Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Ah, vacation. J is on break between quarters and I've taken the short week off to be able to spend time with him. We spent the first two days running around, starting Christmas shopping (mostly for his family), catching up with friends. Today I hope to make further progress on some of the craft gifts I'm planning. And catch up a bit on to do's around the house.

A couple of books from a bit ago:

Book #17 (sigh, one of these years I'll get to 50. Doesn't look like I'll even hit 30 this year):
Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. I loved this! At first you are struck by the differences in the bred-to-be-freaks that are the Binewski children. By the grotesqueness of the concept. I've had friends squirm as I start to describe the premise. Then you are pulled in. By Arturo's philosophy that "norms" and the beautiful are tormented and cannot fully reach their potential without becoming freaks themselves.
I get glimpses of the horror of normalcy. Each of these innocents on the street is engulfed by a terror of their own ordinariness. They would do anything to be unique. - Arturo Binewski
By the marked isolation of the Binewski's and its impact on their worldview and their ability to even consider functioning outside the Fabulon.
Our contact with norms outside the show was in dashes and flashes. Overheard phrases unconnected to lives. Outsiders weren't very real to me.
Overall, Dunn has a gift for wonderful turns of phrase and descriptions. The story is quite moving and holds your attention. I wasn't as happy with the end because I don't think it had to be that way and still question why.

Book #18: Rhapsody: Child of Blood by Elizabeth Haydon. This gets a big MEH. There are portions that are not very interesting or character forming that drag on and on and on. That said, threads came together enough towards the end that I did change my mind about reading at least the second in the trilogy, but will get it from the library and not pay for it.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Watchers

They follow me wherever I go, but are most visible and have the most character at home. The mysterious figures who watch me while I sleep.

In the middle of the night, I groggily shift my eyelids and catch a silhouette. Sometimes, in that first half-glance I can catch details of dress and demeanor. Of personality. A casual lean against the doorjamb. Writing on the door in earnest. Drinking a can of pop. Mocking curiosity.

Apparel varies also. The only female figure wore a drab brown drapey-type dress, reminiscent of movies of Roman times. The pop-guy was in basketball uniform (and quite tall). The curious one wore a green velvet cape with hood pulled up. Most frequent is a sly figure in top hat and trenchcoat.

In hotel rooms, they linger just beyond the crack in the curtains or around the corner in the "hall" leading to the door of the room.

Sometimes they scare me. Sometimes it's intrigue. Often I just want to know what they want. What is definite is that they disturb my sleep because, instead of simply half-opening my eyes when turning over in bed, I try to focus and concentrate on what I'm seeing. By the time I've fully waked and know what I'm seeing, they're gone.

Who or what are they? The play of light certainly draws them out. Here at home, they're most often in the doorway, where the streetlamp shines in through my study window and the bathroom light leaks through a crack in that doorway. I'm pretty sure that were I to permanently resolve that issue, however, I'd find my eyes pulled to another corner and there they'd be.

For now, I try not to wake J to tell him there's someone in the house and I focus on catching more details. Heck, they'll wake me anyway.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Four Years

Four years ago, J and I chose each other and tied the knot! Our anniversary was earlier this month, but the celebration is being drawn out. In part due to a shipping mishap. In part because J is so swamped with school.

The traditional gifts for the 4th anniversary are fruit and flowers, so I decided to give J miracle fruit. Looking like elongated cranberries, these berries coat your tongue with a substance that changes the way things taste for about half an hour. You get a bunch of berries when you order them, so we organized a quick tasting party with a few friends.

We had a full table of food to taste (and J raided the fridge for other flavors at one point) and berries enough for at least 2 per person. To taste:
Salt & vinegar potato chips
Balsamic vinegar
Bread & butter pickles
Dill pickles
Sour cream
Goat cheese
Blue cheese

The experience was fascinating! Reactions varied across the group. Some things now had no taste (grapes, unanimous), some had subtler flavors. Lemon & lime burnt our lips and the inside of our mouths, but were sweet on our tongues. Strawberries, pineapple, and raspberries had a wave of flavor that was a subtle sweet with more depth than normal.

We had a really good time experimenting and I'm seriously considering exploring miracle fruit as an alternative sweetener (you can find this in the crunchy section of Wegmans).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Oatmeal breakfast bars

This recipe came from an issue of Country Living. It's a bit of a PITA, but yummy.

1 3/4c flour
1 1/4c oats
1/2c wheat bran
1tsp baking powder
1/2tsp cinnamon
1/4tsp salt
1/8tsp nutmeg
1c butter, soft (need to blend w/ sugar)
1/2c plus 2tbsp brown sugar
2 eggs
1tsp vanilla
Applesauce (jelly also works,but we like applesauce better)

Combine flour, oats, wheat bran, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, & nutmeg in med bowl.
Using mixer, beat butter & sugar until light & fluffy. Add eggs, one @ a time. Add vanilla.
Mix in dry ingredients. Divide dough in half, wrap in Saran *NOTE - dough is VERY sticky, I usually use the plastic to grab half the dough and then try to neaten it up once contained.
Chill at least 1 hr.

Roll out 1 portion of dough between 2 sheets floured parchment paper to an 8x10 rectangle. (Usually works better if it's sat out of fridge for long enough to soften, but not long enough to get sticky again)
Cut out 2X5 strips. Place on parchment on large baking sheet. Put filling down center.
Roll out/ cut other half of dough. Top the bars on the sheet - crimp or press to seal edges.
Cover w/ plastic - chill at least 20 min.

Preheat oven to 375. Bake 20-25. Transfer to rack to cool.

Monday, October 18, 2010

To Owen

Particular, little fellow.
You loved Sonny with a devotion
bigger than your chubby little body.
And for that, I love you.
Ear rubs always.

Sunday food prep

I took time while J was on a school field trip Sunday to prep some fave foods for the week.

First, soda bread. I use a recipe from Williams Sonoma - it's a simple bread using plain yogurt for the liquid and has no sugar or dried fruit in it. I realized today, when trying to figure out calories for it, how many different kinds of soda bread are out there. Love this.

Next up, fresh spring rolls to encourage us to munch veggies more (with a bit o plum sauce). Yum. Just wish I had more time - could have rolled for a while longer.

Finally, J's favorite breakfast food - oatmeal bars filled with homemade applesauce.

The horrible track lighting in our kitchen not only makes it impossible to work on the counter without throwing your shadow on your creation, but also leaves no spot where you can take pics without throwing a shadow also. Can't wait til we can remodel lights, counter, paint in that room!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Art, music, and books

Sonny had an opening last night at Craftland Gallery. The show, called Lamp Lit, runs until 11/13 8pm.

Cozy (genre)

Danny is playing tonight at Boulder Coffee with the Meta Accord. Starts at 8pm.


Book #15
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. A reread from college. I remember writing a paper on this talking about how the monster's desire for affection and companionship was denied at every turn and it's almost reasonable to expect some of his actions. I got that this time, too, and more of a disgust for the over-dramatic Doctor who was so self-absorbed - and mentally frail.

Book #16 - The Red Pony by John Steinbeck. It says on the cover "The moving and beautiful story of a boy, a sorrel colt, and the sun-drenched California earth." I beg to differ. I know Steinbeck tends towards depressing stuff, but really. The novel is split into 4 vignettes that are quite distinct from one another. And it never really ends. I found it to be a big of a drag, overall.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I recently bought a pie pumpkin - it was locally grown, organic, and I thought it'd be fun to see what I could do with it. J isn't a huge fan of pumpkin pie, so I decided to try other things.

Stock Pumpkin on white background #2
Photo by shuttermonkey on Flickr.

First, I cooked it. And probably the hard way, but it worked. I peeled the pumpkin and chopped it into 1 inch square pieces. These I boiled until tender. There was a LOT of pumpkin (5-6 big mason jars)!

Now, I always forget to photograph the food I make, so I'll try to find photos where I can.

#1 - Pumpkin bars, from the Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts - think a pumpkin blondie of sorts. YUM.

#2 - Pumpkin Garlic Knot Rolls - from (never home)maker - (Ashley always has awesome pics, too) - The rolls actually are just yummy and not very pumpkin-y. J loved the garlic dressing.

#3 - Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal - from goodLife {eats}. This was the first time I had baked oatmeal in a ramekin - it was tasty and I loved having several made so I could eat it for dinner too, when sick. I didn't do the topping in Katie's recipe, but I don't think it needed it.

#4 - Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls - also from goodLife {eats}. These, too, were awesome! Again, I got lazy and didn't make the cream cheese frosting and I think it would have helped keep them more moist, but they don't suffer too much.

And I still have a jar of puree and half of the pumpkin garlic knot dough in the freezer!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

In a month of pink, a simple call for awareness

Alicia Staley, kick-butt cancer survivor, advocate, and twitter-friend, has pointed out that pink gets a little crazy in October. Yes, it's an important cause - but should it drown out everything else? I get this and pondered what I might do here. In the end, I decided to cover the one issue I really know - Long QT Syndrome.

I have Long QT - those of you who have followed this blog for a while remember the episode that lead to that discovery. My heart dallies a bit between beats. In extreme scenarios, the ventricles can get tired of waiting and decide to go off on their own, funky-style. Lack of blood to the brain. Body shuts down. Etc.

This disorder does not seriously hamper my lifestyle. Now that I have my bionic pieces, it should have no impact on the length of my life, either, as they'll work to correct any rogue activity. Relative to what too many people go through with other issues, this could be nothing.

What gets risky is lack of diagnosis. I found out after a too-close-for-comfort incident that landed me in the hospital for a week. Long QT can be triggered by adrenaline (hence the kaibosh on Derby for me), and there's a possibility that it plays a role in the death of child athletes on the field.

Diagnosis, contrary to the recent episode of House, starts with an EKG. And here's my plea. If you have family members who have died suddenly after passing out. If your child is on medication for ADD - especially if they play sports. Get the test. They say the syndrome is rare, but I'd rather not hear of kids dying at soccer games.

Monday, September 06, 2010

A couple of books, quickly

One of the problems with school starting is that I'm hitting all of these deadlines - and seeing a growing pile of things that I didn't get done. I'm determined to keep working on them, just hoping the things I need help with from J can get out of the way before he gets too busy.

Book #13
- Slumach's Gold: In search of a legend by Rick Antonson, Mary Trainer, and Brian Antonson. The dedication to the original, 1972 edition opens with "Hidden in every legend is the first person that ever told the story." - Love that line. A compilation of many stories and storytellers and their tales of the Salish man, Slumach, his misdeeds, his gold, and the curse he left behind - this book tries to get to the bottom of the story. One thing that struck me is the wilderness of the region near Pitt Lake in British Columbia - an area that still holds secrets. Sooo cool.

Book #14 - The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. Odd, as I expected. Gregor just accepts the new development as "it is what it is". The family sees a burden. In a day and age when any such issue would be Twitter-wide in an instant, it's startling to think of the isolated realm of that apartment. Not quite sure what to do with it.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Happy Birthday Sonny!!!

To my kid brother. Fellow Star Wars adventurer in the 70s. Source of angst in the 80s. Newfound friend in the 90s. Source of pride and good buddy since....

Have a happy day, Clifford William Roelle IV!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Vacation week in review

I had a wonderful week off - a combo of catching up with the house, some last hoorahs for the summer with J, and birthday celebrations.

Organizing/ cleaning, Homearama, Dollop cupcakes, fights with the phone company over squirrel-chewed lines, 7-hours on a boat, dinner with family at Mom & Dad's, SouthWedge market and Napa pizza with friends, Inception, and a fossil hunt. Cool!

We splurged on a new, tall, wonderfully cushioning bed. It felt so grown up - our first new-to-us bed. Now I want to design the bedroom, paint, carpets, sconces and maybe a padded headboard. Shhhhh - don't tell J, I haven't yet. (I have some other house things I have to get done first this fall, but maybe winter...)

I read a bunch, but was reading 3 books at once, so didn't finish any, but getting close! ;-)

Book #12 Molvania: A land untouched by modern dentistry (Jet Lag travel guide) by Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner, and Rob Sitch. Not really meant for the straight read-through I gave it, but fascinating in the level of detail they give to this compound joke.

I was overwhelmed by the birthday greetings I received on Twitter and Facebook. Friends from all phases of my life - virtual and IRL friends, close and not-so. Each wish made me smile on its own. Together, I was full of warm-fuzzies. Thank you all! >*sniff*< I love you so much! ;-)

Friday, August 13, 2010

What I like about my body

This morning, the scale and I had a falling out. It seems to have forgotten which direction it's supposed to go in. That's why I was glad to take a minute or two to record this bit on what I like about me. My instinct is to apologize for the waist shots, but that is a bit counter to the "happy w/ who I am" message we're trying to send, right?

And I'm progressing toward Supersonic Angel in ways the scale refuses to see.

PS - Here's that pic of me and the boys...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I am awesome! *snort* - hodgepodge

Inspired by @researchgoddess, I've made myself a Superhero! ;-)

I needed this kick-butt reminder. Very cool. Oooh, as I get closer to my target weight maybe I'll try a pose like this - minus wings and we'll see what I can do for the outfit.

I just realized I never put a summary of Book #10 - American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I reread this for the Twitter-wide bookclub, #1b1t. I love the book, a story of the struggle for relevance among the gods that have been brought here by immigrants over the centuries. Thanks to the bookclub - I read it more slowly, carefully, and closely than my original reading for tone, flow, & overall impressions. There's a ton of meat to this and it deserves its place in my favorites list.

Book #11 - Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk. My overall reaction to this was "meh". I got tired of the antics of the cast of characters. Their motives were so massively self-centered and greedy and their actions to meet those ends so extreme, I just didn't buy it. And it got very tired once I stopped caring. Maybe I'm jaded, but while I found some of the pieces a bit gross, nothing shocked me.

Finally, today - the latest curried quinoa recipe (via Natural Health)
1c quinoa
2c water
1tbsp curry powder
1tsp cumin
1/2tsp cayenne
pinch of salt
2 med carrots, peeled & shredded (oops, I chopped)
15oz can low/no salt chickpeas (I used black beans) - rinsed/ drained
3 green onions, thinly sliced (I used chives)
2 apples, halved/cored/chopped
1/4c toasted pumpkin seeds (I used sunflower seeds)
3tbsp olive oil
1tbsp apple cider vinegar
juice of 2 limes
salt/ pepper to taste
1 1/2c mixed greens

1 - In a saucepan, combine quinoa, water, spices & salt. Bring to a boil, cover then simmer on low for 15-20 minutes until quinoa turns transparent and liquid is absorbed. Fluff w/ fork, cool & place in large bowl.
2 - Add carrots, chickpeas, onions, apples, pumpkin seeds
3 - To make dressing - whisk olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, salt/ pepper. Pour over quinoa mix and toss.
4 - Divide into individual servings (claims 4, I got more) and server over bed of mixed greens.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Crossing that line in the sand

When we were little we often drew lines, the ones in sand and snow were most visible, but they stretched across rooms, streets, tables, and plates. Especially with two brothers, there had to be a spot where public space ended and personal space began. So the lines were mostly barriers marked with “DO NOT CROSS”, but sometimes they were taunts – I DARE you to cross this line….

On Sunday we crossed the line from July to August. And yesterday, on 8/2, I decided to make the line real and to DARE to cross.

August is the month of my birth. And I’ve decided that I am going to celebrate in some way, shape, or form all... month... long!

Think about it – my birthday falls late in the month. I’ve had several Augusts of late that have been super high stress up until that very moment. 2 years ago the week prior to my birthday was spent deciding about a cross-country move I’d never thought of before – and the day was spent returning from a 25-hour house-scoping mission. Last year, a massive contest launched in the week before my birthday and I was the key data funnel – it ended the morning of. I kill myself and I think I tend to go high-stress this time of year even if massive deadlines aren’t looming – making problems for myself.

So this year, I’m having none of it. August is MY month, (*&^^%$-it and I’m going to enjoy it. The weather is sublime. The garden is producing. I still have my husband in home mode for a few more weeks before school starts. I have a great community of people of all types of personalities on Twitter and Facebook that are a huge boost to help me distress when I need it. There’s waves to watch rolling in on the lakeshore.

And maybe a margarita ... or ten. (Hey it’s a whole month!)

Happy August!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

We don't see people from your nation often, so you're not allowed

I don't usually rant here, but wanted to do this longer than a tweet, so here you go.
I understand security has been cranked in this terror-ridden age. I understand that a lack of familiarity can make it seem easy for terrorists to sneak in... But this still upsets me.

The Haudenosaunee are a sovereign nation. They signed treaties with the US in 1794 that agreed to treat them as such. They are a country in their own right.

Today, a team of Iroquois lacrosse players are being kept from competing in the world championships of the sport their ancestors created by fear and lack of understanding. These players carry passports from their nation - Haudenosaunee passports.

At first, the US insisted they would not be allowed to return to the country with such documents.
"You want to go? We'll give you US passports, use those." A flatout refusal to understand the national pride and identity so important for Native tribespeople that is so hard won and so often forgotten by the mainstream.
Finally the US conceded and guaranteed that they would be allowed to return to the US - just this once.

Now the UK is refusing admittance. "We're not used to seeing documents like yours so we can't let you in."

It blows me away. How many small nations are out there - Native or otherwise - that may have funny-looking documentation? Do we seal the walls and only let in those who look like ourselves? Obnoxious. Scary. Sad for these players who have every right to compete on the world stage.

Check out the news story.
For more on the Haudenosaunee, visit Ganondagan (just south of Victor, NY)(there's a festival there July 24/25! ;-) ).

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Quick garden update

I'm regularly picking radishes, J is snipping greens, and raspberries are in full force (already 5 sauce jars in freezer). This pic is into the sun, next one I won't do that....

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I love summer

My thoughts are with Jenny now as she deals with a sad loss. Also missing Papa & Grammie Roelle a bit, too. So here's another pic...I'm looking forward to the long holiday weekend, so I can spend time taming my insane garden.

The raised bed is working awesome! Some bug is eating broccoli & Brussels sprouts leaves, but no rabbits or bunnies or groundhogs yet. We've made a cube of netting that will have to adapt if/ when the quinoa gets tall, but for now is perfect.

from clearing the spot to garden - it has been weeded since that last pic...

Monday, June 07, 2010

Ice cream sandwiches

A couple of years ago, Jenny got me some ice cream sandwich molds from Williams Sonoma. Yesterday, I used them for the first time.

Step 1 - Super fudgy but thin brownies for the outsides, cut into shapes.

Step 2 - Assemble - I started assembling by hand - the results were authentic, but not quite perfect.

Step 3 - Then J pointed out that the molds are supposed to be used to assemble, too. I tried and, voila - the cows ended up quite professional looking.

Note: I inserted a strawberry in the middle of each - a nice surprise I thought. Hmmm. They freeze REALLY hard - caution when eating! Now I know.

Now I have a bunch of small treats in the freezer - awesome way to start the summer.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


This was one or two wimpy blooms just last year. I love when the yard gets prolific - the pics will be coming!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Stories of grandparents

Papa & Grammie Musso (left) and Papa & Grammie Roelle (right) at Mom & Dad's wedding

Papa & Grammie Roelle (Cliff & Betty), my Dad's parents,were around quite a bit when we were kids, until they moved to Florida - sometime around Junior High, I think.
Before Grammie passed from lung cancer, both were heavy smokers. I remember leaning against Grammie once while in the kitchen and burning my hand on her cigarette.
Grammie knew I loved applesauce and always made a big deal about that. Made me like it more, perhaps.
I need to gather more stories about her, I realize now that I don't remember many details. Most of what I remember is of her passing and I'd like to instead remember her life.

Papa flew missions over the Pacific in World War II. He enlisted twice, the first time quite young. If I remember correctly, he was a gunner. When he was young, he looked like a movie star. He talked very little about his youth - but in the one story I remember, he looked out the window to see that the wing of his plane was missing. They went down into the water and were almost taken by a Japanese ship, but Americans came over the horizon just in time.
Here at home, he assembled plane models, did a bunch of woodcraft - making nativities and lights that looked like covered wagons. He collected Hess trucks and loved to fish.
When we were little, Papa had a stroke. He recovered, but often found himself reaching for words and it frustrated him. He talked less after that because he was self-conscious.
After Papa passed, I put together a scrapbook from his photos & papers, and Sonny put together a a display of his medals. I learned more about his childhood and his life before the grandkids came along which was very cool & important.

I miss them both and wish I could have had more time as an adult to spend with them, but I'm also grateful for the bits I have.

Sonny, Danny - chime in in the comments if you want with your memories. I'm going to take some time this summer to sit with Dad and learn more.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mom & Dad now live in the 'ville

The move was finished last Wednesday, the truck returned to U-Haul Thursday am. Sonny was able to come for a few days to help pack, consolidate, and move garage stuff over. Dan came Tues/ Wed and did a lot of the stuff a young back w/ lots of energy is handy for. I threw things away, burned papers, and packed things before Mom was ready to. ;) - and packed, consolidated, and did some hauling.

Weird to think that pics from now on will be at a different place. I'm conscious of it now, so it might not happen right away, but I'm sure I'll head the wrong direction at least once when going to visit. Dad was worried about steps forward or backward. There isn't forward or backward, Dad, it's just a step. It's different. It's a new adventure.

Talking to Mom last night, she said Dad had mowed the new lawn w/ his old mower - it took 1/2 an hour vs the 1/2 a day minimum on the old. He was psyched.
They'll have fun.

Book #9 -Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman. I loved the variety of the collection - and the notes from Neil on each piece made it that much more interesting. "Monarch of the Glen" was great, but I can't comment on that until #1b1t - the One Book One Twitter book club - is done for spoiler's sake. Another favorite was "Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire" ;) quite fun!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

And another spring...

Bad pun day - come on it's Star Wars Day (May the Fourth be with you!) How could I resist?

Seriously, I meant to put these pics on yesterday's post. One is the crazy sweet (Jenny, I think I'm using the word MORE since that conversation! :p ) weeds that covered our backyard before the first mow. The other are the forget-me-nots - one of our favorite flowers....

Monday, May 03, 2010

Long, muddy spring - books

Actually, just one of the two fits that description...

Book #7 - The Frog & Toad Treasury by Arnold Lobel. These were a favorite of J's as a child and I've been reading a chapter or so before bed to help us get to sleep. TBH, I did not read them as a child. Not bad. Some cute stories. J's fave is "Cookies", mine was "The Story".

Book #8 - Cold Mountainby Charles Frazier. Geh. What a stone. Yay I'm done! First off, good stuff: it picks up in the back quarter of the book - better pace, stuff is happening, you care a bit. But the remainder! Every person is so miserable and in such miserable circumstances that while they may not be mean-spirited, they live mean lives. No joy. For so much of the book nothing happens and I found myself asking often - "why am I reading this again?". I have to check out what's next in my rotation, but even WWII testimonials will be a pick-me-up from this one! I've read darker books, but Frazier's prose, his use of local terms that mean nothing to me and feel gratuitous - it just drags it all down.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Pheonix poll

The local free paper The Pheonix is having its annual music poll, I am sending along one of my bands songs called "The Pheonix", it is about the paper, here are the lyrics:

Every Thursday I get excited
Because The Pheonix hits the stands
I pick one up and
Take it home then
Get disappointed
Once again

The City Paper I read in B'more
Would Keep me busy for some time
But if I got paid
To read the The Pheonix
Six bucks an hour
I'd make a dime

here is a link to the page for the best song catagory, we (The Sentimental Favorites) have a write in campaign under way for this song (go to the bottom of the column and write in The Sentimental Favorites, "The Pheonix" if you have the want to!)

here is a link to the song itself: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#!/pages/Sentimental-Favorites/33798799802?ref=ts

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Quick book review

Book #6 - I wrote this up over at Media Creole. Wonderful, quick read that I think everyone can take something away from about life and dealing w/ what it throws at you.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Easter pics, early memories

I'm currently reading Storycatcher by Christina Baldwin and I've come to the first series of "storycatching" exercises - recounting your earliest memory.

I was not yet 2-years old. I had been playing with my friend Kelly in the driveway, but he had to go home, across the street. Dad and I stood and watched him go. In my memory, I turn and see our house and our car - and there is no shed.

I can place the memory in time because I have another memory of looking at the balloons, gift table, and cake set up along the side of the shed for my birthday. Mom was VERY pregnant with Sonny, so that would have been my second birthday. Part of the memory of that party is spurred by home movies and photos of the day - but the angle of my view on the shed wall was not part of that, so that bit is my own, just as the earlier moment with Dad in the driveway was, as I do not know of pictures of the driveway minus the shed.

It's funny - in my memory I am me-sized - not small at all. I'm looking out from inside my head and it's what I observe that's important. I guess one key difference from then to now is the sense of self.

How about you? What is the first thing you remember?

Weird segue, but here are some pics from Easter. Mom, Dad, Dan, Tara and I went to brunch on Saturday (also Dan's birthday) to celebrate. Mom and I colored eggs Friday night - love how bright the colors were!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Joining the Party

I'm putting The Roelle Kids into the Ultimate Blog Party 2010 (see the badge in the sidebar), with hopes of gaining a few more readers.

For those of you joining from UBP - The Roelle Kids is supposed to be the collaboration of 3 siblings - but my brothers don't show up often.

There's me - Aprille (aka @eileen53) - a marketer who loves to read and cook - wannabe kick-butt chic (Sidney Bristow is my goal), passionate about storytelling (though that's mostly another blog MediaCreole), family chronicler of sorts - married, 2 cats

Sonny is the middle child - wire artist extraordinaire - also member of Sentimental Favorites in Providence, RI - dating, turtle

Danny is the youngest - he's a drummer in multiple bands - currently Hipswitch, The Meta Accord, and Nic & the Nice Guys. He loves to cook and subs in at a restaurant in our hometown from time to time. - married, multiple fish

So, that's us. Here's a brief intro to the blog. Leave comments introducing yourselves - asking questions if you're curious about anything - would love to start some conversations!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Mom & Dad are moving

When we were little, it seemed like we moved a lot. Nowhere near the level of armybrats or pk's (pastor's kids), but 4 years was the biggest hunk of time we spent in one house.

Of course, I'm super sentimental, so even a short amount of time in a spot makes me nostalgic. I want to lock all the memories of what happened there in a special place so nothing fades. I still run through our old houses in my mind, just to keep fresh the details of wallpaper, carpeting, imagined adventures as kids....

I think I was in junior high when my parents built the house they live in now - it was the one that broke the pattern. Our lot was carved from a cornfield - the summer after the house was built we tried weeding & planting grass systematically in square plots. It didn't work well - the barnyard dirt with velvet leaf made it impossible to keep up. Eventually we started mowing weeds and scattered the remaining seed.

This house saw a lot of formative experiences for us kids. It was here that we experienced our first real loss - with the passing of our Grandma Roelle. We lost Papa Roelle while living there, as well, and cousin Jeff.

We had our big high school graduation parties and both Dan & I got married while Mom & Dad were there - plus many other smaller family reunions and celebrations.

Now Mom & Dad are moving into town - downsizing a bit and able to have pizza delivered and walk to places. As I spent some time there over Easter weekend to pack my childhood room (yes, I had not yet done this), I took some video to mark some key spots.

This is several videos combined, so it's a bit long (5:30ish)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Well, this is going to be a shorter post than originally planned because I accidentally wiped my before/ after pics of my latest projects off of my memory card. I'm excited, though, because something kicked into gear last weekend and I've started on some projects that had been mulling around in my head for some time.

Project 1 is a transformation of an old dresser into a bookshelf. I should be able to find a pic of the dresser before, so it will just be the in-progress stuff I've lost. This project isn't quite complete yet - I need to finish assembly and then finish it off. At first, I was just thinking of a plain paintjob, but now I have a couple of experimental ideas based on other interests of mine that I'm thinking I may as well try (the shelf itself will be a basement shelf, at least at first, so I can take some more risks than normal). I'm hoping to get back to this a bit on Sunday.

Project 2 was an effort to freshen up the bathroom just a bit. The window was always covered by the vinyl blinds for privacy. These were dusty and the brackets holding them in had yellowed - sad shape and sad enough that I despaired of getting them clean without devoting an entire day. I got rid of them, cleaned up the window and frame, and put a textured glass film over the lower pane to maintain privacy. Not only does it look sooo much cleaner - the bathroom is a ton brighter on sunny days - could help cut back on use of the light as well.

Book #5 -The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. A reread from high school days. It was alright. The forward was excruciating, but the pace of the book itself was much better. So many mixed metaphors in the portrayal of Pearl. And was the minister poisoned? Could he really have been that frail? More time on characters and less on clothes and the inherent evil nature of the wilderness they lived in would have been good. But overall, not torture.

(Currently reading Cold Mountain. A bit of torture there. Just seems to slog.)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The books that kicked off 2010

I'm moving at a pretty good pace so far in 2010, on my 5th book, the 6th will follow right on top of it, once I get through this. (Though, I have to say, in the second chapter of Cold Mountain and it's a slog so far.) Also, as I work to participate more in the things I enjoy this year - including more frequent blogging on both blogs, I will TODAY post these new reads to Goodreads - which I completely neglected in 2009.

Book #1 - Cooking for Mr Latte by Amanda Hesser. Jenny lent this to me and I took it on the plane to CES - finished just a short while before reaching Vegas. A quick, cute read. Nothing super deep, but chock full of recipes and an interesting pictures of the hyper-foodie existence. (I like to consider myself a foodie, but I'm definitely NOT at that level)

Book #2 - Cat People by Michael Korda and Margaret Korda. Meh. I liked the individual cat portraits. But underlying it all was an inherent snootiness from the authors. It took a while to get any sense that they really loved these animals they took in. And I really don't care about how expensive and designer your furniture is, please stop referring to it as if it's a huge tragedy when it gets scratched.

Book #3 - Blackwood Farm by Anne Rice. I sit here shaking my head. It started out okay, but ended up taking way longer than it should have. The narrator was not someone I cared about a lot - too much a child of privilege, too obsessed with the labels for high end brands of clothing, etc. And one of the main "big twists" was a reach. Trying to do something new & different? You don't have to go that far. I did not find it compelling, a source of conflict or interest or intrigue.

And, on a more positive note:
Book #4 - The Town Below Ground: Edinburgh's legendary underground city by Jan-Andrew Henderson. This was fun. So fascinating to learn the history of this city, the population exploding while the footprint is trapped within walls. Horrifying to think of the conditions that the majority of the citizens lived in in Victorian times. Super cool to hear about the ghosts. I am a fan of books that delve into people who live in "forgotten spaces" and this is a great part of the list.

Ciao for now, more soon.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Moroccan Harira

This is a winter of soups for me - trying to make one soup a week - all new ones so far.

The back story on harira - Moroccans eat it to break the fast each night during Ramadan (per Nancy Harmon Jenkins in The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook) - so it's hearty, but not heavy.

From: The Healing Foods Cookbook from Vegetarian Times

1/2c green lentils
1Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1/2c chopped fresh parsley (didn't have - so I used a bunch of dried ground sage, which I have tons of)
1/2c chopped cilantro (sub dried)
1/2tsp dried ginger
1 cinnamon stick
15oz can chopped tomatoes,drained - liquid reserved
2c broth (I use veggie)
15oz can chickpeas, rinsed & drained
1/2c vermicelli

Tadouira (thickener)
2Tbsp flour
1/4c chopped cilantro
2Tbsp lemon juice
1Tbsp tomato paste

Cook lentils in pot of boiling salted water 2 min. Drain
Heat oil in pot over med heat. Saute onion, parsley, cilantro, ginger, & cinnamon 5 minutes - til onion is soft. Add tomatoes, saute 5 min.
Stir in broth, chickpeas, lentils, reserved tomato juice, 3c water, & salt & pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to med-low. Simmer, stirring occ., 45 min. or until lentils are tender.
Whisk flour with 1c waterin bowl. Whisk in cilantro, lemon juice, & tomato paste. Stir into Harira w/ vermicelli. Cook 3 min, or until vermicelli are soft.

Happy Valentines Day to all! I'm focusing on yummy food (fig & fennel bread, sw potato ravioli w/ sage butter sauce, and a Wegmans fruit tart) and making progress on house chores. J has a lot of schoolwork to do with the end of his quarter approaching, so we'll have a makeup night out when he's on break.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Pecan Soup

*from Healing Foods Cookbook by Vegetarian Times

Native American Toasted Pecan Soup
Recipe says it serves 10, I halved it and got 4 servings

2 1/2 cups pecans
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped (2 cups)
1/4c agave nectar or maple syrup
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
3c veggie broth
4 sprigs fresh thyme**
1 bay leaf**
1c soymilk (I used real non-fat milk)
1/2c shredded cheese or an imitation of it, for garnish
1/4c chopped green onions, for garnish

**I used dried thyme and I think it overwhelmed other flavors a bit. Next time, I'll try a bouquet garni, instead.

1 - Preheat oven to 350. Spread pecans on baking sheet - toast 7-10 min, until fragrant. Cool 10 min, then coarsely chop

2 - Heat oil in saucepan over med heat. Add onion, saute 5 min, until soft. Stir in pecans, agave/syrup, chili powder, and garlic. Cook 2-3 min, until fragrant. Add broth, thyme/bay leaf, 4c water, and salt/pepper to taste - cover. Boil. Reduce heat to med-low & simmer 2 hours.

3 - Remove thyme sprigs/ bay leaf & puree soup in blender or w/ hand blender. Stir in milk/ soymilk. Reheat a bit & serve w/ cheese & green onion.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I didn't think about writing this until I read Neil's post about his cat Zoe. I wanted to share our story, so here's what I sent:

Mom's cat, Jack, recently passed. He was 18 and had been going downhill, so it wasn't totally unexpected, but he was the stronger of the two, the scrapper, so we figured he'd be the last one to go.

Besides the loss of a dear friend that is a common thread, I also wanted to share Jack's story because his coloring was much like Zoe's (I always thought of it as a cross between Siamese & raccoon), but Jack also went blind in the last 6 months of his life.

Jack and his brother Yellow had been found by the woman who sold my parents their land. She was old and ill and only lived in the back two rooms of her house, leaving the rest to whoever chewed their way in. She fed the strays & barncats of the neighborhood and took a liking to the batch of kittens at her door. Unfortunately, her mean Chihuahuas did not. They were so mean to Jack that we loaned a toybox turned rabbit cage for him to stay in.

Spending a bit of his kittenhood (until both he & Yellow came to live with us) in a cage gave Jack a good-sized temper. We've seen him chase deer off the property more than once. When I was a teenager, he liked to launch through the air, landing securely with his claws in my thighs - but only when I was on the phone. Both cats went out as they pleased, less often at night after the coyotes got bad, and hunted and fought quite a bit.

As he aged, Jack mellowed and demanded much lap time and brushing from Mom. It was quite upsetting to see him circle in corners, trying to find his way about, near the end. And though it was not a total surprise, he is quite missed.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Holiday crafts

I made a ton of crafty gifts for the holidays - several categories, each gift in a category was different. If I try to do that again, I'll get J to shoot me. Here's a sampling of what I did, though.

Books from scrap paper w/ postcard covers

Purses made from woven wrapping paper

Purses made from books

Bracelets of beads made from catalogue pages

Table made from books

So there it is. What do you think?