Favorite Pens Monday, Feb 18 2008 

Whenever I’m in a store, I’m often drawn to the “office supplies” aisle. I love stationery stores and stores like Office Depot. I like Post-it notes and paper clips and file folders. And over the last several years, I’ve developed quite a devotion to two particular brands of pens.

Precise V5 PensThe first brand that I love to use is the Pilot Precise V5 in the Ultra-Fine tip. I often use these for grading and for everyday school things. They come in all sorts of colors – I often use either the red, green, or purple colors for grading, though I also like the hot pink color. Jeff is partial to the navy blue; he recently had to ask me to pick up some extra ones for him (I think he suspected that I had stolen his!). Whenever students ask to borrow a pen, they inevitably choose these over ballpoint pens, so I have to resort to hiding them!

My other favorite brand of pen is the Micron brand of pen. These pens are more pricey than the Pilot pens (about $3 per pen). I use these at school Micron Penssometimes, but more often I use them for letters and for taking notes in church. I first heard of these pens in college; I had a Bible professor who recommended them for taking notes in your Bible since they don’t bleed through thin pages and since they come in ultra-ultra-fine points. So I use one of those in church, and then I use the thicker-tipped ones for other things. I usually find these pens only in craft stores like Michael’s (usually in the scrapbooking section); I bought some on Saturday (which inspired me to blog about them!).

Both of these brands of pens are small indulgences that can lift you from the doldrums of using ball-point pens (though ball-points certainly have their uses). But there are many occasions that call for a pen that’s a step above ball-point pens, and these pens are quite delightful!

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Lemon Bars Tuesday, Feb 12 2008 

I made lemon bars on Saturday for a small lunch at church on Sunday. I’ve made this recipe several times, and the bars always come out well. The recipe is from the July 2001 issue of Southern Living. Jeff and I enjoyed the leftovers with our (quite strong) Earl Grey tea this afternoon!

Lemon Bars

  • 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Powdered sugar

Combine 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender until crumbly. Firmly press mixture into a lightly greased 13×9-inch pan. Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Whisk eggs in a large bowl; whisk in 2 cups sugar and lemon juice. Combine remaining 1/4 cup flour and baking powder; whisk into egg mixture. Pour batter over crust.

Bake at 350 F for 25 minutes or until set. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into bars and sprinkle evenly with powdered sugar.

Happy Surprise Tuesday, Feb 12 2008 

Nothing warms a teacher’s heart like a forecast for snow! I wasn’t even aware of a storm warning for our area until I got to school yesterday, and now I’m at home for the day as a result of several inches of snow topped with freezing rain. Jeff’s seminary classes were canceled for the day as well, so we have an unexpected day together. When we moved here, I heard that the Louisville schools hadn’t had a system-wide closure in about 3-4 years. Needless to say, I was rather dismayed! (In Virginia, you can usually count on at least one snow day a year, if not more.) So I’m quite happy that the trend was broken this year!

Reading Group Saturday, Feb 9 2008 

The first time I belonged to a reading group was in grad school, and I loved it. After I left school and moved home to Virginia, I never settled into new one for any solid length of time, and I missed being part of one. But now, here in Louisville, a friend and I have started a new reading group that’s off to a great start. Granted, we’re only three months in, but I have a good expectation that this group will continue to flourish. We consist of about 10 women so far, and we meet for a few hours once a month on Saturday mornings. We read mostly fiction, with perhaps a few other genres to be thrown in on occasion. So far our choices have been The Kite Runner (December), The Namesake (January), and, for this month, Peace Like a River by Leif Enger, a wonderful book that I’m halfway through and which has echoes of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Fresh Start Saturday, Feb 9 2008 

After experiencing months of “blogger’s block” with my other blog (Dear Void), I’ve decided to make a fresh start with WordPress. And since I’m still transitioning to a new city (hence, the fleur-de-lis motif) and a new rhythm of life, a new blog seemed to be the way to go.