Secret Treasure

Thursdays are physics days: while I might not have physics class, I do have my discussion section (where we ask questions about the homework, hand in the homework, and take the weekly quiz) and my lab two hours following. Now, two hours isn't really enough time to make going back to the apartment worth it, and I still had to read the lab for this week, so I decided to bunker down in the really awesome physics library:

The architecture and building design on campus (and all of Miami really) is very geometric-modern: lots of squares, angles, stone blocks, etc. Admittedly, it goes very well with the tropical-palm tree environment. However, the physics library is a little window into old-fashioned northeast academia: wood chairs and shelving, some fancy chairs in the corners, etc. The view out the windows even hit more deciduous-like trees rather than palms. It's like I've been transported to Cornell.

An added bonus is that the physics building is in a more remote corner of campus, and the library is hidden away (the only sign is right outside the library, naming it the "Friends of Physics Library") on the third floor of the building. The only way you would discover it is if you needed to go up to the physics department office for some reason, which is right across the way on the third floor. This means that there's hardly anyone in it (well, it's a small library, so it couldn't fit that many people).

On my way up to the physics library - my discussion section is on the first floor - I decided to take the long way around and explore the building a little bit.

I found a really cool hallow walkway thing:

And the second floor was lined with windows (instead of just being outdoors), like you would find up north:

I stumbled upon a little lounge in the middle of the second floor, complete with fridge, microwave, and toaster oven:

It even had a spiral staircase. I think it's for the TAs, because the TA offices were down a hallway to the right of this lounge. And there were undergrad lab notebooks sorted by section stacked on the table next to the microwave.

There was even a quiet little nook by the windows with a super-comfy looking chair. The only downside of this spot is that it looks down the above-pictured hallway. Though I've never really seen anyone down that hallway...

This might be a new in-between classes knitting spot.

Basically I think I've established that the physics building is my new favorite building on campus. I think it's because it departs from the standard Miami architecture and building design, and much more resembles the northeast Ivy layout that I like so much more. It's my new little hideaway.
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Two Years Later

Today, on one of those few occasions that I actually take the school shuttle back to my apartment instead of riding my bike, I ran in to my roommate from my first semester freshman year, Kiara. "Ran in to" is really the wrong phrase - I was sitting in the back of the bus, and she was standing at the front of it. I say first semester because, in the spring, she switched to a different room. Nothing personal - we lived together fine - it's just that our personalities were such that, had we not been roommates or on the same floor, we would not have known of each other's existence. She talked to me about the switch, and I agreed that she would be happier with living with the other girl down the hall, and I got a new roommate (whom I would be very happy never to see again... I'll not delve into it). 

Anyway, during the semester that I lived with her, she was trying to maintain a secret (ie her parents didn't know), long distance relationship with a boy from back home. It was driving her mad - the boy was very clingy, and kept her on the phone every waking moment when she wasn't in class or doing something aquatic. Her phone became an awkward extension of her face, and her neck was eternally crooked keeping her phone propped up to her ear with her shoulder. She would be talking going to the shower, coming back from the shower, while doing homework, while trying to go to bed, but the boy would just not let her rest. She even broke up with him in order to get him to stop the endless, continuous phone call, but to no avail. This continued throughout the following semester, and, the few times I saw her in the beginning of last year, the phone was still plastered to her face. 

Today, on the bus, there was no phone. Instead, there was a guy. A different guy. Probably a football player or track runner based on the Nike athletic backpack with a number embroidered on it. 

And no phone.

I'm insanely happy for her. Happy that she finally got herself out of that terrible, life-sucking relationship, and found herself [what looks like] a stable, healthy relationship. 

Congratulations, Kiara.
Life has a lot to give, and now you are free to take it.

Best Wishes,
Your Former Roomie


This morning, I was at a loss as to what to have for breakfast. Jen was making some shortcut pumpkin rolls (think cinnamon rolls with a pumpkin filling instead of cinnamon), but both the filling and the frosting for those was loaded with cream cheese, so I wouldn't be partaking (I despise cream cheese with a fiery passion). However, it put me in the mood for cinnamon rolls.

Then I remembered cinnamon rolls are a yeast dough, which meant that my cinnamon rolls would be ready in three or four hours. So I nixed that idea, but stumbled on a brilliant one:


I've only ever made crêpes with a crêpe-maker, and the only recipe I had on hand was the Better Homes and Gardens one (ie not French), so it took a bit of tweaking. But it did work eventually, and they turned out wonderfully:

2 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups milk
1 cup flour
2 Tbs oil
1/4 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl with a wire whisk. Grease a 6"-8" skillet (measuring the diameter of the flat bottom part!), and heat on medium-high heat. I had a 5" and a 7" skillet, so I used a 7". If desired, you can put a tablespoon of butter on the skillet and melt it, but I found it messed with the cooking process. Add about 1/4 cup of batter to the skillet (use less for a smaller skillet, more for a larger one), adding it first in the middle, then swirling outward. Swirl the pan to get the batter to coat the entire bottom (it's going to be thin). Cook until the edges are dry and the very ends of the edges are browned (the bottom should be browned as well). Remove from skillet onto paper towel (READ: DO NOT FLIP!). I put a small piece of paper towel in between each as I stacked, but you don't have to.

Fill with whatever you want. For these, I did some with Nutella and strawberries, plain yogurt and mixed berries, and Nutella and peanut butter. I also am a fan of Nutella and bananas, but we didn't have any bananas. You can make them savory with a seafood or veggie filling, or dessert with ice cream, chocolate, and whipped cream. Just make sure to top any sweet ones with powdered sugar.
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Old Standby

Socks are done.

Pattern: The Super-Simple Knitwit Sock Pattern, by Terri Lee Royea
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft, in Blue Mint

I love this worsted sock pattern. It's the first sock pattern I've ever used, and I've made countless pairs of socks with it. I highly recommend.
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Game Day

It's game day here in Miami: first home game of the season, against Ohio State. Personally, I think we don't stand a chance of winning, but it's going to be a fun game to go to, and of course, I still bleed orange and green. I even made []_[] pancakes:

Today I was lazy and used Target pancake mix (Jen's, who was also craving pancakes, and said I could use it). I have a stash of food coloring for yarn dying, and thought this would be fun. And of course they're chocolate chip.

Speaking of the game, it's at 7:30, which means I'm leaving to go to the buses at 4, and won't be getting back until midnight at the earliest. I really don't feel like paying $10 for a small, crappy piece of chicken at the stadium, so I made some onigiri to bring along:

Onigiri are really perfect for this situation: they're small, but super filling, so when I'm starving in the middle of the game, these will fill me up nicely. You're technically not even supposed to bring a bag into the stadium, but in the student line, they just sort of glance in your bag, and wave you through. I've brought my knitting several times, so I don't think they'll object.

Yesterday I got an exciting package in the mail: my underwater housing for my camera!

Well, the camera's not here yet - housings don't exist for my current camera, so I had to get a new camera in addition to the housing - so no underwater pictures quite yet. Once the camera gets here, Julie, Lindsay, and I are going to have goofy underwater picture funtime in the pool at one of our swimming sessions. I'm super-excited for this camera - it's a really high-end point-and-shoot, so it's really like a D-SLR in point-and-shoot format. Important for underwater photography, so I have control over the white balance, but also it means I have a smaller camera to take with me to events where I don't want to take my larger (and nicer) camera. Like, for example, football games.

On the knitting front, I've been fairly productive. I contribute this to class starting and comparative physiology reading - knitting keeps me focused in class, and prevents me from falling asleep while doing all the reading. These socks can be largely attributed to the reading, with a little bit of class time thrown in:

Pattern: The Universal Toe-Up Sock Formula (with a JMCO toe instead of short row)
Yarn: Schoeller+Stahl Fortissima Socka, in Bestell-Nr

You can't really see it in the picture, but the yarn subtly vertically zigzags up the foot. It's awesome.

These socks should be finished by Monday:

They're a pair of worsted socks. The heel turn to the toe grafting on the finished one was knit all in a Galapagos study abroad info session Thursday. I think it was maybe an hour-long session.

And rhodion is coming along well. I'm almost at 5 repeats out of 9 for this side of the stole, and then I start the edging, and then on to the other side! I had to pin it out to get a good picture though.

Everyone be sure to tune-in to the game! It starts at 7:30EST on ESPN!

30 Years

My mommy's gloves are done:

Pattern: Crazy Ribs Fingerless Gloves, by Laura Peveler
Yarn: Claudia Hand Painted Yarns Fingering, in Just Plum

It's a wonderful coincidence, because today is my parents' 30th wedding anniversary.

Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad.

Loves you both.
Miss you lots.
Enjoy Atlantic City.

I'll see you in December.
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Craving Raisins

So, along the lines of my last post, I was craving raisins all last week. Really, specifically in the form of oatmeal-raisin cookies, but any form of raisin would do. Friday night, I was originally going to do lentils with garlic and onions, but that wasn't feeling right when it came time to make dinner.

I wanted raisins.

And then I remembered that raisins go really well in curry, so I decided to go with a lentil-raisin curry. An Internet search turned up nothing, so I decided to go with a lentil curry recipe and add raisins to it. Well, I found one that sort of worked, so I modified it to what I had in the fridge. And the fact that we don't have any curry powder at the moment. It turned out quite well.

Raisin-Lentil Curry
1 cup dry lentils
3 cups water
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped potato
1/4 cup raisins
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
pinch red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Combine lentils and water - bring to boil. Lower heat to simmer & add remaining ingredients. Cover and let simmer 45 min, stirring occasionally and adding more [boiling] water if necessary. Serve over white rice (though yogurt rice would go quite well with this).
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Old Family Recipes are the Best Kind

So, a few days ago on Ravelry - the HPKCHC Hufflepuff UnCommon Room, to be exact - a discussion evolved that was centered around oatmeal raisin cookies. It went on for a few pages, and it became a mini-joke to ask the new firsties about their stand on oatmeal raisin cookies (the sorting was right after the conversation). It took a day or two, but that conversation started me craving oatmeal raisin cookies. FOR DAYS. This was mainly due to the fact that I didn't actually have time to make them, as I had more imporant things to do such as homework and staving off total and complete annihilation in the MSC tank.

So, yesterday being Friday, and therefore not requiring any homework to be done, I made oatmeal raisin cookies. But not just any oatmeal raisin cookies: I made my Great-Great Grandma Heinrich's oatmeal raisin cookies. These cookies are ridiculously fabulous. They're my grandpa's favorite cookie, which is really saying something. My grandpa is one of the biggest chocoholics on either side of my family - it's one of his four food groups (the others being ketchup, gravy, and dill-pickle ice cream). For him to have a non-chocolate cookie to be his absolute favorite, well, it's got to be good.

And I'm going to share it with you.

Oatmeal Cookies 
From Great-Great Grandma Heinrich to Great-Great Aunt Ida to Great-Great Grandma Miller circa 1912
With additional instructions and clarifications by Sarah Miller, 2011

3/4 cup margarine or softened butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 cup quick oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp mace
1/2 cup raisins

Note: If you don't have mace (I think it's one of those spices that used to be a staple in spice cabinets, but has since fallen out of use), you can use allspice or cloves instead. I used cloves in this batch.

Cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs. In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients save the raisins. Add the mixed dry ingredients to the wet, and mix well - until you get a standard cookie dough consistency. Mix in raisins. Chill for 30 mins.

While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350F. After the dough is done, drop by teaspoon-full onto an ungreased cookie sheet, spaced about 1.5"-2" apart. Bake for 10-12 mins. I like a softer cookie, so what I do is bake for 8 mins, switch the racks, bake for another min, then take them out at let them cool on the hot cookie sheet, completing the baking process. The bottoms should be a [very] light brown.

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