Friday, June 26, 2009

the importance of alphabetized street names

It wasn't until I started running in the Terrace that I noticed something of exceedingly great importance. Something I can't believe I never noticed before. Something so important that I once begged my mom to drive to the outer limits of The Avenues to know the extent to which the alphabet was adhered--YES. The streets in College Terrace (and The Avenues) are named in alphabetical order!
(As an aside, my mom and I were driving through the Avenues for some reason (in my early teens), and we were playing that alphabet game where you have to find each letter in the alphabet on a sign or a license plate, in order. I was at once captivated with the prospect of going to the end of the avenues, and begged my mom to Drive! Drive! Keep going! It turned out that it goes to V. A street, B street....T street, U street, Virginia street. And then it stops. Alas. I was so hoping it would go all the way to Z.)

College Terrace has but one unfortunate blight upon it. The original landowner, Alexander Gordon, named the cross streets in alphabetical order after the names of universities. It goes like this:

In 1925, College Terrace was annexed by Palo Alto, and was forced to rename streets that were duplicates of existing Palo Alto street names. There was only one street that was renamed. Washington. Poor, long lost Washington street. Can you guess what Washington was renamed? Anything between between Princeton and Wellesley would do--there are scores of colleges that would fit alphabetically between those two! But NO. Some twit renamed it Cornell.

Thus, Cornell is a blight upon the terrace. According to me, anyway. The beauty and order of the alphabetized streets was thrown away by one careless person who didn't know the alphabet.

PS. My mom and dad named their kids in alphabetical order too:) (though by accident).

the dismal pianist

Something happened last Sunday that I never thought possible.

I was the best pianist available to play in primary!!!!! (Let us recall that my talent, notwithstanding the 10 years of piano lessons I had (and rarely practiced), remains small. I can't play hymns unless I practice every day for 3 months and memorize where my hands go.) So, being the "best" available isn't saying much!

Basically, nobody in my ward plays the piano. That is, except for a couple teenagers, a couple missionaries, and 3 or 4 (white, non-Hispanic) people (using politically correct census terminology) that have other callings. Music is just not a part of Hispanic culture. There is no choir either. Singing is not their strong point..but they sure try!

So usually someone from the singles ward comes to play the piano during primary, but they weren't there. And the missionaries weren't either. There was NOBODY. We sang one song A Capella (two P's or one?), and then I realized there was finally a need for my minuscule talent! I could play the melody. So I offered to play one hand, one note at a time. And I did:)

I noticed that most of the songs we sang had flats in the Children's Songbook. Why is that? Why are there no sharps?

Hurray! I played the piano in church! And I even remember the order of flats. And the circle of fifths. :)

cake unveiling

After DH and I left our wedding reception and took off on our honeymoon, my Mom took charge of the cake. She said she first froze the cake, then wrapped it up and put it in a box. It was in my mom's freezer for 6 months until christmas, after which we flew home with the cake. Ever since christmas, it has been in our freezer.

See the cake box.

The cake box took up a lot of space in our freezer. This is what our freezer looked like before taking the box out:

And this is what it looked like after removing the cake box:

These are the flowers and fruity chocolate candy DH gave me on our anniversary by the way:) The chocolate just so happens to be the same chocolate we served at our wedding open house in Los Altos (at the home of the lovely Rachel). YUM! What a nice husband I have!

Here is a step by step sequence of unwrapping the cake:

(Doesn't DH have manly hands?)

There were 5 layers of aluminum foil!

There were also 5 layers of plastic wrap. (good job Mom!)

This is us cutting the cake. Taking a self portrait is difficult sometimes..(note DH's head is cut off..whoops)

And then we ate cake. It was so moist and good! It was the best lemon cake I've ever had. We were wishing we'd had a chocolate cake instead of lemon, but we should have thought of that when we ordered the cake! Our original cake had 3 tiers. Carrot, chocolate, and lemon. We didn't get to eat much wedding cake on the day of our wedding, so it was nice to finally have the time to do it:)

Friday, June 19, 2009


Today is our first anniversary. (paper, apparently is the thing to give).


The unveiling of frozen cake ceremony soon to follow!

Friday, June 12, 2009

dark chocolate souffle

So, up to this point I haven't been much of a food blogger. BUT that doesn't mean I don't cook. Or think about food a lot. (too much).

My latest favorite website to get recipes from is I discovered it from the blog of lovely Kim who has two adorable dogs, one of which is now famous for sneezing. Foodgawker is a collection of recipes from the blogsphere. Pictures and blurbs are submitted by the bloggers. You can search for nearly any food or combination of words and get awesome looking recipes. For example: searching for lemon brownie yields two recipes. There are over 28,000 recipes on there so far, and more are added every day. I made super awesome garlic fries a couple months ago that I found on there.

So anyway. I got some cute yellow mini-souffle dishes (or ramekins) for a wedding present, and have used them to make dark chocolate souffles. While delightful, the souffle dishes are WAY too big for one person (for dessert). Mine are 10 oz and basic ramekin size is 6 oz I believe. The 10 oz dishes would be perfect for a savory souffle for one person. But to continue. I found this recipe on Cooking for Engineers, and multiplied it 1.5 times to fill two 10 oz souffle cups. This is the result:

Yum! The one problem with these souffles (besides being too much to eat, even for me) is that they taste better after cooling off. The problem with cooling off is that the souffle falls. It is still fluffy, but it is definitely shorter. And the crispy top softens somewhat during cooling.

The recipe calls for 70% cacao, but I use guittard bittersweet. I have no idea what percent it is. You could probably use chocolate chips and melt them, or use cocoa+oil and add extra sugar.

PS. Baking chocolate (the kind with individually wrapped ounces) is a rip off. It costs twice as much as getting bulk chocolate that you break apart yourself. Food scales are really helpful.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

on the run

For the last two months, I've gotten used to running three mornings a week around my neighborhood. I live in College Terrace, which is basically 3 long streets and a lot of cross streets that connect them. It is a quiet residential community that has beautiful, unique homes that cost a lot of money. It's great for running since there are lots of interesting things to look at, and it is much prettier (in my opinion) than the ever popular walk/run locale: the Dish. The Dish trail covers hilly terrain, however, which I admit is an attraction considering most of Palo Alto is flat (except for the gentle downward sloping to the east, which makes biking to and from Stanford campus to be a lopsided affair).

When I run, I go up and down the cross streets. I have discovered fun things hidden in the Terrace. First--a tennis court. It's totally hidden, and totally free to use! Second--a drinking fountain. This is always appreciated. Then there is this mysterious two-seater car that pops up in random spots in the neighborhood. Sometimes it is parked in front of my apartment in the morning with a person waiting in it. Oooga booga.

DH comes with me much of the time. And my legs are getting bigger. I wonder when they will stop?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

the white pants of romance

David and I recently made an amazing discovery. He and his dad were married in the SAME PANTS!!!!!!!! Which were apparently purchased 30 years ago and given to DH 10 years ago.

From this time forth, I will think of them as the white pants of romance. Hopefully we can pass them down to the next generation.

Monday, June 08, 2009

DH = 28


Today is DH's birthday. I made him a breakfast of waffles with white flour and bananas, raspberries, strawberries, peaches, and yogurt. Yum! We are not syrup people, it has turned out. We put everything on waffles except syrup. (Lemon curd, cheese, almond butter, jam, and applesauce are some other examples). I made waffles with white flour once previously (by accident) and DH loved them. (No surprise there..but I have won him over to some whole wheat breads:)

We invited a couple friends over for dinner this weekend to celebrate his b-day (alas, not very many people can fit in our apartment!) We have SO MUCH cake left so please come and eat some.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

taking a moment to ponder...

I'm in elevators a lot. In the building I work, my company rents the 3rd, 7th, 8th and 9th floors. I sit on the 3rd floor and often need to go to 8th.  The 3rd floor isn't accessible by stairs at the moment..which is annoying to say the least (that is to say, you can exit the floor via stair, but cannot reenter). 

There is an inpection notice on the wall (which is always at least 6 months expired). It says that the elevator can hold 3000 lbs or 20 people. I know from personal experience that it can only hold 12 MAX when we are crammed in after a fire drill and are all trying to get back to work. I don't know how they expect 20 people to fit. That would so not be safe.  I think some re-evaluation is in order. 

Fire drills in college were the best. You might think the fun stops after high school, but not at University of Utah. Nope. However, there weren't any at Stanford. Lame.  But I did have to attend earthquake safety training my first quarter.   

So long, and thanks for all the fish.