Monday, May 31, 2010

If A Frog Had Wings...

(If you're a Coen Bros. fan you can probably finish the title on your own. I'll let you go ahead and do that, now.)

Hi! Long time no see!

I've been constructing s'mores, singing songs, and generally being campy for the past few days. Now I'm back! The cuffs of my jeans are drying, my muddy converse are outside, and the smell of woodsmoke still lingers.

Yes, I'm back, and I'm still going gutsily.

Gosh, where do I even BEGIN?

First of all, I'm officially beginning to knit the covers for the Bacher Rocker, the old dark wicker rocking chair sitting sadly in the corner of my room. Sadly because the upholstery it currently has (NOT original to the chair, by the way) would like a little makeover. So I'm knitting them some cozy covers. They're not going to be spectacularly detailed and/or colorful, but they'll do. (For those of the knitting persuasion: I'm doing a plaited stitch in a sort of off-white heather color.)

Then, I went to Joann Fabrics and Half-Price Books to do some major financial damage, and I failed, because both places were having major sales and I walked away with lots of merchandise for less money than they might have liked. But there's more yarn, cute buttons, and Irish trad LPs lying around than ever before!

Oh! Oh! And I got the boxed set of the UK Office, too! I know, you're all major US Office fans. And that's fine. But give me Ricky Gervais and Mykenzie Crook and I'm there, wot?

Finally, I crashed and burned in my attempt at baking. Which is good, because it keeps me humble. I was attempting to amend a recipe, turning some Irish oatmeal biscuits from savory to sweet, but didn't quite get there. My parents (read: guinea pigs) were nice about it as always, but the biscuits aren't what I wanted them to be. Not quite right. Never fear...I'll try again. And this time, bring on the sugar.

What a busy day! And work tomorrow. But a short week, yea verily!

-The GLS

Friday, May 28, 2010

10-4, Good Buddy.

Posting a bit early, tonight...

I'm off to camp for the weekend, y'all! Think of me while it rains, as I'll likely be standing by the waterfront in bright yellow boots and my new black rainslicker, shoving canoes into the lake and calling out orders over the megaphone. OR I'll be in the back of a pickup truck, or around a campfire, or something equally wonderfully rustically campy.

Truth is, I miss camp a whole lot, and since I won't be working there this summer I'll probably find many of my weekends are booked up with volunteering. Can't give it up, this camp thing. :)

Obviously, while I'm gone, there will be no Internet access and therefore no regular nightly posts. So don't be lookin' for 'em.

I need to go pack...

To those of my readers who live in the States, Happy Memorial Day and enjoy the long weekend*!

To those of you NOT in the States...uh...enjoy the not-so-long weekend!

-The GLS
*I keep saying "long weekend" like the Australians in Danny Deckchair. "Long weekEND."

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Talk about a perfect evening! Came home and realized that my final quiz in Logic is over and done with, thanks to my completing it during my lunchbreak at work today. So I had cook!

I searched through my new cookbooks for inspiration, and near the beginning of my Encyclopedia of Soups I found the perfect thing: Green Bean & Parmesan Soup.

And OH MY, was it ever amazing! So amazing, in fact, that I HAVE to share.

(The recipe below is DOUBLED from the one in the book, because the book assumes that you'll be serving this as an appetizer, I guess. The amount my version makes served 3 people, including a hungry Dad, quite wonderfully with none to spare.)

(Adapted and altered from "The Cook's Encyclopedia of Soup", edited by Debra Mayhew)

You'll need:
3 tbs butter
2 cans of whole green beans (drained)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 qt vegetable stock (MUST be GOOD veggie stock...don't even THINK of substitution)
1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup light cream
salt and black pepper
fresh parsley for garnish

Hokay, this soup is VERY simple. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-medium high heat. Add the garlic and swirl it around, then add the green beans and cook for about 3 minutes. Make sure the beans are coated in buttery garlic goodness.

Stir in the stock and season with salt and pepper. (And by the way, the reason I harp on the stock is because the veggie stock is where most of your flavor dimension will come from. Please invest in a good quality stock.) Bring it to a boil, then let it simmer without a lid for 15 minutes. You want to the beans to be nice and tender.

Either transfer the soup to a blender OR get a hand-blender (this is what I did) and puree the soup until smooth. Return it to the pan and bring the heat back up gradually.

Stir in the Parmesan cheese and cream. Sprinkle with parsley before serving. Serve piping hot with toasted French bread and fresh salad for a light but filling meal!

Seriously, this soup is a bowl of green goodness. And so easy!

But also, to go with this delightful meal, a delightful movie: Stranger Than Fiction, an all-time favorite.

Ahhh, this is the life!

I also wrote another short story last night, immediately after my anti-social post on this here blog. The story is called "The Courtship of the Blue-Eyed Widow". Intrigued?

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go drool over the $100 refurbished rotary-phones I just discovered on Anthropologie's website. Wish me luck...

-The GLS

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Twist Your Heart Around.

The GLS...

Needs you all to know that she cares about you.

Needs you all to know that she wants to update for your sake.

Needs you all to know that it happens to be one of those nights.

Needs you all to know that tonight she needs Russian Caravan tea and quiet.

Thank you all for your kind attention.

-The GLS

PS: I'm compulsively listening to mashups that have been buried on my iPod since early college days. "Brazil is Full of Love" and "It's Not Right Hero" are standouts. But you didn't hear it from me...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It Ain't Me, Babe.

Wow, I've had this ridiculous reproduction-style phonograph for a VERY long time (10+ years?), and it's been in my room for at least half of that time, and only NOW I'm starting to collect LPs like some sort of rabid musical Luddite. Up until this point I've been content with my parents' collected (and admittedly, awesome) stuff: Simon & Garfunkel, Lovin' Spoonful, Jim Croce, LOTS of The Beatles, etc.

And this is, of course, a complete musical education in and of itself. But I wanted more.

The latest purchases? Johnny Cash's "Orange Blossom Special", circa 1965, and a 2-record selection called "The World of Johnny Cash" featuring a bunch of songs I felt like I needed in my life.

Also, to add to the vintage Irish trad collection, a beat-up old record called "Traditional Music of Ireland & Shetland" by a band called How To Change A Flat Tire. I'm not sure how famous they ever got, and I'm not sure if they're any good, but the LP was only 98 cents, needed to come home with me. Besides, the Chieftains were starting to get lonely.

Can you tell I went a little nuts at Half-Price Books? Well, as if that weren't enough, I also bought three new cookbooks: The Bread Bible, the Encyclopedia of Soups, and Irish Food & Cooking. My mom could only say: "If you're going to buy books with such gorgeous photographs and tempt your mother with them, you HAVE to promise to do a lot of cooking. And soon."

Oh, don't worry Mom. I will. Soon enough you won't be able to TEAR me away from the kitchen until I've mastered every recipe in these ridiculous new books.

Yeah, it's a good night.

So, goodnight!

-The GLS

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Plague.

...not to be confused with the novel by Camus. I shudder to recall that English 101 nightmare...

(The good stuff is at the end of this post. Unless you prefer my academic life to my ranty, humanitarian-philosopher life.)

So, through no fault of my own, I was given a great deal of academic good fortune, this evening. All day I was sort of dreading having to take a Logic quiz AFTER my lab in Astronomy (which goes until 10:00pm on Mondays). And I was trying to study at work but not really succeeding.

And then, an hour and fifteen minutes into our lecture in Astronomy, my teacher says she needs to take a break and she's off to the restroom. Ten minutes later, a fellow student (also coming from the bathroom) enters with a message from the teacher: she will not be able to continue tonight. Go home.

This would sound like a cruel prank, but this student is the most reliable in the class and our teacher had admitted to feeling quite ill earlier. So we collected our stuff for the lab due Wednesday and left class.

I was home by 7:45.

Then my poor LOGIC teacher, while physically fine, was entrenched in a mental battle of wits with himself, and decided that our quiz tonight should be easier than normal because he kept changing our syllabus.

So I was done with my Logic quiz by 8:30, and the rest of the night is mine.

Some thoughts before I depart:

1. Everyone needs someone.
2. Human beings were not meant to be lonely.
3. Emotionally speaking, our universe is WAY too big for us to spread out the way we do. Does that sound contradictory? I don't think it is. When you think of the sheer size of our planet, solar system, galaxy, local cluster, and universe...when you THINK of how MINISCULE we are in comparison with anything else...why oh why would we even THINK of doing the stupid, inane, ridiculous, knuckle-headed, cruel, and thoroughly human things we do to alienate ourselves from one another? Why, when we should cling to each other in rabid, passionate hope in the midst of the mysterious darkness that makes up 80% of the space in space, do we lash out in pettiness and fear? Maybe if we all spent time looking up and out at what we don't understand then we'd spend a lot more time moving in and near to one another.

That's all.

-The GLS
PS: I'm not saying I'm lonely, don't worry. I just got very ranty all of a sudden...

PSS: The "That's all" above sounds a lot cooler if you read it in the deadpan voice of Meryl Streep's character in "The Devil Wears Prada".

PSSS: With the above statement, did I just single-handedly take all of the depth and profundity out of my rant? Oops.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Baron! That's My Underwear!

Title explanation: I'm at Indefish and Sister-of-Indefish's house. And their dog's name is Baron. And he just tried to make off with a pair of underwear. Hilarity ensued. And yelling.

We're off to watch "Young Victoria" and enjoy a girly evening.

Gutsiness: Bought one more piece of copper to complete my nesting dry-goods canister set. It's a parmesan cheese dispenser, with a brass label that reads CHEESE. Awesome. Value Village = love.

Okay. Off to relax. Love y'all.

-The GLS

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bananas. Oats. Yeast. Success.

(Beware: Long post with LOTS of parentheses. Starting with this one.)

I'm telling you, it was a thing of beauty.

Never in my life have I squealed so loudly as when I opened up the microwave and saw the dough pushing upward on the towel I had placed over it. It rose! It really rose!!

Let me explain...(cooking nerdiness...beware...)

The recipe: Banana Muesli Bread (though...actually...I didn't use muesli because I was too lazy to go buy some. So I used dry rolled oats, instead. Same difference.)

Today I had a weird desire to try yeast bread again, although THIS time ignoring the advice of Mr. Hollywood about yeast (the man who wrote the bread cookbook I use) and instead looking yeast-usage up on the Internet. And what I found was extraordinarily easy to understand!

Though I use Active-Dry yeast, which you can ALLEGEDLY toss in with the dry ingredients without proving (dissolving in water, for the uninitiated), I decided it would be better to try proving this time.

First of all, it is NOT necessary to put sugar in the water when proving yeast. Yes, it makes the yeast blossom. But the blossoms are not necessary for the dough to RISE, they are only necessary to prove that the yeast is still alive. Since I had no reason to suspect otherwise, I didn't bother putting any sugar in there. I did, however, use a thermometer to check the temperature of the water (about 100-110 degrees), and sure enough the stuff dissolved!

I mixed it in with the flour, salt, and butter (too much salt, time I'll use less, as Mr. Hollywood and I have different opinions about such things, it seems). I also kneaded it for a LOT longer than I ever had, as I had been under the mistaken impression that kneading for too long makes dough stiff. Er, I guess if you knead HOUR or something, sure. But a good 5-6 minutes of steady kneading turned the dough into a smooth, elastic ball of goodness.

It was time to let the dough rise. The moment of truth, as it were. Because I live in a place where the kitchen is never warm or damp enough for such things, I had to try something other than just setting the dough on the counter. Following a trick I had learned reading another baking blog, I microwaved a cup of water and then stuck the covered dough--glass bowl and all--into the steamy microwave with the cup of water. Then I left it alone for 2 whole hours.

After a walk down to the beach in the sunshine, then a walk back up past the yarn store where the lady gave me a pair of knitting needles for free, I returned to the kitchen...opened the microwave...

...and there it was. Having doubled in size, for the first time ever! I squealed really loudly. I was really happy.

The rest was boring, but satisfying. The bread turned out quite tasty (though, like I said, a bit too salty thanks to Mr. Hollywood's odd ratios). I think with a lovely topping of Nutella it could really be a winner.

But best of all, it differs from ALL of my other baking endeavors in that it is soft, bubbly, not dense, and rose enough to make two nice-sized pull-apart loaves.

I am content. And full of bread.

-The GLS

Friday, May 21, 2010

Eloise's Pink Bandana.

I love living where I live.

But I also love dreaming about the place I may live someday. And unsurprisingly, thanks to the events of the evening, I know I want to live in a place where there are regular gatherings of neighbors.

I'm not particularly picky about the TYPE of gathering. Block party, house concert (or carport concert!). Heck, I'd even take a barn raising. (In fact, how epic would that be?)

But tonight it was really fun to stop by the carport of a friend's apartment complex in the pouring rain and feast on homemade salads, salsas, honey ale, hummus, and fantastic desserts. Listen to acoustic music, play with the SWEETEST French bulldog I've ever met (named Eloise, no less), and enjoy good company and laughter. Staying out late in the gathering dark (and COLD) and just enjoying the atmosphere.

Yes, indeed. Wherever I end up living someday, there WILL be gatherings. Even if I have to organize them myself.

So let it be written, so let it be done.

-The GLS
PS: Yes, Eloise WAS wearing a pink bandana. Glad you asked.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pico de Gallo Run.

As I drove home from work I thought, "You know? I need to cook something tonight. Something simple but sweet."

And it wasn't until I threw open the freezer and saw the breaded cod fillets that I suddenly realized: FISH TACOS.

I ran (drove) to the grocery store to buy corn tortillas, organic guacamole, and pico de gallo, then came back to bake the fillets, heat the tortillas, and rip up some lettuce (I know, I know, it should be cabbage...but I didn't feel like buying cabbage).

It was divine. Thanks for asking.

In other news, I'm watching "The Guild" for the first time ever. Felicia Day (of "Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog" fame) was making Internet sitcoms before the days of Dr. Horrible, and since she's an avid Internet gamer she made a sitcom about life in a MMORPG Guild...and how it affects REAL life.

Day plays a girl named Cyd ("Codex" is her name online) who is living a fairly uneventful real life, but has a "network" of friends in her Guild. Things are going just fine until one of her fellow guildmates--convinced that they've been conducting an online relationship--moves into her real-life house. Hilarity ensues.

I never really got into WoW, and I'm glad. I played it for six days on the free trial thing, but I started to notice that it was a total time-suck and kind of unimpresisve after awhile. So I stopped, and never went back.

But to see the gaming world through hilarious--and yet honest--eyes is fun. I would watch "The Guild" on YouTube if I were you.

I'm off to knit a purse-strap for my headrest-cozy-turned-handbag. Ta for now!

-The GLS

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Power Outage.

I just finished Test #2 for the day, and I have to say it's all it's cracked up to be. By the time I took the stupid thing I didn't really care anymore. Both tests (in Astronomy and Logic) felt middling. I don't think I failed, but I probably didn't do my best. However, they're both done, and I can breathe now.

(It didn't help that my lights have been flickering because of the windstorm blowing in, and since you can only sign in to the online testing system ONCE I didn't want to take any chances that I might get signed out by a stray power outage. So I zipped through the thing in record time. Hope that didn't hurt me too badly...)

If you'll excuse me, I think I need to grab my ukulele, sit down in my rocking chair, and plunk out some silly yet satisfying chords to massage the ache in my brain.


-The GLS

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Banjos at the Gloaming.

(The title would make a remarkably cheesy folk-band album name, don't you think?)

I've gone about as far as I can go studying for tonight. I have to wait for a professor to get back to me by email before I can continue...

So. How are you? :)

I've been dreaming again, tonight. Taking my laundry out to the washing machine, peering out the window and seeing the gloaming (I no longer use the term "twilight", thanks to Lord Dunsany...). I've been thinking between loads of socks and shirts and underthings about life and love and all that. Just the small things.

And they are small things, in a way. I can't help but remember that I am very small, and the star Antares tells me so. And he ought to know, because he is HUGE (being a supergiant and all). Thinking about black holes, and dark matter, and the 90% of the composition of the universe made up of stuff we don't understand yet...and probably never will.

About how content I am not to know about certain things.

Isn't it funny that I can study the stars in classes, lectures, and labs; determine absolute and apparent magnitudes, understand fusion in a star's core and the lifecycle of stellar bodies, know the limit of mass of white dwarf stars...and yet when the question is posed, "What is occurring at the center of a star?" I still want to say something silly like, "An angel dance-party...?" Or better yet, "I don't know."

I'm content not knowing, even when given the theories and conjectures. I'm fine not knowing for certain. I like the mystery. I don't HAVE to know, and nothing you say can convince me that knowing is the most important thing. And I don't believe the textbook when it tells me the inner workings of stars, because it's all theories. Why can't we be content to guess, and let the guessing be the fun?

(For the record...I KNOW why we can't do that. Because we're human, and while science is both fascinating AND highly important, it also forces one to take things a lot more seriously than I tend to enjoy. I'm not trying to pick a fight with scientists. I'm just being honest.)

Bring it down to my own tiny sphere of influence, though, and things get murky. I want to know everything. Right here. Now. With ketchup. Please and thank you.

All of the mysteries of my own relatively insignificant life, please, and hold nothing back. The future in all of its facets, if you would. Could you make that to-go? Give me names, and dates, and pictures of places I'll see. Give me reasons, shortcuts, and excuses. Give me a glimpse. Give me a vision. I want to see me in ten years...twenty...thirty...

What a silly creature I am. Maybe I should pull my rocking chair out into the driveway, sit, and stare up at a billion bright shells wrapped around a billion angel dance-parties, and feel the contentment of the not-knowing wash over me.

Or just go finish my laundry, and leave the future up to Someone who knows much better than I do.

-The GLS

Monday, May 17, 2010

Take This Heart of Mine...

Ack, sorry folks, I almost forgot to update because I was studying for a quiz in Logic. I've never been so wiggy about studying, before, but I REALLY want to do well in this stuff...

This week is kind of nutso. I'm still acting head teacher in my classroom at the daycare, which is fine, but it's a little extra to think about (obviously). Not to mention I have two tests on Wednesday (one in Logic and one in Astronomy...and I'm not sure which one makes me more nervous...). I also have an Astronomy lab due on Wednesday, and homework (which is really a study guide for the test, so no pressure). It's just a lot.

Phew, but...once Wednesday is over I think I'll be able to breathe for a little while. Maybe.

Tonight I dusted off Roy the Baritone Ukulele and I've been digging up old camp songs, and it's a nice way to end a semi-stressful day.

So, I'm going to leave you all singing.

-The GLS

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Feelin' Cheesy...and Cheap.

Hey, GLS...what are you up to?

Oh, nothing. Just eating what is quite possibly the weirdest dinner of all time. And loving it.

Yeah, as I was heading home from church I realized: I haven't eaten dinner. And it's almost 10:00pm. This is a problem. So I stopped in to QFC and wandered around trying to find something yummy AND filling. I wasn't into the deli sandwiches which had been sitting out all day (besides, I wanted a bagel with cream cheese, but they were fresh out). I wasn't about to buy something like a bag of chips, which is unneccessarily fatty and doesn't make you feel any fuller.

I kind of wanted soup, but I knew I wouldn't have access to the kitchen when I got home (parents would be sleeping), so all I would have at my disposal was my electric kettle.

To make a moderate story longer than neccessary and then summarize it: I followed my cravings to a roll of crusty bread, a sample-size wedge of Stilton cheese (yuuuummm), and...a Cup O'Noodle. That's right, we're going with the whole spectrum of foodiness, here.

So here I am, munching away on Stilton and bread and noodles and feeling just grand.

(Did I mention the whole thing cost me $3? Yeah.)

But also lazy, because I really ought to upload a picture of my great-great-grandmother's rocking chair FINALLY at home in my room, but I can't be arsed. Sorry.

Cheese. Bread. Noodles. $3. Win.

-The GLS

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Free Range.

What is this?

This, my friend, is a fresh-baked biscuit (light and fluffy, I might add) topped with raspberry preserves, sitting next to two free-range organic eggs (purchased from the Farmer's Market) and served over-medium.

Seriously, I had never truly eaten an egg until I tried these beauties. Oh my goodness, the flavor! The color of the yolk!

This was lunch.

The gutsiness was fairly thick on the ground, today. Fresh baked biscuits, clearing space in my room for my great-great-grandmother's rocking chair, and heading to Half-Price Books where I discovered that I am now a collector.

Allow me to explain. About a year ago I bought "The Chieftains 2" on LP, classic Irish traditional music from the 60's. I love the Chieftains. I've seen them live before, and they're fantastic, so I bought the LP. Little did I know that when I went back to Half-Price months later I would find "The Chieftains 9". Now I was just intrigued. So every time I've been back to HPB, I've found another Chieftains album (there are 10 of the numbered ones).

Today, I found 1, 3, 5, and 7! I've been basking in trad all afternoon.

I also just finished the knitted headrest cozy for Flora (my Toyota Corolla), but upon heading out to the car to make sure it fit I found out that it's not NEARLY wide enough to accomodate the headrest. So...I'm going to turn it into a purse. Haha! No sense letting a cute fish-patterned thingamajig go to waste...

-The GLS

Friday, May 14, 2010

Established 1892.

I find myself ticked off at the new Facebook profile page system. And I didn't even know it was happening until I tried to edit my profile...and looked different. Argh.

It's Friday night, and I had the house to myself, so I thought I ought to cook something. Something pasta. It was quite good, actually, and turned out closer to what I always think I'm going for.

Boil spaghetti, then drain. In another pan, fry up some rosemary ham, onions, and garlic until golden brown. Toss the ham/garlic/onions in with the cooked spaghetti, add some pesto and parmesan cheese. Then chop up some fresh tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes) and sprinkle them on top. Voila! Lovely. Serve with salad and garlic bread (which I actually...didn't get around to making, but I think would be really good).

I'm going to go brew some tea and stay up late watching British gameshows and knitting my fingers off. Tomorrow is another day...when I can sleep in and then enjoy the sunshine!

-The GLS
(The title refers to the zip-up hoodie that I bought at Value Village for a whopping $12...which happens to be an exorbitant amount if you're a frequent thrift shopper. But I liked it. It's brown, hefty, nicely tailored, and exactly what I was looking for. It's Abercrombie & Fitch, which I dislike, but the logo is smaller than normal so I'm just going to ignore it.)

Thursday, May 13, 2010


I'm thinking very carefully about this weekend's Great Yeast Bread Experiment, as one needs to be on top of these things. And I think I've narrowed it down to a great breakfast-y recipe of Banana and Muesli Bread, or the Peanut Bread (which is apparently quite good with Nutella...which I adore). They both sound ridiculously good, but which to pick? about BOTH?

The catch is that I've never eaten/cooked with muesli before, but it can't be that hard to find. If I can't find muesli I'll just use rolled oats. Which would be less fun and have a different flavor, of course, but would probably work for the necessary texture.

Also, I like to take the leftovers of my bread to work, and I can't bring the Peanut Bread to the daycare because we have a no-peanuts policy (because of allergies). Hmm...

But I'm still somewhat determined to try both this weekend. I feel it needs to be done.

I stole a component from my old Gateway computer speakers in order to listen to my iPod in the car. I also bought another mug from Value Village. Someone drag me away from that place. On second thought, please don't.

Friday, Friday, here we come.

-The GLS

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Playing Games With the Faces.

First of all, it's kind of amazing how much I'm noticing that summer is definitely in the air. It was kind of fun giving the kids at the daycare hugs today and smelling of those smells that just SCREAMS summertime.

Second, I saw an odd sight today driving to evening class. Two quite normal-looking college girls walking with a be-costumed chicken and frog. The chicken was riding a very small bike, and the frog was riding a skateboard. And I knew I was a Seattleite when all I could think was, "I love Ballard."

Thirdly, I wrote another short story last night entitled "The Man in the Gabardine Suit". Simon & Garfunkel fans may notice and appreciate the reference. Yes, he IS a spy, and his bowtie really IS a camera, and I'm on a roll with these short stories. They're poignant and sweet and fun and SHORT.

It's kind of amazing to me that I've been trying and trying and TRYING to write a novel since I was in elementary school, and always feeling the sting of failure. And then I discovered that you can grab the same emotion--and almost more--in bite-sized chunks of fun and freewheeling writing.

Kind of like blogging. Hmmm...

Here's to Lord Dunsany, for introducing me to the fantasy short story. Here's to the manufacturers of sunscreen, the smell of summer.

And here's to the chicken and the frog. Long live Ballard.

-The GLS

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Nobody Knows, Nobody Sees...

Mitchell & Cash. Welch & Rawlings. Harris & Matthews.

Three duos. Three versions. Three fantastic experiences. One song.

The song is "Long Black Veil". I would look the above duets up if I were you. They're all spectacular, and they're all different.


-The GLS
(For the record, I've known about this song for a long time. The gutsiness is sharing it with you. Enjoy some classic music. Drink in the old-timeyness.)

Monday, May 10, 2010

There Will Be A Quiz.

I'm feeling gutsy by default, thanks to a temporary shift in command at work. So, I don't feel like I need to prove anything this evening.

Some food for thought:
1) Is there a better way I could be using my time than baking a loaf of bread every Sunday?
2) Could Sharon Van Etten's voice be any more haunting?
3) Is having a premature collection of housewares a bad idea?
4) Could anything negative come of refurbishing my great-great-grandmother's rocking chair?
5) Should I have bigger dreams than the ones I have?
6) Would I be able to look myself in the eye if I did?
7) Is the ukulele a dumb main instrument?
8) Is this list an odd way to emotionally manipulate my readership into thinking the way I do?

If you answered "Maybe, but probably not" to all of the above, then you and I think quite alike. Well, if you answered "Yes" to #8 we can still be friends...

-The GLS

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Wild, Wild Night.

(Joanna Newsom is crooning "Swansea" in the background.)

Ah, what a day!

First of all...Happy Mother's Day to all of you who happen to be mothers!

It was a fine day. We took a drive up to La Conner, which is an adorable town on a channel about an hour and a half north of home. Lots of antiquing ensued. And YES...there were more housewares than I thought humanly possible. But I spent NO MONEY at all today, which I am pretty proud of myself for.

We ate at a bistro called Seeds, which serves all organic (and freakishly delicious) fare. I had an avacado pepper burger and a cup of curried carrot soup, and I was so full afterward that I thought I wouldn't be able to move.

I also attempted to finish my mom's Mother's Day scarf in the backseat of the car without her noticing. She didn't notice, but I didn't finish. Poo. So, that'll be an ongoing project. It's almost done.

When we got home I was bitten by the cooking bug, so I made whole-wheat soda bread (according to Paul Hollywood's recipe, which I've never done before) and a veggie soup with whatever I could find in the pantry. Both turned out quite tasty, I might add. The veggie soup was basically carrots, onions, garlic, white kidney beans, and french-cut green beans. Before serving I pureed part of it to give it a little more thickness. Add some black pepper and Tobasco, and bam! Tasty.

La Conner kind of made me want to own an acreage. A small one. With a goat.

An early work day for me, tomorrow, so time to say goodnight.

-The GLS
PS: I found this fantastic book called The Country Cooking of Ireland at one of the little shops in La Conner. It was like an encyclopedia of delicious! But it was also $50, so I'm going to take it upon myself to find it cheaper somewhere else. Cross your fingers.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Initiate Self-Destruct Sequence...

Ah, today. Today was my grandmother's memorial service, and it was a GORGEOUS day, and there was an amazing turnout and lots of lovely memories. It was a sweet way to send her off, surrounded by friends and family and lots of dear rememberances. And lovely flowers, a bouquet of which is currently gracing my antique washstand.

I even spoke at the memorial. I wasn't going to, as I didn't have any real stories to tell. But I felt compelled to say something. Besides, how could I face my gutsy claims if I didn't say something when I knew in my heart I should?

Tomorrow is Mother's Day, and we're going for a drive up to LaConner at my mom's request to have lunch and look around and such. My only concern is that I was intending to surprise my mom with a scarf she asked for, but I don't know if I'll finish it in time. Ergh...

In other news...I think my secret mission this summer is to steal my great-great-grandmother's rocking chair out of our carport, fix it up, replace the upholstery, and keep it for myself. Because it's too cool not to. Because my parents don't want it. And because I like the idea of a secret mission.

Over and out.

-The GLS

Friday, May 7, 2010

Between the HobNobs and a Hard Place...

I'm in a tough spot. That is, sitting right next to an opened canister of McVitie's chocolate-covered HobNobs. Seriously, guys, it's bad news bears.

I actually bought them for my daycare kiddies as a bribe for good behavior in the next few weeks while my head teacher is away on holiday. So I probably shouldn't eat 'em all...but there were a few more biscuits than kiddies, so I thought I'd sample them. You know. To make sure they taste fine.

I need to stay away from the Irish Imports store, methinks.

In other news, I took a half-day off work so I could help my mom with preparations for my Nana's memorial service tomorrow afternoon...and also to buy an outfit for said event. This proved more difficult than I thought it would be, but in the end Romy saved the day and I can feel good about myself--sartorially speaking--on the morrow. In fact, this was the first time I've consulted the salesgirl for help on this sort of thing. Asking questions like, "Is the cream-colored cardigan a bit too light under the circumstances?" and "Please tell me the lace cami is part of the two-for-one deal..." (which it wasn't). In the end, it was a good deal and my mom approves of the outfit...which is the most important thing, actually.

My big gutsiness? I had a ten-dollar copper kettle in my hand at Value Village...and I PUT IT BACK on the shelf because it wasn't in the budget. Wow. Can we all take a moment to recognize that I PUT IT BACK because it wasn't in the BUDGET? Me, of all people?! A piece of HOUSEWARES??

Yeah, pretty amazing stuff. Look at me go.

Don't worry. I appeased myself by buying two .99 cent mugs. They were all alone on a shelf full of complete cup sets, and I felt sorry for them, and they're both rather cute. I'm sipping tea out of one with owls on it, and the other is short and squat, white with blue paint.

I like mismatched mugs. And spending 99 cents.

Although it occurs to me...when you shop at Value Village you start to notice your sense of "priciness" starts to skew, thinking, "10 bucks? That's practically extortion! Who pays 10 bucks for a skirt??"

Only the rest of the foolish world, I suppose.

-The GLS

Thursday, May 6, 2010

This and That...

Musical Interlude: "Look At Miss Ohio" by Gillian Welch. Fantastic little tune. I love Gillian Welch's voice. She's folksy through and through. :)

Well, it was an interesting day.

It started out...kind of awful, in a good way? I had one of those conversations with my mom that define one of the reasons I love her: she's painfully honest with me, even when I don't feel like hearing it. She let me know some things that she had noticed about me and my moods lately, and she was right, but it didn't make hearing it any easier.

So I've spent a lot of time today thinking over ways that I could be proactive about improving my life/health/general well-being, but since they're pretty personal I won't share them in detail here. Suffice to say, I've got a lot to consider.

However, it was overall quite a good day, because I found out I got 98% on my freakin' Logic test! Maybe I can graduate after all...!

Also, I'll admit to flubbing on my no-Facebook week for a few precious moments this evening, but only because I wanted to see pictures of my dear friend Indefish's FIRST NEPHEW who was born today!! D'awww, he's so cute. I don't feel bad about flubbing at all, really.

Last night, as a result of my sudden burst of inspiration, I wrote two short stories! These would be my first completed short stories on my own steam (in other words, that weren't due for a grade). Granted, they sound very like Lord Dunsany, but you tend to write what you read, so...yeah. They're called "Mr. Factid's Vanity" and "The Woman Who Ate a Mudpie". Catchy, yeah? Hopefully there will be lots more where those came from.

As part of my new plans for improved well-being, I am going to bed a whole hour and a half earlier than I normally do.

Is anyone else excited for summer? Me, oh me!

-The GLS

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

When Inspiration Strikes...

I must answer its call, methinks.

In other words, I'm feeling like I need to write something. Write what? I dunno. Something. We'll see where it goes.

(By the way...Day 3 of no Facebook and I'm still going strong! Very exciting...but it'll be kind of nice to check it again...I'm starting to get antsy...)

Anyway, have a lovely evening, all.

-The GLS
(PS: In case you're wondering, that Astronomy test I did all of the crazy studying for? Yeah...100% score, baby!!!! YES!!!)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

H > J

1. H > J
2. H = (S & R)
3. (S & R) v F
4. ~F / J
5. S & R DS 3, 4
6. H MP 2, 5
7. J MP 1, 6

Since the conclusion is J, the argument is valid. let's just hope the argument is true.

-The GLS
PS: In case you're wondering, YES I just took a Logic exam. YES the above proof makes sense and does have real English words to go along with it (and NO you can't see them). YES I studied for this exam, so I'm feeling pretty good about it, in fact better than I've felt about Logic in a long time. But YES it was difficult, I'm exhausted, and the above proof is all I have left in me for the evening...

Monday, May 3, 2010

...The Lovers, The Dreamers, and Me.

Remember that one time when I very gutsily (yep) studied for an exam, and felt so proud because it was the first time I had ever studied?

Yeah, that was all multi-colored fluff and bubbles.

Compared to this time, you see.

Last night I had the great pleasure of hanging out with some dear friends after church. Since my church starts at 7pm, any sort of after-partying would have to go quite late. And it did. I got home at midnight, and I knew I had a test in my Astronomy class that I had not studied for much at all.

So this morning, I decided to be the student I never was.

I printed out the study guide (which our teacher sent us that includes all of the correct answers to the test) and brought it to work (at a daycare, I might add). When the kiddies were all sleeping at naptime, I brought out the study guide and a pen and wreaked havoc. This may or may not have had anything to do with the fact that I was TOTALLY buzzed on Vietnamese coffee brought in by one of the lovely daycare parents.

By the end of the hour that study guide was COVERED in arrows, stars, circles, notes, connections, comics, sketches, and lines from silly songs that ALL added up to helping me remember the answers to all of these stupid questions. I sang everything from Queen to Feist to Three Doors Down to Eiffel 65. I gave Mars zits and made Venus sing Freddie Mercury. I turned the Sun into the Verizon guy, stood Jupiter and Saturn next to each other shouting "Wheeeeeee!", and somehow managed to create a feasible connection between Saturn's Roche Limit and...Ferrero Rocher. Earth took a shower, fields belong OUTSIDE, and Ites Bite.

It was a thing of beauty. In fact, it's sitting next to me right now and I still can't believe it.

Add to that the quizzing that me and my seating partner did right before the test, and the lab we completed on spectra and how it relates to the peak intensity of the energy from stars, and I was on my way.

Five minutes. A six-page test took me five minutes. I knew every question backwards and forwards. I was singing, I was turning the universe on its head.

There was even a question on there that she mixed up just to confuse us! Switching the landmarks of Saturn and Jupiter, eh? Just to trip me up? I know your tricks, Professor!

So I'm motoring along, filling in Scantron squares like some sort of academic lunatic, and I was thinking...why did I never do this before?

But if the secret is drinking Vietnamese coffee every day, I don't think I could manage it. Seriously. That stuff has a bite to it.

The fun aside before I end this post: We've been studying light, right? Reflection, refraction, spectra, visible light, spectral lines...etc. Leaving school tonight, after turning in my exam and massaging my aching fingers, I happened to say a little sentence prayer thanking God for what I think may even be an A+ test (and therefore one more stepping-stone to graduating this quarter).

After a crazy stormy afternoon and evening, you'll never guess what I saw...right in front of me...heading home.

The very symbol of refracted light itself. Yes, indeed, a rainbow.

I would have thought it was really cheesy if it weren't for hearing myself exclaim, "WOW! A CONTINUOUS SPECTRUM!"

Somehow I managed to push the whole experience from cheese-territory into the Land of Awesome.

Go me.

-The GLS

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Victory Over Bread...For Now.

At the time I STARTED writing this post, I'm sitting here in an apron waiting for my new powder-blue vintage-y egg timer to buzz, which will mean that my FIRST EVER attempt at yeast bread is done and ready for evaluation.

Everyone's afraid of yeast, and I never understood why. But now I do. Because it's like having a million other little people in the kitchen, and they're VERY picky, and they want things just-so, and they're going to make your life miserable for you if you don't give it to them. Besides that, EVERY source on yeast says something different about how to treat it. I made up my own source, bastardized a bit from Paul Hollywood's "100 Great Breads" that I've been using. The dough got doughy, which was right, but then I had to solve a wee little problem: I live in Seattle, and it's hard to find a good spot for dough to rise, because our house is always cold.

Paul Hollywood says that yeast doesn't necessarily need to be warm in order to rise, but I don't exactly trust that, so finally I went with some advice from one of my favorite blogs, 17 and Baking. She said to microwave a cup of water for 3-4 mins and then stick the bowl with the dough in the microwave. Since its warm and humid in there, it's a great spot for the dough to rise.

And it did! It poofed! Very exciting, though I wonder if it poofed quite enough...but I left it to rest for MUCH longer than Paul Hollywood suggested, so I figured it was fine.

It's an English Cottage Loaf, so it has a very specific old-timey shape to it, which I matched exactly before shoving it in the oven.

And then, 30 minutes later...

Yay! I made a Cottage Loaf!

It came out with a nice crunchy crust and a soft buttery center. I'm thinking it COULD have poofed a bit more, as it came out a bit dense, but overall I think it was a pretty good first attempt at yeast bread!

So now, ENDING this blog post, I feel flushed with victory. And now it's on, yeast. I've caught the baking bug. It's SO ON.

-The GLS

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Interior Decorating with the Fonz

Good day, today. Had an inside-watching-films morning with Choo-Choo (my young neighbor whom I often babysit), then headed off to the home of my brother and sister-in-law to babble with my baby neice for a few precious moments. Her first word is "babagee", which (it has been somewhat determined) must be an amalgam of the word "baby" plus her name. Pretty close, anyway...

Then my parents and I drove on over to Third Place Books, one of the best bookstores near my home. We spent the better part of two hours exploring books (and I nipped down to the yarn store a few doors away to take a look...but I BOUGHT NOTHING! Amazed?).

Unbeknownst to my parents and I before we arrived at Third Place, Henry Winkler was in the building! The Fonz! It was very exciting. He spoke for about 45 minutes on the stage they have in the commons area of the bookstore, then moved on over to a table near the entrance to sign copies of his autobiography. It was pretty awesome to see him up close, and he's hysterical.

Then home, where my mother and I spent a long time sipping wine and discussing the things we would do to our house given the choice. My dad mostly stayed out of the conversation, which was wise, as my mom and I can get pretty nuts about interior decorating when we want to...

And all this talk of paint and wainscoting and textiles has put me in the mood to repaint my own room. It's been done a few times, but it's never really felt right. I've also fallen in love with an IKEA rug that I keep drooling over, which might be a gutsy purchase as soon as I decide what sort of paint change I want to make.

Plus, I'm thinking of hijacking the antique wicker rocking chair that's been sitting in the carport for ages. My mom is not eager to have me take it, thinking it's kind of a piece of junk, but I like it. Don't tell my mom, but tomorrow I'm going to unearth it from the sheet of canvas its under and take a good, long, adoring look at it.

Ahh, what a full day. And now you'll have to excuse me...I need to go visit Behr and Valspar and their ilk for some paint ideas.

Goodnight, all!

-The GLS