Thursday, March 20, 2008

New Beginnings

Today is a day for new beginnings. Not only is it the first day of Spring, but the first day of the rest of my life beyond grad school. It's kind of weird to think that I'm a "Master" now. A master of what, I'm not sure, but that's what they tell me. I think I now feel less mastery of any topic than I've ever felt before, mostly because of the trite, yet true observation that the more you learn, the more you realize how little you know. It's funny that after all that work, all I really have to show for it is a shiny piece of paper with my name and Stanford written on it. Luckily, I get to keep all my experiences too, or it probably wouldn't seem worth it.

I'm excited to break out of academia and learn other things, of an entirely different nature, on my own- even if it may sometimes be 'the hard way'. Don't get me wrong, I'm particularly excited about Jay's permanent academia connections so that I can still maintain all the benefits of that kind of lifestyle- libraries, free gym, concerts and speakers that come to you, perfectly manicured lawns, randomly placed and unexplainable sculptures... I'm just excited to embark on my own new beginnings. Probably the next big, most exciting one being our new family.

Yep, I think there is no more fitting day, than the start of Spring- the season of new life- to finally come out of my metaphorical closet and own up to the new beginning I've been carrying in my belly for 3 months now. :) Plus, I feel like I'm starting to pooch out a bit (at least the well-trained eye would notice) and I'll only be able to get away with our little, tiny secret for so much longer. This Saturday will be the official start to it's second trimester, and our new life in Utah. So much change! So exciting!

On a related note, but not quite so serious, I think I finally really understand what those people were talking about when they made us sing that ever-popular-primary-favorite: Popcorn Popping on an Apricot Tree. There are trees like this all over-campus, and very heavily where I live. Sometimes I look at them and just want to take an armful and make a treat :) Not to mention, they do smell kinda sweet.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Top O' the Marnin' to Ya!

So, I was substitute teaching in primary yesterday (so fun) and one of the 7-year-old girls informed me that tomorrow (meaning today) wasn't actually St. Patrick's Day because they had moved it this year to be on the 15th. I looked at her in sort of a confused manner, wondering who "they" was and what she could possibly be talking about, but thanked her for the enlightenment and wondered if I had really been living in such a bubble that I wasn't aware of the new holiday switch.

Luckily, Jay and I were able to turn to the never-failing source of most worthwhile knowledge to discover that this year is, indeed, a particularly special occurrence... at least if you're Catholic. Apparently, since St. Patty's happens to occur during passion week (the week before Easter), they (Catholic church authorities) moved the holiday up a couple of days so that it wouldn't be during this holy week.

So, now you know.

So what does this mean for the rest of us? Are we not allowed to pinch Catholics if they don't wear green? Can they wear green, even if they're not technically celebrating? Did I miss St Patrick's Day without even knowing it? Or maaaybe it's like when Halloween occurs on a Sunday in Utah and even though people will go out on Saturday to get their treats instead (so as not to break the Sabbath), the non-Mo's get to reap the benefits and go out both days for a double whammy! Too bad I didn't know about this St. Patty's shifting earlier, else I probably would have been pinching since Saturday. Oh well.

For the rest of you, who may be slightly confused or unsettled by this doubling of holidays- not to worry. This will probably not occur again in any of our lifetimes, as the next time will be in the year 2160! We are so lucky to have been given this chance to notice such rare technicalities.

It's sort of an interesting concept... holidays... really anyone can declare any day a holiday. It seems to me that what makes a holiday is just some sort of celebration or tradition occurring on a particular day. Any thoughts on that?

One last thing, and then I'm studying. (Funny how my blog posts seem to get more frequent when I should be preparing for finals, eh?)

So, I pinched Jay this morning... yes, it was a bit unfair as he was about to get in the shower at the time... but anyway, I pinched Jay and said, "Ha! You're not wearing green!" and he looked at me like a lunatic. "What are you talking about?" Now I was the one to stare... after all, he actually is Irish. Turns out this is a tradition unheard of for him. Apparently people are more loving in the East and you get kissed for wearing green, but not punished for forgetfulness. I learn somethings new every day.

On that note, Happy St. Patrick's Day and may I be lucky enough to graduate unscathed.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sleepless in Stanford

The oddest thing is happening right now... Never in a million years would a generally sleep deprived person like me think that something such as this could occur. For probably the last 9 years of my life, I have put social, school, church, hobbies, fun, family... all before sleep, which means my few hours of rest were greatly needed/appreciated and never overdone. Ever since last school year, I've tried to make it more of a priority, and perhaps, now, I have officially caught up to my sleep debt?

Somehow I doubt that it works that way... Anyway, it's kind of weird to be up at 5:30am, eating a piece of toast, alone in my dark apartment. I laid in bed for what felt like an eternity, trying to fall back asleep, and somehow I started thinking about people I haven't seen in a long time, and realizing how many of their last names I had forgotten. It's sad really... people who I saw every day (or every other day in the block schedule) of high school, and even now, I think I'll have to resort to facebook if I expect to remember the last name. One particular person, I couldn't even remember their first name, though it ends up being ironic that it matches the first name of the other person whose last name I cannot remember. Anyway, I'm sure you've all had the miserable experience of begin unable to recall something you know you know and how distracting that is. Perhaps this is why I can't sleep.

Anyway, I've decided to make the most of it and my stomach was growling anyway, so I thought maybe if I resolved the forgotten names and the hunger pains, perhaps I could reassume my previously comfy position. I've never been a night eater either, which leads me to my next discovery:
fridge lights are super bright when it's the first glimpse of light to enter your eyeballs in several hours.

Anyway, I just remembered the misplaced last name (yesssssssssssss), and my delicious toast is no longer in hand, so I'm off to join my cuddley furnace-man.

PS in three days, I'll be a Master! But who's counting?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Mmmmm pi...

Happy pi day!

I wish I had something fun to write about, but I'm in the thick of having a cold, finals and packing for the move next week so I really don't. I just thought I should recognize one of the mathiest days of the year :) It's now just about 1:59pm, which would be a super cool time to post this, but I just gotta go study, so I'm putting it up 15 minutes early.

In the mean time, here's a little pi video that I don't really know what to make of...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Delectable Diaglogue

Hi Marrietta!
I think I overheard at the potluck last night that you are responsible for that most excellently moist and most scrumptious of chocolate cakes. If I eavesdropped correctly, and this is in fact true, and you are willing to share your secret (worth keeping to yourself, no doubt) I would be a most grateful recipient of the recipe. In the meantime, I am fondly reliving every bite. :)
Have a fantabulous day!
Libby McCarthy

Hey, Libby!

I'm so glad you liked the cake!! I love anything dark, decadent, and delectable. Nothing is too rich for me, that's for sure!

I'm happy to give you recipe. Here it is:

Chocolate Bundt Cake

1 pkg Duncan Hines dark chocolate cake mix
1 pkg instant chocolate pudding
3/4 c water
1/2 c vegetable oil
4 eggs
8 oz sour cream
1 pkg (6 oz) chocolate chips

Place first 6 ingredients in bowl. Beat at low speed to moisten, medium speed until creamy. Fold in chocolate chips. Grease tube or bundt cake pan. Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes. Test by inserting toothpick, but be sure toothpick is hitting into cake and not melted chocolate. Let cool about 15 minutes before removing from pan. Let cool and dust with confectioner's sugar or drizzle with chocolate.

To create chocolate drizzle, I melt chocolate chips with a little shortening in the microwave stirring every 30 seconds until chocolate is smooth and thin enough to pour, but thick enough to set up as it trickles down sides of the cake without running off completely. Then I repeat the melting process with white chocolate chips I pipe through a ziploc bag (rather than pouring it so I can create a pretty pattern) by snipping the corner off one of the bottom corners of the bag and squeezing the melted chocolate through in a thin stream.

Oh, one thing I'm not sure of.....the recipe says "1 pkg instant chocolate pudding." I honestly have no idea which size package it is calling for. They come in two sizes. A 4 oz (actually, I think it's 3.9) and a 6 oz (or 5.9). I have a hunch it might be the smaller package, but I used the bigger one this past Sunday and it seemed to work just fine.

Okay, I hope you enjoy it!!

We're in your ward now, so I'm sure we'll see you soon.

Have a great day!



Seriously though, folks. This cake is soooo good. Not too sweet, super moist, and clearly easy to make. This cake is completely Libby approved. I just wish I had a picture :)

Bon appetit!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Daylight Shifting

In all 50 times of experiencing daylight savings, this year was the first to get the best of me. We set our cell phone alarm clock, as usual, thinking that since it gets it's time from some magical place that automatically updates it when one crosses time zones, it would be equally effective at updating for daylight savings, as well. Little did we know, and we soon found out, that for some reason, it didn't kick in until 8am pre-daylight savings time, i.e. 9am, which just happens to be what time church starts. Needless to say, we were shamelessly late and had a lovely scape-goat to blame.

Now for my typical pointless criticism about choosing a name like "leap day" or "daylight savings". The annoying word here is savings.

I mean really... who are we trying to kid? How is forcing me to wake up an hour earlier saving me any daylight? The answer is, it's not. The only thing it's saving me from is being well-rested and a happy person to be around. Luckily, I can usually adjust within a couple of days, but regardless, I think a renaming is in order. Because really, all we're doing is shifting the daylight hours in our clock. Perhaps a more appropriate title would be 'daylight shifting time', or 'now-it's-going-to-be-dark-when-you-wake-up-and-make-you-painfully-aware-of-your-
because-it-felt-like-an-hour-earlier day', or maybe 'testing-your-awareness-of-strange-practices-day'. Perhaps the only way the current title makes sense is that the our we in fact lose is actually being stowed away, or 'saved' until fall, when they make it seem like we get a free hour of sleep back.

Wikipedia sheds some interesting light on the purpose of daylight savings (no pun intended) but I'm still unconvinced of its need. Arizona doesn't use it and they seem to be getting along just fine. Way to go AZ. Way to stick it to the man!

On the plus side, my bike light recently broke. Hopefully now I won't need it riding home from my TA session :)

PS this week is my last TA session EVER!

Friday, March 7, 2008

15 seconds of fame?

Woah coolness! My program at Stanford is mentioned in the NY Times! Funny, how I had never heard of such an agreement, until a friend from the program pointed me to this article...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Adventurous Woman

Today marks the 23rd anniversary of the nativity of a dear friend of mine from college. I feel bad that I've slacked so much on keeping in touch with her, but being that she won't be prime again for quite some time, I think this merits my dusting off of the pen (I prefer these to pencils) and exposing my closet poet. A tribute is completely in order, for she saw me through the good, the bad, and the ugly. And without further adieu:

Ode to Katie Burt- The Adventurous Woman
Inspired by and written for Katie Burt on her 23rd birthday in the year two-thousand and eight
by Libby Day McCarthy

Oh the places you've been,
Katie Burt,
and you're now so accomplished
caring, solving, funny, alert.

She trekked off to school
in a far away place,
And touched all she knew,
improved every space.

She's paced down the street on
a cold, dark night
To comfort a friend
who suffered a plight.

She'll meet you at Starbucks
when your life's going ill,
and remind you of the good
over cookies and steamed milk.

She'll enchant over pizza.
Where does the time go?
If we hurry, the Gate may still have icecream:
Your favorite, cookie dough!

She's traveled abroad,
the Hague, Hungary, Wien;
Surviving vegetable squirtings
and nearly missed trains.

She navigates foreign languages,
she's no fool.
And managed to mime,
do you have a crown jewel?

And once she's returned,
you'll feel you were there,
As you roll with great laughter
from her stories told with care.

Her genius?
Her person?
A catch!

Indeed she'll be famous,
if not, I'll be cross;
For so many people will miss out,
what a loss!

She's a true special spirit,
I hope I've conveyed.
You deserve the bestest, Katie Burt!
Have a fantabulous birthday!