Thursday, January 28, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I understand why flannel is such an ideal fabric for winter: it is snuggly, cozy, warm...yet so unbelievably unsexy. Darling Husband will beg me to put on nighties (invariably on 14 degree blizzard nights) as he is decked head to toe in ski gear.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
The exhausted man clung to the hope that his wife was still alive after she was buried alive beneath the collapsed bank. Humans can only survive about five days without water. She had been under there for six. Nonetheless, after each section of rubble was cleared, he threw his remaining energy into calling her name through the stone.
Then, she answered.
As rescue workers from California pulled her bruised body from the wreckage, she emerged smiling and singing. When a reporter asked her if, while trapped, she had believed she was going to live she said,
“Sure. Why not?”
The faith and spirit of the Haitian people is a marvel. Despite this horrible tragedy, I am constantly amazed at how the overarching attitude is that of strength and hope rather than woe and despair. They seem to find their fortitude through their sense of community and their faith; undaunted by fallen churches, they gather atop the broken remains to sing into the night.
It is hard to watch the news and try to comprehend the conditions in which they are living. Can you imagine going for scorching, dusty days without something as necessary and basic as water? Not knowing where your mother or son is or if they are alive? Living amongst the stench of decaying bodies?
It is easy to distract ourselves from the terrible truth: Out of sight, out of mind. But switching the channel to Two and a Half Men is an option the Haitians don’t have. It seems the media has about a two-week attention span when it comes to headlines, but we need to keep their struggle in the forefront of our minds and prayers so they aren’t forgotten.
As a mother, what has had me in tears all week are images of the orphaned children. They gaze at the cameras so small and sad, their giant brown eyes lost. Who is there to comfort them or to make sure they have milk and clean diapers? How do you tell a toddler their parents are dead? Their little minds are forever scarred with haunting images no child should ever witness.
Forty-five percent of Haiti’s population are children and it is predicted there will now be over 1 million orphans. Thankfully, the US government is waiving final paper work and passports to help many of the children who were already in the process of being adopted come here immediately.
On a plane this weekend, I was repulsed to hear a couple bashing the president for giving money for aid relief.
“I can’t believe he is giving away all that money when people here are losing their houses,” the man snarled.
“Yeah,” the wife agreed. “I could use some of that 100 million bucks.”
Listen up you cretinous cows, the Haitians didn’t lose their homes because they bought cars and mansions they couldn’t afford. Most of them already had nothing and now they are living in Hell.
I realize this isn’t the most convenient time to be giving money since we are still in recession, but even a few dollars helps buy water. There was just a couple on the news that is donating the money they had put aside for their wedding--all it takes it a little creativity in the budget and we can find spare dollars. (Do you really need 10 lattes a week?)
Our friend Dr. Dave Paul has worked in Haiti for years with Doctors without Borders. He says the Crudem Foundation, which is one of the only operational hospitals left in the country, is in need of baby formula, antibiotics and insulin. On their website, Crudem.org, you can purchase supplies directly for the hospital.
As with all times of sorrow and hardship come amazing shows of the power and resilience of the human spirit. Watching the rescue workers side by side with the civilians saving people is like watching super heros in action. These men and women that are risking their lives to save those of others are the most selfless, wonderful examples of the true goodness that lies within all of us.
So I ask of all you good people to please focus your intentions on our brothers and sisters in Haiti. Please help in any way you can. Let them know that despite the unimaginable suffering they are experiencing, they are not alone nor forgotten.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
If you do not have a current passport--get one! How can you zip off to Monaco (or Canada?) on a night's notice if you only have a driver's license? And on that note, you should always have a pair of slutty red liptick, black thigh highs and stilettos (never less than 4-inches) as well for said vacation...
Monday, January 18, 2010
Darling Husband and I had a romantic weekend getaway in Florida, baby free and a fabulous wedding.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Salmon Cakes with Cucumber Relish
Yield: 10 servings
14 ounces [400 g] russet potatoes, peeled, halved
6 ½ ounces [185 g] salmon, poached, cooled, flaked
5 ounces [140 g] bread crumbs
5 fluid ounces [150 ml] skim milk
1 ¾ ounces [50 g] whole-grain mustard
1 ½ ounces [40 g] mayonnaise
¾ ounce [20 g] smoked salmon, minced
½ ounce [15 g] capers, chopped
1 ½ tablespoons chopped chives
1 ½ tablespoons chopped dill
1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
5 ½ ounces [155 g] seedless cucumber with skin, diced
5 ½ ounces [155 g] tomato concassé
2 ¾ ounces [80 g] red onion, diced
¼ ounce [8 g] jalapeño, minced
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons olive oil
Simmer the potatoes in water until tender. Drain and place the potatoes on a sheet pan in a warm oven to steam dry, about 5 minutes.
Purée the hot potatoes using a ricer or food mill. Allow the potatoes to cool to room temperature and combine with the remaining salmon cake ingredients. Form into 20 cakes weighing approximately 1 1/3 ounces [40 g] each.
To prepare the cucumber relish, toss the relish ingredients together.*
For each serving: Cook 2 cakes in a preheated nonstick skillet until golden brown on each side, about 8 minutes. Serve the salmon cakes on a bed of approximately 1 ½ ounces [40 g] of cucumber relish.
*Drain excess liquid from the relish and reserve the liquid to toss with mixed greens.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Darling Husband and I are going to a wedding in Florida tomorrow. Since it had been 12 degrees there for weeks, I saw no point in getting "bikini ready" since snow angels were more likely to be on the agenda.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Historically, when something new comes along i.e. fax machines, the internet (thanks again, Al!), iPods, I stand staunchly against it claiming “all is fine as is.”
“I love my bright yellow Sony Discman, thank you very much!”
“I would much rather read an encyclopedia than ‘Google it,’ you flibbertigibbet!”
I remember when everyone was getting excited about email (in my world circa 1997) and I would sniff, “If someone wants to get ahold of me, they can pick up the phone...or write a letter.”
(I was such a romantic back then.)
Deep down it is because all this technology scares me. When I finally gathered the gumption to send an email to Steve, a man I had a crush on, I didn’t even realize you had to send it to an actual “place” (yahoo.com etc). I just kept typing his name and hitting SEND becoming more furious he wasn’t acknowledging my leap into the virtual world (that he may not have actually liked me was a distant second).
So, when the bud of Electronic Readers blossomed recently, I again, dug in my heels and swore I would never buy one of those stupid devices. Books, REAL books, have been around for thousand of years and they have served us wonderfully.
Then Christmas came and Santa brought me Amazon’s Kindle.
I was equally shamed and embarrassed at my unexpected reaction. Instead of tossing it into the snow in defense of my beloved paper books, it was love.
“She’s so...skinny...and she holds how many books?”
Suddenly, I was a convert. I bought my Kindle a soft-green leather case and a fancy light. I take her with me everywhere. She makes me happy.
When my graduate school friends (especially) found out I had delved into the “other side,” they were surprised, offended and secretly intrigued; I received many off the radar emails inquiring about how fabulous the Kindle really is.
Since my Master’s degree is in Literacy Education, I can imagine the horror of the impending paperless world. But it, like a second season of Jersey Shore, is imminent so we better prepare.
I came up with pros and cons to going paperless, at least as it pertains to Dan Brown novels.
PROS of Electronic Books: They hold more books in their sleek tummies than you could ever fit in your house (without Hoarders knocking on your door); instant gratification--you can download your whims in less than a minute; you aren’t loaning out your favorite books and never getting them back; no rustling pages so you can read Danielle Steel during boring lectures or business meetings; the books are cheaper than buying them hardcover; saves trees; you can read it with one hand and one free for holding your beverage of choice; if you drop it you don’t have to skim through hundreds of pages to find your place potentially ruining the ending; you suddenly have loads of free space on your bedside table and bookshelves for all the crap you buy on eBay.
CONS: You can’t write notes in the margins (one of my habitual tics); it doesn’t light up (Kindle anyway) so I had to spend another $30 on a light; you can’t lend out your favorite books (if you have a Nook you can “lend” one book); they cost as much as a really fabulous pair of Coach shoes or a month’s heating bill (priorities!); can’t see the author’s photo on the back cover (I spend so much time looking at those fabulously contrived pictures mostly imagining what mine would look like); not really bathtub friendly (who doesn’t love to read in the tub--ZAP!); it will put lots of printing presses out of business.
One of the biggest CONS is that eBooks omit the tactile pleasure of holding books in one’s hands. People I spoke with got dreamy-eyed as they recollected long afternoons spent in antique book stores, curled up with the ancient owner’s cat while smelling first editions of The Bell Jar. (People spoke about smelling books more than anything else. Interesting how mildew and mold suddenly become intoxicating when attached to War and Peace.)
In order to get to the bottom of this debate, I called Matt Halpern , a Kindergarten teacher at Windham Primary School.
“With the popularity of eBooks, adults need to remember the needs of the youngest readers. Children need the kinesthetic experience of reading books. So many books for young children include experiences for the hands as well as the eyes,” he says. “Some of the most popular books in my classroom are the pop-up books, where the stories literally come alive in front of the reader’s eyes. Kids just love the feeling of holding a small sturdy book in their hands…it’s a perfect fit.”
If time is a river and books are the boats, there is no reason we can’t make room for a new vessel while still cherishing the wooden ones that got us here.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Despite my impending flu, Monday's are the day reserved for cleaning the house during nap time. It sucks, but I suppose it is better than getting turned in to appear on Hoarders.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Bus driver Martha Thompson, 56, of Almond, N.Y. pleaded guilty Nov. 2, 2009, to 37 counts of child endangerment and driving while intoxicated on May 8, 2009, while students screamed and begged her to stop. On Jan. 4, the Allegany County Court sentenced her to six months of electronic home monitoring, five years of probation, 12 weekends in jail and mandatory alcohol counseling. She was also fined $1,000.
A video captured the frightening ride, during which several students beg Thompson to pull over. The "Early Show" reports that her blood alcohol level was .15, almost twice the New York state legal limit of .08 percent.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
OMG I just tried the Quorn chicken breasts! Thank you! Thank you people that sit around and invent "meat" this is truly "meat" that you can't tell isn't MEAT.
I can still hear the bartender telling another waitress that a stray cat had kittens in his barn.
“Four are long-haired pure white Persians and there were two regular gray striped ones. Isn’t it funny they can come out looking so different all from the same mom?” he mused as he poured a dirty martini.
“I’ll take the gray ones,” I offered assuming they would be the last chosen over the fancy ones.
That was seven years ago and the two kittens, Bacchus and Janet soon became as dear to me as any family member. Through moves and boyfriends and jobs, they were my constant little companions.
Bacchus died this morning.
I know as parents we aren’t supposed to choose favorites, but Bacchus was my special boy. Growing to a beefy 14 pounds, his dark green eyes and deep purr were never far from me. He was the first pet that was all mine; not one that my parents or roommates already had.
He loved being outside and often left gifts of livers and other internal organs of critters for us to find.
“It’s pate,” I would quip when Darling Husband got annoyed at the mess. “He is saving the best for us.”
When I lived in Pownal, there was a giant tree that bent over my bedroom. Every night I would leave the window cracked and each morning woke to find a tuckered out feline snuggled up to me. I never saw how he made this terrific leap, but it never failed him.
Then I had Baby Boy and the attention once fully devoted to the pets segmented into smaller bits. I am sure that hurt their feelings but I could easily sway their love back with salmon and furry mice toys.
Now the guilt is seeping in of why I didn’t notice he was sick. Yes, I saw he was losing weight, but the vet had told me to cut back on his soft-food feasts. A few weeks ago, however, I felt that his spine was jutting through his thinning fur and my heart stopped. I ran to the pantry and shoved a can of tuna under his nose, which he greedily devoured as Janet needled her way in for a taste.
The X-ray showed a tumor the size of a baseball on his liver.
“But his sister is the boozer,” I tried to joke through the tears.
And today during the surgery to remove the beast that was eating away at his insides, he died.
Now I sit here, heartbroken, wondering if it is worth this pain to even have pets. They have comparatively short lives and so with each puppy or kitten we pick out starts the clock to a slobbering mess.
Since I have always had pets, I am sure the answer is yes, but it is hard to think about that now.
So, when you go home today, give your dogs an extra long walk, your cats some organic cat nip, your bunnies extra pats and your birds a current newspaper--they are tired of last year’s gossip.
And to my dear Bacchus, I love you so much and I hope you get to come back as a rambunctious little boy who brings smiles (and pate) to everyone he meets.
Monday, January 4, 2010
I have loved the Beatles since I was a pre-teen. My father had given me all their CD's for Christmas when I was 16--back then all of them (in those huge rectangular cardboard packages) came to over $250, which was more than my father had ever spent on anything at one time.