Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Probably won't get to post much this week ...

The fluffs: Pearl (L) and Penny (R)

I have a stack of papers to finish grading and a conference paper due Sunday, so I'm pretty swamped this week. I'll be sitting at my not-so-messy desk (it used to look like this) as I cobble together a short paper out of my lengthy dissertation. The good is that I should have the fluffs keeping me company (above) as I work.  That is definitely one of the best things about having pets and working from home: even the worst tasks aren't so bad when there's some fluff in the room.  Once Sunday is done and over with, I should be pretty much home-free (except for the 75 exams I'll have to grade at the end of next week).  Hopefully, I can post something worth reading at least once before Sunday.

Anyway, I should probably retreat to my cave now ...

Hard to tell where one begins and the other ends ... (Penny's now on the left, Pearl on the right)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Boozled Hot Chocolate

I've never been to Puerto Rico and, to my knowledge, neither has my husband. So where did that shot glass come from?

Hot chocolate packet + hot water + some unspecified amount of coconut rum and coffee liquor = nuff said.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Longwood Time Lapse


Ok, so here is another experiment in using "new" technology. I have taken a ton of photos at Longwood over the past seven months alone.  I placed a select few of them (and I mean a "few" ... bare with me. I spared you hundreds more) into a web album with captions, etc. so that you can see what's going on.  Most of them focus on the tulips, from their planting back in October, their hibernation in the winter, and their current (and ephemeral) state of blooming going on this week.  I hope this works: you should be able to click on the photo above and connect over to the web album. I wish I had a blog set-up like Martha Stewart who has a small album you can flip through on each blog post itself.  If none of this works, let me know!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cake and Pizza

So my dad's bday was last week and I was in charge of baking the cake (standard operating procedure around here).  It's a long story, but I baked the cake on Monday (or Tuesday?), froze it, and defrosted it (and then frosted it! hahahaha!) on Saturday when it was needed.  I learned an important lesson when baking this cake:

Well, before I explain I should note that I'm a pretty good rule-follower when it comes to baking. Martha, Ina, and my mom have me so paranoid about the consequences of ignoring the directions in a baking recipe.

"Measure everything precisely"; "dip the measuring cup in, and then sweep off the top"; "do NOT measure out the vanilla over the mixing bowl--you don't want to spill in any extra"; "do NOT open the oven while the item is baking," etc.  You know how your supposed to grease the pan, flour it, put in the parchment paper circle in the bottom, and then grease and flour that? I was too lazy to bother with the parchment.  I just didn't care. I greased the pan. I floured it.  Whatevs. These suckers HAVE to pop right out.

Wrong.  Slightly largish chunks got left behind when I inverted the pans, and after the things cooled I nearly broke them in half trying to wrap them up for the freezer.
BUT, the good thing is ...

You're not seeing things--it's definitely lopsided.

I don't think anyone noticed.  I also don't think that anyone noticed that I completely overlooked my own handwritten and HIGHLIGHTED notes that I wrote on my icing recipe: "DOUBLE THIS RECIPE TO ICE AN ENTIRE CAKE." Yeah.  I made two different batches of icing over the course of Saturday because of OF COURSE I didn't have enough with the initial batch that I made.  And the cakes were too damn ugly to bother just plopping icing in between the layers and on top, neglecting the sides.  The sides had to get covered up.

But like I said, I don't think anyone really noticed.  My dad and sister liked it, and they're the real critics.

Washing dishes after baking stinks, but I like how all my stuff matches.

We went out to dinner on Saturday for dad, but then Ron made pizza Sunday night:

Nothing beats Ron's pizza (not even the ravioli).  It's NEVER disappointing, EVER.  He complains sometimes: "The crust isn't right"; "The crust isn't crispy enough"; "The crust is too crispy" (ie, burnt); "There's too much cheese/sauce/pesto, etc."  I never understand WHY he complains because it's always PERFECT.  ALWAYS.  It's my favorite meal in his repertoire. Hands down.

So that's that. I have no plans to cook anything tonight. We have eggs, potatoes, and spinach, so I'm thinking omelets and potatoes (even though we're gonna be totally egged out this weekend with Easter and all).

Friday, April 15, 2011

Magnolia in bloom ...

This is one of my favorite times of year because the magnolias have finally bloomed.  My favorite place to see them is my alma mater's campus--when I was an undergrad, I would wait WEEKS for the buds to finally appear and then open.  When they finally did open, it meant the semester was nearly over (which also meant that finals were around the corner).

I still work near my old school, and on Wednesday I made a mental note to bring my camera with me when I came back on Friday.  I had every intention of taking new pictures on campus ...

Of course, I forgot the camera. And it was a beautiful day here.  I DID have my point and shoot in my purse, which is good enough.  But also not good enough.

Tomorrow, it's supposed to pour rain all day with lots of wind.  And Sunday will be nicer, but still windy.  So by the time I get back on there in the middle of next week, odds are most of what I want to see will be gone.

So these photos from April 2006 will just have to do for now.  The good thing is that we have a ton of flowering trees in our neighborhood, so I'm not completely missing out.

On a completely separate note, Ron made ravioli for dinner.

I feel like Nigella would look a them and coo, "Such precious little babies" (before dumping them all into a screaming hot pot of boiling water).

Looks like a lot.

But we ate them all.  We're pretty sure that this will be dinner next weekend with Mark and Dina.  I want to do a big salad with it, and Ron wants to do a vegetable, but I'm not feelin the vegetable so hopefully we'll leave it out.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What is wrong with this (these) picture(s)?

Ok, so I live in a small house and I only have two bedrooms to take care of--that's all. Only two.  The master bedroom is under control, but God help me with the back bedroom.  It has multiple purposes as a guest bedroom (who wants to sleep in a 25 year old twin bed? Who knows. Not me), office, closet, sewing room, craftroom, and library.  As a result, it's a train wreck. T-R-A-I-N-W-R-E-C-K.

Monday, April 11, 2011

This Is Erin's Fault.

I'm in red; Erin's wearing the veil

I'm a teacher, and so is my best friend (the girl with the red hair, above).  The major difference between us is that Erin has a really positive outlook on her everyday life and career, and I sorta don't.  One day (a cold/dreary/grey/typical-February day), I was seriously moaning and complaining about something ridiculous that happened in my classroom, basically making Erin regret even calling me in the first place.  At one point in this all-about-me conversation, Erin interrupts me and goes, "Why don't you start writing again? Soon?  No, soon. I would start writing again. Soon."  And then she asked me to put together a plan that would help me do this--perhaps a plan that would even include networking with other writers--and she would appreciate some deadlines too.  And I said, "hmmm, ok."  When you've just finished writing and defending a dissertation, the term "deadline" isn't so scary anymore.  (Actually, it's just annoying, but I can handle annoying.) Ok, so I forgot to write out A Plan and I never turned in my deadlines, but I think she knew that I would stick to this commitment.
And here it is.
So this is The Philosopher's Cupcake, because (oddly) some philosophers actually like sweet, nice things like cupcakes.  Furthermore, according to my mother, philosophers are probably in need of cupcakes more than most people.  If you know a philosopher really well, you probably know that this is true. (If you took any random PHI 101 course in college, you definitely know that this is true.  Wouldn't Descartes or Locke have been A LOT more fun if they had more access to cupcakes?  Well, maybe not.  But, reading The Meditations or Second Treatise of Government is a lot better with a cupcake.)
So, the point of this blog is to talk about anything except:
  1. School
  2. The book that I probably should have half-finished by now.
  3. Anything school related.
  4. Anything related to professional research.
  5. Anything that starts with, "You wouldn't believe what this student said to me. To my face. In my classroom."
Instead, I would much rather focus on stuff like:
  1. All the stuff I like to bake on the weekends (it was supposed to be vanilla cake with chocolate frosting this past weekend, but I had to put that on hold and save it for my dad's bday later this week).
  2. The stuff my husband so generously cooks for me when he's not working night shift.
  3. The stuff aforementioned husband builds for me when some corner of our little house is suddenly lacking/insufficient/generally annoying.
  4. The stuff I try to crochet for myself and other people (so far, I have missed one major deadline with a pale pink baby blanket--I'm hoping to make next month's deadline for a white one).
  5. The stuff I try to sew for myself and other people (I have two aprons planned for two brides-to-be ... deadlines seriously approaching now that I think about it).
  6. My amateur attempts at container gardening.
  7. All of the pictures that I take. I love taking pictures of the ordinary stuff that I see all of the time, and web albums are a good way of sharing them, but captions get in the way--maybe a blog is better for that?
  8. The non-philosophy books I actually have time to read. I'm paid pretty little as an adjunct, but what I don't get in $$ I make up for with time.  This semester, I'm truly understanding what a gift this is.
  9. I'm leaving a lot of stuff out, but that's ok. I'll think of it as I go.
So that's it. This is Erin's fault, and we'll see where this takes me.  Thanks Erin! (btw, sorry I didn't call you back two weeks ago.  I think I was asleep when you called.  Not a reason--just a bad excuse. I bet you call me after you read this.)