Saturday, November 24, 2007

Happy Post-Thanksgiving!

It looks like posting once a month is becoming a habit for me. I'll see if I can do a little bit better next month.

Well, I hope everyone had a good holiday. The weather here has finally turned into true fall/winter weather. It was almost 80 degrees on Tuesday (I think we set a record), and then Wednesday it was in the low 40s for the high. It's been cold the rest of the week, and last night we even had some stray snow coming off the backside of a front which hit the north and southeastern parts of the state. It's been cold and mostly overcast (of course, the second I wrote that, the sun came out), and I'm loving it. I've been holed up at home all weekend, and that's where I intend to stay.

Life has been truly insane the last few months. Work is more crazy than normal--more employees going and new ones coming, it never seems to end. I've been working on my own big project, and then a major player up and left, which left my boss with a huge, very important and crucial-for-the-company amount of work dumped in his lap. Not good. I've been running around trying to get the end-of-the-year shopping done (I try to stay out of all stores except the grocery from Thanksgiving until New Year's), and it's been hard to keep up. It's been nice to just stop for a few days and enjoy the quiet (or as much quiet as I can get--my apartment complex is driving me crazy, but I'll address that later).

I seem to want to nest more than normal for this time of year. I think it's maybe because I need that security and comfort that home provides more than usual. I've been trying to eat better, so that means cooking more. And then, lord have mercy, I truly jumped off the ledge--I started baking bread.

My mom baked bread quite a bit when I was a kid, but it was always the same thing--white bread in loaves and rolls. She always baked the bread too brown for my taste, but I loved tearing the soft insides out of one of her warm rolls--yummy. I've never had any desire to bake bread, and I can't tell you what started this mess, but I have been having a fabulous time:

This was my first loaf, made 2 weeks ago from a mix. It's European herb cheese bread, and it was awesome and surprisingly easy, even with the kneading and waiting.

Anyone who knows me will know what comes next--I'm now obsessed with bread, just what my waistline DOESN'T need. But I figure I can take a lot of this to work and pass it off to my coworkers, so it can't be all bad.

This was the first loaf out of my new breadmaker (see?--obsession), a french loaf made from scratch, just water, flour, sugar, and yeast:

So simple, but soooo good. I made a pasta casserole to go with it--vegetable rotini mixed with a mixture of yellow squash, zucchini, onion, orange and yellow sweet peppers, tomato paste, italian seasoning, and lots of cheese:

Add a salad, and this was a great meal.

Today's bread experiment is the NY Times's No Knead Bread recipe from last year. It's a slow rise that takes about 20 hours to complete. I'm anxious to see how it turns out.

You will probably be shocked to know that I actually knitted some a couple of weeks ago--I know, it's hard to believe. I picked up the sock I started LAST November and did about 20 rows. I couldn't even remember the pattern, how sad is that? My plans this afternoon include trying to sit down and spin or knit a bit. I've been reading a lot lately, and I'm not talented enough to read and knit at the same time.

The garden is about done for this year. This week's freezes have taken out most of what's left. I have a flat of pansies that I still need to plant, maybe later next week when it warms up a bit. I just lucked out and hit the plant stand on its last weekend and bought a huge mum plant for less than $5.

As for my apartment, things here are not getting much better. We had a new manager/maintenance/grounds guy, and he and his wife were here a month and then were gone. Apparently we have a new management company, something we didn't know about until they left the note about the manager leaving. This last Tuesday night, a couple of guys kicked in the door of an apartment in the building across from mine. Luckily it was only a little after 7 pm, and someone saw them and ran them off, but I think they did get something from the apartment. It's just been one thing after another, and it's not making me very happy about staying here. Also, we have a new anti-illegal immigrant law here in Oklahoma, and I just read today that if a landlord is found to have illegals living in one of his properties, that property can be seized by the state. I'm sure that would mean that all the other tenants would be tossed out so the property could be sold. That doesn't make me feel very secure, either. Unfortunately, I'm not sure what options I have other than moving into another apartment, but I continue to explore my options.

Unless something intervenes, Missy and I are planning on taking this Friday off to go play--OKC, you've been warned. (And Missy, you will probably be getting bread.) I'll be wearing my new t-shirt:

I think that's enough of my ramblings for now. Maggie and I hope you all have a safe and warm weekend.

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