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13 Jan

It’s been a long week.  Both good and bad things happened…but here I am, still standing, and it’s finally Friday.  As a bonus, just today I found out I have the holiday off on Monday, when all week I’ve assumed I’d have to come in.  That was quite a pleasant – and much needed – surprise.

I’d give anything to spend a day this weekend doing nothing but reading and snuggling with this guy:

snuggly took

Let’s hope I can make it happen.

Happy Friday, everyone. Thanks again for your incredible support and wonderful-as-always comments on last week’s post. I wish I could thank each and everyone one of you by hand-delivering (arm-delivering?) a hug and some baked goodies.

Have a wonderful weekend, dear friends.



Because it’s fun to say “balls.”

20 Dec

Thank you everyone for your incredible comments on my Festive with Whine post.  I don’t know how you do it but you continue to surprise me.  I was in the midst of so many projects at work and all of that needed to get out of my head so I could focus better.  I wrote it in five minutes and just expected a release, never did I expect a discussion to come out of it.  If you haven’t had a chance to read it, I recommend it just so you can read the comments.  You guys are awesome in so many ways.

The end of my craziness is in sight.  I actually never thought I’d want Christmas to be over with already, but this year I’ve never been more ready for the day to actually get here so I can just stop for a moment.  I’m exhausted.

The thing is, I’m not one of those people who can just go out and buy a gift.  No, I have to make it difficult for myself and everyone around me by turning my surroundings into my own personal Santa’s Workshop.  I’m crazy.  But I like to think it’s all worth it.

I thought I’d share with you some of the treats I’ve been making.  I wish I could send each and every one of you your own personal treat box filled with the goods you see here.  But since I can’t at this time (I wouldn’t put it past me to do actually do that at some point), you’ll have to settle for a virtual treat box.  Someone really needs to work on making scratch n’ taste digital photos.

In return for making you drool, I’ll even give you a recipe. But first, the sweets:

whipped egg whites


marshmallows 2

Vanilla Bean Marshmallows

(K thought they looked like tofu…but I can assure you, they taste nothing like bean curd and everything like pillowy bits of heaven in your mouth.)

french macarons
french macarons 3

french macarons 2

Chocolate French Macarons with an Orange-Chocolate Ganache

(K thought these looked like mini hamburgers, and I really can’t argue with that.  But these?  These are bite-size chocolatey pieces of goodness.  And as soon as I realized they had a 2-day shelf-life, I made sure they didn’t go to waste.  And by that I mean I ate them.  Almost all of them.)


Salty-Sweet Bark

bourbon balls

Black Cherry Chocolate Bourbon Balls

And now to make up for teasing you like that, here’s the recipe for the Black Cherry Chocolate Bourbon Balls.  They may not look like much, but they are fudgey and delicious, with quite a big kick of bourbon.  I think you can get drunk just from the fumes that are released when opening the container you keep them in.  Just how a bourbon ball should be.

This is adapted from a super-top-secret recipe given to me by a professor at the university I worked at before moving to California, one that was coveted by every employee in our building.  Good thing I charmed him into giving it to me, because it really is the best bourbon ball you will ever have (too bad I’m not giving you that recipe).  I feel comfortable posting my version of it here because I really changed it dramatically, and the main ingredient below is not at all what he has in his, so I think I’m safe.  And a funny little tidbit before you get to the recipe – I had a new bottle of Maker’s Mark (my bourbon of choice) open and ready to be used here, but I just couldn’t waste it like this.  Not that it would have been a complete waste, but Maker’s is meant to be sipped, not mixed with chocolate in my opinion.  I’m glad I’m a bourbon snob, because the Black Cherry bourbon I’ve had on my shelf for almost a year really made the recipe a hit.

Now go forth and make ye’ some balls!  (hehehe)

Black Cherry Chocolate Bourbon Balls
makes 40-50 balls

1 – 10 oz. pkg. Chocolate Teddy Grahams, crushed

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate

 1/2 cup of Jim Beam’s Red Stag Black Cherry bourbon (if you can’t find this, any ole’ bourbon will do…but this really takes it up a notch from your everyday bourbon ball, so I recommend trying to find it)

3 tbsp light corn syrup

1 cup chopped pecans (or any type nut)

granulated sugar

In the top of a double-boiler, melt chocolate.  Once smooth, remove from heat and stir in corn syrup and bourbon.  In a large mixing bowl, combine crushed Teddy Grahams, confectioners’ sugar and chopped nuts.  Add chocolate mixture and let stand for 30 minutes.  Shape into 1-inch balls and roll in granulated sugar.

Enjoy with a highball of Maker’s Mark, spiked hot chocolate or hot-buttered rum (stay tuned for the recipe).

Let me know what you think if any of you make them.  I’ll just be on the couch, drunk from the remaining ones I have at home.

Happy Christmas week, everyone!

(If you’re so inclined, check out the treats I made last year)


11 Nov

[ via flickr ]

I just erased a long emotional tirade about how I wish I had more passion for protesting the war and how the numerous battles have effected me and my family personally; but after last night’s post, it just felt like too much.  All I really wanted to say is that today I’m thinking about my grandfathers who are still with us and my uncle who is no longer, S’s step-father and her sweet friend from college that lost his life in the war, and all the men and women who have served our country.  Just saying thank you doesn’t seem like enough.

(Also, I can’t help but put this in because it hits close to home — did you know that during the past two years, the US military has lost more men and women to suicide than it has to combat in Iraq and Afghanistan?  Devastating.  This war needs to end.  Yesterday.  A decade ago.)


Ugly Bruise Watch: 2011

18 Oct

I just figured you were wondering how my bruise was coming along, so I didn’t want to leave you in the dark any longer about it’s status.

What’s that?

You don’t think about me and my injuries on an hourly basis?

Oh, okay.  Fine.  Whatever.  But you’re going to get a progress report anyway.

As you may remember, this is how it looked a week ago:


Here’s what it looked like Saturday night:


And here’s what it looked like last night:


It just keeps getting uglier.

So there you go.  You’re welcome.  You no longer have to worry about me and my arm…it’s only scaring away little children everywhere.

Or, you know, you can just go back to whatever you were doing 35 seconds ago.

Another installment of “My life according to my phone.”

14 Oct

Last week my parents came to visit and we had such a great time. My folks are very laid back and low maintenance, so their visits are always welcome. I got to play tourist in my town and travel up to Mendocino for the first time, down to Alacatraz, and of course, there was the requisite wine tasting with my mom.

I took some pretty fun photos while they were here as well as some the week before for my birthday; so in light of the sadness I’ve felt the last few days for my friend and some tough changes at work, I’m going to post them here for a little momentary distraction. I hope you enjoy them as well. Happy Friday, everyone!

birthday dinner

At home after my birthday dinner and feeling blissful.

happy birthday


This was my birthday gift from Tim and perhaps the best birthday present I have ever received.  I’ve been needing a solution for my jewelry as it was clumped all in bowls; I came home from North Carolina to this.  I was floored.  He and K had worked all weekend on it.  They made it out of salvaged windows and found small prints I had been saving and glued them to the backs of the glass that remained, then glued small wood slats and hung copper nails. 

I love it times a thousand. 


So what if I baked my own birthday cake?  The pumpkiny-browned-buttercream-topped-with-caramel-walnut-goodness wasn’t going to bake itself. 

rock mushrooms

This is a little mushroom forest made out of rocks in the middle of Yountville.  Wouldn’t these look great in a garden?

mirrorsMy mom and I.  Isn’t she the cutest?  And that’s just her natural pink aura, not a fancy trick mirror in Yountville.



A storm in the bay – as seen from Alcatraz.


The Warden’s home – Alcatraz.


Miniature San Francisco.

And then there’s this….

(It’s not pretty, but I have to show someone besides Tim)


Have you ever seen a bruise quite like that?  And in that location?!  I mean, this picture doesn’t do it justice because it’s BRIGHT baby-blue – pretty much the color of my shirt, only brighter.  It’s really hot.  But don’t you worry, you can have one, too!  Just squeeze your arm in between a gate and a fence, and it can be yours!  (Remember when I did that, mom and dad?  THIS was the result!)

And that concludes this installment of needing-to-clear-some-photos-off-my-phone.

Hope you all have a great weekend!  Just remember to keep your arm clear of wooden gates…

‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ repealed

20 Sep

Today the U.S. military’s ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ policy that bans gay men and women from serving our country (and in it’s history removed more than 13,000 men and women from the military) was repealed.

Here’s what it says in the Washington Post:

“the Pentagon will now permit troops for the first time to publicly reveal that they’re gay without fear of official retribution. Enlistees who tell military recruiters, or troops discharged under the ban who are eager to reenlist, will be eligible to join up if they are qualified. And the Defense Department says it will have zero tolerance for anti-gay behavior, as it does for religious, racial and gender discrimination.”

Don’t ask, don’t tell repealed: reactions, 9/20/2011, Washington Post

It’s a little glimmer of hope that at least part of our nation is moving in the right direction.  I’ve been there when close friends came out and saw their struggle with telling their family and friends for the first time; I’ve also been able to watch how being accepted for who they are makes them blossom into the amazing women they wanted to be all along.

A young man stationed in Germany came out to his father in Alabama over the phone last night, and recorded it live on YouTube.  As I watched, tears streamed down my face.  You should watch, too.  I know we certainly don’t cry enough around here.


Isn’t that amazing?  Don’t you feel so incredibly proud of this man for finally being able to tell his father?  And the reaction from his father leaves me in goosebumps.

Here’s some more news stories from across the web: – ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Is Done; Now What? – ‘Don’t ask don’t tell’ ends after 18 years – Out and Proud to Serve

I know the fear for the men and women for coming out while serving isn’t completely erased, I know they will still have to unjustly face harassment; but at least they no longer have to hide out of fear of being removed from what they’re there to do – fight for our country.  Since when does who you love affect that?

My June and July according to my phone.

25 Jul

I was going through my photos on my phone recently and realized I have so many on there just being ignored that I thought I’d have a little show and tell session today for a change of pace. It’s also my way of gearing up to do the August Break, an idea that I stole from Cable Arms (who just had a miscarriage a few weeks ago and deserves as much love as she can get).  Although, you may be wondering what it is I really need a break from since I barely post any way.  To that I answer: I don’t need a break, but I need a fun project!  So I’ll be partaking in this little photo-taking exercise for the entire month of August, during which I’ll still post my not-so-regular posts.  Woohoo!  So onto the neglected photos from my phone…


I took this the day I found out we lost the baby.  I was holed up in a hotel room while Tim was out doing inspections.  Took was not all that pleased with being in a hotel, but I needed him with me.  He survived.


This was taken in Maine when I was visiting my best friend and home town during my recovery from the D&C.  I love Lupines so much.  They were a little glimmer of happiness in between the dreary fog of the coast (and my head).


This was my view for 4 days from my best friend’s cottage. And that’s me in the water trying to cure my poison oak. Can you see me in there?



These are downtown Providence. Oh how I love this city. I had to leave it because I was miserable there (which I’m beginning to realize had nothing to do with where I was, and everything to do with my head), but I miss it so much. I spent an afternoon by myself walking around downtown and it was so wonderful (despite how awful the weather looks, it was actually quite warm). Someday, I’ll be back there.


On the bus to the Boston airport and my last chance to get Dunkin’ Donuts. Mmmmmm….Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.



Some more Took photos. He’s my favorite subject because he’s just so damn handsome. The second is at Tim’s mom’s house in Southern California. He had it rough.


This was my first attempt at a tart that I made for this lady and her love. We met while I was down there and it was just so wonderful. The tart was pretty good, too.


Have I told you about the $100 ice cream maker I got off of Craigs.list for $15? BEST. PURCHASE. EVER. I used to make ice cream for my job back in the day, and this makes it almost as good as that. This is my first attempt at coffee chip, and it was so good.


Anyone know what these are? Tim planted them in our front yard and we have no idea what they are, but they’re so interesting and beautiful.

And finally….I cut my hair and had it highlighted this past weekend:


I call it my break-up hair because my babies keep breaking up with me. Why do they have to keep doing that? It’s not very nice.

And that concludes today’s portion of Show and Tell. Thanks for bearing with me while I post a bazillion pictures, but they just give me so much joy, and this here blog could use some of that.