Saturday, August 30, 2008

I may have to change my mind about my vodka choices after reading this. I didn't realize I was so pedestrian in my tastes although it shouldn't surprise me..
I found this while stumbling around looking for new ideas of mixers with- what else- vodka on

Really a base chemical

Vodka is the simplest, the most utterly unsophisticated alcoholic beverage of them all -- consisting of essentially nothing else than a mixture of 40 % ethanol (C2H5OH) and 60 % water (H2O). Of course, there may be minute amounts of impurities in the brew, but they are truly minute, mind you. Still, for the sharp-sensed connoisseur these impurities can conceivably serve as distinguishing marks for different brands of vodka (though I have my doubts ...) -- traces of residuals passed over from the distillation, impurities picked up from storage vessels, ingredients in the local water used, etc. But in the case of vodka (as opposed to more sophisticated boozes like whiskey and brandy) these additives are for all practical purposes very close to being nonexistent. What we are dealing with here is just a simple chemical preparation: a 40 % solution of ethanol in water. Period.

The Vodka Belt -- ethnic vodka-mixing

So the question of what mixes well with vodka should essentially boil down to clear-cut chemical considerations. But interestingly, there seems to be an ethnical side to vodka-mixing too. The name is derived from Russian, so we may assume that vodka mixes well with Russians. In fact, it seems to mix rather well with a number of other peoples living in the colder northern regions of Europe as well -- Finns, Swedes, Norwegians, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Poles - people living in the so-called "vodka belt" of Northern Europe. Here people are not enjoying alcoholic beverages for their exquisite taste and mild intoxicating effects. No, what these people are after is getting dead drunk as fast as possible, completely stoned in full Russian style, particularly on a Friday and/or Saturday night. So for the originators of vodka the stuff was never meant to be a tasty beverage to be mixed in sophisticated ways for culinary enjoyment. Rather, it was (and is) just an unpretentious chemical agent for getting pissed and paralytic as efficiently and cheaply as possible, like greased lightning.

Sugar and salt

Ethanol is a hydrophilic organic solvent, i.e. it mixes readily with water and various water solutions. Hence vodka may be diluted with whatever watery beverage you desire to use, in whatever proportions. Sugar has limited solubility in ethanol, but the 60 % water in vodka helps to dissolve appreciable amounts. If too much sugar is added, then un-dissolved crystals will remain. Skilled manipulation of the solubility properties at different temperatures of 40 % ethanol may result in the formation of large, nice-looking sugar crystals in the bottle.

If small quantities of some saline solutions are added to vodka, then precipitates of the salt may form, because many inorganic salts have limited solubility in ethanol. I have no idea why anybody would want to add small amounts of strong salt solutions to vodka, but now you are at least warned. (Well, come to think of it, I have no idea why anybody would like to mix vodka with anything, but this is of course beyond the scope of this writeup.)

The chemical secret of Pernod

On the other hand, the organic solvent properties of ethanol may dissolve organic oils and fats even in the presence of 60 % water. Small quantities of diluted water emulsions of oils (e.g. milk) may clear up when added to vodka. The solvent power of 40 % ethanol is actually used in the preparation of the French aperitif Pernod. Here Star anise oil is a chief ingredient in Pernod, forming a clear, yellow solution. But when water is added, then the ethanol becomes diluted to such a degree that it can no longer hold the oil in solution. Instead a whitish "precipitate", i.e. an emulsion of small un-dissolved oil drops appears, making the water-Pernod mixture look like yellowish milk.

Idiosyncratic, but pedestrian

Taste is idiosyncratic, so mixing vodka, an essentially tasteless (pun intended) 40 % ethanol solution, with various other beverages may possibly elicit new sensations in the taste-buds. But as for me, a resident of the "vodka belt" of Northern Europe, I have a rather contemptuous attitude toward this completely pedestrian booze. I don't feel that it mixes well with anything, least of all with people.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Still around.
Still fiddling with tomatoes by the bucket.
Trying to get enough sleep and exercise so I can manage a day at breakneck speed at work and we in Title I aren't even working the complete schedule yet.
Life is good.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Excerpts from a Dog's Diary......

8:00 am - Dog food! My favourite thing!

9:30 am - A car ride! My favourite thing!

9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favourite thing!

<>10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favourite thing!
12:00 pm - Lunch! My favourite thing!

1:00 pm - Played in the yard! My favourite thing!

3:00 pm - Wagged my tail! My favourite thing!

5:00 pm - Milk bones! My favourite thing!
6:00 pm
- Oooh, Bath . Bummer.
7:00 pm - Got to play ball! My favourite thing!

8:00 pm - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favourite thing!

11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favourite thing!

Excerpts from a Cat's Daily Diary
. ..

Day 983 of my captivity.

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects.

They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.
In an attempt to show my disgust, I once again vomit on the carpet.& nbsp;

The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape.

Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am. Bastards.

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of "allergies." I must learn what this means and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow -- but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released - and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded.

The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicating with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe. For now................

I am struggling with a parental problem. It's gone on for maybe three or four years. My ways of handling it are not going to work in solving or even coming close to managing it.
My daughter is a scaredy cat. High anxiety in the strangest places at the strangest times. Ok, maybe I understand some of the places and times but I can't seem to help her deal constructively with it since it doesn't make sense.
I hit a bump yesterday and we broke down a while. That is to say she had an episode and I blew my cool. Not the usual scenario. I usually talk and cajole and talk and then let her off the hook and give up.
In all her years,I have stood back purposefully to watch. She has presented projects and spoke to crowds since she was in first grade. She makes grades I only dreamed about. She seems well- rounded in social gatherings of her peers and gets on well with grown ups, especially those she knows.
However, ask her to order her own food at a drive thru or restaurant or speak to someone about a job, make a phone call for general information and she has a break down of amazing proportions. I'm stumped. I am so tired of talking her into doing stuff I KNOW she can handle.

The way I feel about this is she has to eventually buck up and do this stuff for herself or she is going to be a misfit who can't take care of the smallest detail of a normal existence. SHE will suffer. And the only way besides medication (sort of kidding since I know it's real anxiety) is to push on thru and make herself do it. She will survive the experience and she can draw from the positive for the next time.
So now, since I know I am not making any difference in my approach, I need to come at it from another direction. I have to think about it.

Last night I rented "Match Point", the Woody Allen drama. What a great movie.
Tonight I have Johhny Depp in "The Libertine". I haven't seen this either. Love me some Depp and I do so love those period films.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tempting Fate?

No offense to anyone but-
Where the hell are you, nataS?!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Salsa making among other kitchen activities last night.
I pick my cucumbers a few at a time like my green beans since I didn't sew a huge amount this year. I had to clean out my vegetable bin since it had several weeks worth of veggies.
Of the freshly picked green beans, I blanched some, cooled them well and added Italian vinaigrette to them and popped them in the fridge. Good salad additions or a nice little snack..

I punted on my salsa recipe. I didn't feel like measuring (uh-oh!) (Did it have anything to do with the wine?) so I spiced it up the way I thought it should be. I did grill some of the sweet peppers since I have read recipes that added smoked peppers. Since my jalapeno peppers are doing poorly I didn't have as many of the hot peppers to add so I added a few squirts of Sriracha hot sauce. I did a taste test before I put it in the jars to can and it was SPICY but de-lish! Good thing the kids like it spicy.

I listened to the wonderful music I never get a chance to listen to without being interrupted. I hate interruption, by the way.
I think Al Green should have been a marriage counselor given what he promotes in his songs.
"you be good to me, I'll be good to you- we'll see each other walk away with victory" and love, love, love. Simplistic, I know but still.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Extra, Extra!

Laws of Life

Murphy's First Law for Wives:
If you ask your husband to pick up five items at the store and then you add one more as an afterthought, he will forget two of the first five.

Kauffman's Paradox of the Corporation:
The less important you are to the corporation, the more your tardiness or absence is noticed.

The Salary Axiom:
The pay raise is just large enough to increase your taxes and just small enough to have no effect on your take-home pay.

Miller's Law of Insurance:
Insurance covers everything except what happens.

First Law of Living:
As soon as you start doing what you always wanted to be doing, you'll want to be doing something else.

Weiner's Law of Libraries:
There are no answers, only cross-references.

Isaac's Strange Rule of Staleness:
Any food that starts out hard will soften when stale. Any food that starts out soft will harden when stale.

The Grocery Bag Law:
The candy bar you planned to eat on the way home from the market is always hidden at the bottom of the grocery bag.

Lampner's Law of Employment:
When leaving work late, you will go unnoticed. When you leave work early, you will meet the boss in the parking lot.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Quick and To the Point

Fancy big breakfast before heading into the shopping metropolis.

School clothes shopping -yippee (hardly)

Garden is calling as well as the bowls full of tomatoes - still there

Made scrumptious fresh tomato sauce last night with Parmesan shaved on and fresh basil leaves. OMG!

Fresh salsa waiting in fridge for after purchase of favorite tortilla chips

58 degrees this morning -loving it, thankful for it but not getting used to it because it will change back to 90's this coming week.

Funny things, important things:
-J's voice is squeaky from turning into a man
-E put in an application for a job
-my cats will eat Vienna sausages in a pinch when there is no cat food (I didn't buy those -we were given some which I refuse to consume- just thought you oughta know)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Wanna See My Tomatoes?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I started on my bag of Starbucks Sumatra coffee yesterday. Strong smooth coffee. Yum.

My alarm didn't go off this morning, apparently suffering from ineptness on my part to set it correctly after having moved it back in the bedroom from the living room where I slept while Mom was here. She left yesterday. I woke up to my son groaning in his sleep which may or may not be more pleasant than my blaring alarm. Now I don't have sufficient time to take in two cups of life force AND get a bike ride in before I need to get ready. SSooo, I am writing a post.

First day of school- new principal. Has anyone every used the line about the "pal" in principal to you? I had an elementary principal that told us in 5th grade he was a principal first but there was a reason the "pal" was in "principal" because he was our pal in the end. What a load...
But our new guy is shaking things up and well he should. We are rather complacent as a building and our scores are not looking any better. I actually might have a little fear of my job. More on this later.

Well, my coffee is done and the time says to get started.
Ciao, people.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Abbreviated- The Best I Can Do

Mom still visiting- losing sleep.

Dr's appointment today- not my favorite spendage of time.

First day of school tomorrow and I'm still not ready mentally.

I miss Mrs. Jetpass...

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

I gave blood for the first time yesterday at our local United Methodist church where the bloodmobile locates every three months. It wasn't bad all in all until the nurse had to push the needle father in a couple more times after the initial stick. My veins play hard to get at sometimes even though I'm not a scaredy cat. Sorta made me a bit squeamish but after that it was smooth sailing. Nice to know I'm not anemic which is something one finds out. Also, I can check my cholesterol in a few weeks online to see what I'm at. Not a fair score though, since I wasn't fasting.
My blood pressure was 117 over 75- not bad and my heart rate was 61.
An interesting fact- the Amish in our community come in to give blood at an astounding rate. The bloodmobile sets the afternoon hours at this church particularly so the Amish can come in after they come in from the field.

Tomorrow is J's 13 birthday. He had a sleepover (not an accurate description of what went on) last Friday and got his present of a bike on Sunday. He would like some homemade ice cream and a fried chicken birthday meal. I hate frying chicken especially in this heat but anything for the baby.

E is in band camp all this week and let me tell you, I would like to move to another state. Not only is she not used to being outside in the heat, we have heat indexes of 110-115 degrees this week. She is also PMSing. ACK! That should tell you a lot right there. Change of subject.

My mother is coming for a visit this week. I think there is a visit planned to see the new baby.
It should be good for her to get away. She has been handling a lot of legal matters and paperwork. Nothing fun.

My son just had the window fall on his thumb. Lovely. Anyone care to lay bets on fingernail loss or no loss?

Monday, August 04, 2008

Something Light- Talk Amongst Yaselves

It's tough being a man...

a.. If you put a woman on a pedestal and try to protect her from the rat race, you're a male chauvinist.

b.. If you stay home and do the housework, you're a pansy.

c.. If you work too hard, there is never any time for her.

d.. If you don't work enough, you're a good-for-nothing bum.

e.. If she has a boring repetitive job with low pay, this is exploitation.

f.. If you have a boring repetitive job with low pay, you should get off your ass and find something better.

g.. If you get a promotion ahead of her, that is favoritism.

h.. If she gets a job ahead of you, it's equal opportunity.

i.. If you mention how nice she looks, it's sexual harassment.

j.. If you keep quiet, it's male indifference.

k.. If you cry, you're a wimp. If you don't, you're an insensitive a**hole.

l.. If you thump her, it's wife bashing.

m.. If she thumps you, it's self-defense.

n.. If you make a decision without consulting her, you're a chauvinist.

o.. If she makes a decision without consulting you, she's a liberated woman.

p.. If you ask her to do something she doesn't enjoy, that's domination.

q.. If she asks you, it's a favor.

r.. If you appreciate the female form and frilly underwear, you're a pervert.

s.. If you don't, you're gay.

t.. If you like a woman to shave her legs and keep in shape, you're sexist.

u.. If you don't, you're unromantic.

v.. If you try to keep yourself in shape, you're vain.

w.. If you don't, you're a slob.

x.. If you buy her flowers, you're after something.

y.. If you don't, you're not thoughtful.

z.. If you're proud of your achievements, you're full of yourself.

aa.. If you aren't, you're not ambitious.

ab.. If she has a headache, she's tired.

ac.. If you have a headache, you don't love her anymore.

ad.. If you want it too often, you're oversexed.

ae.. If you don't, there must be someone else.