Sunday, May 17, 2009

work work work

I am a blog and baking slacker these days--as evidenced by this photo-less entry.

This is in keeping with my general slacking off on just about everything. A more accurate assessment is that I am trying to cram too much into a small period of time, stressing out about it, and then making only incremental progress on any one thing as a result. And things keep popping up and sucking my time. Like Rocky's (still kind of sickly looking) eye. He has another vet appt. on Tuesday. And I called a seamstress to make alterations on the wedding dress I bought at a local consignment store (it's a bit more formal than I'd like, but I like it, and think no one will hold it against me). She--her assistant, actually--wanted to book TEN appointments. Ten! We made three for the next two weeks and I told her we'll have to regroup after that. I really don't think it's that involved. I am noticing that as soon as you say the word "wedding," people's voices drop an octave as if to sooth what they assume is a hysterical bride, they jack up the price and they start saying things like "foundational undergarments." Tomorrow morning is the first appointment. She told me to bring the Foundational Undergarments and the shoes and then seemed genuinely concerned that I have neither. And then genuinely surprised to her me say I wasn't worried about it. I'll bring some heels and we'll be fine. I am trying to strike a balance between getting done what needs to be done without getting sucked into the things that other people think you should care about. Choosing what color the napkins should be or finding favors/matchbooks/m&ms that say Jake & Martha is not a priority at this point. I have no idea if the ceremony will be indoors or out, and want my nieces and Amy to be happy and look great but have no idea or preference about what they should wear. Something they like. We'll figure it out, and the deed will get done.

But I am getting really enthusiastic feedback about my research. I was at a day-long mini-conference for all the folks who who won grants from the Poverty and Race Research Action Council, and people were into it. I also recently had some meetings with people in my field who think my sample size (just hit 208 responses on Friday!) is plenty big, and that the data will be really unique. This was a much-needed confidence booster. I for one was just pleased with myself that I managed to come up with a semi-decent paper title: "Using Section 8 in Seattle: Thriving, surviving, or falling though the cracks?" Now I just have to do the research. One thing that my committee member brought up (she's mentioned it before, but I failed to absorb it) was that I need to keep a journal or field log of notes and ideas as I continue through the data collection phase. She's right. There are things that I am thinking about and research ideas that come up that will be incredibly helpful when it finally comes time to write.

So baking and cooking has dropped off considerably, and I am instead slowly trying to make it through the contents of the freezer and keep up with CSA vegetables. This basically means giant vegetable stir-frys once a week, a lot of defrosted baked goods, and smoothies because fruit is coming back in season. I do have some rhubarb in the fridge from the CSA, and a Daring Bakers thing to deal with--along with some more freezer contents (lots of pecans and walnuts, chocolate, a pie crust, frozen berries)--so there is likely something quick and nutty and rhubarby in my future. This coffee cake recipe from the woman who provided last month's Daring Bakers cheescake recipe looks like a contender.

I did try to make my own yogurt in a crockpot the other day, inspired by both the New York Times and 101 cookbooks (she also has a great recipe for frozen yogurt), but it was a complete failure. At first I thought it was something about the temperature--you are supposed to heat the milk, then let it cool, and then add some starter yogurt and keep it warm for several hours. But I let it get too cool and then tried to reheat. Now I think it the starter yogurt may not have has many live cultures. I am determined to get it right, and possibly have a machine shipped to NYC to have fresh yogurt all summer. I vaguely remember that my parents had a yogurt machine crammed in the kitchen pantry until I finally bullied them into getting rid of it because it had been used exactly once in about 10 years. They have issues parting with broken or unused items. Now I wish it was still around. I remember it was green and yellow shades that only existed in the 70s.

Hopefully more frequent posts in the coming weeks!


  1. Hi Martha:
    I'm a colleague (and friend!) of Beth Gorrie's and I've been enjoying your blog :) I also have a dog that I'm obssessed with and love looking at photos of your pug :)

    I recently got married (in February) and would like to offer this advice: ten fitting is absolutely ridiculous. I had 3 fittings. If a seamstress needs 10 fittings - she must not be very skilled in handling fittings. Is going to someone else an option? If so, I'd advise that you find someone less fussy.

    Best of luck!


  2. Thanks Vicky! Good to know. I've now been to two fittings in one week, and it looks like we'll do two more (I hope). I think she has an overly cautious assistant. That said, I wasn't sold on the changes she made after the first visit, but she thought we were basically be done. She was very gracious about it, but I hope there aren't too many of those fittings.