4.29.2008

Miscellany

While in DC, I shopped at a really well-stocked bead shop across the street from the hotel. I bought lots of sterling silver findings and beads...and a jumble of assorted beads for earrings. The big purchase was two "tubs" of vintage German lucite beads...assorted shapes and sizes; I selected a box of pink beads and a box of ivory colored beads. Now that I have them and have seriously sorted through them, I really don't know what I'll do with them. I did manage to put together a sterling leaf pair of earrings. It was almost instant gratification...my favorite kind of project.

4.28.2008

Finished...

In honor of my finished (and last!!) paper of the school year (and my undergraduate years), I've moved the music of the subject of my paper to the top of my Playlist.com playlist...Vivaldi's Spring Movement of The Four Seasons. I've always loved this particular movement...but my earliest memory of hearing it was on the original Martha Stewart Living half-hour program. I found myself playing it as I puttered about the house in Martha-mode. It always makes me happy to hear it, so that's why I chose Antonio Vivaldi to write about.

Now...just a brief bit of time in class this evening for the final exam and then a wait until graduation a week from Saturday.

4.26.2008

Reading List

For some reason or other, I keep finding books that I must bring home from work. The stack beside my chair has grown precariously tall.

This is the time of year when some of my favorite fiction authors have new releases. I don't read lots of fiction...but spring and summer seem to call for easier, breezier reads.

Crafty books are always a fascinating diversion.
This book (above) has been highly recommended by several co-workers. I was attracted to the cover when I first saw it...yes...I do judge a book by its cover!
I've been wanting to read the Country Living Crafting A Business book for several months. It seems to be put together like the Victoria "Business of Bliss" series from a few years ago.
I read a review of Shakespeare's Wife a few months ago...non-fiction.
This book about life in the library is absolutely hysterical! The writing style is easy, breezy...but it holds many truths. It's definitely a "must read" for anyone in public service.
With just one more class (Monday evening---final exam), I'll finally have more time for leisurely reading. Now, if I can just get this last paper finished...

4.25.2008

Cupcake, anyone?






Until quite recently, I had never given cupcakes a thought. Sure, I like them much better than a cake, but as I said...not much thought. After reading about different "cup cakerys" on blogs...St. Cupcake, Sprinkles, Buttercup Cupcake Shop, and many others, I find myself unable to think of much else. When I visited Georgetown Cupcake last week, I was absolutely enthralled. Every town needs a cupcake shop...an affordable luxury, "healthier"(?) than most other desserts, and oh-so-cute. Upon my return to work this week, I found some amazing cupcake books on the Interlibrary Loan shelf awaiting a patron pickup. These books are wonderful...


Here's what I'm baking to take into work tomorrow:


Feather-Frosted Coffee Cupcakes


1 tbsp instant coffee granules

1 tbsp boiling water

8 tbsp butter, softened, or soft margarine

generous 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 eggs

generous 3/4 cup self-rising white flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tbsp sour cream


Frosting


2 cups confectioners' sugar

4 tsp warm water

1 tsp instant coffee granules

2 tsp boiling water


*Preheat oven to 375. Put 16 paper baking cases in a muffin pan, or put 16 double-layer paper cases on a baking sheet.

*Put the coffee granules in a cup or small bowl, adding the boiling water, and stir until dissolved. Let cool slightly.

*Put the butter, sugar, and eggs in a bowl. Sift in the flour and baking powder, then beat the ingredients together until smooth. Add the dissolved coffee and the sour cream and beat together until well mixed. Spoon the batter into the paper cases.

* Bake the cupcakes in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until well risen and golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

*To make the frosting, sift 3/4 cup of the confectioners' sugar into a bowl, then gradually mix in the warm water to make a coating consistency that will cover the back of a wooden spoon. Dissolve the coffee granules in the boiling water. Sift the remaining confectioners' sugar into a bowl, then stir in the dissolved coffee granules. Spoon the frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a piping tip. When the cupcakes are cold, coat the tops with the white frosting, then quickly pipe the coffee frosting in parallel lines on top. Using a skewer, draw it across the piped lines in both directions. Let set before serving.



Friday










The picture in yesterday's post was a tray displayed at the National Cathedral Gift Shop. It is a portion of a quote from Nietzsche...here's the whole quote from translation:

"We are unknown to ourselves, we men of knowledge--and with good reason. We have never sought ourselves--how could it happen that we should ever find ourselves? It has rightly been said: 'Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also' [Matthew 6.21]; our treasure is where the beehives of our knowledge are. We are constantly making for them, being by nature winged creatures and honey- gatherers of the spirit; there is one thing alone we really care about from the heart--'bringing something home.' Whatever else there is in life, so-called ,'experiences'--which of us has sufficient earnestness for them? Or sufficient time? Present experience has, I am afraid, always found us 'absent-minded': we cannot give our hearts to it--not even our ears! Rather, as one divinely preoccupied and immersed in himself into whose ear the bell has just boomed with all its strength the twelve beats of noon suddenly starts up and asks himself: 'what really was that which just struck?' so we sometimes rub our ears afterward and ask, utterly surprised and disconcerted, 'what really was that which we have just experi- enced?' and moreover: 'who are we really?' and, afterward as aforesaid, count the twelve trembling bell-strokes of our experience, our life, our being--and alas! miscount them.--So we are necessarily strangers to ourselves, we do not comprehend our- selves, we have to misunderstand ourselves, for us the law 'Each is furthest from himself' applies to all eternity--we are not 'men of knowledge' with respect to ourselves." -- Basic Writings of Nietzsche, ed. & trans. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Modern Library, 1968).

I get so lost reading that...are you still with me?

Today has been fairly productive; my geraniums are potted and placed on the front stairway, the tomato and companion marigolds are in the barrel, and the herbs are potted. I've pulled so many weeds growing between the bricks on the back walkway...they were pretty easy to pull, though. I'm so far ahead of last year with planting....I started my blog the day I put the plants out. I hope to get the sunporch cleared out and ready for some reading and relaxation.

4.24.2008

Garden Anticipation

In my head and heart, I've been "in the garden"...in reality, it's been a busy week at work and school. Tuesday morning before work, I started purchasing plants for the garden and pots....two big rosemary plants (not as big as the one I saw in Georgetown, but give them a little time), pink geraniums for the front steps, a few shade plants for porch planting, some herbs, and a tomato plant. Tomorrow on my day off, I hope to get these guys in the soil...and scatter lots of seeds from seasons past. I can't wait!

4.21.2008

Trash Pickin'

My upstairs neighbor finally moved out this past weekend...so glad I wasn't home for that event! He left a huge pile of stuff for the Monday morning trash pickup...but failed to drag it curbside for it to be picked up. I spotted this cabinet earlier in the day, and decided that if it was still there after school this evening, I would drag it inside. It's in good condition except for the small panel above the door. A replacement piece of wood and a little paint, and it will be as good as new. The glass in the door is frosted...and in excellent shape.

Home Again, but wish this was here...

We left DC yesterday afternoon and spent a really long time in the Baltimore airport. There was concern about not making it back to Evansville. A few of us actually would not have minded that kind of delay, because we were prepared to sleep at the airport in order to get a free flight voucher. We finally made it to Atlanta with less than 5 minutes to run through the terminal (and Teresa does NOT run), as we exited the plane, we found that there was a delay on the second flight...our class was 75% of the passenger list for the tiny plane we were to take back home...
A few of us spent the remaining morning hours walking around DuPont Circle, checking out the things we missed while visiting the "big sights"....
The Sunday Farmer's Market was in full swing, but due to the intermittent rain, the area wasn't crowded.
Mushrooms, galore...so many varieties!




A huge pot of rosemary...$65.00
Beautiful radishes and beets
Poppies in buckets





Many varieties of greens
Pretty little tulips
...and a colorful flat of petunias.

I was so tempted to try to bring some of this home, but I restrained myself. It won't be too long until the markets open around here...I'll just have to wait.

4.19.2008

Saturday in Georgetown

Another gorgeous day...and instead of following the class itinerary three of us decided to explore Georgetown instead. The class visited Arlington National Cemetary (I've been there on an earlier family vacation), and a few of us were eager to explore on our own. We hopped into a cab and took off...a few minutes later, we were all gawking at gorgeous rowhouses in Gtown. I hope the homeowners didn't mind me snapping pictures of their doorways...it's a new favorite thing to take pictures of.
We visited the campus of Georgetown University...there were several high school visits in progress, and one area of the campus was set up with lots of tables featuring the various organizations in operation at GU. The trees were absolutely gorgeous...when I scan through my photos, I see a pattern; doorways, blooms, and religious art.
While strolling around M Street, after breakfast and before lunch, we stumbled upon Georgetown Cupcake. Cute, cute, cute little cupcakes. I bought two--a key lime, and a double vanilla. Yum.
The surprising news on this trip--we were awakened early Friday morning by an Ace Alert---a text message informing us of the earthquake that shook our world at home. The alerts usually let us know about snow and ice delays, and tornado watches/warnings for the UE campus community. I called my daughter and she said it was kind of scary, but there was no visible damage. I look forward to getting home tomorrow evening--I'm such a homebody.

4.16.2008

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

I took the afternoon off to start packing for my trip. The weather is so beautiful here this afternoon...this is after seeing snow flurries on Monday morning. Today really "feels" like Spring. What a long time coming. I wandered around outside the house to see what was peeping through the ground...and I found lots and lots of weeds. My work is cut out for me come Monday morning.
This is an "upclose and personal" picture of the tree outside my front porch...the one I took a photo of a week ago. It's so nice to see leaves on the tree now.
Here's the little concrete angel "guarding" the front porch. She used to live in the rose garden...now she lives amongst the ivy.

4.13.2008

Upcoming Trip

Photo-AOL City Guide

The Cherry Blossom Festival will be over, but I'm sure there will be some beautiful sights to see mid-week when my class has its final trip of the program. We'll be heading to Washington, D.C. for a whirlwind trip including the Holocaust Museum, the Hirshhorn, National Cathedral, Arlington National Cemetary, and the National Art Gallery.

We've made several trips as a class over the past three years...a long weekend visit to Shaker Village in Pleasant Hill, Kentucky with side trips to the Abbey of Gethsemani, and and overnight stay with the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth~~for a World Religions class; a daytrip to the north of Evansville for a visit to the Amish, and a long weekend (which was much-dreaded, but very much enjoyed) to the Pine Mountain Settlement School in eastern Kentucky~~for environmental science.

Let's just hope that Delta doesn't decided to ground all of their flights this week...

4.11.2008

Sunny skies, cookies in the oven

I've had a craving for chocolate chip cookies since I read about them here and here...so after finishing a few "chores" this afternoon, I made a Cast Iron Skillet Cookie. It's in the oven now, and the cookie scent is starting to spread.
After work yesterday, I decided (as I often do on a pre-day off eve) to do a quick Sam's Club shop...they had the most beautiful strawberries~~2 lbs. for under $3.00. As soon as I got home, I cut up a few and had a little scoop of ice cream with them...so tasty! I needed "comfort food" after doing a few price checks...this whole gas thing is really making a huge impact on everything. Most filling stations I passed on my way to Sam's had their "regular" (remember Ethyl??) priced at $3.45 / gallon. Sam's gas price was $3.32. A small savings, but unbelievable as it seems, I felt like I got a bargain. The convenience of living within 6 blocks of the workplace is a small comfort. Don't know what I'd do if I actually had to commute to work.

Almost time for a cookie!

4.10.2008

I Never Wanted to be "The Weather Lady"

Photo by Kate Sherrill (local librarian)

We're all gonna have webbed feet before this is over! During my first "real" job after high school, there was a woman in our office who constantly fretted about the weather. I feel like I've turned into her on one level. I don't fret about it, but I do think and plan with the weather in mind. We're supposed to get lots of rain in the next few days and powerful storms are in the forecast. Little blooms from all of those Bradford Pears are blowin' in the wind...so glad I took my picture earlier!

When I got to work this morning, one of my co-workers expressed "big interest" in one of my bargain acquisitions this past weekend...the Miraculous Medal. It will be going back to work with me after lunch for her. I was just going to use it in an art piece.

4.08.2008

A View from the porch...and down the alley

I thought I'd better take a picture of the tree just in front of my porch...it came out in bloom yesterday. This shot takes you straight down the alley across the street. It's amazing to walk the alleys in this area--there are many converted carriage house apartments and dwellings. It's a whole new world in the bricked paths between the streets.

4.06.2008