Vacation: Day 1 – Professionalism Fail

Well first let’s start with an update on my vacation to-do list progress. I spent the weekend with Rachel and Annabelle baking. And hooooo-boy did we bake! I think we made about 90 buck-eye balls, about the same number of pretzels with melted Rolos and pecans on top, roughly 50 Christmas wreaths, and when I left, Rachel was still rolling out and baking cookies. Christmas wreaths, by the way, are super-easy and very delicious. If you’re looking for something festive to make this year, I’ll tell you how to do it.

Basically, they’re like Rice Krispie treats, but you use Corn Flakes instead of Rice Krispies. So you melt the butter and marshmallows together in a pot, and then you add green food coloring until the whole pot of goo is green. Then you add the Corn Flakes and stir until they’re all covered in green goo. Then you plop them in roundish clumps onto wax paper and add a few Red Hots (you know, the tiny cinnamon candies) to look like berries on the wreaths. Then just let them cool and set a bit. Voila!

Oh, and the pretzel thingies were really easy too. We just got the sort of checker-board-looking pretzels (like these) and laid them out on a cookie sheet. Then I painstakingly unwrapped a whole mess of Rolos and placed one on top of each pretzel. We popped those into the oven for a few minutes, just to soften the caramel center of the Rolos. Then we took them out and smushed a pecan half on top of each one to make them a bit flatter and spread the chocolate across the whole pretzel. Let those bad boys cool, and you’ve got yourself a treat.

Oh, and also, I watched FOUR movies this weekend, so I’m very proud of that. It was also on my to-do list, if you recall.

But look at me. I’ve gone and gotten distracted by sweets and films. I meant to tell you about my first weekday of vacation, the first goal of which was to sleep in. Mission accomplished!!! The next goal was to get out of bed and go straight to the shower so as not to sit around all stank in my jabambas all day. BOOM! Showered.

Then, I was supposed to get dressed and put my face on as if I were going to go out to a real job in a real office because they say that’s what you should do if you work from home – treat your job like any other job – with professionalism.

Except when I got out of the shower, I realized that all my clothes were dirty.

So I put on clean jabambas and started a load of laundry. Oh well. I’ll get it right tomorrow. And in the meantime, I’ve got work to do. But hopefully, I’ll have something to say to y’all more often since all my brain power won’t be sucked out of me by the evil lesson planning fairies for the next few weeks.

Until next time (tomorrow??)…

Greetings From the Family Reunion

Hey friends! I’m at the family reunion! So far, it’s been pretty fun. Yesterday, we went into Franklin, VA to the Elms, which was my great-great-grandparents’ house, and I’ma just say that you know a house is awesome when it’s named. When I grow up and have a house, I’m going to name it something classy and old money-sounding like Prestwood or Roger, and people will write memoirs about things that happened there.

Then we came back and had lunch, and the afternoon was pretty low-key. We just sat around at the pool or in the room, reading. Then it was time for cocktail hour, followed by dinner, followed by KARAOKE!! I skipped most of that, though, to help put together our family cookbooks, which are pretty awesome, but let’s be honest. Whitney’s going to get more use out of it than I am as I’m sure there are only about five recipes in there I can eat. It’s still a really good idea, though, and we had fun putting them together while listening to karaoke, playing “Name That Tune,” and guessing which family members were singing. Then, my sister and I sang “You’re So Vain” to close out the night.

Today, we’ve had Fun and Games time, and now we’re getting ready for lunch. On the agenda for the afternoon is yoga, reading by the pool aaaaaaand that’s about it. How’s YOUR weekend going?

What Would You Do (oo-ooo) With a Time Machine?

I realized this morning that I’ve been neglecting my questions lately. I’m trying to find a balance between answering those and just telling you fun stories about what’s happening. For the most part, there aren’t a lot of fun stories about what’s happening because my days are spent sitting on my couch, writing articles, and then driving half an hour to teach. And sometimes after I drive the 30 minutes to teach, there are no students. So…yeah. The questions are really more interesting than my life. All of that is about to change, but I’m not ready to make a formal announcement just yet, so hang in there, internet, and let’s talk about time travel.

Presuming you had a time machine what’s the stupidest and most dangerous thing you would probably do with it, despite having answered this question and having labeled it as both stupid and dangerous?

Well, I think time travel in general is definitely dangerous and probably stupid. I mean, Marty McFly’s hand disappeared when his mom was slow dancing/struggling with Biff, and his dad was too wussy to step in. But that’s what you risk when you meddle in your parents’ high school lives. My parents didn’t go to high school together, so I wouldn’t have to worry about that, but if we’ve learned anything from Back to the Future, it’s that you don’t screw around with the space-time continuum. Doing so is both stupid and dangerous, and you could lose a hand in the middle of your guitar solo.

However, there are a few things I’d like to see happening:

  • my parents’ wedding – There is no video footage available that I know of. I assume it’s because video cameras were only for TV/film studios in the early 70s.
  • me as a baby – There are not a lot of pictures of me as a baby that I know of, and I don’t really remember anything before I started school, and even then, it’s all pretty hazy until about 5th grade. I’m sure my mom could tell us what I was like, but it would be way cuter to see tiny me in action. Unless I was a jerk. Was I a jerk?
  • my ancestors coming to the U.S. – My sister is making a massive family tree for our reunion this year, and I’m sure she’d love an eye-witness account of this. Plus, y’all know how much I love to travel, but to be ON THE BOAT with them, knowing what the country is going to become generations down the line, and seeing what it was like back then…man, that would be awesome.
  • Beethoven playing his own stuff

All of those things, I just want to witness. I don’t necessarily have to be a participant in history for those. But here are some things I would want to do:

  • meet Jane Austen
  • hang out with the Beatles before they were famous, and teach them all the Monkees’ songs before the Monkees even form a band (just to be a mischievous punk, not because I have anything against the Monkees)
  • follow Jesus, like literally, in person, walking in the dirt (and the rocks, and the…)
  • convince Amy Grant that “Baby, Baby” is a bad idea
  • convince John Mayer not to record half of his songs
  • stop Shutter Island from being filmed, and convince Leo to do a movie that requires more shirtlessness
  • convince myself to go vegetarian in college
  • introduce myself to Mediterranean food much sooner (hummus, falafel, stuffed grape leaves, etc.)
  • smuggle slaves to free states
  • smuggle Jews to safety during WWII
  • invent leg warmers before anyone else
  • invent velcro

Like I said, I think time travel in general would be pretty stupid and dangerous, so I don’t know which of these things is the worst. I’ll let y’all be the judge as to exactly which thing is the stupidest/most dangerous and/or which is the likeliest to cause me to lose appendages. What would YOU do with a time machine?

Delicious or Disgusting

First of all, let me just say that this is not a recipe yet. It’s only what I’ve been doing for the past 14 hours or so. If it turns out to be delicious, then we’ll call it a recipe. But right now, it’s just a report.

I hope it’s going to turn out to be chili in a few hours, but we’ll see. Last night, I put a pound of dry black beans and a pound of dry navy beans in a bowl of water to soak. This morning, I drained and rinsed them and put them in a pot with 8 cups of veggie stock and 2 cups of water. I brought it to a boil, and then covered it and turned it down to simmer while I chopped up the following:

  • 4 great big tomatoes
  • a poblano pepper (seeds removed)
  • a jalapeño pepper (seeds removed)
  • an onion
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • a red bell pepper
  • a green bell pepper

Once the beans were softened, I dumped all those chopped veggies in with them, added a little water and brought the whole mess to a boil. I also added:

  • a healthy sprinkling of dried basil
  • a dash of cayenne pepper
  • a dash of cumin
  • a pinch of black pepper
  • a few red pepper flakes
  • a smidgen of salt

After it all came to a boil, I covered it again and reduced the heat to let it simmer. I figure it’ll be done some time before dinner. I’ll let you know how it turns out, and in the meantime, if you think I ought to add something to it (something in the way of spices – I don’t have much else), let me know. The plan right now is to eat it with rice, although it could be spectacular on a baked potato. Bah. I don’t have any potatoes. Rice, it is!

And y’all. Although I haven’t tried it yet, it smells AMAZING.