Friday, September 29, 2006

Things to eat before you die.

Assertively Unhip tagged me a week ago in the challenge to name five things to eat before you die. I only just today found the post! Here's my list, which is just unimaginative enough to contain three things that I myself make. Well, anyway:

1. Sourdough pancakes made with your own sourdough starter. I had a sourdough starter that I started myself for a couple of years, and we had these pancakes every Saturday morning. They were so good, we used to invite people over to eat them with us. With jam.

2. Super thin garlic frites. I have not eaten these in France, but I think almost everyone's fries suck, except these that I ate in San Francisco at a restaurant called Les Joulin's. I would seriously, almost, go to SF just to eat these fries. Perfectly salty, with fresh minced garlic and finely minced parsley.

3. Chile verde burritos, smothered, with cheese and onions. I don't care if this is authentic or what. I also don't care if I'm a vegetarian when I order and demolish this dish. This dish is heaven on earth, and if you order two with rice and beans (as opposed to the order of three) at La Frontera in SLC, you have a hefty lunch the next day.

4. Your own homemade chai. Use black tea, cardamom seeds, star anise, cloves, and black peppercorns. You can also throw in a cinnamon stick if you just want more spiciness. Let it steep as long as you want, since you're going to use hot milk, too. A teensy bit of sugar, too. I like to make this by the couplea quarts and drink it in the morning all winter long.

5. Bread pudding made with your own bread, plus dried blueberries, plus superfine grated lemon rind. Let me know if you need a recipe.

Now, I tag francesca eliot, my bgf since forever (since we were fifteen, if you can believe it), and a world-class cook and eater, whose gorgeous photoblog appears to be down at the moment.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Beautiful day.

In keeping with my theme song, I would just like to say that after a crazy cold snap which killed the tomatoes at my organic farmer's farm up north, the weather has turned around and it's the kind of autumn day that makes you want to go hiking or biking or walking or something besides inside computer work. Alas, aside from a trip to the dog park, which I intend to enjoy, it's inside computer work for me.

I accomplished a little editorial work in my closet this weekend. My new goal is to have a French wardrobe, i.e., fewer but more beautiful clothes that I will wear to death. Thought you'd like to know this. When I told the historian, he raised his eyebrows, but only slightly. To his everlasting credit.

I'm still behind in my work. I'm trying to think in two hour blocks of work, but as you can see, I'm blogging. Some things have to come before the two hour block starts.

Last week was the first episode of Law and Order: Criminal Intent. I have exhausted, or nearly exhausted, all the syndicated episodes, so I had to resort to watching the new season. It was very good, I must tell you. Eric Bogosian appears to be replacing both Jamie Sheridan and Courtney Vance, and doing a bang-up job of it. I know, no one cares but me, but it was excellent. Vincent D'Onofrio is meatier and greyer, but also more soulful and mournful than any other TV detective.

This week, aside from a horrible major's meeting on Friday, in which all the college English departments get together to talk about transfer issues, will be a good week, because it's autumn, because I will be caught up (don't laugh!), because my closet is for the moment organized, because for the moment, there are clean sheets, and because the season premiere of The Gilmore Girls is Tuesday (also a new episode of L&O: CI). These are my pleasures, and I'm sticking to 'em.

Special note for everyone who hasn't already heard this story: Jesus appeared in my dreams Sunday morning. He was running a poetry workshop, and I was in it. This made it into my poem of the day yesterday, in case you're interested.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Bad teacher or terrible teacher?

This is me we're talking about. Not five minutes ago, I finally got a learning module posted for my online class that they should have had . . . well, awhile ago. I have reasons and excuses, but still. Also, I am behind in reading the drafts in every single one of my classes. Plus, right about now, I feel my work should be done for the day. The thought of the kids, their eager faces, their queries, "Do you have our drafts yet?" None of this moves me. Instead, I say to myself, "I will arise early tomorrow to read the drafts." As if.

On the other hand, the learning module is first rate. Also, after a horrific day of sniffing and sneezing yesterday, I feel better today. Also, Bruiser went to the dog park in heroics of cold-suffering on the part of myself and the historian. Only two other dogsters were at the park, just to show you. It was raining! And we saw running son do another 5K today. And I did, after all, finish the learning module. And it's posted! Already!

Fine. Terrible teacher. I will redeem myself. By getting up early to read the drafts.

Monday, September 18, 2006

My theme song, which I may be a little embarrassed to admit.

Your Theme Song is Beautiful Day by U2

"Sky falls, you feel like
It's a beautiful day
Don't let it get away"

You see the beauty in life, especially in ordinary everyday moments.
And if you're feeling down, even that seems a little beautiful too.

Otterbutt's is "Back in Black." Much hipper in a retro way. I actually feel my true theme song is more melancholy than this. I will get back to you on this.

To hector or not to hector.

Surely I am not alone in noting the general sluggishness of the blogworld. I sometimes feel like scolding, except when I note that my own pace is, well, sluggish. Part of it is the poem-a-day project, which I think is consuming my writing chakra's energy (there's a writing chakra, right?). Also, my teaching turns out to be rather all-consuming as well, as I'm developing new materials pretty much constantly for two online scenarios. Add to that a relapse into a headcold--very annoying--and the visit from Victor Villanueva to SLCC last week, and it has in general been a very slow time for blogging.

But that's all right, that's okay, I'll get back to blogging someday. In the meantime, here's what else is on my mind:

Also tomatoes to roast, flowers to plant, dogs and winter to consider, a jazz concert tonight (Ramsay Lewis, very spry at 71, along with his drummer and bassist), and autumn to enjoy.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Running son deconstructs a salad.

In this, his eighteenth year, my son has decided to pay attention to what he eats. His coaches are coaching his meals now. No fries. No soda. Protein two nights before a race, carbs the night before. This has resulted in phone calls like this:

Son: Mom, is a potato a carb?

Mom: Yes.

Son: Okay, that's what I'm going to eat. [click]

Tonight, a protein night, we ran up to Wendy's (where else?) for a number 6 (spicy chicken sandwich) combo, but with a potato in the french fry slot and a lemonade in the soda slot. Lettuce only on the sandwich. No chives (I swear he said "hives," but he was adamant that he didn't), no sour cream, cheese but not cheese sauce on the potato. But alas! they had no baked potatoes left.

"What's the side salad like?" he asked me, the all-knowing of salads, I guess.

"I don't know, it's good, I guess, just plain," said I, fount of salad wisdom.

So that's what he ordered. When we got it home, he was pleased to see that all the extras--shredded carrots, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices--were "all laid out," the better to remove them. "Who wants the tomatoes and cucumbers?" he hollered. Both the historian and I demurred, he from another room; then, almost simultaneously, we both said, "but don't throw them away." Waste not, want not, particularly when it comes to your salad vegetables.

"Who knew this salad was so huge," he said, choking it down. It goes down a little easier if you lube it up with some ranch.

"That salad is tiny," I said.

"But it's deep," he said. With only a little of the lettuce debris left in the shallow, shallow black plastic dish, he said, "My coaches are going to be so proud of me for eating a salad. I'm gonna tell Coach White in second period."

Thursday, September 07, 2006


[Narcissistic whining alert]

Coming back from a holiday makes work much workier, if you catch my drift. Teachers in my corridor, in an unscientific poll, agreed that the students were not into it after the Labor Day holiday. Plus everything just seems grouchier. Fetching an LCD projector? What a pain in the ass. Walking over to the relocatable classroom? Nightmare! Sweating through a presentation that students seem only marginally excited about? The horror.

I've finished teaching for the week, so that's good. Yesterday I taught at home all day, including building a new presentation for my online composition course, and that was good. Even working all day, however, still left me behind. Sweaty, and also pissy.

A redeeming feature of the week has been that I am still caught up on the Poem a Day for a Month project. I'm loving writing new poems. It's like a contraption that's getting in gear. I took a walk yesterday and came up with four new ideas for poems, and wrote two them. Then, at the City Art Meltdown, I read one of them, along with another poem from the project, as well as an older poem. Dr. Write also read one of her witty and also heartbreaking pieces, beautifully, and the evening was a smashing success. Props to my writing group, a braintrust of poets if ever there was one.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

I cannot collect my thoughts.

In a completely rude gesture, the POTUS and his entourage
came to SLC on or about my birthday, necessitating a visit
to the protest. Mainly, I was protesting the fact that GWB
had wrecked my birthday.

Running son ran the pre-region race, his first of the
season. Despite a strained calf muscle, he came in
third at 17:10, which is seventeen seconds faster
than his best time on that course last year. This picture
is only a generic one, as running son was already way
up the hill at this point (or so). He argues that he
could run the course in 16:45 without the calf strain, and
time will tell.

Labor Day = the last time we can stay in the cabin
before my dad closes it down for the winter. Henry's
Fork of the Snake gleaming down below the path here.

Duke the Dachshund refuses to give me a good look.
Damn him!

The roof of the meadhall. Or, the ceiling of the log
cabin, which I find exceedingly beautiful.

As you have now all heard, Dr. Write and I are engaged
in a battle to the death. No, wait: we're exchanging poems!
I keep getting those two things mixed up! She's writing at
genius level, may I report. This is the poet equivalent of
National Novel Writing Month. Wish us luck.


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