Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cornbread! An ode to the Amaizingness

I worked up what i think is a great cornbread recipe this week once I'd gotten home from emerald isle! I had a hankering to make some similar to a killer skillet I brought to a birthday bash this spring but for which I didn't do diligence in noting any measurements. It is really good and moist and I've already shared it with my blogger friend, Natalie, who loooves her some good cornbread!
My dad has been making the Moosewood cornbread recipe my whole life. We bring it to potluck and have it at home to accompany suppers including veggie chili or lentil soup. What made cornbread special for me, besides that it is always so good!, was that dad always carves a big 'S' for Sparrow on top. I forgot to do so this time!

Katys Cornbread w/ Millet
1.5 C cornmeal
0.5 C sprouted wheat (or any other) flour
0.25 C wheat germ
2 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp baking soda
0.25 heaping tsp salt
1.75 C cooked millet
1.5 C milk of any kind/combination
1.5 T apple cider vinegar
0.25 C honey
1 egg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry, adding in millet last until it
is uniformly mixed in. Let your vinegar curdle the milk for about 10
mins, then add honey and egg and whisk away until it's nicely beaten.
Add wet to dry and stir until just combined. Pour into a greased 9x9
or similar pan and bake 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean!
So what to do with lots of delicious cornbread that you can't eat all up? Give it to ur favorite baristas! That what I did. And in addition to ur butter of choice, try toppin it with molasses, local FRESH honey if you can score some, jam, or even miso-tahini!
Next up on the cornbread front for me is brown rice cornbread and a blue cornbread! Saw blue cornmeal next to da yellow today at whole foods!
Long live cornbread! Food of the settlers, it will always have a special place in my heart, marked with a capital 'S'.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Coasting on post-gaduation high

My advisor, me, and the diploma
So after last Friday afternoon's post, I dropped my laptop on my foot from quite a height as I was fumbling with a doorknob to pack it into my car!  Ouch. My foot is healing up nicely though and an x-ray taken this week confirmed that nothing was broken.  But the swelling that ensued made the big Walk to shake hands with the chancellor and get my diploma the next day a little difficult!  But I managed.  Hooray, I'm a college graduate!
I didn't notice my foot swelling up until late Friday night because I was having such an epic time enjoying the guests at my graduation party!!  A serious portion of My World was in attendance and it was actually not overwhelming, but just FUN!  All the kids I babysit for were there and I loved getting to play & swim with them one last time in Banks Channel which is literally the backyard of Mike & Julie's house.   So many of my close friends made it out, I was so happy!!  The families I babysit for (aka best families in Wilmington/WB) and my own family were there too, which was so awesome, words just can't say it all...PLUS there was 2 flavas of vegan cake, several incredible salads, and great beverages: I had a new coriander brew from New Belgium, fantastic.  Stephen brought the first loaf he had made from a tight breadmaking book he scored; luckily I scored a piece before it was eaten up!  I floated from group to group of mingling family/friends and just watched the magic happen, and of course said somber goodbyes as the night drew to a close...Absolutely incredddddbile time-of-my-life type of deal we're talking about here.

Family and I at our candid best on WB
Since graduation, I've been diving headlong into this great summer vacation!  Moved in with my parents :D  Shopped at Whole Foods :D Went Swimming 3 times at the YMCA :D  Am at the beach with the Rents soaking up the sun and birdwathching...and most importantly, free reading!!!!  I'm reading The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Stephen's fav author, Haruki Murakami and ohman fantastic.  I've gotten in touch with my old reclusive bookworm self and am totally lovin it.  Someone at the library who has his other books checked out and I are going to be battling it out..I was nice and only checked out one but I'm going back and gettin all thats left..hahah

Opening Texas A&M shorts from Mom & Dad

Friday, May 13, 2011

Last & best days eva on WB

That's me on the left and there's Vans beside me
      Ohmygah, best days of my life.  Sure, I've had to pack all my things into my li'l Honda and sweep pounds of sand off my floor, yada yada but seriously! Amazing days!!  The past 3 days I have been thoroughly enjoying myself because I've had no agenda and have had such a clear head and ample patience.
    Oh? 36 New York Times sunday editions got under my bed?  No worries..I'll dust off the bunnies and read bits of them before I toss them all in bags to be recycled. 
     Oh? A flustered grandmother pulling over onto the shoulder of The Loop needs directions to Shell Island Resort and I happen to be the running by?  Of course I can stop and chat!  That was on my second-to-last Loop run, and I also saw an egret fishing and a blue heron flew right over my head.
      So I was thinking about it and I must have run around its scenic 2.5 mile path (crosses Banks Channel twice! and encompasses a tidal marsh) upwards of 350 times in the last year and a half.  I'm gonna miss it terribly.  My last Loop run this a.m. was the best ever.  I could see stormy clouds in the west as I set out at 7:45 for 2 loops.  A drizzle turned into a downpour and once I had done one loop and was passing my street, I stripped off my tanktop and continued on cause I was having a great time.  The lightning and thunder were slightly worrisome, and only one fellow comrade was still running clockwise (I run counterclockwise) and we both had big grins on our faces when we saw that each other was still at it.  The rain amplified the salty sulfurous marsh odor, making it intoxicating; I loved it.
Sunrise garden sandwich in Stephen's dextreous hands
      I had to say goodbye to lovely Vanessa (who is headed off for a big Greenpeace internship in DC this summer!) yesterday morning.  She wasn't feelin so hot (even though of course she was lookin cute as ever)  so the only photo I have of us is our bikes, but that's so totally Us.   Then I met up with Stephen at Sweet & Savory for a bomb-diggity breakfast.  Stephen had talked about a particular S&S sandwich on numerous occasions so of course I knew I would be getting that too.  2 sunrise garden's and 2 more hot sauce packets please.  Coffee black. MmmmHmmm We are pretty much twin eaters except that Stephen eats approximately 3 dozen more eggs than I do a month.  I suppose that I fill that void with my favourite breakfast, milk and cereal (bran flakes, raw wheat germ, ground flaxseed & moist raisins).  My first reads from the western wake library (at home in Cary) are going to be Haruki Murakami, whose work Stephen hiiiiighly recommends. 
    All of my worldly possessions are tucked away into my car except for my cap & gown, my dress, my sheets & comforter, my pillows, my technology, and a few vegetables and drinks in the fridge. My room and bathroom are clean and I'm just all set!  I'm so happy it is not much trouble to move when you choose to live simplistically (and fortunately get to move into places that are furnished!).
    I am not very patient in waiting for my last grade!  My F5 key is about to go on strike.  I have all of them except environmental studies seminar.  I'm totally stoked about them so far.
Physical Oceanography....B+
Adv. Nat. Resource Mgmt....A-
World Music & Dance....A
Physics....C+   !!!!! :D
    I'm going to bike around the island one last time now..then a graduation party on the south end of the island hosted by the Hurley-Travis' (who I babysat for) at their gorgeous little house on the Channel.  My closest friends, my parents, dear siblings, aunt Lucy, and vegan cake will be there!  I'm so jazzed for my family to meet my friends and to be able to have a last Hurrah and photo opps with everyone I have grown close to and have to part with for now.  It will be poignantly bittersweet for me, I know too well. :/

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


      So that's it, I'm done with my undergraduate career here at UNCW.  I bicycled to the dreaded physics exam yesterday morning.  I actually felt really calm and just drank in the scenery of crossing the Intracoastal waterway, the familiar trees, and storefronts on the way to campus.  When I was a kid I always dreamt about being a beach kid who rode my bike to school and stuff..I'm so happy to have gotten to grow up and be that kid for my last year of college as I got to live on the island this schoolyear!  So lucky.
      I got to spend Mothers Day weekend with my very own mom (and dad and godmother!).  We were at Emerald Isle after Ben & Sarah's graduations.  Sarah, by the way, was the Outstanding Senior for the Music school and gave a really great speech to her graduating class!  I was like, "That's My Sister!"  you know?  So proud.  I got to sit with Ben at her ceremony, which was nice brother-sister time. 
Mom & I were out observing our swamp on Mothers Day.
     So mother and I birded in the morning of course--saw a little blue heron in the swamp by our house and mom introduced me to a flycatcher while we were bicycling.  I can't remember which flycatcher he was..
      Andy's film about "Don't ask don't tell" premiered last night in the film student showcase and it was sooo good!  He followed up on a news story of a  UNC student who got kicked out of ROTC and has to pay back $80,000 in scholarships because she is gay and she didn't feel like a person of integrity by continuing to hide it from the people she worked with everyday who needed to trust her completely.  Andy had told me all the ideas he was putting into this film, like shadow puppets, old photos, green-screening, news headline scrolling, etc etc and it all came together sooooo great!  Incredible. 
Fact: Mothers love flowers and homemade cards.
     Mom & Dad gave me, Ben, and Sarah iPads for graduation!  So jazzed.  Am going to be playing with it today, putting some things in my car, hanging out with my bff Vanessa and meeting up with my fellow environmental sci classmates at the lighthouse again.  Lucky kid!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

And i'm feelin good..

       I had my physical oceanography final this a.m. and it went totally swell. 50 short answer, no problem.. The one problem was that my hands were cold and oddly stiff from my bike ride and I couldn't write so well in the beginning.
And my adv. natural resource management final went well too!  It  took the whole 3 hour period b/c of the paucity of bird and tree field guides.  Good thing I had my lunch with me during the layovers between stations--
yellow-bellied sapsucker
    It was a very multi-faceted exam:  60 multiple choice, 2 birds (stuffed) and 2 trees to identify (outside), had to use a compass to find 2 bearings (outside), test 2 water samples for turbidity, salinity, pH, and temperature, and use a topographic map to answer a couple questions.  I was so stoked that I could identify both of my birds in a second..a yellow-bellied sapsucker, and a northern flicker, (a yellow-shafted flicker actually, I did use the guide for that).  Both have really distinctive red markings so they were probably easy for other people too, but I don't know, some people took 20ish minutes on their birds!  I was not so swift at the trees though, and pretty much gave up and said one was a Sourgum, though it probably wasn't..anyhow, I didn't care at all..
         I totally felt the joy of being done with all but one killlllllerrrrr (physics) class.  My last exam is Tuesday morning so I have 4 days to get going on preparing for it.  I am going to work out a ton of sample problems from the textbook. Tomorrow I am going to my brother's and sister's graduation from ECU in Greenville, jazzed to be with them and mom & dad.
        Gah, I cannot believe my "7 impt things of importance" has shrunk to "1" already....so so happy.  Going home for a nap, a run around the island, and dinner & a movie at stephens.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Gorgeousss sunset ova Banks Channel, Wrightsville Beach

I share this photo not because I took it today, but because it is the exact site where I saw 2 black skimmers this evening!!!!!!  Black skimmers are pretty much my fav bird ever besides the black-necked stilt, and they are a threatened colonial nesting bird, so always good to see.  First time I've ever seen them here!
       At 7, I was coming home from port city java where I did some studying and spilled like 10 oz of green tea, you know, the usual.  Its bad enough to spill something, but when the barista puts up a Caution Wet Floor sign it just screams to the world "Accident Prone Person Over Here!"  Anyhow, spills aside, it was a good productive time, and I saw not 1 but 3 friends there! 
When I saw the skimmers (a pair) skimmin (doin their thang!), I almost went over my handlebars, I was so stoked. Good thing I didn't, because besides the fact that the water is still chilly...its one of my roommate, Alex,'s  birthday today, and i had gotten her a pcj chai shake to-go, b/c I had heard a nice barista recommend that beverage on several occasions..that woulda been 2 spilled beverages in one day! no good.  
        I got to see my sweet friend Cristina at the coffeeshop which was so rad.  We have coffeeshop ESP..pretty much whenever I enter a cafe, I know there's a good chance she's there.  This time, she faked me out and was in the restroom when I got there, and then I didn't see her for  another 5 mins b/c I went in the other restroom (the java joe's, not jane's) washing bike grease off my hands, as my chain and I had to have a lil 1 on 1 chat when it went on strike and fell off.  We worked things out.  So glad.
  I'll be up for 3 more hours gettin some physical oceanography phenomena into mah brain b4 my 8am exam..

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

lovely sunny tuesday

     I am so happy to have completed my big montreal protocol paper, woo no more papers! as well as to have turned in my bird identification field notebook!  I had a last minute addition to the notebook..Picture me, just having rolled out of bed, on the street in the morning at 7:30, aiming my camera at something up on the telephone wires..that was how 2 of my roommates found me as they were leaving for work.  Total bird nerd.  I snapped a good photo of a house finch.  Though it doesn't have as much red as the purple finch who, according to my Peterson guide, is "like a sparrow dipped in raspberry juice," (!!) but it has quite a bit on head/neck.  I can't wait to share my notebook w/ my mom!  It's nothing spectacular by any means, as it is just a powerpoint presentation, but I know she'll think its cool.  I def had a great time doing the assignment.  Probably my favorite assgn. I've ever had, really, b/c of how often I'd be outside and think, Ah, I wonder what that bird is? That being said, the most common bird around my house is the mourning dove, and I refused to put it in my book!  My big breakthrough came when I ID'd an immature forster's tern.  I felt like I had conquered the bird world..nah not really.  After all, I'm just a sparrow!  I did, btw, get a nice male house sparrow, who is an old world sparrow, and a cute li'l chipping sparrow in my book.
     I jumped on my bike w/ my handy flash drive in my pocket and turned my notebook in (figuratively, as my TA just downloaded the file and handed me back the drive..ah technology..) and went to play with Jackson after that.  I saw Mike and Jackson out on their paddleboard as I biked to the south end, but wasn't quite sure it was them. They're too cool.  J and I discovered the largest jellyfish I've ever seen (1.5 foot diameter!) in the channel.  We played 1 on 1 bball and did spanish flashcards, made some mother's day necklaces, you know, cool kid stuff, before his dad whisked him off to his t-ball game.
     I just knocked out my last physics homework assignment, and what a relief that is. 3 big exams and 1 easy open-note left and that. is. all. folks.
This choc. almondmilk & banana beverage was dedicated to michael!
      My awesome friend Michael called me this evening during a break from his class, he's in Portland and having an amazing time there.  He was asking me about kombucha, as he just started brewing some.  He "broke" practically all of the basic guidelines that I know of, but I bet his elixir will come out anyway because he just has a way with things! 

Monday, May 2, 2011

last paper! Check

I am on the final leg (just 3 pages to go!) of my last paper here at UNCW. I have been remaining calm, thanks to "Stay Calm," "Be Calm," and "Remain Calm," being built into my Task list.  On Gmail, you can easily operate your own techie to-do list.  I've been using this the whole year to organize my life.  It's my favorite thing to do when I have the unsettling feeling of a lot of things coming up that I need to juggle. I think it's better than pen and paper b/c you have an endless sheet and its nice and neat.  Plus, you still get the satisfaction of slashing through an item you've completed once you check the box next to it before you press the garbage bin icon to throw it away.   Often I list my full agenda for the next several days, complete with start times.  Though it sounds like a rigid way to live, it actually allows me relaxing time and free time because I get everything done that I need to.  As great as this is, I am looking forward to not making Tasks lists after I put the slash through "graduate"!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Remain (as) Calm (as possible)

     I've got a whole day to write this paper and write and write I will.  I began at 8 this morning and am just going to keep at it.  I pretty much gutted the framework I had and am boldly starting out anew, to write the paper I am actually excited about writing.  It's on the Montreal Protocol, and the requirements are firm and strict, 12 pages of text, 1.5 spacing, minimum 20 sources, APA citations..ya!  It's hard for me to not get overwhelmed by the severity of it all, but I'm just doing my best to remain calm, make an outline, and work bit by bit. 
Pelicans stream over the beach, as seen from my porch
     When I was out on the front stairs eating my favorite bowl of cereal in the soft sun, a sense of calm slowly washed over me.  And how couldn't it?  I could hear the roar of the ocean waves, the breeze is fantastic today, and two different lines of pelicans glided overhead.  I want to talk about this last point: pelicans.  Brown pelicans are a mainstay here on WB, and I can definitely say that I do not take them for granted even though I see them several times a day.  Somehow they remind me of breathing..They fly in a line that gently wafts up and down, and they are likely flying with the contours of the wind.  I am always so happy to see them.
I almost always count the pelicans...they fly in short lines, as few as 3 members, and long lines, upwards of 20.. and occasionally I see one by him/herself.  I wonder how the different groupings form, how often they change groups, and why they fly back and forth across the island the way they do.

Pelicans on the South End (line of 6, my favorite!)
Of course, another super cool thing is watching them dive straight down into the ocean when they're catching a meal.  They make a big splash, and it always seems comical to me.