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Things you learn with a root canal

There's not enough novicaine in the world for my mouth.

Tensing your jaw, shoulders, and mouth will eventually cause a stabbing pain in the back of your head as if there is a spike installed on the dentist's chair.

Nutella milkshake is a wonderful thing.

Grilled cheese with soft barely sourdough bread and brie is also quite nice and if made right, not too crunchy.

tastes - random musing

I am carmelizing 3 very large vidalia onions. And I'm thinking of the college roommate who suffered through my "hate onions and mushrooms" (and all sorts of other things) only to have me like them about a year after I moved out. Some things change. But give me cheddar and I still go "ick".


For almost three weeks I lived on chocolate, tea, and stress. Lots and lots of stress. With an occasional brisk walk here and there. Finally, back home, I manage to go the gym and get some real exercise. Everything is so much better.

Well, there's still stress. But I made bread.

fruit salad

Trying to be virtuous, I made fruit salad with apples, pears, grapefruit, bananas, and blueberries. I got tired of it after having two servings. It sat in the fridge sad.
So I removed the bananas. I made the Apple Cobbler recipe from Cooks Illustrated New Best Recipes, and baked it up. No longer virtuous, but now quite tasty. Maybe too liquidy, but tasty.


Lets say you want to stay home in bed all day and night and (re) read the whole Dresden Files SF series (by Jim Butcher). Is that a sign of:
A) depression
B) good taste
C) all of the above


dream: chocolate and marzipan

I dreamt last night of a creation. I dreamt of a long complicated recipe with many steps and a daunting list of ingredients. I dreamt of being a bit off put by this complication, but being interested in the mixture of flavors. I was particularly happy about the marzipan.

I dreamt of balls of cake and surrounded in a thin layer of marzipan and then ganache. Awake, I'm trying to figure out how to do this and properly balance the sweet/dark chocolate flavors. Cake balls are supposed to have icing mixed in, which would make them too sweet, as marzipan is like a bite of sugar. I think maybe a dark chocolate flourless cake, although it wouldn't have the light fluffy-ness of a cake ball (not that I've ever made or eaten a cake ball). Surrounded by marzipan. Surrounded by dark chocolate ganache. With an almond on top maybe. I feel that someone should have figured this out, but I wonder if they have. But the flourless chocolate cake might be the right consistency after all, more like a truffle than a cake. If I go out and buy a melon-baller, you will know I'm in trouble.

In the waking world, I write journal posts in my head. I write emails in my head. The emails get out (most of them are work related and have to, although some are delayed by a week), but the journal posts never seem to. I want to illustrate them with a photo (of which I have tons), but I don't want to post the photos on flickr, or pay for a LJ account which allows for photo uploading. I design jewelry in my head. I come up with fleeting ideas to re-design the garden. I think of new and creative ways to make bread. I read food blogs, and bookmark things to try to make. So little of all this mental buzzing becomes reality.

Really stupid mistake

We have a blizzard today. Last weekend it was a snowstorm with over 2 feet of snow. Today, it's blowing winds, whiteout, probably about 9 inches by now. We only drove out for about an hour yesterday to check on husband's work and get groceries (a very short distance). Other than endless shoveling of snow and ice and the occasional walk, we haven't been out.

So I decide to not only work from home today but make cinnamon rolls. I decide to make caramel covered rolls. I decide to put them in the oven with nothing underneath them (and do this in a muffin pan instead of a cake pan) and go into my office and close the door.

I end up with a houseful of smoke, most of the caramel topping having seeped up and out onto the bottom of the oven and husband mad at me having opened windows wide open due to the snow blowing in. All this during a video meeting which I had to step away from.

So let this be a lesson to you: When making something new, hang around the kitchen. There would have been a LOT less smoke had I caught this early.

We're fine. My lungs need to recover, though.


I will be going to CERN in January, and was thinking on my commute about what it would be like...

Imagine a large group of physicists, at the CERN cafeteria. They are excitedly whispering (to a beat): "there's beam. There's beam. At 7 TeV. There's beam." And the whispering, musical excitement would build until they're singing a full blown musical number about finding the Higgs. All dancing (geekily) in a large group. And then some graduate student would sing a lovely solo about their bread and butter Drell-Yan thesis.

dream this morning

In Dr. Zhivago, there was a scene where they were traveling a long distance on a train, and in the center of the room was a large barrel with disinfectant (quite strong and dangerous). The image in the dream reminded me of that.

So in the dream, I was trying to find out what happened to my sister, and what was going on, since we'd been cut off. I went to their house and it was like a cabin in the woods, a bit scruffy like the typical cabin in the woods. There was one room that was filled with that disinfectant, and I knew to be careful of it. Someone captured me, wrapping me up in a shower curtain and was going to drench me in the disinfectant, purifying me. I was fighting, struggling, but there was nothing I could do.
A wrong number phone call woke me up.

weight & idealizing the ancestral life

If I had a real blog, instead of just random postings, I'd pull together some research and write about this.


So we learned the other day that there was a fossil skeleton found that pre-dates Lucy. Called "Ardi", the evidence they've found is that this skeleton which leads to information about human origins, is of a hominid of 4 feet tall woman of 110 pounds. There are lots of other fascinating details, but right away that clicked. That's a BMI in today's calculator of 33.6, which is obese.

If this were a real blog, I'd go look up the other "health news" and "health research" stories that I remember vaguely in the back of my head. The ones which go on to say something new was discovered, and then they make some link to the women who were home on the plains taking care of the tribal family and the men were hunter-gatherers. These stories always seem to smack of "and thus, these sex differences are necessary from an evolutionary standpoint and indicate how we should continue to behave today." So are we to take the indication from the fossil evidence here that obesity is fine? Probably fine for that hominid. What we should do is stop trying to take all of our cues from the past and instead understand the people we are today. Understand that what is good for one person (could be an outlier) or for an *average* of people is not necessarily good for all. Realize that we need to be careful about how we analyze large datasets of complex systems, much less studies in mice, or of small subsets of people (we tested 20 college students needing extra credit in psychology, and based on those results, have extrapolated to all of humanity from the past into the future).

I'm sure with some effort I could put together a reasonable argument for my thoughts, but I was really hoping to find it on one of the typical "women's issue" blogs. Nope, nothing.

But this isn't a real blog, and I've got work to do. Work in a field where I'm an outlier. So there.



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June 2011


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