Sunday, August 31, 2008

Betty Crocker Lives!

So every year my mom buys everyone in the family a calendar and this year she bought me a chocolate calendar which had all sorts of recipes, but mostly they involve melting chocolate which I find rather intimidating until I bought a double boiler at IKEA. (Okay Mom bought me the double boiler, and this recipe didn't really require it, but it's the thought that counts right?) So while I was thinking about grocery shopping (which still didn't happen until Mike got back), I looked at the August recipe and discovered all I needed was chocolate chips. (I still get amazed that I actually have a kitchen stocked with things that lend themselves to baking.) And then Mike went grocery shopping and got both kinds of chocolate chips (milk and semi-sweet).
And then what happened? Well I didn't do anything with them until Mike asked about them (you know in the "they sound really good; I really want to eat these" kind of way). So between our double feature, I made the recipe for Chocolate Chip Dream Bars (and chocolate chips it is--they out number the other ingredients 2 to 1!). We started the second movie when the bars* were cooling.

And then during a chocolate glaze break disaster struck. I turned up the heat too high while melting the chocolate and my chocolate seized!!! And I was trying to remember how to fix it but it was still too hot and then there was burning. So I emptied that batch in the grease jar and washed out the pot and tried again using a much lower heat. (So this version has much less drama. I don't think Mike realized that seized chocolate could be so disastrous.) I drizzled the chocolate, but didn't use the plastic bag idea because I was worried that it would be too hot, but that didn't matter because it was much cooler this time. Mike's a big fan. Huge fan actually because he actually wanted milk with them! (Mike=not a milk fan.) So I'll have to save the month of August so we can make them again.

*I really don't like the baking term "bars". Bars serve alcohol, they aren't populated by many bits of chocolate, but maybe it's just because I'm not from Minnesota.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Miren al Tomate!

My Classics friend's rent* gave us grape tomato plants. They managed to survive a rather rough thunderstorm after which I finally found a use for that weird shepherd's staff/plant holder thing that I was gifted with at WLI when a friend couldn't take such a "dangerous object" on the plane. (It makes a lovely grape tomato stake.) A couple weeks ago they blossomed little yellow flowers at which time I started worrying about how all the honeybees are dying off and if there would be enough pollinating insects to make tomatoes. And then we found little green balls. And then we found out we should be watering them more. Oops! (Actually Mike's been watering the tomato plants more than I have; he's so much better at those routine tasks.) But then while Mike was away, I was watering and found an orange tomato which turned red and then I picked it and it was wonderful. Actually I was going to photograph it, but Mike had taken the camera with him so eating was my second best option. Now we've had about 4 more become ripe including this one included for your viewing enjoyment. Plus I found out how to use the macro focus on my digi. Notice how the edges blur. Beautiful. It's so nice to have a balcony on which I can grow things. :-)

*Rent: An older person with whom one lives and to whom one pays rent. Thus more personal than a landlord, but not really a parent, but a "rent".

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I want to blog about the weird feeling of spouse-less-ness I experienced while my husband was away for the past week.

I want to blog about the amazing sense of community I discovered while lamenting about said spouse-less-ness. (I'm such a baby, but everyone else was great!)

I want to blog about the wonders of the Ohio River or my first day back into Hebrew class or even the weird Buffy returning from the dead (again) episode I just watched.

But my nose is currently in a state of rebellion taunting me to cut it off to relieve myself of the alternating pressure and drainage, so I'll just go with: Boo, Allergy Season! Boo!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Thwarted again!

So I've been on an ad lit kick recently: the Twilight saga; Uglies by Scott Westerfeld; I restarted Gossip Girl series (I think I read the last ones now--must check wiki); and I just finish The It Girl which is a Gossip Girl spin off.* I can rattle off the intellectual reasons why I find these otherwise fluffy books so enthralling, but basically they're just fun and they don't make me feel like I should be together all the time.

Anyway I finished the It Girl this morning, so I really intended to go back to Crime and Punishment like I promised myself after I finished the Uglies (ie three books ago, but only 5 days).

But... I just got a library notice that Pretties, the second book in Westerfeld's series is waiting for me at the Cincinnati Public Library... so yeah, Dostoevsky will have to wait.

*Just for the record Wuthering Heights was in that mix after Breaking Dawn but before the Uglies so it hasn't all been fluff. And The Shack happened between the two Gossip Girl books.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Another Silly Thing

So I learned that if I subscribe to my blog through google reader, I can see how many other people subscribe to my blog using google reader (which of course isn't an accurate sampling, but it's fun).

Oh I need to check and share a Google Analytics report.

Anyway, my Google reader is up and I have another blog post in "People I Know" so I get excited and click to find out who posted... Yeah, it was me. Oops! Sigh.

Silly Things that Make Me Happy

So today when I came into work, I found a whole pile of scrap paper in my mail box. Now scrap paper is generally inferior to post its because they don't have the sticky which is so important in the "posting" nature of notes. (Plus for the anal retentive side of me the sticky keeps all those little pieces of paper neatly lined up.) But today that scrap paper was made out of glossy paper--not quite as thick as photo paper, but still really shiny and very smooth. So it's rather exciting because I can use sharpies on it without having ink bleed through. However, I didn't realize how lovely it is to write in cursive using a ball-point pen. It's like ice skating. It's like swimming. My pen glides over the paper and encourages me to be loopy (and I am generally not a loopy person). I forget how much I like writing when I spend all my time emailing and blogging and facebooking.

I was thinking about this as I decided how important it was for me to pick up new notebooks for my classes this fall. I want to. Target has some really cute designs that I'm not sure say "serious grad student", but certainly don't say "Lisa Frank fanatic". But at least for the Hebrew classes I could get away with just my laptop and my Hebrew Bible (I have all my grammars in electronic format). And if I'm walking to school, less is more. But I'm feeling nostalgia for the old ways. Hour and a half lectures where my hand is cramped and my pinky is ink-stained from my rapid note-taking (the curse of the lefty). Highlighting. Outlining. Is it really the same to record my lectures and be able to cue them to where I was taking notes? It's not. But it's not really comparable either. So how does one decide?

Ah the question of the ancients... or maybe of the moderns... post-moderns?

Until then I'm going to make this cute little notecard holder from A Little Hut for my glossy scrap paper. :-) Yay! Crafting and school.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Olympics Fever

A confluence of three things:

1) In West Wing Season 7, all the tv networks are upset about the Democratic National Convention taking up so much primetime in August because it doesn't make for good ratings and August is always a bust with the Olympics and the National Conventions. (It's not that the Republican Convention is that much more exciting. It's just that the Dems are in the White House in West Wing.)

2) I remember people bemoaning the Winter Olympics because no one watched. I however LOVE figure skating and skiing so I don't know what gives.

3) Currently, and maybe it's just confirmation bias. It seems like everyone is watching Michael Phelps at least, but also other parts of the Olympics like the stressful gymnastics competition. And now I find myself totally echoing the sentiments of the GFY girls.

So is the Olympics really boring and a ratings buzzkill? Is this 2008 Olympics special in its viewer devotion? Will the United States ever budge out China from the top Gold Medal spot? Is it fair to expect the US to dominate every event in the Olympics or is it okay for Michael Phelps to be our record breaker this time around? I don't have enough perspective to answer any of these questions.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Food Tag

Bah! So Alli's back from Greece and Italy, and I had in mind that I would do her tag before she came back to the United States. (Oh yeah that was two months ago. Great.) I never was great at these things. So it's a weird food tag. And I have to say that my consumption has pretty well normalized due to the fact that my husband both grocery shops and cooks and he's a Guardian so yeah. (Oh my goodness Myers-Briggs has never come up on my blog. I am so slacking.) Anyway 5 weird foods:
  1. My favorite breakfast is Popcorn and Diet Coke usually accompanied by reading in bed for 4 hours before actually starting the day. It's not too weird, but it is a guilty pleasure.
  2. It gets weirder though when I start talking about my love of popcorn and tomato soup. The popcorn kind of acts as oyster crackers, and yeah it was quality dorm cooking.
  3. Cold pizza for breakfast. Actually there's a lot of things I like for breakfast that aren't really considered good breakfast foods. I think I might crave a lot of protein and eggs aren't my fav so I go with the leftover porkchops or spaghetti with meat sauce. And that's it. I'm pretty tapped out on weirdness. So...
  4. This should so be number one on any list, but it's not really weird, unless you consider how much I love it. But DIET COKE just makes my life happy. I have several in a day and I've tried to freak myself out about the aspartame and chemicals and general unhealthiness of soda, but I can't give it up. Most of the time it's not even the caffeine rush; I'm very much a "just for the taste of it" girl.
  5. Oh and this is the weirdest thing I want to try: Beer Margaritas. I'm very intrigued and I hear they taste just like regular margaritas. So one day, I'll find adventurous people to make them with and I'll know.
Basically I'm not a very taggy person, and I still don't have Google Analytics results to know if anyone really does read my blog so I'll tag Hannah, because she helped me figure out sushi.

And one day I'll post about how Myers-Briggs shapes and defines my life.

Professional Development

I try not to take myself too seriously. And I try not to take this blog too seriously. Otherwise major obsession would ensue and that happens often enough already. Sigh.

But that lack of gravitas not withstanding, I do have vague goals for this blog--some silly, some not so silly:
  • I really like to link to things I find amusing/funny/interesting/life-changing. It's much easier than emailing everyone I know and hopefully less annoying.
  • I want this to be a place to lay out thoughts, ideas and musings in a coherent fashion. I'm not talking about treatises on the primacy of the Pope or any other too deep (and boring). But the chance to think through an argument or idea fully doesn't happen too much in normal everyday activity, and this blog should allow me to slow down. (This doesn't happen too much because if I save a post as a draft I very rarely return so maybe that means my goal is not thought out in a current fashion.)
  • I really enjoy the blogging community--I mean really, really enjoy. I should go through my google reader and pare down my blogs, but I love them all. So my blog is a way to give back to all the people who give me so much joy on a regular basis. It also (goal 3.b) is a way to share what's going on in my life with those people whose blogs tell me what's going on in their lives.
So yeah, with the expression of those 3 1/2 goals, I'm announcing a refocusing. I don't think it will change the content too much. I just installed Google Analytics so we'll see how that data falls out. And maybe that will change things.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Self-Awareness Hilarified

Okay so you, gentle blogreader, have put up with a lot of vampire musings recently, but I've got to share something that makes it totally worth it. Snarky Breaking Dawn chapter-by-chapter commentary. Srsly. It's LOLcat. It's Twilight-loving, but aware that this isn't high quality literature. Oh so so funny. I've spent the past 3 hours reading the various commentaries. I stopped watching Buffy because I was so enthralled. You understand.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

What is Reality

So I have the day off. Therefore I'm watching Buffy and playing on the internet. (There will be sun time later and a fun church meeting. Yay!) And I was reading Meg Cabot's blog about her vacation to Maine. (She's the author of the Princess Diaries among other books.) And she linked to Maureen Johnson's blog post about her vacation. (She's the author of 13 Little Blue Envelopes and one of Hank and John Green's secret siblings.) It was quite amusing and I wanted to read more. So her most recent post was on Breaking Dawn which was quite amusing and silly. I turn to my husband and say "So Maureen Johnson told me..." and I cut off. And he laughed at me. And I blushed, because I had just crossed that line that one flirts with when watching sci-fi, reading blogs on the internet and generally being voyeuristic. Oh dear...

Honestly my sense of reality is much better than my taste in reading material.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Wordle 2.0

New wordle. Much clearer now thanks to this link found while checking out alltop (HT TallSkinnyKiwi).

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Craft Time

My class is essentially over, and I found some time to pull out my sewing machine again. Yay! Last weekend after I submitted grades I was looking for an quick, easy project, and found in my saved blogs this sewing bag tutorial (HT 30 days). So I made that last Saturday and enjoyed the straight stitches and the ability to use up several languishing scraps. Pretty cute. I'm getting to the point where my sewing stuff is getting a bit unwieldy. Hopefully this will help me get things in a bit more order. Plus it's handy to have all the little things you need to sew or embroider in a little grab-able bag to bring with you to the couch (my favorite crafting spot). Oh and I got to figure out my button hole maker on my sewing machine. My tip: use thread that matches your main fabric color. My use of contrasting thread required me to do a bit of hand-sewing to cover up the lose threads.

This weekend, I decided to try to recreate one of my favorite little Etsy creations: the Gammon mouse from thesmallcatclub. She has some really cute softies that I would love to purchase if we weren't poor graduate students. As it is, I'll go with imitation as the purest form of flattery. :-) But it's really cute. It was also my first softie, so working in 3D to create a pattern from images on the internet was an interesting challenge.

Now if you may have noticed a theme in my crafting: this polka-dotted fabric and things that go with it. Well it's a thrifted king-sized flat sheet and pillowcases. I've just made it through the pillowcases and am currently cutting into the sheet... yay, I'll be in "classic Americana" colors for quite a while. Sigh. But before I can do that I'll need to get some more thread...

It's my first empty thread roll. V. exciting! All in all it's been a good weekend.