Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Barbecues and the Anticlimactic

So, everyone keeps mentioning this elusive Memorial Day Barbecue of ours, and I think it's about time we went into some more detail.

Let's begin with the basics:  Monday was Memorial Day.
                                          LMF residents get hungry on any day.
                                          Both Monday and Memorial Day include the word "day".
                                          We were hungry.

As lovely as that reasoning is, the barbecue was actually planned at least a day in advance, and food was acquired that morning.  I volunteered to make teriyaki chicken, which I then ate too quickly and got a bit of a stomach ache.  After I finished with the chicken, Laura took over and grilled the veggies, mushroom burgers, and regular burgers, making her the real master of the grill.  We all climbed the courtyard walls and discussed the antiquity of the grills and the fact that a squirrel was living in the one we weren't using.  And we ate.  A lot.  All the food was delicious and the weather was warm.  Although most of you have already seen them on facebook, here are some of my favorite photos from the event:

That last picture was taken about 30 seconds before I took an unfortunate bite of my burger and heard/felt this kind of cracking sound/sensation come from one of my lower front teeth.  It was very disconcerting and uncomfortable, but we decided that there didn't seem to be any reason to rush me to a dentist.  I don't have any pictures of myself sitting at the table icing my face and moping because I couldn't keep eating, but you get the idea...

Also somewhat relevant is the fact that I was limping around a bit on Monday because I had a splinter in my foot that I couldn't get out.  Basically, I was kind of a mess.  I thought about taking pictures of my injuries, but the splinter was too small to see well and my teeth look completely normal.  Sometimes I wish I would get injured in more exciting ways, and then I realize what I was just thinking and tell myself to stop being stupid.

Luckily, I could still eat root beer floats properly, and I must say that they were excellent even by root beer float standards!

P.S.  We forgot to eat the watermelon...

and the food continues.

Yesterday, Alan kind of whipped up a delicious looking plate of breakfast, so I was inspired to try it myself. The result is as follows:

I just finished eating it. It was delicious, although the drink that accompanied it was a rather unfortunate choice—there is no more house orange juice (at least upstairs), so I opted for water.

Last night, Laura, Alan, and I walked to a little Japanese restaurant called Pikaichi. It's located in the back of the Super 88 market, and it was a nice ~30min walk from LMF. Afterwards we had bubble tea, ran into a couple dead ends in neighborhoods, and went to Trader Joe's on our way back. It was probably one of the loveliest evenings I have had in a long time. :)

In case people could not tell, my sleep schedule is pretty crazy (as usual). It's 7:40am and I am now starting to kind of get sleepy... have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

We're still here.

Hello everybody. Some of us are still here. I am dictating this blog entry into my telephone, so it will be a stream of consciousness.
Rashed just made some of us tea. The tea is very hot and when I took the mug by the wrong part of the mug, that is the part that is not the handle, it was very hot.
As you probably know from your email, we had a barbecue today. But I am not going to say anything else about that.
We are reliving our glory days by watching all of our old favorite movies. We have watched Moulin Rouge. I am very impressed that my phone was able to do that word without me needing to fix it. We are also about to watch the Phantom of the Opera.
I wrote this last night to hear. Then it all disappeared. I found it again this morning. It looks like the Internet saved my work. I'm happy about that.
Other projects since you left include eating all the food you left on the sac tab and that's about it. Today I am going to write some emails that I have been putting off.  The more people I tell, the more likely I am to do it.
I don't think I have any nice pictures to put on this blog entry, so I will go through the photos on my phone and see what I can find. And then maybe I can upload one, if the Internet is good enough for what I want to do.
Actually, it looks like I can only had pictures from previous blog entries that I have written, unless I want to download an app, which seems like a lot of work. So here's a picture of a rheometer.


Hey guys!

I'm currently sitting in the TV lounge watching season 2 of Doctor Who. Not having classes has been really great so far—I've been meeting up and hanging out with a few friends, napping a lot, playing music, and bonding with those of us who are still here.

Life has been pretty normal these days, so there isn't much extraordinarily exciting stuff to talk about, but I do have some pictures—I've been cooking pretty often and with cooking, comes pictures :)

Here's an eggs benedict that Alan and I made. The layers are: bread (made by our very own Alan) -> cheddar cheese slices (thanks Alan) -> baked bacon (described below) -> poached eggs (also done by Alan) -> hollandaise sauce -> dried parsley.

I am currently working on a food blog, so I won't go into much detail here, but I will say that baking bacon is probably my new favorite way of cooking bacon—just line the toaster oven tray with aluminum foil, put a small cooling rack on it, lay out the bacon on the rack, and bake at ~375F for 10-15 minutes. The fat drips off the rack and the bacon is just much more tasty without all the extra fat (you still do need to kind of dab the bacon for the fat that hasn't dripped).

Yesterday, I made ricotta cheese. Laura and I had actually attempted to make it a couple days before, but we kind of failed because I didn't trust the thermometer and the milk didn't get hot enough. Again, this will also be on my blog at some point, so you guys can all read how to make it there, but in the meantime here are a few pictures!

fresh ricotta with honey is pretty amazing

fresh ricotta mixed with some salt and pepper is pretty good too

The most fun part about making this was trying to filter out the liquid without using a cheesecloth (I didn't have one). For future reference, paper towels folded in half make pretty good substitutes for a cheesecloth.

This final picture is not of delicious looking food but of our master griller, Laura, with the fire-y grill. We had a Memorial day barbecue today, and I thought this picture captured the moment pretty well (the mushroom caps look slightly sad compared to the fire though, oh well).

With that, I am going to go charge my computer. Hope everyone is having a great summer!

-SK (not the sorority)

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Reunion and a New Roommate

Like I mentioned yesterday, Monica and I met up with Cassie, our bff from 5th/6th grade. We did some window shopping, wandered around Old Town in Alexandria (SO quaint), had sushi for dinner, talked about boys, then lay around in a hammock for a while. In order,

Old Town:

The sushi restaurant:

The hammock (at Cassie's house):

It was a perfect day.

Now, I'm sitting on a bed in Charlottesville. I'm crashing with another REU student, before I move into my actual home for the summer (turns out I can't move there until June 1.) My temporary roommate's name is Jared, and he is SUPER nice. Characteristics I highly approve of:

1) Awesome accent (he's from Kentucky)
2) I arrived at the train station slightly early, and he was ALREADY THERE (college kids who arrive EARLY to stuff? what?)
3) He made my bed for me before I'd even gotten here (he says his mom told him to)
4) He listens to his mom (I have drawn this conclusion from my one data point)
5) He went grocery shopping before I got here, and bought: lots of fruit, fish, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cereal, milk, and no junk food. It was like I had arrived, and already gone grocery shopping. 
6) He likes to cook
7) He doesn't drink alcohol OR coffee
8) He goes to bed at 11 and gets up at 7:30

Um. Best roommate ever? I'm tempted to just stay here and not move to that other house on June 1 =P

Anyway, before I start to sound creepy (too late, I know) I will go to bed. I start work tomorrow! YAY PULSARS!

Looking forward to hearing from all of you :)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A cute baby and an ugly GRE practice test

I realize that writing "EMMA POST ALREADY!" made it seem like I had a lot of interesting things to say -- I don't. I just like to post stuff. But here's a picture of me being felt up by a cute baby:

He's my friend Monica's friend's son. Phew. Let's re-parse that. I've been friends with Monica since fifth grade - we were best friends all through Middle School, and she moved to Virginia after 8th grade.  There, she became bff with a girl named Kathleen, who got married a couple of years ago now and has a 13-month-old baby boy named Nathan.

Nathan is the one climbing on me in the picture. He. Is. Adorable. He is fluent in baby-talk (he looks very earnestly at you and says "da da da da da da!!!!")

I only see Monica every one or two years, but every time we get along like no time has passed, which is a beautiful thing. There are signs of changing times, though - we used to dress up dolls together, ask our crushes to dance, giggle about it afterwards. During our sleepovers, we invented fantasy stories. Now, Monica and her boyfriend are planning to get married, her sister is leaving for Japan (marine service), her brother (who I remember as a temper tantrum-throwing toddler) is now a baritone, and our sleepover conversations are no longer...PG. Or even PG-13, really. Let's just say that our purity test scores are lower today than they were in Middle School.

In the evening, Kathleen tried to hang out with us but was too worn out from chasing after her son all day. It was a weird snap forward to what life is going to be like -- and definitely made me appreciate that I'm in a time of life when I can really focus on myself, as selfish as that sounds.


Yesterday, we watched Argo (which was terrifying), made edible cookie dough (which was delicious), cooked a lot of food (thank you LMF for my culinary skills!) and brought it all to the park for a picnic. And relaxed. Me relaxing:

This morning, Monica and her mom went to church, and I sat in their living room for three hours doing a practice GRE. It was a miserable, humbling experience (have I learned any physics, ever? clearly the answer is no) but definitely made me appreciate how much I need to study this summer.

I have to run - Monica and I are meeting up with our other best friend from Middle School, who I haven't seen since sixth grade. Her name is Cassie, and you will probably hear more about her later / tomorrow. Miss you all!


Hahaha! The sun is high, the air is warm, the beer is cold, and with summer comes BLOGGING. I did indeed tell Anna (who is a fantastic and prolific blogger) that I WAS GOING TO BE FIRST THIS YEAR. So now it appears I am! Woot! I actually have surprisingly little to tell you after saying goodbye to you all on Thursday afternoon (to those I missed, I'm sorry I didn't get to say goodbye to you - but I'll see you in the fall!). I hauled ass to get to the airport in the heat and humidity and got on my plane without a problem - I think the TSA guards were not interested in getting very close to me because I was pretty sweaty by the time I got to the line. I won't even tell you what happened when I took my shoes off. :) I'm now at my grandma's house for the weekend before I start work on Tuesday (yay Caitlin for starting work early!). I'm reunited with the FamJam and my labrador, Maya, so things are great here. Despite stealing all her kitchen towels, Maya has somehow managed to win my grandma's undying affection. I don't get it - if I did that, I'd be sleeping on the back porch!!! I'm afraid that's all I got for now, but it was worth it to be first. Before I go, I just want to wish you all the best in your summer adventures, and remember to keep blogging! And now, I pass the baton on to my esteemed colleague, Anna Ho.