bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (brothers (icondothat))
Today I baked something, shocker of shockers, and not only that, I baked something from one of my many, many cookbooks. Before anyone gets excited that it was something super-fancy: it was scones, and plain scones at that, since I forgot to grab the currants from my room. But they were good! And now I can stop buying scones. (This is also the first time I've ever baked something using the scale instead of measuring cups, since it was a British recipe.)

(While normally I bake a lot, I haven't been baking much this year because it's slightly more hassle than it is when I'm at home or when I was at Tulane -- most of my baking supplies are in my room rather than in the kitchen, I'm used to using measuring cups and butter that's in sticks, our oven is temperamental, I have to convert oven temps from Fahrenheit to Celsius, I have to make sure there isn't anyone else who wants to use the kitchen at the same time, etc. While it might not sound like a lot, it can add up, especially when I'm already stressed. It's a big change from when I was baking my own bread every week, the way I was at Tulane!)

*

Easter vacation starts next week. Easter vacation snuck up on me. Or maybe Easter snuck on me, I don't know. How does time even, where did the term go, OH GOD HELP.

I figure I ought to maybe go somewhere a couple times over the break, since it's about a month off. (Actual conversation I had with English Flatmate N. "Maybe I'll go to Wales. There are whales in Wales, right?" "Yes, but they're fluffy and called sheep." Both of us: *giggle* Me: "Killer sheep, humpback sheep, gray sheep...")

*

Sooner or later I will collect all my fills for the 3 Sentence Ficathon and post them over here, but today is not that day.

*

And the Hobbit art rec theme for the day is: portraits!

Fili, Kili, Oin, Gloin, Balin, Dwalin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Ori, Nori, Dori, and (the leader of our company) Thorin Oakenshield by [tumblr.com profile] amandascurti
Fili and Kili by [tumblr.com profile] kiwiitin
King Under the Mountain by [deviantart.com profile] SceithAilm
Dis by [tumblr.com profile] the-iron-queen
Thranduil by [deviantart.com profile] em-mika
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (be mindful of the future (iconthology))
My right wrist! Still in pain. It makes this delightful pop (...I honestly don't know whether it actually audibly pops or if that's just the feeling) when I rotate it. Handwriting is doable but painful, knitting is fine (though I'm not doing much of it right now, let me tell you) but can be sort of...odd (I'm not sure that I'm actually in pain or just uncomfortable or just thinking I should be in pain), I can hold things but I'm definitely far more aware of my hand and wrist than I usually am. My wrist isn't swollen or anything, although it seems like my hand is swelling a little more than normal on occasion, but not all the time. I think I'm also starting to feel some kind of splintery-ish aches in my forearm, but it's mostly concentrated in my wrist. Typing is mostly fine, mouse-handling a little strange. Advil didn't help, but I'm kind of used to painkillers not helping (they work for cramps, but ninety-nine percent of the time do not work for anything else -- mainly, my recurring back pain). Left wrist is a little achy, but not like my right wrist. Depending how I'm moving my arm, I can lift things without difficulty or pain, which at least means I can drink my tea.

In conclusion: I don't even know, y'all. This is day three (and possibly day four, but if it is day four it wasn't bad enough on the first day for me to really notice). At least I didn't wake up with a crick in my neck this morning, unlike yesterday, where it was both wrists and my neck, and also briefly my back later on in the day. I still think it has something to do with the way I'm sleeping, since I'm having my familiar "I don't know what to do with my hands!" problem when I'm in bed again, but that happens fairly often and this has never happened before. I haven't done anything strange or unusual to merit this; I'm not even spindling a lot, so I know it's not repetitive stress from that, the way it was this summer. What the actual fuck, o my body?

*

Today I made bread pudding, or tried to, and it sort of worked out. Next time, I'll use more liquid (I didn't actually measure anything, just whisked together some milk, cream, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and lemon zest), cut the bread into smaller pieces, and bake it in my loaf tin instead of my square cake tin -- as was, I only had a single layer of bread cubes, so it was (a) too thin and (b) I had to dismantle it and put it in the loaf tin anyway after it had baked and cooled in order to put it in my fridge. Ooops. I was going for the same flavor profile king cake has (thus the cinnamon and lemon zest), so I made the same icing -- powdered sugar, lemon juice, and milk to serve with the bread pudding. It does have a very similar flavor profile, so success on that front! Traditionally in New Orleans you'd make a whisky sauce, but I don't have any whisky. I did actually go looking for it in the store, but I don't want to buy a full-size bottle since I don't really drink and I only have one other recipe right now that calls for whisky or brandy. Maybe they had those single-serving bottles, but I didn't look all that closely. Maybe next time.

In other totally boring food news, I had some leftover (Japanese) curry, but no rice and I didn't feel like making any. So I boiled some soba noodles and served the curry over that. And it was good, but it was also the weirdest fucking experience. I grew up eating curry and rice (and potato chips. Salt and vinegar. You dip them in the curry, scoop up some of the curry and rice, and eat them. WHAT, MY FAMILY DOES IT), and it's probably my number one comfort food. I can never make it the same way my mother does, of course, she probably adds a splash of magic and motherly love and secret samurai spices or something. Anyway, it's a flavor profile I'm very, very familiar with, and I'm eating, except it's noodles and not rice and -- so brain-breaking. That sounds crazy, doesn't it? But it's something that's so familiar, with just a little twist, and that twist is what makes my brain kick out and go NO WHAT WHAT REBOOT.

*

It's been a weird couple of days. My brain appears to be absent this week, which means my ability to do research is sort of currently stunted, which is not so good when I have a presentation on Monday. Oh, well, at least it's only a 5-10 minute presentation with a partner who has probably done more research than me. (And I have done some, and will do a little more tomorrow.)

*

Worked out my chapter timing problems, at least for the immediate time being. Serial fic writing is such a weird experience. On the one hand, you want the story to hang together as a whole, the way a novel does, so chapters and POV and plots have to make sense when read all in one go. But on the other hand, because it's being posted as a WIP, it normally isn't read all in one go -- there's going to be tension between chapters just because there's going to be a time break between when those chapters go up, just like TV episodes. I can't do anything about that except write faster, obviously, and sometimes that's not an option.

Also at some point it helps to step back and think about the situation as a reader -- not necessarily of this story specifically, but as a reader of fanfic and WIPs in general. And since at the moment I am, I kid you not, for the first time in years freaking stalking this one author's Hobbit fic, well, that helped make up my mind. *laughs*

*

Amazon sent me a recommendation e-mail consisting entirely of Hobbit movie tie-ins and Lindsey Davis novels. Oh, Amazon. You know me so well. (Okay, this was Amazon UK, my Amazon U.S. rec e-mails are considerably more confused, since I've gotten a bunch of my textbooks from them and all I've gotten from Amazon UK has been Hobbit stuff. My Amazon U.S. rec e-mails are like, "Here is a set of knitting needles, a Latin textbook, a book on medieval Spain, two Lindsey Davis novels, a cookbook, a Shakespeare play, and a Tamora Pierce novel. Surely you must want one of them?")

Sometime I ought to take a picture of my to-read pile. It's higher than my bed. I'm afraid to put any more books on it, which means I need to find somewhere else in my tiny room to start another pile of books, since I...I have a problem. (My library books and most of my cookbooks are elsewhere. Uh.)

Currently reading An Imperial Possession (still. I KNOW), Rome and the Sword, and N.K. Jemisin's The Killing Moon. And The Hobbit, technically, but I just don't want to go on, because it's all heartbreak and immense readerly frustration from here on out. I would rather go back and reread the first two-third and pretend it has a happy ending!

*

I wonder if draping a hot water bottle over my wrist would help? But then I couldn't do anything, and that's my dominant hand.

stuff.

Sep. 9th, 2012 01:38 pm
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (the die hard way (likefluffy))
traumatizing stuff about England and Leicester (well, traumatizing for me) )

*

In happier news, I won all blue ribbons and several rosettes at the County Fair! Including Superintendent's Choice for my Alpha Socks and the Washington Association of Wheat Growers first place for my dinner rolls, which I am still not convinced is not a fluke of some sort. Pics at some point in the future, I guess.

Book recs: Abigail Adams solving crime! These are just delightful, I really recommend them. I tore through all three in about four days. I hope that there will be more. (Yes, I know that Barbara Hamilton is Barbara Hambly, so I have delightful 1830s New Orleans mysteries and some fantasy to read as well. BUT ABIGAIL ADAMS.)

Currently I am reading Connie Willis' Doomsday Book. Apparently this is the super-depressing one, so at least I am prepared for the death, disease, destitution, and despair to show in spades.

I took a week off from spindling because I injured myself, and now I am trying again and suck at it, ugh. Practice, practice, practice! I am knitting painfully slowly, or maybe that's just how Juno Regina tends to go. I'd like to get it done before I go to England (OH GOD OH GOD).

Also I baked a really good cake the other day, from The Joy the Baker Cookbook. YUM.
bedlamsbard: the lion king: painting of simba, made by devicons (reckonings (devicons))
My life is currently exceptionally boring, except for the intermittent bouts of uncontrollable panic. So there hasn't really been much to post about, since I'm currently not really writing much. (Well, [personal profile] aella_irene and I are working on an original (which has pseudo-Vikings in it!), but fic-wise, I mean.)

I actually have housing at Leicester (which I need to accept, whoops); it's not precisely what I wanted, but I applied fairly late, so it's good that I got something I'm okay with. (Although we'll see what it's actually like when I get there, I guess.) I'm still working on the visa application, which I meant to have done a month ago? But it takes me like two weeks to get anything done: one week to let it sink in that I have to do it, and another week to do it piece by piece every day. Which I did with the housing application, and since sadly I got that information and the visa information at the same time, I didn't do them at once. Uh. Don't come to me if you want something done fast. I keep freaking out that I shall do something wrong on the application and I shall be BANNED FROM BRITAIN FOREVER. Never mind that if I don't actually do the application I won't be able to enter the country.

I spun yarn! It's only about 52 yards of bulky-weight (and pretty thick-and-thin, even plied), so I'm not sure what I can make with it, but I SPUN YARN ON A SPINDLE OMG. But now I need to buy more roving, so I'm pondering my options and wondering if I should just get something relatively plain and cheap from KnitPicks or somewhere on Etsy (weirdly, I've never bought anything from KnitPicks before) to keep practicing on while I try and get an even single, or if I should get something hand-dyed and nice. (Is there a spindling and/or spinning comm on DW, by the way?) For the record, I have the Schact Hi-Lo Drop Spindle with a 2-inch whorl (1.1 ounces), which I've been using as a top-whorl since I can't find a good bottom-whorl tutorial that isn't for a Turkish spindle. The only problem with it is that the notch is directly facing the hook, which doesn't quite seem right, looking at other spindles. But it's worked pretty well for me and I like it.

I made frozen yoghurt! Which I mentioned in my last post, I think. So far I've done two batches of strawberry (AMAZING AMAZEBALLS OMG) and one batch of blueberry (which is yummy, I'm just not as keen on blueberry as I am on strawberry), but should probably branch out of the fruit zone. My mother wants vanilla made with vanilla extract, not vanilla beans (since those are expensive), so I should get on that.

I made pizza! I made pizza about a month ago for the first time, but I've done it a couple more times since. I use the olive oil dough recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, then oil a baking sheet, break off about a fistful of the dough and spread it out on the baking sheet as thin as I can. (I do actually have a pizza stone, but I haven't, uh, used it for pizza yet. Usually I use it for bread.) I use canned tomato sauce (yeah, I don't make my own, we have a giant package from Costco anyway), homegrown basil, and storebought mozzarella (theoretically I know how to make my own, but we're trying for simple here), then toss on whatever toppings I feel like. I like it with thin strips of ham or Canadian bacon; a couple nights ago I did my side just with Canadian bacon, then added olives and onion along with the Canadian bacon to my parents' side. Then bake it for fifteen minutes at 500 degrees and NOM. Yum.

I knit lace! Or lace-weight yarn, anyway, usually I do lace shawlettes in sock-weight yarn. I'm slowly working on Juno Regina in Malabrigo Lace; I was hoping I'd have it done in time to enter it in the county fair, but at this point it seems unlikely. I do have to go through the stuff I've knit in the last year or so and figure out what would make a good fair entry, though, since for a change I'll actually be here for the fair this year. Shocking!

I miss Tulane and New Orleans. *sadface* I think I've just about come to grips with the fact that I won't be going there in a few weeks, but I really miss it. I'm hoping to back for my PhD next year, so I was shocked the other day to realize that oh shit, I actually have to start thinking about PhD programs AGAIN. Besides Tulane, obviously. Ugh, thinking about graduate school. Trying to figure out what I'm actually interested in.

My former roommates from Tulane (New York, Alaska, Texas, and Chicago, who was never technically a roommate but is an honorary one) and I have sort of started an online cookalong? Where we copycat recipes from our favorite restaurants in New Orleans on a biweekly basis and then tweet about them. Two weeks ago was La Madeleine (which, yes, I know is a chain, but we liked it and went there a lot), and this week is the Rum House (if you ever go to New Orleans, go to the Rum House. You can thank me later). So I've been hunting up taco recipes that look vaguely similar in preparation for this Sunday's food extravaganza. For La Mad we did a tomato basil soup and another dish of our choice (I made a lemon tart, because I overachieve), and this week is at least one taco and either a side or a cocktail. I shall probably try polenta -- they do this amazing roasted poblano and manchego polenta, but I'll probably try for something easier -- and one of three kinds of tacos. I'd really like to do a fried oyster one, but I'm not sure how easy that would be to do. So probably a steak or fish taco. Yum.

Watching the Olympics? Not much to say about that, I guess? Mostly the channel we get just shows the highlights/what they think is interesting: swimming, diving, gymnastics, track, and volleyball.

Currently I am reading Fish on Friday: Feasting, Fasting, and the Discovery of the New World, which is giving me on and off thinky thoughts about water rights and fishing in Dust-era Narnia. I'm trying to marshal them into something resembling either plot or coherent worldbuilding or both. Mostly I'm trying to finish the book before it has to go back to the library. I also started reading Connie Willis, and am working my way through the library's collection -- I read Bellwether, To Say Nothing of the Dog, Miracle and Other Christmas Stories, and Fire Watch over the past two weeks, which just leaves Passage. Then I'll start buying books. (BTW, you ever notice that all an author's weirdness comes out in short stories? Yeah.)

I went back to washing my hair twice a week, instead of just once a week, which I think was a good move, since it's thicker and feels softer now. I'm still having more trouble pinning it (my hair has less "grip") than I did in New Orleans, which I think must be either the humidity or the water or some combo of the two, since NOLA is much more humid and is on city water, and Ellensburg's very dry and we're on well water. It's mildly frustrating to me, since I like doing things to my hair, but, well, what can you do? I'm still trying to figure out how to get my hair to stay up using hair sticks. (Or in my case, bamboo knitting needles.)

As you can see, life here in Casa de Bedlam is...happening. I was going to write that there's nothing much to say, but apparently that's a lie, since I can get wordy about absolutely nothing. LIFE SKILLS.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (preparation (hermit_icons))
I have made an amazing strawberry frozen yoghurt today, thus christening my new ice cream maker. AMAZING. OMG. From real strawberries and homemade yoghurt. SO GOOD. (This is the recipe, by the way.)

It feels pretty damn amazing to make something in your own kitchen that normally you'd only get at a grocery store or at a restaurant. Today I made frozen yoghurt, yesterday I made bread, last week I made a fucking amazing pizza (with homegrown basil on it!). I also drop spindle and knit my own socks (not in the kitchen), so I think I can safely say I am a fan of the DIY movement.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (off we go (girlyb_icons))
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who celebrate it. I have a lot of things to be thankful for, one of which is that I won't be working retail tomorrow the way my friend Chicago is.

I am thankful for all of you, the people who live on the Internet and listen to me talk about my life, who listen to me tell stories, who talk to me about your lives and tell me your stories. Sometime this school year is my ten year anniversary in fandom and I am, as strikes me every few months, very, very grateful that I walked into this world and stayed here, because it changed my life for the better and I can never regret that.

Happy Thanksgiving.

*

I went to Chicago's house for Thanksgiving -- her mom came down and they invited me over (for pulled pork, not turkey). I made mini-pumpkin pies (in muffin tins) and dinner rolls and hand-whipped spiced whipped cream. I made everything from scratch, short of buying a pumpkin and roasting it, by hand since I don't have a hand-mixer or a food processor or a stand mixer (okay, I have a small, crappy food processor that I hardly ever use because of how small and crappy it is), and the thing I am proudest of is that damn whipped cream. BECAUSE I WHIPPED IT. BY HAND. WITH A WHISK.

And I don't even like whipped cream.

This is what I made, by the way. My dinner roll recipe is from Love Soup. (Yeah, I own a book called Love Soup that is full of (vegetarian) soup recipes and the only things I've made from it are the dinner rolls and the molasses oatmeal bread. But the dinner rolls are amazing.)

I've got leftovers galore; it's a good thing my roommates are gone because I've co-opted Alaska's shelf in the fridge. I've got leftover pie crust; I might pick up blackberries tomorrow from Whole Foods and make blackberry pie, or I might just stick it in the freezer until something comes up.

Also we watched Water for Elephants! Which is actually quite good, I really do recommend it. RPattz can act, y'all. Also, elephant.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (athena and helo (nicole_anell))
Oooh, this is cool: The Smoothie Flowchart. Usually when I make a smoothie I throw in some frozen mixed berries, some Greek yogurt, a banana, a spoonful of jam or preserves, and some pineapple-orange juice (this is what I drink, so it's what I have on hand); I did mixed berries with yoghurt and milk once and it was wonderful and creamy. There's no jam on the flowchart, but it adds some nice sweetness and flavor. I've never thought about putting peanut butter in, though! I wonder how that would taste? I'll try it the next time I make a smoothie, since my mother's worried I'm not getting enough protein. (She's sending me protein powder and wheat germ.) I've got a bunch of frozen kale in the freezer, but I haven't tried it in a smoothie yet.

So, fall break! Which mostly just means that I have a four-day weekend in which I am going to, I'm serious this time, start in on research for my thesis. And also read some books for fun. Shockingly, I have read three in the past four days, which is kind of mind-boggling. (For the record: Lady of the Forest by Jennifer Roberson, Ode to a Banker by Lindsey Davis, and Mark of the Horse Lord by Rosemary Sutcliff.) I am also going to start putting together my graduate school applications, because, uh, I need to start on that. (Looking at UK classics department admissions requirements for postgrad makes me feel so prepared: I have taken Latin! And Greek! I will have a degree in Classical Studies! But then I look at U.S. classics admissions requirements and that knocks me back down to, "You suck so hard, why are you so unprepared? What makes you think you can do this?" You'd think it would be the other way around, considering the way that Americans usually think about the UK.)

I am tentatively thinking of applying for classics at Bristol, Leicester, and Oxford, and medieval history at St. Andrews, Cambridge, and maybe Edinburgh? And I'll probably apply in the U.S. to Washington and Ohio State, but I'm just sort of eh when it comes to doing the master's in the U.S. That is probably too many schools, though -- I'd like to get in one or two applications before November, so I can stop freaking the fuck out about what I'm going to do with my life next year. I don't think I'm that picky about where I go, since I am mostly aiming for England! (or Scotland!) and not America! Somewhere very different. SOMEWHERE WHERE THEY SERVE TEA IN POTS AND SCONES GLORIOUS SCONES. *cough*

*

Switching topics entirely: I am rewatching BSG, and I have come to the midpoint of S2, which is the Pegasus plotline which I hate hate hate, so I'm debating whether to watch it or just skip it. Huh, I'm checking my notes from the first time I watched and -- I thought the Pegasus plotline was around for more than three episodes. Hmm, maybe I'll just power through it with something else open in another window. (Actually, according to my notes, I really liked it, which is funny: thinking about it now makes me wince, but I watched it, what, three years ago? Something like that.)

I really wish this show devoted more time to Helo and Sharon's EPIC ROMANCE, which is my favorite part of the entire thing. Am resisting the urge to write fic. (Lemme guess: if Sharon was a man, fandom would have been all over it like white on rice.)

noms

Sep. 19th, 2011 08:20 pm
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (check the stove (hermit_icons))
For dinner tonight: bacon arugula tomato sandwich on homemade bread toasted in bacon fat. NOM. (I have actually never had a BLT, due to my aversion to sandwiches, but since you can define it without actually calling it a sandwich I didn't have my usual sandwich freakout.)

Basically right now I have all the arugula in the world, since I made broccoli arugula soup last night and it...didn't take that much arugula. So now I have all the arugula in the world and no idea what to do with it. (My mother says to boil it for a minute or two, dry it out, and freeze it, then pull it out whenever I need it; she does the same thing with kale and spinach so it should work for arugula.)
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (the die hard way (likefluffy))
Today I made lemon curd, which was fun, only it took a lot longer than I expected and I wasn't entirely certain what the consistency was supposed to be, but it tastes goods and it's thicker than water, so. *shrug* Also, it's this really pretty glowing yellow.

One of my favorite authors is doing a signing in London on July 7th. I am wondering if it's worth it to try and go up from Cambridge that evening; since she lives in England and I, you know, do not, it is probably unlikely that I'll have another chance. (I'm never in Seattle when authors do signings; strangely, very few authors come to New Orleans when I'm actually there.) On the other hand, time, money, strange city, foreign country, etc. Still do not know schedule.

(Today I told my mother that I didn't want to go to England, I wanted to stay home. WHY DID I THINK THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA, Y'ALL? *breathes into paper bag* I have already paid, I cannot actually back out of this. If Chicago can do a whole year at UCL and New York can do a semester in Prague, which, I may add, is in a country where they do not even speak English, and my dad's ESL students can come to CWU, then I can do one freaking month in England. Only I have not done any of the stuff I meant to do this summer: forget the academic stuff, I haven't even used our new Dutch oven yet. /nervous breakdown.)

Also today I watched Star Trek (for some reason I forget how much FUN this movie is; also it reminds me that [personal profile] lazulisong's characterizations are my One True Characterizations, though there are of course other acceptable ones, and STXI is one of the few fandoms for which I still read fic, I don't even know) and True Grit (I am so behind the times: last week I saw The King's Speech for the first time, and tomorrow we shall watch The Fighter), and worked on my sock, which is a little slower going than I would prefer since I have four six-stitch cables every six rows, and I'm terrified of screwing them up and having to rip back, so I'm using a US2 DPN as a makeshift cable needle, even though I otherwise always cable without a needle. Since I don't own a cable needle. The goal is to finish these socks before I go to England (denial, denial, so much denial), since I won't cable on the plane.

I am puzzling at my Jaisen Ettore backstory fic, which has had some interesting upsets including things like "does he know that his horse talks?" and "wow, he's kind of a wet blanket" and "I'm more interested in the bandits" and "damn, I guess I'm not going to get an action sequence in the beginning after all" and "he's a tree! she's a horse! together they steal things! #onlyinnarnia" and "so they won't be bad guys then" and "let's bring in a talking fox." Also, I kind of want to go back to my original idea for Susan as spymistress.

I am rereading A Game of Thrones, which, huh, I think Martin's prose got better by AFFC, and trying to psych myself up for a reread of The Magicians. I hated The Magicians to an infinite power of incoherency the last time I read it; this time I'm wondering if I can manage coherent hatred. Apparently I have a masochistic streak.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (preparation (hermit_icons))
So the WIP is tentatively finished and sent off to beta to find out if it hangs together and if I should take out the (heavily implied) threesome. (Hey look! Peter is having sex with women again! Women he's not related to! Shocking.)

Meanwhile I shall tell you what Peter is having for dinner, because writing food is one of my favorite things: There was a bowl of mixed-fish stew, yellow from saffron and with small octopus tentacles, whole shrimp, and mussels still in the shell protruding from the bowl; toasts anointed with garlic and olive oil; grape leaves stuffed with pine nuts, currants, and golden raisins; meatballs made of ground lamb and fragrant with mint; finished off with fried pastry ribbons drenched in a sweet honey syrup and sprinkled with sugar-crusted almonds.

In other words: man, I definitely have to get around to cooking something from the cookbook I took those from. NOM. (Cookbooks are so dual purpose. You can use them as research AND as a cooking tool!)

In other news, I got my hair cut today. It went from being nearly to my waist (small of my back, maybe) to just above my breasts. My HAAAAAAIR.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (the hidden door (23carat))
I'm having a fit of hatred for everything. There's mold in the furnace, my front yard and driveway are flooded (although let's be honest, we got off easier than some other parts of the county -- seven households are cut off from town because the bridge washed out. No, I'm not in Louisiana right now), I had a spectacular cooking fail yesterday, and I'm trying not to sulk over the response to Our Impudent Crimes, which has translated into me hating all my WIPs. Also I have one ear that's going in and out of being vaguely stopped up, and I'm ripping up my lips again. And I'm trying to get myself to look at the stuff I should do this summer: GRE prep, Latin, honors thesis stuff. And I haven't paid the rest of my tuition to ACE yet or booked my plane tickets because I'm not sure when I should come back. I can't find the $25 iTunes gift card that I'm ninety percent certain I threw into one of my boxes, either.

*breathes into paper bag* This happens every summer. Hate. Everything.

*

Good things: I had a savory baking success yesterday -- chicken pocket pies from Mad Hungry (recipe here, though I used thyme instead of dill), which took a while because I did everything at once but turned out really well. I think I can roll the dough out thinner next time; the all-butter galette dough I've been using for my mixed berry mini-galettes is a bit more prone to leaking, but the only leaks I got on the cream cheese dough was on the seal.

Yesterday I went around and tossed pine cones over the bank! This may not sound like a very exciting thing, but it got me outside and it got me doing something, and now my arms are sore (you lever them up with a shovel and then flip them), but definitely in a good way.

I really like the sock I am knitting right now, which is Nemesis from Knitty, in Malabrigo Sock colorway "Turner." It's supposed to be on US1.5s, but I only have US1s, and I think it shouldn't be a problem.

*

A couple of extras for Our Impudent Crimes: This is the White Witch I was thinking of in the mural (concept art from Ben Wootten; there are a couple other sketches in The Crafting of Narnia that also fit, but I can't find them online) and this is the recipe for goose with orange and ouzo that the Lady of the Green Kirtle serves Rilian. Although I haven't tried it. Oooh, maybe when I go back to New Orleans I can get goose from that specialty meats shop on Magazine.

*

And now I'm going to go bake cookies.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (life a day (likefluffy))
1. Inn at the Crossroads -- medieval (or ancient or early modern) and modern recipes from foods mentioned in GRRM's A Song of Ice and Fire series. If you're a food history geek like me, you'll love this. (Also, I'm really impressed that GRRM apparently wasn't pulling random combinations of foods out of thin air to throw into ASOIAF.)

2. "Jersey Shore" Gone Wilde (original link from [personal profile] roga). I have neither seen Jersey Shore nor have I read any Oscar Wilde (though now I really want to; my English major friends love Wilde), but this is hilarious. Definitely worth a click.

3. Queen of Atlantis, the new short story from [profile] sarahtales in Subterranean Press. Short summary: zombie boyfriends. I keep reading it over and over again and crying softly, so definitely a rec from me. (Also from Subterranean Press, Malinda Lo's short story The Fox. I love Malinda Lo; I need to go and see if Maple Street Bookshop has her new book.)

4. ...apparently I only have three things to link to. The rest of my not-studying time I apparently merely spend tooling around the Internet, watching TV, or baking. And reading! Quite a lot of reading, for class or otherwise. And walking. Perhaps I should go for a walk today. Or pack another box.

5. I suddenly have ideas for the fourth (and probably last, but maybe not) Rilian story and the third Jill at the Pevensies' story. Apparently the theme shall be "music." (Peter, apparently, plays the violin. Who knew?)
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (check the stove (hermit_icons))
Via [personal profile] rydra_wong, from Vegan About Town

"I am pleased to announce that I am hosting Potluck #2: Comfort Food. Submissions can cover anything you like, and you do not have to stick to the theme! but please remember that we are trying to talk about intersections. Potluck is, after all, intended to be a carnival for multicultural and intersectional discussions of food, including but not limited to food discussions intersecting with disability, gender, sexuality, fat, animal rights, and cultural and racial issues. How many times have you gone to eat your comfort food, only to be told it's gross and weird and disgusting? How many times has advertising told you that your comfort food is wrong and terrible?"

So this turned up on my dwircle this morning and I went, "Wow, that's really appropriate." Because I've been eating a lot of comfort food this year, though I didn't really articulate it as such until March 11, when I was running around and crying and trying to get in contact with my relatives and trying to get a phone, when I made my roommate go with me because I didn't want to be wandering around in hysterics and tears in a neighborhood I didn't know when it was coming on dark. And she said, "Let's go to Kyoto for dinner, since we're up here anyway." So we went to dinner, and I ended up getting tekkadon, miso soup, hot green tea, and green tea ice cream. And that was what I needed. That was exactly what I needed. If I'd been home, I probably would have been crying into a bowl of curry-and-rice with salt and vinegar potato chips stuck into it like grave markers, and that would have been comfort food too.

I grew up eating Japanese food, but it wasn't the only thing I ate, and sometimes I wasn't very fond of it. Miso, for example -- that we had a lot, and I would fish out the little cubes of tofu, eat them, and give the broth to my mother. It wasn't something I would eat by choice, but I realized that day at Kyoto, clutching the bowl of miso soup they'd given me, that this was the food of comfort, of home, of family. And I realized why I'd been making, and eating, a lot of food with Asian flavors this year -- the first time I'm living somewhere on my own with a kitchen. It's not the food I grew up eating, but it's comfort food. The flavors are what's there. The idea that, somehow, eating gyoza or white rice or miso is a tie back home, to my family, to the generations that came before me. I've had a really stressful school year. Food helps.

So, yeah, I think I'm going to try and write something for this potluck. I think there's a flip side to the Japanese flavors = instant comfort part two, embedded somewhere in me experimenting with Scandinavian flavors and recipes this year.

Coincidentally, as I write this I've been sipping miso soup out of coffee cup. (It's instant, organic, and non-Japanese; the flavor's not quite where I'd like it to be, but it's better than nothing.)
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (over an open fire (hermit_icons))
Things I have figured out today: caffeine (at least in coffee-muffin form, sans frosting) does not make me wired, it makes me sleepy. Which I think I actually knew before, but I test it every few years to see if it's changed. I don't drink coffee anyway; I do sometimes like the flavor in baked goods, so I went out on a limb with the muffins which were supposed to be very very caffeinated and...well, I wasn't sleepy before I ate three of them, and I was definitely sleepy afterwards, though I (thankfully) did not fall asleep in class. Although after the third one, I got -- hmm, clear-eyed is how I've been describing it? But not really awake, just clear-eyed and sleepy. (Not sure if focused is the right way to explain it. *hands*)

I started another Rilian story the other day, which so far doesn't have a LotGK aspect, but now Rilian's academic angst moves on to ART HISTORY. He prefers literature. However, I have some very interesting ideas for paintings that I want to describe. (Or, if we shall be technical, in this story there shall be an ekphrasis. Do you know Microsoft Word does not recognize ekphrasis as a word? It is WRONG.)

(There are five paintings I know of so far; one is a set of four that dates from the Golden Age, each one an individual portrait of one of the Pevensies on their thrones that are believed to be meant to be displayed together. The argument is, of course, what order they're supposed to be displayed in. It's also each of the Pevensies displayed with an animal; after some debate, because this is a Rilian story, I think Edmund's going to have a giant snake. I was going to give the snake to Lucy, but...eh, in some ways I'm still working off the original prompt for Charmed Life. I think Lucy will have a monkey. Peter and Susan are both going to have great cats; I'm hesitating over whether it would be appropriate to have Peter portrayed with a male lion or not. If I decide otherwise, probably a tiger or a leopard, maybe a lioness.

The other painting is not believed to be contemporary to the Golden Age; some scholars believe it's a copy of an older, now lost painting. It shows Edmund in the throne room at Cair Paravel, listening to a law case as the sun sets, shadows cast across the room. His attention isn't on the people in front of him, but a woman waiting behind a pillar, believed to be his mistress. There is a lot of attention to light and shadow in the painting.

I'm not sure yet what the other artworks that show up in the story are going to be; maybe Susan in Bath. *grins* And some Telmarine non-Pevensie stuff, of course; I think there should be at least one dramatic Caspian the Conqueror painting, maybe some woodcuts or something. There's definitely going to be a mosaic of some sort.)

I don't know where the art history stuff is coming from; the only semi-art history class I'm taking right now is a classics class on the Etruscans & Early Rome, where we spend all our time looking at tomb paintings. At least we've moved on from looking at pots?

I do need to figure out something with the LotGK to go along with it, though. So I can, uh, try and rationalize Rilian's histrionics over having to interpret art.

Oh, come on, Amazon, I just want a cheap paperback copy of One Virgin Too Many with prime shipping, is that too much to ask for?
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (check the stove (hermit_icons))
There is nothing that irritates me more, when it comes to recipes, than people asking if it's possible to make bread or pasta or something of the sort (cinnamon rolls, bagels, that sort of thing) if they don't have a KitchenAid, a food processor, or a bread machine. (That one shows up less often.)

How do you think we have been making bread for the thousands of years before the KitchenAid mixer was invented? YOU KNEAD IT. BY HAND. (Well, you start with a wooden spoon, and then, once all the ingredients are incorporated, you knead it by hand. I haven't made pasta from scratch, but I believe the process is similar.)

The ancient Romans did it and you can too! So did people in the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance, and colonists in the Americas! If the pioneers could make bread on the Oregon Trail, then you, a modern independant human (presumably) can make bread in the comfort of your own kitchen! AND YES WITHOUT A STAND MIXER.

(And I actually prefer doing it by hand as opposed to a stand mixer (although I usually do the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day version because I don't have the space in my dorm kitchen), because you have more control over the dough and you develop a much better feel for it. Plus, communing with the ancestors and feeling very accomplished and so on, but that's just me.)

(Western-oriented because I'm not familiar with the food traditions in other countries, but I'm pretty sure the point stands whatever your tradition is.)

Erk. This is why I try not to read the comments on food blogs. (Although I end up doing so anyway, sometimes there are good tips in there.)
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (check the stove (hermit_icons))
Y'all, I have an important question. Due to varying issues of paranoia (including, but not limited to, I think the non-stick coating on my roommate's pots is flaking off, one of the pots is rusting where the non-stick coating has scraped off, and I can't figure out if she moved the pot I usually use because she no longer wants me to use it or if she just moved it to move it), I am looking at getting pots. The one I specifically need is a saucepan with a lid that is large enough to make soup in. (I tend to make a week's worth of soup at a time, but I don't eat much. Er, clearly I'm not being the most specific person in the world here. I also make rice and risotto in the same pot.) The slight problem here is that I'm not sure how large that is. Would a 2-quart be large enough?

Since I have to pay for it, I don't want to shell out for anything outrageous, but does anybody have any recommendations for decent brands of stainless steel cookware? Right now I'm looking at this pot and this one (though that one's more expensive than I'd like). Also this one from Farberware. (Which I think is one of the (many) pans my mother has.)
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (check the stove (hermit_icons))
I find the act of getting my hands in dough very soothing. It also makes me feel -- mmm, as a historian it makes me feel closer to men and women who have, throughout history, done the very same thing -- cut butter into pie crusts and biscuit doughs, kneaded bread dough, shaped loaves. I like that it doesn't require any special tools -- sure, I could cut in butter with a pastry cutter or two knives, and I could knead bread dough with my KitchenAid's dough hook (well, not at school, obviously), but I love the simplicity of it. My hands. A bowl. A collection of flour and other ingredients. And that's that.

Which is to say, I've been making biscuits -- my regular sweet potato biscuits, last week, of which I ate some and stuck the rest in the freezer to have something to grab on the mornings when I don't manage to arrange my mornings to get to Bruff before class, and today regular (no add-ins) biscuits, while I run through recipes to see if there's a biscuit recipe I like more than the others. Work the butter into the flour with your hands. Stir in liquid (milk or buttermilk). Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead it a bit. Pat or roll it out. Cut out biscuits. Bake. Lovely.

*

Returned a large pile of books to the library, which turned out to be merely an exchange for an even larger pile of books -- four for background reading on my honors thesis topic, two for leisure. My book collection, guys, my bookshelves are crazy looking. I must remember to take a picture of it some time.

I took a break from reading non-fiction last night to read the last Falco book I own that I haven't read yet (Poseidon's Gold), and finished it before noon today. I guess I'll order the next couple ones this weekend. *dramatic sigh* Unless I luck out and find one at Maple Street Book Shop tomorrow.

*

Work continues apace on the second of my Winnow socks.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (off we go (girlyb_icons))
Okay, new goal for the week: every time I post something that's a complaint, or unhappy, or something of the sort, it has to be accompanied (or paired, or countered) by something happy. So.

Today I made curry and rice, which I eat all the time at home and which I always ate growing up; it's totally my comfort food, but I've never actually made it on my own. So I made rice, then I carefully followed the instructions on the curry roux package and sauteed onions with beef, potatoes, garlic, and carrots, then added water, brought it to a boil, then lowered the temperature and let it simmer until the potatoes were fork-soft. I didn't factor in the extra cooking time needed for the roux; by the time I'd stirred in the roux and let that simmer more some more, the potatoes were way, way too soft. There wasn't as much curry punch as I'm used to -- I think because I bought mild and we usually eat medium at home. (Same brand, though, it's a Japanese company.) I also didn't add all the roux, even though the package said to, because, well, we don't do that at home! I think. I'll call home tomorrow and ask my mother. Anyway, lots of leftovers; I think I'll probably have to make rice one more time this week, but I should be good through the week.

My goal for the weekend, knitting-wise, was to finish the leg of my first Winnow sock, which I did today, and then I knit the heel flap and turned the heel and and am now working on the gusset. The written instructions sort of fall down here because the construction's a little unusual, but I'm mostly working off the chart right now. I had juggle the needles and the stitches; I usually like to have sock on four needles, but right now it's just on three and might go that way through the end, so I don't have to break up the lace pattern onto two needles. (Right now, the sole is on two needles and the instep (the lace pattern) is on one.) But it's looking good, and with any luck I'll have it finished within a couple of days! Of course, then I have to knit sock number two.

*

I am fascinated, fascinated I say, by the different interpretations of the dreams in Second Sight. Like I said to a couple people, I had something specific in mind so (obviously, ha) I thought no one else would see it another way, but obviously not! Very cool. I forget what an adrenaline rush posting fic is sometimes -- it's different with a chaptered work, like Dust -- but short one-offs get a much bigger and broader response. What a great feeling. Definitely something I need during the school year, when I spend a lot of time feeling like my emotional health is suffering. So a (slightly belated) resolution for the new year: post at least one fic a month.
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (check the stove (hermit_icons))
I am still madly in love with my Winnow sock -- it's so clever! I really love the side panels and this little twisting vine bit that's worked with alternating yarnovers, SSKs, and K2togs; it makes me so happy everytime I see it. It's harder to see the wheat heads as they're worked over more stitches and tend to bunch up, but I'll think they'll look pretty cool when I've got a bit more of the leg worked and can stretch it out and see.

I'm making friends in Latin, which is nice -- I don't make friends easily; my current roommates I made friends with freshman year and basically haven't gone outside that group since then. Last semester I had two semester with another girl I'd lived with freshman year, which was great; she's a classics major too and so she got the sheer awesome that is classics, which mostly tends to net me blank looks from other people. No classes with her this semester, though, and I've never quite worked out the etiquette for hanging out with people you don't already live with or see every day. (I didn't hang out with people in high school. I was a weird kid. I had friends and all, but I saw them every day, you know? In school. Not outside of school, unless it was for a school-related purpose, except for one friend, who is also the only one I keep up with on a semi-regular basis when I'm home.) Like, can you really just call or text people and say, "Let's hang out!" Don't you need an occasion? And what if they wonder why you want to go, I don't know, rock-climbing with them or something? I am really bad at the socialization thing. I never had that kind of training.

Anyway, friends in Latin. I like having friends in language classes, as it's helpful for making groups. (My lecturer brought in stuffed animals yesterday and distributed them to groups, in order to give them personalities so we could work in out adjectives. We named the tiger Scipio, because I'm a nerd and the other three girls thought it was cute.) Interesting to see who takes Latin: since it's a 1020 class, it's mostly underclassmen, and I'm the only one I know for sure is a classics major. (Which meant when she was writing the animals' Latin names up on the board, I was the one who went, "Man, I wouldn't make the wolf a girl, as then she'd be a prostitute (lupa)," and my teacher started snickering.)

Love Roman history, love, love, love. I'm heavier on MEMS this semester than I am on Classics, and it looks like my honors thesis is going to be on -- well, what I want to write it on is the use of classical literature by Renaissance authors in their own work, specifically Edmund Spenser or William Shakespeare; I'm leaning towards Spenser and the Faerie Queene right now over Shakespeare, just because Shakespeare wrote so much stuff, how would I ever pick and choose? (Not that the Faerie Queene is exactly light reading.) Partially because I swear to god, every historian I've ever taken a class with at Tulane is either currently on sabbatical or is going to be on sabbatical next semester. (Not technically true, but damn, it feels that way.) Mostly because I really am sincerely interested in it; I can pick up the references on a brief read through, but there clearly has to be something going on there. Er, I was getting into this to talk about how my medieval and Renaissance religion classes are working out for me. Interestingly. I made the mistake on Monday of doing the reading for my Medieval Religious Culture class, then for my Age of Reformation class, then got totally confused on what happened when. I really did want to take Ancient Christianity this semester, but the scheduling didn't work out. The other two girls in my tutorial are both pretty Catholic, so I feel like I stick out a little -- but I also have a completely different viewpoint on the subject. (Also, it's probably about time I studied Christianity, as it bewilders me in ways that Greco-Roman and Scandinavian paganism really doesn't.)

*

In conclusion, a recipe, since I made Dutch babies today:

Dutch Babies for one or two )
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (winter wonderland (wibbelkind))
My attention span decided to leave me for the day. Hopefully it will return tomorrow. (Naturally, it deserts me on the weekend I have a paper due. You know. Of course. Convenient timing, what?) I made the mistake of not taking an hour or two yesterday to go to the library and work on Latin (despite the fact that I have a Latin class in the morning), although I did get about an hour and a half in today: but see again, attention span effectively gone, which means I don't do the usual "search for the verb and rearrange the words in your head until they make sense" bit and instead went straight left to right, the way I do when I'm tired and it's hard for me to concentrate. (Apparently, some professors teach it this way, though, so at least it's not totally incorrect.)

I haven't been doing much studying in my dorm this semester, at least so far. I've been carrying my Latin textbook, notebook, and sheaf of looseleaf paper (so many trees die for me to study Latin: on the bright side, at least it's the latest in a long two thousand year tradition) around with me nearly everywhere, so I have the habit of, after my late afternoon classes, going to the library to work through another chapter or so of Latin. Or, when my roommates start acting up, collecting my things and going to the LBC or the library to work through some more Latin. (This is helped by the fact that after last semester's fiasco, I'm no longer particularly comfortable phoning home while anyone else is in the apartment, so I now tend to make my phone calls from the LBC or while I'm walking to Whole Foods. Also by the fact that sometimes I'm really, really uncomfortable in my apartment, for various reasons. I think I can say with some certainty, however, that PMS makes me paranoid (especially re: my roommates). I miss the days when it just resulted in chocolate cravings.) Only yesterday that never happened, because I don't have a late afternoon class on Fridays. *sighs* And nothing happened to make me leave my apartment in the evening. Seriously, I've spent more time out on campus after dark in the past two weeks than I have in the previous two and a half years put together, mostly just walking to or from the library and/or LBC. Also one of my classes that ends at 5:45. (I hate late afternoon classes.)

Anyway, I've been spending a lot of time in the LBC working through Latin, either back chapters or the chapters we're currently on (and, unfortunately, there's a gap of about five chapters in between those two), even after the food court closes -- the LBC is one of the few student centers in the U.S. that's open 24/7, so that's nice. Interesting to see who comes in after the main food court closes, though Der Rathskeller's open till about four in the morning. (The Rat's the World of Wings in the basement. Don't ask me why we have a basement when we're in a city that's below sea-level.) Today I think something was going on with Rush, since there was a herd of girls in short skirts and fancy heels migrating through the LBC. (I assume they were in nice dresses, but they were bundled up against the cold. The short skirts and fancy heels seemed mandatory, though. One reason why I shall never be in a sorority.)

Where was I? Oh. Attention span totally gone. May go back to knitting, since one of my goals for this weekend is to finish this sock, and I finished the gusset today and am partway through the foot. Which is pretty quick going, and I don't mind kitchener stitch. (Sad news: I started this pair of socks in October, and have only just once more picked up the second sock, which only had the cuff done. Am on a sock kick, though. No pun intended. Now I have a shawl with about eight rows remaining on my WIP/stash shelf.)

I made a great apple crisp earlier this week. Must pick up more apples and pecans at Whole Foods so I can do it again. I'm debating getting shortening, too: I can't get Crisco anywhere within walking distance, so I'd have to get the tub of organic whatever from Whole Foods, and I'm not sure I'll go through that much. (I use it for crostata dough and one particular biscuit recipe. I do have a cookie recipe that calls for it, though I usually use a variant that calls for canola oil instead.)

I have a teetiny bit of non-Dust Narnia fic in the works -- a continuation of this. Among other things, I'm trying to work through my problems with Jill POV. (Which is, uh, actually completely counter to what that fic's about, gah. I need to Jill On Her Own sometime, because most of what I have is Jill going, "Dude, the Pevensies are weird." Only she sounds more English. I mostly managed to conquer that with Eustace, now to do so with Jill.) Not sure what's going on with Dust 24: there are a couple different ways I could go, and I'm not sure which one to choose. (Could do both, might want to do the other one later, should probably have this scene, but don't really want to, this scene would be helpful, but I'm not even sure I want that character to exist, but the passage of time! and goddamn my choice of shoving a freaking festival into the middle of my fic too.)

In conclusion, a Narnia vid rec that is absolutely brilliant and gorgeous: Never the Same, by anonymous, for [community profile] festivids. It is very smart, and very pretty, and has a great music choice. I generally don't watch Narnia vids or look at Narnia fanart or read Narnia fic or, well, uh, do anything relating to the fandom outside my own journal, actually, so I approached this vid with great trepidation. But it is brilliant.

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