Tuesday, November 30, 2010

In which I mistake my child for a breakfast food

Don't worry, she's fine.

This morning my sweet husband let me sleep in. After he got out of the shower, he came back in and said, "Can I bring you an egg?"

"Ooh, yes! Though what I really want is coffee. CAFFEINATED coffee, please."

So he brought me Meg and went down while I fed her. We followed in due time, and sure enough, that elixir of caffeinated happiness was perking and smelling wonderful, but there were no frying pans or eggs or anything egg-related around.

So I said, "The coffee smells wonderful! Thank you! Did you decide not to do the eggs?"

He gave me a look of complete bewilderment. "What eggs?"

"Didn't you ask if I wanted eggs? Earlier?"



"Are you sure you didn't ask me for eggs, and I said 'okay' without hearing you?"

"It was after your shower. I didn't dream it - I dreamed about the birch tree and the moon, but I'm sure I was awake about the eggs. You asked if I wanted an egg, and I said yes!"

He laughed. "I asked if you wanted Meg."


Not that I don't love her, but she's not good for breakfast. So we had toast with strawberry jam.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Vizzini goes to Eureka

The Eureka blog just leaked that Vizzini will show up next season -- all right, the actor Wallace Shawn will, to be precise. He will play a relationship auditor there to inspect Jack and Allison. Oh my...

The real question: will Jack dare go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Quote of the day

"The important thing about wearing a pig on my head" -- and he flopped it over, obscuring my vision -- "is that it can become a pig on your head. That's right: it's a tactical swine." Jonathan

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Happy St. Margaret's day!

Today is St. Margaret's feast day! Happy Meggie day, everyone!

A tip of the hat to Firinnteine for letting us know. :-)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The most unique recipe I've seen all week, and a different art

Fascinating. They've found and tried Marilyn Monroe's stuffing recipe, which she wrote out on the back of some letterhead. It's unusual - no broth, but three types of nuts and tons of other ingredients - and who knew she was quite a good cook?? The article suspects she made it for or was inspired by her (briefly) husband Joe DiMaggio's Italian family. I'd somehow managed not to know she'd married him. That makes two things I've learned about Marilyn Monroe tonight.

And in a complete change of pace, 650 Philly opera singers burst into Handel's Messiah at Macy's last weekend. I actually teared up a bit watching it, though I think they may have lost the pace a toward the end. The Improv Everywhere ethos is spreading, which is interesting - I think we're getting tired, culturally, of prefab everything. And how cool is it that 650 reasonably competent singers got to belt it out about God's glory in a shopping mall? :-)

An afternoon at the ballet

My sweet ballerina friend gave us two tickets for her current performance, and another sweet friend watched the baby, so Jonathan and I got to go! On the way I had a terrible time being Megless, but once we got there I did just fine.

The show was "Studio Two," comprised of three parts: a "Valse Fantasie," "After Eden," and "Always, at the Edge of Never."

"Valse" was lovely and traditional, classical music, six dancers, the women in classic pink ballerina outfits with tulle skirts. The lone guy was in a fluffy white shirt, white tights, and a pink cummerbund, which was mildly scarring but still within the realm of "it's ballet so run with it." They lilted and drifted around the stage, looking effortless and like every little girl's dream. Very fun.

"After Eden" was a meditation of Adam and Eve immediately post-fall - not one of your more cheerful moments in world history. They did a lot with modern dance moves, dramatic lighting, and a certain amount of striking poses and rolling around on the floor. I heard a lot of rave comments from people sitting around us. It was written and choreographed in the 1960's, which I could see. It reminded me of some of the artsy moments from old musicals, like "The Theater" routine from White Christmas. And, ultimately, it's about alienation on lots of levels, so it wasn't supposed to be uplifting. It was well done, but I just don't understand dance very well and it didn't do as much for me.

After intermission, they showed an introductory interview and "Always, at the Edge of Never." The interview helped. The choreographer was playing with themes of "falling through time," rhythm, and momentum, and explained how he'd considered using a Beethoven concerto but went with this "wild" and "primal" piece by a Finnish accordionist instead because of the difference in how the dancers reacted to it. I could see that. The piece had a steady, almost bagpipe-like, bass thumping drone beneath the melody, which varied through all kinds of noises. Part of the time it sounded like jungle noises - no, seriously - and the bass thumping eventually fell out of your conscious listening, but it got inside your head. The piece had different passages, almost different acts, through which the narrative? scenes? meditative aspects? would change. Whatever he was doing, the Finnish piece was definitely the right choice -- Beethoven would have been entirely different.

Meanwhile, there was this long red fluorescent line running horizontally along the entire front of the stage, which lowered so gradually that only about halfway through did I notice it was closer to head-height than the ceiling. I think it symbolized time. The dancers got to where they'd have to slide along the floor under it, or do a lift to help another over it. There was some narrative movement to it, but Jonathan and I couldn't follow it. Urban jungle was the best I could place it. It started with five dancers standing around in trench coats, and another trench coat-garbed man carrying a limp woman on-stage. She revived and they started dancing. Toward the end the first lady starting having stylized fights with the others, like a sandwich, so she and another would block punches with a third dancer in between. I wondered if her aggression was supposed to be drug-induced? Jonathan saw a couple points when the dancers did stop-motion or slowed time. The trench coats disappeared and re-appeared. But what the story was, or whether I'm thinking too meta-narratively, I'm not sure. There was definitely something going on. And it was dramatically effective -- I've rarely seen an audience so fully engaged.

So we had a lovely afternoon, and lots to talk about on the way home. :-)

Monday, November 08, 2010


I tried this recipe over the weekend, and it was pretty much amazing. It might be more accurate to say I was inspired by it, because I didn't actually follow the recipe so much as re-visualize it as a chicken pot roast using what I had on hand, but the combination of sweet potato, rosemary, and white wine was definitely inspirational. Coming home from an evening of errands, with crusty bread and a stack of fresh library books -- I can highly recommend it. We were sad there weren't any leftovers.

Re-visualized Chicken Pot Roast

2 large frozen chicken breasts
1 cup of green leek tops, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, sliced
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 long sprig fresh rosemary, leaves pulled off
garlic? I can't remember if I actually put any in
1 cup white wine
1-2 cups water
salt, pepper

Put everything in the crock pot and cook on low for six hours. Eat at dusk with crusty bread and your handsome husband. :-)

In other news, I attempted an apple-cranberry pie. Next time, I will use more apples, fewer cranberries, and much more sugar.

This fall I've been slightly haunted by butternut squash. Last fall it was pumpkin; this fall it's squash. Mama B. brought spiced butternut squash soup and brought up this whole concept of sage butter to go with, and I love it. What you do is get two or three tablespoons of butter, and melt it, and saute a few sage leaves until they're a bit crispy and the butter is brown. That's it, but it's enough. Ohh is it good. Tonight I didn't do anything fancy to the butternut squash, just steamed it in the baby-food maker, but with sage butter on top it was wonderful. Meg just barely got her serving of squash tonight, but I was good and left her some. I saw a recipe for butternut squash pasties I think we might need to try.

My colors this fall have been purple and gold. It makes me sound like a marauding Assyrian, doesn't it? Partly that's because those colors have been available a lot this season, but partly they're just gorgeous. I've got a mustard-yellow sweater from my sister that's been perfect and goes with everything.

Even the woods wore gold. It was a little like hiking in Lothlorien, with the beeches standing in for mallorns.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Meg walks! and I read books

We're all excited at this end because Meg took her official first unsupported step on Monday. It was just one, and she took a spill right after, but she's so close. She knows it too, and has taken to crawling on her hands and feet, legs straight. She hasn't ventured out by herself again, but she's sure cruising along the furniture.

I've been reading quite a bit lately, which is always fun. Some of the highlights:

The New Policeman by Kate Thompson. This is a fairy tale set in modern Ireland. The premise was mildly entertaining, and I liked it for all the music. The main character and the fairies were always fiddling and dancing, and Thompson even put a tune at the beginning of each chapter, usually relating to that chapter's events. I didn't so much care for the way the priest was the villain (in his monomaniacal urge to rid the countryside of fairies, music, and dancing, he nearly destroyed time). It was a bit creepy, but mostly because I kept thinking it was going to get creepy and it didn't. I think one thing I like about Celtic stories is the way they force an author to reveal his loyalties. Either he will come down on the side of Christianity or against it. It's very hard to be "neutral" when the fairies get involved, though Gerald Morris and Lawhead partly manage it.

The Reason for God by Timothy Keller. Keller is the pastor of that huge Presbyterian church in New York City. I'd read an interview with him and his wife in which they admitted to liking Tolkien, so I was inclined to like him going in. Now I know I like him: he mostly quotes authors and philosophers I know and respect. He's pretty sound, though I differ with him on creation. Keller's great gift is, Lewis-like, being able to drop the Christianese and speak to ordinary, intelligent unbelievers in their language and make theological sense. It's a wonderful quality, but a little like having college friends come home for a visit - my worlds are colliding! A couple of his chapters actually really encouraged me and were relevant in Bible study on Tuesday. I wish I could remember what they were.

Kilt Dead by Kaitlyn Dunnett. A cute murder mystery about a forcibly retired Scottish dancer. It was a fun, quick read, though about page thirty I was demanding she get a lawyer to deal with the harassing police investigator and that didn't occur to her till about page seventy, after she saw the lawyer for something else entirely. Also she seemed shocked and hurt that a small town would gossip about her morals when she moved in, purely platonically, with an eligible bachelor. As it turned out, the gossip was later fully justified, and in an incredibly off-hand, boring way too. (Sheesh.) Our Heroine had read far too many mysteries herself to excuse her actions in the final chapter when she confronted the murderer all by herself. At least she told someone where she was going, and was able to be rescued before the good-for-nothing threw her off the roof. Anyway, it was adequate enough I do intend to read the sequel Scone Cold Dead, which conveniently I have already checked out, and it inspired me to go upstairs and sketch out a better plot myself. When I get it published I'll let you know.

A Dismal Thing to Do by Charlotte MacLeod, writing as Alisa Craig. I've liked MacLeod for years, but I'd never gotten around to her Inspector Madoc Rhys books until just lately. The mysteries are usually respectably constructed, and her characters are quite the characters. I was incredibly impressed by a previous book, in which Janet got kicked out of her room in the middle of the night by a promiscuous roommate and had to take refuge in Madoc's. In contrast to Kilt Dead, they had a discussion about where Madoc should sleep, and voted for the library, Janet being of the opinion that when they slept together it should be special and mean something. Sensible people! Madoc and Janet are newly married in this one and, as Madoc said, it's a poor investigator who can't find a can of oil for squeaky guest-room bedsprings. So we're all happy. This particular plot was a little contrived, but it was fun to run around with Janet and Madoc and all of Janet's relatives in the heavy snow, with explosions and people getting shot and moonshine-running and whatnot. Keeps life exciting.

AND... I have The Chestnut King, by N.D. Wilson! I didn't even know it was out yet, but the new Glen Allen branch had a copy of it sitting there on the shelf. So I checked it out. :-)