1. I made my first hard cheese! Sort of. Well, I did make it, but it didn't quite turn out how I'd hoped. It was a farmhouse cheddar, made with the brilliant press my brilliant husband made. I fretted and fussed about whether it was aging properly, if the temperature was right, if the humidity was controlled, what about adding a damp sponge, what are those spots, are they mold, should I worry, but cheese is just mold after all... and then it turned out, and it was actually edible! But a tad odd, flavor-wise, maybe over-aged. So we were going to cook with it, get creative, but then we didn't, and it sat in the fridge, and then it did get moldy. After all that misplaced bother, I ruined the cheese at the easiest part and my glory went with it. Stuck to soft cheeses after that, but there's always next year.
2. We chased ducks. Frequently. With great enthusiasm.
3. More fun with fermentation... inspired by Sandor Katz, I harvested wild yeast for an Ethiopian honey-wine, and made a control mead as a comparison. It was very exciting when the bubbles started appearing in the vapor-lock, and I was so good about taking daily notes, being scientific about it - until I wasn't. They are still sitting in my cupboard, far too many months later. I have no idea what lives in those bottles now. They don't look or smell scary, but somehow I don't think they're just getting better with age. If I ever brave it, I'll post my results.
4. We chased sheep, too. And had wagon rides.
5. Took students on a field trip up to Portland. We ate from food trucks and felt very urban.
6. I did lots of yoga, and felt good about myself. Then I did much less yoga and felt less good. Cause, or correlation? Now I'm getting back into it, spurred on by my two-year-old who loves to do downward dog and happy baby, and has invented ocean pose (standing with feet wide, chest forward, arms back, goofy smile).
7. Two weeks in Europe, cha-cha-cha. A remote Alpine village and the Eternal City. With family, food, and fun. What's not to love?
8. Summertime: the park, the hands-on science museum, biking with the trailer, playing in the fountains, hiking at the lake, eating ice cream. Oh, and rafting! And a toddler campout, whoo-hoo! And we borrowed a friend's campervan - oh, the memories. It was lovely. Next summer: back to backpacking.
9. We picked fourteen pounds of blueberries! Still making smoothies with them.
10. Outrage at the world alive and kickin' with a little help from Jon Stewart. Can't tell you how often I find myself saying, "we saw this guy on the Daily Show..." I do also catch NPR occasionally and read the Sunday NY Times. (I share a subscription with 3 neighbors, so there's actually incentive to get up early to get the sections I want first. That would be the Review and Styles. And then I get the magazine after everyone else because I like to do the crossword, but they tend to stack up, adding to the general clutter in our house. It's a good system, overall, though we've never managed to sit together, drinking coffee and discussing what we read. Someday.)
11. Learned to play the ukelele. My debut performance, a duet with my man at our neighborhood open mic: "In Spite of Ourselves" by John Prine and Iris DeMent.
12. Back to school for everyone. Rapped about US history (I'll post that soon) and challenged my students to an Iron Chef contest. Reaffirmed how good The Outsiders is to read with kids.
13. Was an Emerald Citizen for Halloween, as part of an Oz group. My little one was the Lion, and his buddies were the rest of the crew. We had some princess and witch mamas, too. It's the kind of thing I swore I'd never do, but I love the parade and it's no fun if you're not in costume, and it was pretty sweet, actually. Still won't dress up my dog, though. With the occasional antler exception.
14. Drumming! Mostly taiko.
15. Kicking ass at Celebrity, which is always super-fun, and not actually about the score. For some reason Jesus shows up in every game - maybe we should read something deeper in that?
Happy New Year!
I'm supposed to be somewhere else, doing something else. Nobody knows I'm here. Nobody knows what I'm not doing. It's a rare quiet moment to myself, a moment that feels not-quite-naughty, and oh-so-nice. I'm enjoying the silence, and the ability to focus on one thing or let my mind wander, as I please, without the constant peripheral scan that is toddlerhood filling the space. It's just me filling the space, or not filling it. I know that later I'll regret not having used this time more productively, but right now, this is worth it. I so rarely get to be irresponsible anymore.
day 02 - your least favorite song
day 03 - a song that makes you happy
day 04 - a song that makes you sad
day 05 - a song that reminds you of someone
day 06 - a song that reminds you of somewhere
day 07 - a song that reminds you of a certain event
day 08 - a song that you know all the words to
day 09 - a song that you can dance to
day 10 - a song that makes you fall asleep
day 11 - a song from your favorite band
day 12 - a song from a band you hate
day 13 - a song that is a guilty pleasure
day 14 - a song that no one would expect you to love
day 15 - a song that describes you
day 16 - a song that you used to love but now hate
day 17 - a song that you hear often on the radio
day 18 - a song that you wish you heard on the radio
day 19 - a song from your favorite album
day 20 - a song that you listen to when you’re angry
day 21 - a song that you listen to when you’re happy
day 22 - a song that you listen to when you’re sad
day 23 - a song that you want to play at your wedding
day 24 - a song that you want to play at your funeral
day 25 - a song that makes you laugh
day 26 - a song that you can play on an instrument
day 27 - a song that you wish you could play
day 28 - a song that makes you feel guilty
day 29 - a song from your childhood
day 30 - your favorite song at this time last year
Six-Minute Chocolate Cake, aka Chocolate Depression Cake (the era, not the feeling, b/c no butter or eggs) and Dump Cake (b/c you just dump it all in). There are many versions; this recipe is from a friend of a friend I stayed with on a road trip many years ago.
- 1 2/3 C sugar
- 3 C flour
- 6 T cocoa powder
- 2 t baking soda
- 1 t salt
- 2/3 C oil
- 2 T white vinegar
- 2 C water
Preheat oven to 350. Combine dry ingredients and get rid of lumps. Add the rest. (you can theoretically do all this in the pan you bake in, but it usually doesn't work as well for me) Pour into a 9x13 pan and bake 30 - 40 minutes. Frost if desired, but you're on your own for that. Enjoy!
1) Republicans not only want to reduce women's access to abortion care, they're actually trying to redefine rape. After a major backlash, they promised to stop. But they haven't.
2) A state legislator in Georgia wants to change the legal term for victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence to "accuser." But victims of other less gendered crimes, like burglary, would remain "victims."
3) In South Dakota, Republicans proposed a bill that could make it legal to murder a doctor who provides abortion care. (Yep, for real.)
4) Republicans want to cut nearly a billion dollars of food and other aid to low-income pregnant women, mothers, babies, and kids.
5) In Congress, Republicans have proposed a bill that would let hospitals allow a woman to die rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life.
6) Maryland Republicans ended all county money for a low-income kids' preschool program. Why? No need, they said. Women should really be home with the kids, not out working.
7) And at the federal level, Republicans want to cut that same program, Head Start, by $1 billion. That means over 200,000 kids could lose their spots in preschool.
8) Two-thirds of the elderly poor are women, and Republicans are taking aim at them too. A spending bill would cut funding for employment services, meals, and housing for senior citizens.
9) Congress voted yesterday on a Republican amendment to cut all federal funding from Planned Parenthood health centers, one of the most trusted providers of basic health care and family planning in our country.
10) And if that wasn't enough, Republicans are pushing to eliminate all funds for the only federal family planning program. (For humans. But Republican Dan Burton has a bill to provide contraception for wild horses. You can't make this stuff up).
Tut was a boy king, a 4th grader in charge
He was only nine but he was livin’ large
His tomb was found in the 20’s by an Englishman
It came with a curse that killed Lord Carnarvon
The first royal tomb that was left un-robbed
Full of clues about his life and even his job
As a kid he played and hunted though he walked with a cane
He married his sister and he changed his name
He strapped on a beard and partied with the gods
His advisor did the work, according to the odds
Ten years later: a murder mystery
Tutankhamen died young without a chance to live free
3000 years ago but the gold still shines
On his burial mask: what lies behind those eyes?
I've been sitting here for at least ten minutes, wondering what to write, spacing out, not even thinking clearly enough to capture some random stream-of-consciousness crap to fill the space. But I'm tired of giving up on things I've set out to do, so I feel compelled to write at least this much. When my students start explaining why they haven't done their work I tell them I only want to hear the interesting excuses; I don't care about how you left your backpack in the car or how the printer isn't working. With that in mind: I can't do today's post (which btw was going to be very clever and/or profound, possibly even life-changing, certainly not just a list of things that come in tens or how to say ten in other languages or anything like that) because I'm still recovering from the tiger ambush we narrowly escaped earlier. (See? Even my "creative" excuses are lame right now. Bedtime. Sigh.) Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.
In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said: "Is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter - bitter," he answered;
"But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart."
--Stephen Crane (1895)