Wednesday, December 8, 2010

An Education

'They' say you learn something new every day. When I woke up with food poisoning I learned 2 things:

1. Always, and I mean always, keep your toilet clean.

2. The other thing you don't want to see, when you're shivering and rocking back and forth on the bathroom floor, is a the cover of the LA Magazine's ultimate guide to Mexican food. Probably best to keep that issue in the living room.

This blog has been brought to you by the letters T and M and I.

Friday, December 3, 2010

That Happened

Right! I'm procrastinating my other writing and work and so on and such forth. I figured it would be a good time to catch up with you (4) people! So, how ya been?

Me? I finished NaNoWriMo, or Nano Rhino, as we call it around here. I am a winner! See how this fancy gif tells you that?!? So I have 50,022 words, all about a similar topic, blended together into one document that we'll call "The First Draft". On January 1, after a one month break from "The First Draft", I plan to print it out and ruthlessly re-write almost every stinkin' sentence. As I told my writing partner, I felt more like I was directing traffic with a keyboard than magically creating a story.

The book is, mainly, about my Dad's battle with MDS and Leukemia. Ya know the saying "no tears in the writer, no tears in the reader..."? well, this book has tears, from the writer at least. I tried to handle it lightly and keep it full of the grace and humor with which my Dad fought the illnesses. But much like the physiological reaction to the stress I had at the time, my body started shutting down as I was writing.

The morning after I started writing about Dad's last day, I woke up with either a stomach virus or food poisoning. Yup, ole Hurley Joe was back for one last round of "maybe you shouldn't revisit this trauma just yet." I was the kind of sick where you lay on the cold bathroom floor cause the bed is too far away, pull the cat's sleeping pillow under your head and just drape a bath towel over you while you try and sleep for just 5 minutes. On a positive note, I tried Head-On (applied directly to my forehead), because the headache I had was overwhelming and I couldn't even keep water down. That stuff works pretty well! (and BTW, did you know that Pepto Bismal gives you a black tongue? I just found that out/fascinating.)

After a few days (which included Thanksgiving, America's eating holiday) I sipped my broth and said "Screw You Body! I'm finishing this thing, so SUCK IT!" Suck it indeed. The knot in my belly kicked like a p.o.'d fetus, but I sallied forth and viola! Winner GIF! And hopefully, in a year or so, after 2 rewrites, copy edits and reviews from trustworthy sources, securing an agent and a publisher...a Barnes & Noble best seller. Like Magic!

I guess I'll get back to pressing matters. So you peeps have a Happy Hannukah, Good Yule, Sweet Solstice and Merry Christmas. Don't drink and drive, but say yes to fun and have the best time you possibly can!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Brain v. taste buds

What is up with this craving? Why do I want a Little Debbie Swiss Roll? It's not food. I think it's made from unicorn hiccups and kitten giggles, with a dab of HFCS and hydrogenated palm oil. Look at it, so smug, just sitting there being delicious.

While cutesy, these things won't help me shred my pecs or shrink my hinder. After 1 minute of yummy noises and 10 minutes of jubilant dancing, a Little Debbie Swiss Roll will create the sugar crash beast within me to eat the adorableness out of the world.

Why can't I just enjoy that pear that's in my fridge? Look how pretty, like nature painted it with glittery gold/green paint. I would absolutely love to be craving that pear. I just think she's outta my league.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Rhino

I am procrastinating by writing you this love note: I think you're the best. Do you like me back?

[_] Yes
[_] No

Not much happening around here except me trying to write 50,000 words, all strung together, in some type of story-like format by the end of November. Yes, fellow kiddos, I am doing the NaNoWriMo challenge.

This is the perfect year for me to do it, as I am working at home. Therefore, after a short meditation, I can go from work to writing with no commute between the two! Thank you The Man, for letting me work at home.

When I first discussed it with Seen, he thought I said "I'm going to do Nano Rhino this year." That tickled me into a giggle fit. I'm easily entertained.

The best part of the rhino is the speed part. It's very Amherst method of writing without editing. I'm pretty sure that I've written some good stuff and some blah stuff, but it's getting generated. I can fix that crappy crap in post. You guys will get all the juicy details on it when I do my GMA interview on my best-selling novel in about 18 months. (Here is that PMA baby!!)

I'm at about 12,300 now. Should be 14,600 by EOD, if I ever stop writing to you. I just can't quit you.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sandwich Cure

It has been almost 6 weeks since I had a banana. All because my doctor gave me anti-fungals and put me on a diet so restrictive that even fruit sugars were considered a forbidden food-dancer. I blathered on about on my FaN blog recently.

After a month of not cheating AT ALL, eating only greens and proteins, suffering through hunger and super-dooooper cranky pantsyness (man, my poor husband), I had a follow up call with her.

She said "keep the diet up for 8 more weeks." WHAAA? I sighed, buckled down and bought more deep green veg with some fish (yucky).

I'm losing weight like a mo-fo, but what follows that conversation was 10 more days of pouting, stomping, almost fainting (did I mention my low blood pressure? No? Well, it really isn't any of your business, but yes, if you must be nosey, I have LOW blood pressure. Happy now? Have you stopped reading? Come back!! I promise the blog is gonna get really good and sexy in a few minutes, just stick with me. Sexy beer.) yelling and general bitchiness. It is so frustrating to not have a sandwich like a normal.

On day 10 of the NEW 8 week restrictions, (almost 6 weeks total) while reading an article about the L.A. coroner office, I stumbled on a quote from a local mortician. He said that everyone dies, no one really knows when, so - Eat, Drink and Be Merry, for tomorrow you may die. (I will thank that mortician every time I eat this month.) That night, on a walk with the ever patient husband, we discussed the options, the pros v. cons of continuing the diet or working through my stress/health issues in other ways. We came to the conclusion of Other Ways. (mainly cardio, yoga, meditation, friends and PMA). What it came down to was quality of life. Since I don't have actual Candida yeast, only 2 lesser yeasts, I was satisfied with the action I had taken for 6 weeks. Because every second of life counts, I didn't want to be miserable for one more of those life seconds.

That decision was 1 week ago and I feel pretty awesome right now. Yeah, my head is a little achey from sinus pressure, but whatevs. I'm still eating healthy, just not so restricted. My cardio is much improved now that I'm eating and the PMA is honestly making me feel better physically and psychologically.

Alot of this stuff is mental, and believe me, I am mental! (See rambling above. I promise to shorten next time, but it's been 2 months since we've chatted.)

Oh! and because I promised you - sexy beer!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

In Memoriam, Robert D. Henry, aka Dad

Today marks the one year anniversary of my Dad's death. My mother has posted a memorial in her local newspapers, which is customary in the rural area where she lives. About a week ago, she asked me to write something for that memorial as I am "the writer in the family".

I selfishly didn't want to write anything. It would hurt, make me cry, make me think about Dad and the last year of his life. I didn't want to feel that pain over again. So I looked through pre-written, memorial prose and poems. I copied a few to share with Mom before it really hit me that I should make an effort. I should try to say how we miss him, because remembering Dad, with all his silliness and smarts, is a good thing. Dad was more than just that last year of hospitals, nurses and blood tests. Dad was a storyteller, an educator, a bee-keeper, a fisherman, a builder, a cowboy, a gardener, a husband and a father. So, I wrote this poem.

When I read it to my Mom, we cried a bit and decided this would be something to share here, as a memorial for my Pop:

World Without -

Time has passed
differently since you left,
headed for Heaven
to watch over us

The bees reluctantly make honey
The fish are slower to rise for a juicy worm
The tomatoes struggle to plump
on their garden vine

And the old black dog still
waits for you to walk
through the front door

There have been moments
or whole days
when we expect to hear your laugh again
to get wrapped up in your big, generous hug
to see the twinkle in your eyes as you plan something ornery
to hear your Eddie Arnold baritone work through half a song
to get advice on a million subjects only you knew best

Our memories of you
will bind us in love
as we wait for you by the front door.


Dad died on August 26, 2009 at 5:58 am. I remember his last breath, the troubled night before and the grief that followed that exhale. He left us, as the sun came up and poured pinks and pastel blues of the flat Colorado prairie where he had spent the entire experience of his life. We were with him; 5 kids, one granddaughter and Mom. We were holding his hands, holding up Mom, telling him it was okay to let go, be at peace.

So he left us.

I remember afterward, that I took my phone and walked out the front door of the hospital. It was a beautiful summer morning. The air was about as clean as it can get just about anywhere and a couple of stars were still blinking on the horizon.

I perched on the end of the little stone bench. I would have sat fully, but the sprinklers had left a puddle in the little ridge that ran down the center of the marble seat. I needed to call my support, my oak, my own husband and tell him.

So strange to think that the whole world didn’t automatically know that everything had changed. How could the breeze blow the same way? or flowers grow to any height? My world had lurched like a train making an unexpected pick up. Everything I had ever known seemed to stop. So how did the globe keep spinning?

It's been a very surreal year. When I see pictures, it seems weird that Dad isn't around any more. Time passes and the memories of Dad, when he was healthy and ornery and goofy, are starting to come more frequently than the memories of him when he was sick. Still, I have dreams about him walking on the beach next to me, explaining how the ions in salt water can heal me. Dad liked to educate me, and everybody, on stuff like that. I like those dreams, even though they make me miss him more.

The wound of losing him has healed so it isn't as raw, but that scar will always mark me. I will miss my Pop for the rest of my life.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Really Good Books and Rants on Twits

Hi Everybody!

Firstly, I wanted to let you know how much I loved reading 32 Candles. In full disclosure, the author did workshop a few early pages in writing classes I attended. She is also the editor of Fierce And Nerdy, where I post as a Tall Drink of Nerd.

I got to see her writing early and could not WAIT for her book to be released. Now, I had only read about 6 pages before the publication. Ernessa has a writing style that is down-to-earth, but interesting and complex in a very good way.

So the book came in the mail, all pretty in pink (hey, I just got that was another John Hughes reference!) Since the main character is a poor black girl from the south, I was concerned that I wouldn't relate to her, but that worry quickly dissolved. It's just a great story and I was totally in Davie Jones' corner the ENTIRE book (Davie is the main girlie).

I devoured this novel. It was impossible just to put down. If you know me, you know that I am obsessed with volunteering at The Lange Foundation every Saturday. Well, on the Saturday that I was 1/2 way through 32 Candles, I did my level best to give those animals all sorts of love, but couldn't wait to get home to finish the darn book before the sun set.

I highly recommend 32 Candles. If you'd like to see how my taste in books run, check out my blog on FaN about it.

Now for something completely different (A woman with two buttocks)

Because I want to drive people to my blog Moons Over Monument, I started taking Twitter seriously. By taking it seriously, that means posting, following people and hoping they follow you back to drive traffic. Here are the things I discovered in the past 3 days of spending too much time on Twitter:

1. People take it seriously! There are apparently rules to what #MentionMonday, #WriterWednesday and #FollowFriday mean. Honestly, I am not yanking your chain, leg or any other swinging appendage. People take these rules seriously. I, as a newbie, failed and did a #FollowFriday on a #MentionMonday. Twitter-fail.

(I just saw that some very kind followers did a #FollowFriday for MOM. Even with my fail in my pocket, that warmed my heart cockles :-)

2. People take it seriously! One Tweeter from IL, followed me on Friday, then got all kinds of upset because I mentioned her on #mentionmonday. I put an intro: "I think I love these people." before about 5 twitter accounts, including hers (this was before I knew the rules and the difference between #MentionMonday and #FollowFriday) She said "I'm suspicious of you..." and blocked me. DUDE, it's an introduction to you and 4 other people to get followers to you. I am moderately stunned how people take this so seriously. (no, she wasn't 14, she is in her 30's!)

Apparently, I take it too seriously too, after all here I am blathering on about it here, soothing my bruised lettle ego...gonna zen out, and remember it's just Twitter. Also, going to remember that I don't have to tweet every thought that rambles through the corridor between my ears. I jumped into the deep end of the Tweet pool for a couple of days. Seems like a good time to mellow out on the steps in the shallows and sip a lemonade.

And now, The Spanish Inquisition (bet you weren't expecting that.)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


When the doctor said "no oranges, no strawberry, no chocolate, NO EGGS, no dairy, no wheat" - two thoughts went through my mind.

1. What in the world am I supposed to eat for breakfast?

2. But I haven't been to Paris yet!! (Food being the highlight of any tourism)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ginger Ears

I just had to share this somewhere on the cybernets. I have ginger in my ears.

If you've been around me the past 2 years, you know that I've been hit with Benign Positional Puddling Vertigo (It's BPPV, but I don't know what the second P is right now and I'm not looking it up. So there.) Basically, the world spins, I get dizzy and even more unbalanced than usual. I have sort of figured out the triggers; stress and cocoa powder. So, get stressed out, eat a brownie, go on a spin for about 2-6weeks. YAY!

We went to a specialist last week, she's doing blood tests and lots of other tests to check my allergies and hormones and stuff. Her approach is a blend of Western and Holistic medicines. She said that there really is no cure for vertigo. I take ginger supplements daily and she mentioned, off-hand that some people put a slice of ginger in the ear. Wha?

I couldn't find anything about it on the Google, so I just put it in my back-pocket for later use. Well later turned into today, the day after my 41st B-day (thankyouverymuch) I woke up fine, but started feeling tilty. I took some sudafed, my vitamins, ate and had some tea. Still feeling crooked, so I thought "What the heck, might as well give this a try."

So, I whacked off a small piece of ginger from the tiny root we bought last week and stuck a small piece in each ear. It felt cool, then odd, then warm from the ginger oils. I'm not certain it helped much with the dizziness, I'm a smidge more even-keel. It definitely improved my mood. I was laughing at myself for walking around with ginger in my ears.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Then, Now and Again, a Dork forever


I really do want to blog more. I do think of something to write everyday, but, thinkin' ain't writin'. Someday the technology will be invented where I will just think the blog and it will appear. Oy, can you imagine how much idiocy would be released on the world if that happened? Um, I don't mean from me, I meant if everybody...nevermind... Here are some dorky pictures of me:

The reason I have these lovely shots up is this: My editor/friend Ernessa over at FierceAndNerdy is celebrating her book release by helping other people. How awesome is that?

Basically, she is asking people (you perhaps? Go HERE! for details) to submit a picture of yourself from high school, a picture of yourself now and answer three questions. For every submission, 32 CANDLES (her forth-coming novel) will make a donation to FFAWN a non-profit organization that promotes good decision-making, problem-solving skills and self-esteem in young girls.

Seriously Awesome. Just when I thought Ernessa couldn't get any effing cooler.

So I found some pix, and Seen said these were adorably nerdy, but the birthday is #11 and the pic with me rockin the red pants is from the first day of 7th grade, so not quite high school. Plus I was still kinda cute here. I'll post the Then and Now project when it's up with my fugly high school pic.

Or maybe you'll see it when you post your own pix!

Do it!

It's fun to look through old photo albums and laugh at the clothes you begged your Mom to buy you.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Snaggle Finds a Home - AKA The System Works


I hope you all read my recent blog on Fierce And Nerdy about volunteering and falling in love at a local animal shelter. Good times...

One of the stars of that blog was Snaggle, a 10-yr old orange tabby, who is overwhelmingly lovable. We skipped last weekend at the shelter, because we were out of town. This morning when we went in, the Feline FIV+ cage was quieter than usual. My husband said "Where is Snaggle?" So I walked back to the big "Adoptions!" white board. Sure enough, his name was up there. Snaggle had found a home.

This is great news! He was/is an amazing cat who deserves a consistent lap and play and family. One of the workers said he was taken in by a couple who have experience dealing with FIV+ cats. So congrats Snaggle.

The news made me happy and sad all in the same moment. I'll miss seeing that rambunctious little rascal every weekend. The other FIV cats seemed a little subdued too, he was a good playmate. It's so rewarding to see that this actually works, that people come in and pass inspection and give these animals a good home. Snaggle's name was about 4th from the bottom of a list of about 25 cats. The dog adoption board had about the same number of adoptions for the month of May. All very good news for pets and peoples.

So Mazel Tov Snaggle! I'll miss you, in a very happy-for-you way.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

And now, Andy Rooney

I LOVE Andy Rooney!

I was about to write about my nerdy love of watching this guy complain about random things on my Fierce and Nerdy blog, but I caught the bit on InfoMania which pretty much encapsulates how I feel about Mr. Rooney. Which is AWESOME!! (click on Andy to see the InfoMania piece)

(and thank YOU 60 minutes for letting this guy stay on the air for 60 years.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Simple Happiness

Truth be told, I get in a funk sometimes. Usually it's related to being a lady and timing and stuff. My recent funkiness is starting to lift and one little girl at Target today illustrated funk-lifting beautifully.

I queued up in the checkout line with a young woman unloading her cart. In the back of the cart, with the paper-towels and fruit snacks, was a 3-4 yr old boy. Seated in the front of the cart was a 2 yr old girl. That girl was distraught, massive shiny wet tears rolled down her red cheeks. Her mouth was open in a yowling grimacing cry. I could see little white teeth and baby tonsils.

Being no help to the mother, I was laughing. Clearly the girl was just mad, the mother didn't seem to distressed by it, the mood wasn't dark at all. The mother turned to her baby and said "Somebody is cranky!" I stuck my tongue out at the girl and smiled, she just stared and continued to wail away.

Then a target cashier came over with a red balloon tied to a white nylon string. She tied it to the handle of the cart and the little girl looked around, looked up at the balloon and her crying turned to shoulder shrugging sighs. Then she smiled.

Seen was waiting for me about 10 ft away, he was smiling too. I pointed at the balloon and said to him, "Remember this trick for the next time I have PMS."

All hail the simple healing power of a red balloon.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Stairway to Heh-vuhn

Isn't that the way the song goes? In an ongoing effort, er, in a renewed effort to be eat healthy, I've posted a recipe for the most phenomenal chocolate chip cookies ever on my Fierce and Nerdy Blog (possibly even better than the apology cookies.) I'm almost hesitant to tell you they are not only Gluten Free, but vegan.

AND in the effort to regain being physically fit, I have added some stair climbing to my morning walk. These stairs to be precise:

That's just 1 of 5 portions. My March stated goal was to go up and down these 5 times at one go. I've done 4 times, each of the past 2 days and my calves hurt, but I'm picturing my J-Lo booty getting firm. Could use some new uptempo music to make my time on the stairs a tad easier!

Also, after watching my buddy Rachel run the L.A. Marathon last weekend, Sean and I discussed doing a 10k or a half-marathon. I'm in serious consideration to join the Leukemia and Lymphoma Team in Training for the Disneyland Half Marathon in September. I figure that I already think about Dad a lot while I'm out there walking/climbing/running, I might as well be raising money to defeat the disease that took him from us. The $2,200 fundraising goal is almost as daunting as running 13.1 miles, but I think I'm up for the challenge.

Now I'm off to ice my shin splints. Keep those cards and letters coming!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Apology Cookies

It's Friday! Yippee! Since I'm a celebrating the 1 year anniversary of not having a full-time job, weekends probably don't have the same sweetness for me as they do for y'all, but they're still pretty sweet.

Speaking of sweetness, here is my Friday Sugar Chase hook-up. These cookies make me giggle. I stumbled across Sugar Mama on Etsy, and offer my kudo's for originality.

Disclaimer: I normally don't think nekkid mens/womens bachelor party favor pastries are funny. IMHO dirty-parts molded out of lollypops/cakes/cookies/candy necklaces are just lazy humor. But somehow, these seem different. Just check out how happy that bondage cookie is!

Also wanted to also share with you the pic of cookies I made last weekend.

Last Saturday was rainy and cold and we were stuck inside, glued to the CNN, watching the "Tsunami" hit Hawaii. It seemed like the perfect day to turn on the oven to warm the place up and make some cookies while we're at it. I LOVE to bake, but don't do it often anymore because all of the wheat and sugar involved in delicious baked products, make me feel poopy. Luckily the cookies I had in mind already had an adoptive home waiting.

I needed to make apology cookies. See, we purchased a Wii Fit in January and have been hopping, hooping and generally enjoying the thing ever since. I had been meaning to make cookies, for the neighbor who lives directly below us, as an apology for our recent Fit activity. So here they are, arguably, the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever made. Our downstairs neighbor seemed happy and surprised to get yummy goodies!

This recipe is from CooksIllustrated. Seen gave me an annual online subscription as my Xmas giftie (smart boy).

This coming weekend is supposed to be rainy too, so just in case you felt like baking; here is the recipe, complete with scientific reasons they are better than regular cookies:

<--Apology cookies, right outta the oven

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 16 cookies. Published May 1, 2009. From ATK Books.

Avoid using a nonstick skillet to brown the butter; the dark color of the nonstick coating makes it difficult to gauge when the butter is browned. Use fresh, moist brown sugar instead of hardened brown sugar, which will make the cookies dry. This recipe works with light brown sugar, but the cookies will be less full-flavored. For our winning brand of chocolate chips, see related tasting.

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar (5 1/4 ounces) (see note)
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks (see note)
3/4 cup chopped pecan or walnuts, toasted (optional)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large (18- by 12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

2. Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.

3. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny. Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if using), giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.

4. Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons (or use #24 cookie scoop). Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet. (Smaller baking sheets can be used, but will require 3 batches.)

5. Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.

Recipe Testing
Don't Bake in Batches Baking two trays at a time may be convenient, but it leads to uneven cooking. The cookies on the top tray are often browner around the edges than those on the bottom, even when rotated halfway through cooking.

Recipe Testing
Creating a New Classic Here's how we improved on the Toll House classic to create an even better cookie.

TOLL HOUSE RECIPE: Equal Amounts Brown and White Sugar
A 1-1 ratio of brown to white sugar creates a cookie that's neither crisp nor chewy.

OUR RECIPE: More Brown Sugar
Using more brown sugar than white makes for a chewier cookie.

TOLL HOUSE RECIPE: Creamed Solid Butter
Creaming butter creates a cakier texture in cookies.

OUR RECIPE: Browned, Melted Butter
Melting butter contributes to chewiness; browning it enhances flavor.

Whole eggs contribute to a drier texture.

OUR RECIPE: 1 Whole Egg, 1 Yolk
Eliminating one egg white also boosts chewiness.

Baking the dough immediately after mixing doesn't allow the sugar to dissolve as fully as possible.

OUR RECIPE: Whisk and Wait
Whisking sugar into the liquid ingredients and then waiting 10 minutes allows more of it to dissolve, setting up better flavor and texture.

The smaller the cookie, the more uniform its texture.

OUR RECIPE: More Dough
Three tablespoons of dough per cookie increases its crisp-chewy contrast.

Recipe Testing

For Perfect Cookies, Look to Sugar Crunchy edges, chewy centers, and big butterscotch flavors—that chocolate chip cookie framework sounded pretty sweet to us. As it turns out, perfect cookies have a lot to do with sugar and how it’s treated. Sugar that is dissolved in liquid before baking caramelizes more readily than sugar that simply melts when exposed to the same amount of heat. What would happen if we rested our cookie batter after we added the sugar to allow more of it to dissolve before going into the oven? 

We prepared two batches of our Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies. Dough from the first batch went straight from the mixing bowl onto the baking sheet; the other batch rested for 10 minutes (with occasional whisking) after we combined the sugar with the recipe’s liquids.

Cookies baked from the rested batter boasted not only richer, deeper flavor but also crisper edges.

 - Dissolving the sugar in liquid provided by the melted butter, vanilla, and egg (accelerated by whisking and resting) affects both flavor and texture. Dissolved sugar breaks down more quickly from crystalline sucrose into glucose and fructose, which caramelize at a lower temperature to form many rich, new flavor compounds. As the dissolved, caramelized sugar cools, it takes on a brittle structure. In our cookies, this brittle texture is more evident at the edges. Why? As the oven burns off moisture from the cookie perimeter, the remaining moisture gets pulled into the center, keeping it chewy.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Gimme Some Sugar, Baby

You may have noticed, by the tone of my blogumns on Fierce and Nerdy, that I am obsessed with sugar. Baking is fun, social, creative and can be hilarious. Other folks must feel that same way because the internets are filled with drool-worthy recipes/imagery that need to be shared with YOU!

So going forward, Friday is going to be Sugar Chaser day on my ole blog here.

Here is the Sugar Chase o' the Week from the OMG blog NotSoHumblePie:

Cookies for Geeks! (Dude, that's the periodic cookies!)

The dichotomy of this is that I know that sugar is bad, bad, bad for you. It's a toxin, it destroys cells, it ages you faster, it makes me grumpy and crampy and fat. Yup, my brain is smart. More often than not my brain controls what my hand puts into my mouth. But sometimes, when my brain isn't looking, I'll sneak a cookie in. (When I worked at the regional office for The Whole, I managed to convince my brain that organic meant healthy. On a steady diet of organic sugar cookies, I gained 15 lbs.)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bird in the Hand

Free beer and big boobies! Since the blog feed onto my Facebook page usually publishes the first sentence of this blog, I figure that this particular sentence would help increase my readership. (I know, grammar police, it's not a sentence. AND I know, Gramma police, it's a little risque with the large amount of my family on FB, so don't show mom...) Check out the blue-footed Boobies to the left there.

So the first order of business today is to direct you to my tasty, lip-smacking donut obsessed Fierce and Nerdy Blog. I haven't had a donut in like a year, probably since I had a full time job come to think of it. I guess I'll go eat some frozen strawberries... That'll make me feel better than any old delicious, old fashioned, white cake with a light glaze donut that melts on my tongue and leaves little crumbs on my desk that I can pick up with the tip of my finger as little dessert treat donuts.

Second order of biz; update on the Writer's Conference. Little ole' shy me had an absolutely phenomenal time! The workshops were all really inspiring and educational and, man, the people I met were hilarious and so open and welcoming. I wish I could find a job just going to writing conferences, now that I know what to wear. (Though I was completely exhausted by the time I got home Sunday night.) HUGE thanks to Marilyn from Writing Pad, for driving and feeding me. I can not wait for her writing retreat in October in 29 Palms!

There was an amazing, life-changing, free-beering, boob-expanding 3rd point, but I've totally forgotten what it was. See what happens to a woman with no sugar in her system and amalgam fillings in her teeth.

I'll sign off with a quote from my donut eating inspiration - Homer J. Simpson - "Maybe it's the beer talking, but you've got a butt that won't quit..."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Drum Sticks

Hey! How are you? I've been meaning to call, but have been so busy!

Ok, that's not true, we got a Wii Fit and that's pretty much my reality now. I'll see you in March.

When I was home to visit the ole Mom's last month, she mentioned that she and her brother were talking about their kids. Mom and Uncle Bill both agreed that me and Roger (Bill's son) were the weird ones in the family.

2 days later, out of the blue, it hit me and I said "HEY! What do you mean the 'weird ones'?"

Mom said that I march to the beat of my own drummer. Which I think is an odd statement. Doesn't everybody march to the beat of their own drum? Is there some sort of universal drumming that I can't hear that everybody else can? I've already written about how I am the black/different sheep in my herd, so that information doesn't surprise me. I am just having a hard time figuring out how the rest of you normals find the regular beat.

OH and read my FaN column this week. It's all about love and cupid and the marketing hype that is Valentimes Day.

Pah rum pah rum pum

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Feels Like the First Time

I'm going to my very first writer's conference next weekend and am starting to spaz out a little. I'm trying to figure out what to wear, what to bring, how much of every thing I should bring, will there be food, will there be bathrooms, will the other kids like me, should I bring my paper bag so I stop hyperventilating...

So far I've got my briefcase thingie, my laptop, some business cards and the semi-organization of the novel/biography I've been working on. (I'm doing the conference's novel writing intensive, so I figured that'd be good.) Other than that I'm clueless and worried I'll end up wearing a prom dress when jeans are the norm, or visa versa, and will have everything I need but a pen. Perhaps I should take my own advice and breathe a little.

If you've been to a writers conference, do you have any little tips that aren't obvious and would be hella helpful? (Like all beauty contestants know to put vaseline on their teeth. Is that helpful at writer's conferences?)

I'm super excited to go. My stomach has the butterfly version of jazz hands because I'm so anxious to get there, get connected and get writing.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Breathing and bikes

Aaaaggghhh!!! That's how I've decided to start my blogs now. It came to me as I was clipped by a bike speeding down the sidewalk. That was the noise I made. Ya like?

The noises I made afterward were fun too, it was mostly mumbling - "GAw, I hate stupid cyclists who don't follow rules!!" "I should have taken off my shoe and thrown it at his head!" "I wish I would have had my arm out and clotheslined him." (BTW, not the guy in the picture...)

I ride a bicycle around Santa Monica, in the bike lane, using my little adorable bike bell if pedestrians are nearby. Can I invoke Karma to kick this guys butt?

So I came home and listened to a meditation from The Meditation Society of Australia. ahhhh. I've been meditating a lot more the last few months. You can read about the tools I've found and how it's perked me right up on my latest Fierce And Nerdy blogumn!

Be careful out there!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Chilly is a Relative Term

Because all my relatives are chilly, back in Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, etc...

In my ongoing effort to get any of them to visit me, here is a picture taken yesterday, January 6th at around 11:30 am. Temp: 75 degrees.

I'm not posting this to do anything other than getcha out here!

PS: Colorado weather this winter is not helping me convince Sean (or myself) to move back. Can you guys get on that?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Conversations between Married People

I find those weirdly intimate conversations, that can only take place between married people, hilarious. Here is one that happened today:

Me - "Honey, what's the temperature outside?"

Sean - "62, Why?"

Me (who is wearing a sundress as it is California and forecast was for 72 degrees today) - "Because I'm trying to decide if I should put pants on when we go out for our walk."

Sean - "Well, I'm not putting on pants. I'm just going out in my underwear."

Me - "---"