Saturday, February 28, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
Sorry, 35 for making you come up with all of the quotes of the day lately. I have had a weeks-long brain freeze! This one goes well with the last one 35 posted, don't you think, readers? (Mom??? Hello, Mom?)
Runners up: Vomit, fecal matter.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Monday, February 23, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
I bought my DSLR after my third child was born. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get a good picture of the boy with my point and shoot. The problem was that 99% of my picture taking was happening inside in poor lighting conditions. With the point and shoot, I had two choices, I could use the flash, which completely washed out my son's pale complexion, or I could ramp up the ISO, which invariably lead to a shot so grainy I wound up deleting it. I needed a fast lens and a camera with better low-light capabilities. I needed a DSLR.
Unfortunately, buying a DSLR was not, as I had expected, the immediate answer to my picture-taking woes. In fact, I had new woes. My images now lacked sharpness and the colors were dull and lifeless. Nothing I did improved the quality of my photographs. I was frustrated and upset. I considered returning the camera, since I preferred the pictures I took with my point and shoot to the ones I was now getting. I went back to where I purchased the camera. The salesperson told me that I was expecting too much and would never get well-optimized images straight out of the camera. He told me that all DSLR images need some post processing. I was outraged. I could not believe that I bought an $800 camera that could not produce, without significant work on my part, images that were at least comparable to those produced by my $200 point and shoot.
After much investigation, I discovered that it IS possible to get great straight out of the camera shots with a DSLR. I'll say it again - you can get great SOOC shots! The secret is in the processing, as the salesperson had told me, but the in-camera processing, not post processing. It turns out point and shoots are specifically manufactured to produce sharp, saturated snapshots that are pleasing to the consumer eye. Manufacturers achieve this by setting the cameras' default settings to automatically apply fairly heavy-handed in-camera processing. In other words, the cameras are pre-set to add sharpness and saturation to the images they capture. DSLRs, on the other hand, either apply very light processing, or no processing at all, depending on whether you are shooting in JPEG or RAW. This deficit of in-camera processing allows you, as the photographer, to control how you want your photographs to look. You can control the look of your photographs one of two ways - you can spend time post processing, or you can change the in-camera settings on your camera. Now, I am not saying that you won't want to post-process your photos. What I am saying is that, in most instances, if you get your exposure right (more on that to follow), you will not HAVE to post-process.
Here's what you should do: Sit down with your camera's manual. All DSLRs have menus that allow you to go in and tweak the camera's settings. Learn how to do this. Play with your camera. Decide whether you like the bright, contrasty colors produced by your camera's "Vivid" (on Nikons) setting, or if you prefer colors that are more true to life. Determine how much sharpening you want applied to your pictures in-camera. Is your camera shooting dark? Play with the exposure compensation setting. You can change anything you want. Anytime you want. And that is a beautiful thing.
Monday, February 16, 2009
1 cup fine stone-ground yellow cornmeal (the cookbook recommends Arrowhead Mills brand)
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
8 tbsps (1 stick), unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (I always use salted butter)
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
"How dare you? How old are you now, anyway?"
The White Stripes
This quote/song has been on a continuous loop in my head for about two weeks now. Hopefully, it will not invade your brain as it has mine.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
The Quote of the Day Challenge. This is where I post a favorite quote (and 40, please feel free to participate, I hope you do. Whoever gets here first everyday wins! By wins, I mean for that day, you know, the privilege of posting the prestigious "quote of the day"). There are no rules to this challenge, simply just that there needs to be a quote every day. It can come from anywhere although I'm guessing that 99% will be from music, and that 75% of that will be Rolling Stones or White Stripes. The quote may be profound or it may be silly or even mean- there may be an explanation as to why it was chosen that day or there may not. Probably most will come with explanations because the art history major in me loves to analyze and talk about it. But we'll see how this goes. I'm going to start simple for 2 reasons: 1) Because you should always start simple and 2)I thought this was a great idea since I have quotes floating through my head constantly and we (the trio- my mom, my sister and I) often speak in what we call "rock speak" which is just quoting songs appropriately in conversation (sometimes inappropriately but whatever...). But now that I have issued the challenge my mind has gone blank.
So here goes:
" The sunshine bores the daylights out of me"
-The Rolling Stones
Not actually a favorite of mine, this one is popular with 40 and our mom. I thinks it's fine, just not my favorite. I'll try harder tomorrow.
The cookies turned out really well. The white chocolate, oatmeal and vanilla all blend together to form a chewy, sweet cookie. Next time I plan to substitute semisweet chocolate for the white chocolate and dried cherries for the apricots.
Martha Stewart's White Chocolate and Apricot Oatmeal Cookies
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1/2 tsp baking soda
8 oz (2 sticks) unsalted butter (I used salted), softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
8 oz. which chocolate, chopped (I used chips)
7 oz. dried apricots, chopped (1.5 cups)
1. Mix flour, oatmeal and baking soda in a medium bowl. Cream
butter and sugars with a mixer until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to
low. Add salt, vanilla, and eggs, and beat until well combined, about 1
minute. Add flour mixture gradually, beating until just combined.
Stir in chocolate and apricots. Cover and refrigerate until cold, about 30
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto parchment-lined baking
sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies are golden brown around
the edges but still soft in the center, 14-16 minutes. Let cookies cool on
baking sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. cookies will
keep, covered, for up to 1 week.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
D: "Yeah, and I have a question."
40: "Uh huh?" (Fighting back panic.)
D: "So, I know that the boy has a cell and the girl has a cell and the boy pees out his cell and the boy and girl cells get together and make a baby."
D: "But HOW do the cells get together?"
40, fighting an overwhelming urge to flee screaming from the room, calmly, and as vaguely as possible, explains to D how the boy and girl cells meet.
D: "That's GROSS!" Waits a beat. "You and Daddy did THAT?!?"
Roadblock #2 is money. I don't have the money I need to make major changes to my home. Let's be honest here- if I had money, I would probably just move anyway.
But I like the challenge of small space living. I also really believe that it can be done and done well. If you don't believe me, check www.apartmenttherapy.com. I am obsessed with it. It shows that small space living is not only a necessity depending on where you live, but can be a choice for some people. Let's pretend that's the case with me.
(and my apologies to the city I live in. I don't think you're second rate, it's just the word on the street.)
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Monday, February 9, 2009
I am doing this because I recently realized that what I believed to be an interest in cooking is, in fact, a recipe-collecting addiction. The fact that I work in a library makes this problem all the greater. As a library employee, many a cookbook crosses my desk. And, I assure you, not one cookbook has passed my desk that did not contain at least one, often many, many more than one, recipe that I deemed worthy of photocopying. Herein lies the problem. In addition to the dozens of cookbooks I had to buy because I could not photocopy all the good recipes they contained, (I only get 5 free photocopies a day at the library), I have stacks and stacks of photocopied recipes. And stacks of recipes I ripped out of magazines. And stacks of recipes given to me by friends. Okay, you get the picture. So - in an ongoing effort to rid my house of clutter (HA HA), I decided to weed out my recipe collection. But how? By actually cooking some of the recipes I have been hording and determine whether or not a recipe is worthy of saving. I know that 52 recipes won't make much of a dent in my pile, but at least I will feel better about the pile. This may not sound like much of a challenge to you. After all, Julie Powell conquered the great art of french cooking. But trust me, for a a stay at home mom of three, with two part-time jobs, just feeding my family is an accomplishment. Frankly, I have already found myself wanting to throw in the towel. Instead, I have decided to journal my experience and make myself accountable. I plan to include recipes and pictures so that you can follow along at home.
Let the cooking begin!
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Besides the five years' (Uhm, I mean, six - this lying thing does not come easily to me), difference, there are other differences between us that we thought would add a little humor and interest to our blog. Basically, it goes like this - 35 is a tall, thin, strawberry-blonde who majored in art history and fashion design. She loves all things fashion, and as a child spent hours in her bedroom creating new outfits and playing with makeup. You should have seen her Cyndi Lauper phase! These days, you can find her, dressed in the latest fashion, poring over fashion magazines and blogs. She still disappears into her room to play with makeup. 35 is a city girl. I, on the other hand, am an on-the-short-side, plump, used to be blonde. I majored in psychology and went to law school. I have about three outfits that I wear, none of them fashionable. I do like makeup, though. I live in the suburbs and drive a mini-van. Now, lest you think my sister and I are polar-opposites, I should also tell you that we were once asked if we were twins, our significant others, and sometimes our parents, cannot tell us apart on the telephone, Billy Corgan's voice brings us both to tears, and we are both passionate about the White Stripes, good lyrics, and discussing Mick Jagger's antics. We are both opinionated, and neither of us likes to be wrong. We talk on the phone so many times a day, myhusband asks "What more could you two possibly have to say to each other?" There is more, but suffice it to say that we like to think that our differences compliment our similarities.
And oh yeah, as my sister said, don't expect too much from us at first. We like to set the bar low. But who knows? We might just surprise you.
Friday, February 6, 2009
This is a blog about our lives. Our lives aren't very interesting but we think we are pretty funny. Previously, we planned to waste our writing skills on romance novels. Who knows? Maybe we did. We'd never use our real names so only we know for sure.
Don't expect too much from this blog right away, neither one of us is very technologically savvy. 40's husband is, but maybe we'll do this on our own.