Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. What takes you out of your comfort zone?

  Definitely public speaking, I've had to do a bunch of it these past few weeks and it's horrible. It seems that I have every possible 'symptom' of public speaking fear too. Ah well, I think that people say it's these kinds of things that strengthens one's character.

2. Your least favorite spice?

 I heartily dislike curry and also anise and ginger. It's just something about those flavors...

3. What's a small change you'd like to make?

  I really want to start up crocheting again, I've been spending a bit of time making a poncho and it's reminded me why I love crocheting.

4. Do you enjoy visiting historic homes? If so, of the homes you've visited which one was your favorite? What historic home near you is open to visitors? Have you been? Southern Living rounded up eleven of the best in the southern part of the US and they're as follows-

Monticello (Jefferson's home in Virginia), Nathaniel Russel House (Charleston SC), Swan House (Atlanta), Ernest Hemingway's home (Key West), The Biltmore (Vanderbilt home in Asheville NC), Mount Vernon (Washington's home in Virgina), San Francisco Plantation (Garyville, Louisiana), Windsor Ruins (Port Gibson Mississippi), Longue Vue House and Gardens (New Orleans), Whitehall (Palm Beach FL), and Pebble Hill Plantation (Thomasville GA)

Have you been to any on the list? Of the homes listed which would you most like to visit?

  I would love to visit historic homes! Sadly, as of yet, I don't think that I have gone to see any. I have a friend who is a fellow lover of all things vintage and pretty, and she visits many historic houses and never spares the details when she tells me about them.

  I would really love to visit the Biltmore, Windsor Ruins, and Monticello.

5. What's something you think will be obsolete in ten years? Does that make you sad or glad?

  I think the man bun will be obsolete, at least I hope it will. And if it does, than yes, I am very glad. 

6.  Insert your own random thought here. 

  We have eighteen different holiday celebrations between now and the new year, and so this afternoon my Mum and I are going to sit down and plan out the menus for all of them, it's loads of fun to do stuff like that, and I have learned that it's best to plan menus when you're not completely starving.  

Monday, November 6, 2017

100 Questions ~ Part 4

76.Do you regularly burn incense? What?! No, I don't.

77. Ever been in love? Yes I have, with many things. But never a person. Though I do love my family very much.

78. Who would you like to see in Concert? Oh dear, Toby Mac, Amir, and Indila.

79. What was the last concert you saw? Does the harp concert at our library count?

80. Hot or cold tea? It's so sad that this is even a question. In my opinion, tea should always be hot, no one should ever have to ask which you like best because cold tea ought to be banned.

81. Tea or coffee? I love tea, I just savored a large cup full this morning. As for coffee, I loathe it, and I'm allergic to it (my tongue was swollen for a time after taking a sip.)

82. Sugar cookies or snicker doodles? I definitely prefer sugar cookies, and it's a tradition to make them on Christmas Eve Eve.

83. Can you swim well? Oh dear no, I just learned how to swim last year, and haven't swum(?) since. I love it though, and I could save my life by swimming, that is, if I had only five yards to cross to land.

84. Can you hold your breath without holding your nose? Yes I can.

85. Are you patient? I had an enormous amount of patience for tedious baking and crocheting tasks, as for people, I'm easily annoyed, so yes and no.

86. DJ or band at a wedding? Definitely a DJ, I've discovered that live music is most often lacking in everything.

87. Ever won a contest? Yes I did. When I was a little girl I entered a thanksgiving coloring contest, I won a twenty five dollar gift card, I remember spending it on clothes for my doll, and some games.

88. Have you ever had plastic surgery? No I haven't, and I never want to either.

89. Which are better: black or green olives? Both are horrible. I have never had a good experience with olives. I think they could be good if they are very well hidden in layers of some other food, but otherwise they're not very good at all.

90. Can you knit or crochet? I can crochet, I tried knitting three times already, to me it's just frustrating, they could have put some hooks on the end of those needles, it's so frustrating when my yarn slips off before I can catch it with my other needle.

91. Best room for a fireplace? Easy. The living room.

92. Do you want to get married? Yes I do someday. When I was younger (it seems I love that phrase) I had preferences like Anne (from Anne of Green Gables) as in I wanted to marry a tall, dashing, and roguish young man, and then his love for me would inspire him to leave behind his more daring ways. As I believe she had said, "I don't want to marry a wicked man, it would just be nice to know that he could be wicked." Anyways, I have decided I would much rather marry a loyal, caring, and God loving man.

93. If married, how long have you been married? Not a day.

94. Who was your high school crush? Oh dear, I do not have a crush on anyone, nor did I ever have a crush on a high-schooler. But in all fairness I have had more than one crush on a fictional character in books.

95. Do you cry and throw a fit until you get your way? No I don't, it sounds rather exciting, but if I tried it, my family would just laugh heartily and ignore me quite thoroughly. It would never work as a manipulation tool to get my own way. Not that I have any such tools, nor do I wish to have any.

96. Do you have kids? Do my books count?

97. Do you want kids? Yes I do.

98. What is your favorite color? Either teal, or lavender.

99. Do you miss anyone right now? Nope.

100. Who are you going to ask these questions next? No one. But everyone is free to do them if they wish to do so.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

100 Questions ~ Part 3

51. Last time you got a portrait taken by a photographer? I have never had my picture taken by a photographer. But my parents, brother, and cousin are all considered photographers to me, and they've all taken my picture.

52. Do you think musicals are cheesy? I love musicals. Some are completely boring, but I've watched a good few that are wonderful, such as The Sound of Music.

53. Is Christmas stressful? No! Christmas is absolutely the best most joyful and cheerful holiday season ever.

54. Ever eat a pierogi? I'm actually not sure. If I haven't, then it's going on my food bucket list.

55. Favorite type of fruit pie? This one is easy, nothing is better than peach pie. Yum.

56. Occupations you wanted to be when you were kid? I wanted to be many different things, I had wanted to be a teacher, a maid, a storekeeper, a writer, and a chef.

57. Do you believe in ghosts? Ghosts as in blurry spirit people? No I don't. But I do believe there are spirits. Just not the whole "come back to haunt" deal.

58. Ever had a Deja-vu feeling? Oh yes, all the time. Some times it's for the simplest things, like smelling the same thing, other times it's for odd things, like when I picked up a book, saw the date of 1856 and had an odd deja-vu feeling. By the way, I was delighted when I found out that deja-vu literally means "already seen."

59. Do you take a vitamin daily? Yes I do.

60. Do you wear slippers? No I don't, and it's because of a very good reason. They disgust me to no end, and I'm not exactly sure why.

61. Do you wear a bath robe? I don't have one, so no. But I don't think I'd ever buy one either.

62. What do you wear to bed? Oversized shirts and pajamas.

63. What was your first concert? I don't remember who the people were, but when I lived in Missouri I attended a fourth of July festival of sorts and they had a concert there.

64. Walmart, Target, or Kmart? I have never been to Kmart orTarget, so Walmart. But I really want to go to Target before long, I have a feeling I'd love it.

65. Nike or Adidas? I might get into trouble for saying this, but I think that both are overrated.

66. Cheetos or Fritos? Mm, cheetos.

67. Peanuts or sunflower seeds? It seems that I've always loved peanut butter, but earlier this year I made my own sunflower butter (a.k.a sunbutter) and it was awful. I prefer peanuts.

68. Ever hear of the group Tres Bien? Um, no.

69. Ever take dance lessons? Not official ones, but I have had  friends come and all of my siblings and I paired up with them and danced the afternoon away.

70. Is there a profession you picture your spouse doing? Ack! I'm married?!!! Do tell me, who is this mysterious fellow?

71. Can you curl your tongue? No I can't. It seems my lot in life does not include being able to do any of those little weird things, I can't snap my fingers, blow decent bubbles with gum,whistle, make the rumbley r sounds, etc.

72. Ever won a spelling bee? No I haven't, but I would love to. It would be such fun to say, "Hey, have you met my bee? It looks ordinary, but it can spell!"

73. Have you ever cried because you were happy? Yes, I basically cry at any emotion. Watching the "Return of the King" ending had me in tears, even though they were happy.

74. Own any record albums? No I don't.

75. Own a record player? Again ... no.

Monday, October 30, 2017

100 Questions ~ Part 2

26. What movies could you watch over and over again and still love? I absolutely love the Hobbit movies and the Lord of the Rings movies, besides them, I love the Dick van Dyke series, my siblings and I have this tradition of watching several episodes of them every Thursday night.

27. Last person you kissed/kissed you? Oh my, ask this again when I'm thirty. If it counts I kissed my little brother's cheek as I tucked him into bed once upon a time, if that doesn't count, then no one.

28. Were you ever a boy/ girl scout? No I wasn't and I never wanted to be one. Playing around in our own woods was enough for me.

29. Candles, what is your favorite scent? I love cranberry mandarin so much! It is most likely a summer scent, but there's nothing that makes me feel more Christmas-y than that scent, that and watching its flames flicker.

30. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper? This past summer one of my friends and I were pen pals so we sent each other letters (obviously) I love to write letters but have hardly anyone to write them to. I don't write letters to my friend anymore since we see each other every week, but next summer we will definitely write to each other again.

31. Can you change the oil on a car? Oh dear. I am a mechanic's daughter and should stereo-typically walk around in grease smudged overalls and plaid shirts, but I have absolutely no idea how to change the oil on a car. My Dad has promised to teach me before long though.

32. Ever gotten a speeding ticket? Nope, but when I was twelve my brother gave me a speeding ticket for speedy bike riding.

33. Ever ran out of gas? No I haven't.

34. What's your favorite kind of sandwich? A Korean Brisket sandwich. They are absolutely scrumptious.

35. Best thing to eat for breakfast? I love cottage cheese with oranges, peanut butter on oatmeal, and good old eggs and bacon.

36. What is your usual bedtime? Though it should be 9:30, by the time I get done updating all of my journals, it's around 10:30.

37. Are you lazy? I prefer to think of myself as a hopeful procrastinator, but no, I'm not lazy. I like to have something to do at all times. Some things I just enjoy doing more than others.

38. When you were a kid, what did you dress up as for Halloween? I never celebrated Halloween nor do I think I ever will.

39. What is your Chinese astrological sign? I have absolutely no idea.

40. How many languages can you speak? I can speak regular English, Pennsylvania Dutch/Amish, and am working on French.

41. Do you have any magazine subscriptions? I love the "Victorian Trading" catalog, but as far as a real magazine goes, than no, I don't.

42. Which are better: legos or lincoln logs? Definitely legos.

43. Are you stubborn? Hm, I can be, but for the most part I prefer the term "unwavering opinions."

44. Who is better: Leno or Letterman? I have no idea, never heard of either. To me one sounds like a kind of meat, and the other like an obsessive pen pal. I'm guessing I'm wrong on both counts.

45. Ever watch soap operas? No I don't, but I do know enough about them to know that they are not cleaning musicals.

46. Are you afraid of heights? In real life I'm perfectly fine with heights. In my dreams though, I am terrified of falling off of anything, even a curb.

47. Do you sing in a car? I never do it on my own, my sister and I however are a very noisy duo.

48. Do you sing in the shower? Oh yes I do, the acoustics are great, especially for French songs.

49. Do you dance in the car? Definitely yes. It's a wonder my sister and I can see anything what with our hair in each other's faces.

50. Ever used a gun? Yes I did. Back when I was still obsessed with archery, my brother tried to teach me how to use a gun. I hit the target once, that surprised even me.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

100 Questions - Part 1

  1. Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed? Not to sound childishly terrified, but I sleep with them shut, it always seems like my clothes will attack me otherwise.

2.  Do you take the shampoos and conditioner bottle from hotels? I don't travel enough to need to use hotels, and even if I did, I don't think I'd steal them. Though, in retrospect, either the hotel then throws away the soaps, or they are used by many different people, so that's either wasteful, or a little disgusting.

3. Do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out? I sleep with them out.

4. Have you stole a street sign before? No-o-ooo, and I don't understand at all why people would do that.

5. Do you like to use post-it notes? Yes, yes, yes. I love post-it notes. I would be perfectly happy to receive a whole box full for Christmas or my birthday.

6. Do you cut out coupons but then never use them? I cut them out and give them to my dear Mum to use. I never do the shopping. I think that when I must run a household then I would like to use coupons, but I'm naturally absentminded so I'm almost certain that those coupons would become forgotten.

7. Would you rather be attacked by a big bear or a swarm of bees? Oh that's an awful question! I suppose I would rather be attacked by a bear because at least being mauled by massive claws would be more epic then being pierced by insect spears.  Though I would have a chance to survive the bees and most likely not the bear attack.

8. Do you have freckles? I have two or three very light ones underneath my left eye. I used to dislike freckles, but after those three I wanted some more. Sadly, instead of having a sun-kissed face, even those three freckles are fading.

9. Do you always smile for pictures? Yes I do. My normal smile is, for the lack of a better word, normal. But as soon as I'm in front of the camera, my smile could scare a gargoyle.

10. What is your biggest pet peeve? Oh my. Let's see. Most of my pet peeves center around food. I heartily dislike when people chew with their mouths open, talk with their mouths full of food, or chew excessively noisily. The whole process is revolting.

11. Do you ever count your steps when you walk? Nope. When I was 11 I kept a tablet and pen with me for a whole day and counted every single step I took. It gave me headache.

12. What is your favorite thing to cook? I don't have a favorite thing. But I like to cook anything other than meat. Steaks, chicken, pork, their cooking all scares me to bits.

13. If you were planning a meal for a special someone, what would it be? This question is a good one, but I do not have a special someone and therefore I have no idea. I would obviously make his favorite foods. And cheesecake for dessert, and if he doesn't like cheesecake, all the more for me!

14. Do you ever dance if there is no music playing? Well, let's see, if I'm urging my cookies to bake faster, I suppose I do an impatient jig.

15. Do you chew your pens and pencils? Absolutely not! I do however click my pens and tap my pencils. Both of which can be highly annoying pastimes.

16. How many hours did you sleep last night? I think it was eight.

17. What size is your bed? It's a full size. I can't even imagine what it would be like to share a twin-sized bed with my sister. We'd probably both become pro blanket ninjas.

18. What is your song of the week? Oh dear, I haven't even really listened to music this week, which is an awful thing to say, but it's true. One song that has been stuck in my head ever since watching AGT is "iRobot" by Jon Bellion.

19. Is it OK for guys to wear pink? Of course it is. What's wrong with that? Certainly there will be guys that look awful in pink, but the same can be said of women.

20. Do you still watch cartoons? No I don't, at least if I can help it I don't. Most of the time they give me headaches and I end up daydreaming of other things.

21. What is your least favorite movie? Ha-ha, this one is a doozy of a question. I have seen a bunch of really lame movies (think Hallmark) but the worst one that I've ever, maybe "The Christmas Story."

22. Where would you bury hidden treasure if you had some? I'd climb down a cliff beside our barn which leads down to our waterfall, and I'd bury it under a pine tree that grows on the bank of our creek.

23. What do you drink with dinner? Water.

24. What do you dip a chicken nugget in? When I was eight, chicken nuggets were my favorite, I haven't had them since then though. I always ate them with ketchup (a.k.a catsup, a.k.a tomato smoothie.)

25. What is your favorite food? I love Italian food, but also Mexican, oh, and cheesecake, can't forget cheesecake.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1.  Have you ever spent time on a farm? Tell us a little bit about it. Have you ever grown your own pumpkin? Been on a hayride? Driven a tractor? Milked a cow?

  As far as I know, I have spent my entire life living on farms. I remember nothing about the first farm that I lived on, but the others are brimming with memories. I remember feeding a calf early one morning with a bottle. My dad told me that the calf would butt its head at the bottle so I would need to hold it firmly. Of course I tried, but then, as soon as its stubborn little head barrelled into me I lost my balance and fell backwards right into the big red milk bucket. Though I wasn't at the time, I am very amused at the memory now.

  I have never been on a hayride unless you count sliding off of a hay bale, I have never driven a tractor though I have rode on several, and I have never milked a cow.

2. What's something younger you would like about you now? 

  As a young girl I resolved that at fifteen years of age I would make my first meal which would be biscuits and gravy. Now as I look at that goal, I have to smile and think of how proud my young self would have been to know that now that I'm "a young lady" I know how to make a lot more than biscuits and gravy. Where instead of being scared about making a meal, I'm scared at the idea of making puff pastry. 

3. What are three things you'd like to do more often? Three things you'd like to do less often?

  I would love to read more often, not that I don't already read a lot but one can never read too much, then I would love to take more walks, and write, writing stories and books has slowed down dramatically over the summer. I would love very much if I didn't do Algebra as often, and awful as it sounds, French isn't that great either, then other than that I would love to do less dishes, the sad fact concerning dishes is that they never end. 

4. What's on your nachos?

  I love sour cream, then after that I don't really care. 

5. What's the most random thing in your purse or wallet? Does it need to stay there?

  The most random? Oh dear, I'm extremely random so this will be hard. But the most random thing in my purse is a bright red leaf. There is a story behind that leaf. I was wandering around all on my lonesome after being dismissed from some class. With no one to talk to I skipped around outdoors for ages, humming, singing french songs, talking to a dog named Abby,  pretending that I was in "The Sound of Music", and admiring all of the flora,  while walking past some bushes I spotted a brilliant red leaf laying on the ground, like me it was all by itself, but that didn't stop its color from shining forth. I picked it up and tucked it into my purse with a smile.

6.  Insert your own random thought here. 

  As promised, I must tell you how my sourdough bread turned out. Let me say this, when I first opened the oven door and tapped the tops of the loaves I was horrified at how solid they were.
I turned them out of the pans with no small bit of trepidation, and was indescribably relieved when the bread turned out perfectly fine, but with a sturdy crust that would make any bread baker proud. The bread itself gets more and more sour with each passing day, a fact I love. My favorite way to eat it is toasted and topped with homemade butter. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Of Smelly Bread and Baker's Dread

  It is now officially Fall, and there is just something so completely magical about this time of the year, it seems that the smell of cinnamon wafts out from every kitchen, the sun shines more cheerfully than ever, the leaves twirl about, dancing on their way down to the ground, and young girls like me are inspired to bake as never before.

  Recently I got a lovely, and quite massive nutrition book from my dear Mum, punnily enough, I devoured it. I have learned so much from it and still am learning. It was finally a nutrition book that wasn't promoting some sort of a fad, it gave both sides of the nutrition coin, and left me to form my own opinions. Blabbering aside, I eagerly read the recipes in that book and jumped at every chance I got to make them. The one recipe that intrigued me above all others was a recipe for sourdough bread, which I would first have to make my own starter. Not a big deal I thought, it sounded fun.

  On day one of my starter making experiment, I simply mixed a cup of flour with a cup of cold water. It was easy peasy and rather fun. As my wooden spoon swirled around in the bowl I was already seeing gorgeous tall and proud loaves of the most delicious sourdough that ever was, and that would be made without an ounce of effort.

  It's such a sad thing I've learned that daydreams most often are beautiful, little, fluttery fancies that love to dance around people's minds when the people in question ought to be facing the facts, like me, when I should have expected that I, having never baked sourdough before, let alone made my own starter, that I would have a relatively high chance of a complete disaster.

  I believe it was two days later, perhaps only one, when my whole family noticed something odd about that starter, the smell was just a little more than off-putting, if you want an example of how awful the smell was, I shall give you one, ponder this, if you enjoyed the sensation of consciousness, then you wouldn't walk within two yards of that bowl of starter.

  It came to the point that each evening, as I approached that bowl of starter I quivered from the tip of my nose to the tops of my toes with dread. Yanking the cloth off the bowl was similar to walking into a creaking house deep in the woods, in the middle of the night, where you are certain that something horrible awaits you.

  It was like a horror movie (I am not truly qualified to tell you that since I have never watched a horror movie) as in, the situation only became more gruesome with each passing minute. When I removed that cloth, a scent, not so different from walrus vomit, punched me in the face. As I stood there, reeling about, trying to gather my senses, I noticed that the "hooch" ( a liquid, similar to alcohol that surfaces during the fermentation period, also drunk by miners that were desperate for alcohol back in the day) was a lurk-y sort of grayish black color and turned my stomach just to look at.

  That night I felt hopeless, I knew that my lovely loaves of bread were doomed. It was with a broken heart that I researched sourdough starters like crazy, it seems that in the first few days a sweaty sock like smell is not to be scared about, "however, if it smells like vomit, you're just better off throwing everything in the bin and starting over," at least that's what the experts said. The only bright side possible, was that my starter did not simply smell like vomit, it smelled like stewed vinegar and sardine blubber.

  I read a little more about starters and gave up after reading about some doctor who was so boastful of his masterful starter redeeming skills. I smacked down my tablet (a current tech device that is often overlooked in the pursuit of smartphones, not a pad of paper) and marched down to my bowl of starter, I was about to heal my starter, to pull it out of its pit of hopelessness.

  The first thing I did was drain off that horrible "hooch." I would have pinched my nose shut, but then I would have dropped the bowl, which in retrospect would have saved me a lot of work, then from that day on, I split my daily starter feedings into two feedings half the size of what my daily feeding usually was and took care to drain the hooch each time.

  Two days ago, I pulled the cloth off of my bowl, just like usual, and then went shrieking in the opposite direction. I know, you're probably thinking that the "hooch" returned and tried to grab me. But nope, my starter was a gorgeous tan color, it was frothy and bubbling and the soft and sweet smell of nutty and yeasty wine wafted from the bowl, just like they said a healthy starter would. I rushed to each of my family members and squealed with pride over my dear little starter. It was healed, it was healthy and beautiful and filled my heart with delight.

  Tomorrow is the last day that it has to ferment before I can bake it. So yes, there is a possibility that I shall end up with dough bricks smelling of wine, but I shall not fret about it for now, because for this moment I shall once again succumb to daydreams of gorgeous, tall, and proud loaves of the best sourdough bread ever.