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Doe, a deer

July 31st, 2011

Doe, a deer...

Familiar?

Scenes from a summer evening stroll about the neighborhood.

qotd: Van Gogh

July 30th, 2011

“I dream my painting, and then I paint my dream.” — Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)

love + love + love + love

July 29th, 2011

Big smiles…

RIP Amy Winehouse, or “what kind of fuckery is this?”

July 26th, 2011

(“Tears Dry on Their Own” is my favorite song of hers, but I like them all.)

So… so, so, so. Better to write about something bad that happens right after it happens? When you’re all raw and miserable? And you maybe can’t find the words to express what you’re really saying.

Or wait until it’s dulled a little, and you don’t look like some kind of Johnny-Come-Lately? And you can be maybe a little more eloquent?

Who knows.

Russell Brand wrote a really moving piece about the (late) great Amy Winehouse. That one says it all. He’s a talented writer, in addition to being an extremely funny dude.

“Suchawaste” and “whatdidyouexpect?” and “hahashebombedonstageherlastshow” and all kinds of unkindness out there, especially now that we’re all connected with our stupid Facebook accounts, Internet, Iphones and Ipads and blah blah blah. People who would have never had access to you before can tear you apart now, from thousands of miles away. I’ve had a little taste of that myself, but nothing on the scale that Ms. Winehouse faced. I have been guilty, myself, of calling names and pointing fingers.

Being kind is easier, I have found.

The most recent concert and movie I went to, at both shows I couldn’t even see properly because everyone had their fucking phones and devices out and were recording away, sending text messages, thumbing through family photos because they were bored. At the concert, no one stood up to dance. They would have dropped their phones, I guess.

“Am recording myself dancing! Look!”

If you want to watch TV, talk on your phone or surf the web, stay home. I have also had the sad experience of sitting/waiting next to someone (at coffee, once, and waiting for the kids to get out of class, several times), “Oh, hello, how’s your day?” (I’m sociable. Yeah, that’s a bad thing) and they have looked at me like I was going to rob them. Serious looks of horror. Then they pull out the Device and click, click, click:

“Crazy lady just sat next to me. Apparently wants to make conversation WTF???”

We’re nasty with each other, in public and in private. With people we know; with people we don’t know. People don’t introduce themselves anymore, either, have you noticed? We’d rather look at gossip columns on the Internet than turn to someone before the show starts and say hey. “I’ve been looking forward to this show for a long time, I can’t believe we got tickets!” or “It isn’t really my thing, but my kids wanted to come” or “Nice shoes.”

Anything. Anything that doesn’t involve turning away.

I’ve got a lot of sadness in my heart right now because one of the most talented women in the world is dead. You know how I found out? I was surfing the web, and my homepage is a news page. Up pops Amy Winehouse’s photo, and right away I snapped, Why doesn’t the media leave her the hell alone? and I flipped to another site as fast as I could.

Steve says, She’s dead. She died today.

And that’s how I found out.

So. The world is not kind to the addicted, the mentally ill, to those of us who are wired differently. To those of us who say, “Hello, my name is…” Here’s what I learned from my late Daddy, who was schizophrenic: Compassion.

I’m a hell of a long way from being an angel. But every time I see the media going after people, running crappy, ugly photos, making fun of them (“Here she is! Back in court again, are we surprised?” “He lost custody! And it’s about time…” etc.) I just… flinch. Times when people have asked me (and I’ve been asked these kinds of questions, and had to listen to this bullshit many, many, many goddamn times, believe me) re: my Dad:

“Why didn’t he…?”
“Couldn’t he have just…?”
“I would never kill myself, would you? It’s just selfish…”
etc.

My favorite is when they use the words “coward” or “weak.” That thrills me all to pieces. Argh.

What I finally came up with (decades too late, but it will serve me for the rest of my life) is this: “Pretend he had brain cancer. Would you still say that?”

Mental illness and addiction and other so-called “weaknesses” need to be treated the same way as any other medical conditions.

Please, don’t ever feel that you have the right to accuse anyone else of not being “strong” enough.

“Well, I would never…”
“She should just…”
“Weak…”

Don’t ever feel that it’s okay to make a laughingstock out of someone, because you just don’t know, do you, how it feels to be inside their skin?

Peace.

– WM

reading tonight

July 24th, 2011

I’m reading “Robinson Crusoe” for book group, or, as it is fully titled (get ready…):

“The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un?inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver’d by Pyrates”

whew!

up and down and up again

July 23rd, 2011

Had such a good day today, great mood, great weather, hanging out with my family. The neighbors had a garage sale and let us sell some stuff over there, so we were running back and forth all day, playing and visiting.

Then some rude woman road-raged all over me and it just bummed me out. And freaked me out. (She followed us! WTF?? All because I wasn’t doing what she wanted me to in traffic. ie — I didn’t run down a pedestrian — I waited for him.)

Must. Not. Let. Other people’s moods splash all over me. Then I start snappin’, cuz they’re snappin’! People, we are human beans, not alligators. No snappin’!

Argh.

Now feeling okay, but it’s bedtime. Maybe I’ll stay up for another hour, just to enjoy not being all pissed off. Seriously, it was creepy. And if someone who is road-raging follows you? Drive to the nearest police station, don’t park and pretend nothing is happening. (Like I did.)

Yes. She saw where I parked and keyed my car.

well, who doesn’t want an indoor swimming pool?

July 23rd, 2011

(that should be under the “pets, smart” category.)

mmmmmmmm Thursday Recipe Club mmmmmmm: Balsamic Reduction, Chana Sag (Garbanzo & Spinach), Brown Rice, Homemade Honey Wholewheat Bread and Cherry Pie

July 21st, 2011

Now that the cookbook is fully underway (and halfway written, thank you very much), I will be running some recipes by you, alright? Alright!

You can test them if they sound good. and please, if anything doesn’t work for you (or is just so delicious you have to shout about it) e-mail me or leave notes in comments. Oh, yes. I did delete a bunch of my notes today, by accident. That wasn’t so good. I am genius at outsmarting myself when I have more than three files up at the same time. Ouchie. But my ma can bail me out, I think. (It was photo captions. Shoot.)

* This is my sister’s recipe. I ran it a long time ago, but I did a little switch-up on it. It is quite good her way, or mine:

Curried Chickpeas and Kale

2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
3 cups chopped kale or 1 package frozen chopped spinach
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
3 cups cooked chickpeas
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste

Combine all ingredients in your crockpot and let it cook on low 7 to 8 hours, or on high for 4 hours.

I had to fix it in a soup pot, because I have no idea where the crockpot is. I made up my own curry mix with the mortar and pestle: garam masala, turmeric, cumin, cardamom, ginger, sugar, coriander and… I think that’s it. Oh yeah. I actually found curry powder in the cupboard and threw that in, too. I thought I used twice as much in the spice mix as I should have, but it turned out to be fairly mild and the perfect amount. Curry is good that way. (Per Nan’s instructions: Mix spices into a paste with a little water; sprinkle over onions while they saute and stir like mad so they don’t burn. Mmm…)

We served it over brown rice, and I added fresh mozzarella to mine, which almost (almost) tasted like paneer. Mmmmmmmm… paneer… My sister knows how to make it from scratch — I’ll have to get her over her to show me how.

What else? I used a package of frozen spinach since we didn’t have kale. And since Steve for no good reason (or bad reason) doesn’t like kale. This saddens me, because I love kale and could eat it every day. Especially Kale Chips, oh yum.

* Next? I realized that my poor, deprived Wacky Girl has been without homemade bread for days now. So I made the one from the breadmaker recipe book and it will be ready at approximately 10 o’clock tonight. My girl likes homemade bread.

That makes me happy. (PS there is a good bread recipe on that link, if you are interested.)

If you are in need of more breadmaker recipes, there are about 8,000 online, fyi. (Here is the homemade pizza dough recipe my extended family is nuts about. Excellent good.)

* I still have not mastered my Dear Late Granny’s Pie Crust recipe, so I used this one, instead:

SUPER-EASY PIE CRUST, WITHOUT LARD

3 cups flour
1 cup veggie oil
1/2 cup orange juice

Stir together with fork.
Separate into two equally sized balls of dough.
Roll each ball of dough out between two pieces of wax paper.

The woman who shared it with me wrote “Easy, easy, yummy, yummy” at the end of the recipe, and she was right! I didn’t have any orange juice, so I used water. (You wouldn’t want the citrus if you were using this crust for a savory pie, either.)

I stirred together a can of cherries with some sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and cornstarch. It wasn’t enough filling, but I’ll double it next time. Also, I prefer metal cake/pie pans to glass, why didn’t I use one?

Trick from Granny: Sprinkle sugar on the top crust and it will make it crunchy-brown-sugary on top.

* I wanted to do a Caprese Salad (fresh Roma tomatoes, mozzarella and basil leaves), a la the Pioneer Woman, so I thought I’d try my hand at doing a Balsamic Reduction. Well, it started to boil too much, and then when I turned it down it wasn’t boiling enough, so… it didn’t reduce as much as I would have liked. But still, it reduced by about 2/3 so good enough. Also, I realized that Caprese Salad in no way complemented Chana Sag, brown rice or the macaroni and cheese out of a box that the kids were eating.

I just wanted a Caprese Salad.

So I’ll have one tomorrow night — since the reduction is in a jar in the fridge and ready to go.

Bon appetit!

WM

on the nightstand

July 21st, 2011

mmmmmmmmmm… crepes… mmmmmmmm… Wednesday Recipe Club

July 20th, 2011

Yeah, that’s right. I read Parade Magazine every week in the Sunday paper, what of it? And here is what I found this week: an interview with the sexy sexy Frenchman, Gilles Marini of the TV show “Brothers and Sisters” and his recipe for crepes. Wouldn’t you like him to come over and make some crepes for you? He won’t — his wife wouldn’t understand. But you can make some yourself!

“They’re like the French burrito. They can be sweet, like this recipe, or done with ham and cheese and eggs, or with salmon,” sez Gilles.

Crepe Expectations
Ingredients:
2 cups milk
1 cup flour
3 eggs
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup melted, unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients in a mixer or blender and blend until smooth.

2. In a medium-size skillet over medium-low heat, melt 1/2 tsp butter; ladle in 1/4 cup crepe batter. Swirl the skillet until you have a thin layer of batter covering the entire bottom.

3. Cook until the underside is golden brown, about 2 minutes; flip. Cook until the other side is golden brown, about 1 minute.

4. Add a filling, if desired, right after flipping. Place ingredients down the center of the crepe so you can fold in the sides like an envelope. If you aren’t using a filling, cook all the crepes, then put them on a plate in the middle of the table alongside bowls of various fillings—jams, Nutella, whipped cream, sautéed fruit, etc.—so everyone can choose their own.

5. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Gille’s Tips

• “If you have time, let the batter rest for half an hour before frying the crepes. And you can keep any unused batter covered in the fridge for one day.”

• “My secret ingredient is eau de fleur d’oranger [orange-blossom water, available in specialty food stores]. Put in only one or two drops because it’s very, very strong. But people will say, ‘Oh my God, this is delicious.’”

• “I love salmon crepes. But if you want to make the recipe savory, not sweet, you need to lose the vanilla extract and the sugar. Then you can put whatever you want inside.”

Ahhhhhh… don’t you love the way he talks? Last night, Wacky Girl made the batter, and Steve was the chef. Me? I was in charge of the Nutella, powdered sugar, fresh strawberries, whipped cream, chocolate, caramel and maple syrups.

No, we didn’t use all of them at once.

Also I was in charge of purchasing a couple of new pans, cuz all of ours were too thick for crepe-making. (The smaller skillet worked like a charm, fyi. I found a set of two at Macy’s for fifty bucks.)

Crepes. Were. So. Delicious.

Bon appetit!

– wm

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