This video of a dog sensing an earthquake moments before it occurs is pretty interesting:
On the 30th of December I felt an earthquake, and after the shaking stopped I immediately looked around to see if Sammie was doing anything unusual or telling of the situation. He was in the bathroom, standing up and playing with the handle of the toilet like he wanted to flush. A sign of the end times? A little unusual for him, but he's an unpredictable weirdo anyway so I wouldn't attribute it to any kind of seismic activity.
Yesterday C. and I spent our evening in front of the TV, watching Biggest Loser. Instead of our usual (well... MY usual) habit of watching while eating foods embarrassingly similar to what landed those contestants on the show, this time we watched while treadmill-ing a few miles. Yeah, we are motivated to be healthier people... but also we don't have a TV and the closest available one was in our building's gym. And we felt awkward about just sitting there, casually draped across a weight bench while watching people struggle to carry the weight of their own bodies around.
I don't really exercise regularly, I just eat right most of the time, avoid being sedentary, and am blessed with the genes of a thin and long-living people. But I do like walking up a serious incline for hours at a time, on a treadmill or even just hilly urban terrain. The embarrassing but true reason behind this is... Janice Dickinson recommends it in her book Everything About Me is Fake… And I’m Perfect. It's a totally free and easy way to keep your calves and rumpus in shape, OK? Don't look at me like that. It's not like I'm doing other stuff she recommends, like getting botulism injected into your face.
Anyway, that's about as exciting as my life is going to get this month. NEXT month is going to be a whole 'nother thing though. I'll be starting school again (I can't find my Pee Chee folder you guys), plus we're moving into our new house. By "new" I mean "old" since it was built in 1913, but by "our" I really mean "OUR" since we're homeowners now!
Heyyyyy it's a new year and I live in a new state! I was living in a new state at the end of last year too, but that was the state of homelessness. The couch-surfing kind though. Not the real kind... with poverty. Although right this second I'm eating a cup noodle with a stolen plastic fork, so you can draw your own conclusions about how things are going for me.
But no, I kid - things are going really great. I live in San Diego now, which is a big enough city that I feel my chances of being stalked for revealing my location are pretty low. Last year I lived in Rhode Island, which I don't think I ever mentioned on here, because the whole state was the size of a jellybean. (Flavor? Coffee milk.) I was pretty sure a stalker could randomly come to Rhode Island and, completely by accident, stumble into my backyard. Then it would have been curtains for me.
Daily, I am adding to a mental list of things that are pretty great about living in southern California. Produce is abundant and cheap - I bought a big ol' onion for 13 cents the other day. Also, avocados at 5 for a dollar is nature's way of telling me to eat more guacamole. Also abundant: sunshine! So much so, that we plan to harness the sun's rays to do our bidding. I was in t-shirts and flip flops for a week when we first got here, in the beginning of December. Winter: no longer my mortal enemy! Thanks, San Diego.
A fascinating true fact about me is that I love lemon. Lemonade is in my interests on Facebook, that's how you know I mean it - it's right there between gingersnaps and salami.
So I am thrilled to be able to announce that I've had success in making one of my favorite combinations of sweet and tart, lemon meringue pie! And it only took me two attempts. The first one was ages ago, and frankly was not very well made. Just all around sad, really. See here? I didn't really understand the fussiness of meringue, which is why you see nary a stiff peak. The lemon filling had cooled and settled before I even applied that pathetic meringue, which is why there is weeping and separating all over the place. Still tasty... but my goal was tasty AND awesome-looking.
This time I did my homework, and read up on the special needs of meringue. I used just egg whites and sugar. Absolutely NO yolk, so each egg should be separated very carefully and individually, so just in case a yolk breaks, it doesn't pollute the rest of the whites. No touching the whites with grubby fingers, because the oils on your skin could be enough to ruin it. Seriously, very high maintenance - but WORTH IT! Behold the beauty of a meringue peak.
Also just for kicks, here's my pie crust. I thought it looked neat.
So here's how you do this thing: make a batch of lemon filling (recipe below), and pour it hot into the baked crust. IMMEDIATELY slather meringue on top, make some peaks by smacking the back of a spoon around on it, then throw it in the oven at 350 F until the top is attractively browned, about 10 minutes. Behold!
Lemon Meringue Pie - 1 cup white sugar - 2 tbs flour - 3 tbs cornstarch - 1/4 tsp salt - 1 1/2 cups water - Juice and zest from 2 lemons - 2 tbs butter - 4 eggs, separated into yolks and whites - 6 tbs white sugar
Bake pie crust prior to starting the filling.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Whisk together dry ingredients (1 cup sugar, flour, cornstarch, salt) in a saucepan, then stir in water, lemon juice and zest. Stir together over medium-high heat until boiling, then stir in butter.
Beat 4 egg yolks in a small bowl, then temper by whisking in 1/2 cup of the hot lemon mixture. Whisk the egg yolk mixture back into the remaining lemon mixture.
Bring back to a boil and continue to cook, stirring constantly until thick. Lower the heat, but keep mixture hot while making the meringue.
In a large bowl, whip egg whites while gradually adding 6 tbs sugar, until stiff peaks form.
Pour hot lemon filling into pie crust, and spread meringue over the top, sealing the edges to the crust. Bake in preheated oven until meringue is golden brown.