Tuesday, August 31, 2004

I think that part of what has me a bit down and out today, too, is that I am really disappointed with Andrew Sullivan now and his stance on the Swift Boat veterans. He's calling their campaign against Kerry a 'smear,' and even called them Karl Rove operatives at one point.

Kerry did a dishonorable thing to these veterans back in 1971. He slandered them terribly, calling them 'war criminals, rapists, murderers, etc.' Who knows, he may even have been responsible for the torture and death of many because of these words. In essence, he sold his 'band of brothers' down the Mekong River. Should these people be taking this lying down? Their honor was besmirched back then - and now, to add insult to injury, this...this...I don't even know what to call him...opportunist? (think of something worse, Be) has the nerve to paint himself as a 'war hero,' when it's looking more and more like he did no more than GWB did during that time.

Sorry, but if Kerry didn't want to get burned by this, he and his campaign staff should have thought twice before bringing Vietnam up. Should have left it well enough alone, like how they tried to spin stuff for the last president, who, not only didn't serve, but attended anti American protests while studying abroad.

If I'd not known Kerry before hand, I'd have an awfully dim view of him from this and would seriously wonder what he would do with the country in order to leverage himself.
As it currently stands, it's just one more reason for me to not stand the guy.

It breaks my heart about Andrew Sullivan, because his site is the one that got me interested in this new medium. It seems, though, that he's been soured both by the work and by the introduction of constitutional amendment on marriage and its backing by Mr. Bush. This is valid, yes - but it seems to be coloring most all of what he's written lately, and, well, he's sounding more and more like folks around here and less and less like the Andrewsullivan enigma who caught my eye just after 9/11.
A catnap and a noodle making workout have me feeling less out of sorts.
Decided that it would be nice to have homemade 'pasta' (though I think that these might better be termed kluski.)

Better'n Whole Foods Hippie Homemade Noodles

4 c flour
3 eggs
1/3 c water
2 t salt
2-3 T toasted wheat germ, a pinch of oregano or some other spice, whatever.

Pile dry ingredients in a large bowl. Make a well into which you add the eggs and the water.
Work with hands until all flour is absorbed into dough.
Turn out onto floured board and knead for 10-15 minutes. This will be tough work, but about as good as Hanon for you pianists out there.
Divide dough into four parts, cover three of the parts with a towel to keep moist.
Roll out each until roughly 1/8" thick or translucent. Cut as you'd like.
Let dry for at least an hour.

Feeds four really hungry folks, or six less hungry people...or 24 Atkins folks. Something like that, yeah.
Lost Afternoon

Got broadsided by ragweed today.
Karen gave me a chlor trimeton. Boy oh boy, that's some good sh!t.
Felt more like I was in an opium den than in my cubicle.
More later, hopefully. I have a lot en tĂȘte.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Don't know if it's a result of having had no running water and poor soap up in Maine, but my face is broken out worse than ever. I've had to resort to using one of those old school clay masks to try and calm my too sensitive and obviously very upset skin down.

This weekend was crazy busy. No Hal around; he was in NYC visiting with college buddies. I was busy independently of him. Yesterday, managed to get Pablo out and up to Freeport, ME to visit the LL Bean Mothership. Got him some boots, socks, a first aid kit, flashlight, a really really cool shirt that not only repels bugs and blocks out UV rays, but looks good. I really like that ex officio stuff. If it weren't so gosh darned expensive, I'd have much more of it than I do. My favorite dress is a nice orange plaid one that I got from EMS a few years back. I think it was discounted from about $50 to $5. You can't get me out of the thing in summers.

For myself, another pair of teva sandals (this pair even cheaper than the last. They're really trying to make room for the upcoming season's merchandise) and some of that great castile soap from Dr. Bronner. You know the stuff - it was a staple at co ops in the 70s. Comes in the plastic bottle with the blue and white label just *covered* in small print. Apparently it's some sort of Jesus/World Peace manifesto. Not sure about the particulars, as the print was making me go bug-eyed.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Spiritual and Emotional Sustenance:

Surprise dinner party for Auntie Scott tonight. Stirfry, old fashioned coconut birthday cake, a very original film and unusual adaptation of the Oresteia. I met Scott and Colin at about the same time; we worked together in the theater(I love that, doesn't it sound great?). I guess you could say that we're a 'band of brothers' of a sort for having survived a three-week run of a four hour long interpretation of "The Winter's Tale."

Apparently, Scott helped out with the restoration of sound to another old talkie with the Vitaphone Project. It will be fun to see it once he receives a copy.

Every time I see them, of course I think, why don't we get together more often? Why does life have to be so hectic now and why do our paths have to be as divergent as they are?

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Food as Love:

I have a correspondent from somewhere in Massachusetts who strikes me as a male Gabriela. We do an awful lot of talking about food, among other things like the typical religion, politics, etc. Anyhow, inspired by his words on homegrown cherry peppers stuffed with sharp provolone and prosciutto, preserved in (the best you can afford) olive oil, I had a bit of a food escapade of my own yesterday. Capone Foods is just outside of Union Square in Somerville. I often go there to buy olives and cheese, as they've the best outside of Eastie, as far as I'm concerned. The prices aren't bad, either. Since yesterday was payday, I decided to treat myself to some good olive oil and a bit of fresh aged cheese to add with my herbs for a homemade pesto. Perhaps it was Mr. Capone manning the counter yesterday, don't know, but whoever it was is a great salesperson. He gave me a taste of some very expensive balsamic vinegar. I couldn't afford it, so it's on my wish list from Santa this year. I got a bit of considerably less expensive but still kind of pricey vinegar. Lovely how smooth even that is on the tongue.
My other impulse buy was a package of amaretto cookies.

Dinner last night? Fresh tomatoes with some of that new balsamic vinegar, fresh ground pepper and salt. Chicken breasts in my newly-made pesto. For dessert, quite a coup: I took four or five peaches that were on the verge of being too ripe, rubbed a bit of fuzz off them, then pitted and cut them into bits. Crushed them and added a bit of anisette liqueur to them (Had the Hiram Walker stuff hanging around. I'm sure that anything else would do in a pinch.) Allowed all this to sit while we ate. At serving time, I put the peaches in bowls, topped each with a dollop of plain sour cream, then crushed a couple amaretti on them. This was beyond food bliss and into the realm of almost erotic love. A first kiss from that older, more experienced man. My word. (fanning myself.)

Back again. Pesto Beverli-ese:

3 cups loosely packed basil leaves
1/3 c. freshly ground parmesan cheese (I used pecorino this time 'round)
1/3 c. olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1/3 c. pignoli (or walnuts)

Whirl the basil leaves in a food processor or blender with the (roughly chopped) garlic and nuts. Add the oil to this mixture in a thin stream. Stir in the cheese. Makes about a cup and a half. I'm told that this will keep for a week in the fridge, but honestly, it never seems to last that long here.

I'm going to try a fines herbes pesto and maybe even a parsley one later on. I'll keep you posted on the developments.
Food for Thought:

A couple of trivial things sort of got my goat the past couple weeks.

Up where we visit in Maine, it's started to gentrify, and seems a bit in some places like NYC or Boston. You get a lot of people up theah who drive the Volvo station wagons, the Subaru Forresters, and now the Priuses.
Based on these car choices, you can pretty much deduce that their owners are 'liberal' in the "move on" sense of the term. I am so tired of listening to wealthy east coasters spewing Communist propaganda. For one thing, clearly someone does not understand that the minute you start blaming one group (this time around, the 'evil corporate capitalists') for all the world's ills, and start talking of how their elimination will make the world better, you are headed down the path of evil. I'm sorry, even the folks who want 'the best' for everyone are now in the company of thugs.

Secondly, I'm listening to people who I'm pretty certain did not get to afford the beautiful sylvan retreats, sailboats and nice, foreign cars from giving their fortunes away to the Greater Good of Mankind. These same people who holler about 'tax cuts for everyone' making them sick tend to be rather conspicuously silent on things like the repeal of inheritance taxes, for example.

The other thing that sort of annoyed me, and I'm sure that it's just me here, was a reference to how difficult it is for the typical female growing up in America. I guess that that's true - it's not easy being a girl, or black, or anything obviously different from whatever people are saying is deviant from the 'norm,' or 'acceptable.' For me, it was not so easy being of above average intelligence in the public schools back home. Combine that with my being a girl, my lack of athletic prowess, ethnic background, the use of red ink to correct my homework - you've all the makings of a very picked-on and unhappy girl. The nice thing was that I grew out of it. Stuff ain't perfect here, but it is within my ability to make life better for me. (Actually wrote a bit about the experience of being me here a little while back.) For laughs, what do you say we contrast this with growing up female in, say, Iran. Or Saudi Arabia, maybe.

Thought this kind of cute:

A bit of background, as well.
Cultivant mon jardin.

The past week has been enough to try a saint, between work and home. For better or for worse, I'm back again and starting to build up that callous against everyday life in the city.

Haven't talked much about my garden lately because, quite frankly, I've not been spending much time in it. It, however, in spite of my neglect and a really strange growing season, has been treating me better than I deserve, I think. I am never not growing anything by seed again. Have had total success in that foray, and it's so much cheaper than buying plants! My dollar a packet Burpee tomato seeds (two varieties) are growing tomatoes like a girl on fertility drugs grows babies. I've had to stake everything up three or four times, because the plants are almost collapsing under the weight of the fruit. (twenty plants, each with three to five fruits apiece.) When I returned home on Saturday of last week, I had like ten fully ripened tomatoes. Since then, it's been a tomato for breakfast, two for lunch...and an extra brought along to share.

The zucchini were a disappointment this year. I'm not sure what I did wrong - only got one, and the plants got root rot. Raphaella tells me that I got one more than she did. Might have been the alpine conditions up here on Winter Hill. Funny thing is - I did pretty well with the cucumbers. No disappointments there.

The herbs, well, they are in such proliferation as to be considered almost invasive. I've been putting thyme and rosemary in bouquets I give to friends. My mint might make a few extra jars of jelly for my lamb-eating friends. I've gone through the basil, the parsley and the chives a number times over and they just keep regenerating! What a joy.

Yes, the peaches have ripened as well. The tricky thing with these is that you've a very small window between their being ripe enough to pick and their ending up as mulch. I got two shopping bags ful -froze a bunch, made a few jars of peach butter (like apple butter, only with peaches...nice! Just take 4 pounds of peaches, skin, pit and slice them. Cook down slowly. Mash a bit when they are soft enough. For each cup of fruit pulp, add 1/2 cup of sugar, cook until sugar's dissolved. To all this, add a couple teaspoons of cinnamon, a teaspoon of cloves, a half teaspoon of nutmeg. Continue cooking until mixture thickens. When done, pour into clean, sterile jars and seal. Will make three 12 oz jars.)

Since the cosmos are now fading and all that's really left of things are marigolds and a few snapdragons, no doubt I will start weeding and pulling stuff up next week. I'd like to get a few mums to put on the front steps and attempt to grow, as a last hurrah of sorts, some kale. I'd start things now, but we have a whole team of Brasilian guys scraping, power washing, trying to pretty up the house. It's kind of pleasant listening their take on the language, combined with the sounds of things being improved.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Double Oh My!

I am blushing.

This is what I so love about the internet and blogging. Where else could a girl with a by the skin of her teeth liberal arts education get a comprehensive education regarding British party politics (among other things) from an investment banker on the other side of the Atlantic? I am verymuch in agreement with Wretchard's likening of this medium to Gutenberg's invention.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Oh my!

Thank you, Sir, for the link. Thank you, too, for visiting, folks who made it here via the Instapundit link!

Hal has a wonderful set of images from our trip at Gotrox.org. Go take a look and why we spend as much time as possible off the grid.  Posted by Hello
Well, don't know if there is any great renewal of my vim or vigor, but I am back again, at any rate.

It's amazing what a girl will miss out on when she's under a literal news blackout. Or rather, what she *won't* miss while under blackout.

Friday, August 06, 2004

That's it for now. I'm off the grid for two weeks. See you all again at the end of August. Posted by Hello
Preparations have been made. The cats are with Pablo.
The garden (oh the tomatoes!) is under the care of Raphaella and Lucas.
I have my clean laundry ready to be packed, my knitting projects chosen, my books in a pile on my bed. Work - well, work will keep. That's for sure.

As I've been so in a haze these past few weeks, it's nice to be excited about something. I'm so looking forward to devouring L'Enfant du Sable with the intent of rendering it into English. I'm also looking forward to finishing Moby Dick. Easy stuff this time around, but that's all I can really handle right now.

My knitting will be just as simple - a pretty rhythmic stripe pattern in nice spice colors for the mom and complementary sweaters for dad and baby. Maybe some sock work.

The best thing will be the quiet, though. I really need it right now.
I love my friends! When I don't see them for a long time, it really brings home to me how good it is to have them in my life. A couple weeks ago, I got to spend a day with the Chumworth family. The other night, I got to see Monique after about a lapse of a year. She showed up in her new Isadora Duncan car and for the first time in my life, I knew lust. Had a lovely dinner at a little bistro in JP: Ten Tables. We were so proud of ourselves for choosing from the prix fixe menu, even though, with wine and all the little extras we got, it ended up costing the same as Evoo.

We're such different people but in a complementary way. I love her style. She reminds me that, though good organization and efficiency are excellent traits to have, that, though frugality is a definate must in Boston's economy when you are working in helping fields as we do, you really need to remember to take good care of yourself sometimes. I'd not splurge on such little luxuries or get to let the wind whip through my hair like I did if it weren't for her.
Lots of half-formed thoughts in my brain, but I am too overwhelmed and tired to complete them, much less write them down. Was thinking a lot about media bias lately, especially after a lunchtime conversation with some coworkers who asserted that corporate media is largely conservative. I disagree with this assertion. Instapundit linked to an interesting study on bias which I read - interesting metric used - the number of liberal vs conservative think tank citations both by news articles and politicians. Good food for thought. For a perhaps less empirical but still thought provoking take - have a look at this site. Also interesting is Spinsanity.org.
Have been reading the latest edition of Foreign Affairs - lots of good stuff in it, as always. Two articles that have been giving me great food for thought are:

History and Hyperpower - is the US an empire in the style of past empires? Should we be comporting ourselves as one? What has history to show us?

Strengthening African Leadership - a look at some post colonial governments in Africa that are working and why. While we're at it, I think that it would be very good to read this article in conjunction with a Tech Central Station article on an African miracle.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Thought it might be a good idea to put the rest of the pictures from the big Buffalo/Toronto adventure up before I had a *new* set of pictures from Maine.

Enjoy...and, of course, you-know-who took them with his good ol' handy dandy nikon coolpix 990. Nothing here, save for maybe one or two at the South Park Conservatory, were run through any color correction or other treatment.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Old menu from the Royal York Hotel, built by the Canadian Pacific Railway, and until only recently, the largest hotel in the British Empire. Posted by Hello

Royal York Hotel Lobby Posted by Hello

View from our hotel window Posted by Hello

Out our window at night. Posted by Hello

Mounted Police. The gentleman in blue is a Metro Toronto policeman in his dress uniform. Next to him, of course, is a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Such impressive figures. Golly, I love a man in uniform. Posted by Hello

Mounted Police being followed by some Canada Day groupies. You should have seen how giggly these girls were!  Posted by Hello

Minimalist cuties in a Chinatown shop. Posted by Hello

The golden fern in the lower right hand part of the card is a harbinger of luck in love. This couple seems to be having no problem in that department this midsummer's eve. I love this image, as it so reminds me of Hal and me.  Posted by Hello

More midsummer's greetings - I think that this might be Laima's lover...help me out if you know for sure.  Posted by Hello

Laima - Midsummer Night's Festival postcard Posted by Hello

Jersey Giant. So much for Hal's 'authentic Canadian pub experience.' This was a fun place, actually. Very low key. The bartender, like just about every other Torontonian we met, was a wonderful conversationalist - ended up getting into a discussion on distribution lines/pedigrees of beers. Interesting. Another wonderful little thing was what was on tap: for crying out loud, I had a gosh darned hoegaarden and was it a franziskaner? I think so. You're lucky if you can find those in bottles here. Posted by Hello

XII Latvian Song Fest, Toronto, Canada. Posted by Hello

Line Dance, Midsummer's Night festival Posted by Hello

Children Dancing Posted by Hello

Mummers! Posted by Hello

I've never seen so many dancers together in one space. I think there were something like 450 participating in this concert. Posted by Hello

Lantern Dance. One of my favorites. Very haunting music. Posted by Hello

This was a singing of what sounded to me like a Latvian "Ma Vlast." The audience joined in, and the place was filled with this incredible, powerful, emotional energy. What a moving close to a wonderful event. Posted by Hello

Koi pond Posted by Hello

South Park Conservatory, Lackawanna, NY Posted by Hello

Roof with palm Posted by Hello

Honk! Posted by Hello

Arija, Bev and Hal in a garden mirror Posted by Hello