Yes, we carve!

Last night, Jeff and I carved our pumpkin into an Barack O’Lantern. I got the idea when I was thinking of what we could carve this year. Each year, I try to theme my pumpkin. Four years ago, we did a Hanson pumpkin.

This was SS and K’s idea, but I decided it was all in good fun. Sophomore year, we took it to a new place, and carved, “Peace,” “Love,” “& Pumpkins,” and a peace sign.

Then last year, L and I decided to kick it up a notch and do environmentally friendly, and alternative energy, pumpkins. She carved a sun, and I carved a wind mill. No good photo of the wind mill, unfortunately, but there is a good one with L and the sun!

The windmill is the one with the zig zag lines on the left.

This year, as you saw above, we carved an Obama pumpkin!!

Go Obama!!! Who knows what we’ll carve next year?!

B-A-N-A-N-A-(S) Bread

As I left the house in a rush yesterday morning, it occurred to me that the bananas that I had bought at the farmer’s market this weekend were getting black spots. As the temperatures for yesterday were supposed to be in the 90s, I decided it’d be a great idea to make them into banana bread when I got home. Of course, once I had decided that, I couldn’t get “B-A-N-A-N-A-S” out of my head, and as I write this I am singing it in my head.

I searched the Internet for a recipe that I had all the ingredients for.

Finally I settled on this one:

  • 3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup sugar (can easily reduce to 3/4 cup)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

The original recipe is here.

I changed the recipe a little–I used, 4 tablespoons of butter, or a half stick, instead of 5 1/3 the recipe calls for, and I used 1/2 cup of sugar instead of 1 or 3/4. I also added about 2.5 tablespoons of cinnamon, and only 3 bananas. Delicious. So, my modified recipe below:

  • 3 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 1/2 stick of butter (4 tbsp)
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2.5 tbsp cinnamon

It was a huge hit with the boys, my roommates P and E. We’ll see if Jeff will try a piece, as he doesn’t like banana bread very much. But, it was a good breakfast for me, and a great alternative to ice cream after dinner, so as far as I am concerned, job well done.

Why I voted for Barack Obama.

A friend recently asked me who he should vote for and what I thought about the candidates. I’ve already voted for Obama, so I decided to show him why I voted for Obama and why I think voting for McCain is a terrible idea.

The reasons are listed below. If you’d like any information on any points, or sources, let me know!

OBAMA — reasons you should vote FOR him.

1. Your taxes will go down under him. You receive less than 250,000 a year, and thus this will help you.
2. You ability to get health care once you are on your own will be much easier if you vote for Obama.
3. He is pro-choice, but as our economy sucks right now, I doubt anything will be active on this front anyways.
4. He is not against the war, but believes we need to pull out. He voted against funding for troops WITHOUT a time table, which is different than voting against the troops.
5. He is favored by economists around the US and world, because his economic plan is wonderful.
6. He is Christian, not Muslim, and half Africa, not Arab. Although, as Colin Powell said: why would it matter if he WERE a Muslim or an Arab?
7. His running mate, Joe Biden, is ready to be president, thank God, if anything should happen to him.
8. Biden also boasts impressive foreign-policy experience through his years in the senate.
9. Obama and Biden agree that diplomacy is the best way to get things done internationally. That means sitting down without pre-conditions, and not saying “I’m not talking to you until you say I am right.” Other major people (including Henry Kissinger, who endorsed McCain) agree with Obama.

“Former U.S.Secretary of State Henry Kissinger today told an audience in Washington, DC that the U.S. should negotiate with Iran “without conditions” and that the next President should begin such negotiations at a high level.”

10. Obama is for energy independence, and realizes that off shore drilling is not going to get us more oil now. He favors telling oil companies they need to tap into land they already own rather than tapping into new lands, and if they don’t use the land they already own then we’ll take it back, since it’s wasting hundreds of acres that we could be using in other ways.

MCCAIN — reasons you should vote AGAINST him.

1. He was part of the Keating 5. (this needs explanation, please see link: http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/23316912/makebelieve_maverick/print
2. He has continually smeared Obama and done nothing to curb hatred at his rallies. You have probably heard people scream “Kill him” and “Terrorist.” It’s no wonder, when McCain’s running mate says Obama is “palling around with terrorists.” Obama’s relationship with Bill Ayers is nothing more than a business relationship that many other people–Republicans and Democrats–have with him. And, oh, one more thing: he was acquitted. So…
3. McCain believes that we should be in Iraq for longer, and that we should stay there to “win.” Guess what: you can’t win an occupation. Meanwhile, he also voted against the troops because he didn’t support a time line, so he’s just as at-fault as he claims Obama is. McCain was in Vietnam, and the fact that he thinks we need to stay in Iraq means to me that he learned nothing from his time in Vietnam.
4. McCain has changed his mind on everything he once stood for, including regulation.

“But, McCain’s flip-flops represent an even bigger affront to the straight talk he promises voters.

As a presidential candidate, McCain now opposes his own immigration plan. He backs the Bush tax cuts he once opposed with contempt. While McCain presents himself as a maverick feared by lobbyists and special interests, his campaign has many ties to both and includes staffers who were once lobbyists.

Last week, the Republican called for lifting the moratorium on offshore drilling, a dramatic contrast with his strong support for upholding the moratorium during his 2000 bid for the Republican nomination.

A former prisoner of war, who suffered torture in Vietnam, McCain has called for the US detention center in Guantanamo Bay to be closed and for torture to be banned. Last week, he criticized the US Supreme Court for “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country” after the court ruled that detainees should be allowed to challenge their detentions in US courts.

McCain has also been trying to distance himself even further from an earlier comment that it “would be fine with me” if the US military stayed in Iraq “for a hundred years,” a remark he qualified at the time with the condition that Americans were not being injured or killed.

Meanwhile, McCain is blasting Obama for opting out of public financing. But as Media Matters for America reports, McCain is being asked by federal elections officials to show that he did not use the promise of public money to obtain a $4 million loan to kickstart his once faltering presidential campaign. Doing so would be disingenuous from a candidate who is routinely described as a champion of campaign finance reform.”
(from a Boston.com article, in the Boston Globe.)

5. McCain chose Sarah Palin. A woman who is not qualified to run anything, even Wasilla, Alaska. A woman who flaunts her children around like they are accessories, when they should be home, resting, being children. A woman who has been found to have broken ethics laws in Alaska, and who recently was found to have abused her spending abilities by charing her children’s travel to the state.
6. McCain is for the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Which has more to do with the privacy of men and women rather than the idea of abortion. Another conservative or two on the Supreme Court means that our country will quickly take away more of our privacy, including abortion rights and other rights (think phones, internet, etc.) I encourage you to watch this video, in addition: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uk6t_tdOkwo
7. He is a jerk. I know this is not a very good reason, but alas: he left his first wife for Cindy, and had an extra-marital affair with Cindy while he was still married to his first wife. He divorced her because he wasn’t ready to suffer with her, since she had been horribly injured in an accident. In his first wives’ first words, “My marriage ended because John McCain didn’t want to be 40, he wanted to be 25. You know that happens…it just does.” I can’t get over that. I hate cheating, and I find it offensive that he cheated on his wife. He could have waited until he was divorced, if he really loved Cindy and cared about his wife Carol, but he didn’t. And I can’t forgive him for that.
8. He voted against MLK, Jr. day, and voted against the Katrina commission, and voted against a million other things I am appalled at.
9. He sang the song, “Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran.” NOT FUNNY. Not funny. Not funny. Can that be any more clear how NOT FUNNY and NOT APPROPRIATE that was?
10. He doesn’t respect many civil rights and liberties. Among them, equality in marriage and civil liberties for detainees.

Itch!

My boss today told me that she was very itchy because she has some poison ivy. I told her what my doctor had told me once: that itching was the lowest form of pain, and she should take one acetaminophen (Tylenol) or one ibuprofen. It’d curb the itching, and save the pain of scabs later on. I thought this little bit of wisdom was a gem: it has always worked for me. I figured it’d be something interesting to blog about, until I did some research to prove it was true and allow my blog readers to decide for themselves. And I discovered it isn’t true-it’s not a form of pain at all! But, what I found is worth sharing.

I quote, from the article: “But how, exactly, itch works has been a puzzle. For most of medical history, scientists thought that itching was merely a weak form of pain. Then, in 1987, the German researcher H. O. Handwerker and his colleagues used mild electric pulses to drive histamine, an itch-producing substance that the body releases during allergic reactions, into the skin of volunteers. As the researchers increased the dose of histamine, they found that they were able to increase the intensity of itch the volunteers reported, from the barely appreciable to the “maximum imaginable.” Yet the volunteers never felt an increase in pain. The scientists concluded that itch and pain are entirely separate sensations, transmitted along different pathways.”

Here is a link. Who knew!

The Itch, by Atul Gawande

Monday morning, y'all.

It’s Monday morning out here on the West Coast, and it’s a special Real Estate edition.

Here’s what peeves me:

This weekend, Jeff and I looked at apartments. It was not our original weekend plan–he had a weekend off, and we were going to laze around and enjoy ourselves. But looking casually Friday night led to two full days of hunting. 8 apartments later, and I am a little disheartened. Of course, there were things we loved about each ones, and things that we hated. I think we whittled down a list, however, and finally know what we want:

*sunshine, and lots of it

*windows (to help with above said need)

*Air conditioning, because a year without it was NOT fun

*PARKING (This is one of the most important)

*more than a walk-in-closet sized kitchen

*bathroom that isn’t “old” or cracked or otherwise gross. (Jeff also is not keen on weirdly tiled sink, a commonplace in some places here)

*hardwood floors (I hate carpets, and Jeff also hates them from the dining area, and its seemingly all or nothing here)

*A landlord/manager ON SITE that speaks impeccable English. (We’ve have difficulties in the past.)

*something NOT on a hill, as Jeff DOES bike to work, and would be very appreciative if he could get to and from work in ease.

That being said, we’re looking mainly in the Los Feliz and Franklin Village areas, so we might not get lucky with the hill…We’ll see. Meanwhile, things we do not want:

*carpet

*a parking space that is exposed (Jeff worries about dings)

*A place that doesn’t pay water/trash (common place in LA, and some apartments we saw yesterday didn’t have the basics)

*a ground level apartment

*something too far from the 101

*A spot in an apartment complex with lots of children and/or college students

Also, we have created a “things that would be nice” column:

*A place that has an area to store a bicycle

*A pool

*An option for a second parking spot

*A bathtub and a shower without a door but rather a rod.

Any suggestions? Ideas for us? LA is a scary place to find an apartment, but I am confident it’s out there.