Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Storm biscuits

Miso - Peanut Butter Caramel Scones. Too many words, too many flavors! I have to say that I am on an anti-peanut butter in desserts kick. It started over the weekend when I had some moist wonderful chocolate cake that was covered in what I thought was a thick layer of caramel icing. The first bite told me that instead it was pure peanut butter. There was nothing wrong with it but it felt much more dutiful than the caramel I had anticipated.

I'm baking biscuits tonight, no one can stop me.

We carved our jackolanterns last night. A note for future pumpkin face design: make the teeth bigger than you think they need to be. They always shrink a bit as the inner pumpkin dries out once it's exposed to the air. My vicious little pumpkin ended up much cuter than I had intended.

Giant Jellyfish!

My hair is long all over. The front long parts are okay but the back is at least an inch and a half more than I like. The bangs have entered the 'barrette zone' as I could not take pushing them off my face any more. I have a haircut appt in mid November. There will be plenty to be done by then.

My mother just traded in her Honda minivan for a new Honda minivan. She tells me that's the last van she'll need to buy. Count me skeptical as she has had at least three large dogs for a very long time. On the other hand she is extremely far sighted about things and she could be right. She claims that she will settle into a retirement place with option for assisted living with just one small dog. Not impossible to imagine.

Thinking of the east coast and glad I'm not there now. Glad that they had all the forecast info to prepare. Here is a wind map that shows the effect of the storm very dramatically today 10/30/12.

Made the biscuits. Adapted this minimalist recipe which is made with yogurt instead of butter. I used half white and half whole wheat flour, lowfat yogurt and buttermilk. Extremely easy. Very tasty, a little too salty, will cut that back. Making more tonight!

Last night Bun asked if we could light candles. It is certainly that season now with early sunsets so we hauled out the little fire lights. Kat insisted that all the house lights should be turned off for maximum candle enjoyment. It made me a bit sleepy but revved both kids right up. I feel mystical, said Kat. They stood on chairs and made shadow animals on the walls and ceiling. It was a nice time sitting in the dark with the family.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dream Police

Woke up at 3a to go pee. A dream was still circling my brain. It had something to do with knitting patterns and getting people to follow orders. I had to make an effort to shake off what I had been concentrating on in the dream. As a mantra to let go of the dream I thought, Let the dead bury the dead. That reminded me of zombies and what about nightmares? Let the Dream Police police the dream. And chuckled at the 80s earworm I had invoked.

Love the Hilary Mantel article in The New Yorker, seen at kottke.org. I may have to read her Cromwell books after all. I had read some reviews of the first one and not felt compelled. But I think I'll give it a try. After wading through Ms. Davis's English Civil War novel Rebels and Traitors and learning a little, I could paint another layer of history on and see what sticks. Oh and now I've found a review of that novel by Ms. Mantel, wow. It is a good review and reflects my own reading experience. It acknowledges the skill and deftness of the first half of the book while facing up to the plod to the end as well. My affection for Ms. Davis's writing makes me urge you to stick to the Falco mysteries and leave Rs and Ts alone. Here is a BBC overview of the Civil War events if you need a refresher.

Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow by Jerome K. Jerome is as pleasant as I hoped. The copy I checked out of the university library is a hard back with brittle darkened pages. (From the 1920s? I'll have to look.) It's in such dodgy condition that they have it boxed on the shelf.

My jellyfish umbrella lacks only some shiny ribbon tentacles. I already finished the nylon ruffly ones. It is quite kick ass and I am preening. Bun has asked for a cape for her Alien Princess outfit and I will do that tonight. I am trying not to be bitter at the last minute change from the more easily understood Cowgirl concept. I have asked if she would put on the Cowgirl stuff this weekend just for a few pictures. I will promise to be a better Alien Princess advocate after that. Kat's forest elf outfit is progressing apace. Chopping up Salvation Army items is so much fun.

Need some donkey goodness? Box Elder has given us a slew of photos of lovely gentle Brittany donkeys.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dawn Patrol

Dawn patrol is the small group of hot air balloons who go up before light (5:30a?) at the Albuquerque Ballooon Fiesta. They measure the airspeeds at different elevations and each balloon is visible only when they light the burner. We did not go out to look for Dawn Patrol while in Albuq. But we did get up before dawn three times. The first time launch was scotched by winds. We found out one block before turning into the Balloon park where we would have been charged for parking. Instead we veered south and went to The Frontier for breakfast. It is a greasy spoon across from the Univ of New Mexico and is not much changed over the past 25 years. The website is much more sedate than the restaurant which is big and has a fast moving line and is covered with punchy art pieces. If you go for hash browns with cheese and green chile or something else equally good for your arteries, be sure and look for the Kachinas In Space painting in the first back room. We got our food and watched the line grow, I was not the only one to realize that the Frontier would be a good destination at 7am on a Saturday. I love the sound of that restaurant when it's crowded, it's almost as good as bowling alley ambience.

We gave up on balloons for the next morning. The forecast was dodgy and winds were blowing that night. The nine of us noodled around and had a good time and didn't set our clocks for o'dark hundred. But in the morning Nod was up early hearing the sound of helicopters. Fearing to wake the grumpy householder he went out to the car to listen to radio news. Balloons were on! with just a slight delay that allowed us to get dressed and eat something and go. We ziggied over to the park and ambled our way onto the launch field. We saw Vader and goldfish and zebras, oh my. It was a big slice of beautiful. I will throw the photos in here to show ya.

It was a good visit with my mom who is looking and feeling stronger than I have seen her for a couple of years. She got rid of Tycho the psycho poodle and is happy with her two old dogs and a 2 year old curly coated retriever, Sizzle. Sizzle is taking to the obedience work briskly and that's what's needed. Mom is going to get her remaining leg veins laser zapped next month and after that heals up I think she'll be even more unstoppable. It was overwhelming for her to have all nine people in the house for the weekend. She relaxed more after Nod and my brother's family got on their way. We were treated to one diva tantrum at a restaurant she took us all out to. I won't mention the name because it served perfectly fine NM food and the service was just spotty. But Ga. took it personally and spoke to the manager and got the gratuity refunded and so on. Our outing to The Range Cafe in Bernalillo was much more satisfying for all concerned. Nod even got a slice of key lime pie he had been jonesing for. Go there if you can!

I enjoyed having the girls with me for a week. It made my mother's house lively and not as quiet as when it is just me and her. We explored the mall (thumbs down!) and a secret west side viewing park to watch the balloons for free (it was a pretty view but the balloons were itty and too far away since the box (ABQ's magical wind pattern that makes a rectangle) was working and they didn't come west) and a beauty parlor (thumbs up!), my current favorite book store, and the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology on UNM campus (I loved it and the kids were convinced once we got there).  And we went out again to the launch field to watch the special shape rodeo, all the wacky shaped balloons. It was breezy and I was convinced that they would not fly. But they were inflating a bunch and it was pretty to wander around and lookylou. To my surprise at 7:45 the firefighter shaped balloon went up with the American flag and the anthem was sung. They were off! It was a stronger wind than the first day we went so when they launched they zoomed to the south. Colors! Motion! Eye filling goodness.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Holding a Mongoose

I love the caption to this Buddhist artefact photo in Wikipedia:
Partly gilded Tibetan bronze statue of Vaisravana (Jambhala) sitting on a snow lion and holding a mongoose in his left hand. 18th century
I would like to see more photo subjects sitting on snow lions and/or holding mongooses. That would liven up a modern portrait. I would laugh and laugh to see my mother portrayed as a dowager with mongoose. Although it would be more logical to have her painted with the hounds.

Knitting on the plane -- do I have to buy bamboo needles in order to avoid TSA unpleasantness? My neighbor Gen just got back from air travel and says no. The TSA website says knitting needles are okay in most situations but unsurprisingly they reserve the right to object to everything. I will remove my scissors from my bag and take my chances. The boring sweater torso continues. I may be able to advance to the sleeves while I'm in ABQ which unfortunately means that I have to take the honking big library book along with me.

Successfully avoided the debate last night. I listened to only a few minutes of npr coverage this morning. I realized that one of our deacons at church reminds me of Mitt R. He (the deacon) is a surgeon and goes on mission trips to Kenya and is a good and very square guy. They both lack poetry but that's okay. I don't feel the need to vilify Romney even though he's not my candidate of choice. I am repelled by the urge so many people feel to tear down the one they don't plan to vote for. (Spellcheck tells me that vilify has only one 'l', 'to make vile' sounds so much more dire than 'vilify'.)

Harmless Drudgery is my latest blog love. It's written by a lexicographer who works as an editor for Merriam Webster dictionary. She is deeply in love with language and adorably twisted. My favorite quote so far describes the sort of people who work as dictionary editors:
 we seem to collect medievalists for some reason. Our costume parties are awkward, rare, and yet entirely historically accurate.
Warm glow. That quote reminds me of my friend Mac, he'd fit right in. Link found through languagehat.com (which I often type as languagehate, its evil twin).