Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Few Random Thoughts

I entered Nathan Bransford's 2nd Sort-of-Annual Stupendously Ultimate First Paragraph Challenge. (Whew! Talk about a mouthful)

I don't know why I do these things. I get all tied up in knots waiting for the results, and inevitably, I'm disappointed when my 'graph fails to impress. Must remind myself not to enter a contest when I'm feeling tender -- which is all of the time. (g)


I've been listening to a million and one audio books at work. Okay, not that many, but at least 30 by now -- more, probably. And I'm in love with this format at the moment, especially because THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak is A-MAZING. If you haven't read this book, well, I don't know what to say if you haven't. :) It's wonderful and I can't recommend it enough. But if you haven't (or even if you have) -- go get the audio version. The narrator is absolutely wonderful (his voice does Death COMPLETE justice), and I've fallen in love with the story all over again.


Tomorrow is my holiday party at work. I had to sign a waiver today because apparently there's a slight chance I could get hurt/lose a limb/have an eye poked out. How?? *long sigh* There will be dodgeball.

I can't begin to say what a bad idea this is.

I'm considering calling in sick.

Who signs a waiver to go to a party??


I've begun working on the next 50-100 pages of FI. I'm still feeling good today, but I'm tired. We'll see how far I get.


We had our "team" holiday party today. Last night I spent 2 hours making a cranberry cheesecake that turned into an utter failure. In the end, I didn't take it.

Let me break it down:

I started by making the crust. Somehow, in my tired, frazzled mind, I got stuck on the idea that 1/2 cup of butter equals 2 sticks.

I used my aunt's big ole' mixer the first go round. (Notice I said -1st-) When I went to "pat" it into the pie dish, it was awfully...gloopy and sticky. Hmm. I've made this recipe before and I don't recall it being of this consistency. (Jen eyes the mixer) Maybe I mixed it too long (I normally mix by hand). Maybe it's one of those weird cooking things where if you don't stir it for exactly the number of seconds they tell you to it becomes a big ole' mess that can't be salvaged.

But I remained hopeful. I glooped it into the pan, glooped it up the sides, frowned at the end result, stuck it in the oven, and hoped for the best.

Five minutes later, I had a puddle of dough in the middle of the pan. It had melted down the sides and was basically a big pool of butter.

It gets worse from here.

~2nd attempt~

Yes, I said second.

Obviously my failure was in thinking I could toss all the ingredients in the mixer and let it go for a few minutes. I mixed it into gloop. Hahahaha. I'm no fool. I'll do it by hand this time.

Once again:

Jen . o O (1/2 cup = 2 sticks)

(That's a thought bubble if you didn't catch it. (g))

I mix it...mix some more...crap, this is just like the last batch!

Jen . o O (*&^%$^&*&^%$#$%^&*(*&^%$#@#$%^&*(*&^%$#@!!!!!)

Mind, by now I've used an entire package of butter.

What am I doing wrong??

*hand* *forehead* D'OH!

I got the crust right on the third attempt. Amazing what happens when you follow the instructions and get the measurements correct.

Everything else went smoothly -- got the batter poured, the fruit piled on top, followed by a mixture of sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon.

(baking, baking, baking)

Delicious smells wafting from the kitchen...mmmmm.

I followed my aunt's recipe card to a T -- forgetting that she always adjusts the cook time/s and temperature/s when she makes it.


It burned. LOL.

Okay, so it's not horrible, but it's definitely not something I would ever serve to people I have to...yanno...see again. (g)

Note to self: Remember when you almost said forget about it -- they can live without one more dessert?? Listen next time.


Okay, off to write and pretend I'm not freaked out by NB's contest. (Good luck to all those who entered, btw!)


Christy said...

I can honestly say I'm not freaked by Nathan's contest. I have zero expectations. I just entered it because I'm completely addicted to agent contest.

And, um, good luck tomorrow. I'm not sure I'd have the guts to go to a party requiring a waiver.

NBB said...

Um, could you post the recipe of the cranberry cheesecake?
Or send it to me by mail? :)
I could ude some more cranberry recipes...

Deniz Bevan said...

Great storytelling Jen! Love those thought bubbles :-)
What did you do with the gloop, did you eat it out of guilt? Guess you're right, you can't bring burned cheesecake to a party, but I wouldn't mind eating some myself :-)
Ditto Nina's recipe request :-)
And hey - at least you didn't waste too much cream cheese; oh, I forgot, it doesn't cost *4* dollars per bar down in the US. I only made cheesecake once because of that - mine was a failure cos I didn't crush the oreos enough so there were great chunks of cookie poking out all over the place - when I realised that it was cheaper to get one from the bakery than it was for me to buy four blocks of cream cheese...
Now I'm hungry...
Need some cheesecake batter to get my mind of not being one of Nathan's finalists :-(

Tara Parker said...

I think dodgeball is a GREAT team building exercise! (vbg)

I'm going to suggest that at work. Good times. I can think of at least 3 people that could use a dodgeball to the belly!

Beth said...

Jen, has he announced a winner yet?

And I've bookwormed you! See my blogpost of Dec. 14 for details.

Jennifer Hendren said...

Hey girls,

My aunt promised to write down specific instructions the next time she makes the cheesecake -- which is this weekend. I'll post the recipe (with changes) as soon as I can. :)


Deniz -- the gloop went down the disposal, I'm afraid. I did not need to eat a pound of butter. LOL.

Jennifer Hendren said...


OMG..I totally copped out of the whole dodgeball thing. There's a guy I work with who is super competitive -- I wouldn't want to play against him OR be on his team. (He's a bit of a tyrant). So, I sat out with the ladies and played Outburst. (g) Wimpy, yes...but much safer.


Jennifer Hendren said...


He announced the winner today. Well, he chose 5-6 and then people voted. The winner was a YA, which was cool -- and it was the one I voted for, which is even cooler. (g) Alas, I've definitely concluded that our "tastes" are polar I think we've officially broken up. LOL.