Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I can haz massage?

Until Mom's fabulous white couch arrives for the alcove in the master bedroom, it's a perfect spot to set up a massage table. My masseuse friend came for a visit and made great progress in removing some of the kinks I've amassed in the last three months of moving every. single. thing. I own. Then we adjourned to Gaia Bistro for a leisurely lunch. I had the lamb loin salad. Oh my, was it ever delicious. I don't think I've ever had lamb I enjoyed so much. Really, you should try it.

Wish list

I don't need more books. I don't need more books. I don't need more books.

But I want these.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Producing dinner

Another lovely haul from the farmers market, which I never manage to photograph much of because I've got my hands full juggling poodle and produce. The poodle, ordinarily very sedate, gets a little overstimulated by all the smells and people and other dogs and starts tugging at her leash in a very unsedate manner, trying especially to steer me to the booths that have dog treats.

If you were the kind of dog that does the full-body, self-choking hack-hack-hack lunge, you would laugh at her paltry attempts to suggest the route, but for her it's downright unruly behavior. Which I won't tolerate (badly behaved dogs don't belong in public), so I keep the leash tight with one hand and do my shopping with the other.

Ergo no pictures. (And yes, the poodle enjoys the outing and gets her treats and everyone says how good she is. She's a good poodle.)

Anyhoodle, I got me some potatoes, which got a good scrubbing and then a long bath in boiling water with some stalks of fresh dill. I guess you could call that Japanese-style. And then I drained them and tossed them back in the pot with a fat ol' knob of butter and some rosemary flown in fresh yesterday from California just for me. (Thanks, O Sender of Rosemary!)

I chopped some garlic and shallots, and the stems of the chard. Sautéed them in a dash of olive oil, then threw in the leaves to wilt, along with a squirt of sun-dried tomato paste.

Am I the only one who uses a cleaver for everything? (Except coring tomatoes.) I learned how to chop garlic with a cleaver in China when I was first getting interested in cooking, and to me, using a smaller knife feels much riskier.

If I weren't about to drop a bundle on security doors and swamp cooler and bookcases, I'd run out and get that gas stove right now. Cooking with electric burners is just Not Acceptable. It's a very nice stove and all (ceramic top), brand-new in fact, but turning the knob down doesn't mean the heat goes down anytime soon, so you risk doing something like way overcooking your chard. It's not bad, this chard, but it's more wilty and less green than I would have liked. I also grilled a couple of chicken sausages.

The cantaloupe is dessert. I had to grab some of that dill red-onion bread, too. And I've still got fresh corn and beans!

The Basics

I'm a sucker for a good-looking book, and when that book is also about food, well, I'm a goner. "The Basics" is a gorgeous little volume (5 by 6 1/2 inches), sturdily bound with gilt-edged pages and an integrated bookmark (God, I love those), and stunning photography. (I left the belly band on for this photo, but it's not integral to the book's design.)
Happily, "The Basics" is also well-written and useful. Each two-page spread addresses a different aspect of cooking, with instructions and tips: cooking and cutting techniques, sauces, marinades, eggs, potatoes, ice cream and soup, plus many more.

If you already have a lot of cookbooks, you can probably find all of these techniques already, but not so beautifully presented. This could easily be bedside reading as well as a kitchen reference, and would make a dandy little gift for anyone who likes food.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


Ha ha, just kidding.

Stitch n Pitch!

Gully washer

Yesterday afternoon, while I was lounging on the window seat with Sophie glued to my leg ("Make the thunder stop!"), the rain was sluicing down my windows and filling the gutters in the street. A couple of blocks away, it was doing more than filling the gutters; it was overflowing them. This is the view from the door of the bookstore. Luckily it didn't get any farther than this or there would have been a mad scramble to empty the lower shelves!


It's Beatleful!

Better than beer

A mysterious package arrived this morning. OK, not so mysterious; I knew it was coming. Beer? No, not beer, but something even better.
A funky old phone for my funky old house. I have a cordless phone with headset that I use most of the time, but you should always have a corded backup for when the power goes out, and the one I have has been unreliable lately (bad cord).

But wait! There's more!
Rice from Trader Joe's? Why no, something even better: a big wodge of fresh rosemary. Mmmmmmm. Even Sophie likes it.

But the pièce de résistance is this:
A transmitter for my iPod! Like the little ones you can get for your car, this transmits the music from the iPod to any nearby FM stereo. Unlike the car transmitter, it's powerful enough to be picked up by any stereo in the house, and outside, too. Tune it and your radio to an unused frequency and voilà you've got your tunes wherever you want them – upstairs, downstairs, outside and in the garage. Now I just have to get my stereo hooked up and a couple of small boomboxes (hello, Goodwill!) for a whole-house sound system!

The test of time

The height of style in '65 ...
... is still stylin' in '07.
This Mercury Park Lane Breezeway makes me smile every time I pass it on my way to work. The chrome detailing just says "class," and the sharkfin angle over the rear window (which slides open for a breath of fresh carbon monoxide!) gives this baby such a rakish air.

Friday, July 27, 2007

What is it? No. 3

This is an easy one. Click the photo to see if you're right!


Pretty much the entire city is being plastered with these notices; they're not targeting any particular neighborhood. I'm not planning to visit the site; my suspicion is that it's a scam or ad-revenue generating scheme.

Ah yes ... I just Googled around and found this article on the Boulder Daily Camera site:
... recipients (are) encouraged to log into a Web site, where, after supplying an e-mail address plus $7.95 (plus $4.95 after three months), they would purportedly be notified whenever a new sex offender moved into the neighborhood. ... police report that one person lured into the Web site ... did receive a largely accurate list of registered sex offenders. The recipient also received an avalanche of unsolicited e-mail advertising. ... (Police) spent the morning informing people that sex-offender lists are available free of charge from, for example, sor.state.co.us
Just a reminder to all of you out in Blogland: If something looks suspicious, Google is your friend!

The pause that refreshes

It's cool today! At last! Still, a glass of icy lemonade and a couple of cute grins hit the spot on my long walk.


Blogger seems to be having a problem today; I am not able to access most of the blogspot.com sites I visit regularly, though my own blog and Blogger tools come up fine. Blogger's not showing any problems on the status page, but the forums indicate others are having the same problem. I hope it gets fixed soon!

(Edit: Hey! Looks like I fixed the problem just by posting about it! Everything's loading fine now. Go figure.)

(Edit2: Or not? Now my own blog won't load. *sigh* Maybe it's just me.)

Thursday, July 26, 2007


The Denver City and County Building has been lit with white lights lately (they change the colors every so often), which looks very pretty, especially against the mountains still faintly backlit after sunset.

To the left you can see the Mount Lindo Cross, the largest illuminated cross in the U.S., at 393 feet tall and 254 feet across (click on the photo to see it larger). From the Cemetery Blog:
George Olinger Sr., son of Olinger mortuary founders, John and Emma Olinger, bought Mount Lindo in the 1930s. He later sold it to Francis S. Van Derbur, who was married to his daughter, Gwendolyn. Van Derbur originally intended to develop the mountain, but instead he made it into a cemetery in 1963. His father, Francis C. Van Derbur, expressed an interest in being buried on Mount Lindo with the spot being marked by a cross. Francis S. had the famous lighted cross installed on the East side of the mountain so his mother, Pearl, could see it from her home in Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood.

I'm not laughing

Yeth, back to "The Dentitht" today to get a filling. Thank goodneth for laughing gath. But my tongue ith thtill frothen.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Night surprise

It's been so hot lately, in the 90s every day, that I have to walk Sophie pretty late. Happily, our altitude means it cools off tolerably once the sun goes down (and makes it possible to sleep comfortably). It's so peaceful after dark, but not quiet; crickets and cicadas are in full chorus. I love that sound.

I rarely use the flash on my camera (too harsh, usually), but tonight it allowed me to capture this lovely hibiscus bloom. I had no idea hibiscus could grow here! But this shrub was lush and full of flowers. I Googled and found there are indeed hardy varieties that can survive down to zone 4 (I'm zone 5). Another garden addition to contemplate.

Grocery store demystification

This post at Tigers & Strawberries, about essentials to have in your pantry for Chinese cooking, reminded me of a trio of books that you might find useful in shopping for unfamiliar ingredients.

I have "The Asian Grocery Store Demystified" and "Latin & Caribbean Grocery Stores Demystified." I need to track down the Indian one. They're written by Linda Bladholm and published by Renaissance Books. These paperbacks are small enough to fit in a purse or tote and provide a handy reference to the things you'll see in the store, or to identify ingredients called for in a new recipe. The entries are short and to the point, telling you how to recognize a particular item and how it is used. Many of the entries have simple line drawings. Photos would be nice, but I don't feel the books suffer without them (I can always Google a picture if I need it).

I always feel more comfortable and confident in unfamiliar situations if I have some kind of reference, be it a map, an instruction booklet or an experienced friend I can call on. These books have proved to be a true friend on my shopping forays.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


What ever could this be?

Hmm ... this looks vaguely familiar ...

Are you starting to back slowly away from your computer?
(If not actually running and screaming?)
Yes, today was the semi-annual (if I'm good) visit to The Dentist. Which really should be a mobster's name. Puts the fear in me, that's for sure.

But Ann "The Hygienist" is a good sport for letting me goof off with the camera, perhaps recognizing that sharp instruments paired with high anxiety is a recipe for disaster.
Looks like my roots are showing. Cheese!

Monday, July 23, 2007

The new beetle

The old house had jumbo moths (click the "bugs" label to see them). The new one, beetles! This guy was as big as my thumb and was motoring toward the back door when I spotted him. Very expressive antennae he had! I foiled his plans by picking him up and putting him in the bushes. Anyone know what kind he was?

Spontaneous summer salad

Some fresh tomatoes from the farmers market, some chopped basil. I boiled the green beans with stalks of dill and basil, then added a couple ears of corn to the pot. Then I fished the vegetables out and tossed orzo in to cook in the same water. Cut the kernels off the corn, threw it all together with a little vinaigrette and chilled. I wanted to put some fresh mozarella in, too, but it tasted off, despite having been in a sealed container with a sell-by date a week away. Oh well. It was still good! The orzo made it really interesting, and I love the infused herb flavor.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Blending in

Sunday's memo: Camouflage paired with warm tones is all the rage. At least with two of us. Today.

And should we need to sneak past The Enemy (whoever that may be), we're all set.

Give us this day

At the farmers market this morning, I felt the lure of fresh bread. Drawing closer, I was sucked into the force field of apple turnovers. For a small fee, I was allowed to move on at last, slightly more burdened.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Mojitos at Chama

Chama at BelMar has five different kinds:
This is the Mojito de Oro. It has rum plus rum. Yum. One was enough.
The apps are generous and tasty, and the service was attentive and patient despite our group's inability to make any timely decisions.