- Make gingerbread houses
- Bake sugar cookies
- Make teacher gifts/cards
- Deliver treats to doctor/vet/etc
- Do "Would you rather?" checklist
- Play Christmas bingo
- Buy and affix holiday stocking pin
- Gifts for others (via church)/Toys for Tots
- Donate savings jar to an organization
- Make natural wreath
- Write letters to Santa
- Have friends over for cookie decorating party after school
- Make latkes for Hanukkah
- Stay-up-late Solstice party/camp out under tree (12/21/12)
- Snowflake tortillas
- Make "my favorite things" ornament
- Make bird feeders
- Have a fondue party
- Field Trip: NYC or OSV
- Make origami ornaments
- Go caroling to relatives via phone
- Decorate windows/chalkboard
- Make snowman fridge
- Make jar snow globes
Friday, November 30, 2012
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Yes, I do see the irony in relying on some white woman's exact recipe for a Chinese stir fry, an art in itself, for my half-Chinese kids.
But they loved it.
I adapted the recipe somewhat based on what I had in the fridge and the kids' own preferences. Really, saute any stir-fry-friendly vegetables in a little oil and garlic and then add her sauce. She called for snap peas; I used yellow bell pepper and baby corn. She advises tofu; I skipped that for a vegetarian meal but might add chicken next time.
Here's the sauce:
Veggie Stir-Fry Sauce
1 cup stock
1/4 cup tamari or low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
(you can add a little sugar if you like it on the sweet side)
Saute chosen vegetables in olive oil, adding garlic and ginger. Then simmer them in the above sauce until tender. Serve over rice or even noodles.
adapted from Katie Workman, The Mom 100 Cookbook
It was everything I hoped and more. I learned about the history of the Hmong people, from origins in China to cycles of conflict and immigration, most recently with the US war in Laos and escapes to the US. I learned about Hmong culture--the dedication to family and clan and culture that provides their identity while rejecting assimilation, the animist religion that dominates their worldview and conflicts so with Western understanding of the body and medicine and science. I gained more insight to Western medical culture, from training to daily experiences (33 hour shifts?!) to ethics and both the efficacy and blindness of rationalist, Cartesian thinking, and how different doctors work with or outside of all of those parameters, including the 8 questions for . . . .. And I empathized with the parents, faced with the illness of their second-youngest child in a land where they couldn't tell the doctors what was wrong with her and what they could do.
But lastly, I think I gained some insight into my in-laws. Of course, they are not Hmong or war refugees or animists. But they are from a different culture, first Chinese, then Thai, first the children of immigrants in Bangkok and now immigrants themselves in the US. And while they have been here almost 40 years, they are not really of here, nor really want to be. In one section of the book, ethics comes under discussion. What is ethical? Were Lia's parents unethical for not complying with doctors' instructions for Lia's treament or were they ethical for staying true to their personal spiritual and communal beliefs? For them, ethics demanded loyalty to family, clan, and Hmong, not to Western doctors who patronized and even persecuted them (so to speak: Lia was made a ward of the state for a period of time, at her doctor's insistence). Weren't they then ethical by their own definition? And perhaps my in-laws' dedication to their own culture's ethics and beliefs is what keeps them so apart here and causes such confusion/isolation, even with their own American children? Can we really ever truly bridge such gaps? Must the immigrating generation, as someone in Fadiman's book notes, always sacrifice their own happiness in the cultural conflict that immigration often creates? At least, in my family's case, a girl's health and life were not devastated in the breech, which is in itself a Western bias--Lia's family long felt that her illness was in many ways a spiritual gift.
The book about her certainly was.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Early on, there was also "Battlestar Galactica" and "Buck Rogers and the 25th Century."
There was Sherlock Holmes in books, then in movies, and most recently on BBC.
Same with Excalibur, Mists of Avalon, and then "Merlin." And with those, all the Renaissance fests.
I even played "Dungeons and Dragons" and have multi-sided dice.
And went to Gen Con once.
Then "Star Trek," specifically "The Next Generation." But sometimes "Deep Space Nine" and "Voyager." (Rarely, the original.)
And one "Star Trek" convention.
And some Monty Python.
But only a little "Black Adder."
There was "Xena" and "Buffy" and even "Firefly."
But NEVER the "new" Star Wars.
And I was never huge into Narnia, but I've read the first one.
Of course, there was Lord of the Rings. And, soon, The Hobbit.
And above all else, Harry Potter.
I even saw (but never read) Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
But I really do think I've sealed my identity as a geek with my new-found love of "Doctor Who."
I've raced through the Ninth and Tenth Doctors, and started the Eleventh today.
I wonder where geekdom will take me next?
I traveled back in time to NYC circa Woody Allen's Radio Days this afternoon, talking with my new hospice friend (? patient seems very clinical, and client too professional. I'm a visitor. Does that make the other person the visitee?). It was actually much easier to have a conversation than I supposed it would be, even though it was punctuated by little naps and distractions.
Things I might have worried about--like not being able to hear or understand the person's speech, witnessing distressing symptoms, running out of things to say--didn't happen . . . this time. I know there will be awkward and difficult moments, if not with this hospice friend, than with the next.
Then, of course, there will be this person's decline and eventual death; it is hospice, after all. And I will write a card for the family and attend the funeral, if I can.
But today was a blessing and I'm looking forward to my weekly visits.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Anyway, Sis refused to wear hers inside out, telling Bud he had to wear his that way. Which he willingly did. She volunteered to wear her socks inside out and then she fetched spoons for under the pillows.
Well, of course, it didn't work and Bud says it's because Sis didn't comply!
I say, it's because the meterologists were off on this one, at least for our part of the state.
1 small head green, Savoy, or Napa cabbage, about 1 1/2 lbs
4 tablespoons butter or 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons brown sugar (I would reduce this to 1-1 1/2 tablespoons; too sweet)
1/4 teaspoon allspice
5 cups stock or water, preferably warmed
freshly squeezed lemon juice or white wine or rice vinegar to taste
Core and shred cabbage. Place butter or oil in large, deep, saucepan or casserole and turn the heat to medium. When the butter melts or oil heats, add cabbage, onion, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring, until both onion and cabbage are tender but not brown (turn down heat if necessary) at least 20 minutes.
Stir in sugar and allspice and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add stock or water and cook stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes.
Add lemon juice and adjust seasoning. Serve hot.
Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything
All of the above plus a little tomatoes (sauce, diced, chopped would work), leftover cooked cannellini beans, and some Herbes de Provence.
"Unstuffed" Cabbage Version
The original recipe plus cooked rice and browned ground turkey (and while tomatoes would have been appropriate, one kid objects vociferously).
Monday, November 26, 2012
The 75' silver maple in our backyard.
This morning a tree service came out and trimmed about 10-15' off the top, cut away branches overhanging our house and those of our neighbors', removed deadwood, and then cabled three of the large sections together. The tree looks a little shorn, especially as it is bare of foliage, but it will be much safer the next time a storm hits. Besides, it grows back fast enough--we had it trimmed about 10 years ago, which you wouldn't have known from looking at it recently.
We also decided, at the last minute, to keep the spruce, which is all cattywampus between the maple and the dogwood, but it's our only evergreen and the place the kids build fairy houses. Yesterday, thinking we were going to have it removed, they actually saved pieces of it. Well, that did it. Can't have kids crying over a tree. It's not immanently dangerous so we left it in place. And they cheered and cheered!
They'll cheer again when we trim that other tree.
Friday, November 23, 2012
But Thanksgiving is (thankfully) over and we're moving on to the next holiday. Mama brought up our Lego Christmas village set so Sis and Bud could set it up on our dining room/playroom table. Then she brought out this year's holiday building, which they all had fun putting together.
And I picked up a crochet project that I haven't worked on in almost exactly four years: Mama's Christmas stocking. Thankfully, I'd made notes on the pattern, noting the size of the crochet hook and how I'd altered the pattern when I made Sis and Bud's stockings. I loved working on the stocking while listening to Mama and the kids.
And to Christmas music!
Because the holidays have started in our house.
And we're all very happy and excited.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
And I'm glad.
It was a really tough day in many ways.
The kids were great. And my brother-in-law is a light in all of our lives. We were also glad to try to give my in-laws some respite from the difficulty that has been their life since the hurricane; I feel for them and want to help. And I love Mama.
But today was frustrating, chaotic, and bittersweet.
First, making the food was so much more complicated than it should have been. And then most of it turned out really mediocre. I know I'm a better cook than that, but today was not my day.
- Lesson 1: You can't stick that many things in my oven at once.
- Lesson 2: Even though Thanksgiving is about food, we can cut back on our expectations so that the meal doesn't crush the holiday spirit.
- Lesson 3: Ask others to bring dishes.
- Lesson 4: Have your goal in mind. I thought my goal was a tasty meal--comfort food for the soul--but I think my real goal was comfort and I missed that one today.
- Lesson 5: Make more time for rest and relaxation before lunch.
- Lesson 6: Figure out better ways to deal with hot flashes.
- Lesson 7: Have a conversation starter or game on hand just in case.
- Lesson 8: When all else fails, go outside.
- Lesson 9: Eat dessert first.
- Lesson 10: Be gentle with yourself and others.
The kids are in pajamas, brushing their teeth. We're about to settle down to watch some videos. Maybe "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" (or whatever it's called), or maybe just some Pokemon. I know it'll be the first time Mama has gotten off her feet in almost 12 hours! A good way to wind down the day.
Lessons learned later . . . .
Because in about 10 minutes, it will be time to put dinner on the table! There are currently 5 dishes in one oven, two needing their last-minute toppings soon, and one in the convection, roasting their little sprout hearts out. The gravy is done; the cranberry sauce is done.
We're almost ready.
We run a pretty informal ship over here: no elaborate place settings or centerpieces, no linen tablecloth or napkins, no fine china or crystal. That's not a complaint; we're good that way--it's us. We do have a fancy turkey cranberry dish (thanks, Aunt Banana), a turkey platter (both with a and for the turkey), as well as turkey plates (okay, confession: I'm a vegetarian and I wonder about pictures of happy live turkeys on plates with hot dead turkey. At least it's a pretty Victorian-esque cranberry-colored transfer). But it's our everyday glasses and cutlery. And so much food there won't be space for any pinecone pilgrims!
And here we go. Dinner, a round of gratitudes (or not, I think those wounds might just be too tender right now), and lots of food.
Not a bad day.
The kids hit the ground running, enticing Goo (who arrived last night for extra family time) into an early-morning Pokemon game.
Now Ma and Gong are here, hopefully for a day if respite from hurricane recovery.
And I'm making the first round of coffee.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
- my high school typing class
- tea bags
- apples and peanut butter
- autumn leaves
- quilts and afghans
- cats, penguins, bunnies, otters, pandas, koalas, hedgehogs, pugs
- cheese and crackers
- handwritten letters
- Star Wars, Harry Potter, Xena, Buffy, Doctor Who
- Girl Scouts
- boat rides
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Be patient and really let that roux brown!
Heat 4 tablespoons grease. Add 4 tablespoons of flour. Brown til copper-colored. Stir in 4 cups drippings. Add chicken bouillon and salt and pepper to taste.
½ cup margarine
½ cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 bag of stuffing
2 cups dry bread (or 2 more cups of Pepperidge Farms)
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
½ teaspoon sage
1 cup chicken stock (double this amount!)
Saute onion and celery in margarine. In mixing bowl, crumble breads and add spices and onion/celery mix. Add chicken stock. Refrigerate over night. Bake at 350°F for 45 min.-1 hour.
29 oz. can yams, drained
4 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Bake at 375°F. Add marshmallows to brown.
Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish
2 cups whole raw cranberries, washed
1 small onion
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons horseradish from a jar ("red is a bit milder than white")
Grind the raw berries and onion together. ("I use an old-fashioned meat grinder," says Stamberg. "I'm sure there's a setting on the food processor that will give you a chunky grind -- not a puree.")
Add everything else and mix.
Put in a plastic container and freeze.
Early Thanksgiving morning, move it from freezer to refrigerator compartment to thaw. ("It should still have some little icy slivers left.")
The relish will be thick, creamy, and shocking pink. ("OK, Pepto Bismol pink. It has a tangy taste that cuts through and perks up the turkey and gravy. It’s also good on next-day turkey sandwiches, and with roast beef.")
Makes 1-1/2 pints.
1 12-ounce package Ocean Spray(r) Fresh or Frozen Cranberries, rinsed and drained
Green Bean Casserole
2-16 oz. cans whole green beans, drained (can also use frozen)
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1-2.8 oz. can of French-Fried Onions
Combine soup, milk, soy sauce and pepper. Stir in green beans and ½ can of onions. Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes or until hot; stir. Top with remaining onions. Bake 5 minutes.
Broccoli Rice Casserole
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped celery
½ stick (4 tablespoons) margarine
2 –10 oz packages frozen chopped broccoli, cooked
2 cups cooked rice (from about ¾ cup raw)
1-10 ¾ oz can condensed cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup
½ small jar (4 ounces) Cheez Whiz
1-5 oz can water chestnuts, sliced
Brown onion and celery in margarine until soft and golden. Combine with broccoli, rice, soup, Cheez Whiz and drained water chestnuts in a greased 2-quart casserole. Bake 25-30 minutes at 350°F. Serves 8. May be made in advance and refrigerated until ready to cook. May be frozen. Allow 45 minutes to 1 hour time if casserole is chilled or frozen.
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat oven to 400* F.
Remove the ends and brown or damaged leaves of the Brussel sprouts. Rinse well in cold water. Dry the sprouts well. Cut in half lengthwise. In a bowl, gently mix the sprouts with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast on foil-lined baking sheet for 30- 40 minutes, until crispy and on the outside and tender inside.
Big-Batch Quick Dinner Rolls
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup sugar
1 cup Karo syrup (light or dark; I usually have light)
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, stir the first five ingredients until well blended. Stir in pecans. Pour into pie crust. Bake 50-55 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between crust and center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.
And then I had a nice phone conversation with Aunt Banana, who is readying not only for Thanksgiving with our folks but also Cousin Hungry's second birthday!
I also went to the store and got my morning coffee for free when the register was down! I figured they'd just close the mini-SB, but they just gave away the coffee. And I found my favorite sweaters on sale--and bought a size smaller than last year.
Now, I'm at home, watching "Doctor Who" with my purring cat, Hermione.
The day has gotten a lot better.
Monday, November 19, 2012
On Friday evening, we saw a performance of the Chinese kung fu troupe, the Shaolin Warriors, along with several of Bud's kung fu classmates and his kung fu master. The kids, but especially Bud, were thrilled. There were weapons demonstrations with staff, broadsword, whip, etc; group hand forms; tests of strength with with beds of nails, logs, breaking metal sticks, etc; and lots of acrobatics. A few times, the performers even invited audience members up to help with the demonstration, including kids one time. And Bud, hesitant at first, agreed to go up when a performer bowed to him from the aisle. He went up on stage and followed along on a simple hand form with about 40 other kids. And he did a great job! We bought a video and a program. It was a great dry run for Disney, with the late-night show and bedtime. And we all passed with flying colors.
After his usual kung fu class on Saturday morning, we all headed to the local Carpatho-Russian Christmas fair at the church of some of our friends. We'd gone last year and had had a marvelous time. This year was no different: delicious food (halupki, halushki, pagachi, kielbasa, sauerkraut, potato pancakes, etc), fun gingerbread-house decorating, and good friends. I even got to see the beautiful sanctuary! It's one of my favorite fairs. And just like last year, the friendly welcome of all the church members is unsurpassed!
One woman at the church, though, was very opinionated (she was the sister of someone who knew someone at the church and not anyone I knew). When she heard Mama and I talking about Twinkies, she started to lecture me about how to buy better food for my children! But instead of just saying this once and moving one, she kept going on and on and on. I couldn't decide if it was a fat prejudice thing directed at me, thinking I must feed my kids Twinkies all the time. Or I'm not sure what. But without cutting her off, I turned to Mama and said now we had to find some Hostess treats! And we did, a box of orange cupcakes, my favorites. Mama preferred Sno Balls but couldn't find those. And there are no Twinkies anywhere. We'd really wanted to have them try a Twinkie, since they were such a 20th-century icon in popular culture--"Twinkie" to refer to lightweight (as in "Twinkie books"), the idea of indestructible food-like products, even fried Twinkies. It's my childhood's zeitgeist. So, we ate the Orange Cupcakes, which have the texture and filling of Twinkies, if not the same yellow flavor. And the kids were nonplussed and didn't get why this is such a big deal. No wonder Hostess is going out of business after a few bankruptcies! Oh, well. Mama and I remember Hostess, even if we probably hadn't had any in 30+ years, and that's enough.
We continued our Disney film series, trying to expose the kiddos to the most famous and prevalent films before our trip. We saw Bambi last weekend (ugh, but it's what they had at the library), then Alice in Wonderland and then The Incredibles. So far, the kids haven't been overly interested, but we've enjoyed them enough.
And then we played outside. Neighbors helped us clear the yard (well, we paid the kids to do the work and I chatted with the mom), while Mama worked on ideas for organizing the garage. The kids helped some and ran around playing more.
Pretty much the perfect fall weekend.
Sunday: I am grateful for my friend Vivian, who taught me how to crochet, a skill that has brought me great pleasure over the years and enabled me to make gifts for others. Now I'm in the process of teaching Sis, who purchased two skeins of different weights of yarn, both pink, and a J hook and L hook--she thought the letters meant "gigantic" and "large."
Monday: I am grateful for my friends, near and far, including the two I met with today, one for breakfast and one for lunch. They are my inspiration, my support, my advisors, my confidants, my role models, my rest and relaxation. And I hope I am theirs.
Friday, November 16, 2012
Well, except with other Democrats.
But there are so many of us up here that we just all walked around smiling and nodding to strangers.
Well, until about 12 hours later when the hurricane hit.
Besides, we're a kinder, gentler electorate and didn't want to pain the disappointed Republicans up here.
All six of them.
But enough is enough. I've now read article after article about how Karl Rove was surprised, how Linda McMahon was surprised, how even Mitt Romney was surprised.
Don't they read Nate Silver??
No, it seems the GOP had their proverbial heads in the sand this year.
Or glued to Fox News.
And still do. Because everything I read tries to guess at why they lost--urban vote? minorities? young people? gays? Were they too conservative? Or not conservative enough? But they had all that red space on the map! How come they still lost by 126 electoral college and approximately 2 million popular votes? Apparently, Romney told his backers this week that Obama won because he bought the vote of special interest groups like gays and young people and minorities with his stances on same-sex marriage, college debt, and the Dream Act.
Can 10% of the population be a niche special interest group?
Are white, conservative, Christians a single special interest group? And wasn't the GOP trying to buy their votes? With all of Sheldon Adelson's money?
See, the thing is, the fact that the GOP doesn't understand how and why they lost is exactly how the Democrats won. The Republicans are out of touch. And apparently, based on all the reactions, more so than we Democrats could have possibly dreamt.
For some wonderful reflections on this, see (I'm sure there are more, but these are my recent faves):
And probably because I'm a lesbian, even one with a wife, I'm very rarely called "Mrs."
That, and during my decade or so in academics, no one addressed a woman except by "Ms." Unless it's "Dr." or "Professor."
So I was pretty surprised to be introduced to a school assembly as "Mrs. Hungry" the other day.
Now, officially, "Hungry" is my maiden name. Mama and I didn't share names when we married--because same-sex people have to PAY for the name change, which can run in the thousands. Also, I'm attached to my last name. It's mine. I've used it professionally and personally for my whole life. And I saw no reason to give it up, nor did Mama hers. In fact, it always surprises me to learn that women have given up their names in this day and age. Always. I understand the whole "making a new family thing," but then, why not hyphenate? Both of you? A whole new family. But only one person I know hyphenated . . . and her husband did too. I like that and have even contemplated it. The symbolism is powerful, as is that of keeping your own name. Or giving up. But just what does it symbolize?
But back to the "Mrs." I didn't correct the principal in front of the whole school or even in private afterwards, mainly because I wanted to think on it. I'm not "Mrs. Hungry," ever. My mom is. If "Mrs." signals married, I didn't marry a "Hungry." So the name just sounds so silly. I'm not offended, mainly confused and amused.
I was at the school this morning doing copies for the arts contest and was handed a list of the staff. Complete with their titles. "Mrs." carefully delineated all the way down, except for the one "Mr.", the two feminist "Ms.", and just one "Miss." What an archaic practice, perhaps one that is only kept alive in schools and suburbs? Why did the school list need to demarcate everyone's marital status?
In fact, why is that the first thing we choose to signal someone?
Are married women as mystified by being "Ms." or "Miss"? Does it sound silly? Is it offensive? Why? Is it a pride thing to be known as married?
And what in the world do men think? Do they get off on a woman giving up her own name to take theirs? Would they ever give up theirs and take hers? Is it just some quaint tradition? Of course, it used to be patriarchy that demanded the name change. Now it is a woman's choice. That's as it should be.
But, even thinking on it, I can't wrap my head around making it for myself.
Though, if you call me "Mrs. Hungry," I'll answer.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
I'm rushing to finish this prayer shawl before the dedication in church on Sunday. It's in three rows of double crochet with one row of single crochet, in a Lion Brand homespun color I can't recall (Pacifica? Tudor? Quartz? Update: It's Tudor.), until it measures approximately 20 x 70" give or take. I'll eventually add fringe, if there's time; if not, I'll give it some kind of scalloped edge. So, getting off the blog now . . . .
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
- Buy 3+ yards of fleece.
- Fold in half, with selvage edges together.
- Cut in approximately 12" strips.
- Remove selvage edge.
- To make fringe, cut strips approximately the length of the shaft of the scissors (3 to 4"). Make a cut in the middle, then in the middle of that, halving each section until you've made 1/16ths (this is easier than measuring out fringe every 3/4" or so).
- Then you can be done or tie decorative beads on each fringe piece.
I'm starting to work on our family menu for next week. How is it already next week?? I think we'll have pretty much the same as always:
- dressing (I've got leftover cornbread, homemade biscuits, and Italian bread in the freezer!)
- homemade rolls
- cranberry sauce(s)--jellied, homemade, fresh, horseradish varieties
- sweet potatoes
- green bean casserole
- pumpkin pie
- pecan pie
Monday, November 12, 2012
I actually didn't get to see him because I was taking Sis to a birthday party at the local kiddo club. There, all the guests danced to current pop music, sang karaoke, and played games like "Coke and Pepsi," freeze dance, and balloon races. Sis was dubbed "Little Rihanna," though I'm not sure of the similarities! Anyway, Sis sang along to "Call Me Maybe" and danced to "Gangam Style," "What Makes You Beautiful," and "Never Getting Back Together." None of which I knew; I'm not even sure Sis knew any but the first. Which means either Glee is behind or I need to catch up! Sis was wonderful, singing and dancing and playing with energy and excitement, even though she'd been a bit nervous about being there without her Buddy. Now she wants to have their birthday party there!
I think there's going to be a lot of music in our house the next few weeks, between Sis singing the songs she learned and Bud practicing for his recital. Music to my ears.
On Sunday night, I played on Pinterest, pinning recipes, funny cards, inspirational sayings, cute pictures of cats, and historical clothing.
Meanwhile, Mama was reading about pins, specifically collectible Disney pins. She's starting to research and make plans for our spring trip to Disney World, the one idea that would bring a smile to her face when she was sick this summer. Anyway, Mama likes pins and is excited about trading pins at WDW, but in researching them she found out all sorts of things about counterfeits, "scrappers," trading etiquette, etc.
So she'd read me about Disney pins and I'd read her funny cards and we passed two hours of odd yet delightful time with pins.
Monday: Today, I am extra thankful for computers. I'm working simultaneously on GS stuff and the school arts contest--emails, flyers, shopping, research. All while watching "Doctor Who," first "Doomsday" and now "Runaway Bride."
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Friday, November 9, 2012
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Thursday: I am very grateful for my physical therapist. Especially today, because I graduated from PT tonight!!!! Surprisingly (and perhaps a bit frighteningly!), I realized she was right when she suggested I didn't need regular therapy anymore. I hadn't seen her in a month, a month in which I'd done more things, including fall on my butt in the street, without needing immediate PT attention. So I'll continue with Pilates and everything else, like walking everyday and limiting sitting and also being mindful. I'm so much better than where I was almost a year ago when I started with her. I recognize that I will always have limitations and challenges, but I know better how to deal with them now, both physically and mentally. She gave me my life back!
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Then we had our traditional "snow snack" of popcorn and hot chocolate. Yum! I don't know for whom else that's a tradition, but I like it. We didn't manage to put out bowls for snow ice cream, figuring they'd fill with leaves or blow away.
The kids did their homework (figuring there will be a delay tomorrow, not a cancellation, but who knows) and then traded Pokemon cards with Mama, while I inadvertently napped on the couch. Eventually, dinner.
Mama just went outside to knock some snow off our small Japanese maple in front (the one in the pictures earlier) which branches were touching the ground. That lifted the branches more than 5'+! But we're still watching both the Japanese maple in front and the 75' silver maple in back because they are both in full foliage and now laden with snow.
Who can believe it? The forecast started with flurries and no accumulation and yet it's been snowing for more than nine hours nonstop! Now the forecast is saying 3-5" accumulation. We'll see. It's beautiful. As long as the wind doesn't get up to the predicted gusts of 60 mph.
For now, the kids are camping out downstairs (away from the silver maple, which was supposed to be cabled for added stability the week Sandy hit! It's a healthy tree; it's just really big.) And we're playing school and our Brownie meeting by ear.
I just hope it isn't our turn to lose power.
My heart goes out to all of those, like my friend Rev. M on LI who has been without power since Sandy struck and who are now covered in snow.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Chicken and Vegetable Soup with Tortellini
1 onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
8-12 cups chicken stock
1-10 oz package frozen spinach, defrosted
1+ cup frozen corn
1 can diced tomatoes
1-2 cups cooked chicken, diced
1-2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 large package cheese tortellini
Saute onion, celery, and carrots in olive oil; add garlic and saute til fragrant. Add chicken stock and simmer until vegetables almost tender. Add spinach, corn, tomatoes, chicken, and Italian seasoning. If serving immediately, bring soup to high simmer or boil and add tortellini. Otherwise, cook tortellini separately and heat with soup when ready to serve.
I'm fine, just fine. I'm home and the kids are at a playdate for a couple of hours. I took my meds and am watching "Doctor Who," my new favorite show. I come to it very late, definitely a lacuna in my geek cred. But it's the best medicine for my ego and knee.
And so we just wandered around our 3-block neighborhood passing out "Trick-or-Treat TUESDAY" signs, encouraging everyone to go out tonight instead of the rescheduled event tomorrow night--in 40+ mph winds and rain. Hang a flyer on your door if you want trick-or-treaters; come out and join us if you have trick-or-treaters. The neighbors I talked to thought it was a good idea. Mama laughed that, with the bake sale, I was becoming a community organizer!
Some might say it's just time to let Halloween go this year. But I know the kids are looking forward to it, a return to that normalcy everyone talks about--for them it's not the electricity and mass transit, it's school and Halloween. And so I'm doing my best to give a little bit of that not only to my own kids but to our neighborhood (the town won't change it from tomorrow).
Besides, I've got almost 10 lbs of candy to get rid of!
'Twould not be you, Niagara--nor you, ye limitless
Nor you, Yosemite--nor Yellowstone, with all its
Nor Oregon's white cones--nor Huron's belt of mighty
--This seething hemisphere's humanity, as now,
(The heart of it not in the chosen--the act itself the
The stretch of North and South arous'd--sea-board
The final ballot-shower from East to West--the
The countless snow-flakes falling--(a swordless
Yet more than all Rome's wars of old, or modern
Or good or ill humanity--welcoming the darker
--Foams and ferments the wine? it serves to
These stormy gusts and winds waft precious ships,
Swell'd Washington's, Jefferson's, Lincoln's sails.
I voted today, taking part in "America's choosing day" with Sis and Bud, who were as excited about the bake sale as the ballot! They know we support President Obama, but they kept asking why. And I tried to explain . . . .
I voted for President Obama and the Democratic Party because I am a woman, a mother, a mother of a girl, a mother of children who might be LGBTQ, a lesbian, a married lesbian, a lesbian with a Chinese wife, a member of a bi-racial family, a person with health problems, the wife of a person with health problems, the daughter of parents on Medicare, a sister to healthcare workers, a person outside of mainstream Christian religion, a person who supports public schools and higher education, a person in the arts not corporate America, a person who believes in federal funding for the arts and museums, a vegetarian, a mother worried about the foods and medicines she gives her family, a person worried about the environment, a person who doesn't believe in the exceptionalism of the United States, a person who believes in the responsibility of government in supporting and protecting those least able to help themselves be it because of natural disaster/ age/illness/disability/hardship, a person who believes in the government's responsibility to regulate business including agribusiness/military-industrial complex/Wall Street/Big Pharma/etc, a person who believes in national healthcare and childcare subsidies and maternity leave, and for so many other reasons . . . .
Sis and Bud, one day you'll understand . . . and one day you'll vote, too.
And I am grateful for that right to vote, which didn't exist for women when my grandmother was born in 1902.
Monday, November 5, 2012
But I read the paper and hear the stories: no power, no heat, no plumbing, no food, no water, no communication lines.
It has happened before, elsewhere, notably New Orleans after Katrina as well as Houston after Rita. But now it is happening in one of the most densely-populated regions of the country: NJ, NYC, the suburbs. It has affected millions.
And it will happen again.
So, how do we prepare? Most of us don't have enough room to plant gardens to sustain us, "volunteer" trees for possible firewood (or the tools to cut one down), space for a self-composting outhouse as Heather Bruggeman and Karen L R mention, the ability to dig a well for water. We can't prepare to live off the grid. We are the grid.
If I wanted to live on the land, I'd be there already. I like semi-urban living.
Except when it breaks.
Even if we have generators, we need gasoline. And we've seen how quickly and easily that supply can be interrupted. Even if we store a year's worth of meals, a la the Mormons, we can't actually cook them on our outdoor grills without fuel. And if we don't have that supply of meals, what food will we eat? The prep-for-three-days is woefully inadequate. And what about water?
I don't have any answers. I'm not sure anyone really does. But I know I'll be thinking on it before next year.
And maybe buying a generator anyway.