Monday, October 24, 2011

So this one time...

My first trip abroad was quite spectacular. Last summer, I got my passport with the hopes of being able to use it at least once (and not in Canada) before it expired. This past Labor Day week(end), I got my wish in the form of a conference trip to Portugal. Sure, I had to write a paper and put together a 20 minute presentation, but for an all-expenses-paid trip to Estoril, Portugal, that was such a small price to pay :) Needless to say, I had a blast! The food was awesome. The trans-Atlantic plane flight, not so much. The impromptu 4 hour layover in the Newark airport, definitely not at all. But the fact that I got to go hang out on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean and tour a castle older than America....oh sigh. I've been bitten by the travel bug and I'm already saving up for my next adventure abroad :)

I really liked the street signs in Estoril...everything was in this really pretty blue and white tile (including a whole entire room of one of the castles) and I think European license plates are really cool too. Since J is an enginerd too, we had fun trying to figure out all of the European car brands. There were some pretty crazy logos and I found myself getting really excited whenever I saw a Honda (which was relatively often, all things considered...they like Civics too!).

The hotel we stayed at was absolutely amazing! I was spoiled rotten, much like
the summer I stayed at the Hilton - Downtown Nashville for the JPC conference, and then was jolted back to reality when I stayed at a super-sketch Motel 6 for Mindy's wedding the following weekend. So this was the view from our hotel (bathroom) window. No, your eyes aren't playing tricks: those are palm trees. It was sunny and 70 the entire time we were there :)

The trip from hotel to airport was always interesting. When we arrived in Lisbon, we had to catch a bus to the train station to get to Estoril. Us and like 100 other people. The bus was quite the experience. I thought Purdue students could pack a CityBus like no one's business...they have a thing or two to learn from the Europeans. The return trip to the airport involved a taxi ride in a really nice Mercedes. It was early and I was tired, but I was awake enough to notice that we were going ~140 km/hr on the highway. Now I really want to drive on the Autobahn :D

The super short version of my trip: yay for international conferences! I am so lucky to have opportunities like this and I definitely would be the dumbest person alive to not take advantage of them :)
View from one of the castles (the Cinderella-esque one)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

If grad school doesn't work out...

...there's always Plan C!

Last night, I returned to the bustling metropolis of Ada, Ohio to recruit poor impressionable undergrads to come to Purdue and keeping learning stuff when they graduate! Last night I was told (and not for the first time either) that I should consider a career in admissions. I'll admit, this option sounds much less hazardous than trying to start my own bakery, working for the government (as a real engineer! gasp!), or having a bunch of tiny humans so I can be a stay-at-home mom.

Besides, OSU was giving away little bears with block-O sweaters. If I worked in admissions, I'd have a lifetime supply of free pens, cup holder coasters, and sweater-wearing bears. Fortran has nothing on animals in clothes....

P.S. -- I promise I haven't forgotten...Portugal post coming soon!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fantasy pie indeed...

Oh, this good :) Even better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Berry-Apple Fantasy Pie

Pastry for double-crust pie (found here)
1 c. sugar
4 tsp. quick-cooking tapioca (found by the instant pudding at the store)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 c. blackberries (fresh or frozen, doesn't matter)
2 c. sliced, peeled apples

Prepare pastry. Put half in your pie plate now and leave the other half in a ball to roll out for your top crust later.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, tapioca, and cinnamon. Add the blackberries and apple slices. Toss gently till coated. Let stand 15 minutes.

Spoon filling into pastry-lined pan. (Dot with butter if you want to...) Put the top crust of the pie on and do your edges however you want. Cover edge of crust with foil to prevent overbrowning. You can even get fancy and cut out stars or whatever to stick on top of the crust to make it look prettier :)

Bake at 375* for 25 minutes, then remove the foil. Bake for 20-25 minutes more, or till the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubble. Cool on a wire rack.