Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving, 2003-2008

I love Thanksgiving. I also love cooking. And for the past 6 years, I've been cooking for Thanksgiving. Here's what I've cooked:

2003- Apple pie and pumpkin pie
2004- Apple pie and pumpkin pie
2005- Apple pie and pumpkin pie (and the day after Thanksgiving, I made pumpkin muffins)
2006- This was my first year as a vegetarian!- Apple pie, pumpkin pie (this time, since I was a vegetarian and so I wasn't going to use Pillsbury Pie Crusts, which has lard, I began making my own pie crusts- which is totally worth it, though it does take more time), vegetarian gravy, mashed potatoes, vegetarian "sausage" stuffing, and cornbread stuffing (including homemade cornbread). I was cooking for like 48 hours straight. It was completely exhausting.
2007- Apple pie, pumpkin pie (again with the crusts made from scratch), vegetarian gravy, vegetarian sausage stuffing
2008- Apple pie, pumpkin pie (again homemade crust), vegetarian gravy, vegetarian sausage stuffing, two kinds of cornbread muffins (both from mix)

2003-2004, I made my pies the day before Thanksgiving, since I was in middle school, and got home early that day.
2005-2007, I made my pies two days before Thanksgiving, since at my current school (high school), we have no school Wednseday
2008- Well, I had swim practice and a doctor's appointment on Tuesday after school, so I wasn't even home until like 7:30pm. And at that point, I didn't really feel like making pies. So, I made the cornbread muffins, just to get them out of the way (they were really easy- much easier than the pies). Yesterday (Wednesday), I woke up early to make pie. Then, after I got out all the ingredients, I realized that I didn't have lemon juice (for the apple pie) or tofu (for the pumpkin pie), so while my mom was at the grocery store, I made the crusts. I was a little nervous, since the recipe I used to use for the crusts, I couldn't find, so I had to use a new one (the old one used only crisco as shortening; this one used butter and crisco). The dough was also kinda sticky, even with the flour. I guess it's the butter. Anywho, eventually, when my mom got back, I mixed up the filling for the apple pie. I also made a lattice crust (a lattice crust is when you weave strips of crust on top. It looks so pretty!).

I should also add that most years (well, 2003-2006), I end up with either four pumpkin pies, or two pumpkin pies and like 24 mini (cupcake-sized) personal pumpkin pies. See, the recipe on the can of pumpkin says it makes 2 pies, but I would always forget that, and double it. I thought I was ending up with 2 pies, in reality, there was enough filling for about 4. Before I made my own crusts, I would have to wait while someone went out and bought more pie crusts, but eventually I just made another batch of crust.

By the way, in case you were wondering, it's totally worth it to make your own pie crust. It's SO much better than Pillsbury (or whatever store-bought crust you use). Having tried two recipes (crisco, and butter/crisco), and I can say that if you want the absolute flakiest crust ever, use crisco, but if you want it a little "richer", use butter too.

I can't wait until winter break. I'll be wrapping lots of presents (as always! I love wrapping presents and tying ribbons... I should probably charge my parents this year, haha, rather than doing it for free. If I charged $5 a gift, I could make like $100 or something. But I wouldn't charge). I'll also be making some Christmas cookies. I'm thinking Gingerbread cookies (of course!) and World's Best (similar to these- - except I use two additional ingredients). When I heard it was hard to stir the dough for World's Best, I thought that would mean that it's really really thick. It is, but it's also an enormous amount of dough. Last time I made World's Best, I got well over 100 cookies (and I'm talking normal sized cookies, not those dumb little "mini cookies" that are the size of a marble).

Only 2 more weeks of school, then finals!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Long Day

So today was a really long day...

6:10am- Woke up; got dressed and did my hair
6:30- Ate breakfast (scrambled eggs! yum!); then did my makeup
6:55- Left for school (I had to leave early for the dance concert)
7:30- Got to school; changed in to my costume (they were these gorgeous teal dresses with a little bit of sparkles- so pretty), fixed my hair and makeup, and began warming up
8:10- DANCE CONCERT! The piece I was in was to the song "Way Back In To Love", from the movie "Music and Lyrics"
9:00- After the dance concert, it's time for AP PHYSICS. We did a short lab where we plucked a guitar string and measured the frequency. I like guitar strings.
10:00- Free period, so I decided I should do my French homework (which was due in class, last period, at 1:35).
10:20- Format some pictures for IB Art on my laptop. They were for a project that's due Monday (11/25). I ended up having like a gazillion pictures, which translates in to 10 full pages, with like 9 pictures on each page. I wanted to print them out, and since I can't print on the school's network printers from my laptop, I saved the pictures (in a ginormous word document) on to my USB drive. I figured I'd plug my USB drive into a school laptop, open the file, and print directly from my laptop.
11:00- After plugging my USB drive into a school laptop, it took forever (literally, like 10 minutes) just to open the file (seriously, it was ginormous). Then, I tried to print it. It wouldn't print, so I tried again. It still wouldn't print (damn huge files), so I asked the librarian, and he said to go to the tech office. So I went to the tech office, and told the tech guy what was going on. He said my problem was that the file was just too huge- and not to mention that, the laptop that I had been using had "problems". I decided I'd go on to my own laptop, split the file into several smaller files (with each page in the original file being its own file), and then print them out individually. But
11:45- IB Art! We had a gallery talk today, which I had totally forgotten about. It was really cool, though. It was a group of all women, showing together.
12:40- Lunch. I ate quickly, then plugged my USB drive into my laptop to split up the files.
1:35- AP French. We played a game in which the teacher gave us a French word that none of us knew, and basically (to make a long explanation short) we all had to make up definitions. Some of my definitions: "jaspiner --> spinner en circles (spin in circles... wrong)", "palichon --> (palatial and large... wrong)", "engranger --> devenir plus grand (become more big... kind of right)", "funeste --> comme un funeral (like a funeral... vaguely relates to the real definition)"
2:25- Finally, the school day ends. But before I could go home, I had a lot to do. My first order of business was to print out the pictures for IB Art. I did, but it took longer than I thought. I thought I'd be done in 10 minutes. Um, no. I didn't finish printing for about 45 minutes (laser printers are great, but the ones at school are super slow).
3:15- I'm about to head down to swim practice (which technically starts at 3:15), when I realize, I need my art supplies, which were in the art room. So (carrying my book bag, laptop bag, and dance/swim bag) I walked to the art room, and got my supplies.
3:25- I finally got down to the locker room (it wouldn't usually take so long, but it's kinda hard to walk fast when you're carrying three large bags and a wooden box (part of my art supplies).
3:30- I'm ready for swim practice. Everyone's on deck; practice hasn't started yet.
3:32- Coach hands out the set list for practice today. It doesn't look too bad, until I see... T30. A T30 is when you basically swim laps for 30 minutes... without stopping. T30s aren't much fun.
3:35- Practice actually starts (I should probably mention that practice NEVER starts on time).
4:10- Time for the T30! T30s are interesting. I always go through a few thought stages as time passes in a T30- (1) This isn't too bad. (2) After a few minutes, I realize this is kind of hard. (3) Then I'm all, this is really hard. (4) Next I kind of just get in to a rhythm. The strokes, kicking, and breathing, become rhythmic. (5) I start to think, "when will this end?" (6) The coach sticks a kickboard in the end of the lane, signalling that there are 10 minutes left, and I realize that we are 2/3 done. (7) The rest doesn't seem too bad. (8) It ends. What was really fun about today's T30 was that my goggles were leaking (so water kept getting in to my eyes), and I had to keep fixing them every 50-100 yards. That slowed me down a bit, but even so, I managed to swim 1500 yards (which was my goal, yay me) in 30 minutes. Yay.
4:45- The best part about swim practice is the shower at the end.
5:15- On the way to sell chocolates for a fundraiser, my friend tells me my eyes make me look like a stoner, since they're so red (from the chlorine). The fundraiser is long. Really, really long.
6:00- I'm hungry. There's no substantial food available (I thought someone would be selling pizza or something, but no one was). I'm annoyed.
7:00- I'm really hungry. Oh look, free cookies! Yum.
8:00- I'm bored. I'm really, really bored, and also extremely exhausted.
9:15- Time to go home. My car is freezing (the steering wheel feels like ice!), so I crank up the heat.
10:00- Finally, I got home. Today was a long day. I'm exhausted.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I drove on the parkway

First of all, saying "I drove on the parkway" sounds, to me, odd. Why do we drive on the parkway? Shouldn't we drive on the driveway (and thus park on the, you know, parkway)?

Second, I like driving. What I don't like is not knowing where I'm going, and thinking I'm probably lost.

Yesterday, I drove from school to a friend's house. I had never been to said friend's house. In fact, I had never been to the town she lives in.

But I figured I'd mapquest directions from school to her house, then ask my mom if the directions looked good. My mom said not to use those mapquest directions, and told me a better way to go.

She said to follow this one street "all the way". I originally figured "all the way" would mean I'd be on that street for about, oh, 10-15 minutes. Oh no. It was way more than that. It felt like at least half an hour. On top of that, it was raining on and off the whole time (when I left school, it was pouring, but after that it was on and off). I drove through like 3 towns I'd never even visited before. It was crazy. And oh yeah, I had the temperature in the car set to something like 72 or 75 degrees (Fahrenheit, that is), and all of a sudden, it felt like it was about 100 degrees. I've got no clue why- all of a sudden, it just got really, really hot.

So eventually, I got to my friend's house.

On the way home, I drove on the parkway (hence the title of this blog). Now, I've had my license for over two months (experienced driver, I know) but I've never actually driven on the parkway. I've never had a reason to. I drive to school every day, I drive downtown a few times a week (for dance class, etc.), sometimes I drive to the mall or to the movie theater. But I'd never actually had to drive on the parkway before, so yea, I was kinda nervous.

When I was getting off the parkway, I was freaking out that I'd taken the wrong exit, but I didn't. And eventually I got home okay.

Something I realized though: driving on the parkway isn't actually that hard. It's actually much easier than driving through 3 suburban towns you've never been to before. Yea, you have to drive faster (~65mph vs. ~30/35mph), but people aren't trying to turn all the time, pedestrians aren't crossing not at the cross walk, you don't have stop lights or stop signs every 10 yards, and plus the parkway is pretty much straight (or at least much straighter than most suburban streets).

Sunday, November 09, 2008

T-Shirts (pics coming soon)

So in addition to math, physics, dance, and music, I also like art/arts & crafts. I take IB Visual Arts, and recently spent 3 straight days (~2+ hours/day) matting various drawings and photographs.

I also like to make t-shirts.

I made one last weekend for the Mest concert I went to (11/2), and it's pretty awesome. I bought two t-shirts, navy blue and hot pink. I cut the letters "M E S T" out of the pink shirt and sewed them on to the blue shirt with acid green (not lime green, not neon green, ACID GREEN) thread.

I decided I wanted to do something similar, but this time for Angels & Airwaves. I printed out the Angels & Airwaves logo:
I traced the "AVA" part on to a black t-shirt, and cut it out. Then I sewed it on to a purple t-shirt with light gray (I wish I could call it silver, but it's definitely not, it's definitely just light gray) thread. Then I wrote "Angels & Airwaves" underneath in black, just like the logo here.

I wanted to take some pictures (personally, I think the t shirts look pretty sweet!), but my camera hasn't been working. By that, I mean I have fully charged the battery, inserted it into the camera correctly (and then tried inserting it differently), not been able to turn the camera on (I press the on button, and it just won't turn on), and repeated this whole process about 4 times. It's a Casio Exilim, by the way (and it's a pretty cool camera, I definitely recommend it).

Anyways, I shall have pictures up as soon as I figure out a way to fix my camera.

Monday, November 03, 2008


I think I'm coming down with a case of senioritis. It's not full-blown yet. I'm still motivated to work hard in some classes, but I definitely just want to slack off and not do work in some subjects. I can't wait till January.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Why Caltech's Bookstore Is Awesome

So I visited Caltech last Friday, for the second time. I didn't have an official tour or info session, I just walked around a little, and I went to the bookstore.

And let me tell you, Caltech's bookstore is awesome. Why?

(1) Back in 2006 (?), during MIT's Campus Preview Weekend (CPW), cleverly disguised Caltech students brought some free shirts to MIT pre-frosh. These shirts said "MIT" on the front, and on the back... "because not everyone can go to Caltech". What does this have to do with Caltech's bookstore? Well, these shirts were on sale for $14.95 in the Caltech bookstore.

(2) There was a sign by the shirts that said: "$5 from each sale goes to the 'Retaliation against MIT fund.'"

(3) Sweatshirts that said "JPL" (Jet Propulsion Labratory) and "NASA".

(4) Rubber bats.