PThe Nightingale and the Rose, Oscar Wilde

        The Sorrows of Young Werther, Goethe


        Way behind on all crochet.
        It is NaNoNovember!

        anandadaydream's Profile Page

        blogger profile
        library thing

        desert songs
        amaranth and jasmine
        my lj


        Amaranthus, continued (NaNoWriMo 2010)
        untitled (2009)
        untitled (2008)
        Amaranthus (NaNoWriMo 2007)
        untitled (2006)
        Beneath the Dust (2005)
        Mortal Angel (2005)

        quid pro quo
        modernday phoenix
        life of a naturefreak

        lesbian pirates
        questionable content
        the dreamer
        joe the circle

        101 cookbooks
        i can haz cheezburger

        the hunger site
        the ONE campaign
        amnesty international


        the quote lists:
        summer 2004
        (rest to come once I get them online again~)

          the massive archives:
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          12/16/2001 - 12/23/2001
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          01/09/2011 - 01/16/2011
          01/30/2011 - 02/06/2011

As suspected, curry DOES get a loooot spicier when it's been allowed to sit for a few days. Holy cow.

(On another food-related note: OMFG MY DOUGH ROSE!!!!!!! I was so excited. It took crazy long, because the directions I was using neglected to remind me to add sugar while proofing the yeast, but, OMG, IT ROSE!!!!!!!!!! and the bread was, and is, delicious.)

I am having SUCH a happy birthday. Like I really am REALLY, really happy right now! It's such a nice thing.

I got to open my presents from Tom this morning:

THE softest, fuzziest, warmest, snuggliest robe EVER, and cozy pj pants. I've been sooo jealous of Tom's fleece-ish bathrobe'n'pants, I steal them every now and again, but now I have my own and I cannot even tell you how soft this robe is. I literally looked forward to coming home all day, just to wear it.

I did have to work, but Ann and Bruce got me a cake - and, just like last year, I spoiled the surprise by bumping into them as they were carrying it up front for everyone. oops. But everybody sang, and laughed and had fun for a bit up front, I blew out the candle, and the cake was a delicious one.

Of course, Chad had saved me an absolutely evil banner to deal with, but that was okay, I actually got it to turn out pretty well. (This guy had brought in a cut'n'paste job he'd done on his own computer... printed out a digital photo of some guy's head, then drawn and colored - in crayon - a cartoon body. We had to scan it and put it on a banner. Scanning something that was printed on someone's home ink jet is ALWAYS, always awful. Fortunately, I have a good stash of tricks up my sleeve by now.)

We didn't get in a fresh batch of Webkinz, which would have been an ideal birthday job, but, WE GOT PEEPS!!! These adorable little Peep-shaped baskets with a sleeve of Peeps stuck inside. And then! TOYS!!! Little fluffy Peeps that make peeping noises, and sparkley keychains, and all sorts of ridiculousness. TOO freaking cute.

When the evening crew started trickling in, Kate and Sam made me a birthday sash, out of birthday wrapping paper and a paper star proclaiming "it's my birthday!", and copious amounts of curled ribbon. I did actually wear it for an hour or so, but I nearly ripped it like five times, so took it off after awhile.

Toward closing, I picked myself out a Peep - a cute little blue plush one, that you pull back and it'll roll across the floor on little wheels, making peeping sounds all the while. <3 I'd thought about balloons, and decided to see if there were any mylars I wanted. I was torn between My Little Pony, Strawberry Shortcake, and Care Bears, but the Care Bears one had the best colors, and it says "Have a Rainbow Birthday", which made me too happy. While I was blowing it up, I noticed Sam, one of my co-workers, was also picking out some balloons. I asked who she was getting them for, and she said, "Actually, this one is for you." !!! So I now have two balloons tied to my desk, a Care Bears one and a purple Happy Birthday one. And the sash is flung over another corner. It's making me really, really happy. I got wished a happy birthday like a million times at work, I really do work with the best group of people. :)

I glanced at my phone as we got ready to lock up, and found a message from Tom, who had to work tonight. He took me out to dinner at Applebee's last night, since he had to work until 1am tonight... but!! For all the crap WalMart deals out to their employees, Tom's immediate boss is a pretty great guy. He and the other guys working offered to pick up the extra slack, and let Tom go home at 9:30, so he could spend the evening with me. Sam gave me a ride over to Wendy's (which is right next door, but the weather was AWFUL tonight, we couldn't see more than five feet ahead, had no clue where the road was in places), and I hung out and had a chocolate milkshake 'til Tom got there. We went and picked up a chocolate cake and some mint chocolate chip ice cream, and then came home.

I tied my balloons to my desk, and ran upstairs to put on my robe. <333 Then I went online and found soooo many birthday messages all over my facebook, and it *so* made my night. It really did. Also Mom sent me a Star Wars e-card, which was highly entertaining. (And no, I didn't miss the 'getting old' jokes in it... but honestly, I have heard the "ohh, so you're a quarter of a century old!" comment from like four different people today, so my tolerance level's pretty high.)

After awhile, I heard Tom rummaging around in the cupboards, and eventually he came over and gave me a forlorn look. "...where are the candles?"

A few minutes later, he turned off the light, and walked out of the kitchen, carrying the cake toward me, the only light coming from the candles arranged (evenly spaced, neatly arranged, this is Tom) around the edge of the cake. And he did in fact sing.


I am such a happy thing right now. I reallyreally am. Tom's offered to do whatever I'd like all night, and I honestly don't even know, I'm so warm and content right now.

And, omg, this robe is AMAZING. <333

In more entertaining news, two stories. The first is rated G3 for blood-related goriness. The second is rated G9 for mega-geekage. You have been warned.

1. Along with new silverware, Tom also bought us some new kitchen knives for Christmas. Just a small set of four mid-size knives, to replace our old ones, which were from the college kitchen-in-a-box sets, and whose blades are now falling out of their handles.

A day or so after Christmas, I was getting ready to do up a big load of dishes. I decided that while I'd hold off on the big set of silverware until I was more caught up on dishes, adding the four knives wouldn't be a big deal. The blades were encased in that ridiculously stubborn kind of plastic, that's shaped to exactly fit the contents, and has that thick border around the edges, that's an absolute nightmare to deal with. Glancing around, I didn't see any scissors offhand, but on the table was this odd little Swiss army sort of kitchen tool, whose corkscrew we'd been making use of. It also had a pretty sturdy little blade, so I decided to take that to the plastic, and just cut into the edge enough to pry the thing open.

I honestly don't know at what point the knife slipped, but, suddenly I had the sickening realization that I'd plunged the blade full-force deeply into my finger, and I was bleeding all over the place. Very nearly Monty Python style bleeding, I'd never bled that much at once in my *life*. I ran over to the sink and turned on the cold water, plunging my finger under it, trying to keep calm and figure out what I should do - and calling loudly for Tom.

I am rather proud of the fact that I really did stay pretty calm, I didn't scream or anything, just, called a little desperately for Tom to come down right away. As he came down, I watched the blood continue to pour out of my finger and into the sink.

Of course, the sink *would* just happen to clog up, and so was rapidly filling with blood-colored water. I was just thinking to myself, relieved that I wasn't going to be one of those people who fainted at the sight of blood.

Tom came down, and as we debated what to put on the wound (paper towel would stick too badly, but we were pretty sure we were out of band-aids), Tom remembered the emergency car kit my grandparents had gotten him for Christmas. Miracle of all miracles, it contained a small first aid kit. He ran out to get it, but it was a good few minutes more before I could bring myself to pull my finger out from the stream of freezing water.

I'd been feeling very relieved that I wasn't going to be one of those people who faints at the sight of a lot of a blood...and not ten seconds after that thought, realized I was feeling woozy. Tom was hovering near, and as I slowly sat down on the floor (still holding my finger over the sink), my vision started blackening around the edges and fading out - just like it did the one time I *did* faint. It was a near thing this time, but it faded back away after a minute - probably once I stopped looking at the sink full of bloodwater. x_x I didn't *feel* freaked out, but Tom and I both figured it was just a physiological side-effect of my brain seeing an awful lot of blood leak out of me.

Tom slathered some iodine over the cut, and bandaged it up pretty nicely. He was very sweet, and though he started cracking jokes about it a liiittle too soon, god did he keep me calm through the whole thing. I spent the rest of the night curled up sedately in bed, reading, fighting to keep my mind off the finger which hurt SO, so bad, for hours afterward. It's now, what, a week, week and a half later, and I think yesterday was the first day I went around the whole day without a band-aid on it. It was pretty gruesomely black and blue around the area for a few days, but is almost healed now.

I think it is important to note the irony of the fact that I stabbed myself with a knife while opening... a package of knives.

The second story is briefer and less traumatic.

2. Tom is currently downloading a HIGH-QUALITY! COMPLETE!! torrent of all the Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes. It is something like 60gb in size. But we are very excited. Tom, being an impatient person, has been watching episodes as soon as they download - in some cases, *before* they've quite finished downloading, which leads to the occasional video glitch. Last night we were watching a few episodes, and I was getting a little giggly, and having just watched "The Naked Now" (a rip-off of the original Star Trek episode of the same name, wherein everyone get an illness that makes them act drunk), I decided we should have a Star Trek drinking game. Especially since "Far Point" had just finished downloading, and, having re-watched a few first season episodes already, I knew it would be far more fun to watch while tipsy.

The interweb knows a LOT of Star Trek drinking games. The nets are full of nerds. <3

We read through a good chunk of rules on this site, and, hell, just reading them is funny enough after watching a few episodes. We stuck to the TNG ones, and pretty much just the character-specific ones. (Data - when his head is open. LaForge - when he rolls his chair from one station to another. "OH MY *GOD*, he does that ALL the time! I didn't even *think* about that!" Riker - for "rrrrred alert!")

God are we nerds. We knew exactly what they were talking about every time. ...well, except one. For Troi, they listed "when she makes that face. you know what we're talking about." And Tom and I looked at each other, unsure.

And then we watched an episode.

At the *exact* same moment, as soon as the camera went to a close-up of her anguished face as she read another species' emotions: "*THAT* face!!!!!"

So, I scrounged up Christmas and New Years and various other alcoholic left-overs. We discovered that some of our sake had turned, and it didn't take long to polish off the newest bottle I'd bought (which was *amazing*, and so worth the price). Fortunately, there was still some wine left, as well as a few mini-bottles of things floating around. Tom's boss had given him a mini-bottle of Southern Comfort for Christmas, which Tom professed himself unable to drink.

Wasn't long before Tom decided he wasn't going to enjoy the drinking, so much as he was going to enjoy watching me try to drink the Southern Comfort. I wasn't about to take full-on shots of sweetened battery acid, so I stuck with little sips. of the rules is "every time Wes wears a sweater".


I also made the poor suggestion of "every time there's a really, really bad matte job". While "Farpoint" is *amazing* for a pilot, and they really did a brilliant job with what must have been a pretty limited budget...omg are their mattes AWFUL. There's like half an inch of black around the ship when it's shown against a planet! Oh it was painful.

...I eventually had to protest when Tom tried to make me take another sip for a bad matte, when it was the same shot of the ship they'd used five minutes earlier. I'm not even kidding. Same shot, like four times in an episode. God did it hurt.

So, Melissa was a very dizzy little Melissa by the end of the two-parter pilot episode. Thank God that bottle of Southern Comfort was as little as it was, man was that strong. (It was the equivalent of like, maybe two real shots, so no need for my readers to be concerned.) I will say though, it makes first season Next Gen a hell of a lot more entertaining. "NOOOOO NOT ANOTHER SWEATER!!!" "WHAT?! I thought the only episode where they showed the ceiling of the bridge was Data's dream! I didn't know they showed it in THIS one!" "That's the SAME shot of the ship as the last one! I already took a drink for it! SAME SHOT!!!"
I have been extraordinarily lazy about cooking for the last few months. During NaNo November, I always let things slide a bit, and then of course Christmas happened. So sandwiches and quick ramen concoctions were about the extent of it, with some pasta here and there, and a ham for Christmas (which we're still picking at, since Tom did the shopping, and thus we wound up with a 10lb ham).

Tom is usually very tolerant, since he is far lazier than I am about food. He'll make himself a ham and cheese and egg sandwich for breakfast/lunch, but there's plenty of times that if I'm not making anything, he'll just try to ignore his stomach and pass on eating. (I'm learning to refuse to feel guilty about this - he's as capable of making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as I am, and I work nearly as many hours a week as he does.)

Since our current work schedules mean that he's usually picking me up from the end of my workday while on his dinner break at 9pm, we've done a looooooot of just grabbing some fast food on the way home. Not only is this not healthy, but it adds up quick, since Tom's appetite usually demands a little over a value meal combination, and if I'm hungry enough to order a full-sized meal.. So I wanted to cut back on that and spend the money better on groceries, and, biggest shocker of the year, *Tom* told me he wanted to eat a bit healthier, because the all-meat and bread and fat diet was taking a bit of a toll.

I'm still not doing very well, but the ham was a good start. I usually make up a medium-large batch of some kind of rice or noodles or something to put into my lunches every week, but, a week's worth of filling one little container in my lunchbox equates to one dinner for Tom. So, I buckled down and bought fresh veggies for once and made a huuuuuuuge pot of curry. Tom thinks it's not spicy enough, but I think he'll eat it, and I'll throw in more spice next time I reheat some for him. Curry spread over rice goes a loooong way, and it's full of potatoes which are massively filling.

Today, however, I was in the mood for really making something in the kitchen. I'd been craving some kind of flatbread to munch on, so I scrounged up a few Indian recipes. I pawed through some of the stacks of recipes that had accumulated in my email (which I neglected for most of December), considered a few things, but then decided to follow the lead of the bread, and make samosas again - since I had the whole day off, Tom had really liked them, and I hardly ever get to eat Indian food way out here in the middle of nowhere.

So, I found the recipe I'd used before, but remembered that, while Tom had thought they were amaaazing, I was pretty sure that he'd commented that the filling had been a little bland. I poked around to see what else Allrecipes had, and found a samosa recipe with a meat filling that sounded perfect. Half the comments on the recipe had issues with the dough, so I just swapped out and followed the easy way my original recipe had given (i.e., buy a box of phyllo dough).

I mixed up the dough for one of the breads, and worked on other things while it rose...but then ran out of time, so that dough is still sitting in its bowl. I hope that doesn't hurt anything, but I will not be surprised if it does. I rarely try yeast-based breads, because I have yet to get yeast to work properly for me. I don't know why. But I won't get my hopes up for this stuff.

I made up the filling for the samosas, and while that was cooking, got everything ready for the potatoes I was going to do as a side dish. (I have yet to find the recipe I'm *really* looking for, this delicious thing that I'm pretty sure was a yogurt-based potato dish I had at an Indian restaurant once.) Set aside the meat filling, cooked up the potato'n'pea dish, and while that was cooking, started putting together the samosas. Phyllo dough is ridiculously fragile stuff, so it's a bit of a laborious process to make the silly things...and I won't pretend mine were very pretty.

I'm still a complete and utter noob at deep frying things, but luckily these are pretty forgiving to work with. Got the oil just below popping temperature, and set up a short assembly line of raw samosas, sour cream + sugar (aka my sub for yogurt) + water, flour, stove. (Most of this still being in place when Tom came home later, he asked me to please not leave recipe papers sitting on top of the toaster. I gestured toward the double-layer of things I had all over the counters. "Where else do I have room??")

Ridiculously enough, I had JUST finished the deep frying, and was arranging the samosas onto a fresh plate when Tom walked in. I whipped up a quick dipping sauce of sour cream, sugar, a dash of paprika, and a lot of cilantro, then piled up plates for the both of us.

Tom doesn't usually come home on his dinner break, he grabs something from the deli or the Subway in his WalMart, or something else nearby, but having plans in mind, I told him today that if he wanted to come back tonight, I'd have something ready for him. He said he would, though he was clearly ambivalent about it.

After dinner, he stated that he felt it was important that he give me his honest opinion about the food I make, and that he thought it especially important to encourage me when something came out well. He freely admitted that he'd been a little...unenthusiastic, about coming home, debating whether to get something at Subway that would probably taste better.

But, that tonight's dinner, in all honesty, was probably the best food I'd ever made for him. He was effusive - and in detail, too, which helps me much more. I swear the boy analyzes everything, but it's that attention to detail that I think really helps us relate so well, we both have it.

I was so happy. :) Really, dinner was as much for me as for him, I wanted something different, but I also... wanted to remind, myself as well as him, that I really *can* cook when I take the time to. Every once in a great while, he lets slip that he's tired of the things I usually make, and while he's very understanding of the situations, I get tired of it too, and frustrated with myself for the culinary ruts of laziness. When we first moved into the apartment, I made a mental goal of making something new every week or two, but over time that fell by the wayside. I should pick it up again.

...I know the leftover samosas will not survive another 24 hours, but the potatoes might, and I'll have bread to nibble on, which will keep me happy for days. I get awful munchies when I hang around the house. I had Tom drop me off at the grocery store on his way to work, so I could pick up a few things, that was a little before 4.. he got home a little after 8. So it was a pretty hefty time investment. But I listened to books the whole time, and, honestly, it was an afternoon well-spent. I'm so full and content right now. :)

Recipes for the curious:
Base samosa recipe
Recipe for the samosa filling (though I substituted beef for lamb)
Aloo Matar, the potato'n'pea dish, which was pretty yummy and very easy.
Indian Sweet Bread, which I probably shouldn't have wrapped up so tightly after cooking, since they got really chewy, though still tasty.
Naan, which I'm now going to go try to finish. *crosses fingers*