Jabberwocky for 2005 July

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[Comments] (1) Give and Take: Sandra Day O'Connor has announced her retirement. She wants to spend more time with her family. I suppose it should come as no surprise after a quarter century of service, and I don't blame her a bit, but still I feel very sad. I've always admired Justice O'Connor, and counted on her to be a voice of reason. Now she will probably be replaced with some idealogical fanatic.

Where is Jefferson's America? Jefferson's America is going bye-bye.

In Memoriam: Roadside remembrance shrines are supposed to help mourners with the grieving process. I feel a need to go out and set up a Styrofoam cross and plastic flowers somewhere, in honor of Justice O'Connor's retirement. Do you suppose she would like a teddy bear? A Mylar balloon?

Further Thought on the Supreme Court: When I was in high school, we didn't want Reinquist to be approved for the Supreme Court. Everyone was protesting and writing letters to our Congresspeople. It was indeed a dark day, we thought, when he was appointed.

We had no idea how much worse it could possibly get.

Doggie Love: Does anyone love you as much as your dog does? I doubt it. The doggie's little heart swells with love. Can anyone match it? Jesus? Your mother? I don't think so.

[Comments] (3) A Salad of Memories: Yesterday I tried to make a macaroni salad like the one Aunt Margaret made for a family trip to Mesa Verde National Park. This was difficult because I don't have a recipe, I was a little girl at the time, and I don't really remember anything about the salad except that it was made from the little tube salad macaroni and I loved it.

By straining my memory-- or maybe my imagination?-- I seemed to remember, or imagine, little black and red flecks in the salad, so I put in pimento and black olives. And celery. I suspect Aunt Margaret put in chopped hardboiled eggs, but I never use them, in potato salad either, because I am l-a-z-y. I put in too much mayonnaise, and it was blah.

This morning I cut it with peas, which solved the too much mayonnaise problem, and I added a green onion. It's good now, but not the salad I remember.

I remember several things about the trip to Mesa Verde National Park. The main one is that Jonathan kept needing to go to the bathroom and kept whining for a "comfort station." I don't know if that is what the NPS called bathrooms back then, or if it is a Aunt Margaretism. We were all crammed into the back of the station wagon for the trip. People didn't worry about seatbelts for kids back in those days. And we went to the Sun Temple and ran around on the ruins. Many years later, Anne and Jonathan and I returned to Mesa Verde with our own children and let them run around on the Sun Temple. I have some wonderful pictures of that event.

[Comments] (3) At The Sign Of The Panting Puppy: This evening we took Gretel to the dog park. I had heard of dog parks, but I didn't know we had one! It's completely fenced in, and the dogs can be off the leash to run and play. Ain't we got fun? Gretel wore herself out. There were a lot of dogs there, all of them friendly, and the people were pretty nice too. I had been told there were bowls around for water, but there weren't, so G. had to drink the water I brought out of the bottle. She finally got the hang of it when the bottle was almost empty.

One lady asked how old she was, and when I said "four", she said, "She acts like she's six months."

Yeah, we noticed. We are definitely going to have to go to the dog park again.

Cooking With Mr. Dudley: Since Mr. Dudley came to live here at Christmas, I find I am using so much more pepper. I just filled him with peppercorns and already they are half gone. Part of that may be due to the ripening of our tomatoes. There is absolutely nothing more delicious than ripe sliced tomatoes with salt and cracked black pepper.

Sometimes I use Mr. Dudley too much. I made lemon pepper chicken that was way too peppery although it would have helped if I hadn't spilled half the lemon juice.

Mr. Dudley wanders. When you are cooking at the kitchen counter, he is on the table, and when you sit down to eat, there he is over there on the counter. The peregrine pepper grinder.

[Comments] (1) Fourth of July: We went to a ward pancake breakfast in the park this morning, and we even sang the Star Spangled Banner. I think that song should be replaced! It's not even American music. America the Beautiful is much more suitable. The breakfast was yummy and a lot of fun.

I did genealogy most of the day, but I also chopped up five pint-size Ziploc bags full of tomatoes and froze them.

When Gretel and I went walkies we saw the neighbors setting up their fireworks. This year, piccolo petes are illegal because last year a man was being a fool and got killed by one. They also outlawed those little "flowers" that twirl on the sidewalk shooting colored sparks. I really like those.

Rachel went to a party, but I guess what I'm going to do is pull some weeds and then go to bed. Back to work in the morning! It's been a nice weekend.

[Comments] (2) Rant: I wasted most of the day today because of the home health people. What a pain in the butt. The nurse called while I was teaching my class, exactly as I've told her not to so many times. I told her I'd be home by one. (I needed to get a haircut, so didn't come straight home.) Well at least I accomplished that.

I was REALLY needing a nap but couldn't take one until after the nurse's visit. I waited and waited, and she didn't come until three. I was too exhausted to do anything like pay bills or grade papers while waiting, so I waited.

Those home health people think that I don't have a life and that I should be curled in a corner waiting to die. They think their patients should just sit around home doing nothing. Well, I'm not willing to wilt down to a snivel and wait to die. I have places to go and things to do, and, even though almost all of their patients choose to be homebound, I wish they had some consideration for me and the battle I fight daily trying not to be.

I hope this isn't going to translate into a problem with the TPN delivery on Thursday because we have to have Gretel at the kennel by 1:00 p.m. and then we are outta here.

[Comments] (1) Asian Surprise!: I ran errands today, one of which was to the Asia Market to buy miso. I peeked into the Teriyaki Bowl that adjoins the market. You'll recall how disappointed I was when the Asia Market moved and became a Teriyaki Bowl instead of a granny behind the window stir frying to order. Well. It's not a REAL Teriyaki Bowl. It's the same Asia Market granny; they are just calling it Teriyaki Bowl. I don't know if the Teriyaki Bowl franchise people know about this; I think not. But for anyone who wants the fake stuff, there is a Yoshinama right across the street. The good food is at Asia Market.

So I went in and had cashew chicken and rice for $2.56. I had been going to go to Taco Bell and get a salad, but this was so much cheaper and so much more yummy.

[Comments] (1) Upsetness: I am so distressed at the bomb attacks in London that I am numb. How can they do such a thing?

[Comments] (1) I Left My Heart....: So here we are in San Francisco, eating much gourmet food cooked by Leonardr. Yesterday we went to the Bombay Creamery and ate ginger ice cream, and then to a weird stuff store and a pirate store. I wanted to buy a pirate t-shirt ("Bring your own citrus") but I didn't allow myself to do it because I really don't need more shirts.

The thing that appealed to me the most at the weird stuff store was the plaster dental casts. Although they had a pair of taxidermised mice dressed up like a bride and groom. I WANT them for the top of my wedding cake! I certainly would have rather had them than the tacky plastic bell thing I did have. (I didn't pick it out. I told the lady who baked the cake I didn't care what was on top, and she choose that.)

Then we went to lunch at Greens, which was delicious, and we made an appearance at the Friends of the Library used bookstore, where I was also very good and bought no books.

So far the only money I have spent has been for gas and a box of Ritz.

Today we are going to the Giants game with Leonardw and Jeff. I got us some very nice (and expensive!) tickets. After the game we will go back to Leonardw and Jeff's house to make a birthday dinner for Leonardr.

I hope we don't freeze at the game.

I Left My Heart....: So here we are in San Francisco, eating much gourmet food cooked by Leonardr. Yesterday we went to the Bombay Creamery and ate ginger ice cream, and then to a weird stuff store and a pirate store. I wanted to buy a pirate t-shirt ("Bring your own citrus") but I didn't allow myself to do it because I really don't need more shirts.

The thing that appealed to me the most at the weird stuff store was the plaster dental casts. Although they had a pair of taxidermised mice dressed up like a bride and groom. I WANT them for the top of my wedding cake! I certainly would have rather had them than the tacky plastic bell thing I did have. (I didn't pick it out. I told the lady who baked the cake I didn't care what was on top, and she choose that.) Can you imagine what it would do to the guests to see dead mice on the cake? heh heh heh.

Then we went to lunch at Greens, which was delicious, and we made an appearance at the Friends of the Library used bookstore, where I was also very good and bought no books.

So far the only money I have spent has been for gas and a box of Ritz.

Today we are going to the Giants game with Leonardw and Jeff. I got us some very nice (and expensive!) tickets. After the game we will go back to Leonardw and Jeff's house to make a birthday dinner for Leonardr.

I hope we don't freeze at the game.

Happy Birthday Leonard!: for Leonard's birthday, we went to a Giants game, and believe it or not, we won! We had really good seats watching-the-gamewise, but I think I prefer to be higher up so I can watch the boats too. I ate a Ben&Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream bar which made me sick. When I went to the bathroom, I stood in a line and gradually became aware that I was in a line of MEN! So I figured I'd better find another line to stand in. Oops.

After the game, we all went to Leonardw and Jeff's, and I crashed. Leonardw made the grilled shrimp recipe from this month's Sunset, and it was wonderful. I wish I had been able to eat more. It was a great day.

Leonardr had a cookbook of Greens recipes, so I am going to post the one for the wonderful filo thingy I had when we went there the other day.

Filo Turnovers Filled with Goat Cheese, Leeks, and Walnuts.

1 T. olive oil, 1 T. butter, 3 leeks, white parts only, chopped (About 3 cups) salt and pepper, 1/4 c. white wine, 1/4 c. walnut pieces, toasted and chopped 1/4 pound goat cheese (about 3/4 cup) 1 oz. Parmesan, grated, about 1/3 cup. 1 T. chopped flat leaf parsley 1/2 t. chopped fresh thyme, 8 sheets frozen filo dough, thawed overnight in refrigerator 4 T. melted butter.

Preheaat oven to 375. Heat the oil and butter in a saute pan and add the leeks, salt, and a pinch of pepper. Saute over med. heat until the leeks begin to wilt, about 3-4 min. Add the wine and summer until the pan is almost dry, about 2 min more. Transfer to a bowl. When cool, add the walnuts, cheese, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste.

Lay a single sheet of filo out and place a seond sheet on top. Brush lightly with butter and cut lengthwise into 4 strips.

plaace a heaping tablespoon of filling at the end of each strip, and then fold over at a 45 degree angle to form a triangle. As you roll the turnovers, think of folding a flag. Roll them loosely so the filling will have room to expand during baking. Keep folding until you reach the end of the strip. Make the rest, brush with butter, place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until golden and crisp, about 15 minutes.

[Comments] (2) On Any Monday: I didn't get much done today; I'm kind of sick. I did go to work and then slept for three hours. Rachel and I made the leek and goat cheese turnovers, and they are really good. We also made blueberry scones. I haven't tried one yet because I'm afraid I'll throw it up. I graded papers and now I'm going to walk the dog and then go to bed early and be sick. I think that trips are hard on me these days.

[Comments] (3) Goat: When we were in the Bay Area, Leonard took us grocery shopping in Berkeley--the most wonderful store I've ever been in. I bought a whole lot of Laura Chenel goat cheese. I read about Laura Chenel in Sunset several years ago. She went to France for a year and lived with a goat farm family, learning how to make cheese, and when she came back to Sonoma she started this cheese business to support the local dairy goat farmers, who were struggling.

I think that's admirable. I'd never had her cheese before we ate at Greens, and it is just wonderful. So creamy and tangy, and far superior to the goat cheese one can obtain here. That's why I bought us a supply. I got a lot of the plain variety and some of the herbal coated kind to crumble on salads. Baaaaaaahhhhh!

[Comments] (5) From An Arizona Newspaper: While the ideologues work themselves into a lather over Sandra Day O’Connor’s successor, I keep thinking about her next decision. If she has any sense, it will be 9-0, write a cookbook. Her enchiladas are renowned, and her law clerks were just on NPR swooning over the other Southwestern food she always made for them. Given how grossly underrepresented our home state is in bookstores, she could cross a whole new frontier, complete with TV show: “Justice in the Kitchen.” Soon enough, you know that will be a woman’s place again anyway. ---Regina Schrambling

[Comments] (2) I Think I Have Gone to Hell: It's 107 degrees here today, and supposed to be all week. Too hot to do any gardening, and the weeds are taking over. Actually, very early mornings aren't so bad, but I have to go to work then. It was still an oven when I walked Gretel yesterday after sunset.

I have a pounding headache, and I have spent the afternoon hiding in the house. Tomorrow is the last day of class and the deadline for all the students to turn in late work for me. I think I'm going to have an intensive paper grading weekend. I was hoping to get more late work earlier this week, but they are putting it off until the last minute.

Monday is the departmental writing proficiency test, and Tuesday is grading them. This is bad because I can't take off work because of that, and Anne, Joseph, and Louise will be here visiting. Bleah. The teachers of the nighttime sections and the Delano sections just send their tests to be graded, la la la, and don't show up to help grade them, so the rest of us have to do double duty. I don't think that is fair at all. I don't think they should get away with it because we all have a contractual obligation to do four hours of test grading. However, they do pay us $25/hour after our four hour obligation is met. If I can survive until next Friday, it will be a triumph.

It's difficult to be sick and do summer school, but what would I do if I couldn't work? My life would be useless. I always thought that in retirement I could stay home and sew for grandchildren, but I'm losing my small motor coordination. And grandchildren are pretty far on the horizon anyhow.

Times will get better, and I *will* survive.

[Comments] (2) Whew!: The last day of class has been taught, and now all that is left is the testing (and the huge stack of papers I need to grade.) And I even got a paycheck. A big paycheck. Makes me wonder if they paid me for the full summer term, or will I get another check on August 15. Who can tell? They way they do payroll at that school, I certainly can't. I do know they gave us a raise, supposedly, but I don't know how much and when it took effect.

Because I had eaten all the goat cheese turnovers, I made more this afternoon. This may have been a tactical error because it really heated up the kitchen. The poor person who brought my TPN delivery came in all sweaty and the kitchen wasn't much cooler. I gave her a turnover to make it up to her.

I should grade papers, but I am exhausted. I already graded hundreds this morning before I came home. And... this class was a record buster in terms of how many students did the extra credit vocabulary flashcards. The flashcards are a mess and hard to grade, but I think I have convinced some of them that they need to improve their vocabulary to do well in English 1.

Some of the students have worked so hard, but if they fail the writing proficiency on Monday, it was in vain. I hate that part of my job, having to tell someone they failed.

[Comments] (1) A Corner of Hades: It was 110 degrees today. I was going to get up at 5:30 to pull weeds, but didn't make it out of bed. Toooooo tired. Hopefully the weeds will cook.

Rachel is getting all ready for the Harry Potter release party, and Gretel and I are going to go to bed early. It is simply too hot to do anything else.

[Comments] (1) Think About It: A field worker died yesterday from the heat, out near where we used to live. His death is a sobering reminder for the rest of us--the food we buy in air-conditioned stores and cook in our air-conditioned houses was grown and harvested by people who spend long hours in hard, hot sticky work, with gnats flying into their eyes and mouths. So the next time you chop into an onion, be grateful for your education and your American opportunities, which make it possible for you to eat the fruits and vegetables without having to grow them.

Even those of us who grow our own fruits and vegetables are staying inside this week. My apple tree has announced it's going to die. I hope that's not true and it's just heat stress. I didn't go out to look at the zucchini yesterday, and today I have a monster! The beets are looking a little peaked, but the new beans and okra I planted are doing fine, and we have lots of tomatoes. I'll be able to make melanzine for Anne and her kids when they get here. Plenty of basil, plenty of chard, and pretty little eggplants and yellow grape tomatoes. Yummers. But I don't plan to spend too long in the garden, and I don't plan to die!

*Moment of silence for the field workers*

[Comments] (2) Ain't We Got Fun!: I made crepes today, and they were good. Filling is leftover chicken, Swiss chard from the garden, onion, mushroom, and Monterrey jack cheese. I made a veloute sauce with capers to top the ones we ate today, and put a bunch in the refrigerator, plain, to serve for supper tomorrow night.

Some of my siblings don't like capers--I know Leonardw doesn't, but I don't know about Anne and her kids, so I played it safe. I can always make more sauce tomorrow if caper sauce is in demand.

Because I bought the groceries at Youngs, I didn't have a large choice of good cheese. Most of the cheese they sell is the cheap stuff, but they have started carrying Tillamook, so that is what I got. I don't know how I feel about buying a Monterrey jack made in Oregon; somehow it seems very wrong. None of this Real California Cheese, of which Monterrey jack is truly the native leader. I think even a Mexican jack would be more honest. On the other hand, Tillamook makes a good Cheddar, and we can't fault them for not being in England to make the Cheddar, can we? 'Tis a connundrum.

Other news from Young's: They were out of LaRosa bars, but they had the big watermelons with the seeds. I bought one since we will have a lot of people here to help eat it. It's out in the garage in Grandma Jessie's refrigerator, getting nice and cold.

I think I ought to make crepes more often. I forget how easy they are to make. (cleaning the stove after is another matter.) Rachel said we should make banana crepes, and we should, because the bunch of bananas we bought for 19 cents in Berkeley are getting riper by the minute. But I have the idea they will go tomorrow if I suggest banana splits.

I still need to do a few things to prepare for Anne's visit--sweep up dog hair, water plants, fold laundry, and find some summer sheets for the bed in the back room. Rachel did an incredible job of cleaning up in there, so I hope Joe and Louise sleep well.

[Comments] (2) Reading Railroad: Today my students took their writing proficiency. A cursory glance shows they did better than I expected. We shall see what the committee thinks.

While they were writing, I read Harry Potter. I knocked off a couple of hundred pages during the test. Then, when I got home, Anne wasn't here--she is still not here-- so after my nurse went away I went to bed and read more and had a nap. I have been feeling really rotten today, so I mostly read all day and I am on Chapter 25.

I am sad about not having a nice visit with Anne. I was counting on this afternoon because tomorrow who knows how long I will have to work.

I think the author is losing her touch. The book starts out v-e-r-y-s-l-o-w-l-y and just is not as interesting and full of fun detail as some of the former ones. I think I liked the first one best. Of course, I will finish it, and I hope it gets more exciting from here on out.

[Comments] (7) I'm Not As Shocked As You Think I Should Be: Today while I was proctoring the retakes, I read the rest of The Half Blood Prince. The little bit at the ending of the book was more like it. Too bad it took the author 500 pages to get there.

I think she was thinking ahead to the last volume and more worried about setting us up for what happens there than she was about writing a blockbuster with this one.

All in all, a disappointment despite the bang-up ending.

[Comments] (1) RIP James Doohan: I read that Scotty got beamed up early this morning. He was always my favorite.

[Comments] (2) London Copycatters: Oh no. Not again!

I was reading an op-ed piece yesterday that asked, "Where are all these moderate, peace-loving Muslims we keep hearing about?" They certainly haven't been speaking up in defense of a peaceable Islam.

[Comments] (1) Grrrrrr.: Warren Street station! That's MY tube stop. Okay, it's personal now!

O-oh Freedom Over Me: I met my class and told them goodbye and good luck, got my desk all ready for Fall, and helped grade the very last of the retakes. It's over, and I have survived. (barely.)

I feel that I really pulled the laboring oar this week on the exam grading, and I sure hope I get paid for all the extra hours.

Now I have a whole week to do nothing [but pull weeds] and then Leonard and I leave on our dinosaur trip.

I need to call the home health people and arrange for three weeks of TPN to be delivered so I can take it with me. It's certainly a hassle, but I suppose it's better than wasting away into nothing, which is the alternative. Also I need to make sure Garry is going to donate grapes for Pioneer Day. I will be gone for that, so I'm nervous about it. I did leave a call on Garry's voicemail, but he hasn't called me back.

Murder Most Foul: "I suppose I've done murder now," said Scarlett. "I'll think about it tomorrow."

Except I've kept thinking about it today. All day.

Lately we've had a plague of feral kittens, and we've tried and tried to sweet talk them and catch them so they could go in and be fixed before they have kittens themselves. No results; they won't let us near them.

I went out this morning to start some water running in the garden, and there was Skunk Kitty curled up in a terra cotta pot with a batch of babies. Boy, did she ever hiss at me! I thought I could quickly put something on top and trap them, but she was out like a lightning bolt. I took the kittens out and, with a heavy heart, took them to the pound.

There were four kittens, three or four days old, eyes not open yet. One of them had a really pretty little face. I feel just terrible about this.

The lady at the pound told me where I can buy or rent a trap, so maybe we can catch some cats now. Maybe, just maybe, we can catch Tuxedo Tom!

[Comments] (2) Weekend: We had a very nice family visit this weekend. We celebrated John's birthday and hung around the house. I cooked my other tri-tip and made guacamole especially for John. Leonard made a quiche, and Susie made a Boston cream pie for his birthday cake.

WHY do they call it Boston cream pie when it is a cake?

This evening Gretel and I went to the off-leash area. We went to Centennial Park, and nobody else was there. I was a little sad about this but she ran around smelling things and rolling in the grass, so I think she had a good time. She ventured much farther from me than she ever has before, but she kept coming back to see if I was ok.

I sat there and made myself smell the pine trees and veg out. I didn't take anything to do. I'm not good at sitting still and doing "nothing"--never have been. I'm a flop at meditation--and probably prayer too--because I just can't sit there wasting time. So I decided to try to train myself by chilling for an hour at the dog park every Sunday evening.

Morning will come soon, and with it the home health nurse, who can't just let it be while I go on vacation.

[Comments] (1) Whack!: I went out early this morning and ran the weedwhacker on all the crabgrass. It looks a lot better now but I am still going to have to dig it all up. The coreopsis has gotten huge and has needed deadheading all summer. I've tried to do some from time to time, but it certainly has gotten away from me. So I weedwhacked the top third off. I hope it doesn't kill it.

Now I need to go out and pull weeds until it gets dark, then to bed so I can repeat this process tomorrow.

I made a really good stir fry with yakisoba noodles, vegetables, and shrimp. So far, I haven't thrown it up. (big news.)

It's a pretty sad life when that is the big news, but there's absolutely nothing going on.

Later: I went out to pull my weeds. I had left the patches of the big thick grass because it's easy to pull out, but I discovered that Juan had weedwhacked it all. Including some flowers. I guess he saw I had been weedwhacking and he wanted to help out. Oy. Now my big thick easy to pull out grass is cut down to hard-to-grasp nubs. I pulled and dug out two wastebaskets full before it got dark.

P.S.: Juan also weedwhacked the boysenberries. I'm rather unhappy about that.

[Comments] (1) Better Than a Poke In The Eye: Yesterday, well, night before last, the pump to my IV went bonkers, so I was unhooked for about twenty hours before they brought me a new one. I still went out to work in the garden, but I got really weak and dizzy. Now today I am actually sick.

I found instructions for making sun-dried tomatoes in the oven--actually I suppose they could be called oven dried. You put the halved tomatoes on a cake rack on the oven rack at 200 for about 12 hours. That sounded like an oven disaster waiting to happen to me, so I put the cake rack on a cookie sheet on the oven rack. I used a bunch of yellow grape tomatoes since they are so prolific, and I left them overnight.

They have turned all hard and brown. I think they stayed in the oven too long.

[Comments] (2) Ready for Vacation: I've done all the traditional vacationy things--bought film, counted out pills, loaded the cooler, stopped the newspaper, packed. Gretel did her traditional thing too--she peed on my bed. When I got up this morning and started packing, she became more and more upset. Pacing and herding. I couldn't even water the patio pots in peace. She knows something is happening.

So I'm sitting here washing my down comforter and waiting for my pharmacy delivery. Then, it's vacation time, and Gretel goes to the puppy spa where she will have fun fun fun!

Updating from Montana: We are in Montana, but about to leave. It's pretty here. The Museum of the Rockies had more dinosaur bones than we've ever seen in one place before, and very few of them were casts. They had one display of triceratops skulls ranging in size from baby to grownup--a very impressive display. Other non-dinosaur museum displays weren't as good, but we only came for the dinosaurs anyhow.

They have a Living History homestead with a garden grown from heirloom seeds. The house was a mansion by homestead standards, but full of interesting stuff. There was an attic sewing/weaving/spinning room that had a yarn winder like I used to use when I worked for Aunt Jeuney.

Today, driving to Canada.

Jabberwocky for 2005 July

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© 2001-2006 Frances Whitney.