Thursday, September 27, 2012

I Dreamed a Dream..

Christmas day, while everyone is opening presents, stuffing themselves with chocolate and goodies, and having a wonderful time, I will be crying my eyes out.


Potentially hysterical.

I will, in short, be watching Les Miserables in the theater.

Did I mention I will be crying? That is a given.
I am so happy Cameron Macintosh did not cast Taylor Swift as Eponine. Had that rumor held true I may have had to start a write in campaign, and picketed the filming. But since he screen tested her and evidently found her to have little talent (silly, I could have told him that!) I was safe. He instead cast the brilliant, amazing Samantha Barks and my world was safe.

So I will be sitting there, crying into my tissues, reliving the the lives of Jean Valjean and the rest. To prepare, I am reading the book. Well, and stalking the Les Mis Facebook page. 13 weeks. I can't wait.

PS: I found the shawl. It was in a laundry basket underneath a load of clean clothes.
PPS: Now the pattern doesn't seem to be working.
PPPS: I have one week to figure it out.
PPPPS: I blame the cats.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Welcome Fall...

It is fall. I am cooking. I am also ignoring the fact, that the cats (always blame the cats), have misplaced my Mariners Stitch and Pitch bag, which holds a very special shawl I was 2/3 of the way done knitting for a friend. It was a beautiful shawl, and I distinctly remember knitting a row during the playback of Clint Eastwood's chair speech and in my disbelief I messed up. Then I put it back in the bag with a note to myself that I needed to tink back that row, and find my error and carried it home. Evidently at this point the cats stole it and sold it for catnip on the black market. I wouldn't put that past them really. Of course I am seeing the friend in a few weeks and would to have the shawl to give her. Sigh.

But anyway, back to cooking. I went on a tear today.

First I went and picked the last of the blackberries. It made me feel so happy, and so at home. It had been 14 years since I got to go blackberry picking. I missed a lot this year due to weirdness of scheduling, which saddens me, we won't be making blackberry jam but we did make pie. Delicious blackberry apple pie.

Between the berry picking at the pie making, I made 2 ingredient pumpkin fairy cakes (I am calling cupcakes fairy cakes now. Cause I like it). These were actually more than 2 ingredients, as I added cinnamon, ginger, and a little curry powder to the mixture of pumpkin pie filling and spice (not yellow - spice!) cake mix. Then I drizzled a little chai glaze over them. Yum-o and easy.

Finally, while the pie baked, I made Hot and Sour soup. I made a Vegan version of PF Chang's type, but of course I tweaked it. You know me, I can never make a recipe how it says.

Basically what I did:

2qts vegetable stock
1 can Bamboo shoots
8 oz Shitake mushrooms sliced
1 carrot thinly sliced
1 stalk celery sliced
1 C soy sauce
1/2 C rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp siracha chili
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp garlic powder
fresh ground pepper
2 C or so of extra water
3/4 C brown rice
1 block Tofu pressed and drained
1/3 c cornstarch.

I dumped all but the tofu and cornstarch in a pot and brought to a boil until the rice was cooked. I will say, I added Siracha and other ingredients till it tasted right to me for the first several minutes. The extra water was added at this point too, as despite doubling the vegetable stock from the mock recipe I was going from, it was still too salty. I think using unsalted stock would fix this, but I live in a vegetable stock shortage area, and I keep forgetting to stock (Ha!) up when I go to the big city. Anyway, I cooked till the rice was done and the carrots tender, added the sliced tofu, and the cornstarch that I had mixed with water cooked it for an additional 10 minutes or so.

Seriously, best hot and sour soup ever. Seriously. And easy! I won't say it's traditional, it's Heather's Hot and Sour soup. But I loved it :). I may now be addicted.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fall Bucket List

The other day, I read this great blog post by Peas and Thankyou. It is all on their fall bucket list, and how to make every moment count through gratitude.

Both of these ideas are wonderful. How often do we count the moments in memories instead of in production? We all have so many things to do, yet the most important thing we really have to do is to live and make memories.

So, in celebration of that, here is my own fall bucket list:

  • Take a walk in the woods
  • Make sugar cookies and a huge mess decorating them.
  • Bake an apple pie and make applesauce.
  • Spend a day watching movies and doing nothing but fiber arts.
  • Listen to the rain on the roof while enjoying a good book.
  • Take a drive to the mountains.
  • Appreciate every day, that the coming fall and winter does not mean snow, ice, or blizzards!!
  • Go to the beach and make a sand sculpture.
  • Eat stew as often as possible.
  • Make homemade bread.

 What is on your bucket list for fall?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Have you Ever Stopped to Think...

...Just how lucky you are?

Lucky to be looking at this computer screen?

Lucky to have a house, or at least shelter at this very moment?

Lucky to, most likely be safe, secure and warm for another night.

Lucky to be living now, when even though the world is still a scary place, we are more secure than at almost any time in history?

These last few days, I have thought about this a lot. With the deaths of Chris Stevens, and 3 others on the heels of 9-11 it is easy to get lost in it all.

The deaths of so many people in needless stupid wars fighting over oil, riches, or religion. The anger spewed by those unqualified to speak. The way much of the world looks at the USA, either as a beacon of hope, or as a evil bully. Neither are right, but both extremes we can certainly see, especially when so visible in political candidates we have running right now.

I see the world reaching out for what we have here, freedom of speech, freedom to say what we want, be what we want, and worship who or what we want. While at the same time, I see people in this country seeking to destroy these things. Freedom after all is scary to many. Freedom in this country is misunderstood. Yes, I have the freedom to say whatever I want, or even to make a movie of whatever I want. But I also have to stand behind those words and the actions they can cause. I can't say something and then say I shouldn't be judged for those. If my words or actions result in a more dangerous world, it is my fault. And at the same time, if I can worship who I want, or what I want, it means others have the same right. To do so safely, proudly, and without fear. Without fear that someone will murder them in their mosque or church, without fear their children will be persecuted, hated, or killed.

Every night, I pray for the safety of my President and other leaders. I pray they have the guidance to keep us safe. I pray that the rest of the world realizes that we are not the extremists, just like I realize the rest of the world is not. I pray for the safety of the children and men and women who are not as lucky as I am. Those who are living every day with the fear of bombs, soldiers, and death. Those who have seen things most of us can not even fathom. And I realize, that it's my responsibility as a voter in this terrifyingly powerful country, to make sure that I vote, and make my voice heard. Otherwise the minority will win. Those who say that killing and bombing are good, those who want to murder, those who use the tragic death of Chris Stevens as a political tool instead of letting us grieve.

Power attracts the best and the worst people in the land. All I can do, as a citizen, is my best to make sure that those I vote for have the judgement, clarity, and soul needed to make the hardest decisions. As a country we have made terrible mistakes in the past over who we elected. Mistakes that led us directly to the situation we face now in the middle east. It is our responsibility to make sure we don't repeat history. Especially not now.

We are all our brother's keeper, and we are all family on this world stage. No matter where you are, what god you worship, or what you believe. All we really want is to love, be loved, and be safe. We can accomplish this as a world. We really can. There doesn't have to be an enemy, there doesn't have to be a war. There can be peace. I believe this with all my being. All we need is love.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Kindling Ideas

A little over a year ago, I wrote about Kindles, & books, and how so many of my memories are tied up in reading books, sitting in bookstores, and libraries, and how I feel like nothing could replace the feel, touch, and sight of a book.

Then I moved. A long way. With a lot of things and animals. I purged my bookshelves. Ok, maybe purge is too strong of a word. But I went through all of my books, including those which had been sealed in boxes in the garage for 5 years. I hemmed and I hawed, and I set rules. To the Goodwill went:

Any book I didn't like (yes, I normally would keep those, just cause)

Any book I hated the author of.

Any book based in Minnesota (just on principle)

Most paperback books.

Any book that I had gotten on sale but had never read, and most likely never would read. Except for those that I SHOULD read, and would read someday because I SHOULD (Example: The Plague Dogs.)

This still left me with an insane amount of books, but a more reasonable library.

98% of these are in boxes still. They're waiting till we finish the boathouse to nestle into new shelves out there. These were also practically the first things I packed. It was a huge job, I started early to get it out of the way. So most of these books I am going on 8 months of not seeing.

In the past 8 months, I have been reading on my phone. My phone, I can download onto using the Kindle app. Somewhere along the way, I started downloading classics, all of the sudden I could take Anne of Green Gables with me everywhere. I could slip into Avonlea while I waited for the kids, or into Windy Poplars while I sat at an appointment. I realized too, that it was a great opportunity to download and read some other classics I had always put off. The best part, is that most are free or very low cost.

That brings me to today. What are my real feelings on Kindles and e-readers. I'm not getting rid of all my books, but instead of being evil, are they in some ways a good extension of the library? Something we can take with us, something we can use to access those classics? I'm not sure. In the past week I've downloaded Albert Payson Terhune novels, Anna Karenina (never read that one before) and realized that Jim Kjeldegarde's books are on Kindles.

I am not ready to go buy a Kindle yet, but my mind is adjusting. Slowly. And I did manage to avoid the book sale the other weekend, though I keep wondering if I could find a used copy of Anna Karenina somewhere with personality... You know, for the boat house library..

Summer Days

Venus says it's too bad the weather is always rainy in the Pacific NW.
Cause being outside sometimes would be nice.
I promise I'll write more when it rains... Really.