Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Flown By July

I really cannot believe that July is almost over! Good gracious!

Things I have learned this July:

-That raw okra is delicious
-That I can make really good ice cream
-That I had forgotten how much I love to read for pleasure
-The Twilight Zone (Original Series) is my new favorite show
-Having four pets in 650 sqft of apartment is at times trying...but altogether a real joy
-I have a special place in my heart for turn of the century vaudeville and melodrama
-I make really good nachos
-Grant loves that I make really good nachos
-I love live gypsy jazz bands, especially with a strong sazerac in my system
-Bottled soda just seems more magical

Hello, August - you wild and flaming beauty!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sometimes I Make Yummies

Last night I wanted something different. Something delicious for dinner that would take hardly any time at all to make. Since starting grad school I have not been able to cook as much as I would like at our house. Cooking, for me, has now become a joy of summer. But because it is summer, I don't want to turn my oven on more than I have to, which limits (to my inexperienced self) some of the only things I really know how to cook well.

*Spoiler Alert*
This recipe does make you turn your oven on, but not for long. You are browning bacon and heating up delicious bread.  Small sacrifices.

This recipe came together thanks to garden grown vegetable contributions from friends and family. Tomatoes from Caroline and Nat and a deliciously strong red onion from my mother's garden, I think, made this whole meal amazing.

So, this was an experiment. I called it Deconstructed Bruschetta.


About 3-4 medium sized tomatoes.
(I had different varieties, but cherry tomatoes might be best for this recipe)
1 small red onion
a handful of fresh cilantro (or basil. Again, I just used what we had)
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
red wine vinegar
5-6 pieces of bacon
8-10 fresh balls of mozzarella cheese
1 large loaf of rustic, crusty bread
Sea salt and ground pepper to taste

To Make:

1)  Turn oven on to 300*
2) Brown the bacon in a skillet pan until nearly burned or as crispy as you can stand if you are a freak who doesn't like crispy bacon....weirdo.
3) While the bacon is cooking chop up the tomatoes and place them in a large mixing bowl.
4) Add your oil and vinegars to the bowl of tomatoes. I just eyeballed this step. Use your best judgement, it doesn't take very much.
5) Add your greenery to the bowl (cilantro or basil...or whatever else you might like!)
6) Finely chop the red onion into tiny slivers and add to bowl.
7) CHECK ON THE BACON! If it is done, remove from heat and set aside to cool. Remove from grease.
8) Place loaf of bread in oven to 'warm-up' for 5-10 minutes.
9) When bacon is cool, crumble it, but not too fine.
10) When bread is done heating, slice it. I made our slices rather thick to hold the oil and juicy run-offs from the tomato mixture.
11) Top bread with tomato mixture, pulled pieces of mozzarella cheese, and last...that delicious bacon you made.

We enjoyed our dinner with some great chianti that Grant picked up, and for dessert, we had the rest of our homemade vanilla ice cream topped with fresh raspberries.

All together, dinner took maybe 30 minutes to make because I was making it up as I went. I bet it actually doesn't take this long if you knew what you're doing first.

Enjoy! I hope someone out there likes this as much as we did!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Gunsmoke and Lavender

The past few weeks I have simply been falling in love with the combination of the colors gunsmoke grey and dark lavender/purple. Gunsmoke has always been a favorite of mine. I love greys, from the lightest heather shade to the darkest gunsmoke color. It is one of my favorites. But lavender never ranked very high on the list. I have been surprised at my recent love of pastel shades; peach, coral, mint and so on, that it makes my inner 16 year year old, black lace-up boot stomping, dark green nail polish wearing, former self cringe just a bit.

I enjoy the fact that we fall in and out of love with colors. I don't take too much stock in having only one favorite color, and I think people who limit themselves to only one are really missing out!!! So, just for fun, think of your favorite color...the one you like the most RIGHT NOW....and see if the descriptions below match your personality!*

(I feel like more could have been said about Turquoise)

Also, did you know that there are 120 color names that Crayola uses for their crayons?! Follow the link bellow to Palette.com and you can see them all!

Photo courtesy of Palette.com
White: Symbolic of purity, innocence and naivete, white has strong connotations of youth and purity. If you are an older person, your preference for white could indicate a desire for perfection and impossible ideals, maybe an attempt to recapture lost youth and freshness. It may also symbolize a desire for simplicity or the simple life.

Red: The color of strength, health, and vitality, Red is often the color chosen by someone outgoing, aggressive, vigorous and impulsive—or someone who would like to be! It goes with an ambitious nature but those who choose it can be abrupt at times, determined to get all they can out of life, quick to judge people and take sides. Red people are usually optimistic and can’t stand monotony; they are rather restless and not at all introspective, so they may be unaware of their own shortcomings. They find it hard to be objective and may blame others for any mishaps. Quiet people with a preference for red may feel the need for the warmth, strength and life-giving qualities of the color, or they blanket their true feelings under a sober exterior. Red is usually chosen by people with open and uncomplicated natures, with a zest for life.

Maroon: Harsh experience has probably matured the Maroon person into someone likable and generous. It is often a favorite color of someone who has been battered by life but has come through. It indicates a well-disciplined Red personality—one who has had difficult experiences and has not come through unmarked but who has grown and matured in the process.

Pink: This color embodies the gentler qualities of Red, symbolizing love and affection without passion. Women who prefer Pink tend to be maternal. Pink desires protection, special treatment and a sheltered life. Pink people require affection and like to feel loved and secure, perhaps wanting to appear delicate and fragile. Pink people tend to be charming and gentle, if a trifle indefinite.

Orange: This color of luxury and pleasure appeals to the flamboyant and fun-loving person who likes a lively social round. Orange people may be inclined to dramatize a bit, and people notice them, but they are generally good-natured and popular. They can be a little fickle and vacillating, but on the whole they try hard to be agreeable. Orange is the color of youth, strength, fearlessness, curiosity and restlessness.

Yellow: The color of happiness, wisdom and imagination, Yellow is chosen by the mentally adventurous, searching for novelty and self-fulfillment. Yellow usually goes with a sunny and shrewd personality, with a good business head and a strong sense of humor. It is the color of intellectuality and all things to do with the mind. Yellow folks are usually clear and precise thinkers who have a good opinion of their own mental capacities and who have lofty ideals. They may at times tend to shun responsibility, preferring freedom of thought and action.

Green: The color of harmony and balance, Green symbolizes hope, renewal and peace, and is usually liked by the gentle and sincere. Greens are generally frank, community-minded people, fairly sociable but preferring peace at any price. Green people can be too self-effacing, modest and patient, so they may get exploited by others. They are usually refined, civilized and reputable.

Blue: Soft, soothing, compassionate and caring, Blue is the color of deliberation and introspection, conservatism and duty. Patient, persevering, conscientious, sensitive and self-controlled, Blues like to be admired for their steady character and wisdom. They are faithful, but are often worriers with somewhat inflexible beliefs and can be too cautious, and suspicious of flamboyant behavior.

Blue-Green: Exacting, discriminating, poised and attractive, the Blue-Green person tends to be sensitive, intellectual and refined, persevering and stable if rather detached. Blue-Greens have excellent taste, and are usually courteous and charming, capable but often refusing help or guidance.

Turquoise: Complex, imaginative and original, Turquoise people drive themselves hard and may be in a state of turmoil under their outwardly cool exterior.

Lavender: This is often chosen by a person who lives “on a higher plane,” who never notices anything sordid and who is always impeccably and beautifully dressed. Lavender people may be on a continual quest for culture and the refined things of life, high and noble causes but without the necessity of getting their hands dirty. A Lavender person is usually creative, charming, witty and civilized.

Purple: Purples are highly individual, fastidious, witty and sensitive, with a strong desire to be unique and different. Temperamental, expansive and artistic, a Purple person may become aloof and sarcastic when misunderstood. If you chose Purple, you tend to be unconventional, tolerant and dignified, likely to achieve positions of authority.

Brown: A Brown person has stamina and patience, tending to be very solid and substantial, conscientious, dependable, steady and conservative. Browns are not impulsive, and may be inarticulate and tactless but they love responsibility and are reliable and kindly. If you chose Brown, watch out for a tendency to be obstinate and inflexible.

Gray: The color of caution and compromise, diligent Grays search for composure and peace and often work hard without reward. Older Grays like life to run on an even keel with few ups and downs. Young Grays may be withdrawing from life and suppressing their personalities. Grays often have good business ability and tend to work too much.

Black: Dignified and impressive without being showy, Black people want to give the appearance of mystery, but their preference may also indicate a suppression of desires and worldly aims, suggesting hidden depths and inner longings.

*NOTE* Descriptions of colors have been taken from The Healing Power of Color by Betty Wood (Inner Traditions, 1998). As well as www.care2.com.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

From the Plains to the Prairie

This weekend I adventured upward into the glorious wilds of Kansas, through the Flint Hills (so lovely!), to my cousins Clara and Abby's lovely homes in Emporia! We had a fantastic weekend of adventures.

I arrived Friday afternoon, pulling up to Clara's gorgeous cerulean blue bungalow, squealing at the thrill of spending the whole weekend with my two nearest and dearest friends. We all walked toward downtown, showing me the sights of the city. Emporia is an adorable small town that has the ability to rejuvenate you even in 101* heat.That evening we had a midnight tea party on her front porch until nearly 4am. It was lovely. Just us, Russian rose tea, candle light, porch swing conversation, and the occasional strum and hum from Jetta the Autoharp.

On Saturday we shared coffees and cheese danish muffins at the gorgeous Granada Theater. Then Abby met us for lunch at J's Burgers. Seriously, this place is the best place to get burgers in Emporia. With your meal you can order a root beer float, and what is so great about it, is that you get free refills! On the float! Ice cream and everything! Totally awesome. After lunch we went to a local antique store where Clara found a 140+ year old electric shock machine that she hopes to put in her office. Abby found some fantastic felt Canada banners, and I found a green milk glass mug and a manual beater which I am crazy about. I love green milk glass and have coveted the mug that Giles always used in Buffy the Vampire Slayer since roughly 2002. Well, now I have my own and I feel lovely!

Maybe it will be my new good luck charm! Photo from Buffyconfessions.com
Saturday evening was especially nice because I finally got to spend some quality time with Lera, my new Russian cousin! Not really my cousin, but a friend of my cousins that is staying with them for the summer. We all made dinner together and had a really nice time just hanging out. Clara, Lera and I had fun singing along to Jetta and Abby kept us laughing with her humorous commentary. Late that night we took a walk to the old school house on the ESU campus. I took a swing on the swing set before we all collapsed under the stars, telling each other stories. We eventually wandered back to our beds in the early morning.

Since I was leaving on Sunday, we decided to cook a lovely breakfast together. Waffles with blueberry and maple syrup, plums, sausage, a fresh baguette with butter, eggs, and delicious hot tea. It was divine and we all made ourselves sick with the goodness of breakfast food. We relaxed at the house until I had to leave.

I was so sad to go, but more glad that I made the trip and finally got to visit my cousins in their natural habitat!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Macabre Project

This photo was taken from The Dork Side on Facebook. 'Like' their page!
In recent years I have come to adore horror films, and I always get excited talking about them. This obsession started in high school when a group of girlfriends and I would spend nearly every Friday night of our junior and senior years watching 5-6 horror films that we had picked out earlier in the evening at Blockbuster, gorging ourselves on alfredo pizza, configuring a system so that none of us had to go to the bathroom alone, and then driving to Krispy Kreme in the wee morning hours (while listening to Queen or The Darkness) to remind ourselves that the world was a happy place. It is because of these many Friday nights that I have come to love horror films.

Around Christmas time, my younger brother asked me to make a list of must see horror films for him, after we had just watched Halloween and he loved it. So, I did. I tried to remember all of the horror movies that my friends and I had watched in high school, as well as the films I viewed in a college horror film theory class, but alas, I could not remember them all. Therefore, this list is severely lacking.

This list will be short of body torture movies like the Saw series or Hostel (I just don't like these, sorry), as well as Asian horror cinema because I cannot always remember the names of the movies (I have the same problem with Bollywood films).

This is the version of the list as I sent it to my brother, complete with my own commentary. I have the list broken down into decades and briefly describe what "type" of horror movie was being produced at the time. I did not come up with this breakdown of horror sub-genres, it is pretty standard, and has served me well.

I want to make a list of spoof horror/campy horror films next. I have already included some in this list because they are classics.

I consider this list a project in progress. I hope to add to it and make it more thorough. Please contribute!!! 

1890s-1920s –
Superstition and Creatures of the Night

The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
The Phantom of the Opera
The Monster
The Phantom Carriage
The Lost World
London After Midnight
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

1930s-1940s –
Gothic Horror and Classic Monsters. The Beginnings of Cult Horror

Bride of Frankenstein
Son of Frankenstein
The Invisible Man
The Mummy
The Wolf Man
Mystery of the Wax Museum
Island of Lost Souls
White Zombie
The Body Snatcher
Cat People
I Walked with a Zombie
King of the Zombies
The Ape Man
The Most Dangerous Game
The Golem

1950s-1960s –
Emergence of Contemporary Horror in the Atomic Age. Armegedon/End of the World-Horror and Demonic Horror.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers
The Thing From Another World
Peeping Tom
Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors
The Birds
Rear Window
The Tomb of Ligeia
The Turn of the Screw
House on Haunted Hill
The Innocents
The Haunting
Rosemary’s Baby
Night of the Living Dead
Blood Feast
Two Thousand Maniacs
The Last Man on Earth
The Maze
The Creature from the Black Lagoon

1970s-1980s –
Rise of the Occult and the Birth of Slasher Films. Death of the Nuclear Family

The Exorcist
Audrey Rose
Alice, Sweet Alice
The Omen
The Sentinel
The Hills Have Eyes
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Dawn of the Dead
The Shining
Friday the 13th
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Black Christmas
Evil Dead (watch all three and get yourself a ‘boomstick’)…you’ll understand
Fright Night
The Lost Boys
The Amityville Horror
Children of the Corn (watch all of them, true insanity...glowing pee is the enemy)
Last House on the Left (pretty graphic and violent. I had a hard time with it)
I Spit on your Grave (this is a rape/revenge movie. This was a popular sub-genre in the ‘70s because of
the ERA movement in America)
The Wicker Man
The Watcher in the Woods
An American Werewolf in London
Don’t Look Now
The Hunger
Gremlins (Christmas time scary movie!)
The Fly
Little Shop of Horrors
Troll 2 (don’t mess with Troll.)
Trick or Treat (this has Ozzy Osbourne in it!)
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (not really a horror film, but a cult classic)
Pet Sematary
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Cult classic.)
When A Stranger Calls

A Brief Interlude –
Sci-Fi Horror in the 1970s-1980s

Alien (Grant says watch all of them...I didn't really like them)
Up From the Depths
The Thing

The 1990s –
Anything Goes in Horror. Slashers to Social Horror Films. (Most of the ‘90s were mostly spent making sequels to horror films of the ‘70s and ‘80s. These should also be seen but I did not include them on this list. Basically, except for a few films, the ‘90s sucked for horror films. You got things like Carnasaur 3 and Lawnmower Man 2)

Silence of the Lambs
The Dark Half
Urban Legend
I know what you did Last Summer
Scream (all sequels are good…and play more into horror film theory as they go. Must watch)
Dead Alive
Interview with the Vampire
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
From Dusk ‘til Dawn
The Craft
The Relic
Carnival of Souls
The Blair Witch Project
Sleepy Hollow (not really scary, but a good one!)
Single White Female (yuppie horror, first world problems)
From Hell
The Moth Man Prophecies

2000s –
Full Blown Horror. Original Concepts and Cult Classics. Asian Horror Dominates. Horror Movies begin to make fun of themselves.

The Ring
The Grudge
Ju-On (Original ‘Grudge’)
Cabin Fever
Freddy vs. Jason
Final Destination
Brotherhood of the Wolf
Let the Right One In
The Others
The Skeleton Key
Resident Evil
28 Days Later
28 Weeks Later
Dawn of the Dead
BONUS POINTS : Shaun of the Dead
Wrong Turn
Wolf Creek
Paranormal Activity
30 Days of Night
Hostel (intense body horror)
The Woman in Black
The Cabin in the Woods
Dark Shadows
Versus (ridiculous Japanese vampire horror movie. Totally awesome)
Jeepers Creepers
Session 9
Ghost Ship
Darkness Falls
Dead and Breakfast (best soundtrack and goofy zombie movie combo. Must see)
Romasanta (cool foreign werewolf movie)
Dark Water
The Fog
The Mist
Snakes on a Plane
The Village
American Zombie (documentary style)
Blood and Chocolate (okay...I just like werewolf movies...this is a pretty terrible movie and you will get made fun of for watching it).
Grindhouse Double Feature: Deathproof and Planet Terror
I Am Legend
The Orphanage
From Hell
White Noise
The Strangers
Drag me to Hell (and this is why you follow horror film rules! Never, ever, kill a kitten)
The Haunting in Connecticut

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


This last weekend was full of summer wonders and wanders. Grant and I went to the Norman mid-summer festival and Grant bought his first piece of art for our home! It is a brush-work style rooster that had enough personality that it called to us. I also acquired a blue gem hairpin that catches the light beautifully. We treated ourselves to fresh lemonade and an indian taco while we listened to a Jimi Hendrix cover band. Also, as a little Friday the 13th indulgence, we took ourselves to see The Cabin in the Woods! 

The rest of the weekend was spent roadtripping with some pretty fantastic ladies to Eureka Springs and Crystal Bridges Museum. Waffle House eats, quaint farmer's market, the original Walton's 5 and Dime, America!, gypsy jazz, holy springs, terrible Indian food but the best chai on the planet, ill-formed hippie bands, ghost hunts and snooty cats, odd monastic buildings, crazy shop owners that mumble strange things, homemade ginger ale and gin, spilled wine, reggae dancing, lurking deer, a sporatic rainstorm that looked like magic on the water, the Complete 'Course of the Empire' series by Thomas Cole, dorrito tacos, Doubleshot, seeing steam rise from the hot pavement, we shut down the town and morning came too soon.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Summer's Gift


We used our ice cream maker for the first time this week to celebrate Grant's promotion at work! And let me tell you, it was delicious!!!

This was just our attempt at basic vanilla (his favorite) but I couldn't help my desire to add some coconut and cinnamon to the mix too! We have a Cuisinart Ice Cream and Yogurt Maker which I honestly had been too intimidated to ever use until now. Last time I ever made ice cream I was helping my grandfather make it in something that looked like a used model droid from Star Wars. Needless to say I was dubious to try to use a machine that only has one mechanism on it, an 'ON' and 'OFF' switch.

Ice cream is kind of a big deal in our families. For example, my father-in-law just one a prize for best ice cream at our hometown church's summer picnic. Even my mom and step-dad have made delicious frozen treats before. If you are ever lucky enough to be sample a scoop of their chocolate almond ice cream, consider yourself blessed. We cannot help but feel that it is our familial duty to carry on this glorious summer tradition.

Here was the recipe: Serves 14

1 and 1/2 cups whole milk
1 and 1/8 cups granulated sugar
3 cups heavy cream
1 and 1/2 tbs vanilla extract

And here are our moderations for what we had in the fridge: Our version was super delicious!!!

1 and 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 and 1/8 cups sugar
2 cups half and half
1 cup skim milk
and a nice healthy dose of vanilla extract (2 tbs+)
I also added a good dash of cinnamon

In a medium mixing bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed to combine the milk and granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Add contents to ice cream freezer bowl and switch to 'ON'. Mix for about 20 to 25 minutes. Eat immediately or store in a freezer safe container.

When it was all done, I ate mine with blackberries!

I am thinking that we might try some of these flavors later in the summer..
Hibiscus and Vanilla Bean
Key Lime
Green Tea
Chocolate Mocha
and Peony and Rose (although, I think this one might have to wait until spring when peonies are in bloom again!)

So now, I am on a quest for ice cream recipes. What are some of your favorites?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cease to Exist

I have some what deviated from my reading plan this summer. I started one fabulous book which was not on my list, and one that was. (And might I add, that I highly recommend this book.)

I suppose I could have waited until August to start Helter Skelter, but I just couldn't help it. The rain Monday evening mellowed out the weather nicely and the overcast sky was just asking for me to read something creepy. So I did. I might have gone a smidge overboard. I watched a documentary until way too late about the murders, and I even listened to many of the songs that Manson recorded.

One song in particular was slightly rewrote and recorded by The Beach Boys and is on their 1969 album 20/20. When I find stuff like this out, I always have to wonder how far behind I might be from everyone else. Am I the last to know about this? I felt so weird (and even guilty) listening to the music, as if this was a part of history my generation had not grown up hearing about.

Sorry, I know this is an odd post. I leave you with the lyrics to 'Cease to Exist' by Charles Manson and the version of the song recorded by The Beach Boys called 'Never Learn Not to Love'.

{Cease To Exist by Charles Manson}

Pretty girl, pretty, pretty girl
Cease to Exist
Just come and say you love me
Give up your world
C'mon you can see
I'm your kind, I'm your kind
You can see
Walk on, walk on
I love you pretty girl
My life is yours and
You can have my world
Never had a lesson
I ever learned
But I know we all get our turn
I love you
Submission is a gift
Go on, give it to your brother
Love and understanding is for one another
I'm your kind, I'm your kind
I'm your mind
I'm your brother
I never had a lesson I ever learned
But I know we all get our turn
And I love you
Never learned not to love you
I never learned

{Never Learn Not to Love by The Beach Boys}
Cease to resist, come on say you love me
Give up your world, come on and be with me
I'm your kind, I'm your kind, and I see

Come on come on, ooo I love you pretty girl
My life is yours, and you can have my world
I'm your kind, I'm your kind, and I see

Never had a lesson I ever learned
I know I could never learn not to love you
Come in now closer
Come in closer closer closer

Submission is a gift, give it to your lover
Love and understanding is for one another
I'm your kind, I'm your kind, and I see

Never had a lesson I ever learned
I know I could never learn not to love you
Come in now closer
Come in closer come in closer

Monday, July 9, 2012

July with a Twang

A note on the title: Every time I hear 'July' I think of the character in Lonsome Dove and want to say it "Joo-Lie" with a twang.

Summer is officially here! I am done with classes and Grant and I are moving on to planning trips this summer! List of destinations and fellow adventurers: Captains Grant and Katie Baker, chief partners in crime and the makers of all good summer playlists and chai. Executive co-pilot Nicole Matlock, legal counsel and the bringer of humor and cheer; Matt Matlock and Stephen Tyree, tech crew and navigators of all things culinary. Together, this band of rebels, will cruse through the mid-west of 'Merica in search of the Great Awesome of summer roadtrips in a futile (but beautiful) resistance of the next looming semester of higher education and adult jobdom.

This past weekend was only the beginning of our adventures....
God Made This Picture

Also, watch this and be thrilled...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Blue Jean Baby Queen

Dancing Songs For Sinners - Songs For Summer 2012
1) The Modern Age - The Strokes
2) Hanasakjii - Anathallo
3) Let England Shake - PJ Harvey
4) Hold Tight! Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich
5) Down in Mexico - The Coasters
6) Laisse Tomber Les Filles - April March
7) Another Way to Die - Alicia Keys/Jack Black
8) Barefoot Dancing - Blackbud
9) Big Rush - Echobelly
10) Another Day - Air
11) Frank Sinatra - Cake
12) Rock On -David Essex
13) Simple Man - Lynyrd Skynyrd
14) That's The Way - Led Zeppelin
15) Eight Miles High - The Byrds
16) F.N.T - Semisonic
17) Call to Love - Crooked Fingers
18) Come With Me - Zwan
19) Jerusalem - Matisyahu
20) Babylon - Don McLean

My new favorite summer playlist. What songs are you grooving to this summer?
Note on the pictures: These have been in my photo library for so long that I no longer remember where I got them. Sorry, Artists-Whoever-You-Are, your works are beautiful and I wish I could give you proper credit.