Thursday, March 11, 2010

Chocolate... and more chocolate!

Looks good, doesn't it? Here's what really happened.

The dawn broke. What it broke, I don't know, but if I had been awake at the time, I certainly would have taken it as a warning. Today was destined to be a clumsy day, and everything--even nature--was contributing. Today was the day that I would make Triple Chocolate Biscotti, and the world would be forever changed... or at least the color of my shorts would be.

I followed the instructions, honest! Well... at least I tried more than I usually do, but I had to give up because it was getting too messy. I set my computer on the counter so I could look at the recipe as I went along. I combined some of the liquids and then got out some eggs. I already used my hand mixer, and thought I'd just stick the immersion-blender whisk in the eggs to quickly mix them up. But unfortunately, it only had one setting: Very Very High. And the whisk attachment is just so aerodynamically shaped as to make everything around it fly into the air while it stays firmly in place. It was a fateful moment...(nanosecond, probably). I pressed the button, and instantly, there was egg yolk in my hair, on the counter, oozing over my toes, dripping down the counter, sprawling on my computer keyboard... just about anywhere but in the bowl where they once so peacefully resided. One almost had to laugh it was so comical. However, I was the only one present, and was a little too busy trying to cleanup without spreading the chaos further to stop for a hearty chuckle. I presently ordered my small kitchen to rights and continued with the cooking. It seemed to go well enough for the rest of the  process. Of course, chocolate is always dangerous and one never knows until hours later what single-minded purpose it has been pursing against your own health and sanity.

Blissfully ignorant of the mess I was in (literally) I arranged the plate you see above and prepared myself to enjoy one of the (lesser) fruits of my labors. (My particular cookie was falling apart and not worthy of being in the picture.) I picked it up and tilted my milk, ambitious to cover as much chocolate as possible with its creamy goodness. Ah but friends, Caesar was ambitious. I hadn't taken a single bite of my chocolate creation before I had spilled milk all over our tablecloth, one of our chairs, myself, and the floor. Sighing, I set about cleaning up my second mess.

And then, 2 hours after taking the picture, I looked (for the first time, apparently) down at myself and saw a little bit of chocolate on the bottom corner of my shorts pocket. How odd. I certainly didn't use my pockets while cooking! I flaked it off, and then noticed some more farther up... and more.... and more!!! There was chocolate caked all over the inside of my pocket! Maybe Julius Caesar wasn't ambitious. Maybe he just was clumsy and got in the way. Maybe the circumstances overwhelmed him and became too much for him to handle without making a mess of it. (But Brutus says he was ambitious. And Brutus is an honorable man.)

He seemed to do well ruling while he was alive (filling the general coffers and all that). And the biscotti itself turned out well and delicious. And yet, though the people may mourn and wail, this day buries my noble ambition to cook with three chocolates at one time.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A "Picture Perfect" Post

Ebay is officially amazing. My computer crashed a while ago, and for some time I was unable to download any pictures off my cameras. Then, I thought it would be brilliant to find out how much memory card readers are. BestBuy = $30(+). Ebay = $4.

Hmmmm. Tough choice there.

A week later and with free shipping, my $4 card reader appeared in the mailbox downstairs, and now I can share some of my pictures! Yay.

These are some sights you might see around our Apartment in Arlington.

This is Highway 50. The bridge I'm standing on leads to great and glorious things, like.... the grocery store. And the metro. Boo-yah.

It really is fun to just stand in the sun and watch the cars go by. One day, I decided it would be a good idea to relax and do this for a while. And as I stood leaning over the rail with my head propped in my hands, a van full of large black men rolled to a stop behind me. They opened the sliding door and one of them called out, "Hey. You O.K?" They seemed concerned that I was in the depths of despair and about to fling myself over the edge. Another spoke up and asked, "Yo' boy-fren' treatin' yo' raht?" I laughed and assured them that all was even better than "all right." But they insisted that if such was ever not the case, I was to inform them, and "they would teach him a lesson or two." I believe it to.

I love seeing things with my name on them--even if it IS a fire hydrant!

On the right is part of the Rosslyn skyline. The big apartment building is the Belvedere. That's where we don't live. When looking for apartments, I quickly learned that if I had to be buzzed into the main reception area, it was way out of our league.

It's pretty amazing that when we see this, we know we're getting close to home. This is the Marine Memorial, made from a photograph taking during the US victory on Iwo Jima in WWII. The inscription reads, "Uncommon valor was a common virtue."

Just some fall leaves on the sidewalk near our apartment. Take a guess: do you think I ran through them?

Below are some views from Arlington Cemetary.
This particular view is from the front of Robert E. Lee's house on top of the hill.

And this is his house. Incredible, isn't it?

A view of the older part of the cemetery, before they starting using uniform gravestones;

and below, is one of the roses that grow under a large Grecian colonnade behind Lee's house. They're a lot larger than they look, and there were so many of them, that the air smelled like
perfume! It was a rainy day... and absolutely beautiful!

(Out enjoying a beautiful sunset, walking by the memorial, the cemetery, and the Carillon.)

I hope you enjoyed all these!