Mar 3, 2013

[insert clever title here]

Hello again.

Well.  I finished the fall semester with no harm done, just in time to catch a plane to Durango, where Nick and I spent Christmas with Nick's mother.  It was snowy, cozy, and wonderful--just the thing after  all of the happenings of last fall.  We had a very quiet New Year's eve, and then Nick taught a condensed Music Appreciation course during the January break.

I swear I was going to post a month ago, telling you about our approach to food and some of the delicious dinners we enjoyed this winter .... that obviously didn't happen.  But we managed to turn the leftovers from a very nice New Year's eve dinner of creamed spinach, roasted lamb and squash, scalloped potatoes, and truffle cheese into lamb pot pies (lamb and squash leftovers), a spinach quiche (creamed spinach and truffle cheese), and stock (made from vegetable scraps and bits of fat from the lamb).   I tried a curried lentil recipe that yielded mixed results--Nick really liked it, and I really didn't.  We also experimented with various chili recipes.  Prior to this winter, my only direct experience with it was my mom's approach (ground beef + celery + condensed tomato soup).  Nick, who comes from chili country, having grown up much closer to Texas than I, found this politely amusing, and is a huge fan of the method we've developed over the past month, which includes bone-in chuck steak, dried beans, and crushed tomatoes.

One of my favorite results of the chili experiments has been baked eggs, which uses chili as the 'base' of the dish.

In other news, we have some new household acquisitions.  As many of you know, we have been saving up for a new bed since September, and finally had the time and patience to do our research and shopping in January.  We ended up buying a bigger bed (full -->queen), which also meant purchasing a new box spring.  After a lot of comparison and research, we took a leap of faith and bought a memory foam mattress from Amazon, and a new bed frame (with head- and footboard) from Overstock.  I felt sorry for our UPS guy, who delivered these heavy/unwieldy packages over the span of only two days.  And then of course, we had to put everything together, which was its own adventure.  But our new bed is amazing, and Nick and I are both surprised at how much better we feel in general than we did a couple of months ago.

Our other new item is a fridge.  Well ... new to us anyway.  When we first signed the lease on our current apartment, we expressed some concern over the state of the fridge.  The prior tenants were not terribly tidy people, it seems, on top of which, the fridge had been unplugged but not properly defrosted in the process of the painting/renovations that were just being finished when we moved in.  The freezer had some pretty gross mold as a result, and I'll let you guess which of us (me, Nick, or the landlord) ended up with the task of cleaning it.   ..... ANYWAY, we weren't sure whether the funky mold smell and stains would ever fully go away, and then in the course of using the fridge, it turns out that the freezer just didn't work very well.  Finally, after weeks of back-and-forth with the landlord, it turned out that the building super had a used, fully functional brand-name fridge sitting in the basement.  Said super not only brought this fridge up to our apartment, but also returned to remove  the old one.  Our 'new' fridge has kind of a loud motor and a funky door layout, but is consistently cold and lacks the funky smell/ potentially lurking mold/questionable past of the other one.  Plus it has door handles ... who could ask for anything more?

Although Nick and I are keeping plenty busy with teaching, classes, gigs, etc., we have managed to get out and do a few fun things since the beginning of the year.  At the top of our to-do list has been visiting the NYPL main branch, which has in its permanent collection the original Winnie the Pooh stuffed animals.  Some of Nick's favorite books as a child were the stories of Pooh and friends, and so spending some time in the Children's Library, where they are displayed, made for a very sweet afternoon.

Also high on our list of things to see was the MTA Transit Museum.  Nick had actually visited with his parents as a child, but the Museum has expanded significantly since then, and so we both saw a lot of new subway and bus things.  My favorite part was seeing all of the awesome ads in the subway cars, like this one for Schmulka Bernstein's cold cuts.  But there were others: Etti-Cat reminders for proper behavior during one's commute, a bazillion ads for various kinds of booze, and the Miss Subway competition/winner announcements.  Last weekend I took a trip to my favorite ice cream shop, Ample Hills Creamery, located in my old neighborhood.  For a few days before the Oscars, they offer the most amazing flavor of ice cream ever, called "Oscar nite": large chunks of red velvet cake generously smooshed into sweet cream ice cream.  Unlike cake shakes and other cake ice creams, the red velvet cake used here (which also had a ton of frosting, by the way) seemed to have been specially formulated for the purpose of using in ice cream (quite simply, it was dry enough that the cake didn't get soggy until the third or fourth day after purchase).   Last year, the first year they made it, I missed out on the amazingness, but this year I was determined to give "Oscar nite" a try, and purchased an entire pint for good measure.  And given the variety of responses to the awards ceremony itself, I think that "Oscar nite" beat "Oscar night" hands down.

Monday night Nick and I both attended a screening of Future Perfect, our good friend-and-vacation-buddy Liam's Master's thesis film, which was sponsored by his alma mater's alumni association (the screening, not the film). We enjoyed some free food and wine, and a nice chat with our other Cape vacay buddies Kevin and Vanessa.  And the screening!  The film was a rough cut, which meant that it's still in the editing phase of production, and shots and sounds may differ from the final version.  Nick will be doing sound editing for this film, so his attendance was required.  After the screening, Liam, Nick, and other crew members participated in a Q&A session with members of the audience.  Overall it was a nice evening, and everyone (around here) is looking forward to seeing the final cut of the film later this spring.  

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