bad month

it was a bad blogging month. two vacays and low motivation levels will do that to a person. next month will be better! in the meantime, some updates!

1. suddenly everyone is moving. jane moved back to MN right after july 4 – she is now in st paul and maybe 5 miles from megan’s place.

2. liz and doug and nate’s favorite niece moved to lacrosse, a quick hour away.

3. my parents’ house sold! finally, after months and months and months (…according to my mom – in reality, their house sold in less time than mine) they accepted an offer on the house and will be dervishly looking at houses for sale in the area.

4. speaking of buying houses, i think nate and i will start looking for a house and land to buy this fall. i’m excited to be not living here.

5. july is almost over. where did the summer go? slow down, life.

mooc

i really like my mooc and am learning a lot more stuff to put in my devils syrup book. i don’t do all the forum work, but i do all the quizzes and it’s really interesting.

speaking of the devils syrup book, i haven’t written in it in a while. it’s been a little busy this month, so i’ve sort of put it off. i really need to pick up on it again, and since the next chapter is the environmental one (oy), i’m going to really want to have to get going on it. my dad was supposed to bring the hard copies i’d printed off for him to the reunion to give to jane, but i think he forgot, and i forgot, and so it was a bust. i’m sure when they move they’ll get lost. oh boy!

anyway, i would recommend taking a mooc. very interesting, and totally opt in.

a hit!

the marshmallows were yummy! the only bad thing about them was that when roasting, they got gooey really quickly, so you had to be on the ball with the rest of the s’more. and half the marshmallow dripped out of the s’more. but it was good!

if you would’ve asked me ten years ago which of my cousins would be at the derry reunion every year and which would only come part-time or not at all, i would’ve been wrong. i think it’s just odd that the people i thought would’ve made it a priority have not and the people i thought would’ve been meh about it are gung ho. some of it is due to distance, yes, but some is not. it’s just weird how it’s switched in my head. or maybe i’m weird for getting excited for a family reunion? maybe…but it’s my one for sure vacay of the summer, and i get to see people i like at the same time. win win?

out again!

july’s a busy month for me! i’m off to the lake for the next four days, so don’t expect much from me here πŸ™‚ wish i had been there this past week when it was heat wave week – tomorrow’s high up there is 69. good grief. i hope the relaxation station makes an appearance.

foods!

relaxation station! relaxation station! relaxation station!

i made some marshmallows to take to the reunion since plain jane ones from the store have devil’s syrup in them. it was my first time working with gelatin, so that was interesting (i never said i needed vegan marshmallows…). anyway, it was pretty easy. boil together water and sugar while the gelatin chills in some water, mix in the gelatin and bring back to a boil. then whip it for 10-15 mins until it looks nice and fluffy, like marshmallow…fluff.

IMG_9403

 

it actually looks a lot like meringue. add some vanilla and salt (i also added a wee bit of almond extract) and pour into a pan to set.

IMG_9404and that’s where we’re sitting right now. hopefully tomorrow it’ll be less tacky to the touch and i can slice them up and roll them in powdered sugar. smores here i come!

(on a side note, i realized today that everything i’m bringing treatwise to the lake is gluten-free – good for kathy and josie, i guess!)

 

what i didn't know i missed

image via Flint-Hill on flickr

today i took a bike ride a little later than normal and was riding back just at the cusp of dusk. the sun had just set, but it was still light enough to be out for a walk or bike ride. rochester has quite the array of bike trails, and i am able to trail ride for all but about three blocks of my rides. the final stretch of trail runs alongside a ditch that slopes up into a wooded area. tonight as i was riding home past the ditch, it suddenly lit up with fireflies, blinking my way home.

there were fireflies when we lived in austin – midsummer evening twilights my siblings and i would run out across the lawn to catch the blinky bugs. my dad would catch one and smear the butts across his shirt, neon yellow fluorescing his chest. when we moved to new london, the fireflies were nowhere to be found, but i didn’t realize they were gone. once in st. joe i saw a firefly, but i think it was lost.

last summer i had a glimpse – once or twice in austin i would sit outside at the right time and see some fireflies, but i think they tried to stay away from the cows. this summer, however, it’s been a bevy of bugs. last weekend jane and i were driving from lacrosse back to rochester, and the ditches were glittering with fireflies – one hit my windshield. the past couple nights i’ve been outside at dusk and fireflies light up the ditches, the yard, the driveway – they’re everywhere, and i am fascinated. how on earth did i go so long without fireflies, and why did i forget about them?

ever so slowly, i might be ok with the move to this part of the state.

welp

my goal this week was to bust out another chapter for my devil’s syrup book, but i am just slogging along. i’m waiting for another hour to pass so i can go to sleep for about 10 hours.

in other news, i’m so tired that i put my receipt mailing label on my etsy order i shipped out today, and the post office took it. so i have to wait until it returns before i can put the actual label on it. stoopid me. this is what happens when i get no sleep. thankfully i have more of what the person ordered, so i can just mail out another box if it takes to long to get back to me. we’ll see what happens.

librarians

when i was in school, the library was tucked away in the corner of the stone building that faced the playground, half of it buried in the earth with windows along the ceiling that filtered sunlight into the book-filled recesses. part of the room was dedicated to desks and early 80s Apple computers where classes would sit for a half an hour playing number munchers or practicing keyboarding, and the rest of the room was divided into a small kids’ book section and everyone else’s books.

i was what you would have called a “voracious” reader throughout my gradeschool and high school days, mostly because i found myself on the fringes of friend social structures in my classes. plus i liked to read. i remember in first grade i was telling third graders how to read the petitions for weekly mass. (that might explain the friendlessness…) so in first and second grade, after i’d outgrown and become bored with the picture books and exhausted the small supply of non-picture books in the section, i asked the white-haired librarian (who i remember as quite cranky) if i could read the “Little House on the Prairie” books from the big kids’ section. there were a couple girls in the class whose parents had bought them the series and they had read them. i so wanted to read them! but the librarian, who was bent on keeping the rules, said i couldn’t read them because i was too young.

i must have complained enough, because my aunt colette, who was a school librarian in rochester, brought me a few books in the series that were remainders at her library: little house in the big woods and the last two in the series. i devoured those books. i must have read each of them ten times, and by the time i was able to actually use the better part of the library and check out the rest of books in the series, they were all falling apart.

today neil gaiman started #LibrarianAngel(s) trending on twitter. i thought of all the librarians i’d known through my life, and the one who was the best, even though she’d never checked out a book for me, was colettie. not only did she get me those remainders, she suggested books and authors on more than one occasion that i fell in love with, like robin mckinley and the polar express (back in the 80s!). she tended toward the weird, fantastic, and morbid; i’d like to think she and mr. gaiman would have got along swimmingly.

cheers aunt C, my #LibrarianAngel.

curses, fda!

so i’ve been living another lie! i think the fda has recently started requiring food companies to list ALL ingredients, even those that comprise a very small amount. which means that things that have contained DS have gotten by me because it wasn’t required for it to be listed! but i’ve been seeing a lot of ingredients lists with a big old “Contains less than 2% of the following:…” and lots of times, DS is listed.

the only thing i could find in a quick internet search is this lady’s blog who lists the “2%” rule (#1).

case in point: M&Ms. i know i had read the ingredients list of M&Ms in the past and deemed them ok. yesterday i bought a $9 party pack for monster cookies, and guess what’s listed on the ingredients as less than 2%? yep, devil’s syrup.sigh. the damage was done, as that little DS isn’t going to affect my bowels in any way, and my goal is primarily monetary. now i’m going to have to start reading the ingredients lists of foods i’d already deemed awesome.

so while some companies are changing their recipes, ie honeymaid grahams, special K, worcestershire sauce, others are now finally required to list all their ingredients. i can’t win!

book review – The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman

I’ve read most of Gaiman’s adult books – I really liked Anansi Boys and Neverwhere, but didn’t like Graveyard Book too much. I don’t think I have ever really really liked one of his books like this one. His books are always sort of odd, not quite fantasy/sci-fi, just weird. And while this one was definitely weird and had definite Gaimanesque plotlines, it read more like a fairytale to me than his other books.

Maybe it was because it was a little on the short side, or from the perspective of a child with adult situations, or because it all slips away at the end like myths and fairytales should. Maybe it was because I personally could relate to our hero, reclusive and stuck in a book. Maybe it was because while definitely Gaiman imagination, you realize it could be written by anyone – current or bards of past. Whatever the case may be, I loved this book.

*SPOILER ALERT*
The end just killed me – when he got his kitten back, and then found it alive and well on the Hempstock farm, then walking away to have his memories slip again.
**END SPOILER ALERT**

I would tell you if you think Gaiman is a little too weird for you, or if you are a Gaiman fangirl, read this book. Perfect for either.