February 01, 2008

Sarah: Crunch, crunch

Dear Internet,
I am fine, but I was in a little bit of a car accident today. I sort of have a feeling that the insurance company will total my car, since it's worth about $200 and a paper clip.
I'll show you pictures soon, as well as a lovely portrait from this coming weekend of myself in snowpants. I'm going snowmobiling this weekend. "Woo"s will be screamed, cocoa will be sipped, jokes will be told, and I am excited.
Now um... does anyone have a neck brace I can borrow? Ow.
Love, Sarah

February 02, 2008

Lisa: Claremont

I've been missing my baby brother, Jeff. After a year away at Harvey Mudd College, last May he left for a two-year missionary stint in New Jersey. Sarah and I drove to California to pick him up from school, and he took us on a tour of the gorgeous Claremont Colleges while we were there. I thought I'd post some pictures of the campuses because 1) they're pretty and 2) they make me think of Jeff.

Harvey Mudd is where Jeff found his people. It's a small, private college that focuses on math, science, and engineering. Bill Nye the Science Guy is speaking at their commencement next year. The architecture has some kind of proto-Aztec vibe, featuring decorative "warts," where the students hang their unicycles. Really. Here's Jeff's dorm (Case), the dining hall, and the man himself. There are a few more pictures after the jump.

Pitzer College has xeriscaped gardens and the buildings are covered with murals (many painted by students). Here is the Grove House restaurant, the Interhueman mural, and some kind of tower. More pictures after the jump.

Claremont McKenna is one of the larger of The 5Cs, and is big on the social sciences. We caught them setting up for graduation festivities.

Pomona College is where Real Genius was filmed (but the movie is based on CalTech, a Harvey Mudd rival). Their mascot is a chicken. I know Jeff told me more about all the colleges when he was showing us around, but this crap is what I remember. More pictures after the jump!

At Scripps College, the women's college, we met up with Jeff's friend Sally for an insider's tour. Scripps is beautiful, and is full of little walled gardens and things, so I took a ton of pictures (lots of which are after the jump). The center picture here is the common room of one of the dorms, if you can believe that.

If you read World War Z (WHICH YOU SHOULD), you might remember that a bunch of Claremont students barricaded themselves inside Scripps and fought off thousands of zombies. When I got to that section of the book, I stopped reading and yelped to Blake, "Jeff survives!" He had no idea what I was talking about.

The five Claremont Colleges are on one contiguous piece of land, and share a central library:

More from Harvey Mudd:

More from Pitzer College:

More from Pomona College:

More from Scripps College:

February 03, 2008

Sarah: Snowmobiling

It was a blast, of course. And I took a bunch of pictures. Oh, and I forgot to bring my makeup to my parents' house, so maybe squint your eyes so that you don't notice.

Getting ready:

Snow pants are generally unflattering, but I was glad to have them. Thanks for letting me borrow them, Marci! I didn't have any appropriate boots (I have knee-high leather boots or running shoes. Apparently these aren't made for playing in the snow. Who knew?), so we stopped by the convenient but soul-sucking WalMart to get boots for my brother Dave and myself. But you know what costs less than hiking or snow boots? A pair of galoshes. And they are AWESOME in the snow. My feet emerged completely dry after several hours outside.
You can also see me modeling my sunglasses that I borrowed from my Mom. Stylish!
Dave and Angie are cute. Nice helmets, right?

Waiting for our turn:

My parents have some friends who own a large property outside of town. They let us play in their fields. We also drank cocoa and played with their adorable dog that loved the snow. They have their own little skating pond. How cool is that?

Fixing the Snowmobile:

Okay, I didn't do any actual helping, but we chilled out for a little while after our snowmobile decided to stop working. Eventually my dad healed it and all was well.

All in all, it was a fun weekend. Thanks Mom and Dad!

February 04, 2008

Sarah: Sports Fans

While watching the Super Bowl, I enjoyed the company of Lisa and Blake. The conversation highlight reel:
Why cheer for the Patriots: they're undefeated, Tom Brady is good looking.
Why cheer for the Giants: they're the underdogs, Eli Manning is the Jim of the quarterbacks.
They should hire the announcer from Friday Night Lights. It was way easier/more interesting to listen to him.
Does loving Friday Night Lights make me and Lisa enjoy the Super Bowl more? Perhaps. It makes the game more accessible and makes us more interested in the players.
Regarding the half-time show, Blake declared "They sound pretty good for being one thousand years old."
The players were low on potassium, so the announcers informed us that there were bananas on the sidelines to combat muscle cramps. Then followed the longest banana shot ever.
Tom Brady's chin demands that you find him attractive. Stop bossing us, Tom Brady's chin!

February 05, 2008

Sarah: Format

Form has been on my mind lately. An excerpt of a quick statement I wrote:

I am interested in the aesthetic quality of literature and text. Studying literature is not only about the content of the materials one reads. It also leads to studying and appreciating form. The audience's experience of a text is not limited to the words. Holding the weight of a book, smelling musty pages of an out of print text, turning the glossy pages of a magazine, letting your eyes be drawn to a well-designed poster: these are all ways that a reader is influenced by design and medium.

Lisa: we voted

Nora and I voted for Obama. What about you?

Lisa: I'm just saying...

To Whom it May Concern:

If you complain to my boss about my appallingly loud voice and even go so far as to suggest that vocal volume should be taken into account during the hiring process, I may be less inclined to help you with your computer problem.

February 06, 2008

Sarah: Sing, Sing a Song, Sing it Loud, Sing it Strong!

Our friend Jeremy wrote a song about us to the tune of "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid. Lisa declared it "a heartbreaking work of staggering genius." I would have to agree. Thanks, Jeremy!

I want to be where the Andersons are,
I want to see Buffy the Vampire Slaaaayer,
Walking around with that guy. What's his name again?
Oh DBo!
Running a 'thon, you get way too far.
Leggings are required if you want to look stupid!
Strollers are filled with uh.... What's her name again?
Up where they biff.
Up where they pun.
Up where they eat Crown Burger 'til one.
Oh Scrabble pee.
Wish I could be...part of their world!

Edited to add another verse by Jeremy!

What would I give if I could live out of IKEA?
What would I pay to give today a Dundie to Pam?
Bet'cha in Flor. they don't implore
for a "zombie outbreak" idea
They're bright young women, sick of gymin'
Ready to tan!

And I'm ready to know how to make record bowls
Exclaim "Viola!" while I read Imogene's Antlers
What's a segue and why does it - what's the word?
get pronounced all crazy?

When will I learn?
Wouldn't I love, love to explore Spring City in gloves?
*sigh* I decree,
Wish I could be...part of their world!

Sarah: Baby, I Nerd Your Lovin'

If you're giving a gift to a girl who is nerdy hot, she might laugh with glee and wear this necklace (via swissmiss). Or she'd be charmed that you decided to stay traditional and treat her to some Mii chocolate. Top it off with this awesome card and she will be unable to resist your charms.

Speaking of cool gifts for nerds, I once saw a sleek, silver usb jump drive on a silver chain. It was pretty and functional. I haven't seen anything like it since. Does this actually exist?

Oh, and a hollow book (via Mighty Goods) is perfect for that cute girl that you met in the library.

Edited to add: other stuff I like
Chocolate scrabble: Delicious and educational! Perfect for the person who always kills you on Scrabulous. Or for the person that you always beat. It's like a consolation prize.
This book would be a good gift for a girl that likes to play with paper and scissors.

February 08, 2008

Lisa: calling all Mormons

Now that your beloved Mitt is out of the race, might you consider voting for Obama? What if Utah went Democrat this year? Let's blow America's minds, people.

Lisa: window shopping

People make such pretty things. If you already bought everything on Mighty Goods and need a few more ideas, try these:

Zhivago Capelet
Pollen earrings
Mavis softie
artisan undies
Floral Dots tee
Gummy Bear Necklace
Zombie Escape Plan journal
Little Teapot onesie
Howdy key-ring pouches
screen printed wall art

I found a lot of these sellers in Craft and ReadyMade (which is now carrying its own printable shrinky sheets--buy them here!).

Sarah: The Kraft

You knew that I doubted that Kraft foods contained any real food items, but did you know that Kraft made Ready-to-Eat Cheesecake filling?

I'll give that a moment to sink in.
Go ahead, go check the link. I'll wait.

Let's discuss this in the comments.

February 11, 2008

Sarah: 2008 Cooking Adventure, Week 5 and 6

There aren't any pictures this week, as my cooking has been a bit uninspired. I've been spending my time snowmobiling and deep cleaning my apartment instead of measuring and mixing. I also didn't feel like buying new ingredients or following recipes. I'm sorry.

So enough with the excuses, here's what I made:

Week 5: Pasta Bake

Pour a box of dry pasta, a few cups of water, some veggies, and a bottle of pasta sauce into an oven safe pot. Cook at 375 degrees while you clean your bathroom, dust your bookshelves, wash any dishes in the sink, take out the trash, and organize your junk surface (don't we all have one? Mine is the little buffet right next to my front door.). If you don't smell the pasta yet, go back to the bathroom and go through your cupboards, throwing out dried up nail polish, sample-sized conditioner that came with the at-home hair dye kit you used to turn your hair black over a year ago, and any other items you have no use for. Now can you smell the pasta? Good. Open up the oven, remove the lid, and sprinkle cheese on top. Close the oven and let the pasta cook about five or ten more minutes. Done!

Week 6: Baked Apples, Mmmm

Chop up three apples into a small oven safe dish (I used my little Corningware). Add about 1/2 cup water, a little sugar, and plenty of cinnamon. Cover your dish with foil and place in oven at 350 degrees. Let the apples cook while you eat dinner, then remove from oven and serve either by themselves or with vanilla ice cream.

See what I mean? These are not revolutionary culinary masterpieces. I'll try to step it up this week.

Sarah: A Farewell to Fangs

As part of my ongoing battle with apartment clutter, I have decided to sell my Roboreptile. He has displayed bravery at every opportunity, and I am confident that he will serve and protect whomever decides to take him into their home.


February 12, 2008

Sarah: Punderful

I just titled an essay on The Rape of the Lock for class.

"Hair Comes the Pride" had me sitting in my chair, giggling, for at least one full minute.

Oh dear.

February 13, 2008

Sarah: 2008 Cooking Adventure, Week 7

The snow just won't quit, dudes. Today was a bit rough and with the snow on top of that, I needed some comfort food. Thank goodness for Jeremy, who suggested that I try this recipe.

My house smells like cranberries and oranges right now. I want to make a blanket cocoon and never leave. I think I'm actually excited to wake up tomorrow morning, so that I can have a scone for breakfast.

Honey, we're having twins!

That's just one egg. Yes, I'm a nerd.

Cranberry Orange Scones

4 cups plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 cup dried cranberries
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water or milk, for egg wash
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Sift together 4 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, the baking powder, salt and orange zest. Add the cold butter and mix with a hand mixer at the lowest speed until the butter is the size of peas. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and, with the mixer on low speed, slowly pour into the flour and butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The dough will look lumpy! Combine the dried cranberries and 1/4 cup of flour, add to the dough, and mix on low speed until blended.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it into a ball. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4-inch thick. You should see small bits of butter in the dough. Keep moving the dough on the floured board so it doesn't stick. Flour a 3-inch round plain or fluted cutter (I just use a round glass, because that's what I own) and cut circles of dough. Place the scones on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Collect the scraps neatly, roll them out, and cut more circles.

Brush the tops of the scones with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked. The scones will be firm to the touch. Allow the scones to cool for 15 minutes and then whisk together the confectioners' sugar and orange juice, and drizzle over the scones.

February 14, 2008

Sarah: Miniatures

Little notes in my life:

The margin of my notes from class, while we discussed Through the Looking-Glass:

A valentine from my mom. Just like the conversation hearts! She's adorable.

February 18, 2008

Sarah: Another Goodbye

It's out with the old here at Sarah's Basement. The insurance totalled my car after my accident. After spending about an hour emptying out all of my stuff (I didn't realize how much I'd managed to keep in that car. I am reformed now.), it was ready to be towed away.

Now if the tow company would only remember to come pick it up, I'll be ready to move on.

Oh, and something I discovered: after three years, a window cling won't take kindly to being removed.


In other news, my niece is adorable.

And very advanced. She can already use a straw.

February 19, 2008

Sarah: 2008 Cooking Adventure, Week 8

Naan: noun A delicious flatbread specially designed to soak up curry or other sauces. Also effective at absorbing human saliva brought on by the aromas of said sauces.

Add garlic for an especially savory and delicious naan to serve with curry. Or skip the garlic so that the naan is still great with dinner, but also works as breakfast (top with a dollop of jam? wrap around scrambled eggs?) or as the crust of mini pizzas. The possibilities are endless!

Obviously, I am having trouble overcoming a mental block about cooking with meats. I'm working on it.

Recipe after the jump.


1 (.25 oz) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
4 1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons minced garlic (optional)
oil or butter for pan

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt, and flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6-8 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a cloth, and set aside to rise for 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in volume.

Punch down dough and knead in garlic, if using. Pinch off small golf ball sized handfuls of dough. Roll into balls and place on a tray to rise about 30 minutes, until doubled in size.

Heat a lightly oiled pan to medium high heat on stove (or use a grill, if you have one). Roll out each ball of dough into a thin circle. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until puffy and lightly browned. Turn over and cook the other side. You can also brush each side with butter before cooking.

Lisa: mystery man

Several weeks ago, my neighbors erected this papier-mache figure in their front yard. You can see, it's impressively large...but what is it? Or, who is it?

Is it a bizarre tribute to President Hinckley and his puckish nature? Saint Valentine or an elderly cupid? A tribute to the sculptor's grandfather, who loved acting in community Shakespeare productions?

February 20, 2008

Sarah: Sensing Spring

Seeing: A peacock that had escaped from its enclosure, by the side of the road. Two rabbits on campus. Unfortunately, this is the best photo that I got, since it was dark when I got out of class.

Can you see them? Hi little bunnies!
Feeling: The sun on my arms. Finally, I am starting to think that I might be warm again, someday soon.
Tasting: Lemonade. It's edible summer.
Hearing: Ryan Adams playing in my car. It's alt-country/rock and I am loving it.
Smelling: Fresh air as I drive with the windows down.

February 21, 2008

Lisa: give, said the little stream

Nothing makes you feel more virtuous than giving a little of your hard-earned money away to a worthy cause. If you want to feel better about yourself and about mankind and the future of your country, try donating a few dollars to...


The Dewey book drive, organized by Pamie, sends books to libraries in need--and has been going strong for five years.



Barack Obama's campaign is close to reaching one million donors. As he says,

If we can reach our goal of one million donors by March 4th, we can send a powerful message that the Washington establishment and big-money interests cannot ignore. As one million people with one voice, we can tell them that their days of dominating Washington are coming to an end -- the old politics are crumbling and a new voice is breaking through. Our voice.

Or, if you're strapped and can't give anything yourself,


read this story about a little girl and her family who were given the gift of words. Then go about your day, feeling good about the kind of people that give tangible support to a family they've never met, or an ordinary man who became an extraordinary father, or a girl whose spirit and determination can overcome incredible obstacles and will touch your anonymous heart right through your computer monitor.

February 22, 2008

Lisa: afternoon delight

Sarah: Note to self: stop saying "afternoon delight." It is weird and unfunny to everyone but you.
Lisa: Afternoon delight=creepy. THEY ARE HAVING SEX.
Sarah: So you think sex is creepy?
Lisa: That song is creepy. Surely you cannot argue with that.
Sarah: I know what I know. I have disassociated the song from the phrase. Now I just use it willy-nilly, though, which is frowned upon.
Lisa: Well, of course it is. Because you are conjuring up pictures of adults home in the afternoon, having sex.
Sarah: Adults? Why is it worse with adults?
Lisa: Hee. I don't know, but it is. Because...they should be at work? Teenagers are expected to sneak home in the afternoons and be having sex. The adults are just being lazy! BESIDES THE PHRASE AFTERNOON DELIGHT IS JUST GROSS. It's like a dessert name, but then you realize what they're talking about! Sunny Delight. Turkish delight. Old men saying young girls are "a delight." When is the word delight ever used besides in those situations?
Sarah: Looks like it IS a dessert:

February 25, 2008

Lisa: tender mercies

Why are cashiers trained to give you your change with the dollar bills on the bottom and the coins balanced precariously on top? Why? This may seem like a convenient setup for the person offering the change (all parts visible and in one hand), but for the recipient it's a disaster waiting to happen. The customer must grasp the end of the offered dollar bill without touching the hand of the cashier, and then hope they've grabbed enough of the limp paper to maintain the slightly curved structure that will support the much heavier coins. If the customer is in a car at the drive through, then they must carefully navigate the bills and their coin payload (which they must only guess at the presence and exact location of, since the drive-up window is six inches above the customer's head) carefully down through the car window without tilting it too much to one side, thus allowing the coins to slip off their perch and tumble down under the car, never to be seen again. If this happens (heaven forbid), the drive-through attendant invariably looks down at the ground between the building and the car and says "Oh." They do not offer to replace your lost coins.

HOW DO WE CORRECT THIS TRAVESTY, you cry? I am happy to report there is a simple and painless solution. After removing your change from the till, cashiers should:

1) drop coins directly into your palm, then
2) offer paper bills.

See? It's actually faster for the cashier because she doesn't have to combine the coins and bills (which she had to grab from separate little bins) into a stack before handing them to you. Everybody's happy.

February 27, 2008

Sarah: Fat Bottomed Girls will be riding today

To: Dave
From: Sarah
Subject: Poser

So you know how we talked about Mika and how he only has the one good song, which is only good because it sounds vaguely like Queen? Did you know that he has a song called "Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)"? Is he just continuing to ride on Queen's coattails? I cannot stand for this. Plus, "Fat Bottomed Girls" is just so much better.

To: Sarah
From: Dave
Subject: Re: Poser

We will not stand for the Queen-apery of this lesser facsimile. Is he so bereft of his own musical ideas that he must traipse on the beloved legacy of dear departed Freddie Mercury, wot? Fie no.

Yours in indignation,

February 28, 2008

Lisa: thanks for the heads up

This morning, I finished up helping a middle-aged gentleman on one of the public computers, and then walked back to the information desk. The other librarian on duty was helping a customer at the desk.

Librarian: You might want to wash your hands.
Me: O...Kay...
Librarian: (hands me a canister of Clorox wipes)
Customer: He's filthy.
Me: (wiping my hands) What?
Customer: I saw him sneezing into his hand and then licking it. Over. And over.