July 30, 2011

I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow...

At the end of the Downtown Mall in C'ville is an outdoor pavilion where concerts are held. The good thing about this is that, even if you don't have a ticket to the show, you can still stand pretty close and, although you might not be able to see anything you can definitely hear it. Alison Krauss was playing a benefit concert tonight, so some friends met up with me after I got off work at the other end of the Downtown Mall at nine, and we caught the tail end. Including this song:*

I love me some bluegrass and some fiddlin' and now I just want to go watch O Brother Where Art Thou.

Other highlights of the day include an iced Nutella latte and fro-yo with strawberries (aka dinner) and that The Help was finally returned to the library so I finally get to read it! Other than that it was just car inspections and work and humidity. You know, the usual.

Looking forward to a day off and a visit from the roommate tomorrow!

*I just looked up the lyrics...who knew it was THAT DEPRESSING? Not me, that's for sure.

July 28, 2011

Wild & Precious

Currently Reading: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Currently On My Mind: the GRE. And how I should start studying.

July 26, 2011

Banoffee Pie!

Currently Listening To: Femme Fatale, Britney Spears. No shame.

I now own TWO aprons, so I feel like this qualifies me to be a baker.

And there is this delicious thing British people eat on the reg, which Americans unfortunately know nothing about, called bannoffee pie. Now, I was reminded of the incredibleness of this dessert (excuse me, pudding) when I was in Kenya over Christmas and we had it at a British neighbor’s house, and I’ve been meaning to try and make it ever since. And on Sunday - six and a half months later - the day had finally come.

After scouring the internet for a recipe I chose this one (I tried to avoid pondering the impropriety of using an “Americanized” version…). And, really it's a very easy recipe – it just takes time.

I made two pies and found that doubling Greeblemonkey’s recipe was more ingredients than necessary. Here’s what I would recommend for ingredients for two pies:
  • 2 graham cracker crusts
  • 1 tub of whipped cream
  • 4-5 bananas
  • 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk 
 And here’s what you do:
  • Take the cans of sweetened condensed milk, put them UNOPENED into a big pot of water (make sure the water covers the cans completely! You might have to refill a few times...) and let it boil for two hours. (Like I said, not so hard to do, you just have to allow for the time.)
  • Two and a half hours later (after you’ve let the cans cool, obvi) you will open them to find not sweetened condensed milk, but a thick, delicious caramel sauce. It’s a baking miracle!**
  • Put a layer of whipped cream in the bottom of each crust. Chop up the bananas and arrange a layer of banana slices on the whipped cream.
  • Pour the caramel sauce over the banana layer. Add another layer of bananas and another layer of whipped cream on top of that.
  • If you’re feeling particularly culinary, grate or drizzle some chocolate on top.
...And voila! Really, that is all. I’d say the hardest part is waiting two hours for that daggone sweetened condensed milk to turn into caramelized deliciousness. Other than that it’s just making layers.***

[image sources: 1 | 2]


Although, be warned that 1. It is so gooey and wonderful that it is kind of difficult to cut it into actual slices (we may or may not have just taken forks straight to the pie…) and 2. It is SO RICH that you might only manage about four bites in any one sitting (Although this does mean that I still have half a pie in my fridge downstairs, calling my name riiiight nowwww…)

*mine was not this beautiful.
** Actually, we (aka my mom) used to do this in Ethiopia to make caramel sauce for ice cream and whatever, because that’s the kind of stuff you can’t get there.
*** My mom told me that the typical British version only has one layer of each ingredient. So, you know, do what you want...

July 25, 2011

What I Spend My Time Watching...

I may or may not have said the phrase "Wanna see a video of a cute kid dancing?" to Monique more than once in the past few days. (Should I be concerned?)

But really. Check out these skillz. (Or just straight-up adorableness...)

I think I'm a little bit jealous.

July 24, 2011

Still Here, Holding Sway

"Once every few years, even now, I catch the scent of Africa. It makes me want to keen, sing, clap up thunder...I find it impossible to bear. 

Ripe fruits, acrid sweat, urine, flowers, dark spices, and other things I've never even seen -- I can't say what goes into the composition, or why it rises up to confront me as I round some corner hastily, unsuspecting. It has found me here on this island, in our little town, in a back alley...The sensation rises up from inside me and I know you're still here, holding sway. You've played some trick on the dividing of my cells so my body can never be free of the small parts of Africa it consumed."

from The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver

"If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?"

from Out of Africa

I am on a place across a distant sea
But I carry you in me
and the dust on, the dust on, the dust on my feet

from "Albertine," Brooke Fraser

Sometimes my life at college makes me compartmentalize the Ethiopia part of my life. 
It's so different, so far from what most people here can understand, so un-relatable to 
what's going on here that it is easy to just tuck it all away on a shelf in the back of my 
mind. And that makes me sad. So many thanks to Becky Long for posting these 
beautiful pictures on Facebook (and telling me I could share them with y'all) and 
reminding me of just how much I love and miss Ethiopia!

July 23, 2011



(via Pinterest)

July 21, 2011

Dog Days

It is HOT these days. Every time I step outside I can feel the air hot and heavy around me, and every time I step back inside the magnitude of temperature change throws me off. Unless, of course, I’m stepping inside my house, where we actually don’t have central a/c. Yesterday, I camped out in Madeline’s room for the majority of the day, as she is the only one with a window unit and she is also in Texas. Anywhere else in the house and I was sweating within about five minutes. Oh so fun.

I do have a nice little box fan in the window in my room (and, incidentally, no screens in the windows so the one right next to my window gapes open a little frighteningly while I sleep next to it) that has served me well thus far into the summer, but no more. I sweated through the night two nights ago, stole another box fan from Hope and Abby’s (currently empty) bedroom last night and propped it up so it blew directly towards me, but now have retreated to the safe, cool haven of my parents house in Crozet for tonight. Because there is supposed to be a heat index of 115 degrees tomorrow.

But that does make it the perfect kind of weather to trek out to Blue Hole with (new) friends in the evening and swing off the rope swing – higher than it looks, so high that you’re clinging to that rope, swung out in the air, dangling over that water and in that split second before you’re supposed to let go you think it’s so far down, I don’t want to let go but you have to and it’s worth it.

Ahh, summer.

July 19, 2011

Aaand They're Married!

Hello, loves! I know I have been remiss at getting back in the game here and particularly in telling you all about the wedding…which was now over a week ago. Perhaps I could blame it on the fact that I don’t really know how to go about properly summing up something that was so all-consuming in our lives for a while -- and then happened, and is now over. Or perhaps I could blame it on the fact that I left for Washington, DC the morning after the wedding (where two grandparents, four aunts, two uncles and four cousins (aged 9 - 12) and I meandered the city for three days and it took us an hour to get ourselves anywhere on the metro) and then came back to Harry Potter at midnight and four days of work, and am now only just having a little break from it all…

Either way, it was a beautiful time, following an insane weekend. Linnea’s best friend from our high school in Ethiopia, Marcia, came with her husband from Holland, and Linnea’s best friend from her high school in Germany, Corrie, came from Arkansas, and my best friend from middle school, Danielle (who was boarding sisters with Marcia back in the Ethiopia days) all came early and we ran errands and put together programs and attended many pre-wedding events. We had adventures that included getting incredibly lost driving around Richmond in the dark and pouring rain (and paying to do so. I hate tollroads.) as we absolutely had to be at our destination BEFORE 9 o’clock. (We didn’t make it.) Then there was the internal dilemma of whether or not I should paint Beta Bridge for Linnea, as I had been planning to do for months, even though I saw people painting a birthday message to their friend Bill on it about two hours before we planned to. (We did anyway. Sorry, Bill.) 

But the day itself was wonderful and went off without a hitch*. Linnea was beautiful, the ceremony was lovely, and there were all sorts of friends and family to talk and dance with at the reception. It was especially fun to see the Hales, Kyle Davidson and Anne McClary (and Danielle and Marcia, of course!) – all friends from Ethiopia!

I can’t wait until we get the official photos taken by the talented and delightful Elisa B which I will definitely share with you (because I know everyone likes to stalk wedding pictures. No shame.), but in the meantime we’ll have to make due with a few of ours:

Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Walker!

First Dance to this song

Father-Daughter dance to this song

Ethiopia friends!

...and UVA friends :]

Now I’m actually off to Crozet to see the newlyweds, freshly returned from their honeymoon, before they head off to their new home in Rockville, Maryland. Funnily enough, I haven’t talked to Linnea since the wedding (or even hardly at all at the reception, really) so it will be interesting to hear her thoughts on everything -- and just to hang out with my sister and her husband!

[Photos 1, 2, 5 and 11 taken by the amazing Arley Arrington]

*Except that we soon discovered that the material of the bridesmaids’ dresses showed every tearstain and sweatstain…attractive. Oh, and it took FOURTEEN individual ties to bustle Linnea's dress. And I forgot my toast that I had written at the church. But these were all minor concerns, of course :]

July 16, 2011

Summer Jams

This is what I've been listening to this week:

It sounds like summer to me - like doing cannonballs into a lake and laying on a sandy towel with a good book. And if that summery morning turns into the harsh reality of having to go to work, you might as well drive there with something like this blasting out your windows.

July 14, 2011

A Few Thoughts On My Old Friend Harry

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2 comes out tonight, as any good Harry Potter fan is well aware. And of course my midnight showing ticket is all bought and ready. But I'm going to let you in on a little secret: the Harry Potter movies? I could take 'em or leave 'em, really.

It's really the books I love. And from where I'm sitting now on my bed, I can see six of them on my bookshelf (number 1 got lost sometime in the past 12 years and three international moves), half of them the British versions. We were living in England when they first came out, and I remember sitting reading it in my Year 3 classroom. And I got The Chamber of Secrets for my 9th birthday. See?

(Things to note in this picture: 1. 'joined up' handwriting 2. the fact that I wrote my sister's 
full name...as if I know other Linneas anyway? 3. that I still write the date in books when I get them.)

So to all the people upset that this is the end, I would have to disagree. We already all know how it ends. We learned it four summers ago, huddled in an armchair in the wee hours of the morning, unable to put it down until the very last page. That was when the mixed emotions of finality came: triumphant, satisfied, but a feeling of loss because these characters we've walked - and flown - with for so long are staying within the pages and we must close the book and leave them there.

But at the same time, it's never there. The books are still there, the characters are inside waiting, ready to take us on that journey with them again. To be reread and reread til clumps of pages fall out in your hand (pages 373-400 in my Goblet of Fire are not connected to the rest of the book, just saying). Time and time again you can get caught up in that imaginary world, the one that is just not the same on the big screen as it is in your head.

This is the magic of books, and the magic of Harry.

p.s. Don't worry, I'll tell you about the wedding and all that soon enough... :]

[image via Pinterest]

July 8, 2011

Wedding Wedding Wedding

Yesterday, while running wedding-related errands (per usual these days...I think I've been to Wal-Mart every day this week) I was in charge of getting the soda for the reception. This meant that I, alone at Kroger, bought 40 (FORTY!) 2-liter bottles of soda. I was so embarrassed pushing that cart full of 40 (FORTY!) bottles through to the check-out line, and then out to the parking lot and putting them one by one in the trunk of my car. And then driving hilly roads back home with 80 liters of liquid in the trunk? Ughh.

Right now we're off to Richmond for a bridesmaid's luncheon (which is really a dinner), then tomorrow we have the rehearsal dinner (which is really a lunch) then Sunday is wedding day! So, my dear friends, because of all the excitement that these things will bring, plus the fact that all the fam who are convening for the wedding are taking a trip to DC for a few days after, I am going to have to be absent from here for a few days. Don't be alarmed -- I'll be back sometime next week! 

Until then, feel free to leave me lots of love for when I return... :]

July 6, 2011

Four Days to WEDDING!

Quote Love: “I promise I shall never give up and that I’ll die yelling and laughing.” – Jack Kerouac
Currently Watching: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (In preparation for Part 2 next week!)

Y'all, it is Wedding Week and there is a to-do list a mile long that will be getting done in the next few days. And guess what? I am in charge of doing my sister's hair for the wedding!

No pressure, right?

The thing is, I'm not particularly an expert with hair. My bff Abby is -- before our Christmas banquets in high school (we were a mission school and therefore did not have prom. Or dances of any kind, actually...), when there would be about seven of us getting ready together amidst a pile of make-up and magazines, I would do people's make-up and Abby would do their hair. I think she is the only person with the patience to take the 2-3 hours necessary to curl my hair (even if it the curls are only going to fall out by the end of the night). 

But for this weekend, it's all on me. And it will be good -- we practiced last night to figure out what we want, and we're trying it again tonight. And, of course, I've been looking at all sorts of wedding hair pictures...Por ejemplo, look at all these pretty updos (all via Pinterest):

(I am not capable of creating any of these, but it does give me something to aspire to, right?)

Do any of you have any good hair tips or tricks I should know??

July 4, 2011

Life Lessons While Watching Fireworks

If you have to ask if it's the finale, it most likely is not.
When it's happening - really happening - you'll just know.
[thanks to Corbin for the wise sentiments...]

Happy Birthday, America!

[image via We Heart It]

July 3, 2011

Summer Storms and Such

In Ethiopia, June to September is kiremt, or rainy season. It’s constantly drizzly and cold, a thin coating of mud replacing dry season’s coating of dust, and everyone who can leave the country does. It rains a little every day and at least every other day there’s a good, quick storm. The thing is, though, that all the roofs are tin, so those twenty minutes of crackling thunder driving rain pound on the roof. And it is LOUD. Add a little hail to the mix, and it becomes deafening. You have to yell to even try to be heard, or just give up and stand at the window or doorway, transfixed. And sometime you can’t help but run out into it and drench yourself.

I’m reminded of that right now as I sit in the middle of a good ol’ American summer storm. It’s opposite of my familiar kiremt rains, all humid and hot, and though I can feel the thunder like it’s clasping its fists together around my house and the rain is trying to creep in through the windows, it doesn’t shake your bones in quite the same way.

It is, however, dark outside, and I am alone in my big house. During last week’s storm I watched from my porch as a tree limb fell onto the power lines, and walked back inside to no power, so with that in mind I’m sitting here half-dreading that it will suddenly go dark around me and I will have to figure out a plan B (I’m just not prepared for that kind of thing in this country).

In the meantime, the big window right next to my bed is the perfect frame for the lightning that is occasionally scrawling itself across the sky.

Here’s hoping that doesn’t end up being my only light.

July 2, 2011


Currently Listening To: Dirt Road Anthem by Jason Aldean

I forgot to tell y'all that I bought some prints of Etsy for my new room! And now that I finally set some things up today -- like all my lil' knick-knacks on my desk and such -- I'm excited to work on getting them in some cool frames and on the wall! (I want to spray paint some frames in some bright colors, kinda like this...but not round.)

These are the prints I got:

from Vol25

What do you think? And do you know of any other amazing ones I need??

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...