1. My mom and I were once shopping in an old knitting store that was ridiculously crammed to the gills with yarn. It was stuffed into cubby-shelves and stacked high atop every available flat surface. While there was a great selection (understatement of the year) it was physically uncomfortable to be on the premises. It was like being trapped in a hoarder's apartment, like the yarn was swallowing you alive. At one point a skein threw itself on the floor in front of where we stood. My mom and I froze, staring at it until she said, "Even the yarn wants out of this place."
This is not unlike Lena's crazy-thick coat this time of year. The hair is literally throwing itself out of her body in giant puffs. With all the brushing and vacuuming and bending over and picking up, I am counting it as an extra workout.
2. I've made a bunch of impressive (if I do say myself) desserts lately for dinner parties. This red velvet cake was perfection. I reduced the powdered sugar in the frosting by 1/2 cup and omitted the berries, otherwise the recipe was followed to a T. I made it for a Sunday family supper and it even got rave reviews from my super picky five-year-old nephew who exclaimed, "I LOVE RED VELVET!!!" I second that emotion.
3. I made zero amendments to this Smitten Kitchen strawberry/rhubarb pie. It was a huge winner at a recent poker/dinner party. Even not being a huge pie lover, I whole-heartedly recommend this one. And her all-butter pie crust too. Yum.
4. Wish I could say the same, however, about this rhubarb upside-down cake. First off, it's not gonna win any beauty pageants. That would be forgivable if it was crazydelicious, but alas, it was sadly just so-so. I did a bunch of rhubarb recipe research and the most entertaining part about that was finding the extremely niche-y website The Rhubarb Compendium where you can not only search copious databases and learn everything you never wanted to know about the stalky vegetable with poisonous leaves, you can also buy a t-shirt that says Got Rhubarb? and participate in a poll by stating what color rhubarb is your favorite. The recipe section includes such gems as "Rhubarb Peekaboo" and "Cold Rhubarb Soufflé" and says things like, "Try this great tasting cake. Definitely one for all you rhubarb fans out there." I ask this: what non-rhubarb fan would be trolling The Rhubarb Compendium in the first place? Another fun feature is a Star Trek section including a recipe for some sort of Klingon rhubarb bread. Which makes me so perplexed as I know zilch about Star Trek. They had rhubarb up in space? WHAT?! If anyone can shed some light on this, please enlighten me. Anyway. I ran out of rhubarb and patience before I could get this cake recipe right for official posting and now I think rhubarb is past its prime season. I'm gonna go check The Compendium to make absolutely sure.
5-9. Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes.
10. For most of my life, my name has been butchered. I've been mostly called Julie but also not off-limits? Joelle, Josie, Jolene, Joey and Jody. Even Zoe. My seventh grade computers class teacher, Mr. Dotson, pronounced my name "Jolly" during every single roll-call for the whole semester. Early on, I made a handful of feeble attempts to correct him but they fell on deaf ears (perhaps literally) so Jolly I was. And wasn't.
After a lifetime of this, I recently started telling people my name was JJ (my actual initials) in order to avoid having to repeat/spell my name when ordering Starbucks or take-out food. You'd be shocked how many times this bright idea has backfired. Apparently, it's me.
11. I love words and I adore Bananagrams.
12. I just realized that Jacaranda season and rhubarb season coincide! Next year let's make a (much better) rhubarb cake and eat it under a canopy of purple trees! (DOES ANYONE KNOW HOW TO SAY 'JACARANDA' IN KLINGON?)
13. Game: Can you find Lena? Bonus points if you can spot any dog hair.
14. This is the view from my desk where I sit always. Can you tell I like trees?
P.S. All the pictures in this post are from my Instagram account as I am newly (and seriously) obsessed with Instagram. Are you? Let's follow each other! (I'm @joliejenkins:)) Check out the great photos of @arielealasko, @weelicious, @thiswildidea, @hirozzzz and @rebs820. So fun.