Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I need to dig out my camera, don't I?

When first making tamagoyaki, start with one or two eggs rather than three. Then again, it was a tasty monster. There's even some half-decent looking slices for tomorrow's lunch bento. ^^
Hopefully I can get something green to put in it too; I'm grabbing a salad after class (meaning soon. I hope.)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Jumping on the bento bandwagon

I read some food blogs regularly, and among them are "Just Hungry" and "Just Bento", two Japanese-themed sites which are run by the same author. After reading so many delicious-sounding recipes, it seems to me that there's no reason I can't do this too.
Plus, it's a great way to enact portion control... something I usually don't pay all that much attention to.
(One nifty tip I picked up is that the volume of your container in milliliters roughly equals the number of calories it will hold. Of course, that depends on what you put in it, but if it's heavy on rice as Japanese bentos tend to be, then this should be roughly accurate.)
I decided to begin yesterday, even as Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season comes upon us. Nowadays I'm grateful for enough time to actually make "real" food, as opposed to microwaving a bowl of canned soup and running back out the door.

So last night for dinner my boyfriend and I made tenpura, which we both enjoy a lot and it's basically the one way I can get him to like fish! (Tenpura involves a very light batter in which things like sliced veggies, fish, shrimp, etc. are quickly deep-fried.) Before slicing up the veggies, I put some brown rice in my mini rice-cooker and let that start, as brown rice takes a long time to cook. As we cooked and ate, I discovered that--surprise!--I had sliced up more veggies than we were willing to fry and eat (this is completely normal for me. I'd rather make too much than not enough.) Therefore, I threw those in a baggie to spend the night and after a lovely hot breakfast this morning of egg, cheese, and homemade biscuit sandwiches, I stir-fried last night's leftovers this morning before packing them in a container with some of the brown rice and a few bacon bits for extra flavor.
It made for a light, filling lunch, which was my intention. Though now I realize I salted the rice a tad too much; oh well.
Now I have rice for the rest of the week!
...granted, I'm going home on Wednesday, so I'll have to eat it soon. But it's a start!

The real trouble will come with planning things out. Hopefully I can get more things like canned tuna so bento-making won't take hours of prep work. Though I do have a plan that involves that venison in the freezer for when I get back...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I'm eating in the lab!

Let me explain: in a place often associated with arcane equipment and dangerous chemicals of all kinds, there is a place where I can nuke some leftovers in a conveniently close microwave and eat them right here at the bench.

It seems weird that eating in a lab makes me feel a bit rougish, even like a rebel, but when one goes through the mandatory safety training, one of the biggest things they stress (aside from safely seperating different kinds of chemicals) is the absolutely no eating or drinking in the lab rule. This is pretty fun. (and yes, my life really is this exciting.)

Now granted, I'm not down in the lab where I usually work--this one is on a different floor and under someone else's eye. It was interesting to see all the signs around here saying "No hazardous materials allowed! Designated area for food and drink!" It's remarkable; the place feels much more human and less sanitary/robotic/sterile.

Anything tastes better when forbidden but you get some and cherish every bite anyway. I'm going to enjoy my couscous.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

First off: let the Onion say what it will of the original Fantasia--I still love it.
Every cartoony second.

And now, back to your arbitrarily scheduled blog post.

Hoo boy--looks like I get to register for classes. (Ah, the joys of being a senior!)
It looks like I'll have a pretty full load too--I need a GIS class, physics, hydrology, and a class on the atmosphere. I wonder if it's possible to skip either hydro or the atmosphere, as they both fall under the same "extra sciences" type category... else that would be 4 classes all with labs, and one of them is physics XP Math and I can get along, but physics confuses me.
I'd like to throw a "fun course" in there just to break things up, like the one on Scandinavian Folklore I found while course-shopping earlier today. Plus I've heard that hydro is a real pain; most of the people in my problem-solving class group are taking it now, and it does sound hard. Not only is the material tough, but it seems like the professor doesn't really take the time to explain things very well, which definitely would be a problem. I'm just not looking forward to all the math either.

At this rate, I might end up taking a class or two next summer and working in the off time... the upside is that I'd hold on to my current job, which pays well and is really just menial tasks anyway. Then it would make sense to take the rest of the year off, work, and prepare for the GRE and grad school.

still don't know what I want to study. Effects of a fire regime on buckthorn regrowth and its potential as a control tool? How some animal affects some aspect of plant growth in Yellowstone? Anything in Yellowstone...

I fell in love with the place as soon as we got into Montana. Sixteen people and their luggage for the week packed into two Jeeps and one SUV, sixteen hours from the Twin Cities to Gardiner, Montana. Best spring break I've ever had. And I'd love to go back if I could--get a job doing anything! Ideally some kind of ecosystem analyst or biologist, but I'd be willing to start as a tour guide if it meant I could do my own research there. Maybe I could get into fungi that can handle those extreme conditions like some bacteria do, or maybe there's yeasts that can do it... thermophilic fungi? (New band name! :D) I know there are a few species that can survive extreme temperatures and dessication just fine... some brown wood-rotting fungi we looked at in my Bioremediation class comes to mind. Maybe I'll go into bioremediation. I just hope something works out.

Monday, November 9, 2009

the future is now, or at least it could be

is it possible to skip all the work that goes into various school projects and go straight to winter break? I have one report that I suspect is due tomorrow (and I can't check that at the moment, as the elderly machine I'm currently using is having issues with Adobe Reader) and my problem-solving class group also wants to meet tonight so we can go over our findings so far. We spent a month surveying trees. I mean, it's all for the good of the community we're helping and developing our scientific skills, but I am *so* glad that is done.

I have senioritis, and it seems like it's about time. Normally I love college, and would like to stay and study all kinds of different subjects if I could. But lately I've been feeling that if only I could get a decent-paying job and work for a while, then I could have money for a car and a bigger apartment and all kinds of other things. Hell, I'd have a car! That in itself opens up all kinds of possibilities (I'm infected with wanderlust and it's frusterating to settle with daydreams)--everything from a weekend road trip to being able to go to the grocery store and really stock up on food whenever I want. Whenever I have the time, I could go forth and do!
The fact that I either bus, walk, or occasionally carpool everywhere does give me a bit of green pride (in that I'm using transportation options that emit less greenhouse gases and use less fossil fuels) but I think I'm just getting selfish or something; I want to move on. I want to be more independent: get a house with a big lot, get a good job I can plug away at for a while (if only to get a better job later on) and feel like I'm doing more than just preparing for the future. I'm an adult, dammit, and I want to act like one.
I feel like someday is getting closer and closer: someday I'll have kids and a big dog and a house with enough yard for some huge gardens and I'll make homemade meals all the time and I'll have a well-paying, meaningful job...

Monday, November 2, 2009

autumn musings

Well, I hope everyone had a good Halloween/Samhain/Disingnights/weekend :)
(just wait, soon enough it'll be Chrismahannakwanzayuleka :P)

I had a good weekend, overall. Saturday was spent mostly in my pjs making chocolate-chocolate chip cookies (check the recipe from Joyofbaking.com, I've had great success with it) before dressing up in my Ren-faire duds and heading out with boy and friends for the evening. I'll have to post a pic of the corset later... yes, I did make my own corset for the Faire ^^ But that's another post in the making.
As the evening went on, they decided I had to see Shaun of the Dead as I hadn't before. Generally I'm a total wuss when it comes to horror movies, but this was just funny. Life tends to be funny when your rum and Coke is in a coffee cup and since the Coke is flat, it looks just like coffee...

Overall, we had a good time. The next day I packed all my crap up (I had lots of stuff to haul, being car-less) and waited for my ride to our Samhain celebration with my Proto-Grove (a Druid group... mostly), which was less a serious reminiscing of our dead ancestors than one of our normally solitary witchy members having a go at leading for the first time. She did just fine :) and the potluck afterward was awesome as usual. It had been years since I'd had Hamburger Helper, and yet it was still delicious. Funny how some things don't change no matter how much you do... There was also roast chicken, squash, very good chili and my cookies! So I returned home to lounge on the bed in a food coma while feeling bad that we weren't at my place/leaving the cat alone for another night. But I guess he was okay... though he did run out of water, so that was top priority when I got home this morning. Very glad I got an early bus and had time to spend with Genki before class and work today; I still feel the poor kid is alone too much.
I know it seems weird to say that of a cat, but as my boyfriend pointed out in the first place, he's really more like a dog. (He still thinks he's alpha no matter what... but other than that, he does crave attention in a very doggy manner.) Hopefully the new laser-pointer my friend got me will help us remember to play with him more often; that cat lives up to his name. (Genki is Japanese for healthy, energetic, get-up-and-go attitude, etc. We're thinking of adding "spaz" to the list of acceptable translations.)

So now it's a new year (according to old Celtic ways of thinking) and I've been pondering that. As a kid, I knew about the Jan. 1 new year, and the Chinese new year sometime in February (as it's based on the lunar calander so the date changes every year)... I've never really thought about a new year starting in the autumn. Granted, I have an autumn birthday, so to me it seems that from Halloween on it's time to party :)
And when autumn does roll around, I feel like it's "my" time. It's probably just my ginormous ego, but I feel like the leaves are changing, it's getting chilly, now's the time to curl up on a sofa with cocoa and stew and feel satisfied with things. I was born this time of year, so it's my time to start anew. I'm not much for spring--all the mud and rushing around and cold rain doesn't suit me. Summer is hot, though it's nice that everything's finally green, and late summer I love especially--the world is golden, it's hot but not muggy, the bugs are winding down and the sun is at her peak. I finally feel like I can settle down into my work and get things done (including school, I always seem to do better fall semester than spring--by the time it's spring semester, I feel like winter break shouldn't be over and I have all kinds of trouble focusing on schoolwork).
How's autumn for you?