Category Archives: life in my town

Chocolate Party – part one

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Well, hello, there. Happy Saturday. It’s a bright sunny day here with sunshine reflecting off the snow. I hear my downstairs neighbor is up and playing his impressive sound system. I can never tell what song he’s playing. It’s all just ‘boom boom baboom.” There’s a dog barking outside and my cats are… looks around for them…. somewhere.

I’m avoiding housework today so I’ve decided to have a chocolate party. Yay, for chocolate! I love Vosges truffles. If you’ve never heard of them, here’s their website http://www.vosgeschocolate.com/. What I love about their truffles is the unique combinations. They’re a little expensive, at least for me, but once or twice a year I like to buy a truffle collection. The exotic collection is a favorite of mine, but I’ve had their Italian collection and a couple limited edition ones too.

Today I have the Super Dark Collection. It has six different flavors for a total of twelve truffles. I’m splitting the chocolate party into two blog entries because I don’t want to seem like the kind of person who would eat six truffles in one blog entry. To my regular readers, all three of you, waves hi, I’m going to apologize right now because I have a system for eating these which may seem slightly neurotic.

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Our first truffle is the Boabab. I had heard of the Boabab tree before but I didn’t know it had fruit. According to the little pamphlet that came with the truffles, this truffle has boabab fruit, lucuma, pineapple, and 72% cacao dark chocolate.

On first sniff, it smells like dark chocolate.

Lick the top and it tastes a bit pineappley. Must be the pineapple dust.

Bite into it and it’s good. Honestly, I have no idea what boabab and lucuma which is apparently a fruit from South America tastes like.

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Next truffle. Are you still with me? You could always get out some chocolate of your own and play along. This truffle is blackstrap molasses. It has blackstrap molasses, cocoa nibs, and 72% cacao dark chocolate.  Hmm, I never noticed that cocoa and cacao were different before. I just thought I was saying the words wrong. Have you ever seen Portlandia? Cacao!

Sniff. Smells like chocolate.

Lick. Bumpy chocolate.

Taste. Oh, sweet! That was really good. The molasses was runny and mild. This is my favorite so far.

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Last truffle of the day. Sorry for the crappy photo but it’s a truffle with seeds on it. This one is called rosemary. It has cardamom, rosemary, maca, manuka honey, fennel seeds, and 72% cacao dark chocolate.

Smells like chocolate.

Lick. bumpy, but I bit off one of the seeds, definitely fennel.

Taste. According to the pamphlet, layers of verdant green aromas will unfold. Mmm, chocolatey, of course, but it kind of reminds me of herbed bread. The herb part, not the bread. It’s good. Blackstrap molasses is still my favorite.

For the rest of my Chocolate Party, you’ll have to wait for part 2.

Snow and other deep things

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Neutrino is not impressed with the white stuff falling on his kingdom.

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I happened to glance at my phone last night to see a red warning indicator on my weather app. I knew we were supposed to get snow today but I didn’t think it was WINTER STORM WARNING worthy. I ran out to the grocery store for what my family calls ‘survival food’. This was a tradition started by my dad when I was a little kid. Any time we were supposed to get a winter storm, he would bring home survival essentials like potato chips, cookies, donuts, pop, pizza. I now have an unusual excitement and need for junk food when the winter weather gets bad. Here’s a photo of my haul. Please notice not everything is junk food. I have a salad, yogurt, and lentil soup in there, and toilet paper and cat food because, you know, you don’t want to run out of toilet paper or cat food during a storm.

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I have my fingers crossed (It’s so hard to type this way.) for a snow day from work on Monday. The storm isn’t supposed to stop until Monday afternoon. It’s wishful thinking, but I can dream. I live near a freeway. I don’t mind it and the noise has become a constant white noise that just exists in my home life. But during heavy snow storms, the snow dampens all the sound, plus normal sane people aren’t out in it, and I like to go outside and feel like the last person left in the world. It’s a rare sensation for being in a city.

Regular readers of my blog, all three of you, may remember that I’m working on a novel for the past two years. Ug. Any way, I sorted out my antagonist Andrew’s issues with not wanting to do what I had intended for him to do and had an amazing burst of creative energy this week. Still not done, but I’m close. I’m not going to go back and fiddle with things until I’ve written the end. That’s my usual mode. I’m an endless fiddler.

I’ve been reading Dr. Phil’s diet book but the cover bugs me. I have to put things over top of it or I feel like Dr. Phil is judging me for not reading and starting his diet faster. See, look, he’s watching me right now.

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That’s all I have to report on this snowing Sunday. If the storm is heading your way, go buy survival food. If it isn’t, go buy survival food any way because it’s fun.

A Little Tale of Woe and Stuff

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Have you ever had something minor happen that throws off your entire day? Nothing major. Just a little inconvenience. No? Well I have and it’s lasted my entire week so far. Regular readers of my blog (all three of you) may remember my stink bug post on Monday. Apparently that stink bug was a sign that my next few days would be crappy.

On Monday while I was hibernating at home, I went outside to get my mail. It was snowing and my stairs were covered in snow which made them perfect for sledding. After an unexpected slide down the stairs, I got my mail and spent the rest of the day indoors catching up on sleep. Incidentally, I did the same thing last Monday. My poor tail bone was just getting better.

Tuesday I woke up feeling great! I was energized and looking forward to work (odd I know). I packed everything up for the day and started looking for my car keys. I couldn’t find them. ANY WHERE. These weren’t just my car keys. My apartment keys and a ton of those little cards stores give you to buy their stuff when it’s on sale were on it too. Also my favorite silver key chain that I got in Washington DC at the Smithsonian. I get weirdly sentimental about little things. After about 45 minutes of searching inside and outside because I remembered that I fell and maybe my keys fell out of my coat pocket, I called work and let them know I’m going to be late.

I still can’t find the keys. I have extra apartment keys. I don’t have extra car keys. I’ve search every where in my apartment. It’s not very big and I’m pretty pattern oriented. I put stuff in the same place every day. I was starting to panic. I didn’t know what to do. I was certain that I must have a brain problem and I was losing my mind. I called my mom on the phone. By this time, I was close to hyperventilating. (Anxiety is so much fun.) Just talking with my mom calmed me down and she gave me a list of places to look. I had looked in most of them but I hadn’t thought of the trash can.

I called the car dealership to see how I could get new keys. The dealership guy told me I would have to have my car towed there and then for the new key alone it would be over $300.00. He told me to keep looking for the key. My mom called back and said she and my dad are going to drive over the metal detector and help search the snow for the keys. It’s about a 45 minute drive. It was more than I ever expected, not that they are mean people who wouldn’t help me out. It’s just a long drive to come search for car keys.

You know, it’s amazing how a metal detector can act as an ice breaker with so many of my neighbors in the apartment complex that I had never talked to before. I even talked to the cute blond guy across the complex. Any way, no keys. My parents left to head back home. I decided to call AAA to see if they would tow my car under my membership benefits to the dealership to try to save some money. The amazing AAA guy on the phone asked me why I needed my car towed and I told him I had lost my keys. He said I could send you out a locksmith and he can make a new key for $75.00. I almost started crying again but happy relieved crying.

It was about 12:30 by the time the locksmith came over and he was funny and nice and we chatted the whole time. I’m crazy curious about everything and I wanted to know what everything did and he was okay with that. We talked about our jobs and he told me stories about schizophrenic people who call all the time to get the locks changed on their house because the government keeps trying to break in. Another neighbor came by and chatted for a while. I swear I talked to more neighbors on Tuesday than I ever have.

So I got a new ignition key and a new car door key. It doesn’t have the remote fob thing but by that time I really didn’t care. The lock smith told me he could do it for another $100.00 and if I found my keys, he could reprogram them to work again. I have a new contact for a great locksmith if I ever need one again.

I went to work and it was pretty much a normal rest of the day except when I got my my poor cats were upset because they don’t like people they don’t know in my apartment. They were slinking around the apartment like they might be attacked at any time.

On Wednesday all I wanted was a boring day. Did it happen? Almost. When I got home from work I realized I had lost my phone. I was pretty sure I had left it at work and I headed back to work after feeding the cats. I was half way there when I remembered I didn’t have my badge to get back into the building. I turned around, got my badge, and found my phone on my desk innocently lying on a pack of sticky notes.

Today was a normal regular day. Hopefully tomorrow will be too. I’m really looking forward to the weekend.

 

belching hobos and other adventures

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My plan for the week to get ready for my leg of the relay during the marathon was to do 4 miles three times a week and to try to shave down my time from the 1 hr and 23 minutes that I got the first time I did 4 miles last Saturday.

The weather sucked this week and it pretty much rained Monday through Wednesday. I never wanted to do 4 miles three days in a row but I was determined to try. So on Thursday I went to a section of the tow path near my home and mostly walked but ran a bit for 4 miles. It’s an interesting place. There are houses along one side of the canal and woods next to the path. People fish in the canal and there’s herons and turtles hanging out in the water. This one house always makes me wonder how the conversation went when they decided to put a giant statue in their backyard. I imagine it went like some of the conversations my parents have had after my Dad goes to auctions. “What do you mean you got it for five dollars? What are we supposed to do with it?”

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At one point on this tow path after you pass all the houses, there is an old blue-green railroad bridge. I don’t know why this part of the path gives me the creeps but it always has. I had gone two miles, turned around to come back when I passed under the bridge when a loud belching sound came from the woods beside me. I was so startled, I almost jumped into the canal. I finished the rest of my walk pretty fast after that and shaved 4 minutes off my original time.

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On Friday, I set out to walk again at the same place. This time with pepper spray to ward off any one who might be living in the woods belching at people as they pass by. It was crazy hot and humid. No one else was out except this one guy who was walking ahead of me. He was strolling along in baggy blue jeans without a shirt and he kept looking at the houses on the other side of the canal. He obviously wasn’t there to exercise. He had no fishing equipment. I kept going slower and slower so I wouldn’t pass him. Something about him just felt wrong to me so I decided to turn around and run the other way on the tow path. Unfortunately, there is no shade on that side and the sun was crazy bright so I stopped early.

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Saturday I went to a different portion of the tow path. This one is more popular with people exercising and I’ve never had the creepy-danger-danger feeling there. I wish it was closer either to where I work or live so I could go there during the weekdays. I may end up doing it any way if the place I’m going during this week doesn’t work out for me. This portion of the tow path has more bikers and I’ve noticed that the more odd the bike the more likely the person riding it will wave and say hi to you. There was a festival going on and I passed someone dressed up as a chipmunk on the path. That person also waved but the two women with him/her did not look happy about being there. Some guy wanted to sell me raffle tickets which slowed me down a bit at the very end because I didn’t want to be rude but I still finished with a faster time than on Thursday.

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So in one week I’ve shaved 5 minutes off my time. Even if everything didn’t work out exactly like I wanted, it was still good. Today I’m resting but I plan to do 4 miles Monday, Wednesday, Friday next week and I’m eager to see if having a day off in between will help bring my time down more.