28 December 2006


No time to write up a summary of the New York trip tonight (maybe later!) but I did want to post this lovely picture of us at the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. It's ironic that angel wings appear to be growing out of our backs; shortly after this picture was taken, one of New York's finest asked us to get off the bench we were standing on.

22 December 2006


Experimenting to see if posting a Google doc to the Web and then linking it to an entry will work for class purposes next semester.

Five Points Rubric

20 December 2006

Merry and Bright

Well, I'm beginning to see the end of things. As indicated in my last post, I've been phenomenally busy with end-of-the semester school ickiness as well as trips, holiday activities, and the normal everyday things that begin to seem abnormally difficult when your schedule is suddenly packed to the gills. I managed to cross everything off my list last night and am on track to do the same tonight. Yessss!

I had a lovely trip to New York last weekend which I hope to detail tomorrow night, complete with witty observations and links to places visited. However, I did want to post the two photos you see here from my October trip to Tennessee. (See post titled "Nothing, uh, stinks like a Big Orange" for further details.) One is of me and RP at Cade's Cove; the other is of the two of us at the game. You can tell the game hasn't started yet here because we can still move.

13 December 2006

So so busy right now and looking forward to Christmas simply because it means all the busy-ness will finally be over.  In the next nine days, I will have to finish all my grading for the semester, get grades calculated, post grades to new computer site, and submit physical grade sheet and supporting documents.  Also submit "teaching portfolio" with copies of all manner of miscellany:  syllabus, schedule, tests, major assignments, samples of A, B, and C level work.  Also they decided they want an updated resume, so I have to update my resume (after finding it) and submit that.  Oh, and you know, the full-time job demands attention.  And a blasted Holiday Breakfast on the 21st for whch I am preparing sausage and potato casserole.

And I'm going to be out of town this weekend.  And as I will be leaving for Alabama on the 22nd, I will also have to throw together a suitcase for that as well.

Or, better idea, I'll just go and lie in a dark room until it's over, ok?

11 December 2006

Well, the semester is winding down and I'm taking a break from grading papers.  The weather finally warmed up a bit this weekend and I took advantage of it, going up to NOVA where I wish I could say I did some kind of outdoorsy thing.  Nope.  But we did have a lovely brunch and watched "The Big Lebowski," which I'm sure must count for something.  

Also fully appreciated the effectiveness of the HOV lanes, which were (unusually for a Sunday) open going into the city rather than away from it.  It was far and away the least congested drive I've ever made up there.

And quick congratulations to my old high school, the Prattville Lions, who won the Alabama State Championship (6A), 35-21 over Hoover.

05 December 2006

Quick update . . . Has it really been two and a half weeks?  Such a busy time including a Thanksgiving trip to Orange Beach with the family (see Kerry's blog for pictures) and a cold that's lasted well over a week now.  That's odd for me.  I've been through two boxes of tissues, nearly a whole box of Tylenol Cold, and have been taking all sorts of Vitamin C-Zinc supplements that are drying my skin out. 

The beach was excellent, a nice time to see extended family, eat, and take nice long walks along the Gulf.  As always, Suzanna was particular fun.  Her vocabulary has really gone into overdrive since the last time I saw her, so I got to hear such gems as "my peoples sippin."  (By which she means her parents are sleeping.)

Had today off work on account of having worked Saturday, so I did some power shopping; between Amazon and Stony Point, I was able to cross most of the people off my list.  

15 November 2006

Not much to say, very little time

It's been a busy week (surprise) but I did want to give a quick update on my activities. Students turned in their papers and I've been faithfully grading several each night. Sadly there is no way they will all be done by Thursday . . . I may have to take two weeks for this one.

Spent last weekend in Alexandria and got to see RP's band play. (The band used to have a Web site, but I can no longer find it, so no link. Sorry.) I went to have my eyes checked this morning at a real eye doctor and then got annoyed with the little twit at Walmart who refused to give ne new contacts because they didn't do the exam. Don't worry, ma'am, I won't be bothering you or your business ever again.

Hoping to get down to Chesapeake this weekend to see Meme and also to pick up my camera.

05 November 2006

I believe I promised Dallas Deets

Sadly (well, not really in my opinion) it was not a terribly exciting weekend. Charlotte and I both flew into the monumentally confusing but ultimately cleverly designed DFW late Friday afternoon. We fortunately met right up - the baggage claim there is unlike any I've ever experienced - and were picked up by Sheryl, who'd spent the last two hours of her schoolday without electricity. Entertaining highschoolers sans power isn't something I'd relish, but she'd taken it in stride . . . to the point of letting one of the girls braid her hair into cornrows. There's a reason that look hasn't really taken off among persons of pallor.

We had supper at Chuy's and spent the night chatting. The next day Sheryl's husband Steve was off to work on a Habitat house and we went to a mall in some suburb or other (Dallas is huge!) where we ate out collective weight in pizza. We then had a quiet evening at home before heading off to church the next morning.

As it happened, Steve was installed that Sunday as a deacon at New St. Peter's Presbyterian Church, so there were various parents and in-laws there, always fun. We had dee-licious fajitas and a laughter-filled lunch before heading back to the airport (it claims to be the size of Manhattan, and I believe it) for our flights. Lots of good girl time, and I'm looking forward to Charlotte's 30th even more.

30 October 2006

What I Did This Weekend

Ha! No, I didn't go to the Grand Canyon! Instead I visited Dallas with my canyon buddies, Charlotte and Sheryl, pictured here on either side of me last September. More weekend deets later . . . I'm very tired and confused what with all the falling back and time zone changes

24 October 2006

Nothing, uh, stinks like a big orange.

Huh. Well, the weekend in Tennessee was lovely. It's a beautiful state, at least the eastern part is . . . full fall colors all over. The drive there was just stunning (central and western Virginia are really pretty now too) and we stayed at a lovely house in the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg region. If you're familiar with the area, it may interest you to know that it was near - no kidding - Boogertown Road. Seriously. I can't make this stuff up.

So we took a drive through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the Cade's Cove area and saw lots of scenery and lots of cars. Apparently it's their busiest time of year. We also saw some real, live bears in the wild! A mother and at least two cubs . . . even though there were plenty of people between me and them, I didn't want to get too close. Also took a stroll through the wonderfully tacky Gatlinburg, which always makes me feel like a paragon of taste and class.

The game was not as bad as possible. The score was pretty close most of the time, and it was a beautiful day. And the river is very nice. On the other hand, the seats were tiny and we were shoehorned in like so many cattle. (Have you ever wondered how they fit so many people in that stadium they're so proud of? Make the seats about twelve inches wide. It ain't pretty, folks.) Obviously the less said about the fans the better. They aren't pretty either.

And to top it all off, two solid hours of the drive back to Virginia were spent just getting through Pigeon Forge along with everyone else in creation. I figured we were entitled to speed through the rest of the state to make up for lost time, but the driver didn't agree with my logic there for some reason.

16 October 2006

Ah, the end of a nice, lovely weekend.  (I worked on Saturday and therefore Sunday-Monday is my weekend . . . but if you're reading this, you are undoubtedly already aware of this scheduling quirk.)  Went to the National Folk Festival here in Richmond with RP; we got to hear some fun bands and eat cool ethnic food.  Especially the florentine treat, which was sort of like chocolate-covered almond brittle.  What's not to like about that?

I had all sorts of things planned for today but nanaged to accomplish very little.  I did, however, go to Walmart and get some yarn for the Suzanna afghan I've been planning for her Big Girl Room.  Pretty bright colors . . . pink, purple, yellow, lime green, and aqua.  I got started on it today and am pleased to say it's shaping up to be a pretty fast, mindless knit.

11 October 2006

KG, PH, and RP

What an insane couple of weeks it's been! And not likely to improve, either. Exhibit A is the fact that the photo to the left was taken before Labor Day and I am just now getting around to posting it. Sad. (The PH in question is an actor portraying Patrick Henry at the St. John's Church re-enactment. Good fun for anyone who visits Richmond, and free too, though the weekly performances are only in the summer.)

I fortunately had the day off today (long story) because I had to spend time in the car repair shop to get my trunk latch fixed. (Another long story.) They "adjusted striker on deck lid" which set me back $2.50 for the adjustment itself and $40 to figure out what was wrong. Plus an hour and a half of my life that I'll never get back. Bitter? Not me. (Okay, it wasn't so bad, I went to Ukrop's and consoled myself with breakfast pizza while they were working on it, and got some tests graded too.)

Also I went and bought some new running shoes today on account of (1) I've had my current shoes for nearly three years now - the salesman looked at the model and said, "Wow, we haven't sold those in a long time!", and (2) I think the broken-down nature of the current shoes may be contributing to my hip aches. The new ones are nice: Cushiony and supportive. And they're pink!

25 September 2006

What a beautiful night here in Richmond!  Sadly I am inside preparing for class . . . tricky people at school switched books on me so I'm doing well to stay ahead of the students.  (Great group so far . . . several of them have actually turned in their homework early.  Gasp.)

Kristin and I went out for my birfday (observed) to the charming Kuba Kuba and had a predictably delicious dinner.  I had Huevos California, like huevos rancheros but with avocado on top.  And since it's Kuba Kuba, served over Cuban bread instead of tortillas.  Also a side of tostones and tres leches cake for dessert.  We walked around a few blocks in the Fan, but I'll be clocking in some serious treadmill time to burn off all the deliciousness!  Thanks, Kristin!

24 September 2006

To conclude . . .

Well, last weekend (meaning the 16th and 17th) was considerably less dramatic, but not without its ups and downs. I went to visit my grandmother in Chesapeake and decided on Sunday that I'd go to a church in Virginia Beach that is pastored by an ex-roommate's parents. I'd been there once before, though from a totally different direction, and it was really nice. So I mapquested it, found the service times, and started off last Sunday, full of hope.

Alas, it was not to be. Darn Mapquest completely misdirected me through Portsmouth, though I can fortunately bluff my way through that town tolerably well. However, when it gave me a wrong turn in Virginia Beach I was completely befuddled. I don't know the Beach at all, so I was at the mercy of a merciless mapquest. After I finally found the church (sadly long after they'd started) and turned around to head back to Meme's house, I discovered another interesting thing: The Downtown Tunnel has holes in it! ! !

To be specific, the superstructure, i.e., the part that contains the tunnel you drive through as well as electrical and ventilation systems, etc., appears to be sound. However, it is severely disconcerting to be driving, you know, under the water and look up and see a gaping hole in the ceiling. And not just one hole, but three. I need hardly add I was very very happy to get back to Meme's.

I had a fun birthday yesterday that featured a delicious chocolate cake and quality time with a friend. Mike Shula apparently did not get the memo that Bama can't lose because it's my birthday. Apart from that everything was lovely.

18 September 2006

Okay, so . . .

How does it get to be so long between updates? As promised, last weekend's drama follows . . . and by "last weekend" I mean September 9 - 10, not yesterday, which has its own story.

So, Saturday a week ago I decide to spend the afternoon/evening gallivanting in Northern Virginia. Go watch the game with the UA alums, then play around until time to leave. The game was close (Vandy always is) but we won. Also I discovered that a burger with avocado and bacon is very tasty. Then we went to a park near National Airport where you can watch the planes take off and land. It was a lovely evening and very nice until we were (okay, I was) scared off by disgusting rats hanging around the water's edge. As Suzanna would say, Ew.

So it gets to be ten and I decide it's time to leave. I hop in the car and head down 395 and merge onto 95 towards Richmond. Pretty soon I hear a horrible grating sound coming from my car. I turn off all extraneous noise such as radio and a/c, and while it's definitely my car, it's also definitely not the engine. I pull off at my earliest opportunity and swing into a gas station that is surprisingly isolated for NOVA, take a peek under the car and discover the source of the noise: A metallic something-or-other hanging from the undercarriage.

Obviously I can't drive back to Richmond with who-knows-what dragging on the ground. I call my host who gallantly comes to pick me up and even lets me swing by a CVS so I can sleep makeup-free and with brushed teeth. The next day is taken up with consultations with parental types and trips to auto parts stores (don't even think about trying to find a service station that's open on Sunday - the idea!), culminating in a triumphant return to the gas station where I left the Kellymobile the night before. As it turns out, what I'd feared was an exhaust pipe was just a cover for an exhaust pipe or catalytic converter; a nicety, to be sure, but hardly necessary for proper vehicular function. So we redneckily rip off the offending piece and I'm on my way.

(Now, this was all especially strange because I'd just had my exhaust system replaced this spring. But I had an email in my school account later that week saying that another teacher had come out from class to find his catalytic converter had been stolen; apparently you can sell them for $75. Made me wonder if someone had tried to get mine and was scared off or something. Again, Ew.)

Oh, and if you're reading this Mom, I got the UPS package today, so everything's peachy on that front. And congratulations to my excellent brother Kenny, who passed his comps last Friday.

11 September 2006

"You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good."  (Genesis 50:20)

I take great comfort in providence.  (Or is it Providence . . . never can remember . . . )

More later this week about the weekend's adventures.  Long day.  Tired.

10 September 2006


What a very busy couple of weeks . . . and no letup in sight. I spent Labor Day weekend in Alabama visiting the family and going to a football game in the fabulously expanded Bryant-Denny Stadium, which clearly takes as its motto, "Anything worth doing is worth overdoing." Got to see Bama win, always a nice thing, and also got to see my very funny niece who has taken to calling herself Baby Zanna. She's also developed the charming habit of dancing any time she hears music. What with Muzak in WalMart, radio, and cell phone songs, that's a lot of time to boogie!

(Is it sad that my family's chief entertainment these days is sitting around and watching the baby?)

I thought I'd have a relaxing three-day week, but I discovered as soon as I returned that not only did I have a meeting for school that night, classes in fact start a week earlier than I'd thought! D'oh! I'm teaching Thursdays this semester, which means I unfortunately miss Bible Study, but I will get to take time off for Thanksgiving. The fall calendar is filling up quickly!

More tomorrow night, I hope. I have another stinkin' meeting for school, but there are weekend adventures to share.

30 August 2006

More details on the weekend

I'm going in reverse chronological order, mainly because I don't have the picture of Patrick Henry without which the day's earlier events would be sadly lacking. After going to the re-enactment and the Pow Poe (tee hee) Museum we ended up at Cafe Gutenberg to refuel. Chocolate croissants and iced mochas on the sidewalk. Tres chic.

So there we were, enjoying a hot late summer day at a partly-shaded table, when we heard some barking. Looked around and discovered the source: A cute little dog in a purple van.

Now, it's a hot day, probably 90 degrees, and it's a sunny day. There is a wee bit of a crack in the window, but it's got to be pretty darn hot in the van. Maybe the people just stepped away for a minute. We carry on eating, keeping an eye on the dog. The dog, in turn, keeps an eye on us, looking all mournful and pleading as dogs do.

We finish our food. By this time it's probably been half an hour and no one has come around for the dog. We pay the check and go over to have a look at the dog, who is laying down and panting pretty hard. Poor thing. We go inside the restaurant and explain the situation, then ask the servers if maybe it's a regular customer or something. Of course not. One girl seems mildly concerned, the other blankly says "It's not our jurisdiction."

We can't just leave the dog there. I mean, it's probably fine, but we don't know that, and it would absolutely drive me crazy with worry if we just went away. So I ask for a phone book and call the non-emergency police number. I explain the situation and they say they'll have someone right over. We hang around for a bit and, to my surprise, they do send someone right over.

So there we are, trying to look all nonchalant as Richmond's finest is taking in the situation, when who should walk up but the van's (and dog's) owner?!? He must have been nearby the whole time. He explains (sheepishly?) that the dog was in there with a bowl of water. (Sorry, mister, that just means your dog is braising instead of roasting.) The officer says they get a lot of calls like that in the summer, blah blah blah, while we beat a quick path out of there before the guy figures out who called.

(Though judging from the politics advertised on the van's bumper stickers, the man is unlikely to be packing heat. You'd think he'd be kinder to animals, however.)

28 August 2006

So, this weekend was the first in a while I hadn't had to work on Saturday.  Fun!  I slept in until 9:00 and laid around all morning watching cartoons and cooking shows, then went to the gym.  Kristin and I finally hung some pictures on the walls of our living room, and it looks much cozier.  Now, if only I could motivate myself to decorate my bedroom everything would be peachy.

Yesterday we went to see the re-enactment of Patrick Henry's speech to the Second Virginia Convention at St. John's Church.  Also went to the Poe Museum, which is in the same part of town, and called the Richmond police because there was a dog locked in a hot car.  More details on all of the above later . . .

21 August 2006

Two and a half day weekend

So, on Saturday I was scheduled to work at the Library as I often am. Got there and not only was it hot, but the computers were down, meaning that all networking functions were non-operational. You could type a Word document on the machine you were using and save it to a disk, but that's about it. Turns out there was some kind of power surge overnight that knocked out the computers and made the heat come on. Must have been eighty-five, ninety degrees in there. It was both unpleasant and futile, as without computers we can't really provide a lot of reference assistance.

After lots of hemming and hawing by Management (to whom I say: Why don't you get all dressed up for work in long sleeves and pants and then come sit in a sauna?), we were allowed to close the library at 11, much to the disgust of patrons. I was sorry for them, but very very glad to be out of there. And I had a nearly free day! It's like found time. I went and had my oil changed and two tires replaced on the Honda, an errand I've been putting off for ages. Otherwise I just relaxed and enjoyed the day.

On Sunday I went to painfully early church (8:30 a.m.! It ain't natural, I tell ya!) and trekked up north to spend a delightful afternoon kayaking on the Potomac. I am paying for it today, though, with my sore arms and shoulders . . . no need to go to the Victory Lady this afternoon. Really, you'd think all that weight lifting would make paddling easier, but apparently not.

16 August 2006

Incredible. Edible.

Okay, the first picture is one of salsa-in-the-making. I decided to have huevos rancheros this weekend (used a recipe from my beloved Cook's Illustrated) and started by making the salsa. It's really easy - just some tomatoes, onions, peppers, and garlic roasted in a slow oven sith oil and spices, then blended together and spiked with lime juice and cilantro. You poach eggs in the salsa and eat with toasty corn tortillas. Sadly I didn't get pics of all stages of the process, but don't the roasted veggies look wonderful? It only makes enough for four eggs, which is two servings in my book. I may experiment with making more salsa and baking the eggs in it.

The next picture is of a couple successful lime squares . . . the rest were devoured by greedy coworkers. I say successful because my first batch was icky icky icky. Which was weird because I've made them before and they were delish. I investigated and discovered that I'd totally spaced at the store and bought fat free condensed milk instead of the regular kind. (In my defense, I was trying to economize by buying the store brand, and the packaging for their fat free product isn't as distinctive as fat free Eagle Brand.) Anyway, this is another easy one - a crust of animal crackers, brown sugar, and butter is pre-baked. Then you mix cream cheese, condensed milk, lime juice and zest, and eggs. Pour in the crust and bake. One of my better finds this summer, another gem from my friends at Cook's Illustrated.

14 August 2006

It's not really nice to call it loot, is it?

But that's what it is! My last package from my no-longer-secret SP, arrived late last week and I finally had a chance to photograph it tonight. Such wonderful goodies, SP, however did you know that I had just been thinking it was time to get some more magnetic chip clips? (For effect, one of them in the photo above is shown in a natural habitat of protecting chips from sogginess. The other one from the pack of four is more virtuously employed keeping a bag of salad closed.) Also enclosed is the new Interweave Knits with Scarf Bonus, which I'd been waiting until the end of the semester to buy. Plus a journal, some snacky goodness, a little paint by numbers kit, a light stick, a hand treatment kit from the Body Shop, a toy for the cat, and the piece de resistance, three skeins of beautiful Italian merino Karabella yarn. Pretty pretty red.

It was a busy but fun weekend . . . I have a lot of those, don't I? I did some cooking, pictures of which will follow. Also finally finished getting grades calculated and posted. It was a rough semester from my point of view, i.e., information taking a long time to make its way to me, general daftness on my part, and students having icky things going on in their personal lives. But this was the sharpest bunch I've had so far and they really persevered. I'm proud of them.

09 August 2006

A couple more pictures of Suzanna-Pants

The first one is another one of her enjoying the bus, and the second shows her bursting someone's bubble! (Seriously, there were these cool things where you stood in the middle and pulled a soap-dipped hoop around you via clever pulleys, thereby creating a bubble for yourself. Nifty.)

07 August 2006


I spent the most adorable weekend visiting my grandmother who was hosting my niece, sister, brother, and brother-in-law. Though I have miles to go before I sleep (adorable weekends mean very few papers get graded) I did want to post a few photos of sweet little Suzanna at the Children's Museum of Virginia. A good time was had by all.

(Does anyone else think the picture of Kerry and Paul might just be a pretty common sight?)

03 August 2006

Okay, I'm getting some pushback from people (Mom) miffed at the fact that I haven't updated in a while.  (Since Bastille Day, if I recall correctly.)  Sorry about that.  My reasons are:

1.  Busy
2.  Busy
3.  Busy

Seriously.  End of the semester, Bible studies at chez moi, occasional trips to NOVA, etc. etc.  Also none of these are picture-generating activities, and it's kind of a drag to look at a blog and not see pics.

So consider yourself updated.  (Actually, I will see family this weekend, so hopefully some photos as well as interesting stories will emerge.)

14 July 2006

Happy Bastille Day!

I've been shamed by Kerry's excessive blogging, but she has a cute little toddler to write about.  I love how she says ""Virginia" - "A-gin-a."  Not much has been going on of interest.  (I say of interest because I just now had a chance to use the Burt's Bees facial kit my SP sent me a month ago!  My skin feels so nice, SP, thank you!)  I'm off to fabulous NOVA this weekend, but have to go to a meeting for school tomorrow morning and would really like to get a quick workout in during the interval . . . maybe whilst the oil is being changed in the Honda?

Remember when weekends were restful?

08 July 2006

More goodies from SP!

I was so pleased yesterday to come home to a present from my Secret Pal! All of it beautiful stuff, too. There were some more Addi needles for sock knitting, some gorgeous red sock yarn (what kind, oh SP? As soon as I find out I'm going to cast on some socks straightaway), notecards, a sweet little knitted bag stuffed with stitch markers and a retractable measuring tape, peppermint candy, and some Body Shop eye treats, which I'll need after knitting on those tiny tiny needles. Also some toys for Marzie, which she Loved.

I am now off to Carytown to pick up some yarn for those fingerless mitten things in the new Knitty (what is the pattern called again? Can't remember). Beautiful and useful. I hope to shame the building management at work into keeping the offices a decent temperature, but if my hearing a hat inside hasn't done it, I doubt this stunt will, either.

05 July 2006

Everything is beachy

Today was uneventful unless you count the light at the grocery store being out owing to the monsoon of a thunderstorm we had between 5:30 and 6:00. Which meant I had to get across Broad Street without a traffic control of any kind. It wasn't pretty, believe me.

To the left is an action shot of my cousin Will surfung, or boogie boarding, or whatever. (If anyone reading this knows the difference, please enlighten me.)

Also included for your enjoyment is a picture of Beth and Will really enjoying their portable game things, as well as a picture of Stephanie looking very much like her mother. (You see a bit of Beth and Cecelia in that one too, as well as Melissa's right hand.)

04 July 2006

They're Golden!

I had excellent fun this weekend at Virginia Beach attending the 50th wedding anniversary of my Aunt Ginny and Uncle Bob. (I also represented the Gilberts and Brothers, who were in Alabama having as much fun as they could manage without my presence.) Aunt Ginny, for those who like to keep track, is my maternal grandmother's sister. Also in attendance were all three of her children and their spouses - no mean feat - as well as all three grandchildren, my grandmother, an uncle, aunt, and cousin as well as Calvin who, I believe, was in the wedding party.

We had a delicious dinner (well, mid-afternoon meal, whatever you like to call it) on the porch that featured grilled chicken and smoked beef. Also green beans, squash casserole, salad, and rolls. Then adjourned to the garage for champagne and cake. Many of us also went to the beach (Sandbridge for those of you familiar with the area) and sat around, walked, etc. It was a beautiful, but hot day. Beth and Will got in some ocean time. More pictures to follow.

28 June 2006

Happy Palmetto Day!

Today we remember the American victory at the Battle of Fort Moultrie in 1776. Vastly outnumbered and outgunned patriots prevailed over British attackers. They were aided, in part, by a fort constructed of palmetto logs which absorbed the enemy fire harmlessly instead of shattering. More can be found here. (Note: This site calls it Carolina Day, the lame PC term for Palmetto Day, which apparently is out of favor owing to its Southern Nationalist associations.)

I could have celebrated with Huguenot torte, or Hoppin John, or some other indigenous food, but I took the lazy option and had some fried Haloumi cheese (deelish) and a salad. Oh, well.

In other news, the two circ knitting has progressed to the point where I can take it on the bus, a big accomplishment in my mind. Also have gotten past midterm grade time in class, so the worst of it is over. Fourth fun this weekend in Virginia Beach - an anniversary party for my aunt and uncle. And a haircut for me this Saturday! Pictures are forthcoming.

24 June 2006

Last night I saw the most wonderful rainbow!  It was a full one, too, stretched across the sky from north to south, straddling the West End like the arch in St. Louis.  (What's that called?)  Pretty.

Not so pretty has been the last week at work, which has been characterized by crazed genealogists from Texas.  It's also been busy extracurricularly, and exhaustion is not a state I deal with well.  I get extremely sensitive to noise, which is unfortunate as I have the world's most vocal cat.  She and I have mostly made up since The Great Escape two weeks ago, but I must say that the magic is gone.

22 June 2006

What I Had For Lunch

This is for Kerry, who thinks I should eat more. At left is a sample lunch. Okay, maybe not the most representative sample, as it's a Tuesday lunch, which includes supper too. But anyway.

It's been an exceedingly busy week, and hot as blazes. The a/c has been running close to non-stop (and I keep it set around 76). So not looking forward to next month's power bill.

17 June 2006

Make Way for Ducklings!

So, I was on my way to work this morning and decided to go via Broad Street so I could run by the Starbucks. I was leaving the complex and was stopped by a (herd? gaggle? clutch? flock?) of four ducks and at least ten little ducklings crossing the road, heading to the pond. It was just the cutest thing I've seen in a long time. And they were little ducklings too, tiny downy balls of fluff. Even better, as I waited for them to cross I noticed one of the adults hanging back, and I soon discovered it was because one of the babies had gotten separated and it waited for it. Too, too sweet. Just made my whole day.

After work I went to look for them and, while I didn't find the same ducks, I did get some pretty cute pictures of the avians that inhabit my neighborhood.

14 June 2006

No pictures tonight, and not much to say either - have midterm grades due tomorrow (well, Friday actually, but since campus closes at 2 on Friday and I have to work at the real job all day . . . you get the picture) and have to grade tests for last night, develop a spreadsheet, and plug in all the numbers.  Will be a tiresome evening, I can tell already.

It was weirdly cool and damp today - Alberto remnants, I believe - I was actually a bit chilly waiting for the bus.  This too shall pass, however; I see we'll be in the nineties by the end of the week.  Continuing to practice sock knitting, and whilst I'm not confident enough to take it on the bus (working on a M-D dishcloth there) I do believe I've figured it out.

12 June 2006

The Perp

Here she is, the big bad kitty cat that dived off the balcony and then scratched her rescuer. There's a metaphor for something in that, I'm sure. Anyway, she's been all nonchalant about it the last two days. This morning she had great fun lounging around with me. It's a good thing she's so cute.

Observe, too, the groovy sheets I scored at Walmart last week. $20 for the whole set. They're that t-shirt material, which I haven't quite made up my mind on, but for $20 I'm not going to complain.

We also have for your enjoyment a picture of my foray into two-circ knitting. I'm not sure why the picture is so darn blurry; obviously still working on that focus thing. The camera seems to be fixated with the lovely yarn (and who can blame it? I think the SP said it was called Opal, which I've never heard of before but is delightful) rather than the knitted tube I'm constructing. Anyhoo, I'm pleased to report that I started to make the transition stitches, i.e., the first two or three on the new needle, as tight as I could, and the whole thing looks much better. You can't see it here, but the laddering problem seems to have gone, and the gauge looks tighter and more even. I did have some issues today with somehow all the stitched getting onto one needle and having to be slipped back to their rightful place. This may have had to do with the fact that I was watching Dr. Phil's show about horrible in-laws.

In actual news today, I was greatly amused to see that Richmond's mayor Doug Wilder debated some people protesting outside of City Hall today. Apparently the protesters are steamed over, among other things, the re-routing of bus stops from in front of the Library. There's video if you care to watch. Funny man. (Oh, and about the re-routing of the bus stops: I haven't seen any official statistics, but anecdotally I can tell you that I haven't heard a single shouting match since they moved half of the bus stops from in front of the building, and the traffic certainly seems less congested.)

Just had an email from Mom telling me Kenny's plane back from Ghana landed. Welcome back, brother!

10 June 2006

Stupid cat.  I was out on the balcony tonight talking on the phone and decided to let Marzie enjoy a bit of fresh air too; I don't mind as long as she doesn't eat the plants.  So there I am lounging and chatting when she decides to jump from the second floor balcony to the ground.

Now, my building is built into a hill so there are terraces to climb.  I get to her the first time and pick her up (she is predictably displeased) and am trying to figure a way down that does not require arms to clamber when she spies a neighboring cat and commences to howl, hiss, and spit  to beat anything I've heard from her.  Digs her claws through my new shirt, into my chest, draws blood, bites arm in several places.  

"What the **** is wrong with you?" I ask as I drop her.  Then stalk her through thorny bushes whilst plotting an easier path back to the apartment.  Finally catch her and (wisely this time) hold her with all injurious surfaces far away while carrying her back to my abode, at which point she becomes all domesticated again, purring and ingratiating herself.  No ma'am.  I know the score now.

09 June 2006


I came home on Wednesday to a wonderful surprise: A gift from my Secret pal! Pictured above is all the goods (tres generous!) as well as Marzie's reaction to her present. I've never tried catnip on her (she's crazy enough, right?) but she loves it! And why wouldn't she - it's the finest Alaskan organic catnip. Also included were some tasty lychee candies, chocolate, Addi needles to try sock knitting on, some sock yarn to play with, refrigerator magnet word things, and a Burt's Bees facial kit. I love me some Burt's Bees. Many thanks to the pal!

You will also notice that I am posting this at a normal hour, which can only mean that we are now Interneted at Chez Moi. Yes, while I was off frittering away my time at the VL, the roomie bravely set up the software and called the ISP. Result: We have officially rejoined the 21st century.

05 June 2006

Just a lovely day . . .

Mondays off are the best! Sure, working on Saturday is a bit of a drag, but then you get the following Monday off, leaving you with time to sleep in, go to Walmart when it's not crowded, have a leisurely lunch, go to the gym, get caught up on school work, etc. I've gotten so much done and it's not even eight!

So, at the gym there was a little ten minute health screening. Apparently I'll live. I got the feeling the people conducting it were trying to get statistics about depression because you had to answer all kinds of questions like, "Have you not done activities you enjoy in a while?". It's funny because I was just reflecting on how I haven't done much cooking or knitting lately and how that's probably not a good sign. Mom will be happy to know that the lady said my body fat percentage was a little low. (Maybe not happy so much as vindicated; she and Charlotte both harped on me about that last week.) I'm trying to rectify that by drinking a whole milk iced latte.

As promised, above is the "NO MAYO" picture. Below is one of a quaint little street scene in Fredericksburg. What a delightful town.

30 May 2006

The light at the end of the tunnel is the headlight of the oncoming train

No! That's not true at all - in fact, I am winding down at last. After a fab weekend in DC/NOVA, I've been hanging out with my parents (who are visiting from Alabama) and visiting Fredericksburg. It's a sweet colonial town about an hour north of Richmond. Lots of houses to tour as well as battlefields, museums, etc. I have to say that I like it better than Williamsburg, which is pretty commercialized, if not necessarily Disney-fied. Fredericksburg is still a working city, much on the order of a smaller-scale, less posh Charleston.

And we all know I love Charleston.

Pictures to come as soon as the Internet connection at Chez Moi is working. However, I must relate that I saw the most awesome license tag today. It said:


This captures my sentiments exactly. Naturally I got a picture.

22 May 2006

How did I manage without Internet?

Hmmph.  Neighbor Sean not so neighborly after all, is now requiring a password for his wireless.  And Linksys is too weak to be of any use at all.  So I am once again at the Cool Beans, this time enjoying an iced coffee.  Usually caffeine at this time of day is a mistake, but I have miles to go before I sleep . . . lots to get done for class tomorrow plus the extra special two hour season finale of 24.  

Had a fin, but exhausting weekend going to a wedding reception in Virginia Beach.  Next weekend will also be fun-but-exhausting, involving more travel and socializing.  What I really want is a lovely lazy Saturday to hang around and do nothing in particular.  Maybe someday,

19 May 2006


Here I was thinking none of my new neighbors were stupid kind enough to leave their wireless connections unsecured. Thank you Sean, whoever you are.

Sadly I do not have any photos loaded and ready to go, but I can tell you that the apartment is looking ever more settled and feeling more homey. My room is still a bit cluttered, to be sure. There are three boxes of random things I still can't figure out what to do with. But all in all, things are working out swell.

Busy rest of the month ahead. I tell you, some people seem to like excitement, but I am not one of them. I just want to sit quietly in my house and read a book. Or watch a movie. Or have a glass of wine. (Or all three.) Instead I seem to be spending the month of May traipsing all over Virginia. All for a good cause, but still.

Anyway. This too shall pass.

And hi to the SP! I'll start a new knitting project soon, I promise!

15 May 2006

Back!  Well, not entirely, as stinkin' Verizon has not seen fit to turn on DSL at the new place and has in fact pushed back our date to June 4.  We put in the order on May 2.  They will be getting a snarky call in the near future, have no doubt.  (Weirdly, though, I tried the modem anyway tonight and the computer recognized the network.  I'm thinking it must be configured weirdly.  Maybe I need to spend some more time on the phone with the Indians.)

In the meantime, I'm in the Cool Beans coffee and ice cream shop near me, sipping a dangerously tasty spiced chai cooler.

The move?  Everything was mostly good, although the movers did break my table.  Hoping to be reasonably compensated for that.  The weather held, not beginning to rain until after we'd gotten everything in.  And I've gotten pretty close to everything unpacked, just a few boxes of books and the dread odds and ends to get done.  Since the connection here seems to be pretty good, maybe I'll even try posting some pictures soon - I've got lots!

The new apartment is very very nice, a great shady balcony and a beautiful - if somewhat small - kitchen.  Also I have a proper tiled bathroom (or linoleum, or whatever, the point is: not carpeted, which gave me the heebie-jeebies and just held on to the cat litter like a miser holds onto a penny), and the lighting is gorgeous.  Further, the walls are a lovely pale yellow color I like to call buttercream, and the place is altogether cozy.

11 May 2006

Moving Day I

Tired, tired, tired. Started at eight this morning and just got finished. (Okay, took a break here and there.) And more of the same tomorrow! But at least there will be movers then.

Got almost all of the kitchen transferred, sans refrigerated food and teacups. Also all of closet and all of books save a few stragglers that just would not be packed. Actually, it's an interesting exercise in desert-island reading, so here are the titles:

  1. Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer
  2. Valley of Vision
  3. Bible (New Geneva Study Edition) "Bringing the light of the Reformation to Scripture"
  4. Mason-Dixon Knitting
  5. The Essential Calvin and Hobbes
  6. 1776
Okay, if I was actually composing a desert island list there would be some Jane Austen there as well, but the above pretty much covers all genres, save fiction.

Below are some pics of today's festivities.

10 May 2006

Tonight marks the beginning of the end of what might be called the "Thistleblog" era . . . moving to a new place beginning tomorrow, when we will move everything we can carry. Movers to come on Friday to move furniture and heavy things. It's going to be a cranky, cranky weekend for me. Pray for good temper and good weather!

(Unpleasant as moving is, I must say that I'm looking forward to having four whole days in a row off from work!)

And today's geek moment: Intractable means stubborn. Meta, when used as a prefix, is all kinds of fun. Metadata is data about data. Meta-language is a language used to describe language. A meta biography would be a biography about biographies.

07 May 2006

Pics of New Apartment!

Greetings all . . . not much time to write today as I must run to Target, then do some packing, then update my syllabus for the semester (starting on Tuesday!). However, here are the four pictures of the new apartment I took before the battery ran out. Moral of last Saturday: bring extra batteries on excursions.

05 May 2006


So, the school where I teach has decided I need to have a philosophy of teaching. I'm not quite sure what this means, but after some reflective exercises and a few consultations of the excellent sites dedicated to buzzword bingo, I developed the following:

Full fathom five thy father lies:
Of his bones are coral made:
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.

Shakespeare, The Tempest

In my lifetime I have witnessed a paradigm shift that seems radical only in retrospect. When I was in elementary school we had a Timex computer that used a cassette tape to store data. Several years later we upgraded to a Macintosh and were one of the few families in our circle to have a computer at home. Within ten years the words email, internet, and Web site were part of everyone’s vocabulary. The late twentieth century encompassed a massive sea change that transformed everyone’s lives. My interests, experiences, education, and training uniquely equip me to guide others to port.

Navigation is key. On unfamiliar roads we need maps – or better still, a friendly voice in the passenger seat providing directions. Similarly, we need mentors to guide us through our experiences. I have been blessed throughout with instructors who have taken sincere interest in my learning, my work, and in me. They inspired me to learn, and they continue to inspire me as I strive to meet their standards of excellence.

I am also inspired by information. I thrill to two hundred year old documents, I spend hours pouring over maps, I marvel at the information contained within books, and I look over Web sites with great interest. When I can share my enthusiasm with students, they are engaged. They share their experiences. They ask challenging questions. They strive to meet goals. They enjoy learning as much as I do.

I interact with students at the beginning of their college experiences. My immediate goal is to provide students with the knowledge base they will need to succeed in subsequent courses. More crucially, I hope to provide them with the confidence that will allow them to enter unfamiliar situations and apply their skills to achieve mastery. It is a good thing to know how to use a particular program. It is a far better thing to be able to use a tutorial to learn how a new computer works.

So. That's it for the philosophy. I tried to give it a bit of a map/navigation theme. Note too the use of the uber-buzzword paradigm. The school has a format they like so I'll have to tweak this a bit to make it fit. This will ideally become part of a larger portfolio to be mounted on the Web. Any comments and suggestions are, as always, taken under advisement.

Also, am considering setting up a class Web site so the little urchins can print out new copies of the schedule, assignments, etc. when they lose them as they inevitably will. Would the students among my readership (i.e., Kenny) be good enough to tell me what they like in a course Web site?

04 May 2006

All better!

Well, it took ten minutes on the phone with Verizon, thirty minutes with a contractor in India who specialized in Macs, and another ten minutes on the phone with Verizon, but the Internet is restored to my computer! Not only that, but my network is now password protected. Everything went amazingly well. I had to reconfigure my modem or something. I typed in a bunch of nonsensical numbers and suddenly it all worked. Yay!

And since I didn't swear or even want to swear during the whole ordeal, I treated myself to a Veggie Burrito Bol from Chipotle. The photo at right is not the actual thing I ate, but a picture of a similar one from earlier this year. Note the wedges of lime, which just brighten the whole thing and transform it into something sublime. Dee-licious.

Let's see, what else . . .

This week is Employee Appreciation Week at the Library, and instead of giving us each a crisp $20 and the afternoon off, they've decided to have all sorts of contests: photography, cooking, etc. I didn't enter any of the contests, but did enjoy the Open House yesterday. It was a nice opportunity to go to departments I don't usually see and get a perspective on what they do. There was a most excellent film telling the story of how Wise County got its first public library. (Wise County, by the way, is in extreme southwestern Virginia, so it didn't get a library until, like, the fifties.) Also there were lots of treats. Apparently their strategy is to fatten us up so no one else will want to hire us.

30 April 2006

I see from my "This Day in History" calendar that on 30 April 1939 television was first publicly broadcast.

Not much to say tonight . . . it was a bit of a dull weekend.  Well, apart from the Lehigh fires thing.  But as far as I was concerned, there was just the normal busy work on Saturday.  Took my old computer to be recycled.  Exchanged things at the mall.  To the gym.  TV.  Went out with the roomie to Edo's Squid, which is a very cool (yet reasonably priced) Italian place near VCU. 

Today was church.  It was missions Sunday, so there were various speakers.  We heard about the (dismal) state of the church in Europe as well as post-modernism (not all bad).  Then tonight there was a lecture about the spiritual state of the American university (good and bad, apparently).  We listened to speakers from the Center for Christian Study up in Charlottesville.

And as there is an inservice at Bryant and Stratton tomorrow I spent today trying to concoct a teaching philosophy.  No luck, but I did find the teaching philosophy a grad school professor once made the mistake of sharing, in which she concludes, "I believe in Tinkerbelle, and you."  No joke.  Really.

25 April 2006


One of the annoying things about having car work done is that no one really appreciates it. Sure, you're not a hazard to your fellow drivers anymore, but do they care? I guarantee if I dropped $550 on a new outfit, or a couple spiffy pairs of shoes, or a haircut and highlights by an artiste, I'd be getting compliments for weeks. I expect my readers to toss at least a few compliments on my shiny new exhaust system, part of which can be seen here.

Anyway, my story is a sadly familiar one. I brought my car to my buddy Oakie for the state inspection. The brake fluid displayed a distressing propensity to leak, so they jacked the car up and discovered that I needed new rear brake cylinders as well as an entire new exhaust system. If only I'd had my camera with me I'd have gotten pictures of the old one - it was pretty well rusted through. I had a good three-hour wait in the shop. I am a big fan of Sportsman Car Care in Chester for a number of reasons, not least of which is that their decor suggests . . . well, that all of your money is going back into parts and labor, not cushy chairs and cable TV.

It was a long morning, and since it was Monday there was no one I could call to relieve the boredom. On the plus side, there were no tow trucks involved (as there were last year) and no telephone interviews took place from the cabs of said tow trucks (again, see last year). I must count my blessings, especially as there is no longer any money left to count.

24 April 2006

I'm an archivist, baby!

And I know how to keep track of paper.

My Victory Lady membership apparently expired sometime over the weekend . . . three years, hard to believe. But as I was despairing I suddenly remembered I had a six months for free coupon stashed away in a folder marked "V" for Victory Lady. Sure enough, there it was. I tell you, the people were surprised - clearly very few people manage to keep up with those coupons.


The above is the promised picture of my weirdly large dishcloth. Clearly my gauge was way off, or maybe it has more to do with the fact that I didn't use the yarn called for. (The pattern called for Peaches n Creme, and I used some other cheap cotton yarn, Sugar and Cream, or something. Surely it's all the same? Surely not.) But I am pleased with it nonetheless, and I especially dig the way the slip stitch pattern makes it look all complicated. It's not. In fact, it's the work of only a few hours in front of the TV. This is the kind of knitting I get really excited about, mindless stuff that ends up looking great and turns otherwise wasted hours into an excellent dishcloth, or blanket, or whatever. I will be making many things from Mason Dixon Knitting.

In other news, I turned in my grades today and got my car inspected. It wasn't pretty. More on that later, after I've dried my tears.

23 April 2006

Pictures from last weekend . . .

It's been a slow couple of days, sadly lacking in anything exciting to write about. My roommate Kristin was away in North Carolina at a wedding (where she met some people from Millbrook!) so it was pretty quiet . . . just me and my cat, who is always glad to have me to herself. I've been busily putting off getting the last of the semester's papers graded and grades calculated, but that must come to an end as grades are due tomorrow. I stopped by Borders last night and bought a fab new knitting book, Mason-Dixon Knits. I was so inspired by it I immediately rooted through my yarn stash and knitted up a dishcloth. It's lovely, though worrisomely large. I am assured that it will draw up because it's cotton. We'll see. It's drying even as we speak . . . pictures to come. The book is excellent, lots of two-dimensional projects and cool colorways. I hope to knit lots of things from it.

Anyway, it's been a while since I had photos so tonight's post will be spiced up by pictures taken last weekend at Meme's house. The first is the property in her neighborhood that I just lust after. It's a sweet little house, but look at that water. And the flowers, the trees, the gravelly drive, and the pier. I often go walking at night and hear people talking, laughing, singing, and generally enjoying themselves. The second picture is, obviously, a flower of some kind or other. If I'm not mistaken, Meme said it's from a cutting her father gave her years ago. There's lots of it in her yard, just a delicate little lacy white flower. When I took this picture I was experimenting with the extreme close-up feature on my camera. I'll catch all the tricks eventually. I'm considering a photography class.

19 April 2006

No pictures tonight, and not much to say either.  Mom and Dad are in Florida.  The American Revolution began on this day 231 years ago.  Oh, and I had my last night of class last night.  Now I have only to calculate the grades and that's another semester done!  I'll be teaching again this summer . . . pity.

17 April 2006

The Lord is Risen Indeed!

And what better way to celebrate than an Easter dinner? I went down to Meme's house in Chesapeake after work on Saturday and found that, since Aunt Linda was away, I would be charged with cooking the ham as well as the asparagus and rolls. There was a little drama as I had to go out and find asparagus, and was reduced to WalMart produce, which I am sorry to report was not outstanding. I had to sort out a few dodgy-looking asparagus spears. Also had to make do with equipment that was not my own. However, in the end we had a fabulous dinner, part of which is pictured here.

I would also like to note that I was the only person at dinner to have been at Meme's church that morning, so I was the only one to witness the horrible desecration of our final hymn. I cannot remember the title, but it was one of those tricky ones where you sing all the verses first and then a little refrain at the end. For anyone who's ever had a music class, this is a pretty simple matter of looking for the repeats. Apparently the only people in the congregation that morning who'd ever had a music class were the organist and myself. Even the choir was mixed up.

I believe this is what they mean when they say "the blooming garb of spring." I got lots of nice pictures of flowers this weekend. (Also some not-so-nice pictures, still trying to get the hang of that darn camera.) The dogwoods are always pretty, and Meme's pink dogwood is just stunning. Though I must say I generally prefer the white ones, which look like little bits of lace interspersed through the woods. Hard to believe that a few hours after this picture was taken we experienced a nasty thunderstorm featuring marble-sized hail.

14 April 2006

Plano Pomegranite

Okay, I treated myself to a pedicure tonight in celebration of the warmer weather and all. I had my toes polished in a shade called Plano Pomegranite (sp?). You can't tell from the picture, but it's got just a little bit of glitter in it. Fabulous.

Perhaps as a result, I didn't get as much done tonight as I'd hoped. I think I'll be taking a later trip to Chesapeake tomorrow than I'd anticipated. However, I did get caught up on my Scrubs watching reading, so it's fine.

Lots of Easter pictures to come!

13 April 2006

I've been a lazy blogger! It's Maundy Thursday, and instead of being at church, I went to the gym tonight and came home to enjoy an evening of . . . nothing. It's glorious.

As I'm going to be away this weekend I've been trying to eat up all my perishables, so I polished off the lettuce, and the asparagus in one swell foop. I pan-roasted the asparagus (as described earlier) and put it over the lettuce along with Paul Newman's lemony Italian dressing. Then I put some fried haloumi cheese over all and gobbled it up along with a glass of Spanish Rose.

Haloumi is my new thing. It was an impulse buy at the Fresh Market, and it's just great. It's a kind of Greek cheese that doesn't melt. You just fry it in a dry nonstick pan and it gets nice and toasty and soft. It's excellent with lemon. I believe it is the same cheese that they light on fire in Greek restaurants. Charlotte and I had a portion of flaming cheese at a Greek place in Hell's Kitchen (New York City, not as scary as it sounds).

Nothing much new to report, though I did get a fabulous black wrap dress that is made the same as my fabulous brown wrap dress. Daring. Oh, and the Richmond city council did decide to move some of the bus stops from in front of the Library, should cut down on loitering by about a half. Excellent.

My This Day in History widget tells me that today is the anniversary of the Edict of Nantes, which gave religious toleration (temporarily) to the French Huguenots in 1598. It is also Thomas Jefferson's birthday. He would be 263.

10 April 2006

It's been a while since I blogged, during which time Kerry has made two entries, both featuring photographs.  I'd meant to run out today and get some pictures of spring (it's approaching its height here) but ran out of time and daylight.

I see from my "This Day in History" widget that today is the 400th anniversary of King James I chartering the Virginia companies of London and Plymouth.  

Ooh, and I just got back from a Fresh Market run.  Anyone who knows me knows I believe that Richmond in general and the West End in particular is tragically underserved by grocery stores.  The Fresh Market works to address that by having a great selection of produce (organic and conventional), nifty imported foodstuffs, and a selection of meats, cheeses, and breads that is unrivaled in this part of town, if not the entire metro area.  And you can actually buy wine there!  

All I need now is a Publix and I'll be a happy woman.

07 April 2006

Just back from supper club . . . the pear cake was a big success!  Instead of the brown sugar cream I just did a plain lightly sweetened whipped heavy cream with the addition of 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger to a bit over 3/4 cup cream.  It was subtle but good.  The cake was nice without being overly sweet, just right after an indulgent meal that featured:

Seven Layer Dip
Rolled Chicken Breast
Spinach Casserole
Zucchini and Tomato Casserole
Caribbean Rice
Three Bean Salad
And of course . . .
Pear Cake and coffee

A good time was had by all, and I think I've officially made up my 10K calorie deficit.  Back on the straight and narrow soon.  Really.

06 April 2006

Pear Cake

Supper club meets tomorrow night, and as I have been assigned to bring dessert, I did a bit of baking tonight. (I was quite pleased with my assignment, by the way, and also pleased that the organizer picked up on my hint that I enjoy baking.) I thought about pound cake - lemon or plain - with strawberries, but the strawberries at the store were pretty expensive, so I decided to do pear cake. Pear cake has the additional virtue of being a little unusual. It's a little more of a fall cake than a spring cake, but I think I'll be forgiven for that lapse as long as I don't try to wear white shoes.

The recipe is from Cook's Country, which is published by the people who put out my beloved Cook's Illustrated. Cook's Country is a little more homey, less exhaustive. You'll find very few water baths or double boilers between its pages.

So anyway, this was a pretty basic butter cake batter, with brown sugar instead of white, and with the addition of some powdered ginger. I believe it also had a quarter cup of heavy cream. I put in in a pan and pressed some sliced canned pears on top, the sprinkled with brown sugar and drizzled with more butter. It baked for about 35 minutes. I had the whole thing done - prepared, baked, cleaned up, and out of the oven - within an hour.

I'll dust it with some powdered sugar and bring some whipped cream, possibly the fabulous brown sugar whipped cream I debuted on the Thanksgiving pumpkin cheesecake a few years back: 1 part sour cream, 1 part brown sugar, and 2 parts heavy cream. Beat together until it's as thick as you like your whipped cream to be. You can add a slug of bourbon, but it's pretty near perfect as it is, glossily billowed on your cake, adding its rich and caramelly taste to every bite.

04 April 2006

I did NOT need to know that

So, I just got back from class. A student of mine revealed all kinds of things about her miserable existence that are really none of my business. It really did make me wonder why people seem so glad to share very personal details with strangers. Anyway.

My cat is just like a toddler in that she is always into everything. She was crawling across my desk, "typing" on the computer. Then she moved to biting off bits of paper to eat. Now she's batting at the earbuds on my ipod. (She also wakes my up at odd hours and gets hostile when I go to groom her.)

03 April 2006

To the list of things I can do, add:

Replace bathtub faucet.

02 April 2006

141 Years

LinkOkay, so I realize it's not exactly normal to have the date of the fall of Richmond seared into your brain, and four years ago I could have probably placed it in April 1865, but no closer. However, because of the nature of my job I often run into the brick wall created on the night of April 2-3, 1865. Where are the records of New Kent County? What happened in the trial of the accused witch in Princess Anne? We'll never know, as they, along with numerous other records, went up in smoke 141 years ago.

A good description of the events (though with a Yankee bias) appears here. Someone's put together a cool page with links to contemporary descriptions of the fall and occupation here. And yes, strictly speaking, retreating Confederates did start the fire. What would you do? Leave all the munitions for the occupiers? I don't think so. Besides, what's the point of being Southern if you can't blame all your problems on the Yankees and the humidity?

In other news, I was greatly amused today to discover that my church now has a podcast for its sermons. Last Sunday's sermon (preached by Os Guinness) is already there. Take a listen.