Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I finished everyone is beautiful, and I can give it a thumbs up. It's not great literature, it's not even great chick lit, but it's a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours if you have time to spare.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Whatcha Readin' Any-ol'-day

I finally finished the Lord Peter Wimsey books. And it wasn't just my imagination -- any book with Harriet Vane really is better than the ones without her. All of them are good, but Strong Poison, Have His Carcase, Gaudy Night and Busman's Honeymoon are splendid.

After I was done with Wimsey I went on a short Mary Stewart kick. I loved her books when I was younger, and I still like them, especially The Moonspinners and This Rough Magic. But I was a little startled to discover that they have a higher level of suspense than I'm currently comfortable with. A couple of times I found myself putting one down for a bit because I was uncomfortable -- pretty much every time I had forgotten a plot wrinkle. I had a sensation of "Oh, no, this is going to be bad!" even though I knew that the book would have a happy ending. (Spoiler alert -- Mary Stewart books always have a happy ending! :-D )

Right now I'm reading something completely different; chick lit, I guess you could call it. It's by Katherine Center, and is called everyone is beautiful. The gist of the story is a harried mom reconnecting with who she is when no one is demanding her attention. So far I like it, but as with many books of this genre, it has the potential to take a "modern" (read "immoral") turn. Sometimes I just quit reading, but this one makes me think I might have to finish it anyway because of the chance of repentance. Something in the blurb makes me think that might happen. . .

Next in the pile is different again: Ender in Exile by Orson Scott Card. I first read Card when I came across Seventh Son years and years ago. I find that I like the first book or two in each of his series, but then they start to pall. The only one I love is Enchantment, --which I did reread during Easter week -- but it's a stand-alone. I read Ender's Game in airports when I flew to Florida to visit Rosie in 2005, and Ender's Shadow when Tommy insisted. I'm going to give this one a try, but not worry about it if I don't like it. Anyway, Tommy would like to read it before it's due back at the library.

I'm still slogging away at the interview (why do I have to type the answers, why can't I just talk?) but probably won't get anything posted from it until we get back from Maggie's graduation in Florida May 10th. But I will try to put something up a few times in between. . .

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Some weeks ago I told you that I was working on an interview post or posts. I still am. But I have realized that I think of it as a "big job", and what with all that's been going on in my life, I don't have the excess mental energy for a big job.

I also realized, however, that I don't want to avoid this site until I have more mental energy. So I'm putting the interview on hold (sorry, Lindsay!) and plan to post random whatever here. I'm not even going to stick to the schedule I worked out for NaBloPoMo. I'll just post whatever comes into my head. So I may BE guilty, but I'll feel better!

Here is a recipe my family makes every Easter. It's all gone already -- except what I hid for Maggie -- but just thinking about it makes me smile!

Mom's* Baklava -- yield depends on how big you cut the pieces

*(I'm "Mom"; I adapted this recipe from a couple that I found in an old PTA cookbook)

Grind 1 ½# walnuts.
Stir in 2 T sugarand 1t cinnamon.

1 ½ - 2# butter. Skim off the “crunchy” top layer, and pour the clear golden part into another container. (This makes clarified butter.)

Cut in half sideways (hamburger ;-)* !)
1 # filo (fillo, phyllo) sheets, thawed overnight in refrigerator, and then two hours on counter (still wrapped). Lay filo sheets on their wrapping or plastic wrap, and cover with plastic wrap and a damp towel. Replace the plastic and the towel each time you remove a sheet.

Brush the bottoms of two 9” by 13” baking pans with melted butter. Place ½ filo sheet in each pan. Brush with butter. Repeat with 4 more sheets. After brushing the fifth sheet with butter, sprinkle on some** of the nut mixture. Repeat layers of filo, butter, and nuts until nuts are gone, reserving 5 half-sheets of filo for top of each pan, each brushed with butter. Dribble any remaining butter evenly over both pans,

With a sharp knife, score through all layers into diamond shapes. (I cut straight lengthwise of the pan into 4 or 6, and then cut diagonals.) Stick
whole cloves into the diamonds to help hold them together. Bake at 300° for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until golden brown.

While pans are baking, make syrup. Boil together on stove or in microwave (watching very closely)
1 cup honey, 2 cups sugar, and 3 T lemon juice. Use a large container, as it foams up very high. Let cool slightly.

Remove pans from oven and drizzle syrup evenly over baklava. Let cool. When cool, recut diamonds, making sure to cut all the way through. Store at room temperature for up to a week, or longer refrigerated. Warm to room temperature before serving.

* When I was teaching my kids how to fold laundry, we came up with the designations "hamburger" and "hot dog" for folding things crosswise and lengthwise respectively.

** It is better to put on too many nuts near the bottom and have to stretch them later than to skimp at the bottom and overload the top. The latter makes cutting more difficult.

Let me know if you try this! It's yummy, but definitely a special-occasion treat.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Alleluia! He is risen!!

Passing through between festive events to wish you all a most blessed Easter! I'll be back by the end of Easter week (and trying not to whine too much about what kept me away all this time -- nothing bad, just "life.")