Something I hoped to do for IPSTD was a recording of "Singing Them Back," which I have been supposed to do since November. One of the major problems with it is that we live near the airport, so if I want to record something on Timprov's system and not have it sound like airplanes at unpredictable intervals--particularly now that it's nice enough that he has the windows open--I need to do it after the planes are done for the day, which is mostly after I've gone to bed. This is on my list of things I can do to keep living my life even with the vertigo. I won't forget it. I just didn't do it this week, and probably won't soon.
But! I haven't written about that list in awhile, and there's a lot of stuff I have done from it.
Last time I updated on this, I was done with #s 13, 14, 17, 41, 46, and 47.
7. "Write a completely new short story from scratch." I wrote "Rituals of Optimism" while Grandpa was in the hospital. (Also "Carter Hall and the Motley Lions," but that was not completely new, it was part of a series.)
16. "Take markgritter to Lucia's." Done. Brunch. Yum. He was not as enthused as I was, having gotten a pretty straightforward omelet, but was reasonably happy with it and declares his willingness to return.
18: "Continue to do our best to keep Pumphouse Creamery and Rice Paper in business singlehandedly" is not one that's going to get done done this year, but we hauled enough people into Pumphouse after fish (and have gone other times) that I think I've done my part. But will continue anyway.
19. "Try at least four new-to-us restaurants." As of my last update we had done a) Manana in St. Paul. Since then:
b) Blackbird Cafe. 50th and Bryant, I think; whatever the cross street is that gets you the Malt Shoppe, it's the same block. Really very tasty. I had smoked pork and wild mushroom quesadillas, and the salsa was extremely fine, and there were several other things on the menu that looked worth trying later. They were spotty, though: the ham and the mustard and the bread on timprov's croque were all first-rate, but the gruyere was just sort of there, and they put canned whipped cream on my hot chocolate, which surprised me for all that they were talking about fresh, local ingredients.
c) Pardon My French Cafe. Cliff Rd. in Eagan, in the same area as the Axel's there. The menu and the execution were neither above nor below standard for this sort of cafe lunches: my bouche de la reine was fine, Mark's beef was fine, the salads and the breads and the quiches and all that looked fine, the pastries looked fine but weren't particularly creative within their oeuvre. I think this restaurant will be of use to me, though, because it has $6 lunch specials, you pick two of soup, salad, sandwich, and mini-quiche, and that's just exactly the sort of thing I would do with my grandma.
d) I Nonni Osteria. Hwy. 13 in Lilydale. So this was not only a new restaurant to us, but also a new suburb. We'd blinked and missed Lilydale driving through it on the way up to St. Paul several times. It's small enough that we marveled that it hadn't gotten snapped up by a larger suburb along the way, and markgritter had theorized that it was an enclave of the Sidhe. If it is, they're Italian Sidhe. We got the lamb meatball appetizer, which was all right but not as good as a couple of places we can get Greek lamb meatballs (including my kitchen). But the entrees were all really nice. My seared tuna with English peas* and a balsamic whatsit and very pleasant greens: quite good. I would have it again. But I might order Timprov's duck with pear and squash first, and I generally don't much like duck. Mark's sausage-truffle pasta was also very fine. My dessert didn't quite go where it was aiming to be. ("Chocolate-Gianduja Torta, Caramel, Olive Oil, Sea Salt" is how their menu lists it, and it ended up sort of splitting the chocolate-caramel flavor with the olive oil-sea salt flavor. I think a stronger caramel would have helped.) But it's definitely worth seeing what else they're up to in a different season, if you happen to be near Lilydale, which actually we do.
24. "Take Timprov to rock shows and/or folk concerts." We went to Richard Shindell's concert at the Ginkgo Cafe in March and had a good time and got to hang out with laurel and kaustin in the dinner portion of the concert. We're going to see Neko Case Sunday night, too.
28. "Read Simon Schama's big fat history of Britain series." Done, although not as I expected it to be. I had read his French/Dutch work, which is much chewier than the British thing was. It was mostly a set of big fat tomes because of all the pictures included, which is great and would have been even better if I was a visual person, which I am not.
30. "Catch up on Numb3rs." I only watch DVDs, so I'm through S4 and caught up. Will be glad when S5 comes out, though.
31. "Find another series to love while biking indoors hanging on for dear life." I love The Wire. I think I love The West Wing as well. Coming up on the end of S4 of The Wire, only on the beginning of S3 of The West Wing.
32. "Minicon." Minicon! Done. Quiet con for me this year. This is not all bad. Not even mostly bad. Pertaining to #31 and #32 at once: I got to talk to laurel and mgs about The Wire, which was good, and which has given us a way to tell mgs and me apart. So if you are talking to a person and find yourself squinting at them thinking, "Is that M'ris, or is it Martin? I just can't tell!", simply ask them: "Is S3 of The Wire your favorite?" If yes, Martin. If no, me. (I enjoyed S3. But it wasn't my favorite.)
35. "Have kitchen painted Roasted Pepper." Done! I know you want pictures. Someday.
42. "Keep eye on Good Neighbors with Sick Kiddo." This is not finished per se, but we've done some stuff about it, and they're making it easier by having a CaringBridge website for family, friends, and neighbors, so we don't have to rely on the next emergency being as obvious as the last one.
45. "Figure out rye buns." Wiktory! My rye buns are awesome!
Last time I updated, I was in progress on #s 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 21, 29, 36, and, uh, 43. Yah, 43. ("Ask for help when it would be a good thing to do so." Sigh. Yah.)
12. "Perfect buttermilk biscuits" has, I think, reached the point where we need to find a place to buy a couple different kinds of flour before they're going to get a lot better. Although I should still try the "very short, quick pulses in the food processor" method.
15. "Figure out chocolate-strawberry cookie idea." I could theoretically declare this done, as I have achieved a chocolate-strawberry cookie that received acclaim from several relevant parties. I made sort of a chocolate sugar-cookie base, dented it, and filled it with fresh fine-diced strawberries, jam, both, or a mix of jam and cream cheese. These all tasted fine on the first day, though they were very different. The fresh strawberries did not hold up past the third day, though; lesson learned. Also the cookie base I used was really too crumbly. I have two ideas for other things I will try, one as strawberry filling between layers of stiffer dough and the other with dried strawberries, which was not what I was initially thinking of, but when sethb said it, it sounded sensible, so we'll see about that.
20. "Try all types of hot chocolate and tisane in the pantry at least once." For tisanes: done. For hot chocolates: still working my way down the list. So far the big winner is Burdick's Dark. And not just because I love the mini-whisk and use it for all sorts of other things.
33. "Fourth Street." This is in progress, because I have registered. And am looking forward.
34. "Begin basement finishing." People do not call back on this. Need to call more people. Also need to have more conversations.
*English peas. Garden peas. Whatever you call 'em, the ones with the pods too stiff to eat and the large peas inside, where you have to shell the peas before eating them? That's what I want. Anybody know where I can find those? It's prime pea season, and the stores are selling me sugar snap or snow. And those are fine for their purposes, but what I want is peas, not peas-inna-pod. Byerly's, Cub, Rainbow, and Kowalski's have all consistently let me down. If you know where one can get fresh peas in season in the Twin Cities, please do tell, and we will hasten there.