Life of Megan

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Big update

Well, I've been having a really nice time at home so far. It's always nice to take a break from school and get a new perspective on everything. I'm really happy I've gotten to spend so much time with my family. Other than a little tension resulting from my brother's desire to try out his new speakers and my desire to enjoy cable TV, we've all been in great spirits and have been getting along fabulously.

Christmas Eve, I got to go down to Greenville to meet up with Becky, Trevor, and Steve. It was really nice to talk to them, and I felt so lucky to get a chance to meet up with Becky again. I keep trying to figure out if I could make it to Lille sometime in the near future. =)

We always celebrate my birthday Christmas Eve, and this year was no different. We did the typical routine of church, followed by Chinese food, presents, and cake. The cake is always a big deal in my house. My mom is a great cook, and she's even had cake decorating classes. Usually, we pick something from the big Southern Living cake special. This year, the cake was a homemade chocolate velvet cake with homemade caramel filling and ganache icing. Mmm... It was definitely one of the best cakes I've ever eaten in my life, but I have not yet been able to finish a piece thicker than about a centimeter.

Christmas was wonderful and made me a little sad to be moving on next year. We have a system of traditions that has always served us well. My brother and I have small, artificial trees in our rooms, and Santa leaves a present under it to keep us occupied until it's time to go downstairs (well, this was the premise back in the days when we didn't have to set an alarm clock to wake up at a decent hour). We get showered and dressed, and head downstairs. What follows is a tradition of postponing gift opening that was always torturous as a child. We can't even look at what's in our stockings until we've had breakfast--usually homemade cinnamon buns. Then we get to see the stockings, but we take pains not to look at what's lying under the tree. Finally, after everyone has been through all the stockings' contents, we are finally allowed to move on to the Christmas gifts. It's strange overall, but it really helps Christmas last all day.

Christmas dinner was ham, macaroni and cheese, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, corn casserole, escalloped apples, pretzel salad, and assorted other goodies. I don't really like ham, but my mom had made turkey on Thursday, so I was happy.

Today, my mom and I went wedding-dress shopping. We found a dress early on at the first shop, but we confirmed it by looking at two other places. I'm quite happy with it, but I can't say much more because I don't want to give anything away to Judson. =)

That's about all I want to type right now. Later!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

My first cake

So today, I baked a cake for the first time. Well, a cake you have to ice. I've made plenty of coffee cakes.

Anyhow, this wasn't from scratch, but it was a modification of a cake mix recipe. I was worried through the entire process because the pans were an inch bigger than specified and because I don't have any of the special cake tools my mom has.

All in all, it seemed to go pretty well. I'm proud of myself for making it look as decent as it does. I haven't had a bite yet, but the batter was good.

Here's a picture of the cake just after I turned out the layers:

And here's one of the finished product:

So we just had the cake, and I was really pleased with it! It was moist and delicious. Jud loved it too. Woohoo! Maybe I'll make more cakes in the future.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Weird weather in the Northeast

I was listening to my brother's 12/07 radio show yesterday, cracking up as he talked about how cold it was (I had checked the weather--it was 35 in Clemson that morning) and how his friend Tony wished there were "coats for your legs." Now, I realize that anything below 40 is quite frigid in Clemson, just as anything above 85 is broiling here in Ithaca, but you have to realize that we had record lows throughout the Finger Lakes yesterday. When I woke up and went in to campus, it was -8 or -9 (that would be -22 C). The day before, the high was around zero, and for the last week or so, I'm not sure whether we even made it to 25. At these temperatures, you definitely want coats for your pants (which exist, incidentally--we call them snow pants, and we don't wear them around town because they look silly). You learn when you've been in this area long enough that if it's nice and sunny, you should be worried. Clear skies at night mean that it'll be brutally cold the next day. You want it to be sunny all day, and for thick clouds to cover the area as soon as night falls.

Today, it's a balmy 26, but we're having an ice storm. Now, I don't know much meteorology, but I still think it's weird that it can be sleeting at such a low temperature. I don't know what's going on above us, but it would be nice if those warm temperatures would either descend to our level or move off to some other location. Oh, I just checked the weather. It's not sleeting. It's a "freezing drizzle." I think the people need to work out their terms. "Drizzle" does not have the same connotation as "steady rainfall," which is what it's actually doing. Anyhow, this freezing drizzle will be soon be replaced with heavy snowfall and later with sleet. Finally, we're getting snow again starting around noon tomorrow. We're far enough north that we aren't supposed to get significant ice accumulations. We are supposed to get 3-6 inches of snow in the next day or so and more later, which bodes well for my skiing plans, assuming they can get the roads clear. I'm pretty sure they pre-salted. It'll be interesting to find out whether that works.

The good news is that tomorrow, the high is 32.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The house of a thousand lit wreaths and other Christmas stories

We Ithacans take our holidays seriously. The density of giant inflatable creatures appropriate to the season is extraordinary considering the town's affluence and average education. We have small, private Christmas-tree stands scattered about town, and decorations are springing up everywhere. Saturday morning, I was working on my term paper in the bay window at Jud's apartment, when Mike came in wanting to know if I had a saw. Out in the parking lot were three girls with a Christmas tree appropriate for a mansion with an open atrium, and they wanted to trim it down to fit in an apartment. I handed over my hacksaw and wished them the best. I figured they'd just give up. Who cuts through a giant Christmas tree with a small hacksaw? Anyhow, about 4 hours later, they brought back my saw and gave me a warm loaf of homemade pumpkin bread for my troubles. How great is that? Their tree takes up the entire window in their apartment, but I must say that it is pretty. The pumpkin bread was delicious too. Yum...

The other day, I was driving to the P&C (cheap grocery store), and I passed a house that has--with no exaggeration--at least nine wreaths scattered about the house and yard. It looks like a giant, multicolored game of ring toss. I will try to post a picture as soon as I can.

Anyhow, that was just a little reminder that I'm out here, alive, well, and busy. I hope to be back to my normal state of logorrhea by the end of next week. Until then, I have an exam tomorrow and a project due a week from today, and I'm incredibly stressed about both.