I've only met him once that I can remember. He was already in his late teens when I was born, and I apparently spent a lot of time around him when I was an infant. The one time I remember meeting him was 10 years ago at a family reunion. I remember him being very interesting - flamboyantly gay and a lot of fun, he was the center of attention the whole weekend.
Last year at a birthday party for one of my aunts (my mom has 7 brothers and sisters), I found out that he was sick. AIDS. Last week one of his brothers told him he looked horrible and he better get to the doctor's office to see what was up. He went in to the hospital, was diagnosed with pneumonia, and they don't expect him to come back out.
While I didn't know him well, he has two brothers with whom he extremely close, and many aunts and uncles who love him dearly. I'm sad for him, dying so young because of a few bad choices. I'm sad for his brothers who are losing a best friend. I'm sad for my aunts and uncles, who are losing their first ever nephew; my grandparents their first-born grandson. I didn't know I could be so sad over someone I don't know well.
I also didn't think I'd ever know someone who died of AIDS. I'm from a small, conservative Mid-West community, and from a large Catholic family. Even though I like think I'm worldly, I know I've been sheltered my whole life. This comes as a big blow to my family for so many reasons.
My mom called me to deliver the bad news today, and I could tell she was fighting back tears the whole time. There's another family reunion next weekend, and we're all sad to know that he definitely won't make the trip, and probably won't even live that long.
All I can do for him is pray that he's comfortable and surrounded by the people he loves. And I do, with all my heart.
I tried something new, which always drives Aaron nuts - he heard once that you're not supposed to try new recipes on other people, and he sticks to that idea like it's adhesive-backed.
Anyway, I made a recipe I've been salivating over for a few weeks now: cappuccino brownies. And they were just as delicious as I hoped. If you need something decadent (they are super-rich; cut them small) for any occasion, I suggest these.
source: Better Homes and Gardens Favorite Bars & Cookies, 2002
1/2 c. butter
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, cut up
1 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. instant coffee crystals*
1 Tbsp. whipping cream
1 c. sifted powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 recipe Chocolate Frosting** (recipe below)
Grease an 8x8x2-inch baking pan; set aside. In a heavy medium saucepan cook and stir 1/2 c. butter and unsweetened chocolate over low heat until melted. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Stir in granulated sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon just until combined. Stir in vanilla.
Combine the flour and baking soda. Stir flour mixture into chocolate mixture just until combined. Spread in the prepared pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, for topping, dissolve coffee crystals in cream. In a small bowl beat together powdered sugar and the 2 Tbsp. butter with an electric mixture on medium speed until combined.*** Add the whipping cream mixture and beat until creamy. If necessary, beat in enough additional whipping cream to make a mixture of spreading consistency. Spread the topping over warm brownies. Cover and chill about 1 hour or until topping is set.
Carefully spread Chocolate Frosting over brownies. Cover and chill until set. Cut into bars. Makes about 16 brownies.
Chocolate Frosting: In a small saucepan combine 1 c. semi-sweet chocolate pieces and 1/3 c. whipping cream. Cook and stir over low heat until mixture begins to thicken.
*I used espresso powder, since that's what I have on hand
**This is ganache, pure and simple. And delicious.
***Do it this way and you'll have a big mess on your hands. Use a large bowl or stand mixture, otherwise you'll be covered in powdered sugar. Don't ask me how I know.
Wednesday I got home from work and turned on the kitchen lights only to realize that one light, way at the pinacle of the cathedral ceiling, had burned out. This one's not such an easy fix. So we called the landlord to fix it.
As I was calling, Aaron called out, "Tell them the air conditioner's not working either!"
It was blowing air all over the place, but not cooled air. Which is a problem, since, you know, that's its sole reason for being and all. So we told the landlord to fix the air conditioning too.
Thursday I got home from work to find my door unlocked, my utility closet standing wide open, and the broken air conditioner blowing hot air all over the place. You better believe I called the office to complain, especially since he called to say he had looked at it about 3 hours before I got home.
Yesterday, he fixed the air conditioner (I haven't thought to check the kitchen light. Note to self: look up when you get home and turn on the light) and I got home to the air conditioner doing what it was meant to do. And all the windows wide open.
Grrr.... once again.
Then this morning I got to work and my desk lamp wasn't working. I joked about being a "Slider" but my uber-young officemate didn't get the reference.
All I can say is that I am super-duper happy it's Friday and that Aaron and I are planning to not leave the bed and/or couch for fear that we'll break something else.
While holding your car keys, you shut the refrigerator door, and then press the lock button on your key fob.
15 percent of the time I'm in love with my husband, but it's not that all-encompasing, words-can't-describe-it kind of love. It's a comfortable love, and one that says he's okay, but damn, I don't need him around right now.
That other 5 percent of the time? I want to smack him. I don't, of course, but I really, really want to.
Last night, for reasons that were not entirely his fault, and more the fault of PMS/hormones, it was one of those 5 percent nights. I was mad at him. Really, really mad. He hadn't done anything at all that should make me mad. He came home, went and sat down in front of the computer and stayed there for multiple hours.
That was his smackable sin. My unreasonable hormone-influenced mind started saying things to itself, like, "You know what's really annoying? That if you go in there and say something to him, or ask him to pay attention to you, he's going to act all disappointed and annoyed with having to pay attention to you, and that's so not fair. He always asks for attention when you're ignoring him and you don't act all disappointed to have to pay attention to him instead of what you're doing" (which is probably not true, as I know I typically roll my eyes at his antics).
So I started cleaning the kitchen and slammed some things around, you know, to let him know that I was Not Happy. He took the bait and came out to the kitchen and was incredibly sweet to me, so then he was in the 15 percent range again.
(It's almost impossible to go straight from 5 to 80. You have to spend some time in 15 first. It's just the way it works.)
20 minutes later? I was pissy again, and I went to sleep still in the 5 percent range.
The greatest thing about all of this is that I am physically incapable of holding a grudge for very long, so this morning I woke up feeling rosy and in 80 percent territory again.
I'm sure that he just thinks I'm crazy, but he still loves me and sticks around, so I guess that's okay.
Anyway, on a completely different note, would it freak you out if you were driving down the road and the volume knob on your car stereo started turning of it's own accord (you can see it turning) turning the volume all the way down, and then did it two more times (not in quick succession) randomly on the way to work? Yeah. It kind of freaked me out too. This is not the first time it has happened, but it is definitely the most it's ever happened in one car ride.
Even though freaky things like this definitely creep me out, I absolutely love ghost stories. So, to make me feel better today, the crappiest of days, does anyone have a good ghost story to share?
Next time you notice the car it's because said passenger is back down low in his seat and he has a cup of liquid that he's pouring out of the car window. The liquid from the cup splashes all over the car behind him.
Now I have two questions before I give my take on the situation, I have three questions:
1) What was the passenger doing?
2) How mad would you be if you were the car behind him?
3) How happy was I that Aaron drives the speed limit and so we weren't the car behind him?
*Sorry, couldn't resist. :)
Well, on this season of the show Rob and Big get a miniature horse. Do you know what's cuter than a miniature horse? A baby miniature horse. I don't know this because of the show, but instead I know this because there's a miniature horse farm right down the road from where I work. Seriously. I drive that way home from work regularly even though it's about a quarter-mile out of my way just so that I can see the horses. And all this even though I'm not a horse kind of person.
I will admit I am a sucker for all things small and miniature. Baby tennis shoes that look just like the adult version, but teeny-tiny sized? Cutest thing ever! Tea sets made little girl sized? Aaron had to tear me away from them on our last visit to Ikea, saying "We don't have any kids!" with me replying "But...but...SO CUTE!". He said no and I listened. Begrudgingly.
Anyway, none of this is the point. The other day when I was driving home from work during the warm sunny afternoon I saw a bunch of baby miniature horses sleeping in the field. I told Aaron about it, and he asked, "How were they sleeping?"
I looked at him weird and said, "On their sides."
"Can horses sleep on their sides?"
"Well, I hope so. Otherwise I saw a field full of dead baby miniature horses."
And then we laughed hysterically for at least five minutes. I love that we crack ourselves up so much.
I've decided, just this past weekend, that getting your period is a horrible way to find out that you're not pregnant. Not only are you bummed about the whole no baby thing, but you also have to deal with bloating, exhaustion, cramping, cravings, and hormones that will make you cry irregardless if you have any thing to be upset about in the first place.
I spent yesterday on my parents' couch. Yes, actually, it was the entire day that I spent there. I woke up at 6:30 a.m. with cramps and headed out to the couch to read and suffer somewhere I wouldn't wake up Aaron. I stayed there all day because the pain was so ridiculous. I used a heating pad, went through about 6 ibuprofen, and any other thing we could think about to try to help. I also slept for about half of the day because I was just completely whipped. Also fun? Being so bloated that none of the pants I took with me for the weekend would fit. Oh, wait. That's another f-word: frustrating.
Aaron was looking at me this morning, and said "You still look like you feel horrible. Maybe we should take you to the doctor."
I told him it was pointless, since the only thing they'd recommend for the diagnosis of a "heinous period" would be birth control, which he agreed would be opposite of what we wanted. Although, if I hadn't had period-related-amnesia due to 8 years of barely noticeable periods thanks to birth control, I might have never gone off birth control in the first place.
Did that even make sense?
I think I need yet another nap.
At least the trying is a lot of fun.
Why, do you ask?
Because I just bought this, which will make me the coolest of all of my friends.
Yes, it really will. We're geeks and we own that fact.
Huevos Rancheros with Queso Fresco
source: Cooking Light, January 2004
Place water and beans in a microwave-safe bowl, and partially mash with a fork. Cover and microwave at HIGH 2 minutes or until hot.
Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add eggs; cook 1 minute on each side or until desired degree of doneness.
Warm tortillas according to package directions. Spread about 1/3 cup beans over each tortilla; top each tortilla with 1 egg. Spoon 1/2 cup sauce around each egg; sprinkle each serving with 1/4 cup cheese.
Yields 4 servings (serving size: 1 topped tortilla)Fruit Salad
source: Cooking Light, January 2004
1 can pineapple, drained
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1/3 cup coconut
In a bowl, mix together fruit and powdered sugar. Sprinkle coconut over fruit mixture. Serve chilled.
Hope you enjoy!
Tomorrow is test day.
5 minutes of jogging.
2 minutes of walking lunges.
3 minutes of jogging.
30 seconds plank.
20 squat thrusts.
20 laps jogging backwards.
30 seconds plank.
30 lat raises.
20 squat thrusts.
30 seconds mountain climber.
30 shoulder presses.
30 seconds mountain climber.
20 lat raises.
20 shoulder presses.
15 squat thrusts.
20 seconds plank.
And all of this after 30 semi-easy (but still enough to get my heart-rate up) minutes on the elliptical machine.
I may not be able to move tomorrow. But I'd say I'm definitely working on my fitness. I can't believe I signed up for 4 weeks of sessions like this. 1 down, three to go.
Let me explain. Aaron's grandmother had been messing with his cousin since she announced she was getting married, and his cousin had bought it all, hook, line, and sinker. First, Grandma had told his cousin that she wanted to be the flower girl, and no she's not kidding, why do you ask?
Next, Grandma started working on her flower girl outfit. The first piece of the outfit was her skirt: a pleated black skirt with the wedding colors (orange, teal, purple, hot pink) inside the pleats. She couldn't decide which color to match the shirt though. Next, since it was a beach wedding, she'd need a big floppy hat, and to make it match the outfit, she'd tie ribbons around the brim, and cut them nice and long so they'd flow down her back. (A short aside: the groom's family is from England, and they were all wearing big floppy hats. We should have all worn a hat like Grandma's because it was a beach wedding, sunny, over ninety degrees, and we were out there for over 45 minutes.)
Finally there were the shoes. She borrowed a pair from a friend to show the bride. They were hot pink platforms with straps that went up her legs. And a totally awesome part of this prank. By this time the bride was freaking out, especially when she was trying to figure out how to tell grandma that she already had flower girls.
When Grandma showed up for the wedding wearing a beautiful black and white skirt, black shirt, and white sandals, the bride cried she was so happy. She really thought that Grandma was going to wear her proposed outfit. It was hilarious.
It was almost the most fun part of the wedding.
Aaron and I were off of work from Wednesday through the weekend and had a fabulous time. Pictures of our good time will be up on Flickr tomorrow. I just wish it wasn't already over. Reality really does bite.
This freaked me out. I mean, I only had the one (and I have no idea why I hang on to single earrings, but maybe this is the reason) for 8 years now. But, freaked out or not, I polished them (they're silver hoops) and wore them to work that day.
Then I told Aaron about it and completely freaked him out. Is it wrong that picking on him like that and making his squirm is fun for me? Because it totally makes my day.
At least I've never tried to convince him that the sun was burning out by 2010.
(In my defense it was before 7 in the morning and I'd had no coffee at that point. It's easy to get me to believe things before my coffee.)
Anyway, I'm of the "never show up empty-handed" camp, and I typically bake something to take. This weekend I made something new, but something I've been wanting to try for a very long time: Nanaimo Bars.
These things are awesome, and so incredibly easy to make it's ridiculous. They're made up of a layer of chocolate, graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and almonds, a layer of vanilla cream, and a final layer of crisp dark chocolate. They're absolutely decadent, and all the women who tried one asked for the recipe. I'd call that a hit.
They're incredibly rich, so if you do try them, I'd suggest cutting them into very small squares (1-1/2 inch square is about what I did). I made a double batch, and, despite them being so rich, they're almost gone two days later.
I was going to take the leftovers to work today to get rid of them, because Aaron thinks that they're so sweet they give him a stomach-ache (I told him not to eat two to three at a time, but does he listen?), but he refused to let me take them. He gets protective of the things he loves, including and especially any sweets I make. I guess I'm going to have to watch him so that he doesn't eat the rest in one sitting.