Fudge

April 3, 2006
This is my favorite fudge recipe. I modify it all the time for different flavors (sometimes I use white chocolate, sometimes I don’t put in nuts, sometimes I mix half regular and half mint chocolate chips, sometimes I put in a few drops of peppermint extract). 

  • Prepare the following ingredients. You will want to have them readily on hand for later.
    • 20 marshmallows
    • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
    • 1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or use 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup mint chocolate chips)
    • 1 tsp. vanilla.
  • Combine together. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes stirring constantly. Then remove from heat.
    • 1 3/4 cup Granulated sugar
    • 2/3 cup evaporated milk (shake the can a lot before opening it.
    • 2 tbsp butter
    • 1/8 tsp salt
  • IMMEDIATELY after removing from heat, add the chocolate chips, marshmallows, and vanilla. Stir like a madman until it’s all melted. We’re relying on the heat of the sugar milk mixture to melt everything, so you have to add the ingredients immediately after removing from heat. The marshmallows will take the longest to melt in. Then add the nuts and stir.
  • Spread into buttered 9x9x2” pan. Chill until firm. You can put it in a fridge for a few hours or overnight, or in a freezer for 1/2 to 1 hour. I also like to put either plastic wrap or wax paper in the pan so that it’s really easy to pull the block of fudge out.

Today was a good day. I woke up early and went skiing. It the last day at Bluewood, and there were lots of people there, i even meet a water damage restoration site owner. The skiing was decent, but not perfect. It got a little warm and the sun melted a lot of snow, making it really heavy. We would hit a sunny patch and slow down to the point of almost falling over. In all, though, we had lots of good runs; flying through the trees, going over jumps, speeding down racing hills. It was great.

After I got home, my fridge looked a little empty. I was able to pull together enough ingredients for a pizza, and it turned out fantastic. I used alfredo sauce on half, marinara on the other half, chicken pieces, and sliced portobello mushrooms (why, you ask, do I have portobello mushrooms when I claim to have an empty refrigerator? *shrug*). As for cheese, all I had was a bit of moldy cheddar, but I cut off the mold and was able to spread the rest out over the pizza. I enjoyed my pizza with a good Chateau St. Michelle Riesling.

I have been avoiding the part of my story that is relevant to the title, though. It happened when I was spreading the dough. I got a pan, lined it with oregano infused olive oil, and began spreading the dough into the pan. I spent far longer than I should have trying to spread it out over the whole space. I kept spreading it too thin, and it would develop holes in the middle. I’d pinch it back together, but the dough just wasn’t enough for the pan. Eventually, I realized that it was arbitrary that the dough should fit the pan. It didn’t have to. I just needed to have some dough in the pan spread out enough for me to put on ingredients. Then I thought about how I’m spreading myself so thin just so that I can fill every hour of the day with an activity. It’s not right. There’s not enough of me. I should fill enough of my life to make me happy and make the filled part better quality.

The Spiral of Suck

March 30, 2006

I hereby coin the term “Spiral of Suck.” This phrase refers to the downward spiral of a person when a single mistake feeds on itself irreparably, leading one on a feedback loop ever downwards.

On the racquetball court I have experienced this spiral of suck a few times. It starts with a simple mistake. Perhaps a poor flick of the wrist, or maybe tipping a shot with the edge of the racquet when you know you should have waited for it and lined up a better shot. In any case, it starts off small, but it bugs you. You know you should have done better. You know exactly what you did wrong, and you’re a little angry at yourself. But you’re not focusing on the game so much. You want a kill shot that’ll bring you back into the game. There’s no way you’re going to get that kill shot now. You’ll slam the ball and it’ll go any which way. The opponent capitalizes on it and gets more and more calm, making you run more, doing the shots you so dearly want to be doing. And you get angrier and angrier at yourself and you suck more and more. It’s the spiral of suck.

Getting out of the spiral is near impossible. My only solution now is to remove myself from the situation. If I can recognize the spiral early enough, I can get out without being angry at myself for the rest of the night. Ultimately, I want to be able to brush off a mistake immediately, but that takes a lot of practice, and I really don’t want to make enough mistakes that I’m good at brushing them off.

Coconut Macaroons

March 26, 2006

325* for 20-25 minutes. Do it for less than you think, or they’ll get too hard and not chewy

  • Mix dry ingredients together
    • 1 1/3 cups coconut
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 2 tbsp flour
    • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Add wet ingredients
    • 2 egg whites
    • 1/2 tsp almond extract (vanilla works just as well for a different but still good taste)

 

ow ow ow

March 23, 2006

Since the beginning of the year I’ve been playing racquetball on tuesdays and thursdays with friends. It’s a great workout, but it can get a little rough sometimes. Now that the weather is getting better, I’m starting to do more outdoor sports. My weekly schedule is now packed with after-work sports:

Mondays: Disc golf
Tuesdays: Racquetball
Wednesdays: Ultimate Frisbee
Thursdays: Racquetball

This was the first week of the full regimen, and it sure took a toll on me. I’ve got a patch of raw skin on my throwing hand from disc golf where the disc rests. That’ll stay raw until it becomes calloused. I bring bandaids to disc golf in case it breaks and starts bleeding.

Tuesday got a little rough with the racquetball, and I took a racquet to the mouth, resulting in a little blood. That started a spiral of suckiness from which I could not escape that night.

Wednesday at ultimate frisbee was the first time I had run long distances for an extended duration. I played better than I expected, but without cleats I slipped a few times and landed less than perfectly on an elbow.

Today I was sore all day from running the day before. It hurt to stand up. But I played racquetball anyway. It was the least painful workout all week, and unless I go dancing tomorrow night, I think I’m done exercising until next week.

One of my greatest fears

March 20, 2006

The pathway from the mouth to the stomach is not ideal. Humans have evolved a very sharp bend in the esophagus which has been the cause of many deaths. Almost everyone has had a harrowing experience involving some sort of insufficiently masticated food getting caught in the throat. What I fear is that some day, alone in my apartment, enjoying a fine home-cooked meal, some small piece will refuse to go down or back up, and I will die. It’s not the choking that I’m afraid of. Not the death part, either. The real thing I hate is not having someone close who can help.

I’m off to bed now, perhaps to lie awake and hope that during my sleep I don’t suffocate underneath a pillow.

Another fabulous dinner

March 16, 2006

After a very successful day at work in which everything went exactly as planned and I was more productive than a chainsaw in a bamboo field (you could argue that that’s destructive, but cut me some slack), and a good day of racquetball where my cheapo racquet was like a sword that struck down those who wished to oppose it, I felt like making a good dinner.

A perfectly cooked New York steak started the meal, accompanied by blanched asparagus and fettucine in marinara sauce. The kid in me demanded chocolate milk, and I was happy to oblige. Leftovers tomorrow are going to be awesome.

Wherein I fly like a bird

March 13, 2006

On Sunday I was minding my own business, playing with my computer. I get a phone call from Nick: “Carolyn’s sick, and I’ve already made plans to go flying with Ryan. You want to go instead? Meet me in 15 minutes.” Ryan is a coworker who recently acquired a pilot’s license.

I like to think of myself as a spontaneous person, and dropping what I was doing to go flying definitely fit the bill. I met Nick, we met Ryan, and we got in the plane. It’s a little Cessna, with 4 seats. Not the most comfortable of accommodations, but I was only paying $25 for the hour, so I shouldn’t have gotten first class treatment.

It was fun going through the preflight, putting on the headphones, listening to the airplane jargon, etc. Takeoff was fun, too. And then we were in the air, and I was trusting my life to a guy who had just gotten his pilot’s license and was flying a plane in good shape, but whose coincidence with a bird could render certain essential parts of the vehicle inoperable.

At 6000 feet I had better cell phone reception than I ever get in my apartment complex. The air was clear, the wind light, the sun bright, and the experience thrilling. After using Google Maps, it’s impossible to lose your bearings in the air, and I was able to pick out all kinds of landmarks. Then we did some fun “maneuvers” that included 60 degree banked turns at almost 2Gs. Without warning Ryan cut the throttle and dropped us a few hundred feet, rendering us temporarily weightless. The second time we had advanced notice and enjoyed it more. Nick got to fly a little bit. I was in the back seat, so I couldn’t but I didn’t mind. We flew really close to some windmills and had some turbulence, but otherwise it was a really good flight.

After exactly an hour we had a smooth landing. Flying is definitely fun, and I’ll be sure to get Ryan to take me up again.

My birthday was really the 9th, but it just made more sense to celebrate it on a friday. It turned out that my sister Betsy was travelling through town the same day and needed a place to stay. Being the big brotherly sort, I offered my place. While the dinner party was wrapping up, I got a call from her, saying she was there. I hurried across town to meet her and was greeted not only by my sister and her friend (which I expected), but also by her friend’s very big dog (which I did not expect). Of course, my sister said “I should have told you. It’s ok if he stays here, right?.” Yes, you should have told me. No it’s not ok. If I got caught with the dog in the apartment I could get in a lot of trouble. It was not a good start. We decided to go to the clubs. We went, we drank a little, we danced a bunch, it was mostly fun. Betsy has taken up casual smoking, and the two girls went to my car (because that’s where they had left the cigarettes) and ended up smoking in my car (because that’s the kind of thing people who show up with unannounced dogs do).

On a tangent, a girl told me I was a really good dancer. I thanked her. The second time, I introduced myself. We continued to dance nearby, and when I saw the ring on her finger, I was disappointed, but not completely discouraged. I asked, and she said “no no no,” she wasn’t married. When it was time to leave, I said I was leaving but I’d like to call her some time. She said she couldn’t because she had a boyfriend (who wasn’t there). I’m going to stop asking. There are way too many boyfriends and husbands around here. What really bugs me is why she didn’t say so when I asked about the ring.

Anyway, on the way home, I got pulled over by the cops. It wasn’t surprising, considering I saw no less than 6 on the way home. He pulled me over for not using my turn signal long enough before changing lanes and because the light was out on my back license plate. These are not good reasons to pull someone over. These are petty reasons to pull someone over because you want to find out if they’re drunk. Yes, officer, I had a couple drinks a few hours ago, and I’ve danced it all off. Yes, you can test me. Yes, that’s my new address. It says so on the back of my license and I was just at the DMV last month to change it. He had nothing on me, and I knew it.

Finally get home and head to bed. But the girls aren’t ready to sleep. They open my bedroom door, and in comes the dog with a big muddy ball to drop on my sheets. So we all go out to the hot tub (closed after 10pm and it was 2am). The dog wants to bark at anything that moves.

Bed at 3. Wake up at 9 and I’m ready to go. Cook some breakfast, take the girls to a park, take them out to lunch with Nick and Carolyn, and send them on their way.

Long friday.

My little office toys

March 8, 2006

Today I got a birthday present from a coworker. It’s a cute little Don Quixote SpongeBob Squarepants plastic toy from Burger King. He goes well with my other office toy; a stuffed Taco Bell dog. I put the little Don on top of the dog so he’s riding it. I think it’s a funny looking combination, and it’s way too easy to draw deep meaning from it. It makes perfect sense that SpongeBob is riding the dog because it fits the Don Quixote theme perfectly. Then there’s something to be said about my Burger King toy riding my Taco Bell toy. If Wendy’s made a windmill, I’d be able to complete my bizarre scene.