Well, I guess we made it to another new year and we avoided the apocalypse yet again. I don’t know about you, but I am extremely disappointed with this fact. I mean either I was going to become a zombie (unlikely), or I was going to hunt zombies (probably). Either one would have been great. THANK YOU VERY MUCH MAYANS and your false prophecy of doom! I guess you have now made yourselves completely irrelevant to much of modern society and it is time your ancient society fades into oblivion just like all those other societies that no longer exist and we can no longer remember. As a consequence, like after Y2K, we are left with a pre-apocalyptic world. Thanks for getting our hopes up with your calendar that ends for no reason.
There are, however, a couple of things I liked about 2012, and since the world did not end, you can check them out from the library.
C. Books….Unholy Night written by Seth Grahame-Smith, Doctor Who: Shada: The Lost Adventure by Douglas Adams written by Gareth Roberts, The Walking Dead: The Road to Woodbury written by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga.
Not necessarily in that order. So if you are frustrated with your pre-apocalyptic world and need something to take your mind off the regular everyday mundane world, those are just a few of the things that you can find at your friendly neighborhood library. It is okay if you don’t like the things I listed above, just stop reading my posts. Right now. I mean it. You are now dead to me…dead I tell you. Really, just find something you do like, that would be great.
Ahhh the flannel shirt….it is the iconic look of the angst ridden youth of the nineties, a time when rebellion meant looking like a lumber jack fresh out of bed. It was easy. It went great with a pair of ripped jeans. Plus, Eddie Vedder wore it and he was in Pearl Jam. It was a time when Miley Cyrus’ dad had a number one hit and big hair bands were still the rage. Underground grunge radio was emerging like Winona Ryder in a Tim Burton film (I’m not sure what that means so don’t ask).
Now that we are a decade into the twenty-first century all the music that inspired our flanneled-filled angst has returned with a vengeance. Many, many artist have returned to try and find the magic they once had back in the day. This seems like the place to list them, but who wants to read that? Plus, that would require me to look up each and every artist that has made said comeback and that is too much like work for me to do.There are at least 30 or more; you can sort through this list to find your favorite and then visit the library to check them out.
With that said, those now iconic flannel shirts need to be dug out of the back of your closet, because they are back and ready for revenge. Just ask George Lucas, he never got rid of his and he just made over $4 billion. So here is what should happen, everyone everywhere needs to grab their dirtiest, grungiest flannel and wear it every day to work until they make $4 billion. Because the flannel shirt is the new power suit. Or….OR just watch The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit; maybe it is the old school power suit. Either way, flannel should be your everyday go-to shirt for everyday things such as meeting with the President or the CEO of your company.
While you are at it, grow some facial hair…mustache, beard, whatever…it will go nicely with your new flannel look. By the way here are some of my favorite nineties artists that released some new tuneage in the last two years…Foo Fighters, Cat Power, Flogging Molly, Radiohead, Ben Folds Five, and Eddie Vedder just to name a few. They all wore flannel and so should you.
Does anybody use a dictionary anymore? I mean the book, where you have to open the pages and have some semblance of the alphabetical order and maybe a slight grasp of how to spell the word you are looking up. You can’t replace the good old ink-and-paper, handy dandy dictionary (some aren’t so handy dandy; Webster has gotten a little bloated). Sure, you can now use the internet to look up the word you want (try dictionary.com). Most computer programs, if not all, have spell check. Even Words with Friends tells you that mess of letters you tried to play is not an acceptable word. So, I guess the good old dictionary is being replaced. I mean, I don’t own one.
Upon further review, it seems as though the dictionary is branching out. Trying new things. Exploring new concepts. Gradually sneaking up on you until all of the sudden you notice it again. Like an old friend that never really left your side even though you made new friends like the computer or spell check. Lo and behold, It’s not just for words anymore…..
Okay, so there are a lot of dictionaries out there. Plus, dictionaries are smart to diversify from just defining words and whatever else they were doing (balancing tables). So, head on out to the library and check out latest fad…dictionaries. That’s right, it’s a thing now.
At the beginning of the summer, let’s say around May, my friend asked me if I wanted to run a 5k. I obviously said no. Then he said it was the Warrior Dash complete with obstacles, plus you get a fuzzy warrior helmet and other swag, and bonus, the proceeds go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. So I reluctantly agreed.
So in May I started running…. OK, I will not call it running, more like slow jogging, but not even fast walking. Let’s just say I got off the couch and moved my legs in a forward direction. I made it about a quarter mile and that was it. I was in trouble; I wasn’t really sure what 5k stood for but I was pretty sure I had a long way to go and a short time to get there.
Meanwhile, this so-called, quickly becoming my not-friend said, Let’s run in another race called the Mudathon. Me, being the genius that I am, said, what the heck, I won’t be able to finish the one, might as well not finish two. By the way, these two races have a two-week window between them, and both were set for August.
That gave me plenty of time to stretch my legs out and find all those 5ks that are out there (I guess that is 10ks now). So let me tell you, it takes a lot to get off the couch and train in any way, especially since the only time I normally run is away from somebody chasing me, which occurs rarely or in some kind of sport, but let’s face it, my sporting days are mostly behind me now. About a month into my training and not feeling like I was getting anywhere, I said to myself, wait a minute, I am smarter than this; I work at a library and I am sure we have books on training or getting in shape or something like that. Lo and behold, we do. I found a book called Galloway’s 5k and 10k Running.
After months of grueling training, the fateful day had arrived. Despite the 12:30pm start time and the middle of August date, the weather was perfect for the Mudathon. No rain. No humidity. A slight breeze. Plus a temperature in the mid 70s. A better day would be impossible. Well, except I had to run.
Not just run: I had to navigate 40 obstacles (for course map just click). I guess that is what I signed up for….but I am not complaining because I had a great time. My favorite part was floating down the lazy mud river; my least was the monkey bars. I cannot tell you how many bales of hay I had to leap over; it had to be in the thousands. (video)
Two weeks later was the Warrior Dash. At the end of this one was fire that you had to leap over. To train for this, I jumped over a candle in my living room every time the electric went out this summer, which by the way was a lot. There were far less obstacles in this one which made it easier (course map), but there was some swimming involved which increased its awesomeness! I hate to admit it but for this one I sort of wore a kilt, but so did some of my friends. Also, I’m not reluctant to share with you that wearing a kilt is awesome. I think I am going to wear it all the time. My only worry was losing it on the course in the water or it getting caught on fire.
The best part of the day for me was the camaraderie between runners. Everybody helped each other, either physically or with motivation. I can also report I did too, except for the ladies who had on Pittsburgh Steelers garb; I only heckled them (Who Dey!).
All in all, I had two great weekends with great friends. I met some really cool people and didn’t get injured at all (a little second-day soreness but that’s it, maybe third day as well.) If you have a chance to participate in these or events like this, do them: you don’t have to run or jog, think of it as a hike. As for my training, I can run a 5k, but when doing these events, it is also important to work on the upper body as well because you will be pulling yourself over various objects. If you don’t feel like you can make an obstacle, somebody will help you, or just go around it. The main thing is to bring a buddy and meet some new friends; what more could you ask for in a weekend?
“Take these three items right here. You can have this. WD-40, vise grips, and some duct tape. Any man worth his salt can do half the household chores with just those three things.” ~ Walt Kowalski
The other day I found myself in a conversation about the four tools that everyone should have in their tool box. Many opinions will surface, but here is the list that we developed based on our vast years of knowledge and experience: Duct tape, WD-40, vise grips and a tool that is to be named later.
For example, let’s say you have a leaky faucet. So a quick look under the sink to turn off the shut off valve, only to find it is stuck. Simple solution spray some WD-40 on it and wait. If you don’t feel like waiting and the leak is driving you crazy grab the vise grips and turn the valve with all your might. While turning the lubricated, stuck valve with your vise grips, it somehow breaks and sends water shooting all over. Now grab your duct tape and quickly seal it off. Problem solved, except now there is a faster drip, but at least you got to use your tools. Last tool, the cell phone, it is used to call a plumber.
Here are some other handy uses for your tools: Creating a hole in the wall (vise grips), fixing a hole in the wall (duct tape), causing a slippery floor (WD-40), temporary replacement for a steering wheel (vise grips), getting your sister to be quiet (duct tape), cracking a walnut (vise grips), fixing a broken tail light (duct tape), Free a tongue stuck to frozen metal in winter (WD-40), instant step for climbing (vise grips), and I’m sure there are multiple other uses for these wonderful tools.
Here is a book you can read that you may find helpful: The complete idiot’s guide to simple home repair.
Paula: 1 – Big Bad Pie Crust: 1
So, let’s just say that I had my first official do-over or as I like to call, my ‘Mulligan’ pie. My initial attempt at the Sweet Potato Pie yielded an important lesson: when cutting a pie crust recipe in half because you only need one 9-inch pie crust, don’t forget to also cut the amount of water you need in half…if not, you will have pizza dough, instead of pie crust. Lesson learned. Moving on.
Still slightly scarred by my pie crust failure, I decided to buy another ready-made pie crust and made a second attempt at the pie, using a different recipe. Not only was this pie a total success, but it was also quite tasty and calorie friendly thus proving that you can take this class without blowing your diet. Check out the results below and if you are tempted to give it a try, here is the link to the recipe: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2010/11/sweet-potato-pie.html
Feeling guilty that I didn’t make my own pie crust for my two previous assignments, I was determined to make the crust for my next pie…the Fruit Pie. In my mind, there was only one choice for this assignment – the Apple Pie. I don’t have much to say about the pie other than I did make my own pie crusts, correctly following the recipe. I did discover while I don’t mind making my own pie crust, I don’t really like rolling out the dough. Despite covering everything, including myself, in flour, the dough still sticks to my rolling pin and the counter. I feel like I need to sprout a second set of hands to hold everything in place. Here is my apple pie, overflowing with ‘appley’ goodness! Paired with vanilla ice cream, it was divine.
Next up…the Holiday Pie. According to the lesson, the holiday pies are delicious treats that increase the fun of holiday celebration. Bring on the party in a pie crust!
Move over Marie Callendar, there’s a new Pot Pie Queen in town and her name is Paula…no not Deen. However, with the two sticks of butter that went into my pie crust that might not be far from the truth! I am happy to report that I successfully tackled my fear of the homemade pie crust, and I am quite certain that Martha Stewart heard her kitchen timer chime and knew that somewhere in the world another person had made their first pie crust. I must confess that it was much easier than I had imagined – not as easy as opening a box of pre-made crusts, mind you, but still not the slavish task that I made it out to be in my head.
So, having added pie crust making to my wheelhouse, it was time to move on to Assignments 3/4 – the Main Dish Pie. With options such as Beef Cottage Cheese Pie, Salmon Pie and Spinach Pie, the clear choice was the Chicken Pot Pie. In the spirit of full disclosure, I must confess that I used a ready-made crust, instead of making my own, but the filling was all my doing. Again, it would be so much easier to pull out a frozen pot pie and microwave that baby for dinner, but I must say that I derived a certain amount of pleasure from making my own from scratch. It was a beauty and as an added bonus, it tasted great, too!
Next up…the Sweet Pie, which truth be told is the reason most people want to make a pie – for dessert! I have my eye on the Sweet Potato Pie with a homemade shortening crust. So stay tuned to see if this Northern girl can tackle this Southern staple…
Well, apparently I am because the thought of making my own pie crust, from scratch, is synonymous with doing my taxes – necessary, but certainly not something I have ever looked forward to, especially when I can have someone else do it for me – like the Pillsbury dough boy.
So, maybe you are like me, you enjoy baking, have even made a pie or two, but have never ventured beyond buying a ready-made pie crust from the store. Or maybe you just really like pie – it is after all one of America’s cultural icons, despite the fact that pie has been around long before Christopher Columbus even considered being an explorer when he grew up.
With the temperature outside dropping, this seemed like the perfect time to turn on the oven, sign up for Pie Baking 101 through Universal Class and tackle my fear of the big, bad crust. I have made it through the first lesson – “History of Pie – An Introduction” – who knew that the first pies date back to 2000 B.C. and were a favorite food of the Ancient Egyptians? Not me. And now I am ready to tackle Lesson #2 – “Cooking Pie Crusts”. As my instructor says, “Cooking good pie crust is the most important part of preparing a pie.”
Well, that is all for now – the next time you hear from me, I should have mastered the pie crust and moved on to Main Dish Pies. Between you and me – I think I will skip the Beef Cottage Cheese Pie and the Salmon Pie, but I have high hopes for the Shepherd’s Pie and the Turkey Pot Pie! My goal after I complete each lesson is to bring the results, which should hopefully be an edible pie, into work and let my co-workers be the guinea pigs…I mean, the judges of my pie-baking prowess. I will share their feedback with you – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Bookmark this blog & follow along on my personal pie-baking journey, and in the upcoming weeks, be on the lookout for Database Diaries posts from Andrea and Laura who will take on private investigation and photography!
Want to do more than read about our experiences with Universal Class? Sign up for your own class! Universal Class offers hundreds of classes on a wide variety of subjects – all for free! It’s easy to sign up – simply search for Universal Class on our database page & follow the instructions. As always, call us or stop by the library for a visit and we’ll be happy to help!