Friday, July 22, 2011

First Hallowe'en post of the year

Courtesy of

For those of you who know me, you know my...obsession? fascination? total preoccupation with Hallowe'en. For those of you who don't, well, there are 100 days until Hallowe'en and I've started the planning process.

Wednesday we received a box in the mail. It was about as heavy as a dead body, mostly because it was a dead body. Actually, to be more precise, it was a skeleton and it is now hanging about the house.  I left it in my place on the bed yesterday morning. I know the Mr. loved it! Just kidding, he didn't love it.  He thinks I'm kinda creepy, but he likes me just the same anyway.  I'm not sure what I'm going to call her. Cassandra perhaps...or Lizzy.  Not sure.  Lizzy has a certain ring to it.

So this year the preparations for Hallowe'en are starting a little early.  Usually I start getting frantic in mid-August realizing that Hallowe'en is right around the corner but I'm planning a little shindig this year and need to have all of my zombies in a row beforehand.  I've decided on an 80's theme for this year's festivities.  I'm not sure what exactly that will mean, but it will certainly involve glow-in-the dark paints and Oingo Boingo on the speakers.

This weekend I'm planning to work out some of the plans for the front yard as I have the back yard pretty well sketched out. I've been doing a graveyard for a couple of years in the front and would like to have some other plan for that as after 5 years of the Landsman Family Graveyard, I think it needs a bit of perking up. 

She looks sad... (courtesy of the brilliant and talented ShellHawk)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Word Wednesday - Maker/Make/Making

To make:  to bring into existence by shaping or changing material, combining parts, etc.: to make a dress; to make a chair; to make a work of art. 

Making is a growing trend, not just as something we do, but as something we aspire to be.  Makers.  Makers of pies, makers of technology, makers of useless doodads that make us laugh and makers of awesome stuff that is beautiful and functional.

Phil from Broken Airplane says:
A maker is a philosophy/worldview that is an alternative to a consumer. Many of us have one skill or trade that we make a living from and we need to purchase everything else that we need or want.

A Maker will examine their life and see what they could do the reduce the amount that they buy and what could instead be made. Everything is fair game, food, entertainment, clothing, electronics, etc. Some do it out of financial necessity, because fixing or making something yourself is often the cheaper way to go. Others do it out of the sheer rush and excitement one gets by creating. To have full control over how a project turns out is priceless.

If you want something that it doesn’t yet exist, there’s only one sure-fire way to get it: become a maker.

We aspire to learn.  We inspire others. We teach what we know. We make community.

How to solder, how to cure olives, how to make a table top letterpress, how to turn a VCR into a toaster, how to build a solar chicken coop door

There is something unbelievably wonderful about the creation of something out of something else.  Sometimes it is an utter failure.  I love utter failures (especially when I haven't spent too much money on them) because they often teach me far more than my successes. Also, the failures tend to make me laugh out loud.  The sprinkler system was a pretty large failure.

Having said that, a successful make is a thing to behold.  Whether it is a garden bed or a Hallowe'en prop; a success will make me giggle and sing the "Fucking Genius" song.  Someday I'll print the lyrics.  It's a song the Mr. and I sing when we've done something successfully that was particularly difficult. I also love saying, "I made that!"

Here are some of my favorite making resources. 

For Hallowe'en

In Los Angeles:
  • Machine Project
  • Any Extension program from city colleges for sewing, jewelry making, woodworking, etc.

If you know of others, add them in the comments section! 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Breakfast for dinner

Since I will be on the road again tomorrow, I thought I'd post my Friday recipe today. It's a good one.  SUPER tasty.  Can't wait to be making it with my own home-laid eggs.  That's gonna be a tasty day.  You're invited.

Anyway, I harvested all of those tomatoes and so I went looking for something to do with them. A quiche sounded tasty, especially since I had a pie crust in the freezer that was waiting for something.  I would have put more tomato slices on this but instead I ate them.  Oops. Yum. 

By the way, nothing in any of my recipes is exact and usually it's just foodstuffs I happen to have in the fridge.  If you only have a couple of crumbles of goat cheese or you are in the middle of nowhere with no goat source and only have cheddar, just use that.  Assume that all measurements in my recipes come with an -ish at the end, for instance, one cup-ish of milk. 4 small sausage-ish patties. Don't be so literal.  Live a little.

Here's the recipe for Sausage Tomato Quiche.

One pie crust
2 eggs plus one egg yolk
1 cup of half and half or whipping cream
4 small sausage patties
1/2 cup goat cheese
1/2 cup of shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese or both. Whatever.
A sprinkling of parmesan cheese if you've got it
1/2 tsp salt or so
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp dried oregano
fresh tomatoes sliced thin

Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  • Saute crumbled sausage patties until brown.
  • Beat eggs, cream and spices together with a fork. Or a whisk.  Just beat them.
  • Cover a cookie sheet in tinfoil.  Put the pie plate (with crust in it obv.) on the cookie sheet. 
  • Cover the bottom of the pie crust in the crumbled sausage.
  • Crumble goat cheese on top of the sausage.
  • Put cheddar on top of goat cheese.
  • Pour egg mixture on top of cheese and sausage
  • Top the whole thing with tomato slices.  If I hadn't eaten them all, I would have put them overlapping in a circle but I have an impulse control problem. It is mine to bear....
  • Sprinkle a tiny bit of sea salt on top of the tomatoes. If you have high blood pressure skip this part.
  • Place cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes then lower the temperature to 300 degrees and bake for another 40 minutes.
  • Take out of the oven and you have a delicious quiche that should be eaten. If you're making it for dinner, definitely take some for breakfast the next morning. It's even better the next day. I promise. Share only with people you love. Screw the rest of the bastards.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Brain Swag

I love business travel.  I know, some of you think I'm crazy, but I usually get an all expenses paid trip to some weird place and I get to learn shit.  Learning shit is my favorite thing to do. If I was in Playboy and I had to list my turn-ons, one of them would be learning shit.  OK, maybe not shit, maybe learning stuff.

Anyway, in my free time at my work conferences, if there is any, I get to lay on a bed that isn't mine that gets made every day, walk around a city that is new to me, pick up conference swag and drink all the Starbucks I can stomach.  It's a good thing.

I also happen to be pretty social most of the time (though I don't like big crowds) and I like finding out about other people (more learning). On my last business trip I learned all about new FDA guidelines (booooring) and about the work one woman is doing at Walter Reed with injured soldiers doing Tai Chi (totally fascinating). As far as physical swag goes, I picked up a carabiner or two and possibly a sippy bottle.

I can only imagine what going to one of the fancy bloggy conferences might be like. All these fascinating women like the Pioneer Woman and the Bloggess talking about their successes and failures. People with smaller followings like the Skepchicks and Tula from Whorange talking about their expertise. People chatting up other people in the hallways and exchanging handmade business cards.  Picking up swag from companies like Google and Blogger and Wordpress and Better Homes and Gardens... But really, the brain swag is always more interesting than a stupid stress ball. I love learning something new. I love coming home inspired and ready to write. Ready to make changes.  Even in my boring ethics meetings I come away fired up for ethical research and really, who does that?

Photo courtesy of formerly phread
Someday I'd like to attend a BlogHer or an Evo conference.  Perhaps if I keep writing, and you all keep reading, I'll get to go someday. It's already on my bucket list.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday morning review

Tractors were a huge attraction at the parade.
 It's been a super crazy week. I went to Utah for the 4th of July, saw my first small town parade with cowgirls and Elvi on motorcycles and tractors and cheerleaders on ATVs.

Elvi - note cheerleaders on ATVs in the background
I came home and went into full on wedding mode for my office mate, Mary's wedding as I made her veil and it needed to be delivered by Friday, hence, no posting last week!  

This weekend I spent Saturday with one of my famous headaches, which, thankfully, wasn't a migraine. Then Sunday I spent the morning with Ms. Peigi who will be leaving for her new life in Peru this coming Saturday and then I did some farm maintenance, including harvesting six of the most gorgeous tomatoes (and one green one that I accidentally cut off the vine) and two huge zucchini. 

I ate two of the little tomatoes for dinner last night with some very stinky cheese but I'm not sure what I'm planning for the remaining 4.  I definitely must do something before they go bad.  Sometimes I have a tendency to wait for the perfect thing to come along rather than just using what I have for something ordinary.  Must get over this, especially since I have about 20 more green tomatoes on the vine right now.
This week I am toning down the busy just a bit.  I have a hat to knit and then I'm heading up to Napa this weekend for said wedding.  I'm definitely going to post a bit more this week though. 

Also, if you have any ideas for four of the most gorgeous tomatoes ever, I'd love your suggestions.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Utah, here I come!

So, this morning I am in a car, traveling with my dear friend Peigi, to Kanab, Utah, population 3,500.  I have always counted having been to a state by whether or not I have peed there.  Since I peed at the Salt Lake City airport on my way to Montana, I have technically previously been to Utah, but only that one time.

This time I am spending 4th of July weekend in Kanab and am looking forward to a small town celebration. One of the downsides of having been born and raised in L.A. is that I have never really experienced any small town community. I grew up in an incredibly diverse neighborhood in the North Valley, moved a little bit south to Reseda, then to Hollywood, then West Hollywood and now Burbank. I did that one stop at a kibbutz in Israel but that doesn't really count. No small towns in the bunch. Now I expect that small towns have their drawbacks. I would hate to live in a place where everyone knew everyone else's business!  But visiting for a few days is going to be fun.  I'm really looking forward to the parade! And possibly some visits with neighbors for good old-fashioned tricks of the jam trade.

I am so attracted to the idea of community, even in a big city, where people share resources and aren't competing for best, most, thinnest, newest. I have always been inspired by the people who are most generous with their knowledge.  L.A. Ell (Ellen) has always been super generous with teaching her crochet skills. Clemence from Gourmandise is incredibly generous with her knowledge of the business of baking. Kirk Anderson is generous with his knowledge of beekeeping. These are people with a passion for what they do and want to share it with others. Thank you!!!

Honestly, I also love a good road trip. Most of my road trips have either been to the Grand Canyon or up north to the San Francisco Bay area and most of them have been on my own. I love being in the car, watching the scenery, playing loud hair music, pulling over at truck stops for breakfast (no matter what time of day) and buying tacky postcards.  I love having no schedule and no one to answer to.

On the other hand, I have had so much fun on road trips with other people.  I drove from Amsterdam to Paris with an accidental stop in Germany and was glad to have someone to laugh with (and cringe with, to be honest) at that mistake. I have taken road trips to Yosemite, the Grand Canyon and Vegas with the Mr. and others along for the ride. It's especially nice when the other person can show me the ropes around a place I've never been before.

Promise I'll post photos when I return!