Friday, October 29, 2010

This Here House I Built (in Illustrator)

I’ve been living in an alternative universe lately. One where all sense of time is lost, reality takes shape in the form of connecting lines, and anything is possible if you know the right keystrokes. It’s not a glamorous place; it’s rather barren and ominous from the start. But more and more it becomes home.

There’s my house up on the hill. Almost two weeks later, and it’s finally done. It’s just perfect for me and my John Doe. We’ll throw BBQ’s in the backyard, watch movies in front of the fire, and roll like logs down the front lawn. Now I just have to figure out how to get inside.
Adobe should trademark a new slogan: "Illustrator – where dreams take shape… on your computer screen".

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Race Against Time

My favorite autumn day is one where the air is cool and crisp, the Santa Ana’s have blown the clouds into strips across the sky, and the sun sets in a flash of color across the horizon, asserting one last hurrah before the close of the day.

Determined to take advantage of the great autumn weather, Wes and I embarked on a bike ride yesterday just as the sun was setting. There was a lot of "We’re not going to make it to the top of the hill before the sun sets", and replies such as "I did not lug this camera on my back, up this damn hill for nothing. We’re going to the top!"

Maybe we didn’t make it before the sun set, but catching the last few rays of light as they lingered over the rolling hills made it worth it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Adventures in Aviation, Part Duex

I’ve been getting a lot of unofficial flying lessons lately. I guess that’s to be expected when you’re engaged to an aviator. My fourth unofficial but hands on flying lesson was on Sunday. I made a point to read a chapter in the Airplane Flying Handbook the week previous to prepare for my next lesson. It was an introductory chapter which talked about the basics: pre-flight checklists, the walk-around (they mentioned the bird nest in the engine thing!) and airplane fuel grade and color. There was also a paragraph which detailed the potential hazard “crazed” windows can cause. “Crazed” windows? What could that possibly mean? Well, “crazing” is the de-lamination of plastic, and a “crazed” window can potentially produce a blinding reflection during flight. So basically the entire chapter added nothing new to my practical aviation know how.

Sunday was much cooler than Adventures in Aviation, Part Une, but Camarillo is proving to be unpredictable. Relatively clear skies soon turned into a windy, cloudy mess. But by golly, I actually wore tennis shoes for this flying lesson (as opposed to flip flops – I’m Misses Responsible)! There was no way I was going to let the weather get the best of me. I was determined, and angry.

“Oh no you don’t, you damn thermal. You’re not going to mess with my near perfect altitude stability. Take that!” And I pitched my nose down. “Hi turbulence. You think you’re so bad, trying to scare me with all the bumping and bouncing. You don’t scare me. You’re probably just mad because your mother never loved you. Well, I’m really sorry about that, but I got an airplane to fly so piss off.” And I gripped the stick firmly.

I was in battle and the weather was my opponent. I was feeling good; more confident than I had ever felt in the pilot’s seat. But every good experience has its gotcha. Mine happened as we were coming in for landing, not 1000 feet from the airport, and my sharp 90 degree turn to get us in line with the runway caused a near stall. Stall means: I ALMOST KILLED US. I don’t think I’ve ever said “You’re plane!” as fast as I did when Wes made me aware of this. Nothing like a little stall to add a cherry on top of my fledging flying confidence.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Do you find this funny? (I do)

This is an excerpt from a journal entry I wrote on April 27th 2010. Strike that. This is the ENTIRE journal entry I wrote on April 27th:

"I drank a whole bottle of champagne by myself last night. Again.
Although I accomplished this task by myself, I did in fact have company. Thank you Ryan and Wes. You are the sweetest enablers I know."

Why do people complain about their 20's? Sweet lordy, I'm going to look back and see that all I had to complain about was a hangover.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I’ve been on a cooking craze over the last two weeks. And I mean an I-think-I-have- a-problem type of craze. First there was Horchata (awesome, but impossible to finish the 2 gallons I made), then a Pear Cake with Bittersweet Chocolate (pretty good, would make it again), then Apple Cheddar Scones (oh man what a disappointment), then a Dutch Baby with Jalapenos (unusual and tasty), and now there’s Pumpkin Brioche rising on my countertop (it calls for 2 sticks of butter to make 18 rolls, so it better be good). I’ve also printed recipes for Spiced Brown Sugar Pecan Coffee Cake and Chocolate Bread. That’s only mentioning the sweets.

I finally killed my little pumpkin and turned him into an impromptu Pumpkin Soup (next time I make Pumpkin Soup I’m going to add bacon pieces; everything tastes better with bacon). There was a Pot Roast somewhere in the recent past as well as Chicken Empanadas; and I’m planning Chicken Piccata for dinner tomorrow (my first attempt at the dish). All this cooking and I still feel like a miner who hasn’t struck gold yet. I can’t stop! I want to, I need to, but something is driving the cooking half of my brain crazy. I think it’s the weather. California sunshine why have you forsaken me?

Completely unrelated: check out these awesome flying pictures from our most recent trip up to the ranch. Isn’t it amazing what the tectonic plates do? The landscape looks surreal.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dutch Baby with a Kick

My whole thought structure on apples changed this morning; as did my thought structure on desserts. It just so happens that if you add something sweet (apples) with something spicy (jalapeños) you can create something delicious! I should have known this was coming. One of my favorite candies is a Mexican tamarind candy that is both sweet and spicy. Now I know how to make a sweet and spicy pancake! The universe is completing itself! And now I will take you on a photographic tour of my baking this morning.

First, introduce 2 green apples to 1 jalapeño. Let them get to talking about the traffic on their drive to work this morning, how green is the new black, and while they're yapping, melt 4 Tbs. butter in an ovenproof skillet and preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Next, peel and slice the apples. You might be pretty on the outside girls, but it’s what’s inside that counts. Add the sliced apples to the melted butter, along with 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook together for about 10 minutes, until the apples are soft.

Tell the jalapeño that he will be reconnected with his apple ladies soon, but not before he’s sliced in half, seeded and diced. Then in a separate bowl, blend together 4 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1 cup flour, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla until a smooth batter is formed.

Now organize the apple, jalapeño, and batter party. Sprinkle jalapeños on top of apples and pour the batter over everything.
Bake uncovered in the oven for 15 minutes or until it's puffy and an inserted knife pulls out clean. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve. Results may vary, but surprise, shock, and satisfaction are likely.
(Recipe from

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


When the day is gloomy, and your mood becomes a reflection of the weather, just remember it’s all about perspective. There’s sunshine on the other side of the clouds.

And if you want to see it, I suggest working reaaallly hard and then buying an airplane.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Peeves, continued

It’s a rainy Monday afternoon and it just occurred to me that I didn’t finish my previous discussion on pet peeves. That part about a high efficiency washer and dryer - how do I deal with that? I carefully pack all my dirty laundry into a bright blue duffle bag; I drive to work (which also happens to be my parent’s house) at 6:45am; when I arrive at work I load my clothes into my parent’s Kenmore high efficiency washer; on my 9am “coffee break” I transfer clothes into the Kenmore high efficiency dryer; then during my 12:30pm lunch break, I fold and repack clothes for their trip back home. It’s a surprisingly convenient arrangement, and one I completed this very morning.
Even if my Lovies offers to throw some of my clothes in with a wash he’s doing, I politely decline and say I don’t have anything to add (even if there’s a monster pile in my hamper). Beyond the high efficiency situation, the other-person’s-dirty-clothes-canoodling-with-mine issue has always given me pause. But maybe one day I will have a high efficiency washer/dryer combo of my own, and maybe one day I will realize that love has no boundaries and allow my clothes to canoodle with his, but until then, let the pet peeves prosper!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pet Peeves

I’ve only moved a handful of times in my life: to college, back home for the summer, out of the dorms into an apartment. But the real process is having to give up certain things I’ve learned to cherish; things I’ve grown accustomed to from living at my parent’s house. Things I CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT. Namely, soft water and a high efficiency washer and dryer. Now of course I won’t die if these precious luxuries were striped from my routine, but have you experienced soft water?!? I’m sure this sounds super diva, and I know there are millions of people in the world that do not have heated, plumbed water, let alone clean drinking water, but soft water is the THING in my family. My Dad CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT soft water. Can you tell we’re related? But to keep things in comparison, you should see the size of the room I grew up in, with the sister I shared it with, and the massive bunk beds which took up 75% of the floor space. You’ve got to prioritize. Living space = limited. Soft water = definitive.

Aside – I got smart about the small room thing when I was younger and moved over to my best friend’s house. Her room was much bigger. And she had a trampoline! Hi Giuliana!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Favorite Photo

I'm just getting around to editing the photos that were taken at our engagement party... two months later. Whoops!
This is my favorite photo from the night. I'm calling it "With our glasses combined, we shall conquer this engagement!"

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Channeling my Inner Taylor Swift (a song)

Flash forward memories as I'm walking down the street
My tear streaked face is the only reflection I meet
If you hadn't of left we would've been perfect
My mind thinks I need you to be perfect

But there's something on the inside that doesn't sit just right
I think I'll stay at home on the couch tonight
Think about what's gotten into my head
And maybe then I'll just go to bed

(Chorus) Cause you tour a hole in my picture perfect
You made me feel like everything was worth it
And now I'm a speeding train without breaks
A solo operated loose caboose with nothing left to make

My friends come around cause they here that I've been down
But I'm bad company; I'm a plague in this small town
When will be the day I can start over again?
I have to keep going until then

(Chorus) Cause you tour a hole in my picture perfect
You made me feel like everything was worth it
And now I'm a speeding train without breaks
A solo operated loose caboose with nothing left to make

The clouds part the sky just before 10am
I'm on the road, going to make something of myself
Today's today and tomorrow there's no promise
I've got to be my own catalyst

(Chorus) Cause you tour a hole in my picture perfect
You made me feel like everything was worth it
And now I've got my train back on the tracks
There's no reason I'll ever be looking back

Yaaaaa, you tour a hole in my picture perfect
You made me feel like everything was worth it
But now I've got my train back on the tracks
And there's no reason I'll ever be coming back


P.S. Taylor, you can totally use my song. Just have your agent call my agent first. Thanks. XOXO Jelly

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Fans. I have none. But sometimes I think it must be a scary life for those that do have them. People are unpredictable. I like predictability, unless or course I’m the one being spontaneous, but then it’s not really unpredictable because I’m the one in the driver’s seat.

My need for predictability has created some interesting thought processes in my brain, as evidenced by my thoughts on how I would react in the event of something unpredictable happening like an assault. Keep in mind I’ve never been attacked or hurt by a stranger before, but I have this habit of always thinking I’m one step away from a violent altercation with a meth-head or rapist.

I usually have these thoughts when I’m running. I see a bend or bridge up ahead and I start to think how I should react and how I might survive if someone attacked me or tried to throw me over the bridge. Would I try to run away before any damage was done? Could I run fast enough? Would it help it I started screaming like a banshee or talking with a mix of foreign accents to really freak them out? Would I try a reverse assault and start attacking them? What if I killed them? Would I be put away for the rest of my life for murder? Eventually the logical half of my brain tells me the chances of something like this happening to me are slim to none, so I might as well quit working myself up about it. But I find it to be a fun little thought diversion: How to survive in the face of death!

I could do it. I’ve thought about it. Have you?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Adventures in Aviation, Part Un

Yesterday marked my 3rd impromptu flying lesson. Here are the things I remember clearly:

Wes and I went into the airport store and bought a logbook. It cost $9.95. The only thing I could fill out in the logbook was my name and address. It made me feel like I have a lot of work ahead of me.

Wes and I do a walk-around of the plane. I wander to one side of the plane, briefly checking the various nuts and bolts, while Wes walks to the other side of the plane. He tells me you have to start your walk-around on one side and continue completely around the plane. I think “Damn, I’m screwing up already”. I follow Wes around the plane. He says something about piano hinges. It sticks in my mind so I take a closer look at what he’s talking about. I look at the hinge and wonder where in a piano you can find this same thing. I realize I am loosing track of what this walk-around is about and try to refocus. We come to the front of the plane and Wes says something about making sure there aren’t any bird’s nests in the engine compartment. Whatever focus I had is now lost because I’m thinking about what type of birds might be nesting in the engine. We complete the walk around. I reassure myself that I’ve got the general gist of the procedure – you need to make sure your airplane isn’t falling apart before you fly it.

My memory lapses at this point. All I know is that the plane is started, I’m sitting in the left seat thinking about taxiing, and there is an annoying air bubble in my right ear clouding out some of my hearing. Taxi goes fine. I’m proud that I’m not swinging the airplane back and forth over the taxi-way like a drunk driver. Wes completes the run up and gets us airborne. We are barely 300 feet off the runway before it’s my turn to fly. I have a mild panic attack because I grab the stick with my left hand, which is the proper way to do it, but it feels strange. I think “I can’t fly like this! I’ll never be able to fly at all!” and probably something like “We are going to die!” I’m trying to get comfortable with my left hand, plus figure out what’s going on with my air speed and climb rate, and my stress level is shooting through the roof (or maybe I should say, shooting through the atmosphere - hehe).

My intense focus alleviates some of the stress and since I haven’t killed us yet, I figure I can do this. But then the heat kicks in. It feels like we’re flying in an oven. Seriously, it was hottttt. Oddly, my feet are super hot. Wes says we should fly over the ocean and at a lower altitude so we can cool down a bit. My mind automatically comes up with the following equations: Ocean = sharks = death; low altitude + ocean also = sharks + death. I tell myself to stay positive.

We fly along the coast. It’s a lovely clear day, but the heat won’t let up. Wes tells me to pull a 180 and head back. I turn around without hesitation. My stomach sinks and I see we are losing airspeed. I pitch the plane down (at least that’s what I think I did). We make the turn without incident. Wes explains something about how that’s normal and what I did to compensate was correct. He tells me I’m doing a great job. I believe him… sorta.

As we head back to the airport, there is some radio communication I don’t understand and then Wes tells me to pull a 360 so he can figure out what we’re going to do. A 180 I’m cool with, but a spontaneous 360? No way. Especially since it sounds like Wes is focused on other things.
Me: Your plane.
Wes: No, it’s ok. Just turn around right here.
Me: Your plane.
Wes: Just keep altitude and turn...
Me, interrupting: Wes, it’s your plane! You do the 360!
Wes: Ok, ok, I got it. My plane.
Me: Your plane.

Wes brings us back to the airport and tries to give me one last lesson before we land. I’ve heard it before; something about rudder and wind and not crashing into the runway. The details elude me. Wes lands perfectly. Like butttaah. I feel hot, and bothered, but I’m alive!

I decide the next time we go flying we have to make sure it’s cooler than 100 degrees.

(thanks to Chris Muhl for the photo, and my John Doe for the flying lesson)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Miscellaneous Thoughts and Sisqo

Let me tell you something about running in the rain: It’s wet. That’s not some coded message about the meaning of life. I just decided to go running the other day despite the rain and I got wet. It was exhilarating. Then it got a little annoying. But then it gave me a goal to work towards. I was going to finish this run even if it meant getting drenched and I was going feel accomplished that I did it! I want to fill my life with these little challenges and these little joys. We owe it to ourselves to keep it interesting.

On another note, I think the entire female population should blame SISQO for turning something so plain and pure into something so sexual. I’m talking about the THONG song. You remember it. Annoying but catchy. Well it’s done something irreconcilable to our culture. It’s allowed and encouraged men to believe that any female undergarment thicker that a shoestring is disgusting. A crime. Now, excuse me for having an opinion about what I put in, on, and around my badonka donk, but if I’m wearing it, I want it to be comfortable. Walking, sitting, sleeping, ANYTHING involving shoestring in my butt crack is not comfortable. I will occasionally make concessions of course, but the love of my life, let’s call him John Doe, vehemently complains when I wear anything but a thong. Perhaps this is too much information, but just this morning he noted that not only was I “gross” for wearing bikini cut underwear but they were… get this… COTTON!!! I am the official queen of grossness. I told him that I loved him too.

Oh! I almost forgot about the Pumpkin Claflouti. It was DIVINE. The sides browned lightly and formed a crepe like crust, while the insides stayed moist and egg-y. Reminded me of soufflé, but denser. We ate the entire thing... before dinner. It was a synch to make too! Recipe below if you are inclined to give it a try.

Pumpkin Claflouti
Adapted from Claudia Fleming via The Last Course

2/3 cup pumpkin purée (canned or freshly pureed*)
5 large eggs
3/4 cup plus 2 tbs. sugar
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup flour
1 tbs. butter
1/3 cup chopped nuts (optional; the original recipe suggests toasted hazelnuts)

Place eggs, 3/4 cup sugar, milk, vanilla extract and salt in a blender or food processor. Blend until mixture is very smooth, about 30 seconds. Then blend in the pumpkin purée, followed by the flour. Pulse until everything is well combined.
Pass batter through a sieve to filter out large particles; then let the mixture stand at room temperature for 30 minutes (mine sat out for an hour).
Preheat oven to 425 degrees (F). Brush pie plate with butter and sprinkle remaining 2 tbs. sugar on the bottom (followed by the nuts if you are using them). Pour in the batter.
Bake claflouti for 15 minutes then lower the temperature to 375 degrees (F) and bake until the center is just set, about 12 minutes more.
Serve immediately.

* If using freshly made purée, be sure to line a sieve with cheesecloth and drain the extra water out of the purée before using it. If your purée isn’t very watery, then skip this step and start baking!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pumpkin Claflouti

This pumpkin’s days are numbered.

I’m having so much fun contemplating all the potential ways he might meet his demise. Pumpkin bread? Pumpkin soufflé? Pumpkin bread pudding? Or maybe I’ll do something I’ve never done before and make a traditional pumpkin pie.

I can’t bring myself to kill him just yet, or go through the process of seeding, roasting and pureeing him, so I will resort to the canned equivalent. Today I will attempt to make a Pumpkin Claflouti. What’s a clafouti? Well from my understanding, it’s a French, custardy, pancake like dessert usually made with fruit. But the only dessert cookbook I own (The Last Course by Claudia Fleming), has a clafouti recipe which substitutes pumpkin for fruit. Pancake + Pumpkin = Where could I go wrong? Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Not a Secret

If you can discern anything about from me from this blog, it is that sometimes I like to drink. I don’t think that’s a crime and I don’t think I have a problem. Maybe you can tell me otherwise. Champagne happens to be my favorite apéritif/meal/digestif of late. Lily Bollinger shares my sentiments toward champagne:

“I drink it when I'm happy and when I'm sad.
Sometimes I drink it when I'm alone.
When I have company I consider it obligatory.
I trifle with it if I'm not hungry and I drink it when I am.
Otherwise I never touch it, unless I'm thirsty.”

But there is one thing in particular that bothers me about drinking: having to see pictures of myself after the fact and where the effects of a cocktail are clearly evident. Alcohol causes my mouth to hang open awkwardly and my eyes to droop lazily.

The loss of facial muscle control is staggering. And no, I am not naked. I was wearing a strapless dress.


I know I’m not the only one with this problem (I have evidence), but in the meantime, please share in my embarrassment. Thanks.

Also, if you don’t understand the purpose of blogs let me instruct you (Robert). I want to read and write things that make me think, learn, laugh and… eat. And maybe I can get you to think, learn, laugh and eat as well. And if you stick around, maybe just once, I can aid in getting you laid. No promises.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Why I Don’t Know a Thing about Chemistry

Do you ever look back at school and wish you studied a little harder? It happens to me all the time. Part of it is because I’m practical; I paid the money to learn and I should have spent the time learning! Part of it’s because I’m competitive; I want to know more than the person who is discussing, or more often, arguing with me. And part of it’s because I admire those who are so gifted at constructing their words and ideas. Be it the girls who write (hilarious), or Kazuo Ishiguro, a man who writes so thoroughly about the thoughts and feelings of a British butler during the 1950’s in The Remains of the Day, that I find myself wondering if I ever have thoughts so well defined (answer: probably not).

I was having this thought, wishing I knew a little more about everything, when I remembered my sophomore year Chemistry class. Chemistry Honors to be exact. It just so happened that my hilarious friend Sheila, amongst other friends, was also in this class. Maybe I should preface this story by saying that I went to an all-girls Catholic high school; impressing boys was the least of our worries. Sheila and I decided very soon into the semester that the material presented in the class was way beyond what our feeble minds could understand, and it just so happened (I say that a lot) that an older girl, who had transferred from another school and was taking Chemistry for her second time, sat right next to us. It didn’t take long before Sheila and I were BEST friends with Stephanie. Stephanie knew all the material inside and out. We had to be her lab partner.

Now you might think that we were trying to take advantage of her to improve our own performance in the class (which we were), but we did realize that we had to bring something to the table to keep her interested in being our lab partner. Cue Pinky and the Brain theme song. Yes it’s true. Sheila and I would act out Pinky and the Brain episodes during our labs to entertain Stephanie. I don’t remember who would play who. I think sometimes I was Pinky and Sheila was the Brain, but we probably switched off; I would have to check my facts with Sheila. But all I remember is that we thought we were HILARIOUS, Stephanie continued to be our lab partner (she probably felt sorry for us) and I ended up with an “A” in the class (after a little pleading and crying, but that’s another story for another time). And that my friends, is why I can confidently say, I don’t know a thing about Chemistry.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Art of Drinking Wine

At 6:30pm, approach the host of the party and ask for a glass of white. Feel confident that the white she pours is going to be delicious when she mentions it is from her own collection. Taste and confirm previous thoughts. Forget to check the name on label; although it doesn’t matter much because you probably can’t afford it. Sit down to dinner and recruit friends with good taste (or large budgets) to sit with you. Open the bottles they’ve brought – one Chardonnay and one Pinot Noir. Start with the Chardonnay. Enjoy the fruity elements of the wine. Pour yourself another glass. Next, remove preconceived notions that Pinot Noir is not your type of red as your friends reveal that this bottle comes from someone with an enormous budget. Accept their offer to be poured a glass. Drink and ponder how expensive this wine really is. Pour yourself another glass. When most other dinner guests have gone home, realize that there are several unopened bottles of wine left. Help yourself to an unopened bottle of Rosé. Share swiped bottle with your friends. Loose track of time while finishing bottle of Rosé. Notice you are the only ones left at the party. Decide to go home. Feel feisty after drinking 3/4/you-lost-track glasses of wine. Arrive home and decide to keep the party rolling. Pop open chilled bottle of champagne. Pour you and your loved one a glass; and then another. Forget to check the name on label because you’re drunk. Reference the only modicum of common sense that is rising through your drunken state and agree not to finish the bottle of champagne. Check the time. If it is 11pm, it is way past your bedtime. Pour yourself a large glass of water but fall asleep before you drink it. Wake up in the morning, head pounding, and swear that you will never drink again. Drive to work and swear that you will never drink again. Confer with loved one that you will never drink again.

48 hours later, pour yourself a glass of wine.