Monday, October 31, 2016
I think that the bottom line is that change is difficult and when change happens that is out of step with one's personal beliefs then it is very disturbing, maybe even unmooring, and that is the underpinning of the recent rise in popularity of someone who does not follow the social norms. I personally want to go back to a time when open it was not ok to talk openly about homophobia, racist viewpoints, misogyny, and the opinion that women are asking for it. Enough already. I can tell from the jokes you tell and the things that you say in polite conversation that you do not share my world view. I do not need to get into a conversation with you about how "law and order" is code for racial profiling and that focusing on Hillary Clinton's email when virtually every other government official has done exactly the same thing does reveal a gender bias (unless you have been pained by the misuse of email for all other government officials and are working diligently to lobby for reform). We don't share values, but we can work side by side, just so long as you don't tell me that violating people's civil rights is ok or that you are voting for some wing nut who threatens democracy. Keep that to yourself, and try to dig more deeply into what your personal biases are. We all have them. Denying them doesn't make it go away.
Seriously, figure out why you want are amused by cross-dressing, at least today. Oh, and Happy Hallowe'en.
Sunday, October 30, 2016
The thing about this quilt that I love (and that I have never done myself) is the applique design that is overall, with an elaborate border which I assume was pieced all at once on each of the edges of the quilt and that the center is appliqued as an enormous piece. I am almost certain that I would have to be in a class in order for me to get this started, but it is something that I love the look of and think is within the range of my abilities. I actually like to do needle turn applique, and I might struggle with the perfection of lay out that this quilt achieves, it is on my to do list.
Saturday, October 29, 2016
There have certainly been recipients that I don't admire as much as others, but this is the Swedish Academy's prize to give. Their usual one line reason was this: "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition". I can't argue with that. What a lot of people have argued is that this is not a good reason to get an award for literature, but I don't see it as my place to comment on that. The award has its own prestige, which has been amassed over the decades that it has been given, and it speaks for itself. It is simply not my choice.
What this does do is to change the way that I view the hours and hours that I spent as a youth listening to Dylan. He has been prolific throughout his lifetime as a songwriter and even in my teens I had a dozen albums of his work. The sixties and into the seventies were an era of ballad writing and I love that genre. Dylan was the hands down master of it, and there are so many lines from his songs that I think when I am summing up situations in my head. He is a genius in my book and he becomes more impressive to me the older I get. He is a complicated man, but an unusually gifted artist. So I toast my youthful self for seeing that so clearly. I was so much older then, I am younger than that now.
Friday, October 28, 2016
The film is a scathing indictment on the state of journalism today, where the process is really secondary. The film makes the contention that this began with makes the case that this state of journalistic being really got underway with the railroading of Mary Mapes and Dan Rather in 2004, over a story that purported that then-president-and-candidate George W. Bush not only dodged service in Vietnam, but didn’t serve his duty on the Texas Air National Guard. It was a blockbuster story that literally blew up in the face of CBS when it was revealed that some of the documents used as evidence were not thoroughly verified. The movie makes the case that no one asked if the story was true or not, merely using the furor over the documents as a way to tear down the rest of the piece. The ongoing problem with journalism and following the truth is certainly evident in the current presidential election, where in the primaries almost all of the Republican candidates for president could not reach the point where 50% of what they said was truthful. Unbelievable. But the problem is that it is believed by an undiscerning public. That is where we stand right now. Uneducated and no end in sight.
Thursday, October 27, 2016
I love the bright colors in this quilt, which is something that I do not often for for in my design elements, but I really like in this quilt. I bought a number of 1/2 yard lengths of fabric while I was there (it is impossible to leave quilt Week without fabric, that is just a given. Please do not distract me with details about how much fabric I have at home. I know that). So I am really well equipped to make something like this. Once I finish the other projects that I have in progress, that is!
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
It is on the south side of Cedar Rapids, which is generally good for us (although not perfectly convenient the night we went). It is a casual place with lots of space inside and plenty of parking outside. The menu is medium sized and changes with the seasons. There are also specials each night. We had two salads, both of which were exceptionally good. The seasonal salad had apples and honeyed walnuts and a balanced dressing, and the Czarina Salad (their version of a Caesar) was equally satisfying. I went with the Fish and Chips off the casual fare menu and it was both delicious and enormous. My companion and I took home his pasta dinner and shared it. The pasta is homemade and it was very good. This is definitely a place that we would return to and the prices are quite reasonable for the amount that you get and for a bit of an upscale dining experience.
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Owens decided to go to Ohio State University for college because of the reputation of the track and field coach there. Ohio was not quite the deep South, but it certainly wasn't desegregated either, and Owens faced discrimination in his own locker room in addition to on and off the field. His coach was not that way. He was the shining star of the whole story (besides Owens himself of course), the one who did everything that he could for Owens and gave him his due.
The very ugly sub story that I did not know about involved Avery Brundage and the US Olympic committee being complicit in excluding US Jewish sprinters from the games. The action contributed to Owen's 4th gold medal but was an ugly stain on the IOC. Maybe no surprise there. Brundage was involved with the Olympics for decades to come, and the taint has certainly continued to stain the organization over the 80 years since the Berlin games. Owens story ends sadly, which is entirely foreseeable but no less unfortunate. Well done telling of the story, which sticks largely to the facts.
Monday, October 24, 2016
There were two things about this that worked very much in my favor. One is that the group is a step group--I did not know that from the short identifying paragraph about them in the season's program, but both I and my youngest son love to watch step dancing in movies, and it was even better in person. The other was that given the fact that I was buying tickets early, I was able to get truly excellent up close seats, where we could be absorbed in the pieces.
I really loved everything about the performance. The group did interpretive dances, some with music and some without, and all were based on the paintings of Jacob Lawrence. Lawrence's sixty or more panels worth of paintings about the African American migration northward in America won him recognition at a very young age, and images of the paintings that inspired each dance sequence were projected on screens behind them. Stunning. And the history of the migration and the changes that came about as a result are important to remember and think about as we move forward in a time renewed visible racial discord in our country.
- 1 cup lentils, washed and picked over
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 carrot, diced or some winter squash diced, or both
- 1 stalk of celery, diced
- 1 sweet pepper, chopped
- Salt to taste
- 1 c. chopped tomatoes
- 6 cups stock
- Thyme and a bay leaf
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Sunday, October 23, 2016
Saturday, October 22, 2016
That means it is time to add winter squash to the dinner menu. I love delicata because in a lot of ways it is the least fussy. You don't have to peel it, it cooks quickly, and in this case, you get hot and sweet tones. Reduce the maple syrup if you want to focus more on the heat.
- 1 1/2 pounds Delicata squash, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
- 1 red onion, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch rings
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 4 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- 1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- Kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
Spread vegetables evenly onto two large, rimmed baking sheets. Bake the squash on the upper and lower racks of the oven, tossing, rotating, and switching the pan positions half way through cooking, until tender and browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Taste and season again with more salt and pepper, if desired.
Friday, October 21, 2016
She and my son have embarked on a new adventure, moving across Iowa late this summer. They are slowly but surely getting their house situated the way they want it, getting to know the new town, and figuring out where to do all the things that make life routine. It is all a bit overwhelming, of course, but the two of them have kept their spirits high and are approaching it with the sort of enthusiasm that will make it work.
It has been a rough year for all of us and no one escaped unscathed. Especially not her. About a month after this picture was taken I was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer, and then in early summer her brother was diagnosed with leukemia and has since undergone a bone marrow transplant. Yikes. It is just a lot to deal with, and then to move on top of it all! I am hoping for all our sake that the upcoming year is a bit quieter in terms of bad news, and holds more fun and adventure. May it be so.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
can, so that we address our profound lack of refrigerator space.
- 7 pounds green tomatoes
- 4 large onions
- 2 large red onions
- 3 large green peppers
- 2 large sweet red peppers
- 4 teaspoons canning salt
- 5 cups cider vinegar
- 4 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons cumin seed
- 4 teaspoons mustard seed
- Cut tomatoes, onions and peppers into wedges. In a food processor, cover and process vegetables in batches until finely chopped. Stir in salt. Divide mixture between two strainers and place each over a bowl. Let stand 3 hours.
- Discard liquid from bowls. Place vegetables in a stockpot; stir in vinegar, sugar, celery seed and mustard seed. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 30-35 minutes or until thickened.
- Carefully ladle hot mixture into eight hot pint jars, leaving 1/2-in. headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot mixture. Wipe rims. Center lids on jars; screw on bands until fingertip tight.
- Place jars into canner with simmering water, ensuring that they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil; process for 15 minutes. Remove jars and cool. Yield: 8 pints.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
This political season we have someone who is a complete outside running for president in a major party who appears to a be bird of another feather.
Here is what I mean. A true narcissist is someone who is flamboyant and braggadocios on the outside, to the point of being intolerable, but who is really quite fragile on the inside. When a narcissist is challenged, their thin eggshell exterior can quite easily crack and they fall apart or explode. The ways that they maintain peace within themselves are several fold. The first mechanism that they use is repression, which means that they keep unpleasant facts about themselves out of their conscious mind. So it is possible that they would say that they respect women at one point and yet say demeaning things about women's weight, looks, intelligence and abilities on the other. They would not see a connection between these two. If repression fails, then there is outright denial, which means just that. They will assert that an incident that is distressing to them did not happen. No, I did not assault a woman, that did not happen. The denial of facts is common for a narcissist. Another ego defense used is distortion and lies. There can be an almost compulsive nature to it. Finally, the narcissist uses projection to shield themselves from realizing unpleasant facts about themselves. So instead of seeing that he is a liar he calls his opponent crooked. When people speculate that his persistent sniffing in the first two debates was evidence he was using cocaine he says that his opponent should be drug tested. Instead of admitting his own affairs and unwanted sexual advances he points to the behavior of his opponents spouse. It is almost as if the public should look at his latest accusations of his opponent to figure out what he is now afraid that we will find out about him. Oh, and these mechanisms of defense, while normal in young children, are not normal even by the teenage years, and adults largely grow out of them and move on to more mature mechanisms like altruism.
Monday, October 17, 2016
The good news is that I finished up 5+ months of what for me was fairly intense chemotherapy in the spring. I had a handful of unplanned hospitalizations that added up to about an extra month in the hospital, and I lost a lot of strength and the ability to do much more than the bare minimum during that time. So I had a small life during that time that included my house, my family, and a few friends. When that was over, at the recommendation of my oncologist, I began a year of maintenance chemotherapy with Lamparza and Taxol, and today was my 9th treatment. It is so much better than what I was doing before, but the side effects, while much subtler and easier to tolerate, are just a bit much of a muchness.
Why? There are a number of things going on, and while I have managed to not have the peripheral neuropathy that plagues many who get lots of Taxol, I have this, that, and now I have the other thing, and before you know it, it all adds up. Boo hoo.
What to do? When the going gets tough, the modestly blue woman takes a trip. not this week, but pretty soon. And I am postponing my next chemo until I get back (I was going to do it two days before I left and then take the oral agent while I was gone, but I am boldly putting it all off until I get back). I think that will do the trick for me, but I definitely get why people who get chemotherapy longitudinally tire of it. It beats the alternative, but it is no walk in the park.
Sunday, October 16, 2016
Saturday, October 15, 2016
Friday, October 14, 2016
Thursday, October 13, 2016
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Monday, October 10, 2016
I don't understand the choice of Mike Pence as a running mate. He doesn't bring much to the table. It is unlikely that Indiana will be the state that will put him over the top, but then again you never know. In any case, I found him offensive before I heard him debate because of his views on gays and women, but hearing it from his own lips was appalling.
He literally described bringing America together on the issue of abortion by eliminating abortion and putting those children up for adoption. That would be his idea of compromise. How is that any sort of compromise? When Tim Kaine talked about a woman's right to make choices about her own body, he almost scoffed. His response was so patronizing to women that it was painful to watch. I felt quite sincerely that he wanted us to not go back merely to the 1950's but to the 1850's. He wanted a chance to squelch the right for women to vote right at the inception of the movement and have men control it start to finish. So please, voting is a privilege that should not be ignored. I have already voted, and urge you to also.
Sunday, October 9, 2016
Saturday, October 8, 2016
Friday, October 7, 2016
The timing is good. I have made three quilts this summer, and I have taken seven courses at my locally owned small craft store and not only have I loved them, I have also finished every project that I have started there. That is definitely a personal record for me. When I was a resident I managed to take a lot of classes, but I was no where near 100% in terms of completion. So I am on a roll, and it feels really good, so I hope these two classes go well, and that I get to see a lot of inspirational quilts!
Thursday, October 6, 2016
- 1 1/2 lb. eggplant cut into small cubes
- Salt to taste
- 3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, as needed
- 2 large garlic cloves minced
- 1 ½ pounds tomatoes chopped
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 to 3
tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, or a combination of mint and parsley
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy lidded casserole or skillet. Add the garlic. Cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the eggplant and cook until softening, adding a bit of water if the pan starts to brown. Stir in the tomatoes, salt to taste, sugar and pepper. Bring to a simmer, and simmer uncovered over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down and smell very fragrant.
- Add the pomegranite molasses and chickpeas. Cover and simmer for another 20 to 30 minutes, stirring from time to time. The mixture should be thick and the eggplant should be very tender, melting into the mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning. Sprinkle on the parsley and/or mint, and serve. Alternately, allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.
Wednesday, October 5, 2016
There is an almost invariable formula to the road movie. The protagonists must travel a great distance in an impossibly short amount of time. For some reason, early on, everyone runs out of money and only realizes it at an inopportune moment, forcing the travelers to devise hare-brained schemes to fund their odyssey. At some point, their source of transportation fails, leading them from their preferred method of transport into something altogether different, and potentially perilous. And if the movie stars a man and a woman, you can bet that even if they initially despise each other or if one of them is currently romantically involved, they're going to hook up eventually. This movie follows that exactly, but because the man and the woman, Tom and Claire in this case, are both in their mid-thirties, there is something bittersweet in their demeanor and the complications are more substantial than a younger couple would face. Life is complicated, and yet there is still an opportunity to change it for the better.
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Monday, October 3, 2016
So what is there to celebrate? Thankfully quite a lot. One thing about being seriously ill is that I was the recipient of hundreds of acts of kindness. I spoke early on with a woman who was a couple of years ahead of me in the ovarian cancer maze, and she told me how much the cards she received meant to her going forward, so I saved them all in a box for future inspiration. I received lots of beautiful things that were helpful to me in terms of spirit, as well as being actually useful. It was humbling and heart warming, and I am looking forward to what I can do this year to reciprocate some of the wonderfulness that I got last year. So celebrate everyone!