Saturday, January 29, 2005

Juggling and Ice

GM, AE, JH and I planned to get together this weekend, but there was a winter storm warning planned for Saturday and Sunday. I didn't want to meet at my house Friday night, because my kitchen, in particular, was a mess. In hindsight, I was probably just being silly. We had dinner at GM's apartment, instead. AE picked up dinner from Chai's, which was quite delicious, and then we watched three Black Adder episodes. Afterwards everyone played around with contact juggling for a while. We wanted to order from some online juggling stores, so went across the street, to JH's apartment, to use his internet connection. He has an awesome collection of stuff in his apartment, which reminded me of all the toys I have in my office. We ordered all kinds of juggling balls from three different stores, so we should definitely have some good times in the future. Overall, it was a fun filled evening with lots of food, fun and laughter.

Today we've had sleet and freezing rain on and off for most of the day. I made sure to do all of my laundry and run a load of dishes in the dishwasher to prepare for potential power outages.
I made some parmesan biscuits, so I'll have some food, too. Some predictions say we might have as much as a half an inch accumulation on the trees.

Gizmodo had an example of one slick looking Kitchen Aid mixer this week.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Weird Week Fine Food

The last week or so was kind of weird. I spent a lot of the time working from home, because we had snow and freezing rain. There wasn't a tremendous amount of accumulation, but it was enough such that I didn't want to risk driving in it if I didn't have to. The good thing is that I experienced what it was like to be at home between Wednesday afternoon and Tuesday morning. I didn't get cabin fever. I didn't mind staying home at all. That's definitely a good sign.

A couple of days before the wintery weather, GA and I went to PS's house for lunch. She cooked us a wonderful Indian meal, which included melai kofta, samosas (potato and potato with cheese and jalepenos), raita, lentil soup, puffed rice snacks, puri bread, gulab jamen, and one other excellent dish. I haven't had such an elaborate homemade Indian meal since I was a little kid and now I'm old enough to really enjoy it. It was cool getting to see her house and meet her son. She is way more organized than I even want to be.

In other exciting news, I led a couple of education sessions at work. If they had been formal sessions for large numbers of people, there would have been refreshments available. I thought this was a perfect excuse to make brownies for the first time. I used the recipe on the back of the Baker's brand unsweetened baking chocolate. I am very happy with the way they turned out, because they weren't too dry or too mushy. The only thing that didn't work out quite the way I wanted was that I was supposed to drizzle semisweet chocolate in stripes on top. I decided that maybe chocolate chips would work, but even after two minutes in the microwave, they were the consistently of softened butter. I just put a dab on each brownie, which wasn't as pretty but it still tasted great. Overall, I think the whole thing was a success.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Fun-Filled Weekend

Friday night, I met GA and AE at Southpoint. After picking up movie tickets, we ate at the Q-shack, which is a small Durham chain. I believe I've complained about the fact that they no longer make fried pies. My parents and I have been getting take-out from the original location for quite a while. I had a baked potato with "all the fixins", which wasn't quite as good because the cheese wasn't melted. My mom pointed out that this was probably because it didn't ride in the car before I ate it. It was good, though. Fortunately, it was about half the size of the ones I'd eaten before, so it was actually a reasonable portion.

Before going to the movie, we stopped in the fudge shop and AE bought us chocolate covered orange slices, cherries and apricots to eat during the film. That turned out to be a superb idea.
We saw "Finding Neverland", which starred Johnny Depp and various other people. I thought it was an extremely good film, although it ends up being fairly sad. Afterwards, we wandered over to Barnes and Noble. We looked around and talked for quite a while.

Saturday, KS drove down from Richmond and visited me for the afternoon. She had seen the house before I moved in, so it was cool being able to show it off with all my furniture and things in it. We talked for several hours and then met CE and R at ACME Food & Beverage Company for dinner, which was fun. I ate lobster and corn ravioli, which was just as good as it sounds.

This morning, I met JJ and JA at Vin Rouge, for brunch. We finally celebrated Christmas and exchanged gifts. They gave me some beautiful glasses with brightly colored bases, coffee and a kitchen microplane, to use as a zester or for grating parmesan. I gave them two LED flashlights, similar to the one I bought for myself a few months ago. As always, I definitely had fun.

I blame it on the Christmas letters.

OK, I am now really behind in my blogging. I'm going to blame it all on my big Christmas letter sending project, which is also behind. It never hurts to have an inanimate scapegoat. I'm going to quickly and briefly write about all the things that I did that I happened to jot down something about in draft form and move on. I've had a great weekend and I'd rather write about that while it's fresh in my mind than something that I did two or more weeks ago. So, this is the cliff notes version of my life in the past two weeks, particularly if you've lost most of the pages toward the end.

At some point, my dad and I went to the Nantucket Cafe and had lunch. I tried their eggsalad for the first time and it was good. I also discovered that I really like their lobster bisque, even though I had it before and it was too rich for me.

Over the course of the past several weeks, my dad and I have visited Lowe's approximately 58 times, for various reasons. My dad added loads of Closetmaid shelves, we needed to go back to get things I'd gotten charged for but were left behind and we needed a conduit for the connection between the transfer switch and my future whole house generator.

On New Year's Eve, we ate at Taverna Nikos for lunch and I was planning to have the grilled kasseri cheese sandwich, but I ate something else instead. No, wait, I did have that. I made banana bread that evening, which turned out absolutely beautifully. It was done in the middle! At midnight we all checked into the Possum Trot net on my ham radio and we "admired" the tree again.

On New Year's Day, I met JJ for coffee at Blue. Actually we met at Ooh-La-Latte first and they were closed. It was a beautiful day.

The following day, I met JJ, JA and EB for brunch at Vin Rouge. MP met us there later. It was delicious and loads of fun.

At one point I went to Fowler's with JJ, CL and PS. I had a bowl of Manhattan clam chowder and a wonderful slice of salmon in puffed pastry.

I went to another Orange County Radio Amateurs breakfast last Saturday, which was fun.

Tuesday night, I went to the Durham FM Association monthly meeting. There was a fantastic turnout, because Frank Terhaar-Yonkers, W4FTY, gave a talk about high power amateur rocketry. It was obvious that he was incredibly enthusiastic about his hobby. JH came to the meeting, which was very cool.

Other than that, everything before this weekend is kind of muddled together in my memories. There was lots of beautiful weather, most of which I missed in my office, but appreciated when going to and from my van. I've spent a lot of time working late and mailing out "Christmas" letters. I still have several that need mailing, which means that I'm planning to write something in them. At least, that's the plan.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

EG Visit

The day after Christmas, EG was supposed to visit me before he returned to the airport, from visiting his grandmother in Swansboro. Well, the eastern part of the state had a major snow and ice storm that day, so his drive completely terrorized him. He made it to the airport, decided to return his rental car and then called me to tell me that he wasn't going to be able to make it. Since there hadn't been a flake between the airport and my home, in Hillsborough, I went to pick him up. That way he got to see my house and we had a nice multi-hour tangential conversation. Plus, I got to cook dinner for him. We had pasta with garlic, shrimp, bacon, warmed diced tomatoes and plenty of basil and pepper. We got so engrossed in our conversation that we barely made it to the airport in time for him to get through security before his flight. I wish EG had called me at least before returning the rental car, but it all worked out nicely. He'd probably just decided to keep my Christmas gift, a stuffed Stitch, for himself.

Lefty Directory and Christmas

I've been added to the Lefty Directory! I'm all excited about that. Of course, I need to get back to posting regularly and I should probably express some more anti-conservative sentiment, too.

It's been quite a while since I've posted, because I was doing too many blogworthy things to write about during my vacation and then I've been busy recovering from work reentry ever since.

My parents and I celebrated our first traditional Ramm Christmas on Christmas Eve at my house. We spent the day setting up the tree and untangling ornaments. I made a shrimp, bacon and pesto pizza and we ate that for dinner. Then we watched the tree in all of its glory while listening to the Bach Christmas Oratorio. We exchanged gifts somewhere in there, too. My mom's new Canon s500 hadn't come yet, but my dad got his ironwood Lawrence Favorite vase/sculpture and I got various vases that I picked out from the Carolina Designer Craftsmen show, Thanksgiving weekend. My dad also got a huge bolt cutter, for cutting my additional Closetmaid shelving. My parents actually surprised me with a carbon monoxide defector and a can strainer.

Christmas Day is always kind of anticlimactic in our family, but my mom did prepare a wonderful turkey dinner at their house. I got to visit with FIFO and see their tabletop tree. They cut the top of the tree I rejected and put it on top of the breakfast room table. It was decorated with white satin balls that we decorated a few years ago, white lights, tin tinsel and sterling silver snowflakes from the Metropolitan Museum of Art that my parents have collected for years.