Saturday, January 31, 2009

Book Sale Finds!

Today turned out to be one of those days that by the time noon came around, I was pretty stinkin' proud of my accomplishments.

I finished reading a book for class this week. I made myself a glorious egg sandwich. And, I found some amazing books at the local library book sale.

Despite my best efforts to sleep in this morning, 10am at the earliest, I was awake and trudging downstairs a little bit before 9am. I was internally grumpy and about to sit down with the above mentioned book, when my roommate came bopping into the room. (I'm not sure that she's ever bopped, but by contrast to how I was moving, "bopping" seems appropriate.)

Anyway, my spirits instantly lifted when my roommate reminded of today's book sale. I bounded back up the stairs, threw on a knit hat that made me feel like the tall guy from The Monkees,

and we were out the door.

The sale was held in a high school cafeteria, and I must admit that both my roommate and I were very much unimpressed with the smell of the sale. However, scent aside, I left the cafeteria with these wonderful reads.

I feel like I can jump to the conclusion that all of these books are wonderful; I’ll retract later if need be.


I got the perfect mix of fiction, biography, expose, instruction, education, humor, and (what else?) cookbooks. Several of these books I bought solely for the purpose of giving away, so I hope I've correctly pegged my friends.

Oh, and somehow this little lady didn't make the stack.


I'm telling you... this sale was tailor-made for me.

As evidence, take a look at the great cookbooks I picked up.



So far, my favorite cookbook is that one with the red plastic cover. It's called "Failure of the Week: Pat's Recipes" and it is absolutely hilarious. It's clear that Pat doesn't take herself too seriously and to prove it, she includes jokes on most pages. Something called "Chicken Pop Pie" caught my eye already. I'll have to try that out. It involves stuffing a chicken with unpopped popcorn and, apparently, watching it fly. I have no idea was that means, but I will keep you posted.

As I was excitedly reading the intro to Pat's book, I saw something magical on the front page. Take a look at this.
video
That's right! Pat wishes me "Happy Cooking!"

So not only do I have my very own copy of Failure of the Week: Pat’s Recipes, but that copy is signed by the author.

And, to think, I only spent $8 on all those books. See what I mean about the large feeling of accomplishment?

Oh…and another one of my goals for today was to include a video in my blog entry. I know the video is lame and without sound, but give me a break. It was my first.

Alright, I’m off to read!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Front-loading Father's Day

I know Father's Day is still a bit off, but as I was leaving the gym tonight, I caught sight of the cutest father/daughter combo. The dad stood with his hands in the pockets of his overly puffed Maine winter coat, and the little girl, probably about 6, was running and jumping in the two-days-ago-fresh snow just off the sidewalk.

Just as I was beyond them, I heard the girl say, "Daddy? When it's my birthday..." in her cute high pitched voice.

And, I didn't stick around to catch the end of the question, but I'm sure it was something like "can we go swimming alllll day?" or "can I have a puppy?" or "will you take me to Governor's and get me my own piece of chocolate peanut butter cake?"

Okay, so maybe that last wish is mine, but you get the idea.

Anyway, this sweet little girl made me miss my Daddy. I just saw him a few weeks ago, but he is pretty far away. (And honestly I think missing him really is just the reminder that I might miss all of my family a little. :) Despite my best efforts.).

Hearing the little girl's question also made me miss the age when birthdays were the absolute most fun, mythical, wish-fulfilling thing I could think of.

So here's to fathers. And daughters. And amazing birthdays.

Oh, and here's a picture of me back when birthdays were fantastic.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Class That Almost Wasn't


As you might have noticed, there is a massive winter happening... happening today.

I should have known to take the weatherman seriously when he told me to run my errands last night. Don't get me wrong, I prepare for the snowstorms, but I just didn't think that real Mainers did. So, I figured that he must be talking to the elderly or the overly cautious.

Anyway, I bought groceries on Tuesday, so I am set.


Nervous. But set.

Our campus kept us in suspense until about 2pm when they canceled classes after 5pm. My 101 class went off without a hitch earlier in the day, but my Canadian Lit night class will not be happening.

This night class is the same class that lasted only 30 minutes the first week and was canceled the second. Now the third week is knocked out too. It's beginning to feel like the class is a figment of my imagination. Here we are, 1/5 of the way done with the semester, and I haven't been to one real meeting of that class. So far, I have learned more about Canada from hockey games than from class.


Oh, Canada! I promise we'll get to your literature one of these days.

In the meantime, I'll stand on guard for you.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Meaty Day

This morning I took full advantage of my Tuesday schedule and headed to the gym around 9am. I stretched, A-B-Ced, did all 11 machines in the circuit, and spent an hour on that thing that is near the ellypticals but more like the lovechild of a stepper and an ellyptical.

It was a four star day.

Needless to say, I worked up quite an appetite even before noon.

I had a more simplified version of last night's disaster salad, and then headed to campus with a bag of grapes to listen to a presentation on the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty.

I saw this video for the first time:

And, I must admit that I very much like it. When the music video dancers came up, I smiled and then realized that I was sitting next to one of my former students. Awkward...

Anyway, after contemplating my self-esteem, I went to the grocery store and stocked up. I have been eyeing The Pioneer Woman's recipes for a few days now. Mainly just reading the recipes and drooling over the pictures.

Today I decided to take the plunge and make Pastor Ryan's Cajun Meatloaf. It is an odd choice to choose, as my first Pioneer Woman recipe, one from her guest blogger, but I've been wanting meatloaf.

Anyway, you can find the full recipe and pictures of every step on Pioneer Woman's blog, but I'd like to point out that at one time I had a skillet full of vegetables to go into this 1lb. meatloaf.

Now that is what I call a promising loaf of meat.

Fast forward an hour or so, and this is what I ended up with.

The meatloaf was tender and juicy and the vegetables gave the loaf a nice variety of textures and flavors. I do think that I need to be a bit more serious with the spices next time, but the meatloaf was certainly a success.

Of course, I made some mashed potatoes for the occasion, but they are nothing that I'm proud of. We'll just leave it at that.

I've just finished eating dinner and I feel incredibly domestic. And a little bit old, I guess. Dinner done by 6:00pm? I think that means I'm old.

To continue the domesticity of the night, I'm looking forward to Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy! and then the highly anticipated Biggest Loser.

To recap: I'm fit yet domestic, old, and addicted to reality tv. There are worse things.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Bachelor Flrgabidjer

Jason just picked this girl (Stephanie)

over this one (Nikki)


I might have to stop watching.

High-Maintenance Girls and Why I Hate Them

1. See the picture from my previous post.

2. My phone cannot handle the cold. When it gets cold -- which has happened a few times, let's just be honest -- it refuses to type. Why the chill would I have a hot, Hilton-esque phone with a slide out typer if it's not going to type? WHY?!

3. A high-maintenance girl would not eat the dinner that I made tonight. First, observe:


Holy bad lighting, Batman.

Anyway, the ingredient list for that salad.
- lettuce
- whole grain elbows
- granny smith apple
- turkey sausage
- vidalia vinaigrette

See what I mean?

Let me just say that this salad was fantastic and I will absolutely be making it again.

4. The gym is not the place for full makeup. I don't care if you do look cute with the ponytail and the stretchy pants. The full makeup is a touch much. I look a hot mess at the gym and you should too. Please?

5. I lost one pound this week. It's the dreaded two week slump. It's okay though. I've had one really good week and now one not-so-good week. I know what I need to do. Onward and upward!

6. The bachelorettes are all crying over the same man as he sloppily makes out with all of them. Tacky. Nikki is my current fave. Maybe Melissa. Or Nikki. No, Melissa.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

L!

I broke down on Friday night and bought the fifth season of The L Word.


(L Word premiere party shot from the lovelies at TheSmokingCocktail.com)

Damn that Paris. She gets everything I want.

Anyway, it should be here on the 30th. And yes, I tracked it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Icicles

Thursday morning, my roommate and I woke up to water dripping from the door frame of our front door. As it turns out, the ice on our roof was melting and coming through our roof and dripping out both sides of the door frame.

Brilliant.

So, the landlord sent this guy over.

He stood on our side roof bit and shoveled the snow off. I don't really understand how that helped since we now still have the ice layer, but who am I to question? Needless to say, when the roommate and I saw a man standing outside our second story window, we took some pictures.

The reason that he ended up going so far to the corner of our house was that we had been working on a icicle out there that I were sure was going to kill one or both of us. It was gigantic and aimed directly at the base of our stairs. My roommate and I did not linger at the bottom of the stairs for fear that we would be impaled. Watch the first two minutes of this video and you'll know exactly what I kept imagining.


Anyway, the guy on the roof knocked the giant icicle off the roof. It's now laying on our snow bank. Last night I approached a broken hunk of it with wonder, only to find that I couldn't reach my two hands around it. I'm telling you... it's big. I couldn't lift it either, but it might have frozen into the snow bank, I'm not sure.

Okay, so after telling my mom about that icicle on the phone last night, she asked me to take some pictures of the icicles about. At first I thought that was silly and touristy, but then I remembered that I won't always live in Maine. One day I could be old and very impressed with icicle girth and whatnot. So here we go.

These icicles are from the opposite side of our house, and I couldn't take one picture that fit the length of them because I was afraid to take my camera outside. Observe.

And the bottom of those same icicles. Notice that some of them meet the snow bank in quite a lovely way.

I think of that kitchen window and being covered with an ice curtain. It's nice, I guess.

So anyway, it's still winter in Maine. Just in case anyone was wondering.

How I'll Know I'm Crazy

My mother loves greeting cards. Since I've moved to Maine, she has sent me a card about once a week. Every once in a while she will forget, or sometimes double up, but for the most part I get one card at some point each week.

Now... I don't think anyone could argue my mother's sense of humor. She's kooky. And, she loves to be silly and make people laugh. Recently, however, her cards have become a little bit more outside.

For example, last semester I got a card in the mail telling me how beautiful I looked at my ballet recital. That card came complete with little pink ribbon tied ballet flats. Then there was that Bat Mitzvah that my mother was just so darn proud of.

Today I think my mother really outdid herself. Take a look at this.

In case you can't read it, the card says, "As you celebrate the Bris of your little boy."

And the cartooned picture of Jerusalem could not (I repeat) could not be any more phallic. Just look at those stubby trees and rounded cylindrical buildings!

To top it all off, she's written on the inside as well. Just below the typed portion that reads, "May the very special milestone be an occasion of great happiness and joy. Mazel Tov" my mother has written the following:

"Ha! I've been waiting and somehow this just felt like the right time :) Have a great week!!!"

Hilarious? No doubt.

A little bit crazy? Yes.

Good one, Mom.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Love Lockdown

Thanks to a friend's shameless display of her plastic shaded sunglasses, I have Love Lockdown playing on a loop in my head. In order to experience this post as I intend for you to, please play the video below while you read. If I get so long-winded that you finish the video, restart it. You get the idea.



Now that I've taken care of that, what can I say about today?

Well, I feel as if my life - and therefore my blog - has been carrying on like a three ring circus.

RING 1:
Maine winter.

RING 2:
H4H Project.

RING 3:
Current Obsessions, to include cupcakes and teaching.

So, allow me to hit each of the rings with dispatch.

Maine winter: This morning, our door frame was leaking quite steadily both on the inside and the outside of our door. Now, because we have another door down a set of 5 or 6 steps that actually goes to the outside, the landings on either side of the door are carpeted. Our apartment now smells a little bit musty, as you might imagine. Anyway, our landlord's response to this incessant dripping was to send a maintenance man up onto our roof with a snow shovel. I'm still trying to figure out how that helped.

H4H: I went shopping today. I didn't really mean to, but I needed to get out of Orono and Bangor was the best option. Must say that I look damn good. I bought one shirt, one dress, and a pair of unbelievable (in a bad way) earrings for a total of $15. This afternoon, I played racquetball and won.

Obsessions: The Cookies and Cream cupcakes were tasty, but not entirely successful due to the hue. And I think that Winter Oreos might be sneakily Double Stuffed. I'm a little embarrassed. And... I haven't prepared for tomorrow's class despite the fact that I had nothing to do today.

Keep your love locked down, your love locked down. Keepin' your love locked down, your love locked down...

Oh, and Grey's Anatomy comes on in a few minutes and I'm pitifully excited about that.

Now keep your love locked down, your love locked down. Now keep your love locked down, you lose.

Sing with me!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Alfalfa



Today, I caught sight of myself before I headed to class. I looked not too unlike this guy. And while Alfalfa can rock the alfalfa... I can't. But there it was. A chunk of hair standing straight up on the back of my head.

Oi vey. I mean, I got it down, I think. But it was just upsetting to think that I've actually become that teacher.

You know which one.

----> On the opposite side of the teaching spectrum, one of my former students stopped by my office today just to say hi.

My officemates were shocked and I was just giddy.

Haha... Students really have no idea how crazy their teachers are, do they?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day!

This post has precious little to do with Obama's inauguration, but I will say that I watched alllll of it. It was just about as magical as I expected it would be. More on that later.

Now... for the good stuff.

Lately I've been feeling quite like DJ Tanner. And, though I have in the past seen people where they aren't (remember Steve showing up at Disneyland???), I've been recreating a different episode.

The H for H project has me recalling DJ's ill-fated "diet" for Kimmy's big pool party. Remember this? (I implore you, please stop the video around 1:45. The poster has attached laugh tracks in all the wrong places and it really made me crazy listening to them.)



While I am eating and I have not collapsed at the gym, I did for a minute think that I might this afternoon. Pass out. Not eat. Sorry... my reference is off.

Anyway, I was overly aggressive playing racquetball today and then the elliptical kicked my butt at only 23 minutes. Parallels? I think so. We'll see. I'll keep a watch on this.

In other news, I made cupcakes today while I watched Inauguration coverage on tv. I have a grad student meeting tomorrow and no one wants to come to those meetings anymore. I've decided that I will lure people with cupcakes.

Today I made Cookies and Cream cupcakes with a thin layer of chocolate ganache and a swirl of buttercream icing.

As you might notice, I am poor and cheap and bought the winter Oreos on sale at IGA. I figured the red cream would be interesting, but I didn't anticipate it turning the batter slightly... fleshy.



No big deal. They came out of the oven pretty normal in hue. I then daintily dunked them in chocolate ganache. (Then my roommate and I enjoyed some strawberries with the leftover chocolate. It's how we celebrated our nation.)



After letting the ganache set up for a bit in the fridge, I iced the cupcakes with buttercream icing sans vanilla. I didn't want the off-white affect that vanilla gives. I need to get some clear vanilla for just this reason.



Since the cupcakes still looked naked, I gave them each a patriotic star and voila!



So, yes, they do look inaugural when all is said and done, but the wrappers have snowflakes on them. And they are pink inside.

I don't know. The best thing I can say for them is that they are probably delicious. It's true: I have not tasted the first one. I'll find out tomorrow what the grad students think of them.

Happy Inauguration Day!

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Before Pic

or... What Ugly Looks Like

Now, I'm all about self love, but I take some ugly pictures.

Anyway, I decided that I did in fact need a "before" picture to keep me honest. However, when I staged the "before" pic with zero makeup, bad lighting, deplorable posture, poorly chosen angle, and required lack of smile, I realized that this picture would really be upsetting. And it is.



Ugh. Now that is out of the way... I want to leave you with a picture of what I actually look like when I try. This is what I wore for the first day of classes. Not bad, right?




Okay, now remember the second picture and not the first. Please. I beg you.

Ah well. At least the first "H" is secured for tonight.

H for H (Weigh-in #2)

The Humiliation for Hotness Project is really off to a great start.

If you'll remember, my roommate and I began the H for H on January 12th, the first day of the semester. Since then, I've been eating moderately well - much the same as my usual diet but with more guilt and, you know, humiliation - and exercising fairly regularly.

To be extremely specific, in the last 8 days, I've spent 7.5 hours at the gym. And I think I skipped two days in there because of snow and laziness.

And, so far, the project has paid off. My muscles are sore and I've lost a total of three pounds. I'll let you smart ones do the math.

Let's just say that if I continued to lose weight at this rate through the remaining 16 weeks of the project, I would be underweight. Ha! Imagine it!

So bring on Week 2, I'm ready for it. Armed with fibrous cereal and celery, I am a fat-killing machine.

Perhaps I should take a really busted looking "before" picture before I start achieving hotness...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Way That We Live

Tonight (through the mighty power of Netflix) I watched the first episode of The L Word's final season. I won't bore you with all the details, but I do have a few things I want to share.

First of all, I'm already over Jenny's death. Sure she is pretty at times (I thought she looked gorgeous in a sweet way in the final scene at The Planet), but she is really best at making enemies. Her use of the word "shomance" made me happy and I also enjoyed how she carried out all of her evil in a black lace bra, but other than that, she just aggravated me throughout the 53 minute episode. So, yes, she's dead. But really... let's move on.

Also, did I miss something? When and how did Helena return with the smuggled funds? I don't understand how she could have done that without being noticed. I think I might have blocked Season 5, so I think I'm going to Netflix it too.

I <3 Alice and Tasha. Of course they are fighting again, but how adorable are they? I'll tell you: stinkin' adorable. If I buy a fold-out couch and cute glasses, will all my problems be solved?

Now... Bette is making all sorts of promises. Forever promises that make me think that something odd (yet predictable) is going to happen there. Tina is, of course, smitten and completely wrapped up in the movie production world. Throw in a baby with a fever and their story is tied up with a neat little L Word bow.

Shane. Homegirl needs to figure things out. Like how to pull down the attic ladder in that closet and find the letter (cheesy as it may be) from her lady.

Okay, so maybe I said at the beginning of the post that I won't bore you with all the details, but I think that I just did.

Just this final thing. When this show ends five episodes from now, I'm really going to miss looking at these women.

Oh dear.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

What I Learned Today

At the end of each issue of O magazine, Oprah has a one page essay entitled "What I Know for Sure." In this short piece, Oprah usually makes a conclusion regarding the theme of the particular issue. This conclusion almost always ends up being something along the lines of love-yourself-and-live-your-best-life advice. While I'm not going to all Oprah on the blog, every once in a while, I just feel like summing up my lessons for the day. So... here is a list of my most recent learnings.

What I Learned Today, Jan. 16, 2009

1. There is power steering fluid and it can freeze.

2. Careful class planning can make a semester in the first week.

3. I cannot exercise for two hours and not feel it the next day.

4. Bank thermometers not only register negative temperatures, they also broadcast them at 12:48am.

5. I might be paranoid. Well... I guess I learned (am learning?) that I am paranoid.

6. Eddie Izzard is wicked funny.

7. I like hockey quite a bit, and I can actually answer some questions about the rules.

8. The capitol of Turkey is Ankara.

9. Sometimes staying in-state can lead to a flask on the floor of the backseat.

10. Sleeping with the door closed is not secure if there is no door knob.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Awkward Party (Revised)

In talking with my roommate one night, we happened upon the idea of hosting the most awkward party possible. Now that I'm sitting in my office waiting for my class to begin, the conversation has been revived.

Class time! Be back later!!!


Okay...about 18 hours later, I'm back and ready to continue the Awkward Party conversation. The Empress has hit on an entirely new level of awkward that my crowd did not even touch. While inviting people who don't get along certainly creates an awkward atmosphere, I feel like that awkwardness happens far too often at parties anyway. So here are a few of our ideas for the Awkward Party. And yes, it deserves capitalization. This party is totally a proper noun.

Without further ado, our plans.

Tunes:
The Awkward Party invitees must (there is no negotiation about this point) arrive to hear music that is far too passionate for the occasion. I'm thinking a little Brian McKnight. Maybe some carefully selected Celine Dion peppered with everyone's favorite Christian tune, "I Can Only Imagine." Oh...or one of those collections of the best 1960's Love Ballads. Another sure hit if awkward is your target.

Space:
At awkward (little "a") parties, people usually just group with the people they do know and talk in small groups about how oddly the party is developing and how soon they can leave without giving offense. Since we want to make sure that not even this is easy, the furniture must be carefully placed.

I'm thinking the room(s) should be low on chairs. There should be a few chairs, but not nearly enough for the people invited. Also, these chairs should be spread out and never grouped in conversation circles. This way, people will be forced to either seat one of their group members or just stand in front of a chair, thus blocking someone out who might like to sit.

My roommate and I have also learned (from experience) that chairs that seat 1+ are doubly fun. We have a fluffy loveseat that seats one loosely and two tightly. This was great fun when we hosted a Comp Exam study group this summer. Jason and Dan got quite cozy... and felt very awkward about it.

Food & Drink:
One of my officemates came up with the snack that I think best grasps the spirit of the Awkward Party. Awkward Trail Mix. Now, I'm sure there are millions of possibilities that can instantly make a trail mix awkward. Immediately I can think of some trail mix ruiners like gum, a sticky fruit that would ruin the fingers, that salty black licorice that only fishermen like, chewable Vitamin Cs, individually wrapped candies, I think you get the idea. All edible, but really awkward when offered in trail mix.

Always thinking of the cupcake, I suggested a cupcake that was out of the wrapper and iced on the bottom and placed on a platter. Of course, the icing would adhere to the platter and the cupcake eater would be sadly without icing. Awkward.

Oh, and this should just go without saying, but there should be no alcohol at the Awkward Party. Again, we don't want to give our guests an easy way out of this awkwardness. We want to relish it. That said, if you are with fun, up-for-anything people and you all enjoy the awkwardness for a couple of hours or so, then by all means, let the party devolve. However, if your Awkward Party is truly just awkward, then keep the alcohol away and see how long it will last.

Extras:
Now, the above basics will certainly secure an Awkward Party. If you want to be really cruel, you could tack on some little extras like these:

- Invite people personally and excitedly explain the theme of the party. Make it out there like 1970's pirates or pregnant celebrities and most important... make it a different theme for each group of people you invite. When they show up, just admit that the theme changed a few times and you forgot who you told.

- Velvet Blacklight posters are always a good idea. And let's be honest, these posters are awkward with or without the lights.

- For our crowd, largely English composition teachers, we thought it would be nice to have a screening of one of the films we all used in our 101 classes. Some good options we have are SuperSize Me, An Inconvenient Truth, and Good Night and Good Luck. Having seen these movies several times and with very academic purposes, these movies would certainly deaden any remaining party energy.

So, Awkward Party throwers, go forth! You make those parties as unpalatable as you possibly can and rest easy knowing that your party will not be one quickly forgotten.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Some Updates

1. I made lupper. It was quite good, but the apples were in the sauce too long. They gave up the ghost and left their skins behind. Next time I'll keep the apples out until the very end.

2. I wrote up the lesson plan and agenda for tomorrow's class. I am so far pleased with my ambitious start to the new semester. :)

3. Catherine Tate. Not impressed. She's back in the Netflix envelope.

Coming Soon!

I'm making a version of this for lupper tonight. It's a version because I don't do pork, chops, or bones. Anyway, I'm pretty stoked, so I want you to be too.

For now, I'm going to create an agenda for my class tomorrow and perhaps watch some Catherine Tate. I've been told she's funny. I'll be the judge of that.

Monday, January 12, 2009

H for H Day 1

I weighed in today as scheduled. I won't tell you how much I weighed this morning, but I will tell you that I lost 1.5 pounds today. (1)

Now, now, I know I didn't really lose 1.5 pounds in a matter of hours. So... I've created a new rule for the H for H project. For myself, at least. My roommate doesn't have to comply with my craziness. Anyway... the new rule is that I can only weigh myself once a week. On Monday. In the morning. (5)

This way I won't get excited or let down by the daily fluctuation. And maybe it will increase the excitement over the big Monday reveals. I'll keep you posted!(2)

Oh, Monday Monday...

As it turns out, Mondays are going to be long days for me this semester. Between classes, office hours, and exercise, I'm not going to be getting home until 7ish each Monday.

And I hope I don't have to remind you that The Bachelor comes on Monday nights at 9pm. It's stupid and catty and lame, but The Bachelor is a great way to spend a Monday night in Maine. Where can I find 25 bachelorettes clambering for my roses? ...Just wondering.

And while I'm on the abc talk, I highly recommend True Beauty. It's ridiculous. And, I don't really want to say much more than that. The girl with the fauxhawk is my current favorite, but I'm sure that's not surprising.

Also, we spent a good part of the day in the single digits. On my way home, the Bangor Savings Bank informed me that the temperature was nine degrees. Nine. And it's supposed to rain tomorrow.

Additionally, my classes went well. 101 was... 101. Night class was fun. I'm beginning to really love the Education department. The courses in that department are unbelievably practical.

Alternately, my racquetball performance was not so good. I got tired quickly and I am not pleased. I need to get back into playing regularly now that I'm getting back to school. And I should also probably eat more deliberately before I play. What is one supposed to eat before working out?

As a final note, I'd like to draw your attention to the awkwardness of this posting. It's horrific. Here's my lame excuse at explanation: I began about 5 different blogs in my head today. However, now that it comes to blogging, I am failing. Here's the deal... I'm going to watch The Bachelor and True Beauty and maybe I'll try again later.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Forgotten Cupcakes

I'm usually quite good (read: ridiculous) about keeping the blogworld up-to-date with my cupcake baking. Recently I fell off the wagon and made way too many cupcakes without even so much as a mention of them in the blog.

Without further ado, I'd like to offer this collection as a small peace offering.

Just before I left Maine for the holidays, I made Martha Stewart's Chocolate Espresso Snowcaps. They were wonderful and I am looking forward to making them again and placing them atop cupcakes. They're just that cute.

I took the snowcaps and Egg Nog cupcakes with Captain Morgan's Tattoo to the same party. Oddly, they did not really seem to be eaten. I think that tells me something about the state of Maine, not so much my baking prowess.

Now shift gears, if you will, to a significantly more southern clime. My holiday habitation allowed me to experiment with wildly out of season cupcakes. The first one pictured here is the tremendously successful Key Lime Pie cupcake with Coconut Meringue and Key Lime filling. Do not doubt the overwhelming goodness of this cupcake. I absolutely cannot wait to make this one again, but, alas, Maine temps in the teens and below do not call for this summery delight.

Now for a cupcake more seasonally appropriate. Since I've been in Maine, I've found myself drawn to southern fayre. Most notably, I've been dying for pecan pie. Until Christmas of this year, though, I had never even tried the stuff. Turns out that I love pecan pie. Go figure! Anyway, I made these pecan pie cupcakes around New Years and as it turns out, they were not my thing. The cake base is vanilla and I just don't really care for vanilla cake as a rule. At least not paired with pecans. So...I'll stick to the pie and let the cupcakes go. Lesson learned.

Finally, I offer you the Cookies and Cream cupcakes that I left my family with last week. They were wonderful, as expected. I would have given you a cross-section shot, but my camera and I are barely on speaking terms. This cupcake is loaded with Oreo goodness. Oreos, as God intended them, are not my fave, but baked into a cupcake they take on new goodness. I highly recommend this cupcake.


Cupcakes not pictured: Banana Caramel Towers, Caramel Apple, and Mocha Spice & Christmas tie dyes (reruns for Christmas festivities). Again... my camera and I... not friendly right now.

As you can see, I've been busy. I'm going to try to slow down with the baking this semester. Both my budget and the Humiliation for Hotness project will appreciate it.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Laundry

Two things today:

1. Laundry

Laundry is one of those things that I continually complain about. I don't want to carry my overloaded hamper down the three flights of stairs in my apartment. I don't want to trudge through the snow with the same hamper. -- I did fall once, you know. I was pleased to find I didn't fling underwear into the main drag, but the next time it could definitely happen. -- I don't want to turn all of my cash into quarters. And I don't want to wait in the laundramat for clothes to wash that will ultimately come out smelling of machinery and slightly like someone else's B.O.

However... today when I did all of those things (without falling!), I was rewarded with several unexpected perks. For example, I got 'shocked' out of my reading reverie by the sound of a taser. Turns out the cashier was just showing it to the guy on the other side of the counter, but it was exciting and surprising nonetheless.

So, I should stop complaining about doing laundry. It's not really so bad. And, who knows, I might get lucky and see someone tasered for real one day.


2. Books



Please look up Jennifer Finney Boylan and read both of her memoirs. I was first introduced to Boylan through a Barbara Walters Special. Though her expertise was apparent in her ever-so-brief clip, I actually rewound the tape when Walters said that Boylan lives in Maine. Maine! How exciting and fun and just great.

Anyway, I am no good at summarizing books or introducing people, so I'll just say that I've recently read both of Boylan's memoirs. I love books as an entity, and I usually like most of the books that I read. However, I've been realizing in the last year or so that there are a few books that I truly love. Boylan's memoirs are two of those loved books for me.

She's Not There and Growing Up Haunted both reduced me to tears at parts. And, if you know me, you know that doesn't happen often.

I could write more about these incredible incredible (yes, two) books, but I'll let you approach them for yourselves.


As you can see, there is no common thread to my two notes today. Except, of course, that I read Growing Up Haunted while I waited for my laundry. For that reason, I am having trouble concluding. Let's just go with this:

Don't complain about laundry and go read a book, will you?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Resolutions yadda yadda yadda

"You just yadda-ed over the best part!"
- Jerry to Elaine over coffee


I don't do resolutions. I feel like good decisions are good ideas any day of the year. The calendar shouldn't force me to create goals that will only (honestly) last a month. I'd rather make a 'resolution' on March 30th or June 2nd. Even November 15th! Let's get crazy!

That said, my roommate and I are reviving our Humiliation for Hotness project on Monday, January 12th.

The Humiliation for Hotness project is just what it sounds like. My roommate and I track both our daily exercise and what we call our 'indiscretions', the food we eat but shouldn't.


By posting this information in our hallway, we guarantee ourselves the continual reinforcement of both our failures and successes. The end result, of course, is hotness.

Now, how, you might ask, is this not a resolution?

We sidestep the resolution qualifier because we are continuing an already established project. Tricky, right?

I think so.

So, bring on the health! And you just wait. Since this isn't a resolution, my roommate and I will be humiliating each other well into the month of May.