Magic, I said Magic!

I am not a person who tends to wax mystical. Today though, today I witnessed magic. Behold, the Garlic Roller :

 

Problem definition: How to get to garlic’s awesome center. Enter the garlic roller!

Yes, this is something so spectacular that I would use the blink html tag. How does it work? I’m glad you asked. Step one: insert garlic and roll…

 

What? You roll the “Garlic Roller?!?!!”

Step 2: Profit!

White Gold.

Yes, this is a kitchen implement where the instruction manual is included in its name. This puts it in such lofty company as the potato masher and vegetable peeler.

But Wait, There’s More!

The kicker? This amazing piece of magic is the “But wait, there’s more!” for the Grater Plater:

More like “As Awesome on AWESOME”.

What does the Grater Plater do? It. Grates. Behold:

It’s smooth like baby food… I swear that that is meant to be a complement.

The best part, clean up is as easy as rinsing in the faucet. Because frankly, most of my decisions in life are made based on how long it will take to clean up afterword.

That’s it.

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First Meal

I feel like I’m a mobster when I say this but: those who know us, know we love to cook. As a consequence, the first room of the house that we set up was the kitchen. It wasn’t until last night, however, that we actually got to cook something. What did we cook?

Pizza!

Pesto Pizza

Yes, I just ruined the punchline… but cooking is really about the process isn’t it? And what a process pizza is! We don’t have any pictures of the dough but here is the recipe:

1.5 cups flour
0.75 cups warm water
1 tsp yeast
1.5 tsp honey
pinches of salt (several, I just go by feel but under-salted bread is a crime against… well, its a crime!)

Mix the hot water and the honey, let set to dissolve while you mix together the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Pour the warm water/honey into the mixing bowl and mix with a fork or something. This will result in a pretty goupy mess!  Add flour slowly until it starts to seem like mixing with a fork seems foolish (It tends to just cling to the fork.). Now start kneading with your hand, adding flour slowly until just before it stops being sticky. Yes, I know, it just takes practice. Let sit for at least an hour in a covered bowl in a warm place. After an hour sprinkle flower on the top of the dough in the bowl and then gently spill the dough onto a well floured surface. Fold the dough a couple of times, adding flour as necessary to keep the surface well dusted. Let set 10 min or so, then roll out making sure to add flour any time anything sticks. Cook at > 400 F on a hot pizza stone!

Once you have the dough, you roll it out using your sexy new rolling pin:

You see me roll’n.

Sexy Rolling Pin hanging on the wall.

Meanwhile your beautiful wife roasts some red peppers and garlic, carmalise some onions, and them pile them onto a plate of awesome:

Roasted red peppers and garlic with some carmalized onions.

Next, you brush the dough with a thin layer of olive oil and then slather on the pesto:

Pesto’d Pizza

Of course, nothing ever goes entirely to plan. Somehow we forgot to pack the crushed red pepper flakes. I know. Wars have been fought over less. Never fear though, we just chopped our own using dried red chilies:

Making our own crushed red pepper flakes from dried red chilies.

Sprinkle the red pepper flakes, add all the fix’ns with some mazzarella and parmasian cheese. You can thank Sam’s Club for the gigantic size of the parmassian cheese container:

Putting it all together.

Throw it in the oven:

Peeling the pizza

While waiting for the cheese to turn brown pour your self a glass a beer or wine, set the table, then enjoy.

 

First Meal in Lubbock.

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What a difference two hours makes…

Well, we are in Lubbock. More posts to follow soon about the new house we are renting and whatnot but first I want to talk about the climate here. Specifically we should talk about the incredible temperature changes that occur every morning.

Yesterday we decided to go for a run for the first time down here. I had checked the temperature outside around 9 am and it was a very pleasant 72 F. We had breakfast, planned the day, and by the time we actually stepped out the door it was 11:30.

I generally pride myself in my ability to run in the heat. I would often go for a run in Lafayette when it was 90 F and 60% humidity. This though was bloody hot. Lets look at why!

Temperature variation for a typical August day in Lubbock.

Here I have posted the temperature over time for a typical day in Lubbock. The temperature is in red, heat index is in yellow, and the dew point is in green. There are several fascinating things on this plot. The first is that the heat index is below the actual temperature. The relative humidity is not plotted here but is evidenced by the very low dew point. At no point does the ambient temperature ever even get close to the dew point which means that here, at least in August, *the dew never falls here*.

That, while weird, is not what I wanted to show you. What I want to show you is that the temperature here varies by 30 degrees over the course of 8 hours. That is 4 degrees an hour, or 1 degree every 15 minutes…. What!?

More interesting is the fact that it cools down just as much. Lets compare this to Lafayette’s temperature plot:

Temperature variation for Lafayette.

In Indiana, the temperature varies by 20 F, heating up less and cooling down less. Why is this?

<<Insert Geek Out>>

First, lets talk about why Lubbock heats up more:

  1. Visibility: the air is clearer here. Small particles in the air, either due to industrial emissions, higher humidity, or plant emissions (pollen, sap, ext… ) will scatter light and lower the light intensity/energy that reaches the surface.
  2. Latitude: Lubbock is closer to the equator. The sun sits higher in the sky so, again, the amount of energy that hits the ground is greater.
  3. Elevation: Lubbock is higher! When there is less stuff between you and the sun, again, more energy reaches the surface.

Lubbock also cools down more quickly for exactly these same reasons. The only way for the earth to cool down is through radiation, thermal radiation into space. The less stuff in between the earth and space, the more quickly it cools down. In this case, water vapor and cloud cover are important barriers to thermal radiation (so is CO2, but that concentration is roughly the same between Lubbock and Lafayette. To be clear, Lubbock also cools down more because there is less CO2 simply because there is less air between us and space ).

<<End Geek Out>>

All that to say… Lubbock actually does get hot and there is a reason people do stuff outside before 8 am and after 8 pm.

 

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Saying Good-bye

Well, the past week has been filled with packing, people we love, and good byes. It started with packing Jen for two days. We learned a bit about Live Action Tetris, strategically filling her three cubes. After an evening of game playing with the boys (for Craig) and fancy wine-drinking (for Kristen and Jen), we said a quick good-bye, acknowledging, of course, that since Arkansas and Texas are right next to each other, we are effectively neighbors.

On Wednesday, we welcomed friends to our house for Beers, Boardgames, and Boxes. A dozen or so of our friends came by to play Cards Against Humanity, which you should play if you’re a horrible person. Friends were not surprised to see the Boxes everywhere.

Thursday was a Two-House move, beginning with our house. We spent the morning waiting for our ABF trailer and doing some last minute packing. This is the packing of the piddly stuff, which was unnerving, as we tried to fit square pegs into round holes. We attempted to leave as little as possible unpacked, forcing us to box the oddest piddles together in a box. This also resulted in some unique approaches to box labeling. For example:

At around 11, our ABF trailer was delivered in front of our house, and we had a dream team of friends help us with the loading. Laurie, Summer, and I employed the strategies we had learned in Jen’s move to pack our stuff straight to the top of the 9 foot trailer. We made some last minute additions to the “Things to Take to Lubbock” list, when we realized we had enough room for our second bed/wooden loft. Although we have a crapload of stuff, it took only a couple hours to get the whole house packed up <see note about the dream team>.

After we finished packing up our house, we headed to Megs’ for ROUND TWO <ding ding>. Although she didn’t need to be loaded up till Tuesday, we were already sweaty so, what the hell, we figured we’d get her big stuff moved down for her. <ENTER: Asshole> So, six of us (Summer, Jeremy, Jonathan, Laurie, Craig and I) are outside negotiating stuff while Jason and Megs are up organizing in the house, when we look over at Craig’s truck (borrowed from his dad) ready to be TOWED by some towtruck. Story to come on a later blog. So we wasted an hour negotiating with this jerkface, but eventually packed all of her stuff right before it started raining. YAY FOR RAIN!

Thursday we went to Community Yoga for a fantastic yoga class, and then landed at Summer and Jeremy’s for an evening of drinks and friends. It’s rare to find a group of friends like we’ve made in Lafayette. I continue to marvel and the ways conversation will move from the deeply personal to the political to pop culture and inevitably dissolve into laughter. We have been mourning the loss of these friendships as they exist in this place–though we anticipate that they’ll continue over time and place. Saying good-bye to Jen (on Monday) and then Megs, Summer, Jeremy, and Jason on Thursday was tearful and bittersweet–we know that only truly meaningful friendships can cause so many feelings.

This was equally true as we pulled out of Laurie and Jonathan’s house, our final stop before we left Lafayette. Good Byes are Dumb.

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Fairwell to Water

The truck has been packed, the apartment cleaned, and many not-at-all-final-goodbys were had. There is one last goodby to fit in though: Water. No, we didn’t forget about you old friend. I know that you are pissed that we are leaving you for The Great American Desert. I get it. You are pissed. Have no worries though, we set aside some quality time for us at The Shack.

On Saturday we met my parents on Lake Portage in Michigan. There we took a tour around the lake followed by Kristen’s first time tubing. For those not familiar, this particular sport it involves getting into an inner-tube that is towed behind a boat with the explicit purpose of being thrown off of it. Kristen was having none of that, however, despite catching some wicked air. It took some encouraging to get my dad to escalate things to this point. The conversation went like this,

Me: “Hey dad, I think she is getting bored.”
Dad: ” Bored, are you sure?”
Me: “Yep”
Dad: “…”
Me: “Really”
Dad: “Alright, but if anything happens… I’m telling her you said that.”

And I proceeded to enjoy the following:

Following a fantastic fish taco and sweet corn on the cob dinner, Kristen and I walked down to the Beach.

Beers in hand of course.

Where we proceeded to have some quality moments with the Lake.

 

 

 

 

 

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Texas Learnin’: You Know You’re in Texas when….

A soon-to-be-colleague of mine just posted a list on FB: you know you’re in texas when…The entirety of the list is below, but I want to address some of these briefly. First of all, I’m excited about #4. Honestly. I love sun tea, but am too impatient to wait for it to steep out in the sun. Total score on the Texas sun tea. But this just adds to my increasing concerns about the heat, which I had been setting to the side because of the rumored “Dry Heat.” But now I hear this dry heat business is a myth. Can we confirm? We sure as hell will try on August 5th when we’re hauling our stuff from the ABF truck into the house. My heat concern only freaking grows given the list: 8 of the 25 address the heat. that’s about 1/3. I mean, seriously. I’m from the midwest. I’m not a sissy about the weather, but seriously, #5?, Seatbelt as  BRANDING IRON?

Despite the focus on heat, I was reassured by some the entries. For example, happy to know that I can wear cowboy boots with any outfit. SCORE!! This brings up an exciting new event in the Button household: Yep! I am in receipt of my first ever pair of cowboy boots. I’m moving

Kristen’s Birthday Boots!

slowly, having only worn them out a couple of times. Red Button is a little embarrassed by them, it seems. Now, I’m trying to get him to just freaking deal with it, cuz frankly, before too long this is going to be an everyday occurance, see #16. Short story: these boots are adorable and super comfortable, and I plan to put some gd miles on them.

I remain uncertain how to address #10. I mean, today, I whipped up some curry egg salad, complete with hot madra curry, freshly ground black pepper, and fresh parsley. Some shallots, a few potatoes, and some celery, and BAM! instant deliciousness. I cannot–CANNOT–easily interact with people who consider ranch dressing a spice. I’m not saying they’re bad people. I’m just saying…I struggled when I got to that one.

Nonetheless, the list gives me reasons to try persuading Red Button to buy a tractor (#13), which I’m super stoked about, and again, I was glad to get the “no need for big hair” confirmation (#23). So I’m considering it a Win, with reservations.

 

YOU KNOW YOU’RE IN TEXAS WHEN….
  1. You no longer associate bridges with water.
  2. You can say 110 degrees without fainting.
  3. You eat hot chilies to cool your mouth off.
  4. You can make instant sun tea.
  5. You learn that a seat belt makes a pretty good branding iron.
  6. The temperature drops below 95 and you feel a bit chilly.
  7. You discover that in July it takes only two fingers to drive your car.
  8. Hot water comes out of both taps.
  9. It’s so hot farmers are feeding their chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying hard boiled eggs.
  10. You only know five spices: salt, pepper, Ranch dressing, BBQ sauce and ketchup.
  11. You design your Halloween costume to fit over Wranglers and cowboy boots.
  12. The mosquitoes have landing lights.
  13. You have more miles on your tractor than your car.
  14. You think sexy lingerie is tube-socks and a flannel nightie with only 8 buttons.
  15. You can write a check at Dairy Queen for two Hunger Busters and fries.
  16. You attend a formal event in your best clothes, your finest jewelry and your cowboy boots.
  17. People grumble about Noah letting coyotes on the ark.
  18. When it rains, everyone is smiling.
  19. The choir group is known as the “OK Chorale.”
  20. There is no such thing as a “secret” sin.
  21. High notes on the organ can set the dogs to howling.
  22. People wonder, when Jesus fed 5,000, whether the two fish were bass or catfish.
  23. It’s a common misconception that the women have big hair. In fact this was outlawed in July 1977. There is a task force and they are doing their best to reach every last woman. Bear with us.
  24. It’s a common misconception that JR Ewing still lives here. That was a TV show people! Come on! Chuck Norris, on the other hand, is a real, karate-choppin’ Texas Ranger.
  25. It’s a common misconception that we have killer bees, fire ants, gigantic roaches and mosquitoes and other awful insects, tornadoes, hurricanes, and damaging hailstorms. We tend to think of them as a few bitty bugs and a bad hair day. 😉
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Texas Learnin’: Friday Night Lights

As might be obvious to, well, anyone with a brain, Friday Night Lights is clearly one of the best TV shows ever written. This might be obvious from the FNL binge that has dominated my life. Mind you, the marathon was enjoyed while packing up several rooms of the house. <deciding what you can live without for six weeks is surprisingly difficult: do we need our multiserver? how many throw blankets will get us through the next few weeks?>

At any rate, back to the subject at hand. Friday Night Lights has much to offer the soon-to-be Texan. I mean, it’s a show for all people everywhere, with all the heart of a HS football team. So, maybe being from the city (county?) or being from the Midwest has skewed my view of the importance of HS football, but I am grateful for the lessons learned about such things–and Texas as a whole–during my marathon. Here they are, in no particular order:

  • If I’m moving to Texas, I ‘m going to have to get invested in Football. Or at least learn the rules.
  • I do NOT actually have to start wearing my hair big. This was a concern for a while. But I think I can just keep on wit the regular ‘do.
  • All moms in Texas are hot. If the Buttons were ever to have children, I would have to turn up the Hot factor.
  • Football provides all the life metaphors one could possible hope for (see the above need to learn the rules)
  • Even though it’s supposedly stupid hot in Texas, the characters on the show often wear lots of layers. I’ll need to do some research about this. Is this part of the Texan life? Will I just stop sweating?
  • If I end up with a Texan accent, I hope it’s just like Matt Saracen’s. I almost died when he was like, “Will you be my girlfriend?” Most adorable southern accent ever.

I will continue watching, of course, and post again as I continue learning. I will also see if I can fit some other Texan movies in the mix. FNL is pretty emotional, so Mr. Button (soon to be Dr. Button) may or may not want to watch episode after episode. Speaking of doctors, I recently defended my dissertation and am now officially Mrs. Dr. Button. Total score!

Finally, a public apology for comparing Tim Riggins to Jordan Catalano. They do, of course, look alike (see below) . But, as one Terry Peterman has pointed out, it may be a bit of a stretch to compare My So-Called Life (which I’ll argue was a fantastic show in its own right) to Friday Night Lights (a clearly superior show in a number of ways). Here’s to you, Terry Peterman.

 

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The Story of Us

Not everyone reading this is necessarily familiar with us, the Buttons, so we thought we would recap here…

Wow, where to begin. I suppose the space ship would be a good start… Yes, while Kristen and Craig had seen each other first on the soccer field and later that night at a local bar, it was really on the tense and sometimes hilarious set of “Galactic Jeopardy” that they got to know each other. Long days were spent studying their respective fields, Kristen honing her knowledge of Rhetoric and Craig working on getting shit to work, while nights were consumed by engaging discussions of relevant topics over a glass of wine and making out. Each hoping to do their best to represent Earth.

The show was (un)fortunately cancelled and our now protagonistic couple was returned to their home planet… at a random location…. and a random time! Curiously random in fact. Never the less, completely devoid of knowledge of their place or era Craig got a time machine to work and the duo was transported to 18th Century England. Hey… no one is perfect, when was the last time you got a time machine even <em>kind of</em> working?

Kristen, at this point thoroughly infatuated with Craig made good use of her ability to convince anyone of anything and the pair worked their way up Victorian high society while getting to know each other better in the process. Kristen further occupied her self with empowering child laborers, and is personally responsible a Royal Recommendation recommending children work less then 12 hours a day. Craig hobnobbed with  various scientist making up something he called “Entropy” just to torment engineering students for centuries to come.

While both were having a good time, it was while lacing up Kristen’s whale bone corset in room lit by whale oil in a house located in a whale that Craig realized the depth of his feelings for his partner and resolved to return them to their proper times to start a life together. And check the internet… holy crap their inboxes must be so full right now. Oh ya, and the final season of Gilmore Girls has got to be released to DVD at some point!

Finally back in the here and now the two face a challenge greater then navigating time or stifling social customs, graduating. Both are working towards finishing their PhD’s in May of 2012 as well as celebrating the many relationships in their lives. This includes theirs and the many friends and family they are so lucky to have.

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June Preparations

It’s June. We got through the wedding. Now we’re preparing for dissertation defenses, researching credit cards, downsizing, packing and, of course, planning our move to Lubbock. After our first trip (as a couple) to Lubbock, we decided that the big changes in our life called for documentation, damnit. So here it is: our blog.

Here’s our to do list:

  • Find a cute little house to rent with: two bedrooms, hardwood floors, washer/dryer, trees, lots of windows, gas burners on the stove.
  • Find a credit card with air miles or some way to accrue points to fly home to St. Louis, Michigan, or Chicago
  • Toss out all the shoes and clothes Kristen hasn’t worn in a year
  • Toss out bolts, boards, or other miscellaneous items that Craig has been saving to “build something with”
  • Figure out how much Benadryl to give the cats in order to keep them from puking all over the car on the drive down while not killing them.
  • Locate Indian food stores in Lubbock to see which spices we need to bring with us
  • Prepare Dissertation Defense Talks
  • Format and Deposit Dissertations
  • Pack all the things
  • Clean all the things
  • Drunch with the ladies and Dinner with FFF
  • etc., etc., etc., and what have you

In other news, we totally missed the Tony’s last night because instead we were watching (aka sobbing like small children) We Bought A Zoo. We’re not proud of it, but at least we’re honest. I’ll have to say, I find NPH’s hosting impeccable, though I’d take last year’s Opening Number, “It’s Not Just for Gays Anymore” over this year’s tamer Opening Number, “What if Life were like Theater.” Okay. I’m off to do something on the to do list.  Or to rewatch clips NPH’s Tony’s Awards. Either One. <This is Kristen, btw.>

 

 

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