Monday, January 26, 2015

Blink blink

Start of semester tidal wave hit right on schedule. Long four day week. Still busy but expect more time to think this week. I gave two workshops and they went okay. Reminding myself it's good to have the experience. Not my favorite activity but I can do it.

The president came to campus. Result: lots of smiles and surprisingly little traffic snarling at least on my side of town.

Watched Looper over the weekend and am turning that over in my brain. Joseph Gordon-Levitt's face looked really weird to me until I got used to him. It's been a long time since 3rd Rock. Nod only watched the first half and I am very frustrated that I can't discuss it with him yet.

Went to yoga eight days ago and sigh. I found the class more challenging than I expected. Turns out it is Wednesday that has the 'gentle yoga' session. I pushed too hard doing the things I could do and was achey for days afterward. Plus I was having a weepy day and yoga often hits me in the feels with the radical kindness and self nurturing and all. Was at least able to mop my face and finish the class. Realized later that I was also ashamed of not being fit enough to do all that stuff. So in addition to not competing with the young and bendy folk, I will try to accept where my muscles are at and what I can do. Sigh. Just the act of going to a yoga class should make one stronger and more flexible, shouldn't it?

Very dry. 68 forecast for Wednesday. Rainy 40s would feel more appropriate.



Friday, January 16, 2015

Building and naming

Wednesday evening after work I walked out into the sunset. There were still many minutes of daylight and twilight left. The sky was clear and the temperature was not face-breakingly cold. I felt my brain relax. In addition to the light and temperature improvement I have let go of the workshop anxiety. I wish it had been a conscious decision so I could remember the technique. But I just had the recognition that the tightness between my shoulder blades was gone. I went home and walked the dog and felt good. It's not a personal failure that I ran out of steam at 8:30 and crawled to bed in the next hour. I wish it had resulted in bouncing out of bed early the next morning but eh, at least I was on time.

Yesterday evening was good too. I went shopping with the girls: Kat was down to two pairs of shoes that fit and Bun needed Peru/Machu Pichu diorama supplies. It was successful but we missed out on total triumph. Diorama supplies were acquired. The near-miss was that the sneaker we found that was marked down to a reasonable price was the last of its kind and its mate was not to be found. I looked, the kids looked, I summoned an employee to look, it eluded all of us. I may cruise by later tonight to see if it has materialized on the shelf. Kat's feet were declared officially huge, she's wearing a women's 6 now depending on the brand. We cut our losses and stopped by one more shoe place and picked up some slippers for K because this house calls for slippers. Bun got Peru cut out of the foam board last night and we all felt productive. Nod went to play pinball and got home after I was asleep. Not sure if he felt productive but maybe refreshed.

Looking at a baby naming blog this morning, I am enjoying curling my lip at many choices. Some gender neutral names for girls get right up my nose. I wonder what Windsor Johnston of NPR fame has for nicknames. (And after some Googling I now know she's married to Bob Edwards all May-December-like. Golly.) I know I have no leg to stand on here and it's purely a preference thing. I think I might choose differently if I could have do-over for Bun's name in particular. But I had fun at the time and have let that go. The kids can always rename at a future point if personal or professional reasons crop up.

For future reference here's a take on the America's Test Kitchens baked felafel.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Zzapi

Made Smitten Kitchen's no knead pizza dough and sauce. It tasted fine and I was happy to have the leftovers. I was underwhelmed but it could just be the lack of daylight. Although this *is* the season when you want to have your oven up to 500 degrees. The dough didn't rise, probably because it was too frickin cold. I just poured the mess out on the counter and added flour until it was dough. It baked up fine and tasted fine. The kids have told me they hope I make it again so we have a quorum of votes for the dough and the tomato sauce. I used a can of whole tomatoes with basil, drained, blended up with a garlic clove and a little salt. Couldn't be easier. I also looked at Alton Brown's latest pizza refinement. He's very precise with his weight by grams, I'm not set up for that although I do finally have a kitchen scale in ounces. I like that his dough does its long rise in the fridge. I'll try Smitten's again and add more yeast to the dough to see how that works.

I feel I do need to buy Deb's cookbook since I cook out of her blog all the time. She deserves the sale. Chicken Soup with noodles is my lunch for the foreseeable future. I wish I had more soup eaters in the fam. Kat will help if it's veggie but the other two aren't any use for the current batch. I am hoping that Bun has a growth spurt soon. She's pretty uninterested in anything but dessert and it frustrates me. I have to remind myself that she eats reasonable breakfasts and likes fruit and some veggies and there is no problem here.

Last Smitten recipe for this post, I swear: Date Cake with Toffee Sauce. I am baking my way through the dark season. Baked the cake in two 8x8 pans which worked fine and surprisingly did not reduce the bake time. Substituted 2 T of the butter in the cake with yogurt because I feel better when it's not a whole stick of butter. Made a smaller amount of toffee sauce because my heavy cream was very old and I had to remove the top layer. (It smelled fine! I simmered it for ten minutes anyway which must have discouraged anything that was growing.)

I'm chewing my way through books. I just finished another Isabel Dalhousie novel even though the character frustrates me. I just read The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday. And there are ten of them! He's a publisher's dream, isn't he? I may not be able to keep away. I've noticed that in each book there has been a reference to Isabel thinking "what if this were happening in a book?" and then thinking "but I'm not a fictional character, I'm real." Very Escher.

The Lady of Sorrows is diverting me at the moment. It's a Hermes Diaktoros mystery set in Greece. Everyone needs a good yacht fantasy. I wonder what amount of money the upkeep for a small yacht burns through per year. That would be riches, having a boat and not worrying about the constant maintenance bills.




Monday, January 12, 2015

Manifestations

The bag of cookie cutters appeared a week after I'd wanted them. In a place I could have sworn more than one of us checked more than once. I've put them with the baking stuff. Perhaps they'll stay put now. Still missing three glass baking pans after the move.

Much football was watched this weekend. I was torn between rooting for the Cowboys or Packers but everybody else on the couch was for Green Bay so I let myself get convinced. They had a good second half and AR looked practically healthy by the end. The tricksy double pass was fun to watch. Don't feel bad, Dallas, you had a good season nonetheless. I wandered off during the Broncos / Colts game (all horsies!) but was sorry to hear that Denver couldn't get it together.

Kat negotiated a switch from the kid aerial silks class into the adult class. It's the only way she can squeeze in a class with her after school theatre practices. I'm proud of her and think she will like the evening class. From my parental perspective this is better because she won't be walking over the bridge in freezing temps. Feel a little sorry for the adults who have to be in class with her and her lithe, monkey-like dexterity. Almost everything athletic is easier when you have minimal mass to haul around. I remember. I want to get Bun enrolled in a dance class.

Went to the story slam on Friday night and Nod related a story in their Firsts theme. It was packed: they had 16 or more performers. Red wine and popcorn hit the spot. I lack the storytelling skills for this format but couldn't help speculating what I would tell. Nod's story told how his lifetime fear of Death was currently lessened by parenthood and the experience of loving others more than himself. It was well-told and I hadn't known his current death-fearing status so I was very glad to hear it. Some of the other stories were good, some were not very eptly told. I was closing my eyes by the end because my day was long.




Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Untitled

Crédits photo :

Cartoonists aren't much of a target. Awful.



We got all the way to 12 F on Wednesday. I sent the kids to school and got myself to work like a brave little toaster. I haven't yet received a cookie or a medal. [After school Kat asked Bun to bake some lemon bars and so she did. She added an extra 2 tablespoons of butter which did not ruin them.]

Zhoen describes the search for a zoom-y feeling (skating, driving fast over a rise). This is something we have in common with all mammals that play and birds too as she noted. Here's a clip of a sledding crow.


I have not heard any evolutionary biology theories as to why we seek out that feeling.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Setting out, summing up

Primary color photo found on flickr. Here's another one in this artist's collection:  sheep with ears!

I hadn't made any resolutions because I'm doing plenty, thank you. I don't need a to do list to neglect. But after reading others' one-word resolutions I am reminded that this is more like poetry and am considering candidates. I thought about Stretch but that sounds uncomfortable and who wants to invoke that? Perhaps Ring as in reverberate, make noise. Plenty of noise in the new year! Not really (as Bun would reassure us after she told us she was a kitty). The image I have in mind is listening to a mellow bell that is struck, hearing the ring until the sound fades and it is silent. I want to make space for the chime and let it be heard until it is gone. 'Complete the gesture' is something I repeat to myself sometimes. Finish what you start and be mindful.
Oh so serious, come on, now. It sounds good to me but it also makes me want to kick over the traces and go frolic instead of being so mindful. Ring-a-ding-ding!
Last year's one-word resolution: Explore. Considering the exercise, job and house changes, I think the word to sum up the year may have been Move. I must preen and note that I jogged both on new year's day and on Saturday.

10 7 F for the high is our forecast for Wednesday. I will consider taking the day off and giving the kids the option as well. I might as well enjoy the house heating I will be paying for. After checking the calendar I see that we have a meeting in the middle of the day. Of course we do. Grumblecussfratzit.

Had a good time watching Galavant last night. (enthusiastic review, meh review) It may be more eye candy than anything else. The sets and costumes are clearly inspired by period art and made me happy. The actors are all stupidly beautiful. The writing gets in the occasional guffaw but hasn't added up to much yet in terms of either wit or adventure. I'll try it next week to see if it gains any momentum.

We made gingerbread cookies and frosted some yesterday. I discovered in the process that I've mislaid our cookie cutters in the move. Standing in the middle of the house and commanding them to make their location known did not work. The second grocery store I tried had some on clearance. I managed not to burn the cookies and the girls did a good job of bedazzling them. They're dwindling fast. It was fun but it is a sadly ephemeral art form.

One child got out of the house extra early this morning for the return to school. The other is having friends over to enjoy her last no-school day.




Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Set it down gently

We're having bitter cold weather now which means good snuggling conditions. It should be warmer for the rest of the week and it sounds like snow will be coming by the weekend.

I've got some stuff done on my work projects that were a-stressing me. Part of this seems to stem from a relationship with a supervisor that is tripping some of my mom-wires. Nothing intentional, just something I will observe and try to de-fuse for the future.

It's the end of the year, time to talk about books. There's a few more days to enter a drawing for a new book by Elizabeth Bear.  I like her and I really like the cover art:

torbooks:

Enter on Goodreads for a chance to win an ARC of Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear.
 


My favorite reads of the year (although I feel badly for the ones I'm leaving out):
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
Forever Rumpole: The Best of the Rumpole Stories by John Mortimer
Half Magic by Edward Eager
The Old Home Place: The Story of a Kansas Farm by Joy Lominska (about a small farming region near here)
Bomb: The Race to Build - and Steal - the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway by Sara Gran
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Plus two three some genre series in particular: the Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch (oneI haven't read yet!), the Medicus books by Ruth Downie, the Siobhan Quinn series by Kathleen Tierney, and the Mercedes Thompson books by Patricia Briggs.


A very happy new year to you. May it bring good books and the comfort in which to read them.