I think my car has a magnetic force field that attracts bad drivers.
Specifically, the bumpers on my cars. In the past two years alone, I have needed three new bumpers.I thought that maybe the third bumper was the charm. . .
but just a few days ago, while stopped at a stop sign, an elderly woman named Virginia decided to take the left hand turn a bit too tightly. Proof positive that Virginia is not just for lovers, friends. I have to say, nothing sounds worse to me than the crunch of cars colliding. Maybe it’s because it usually is followed by the awful realization that an incredibly annoying process has just begun.
You all have likely heard the expression :
I say unfortunately because, in my case, I’m getting lots of practice doing car accident follow-up. Yay. In hopes that somebody might benefit from my unfortunate new skill in coping with said accidents, I have decided to share the privilege of my dubious expertise.
What happens after the crunch:
#1: Pull over, and prepare yourself for:
God-knows-what, because you might have just butted heads (or bumpers?) with The Incredible Hulk on a grumpy day and he might be currently exploding out of his pants into a giant snarling monster of fury who is planning to smash you verbally even more than he already has with his car.
Or, if you are lucky, there is a slight chance that your little incidente has just occurred with Bambi’s mother reincarnate, and is currently sobbing from the sheer trauma of a fender bender. Whatever happens just stay cool, polite, and professional. Remember: they call these things accidents because NOBODY means for them to happen! Also, please note that this step is crucial in avoiding what is commonly known as a “hit and run”. . . which happens to be a felony in most states . . . so don’t skip step one, people.
#2: Grab Your Papers
Like traveling through enemy territory, step two is all about having the right papers. Much like a spy attempting to go undetected in said enemy territory, not having the right identification papers could be dire! You are going to need your license and your car’s registration. Also, if you have a pen, this will expediate the process incredibly (read: keep a pen in your car). At this point, it might also help to have a handy-dandy form that I made. If you print a few of these off and keep them in your dashboard, just have everybody at the scene (yourself included) fill one out and then exchange them!
Accidents Happen – A Form For All (click to download the PDF!)
#3: Ask “the Question” (Prove your Humanity)
Please note, at this point, it is customary to ask, “Are you all right?” all around. This is to show that you are not an unfeeling monster, but do have some decency as a human being. This is usually the first thing that should be said. It’s always good to lead as a human. At this point, you may also want to be careful to be as intelligent a human being as possible, especially if you are at fault for the accident, because nothing is worse than being smashed into and subsequently inflicted with an obnoxious personality.
#4: Look at the Damage on Both Cars
Snap a picture if your camera phone is around . . . just in case somebody tries to scam you down the (proverbial) road.
#5: Part ways, and head off to file accident reports, call insurance agencies, and eat comfort foods as needed.
The steady pounding resonated through the entire house.
Each contact was made with such force that I felt anxiety resonate in the pit of my stomach . . . and no small amount of concern for the floorboards. My roommate, Blair, was demonstrating what Caitlin (my other roommate) likes to call her “T-Rex impression”.
Welcome to my Week Three True Confessions of an Annoyed Roommate, inspired by nearly 11 months of living with Blair, or what I sometimes like to call:
The Blair Witch Project.
It has been a long year, and living with two Craig’s List Specials is always a regular roulette game, but this year brought some particularly interesting spins of the barrel.
A few short months later it is October, Blair’s then-boyfriend Sam and she were constantly on the fritz because she didn’t really care about him and was just dating him because she didn’t want to be (gasp) 24 and single. At this point some of the niggling issues from the summer months started to really blossom into full-blown concerns.
How about the time that one of my very best friends and her fiancé were visiting from Virginia and, on a Saturday morning, when she had nowhere pressing that she had to be, Blair was unbelievably rude to both of my guests. She actually asked if they could get out of the bathroom and get ready somewhere else because she wanted to shower immediately instead of waiting 5 minutes. Later, when I brought it up with her, she said, “Well, I should get priority, I mean, I live here. I get priority over, like, guests.”
These friends have visited me since that unfortunate run-in and opted not to stay with me, based solely on Blair’s presence in the apartment.
Or there was the time that Blair blew up at me for sitting on the couch next to her, because she needed personal space, which I clearly have little to no respect for, considering how I “always have to use or take” whatever it is that she is using. Like the couch. Or the living room.
There was also that time that I was peeing. You know Peeing; it’s an activity that takes around 2 -4 minutes typically? Well, in that time, Blair managed to knock on the bathroom door three separate times. The third time she knocked she said, “I’m sorry but on a scale of like 1 to 10, it’s like a 9!!!”
Still not seeing why life with Blair has its difficulties? Maybe you have to be there, or hear the interchanges for yourself. Here is a conversation that actually took place, to the best of my ability to jot it down:
Blair: Um, can you not put my bike in the back pantry area? I don’t want people to move my bike.
Me: Oh, sorry. Actually, I moved it because It’s kind of driving me nuts to have it in the middle of the kitchen, and my niece Izzy actually pulled it down on top of herself by accident the other day [Izzy was 2 years old at the time], so I think we need to figure out a new place for it.
Blair: Hmm. Well, it’s a really expensive bike and I use it, like, every Saturday for triathalon training. It’s a really high quality racing bike and so it needs to be well-taken care of. I’m not sure where else it could go.
Me: Well, there is the back pantry area, but then there’s also the basement, or upstairs in the hallway outside your room, or even under the front porch, bike-locked where my bike used to go.
Blair: Oh no. No, there is no way it is going outside. It needs to be completely protected from the elements. The tires can’t get to hot or too cold because that will mess with the air pressure, no. It’s not going outside.
Me: Well, what about the basement?
Blair: No, I am not dragging it up a flight of stairs every Saturday morning when I want to use it.
Me: Are you sure? I mean, there is always the bulkhead door, which is right on the side of the house, we can just leave that open for you on Saturdays, it would be easy enough to lift it right out of–
Blair: No. I – I don’t want it anywhere where I need to bring it up or down a level in order to use it. I already have to carry it down the front stairs, that’s enough.
Me: Okaaaaay, well that pretty much leaves us the back pantry area, or, I guess if we really had to have it in the dining room area, we could.
Blair: Or the kitchen.
Me: I’m not okay with it being in the kitchen anymore Blair. It’s a high traffic area with a lot going on, and we all have to use the kitchen daily, it’s just not working.
Blair: Well if we lived in Boston or Somerville, it would be normal. Lots of people who use their bikes all the time keep their bikes in the main entryway or one of the main rooms. I don’t think it is that unreasonable to keep it in the kitchen. Maybe I want it in the kitchen.
Me: Well, we have half of a house available to us, and we live in the countryside, so I think we can probably manage to find another place for it. Now, if I have everything straight, your requirements for your bike’s storage are, that it be safe and protected from all of the elements, that it be on the main level of the house, that it be accessible, particularly on Saturdays when you need to use it. Is that right?
Blair: *pause* yes.
Me: Well, then it sounds like the only place that will work for both of us (as a compromise) is the back pantry area. It is fully protected from all the elements, it has a lock for safety, it is on the mane level, and it’s about five feet total difference from where you had already been storing it, so it fits all your location requirements.
Blair: *pause* Hmm. Yeah, no. I just don’t like that. I just don’t like it.
And that was the end of the conversation.
You get the picture. I could go on and on. We could talk about her one-hour bath habit, or the leaving-beer-bottles-in-the-bathroom habit. We could shoot the breeze over her passive-aggressive notes and catty methods of handling confrontation. Ultimately, though, what it boils down to? Blair is not somebody that I can live with in the future. We actually asked her to move out once, back in November. It was a long and difficult conversation, and what did Blair do to handle it? She ignored it completely, and called our landlord up, telling him a sob story about how it just wasn’t possible for her to move in the near future. Clearly, the only two times when it is remotely possible to find a roommate or an apartment are in September and June (???). On top of that, she had a really big test to study for . . . something related to her work (like the business person’s equivalent of the GRE). She was quite clear that she could not possibly move out and also efficiently prepare for her exam . . . the exam that she conveniently rescheduled. Twice. Before taking it one Saturday morning after she had been out drinking beer at all hours of the night with Sam. Needless to say, Blair’s nonexistent “studying” paid off, and she scored embarrassingly low on her test, proving how much of a priority the whole thing really was. By that time, we had all but given up hope and moved on as far as the whole roommate conflict went. It wasn’t like we could force the issue – we all signed the lease and our resident manipulator clearly had no plans to allow herself to be ousted before the our term was up.
After Christmas there was a clear shift.
Blair’s tactics changed dramatically post-conflict. She realized that picking on me was counterproductive since the landlord had 5 years of positive experience in my favor if lease renewal became a question. Instead of challenging my every word, Caitlin became the target of every sarcastic jibe, caustic quip, and passive-aggressive comment that Blair could produce. Simultaneously, Blair started to butter me up like I was a fresh white roll and she was Paula Deen at a Cracker Barrel on Thanksgiving. Despite all the flattery, friendliness, and fawning, there were still moments of clarity when I could see (cue Cindy Lauper) Blair’s true colors shining through . . .
Even in the little “jokingly” sarcastic things she said, I could tell she was biding her time and biting back the negativity that comes so naturally to her. One day she cut her finger while slicing veggies – not a big cut, but I’m a baby when it comes to getting hurt, so when she came running upstairs to show me the tiny cut, I gave her all the sympathy I could. She asked if I thought she needed stitches, and after looking at the very small cut, I proclaimed her in need of a Band-Aid and some triple antibiotic ointment, both of which I provided. After cleaning up her finger, putting ointment on it, and putting a few bandaids around the cut, she said thanks and went down the hall to her room. Every few minutes, though, she would call out, “It really huuuuurts! I’m such a baby!”. After the third time or so, I chuckled and replied, “Yes, you kind of are.” She stopped mid-complaint in front of my door and let out a miffed laugh, saying, “ You are SUCH a fucking bitch.” This is the second time that she has used this come-back on me “jokingly”, and I called her out on it. “Wait, I clean and bandage your little cut and when I agree with you that you’re being a little babyish about it, that makes me a fucking bitch??? I don’t think so.” “No,” she admitted. “It might make me honest, but not a fucking bitch.” I left it at that.
A few weeks ago, I was just finishing prepping all of the recyclables to put them out the following morning – Neither of my roommates are much for housework or recycling – when Blair called upstairs to me, “Hey, Abby? Do you return our bottles?” Not sure where she was going with her question, I answered, “Well, sometimes I’ll return the returnable ones, although not very often!” There was silence for a minute, and then she called back, “So, what do you do with that money?” I’m pretty sure I let out one of those sort of disbelieving laugh/breaths where you just say “huh” on a laugh. . . and I said, “Well, Blair, last time it wound up being like 45 cents. So . . . I think I spent 45 cents on something?” She waited another minute and said, “Do you think we should pool that money?” I laughed again – I couldn’t help it! Pool all of our 45 cents in some kind of a jar so that we can, what, buy something off the McDonalds dollar menu by the end of the year? I said as much and was met with only silence, Blair’s favorite communication tool. So, I followed it up with the statement, “Well, you’re welcome to take things back to a recycling center and get the return money yourself, I’m not going to keep track of the extra nickels and dimes.” A few minutes later, after much rustling and clanking, Blair was off the subject and had moved on to something else. BUT, the resolution she had found might just say it all . . . She had decided to take a bin (that I was getting rid of) and repurpose it for herself (see right). I wish she had just taken them all back and kept the money for herself.
It would have been nice to have some help with the recycling.
So, the weeks passed and finally the time came to have that conversation. You know, the one where Blair got told to start the hunt for a new place to live when our lease comes up next month. I even wanted to have the dreaded Conversation two months in advance so that she would have plenty of time to search for a place, and because I was about to get my tonsils out and my doctors said talking would be difficult for a while.
Little did I know how dramatically the talking quotient in the apartment was about to change . . .
Blair was the person who initiated our little talk. After weeks of being unavailable, she suggested we all chat while we were home one Sunday night. With a sense of foreboding, I agreed that this would be a good time.
Caitlin’s dread-filled eyes stayed glued to her bowl of Easy-Mac while she practically shook from anxiety on the opposite couch. She sat in silence for almost the entire discussion, while I attempted to explain the situation to Blair in as nice a way as possible. Whenever Caitlin did speak, Blair reacted à la Mean Girls and the two would immediately start to bicker, listing past grievances and citing old spats as ammunition. I had to intervene three times to get us away from devolution into bratty teenaged behaviors, but finally all was said. Blair’s response, however, was a little unexpected.
“Well, I’m not ready to accept that,” she stated abruptly, “It’s not a convenient time for me to move.
. . . what are the odds that you and Caitlin will be moving out of this place?” I floundered for a moment, feeling like a middle school boy who had just tried to break up with a girlfriend and she had refused. Rallying, I finished the conversation, saying, “Well, I understand it isn’t ideal. Moving is always inconvenient, and that is why we wanted you to have two months to get prepared. There is not chance that Caitlin or I will be leaving come June.” So began the silent treatment. In the three weeks following the break-up conversation, Blair said exactly two things to me. First, “Can you move your laundry over?” and, second, “Yeah, I saw it on the calendar.” Other than that, there was no eye contact, no conversation, and no interaction whatsoever. Just a lot of stomping.
This leads me to the part of my story that went badly; the part for which I am partially to blame.
It was a sunny Saturday morning and Blair had risen early and, I’d thought, left, although her car was still in the driveway. Caitlin and I woke up later than usual and chatted pleasantly in the hall while we got ready for the day. As it is sometimes wont to do, conversation turned towards our now-silent housemate.
Cait: How’s she been with you since we talked?
Me: Dude, I think she’s said a grand total of like two words to me!
Cait: Is she really gonna give us the silent treatment for two months?
Me: I know, it’s a little ridiculous, but – Hey, it could be worse.
Cait: True, she could get crazier on us.
Me: I have a feeling we’re going to see several Blairs over the next few months, unfortunately.
Cait: Yeah, lets just hope she doesn’t break and go totally nuts – I could see it happening.
Me: Well, I think she’ll probably exhibit a lot of different behaviors, but we’ll just have to deal with them as they come. . .
I’m sure more was said, but this was the bulk of it, as far as I can remember. Cait has a tendency to say things like they are, a good quality for a roommate, but a bad one if you happen to be a mean person who is eavesdropping on the conversation . . . which Blair apparently was. Oops. It turns out she actually cracked her door open to hear better what we were saying about her. Once we figured it out, we both felt bad, but thinking back to the conversation, it was relatively un-bitchy and fairly accurate.
Well, fast-forward a week. It has been 5 days since my tonsils were removed, and I am on 24 hour pain pills and not exactly loving life. Blair has said absolutely nothing to me concerning my surgery or anything . . . amazing lack of reciprocation for a person who asked me to take care of her on numerous occasions when she was sick. So, it was my first day home after staying with my incredible sister for a week. I was on the couch, watching a tv show with a friend who was kind enough to drop by and keep me company for an hour. Which is when Blair came home.
THUD THUD THUD
THUD THUD THUD
I could tell she was miffed when I asked a quick question directly to her, and she ignored me entirely, walking away from in the process. The sound of her bedroom door slamming signaled her final exit, or so I thought, until my phone buzzed.
Now, I know that there is nothing good that can come of a response . . . I know all the rational reasons for why NOT to engage in a texting battle with people who exhibit characteristics of a narcissistic personality disorder (at least, that’s what I, and all my other friends who work in the mental healthcare field think might be going on). Ultimately, though, sometimes you just get annoyed. And I was pretty darn annoyed at the massive quantity of passive aggressiveness represented in this one short text. So, despite all my better-person-instincts, I texted back rather snarkily. Complete with accidentally saying “want” instead of “wasn’t”, I thought this might shut her down, but I should have known she would be ready with a come back.
Now, once you dip your toes in this kind of conversation, it’s hard to just stop.
So I didn’t.
How could I let her get away with calling herself confrontational ?
Well that was an ouch.
That darned eavesdropped conversation was resurfacing for the first time since it actually happened. It was infuriating on a couple of levels. I mean, first of all, it had nothing to do with what we were talking (or, should I say angrily texting) about – a classic passive aggressive misdirection maneuver. But second of all, she never even brought it up to me in person. There she is, steaming to passive aggressive pieces over something she isn’t even willing to talk about in person. So, I finally came to my senses and realized I was not dealing with a rational person, and it was going nowhere.
There was no response. Maybe she just didn’t read it. Maybe she couldn’t follow my rambling text-patterns.
Either way, it was back to silent treatment the next day.
These have been some of the recent low-lights of life chez moi, and I won’t even bother going into the hour-long baths, dating of a married man, accusing her boyfriend of being a murderer, long discussions of the vibes of Bonaroo, less-than-subtle comments about my weight, or the neverending supply of empty beer bottles materializing in the bathroom. Quite frankly, it has been a long ten-and-a-half months, and I have a sneaking suspicion that the next 45 days (8 hours and 11 minutes . . . but who’s counting) are going to seem even longer. Anyone with insights to offer or advice on how to survive the next month and a half, please feel free to share them! I’ve begun watching The Walking Dead so that I can gain expertise on dealing with inhuman monsters, but since I don’t think this particular Blair Witch Project will be resolved with violence, I’m not so sure it will do me that much good.
I hope we all survive.
Time is such a fickle beast.
One moment it seems like a minute will never pass and sixty seconds are an interminable era, but then you blink and your life is half past. I still love my life; I don’t pine for any days gone by or wish myself back to some glowing moment I have already experienced. But some days? Some days time feels like a taskmaster, and the weariness of trudging the linear timeline seeps in.
What a constraining dimension this is.
This was written one day in 2008-2009, while living at my first ever post-college apartment – 22 Prospect St, Beverly, MA.
The neighbors are hammering. This is not to be confused with the ever-popular activity of getting hammered. Oh no. Those are the next-door neighbors. Their drunk quote of the week, as heard on Sunday at 1am while I was trying to sleep: “You CAN’T vote for McCain. OH my gosh I won’t even talk to you again. You don’t even get it. Obama is so much better. I mean, a vote for McCain is a vote against Obama.” Brilliant. I wonder who explained that one to her. (And people say I’m never mean.) But at least I never wonder what craftiness they’re up to. Loud drunk girls are nothing if not straightforward and can be eliminated by the one-time purchase of a white noise machine. Hammering on the other hand. . .
The sky-bors in the second floor apartment are, evidently, of the artsy persuasion. All I know is that they are girls who are students at Montserrat, the local art college. I can only imagine they are majoring in carpentry, as I have now heard a hammer, drill, and saw on a regular basis. I can’t quite understand why they aren’t out on the Beverly Common smoking a joint with the rest of the freshmen, but maybe my imagination is inhibited due to sleep deprivation. I can feel the pounding of the hammer in my chest as I try to fall asleep. No, we’re not talking that pound-pound-okay-the-nail-is-in-so-hang-up-the-damn-picture kind of pounding. This is hammering with a vengeance; hammering with intent.
I almost wonder (as I hear the loud clatter of a hammer being dropped and the rhythmic friction of a saw) if this is my own personal set-up for a scary movie. Saw 6: Murder on Prospect Hill or something. How cliché. The recent college graduate in her first apartment, eking out a living to the odd surround sounds of the upstairs-dwellers until one fateful day . . .
And if I am to escape the saga unscathed, my curiosity may not survive it. What they could possibly be building? It’s not as if they can remodel. Yet the wall next to my bed is actually shaking with the increasing rhythmic pumping of the saw and the windows vibrate with each piece of wood that hits their floor (my ceiling). Maybe I will never find out. Maybe it will become my very own Pandora’s Box. Or maybe. . . as it has been suggested. . . nothing is being built and the upstairs-ers are just into kinky carpentry sex.
Ah situational humour. My life is rife with it. I could be my very own sitcom. In fact, I’m flashing back to the Friends episode with old man with the broom. Those of you that care know which one I mean. I’d probably make a killing and the real clincher of the series popularity would be the neighbor issues. Like Desperate Housewives. Only instead it’s more like Degenerate Housemates. Or maybe just Poor Desperate Inconsiderate Young Adults. But maybe not. I wouldn’t watch that one.
Oh I almost did not mention our NEW housemate. It would appear that the Kafka protagonist that has taken up residence in the bathroom. Think less social commentary and more big-assed bug. The near-two-inch, chubby bugger of a bug scuttled its way into our awareness on Monday night and then, after a memorable interlude, slid out through a crack in the wall. So far, no calls, but we have a feeling that she (we call her Roxy) will be back. And when she does. . . well, we’re not sure we’re ready for it.
So now that you’ve heard a titch about al the housemates and neighbors, I hope it makes you thank your lucky stars you don’t have centipedes-on-steroids that rule the bathroom. But take everything I say with much humour, because, when all is said and done, that is definitely what I have done. This particular protagonist of Saw 6 is acting as a scary-movie protagonist should: happy where she is and blissfully unaware of anything unfortunate that might (hopefully won’t) be in the cards.
A increasingly long time ago, when I was in college, in an effort to get creative for a class project, I decided to tackle the making of some tunisian tastiness, and document the process through photos. . . but first I had to know,
What on earth should I make?
After my college self (see right) buckled down and did a little bit of research, there seemed to be many different options, all of which could be difficult to pull off successfully in my lovely-yet-decidedly-lacking-in-the-culinary-department apartment.
Digging a little deeper, I discovered the existence of something called “Brik”. What is it? Well, it’s basically egg, onion, tuna, parsely, and some other spices, all wrapped up in pastry and fried into warm goodness. Like: slightly-less-than-healthy little protein pockets. It sounded tasty, and (more importantly) reasonably uncomplicated. So, with an apartment full of stressed out seniors, a deadline looming mere hours away, and an online recipe to guide me, I set about making some delicious brik of my own in our tiny windowless kitchen.
You will need:
- 1 can of tuna (6oz)
- ¼ cup chopped Scallions or Cilantro
- ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for brushing
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon water
- About 3 cups vegetable oil (for frying brik)
- 6 (8-inch-square) spring-roll wrappers
- 6 whole eggs (I hard boiled them!)
The first step is to drain the tuna and then mash it together with the scallions, olive oil, salt, pepper, and parsely. This is going to be your filling for the Brik.
Next, in a side cup, mix together the egg white and the water. After this, it is important to begin heating the vegetable oil in a heavy skillet (a thermometer should read 350 degrees Fahrenheit!). While it’s all heating up, lay out the lovely egg-roll wraps, and prepare to form some BRIK! You want to put a little olive oil on the inside, then put a small bit of the tuna mixture in the very center. This is the point when you also add in your half-hard-boiled-egg, before folding. You can do this with raw egg, too, but it kind of freaked me out, so hard-boiled it was!
Use the egg-white&water mixture to help seal up the edges (paint it in a square around the outer edge before starting to fold the beauties). Then fry these in the oil about 2 at a time, approximately 1 minute per side, until they’re golden and beautiful.
Bust these out at your next tunisian brunch for some solidly (and deliciously) simple protein to kick off the day!
Seeing as how I was highly grumpy when facing ANOTHER 16.5 inches of snow today (BLARGH), I decided it would be best to stay productive. Here are some snippets of what I did today, in hopes that they might inspire you out of the White Witch Blues. (Ahem: always-winter-never-Christmas, yes?)
#1: Make Homemade Cocoa-Based Brownies!
#2: Get “Artsy” and Give New Purpose to an Old Frame!
It seems that no matter where I am, I always have access to a ridiculous amount of plain paper and markers. . . which is a good thing. SO, having spray-painted an old frame in the basement, I set about making a useful piece of bathroom art.Once I had the artsy reminders drawn, I decided to clean up the old frame one last time and then see how my finished product looked. . . what do you think?
#3: Watch a Netflix Movie.
It was cute. Plus I got to listen to Morgan Freeman talk in the process of watching it, which is always a plus. I still say I would pick Jim Dale to narrate my life instead, but Mr. Freeman’s got some smooth tones regardless. Plus it was pretty adorable.
#4: Make the Best of the Shoveling.
I hate shoveling, and this year has definitely stretched me as a human being insofar as developing a higher shoveling tolerance. Then, just when you think you’ll be able to see the sidewalk again . . . WHAM! More snow. SO, I decided that even snow can be made to look springy, and I made (drumroll please) . . .
I even tried to give it a pompom bunny-tail. . . but it got pretty cold, so I decided to call it a day and go wash all the cold off in a steamy shower before meeting up with my favorite little frère for a late dinner!
All in all, my snow day experiences were a success, despite my initial snowy angst! I strongly recommend any/all of these activities, should you find yourself facing the chilly prospect of some snow-day-blues!
The Easiest, Best, & Quickest Brownies NOT From A Box
Sometimes you just need brownies . . . and you don’t happen to have a brownie mix available. Then there’s the added problem: you’re fresh out of bittersweet chocolate, or (like me) you’re not in the habit of having that stuff just lying around (because, let’s face it. . . it’s kind of a tease as far as chocolate goes). What to do? NEVER FEAR, I present my mother’s very own (dare I say “fail-proof?) recipe for: So, without further ado, preheat those ovens to 350, plan for about 15 minutes to throw these puppies together (plus another 20-ish for the baking), and get ready to make some homemade chocolate magic.
Step 1: Gather the ingredients and melt the butter in a bowl.
Step 4: Add in the eggs & vanilla.
(It will still look pretty much the same as above. . . gooey and a little crystally, thanks to the sugar.)
Step 5: Add the Flower, Baking Powder, and Salt.
(I sifted the flower, because my Dad always says it makes baked goods better!)
Step 6: Mix it all together until there are no powdery white substances visible in the sea of thick chocolatey goodness.
Step 7: Spread batter into a greased pan.
Step 8: Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until it is firm to the top and begins to pull away from the edges. . . do not over-bake!
Remember, if you are baking thick brownies, like I did, it will take a little longer. In an 8 &1/2″ x 11″ pan, bake for 15-20 minutes, in a smaller size (like mine), bake for about 25 minutes.
Step 9: Enjoy that gooey, delicious, oh-so-chocolatey goodness!
I hope this comes in handy and that you enjoy making these! The whole process takes about 15 minutes to throw together (not including bake time, so it’s almost as easy as the boxed kind, but much more fulfilling to make (plus, you automatically get much better bragging rights when sharing with delighted friends)! Oh, and there’s no box. So, yay for eco-friendly brownies, right? That’s worth celebrating.
That you made from scratch.
Go ahead, you deserve a little sweet something; You’re saving the earth – not to mention the tradition of good old-fashioned home cooking- one brownie at a time!
Nope. No Tony-the-Tiger finish for that.
Usually, I am the person who attempts to find silver linings wherever possible.
Usually, I might be that person who hangs inspirational posters to encourage others to look on the bright side. But not today. This is a terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad day, and this is my angsty confession.
That’s right, you heard it. I am cranky. Today, I do not feel good, and I am going to complain. If I were going to write a note to a friend today, it would be an apology for my mood. What are my reasons? Well, I (still) do not feel good. Plus, it felt like everybody I encountered today (with some notable exceptions) decided to showcase their best impressions of obnoxious complaining brat-children today. My Dad would say some wise thing like, “this too shall pass”. . . but today all I can think is:
It’s been one of those days where you just feel a little bit like nothing is going the way you want it to. I quit drinking coffee a few weeks ago and I think perhaps that is my problem. . . my lack of caffeine-induced morning niceness is skewing the whole day. Before I know it, I wind up like this kid:
It’s at times like these that I need to be reminded: I mean, I could have cancer, or somebody I love could have died. I could be homeless or job-less. There are many things that could be worse. Thus, why I typically look on the bright side. But sometimes, even trying to look at the bright side gets thwarted…
So, on this March 4th, which I usually take as a positive rallying cry to proceed on into the month of may (MARCH FORTH!!!). . . I wound up cranky as all get-out, and oscillating between crazy disorganization and feeling like my day was spinning wildly out of my realm of comfort. My hair was a mess, and so was my mental organization.
There are very few days when I wish I had a secret-meany book. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t like violence, and even if given the option, I don’t think I’d even smack somebody I was annoyed with. If anything, I’d probably yell. But some days just seem to call for an addition to the people-I-want-to-punch-in-the-face lislt.
Anyhow, there you have it. See? I have bad days like the rest of them – particularly when I am on anti-biotics that make me sick, but still running a fever. Or when my students are rude or complain all day. Or when I don’t get to eat lunch, and didn’t have time for breakfast. Or when I stay at work for 11 hours and STILL don’t feel on top of things.
In the interest of full disclosure, however, three positive things did happen today. First: Some of my students were downright awesome. Second, I made homeade pizza with broccoli and peppers for dinner (yay for lunchtime leftovers tomorrow!). Third, two of my wonderful alums came back to visit and showed me one of the funniest websites I’ve encountered in a long time, which was a definite bright spot.
Have you ever been so overwhelmed by the indescribable beauty you are observing that you get a little sad, because no photo will ever be able to capture the incredible sight before your eyes? Any photo you take or picture you snap will only ever be a pale reflection of the stunning sight before your eyes. The beauty that you witness is not portable. It is at moments like those that I find myself thinking: via
I am going to share with you a few pictures I have taken during moments that took my breath away, in hopes that you will be equally as astounded as I am that photos of such beautiful moments – exquisite though the subject matter is – show just a fraction of the incredible nature of reality. If you can fathom that concept, then you will realize that there is so much beauty around us on a daily basis, so much wonder to behold, that maybe it can serve as a reminder to take advantage of the things we see with our own eyes!
Le Coucher du Soleil
Pathway to Versailles
le chateau de Versailles, France
The Good Board Walk
Good Harbor Beach, Gloucester, Massachusetts
Ciel Du Passé
le chateau de Versailles, France
Pine Bush, MA
Ferrin Field, Wenham, Massachusetts
Geneva, New York
Wishfully Skee Rye Run
Pine Bush, Massachusetts
Gordon College, Coy Pond, Wenham, Massachusetts
Le Jardin des Tuileries, Paris, France
Trumansburg, New York
A Covenant Forever
Ithaca, New York
Reflections and Changes
The Lynn Wood, Massachusetts
A Sky on Fire
Somewhere between Boston and New York…
The Great Lawn, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts
Ithaca, New York
Somewhere in Haute Savoie, France
Cayuga Lake, Ithaca, New York
Through The Window
Somewhere on Rte 227 in New York State
Trumansburg, New York
Glory, A Bus Ride Away
Le Tholonet, France
Tulips, One Dog
view from the top of the Omni Parker in Boston, MA
Come Thou Fount
somewhere near a metro stop in downtown Boston
Fields of Down
Near Crane’s Beach, Ipswich, Massachusetts
Make a Wish
Ithaca, New York
On The Front Porch
Ithaca, New York