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Poached Eggs!

I think I’ve finally cracked the secret of poached eggs!

I’ve always loved poached eggs. It’s probably my favorite way to eat eggs. Sometimes I even poach them until the yolks are hard, which basically makes them a hot hard-boiled egg.

I’ve been practicing making poached eggs the authentic way. Putting them in the little medal cups in the special pan really makes “steamed” eggs. Poaching means cooking in liquid.

This morning, I used a wider and shallower pan. I brought the water to just below a boil, where a fair number of bubbles were coming up from the bottom. I’ve always used the trick of putting a little vinegar in the water to help the egg whites bind together so the egg didn’t ooze all over the pan.

But I’ve never been able to get them really stay in shape. I’d get a big stringing egg, that was all crosslinked, and sort of in the right shape, but with lots of straggling pieces. This morning, I dumped the egg from the measuring cup into the water FASTER, and it worked. They stuck together nicely!

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Resolution #1 continues!

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Resolution #1

Even though it’s only been 2013 for a few hours, I’ve been working on some of my resolutions for the last few days.

Resolution #1: Eat Better!

Not necessarily to eat healthier, but  to eat better. I’m going to cook more. Try different foods and different recipes. Because I’ve been so busy, I end up eating out a lot at the same local restaurants, and it’s boring.

So, here’s what I’ve cooked so far this weekend.

Chicken Adobo

I found this recipe on the Amateur Gourmet blog, but it is from a cookbook by April Bloomfield, A Girl and Her Pig.

I used half the chicken it called for, because my dutch oven isn’t that big, but I left everything else the same. I mean, why mess with any recipe that calls for two heads (yes, heads. Not cloves) of garlic. It was delicious, although based on the layer of fat on the top once I put the leftovers in the kitchen, it’s fattier than I thought. I guess that’s from the chicken skins.

IMG_0202I served it over rice, with a kale and lettuce salad.

Scallops with Quinoa and Pomegranate Gastrique

This recipe came from the Sprouted Kitchen cookbook. I left out many of the herbs in the quinoa, because I forgot to write them down when I went shopping, but it still turned out pretty good.

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Figs with Gorgonzola and Sopressata

This was a recipe I saw on the Closet Cooking blog. I had to go to four different supermarkets before I could find figs, but it was worth it.

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Today’s lunch

In the Parisian style, I think today’s lunch is just going to be some cheese and bread. I have a bunch of gorgonzola cheese left.

So at least one resolution is off to a good start.

Surviving Sandy and Other Updates

It’s been almost two months since I last posted. Wow, this semester’s been kicking my ass, I guess.

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy blew through here yesterday, with a little rain continuing today. The lights flickered once last night, but otherwise it was pretty uneventful here. Living downtown, all the power lines are underground, so I’ve never lost power in the six years I’ve been in DC. I haven’t gone out yet to see if there’s much damage with tree branches down, etc, but given the last couple of years of big storms and the dorecho we had this summer, I think all of the weak branches were already down.

I spent yesterday catching up on the pile of magazines that has been piling up all semester. Then I watched three movies:

I also cooked. Beef stew in the crockpot on Sunday, and chili, yesterday. Now the freezer is stocked, and I have food for the week.

The best part of Hurricane Sandy was that they closed everything yesterday and today: work, my trainer, school. I’ve had two days with ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do! It’s been fabulous. I’m even going to celebrate by taking a nap later today.

My Birthday

Sunday was my birthday. I’m 41.

I had a small birthday party at my house on Saturday. It was a good excuse to clean up, throw stuff out, and invite some people over. There was a good turnout and I think everyone had a good time.

And mother nature gave me two days of relaxation, which is the second best present I got.

School

This semester has gone pretty quickly. We’re already in Week 11. I had one midterm, which I should get the grade for this week. Last year, I would have loved to have a midterm, so I had some idea what to expect on exams. This year, it was just a pain in the ass. For finals, we at least get about a week to study. For midterms, it was just business as usual: class on Tuesday, exam in class on Thursday. And a one-hour twenty minute exam isn’t very long for an essay. It was hard to get everything down and organized in that short amount of time.

We’re a week away from spring registration. I don’t think I’m going to try to squeeze all my classes into two nights. It hasn’t worked out as well as I had hoped. First, I still have to go in and do office hours for the law review. Since I don’t to do that from 9:30-11:30 pm, I end up going in a third day, anyway. And because I have to leave work early on Tuesday and Thursday, I end up having to work later on Wednesday, so I get home about the same time I would if I had class.

Oh well, I gave it a shot.

It’s almost November. That means I need to start thinking about outlines and studying for finals. So I don’t have to take much time off work, I’m hoping to get started earlier this year. Maybe I’ll at least be able to get some of it done ahead of time. Luckily two of my finals are at the end of the exam period, so that gives me some extra time, too.

I know I’ve said it before, but I’m going to try to do a better job of staying on top of posting.

Need Advice on a New TV

I finished my federal taxes on Friday and I’m going to use part of my refund to buy a new TV. I have a 32 inch picture-tube TV that I bought ten years ago. I’ve been waiting of fit to diet before I replace it, but the damn thing just seems to want to live forever. The picture went out once about 18 months ago. But, after I turned it off and back on, it’s worked fine since then.

Old TV digital picture Frame

But, I don’t know anything about the new flat screen TVs. So, I figured I’d ask for advice.

A few questions come to mind, but there may be other things to consider that I’m not even aware of, so I’d appreciate any input.

  • Do I want LCD or plasma? Why
  • Any special features I need?
  • Any special connections that will be helpful? (Right now, I only see hooking up the Wii and the DVD player.)
  • Any specific brands or retailers you’d recommend?

Thanks! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Semester 2, Week 1 – Done

Well, week #1 is done! Whew! As I mentioned in a previous post, it was kind of rough getting back into the swing of things. The week went pretty well, except in an effort to save my back, I only took one of my Civil Procedure books with me. Of course, we spent time reading directly out of the other two books. And, since I have to read them on the weekends, I can’t just leave them in my locker. Oh well. That’s why they invented chiropractors and massage therapists.

My Weekend

So, this weekend was about catching up, regrouping, and — hopefully — getting a little ahead.

A month ago, I had booked a reservation for Friday for Restaurant Week. Since Friday was the only night I could do dinner, the choices were somewhat limited, and I booked on OpenTable: DC Restaurants as soon as they announced the dates. I like to use Restaurant Week to try restaurants I wouldn’t otherwise spend that much money at. I’ve had great experiences at 1789, for instance. This time, my reservation was at Chef Geoff’s Downtown. I had heard very mixed things about it, so I ended up canceling the reservation.

I stayed in on Friday and got my reading for Civil Procedure and Criminal Law both done.

Saturday was the trainer (that’s why everything hurts!!), and a really wonderful second date.

Today, was reading for Rhetoric, as well as cleaning off my desk.

But It’s Not Over!

Wait! It’s a 3-day weekend! I get an extra day to enjoy.

Actually, tomorrow will be spent first working on my next Rhetoric writing assignment. Then, I need to run to Target and the grocery store. I’m going to cook some chili so I have something healthy to eat this week.

Speaking of healthy cooking, I started reading An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler. I’ve only read two chapters, but it makes me want to cook in a very simple, filling, and tasty way. I’d recommend picking it up.

UPDATED 11/21/13: OpenTable asked me to update their link to go to the DC restaurants.

Just an update

This is just an update, since I haven’t posted in a while.

School Update

School’s going ok. Legal writing is taking A LOT more time than I expected. The final draft of our first memo is due this week.  I’m sure I’ve put in at least 40 hours working on various drafts of this memo. Hopefully it was worth it.

This week, Contracts is cancelled on Wednesday because of the Jewish holidays. So, I get a free evening! (But, we’re making it up in two weeks.)

At some point, I need to start reviewing. Hopefully the next few writing assignments won’t take as much time and I can get back to focusing on Torts and Contracs.

Home Update

Did I mention that Alex’s been much more affectionate since she spent the day locked in the bedroom? If I leave the bedroom window open, it often blows the door shut. I usually leave a shoe in the doorway, so the door doesn’t latch. The cleaning people moved the shoe and when I came home, Alex was in their begging to be let out. Ever since then, she’s been up on me like a conjoined twin. Right this minute, she’s lying on my desk, with her paw resting on my hand while I type.

I’ve still been hitting the trainer twice a week. It’s the one commitment I have worked to keep school from interfering with. Sometimes I don’t know why. Many weeks, there are only one or two days where I can move without stiffness or pain. But, it’s working, I guess. My chest, arms, and shoulders are definitely getting bigger. And yesterday, I was told my butt looked “perky.”

Today is a relaxation day. I’m doing laundry, catching up on the DVR and paying bills. At some point, I need to take some underwear back to Macy’s and get the security tag removed. This afternoon, I have a BBQ with the Lambda student group, and later tonight a birthday party, that I’m sure will be awesome. Tomorrow’s going to be my study day. I may also try and get a movie in there at some point. I hear Drive is really good.

Work Update

I finally have more than one staff member! Two new employees started two weeks ago. Now, someone can be on vacation, and we still can have staff meetings.

It’s Katie’s Last Day

I think I have to take Katie to be put down. She’s gotten worse in the last few hours. She can barely walk, falling over after a few steps. When I tried petting her, she gave me a wounded meow.

I was worried I wouldn’t know when the time was right. But, I guess she’s made it pretty obvious.

Thank goodness my friend can take me, tonight. I can barely see to type this, and definitely shouldn’t be driving. And, I don’t want to drag this out longer than necessary for either of us.

She’s had a good, long life, and I hope I’ve shown her as much love as she’s shown me the past 9-10 years. She’s been the best cat I could have ever wanted.

UPDATE:

Katie’s gone. I have to give kudos to the doctors and staff at Friendship Animal Hospital. From the moment I arrived and said that I was there because I thought it was time to put Katie down, they were kind, professional, and timely. We were immediately put into a private room, where my friend, Michael, and I got to sit with her. When the vet came in, she had already read her records and understood what was going on. They offered to put the IV in with me there, or take her to the back. They came and took care of the billing before it was over, so we wouldn’t have to worry about that at the end.

They were wonderful. A quick IV. They brought in a warm towel for her to lay on. Some IV propofol, and Katie simply laid down and went to sleep. Two more medications, and it was all over. The doctor then left us alone, so I could say, “goodbye.”

As horrible as it was, they couldn’t have done a better job of handling it in a caring and sensitive manner.

Goodbye, Katie. I’ll miss you!

I Need Professional Help!

I realized tonight that I need professional help. I know what some of you are thinking! That’s not what I meant, but may be material for another post.

As I was driving through the 7th torrential downpour of the day to go to the all-night animal hospital to pick up Katie’s medication (which I probably could have made at home if I called in a few prednisone tablets to the local CVS — and wouldn’t have cost me $60), I realized that I while I think I can manage work and school, I think I need help with the rest of life.

Anyone interested in the job? Your duties include such mundane tasks as:

  • Picking up cat medication. Giving said medication to the cat once a day.
  • Getting my watch battery changed. Yesterday, I realized it was two hours behind, which got worse though out the day. You’d think I could survive without a watch, but it’s a problem at work. Every clock is different: my Blackberry, iPhone, computer, office clock, clock in the hallway, etc. And they vary by as much as 10 minutes, which means I’m usually either early to meetings, or late, depending on the clock in the room where they’re holding the meeting.
  • Going through my mail and tossing out the junk mail. If you want to open it and pay the bills for me, you might get a little extra in your holiday card.
  • Laundry!!
  • Watching the weather in the morning so I know how to dress.
  • Picking up the wine and Peanut Butter Cup Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, so I can have Second Dinner (Watch this episode of The Office to see where that comes from).
  • Reminding me what day of the week it is, and possibly where I’m at.
  • Petting the cats. They’re feeling neglected.
  • Fighting with my Co-op Board when I’m busy at work. (More on this one later.)
  • Unpacking and repacking my work/school bag. (As an aside, I’ve been having a lot of neck and shoulder tension. I realized today that it’s because the bag is so damn heavy. Tonight, was Contracts and Legal Rhetoric. My bag weighed 15 pounds.)
  • Get my Jeep’s oil changed.
  • Go through my DVR and delete duplicates. (Who the hell scheduled law school to overlap with the start of the new TV season?)
  • Other To Do List items as assigned (Can you tell I’ve worked with government HR?)

These are simple tasks, I know. I just don’t have time to do it. I’m not sure I am going to have time to get my watch battery changed this weekend. And there’s a fair chance my car may go 35,000 miles without an oil change.

I can’t pay you for your time, but I will cover the expenses. I’m not asking you to buy the watch battery. And, in exchange, you have access to anything you find in my refrigerator. That includes the over-ripe apples, the possibly expired Chobani yogurt, that weird wheat side-dish I made that was tasty but still got pushed to the back, the pizza from the other weekend, and both bottles of ketchup. It’s all yours!

Just send your cover letter and résumé to me through this blog, if you’re interested in helping me out.

Week One; The Calm Before the Storm

School

I survived Week One! But I was tired. I had Friday afternoon off, and I took two naps to recover. And it felt good. So far, Contracts has been the easier class for me to understand. The cases can be hard to follow because there’s often money changing hands in both directions, but the concepts are making sense. Torts is a little more challenging. I think it’s because he’s teaching the concepts in a more global way than she is in Contracts. I’m trying to trust in the process and believe that I’m supposed to feel lost at this point, and that’s ok.

I must be learning something in Torts, though. Thursday evening, I was driving home after school and Taylor Swift‘s song, “Mean,” came on the radio. I heard the line: Someday I’ll be big enough so you can’t hit me. I immediately thought, “That’s battery!”

Apparently, the first week isn’t just hard on students. It can be hard on professors. Here’s a blog post from Concurring Opinions.

I just got home from the trainer, and as soon as I can lift my arms, again, I’m going to start studying. Today, and probably much of tomorrow, is going to be a study day. Luckily, with Hurricane Irene approaching, there’s nothing else to do.

Hurricane Irene

First we had an earthquake, and now we have a hurricane the size of Europe coming at us. Mother Nature must really be pissed at DC. Someone should explain to her that Congress isn’t even in session, so she should go after them in their home districts and leave us alone. But, I’m prepared. I have water in the fridge, 2.5 cases of Gatorade, food, a gas stove, candles, wine and toilet paper. I tried to buy a flashlight (which I’ve known I should have for a while), but Target was completely sold out! But, I guess I can study by candlelight if it comes to that. It worked for Abe Lincoln.

Actually, we should be fine. DC is expected to get 4-6 inches of rain in the next 24 hours, and winds in the 40-50 mph range. My only concern is the 5-foot-wide, windows in my apartment. My windows face North and East, which usually means I don’t even have rain blowing in open windows. But, the rotation of the storm is going to bring the rain in from the East. As long as the wind isn’t strong enough to break a window, I should be fine. So far, we’ve got nothing but overcast skies. I noticed that off to the East, it is getting darker, and the rain is expected to start within the next hour.

Hopefully the power won’t go out. I was hoping to watch some movies tonight as a study break. Hmm. Guess I should make sure the laptop is fully charged. Might still be able to watch a movie. Just thought of that!

Katie

Katie seems to be feeling better. She jumped up on the couch yesterday. That’s the first time she’s been able to jump up in about 2 weeks. She still slips and almost falls, if she walks too close to the edge. But, I guess the medicine is making her feel better. On a sadder note, when the time comes, I heard about a local vet who does home euthanasia. I may look in to that. That way, she won’t have to ride in her carrier, and can be in her home. And, I won’t have to try to drive home while bawling. But, hopefully that’s still a ways off.

Update on Day 2 and Update on Katie

Katie

Let’s start with Katie. I took her to a new vet, today: Friendship Hospital for Animals. Riding in her carrier is always traumatic for Katie. She cried constantly, while I steer, shift gears, and stick my fingers in the carrier to comfort her, all at the same time. Today, it was also traumatic for me. I was worried the vet would tell me she was in pain and it was time to put her to sleep. I tried to make Alex say goodbye to her, but she saw Katie in the carrier and ran into the living room.

But, the vet was great. I got fabulous service from two vet techs, and a vet who spent quite a bit of time examining Katie, including doing an indirect ophthalmic exam. (That’s where you look at the retina in the back of the eye by using a flashlight and a lens you hold in your hand. It’s similar to using that little light the doctor uses to look in your eye, but a little harder.) They even took her blood pressure. The good news is that she doesn’t think Katie’s in pain. She was active, friendly, and purring the whole visit.

The bad news is that Katie probably has a brain tumor, given that she walks in circles, only turning left, doesn’t seem to see as well on her right side, and she’s getting clumsy. We are increasing her prednisone, which may help with symptoms. We’re also doing some bloodwork and trying antibiotics for some infections, which are unlikely, but would be treatable.

And, as if Katie didn’t have a traumatic enough day, we had a 5.8 magnitude earthquake this afternoon! I was at work and it took a while to realize what was happening, as I’d never felt one before. After work, I had to go to class, but luckily my friend, Noel, lives nearby and was able to come and confirm that nothing had fallen and crushed them. I just hope we don’t have another one on the day I have to take Katie back to the vet.

School

Day one was pretty good. No one cried. No one was embarrassed by the professor. I felt like I was following the conversation, contributing, and learning. It was a long day, as I had class until 10 pm.

Day two wasn’t quite as great. I followed most of the conversation in Torts, but am not sure I understood the last 5 minutes. If a jury finds substantial certainty of an injury, what roles does the defendant’s limited capacity to see the substantial certainty play? Huh? Maybe I just couldn’t follow it after 2 hours sitting in an overheated room. Hopefully, it’ll make sense Thursday.

Then, I came home and did almost 3 hours of reading for tomorrow’s Contracts class. I’ll finish that reading, and try to start and finish Thursday’s torts reading, tomorrow morning. I won’t get much done tomorrow evening as I have the trainer after class.

It’s day 2, and I am almost behind with my reading! This weekend, I am really going to have to try to read ahead for the next week. That way, I can come home afterwards and review, rather than having to read ahead each night.

Oh well. At least I am finding the material in both classes interesting and am still excited to be there.

Two days down…