Work & Play

I’ve long heard the addage, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Well, I don’t know about Jack, but for me the past few weeks have been a lovely amalgamation of work, play, travel, family, and friends.

In late July, a librarian colleague and I spent an intensive week at a grant writing symposium in Oklahoma City. While I felt a little overwhelmed at the idea of all we needed to fulfill in the span of five days, we accomplished much and left the workshop ready to move forward with our proposal. Throughout the week I was able to have great exposure to the way higher ed works in the state, reconnect with a former professor, and meet folks from different institutions and disciplines. Through one of my new art professor friends, there’s a possibility that I might be able to travel with he and students from his university to Paris over spring break. Considering I just got my passport updated, I’m ready to go! 🙂 This was the view in our workspace each day. Serene, no?

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On our way home from the workshop, we made a quick stop at the Oklahoma City National Memorial, where the Alfred P. Murrah building once stood before the bombing in 1995. I wish I could have stayed longer, but will look forward to returning when I have more time to reflect.

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I was also glad to learn where the state capitol building, library, art museum, and other fun downtown landmarks are located. Yet I couldn’t help but compare downtown OKC to downtown St. Louis, observing the stark differences of how it felt to be in a big, laid-back, country city versus the hubbub of the Gateway to the West.

Seeing as how the fall semester begins next Monday, this past weekend was likely my last hurrah of summer. Meeting my mom and dad in Springfield and spending the weekend in Branson was great, relaxing fun. On Saturday night we saw The Liverpool Legends, an amazingly talented quartet of musicians who do a spot-on impersonation of The Beatles; handpicked by Louise Harrison, the sister of the late George Harrison. It was heartwarming to see Beatles fans of all ages, being able to “come together,” have fun, and sing along with songs that forever changed the face of music.

After intermission, the chronology of The Beatles fast-forwarded to open with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
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Before the performance, mom and I had fun looking at the Volkswagen Beetles parked outside the theatre. It’s such a clever idea to use these little Yellow Submarines as promo cars for the show!

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In book news, over the past few weeks of summer I have consumed a great number of books. These are a few favorite passages I’ve encountered and enjoyed as of late:

“She’d gladly walk
Ten miles
In any weather
For a taste of God”
from A Deposition by Anne Porter, heard on The Writer’s Almanac – July 22, 2010

“This is a path we must all learn to follow on our own, praying we won’t lose our way before reaching the end.” The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (p. 102)

“How was she to know what children called things? An only child and lifelong academic, she hadn’t spent ten minutes around little tots. Didn’t know the first thing about them. Don’t want to, either. A shudder ran through her at the very concept of sticky hands pulling at her tailored clothes and crayon drawings cluttering up her spotless refrigerator door. Ick.” Bookends by Liz Curtis Higgs (p. 24) *This lighthearted novel has been one of my favorites this summer.

Today I finished The School of Essential Ingredients, a charming book of stories and vantage points showing how food and relationships are intertwined. It inspired me to try my hand at making homemade (fresh) basil pasta. While labor intensive, for my first venture into this culinary territory, I thought my efforts turned out well!

I didn’t take photos of the origins of the dough, but this is what it looked like rolled out
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Then cutting the pasta into linguine sized strips
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Next, boiling for just a few minutes
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Add to a rustic, homemade vegetable-tomato sauce (with tomatoes from mom & dad’s garden)
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Delish.

With the dough I didn’t use for linguine, I made into chicken-swiss-tomato ravioli. This shall be tomorrow night’s dinner.
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While the new school year soon commences and will thusly be considered “fall,” as far as I’m concerned, I won’t fully rejoice until I can pull on my long-sleeved shirts, don a favorite scarf, and head out the door with a knitted cap upon my head.

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