msbabs32: (accomplished)
Sunday, July 26th, 2009 11:43 pm
This last Tuesday the big project day came and went – well, in fact. I went home early and felt like I had been hit by a truck. It took a couple more days to remember how to relax. This weekend was the first where I didn’t spend part of it at work, lost slept over work or have something looming Monday. It seemed like everything was work: pick up breakfast from McD’s to have at my desk and lunch/dinner was whatever they brought in. On the weekend N and I went out because we had no staples. Laundry I did only when absolutely necessary and dry cleaning was my friend. Our house would have been lost had it not been for my maid.

So this weekend I faced all the chores that I have been ignoring for the last month. I had to go food shopping, load the dishwasher (since I was now home dirtying dishes) and deal with messed up services. Oh dear god - the Horror…the Horror! I forgot how much work a home is. Dirty dishes are well, dirty; Trash smells like a bio-weapons experiment; the help desk isn’t; and grocery shopping takes forever and planning. Halfway through waiting for my deli meat I realized that working under the gun as I did was in some ways easier. To be able to focus your mind on something and have all other concerns taken care of or mitigated. You just have to not burn out – kinda like college.

But I would burn out or I would become selfish and a “woo girl” to be able to handle that crap non-stop. Since I like my relationships with my friends and my husband I’ll happily deal with the drudgeries/responsibilities of home-life. It also allows me extra processing cycles to write blog posts again. Now then, I think there is a multi-colored mold colony I need to introduce to the trash…
msbabs32: (WeLA)
Sunday, June 28th, 2009 01:38 pm
My back has always been impressively and frighteningly tight for almost all my known life. While getting a massage from my therapist, JQ, he suggested that I try a series of structural massages. it should take a total of ten hours to go over everything. My first session was last night. We started on loosening my back. Oddly enough we started on my abs and front chest muscles.

I learned several things that session. Despite that I am flexible than average person, I am tight in places I didn't know could be tight. I learned that my migraines and back tension is partly coming from chest. I also learned a new meaning to the terms: "sharp pain" and "intense". That a massage can be extremely non-relaxing yet have such incredible results. That I tense a lot and need to stop that. That it is amazing that it would *only* take ten hours total. I thought my pain tolerance was low but apparently it is surprisingly high. My tightness is common amongst high computer usage careers - awesome. I'll have to ask JQ what I can do/not do to counteract that. In the interim I'll try to put my arms back at my sides when not actively typing or clicking.

N picked me up and was highly amused by my spontaneous giggling all the ride home. I napped in a comma for an hour after coming home and slept like the dead at night.

Today I have slight bruising and some tenderness but am otherwise okay. Eight an a half more hours. I wonder how much different I'll feel when it's all done
msbabs32: (WeLA)
Monday, June 1st, 2009 12:21 am
Earlier this week I had to go to my running store in Venice, CA. Afterward N and I walked around the neighborhood. I’ve heard the area was named after Venice, Italy for the canals that they had. I recently learned where the canal systems actually were and decided to visit them. They are a little hidden and you basically have to walk to them.
”google_map” )

I thought it would be fun to see. I figured it would be kinda neat in a kitschy sort of way; that I would find it interesting but claustrophobic and not for me. There are streets, but they are almost very wide walkways. Street parking for non residents (and possibly even them) is almost non-existent. Most of the people there use the walkways and bridges to move around. Upon my visit there I noticed the pathway was very narrow and only allowed one person to walk comfortably at a time. Often times the vegetation from the houses had to be moved out of the way along our walk. The bridges were true arches and would be unsafe in the rain. Buildings typically had less than 3 feet between them unless more space was architected into the building. The lowest priced house for sale was well over 1.5 million.

Just as I figured: crowded, overly priced and inefficient move around. What I didn’t figure on was really liking it - bordering on loving it. Venice by the beach is an insanely crowded and stressful place: too many people, too many cars, too much noise, too much tourist trap. But in the canals none of that was present. You walk along the backs of the houses, never seeing the garage, cars and other homages to the Concrete Jungle in front. And you don’t care that the houses are jammed packed and are less than a large bedroom wide. There are ducks and ducklings swimming in the water and sunning themselves on people’s yards. You don’t hear the traffic only a block away. You don’t see anything but tiny immaculate back gardens and porches, serene waterways and people enjoying the same serenity you are experiencing. It was near heaven.

As we left the canal area we walked along an ever urbanizing street. I could feel the manic-ness and stress of the city bear down on me with every meter away from the canals. By the time we got to the car 10 min later my usual city defenses were back in full gear. So help me, if an opportunity to buy a property along the canals ever comes my way, I may pay too much for a too small, cramped, crowded and inefficient piece of loveliness.
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msbabs32: (Workout)
Tuesday, May 26th, 2009 10:24 pm
Feet for Lungs )
msbabs32: (Workout)
Saturday, May 23rd, 2009 10:30 pm
Beach’n )
msbabs32: (Default)
Thursday, March 5th, 2009 11:04 pm
Since work descended on me, I've had to give up going to class twice a week.  I're replaced it with a Sunday morning class and I think it's a better match anyway.  I've also decided that if work was going to steal my nights, I would claim my mornings.  Getting up an hour earlier, I can get a half hour jog/walk in and still get to work on time.  So far the hardest part is going to sleep an hour earlier.  I haven't gone to bed early on the nights before my days off, but I should for consistency.  Well off to bed, tomorrow is a workout morning.....
msbabs32: (Bah)
Sunday, January 18th, 2009 11:40 pm
So I *finally* found a shortening that N can eat and he was willing to try it.  I think to myself, he's almost never had biscuits, let's do that!  So I found the Good Eats Ma Mae's biscuit recipe.  Now I am up for trying variations - all purpose flour instead of soft wheat, drop instead of rolled - but I like to do a recipe as close as I can the first time for a reference point. 
I go to my local grocery store to find a biscuit cutter.  None.  Okay, maybe my local Whole Foods - no go.  next stop grocery stores around my work - no, nope and don't carry those.  Okay, I think, perhaps I need to go to a Bed Bath and Beyond.  They have everything.  3 regular BB&Bs and the main BB&B distribution center later, Nothing.  At best they had heart shaped and star shaped cookie cutters.  I do research online for what Williams-Sonoma and Sur la Table would have.  WS will have them - in late Feburary.  Oh, Come On!
I mean a simple 2" biscuit cutter.  Usually part of a set of circular cutters of varying diameter.  I have seen the "giant cupcake" mold, "Build a Bear" mold, and electric contraptions to do everything there is to do in the kitchen.  But no circular cutters.  Is LA so isolated from such basic baking that they don't have this simple tool?  Apparently so.  I'm going to Amazon to get what I need and am starting to wonder if that should be my first stop in the future.
msbabs32: (food)
Sunday, December 28th, 2008 11:32 pm
I have a loose list of things I want to do in LA before I get-too-old/have-kids/leave-LA/etc. For N's birthday I got to do one: Eat Dinner at Spagos.  For those who don't know about Spagos, it is Wolfgang Puck's First Restaurant.  It still has a rotating menu and is known as "the place" for really special occasions and to see a celebrities.
The decor is whimsical.  I now know where Cheesecake Factory got their decore.  There weren't any celebrities we recognized but that's fine.  I find they tend to distract from your own experience.  However there were some impeccably well coiffed people there.  Most people looked like we did - dressed up for a special occasion.  These people looked like they were established regulars.  They looked like they fit.
Well, let's start with the wine list.  I don't think there was a bottle under $80.  The cheapest glass of wine was $17.  However the Pinot I got was very nice.  Then they came by with a bread tray and seemed strangely insistent we take something.  Once again delicious.  I ordered the Bass with seafood and got exactly that.  No side of potato or rice or vegetable.  And the food was not in large portions - ah, that's why they wanted us to take bread.  That being said, I don't think I can describe the food in a couple of sentences and give it justice.  However I also don't want to take up an hour giving it the justice it deserves so I will just say it was exquisite.  You could taste every single flavor instead of only 1-2 dominant ones. 
Dessert was difficult.  N is allergic to nuts and all their normal desserts is made with nut oil.  however their serve proved as impeccable as their food.  They got N an ice cream dish with raspberries and wrote "Happy Birthday" in chocolate sauce.

So, in short:
Food - Smaller portion, but you will be comfortably full
Wine - Not cheap but very good
Service - Excellent
Repeat Business: For a very special event, absolutely

Now I need to work on that afternoon at the Getty...
msbabs32: (chirstmas)
Monday, December 22nd, 2008 06:51 pm
Disclaimer:  I haven't had the time to be present online for the last several weeks so I will be posting all my scribbles from my scratchbook over the nex few days...

No, I haven't died (although I think others thought I was close).  I've just been very busy.  Two and a half superbugs, manic shopping, insane work demands and one family holiday party later, I have survived.  I am happy to say that I am almost completely done with Christmas shopping.  I only have to aquire 2 presents once I land in H.  Assuming I can get on the plane (long story, lots of rant and for another post), but I'm 95% sure I will.  A few observations for the holiday seasons - so far:

On shopping/presents:
  • It is infinitely easier to get gifts for someone who has a casual hobby.  Casual being defined as not wanting/needing/analyzing the best products for the hobby.  People who are "totally into" a hobby are impossible to buy for.  "Rock Band" or gardening are good examples of casual hobbies. 
  • If you are making/baking things for multiple holiday events, pick one or two things that is your specialty and only make those.  This makes things easier because it reduces ingredient waste, keeps the recipe in your head and lets you get into a groove.  This year it was cheesecake.  I did the equivilant of 5 cheesecakes this season ( 2 cakes worth in cupcake form).
  • If a gift doesn't work out for this year, keep it in mind for the next one.  This way you have a back-up plan if you can't think of anything and you will have more time to coordinate group-gifts.
  • All gift certificate presents should come with a Wrapper-gift. Just something small ~$5 so the recipeints have something tactile on Christmas Day.  It makes a difference.
On Holiday Food:
  • Have No-Cook foods in the house.  You may very well be too busy/tired to cook dinner.
  • Compromise nothing in Holiday recipes.  Low fat/low carb can be done the rest of the year.
  • Well wrapped foods are a great "for everyone" gifts.
On Health:
  • An electric blanket really helps when you are sick and freezing.  You also know you are getting better when the lower settings feel "too warm".
  • Take naps when you can. They are your best defenses against getting sick.
  • Unless you're down and out ill, exercise everyday (at least 20 min) to keep your immune system going, keep yourself alert and make up for the food tips.
  • Buy at least 2 hats - one you can wear comfortably at home and one that can be worn for work.  they keep you warm when three layers of sweaters can't.

msbabs32: (Bah)
Saturday, November 29th, 2008 09:16 pm
No this isn't the beginning of a joke...well not the start of a deliberate one.  This was the scene of "Hunky Santa" booth I saw  at the mall tonight.  Now I have seen "Hunky Santa" for a couple years now and am usually okay with it.  Lately it has been "Hunky Santa and the Candy Cane Dancers".  That was fine.  Every hour or so the girls would come out and do a choreographed group dance.  The skirts were short and the dresses strapless, but nothing that compelled you to stuff a dollar somewhere.  This year they've decided to drop all pretenses.  There were two dancers with around Hunky Santa.  Lyricless techno music was pumping though the mall center.  One was on stillts and was dancing like she was on a pedestal.  She was fine.  The other girl was in heeled boots.  She was dancing like uh,...well like she was on a stripper's stage.  There was no pole and the clothes stayed on but those were definitely adult entertainment moves.  Call me a fuddy-duddy for tradition, but short of a porn flick Santa's helpers should *not* do a wide straddle handstand in a dress.

For any men reading this, the dancers can be seen Friday through Sunday at the Beverly Center Mall probably until new years (sigh)

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msbabs32: (food)
Saturday, November 29th, 2008 03:37 pm
Last afternoon I started to do my own Thanksgiving Dinner.  It was small, only 4 people.  A wedge of brie, crackers and pear was the appetizer until the turkey finished.  Dinner was a 12 lb turkey, garlic potatoes, mashed yams, gravy, baked spinach, asparagus and cornbread.  I forgot it takes a frigg'n long time to do T-day dinner and it will take you longer than you think.  I am forever glad for the decision to do the appetizer.  I still think its possible to get everything hot/warm to the table at once and relatively on time.  It will most likely require a choreographed cooking schedule in 1/2 hour increments.  Next time....  But the turkey turned out really good.  I just had a leftover leg and it still sung of flavor and moisture.

After dinner started the cleaning - oh dear god.  Actually it was very doable.  I started with an empty dishwasher and that helped tremendously.  First thing I did was dispatch the turkey.  I had a container for the keep and a large open trash for the toss.  I moved all the side dishes to appropriate containers and loaded the dishwasher.  After half an hour the kitchen was perfectly clean.  With the exception of the dessert waiting to be served, it looked as if T-day dinner never happened.  It. Was. *Awesome*.

I like doing big dinners.  And I think I'm finally getting good at the logistics.  I wish my place was more conducive to large gatherings.  Perhaps my next house.  Then I'll do a set of Prime Rib or I'll brave the inconceivable: a from scratch Turducken.
msbabs32: (exhausted)
Thursday, November 27th, 2008 11:18 pm

Tuesday I had to o home early because I got allergic to my office.  After lunch I started sneezing in long uninterruptable streaches.  At 1:30 I went home.  Traffic. Was. Terrible.  Both on and off freeway.  It took over an hour for me to get home.  I took a long nap until dinner.

At T minus 6 hours to T-day I decided to start Part I:  The gianormous cheesecake.  As I started to make the crust...and was incredibly relieved I started early.  I made the mistake of not vetting the ingredients in the store.  It had and/or-soybean-oil.  With N's allergies, the graham crackers were no longer viable.  I went to three stores looking for a non-standard brand of graham crackers.  And yes going to the store 6 hours before T-day is as frightening as it sounds.  Luckily it was the last drama of the night and the 3 lb cheesecake was made, cooled and chilled that night.

T-day: I went to the large clan gathering of N's family.  Had turkey, sampled about 10 side dishes and  desserts.  Saw this really cool whipped cream dispenser I may have to get.  The Cheesecake was received well, but I think I'm on the hook for both normal and pumpkin cheesecake the next time.

T-day Part II: Fowl Replay.  Since my bro and cousin are stopping by Friday I plan on making my own turkey dinner.  I have three starches adn   I need to start the brine soon.

I am thankful for my mighty good man of a husband, for my friends who keep me in check with reality, N's family for welcoming me into their fold, my own family - I love you, my improving health, my country, and all my LJ friends for listening to my meandering entries.

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msbabs32: (Bah)
Monday, November 17th, 2008 11:11 pm
When the handle on our old toilet broke we decided to replace it.  We chose a comfort height (for someone of N's height) with elongated bowl - (insert angel choir here).  The guy at Home Depot assured us it was an easy job and should take us 30 min - an hour tops.  (trip 1)

So this last weekend we installed the toilet.  And I say last weekend because that's how long it took us to do it.  Name something that could go wrong and it did.  List of challenges:

Begin Day 1, 11 am
* Black gunk in old tank - made everything so fragrant and pleasant.
* Rotted Seals broke and leaked nasty-nasty water all over me.  <I heard myself scream in horror>
* Rusted bolts and nuts - Near friggin' impossible to remove.  My hands still hurts.
* Installed Toilet leaked out the base - F-ck! Needed to go back to Home Depot (trip 2)
* Flange below floor - WTF! G-dd-mitt! Had to go buy the ring with extension (trip 3)
* Flange *really* below floor - *&^%^%#@!  Had to buy new ring with extension AND extra collar (trip 4)
* Uneven Floor - made me tighten the bolts too tight.  Broke the bowl. $(#)*@!!#(*&$(*#&@! <deep breath> #(*&$(*#(!*@^$#@(!!*#&$!  A hammer was looking like a good tool to finish the job.
End Day 1, 10:30 pm

Begin Day 2, 9 am
* Went to back to Home Depot to get new bowl. (trip 4)
* New Bowl suggested to me by Home Depot help was wrong match. - <see above for cursing> went back for matching tank since wrong bowl was installed. (trip 5)

So yes finally at 5 pm Sunday we finally got the toilet installed.  The first time it flushed it was so unexpectedly loud I thought it was exploding.  I jumped back and hit the wall behind me.  It works now, but I still can't talk to people about it without swearing like a sailor.  So the lessons learned here are:
* Tools absolutely essential for removing an old toilet, but are to be banished from the room once installation begins
* Gloves and hazmat suits should be seriously considered - alright just the gloves
* To save on return trips, buy enough wax rings to sculpt a toilet
* Last, but certainly not least always suspect the "advice" from he Home Depot to be dirty, dirty, dirty lies.

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msbabs32: (accomplished)
Saturday, November 8th, 2008 05:26 pm
Today after four weekends of being a hospice-like shut-in, I managed to get out on my bike for an hour or so.  It wasn't as easy as I remember it and my endurance is definitely down but it felt good.  It was an unusually clear day out.  Not only could you see the mountains, you could see the signal towers.  Due to our diminishing daylight caused by the waning planetary axis tilt and daylight saving time thing, we could only go to the bridge and back.  I think I'm finally getting better (knock on wood).  Let's see if I can stay this way.
msbabs32: (happy dance)
Saturday, November 1st, 2008 03:08 pm
Idea:
Normally I have costume ideas way in advance so I can start sewing.  This year, I got sick for 3 weeks so I did not think or plan anything.  When I finally could leave the bed, the local radio show was re-debating the if-pirates-or-ninjas were equally matched.  The joke seemed both pervasive and subtle enough, so we decided to be Ninja Vs Pirate.  Due to costs and relative comfort in a potentially heavy coat, I was the pirate

Costume:
This was the easiest costume ever.  Not only did I not sew at all, I found the costume I wanted off the net in the first store we visited.  Then N found a ninja costume in his size.  Both were reasonably priced, considering.  I also found a sword that matched the the gold detail. 

Accessories & Extras
The cosutme was really only the jacket.  Theoretically I cound go nekkid underneath, but uh, no.  I found a really pretty an comfy white lacey top at Macy's.  I also needed fishnets and another belt the cheap one in the package would never be able to support a bag.  Found both while on another errand to the mall.  All other accessories I had: knee boots, gold earrings, even pearl neclaces.  I watched a couple youtube vids on how to apply the makeup and decided I could do it on the first try.

Problem solving:
So now I had the age old problem:  how to carry id, money, migraine kit, cell and back-up shoes on a promenade walk.  A purse was not a viable solution (you're always afraid someone will steal it and it gets in the way).  My back-up shoes (a pair of slippers) went into my Halloween bag.  That would get strung onto the belt.  Because the backup bag would hang in the back, I didn't want to put my valuables in there.  The jacket had two false pockets, pieces of cloth to imply pockets underneath.  But I didn't have the will nor the time to sew in pockets.  The solution hit me while doing laundry: socks!  They already acted like a pouch and cold easily be saftey pinned in.  So that is what I did -  and they worked perfectly.

Assembly:
For a chick, the outfit is only 40% of the the costume.  20% relies on your natural actractiveness, 20% is the accessories and the last 20% on the make-up.  As stated above I was able to do it the first time (eventually).  It took me forever to get the make-up done.  I think now that I have done it once I can do it faster, but it was worth the effort.  It looked fantastic: dark, smokey, intense eyes, dramatic bronzing and shading on the cheeks and a little sparkle on the rest. The camera was on the fritz, I don't have any picture of that night - bah! - but I may post other pictures later.  The jewelry  looked really good with the lacy top I bought.  I may have to try it for normal nights out.  Hair went back into a pony tail that would rest on my right shoulder.  Finally I was fully assembled.  The result was pretty impressive.

Execution:
People called out to me "Hey pirate" throughout the night.   We did the WeHo Carnival.  Due to) the Friday night, the place was crowded.  Luckily this time they didn't have stages  with live performances going on.  That more than anything creates dense, unmovable crowds, which almost lead to a riot last year.  Most popular seemed to be superheros, sarah palin, joker (Dark Knight) and sexy cop.  The drag queens did group costumes of stewardesses this year, for some reason.  When they ran into each other, they did a dance off fight: pretty hilarious. 

Bonus:
I did a preempt for my migraine and put in the ear plugs as soon as I felt bass from speakers.  I don't know if it was the preeptive actions, my hat blocking the glaring light, I was just OK that day, or a combo of all, but I was fine.  We walked up and back without a single anything!  Even at the end I was doing great!  Yea!

Epilouge:
I didn't eat dinner before we went. The last thing I had beore going out was a starbucks granola bar at 4pm.  All normal restuarants were already closed (I never will understand that about LA) so we headed to Denny's in Westwood.  I had pancakes and N had a sandwich.  And we watched all the people whom had come to the same hunger and restuarant availability conclusion as us.  It was like a mini WeHo.  you know, greasy diner food tastes *really* good when you are hungry and exhausted from hoofing it in heels all night.  Even made it back to bed at a respectable 2 am, still feeling awesome.  I realized one needs nights like this.  Nights where a lot of effort and thought go into prepping so you feel hot.  Nights where you are anonmously among happy people with no other concerns.  These nights re-energize and inspire.

Disclaimer:
Now it's not to say the night wen't off without a few hitches.  We had to park reasonably far from where we had in previous years.  There was a little question of whether the area we parked was safe (they were towing cars).  Let me tell you nothing is scarier that night than the sight of parking enforcement or a tow truck.  N was a little stressed about that.  That's why I wanted to take a cab.  Anyway, the car was fine.
Another thing that happened....<sad dramatic sigh>....is that my boots broke.  The entire left platform of my "Alice boots" chose that night to fall off.  I've had these boots since college and through almost every halloween afterwards.  They gave no warning of their destined self destruction.  And it happened just before we hit the crowd on our way in!  The rest was fine and the height difference wasn't too bad.  I decided to walk in my boots, compromised as they were.  Only after we left the main area did I switch to my back-up slippers (always be prepared).  People still called out "Pirate" to me afterwards.
The last thing was N got sick from Denny's.  Poor thing.  Luckily I had my pill kit on me (again, be prepared) and we made it home without too much trouble.

So after weighing the good and the bad parts of that night, I would say it was a pretty good Halloween
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msbabs32: (Bah)
Monday, October 27th, 2008 10:48 pm
     The last week I have tried to find a silicone sleeve for my 13" laptop and a DVR enclosure case.  All the office supply stores, Best Buy and Circuit City did not have these things.  I didn't really expect them to, besides I just have to make a trip out to Fry's.  Fry's will have it (confident, affirming head nod).  Yeah...um, remember the magical times of the late 90's?  When any tech you could imagine you could find at Fry's and beyond.  Yes, the days when every nerd and geek swore angels sang everytime they walked in the doors.  Party's over - Fry's Failed
     They had neither the Si cover nor the DVR enclosure.  They did have a sleeve of the right size, but only one and it was poor.  I was truly stunned.  Fry's had to have it.  I was just looking in the wrong place.  So I walked up and down the aisle and halls.  I even checked all the end displays.  Nothing.  Nada.  Do not pass checkout.  Do not spend $200.  Disappointed, defeated and worst of all disillusioned I returned to my car.....purchasless.  So now I search the web for what I need.  Sigh.  I am one step closer to becoming a shopping shut-in; leaving the house only for  work and pick-up food orders.
msbabs32: (FYI)
Monday, October 27th, 2008 02:21 pm
This weekend I went to the Aquarium of the Pacific with some of my family.  We're all adults now so given the plethora of HD Discovery, Nat Geo, Learning Channel and Planet Earth shows I thought we would be only mildly entertained.  At the first tank of fish we all dropped our I'm-too-grown-up-to-think-this-is-cool facades and enjoyed the awesomeness that is seeing real fish up close.  We spent a good 20 min at the shark tank marveling at them.  We played with the sea lions in the tube (huge attention hams).  No penguins at this place :(, but there were sea otters - damned if they weren't cute.  If it were not for the throngs of children running around I think we could have stayed there another hour.  I can definitely see going there when we have kids.  They would be hte perfect excuse 'cause I'm-too-grown-up-to-think-this-is-cool enough to return on our own. :)
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msbabs32: (dessert)
Wednesday, October 15th, 2008 07:58 pm

            I have discovered bliss.  I have discovered layers of perfectly espresso kissed ladyfingers layered between the whipped creamy goodness of mascarpone cheese.  Absolute sublimation.  And I found it for $8/lb. 

            This would be the tiramisu found at the Whole Foods dessert bar in Venice.  At first the find was bittersweet.  How could I convince N to have dinner at WF several times a month?  Maybe if he tasted it he would understand, but maybe not.  Then inspiration saved me.  Surely if you can buy it by the pound you can buy it by the whole...and yes, yes you can. All 4.25 lb of it, an entire tray of Tiramisu ambrosia.  N has tried it and is as excited about it as I am.

            I plan to cut it up into serving sizes, place a couple in the fridge and the rest in the freezer.  Hopefully the hassle of unfreezing the bulk will slow us down so the tray will last at least a few weeks - yeah, right....

 

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