Monday, August 23, 2010

Daybook -- 8/23/10

Outside my window... the air is cool. There is no doubt that fall is coming. Where did the summer go??!!

I am thinking... that I will miss Kelson when he is at college. Right now he is sitting with his computer at the dining room table, but his plane flies out Thursday afternoon. It will be different around here.

I am thankful for...
cruise control! My van doesn't have it, and I thought I was fine without it. But Branwen and Larry's van -- which we used to take Miriel to Virginia -- has it, and I think I got more tired driving the 100 miles from Arwen's house to home today than I did driving the almost 500 miles I did yesterday. Of course, I was already tired... But I think for any future vehicle I get cruise control is going to be a "must have."

From the kitchen...a cheese sandwich. Roger has begun teaching an evening
class at the community college on Mondays, and Kelson went out with friends. So I went for very simple.

I am wearing... a green t-shirt, tan pants, and tan sandals.

I am creating... the grocery list. Which mostly right now includes the fixin's for reuben sandwiches, which Kelson loves. It's not a "big grocery shopping" week.

I am going... back to Arwen's tomorrow, with a stop at Penzey's and New York Bagels on the way home. Actually, we are picking some friends up at the bus station and dropping them near Arwen's, but how can we pass up the opportunity to see the grandchildren?! And the round trip gives us to opportunity to restock our spices, and pick up 6 or 7 dozen bagels to freeze. Back when all the kids were home we used to get twice that many.

I am reading... Living More-with-Less, a companion volume to my much-loved More-with-Less Cookbook. Unfortunately it's fairly dated, having been published in 1980. The principles are sound, but the examples remind me of the pictures in my high school yearbook.

I am hoping...that Branwen's baby arrives soon. Of course, I've been hoping that for two weeks, and she is hoping even harder!

I am hearing... Kelson drumming and tapping along with the music he is playing. I'm pretty sure that is one thing I WON'T miss.

Around the house... are signs of Kelson's "packing." Of course it will be an untidy mess until he is actually out the door on Thursday.

A few plans for the rest of the week: see above. On Friday I am going to sit as still as possible all day and do nothing, except maybe read.

Words I'm pondering : "A snuggie's just a backwards robe! How stupid are you people?!" A bit of Twitter wisdom from one of Kelson's friends.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing....
We went to Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday. It was the first time I had been there, and I was awed at how well people obeyed the signs. It was easily the quietest tourist attraction I have ever been to.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Word and Question 3

This is my third poem for the meme over at Shredded Cheddar.

Word: fossil

Question: What is the taste of sorrow?

Some say that sorrow tastes of bitter gall;
Some note instead the saltiness of tears.
Some claim the thing is tasteless, overall,
Giving a lack of savor to the years.

If joy is sweet, as many also claim,
And disappointment sour, as well may be,
Why do most people "taste" them each the same?
And is there more to this than we can see?...

Why should emotions have a taste? Is this
A synesthesia* that affects us all?
Is there a flavor for eternal bliss?
Or are such things an aspect of the Fall?

Years hence, when I'm a fossil down below,
These questions will not matter -- or I'll know.

*Synesthesia --
A condition in which one type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another, as when the hearing of a sound produces the visualization of a color.
(Definition from

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Happy Anniversary, Roger!

I'm just dropping into the blogosphere for a minute to wish my dear husband Roger a happy 29th anniversary. (He reads my blog ;-D ) I didn't get him a card, but I made him a cherry pie, and we're going out to dinner to celebrate.

Happy Anniversary, Darlin'!

It's been great so far, and I'm looking forward to as many more years as possible.

Love you!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Daybook --8/10/10

Outside my window... things are green, and the air is cooler than it was supposed to be today, helped along by the fog we had until almost noon.

I am thinking... that I am always surprised when what seems like a very little outdoor activity makes me tired. My Bible study group had a picnic today at a member's house on the lake. I sat in a chair in the shade and played Mexican Train, ate lunch, and floated around on an awesome inflatable raft for an hour. Then I came home and felt like I wanted to sleep for a week.

I am thankful for...
my children. Today they suggested that a good birthdays/anniversary/Christmas present for us would be that they will provided all the supplies and next spring paint the outside of our house, which needs it. Awesome! They put in so much work on the inside last December that I thought they'd be sick of it, but I guess not.

From the kitchen... enchilada casserole. Leftover taco meat and refried beans layered between corn tortillas with canned enchilada sauce and shredded cheese. And Kelson thinks it's better than real enchiladas. Win!

I am wearing... a turquoise t-shirt, white shorts, and tan sandals. I have two identical turquoise t's that I got for $5 each at a big-box store. I bought the second one when I thought I'd ruined the first one with bathroom cleaner, but it turned out to be OK. I like both of them. ;-D

I am creating... bibs! Actually, I am waiting for feedback from Arwen and Lauren on the old-fashioned tie-back bibs I made for their velcro-and-snap-defeating little boys. I didn't have a pattern, only a memory, so it will take some tweaking to perfect them. But they can't be pulled off.

I am going... nowhere else today. Which is good -- see "tired", above.

I am reading... a mishmash of fiction and non-fiction. At one point I had four different books going, none of them anything spectacular.

I am hoping...that I sleep well tonight. I've been having "odd" dreams; not horrible but frustrating or peculiar. For example, last night I dreamed about the recipe for the cookies I took to today's party. Except it had extra ingredients. What's up with that??!!

I am hearing... music on Kelson's computer. This time it's "radio classics." So far we've had Born to Run, Leavin' on a Jet Plane, Mrs. Robinson, and The Times they Are A-Changin'. Any bets on what comes next?

Around the house... Kelson did and folded his laundry. And sorted out what he'll never wear again, and what he won't take to Florida. And I didn't even nag him. I think he's ready to get going.

A few plans for the rest of the week: grocery shopping, as usual, and a quiet weekend unless Branwen and Larry's baby decides to arrive. Actually, we're all rooting for that. Especially Branwen.

Words I'm pondering : Actually, I don't think I'm pondering anything at this point. I don't know if that's good or bad, or just a sign that I'm tired.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...This is a citronella plant. Our hostess today had them all around her patio, and if we noticed any mosquitoes at all, she would jostle the leaves of the bush, and the bugs would scram. I love this idea! And the bonus is -- it smells wonderful.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Seven Quick Takes in 17 Minutes; or Can She Write that Fast???

Seven Quick Takes is hosted by Jen.

1) I walked 21/2 miles today. Normally I try to walk for about 20-25 minutes four times a week. In our neighborhood, that often means once around the "block", which is a .3 -- .4 --.5 mile right triangle, therefore 1.2 miles. But Miriel is home for the week, and she thinks I ought to be walking more. So she talked me into taking the waking trail just down the road. For the second time this week. I enjoyed my time with her, I could definitely do this on a regular basis if I wanted to spend the time (not sure yet..), but right now my calves ache.

2) Miriel is home this week! She will be in Michigan for another two weeks, but she's going to divide up the rest of the time between her sisters who live about 100 miles from here. And Branwen's new baby is due the day she leaves. Come early, baby! Aunt Miriel wants to see you!

3) Grandma, of course, would also like to see the new baby. But Grandma knows that she will get to spend a whole week with Daniel and Matthew and their sibling (and Branwen and Larry, of course) the week after Larry goes back to work. Aunt Miriel's new job starts on the 23rd whether she's seen the baby or not.

4) Aunt Miriel's new job is in Washington D.C., where she's been interning since last January. And since she has a lot of stuff stored here and at her sisters', we will be driving her there. Yes, I said we. Tirienne and I will be going, and sharing the driving on the way back. Most of the route is familiar, since D.C. is only about an hour south of my hometown. But I'm still not sure if we'll actually get a chance to stop there. It's a 9 1/2 hour drive each way, so we plan to spend a day there in between, but the "where" has not fully been established.

5) In other news, Brandon has just found out that he will be reporting to his new duty station in Alaska before the end of the year. I'm excited for him, but it means that he may not be able to be home for Christmas. Actually, I know that we have been very blessed to have had him home for the last four Christmases, so I'll settle for anything between Halloween and Groundhog Day. But I'd like to know which, so I can get a jump on my Christmas shopping if I need to.

6) It's been 20 minutes. I knew I was too slow a typist to actually finish seven takes in 17 minutes. But I'm going to let the title stand. At least I tried.

7) And now I have to go, because the 17 minutes was based on when I needed to move on to my next task. Which is unloading the dishwasher, which just beeped. We have had this dishwasher since late December, and it still startles us when it beeps to indicate it's done. I wonder how long it will take us to adapt? (No, you can't shut off the signal. I checked.)

And here you have seven quick and boring takes, and a promise from me -- I'll see you here again next week. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Tasty Tuesday -- Beans for Guests

An on-line friend Tweeted today that she has a problem -- she and her husband have invited friends (presumably new friends, since they just moved) over for dinner. Which is a pleasure, not a problem, except that their normal diet consists, as she puts it, of "beans and kale", and she's a little tentative serving that to others.

BUT -- there are lots of recipes that are plenty good enough to serve to company that feature beans. Monterey Beans and Cheese, which I posted here (scroll down) are different and delicious. So is the recipe below.

òs Pwa (Haitian Bean Sauce)

In a large saucepan, soak overnight or by quick method*
1 1/2 cups any dried beans, with water to cover.
When beans have soaked, add:
3 cloves garlic, diced or mashed
8 whole cloves or 1/2 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 c. onion, diced
1T. oil.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until beans are tender. Drain off liquid and reserve. Remove 1/2 c. of the cooked beans and reserve.
Puree in a blender:
cooked bean mixture
2 c. reserved bean broth
Return pureed sauce and reserved whole beans to saucepan. Add:
1 hot chili pepper, chopped or 1/4 t. ground red pepper
salt to taste
1 T. margarine
Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, until thickened to the consistency of gravy. Serve over rice, or Nshima (below). Garnish with slices of avocado or lemon (optional).

* To quick-soak beans, cover with water, bring to a boil, and boil for five minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for one hour. Proceed with recipe as usual.

Rich Haitians eat this in restaurants over white rice. Poor ones eat it over cornmeal porridge. For those of us who've never had cornmeal porridge, here's a recipe.

Nshima (Cornmeal Porridge)

Boil in a large soup pot:
6 cups water.
Mix in a bowl:
1 cup cornmeal*
1 cup water
Stir until smooth, then add to boiling water. Simmer 15-29 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add, 1/2 c. at a time,
2-2 1/2 cups additional cornmeal
(Salt if desired)
After each addition of cornmeal, stir well with a wooden spoon until all dry particles disappear and mixture is smooth. After last addition, keep stirring until Nshima is stiff enough to handle without dripping off fingers. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 10 minutes. Stir again before serving. this can be served in one serving dish or on a platter in scoops or patties.
Soaking in cold water helps clean the pot!

* Africans use white cornmeal, Haitians use yellow.

These recipes are adapted from Extending the Table... A World Community Cookbook. And as I was looking them up, I found a bonus recipe for my friend --


Cook until soft in about 1/4 cup water:
3 cups fresh greens -- chard, kale ;-D, spinach, collards -- chopped
1-2 red chili peppers, chopped
1 T oil or margarine
1 onion, chopped
1 potato, chopped
1-2 tomatoes, chopped

Serve with rice or Nshima.