Sunday, October 30, 2005

Ex-English Professors Don't Die. They Just Get Sic.

Why spell tonsillitis with two ll's? Tonsil only has one l. The syllable -sil- never receives the stress, nor is there any danger of making the i in -sil- long, so why double the consonant?

Just a musing as I suffer with a related malady. Since I have no tonsils left to go all -itis, the virus has located a nearby, formerly healthy voice box. Oh, and a formerly presentable right eye.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

How I Am Doing?

My title is a little Do the Right Thing for your Tuesday. Remember that collaged/collective rant? Awesome.

No, really, it IS about how I am doing. I've been gone from writing/reading blogs and most other internet-related things for bout a week now. Needed a vacation, I guess. Plus I've been sick.

What I'm up to:

Been pondering sourdough. Reading a few bread books, including The Bread Bible and Crust and Crumb to get an idea of the level of involvement for keeping a wild yeast starter alive so I can bake every Saturday. When my parents came back from their vacation in San Francisco back in the 70s, my dad became sourdough-obsessed. He used to make sourdough EVERYTHING when I was little. Then, it was the buckwheat. Buckwheat EVERYTHING. I never minded, really, because pancakes and waffles figured prominently into his baking equation. They still do in my dad's world. Thirty years later, I still like my dad's world on the weekends, because it usually means buttermilk pancakes with fresh blueberries (scratch, in case you had any doubt). He sifts his pre-sifted flour. My dad is a bit obsessive. Yesterday I reached a decision: I need to spend time baking sourdough bread like I need another hole in my head.

Been pondering going to this conference in July 2006: Backspace Writers Conference. Anybody out there going? It will take lots of dough--and not the sour kind--to make it happen, and it also means being away from my dear children for three nights. Such a thing has never been done! Judy would tell Apu, though, "It could happen." Why is this entry full of eighties references?

Reading Harley Jane Kozak's Dating is Murder. Love it so far; just as funny as Dating Dead Men, and just as smart, too. Next on my TBR pile: Susan McBride's Blue Blood, Anne Frasier's Play Dead, and Jennifer Weiner's In Her Shoes. In the past week I finished Dennis Lehane's Mystic River and watched the film. Both really knocked my socks off. The book is inspiring to this fledgling mystery writer because it is so grand in scope yet is a traditional mystery. The film does some wonderful things both in translating the key elements of the book and in creating original images that visually enhance the story. Loved both experiences. Did you all catch Lehane on the convertible in the parade scene?

Fall cleaning. Mother-in-law and youngest brother-in-law arrive two weeks from Thursday, and then D's 40th birthday party "with the guys" will be Saturday the 5th. Trying to clear out more clutter and very slowly get ready for the holidays. This will be the third year I've used Flylady's "Cruising Through the Holidays" system, and every year, the holidays get EASIER. What bugs me about cleaning is illustrated by this: I clean the top of the refrigerator, then I notice the cabinets above it are dingy. Clean them, then I see that there is lint hanging from the bottom of the cabinet edge. Clean that, then wonder about the top surface (that no one every sees), etc. There's always something more to clean. At the risk of sounding like a fanatic--which I care to take because I actually am one--Flylady taught me that you don't have to clean perfectly. It's no big deal.

Not writing my novel. Today, I pledge to get my ass in gear.

Planning some fall menus, now that the weather is cooler. Here's a macrobiotic one I'm going to try to pull off on Thursday. No Blueberry Swirl for us, though. Just a simple, reconstituted dried fruit compote with an oat crumble on top, I think. Maybe a little vanilla yogurt over the top--which actually isn't macrobiotic compliant (nyah nyah).

What are YOU doing now that fall is here?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Summer's Gone

Well, the calendar says so, anyway. You'd never know it from the balmy temps and green leaves hanging around (not that I'm ready to rake, mind you). The last week of vegetables has come and gone, and I'm sad. If you've not been following along, people, we had a CSA subscription this year through Farm to City. Each week a box of vegetables from an organic, Amish-owned and run farm west of Philadelphia went to good use in our kitchen. Greens and tomatoes still make up half of our freezer contents, but I'll bet that'll only last us until the new year. In the fridge, I still have an eggplant, two spaghetti and one acorn squash, a few green bell peppers, lots of jalapenos, carrots, and radishes, and two heads of bok choi. Oh, and a wonderfuly huge head of celery. Our cupboard is overflowing with red and Yukon Gold potatoes. So, there is still plenty to enjoy. I made leek and potato soup tonight and froze half. Which reminds me there is still some ratatouille frozen. I will miss, miss, miss those veggies. If I'd had a moment several months ago, I would've planted some fall crops out back so we could keep getting some green onions, brocolli, and salad greens, but there was neither time nor inclination, most days. The drought would've killed my seedlings anyway, and our dog R (aka "broccoli breath") would've done away with the grown veggies before we could eat them all, most likely.

With the change in seasons comes a change in marketing, in menus, and in cooking methods. I can't say I am sad about that. There is a can of pumpkin sitting at the back of the cupboard, its soft orange whispers growing a little louder each day. One day soon: toasted pumpkin-pecan bread with butter = a slice of heaven.

Brave New World

Oh how modern life escapes this 40 year old.

  • Did you know there is now a silent -0R on many words? I know--WTFBBQ?1!!
  • Tee shirts with the neck cut out, falling off one shoulder, are HOT and NEW!
  • "Emo" is something other than the name of a cherubic comedian, folks.
  • Three words: baby fishnet tights.
  • Friday, October 14, 2005

    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets film question

    May contain spoilers.

    D and I watched the film of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets the other night. Aside from the DVD having a crack and skipping a lot, I enjoyed the movie. I can't stop saying "whomping willow." (Hope that's the proper spelling, as I haven't read the book.) ANYhoo, I am still perplexed by this: Harry and Ron go to see Hagrid in his cottage, to ask him something. Was it "Did you open the chamber of secrets?" or "Who opened the chamber of secrets?" or "Who is this fifties kid in the diary?" I simply can't remember, mostly because Hagrid's lame-ass answer, before he is hauled off to the clink, is "Follow the spiders." TO THE LAIR OF THE MAN-EATING ARACHNID. Why, oh why would dear fuzzy, giant, baby-faced Hagrid send those two lads TO THE LAIR OF THE MAN-EATING ARACHNID? WTF!? She gives them one piece of information that is so insignificant to their quest that I can't even recall it! It fell, like a grain of sand, through the marble-sized holes in my gray matter as soon as I heard it, I'm sure. So, I would like to ask my loyal readers, all two of you--actually just one, since the other is my husband and I've already asked him and he doesn't know--to help me understand why Hagrid plays so with the lives of Our Gentle Wizards-in-Training. Anyone? Anyone?

    Wednesday, October 12, 2005

    So, the catfish was too spunky for its sauce, surprisingly (see blog entry just below). The tahini and lemon and garlic kind of, well, vanished, if you can believe it, behind the pan-fried catfish yumminess! Go figure. So, hummus will be made from the sauce that remains. Or maybe some falafel will be made and the sauce will join it in a pita boat on a short trip to my mouth. Or maybe said sauce will stay in its container, to be tossed in two weeks when I notice it in the back of the refrigerator with the limp radishes.

    And now for something completely different. Blue Jeans. Is there nothing they can't do? Saved my skin today, pretty much literally, which was their original purpose if we can believe those thieving, toothless prospectors. You may know from reading my blog that I am challenged when it comes to getting through the long days with my 6mo daughter and 2yo son--especially the hours between 5:00 and 7:00pm. Latest excitement was tonight, when I poured boiling noodle-water ONTO MY LEGS instead of into the sink. Yes, the sink WAS full of dishes, and yes, the colander WAS too high. MY FAULT TOTALLY. N was in his high chair and AC was in her saucer, so no children were harmed. I seem to be fine, too, just kind of stingy-with-a-hard-"g" on my right knee and shin. Interestingly, if I'd been in my pajamas and barefoot (see BookTarts comments today), I would be one pissed off lobster about now. But I had on my trusty jeans and sturdy shoes.
    (p.s. Thanks, FlyLady.)

    Monday, October 10, 2005

    Strange Bedfellows

    Best way to describe the marriage of catfish and...tahini? Found this recipe on Catfish Fillets with Egyptian Tahini Sauce, and will try it in another hour. I will report later. If the fish at the last minute says "no" to its companion, I will make hummus out of the tahini sauce for pitas tomorrow.

    Wish me luck.
    p.s. my mother always instructed me to say "filleTs" for fish and "filAY" for meats. I think Julia Child taught her... But dropping names to the fish people at my supermarket doesn't make me look any smarter to them.

    Friday, October 07, 2005

    And it's only 1:00pm

    Did ya ever have one of those days?

    You know, one of those days when the boy wakes up an hour before the alarm goes off, shouting "Little beebar! Little beebar!" And he alternates this with teary, high-pitched wailing and you sit him on your lap and rock until the sun comes up? And then at diaper change, you notice his thighs are covered in hives, but the pediatrician's office doesn't take non-emergency calls till 9:00? And you'd like to call the daycare to see what sort of snacks he had yesterday but they are closed today? And you leave the kids with dad and run to the eyedoctor at 8:45 to pick up your contacts, and find that Friday is the only day they open at 9:00? And you can't wait there for them to open because dad has to leave for work at 9:00? So you go home and start calling the pediatrician, whose nurse's line is busy solidly for a half hour? And all the while, you're hearing this static on the line, wondering what's the matter? And you finally get the nurse and the two of you can barely hear each other, but you make out that you're to give Benadryl and call back in a couple hours?

    So then you realize it's your phone that's screwed up and you call the phone company on your cell phone, which has trouble keeping a signal in your house, and the very sympathetic recording walks you through the test you need to do outside at the network box "but not if it's raining" to see whose side the problem is on, so you gather your screwdriver, your cord phone, your six month old, and your two year old and walk toward the back door, and the phone rings? And it's your parents, whom you haven't heard from in two weeks and you wonder if anyone has died or is in jail? And once you make it through the static-y call just to make sure all is well, you finally go outside, and it has started to rain? And you do the phone test anyway?

    So then you go inside and call the phone company back, and when you assure them that they are at fault they apologize and tell you that they will be happy to come fix your phone on Sunday? And then you put your kids in the car to try for the contacts again, since the doctor's closes at noon on Friday, and, wonder of wonders, you actually get in and get your contacts? And you are feeling so giddy with success that you head over to the Carter's outlet to exchange an outfit that is one size too big, but when you get to the mall, the heavens have opened up, and the closest parking space is in the next zip code? So you bag that one, head home, start calling to report on the ever-shifting hives, and find that the pediatrician's is closed for lunch?

    Well, did ya?

    Thursday, October 06, 2005

    What Goes ON in that Head of His?

    Bush's, I mean. This Miers thing? Never been a judge? Hey, that's okay. We'll let you get your feet wet IN OUR NATION'S HIGHEST COURT.

    I know that George Will and I have never voted for the same presidential candidate, but sometimes the man is just plain right. Well, okay, he's always Right with a capital "R." But I mean right as in correct. Look here--(free) registration required.

    Turd by Turd

    Thank you, Anne Lamott, for telling me it's okay to write "shitty first drafts."

    Wednesday, October 05, 2005

    PLEASE DISREGARD THE BLOG ENTRY IMMEDIATELY BELOW THIS. ITS SENTIMENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED OWING TO THE WHIMSY OF PAROCHIAL SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL. SEEMS NO ONE TOOK MY NEEDS INTO ACCOUNT WHEN MAKING OUT THE SCHEDULE. There may, however, be a window of opportunity for another attempt at a "date," if that is indeed what the event is still called, as it has been so long I no longer know the proper lingo, on October 15.

    Tuesday, October 04, 2005

    Oh, the delirious expectation

    There is a CHANCE that I will actually get to go OUT and see a FIRST RUN MOVIE on Saturday night. Naturally, you are skeptical, considering I have a 6mo and a 2yo and a husband who works between 60 and 70 hours a week (some of that time from home, thank God). And rightly so. But I THINK our babysitter does not have to play volleyball that night, and I THINK my children will be healthy enough to leave with her. Ya know, I don't even care what movie it is. I'm just beside myself to be pondering my JUNK FOOD CHOICES. Will I get popcorn and a Sprite? Or will it be Reese's cups? Maybe coffee and a muffin? Junior mints, perhaps? I am willing to GO INTO DEBT to say "meh" to a mediocre movie, as long as I can sit in a dark, air-conditioned cavern with no one pooping or peeing or crying within range of my detectors, and EAT CRAP. And guess what? I don't even have to clean up! I can just wipe my fingers, throw my stuff in the can, and walk out. Finally, if all goes as planned, the kids will be asleep when we get home, and our reign of FREEDOM will continue on into the night.

    But soft you, the witching hour approacheth, when the 2yo inevitably ruins mom's buzz. Still, she intoneth, KEEP HOPE ALIVE.

    Monday, October 03, 2005

    Something Awful

    Go here for more hilarity.

    Saturday, October 01, 2005


    Okay, so Throw Nothing Away Day is about learning. And mindfulness. And my husband and I are learning just how mindless we are.

    He pitched a popsicle stick he found in the yard into the garbage can, closed the cabinet door, and then looked at me and said, "I just threw something away." He tried to fish it out (still have some of last night's garbage in the bag), but I told him to forget it--we're learning today. So, what could we have done with a used popsicle stick? Don't know. I just know that I want to be aware of what I buy, use, and toss. Awareness will help shape my future decisions, ones I hope will do the world more good. And, as we looked inside the garbage can, I saw two oatmeal packets I had tossed THIS MORNING, for heaven's sake! How could I have used those and pitched them with no memory of it when I wrote the first post today??? I now remember refilling the oatmeal container (it is half plain oatmeal in the big cardboard canister mixed with half maple-brown sugar oatmeal from individual packets). We're trying to cut down the amount of pre-packaged/pre-sweetened stuff for N so that eventually he will eat plain with a little maple sugar poured on it. We're down to half and half now.

    I'm going to the grocery store in a bit to get some apples, bananas, half and half, mozarella, and rolls. I won't use produce bags and I will take my cloth shopping bag to circumvent "paper or plastic?".


    Yes, that's right:


    Click here to learn more.

    If you've already discarded this morning, that's okay, just start from now. I'd have had this post up yesterday, but I've been having trouble with $&*^$( Blogger since their schedule maintenance yesterday.

    So far today, I've tossed two diapers and the foil tear-top from a can of coffee. I rescued D's Onion page-a-day from the garbage to use for a grocery list. He needed some reminding, you see. Since then, he has composted the coffee grounds. We're going to the neighbors for a cookout this afternoon, and it will be interesting to see what is disposable there, and how Dave and I can conserve resources.

    BIG congratulations to my friend the pregnant lady!!!

    That is all. Now go forth and be resourceful.