31 October 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Dancing

One day last week, the above photos were in the Times accompanying that day's dance reviews - three different reviews, three different companies (click on the photos to get to the reviews). I was struck by the similarities in the poses. You think the photo editor was having fun?

(I thought of posting pumpkin pictures because it is, after all, Halloween - but they came out terribly, and surely everyone else is doing it.)

30 October 2007

Knitting for Bears

I had the idea that it would be sweet to knit a sweater for one of Miss M.'s many teddy bears. I found a pattern at Wee Wonderfuls, and printed out a picture to show to her. Her response? "They're not chilly because they have coats."

Okay kid, no sweaters for your bears.

29 October 2007

Spam, Close to Home

The following spam email message turned up in my office account last week:

Dear Benefactor Of 2007 Masory Grant,

The Freemason society of Bournemout under the jurisdiction of the all Seeing Eye, Master Nicholas Brenner has after series of secret deliberations selected you to be a beneficiary of our 2007 foundation laying grants and also an optional opening at the round table of the Freemason society.

These grants are issued every year around the world in accordance with the objective of the Freemasons as stated by Thomas Paine in 1808 which is to ensure the continuous freedom of man and to enhance mans living conditions.

We will also advice that these funds which amount to USD2.5million be used to better the lot of man through your own initiative and also we will go further to info that the open slot to become a Freemason is optional, you can decline the offer.

I recognized it for what it was, but I shared it with our Director of Development - I thought she'd be amused. Her eyes opened wide and she confessed to a fleeting feeling that it was valid, because we are - for real - due to be notified as to the renewal of our annual support grant from the local Order of Masons. It's just a coincidence, but an odd one none-the-less.

27 October 2007

What a Wonderful World

All's right with the world - the little girl is asleep in her own bed, before 9:00. And she fell asleep in my arms while I was mangling the lyrics to What a Wonderful World. Here's the master:

And the lyrics, if you need them:

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world
I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world...

26 October 2007

Bread and Jam - and Frances, and Ellyn, and Jessica

Me: You're full of beans this morning.

Miss M.: No, I'm full of lobster.

I can only think that this is because we've been reading (and re-reading and reading again) Bread and Jam for Frances before bed. Because, after Frances remembers that there are all sorts of wonderful things to eat beyond bread and jam, she trots off to school with a lobster salad sandwich. Maybe lobster was cheaper in 1964?

Frances is often held up as a poster child picky eater, but it's hard to argue that she really is - her bread and jam kick doesn't even last two days. The book starts with breakfast, at which meal she chooses not to eat her egg - there is no indication that she's refused everything but bread and jam prior. At dinner that same night, she chooses not to eat her veal cutlet in favor of bread and jam - and confesses to having traded her lunch for a friend's bread and jam. At breakfast on the second day, she isn't offered an egg - because, her mother says, "you do not like eggs." At lunch on that second day, her friend has an elaborate lunch with sandwich and pickle and hard-boiled egg and fruit and dessert, while Frances has bread and jam. At night on the second day, when presented with bread and jam, she realizes that "What I am / is tired of jam" and so has spaghetti and meatballs for dinner with the rest of the family.

And on to the finale - her own complicated and elegant lunch at school, complete with doily, a tiny vase of violets, celery and olives, a tiny basket of cherries, and the afore-mentioned lobster salad sandwich.

Meals with our small child are the typical mix of cajoling and rejoicing. She'll scarf down risotto like nobody's business, but steak? Nah. Hot dogs and cheese sandwiches, yes. Peanut butter, no. Sometimes we'll resort to white lies: "This is Pat's chicken - she told me how to make it." [Pat's the cook at school.] The chicken in question was a butterflied charcoal grilled chicken, with all the black stuff cut off, and ketchup on the side - and Pat had nothing to do with it. And the kid ate that chicken.

Mostly, I've tried to take to heart the Ellyn Satter dictum: "The parent is responsible for what, when, where - and the child is responsible for how much and whether." She's not going to starve. Sure, I wish she'd eat some more vegetables, but I'm not going to start pretending that pureed cauliflower is ricotta and neither am I going to lace chocolate chip cookies with chickpeas. And hey, even fancy organic hot dogs are cheap! If she starts demanding lobster salad sandwiches, we're going to be in the poorhouse.

[This is loosely in response to the Parent Bloggers blast in connection with the release of Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld.]

25 October 2007

13 Ways of Looking at a(n) _____*

The constraint of Thursday Thirteen appeals to me - and I find myself constructing odd lists in spare moments.

  1. It is crunchy.
  2. It is indented.
  3. It is juicy.
  4. It is nutritious.
  5. It is past.
  6. It is portable.
  7. It is potential.
  8. It is prophylactic.
  9. It is round.
  10. It is sweet.
  11. It is tempting.
  12. It is versatile.
  13. It is waiting.

So. What is it? Tiny prize to the first person to guess right.

(*with many, many apologies to Wallace Stevens)

24 October 2007

You think I do what?

Last week, Suburban Turmoil had a great post about how marketers do and should approach the mommy bloggers. I read it with interest, though not with much recognition - I don't get a lot of unsolicited marketing solicitations via email, though they happen from time to time. When they come in, they’re usually understandable and usually pointed towards the parenting aspect of my blog – review a kids book, check out a parent-oriented website service. I actually accepted a copy of a book, which I’ve yet to do anything about, and it sits there making me feel guilty, which is really asinine because I don’t owe them a damned thing.

This morning, though, I got one that made me laugh out loud: “I contacted you because you have a pharmacy / medicine related blog”. I guess it’s all that talk about Follistim and Repronex and progesterone-in-oil and baby aspirin and microdose Lupron – not to mention cancer and emergency rooms and cancer and gall bladders.

23 October 2007

Cocktail Playdates, revisited

When we picked Miss M. up at daycare yesterday, it was a beautiful fall day and all the kids were outside. We hung out for a bit chatting with people, she demonstrated her tricycle riding prowess, we discussed playdates, and Miss M. asked a teacher if she’d like to come to our house for a “wine-over”.

Some neologism, huh? Grown-ups drink wine and she's pining for a sleep-over, so the next best thing is a wine-over.

As it happens, it's the one teacher I would invite over for some wine. Though I did discover this morning that another teacher and the daycare director went to the Springsteen concert at the Garden last week. I'd have gone to that in a minute.

22 October 2007

Aging and Illness

Last week's New Yorker* had a profile of Jacques Barzun, "the eminent historian and cultural critic" which included this bit about getting old:

A few weeks shy of his hundredth birthday, Barzun is still pressed to read manuscripts, give talks and attend affairs in his honor. He tries to accommodate everyone, but there is simply less of him to go around. He's five inches shorter than he used to be, a decrease due to aging and spinal stenosis, which causes pain and numbness in the legs. He relies on a cane or a walker to get around, and, as one might expect, he is alert to the irony of aging: when time is short, old age takes up a lot of time. There are doctors' visits, tests to be suffered, results to wait for, ailments and medications to be studied - all distractions from the work. "Old age is like learning a new profession," he noted drily. "And not one of your own choosing."

In fact, many illnesses could be looked at as similarly like entering a new profession - be it infertility, cancer, multiple sclerosis, or what have you. You're plunged into learning all there is to know and doing all there is to do, leaving less to time to just live life. Life is complicated.

*the issue dated 10/22/07

21 October 2007

Respect and Old Age

My mother’s lived in her house since 1972, and the people across the street were there before her. They were a sweet couple of teetotallers, he a Methodist minister, she the cookie-baking minister’s wife. He died five years ago. She’d been doing well, but fell a couple of months ago and landed in a nursing home. Bang zoom: her kids put the house on the market, moved their mom to a facility in the mid-West, held a tag sale, and filled up a dumpster with the detritus of two lives.

It’s so sad.

The tag sale was yesterday. It was run by a hostile incompetent hired gun – the place was a mess and the stuff was priced completely erratically and mostly unmarked (so you had to ask, whereupon she made up a price on the spot). You’d think that someone running a tag sale, working on commission, would want to maximize the income by keeping things presentable, by clearly pricing everything, by acting knowledgeable and helpful. In this case, you would be wrong.

There were still spices in the kitchen cabinets and Q-tips in the bathroom. For all I know, they were for sale. There were clothes in the closets and piles of linens on the floor. There was no order to anything.

My mother and I wandered around – I found a handmade double wedding ring quilt in a heap upstairs, and asked how much. $5, said the hostile incompetent. So I bought a quilt for $5 – I don’t need it, but I couldn’t walk away from it. There was a handsome mirror in the dining room – my mother said she’d been asking $400 at the pre-sale earlier in the week. By yesterday, the price was down to $75. I went back at the end of the day and offered $20. She countered with $30. I left. About 10 minutes later, my husband showed up – I sent him across the street, and he came back with the mirror for $25. And my mother went over and came home with a little upholstered rocker for free – earlier, the hostile incompetent had been asking $60. So erratic.

Once the tag sale was over, they starting heaving things into a dumpster. Plaques given to the minister. Antique clock parts (his hobby was clock repair). Dishes. Books. Christmas ornaments. Napkins. Space heaters.

It’s so disrespectful.

It’s so wasteful.

My brother and sister and their spouses and a family friend and a neighbor headed across the street after dark and, wine-fueled, dove into the dumpster with flashlights.

It seemed right to rescue some bits of their life. A pressed glass citrus reamer. A crochet hook. A pinecone-shaped iron cuckoo clock weight. A Horatio Alger book.

It could have been done so much better. They could have found a way to let her stay in the house. They could have found her a place to live in the area - where she has friends and neighbors and acquaintances and church folk - instead of shipping her off to the middle of the country where she'll know no one but her dead husband's elderly brother. They could have hired a more sensitive person to run the tag sale. They could have been more respectful of her stuff, her life, her things, his life, his hobbies, their life. They could have packed off much of the stuff to thrift shops, to shelters, to people to whom the stuff would have made a difference. A space heater tossed in a dumpster does no one any good. A box fan...the same.

It sounds like I'm blaming her children - and in part I am. But it's also our society. We think nothing of discarding things and people, we disrespect the past. In that is our curse for the future. It's environmental. It's societal. It's human. We should do better.

20 October 2007

Little Kid Couture

The things that can happen when you let your child dress herself:

  • Plaids and stripes
  • Shirt with little flowers, pants with big flowers, socks with other flowers - "Look Mama, I'm all flowers - I match!"
  • Skirts with pants underneath
  • Pants with tights underneath

and, the discovery, at the end of the day, that she's gone to school without underpants.

19 October 2007

CSA Week 20 - Of Cabbages and Kings

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes - and ships - and sealing-wax -
Of cabbages - and kings -
And why the sea is boiling hot -
And whether pigs have wings."

The "cabbages and kings" phrase popped into my head when I saw the size of the cabbages at the CSA pick-up - huge, enormous, bigger than my head. I knew the stanza from which it came, but what surprised me was realizing that whole poem is eighteen stanzas long, and the cabbages and kings one is number eleven. Why then is that one middle stanza so burned into my brain? Maybe just because it's pretty damned wonderful.

  • Cabbage (1 enormous head)
  • Red Russian Kale
  • Broccoli Rabe
  • Potatoes (6)
  • Onions (2)
  • Plum Tomatoes (quart)
  • Salad Mix
  • Parsley

Maybe it's the Irish peasant stock in me, but I'm looking forward to a batch of colcannon with the cabbage and potatoes. Colcannon is basically mashed potates with cooked cabbage (and/or kale) stirred in, but somewhere I have (or maybe my mother has) a recipe for colcannon with an unseemly amount of butter, thereby making a transcendent rendition of the peasant dish.

18 October 2007

13 Bears for Thursday

I don't know what possessed me to count the bears, but there are thirteen of them. Thirteen! Is that good luck or bad?

Top Row, Left to Right

  1. Night Bear (in night cap)
  2. Pinky Teddy (given to me for her, at my baby shower, by my sister, Pinky)
  3. Purple Bear
  4. Kiki
  5. Ginger Bear (a gift from an erstwhile neighbor of my mother's, named Ginger)

Bottom Row

  1. Brown Bear
  2. Ganny Bear (lifted from Granny's house)
  3. Roofus (in the red shirt, a giveaway from Habitat for Humanity, hence the idiosyncratic spelling)
  4. Sparkle Bear (with wings and star, his fur is a little sparkly)
  5. Pink Bear
  6. Tiny Little Teddy
  7. Butterfly Bear
  8. Brown and White Bear

Pink Bear and Brown Bear used to go to school every day for nap time - they've been mended so many times that they look like Frankenstein.

Tiny Little Teddy used to be a teething object - frequently completely saturated in spittle. He's never been the same since.

Sparkle Bear is a Beanie Baby. He used to have a companion, a white bear with (I think) Mississippi embroidered on it (or maybe Louisiana). I sent the companion to Iraq. The problem is, she still asks about that missing bear. Oops.

Butterfly Bear was a baby present from some neighbors down the hall in our NYC apartment. We didn't know them much beyond hello in the elevator, but I think of them often because of the bear.

Not only do I know the provenance of each of these bears, I know all their names. How is it that my head has room for all that clutter?

17 October 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Okay, they need a couple of words: it's a mailbox, attached to a tree, about nine feet off the ground, in Union Square park. Who is getting mail there? And how does the mailman get the mail in the box?

16 October 2007

Guest Curator

My friend David, a former colleague and accidental brother, blogless at present, sent me the following email. You might want to watch these clips at home, not the office cubicle. And I'd start with the second one, though I completely understand why he led with the first. And don't blame me if you get an earworm out of it.

Subject: Pepto Bismol audition (A Chorus Line for our times)
  • A mockumentary?
  • The original British commercial (great ensemble work).
  • Hip hop version (it's got a beat and I can't help but dance to it).
  • I'm totally jealous of this.
  • Attack of the dyspeptic monsters: (as seen on your TV, an instant classic).

15 October 2007

The Environment

I've been mulling over today's post for a while now - what to do, what to write, to somehow address the issue of the environment as part of Blog Action Day. And then, with great good luck, the Nobel Foundation awarded this year's Peace Prize to Al Gore and the IPCC - thereby spot-lighting the problems facing the world in a way that even multitudes of bloggers can't hope to touch.

The New York Times had a good editorial the other day - read it if you haven't already. It basically slams the US government, and others, for not stepping up to the plate and addressing the multitude of environmental problems facing our world. Paul Krugman follows that up with an op-ed piece today, about why the right hates Gore - because he "keeps being right".

It's hard to know what to do as an individual, but I find that every day, I get a little more vitriolic, and a little more conscious as to my actions. I bought reusable shopping bags and stashed the big ones in the car, and a small string bag in my so-called briefcase. We've replaced some light bulbs with compact fluorescents. I can't remember the last time that I ran a load of laundry in warm water (much less hot). We're about to replace the windows and door in the basement with energy efficient ones that fit properly and aren't patched with duct tape (and we should get a tax credit for some of that cost). We've been buying local produce and organic dairy products. We have a programmable thermostat that is set to drop the heat in the house to 55°F at night - although we haven't yet turned the heat on, though it's been about 40°F out in the morning the past few days. They are tiny little gestures, but important gestures none the less. We could do much better, as individuals, as a family, as a community, as a country. And I hope that we will.

Master satirist Tom Lehrer was talking about the environment way back when. Pollution was written in the early 60s, and is a scathing indictment of the then state of the environment. If you've never had the pleasure, the video is here and you can buy the record here.

14 October 2007

Rock, Revisited

The rock has been returned to its brethren, though it appears to be the black sheep of the family. It is now residing in a stone wall outside my house, and it will be there for all eternity, or until the wall falls down again, at which time someone will wonder why the erratic was engraved with the name of a law firm.

12 October 2007

Friday Fluff

This morning, in the four blocks between the subway and my office, I saw the following:

  • A small boy in a stroller, wearing a Yankees cap inside out, so that the logo was visible but backwards. I couldn't decide if the cap was inside out as a way of making it fit better on a little head, or as a "damn you, Yankees" gesture.

  • An old woman, smoking a cigar that smelled like a pipe. It reminded my of my grandfathers, both of whom smoked pipes from time to time. Why is it that the aroma of pipe tobacco is so pleasing and evocative?

  • A young man, probably in his early twenties, striding up the sidewalk piloting a radio-controlled car ahead of him. It was almost like his dog. I did think that he was a little too old to be playing with toy cars.
And then, I found this when I got to my desk. Enjoy!

11 October 2007

CSA Week 19

I've been reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - her account of a year of producing most of their own food, and obtaining the rest locally. It's fascinating and inspiring, even if I'm not likely to start raising chickens in my own back yard, or growing much in the way of vegetables. I know where to get live chickens nearby, I have the CSA for a goodly amount of our annual vegetables, and I'm lucky enough to work near a terrific greenmarket wherein I can plug the gaps.

Kingsolver's book has an associated website, which includes all of the recipes that are in the book. I haven't tried any of them yet, but some of them look great.

  • Spinach
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli Rabe
  • Asian Greens braising mix
  • Salad Mix
  • Ping Pong Tomatoes (pint)
  • Plum Tomatoes (quart)
  • Delicata Squash (3)
  • Onions (2)
  • Parsley
  • Sage

Because we're getting a little behind the CSA vegetables, I've been blanching, chopping and freezing the greens. And last night, I made another batch of oven-roasted tomatoes. I left them in a slow oven while I went out to a meeting; when I came back, the house smelled delicious.

And maybe, just maybe, the kid has taken to a new vegetable. While we were at the pick-up yesterday, she was surreptitiously stealing bits of cauliflower. Go figure.

10 October 2007

Breast Fest

I breastfed my child for two years and 364 days, and we haven't got a single picture of her nursing. It's not that we kept it a secret, it's more that we're inclined to forget to photograph much of anything.

However, the League of Maternal Justice put together a montage of many many mama-baby pairs, to remind the world that breastfeeding is normal and right, not dirty, and that nursing mothers should be proud, not shamed into hiding in closets. Because Bill Maher is an ass, and Facebook sucks, and Applebees ought to be hauled into court.

09 October 2007

Book Karma, October edition

It's time for another Book Exchange. This month, I'm giving away Susan Jane Gilman's Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress. If you'd like it, leave me a comment on this post by Monday October 15. I'll pick a random winner and mail you the book. Please make sure I can find your email address, either in the comment or on your own blog. The only requirement is that you pass the book along when you're done - either through a Pay It Forward post of your own, or by just giving it to someone who wants to read it.

The book is fun - it's a fluffy quick read - a non-fiction account of growing up in Manhattan.

Edited to add: Aliki2006 won!

07 October 2007

Five Questions

The five questions interview meme is rattling around blogland again. In a moment of madness, I stuck up my hand over at Flutter's place. Here goes!

1) A hippie, an archaeologist and a chef are at dinner, what do they talk about?

Sustainable agriculture –the present implications for the environment and for the culture of eating, and the lessons from the past as to old farming techniques. Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Mineral might be a good discussion provoker, or party favor.

2) Taking note of your Bush countdown clock, who do you hope is elected next term and what is the most important thing you hope they accomplish?

I’m vacillating between Edwards and Clinton. There’s a piece of me that would very much like to see a woman in the White House, and I think that she’s an impressive candidate. That said, Edwards has less baggage, great heart and sound policy ideas. In any case, I hope that universal health care is a priority, that we get the hell out of Iraq, and that a serious attempt be made to address global warming through energy efficiency and a carbon tax.

3) Think of yourself as a wee little one, what was your biggest dream? Are you living it, or has it changed?

I remember saying that I wanted to be a philanthropist – as a five year old. I’m not sure how I even knew the word! And I am not living it, not by a long shot - one needs rather more money than I've got. But, I’m on the other side of the fence. I’ve worked in non-profit arts organizations for the past 20 years, and have had direct and indirect responsibility for raising contributed income, and therefore I interact with philanthropists regularly. Once upon a time, when I was casting about for career direction, I spoke to a man – an erstwhile family friend – who was the head of a largish foundation. I told him that I was interested in working in that area; he convinced me that it was completely dull and pedantic work. But, in the back of my head, it still sounds like a good thing. Foundation jobs are awfully hard to come by, though, and my bank balance doesn't support more than modest charitable contributions.

4) Birkenstocks, Manolo Blahniks or running shoes? Why?

Um, none of the above? That said, my shoe tendencies lie more towards the Dansko/Merrell/Mephisto spectrum – so I guess Birkenstocks would be the closest match. I’ve never owned Birkenstocks though.

5) What is your writing process and what do you feel like you gain by blogging?

I don’t have much of a process…I get a random idea and just go with it. It might be a bon mot from the kid. Or I see something in the paper or on the street. Or I get an idea from a bit I read on another blog. Since June, I’ve been cataloguing my CSA vegetable share, but I feel like I can’t just put up the list and call it a day, that I need to add something whether it’s a recipe, an anecdote, or a paean to the CSA movement. I like playing with words – the phrase “greens, greens, salad and herbs” tickled some part of me. As to what I gain? I have an outlet for all the weird ephemera rattling around in my head. I’ve gained an amorphous set of friends. And it’s just fun.

Thanks, Christine! Next?

05 October 2007

Blood and Guts

Are you signed up to be an organ donor?

Irish Goddess wrote a lovely post last year, a thank you to the person who became a heart donor for her father. As it happens, she just referenced that old post and it struck a chord with me as I've been thinking about organ donation and blood donation recently.

Several months ago, another blogger wrote about her sister-in-law's receipt of a double lung transplant, and it prompted me to sign up, on-line, through my state's donor registry. I just got the paperwork back in the mail - it's a little eerie to contemplate my own demise, but if it happens in such a way that there are usable organs, they should be recycled.


Last weekend, our town had a little fair - local merchants, community organizations, hot dogs, a bouncy house, and free tote bags from every single real estate agent around. And the Blood Mobile was there. I've been wanting to give blood and it seemed like the perfect opportunity as W. was there to mind the irascible one. So I sat down and filled out their form - no untoward sexual history, no illicit needle use, no dread diseases. Good to go? No. I spent four months in London in 1982 - and if you've spent more than three months in the aggregate in the UK between 1980 and 1996, you are "indefinitely deferred". I can't give blood. I might have bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease). Argh.

So, here are my questions.

1) If I can't give blood, can I be an organ donor? Unclear - a 2001 CDC article implies that blood and organ donations both pose a risk of transmittal, but the same article says that US policy is to exclude "donations from anyone who has lived in or visited the UK for a cumulative period of 6 months or more during 1980 to 1996". So either, the rules have changed since that article was published or the New York Blood Center has more stringent guidelines.

2) Who can give blood in the UK? If the rule is the same there, that would mean only children and recent immigrants can give blood. But if the recipient lived in the UK in that same time frame, they'd have the same risk factor. So it would be okay to give blood in the UK today if you'd spent three months there between 1980 and 1996? The head spins.

This is all neither here nor there. Are you an organ donor? You should be.

04 October 2007

CSA Week 18

It was a very green week: greens, greens, salad and herbs. I think I'll blanch and freeze the spinach and the braising greens.

  • Broccoli
  • Broccoli Rabe
  • Spinach
  • Braising Greens - Asian mix
  • Salad Mix
  • Plum Tomatoes (quart)
  • Juliet Tomatoes (pint)
  • Red Potatoes (5)
  • Onions (2)
  • Basil
  • Parsley

The potatoes are piling up - we didn't get any last week, so I wasn't aware of just how many potatoes we had until I put these new ones away. So, I think I'll make a fennel/potato gratin tonight with the fennel from last week. I've never made this recipe before so I can't speak for it, but it sounds good. That said, I've not had much success in feeding fennel to the family in the past, so it could be a disaster. But that's part of the beauty of the CSA - experimenting with things you don't usually eat or actively shy away from. That said, last week's kabocha squash is still in the fridge...

Fennel and Potato Gratin

1 medium fennel bulb, cut crosswise into 1/8-inch slices (about 2 cups)
2 cups thinly sliced Yukon gold potatoes (about 2 large potatoes)
Salt and pepper
2 cups half-and-half
2 T. butter

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly coat a shallow 2-quart baking dish with butter.
  2. Cover the bottom of the baking dish with a layer of fennel slices. Cover with half of the potato slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Repeat layers until you’ve used up all your slices.
  3. Bring the half-and-half to a gentle boil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. Pour it over the fennel and potato. (The half-and-half can be replaced with whole milk for a less rich dish.)
  4. Using a large spatula, press down on the top layer to submerge it. Dot with butter. Bake until potatoes are tender and the top is golden, about 1 hour.
(from Farmer John's Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables)

03 October 2007

SCHIP Vetoed

Well, he did it, he vetoed the children's health bill.

He'd said previously that he would veto it, because it would be a step “down the path to government-run health care for every American.”

And, really, what's wrong with that?

I tend not to air my political laundry here, but this is something that really rankles me. This country SHOULD have single-payer universal health coverage. And maybe this children's insurance business would have been a small move in that direction. MomsRising (with help from MoveOn) is organizing rallies tomorrow evening, to try and get the 20 House votes needed to overturn the veto. I'm going to try and go.


The Great Mofo Delurk 2007"It's delightful, it's delicious, it's delectable, it's delirious, it's dilemma, it's de limit, it's deluxe, it's de-lovely..."

And it's delurking day!

So say hello to everyone you visit.

02 October 2007

Delurk, And The Perils of Tonic

The Great Mofo Delurk 2007Tomorrow, the 3rd of October, is delurking day - as decreed by Schmutzie, Sweetney and Jenandtonic. So delurk tomorrow! Here and elsewhere. And, as a refresher, delurk means getting up the gall to post a comment to a blog where you've been reading posts without commenting (a/k/a lurking). You don't need an account. Go ahead. Try it.

Jenandtonic's blog name reminds me of a little piece I read in the Sunday Times Book Review, about the remaining one of the Two Fat Ladies and her penchant for gins and tonic:

About Wright’s heft, The Daily Mail’s interviewer comments: “It wasn’t the alcohol that damaged her health. It was the quinine in the tonic water she added to her gin — two pints of gin a day for 12 years, which I calculate as roughly 9,000 pints of gin and over 50,000 pints of tonic water. The quinine destroyed her adrenal gland, and now she can’t lose weight, even if she lived on lettuce — which I doubt she ever would.”

Imagine. It's not the gin that's hurtful, it's the tonic. Who'd have thunk it?

01 October 2007

Engraved Rocks

Every year, Working Mother magazine publishes a list of their decreed 100 best companies for women to work at. I actually have a subscription to Working Mother – a freebie from somewhere or another, because lord knows it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on, and paying for it would be adding insult to injury. The issue with that list arrived recently, and I skimmed through it in horrified fascination – I’m a working mother, and I can’t imagine working for any of those soulless corporations with such nebulous “benefits” as knitting classes.

Last week, Toddled Dredge pointed me towards Deep Muck Big Rake where Becky posted some incisive analysis around that Working Mother list – and pointing out that many of the recipients are also advertisers in the magazine. Were they advertisers first, or coerced into advertising in order to receive the award? Or guilted into advertising because they received the award?

I work for small non-profit that happens to be a small-time client of one of the big law firms that ended up on that 100 Best list. This morning, I arrived in the office to find a small heavy box that had arrived in the mail. Inside was a card from said law firm, patting themselves on the back for "Breaking Barriers One Rock at a Time”, along with an engraved ROCK. I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry.

Am I - a woman, a client - supposed to think better of them because of their appearance on that list? Am I supposed to want to hire them more often? Am I supposed to want to go and work for them? Actually, wasting $6.20 on Priority Mail postage to send an engraved rock (value unknown) and printed card makes me more than a little irritated. I’d rather pay less in legal fees than support such nonsense.

And now, what do I do with the rock?

Edited to add a photo of the rock - the other side has the name and logo of the law firm: