Monday, November 23, 2015

In Story and Song

Misty all the time. Just read a little something about Mr. Rogers, got slightly teary. Yesterday at the folk song sing, got intermittently teary. I wonder if this is happening more often. Then I do the math and realize it's happening as much as it usually does. Cycles!

Trilling. My favorite of the songs we sang was If I Only Had a Brain/a Heart/the Nerve. I remember the days when Kat would ask for the Oz soundtrack every morning at breakfast. Surprised me that "Over the River and Through the Woods" did not make it into Rise Up Singing. Bun came and sang with us. She was done after a couple of hours (which showed great stick-to-it-iveness) and walked home. It was a good group and Ann Zimmerman was a charming and talented piano muso. I need to follow the thread to the Lenexa sing.

Menu and you and you. Bringing black eyed peas to the thanksgiving feast at my brother's house outside of Denver. It's not traditional but it won't fight with anything else on the menu and will be a good veggie option. Kat says that in general she expects the T'giving meal to be mostly potatoes and pie and she's all right with that. Also bringing whole-berry cranberry sauce because the jelly doesn't do it for me. Plus bread and pop and beer.

Frosty. Checking the forecast and so far no blizzard has scotched our trip. The border between KS and CO is a good place to find blizzard conditions so I will keep an eye out.

Six pack to goCasino Royale was good, Nod watched with me and liked it much better than he expected. We did ff through the happy couple montage near the end. Quite stylish deployment of super-spy tropes with creative twists and turns. Excellent cast and a lot of restraint in the writing and directing. (The self-defibrillator bit had me laughing though. If I find you collapsed in your car, the first thing I manage to do will not be to reattach a wire to a patch on your chest.)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Opened eyes

Posted on FB that I want to send out cards and if anyone wants a card they should message me their mailing address. I will keep doing that weekly through Dec 15 and we'll see how many takers there are.

With Nod's help I injected the dog's allergy medicine. I have two more 1.0 ml syringes that are small and fiddly. I need to get some of the 5.0 ml ones. Will ask at pharmacy. Beast needs her ears flushed regularly as well. I no longer feel as put upon by her health needs. But on the other hand I don't feel a great deal of urgency in attending to them either. I guess there has to be a balance. Poor Snickerdoodle. Will give pet sitter key and notes on Tuesday.

Watched this documentary on the Lakota language with Kat. She was more interested than I expected. Very few native speakers and small numbers of fluent speakers in the younger generations. One of the teachers said this is the battle that all the Lakota people are engaged in whether they know it or not. Another teacher is a French philosophy professor who came to the area and married a Lakota woman and learned the language. Part of the process is convincing people that this is a language that can be learned, it is not insurmountable. Another teacher translated how an approaching thunderstorm is described in Lakota:  "They have returned." And lightning: "They have opened their eyes." I find that creepy and amazing. I couldn't answer Kat's question about Lakota vs. Dakota. Searching tells me that Lakota, Dakota and Nakota are dialects of a language group.

Reading the next Sheriff Longmire book. Why does 'sheriff' only have one 'r'? Finished At Home in Mitford and had a good time writing my review. I can see the appeal of a cosy read but it flew past my sweet spot. Well written though, I read the whole durn thing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Pleasure Purpose

Waiting for more bad news. There are plenty of people who want to bring violence to the West. I like the advice from Charles Pierce to follow the money and stop sending arms and support to power players in the middle east. I'm sure however that it's more complicated than his suggestions imply. Using the Paris attacks as justification for refusing to receive refugees is horridly convenient.

Purpose. What is bringing pleasure? That is what I want to record here. The irritations and dreads will make it in as well. But mostly I want to document the loveliness that comes and goes. This morning was rainy and included a blood draw so it's a good challenge! I wore my very effective raincoat and carried my umbrella and enjoyed not being cold and wet.

Action movie pleasure. I haven't seen any of the Daniel Craig Bond movies. The latest one is out and looking at the fashion photos of the stars is making me curious. I found that the first and third have very good audience ratings. The ratings for Quantum of Solace say 'stay away'. Perversely I still like the awkward title.

Pitching things pleasure. I weeded out all the sprouted and squishy potatoes yesterday. Sad but necessary. I felt the impulse to roast the remaining spuds right then but I had other things going on. Perhaps tonight. Use 'em up! I also threw out the rotting shallots. I have taken against shallots after finding them too sweet in the past. I used to think they were the bees' knees and then one time found them off-putting and have never gone back. It could even be a long ago pregnancy related taste issue. At any rate these two were no longer any good to anyone but the fruit flies.

Bookcase pleasure. Kat rearranged two of our bookshelves in the living room. She put series together and separated fiction from non-fiction and reference. It's all very library-like and delightful.

Pernicious pleasure. I love the wording:

From the Language Log post. Also reminds me of Dahl's Vermicious Knids.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Wind and muffins

Gusty winds up to 45 mph were intermittent through Veterans' Day. Leaves spun in dust devils or were launched upward when the air waves hit. I jogged with the wind at my back and then got to push against it going home. Glad to be wearing glasses to keep the leaf grit out of my eyes.

11/12 noticed that I had fresh mosquito bites on my neck. Gradually realized there were no mosquitoes. Looked at cat for fleas, no sign. It dawned on me that these itchy things are hives. No laundry soap change lately. Antibiotics? Grr.

From a post with 5 different apple cake recipes. I don't remember seeing this phrase before: 'légère comme une plume'. It's exactly the same construction as the English 'light as a feather'. But it feels totally fresh to me. It reminds me of a young woman I met in Paris who was studying Arabic. She told me about the men who catcalled her in Egypt. She said it was always done quietly and they called her 'Moon' and 'Honey'. 'Miel' is not an endearment in French so it sounded inventive and charming to her.

I have extra cottage cheese and I want to make this recipe for Cottage Cheese Muffins. My American measurement translation of the recipe:


scant 3/4 cup (2.8 oz) wholemeal flour
heaped 1/2 cup (2.5 oz) plain a.p. white flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon powdered mustard
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Pinch of sea salt
scant T (0.35 oz) chopped butter (cold)
1 egg
scant T (0.4 oz) semi skimmed milk
1/3 cup (2.3 oz) cottage cheese
Small handful of fresh parsley (chopped)
1/4 cup (0.5 oz) strong cheese (grated)

~ Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.

~ Mix the flours, salt, paprika, baking powder and mustard in a bowl. Rub in the butter.

~ In a separate bowl, beat the egg and mix in the milk along with the parsley and cottage cheese. Gently stir the mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined.

~ Pour into the prepared tins or muffin cases and sprinkle with the cheese and a little sea salt. Bake in the middle of the oven for around 17-20 minutes, until the tops are a lovely golden brown colour.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Spare pet names
I have no plans you understand. But sometimes they bubble up and better to have a stash against future needs. Figgy Pudding, Blunderbuss, Ballyhoo, Hullaballoo (pick only one), Folly, Edwina, Ephraim Newt, Emperor Constantine, Cockolorum, Tipitina, Ninevah.

Slanting light
Short days and low slanty light in the early afternoon. Makes me want to go chalk a fencepost shadow to watch it lengthen towards Dec. 21.

Found radio poem
The education commentator may have carefully crafted this but it sounded off-the-cuff when he talked about comparing educational outcomes across US schools: 'Can we compare outcomes in Albuquerque to those in Akron? to those in Sacramento?'
Nice internal sound stuff there as well as a good geographic span.

Monday, November 9, 2015


No holes
Picking out an apple from the bag in the fridge and the first one I pulled out had a small hole. I don't want a holey apple. No... what I want is an unholy apple. Mwahahahaha. What could you do with a demonic apple? Reminiscent of the classic poisoned apple, but different.

Perhaps worse than a worm in an apple is aphids all over the mint sprigs. Ugh. I'll try rinsing them off and squishing what I can see but it's not a good sign.

Bun's research paper is on dreams. Sounds fluffy and insubstantial and yet the paper still has to be written and it's a slog. Writing seems to not come naturally for her. I entirely commiserate and am going to do what I can to help her get as much practice as possible. Oh and math, she's gotta do more practice there too. As predicted, this year is demanding more of our sunbeam. I want to help her find a comfort level and a way to approach work.

Far East
Kat's going to Japan with the exchange program this summer. She went to her first monthly meeting to learn some Japanese phrases and pick a fundraising committee and so on. We're getting the grandmas on board. I told my mom last night and she's delighted. I predict a similar reaction from Texas grandma.

Found out that my MIL thinks we're coming to Austin for Christmas. I think this was Nod's doing. I neither confirmed nor denied. We'll have more of a family discussion next weekend.

Party people
Went to my husband's counselor's birthday party Saturday night. He woke up grumpy from a nap and I thought it might be a quick drop-in appearance. Neither Kat nor I expected to know anyone. But Kat was immediately folded into the teenager contingent. And I spent time talking with several people who made me feel welcome, including our hosts. It even included a little tipsy bonfire jumping with Nod in the backyard. A good evening and worth the overeating hangover the next day.

Am down to the last 150 pages of SevenEves by Neal Stephenson. I'm adding the capital e since I have such trouble trying to pronounce it without. The contact between the Diggers and the Spacers on the reformed Earth has just blown up. Despite the violence I'm having to make an effort to get through it. The first half was my favorite. So many imagined inventions and technological solutions. Even with all the new tech the book still skims over the difficulties of living in confined, low-grav spaces.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Greening in the dark season

Mint in a pot, on our dryer, by the one and only south-facing window in the whole house. I may put the Christmas cactus out here as well to get the light. The mint came as fresh herbs in our farm share allotment several weeks ago. I've been meaning to plant some since March. It is one of the most tenacious plants so I shouldn't be surprised that it promptly rooted in water. Nonetheless, I am ridiculously pleased to see it in the potting soil now. I hope it will survive the winter.

I would like a set of paperbacks for the entire Tiffany Aching series. But I can't have it yet, the last book was just published in hardback. I wonder how fast the publishing cycle is these days. Would a paperback be available nine months after the hardback release? Will make a note to check and order for birthday present if so.

Don't forget to clean your waffle maker!

Heard part of an interview with Audrey Niffenegger on the radio last Friday. She's flogging a collection of ghost stories so they were running the interview the day before Halloween. I have mixed feelings about The Time Traveler's Wife and didn't expect much from her. But an idea of hers got to me. She said that many people had told her of their experiences with ghosts and she developed the idea that ghost phenomena could be thought of as an emotional echo chamber. Things that can't be finished and things that can't be expressed are terribly powerful. This felt true to me. I don't believe in ghosts but can believe in the power of unexpressed or mutated grief.