Monday, August 4, 2014

The Blog is Moving!

Greetings, readers!

After much hemming and hawing on my end, I've finally made the decision to move our blog over to a new site hosted by WordPress.


YES! That's right.

You can now find us at Lake Projects (

Our content will change just a little bit--a bit more writing about books and t.v. (I'm currently working on an Orange is the New Black Post, so if you're a fan, I hope you'll like it [and if you're not a fan because you've never seen it, check it out because it's really good (and if you're not a fan because you don't like it, read the book, because it's excellent)]--but we'll still have posts about Roo and laziness and our family and macaroni and cheese.

Let us know what you think of it, and spread the word!

Camp Crystal Lake

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Camel's Butt Redux

I love checking out the analytics for our blog. Some (who? who?!) might say, in fact, that I get obsessive about checking to see where our page views are coming from. My recent "Audience" page shows that we got seventeen views from Turkey. Yes, TURKEY! Hello, Turkey! See? It's fascinating!

I also like looking at the "Traffic Sources" data, which tells me what other sites, searches, or posts our views are coming from. Most of our views come through Facebook, because I promote our posts through my FB page. I also use Twitter, but I've only got about a hundred Twitter followers, so that doesn't usually generate much traffic. About two views, actually. Maybe three. It's sad.

But what is this all leading up to, you ask? Well, let me tell you. I just now checked our Traffic Sources and noticed that someone had found our site through their AOL search. Yes. someone still uses AOL's search engine. Hello, reader, whoever you are. You are fantastic.

Why is this reader fantastic? Well, because this is what they searched for:

"Camel's butt"

Just use AOL to search for "Camel's Butt" and you'll find us. No big.

So. That's AMAZING.

And I have nothing else to share. Except that if you'd like to read the original post about--yes--a camel's butt, here it is. And, just for good measure, here's a camel's butt.

I hope this is what they were searching for.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Throwing a Successful Party, Lazy Lady Style

I'm a pretty lazy person. When I have no other obligations (or even if I do), I like to sit on the couch, eat macaroni & cheese, and watch t.v. My favorite non-work outfit is a t-shirt and jeans. And sometimes even that's too much work to organize, so I just stay in my pajamas. In fact, the only reason I've left the house today is to walk Roo. Luckily, she's pretty lazy, too, and this is the position she assumed immediately after our walk.

Yes, that's an absurdly large tennis ball on the floor. It makes Roo feel tiny.
There is another side to my personality, though: a side that likes to entertain people. But that means work, doesn't it? Sometimes it does. But I've discovered a way to have a party (a small one, of six to eight people) with the least amount of work.

Sunday we had a World Cup Final party and invited the Power clan. And as I sat around on Friday night, putting it together in my head, I came up with a few guidelines to have a successful, but low maintenance party.

Make it Easy with the Food

The first thing I did was ensure that the food I chose to have was easy to prepare. Why "easy"? Because, um, I'm lazy. We've already established this.

So I decided to make sandwiches because they don't need to be cooked and they can be personalized by guests. Plus, I love sandwiches. I whipped up some tuna salad (using some gorgeous hydroponically grown parsley that was a product of MCC's horticulture students), and, knowing that the Power siblings like egg salad and are fond of a recipe their maternal grandmother, Grandma Madel, has perfected over the years, I made a batch of that, too.

I boiled the eggs on Saturday afternoon...

And assembled the salad on Sunday (using Grandma Madel's 3:1 olive:egg ratio)

I also needed some dessert type food, but, again, I didn't want to work too hard. So I called on a friend for help:

Thanks, Betty! You're so easy. But so delicious.

And because of the fruit salad I'd put together and the sandwich stuffings, this is what the fridge looked like on Saturday night:

It was all ready to put out on Sunday--laziness is the best!

And all I had to do was stick it on the table Sunday:


Take it Easy with the House Work

You might be asking: why did you do your egg salad in stages? Well, there are two reasons. First, after I'd made the tuna salad on Saturday, I washed the cutting board and didn't want to dirty it and then rewash it again (see above re: laziness). The second reason is that I didn't want to hard-boil eggs just a few hours before having a party. The house would have smelled like...recently cooked hard-boiled eggs. And that's unpleasant.

So I made the eggs the night before, and then after I'd cut them up on Sunday to assemble the salad (leaving a minor league egg smell), I used another trick to make the house smell fresh and clean (and it's is also chemical-free and easy). I used the "Italian Backyard" recipe from the Clean My Space post about natural home deodorizers and by the time everyone showed up, the house smelled like basil and lemons. Not too shabby.

Cooking up nothing but good smells.

Trevor took care of the vacuuming and I moved my piles of papers and books from the visible spaces to the corner of my office. I also didn't do a full-on bathroom scrub before everyone came over (sorry, Power family. Now you know). I figured, wouldn't it be smarter to give things a simple wipe down and then scrub it all after the party? Yes. It was also the lazy alternative to simply wipe down the mirrors and sinks, and, as we've already established, Laura = lazy. Done and done. The house is presentable. And, more importantly, really, ready for World Cup Final watching.

Um, why isn't the rocker facing the television? Let's take care of that ASAP.

Know Your Audience

I'd made the egg and tuna salads because I knew they were a Power family favorite, and I made sure to pick up Gardetto's for Neill (and salt & vinegar chips for me [the benefits of getting quality snacks is that you get to eat the leftovers the day after the party as you lounge about and watch horror movies]). But the adults weren't the only people I had to take care of.

I neglected to make sure that the DVD player upstairs, where Sadie sat down to watch some movies while the grownups watched soccer, was small person-approved:

This won't work for Sadie. She's got to be at least five years old before she gets to watch these with me.

Luckily we caught it in time.

We also needed to keep Roo occupied so that we could keep our eyeballs glued to the t.v. for no less than 90 minutes (and, as it turned out, longer than that). Trevor went to the pet store to pick up some toys to keep her busy.

A woman at the pet store looked at his loot and asked Trevor if he had a new puppy.

And did Roo still try to share her toys with everyone by putting them in her mouth and then jabbing at people's thighs and shins? Yes. Yes, she did.

Know Your Limits

I always have the best intentions when I'm planning a party, especially a party with a theme. And what's a better theme than the WORLD CUP OF FUTBOL?! It doesn't get much better than that. And I could have had banners and pennants and bratwursts and a big asado spread. But, since neither Trevor nor I eat meat, and since, you know, I'm lazy (guys, come on, we've covered this), I thought my big thing would be to decorate the cupcakes like soccer balls.

I saw this tutorial on the fantastic Handmade Charlotte blog for how to bake and decorate a polka dot cake. So why couldn't I use a polygon shape instead of a dot and make little soccer balls? It would be adorable!!!!!!!!!!

But that's ten more exclamation points than I'm used to, and by thirty minutes to pre-game coverage time, I was guessed it...lazy to decorate the cupcakes. So I just tossed on some sprinkles and they were just as tasty.

Yes, they'd be cuter as soccer balls. Get over it.

And that was our successful World Cup party--done à la Lazy Laura and not-at-all lazy Trevor!

After the game we hung out at the beach and enjoyed what had become a beautiful afternoon. And then, once everyone left, I sat on the couch and haven't really moved since then. Except for the aforementioned walks with Roo and a couple of strolls to the kitchen for leftover cupcakes (maybe four of them). I'm only human.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Fourth of July!

It's the Fourth of July, U.S. Independence Day, and Trevor and I are spending most of it inside, watching the World Cup. And U.S.A. is out of the competition. This is sad for us, and for all real Americans.

So, to ensure that we are still properly patriotic today, even in our period of soccer mourning when we are forced today to root for Germany and Brazil, here is a blog to celebrate these United States.

I made this wreath and it's hanging on our front door. Nothing says U.S.A.! better than crafts (FYI: supplies not purchased at Hobby Lobby because they are American failures--nay, embarrassments.)

Last month I went to Springfield for an awards banquet and invited my mom to come along. While we were there we visited the Abraham Lincoln Museum, and there's nothing more patriotic than a man who inspired dissent between political parties, and who wore a big silly hat.

I don't pull off the hat nearly as well as old Abe did. And Mom knows it but is too nice to laugh.

Here's me with the Lincolns. They were really nice.

And in March, Trevor actually met Lincoln! They talked politics, music, and haberdashery.

Can I touch your hat? No? Okay.

 Ice cream cones are also patriotic, especially when they're covered in jimmies.


And there you have it. We hope that all of you are also celebrating Independence Day the best way you know how, whether that involves barbecues, ice cream, silly hats, crafts, and even soccer.

(And if you don't care about the World Cup but like laughing, read the Slate article, Who Won the World Cup of Arm-Folding? It's LOL-worthy.)

Happy Fourth!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Truth About Cats and Dogs

The other morning as I sat with my cup of coffee and checked my email, I turned on the t.v. It's a reflex that I try to break, but I don't try very hard.

In the old place, I'd listen to NPR on the radio, but we have a different stereo system in the new house and the little radio we have only gets the public radio from WNIJ, which is the Northern Illinois University public radio station. Now, there's nothing wrong with WNIJ, but it's no WBEZ, and that's the truth. There's no Lisa Labuz. There's no Morning Shift, which I had really come to enjoy; there's not even a traffic report, because who cares about traffic in Dekalb? No one.

Now, you might ask why I would care about a Chicago traffic report when my commute is three miles down a two-lane highway through cornfields. Well, because, nostalgia, that's why.

So, when I flipped through the t.v. channels and landed on the '90s movie The Truth About Cats and Dogs, I stopped. It was the perfect thing to have on while I did the zombie task of filing and deleting the previous day's emails: pleasant enough not to irritate me, and mindless enough not to distract me.

A dog on roller skates? I'm in.

But even as it was on in the background, I couldn't help paying attention to a number of things that made the soft spot in my heart--the spot reserved for the decade during which I graduated from junior high, high school, and college--warm like a puddle of pudding in the sunlight. Here are five of those things.
  1. Phones. The characters in the movie, played by Janeane Garofalo, Uma Thurman, and a Random British Guy (RBG), talk a lot on phones. Talk is the key word in that sentence. They have big soul searching conversations; there's phone sex (it's weird and shot in soft focus, but at least it doesn't involve sexting...); and Thurman uses a number of payphones to leave messages on Garofalo's answering machine.
  2. Book Stores. There's a scene in a book store, and this made me realize that there are a lot of '90s movies, rom-coms especially, that have scenes in book stores. It's something that will likely not happen a lot any more, and this makes me sad. Even though the store is a prop, just scenery, it is always nice to think that people in '90s movies spent time in book stores.
  3. Smoking. Now, I am not a fan of smoking--it's a nasty habit that is not cool, no matter what these goofy teenagers today think. But it's such a throwback to see Thurman smoking, not because it's some part of her character, but because it was 1996 and that was what people in movies did.
  4. Poo Shoes. A woman calling in to the radio program Garofalo hosts uses the term "poo shoes." This doesn't make me nostalgic; it just makes me giggle because it's something that I sometimes call Roo. And it's silly.
  5. Hank. The RBG has a great dane and the dog's name is Hank, which is basically Henry. And, really, the dog is a lot cuter than the guy. A lot. Also, that's the dog's real name: according to the credits, he is Hank the Dog.
I finished watching The Truth About Cats and Dogs, not because it's a good movie (it's not) or because I'm a huge Uma Thurman fan (she's okay) or because they play a Suzanne Vega song in the scene where Thurman has a dessert orgasm while being fed a piece of cake by the RBG (I do like Suzanne Vega). It's because it made me feel sweet and sappy inside for that time in my life, that time when people talked on large cordless phones and the Internet wasn't a thing and movie soundtracks were popular and so was Janeane Garofalo. That time when I was a teenager. And sometimes, when it comes to watching t.v. at 7:30 in the morning, that's enough.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Kids, Cranes, and a New Piano

Over the past few weeks we have spent some time with some of the young people in our life, specifically our niece, nephew, and my cousins. And they're all pretty great.

First, there's Bo, who just graduated from pre-school. Yes, you read that right--he just graduated! Whahooooo!

Front of the line, ready to get his diploma

All right--what can I do with my brand new diploma? Nothing? Okay. Where are my toys? Also, have you seen my shirt? It's great.

To celebrate this graduation, Bo's pre-school class sang an amazing song, "We Recycle," which was done to the tune of Frère Jacques.

 Then, there's Sadie, who is counting up a storm and showed her Uncle Trevor her new skills.

Two basketballs and a bunch of footballs. Why can't I count mermaids or something fun instead?

All right, Uncle Trevy-trev: one picture and then it's back to hide-and-seek. No, I will not negotiate.

And finally, there are my cousins Erica and Carly. They're smart young college students (DePaul University and Elmhurt College) who just so happen to be gorgeous. Is there a connection between their smarts and the fact that they're related to me? Well. Let's just say that there might be. (yes. the answer is yes.)

We are Boscos. We need no other explanation.

Now, I can't leave out our niece Destiny, who, although we haven't spent time with her in the past few weeks, is also smart and gorgeous. So, for a pre #TBT, here she is (and I couldn't decide which picture to post, so we have a variety [Destiny, this is what you get for not hanging out with your Aunt Laura lately...(we miss you)]):

This is Destiny, mid-dance and mid-song, at our wedding in 2007
And there she is at her mom and Neill's wedding in 2012--she's such a grown up! (this is what aunts do, Destiny...we humiliate you)

And here's D. with some more smart and gorgeous young ladies. Check out the paparazzi!

Now, on to the cranes that live in our neighborhood.

As some of you know, we moved to a neighborhood that is full of woodland creatures: flying squirrels, gophers, geese, turtles...

Yeah, this exists. And it's the best thing in the world.

...and recently there have been two sandhill cranes hanging out in the neighborhood.

We are cranes in the neighborhood. Hello. We're cranes.

But the other day they ventured away from the main hangout, and Roo and I ran into them on our afternoon walk. They were wandering through a backyard--a backyard, I might add, that is inhabited by a basset hound who is a fan of Roo.

Here's a short video of the cranes:

 And here's a slightly longer video of the cranes, the basset hound, and Roo:

Grandma Madel, our very own bird expert, told us that we should see a baby crane wandering around soon. And when that happens, I will probably crane-nap it and make it my new best friend. Pictures to come.

And here is one last video to finish this post. Last month we had my old piano moved from my brother and Paula's house to our place (G&P have been piano-sitting for the past five years since my parents moved to the city and didn't have room for it in the condo). And I discovered that I can still (sort of) peck out a tune!

So, enjoy all of that and look forward to my next post celebrating Trevor, who is very hard to pin down for a photo.


But I will pin him down. With words. (ha!)

See ya.

Monday, May 5, 2014

I Have Learned These Things Today

I Love Pomodori

A couple weeks ago I took a workshop at school led by one of our amazing philosophy instructors, Timothy. The topic of the workshop was "Get Things Done," and one of the time/life management techniques that Timothy talked about was the Pomodoro Technique. The technique asks you to divide your working time into twenty-five minute boxes, separated by short breaks. These timed chunks of work allow you to focus completely on just one task and are easy to squeeze into a bit of time between meetings or stack up into a longer period if you have a few hours to work on a project. I tried my first pomodoro today and loved it so much that I did four more. I kept track with hash marks inside of a little tomato I drew on my calendar.

Fake Cake is Delicious

Last Wednesday I baked a cake for a class end-of-semester pizza party. Ever since my Easter lamb cake experiment, I've been bitten with the cake-making bug, and I used this party as an excuse to bake the students a POGAC cake. What's a POGAC? Well, it's a monster who loves pogo sticks, and it's also a way to help students remember the rhetorical situation (purpose, occasion, genre, audience, and context). Here's the actual cake:

Where's my pogo stick? Where are my arms?

But, as with the lamb cake, I sawed off the tops of the cakes to put them together and was left with two perfectly good and perfectly useless cake tops. So I plopped them together and I've been snacking on them every since. They're not really cake, so the slices are okay to eat for breakfast. It's fake cake. But it's still delicious.

Um, why is it still delicious? Because it's CAKE. Jesus.

Don't Use Pureed Spinach in Your Quiche

Tonight I made a quiche for dinner and I added some prepackaged pureed spinach along with diced tomatoes. I'd picked up the spinach on a whim last time I was at the grocery store and used one of the pouches in a fruit smoothie. The smoothie turned out well, so I figured, "why not use it in this delicious quiche?" I SHOULD NOT HAVE DONE THIS.

Now, let's be clear: the quiche tasted very good. But the puree turned the whole egg, milk, and cheese mixture a dark brownish green, and because of the extra liquid, it was also a bit runny. So, imagine eating a quiche that was a runny, dark brownish green. Oh, you didn't want that image in your head? TOO BAD; THAT'S WHAT WE HAD FOR DINNER. I did not take a picture. You're welcome.

I Choose the Day's Outfit Based on Last Night's T.V. Shows

Frequently I get sartorial inspiration from whatever show it is I'm watching before going to bed. It's clothing that keeps me watching some shows, like Melissa & Joey, that are not good, but terribly fun to watch because of the actors' clothing. Now, this works well on a weeknight when I'm swooning over Melissa Joan Hart's fantastic, color splashed dresses and ridiculous heels (swoon), or one of Stana Katic's many splendiforous jackets, coats, or blazers (double swoon). But it doesn't work so well when we're watching GOT and I'm doing a super-swoon over Daenerys Targaryen's neck-piece. Luckily, tonight was a Castle night, and I am inspired by simple denim. Thank you, Kate Beckett.

Flowers are Pretty,

Aren't they?

Gnomes Like to Read

And they hang out in our backyard. Trevor wants to spray to get rid of them.

All Teachers Should Watch Cops

Okay, other than it's obvious I watch too much television (this is not a surprise), I also learned that a female police officer in San Antonio gave the perfect response to a man's grotesquely misogynistic comments after his wife took their baby and walked out on him: she said, Well, sir, we can't solve the world's problems tonight, so I'm going to make sure everything here is okay and then I'm on my way. Good night. And she was so calm, so serene, when I'm sure she wanted to beat his ass bloody after he said that women need to be taught to submit to their men. But she didn't. And of course, she was right, because she is a professional.

Luckily, this kind of appalling rhetoric doesn't rear its ugly head in my classroom, but I occasionally get a student with an out-of-left-field remark that needs to be addressed. And now, thanks to Cops, I have the perfect reply. No, we can't solve the world's problems right now, but we can talk about run-on sentences and make sure that we never, ever write them again. Good night.

So what did you learn today?