Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I am so excited by all the new discoveries lately - there are so many heretofore unimagined creatures in the world! Here is the squidworm - so new that it gets a whole new genus all to itself! Granted the squidworm is small - only about 3" long, but still no western scientist had noticed it. Sort of like the little Asian lizard that was first noticed by western science on a dinner plate. It's so thrilling that all the scientific discoveries are not behind us.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Still Feasting After All These Meals

I've survived two Thanksgiving dinners without actually exploding, although I must admit it's a near thing. I cooked for the kids and their dad today, and coincidently rounded out the already prepared dishes in the fridge (AKA leftovers) so we won't have to do any shopping or major cooking for the next week.

I tried a few new things this year. I butterflied the turkey: the lesson is that I need to cook it for a much shorter period of time, and my kitchen shears were not worthy of the name. I made
Bobby Flay's roasted Brussels sprouts with pomegranate seeds: prepare the pom ahead of time; it's messy and slow. I also have loads of sprouts because I bought a whole stalk. It might not look like much but that stalk is over two feet long! I put a graham cracker streusel topping on my pumpkin pies: a big winner. No visible cracks in the pies; they are really pretty and very creamy. Blueberry/cranberry sauce is delicious.

I had a dinner roll failure this year, probably because I tried to cook two pans one on top of the other in my rather small oven. I do know better but I was apparently struck stupid. They ended up undercooked but burnt on the bottoms. I should have used two ovens. It's an embarrassing failure because they have become something of a signature dish that I bring to all kinds of dinners.

Oh well. It's pie for breakfast for several days, football out the wazoo and all the sprouts I can eat. How bad can it be? I won't be shopping this weekend with all the crazies; I'll be cozy at home enjoying some quiet time.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving By Grace Alone

It's pretty clear that I have a lot to be thankful for, and equally clear that a lot of that has nothing to do with my own efforts. On this day of national gluttony and thanks I want to call attention to those things I enjoy through grace alone.

I am thankful for my robust health, that all my children and grandchildren are living, and that I still am blessed with all of my siblings. I am also thankful for my own mother's excellent health.

I am thankful that no one in my family is homeless or hungry, and those who can work and want to are employed.

I am grateful to have been born into a family that appreciates me and has been able and willing to encourage me to be myself and to pursue my own interests. I am grateful that my in laws have been welcoming.

I feel fortunate to have lived all my life in a free country and to have lived here in peace and plenty. We have not had devastating years of war on our own soil in my time, and no natural disasters have been so cruel as to involve so large a portion of the country that we unable to take care of our own.

There are many in this world who are not as lucky as I have been by grace alone. If you feel moved to do so, please give thanks for your good fortune not only around the table, but in a donation to the less fortunate. I am making my donation today to the Native American Heritage Association, who provides aid to the Crow Creek and Pine Ridge Reservations in South Dakota.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The 10 Weirdest Physics Facts

Many years ago when I took chemistry in high school our teacher (Mr. Kessler, also known secretly as silky based on his sharing a name with a brand of blended whiskey) asked me if I planned to take physics the next year. When I answered "no" he responded "good". In recent years I have been intrigued by what I read about quantum physics and I often wonder what, if anything, my rejected high school physics class could have done to prepare my brain to understand it. Nothing, I suspect. Still, whenever I read about physics I think about that chemistry class, where everyone in the first three rows was copying off each other's tests and wonder if I missed something important.

The 10 weirdest physics facts, from relativity to quantum physics - Telegraph

Saturday, November 20, 2010

real big fish somebody hates me

I ran across this on a podcast yesterday and had to share it!

Ma Vie Quotidienne

I've been busy most of the time lately but nothing I am doing seems to be blogworthy unless one wants to read about the most daily and ordinary sort of things. Christmas knitting proceeds at a snail's pace, work is still work, blah blah blah.

This week I cooked dinner twice (alert the media) for both of us. First dinner was some lingue de soucera (mother in law tongue pasta) with roasted vegetables, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese. I added some nice olives to my portion. It was a beautiful dish, so of course I did not take any pictures. Second dish was a pizza with roasted vegetables. That was just yummy. I used the spicy peppers in this dish. They were really needed because the sweetness of the caramelized veggies and the creamy cheeses needed that peppery bite. The third dinner I had this week with roasted vegetables was toast with hummus and roasted vegetables, one of my more boring favorites. We still have a ton of the veggies around which will be hitting the freezer in portions for future use. Shana is enjoying the vegetarian dishes, but she is not as willing to eat the same thing day after day. I can and do eat like the dog. She did still grill up some hamburger patties for her own use, but I don't think she ended up eating many of them.

Samantha and I went shopping yesterday for some clothing for her. I arrived early and she arrived late - pretty much par for the course for us. While I was waiting for her I pulled out several things for her to try on, without much hope that she would try any of it on. Surprise - she tried on everything I picked out, and we bought the items I had selected. We agreed on which things were flattering and appropriate except for a pair of jeans. This is big progress. This time we shopped at Burlington Coat Factory, which is a pretty mixed bag. It's a consistently great place to shop for luggage but the clothing is wildly assorted. Prices are great, but you've got to dig around because they have some really nice stuff and some total junk. Even for casual or trendy items I like to look for things for her that will hold up to some heavy wear and careless laundering. We might try Name Brand Clothing for our next trip now that she's showing herself to be agreeable. Prices are always excellent there, but you earn it with the digging. If she could trust me to do the digging in advance and she could select her favorites from my choices we might be able to get her some really nice garments for very little money.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

November Is in Full Swing

We're nearly halfway through November and there has barely been a frost. I'm still in the awkward dressing phase of Oklahoma fall, where the morning temperatures are in the low 40s, afternoon nearly 70, and indoor temperatures at the office alternating between 50 and 500 (often in the sale day). Nothing I wear is quite right, and my northern Ohio childhood tells me I should be breaking out the sweaters. By this time next year I will be enjoying the marine climate of Massachusetts, and again I will be uncertain as to what to wear.

Stitch and Bitch is back in full swing. The summer faithful are still coming, and now that cooler weather and Christmas knitting are upon us our group has grown enormously. Thursday night felt like a big party and I can't wait to see everyone again. I've got a couple of projects on the needles and several more that will need to be done before Christmas. I will need that extra knitting time and motivation to keep up, not to mention the fellowship of our group. Our group is
pretty varied in age and life experience, so it's very grounding and educational for me to spend an evening with them. Working as I do with essentially the same group of women for fourteen years I almost never am surprised by anything. Life goes on and things happen to all of us, but no one has really changed their minds about anything of substance and I can guess their opinion of most things. I am occasionally startled at Stitch & bitch and always learn something.

Although we've had the occasional warm afternoon (before dark!) I have not been cycling. One of my more diligent friends has been working the "couch to 5K" plan and has had great results. She has been able to surpass her original goal and move on to more challenges in spite of having some significant health challenges. I'm going to give it a whirl myself. I'll have to see what my wonky and wobbly knees think of the program.

I met Samantha and Vivian for lunch Friday, and will probably be meeting up with them for a little shopping next Friday. After that Thanksgiving - and I am cooking this year. This is something I have not done for many years in my own kitchen. It's odd how hard it is to delegate any of this rather simple meal.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Oklahoma Sunrise & Gratitude

Oklahoma Sunrise, originally uploaded by cinderellenk.

I was surfing about today and ran across some lovely pictures of the British Lake District over at Backwards in High Heels. I was overcome with churlish envy for her having seen this lovely spot I have never visited and may actually never visit, European vacations being very rare in my life.

Instead of this negative reaction this is what I should be considering:

I have access to high speed Internet and therefore beautiful pictures of places all over the globe I might never have other wise known anything about.

I have had the great pleasure of seeing many places that many Europeans may like to see but have not: The Grand Canyon (from both sides), Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain National Parks, Canyon de Chelly, Maine, and the daily wonder of Oklahoma sunrises and sunsets. I am naming only a very few of the wonderful things it has been my joy to see, with more to come.

In my daily life I am quicker to see aggro than the joy and privilege I should actually be noticing. It's time to change that, I think.