Monday, September 27, 2010

The More Things Change

Alex and Vivian came over for dinner yesterday. Samantha had a scheduling conflict and was unable to join us. Vivi is growing fast and is turning into a very chatty little girl. She actually ate some of her dinner and was a very good dinner guest.

After dinner Alex and I retired to the den. We compared our precious smart phones. Alex alternately played games with my phone and watched TV. I played with "the baby" and got
the fine details of youth culture (emphasis on the most modern incarnation of the Green Lantern).

When Vivian first started to come over for Grandma play dates I picked up a few basic toys:
a couple of baby dolls with a little "moses basket", a rhythm band, a few balls and little cars, and a set of blocks. I added a Sit N Spin a little later. That's all there is to Grandma's toy box. It seems that's all there needs to be. Each toy changes in function from time to time . At first she poked at the eyes of the baby dolls; now she hugs them and pats their little bums. First she tried climbing into the baby basket; now she carries the babies around in it after tucking them in. The babies' blanket gets used to put Grandma down for a nap. Blocks were at first just stacked, now they become birthday cakes or dinner tables, remotes controls or cell phones. These are pretty much the same toys I had when I was a child - basic, inexpensive, and classic. In spite of the wonderful electronics available today some things don't change a bit.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Experience Does not Protect you from Motorists

I just read that premier endurance cyclist Jure Robic was killed in a traffic accident in his home country of Slovenia. He was a five time winner (including 2010) of RAAM - Race Across America. This year he rode across America in 8 days with only 8 hours of sleep. The video below was taken in Kansas at this year's RAAM and features brief interviews with Jure Robic, his nearest competitor, and their crew members.

The toll this year of cyclists killed by motorists has been heartbreaking. This year in Oklahoma two experienced cyclists were killed on the same day in a part of town where I often ride alone myself. I know there are things a cyclist should do to make an encounter with a motorist less likely, but I don't think anyone can say that these men erred due to ignorance or carelessness. I lay the blame squarely on motorists, and the automobile culture that supports an idea that since no one else has a right to the road it's no big deal if a pedestrian or cyclist is injured or killed. Awareness must be built into driver education programs, in school children, in everyone.

Please, when you are in your car, be aware that we are out there - your family, your friends, your fellow citizens. SHARE THE ROAD.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Gutenberg ebooks direct to the Kindle

It turns out you can download directly to Kindle from Project Gutenberg. I have not tried this yet, but given my fondness for classic novels I don't think it will be long before I take it for a spin. There are loads of classics I want to read again (and again) that would love to have on my Kindle, especially since I am still riding the downsizing train. Teleread is full of tips and information for ebook readers - check it out!

Gutenberg ebooks direct to the Kindle – the Magic Catalog | TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Monday Night at the Fair

Monday night we went to the fair with friends. Sharon Jean wanted to see 10th Avenue North, a Christian Rock group. They were really good, and we were able to amble around the fair while still enjoying the music.

We checked out the chickens and bunnies, admired everyone's craft projects, ate all kinds of unsuitable food, lost money on games (Shana only!) and had a good time hanging out together. The combination of the crowds who came to hear the Christian Rock and it being Monday with no special cheap admission made for a very nice fair experience. There was only a small coterie of juvenile delinquents, the weather was perfect, and the crowds in general were quite small. I did not see any fights at all, which is something you cannot ever say on a weekend night.

The unsuitable food consisted of corn dogs, crepes filled with bananas and Nutella covered with chocolate sauce, chocolate covered bacon, mashed potatoes on a stick, deep fried peanut butter sandwiches and deep fried pizza.

Some of the 4H projects were unintentionally hilarious. The one that particularly caught my eye was a stain removal project garnished with socks in various shades of tattletale grey. Several of the recycling projects were quite thought provoking - some were silly and others strikingly attractive and inspirational. My hand knit socks look every bit as good as any I saw on display. Perhaps I should be entering!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Saturday Afternoon With Football

Our usual Saturday afternoon in fall includes a Sooner football game on TV with some unsuitable and delicious snacks. Often we have company to enjoy the game with us and some kind of barbecue meal.

This week we had Aunt Rita over to watch football with us all day. She's a big fan. What she lacks in knowledge she more than makes up for in enthusiasm. James came over with April, some andouille and some cajun boudin blanc to round out our meal of smoked ribs, potato salad, and baked beans with side snacks of chips and dip and crackers with a ham spread. I made up some purple ice cream with the last of our farm blackberries, but due to my deciding to make it at the last minute only April had some last night - it was slushy but delicious. I had some for lunch today, followed by potato chips. That's what I would consider a perfectly balanced meal of junk food.

I worked on some sock knitting while I watched the game. (Hermione's Everyday Socks in Berroco Socks metallic - nice picture will be posted after they are washed and blocked) April was fascinated by my knitting, as most children seem to be. She held my yarn for me, measured my progress every fifteen minutes or so, and experimented with trying a few stitches herself. She also "held" my yarn by sitting on the skein, got a nice big tangle in the yarn, and pulled a few stitches off the needle. Typical little kid stuff, and really not too bad for a five year old hanging out while the grown ups watched football. This picture of April is a pose meant to convince me that I really should knit some socks in a little girl size, or at the very least a purple hat.

This image of rapt attention is what I see every morning - the attention is not meant for me, but for breakfast - one of the three most exciting things that happen all day. The other two are DINNER (more exciting because it usually features something extra added to the kibble), and walk time (the ultimate in doggie entertainment).

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I'm Having an Aarti Paarti

After watching "The Next Food Network Star" with interest especially when my favorite won, you can imagine my disappointment when scheduling conflicts prevented me from seeing her show. Finally I remembered that we are living in the 21st century and have DVR!

Finally I sat down to watch Aarti Sequiera starring in her own show. It's a combination of cooking, Indian culture and family life, and Aarti's amazing bubbly personality. It's a really nice show. I love the host, set design, concept, graphics, everything.

I'm a big fan of the Food Network, but I have to say I am not so interested in still another show about barbecue, grilling, or the giant ego of Bobby Flay. I'm not so interested in giant cake contests either. Indian home cooking - bring it on. I love to make exotic ethnic dishes in my own kitchen, and a show that gives my some real info about using the spices in a way that fits into my schedule and kitchen equipment is just what I need. I've got good access to ingredients, but not as much information about how to use these ingredients short of the complicated recipes in my beautiful Indian cookbooks.

I was going out this afternoon for a shopping trip with Samantha and Shana sent me out with a list of things to get from the Indian grocery so she could make me the delicious looking baked samosas with mint chutney we saw on today's show. As you can see they were delicious and I loooooved them.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Zeitgeist at Ground Zero | Media for Social Change

There is an interesting take on Ground Zero and the history of the Twin Towers here: The Zeitgeist at Ground Zero Media for Social Change . Well worth a look.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Shana

For Shana's birthday we did something we had never done before. The recently accredited Oklahoma Museum of Art has a special program Thursday through Sunday where they offer "Dinner and a Movie" For a very reasonable price they offer a choice of a few appetizers and a few entrees from the Museum Cafe and a movie. The cafe is a very attractive small white tablecloth place, and the food is delicious. I had a chance to see two of the the beautiful Dale Chihuly glass pieces, something I had been wanting to do for a while. They are amazingly beautiful in person. The movie we saw was The Extra Man, with Kevin Klein. It was a lovely little comedy which was a perfect fit for a grown up audience in a small house. The movie offerings range from recent Sundance exhibited films to old art films. This is definitely something we will be doing again in the near future.