NO! I will NOT pay you to get my mail for me!

There is apparently a new service in Austin, TX that, for a small fee of $5/month will come collect your mail and scan it all for you so you can read it on your smartphone or tablet.

While outsourcing the scanning of my incoming mail would save me some time, I think I’ll pass. I just can’t believe there are people who would pay a monthly fee so as to not have to get their mail themselves, when I spent so much time fixated on how little mail I seem to get and how it’s never enough. It’s NEVER ENOUGH! So NO! You may not have my snail mail.

 

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half way there…

tremoços (aka lupin beans) + Super Bock = AWESOME!!!

I spent the day at home with a sick kid who was that kind of sick where you feel like a horrible mother if you send them to school, but about three and a half hours into the day, they’re bouncing off the walls and you wish you had been a bit more vague with the reason for their absence when you phoned the school in the morning because now school is not an option no matter how much the child begs (and there was a lot of begging!) So, you do the only thing you can think of doing which is heading out to Target for a few items you need and the next thing you know, you’re running through the lingerie department chasing a runaway six-year-old who’s pushing a shopping cart which contains, among other things, your purse as well as the last roll of fleur-de-lis patterned duct tape from the dollar section and you start thinking really, really hard, trying to think if there is any stretch of time in which your child could possibly have been kidnapped and raised by wolves… Wait, you mean none of you can relate to this scene?

Oh well. On the bright side, I found some lupin beans, aka tremoços, at the neighborhood market today! I have not had a single lupin bean since 2004 and it was about damn time! Now, if I just had some Super Bock, and if it was about 30 degrees warmer, I could sit back, close my eyes and imagine myself at a delightful little café at the Portuguese sea-side and have a total calgon moment… TAKE ME AWAY!

little balls of delicious

Yesterday, I mad Brazilian cheese bread. Officially known as pão de queijo, these little balls of delicious are found everywhere in Brazil, and are actually quite easy to make yourself! There are only a few ingredients, and all you need to do is combine them and mix, knead, form little balls and bake. 

I have been trying for years and could never get my cheese bread to turn out exactly like what I remembered having eaten in Brazil. I was starting to think that there must be some sort of cheese bread gene, and that perhaps I should have my elf (who is half Brazilian) tested to see if she was a carrier. Another, perhaps more plausible, theory was that there was something slightly different about the ingredients, utensils or oven I was using. 

They are made with manioc flour, which can be difficult to find in some parts of the world. In my city, they sell bags of it at some of the larger supermarkets, but I recently discovered a pre-made cheese bread mix!  

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All you do is add a little water and a couple eggs and mix the heck out of it! It turns out,  the key step I had been ignoring was the kneading. The longer you knead the dough, the better the results! However, I discovered yesterday that the results are best when you knead each individual little ball before placing it on the baking sheet, as opposed to kneading the dough as one huge ball. From now on, I will spend a few minutes working each little ball of dough before baking, even though it takes longer and I feel slightly silly doing it, the results were well worth it. Plus, kneading the dough counts as a work-out, so I can just eat more cheese bread to regain my energy, right? 

Here they are in the oven….. 

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Finished product! You can tell the difference between the first batch (more irregularly shaped) and the second batch, which was kneaded for longer and thusly came out rounder, puffier and even more heavenly.

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Great with a cup of coffee on a cold, snowy afternoon! 

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I did a little sketching, too… I want to share my sketches, but I need to tweak them, first. I’m such a perfectionist!

Today my elf is home from school for a staff development day and we’ve been painting, eating cheese bread and reading poetry… and it’s only 10AM! Still on the agenda for today: shoveling the drive way and front walk, making hamantaschen, painting our nails and planning the menu for our Purim dinner tomorrow!  

What is everyone else up to today?

 

In(coming) & Out(going)

Here we are on yet another chilly Wednesday and you know what that means!

It’s been a very slow week for me, mail-wise! I have managed to keep up with my Month of Letters challenge, but I haven’t had much time for writing and have resorted to putting random bits of ephemera in an envelope and mailing it to Leonard Cohen. He didn’t care.  I also counted the check I sent my mother for my phone bill as mail for one day. At least I wrote a little note.

Anyway, without further ado, mail-wise and otherwise, here’s what I’ve been up to this past week…

 

Incoming:

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Richard’s mom sent a valentine for each one of us. Mine is the one with the three puppies in the hot air balloon. I think it’s the best one. 🙂

Outgoing:

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And Edgar Allan Poe-themed Valentine for my mom… References to the poem “The Raven” remind us of my father, whom we lost several years ago. I really wish I took better pictures of it, because this one does NOT do it any justice. I used actual text of the poem from an old book. The bird’s legs are sewn.

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Chirp! for a new pal, Connie, in Nevada. Notice the label-maker label…

 

 

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Back of letter to Connie…

In other news, for someone who was vehemently opposed to Valentine’s Day for a rather large part of my life, I must admit I had a pretty good time this year! This was my fifth year with my awesome Richard as my Valentine and that in itself was pretty remarkable! I was not in to V-Day in the least bit before we got together, but it was really important to him that we do something to celebrate it and when I thought about it… How could I say no to a wonderful guy wanting to celebrate his… feelings… for me. (We didn’t use the “L-Word” for a rather long time… I have some issues.) Anyway, in the past we’ve gotten each other gag gifts and gone out for a nice dinner, but this year, money is kind of tight for me since I’m not working at the moment and am trying to make my savings last as long as possible. It’s not that I didn’t want to spend money on a present for him… I just thought that it would be fun for me to get something that I could actually use but don’t actually need since I don’t have as much money to make those kinds of purchases myself. 

Richard got me a gift card to Michael’s (score!) and – wait for it – Tickets to see Leonard Cohen’s show next month in Milwaukee! I wanted to see him live for a long time now and I found out about this show literally the day after I quit my last job. It really meant a lot to me that he bought me these tickets, especially since he isn’t a fan himself. 

My elf went a more traditional route and regaled me with chocolates and a card. I loved it!

I gave Richard some really warm socks, other random little items and a hand-painted moleskine.  We also went out to dinner at a Greek place that we used to go to quite often, because it was close to where Richard used to live. It’s a little out of the way from where we live now, and we don’t think to go there as often. We really should, though, because it’s quite delicious and they have the best chocolate cake there. OM NOM NOM! 

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Valentine love from my elf

 

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My hand-made card for my elf. She LOVED the word-play… After all, she IS my daughter!

 

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Leonard Cohen! I’m assuming the concert tickets are to see Leonard Cohen the poet/musician and not Leonard Cohen the neurotic housepet!

In other news, it appears that a catastrophic bubble will one day come along and end the whole universe. The good news it that it won’t be for another billion or so years.

Happy hump day! 

 

So Long, Hotmail…

Have you heard? Outlook is set to take over Hotmail! I know it shouldn’t really matter to me, since I stopped using them as soon as gmail got up and running, but I do have some fond memories of hotmail!

My first email account was a Rocketmail account, ca. 1997. I was in 11th grade, and a friend of mine from Chicago told me I needed an email account so we could, well, email each other. He set me up with the Rocketmail account, and I used that until it was taken over by Hotmail several years later. Eventually, I opened a new account @hotmail because at that time, anyone who was anyone had a hotmail account! I used that account until gmail came along. And that’s my story.

I of course prefer snail mail to email, but email does have its place, and it is definitely preferable to the phone. I’m not sure how I feel about texting… We have a love-hate relationship that I’m not going to get into right now!

I’ll be back later with my weekly Wednesday In & Out post!