My Take on the "Date Rape Song" - Baby, It's Cold Outside

by Saturday, December 27, 2014
Seems every holiday I get into a discussion about this song, and every one of them is enlightening. I re-iterate my take on it, and each year add more info and research to my personal brainings. Thought I would put my current thoughts down this year for later reference.

To start, here is one of the breakdowns of the song I really enjoyed reading:


In short, some of the lines we think of today as suspiciously rapey are actually common colloquialisms (read the part about the drink in particular), not literal; and ultimately this is a song about a woman who wants to stay, but the status quo is against it. She is on a date with a guy helping her come up with excuses to actually do what she wants to do rather than what society expects her to do (and incidentally something he wants, too ;).

This whole angle is, for me, supported by the fact it was written by a husband and wife music team who, as a matter of tradition in their home, every Christmas party would sing a song to perform as a duet for their friends. This was one of those songs (their first, by some accounts), originally performed in their very own living room. And while misogyny was rampant throughout the ages, I had a hard time imagining a husband and wife writing a song about coercive sex/rape for a light Christmas gathering...but...

While I love that breakdown, on a friend's discussion thread about this song, it is pointed out that the song does not have a "male" and "female" part on the original sheet music. They are characters called the "wolf" and the "mouse"--in short, a clear case of unequal power between a predator and prey, right? But while this fact might keep me off-balance on how to feel about whether this is a song about male dominance over a weakling woman, I discovered that the first time this song was used in a movie, it was performed twice in the film: once with a man playing the lion and a woman playing the mouse, and the other was a woman in the lion role and a man as the mouse.

Which lead ME to conclude that this is about one lover (or hopeful lover) simply trying every angle to get their intended to stick around longer because they desire them. And I conclude for myself that pretty much everyone I know has tried at least a few lines on at least one occasion to try and convince a paramour to stay a little longer by offering any available excuse. I wasn't being "rapey" when I tried to get my husband-then-boyfriend to stay the night when he had to work the next day by telling him it was icy out and warm in here, or I could give him a ride in the morning, or many other ways I tried to knock down his potential excuses so he would stay (which he and I both knew he wanted to do, despite his protestations of trying to be "responsible"   )

So while I think there is one lingering manipulation I do not condone ("What's the sense in hurting my pride?" crosses the line for me into pretty overtly-dickish), after all the research and soul-searching I am in the "not rapey" camp on this one and enjoy the song immensely.

TL;DR Not rapey to me. Do your own research and let me know what you think.

As a reward, here is the ORIGINAL original. Well, nearly. It is Frank and Lynn Loesser, the two who first wrote and sang this song; with the original lyrics, which are a little different than we may be familiar with today, plus with a little banter!

And I love this Louis Armstrong and Velma Middleton version, full of improv and mirth.

Farfalle with Sausage and Leeks

by Tuesday, November 04, 2014
I have been challenging myself to work with ingredients I haven't cooked with before. Leeks was on that list and are a popular staple as we move into the holiday season given its hardy growth in colder weather.

This recipe was surprisingly flavorful for the limited and simple ingredients. A lot came from the hot sausage I chose from the local market, I am sure. But for only 2 Tbsp of butter in the entire dish, I was very pleased.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bow-ties-with-sausage-and-leek-sauce-recipe.html

6 quarts salted water
2 large leeks
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 sweet Italian sausages, casings removed (I used hot, cut into rounds, as is my preference)
1 tablespoon minced shallots (out of shallots, used green onion)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup defrosted and drained frozen baby peas
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound bow-tie pasta  farfalle)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving, if you like
DIRECTIONS
Bring the salted water to a boil.

Meanwhile, prepare the leeks: Cut off and discard the top third of the rough green portion and the root ends. Remove any brown or wilted outer layers. Slice the remaining green and white parts into 1/2-inch thick rounds. Rinse the leek slices in several changes of cold water, swishing them around to remove all soil and grit.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Crumble the sausage meat into the skillet and cook, breaking up the lumps, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the leeks to the skillet and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir in the shallots and cook for 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter, the peas, and stock. Heat to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, cover the skillet, and set aside.

Meanwhile, stir the bow ties into the boiling water. When the water returns to a boil, uncover the pot. Cook the pasta, stirring occasionally, until al dente -- tender, but firm -- about 12 minutes. Drain the bow ties well and return them to a pot over low heat.

Add the sausage and leek sauce to the pasta and toss well until the pasta is coated. Remove the pot from the heat, add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and the grated cheese, and toss well. Transfer to a warmed serving platter or individual bowls. Serve immediately, passing additional grated cheese on the side, if you like.

Courtesy of Lidia's Italian Table by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bow-ties-with-sausage-and-leek-sauce-recipe.html?oc=linkback

Earthy-Sweet Ginger Butternut Squash and Shiitake Mushroom Soup

by Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Okay, so I just improvised this recipe this evening and I have to get it written down before I leave for class so I can make it again. Because DAYUM.
UPDATED: Hubby was rolling his eyes with happy. Served with crusty baguette, toasted and topped with herb goat cheese. Served wtih a Sauvignon Blanc; perfection.

INGREDIENTS
1 medium butternut squash
2 Tablespoons saffola oil
1/2 lb shiitake mushrooms (or mushrooms of choice - chanterelles are awesome, too!)
1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 Tablespoon thyme, divided in half
2 Cups chicken stock
1 Tablespoons honey
Salt and black pepper to taste
Heavy cream and/or additional chicken stock to get desired consistency.


DIRECTIONS
Pre-heat oven to 350

Peel and cube butternut squash (2" cubes or smaller). Line baking sheet or roasting pan with parchment paper. Spread squash cubes, pour over oil, add some salt and pepper and toss to coat.

Roast for 25 minutes until soft

Put butter in large pan and melt over medium heat. Add garlic and minced ginger to pan and sautee for 3-5 minutes until fragrant but not browning.

Slice mushrooms, discard stems. Add to pan with garlic and ginger, sprinkle with 1/2 Tablespoon of thyme and sautee until soft.

When squash is done roasting, sprinkle with remaining thyme. Remove mushrooms from pan and set aside, trying to keep back any liquid in the pan. Add squash to pan along with honey and toss until honey melts. Add chicken stock and 3/4 of the mushrooms to squash, bringing all the flavors together.

Remove squash/stock/mushroom mixture from heat and let cool a bit. Add to food processor and puree.

**At this point, I am getting ready to leave for class. So here is where you store the soup until you are ready to heat and serve or continue on if you're ready now. 
IF SERVING IMMEDIATELY
Put remaining mushrooms in pan over medium-high heat and sautee with a little butter until browned and getting a little crispy.
Add more stock to food processor if looking for a thinner soup, or add cream if you want a thicker/creamier soup, and blend.

Put soup in bowls, top with crispy mushrooms and serve with crusty bread.

-OR-

IF HOLDING SOUP FOR LATER
Transfer soup to another bowl or container, put mushrooms into container, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
When ready to serve, put mushrooms in pan over medium-high heat and sautee with a little butter until browned and getting a little crispy.
Add squash puree to pot and warm over medium heat. Add more stock if looking for a thinner soup, or add cream if you want a thicker/creamier soup, and blend carefully with immersion blender.

Put soup in bowls, top with crispy mushrooms and serve with crusty bread.

House Break-In, stole metal and who knows what else...

by Saturday, September 20, 2014
Our other property was broken into last weekend. It is currently unoccupied and we were additionally on vacation out of town so didn't stop by as we normally do to check on the house and do yard work. Perfect timing he could not have known about. We found out today when we showed up and saw the side shed open and some tools laying about. Then I saw the apple tree was pruned, followed by seeing the giant overgrown rhododendron cut back extensively. Looked up and saw a window open (not broken into, just open, screen still in). Then the back door was unlocked. We proceeded with caution and found no one inside, but there were boxes of things in the kitchen, all the cupboards were open, the fuse panel was open and the fuses removed for some of the electrical lines...things were WAY out of sorts.

The man DID YARD WORK in our back yard, so when a neighbor saw him and asked what he was up to he simply said "Just cleaning up." Great cover. Get this: He trimmed trees, shrubs, blackberry bushes, and raked it into piles, even bagged some of it up... then later broke into the house and both sheds (tore one shed door off the hinges, cut through the metal paneling on the back of the other shed and crawled in) and stole every bit of wiring, copper piping, tools, and scrap metal he could find to haul away down the back alley. He took down shelving and boxed up the metal brackets intending to take them abut they were left behind. Strewn about the yard were various radio components and metal scrap we didn't even know had been in the sheds, but were clearly pulled out for consideration. He disconnected built-in speakers and pulled the wiring from the walls, and even went under the house and stole some of our piping and electrical from under the house, took plumbing from the bathroom, and cut cords off of any electrical items in the house (a space heater, a fan, appliances, etc). Hauled away about 8 car batteries, too. This must have taken hours to do, maybe even came back over days, with the yard work he did plus the volume of items stolen. A headlamp flashlight was left behind and powered on in the living room, which leads me believe he returned at night to complete some of the work. He also found a wall-safe behind a photo on the wall, pried the door off by brute force, and then REHUNG THE PHOTO. Drug addict, anyone?

Our neighbor who saw him didn't get any useful description of him for the police and they doubt they will find prints. We are bolting things down and putting up No Trespassing signs as suggested by the police to help should a squatter try to come in and take residency--showing we tried to make the place inaccessible helps with legal issues that may arise, as was the case at the 137th and Burke house recently in the news in Shoreline. The cops were really nice, helpful, professional, sympathetic. They were even on some calls at the 137th and Burke house, and had mentioned seeing our house before today and wondering if it was going to be a target. They pay attention!

The upside? Weeks of yard work done for us by someone else. *shrugging and laughing* If you can't have a sense of humor about these things, what do you have?

I am upset, but I don't know how to describe it. I am not angry or scared per se. Definitely feel violated but not in a fearful way. In an "icky" way. I feel irritated--annoyed at the headache this causes. The house is a teardown, but not yet. So we need to pay to have someone come out and fix the electrical and plumbing, at least basically, so that we don't have problems down the line (like the sump pump has no power now, so when it starts to rain this will be a big issue). I just kinda wanted to crawl home, cuddle my dog, and drink wine and not have to deal with it. Ugh.

Children Die in Hot Cars...what kind of parent does that?

by Saturday, June 21, 2014
Have you ever known a mother or father (or been a mother or father) who forgot to pick up their child from a school activity, playdate, daycare or school? Perhaps dates got shuffled around, maybe dad usually picks them up but today mom was supposed to, the usual routine wasn't in play, and it just slipped their (your) mind?

Luckily, there was probably someone who called and jogged their memory, and sheepishly the parent went and got them. These people aren't neglectful monsters. They are human beings and very normal parents juggling a million things in their world. Nobody would judge them too harshly, *shrug* it happens. Don't be so hard on yourself.

Now imagine that instead of being left at a daycare or neighbor's house, they were left in a car on a hot day. And since there was no one to call and jog your memory, horrifically, tragically, that child died. Suddenly, you are evil, hateful, cruel, selfish, unforgivable. You are vile garbage who clearly should have never had a child and should be locked up for life in the deepest darkest dungeon. No "good parent" would ever do such a thing.

I reject that notion.

Over on Facebook, a lot of discussion has been going on surrounding the media's attention on infant car deaths due to hyperhermia--that is, heat stroke from being locked in a car on a hot day. I have seen almost zero sympathy for these parents and the horrible tragedy they perpetuated. Their punishment is their own thoughts, their prison will be their own minds having to live with what happened. I feel intense sadness for them, but not anger. There is some good reading on this, so here is an excerpt from a HuffPo piece, and a link to a long, tough read which breaks down the phenomenon--how and why it happens, and who does it happen to. Not exactly a happy-sunshiney post today, but I wanted to share my thoughts, and the thoughts of these articulate writers, on the subject.

"What kind of parent forgets their baby? A monster, right? A callous, careless, stupid, irresponsible human being who should never have been trusted with a child in the first place, yes?

No. Which is why I keep asking this question.

The parents who accidentally leave their children to die could be any of us. That was the message of one of the most compelling pieces of journalism I have ever read, one in the Washington Post by Gene Weingarten four years ago (it later won him a Pulitzer Prize.) Dissecting a number of tragedies he persuasively argues that those who lose children this way could be you or me.

'What kind of person forgets a baby?

The wealthy do, it turns out. And the poor, and the middle class. Parents of all ages and ethnicities do it. Mothers are just as likely to do it as fathers. It happens to the chronically absent-minded and to the fanatically organized, to the college-educated and to the marginally literate. In the last 10 years, it has happened to a dentist. A postal clerk. A social worker. A police officer. An accountant. A soldier. A paralegal. An electrician. A Protestant clergyman. A rabbinical student. A nurse. A construction worker. An assistant principal. It happened to a mental health counselor, a college professor and a pizza chef. It happened to a pediatrician. It happened to a rocket scientist.'
...
Think that could never happen to you? Read Weingarten’s enitre article here. Then come back and tell me you are still completely sure. Think that parents who do this should be tried for manslaughter and sent to jail? Read of how these families punish themselves, and come back and tell me if you still feel the same way.
...
My heart breaks for the 15 families who have lost children to the heat so far this year and the more than 650 who have done so in recent decades.

Calling the parents inhuman monsters might make us feel better, but it won’t save the next child. Recognizing they are human beings just might."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/27/AR2009022701549.html?sid=ST2009030602446

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/25/what-parent-leaves-child-in-broiling-car_n_3497956.html

Leaving a Child In a Car...an Examination

by Saturday, June 21, 2014
Have you ever known a mother or father (or been a mother or father) who forgot to pick up their child from a school activity, playdate, daycare or school? Perhaps dates got shuffled around, maybe dad usually picks them up but today mom was supposed to, the usual routine wasn't in play, and it just slipped their (your) mind?

Luckily, there was probably someone who called and jogged their memory, and sheepishly the parent went and got them. These people aren't neglectful monsters. They are human beings and very normal parents juggling a million things in their world. Nobody would judge them too harshly, *shrug* it happens. Don't be so hard on yourself.

Now imagine that instead of being left at a daycare or neighbor's house, they were left in a car on a hot day. And since there was no one to call and jog your memory, horrifically, tragically, that child died. Suddenly, you are evil, hateful, cruel, selfish, unforgivable. You are vile garbage who clearly should have never had a child and should be locked up for life in the deepest darkest dungeon. No "good parent" would ever do such a thing.

I reject that notion.

A lot of discussion has been going on surrounding the media's attention on infant car deaths due to hyperhermia--that is, heat stroke from being locked in a car on a hot day. I have seen almost zero sympathy for these parents and the horrible tragedy they endured. Their punishment is their own thoughts, their prison will be their own minds having to live with what happened. I feel intense sadness for them, empathy for their heartbreak and incredible loss, but not anger. There is some good reading on this, so here is an excerpt from a HuffPo piece, and a link to a long, tough read which breaks down the phenomenon--how and why it happens, and who does it happen to. Not exactly a happy-sunshiney post today, but I wanted to share my thoughts, and the thoughts of these articulate writers, on the subject.

"What kind of parent forgets their baby? A monster, right? A callous, careless, stupid, irresponsible human being who should never have been trusted with a child in the first place, yes?

No. Which is why I keep asking this question.

The parents who accidentally leave their children to die could be any of us. That was the message of one of the most compelling pieces of journalism I have ever read, one in the Washington Post by Gene Weingarten four years ago (it later won him a Pulitzer Prize.) Dissecting a number of tragedies he persuasively argues that those who lose children this way could be you or me.
'What kind of person forgets a baby?

The wealthy do, it turns out. And the poor, and the middle class. Parents of all ages and ethnicities do it. Mothers are just as likely to do it as fathers. It happens to the chronically absent-minded and to the fanatically organized, to the college-educated and to the marginally literate. In the last 10 years, it has happened to a dentist. A postal clerk. A social worker. A police officer. An accountant. A soldier. A paralegal. An electrician. A Protestant clergyman. A rabbinical student. A nurse. A construction worker. An assistant principal. It happened to a mental health counselor, a college professor and a pizza chef. It happened to a pediatrician. It happened to a rocket scientist.'

...

Think that could never happen to you? Read Weingarten’s enitre article here. Then come back and tell me you are still completely sure. Think that parents who do this should be tried for manslaughter and sent to jail? Read of how these families punish themselves, and come back and tell me if you still feel the same way.

...

My heart breaks for the 15 families who have lost children to the heat so far this year and the more than 650 who have done so in recent decades.

Calling the parents inhuman monsters might make us feel better, but it won’t save the next child. Recognizing they are human beings just might."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/fatal-distraction-forgetting-a-child-in-thebackseat-of-a-car-is-a-horrifying-mistake-is-it-a-crime/2014/06/16/8ae0fe3a-f580-11e3-a3a5-42be35962a52_story.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/25/what-parent-leaves-child-in-broiling-car_n_3497956.html

Asiago Crusted Chicken w/ Pesto Angel Hair Pasta

by Thursday, June 12, 2014
Asiago Crusted Chicken with Pesto Angel Hair Pasta
1 lb. chicken breasts, boneless skinless
1/4 c. Asiago cheese
1 egg
1/2 c. bread cumbs
Oregano, garlic salt, pepper to taste
2 portions angel hair pasta
store-bought pesto
dash of cream
pat of butter

Cook time approx 25 minutes

Instructions
  • Pre-heat oven to 375F
  • Foil a baking pan or sheet, spray foil with cooking spray
  • Combine cheese, bread crumbs, oregano, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl
  • Crack egg into separate bowl and whisk lightly
  • Pat chicken dry, dip in egg then in cheese/bread crumbs mixture coating all sides
  • Place chicken on prepared baking sheet and put in oven, set timer for 10 minutes
  • When timer goes off, start a pot of water boiling; Re-set timer for 15 minutes
  • When water comes to boil, drop in pasta and cook 7-9 minutes
  • Drain pasta and return to hot pot. Immediately drop in pat of butter and stir to coat pasta. Add dash of cream (I used about a Tablespoon) and stir. Finally, add 2 Tbsp of pesto or as much as desired to coat your pasta
  • Your timer for the chicken should be going off about now, so pull it outta there
  • Place a nest of pesto pasta in the center of the plate, lay chicken breast on top. Grate a little more asiago on top, maybe a sprig of parsley if you're feeling festive


That X Factor - Debbie Reynolds and everyone like her...

by Wednesday, May 28, 2014
In the late 80's, I was in a youth summer stock touring company. As we were traveling around Arizona and southern California with our show, we would get to attend lots of theater along the way. Debbie Reynolds was playing in a touring revival of The Unsinkable Molly Brown down in LA (at the Shubert? The Kodak?). This was a reprisal of her role 25 years after she was an Oscar nominee for her movie role, but I had no idea. Thanks to this experience, I always think of Molly as an older woman, not the young woman she would have been in her 1964 movie role...and that is only one of the remarkable memories I carry away from it...

During one scene aboard the Titanic, Molly is talking about her gigantic wedding ring. She strode out on the stage, and mid-sentence she stayed in character yet broke the 4th wall when she said, "...and I left my ring backstage..." She strode back off stage to get the prop and returned to the scene, the audience applauding and howling at this "raw moment".

I remember we would debrief our theater experiences, and in discussing our night out at this show, our director told we young, impressionable child actors that while that scene was funny and memorable, "she could get away with it because she is DEBBIE REYNOLDS."

I never forgot that lesson. There are some people who by virtue of talent or fame or a combination of  both (because lord knows these days they are not tied together in any way) somehow manage to win us over no matter what they do. They have that "X-Factor" which makes them magnetic to us mere mortals, and we forgive them everything and enjoy those brief moments of familiarity when they make mistakes. "HEY! They're human!" and that realization doesn't knock them down, but instead raises them up somehow.

I aspire to that in my life. Yet I know talent can't buy that entirely. Experience breeds grace in some cases, but that isn't always the way. For most, it is something within you--your soul, your spirit, your je ne sais quoi-- which wins over all. Debbie had it. And I see many performers in my world, both big time and "small time" who have this quality. It's easy to be jealous of them. But even easier to just be in awe of them and enjoy what they have to offer.

Spicy Ginger-Cumin Chicken and Chickpeas

by Wednesday, May 14, 2014
I was at a loss as to what yo cook last night and hubby was grumbling about being hungry but was stuck servicing my computer for a bit. So as usual, I dug around to see what I had for ingredients. When warm weather comes, I almost always crave garbanzo beans. And I had some chicken breasts. Okay, I can work with that. Maybe something with a little spice...cumin, I thought. So I looked up some recipes using these ingredients, and then kluged together the following, which turned out DEEEElicious!

1lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
Olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin
1/2 cup chicken stock (home made!)
1 15oz can crushed tomatoes (I used fire roasted)
2 Tbsp tomato paste

1 15oz can garbanzo beans/chickpeas, drained not rinsed
2 cups spinach or Swiss chard (optional)
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
3/4 cup plain yogurt

4 Tbsp cilantro, chopped (optional) 
2 servings rice of choice (optional)

In Dutch oven (or large saucepan), heat some olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook 2-3 minutes or until brown (do in two batches if necessary). Remove from pan and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium. Add more oil to pan, add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly for 4-5 minutes until softened. Do not brown.

Stir in ginger, cayenne, coriander, and cumin. Saute for 1 minutes or until fragrant.

Stir in stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and salt and add chickpeas and browned chicken (and optional spinach or Swiss chard) to the pan. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes until chicken is cooked through and chickpeas have softened a bit.

Stir in yogurt and simmer over very low heat for 1-2 minutes. Don't do this too long or too hot, or the yogurt will separate. Keep it creamy!

Split into two bowls and enjoy!

Notes:
One of the recipes that inspired mine called for a smattering of cilantro on top, for color I guess. If I had cilantro to use (which I didn't last night), I would use more because I loooove the taste of cilantro. So I upped that number in the recipe, though I did not get to enjoy it that way last night.

You could also enjoy this with a scoop of rice, but I like the heartiness of chickpeas just fine without any additional starch involved.

If dairy ain't yo' thing, I bet some coconut milk in this recipe would be delicious and add a little "creaminess" in place of the yogurt.

Blast From The Past - 29 Was A Good Year

by Saturday, May 03, 2014
A post from my 30th birthday over on LiveJournal

"Hell, the entire latter half of my 20's in general were really good.

I started my own business when I was 26. I left my office job in the tech sector soon after, to focus on what I really wanted to do. My husband was willing and able to support me in this. I trained with my mentor and started teaching classes not too long after that.

My classes grew. My business grew. My troupe grew. My marriage grew. My friendships grew. My family (puppies!) grew. My joy grew. (the word "grew" just stopped making sense ;)

And that has been the sum of my latter half of my 20's. Everything growing and flourishing. Boundaries being tested and expanded. Bits and pieces settling in, others being uprooted and examined, nurtured in new directions. It has taken a lot of work, but work that was well worth the effort and despite stumbles here and there, were really such a natural process and such a blessing to have the opportunity to be "my life".

So now I am facing 30. 10:36 tonight I am officially reborn into a new decade. Supposedly a really incredible decade for most. But those who go on and on about how great their 30's are, are the same people who said they didn't like their 20's that much. And really, I loved my 20's. All the struggles and heartache, all the mistakes and COMPLETE AND UTTER MISTAKES...I love them all. I truly do. Of course I have regrets here and there, but not such that I would take it back if I could--they shaped me. And I always seem to land on my feet (JINX!), no matter how bad things get. I have always had friends who are true blue--love in my life that has seen me through times when I felt I didn't deserve love. Pursuits that filled up the lonliest days and enhanced the most social of days.

To say it's been an easy life dismisses too much of the truly difficult times I have gone through. But looking back, I had it damn good. It wasn't easy, but it was just as it should be, you know what I mean? How do you beat that?

So here I stand at 30. Three-Oh. Oh. Dear. I guess when most people are looking forward to the good changes ahead, to the ride up the hill to greater things, I stand at the top of a huge hill built with love and joy and think, "Is there any way to go but down from here?!" And I fear my 30's a little. I fear the loss of things I probably don't even know I have now, but boy will I know them when they're gone! And while I vow not to turn into a worrier over things that haven't even happened yet, I can't help but feel a little trepidation about my 30's. I feel like my running headlong into today with excitement was just brought up short by the realization that things are so damn good now, where can I go from here?

If, God willing, that direction is up, I can't even imagine what that will mean. And if for a time it is down, I have a pretty strong foundation to stand on while I weather the storm.

So why worry...
right?"

A LJ Flashback - Wedding DJ Suckitude

by Thursday, May 01, 2014
I was searching for an old post in my LiveJournal today and fell down a rabbit hole of reminiscing. Here is a post I wrote about reminiscing...wedding day reminiscing, from October of 2005.
"I am realizing that I still harbor resentment for our wedding DJ 5 years ago.

I was a great wedding planner. I am guessing most Virgos are. I was planning a wedding in another city, and it was all my mail and phone. I had every detail hammered out, and the DJ was no exception. I had a list of songs I wanted played throughout the night--first dance songs for all our married bridal party members, and a song for my Mom and Dad. And of course, the first dance song--At Last by Etta James. A quite popular song, and an increasingly popular wedding song in the years since (I had never heard it used, then three of our friends used it in some aspect of their wedding, two of them were first dance songs and one was a passage in their program). It was all laid out in the very handy fax the DJ sent me to fill in, including songs I didn't want played, etc. I confirmed with him, and all was good.

So we have our fabulous wedding, and had some photos shot while our friends waited in the reception room down the hall from the chapel. Then we arrive, and it is time for our big entrance, at which time the DJ suggested we have our first dance right away upon entering. Great, all eyes on us, we had practiced with dance coaches for a few weeks, learning a few flourishes to go with our song, and we were ready! So the DJ meets us at the reception room door as we are about to commence our grand entrance, and he leans over to me and says "So, I don't have At Last. Is there another song you want me to play for your first dance?"

WHAT THE FUCKING HELL?!

I being the cool cucumber I am under pressure, and being the Virgo I was born to be, I look directly at him and say "I brought my own CD, IN CASE." So we send someone back in to grab my wedding folder with all my contracts and whatnot, retrieve the CD, and the day is saved.

That was close to being just about the perfect way to ruin someone's romantic memory of dancing with her new husband in front of all your friends and family. It is a miracle that Chris even agreed to doing such a thing, being as shy as he is, and I couldn't be sure that he wouldn't have wanted to back out entirely if we had a different song we hadn't practiced to.

So as I sit and listen to one of my favorite songs in the world, thinking about one of the happiest days of my life, I say until DJ Guy:
fuck off and die. :)"

Gretchen My Sweet Pup

by Tuesday, April 22, 2014
My girl is old
Stout and frail,
with wagging tail
Her brown eyes see black,
her black fur now grey
Her colors are changing
but never her heart
Grumpy and loving
always two things at once
Were she of two legs
she shall wear purple,
of four her head swings low
collecting smells to paint her vision
She comes at things sideways
wobbly and bumpy
I guide her with a steady hand
afraid she’ll slip away and away and away


Make-Ahead Meals for A New Family!

by Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Time for some more recipes to share. Here is a few I did in a couple hours one afternoon as a make-n-take meal for my bestie Arya and her hubby Rob, who just welcomed their beautiful new baby girl Theia into the world. They put out an all-points plea for someone to bring them a meal or two the day after the baby was born, as the cupboard was bare and they didn't have the energy or interest in preparing anything themselves. Rightfully so! They needed some rest!

So I popped open my fridge and was able to come up with two prepared meals with sides which they could simply throw in a pan/dish and cook or reheat. I included a printout with a simple ingredients list (so they would know what went into the dish, in case there were any food sensitivities to consider) and the easy instructions for cooking/heating. I put them in an insulated bag with an ice pack in case I had to leave it on their porch. Both meals were a hit and I was told they would like to get the recipes from me.

Without further ado, here's the two menus:

Roasted Mushroom and Carrot Soup

by Thursday, March 13, 2014

1 lb mushrooms of choice, whole or cut into chunks
1 lb carrots, cut into chunks
1/2 a large onion, cut into chunks
3 cloves garlic, skin on
3-4 cups homemade poultry stock
Herbs of choice (I used thyme and marjoram, could use sage, rosemary, etc)
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

Set oven to 425
  • Put veggies on parchment-lined cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss to coat.
  • Put garlic cloves into square of foil, drizzle with oil, close into packet and place on sheet with veggies.
  • Roast for 25-30 minutes until veggies are softened
  • Let cool slightly then squeeze garlic from its skin. Transfer veggies and garlic to bowl and add 1 cup stock, blend with immersion blender -OR- transfer to food processor and blend with 1 cup stock; work in batches if needed.
    Continue to add stock 1/2 cup at a time to get desired consistency. (I used 3 cups for mine)
  • Add herbs of choice and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve with a dollop of sour cream and some crusty bread on the side.
I could see a LOT of variations on this theme, adding more veggies to the mix (roasting red peppers along with the other veggies for instance sounds delicious), changing up the herbs used, setting aside from of the veggies to chop into smaller pieces and keeping them whole for a more chunky soup, pairing with rice, quinoa, or lentils....the list goes on. And of course what mushrooms you use will change the earthiness/nuttiness factors in the soup as well. Oh, nutty! What about some ground walnuts in the mix? So many possibilities. It was super simple, fast enough to make just before company arrived, made the house smell fantastic and was easy cleanup.

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On this blog I share my personal posts about cooking and knitting, travel and other musings; while I will blog about dance-specific topics over on the Deep Roots Dance blog:
http://www.deeprootsdance.com

I hope you will enjoy both my sites. Thanks for visiting!
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