30 May 2008
So, seeing this parrot talk, makes me look at my dog and wonder, is it that he's so smart he won't do all the tricks I try to teach him, or is it that he's so smart he does just enough for me to think he can learn more, so I keep giving him treats to train him? To date, my Beau can do only a handful of tricks: sit, stand (we call it dancing), lie down, roll over and shake. It makes for an entertaining morning before he gets his bowl of food. He doesn't talk, but to paraphrase a bumper sticker: "My dog ate your fancy, talking bird."
27 May 2008
25 May 2008
24 May 2008
18 May 2008
Saturday night, my children and I attended Northgate's spring musical, a rather good production of Grease. The standout performers were Kelsey Adams as Sandy and Libba Beaucham as Rizzo. The two girls handily belted melodies and hotly blazed as the stars they are. All the students in the cast and crew came together to put on a rockin' show full of humor, solid dancing, charming characters and more. Where vocals did lack tonality here and there, showmanship and spectacle kept the entertainment level high. Because the young performers were so engaged in the moment on stage, the audience willfully and easily suspended disbelief and enjoyed every moment of the show.
I felt so very pleased to witness the whole ensemble as they ushered Rydell High into Newnan, GA. For so long, the Northgate stage has been as dry as a Georgia drought with only a smattering of showers, momentarily lifting spirits only to set them back into despair. This latest production is far and away the torrential slaking of quality theater for which the Viking stage has thirsted. I can hardly wait for the next drink of refreshment from our Backstage Players.
The usual ringtone couldn't prepare me
I'd never heard my boyfriend cry
In fact rarely have I seen him angered or more than frustrated
His emotions run at cool temperatures
His heart pumps propylene glycol, not blood.
Instead of the regular calm collection
Of wits and temper
His voice cracked
I could here his words break in two
His stifled sobs broke into our conversation.
Go to your dinner he said
I couldn't; I wouldn't
I called to cancel
Then followed that call
With another to him
For three hours maybe.
Though the time connected was nothing new
It was a new kind of conversation for us
He leaned on me
And for once it seemed I took the pressure
And didn't buckle beneath it.
When I heard it might be cancer
I stayed calm
Sent word for family and friends to say a few prayers.
Not a false alarm
More like a fire drill, a call to arms
Smoking has to stop
The inflammation causing pain in the chest and back
All a warning, a violently frightening alert
To a stubborn man who doesn't care often when he receives health advice
Smoking and drinking go hand in hand with eating, sleeping and bathing.
But maybe this time
It will take
This warning gets attention.
Doctors, X-rays and CT scans aren't just a Greek chorus of Cassandras
The Oracle at Delphi, a Papal decree
Telling a stubbornly calm man
To take heed, to listen, to be well and to take care
So that he can be there
When we need each other.
11 May 2008
For the past several months, I've been experimenting with home grown sour dough starter. Until I conducted a small amount of research on the toile mondiale, I thought it was some great secret known only to chuck wagon cooks and San Franciscan artisan bread bakers. Hah! It's a delightful accident of nature. One cup of flour (whole grain, baby, whole grain!) and one cup of filtered water mixed well and left to stand from 1 to 24 hours, and then you've got sourdough starter. Wow. So, for about six months now, I've had a continuously cultured batch of starter, separating and feeding it about every 7 to 10 days, using about 1/3 to make more starter, the rest in a loaf of bread. Here's my recipe for the dough that's rising now.
- 2/3 cup sourdough starter
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 3 cups whole grain AP flour
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 3 Tbsp soy margarine
- 100% whole wheat flour for dusting
I just threw it all in my trusty KitchenAid and let the machine work until the dough became a smooth, fat ball. I put the ball into a greased, tightly lidded plastic container to chill in the refrigerator over night. I took the container out of the refrigerator this morning, and I'm going to allow it to rise as long as needed until it has doubled and bulk. Natural yeasts can take quite a long time to rise bread, but it's all so worth it! Then I plan to form it into two baguettes, then allow those to rise a bit longer. Then I'll bake them until they are deeply golden brown and have that lovely hollow thump when tapped. I'm the only one home, and these generally don't last more than three days. They're wonderful with breakfast, with lunch, with dinner, or with a snack. Okay, I'm addicted to bread. My midsection is a witness to that.
The rest of my papers await this Mother's day for my pen to score points and then this little computer demands that I update the grade records so that I can distribute progress reports to my students. [See notes above about Socratic methods.]
10 May 2008
05 May 2008
03 May 2008
My weekend in Long Island with John was good but short. John and I managed to find two really good local restaurants. First there was the Rainbow Cookie Café on Route 112 in Medford, NY. I can't find a website, but I'm sending them a coffee mug. It's a delightful diner with charming owners and a folksy clientèle. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the delicious breakfasts served to us. As for Manhattan, I don't know yet, but Suffolk County seems to harbor a nice bunch of people. Next there we found The Good Steer. The food was home cooking and the atmosphere of the third-generation family run business was wonderful. Don't forget the "7-Layer Chocolate Cake".
Getting out to find the mom & pop shops makes for a real introduction to the community. I'm looking forward to more trips to New York and becoming more familiar with part of the Northeast of these United States.