Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Greece? Rome? Marfa? Anyone?

Every holiday-based chocolate and cookie-type thing in the house is reduced to crumbs, so we now turn our attention to something entirely new: our next vacation.

We're seeking guidance and insight into cool travel spots.

The next vacation might turn out to be the big one... the honeymoon, in May. (Although we're not entirely sure we can hold off another five months at work without significant time off.)

Of course, we're thinking we'll blog about it, just as we did this past summer during our great western adventure.

Where should we go? That's about as far as we've gotten so far. But we have ideas.

Perhaps we'll stay domestic, and travel west (again!) to one of Kristin's favorites, Marfa, Texas, home of the famous Marfa Lights and the Chinati Foundation art museum and, best of all, the Cibolo Creek Ranch. Marfa is where Kristin traveled when she learned she needed to be free.

Overseas options include all the usual spots, such as Greece, maybe Rome. What about Amsterdam? Egypt? So many places -- so little time. Kristin's friend Lisa gave us a bunch of guidebooks to Guatemala, and Christian has a friend of a friend whose family owns luxury hotels there, so that intrigues us too.

So what do you guys think? The wedding is in early May. Where is fabulous that time of year? Anyplace terrific you have been? Anyplace awful we should stay the heck away from? We're all ears. Or eyes. Or something like that.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Vote for Anna!

Anna, the cookie diva who runs Cookie Madness, is a semi-finalist in the Bailey's Irish Cream Drinkable Desserts contest. Her entry is Tres Leches Cake in a Glass, which sounds just too unbelievably yummy. Here's the link: Vote early and often!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Brought to you by the letter "N"

We've been tagged by Guinness Girl. We're been working at it all freakin' day. Who knew "N" was such a tricky letter?

10 Things about us that start with N. Kind of. At least, it started out that way. We sort of lost focus toward the end there....

1. Nashville. The town where Christian grew up and Kristin has called home for 17 years.

2. Natterjack. Archaic English word for toad. Kristin learned it in a children’s book by Edward Eager titled The Time Garden, then used it at age 10 to definitively win her family’s version of the license plate game once and for all.

3. Neil. As in Young. As in one of our more favorite musical artists we have seen perform since we have been together. Front row at Ryman Auditorium during the taping of what became Jonathan Demme’s movie Heart of Gold, which we still have not actually seen. Although, how could watching the movie possibly match up to being there. Did we mention we were on the front row?

4. Nap. Having gotten up at 4:30 a.m., what both of us really, really want right about now.

5. Nother. What Christian wants when Kristin is baking. “That cookie was good. Can I have a nother?” (Yeah, we’re reaching here.)

6. Nuptials. What we’ll celebrate the first weekend in May ’07. We can’t wait!!!

7. Nada. That’s how many ideas Kristin has for what to get her father for Christmas. Other than that one thing, however, we are DONE!

8. Never thought it would be this hard to come up with 10 words that start with N.

9. Nine, nine, nine for my lost cause......

10. Ninety-nine gift bags of cookies on the counter, 99 gift bags of cookies? Take one down, pass it around ... and you’ve still got a freakin’ blue ton of cookies. They start to move out of our house tomorrow. Thank goodness.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Answers to questions

So as much as we have GOT to get accomplished before Sunday, we're spending the evening sitting in the man-eating chair watching dog shows on Animal Planet. Hmm. Productive, no?

To answer a few outstanding questions:

Christian did finally find cilantro. That's the good news. The bad news is, by the time he managed to figure it out, the steak was, well, kinda gross and stuff. So fabulous guacamole got made, but it had to be served with insta-tacos. Not bad, mind you, but not homemade carne asada, either.
Yes, the tree did, finally, get decorated.

The cats were given every opportunity to climb the Christmas tree, too. We left the door to the living room open all day while we decorated the tree. The lazy-ass kittens couldn't roust themselves to walk from one room to the next. So no tree-climbing for the boys. They'd rather sit in cardboard boxes anyway.

Album of the moment: Barbra Streisand & Barry Gibb, Guilty. (You have to ask Kristin's parents for the story on that one.)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A morning funny

Not much time to craft witty missives this morning, so we're poaching from Kristin's father, who forwarded the following. Kristin's dad is something of a spammer, but at least it's usually well-selected spam....

No byline was attached, so don't know who to credit for this, and we've seen a bunch of them before in other contexts, but they're still pretty darn funny. Happy Wednesday!


1. Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.
2. One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor...
3. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
4. If man evolved from monkeys and apes, why do we still have monkeys and apes?
5. The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.
6. I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, "where's the self-help section?" She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.
7. What if there were no hypothetical questions?
8. If a deaf person swears, does his mother wash his hands with soap?
9. If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?
10. Is there another word for synonym?
11. Where do forest rangers go to "get away from it all?"
12. What do you do when you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant?
13. If a parsley farmer is sued, can they garnish his wages?
14. Would a fly without wings be called a walk?
15. Why do they lock gas station bathrooms? Are they afraid someone will clean them?
16. If a turtle doesn't have a shell, is he homeless or naked?
7. Can vegetarians eat animal crackers?
18. If the police arrest a mime, do they tell him he has the right to remain silent?
19. Why do they put Braille on the drive-through bank machines?
20. How do they get deer to cross the road only at those yellow road signs?
21. What was the best thing before sliced bread?
22. One nice thing about egotists: they don't talk about other people.
23. Does the Little Mermaid wear an algebra?
24. Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery?
25. How is it possible to have a civil war?
26. If one synchronized swimmer drowns, do the rest drown too?
27. If you ate both pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry?
28. If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?
29. Whose cruel idea was it for the word "lisp" to have an "s" in it?
30. Why are hemorrhoids called "hemorrhoids" instead of "assteroids?"
31. Why is it called tourist season if we can't shoot at them?
32. Why is there an expiration date on sour cream?
33. If you spin an oriental man in a circle three times does he become disoriented?
34. Can an atheist get insurance against Acts of God?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Sorry no updates for a few days. Weekend was taken up with back-to-back birthday celebrations for Christian, who for the next few months is only three years younger than Kristin (that cradle-robber....). Deadline madness for both of us at work yesterday, then last night Kristin was sidelined by one of her thankfully very rare migraines. All of which is to say, we're still here! Longer update tonight, we promise!

On deck for tonight: Attempt No. 2 at the homemade Mexican feast, plus Kristin attempts the Oatmeal, Browned Butter, Pecan Praline Cookies from Anna at Cookie Madness. Yum!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

This cilantro smells funny


n 1: Old World herb with aromatic leaves and seed resembling parsley [syn: coriander, coriander plant, Chinese parsley, Coriandrum sativum]

2: parsley-like herb used as seasoning or garnish [syn: coriander, Chinese parsley]

WordNet® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University

It was supposed to be special. Christian had been thinking about this particular Mexican feast for days. Visions of carne asada danced in his head.

He could see Kristin wandering down the cobblestone road leading to a Spanish villa, her arms full of roses and carrying a bucket of freshly drawn well water. She would pass by his door and he would walk out, not really by accident, and say, "Please, lady, rest your feet, and come into my humble hut and join me for a feast of carne asada and guacamole and Santitas brand tortilla chips and Shiner Bock beer."

It was 3 p.m. He drove straight from work to the grocery. First he carefully selected the avocados. They were perfectly formed, with just the right amount of give. Excellent. Then he bought steak, red onions, tomatoes, jalapenos and a sixer of Shiner.

The cilantro was unusually beautiful for December. It was so green and fresh and shiny.

He was halfway through chopping the herbs when he heard the front door. It was Kristin. She was early.

She walked into the kitchen, liking what she smelled. Christian said it was probably the freshly squeezed limes, because that was all he had done so far. "How far down the stems should I chop the cilantro?" He asked.

Then the bubble burst.

"That doesn't smell like cilantro," she said.

She looked closer.

"That's parsley."

Oh, misery. Oh, despair. Oh, how quickly Kristin and Christian bagged up and froze the parsley and headed out to Las Maracas, their favorite neighborhood Mexican joint (formerly Las Fiestas de Mexico).

No roses. No humble hut. No home-grilled carne asada. And certainly no cilantro.

Album of the moment: Simon and Garfunkel, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme


Ask and you shall receive. Melusina requested the recipe for the Midnight cookies, so here you go:


This recipe is adapted from one that appeared in the Washington Post last year, which in turn was adapted from the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion. It’s the richest chocolate cookie I’ve ever tasted, and it’s actually black. You can use whatever kind of candy kiss you like to press into the top, or even chocolate nonpareils (the kind with white sprinkles on the bottom). It’s also good with different kinds of chips instead of chocolate (peanut butter, white chocolate, etc.)
Note: Use the best-quality chocolate you can afford — it makes a difference! If you can’t find espresso powder, buy espresso coffee beans and grind them super-fine. You can use regular cocoa powder, but the Special Dark powder makes the cookie blacker.

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken into chunks
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Hershey Special Dark cocoa powder
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 cups brown sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. espresso powder
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (or semisweet if you can’t find bittersweet)
Candy kisses (I used Hershey Hugs)

1. In small saucepan over very low heat, melt together bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate, stirring frequently until almost melted through. Remove from heat and keep stirring until fully melted and smooth. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
3. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream butter and brown sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add vanilla, espresso powder and melted chocolate, mixing until evenly incorporated. Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover bowl and refrigerate until dough is firm but pliable. (Do not over-chill, or the dough will be difficult to work with.)
4. Preheat over to 350 degrees. Cover baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop dough by tablespoonful onto the baking sheets. Bake 9 minutes, or until they appear set. Remove from oven and immediately press a candy kiss, point side down, into the center of each cookie. Let sit on baking sheets until the cookies are set, then remove to wire racks and cool completely.


Oh, wow. We got hit big-time today! First Brittney at Nashville Is Talking reffed to us, then the very lovely and very talented Guinness Girl at Red Red Whine lavished us with compliments. We're feeling very loved.

We also felt ridiculous pressure to post something fresh. We also felt ridiculously uncreative. And since we still haven't gotten around to putting up those darned Christmas decorations (yeah, yeah, we know....), we decided to steal Guinness Girl's meme (which she stole from somebody else, so that makes it OK, right?)

These are Kristin's answers. Look for Christian's later.

In a word
1. Yourself: Frenzied
2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend (fiance): Sweetest
3. Your hair: Split-ended
4. Your mother: Gorgeous
5. Your Father: Charming
6. Your Favorite Item: Engagement ring!
7. Your dream last night: Forgotten
8. Your Favorite drink: Wine
9. Your Dream Car: Karmann-Ghia (pretty please, Santa?)
10. The room you are in: Newsroom
11. Your Ex: Controlling
12. Your fear: The unknown
13. What you want to be in 10 years? Independently wealthy?
14. Who you hung out with last night? Christian
15. What You’re Not: Secure
16. Muffins: Biscuits (yeah, me too, GG!)
17. One of your wish list items: A clone
18. Time: Afternoon
19. The Last Thing You Did: Edited
20. What You Are Wearing: Vintage
21. Your Favorite Weather: Fall
22. Your Favorite Book: Blue Highways
23. The Last Thing You Ate: Veggies
24. Your Life: Comfortable
25. Your Mood: Restless
26. Your best friend: Christian (seing a theme here?)
27. What are you thinking about right now? Sleep
28. Your car: Three-hubcapped
29. What are you doing at the moment? Procrastinating
30. Your summer: Blissful
31. Your relationship status: Engaged
32. What is on your TV? Lost
33. What is the weather like? FREEZING!
34. When is the last time you laughed? Today
35. Who do you tag? Anybody who wants to answer

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Change of plans

So yeah, no. No Christmas decorations got put up. Christian took pictures of the cats and massaged the blog. Kristin watched Santa Claus is Coming to Town (the Rankin/Bass Claymation one!!!) and baked Midnight cookies.

Decorations tonight. No, seriously. We mean it.

So what do you think: Should we allow the cats to climb the Christmas tree before we decorate it?

Album of the moment: Ray LaMontagne, Till the Sun Turns Black

Till the Sun Turns Black

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006


We've become cat people.

Yes, those people. The ones who think theirs are the smartest, cutest and most likely to be class valedictorian.

That's why we're shamelessly putting up several photos from Saturday. While we were desperately trying to find anything to keep from having to decorate for Xmas.

We seriously love our cats. But we also realize there are ground rules. We, of course, realize that it can become nauseating to other people who know nothing about said pets when pets are discussed incessantly.

And we promise we will not turn this blog space into a love-my-pet place. That's just weird.


Willie is the one with the white nose.

Here's a picture where he's looking at... uh... probably nothing. But still being cute while he's doing it.

And then here is the angelic Waylon. Sweet Waylon. Waylon who is pretending to be asleep while secretly contemplating pouncing on his brother's tail.

Album of the Moment: Cat Power, The Greatest

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Christmas -- it's on

Ready or not (and we're NOT!!!), the Christmas decorations are all going up tonight. Kristin foolishly volunteered our living room for a photo shoot that requires holiday decor. Therefore, before we go to sleep tonight, Santa Claus will have vomited gold glitter all over the living room.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Monday, December 04, 2006


Christmas officially started yesterday for us.

Saturday night was the first-ever Rage Music Awards. It was a huge success -- thanks to everybody who made it out! -- but it also went later than we're used to staying out these days. So our Sunday started around 11 a.m. Yeah, that's productive....

By the time we got ourselves showered and coffee-ed and out the door, it was more like 1 p.m. We went first to the Gas Lamp Antique Mall, which was hosting a holiday open house. Our friend Libby has a vintage clothing booth there, and she always has amazing stuff. She didn't have any of Christian's coveted Western shirts this time, but Kristin scored an amazing floor-length "wedding coat." We also found a little something for Christian's sister and a few gold Christmas ornaments.

Sidebar #1: Kristin does an all-gold Christmas tree. She inherited the tradition from her mother, who picker it up from her mother. Little white lights and lots of sparkly things. Christian, to his credit, has graciously acceded to this Christmas quirk.

From the antique mall to the shopping mall, where we hit Davis-Kidd Booksellers for gifty-type things, then to Wild Oats for the good-quality chocolate and espresso powder that the chocolate midnight cookies require.

Sidebar #2: Does anybody know what the difference is between espresso powder and instant espresso? It's the one fight we have had the entire time we have known each other. The cookie recipe requests espresso powder, but says you can substitute regular espresso ground super-fine. Kristin makes that substitution. Christian says espresso powder and instant espresso are the same thing and that Kristin should get instant espresso instead of using the regular coffee. Kristin says espresso powder and instant espresso are different things (although she can't say what the difference actually is), and continues to use the regular coffee ground extra-fine. Anybody know who's right? We're thinking about calling in to Lynn Rosetto Kaspar at NPR's "The Splendid Table."

From there we hit Target for a cheap-y coffee grinder. You know, for the espresso. We also picked up a few goodies for the kitties, including a catnip-infused scratching board.

Sidebar #3: First time we have exposed the kitties to catnip. And man, stoned kittens are FUNNY!!!

Finally, we backtracked to Home Depot where we picked up a really stunning Christmas tree. It's not as fat as Kristin prefers, but it's tall and full and straight, and getting it into the stand didn't spark any unpleasantness. All good so far!

It will probably be Wednesday before we can get the tree decked, however. We completely forgot that we're going tonight to see Ray LaMontagne, one of our collective favorite singers. Tomorrow Kristin has an after-work meeting, and since she's a complete control freak about doing the lights, Christian is too scared to attempt to tackle that without her.

Whew! For a day that started so late, we did get a lot accomplished. Tonight, Ray. Tomorrow ... maybe the lights? We'll see....

Friday, December 01, 2006

Things we're wondering

Why do our cats not comprehend the concept of the snooze alarm? Or weekends?

If we close our eyes really tight and wish really hard, will all our Christmas presents magically buy and wrap and deliver themselves?

CD of the moment: The Sufjan Stevens Christmas albums. Magical music.