Tuesday, June 30, 2009

carbonated comics

some friends of ours have started a new website where you can download and view comics online. they've just launched the site and it's still in beta. so they've got a little work yet to do on it. but the site is up and running and their first download is none other than baldman's comic which he wrote a few years ago. so go to carbonated comics to support the site and to download my hubby's awesome comic!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

farmers markets!

i love that columbia has so many farmers markets now! seems like every week there is a new one opening up somewhere. next saturday will be the start of the all-local market being at 701, which is conveniently close to our house! yea for walking or biking to get local produce!* plus, it'll be there every saturday, which will be great because i often have to skip it because of work commitments. now i'll be able to catch it on the next week instead of waiting 2 or more weeks.

baldman and i woke up way early this morning to check out some of the markets. we started at the all-local on rosewood and picked up tomatoes, patty pan squash, cucumbers, milk, eggs, and a red onion. then we headed over to check out a new market across the street from brookland baptist in west columbia. we went by there just to see what the deal was. it's small and not all of the stuff is local. and, dang was it hot! yowza! and it was only like 10 a.m. by that point! but anyways, we bought some local peaches and blackberries (which were the biggest i've ever seen. they are about the size of my fist and so juicy!)

after a few more stops at thrift stores and hardware stores we came home to a really fresh lunch. my husband finished off his lunch with a grapefruit that was brought back from florida by a friend. i guess that was fresh as well. so fresh that my husband said "eating this grapefruit is like making love to a woman made of fruit." i guess that means he liked it.

*as much as i want to walk and bike places, even places as close as the new market will be, in this heat i may cave in to an air-conditioned car. did i mention it's hot here. urgh, is it too early to start complaining?


last year i took part in usc's caught in the creative act, a book "club" of sorts where we read books, discussed them, and then heard from the author each week. i'm hoping to be involved again this year, so in anticipation i've started reading the books on this year's list. so far i've read little children and serena.

little children was okay. not the best novel in the world, but certainly an easy read and one where i found myself getting involved in the characters. they actually made a movie about it staring kate winslet, which i've not seen. don't really feel compelled to though, other than to watch kate winslet, who i like.

but the second book i read, serena, was really interesting to me. it was slow to get started and i just couldn't get into it at first. but then i took a camping trip which landed me right in the center of where the book took place, the mountains of north carolina. the book is about a couple who are loggers in the 1920's and 30's. i thought it was so well-written and the character development was great. i also liked the environmental slant that it took. i won't say too much more about the plot in case someone who is reading this post wants to get the book. but i recommend it.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

vacation post 2-wednesday to saturday

on wednesday of our vacation week, we decided to head to asheville. mom and jim had never been there, plus we have family and friends nearby so we took advantage of the opportunity. we got to asheville around mid-morning, met up with my uncle and cousin, and walked around in some antique stores for a few minutes. my uncle (mom's brother) just happened to be in town for business but he was only in town for a few hours. so we met up with my cousin's boyfriend and my friend, kaiser, at the laughing seed for some good eats. everyone went their separate ways after lunch and mom, jim, and i walked around the funky city and looked in some more stores.

in late afternoon we headed out to swannanoa to visit pisgah brewing company. after circling the area for a little while, we stopped for directions and found the place. we were disappointed to not be able to get a brewery tour, but we did sample several tasty bevs. while we were there, the sky opened up and it downed torrential rain. pisgah brewing is in a big warehouse and it has these big metal doors that roll down like in a garage. they shut the doors when it started to rain, but it was raining so hard that the water was just pouring in through the top of the doors and running down onto the floor. right by the doors was a stage with sound equipment, electric outlets, and fans. so the workers had to get big squeegees and try desperately to push the water back out towards the doors. i was surprised at how good-humored everyone was. i think if i had been working there, i might've been pretty annoyed at that. and it didn't deter any of the customers. we just kept on drinking, happy to be out of the rain. some of the customers even picked up a squeegee to help. after exhausting the brewing selection, we went back into asheville and had delic pizza at asheville pizza and brewing company. i had a fantastic pizza there once before and i was not disappointed again this time.

hannah ready to attack!
my cousin, hannah. she always wears that hat.

the fam at laughin seed in asheville
everybody at laughing seed

kaiser! and waldie
me and kaiser

enjoying some brews at Pisgah Brewing Company
enjoying some brewskies

watching the employees clean up the flood at pisgah brewing company
watching them clean up the flood

thursday was devoted to going back toward asheville, this time to see biltmore estates. my cousin used to work for them and she so generously gave us three free tickets to get into the grounds. that was very fortunate for us because those things cost $65 each just to get on the grounds and see the house! most other things are an extra expense! that being said, it was quite a neat experience. the grounds and the house were totally enchanting and we all had a really fantastic day out there.

first we fought through the crowds to take a tour of the house. it was worth it to pay a few bucks to get the headphones (thanks for that tip, kais!). pictures aren't allowed inside the house so i got no shots of that. but it really was amazing inside. after our tour we ate our lunch (more pb&j) and noticed that clouds were forming in the distance. so we decided to head to the winery to avoid getting wet. that was the best decision we could've made because while we were safe and dry inside, another crazy rainstorm broke out. and once that happened everyone else at biltmore realized it'd be a good idea to do the winery tour too. so when we were leaving, the line (which hadn't been there when we went in) was wrapped around and around. good on, ya, team! we loved tasting the wines, but i think our pourer thought me and mom were already drunk because we were just being silly. so, as a result, she skimped us on the amount we got with each taste. we were just having fun, dag!

once we finished our winery tour, the rain had pretty much stopped. so we headed out to the conservatory and gardens. of course, the rain had scared most other people off so from this point on we pretty much had the place to ourselves, which was a much-appreciated change to the hordes and hordes of people earlier. the gardens were spectacular! we walked through the rose garden, the italian garden, the bowling green, and up the promenade to the statue of diana. by that point we sort of felt like the place was ours because everyone had cleared out. before we headed out mom and i took a quick look at their vegetable gardens. wow, that certainly put my garden to shame! we topped the evening off by going back into asheville for dinner. this time we visited jack of the wood (which turns out to be directly below laughing seed) and i had an awesome tempeh reuben! while enjoyed our tasty vittles there was a bluegrass music jam going on, which added an extra special treat to the end of a great day.

mom and jim approaching Biltmore house
approaching the mansion

cool gargoyle on Biltmore house
cool gargoyles on the building

walking up to the winery (those are a bunch of unripe grapes on that arbor! it was spectacular!)
under the arbor walking to the winery (check out those gorgeous grapes hanging down!)

mom and jim in the cellar winery at biltmore

4985 gallons of pinot grigio!
that's a lot of wine!

the wine drums

the conservatory
the conservatory

the italian gardens at biltmore estates
lilly pads and a frog in the italian garden at biltmore
the italian garden

the two dianas
the two dianas

friday was our last full day at the campground. we had a little trouble deciding what we wanted to do for the day, but we knew we wanted to see more waterfalls. so we decided to head out to highlands, nc. what we thought was going to be a short drive ended up taking us about an hour's drive through twisty-curvy mountain roads. it was a beautiful drive, but we weren't really thrilled at the length of the drive. i was so glad i was the one doing the driving, otherwise, i would've vomited for sure! we also were bummed because the one waterfall that we were going to see was closed! how you can close a waterfall, i'm not really sure. apparently they were doing renovations to the parking lot and were supposed to be finished by may but were obviously behind schedule. highlands, by the way, and some of the adjacent towns, are surprisingly ritzy. it was very strange to be driving through these really rough mountain roads and then come to a town that has high, high class clothing stores and ritzy golf resorts. from the license plates, it's the place to go if you're rich and from florida. we did end up seeing a few drive-by waterfalls, but we could only view them from the road. so we decided to do the glenn falls trail, which the guide said was fairly rigorous. it's a steep trail where you can follow the waterfall and see it at several vantage points as it goes down. that was a nice hike and wasn't as hard as any of us thought it was going to be. plus we got to do some people-spotting and made 2 best friends for life.

friday night my hubby drove up (with tommy, the dog) to join us for the evening. he didn't get there till after dark but he got there in time for our last s'more and roasted cheese-it session!


glenn falls
glenn falls

the family in the midst of our hike
the team

we did it!
we made it!

jim roasting cheese-its on the fire

on saturday, we packed up camp and headed further north in the mountains to boone, nc. we were meeting up again with my uncle and cousin, this time for a hike with them and the dogs. uncle sammy wanted to take us to a place with a waterfall that he remembered from a previous trip. the problem was, my uncle's memory isn't what it used to be, apparently. i distinctly heard him say that the trail was so easy it was "like walking on the sidewalk." i don't know what the sidewalks are like in boone, nc, but i'm fairly certain they don't involve climbing up the side of a mountain, walking in a creek, and other craziness. we actually had a great time, but it was not a hike for the faint of heart! we stopped at the top of the waterfall and enjoyed a delicious lunch of avocado sandwiches and wine that uncle sammy brought. i love that he brings no water, but just a bottle of wine on a hike like that. it was after the three glasses of wine that i fell in the creek and i couldn't help but wonder if i would've stood up better without the wine. after our hike, we went into boone and enjoyed a yummy mexican dinner before heading home.

hiking to the waterfall with the family (if we can find them)

hannah and the dogs cooling off
hannah and her dogs cleaning off in the top of the falls after the dogs rolled in mud

hannah opening our beverage
eating lunch at the waterfall
enjoying lunch

tommy can't take it
tommy almost couldn't take it

we saw a snake close to where we were eating! (it wasn't a rattler, but it sure looked like one!)

i love this picture
me and baldman at the bottom of the falls.

be sure to check out our flickr set of photos. (check them out even if you already checked because i added some new picts that mom took.)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

belated post about my vacation

now that a week has passed i think it's high time i talk a little about my camping trip last week.

my parents came into town and on monday we headed up to pisgah national forest. we had reservations from monday afternoon till saturday afternoon to camp at davisdon river campground.

i can't remember what time we got into town on monday. but by the time we got there and setup camp, it was pretty late in the afternoon. so we went to the ranger station to get maps and ideas of where to hike over the week. we got to take a brief walk around the campsite, which included a traipse over a small suspension bridge. then we settled in for the night by making a fantastic dinner over the open flames and followed it up with cheese-its roasted on the fire and s'mores.

here are some shots of our first day:

setting up the tarp over the "dining room"
setting up camp
setting up the tarp over our "dining room"

the suspension bridge on our walk around camp
the suspension bridge

cooking dinner on the first night
cooking dinner

mom's first s'more
the first s'more of the trip

on tuesday we decided to see a bunch of waterfalls. we got to see 5 that day. two of them, looking glass falls and sliding rock, were right by the road. you just had to walk down steps to see them.

mom taking a picture of looking glass waterfall
mom taking a pict of looking glass falls

sliding rock waterfall
aptly named, sliding rock is a place where people can slide down the rock into a pool of frigid water below. we opted to skip this part. but it was fun to watch.

in between seeing those two waterfalls, we took a short jaunt to moore cove waterfall. that one was cool because you could walk right up and go under it. mom was excited because she'd never been behind a waterfall before. i wondered if we should have found gold or seen a unicorn or something.

walking to the waterfall
moore cove waterfall (see mom in the side to get an idea of scale)
mom in moore cove waterfall

after a quick picnic lunch (day 1 of pb&j) and a ride on a portion of the blue ridge parkway, we took the longest walk of the day. this hike allowed us to see two waterfalls, the upper and second falls. finding the upper falls was easy, but the hike to the second falls took a long time. the trail wasn't well marked, so we weren't even sure we were on the right track a lot of the time. but once we found it, it was neat because you could really walk on the falls and hike to the top (thanks, i believe, to the lack of rain for the past few years). after resting for a little while we skedaddled out of there because the thunder and black clouds looked ominous. it did rain, but luckily it waited until we got to the car. we actually lucked out with the rain during the whole week. the forecast was for rain every day and it did rain pretty much every day. but it would only rain for a few minutes and we never got caught in it.

view of cold mountain from blue ridge parkway
view of cold mountain from the parkway

upper waterfall
upper waterfall
mom and me playing in the falls
shots of upper waterfall

walking through graveyard ridge on the way to upper and second waterfalls
hiking from the upper to the second waterfall

the second waterfall
hiking up the waterfall
shots of the second waterfall

more to be posted later on wednesday to saturday.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

where my bees at?

you're not going to believe it. my bees are gone! that's right. gone. they must have swarmed, the little bastards!

so here's the story. 1 1/2 weeks ago my parents were here and we checked the hive. see?

checking out the bees before we left

and, for the most part everything looked pretty good. my only concern was that they weren't really working as fast as i thought they should've been. there were still about 4 frames that had no comb built yet. i wasn't sure if it was a result of the poor weather of late (rain), or if they were bored, or what. i was curious if i should add the super* on there to give them something to work towards. but i wasn't quite sure. so i emailed my beekeeper friend and he told me not to worry. just add some food and he felt like it would be fine. so i did that. then i was away for 6 days** so i didn't check on them last week. i got back late saturday night and i've either been busy or it's been raining ever since i got back. when i walked by the hive it seemed pretty quite outside, but i figured it was just the weather. but when i came home tonight the weather was beautiful and the hive was completely silent. so i opened the outer cover and all i saw were little worms. so i suited up (just to be safe) and me and baldman went out there. and sure enough, they're totally gone. no dead bees, so they must've swarmed. but lots of worms, which i'm assuming are wax moth larvae which will take advantage of unattended wax to lay their larvae and eggs.

so, yea, sucky.

*a super is the next layer of frames for the bees to continue to build on.

**i promise i'll post about my trip soon. i have loaded the pictures at flickr if you want to see them. (but you have to look at them in the album and not in the photostream because they're all out of order otherwise.)

Monday, June 15, 2009

meatless meatloaf recipe

last week when i was camping with my parents my mom brought along the silver palate's thick and rough cut oatmeal to have for breakfast. i noticed this recipe on the inside of the box. it looked good so i decided to try it for dinner tonight and was pleased. the only meatless meatloaf that i've made is with fake crumble, which i'm trying to get away from. my only complaint had to do with my cooking, which was that i didn't cook the soybeans enough so they didn't adequately mash. but otherwise, the flavor was fantastic!

meatless meatloaf

1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 green pepper, finely chopped
1 tbs. oil
8 oz can tomato sauce

saute onion and pepper in oil until lightly browned. add tomato sauce and bring to a boil. boil for 2-3 minutes. set aside.

1 c. soybeans, cooked
1 c. oatmeal
1/2 c. walnuts or pecans, ground
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/4 c. onion, chopped
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
1/2 c. ketchup
1 (4 oz.) can mushrooms, drained (i skipped this)
1/2 tsp. basil
1 tsp oregano

mash soybeans with fork. add oatmeal, nuts and eggs and mix well. blend mixture with remaining ingredients. place mixture in a greased 9x5x3 loaf pan. top with tomato sauce. bake at 350 for 50 minutes.

makes 6 servings.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

june garden update

while i'm uploading 177 pictures of my latest vacation onto flickr, i thought i'd take a moment to give an update on the garden.

i've been away a lot this month and my garden has suffered for it. i was so hopeful about the zucchini and squash this year. we were keeping careful watch on it to make sure it didn't get squash bores, like last year. and they were getting so big. we even had two yellow squashes coming up. well, i went out there this morning and almost every plant was totally inundated with the bores. the worms were huge and i just couldn't save the plants. so i had to rip most of them out. i left a few in the ground, but i'll be surprised if we'll get anything from them. bah!

the other bad news is that the patsy's beans that i planted along the fence are dead. they were also doing pretty well. last year they produced a small amount but the leaves fell off from the bottom up and i figured they didn't like our hot, dry climate. so i planted them earlier and they looked pretty good. still suffered from the dropping of the leaves, but there were a lot of pods on them when i left for my latest trip. when i looked this morning i found that the plants are completely dead! the pods are still there, but the beans haven't fully ripened yet. the only thing that i can figure is that our neighbor must've spread some weed killer or something around the fence. there is a suspicious yellow patch of grass on his side of the fence that ends just about a foot out. so, that sucks. we should've told him about it; but, honestly, we don't talk to him that much. and he usually doesn't do a darn thing in his yard. plus, he's seen me obsessively watering that exact spot, i would have thought he'd known we were doing something there. but oh well. live and learn i guess.

the rest of the garden is good news. the tomatoes are going and we'll have to stake them soon. the okra seems to be happy about the warm weather too. the melons and cucumber and doing great too. and we've got a bunch of green peppers coming up. i even picked 2 banana peppers to eat tonight.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

nyc and philly visit

i got back home yesterday from my mini-vacation/family reunion. i packed so much into a week, i don't think i'll be able to tell it all here.

i already said a few words about my grandmom's funeral and my family reunion on thursday. here are a few shots of the family from that day:

all the waldies (with the exception of a few)
the family after the luncheon. everyone in the immediate family who attended the funeral is in this picture, with the exception of my uncle tony.

uncle donny, aunt terry, dad, aunt barb, uncle timmy
dad and his siblings

some clowning after dinner
liz and ben making faces
maddie giving dad a back rub
maddie making more faces
jen making faces

back in nyc, on friday i spent the day getting ready for my friend, melissa's, shower. i shopped, cleaned, cooked, you name it. then that night we had a little nyu newman club reunion at caliente cab company in the west village. here of some shots of that:

the 2 pregnant ladies enjoy friend ice cream
paul, rachel and emliy at caliente cab company
heather, anthony & paul at caliente cab company

saturday was the shower and i thought it went pretty well, if i do say so myself. i made some kick butt food*. we died and decorated onesies and baby t-shirts, and watched melissa open presents. it was a pretty exhausting day though. more for some of us than others:

melissa and heaher resting after the shower
rachel resets after the shower

sunday i got to hang out with my big sis for some quality time. i really enjoyed trudging around the city with her and just catching up. we also had some really good food** and drinks and got to see some of my old haunts.

thanks goodness for gps!

enjoying mimosas after a long day of walking around the city
then, monday and some of tuesday i got to spend quality melissa-and-waldie time, which was great too. i have to say, by that point i was pretty exhausted so i know i wasn't the most fun company in the world, but it was nice to just spend time together. and i had more great meals***! i love food, if you don't know!

melissa cooking brownies

melissa and waldie sitting at father demo square in the west village, nyc

you can see the whole flickr set of photos from my trip and the shower here.

*i made a fruit salad (with black berries picked and flown in especially from south carolina); kalua brie (recipe courtesy erica reid) with water crackers; prosciutto, mozzarella and citrus tapenade sandwich from here (adapted for vegetarians with portobello mushrooms); veggies and dip; and a milky way cake.

**we had sushi in the village for lunch. and then had dinner here. i had the potato cake napoleon layered with sauteed spinach, asparagus, shitake mushrooms, and truffle oil. plus 3 mimosas included! i tried to eat their apple pie and ice cream for dessert but couldn't get it all in.

***we had breakfast at home both days. lunch on monday was white bean soup and half a wrap with goat cheese, roasted red peppers (i can't remember the name of the restaurant). we made a pasta and asparagus dinner and brownie desert at home that night. tuesday we ate at blue dog in the village (they don't seem to have a website) and i got an AWESOME sandwich with their homemade veggie burg with pesto, pea shoots and some other goodness. i didn't need to eat anything else after that meal! yowsa!