Monday, October 31, 2011

even more monday music: happy nevada day! happy halloween!

"The Killers - Nevada"

"Monster Mash"

monday music: 'you sit and while away the idle hours'

"Adam Haworth Stephens - The Cities That You've Burned (NEW 2010)"

A little quiet, a little hypnotic. I'm going to fall asleep before I finish my work, but it'll be a nice sleep.

water with various foods floating in it

Oh, doesn't that sound appealing? Unfortunately, that's about as accurate a description of the soup I made yesterday as I'm going to get. In the middle of the night, as I was cleaning the kitchen,* I decided to finally make the soup I had been thinking about. I needed to use up a bunch of spinach that was threatening to slimify (so not a word, I'm sure, but there it is). I sauteed several cloves of garlic in the bottom of the big soup pot. And, when I say saute here, I actually mean it. For once, I didn't burn the garlic. Then, I started adding spinach. I was afraid the garlic would turn on me and blacken, so I added some low-sodium vegetable broth also. I'm pretty sure I didn't let the spinach wilt enough before I added the rest of the broth. I also added a teakettle full of water and a can of black beans, a can of white beans and a can of butt peas (er, garbanzo beans, chickpeas, whatever).

That's it. Yes, I should have realized that the soup would be incredibly flavorless. Especially as I rinsed the beans. Perhaps I should have added that liquid. Hmm.

I thought I'd be extra fancy and blend some of the soup and pour it back in to thicken the soup, but it was still pretty watery. This morning, when I told Cardo, "Last night, I made soup! But, it's pretty tasteless," he responded, "Like usual?" Oy! I'd be more hurt, but he's right. I tend to seriously underflavor food, especially because I don't like a lot of salt.

I ate the soup, with some sourdough toast, for breakfast. I tried to make it better by adding a wedge of Laughing Cow garlic-something-or-other cheese as the soup was heating. As the cheese melted, it did make the soup cloudier. Overall, the soup is serviceable. I did get a decent serving of vegetables first thing today, and that's what I'm really focusing on. But, really, I'd like the food to taste more...tasty. Alluring, enticing, scrumdiddlyuptious. Something.

I shudder at the idea that I need a recipe to make soup. (Really, I just shuddered.) I feel like soup is simple and I should just be able to make it. So, what's the deal? Do I just need to be adding salt? I don't often cook with meat, so I don't have that to add, but I could try something with turkey bacon, perhaps, which I'll be using later this week anyhow.

Suggestions, please.

Also, while I'm thinking about it: I was lamenting to Cardo this morning that eating well is difficult. I totally get why we can so easily overindulge on salty and fatty foods -- they've got flavor! I have to make a conscious effort to give my body much-deserved healthy foods, especially fruits and especially especially vegetables. About one second after I finished moaning over my breakfast, Pic walks out of the back of the condo and cheerfully says, "It's easy to be healthy! I'm eating a pear!" Oh, to be six and to not have funky food issues.

Related: I'd like to write about things I really shouldn't write about here. For now, though, I'll say that I'm tired of hearing things along the lines of "People are overweight/obese/fat/whathaveyou because they are lazy/they don't like to exercise/they don't eat well/they deserve it." I'm obviously paraphrasing here.

I don't eat as well as I should and I probably don't exercise in the most effective manner (but, damnit, I do exercise daily, even if that only means I've walked), and I still have a lot of excess me that I'm not always (or ever) comfortable with. I'm making small changes that I hope will help in the long run, because I am thinking "long run" here, but I've long since grown weary of the assumptions. I'd like to write more on this, and solicit kindly-phrased advice, later, but the topic is on my mind right now, so I thought I'd bring it up.

For now, I'm considering my ever-evolving relationship with my body to be an important part of my own life learning. I'm working on improving myself and I'm trying to patiently see what changes result. I know there are easier solutions, but I'm trying to do what is right for me and quick fixes and I don't get along in the long run.

I feel like I should end with some upbeat affirmation: I'm bettering myself every day in every way. Or something. I'm trying here, but, geez, can it be lonely.


* Oh, cleaning the kitchen. There's an argument right there for never eating at home. It's kind of like cleaning laundry: an argument for going bare.


I'm thinking this post has been brought to you by the punctuation mark the comma.


Finally!: send along soup recipes please! Heavy on the vegetables, light on the meat. Grazie mille.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

a little look at language: hardcover book, and other retronyms

I am, of course, reading some more "On Language" columns. I'm still over thirty years behind in my reading.

Just as I do with blogs, I am reading through the archives of this column, working my way up to the most recent entries. I'm loving this because it's funny to see how words and uses of language I don't give any thought to were once so debated. I also like to see what we are still arguing about thirty years later.*

Anyhow, I just learned a new term: retronym. I hadn't heard that before, but I know the concept. Retronyms are terms to indicate something that already exists but now also exists in a newer version; the new term is crafted to avoid confusion. William Safire, in "On Language: Retronyms," writes of the creation of "acoustic guitar" to distinguish from the newer electric guitars and of "natural turf" (i.e. grass) to distinguish from artificial turf (i.e. astroturf). Safire goes on: "Other retronyms include 'hard-cover book,' which was merely a 'book' before the soft-cover book came along; 'manual transmission,' which used to be the 'gearshift' before 'automatic transmission' became popular;...."

I also found this list of retronyms. (What the heck is Bush 41? Bush, Sr.? Or, H.W.? Basically an indication that we're referring to the 41st, not the 43rd president?)

And, here's a Daily Writing Tips article on retronyms. You don't need to buy a subscription to check this out. (I can't say the same for the NYT archives.)


* For some reason, I keep thinking of the older (definitely not very old) cookbooks I have that say something like, "If you have a microwave oven, you can use it to melt the butter" or what-have-you. (Hey! Microwave oven -- another retronym!)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

imaginative play and some wondering, to boot

[I buy gifts and cards and never actually give these things to their intended recipients. That's actually something I vowed to work on in my 101 in 1001. (Oh, yeah, I also write lists like that, and then eventually just set them aside. Oy.) Basically, I'm a planner, and I even occasionally start to realize* my plans, but, I'm really better about the planning than the follow-through. Another case?

A while back, I went on a writing spree. I had all these things I wanted to share in this space, but I wrote them elsewhere and have just let myself become overwhelmed by various bits of life. So, I have all of this writing waiting for me to do something with it. I'm finally getting around to sharing here. The following is something I wrote probably in early September. See, I'm working on improving myself; and, I figure that starting with the small stuff is at least starting.

* I can use 'realize' that way, right? As in 'make real.' I'm saying yes, because I just did it. And, yes, I'm off to look it up now. Yep, the use is legitimate. Also, another definition I didn't know is, according to my computer's handy built-in dictionary, "make (money or a profit) from a transaction)."]

A month or so ago, Pic asked me to play 'ladies' with her and I decided we could use the ladies to play out the Beauty and the Beast story (or, rather, a mishmash of Beauty and the Beast stories). I was tired of only ever playing restaurant and library with the dolls.

So, over the weeks, the story has evolved into a merchant father with three daughters (two kind and one obnoxious). The father has to go out to sell merchandise, because that's what he does, you see. He goets lost and ends up at a mysteriously open, yet empty palace. He goes in and calls out repeatedly but no one answers. The merchant enjoys dinner, a dry night's sleep and then breakfast before he takes a book from the castle's library and a rose from the castle's garden and gets caught by the beast ('Um, excuse me, I'm a beast,' Pic narrates) who wants two daughters in return for the merchant's life. The father returns home, retrieves his two daughters who go to the palace. One marries the beast. ('I would like to marry you,' Pic voices for the beast as soon as he meets the youngest daughter.) The father and the other two daughters live with them, too. Not too long after, the youngest daughter has a child who is not at all furry because her mom is 'not a beast-woman.'

Pic is often upset when I try to change the story up a bit -- although she doesn't seem to mind when she alters it. She was going by the story I was telling her and by what she remembered from the Disney movie. Finally, we watched the Disney movie (it's been on pretty constantly for the past several days) and read a version of the story. I keep trying to show her how there are different versions of the story and how we can really make up whatever we want, and yet, I continue to hear, 'Mamma! That's not how it is in the movie!' (Um, what's that again child who insists there are three daughters, only one of whom is greedy and mean?)

Today we broke out one of our many, many story collections and read a version of the story in which the merchant had been rich but has lost his ships and cargo at sea. After a year of living meagerly, he sets off to retrieve cargo from one of his ships that has suddenly come ashore, only to find out that his goods have been promptly stolen. The prince/beast in this story has been turned into a beast by an evil fairy. That same fairy has made his parents invisible. They reappear when Beauty falls in love with Beast. Oh, and there's a silver ring as instant transportation device in this story.

This time, I read through the story as Pic and I acted it out with her dolls. We ran through the show twice, adding our own flair along the way.

Now, we're (once again) watching the Disney movie. (Okay, so it's on while I compose and while Pic skates around the living room.)

Some observations on this movie:

* Why does Mrs Potts have such a young child? How old was she when she stopped having kids? Or, does she just look older because of the caricatured older-woman features: matronly build and grey hair.

* Why does 'Beast' not get a real name? Because, seriously, if his parents named him Beast, what did they expect out of him in life?

* What happened to Beast's parents?

* What's up with the timeline? At the beginning, Beast is turned into a beast when he refuses shelter to an elderly-seeming woman. He has until his twenty-first birthday to get someone to fall in love with him. It's been a decade when we get to the story. So, Beast was ten when he refused to let the woman in? And, then, she set him the task of getting someone to fall in love with age ten?

* Were there not teapots and candlesticks and clocks and feather dusters and armoires and stoves and all the rest before the enchantment? Because all those animate objects are presumably people (we see them back in their human selves and we see a lot of other people in the castle at the end), so is there a whole set of inanimate household objects stuffed in a cupboard somewhere?

* How does the bookstore owner stay in business? The one transaction we see is him giving Belle a book and everyone else seems to think reading is strange.

* There's a part in the opening song when a woman with an armload of babies apparently says, 'I need six eggs,' and a guy sings, 'That's too expensive.' For the very longest time (like until yesterday), I thought she was saying, 'I made success' in her frantic voice and he was telling her that her procreational success was too expensive.

* I love Angela Lansbury.

That is all.

Actually, I could probably ask a million more questions, and I do have more, but I'll stop here...for now.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

a bit of lit: quick quotes edition

A couple of things I'm currently reading...

"By the time the shade had reached the river, Augustus would have mellowed with the evening and be ready for some intelligent conversation, which usually involved talking to himself." -- Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry

"Bully has nothing to do with a bull: it comes from the Dutch for 'lover,' boel." -- The Joy of Lex, Gyles Brandreth

I'm not really sure what to do with the information in that second quotation. Is there some kind of a tough love mindset going on? Actually, I doubt it; I figure someone thought the word sounded appropriate in a situation when one person was pushing another person around, and, although the word didn't really fit the situation, it stuck, despite the cruel irony.

midweek music: 'stick shifts and safety belts/bucket seats have all got to go'

I was listening to an old episode of The Splendid Table when this song came on:

"Stickshifts and Safetybelts"

I'm liking Cake's sound more than I did when I owned this album oh so long ago. I'm definitely liking the sound of this song, although I'm a big proponent of paying attention to the road while driving.

Monday, October 24, 2011

musical monday: 'i get by with a little help from my friends'

"With A Little Help From My Friends - Beatles"

Sunday, October 23, 2011

please allow me to introduce babs

A bit ago, I finally made a purchase I've been thinking about for over a year. That's how I shop: I think about buying something, I read around a bit, I think some more, I share my thoughts with others, then I sometimes actually make the purchase. I even actually saved for this purchase.

So, meet Babs:

Yes, I named my blender. We haven't had a working blender in a very long time. Since we got this blender, we've been deep into the smoothies again. This evening, Pic and I had the above (juice, apple, pear, spinach, ice).

I thought I could handle pear in the smoothie, but I could still feel that weird beadiness. As soon as I use up these pears, I might skip them in my smoothies. Or, I'll try to get used to it. Who knows.

We have not come anywhere close to doing all we can with the blender. I look forward to making my way through the cookbook that came with it. (Yes, I like to read through cookbooks and mark recipes for future use. I know I'm not alone, but I still feel kind of strange admitting that.)

We've also made sorbets and ice cream. Behold some very tasty strawberry ice cream:


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

nearly ww: school's in session!


I stepped outside this morning, jacket on, smoothie in my hand, laden down with books and papers. The sky was dark but the air wasn't as cold as I expected. I spotted a light or two in the houses I passed. A shower was running as someone prepared for the day.

The sun didn't crest the mountains until I was only about fifteen minutes from my destination.

And, here's what I figured: my perfect day would include me being awake when the sun and stars change places overhead. I love being up so early in the morning, before my little bit of the world is really stirring. This so seldom happens, though, as I'm much more likely to be up all night long and sleep well into the daylight hours. I do so love being up late into the night when my little world is mostly resting.

So, my perfect day, as I imagined it this morning would be waking up before sunrise, taking a walk, coming awake slowly; napping in the middle of the day or in the late afternoon; walking again; falling into bed late in the wee hours. I'd probably have to do a few things in addition to walking, so I'm thinking some reading and writing, baking and craft-learning, and whatnot should be included.

How do I sign myself up for this?

Monday, October 17, 2011

musical monday: brought to you by daughter judy

"The Jetsons Movie: 'You and Me'"

Pic and I watched this movie tonight. Oh, my...I don't know. This sequence, though, was my favorite part. Don't really love the song, but I probably did/would have when I was young. Who knows.

n'mores and other minutiae

I have actually seen recipes for no-bake (and, therefore seemingly absolutely nasty) s'mores. Think, instead of toasted marshmallows, regular old marshmallows (which I don't really like). Or, marshmallow fluff. Think, instead of melty (dark) chocolate, chocolate frosting. Or, chocolate syrup.

Seriously: ugh!


In other La Casa B stuff:

I just realized that I can watch full episodes of 30 Rock instantly on Netflix. Commence me catching up and not sleeping for the next, oh, so many hours. (Hulu is insisting that I subscribe to something-or-other, which I'm unwilling to do, but I really want to catch up. So, yea for randomly surfing Netflix Instant!)

New make-up has been purchased. I am wondering if there is good, safe kid make-up and when Pic will start insisting on it. She was in awe at Ulta yesterday. However, we left with the usual: mineral powder for very pale people. That's the only facial make-up I currently own. (We have a somewhat large and growing collection of non-formaldehyde, non-phthalate nail polish.) Sooner or, well, sooner, this will not be enough for Pic. She's so interested in so many things traditionally feminine and I can't provide her with very much knowledge in these areas.

For dinner tonight:

I tried roasting tomato slices. Apparently I don't know how to do this very well. Perhaps I'll look up some techniques. Slices topped with plain breadcrumbs and freshly-grated parmesan cheese.

Very green smoothie. It was somewhat visually unappealing. It was good, though. Quarter cup whole milk, one banana, lots of spinach, about a cup of strawberries, half an avocado, ice. Not exactly low-cal or anything, but I'm more focused on getting plenty of vegetable matter into my body. Possibly more on that later.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

yes, really, castor oil

Today's adventure? Seeking the perhaps elusive castor oil. I have a feeling this is one of those ubiquitous items and I've just been living under a rock, or something.

I started calling around, hoping to not have to drive to store after store without finding the oil. The Winco employee asked me, incredulously, "Castor o-il?!" (You have to imagine the end of oil being spoken at a very high, disbelieving pitch.)

The employee at TJ's asked me, "For cooking?"

"Um, no, for your body. Like, for my skin."

"Oh, okay, yeah, I have olive oil and canola oil."

"Um, thanks."

The first employee I talked to at Whole Foods immediately told me they had the oil and transfered me to the Whole Body department where the employee there reassured me they had what I wanted. Later, when we got to Whole Foods, the Whole Body employee recognized me from my call and led me right to the castor oil.


Cardo told me, during this somewhat mellow search, "I thought you were saying castrol, for cars."

Anyhow, a bottle of castor now resides under my sink. What weird thing will I ask around for next?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

tired, but determined

I feel right about on the verge of having entirely too much to do. I also feel that I'm just not going to allow myself to melt down. I'm really sticking with this determination.

I think I have to realize that late August through the end of the year is always my busiest time. (Remind me of this when I say that late January through late May is my busiest time.) I think I'm right, though. Last year, when we joined our fabulous homeschooling group, we had a flurry of activity in these end-of-the-year months. Then? Not much going on group-wise. We started to pick back up with the nicer weather, for regular out-of-doors get-togetheres, but the group had shrunk. We're starting to grow again, and we've had a lot and we've got a lot scheduled. I know that, statistically or logically or whatever, I cannot say that things will slow way down come the new year, but I am thinking they will.

I've recently had to put off a project I've been looking forward to working on. I just can't get my head wrapped around* making it work for the others involved and myself. I don't often lament being a one-car family (I won't allow myself to), but, seriously, sharing one car is often inconvenient for me.

There's so much more I could be doing right now, and so much more I want to be doing right now, but I'm going to try to focus on what I am doing right now. It might seem to make sense to drop some things that don't benefit me in glarlingly obvious ways (paycheck-earning, socializing, ecc), but the activities I'm holding onto are like soul salve. So, I'll continue walking (I usually walk at least an hour a day)because it keeps me sane and I'll continue writing here because I like the habit. I would like to do one or two more things just for myself, but I can't seem to figure out if I should first add to my activities and let everything settle where it will or if I should smooth myself into a rhythm first and then add to it.

Perhaps I shouldn't overthink so much? Probably. Right now, though, I'm tired and I think I'll just close my eyes for a while and let my subconscious work on it as the rest of me rests.


* What a weird image that is, no? Heads wrapped around things. Kind of freaky, actually.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

makeup; or, i might as well apply a thick layer of lead to my face

I don't have nice skin. I think I maybe did, pre-eleven-years-old, but definitely not since then. I would like to hide behind makeup, but, geez, makeup can be scary. I only own powder foundation. (I'm so ill-versed in makeup that I'm not even sure that's what it's called. I always have to look it up.) And, I only wear it days I work outside of my home, which means rarely ever.

For the last several years, I've been using Bare Minerals. One container of powder lasts me a good, long while, so I don't have to worry about buying new makeup often. As my little container is almost empty, though, I have to worry about it now. I thought I'd be an informed consumer/user, so I turned to Environmental Working Group's cosmetics database to perhaps find a less expensive, but not terrifying, makeup. First, what I'm currently using has a moderately high overall hazard, including occupational hazards (what the what?!). Second, yes, makeup is scarier than I thought. I'm glad I don't wear it much more often. Why do we poison ourselves for vanity's sake. (I don't even know how the manufacture of all of this stuff affects those doing the manufacturing or how it affects the environment.)

I might go with Physician's Formula (this specific powder), which I know I can buy at nearby stores (as in, I don't have to buy my makeup online). Still, reading even those stats kind of freaks me out.

If anyone has feedback regarding makeup that won't cause my face to fall off, I'd love to hear it, please.

a little look at language: not so funny

Last night, I knocked my knee on something in the kitchen and experienced a moment of numbness and then tingling. Although I bumped my knee and not my elbow, I immediately thought of the term "funny bone." I have never understood why people ask, "Oh, did you hit your funny bone?" when one is reeling in pain after smacking her elbow.

Well, a little later, I was reading through some New York Times archives (of course) and was enlightened. In July 1980, William Safire wrote, in the "On Language" column dedicated to discussion of puns, "Once in a while, puns become part of the language: the 'funny bone' is a play on 'humerus,' the bone that extends from shoulder to elbow."

Tell me I'm not the only person who didn't know that.

Monday, October 10, 2011

monday music: 'you're all harper valley hypocrites'

Not quite sure how I came across this song. It's been lurking around on a sticky note for who knows how long.

"Harper Valley P.T.A. movie clip / singer Jeannie C. Riley"

Also, not quite sure I've never seen this movie. Because now I kind of want to see it.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

tea obsession: mint and honey green tea

As part of my do-it-myself movement, I have been trying to replicate a beloved thing or two at home. This tea is one of those things:

I went scouting around this here interweb looking for recipes for this, but I was not happy with what I found. The best recipe I found called for both sugar and honey. My response to that was, "Sugar! and honey! What?" I thought about how crazy that was for a bit before I actually got around to looking at the label on the bottle. As printed: filtered water, organic cane sugar, organic green tea, organic honey, organic spearmint extract, ascorbic acid (vitamin c), citric acid, and natural flavors*. Oh, oops, there are both sugar and honey in the tea.

Anyhow, I never got around to using the recipe because I figured out something on my own.

A technique, with not-all-that-helpful pictures:

I put a small bunch of mint leaves into six cups of water and bring that to a boil. (I've been buying organic mint from the store. I am also growing mint, but my plant is tiny with leaves about a twentieth the size of these. She's still alive, though, which is fabulous to see each morning when I water her and talk to her.)

As soon as the water boils, I throw in six bags of green tea and remove the pan from the heat. I add four tablespoons of honey and stir it all up. After a bit, I place a tea strainer over my pitcher and empty the contents of the pan into the strainer. (My pitcher is thick glass, I should probably mention. I doubt pouring the incredibly hot tea into a plastic pitcher would be a great idea.) If there's any space at the top of the pitcher, I just pour in a bit of water. I let the tea cool and then place it in the refrigerator.

(And, yes, those are the only pictures I took. Oy. Well, it has taken me somewhere around six months to finally post this, so this is about right for how I'm currently operating.)

When I'm ready for some tea, I do half tea and half water with ice. I guess I'm just so used to watering my tea down (why did I start that?), it's normal for me. I suppose you could just drink the tea as is, if you felt so inclined.

I recently bought some of the Sweet Leaf tea (which, until this very moment, I was convinced had "Grandma's" in it's name) and found it way incredibly exceedingly too sweet for me. I've been watering that down, too.**

I have to say that I'm feeling pretty good about being able to make this at home. There was a time I figured you couldn't do most things at home (because I was incredibly delusional, I guess?). I'll be working on tea lattes at home in the coming cold months. I tried this last year and even before that, I think, but I wasn't loving the results. Part of it was that I was using premade vanilla syrup (for Earl Grey tea lattes) and it was just kind of gross. I have better tea now and I'll be attempting to make my own syrup.


* Every time I see "natural flavors" on an ingredients label, I automatically think, "I wonder if it's bugs." Every freaking time.

** How is it that a bottle of this tea is too sweet for me, but an entire pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream isn't? Hmm? Really, I'd like to know.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

8 years and a date night; or, what you will

This past July, Cardo and I celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary. Eight days later, we celebrated ten years together. And, by celebrated, I mean we actually went out on a day very near our anniversary, which we've done once before (twice, if you count being in our dearly beloved friends' wedding together on our fifth wedding anniversary).

This year, we went to see Twelfth Night at the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival. One who knows me well might think that's an event I have been attending since the moment I heard of it. I've been twice, although I've known about the festival for many years. Cardo and I saw Richard III and, now, Twelfth Night.

Twelfth Night holds a special place for me, as I played a scene as Viola-as-Cesario as a teen. I've also read the play many, many times. It's not my absolute favorite by Shakespeare, but it's up there. This year's performance was the first time I've seen the whole production. (Actually, as I didn't see myself perform, it's the first time I've seen the play at all.)

Overall, the performance was a good one. I enjoyed watching most of the characters and the music accompanying the play was lively and, at times, sultry. There is a lot I don't remember about the show, now, as I saw it three months ago, but I'd see it again.

A couple of weeks later, Cardo, Pic and I went to see the Young Shakespeare company perform the show. The show was geared toward a younger audience, which meant there was audience participation, a bit less Malvolio (no servant-in-a-box) and some explanation before the show. Honestly, I enjoyed this second show more. It might be that we were sitting right up front and I like to be close for live performances; we were pretty far back for the first show. But, I think it is largely to do with how much the performers for the kids' show enjoyed putting on the play. Also, I found the Viola in the second show much more memorable.

I was so glad, a little relieved actually, that Pic loved the show. We had taken her to a performance of Alice in Wonderland, Jr. in December, and that went well, so I had high hopes. I look forward to taking her to the theatre much more often in the future. We've got one or two more shows on our to-see list this year.

Friday, October 7, 2011

nablo: between

So, the guiding idea for NaBloPoMo this month is "between." Two things popped into my head, both songs, both of whose audience is children.

Anyhow, I'm not officially signed up for NaBlo this month, but I know I'm not getting a picture posted today, so "this moment" will have to wait until tomorrow. Which leaves me sharing with you what's been stuck in my head for over a week now.

"Between the Lions: 'Between the Lions' Theme"


"Sesame Street: Wayne Brady Demonstrates Between"

You're welcome, I'm sure.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

bits and bobs

* The pets were up all night, frantically chasing and attempting to attack one another.

* When we went for our walk this morning, we actually had to bundle up. (Think coat over jacket, long johns, thick socks. Of course, by the end of the walk, I had shed my coat and jacket, but still.)

* Why does the bottom of [the freaking page on my typepad version of this blog] say "more recently" when you want to see what I've posted less recently? And, why can't I figure out how to fix it?

* I feel actual, physical pain when I spend too much time away from the library. (I swear, it's true. I'm not exaggerating AT ALL!)

* My hair looks pretty much the same as it did when I was six.

* My child is watching a movie that I can't stand. And, I suddenly have a new appreciation for my parents every time this happens.

* I continue to marvel, "It's autumn! I love autumn!" every several hours.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

nearly wordless wednesday

Because, really, if I'm going to let my hair grow out, I'm going to do something with it...every once in a while.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

quick quote*

I have, for the last 1331 days, had a quotation sent to my e-mail inbox. Most of the time, I delete the e-mail without having read the quotation, but today I thought I might as well check out whatever words of wisdom had been sent my way. Here they be:

INTEMPERANCE.--A man may choose whether he will have abstemiousness and knowledge, or claret and ignorance.--DR. JOHNSON.

("Intemperance" is the category under which the quotation-choosing deities have categorized this, in case that wasn't obvious.)

Okay, then, abstemiousness is mine, bring on the knowledge! I haven't overindulged in food since, oh, this past weekend, and I have yet to ever indulge in claret. Seriously, now, where's the knowledge?


* Alas, no quill.

a bit of lit: elizabeth jackson to her son

Still reading Women's Letters: America from the Revolutionary War to the Present, edited by Lisa Grunwald and Stephen J Adler. Still reading it very slowly.

Another good mother-to-son letter. Another letter to a to-be president. Elizabeth Jackson wrote this to her son, Andrew, when he was fourteen. She died the year she wrote this.


If I should not see you again I wish you to remember and treasure up some things I already said to you: in this world you will have to make your own way. To do that you must have friends. You can make friends by being honest, and you can keep them by being steadfast. You must keep in mind that friends worth having will in the long run expect as much from you as they give to you.


In personal conduct always be polite, but never obsequious. No one will respect you more than you esteem yourself. Avoid quarrels as long as you can without yielding to imposition.


Never wound the feelings of others. If ever you have to vindicate your feelings or defend your honor, do it calmly. If angry at first, wait till your wrath cools before you proceed.

Monday, October 3, 2011

dream journal

I actually own a fancy little journal in which I've recorded a dream or two. I think the last time I did so was at least a decade ago. I like to think about my dreams, but I start to forget details pretty quickly. I forget most of my dreams entirely pretty quickly after I wake up.

Some, though, stick with me. And, every once in a while, I wish that I actually record my dreams right after I wake up. But, geez, dreams are hard for me to capture. Mine aren't always so linear and don't always make so much sense, and I start to forget things as I try get it all down on paper.

Last night, I had one of those sticking dreams. Actually, I had several dreams. This, I remember. What the other dreams were about, I forget.

What I do remember: I dreamt that I was a teenager again, living with my parents. My dream-parents (who were the same as my actual parents), filed for bankruptcy and moved us out of our house, into a two-bedroom, one-bath, tiny apartment (let's see, at about the time I was dreaming about, there would have been something like five or six of us living in our house). For whatever, reason, it took me a while to realize that we had moved, that the apartment was our new home. I really started to freak out, though, when I asked my mom if 'they' (whoever was in charge of our money at this point) would let us go back to the house to get my books. My told me they wouldn't and I flipped out. I started screaming about not being able to leave my books, about needing to go rescue at least half of them, about not caring if someone else lived there now, I would burst in and get all of my books. I was having a hard time breathing.

That's what I remember. Now, I like to analyze my own dreams. I believe that I worry even in my sleep. I don't think that my dreams -- at least the ones I remember -- are symbolic of something totally different (books? that must mean I will soon swim the English Channel, and the like). I think this dream shows what I worry about (money) and what I value, perhaps a bit too much (books).

Also, I dream that I'm a teenager again a lot. A lot of people I know and knew show up in these dreams, which are overlaid with my current worries. Actually, I sometimes worry about teenage things in those dreams, too ("what the heck is my locker combination again? I'm going to be so late to class because I can't remember it!"). I don't even live in the present when I sleep.

monday music: low notes

There is something about cello that touches a part of me; cello entrances me. If I could find a cellist who could just play forever, I could waste away watching it a la dreamers and the Mirror of Erised.

Also, Nirvana has been popping up a lot for me lately.

"2CELLOS Cover Nirvana Classic 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' Live On SiriusXM Pops"
(Sorry if the end is a little screechy for a Monday morn.)

And, well, I saw "With Or Without You" on the sidebar of the above video and The Joshua Tree is a total nostalgia album for me.

"2CELLOS (Sulic & Hauser) - LIVE 'With or Without You' by U2 (HD)"

Okay, then, I couldn't resist a little "Smooth Criminal." Now, that's only the four thousandth time I will have posted a version of that song here, no?

"2CELLOS (Sulic & Hauser) - Smooth Criminal"

Sunday, October 2, 2011

food stuffs

Okay, now, it's October. It's time to get serious about this blogging stuff. I've had all these plans for blogging more regularly for months now, but, oh the rhythm. There has been no rhythm sweeping me any part of my life. I would say it's time for me to create my own rhythm, but I'm one of those totally uncoordinated people who has to count aloud to dance to music. Ah, well.

Seriously, though. I'm putting my fingers to the keyboard and forcing myself to make this a frequent habit. (Does that phrase even make sense? Frequent habit?)

I haven't regularly posted about food in forever. That's certainly not because I haven't been eating. I have a complicated relationship with food. I overthink it. Then, I get all bogged down in thinking what a luxury it is for me to have the problems I do with food. Then, I realize I've gotten so wrapped up in my own head that if I don't distract myself quickly, I'll never get out.

Anyhow, I'm trying to change my relationship with food. Maybe we've grown too comfortable with one another and need to spice things up? (Except, of course, I'm a pretty big fan of very bland food.)

After all this lead up, you might be thinking that I'm going to post some spectacularly fabulous dish today, but, well, I'm not. In fact, I'm posting something I need to work on. At the same time, I'm posting something that shows me trying to widen my palate (which I just spelled "palette" and had to look up to figure out what was wrong because I knew something was off*).

So, without further spewing of words, I present to you The Breakfast of Champions:

Or, y'know, Breakfast of Those Who Like Heart-Unhealthy Foods in Very Small Quantities. Actually, this is my bowl waiting for its grits. I'm sure I've had grits before -- I even think I've made them -- but the recollection is murky. I made them according to the box, but, wow!, were they salty. I added salt to the water, as recommended and there's salt in cheese, no? My butter is unsalted, so I know it wasn't from that. The next time I prepare grits, I'm skipping the salt in the water. We'll see if that makes them any better. I certainly hope so, because I have an entire box of the things to consume.


In other food-related bits: My child is quickly developing all of my cooking skills (or, should I say 'skillz'?). She proudly proclaimed to me the other morning that she prepared her own breakfast. When I got up, she told me, "I made breakfast for myself. I made cold toast!"


Please note my note about ice cream on my last post. I'm still feeling the effects. I have not slept, but I have caught up on two blogs I've was so behind on! How can I finally convince myself that that much ice cream just isn't good for me (for any living creature, really)? You'd think the sleeplessness and anxiety that follows would do it, but apparently not.


* This (it's not until 2:12, sorry) is what is now stuck in my head:

"Tommy Boy (1995) Theatrical Trailer"

Saturday, October 1, 2011

happy (belated) equinox!

Okay, so we're not at all big on celebrating stuff 'round La Casa B. I would actually kind of like to celebrate more than we do, but I set about creating such big fantasies of what our celebrations could be that I never actually get around to anything. (Hey, there, that describes so much of my life. Oh, to live in the moment! Someone get that through to me already!)

This year, though, we had a built-in celebration set for autumnal equinox: camping! For one reason or another, we didn't make it out camping at any other point this summer, although we did talk about it a lot (hey, it's not just me, apparently!).

Autumn is my absolute favorite season. I love the late light of summer and the reawakening of spring (and there's probably a lot of awesomeness associated with winter, I'm sure -- oh, like moonglow reflecting off hills covered in freshly-falled snow), but autumn? O, loverly, beautiful autumn. I marvel almost daily that, "Wow, it's not even seven and it's getting dark!" and "Oh, look at that tree! Look at that tree! Look at THAT TREE!" Halloween and harvest decorations make me happy.* There's the food, too, certo: apples, pumpkins, roasted vegetables for breakfast or lunch or dinner. What's not to celebrate about autumn?

So, this year, a small group of the homeschoolers went camping, beginning on Equinox. Some of the group are regular campers (I wouldn't call us that for several more years) and one family was embarking on their first camping adventure. We had about an equal amount of adults, children and pets. (We even camped with a cat -- not ours -- who did fabulously.)

The trip was everything camping should be as far as I'm concerned: setting up/taking down, cooking/eating, hiking, talking, laughing. Also, I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've camped as an adult and have not taken my work with me. I refused to this year.

I hope this becomes a regular event. If not a yearly camping trip with the homeschoolers, though, we have plenty of other camping friends. And, yes, we could always try camping on our own again (we haven't done this since Pic was a about a year-and-a-half).

But, camping to celebrate autumnal equinox? It seemed so perfect. It was.


* For the most part. There's a house we sometimes walk past that has an array of variously, and freakily, painted mannequin heads hanging from the the tree in the front yard. This tree does not make me happy.


P.S. I just ate a lot of ice cream. That might just explain the strangely hyper tone here. Perhaps.