This is the inagural post using a new ecto script that I created that automatically fetches the appropriate information from the Flickr API and inserts the appropriate text into ecto. Sure it saves me about 30 seconds, but lazy developers hate doing the same things over and over again.
If you find this interesting, check it out: Insert-Flickr-Picture.pl
I join the Kovixen in wishing everybody a very merry Christmas. As is becoming a tradition around here, the mother-in-law and brother-in-law joined us for the festivities. I cooked up a storm yesterday and made Cranberry-Pecan muffins, an angel food cake, and mint chip ice cream.
This is only the second time I've (successfully) made an angel food cake. I tried for Laura's birthday last January but failed miserably. (I think I didn't cook it long enough, because it collapsed out of the pan as I turned it upside down to cool.) But I think I have more of the technique down and hopefully can crank these babies out more often. The benefit of making angel food cake is the plethora of extra egg yolks. This time I made ice cream (8 yolks), but maybe in the future it'll be a crème brûlée.
Speaking of ice cream. I don't know exactly what I did differently, but this time the ice cream came together in record time. Maybe it was the extra company in the kitchen, or a more carefree attitude, but it seems like I barely had to keep an eye on it. Maybe it was the fact that I prepared the sugar and egg yolk mixture while the milk was scalding. Whatever it was, it was quick. And delicious.
"I look like a house", Laura says. "Or a truck."
Also note the kickass Rebel's Volleyball tshirt that Laura is wearing. My parents found this somewhere on our last visit down there. A different volleyball tshirt plays an important role in the development of our relationship. Before we were even dating, I came over to Laura and asked her to hold my tshirt as I changed. Laura claims that the shirt I gave her was completely soaked through with sweat, and that she immediately started having second thoughts about wanting to date me at all. I think maybe watching me change my shirt before each match may have convinced her to tough it out, since here we are today, more than 10 years later!
The problem with cooking is, you learn exactly what's in your favorite foods. Take this toffee for example, all it is is half a pound of butter, and a butt-load of sugar. It sure tastes good though.
I probably need a real candy thermometer to perfect this; my digital thermometer was jumping all over the place, and it was hard to tell when the whole thing really hit 300°. So I think my candy is a little under done. You can tell if you look at how its supposed to be. I don't know when I'm going to make this again though, probably not until next year!
There was some strange cloud cover which caused the sky to first grow red in the east. That was a very strange sight, but not long after the entire sky was lit up with some spectacular colors. I knew I didn't have enough time to throw on proper attire (it was really cold!) and head down to the lake to take a better picture, so I got this off the back porch.
Its been said that every pregnancy has a glitch. Snazzykat, for example, has had way more than she deserves, whereas some people don't have any until the delivery. Well, the Kovixen and I had our first (and hopefully only!) glitch. We didn't really talk about it with anybody simply because we didn't really know anything yet. On November 21 we had a routine ultrasound appointment where the doctor discovered something known as Choroid Plexus Cysts. These are essentially harmless cysts in the skull that usually go away by the 24th week (they did). However, there may be a correlation with certain genetic abnormalities, particularly Trisomy 18. So, we've been waiting on today's appointment with much trepidation to find out if there was anything wrong with our baby.
On today's day off from work, we went downtown to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (I know! I went downtown during the week!) where we had another round of ultrasounds and a consultation with a doctor who basically said that the markers present weren't concerning enough to warrant an amniocentesis, much to our relief. There is still a slight possibility of Down's Syndrome, or even Trisomy 18, but really these aren't enough to worry about.
I can't tell you how much of a relief this is. The whole idea that there could be something wrong with the baby is just about enough to put me in a constant state of worry. Is the rest of my life going to be like this? Especially regarding things I can't really do anything about?
Sooo... although we had told the ultrasound tech we didn't want to know the sex, we were rather non-committal about it. And when Laura asked if she could tell what it was, we were surprised to hear that yes she could, and that come April, we're having a baby boy! It feels very weird to know this information. And yet, at the same time it makes the whole thing much more real. I'm going to have a son! There are two great benefits to finding out now: we don't have to worry about buying things that are "too masculine", and we can throw out half the name book and get down to the business of really picking out a name. Well, really names. You can't pin Laura down on anything. Our current strategy is to narrow the choices down and take a look at the baby and pick the one that seems most obvious. That sounds a little duboius to me, but as long as the name is not Peter, I'll probably be happy.
We're off to the store to get ingredients for toasted pecan toffee and some rustic potato chowder. I'm not sure how "rustic" this chowder is as it uses some fancy new potatoes, but I bet it sure will taste good!
Today I learned something very important about work. Don't leave an hour early on a snow day. Everybody else has the same idea, and for some reason, nobody can seem to leave the office complex. It took me nearly 2 hours to get out of the complex. And when I got to the entrance I wasn't even really sure why I waited so long! There were a bunch of cars and trucks trying to get up the driveway (which has a decent incline) and getting stuck. They're not allowed to use salt on the roads around us, as we're right next to a huge resevoir. I even saw a FedEx truck give up and turn around. So much for guaranteed delivery.
Once I got out of the complex it was clear driving. Luckily I had the subaru so I could drive my normal backroads home. I never slipped or skidded at all. Of course, I was driving very carefully. You know how those pregnant wives freak out when they find out you've been speeding in the snow! (PS, I wasn't. Really.)
For a few minutes at the Brian Regan performance on Saturday I felt like a total lame-o. This happened when I realized that everybody there knew all of Brian Regan's jokes because they had his CD. Just like me. I can probably recite several of his funnier bits, and so could they.
To make matters worse, he comes back for an encore (a comedian doing an encore? Hey, its Brian Regan, I'm not going to complain!) and everybody uses that as an excuse to call out their favorite bit in hopes that he'll do it. He makes fun of this of course, but without fail they're bits from the CD. In the end, he was hilarious. I had tears streaming down my cheeks. The warm-up act was really funny too. Of course, I can't remember his name now, and I can't be bothered to look it up.
Today, sort of on a whim I made my second pie ever. Another pumpkin pie. The filling is nice and quick; I can easily get it done during the 30 minute rest of the pie dough. I was much happier with this pie than the last one. However I'm still sort of struggling with the pie dough. I think I probably just need to be next to somebody as they put one together. You see, you sort of have to know when to stop adding water. Most novice pie makers add too much so I probably over compensate and add way too little. But I have no frame of reference, so I have no idea at all!
Laura and I decorated our Christmas tree last night. We had to get it a little early this year because she's having an Alpha Phi Alumnae event here at our house. This is the same as last year actually. I don't mind so much. We get a festive house nice and early. The only problem is keeping our tree needleful until January 6th!