January 30, 2007

I'd rather be reading Atlas Shrugged

That picture is me in five minutes. I just finished my first panic-inspired marathon homework session. I am having trouble getting into Back to School mode. Specifically, tonight it was hard for me to put all my energy into creating an index about peanuts. You people think that those indices at the ends of books just create themselves, don't you? Oh brother. I really don't know if I can make it through this semester. I'm already tired of school, and we just started. Shame! I need some perspective. Today I told Pauline (my good friend, co-worker, MBA student), "Well, really the semester will be over in three months." She said, "Yeah, but those three months could be absolute torture." I count on Pauline's daily doses of realism to keep me grounded.

Yesterday was the birthday of two of my favorite people, my grandmother and my cousin. I made a cake for my cousin. He requested chocolate. I found a recipe called "Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake." The cake was airy like a génoise, which is what it was supposed to be. I did an oops! on the frosting, though. The aim of the frosting recipe was to find a perfect balance between a rich ganache and a light, fluffy buttercream. I got halfway through the frosting recipe before I realized that I was supposed to put the mixer bowl in an ice bath to cool the melted chocolate and butter. Somehow sticking the mixer bowl inside a big bowl of tepid water and putting both bowls in the freezer for five minutes didn't have the same effect. My frosting was all ganache and no fluff. It was so thick. It looked pretty fluffy in the mixing bowl, but even as I was frosting the cake, it was seizing and falling. The cake tasted like a rich chocolate mousse cake to me. It was a lot of chocolate! Couldn't have been too bad. My cousins wanted to stick their fingers in it. All it needed was a John Deere tractor on top. Check. And candles. Check. Check.

January 27, 2007

Back in the Saddle Again

Current Netflix rental:
Battlestar Galactica: Season 2.5: Disc 1

University of North Texas I'm still trying to decide whether or not I want to claim this school. I started the semester by going to Denton last weekend for an "Institute" to get me started on one of my classes. It can't be by accident that it sounds like a euphemism for sanitorium. As much fun as it was sitting around joking with librarians about metadata, I was glad when it was over. I hate PowerPoint presentations. I would rather just sit and listen to a lecture. I guess I'm old-fashioned. Peter Norvig created this hilarious Gettysburg PowerPoint Presentation. One of my few great undergrad professors showed me this parody a few years ago, and I thought it was hilarious. Also, I do not like the cliché, "There are no dumb questions." There are lots of dumb questions. There are lots of irrelevant questions. I already have an overdeveloped hubris, and grad school seems to be exaggerating it.

Nancy Pearl Librarian Action FigureOn to more fun endeavors: The first night I was down in the Metroplex, I stayed with James and Michele in Ft. Worth. That was fun. First, they gave me a librarian action figure that is apparently not without controversy. Nancy Pearl comes all decked out in a wild red outfit and Easy Spirit shoes. She has a button on her back that you press to make her raise her finger to her lips in a shushing motion. If they had given me the (related?) Crazy Cat Lady action figure, you can bet I'd be checking myself into an Institute right away.

The three of us had dinner at Joe T Garcia's. It was pretty good, but there was a birthday party for someone turning 21 at the table next to us. Obviously, we had trouble carrying on a conversation what with that racket.

Cuatro Leches Cake at La DuniFriday and Saturday night, I had fun with my best foodie friend Matt. We went to La Duni for dinner on Friday. The restaurant was really gorgeous. I had Frijol con Puerco for dinner, and it was fabuloso. Then for dessert, I tried the Cuatro Leches Cake, as if tres weren't enough. I'm going to try my hand at that recipe someday soon. Matt had the Rollo de Canela y Nuez for his dessert, and that was yummy, too.

There is so much to do down there compared to little ol' Lubbick. Country girl goes to the big city again... We talked about going to see the Dallas Symphony Saturday but couldn't get tickets. Instead we went up to Plano and the Shops at Legacy. I wonder if I would think all of this was so über cool if I lived there. We ate at Taco Diner. I had the Crispy Enchiladas Verdes. Cute restaurant. We were going to see The Queen at the Angelika - the theater has a chandelier in the lobby - but we arrived in time to sit on the front row, so we skipped out. I like Matt's house. It has a turquoise range and oven from the 1950s.

Sunday night I met James and Michele for dinner again. This time we celebrated James's 31st birthday at the Macaroni Grill. Then I had to hit Whole Foods while I could. Missing that is not an option. I was rushed, becuase they were about to close, but I had time to grab my favorite Cranberry Orange Scones and some Chocolove bars to take home to the fam. That's the story of my whirlwind Interstate tour of the Metroplex. Can anyone tell that I'm trapped in foodie hell in Lubbock?

I'm trying to avoid my homework. It's been calling my name for days, despite my best efforts to avoid it. I don't know what it is about being back to school. My schoolwork doesn't really take all that much time, but it seems like just enough to push me over the edge sometimes, make me curl up into the fetal position and not want to get out of bed. Maybe it's the cold weather, too. I cannot stand winter. It's like getting dumped - dark and depressing - the literal cold shoulder. It makes me want to pull the blankets over my head. Spring cannot come soon enough. I'm just being a drama queen. Here's a funny: At the time of this posting, the Texas Tech homepage has a picture of a snow skier jumping off a mountatin. (It's next to the campus life links at the bottom of the page.) I have lived in Lubbock many many years, but I have yet to go snow skiing here.

January 12, 2007

Vegas Royale 007 - Countdown 2007

Currently reading:

Well, I wanted to post a bit about my New Year's in Las Vegas, even though it feels like old news now. The above link is to the Vegas CBS station with a news snippet and a video of the fireworks show. I watched the show from the airport parking garage. Great view of the Strip without the danger of being trampled to death or anything else equally unseemly. I didn't know at the time that the theme for the party was "Vegas Royale 007." We saw Casino Royale on New Year's Eve, and I loved it. Maybe it was just the atmosphere of seeing it in a Vegas casino, or it could have been the actor's accent and blue eyes, but -gush- it was my favorite movie of 2006.

Here's a night shot of the traffic...
Looking north on the Strip

Carmen and Ronnie at Red Rock
We took a break from the Strip and walked around Red Rock Canyon.

Paris Casino
Somehow every time I go to Vegas, the only good casino shots I get are of the fake Eiffel Tower.

What happens in Vegas stays there
Texas girls don their pink cowboy hats to ring in 2007.

My New Year's resolutions are always the same:

1) Get organized and/or stop procrastinating.
2) Lose 20 pounds.

3) Have someone to kiss next New Year's.

So far, the goals have stayed perennial. Anyone else have resolutions to share? We can check in and monitor each other's progress.

Baby, It's Cold Outside

but you'd think it was the apocalypse. I tried to swing by United on the way home, to grab a couple of things for my weekend cooking. There was a long line of people just waiting for shopping carts. Goodness. They are forecasting some snow and ice this weekend, but geeze! With so many people out stocking up for the winter storm, my dream guy was bound out and about, too. It made me wish I had gone to the sexy new United, instead of the ghetto United by my house. The ghetto United riffraff didn't look promising, so I left. "It's getting harder every day to be an optimist." What a catch I am. I came home and made fast friends with a group of buttered, jellied English muffins and a hazelnut steamer.

I have a few pictures to post from the holidays. What says the holidays better than overeating? So I kicked off the season by making dozens of cookies.

That would be Peanut Butter and Sugar.
And that would be Chocolate Chip and Oatmeal Raisin.

Of course they were
as good as they look.

Christmas Day: There's the fam opening the gifts from dear Sister Katie, or "Wen Ming Rou" in Taiwan. We got to talk to Katie on the phone, and she's doing fine and loves her mission.

More gifts to open at my house...

photo by FlipChip/LasVegasVegas.com
New Year's in Vegas. Country girl goes to the big city. And so does everyone else....