Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Now We're Cooking with Gas

Someone had to check in on me last week, at work. There was, apparently, a fear that I was permitting my folks to eat too many sweeties.

In a word, No. I was not. But I am running out of recipes. (We try to make one a week.) If y'all know of any uncomplicated, non-sweet recipes that would appeal to absolutely anybody, PLEASE post them to me here.

Pink Panther

Do you think it will be awfully weird to receive materials on a child-rearing curriculum in a folder emblazoned with the Pink Panther?

Seriously, I tried to find cheap folders (we don't have a big budget), and all I could find that was cheap (no, I did not try Staple's) was a Hannah Montana folder. I hope we can all agree that the Pink Panther is a damn sight better than HM.

And yet... We have nine plain folders that are dark blue. And, from summer 2005, we have some 20 Pink Panther folders. I hope no one will be too freaked out. Maybe we hide the dark blue.

King Sheets

Tonight, on my way to an appointment in Wakefield, I purchased king sheets. These sheets will never be used in our home. They are for the home on the Outer Banks. The online listing for the OBX home says that it has four bedrooms: one with two twin beds, two with one queen each, and one with a king. Trusting that the room with a king bed is the one with the view, I bought king sheets. They are orange. They were not expensive ($20 at Ocean State Job Lot).

Mos Def

I like Mos Def. I used to like Christopher Hitchens. 'nuff said.


I would just like to endorse the frozen white corn that is available at Trader Joe's. It is quite simply the best corn I have ever eaten. It tastes like it was separated mere seconds ago from the ears. I swear and I promise.

Monday, March 30, 2009


My menu lists are all put together for the Outer Banks. I did some of my reading for school, then focused on recipes. Got Vic to select, and now I just have to... well, I still have to do a lot, actually.

Today kind of stank, I'm realizing, as I sneezed and coughed and tried to answer the phone without a voice. But, it is significant, I got a little bit of OBX prep out of the way. The next two nights will be late ones for me, out of the house, plugging away at my selected productive enterprises. My hope is that I feel as good about them in 48 hours as I do right now about vacation menus.


I have been drinking tea since I was little, the child of an English parent. I love English and Irish breakfast teas (the black teas), Earl Grey teas, and Indian chai formulations (unsweetened, unless a Tazo-brand concentrate). I typically drink black tea with milk and sugar.

I am not a fan of caffeine-free and herbal teas, except Lemon Zinger, an old favorite from Celestial Seasonings. I enjoy some flavored teas received as gifts, etc., but won't purchase them for myself.

I am a stickler about how to make tea. I use a pot, and a cozy, and the bags are never left in the boiling water for longer than 5 minutes.

Then there's Stash licorice spice. The package says it contains licorice root, cinnamon, orange peel, star anise, vanilla, sarsaparilla, orange oil, clove oil, and cardamom oil. The object in making this tea is to let the bags sit for as long as you can stand not to pour yourself a cup. Let all those aromatic oils permeate the brew. Wow, this is good stuff.
*Thanks to Gamalia for the mag Eating Well (my backdrop, above).


From January 16: "Soon I will begin my spreadsheet. Every year I put one together, of the menus and ingredients necesssary for our May trip. I get to peruse cookbooks, cooking magazines, and online recipe databases. I get to choose which 12 to 16 recipes sound the yummiest..."

We are now only 33 days away from departing for the Outer Banks. I have not finished my spreadsheet. This is unusual, if not alarming (yet).

I know why... I'm writing a 20-page paper (on HIV in U.S. prison systems), doing my class reading, prepping two different trainings for where I work (each is six hours, and one is over three evenings), trying to uphold a social life and obligations as an alumnus and auntie, and working full time. I believe this is also why my blog is under-posted for the month of March.

I am going to give over this afternoon, home sick, to trying to wrap up that sheet. My husband can then indicate which of the far-too-many recipes he would like to try. I can tailor his input to match my own, and then figure out exactly what ingredients for the two weeks' worth of meals should come with us from home (as opposed to: be purchased there). Also, with pictures taken of the supplies available at our rental (as above), I'll be able to determine what pots, pans, and appliances should be packed. —>Wait, am I really going to have time?

I have developed a lengthy packing list already; we need to transport the trappings of a household. Sounds huge; when you have the whole winter to get it under way, it's not so big. When you have only 33 days, it's a bit bigger. We may end up eating lots of eggs (since I can't do pasta or sandwiches). And Vic hates eggs.


I have a terrible cough, a sore throat, an altered voice, and a runny nose. You know what I wish I had? Parke-Davis Throat Discs. These were, in the early 1970s, liquorice lozenges with a smidgen of chloroform (no longer legal).

I have found where I can buy the new formulation today. Of course, they won't help me today (as an online order).

My eldest sister and I used to hang out in Detroit with a family member of some high-up or founding Parke-Davis personage. The family being well-to-do, he had his grandparents' home movies, in color, of a 1930s trip to Germany. Swastikas everywhere.

But back to the discs. A look-see on-line tells me that they are favored by DJs and singers as a vocal anesthetic. Interesting. Sounds like Sucrets, but as long as the discs are still licorice (alt. spelling) flavored, definitely preferred by me.

Monday, March 23, 2009


There are only 40 days left before the Outer Banks, and I am seriously behind in my annual rituals. Taking a class has an impact. So does the economy and its effects on my family.

Victor said today that we have to start putting items aside, packing boxes. When Victor says that, he of the Rational Packing stripe (I would qualify as completely Irrational in Packing Philosophy), well, I get e.x.c.i.t.e.d.

Already, I am feeling like our trip will be upon us in a blink, and then over. Over! How do I slow the days to a crawl? (Not the ones before, mind you, but the ones during.) I envision myself on the Buxton porch, in the sun, just gazing at the sea.


Have I posted yet about dancing? Don't you love to crawl up inside a song, inhabit its space, and let it take over your hips?

This Friday I'm going dancing. Woo-hoo! My hair is gray, and I am a heavy woman. Don't mistake me for a cougar, and don't point and grimace. I will be out there to work up a sweat, to celebrate a band and the songs I love.

I am reminded of a school dance at which the Earth, Wind & Fire song "September" was played, and I spun and spun and spun. I might have been 19. It is important to close your eyes and inhabit that memory.

Stuffed Shirt

So I'm not sure what master's degree I should pursue—though I'm pretty sure that I should pursue one.

I love working with children, specifically with children who have been damaged in life and could use some help with coping skills. No doubt it has something to do with my years as a parent... In any case, I'd like to get a degree that explicitly permits me to counsel such children.

However. Should that degree be an M.S.W, or an M.Ed. with a counseling focus, or an L.M.H.C.? Or, should I acknowledge that, like it or not—and I do like to be entrusted with more responsibilities—I tend to advance (job 1, started as a receiving clerk, became a manager; job 2, started as a data entry clerk, became an editor; job 3, started as house staff, became a program director), and pursue a degree in organizational management? Would that mean I could not work with the children, whom I enjoy so much?

The reason I feel like I should get a master's is that my current job prefers one, and I would really love to do more intense work with 'my' population. So that could rule out organizational management, except that the other reason I feel like I should get a master's is that I want to be employable anywhere, at a relatively good salary (the other side of the globe from a Wall Street salary, of course). Victor and I still dream of retiring to the South, and his retirement will occur before mine.

What do those of you who haven't abandoned reading this lengthy, self-obsessed post think makes the most sense?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Waste Not, Want Not

You know when you have some vegetable in your refrigerator that is getting soft and is about to sprout either mold or new growth?

Go here:

or here:

The first site provides recipes for remainders, leftovers, and "rescue" foods. The second lets you list what you have, as well as what you do not have (the latter would be listed on the right, under "Ingredients I don't want"), to search recipe databanks.


I have daffodils coming up! My crocuses are in bloom!
My husband is raking right now so I can see whether my lungwort is sporting its nodding pink and blue flowers. I can already see its spotted bicolor leaves.

Strawberry is reaching out across my lawn; I'm going to have to pull up many a wee plant this year. I'm cracking my knuckles, preparing for the task.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

52 and counting

There is a controversy boiling on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It concerns surf-fishing and driving in beach areas that are supposed to be habitat for plovers, terns, and turtles.

I just sent the following to an online Hatteras Island paper. I thought I'd share it with all of you (all four of you?):

My husband and I have been vacationing on the Outer Banks every year for the past six or seven years. During our first visit, we fell in love with Hatteras Island. Each and every year since then, we’ve found new reasons to appreciate the island.

We’ve surf-fished, gone swimming, flown kites, helped our son learn to wind-surf (by paying and then happily watching from the beach), observed coquinas for hours, read on the beach, walked the beach in the mornings (or afternoons, or evenings), beach-combed (finding some treasured sea glass), pier-fished, tried to paint the glorious surroundings, gone on photographic expeditions, found the remains of countless shipwrecks, watched crab holes for long minutes after depositing food nearby (until crabs emerged and tucked the food away), ferried to Ocracoke to comb its beaches, encountered wild horses on a northern expedition, shelled on Portsmouth Island, enjoyed the gardens on Roanoke, climbed Hatteras Light, visited other island lights, visited the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum (not yet a great destination, but we’re patient), visited the Hatteras weather station, visited the Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station (always fantastic), visited even the empty lifesaving stations, walked a few ‘nature trails,’ developed a great love of particular Hatteras markets and eateries, shopped the galleries and bookstores, toured a couple of off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods, been thrilled by the spring storms, been blessed by spectacular sunny days, hot-tubbed in sight of the ocean, consumed glorious seafood (some caught, some purchased), and encouraged friends and family to visit—with some success.

A few years back we increased the length of our stay. This year we hope to bring our kayaks…and we can tell you exactly how many more days until we arrive.

How do we feel about not being able to drive on your beaches? It really doesn’t matter to us. We sure don’t drive on the lovely Gloucester beaches. Every single thing, every empty creature casing and life-bearing egg, that Hatteras (and Gloucester) contains is precious. We just can’t wait to get there.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


I found the business card of a DMH/MBHP Intensive Clinical Manager yesterday. On the back of the card, I had scrawled, at some unknown moment, the following:

Duties of US citizen
Homicidal depression



Would anyone like to guess what on earth any of this means? If I did not recognize my own writing, I would suppose that a lunatic had been making notes. Not that I'm not a lunatic.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I spent 40 minutes on my rowing machine as of the very moment I arrived home after work today. I needed the activity; I needed to expel energy that I had been building up most of the day.

I speeded (sped?) up for Bell Biv Devoe's Do Me and Kid Creole and the Coconuts' Endicott, and concluded my workout by rowing slowly to David Bowie/Nine Inch Nails' I'm Afraid of Americans. Sadly, I couldn't make my timing work with The Bongos' Barbarella, and that one will have to come off my laptop Workout Tape.

We did personality surveys at work last year that identified our personality types as one of four. Mine was dominant—no surprise. So why can't I get comfortable inside my dominant skin?

To all those I have offended through my blunderbuss tendencies, I do apologize. I really do. I meant you no harm (save for that one dude). This time, however—even after my rowing escapade—I continue to feel like I am owed an apology. Perhaps the activity wasn't such a good idea. What does one do when one just feels wronged? Maybe I'll feel differently in the morning. [sigh]

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Three or Four Things

The editor of The Nation appeared with Karl Rove this morning on Stephanopoulis, as did global warming-skeptic George Will and Clinton strategist Stan Greenberg.

We have had our president for all of 5 weeks, and people appear to be serious when they try to compare outcomes of programs. Outcomes! All that we have, really and truly, is our guesses about new ideas. These guesses can be based on outcomes of old ideas, but they are significantly flawed by that reality. We all =know= this, right?

George Will actually said, I don't think George Bush intended to spend so much of his tenure on Iraq (or words very close to that). I clearly recall reading in the The New Yorker the document outlining our Iraq plan, developed in the few years subsequent to Desert Storm (Bush Sr.). No way did Junior fail to understand his stratum's 'need' for the Iraq operation - unless he was considered too stupid to be in the loop.

Which brings up another point: Who (besides Limbaugh) are the goons expressing their hopes that Obama will =fail=? I deplored W, make no mistake. But each time some horrifying new policy was introduced, I experienced fear and dismay. I would think, "Oh my God, I hope that doesn't destroy [x] or [y]." I saw W as failing pretty constantly, but not once did I =hope= for his failure. I hoped against hope.

What I'm hoping right now is that Obama's announced intention to cut defense spending (by our investments in outdated weaponry) turns out for the good. The military-industrial complex is as real as it gets, and much too frighteningly powerful.