July 26, 2010

Drinks & Coasters


It's been a while since I picked up the 'ole crochet hook and started making things again. I have a whole set of drawers full of brilliantly dyed skeins of wool, an entire grocery bag full to bursting with little orphan granny squares, and hundreds (or so it seems) of scraps and snatches of mostly-finished scarves, hand warmers, hats, and ideas. I get struck with inspiration! And then struck again with that mid-project lull, leaving me with lots of little nothings.

Sometimes, however, the inspiration strikes and I come out with something that I honestly need. See, that's what I love about real crafts. You have a need? Let's make something! I needed coasters. I have a really nice glass-topped desk, which is great except for the fact that cups and glasses leave little rings all over it. This weekend I did a big scrub down of my room - dusting, vacuuming, actually putting things where they belong - and I got to my desk top, spotted with all of those condensation polka dots. The answer? Coasters.


And what is more satisfying than identifying a need and meeting it? I mean, and the fact that I love to mix and match colors. Even though I don't really need more than 3 coasters, I have this little desire to keep making them just because I love to try different color combinations.


And hey, what's a coaster without a delicious drink? I've been enjoying mixing and matching flavors in this summer time drink lately. It's great as-is and can easily be made more grown up with a bit of vodka or rum. It's not too sweet, but really refreshing. And while I might put one on my new coaster, it's best enjoyed while sitting on a porch.

- Muddle 3-4 basil leaves in the bottom of your glass. I just mush it around with the back of a spoon, but if you have a good muddler (and who doesn't?) use that. You don't want to pulverize the leaves, just bruise them enough to release the oils.
- Add ice cubes. Fill up that glass!
- Fill 2/3 of the glass with juice. I've mixed orange and grapefruit, or just used grapefruit. You can also use a little rhubarb syrup (which is delicious) with any of these.
- Fill the last 1/3 with club soda, give it a little stir, and enjoy!

July 14, 2010

I'm pretty much a wizard now.

Well. It happened.

I went to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

It was awesome.

It was also unbelievably hot, humid, and crowded. But mostly it was awesome. And while I don't have any pictures to post - yet - I'll be sure to add a few on here one Whit uploads them on FB. All in all, the trip was something that came at an opportune time. This job search thing is really wearing me thin; I'm constantly anxious about where I'm going to be in the next months. I know I shouldn't be anxious, because I have a supportive network of family and friends, not to mention a couple of options that, while perhaps less-than-ideal, will certainly keep me from living on the streets. Being able to leave the confines of my house and just go enjoy a vacation made a big difference. It was like a weight lifted for a while.

Anyway, I'll just share a few highlights, because I think that trying to give a play-by-play of the whole trip could get tedious. Whit and I departed from her house in Maryland on June 23, and took two days to drive down to Orlando. We took 95 for most of the trip, and - obviously - we stopped at South of the Border. That place is...awful. Seriously. What a creepy, creepy place. Anyway, we got to Orlando, found our hotel, and spent the next 3 days at Universal (which is where Harry Potter World is; it's a part of their Islands of Adventure park). Like I said, it was really flippin' crowded in the park, but it was fun to be there and just see kids having a blast. It was unreasonably hot and humid the whole time, which made me admire the stalwart kids who wore their HP robes while roaming about. Actually, I was more fearful for their safety than impressed by their constitution. I wonder how many little members of Gryffindor passed out at the park during the first week?

We tried the Butterbeer (duh) and got commemorative mugs (from which I drink everything now), and we also tried the real beer exclusive to the park. It's a Scottish Ale they serve at the Hog's Head, and it was surprisingly good (even at 11AM...wait, what?). We rode the rides which were as follows: The Flight of the Hippogriff (a kiddie coaster), The Dragon Challenge (a suspended steel rail coaster that NEVER had a line...I guess the families and kids at the opening of the park were less into intense roller coasters, which is fine with me...we took advantage of that fact), and the Forbidden Journey, which is the most notable HP ride in the park. The line is a tour of Hogwarts, and the ride itself is one of those simulation rides where you fly around and deal with like dragons, dementors, quidditch, etc. It was pretty sweet, even if Whitney lost a flipflop (RIP) when the lady next to her kicked it off her foot.

Anyway, the whole experience was pretty great. Sure, there were lines to do almost everything, but we didn't mind. We also spent an afternoon watching Toy Story 3, and another watching the USA loss to Ghana in the world cup. We spent a day at Disney, too, which was wonderfully nostalgic. Though Space Mountain? Not nearly as fun as I'd remembered.

The return trip included a day in Charleston, SC, which was beautiful and a two-night stay with Julie Rafferty in Greenville, SC, where we picked her up to take her to Lindsay & Eric's wedding. And the wedding? Awesome. So fun, so meaningful, just...just wonderful. What a blessing to see two of my favorite people get married! I sang Come Thou Fount in the service, which was an incredible gift to be allowed to do. I feel so honored to have been a part of that day in their lives. And, most of my fave people ever were at the wedding, so that was awesome too! We kept the party going the next day, as a huge group of camp folks, current and old (like me!) went to the Pirates/Phillies game in Pittsburgh. And then, finally, after almost two weeks on the road, I came home.

And that's where I am now. I'm in the thick of the job thing again. I have two interviews today, one in just a few minutes on the phone with the DC Public Schools, and another at Best Buy for just some part time employment. Being unemployed is certainly an exercise in trust, but it's getting slightly easier as the days go by.