Friday, February 24, 2012

Pictures for Emily

Emily just asked me on Twitter why I never post pictures of Ann Marie, thus documenting her increasing cuteness. My answer was threefold:

1. I have no smart phone, and thus posting photos is a multi-step process that involves changing out memory cards and exporting and resizing and blah de blah, it's a huge pain.

2. It's an even huger pain on my blog because I don't like the way Blogger does photos so I have to post to Photobucket and then copy links and there is EXTRA TYPING, people.

3. Ann Marie is the third baby, so there are practically no photos of her at all. (There probably would be if I had a smart phone.) (Or maybe not.)

BUT. I actually coincidentally JUST COPIED brand new photos to my computer! I got Emily's tweet while putting Nora to bed so I came right out and sat down and went through the process - the MULTI-STEPPED process - of putting them on my blog. All for you! And Emily! Because who am I to deny requests for photos of my adorable baby? Who is and remains a DREAM BABY SENT FROM HEAVEN, by the way. Tonight she did cry a lot for a total of maybe fifteen whole minutes, split over two cry sessions, but the first fussy period was because she was starving and I ignored her more patient whimpers while I finished making dinner for the other two. The second round of fussiness was because she was wet and tired, and then I Nose-Frida-ed her. In between those two screaming sessions, she hung around in her bouncy seat and grinned like a fool at anyone who was willing to make eye contact. (Many of us were willing.) (But she stopped grinning as soon as I got the camera.)

All this complaining about the hardships of having to click buttons and type things makes me think of an issue I once had with a website. I maintain a corporate membership account for my company, but I am not personally a member of the service we offer our staff. Whenever I send the invitation to join to the new hires, however, I always click the link I send them to make sure it works. The link takes me to a sign up page, and at that point I just close the window, because I do not need to join. But during the last round of hires, I started getting chirpy little emails from the membership service reminding me to complete my registration. These were annoying, yes, but not nearly as annoying as discovering that when I went back to the website, I was routed directly to the registration page instead of my normal homepage. The first time this happened, it took me a few tries to even figure out how to get back to my homepage. And I couldn't shut it off.

So now, every time I wanted to check the billing statement which is the only thing I ever need to look at, I had to first go to step 1 of the registration, then click the logo in the top left corner, and then click "Account settings." That's TWO EXTRA CLICKS. I lived this nightmare for WEEKS. I finally emailed the company to ask them how to shut it off, and I ended up having to call them. It was difficult to explain the problem to the agent I spoke to on the phone, but once he understood exactly what was happening he realized he'd have to send an email to a separate department and have them get in touch with me. "It may take a day or two," he warned me, apologetically. "Is that OK?" I told him I'd probably be able to survive two more days of unnecessary mouse clicks, but only just.

And now here are pictures of my adorable children.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Magic bread

Do you know about Catherine Newman's Five-Minute Bread? I discovered this recipe several months ago and it is magic. Magic, I tell you. And this is coming from a long-time fan and proponent of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. But Newman's recipe is even easier. And is also magical.

"Oh, come on," I can hear you saying. "I'm sure it's easy, but 'magical'? Really?"

Well to you I say, "REALLY." Because I can't think of a better word to describe a recipe that you cannot screw up. No matter what you do. Today, for example, I baked up a loaf from dough that I mixed up two nights ago, and then forgot to put in the refrigerator after the "maximum" rising time of 5 hours. I saw it when I was up with the baby and put it in at 4:30 am or so, which was approximately 8.5 hours of rising time. And for this (and the last three) loaves, I've been using old rye flour and the dough comes out extra extra wet. So wet that when I took it out this morning to let it rest, I had to put the cutting board it was on onto a pizza peel because it was oozing so much.

Witness:

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But since this combination of flours (2c water, 2c rye, 2c all purpose, 1/6c flaxseed, 1/6c wheat germ, 1T cider vinegar, 1T kosher salt, 1 scant T yeast) has been making really wet doughs all week, I went ahead and scraped it into the pot. SCRAPED. I use a long knife and it sort of gloops off the cutting board. There's a very small step between what I'm doing and pouring this dough.

Here's the result:

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Isn't that gorgeous? I didn't even slash the top, since it would have been like trying to slash quicksand. It just did that by itself. I haven't tasted it yet, but experience tells me it will be delicious. So make this bread. Trust me.