Excited Usagi

Molten Lava Cake with Creamy Vanilla Frozen Custard

If you’re at all like me and just can’t choose, this dessert is a perfect way to celebrate the joy of indecision.

It's probably also a fantastic way to (belatedly) celebrate National Frozen Custard Day, which was yesterday! If you have no idea what that means, we're still semi-hosting a collaborative challenge in this community to make and post recipes for a different dessert every day. Curious? I hope so! Thanks so far for all of the awesome entries--you guys are amazing!!

This dessert is probably not good for:
a: People who like getting what they want, the way they want it.
b: People who don’t like really delicious desserts.  It’s okay since these people don’t really exist. They’re urban myths. We’re okay.
c: Parents who need their children to listen to them. When you get the best of both worlds in a dessert course like this, it’s really hard to follow it up with a stern moral lecture like, “You can’t always have everything.” Because your rather sassy child will just point at their plate and give you a look that plainly says, “I just did.” And you won’t be able to say anything. Because it’s true.

Drop on by for photos, un-punny Katy Perry analogies, and brief reflections on how my friend creatively managed to ration out his portion of remaining custard. Happy reading, and happy eatings!

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Excited Usagi

(Crazy) Summer Goals

I have just decided that this summer will be an epic event, for the following reasons:

1. 100 Children's Books/Works: My goal is to finish 100 works in order to brush up on my classic and contemporary knowledge of children's stories. For a working list of my to-reads, or if you want to submit suggestions, take a look at the list under the cut 
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2. 100 Drabbles: This will be the summer I finish them!

3. Children's/YA Story/Novel: Did I mention that I will also be embarking on the arduous, possibly insane task of writing a children's/YA novel?

4. Triathalon Training: And I even have an interested partner in crime and training!

5. Road Trip/Vacation: Possibly to San Diego or Las Vegas. Most definitely happening, one way or another.

6. Children's Literature Criticism: At least 10 books of this.

7. Camping: Making it happen...hopefully?

8. Mystery Murder Night: Definitely making this happen!

9. Disneyland: Haunting it like a specter from Vernon Lee's ghost stories.


So...is anyone willing to hold me accountable?
Excited Usagi

Children's Literature Conference--Check!

I'm typing this as I sit in my suite in Vancouver--yes, Canada!

I arrived here yesterday afternoon for a conference that took place all day today. In fact, it was a big weekend for firsts...not only was it my first time traveling alone (and even internationally!), it was also my first time presenting at a conference! Actually, it was my first time ever attending a conference. It's 9 PM and I am exhausted.

The conference was exhausting, exhilarating, and--most importantly--over!! I've been mentally/emotionally/physically preparing for this moment for months now, and it's all finally done. It still feels a little surreal, minus the fact that my physiognomy seems to have already internalized this fact--I've had probably half a danish, half a cinnamon bun, and a nutrigrain bar today, all of which spells out "celebration!" to me :) (Of course, that just means I'll be hitting the gym Monday morning after I get back home on my flight tomorrow night--but hey, nobody's complaining, right?)

The theme for this one-day conference was near and dear to my heart--Strangers in a Strange Land, a grad student Children's Lit Conference! I got to listen to a whole bunch of great presentations that I won't be able to list here, but the highlights of the day were by far:

- A dynamic Jungian interpretation of an up-and-coming Japanese anime artist's film
- A presentation on the villainy and (mis)love of one of my favorite villains, Bellatrix Lestrange (did anybody else besides me forget that she was married in the book?)
- Befriending quite a few children's lit enthusiasts, including a girl from Perth (Australia) and the anime/film man (who also did a very cool sci-fi creative writing piece)
- Getting approached by several people after my talk specifically with compliments and comments about how their experiences aligned with what I had to say! (This was especially comforting right after I spoke; during the Q&A, the other two panelists were superficially drilled, but I somehow managed to pull the whole room into the discussion by referring to the Rugrats episode where they turn malt balls into a "Maltese (Falcon") reference. It was relevant, I swear!)

Overall, I felt pretty good after my presentation--I went last on my panel and really got the chance to pull the room back into the swing of things. I can't say enough how much it helps to just be natural and start off with a few jokes right from the start, even if you're nervous as heck and your hands are trembling like a 7 on the Reichter scale (which mine were--but hopefully nobody noticed).

At any rate, it's 9:25 PM now and I am prepared to allow myself to descend into sloth-hood--curling up with some Zora Neale Hurston and reading until I fall asleep. Flight home tomorrow and work to finish when I get home, but I'll get to that when it comes!

(PS First conference = checkmark for the New Year's resolutions! And did I mention I'm getting my very first article into print as well next month? It's just an undergrad journal for an excerpt from my honor's thesis, but hey--another checkmark for me! Academic on fire.)
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Excited Usagi

Simply Scrumptdiddlyumptious and Cat in the Hat Cakes

I've been abysmally missing (although I can't say missed!) from LJ lately, I thought I might as well do a brief post about what's actually been going on.

Last month, I started a food blog! It's updated daily and you can read it here:
The idea behind it is basically that I'm posting once a day, every day, with a picture and brief description of a food I ate that day. Then I come up with an association that it brings to mind--a book, a movie, a game, a quote--and blog about it. The idea is that by thinking about what I'm eating and how it relates to my life (especially the literary side of things in this grad program), I'm trying to get myself back to a thoughtful--and still delicious--relationship with my foodie and other worldly sides. 

I was really excited last week because my school hosted its annual Edible Book Festival, where contestants get to make a food based on a book and enter it to be judged! The Cat in the Hat cake I made ended up winning the "Most Creative Award," and I thought you all might appreciate a look at this literary food fun:

Check out the blog if you get a chance--looking forward to seeing what you guys think!

(On another, completely unrelated note, my friend Bart and I just performed today at the first annual English Grad Student Open Mic--we sang a fun version of "A Whole New World" in which I briefly switch into my manly alto voice and Bart went into an amazing falsetto to take over for Jasmine's bit. It went super well and I can't believe how many people came up to me afterwards to tell me they thought I had been lip-syncing at first--they thought I was the soundtrack! Point being, if any of you hear about any jobs at Disney (voice acting, singing, public relations, etc.), I would love to hear about, because I am totally reconsidering the idea of just dropping everything and running to a Disney job. Just saying.
Excitement "Yay" Usagi!

After Nearly Five Years...

Notebooks, Not Love Notes is finally, finally finished!

You can find it at ffnet via my page, http://www.fanfiction.net/~alaverity . Just click on the nice "Completed" (I can't get enough of saying it) story at the top there.

All of the supportable surfaces in my house have basically been danced or jigged upon at some point during the past 12 hours. So much excitement to be finally done! Check it out, y'all <3 

A Flurry of Foodie Pics...Because Apparently I'm Too Busy To Post, But Not Too Busy to Bake...

I really need to get on top of these things. Fortunately, as made clear by the following content of this post, while I haven't had much time to spend on either LJ or my extracurricular writing recently, the oven has not gone neglected...

Cookie Dough Topped Fudgy Brownies

Somehow I think Charles Dickens would be rolling over in his grave if he knew I was making these babies all day instead of reading Bleak House like I was supposed to. Oh, well. Happy 200th birthday, Dickies!

Frozen peanut butter hot fudge pie. Gone in 1.673 seconds flat (otherwise I'd send you some, I swear).

There's never a bad time for homemade hummus, salsa, and falafels.

It might not look like much, but I did make these fluffy black sesame steamed buns from scratch!

'Tis the season...for care packages! Sent to my lovely friend working up north--some healthy raspberry jam oat bars and not-so-healthy Oreo truffles. 

Gahh--so this is where all my time goes!
Excitement &quot;Yay&quot; Usagi!

Happy New Year (Belated)!

As in all things, I'm terribly spastic and belated, but here it is...


And best of luck on all of your new year's resolutions. As an opening post to this year, I want to hear 10 things that REALLY bother you--silly things, big things, people things, thing things...anything! Especially I-have-no-legitimate-reason-but-I-still-want-to-throttle-the-living-daylights-out-of-you pet peeves. Throw 'em my way! Because that's how we're starting off this new year--with a bit of a venting. Think of it as a complaint cleanse :)

Ten things that bother me (in no particular order of unreasonableness):
1. People who make disgusting noises when they chew (I call it "snarfling").
2. When other people eat food that I've been rationing out for myself.
3. Clusters of dots or holes--also referred to as "trypophobia" (not kidding!).
4. People who jiggle their legs or other appendages during exams.
5. Temptations I did not account for (i.e. freshly-baked goods in my household on days when I'm on a health spree--weird, right?).
6. People who draw the conversation away from a perfectly sensible topic to themselves through a completely non sequitur move. Example: Me--"I like cows." Them: "Speaking of cows, I'm a professionally-certified rabbit herder." .......what??
7. People who constantly talk about how MUCH they have eaten and how BIG they feel today as they continue working on the celery stick they have been gnawing on for the past two hours.
8. Chronic lateness and lack of communicativeness about said lateness, especially when accompanied by lack of apology about lack of communicativeness about said lateness.
9. People who constantly want to know "what the plan is" when there is. No. Plan.
10. "Stuck" or "jammed" inanimate objects that spring to life and impede all progress simply to spite you, especially when you're in the biggest hurry of your life.