It's been an interesting week down here in Aggieland. And by "interesting", I mean "holy crap".
First, the boring stuff. I'm teaching myself to cook, as you might have noticed, and I've tried a few good recipes lately. And by "tried", I mean "consulted a few, tried to see the similarities, and jury-rigged something that looked like it fit the pattern". So far, this has resulted in one seriously ass-kicking cream of mushroom soup. I could eat it for days. Sweetie, however, seems physically incapable of eating the same thing two nights in a row, regardless of whether or not I actually made it myself, so I've become resigned to the fact that he'll have one bowl on the first night and the rest I'll have to finish. Incentive to learn if ever I've seen it).
Anyway, one super-delicious cream of mushroom soup (seriously, ask Hastur, it's freaking fantastic), one... good but not spectacular chicken noodle soup. It needed spices of some kind. I'm not sure which ones, but I know that somewhere there are spices that I would recognize the taste of, and that this soup would benefit from. I only work with pre-cooked chicken right now, as I am not yet strong enough in the force to combat chicken cooties, and I only own the spices I need for the things I've cooked so far. I think I have maybe seven, eight?
So, tonight I wanted to make a lemony chicken soup (you might notice the continuing soup theme - my early success encourages me down this route, plus, the chicken cooties). I looked at a bunch of recipes, decided on something that sounded pretty straightforward: Broth. Meat. Lemon. Eggs (I don't understand the eggs, but I was willing to go on faith). And barley.
See, I like barley. I've never prepared it before, myself, but I've had it in things, and it always reminds me of those popped-rice cereals I ate as a kid, aside from just being plain delicious. What I didn't know about barley is that it's some form of grain-based sponge. Since my last two soups ended up pretty damn solid, I wanted to have a mostly-broth soup to drink at work. Therefore, I tripled (that's right, tripled) the amount of water in the simplest recipe, substituted a couple cups of barley for the same amount of rice called for, and read the package with dismay to discover I'd need to wait a damn hour to proceed, with the barley cooking on lowish heat.
So, I wait. Hell, it's National Novel Writing Month, and I made a bet with Sweetie and a friend of ours that I would finish before they did (so far, I am, and I'm still crazy behind where I should be), so I sat and worked on that for an hour (still behind). Tra la la, soon there would be delicious lemony soupy goodness.
An hour later? There was no soupy goodness. There was a pot full of barley and spices, puffed up to crazy proportions (Mind you, it was a damn tasty potfull, but still). So I added more water. And more. Lemon juice and egg, again tripling the proportions, since I was evidently making enough soup to feed the neighborhood. The chicken! Blast, I didn't have enough chicken, did I? Well, I had most of a pound, that would have to do. Add more boullion and hope it works out.
In a sense, this recipe was a learning experience. I learned that, in the future, I will lay out a bowl of water and barley in the morning, and collect what I need when I get home. I learned that adding more water will mean the barley will absorb more water. I'm hoping that adding even more will at some point result in a soup with broth, instead of lemony chickeny barley squishes, however delightful those squishes might be. Seriously, though, they were allright. Good tasting, even. Next time, I try this recipe with rice, maybe I even get a soup. But all in all I'm still taking it to work with no complaints.
So, thus, the boring of my week. Now on to the adrenaline-inducing.
I saw a little girl get hit by a truck on tuesday night. Let me just say right now, she's okay. Completely unharmed, save for a scratch on one knee.
Sweetie and I were driving down to get some jack in the box, we're stopped at a light, girl on bike is crossing. See, there are no crosswalks down the main street of College Station. NONE. The only way to get from one side of the city to another is to drive or jaywalk. Therefore, you see a lot of people jaywalking at the lights. And a lot of them get hit, especially at night. Go whereever it it they have the statistics for that sort of thing and look us up - it's very distressing.
So this little girl (she was fourteen, only two years older than LittlerBrother) is crossing, our light is red, she's good to go. There are two white trucks, a big one on the left, a small one on the right, as the first cars at the light. The big truck is blocking the view of the girl and the small truck, and you know, she's booking it, because that's how you cross Texas, you book it and hope to not get hit. So she's riding her bike at a reasonable-for-the-circumstances speed, the light turns green, smalltruck guy starts to go forward and hits the girl square in the middle of the bike. She, thankfully, fell to the side and not UNDER the truck. Sweetie and I called 911, pulled into a parking lot and with a bunch of other people helped get her out of the road. The ambulance folk and police arrived quickly, her mom was found, hell, even her chinese take-out was all okay (which, incidentally, was the first thing she asked about). But GODDAMN.
One thing I noticed with all this. When she was hit, like six or seven cars of people stopped and helped her. But when it was clear that she was not seriously hurt, and that the EMTs and police were on their way, everybody scrammed. I think Sweetie and I were the only ones to give statements, and I know for a fact we were the only ones to wait with her until her mom arrived, and see if there was anything else we could do to help. It just... I don't understand that. Even though there weren't any big injuries, you don't leave a kid like that. That'll shake you up. Her damn shoes flew off! It blows my mind.
I guess some knitting stuff has been going on, too. I've worked more on the jacket, only to notice while splicing on the knee of my jeans that the dye is running big time. I'll be soaking the remaining hanks in some eulacan tonight, then splicing them together (may as well get it all done) and soaking the work I've done so far. I'm feeling pretty good about it, all in all. Hey, maybe it'll even grow some, and I'll have less to do, eh? Hastur came home with a skein of the most delicious alpaca fingering-weight in a kind of pearly-grey, that I'm almost paralyzed with love for. I want to make something that'll really highlight the awesomenicity of this yarn, but I can't find anything that suits it just right. I can wait, though. I know by now I've just got to let it simmer before it starts to talk to me. I've also split some sock yarn of unknown origin into two balls, so I can make some happy-sunshine-yellow socks during this beautifull fall weather. I've got matching-ish laceweight (I'm sure you all remember dear Cadmium) that I'm dying to make into something. So far I was thinking of the flowering eucalyptus shawl that Margaret Stove wrote up - you know the edging from that? Maybe that, mirrored, as a scarf. Or that, on a rectangle, as a scarf. I don't know. All I know is that I need something happy. Something squishy and warm. Something yellow.