Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My New Toy

Chester ever so kindly bestowed a new laptop upon me for my birthday (albeit a few weeks early). It's speedy, cavernous (as in it has LOTS of storage space) and lovely, and will aid me in my quest for a degree.

I consider myself lucky that the computer with the most battery power (up to 6 hours!) in Chester's price range just happened to be the one with a lovely design. I'm also quite tickled that Chester was able to find a matching Bluetooth mouse!



The inside is pretty to look at as well.



One of the coolest gadgets that came with it was the little Windows Media remote that can be tucked safely inside the computer.



As evidenced by the picture below, I'm pleased as can be!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Ode to Steel Cut Oats

Seemingly not in line with popular opinion, I find oatmeal to be an enjoyable breakfast food. Although, admittedly, the brown sugar I put in my oatmeal certainly doesn’t decrease my daily sugar intake, I feel better about making oatmeal my main breakfast food versus most boxed cereals. (Side note: this weekend I discovered that both corn flakes AND rice krispies, cereals I previously considered somewhat innocuous, contain high fructose corn syrup!) In fact, buttered toast dipped in oatmeal is quite the tasty treat.

Up until a few weeks ago, I was content with plain old rolled oats. Although I initially dismissed the idea of steel cut oats, mostly because of the time they take to cook, my conversion began with an impromptu purchase. I was in the store to buy cornmeal, but I wanted to try a coarser grind than usual. I also felt a little silly (congratulations, grocery stores) buying only one thing. I scanned the selection of other grains and recalled my curiosity regarding a possible expansion of my oat experience.

First off, I was surprised by the shape. I had pictured a steel cut oat to look like three rolled oats stacked together, but they actually look like someone put whole oats in a blender for about 10 seconds.


I was completely taken off guard by the tastiness that oats have the possibility to provide! The texture was much more palatable and delightfully chewy. The taste is pretty much the same, but it’s amazing the difference a little texture can provide. If you’re tempted to completely give up on oats-with-essence-of-library-paste, I would recommend giving the steel cut variety a chance!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Stranger Than Fiction

A few years ago, I became quite disenchanted with my near-exclusively fantasy-and-Stephen-King reading habits and have since worked at building up my book genre repertoire. Something that surprises me is how much I’ve come to love non-fiction books. One of the first, and one of my all-time favorites, in the string of these books was Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan (a wonderful, eye-opening, socially relevant book about four different meals and their backgrounds). Since then some books I have found immensely enjoyable are Animals in Translation (a book about similarities between how animals and autistic people think, by an autistic woman), The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City, a couple of books from Cesar Millan’s collection, various memoirs about animals (do these count as non-fiction?) and quite recently, The Other Side of Desire, which delves into the lives of four “sexual deviants”.

Currently I’m in the middle of reading Your Inner Fish (a book that takes the whole people-from-primates theory one step—or three—further and presents evidence regarding our similarities to fish) for a book club I’m quite excited about. Last night I picked up a book about rats, and The Secret Life of Lobsters is high up on my list (sometimes I suspect all it takes to entice me is some allusion to finding out secrets).

As my community college career comes to a close and the necessity of making a decision looms, my excitement about the above makes me feel fairly confident in my decision to pursue a biology degree. Regrettably, textbooks are not always as enthralling as books like the ones I’ve mentioned…

Sunday, February 22, 2009

On My Knees

As much as I wish it wasn't the truth, it seems that the best way to clean a floor is on one's hands and knees, with a bucket and a rag. I did this today in both our kitchen and our bathroom. The kitchen was particularly in need of attention, since we have a white tile floor and a black, busily shedding dog. We also upgraded our kitchen and bathroom trash cans to stainless steel jobbies.

Excitement abounds around these parts!