Sunday, December 21, 2008

Making and Baking

Instead of a link dump, I'm finally going to post pictures of stuff that I've made, especially holiday-related stuff.

First, I made my own bows! I used this Craftster tutorial and the Paper Source and Sephora catalogs, plus a back issue of Magnet. It was very fun, and really not that hard.

Then I ordered this cool wine bottle wrapping kit from Chronicle Books for Cary so he could make the wine for his work partners look festive.

Next I started baking. I don't bake much, so there are always plenty of things to go wrong. Since the kids had a snow day Friday and Cary got the day off too, I decided to use the extra time to make homemade marshmallows, after seeing how good Emily Martin's looked. Much to my surprise they turned out really well, and are delicious plain or dipped in chocolate.

That's when things went pear-shaped. Yesterday I attempted to make Sarah's delicious sounding Kima's Melt-a-ways. The dough was extremely sticky even after chilling it for an hour, and when baked the cookies ran all over the tray. A quick back and forth on Twitter with Sarah confirmed that I had accidentally doubled the butter. Doh! I started over and the second batch turned out very well. If you want to see a pic, check over at Sarah's blog. Hers is much prettier than mine.

Now I'm making Chocolate Cheesecake Candycane bars. All was going well until the mixture wasn't puffing. Turns out, the oven wasn't on. They turned out OK, but I don't have a pic because they aren't finished yet -- I still have to glaze them.

Boy, can't wait until I have to cook a three pound tenderloin on Christmas Day.
In other handmade news, I'd been wanting to post a picture of my pinecone cheese ball.

And the beautiful duvet cover that my mom quilted for my bed.
What a lot of pictures! -- now I'm off to glaze those cheesecake bars.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Because Nobody Asked, again -- Best of '08

I did a lot of record reviews this year. Some of my favorites were even records that I discovered through writing reviews, which is even sweeter.

Top 10 of '08

1. Thao and the Get Down Stay Down - We Brave Bee Stings and All
2. The Ting Tings - We Started Nothing
3. Vampire Weekend
4. Pas-Cal - I Was Raised on Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Laura

I will be listening to records 1-4 well into 2009, while 5-10 are less likely to endure.

5. Lykke Li - Youth Novels
6. White Denim - Exposion
7. Ladytron - Velocifero
8. Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue
9. Islands - Arms Way
10. Her Space Holiday - XOXO, Panda and the New Kid Revival.

Next year I'm already excited about new records from Andrew Bird, Metric, and Annie. I haven't had much time to listen to the Santogold record, She and Him, or Deerhoof's Kill Maggie, so maybe those would have made the list if I didn't run out of time!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Now I wear the red dress, paint my toes and twirl

So Lucy and I are feeling (appropriately?) full of ourselves at the moment.

She just said to me, as she stepped out of the bath, "We're smart right. We're the smartest people in the world, right?" She was genuinely distressed when I told her that, no, we are not the smartest people in the world.

She had her Nutrcracker dress rehearsal tonight. She is an angel, one of many, and can't wait to don her feathered wings for the Friday night performance. After she was done rehearsing she was all sassy, wanting to run around and introduce herself to all the other little ballerinas and show off her twirling. She wanted none of my advice, my lap, or even the seat next to me. I practically had to carry her out of the theater.

Pretty much out of the blue I got a chance to interview a musician that I, well, I pretty much worship. I've only "interviewed" one other musician (unless you count my family) and that never saw the light of day. So this was a pretty big deal. But I was going to have to do the interview while at the dress rehearsal.

I immediately inventoried what might go wrong. In the last 24 hours I drew up questions, cleared them with the editor, asked anyone who would listen for moral support, listened to the band non-stop, procured Cary's microcassette recorder, watched the band's DVD (twice), and tested my cell phone on speakerphone picking up an answering machine (Hi, Mom).

So I left Lucy just as she was about to go on stage and set up a mobile office in the minivan.

The interview went way better than I could have hoped.

Believe you me I'll be posting if (no, when) it goes to press.

There've been some heaping doses of what went right lately. You know what that means -- trouble is right around the corner!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Home, will infect whatever you do

I went to see David Byrne with my mom last Friday night, and though I'm not exactly able to concentrate at the moment (two kids singing two different songs) this is the closest I will get to peace today, so I thought I'd better put down some thoughts about the show.

David Byrne's voice is still tremendous. He also has incredible stage presence -- he got a standing ovation just for coming out on stage.

He played Talking Heads songs. Never would I have expected to hear "Cross-eyed and painless" or "Life During Wartime" live. But he also played more well-known songs like "Burning Down the House," "Take Me to the River," and "Once in a lifetime." And never for a moment did the performance feel like a victory lap. Byrne was with us every step of the way.

I was too young to see the Talking Heads when they were together. But this show made up for anything I missed.

The new songs held their own. I particularly like "Home."

But it wasn't just a new song vs. old song kind of performance. It was a Performance. Everyone wore white. He had three back-up singers who danced and three back-up dancers who sang, and at one point danced and sang with electric guitars in their hands. The dancers almost stole the show. I don't think I've seen as joyful a performance outside of Lucy's pre-school.

I had the sensation while I was at the show that this was the sort of positive experience I'm always hoping for at shows, but rarely find. And I'd completely forgotten what a Talking Heads super fan I was -- I involuntarily knew the words to all the songs.

While I was there I kept thinking, "this can't get any better." And then it did. And it did. And it did.

Also, this is my 300th post. I can't of anything else I'd rather be writing about.