Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lame Events

Since the last time I posted anything, a lot of stuff has happened! I have attended lots of functions in the last couple weeks. Even though none of them were really lame, I'm still going to use this forum to describe them!

Julie had a cozy little get-together at her house two Fridays ago. It was the regular family gathering that we try to have once a month, but this time there were many people absent. There were only six of us, but it was still nice. We ate some rare burgers and stayed up late talking about anything and everything.

The following week, I attended the funeral of one of my favorite Sunday School teachers ever. She always had a vast supply of Jolly Ranchers and Starbursts for students who knew their memory verses. She was a wonderful lady who was loved by everyone. I don't think I have ever seen that many flowers or people in our church. I saw the mayor, the chief of police, the town doctor, preachers from other churches, friends, neighbors, family members, and many other people I did not recognize. The service was lovely and she will truly be missed.

Later in the week I attended the final session of the leadership academy I have been participating in this year. I have had so much fun getting to know my classmates and visiting various communities around the state. Here is a photo of our class on the last day--I'm in the middle. I am really going to miss seeing all of these people every month! Since we all like each other so much, we have decided to try to get together quarterly to keep in touch.

After the session prior to this one, a few of my classmates and I went out to a local pub where they happened to be playing bingo that night. One of my classmates actually won a game, which was pretty exciting for our group! I was out shopping one day not long after that and found a cute little teddy bear holding a bingo card. It reminded me of that night, so I got it and sent it to Tracey, one of the ladies who was there that night.

Tracey had the brilliant idea to make him the traveling "bingo bear." Whomever has "bingo bear" is responsible for hosting the next get-together. Right now Shawn has "bingo bear" and will be inviting all of us out to her farm for a calf fry this summer. After the calf fry, she will pass "bingo bear" on to Claudia who will then invite the crew to her birthday party this fall! I can't wait!

After our informal graduation ceremony, I hurried back so I would be able to attend the university's math department's senior banquet. Blondie is an alumnus of that department and they had asked him to give the keynote address at their banquet. I certainly didn't want to miss the opportunity to hear him talk about math! He did a great job; I was very proud of him.

This week has been just as busy as last. I attended a reception given by the state regents on Tuesday and yesterday I attended training seminar (far) off campus, so I was glad to be back in the office today. Tomorrow I am looking forward to having lunch with Pound Fries and then relaxing over the weekend!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Most Room for Improvement

So my golf team was definitely the coolest team at the tournament. If there had been a prize for cool, we would have won it. Instead, we got the prize for the highest score (I think they should call it "most room for improvement"). If you have ever played putt putt, you know that the highest score in a golf tournament isn't a prestigious honor. It didn't bother me, though! Our prize was free green fees! They thought we might want to go practice.

In spite of winning the prize for highest score, I had a great time at the tournament! I had never played an entire 18 holes of golf. It was a lot of fun. The wonderful thing about a scramble-style tournament is that if you don't feel like tracking down your ball that went way out in the weeds, you can just stay in your comfy little golf cart and play whoever's ball is in the best spot. We only lost about six balls using this method.

I'm looking forward to using my free green fees. Maybe our team can get together for practice. We are definitely going to need it before next year, but I'm not sure one time will be enough. I don't think anyone was even close to "beating" our score. However I'm not sure anyone else had quite as much fun as we did.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Bucket of Balls

It's very obvious from looking at our blog that I am taking a cake decorating class. But this isn't the first class I have taken at the technology center. Last Summer I took a golf class. I enjoyed that class much more than the cake class. I felt like I was actually improving in that one. Maybe it is a falst sense of confidence, since I have never played a full 18 holes of golf, but it looks like I might get to this weekend! (might, if the weather cooperates)

My cousin asked me to play on his team in their church's golf tournament (it turns out he TRICKED me! The tournament is actually for my former high school's rival from across town, his church just happens to be helping with it). I asked if it mattered that I will be absolutely worthless to his team, and he said no. So I'm in! I have my spiffy set of golf clubs and am ready to go. I have even been practicing in the yard...and I didn't even tear up the grass very bad!

There is one particular field where C. drives the tractor that someone uses as their driving range. Sometimes if he is in a good mood, he will get out and gather all the balls he sees laying around. A few days ago he came home with a five-gallon bucket filled with treasures! I will never have to buy another golf ball again in my life!

Now I just have to make it through the golf tournament. Wish me luck! This could be interesting!
P.S. My cousin didn't actually trick me into being in the tournament. He really thought it was his church's tournament. And the rival school across town is really a great school. That's where C. graduated. It's also where a lot of my good friends went to school. It's just in the unofficial high school code that you have to be rivals if there are two schools in one town.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Edible Play-Doh

So I feel like I'm finally getting the hang of this cake decorating thing. Fondant is a lot of fun to use, once you get over the initial hatred toward it for sticking to the counter. It's like playing with Play-Doh, except you get to make it whatever color you want AND you don't get in trouble for eating it. How awesome is that?

This was my first attempt covering a cake with fondant. I used leftover colored buttercream icing to do the first layer, and my colors turned out kind of neat! There is blue between the cake layers, and you can kind of see a thin layer of yellow buttercream beneath the green fondant. You can tell by the sparse decorations that I was extremely frustrated by this point and ready to go home. I think I rolled it out at least three times before I actually got it on the cake.

This was my birthday cake! I'm not really a pastel purple and green kind of person, but I didn't want to waste pretty colors on a cake that was going to turn into a mess. There are even fewer decorations on this one; fondant can be extremely irritating.

Finally one that I actually like! I'm a big fan of swirls, even though they don't show up very well on this cake. I also love my little yellow fondant balls. They make me hungry for buttery popcorn.

Any suggestions for a super awesome color next week?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Elevator and Theatre

One of the perks of working at a university is all of the culture. There are frequent athletic events, music concerts, and theatrical productions. It's a lot of fun to take in as many of these events as possible. This semester the theatre department produced a student-written, student-directed play called The King of Hearts is Lonely.

I thought this might be a fun outing for Carina's kiddos, so they accompanied me to the play last night. First, we went to eat hamburgers and ice cream for supper. Then, since we had a little extra time, we explored the campus a bit.

Mim asked me during dinner if the building we were going to would have an elevator. Unfortunately, it does not, but there are other buildings on campus with elevators. One of them even has a glass side. I took the kids on a little tour of the building, showing them the office where I used to work and one of the classrooms where I teach.

The best feature, though, was the elevator. We rode up and down and got off at each floor to explore a bit. When we were finished, the kiddos wanted to go up the stairs. Their mother gave them permission to walk up the stairs while we waited. We heard them giggling and talking all the way up to the second floor. The elevator dinged, and the noise stopped. We wondered if they had boarded the elevator, but their mother doubted they would be brave enough. Sure enough, though, there they were when it arrived back at the first floor!

After the excitement of the elevator ride, we probably could have just gone home. However, we already had tickets to the play! The kids had never attended a play before, so this was a new experience for them. They handed their tickets to the lady at the door and we sat on the second row. Fortunately, this play was only 30 minutes and the audience got to participate. I think the kids enjoyed it, although Mim did get a little scared with all of the loud voices, painted faces, and dimly lit theatre.

Stay tuned next week for a review of The King of Hearts is Lonely by our guest blogger, Pound Fries!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Burnt Mouth

It is entirely possible that schnetke, hot from the oven, is one of my top three favorite ways to burn my mouth. Just thought I would share that with ya!

Interview with a Vampire

A few weeks ago I interviewed my bestest friend for the blog. I intended to post it with an old photo of us. However I can't seem to remember to get a photo when I am near my old photos. Alas, you're getting a plain ole' interview, sans photo. Maybe someday we will do walk down memory lane, photo post style, but for now we're going to stick with just the interview. She's the funnest person I know, and next time she has a lame adventure, I'm so making her do a guest blog. So here we go!

How did we become super best friends?
I believe it began in the fall of 1996, when neither of us were in gym so we had to sit in the bleachers and watch. Over many a game of Guess Who? I suppose we bonded. It may have been later, but that's when we first became friends.

What was your favorite of our lame adventures?
I don't know that I have a favorite! I remember all the stupid crap we did in high school, once we both got cars and started thinking we were cool. Maybe our Jeepers Creepers night where we got terrified and drove back to your house pretending we weren't...and wasn't that the same time we built the house of cards? We were definitely awesome!

Who is your favorite superhero?
Hm. Pac Man. Mainly because he looks like cheese. And you know I LOVE cheese.

Can you thin of any adventures we had that weren't lame?
Hehe. Well, none of them were lame, since we're so badass. Though the country concert at the casino may have been a little lame...

What was your favorite park and/or driving around town photo that we took?
It would probably be the one of the Bug house. Mainly because of the story behind it, not the photo itself. If I were to pick a specific photo that is awesome as a stand alone, it'd probably have to dunking at the park. Mainly because it proves how awesome of a basketball player you are, which I feel captures your true essence. And because, as we both know, 'basketball is life' and if you aren't good at it, you will never achieve anything in your entire life.
[note: I looked for this dunking photo and couldn't find'll have to live under the assumption I actually dunked a basketball]

What was your inspiration for your nursing home "Everybody Dance Now" dance?
Probably the song, "Everybody Dance Now." If that's its REAL name...and the fact that I could easily get you and D. to do just about anything if I was hyper enough. My dance was more of an explanation of how insane you must be to want to work doubles every weekend at a nursing home. It definitely made the work day go by a little quicker...and more entertaining!

I can be your hero, Baby!
I can kiss away the pain, OH YEAH!

What is your favorite random quote/made up saying we have used over the years?
Hm?!-Though we actually stole that from SNL, I love it. And I still use it. Other than that, bustacious was pretty interesting. And pretty accurate. I'm sure there are more, but feeling like I'm on the spot makes it hard to remember them all!

What would you do if you got in an elevator and there was a guy in a coconut bra and grass skirt standing there?
Well, if it was today, I would seriously consider groping his coconut boob. But I'm pretty sure back then we just laughed quietly.


Do you think we will still be having lame adventures when we are 80?
Yes, I certainly do. I just hope my back doesn't go ouy when Everybody is Dancing Now. That would make it hard for me to hold my grandchildren, or change my Depends.

Juice, Snoop. Juice goes with gin.

There ya go, a little insight into who I was lame with in high school. Well, we're still lame, but now I feel a bit less open to judgement for it. Now we embrace our lame-ness!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Celebration Weekend

This was a very exciting weekend! I attended a total of four parties in a matter of four days.

On Saturday morning I attended a wedding shower for my adorable cousin who is getting married this summer. She received a mountain of useful kitchen gadgets and home decor items! After the shower several of the girls got together for lunch at an excellent Italian restaurant and then we all congregated at my cousin's house for her personal shower. Julie is a very clever hostess. She found the perfect fluffy, pink feather boa for the bride to wear while opening her very tasteful shower gifts.

After the pre-wedding festivities on Saturday I attended the prom at Blondie's school! He is a junior class sponsor this year, so he has been helping prepare for this event for weeks. They had decorated the cafeteria like a '50s diner and all of the female servers wore poodle skirts, while the male servers wore white t-shirts and rolled up jeans. It was pretty cute. He (reluctantly) invited me on the very last possible day before the deadline. He (reluctantly) allowed his photo to be taken and he (reluctantly) danced with me one time. One of his students sneakily dedicated a song to us, so we really couldn't avoid the dance. I was pretty embarrassed, but it was kind of funny.

On Sunday we had a surprise party at church for my friend who just completed her ordination classes. If all goes well, she will be ordained in June, but I thought she deserved immediate special recognition for her achievement. She does a lot for our church: she is the pastor's wife (which brings many unrecognized duties), she is raising two energetic boys, she is the Sunday School superintendent and teaches children's church and often supervises the nursery during sunday school. In addition to all of those things, she has been taking classes to become an ordained minister, which I think is quite an accomplishment! We had a surprise reception in her honor on Sunday. I think she was truly surprised, and maybe a little overwhelmed with the recognition, but she deserved it! Julie made a fancy cake with chocolate covered strawberries and a couple of my Sunday School classmates pitched in and brought some tasty snacks for the party.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Homemade Pizza

Yesterday I attempted a project. For some of you wannabe Martha Stewarts, you might find this project menial and simple, but this was a doozie for me. It required a special trip to the grocery store for yeast. Yeast is not a standard item in my pantry. My project yesterday was homemade pizza. Well, it was mostly homemade. I did make all the ingredients for pizza, but when you read the recipe wrong, things don't always turn out very tasty. I put 3/4 of a tablespoon of onion powder in the pizza sauce instead of 3/4 of a teaspoon. The taste was rather bold. So I did try, however we were much better off eating the stuff from a jar. Next time I will get it right! I used the Pizza 101 Article from Our Best Bites, and I definitely recommend it. They give illustrated step-by-step instructions on all of their recipes. Anyone should be able to follow their instructions, unless you are like me and misread the instructions!

This is my crust. It actually looks like crust! And a little like a crispy tortilla. My second one came out a bit less bubbly.

Yummm. Doesn't this make you hungry? We got a pizza stone for our wedding, and it is really neat. It makes perfect pizzas!

I can't wait to have the leftovers for lunch!

Curtain Sewing Tip

Remember my curtain project? I am finally finished!

For the dining room and kitchen valances, I had to figure out how to sew several inches from the edge of my fabric. Now, some seamstresses (real seamstresses) may be able to eyeball it, but I knew if I tried to freehand, I would end up with extremely crooked, zigzaggy, messed up seams. I could have whipped out my trusty yardstick and drawn lines where I wanted to sew, but I hated to deface my lovely curtains that way. I decided to deface my sewing machine instead!

You know how the sewing machine has those little numbered lines every eighth of an inch marked on the throat plate? I just decided to extend those measurements. I used my ruler to measure three additional inches and marked each quarter of an inch with a dot and each inch with a dash. It’s my homestyle edition of Morse code.

Using these guidelines, I was able to sew straight seams without having to write on my fabric. And the dots and dashes will always be there, so I’ll never have to mark up my fabric again! It works for me.

Now. I need someone to give me some other ideas that will work. Do you see that big blank spot on the wall? What should I put there? My wall looks kind of naked and I think it probably feels a little uncomfortable about that. Any ideas?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Weekend

I had a pretty nice Easter weekend! Blondie was out of school on Good Friday, so we had lunch together, which was very nice. Then, my boss sent the staff home from work early, which put me in an even better mood! Blondie's church had a revival last week, so I attended church with him on Friday evening. I really enjoyed the speaker.

We spent some time with Blondie's family on Friday evening. His sister took this photo of us with Penny. She is really growing! Blondie has started taking her for walks on her leash and teaching her some tricks. Since there are so many different people who tell her what to do, she is a little confused about who her master is. Blondie hopes that he will find some kind of treat she really likes so he can bribe her into being his biggest fan, rather than running to someone else (who might just play with her instead of making her learn tricks) when he gives her a command.

I went shopping with Julie on Saturday. I needed to find a gift for my cousin's wedding shower next weekend. I think I found some things she will use a lot...if she likes to cook. I also bought a large mirror for my bedroom. If all goes well, it will turn into a nice project to share with you, my loyal readers!

On Saturday evening, I attended the banquet and talent show hosted by the university's international student association. Several of the students who work in my office are members of the organization, and I like to attend the event because people I know are actually participating. There are always lots of interesting new dishes to try and it can be quite an adventure!

I participated in my church's special choir program on Easter Sunday. I'm not really a good singer, but the ladies who stood on either side of me covered up my lack of talent pretty well. After church, I had lunch with Blondie's family at his grandma's house. She cooks lunch for the entire family every Sunday, which is a lot of work, but she went to the extra effort of setting the table with her nice dishes and glasses. She had even made a special dessert of angel food cake with strawberries and homemade ice cream, which is one of Blondie's favorites.

After lunch, we drove to my granny's house to spend the afternoon with my family. It was nice to see all of them because many of them live far away and we don't get to spend a lot of time together. The kiddos enjoyed dyeing and hunting Easter eggs, but most of the adults stayed inside because of the unseasonably warm weather!

Blondie's brother has been pretty sick all weekend and had to go to the emergency room very early yesterday morning. His parents had been up with him for much of the night and all day, so they were running on fumes. Blondie convinced his mother to go to bed and let us look after his brother when we arrived at their house. I think our patient was feeling a little better by bedtime because he joked around and gave me a hard time, which is more like his normal behavior.