Monday, July 30, 2007


I love love love Neil Gaiman, so I'm looking forward to Stardust, the movie based on his novel. I'm a little confused by the previews since they don't connect to the story I remember (but I read it long ago when I was in law school, and I can't remember torts or con law either). No matter. I'll love it.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Are You Done With HP7 Yet?

[Don't worry, there are no spoilers here, just a link that gives away everything!]

So far, I've only been able to talk to Brother John about the 7th book, as he finished it around the same time I did. Elias is reading it now, and I'm not aloud to discuss it when he's within earshot, which is most of the time since we're joined at the hip in our social lives, but I'm not complaining because he is my dream man.

While traveling for work last week, I caught a few minutes of The Today Show and lucked out! J.K. Rowling was on, discussing her work. A recap is available on line.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Help Is Here

Like so many people out there, I'm reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I found a list of charms and spells that helps with my reading, as there are numerous references to past books.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Earth Quake

We had another earth quake here in the bay area this morning. I woke with a startle, and then started doubting myself, as Elias and the dogs slept through it. I wondered if maybe it wasn't the neighbors again... . Anyway, we're fine.

Really looking forward to HP7's midnight release.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Food Updates

The day before we left (though it should have been the day we left, only our flight got canceled), I made my 4th or 5th small batch of jelly. I'm getting really into it. We have tons of plums for the picking in our back yard, and I hate seeing good fruit go to waste. I really don't like going to the trouble of pitting them, as they're quite small and it takes forever. So I cook them in a big pot, and strain out the skins and pits for a smoother spread than I got last year when I made jam.

As you can see, these plums are a bit on the hard and less ripe side. Now that we're back, the trees are full of purple fruit and I can do some comparison jelly-making. I didn't mind using them at the earlier stage because I love tart tasting fruit spread. I did one batch with whiskey and it has a little kick to it.

I don't follow any recipe to the T, but I sort of use the directions on the pectin box. (You can buy pectin, along with jars and lids, in any grocery store.) I've also consulted the Ball Blue Book (revered as the canning bible). Also, the Pick Your Own site is truly awesome. My mom and all the experts advise that you not cut back on sugar even though it seems outrageous to make something that has 3 - 6 cups of sugar in it. I'm having my doubts, as my 2nd batch of cherry jelly is soooo sweet thanks to my following a recipe for once. I much prefer the 1st batch I made using my own judgment on the sugar.

I don't yet own all the real deal equipment, but I want to gear up soon, ok gift-buying people... ? Instead, I use tongs I have on hand to handle hot jars, soup ladles, and funnels I already own but that are not made for jars so they kind of suck. I process the jellies in a big pot of water with canning rings at the bottom to support the jars.

Really, it's all pretty easy, and you can do a batch in 1 - 2 hours. Try it.

In other food news, we ate a few good meals on vacation. Here's a photo of Elias eating his new favorite dish, cochinita pibil -- pork flavored with chilis and orange and baked in a banana leaf. We bought some pork butt at the butcher already to try to make it at home.

Today, the LA Times ran a story on California cheeses. Mmm. Gonna get me some.

Today only, get your free slurpee at participating 7-11s.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

We're Back

View from our hotel room. Fantastic. It's the off season in Cancun, so while hot, it's not too crowded. We spent much of our time chillaxing at the pool or the beach under the palapas seen in the photo.

In the hotel zone, the only place we liked to eat (and ate at every day) was a chain called 100% Natural. Here I am drinking my usual -- the Oasis, which is a fruit smoothie with strawberries and other fruits.

We're glad to be home with the dogs and just in time for Harry Potter mania!