Saturday, August 30, 2008

Let the record show...



...she's still got it, bitchez.

Related, you think?



Friday, August 29, 2008

It's finally not weird anymore...

...to walk past the reception area at work and look out the front windows to see only the darkness outside.

...to want a snack around 2am, and then again around 5am, and sometimes at 3am.

...to have "breakfast" around 3 or 4 in the afternoon.

...to listen to Morning Edition on NPR on my way home from, rather than in toward, work.

(Only took 2 months to get used to it all...)

Rock out with your Glock out

I am so excited. This evening I get to go to the shooting range for the first time in over a year. Oh, how I have missed it. Link's Crossbow Trainer for the Wii was a reasonably fun substitute while I was pregnant, but there is nothing quite like staring down the sight on your beautiful 9mm Sig, steadying your breathing and your mind, easing the trigger back, and putting one right through the X ring. I know I'm all out of practice and will probably not shoot as well as I'm accustomed to shooting, but it's still going to be great.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Some of what I've been reading lately

Not that it should come as a surprise to anyone, but I've been reading more "mommybloggers" since the little sir was born.

I read Mimi Smartypants even before I had Soren. She's got an excellent wit and is one of those bloggers who was just popular enough at exactly the right time and got a book deal out of it. Her daughter, Nora, is such a smart, funny, quirky (in the best possible way) little girl. It seems there is always at least one laugh-out-loud moment in every post. The frequency of her updates varies though; sometimes she's got something new every few days, but sometimes she goes couple of weeks without posting.

Cathy of Leigha and the Triplets writes about her 7 year old daughter and triplet (!) 3 year old sons. I cannot imagine even dealing with twins, but three at once? Holy cow. Logistics...

Jen of Problem Girl has some absolutely fascinating (and somewhat horrifying) insights into the foster care system. The story of how she and her husband ended up fostering and then adopting their son, Joseph, is downright wrenching at times, but I couldn't look away. After giving birth to their daughter, Elle, Jen wrote another series of interesting posts about her experience as a surrogate for a gay couple. Really neat stuff.

Bethany over at Kings of the Road has an adorable daughter, Stella, who just happens to be about a week younger than Soren. It's neat to read about someone going through all the same stuff at the same time that I am.

Finally, I discovered Stimey just yesterday, who writes about her 3 boys. I like her writing style so far and am looking forward to reading more.

How He's Grown (Part 2)


2 days old


4.5 months old

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Briefly About Edwards

Okay, so I will agree that it was exceedingly naive for any of the parties involved in the Edwards affair to believe that it could be covered up forever. It was hugely irresponsible of John Edwards to deny everything and continue his presidential bid with the knowledge that, if he had won the Democratic nomination and the story had broken during the run-up to the general election - as it almost certainly would have - he would have effectively hosed his party and ruined its chances of beating the GOP. Had he owned up to the mistake, expressed appropriate remorse, maybe maybe he would have still had a chance with the voters. But denial, in this day and age, simply isn't going to work.

That said.

What the hell was Elizabeth Edwards supposed to do? I sincerely doubt John was sitting there saying, "Boy, I really ought to come clean about everything before I launch this campaign," and she was telling him, "No, that's a terrible idea; deceiving the voters would be a much better plan." I'm sure the decision was made, and her options were to go along with it and maintain some hope of holding her family together, or to leave him and spill her guts on the way out the door. Oh yeah, and raise her kids and deal with the return of her incurable cancer while suffering the very public airing of her marriage's dirty laundry. This claim that "keeping the secret was no less a sin than the one committed by her philandering husband" is completely bogus and pisses me off. I have nothing but sympathy for her and am offended by the suggestion that she owes anyone an apology.

Anyway. Just wanted to put that out there. Back to happier topics.

Captain Random Visits the Vitamin Mines

Fact: The softgel production area isn't nearly so odiferous when they aren't running fish oil on every single line. I can't imagine this would surprise anyone, but it was definitely noticeable to me tonight when I was making my rounds.

R&D has been working on several new products with colored gels. In the past, I think our only colored gel has been maroon, but these new ones are pink, lavender and (I'm told) a really pretty blue. They look like jelly beans. Biting into one would, however, be a very poor decision. Eugh.

The vending machines in the lunch rooms are now sporting a "healthy choices" row with things like baked potato chips, low-fat cookies, trail mix, etc. I just got myself a bag of garden salsa Sun Chips, which are oh so tasty. I've grown accustomed to snacking through the night, but it's fortunately been really easy for me to switch back to a night-sleeping (sans snacking) schedule on the weekends. Really easy. After spending the week like a Sim whose energy meter is always in the red, it is not at all difficult to go to bed Friday morning, take a nap Friday afternoon/evening, and sleep all of Friday night. ;)

That's all I've got for the moment. I may write later about how I think these new attacks on Elizabeth Edwards for concealing her husband's philandering are complete and total crap (because I do, and they are) but I'm not sure I want to bring all that negativity into my day. So we'll see.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

When he plays


playing with his dad
their grins are both enormous
it's the greatest thing

Monday, August 25, 2008

All-Time Allstars (Rounding out the Top Ten)

6. Runaway - Del Shannon
"I'm a-walking in the rain. Tears are falling and I feel a pain, wishing you were here by me, to end this misery..."
For such a sad song, it's awfully peppy. I remember sitting in the back seat of the car - I must have been in about the 4th grade - on our way to the barn where Kakki was boarded. This song came on the radio, and though I'd heard it plenty of times before, it was on this particular occasion that I remember thinking, "Man, I really love this song." I love the little breakdown in the middle (I guess it's the bridge) featuring a solo on a synthesizer I've since learned was called a Musitron. It is, as I've said, entirely too peppy for the subject matter.

7. The Way - Fastball
"An exit to eternal summer slacking."
This came out near the end of my junior year of high school, so possibly I associate it with the freedom of having my driver's license. It's fun to sing. Though I like to think that "the children" in the song are old enough to fend for themselves, maybe living at home long past the time when they should have moved out on their own. Because a song about child endangerment and abandonment? Not so fun after all, as it turns out.

8. Wing-Stock - Ashley MacIsaac
No lyrics
Another instrumental allstar. For the second semester of my senior year of high school, I was a teacher's aide for Mrs. Prince during her "prep" period, when she didn't actually have a class. So I helped her grade papers and whatnot, and we'd talk about whatever. I was taking bagpipe lessons at the time, which she found very interesting. At the end of the year she gave me this Ashley MacIsaac CD. (MacIsaac is a "Celtic fusion rock" fiddle-player from Canada who occasionally plays with bagpipers.) Anyway, this is a long setup to get to what I like about this particular track. There are plenty of songs on the album that do have lyrics, but this one is still the stand-out track on the CD, for me. It starts off as a slow-ish piano piece, kind of stately, and then it picks up in speed until the piano is essentially playing bagpipe or fiddle music, with all these crazy trills and runs. Then it switches again, so the piano now sounds like a strumming guitar, and the drums kick in, and then the fiddles and electric guitar/bass take over. It is such a rocking song. I have a hard time playing it without cranking up the volume.

9. The Middle - Jimmy Eat World
"Just do your best. Do everything you can. And don't you worry what their bitter hearts are gonna say."
This song came out at a time when I needed a good girl-power sort of anthem. To this day it does the trick, lifting my spirits even when they aren't down.

10. The Warmth - Incubus
"So don't let the world bring you down; not everyone here is that fucked-up and cold."
Junior year of college, I thought Incubus was the greatest thing since sliced bread, so 20 year-old Sue would no doubt be pissed at me for admitting that a lot of their stuff is, well, kind of obnoxious to listen to now. "The Warmth," however, is one of the exceptions. For one thing, it starts off with a bit of whale song (singing whales == cool in my book). For another, it's pretty mellow and not overly repetetive. And, like the Jimmy Eat World song, it's got this whole feel-good, take-on-the-world thing going on. Definitely picks me up when I play it.

I'll probably do one more post or two like this, since 15 or 20 tracks is a good number for a CD. Hope you guys don't mind.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Yesterday

"And what's your husband's name?"
"Tom."
"What does he look like?"
"Um...well...here, I have some pictures of him on my camera. I can show you."

She smiled her approval, and though I smiled back at her, my heart broke a little. She doesn't remember coming to our wedding. She doesn't remember all the visits, all the dinners. In all likelihood, neither she nor Soren will remember today's visit, either.

It's hell to get old.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Zoom!

Well, there went another week. Hard to believe I've been back to work, living the vampire life, for 7 weeks already. On Mondays and Tuesdays, it feels like Friday will never get here, but overall, one week just blends right into the next, and into the next, and into the next...

Soren's becoming quite the grown up little fellow, sleeping through the night more often than not. And I mean through the night, from about midnight until 7 or 8, and then going back to sleep again once he's eaten. Unfortunately, this has lately meant that he's ready to wake up and start the day for good around 11:00am, by which time I've only been asleep for a couple of hours. Imagine going to bed at your usual hour (say, 10pm) only to be awakened at midnight and made to stay awake until 2 or 3 in the morning. Then you can go back to sleep, but only for an hour, and then you have to stay up again til 6 or 7. If you're lucky you'll be able to catch one more hour before you have to go to work. It gets a little exhausting after a few days in a row!

(I'm not gunning for your sympathy here...I will continue to reiterate that I've brought this on myself by refusing the daycare option.)

Happily, I haven't (yet) had too many days in a row with this minimum sleep load. This week, for example, the first few days were rough, but the last two mornings Soren has let me sleep - minimally interrupted - until 2 or 3 in the afternoon! Nice! So it all evens out in the end. And now, at long last, Friday has arrived, so I'm going to end this somewhat nonsensical post and head on home. Later, there will be more Soren-in-his-jumpy-swing video fun, so check back for that!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

All-Time All Stars (First Five)

I've been thinking lately about what qualifies something to be an all-time favorite. Specifically, I've been thinking about this in the context of music. I've been going through some mix CDs I made in college, each one comprised of songs I loooooved at the time. I remember singing in the car at the top of my lungs, or bopping along to my discman on the way to class, enjoying every note. As is frequently the case, however, my tastes have changed in the intervening years, and when I listen to the same discs now, I may skip past a full third of the songs.

There are some, though, that have stood the test of time. I could be in just about any mood and I would still enjoy them. I wonder how much of it has to do with positive associations I've made with the various songs (I suspect this has a lot to do with it, actually) and how much of it has to do with simply liking the way they sound. Musically, lyrically, whatever...they're just good.

Anyway, I thought I would start cataloging these all-time faves, just for the heck of it. My only two rules for qualification - it has to be a song I would enjoy any time, anywhere, and it has to be a song I first heard at least 5 years ago. This is the necessary time factor, of course. Otherwise I'd just end up with a collection of what I loooove right now. ;)

1. The Inner Light - The Beatles
"The farther one travels, the less one knows."
I could list any number of Beatles tunes, probably, given that I was raised listening to them. This one in particular though reminds me of spinning and dancing in the living room with complete abandon, with my mom and sister and probably one or more aunts. I can't help but smile when I listen to it.

2. Precious Little - Eleanor McEvoy
"Precious little in your life is yours by right and won without a fight."
I was about 14 or 15 when I first heard this one. At first I just liked the melody, but later I started paying attention to the lyrics (it's about the fighting between Catholics & Protestants, I'm assuming in McEvoy's native Ireland - "Two people coming from a different place; maybe neither one is right.") I thought it was all very profound, or something, and developed a great fondness for the pretty song.

3. Teotihuacan - Noel Gallagher
No lyrics
Nerd alert. This instrumental track plays over the end credits of the first X-Files movie. So I first heard it at 16, when I saw the movie in the theater. There are all kinds of interwoven melodies, and I'm a sucker for that sort of thing. I considered this one of my "theme songs" for a goodly while. I can be pretty much guaranteed to improve my mood just by listening to it.

4. Cigarettes Will Kill You - Ben Lee
"They swore you'd steal my steam to feed your dream and then be gone; I wish I could say that everyone was wrong."
This one's on the Playing By Heart soundtrack (PBH being one of my all-time favorite movies, but that's a whole different list), so I first heard it at 17 when the movie came out. I don't know that I can even articulate what it is I like so much about the song. It's not particularly happy, lyrically. Ben Lee doesn't have the best voice. And I don't love the song simply because it's in one of my favorite movies. I guess I'll just have to go with the vague statement, "I like the way it sounds."

5. Into My Arms - Nick Cave
"I don't believe in an interventionalist god, but I know, darlin', that you do. But if I did, I would kneel down and ask him not to intervene when it came to you."
This is a pretty easy, pretty obvious case of "I like it because I have a positive association with the first time I heard it." I was 20, and it was playing the first time I rode in the car with Tom. Listening to it brings back that fluttery feeling of rapid-onset massive crush on the handsome boy I hadn't seen since high school but with whom conversation was so easy and comfortable and amusing that we'd talked all night. Hard to argue with an association like that. ;)

Well, there you have it. I'll think about it some more and come up with my next five candidates next week sometime. For now, why don't you tell me in the comments about a song that's one of your all-time all stars?

Oh yeah, and happy birthday, Dad. :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Photo Essay 3: Cholesterol Overload!

So, this past weekend, instead of doing a dinner over at Max's, we got together to make brunch on Sunday. As is frequently the case, we opted for something rather adventurous. We decided to try making bacon cups.


Attempt #1

We started out by wrapping raw bacon around the bottoms of these little dishes (not quite ramekins, but just a little bigger). These were put in the oven at (I believe) 450 degrees, with a drip pan underneath to catch all the bacon grease.


Oops

The bacon of course started curling as it cooked, compromising the structural integrity of the cups.


We ended up with some pretty big gaps in the cups, and they were kind of tricky to remove from their molds.


See?

Also, if you look closely, you can see that the side of the bacon that was right up against the ramekin-type dishes didn't cook properly. We had to finish these cups in the microwave.


They ended up kind of flat, not so much cup-like, but as it was noted time and again, failed bacon cups are still successful bacon deliciousness.


Attempt #2

The second round involved some partial pre-cooking in the microwave, some weaving of the bacon strips - less cups now and more baskets - and reinforcement to improve the overall structural integrity. It worked beautifully.


Fill 'er up

The bacon baskets were lined with some sharp cheddar cheese, and then little discs of hash browns were placed inside.


Can't you just feel your arteries clogging?

The finishing touch was a scoop full of scrambled eggs with veggies. It was quite the meal, extraordinarily tasty and ultimately pretty fun to put together. (I say that as if I actually had a hand in anything and didn't spend the whole time keeping Soren entertained.) They were certainly fun to eat, I can tell you that!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Droolio


drooly little sir
slobber dripping from his chin
while he grins at me

Monday, August 18, 2008

Heel! Sit! Stay! Stop chewing on that!

Sometimes it's hard to focus at night. It's not always for the same reason, either. Sometimes it's the obvious - I didn't get enough sleep during the day, and my brain is just too fuzzy. Sometimes there are too many things I want or need to do, and it's tough to concentrate on just one at a time. Sometimes my brain just gets into that state that happens late at night, when you can't settle. You know what I mean. When your mind is racing and tumbling over itself and keeping you from sleep. Only I'm not trying to sleep, I'm just trying to assemble data or better understand a process or write up a report. It's not always the worried racing I associate with typical insomnia, either; sometimes it's simply a matter of wondering about some random fact, and then spring boarding from that to another item of trivia, and before I know it I'm looking up census data from Bangladesh in 1973. Or something equally obscure.

Lists help me focus, usually. Maybe planning helps me feel like I can regain some control over my disobedient, wandering stream of consciousness. Maybe it's the simple physical act of putting pen to paper (my lists are always handwritten) that provides me with some sort of ground. An anchor for my thoughts. They may still try to flail around at the end of their tether, but they're no longer completely free-floating. After making a list I'm usually good to go for a little while, even on my most distractable of nights.

I wrote this post by hand in an attempt to effect the same result. (Though I just had to stop & google "effect as verb" to make sure I had it right. Because, grammar nerd though I may be, I still need to double-check every now and again.) It's helped a little, but my mind is still feeling a little squirrely. I might be in need of actual human interaction. Fortunately, it's about time for me to make another round through production, so maybe that'll work.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Two for two on the stuffed squash-fruits

Last night for dinner I continued cooking up my farmers' market haul. This time it was some pretty fantastic goat cheese stuffed zucchini and roasted corn on the cob. The zucchini were pretty freaking outstanding. Then again, how could they not be, really? Zucchini with onions, sauteed in butter, combined with bread crumbs & crumbled goat cheese, topped with fresh tomato...what's not to love?

The only problem with making slightly more elaborate meals during the week is that I don't get to take full advantage of Soren's evening nap (by which I mean that I spend his napping hour cooking instead of napping along with him). So the tradeoff for the extra deliciousness has been a marked decrease in my energy level, leading me to look forward to the weekend with even more gleeful anticipation than normal. On the other hand, I've taken up watching old X-Files episodes on the laptop while I cook or do the dishes, so I'm making my way through Season 1 with no small amount of delight. Such a dork. ;) It's fun, though. I haven't seen most of these episodes in years, and I've (gasp!) forgotten a lot of the finer plot and dialogue details. Tonight, though, I will likely favor a nap over a new recipe, so I'll catch more X-Files over the weekend, perhaps.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

That Guy Is Dangeresque

Since I forgot to do a haiku yesterday...


his new sunglasses
are beyond adorable
I cannot stand it

Blog Renovation

I'm messing around with the template again. I've been wanting to be able to use the "older posts" link at the bottom of the page, which only seems to be an option with the new Blogger layouts. I'm not at all thrilled by the reduced ease of customization with the new layouts, but I'm willing to give it a shot. Expect continued tweaking for a few days.

I am occasionally a good cook

On Tuesday mornings there's a farmers' market just down the block from our apartment. I've been meaning to stop by there for a while, but they're only open til 1pm, and I'm usually barely conscious by then. Plus, I so rarely carry any cash, and I keep forgetting to get some during the day on Monday. However, yesterday morning the young sir decided that he'd like to be awake at 10:30, and after about 20 minutes of failed attempts to coax him back to sleep, I decided I might as well take the opportunity to go check out the market.

We got some cash from the bank and walked on over to the little row of flower and produce stalls. Soren drew plenty of attention on account of his brand new, super adorable baby sunglasses (photos to follow later today, hopefully). We made a pass up through the row to peruse the goods and made our purchases on the way back down. Green beans (two varieties), tomatoes, avocados, sweet corn, zucchini, yellow sunburst squash, strawberries, raspberries, a watermelon and a canteloupe made their way into the stroller. Once we got back home, we had another nap, and then I set about figuring out what to make for dinner.

I settled on stuffed squash & green beans. I followed this recipe for the squash (stuffing is made up of bacon, onion, squash guts, bread crumbs & parmesean cheese). It was fairly easy to do, and it was so frigging delicious. I mean...yeah. Yumzors with a capital Y. A++++, will make again. I was extraordinarily pleased with how the dish turned out.

For the green beans, I followed a recipe from one of our cookbooks. This recipe also called for bacon & onion, and I opted to add some crushed garlic as well. The instructions were to saute the bacon & onion, add the beans, cover the whole thing with water & simmer for 2 hours, add a couple of tablespoons of sugar, then simmer for another half hour. I'm pretty sure I added way too much water, because everything looked and smelled extremely promising before I put the water in, but after cooking it was kind of flavorless & soggy. Disappointed! But Tom came to the rescue and salvaged the dish, draining off the water & cooking everything down just a little. The flavors all came back, and it was almost as tasty as the stuffed squashes. Yay!

Later I'm going to attempt a delicatessen-style green bean salad with the other green beans I got & the zucchinis. I will let you know how that goes!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Soren's First Plane Ride


Handling it well so far. Had a little ear discomfort on our first descent, but he's a good lad.

A Spitting Image


Soren playing in the mirror

First Laugh

Soren & I were over visiting Shay this afternoon. I had the little guy in the front pack facing the fish tank (they've got a really neat salt water tank with tons of very colorful fish), and he was giggling at Shay, like really giggling. Chortling, even. It was just about the cutest thing ever. I hope he keeps it up so I can catch it on video soon.

Other milestones, etc: He's still very fond of blowing raspberries, and his other vocalizations are becoming even more varied. He's obsessed with grabbing his toes (see this week's Haiku post) and is starting to be able to lift his head up while he's lying on his back. (Baby crunches.) He can roll from his back to his side very easily and sometimes makes it all the way to his belly; it's easier for him to do this on the bed or couch than on the flat ground. He's still trying to figure out what to do with his arms when he's rolling or scooting forward on his belly. And of course, noted below, he can stand up really well. He still needs help balancing (duh) but the strength is all there. Same with sitting up. He loves playing in his little jumpy swing and can really get a good bounce going sometimes. Such the cutest boy there ever was.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Travels

Tomorrow evening we're taking the boy on his first plane ride. We'll be one of those "families traveling with small children" who are invited to board the plane early. Yesterday I started making a list of things to pack; holy crap, there's a ton of stuff to bring, even for such a short trip. Not that this is a huge surprise - we had the car packed full when we drove up to Oregon for a week in June.

I'm generally pretty confident that everything will go relatively smoothly. My main concerns are that (1) Soren will have trouble equalizing his ears and will be uncomfortable, (2) Soren will pick an inopportune time (takeoff, landing) to require standing & bouncing, and (3) Soren will have one of his patented diaper explosions on the plane and we'll have to change the squirming, poop-covered boy on our laps with some poor soul sitting in the 3rd seat of our row, being subjected to all the fun.

(As to the first concern, I'm actually pretty optimistic that his recent acceptance of a pacifier will improve matters greatly. I've also heard that nursing during takeoff & landing can be helpful, so I'll do that if I have to. So I guess I'm only concerned that neither of those will work, but it's just a mild concern.)

Anybody have any diaper-changing-on-a-plane stories to share?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Happy Baby Pose


not for naught do the
yogis call this posture the
happy baby pose

Six Weeks to a Stronger Me

Soren's a few days away from being 4 months old. My post-partum recuperation period is long over. It's time to get back to the gym.

But who among us (we, the vampire shift-working, sleep deprived, infant-entertaining new mothers) has the time? Much though I would love to get back to swimming or (gasp) even running, it just doesn't seem like it's going to happen anytime soon. Even my (nearly) daily campus walks have been abbreviated lately, due to the warm summer temperatures. So what's a girl with limited self-discipline to do?

Well, last week I read about this 100 Pushups Challenge thing. It's a training program that, over the course of six weeks, allegedly works you up to being able to complete a hundred pushups in a row. Okay, I figured, I can spend 10 minutes every other day doing some pushups in the living room while Soren naps or plays in his jumpy swing. It's worth a shot.

I didn't bother to do the initial endurance test; I know I'm out of shape, and all the baby presses* in the world aren't enough to prepare me for a bunch of full pushups. So I started off at the lowest level and completed the first day's assignment - four sets of two pushups, with one-minute rests between sets, and a fifth set of as many pushups as you can do, as long as it's more than three. (I did five.) I'm not ashamed to say I was winded by even this small exertion. I know I'm out of shape; this is why I'm starting some sort (any sort) of exercise program. Overall though, it wasn't too difficult. I managed to get through the sets without collapsing or anything, so that's good.

The next day, I was sore. All over. Really sore. Not sore like I'd pulled a muscle or anything, just sore like I'd had a proper workout. Sore arms, sore chest, sore belly, sore back...all the muscles I haven't had to really use for many months. I figured this was a good sign that the pushups really do work fairly comprehensively.

I did the second day's assignment on Sunday. Four pushups in the first set, then three, then two, then two more, then "max", with 90 seconds' rest in between sets this time. (I maxed out at 10.) Monday I wasn't nearly as sore as I'd been after the first day's workout. This evening I'll do more. I'm hoping that blogging about it will provide me with some extra incentive not to wimp out. Here goes nothing!

*Like bench presses, only using a smiling 16 pound boy instead of a big metal bar.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Strong Like Bear


Look at this kid, will ya? Not even 4 months old yet, can't sit up on his own, has not completely got the rolling over thing down, but he can stand up for a little bit at a time basically unsupported. My hands are there just to help him stay balanced and to provide some support when his legs finally get tired & he's ready to sit back down. He thinks this standing business is hugely entertaining, absolutely loves it. It's really quite something.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Photo Essay 2: The Coconut

A couple of weeks ago, the theme for our Friday night dinner was Afghani food. Specifically, we made quorma & pilau. The quorma recipe called for (among other things) some freshly grated coconut. At the grocery store, Max selected a Thai coconut. They look like this.


The whole thing was wrapped in plastic, so I thought maybe that meant the "meat" was on the outside. I took a cheese grater to the side of it, but what I grated away was all fibrous and not at all cocunut-meaty.


It was determined then that the best course of action would be to drain the coconut, hack or smash it open, and obtain the meat from the inside. But how to drain a coconut? We tried several different methods.


The corkscrew ended up hitting a second, harder shell buried within the outer husk. It wasn't quite strong enough, or long enough, to get through both.


Max decided we should try a power drill next, mostly because it would be amusing. It might have worked, but - alas - the drill was out of batteries and died almost instantly.


We decided we would have to cut through the outer husk to get to the inner shell. But the chef's knife just wasn't...er...cutting it.


Once we switched to a serrated blade, progress finally started to be made.






Max's "slice & peel" technique worked remarkably well.


Soon there was a whole pile of husk, and the hard-shelled "inner coconut" was extracted.


We went back to the corkscrew. At first it didn't seem like it was working, so I stopped to take a photo in order to continue documenting our trials and errors. That would be this photo, here. The photo is dark because I forgot to activate the flash on my camera. There is not a second, appropriately lighted photo because moments later the coconut started leaking everywhere. Not so ineffective as we'd thought!


We captured what we could to save for later. We also drank some of the coconut milk straight, just to try it. It was very sweet and tasty.


Now to get at the meat. Yes, that is a hatchet. Max is a crazy one.


But it worked!


We scooped out the coconut flesh with a spoon.


It was not at all what we expected. Kind of slimy and thin and limp. Not anything you could reasonably expect to grate. So we stuck it in the blender, along with the rest of the quorma ingredients (minus the meat).


Blenderrific!


This is how our quorma ended up turning out. It was really, really tasty.


And the rice.

All in all, another successful weekend dinner. And now we know that Thai coconuts are way more trouble than they're worth. ;)