Sunday, January 29, 2012


It's nearly the end of January, and I've just now come up with a resolution for 2012, one that I'm really excited about.

In Houston, there's a somewhat elitist, somewhat sneaky little business that sells take-and-bake meals for busy parents who apparently don't understand the catharsis cooking provides. In addition to these meals, the woman who owns the business made some top secret "buffalo chip" cookies (hereafter BCCs), which she sold for a pretty ridiculous price, especially considering that the base for the cookies was bought in bulk and then embellished. Not cool, Madame Baker. I'm onto you.

IN ANY CASE. This semester, my little buffalo chip cookie, I will figure out your secrets. I will make many many versions of you and force you on my roommate, suitemates, floormates, orchestramates. I will conquer this ludicrous $1.25-a-cookie nonsense. I will discover your recipe, or something close enough to be a stunt double. And hopefully, come semester's end, you, the blog-bearing world, will have access to the fruits of my labor. Because no one should charge that much for a cookie. No one should be able to call "secret recipe" on a cookie that's not even made from scratch. Disgusting.

Here's what I know so far:
  • The cookie does not spread when it bakes. It is a tall cookie, a beauty, more like a mound than a disc. 
  • Cookies made with butter tend to spread more than cookies made with shortening. Cold dough spreads less than room temperature dough. 
  • Alton Brown did an experiment with chocolate chip cookies, changing key variables to make them thin, puffy, or chewy.
  • The texture of BCCs comes from some combination of oats, cornflakes, coconut, and chocolate chips, with additional help coming from any number of sources, such as pecans, potato chips, or rice krispies.
  • They are delicious.

And now, a poem, inspired by Pippin:

We've got magic to do, just for you
We've got oats and 'flakes to bake
We've got cookies to form, ovens to warm
Apron strings to take by storm
As this recipe we will make

*Note to Mom: Any li'l buffalo chippers you want to send my way will most definitely prove useful as taste-testing subjects. Just sayin'.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Surprise! (snicker, giggle, ha!)

This weekend was the culmination of So Very Much. Way back in October, I told my really great friend Laura that I, so unfortunately, would not be able to go to her senior recital on January 20 because I would be back in Illinois.

Then, when I was invited to the Facebook event for the recital (darn you, Facebook), I had a moment where I wished I could "pull a Jonathan Moore," a phrase which here means "show up to the senior recital of a person a year younger than you who most definitely did not know you were coming," which was exactly what happened to me at my recital last March.  And wishing all this made me think, "What if I did?" Alas, I discovered that I was to play in a concert on the very same afternoon at the very same hour as her recital. It was with the heaviest of hearts that I relayed this news to Laura.

This looks like my heart was heavy, no?
But then, fast-forward to the end of October. Inspiration struck. I discovered that the concert on January 20 wasn't actually a full-blown orchestra concert. It was just a concert featuring concerto competition winners, whom the orchestra was to accompany. Knowing that concerto orchestrations don't always call for a full horn section, a little baby plan was born in my brain. In the few weeks that followed, I was more or less on edge about asking my orchestra conductor, who at the time seemed very menacing and rather uncompromising, if it would please please please be all right for me to skip the January 20 concert in favor of going to my friend's recital. Apparently, it was a good day for him, or someone had given him cookies or something (now that I think about it, we did have cookies at rehearsal that day), because he didn't seem to have a problem with any of it. Scuzzore.

After this was all the waiting. And the secret-keeping. Because at that point, I had a perfectly great, documented excuse for missing the recital, we'd both gone through the disappointment of it all, and I love being sneaky and surprising. So I didn't tell her. Oops. This was especially hard when I would find myself sitting on her bed, and I listened to her lament that she'd chosen THE ONE FRIDAY I couldn't possibly be there. And I had to sympathize without laughing. I'd like to think I gained some acting skills somewhere in there, but one can't be sure. But it was by far the biggest secret I've ever had to keep from someone. It was thrilling.

And once school got back for the second semester, coming home two weeks later was pretty much my motivation for everything. My deepest apologies to all at Wheaton who heard way more than they ever wanted to about all this. I had to tell somebody, and Laura wasn't exactly available. January 19 came, I flew home and called Laura after my "grueling rehearsal for the concert," then proceeded to be jumpy, nervous, excited - the whole bit - for the following sixteen or so hours. Lots of sneakiness ensued, waiting in the car until the coast was clear, slumping in my chair in the back so as not to be seen, and then getting to deliver my favorite surprise ever after the recital. It would have made for great TV. OH WAIT. It did. Keep half an eye on my little Facebook page for a video soon. Because of course you're all as interested in this as I am. Right. Good. For now, photos will have to suffice.
So so much fun.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A first time for everything.

Tonight, I experienced a first. I had my first slip-fall in the snow. There are three things deserving blame:
1. I am not all that graceful.
2. These boots, ooh, they do NOT have traction. Warm? Yes. Fuzzy? Yes. 'Tractive? Nope. Will I keep wearing them? Oh, sure.
3. I was impatient (or something), so I cut across a snowy field when there were perfectly lovely snow-free sidewalks available.

Verdict: it's all the fault of the boot company. I'm ruling out numbers 1 and 3 as irrelevant.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Snow again, and another door.

Let me just say this: it's one (very unpleasant) thing to have snow smacking you in the face as you walk across campus. It's an entirely different thing to look at all of the cold from the warmth of your room. It's lovely.

But it's even better when it's a huge white, undisturbed expanse except for one little trail of footprints. In fact, the other day I cut a corner, making my own little tracks in eight-inch-deep snow, and a few hours later, I was going the same way and got to step in my very own bootprints, so as not to disrupt any more snow. Silly? Yes. Worth it? You bet.

Other excellent parts of snow being everywhere: seeing TINY TINY prints made by TINY TINY people. Also, seeing little puppy prints! So great! Makes me want to go squish something.

And finally, I put on my little crafty persona to clothe my previously-gift-wrapped, now-naked door.* Too much fun.

*Note that there are some hard-to-see little almost-origami-except-it's-not-because-I-cheated-with-glue flower things nestled in the blue spots shown above.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Broken record here.

Yet again, I must apologize. For realsies this time. It's been almost a month, and I'm terribly sorry to leave you hanging. (This is the part where you pretend that you have indeed been checking back often and with great anticipation.)

But here we are. Welcome to January, to a new year, and to a new semester. Tomorrow, I'll be back in Illinois, where I belong for 2/3 of the year. And you know, as settled as I got in Houston over the break, I do believe it'll be good to be back. New classes (and new things in general) have quite the charm. I won't ever have to return to last semester's literature class. I get to receive more grades for sitting around and talking about music. It should be fun.

But as much as the new semester will be fun, I have very little news to share. That's what breaks are for, I guess: for not doing anything particularly noteworthy, but instead gearing up for a whole slew of noteworthy events ahead. Kind of stinks for you guys, that I've been MIA for multiple weeks, and when I return, it's with nothing but a little filler. But because you're here, and because you've gotten this far, I'll just leave you this list of some of the random, relatively inconsequential stuff I filled my time with since we last chatted here (and I'm aiming to do this in chronological order, but I make no promises):
  • a little trip to Philadelphia and New York (which included going to see the not-half-bad Addams Family musical)
  • a lovely bout of some kind of sickness that involved lots of very cute expulsion of material that my body deemed foreign
  • getting reacquainted with my bed
  • getting reacquainted with a full one (because somebody decided to bring home a very British - and sadly uninformed in the ways of Winchell family card games - significant other)
  • a whopping six sweaters (among other things) for Christmas
  • a couple trips back to the old HSPVA. Nothing makes you miss home like pretending you still live there.
  • going to see an entirely student-produced play. Props to them.*
  • and lots and lots of catching up with friends, which permeated the whole trip, and thank goodness for that.
  • and then saying goodbye to them all until June. That was rough.
See what I mean? Nothing important. So, so sorry. Let's just hope something exciting happens soon, or I'll have to start coming up with more exciting things to post about.**

*every pun intended. And I've already apologized.
**Ideas on that front? Do tell me in those comments. I mean, I feel like a museum curator over here, boring everyone to tears.