) frequently looking for the smallest little nugget of updated election news. I think Pollster is still my favorite of the blog-type sites, but I also spend a lot of time in the War Room on Salon.com, as well as Politico. The story (or perhaps future story) that inspired me to blog is from fivethirtyeight.com, which I somehow was told about by three separate people over the course of about 48 last week. Anyways...the article is about how McCain's few scattered field offices all seem to be as dead as fried chicken, while Obama's offices are always bustling with action and volunteers. But what really got my eye was the last line of the story where the reporter says next they are moving on to Chicago, then to Indiana. There's a huge story unfolding in Indiana. Now that could mean just about anything, but my guess is that it's going to be a story about how a bunch of "Joe Sixpack" Hoosiers like us (Maddux, Kerns, Narwold, et al.) are getting off their asses all across the state and turning this thing blue for the first time since LBJ's '64 landslide. Or maybe it's just a story about how the Colts are 1-2 for the first time in a decade.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Also, no matter what group you belong to, you should be able to find a button declaring your support for Obama. Here are three of my favorites.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
If you didn't see the latest Palin parody on SNL, check it here.
By the way, several people have asked us why we always posted just as StuckeySpalt and not as individuals. The answer, embarrassingly enough, was that we didn't know how to add separate users. Thanks to a 10 second search using the help feature, I have figured it out and added us as separate users.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
We left a couple hours later for a day in Greensburg campaiging for Obama (quite sucessfully...we'll try to post more on that later). We came home around 7 pm to a house (not surprisingly I suppose) filled with chocolate vomit. We've cleaned the downstairs and are working on completely cleaning the upstairs (with the help of a rented steam vacuum). She's damn lucky she's so cute.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
We've been out trying to register voters; in honor of that, I thought I'd post the infographic (minus the graphic) from this week's Onion.
Voter Registration Efforts
As the election grows nearer, many organizations are out in full force to increase voter registration. What are they doing to encourage people to register?
U.S. Auto Manufacturers: Free voter registration and a gallon of gas with the purchase of any light truck or SUV
NOW: Free Grey's Anatomy poster rolled up with every registration form
Rock The Vote: Will spend fruitless hours explaining that you don't technically have to be liberal to be in favor of more people voting
AARP: Offering to register any senior who is able to not accidentally vote for Pat Buchanan
U.S. Army: Automatically registers and votes on behalf of any soldier whose deployment has been extended
NAACP: Announced plans for a record-breaking get-out-the-vote effort that will be undermined by bureaucracy, infighting, and massive administrative costs
American Dental Association: You'd be surprised what people will do just for some free cinnamon floss
Don Howerton of Brighton, MI: Will show unregistered voters a photo of that goddamned dead birch tree Phil Edmund next door still refuses to cut down, and encourage them to vote for someone who will do something about it for Christ's sake
Also, I really enjoyed this Onion video about the impact of Bush's leaving office on the anti-Bush merchandise market.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
And while I'm thinking about it, I've always maintained that I thought Goodman deserved an Oscar nom for that performance, but I've never bothered to look up his competition. Now that I have, I defy you to contend that he wasn't better than at least three performances on this list:
Robert Duvall, A Civil Action
Ed Harris, TheTruman Show
Geoffrey Rush, Shakespeare in Love
Billy Bob Thornton, A Simple Plan
and the winner that year: James Coburn, Affliction
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
Here's a link to the website, and here's a link to their other commercial, where they hate on "city slickers." Outstanding!
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Unrelated to Ben Folds, I came across this highly entertaining blog today, (thanks to one of John's Portland blogs, This Fare City of Portland, Oregon, which is also highly entertaining). Cake Wrecks describes cakes that have entertaining topics, such as the one to the left, or amusing mistakes (for example someone printing "Happy November & December Birthdays - abbreviate Nov. & Dec. if you need to" on top of a cake) as well as some very creative and strange cakes.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
1) Obama raised $10 million after Palin's speech (10 x more than McCain). ROCK!!
2) Dan Savage at the Republican Convention!! "I spoke to a lot of [young republicans] because I've been running around the convention asking teenagers throughout the convention if they're virgins or not. 'Cuz I feel like I have a right to know because we've invested over a billion dollars in abstinence education programs under George Bush."
Thursday, September 4, 2008
We also learned my favorite new sports statistic from a guy sitting next to us. The Milwaukee Brewers are the only team in MLB history to have two players that weigh at least 270 lbs! They are C.C. Sabathia (6'7" 290) and Prince Fielder (5'11" 270).
Andy, not Adam, LaRoche
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
the bar area - check the stained glass
Jackie contemplating her Pious Monk Dunkel
Friday, August 29, 2008
If you missed it, both Gore and Obama gave great speeches last night! Also, I though Hillary kicked ass Tuesday night.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
On a related note, a google image search for "dog trash can" pulled up this Barbie pooper scooper set, which apparently is no longer available for purchase.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Trail 3 winds through a creek bed, and at one point, the only way down (or up since it's a loop) is a series of ladders. Since we brought our 90 pound dog with us, we diverted over to Trail 5 at this point. There's a lot of variety among the 15 or so miles of trails with trails along the river, one that goes straight through the creek bed, a few that head through forests, one that takes you to a covered bridge. Plus, there's a suspension bridge to get to most of the hikes! Also, if you're not into hiking (!!), there's also horseback riding, canoing, and lazing down the river in an inner tube.
Also, a note about our anniversary. We ate the top layer of our cake last week, and it was really frickin' tasty even a year later. Sweet & Savory rocks!!