For life's little obsessions

Monthly Archives: February 2013

Last weekend, my family and I took a vacation to Washington D.C. I may not be the best photographer in the world, but what I lack in quality, I make up for in quantity!

The Capitol Building

We’ve been to DC quite a bit to visit family etc, so we skipped going in. Instead, we went to the Smithsonian of the Native Americans.

The fountain and rocks out front

We had some AWESOME Native American inspired food that I was too busy eating to think to take pictures of it.

Then, the next day, we went to a place called The Hillwood Museum. You’ve heard of Post Cereal? Well, the heiress to that fortune liked to collect things, and when she died they turned it into a museum. There’s all these beautiful plates and figurines, and even two real Faberge eggs!
And THEN there were the rooms themselves! There was one completely devoted to concerts/theatre and it had a beautiful piano.

Wouldn’t you love to have a movie room (and a PIANO) like that?!


Level 3

Star Trek poster

Image belongs to the Paramount

Film: Star Trek (2009)

Studio: Paramount

Composers: Michael Giacchino

WARNING: Contains spoilers.

This is, quite possibly, one of the most difficult analyses I’ve done so far. There are so many complex layers to this score and an infinite number of possible meanings. As with all things I obsess over, I wanted to take it apart and find out what made it work, but it was so big that I had no idea where to even start! So, instead of taking the entire score as a whole, I’ll be breaking it down into pieces, and perhaps eventually working up to dealing with the entire thing.

I decided to start with my favorite track on the CD, “That New Car Smell” (opens a link to YouTube). Visually, it accompanies the conversation between the two Spocks towards the end of the film, so I’ve nicknamed it “Spock’s Theme.” There are traces of this theme throughout the film, but this is the first time we hear it in its entirety – a whole minute and a half devoted to developing it. From the very first time I heard it, I thought it was perfect for describing Spock. I wanted to understand why. Continue reading

Remember last week when I asked you to be more creative by improvising? One of my favorite places to do that is in the kitchen. I never have the exact ingredients a recipe calls for, and I know I like to prepare certain vegetables certain ways etc. So when I was presented with a challenge a few weeks ago (hot main dish for a potluck lunch at work – no stove or oven!) I knew it was time to bring out my best improvising skills.

The past few potlucks, we’d had soup and chili, reheated in the microwave. I decided it was time to spice it up a little – literally! I wanted to do a curry. One of our group is vegetarian, so I knew it had to be a vegetarian curry, and I happened to have some red lentils around, so I went to the library and found a good recipe for a vegetable Dal; lentil based curry, varying from soup-y to very thick. The recipe said to saute and/or boil all the veggies, add the spices and simmer. Not only did I not have that kind of time at work, I didn’t have a stove. My solution?

Crock-pot Curry
BRING IN THE CROCKPOT! Easy peasy! The night before I chopped up all the veggies and put them in a Tupperware together – all going the same place in the end anyway, right? I did take the time to saute the onions, garlic and peppers for a few minutes, since sauteed is a lot more flavorful than boiled. I put all my spices into a little container which I threw in the big Tupperware with the veggies and I was all set! Then, as soon as I got into work, I dumped everything into the crock pot, added a few extra cups of water to help soften up the carrots, cauliflower and lentils that were supposed to be boiled beforehand, and let it sit on hi for the four hours before lunch. And voila! It turned out perfect – the cauliflower was soft but not mushy, and because it had spent so many hours simmering in the same pot, the spices really had the chance to permeate everything.

This is pretty advanced improvising, I’ll admit. I’ve been cooking for 13 years, after all, and I pretty much know what I’m doing. But, anyone can improvise a little – change up a few spices or add a little water if you’d rather more of a soup than a stew. Try stuff! See what works!

Anne's Weekly Obsession

Thanks to Kristilyn from A Winter Crafter for designing the banner

Obsession: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

Current Position: All caught up!

How it started: Here:

Why I like it:

Do you have to ask? Pride and Prejudice! In a VLOG format! I mean, REALLY!

Seriously, though, I love how they’ve updated it to fit the modern time. There are so many things about the original story that could just NOT WORK, but they’ve figured out how to make it work anyway. I’ll admit, at first Lydia drove me bonkers (I can’t STAND that kind of person IRL!) and I wasn’t so sure about Darcy – he was always so AWKWARD, and I thought it was an acting thing, not a character thing. Sorry, I get it now!

On the other hand I absolutely LOVE Gigi Darcy and Fitz Williams! Can we have a show of JUST THEM please? I would watch it, whether there was a plot or not, because they are absolutely AWESOME! Ooooh, and am I the only one who thinks Mary is really Catherine from Northanger Abbey? Or at least the potential protagonist of another Jane Austen update? I mean, she’s dating an EDWARD for heaven’s sake! Nobody goes by Edward anymore that I know of!

And of course, the thing I really love about the show is how inspired it makes me. The first few days after I got caught up, I spent all my time thinking about what other classics would be totally awesome in this format. I have at least half of the major plot points of Anne of Green Gables figured out as a modern retelling, and I have about 5 other classics picked out to try and work out someday on top of that. It’s like a puzzle, and it is SO FUN!

Anyway, after a rocky start I totally love it now and I am always sorry I have to wait for the next episode!

As you’ve probably noticed, I talk a lot about Kristilyn. You’re probably wondering by now – who the eff is this awesome person I’ve been spending so much time talking about? Well, today, all (okay, some of) your questions will be answered! I’ve asked Kristilyn to come visit and answer a few questions about herself!

Describe your blog in one sentence or less.

A mish mash of ALL THE THINGS I like to do in my spare time, from the TV
shows or movies I get obsessed with, to the music I love to listen to or
make, and to all the randomness I like to create, be it writing, crafting,
cooking, or anything that suits my fancy.

What is your favorite type of post/crafting and why?

Personally, I like the cooking posts, mainly because when I can post about
something, it means that it turned out awesome! I experiment a lot in the
kitchen, so when something turns out amazing, it’s reason to celebrate. But
really, my most favourite thing to do is create SONGS! In the winter it’s a
tough thing since my recording equipment doesn’t like the furnace, or the
dryness in the house, but in the spring and summer I could make music all
day long. And, of course, I love writing about my favourite TV shows, mainly
because I haven’t done it before and because I get obsessed with so many of

Your blog is mostly about what you do in your free time – what do you do
for work?

Well, I’m a relief worker at my local library. I adore books and reading, so
it just made sense to work there. My schedule is all over the place, but I
absolutely love it when I get to go to work! I can talk to people about
books, see what books go out a lot, and get to pet all the new pretty books
when they come in — without spending a penny! I also volunteer at a school
library, which means I get to put away books, prep books for the shelves,
and many other odd jobs. I LOVE IT. It’s great to hear young kids so excited
about reading!

Your house is on fire – what are the 5 things (assuming all people/pets
got out) you’d save?

Thank you for assuming all people and pets get out — that would take up all
of my spots!

Let’s see, if my house was on fire (which is something my husband and I
actually had to face a few years ago, when there were fires in the area), I
would save:

1. My piano. (Because that beast will DEFINITELY fit in the car.)
2. Penpal letters and birthday cards (Sentimental things.)
3. My books. (Can I take them all?)
4. My computer. (Because it has ALL THE IMPORTANT THINGS on it, plus photos
and whatnot.)
5. My signed stuff. (Signed CDs, books, and other swag.)

This is a HARD question. I would be in a serious panic if I had to go
through this again!

What are you obsessed with right now? What is your ALL TIME favorite

Well, right now I’m obsessed with this little show — I’m sure no one has
heard of it! — called Doctor Who. It has completely taken over my life and
I’m quite happy to call myself a Whovian.

I’m also very obsessed with crocheting, something I tried to do a year ago,
but finally picked up this year.

A few of my other obsessions include:

1. Gilmore Girls
2. Hawksley Workman
3. Honeycrisp Apples
4. Contemporary YA books
5. David Tennant
6. YouTube
7. Glenn Gould
8. Dead Like Me

I don’t think I could pick ONE ULTIMATE OBSESSSION, because my life really
revolves around all of these things I love so much. I’m also a bit of a mood
obsessor, so I could go an entire month OBSESSED with my piano, only to
ignore it the next month and dive into a new TV show.

Thank you for having me, Anne!

And thank you to you, Kristilyn for joining us!

The easiest way to to learn a new crafting technique may be to find yourself a pattern, but once you’ve learned what you’re doing, it’s time to improvise! Sometimes the most creative things are found when you don’t quite have the right ingredients, yarn, or supplies.

For example: recently I wanted to practice fancy crocheting stitches and found a cute headband pattern in a book I’d gotten out of the library. I made it up, but I rarely wear headbands, so instead of finishing it as a headband…

Doll hat and scarf!

I made it into a doll scarf! And poor dolly couldn’t have a scarf without a hat, right? I simply worked the exact same stitch in the round until it fit perfectly onto the doll’s head. So much more fun than making it exactly the way they said, right?

Anne's Weekly Obsession

Thanks to Kristilyn from A Winter Crafter for designing the banner

Obsession: Meditative piano music

How it started: When I was very little I used to fall asleep to my dad’s jazz quietly wafting from the other room. My favorites were always the piano ones – I still listen to David Benoit’s two Christmas albums at least once a month (yes, even when it’s NOT close to Christmas). Then, while I was in England I was introduced to the works of Yiruma and Ludovico Einaudi. My love of the genre grew from there, though I have yet to find any one specific artist I like as much as I do those two.

Why I like it: 

To me, these meditative tunes are perfect for both settling down of an evening with a nice cup of tea and a book, AND getting things done. For one thing, they by default have no lyrics, which means I can sit and type whatever I like and not have to worry about typing what I’m hearing instead of what I’m thinking. For another, it reminds me just enough of the Victorian/Austen England that it puts me in the mood to organize ALL THE THINGS! (Don’t ask me why. For some reason, the thought of those beautiful houses, dresses and manners makes me think of organizing. Perhaps it’s how well-ordered people’s lives were then?)

Both the above mentioned artists do beautiful, meditative, almost improvisational piano pieces that, SHOCKER, aren’t based on religious tunes! (For the record, I have no problem with religious tunes. I just know too many of them too well, and end up with the lyrics in my head anyway, thus defeating the purpose of having music I can enjoy and still concentrate on other things.) Most of the tunes are fairly modal as well, half happy, half sad, usually tipping towards sad and that unsteady balance is always so beautiful to me.

Some particular favorites of mine are “The River Flows in You” by Yiruma (rumored to be the first choice for Bella’s Lullaby in Twilight) and “The Tower” and “Oltremare” by Einaudi [all links open YouTube videos]. I’m always looking for new music as well, so if you know of any other artists who do this sort of thing, please let me know!