Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cat-Sitting and Snow-Gazing

Now that Christmas is over, I can stop lamenting our inability to make it home to Michigan and go back to enjoying our break.

This means reading three books at once and watching trashy TV shows and conducting kitchen experiments and taking long walks in the snow. Yeah, we've actually been getting some.




And because everything is so gray and colorless here, I thought I might as well take some black and whites on my winter walk.




Black and white hat hair!



 Yeah, Spokane is pretty gray these days, but if you look close enough, you can always find some bits of color.




I enjoy the challenge.

I'm also enjoying my time with Scout, the cat I'm visiting while his owner is out of town. He's getting pretty mopey. No amount of petting or playing or talking seems to help him at this point.


It's okay Scout, she's coming back for new year's eve.

Which reminds me, Cedric needs to work on a sparkly new outfit.  






Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Someday soon we all will be together

We had a quiet day today in Spokane. And Joe has already fallen asleep. Here are a few pictures from the day:

Joe gave me a really neat (and extensive) book that explains anything you may ever want to know about gnomes.



I'm about to become an expert. 


Here's a page that describes the different types of gnome outfits.



Hilarious!

Joe's parents gave us a GPS! Maybe someday soon it will help us find our way home.



They also sent us some great Michigan gear. My sweater has a map of all the great lakes on the back and down the left sleeve is the word "unsalted."


We made a very tasty dinner: tenderloin filets, roasted green beans and tomatoes, and cauliflower gratin.


Here we are somehow managing to take a picture before eating our food. 


Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Knit-a-thon


Cedric's been doing a lot of knitting in his free time. Especially since there's been nothing to do while Joe's been sick.

A little Christmas flu anyone?


What's funny is that Joe somehow snores less when he's sick.

Since everyone we know is out of town, I've been put in charge of a lot of people's keys, keys to cars in case the streets will be plowed, keys to mailboxes in case large packages come, and keys to apartments in case certain kitties get lonely.

I've been visiting Scout every other day while my friend is out of town. Here he is looking lonely and abandoned. 

 


And here he is meeting Cedric.




 I'm not sure they get along. Scout is a hilarious cat, very vocal. When I head up the stairs to the apartment, I can hear him cry/meowing and he doesn't stop for a long time. Here he is crying in the dark when I first walk in.



video

Yesterday it took him an hour to calm down. Poor guy.


And here's a couple shots of a semi-snowy Spokane. I like the smokestacks because they remind me of Marquette's.



Tomorrow, if Joe is feeling better, we will make a delicious dinner and 8,000 phone calls.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Gingerbread Gnomes

This morning, Cedric woke up to some strange house guests.


There were so many of them just lying around.



But they seemed pretty friendly. Even though they were very quiet.


They took strange baths, which seemed unnecessary--they smelled so wonderful.


And most of the time, they just stood there with the same weird expressions on their faces.


And then, they just disappeared. 


Too far?


Anyway, my friend from Michigan sent me these gnome cookie cutters this August and I finally got some pastry bags and icing tips. There is definitely room for improvement, but I still think these guys are pretty cute.


The Recipe

I used one of Sandra Lee's semi-homemade recipes for the cookies. Click here for the directions. You just throw everything in the bowl and mix. The recipe says to let the dough chill first, but Sandra Lee didn't in her video, and I'm impatient, so I didn't either. I put a ton of flour on my wood cutting board and used my new marble rolling pin (my thanksgiving present to myself), and I didn't have any dough-sticking issues. Oh and I did use maybe half a tablespoon more butter than it asks for because the dough seemed a little too crumbly at first.

I also rolled my dough out to about 1/4 inch instead of 1/8, and the cookies came out chewy, not crispy.




 Also, you should google gnome cookies. There are some really talented cookie makers out there.

Monday, December 17, 2012

O Christmas Branch!

O Christmas Branch!
O Christmas Branch!
I found you by the river.




I'm almost finished for the semester, so I finally got around to getting out the Christmas decorations.

Joe and I have still never got a traditional Christmas tree, but decorating this branch I found down by the river was just as fun.

Of course, the idea I had in my head was much cuter. I was going to paint it, but was out of paint. Instead, I had carefully--and tediously--wrapped each part of the branch in lights, but when I plugged it in, half of them didn't work. I tested them first, I promise! As you can see, the light placement wasn't as careful the second time around.

Joe helped decorate when he got home that evening. When he ran out of places to hang things, he moved on to other plants. Christmas bamboo!



It has been snowing off and on lately, and isn't really sticking around, but it's comforting to have it while it's here.




It makes me wish we were going home for Christmas even more. I keep seeing some Philadelphia cream cheese commercial that makes me tear up: happy music, thick white snow, reunited friends, family baking. But it's comforting to know this will probably be our last Christmas without all those things. 

And I've got some pretty great company here.

 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Gettin' There

Joe's going to be finished with school one week earlier than I am this semester. Tonight his nonfiction class is having their last meeting at our apartment. He's home now making chili.

I'm in the beautiful week before students hand in their final essays, so I have nothing to grade until then.

I've been finding all sorts of ways to use my free time:

I went to a concert at Gonzaga Sunday night.


There were three faculty musicians: a cellist, a violinist, and a pianist in a really beautiful room on campus. 


After that, a friend and I walked to a cute new bar/coffee shop called Boots. Look at the blender lights!



And the globe lights! It's so magical in there.



I've also found time to paint my spice jars (they used to be clear).




And to take up knitting again. I recently read somewhere that knitting improves your sleep and regulates blood pressure. So after an especially frustrating day of class last Friday, I drove straight from campus to Michael's to buy some more yarn.


 

I think it's working.
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