Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Best Buy has our GPS on sale this week, so I went in for a price correction. I got it, but I had to trade in the one we had for another one as only the BLACK ones (we got a BLUE one) were on sale even though they are the same model. It was a $40 difference and like I care which color my GPS is!
I also had a few other errands to do, so a pretty productive morning. Well, back to grading...if my head will stop pounding (and yes, I did take medicine....).
Saturday, March 28, 2009
It looks like North Dakota is finally getting some good news as the Red looks to have crested - and lower than thought!
They are still waiting on the volcano to blow again in Alaska. The last eruption didn't spread too much ash on my parents, but we'll see what happens with the next one - the wind direction is what matters. My father is even shortening his snowmachine trip this weekend to try to avoid being stuck up there if the ash does fly.
You can vote on your favorite photo in the Smithsonian Magazine's annual contest. I have to say I just wasn't that impressed with the finalists - I just didn't find any of them engaging.
I spent today at the National First Ladies Library - we were crazy busy - 80 people through today! That's a HUGE number for us in a day because we can't handle large groups. We did have one tour with over 30 people on it - luckily there were two of us there and we could split it. Usually we try to be under 15.
Friday, March 27, 2009
The other book is the current book in the Lady Julia Grey series, Silent on the Moor. If you remember, I wasn't too sure after the reading the last installment, but this was pretty well done. It is very depressing - much more morbid than the other series (murdered children, incest, etc.). It isn't graphic, just much more depressing. I also think the plot moves very slowly and then kind of jumps at the end to fill in everything. It is a bit aggravating because you find out Brisbane knew most of it and wasn't sharing. I also find Brisbane and Julia's relationship rather helter-skelter. They also got married at the end of this book, so I look forward to seeing if the dynamic improves between them - working more as a team rather than against each other. Julia's "watson" really is her sister more than anything. I still think this series has potential, but I think there is room for improvement. I was looking and it looks like the author's next book isn't in the series so we won't have another book in this series for at least a year.
A recap of what's been up with us:
- We had a great time in Michigan and got back late on Tuesday. Adam was exhausted -PaPa's is just so much fun he never wanted to sleep!
- Wednesday Ray and I started on our spring break list. He got a lot accomplished and I just got my last big thing done today. So between the two of us, we got a lot done.
- Our taxes are all officially done. We had to go into the city as they will do them for you - we had to pay them quite a bit. Kent State isn't taking enough out of Ray's checks - he needs to look into that. We also had to pay North Dakota, but that wasn't bad. We ended up coming out ahead in federal and Ohio. We fixed Ohio - made Kent take out more - last year and that was helpful.
- Adam is back on schedule - he was so tired that really it wasn't hard. We were having trouble with him not sleeping through the night (which is going backwards for him), but that seems to be doing better.
- We bought a GPS! We do a lot of travelling and we borrowed Grandma and Grandpa's in Alaska, and we were addicted. I decided we needed it for the health of our marriage! Ray is a complete bear if he is even a tiny bit lost - with the GPS that will never happen! He actually didn't throw fits in Anchorage when we missed turns! Anyway, we went out and bought one with some of our tax return.
- We always also buy a new computer with our refund as well. My desktop (the motherboard) died a few months ago, so we bought a new desktop for Ray (I get his old one). We were schedule to buy a new laptop for me, but mine is working fine so we'll wait a year on it. It came today and Ray is happily putting it together - he loves a new computer - means more power for his games.:)
- We had a lot of rain this week, but today was nice. I made halibut chowder today and am making a pot roast tomorrow. North Dakota is having a terrible time - they were having blizzards and are flooding badly in Fargo. I've already gotten messages that a few of my students have been evacuated (while I work for Lake Region in Devils Lake, many of my students live all over the state as online students). Alaska had the volcano blow, but Wasilla didn't get much ash, so that was good for my family.
- I'm going to be at the National First Ladies Library tomorrow - I'm excited as Kris is coming to take a tour.
- I had a Portage County Right to Life meeting last night and will be working on updating our website over the next day or so.
- I did a bunch more video example for my class as they really have found them useful. You can find me on YouTube as professorweber. Ray is teaching a new class this summer, so he spent some time working on his course this week as well. I'm changing some of my texts for History 104 in the fall - I'm quite excited about that as I really wasn't too happy with the papers this term and I think that a more focused assignment with different readings will be better. I also got my summer Math 102 syllabus updated, so that is one more thing done.
So overall, we've had a busy week, but a pretty good one. Hope you can all say the same thing!
Adam still refuses to go backwards, but has mastered the idea frontwards in a fashion! Motivation was the key. He did NOT want to take his bath and wanted to go back to playing with PaPa...which meant going DOWN the stairs - so he did it!
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Adam helping move it along!
Then we walked around the downtown area. I think in the summer this area must be really pretty!
We even saw some wildlife!
This represents the furniture strike of 1911.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
I got this as an email forward. I have no idea if it is actually a valid story, but it amused me greatly!
Barbara Walters, of Television's 20/20, did a story on gender roles in, several years before the Afghan conflict.
She noted that women customarily walked five paces behind their husbands.
She recently returned to and observed that women still walk behind their husbands.
From Ms. Walters' vantage point, despite the overthrow of the oppressive Taliban regime, the women now seem to walk even further back behind their husbands and are happy to maintain the old custom.
Ms. Walters approached one of the Afghani women and asked, "Why do you now seem happy with an old custom that you once tried so desperately to change?"
The woman looked Ms. Walters straight in the eyes, and without hesitation said, 'Land Mines.'
Moral of the story is, no matter what language you speak and where you go: BEHIND EVERY MAN, THERE'S A SMART WOMAN.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Modified from Quick Cooking
2 cups uncooked orzo pasta
2 tsp minced garlic
½ cup butter, cubed
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup milk
2 tbsp minced fresh parsley (2 tsp dried...I was actually out of fresh, so I used dried)
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain. In large skillet, sauté garlic in butter until tender. Add the orzo, Parmesan cheese, milk, parsley, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until heated through.
Makes 8 servings.
I always have to try a recipe from a new Joanne Fluke - she always has great recipes! This one was delicious! I had to try a non-chocolate one since I can't have chocolate until Easter!
Modified from Cream Puff Murder by Joanne Fluke
½ cup softened butter
¾ cup white sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp lemon zest [you can go up to 1 tbsp of lemon zest, depending on how tart you want the cookies. I actually used the zest from one lemon, which was about 1 tsp for me - I'm not the best zester...you might be able to get more (I use a small microplaner). As a note, I'm the queen of the cheap and the dried lemon zest they sell in jars does NOT cut in it in ANY recipe]
2 tsp lemon juice [what I like about this recipe is it uses both the juice and zest so I feel justified in buying a lemon!]
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 2/3 cup flour
½ cup milk [she used whole milk and so did I as that is what I have in the house - it is what Adam drinks]
Topping: [I actually don't think the topping is necessary...I liked the cookies fine with or without it. With it they are sticky and so hard to store, so I don't think I'll use this again.]
¼ cup lemon juice [between the juice in the recipe and then this, I was a little shy on juice (if you microwave it for about 10 seconds it will juice much better), but I always have lemon juice concentrate in the fridge.]
¾ cup white sugar
Cream butter and sugar. Add in beaten egg, lemon zest, and lemon juice and mix. Add in the milk and flour in two parts (so half of each, mix, then the rest of both and mix).
Drop by teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet, making each cookie the size of a cherry. According to the directions, if you make them too large, they will crumble, which I can see after making them. But to make a cherry, you need half of a regular spoonful (which is what I use). I make a few with a full spoonful and those also stayed together just fine. You just need to watch your size doesn't get out of hand - and I'm a bad offender here! If you make them larger, you'll just have fewer cookies, but larger ones.
Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes.
Mix up topping while first batch is baking. Warm up lemon juice and then stir in sugar (warming up the lemon juice will make it easier to dissolve the sugar). I did find that you had to stir up the mixture before each use. Brush on hot cookies with a pastry brush (which I don't have, so I just drizzled it on with a spoon). As I said, I don't think I'd do this again, but what I did was nest wire racks in flat baking sheets to make clean up easier (stick it all in the dishwasher).
Makes 4 small dozen cookies (the one thing nice about small cookies was that this only took me two one sheet batches!)
One of my current goals is to use some of the things in my pantry that I bought for one recipe. Hence, I've been working with cornmeal. Ray loves cornbread and I found a good, and easy, one!
Modified from Better Homes and Gardens
1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
4 tbsp sugar (you can go down to 2 tbsp depending on how sweet you like your cornbread)
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 beaten eggs
1 cup milk (I'm currently using whole milk in everything)
¼ cup oil or melted shortening (I just used vegetable oil)
Grease bottom and sides of a square casserole dish (8 by 8 or 9 by 9) and set it aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, stir the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt together. Make a well in center and set aside for later.
In another bowl, combine the eggs, milk and oil. Add egg mixture to dry all at once. Stir until moistened.
Spoon into prepared pan. Bake in 425 oven for 20-25 minutes or until center is done (use the toothpick test). Cool on wire rack.
Makes 8-9 servings.
Double Corn Bread: Stir in a 12 oz can whole kernel corn with sweet peppers (I couldn't find this in my store, so I used an 11 oz can of Mexicorn), drained, into batter. ***Ray HATED this one. I didn't mind it, but I recommend eating it WARM.
Confetti Corn Bread: Stir in ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese, ¼ cup shredded carrot and ¼ cup shredded zucchini into batter. (Haven't tried, but plan to over zucchini season.)
To go with that, I had just read this article on the authors of the Dead Sea Srolls. I find it interesting to see the debate on if the authors weren't who we think they are - the Essenes:
So who were the real authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls? Elior theorizes that the Essenes were really the renegade sons of Zadok, a priestly caste banished from the Temple of Jerusalem by intriguing Greek rulers in 2nd century B.C. When they left, they took the source of their wisdom — their scrolls — with them. "In Qumran, the remnants of a huge library were found," Elior says, with some of the early Hebrew texts dating back to the 2nd century B.C. Until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the earliest known version of the Old Testament dated back to the 9th century A.D. "The scrolls attest to a biblical priestly heritage," says Elior, who speculates that the scrolls were hidden in Qumran for safekeeping.
I actually thought Rachel Elior's arguments were pretty valid too. Most primary sources are really hard to ascertain authors - it really is a matter of debate! The Dead Sea Scrolls are a valuable piece of Christian (and western) history and a truly wonderful source for getting the best translation of the Bible, no matter who the authors are, but it is an interesting debate.
We were up most of last night - Adam woke himself up when he peed through his diaper and just wouldn't settle back. We were up from like 2 AM to 6 AM. Such fun! Hopefully, tonight will be better. Last night was the first time in about 3 weeks we resorted to the binky and bottle. And it still didn't work! We did finally get him back to sleep, but we didn't get much after that.
Then today, my dryer was acting up (my lifeline!). Turns out water had gotten in the air vent, so Ray had to drain it, so hopefully, it is all better (that's why I'm up - I'm waiting on it to see).