Monday, 25 February 2013

80's Music Anger Management

I love Songza.  Love it.  I can choose what I want to hear and it plays it.

I am a little afraid that it can read my mind though.  Tonight, I wanted to hear some 80s music, and so I chose (duh) an 80s music playlist.  The playlist is called "80's Music Anger Management."

Here's the thing:  every song that has played is awesome.  EVERY. SINGLE. SONG. IS. AWESOME. 

Here's what has come on so far (links go to the You Tube Videos):

Awesome, right?

Now "Walk like an Egyptian" is on, so you know what I'm going to do...

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Origami Heart Bookmarks (Not in time for Valentine's Day at all.)

So I came across this tutorial on how to make this cute little bookmark!  I often read several books at a time, and so, I am always in need of bookmarks.  I used to buy them, but that got expensive and unoriginal-- I mean how many Twilight bookmarks does one person need?!

ANYWAYS, enter this sweet little bookmarker. It is easy to make, and its cute.  To make my book marks, I use two-sided origami paper since both sides of the paper are shown.  If you only have one-sided paper, that's cool too just remember that the side facing down when you start is the color of your heart. (If you want the patterned side of your paper to be the heart, it must face down when starting the tutorial.)

There you are, a poem to help you fold one.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Link Up: The No Stress Book Club

If you are anything like me, you like to share about a book you loved.  I love inspiring people to read a good book, and I love hearing about books that other people have read.  My partner says that I will try and read anything.  Really, its talking to people about books that helps me find my next novel to read.   Just the other morning, I went o buy my coffee, and I started talking about Kurt Vonnegut with another customer (he happened to have a copy of Cats Cradle in his pocket.)  And that's how I found the book I'm reading now (Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger if you are interested.)

In short, I love hearing about the books people read.  And I love Link-Ups.  So this is the best of both worlds.  But this isn't a blog book club in the regular sense.  There is no required reading.  We talk about books you have already read.  Each week there will be a new question about books and their characters to answer.  Once you have answered, link up so that everyone can see your answer!

This weeks question:

What book turned you into a "reader?"

I was always a big reader.  I grew up in a house that did not have a lot of books in it, so as soon as I could go to the library on my own, I was there every weekend.  

In high school, I was able to talk to adults about what they were reading, and about what was influential.  I loved my high school English classes, because they introduced me to some great works.  Even though my classmates hated them, I loved all the books we were reading.  (Except maybe The Stone Angel.  I don't know how they expect teens to relate to Hagar Shipley...) 

ANYWAYS, I remember talking to my English teacher about dystopian literature, and he was shocked that I hadn't read 1984.  He said he wouldn't talk to me about these types of books until I read it.  Then he loaned me his copy.  

I read it in 2 days.

It is still my favorite book.   I became very interested in science fiction; and other dystopian books; and reading this book helped to develop my cultural lexicon.  When they installed surveillance cameras in our high school, I was able to understand the comments about "Big Brother."  (And I just made the connection to the once popular "Big Brother" "reality" show.  Oh sometimes I am slow with things-- especially when you don't have a TV...)

ANYWAYS, I always felt a little like Winston in 1984; sort of walking through life, not completely interested or invested; a little depressed about my situation; always wanted to know more, but having none of the supposed power that came with that knowledge... I could see many similarities to the society of 1984, and our society.  This book is probably why I became the "bleeding-heart" liberal that I am.  And I am thankful for that.  

How to link up:
  • Write a post answering this week's question on your blog.
  • Post the link here;
  • Grab a button to share! (In the side bar)
  • That's all there is too it.  No stress!

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Made: DIY Bow Headband

Its finally been cold here!  So, it was time for me to get my knitting needles out and whip up a headband for my ears!  I don't like wearing hats at school because I don't want to mess up my already frizzy hair.  And, its really difficult to find hats that a) fit over my afro; and b) don't cause my hair to become a frizzy mess after I take it off.  So, headbands are a total lifesaver for me here.  

I looked around for a pattern that I liked, and none of them were exactly what I liked.  So, I used this headband pattern, and made up my own bow pattern.  Which I will share with you right now:

Knitted bow pattern:

Less than 100 yds of worsted weight yarn ( I used some alpaca/wool I got from a farm around here)
US size 8 (5 mm) knitting needles
Yarn needle for putting it all together 

Part 1: The Bow
CO 17 sts.
Knit in st st for 7 inches (18 cm) then cast off.  You will have a rectangle, with the sides curling inwards.  You totally want this.

Part 2: The tie
CO 6 sts.  This is the middle part of the bow.
Row 1: K1, P1, K1, P1, K1 P1.
Row 2: Same as row 1.
Continue in pattern until you have completed 8 rows.  
Cast off. This will be a tiny ribbed rectangle.

Putting it together:
Take the bow (part 1) and sew the ends together into a tube.  Fold the tube in half with the seam in the back center.

Pinch the middle of the tube into a bow shape, and wrap the tiny ribbed rectangle (part 2) around the middle of your bow.  Sew the tie in place, and secure with a couple stitches into the bow.  

Attach to your headband, and style that thing!

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Foodie: Nutella Brownies

What more do you need for a title when each of those words make my tummy happy?

Being stuck at home during Snowmageddon had its perks.  One was that D and I cooked a huge meal from scratch.  We made a chicken pot pie, but instead of using pie crust, I made a cornbread crust.  It was so good.  Naturally we needed a dessert that would go with that, so I whipped up some Nutella Brownies.

Nutella was something that I knew about as a kid, but my mother would never let me have it.  Kids at school got mutella sandwiches for lunch, and I sometimes had some of those, but not until I was an adult did I get to enjoy this delightful spread on almost EVERYTHING!

My favorite thing to do is to dip pretzels into Nutella-- but I'm not allowed anymore because one time, I ate so many that I was sick.  So now we are only allowed to get the small container, and only if there are no pretzels.  D thinks that if we don't buy them at the same time, I won't eat it and be sick.  I don't know why he wants to keep us apart.  I'm a grown woman, if I want a Nutella stomach-ache, I can darn-well have one!

ANYWAYS, we made Brownies.  And they are good.  They are a little chocolatey, and a little hazelnutty.  Want a recipe?  Here you go:

Nutella Brownies (make one 8x8 inch pan) Adapted from Mother

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Nutella
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Using an electric mixer or hand mixer, blend butter sugar, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add Nutella and stir until mixture is creamy. Stir in flour.
  3. Pour into a greased and lined 8-inch square pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. Don't over bake! Cool before cutting.
There are variations you make on these too.  I want to try peanut butter instead of Nutella, for a peanut butter blondie type bar.  Or you could add some cocoa for more chocolate flavor.  And when I try these variations out, you will be the first to know blog.

Now I'm off to have a brownie for breakfast.  Don't judge me.  You would too.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Apocalypse Now: Snowmageddon 2013

Looka all that snow/ Not that much at first/ Walking is becoming a chore
Visibility is not that great/ It does look pretty though/ Futility, thy name is shovel
Up to the tops of my boots now/ What one wears for Snowmageddon/ Thank goodness, coffee!

I have a strange fixation with the apocalypse. 

Whenever people tell me about some HUGE event that will probably make traveling and stuff a little less convenient, I like to give it an inappropriate title.  When they closed the Gardiner Expressway in Toronto down to fix it, people were worried that they wouldn't be able to get anywhere in the city, since that expressway was a main artery.  So I liked to refer to that weekend as "Carmageddon" because people were talking about it like it was a CATASTROPHE!

Today we had a little snow storm.  But people have been talking about it for days.  Yesterday the buzz at school was that there would be a snow day.  And lo there was.  (I shall never doubt you again Dee.)  Because people were "preparing" for this "emergency"  D and I started calling it "Snowmageddon" in our household.

Unfortunately, the frozen end-of-the-world is not enough for D to stay home for work.  So off he went in the thick of it for justice or whatever.

Me, I stayed in bed and dozed.  Texted some teacher friends congratulating them on a free day of rest, and read some of my book.  But I got wondering how bad it was outside.  So I decided to brave the storm and take some adventure photography.

Really, it wasn't that bad.  Just a lot of snow.  A lot of snow.  And a lot of bad driving.  And shovellers.

I was funny though, I took some pictures and walked around for a bit, and noticed that my fave cafe was open.  So I took a break, and waited before I went out to face the snowpocalypse again.  By the time I drank a coffee and ate a muffin, it had snowed almost 6 inches.

And I started thinking about other types of end-of-the-world scenarios.  Here's what I thought of so far:
  • "A-pod-calypse": Over pollenation of ragweed and other weeds that lead to the over-active allergies of people to spread a virus that will end us all.
  • "Sunmageddon": the explosion of the sun, not to be confused with  the Hotpocalypse which is extreme global warning, and the need for sunblock SPF 1 million.  Which again is different from the "Hot-Pocketalypse": which is extinction by eating Hot Pockets.
  • "Robacalypse": The rise of the machines.  hopefully they will just create a Constitutional Robocracy instead of using us for batteries.
  • "Infomageddon": The internet crashes, and we are left to our own devices.  Does anyone know how to use a dictionary anymore?  What about a card catalogue?
  • "Zombegeddon": Um. Zombie apocalypse, natch.
  • "Babygeddon": No more babies.  No more people.  Like in Children of Men by P.D. James.
  • "Crunchmageddon": the opposite of the Big Bang.
Besides being a strange young person, why do you think about these things, Stephanie?

I'm glad you asked that, voice in my head.  I have two theories:

First:   Every time I read the news, or watch something on TV, I'm confronted by news of things that will or should have killed me.  Its tiresome.  I refuse to be scared of possibilities.  So I give them funny names.  My brain tumor scare was "Cancergeddon."  Its how I deal with the fear of the unknown.  I guess.

Second:  I really do think that how we think about our end, can help us to be better people, thereby avoiding that ending.  Its why I like to read apocalyptic novels.  It is interesting to think of how writer see humanity.  Will we come together and help each other out?  Create a new utopian society?  Or will we become even more violent, and competitive and try to eat each other?  it is a great philosophical question.  Much more thought-provoking than knowing what someone thinks about a glass of water. So, are people inherently good, or bad?

I'll leave you with that question.  I'm off to count our canned goods.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Will answer for friendship

So, Sierra doesn't think she had any friends to tag with this questionnaire thing. That just isn't true, so I tagged myself.  Here are my answers:
1. What was your first job? – My very first job was babysitting.  I watched this kid who was like 6 years younger than me while his mom went to her club meetings or something.  He was the greatest kid.  Not hard to watch or anything.  I would let him stay up, and then 5 minutes before his mom would get back we would rush him to bed.  after a while, he would decide to go to bed at his bedtime.  He said that he would be too tired in the morning otherwise.  See?  You don't have to be a hard ass to get kids to do what you want!

My first "real job" was as a youth leader and lifeguard at the YMCA.  I taught swimming lessons, and a youth leadership program.  It was one day a week, and it paid pretty well.    

2. On a scale of 1-10, how much do you hate Nickelback?  40+.  But, Fox You (Very Much) loves them; and I can't figure that out.

3. Dumbledore gives you a cloak of invisibility. Where do you go with it? – Lately, I've been thinking about celebrity couples.  Not the lame ones, but the really fabulous ones.  I wonder if Laurence Fishburne and his wife Gina Torres walk around professing their fabulousness.  So I guess I would use it to spy on celebrities.  And the ones I don't like, you bet I'd sell those stories.

4. Who are your celebrity crushes? – Um, none really.  I love Brandon Flowers, but a lot of people don't know who he is, so more for me.  He's a little unkempt, but that's how I like my boys.  I like them to look a little homeless. Besides, he's a musician.  They are far superior to actors.  Movie stars give me the creeps.  I mean, you don't know who they will be when you are talking to them.  They make their living lying to people.  How can you know that they are ever sincere?  Trust?  I doubt it. 

5. Would you rather be the top scientist in your field or get mad cow disease? – Top scientist.  Have you seen the movies?  They always get into cool adventures, and have awesome romances.  Mad cow disease just gives you... I dunno... cramps?

6. Zero ramifications: who do you wish you could punch in the face? – Just one?  Or one a day?  I need more details here.  Can I throw one punch and line a bunch of people up on the other end of it then run down the line?  If so, then Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter.

7. How do you prefer your coffee? – One spoon of sugar, and enough soy milk until it is the same color as my skin.  That's what I tell people when they pick up coffee for me.

8. Have any books inspired your spirituality recently? –The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood talks about an elaborate religion ("called the gardeners") based on environmentalism; and that was pretty intriguing.  After I read it, I changed my Facebook profile to note that my religion was ecology.  I think that's the closest I have ever been "spiritually inspired."  What do you want?  I'm an atheist. 

9. What color light saber would you chose in a battle with Jar Jar Binks? – Pink.  I've never seen a pink one and its about time.

10. Are you original? Are you the only one? Are you sexual? – No.  The costumes in that video did rock though.  And if we're being honest, I did learn that dance routine for a recital.


I answered the questions in hope that you will consider me a blog friend.  So, what d' you say, Sierra?