Friday, November 29, 2013

earworms: Christmas edition.

As mentioned a while ago, Black Friday is part of my Christmas tradition, the day to buy a Christmas tree, decorate the place for the holiday, and begin in earnest the most wonderful time of the year. It's also when I have full license to play Christmas music (not that I don't sneak-listen to it during the year...). This is what I'm listening to today while putting up the tree. There's "Do You Hear What I Hear" by Bing Crosby, my favorite from when I was little and I would help my mom put out decorations (including dancing to it, which meant hanging off the side of the wing chair like a little monkey), "Can't Believe It's Christmas" from Veggie Tales thanks to James, "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm" by Kay Starr-- a contribution from my friend Stephanie who makes Christmas mixes every year with her sisters, and spare arrangements by Low, Enya, and Sarah McLachlan that make me think of a quiet snowy morning before the world wakes up. Happy Christmas, friends.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

earworm: Song of Songs

Andrew Rose Gregory, probably better known as one of the Gregory Brothers from "Auto-Tune the news"¹, made this album in 2011 with The Color Red Band after "long drives, longer walks, love letters, and a trip to Central America."²

What I find refreshing about this album is its portrayal of love and marriage. It's so old-school it's new again-- no uh-uh-umbrellas, no cheating, no clubs, but a flower-twined bower, a love better than wine, and a fevered-passion for your beloved. I can't help but think of the love I feel for my own husband, something so often seems to be glossed-over in favor of being in love for the moment instead of the deeper kind of love it takes to last a lifetime. It's so heart-felt; I find it unbearably romantic.

Sounds like: accessible male-female harmonies and a folk-rock arrangement that hits just the right tones of romantic and nostalgic.³

1 The Gregory Brothers are of the "hide yo kids, hide yo wife" fame.
2 From his website.
3 Like Fleet Foxes? Give this a listen.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

oh puppy!

For today's viewing pleasure, an Airedale baby-sitting a litter of Scotties. (Thanks to the girl on the bus who I overhead talking about it.)

Monday, June 17, 2013

burnt sugar lemonade.

As promised, my favorite lemonade flavor as of yet. I had this a couple of weeks ago at James's favorite coffee shop. We tend to stop in as we walk to church on Sunday afternoons, and I usually don't get anything because I can't drink coffee without consequences. (We once walked from 45th in the U-District to Greenlake because I was so hyped up on caffeine. I get rather manic.) Milstead is one of those places that has serious coffee, and not much else. But it's the long hoped-for start of summer around here, and one of Milstead's summer offerings is burnt sugar lemonade. Here's my take on it. 

1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4-5 lemons)
large strips of peel from 2-3 lemons, with little to no pith
1 c. sugar
1 c. water, plus 2 cups

Make a dry sugar caramel¹ by melting 1/2 c. sugar in a small saucepan on medium heat, till all the sugar is melted and brown like an old copper penny. Pour in 1 c. warm water and the remaining 1/2 c. sugar. The caramel will likely seize, but turn down the heat and let it simmer, and both the caramel and the granulated sugar will dissolve into the water. While simmering the simple syrup to finish dissolving the caramel, add in the lemon peel to increase the citrus flavor. After about 5 minutes, remove the lemon peel from the syrup and let the syrup cool. Pour the cooled syrup into a pitcher with the lemon juice and enough water to dilute, about 2 cups. 

For an alternate way to making this lemonade, try The Family Feed's version here. She uses a hardened caramel as a mix-in to get the burnt sugar flavor.
¹David Lebovitz has a wonderful post on caramels and specifically on how to make a dry caramel. This method is the easiest to me.

Friday, June 14, 2013

lemonade summer.

Seattle in winter-- damp, oppressive grey days of no sun, never ending, until about May when the grey starts to lighten and the city lives up to its Emerald City name.  The sun doesn't officially come out (ha, get it, that's a liberal Seattle joke) to stay till July 5, but I have tricks up my sleeve to welcome summer in the meantime.

My biggest rebellion against the clouds? Make lemonade. It's good for grey days and for sunshine. I like mine tart and sweet. Here's a few that I've tried, listed in favorite order.

And my very favorite? If you'll forgive me, I'll tell you next time, but if you can't wait, go to Milstead and Co. in Fremont.

6. red clover lemonade found on the tumblr Talisman.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

singing of myself

via Moya Preshovic*

Dr. Juvenal Urbino¹ proposes his friendship by way of music; I propose mine by way of books and stories. I find universal truths in the books I read, and it's my way of understanding the world and relating to others. I will tell you stories about my memories and my dreams and what happened to me last week. I tell myself stories of who I want to be, and those stories are how I build my identity.²

One of the stories I told myself a few years ago goes like this:

There is a person who I know of but do not know personally although I wish I did. She's thin and attractive, smart and funny, and doesn't take any shit from anyone.  She's fierce and sharp and devastating.  She's the woman I want to be. Sometimes, I feel like I become her.  When I get things right, when I'm dressed in a great outfit. She's me at my best. Then there are the others. The ones who I am when I'm at my worst and when I'm mediocre and when I'm in between all the extremes. Sometimes I see a glimmer of her, although she's always there in my head, and sometimes, I have to remember that I'm not her. She's who I am in my mind, she's the real me. Now I just have to set her free.³

Since then, the story has changed. This is the intermission. 

1. From Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
2.."...Everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story." from Patrick Rothfuss's book The Name of the Wind.
3."She decided to start living the life she'd imagined." from Kobi Yamada's book "She."
*sourced as best I could find. Tumblrs give the English major in me fits when it comes to crediting.