Friday, July 29, 2011

Go Ahead. Be a Cookie Monster.

Usually, I'm a planner. But some things you just have to go for when you feel like it. No second guessing. Just do it.

For me, that means spontaneously baking a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

What a great stress reliever! Measuring ingredients, mixing dough, plopping spoonfuls of chocolatey goodness onto the baking sheets...then enjoying the end product!

Want to make some of my world-famous chocolate chip cookies? I'm going to share the recipe that has been passed down by my family for generations. Either that, or copied off the back of a chocolate chip bag. Can't really recall...

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Also, pour yourself a glass of milk in preparation.

2. In a large mixing bowl, beat 1/2 cup margarine, 1/2 cup shortening, 1 cup brown sugar, and 1/2 cup sugar.
Make sure the margarine is nice and soft. If I don't plan far enough ahead and set the margarine out on the counter, I just zap it in the microwave. Don't let it melt!

3. Beat in two eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Now, this is the step everyone used to be worried about. Eggs! Bad! Raw! Ignore that silliness. Taste away!

4. Beat in 2 1/4 cup flour, 1 teaspoon soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt.
I don't put in all that salt anymore, ever since my one friend claimed to be able to taste the salt in cookies. Thanks to her, I can now taste it. So I usually just throw in a pinch.

5. Stir in 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips.
If you like more, add more! But I prefer less, myself. The gaps with no chips are just as important as the chocolatey bits.

6. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
Don't forget to keep tasting. You want to make sure they're still good.

7. Bake 6-7 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Make sure you take them out in time! Watch closely...

8. After each batch comes out of the oven, put them on cooling racks.
This helps them stop baking! Don't let them cool and stick right on the cookie sheets.

You're done! Hooray! Share these cookies with your friends, and they will compliment you on your sweet baking skillz.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wait For Me

Hang in there!

I'll be back soon!

This week and next will be busy for me. I don't have much time to be creative.

But I'll post here and there as I can. And soon I will be back full force. Crazy as ever!

To fill the time when you would normally be reading my posts, I suggest the following:

1. Clean or organize something. You KNOW you've been putting it off.

2. Bake chocolate chip cookies. Eat chocolate chip cookies.

3. Read all seven Harry Potter books. Then watch all the movies.

4. Visit your local library. Hug a librarian.

5. Take a stroll around the neighborhood. Rescue worms or snails that have crawled into the road.

Thanks for sticking it out! Soon, all will be back to normal.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It's What We've Been Waiting For, People!

I know it seems like years ago, but remember winter?

Remember those long months of misery? Days too cold for snow? Temperatures dropping lower and the wind chill picking up? My pathetic blog posts crying out for relief? Spring? Warmth?

Well, try and hang onto how you felt back then. Seriously.

I'm talking to myself here too, but how awful is it to complain about the intense heat headed our way when we would have practically sacrificed a limb to be warm not that long ago?

The cold made us angry! Irritable! Fat, because all we wanted to do was lay around under blankets and eat!

Now, it's getting super hot, and once again, we're not satisfied.

I know it can be tough, but in a few more months we will be crying for summer again. Get outside and soak up the sun. It's good for you.

Oh, and drink lots of water! But then again, you should already be doing that.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Midnight M&Ms

Well, last Thursday night, my brother and I were where all the loyal fans of Harry Potter were...the midnight premiere of Deathly Hallows, Part 2!

I'd never been to any midnight movie premiere before, so I did a lot of online research (Googling...) to find out things like how early to get there, what to wear, etc.

I thought a lot more people would dress up than actually did...I'm glad I just went with the simple scar on the forehead. It was fun to see how other fans really got into it. Lots of them at least had some kind of wand to brandish. Although I could've done some hunting for an appropriate stick, I decided I didn't need anything else to lug around.

So we got there a little after 9pm, and got to be first in line for the regular 2D movie. (There were already lines for IMAX and 3D.) Right after we got there, it seems like everyone else came, and in a couple minutes a huge line stretched behind us out the door and around the theater. My brother and I just sat there reading the final book (our own copies..), very smug at our sweet location.

After about an hour, we were allowed to actually enter the theater. Where we sat for another two hours. I was kept informed about the time, because excited fans kept yelling out things like, "Only one hour left!" and I had to check where I was in the book and try to read faster.

Finally, it began. I waited until the first louder part came in the movie to open my bag of M&Ms (didja wonder when they were going to show up?). From the first minute, I was completely engrossed in this, the final Harry Potter movie!

It was super fun to sit in a theater full of fans who really appreciated all that this story is. We all cheered when our favorite lines from the book popped up, and quietly whispered things like "Wait, did this happen in the book?" And there's nothing like hearing absolute silence from the fans as we all watched the deaths most of us knew were coming, before listening to the quiet sniffling begin. I was alternately crying and giggling as I got sucked into the emotion of the story, as well as laughing at how pathetic we all sounded. Those were great moments, though. We all love the story and the characters, and we're all sad that it's ending.

If you've seen any movie that was made from a book you love, you understand that it's not going to be the same. There were some parts I wish hadn't been changed, added, or removed. But on the whole, I thought this was an excellent movie.

We dried our tears, I tied up my M&M bag, and everyone slowly filed out to the parking lot. Where I couldn't budge the car from its spot for 45 minutes. Which gave me more time to both reflect on the movie and listen to my eyes yelling at me. Why are we still open...? Shut up, guys. It was totally worth it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Because I Love You

Because I love you, my awesome readers, I am giving you a blog post today. Despite not wanting to. At all.

If you know much about me, you know I like to plan ahead. Be organized. Know exactly what's coming and be perfectly comfortable.

So it's no wonder I've been going NUTS the last couple days, because all of a sudden, a great opportunity presented itself and I will be moving out of my parents' house into an apartment with a friend.

The official day is August 1, and I have a lot to do before then. Including organizing everything I own. Packing. Buying stuff. Begging free things from people, such as my parents. And oh yeah, buying a car.

I'm super excited, but I'm also super nervous. My stomach has been in knots and I've been having trouble eating. Poor me.

But before I can think too much about getting ready, I have GOT to finish these Harry Potter books! I have been reading like a maniac; my nose in another book every spare moment. I'm pretty sure it will be nothing less than a miracle if I can manage to finish all seven before tomorrow night, but I'm going to kill myself trying!

So that's what's up. Think of me, pray for me, and don't expect a post on Friday!

Monday, July 11, 2011

What's in a Name?

It can be tricky being my age.

Which is 22, in case you were wondering.

Sometimes I forget that I'm 22. I'll stop and think: Wait, I'm 21. No, am I 22? Am I really? What year is this... I must be! That's so oooold... And then I get depressed.

Anyway, this age is weird because, well, because of a few things. But for the purpose of this blog post, let's just pick one.

For me, currently, it's weird calling adults by their first names. I mean, it's easier to call adults by their first names if I meet them now. But then I talk to people I've known for longer, and I have to call them Mr. and Mrs.

Like those people you've known ever since you were little? The ones who held you when you were a baby? Possibly changed your diaper...? Yeah, hard to switch over to a first-name basis.
I don't feel like I should be allowed to. Like I'll get in trouble.

And then, I'm not sure what kids should call me. I'm fine with first names, but I find that a lot of parents like their kids to call me "Miss Laura," especially at the library or at church.

That's pretty strange, not gonna lie. It makes me feel like an old maid librarian. The kind who owns several cats. And cardigans...Do I really need to go on?

Anyway, names can be tricky. I have been known not to call people anything, just so I don't mess up what I'm supposed to call them. "Hey, there, friend..."

Friday, July 8, 2011

Harry Potter

Sometimes, you read that book.

You know, the one you can't put down. The one you can't stop thinking about. The one you want to talk about. discuss, and quote.

I've always loved books. Duh. I've always loved the feeling of being completely sucked in and immersed in another world, living through the characters and following the author through the story.

I read a lot of books. But one time, about 10 years ago ( no WAY, has it really been that long?), I read that book.

I had put off reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for a while. I had heard of it. And I had heard of the book or two following it. But I ignored the initial hype. I knew some people thought it was evil; I knew other people were obsessed with it. It had something to do with magic. Witches. Wizards. And some kid with a lightning bolt scar.

But one day, for some reason or another, I picked it up. And read. And read. And read. I finished the first book, read the second, the third, the fourth, and then waited eagerly for each following book to be released so I could devour those as well.

When I finished the final book outside in my hammock a few years ago, I was crying. Because this series that Jo Rowling had created was truly magical. I understood the characters; I loved them. I felt I knew how Harry would react in a certain situation, what Luna would say. I KNEW there was more to Snape than first met the eye. And Hermione belonged with Ron all along.

Beyond the experience of reading the books was the involvement in the larger fan world. Everyone wants to be involved with something bigger than themselves; the world of Harry Potter was no exception. Fan sites were created, podcasts recorded. Strangers became best friends and kids found ways to express their love of the books in creative ways.

When people were saying that books were dying, the first Harry Potter book was published. And kids discovered that reading was not just for school. Not just for work. Reading was cool again.

One by one, the movies came out. Dan, Rupert, and Emma brought characters to life that had only existed in our imaginations. Fans flocked to see these movies, the most dedicated fans I've ever seen. The movies have been different than the books, of course. But they have brought the story to the big screen, reaching more and more people and always pointing them towards the books.

And through it all, Jo Rowling has been the hero of it all. The most beloved author of our time, the one who gave us Harry. Books, the magic of reading, always at the center of this phenomenon.

I have never been to a midnight premier of a movie before. But next Thursday at midnight I'll be lined up with fans wearing glasses and scars, ready to watch the final movie based on the Harry Potter books. I'll be there because these books have been a big part of my childhood, and I want to see these movies through.

The books have been written. The movies are almost all released. But the magical world of Harry Potter will continue to spark the imaginations of generations to come.

And I'm proud to say, I'm part of it.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Network of Food

There's just something about the food network.

Something calming. soothing. lulling.

Honestly, I could just die happy sitting in front of the tv, with someone cooking in front of me.

(I mentioned this particular happy place in an earlier blog post briefly, while talking about reality cooking shows. Which you'll find here.)

I love watching, even just for background noise. I can work on other things while the food network is on. I love to watch people cook and bake and decorate.

Even those lame infomercials where people are cooking meals in fancy schmancy gadgets or grinding up a strange combination of vegetables in a juicer. I find it nice and easy to watch.

Okay, confession time: I have an odd fascination with Man vs. Food. I know technically this show is on the travel channel, but it's about food. So it counts.

What is it about watching some nutty guy attempt enormous quantities of food that makes me so happy? I have no idea.

I also like to wonder to myself if I could ever attempt something like a burrito the size of my arm or a burger the size of my head.

Probably not. Unless the food challenge was ice cream, in which case there would be no stopping me.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Baby, You're a Firework

I've never really cared for fireworks.

At least, not too close up. Big, loud, scary noises are big, loud, scary noises, no matter how many pretty colors accompany them.

However, I know someone who really hates fireworks. Someone who believes with all his little heart that fireworks are some sort of horrible punishment or cruel prank.

That someone is my dog.

The other night, Saturday, there was a big fireworks display going on near my house. While dozens of families were outside, oohing and aahing, waving American flags and whatnot, I was crouched on the floor whispering soothing words into my puppy's ear.

You would have to have a heart of stone to be able to ignore this dog's shaking, panting, quivering body. My poor little boy! I had to remind him that he was indeed too large to fit in my lap.

And those eyes! Looking at me like, what did i do to deserve this? whatever i did, i'm sorry! please make it stop and i'll be really good from now on!

Then, to top it all off, we got a thunderstorm all night. Now I couldn't sleep, too!

From about 3am to 5am, I laid (lay? honestly, I never understood that section in grammar) out in the hallway on a blanket next to my dog, his warm furry head pressed close against me.

What. a. night.

In conclusion, Happy 4th of July, friends! Have a fun, safe holiday celebrating with your family.

Oh, and check out Google. It's all cool and American-y.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Look Deep Into My Eyes

Will someone please tell me I am not the only one who does this?

Picture this: You're in a conversation with someone. This person is doing most of the talking, while you are attentively listening. Suddenly, you realize you haven't been listening.

You realize that you have been trying to figure out where to look. You haven't even heard a word for the last three minutes. Instead, you have been looking at different spots on the person's face. Each eye, the nose, the mouth...

And then you REALLY can't concentrate because you don't know where to look.

You try to casually alternate. Spend five seconds looking at a point just beyond the person's head, look down then up, hang out at the chin for a while...

One of my earliest posts on this blog was about being an introvert. One thing I talked about was that, as an introvert, I need to hear something and then process it. If I keep hearing and hearing and hearing my mind starts to kind of glaze over. And I kind of forget to keep listening.

And then I get self-conscious when I'm not listening. Like, what am I actually doing while I'm listening?

Hence the staring games.

So, anybody else? Or am I alone in this oddity?

Commence reassurance.

Now cats, they have staring down to a science!