Tattoos and life and everything

I want to talk to you about New York. I have finished knitting projects (yes, two!) to share. I have many a thing to talk about.

But in the St. Louis area, things have been happening lately. I’m sure you’ve heard about it by now. I have been saddened by the news coming out of Ferguson nearly every night and hope for a peaceful resolution that also deals with the changes we need to make as a society. It’s tough to watch what’s going on & I’ve had to cut back on my news consumption for my own sanity, but my thoughts are with those fighting for justice and the family of Michael Brown.

And that is all I’m going to say about that here – this is not a blog where people come to keep up on the news and so many have said what I think so much better than I ever could or will be able to.

I will come back later to tell you about New York (Hedwig! NPH! Yarn! Work!), but for now let’s just catch up a bit.

The day after I returned home from NYC, I went out for the afternoon with knitting friend and fellow Harry Potter lover Grace (check her new blog – it’s entertaining!) so I could get a new tattoo. Grace was my moral support in this endeavor, even though it’s smaller than 2 of the other 3 tattoos I have. For someone who has as low of a pain tolerance as I do, I can’t believe I’ve now willingly gone under the needle FOUR times. This is likely the last time, as I get older the healing process seems to take even longer and I’m too whiny about the whole itchy process.


So yes, I have an HP related tattoo because I am a dork. An awesome dork. And now my tiny Stonecutter sunflower will stay a tiny sunflower and my psychedelic sun will just…be on my shoulder where I can’t see it and fade into blurriness forever. (I asked about getting a cover up and my artist suggested something like a rose b/c of the color and layers and BLEH. DO NOT WANT.) The lily on my foot will continue to be awesome.

Next subject.

I’ve been getting out of the house a little more lately (yay) and hanging out with my awesome group of friends – some new in the past year or so, some who have now been friends for nearly a decade. And I’m going to get a tiny bit sappy here because THESE PEOPLE. They are MY PEOPLE. I love that I have found my people. I realized this as I was driving home from somewhere earlier this week – they’re just all fun to be with and we have a good time together and just YAY.

Speaking of my people – during one of the escapades, Mindy & the Nugget joined me for lunch, after which I came home covered in monster stickers. That kid is awesome (like a hot dog).
Impromptu lunch with Mindy & the Nugget means I came home covered in monster stickers.

What else? Oh, there was a cluster of late July birthdays in the knit night crew, so I made cupcakes for the first time in forever. I went with the standard Guinness cupcake recipe, but used a Double Chocolate Stout as the beer and YUM. We demolished 2 dozen of those bad boys. It was one of the few times I’ve not come home with cupcake leftovers.
Step 2: Frosted with a cream cheese glaze.

I’m swatching for my Hermione inspired sweater, which is fun. I am making a cardigan instead of a pullover, but this is the inspiration & my stripey color palette. (Side note: I’m loving this PicStitch app on my phone that lets me make these collages.)

There was one more thing. Oh, yes. The semester starts next week (I accomplished NONE of the things I was going to get done this summer) & this week we had our yearly “orientation”. I was chatting with some fellow students afterward & I made a plan that involves goal dates to finish things. I also, thanks to a conversation with Mindy, have started referring to my PhD related milestones in Harry Potter terms. So I’ll finish up my OWLS (written exams) in October, then it’s on to the dissertation phase (the NEWTS).

And that’s about it. This is long, so if you made it this far give yourself a pat on the back and a cookie.


In the Kitchen: Butterbeer Cupcakes

I am terrible at secrets. Truly. A while back, I found this recipe and really wanted a reason to try it out. In fact, it may have been the first new thing I pinned on Pinterest. As Selena was going to be in town visiting, I thought knit night would be a perfect time to test the recipe.  For whatever reason, I thought it would be fun to keep the kind of cupcakes a secret until I got to knitting. Except as the time to make them grew nearer, I got a little more excited and started telling people. At first, it was just a whisper to Rachel as we were getting ready to watch Deathly Hallows, Part 2. Then a mention of them to someone else. Then a couple twitter posts about cream soda and butterscotch ganache. Then, the train completely derailed and I enticed Kate to come to knitting the night before leaving for a vacation because, seriously, BUTTERBEER CUPCAKES.

Butterbeer Cupcakes

And you know what? They are delicious. Fairly sweet, but the butterscotch gives it an extra little punch of flavor. I had wished they had a bit more straight up butter flavor, but that may have been because I wanted a little something savory. The knitter’s consensus was that these are a winner of a recipe and if I could share their faces as people bit into them, I would.

I didn’t modify the recipe at all except to use a splash of buttermilk in the frosting when needed – I had it, it was going to waste, why not? I do, however, need to quit tasting cupcakes after I’ve made frosting and frosted them. I always wind up thinking the cupcakes are way sweeter than they are (and, thus, TOO SWEET) simply because I’ve overloaded my taste buds and have temporary super-taster abilities.

I definitely recommend these for your next party, whether it be a Harry Potter viewing party or just a fun evening potluck. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, try out the Golden Snitch Cake Pops that use the recipe. Then bring me one.

I might be a little too excited for Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows.

YIP 58.365 HAT!Do y’all remember my super fun (and awesome) Harry Potter-related hat? Let me just say that if it wasn’t 80 bazillion degrees with like 1000% humidity outside right now, I would probably be wearing my Animal Crackers hat in anticipation of the last Harry Potter movie.

I. Am. Excited. Actually more excited now since I re-read Deathly Hallows in a 2 day period. I think it took me something like 25 hours total, but I slept and had to go to work both during that time. (I read half the book Sunday evening. If I hadn’t needed to work on Monday, I would have read straight through the night, thus resulting in a bit of a delirium where I could have thought the whole thing was reality and not fiction. So it’s probably a good thing I got some sleep and had to take a reading break, lest I try to jump a train and demand to go to Hogwarts.)*

I wanted to re-read the book, but thought (a) there was no way I would get through the whole thing again before I see the movie, and (b) it might be better to see the movie(s) and then reread. But the book taunted me from my shelf on Sunday night & I couldn’t resist.

I’m hoping that it’s good that I got excited after reading the book. I realize that the movies and the books are slightly different entities & while I disagree with some of the decisions made during the whole filming/editing process (like leaving out the history of the Mauraders Map in Prisoner of Azkaban & Voldemort’s history in Half Blood Prince), I can appreciate them for what they are. In fact, once I got over the initial disappointment with Half Blood Prince, I found I was able to enjoy the movie much more on it’s own merits.

As for Deathly Hallows, I didn’t manage to catch Part 1 in the theater (for a variety of reasons), and even though I bought the DVD almost the instant it came out, I still haven’t watched it. Mindy & E also missed out in the theater, so we decided that we’d catch them all together to rid ourselves of that pesky 6 month waiting period between movies, which has worked out well. Now we’ll get it all done in a weekend, but without sitting through 5 hours (or more – how long are these things) of movie all at once.

And maybe I’ll take my hat to the theater with me. They keep those places pretty cold…

*(I really did just turn 36 and I’m not secretly a 12 year old superfan, even if I am acting a little bit too fangirly at the moment.)(I was 11 years younger than I am now when I jumped on the HP Bandwagon. So I might even be too fangirly for a 25 year old right now. But let’s pretend that this is all perfectly normal for a person of my age without kids.)(I can’t be the only person in my age bracket geeking out, can I?)

Unanswered questions.

After I got up from my extended nap yesterday*, I sat staring at my DVD collection wondering what to watch.**

I decided on another viewing of the Harry Potter movie franchise, or at least a viewing of the Sorcerer’s Stone. As I relived the movie, that first step into Hogwarts for our young heroes, I thought about their lives pre-Hogwarts.

Now, we all know that poor Harry didn’t have any friends thanks to his cousin’s behavior. But what about Ron & Hermione? Did they not have friends in their pre-Hogwarts time?

It would make sense that Hermione might lose touch with her muggle friends once she found out she was going to Hogwarts – she’d be at boarding school & unable to tell her friends what she was learning. Not to mention that friends grow up and grow apart at that age especially when they aren’t at the same schools. Add in the whole magic factor, and, well, we’re bound to not know anything about Hermione’s early friends if they did, in fact, exist.

But how about Ron? He grew up in a magical family. Yes, he had many brothers and a sister, but what about other kids his age? Would there be no friends of his that would also be at Hogwarts? Why were there no friends for Ron? WHY?

*The result of getting too hot at the baseball game and leaving in the 2nd inning. I was outside for about an hour and it was TOO MUCH.

**Similarly, I also stared at my knitting & wondered what to knit as I had finished the time sensitive project yesterday morning.