Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Back Again

Oh good Heavens! I forgot the blog again! I feel like this blog is one of those nightmares my mother always has where she leaves the baby somewhere and doesn't realize it until much later. Every semester I have such great plans to blog and have a great social life and get great grades and get enough sleep to make me a pleasant human being, and every semester, without fail, items from this list get slowly jettisoned, so that by the end of the year I'm sleeping in the library with all my books piled cosily around me. Then I wake up after finals in a cold sweat and run to see if the blog is still breathing.

But here I am after what was probably one of the best and one of the absolute worst semesters of my life. There were no in betweens this semester; everything was either absolutely positively fantastic or utterly horrible. This went on all day every day all semester long, and it was utterly bizarre. I've never experienced so many ups and downs in my life. What happened this semester you ask? Well, this semester, spring 2014, will ever live as the semester that I endured Wordsworth, the semester when I mastered Shakespeare, the semester that I beat philosophy into the dirt, and the semester that, for some inexplicable reason I took up rock climbing. Like I said, rather bizarre.

My classes this semester were almost too surreal to be believed. My Early Modern Lit. class was at 9am, and we spent the majority of the first several weeks talking about Descartes. Now there are somethings that I can handle before my third cup of coffee (yes, third, we'll get to that later), but oddly enough Descartes is just not one of them. Then there was Romantic and Victorian Lit., and it was in that class that I realized, as another one of my professors so delicately put it, "Romantic poetry just does not speak to my soul." Then there was Medieval History. What a fascinating subject that is. Did you know that at one point Oxford University actually had to ban bows and arrows in class? Yes, really. This piece of knowledge, of course, has led to many jokes, and a serious attempt to arm the freshman as the class of 2015's class gift; unfortunately that proposal was shot down, so to speak. Then there was Shakespeare's comedies. One of my favorite things about upper level English classes is that the professor's nutty academic pet peeves always come up, so this was Shakespeare through random little Shakespeare conspiracy theories; it was fantastic. So really, this was the semester where we romped through fields of my professors' strange English major knowledge, and it was great. Honestly I've never had so much fun.

Then there were the parts of the semester that were absolutely awful. The first month of the semester involved far more funerals than I would ever really like to talk about. So suffice it to say, that things were (and for some, still are) very hard. Then there was the three week period in which I wrote eight papers. This was also the semester that I discovered Our Lady of Mental Peace, and may I just say that I probably would not have made it through the last several months without this prayer.

But overall, this was definitely a teaching semester, shall we say, in which yours truly had to learn some lessons the hard way. One of the things we learned about is procrastination, frequently spelled s-o-c-i-a-l-m-e-d-i-a. Yeah, so, one of the things I had to learn this semester is that if you really want something to happen you actually have to do it. Sounds easy enough, but odd how complicated these things can be. For example, should you want to turn your taxes in on time, it is not exactly optimal to start them at noon, when the mail goes out at 2:45. We'll just say that although that particular episode ended well, some others did not, and from these painful, yet valuable, experience I have learned that one should not, perhaps, put things off.

Another thing I learned, which is, perhaps, cliche, is that one should not be afraid to be oneself. I realized that I waste a lot of time worrying about what people think of me. Do you know how counter productive it is to spend so much time worrying about making the wrong move, that you never actually make any moves? It's lame. Really really lame, and that was one of the things I had to learn; sometimes you just have to loosen up and do things without worrying about the consequences and without worrying about what other people might possibly think.

So what have I been doing while I haven't been blogging? Well, mostly, I've done a whole lot of thinking about everything. It's kind of bizarre to be back where I was four years ago, but also facing my senior year of college and real life and all that jazz. Anyway, I appreciate you all bearing with me during my long silences and (even longer) ramble-y posts!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Lazy Girl Recipes: Meatloaf

Okay, so this is one of the less lazy recipes I have, but I made up for all the work I did by forgetting to take pictures. And, let's be honest, when I say "All  the work," I mean that I actually thawed meat. Crazy, right?

Ground beef
1 egg
1 Tbsp Basil paste
3 Tbsp Worchester Sauce
Garlic powder
Minced onions

Step one, make sure that your beef is unfrozen. Now, I know that it's difficult, but the rest of the recipe will be even harder if you don't do this.

Mix in the egg with the meat. That's right squish it around until it's nice and mixed. Then add all the spices and worcester sauce. You can really play around with the spices, if you want because, in my humble opinion, there is no such thing as too much.

Put the mixture in a pyrex dish and form it into a loaf. Cover with foil and bake at 350 until done through (meaning: when you stick a knife in the center there is no pink). 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Lazy Girl Recipes: Honey Ginger Chicken

When it comes to cooking, I'm pretty... relaxed. I love doing it, but I'm no gourmet cook. I mean, come on, I'm in college; I can deal with Descartes before noon, but ain't nobody got time for fancy recipes. But if college has taught me anything, it's that variety is the spice of life, particularly when it comes to food. So I've been experimenting, and I've come up with some pretty good recipes for those of us on a budget.

Without further ado, may I present my Honey-ginger Chicken recipe?


2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ginger paste
1 Tbsp honey
Salt and pepper
1 frozen, skinless, boneless chicken breast

pyrex dish

What to do:
If you are ambitious you could thaw your chicken, but if you're a lazy bum like me, you can pull it straight out of the freezer. Dump all the ingredients on the chicken. If you want to be fancy, you could mix the olive oil, spices, and honey in a small bowl, but I usually just pour them straight on to the meat. Cover with foil and cook at 350-400 until the chicken is done through. *If your chicken is frozen it can take up to an hour to cook.*

Okay, so I totally took a bite before I took the picture. It was just too yummy!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tidings of Comfort and Joy: Part 2

I wrote this yesterday, but I passed out before I could post it. What can I say? It's hard to be the birthday girl!

Today is my birthday, and like Sydney says, one of the good things about having a birthday so close to New Years is that you get two fresh starts at once. 2013 was a pretty crazy year for me; in fact, it's hard to believe that I crammed so much into one year. 

Right after my last birthday, I jumped on a plane and went to a foreign country. I thought about turning around and running away from the security lines. I thought about not going, but I got on that plane and took off into the great unknown, called Italy, and for four months, I lived in the Italian countryside, sharing a room with two other girls.
I explored Rome, eating gelato and drinking delicious coffee. We studied art and visited museums. We saw beautiful churches, got lost a lot, and became very familiar with the Roman metro system. We also just took time to wander: to drink in the sights and sounds of the eternal city. 
Then one Monday morning, as I was sitting in Art History thinking about lunch, as lovely pasta smells wafted from the Cafeteria, Pope Benedict resigned. It was the saddest thing I'd ever heard, until we realized the we were going to be there for the conclave... 

But we did say a proper good bye to Pope Benedict. I was one of the first hundred people into St. Peter's for his last Mass on Ash Wednesday. We went to his final papal audience, and, of course, we wished him a very epic good bye from our football pitch. 
Photo Cred: James Bernard
Then we waited. Our group went to Greece while we waited, but not without much grumbling. There probably would have been a mutiny if the conclave had started while we were there.But, luckily for us, God worked around our schedules, and the conclave started right after we got back to Rome. 

Then one day I blew off my homework to go into Rome. Of course, there was no point, because they weren't going to pick a pope that day, and of course, I know these things. Oh how wrong I was.
 I was standing in a huge crowd, trying desperately to be under a random Italian man's umbrella without being too obvious. Then everyone started screaming, but I was like, "Oh. Black smoke. Lame." Again, my psychic intelligence was working like a charm. 

Photo Cred: Grey.
Then this guy turned up. This photo still sends chills up my back. I can't believe that we just happened to be there! It was the craziest things that has ever happened to me. Every time I think about it I wanted to run around screaming, which is basically what I did at the real thing. 

After all the excitement of the Papal election, I couldn't possibly write a paper, so I wrote it about an our before it was due, turned that sucker in, packed my bags, and headed off to Germany! 
And, boy, was it ever cold! We spent a couple of days in Munich, and then our group split up, and four of us headed to Salzburg where we spent about four days, hanging out, hiking, and generally having a good time. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the Mozart museum is not exactly the most riveting thing in the world. 

Then we went back to Rome, and it was crazy how fast the rest of the semester went by! We took a trip to Florence and Venice. I loved Venice, but it just is not the city for those of us who are, ahem, directionally challenged, but I absolutely fell in love with Florence! I actually went back because I just had not had enough time to soak in all the art! 

Then we hit finals, and before we knew it, it was time to go! So my now-roommates and I headed off to the UK! This was definitely the wackiest trip I took, but it was also one of the most fun. We hit London, Edinburgh, and Dublin in a week! Of course, we just didn't do these cities justice, but we did the best we could. 

I should also mention that we saw the Sutton Hoo helmet, which was probably the coolest thing I've ever seen. I may or may not have had a total fangirl moment in front of this display case. 

Then my friends went home, and I went back to the city where I grew up, which was amazing. I hadn't been back since we moved ten years ago, and it was so nice to just see familiar sights. I had a lot of time to myself, so I just wandered around, but after four crazy months, it was nice to slow down for awhile.

Then, finally, I came home. In that same week, I went to work at camp, and my dear Joy moved. You hear that crack? That's my heart breaking. But she's doing a great job caring for her grandmother, so even though I miss our crazy shenanigans, I guess I can spare her. 
Then after a very long and exhausting week at Camp Cheery, I went to work at Nerd Camp. Also, in case you were wondering, camp and jet-lag don't mix. Nerd camp was a ton of fun. My two coworkers were fantastic, and all thirty of the kids were terrific. So I spent my summer running all over the country: NC, Texas, Tennessee, and back to NC!

Then it was time for school to start, and suddenly I was a junior, which was a little confusing because I was pretty sure that I was just a Freshman, but hey, I made it through one of the craziest semesters of my life. I studied Elizabeth Bishop and Chaucer and even some old English. I caught up with old friends and made some new ones. This semester had some all time highs, as well as some all time lows, but I got out more or less unscathed. 

 I can't really think of an unsentimental way to end this ridiculously long post, so here goes; 2013 was a big year for me. I grew a lot as a person, and I had some really great experiences, but it was also a very trying year with a lot of heart break. So I'm not exactly sorry to see 2013 go, and we'll see what 2014 has to offer. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Tidings of Comfort and Joy: Pt. 1

Christmas has been... frankly amazing. Admittedly, I've spent most of it in bed with my trusty box of kleenex, but even that's been pretty great. I'm more of a PJs kind of girl. I mean, I love clothes, don't get me wrong, but if I have choice to go out or to stay in, in my sweats and binge watch episodes of Arrested Development, we all know what's going to win (hint: sweats always win). So Christmas in the King household involves a lot of vegging, but not in the food department...

In the food department, we have mostly sweeting. Before I went to college, and, you know, got busy, I used to spent all of Advent madly baking Christmas cookies. Now finals make a major dent in my annual baking frenzy, so it has to be done on Christmas Adam or Eve. This year I discovered some pretty rad animal cookie cutters in a drawer and may or may not have gone utterly crazy with the cute sugar cookies.

Aren't they adorable? I don't have very good luck with pretty looking food. Usually I'm dishing up some ridiculous looking dish, going, "I swear, it tastes fine!" So I'm really happy how these turned out. 

We also made our house as fair as we were able, trimming the hearth, setting the table, and all that. Mom usually puts up most of the decorations around St. Nicholas Day, so I came home to this:
Those red balls are actually pomegranates, and there are little nativity sets and Santas in the greenery. 

We usually wait pretty late to get our Tree, not all the way to Christmas Eve, but pretty close. We had a hard time finding a big enough tree this year, but this one isn't bad at all. 
Hopefully you can't tell, but our tree is firmly lashed to the wall. We used not to do that, but every. single. year. without fail, we would decorate the tree, get it absolutely perfect, and stand back to admire our handiwork. Then, every year, the entire tree would crash to the floor. So now we aren't even allowed to put the lights on until it has been tied to the wall. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

 A very merry Christmas from Our family to yours!  we would have sent you a Christmas card, if we could be bothered to send Christmas cards anymore. We stopped when I was about ten, mostly because in America you put a picture of your family on your card, and, let's be honest, we haven't taken a good family picture in years. So instead of looking at pictures of my family, why don't you just listen to the King's College Choir, so much better anyway. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

7 Quick Takes (Because it's Tuesday Night or Wednesday Morning)

I'm sorry for not keeping you all updated on this, but baby Caroline is now a healthy six week old! She had surgery almost immediately after she was born, but it all went well and she was able to go home much earlier than originally anticipated! I now shamelessly creep on her parents' facebooks because she is such a cutie! Thank you all so much for your prayers, and if you are at all able please donate to the Caroline Reedy Fund, which will help defray the cost of all her medical care!

Motivation is running awfully low here at Bag End after our Thanksgiving break. We're currently justifying our utter sloth by having a who-can-put-up-the-most-Christmas-decorations contest with the boys next door. They may have lights on their porch, but dadgum we have a pine tree scented candle and an advent calendar with milk chocolate behind every door! 

I have two research papers due in a week, and I've even started one of them! Words on a page is progress, and, they're even real words! I didn't just whack my head repeatedly on my keyboard. Hey, at this point in the semester this is a real accomplishment. 

Recently I've really been missing the Pope. Not Rome. Not Italy. Not even Gelato. Just the Pope. Everytime I get on twitter and see the papal tweets (in three languages, for some reason I can't figure out), I get super weepy and emotional, and if someone even mentions Pope Benedict, I'm gone. This is probably the most bizarre case of "homesickness" I've ever had.

The weather is Texas is more indecisive than a bipolar pregnant lady. It was freezing for two weeks: absolutely freezing, and I had no winter clothes. So I spent two weeks shivering and miserable, but when I finally go home and get all my winter clothes what happens? Texas decides to have a week of 70 degree weather. Thanks, Texas. 
 My favorite part of the fall semester, intramural softball, is over. Not that I play or anything. I've had far too many accidents with these so-called sports to get anywhere close to those bats, but I am a great groupie. I really love going to watch all my friends play, and no matter what the score is, they're still may favorite team. (Okay, let's be real, I go to the games to socialize with my other non-athletic friends, but the game is a good excuse to, oh, I don't know, not write papers...)

I started making a books-I would-really-really-like-for-Christmas list, and shall we say it's getting a little long. As in, it may or may not be longer than the afore mentioned research paper. I have this great plan for getting a ton of reading done over break, but if previous breaks are any indicator, we'll just have to see what happens.