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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Annie's LiveJournal:

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    Tuesday, August 12th, 2014
    6:02 pm
    Spiny Critter

    You can throw a skull for this guy over and over, and he never gets tired of fetching it.
    Friday, August 8th, 2014
    7:30 pm
    The Bone Cliffs

    If you couldn't make it from bone, rock or scrubby branches, the cliff-dwellers didn't want it.
    Thursday, August 7th, 2014
    7:36 pm

    Roosterfish come in second for "loudest goddamn thing in the ocean that never shuts up." Right behind humpback whales.

    ...Wait, wait. So, would chickenfish be kosher? I'm calling those scales, so maybe? Unless there are bans on eating abominations.
    Friday, August 1st, 2014
    7:46 pm
    In the Car Today
    Nate: Huh.

    Me: What?

    Nate: That road back there was called "Lake Hill." But it doesn't fit. It'd be like "Forest Rock" or—

    Me: "Prairie Mountain?"

    Nate: Yeah. It's like the person who named it sort of knew what Nature was, but...

    Me: Hahaha.

    Nate: ...but not quite.
    Saturday, July 26th, 2014
    4:16 pm
    Big Z, little z, what begins with Z?

    A Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz, as you can plainly see. Though this particular Zuzz looks entirely uninterested in explaining himself to wandering Alphabet pilgrims and just wants to go home and have a beer.

    (This is another book we read to Benjamin quite often.)
    Friday, July 25th, 2014
    4:00 pm
    Ruins + One More Peeve

    Okay, one more pet peeve. DID YOU KNOW, that in the Photoshop CC "Save for Web" window, the order of the buttons is "Save," "Cancel," and "Done" (which saves the settings and goes back to the working file).

    In Illustrator CC, the order of the buttons in the "Save for Web" dialog is "Done," "Cancel," "Save."

    Any idea how subtly crazy this drives me every day?
    Thursday, July 24th, 2014
    3:40 pm
    Quick Pet Peeve
    Something that drives me crazy is when online news (or let's be honest, not-news, because I don't even pretend to be a Serious Person anymore) articles sprinkle freaking pull quotes throughout the whole thing.

    These make sense if you're a making a magazine or newspaper. People are browsing through, flipping pages, and you want something to grab their attention and get them to stop and read the article.

    But when I am reading said article on the internet, I'm already there. There is one column of text and I am scrolling down through it. WHY in God's name are you sticking pull quotes into the side of every few paragraphs? If I've made it halfway through your 1000-word article, a pull quote of a line from the next paragraph down is just going to distract me—while I'm in the middle of reading your stupid article in the first place.

    Does this bother anyone else?
    Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014
    7:40 pm
    Watercolor- Space Monkey

    Oh hey, looks a lot like that monkey in a spaceship from a long time ago (I can't be bothered to go find which entry exactly though).

    The area around his little lights and the area of the flame have a coat of gold paint over the top of them, which looks cool in real life, in this kind of subtle way. I keep thinking of other ways I could use this stuff in a painting.

    Watercolor Paper, 12x9, available to whoever wants it!
    Monday, July 21st, 2014
    9:10 am
    Another Watercolor

    I did remember that you never ever ever use the black watercolor to make gray, not unless you're going practically monochromatic. There are like 3 different blues, 4 different browns, and a purple that I've got in my set, and those are what you mix to get various grays. Pro tip.

    Watercolor paper, 8x10. Also available to whoever wants it, though again, more will be coming in the near future, so y'know.
    Sunday, July 13th, 2014
    2:49 pm
    "You guys see anything?" "Naw, looks clear."

    *Cue a crapton of Lord of the Rings music*
    12:46 pm
    Look at my cheese, my cheese is amazing.

    I made mozzarella! This photo does not do it justice. It tastes like the warm golden glow of a late summer afternoon. It's so good it makes me get poetic. There was literal hopping around the kitchen and giggling.*

    This was the main recipe I used, with some occasional cross-checking of the top few Google results for "how to make mozzarella," just to see which parts were strict and which parts were flexible.

    We plan to eat it with The Tomato.

    I say The Tomato because our tomato plant has been working on this one freaking tomato the way a Starbucks employee is "working on his screenplay." The thing finally turned red recently, and dammit if we're not going to enjoy that tomato in style.

    ETA: It was delicious.

    *- The toddler was not nearly as impressed/excited as I was. I'm trying to explain the glory of cheese to him, and he's just standing there making angry noises and shoving his dragon book in my face repeatedly.
    Wednesday, July 9th, 2014
    2:20 pm
    Okay one more thought....
    ...that is actually someone else's thought, in a list of things that are so good:

    "Writing with a ballpoint pen on newsprint."

    I was like YES. This is something that is so good.

    ETA: Hang on, I want to add some other "so good" things:

    -the smell of tomato plants
    -getting under the sheets right after you've shaved your legs
    -I might add more throughout the day
    1:49 pm
    Thought of the Day
    I know that most of the time, when a pet runs away or goes missing or (god forbid) gets dumped somewhere, it doesn't end well. Still, people like to tell themselves, "Maybe the little fella ran off and found a great life somewhere." They know it probably isn't true, but they still hope.

    The funny thing is, I don't know where Baxter originally came from. He wasn't microchipped when our friends found him, and their efforts to find an owner yielded nothing, but he must have grown up around people, given how all-around awesome he is. So every once in a while, I wonder if there are people out there wondering, every once in a while, what ever happened to that gray cat. Maybe he found a great life somewhere.

    Turns out, he did.

    at the door
    Tuesday, July 8th, 2014
    8:23 pm
    Mice on Lanterns

    I'd seen 3 or 4 different things in the last few weeks that made me think "I should bust out the watercolors again someday." So I did, and turns out I forgot a lot of stuff about working with them. And I remembered some stuff too. How wet the part you're working with is VERY IMPORTANT. And it's constantly changing as things dry! And watercolors are a very unforgiving medium in general, as I think I've mentioned before.

    This was the first shot at getting back into it. 9x12" watercolor paper. It's sitting around now, if anyone like, wants it. I'll probably do more later though, and hopefully I'll get more control over my process again someday.
    Sunday, July 6th, 2014
    4:59 pm
    I'm a little crazy and you can be too.
    Cooking is officially my hobby, you guys.

    "But Annie, I thought drawing goofy animals was your hobby."

    Drawing goofy animals is my identity. It is my life force. But right now, cooking is my hobby.

    Some people meditate every day. I chop onions and garlic. It clears my head (not to mention my tear ducts if the onions are particularly potent.). Inspecting potatoes and picking through fruit scratches that primal hunter-gatherer itch in my brain. And on top of that, I love food. Like, really love food. Chasing new flavors is exciting. Also I finally get to feel like the rat from that Pixar movie.


    So we've been getting all manner of funky stir-frys, marinated meats, egg tarts, soups, pies, and the salads. You guys, I'm going to brag a little and say that I am the frigging Grand Master of Salads. Roasted cauliflower, hard boiled eggs, toasted pine nuts, beets & tangerines, artichoke hearts, gorgonzola—these are my weapons, spells that I sling like a culinary wizard come lunchtime.

    (For reals though, the toasted pine nuts. You get them relatively cheap from Trader Joe's, you heat up a skillet and throw a handful of them on there for like 2 minutes, no oil no nothing, and then you put them on whatever you're eating and marvel as it suddenly becomes SUPER PRO.)

    (Also, I tend to go with spinach or arugula or something else with some "presence" as a base. I only use iceberg lettuce if I have a Specific Plan).

    And THEN. Then there are the fun experiments. I'm pretty consistently making us sauerkraut, kimchi, no-knead bread, banana ice cream, and farmer's cheese (aka paneer). I haven't tried any actual canning or homebrewing or anything like that yet, mostly because I am lazy and messy and wouldn't trust myself to completely sterilize something if my life depended on it. I like these recipes because there's a lot of room for fudging, generally:

    1.)The bread.
    I think I shared this before, but I just... it is amazing. I am eating some of our latest rosemary & garlic loaf right now.

    2.)The sauerkraut.
    I had no idea it was this easy. Don't let the fact that it isn't sealed while it ferments freak you out. The salt/brine takes care of everything. It's chemistry or something. We've been eating this stuff for months and it's great. I use Nate's fancy scotch bottle to tamp the whole thing down. Don't tell him.

    3.) The kimchi.
    What I've done has been different every time and is a mix of like 5 different recipes I came across. This seems to be the closest though. I do not wait 12 hours on that first step, I wait like 1. And it's fine. I've also done it similarly to the sauerkraut, with no initial soaking/rinsing and with the cloth-covered, unsealed jar. These worked totally fine too. Also I never have the fancy Korean spices, I just use some chili powder and Sriracha. This stuff is so good with fried eggs.

    4.) The "ice cream."
    Smart & Final sometimes has slightly overripe bananas for 39 cents a pound and I feel like I have found a cheat code to the universe when I make those into ice cream. A note: I usually can't get the bananas to blend all the way, so I add milk as I go. I used coconut milk one time and the whole batch tasted like a pina colada. I haven't tried adding other stuff yet because it turns out I really like banana ice cream.

    5.) The cheese.
    You can use either a 1/4 cup of lemon juice or vinegar for this. I just use our big cheap jug of white vinegar. Add plenty of salt to this if you want it to taste cheesy. Crumble some onto one of those aforementioned SUPER PRO salads for bonus points.

    6.) Gnocchi
    we've only done this once, but they came out well. We pan-fried them with some broccoli and tomatoes instead of boiling them, and that seemed to work too.

    Mozzarella is my next target, once I can get my hands on some rennet and citric acid.
    Tuesday, June 24th, 2014
    11:45 am
    We've had a compost bin going in the backyard since we moved into this place, late last October. In all that time, I haven't touched it, except to toss things in quickly before the swarms of fruit flies could get in my face and crawl up my nostrils.

    (I've since been a little better about not only throwing old fruit into the bin, go figure.)

    But then I was planting a couple more tomato seedlings recently, in an attempt to get at least one tomato plant this year that grows over 2 feet high,* and it seemed like a good time to dump out the bin and dry it out/stir it up a bit. Besides, after 8 months, there had to be something useable at the bottom of it.

    "You should be wearing gloves when you're dealing with that stuff," Nate said, handing me a pair from the garage.

    "You're right..." I said, "but... okay, here's the thing. Ever since someone mentioned that there could be bugs living in garden gloves, I've been afraid to put any on."

    Nate refrained from mentioning that there were DEFINITELY bugs in the compost. I ended up using the gloves like potholders as I dumped the bin.

    I was smart enough to lay down a tarp first:


    I was kind of giddy, prancing around and inspecting it from all angles and being like YOU GUYS LOOK I MADE SOME NATURE. And if there was any question as to how all those food scraps magically turned into soil, the answer became apparent in the ten shmazillion squillion little critters that were freaking out and running/slithering all over the place. Seriously, I was amazed at how ALIVE this pile was. Little black beetles were by far the most numerous, with a hefty load of earwigs thrown in. Slugs, worms, pillbugs, a few spiders, and a handful of cockroaches that were a good inch and a half long. I don't even know how they made room to live in there, but they did.

    At least they are not in the house.

    And I was responsible for this tiny city! I had created a space for all these hard little workers to get together and create dark, rich, nourishing soil that was exciting even though it smelled like poop.

    I mixed in some of the compost with dirt and planted the two tomatoes. And since they didn't scream like mandrakes and try to run away, I'm going to say the compost was not a failure. Whether it will be a success remains to be seen, and I keep glancing out the window at the plants thinking, "Are they bigger yet?" "How about now?" "I swear they look a little bushier than an hour ago."

    I have no idea what I'm doing, but it sure is fun.

    *- Imagine a group of teenagers in some service industry. They show up, they don't steal anything, they do the bare minimum, and they could not be less enthusiastic about it. Those are our current tomato plants. I can practically see them rolling their eyes at me and giving me the finger behind my back.
    Saturday, June 21st, 2014
    2:14 pm
    Tuesday, June 17th, 2014
    4:27 pm
    Sea Pigs

    Fun Fact: Crab-pig is the most delicious animal that has ever scuttled over land or sea.
    Sunday, June 15th, 2014
    9:04 am
    Real Talk
    Nate: "You get blisters from running. I get blisters from playing Mariokart."

    Me: "To be fair, I get headaches from playing Mariokart."

    Nate: "And I get headaches from even thinking about running."

    * * *

    Also Happy Father's Day!
    Friday, June 13th, 2014
    12:34 pm
    THAT's my dragon!

    Its wings are so scaly.

    (In case you just joined us and are like WTF, this was Benjamin's first "favorite" book and is still commonly requested these days.)
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