Thursday, February 2, 2012

What's to love about Lex

I am meeting so many people in the academic world (and out of it) that I have started a flow chart to keep track of them. For real. Steve did this when he was doing research in Africa so that he could document how he had met people and who knew whom. Doing this has shown me I now have in my life a web of warm, talented people all looking to help get us integrated into the music and academic community in Lexington. This is not to say it happened overnight, or without some frustration, but persisting with the calls, emails, dinners, and coffee dates is really beginning to bear fruit. We've enjoyed getting to know several of Steve's colleagues-- we do dinner parties! Success! On Monday I have an interview for the position of Choir Director with an inclusive,  liberal-minded church we can literally see from our front porch. Convenient! Cross your fingers: this would be a wonderful way to start working part-time, and making connections in the community outside of the university. It might also be a great platform for my Jane Austen Singing School. Also on Monday, I will be starting rehearsals with Musick's Company, an early music group directed temporarily by Loren Tice, who is a harpsichord/piano professor at Transylvania University here in town. We will be doing a concert May 19th!

Steve is teaching 5 days a week this semester, but has some wonderful students and is teaching a "capstone class," or more advanced group of students, in Oral History. We do manage to find ways to unwind, though.
A desperate bid to beat the Spiny Galaxy. Wii Super Mario Galaxy 3D.

Last weekend we hiked the Eastern ridge of the Forest Trail near Berea: we could see farmland and small neighborhoods for miles from the rock ledges. Types of oak and pine trees unfamiliar to me thrive on the mountain

and there are beautiful exposed layers of sandstone, limestone, and tumbled pebbles from primordial beaches:

There are clefts in the rock from which emerge ninja professors:


Last week we had a fantastic visit from our first HOUSEGUEST! Steve's aunt Sandy came for three days and tootled around with us to fabric stores and restaurants. She brought her sewing machine, indefatigable energy, extra fabric and made us THE most gorgeous Roman shades.. we think our room looks like a Moroccan bower. 

We took Sandy to our favorite lunch place, Stella's. They serve wonderful blackberry sodas that aren't too sweet, fried green tomatoes, and Hot Brown sandwiches, an institution. Hot browns are turkey, bacon, and Mornay sauce, baked or broiled till the bread is brown, and were originally served at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, KY in 1926.
Steve & Sandy at Stella's
Some of our other favorite things about Lexington: DRIVE THRU LIQUOR STORES. Yes. True.

We're into the Dark & Stormy at present:
2 oz dark rum
3 oz ginger beer
lime wedge

As I look for work, the upside is that I have plenty of time to feed us good things. Last night we enjoyed a Vermont-origin recipe (I believe!) of Fabulous Quinoa Dish! I don't even know its name. However, it is vegan (we haven't gone down that road, but love healthy, tasty meals) and is not too tough to make.

1 butternut squash, peeled, diced into 1/2" pieces
2 c. dried cranberries
1 red onion, diced
2 T. parsley
1 clove garlic, pressed

1T. maple syrup

2 t. garam masala
1/2 c. crumbled, toasted pecans
Bed of greens (I like baby spinach)
olive oil
balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 375F. 
2. Into large pan, add diced butternut squash, cranberries, onion. Stir in olive oil, maple syrup, and pressed garlic, until coated. 
3. Bake at 375F for one hour. Stir every 20 mins.
4. While baking, toast pecans 5-7mins in toaster oven or in frying pan. Do not burn.
5. Empty baked veggies into large bowl. Stir in parsley, pecans, garam masala, salt & pepper to taste. Toss with extra olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
6. Allow to cool a bit. Serve over bed of greens.

A note about sisters and brothers-in-law: one's life can be enhanced by their good taste and generosity. We are greatly enjoying the Meleau French-style port (from NY) to which they introduced us. We (I) are knitting a blanket which my InSister had me start from her extra yarn. It is coming along, though not in the pattern I anticipated:

AND!! We are LOVING our bird feeder, which we dutifully fill with black oil sunflower seeds. As Steve says, it is our Subscription to Birds. We have seen: House finches, House sparrows, Tufted Titmice, Cardinals, and various other Sparrows Yet To Be Identified. 
A Tufted Titmouse at our feeder. And yes, the eyes of a Titmouse ARE illegally cute.

  Also cute? boyfriends who give us flowers for no reason.

(Next blog, I have a feeling I will be posting embarrassing photos of myself. Payback: it ar imminent.)