Friday, August 31, 2012

Indiana Impressions

I just found my keys. For the record, I've been in Indiana since Saturday the 11th, and since Sunday the 12th, I have not been able to find my keys. Under normal circumstances, this would be cause for concern, but I had a spare for my car already, and Karen got a copy of the house key, and I was completely dependent on the bus for transportation anyway.

Anyway, while moving my crusty old captain's chair in from the garage, I found a cat litter bucket of CD's (never mind), and there were my keys. It is Friday the 31st. I don't understand how they got there in the first place, but there you go. Most importantly, they are back where I won't lose them: On my desk with all the miscellany that gathers.

My general impressions of exam week and the first two weeks of school proper could fill a novella, and I tend to be much more wordy when I write as opposed to when I speak, so I'll give a brief rundown here: Exams themselves were about as awful as I imagined they would be. Exams? For an incoming doctoral student? Why, that's just silly, you might say. And I agree with you, but this isn't my game. IU sets the schedule, gives me the facilities, and takes my money, so they're running the show. There were five tests I took in two days: Aural Theory, Written Theory, Music History pre-1750, Music History post-1750, and Sight Singing.

Why 1750? Because that's when Bach died. He was important.  I learned that with my expensive music education.  You're welcome.

To my pleasant surprise, I passed everything except early music history, which, judging by the volume of my peers' wailing/teeth-gnashing, was the norm. I hear early-music majors don't even pass it. I scanned over the results sheets that were posted, and out of 100, the highest score was a mid-70. That guy/girl passed everything. I dislike him/her greatly.

On the plus side, I get another chance in January. If I fail that one, I need to take a review course to punish my ignorance bring me up to speed.

I have pictures and videos and such of the buildings, practice rooms, and my drool-inducing walk through campus every morning, but until I can extract them from my phone, I'll be sticking to words. Boring, I know. But there's a lot to tell.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mocha Cookie Crumble Frozen Coffee Shake

I'm not usually much for coffee.  I find it to be bitter.  I drown it away in milk and sugar and artificially flavored creamers, much to Chris's chagrin.  I much prefer my tea.  But, there are times when I need a quick caffeine fix and coffee does the best job.  I primarily choose cold coffees because they are less bitter, and often less coffee than milk is used.  Plenty of sugars are added, and voilá! A coffee drink that I'll consume.

Lately, my caffeine fix of choice was a seasonal drink from Starbucks® called the Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino®.  But, when I went to a shop just 2 days ago, they told me it was gone!  Gone!  And they substituted it with some other Frappuccino® that was, unfortunately, a much more coffee flavored one.  And I was so disappointed.

There was a time in my life that I worked for a (smaller) national coffee shop chain and I spent a lot of time reformulating drinks from another (larger) national coffee shop chain.  That, and I'm a blessed (or cursed) supertaster, which allows me to be able to pick apart recipes and makes for a great college frat party trick, though I think I may have outgrown that usefulness.  But, lucky for you, I know how to make a copycat drink!

Mocha Cookie Crumble Frozen Coffee Shake

In a blender, combine:
 - a little over 1 cup of ice cubes
 - 1/2 cup milk
 - 1 TB heavy whipping cream
 - 2 ounces of espresso, or double strength coffee
 - 1/8 cup dark chocolate syrup
 - 1/8 cup vanilla coffee syrup
 - 3 tsp dark chocolate chips

Blend these together for 30-45 seconds, or until the ice is well-blended with no large chunks.  Pour it out into 2 glasses.  Top with a generous swirl of chocolate whipped cream and a few crushed Oreos®.

Now, some additional information:
This is, obviously, not the exact recipe to make a Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino®.  As such, I have not used the name for my recipe.
Big chain coffee shops use xanthan gum to keep their blended drinks from separating.  I find a dash of heavy whipping cream will do the same thing, but it's an unnecessary ingredient if you don't mind a bit of frequent stirring.  You'll also have a slightly more viscous drink than with it.
I know that dark chocolate is all the rage, everywhere, but you know that supertaster thing?  Yeah, I don't like bitter foods, and dark chocolate is bitter.  I used milk chocolate in this and enjoyed it just fine.
Also, I didn't have any whipped cream in the house!

Monday, August 13, 2012

First Day of School!

First day of school!!  First day of school!!  First day of school!!

Chris being dropped off for his first day of school.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

We made it!

Moving is always an ordeal.  Always.

Before packing, you look around and think, "I don't have that much stuff to pack.  It can wait."

During packing, you think, "Wow, glad I started now!  I have more stuff than I thought I did!"

Upon unloading the truck, you think, "Where the hell did all this crap come from!?"

I thought it would be easier to make the 6 hour drive with the kids during the night so they could sleep and I could drive straight through.  Even so, it wasn't a smooth drive, and it took us 10.5 hours to get to Bloomington.  I would not like to know how the trip would have went during daylight hours!!

Our new home! It's a side-by-side townhouse.

I took the toy room packed in the van so the kids could have their very own room ready while the rest of the move happened.

The train table all set up for proper chugging.
You don't even want to see the rest of the house right now.  When we're set up properly, I'll give you a tour!