bonjour miette

Jack Kerouac, as Sal Paradise once said: "I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till i drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion." And I think that's a rather apt description of my blog over the years, and perhaps the most perfect description of me in general that I've ever read. So that's what this blog is, a collection of the falling stars that are beckoning me at any time.

27 February 2009

Of houses, flus, and Baking

The last month has been hectic, we've been house-hunting, which has been a huge stress on me as the one who's been doing all of the scouring and calling and arguing with landlord's that it's utterly ridiculous to only hold a property for 2 weeks when anyone who's an up-and=up tenant with an actual current lease has to give 30 days. I'm a little concerned now as we have to give 30 days on Sunday, but still haven't found the right place. We're due to look at a bungalow tomorrow morning that from the couple photos in the posting looks like it might be right, so I've got fingers mightily crossed. I really won't feel comfortable giving notice without knowing I've got somewhere to move in a month, but if we go month-to-month our expensive loft gets even more expensive. It was fun for a year, but it's really not worth the extra money, the ridiculously drafty energy inefficient windows (seriously I had a folded envelope sitting on the sill in front of the closed and locked window and it was fluttering like a hummingbird wing before a gust blew it off onto the floor, and this is a self-described "luxury" apartment.) the terribly underpowered stove (10 minutes to boil water if the oven is on, and then it can't keep up a boil once you've added the pasta) oh and some of the wiring is dodgy.

I've also just had the flu, which I knew I was going to get because everyone at work seems to have had this nasty 2-day flu and I've been so stressed with the car problems and house hunting and school and workload that I suppose it was inevitable.

On a happier note, as one of my 5 year plans was to do more things that make me happy and are productive, I've actually implemented Baking Sunday/Guinea Pig Monday, in which I bake something on Sundays and turn all my co-workers into Guinea Pigs on Monday. This way I get to test out all the tasy looking recipes I've been collecting, I get feedback on whether they're good and I don't gain 4000 pounds from eating a whole pan of brownies every week. Plus it will give me something to post about every week, if nothing exiciting has happened to me. I forgot to take a picture of week one which was a chocolate mocha brownie recipe from Bon Appetite's Fast and Fresh cookbook, with some randomly crafted cream cheese espresso frosting I decided they needed because the rack was in the oven too high and the very top of the brownies fot a little too browned looking for my aesthetics. They went over pretty well.

This week I decided that the Candy Apple Pie recipe I found on the Kitchn, really needed a try. I actually just followed the recipe on this one, usually I end up adding at least one extra spice or ingredient, but I just stuck to the directions this time, though I did use less pecans because the amount called for just looked like way too many as I was pouring them in. This is definitely a keeper. I wasn't very happy with my graham cracker crust, but it tasted fine, which is what counts, but it will probably take more practice to turn out pretty.

The recipe can be found here. Now I just need to figure out what to bake this Sunday.

15 February 2009

Soundtrack to a Book Swap

So I'm finally getting off my butt and running this swap that I've wanted to do for like 5 years.

Back when I was still trying to write my novel (well I'm still trying to write it, I guess, I mean back when I thought I'd do more than incessantly re-work the 1st chapter) which reminds me I should start incessantly re-working the second chapter. I used to create these elaborate playlists to write to. I actually had a playlist and music profile for each of the 3 main characters. You know how there are method actors, well I might just be a method writer. Each character has a type of notebook paper and pen they like, their own handwriting, everything. (I never write first drafts on the computer, even my regular work, I'll figure out what copy should be on paper with pencil first.)

Anyway, I'm digressing, I always thought the book soundtrack was an under-explored idea and then [The Real] Tuesday Weld came out with his I, Lucifer album which was a soundtrack for the book of the same name that Glenn Duncan wrote. (It's both a great book and a great album that you should check out if you've never read/ heard them.) and I was excited to see someone else felt that way. OK, Poe's Haunted is also sort of related to her brother's book House of Leaves, but she also said that it was not a soundtrack it just followed similar themes because both works were influenced by their father's death. So obviously even though it's clearly related to the book (especially the song where her brother reads part of the book) she's just not that into the idea of writing an admitted soundtrack to a book.

At any rate I'm hosting a swap over on swap-bot for a soundtrack to a book. It should be both interesting and a nice challenge. Take a book and make a mix CD that relates to the book, either a true soundtrack, or where all the tracks are inspired by and related to the book's theme and/or characters. Then send a copy of the book and the mix to your partner.

You should sign up. It'll be fun.

13 February 2009

another day another dollar (or where I buy things and pretend that's "helping the economy"

I finally got Gus back last night, after almost 2 weeks, and I'm not convinced yet that i won't have to bring him back in, because today on the way into work it really didn't seem as though the engine was behaving properly. (he maintains speed, though doesn't sound like he likes to travel fast anymore and as soon as you take your foot off the accelerator the rpms drop like a rock, which did not used to happen before this debacle.) Only it's been such a pain not to have an auto, and I was very unhappy that the repair shop was so miserable about keeping in touch about delays, that I really don't want to have to bring him back in. Honestly I was more upset about constantly having to call them everyday twice, once to check in and be told it would be done that day and then once again at the end of the day because i hadn't been called to say the car was ready (which of course was not ready, was oh tomorrow for sure) than I really was about how long it took.

I went to Target to pick up my prescriptions and found some more of the Orla Kiely stuff. Of course the canisters that I'm really coveting were still not in, maybe on Sunday. This roll out has been frustrating and really annoying. I'm not sure whether it was just horrifically mis-managed or just some devious plot to get people to go to target multiple times where they would be suckered into buying a bunch more stuff. G-d only knows I can't venture into Target without buying something I don't really need. That said the irritation still wasn't enough to stop me from purchasing. =) I picked up the apron, tablecloth, floor mat (though I don't really have anywhere to put that yet since I like my owl kitchen rug too much to transplant it. Perhaps after the move.)pear tea towels and oven mitts. They didn't have any of the pear placemats left or the coasters, I might have to scope a different Target later when I go back to hunt for the canisters and cups. I've decided I probably won't buy much of the dishes because I don't really like melamine. I'll probably just get a small tumbler for the washroom and a couple of the mugs.

It snowed like a mofo today, they even closed our office early. I hope the roads are cleared up by tomorrow, I really need to make a trip to the market.

07 February 2009

The Year can only go up from here.

This has managed to be one of the worst weeks ever. My poor little car, Gus's transmission decided to eat itself and had to go into the shop for some very expensive repairs on Tuesday, so I have been without a car. Floof's car is inoperable right now as well, so because the public transportation here is so, well, horrible (It takes 2 hours to get to work on the bus and it's a 20 minutes drive straight up the main street, and there is absolutely no way to get to the Sarpy Campus to go to class on it at all) we've had to bribe his brother into being so kind as to give us lifts to work. The repair shop guy told me 2 or 3 days, but in reality it will be 6-7 days, which is awful.

Then our apartment building decided to change everyone's locks, they gave 2 days notice via a wee piece of paper crammed in the door. Floof forgot to tell me and at any rate, during the work week the office is in essence not open to me because their hours are after I leave for work until before I get off of work, so even if I'd known I had 2 days to swap out our keys it wouldn't have helped. So, as you can guess, we got home Wednesday to find that our keys wouldn't work in the door and we had to call the maintenance emergency number and wait an hour on the floor in the hallway for someone to show up and let us in. Don't you think they should know which apartments hadn't picked up keys yet at closing time Wed and could have put the keys in our mailboxes, so at least we had a shot?

Floof and i are looking for a house now, to rent not buy since I'm still hoping that in the next few years I'll be able to get my Masters from KU's IxD program, so we'd be moving down to Lawrence for that. There are a lot of nice 3 bedroom places that are about $400 less a month than our loft (if you count the parking fees we have to pay here) I'm dreaming of a nice pantry and beautiful kitchen with a stove that works better than the evil one here. I think that will be the deal breaker for me. We've seen one on craigslist that comes with a pool table and are sort of day dreaming about it, not because it has a pool table, though that would make for great entertaining capabilities, but because of other photos we've seen of it. I just wish that all these expensive auto repairs could have held off until April after we've moved.

21 January 2009

Confessions of a Chili Anarchist

I'm making chili for dinner tomorrow. For me it's a two day process to make chili. I take it seriously, also I make really hot chili. We're talking the Guatamalan Insanity Pepper, need to drink a melted candle, go on a spirit quest hot. (Or at least a first test indicates that tomorrow's batch will fit this description.)

While I was wprking on the day one preparations, it occurred to me that I have never had an actual recipe for Chili, it's just pure chili anarchy. Not anarchy really, because I do actually have a method which doesn't really vary, but the ingredient percentages vary wildly. I've never had a bad batch though, just usually too many days worth of left-overs.

The BonjourMiette Chili Method:

approximate ingredients:
-Dark Red Kidney Beans (highest bean concentration)
-Black Beans (like 1 can)
-Great Northern Beans (like 1 can, these don't always make it in)
-Can of crushed tomatoes (the decently big size can)
-can of corn (sometimes it goes in, sometimes it doesn't)
-can of chopped green chilies
-peppers (couple of fresh jalepenos, fresnos, serranos, habeneros, and thai chilies if they're around and looking good, de-seeded and chopped up into wee bits)
-1 bottle of beer
-1 tube of gimme lean faux sausage
cayenne pepper
chili powder

the method: This is a slow cooker method.

Day one:
mix crushed tomatoes, beans (rinsed), corn, chopped green chilies, and all the peppers in the slow cooker. Sprinkle in all the spices (except cinnamon) in a guesstimate of what will be good. Cook on low for a couple hours. Taste and adjust seasonings. Cool and put in fridge over-night to allow heat the develop and flavours to meld.

Day two:

Take inner part of slow cooker out of fridge, but back in base and turn on (low for 10 hours setting) tear the tube of faux sausage into chunks and put into chili. Pour bottle of beer in. add a wee bit of cinnamon. Let cook all day.

Serve with cheddar cheese shreds, crackers and sour cream.

Wax for tongue optional =)

19 January 2009


So we're what 2 weeks deep in the new year and already I'm slipping on the resolutions front. I really miss the days before I get a "real" job and had the time to read and work on my art and go to the gym and all that.

The weather has been just awful the last week or so and I'm getting worried about how much longer Gus is going to last (Gus being my 12 year-old Ford Escort with about a zillion little problems that I don't want to pay to fix, because together they are worth more than the car.)

06 January 2009

a post interrupted

So week 1 of 2009 and as usual I'm right on track with my resolutions, but how long will it last =)

A co-worker appears to be going through a too-young-to-be-midlife-midlife crisis in which she's gone out and pierced her tongue and dyed her hair red (now, don't think that I have anything against piercings and dying one's hair, as I think my hair has been every colour available in dye / koolaid at some point. I've never been much for piercings, I haven't even worn earrings since grade 10, but they can be cool looking) I think, for me, that it's more of an issue of seeming more contrived and not as if it's a part of personal style or character of the person making the changes, if that makes any sense.

At any rate, some of us were discussing it and another co-worker, who like me is rather indie-rock and quirky, said that the girl shouldn't bother, because she couldn't out weird her, and it reminded me of a conversation I had about a year ago with her, about how much it sucked that because our company is repressive (we can't wear necklines that fall below the collar bone, and they call that casual) we couldn't have pink hair anymore. It was a more inebraited than not discussion, but one thing that always stuck out to me about it was that she said she was known for having crazy hair-colours and she missed it because it took away her ability to be known for something (I'm paraphrasing here, but to me that was the gist of it.) I was drunk enough to over-think it and I thought it seemed sad to only be known, or want to be known for a hair style.

Okay, I had to pause in writing this because work popped up, and now I can't remember the long ramble I had in mind. I think I was thinking a lot about how I've always managed to not quite fit in look wise; too quirky for the "normal" people and too normal looking for the "quiry" people.