Tuesday, November 24, 2009

May I Brag a Bit???

My Son, Michael, is an Eagle Scout!!!  FINALLY!!!!

He did a food drive for his Eagle project and did a really great job of coordinating all his friends and fellow scouts for the drive. 

The hardest part was getting all the paper work done after the project was over. But after several months of "movtivating" him, he finally got it all turned in and it was all approved.  He had a joint Eagle Court with his friend Chris.

Here is his dad pinning on his Eagle award. 

After the ceremony,  it was fun to see all his friends who came to celebrate with him. 

Thanks for humoring a proud mom!  Congratulations Michael!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Finally!!!! Now Which Class Should I Take???

Oxford University has a wonderful program each summer for anyone who lives outside of Great Britain.  For the month of July they open the campus of Christ Church College, one of Oxford's oldest college's, for Angolphiles, knowledge seekers and anyone who wants to have a great experience, to come and take a class, live in the dorms and pretend you are really a studuent there. 

My friend Kim and I have gone twice (we try to go every 3 years), and each time we have a great experience.  The classes Kim has taken in the past are a creative writing, and a Jane Austen class.  My interests are more in history and I have taken the War of the Roses, and Life in Roman Britain classes. 

Dorms at Christ Church College

Two and a half years ago when we were there, England was experienceing a MAJOR flood and the Thames had over flowed and come almost up to our dorm building (our room was the fruthest right gable on the top floor). 

Great Hall dining room

We eat all our meals in the Great Hall together or you can choose to eat off campus.  The price of the week includes rooms, food, class and excursions for your class.  They also offer additional excursions that you can sign up for and pay if you so choose. 

Tom Quad in Christ Church

Christ Church College is so beautiful and it is such a wonderful experience to be able to hae "free reign" of the campus.  We even got a key to the front gate!  The teachers have been outstanding and very knowledgeable in their fields. 


Well, they have finally put up the schedule for next summer's courses, and as usual, there are at least 3-4 classes in each session that I want to take!  Unfortunately, there is no CS Lewis class, but here are a few that I am interested in:  Castles in Britain, Jewish Life in Medieval England, Elizabeth I, The Romance of the Railways, King Alfred and the Vikings, Shakespeare in Oxford, Alice's Adventures in Oxford, and many more! 
If you love to travel, learn, want to really feel like you belong to a place, and meet friends from all over the world, I highly recommend you think about checking out this program.  Here is a link to their site:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hooray for Bollywood!!! Watch "Jab We Met"

Some of my favorite types of movies to watch are Bollywood movies. These are movies made in India. My neighbor Usha, first introduced me to them when she learned I liked foreign movies and she brought over a couple of her favorites. Then came Bride and Prejudice, which was an Indian version of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and I became completely hooked.

If you love musicals with amazing costumes then you will love Bollywood movies. I recently found out that on IFC channel, every Sunday morning they show a Bollywood movie. The few I have been able to watch have been entertaining. It is so funny that even in a violent, bloody movie they can break into a musical number. I usually fast forward through the movies just to get to the music if I am not interested in the story, and then maybe I will go back and watch the movie. It takes more time since they are sub-titled. I usually watch movies when I am working, cleaning, cooking or ironing, but that is not possible with sub-titles.

Anyway, 3-4 weeks ago I DVR-ed one and I just got around to watching it this week and it was WONDERFUL. It is almost blasphemous to say I loved it more that Bride… , but I did. It is called Jab We Met (2007). Now since I don’t speak Indian, or Punjabi, or whatever dialect the movie was in, I don’t know what “Jab” means but the movie was so much fun! What was really funny is the sub-titles because sometimes they make no sense and you wonder who was the translator.

It is a romantic comedy about an adventurous, bubbly, crazy (in a fun way), girl (Geet), who is running away to elope with the love of her life (Anshuman), and on the train she runs into a rich young business man (Aditya), that is completely despondent and just wandering not knowing where he is going. Through misadventures, missing trains, “borrowing cars” to catch missed trains etc., she gets him out of the depression he is in and he learns a new “philosophy” to life. He eventually gets her to the man she is trying to elope with and by now, he is in love with her and being very scatter brained she doesn’t realize it. That is only the first half of the movie so there are other twists and turns and about every 20 minutes is a colorful, and great musical number.

Kareena Kapoor ... Geet Dhillon

I don’t do Net Flix but if they have Bollywood movies and you have time to sit and watch a movie I highly recommend this one for a fun time. I rated it a 9 out 10 on IMDB when I rated it, that is how much I loved it. Now I just re-watch the musical numbers because they are so fun!

Shahid Kapur ... Aditya Kashyap

The actor that played Aditya was handsome and the Actor that played Geet was stunningly beautiful. She won multiple “best actor” awards for this role. Both could sing and dance really well. Let me know if you have seen it and if you know what “Jab” means.

Here is my favorite musical number in the movie for you to get a taste of the fun.  ENJOY!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

It's Like Being Read To By Mr. Darcy or John Thronton!

My friend Susan found an amazing web-site and she shared it with me.  As you probably know I love English Literature.  On this site you have the treat of having 3 actors read excerpts from books, some familiar and some not (at least there were some I hadn't heard of).  The first I listened to was Greg Wise reading the section of Persuasion where Captain Wentworth writes the letter to Anne heart skips a beat just thinking about it.  He reads it beautifully and I was in heaven for 15 minutes as he read.  Then I went to his reading of Elizabeth Gaskell's  North and South where John Thornton is proposing marriage to Margaret Hale...sigh...again, I am transported to Milton for 15 or so minutes. 

The other 2 readers on the site are Dominic West (A Midsummer Night's Dream), and Dan Stevens,  (Edward Ferrars in Sense and Sensibility). 

Dominic West chose Pride and Prejudice as one of his selections that he reads from.  It is the part where Mr. Darcy visits Elizabeth Bennet at the Collin's cottage in know the part I mean...Sigh, swoon...and sigh again.  Most of his selections were from books I was not familiar with. 

Now Dan Stevens, I had to watch his eyes as he read his selection from Great Expectations.  Again, beautifully read, but that is the only book in his selections that I had already read and most of them I was not familiar with, but, my dad has warned me about Madame Bovary. 

If you have a few minutes here and there to indulge in hearing really good actors reading, I recommend you check out this site:

It is so good you may want a cup of coffee with you as you listen, since that is what the site is really selling... or be prepared with a cup of hot cocoa, if you prefer while you listen.  Be prepared to sigh and swoon of you are of the female persuasion!

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Public Has Demanded It!!! Here is my Doughnut and Root Beer Recipe

As I mentioned in my last post, we have the tradition to make homemade doughnuts and dry ice root beer every Halloween for friends, neighbors, and anyone who wants, that stop by while out trick-or-treating. I have had many requests for the recipes so here they are!

Spudnut Doughnuts
1 pound russet potatoes peeled and quartered
1 packages active dry yeast
1 ½ c warm milk (110 to 115 degrees)
½ c vegetable oil
½ c sugar
2 eggs
1 t salt
7 ½ cup all-purpose flour
Oil for deep-fat frying
2 c confectioners sugar
5 1/3 T butter
1/3 c hot water
½ t vanilla extract

Place potatoes in a sauce pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil: cook until tender. Drain reserving ½ c cooking water: Cool to 110-115 degrees. Discard remaining cooking water. Mash potatoes WITHOUT ADDING ANYTHING TO THEM!!
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in reserved potato water. Add mashed potatoes, milk, oil, sugar, eggs, and salt. Add enough flour to form a soft dough. Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour. Punch dough down. Divide into 2 or 3 sections and roll out one at a time on a floured surface to ½ thickness. Cut with a doughnut cutter. Set cut out doughnuts onto a flour surface a let rise for another 30-45 minutes. In an electric skillet or deep fat fryer, heat oil to 375 degrees. Fry doughnuts, a few at a time until golden brown. Remove and let drain a few minutes before glazing.
For glaze, combine powdered sugar, butter, water, and vanilla in a bowl. Dip warm doughnuts into galze and let cool in wire rack. Yield: 4 dozen

Dry Ice Root Beer

5 lbs sugar
5 lbs. dry ice
1 bottle root beer extract (5 oz)
5 gallons water
Mix sugar, extract and water in a large container. Add dry ice 30 minutes before wanting to drink.

Easy Peasy!!!  Hope you enjoy the recipes!  For our night I make 4 batches of the doughnuts.  You want to eat them that night because they just don't taste good the next day for some reason!