Friday, April 29, 2011

Note to self: Never buy a digital camera at a pawnshop.

After one stunningly mediocre month of service, my new, old, digital camera has failed, thus curtailing my blogging efforts.  After all the haggling and bullet sweating of that intrepid purchasing experience, never mind that after buying batteries, an sd card, sd card reader, each separate from the hair brained acquisition, I could have ordered a brand new one from Amazon, and had it shipped for equal money, I've made a determination to outsource my electronic purchases to my male counterpart.  

(shaking head)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Best Book Club in the Land

We don't drink wine, (coffee) we don't share our feelings, (much) and, yes, we actually read the books (almost all of us, almost always, almost all the way through).  

Shocking, I know.

Even more unusual, the magnanimous cohesion of a group of women that cross an expanse of political, sociological, spiritual and personality ranges that might appall you.

A social liberal with a hard core conservative.  A fundamental christian with an atheist.  A mid forty year old with a woman in her twenties.  An outspoken female with a silent observer.  A Whole Foods shopper with a food stamps receiver.  A stay at home breeder with a child free career professional.  A pro choicer with a pro lifer.

I am convinced that the secret ingredient to our coveted and beloved neutral zone is this:

We are not here to convince anyone else to ratify our opinions.  Rather, to present a defensible reason for our own perspective.  We observe each other.  We listen and learn.  And we enjoy the intellectual exercise.  We crave it, and we celebrate it.

Unbelievably good gelato.  Chocolate Noir, my favorite: the best chocolate experience I think I've ever had.  Sort of like mainlining a smooth, cool ganache. 
Out of Africa was a bust as a novel for we 21 century readers, but offered some descriptions and quotations that I will never forget.  We also bring in our own favorite books to swap on the side. 

‎"The thing which in the waking world comes nearest to a dream is night in a big town, where nobody knows one, or the African night. There too is infinite freedom; it is there that things are going on, destinies are made round you, there is freedom on all sides, and it is none of you concern."  -Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen

"The Fetta," one of the Riverwalk Cafe's breakfast sandwiches with spinach, egg, tomato, and fetta on a home made biscuit, is such a unanimous book club favorite that I felt it ought to be included.  (Thanks to Diane for the camera phone shot!)

Some of our favorite book club pics of all time:

1.  Shadow Divers
2.  Glass Castle
3.  The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
4.  Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
5.  Skeletons at the Feast
6.  Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith

We meet on the first Saturday of each month at 9am at the Riverwalk Cafe in Nashua.  We rent kits of books from the Nh Public Libraries, so the books are always free of cost.

Glass Castles

I've been thinking about digging out my stained glass equipment.

I think Levity could begin with cleaning and wrapping glass, and work up to soldering, eventually.

Here are a few artifacts that have survived my adulthood as random ornamentation at our house.  Most of my early work is long gone, but one of the greatest features of Home Education is that you can teach whatever you like, and make your own hobbies and aspirations a part of their education, thereby rationalizing and motivating the time spent on said pursuit.

"Brilliant.  Efficient.  Satisfying.  Home School!"

(vs: "Tedious.  Agonizing.  Stultifying.  Home School?")

Soldering in marbles by wrapping securely in copper tape...
Soldering in coins (blacked out circles) adds interest.

All the world's a stage

Surveys and research results show most people would rather die than talk in front of a live audience. This is a global fears top ten:

1. Fear of public speaking (Glossophobia)
 2. Fear of death (Necrophobia)
 3. Fear of spiders (Arachnophobia)
 4. Fear of darkness (Achluophobia, Scotophobia or Myctophobia)
 5. Fear of heights (Acrophobia)
 6. Fear of people or social situations (Sociophobia)
 7. Fear of flying (Aerophobia)
 8. Fear of open spaces (Agoraphobia)
 9. Fear of thunder and lightning (Brontophobia)
10. Fear of confined spaces (Claustrophobia)

But...not our kids.

Performance.  It's in the blood.

Style points for presentation.
Taking notes
The apples don't fall far from the tree.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Oh my Groceries

1. Brown Jasmine Rice  

If you've never cooked with Jasmine rice, you owe it to yourself.  It is by far my favorite rice, but I'd all but given it up in favor of brown, until I made this discovery at Trader Joe's...Brown Organic Jasmine Rice!  Try it.  You'll never go back.

2. Sesame Ezekiel Bread
Some of you know I've been eating virtually refined carbohydrate/sugar free for the better part of this year.  This fully sprouted, flour free bread is a stopgap against the insanity of that deadly urge for a B.L.T. that overwhelms even the strongest willed among us.  Also great toasted and dipped in egg...

3. Slab (dried) Apricots
 These are the sour patch kids of the natural world.  Sulfur dioxide free, or nice and orange and chemical laced, if you like sour sweets, you will join the obsession after trying these.  (Trader Joe's also)  Not your typical fat lipped, plump, sweet apricot. Drier and quite sourish.  One of the few dried fruits you can get with no sugar added.

4. Organic Just Tart Cherry juice
My favorite pie in the world, and being a pie groupie, that is not said lightly, is my mother's Montmorency Cherry pie from scratch.  Drinking this is like skipping all the steps, and just mainlining it. Available at Hannaford, Shaws, Trader Joes...everywhere but my true love, "ghetto-basket."  (Market Basket)

5. Fresh corn tortillas
This is a staple of my "sugar free" eating.  No real explanation needed.  Weather you are gluten free, sugar free, or just obsessed with mexican food, fresh corn tortillas are a must have.  The fresher the better, fry them up with meat, beans, avocado, cilantro, plain yogurt, fresh salsa, fried fish, or whatever your heart desires.  It's one of the few meals one can indulge unfettered when eating in such a fashion.

6. Veggie Booty
This is my desperate, "don't have time to compose a meal" snack.  Named "green popcorn" by baffled friends, this kale dusted corn puffery is a convenient snack to have around for those moments when you know a slice of toast slathered in butter and melted chocolate chips is exactly the wrong solution.  (laughing)