Sunday, September 06, 2009

Rainy Sunday

Luckily, I have already been social and productive this weekend, as today is inviting nothing more than sitting around in my flannel pjs with my laptop to keep me warm and entertained.

Friday was for fun:
Lena and Ferguson are in town for Bumbershoot, so we had a BBQ that was mostly not rained out. Rounding out the mob: Rebecca, Jenn, Erin and Erik.

Saturday was for doing:
Although there is much organizing left to be done, the office is coming together. I think it is my favorite room in the house, owing to the bright green walls, my purple files, and the bulletin boards I made yesterday. (Glued 4 cork squares each to oak craft boards, then covered in heavy oxford fabric I had in the stash.) I'm pretty pleased with how the room is shaping up.

If the rain lets up, we may do a little Bumbershoot tomorrow. Time will tell.

Friday, August 14, 2009

I can haz a blog?

Just sitting here thinking, maybe I should start a blog. Then I remembered, I have a blog! Funny, that.

Update: We bought a house. It's in Shoreline. We move in next week. We're pretty stoked.

And you KNOW what having a house means, right? Aw yeah... Imma get me some dog! The plan goes:
1. Move
2. Unpack
3. Save up enough money to afford the initial outlay for a dog

There has been a good deal of discussion (and perhaps some arguing) about what kind of dog will be joining our family. I'm all for the medium-to-large mutt variety, my apparently blue-blooded husband prefers the premium variety. As long as it's a rescue, I'm down for most anything that wags. There will be posts as details unfold.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Usual end of the quarter update

Not much to update, but it's the end of the quarter, and I typically manage a new post about this often.

This was actually a pretty smooth quarter. Busy as all get-out, but not too bad, overall. No major student issues, crises, or health trauma. The big class at Big State U was characteristically impersonal, while the small class at Community was wonderful. I had a great group of students this quarter, and I will miss them dearly. It actually felt as though we had some fun - imagine that!

In other news, there isn't much other news. Just a dull few winter months here in Seattle.

I've been working (slowly) on a baby surprise jacket for a friend who is due in a few months.

I'm knitting it from my own handspun, in pinks and oranges. I hope the color scheme appeals to someone else besides me!

I've had no time for spinning this quarter, and Fresh Yarns hasn't been updated in an age and a half. I even got hand-carders for Christmas, and haven't found the time to use them yet. I am a very bad crafter! Hopefully spring will bring a few more hours for crafting!

Speaking of things I should be spending time on, E (sister) and I have registered for this summer's Danskin Triathlon. It will be her first and my second, though the first in 3 years for me. I've got so much training to do - it's unreal. There is a commercial currently playing on tv where a character says "I'm not fat, I'm just unfit!" - and I identify completely! So very unfit! But we've got a few months to train, and this is certainly the motivation I need to get myself back into fighting shape. I'm sure there will be much whining to come.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Caucus excitement

Today the H-man and I were a part of history, along with many other Seattlites. We participated in the democratic caucus!

Since primary votes do not determine democratic delegates in the state of WA (despite the fact that we can vote in the primary), and we feel pretty strongly about our candidate of choice, we decided to participate. It was our first caucus, and it was pretty interesting. I'd say it was exciting, but mostly it was just sort of hot and noisy, with tons of people packed into the gym of a local high school.

It was really cool to see so many people come out to participate, and to be a part of it ourselves. Also pretty cool was that in our precinct, things were incredibly straightforward. The vast majority supported Obama, with the initial delegate counts ending up 5 for Obama and 1 for Clinton. But after speeches were made and uncommitted participants chose a candidate, our precinct ended up going 6-0 in favor of Obama. That was pretty damn exciting.

Also pretty rad was the fact that on the other side of the gym, a precinct made up almost entirely of elderly citizens from a retirement home also went for Obama. How cool is that? More interesting than seeing the candidate that I favor gaining so much support was being present to actually see how people are thinking. I hear the daily news and general punditry, and from that I would assume that my elderly (democrat) neighbors would strongly favor Clinton. It was nifty to see what's going on directly, beyond the national statistics.

So anyway, that's that. Now to wait anxiously for the overall results from around the state.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Annaroni and Cheese

Over the summer I made macaroni and cheese for some friends. They rather liked it, and have dubbed it, or perhaps me (?), Annaroni & cheese. Someone asked me for the recipe tonight, but I really don't have a recipe to give. I just *make* the stuff. It's never the same twice, and as far as I know, it's really just basic m&c. Having just made it this afternoon though, I thought I'd try to jot down, for posterity, how I make this macaroni and cheese that has garnered me a new identity and probably rushed many friends toward early coronary bypasses.

Start off with a nice big pan. I like to use my big le cruset soup pot (cheese sauce cleans out of enamel well).
Over warm heat, melt some butter. Let's say, oh, 3 Tbsp.
Crush up a bunch of garlic into the melted butter. I usually go for 5-6 cloves. Maybe more if I'm not going to be socializing. But definitely no less.
Now, being super careful, make sure your heat is just high enough to simmer the garlic a bit, without scorching it. If it get's burnt and stinky, start again! There is no recovering from scorched garlic. You must banish it.
When the garlic is just the lightest bit tan, stir in some flour (1/3 cup should do) with a whisk. Make sure the flour and butter really unite into a nice paste, or little butter/garlic/flour balls. No one should be left out of this party. Make sure everyone is mingling.
Keep an eye on the situation. You want the flour to toast a little bit, to get rid of that horrid raw-flour taste, but again - beware the scorching. When things smell sort of toasty, pour in some milk (~3 cups), using your whisk again to get everything nice and even.
Let the roux/milk situation cook for a bit on low/medium heat, stirring frequently. At this point, toss in some dry mustard and ground black pepper. I can't even begin to estimate how much. Keep simmering over medium heat. You want it to get warm, steamy and thicken a bit, but not necessarily actually boil.
Now for the fun part - the cheese! I use somewhere between 2-4 cups of various cheese. Typically, cheddar plays a big part, but beyond that, I usually go for about 4 types of cheese, total. Tonight I used cheddar, gruyere, muenster and parmesan. I also used panarello, but I'll get to that in a sec.
Grate up all your cheeses, and stir them into the milk sauce. Keep stirring until all the cheese is melted and the sauce is uniform and creamy.
While all this is going on, you should also cook a box of macaroni (or penne or rigatoni or whatever suits your mood).
Once the noodles are cooked and drained and the cheese sauce is ready to go, stir the two together. Taste some - you've waited long enough!
Spread the whole shebang into a large casserole dish. Set aside for a minute while you crush up about 20 melba toasts.
Melt about 2 Tbsp. butter in a small frying pan, and toss in the crumbs. Stir around until everything smells toasty, then sprinkle the buttery crumbs over the top of the mac and cheese.
Tonight, before baking, I also dotted tiny cubes of the panarello on top of the crumbs. That was a delicious addition, I must say.
Now, toss the whole thing into the oven at 350 degrees, for about 30 minutes (or until it's golden and bubbly and your house smells divine!).


Warning: do NOT consume this mac and cheese the night before a blood test. You will fail. Your doctor might try to sue me. No one wants that.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Little update

I keep thinking I should post something. Then I think I should post some pictures if I do. And then I don't seem to get around to uploading pictures, which seems to prevent me from posting.

I'm sitting here with my computer keeping my lap warm and thinking about posting, so I suppose I ought to just write something.

It's been a seriously busy few months. August was the usual whirlwind of birthdays, anniversaries and wrapping up summer quarter.

The highlight of September was Erin and Erik's wedding. It was perfect! I should have written about this sooner, but... Anyhow, the wedding was absolutely perfection. Erin was radiant. Erik beamed. EVERYONE cried. And cried. And then we all got tipsy and partied. The food, the band, the cake (oh! that cake!), the photographers, the flowers... everything was truly absolutely perfect. It was a beautiful day, and just the best wedding ever.

See how lovely?

Following our return from NY, I headed down to Oregon to do the Canby Flock and Fiber Festival with the lovely and sassy Sarah. (Who is a very good blogger, and probably wrote lots of good things about the weekend.) There may be some pictures of that, but they're languishing on my camera... maybe someday they'll make it out.

After the OFFF, I was ready for a good long rest. Instead, we moved. Oh, wait - I started a new quarter, and we moved. Into a house.

Don't get too excited, it's a rental. And there is a pathologically crazypants landlord in the mix. But still - house! Allow me to share these magic words: my. own. craft. room. Oh yeah - you read correctly. H and I each get our own room to do with what we will. Mine is adrift in crafty material. His is swimming with wires and gadgets and beer brewing equipment. But there's room enough for peace to reign, because of those magic words: my. own. room. It also has a backyard and two decks. Three bathrooms. Lots of closets. It's amazing how much landlord crap you can tolerate when given a ton of space.

We're having a party. You should come!

I think this is supposed to be a blog about teaching and doing crafty stuff, but it's usually just about being busy. I feel I should say something crafty.

I went to Webs! When I was on the east coast, after the wedding, I met up with Adrian and Carolyn and we went to yarn heaven! I have enough yarn for two sweaters that I will never have the time to make. But still... yarn! It was glorious! Oh, and once we were fully yarn sated, Ms. Lisa met us for the yummiest dinner in Northampton. It was glorious beyond imagination. (Marred solely by Mr. Sick E. Pants that came along despite being on his deathbed.) It was awesome to see the east coast ladies!

In other yarn-based news, which is neither new nor notable, I am still working on the shrug that I meant to wear to E's wedding. How long does it take to make a shrug? It's just sleeves! And yet, I persist. I'm getting there. The majority of the thing got done on the plane to and from NY, and in the car driving to see H's family. Definitely more than enough time to finish such a project, but no. Not me. I need to have my fingers checked... I think they're challenged. One day, the shrug will be done. Then maybe I'll finish the socks I started in March. And then on to those two sweaters.

I'll tell you about teaching some other day.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

On marriage

My sister is getting married in September and recently asked me to write some reflections on marriage based on experience. I came up with the following. It's still kind of rough, and there is certainly more I could say, but I sort of like this, and thought I'd share.

On a day-to-day basis, being married means sharing life with your very best friend - the person who you are closer to than anyone in the world, the person who knows you and whom you know as intimately as you know yourself. This means playing and having fun when all is well, holding each other close and propping one another up in the challenging times, and celebrating the best times. Being married is sharing - all of the moments of life, from the mundane to the very high peaks to the very low valleys.

It also means giving of yourself. Some consider marrying a sacrifice, or a loss of oneself. I don't see it that way. I see it as growing into a more fully developed person by giving up little individual foibles to be more open to your partner. In exchange, you also gain a fuller partner as s/he gives up his/her own trivialities. True, this doesn't always happen without conflict. But when conflict occurs, the ability to step back and recognize what is most important in the larger picture of your partnership will ultimately lead to an improvement in the marriage. We are all imperfect people, and I believe that a good marriage with the right person helps us to become better.

Although I was asked specifically about marriage, I'd like to share one thought on love, within a marriage. Love is so often misconstrued as a "thing." You have love or you don't, and it is a capricious thing that follows its own whims. But this just isn't true. Love is a verb, it is an action. We choose to love. We may "fall in love" during initial romantic attraction, but continuing to love is a decision we make. We all get older and in doing so, lose some of our young attractiveness, in many ways. But continuing to love one another once the romance has faded is a conscious choice. We go on loving because of commitment, because of a shared life and experiences, sometimes only because we vowed we would. The happy thing is that being in such a commitment - a daily, intentional bond - most often results in joy, comfort, contentment, and happiness beyond that first experienced during romantic attraction. It is a happy and joyful existence for the most part. But the reality is that we all have dark times, individually and as partners. Sometimes it is just hard to be good and giving, sometimes we are needy and selfish. Although this is something that will need attention and work, the commitment to continue loving one another is what carries us through these times.

Marriage is an obligation and it is work, but it is also fun and comfort and joy. After earning a Ph.D. and accomplishing several other personal achievements, I can still say that being a part of a strong and happy marriage is my biggest success, and truly the one that makes my life good.