A person in the world. An information professional. A feminist, humanist and occasional Latinist.
I like stuff and things, so I'm going to try to write about them.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

'Tis the Season... for pumpkins!

Perfect Pumpkin

These are $2 tools from HEB. They are dead now.

EC: "I will caarrrrve this pumkin. I am a pirate."


Yay TX pumpkin! (I am ignoring that it might be from NM.)

I am very intent on my masterpiece. Later I joked
that we could always pretend a 3rd grader helped us.

And here is the third grader's school portrait.

I couldn't tell you why I am making this face. I just am.
Happy Halloween, everyone.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Whenever I'm on vacation (weird to think a trip to Houston is now "vacation") I like to take time to do my hair a little differently. Mostly because I'm staying with Sarah and can use her hair straightener. So behold the various stages of taming my hair.

 Post shower, post blow dryer. Typically I wouldn't comb out my hair, but here it is. A giant lion's mane.

 Right side: straightened! It's amazing how much less volume there is after it's straightened. I would say that doing half of my hair took about 15-20 minutes.

 All done! This took probably about an hour from start to finish. It's so weird to see my hair this way, and it's impossible to not want to feel how smooth it is.

As silly as it seems, after all that work, I had Sarah add waves back into my hair with the Chi. It's fun and not something I can do on my own. Though looking at this picture, my hair looks very similar to what it is without the 1+ hour it took to accomplish this. I wore this style to the Homecoming Tailgate... and pull my hair back for the wedding.

I'm scheduled for a haircut next Monday! It's pretty overdue.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


 This month has been pretty overwhelming. Behold the contents of my refrigerator as of this morning:


ACL two weekends ago, and a wedding in Houston last weekend has kept me busy. But I have a success to report! I'm employed again. It's a job in my field and I'm sure to learn a lot from it. And be really busy. I have lots of pictures to share from ACL and from the wedding, and I'll try to fit those in soon. 

P.S. I went grocery shopping so I now have more than lemons, tomato sauce, yogurt, and tofu. Just FYI.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

On the Market

Oh blog, how you languish.

Things around here have been busy and stressful, and when that happens my stomach clenches and all "frivolous" activities fall to the wayside. Except not really, because I still find time to read blogs and watch TV, but authoring a blog article myself? Such a waste of time!

My recent stressor is that my employment situation will be ending the middle of this month, sooner than I'd expected. The family now needs a full-time childcare situation, which I can't provide while going to school. We're all a little sad, since things had been grooving so well of late.

So now I'm trying to apply for jobs in my field. Nannying has always been a great way for me to earn money while in school, but I don't see it as my life's work. The problem with going to a great grad program with challenging classes and a good reputation is that my competition for said jobs is stiff! There are many lovely people at the iSchool, some with prior professional library experience.

Things will work out, hopefully for the best. If not I guess I can look forward to free time for: Netflixing, sleeping in, baking, oh and maybe extra studying.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

No Middle Ground

I feel a bit like Goldilocks. My apartment is too quiet and comfortable for studying (see last Friday afternoon's TWO HOUR nap*). Right now I'm at a Starbucks and everyone here is so loud I am blaring Best Coast into my earbuds to drown out the chatter. I guess loud music isn't good for my concentration, because I have read roughly four pages in 30 minutes. Now I am here, blogging, because you know, why not? I thought I'd try a picture-less post. Blasphemy for this photo-bloated blog, I know.

Grad school involves a lot of reading. I suppose undergrad (and high school) did too, but who can remember that far back? So far I've been able to stay on top of my assignments, but not without significant grumbling. Now that I've been to all of my classes multiple times (the Labor Day holiday canceled two of my classes, which only meet once a week), I feel like I'm slowly developing a rhythm. Monday and Tuesday is for class Wednesday-Friday is work (nannying), weekend is a mixture of homework and fun. It's nice that I can kind of shift from mode to mode.

In a few weeks I'll get to add another activity to my schedule. I'm volunteering at the local public library for a weekend shift. My first training is tonight, and I'll start actually helping people (hopefully) in October. It's exciting because unlike my previous library volunteering gigs I'll get to work with patrons and not just shelve books. Like any true library nerd, however, shelving books is pretty therapeutic, and I kind of miss it!

So it seems like 3:00-4:30 was the rush at Starbucks, and things have thankfully quieted down. I guess this is my cue to try to do some more reading. Maybe.

*I am, historically, opposed to napping, at least for myself. I like to get 8 consistent hours of sleep every night and limit my sleeping to nighttime. In college (and high school) this was almost unheard of, given most students' night owl habits and afternoon naps. I just find that sleeping during the day makes me feel worse. I like being up late at night, but would rather keep a reasonable schedule.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Playing Catch Up

So my devoted (and only?) blog reader, Sofia, expressed worry that I hadn't posted anything new in a while. Basically I have been accumlating blog material and failing to upload anything. So what is before you is a bit of an overload of photos and anecdotes. I'll get the hang of this blogging thing eventually. My biggest problem is that I am bad at time management and grad school is making that blatantly clear. I feel too "busy" to blog since I should be reading/writing/learning. However, I just spend massive amounts of time procrastinating anyway, and in reality would have had plenty of time to blog, which is arguably a more constructive use of my time.

Over Labor Day weekend, I had the pleasure of attending Mary Jo and Keith's wedding. Mary Jo is one of my sister Amy's oldest friends and a close friend to our family. It was wonderful to see her glowing with all the bliss of matrimony.

Amy was one of the bridesmaids and has had a full year of weddings. When the year is over she will have attended 10 weddings total.

There was also time to visit my old house in Barrington, which was rather bittersweet. Due to unfortunate circumstances the house is currently unoccupied and falling into disrepair.

The grass is terribly overgrown and all the beautiful landscaping my parents spent time on is pretty much a lost cause. It was nice to drive around and see how things in the area have evolved and feel nostalgic about my childhood.

This was my first trip back to IL in over two years and I was lucky to be in the same place as Amanda and Amy at the same time. We had a delicious vegetarian dinner at an Indian restaurant and tried to get caught up on each others' lives in one evening.

Back in Austin, EC and I spent Friday afternoon at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. The admission price is a little steep (even with a student discount) but the mission of the center is admirable and it was a beautiful space.

There's a tower that gives a 360° view of the grounds.

EC wanted to do some empirical research on the tastiness/poison content of beautyberries, but I talked her out of it. According to Wikipedia they are a natural insect repellent and have been used to make wine. So I'm going to go with not poisonous.

More Random Wildflower Center Photos....

It's Sunday afternoon, which means it's Time to Actually Do My Homework.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Food Blogger Fail or This Is What I Ate

I don't think I'll ever be a food blogger. Some people are blessed with the creativity to produce innovative cuisine and stage it just right. Good food blogs have more than desirable recipes and clear instructions, they also have delectable photos.

This is where I fail. Photographing food items is tricky! And while lighting is important in any photo, bad lighting for food photography can make something fresh and tasty appear yellowed and repulsive.

Also I'm usually making food because I want to eat it soon. I'm too hungry and focused on what I'm making to stop and think, "oh wait! I need a photo of the chopped onions before I saute them." No, instead while making dinner this week I thought, "oh wait! I could take a photo with my actual camera." (This is instead of with my camera phone.) Of course when I went to grab my very nice 8 megapixel point-and-shoot, the battery was dead. So I borrowed EC's iPhone. The camera on my phone is actually pretty solid, but I have to say the iPhone 4 is better. Shinier. Oh no, I'm drooling again.

So I will possibly, one day, maybe, have a food post in the vein of Pioneer Woman or Simply Recipes centered on a recipe with actual, nice photography. But for today, you get photo hodgepodge (mostly taken on my phone)!

I love breakfast tacos anything in a tortilla. I was thinking about this taco when I went to bed and was very excited to make it when I woke up. I put down a base of guacamole on a wheat tortilla, added some scrambled egg, fresh hashbrowns and sliced tomato. Not sure why the plate is on the edge of the counter. Probably trying to get better lighting. If it fell, I definitely would have eaten this off the floor.

Wow, look. More food in a tortilla. Well, these are just ANY tortillas, people. These are Central Market hatch green chile tortillas. I can eat these plain for breakfast and then again for lunch. I really wish there was more nutritional value to them. Sadly they're only around during the Hatch Green Chile Festival at CM, but no worries. I have a few extras stored in the freezer, and will probably stock up more before the 31st. Above I filled them with refried pinto beans, avocado and corn salsa. The best part of this taco was the roasted corn salsa. I drizzled corn, jalapenos and garlic with olive oil and then baked them in the oven (~30 mins at 400 degrees). Then I cut the corn off the cob and combined it with the jalapeno and garlic and squeezed half a lime over it. Yum.

Caramelized Tofu (Link to the recipe)
It's always nice to find new ways to prepare tofu. I try to be protein conscious since I'm not eating meat. My friends brought this to a potluck earlier this summer and I was excited to make it for myself. Brussels sprouts are a turn-off to some people, but I swear this is very very delicious. (Without spellcheck I definitely would have written Brussel sprouts. Learn something new everyday...)

Photo taken on my actual camera! But these were made from a mix, so it kind of negates the food blogger legitimacy. I'd hope to get up early and make these muffins as a Saturday morning surprise, but EC is an actual morning person (as opposed to me, who is an aspiring morning person) and is regularly up way before me. She was making coffee when I was pulling the ingredients together at 8am.

So this isn't food. But it is related to something I ate! In celebration of what would have been Lyndon B. Johnson's 102nd birthday, the LBJ Presidential Library & Museum was serving cake on Friday. So we enjoyed some awesome cake (lemon filling!) and I learned a few things about our country's 36th president. This photo is a view from the 10th floor where there's a replica of LBJ's oval office.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Last (Summer) Supper

Apparently I'm really hung up on the season ending. I guess it's hard to avoid that I'm coming into a time of transition. Yesterday I went to orientation, met with my academic adviser and looked my grad school future square in the eyes. Right now I'm waiting (impatiently) for my registration period to start (at 3:00 this afternoon) so I can hopefully get the classes I want.

Tuesday night, the eve of my orientation, we had a chill night at the apartment, watching TV and making dinner. Photos from Tuesday are below. I just realized that if my phone didn't have a camera, I wouldn't have taken any of these.

Earlier in the day, we made it to Barton Springs! It was 194 degrees outside so the -25 degree water was perfect. At first I could only dip my toes in, but I eventually bit the bullet and went in the water.

Back at the ranch, EC chopped up a colorful array of veggies for a soy-ginger stir fry.

I think this was taken moments before she broke the spatula.

My contribution to dinner were these spring rolls, a recipe I learned from my former roommate and fellow vegetarian, Jenny. (See below for the recipe.) It's a really fresh, summer-time food. I didn't make too many so we'd have room for stir fry, but I think we both could have eaten twice as many.

Stir fry rainbow and accompanying seasoned tofu triangles.

Finished product.

Our small kitchen was trashed by the end of the evening, but it was messy in a satisfying, good-food-was-made-here, kind of way.

Tofu Spring Rolls
- rice paper
- firm tofu
- rice noodles
- assorted veggies, I like avocado, carrots, cucumber
- mint
- basil

Dipping Sauce
- soy sauce
- sesame oil
- garlic

This recipe is very flexible on portions. Last night I only made 4 rolls, but you can scale it up to as many as you'd like. The rice paper was hard to find (not at HEB, but at Central Market), and a safe bet would be getting it at an Asian grocery store. Cook the rice noodles ahead of time and rinse with cold water. Cut all the ingredients into stick-like shapes so they will fit well into the wrap. A little of the fresh mint and basil goes a long way, so I rip up 1-2 leaves of each per roll. The rice paper becomes soft in hot water, then put the ingredients in and wrap like a burrito. Refrigerate for a while, (~30 mins) so they are nice and cold when served. The sauce is roughly 5-6 Tbsp. of soy sauce, 1 Tbsp. of sesame oil and 1-2 minced cloves of garlic.

I would like my next cooking post to be an adventure of making gnocchi from scratch, but I'm not sure if that ambition will ever be met. For now I need to get out of the house because I'm just refreshing the registrar's website and watching my classes become waitlisted and closed...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

So Long, Sweet Summer

Summer is over.

Ok, so maybe I'm calling it a little early, since I have 5 days until orientation and 12 until the first day of classes, but it feels like the care-free days are already gone. I'm starting to think about my class schedule, volunteer opportunities and my super powers of distraction and procrastination (and how that might affect my graduate education).

The last few months have been pretty great. I've been getting used to a new town, having fun and relaxing. I had pretty high expectations for Austin before I moved. Most people rave about it and I'd always loved visiting. So far it hasn't disappointed. There's endless amounts of good food, beautiful places to visit, and live music. (I can't wait until ACL!)

Below is a hodgepodge of summer photos with accompanying explanations.

Here I am on moving day! Everything went smoothly and a couple of months later, I feel like the apartment is now arranged how I like it.

This is the bamboo forest at the Zilker Botanical Gardens, one of our early outdoor excursions. Being outside is hot, but bearable. I feel like the evenings are better than Houston because the humidity doesn't smother me.

This is the view of downtown Austin from a park bench in the botanical gardens.

Also at the gardens. I love this photo.

We spend a lot of time in these chairs on our balcony. I miss my spacious patio in Houston, but this is a decent substitute.

I've been trying a lot of new beers this summer (remember I'm relaxing?) and this is definitely my favorite. I'm still mostly fond of wheat beers, though I'm trying more ambers and other kinds too.

Visiting Zilker Park on a random Tuesday afternoon. We had a sweet blanket set up and mostly the whole park to ourselves. (That's my car, all alone in the background.)

It was pretty warm that day and I believe her reaction was: "mmm. Fresh-baked cheetos."

Lots of backgammon, rummy and euchre this summer. Like.

I know Montana is considered "big sky country" but I feel like Texas deserves the title sometimes too.

We've had a pretty constant stream of visitors (people love Austin). Here are Terri and Charlotte hanging out at Toy Joy.

I think Houston will always have a special place in my heart, especially as long as I have great people to visit. Here's Teddy, Matt, and Katelyn on our blanket at Miller Outdoor Theater for the 4th of July.

Tess on the 4th. We had delicious refreshments and a sweet spot for watching the fireworks.

EC's uncle rented a house on Lake Travis and this was the view off the back porch. We had a lot of fun hanging out at the house and out on the water. Overall I enjoyed the weekend despite...

...the hole in the patio my leg made. Apparently not all porch construction materials are created equal, and these particular tiles were not weather proof and had started to rot. My wounds are pretty much healed two weeks later, but I saw some fun colors on my leg in that time.

I made a trip home, and this is the view of the coast in downtown Beaufort.

We took a short "hike" (glorified walk) to part of the green belt in Austin.

People are hanging out, drinking beer... with their pet snakes. Like you do.

Me: "Aww, you're not smiling in this photo."
EC: "That's my face."