Friday, December 23, 2011

Flat tire, roasting coffee beans and the frustrations with growing out hair

I made my subject pretty transparent, so if you aren't interested in hearing me ramble on about any of those topics feel free to pass on by!

The first one is kind of bad news. Actually, it's more just really shitty for me news. Last night I was driving home and notice 3 police cars flashing their lights up ahead. I couldn't tell if they had pulled someone over and just decided they needed to have 3 police cars on MLK, one of the busiest streets during rush hour, or if there was a really minor one car accident. Either way, people started swerving to pass in the left lane (there are two lanes on each side of the road and occasionally a median) so I moved over into the left lane too. The cop closest to me was parked sideways and his car was a bit over into our lane and I swerved a little too much to the left and hit the median and BOOM flat tire.

I pulled off the busy street onto a side street and called my insurance. Thankfully I had signed up for roadside assistance for an extra $3 or something a month. The thing is, I know how to fix a flat tire, but my jack is not very good and just in case it's nice to have someone coming to help out. It's a good thing I called because the tire place put the lug nuts on way too tight and even my body weight wouldn't move them. The guy who came out was pretty quick and he was really nice. After having my panic lights on for an hour and the accessory part of my car on (so he could use the cigarette lighter to fill up the spare tire with air) my car needed a jump. D'oh! Thankfully he was there to my rescue!

He had inspected the tire and told me it looked like it was just the seal but today when I took it in to be fixed for free the sidewall had blown. Basically this means that my $100 Christmas bonus is now going to cover the cost of a new tire. A 3 week old tire. Ouch. They also don't have the same tires anymore so I have to get a different brand and I have to wait until Tuesday. I have plans to ski on Christmas and was thinking about maybe going up twice this weekend but it looks like I will only be making it up on Xmas with my friend Aundria and her boyfriend, Chris, who will be driving!

I'm pretty bummed about this news but oh well, it's life and I should have guessed there would be some other silly money thing left for this year. I got my insurance bill for the 5 stitches and it was $740. I'm going to call to ask them if they'll reduce it a little because that is a lot of money! Super glue, I tell you, super glue!

Okay! So that was my only big downer type news and I got it out of the way so I'll move onto some positive stuff! I sent out all of my Christmas presents earlier this week and I am really excited to hear my dad and Deborah's reaction (is that even the right word?) to their present. I love the way the present turned out and really want to post pictures but that would ruin the surprise!

Kim made me some super cute star, moon and sun handmade felt coasters. I was going to save the present for Christmas but decided after my night last night that opening a present would make me feel better! It made me beam! What a thoughtful and sweet gift. It also made me realize that I haven't gotten a handmade gift in a long time and they're so awesome to receive.

Last Friday I got a strand of lights for my tree and I think it looks prettier! It has put me a little more in the Christmas spirit. Anise also came over to stay the night last Friday so it was really nice to see her and also have a little "tree". Holidays are better with kids :)

For Christmas I received a nice card from my grandma (Wiley) with some Christmas money. I wasn't expecting it because she made me the nicest quilt earlier this year so it made me day! I also decided I would buy just one thing for myself and splurged on a really cute bag today for $29. Ok, that's a small splurge but most Xmas money is going to pay off my ski pass! Also, of course I got a good deal, I'm a big coupon person! I've never been a bag/purse person but I have been thinking it would be nice to find a bag that will go well with a lot of my brown dresses/clothes. My dad bought me a lovely red leather purse in Italy last year that I cherish (and it goes well with dark browns) but this bag is a little bigger so I'll be able to carry my netbook and a few other things if needed. It's also faux leather so I won't feel as anxious about ruining it! It looks stylish and I look forward to getting it in a week or so.

Before my tire puncture last night I visited a local coffee shop that sells green coffee beans. I really didn't know much about roasting your own, but I learned a lot and by the end of the chat with the owner I had bought 1/2lb to try out my skills as a coffee roaster! They're certainly much cheaper, as a 1/2 lb was $3.50 and it came in this cute burlap bag. Green beans are shelf stable for 12 months and should be kept in this type of bag.

I read up all about the roasting process and decided since I didn't have one of those air poppers for popcorn that I would try the old school method and use a skillet on the stove. Since it requires a lid I used a nice saucepan and I think it worked just fine. There are a lot of stages of roasting and you can pull the beans at whatever roast you prefer (I like darker roasts usually). Before you add the beans you have to put the lid on and get the pan really hot - like 500F hot. They warned that the process was quick and also could get pretty smokey so I had everything set up and the window behind my sink open before I started.

Since I didn't have an oven thermometer to put in the pan to tell me the heat, I guesstimated the temperature then added the beans. Once they are added you have to constantly agitate them to make sure they roast evenly and don't burn. After the beans reach about 400 degrees they start to crack, which sounds a lot like popcorn kernels popping, but less dramatic. They start to brown by releasing sugars and those caramelize. This is also where the different levels of roasting take place. The pan gets pretty smokey so I brought it up to my window and opened the lid before I peaked in to see where the beans were in their roasting cycle. They advised to pull them early as they keep cooking so I think I pulled them a little before the Vienna Roast, which is a dark roast right below French. I think this will take practice and more experimentation before I really know! It only took about 5 minutes after I put the beans in the pan.

I poured them into a colander to let them cool off quickly and any of the remaining chaff (the flaky skin that surrounds the bean) can be blown off at this point. I only roasted about 1/4 cup. of beans. They weren't superbly uniform but I think for the first time they turned out well. The smell of coffee isn't really apparent until about 20 minutes after the roasting and the smoke clears. As the coffee off-gasses CO2 for the next 12 hours you have to let it sit for about 2 hours before storing it. I kept smelling it last night and I was getting excited for tomorrow mornings cup of coffee! I ground them this morning and had enough for 2 big cups so tomorrow I will have some fresh coffee too! It tasted pretty delicious so I might just start roasting my own coffee every once in awhile.

Finally, I've been growing my hair out (and I know that I'm probably the only one who notices the awkward stages) but I am finding it very difficult to refrain from using the scissors. My biggest thing was my bangs, because the top of my hair is still too short and the bangs had to be pinned back with bobby pins but since my hair is so fine bobby pins don't work very well. I haven't found a barrette or cute clip that will work so I decided just to trim the bangs. By the time the rest of my hair grows they will grow too so anything I can do now to make me feel a little better helps! Usually I wear them side swept but I think they also look okay straight across on the days where I don't want to do anything to my hair. I love my hair short but I also am looking forward to it being longer again for at least a little bit!

Since I haven't been posting too many pictures of me, here is one picture after I cut them and one of me right now!

And finally - Merry Christmas to everyone! I wish I were home for the holidays but I'll at least be skiing and should be having an excellent time. May your Christmas be Merry and time spent with family be joyous! Love you all!


  1. Merry Christmas a little late! When we were home we talked about you quite a bit as we were excited to tell everyone that we get to hang out. They all say "hello" by the way. Also Grandaddy called you on Christmas right after we finished eating :) I am so happy to hear that you like the coasters. Hooray! Coasters are always useful and we figured you might need some since you just moved into a new place.

    Also, roasting your own coffee beans is awesome! We have not done it before but now I want to try.

    Happy New Year and we will talk to you soon!

  2. I didn't even know you could buy green coffee beans! Huh!

    that SUCKS about the flat, but SUPER glad you were ok, scary!!

  3. Yes! Roasting coffee beans has been so much fun! I've got a bag that I'm roasting tonight since I'm almost out of coffee. It's so delicious!!

    (And yay for stalking! Haha)