Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Well, it's been a while. I haven't really been in the mood to write, but I do have a new recipe and some pictures of my newly cleared out backyard.

I made this a few weeks ago for a friend I was having over for lunch. I thought it was really tasty, but he wasn't a big fan of the mushroom. He thought it was good, but didn't enjoy the texture as much as I did.

Portobello Mushroom Burger
Servings: 2

2 portobello mushrooms
4 tbsp EVOO
2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
2-3 hot sausage links, out of casing and browned
4 slices monterey jack cheese
2 burger rolls
Desired condiments

Turn on broiler and put rack on the second lowest notch. Wipe down mushrooms with damp paper towel (putting them under direct water will make them absorb.) Spread EVOO on both sides of the mushrooms. Sprinkle black pepper, salt, red pepper, and garlic powder on the underside of the mushroom. Put more black pepper on the mushroom cap if desired (I like lots of pepper). Broil mushrooms cap side up for 4 minutes. Flip and mushrooms over and broil undersides for 3-4 minutes or until juicing. When juicy, pull out the mushrooms and put aside. Soak up any spilled juices in the split buns. Toast the buns with one slice of cheese until cheese is melted and the buns are toasty. Assemble burger by placing the mushrooms cap side down and putting browned sausage inside the cap.

I put a second piece of cheese on top of the sausage and back in the oven to melt so that the sausage would stay in place. I used dijon mustard for my condiments, but you could probably add ketchup or thousand island if you like.

Grade: A-

I thought about putting slices of cooled polenta on the burgers too, but there just wasn't any room. I think this only took me about half an hour and they're pretty good for you. If you are watching your waistline, just don't use the cheese or only use one piece.

I didn't take before pictures, which I'm a little upset about, but the weeds were literally turning into trees. They had trunks! If you look at the top picture, behind the wheel barrow it still looks like a jungle. The whole back yard looked like that. I recruited a guy friend of mine who I've been hanging out with a lot lately to come and help me clear out the back yard. He obviously did a great job. I never see the ground unless it's winter when nothing green can live. He even took a saw to the tree/weed that was growing up into the deck. The branches were coming through the wood in the deck and poking people. While he did that I used a rake and pulled up all of the ground-crawling vines that were taking over. They were starting to crawl up into my veggie patch. After I did a fair amount of squeeling about the vines my friend was nice enough to put it all in the garden bags for me since I didn't want to touch anything. I think the weeds were growing at such a rapid pace because of all of Emmy's poop. We didn't find any lumps in there. It had already decomposed and turned into all natural fertilizer. Yum. Anyway, so he put it all in the bags for me and the garden looked the cleanest I'd ever seen it during the summer. It was nice because he cleared the area that I had asked Edward to clear for me months ago so that could make a strawberry patch. It made me a little bit sad to see. It's a little too late to build a planter and plant strawberries now since I'll be moving home at the end of August, but at least it's clear. I don't have to worry about the tree/weeds attacking my guests when they come over.

The Mini Frittatas were a recipe from Giada De Laurentiis I had seen sometime last summer. I made these with some left over Kielbasa sausage instead of ham. They were really, really good and super easy. I would highly suggest it if you have the time.

I've been doodling to keep myself calm with all of the elderly people calls I get at work. It has been quite busy the last week or so. I thought I'd share.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tom Felton is not as good looking as Draco Malfoy

I loved the movie! There were some not-so-child-friendly scenes, but all in all, I think it was pretty good. I'm glad that I had read the book because there was a scene where something jumps out at Harry and I already had my face covered in preparation. Haha. I didn't approve of the additions and cuts that they made to the story, but other than that it was an entertaining piece of work. There was an entire scene added that wasn't in the book and a whole scene cut out of the ending that I thought should have been there. Not to mention they skipped the whole first chapter of the book and chose not to introduce the new Minister of Magic (he has been casted for the next movie though). I will definitely seeing it again soon despite these gripes. I don't want to say too much because then I'd give it away.

I did feel a little silly because I was the only hardcore wizard that I could see. There were people who were mildly dressed up in graduation robes and Halloween costumes, but I was decked out. I could see people openly laughing at my attire and it was also boiling in the line, but I refused to take off the robe. I mean really, if you're at a midnight showing of Harry Potter you're a nerd already. You may as well embrace it.

I have always been a big fan of Draco Malfoy, a minor league villain, because I thought he was a good looking guy. After looking at photos online, I've decided that it is definitely his character and the way he portrays Malfoy that I find attractive. Tom Felton is not such an attractive fellow. Yeek. I don't know what I was thinking.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

So ready for the new HP movie tonight

Tonight is the midnight release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I have been waiting ages for this movie to come out. It was supposed to be released last November but was pushed back until now. Today I'm posing as the resident witch in the office. I don't think that Dave really believed that I'd wear my outfit all day. He has seen the outfit for Halloween, but didn't think I'd wear on it on just an average day. His reaction was "Oh my God...".

I had to take off the robes because it was getting too warm, but I still have the tie! Neil and his wife Mary Beth are going with me to the movies. We're all having dinner at Neil's place (Dave and Erin too) and then going to the movies. I forgot my Gryffindor tie on my dresser so I'll have to go back for it. I told Neil that he should be Ron or that MB could be Ginny. I figured that I'd go home in between dinner and the movie anyway. For a while I thought that I'd have to go by myself, but now I have buddies. The only thing that I'm worried about is that I have a ticket for 12:01am and Neil has tickets for 12:04am because he didn't get his until yesterday and I got mine weeks ago. I hope that I can just sneak in to his theater. Hopefully it's not a smaller one! A matter of four minutes won't kill me, but I'd be disappointed if it was in a smaller room. I guess it doesn't matter that much since I told my friend that I'd go with him again this weekend. I figured I'd wear my Dumbledore memorial shirt to that and not the whole getup even though he's seen me in it before because he was in that class that I did the Fanfiction presentation for. (My mom rushed to finish the robes so that I could wear them in my presentation.) Hehehe.

Neil told me that I should consider being Cho Chang since I'm Chinese and a Ravenclaw, which is what she is, but she's such a sissy that I'd rather be an extra. Though if I had to chose one character, she'd fit the build. This picture is from my phone, but it'll have to do. The camera is only 2.0 megapixels and I can never keep it steady when I take pictures.
Note to all of my aunts and uncles with kids: This movie will be much scarier than the others. There are creatures called Inferi, which are people who Voldemort killed during his first attempt at world domination and then brought back "to life" to use as killing machines. They are basically zombies that crawl out of the lake and grab at Harry and Dumbledore. There is also blatant murder, which will be present throughout the rest of the series. If you follow HP at all you'll know that it started in book four when Voldemort murdered Cedric Diggory. So please take note. It is rated PG, but I wouldn't take young kids to see it, that's for sure. I don't want any of my cousins having nightmares!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Staring problem

On my way to work today I witnessed an odd spectacle. A man was standing outside of his apartment looking down at something. Since I'm nosy, I had to look. Between his legs was a duck. A duck?! It wasn't your typical mallard either. It was a white one like an Aflac duck. I, of course, couldn't help but stare. Why in the world would you have a duck in your apartment? Where does it swim? The bathtub? It was a pretty bird, but man, that apartment must not smell very pleasant.

Shortly after I got to work another odd occurrence surfaced. The antique shop across the way started putting up a giant foil cutout of a naked woman. I was like "are they putting up a naked woman?" After I said that Neil, Dave, and I proceeded to stand in the middle of the office and watch them put up this shiny figure. I was like, seriously? So this is what I see whenever I look up from my desk now. I have to admit, I can't help but stare at it. It's just so shiny!

I figured that since I blog about the office folk frequently that I should put pictures up of them.

Neil (head honcho)

Josie (office mascot)

Dave (partner in crime)

Yesterday was a difficult day at the office because we had a long term customer seemingly forget how the whole system worked. He's not even old! So it was busy because he called back like five times and kept asking the same questions over and over. To battle this frustration, I went grocery shopping and cleaned like a mad woman. I deodorized the office, living room, and bedroom carpets with baking soda. I made sure to vacuum with my left arm since my right arm is noticeably more muscular than my right. I also dusted, cleaned the bathroom, cleaned the windows in my car, sanitized the fridge and disposed of all the condiments that have been sitting in there for the past year untouched, put away the laundry, and went to Target, TJ Maxx and Home Depot. It was quite the productive night.

I've also finished the Didion and moved on to The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm. He is a genius, or close to it. The book is not what I expected. I thought it would be more of a guide to love, but it focuses mostly on the theory of love. I realized that it wouldn't be "right" for him to try to tell someone how to love and I appreciate that. His observations are good ones and I would suggest this book to anyone.

Dave and I have been doing a lot of discussion on life and God lately. We have gotten very in depth and surprisingly haven't gotten upset at one another. I have never been able to discuss such a sensitive subject with anyone without wanting to throw something. It is quite refreshing. He has been reading books on faith and I of life. Together we have been figuring out aspects of ourselves that we didn't know we had. It has contributed to my outlook on life. I've come to realize that in order to help others, I need to be able to help myself first. Fromm says that it's all about balance. If you can't love yourself then you can't love others and if you can't love others then you can't love yourself. Basically, your capability to love is dependent on your ability to love. How am I to love others when I don't love myself? How can I love myself when I don't love others? How can I help others when I can't help myself? I've already made some major headway in the discovery of myself and how to make myself happier. Rekindling my enjoyment in books has helped significantly. I don't know why I didn't read nonfiction before. It's like stepping into someone else's life, reading their stories. Since I'm so nosy anyway, I don't know why I didn't do this sooner. It also gives you perspective on your own life when you read about others.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

The Year of Magical Thinking

I finally gave up on my friend's book, Red Sorghum, and started on one of the many I bought during my shopping week. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion is amazing. Last night my eyes welled up at one passage (featured below). The book is what I'd describe as a personal essay. I don't know how memoir-esq it is, but it reads more like an essay of a chatoic period in her life. The book starts out with the death of her husband and the hospitalization of her daughter. She focuses on the closeness in dates (this all happened within a few days of each other and during Christmas, no less) and designates whole chapters to discussing the psychology of grief.

I couldn't put it down. I was up until 3am reading it. The time that I went to bed is not abnormal for me, but usually I'm sitting mindlessly in front of the tv or Youtube. I got a little over halfway through and hope to finish it tonight.

This excerpt made my eyes well up with tears and has inspired me to add an "On Promises" section to my own essay. In this passage Quintana, Didion's daughter, has just been readmitted to a hospital for collapsing in LAX while attempting a celebratory recovery trip with her new husband. She had just recovered from septic shock and was planning on spending time on the beaches of LA with her East Coast native husband.

UCLA Medical Center ICU:
"When do you have to leave," she asked me on the day when she could finally speak. She said the words with difficulty, her face tense.
I said I would not leave until we could leave together.
Her face relaxed. She went back to sleep.
It occurred to me during those weeks that this had been, since the day we brought her home from St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, my basic promise to her. I would not leave. I would take care of her. She would be all right. It also occurred to me that this was a promise I could not keep. I could not always take care of her. I could not never leave her. She was not longer a child. She was an adult. Things happened in life that mothers could not prevent or fix. Unless one of those things killed her prematurely, as one had almost done in Beth Isreal and another could still do at UCLA, I would die before she did. I remembered discussions in lawyers' offices during which I had become distressed by the word "predecease." The word could not possibly apply. After each of these discussions I would see the words "mutual disaster" in a new and favorable light. Yet once on a rough flight between Honolulu and Los Angeles I had imagined such a mutual disaster and rejected it. The plane would go down. Miraculously, she and I would survive the crash, adrift in the Pacific, clinging to the debris. The dilemma was this: I would need, because I was menstruating and the blood would attrack sharks, to abandon her, swim away, leave her alone.
Could I do this?
Did all parents feel this?
When my mother was near death at the age of ninety she told me that she was ready to die but could not. "You and Jim need me," she said. My brother and I were by then in our sixties.
You're safe.
I'm here.

I've known for a while that it is silly to make promises, which is why I don't do it anymore. I can't remember the last time I've actually said "I promise." But what is even sillier is to believe that other's promises will come true. I remember one of the first things an ex-boyfriend said to me was "I promise that I'll never hurt you." I had scoffed and told him that he couldn't promise such a thing because he didn't know what would happen in the future. As it turns out, he was the boyfriend who hurt me the most. Since then I've been fairly skeptical of promises, though I did move to Troy because of one. The problem is that I lost faith in that promise even though eventually it may have come true.

This passage elicits a different outlook on promises. Perhaps I am too skeptical. Didion's fear of not being able to keep her promise because she would die scared her. It scared her more that she could keep her promise. What I think I'm getting at is that not all promises should be kept. Didon's rational is exactly how I feel about irrational promises. Why would she make that promise when under normal circumstances couldn't keep it? Unfortunately, she was able to keep it, which I learned on Wikipedia because I was reading up on Didion's background.

Promises are meant and should be broken sometimes. I probably won't be making many promises in my life because of this.

Work Cited
Didion, Joan. The Year of Magical Thinking. New York: Vintage Books, 2005

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

It's gray out

Man, it is so gray outside. I was feeling fine and then when the sun went away I almost instantly got tired and started yawning. I was supposed to have dinner with a girlfriend tonight, but she is having boyfriend troubles and I have a feeling that their talk will go way beyond our scheduled dinner date time. As a backup I thought that maybe I'd go running and then weed my little garden. Not the case. It's raining with thunder and lightning so I don't think I'll be leaving the house once I get inside.

My garden is coming along nicely. I haven't weeded where my habaneros are sprouting because at this point, I can't tell which is weed and which is habanero plant. The cucumbers are doing really well and the tomato plants are huge. I even saw a few little green tomatoes on one of the plants yesterday. I was pretty excited about that. This year I think my garden is flourishing because of all the rain we've been having. I haven't had to water my plants in three weeks!

This weekend I'm taking care of the Celery dog, Josie. I'm very excited to have a doggy back in the apartment again. Right now she's doing her ghost howl and looking out the office windows.