Friday, September 12, 2008

when the eyes look tired

Yesterday, at about eight-thirty p.m., I was just wrapping up my work day (the longest and worst of the week), when one of my co-workers said "you look tired, your eyes are very red". When I heard that all I wanted to do was run home and go to bed. The work-week was the worst in a long time. Very busy and not nearly enough coffee to keep it all going at a hundred-miles per minute.
However, I did get a wonderful mid-week break on Tuesday night, Ryan surprised me by "kidnapping" me in the parking lot and driving me to Governor Dodge where we hiked up an outcropping of rocks that we are particularly fond of, to enjoy the sunset and a picnic dinner - which he had made, planned, and packed all by himself! So I am going to brag about it - turkey-tomato-and anaheim pepper whole-wheat sandwiches, with grape tomatoes freshly picked from the garden, and capri sun to drink! I love my husband dearly. More so when he does things like this :) He even brought me a change of clothes and the appropriate hiking shoes. :) :) It was a welcome break in an otherwise blurry, stressful week. Here is a picture of the sunset that we got to enjoy:

Today is Friday, and I am looking forward to a nice weekend. We are waking up early in the morning, packing up the dogs, some "road-food", and driving to central Illinois for the weekend, to attend Ryan's cousin's baby-shower. It is sure to be a fun but hectic trip, as it usually turns out to be when we travel with the doggies. But it will be great spending time with family! It will also allow me to engage in some rather strange "road-trip-only" behaviors, for example: eating Flamin' Hot Cheetos. This particular food has been a Ryan-Niha road-trip tradition ever since we met. Don't even remember how it started!

Well, I better get to bed soon.

We leave at daybreak!
(I have always wanted to say that)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

the first Sunday in Fall

Fall is almost here. I know this because of two things: 1) there are some trees down the street from our house starting to get the slightest tinges of yellow, and 2) the crab-apple tree in our backyard, burdened with the weight of hundreds of tiny green apples, now ripe for the picking. So guess what we spent most of today doing! If you were thinking "pie", that's right. I woke up bright and early, and took a few minutes before getting dressed for church to find an apple pie recipe. In the mode of reaching for the stars, I thought I'd try the Emeril Lagasse pie crust recipe too. Ryan had already picked about an armload full of apples earlier in the week. When we got home from church, we were on a mission to make pie. And Ryan helped! I was so excited during the whole process that I called Amma, completely ignoring the time difference, I just had to share the pie-making experience with her! The pie turned out incredibly well, and was so delicious too! So what if it was my first time making any kind of pie crust and the whole "lacing" on top ended up looking slightly sloppy? It was still very tasty! Later in the evening we made two more and froze them. And we are already planning which night this week we will make more. It's a good thing to make use of the abundant provision in the backyard, no? Here is a picture from what I have now labeled "Apple Pie Sunday":

In the afternoon, we took the dogs to the park so they could run around and exhaust themselves of at least some of their boundless energy. It ended up being a two-hour outing but the strategy worked! They were very peaceful the rest of the day. So were we! A fun day, and weekend in all.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

it's too early for this

I had a very STRANGE dream last night. I dreamt that I was visiting a family. A father, mother and two teenage kids (girl and boy). All except the father had severe health problems and disabilities. The teenagers appeared to be bed-ridden, covered in blankets all day long. Their bodies looked very week, but you wouldn't know it by looking at their faces because they were smiling and happy all the time. The father's full-time job was caring for this family. He did everything from mowing the yard to all the cooking. The family had no visible means of income. Yet they seemed very happy.
In another part of the dream, all of us we went on this picnic. Several other people joined us at the picnic site. On of the families who showed up was this woman - who is actually this girl I knew in Madras when I was about six years old but forgot all about when her family moved away shortly thereafter - now about my age, with six children who all looked like they had contracted some type of leprosy and looked very sickly with open wounds.

Needless to say I was jolted from my sleep in a cold sweat, much too early for a Saturday morning, and ruined my morning yoga because I couldn't stop thinking about this weird dream.
I wonder what all this means!?!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Cooking frenzy

Cooking is a highly therapeutic activity for me. I find it to be a kind of yoga, an effective way to de-stress, taking in the smells, measuring by instinct, concocting various dishes with interesting flavor and ingredient combinations. I do it as often as I can, with whatever ingredients I have on hand.

Since I most often cook for just the two of us (occasionally I make meals for TLC requests thru church), I economize where possible by buying ingredients in bulk and making large quantities of freezer-friendly food. We divide up leftovers into Tupperware containers for easy lunches to take to work.

These past few days, I have primarily been in two cooking modes: the first being the mission to efficiently use all the produce from my garden fresh or preserve it for winter use (making pesto by the gallon, freezing peppers and herbs, and figuring out how to can tomatoes), and the second is the carbohydrate-driven frenzy which struck on Monday – and resulted in me making enough Naan, Poori, and Pizza-dough to feed a small country.

The last time I made Naan was in January, I made about 14 and between the two of us they were all gone in the space of three meals! This time, I was more careful and went ahead and froze some for later.

Last night’s dinner was Poori and chana masala.

The best part of all this is the leftovers that we get to use up during the week! Yesterday, I brought rice, dal and potato fry with a bit of mango pickle in for lunch. Once heated up, people two aisles over could smell the food. (There’s always one person in any office who smells up the microwave / break room with Indian food – and of course, here, that would be me).

I asked my mom for her delicious pork vindaloo recipe – which I will try later this week.