A day off (and some British stuff) part two

I typed most of this last night but thought, meh, it can wait til morning.

It having occurred to me that I have two days off in a row, I decided to do little to nothing else for the rest of the day. I can do things tomorrow. I had some bread and butter, took a long nap, read The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart the rest of afternoon, cooked a frozen pizza, and have been binging on the latest few episodes of Richard Osman's House of Games

I read The Crystal Cave because I had been listening to it, but that takes 15 hours and I just don't have that in a few good long stretches anymore. I was about 20% along with the audio and it's due tomorrow, so I found the complete Legacy: Arthurian Saga to read, instead, and I have it for 14 days. I did always mean to read these books, so now is the time. This first one was fairly enjoyable, probably largely because I was in exactly the right mood for its style of narration and granular detail, which is not always the case, especially with a) fantasy and b) Middle Ages. It's the story of Merlin, Arthur, and how that all came about, told from Merlin's point of view throughout his life. It is not a story for people who prefer a contemporary style of story-telling, or who write for Kirkus Reviews. I'm going to read the second one, The Hollow Hills, then decide whether to go on with the others, because the rest of the story might not interest me as much once it's more about Arthur than Merlin.

After I ate the pizza I took a shower and got ready for bed and it was...7 o'clock. I know people get all naggy and hand-wringing when we spring forward, but falling back affects me way way more. And you can talk all you want about having morning light, but I guess you don't live in Cincinnati. We won't see much morning light for months, no matter when you wake up. So I finished last week's House of Games, then watched episodes of Would I Lie to You? and Have I Got News For You, and then my phone asked if I'd like to fall asleep to nature sounds, so I agreed to try that out.

As to House of Games, I like Richard Osman partly because he seems like he could be my long-lost younger brother, and I quite like my older brothers, the eccentric things. Also, we'd probably invent this show among ourselves if we lived in any proximity to each other, and he'd be welcome to join us. 

Some of the British history and pop culture is difficult for me, though not all, but plenty of it is general knowledge, and some of it is U.S.-related. These British quiz shows are the best things on TV, by which I mostly mean YouTube, because they're just so pleasant. Some like this one are wholly benign and genial and it's fun to play along. Others are more about comedy or more edgy or more challenging. I like this one because it's just a calm half hour which lets you feel clever sometimes and stupid other times, and the guests are enjoyable, though the "attractive woman, cool young guy, quirky older woman, smart middle-aged guy in wacky shirts" panel each week is so calculated. But I mean, they do all have varying talents that brought them fame, though I'm not super clear on what Scarlett Moffat's might be...(she got her start on a reality show, so...)

The best thing of all about it is the theme music. Start at 13 seconds.

A day off (and the thing I was remembering about macaroni,) part one

I have two days off from the job I go to now. Today I will do things and tell you about them. So far, mainly, I had a mocha, read some stuff online, fed the dog, filled and ran the dishwasher, thought about numbers and sadness, and looked at this serendipitous image The Place reminded me of. It's serendipitous because I made a baked rigatoni dish last night, and I thought about it being stuffed shells instead, but I was tired. So I made sauce, layered it with the noodles and a ricotta mixture, topped it with mozzarella.

And then today here was this "memory."

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The thing I was actually remembering is that they never said pasta back then, at least not my Kansas City Italian relatives whose parents were from oldcountry. Grandma and Aunt Marie called everything noodles or macaroni, except yes, there was spaghetti, mostaccioli, manicotti, and lasagna. I will not try to write any of these things phonetically, but if you chop off all the endings, you are definitely doing it wrong. Only the east coast ones do that. And no short o like in cot. There's a lot of subtlety to it, though. Anyway, Aunt Marie made these stuffed shells, but it was all noodles, unless it was macaroni. Little macaroni shells, macaronis, corkscrew macaronis, etc. Spaghetti noodles, lasagna noodles, and so forth.

I don't know what Aunt Helen called any of it, probably she and Uncle Bob made up their own language for it all. They were like that. But when pasta salad became a thing, Mom had to explain to me about pasta, because I really didn't know.

It's just paste, by the way. Flour and water, and sometimes egg. You can glue things with it if you don't cook it.



If ever I get in the mood to talk for longer than 280 characters about the White House evil, I'll go back to antiquated notions and do it there. I kinda feel like being a little more personal and intimate in this one; light-hearted and sincere in turn, etc. 

They play this song at the store sometimes. It's one I've always liked, woke up with it in my head this morning.

I like about...30% of what they play, mostly in evening. During the day, the top of the hour songs drive me nuts. The only one I ever liked to begin with is "Blitzkrieg Bop," which sometimes plays at 3 pm, but I've heard it enough times now. The music comes from a service originating in Princeton, NJ, by the way. It's clearly marketed toward 40- and 50-somethings, which amuses me, but...

I think the newest song I ever hear is "Broken" by lovelytheband. I like that band, in reasonable doses. Tied for top of the hour worst thing ever oh god please stop are "Centerfield" by John Fogerty and "Jump" by Kriss Kross. The best thing is sometimes in the late afternoon or evening I hear "Ain't Nobody" by Chaka Khan

Here are the main daytime top of the hour songs besides the ones I named. How I wish I could just wear headphones while shopping. Okay, I liked two of them as well, years ago, but do not anymore.

Survivor - "Eye of the Tiger"
Kenny Loggins - "I'm Alright"
Pat Benatar - "Hit Me With Your Best Shot"
Black Eyed Peas - "Let's Get It Started"
Guns n Roses - "Welcome to the Jungle"
C+C Music Factory - "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)"
Technotronic - "Pump Up the Jam"
Van Halen - "Jump"

Sometimes they play the only Cure song I can definitely say I do not like. :-/ Sometimes they play one I do like. But mostly, the above list is a relentless daily feature of my life now.

In Medias Res

I just realized I never did post my July 4 food here, though I did on Instagram, a little. So here is the pistachio gelato I made. Capture+_2019-10-26-08-24-53

I enjoyed it. 

It was a long tough summer that is pretty much just now ending, and it promises to be a long tough autumn/winter, but I'll try to make the most of it, or at least more of it than less, if you see what I mean. For the moment, though, some random blather/catching up with me, and then we'll set things in finer motion going forward from here.

The last essay I wrote at my (former?) "main" blog was on reaching menopause. I told my family repeatedly that when I did, I'd commence to losing the 40 lbs it added over the eight years it demanded. They didn't believe me, because they see how the world has grown, but they should have also recognized how vain I am. I just wasn't going to add another labor to my Heraclitian load before I was ready for it.

The job sure has helped with that; I've lost 25 of em so far. But also I learned, most importantly, that as we age, we need so many fewer calories than previously. So I eat pretty much whatever I want, making sure I cover all the food groups, push a heavy thing around for about 20 miles a week, and just never rarely have too much of anything. 

I'm not dismissing other women's much more difficult weight struggles. But you might like to know that once the hormones begin to settle down, you can at least (mostly) be your standard self once again. I don't intend to go all the way lean, though. They say it's better in old age to carry a few extra pounds rather than too few, and so I want to make sure I don't keep losing weight once I reach my main goal. Plus I don't want my face to look gaunt. It has enough problems already.

It's raining today. I might go up to Target before work and look for an old man-style bucket hat to wear while loading groceries. Screen Shot 2019-10-26 at 9.21.52 AM I looked at two thrift shops because I don't like to buy new things if I can find used, but then, too, I'm not keen on wearing a used hat. In any case, there weren't any to be found. 

So the main thing I have on my mind is that on my dining table there are three avocados, three poblano peppers, four huge apples, and I had to put the last few tomatoes I picked into the refrigerator so they wouldn't go bad. I have to work two evenings in a row instead of days, and then some horrible early mornings, and I wasn't prepared for any of that, so I thought I'd be cooking dinner. At the time of this writing I have three and a half hours to do something with it all or not, and also get ready to go, and also look for a hat. 

There's a lot else that hasn't been getting done. The pool is still open and starting to turn green. I haven't tidied the garden spaces or deck for winter. I haven't quilted the quilt I made for Kate. I have a pile of things in my bedroom roughly of a volume that would fill two largish laundry baskets, which need sorting into keep, give away, throwaway. Hopefully mostly give away, but I can't say from here. Some bills need paying. Etcetera. Reality nibbles relentlessly, doesn't it?

Yesterday at work Susan gave me a hug. It was a splendid hug, and she is quite a large person, so I felt very hugged. Her little girl is going to be a werewolf princess for Halloween; isn't that stellar? I was pretty excited about having a reason to dress up for Halloween, but now it looks like I might have Thursday off for the first time in a couple months of Thursdays. If I explain why I'll just recharge my bad mood, though.

Susan and I made a sort of collective mistake; sort of more my fault than hers, but also just one of those crossed wires that can happen to anyone, and it was resolved easily enough. Later in the day, however, I dropped a grocery tote I was putting in the refrigerator, as it was too heavy for me (they often are, but I do what I have to do,) and the eggs broke. The other lead was there and was more concerned about me than the eggs, which I appreciated. I felt bad, though, because I never dropped one before, and had the growing sense lately that it might happen. So I have to be really careful about that going forward; I don't want anyone to think I'm careless or feeble. 

Today I'm taking delight in colors. I mean, I always like to, but today, particularly. Colors and shapes and the lines and curves between them. I hope you make a point of taking delight in something each day, as well. It's a need. 20191026_091457 









This was a half hour well-spent.

Quite Contrary

I'm collecting recipes for meal plans, some cook ahead things, fresh ideas, etc. for an eating template. It'll be an unholy combo mid-century/Mediterranean thing because that's actually just what I do only with some Cuban, Tex-Mex, and various Asian flavors thrown in, but anyway.
I have been looking online at 7, 10 day, monthly meal plans to take bits and pieces from, and they are way more healthful and interesting these days than previously, however, they don't understand my problems with textures.
Imagine if you can bear it, a bowl of chunk white albacore tuna with shaved coconut, raisins, and canned peach slices mixed in lightly. With capers on top. That's how I feel when I read things like in the image I have inserted here. Screen Shot 2019-07-19 at 9.23.46 AMIt's actually why I don't eat much meat unless it's barely cooked at all or not at all, though I like pork shoulder and roasted chicken wings and some kinds of sausage, and it's why I will never accept rice or lettuce on a burrito, never mind both at the same time. It creates a thorough sense of texture revulsion. 
I do not mind mixing foods together in the conceptual sense, but many of these combinations make my mouth afraid to chew and swallow. It's like poly fleece against my skin or socks that won't line up. And why do all the Mediterranean "plans" have quinoa in? It isn't, you know. Mediterranean, I mean. I am pretty sure it was meant to stay where it was on those mountains where not a lot else grows and the people really need it, but that's a series of thoughts for another time. 
Also, I understand British people had to eat beans etc. on toast for good food value, and so now they still do, and I totally get that. But it is still an upsetting idea for me.
PS: I will eat a BLT. If it's toasted enough and somebody doesn't have the Godforsaken idea to shred the lettuce.

Of thee I sing

Here's something worth a half hour of your time today. 

It's a citizenship ceremony at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York that was held one week after the 2016 presidential election. The embedding here didn't code correctly, so start at 37:13 for an introduction and award given to Ambassador Samantha Powell, and her subsequent speech. (Or just watch the whole thing, of course.) Recall that if her parents had arrived here 100 years earlier, they would have been villified and portrayed in the media as dirty monkeys. But they would have made their way, and woven themselves into the tapestry the way all our grandparents did, helping to make this the place people all over the world wanted to come to for a better and safer life. 

Please take time to watch it.

Trying something new


I needed a fresh space to begin a different sort of blog, though I can't say yet just what it will be. I expect sometimes personal and sometimes impersonal. Like me in reality. 
This short article about immigrants and ice cream begins by stating that many immigrants at Ellis Island who were given ice cream as a typical American treat did already know what it was. But that wasn't universal; in many places it was still a treat mainly for the wealthy, and some of the newcomers thought it was a kind of frozen butter spread for bread.
I found the article while searching for typical ice cream flavors from the 1920s, as I decided to devote today and tomorrow to making and enjoying foods and flavors we've incorporated from various immigrant communities that settled here in the 20th century. I'll post some photos of what I've made in the next few days.