Wednesday, November 26, 2008

pre-holiday meltdown...

I think that I have reached the “crash, thud” stage; the “what have I gotten myself into?” stage. I love to cook, and I love to eat, and I love pretty much all the festivities of this season. I know it isn’t au courant among some pagan circles to love Thanksgiving, but I do. Food, family, and a focus on gratitude-what’s not to love? This year, it will just be the four of us, we see my side of the family on the odd years (that’s the mnemonic), and DH’s family is widely scattered, we no longer do regular family gatherings with them. But Thanksgiving is a food and a tradition oriented day, just because there will only be four of us at the table doesn’t mean skimping on the menu.

So…yesterday I roasted a pumpkin for the soup and for a pie. I sautéed the vegetables for the stuffing. I prepped 2 pie crusts.

Today, it was finishing the stuffing, prepping the green vegetables and baking a pecan pie.

Tomorrow, I will make the pumpkin soup and bake the pumpkin pie. Roast the turkey. Steam the vegetables and make mashed potatoes and cranberry apple crunch. Oh, and the gravy, can’t forget the gravy!

None of this would be a big deal, except unlike those mythical grandmothers and great-grandmothers of yore, there were other things going on in my life. (I know that was all myth, anyway-my great grandmother ran a business, and never cooked). Due to the holiday my client appointments were all over the place and at off times and days. And, due to the economy, when I was given the opportunity to attend a business networking meeting at no monetary cost to me, I took it. So, I was up and business attired and out of the house by 6:40 this morning. The only thing civilized people should be doing at 6:40am is sleeping! Then, there was a wee small problem with our hot water, and we ended up with a team of plumbers here this afternoon. A late training session, and oh-I forgot all about making dinner for tonight!

Tomorrow will be easy, just cooking and sitting and eating and talking with some of the people that I love best in this world.

Of course, there is the matter of that spagyric project that I will be starting tomorrow at sunrise…

(possibly, I might still have it together tomorrow evening to write about that, too.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Getting Girly for a Moment

Or, as another blogger (an author, no less) said: SQUEEEEEEEE!

I have flowers, cut flowers, in a vase, sitting on my kitchen table. This makes me very happy. It is my/our wedding anniversary, and DH sent me flowers. In a life where most things are measured by functionality, as well as beauty (at least until we get the second child through the college tuition years), a gift of flowers at the end of November has no functionality at all, except to make me happy. Which, it does.

Because our anniversary is on a Monday this year (24 years of being recognized by the government; in the spring, it will be 29 years since we recognized each other), we won’t be doing a lot today. We exchanged cards this morning, and then bled the radiators, since they were noisy-love isn’t the only thing that is supposed to be hot! DH went to work, and I went to see a client. As DH won’t be home until around 11pm, any other publicly announced festivities (such as might be mentioned here) will happen some other day. Next month, we will see Equus, starring Richard Griffiths and Daniel Radcliffe.

But, in the meantime, I have flowers on my table and a silly grin on my face.

(perhaps another reason for the girlyness of the post is that analyzed this blog and decided that “"We guess is written by a man (59%), however it's quite gender neutral." And, while I certainly have nothing against men, I did marry one, after all, I am not one, myself.)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Because clearly, reading 4 books at once isn't enough

(and it was only four, because I finished “Interesting Times” by Terry Pratchett, earlier today), this arrived for me today. List price $125, but between coupons, DH’s BN membership and gift certificates I’ve earned answering internet polls, it ended up only costing me $17. It also cost me most of the rest of my day, just browsing through it. It’s a big book, certainly per pound as well as per word (per footnote, too, its pretty scholarly) the best book deal I’ve made. My poor mailman, who is waiting to have knee replacement surgery, may never forgive me.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sunday of yellows and golds

Powdery gold…
Our pre-Halloween snowstorm ended the saffron harvest. The bulbs are still growing, and the newly planted bulbs are starting to send up shoots, but there will be no more flowers this autumn. I had harvested 111 stigma, which gave me approximately 1/5 of a gram of dried and useful herb. I say approximately, because I do not have a scale that measures such small amounts.
By yesterday, it had dried and was smelling pretty intoxicating. (Between the saffron drying and the esrog sitting in a dish, my desk has become one major olfactory delight). It was time to make more incense. I have the proportions down, now I needed to work on form. For whatever reason (and I do not have a clue) the incense cones that I made last time, work perfectly well for me, but do not stay lit for anything, when DH attempts to use them. This time, I would try making sticks. Using a metal syringe (labeled on one side of the package as a clay gun, and on the other side as a dough gun), I rolled the incense dough and put it in the cylinder. All I needed to do now, was to press down on the handle and squeeze out a line of incense, right? Sure, if you don’t mind your incense sticks looking like crazy birthday cake candles. But I figured it out. And the incense dough is cohesive enough that if I don’t pipe out the sticks longer than then length of my hand, I can gently roll the sticks into a more uniform shape. The nice thing about the incense sticks is that they dry quickly. I made them late morning, and they were dry enough to use that night. They fit into the incense holders we have and yes, they even stayed lit for DH.

Gold, of a more liquid type…
On a paper plate, left at the crossroads near my home: Honey and bread, a fig and a section of a pomegranate. Also left with the plate were a couple of dog biscuits (You don’t think that Hecates hounds would like a snack?) and a pledge to make a contribution to a local food bank, a pledge that I fulfilled today.

And, yellow…
More turmeric capsules filled. I don’t really like the color that the turmeric dyes my hands, but the iridescent yellow gold that my fingernails end up is pretty cool, at least for a little while!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Last Political Post...

...for a while, perhaps.

I've been having some connectivity issues with my wireless router, blogging and email have been somewhere between difficult and impossible. Until I can stay connected to the web for more than 45 seconds at a time, this may be the last post on any subject. But a week after election day, I still have trouble believing that Prop 8 passed in California.

A couple of links:

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Thank you, America

"Obama reached the 270 electoral votes he needed for election at 11 p.m. ET, when NBC News projected that he would win California, Washington and Oregon. The Associated Press reported shortly after 11 p.m. that Obama’s opponent, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, had called Obama to offer his congratulations. "

I am very proud of my country, I actually have tears in my eyes. (and Barack Obama was not my first choice during the primary season)

Did you vote yet?

My older daughter came home to vote. The university that she attends, known by Fox News as "Havana North" does not schedule classes on election day, nor on the day before, so that students, faculty and staff can travel, if need be, to vote where they are registered. Yep, that does sound commie, doesn't it-giving people the time and opportunity to have a say in their government.

Anyway, we went off to the polling place, with identification and fully prepared for long lines and long waiting times to lines, poll workers who knew us, no challenges to our right to vote, and no smiley flag stickers that announced our good citizenship! Hey, you mean all we get is representational government?

Its no secret that we voted for "That One," yeah, the one that "The Other One" kept calling a socialist. Which is pretty funny, because there were at least 2 candidates from 2 different socialist parties running, here in New Jersey. Besides, Barack Obama is no socialist. I know, I am related to a man who was a socialist his entire adult life and it would be wonderful if Barack Obama could grow up to accomplish as much as my Great Grandfather did.

Pop (my great-grandfather, the socialist) came to this country at the end of the 19th century, two steps ahead of the czarist police and not quite a full step ahead of the woman who would be my great grandmother (but that is a different story). Pop was a tailor by profession, but a union organizer by avocation.

(If you were taught American history by the Great Man method, I suggest that you google: The Homestead Strike and Riot, The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, The works of Jacob Riis and read "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair. That will at least be a start. If you were never actually taught American history, well crap, we do have a problem, don't we?)

When Pop arrived in this country, working class people were often seen as less than fully human, and were treated as such by the owners of capital (let us get is straight right now-democracy is a type of political system, capitalism is an economic system-they are not synonymous). Do you have weekends off, or regularly scheduled days off from work? Thank the unions. Prior to the rise of unions in this county, working people could possibly have Sunday off to attend church, many times, though they would only get 1/2 a day off. Pensions? Also, thank the unions, working class people were expected to work until they died-and then the widows and orphans would go to the poor house, wherein "respectable" society would moan about the cost of supporting such useless waste. The expectation of health care? Of the six children born to my great-grandparents three survived childhood, not an unusual ratio in working class slums.

Now, I know that Pop was one of many many union organizers. He was one of many who, through hard and dangerous activities tried to bring some balance to the economic life of this nation. At the same time, he managed to support a family as a tailor, help start the American Garment Workers Union (no Wobbly, he. Sigh, yeah, google that, too), and go to school at night to learn English, which would be the fourth language he ended up being able to speak. (eventually, he learned 2 more, but was never quite as fluent in Spanish or Italian as he was in Russian, Polish, Yiddish or English). His three surviving children, all daughters, finished high school, went to college, and ascended out of the working class-which is the way it is supposed to be.

Speaking of the three daughters (one of whom is my Grandmother, whose 97th birthday we will be celebrating this winter), once Pop felt that his union was firmly established, he moved his passions to a new cause. For most of the rest of his life, he worked toward removing the barriers to higher education for women and girls. All of his female descendants and all but one of the male (extenuating circumstances) who have reached adulthood had university degrees.

So, where am I going with all of this? One-go vote, dammit, if you haven't yet. Two-Barack Obama is no socialist. Three-what this nation needs is an economic system of balance (umm, middle pillar, anyone?) and Four-name calling is crap, what positive affect have you had on society?

Oh, and if you read "The Jungle" and decide that maybe you will become a vegan, you should know that the Pure Food and Drug Act that was passed after the publication of the book and the work by Ida Tarbell (maybe you should google her, too) regulated more than the meat industry. It was not uncommon prior to that act to have saw dust or chalk added to bread (depending on whether it was white or whole grain breads) or formaldehyde added to milk. The Chinese capitalists have nothing on us.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Latest Missive from the (Michael) Palin Campaign

The somewhat important 2008 election is upon us.
Silly though we may usually be, we at the Committee to Elect Michael Palin President would like to take a moment to say, in all seriousness...
Vote like the wind!
Vote like you've never voted before!
Vote like your life depends on it! (It may)
Vote like the ice caps are melting! (They are)
Vote like if you don't then the Spanish Inquisition will fry you up and toss you into a Spanish Omelet!
Vote like a crazed weasel with its head on fire that has to vote in order for someone to dunk its head in a bucket of water, thus dousing the fire and eliciting a collective sigh of relief from every other potentially flammable weasel, stoat or ocelot in the vicinity.
We believe we've made our point.
And now back to our regularly-scheduled silliness...
Until next time...
Your friends at the Temporarily Serious Though Usually Quite Silly Party
P.S. If you're not a U.S. citizen, please feel freeto close your eyes and vote metaphysically.

From: Michael Palin for President
11870 Santa Monica Blvd.Suite 106-535Los Angeles, CA90025US