Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fighting crime, one leek at a time, must be CSA time

I know that I started this waaay too late, I should have been writing about my CSA (community supported agriculture) adventures since I began back in June, but better late than never, right?  I'm going to combine a few weeks of CSA in this blog, but it still won't be very long, I promise not to keep you too long. 

Let me just start with this fact:  I still have spelt berries.  I tried cooking with them once and I really didn't like them and have never gotten up the courage (or the time) to play with them again.  Spelt berries came in the first or second week of the CSA and I still have them.  Isn't that sad?  At least they don't go bad quickly. 

The CSA has made me a better cook.  I feel much more confident in my cooking skills and I cook maybe 6 days out of 7 a week (unless we have a busy weekend planned...).  I actually enjoy cooking now, and it's always exciting to see what yummy foods I'm gonna get this week, there's usually something in each bag that I don't eat often or haven't ever tried (like spelt berries...). 

Anyway...we are going to cover week 11 and 13 (I was on vacation for week 12 and missed bacon! :(  it's okay, though, because I just ordered the bacon for my vacation make up package, so it'll even out in the end).  Week 11 had this yummy arrangement:
1 4-oz package goat chevre cheese from Lucky Penny Farm
1 pint of blackberries
6 ears corn
1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes (multi-color)
2 ct zucchini (dark green, light green, or golden...we have a good mix this week)
2 ct yellow summer squash
Approx 1.5 lbs red slicing tomatoes
Quarter-lb basil
2 green bell peppers
1 large black opal eggplant
1 large candy onion
Hi!  I'm a leek.  Don't be intimidated,
I taste better than most onions.
I also had leeks left over from the previous week, which I had no idea what to do with.  Ry told me I should make some Leek Potato soup so I found this recipe and quickly went to work.  I picked up some potatoes from a roadside farm stand in Mantua and got started.  I'm probably going to try to start taking pictures of how things turn out, as it stands I have no photos to show you right now.  I had to substitute 2% milk for whole milk but everything else (except the garnish) I had and went into the soup.  I cut the corn right off the cob, used one of the two bell peppers, two leeks, celery I already had in the fridge, the fresh potatoes, and farm fresh milk from the CSA that I buy extra each week.  I am really proud to say that everything in the soup except the little bit of flour and the celery was local grown.  That's pretty impressive, right?  Right?  I was impressed with myself.  And the chowder...it was sooo good.  So good. 

The eggplant went with the summer squash and zucchini to be stir fried with a little bit of olive oil and quinoa that was made with veggie stock.  Home made veggie stock. I make veggie stock like once a month or so now and freeze it to make rice or quinoa with, it's a great way to use any veggies that are starting to look a bit past their prime or to use the cuttings and extra pieces.  And it tastes soooo good.  It's different every time but it's still so good.  And so easy to make.  And cheap cheap cheap!

Week 13 had the following goodies in it:
1 yellow doll watermelon
2 ct eggplant, some mixed colors may be included
1 quart hot Hungarian peppers
1 lb clover honey
1 medium cantaloupe
Approx 1 lb heirloom tomatoes (about 1 large or 2 small)
2 summer squash
1 pint mixed baby sweet peppers
Quarter Peck Golden Supreme apples (about 5 to 6 apples, very crisp, yellow apple)
Now in technicolor!
Approx 1 lb slicing tomatoes
So, unfortunately I'm pretty sure that they shorted me on the regular tomatoes, I got 2 huge heirlooms and that's all.  So that is sad, sometimes they forget to put all the stuff in the bag.  I guess it happens.  And man, do I have a lot of peppers.  I mean, a lot of peppers.  So many I have no idea what to do with them.  The cantaloupe was huge!  And the watermelon was so little and cute, Asher keeps saying "that watermelon is Asher sized!"  And the eggplant.  It's neon purple.  Awesome. 

So the plan this week...I'm going to string the peppers up to dry, I'm not sure what to do with them yet.  I'll probably use them occasionally to spice things up or make salsa.  Any suggestions?  I'm not overly fond of peppers so I don't often cook with them.  Most of the stuff this week is just eat "as is", the apples, cantaloupe, tomatoes, and watermelon.  So, not so much for recipes...but the squash and eggplant will make in into my weekly veggie quinoa. 

By the way, all the photos were borrowed from the internet...I'll take my own next time, I promise.
Until next time....

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The knob turns but the lock won't catch, guess I'll be in here for a while

As a way to cope with the daily absurdity that is my living existence I have decided to distance myself from it and write it in my head like a story as it happens to me.  Which doesn't really make it so much better, but it makes it a lot more amusing, at least for me.  I have introduced an inner dialog that narrates my life in it's  better moments (mostly the ones I don't want to be around for) that gives those moments a 'third person' mood.  It also makes it harder to focus on what is actually happening while I'm also trying to write it in my head so I am kind of outside of what is actually happening.  I think it's good therapy.   But it's also boring.  I really think that if I actually wrote it down and posted it on here, except for the angry times, it would be very boring.  Kind of like this:

She drove.  She took a left into the overgrown gravel drive at the bottom of the hill and passed the century house that had been abandoned years before.  She backed her vehicle into the gravel parking area and got out of the car.  Her episode of Stuff You Should Know about schizophrenia wasn't done yet, so she pulled out her headphones and took it with her.  The wind was brisk and slightly chilly, which was strange for this time of year, but made for a pleasant afternoon.  Autumn was in the air, her favorite time of year.  She walked the quarter mile to the gatehouse and unlocked the gate and the door.  She noticed the spiders, hundreds of them hanging along the walls and ceiling, some small, but most the between the size of nickles and half dollars.  She climbed up on the rolling wooden box and grabbed her scrubber.  Taking out the first probe, she began to carefully scrub.
See what I mean?  That's not really that exciting.  It does entertain me to do it, though. 

Tomorrow I'm going to start a weekly blog post about what I got from my CSA and what I made with it and if it was a pass or a failure.  I am kind of mad I didn't do this earlier, this is already week 14 but I'm going to backtrack a few weeks. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

We were dead before we even knew it

So, the first annual Zombipocalypse has been changed to Saturday, October 1st, 2011.  It looks cooler that way, too, 10-1-11.  100111, Very binary and post-apocaliptic.  So, it has been done.  Hopefully more people are free to attend with this change.  JJ has the music in the hizzy, she just got it to me and I'm totally listening to it right now!  How exciting!  Thanks JJ, you're awesome!

I'm still looking for food/drink suggestions, I have a few already but more are always welcome.  Also, I'm going to post a "bring list" on facebook asking people to bring stuff so I don't have to cook a ton of stuff or buy a ton of stuff.  Kind of pot luck zombipocalypse.  Really, I'm just preparing us to all work together efficently in the event of an acutal zombie infestation.  So, look for that within the next week or two.  Cause the party is really only like a month from now.  I'm getting excited.

Does anyone own a fog machine?  Or a disco ball or strobe light?  And may I borrow these things temporarily?  Also, gonna post this again on facebook as well but everyone who is going to be a zombie needs to bring their own headstone and if you are going to be a survivor I need to know ahead of time, we can only have so many survivors.  What's a good old fashioned zombipocalypse if everyone are survivors? Invite your friends!  This is gonna rock.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Get on up, get the funk up

Crazy stuff happening here, torrential down pours with insanely loud and long thunder (ry thinks that lightening struck nearby our house, it scared both of us awake immediately this morning while Asher slept peacefully through it), we had a minorly noticeable earthquake here (I was in a conference room which sits over water so we kind of rolled through it instead of shaking through it), unseasonably cool weather, weird stuff. 

Work is trying to ruin the awesome chill I've been having all week after coming back from my vacation.  I'm trying really hard not to let it get to me but...I'm eroding.  Stand tall, lone ranger...

So, I have all sorts of things I have been planning on writing all week, believe it or not.  I know, I was going through a bit of a dry spell for a while.  But worry not. Mildly but not entirely entertaining content is back!

So, in NY I was introduced to catcalling.  I'm assuming that it happens here in the Cleve, too, but I apparently am really really good at blocking it out.  I don't even think I would have noticed it in NY either but I was walking with two other beautiful ladies who, in combination with a third regular-ish looking girl (me), obtained a decent amount of catcalls from all the homies on the block. I think that it's just that I assume that they aren't talking to me.  It's obviously a self confidence issue stemming from years of negative self confidence and guilt for nothing in particular.  I would have made an excellent Catholic.  New career choice, would I look good in a habit?  I'd totally be like all Sister Act up in this career change.

I digress.  I didn't even notice the catcalling the first two days.  I guess guys in NY (and other places I'm sure) do this noise "tsss-tsss-tsss" to try and get you to look at them or something.  Like you are a little kitty cat or something.  Other guys say things like "hey, pretty ladies" or offer to carry something for you or something like that.  It's kind of sweet in a way.  I mean, the normal catcalling isn't sweet, the "tss-tss-tss" isn't sweet but the offering to help a lady is kind of nice.  I still even assumed that most of the time the guys were catcalling to my wonderful friends and not me but, you know, take a compliment where you can get one, right? 

Rachel said that guys will not even try to hide checking out a girl in NY, either. I don't think that they did this to me but I saw a guy check out Rachel once.

And I'm pretty sure a guy tried to shoot a basket for me while playing ball with a bunch of guys.  Well, he said he was shooting a basket for one of us but he pointed, and I thought he pointed to me but he could have ben pointing to Rachel or Ann...either way, he missed the basket though.  He did rescind it and told me the next one he got in would be for me instead.  I didn't stick around to see if he did ever get one in for me.  I like to think that he did.  I am wondering if I never notice catcalling in Cleve because I'm almost always with another guy?  I wonder if I went out with a bunch of ladies (or just one or two) if I would get catcalled here.  I think that if I walked by a bunch of guys in the Cleve playing basketball and one offered to shoot me a basket he would be made fun of by his friends, cause obviously Cleve boys are puerile.  Or are they? 


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

You're alive but sometimes I forget

So, guys, this is it.  Big post number 400.  It kind of snuck up on me, honestly I wasn't expecting it to happen.  Really.  But here it is and there is little to no fanfaire or luster to it.  But there is a video of my office in it's current state.  So, enjoy that.  I narrate it, too.  I actually haven't watched it yet.  Let's watch it together, shall we?

My office situation as of August 23, in this year 2011:

Monday, August 22, 2011

Listen to the wind blow, down comes the night

I know I still owe you a blog post about the nerf war but...I'm a slacker, what can I say?  Here's a quickie about my weekend in NYC with the girls. 


Okay, return to your regularly scheduled program. 

Seriously, it was awesome.  I feel so good.  I know I was super worried about Asher but, as I was told he would be, he was better than me while I was gone as far as the worry went.  It was all good.  Really. 

This game is called Passage, it was
 the piece that moved me the
most in the entire museum. 
I hung out with two of the best ladies I know for a whole weekend of fun in NYC, eating awesome ethnic foods and walking all over the city, taking public transportation (one of my favorite things to do when I go to the city, honestly), seeing the sights and people, listening to good music and generally being in good company.  I felt like a real person again.  We went to MoMA (where we all decided that our children could be actual contenders for professional acclaimed modern artists) and were really awed and wowed by the Tech exhibit called Talk to Me (it's on the third floor).

We walked through China Town and Little Jamaica (where we had vegan Jamaican food).

vegan Jamaican food...yum...

We walked around Brooklyn at night to look at the city across the water. We also saw a weird band playing in Brooklyn inside a building with a creepy freaky guy (or mannequin) just staring at me around the cacophony dressed in a white suit.  He and I were staring each other down.  Grr...
Manhattan across the river.
We walked around 5th Ave (we just happened to be there...), found a random street fair, bought a dress and went to a fine dining vegan restaurant that was a little hippie-tastic but good called Caravan of Dreams and then had Sangria at a cheesy little Mexican restaurant called Hotel Tortuga  (they were super nice and let us eat our bakery food with our Sangria even though they had their own desserts) late into the night on a Saturday night in Manhattan.  

Awesome old abandoned movie theatre in Little Jamaica. 

You know I'm bad at taking photos.  I'm gonna steal more from Ann when she gets them to me to post on here.    

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

For a minute there I lost myself...

Office-geddon, Day 1:
Day one was the biggest surprise, seeing as how I was informed about my office being destroyed while I was stuck in a two hour meeting so there was pretty much nothing I could do to prevent damage to my personal effects.  Also, I was told it'd be okay, that they would "work around me" and I would be able to stay where I was with minimal interference in my work.  Here's what I came back to:

 Day 2: 
I just knew it was going to get worse.  I was told today that I was "over reacting" and that once the power was returned to my office that I would be able to work there again with no problems.  I was also told that I needed to quit whining and that "it's really not that bad".  Uh huh.  I think I work with a bunch of lunatics if this "isn't really that bad".  Oh, and do you see all of those little floaties?  I need a respirator just from taking these pictures.

Yeah, have a good laugh now.  I'm so glad you find this funny.

Back in the day things were made to last.  At least my office put up a good fight.

Day 3:
I've given up caring.  No one else does around here.  I finally found myself some mostly temporary workspace (at least until someone needs the conference room) and a spare laptop that John and I are sharing currently.  It's good to feel appreciated where you work.  I'm glad they appreciate all the hard work I do for them.  There's nothing like a good old office razing to increase employee motivation.  

That echo of a wall used to divide my office from my sanctuary

This is all that's left of my office.  Well, this and all the stuff in the dumpster already.

John's desk.  Looks like it hasn't been used in 10 years.  Thanks for covering up our stuff and protecting it, guys. 
I'm just gonna keep on not "over reacting" while borrowing people's stuff and looking for new jobs.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

You're always there for music and me

My brother had a pretty awesome Nerf war Bday party last night.  I don't have my normal computer so I don't have any way to put photos on here at all for either of my topics today, expect photos in the next couple of days, hopefully.  That's all I'll say about the party without the pics for now.

So, I come into work today knowing full well that I won't have a wall to my office anymore.  I wasn't expecting the true damage that I walked into, though.  Not at all.  I guess I should have expected my office to be covered in a patina of dust from 100 years of having walls in the office.  Everything was covered in dust, nothing covered or protected.  So, there is that. 

Then, I was told that my sanctuary, which I just finished cleaning and arranged, was supposed to be safe as it was protected by a support wall.  This was not the truth, they ripped a hole in the other wall for no reason.  For no reason at all.  Really, guys?  Really?  Were you getting a little crowbar happy?  In fact, the crow bar is still hanging stuck in the wall.  I'll post the picture when I can. 

Oh, did I mention that they shut off the power to my office, too?  So it's a horrible mess, I don't have any power, it's in unworkable conditions, and I'm still expected to do my job.  Thanks, guys.  Really, I mean it.  Thanks.  Motivation is at an all time low.  I didn't think it could get this low. 


To make matters the worst, I planted a tomato plant, Giada the Tomata, in a spare sparse garden bed here and I've been taking care of her, watering her and weeding and tying her up and everything.  And when I left on Thursday she had a nice half ripe tomato on her, the first one.  I expected to have a nice beautiful tomato when I came into work today.  Guess what I found instead?  Someone took it.  My first tomato from her.  I am not against sharing my crops with people here, but no one else helped me grow her so I feel that I should have first rights.  How dare someone steal my first tomato.  It was the final nail in the demotivation coffin today. 

And I'm stressing big time about going to NYC and leaving my little bear.  So that doesn't help with my overall mood.  If Ry was staying home with him I would feel 1000% better.  I wish he wasn't going to Niagara Falls.  I know that is selfish and not nice but I can't feel good about us both being gone.  I'm home with Asher a lot when Ry travels.  I just wish he could reciprocate.  I cannot even begin to tell you how stressed I am about this.  I've been trying not to think about it.  I haven't been succeeding.

Friday, August 12, 2011

You can't keep letting it get you down.

If I was smart, I would have taken pictures of the desolation that has became of my office. Because, you know, it took me 8 months to get the moldy carpeting out of my office and eventually I had to do it myself, but it only takes fifteen minutes to decide to tear all the walls down in all the offices/storage areas in the part of the plant I work in.  Without telling us that it was gonna happen. It was seriously like the beginning those Douglas Adam Hitchhiker books where no one tells Earth it's gonna be demolished to make way for an astro-superhighway.  Except I didn't get a Ford Prefect to come and save me from my office and I'm pretty sure there were more crow bars and sledge hammers in mine.  They started it around me yesterday and are continuing today while I'm off work.  Apparently I'm getting downgraded to sharing the whole space with engineers and new labbies in cubicles.  Downgraded from an office to a cube.  By sunday I will have finally joined the cubicle army.  I think I should get at least a certificate or something. At least now I know how they feel about me.

Here's a secret for you...I applied for another job and I feel good about it.  Maybe I shouldn't, this agency never has called me back for the million times I've applied before, why should they now?  Maybe because now I'm awesome?  Wow, ego much?  Get back down where you belong, ego.  Humility and humbleness, welcome back.

I did get out on a boat yesterday, such a perfect day for it, so this week didn't end on such a horrible note.  Ry said my office was ghetto last week when he and Asher met me for lunch.  Wait til he sees it now.  I just called my boss and asked him to take some photos...if he does I'll post them when I see them.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Mighty Leaf Tea for the win!

So, our story begins in California where I got introduced to Mighty Leaf Tea.  I brought some back to Ohio and fell in love with their Organic Earl Grey.  As most of you know, I am in love with tea.  I drink tea most all day every day, I have about fifty different brands and flavors in my cupboards, and I always want to try new teas.  But my search for the perfect  cup of Earl Gray tea is over.  I've found it at Mighty Leaf.  So good. 

Anyway, I "liked" their page on facebook and sometimes I comment on their page or posts.  One day, I get a message from a person I don't know and I open it hesitantly.  It read:
Hi Jessi,
Thanks for sharing on our Facebook wall! We'd love to send you some different samples of tea. Please respond back with a ship to address and we'll mail you some in the coming weeks. Please note, that we will not use your address for any other purpose.
Marketing Manager

Mighty Leaf Tea..
So, I checked her out (I was worried someone was phishing for my address for who knows what reason) and she was indeed the Marketing manager for Mighty Leaf tea so I sent her my address.  I figured she would send me a few free teabags, if you place an order with them they will normally send you two free tea bags of your choice.  I thought nothing of it after that.

Then one day Asher and I are pulling into the driveway of our house and I see a package at the door.  I ask Asher if he's ordered anything recently, as I have not, and he tells me "there's a box at Asher's house!" so I figure it wasn't him.  I get in and pick up the box and open it.   
A handwritten letter awaits me inside. 
A handwritten letter. Not a generic typed scrap of paper or nothing at all, a freaking handwritten letter.  And then, not a few loose teabags, but three boxes of tea.  Whole boxes.  And this tea isn't cheap, it's like $8.95 or more a box.  And three whole boxes.  Check it out.

Needless to say, I'm shocked.  I'm stunned.  This is so amazing.  First of all, this tea is literally mana from the Gods in my opinion, and now they have me hooked,  because they are so good at making excellent teas and so good to their customers.  It really went well above and beyond anything I would ever have expected from them.  Ry tells me that this is exactly what they were hoping I'd do (write a blog about how freaking awesome and fantastic they are) and this is all just good marketing, but I don't care.  I feel it's good customer appreciation and I know their tea is more expensive than what I could get at the local grocery (there's nowhere close that I know of that sells this brand of tea so I have to order it online and pay shipping, too) but I will continue to buy their tea for myself and my friends.  Because it's that good and they are that awesome.  Thank you, Mighty Leaf Tea.