Saturday, June 30, 2007

Summer is now Here!

Some might say the long warm evenings tell them summer is here. Or the sunny mornings, or the lack of college kids, or summer concerts. Or, you know, the freaking 100o heat. What ever.
In this house there is one thing, and one thing only that says summer has started.You know, those tube like popsicles that your mom only let you eat one of, even though you wanted 3 or 4.
Well, in this house we don't live by such rules. If you only eat one at a time it's because:
a) you're a newbie and trying to be polite
b) you didn't think there were any left because you didn't look in the secret (behind the green beans) hiding space
c) there aren't any more of your favorite color.

Almost everyone around here knows that we'll offer you the first, but the rest you'll have to get yourself.

You can tell a lot about someone by the color they pick. Notice I said color, not flavor. I'm not so sure what exactly the flavors are supposed to be.
Mr. Zimny is a blue, purple, really anything put pink man. He says pink makes him cough. Really he just wants all of them, so he's not picky. I'm a pink, red, orange gal. Never blue.
I think Meeshmellow is an orange/red girl, she doesn't like either purple or blue...
Auntie A is a red fan.
Everyone has their Fla-vor-ice personality.
This year we've kick started with a few small packs of Fla-vor-ices.

You can only imagine the excitement when I saw they make tropical fla-vor-ices. Had to get me some a' those.

I am slightly embarrassed to actually show our freezer here. It's a little crazy, but you can see we have made a commitment to popsicle space.

On a side note, something that happened the car: "Shout" comes on the radio.
Mr. Zimny says "Who's this, INXS? Depeche Mode?"
"No" I say
"Yeah! Depeche Mode! Oh, Tears for Fears! That's right, same thing."
"What?!" I laugh, but he is already cutting me off
"Blah, blah, blah, they're all the same band. The Smiths too."
Uh-huh. Right.

Oh, and as a side-side note:
More jelly. "Hey!" You might say. "Didn't you already make like a butt load of apricot jelly?"
Well, I say. That was apricot-pineapple jelly. This is just apricot jelly. Notice the difference?
Yeah, me neither. What ever.

Family: Good.
Baby: Teething? Sick? Who knows, but feeling better finally.
Work: Rev-ing up.
On the s#!t list: one yet... but just you wait!
Dogs: Willing to let baby touch nose, but still won't let me.
When I grow up I want to be
: Tanuki Tamer.
Secret Plan: To let Miss M get in the pool this week!
Random Equation
: To much jelly= wonderful or Obsession = Canning
Total Fla-vor-ices Consumed this summer: 5

Friday, June 22, 2007

Summed up in one graph

I come to work to find a kid standing in my lab. I am told his name is Brian, and he is a high school student. He is "interested in chemistry". He is supposed to observe us and we are supposed to "teach him something".
Here is a graph to represent the situation. Click on it to enlarge.
It pretty much sums it up.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Weekly Canning Continues

So this weekend my mom let me borrow a pressure cooker. Let me rephrase that. She let me borrow my great-grandmother's pressure cooker.
See, I've wanted a pressure cooker for some time since it would broaden my horizon of canning life! The green beans! The fruit! The non-lemony tomatoes!
But really, the idea of having boiling water, glass, and food under pressure and on my stove kinda scared me. Ok, really scared me.
Did I mention it was my great-grandmother's pressure cooker? You want proof, don't you?

That's right 1947. It's a 60 year old Mirro-matic.

But it still works. Like a dream! You want proof again, don't you? Darn skeptics.

Nothing blew up! The directions say to turn the heat to low after the weight "jiggles". There was never really any jiggling, but there was a little liquid bubbling. We'll substitute that for jiggling. I let it cool and depressurize for 2 hours, and it still had a little pressure at the end. When I was pulling out the jars, they were still really hot. Much hotter than you would think for sitting for a couple of hours.
The only problem with pressure canning is that you never get to hear the victorious popping as the jars seal. Oh well, it's the price you pay for home canned veggies!

Family: Good.
Baby: Better every day.
Work: Rev-ing up
On the s#!t list: Still my adviser. What a shmuck.
Dogs: Wishing they already had their pool.
When I grow up I want to be
: Mirro-matic sales lady
Secret Plan: sorry, it's still secret.
Random Equation
: Mom= stay at home grandmother.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Woman Attends Graduation, Goes back to Work Next Day

So last night was the commencement ceremony for graduate students. Dr. Meeshmellow, Dr. Carter and I sat though the 2.5 hour ceremony, shook hands with the Dean and then immediately headed to the bar.
Once again I am reminded about how abby-normal my adviser is. To outside people (civilians I call them) he is gregarious, friendly in a bit of a used car salesman way and generally nice. To Dr. Carter and I, he is awkward, rude, and overly critical. With some people you can say To Know Them is To Love Them. With him it is the opposite. The first tell tale sign that some one doesn't know him very well is that they like him.

But sitting with him for 2.5 hours wasn't that bad because there was a Dr. Carter buffer between us and I had candy. Candy always makes it better.

Michelle shaking her tassel at you.
Showing off our hoods!

So with all that over we headed (sans advisor) to the bar to meet friends. It was like old times, kind of. No one got drunk enough for it to be quite like old times. And almost everyone had significant others with them. Which is expressly not like old times. But it was fun none the less. Too bad all of us had to get up early the next day, so we only stayed a short while.

You can guess how excited I was to go back to work the next day. Yeah, I still have to finish things up 'till it's official. I'm excited about the party we'll get to have at the end of summer though.
Oh, and I would like mention that the parents were very generous to not only sit through the ceremony, but to bring me all kinds of goodies.
I'll wrap it up with a pic of the flowers my dad sent me.
Keep in mind that I had to stand 6 feet away just to get the whole thing in. Every time I look at it I am reminded that I need a vacation to a tropical island.

Family: Good.
Baby: Starting to eat. 6.5 Months, more lbs than last time.
Work: Getting the pieces together.
On the s#!t list: My adviser. What a shmuck.
Dogs: Loving Maddy
When I grow up I want to be
: Wish I knew
Secret Plan: Sorry it's secret.
Random Equation
: Laser=broken
Fixed laser = lots of money

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

You're Fired!

Mr. Zimny doesn't like to fold laundry. *gasp* you might say, but yes, it's true.

Despite not folding his own laundry, it is important to him that his socks get matched correctly. Shouldn't be a problem you say. Just match the freaking ankle high black sock to another ankle high black sock. What is so hard about that?!
It isn't ultrafast spectroscopy for goodness sakes!

Except for the fact that by ankle high black sock you could mean any one of the 14 bazillion types of ankle high black socks that the man currently possesses. Did you know there are 14 bazillion types of these socks distinguishable only by tiny details like color variation, cuff design, etc?
Well, there are. And he owns one pair of each.
So matching socks has become a bit of an art form in this house.

The real story is that one night I came home from work late, like 2am. I can't sleep right away, so I fix myself some tuna fish and sit on the couch where low and behold! there is a basket of laundry just waiting to be folded.

The lights are off so that, you know, I don't disturb THE HAPPILY SLEEPING PERSON WHO'S LAUNDRY I AM FOLDING AT 2AM.

Trying to be cognizant of the details, carefully match up all Mr Zimny's socks. I go to bed.
The next day I get an email:
"Just to let you know, I got your hint about my socks. I knew it was mathematically not probable that you could get every single pair of socks wrong and even match a brand new sock to an old sock with holes in it that is a different color."
Evidently I had mismatched every pair of socks. And he thinks I did it on purpose just to get him to do his own laundry. Honestly, I didn't.
But to this day I make a big deal out of trying to match his socks.

A weekend or two ago Dr. Meeshmellow attempted folding the socks. Should be easy for a full fledged Doctor, shouldn't it?! Hah!
Mr. Zimny announced last night that she has been fired. Fired from her glamorous (read: unpaid) job of folding his socks because she mismatched them all too.
I guess her doctorate isn't in ankle high black sock folding. Must have been ankle high white sock folding or something. Bummer.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Mayhem Continues

Who (besides maybe Dr. Meeshmellow) would attempt canning pickles while cooking a weekday dinner. That's right, me.
I've never done the mixed veggies, but I have high hopes for them.
For the record, it only takes a couple things to make pickles:

1) A big ass pot 2) lots of salt. 3) lots of vinegar

Oh, and I guess vegetables. What eva.

The finished product!

You're next Beets.

Miss M says "Beets?!"
Family: Good.
Baby: Eating once in a while. 6.5 Months, 10.6 lbs.
Work: Still Stalled, Boss still too busy to notice.
On the s#!t list: Cindy Crawford. One horrible actor.
Dogs: Waiting for Maddy to come visit again.

When I grow up I want to be: A Movie Critic
Secret Plan: To finish a ton of crafts this weekend.
Random Equation
: Sleep = good

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Puttin' up with Friends.

Haha! It's a pun!
You don't get it, do you?
You know, "putting up" meaning preserving food, like putting things in jars for storage.
Get it now? I was making jam with friends.
Yeah, it wasn't that funny. I know.

Today was the annual Jammy-Jam.
1 day, 4 Women, a 50 lb bag of sugar. Mmmmm....

I went to Impossible Acres and picked up super ripe blackberries and boysenberries, strawberries, and these neat little things called Apriums. They're a hybrid between a plum and a apricot, but mostly like an apricot.

We had a fun, albeit sticky time. Why do old-timey things appeal to me so? Auntie A and I think it's because you appreciate the product so much more, and the connection you have to what you've made. With canning, when you open the jar you get to remember the fruit or veggie when it was at it's prime. You get to remember where you picked it, who gave it to you or where you bought it. Plus there is the feeling of pride and completion when you see all the jars laid out.

For me it all started with my family. Preserving is a tradition. I can remember women peeling peaches for canning, and making pickles while growing up. I think my great grandmother was the driving force for food preservation, probably because she grew up in the Depression an' all. When she left to travel we stopped doing it, but I'm back in the game baby!

My mom carefully supervised all canning procedures!
This was Auntie A's (Alicia) first real canning experience.

After processing the jars we set them out on the counter top, and we started hearing the jars pop as they sealed! Ah! The sound of victory!

Debbie reports the successful production of 56 jam.

While we were working today, all I could think about was all the other fun stuff I want to put up this summer. I think I'm going to try my hand at mixed pickled veggies. I'll also retry the peppers from last summer. I can't get over the sliminess so I'll try to make them more crunchy this time.

Family: Good.
Baby: Still not eating. 6.5 Months, 10.5 lbs.
Practicing Motorboat sounds. A lot.
Work: Stalled, Boss too busy to notice.
On the s#!t list: No one yet. Stay tuned.
Dogs:Now bringing ball to baby.
When I grow up I want to be
: Default-Professional Crafty Person.
Secret Plan: To buy less pre-processed food. I know. Stupid Plan.
Random Equation
: Alex's new puppy = so cute!