Sunday, 30 October 2011

That’s life. One minute you’re on top of the world, the next minute some secretary’s running you over with a lawnmower.

Hiiii, guys! So maybe you've noticed Collective HQ has been a little disheveled lately. Some of us are moving and some of us are traveling and some of us are saving the world and some of us are getting chomped up by our careers like little dots in Pac-Man. So we're going to take a tiiiiny vacation. We'll be back some time in December to celebrate the holidays with you. If we DON'T come back it's because Google really did kill Reader and none of us could go on living.


Monday, 24 October 2011

Warewolf bar mitzvah, spooky scary!

Last week's Collective topic was: What are you putting off doing right now. Get it? Because I was supposed to post about what I was putting off doing, but what I was putting off doing was writing my Collective post? Is that even a joke? Is it like that time Alanis Morissette got confused about irony and then got stoned and made out with Carrie Bradshaw, and no matter what, that had to be better than every single time that Carrie Bradshaw made out with Aidan Shaw because he is the worst person on earth? Does anyone have any idea what the heck I'm talking about? ME NEITHER.

Anyway, so this week's Collective topic is: Halloweiner stories!

And here's mine:

Once upon a time, a family went on a train ride to a pumpkin patch.

The greatest aunt in all the world tried to help the greatest nephew in all the world pick out the greatest pumpkin in all the world.

Like usual, the nephew was all, "I can have one? Awesome. I'll have two."

But they were too heavy and so he just got one.

But even carrying one pumpkin is exhausting for a tiny, little lamb. Good thing the greatest aunt in all the world was there to carry him back to the train.

The end.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Phone it in Friday: Wait, do we still do this?

How is there not a mashup between BNL's ("Oh, okay, they're BNL now?") Who Needs Sleep?:

And that episode of The X-Files where those soldiers can't sleep. It's called SLEEPLESS. It is relevant to our interests.

Anyway. What do you guys do when you can't sleep (besides cry and curse the world)?

Thursday, 13 October 2011


Jennie   We close on our house on Friday. FRIDAY. FRIIIIIIIDAAAAAAAAAY. That's tomorrow, for those keeping track at home. I keep saying it but it still doesn't feel real. I mean, it did a little earlier when I transferred a gajillion dollars from savings to checking to cover the down payment on Friday but still. No keys, no reality. Or something. I don't know.

I feel on the verge of hysteria, if that makes sense. I'm a planner, a list maker, a collector of worries and what-ifs, so for the next two weeks, I'm afraid I will be totally balls out crazy, even though I don't have any balls to get out! What? I don't know! When I get like this I just feel bad for everyone around me because I am in Planning Mode 24/7. Yes, that's right, even if I'm sleeping (HAHAHA AS IF I CAN SLEEP), I'm making To Do lists or something equally boring in my dreams. Which pisses me off, because who wants to waste dream time PLANNING? I don't. If you do, great, you can have my list-making dream. Throw me back into that dream I was having about Iron Man saving me from aliens, PLEASE AND THANK YOU.

Anyway. I have a sneaking suspicion that I won't be sleeping well until we're in the new house. And even then, I won't sleep well until every last box is unpacked. Until then, I'll just continue waking up at 3 AM, sure I forgot to call someone or do something important and I won't be able to fall back to sleep and I'll lie there and get angrier and angrier at Joe, who never seems to have trouble sleeping, and I'll count the hours until I have to get up and then I will cry all the tears ever teared because I'M JUST. SO. TIRED.

So that'll be fun. At least I know all of you will be awake, too, and AS YOU MAY BE AWARE from, like, life and stuff, misery loves company so HELLO COMPANY I AM MISERY.

Here is a picture of a baby penguin:


Wednesday, 12 October 2011

What's fixed can always be broken.

Timely, this, for I've not slept in many nights, and tired I am. When one shares one's bed with another the insomnia is doubly stressful, for not only does one fret about not falling asleep, one also frets about keeping the other awake. Oh, I am weary, and since seven this morning a steady stream of contractors has marched up and down my stairs, and all last night I thought with relish how I'd like to blow this house to smithereens.

So that's how you can spend your wakeful nocturnal hours: taking a sledgehammer to these hateful, hated walls.

Monday, 10 October 2011

wynken, blyken, and nod one night sailed off in a wooden shoe

AbsI've never been a napper, even when I'm exhausted beyond belief, so when it gets dark out and I'm all situated I fall asleep pretty painlessly.

Unless, of course, I've done something stupid.

Like drink Diet Coke after 2 pm.

For the longest time I thought that the caffeine didn't affect me? Like I didn't feel the difference I thought? And then I entered a period of my life where I was having the hardest time falling asleep and I don't think DC is entirely to blame, but it certainly wasn't helping. So I stopped the night time consumption and things seemed to get better. And now, when I break my rules, I don't get tired for hours ad I lay in bed BEMOANING my situation.

And what do I do? Where do I direct my rage?

First I use the excuse to do stuff on Heather's list that I normally might feel too guilty doing. Like watching a lot of TV or starting a Stieg Larrson book when I know both things will keep me up much longer than I actually would be.

If the conditions aren't right for that or I feel above it then I tell myself I should be doing all the stuff that I say I don't have time for or I'm too tired to do. Because staying up is the gift of time. So I try to tackle my work email but it's too haaaaard and I tell myself I should do laundry or clean the bathroom or take a shower but the thing is, I'm not less tired now, I'm just still awake. So they still feel impossible. And so I throw myself back into bed and turn the lights off again. And make myself wait 20 minutes before fiddling with my phone some more.

And then I go back to my vices. To playing on my phone. To finding some show on Megavideo I haven't mainlined yet. To reading a scary scary book. Eventually I fall asleep for a few hours and then I have wake up and act as though I've had a full night's sleep. Because adults are supposed to foolishly stay up all night for fun. And that's what it becomes. Instead of suffering the consequences of my bad decision, I just make it worse LIKE A MORON!

But I'm not the only one, right?

You’re cozy and warm in your bed, my dear. Please go the f*!k to sleep.

I hail from a family of Olympic-caliber sleepers. It's my grandpa's genetics, I think, the way we Hogans can sleep on planes and trains and hot air balloons and on the floor and on the couch and occasionally at traffic lights. When I was but a wee lass, I was too terrified of burglars to even shut my eyes, but my dad finally stuck a fan in my room as loud as a jet engine, and after that, I became a champion sleeper too. I don't just like to sleep; I've got to sleep, or else I am the absolute worst and you'll end up punching me in the head before lunch time.

I gave up caffeine (again) about six weeks ago, and so I've been sleeping better than ever lately. Except for last Saturday night. See, last Saturday night I took some kind of time-release nasal decongestant and every time it time-released (like every seventeen seconds) it jolted me into wide-awakeness. I knew as I was lying there that this week's Collective topic is: What do you do when you can't sleep? And probably I should have just gotten up and written my post, but I couldn't, because the thing I do when I can't sleep is get angrier and angrier and angrier and ANGRIER AND ANGRIER AND ANGRIER.


And then, instead of just being mad at the night, I start getting mad at everything. TV shows that ended when I was like 11. Third books in trilogies that didn't live up to the previous books' hype. Companies that discontinued my favorite snacks. Commercial jingles that get stuck in my head. People who cut me off in traffic back when I had my learner's permit a hundred years ago. Just ... everything. All the things.

Anyway, last Saturday, I finally just got up and went for a hike so I could take some sunrise photos, and while I was waiting on the mountain bike trail for the sun to do its morning thing, I made a list of things it's worth staying up all night to do:

1) Make out
2) Read Harry Potter
3) Re-read Harry Potter
4) Or maybe read other excellent books
5) Midnight movies
6) Marathon TV
7) Explore new cities
8) Pub shenanigans
9) Night time kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, etc.
10) To win any kind of competition

Otherwise, brain:

Thursday, 6 October 2011

"Taste bud orgasm"? Sure, OK.


2011 has been a real quest-y year for me. Mostly it's been about the quest of keeping my genetic predisposition for anxiety from clobbering me every time I turn around. Or, like, lassoing in my ADHD. But also I have been on a journey to find The Perfect Sandwich. And I haven't been passive about it, either. It's not like I'm sitting around waiting for The Perfect Sandwich to fall into my lap. I've been out on the street asking people where to get The Perfect Sandwich, and then visiting that place to see if they're right. (They're usually not. Subway, sir? Really? Punch yourself in the face.)

So earlier this week, I'm in a restaurant in Queens that only serves grilled cheese sandwiches and beer, and I ordered myself a grilled cheese with Gouda with black bean hummus, guava jam and pickled jalapeƱos. It was — I don't even know how to describe it. Wait, yes I do: It was a taste bud orgasm. And not like, "Thanks. That was nice. Hand me the channel changer, will you?" But more like, "Just give me a second; I think I might be paralyzed from AWESOMENESS." You know?

It was maybe the most delicious thing I have ever put in my mouth. I had to pep talk myself to finish it because halfway through, I nearly had a meltdown about how I didn't deserve something so perfect.

So anyway, my current favorite sandwich is this guy:


Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Abigail's Top Favorite iPhone Apps

My homescreen where I have the most often used apps organized.

AbsIn honor of today's forthcoming iPhone announcement (!!!), I figured I talk about my favorite apps. There are over 20 apps I access on a daily basis and while I can't live without some of them, I can't recommend them all either so this definitely is not an app tour. It's a Schilbo-curated list.

I no longer look up movie times on the regular internet on a computer (or in the newspaper, but I haven't looked them up in the newspaper since 2001). Flixster tells you the movies and show times for nearby theaters as well as the theaters on your "favorites" list. You can view trailers, Rotten Tomatoes ratings, and box office figures all within the app. You can even buy tickets within the app if you're really nervous about getting a seat.

This health and exercise app has exercise tutorials, workout logs, routines, food & calorie tracking, weight & measurement tracking, etc., etc. It does everything and takes your data to show you beautiful charts. Since my health drama of this summer I've been on a strict diet to keep my tummy happy. This app has been super helpful in tracking both what I've eaten and what shape my body is taking. I've used the fitness stuff in the past too and it's super easy to log in 45 crunches or look up a good arm workout (I'm currently not supposed to be active so I haven't gotten to use this part recently).

I've always loved the concept of Goodreads--a place where you can review and track books you've read and see other reviews including insight from your friends. But I found the website clunky and annoying. Now that they have this easy click through app, I'm more involved. I've finally deferred to using their to-read-shelf function instead of keeping a google doc with that info. Plus, you can barcode scan a book when you're at the library or bookstore and instantly see what people are thinking (kind of like checking Rotten Tomatoes before renting a movie).

Bet you didn't know Chipotle was my favorite restaurant. OH WAIT, of course you know that. Chipotle's online app will tell you where the nearest location is but will also let you order and pay online. The order interface is super easy to use and regularly on my work trips we pass around my phone so everyone can put it their own order. The app can save all your credit card info securely so you don't even have to have your wallet handy to place this order. When you arrive at the store they have your food waiting for you so you get to skip the line, plus everyone's names are written on their burritos.

I rarely pay attention to sports but am almost surrounded by people who do. And since I understand the need for information, I'm happy to use my magic phone to look up scores, penalties, start times, and other important sports details. This apps has every type of collegiate and pro sport and more features that I've ever been able to even explore. I usually just use the score check feature, but a few years ago I was able to use their play-by-play posts to keep up with an Angels World Series game. It only lags about 20 seconds behind TV and works in a pinch when you're sitting in an auditorium unable to actually watch the game.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

She would like to go out with you for texting and scones.

Jennie Since I didn't get to babble about television last week and since one of my favorite things to babble about is television, I'm using this week's topic (Current Favorite WHATEVER) as an excuse to babble about my current favorite television shows. I don't know why I keep writing television instead of TV...what am I, fancy? I don't think so.

Also, I like to make lists. So here is a list of my current favorite TV shows and by current favorite, I mean shows currently airing even though my ACTUAL list of current favorite TV shows would include Mad Men and Friday Night Lights and whatnot but since those aren't ACTUALLY CURRENTLY AIRING, I left them off of my list, which I think makes this the first time I've never cheated at making lists and omg can you believe this sentence hasn't ended yet? 


1. Downton Abbey

I'm so excited this show is (almost) back. I watched the first season on Netflix Instant because Kat told me to and I watched it all in one weekend, probably putting off other important things I was supposed to be doing, like laundry and cleaning and showering, but it was worth it. 


2. Doctor Who

Although I'm not as emotionally invested in the travels of the 11th Doctor as I was in the 9th and 10th (I hardly ever cry until I can't see when I watch the Moffat-era episodes also I'm not the biggest fan of the River Song storyline YEAH I SAID IT), I'm still completely obsessed and feel very sad face that the latest season is over. I very much enjoy Matt Smith's antics and am looking forward to next season's Amy-and-Rory-less shenanigans. Still:


That's me right now.

Also, Joe and I just had a long discussion about why we prefer Davies-era Who to Moffat-era Who but still like the Moffat episodes of Davies era Who the most and I thought about sharing all of it but didn't want to alienate everyone who has no idea what I'm talking about right now.

3. How I Met Your Mother

This show feels like I'm hanging out with my friends. Even when it's bad, I still find it comforting to watch. Sort of like Friends. I no longer give a shit who the mother is, only that Barney marries Robin and they have lots of scotch-loving babies.

4. Community

Community makes me happy in ways I can't describe. So I'm not going to try. When I watch Community, I feel like this: WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

5. Parks & Recreation

I think Parks & Rec is a more consistent show than Community, and still I think I like Community more. On most days. On days after episodes like The Fight, Parks & Rec is my favorite shows of all the shows.


6. Fringe

We finally caught up on past seasons and are now watching the show live, which probably means it'll be cancelled soon. SORRY. That's just what happens. Much like How I Met Your Mother, even when I don't like what the show is doing (omg Bellivia wtf), I still enjoy watching it. (I also love The Soup.)

I've also been watching The Secret Circle, mostly because I double heart loved the books when I was but a wee tweenager. I tried watching Ringer (NO) and Revenge (VERY YES) but haven't watched any other new shows because those are the only ones TiVo recorded and I do what TiVo tells me. Duh.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Presenting the Class of 2011-2012!

Abs I broke the rules and wrote this myself since I had a lot to say. But I think breaking the rules is actually this week’s theme anyway!

Biggest Tease: Castle
I caught up on this procedural over the summer to help overcome my disappointment with the Bones finale. See, many comparisons are made between shipping Bones and shipping Castle so I mainlined all three seasons in about a week. I definitely ship Castle and Beckett, only slightly more so than Beckett and myself (Fillion is cool, but not my type). But last season’s cliffhanger finale written for shippers is--OF COURSE--not resolved in the way we would have hoped. And so I’ll wait all season for those two to get their act together. And pray it doesn’t get all wrecked Bones-style.

Class Clown: How I Met Your Mother
I’ve given up on this show ever going anywhere, but it still makes me laugh a lot so I don’t really care where it goes. Bang bang bangity bang.

Best Smile: Hart of Dixie
I will take Bilson in whatever form I possibly can. A Josh Schwartz show seals the deal. Lite and funny with some cute boys? I’m down.

Most Relatable: Unforgettable
Alright, I don’t have this girl’s crazy good memory (it’s a disease that only a handful of people in the world have), but I do have a bit of memory situation. I like to think I could fight crime with it. Especially when paired with my investigatory journalist skillz. Besides making it about me, it’s also interesting because there is one day she can’t remember. The day her sister was murdered. Intrigue.

Most Overrated: New Girl
New Girl is this year’s Glee which is to say New Girl is a completely overrated show that is being inexplicably darlinged. I could barely handle the pilot and it’s most likely going downhill and fast. And yet I imagine people will cling to it and that Zooey D. Eye. Roll.

Most Likely to Succeed: Modern Family
Make that already succeeded--with a near perfect sweep at the Emmy’s, this show is on the track for can-do-no-wrong backlash. In fact, I’ve already heard some retro-backlash. But I’m rooting for it anyway.

Most Anticipated: Revenge
This show is just the perfect kind of thing I want from TV. I thought the pilot was really, really strong and even though the second ep dragged in bits (Eric Van der Woodsen snoozefest) I still feel a lot of promise. This is the show I’m looking forward to each week. Emily VanCamp is an actor inside of an actor and the rageaholic inside of me is totally impressed and in awe of her character’s life-destroying actions. Bring ‘em all down, Amanda!

Cutest Couple: Up All Night
While I dutifully love Applegate and Arnett as sexy-funny-cool couple, it’s Ava that’s bringing me back each week. Maya Rudolph is simply genius.

Biggest Disappointment: Bones
While this won’t actually be coming back until November due to Emily Desch’s real life baby, I’m already filled with regret. Like I mentioned above, I found the finale really disappointing because it was important to me as a shipper to see Brennan and Booth get together. To see them choose each other instead of every other alternative that’s happened over the last six years. But we were robbed of that and everything I’ve read about the seventh season promises no paying of damages. Sad face.

Most Likely to Become President: Parks & Recreation
This is my favorite comedy on the air right now. Knope 2012.

Least Likely to Succeed: The Office
After appreciating Michael’s last season and feeling the show was out of it’s slump, I wasn’t super impressed with this season’s premiere. I’m hoping the show pulls itself together, but emotional women jokes should always be made by Michael Scott, not the actual writers of the show. I’m curious to see if the ratings tank sans the world’s best boss.

Most Improved: Chuck
This is more of a wish and a hope and a dream. I used to love this show and last year it was my most anticipated. But this last season was all over the place and a pretty big disappointment for me. It got renewed again despite it’s poor ratings (which were pretty good compared to it's timeslot replacement, the failing Playboy Club) and this is officially the final season. Show, please, please, please end well.

Best Dressed: Pan Am
This show is just delicious. I thought it was just going to be pretty ladies doing pretty things in the past and likely boring or enraging me a la Mad Men. But it’s actually really great! And there’s even intrigue! And the pretty ladies are totally bad ass!

Visit TV Guide for complete show listings.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

When I forget about Guest Post week, I just make Joe write something at the last minute. I rule!

No, Kevin Spacey, I RULE.

TV Talk, with Joe Baxenwald

So, TV, then. Let’s talk about television. Cathode ray tubes and what-not. Invisible information traveling through space and time, beaming into a machine in your home, displaying pictures and creating sounds for one to see and/or hear. It sounds like science-fiction, does it not? Like some fantastical product of The World of Tomorrow?

Don’t be an idiot, it’s just TV. Pretty much everyone has one. A lot people have more than one. Some people have a TV in every room of their home, and a few people even have them in their bathrooms. I consider this to be overkill – partly because I have a TiVo and can thus pause television when I have to use the potty, but mostly because I don’t want to ever associate episodes of my favorite TV shows with going really bad twosies. For forty minutes. Because it just won’t stop.


The Fall television season is upon us, and with it a veritable legion of new shows to watch and discuss. I have a confession to make: I don’t care. Most of those new shows can stick it in their twosies-holes for all I care. Sure, there’s The New Girl, which we’ve watched the first episode of and enjoyed. There’s Revenge, which was fun, and I could see being very good depending on where it goes.

I’m interested in a few new shows, for various reasons. I’m curious about The Playboy Club and Pan-Am for the reason that I’m pretty sure the networks want me to be – they remind me of Mad Men. I haven’t watched either yet, but may get around to it. I’m also planning to watch Prime Suspect. I’ve not seen the original series, but I’ve heard nothing but good about that, and after the disappointment of The Killing (watched three episodes, was bored, gave up), I have high hopes for PS. Plus I hear that Maria Bello absolutely owns it, which is awesome. I also hear that the new Thundercats cartoon, which premiered recently and totally qualifies for this, is pretty awesome. I’ve got the first episode of that TiVo’ed as well.

But then there’s Ringer. Oh, poor, poor Ringer. Or, I should say, poor Buffy. Maybe she gets paid twice as much for playing two characters? How does that work? Does anyone know? That’s the only scenario in which I can see Sarah Michelle Gellar reading this script and thinking, ‘That’s great stuff, I can’t wait to do this.’

Heh heh.

So Ringer, The New Girl, and Revenge are the only new shows that we’ve watched. Sure, we watched the season premieres of How I Met Your Mother (steady), Modern Family (great), Community (fantastic), Parks & Recreation (also fantastic), The Office (best it’s been in a while), and Fringe (buh-waaaah?), but those aren’t new, they’re returning, and thus do not count. Although I love them all, so go watch them. Community, Parks & Rec, and Fringe are definitely Must-Watch TV.


There is one show that I really do want to watch at some point, though. It’s not new, but it is returning. It’s The Good Wife. I saw one episode of it during its first season, and I loved it, but I never came back to it because I didn’t start at the beginning. It has great people on it (Carol Hathaway, Detective Mike Logan, and Dan Rydell!), and several friends have told me that it’s really good. That’s one I want to watch sooner rather than later. I know, a CBS drama that I want to watch! The world must be ending. As long as it doesn’t end before I find out what’s going on with Peter Bishop on Fringe, I’m okay with it.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Well, things at Collective HQ are a little glitchy this week, as you can probably tell from Heather's post on Monday and Abigail's lack of post yesterday (don't worry, it's a-comin'). I myself have been trying to get a guest post out of Winston for the last two days but he's been a bit uncooperative on account of being real sick. So in lieu of any words from this kid here:


perhaps you'd like to read some of his antics here. And one day, ONE DAY, maybe we'll get our collective asses together.

Monday, 26 September 2011

I speak six languages, two of which you've never heard of.


me: i need a giant favor
10:32 PM Amy: where are you?
me: in my office.
10:33 PM Amy: i thought you had to watch pan am so you can recap it.
10:34 PM me: i will in just a second, but i need you to write a collective post for me for tomorrow. it's guest post week and i totally forgot.
10:35 PM Amy: you forgot? that is shocking.
10:36 PM Amy: i hate writing, you know that. what do you need?
me: can you just write one teeeensy post about what tv show everyone should be watching this fall
10:38 PM Amy: isn't that your job? like your actual job?
10:39 PM me: yes, but it's guest post week, and anyway, i am fucking bored to death of my own opinions about tv. plllllleeeeeeaaaase.
Amy: yes, if you'll come down here and make me some brown sugar toast.
me: thank you! ok, how about something like "the five criteria for choosing which fall shows to watch."
10:42 PM Amy: okay. 1) is it bones?
me: lol, ok.
Amy: 2) does it have any australian guys in it?
3) does it have any australian guys in it who take off their shirts a lot?
4) does it have any australian guys in it who take off their shirts a lot and drive sexy cars?
5) does it have any australian guys in it who take off their shirts a lot and drive sexy cars while shooting guns?
10:45 PM me: so, hawaii five-0, is what you are saying?
Amy: and bones.
10:51 PM me: what if booth was australian?
Amy: he would live in the Commonwealth of My Pants
10:52 PM me: thanks, you've been a big help.
Amy: i'm sensing your sarcasm.
me: good, 'cause i'm laying it on pretty thick.
11:27 PM Amy: dude. where's my brown sugar toast?

Thursday, 22 September 2011

get your shit together

JennieI feel like I've typed a million of these posts. You know the one. The "I'm going to cook more!" post. The one that turns into, "I love cooking!" that turns into "I haven't been cooking as much as I'd like," to "We've ordered pizza for dinner for the past six days!" to "My pants don't fit!" to "I'm going to cook more!"

It's a vicious cycle, is what I'm saying, and I'm stuck somewhere between "My pants don't fit!" and "I'm going to cook more!" only we're moving in a month so YEAH I'm probably not going to be cooking more for at least a month and a half. But I can try.

The first thing I do, before trying any recipe, is I Google the hell out of any and all variations of it because WHAT IF THERE IS A BETTER RECIPE OUT THERE. I have a problem, and the fact that practically all information EVER is at my fingertips is not helping. Eventually, I stop searching and decide on a recipe. Then I read it and Google anything I don't understand, like roux or braise. The Googling process can take a while. It's sort of like internet dating.

Anyway. Today! Today we are baking Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting. I know. Hold onto your butts. I was going to type the recipe for you but just click on that link instead, OK? Lazy.

Since I already picked out the recipe and I think I know what all of the instructions mean, the next step is to check the kitchen to see what ingredients I already have. Usually I have, oh, about none of them, so I have to go to the grocery store, which is one of my least favorite things to do on account of all the people there, all up in my business. The one thing I do like about going to the grocery is that I get to make a list.

Once I buy all of the ingredients, I head home and realize I'm too tired to cook anything because OMG YOU GUYS I WORK FOR A LIVING AND ALL I WANT TO DO WHEN I GET HOME IS WATCH RERUNS OF MAD MEN UNTIL IT'S TIME TO SLEEP.

Ahem. OK, this DOES sometimes happen, but usually I can shame myself into cooking by thinking about all the money I just spent and how the food might go bad if I don't cook it right then.

Time to start cooking! I learned from Kat that you should always start by getting your mise en place, which means "get your shit together," basically. I put all the ingredients on the counter (usually in the order I need them! nerd!), as well as any measuring spoons/cups I might need. Then I read the recipe like five times because it's usually at this point that I think I've forgotten something really important. But I don't think that I did this time. I guess we'll find out.

I made the frosting the night before the cookies because I can only handle so much cooking in one night. After I made the frosting, I had to restrain myself from taking a spoon and eating it all right then and there because it was SO GOOD. I mean, it's cream cheese, butter, a ton of powdered sugar, and MAPLE SYRUP, how could it NOT be good? I'm glad I made it early, though, because it was a bit runny and needed to be in the refrigerator to set, I think. Oh! If you do this, make sure to take the frosting out of the fridge so it can get to room temperature before you try and ice the cookies with it. Otherwise it'll be all hard and unspready (technical term). Although, I let mine get to room temperature and it was still too runny, so what do I know? Whatever, the first time you try a recipe, it doesn't count.

Time for the cookies! Wheeeeee! Actually, I'm not really sure they're cookies. They taste like muffin tops. But let's call them cookies because I'm not sure what else to call them.

After making the frosting, making the cookies shouldn't be all that hard, right? You just mix all the shit together that you didn't already mix together for frosting, bake it, and BOOM cookies. Midway through whisking all the shit together, I remembered that I have a super fancy stand mixer that I probably should have used but I was too busy pretending I was in Potions class so let's move on, shall we?

Don't be frightened if your batter looks like vomit.
Also midway through, I tried one of the cookies. This was a huge mistake because A) I hadn't eaten dinner yet and B) IT WAS DELICIOUS. So delicious that I wanted to eat the rest while I waited for more to bake AND I HADN'T EVEN ADDED FROSTING YET.

So after like a million hours, all of your cookies will be done. Let them cool and be careful not to burn yourself. If you're like me, when you do inevitably burn yourself, stick your fingers in the frosting that's still cool from the fridge. DOCTORED.

Burny. Except not really because these aren't cookied yet. BURN. YES. Nailed it.
The cookies will take what feels like forever to cool and you'll want to eat them all but DON'T. Or do. I don't care. It's your life. If you don't eat them, though, slap some frosting in between two of them, squish them together, and EAT THEM ALL LIKE YOU ARE THE COOKIE MONSTER. Or Whoopie Pie Monster. Whatever.

I meant to take a picture of the finished product but I forgot. This is why I leave the professional food blogging to Kat. Just go look at these pictures some more.

Recipe is from Brown Eyed Baker. All shitty pictures are from ME.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

How to Bake a Pie

Bottom Crust:

For two weeks at least where I went so too did The Sound and the Fury, yet not once did I read beyond the front cover. I carried that book like a shield from place to place, from home and back again. But it wasn't protection I needed, it was something to hide behind. It kind of worked.

Sunday afternoon I moseyed on down to the hardware store, bought a big ol' bag of dirt, repotted my choking mint and overcrowded basil. In a smaller pot I sowed a few chervil seeds and with the rest of that soil replaced the summer's wildflowers with what will hopefully be a tiny garden of arugula and winter lettuces. Three flights up I've hoarded myself a bit of earth, and though I'll never be able to live off the fat of the land at least I can look forward to a peppery salad.

It's a little thing.

deck sunflower


A half peck of New York State apples I found waiting for me on my desk, "Mr. Mitchell agreed with me that you should have these," he said after I looked behind with one eyebrow raised. I half expected to find tiny little hearts carved into the skin of each one, but in my relief at finding them all unbruised there was perhaps a twinge of disappointment just the same. Joe as ever was slightly less subtle. "Where are the cookies?" he hollered, no hello after his long flight from Atlanta, no how's life, how's the house, how's the boyfriend. "I'm protesting," I replied.

Because, as ever, I am.

Top Crust:

"Do you still post on your food blog?" Seth asked next morning; "apparently Kristen's still checking." [ed: Hi, Kristen!] And golly, how to answer that. In my head I post every day but things have a way of getting in the way. My intentions are good but like everything else I do the execution leaves room for a great good amount of improvement. I don't know, I just miss my old kitchen I guess.

I'm running out of excuses.


Once upon a time the hardest decision was what to make for dinner. Protein, starch, veg. Glass of red or white. He threw a wad of cash on the bar and left to sign some daycare papers, I pulled on my sweater as the cold air rushed in behind. Our last warm day has come and gone and too late I've realized I ate hardly any peaches this year. I've half a peck of New York State apples but nary a peach in sight. It's not the same.

But nothing's ever the same, not really. Except for when it kind of is? I broke another office personality test last week, NO TALKING, NO TOUCHING this one hollered at me. "I can't tell if I should do the complete opposite or use this as an excuse," I whispered. I mean, I don't know, sometimes it's all about the path of least resistance.

(He said we'd always be a part of one another's life, but I guess that's just one of those things you say.)