Archive for April, 2009

Apr 21 2009

I took myself shopping.

Published by under Holiday Magic,Photos

Hey, everybody!

I turned 31 today!  Holy crap!

I went shopping with birthday money from my mom, and got myself some new threads.  I had to go to five stores before I found one that wasn’t selling things that had billowly, ruffled sleeves.  What is up with that?  Did someone hire Galadriel to design the summer lines or something?

6 responses so far

Apr 17 2009

Gone silent.

Published by under Computing

I’m not writing, not because I have nothing to say, but because we’re going to be switching web hosts soon, and I already ported my WordPress database over to the new server.  And I don’t want to do THAT over and over again.  So, in a few days or a week, you might not be able to get to the site for a little bit, and then everything will be as it was before…for you.  I’m hoping that things will change for me in that my site is actually UP 99.9% of the time, as guaranteed, instead of down for 5 – 10 minutes at random intervals throughout the day, with no one at tech support telling my why until the very end, when they tell me it’s all my fault.  I don’t mind it being all my fault, I’m willing to take the blame, but I would rather have known that at first (or even second, or EVEN THIRD) so I could fix the problem, then say…a year later when I’m fed up.  Now I will take everything I learned from this place (did you know that you should periodically check and repair your database tables or else you may bring down your server?  I did not) and apply it elsewhere.

Maybe you don’t think it’s fair that I’m punishing my web host for my own ignorance (they certainly don’t), but my philosophy is that it’s my money, and if you don’t tell me that I need to repair my database tables, and I end up bringing down an entire shared server multiple times a week, then you are going to lose my business.  Because I know just enough to be dangerous, apparently, but one thing I know very well is storming off in a huff and transferring blame.  Just ask my husband.

I still am not entirely sure this is all my fault, though.  I don’t know jack crap about databases, but I do know that I installed WordPress and phpbb and that’s it – and according to my web host, because I didn’t check and repair my two databases, I was bringing down the whole server.  My question was:  Why don’t your admins have controls on the server to stop runaway database queries/scripts from bringing down a whole server?  I know that’s possible – my old employer had such controls on their servers; it was impossible for someone to bring down a whole server because their scripts/databases were poorly written or taking too many resources to execute.  I even sent this question in to tech support and the suggestion area AND their corporate people.  And their response was eerie silence.  I guess I blinded them with science, or something.

3 responses so far

Apr 09 2009

Herbs and Spices.

Published by under Food Products,In The Kitchen

If you do any cooking at all, you are going to want to have some herbs and spices on hand.  Even Colonel Sanders had his special blend of herbs and spices, and look what that did for him!  These little gems are pretty important to almost every dish you can make, but it can be confusing for beginning cooks or those with limited space to know which to have on hand.  The herbs and spices you want to keep in your kitchen depends on the kinds of foods you like to cook.  If you’re like me, and cook a bit of everything, then you may think you’ll need to keep a lot of things around you, but since so many herbs are multi-taskers, I think you’ll find that you don’t need a lot of little jars to make a big impact.

Another question is: fresh or dried?  Again, this depends on your cooking style.  I mostly opt for dried, just because there is a longer shelf life.  However, for some foods, I will pick up fresh herbs, especially if it’s the first time I’ve made a recipe and it specifically calls for fresh.  Just remember that dried herbs are more potent than fresh.  If you’re going to substitute, a good rule of thumb is to sub 1 teaspoon of dried for every tablespoon of fresh the recipe calls for.  And sometimes – like when making a cheeseball or a salad – you’ll just want to use fresh no matter what.   Also, dried herbs do lose their potency over time!  If it’s six months old, throw it out and replace it.

Before we talk specifics, there are a few staples that you’re going to want to keep around no matter what.  With these, you can season just about anything successfully.  The staples are:  salt, pepper, thyme, and parsley.  These four things go with everything.  Now, keep in mind that better quality is going to get you better results, and there are fun subcategories to explore (such as kosher or seasoned salt, and a range of peppercorns), but in general, I would keep both kosher and iodized (or table) salt on hand, and both whole peppercorns (in a grinder) and the stuff that comes in a can.  The thyme and parsley I keep on hand in their dry forms, and I will occasionally bring in fresh of each, depending on what I’m making (potato skins are another thing that need fresh).

OK, so now you’ve got your four staples, but you’re interested in expanding out and trying new things.  Here’s a list of meats (or flavors), and some of the herbs and spices that complement them.  This is not an exhaustive list, but it will get you going.  Also, just assume that each list also includes thyme and parsley, because, as I said, they go with everything:

  • Beef: marjoram (not margarine, even though they sound alike), chives, rosemary, ground mustard, ginger
  • Mutton: mint, dill, rosemary
  • Pork: rosemary, pineapple sage, savory
  • Poultry: tarragon, sage, paprika, ground mustard, lovage*
  • Fish: fennel, dill, savory, lemon balm, ginger
  • Non-fish seafood (like lobster): dill, tarragon, basil, lemon balm, lovage
  • Eggs: chervil, basil, chives, tarragon
  • Salad: savory, marjoram, basil, ginger

*It may be hard to find lovage, as it is not a commonly used herb, at least in the USA.

When seasoning, remember that more is not always better.  Don’t pile all your herbs on at once – add one at a time, and see how you like it.  You may find that you like a dish better when it contains only one or two herbs or spices as opposed to four or five.  The purpose of herbs is not to overwhelm the taste of the main ingredient, but rather to provide a subtle change in flavor.

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Apr 06 2009

Busy weekend, annoying week.

Published by under House Renovs,Pets,The Fam

So, the floors downstairs are going in this week, which accounts for the “annoying” part of the title.  Since both the living and dining room are getting done, we are pretty much confined to the upstairs – three people, two cats, one dog.

One dog?  Yes.  Mister Ted is staying with us until Saturday.  We brought him home from Dr. Mom and Moll’s to see if he would fit in and have a better life at our house.  He is somewhat persecuted up north, because Yappy Appy (aka Apricot), the other Corgi, picks on him.  However, at our house, he can’t roam around freely outdoors, nor are there other dogs to keep him company.  He gets along OK with the cats, which is nice, but not only do Dr. Mom and Moll miss him, it appears that Apricot has been acting rather badly since he’s been gone, meaning that she is not doing so well on the adjustment thing.  All in all, everyone involved feels right now that Teddy would be best off at home, where he was pretty happy, and they’ll just work on getting Apricot under control so Ted can play a little bit.  In the meantime, he is a good houseguest.

The Charming Crusader (The Man’s dad) and came over this weekend to help tear out the old floors, and he brought with him The Man’s older brother.  Two workhorses, I tell ya.  They were here Saturday morning, and that subflooring didn’t have a chance.  Yesterday was Palm Sunday, so we had church, and then went to see Grandma.  We were supposed to go to lunch with our rector, but someone passed away, and the family needed him.  We’ll have to reschedule that for after Easter.

It’s snowing outside right now, which is AWESOME considering I received some bare root plants in the mail on Saturday and now cannot plant them.  They are hanging out in the refrigerator, and if they don’t make it, I will have to re-order.  I’m just glad the expensive plants (my two new fruit bushes) haven’t shipped yet – but they are supposed to arrive potted, so I can keep them indoors as long as I need to.

I’m really, really looking forward to the downstairs floors being finished, because the house will look 100 times better.  Plus, I won’t be confined anymore.  We have three days scheduled for install – cross your fingers and say a prayer that it will take less than that.

One response so far

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