Thursday, December 28, 2006

A Warm Welcome Home, Newark-Style

We arrived home early this morning from a brief Christmas holiday with Kenji's family, who live in the Seattle area. I'll post more about it later, but we had a lovely little vacation, and it was the first Christmas either of us has spent with family in six years.

While we were away, we parked our car at Kenji's workplace, near Penn Station in Newark, and took a cab to and from the airport. This morning, I stayed with our luggage in Penn Station while Kenji fetched the car - he picked me up and we were on our merry way home.

While waiting at a traffic light in downtown Newark, I noticed that the heater was still blowing cold air on us. This was despite the fact that the car had been running for a good ten minutes already, and the heat controls turned all the way up. Then we noticed that while the car's interior was not warming up, the engine compartment certainly was. In fact, it was getting dangerously hot!

Turns out the radiator mysteriously got a hole in itself while we were away, probably by magic. We managed to get the car home, without calling for a tow, by shutting off the engine at every red light, and pulling over every mile or so to let the engine cool down. At one point we even stopped at a gas station and put coolant in the radiator... only to watch it drain back out onto the ground below. Fortunately, the air was cold, so we never had to stop for more than five or ten minutes at a time. What normally would be a ten or fifteen minute drive worked out to be about an hour or so.

Luckily, the little car fix-it shop just around the corner from our house was able to fix the car today, so tomorrow I'll be all set to go to work.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Living Room v.2.0 and Early Christmas

A few weeks ago, Kenji and I started messing around with our living room's furniture arrangement. It used to look something sort of like it did in this post, except for add a coffee table in the middle, minus the rocking chair, and make the love seat flat up against the wall, instead of at an angle. Anyway, it didn't seem a very cozy welcoming arrangement, so finally we decided to move some stuff around.

Our final result is what you see here to the right, but we must have had two or three other arrangements in between. Our big challenge was that we really can't place any furniture flat up against three of the four walls in our living room because they all have some kind of doorway or archway leading into other rooms. We also wanted to make room for a TV that we didn't own yet. The only thing that would work wound up with us placing everything at an angle.

Oh yeah so anyway, Christmas came early at our house this year, because last Saturday we finally decided to buy a television. We already had a television, but it's a little 13-inch that Kenji has had for the past nine years. We've been sort of looking around at TVs for the last couple years, waiting for prices on flat panels to come down enough. We're very glad we didn't buy the 23-inch LCD TV that we saw a couple years ago at Shirokiya for $2,600. Instead we bought a 40-inch, for a whole lot less money. Someday we might even spring for cable or Direct TV.

We also needed to get something for the TV to sit on, preferably something that would fit in a corner. Pretty much all the TV stands we saw at the TV stores were butt-ugly. Instead we went to a little store called Far-Fetched, which is an independently owned Pier-1-ish furniture store. They have a lot of really cool, and somewhat expensive furniture items. When we walked in the door, we saw the red version of this nice modular bookshelf and drawer set. While it was on the expensive side, we considered it a possibility because of its flexibility in terms of how it can be arranged. The only problem was it had two sliding doors in the front of the bookshelf part, where we would want to keep our DVD and stereo equipment. It must have been our lucky day, because upstairs in the store we found the same piece, but in the right color, marked down by 50% because the sliding doors (that we didn't need anyway) had gotten warped somewhere in transit from China to New Jersey! So now we have something to put our TV on, and our kitty cat in, that is far more attractive than your average TV stand. Plus the door panels look pretty cool - we might even use them as wall-hangings.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Musubi Loves Chick-fil-A

Or a least she loves their little cow...
And obviously she doesn't want to share!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Calabaza Pie

I still have some of those pie crusts I got from work to use up, so today while I was at the grocery store, I picked up some pumpkin pie-like ingredients, neither of which are pumpkin.

The pie I'm making today is a calabaza pie. I'd never heard of calabaza until today at the store, when I saw what looked like a nice quarter of a pumpkin. The flesh was a rich orange, and the seeds looked like those of a pumpkin, but when I turned the package over, I could see that the skin looked more like that of a giant pale acorn squash. Anyway this one quarter of a calabaza produced enough squash goo to fill two pies, so once we finish this pie, I'll be able to make another calabaza pie with very little effort.

I used the same recipe that I used to make my butternut squash pie a couple weeks ago, except this time I tried putting one egg in it, to see how it would change the consistency of the pie. After adding the egg, the batter became so watery I was worried that the pie would not bake well, but I just took it out of the oven a few moments ago, and it seems to have set quite nicely. Now I want to go make a nice chocolate syrup to drizzle over the top. Yum. :)