Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lesson 2: Never Leave Your Porch Windows Open During a Wind Storm

aka: How I embrace my inner white trash. ;)

Let me just start off saying - I love my house.  Well, I love some parts of it more than others.  Over 16 years ago, the fiancee wanted to buy a house so we could start building equity.  It was a sound idea in theory, even though to this day, I am still not sure why it is so important to get yourself into massive amounts of debt to build this mysterious thing called equity.  Does something like this reflect well on your permanent record?  At the time, I was hesitant about the whole prospect as a house means a bigger space, more to clean and ... urg... yardwork.
But I abhorred the apartment that we were living in which was like an easy bake oven in the summer and a walk in freezer in the winter and smallish for two adults and three cats, so I gave in. 

I had some grand ideas of what a first house should look like but as our budget was meager and my salary wouldn't count towards in the mortgage application process (I was a contract, therefore an unreliable income: remember, this was back in the day where banks were far more careful about the money they were handing out), so I was bitch slapped by reality on what we could afford.  Although I did stick with my main point - no ranches.  I grew up in a ranch house and I hated how the kitchen was on the same floor as the bedrooms. I would wake up any time someone passed by my door to either the kitchen or the bathroom. The house was too damned small and it was really impossible to get away from everyone in it. In hind site, my loathing of ranches was pure stupidity on my part, because now I get to lug laundry up and down two flights of stairs instead of just one.

After we had looked at least 30 houses (and nearly got killed by the realtor, who had a seizure while driving while we were in the car), we found a fairly nice looking 1928 colonial that had been reduced enough in price that we could afford it.  I hated the kitchen and bathroom on sight, which considering the problems we have had with both was probably my sixth sense warning me (a story for another day), but the basement and attic were both mostly finished, which was perfect for our office area and entertainment center plans.   Plus, the yard was small, which was perfect for my lackadaisical plans for gardening.  It also had the cutest little porch with windows we could open or close for cross breeze (and cigarette smoking) purposes.  (We both smoked at the time and made a promise to each other that we weren't going to do it in the house.)

Well, though a series of stupid moves, I had restarted smoking about a year or year and a 1/2 ago. About Three weeks ago, during one of the balmier December nights, I had left the porch windows open to air it out.  I had forgotten to close them the next morning and during the workday, the wind picked up - enough so that it started slamming the windows open and closed until one of them shattered, leaving glass all over my porch and a jaggedy chunk still in the pane.  It has since been covered over by plastic to prevent the wind and snow from coming in.  I feel like my next step should be to get some cement blocks and put my car up on them in the front yard.  I know absolutely next to nothing about replacing that pane of glass, because of the way the porch was put together.  Hubby says that there is only a little caulk holding the rest of the glass in place and I am not sure who to contact to fix it.  In the meantime, it billows nicely in the breeze and adds a little more character to a home that is already brimming with it.

It also reminds me that I need to quit smoking again.  (I'm working on it...)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Lesson 1: Never Tweeze Your Eyebrows After Three Cups of Coffee

Well, I have done it again.  Created yet another blog that no one will read and I will probably ditch after several postings.  Doesn't matter, as I have had the blogging bug lately and a little non-school writing may do me a world of good.  Normally, I would say creative writing, but I am not all together certain how creative I will be.

So, let me introduce meself - Name is Andrea, work at a technology company, I am in touch with my inner geek, but I prefer my inner baker at this point in time.  I'm married and am owned by 1 cat.  (Not the one in the picture - she passed some time ago.)  I am currently involved in earning my Masters in Information Systems.  I just finished going through two Element K tutorials on Data Communications (in regards to networking and yadda yadda yadda) and am at the point that I want to stab my eyes out.  The information itself is fairly interesting, but the narrator - God, why could they not have picked some sexy voiced gentleman with a British (or Irish or Scottish or Australian) accent?  This guy sounds like the uncool teacher you had in high school which everyone dreaded.  (And yes, I realize grammar is not my strong suite - pppfffttt - whatever.  Heck, at this point, just be glad I am not posting something in text speak.)

Anyway - today's Public Service Announcement:

If you are a Nutella Junkie like me (and I know many of you are) and you have been scouring the web like I have for delicious new nutella tasty treats, may I steer you away from making these:

Nutella Self Frosting Cupcakes

Now, I am not saying that they are bad, nor am I saying that the lovely lady who posted those tempting instructions doesn't know what she is talking about.  Considering she has been around the web a lot longer and far more consistently and appears to be a very reputable site, I know she knows what she is talking about.  I am not trying to besmirch her baking character.  However, I made them twice - yes, twice, and I am still not impressed.  Now, in fairness, the first time I made them, I screwed up.  I measured the flour, then sifted.  One is supposed to sift, then measure.  Most things I bake don't require sifting or sometimes I laugh at the concept. Ha! Sift? I'm a sifting non-conformist! I'm a baking rebel!  Which, in this case, forced me to choke down a very dry dense rock like muffin - totally my fault.

So, last night I tried again.  I followed the directions precisely and found pretty much the same result.  The muffins (because honestly, these weren't cupcake consistency) were much more moist then the first batch, but the vanilla part still is lacking any AHA! flavor. And trying to stir the nutella into the cake - what a nightmare!  The cupcake cups were crinkling and wrinkling - it was a total mess. That was totally not my fault.  Although it did give me the excuse to start licking nutella off my fingers once I was done. I think that if I try making a "self frosting nutella cupcake" again, I will actually try and make yellow cake batter... or oooohhh.... maybe a white cake batter. Maybe if I find a combination I like better, I will post pictures.

That being said, if you want a nutella baked treat that requires little time (and no frustration) - let me point you in this direction.

Oh my oooohy gooey goodness. I won't mention how many times I have burned the roof of my mouth on these things - it's just embarrassing.