Sunday, November 23, 2008

Another recipe - cranberry chutney

Once again, a recipe request gets me to post.

Dan had a gig in San Francisco yesterday and went to see Bela Fleck on Friday night. Need to connect with Sonny to see what he's up to.

Our family Thanksgiving (minus Sonny and Pam who are visiting her family this year) will be Wednesday afternoon, because Dad has to work on Thursday. I plan to make my cranberry chutney in just a short while.

And here's the recipe! (marked in my cookbook by a Cheese pumpkin pattern :))
Originally from Bon Appetit, I believe.
Cranberry-Pear Chutney

1 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries
2 pears, peeled, halved, cored, corsely chopped (by far the messiest part)
1 onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1 c orange marmalade
1/2 c dried pears (I never find these, so always leave them out, seems fine)
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1/4 c grated lemon peel (another item that could be omitted if you don't have lemons around)
1 tsp dry mustard
3/4 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp dried crushed red pepper

Combine all in a pot.
Cover and cook over medium heat until mixture thickens (and cranberries pop), stirring occasionally - about 30 minutes. Cool.
(Can be prepared 1 week ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Update - typed too fast - 2 things - 1) instead of lemon peel I usually put in a splash of lemon juice, 2) 1/3c packed dark brown sugar.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Grandmother's White Bread

In 3rd grade, my class made bread and butter at school. It was fun, I mostly remember licking the bowls and eating a lot of flour... That poor teacher must have had such a mess to deal with!
But she sent us home with the recipes - and nearly every Christmas eve day since then I've made the bread.

@solessence asked on Twitter today if anyone had bread recipes and I thought it was time to share, so here is the famous "Grandmother's White Bread" recipe:

1 envelope yeast
1/2c very warm water (I run tap until quite hot to finger and use that)
3 tbsp sugar
2c milk
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp salt
7-8c flour

1) combine all but 1/2tsp sugar, milk, butter, & salt in saucepan. Heat until butter melts. Pour into a large bowl and cool 'til lukewarm (until comfortable to dip finger in to bottom)
2) While cooling, sprinkle yeast into 1/2c water. Stir in 1/2 tsp sugar. let dissolve and stand until bubbly & double
3) Stir yeast mixture into lukewarm milk mixture.
4) Stir in 3 c flour and beat til smooth (I do all beating/ kneading by hand, but if you have a mixer you trust, go for it). Stir in enough flour to make a soft dough (about 4 cups)
(aside: I learned in a bread-making class recently that you really want to mix flour in until the dough is no longer sticky - you shouldn't need any flour when kneading)
5) Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (10 minutes). Add flour as needed to keep from being sticky.
6) Place in a buttered bowl. Turn dough to bring buttered side up. Cover with a towel. Let rise in a warm place 1 hour (until double).
7) Punch dough down. Turn onto lightly floured surface. Knead a few times. Put bowl over dough. Let rest 10 minutes.
8) Divide dough in half. Knead each half a few times. Shape into 2 loaves. Place in buttered loaf pans.
9) Let rise again in a warm place 1 hour (until double).
10) Bake in a hot (400-degree) oven 40 minutes. Should be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. If browning too fast, cover loosely w/ foil.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Book catchup

I have a ton of stuff to post about, but "housekeeping" first in this post - the latest books.

Book #20 - Tanequil by Terry Brooks. The latest read in the Shannara series holds true to form. A great escape that swept me away for a weekend. The Rock Trolls are great. It got a little sappy with the latest Ohmsford, Pen, and the blind Rover girl, Cinnaminson in one spot, but generally you get at least one super-sappy spot in each trilogy in the series. Evil forces are out to do the unthinkable, something that will destroy life as the people of the Four Lands know it - and you really feel the impact of how terrible that can be.

Book #21 - The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. Another classic I never read as a kid. Not bad, good fun. Although after a point Toad's nonsense just got annoying and I was looking for the end.

Book #22 - Abyssinian Chronicles by Moses Isegawa. Traces the chaotic life of Mugezi, a guy growing up in Uganda, from the end of colonialism through the reign of Idi Amin and rebel government after rebel government, into the era of AIDS. I was struck by the ways in which the various elements of Ugandan society needed to transform themselves, and how often, in order to survive the latest crisis. Powerful, if a bit dry and dull in spots.

Book #23 - A Sorcerer's Treason by Sarah Zettel. I found this a bit dull at first, but got swept into the stories a few chapters in. I found some elements stiff and predictable at times. The dialogue,intended to be late 19th century, seems forced at times. But the story is good. My favorite is when Bridget weaves spells through the air via dance. I love the idea and the image. I will most likely pick up the second book.

Book #24 - Good Omens: The nice and accurate prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. My spirits lift thinking of this. It was refreshing - a blast of cool, fresh air on a hot and sticky day. And a lot of fun. Not laugh out loud funny, but smirks and sideways grins, definitely. The end of the world has come to pass, or is supposed to, anyway, and all sorts of different folk - people, witches, demons, angels, dogs, have roles to play. A great piece that seemlessly blends the styles of Gaiman and Pratchett into something very entertaining.

Book #25 - Made to Stick: Why some ideas survive and others die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. I was hooked on this book from the first time I read the prologue online. Dealing with ideas that are able to burrow into our subconscious and influence our behaviors, the brothers approach this from the standpoints of business and academia. In researching sticky ideas, urban legends are an obvious place to start. What really sticks with me is the research into tainted Halloween candy - which shows that there NEVER WAS any apples w/ razor blades reported to police!!! Only two incidents showed in records from WWII to the 80s - one was a kid who got into his uncle's coke stash and they sprinkled it on his candy to throw off the cops, and one was a kid whose father put cyanide on his candy to get life insurance. Think about how much this has changed our behaviours! Incredible. The brothers have a sound approach to making ideas sticky that hopefully will be useful for me in the future.

That's it for now - more soon!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

May wonders never cease

I <3 finding out about new creatures - or seeing for a first time creatures only rumored to exist. The idea that we may not know everything about this world we live in thrills me. Who knows what beasties dwell in the Amazon, the African rainforest, or in the depths of the ocean that we have yet to encounter? A part of me believes too that behind a thin obscuring veil, the people of faerie are going about their lives. The possibilities, the potential to learn and discover more, the wonder....

Two stories struck me this week:

The first time an Okapi has been caught on film. Called the "African Unicorn", I love the patterns on its fur. (via TrendHunter)

The first photos and video of a live fringe shark. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you may have figured out that I love sharks. This one is so funky looking - very alien when the fringe gills are flaired. The deep ocean must be an incredible place. I wonder if fringe sharks and Megamouth hang out. (via National Geographic)


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Happy Hippo and Not-so Angst Ridden Teens

Just a few book reviews today. I wanted to get this down and I'm still recovering from a bug that's had me wiped out and zomboid of late, so no great insights that you'd care to hear (though Fringe looks tres cool) - just books.

Book #19 - Moomin: The complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip by Tove Jansson. So the Moomins aren't exactly hippos, but they do kinda' look like them. The crazy characters in these comics are always up to something extra-ordinary. But Moomin would rather have a sedentary existence - "I only want to live in peace, plant potatoes, and dream!" - Ahhhh, doesn't that sound nice? I could use a bit of that myself right now....

Come on, they look a bit hippo-ish wouldn't you say? (Photo by Ksu on igougo Helsinki)

Book #20 - Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. I promised I'd keep an open mind when trying this and I rather hate that I come off sounding like a book snob, but I just did not care for the style and I thought the story very poorly developed. The prose reminded me of the stories of sarcastic princes and tough talking young ladies that I wrote in high school. The characters weren't well developed - I really didn't care about any of them. Teen angst, much alluded to, was extremely wimpy. Drama and suspense, not a ton. After I finished, I found myself building out the story, rewriting it, adding characters, depth and backstory in an attempt to make it whole - but struggling with the lack of starting material. So it did linger, but not because I wanted to be with the characters longer, to live the story withe them, as with many of the books I love, just trying to fix it. A miss on my list.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

It's all about perspective

I'm sure most of you have seen the Dove Onslaught video/ ad. I thought it was great when I first saw it because I do appreciate that we can really end up messing with kids' heads with all of the fake stuff that's out there.

It's important to encourage self-esteem and positive self-image and reinforce that you can succeed. Although altering the system so that everyone achieves is a step too far and a whole 'nother story.

But I'm also increasingly conscious of the impact of the products that I use on the environment, and this response video by Greenpeace has been stuck in my head for days.

Do note the "update" in the Notes for this video - Dove has responded in a positive way. Let's see them stick to it. In the meantime, I may add Palm Oil to the list of ingredients I want to avoid.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Warning: sappiness enclosed

Over the long weekend, Sonny came home and we celebrated our birthdays together with the family - just missing P.

First - the stuff I had been stressing about - my job was moved to California. I'm very much a Northeast girl - love the forests and the green and the seasons. The family is all here. Still, J and I thought quite a bit over the couple of days I had to decide and were considering it, a way to get out of any ruts we might be in. It ended up not working out because J will most likely be going to industrial design school here in the East when he finishes MCC and I couldn't be there alone for years.

Now, I have a bit of time to find another job within Kodak - here's hoping.

So, as we celebrated birthdays I couldn't help but reflect on the 33rd year of my life. The health scare that led to my adoption of bionic parts. The 4 days to decide if we could move across the country for a few years and start a different life. I am very blessed that I have such awesome parents, brothers (+ their others), and husband. Without them, this wannabe kickbutt chic would have been very lost and lonely and would have taken a lot more time to heal. Crises emphasize what's important. Good Lord, these really did. Thank you guys, soooo much.

OK, sappiness over:

Book #17: Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. This helped to motivate me to make some fundamental changes to my diet. It underlined the importance of avoiding processed foods and going organic often. I've nearly cut all of my pop consumption and really increased water intake as a result. I plan to switch to an unprocessed type of sugar - potentially crystallized honey. That said, I'm not totally swayed on the dairy and meat issues.

Book #18: Stranger than Fiction: True stories by Chuck Palahniuk. I have to admit the first stories in this are a bit fuzzy in my memory - I started reading it in the hospital on little sleep and stress, followed by pain meds. I did enjoy the vignettes presented and I think they have piqued my interest in his novels - now that I know a bit more about him I can perhaps overlook some of the more extreme elements of his style.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Looking forward to the weekend

Sonny's coming up for a joint birthday (mine & his) celebration this weekend. That will be fun. Life has been crazy of late and it will be good to be with the whole gang. I need to see if we can get a good pic for YoungMe NowMe on Color Wars.

Can't really tell the full story of recent craziness yet. By next week. Part of it included a whirlwind trip for J and I to San Diego last weekend. We departed Rochester at 7:30am on Saturday and returned at midnight Sunday/Monday. Total nutzoid. From Chicago to Denver we had a selection of flics, including Leatherheads and Prince Caspian. I was excited about Caspian - even though the volume differences between dialogue and musical interlude were annoying. I would say we were about 2/3 of the way into the movie - just as everything starts to come to a boil - when it shut off as we started the approach to Denver. Evil! Don't show a movie if it's longer than the trip! Now I have to move that to the top of the queue.

I seriously need to catch up on books because I'm doing well this year and I'm just being horrible about blogging them, but I don't want to do more than 2 to a post, so:

Book #15: The Quantity Theory of Insanity by Will Self. J found this really powerful. I found it a bit to slog through. I don't remember any particular pieces that struck me, but I just didn't get into it and found much of the premise a bit too convoluted.

Book #16: A Knight of the Word by Terry Brooks. The Shannara series by Brooks remains one of my favorites - one of the few fantasy series that I loved in high school and don't find somewhat annoying today. Running with the Demon, the first book in the series of which A Knight of the Word is the second, also ranked high - bringing elements of Brooks' storytelling to today's world and carrying some of the moral undercurrent I like to see (we humans can seriously screw up life here, or we can work to make things right). Knight did not disappoint. In fact, I'm seriously considering reordering my to read piles to try to catch up with the prolific Brooks - I can't wait to see the latest!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Witnessing a different world

I've blogged before about The Mole People. Last week, we watched a documentary called Dark Days. Focused on an underground community in the Amtrak tunnels, it documents not only the basics of how they live, but also covers an attack on one community member that forces change. The people talk a bit about their past, and the stories are not pleasant.

Towards the close of the film, Amtrak declares that all tunnel occupants are evicted and will be forced out into shelters. The ACLU intervenes and manages to get the residents into a federal housing program where they get their own, real apartments. The last we see of the former tunnel dwellers, they are settling into their new homes, and dreaming big.
A bit of a spoiler that, perhaps - but I needed to tell you that in order to make sure you watch the "postscript" feature in the special features list - sorry I don't remember exactly what it was called - it gives vignettes of life after the tunnel for the key subjects of the documentary.

Striking, all told.

Book #13 - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon. Yes, the description of what happens to the dog is a bit nasty. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed this. Narrated by an autistic teen who is determined to write a detective story and, through his discoveries, forced to experience more of life than might be expected, this is incredibly well done. I feel like I got a great glimpse into the mind of an autistic person. And I discovered some logic that seems to explain some of my, well, issues - ones that probably afflict many of us to some degree.

Book #14 - The White by Deborah Larsen. I have to say, I was a bit disappointed in this. A novelization of the story of Mary Jemison - the "white woman of the Genesee" - kidnapped as a teen, who passed up several opportunities to have her freedom redeemed to remain with the Seneca (I believe) family she became a part of, to me it failed on the "novelization" side. Mary told her story to a doctor in her later years, and this book reads like I believe that would. Not that I don't like the style and cadence, the sparseness of the prose, etc., but I expected more. For what I got, I would rather have read the doctor's edition of the tale and bypassed a modern interpreter. I thought I'd get more depth.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Whistler, Vancouver, and more books

There are bears in them thar hills.
I was in Whistler and Vancouver last week - such great country, there! I could go on and on, but to give just a few highlights.
- Crowds walking near wilderness paths quickly fade from your attention - you can be solitary even in a tourist rush.
- Lift is still an awesome restaurant (we went there on our honeymoon, too)
- People in Vancouver are nice, fit, and very environmentally friendly.
- Cranberry rosemary gelato tastes like eating a rosemary plant. Figs and chocolate shavings is yummy.

I've never been super skilled at chatting it up with strangers. Cab drivers, bus drivers and passengers, people on planes. This trip, though, I actually did strike up a few chats. I think social media playing has helped this. I can throw out 140 characters pretty easily.

View from Lift
Breakfast on the water near the Vancouver airport, first morning there. The kitchen has issued orders to push the meat, it seems. I've never been probed specifically on meat-based sides before. A macho party guy tells of winning at Neil Diamond trivia - interesting contrast there. Only after he brags of it does he back off, a bit embarrassed. Real maple syrup is the default - something I like to see.

Whistler's library has a green roof - very cool!

I read 3 books on the trip and shortly after - up to 15 read this year. Here's the catchup from before that...
Book #11 - I Shudder at Your Touch , an anthology edited by Michele Slung. This was a reread from that Alien Sex lit class I took in college (yep, vampires, aliens, robots, the whole shebang). It's subtitle is "22 Tales of Sex and Horror". What is it with this Horror thing? Some of the tales were odd, some were gross, but I found none horrific - none made me wary of sleeping in a hotel alone without a light on. Overall, it was just ... odd.

Book #12 - Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. This book is big, but has incredible pull. I couldn't stop reading it and was very unproductive the last few days, especially. A great romp, immersive and realistic while still giving a great fantasy tale. Norrell is so uptight you'd like to smack him around. Strange is compelled and it takes him to incredible places that no one ever expected he'd reach. Very cool. Now I need to get her second, The Ladies of Grace Adieu.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Quick movie & book review

Traveling to Whistler and Vancouver next week - psyched to go, but sorry J couldn't make it to our honeymoon spot!

Saw The Incredible Hulk last night w/ Dad for Father's Day. I really liked it. Dad & I kept nudging each other as links to the show came up. I thought Norton did a good job as Banner and Roth was certainly looney tunes. And I didn't think the CG Hulk was too bad. As for smashing, just like on the show, Hulk smashed to survive, save people, get away from meanies. Not gratuitously.

Just enough time to record Book #10 before other things need to be done:

Book #10 - Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger. I picked this up to see what other stuff of his was like, after The Catcher in the Rye. It's a series of pretty down and dreary vignettes. The most striking was the last story - "Teddy", but I won't tell you why - try not to spoil things here.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

But they're an institution!

Sitting in a coffee-shop when a father and his 3-ish daughter step up to the pastry case. He's detailing the goodies she can chose from and they come to the mega-Rice Krispies treats. "What's that?" she asks and he proceeds to detail how they are made. My gut reaction is horror - how can any kid old enough to walk into a coffee-shop and share goodies w/ Dad not know Rice Krispies treats? They're a childhood institution!!

Book#9: Waking up Screaming by H.P. Lovecraft. I have to be honest. Lovecraft had been so hyped as a master of terror, that I felt I must be horribly jaded as I read most of this book. Creepy, gross things, yes. Terrifying, no. In most stories, I figured out the deal early on, so all of his work building suspense was just in the way. That said, I did really enjoy "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" - the novella at the close of this collection. I didn't have it totally right at the start and I enjoyed the history of Providence it wrapped in.

Vacation musings

Thought I'd share the notes from my journal from the first part of our vacation trip.

6/2/08 - Swarms of gnats hung from each tree like a plume of smoke. Their coordinated movements spurred thoughts of collective intelligence, as in some horror film.

6/3/08 - After intermittent drizzly showers, the river has calmed to a glossy stillness, blurred by fog.

6/30/08 - What was the crumbling shack in that field before? A farm stand? A small home for someone making do? Whatever it once was, today it sags and bulges. From a window, a pink leg of some (once-loved?) stuffed beast droops. Memories left behind become just a part of the rubble.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Come and gone

Dan's birthday gathering was in the Thousand Islands. We stayed in a nice cottage on top of a big pile of rocks right on the river. Even though the weather wasn't spectacular all week, it was a great time. J made it up two days after the rest of us (because of a class), the guys got to spend an afternoon fishing for big 'uns, and we did an islands tour so we got to fantasize about having an island someday....

Looking down from our cottage

Sonny's run of trees sold out in < 1 minute. He's also sold some other large pieces recently. Awesome stuff.

I have a bunch of books to catch up on:
Book #8: Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History by Michel-Rolph Trouillot. I was pretty disappointed in this. I was hoping for book of case studies detailing what had been buried and why. I got a lot more really dry academic definitions of history and its composition. The moments when he detailed what little is known of some of the true events surrounding Haiti's revolution, it gets more bearable - but just not the really cool analysis I thought it would be.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Check out the Trees

Sonny has a bunch of tree pieces that are going up on Tiny Showcase tonight at 7:30 pm. Check them out!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Sustainable futures and social connections

We know that knowledge and understanding can help preserve what might otherwise be lost - places & landmarks of historical significance, understanding the past so as not be condemned to repeat it, the advent of ecotourism, etc. Even stronger than knowledge are relationships, social connections.

I like the idea of Crop to Cup a company that brokers family-grown coffee, but also provides tools so that end users, the coffee drinkers, can connect online with the growers, roasters, etc. who are behind it. It's bound to increase their loyalty to the product and their willingness to pay...

Then the other night I was watching Jean-Michel Cousteau and there was a segment where Celine Cousteau visited Amazon Herb Co. Dedicated to "a positive sustainable future for the rainforest and its inhabitants", the company sells herbal products derived from traditional remedies found in the rainforest. What I love is that it is all maintained in a sustainable way. Where they grow the herbs is the rainforest - they have not discovered a product and obliterated everything else to produce items to sell en masse.

I need to find more companies like this to connect with... You know, all of those children's charities where they push for cents-a-day to feed, clothe, medicate, educate the poor of the world and fill their commercials with doe-eyed, sad-faced kids - often use the hook of the letters you'll receive from the kids reporting their progress. Make connecting around the world easier and positive change can result. Hmm need to ponder more.

On the more mundane side -
Book #6 - The Homecoming by Ray Bradbury, illustrated by Dave McKean. An entertaining short story I look forward to reading to future children (no immediate plans on that)

Book #7 - Convergence Culture: Where old and new media collide by Henry Jenkins. I enjoyed this. Jenkins provides a few great case studies of the implications of new media on how we tell stories as a society, how we learn, how we are entertained. Some I still need to digest. A great foundation for anyone interested in trans-media storytelling.

Happy Belated to Dan - though I did call the day of, while you were chowing down, and we'll be celebrating this summer, Roelle-style....

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Distractigirl Sunday

Some days I just can't focus. Sometimes happen when I'm on a book binge. I am reading a lot this weekend, but I think there are other causes. I've been daydreaming about some stuff - pondering possibilities and it makes doing chores really hard. It's sometimes like I have tunnel vision in reverse - items on the periphery pull me here, there, anything to keep me from seeing straight ahead....

I plan to post a bunch of pics of recent projects (well, from Christmas on)but need to simply take the time to connect my camera. It's not happening right now. If I waited for that, I'd never get the rest of the post done.

I've finished up through Book #7 and Book #8 is darned close (two pages, actually). Book #9 will soon follow. I'm only blogging #5 today to hopefully get me back here sooner.

Book #5 - The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje. When the movie hit the Oscars, I avoided it's mainstream appeal. It seemed, as Sonny would say, "poppish". Now I need to move it up in my queue. The book was quite intriguing. Not extremely elegant prose and remarkably dull subject at times - I wanted to get to the next bit of the action and was pulled on. The ending was quite striking, but the very end I think spoiled it a bit. The narrator, so long a third, anonymous person, suddenly referred to himself and totally confused me.

Reading something about people building castles in the Northwest. Wondering, would I want a big, heavy stone castle, or something more like this. Probably the latter. Both are so much better than mcMansions.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Recycle caps

I always like to see new and different thinking on the reuse/ recycle side of things. And I can see how this one could make a big difference. It's a limited deal, but if it gets enough support (both in terms of caps turned in and shampoo sold), we could see Aveda and other companies doing more.

When bottles are recycled, caps are often cut off and thrown away. But Aveda and Shape magazine are teaming up to keep them out of landfills and waterways, where they can end up choking and starving baby animals.

From March 10 through May 10, Aveda stores will be accepting caps from water and pop bottles, laundry detergent, facial cleanser, shampoo, and whatnot. These will be reused as caps on retro Clove Shampoo bottles (a limited edition anniversary deal in Sept). Bring in 25 caps, get a free Aveda sample. If there isn't a store near you, you can mail them in. Full details here.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Book #4

There have been a bunch of articles lately that say many Americans do not read a single book a year (1/4!) and that the median number read by those who do is 9 for women, and 5 for men. That makes me feel a bit better about making it to 30ish, but I'm still trying for 50! Except for those days when I get sucked into finishing something and get a headache from doing nothing else, I don't think I could consume enough books....

So, #4: Clever Maids: The Secret History of The Grimm Fairy Tales by Valerie Paradiz. Fascinating. Paradiz wraps in many synopses of tales from the collection as she tells the stories of how the Grimm's came upon them. The role of women in their collection process (not really full disclosure on the Grimm's part on that), and the role of the tales in their lives and society at the time of the Napoleanic wars is really interesting. Not only that women guarded such tales, but how much society's woes and pressures weighed into subtle differences in the telling. Also just a good primer on the lives of the brothers Grimm.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sonny's story

Here's a vid that the Providence art co-op AS220 did on "CW"

Thursday, February 07, 2008

An unexpected smile

I don't talk a lot about politics on here, but when people supporting a given candidate produce artistic pieces that make me smile, I take notice. Here are two for you. I'll leave it at that.

Will.I.Am video

Artist Shepard Fairey has made some great screenprints

Monday, February 04, 2008

OK, I'm done

I'm sick of recovering. I want it over. I am tired of being sore. Of wearing out after a couple of hours of anything. Naps are great, but I hate needing them. I want to be able to run both hands through my hair without bending in half. To wear a cami. To pick up my cats. All that.

I feel petulant and sullen - I'm being a whiner - I could be in a far worse spot and stuff generally improves every day (except when I set myself back by falling down the stairs), but I just want to GO!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

When you had what they call a "scare"...

... people look at you differently. Which I wouldn't mind so much, except that now, on those days when you fight to get out of bed, it's icy cold and windy outside, and you don't want to think process, but rather cupcakes or soup or cartoons... on those days people get very concerned. "Are you OK?" "You look tired, are you feeling alright?" "Make sure you're not overdoing it now" - it's just a bad day, not a heart problem, really.

That said, I still lose energy and get sore. I'd love to work out again and the gym at work is now free, but since my energy tanks at 3 or 4, I can't really even considered 20 min of cardio....

I may have mentioned this before, but J has been absolutely incredible. From presence of mind though scared at the start of this all, to the presence of mind to do deep research and ask questions to make sure I wasn't getting treated for the sake of treatment, to the emotional and moral support and general taking care of me. There are so many ways this has hit home how much I love him.

In the meantime - Book #3 - The Little Friend by Donna Tartt. I definitely disagree with the critics on this one. Strong storytelling - yes. It brings small-town Mississippi in the 1970's into your home to sit next to you. But I wouldn't call it compelling. It was very very long and often wandered into places that really didn't matter (I guess you could call that "complete"). I also found the ending highly dis-satisfying because it didn't really end, it just ran out of pages.

Friday, January 18, 2008

January - 'tis full of freakiness this year

Is there some sort of curse on January 2008? Something about election years or leap years that could explain all of the weirdness abounding around me?

Yes, things could be freakier - we're not at a total extreme, but the number of unfortunate occurrences in my social circle seems really weird:
- I passed out in bed and wound up diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome, and had a defibrillator implanted.
- Jenny's bunny, Ernie, passed away
- Jenny was in a car accident
- A friend's son had a seizure and puzzling EEG results
- A coworker had a pain in his side that turned out to be a clot

Whatever the case, January has been a month of "firsts" for me:
- First time talking to a 911 operator (very nice lady)
- First time in an ambulance (not good driving "backwards", lying down, when nauseous
- First: CT scan of head (again, glad I was over the nausea as they kept wiggling the table back and forth, EEG (bad hair day after that), many EKGs
- First extensive neurological exam (involving a cruel math trick)

Many many many thanks to the family and friends that surrounded me, kept me sane, and kept me distracted with text messages during the week in the hospital and the recovery at home after. I couldn't do it without you guys. For all of January's weirdness, I'm blessed.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Good for you food can be tasty, too

Last night, J and I went with his visiting Aunt to Tasteology - a new restaurant in Rochester. (They're going to start cooking classes soon, which I'll have to check out)

Tasteology's thing is "healthy menu items from all over the world". Entrees are under 500 calories - made from local, usually organic, produce. Excellent in theory, but what about taste? Would 500 calories satisfy? When it's done smartly, it not only satisfies, it delights!

We started out with Mexican Hot Chocolate, which probably had more calories than dinner, but was so tasty and perfect for the bitter cold that I didn't care. I got a turkey, honey yam, spicy cranberry sauce roti wrap, which came with greens and a small side salad. For desert, I had a "Petit Pleasure" - apple and cranberry with a bit of oaty cookie in the middle.
Excellent. Can't wait to go back and try more. Service was also great and it has a simple, clean decor which has a friendly, healthy feel.

Quick book update:
Book #1 - The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde. A short, highly amusing tale of what happens when a wizened British aristocratic haunt encounters a "modern" American family. Quite fun.

Book #2 - The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City by Jennifer Toth. I've long been fascinated by people who live differently and the thought of lives lead in secret corners has always been intriguing and one I've enjoyed in Neverwhere and other fictional accounts. Mole People is the first of a few books I have on actual underground societies. I loved the documentary work Toth did - found the vignettes of communities and individuals fascinating. When she tries to tie in historical and literary references, she bounces around and gets a bit mired, but luckily that's only a small portion of the book. A "wow" ending, too.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


you know the rest....
Christmas was fun, as always. And the boys, though they don't blog about it, are doing well in their various endeavors. Dan played with Nik and the Nice Guys at Turning Stone for New Year's and I heard a part of a discussion about Nik (the group) playing with Three Dog Night at Seneca Niagara this month....
(Dan can post to correct me if I'm wrong)
Sonny continues to get acclaim for his art.

By the end of 2007, I had 4 more books for my list:
#25 - The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger. A book club book that we haven't met on yet, but I can pretty much sum it up with "meh".
#26 - The End of the Affair by Graham Greene. This was pretty good, although I didn't get much deep out of it, it was well done.
#27 - The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. Quoted at our wedding, I needed to check this out for the first time.
#28 - Zenzele: A letter for my daughter by J. Nozipo Maraire. A striking look at the heritage a mother from Zimbabwe wants to pass on to her daughter studying at Harvard. Extremely well written - so much so that I often had to remind myself it was a novelization. Compelling insider's perspective on life, the struggle for independence, and strength.

2007 closes having been quite a year. Looking back, I've made some significant career discoveries and progress. I traveled quite a bit. J is going back to school with a vision of what he wants to do. We've radically changed our eating habits from nearly all meat to mindful meat-eating, but largely veggies and grains. We're endeavoring to be more green and sustainable. I made several cool craft things - will blog about holiday crafts later this week.

So, I launch into 2008 hoping to finish a couple of books in the next few days and once more shooting for 50. Here are some of the other thoughts I have for the new year:
- be better organized - at least keep piles from proliferating
- bake more
- get back into shape (of course)
- play more
- craft more
- stress less
- continue to explore ways of re-using everyday items and ways to use what I can grow myself
I could go on, but I might start to get worried about being able to keep it up.

Happy 2008 - best wishes all.