Thursday, November 24, 2011

T-Gives is for Arts

Because it's Thanksgiving, I will now list a few things I am thankful for, in no particular order except for the order they are in:

I'm also grateful for the time to do arts. There's been a lot less time this year than in years past, but I'm happy to have the time I get. Okay, maybe sometimes I complain about not having more time, but at this moment I am having a better sense of perspective. I cannot do all things! ANYway, the other night I colored up a little something that Drewbles drew for me. The story behind this picture is best told in an excerpt from one of my e-mails to D-Rew:

"People think it’s hip to be heartless! But only I am ACTually hiply heartless. That’s like my Voldemort line, instead of “Only I can live forever” I say “Only I can be hiply heartless.” And then I’ll say “Nyyyyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” and hold my wand all funny. Probably in my case a wooden spoon would be more appropriate."

With that introduction, here is my Blogger profile picture:

Now back the cake. Happy Thanksgiving back!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fall is for Food

This fall I have been trying all kinds of different pumpkiny foods. Pumpkin is one of my very favorite things and while I am always happy with just a plain pumpkin pie, this year I have been branching out.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie
I made this twice. Not necessarily because I loved it that much, but because the pie crust came in a pair. It was good, but it was much more chocolatey than pumpkiny. That would be great if I wanted a chocolate pie, but I really wanted pumpkin pie. I also had to cook it quite a bit longer to avoid a totally goopy middle.

Colonial Pumpkin Bars
I actually made these last year, but even now we talk about how good they are. I think that's all I need to say.

Pumpkin Lasagna
I liked using pumpkin in a main dish, and this was good. But, like the chocolate pie, this wasn't quite pumpkiny enough for me. Maybe that's from using a little more ricotta than the recipe called for, I don't know. Overall it reminded me very much of butternut squash.

Pumpkin Pancakes with Apple Cider Syrup
Once again, I would have been happy with a stronger pumpkin flavor (I just REALLY like pumpkin), but that said, these were still super delicious pancakes. And the syrup? It's better than the pancakes, which is saying something. Really, you gots to try the syrup. The recipe made a lot of both--I would probably halve it for just the two of us. I should say I will halve it because we'll definitely be eating these again.

Whole Pumpkin Pie Soup
This year I wanted to do something different from our usual dinner in a pumpkin and this was a great alternative. I made this kind of last minute and wound up using one of the pumpkins we had outside the door and it worked just fine. And by "fine" I mean "deliciously."

Caramel Apple Cider Cookies
Okay, they're not pumpkiny but cider is equally seasonal and I love it. Also, I LOVE these cookies. I haven't stopped thinking about them since I made them last night. Just writing this is making me want to go over and get another one. Nom nom nom.

Roasted Tomato Soup
Okay, this isn't pumpkiny either but soup is seasonal, right? Tomatoes are one of my very favorite foods so it's no surprise I would like this soup, but I really really really like this soup. I wound up not baking it with the "lids", and instead just broiled some cheese on crusty bread and put it in the soup after. Still tasty and a little faster.

Pumpkin Whoopee!
This recipe gets an ! because it's my favorite of the pumpkin goodies. I got this recipe from one of my sisters-in-law, who got it from one of her sisters, I believe. Drewbles and I struggle to not eat the pan all at once. It's SO good, even with its silly name. Make it! To make it is to love it.
1 can pumpkin puree
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
3 eggs
1/2 t. ginger
1 can evaporated milk (12 oz.)
1 c. brown sugar
1/4 t. nutmeg

white or yellow cake mix
1/2 c. butter, melted

Mix all ingredients except cake mix and butter, and pour into greased 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle cake mix on top, then drizzle with melted butter. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Days of Yore

I started this blog in the summer of 2004, can you believe it? That's got to be some kind of record. Okay, maybe not, but it has been around for a while now. In all those years I changed the design once--from light dots to dark dots. And I'm pretty sure I changed it back to light dots within a month. When I started this blog there weren't many design options to choose from, and I just always liked those dots. Once the blog template business started booming I thought I might change it but the scrapbook look has never been my thing. Plus I just like those dots.

Well. Lately I have been thinking that maybe it was time to move on from the dots at long last. But I wasn't sure what to change it to. I'm still not into the scrapbook thing and my own ideas were rather uninspired. UNTIL. Last Saturday morning as I was running down Center Street it came to me. "Brilliant!" I said to myself. "Don't forget it." (I always make a point of telling myself not to forget my brilliant plans) I have had many great ideas in my time that I never followed through on, but this one I did. And it looks just how I want and I did it all myself!

So, the point of all this is that the dots are finally gone. I probably should have taken a screenshot of the old look since I don't think that template is even available anymore. Anyway, check it out the new look and praise my cleverness if you feel so inclined.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

An Ode

I've been on a Cheezits kick lately. The white cheddar kind is my favorite, but lately I have been scarfing down the new Baby Swiss variety. Basically I will eat any kind of Cheezit you put in front of me. This is not too surprising since I would happily eat cheese at any and every opportunity, but yesterday my enthusiasm produced a haiku. I sent it to Drewbles, but I think I would be remiss in not sharing it with the whole world (because the whole word reads my blog, yes?). Here it is:

Little bits of cheese
Baked into crackers for me
I’ll eat you all up

Also, in the process of finding an image of a Cheezit box which I never used, I found this picture. I feel a certain kinship with this wee fellow:

Monday, November 07, 2011

One Two Three

I have been thinking about this song lately.

Not like "Here are my deep thoughts on this song, let me show you them" kind of thinking. My thoughts are more along the lines of "That's a great song. I should listen it a lot." And to paraphrase the daddio in Princess & the Frog, a song that good just gotta be shared. Not that I want to replace Bono with Michael Stipe or anything.

Side note: why is U2 not as good as this anymore?

Friday, November 04, 2011

A Triumphant Cake!

Remember this deliciousness? The oh so delectable chocolate peanut butter cake? Well. TRIUMPH.
(One day I will take better pictures of my food.)

And now I'll tell the story. I told my sister that if she came to visit me, I'd make her that cake. Well. TRIUMPH.
(There is a story behind this picture...she's not actually taller than Drew. The story is that she was wearing my shoes.)

So I made her that cake. I was a little nervous, but I've recently acquired some things that make cakes more of my friend.
Why did no one tell me how awesome parchment paper is? I will never suffer a half-left-in-the-pan cake again! And who knew they even made those cake turny/transporty flat metal things? Also, wow, it's a lot easier to just print out a recipe than run back and forth from the counter to the computer. Also, powdered sugar. I don't know why I put that in there. Anyway, so what did I do with my new devices? I made that strawberry cake again of course!

Just imagine a picture of it right here.

It still wasn't pretty--that frosting is NOT my friend--but hey, it looked like a cake. A delicious, slightly melty pink cake.
But back to the chocolate cake.
(Here it is without its delicious chocolate peanut butter glaze.)

(By this point it was like 10:15)

On Sunday evening, the night before my sister left, I tackled it. I felt some trepidation but the cake turned out perfectly! The pinnacle of my cake making to date! And did I mention it was delicious? It was. Luckily we had our British friends* over to help us try it out and it was met with raves all around (thanks for the raves, friends).
(Thanks, Drewbles, for enlivening the picture)

So, it turns out maybe I CAN make a cake after all and that first chocolate cake in March wasn't just a fluke after all. Phew! Next week it will be time to try out some butterbeer Linkcupcakes...

*Meaning they were in London with us, not that they are actually from Great Britain.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

A Long Overdue Post

Once upon a time, we lived in London for the summer. It was amazing, for so many reasons, and I wrote many blog posts about it. But there was one post I never wrote, and yet, even over a year (!) later, I think to myself "I really gotta write that post." So here I am, writing that post about my typical day in London. Sure, it was a year ago, but I'm happy to relive it any old time. Join me as we travel back to the days of yore, when I worked in the most magical place in the world (yes, really, Drewbles).

The day began at 7:10 when Drew's alarm went off. He'd hit snooze, and we'd reburrow for ten more minutes. Then I would get up and stagger off to the bathroom while he reburrowed for another ten minutes. The fun thing about the bathroom was that the lights were motion activated and about halfway through my shower they'd turn off because I...wasn't moving...?

In the meantime Drew got up and put together my lunch (whatta doll). After some cereal for breakfast, I'd meet my co-worker Caity in the hallway around 8:00 and we'd leave from here...
...and head off for the nearest Tube station. When we lived in Think! that meant Earl's Court, then we'd hop over to the Piccadilly line at South Kensington station and ride it up to Green Park.

From Green Park we walked a few of these blocks... get to the Society of Antiquaries library.
(The library entrance is in the building to the left.)

Steven the doorman would let us in every day, often saying something conversational that we couldn't really understand through his amazingly thick accent. Once he offered us some kind of alcoholic beverage.

So then we'd head up a rather grand carpeted staircase into the library itself. It's not large, but it is quite grand. Take a gander:
(The reference librarian, Adrian, I recall, would sit in that red chair. He was a bit of a ghost and never really said a word to us, except to say the English summer began just in time for the English fall.)

Here we'd settle in for eight hours of scanning the card catalog. The library was closed to the public for the whole month of August so it was pretty quiet aside from the sounds out in the courtyard. Here's (most of) the catalog we scanned:
And here was our setup:
We would feed chunks of cards through the scanner, as you can kind of tell. It sounds thrilling, right? But really, it was pretty fun and you always had to be on alert to make sure they all scanned and were kept in order. We'd also have to clean the scanners a few times a day because the cards were so dusty. On an average day we'd scan about 10,000 each.

Oh and here's co-worker Caity! She looks super excited to scan more cards. Hi, Caity.
And here's me! I am also excited to scan the cards. Side note: look how long my hair is! Gee whiz.

Eventually we'd go outside to eat lunch, having some unintelligible exchange with Steven on the way. We'd sit out by the hares and read and it was a perfectly lovely way to spend a half hour. Occasionally we'd see people kicking pigeons, and on the first day we saw Bill Nighy.
LinkSide note: my lunches were awesome because they included digestives and Babybels, along with carrot batons. Carrot batons is such a better way of saying carrot sticks, don't you think?

So we'd work the rest of the afternoon away, somehow never really getting bored. I listened to a lot of NPR, Tolkien podcasts, and the trusty iPod. Just after 5 we'd sign the ledger at the door (where we signed in at every day also) and head back the way we came. Most of the time it was a great commute, but on occasion you'd realize just how many people can fit into one train car. Let me tell you, it is a lot more than you'd think. Side note: I really miss this sound. (*sigh*)

From then on the night was ours! We had many adventures, which I've already documented. And so there you have it--my typical work day in London. I guess I should note that while I was at work, Drew would stay at our little apartment and work all the day after having going on a run through Hyde, Holland or Regent's Park (whichever we were living closest to). He also would clean the dishes and sometimes pilfer extra towels and dish soap from the cleaning trucks. Sneaky!

THERE. Now I've written this blog post, brain! That's one less thing you can harass me about!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

An Explosive Weekend

Some of you can probably guess what this blog post is about, based on my recent Facebook statuses. Don't worry, this blog post has a happy ending. Just sit tight, we'll get through this together.

Last Thursday night my sister arrived in town for her long-awaited weekend trip. I'd been working an extra hour every day so I could take a half day on Friday and we had big plans. After hitting a bit of traffic, we arrived in plenty of time to pick Marci up and then we headed back to Provo. Drew had rehearsal for the stake play so we planned to pick up dinner on the way. Our original plan was Gandalfo's but as the time got later, we switched gears and went to In-n-Out instead. We loaded up on the burgers, milkshakes and fries and raced onward to get Drew to his rehearsal only an hour late. We arrived only to find out they didn't need him after all so we turned around and went home instead, where we feasted on our delicacies.

Some friends joined us for the Project Runway finale and a good time was had by all. Eventually we all went to bed, where I for one totally passed out. Fast forward to around 4:00. I woke up, thinking something fell on my head (nothing had). I tried to go back to sleep but was really uncomfortable and kind of sick to my stomach. I thought it was just Aunt Irma's doing, but a while later Drew woke up, also feeling sick.

Do you see where this is going? I'll tell you: the bathroom. The vomit fairy visited me first, then several more times before poor Drewbles managed to finally throw up. In between episodes we sat in the bathroom, laid in bed or fell asleep on a pile of clothes on the floor (that'd be me). As we like to say now, In-n-Out has a whole new meaning for us.

The short version of all of this is that we spent Friday lying on the couch, feeling gross. By the early afternoon we'd stopped throwing up but we couldn't do much else. Do you want to know how many times I threw up? Do you?? Nine. NINE TIMES. That's a personal record. Don't worry, I'll spare you the other details.

So, Friday was pretty much a bust. My sister felt kind of blah all day but luckily it didn't go beyond that. I say luckily because who else would have made us toast and gone to get us medicine? We passed the hours by watching movies, TV shows and falling asleep.

Saturday dawned and we felt better, though not quite up to speed. I mean that literally because we went off to do a 10K. Was it crazy? Well, what's crazier--doing a 10K after food poisoning or wasting $70? But luckily we all survived--Drew even placed! It was Marci's first 10K and she did great, coming in under an hour. I was *ahem* after an hour BUT I ran the whole thing, and no one else in our trio could say that. I'll take my bragging points where I can when it comes to running.
(Since it was a Halloween costume race, Drew dressed as a ninja.)
The rest of the weekend was spent by trying to cram in everything we wanted to do in the time we had left. We saw Three Musketeers (better than expected, though still flawed), ate Thai food, saw Captain America in the dollar theater, got shakes from the Purple Turtle, had friend time and occasionally felt queasy. I also made a cake--but that's a story for another blog post. Before we knew it, we were going up to the airport on Monday morning (at 5...gross), dropped Marci off and went back to workday routine.

And that, my friends, is the story of the weekend. It began very unpleasantly, but it turned out all right in the end. If we had gone for our original Gandalfo's plan, things would have been different. If we had known Drew didn't need to be at rehearsal, things would have been different. Maybe I've been seeing too much LOST lately, but it seems like it was meant to be. Fate can be a vomitous task master.