It's been a struggle to eat dinner at a decent hour and get sufficient rest lately so needless to say, I've completely neglected this blog. Since I worked all of last weekend, yesterday rounded out a new record of 12 days in a row. To be honest, most of the tasks I've been doing haven't been hard per se, but long hours plus fewer than 5 minutes exposure to natural sunlight each day really began wearing me thin. Lucky for me, things really slowed down in the latter part of the week. I am resolved to do nothing but bum around indoors and rest up this weekend, both to recover from last week and in preparation of Patrick's arrival in one week (!!!). So far I'm sticking to that plan really really well XD.
Possibly the only thing capable of preventing me from running straight home and into my sweats after work on Friday was the opening night of the film (adapted from Ian McEwan's acclaimed novel) Atonement. I caught the late show with Steve-o and Nancy, both of whom had read the book. We all loved it. It was certainly beautiful - the actors, clothing, colors, angles, all of it - yet still profoundly human and incredibly moving. No words awkwardly strung together by me would do it justice. Please do yourself a favor and go see it.
Since I finally had some free nights this week, I unleashed the baker within (she's been climbing the walls) to try my hand at a recipe that's tempted me for weeks. Inspired by a post from Once Upon A Feast and using the recipe Ruth kindly shares, I committed myself to baking on Thursday and even ignored dinner until a double batch of these Tribute to Katherine Hepburn Brownies were in the oven and thus well on their way to my mouth ^_^. The original source is Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home To Yours." I made the minor adjustments (I should really learn how to follow recipes tehe) of substituting walnuts for pecans and decreasing the amount used to 3/4 cup and using white and semisweet chocolate chips instead of chopped bittersweet chocolate. I'd been reading wonderful (and delicious sounding) things about Dorie's book for a while. Especially after I received a round of applause and marriage proposal for bringing the "perfect brownies" to work, this book rests firmly atop my holiday wish list! Sorry for the absence of photos. I've given up on my digital camera. Hopefully I'll buy one capable of capturing non-blurry food shots soon, like this Canon EOS Rebel 2000 35mm SLR.
On a sad note, I found out last Sunday on the phone with Dad that Grandpa Leon passed away. Leon Schwartz was a wonderful man whom my dad worked for briefly as an interpreter while he and his wife vacationed in China more than 2 decades ago. Since then, he has more than earned an honorary place in our family by helping us get to America and embracing us as his own once we arrived. I still recall our first winter here. Dad had just received his license and insanely resolved to drive us all the way from VA to MA to spend Christmas with the Schwartz's. Suffice to say, it was a bumpy ride with many detours. But when we arrived, Leon and Marge opened their home to us, showing us what the holidays really are about...sharing what we treasure with those whom we treasure. Rest in peace, Grandpa Leon.