Thursday, January 1, 2015

Welcome to 2015

Robert and I have been doing a read-aloud each night of things that we wrote on that date in India. It's reminded me that having this here blog is a wonderful chronicle of our lives, but only if I, you know, use it. So I'm going to try to do that more, even when we aren't living in other countries.

Today was a very mixed bag. On the plus side we had a pretty relaxed day. The sun was shining, Rosie had a nice walk, I made scones and sausage for our New Year's breakfast. Robert and Zion played LOTR Risk, and we Skyped with my parents.

On the minus side, Liel woke up sick (and ended up throwing up a few times), Rosie tore her dew claw about halfway up (and into the quick), but only tore it half off, so it's hanging there. It clearly bothers her some, but no way can we cut it off. She hates having her nails trimmed under the best of circumstances. The internet tells me this isn't a rush to the vet thing, and if her nail breaks the rest of the way off I'll be pretty pleased. If it doesn't, I'll take her to the vet so they can do the honors.

Furthermore, when I went to block the amazingly gorgeous sweater I finished yesterday I was met with the worst smell I've ever experienced while working with wool. NO idea what it was about, but trust me, it was awful. The yarn company was incredibly responsive, but equally confused. I tested yarn from another skein of the same dye lot, and it was fine. Guess I got a bad one?? Anyway, that turned out OK, once I rinsed the crap out of the sweater, so to speak. Now it just smells like a wet sheep.

And the other things will turn out OK too. Liel will be better, and hopefully soon. Rosie's nail will either fall off or the vet will remove it.

After the kids went to bed I decided that what I really needed was some kind of tasty potato snack. So I made a super small amount of potato salad. Robert said he didn't want any, but he ended up eating half of it, since "super small" is apparently relative and I couldn't actually eat it all.

So to sum up: delicious breakfast, sunshine, sick child, mildly injured dog, rescued sweater, potato salad, 2015. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Well broil my biscuits!

Tonight I turned on my oven and started preparing biscuits. Partway through I realized that the oven wasn't heating. Pretty sure that the heating element is gone (it happened in the oven at our old house), which is both happy (replaceable, not too difficult) and sad (more work for Robert, not positive that we can get the part since the oven is old).

More immediately, how was I to bake biscuits? A quick internet search revealed that most people roundly rejected the idea of using the broiler (ours still turns on just fine) to bake anything. It would burn the top to a cinder and leave the interior raw, cats and dogs would live together and the fabric of the universe would unravel.

But I really wanted to cook biscuits. Mostly because I had no other plan for dinner and really need to go to the grocery store.

So here's what I did. I turned the broiler on high and let it heat up the oven. Then I put the biscuits in on the lowest rack. I set a timer for half their cooking time and closed the oven door with a prayer. When the timer went off I turned the broiler off and left them in there...well, I meant to leave them in there for the rest of the cooking time, but I forgot and left them in there until we were ready to eat, probably twice the amount of cook time they had left.

Results? Yes, you can broil biscuits in a pinch. Mine turned out beautifully golden on top and lily white on the bottom but they were cooked through and delicious!

Friday, August 22, 2014

In which my front door is nearly yellow

Yes, I've become mildly obsessed, why do you ask?

I think one or two more coats should do it...

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Home improvement project? Or contemporary art installation?

Today I started painting our front door. The original color was sage green, and I never liked it. So I decided to re-paint it in an egg yolk yellow. Great idea right?

Well, as soon as I put the first daub of paint on it was apparent that it was going to need 3-4 coats. Nothing like a light color over a dark!

Robert walked by as I was working on it and commented that the door, in its current condition, would look at home in a contemporary art gallery.

I agree. I'm calling it "DIY".

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Now with more cocktails!

Cocktail, anyway.

It was one of those serendipitous occasions. There I was, on Facebook, and there was the post from my friend Lucy, describing the drink she was having at the Atlanta airport.

"One of the more peculiar cocktails I've drunk", she wrote, "bourbon, vanilla syrup, fresh raspberries (so far, so good) topped up with Stella. Atlanta airport is a strange place."

Well, when I read that I sat up a little straighter in my chair. Raspberries? Vanilla?? Bourbon??? Bourbon is a booze I'm trying to learn to like, and I figured that pairing it with raspberries and vanilla couldn't hurt. Stella, Lucy tells me, is a beer that in the UK is associated with "drunken lads getting violent." I suggested that swapping the Stella for prosecco would be more civilized and more delicious, and she agreed.

But when, after writing up my freshemen's final for tomorrow, I wanted a celebratory drink tonight, I found that we had no prosecco. Robert suggested leaving it out, and thus a new drink was born.

We call it the Ginger ATL. It's sweet, smokey, and slightly tart, and you should try it straight away.

Here it is, posing with our vampiric basil plant (seriously, this plant wilts in the sun, and perks up in the shade. So weird). But really! Look at the gorgeous raspberry color of the drink!

If you'd like to make it at home, here's how. Makes 2 drinks.

5 oz bourbon
1.5 oz simple syrup, infused with vanilla (we used my homemade vanilla extract for this, which is extra strong and extracted into vodka. We used about 1tsp of vanilla, but you may need to add considerably more if you're using a regular store vanilla.)
2 T rasberries
1/2 lemon

Put the raspberries in the bourbon and muddle them, but don't totally destroy them. Add the vanilla infused syrup, and add it.


Pour over ice.

Squeeze some lemon juice into each drink, serve, and be happy.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A teeny bit of Bangalore in Chicago

My cousin Eryn got married this past Saturday, and the four of us (well, five if you count Rosie, our dog) drove out to Chicago for the festivities. And man were they festive! Cousins, aunts, and uncles came from all over the country (and even out of the country!), and we had a little family reunion while celebrating with Eryn. I didn't take any pictures at all myself (I can be lame like that), but luckily my sister-in-law Julie did! So here's a quick picture montage :)

Here are Zion and Liel in their wedding finery before the ceremony. Don't they look so cute and grown up?? And Liel is wearing the child's saree we bought in Bangalore with Bitasta. (Zion is wearing a suit we bought on ebay. Not nearly so worldly, but he still looks cute!)

Here we have Liel and me in our sarees. It was the first time I wore this saree (also bought in Bangalore) and when I put the blouse on the right armpit hurt. At first I thought it might be because I've gained a few pounds since getting back to NY, but as I hooked the blouse up it felt jabby, so I took it off and found...a needle! It was quite surprising, as I'd tried the blouse on in Bangalore, and hadn't felt or found it then, but yeah. Needle was poking the crap out of me, and all was well once I removed it.

After the ceremony I passed by an Indian family in the hotel, and the mama did a double take when she saw me in the saree. I hope it's just because she was surprised to see a white girl in a saree, and not because I had it on all cockeyed or something! Of course it also could have been because I was wearing big Doc Marten boots with it. Mostly you couldn't see them though, and it was so cold and snowy and slushy outside I couldn't wear the shoes I'd planned.

Anyway, the ceremony took place at St. Michael's Church in old town Chicago. It was pretty ornate and fun to look around! 

The reception was at the Drake hotel (where we were staying), so after the ceremony we took the provided buses back to the hotel, and I changed because as much as I adored the saree (and I do...I wish I had more occasions to wear one!) I cannot dance in a saree. Hopefully I'll get good enough at draping and securing them to do so in the future, but I'm not there yet!

Here are some pictures from the reception.

The location! It was really quite lovely, no?

Zion and Aunt Julie (with a bit of Aunt Anne and Uncle Chris on the right, and cousin Nathan on the left)!

My mother-in-law Kathy, sister-in-law Julie, nephew Nathan, and grandmother-in-law Grace. Bouns: in the background you can see Robert and his brother Vinny discussing UT football, Anne and Zion chatting, and my brother-in-law Frank returning with a triumphal beer.

A fantastic picture of Robert and his siblings. As everyone who has seen a few pictures of Robert is quick to point out, he's actually smiling in this one! It's like the unicorn of Robert pictures!

And finally, one of me and my beloved, after many happy hours of eating, drinking and dancing. My wonderful mother-in-law left early to sit with the kids while they slept, enabling us to have this fantastic evening together! 

We're back in NY now, and looking forward to a visit from my parents in a week. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Snyder's graveyard

Our new house is a 5 minute walk from a tiny graveyard. Even though we love graveyards, we'd never visited, mostly because there aren't any sidewalk and the graveyard is on a busy road.

But today I decided that enough was enough, and the kids and I walked over. I figured our comfort with walking in/with/through Bangalore traffic would mean that the walk would be fine for us. And it was, in the sense that we emerged unharmed. But man, people drive too fast around here! I'd rather walk in Bangalore traffic any day.

The graveyard was fantastic, however.

Zion wanted his picture taken with the oldest grave in the graveyard, which belonged to the wife of a Revolutionary war soldier, while Liel liked this monument-y thing.

Some of the graves were overgrown, and one of them was holding up a tree. Some were so weathered it was impossible to read them.

We had a really lovely visit, and plan to go back on semi-regular basis. Even the dead like the occasional visitor, right?