Sunday, April 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Dear Vivian

Vivian celebrated her birthday Saturday afternoon at Dolese Park, where there is a nice playground and several pavilions with two tables in each. Lucky for us (arriving at the last possible minute) another family using a pavilion was willing to share. Vivian and her cousins had a great time playing in the playground while everything was set up for the party. The sky was overcast, the wind high, and bad weather was clearly on its way. Moments after we settled in to our tasty grilled hamburgers and hot dogs the
storm arrived and blew nearly horizontal rain at us. It backed off for a bit, then another wave came through, but not before Vivi got the check out her gifts and we had our homemade cake and ice cream.

Once we were all safely warm and dry at home the skies cleared and the warm temperatures returned. Spring in Oklahoma! I was planning to camp out this weekend, but the place where we would have been camping was treated to torrential rains and 40 mph winds, so it's probably just as well.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Back at Sea Level

I am back in Oklahoma City after my annual visit to Denver. In April it's a kind of time machine because spring here is ahead of Colorado by a few weeks. There the trees are still in bloom, but I came back to find them in full leaf. By visiting Denver I got to enjoy tulip season again.

Mom and I visited Boulder and the Pearl Street Mall for shopping and lunch, after getting the Tour of Boulder because we got turned around. We visited the irresistible Peppercorn where I wanted one of everything but came home with only a little trifle for Shana. I was not so successful at The Alpaca Connection where the lovely Princess Cape threw itself into my hands.
The tulips were in bloom and the weather was perfect. We usually do a little yarn crawling in Boulder, but having indulged in a large piece of hand knit alpaca I passed.

Later in the week we dropped in at Deer Pants in downtown Brighton and admired the new yarns. I admired the alpaca yarn she carries (from Wanda's own herd) but bought some sock yarn instead. I picked up some beautiful blue with sparkles for Mom's Christmas socks, and a pink bamboo blend for myself. The same day we went thrift store shopping with amazing luck. We were in the market for a gate leg table for Rich
and turned one up right away. Since he's taken up crock pot cooking he really needed more work surface than he had available.

It was a good visit. I was tired and stressed when I arrived, but by the time I left I was rested and felt restored. It's a good thing, too. On the way home I had an accident two hours out from home and was fortunately able to react without panic. I tried to change lanes where another car was already occupying the lane. We both got a (very) little scraped up but no one rolled or lost control and no one was hurt. It was a great outcome because we were in quite a bit of traffic at 70+ mph. Once the police portion of the day was over and I was on my way again I felt a little shaky, but only a little and I was back home before dark.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Slowly I Turn into Moe

Whenever I get my hair cut I warn my hairdresser not to make me look like Moe. Sometimes I suspect that he may be too young to know what that means. When I was a kid The Three Stooges were often to be seen on TV in the afternoons. For your viewing pleasure a "live" performance.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Indoor Spring Weekend

Although the weather is fine this weekend I've elected to stay inside to avoid the burgeoning Indian Paintbrush bloom. It's a beautiful and robust plant (and the State Flower of Wyoming) but is my persistent nemesis. Due to the El Nino rains and the cold and long lasting winter the tree pollen season is worse than usual and I have decided that as in many things, discretion is the better part of valor. I'm staying in and avoiding a sinus episode. I'm driving to Denver later in the week and I do not want to be sick and puny for my trip.
I took advantage of the indoor time to hit my cycling aches and pains with some big doses of ibuprofen and stretching, but some adventure was needed. I seldom cook these days, but I decided to play around in the kitchen for a change.

I had been having a craving for Indian food, probably because my trip to Denver always involves a chicken curry and I've been thinking about the menu. I seldom cook any Indian dishes because it takes a little more effort and time. but with a day to spare and a craving for the results I dove right in.

First part of the preparation was the trip to the Indian market. I went in with a only partial plan.
I wanted some pappadums and nan, and a couple of relishes, maybe a different bean to try. I ended up with a beautiful cauliflower and a frozen chickpea dish to try alongside my own offerings. I ended up with a baked whole cauliflower with a spicy hot tomato sauce, an Indian brown bean curry, spicy lentil dal, and a stew of bulgar wheat with lentils and potatoes. We had nan and pappadums with two dipping sauces, a flat bread studded with potatoes, and some basmati rice cooked with peppercorns and cloves. For cooling side dishes we had cucumbers in mint yogurt and a chaat of mango and pineapple. Everything looked beautiful satisfied my cravings. Oddly, Shana had been craving spicy Indian food too. I had tried some new recipes, improvising a bit according to what I had in the kitchen and the amount of food I wanted to make. The meal was vegan except for the yogurt. Although perfectly well balanced in terms of nutrition, Shana is a dedicated meat eater, so something needed to take the place of meat. That something was the cauliflower -a dish with a substantial presence at the table and a vivid flavor. It was easy to make, but took longer than I expected to cook. I suppose the original recipe was not for a cauliflower the size of my head. There are loads of recipes online for baked whole cauliflower, and since we both love it I think we'll be trying a few of them.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

The Things You See by the Side of the Road

We've been lucky enough to have some unseasonably warm weather here in Central Oklahoma. I've been taking advantage of the warm days to get in some cycling. The first organized ride of the season that we usually do is next weekend and I plan to ride about 30 hilly miles. There were two problems with this plan. #1 - I had not ridden any hills since last fall and #2 - I had not ridden any distance since last fall. The recent warm weather let me correct both of those deficiencies.

I got out Wednesday night for eighteen miles of hills. I was building up a dread of hills and wind that I needed to get over, and that did the trick. It was as rough as I remembered, but not as bad as I feared. Next week I will have some company on Wednesday night, and I will not be (too) embarrassed since I'm over the worst of it. I'm not strong enough to enjoy it, but I won't stink too bad.

Yesterday I rode out to El Reno for what I though would be a reasonable 40 mile ride. I rode out with a couple and we visited and talked all the
way out about how nice the weather was and how nice it was to be out for a ride. Alan was chased for about fifty yards by a pair of aggressive chihuahuas. I wanted to get a picture of them but he was accelerating and I was trying not to fall off the bike laughing so I did not get my camera out in time.

On the way back I took a couple of pictures - The Best Mailbox Ever, and a natural gas compression facility. The mailbox is the cutest thing going. The body and head are LP gas cylinders. The natural gas station is one of those things that is not uncommon around here, but I wanted to get a picture of it anyway. I've got a move to Massachusetts planned for October and I want to get some pictures of the things that are ordinary here but which I will seldom see once I move away from the state.

The rest of the trip back was "challenging". We fought the wind all the way, and my seat had become inexplicably loose, trying to slide me off the back several times. The stops I made to address my seat issue were welcome ones. By the time we got back to our cars we were exhausted. Pancakes can cure that.

Friday, April 02, 2010

I Am Not Nice. At All.

I'm prickly and cranky and I do not suffer fools gladly. I am tired of pretending to be PC.

It is harder to be a single mother than a stay at home mom.

If children were abused by Catholic priests it was not the devil who thought something should be done about it and the abusers should be punished.

The "Young Earth" people are crazy. It's not an idea which should be treated with the same respect as empirical science. If you want Intelligent Design taught then do it yourself. at home.

If you are driving on public roads, calling the public firefighters and public police, collecting your Social Security and using your Medicare, checking with NOAA to see if a tornado is getting ready to take your house and waiting for FEMA after it does, taking the city bus or the local rail to get around you have NO BUSINESS complaining about the threat of Socialism. Almost no one gets paid by Social Security only as much as they paid in. Unless you are willing to be one of these few you can't complain about the threat of Socialism.

Everyone has a right to his point of view, but every point of view is not equal. Not everything is a matter of opinion, and saying something really loud does not make it true. I'm horrible, it's true.