This one’s been building a while

I’ve got a lot of stuff I want to fit in tonight so this will be a long one.

Last night we made won tons and ate those for dinner. I know, it’s a strange dinner, but it’s a great way to clean out the fridge and introduce some new foods. Plus, kids like being involved in preparing the food they eat. We boiled some, steamed some, and baked some. I think baked turned out the best followed closely by the boiled with steam being last. Sneakily eating won tons is a good way for me to sneak some greens into our food too. We’ll definitely be eating them again in the future. Child #1 wasn’t that thrilled about them, but we couldn’t keep them out of child #2’s hands. He was double fisting them!! I think we can bring #1 around over time too.

This past weekend we had some friends over for dinner and I cooked up a pork based snipshot_e41fs4tke3b6.jpgbarbacoa with spicy soup and homemade tortillas. I got the barbacoa recipe here. If you look in the comments you can see a link to the rub I used on the shoulder. The meat turned out pretty good. I was disappointed with the soup as it tasted mostly like greasy water. But I will definately make the shoulder again. This was the first shoulder from the pig we recently purchased. The tortillas turned out much better this time around. I took more time to roll them out and also let them rest while I was rolling them. That helped them stretch more and get a lot flatter.


I’ll be heading to NYC this weekend for the annual NFL football draft. A friend of mine won a free trip to go to it so we are heading out Friday morning. It should be a good time. It’s my first time in NYC. On top of that we are hitting a Yankees/Red Sox game Friday night (tickets are hard to come by) and we’ll see Dice K’s amazing gyro-ball. (or not so amazing from what I’ve heard)

I checked out purchasing some carbon offsets for the plane flight (they are only $10) but I’m still determining what to do. I can’t figure out how they can offset the emissions from my flight for $10 when it’s almost impossible to buy a single tree for less than $10, and they would have to plant 36 of them according to my calculations. Can someone explain that math to me? It sounds like Enron math to me. I’ve got one opinion that thinks the $10 might buy a bunch of seeds to start but the failure rate is rather high on trees and no one is sure if they take that into account. On top of that, those trees would take forever to get to a large enough size to even make any kind of difference.

I think I’ll use the free links at this site to get my 36 trees for free and call it even. Plus I’ll click on the other free things and it will cover even more area. I would much rather prefer to save already existing forests that are working their magic than plant new trees that will take 30 years to get to full majesty. Plus I’ll keep doing what I’m doing to reduce my footprint.

Tomorrow is child #1’s birthday and since I’ll be out of town we’re celebrating it today. We don’t really do a whole lot for birthdays around here, but we decided it was time to get the little guy one of these…


This one will replace the yard sale bike he’s outgrown…

I wish I could say that the picture was taken at a grandparents house but no, that’s our 50s style paneling in our family room. ..

My wife and I recently purchased a new dryer. I know, I know, that’s nothing special really, but the funny thing is we spent a month agonizing over it before we did it. Our other dryer works, it just makes a god awful squealing noise while it’s running, and the cost to fix is only $50 less than to buy a new one. We could have lived with it even, except the dryer runs at nights most often, or during nap time, so we can’t run it and worry about waking kids up. So after much consternation we decided to buy the cheapest one we could find. We figured this will work fine for us since we typically only dry 2 loads of laundry a week, and the extra amount we are saving will allow us to get a better washer that is extremely efficient when that needs to be replaced. Did you know that a front load washer uses 16 gallons of water rather than the typical 54 gallons a top loader uses? Interesting fact that came out of this. But I’ll be tossing the dryer up on freecycle or craigslist soon for someone to come and get. So at least it’s not hitting the landfill.

Our ducks have recently been joined by another male. I’m not sure what kind of crazy love triangle is going on there, but my experience with Grey’s Anatomy tells me nothing good comes of love triangles. I hope the female isn’t using the yard to lay eggs or anything. I’m not prepared to be a foster parent.

We also spent the past few weeks agonizing over our house. We appear to have some water leakage problems in our garage around some windows. So we immediately started worrying about what was happening in the rest of the house behind the walls we couldn’t see. We must have had 6 or 7 contractors look at it and while they all had different opinions and ideas the most consistent idea was that the windows were horrible and needed to be replaced and all the rot fixed. We’ve decided to go with that and we’re very relieved about that. We were considering yanking off the siding, checking for rot around the house, blowing in insulation and residing the house. While I really, really want to insulate the sidewalls, the cost of the siding work was around $13K, not including any damaged that needed to be replaced. Our pocketbook is much happier with this solution. Unfortunately my plans for a solar water heater will be put on hold while we tend to this immediate need. And our house is still poorly insulated on the walls (the ceilings are all R-38 and up so they are fine) but we’ll get to that eventually. I just have to figure out how to do it without leaving pockmarks all over the walls from drilling the holes.

My friend Aaron has a great post up today. Check it out. Make sure to check out all the links he provides.

So does the Expat Chef. And Ka-Bar at the Moral Equivalent of War has yet another good one up. Perusing my Bloglines account Ka-Bar wins the award for most posts that I’ve marked as “keep new”. He’s up to 23, which is even more than Treehugger.

Now I’m spent. I’ll talk to you after the weekend.



2 responses to “This one’s been building a while

  1. The Cartier ambassador, who shares secrets and stories with the maharajas and maharanis and who is always asked to take a look at their precious jewels, is unimpressed when people fuss over him.

    “I feel like Cinderella, and am scared I will promptly turn into a pumpkin the moment I get back home,” says Olaf Van Cleef.

    In Chennai for an exhibition of his paintings, “A Thousand Fireflies: A Discovery of India,” it’s the more personal impressions of Olaf as an artist that will be up on display at Artworld-Sarla’s Art Centre. At the first glance, his watercolours resemble plenty of precious stones scattered in multicoloured abundance. On closer inspection, you realise the little circles of colour, and each of the thousand little white dots have been carefully placed, as a jeweller might set his gems.

    It’s a snowfall with each flake unique, a mosaic with each chip in a different hue of green. But the happy circus of colour and cultures is also the view outside the dark room, or at times vandalised by the Dutch artist’s personal trials.

    Love for India

    A black streak defacing the canvas here, or a castrated self there, the kaleidoscopic arrangement of geometric shapes and colours are tinged with an intimate impression of the artist. And when they are happy they can be most exultant particularly if the inspiration is India. Why do so many Indian painters choose to work with such dark colours is a mystery to Olaf. “May be because there is so much sunlight that they prefer standing in the shade. I live in a place where winter is seven months long, I thirst for those brilliant colours that India offers,” he says

    Visiting India is an old Van Cleef tradition. Olaf’s great grandfather always made a pit stop at Bombay on his trips from Amsterdam to Java. His grandmother was a regular guest at the Taj, and quite an “original one”, according to Olaf. “She would buy birds from the Crawford market and on the day she was leaving, she’d set them all free from her terrace.” Famous enough for the staff to ask him decades later if he wasn’t the son of Madame Van Cleef.

    His first visit at the age of eight or nine might be a slightly faded memory. “But India was real for me even before that. You see I grew with Kipling’s “Jungle Book”, with Mowgli, Baloo, Bagheera and Sher Khan.” He returned at the age of 25 and did the touristy circuits, the Goa and Pondicherry holidays, and like his grandmom fell in love with the country.

    There is the rich tradition, spirituality and all the other goodies that the world’s oldest and wisest civilisation has to offer. But for Olaf Van Cleef, it’s the freedom. “It’s a country where `Less is more’ as says Sri Aurobindo. You can be anonymous in India, you can live the life of another man, free from the baggage your family name carries,” he says.

    Well the story of the Van Cleef family is not just about dazzling stones that infatuates most people, but also of Auschwitz, where more than 160 Van Cleefs died. “I am the first Van Cleef grandson to be Catholic,” he tells you. Olaf lost his biological mother when he was 18 months old. (It’s from his adopted mother Alice Giraud that he has learnt painting). Raised by his grandmom, jewels are among his earliest memories. “I was the height of her rings, there was always that huge diamond, its dazzle in my eye, its cold hard surface against my fingers.” It’s captured in a portrait of little Olaf, dwarfed by his grandma with her big coiffure and crocodile leather handbag. See the artist’s work from the October 5 to 20 at Sarala’s Art Centre, 1/12 Ganeshpuram, 3rd Street, Off Cenotaph Road, ph: 2433 8691/2431 5371.

  2. Have you check on those tankless water heaters? I have been seeing things about them lately. Have not checked on them myself. But sounds good.

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