5.30.2007

Drink Recipe


Having a little time on my hands today, I decided to make some iced tea and fresh lemonade. Knowing that not everyone likes lemon in their iced tea (crazy), I like to make them separate. So I made the usual black tea, nice a strong (if people think it's too strong they are free to add some water to it). And then I started squeezing lemons when I realized that I had a bunch of oranges in the fridge too. So I squeezed some of those and added them to the lemon juice. Then I remember that I had some canned pineapples in the cupboard, so I added a little of that juice to the mixture. And when all was said and done I had a nice refreshing citrusy concoction. It tastes really good. Kinda reminds me of a juice I used to drink when I was a kid. I'm not sure how it mixes with the iced tea, but it does taste really good in a tall glass with a lot of ice cubes.

Recipe (for those interested... note- I squeeze the fruits by hand, so it tends to get messy and may not make as much juice as a professional juice squeezing machine or gadget):

Juice of 4 lemons
Juice of 6 oranges
(total should be close to 2 cups of juice)
1/2 cup of pineapple juice
1 cup simple syrup (1 cup sugar with 1/2 water, simmered until sugar dissolves)
2 cups of cold water (or to taste)

5.21.2007

Garden Pics


Purple flowers


The backyard


The deck


The monster hosta


My orchid


My hibiscus

Things I Have Time for Again

With the semester over, I'm finding myself with some free time. Not too much... I'm still working, and I start classes again in two weeks... but until that time, I'm going to enjoy doing all the things I couldn't do in the past 3 months but would think about whenever I was stuck in my office writing papers.

For starters, there's a lot of housework to be done. Matt and I started rearranging the house after the piano was sold and gone, but there are still areas in the house that need fixing up. For one, my new office has turned into a catch all, so at some point I'm gonna have to suck it up and clean that room. I got some book son Feng Shui to help with ideas of how to arrange things, which has been really helpful. It at least gives me an approach to design. And after using it in the living room (which I think has turned out great) I'm excited to see what I can do in my office. Though with all the junk in there right now it's all a little overwhelming. So lately I've been focusing on more basic cleaning.... vacuuming, bathrooms, kitchen (I cleaned out the fridge and the pantry today-- that was, uh, surprising), dusting, laundry, etc etc etc.

I've also decided to start cooking dinner again. So tonight the first attempt back into the domestic culinary world was baked salmon, mashed potatoes, and asparagus. It was my first attempt at cooking salmon and mashed potatoes. When I was growing up, my mom never cooked fish (other than fish sticks) so overall, I really dont know how to cook seafood, but since I'm vegetarian now, I figured that I better start learning. Overall it came out pretty well, though the salmon was a little fishy, but that's probably just due to the fact that I bought it at the grocery store. The only other thing I can think of making for dinner is pasta related... and that might get old after a while.

I've been spending a lot of time gardening too. I used to hate gardening, and I still don't absolutely love it, but I do like having the outside of the house look decent. So in the past few weeks (and especially the past few days), I've been planting lots of flowers. And I've even decided to start a herb/tea garden on my deck. It's awfully ambitious of me... we'll see how it goes. Either things will go great and I'll have lots of dried herbs and tea, or I'll lose interest in 3 weeks and have lots of dead herbs and tea. But I think I have found gardening more tolerable lately because it allows me to be outside (instead of shut up in my office glued to my computer), and doing work, without major efforts of brain power. It's kinda nice to have something that keeps my hands busy and gives me brain a rest. Though I can still only do it for about an hour to an hour and a half a day at the most. Then I lose attention and have to stop or I'll start taking short cuts.

I've also started getting ready to start working on my scrapbook again. I started it after I got married, with the intention of creating a scrapbook that documented our first year of marriage. I put a lot of planning and creativity into it, so it's taken a long time. I haven't had very much time to work on it in the past year, but I hope that will change. I got some really interesting books from the library about how to make artist journals, so I have a WHOLE bunch of new ideas to try out. Yay for creativity outlets.

I have even started playing piano again. I played for about an hour today. There are a few songs I've been wanting to learn (not just sight read through), so I started working on them today. It felt good to play too... though my piano is SEVERELY out of tune. Trust me, if I can tell it's out of tune, it is severe. And once I get my office cleaned up I'm going to start practicing bass more too. I want to start off with some punk rock songs (I've been looking at Ramones songs mostly) and eventually I want to get disciplined enough to learn my scales. Not so much because I think I need to know scales, but I think that they will help me learn where the notes are on the bass. That instrument is so FOREIGN to me compared to the piano. But that's really my reason for learning it.

And lastly, I went to the gym. Yay, no more flabby me (hopefully). I went for the first time in a LONG time on Sunday. I'm starting to feel the soreness now, I'm sure it will be worse tomorrow, but that's just how I know it works.

I'm gonna be so sad when classes start up again and I have to give up all my new and reclaimed hobbies.

5.19.2007

Cool Art

Here's something I came across at work the other day. I think this is one of the more interesting sculptures I've seen. It's located at the Seattle Airport (part of a public art project). I tried to find up close pictures of some of it, but haven't seen any on the internet that were as good as the ones in the brochure I got.

The sculpture is of a bird landing on the water. The bird is made up of small little bird sculptures hung on cables, then the reflection of the bird is made up of small fish sculptures. At the very bottom (which you cant really see) are little sculptures that have something to do with the Seattle area or airports. Some of pretty much what you would expect (coffee mugs) but some are really clever, like a suitcase with the clothes spilling out of it, and the way the clothes are falling, they spell the word "lost" (as in a lost suitcase... see the airport connection?) Anyway, I'm not sure if the sites I found do it justice, but in case they do I thought I'd post them.

http://www.4culture.org/publicart/registry/sites/sites_profile.asp?ProjectID=helmick02

and the artists' home site:
http://www.handsart.net/

5.17.2007

Done

It's over. The semester is finished. And not a moment too soon. I just emailed my last paper to my teacher, so I officially have no work left.

For some reason, this semester just wiped me out. I dont understand how that's possible, especially since I didn't have any instruments to practice (which was always my undergrad excuse). I have my theories... my job (plus commute time), the # of papers I had to write (I think it was 5 total, with about 55-60 pages overall-- I'd much rather take tests though), and lack of sleep (due to staying up late writing papers and waking up early to go to work). But I made it through alive, and I'm pretty sure my grades will reflect my awesomeness (I already know 2 of them, I just have to wait on the last one before I can feel completely assured that I did as well as I hoped this semester).

But now my brain in mush. I dont know how long it will take before it recovers... hopefully less than two weeks though because that's when summer classes begin.

I'm gonna go celebrate my accomplishments by going to bed. yay sleep!

Wilco

Lately my new favorite band to listen to (just new to me, seeing as how they’ve been around since the mid90s) is Wilco. Matt started listening to them a few months ago, and instantly knew they were good, but it always takes me a while to warm up to new music, though once a do, watch out, because it’s all I’ll listen to. Wilco is a great band, the kind of group I would love to be a part of if I were a “band” kind of musician (despite my new attempts at bass playing, I don’t except to ever really fit in to that kind of environment). But the songwriter/lead singer Jeff Tweedy writes some amazingly interesting (and good) songs as well as the kind of voice i love hearing. I tried to describe the band to my sister a last week and I think it went something along the lines of (depending on the song) a mix between John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Radiohead, Beck, and the Rolling Stones. Who wouldn’t like that kind of combination?

They have a new album that came out yesterday (Sky Blue Sky) and I read a review of it that I think properly described the band better than I could have, something along the lines of “Americana” and non-radio format "rock and roll.” I’ve also heard them described as “alt country” which I have issues with because, aside from Johnny Cash, I loathe country music (sorry to all my friends who like country music, I've tried, but I just can't do it), but in all honesty I can see where that term might come from, but I think “Americana” sounds much better than “country”. And despite their lack of prominence in pop culture (due to their “non radio format” probably), they seem to have the respect of a lot of the music world (rightly so), especially because their style can really appeal to pretty much anyone… matt even mentioned to me that his mom asked about the band when she heard him listening to it.

So here are some of my fave picks of the moment (I’m still learning the music, so these will pretty much come off the albums I know well)

From Being There disc 1:
Far Far Away- a sweet song about leaving a loved one while going out on a road trip, also I like it because the chorus switches from 4/4 into a waltz rhythm which makes me think that matt and I could someday dance to this song (we’d just have to learn a 4 step pattern for the verses)

Outtasite/Outtamind- really catchy upbeat song. There’s a different arrangement of the same song on the second disc that sounds like the theme song for Sesame Street (I thought it was weird that I thought that, and then found out that matt shared that opinion, and then while reading reviews saw that one of the reviewers thought the same thing—great minds think alike I guess!)

Monday- I wouldn’t have been one bit surprised if someone told me that this was originally a Rolling Stones song, and was actually more surprised when I found out that it wasn’t

The whole rest of the album. The second disc is really good too, more mellow and pretty, but doesn’t necessarily have the “hooks” found on the first disc.

From Yankee Hotel Foxtrot: (there’s a really interesting story behind the creation/production of this disc that’s worth reading about… there’s also a documentary that matt and I watched a few weeks ago. That’s really what got me interested in the band. It’s always interesting to see the creative process while it’s happening. Sometimes I think “I could do that” and other times I think “wow, I would never think to come up with something like that”) Well all the songs are good, so I’ll just highlight a few of them

War on War: I totally love this song, even though the lyrics don’t kick in until about 1 min into the song and even when they do it just repeats “there’s a war on war” for about 8 bars before going into the rest of the song.

Jesus, etc.: This is a great song overall. I really love the line “you were right about the stars, each one is a setting sun.” It’s kind of a beautiful pessimism.

Heavy Metal Drummer: a good song to get started on Wilco, though most of their music isn’t like this. But it’s a really fun catchy song and has some great lines in it: “shiny, shiny pants and bleach blond hair” being my favorite (there’s something really fun about singing the word shiny twice in a row.) My other favorite line: “Classical music blasting, nice and ringing in my ears.”

So those are just a few of my starting suggestions. You can listen to them all (in their entirety) for free on their website (yay for free stuff on the internet!)

5.12.2007

How I Know I Learned Something This Semester

The other day I went to the library to pick up a book that was on hold and to also do a little browsing. I found a book on container gardening. On the cover of the book is a little bubble with the words "All New Edition" in it. All I could think about when I saw that was:

Should I consider that an official edition statement if I were cataloging the book. I mean it does say something about the edition, but doesn't really seem like one of the standard edition statements (like 2nd Ed. or 4th Ed.). Would I put that in the 250 field for MARC, or is that really something that would be better as a quoted note in the 5XX area? hmm... I wonder... let me check the CIP to see what they did, oh wait, there's no CIP in the book... great that means I'm actually going to have to look it up in WorldCat or LC's catalog (since i can't view the MARC record in the public library's OPAC.

Turns out, the Library of Congress does this. The 250 field says "1st ed." even though it doesn't say that any where on the book (which is really weird), and there is a quoted note in the 500 field that says "All New Edition" --Cover.

Though I dont know how it can be an all new edition and the 1st edition... but I guess if it's the first edition, everything about it can be considered "all new."

And that's how I realized (yet again) that I'm a big nerd.

5.07.2007

An End to the Craziness is in Sight

So these past few weeks have been fairly intense. Somehow I managed to finish 3 papers that were due within 10 days of each other. I wrote over 40 pages by the time it was all over (not including scores, appendixes, a CD, and lots of bibliographies). So this weekend I made sure that I had nothing to do with writing (cleaning, gardening, dinner with family, movies, tv, napping, reading for FUN-- it was great). Unfortunately, my music paper was only a rough draft so at some point I still have to edit and turn in a final copy, and I have a final exam on thursday, so I'm not entirely done with the semester, but for the most part, I've made it through the stressful week (it probably didnt help that I actually worked more than usual last week too, to help out with absences while some of the librarians were at a conference.) I'm almost finished, it's so close that it's starting to get tempting to blow off the few things I have left, but I know myself well enough to know that I can't do that (even if--and though-- I really want to). I just keep telling myself that after May 15th, this will all be over.... at least for two and a half weeks, then the summer semester starts. wahoo

5.02.2007

Love Is All You Need

So here I am working on paper #3 for this week (which explains my lack of blog postings lately, or even my lack of interacting with anyone or anything that isn't school related)... I'm listening to iTunes, just letting it play down the list, not really paying attention... until the Beatles song "love is all you need" came on. I've heard this song MANY times (especially after performing it at church last summer) and despite how simple the song sounds, there's quite a bit going on. For instance, the verses (for the most part) do not follow a standard 4 beats or even 3 beats per measure pattern, instead it alternates (4 then 3 then 4 then 3 etc) which makes counting fun. And despite all the times I've listened to it, I noticed something new today. At the end of the song there are two trumpets that come in and play the opening measures to a Bach Invention (I cant remember what number it is because I'm not good with numbers, but it's one of the standard inventions-- I played it in college, and a lot of people used to have it as a cell phone ring). Anyway, I notice all kinds of things in songs I've heard a million times when they are on in the background while i write papers. This is just one more to add to the list.

okay, less blog writing, more paper writing