Thursday, October 2, 2008

Ellie is...

I guess it's been awhile. again. Sorry. I'm on the Internet enough, you'd think I'd remember to update my blog. I guess I'm more at home on Facebook. I really feel it's more my scene. I don't have a darling husband or cherubic little children. I'm not a cook or how-to guru. I don't have a life-changing journey to a far-away place to chronicle. I'm pretty sure those are the top three types of people that use this particular venue. I'm part of the social networking, setting up class meetings, music and picture sharing set that thrives on Facebook. I usually sum up my days with the one-line status box and communicate with my pals by exchanging snarky comments on each other's walls.

See if you can deduce what happened this week from my status posts:

1.Ellie is not ready for monday.
2.Ellie is trying really hard not to worry about things that are out of her control.
3.Ellie is going to fail the ancient greek engineering exam.
4.Ellie is NAP!
5.Ellie would rather pull out her fingernails than watch the debate.

Here's what you get:
I had a fabulous weekend and was not ready for it to be over. But then I started reading the news, talking to professors and paying way too much attention to the current financial crisis. I had to take a step back and realize that my measly life savings are not really in danger and remember that money is not the most important thing in life! Then I realized whilst I was worrying about the impending economic doom, my ancient greek engineering exam was sneaking up behind me, ready to jump out and scare me because I had forgotten to study for it until the day before. After spending countless futile hours studying, I took the exam and did no better than if I had not studied at all. Counting it a victory that I managed to spell my name and the date right, I fell into bed exhausted. It was an epic nap, so much so that it came back for an encore this afternoon. And then the debates. I decided I am fed up with politics and pundits and people in general so I decided to forgo watching the debate tonight to update my blog.

So you see, the status is just as effective as blogging. Much more succinct. It's sad, really. People aren't interested in your story anymore, just the lesson from it. "Your life history? yeah yeah, just give me the moral of it."

You know what? That makes me angry. Just for the sake of it, I'm going to perservere. Blog on, young one, throwback to the days of old! Who cares if this isn't my scene? Take your two-second attention span to Youtube. If you want the meat of the story, you know where to find me. I'll be here with the cats who do old school things like read books instead of reviews and drink coffee instead of espresso shots. (I know I don't drink coffee but try to roll with the metaphor, alright?) Three cheers for the blogosphere!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Hello from the other end

Well summer is sadly drawing to a close. Too fast, as usual. I move back to Purdue in about 3 weeks but so much will happen between now and then. Currently I'm in Massachusetts visiting my Berwaldt cousins. I'm writing this from the internet cafe at Northeastern University in Boston. I'm hanging out here for the day while Hannah is in class. I tagged along so I could make use of the free Wi-Fi and also so I could roam the streets and take pictures of one of the coolest cities around.

The roaming will take place after I meet Hannah for lunch. Unfortunately I have spent the entire morning responding to emails, mostly school/work stuff. That is the downside of traveling: I do not get to connect to the internet very often! Anyway, it's pretty much all squared away so now I can relax.

So. This summer has turned out completely different than it was supposed to. For one thing, we never went out West, which was terribly disappointing. However, it's been fantastic. I actually got two jobs so I kept busy through May and June. I nannied for the family I've always worked for and met a new family with two little girls. Between the two families, I worked full time. I had a lot of fun though, especially with the new family. The girls and I went everywhere and did everything together. We went to the zoo, the library, the pool, the park, baseball practice, the dentist, McDonald's, mini golf, bowling, I mean EVERYWHERE. All I do for the other family is cooking, laundry, cleaning, and grocery shopping so this was a great change.

Both jobs ended on July 11, however, so I had the rest of the summer off. July 12, I packed up and drove to Freedom to visit Nana and Papa and Sam, who's been out there pretty much all summer. I had a nice visit there until the 18th, when I drove to Connecticut for the wedding. IT WAS AMAZING. Everything went perfectly, the music, the speeches, the ceremony, it was all beautiful. Except the heat. It was 95 degrees and insanely humid on top of that so the rehearsal and the ceremony were nearly unbearable. The singing was fine but it was so hot, I had to completely focus on the music so I didn't pass out. Unfortunately, what wedding photos I have seen reflect my state of mind. I look so red and angry, it's amazing I was singing and not shouting at the top of my lungs. I must have furrowed my brow in an effort to concentrate but in doing so I looked like I was furious. All the picture needs is cartoon steam coming out of my ears and it's completely hilarious. For the rest of time, Ariana and Bryan will see that unfortunate pose when they flip through their wedding photos. How awkward for me.

My photogenic qualities aside, it was an amazing weekend. I stuck around until Sunday afternoon, at which point I drove to Schnectady, New York to visit Uncle Jim and Aunt Mary. Amy was at camp all week, unfortunately, so Alan and I were thick as theives. On Monday we swam across the river, nearly died, and swam back. On Tuesday we went to the mall and were chased from store to store by two giggling girls from Alan's fan club. On Wednesday we went to a museum and learned about the history of electricity and then watched the river quickly rise in the torrential rain. Thursday, I left for Massachusetts.

Which brings me to now. Yesterday was the big meeting at Milford, which was great as usual. This week is Milford Convention and then next week I'll head to Freedom. After that, home!

So this hasn't been a really exciting post, more like a catalog of my travels, for which I apologize. With a lot of downtime and no internet, I have been writing a lot more, but nothing entertaining enough to post. Mostly thoughts on the nature of change, my life story and what not. Since I'm only 20, it's not the epic it promises to be, but I'm working on it.
Well Hannah is done with class so I must go. Perhaps I can be more interesting some other time.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A pox on you, Martha

I loathe Martha Stewart. Everything about her is perfect, too perfect. All her cooking shows and her made for the masses home decor line at Kmart, it's just revolting. True Story: When I was in ninth grade, a friend and I disguised ourselves as farm animals (she was Chikn, I was Cow) and made a blog specifically devoted to plotting ways to bring Martha Stewart and her dust-free empire crashing down. When she went on trial for the whole lying about her stocks debacle, we had a field day. Also we had some sort of vendetta against sheep for some reason. I'm not lying. Click here to read a bit of it.

Alas, I am not here to showcase my literary brilliance at age 15. I am here to tell you that Martha Stewart has redeemed herself in my eyes. How, you ask? Through a little offshoot of her vast homemaking ways entitled everyday Food Magazine. I love it. I want to sleep with it under my pillow and wake up each morning having learned some mouth-watering new recipie in the night. This monthly supplement of fast, easy recipies using sometimes unheard of ingredients has changed my life. I love to cook but I get tired of making boring stuff. Since it's summer and I have nothing to do, I have been improving my cooking. In the most recent issue of Food, I discovered two delightful dishes that are easy to make and taste awesome. Mom posted a picture of one of them, it's called two-pea pasta with ricotta and tarragon. it makes peas taste awesome!

For all you non-Food subscribers, here's the recipie:

  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 12 oz. gemelli or other short pasta
  • 12 oz. sugar snap peas, stem ends removed (and, if necessary, strings)
  • 1 pkg. (10 oz) frozen peas
  • 2 tblspoons butter
  • 2 tblspoons chopped fresh tarragon, plus more for garnish (optional)
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese


  • In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes less than al dente [al dente usually takes between 8 and 10 minutes, and means firm]. Add snap peas; cook 2 mins. Add peas, and cook 1 minute more. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water; drain pasta and veggies and return to pot.
  • Toss pasta and veggies with butter, tarragon, and ricotta, adding a little reserved pasta water as needed to create a thin sauce that coats pasta; season with salt and pepper
  • Divide pasta among four serving bowls, and garnish with tarragon, if desired. Serve immediately [seriously, serve immediately or else the ricotta becomes thick and pastey. it will taste the same but the texture is less appealing.]

Personal Notes: I doubled the pasta since I was serving 6 and not 4 but forgot to double anything else so as a result there was not enough sauce to sufficiently coat the noodles and the ricotta flavor was too mild (but adding salt helped). The tarragon, which is an herb that tastes faintly like anise (or licorice), mixes well with the flavor of the sweet snap peas to make it less licorice-y. I'm not a fan of licorice but I loved the flavor in the pasta.

The other deeeelicious food from the same issue is called roasted carrots with honey.


  • 1 & 1/2 pound carrots, cut on the diagonal into 2-inch lengths and halved lengthwise if thick
  • 1 tblspoon olive oil
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 tblspoon honey


  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss carrots with oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing once, until tender, 30 to 35 mins. Remove from oven, toss with honey.

Personal Note: I'm a huge carrot fan and this was like turning the carrots into roasted gold. I have never in my life likened a vegetable to a dessert but I enjoyed the sweet flavor so much I passed on the cookies that night and had two helpings. I like the carrots with slightly more crispy burnt ends (they have a more roasty flavor) so I would have baked them longer but no one else in my family likes charred veggies so we stuck with the directions.

So that's my food wisdom for the day. Please cook with joy and abandon and let me know what you think of them. For another slightly hilarious excerpt from the Martha bashing blog, click here and here.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

the summer is upon us

Even though school was out over a week ago, I spent the weekend in West Lafayette, and I can honestly say I'm sad to leave that place for the summer. I'm going to miss my meeting. I feel as though this year they have really come to be like my second family.

I'm officially a JUNIOR in college. wooow. it's gone by fast.

I survived dead week and finals week and my first semester balancing a job and school work. My last shift was on Saturday, from 7:45 am-12:45 pm. I'm technically still employed there, with a three month 'hiatus'. Until August, however, I have no source of income. Part of me wants to get a job so I can actually spend money this summer and also not go out of my mind with boredom but the other part of me wants to bum around and focus on my to do list.

Every summer I have a mental to-do list of things I want to get done over the summer. It's not boring stuff like "wash the windows", it's more self-fufilling. This year I actually wrote it down. I'm not going to share it because it's personal and frankly the Internet is completely the opposite of that. I might post it at the end of the summer, if I'm particularly proud of the results, but don't hold your breath.
I got the idea from my roommate, who has a book where she writes down everything she wants to do before she dies. She shared it with me because she checked a lot of things off this year but the whole "do before I die" list is vaguely creepy to me. I mean, what if you died and someone found the list and saw all the things you hadn't checked off? "oh how sad, she never got to [fill in the blank]"
I wouldn't want to be pitied. Regardless of the things I have or have not done in life, I believe it will be fulfilling and I don't want anyone thinking otherwise.

Hmm talking about myself posthumously is weird. NEXT!

Anyway, I'm excited for the summer. We're taking our family trip this year to the Badlands. It was my idea, yes thank you I will take all the credit. (hopefully it goes well. if not, it was all Eva's idea) Eva and I went with the grandparents in 2004 and it was amazing. We only took a driving tour that time but I think it would be phenomenal to camp there. So that's what we're doing. Nothing between the sky and the rocks but me in my tent. And a 5030943 foot camper. Alas, the parents and I have opposing definitions of "roughing it". Ideally, I will pitch a tent behind a large rock away from Mom and Dad's cruise liner to retain my charade of living off the land.

Seriously though, I'm excited to go back out West. Even if you are surrounded by miles of flat cornfields in Indiana, the sky seems constricted. Something about the other side of the Mississippi River, the sky opens up into this vast expanse, an endless blue ocean that is barely kept in place by gravity. I remember standing on a cliff holding Eva's hand while the wind blew so fiercely, it seemed as though the world would tip upside down and we would be flung out into the sky. As we stood there, I felt so small and contained, like a tiny figure standing in the palm of God's hand. Paradoxically, I did not feel faceless or insignificant but more understood at that moment than any other moment before. I want to recapture that feeling.

The other event I'm excited for is the wedding of my good friend Ariana. That's not til the end of the summer but I'm really looking forward to it anyway. She's asked me to sing a hymn with few others during the wedding. The day I met Ariana was the day she got engaged to her fiance. My sister and I were the first people she told. Well, not because we're that important but because we happened upon her not five minutes after the proposal. haha. Anyway, I just feel special to be included in the journey from beginning to end. Also I'm really excited to see all my friends on the East Coast again.

Well, my laptop is burning a hole in my leg so I should end this soon. Oh and CONGRATULATIONS to my dear cousins Matt and Christina Pipgras, who welcomed a beautiful baby girl, Phoenix Olivia, into the world last night!! I jumped up and down and screamed when I got Hannah's message, even though I was in parking lot full of strangers. I can't wait to meet you, Phoenix!!!

So that's pretty much it. Good night, world.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Happy Birthday to me

Today, I turned 20 years old. I am having a minor qualm about this. I realize everyone who will possibly lay eyes on this post is older than that. So before you sputter in protest that this "youngin doesn't know the first thing about getting old and I wish I was still twenty", and so on, please consider that life occurs in a forward linear progression and I have nothing to compare to age 20.

Let me explain. When I was younger (so, like, last week) I always thought that a twenty-year old would be sage and worldly wise, secure of their position in life, and completely independent. Note to younger self: lies, all of them. I still feel 16, on an extended vacation from my parents' house. I'm still so so naive about the workings of the world and dependent on my family for everything (moral support, intellectual guidance, money, healthcare, etc). I can't even get the oil changed in my car by myself. Hello, pathetic.

That's not to say that I'm desperately seeking a release from my family or something. In fact, completely the opposite. I would be a useless bag of bones without them, honestly. [Hey parents, I appreciate you! ]I just have this feeling like I should be more independent.

Whatever, it's just something I have to get over. I know, my life is just beginning and all that jazz, it's just a mental state. So calm down, oldies.

Inner broodings aside, let's talk about my birthday celebrations. I made it into a weekend event because I like to milk every opportunity to be in the spotlight. Also, I have too many friends to celebrate with at the same time. Yes, my middle name is Humble.

Friday night, my roommate and our floor mates, Lauren and Shannon, took me out to O'Charley's for dinner and it was a really good time. They gave me presents and paid for my dinner! Saturday morning I had to work from 8:45-1 but it wasn't too bad. The time went fast. At 6, I met all the gang from meeting (minus Arun, but he is never here on the weekend anyway) at Olive Garden for dinner. Death threats notwithstanding, they got the wait staff to sing to me and bring me a cake. It was utterly embarrassing. But the cake was good. I waited and waited for my bill but it never came. Convinced I would have to wash dishes on my birthday, I pulled the waitress aside and asked if I could please pay for my food but alas, my kind friends had paid for my meal yet again. (Birthdays are a lucrative business. I wouldn't mind it if I had one every month.) We all went back to the Braund's for some games and I spent the night there, since union meeting was close by the next day (a.k.a today).

I must take the time here to say that while I enjoy spending the night at people's houses, I loathe sleeping on beds that are folded into couches during the day. There is no comfortable way to position yourself on such a matress. This one in particular was quite ridiculous. The middle contained a giant lump and somehow, no matter which end I had my feet, they were always higher than my head. Since I was sharing it with Amanda, I couldn't exactly spread eagle for comfort. I had to fall asleep like a beached whale on a seesaw, with all my major organs slowly sliding into my throat.

This morning (after I got my spleen out of my chest cavity) we went off to meeting. Afterwards, Carole cooked up a big brunch of pancakes, breakfast casserole, and fruit salad. Then they suprised me with a wonderful cake. It was awesome. The morning dissolved into a comfortable afternoon, everyone enjoying the sunshine. Rachel and I laid on the driveway like two lazy cats and stretched our arms out, embracing the warmth that has been absent since early November. It's like we've been underground for the last five months. I hope the sun lasts...

Anyway, here's some pictures (gasp! pictures!) for your viewing pleasure.

Everyone is a star.

Um. We were dancing? Actually, I have no idea. It's just a funny picture in all it's awkwardness.

Rachel, moi, Lauren. Two of my favorite girls!

Joseph and Amanda. precious.

Amanda and me. squint squint.

mmm cake. Joseph made it for me! He should go into the business, it was fantastic.

Me and rooms, because she has been so good to me. I'm excited to live with her next year too!

There are more pictures but they're of the same people as above so you get the idea.

A capital weekend, indeed. I only have a month or so left down here before school breaks for summer, so not much time left. Well, it is high past bed time and officially not my birthday anymore. I have class in six hours so I should catch a wink or two before then. This is Two Decades Eleanora, signing off. Good night, America.

Thursday, March 13, 2008 ya been?

I'm alive.

The end.

Oh I'm sorry, were you expecting an actual post? Well come back in a week when spring break is over and I've taken the cucumber slices off of my eyes.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Day in the Life Of...

I'm totally copying Jami on this one. shhh....

A Typical Day for Moi

Actually, my schedule changes on a day to day basis so maybe we'll title this a typical Monday.

A Typical Day for Moi
A Typical Monday for Moi

There, that's better.

6:43 a.m. Wake to sound of roommate's alarm. Try to convince myself that it's Saturday and she accidentally left it on. She gets out of bed and turns it off.
6:45 a.m. Wake to sound of my alarm. Hit the snooze. Begin to doze.
6:50 a.m. Wake to sound of my alarm. Turn it off, and swing my legs down beside the bed, muttering under my breath. Poke roommate. Pour our breakfast cereal.
This process is repeated every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday but sometimes the roles are reversed.

7:20 Sleepwalk to class with roommate after pulling on clothes only a half a step up from our pajamas.
7:30-8:20 Sit through Intro to International Politics, alternately being poked by and poking Catherine to keep focus on what Prof. Targ is mumbling.
8:30-9:30 Visit the elliptical machine in my residence hall exercise room.
This only occurs if I have gotten at least 5 hrs of sleep the night before. Otherwise, I go back to bed until 10:30. Guess which one happens more often.
9:45-12:00 Shower, put on actual clothes, catch up on reading, lunch.
12:30-1:20 Attend Oceanography lecture. Learn about ocean sediments. Try to care.

1:30-3:20 Go to Cafe Royale, order a chocolate chai and read Apollonius or some other classical work for my next class.
3:30-4:20 Discuss said classical work in Classics on Film. Realize anew just how odd the professor is.
4:30-8 Procrastinate on homework and get dinner.
Work Meghan's shift at the office and think fondly of dinner I will not get to have for another few hours.

8:00-9:00 Sit through weekly WRH Club Board meeting and vote on stuff. I actually never have anything to contribute since my position is just a figurehead and all actual responsibilities left with the population of freshman I was supposed to oversee.
9:01-9:02 Check mailbox and grow excited to see actual mail but it turns out to be another credit card offer. Think fondly back on '06 when I recieved a care package in the mail from a beloved aunt. Wonder if my barren dusty mailbox will ever recieve anything so wonderful again. ahem.
9:05-9:30 Do the USA Today online crossword and sudoku and amaze myself at my fantastic mental prowess.
9:30-12:00 Actually do homework. Visit with my roommate whom I'm seeing for the first time since our class that morning. Watch the Daily Show or the Colbert Report and talk politics.
12:00 A quiet descends.
12:30 Begin to dream of Saturday when I can sleep in.

Interspersed in my day is usually sporadic email checking, phone calls to my family, giving tours of the res. hall, watering of the chia plant, and frantic visits to the computer lab to print off the latest paper that's due in 10 minutes.

I have a planner the size of a billboard, you would think I would be more organized. What I forget to pencil in, however, is motivation to follow the schedule. Ah such is life.

I believe we have entered into the "actual homework time" so I should go. Even though it's Tuesday and Monday's schedule is entirely thrown out of the window.

But before I go, I have to clarify who deserves to win the Superbowl. The Giants. No contest. If you side with the Patriots, the terrorists win. I'm pretty sure Bush covered that in his Union Address* last night.
Ha. Bet you wish you stuck around for the whole thing like I did, am I right?

Thought so.

*I actually have a whole other post on the State of the Union address but it's pretty politically involved and there's probably zero point zero interest in my opinion about that out there in the blogosphere. So I'm not going to post it unless there's a big demand. By that I mean if the 2.5 other people that read this besides my mom want to see it.

Monday, January 21, 2008

alas she speaks after a long silence

well obviously I survived Dead Week. and Exam Week. Grades weren't ones for the charts but I'm at peace with them. Winter Break was fun and eventful. Went to VA to visit Mom's parents and then unexpectedly to NY because Eva was in a snowboarding accident but you'd know about that if you read my mom's blog. Sam and I came home on New Year's day, drove in a blinding blizzard the whole way and I went to work for the rest of break. I nanny for a family of 8 in my neighborhood whenever I'm home on break. It's crazy, hectic, and sometimes I want to lie on the floor in the fetal position, but the pay is the best, the schedule is very flexible and I love those kids. I've been working for them for about two years and I keep saying next summer I'll get a steady 9-5er for the work experience but I really can't beat what I've got. Last summer for instance, I was able to go on vacation like 6 times and I reaaaally don't want to give up the fabulous Carolus summer trips.

Tangent aside, it's the start of week 3 for the new semester and I just might lose my mind. I scaled back on the credit hours but I picked up a job and even though I'm only working ~15 hrs a week, it's pretty hectic. I work in the main office of my residence hall. I answer phones, sell stamps, rent out movies, spare keys, make copies and shred stuff. I was thrown into work with a very very inadequate training session and an associate who thinks she's boss of the universe that likes to point out everything I do wrong. We have to fill out cash reports at the beginning and the end of every shift because they rotate cash drawers in the registers and those were the bane of my existence for the first few days. I kept messing up little details (because I had no idea what I was doing) and formerly mentioned boss of the universe (hereafter referred to as B.O.U.) admonished me with a shocked look on her face as though my omission of decimal points in reporting there were $35 in ones would cause our esteemed university to crumble to the dust. I have to stifle the wierd urge to curtsy whenever B.O.U. speaks.

I take it all with a grain of salt, however because B.O.U. is not actually my boss. She is the full time admin. assistant I take over for on Tuesdays. She did not hire me and she does not sign my paychecks and while I respect her opinion, I am not intimidated by her constant criticism. I recognize that my training was inadequate but I am a fast learner and I'm doing the best I can.

In other news, my classes are all interesting, even my Intro to Foreign Relations class that's taught by a fossil at 7:30 a.m. three days of the week. I have that class with Catherine so we force each other to get up in the morning and exchange pen jabs during lecture if we see the other falling asleep. Have I mentioned that I love my roommate? She brings me food when I have to work through a meal time at the office. Another class I'm taking, Intro to Oceanography, is with Lauren, who goes to my meeting and that's been really great.

My oddest class is shaping up to be my Ancient Classics on Film class, taught by a professor I had a year ago. This is one of the quirkiest professors I have yet to meet. Class is never boring. We read the Odyssey the first week of class and were supposed to watch the film version but according to him, "it's lame so we're going to watch Ong Bok instead". Ong Bok is a martial arts movie that has absolutely NOTHING to do with Homer's classic. We were still studying the Odyssey last week and what did we watch this time? A French Brigette Bardot film from the 50s. While it keeps things interesting, I am having the hardest time drawing parallels in my discussion essay. The most interesting class is A History of the Modern Middle East, where we discuss at length the cultural and political background of Middle Eastern countries and how it has shaped the region of today.

Anyway, this is longer than I intended it to be but it's been awhile since my last post. It is early but I'm going to bed because I'm sick for the second time in two weeks and tomorrow is going to be a really busy day. I'm pretty sure I will have lost my voice entirely by tomorrow which will make answering the phones at work rather difficult:
[in a hoarse whisper] "Good afternoon, Windsor Main Office."
"Why are you whispering??"
"Because sign language is harder over the phone?"
Oh well, I'll just siphon down copious amounts of chamomile and honey before my shift.

Good night.

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