Friday, February 29, 2008

The new look

As requested, here's the new haircut, with a bonus unveiling of new glasses. The frames are kind of crazy, so I think I'll buy some less attention-grabbing frames as well, but it's fun to wear something a little more edgy.

I snapped a picture of my outfit, too, because it's new and I wanted to show it off.

Monday, February 25, 2008

More weekend projects

Projects completed this weekend, which are lacking illustrative pictures:

1. I gave Andrew and myself haircuts. Our hair is almost exactly the same length right now, and I was worried we might look alike, but I think the sixteen different hair goops I use on a daily basis will differentiate us.

2. A late birthday present arrived. (Five months late, but who's going to complain about a gift, especially when your expectations have disappeared because it's been, like, five months?) It was a recipe book for Australian food, which seems to be mainly food with English ingredients, except [fill in your own English cuisine joke here]. I made a pea and mushroom lasagna, which was delectable. I must admit that I didn't really trust a recipe where the only flavorings are salt, pepper, and cream, so I added some onion, garlic, sage, cheese, and a lot more cream and that, um, may not be precisely what the recipe expected me to do. Nonetheless, it was delicious and it was quite fun to eat a bright green lasagna.

3. I painted a bookshelf, although it's not done until I decoupage the sides.

4. The window seat is looking distinctly more seat-like. It is now the skeleton frame of a box, and I have high (and perhaps foolhardy) hope of some sides appearing in the next few weeks.

Any fun weekend events at your house?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pasta Sauce! Alla Styling with Renee Michelle

What better way to fend off the doldrums of winter than with memories of last summer's tomatoes!  Here Renee Michelle turned the bounty from that wonderful season into a lovely, luscious pasta sauce.  

Note:RMG's camera woman apologizes for the video's delinquency, she is contending with her dissertation at the moment. 

What is your money worth?

Something about spending money, or saving it, is contagious. As I begin to ponder spending vast quantities (well, they seem vast to me) of money for my wedding, I'm also thinking about how spending affects our perception of money. When spending $500 on a service, for example, the $50 add on seems entirely reasonable to me. If I stop to think about it, I realize that I'm the person who bakes bread because $3 a loaf seems too much. I need to remember that fifty bucks is still fifty bucks.

Luckily, this also works the other way. We've managed to do a few things cheaply, and then regularly-priced things look outrageous. This often happens when you start thrifting. If you buy a bunch of sweaters that each cost $4, then when you go to even a discount chain store and they are asking $20 for a heavily discounted sweater, you think, "I'm no fool! That price is outrageous." And then, hopefully, you put down the dress, back away, and head to Goodwill, where you purchase fifteen items for $20. And feel smug.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Channeling Sisyphus

For the record, I survived just fine not eating the apple pie because I was busy finishing off the insanely delicious coconut-pineapple-ginger-carrot cake that I had made the day before. I'm pretty much a sucker for anything with cream cheese frosting.

-----Completely new subject-----

I've been spending the last week at work purchasing and installing a lot of new video equipment. This task does not directly help my dissertation work, but it does make future work for the group easier, and I was quite keen to help. I was prepared for a few hiccups, which I did indeed encounter: difficulties purchasing appropriate cameras and some fumes from gluing which resulted in a visit from the Environmental Services (oops). I thought it was all ready to go on Friday, but after I put it all into place, I discovered that the microphones we have won't work with the new cameras. So on Sunday I went in and put all the old stuff back in place, while I regroup and come up with a new battle plan.

So, I'm right back where I started, except that I've spent a lot of money and I got to meet a couple of friendly Environmental Services guys, who, after several tests, reassured me that it was okay to breathe in the room I was in.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Four and Twenty Blackbirds, baked in a pie...

I baked two pies last night, but no birds were harmed in their making. I am marrying a pie-ophile, and (sadly for him) I'm not overly fond of pies. It seems, however, that I must learn if I am to make the English boy happy. Below is a snap of last night's attempt - a tofu and veggie pie, with lots of gravy. It was followed by the first apple pie I've ever made. I'm told it was good, but I didn't have any, so I'll have to trust Andrew. (It can't be that bad - he ate half within twelve hours.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A little piece of my day

Today is a gray and rainy Tuesday. I left work early to do my part for democracy by participating in the "Potomac Primary." Afterwards, I made a pot of tea. I've had this pot for many years, but it only started seeing daily use when Andrew came along. And the little cow milk jug is silly enough to make me laugh but not enough to make me cringe.

Do you all have any of those daily traditions that slowly become rituals?

Saturday, February 09, 2008

SwRM Product Endorsement

Remember this picture? At the time, I was just excited that Andrew finally had glasses, but that's not the only thing to be happy about. Those glasses were cheap. And when Styling with Renee Michelle promises something is cheap, you should sit up and pay attention, because she is the Queen of Frugality. (You should also, of course, be very concerned that she has taken to referring to herself in the third person.)

I discovered the miracle of Internet eyeglasses, when I stumbled on this blog, Glassy Eyes. This opened my eyes to the Great Glasses Conspiracy. Now, that may be a bit exaggerated, but barely: I always assumed it just cost $200 to get a decent pair of eyeglasses. But there are tons of options out there, for insane prices. We've purchased two pairs so far - this pair of glasses for Andrew, at a bank-breaking $35, and a pair of prescription sunglasses for me at $40. I've been so happy with both that I've got a pair of regular glasses winging their way to me as we speak for $30.

So if you need glasses, check it out. The blog has reviews for the top sites, and there are lots of cool features to help you see how the frames would look on you: you can print out life sized copies, put them on someone with the some shaped head, or even upload your picture and try them on. As for me, I'm considering buying a different pair for every pair of shoes I own...

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Pancake Day

A special informational post for all my readers who aren't in the UK: Today is Pancake Day. Yes, it's also known as Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday, and it is celebrated by many as a day of excess before the fasting time of Lent. I know many countries enjoy fried pastries, or big feasts. In England, however, they have decided that it just doesn't get any wilder or crazier than pancakes. So tonight, as per my fiance's traditions, we shall eat pancakes, topped with lemon juice and sugar, for dinner.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Wrestling with grammar

This semester I'm taking an undergraduate class. It's a bit funny to be a student again, worried about getting my homework done on time and trying to remember the professor's name, when I was just on the other side of the desk. I'm taking, for fun, a German class. It's quite lovely to speak the language again, but it's been over ten years since I used it, and I'm having to really reach into my head and scrape out the words from the dusty corners of my memory. So far I've been relieved to discover that I can understand pretty much everything the professor says (even her jokes, which I consider quite an accomplishment). However, my grammar has suffered tremendously from rust. I got back my first homework, which was neatly labeled "A for content" but contained dozens of small pencil marks correcting my many grammar mistakes. I guess I should see this as a wonderful opportunity to improve myself?