Supposedly easy cinnamon rolls

Okay, I really shouldn’t slam these so hard–they were pretty easy (the only non-easy bit was entirely my own fault), and they do taste pretty good. They’re no-yeast, so use them only if you want dense, cake-y cinnamon rolls.

The original recipe I used for all the non-icing bits can be found here, though the directions are a little hard to read, as they combine the ingredients for filling and the dough itself. I’m simplifying them here:

To make the filling:

In a small-ish bowl, mix

1/4 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. light brown sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Combine with 1 Tbsp. melted butter (this recipe uses 1/2 c. total) and mix until butter is evenly distributed. (Original recipe says until all parts are “equally moistened”–basically, mix it good.)

To make the dough:

Mix the following in a large-ish bowl

1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour (you’ll need more for rolling out the dough)
1/8 c. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder

In a > 1 c. measuring cup, mix

1 1/4 c. butter milk (original recipe explains how to clabber milk if you have no butter milk and don’t know what to do about it)
2 Tbsp. melted butter

Pour the liquid ingredients into the bowl with the solid ingredients and mix until a “shaggy” dough forms. Knead with hands until smooth–approximately 30 sec. The recipe says that the dough will be sticky. It’s wrong; it will try to eat your hands. You have been warned.

Put it all together…

Clean your hands. Spread some (read: a LOT of) flour on a surface large enough that the dough can be patted into a 9″ x 12″ rectangle.

Butter a pan large enough to hold 8 or 12 rolls (this recipe makes 8 large, or 12 medium, which I found out rather by accident after I cut it into 12 rolls instead of 8). To give you an idea, a 9″ x 13″ is way too large, but a 9″ cake round works for 8 rolls.

Heat your oven to 425 degrees.

Pat out the dough into a 9″ x 12″ rectangle, making sure that the dough is of even thickness everywhere. (I didn’t take quite the precautions I should have. This resulted in much cursing, and in a very Victorian novel way. Guess what I’ve been reading lately?) Brush it with 2 Tbsp. melted butter. Pat the filling firmly on the dough–it shouldn’t absorb it, but the layer should be even and should stay somewhat when you roll the dough. Make sure you leave a 1/2″ border around the edge of the dough.

Roll the dough from one long side to the other. (i.e. If you were folding, you’d be folding “hot dog” style vs. “hamburger” style.) Pinch the seam to seal the roll. Cut the log into 8 or 12 rolls; whichever amount you want to make. Brush the tops with 2 Tbsp. melted butter, and bake for 22-25 minutes, or until the tops are golden-brown.

Now, for the fun part: the icing.

I used this recipe for sour cream icing, as I had a spare 1/2 cup of sour cream lying around. As I learned, though, unless you want to absolutely smother 12 rolls in a thick enough layer of icing to make the most placid and lethargic of children bounce off the walls, halve the recipe. (I wound up using about 2 1/2 c. powdered sugar for a full batch that was rather more thick and frosting-y than viscous, by the way.)

Spread it on the just-done rolls and serve.


Where does the Bible say men and women need to play separate sports?

It’s a story we’ve heard several times: Girl plays on guys’ football team for a while. School sanctions it entirely. Then, school suddenly stops sanctioning it.

It’s one thing if the school says “Sorry, but we can’t allow this because X, Y, and Z”, or even just that they can’t allow it from the outset. It’s entirely another to (pretend to) condone it for a while and then decide, “Oops! Sorry! Didn’t actually feel that way. Let me yank that rug out from under you a bit more. And let me stick this knife in your back and just twist a little more, too… Ah, there we go.”

Recently, such a story involving a 12-year-old by the name of Madison has come under scrutiny. I encourage you to read the school’s points about why she was kicked out, because otherwise, my arguments against them won’t make much sense. Coverage can be found here, here, and here

I understand the concerns for this girl’s safety and health, and I think that those are perfectly valid, though I will say I rough-housed with my older brothers and got beaten up a fair amount by them and I think I left them with more lasting damage than they left me with. (The oldest still swears he has permanent bruising on his shins.) Honestly, looking at her pictures, she looks like a very solid girl, and her interview (okay, she was probably coached) indicates that she does have her wits about her. I’m pretty sure she knows how to be safe and make decisions for herself.

Back to the reasons given to her as to why she needed to leave: I have several problems with this.

First: What the hell kind of school has a CEO? I get that running schools is more or less a business, but this is the first time I have ever heard of any school (let alone a private one!) with a CEO.

Second: The way these concerns were listed, the first is that the boys might have impure thoughts? I don’t know where this guy learned child development from, but most kids going through puberty need no help in that department. Saying she’d incite (or increase) such thoughts is bull shit.

Third: The locker room talk might be too much for her to handle? I would hope that this guy’s never been in a girls’ locker room, but let me tell ya, in high school, we had a subset of girls in my PE classes that could out-raunch the guys. The rest of us didn’t really give much thought to it. (This being a Christian school, you’d think they’d want to address this whether or not girls were present, anyway…) Also, is she really in the same locker room as the boys? Maybe they oughtta fix that first…

Fourth: Boys and girls should not compete together in any sport? Gee, guess my first grade soccer experience was totally wrong then. And my recesses K-8. And my PE classes. You know what? Why don’t we just go back to separate schools for girls and boys and never let them mix? That would solve a lot of problems including, oh, the entire human race. Just a thought.

Fifth: There are other sports she can play? Yeah, I could’ve chosen to do basketball instead of volleyball, or soccer instead of volleyball, but I chose volleyball. It makes the kid happy! While her happiness is not the only consideration by far… come on! That’s like kicking me out of Computer Science just because I took computational biology instead of computer vision and telling me, “You have other majors to choose from!” It’s one thing if she actually doesn’t have the skills and/or physical bulk to make the team; it’s quite another to say “God vaguely forbids this and you have other options”.

Sixth: Private schools can do what they want. Well, can’t really argue that point. Not legally, anyway. But I think this dude’s figuring out that if people aren’t pleased with the quality of his performance as CEO, they’re gonna go elsewhere, and take their money with ‘em. (Personal story time! When a new principal took over at our high school and decided our traditions didn’t matter and that things needed to go her way, there was not just an exodus of students and parents, but an exodus—and at that, I believe it was larger, percentage-wise—of teachers, as well. Can’t really have a school without teachers. Just sayin’.)

Seventh: He prayed about it. Okay, yes, this is a religious school, and religious freedom is totally a thing that should not be taken away; not gonna dispute that. But as an argument as to why this child should not be able to play a sport, it’s pretty damn flimsy, in my opinion.

Apparently, this guy used Bible quotes to back up his points. Again, I get that religious schools do follow moral codes and generally have some sort of clause about being Biblical role models (I attended Catholic schools for 13 years, thanks very much!), but if you want things to be on even ground, you’ve gotta use the school’s rules, too, and it sounds like this argument is much more of a religious one. At the end of the day, though, his argument about private schools being able to do what they want is the only point that really matters as far as his decision sticking goes.

For now, anyway. I have no doubt that we’ve heard the last on this subject. Unfortunately, it’s pretty unlikely that any other school will say any differently; that’s just how the current rules work. But you know what the funny thing about all this is? Rules can change. It’s like magic, only not.

I really hope that all kids facing this get together and start working up their own co-ed leagues, even if they’re just informal. Surely, schools can’t ban that! I mean, that’s one way to show that the interest is there, right? If the interest is there, it would logically follow that it’s more likely to be picked up by an organization. (Though, I do have my concerns about the lowering of the place of logic in arguments these days. I’m guilty of being irrational, too, but I try to keep a cool head as much as possible.) Until then, I encourage Madison and all kids in her situation to do what they can to make their athletic dreams work as much as possible.

And if anyone can point me to the answer to the question asked in the title, I won’t say I’d be grateful, but I’d at least like to know what the basis for this claim is.

That Weird Feeling…

It still hasn’t sunk in yet.

Even though I’m moving in a little less than two weeks and looking at things for my new job (seriously, making one’s own healthcare decisions is HARD!) and stuff like that, I don’t know that reality is going to sink in until July 8th. Heck, maybe not until September… oh… whenever university starts back up again for the boyfriend. Or when I get my diploma—whichever comes first.

I think part of this has to do with being put under earlier this week to get the wisdom tooth surgery; I’ve been kind of muzzy the past several days, and when that hasn’t been the case, I’ve been escaping by reading. It’s really easy to lose track of time when one is reading. Time, space… the whole kit’n’kaboodle, really.

So, that’s why I haven’t been sticking to my schedule. Again. I’m kind of glad readership isn’t way the heck up there for that reason, but maybe that would give me the incentive to write more? I dunno. I just don’t know.

But apparently I know computer science, so there’s that…

I also know a few other things. A quick rundown:

–A year of ASL (I haven’t been using it as much as I should, though, so my production is… not so awesome…)
–Two quarters of calculus (integrals and 3D calculus)
–A quarter of atmospheric sciences (takeaway: weather prediction is inexact at best)
–A quarter of Shakespeare (a quote from the professor about Hamlet: Anyone who’s skipping class, I’m just going to assume is helping someone avenge their father.)
–A quarter each of computational biology and computational linguistics (yay, Hidden Markov Models!)
–Two quarters of Greek and Latin roots (my dad’s a biologist—take a guess as to what my grades were for those classes)
–A quarter of art history (helped greatly by a similar class in high school)
–A quarter each of surveys of psychology (The prof, at the end of every class, as flatly as possible: Okay I’m done g’byenow), philosophy (pious pancakes!), geology (yay, rocks!), and linguistics (fascinating)
–Intro to Judaism (I was asked, “Wait, you grew up Catholic? Why are you taking this?!” no fewer than 5 times. Um, maybe because it’s interesting!)
–Two quarters of phsyics: motion (ahh, memories of building a functional—if miniature—trebuchet in high school!) and electromagnetics (ahh, memories of my high school physics teacher frying everyone’s homemade speakers…)
–A quarter of physical geography (like the atmospheric science class and the geology survey rolled into one!)
–A quarter of the history of my area’s geography (soooooo much logging…)

There you have it. It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s a lot. And it’s gonna keep on going, if I have anything to say about it. I guess that determination is a lot of why the “school’s out forever” feeling hasn’t sunk in yet. And I’m kinda hoping it never does.


There is so much in that one little mark—that squiggle-dot.

It indicates that information is missing. How much is left up to context. It could be that someone is looking for an affirmation that they are supposed to be keeping the pigs in the pen, or banking the airplane one way or another. It could be that someone is missing one part of the equation, or that they know nothing at all.

The most fascinating thing I’ve noticed recently, however, is that it can stand on its own. My generation is using it as a sort of shorthand, and in very different contexts: 1) the asker doesn’t know where to begin asking questions, or knows that they are starting from nothing, and wants to know everything, or 2) the asker and the answerer both know very well what the question is, and so it’s a waste of time/space to write the entire thing out.

Given the efficiency of typing, I really don’t get that last one, but I’m totally guilty of doing it, anyway. That’s the only explanation I can think of.

I mean, this isn’t entirely new, just using the question mark to express confusion. Cartoons and comics do it all the time, and have for a good long while. It’s just that it being used this way as a sort of colloquialism seems rather new. I don’t know—maybe I haven’t been paying attention enough.

Just my thoughts on this little trend.

Wise, no more!

Just kidding.

I just got those pesky upper wisdom teeth removed about 4.5 hours ago, as of this posting. Barring a freak occurrence, this should be the last time I have to get wisdom teeth removed.

I don’t know why, but I was much more anxious about it this time than the first. I actually started crying when they gave me the first sedative. It didn’t help that this made me dizzy, which didn’t relax me at all.

I don’t remember falling asleep or waking up. If you ask me, they didn’t remove them at all, but the slowly reddening gauze in my slightly chipmunk-lookin’ cheeks says otherwise. (As does my dad’s testimony that the surgery did take an astoundingly short 20 minutes–though this was more of a simple tooth extraction, as my wisdom teeth were actually growing in very straight.) All I know is that, coming out of sedation, I was NOT happy. After my first surgery, I was a little groggy, but otherwise quite lucid. This time around, I was not so lucid. I was seeing double (if not triple or quadruple) of a lot of things, I was massively dizzy, and these in turn made me really nauseated. This… is not a happy sensation for me, to put it mildly, and I was very vocal about it, according to my dad.

I remember bits and pieces–“I don’t like this…”, “I’m dizzy!”, “I’m seeing double” (or something to that effect), but most poignantly, when my dad let go of my hand so I could be moved to a wheelchair or so that he could open the car door, I wailed, “DADDY, DON’T LEAVE!” A happy camper, I was not. You try being bounced around in a wheelchair across a street when you can’t see straight and are so dizzy you can hardly sit without help, and forget about standing. It’s hopefully somewhat understandable that I was going between whimpering, bawling, and screaming during those three minutes. (I’ll be sending an email to the clinic right after this apologizing for my behavior and thanking them for their service. I might not have been able to control it all that well, but they were very professional and treated me with great care.)

It took the 20-minute drive home to stop seeing double (for the most part–even now, if I turn my head fast enough, it’s a little weird), and another hour beyond that for me to be able to sit and stand without help. I was able to chow down on some homemade applesauce and some yogurt before taking half a prescription strength painkiller and an ibuprofen. (Chickadoodle does not do well with any painkillers stronger than over-the-counter.)

So now, I’m happily ensconced on the couch in my parents’ basement, I’ve got my laptop for music and movies, and my phone. I’m propped up pretty far–the doctor said that I am not to lie flat  (or anything resembling it) for the next 48 hours, so I will be sleeping all propped up, which is fine by me. I’ve got my ice packs and my cold food for today and my warm food for tomorrow. I don’t actually have antibiotics this time; the doctor says that he doesn’t prescribe them unless a hole is opened between the roof of the mouth and the sinuses, where the roots of upper wisdom teeth often reach. (Well, or unless the patient has a history of infections. I don’t.)

So, that’s roughly the state of things. Here’s a picture of my dad’s and my ingenious rigging to keep my ice packs in place. It works.

Hoodies have their uses.

Hoodies have their uses.

To my dad on Father’s Day

Dear Dad,

Well, I guess I’m going to be emailing this to you because you don’t have a Facebook or a Twitter or anything. That’s okay. I suspect you’d either neglect it entirely or get too caught up in it, and you don’t want to do either. I’ve stopped caring about that.

If there’s one thing I can say, it’s that you’ve taught me to pick my battles. I can say I’m your daughter through and through on that one. I sometimes pick unwise ones, just like you.

Yesterday, we celebrated me. Today, I’m celebrating you.

I remember rough-housing on that God-awful swamp-green living room carpet we used to have. I also remember watching you light a fire, and working with power tools… all those crazy things that I always wanted to help with because they looked like a lot of fun. In retrospect, I can see how hard it was. I mean, you practically renovated the entire house, and more or less single-handedly.

But you know what my fondest memories still are? Take a guess…

If you said “Nights spent reading Dr. Seuss”, you’re right. You were the one who taught me how to read expressively, to bring a story to life just using my voice. I mean, you did your own sound effects! Who does that?! Not many people, I can tell you! Sure, my reading mannerisms have gotten me strange looks more than once, but what’s life without being a little (or a lot) strange every now and then?

On that note, you taught me to be proud of who I am, strangeness and all. You were the one who told me not to take any guff from bullies, even if it meant taking it to blows and getting myself in trouble. Thankfully, it never came to that, but it did give me the confidence to do what needs to be done.

You were always telling me I’d go far—farther than a lot of people seemed to think I would. Farther than I thought I’d go, at least. Not that I thought I would drop out of college or anything if I thought it was too hard, but that, compared to a lot of people, I’d be just okay. It’s something I still struggle with, being surrounded by some pretty brilliant people, but you’ve told me over and over that my tenacity is just as valuable as anyone else’s natural talent, and I’m just now coming to realize that there’s a lot of truth to that.

We’ve walked a long road together, you and I, and we have butted heads over a lot of it. But we’ve also had our fun, our laughs, and our tears, and it’s nothing like how I feel a lot of my friends’ relationships with their parents are. (Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t know.) And still, at this crossroads, I know you’re walking with me, telling me to go for it and never back down. And also have small snacks at regular intervals so that the world doesn’t end when I get hungry.

From the big things to the little things and a lot of in-between things, you’ve been there. And I’d be lying if I said I thought this is the end of that. Thanks, Dad, now and always.



Don’t judge a book by its cover–literally

Don’t judge a book by its cover–literally

So, apparently, when men ask for less girly covers, authors and artists hear them. (Read the link.)

I think it’s pretty cool that guys want to read “girly” books, and sensible that they want to read them without fear of judgment. The funny thing is, as a woman, so do I.

Take for instance the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. Most of the covers have a woman somewhat scantily clad, with cleavage or underboob (and sometimes both) showing. She only occasionally holds a tool of her trade (car mechanic), and when she does, it looks far more suggestive of *ahem* adult funtimes than of “I’m actually a decent mechanic”.

Now, if Mercy was a seductress who allowed payment in sex for mechanical services rendered, I’d understand the covers.

But she’s not.

She’s a freakin’ shapeshifter, and I’m pretty sure she is described quite clearly as wearing the same sort of coverall that most mechanics wear. Because, you know, car maintenance is messy. A few strategically placed smudges of oil and grease, along with some tousled hair, might conjure a sexy image, but in reality, after I’ve done maintenance (yup, little white girl can change her own oil and tires, thanks very much), I want nothing more than to take a shower because my hair is frizzy, and the crap I get on me is really, really hard to take off, and smells horrible.

Don’t get me wrong—Mercy is supposed to be attractive. I don’t mind her being portrayed as such, but there’s a huge cognitive dissonance in that for me, especially because in one of the books, Mercy is assaulted by a guy because he thinks she’s hot and that she’s interested, but she’s not interested in him. It was pretty heart-wrenching to read. I mean, the woman doesn’t flaunt her looks, but even if she did, that still wouldn’t change how I feel—I wouldn’t think she deserved it or anything because she’s hot.

Sex at all is kept to a minimum in the books, though I will admit that there is a romance or two that takes place. Other than that, the books are dedicated to solving mysteries within the community of mystical creatures and testing the bonds between people.

Interestingly enough, the UK covers are much less racy than their US counterparts. If you do a quick search on Amazon’s UK site, you can see the difference immediately. I much prefer those covers. They have the more mysterious, adventurous feeling about them that the books are supposed to have. (For the record, if a book is based around sex, I have no problem with it having a sexy—or “sexy”.)

But it’s interesting, isn’t it? And hard to deal with—we all have a different idea of what the cover for a book should look like, but we’re drawn to certain ones regardless. It is hard to get someone interested without a gripping cover, but covers can be gripping without the hint of sex. They can also be gripping to their target audience without catering to the “normal” tastes of one demographic or the other.

But there’s also the problem of thinking that we can’t or shouldn’t read books because of their covers. I totally get not wanting to read a book in public because it’s got a disturbing cover, but why should we judge guys who read books with “pretty” covers or girls who read slasher novels? Books are supposed to take you away to a different place, and not one where you’re worried about what people around you think of you.

I’m not going to go on a full-fledged rant about gender roles in society here, because that would get messy. Suffice it to say, book covers are strange, strange things, and some of them could be done a hell of a lot better. Also, they reflect gender issues in society.

That is all.

(Well, not really, but… yeah. Stopping now.)