Thursday, July 16, 2009

Return From a Blogging Hiatus

Wow. I'd like to say I've been too busy with noble pursuits to blog during the past couple of months, but that wouldn't be accurate. Not totally accurate, anyway. Mostly, I've been bumming around-- in the form of daily yoga (yes, I pompously and pathetically and only kind of ironically refer to myself as a yogi now) loafing about, watching the Wire, cooking, going on trips home to Santa Fe for cheap medical care, and agonizing about our upcoming move BACK ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

While I've been MIA on this blog that 2 people (my mom and whatever rotating friend I remind of its existence) read, I've been crafting and cooking a bit. And fortunately, for my wide and reaching blog audience, have had the presence of mind to take iphone pictures of my efforts. (FYI: the i-phone takes pretty decent photos.)

Also fortunately, I have included pictures from the mysterious and foreboding St. Catherine's Indian School in Santa Fe. My sister D is kind of obsessed, and we made two recent trespassing trips to check it out. (It's behind Rosario Cemetery for those in the SF loop.) I think the buildings have only been closed since maybe the late 80s early 90s, which is strange considering how derelict and abandoned the place feels. Our expedition reminded me a bit of a similar quest to the Hudson Valley Psychiatric Hospital near where I went to college in New York. My sister and I went to the school once at night, (with my wary boyfriend standing guard) and once in the early morning, which was when we took pictures (also the time that we didn't go inside) Somewhat alarmingly, we realized there was an alarm (pun intended) going off when we got closer to the main school buildings. Since we hadn't been inside, it was unlikely that we'd tripped the alarm, and that it had been going off all night, or for a couple days. Still, we hightailed it out of there, because SF po'lice and scary graveyard caretakers are not to be messed with.

Haunted historic buildings aside, the felt animals were presents for the 2nd birthday of my friend Nora. (An owl and a two-sided elephant, in case you couldn't tell.) Also the raw materials of delish salsa/pico de gallo, and some yummy dinnertime chilaquiles.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cookin Stuff n Makin Things

It's been quite some time since I've updated, for a few reasons. 1, I've been sick. As I write, it's the first time in five days that I've been dressed. (Not that I've been sitting around naked for days-- by "dressed" I mean jeans, socks, bra, etc. I've spent the past four or five days clad in what might best be described as "lounge wear") Now that I'm starting to feel better, it's time to start giving myself things to do, in little doses. While I was sick, I could only handle so much. Reading trashy magazines? Yes. I rediscovered Marie Claire when my local Walgreens was all out of Vogue and people I've never heard of were on the cover of "People". Studying for the GRE? Um, no. Doing the dishes? Yes, pretty much all you have to do is stand there, and the steam from the hot water was good for my congestion. Vacuuming, mopping, more labor intensive household chores? Hell, no.

The second reason I’ve been a bad blogger is that I'm quasi-employed again, which is always a positive thing. Sure, it's glorified babysitting, but that leaves me with more time to make stuff, work on my thinly veiled portrait of real people which is almost a novel or will be in 50,000 more words, and romp the Belly. I've also been tutoring for the past month or so, through an adult literacy program called Berkeley Reads. The guy I tutor is super sweet. He's old enough to be my grandpa, and prefers Louis L'Amour cowboy stories. Even though we have very little in common, working with him is natural and easy. I've enjoyed it a lot so far.

But mostly, I haven't been updating my little blog because I am very lazy.

Before I got sick, I'd been on something of a cooking spree. Particularly when it comes to sauces. My mom was here over Valentine's day so I cooked for her, K and me. I made a tri colore salad with buttermilk vinaigrette, whipped parsnips, and shrimp with roasted red pepper sauce (red, for Valentine's day you see) The shrimp turned out really bad, but the sauce was the best part of the meal, and I kept thinking of things to put it on for the next few days. Sometime before that, I made pesto, which is equally versatile and also quite pretty.

Most recently, I adapted a recipe I tried while out with my two-year-old buddy Oliver. This place called Booby G's in Berkeley has avocado goat cheese crostini-- Olivier absolutely loves it, and surprisingly, so did I. I attempted to make it at home, and was mostly pleased. K was not too enthused, but he loved the crostini. Recipes appear below.

I got the pattern/idea for the thank you bag from February's issue of Bust magazine. The embroidery took FOREVER and then I messed up a bunch stitching the bag's pieces together. Canvas frays a lot. Even though I pretty much finished all the seams, I still have more fraying than I'd like, but hopefully this will stop once the fabric frays up to the edge of the seams. That I could live with. It's lined, and fun to carry. I made a few variations on Bust's suggestions (subtle changes to the embroidery pattern, using canvas for a more durable bag, and not adding an inside pocket) which are not as comprehensive as they might be.

I also made this little stuffed dog for my godson-to-be. A good friend is pregnant (due in July), and this is the first of many things I plan to make for the baby. I haven't decided whether he's (the dog) done yet or not. I'm definitely going to add a ribbon collar, but I might also embellish the eyes more, or add spots. The pattern was definitely a bit of a challenge for me, and he's sewn entirely by hand in felt. The pattern is from the book Softies, though I adapted it to suit my needs.

Here are the recipes for roasted red pepper sauce, pesto, and avocado goat cheese crostini:

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

2 or 3 red bell peppers
Olive Oil
Balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar
Sea salt
Black Pepper

Roast your red peppers using your preferred method. I roasted mine in the oven (about half an hour at 400) but you can also do them on the stove, which I do when I am impatient, which is almost always. My favorite method is outside on the grill, if you're so inclined.

Once you've roasted the peppers, put them in a paper bag and roll it down tight so the peppers can sweat. Once they cool, this makes it easier to remove their skins. I usually peel them off by hand, and leaving some charred bits adds nice flavor. Remove the stems and seeds, cut into pieces, and stick in the blender.

Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil (about 3 tablespoons) into the blender. Add half as much vinegar, salt to taste, and ground pepper. Blend until smooth, and adjust amounts of oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over almost anything.

Simple Pesto

Pesto is yummy, pretty, keeps for a while in the fridge, and is so easy to make. It dresses up almost anything.


2 cups (packed) fresh Basil leaves
1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (buy a hunk and grate it yourself)
1/3 of a cup of pine nuts, or similarly flavored nut
2-3 garlic cloves
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Couldn't be easier: wash the basil leaves, grate your Parm, and put everything into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. You probably won't have to add much salt, since Parmesan cheese is already pretty salty.

Avocado and Goat Cheese Crostini


1 loaf French bread, cut into slices
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat over to 350 degrees. After slicing your loaf of bread into .5'' slices (approximately) brush both sides of the bread with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper Bake in the oven for about ten minutes, turning a couple times, until lightly browned on both sides. This makes good croutons, too.


1 ripe avocado
4 oz. goat cheese.

Combine avocado and goat cheese in a bowl with a spoon or a fork, working together to mix. Using an egg beater, blend together until smooth and creamy. Mixture will be pretty thick, and light green in color. Looks a little odd, but is very delicious!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Fun with Felt, Bad Manners: My Paperback Nights and Hardcover Days

I've been waiting to post until after I did something more productive than make a good dinner with a recipe I've tweaked. (Though I've done plenty of that, too.) I've got a lot of time on my hands these days: the deli where I was working laid me off after the holidays, because suddenly (shocker) they were a little less busy. The soufganiyot and chocolate gelt fulfilled their mid-winter purpose, and I guess I did, too. I now feel integrally a part of the whole economic crisis, even though I was just laid off from a lousy part-time job and not like, IBM or a mortgage company or something. K thinks that this was the deli's plan all along-- to hire me when they needed extra help and conveniently avoid mentioning that the help might be of the seasonal variety.

Which brings me to bad manners-- I know I take this shit too personally, but people are rude, man. If anyone wanted to hire me to be Manners Gestapo, I think I would be pretty excellent at it. First, there was the whole unceremoniously being fired from the deli over voice mail. It was a little like being dumped. First, my manager said he hadn't answered my call the night before because he'd been at Phantom of the Opera in San Francisco. Which was excellent, apparently. "The traveling company is as good as the one in New York, I really think so... We had such good seats. 'Music of the Night' was definitely my favorite number, even though I wasn't in love with the phantom. So, I don't think I'm going to be scheduling you for any upcoming shifts. We're actually like, not at all busy now. And you were the last person we hired. And you went home for Christmas, so. Have a great day, bye." I cannot express how much I am going to miss unlimited free pickles. Suffice to say, a whole bunch. Also, Gina Marie cream cheese! Alas.

But at least the flaky deli folk called me. (Well, they had to, or else I would've just shown up for work even though I'd been made redundant, like David Brent or the dude with the stapler in Office Space.) I've applied for several jobs, gone in for interviews that went well (maybe I'm deranged, but I don't think so) and then they say ("they"being the interviewer), "We'll let you know either way within the next couple days." Um, no. I wouldn't be as offended if they said "We'll be in touch if we want to hire you". I mean, obviously, if they don't call you they don't want to hire you, but then, don't say you'll call either way! Clarity, people, by default leads to conscientious behavior.

I have decided to reinvent myself as a latter day Emily Post. To begin, these are the ten golden rules that evidently are worth repeating, despite their seemingly obvious nature:

1. Do not go out of your way to be rude.
2. If you say you will call someone, call them.
3. Following that, don't say you'll do things you have no intention of doing.
4. ALWAYS say please and thank you.
5. Hold doors for others (male, female, young, old, etc.)
6. When you take up someone's time, acknowledge and thank them for it.
7. Be nice to service people and homeless people even if you don't give them a tip or your spare change.
8. Do not assume you are more important than everyone else.
9. Do not drive like an asshole..
10.You know what, just don't be an asshole in your general daily proceedings-- it's annoying, unattractive, bad karma, and I will get you.

This may seem basic or reductive, but I'm mostly serious. And if I'm entitled, or naive if I believe that people should not go around acting like Prince Harry dressed in a racist costume after a few single malts, well then, I'm naive and entitled. Of course I'm not perfect. I know I'm not always polite, even when I should be-- but I do know the difference between good and poor form.

Anyway, felt. I've been making things out of felt lately, partly inspired by this book, and partly because my mom gave me a whole bunch of her fancy felt a while back. The hair clips are super easy-- you cut two pieces of felt that will just barely encase the whole clip (regular metal clips you can buy in packs at the drug store) embroider the top piece (split stitches, satin stitches and French knots look swell), cut a slit in the bottom piece, and sew together using a straight stitch, a running stitch, whip stitch, or blanket stitch. Easy. I'm enjoying hand sewing things because it's less frantic than the sewing machine, but still equals pretty darn near instant gratification. The whale and the little cake are my own adaptations of patterns in the book, and gifts for friends' birthdays.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Environmentalist, Recessionist, Atheitst Christmas

OK, so I'm posting this a little late. On the outside chance that anyone desperately turned to my blog for last-minute holiday advice, they were undoubtedly disappointed. But, better late than never, and these recipes and ideas are applicable next year, St. Patrick's Day, Arbor Day, all those other major holidays.

I began the holiday season short on cash, unemployed, and paranoid. Fortunately, I also like to make stuff. Homemade gifts are thrifty, thoughtful, and fun. First, I decided to make cinnamon dough ornaments. My friend Heather made me a couple last year, and my other friend, Martha (Stewart) reminded me of the recipe:

You'll need only three ingredients: a bunch of cinnamon, applesauce, and white glue, Elmer's or similar. In a bowl, mix together 1 cup of ground cinnamon with 1/4 of a cup of applesauce. Once this is blended (use a spatula or a spoon) add 1/2 of a cup of glue until thoroughly blended, then let sit for one hour. Using a wooden rolling pin and your hands, flatten and roll out the dough on a flat surface. Make the dough however thick or thin you want (it doesn't shrink much) and cut out into desired shapes, making a hole for ribbon or string if you want. Then, you can either air-dry the ornaments for 24 hours, turning every few hours so the edges don't turn up, or you can bake them at 200 degrees for two hours, flipping once. Being an impatient person, I opted for the baking method. It made my house smell nice, but some of my edges did curl a little.

Once the ornaments were dry, I painted them using acrylic paints. This part was the most fun, and reminded me of craft weeks at my hippie elementary and middle school. For the three weeks or so between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we'd drop all schoolwork and be elves, which meant beading, basket-making, embroidery, god's eyes, and other random stuff like leather key chains, salt dough ornament, and like any self-respecting alternative school, lots and lots of tie-dye. Obviously, craft weeks are some of my best school-time memories. When we weren't making spider-web earrings and stealing more than our one-daily-allotted candy cane off of the tree, we were playing hearts and spades, spying on each other, and playing in the snow outside. It was grand. Painting my cinnamon dough ornaments reminded me of listening to stories while quietly working with my hands-- I put This American Life on, and mixed up my paints. My shapes were shooting stars, hearts, elephant and brontosauruses. Once the paint had dried (and I left some blank) I strung different types of ribbon and string through the ornaments, grouping them in pairs.

Another Martha project that was slightly less successful was my foray into soap-making. "Making" is kind of a misnomer, since I melted down clear and white glycerin soaps from the grocery store, scented and dyed them, and re-poured them in layers. The recipe and directions are as follows:

Obtain a bunch of clear and white glycerin soaps, available at natural grocery stores or at craft stores. Melt two cups of each soap at a time, keeping them separate. Stir red food coloring into the clear soap, and peppermint essential oil (careful, this stuff is potent, you probably won't want to use more than a couple drops) into the white soap. Using a loaf pan or baking dish as a mold, pour the soap in alternating layers, so it looks like a candy cane. Let set for at least four hours, when the soap should be ready to pop out of the pan. Then, cut into slabs using a (very) sharp knife. I wrapped my soap in tissue paper, tied it with red and white string, and used little labels.

Now, as I said before, this was only a semi-successful project. The first type of white glycerin soap I bought simply refused to melt. It must not have been pure glycerin, because it became chunky and weird, even when melted in a double-broiler for a long time. I had much better results with a second type of white soap. Also, though, I found that my soap, while effective and nice smelling, turns the washer's hands slightly pink. Um, too much food coloring? Thanks for letting me know, Martha. I dunno, it's not bad, it looks more like a healthy ruddy winter glow, at least in certain lights, so I went ahead and distributed the soaps.

My third project was vegan sugar cookies for my non-butter-eating friends. (Poor souls) I found this awesome recipe online, and was pretty pleased with the results. I also made peanut butter cookies for my grammy using a recipe from a Betty Crocker Cooky Book from the early 60's.

For my niece Maddy and my baby friend Nora, I made felt stuffed animals. Super easy and a lot of fun-- my basic embroidery skills were more than adequate. Maddy's animal was a bunny, as pictured, and Nora's was a penguin inspired by this project, which unfortunately I forgot to get a picture of. I also embroidered the edges of pillowcases for a couple friends, again, easy enough to do while obsessively watching the second season of Big Love.

As far as packaging, this seems like a no-brainer at this point, but it's worth repeating that one does not need to buy wrapping paper, cardboard boxes and the like. OK, so I broke this rule a little bit... I got on-sale tins for the cookies (I didn't want them to get crushed) and I purchased a couple boxes when I ran out of ones big enough. For those which I'd saved, I wrapped them in grocery bags, and used flimsy coupon-type paper as padding and insulation. It also goes without saying that magazine pages make the best wrapping paper ever-- Annie Leibovitz photo shoots and slick ads for vodka make the prettiest packages.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The season of the interview, and Celebratory Chicken Pot Pie

These pictures are of a delicious pot pie I made. Also of my pets (Wynona leaped into my drawer, Belly sleeps with her head on a pillow!) because they are (seriously) the cutest pets I know.

I *finally* have a job. I didn't want to write about my interview misadventures before I'd secured gainful employment, for fear of jinxes or bad karma for being snarky and haughty or something. But now that I've signed a W-4 and an I-9, I can breathe a bit more easily unless I get fired for screwing up in some unforeseeable horrible way.

The job-- it isn't a career or anything. I'm working part-time at a Jewish New York style deli/restaurant in Berkeley-- it kind of reminds me of Bagel Mania in Santa Fe, only tastier. (No offense, Bagel Mania, but you guys don't serve free pickles.) Anyway, not exactly a career-oriented job, not that it couldn't be. As put in the employee handbook, working at the restaurant is "good, honest work" and I believe that and think it will be challenging. But I'm not a career waitress. Honestly, I'm not even a very good waitress. Lucky for me, I'm being cross-trained as a busser/food-runner/server/host/counter person. Today was my first day and I did about two hours of hosting. Which was incredibly exhausting. I don't know how I'm going to handle my back to back closing and opening shifts this weekend. (7:30 in the morning?!) All said though, I am immensely relieved to have a job, even if it's not collaborating with Adrian Tomine/ curating the MoMA/ making heaps of cash by selling my wares. (And by "wares" I mean crafts...)

The interview process was easily the worst part. Interviews suck (and I have one more on Monday!). Seriously, to get the job at the restaurant, I first had to take a Meyers-Brigg type personality test. I had to come back for a round of second interviews for a job in reception at a yoga studio. I waited an hour and a half for an interview at a popular brewery with dozens of slacks-and-white-button-downs with offensive perfume and shiny shoes. I interviewed at a bunch of restaurants-- one guy was super mean, and we kind of got into a fight over e-mail. A few never called me back, and the ones that did, well, I didn't want to work there. (I was desperate, but not to the point of having to hang out with "Josh" at the office park soup joint and do dishes for three hours every day.) I briefly and against my better judgment, tried out yet another (it would've been my fifth) unpaid internship at a cool gallery in downtown Oakland. It would have been a great job, if the whole money part was included. But basically, this lady wanted a minion, and I quickly realized I couldn't mop floors (except the ones at my house) for free anymore. You want to pay me to mop? Sure. This internship is actually going to lead to "something"? Mmmm, maybe. You want me to sweep, mop, not pay me, and then go home? Nope.

There was one job I really wanted, with Lonely Planet. I am still convinced I would have been perfect for it, but so are the other hundreds (thousands?) of travel-happy twenty somethings who sent in their resumes.

By far my most memorable and terrifying interview was with this dude. He looks mild-mannered enough, I know, but that's because of the light and the angle of his face. In reality, he has a razor-sharp jaw and an icy stare that he will try to kill you with when he says "this job is all about criticism of your work and not taking it personally and turning out the best stuff possible, even when you are beaten down, over and over again". The company he owns and works for describes itself as a "think tank", but, um, no. They're in advertising. Mr. Owner and his buddy (and good cop to his bad cop) described it to me like this: "Altoids came to us and wanted us to re-tool their image. We went with eccentricity, really studied it in depth for months, and wrote up a fifty page report. Then we pitched it to Altoids, and they loved it." So, all of those weird vintagy-Altoids ads where one group of people finds another doing group doing something inappropriate and awkward? Yeah, that'd be the "think tank". The job itself sounded pretty awesome "are you an anthropologist?" they asked. "We need an anthropologist for this job!" Lots of reading and research about bizarre arcane practices and people, admittedly, a lot of "thinking" and as Mr. Owner assured me "wayyy more money than you've ever made before sweetheart". But even with these perks, it still sounded sort of bad. For one, they've represented everyone from Coke to Proctor and Gamble. They also work with smaller brands, but I don't really think I'd be doing anything positive, ultimately, by selling diet coke to people. Then there was the whole part where Mr. Owner told me (literally) he was a misogynist and he hoped I could handle "strong personalities". He didn't hire me, but I think I'm OK with that. I'd rather eat free pickles and drink chocolate egg creams.

The pictures above are from a chicken pot pie I made following one of K's hockey games. It was pretty easy, is surprisingly low-fat (the creamy filling sauce stuff is pretty much just flour and 2% milk) and we gobbled up all the leftovers-- it reheated nicely, and kept in the fridge for about a week. Recipe below:


* One large (or two small) boneless skinless chicken breasts.
* Coarse salt and ground pepper
* 3 tablespoons olive oil
* 4 carrots, or a bunch of baby carrots, sliced.
* 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about a cup)
* 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves (parsley, sage, and rosemary, too! If you want.)
* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 2 1/2 cups low-fat milk
* 1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas, thawed
* 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
* Box of phyllo dough (in sheets), thawed


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cook the chicken breast(s) any way you like. (I pan-fried them, about four minutes aside, but poaching or roasting would also work well.

Using two tablespoons of the olive oil, saute the carrots, onion and thyme (I used rosemary, too) over medium heat until the carrots are tender, but still crispy (8-10 min.) Season with salt and pepper. Add flour (still over medium heat) while stirring. Slowly add the milk, stirring all the while, until the mixture is smooth. Cook until the mixture comes to a simmer and has thickened.

Remove from heat, add the peas, lemon juice (I used a little bit extra, it's nice) and cooked chicken. Season with more salt and pepper, or other spices, if desired.

Now comes the tricky part-- you're going to use the phyllo to create a crust. Some recipes suggest only using the phyllo dough on top, but I like having an entire crust. Rolling out the phyllo (it'll be in long strips) is best, because then you can cut them to fit your pie pan. I used several layers overlapping on the bottom (kind of like a lattice-topped pie, only covering the whole surface) lined the sides with them, poured in the filling (I had extra, which I froze) and heaped a bunch on top. It's hard to go wrong, it just depends on how pretty you want your pot pie to look. Brush the top (and the insides, if you want) with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.

Bake the pot pie for 20-30 minutes (check often, so it doesn't burn) until golden and bubbling. Let pot pie cool for fifteen minutes before serving.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fall Food: By the Seat of My Pants Calabacitas

The onset of fall and the cooling weather (yes, even in California) makes me want to eat a lot and get fat for the coming winter. I think it's biological. Food just doesn't taste as good in late spring/early summer when all I really want to eat is gazpacho, cucumber sandwiches, and popsicles. Well, OK, not really, I always enjoy food, but fall makes me want to stuff myself with lots of warm, spicy, mulled things.

It's been a good week for cooking. Last Sunday, I made cowboy cookies for my grammy, from a Martha Stewart recipe. While my cookies looked nothing like hers, (maybe because I got steel-cut oats instead of regular oats by mistake) they are tasty and chewy and have enough butter in them that they've aged well. Thinking of it, these "cowboy" cookies remind me of Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist of Brokeback Mountain fame. They most definitely would have packed these on their secret love-treks into the wilds of Wyoming. They're stick-to-your-ribs cookies (with aforementioned oats, chocolate, pecans and coconut) perfect for long days on the trail, and um, frolicking in the outback. Ennis and Jack would have enjoyed. But don't tell my grammy that.

Tonight we had tacos, one of our favorite dinners, and I'd been meaning to use some gorgeous fall vegetables for a while. Calabacitas is a perfect fall side dish because it's flavorful, filling, spicy, and incidentally, vegan. Bring a batch to the next potluck with your hippie friends!

This is the recipe I made up, after vaguely remembering the calabacitas of my youth. I was never so much into them, they were usually a side attraction to my enchiladas or rellenos. But these hold their own.

2 medium to small zucchinis
2 ears of yellow corn (white corn or even canned will work just as well)
1/2 of an onion, yellow or white
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of green chile (I had to use Hatch's canned variety, which you can find in most grocery stores. If you're in the land of enchantment, though, use the jarred saucy variety, or, better yet, fresh roasted green chile-- the ultimate)
A few shakes of powdered red chipotle
Olive oil (a good drizzle to begin, then added here and there, as needed)

Chop all vegetables to desired size. (And chop the corn off of the cobs)
Saute the onions and garlic over medium high heat until the onions begin to soften.
Add green chile, zucchini, and corn. Saute on medium heat. Add salt and chipotle to taste. Cook until calabacitas reach desired doneness.

Easy-peasy, you can pretty much do whatever you want. I took the calabacitas off the stove while the corn was still a little crunchy, which was quite nice, and it retained its sweetness. Some calabacitas recipes suggest adding cream to thicken and creamify-- this is totally optional. Calabacitas can also be dressed up or thickened out with cheese, tomatoes, meat, etc. Versatile and delicious!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hullo, Halloween

For my Halloween costume this year, I adapted butterfly wings from a Martha Stewart project. The wings are up on the wall now, and K says they're Mets wings because of the blue and orange color scheme. Not terribly sturdy,(made of floral wire and tissue paper) but served their purpose. K, was of course, Abe Lincoln. Some of the kids at the school where he teaches were a little confused about who he was dressed as.

Little Billy: Are you a president?
K: Yes, I am.
Little Billy: Are you Barack Obama?
K: Uh, nope.
Little Billy: Are you John McCain?
K: Definitely not.

I thought it was pretty obvious (Who else wore a beard like that without the 'stache?) but I guess it probably is more obvious if you're not seven years old. Still, though. I knew who Lincoln was when I was in second grade. I think.

K's pumpkin was the oldie but goodie "pumpkin barfer" and mine was some sort of animal. I was thinking dog, but I think it ended up looking more like a red panda with its tongue hanging out.

The pumpkin pie was made entirely from scratch (I peeled and gutted the pumpkin myself) and I was (am) very proud of my pastry chef efforts. However, should you ever decide to make a similar pie from scratch, make sure you blend the boiled pumpkin pieces in a blender. Egg beaters and mashing it around with a fork just aren't going to cut it-- I found this out the hard way when my pie was pleasantly flavored and spiced, but weirdly stringy in texture. There's nothing worse-- I like my pumpkin pie smooth and silky. I did think it was pretty, though.

Last night K and I got In N Out burgers animal style for our Halloween feast, ate in the parking lot, and then went to Rocky Horror at this place which in theory looks super cool. Pizza, beer and couches to go with your movie? Yes, please. It sort of sucked though: we had to wait outside in the rain for 40ish minutes before the movie. There weren't that many people there, they just weren't letting us in the lobby. While we waited shivering in our wet wool, dorky-fanboy-movie-theater-bouncer types yelled the rules to us over and over: "There will be NO, I repeat, NO cameras of any kind in the theater. Yes kids, that includes a camera phone. No food, no drinks, no smoking, no drugs of any kind, no alcohol, no weapons, no matches, no lighters, and yes you WILL be frisked at the door!" After three different goons (at least) had told us the explicit rules for gaining entrance to the holy movie theater, they made good on their promises. The girl who frisked me definitely squeezed my boobs, and after that made me get rid of my pomegranate. "They're way too messy," she explained. Um, hello. You guys serve pizza and beer in your theater, and fruit is sloppy?

Rocky Horror is supposed to start at midnight, but we didn't get the preshow (costume contest, various Rocky Horror virgin rituals) until 1 AM. The movie didn't start for twenty minutes after that. I've only seen Rocky Horror twice before-- once downtown in an NYC theater crowded with drag queens, and once at Vassar, as performed by the NSO (No Such Organization, formerly known as Non-Human Student Organization). The NSO was home to the X-Files devotees and Star Trek geeks, the Anime nerds and Buffy worshipers. These kids held a convention at the school every year that was ground zero for dungeons and dragons, LARPing (live action role playing)and purportedly, group sex. I shouldn't dis the NSO, because I too greatly appreciate some of the things they hold most dear: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and yes, I'll say it, The X Files. But they were dorks. The kids who felt awkward in high school who then met a ton of like-minded friends at college and reveled unrestrained in their dorkiness. Bottom line: The NSO's Rocky Horror was wayyyy better than whatever Oakland hipster's finest had to offer. Actually, even at the Parkway, these kids were more nerd than hipster. Which is preferable, but still. I know Halloween and Rocky Horror are only once a year, but please, even that's not cause to frisk me before I can enter your movie theater. Also, Rocky Horror starts at midnight, not 1:22 AM.