Tuesday, March 27, 2007
The husband and I spent the whole morning poking around local nurseries. We have exciting plans for a container vegetable garden out on our patio. We were hoping to buy seedlings, but realized that it's still pretty early for vegetables here; one lady told us that the last freeze isn't predicted until Mother's Day weekend. Yikes! But she did give us some good ideas for crops we could start now, like lettuce, spinach, broccoli, and kale.
We had to stop for lunch, having become overwhelmed with our options, and once we had some food in us, we decided on a plan of action. We purchased two beautiful wooden window box-style planters on sale, some lettuce seedlings, a raspberry bush, a bunch of seeds, and those cute little pop up soil thingies for starting seeds. Oh, and some soil.
Our plan is to start a bunch of seeds indoors and wait out the 4-8 weeks for them to mature and for the weather to warm up some more. By then, we should be able to transplant them outside easily, and we should also be enjoying our first lettuce crop!
I can't even tell you how excited I am to try my hand at vegetable gardening, even if it is only in pots on our patio. The last time I grew vegetables, I was probably about eight years old, and my parents did most of the work! But I still remember the pleasure of eating fresh peas and carrots straight from our back yard.
There's something so satisfying about growing things. Gardens have a lot to teach us, like patience and responsibility. Nothing happens on an artificial time table with a garden; things grow in their own way, in their own time, and they depend on you for food and water and care.
We plan to grow lettuce (as I mentioned), spinach, eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, green onions, basil, oregano, thyme, cilantro, nasturtiums, zinnias, and sweet peas.
And then, today, You Grow Girl posted a review of seed-starting techniques! Must be that time of year.
Monday, March 19, 2007
I wanted to wait until it was all completely final before announcing this, so not to jinx it, but starting today I am officially a copy editor with the publisher of official visitor's guides for dozens of cities and states across North America.
I started with this company a little over six weeks ago as a contract proofreader through my placement agency. The company, managing editor and I clicked, and several weeks ago, they started talking very generally about whether or not I would like to come on full time as a regular employee. Naturally, I was thrilled –– not only because, hey, employment, but also because I really like the company and the work I've been doing here.
So, on my birthday (when I am now closer to 30 than 20, as my husband so kindly pointed out), I have a real job and a first step towards a real career that I'm actually excited about. I am a salaried employee for the first time in my life. I have benefits and a 401(k) –– also for the first time in my life.
I attended my first editorial department staff meeting this morning and had orientation this afternoon where they went over all our benefits (BENEFITS!) and company policies. I have an employee handbook, I ordered desk supplies, I get an email address. Then we went on a tour of the office which was good, because I hadn't actually been around to meet everybody yet, but also a little awkward as I was doing the orientation with three new advertising sales people from New York, Boston and San Jose (as we introduced ourselves, as they said, "Hi I'm Christine from New York," I would say, "And I'm Lacy from downstairs."), and also more than a little silly when we toured the editorial department where I live and work.
And did I mention the benefits? Health, dental, AND vision? Just checking.
Needless to say, I'm really excited about this. Although my title is copy editor, I'll also be assisting on the visitor guides for several markets and writing whenever anybody needs some help, and there's huge potential for growth. My managing editor has already started talking about grooming me to take over my own market as editor.
I swore when I started this job search four months ago that I would not take a full time job if I couldn't picture myself at that company for at least the next five years. It's a little scary (and very grown up) to say, but I really think I could be happy here for at least that long, and it could be a wonderful stepping stone to whatever comes after that.
Also? I'm writing. For a living. Yeah, baby. :D
Monday, March 12, 2007
Also, it was so dark when I got up this morning, I don't think I've ever fully woken up.
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Last night, I found a very exciting deal at the bookstore -- Nigella Lawson's cookbook, Forever Summer was in the bargain section––for eight dollars! I have no idea why it was marked so far down, but I snatched it up.
I have to admit, ever since watching her show "Nigella Bites" on the Style Network when I had cable in college, I have had a bit of a girl-crush on Ms. Lawson. She's just so fabulous. She's a great chef, she's incredibly stylish, she's British (I'm a terrible Anglophile) and she eats the most ridiculous food, but manages to remain lovely and slim, but not waifish. She also has two adorable British children and an amazing kitchen.
ANYWAY! I got home and I was looking through my new cookbook and I realized that, although I have a copy of her Nigella Bites cookbook––but I've never made anything out of it! Tragedy!
So, looking through it this afternoon, I decided to make a batch of orange muffins. I had everything on hand except self-rising flour. I pulled out my bible––The Joy of Cooking–– and saw that I could substitute regular flour and 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda. Lovely! Mixed them up, they smelled lovely, popped them in the oven, they baked up lovely, broke one open, slathered it in butter and––
Not Nigella's fault. I double checked the recipe, I double checked Joy and––oh dear. I was supposed to add baking POWDER, and instead nearly TRIPLED the amount of baking SODA.
So. A dozen muffins that are inedible, and no more oranges to try again. I am crushed.
But there's a lovely looking stovetop rice pudding that I might try later this week... Hopefully with better results.
We had talked about trying to go to a nice restaurant sometime during the week, but it began to get away from us. Then, I kept reading that all the participating restaurants were booked for the whole week. So on Thursday, I thought if we were going to try it, we ought to do it on a week night -- we wouldn't have a chance at the week end.
So the Husband called up The Village Bistro, a little restaurant we had seen and read about that is quite near us, and lo and behold, they were able to give us a table at six thirty. The restaurant itself is adorable and wee, tucked into a corner of a new shopping center they are building at Zia and 120th where our favorite Caribou Coffee shop is. It has a lovely sort of nouveau loft look about it.
For starters we received a lovely little crab cake floating in a sea of corn bisque with a drizzle of some sort of herb oil and a little pile of fried onions on top. The onions really made the dish, adding a little zing to an otherwise very nice, but very normal crab cake. We were also brought some little sticks of toast, served upright in something reminiscent of the metal stands they serve cones of french fries in at diners like Ruby's, with a lovely roasted red pepper sauce to dip them in. We also got an entire bottle of Shiraz -- and it was a brand I recognized, but now I can't recall the name.
The main course was an OUTSTANDING pork loin drizzled with some sort of lovely cherry vinaigrette and served with mashed sweet potatoes topped with stewed fruit. If there is anything I like in this world it is pork loin with sweet potatoes, and these were done absolutely wonderfully. We savored every single bite. And proceeded to try very valiantly to drink our entire bottle of wine, because...
Dessert was an individual sized chocolate lava cake topped with vanilla ice cream, warm chocolate sauce, and honey roasted peanuts (a nice touch). The cake itself was lovely and rich, but I didn't really notice much of a "lava" center -- but no matter. I was too busy enjoying the chocolate martini they brought for us to share.
So, all of this -- one appetizer, two dinners, one dessert, a bottle of wine, and a chocolate martini -- for $52.80, as promised. Having glanced at the menu before ordering, I can tell you, it was a pretty good deal. The same meal would have cost at least that much -- without the alcohol.
And speaking of the alcohol? We were quite pleasantly tipsy. Good thing we didn't end up going to some posh restaurant downtown... Much shorter trip home from The Village Bistro.