Friday, May 27, 2016

good stuff #9

1. banana bread.

2. having fresh flowers in the house more often than not.

3. reading on the beach.

4. inside jokes (wow I bet you all can't wait for me to shut up about starbucks, sorry).

more good stuff:
 - beautiful.
 - this thing is too smart!
 - I finally started watching LOST on netflix and I love it*.
 - this twitter feed has been cracking me up.
 - we went to see captain america: civil war and while I won't write a post about it because fights! nerd drama! team how-could-you-be-that-team? but I will include it as a good stuff** is still enjoyable.

*sayid. I love sayid.
**natasha romanov.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

when it rains we go to the beach

if it's only sprinkling, you can sit on the bottom half of your blanket and hold the top half up against the wind to shield your back and your books from the rain.  after awhile, it might stop so that you can flatten back out and do some reading.

then you might find some shell fragments and practice skipping them because the water is pretty laminar today.  the trick is to wait until the breaker rolls over, and then skim the surface as it washes back.  sometimes, though, a miniature after-breaker reaches up and snatches a shell that you're pretty sure was gonna skip like four times.  

after a few hours, light might break through sporadic cumulus, and you might make some jokes about heaven and the baptism of jesus.  they're not that irreverent, really.  then you might be forced to stand stillish while someone takes a picture with you in it.  all in all, it could be worse.

(the beach is robert moses, field 2, again, and you might get lucky and find out they're not collecting the fee today.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


before this, I had never eaten a radish (knowingly) and I had never eaten a pickle (again, I'm pretty darn sure).  but after reading this post, I couldn't stop thinking about pickled radishes.  or "pickled" radishes.  I'm not exactly clear on the definition of pickling, but whatever.

as I said, I had never eaten anything like it, because for some reason or other we were never really into radishes at my house?  but I had them on the mind, man.  so I got some and I half-followed the recipe and guess what?  it was everything I dreamed it would be.

(this has happened to me before.  namely, before I ever tried sushi, I read the old man and the sea.  page 16 of that pdf.  the dude eats raw tuna and as a youngster I thought to myself dang that sounds about right!  so.  but anyway, after craving what I imagined raw fish to taste like for years, I had sushi and yes.  it was everything I dreamed it would be.)

anyways radishes are a lot less gross than craving raw fish, yeah?  I'm still working out what you eat with them, but so far I love to layer them on top of avocado toast and if you don't think that's a beautiful combination, we can't be friends anymore.

kidding.  ish.

but yes, I only made a half-batch, and I used apple cider vinegar and a hint of cayenne instead of spices and a little bit of garlic, but otherwise followed that process.  and I love them.  you know what I really want to try next? pickled beets. is that a thing?

Sunday, May 22, 2016

long island aquarium (part two)

as promised, here are some pictures of the animals at the aquarium that aren't actually, tanks. I also forgot to mention yesterday that even though it was too dark for my camera in a lot of areas, there are some pictures on my instagram! as in, the shark picture is over there... so if you want to see those, you should click on the "instagram" button in the menu up above. but on to the otters!

they have a butterfly area as well, which smelled like lilacs and was generally nice, excluding the stress that came from watching children attempt to grab fragile creatures...

I include the picture below even though you may be like, "what is going on here?" simply because these bright blue morphos loved me for some reason!  they landed on me twice, prompting squeals from a proximal child who was extremely impressed with my animal-whispering skills.  (see bird-whisperer story at the end of this post, haha.)

there is also a small aviary where you can feed a lot of smallish parroty birds.  it appears that I impersonate a telephone wire pretty well, because when I went in there, suddenly I had four birds on one arm, one in the other hand (worth two in a bush), and at one point somebody landed on my head?  this made me the designated bird-holder at a safe distance from toddlers who were frightened by flapping too nearby.  said child from the butterfly incidents was also present, and I saved her from a biter, further reinforcing our spiritual animal-lover connection.  nah, it was actually pretty funny!  

not to end this post on a downer, but I'm going to end this post on a downer.  so while the otters at the aquarium seem very happy, with a nice enclosure and otter-company and positive, consistent training practices... the LIA also keeps penguins, monkeys, marmosets, sea lions, and seals.  here are a couple pictures...

these...make me kind of sad, especially the macaques above.  while the animals are not being kept in temperature zones inappropriate for them, the enclosures are quite small.  I just think it's really hard to keep monkeys and apes in a cruelty-free environment, to be honest.  I felt the same way about the way the omaha zoo kept their big cats...  I'm not sure what to expect or what to demand of zoos and aquariums that seem to straddle such controversial topics, but what do you think?  discuss below in the comments... 

on the whole, though, I had a great time. it was really interesting to reconnect with a part of me that was so extremely pivotal when I was younger.  going off to college really kind of took me out of the animal-contact sphere, and getting to spend some time bonding with stingrays and such reminded me of how much it makes me feel like myself again.  riverhead in general is also really cute, so if you're in the area, I think it's worth a day trip!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

long island aquarium (part one)

spent most of friday at the long island aquarium! I'm sorry to report they did not have jellyfish.  what kind of aquarium doesn't have jellyfish?  still, quite enjoyable!  I'm splitting this into two posts because I took a lot of pictures.  hope you enjoy!

the octopus is one of my all-time favorite animals.  this guy was super active and it was really dark but hey I think this blurry picture is kind of cool anyway?

look at this cuttlefish! look at his little face!


appreciate how many finding nemo comments I'm refraining from.  and stay tuned for a part two post which will feature the non-underwater parts of the LIA, because they also have butterflies, birds, otters, penguins, etc. etc. coming up tomorrow!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

holy crayola, one week later...

hey kids.

fair warning: my brain is so fried, all creative endeavors seem impossible at the moment.  all the same, I'm writing this post because it's been a week since my last post here, and technically I'm done with school, maybe forever.

very strange, yeah? after more or less the past entire life, I'm not looking at another class or homework assignment.  I don't say "no more exams" because I'm going to be taking some actuarial exams, but do they count? debatable, since the first few look like fun and also most of exam p can be done in my head via venn diagram?  oddly enough, it doesn't feel strange at all.  just like I expected to feel weird when I arrived here, knowing full well I'd be at the bottom of the intellectual totem pole, and it didn't bother me at all.  the brain is a funny thing.

liverpool lost the europa league final yesterday, after a truly phenomenal performance from sevilla in the second half.  I just thought I'd mention that in case you don't follow me on twitter and therefore miss out on my excessive football whining.

I have a big list of things to do now that school is over, so watch this space for book reviews and daytrip reports.  for example, this weekend I'm going to the riverhead aquarium, so I'll take my camera and share - hopefully - a bazillion pictures of jellyfish with you.  I hope they have jellyfish.  they're my favorite.

this morning I accidentally said "different than" instead of "different from" and my head exploded.  this post is being written by a ghost, on which we can blame its scattered nature.  on my gravestone, please emboss the words, "here lies lydia, who butchered the english language and hated herself so much she spontaneously combusted."

can I just say that my favorite thing ever is having one of those students who comes to both of my recitations and my office hours and works really hard and then aces a really hard final and it just makes me want to cry I'm so proud!  just warms your heart.

well, now this post has gone on entirely too long for saying absolutely nothing in it, so I'll sign off now. happy thursday, everybody!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

may playlist

hey kids, just popping in here to share this month's playlist with you! it's pretty chill, turns out, compared to my usual taste!  I guess my subconscious just knew I needed some calm to survive finals...

(for the sheer rage of finals, I also recommend brisk evening walks after beating your head against people who can't write for three hours and getting nowhere.  bonus: sunsets.)

Monday, May 9, 2016

strawberry banana bars

okay I don't wanna be that guy but...I nailed it with these, man.  fluffy, banana-y, strawberry-y, small-batch-y (you could double if you want, easily).


  • 1 large overripe banana (bring it to school for lunch, realize it is way too far gone to eat, put it back in your bag to make these later)
  • 3/4 c flour
  • 1/3 c white sugar
  • 1/6 c or so vegetable oil (all I had was peanut oil)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp lemon juice

step 1: preheat oven to 350F.  mix sugar, oil, egg, and banana together, smushing and mashing until smoothish. 

step 2: add in flour, baking soda, and lemon juice and mix into batter.  grease an 8x8 pyrex and pour in the batter.  

step 3: wash and quarter a few strawberries and stick 'em on the top in a nice pattern heyyy.  

step 4. bake for 25-30 minutes (until a toothpick comes out clean) and then let cool for 10 minutes.

hope you like them!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

girl talk: highlighters

because you want to look alive, right?  I don't quite remember when highlighter became such a pedestrian thing but I'm not bothered.  here are reviews of the three options in my possession, in case you're in the market for a little fooling-people-into-thinking-you're-awake-and/or-have-cheekbones...

1. a run-of-the-mill white eyeshadow, basically.  this one is from covergirl and is maybe $3-4 at a cvs or rite-aid.  you're likely to fall into sparkle territory here, but if you don't mind that (and I generally don't) this is quick, cheap, and easy.

2. I think my favorite is this highlighter trio from city color cosmetics. the gold shade goes a little sparkly too, but all three shades are excellently shimmery with a great payoff.  this came in my ipsy bag this month, so I can't take credit for discovering it myself.  little steeper as it looks like it's $8-9 online.

3. this pixi blush duo in "rose gold," which I also received (sans-kabuki) from ipsy.  I can tell you the blush side has got practically no color payoff and is generally pointless, but the highlighter half is very nice indeed.  all the same, I highly doubt that the kabuki that comes with it when you order makes the product worth the $18 price tag...

if you like highlighter, what's your go-to?

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

may the fourth be with you

quick note today in honor of my favorite day of the year!  (this morning I had a mini debate with myself about whether it's may the fourth or pi day, but let's be real pi day has only been really exciting the last two years because it was 3.14.15 and then engineers' pi day, 3.14.16 so no, may fourth wins.)

the next two weeks will be particularly ridiculous as school ends, finals occur, and I wrap up another class I'm teaching all at once!  so there will be a few posts I've already written up, most likely, but the crickets may resume here for the most part until we get through that...

my favorite barista at my mothership starbucks once called a coconut-milk-mocha the "coco-mocho" so the other day, I ordered one like that.  she said, "it makes my day that you called it a coco-mocho!" and I said, "well I listen to you!" and she said, "no one listens to me!"  so listen to your baristas, kids.  all right, peace out.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

movie feature: the jungle book

so we saw the jungle book on friday night!  this isn't really a review, per se, because a) don't wanna spoil it if you haven't seen it and b) I adore the story soooo I have nothing bad to say.  I. loved. it.

now I watched the original animated version like...probably literally dozens of times as a kid.  I'm very attached to it.  within the first thirty seconds of this film, I whispered, "they kept the music! I'm so happy!"  I feel like the spirit of the story was preserved so well.  baloo's dorky quips were a little modernized, the wolf pack played a much more prominent role, and kaa was notably a chick, but it all fit beautifully.  the choices that were made seemed to flow naturally and organically out of the story.

for example, one of the first new events is a "water truce" in which all of the animals of the jungle come together in a drought.  without getting into details, this provides an opportunity for a ticking-time-bomb, deadline-induced suspension, which is always a nice storytelling detail.  another plot addition involved the wolf pack and achieved an escalation of the stakes.  again, flowed naturally, which is always my standard.  the events that were omitted were natural to leave out, and I didn't mind.  and one of my favorite changes was the gangster-fying of king louie of the apes!  that had me in the car saying, "you come into my monkey temple...on this the day of my daughter's wedding..."

anyways all this to say I highly recommend the movie!  it won't offend you (in my opinion) if you loved the original.  and if you weren't attached to the original, it doesn't matter, because this film is hilarious, beautiful, and full of fun new details.  ten out of ten, man.