Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Butternut squash and carmelized onion galette from Smitten Kitchen

I have a friend from Michigan coming to visit me this weekend. I tried this recipe out last night and oh my was it good. It is again from Smitten Kitchen, and as usual I have tweeked it a bit for my purposes. Here is the origional recipe. I have said it before and I will say it again Smitten Kitchen has some mighty fine and super good recipes, go check her out!

Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette
For the pastry:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut intopieces *To make the crust flakier I freeze the butter then at the last minute use a large hole cheese grater to cut up the frozen butter.*
1/4 cup sour cream, *I didn't have sour cream and used plain yogurt and it turned out fine.
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice *No fresh lemons so I just used the squeeze kind to no ill effect.
1/4 cup ice water
For the filling:
1 small butternut squash (about one pound)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons butter (if you have only non-stick, the smaller amount will do)
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced in half-moons * It turns out much better if you make the slices very, very thin. I made sure my knife was Kill Bill sharp and it worked well.
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste *I used 1/2 t because I like it hot
3/4 cup fontina cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces), grated or cut into small bits *No fontina cheese at my grocer so I used gouda, and it turned out well
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves *No fresh sage leaves, but the ground ones work fine, I used 1/2 t of dried. The rule of thumb for converting fresh to dried is 1 teaspoon of dried = 1 tablespoon of fresh.
1. Make pastry:
In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Place the butter in another bowl. Place both bowls in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove the bowls from the freezer and make a well in the center of the flour. Add the butter to the well and, using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Make another well in the center. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add half of this mixture to the well. With your fingertips, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Remove the large lumps and repeat with the remaining liquid and flour-butter mixture. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. Prepare squash:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Peel squash, then halve and scoop out seeds. Cut into a 1/2-inch dice. Toss pieces with olive oil and a half-teaspoon of the salt and roast on foil lined (for neatness sake) sheet for 30 minutes or until pieces are tender, turning it midway if your oven bakes unevenly. Set aside to cool slightly.
3. Caramelize onions:
While squash is roasting, melt butter in a heavy skillet and cook onion over low heat with the remaining half-teaspoon of salt and pinch of sugar, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes. Stir in cayenne.
4. Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees.
Mix squash, caramelized onions, cheese and herbs together in a bowl
5. Assemble galette:
On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. Spread squash, onions, cheese and herb mixture over the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Fold the border over the squash, onion and cheese mixture, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open.
6. Bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Serves 6.


This weekend I busted out my mandolin (the slicer not the instrument) and made ratatouille, yes the like in the movie. I was a bit sceptical but it turned out great! The issue was that I am a bit of a perfectionist and it took me FOREVER to lay out the pieces of zucchini, eggplant, red pepper and yellow squash so they matched. If I forgo my OCD ways this dish would be super fast to make.
I made some substitutions from the original recipe found here at the Smitten Kitchen website. I LOVE her recipes, check her out, she has some FINE food and with clear easy to follow instructions. The Smitten Kitchen has a cookbook coming out soon and I will definitely buy it. Anyway back to my version of her recipe. . .
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
2 cans diced tomato with garlic and onion
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small eggplant*
1 smallish zucchini
1 smallish yellow squash
1 longish red bell pepper**
Few sprigs fresh thyme***
Salt and pepper
Few tablespoons sour cream****
I used a 11X13 cake pan but you can adjust the size of the pan to fit the amount of veggies.
Slice the veggies into 1/16 in slices (if you have a mandolin) or slice thinly with a knife if you don't. The ideal width is about as thick as a slice of pepperoni.
Drain the tomatoes and put in the bottom of the pan, mash slightly with a fork then stir in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, spread evenly over the pan's surface .
Scatter the chopped onions and sliced garlic evenly across the tomatoes and olive oil mixture
Salt and pepper generously
On top of the tomato mixture arrange the slices of zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant and red pepper moving concentrically toward the center. (See illustration at the top of this page for clarification)
Drizzle with olive oil
Sprinkle thyme, salt and pepper
Cover dish with a piece of parchment paper (I used waxed paper to no ill effect)
Bake for 45-55 min until the vegetables have released their liquid but their structure is still intact.
I am not a fan of the mushy veggie so I cooked mine for 45 min and it was perfect.
Dish onto plates and top with a blob of sour cream.
I served this with french bread sprinkled with parmasan cheese and toasted under the broiler.
General note: If I were in a hurry I suppose I could just chop up the veggies and toss them with the tomatoes, onions and garlic, bake it and call it dinner but I like the way this looks.
*Eggplant note:I understand that there is a small rather cylindrical eggplant called an "Italian Eggplant" I couldn't find one of these at my local grocery so I just got a small one and then sliced the slices in thirds using the outside edged ones and freezing the center part for some other dish later.
**Red Pepper note: I didn't have a red pepper so I used some chopped red, yellow and green pepper I had in the freezer, it turned out just fine and looked pretty.
***Thyme note: I only had dried and it worked out just fine
****Sour Cream note: Origional recipe calls for goat cheese which I am sure is FANTASTIC but it was not in the budget this week and sour cream turned out yummy.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Random thoughts

1. I think I am going to make ginger snaps this weekend. I have a good recipe that is originally from the early 1900s. It still formulates delicious ginger cookies 100ish years later. If I make them this weekend I will post about it and give the recipe.
2. Yesterday on the way home I burst into singing Christmas carols. I sang 7-8 of them, all the verses I know (which is quite a few). I felt a surge of Christmas spirit. Shocking as Christmas is my least favorite holiday and I am usually decidedly bah humbug. Perhaps this therapy of having the entire week off between Christmas and New Year is working to melt my Scrooge's heart.
3. I need a hair cut. I always struggle with my hair and now that I am doing presentations and some public speaking I really need to get it together. I am thinking about getting a cut like Kathy Bates in "Harry's Law". I think it would look cute and professional at the same time. She has a double chin, I have a double chin, she has a roundish face, I have a roundish face. I think it will work.
4. I need to buy some suits if I am going to be doing this pubic speaking stuff. I think I am going to use Kathy Bates again for that, (she is somewhat round and I am round). She wears simple dark suits with beautiful shirts or dark trousers and a dark shirt with beautiful jackets. Simple, attractive, professional. Best of all I can take just a few pieces of clothing and rearrange them so as to have several outfits.
5. I need more sleep.
6. I really want to go dancing. When I was in San Francisco a few weeks ago I almost got to go Contra dancing but it didn't work out. I want to go dancing, specifically folk dancing, like reels and schottisches, Irish, English, Swedish and what have you country dancing.
7. Things went just fine with my talk on Saturday. The participants seemed to really like it and I certainly enjoyed it. It was fantastic to watch them catch on to coding ICD-10 and see them succeed at it. I am looking forward to doing another one.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NaBloPoMo Day 3, well sort of

Today I am not using the tickler because it feels lame to depend on it every day and I have other stuff to talk about...

Somehow by bonne chance I was invited to assist at a symposium for my professional organization on the subject of ICD-10. For those of you who do not live and breathe health care like I do, ICD-10 is a big change to the way we indicate that something is medically necessary and we communicate this to insurance companies so doctors and other health professionals can get paid for the work they do as well as keeping track of stuff like why people get sick and die. This is such a huge change I often compare it to the sky switching from blue to say purple.
Anywho, I am extensively trained in this new system and looking for opportunities to use it so I don't loose it. Which brings us to the symposium. When the opportunity was presented to me to help out it sounded like I would be facilitating discussion on this huge impending change and what it will mean to all of us in health care. Just making sure the conversation flows along nicely and we hit the talking points that the symposium organizer would like to cover. Easy peazy
Then Monday happens

On Monday I find out that I am actually going to be presenting formally at this occasion AND nothing too big just EVERYONE WHO IS ANYONE in Houston health care is going to be there, about 200 people worth. No pressure or anything. And of course I need a hair cut, I don't have business cards and WHAT AM I GOING TO WEAR!!!! I am confident about the content, I can talk about that all day. I am confident in my ability to teach the content, it is my pleasure to teach. The issue is the things that I find tricky like clothes and hair. Oh and I don't have business cards so I am going to have to find a way to make some up pretty much for free because I am broke.
This is a fantastic opportunity for me to show my chops to the health care community of Houston and to really make great contacts for myself and for my students. I just need to remember to breathe and it will be okay. This chance thrust itself into my hands without any prompting from me and I am grateful. I am also (mostly) secure in the knowledge that this would not have come my way if I was not ready for it. I think that once I start talking and interacting with the audience that my initial fear of how not looking professional enough will dissipate and I will forget myself and just let it flow.
In other news, my fence is getting repaired, oh joy, oh delight, oh playing with my dogs off leash in my back yard. Also my neighbor's dog won't come over and bark at me in my own yard.
My fence came down in Ike and I have missed it sorely, or rather I have missed being able to play with my dogs off leash outside. I love my landlord.
I am off to work on my presentation, give it a little polish. The symposium is this Saturday morning, send me good thoughts.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NaBloPoMo day 2, so far so good

NaBloPoMo tickler 2. . .
"If you knew that whatever you ate next would be your last meal, what would you want it to be?"
One cooked with people I love for people I love. Cooking food then eating it is such a wonderful sensual pleasure to share. Some of the most fun I have had in my life involved too many people in the kitchen while chatting, cooking, and drinking wine. I love that laughing, close, jostile, bumping hips, touching each other, tasting, smelling ah lovely. Then of course there is the reward of sitting down at the laden table and eating together while talking about everything, preferably outdoors with wine flowing, kids playing, easy relaxation and all of us being ourselves. This would be a perfect last meal.
The meal we would be making, that is a hard choice. If it were my last then I will go with something classic. . .
Roasted garlic with goat cheese, tiny tomatoes, and basil leaves on crunchy toast rounds ,
Spinach salad with red onions, walnuts, and apple with chunky blue cheese dressing,
Grilled bloody, rare steak, baked potato, grilled asparagus and a nice Pinot Noir
Chocolate cheesecake with a shot of espresso with a lemon twist
and after all that a fine cigar and some really carmely mellow burbon.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaBlPoMo and away we go

Well here we are, November, time of Thanksgiving and good intentioned blog posting for NaBloPoMo aka National Blog Posting Month. I want prizes!
The tickler for today is "What is your favorite part about writing?"
I have not written fiction in a very long time, probably about 3 years. I write a lot of non fiction in the form of acedemic papers. I miss writing fiction. One of the things I am looking forward to if I ever finish school is writing for pleasure. My favorite part of writing for pleasure is creating characters. I enjoy inventing interesting people and breathing life into them. I also enjoy finding the perfect word, the word that conveys exactly what I want to say no more, no less.
I often have a hard time paring down my writing. I read an excellent book on concise writing called "Writing Down the Bones" By Natalie Goldberg and it has helped me make my writing more spare. My natural resting place, however, is verbose. I like the idea of making my writing be the minimum most clean it can be, practice however, eh.
I like writing metered poetry, I like the constraint and the creativity it encourages.
I will leave you with one of my favorite poems of all time, not mine but Pablo Neruda's
I love it not just for the beauty of the words but also the perfect way it speaks to a love I have experienced, simply elegently perfectly described:
Sonnet 17
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be
loved,in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
The above is a salt rose

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Old faithful Day Book, how I love ye

We are about to enter into November which is NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) and I am planning to give it a grand effort again this year. In the little quiet that remains of October I thought I would rely on my old friend the Day Book for this month's last (and only) entry. . .

Outside my window:
As people say here in Texas, it is fixin' to rain. A cold front is moving in and with it comes rain.

I am thinking:
I am feeling frustrated about working so many hours. I love my job but it is stealing my life. I believe that I am finally to the point where action on this front is impending.

I am thankful for:
Today I am thankful for a friend of mine who paid back part of some money I loaned her. I was flat broke and worried about making it home with the fumes in my tank. Her small repayment means that I can get home tonight without worry. The best thing is I forgot that she owed me money so it was a delightful surprise.
From the kitchen:
This weekend is a celebration of my friend Ellen's wonderful recipes, I am making her Monterey Beans and Cheese as well as her Tuna Turnovers and her absolutely fantastic Carrot Cheddar Soup (sorry I don't have a link from Ellen's site for it). I am also making a roasted chicken and some jambalaya. (I cook on the weekend for the week ahead)
I am wearing:
A dazzling Marlene Dietrichesque tailored suit with tomato red high heels that match my lipstick, I am wearing white gloves and I have a top hat and swagger stick. Oh and my hair is done in finger waves and marceled. . . or possibly I am wearing navy blue scrubs and white nurse clogs with my hair in a french braid.
I am creating:
Cells and carbon dioxide.
I am going:
Into the frey that is Houston traffic in the morning, I have a doctor's appointment, ugh.

I am reading:
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
I am hoping:
That the part time remote coding gig I applied for works out.

I am hearing:
My students diligently working on their assignment.

Around the house:
A pit as usual, it is a comfortable and happy pit, but a pit none the less. I also have absolutely no plans on cleaning this weekend other than the kitchen.

One of my favorite things:
I had a gourmet push-up the other day. Remember those little paper tubes with orange sorbet inside with the plunger to push up the sorbet. This was made with orange gelato topped with a chocolate ganache but still wrapped up on a plunger...wonderful
A few plans for the rest of the week:
Meeting with the president of the Houston chapter of the AAPC (one of my professional organizations) to discuss my speaking at a symposium on ICD-10 next week.
Words I am pondering:
"Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present
experience. It isn't more complicated that that. It is opening to or
recieving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without
either clinging to it or rejecting it."
Sylvia Boorstein
Here is a picture I am sharing:
I know I usually share pictures of my dog but this time here is a picture of an owl, well actually a painting. I think I am going to have this tattooed on my shoulder. . .

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Day book ramblings. . .

Outside my window:
Earlier this morning the sky was grey and it looked like rain, but now the sun is out and it is just partly cloudy. I wonder when this drought is going to break. It can’t last forever, right?

I am thinking:
A lot about how busy I am and how I need to SLOW the hell DOWN. I have to find a way to change how I live my life. This 5 hours of sleep a night 4 days a week is taking a toll on my body and if that were not enough this working 18 hours a day 4 days a week aint makin’ me any younger either. I want time to sleep 8 hours in a row, to cook daily instead of doing it all for the week in one day, to read and think and stare into space, to paint and write. I know that this is for a short time but it has been 3 years and I am starting to feel a little resentful and like my life is passing too quickly to be spending it working constantly.

I am thankful for:
That the job I have to work so long and hard at is one I absolutely love, even if it is stealing my life away.

From the kitchen:
This weekend I am going camping. One of the things I am going to be making is hobo pie. I have a hobo pie maker. For the uninitiated a hobo pie maker is a little cast iron box on a long metal stick that you put in the camp fire to cook various things. I have 2 favorites. 1. Rye bread, sharp cheddar, spicy mustard and little smokies and 2. White bread, apple slices (or berries), cinnamon, brown sugar, oatmeal and a little bit of butter. See the picture right for a better view of the pie maker.

I am wearing:
A bun cage on my hair, it is a little metal cage with beads on it held in place by 2 silver pins. It captures my hair and keeps it together. (see picture for an example)

I am creating:
I am working on a paper on ROI for EHR implementation for small physician practices and the implications for compliance to the HITECH act and HIPAA.

I am going:
Camping this weekend! Oh I need the woods so much right now.

I am reading:
Bullfinch’s Greek and Roman Mythology

I am hoping:
For rain and that I will get some of the scholarships I have applied for.

I am hearing:
My students working on their test

Around the house:
As usual I need to clean it before I go camping this weekend. I have a friend house and pet sitting and I don’t want them to see what a complete slob I am. (Partial slob is fine though)

One of my favorite things:
Dramatically reading stories to little kids, even adults really

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Did I mention I am going camping?

Words I am pondering: I had never heard of this poem or this poet before yesterday and I love this poem:

Basket of Figs
Bring me your pain, love. Spread
it out like fine rugs, silk sashes,
warm eggs, cinnamon
and cloves in burlap sacks. Show me

the detail, the intricate embroidery
on the collar, tiny shell buttons,
the hem stitched the way you were taught,
pricking just a thread, almost invisible.

Unclasp it like jewels, the gold
still hot from your body. Empty
your basket of figs. Spill your wine.

That hard nugget of pain, I would suck it,
cradling it on my tongue like the slick
seed of pomegranate. I would lift it

tenderly, as a great animal might
carry a small one in the private
cave of the mouth.
Ellen Bass

Here is a picture I am sharing:

This is a pic of Ms Lily and me posing in a hamish way (sorry it is so dark, I couldn't get it brighter)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Cleansing the palate from woe

I have been feeling kind of blue and stressed lately so I decided to cleanse my palate and make a short list of 7 things I am grateful for/love . . .

1. I love it when my dog dreams and barks in her sleep, those funny, squeaky, quiet woofs always make me smile. I also really love my dog, Lily, she is an American Bulldog and is quite smart, and I also think she may have a sense of humor. In addition to all that, Lily is a world class spooner.

2. I love it when my house mate, who is a total owl, randomly makes me breakfast in the morning. My day starts at 5:30 AM while his is just ending and to not have to navigate fire and appliances in my semi comatose pre tea state is lovely.

3. I love my car, yes it has cost me a lot of money in the last year what with a new engine and transmission BUT it is practically a new car now. I like the color- bronze, it is delightfully fast, handles wonderfully, and looks deceptively lady like. By the way, it is a Dodge Intrepid in case you were wondering.

4. I seriously love my job. Every day there is something fun or delightful I get to do, every day I get to make a difference in people’s lives, every day I feel respected, liked and valued. It is awesome. I have the pleasure of teaching something I am passionate about and find endlessly fascinating. I also get to write papers and articles as well as speak at seminars.

5. I enjoy being immersed in academia, I teach for a living and I attend school. I love the conversations, the reading, the research and even the paper writing and how it all meshes together with my career enriching the classes I take, and the classes I take enriching my career.

6. I love my house. I have a beautiful comfortable bed. I have finally discovered the joys of sheets with thread counts higher than 12 grit. I have 9 pillows of various qualities, a very firm mattress and cozy rug on the floor. My room is full of bookshelves with an embarrassment of riches of books as well as little oddments I have collected. I have a great vintage velvet couch and love seat in my living room and 3 large fish tanks with interesting creatures leading their fishy lives.
I have a kitchen that is easy to cook in and I have food in my fridge and pantry. My yard is huge and I have flowers growing, lizards creeping and hummingbirds humming.

7. Most important of all, I have people I love who love me back. Even though we are far apart we still are connected to each other and that is a wonderful thing.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

No rest for the wicked. . .

I am feeling stretched very thin. In the last 4 weeks I have. . .

  • Finished my externship for the school I attend

  • Created a lengthy power point, with sound and speakers notes, (ugh I really hate power point) presentation on my experience in my externship as well as a written summary.

  • Taken 2 practice exams (5 hrs each) for the certification I will be sitting
    for probably next month.

  • Taken a final exam

  • Traveled 3000 miles (I am not exaggerating) with a friend my age, 2 very elderly people (88 & 90), and a 1 eyed dog in a minivan with dubious AC in the middle of a heat wave

  • Worked something like 17 16 hour days

  • Completed 2 online courses for my ICD-10 trainer certification

  • Attended a 3 day intensive training on becoming a certified ICD-10 trainer (it was like trying to drink from a fire hose although somehow I managed to do it)

  • Updated the lesson plan for the class I am teaching because at the very last minute I found out that we have a NEW EDITON of the book I use and all my page number and exercises are off.

  • Planned a review class for a national certification my students need to take

  • Planned a career seminar for graduates at the school I teach at

  • Received a $406.00 electric bill, a $100.00 water bill and a $230.00 phone bill, oh and I need to pay my professional organization $215.00 to retain my credential (insert manical laughter here)

  • Still need to come up with $500.00 to fix my car

I am sure that there is more but frankly I can’t take it.

Oh and this weekend I have to go to a pine box derby for the boy scouts and attend a party for 2 people’s birthdays.

In happy magic fantasy land I want to super clean my house, then spend the next couple days completely alone and sleep at least 8 hours in a row, listen to whatever music I want at an immodest volume, cook and eat interesting tasty food, nap, read a lot, perhaps watch a movie or 3 and think nothing about my career, my future career, my exams, how my future is riding on the outcome of my certification exams, and nothing more strenuous than should the dog and I play in the yard or go for a walk in the woods. I think the odds of that happening are rather small but it would be fantastic if it could happen.

Coming up in the next 4 weeks. . . I have to sit for 2 certification exams and I really need to brush up before I take them. They both have a high fail rate for the first attempt and I would like to beat the odds and pass on the 1st go round.

I am staying positive and attempting to stay in some state close to perpetual motion until everything is done. Just a little bit more, just a little more and I will be able to move on to my next thing . . . finding a job teaching in healthcare that pays enough to pay my student loans as well as living expenses.

Of course if you asked me right this minute when I am so tired I could cry and kinda freaked out about money, I want to be a kept woman, lazing about and not worrying her pretty little head about rent, careers, cars and other important things like that. Oh and I want marabou fuzzy slippers, damn it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

5 random thoughts

1. I am pretty excited; I am getting a real bed for the first time in my adult life. Not to say that right now I do not have a bed. The bed I have now is just a queen sized mattress on one of those little metal frames with wheels, no headboard and no footboard. My new bed is a sleigh bed, queen size so my mattress will fit. One of my coworkers is selling it and I got it for little more than a song.

2. After 6 months of drought it is finally raining today. We normally have more than 24 inches of precipitation by this time of year and this year we barely have 6 inches. It is so bad that ranchers have to sell off their cattle because they cannot afford to feed them hay since the pasture land has dried up.

3. I am going to be visiting Michigan and Indiana in the middle of July and I am really looking forward to it. The plan is to do a tour of both Detroit and South Bend focusing on the auto industry. I will be accompanied by my friend Jana and her 90 year old father who has always wanted to see Detroit. The dad is car crazy and has been his whole life; of course I think that translates to being horse crazy in his early years. I am really looking forward to showing him around my cities and showing him the attractions. South Bend is under recognized as a car city. Studebaker and Avanti were both produced in South Bend and were fine automobiles.

4. I only have 2 more weeks of my externship. I have learned a bit on this ride but mostly I am tired. I have been working 18 hour days for several weeks now and only getting 5 hours of sleep a night for the duration with no afternoon nap. I have been trying hard not to be too exhausted, whiney, & crabby but I think those who love me and have to deal with me will breathe a collective sigh of relief when my schedule clears up a bit.

5. I am feeling tired and thinned out, I need about 3 days alone in the woods with my dog to cure what ails me. Too bad it is too hot to camp here in TX for about another 3 months.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It has been a couplish months and so I decided to fall back on my old friend the Simple Woman's Day book, I love that thing!

Outside my window
It is hot hot hot, the high today is to be 100 at least and even on into the weekend and next week it is in the 90s. It looks like the blast furnace door has opened, I mean that summer is here.

I am thinking
I really would like some cinnamon coffee. The hospital I am doing my externship at has a staff coffee room and they have giant thermoses of the most delicious coffee. My favorite is the cinnamon, it reminds me of the coffee at Union Street in Detroit. I am very tired as this is my 3rd day in a row only getting 5 hours of sleep and no nap.

I am thankful for

The people I am discussing issues of class and socioeconomic levels with. They are not only providing me with insight but also helping me work through some of my apprehensions about my upcoming entry into a higher level in my career field.

From the kitchen

I found this recipe for home made fudge Popsicles. I am SO going to make these this weekend.

I am wearing

HAH! not the usual scrubs, I had to go to my externship site today and had to wear corporate drag, I am wearing black Sanita clogs, black trousers, a black, white, and grey shirt, a black suit jacket, gunmetal grey pearl earrings and a greyish blueish mother of pearl necklace that matches the earrings. I am also wearing 3 silver rings.

I am creating
Not feeling super creative at the moment so I will go with carbon dioxide.

I am going
To lunch with a friend today and I am so looking forward to it

I am reading

The Blue Book of Fairy Tales by Andrew Lang

I am hoping

I will be able to get my O2 sensors fixed soon on my car. The heat is causing my gas mixture to be off and since my O2 sensors are down my injectors are not compensating

I am hearing
The A/C struggling to keep it cool

Around the house

I am getting a new to me couch for my office. It is small, beautiful and free!

One of my favorite things

I really love going to the beach at night. I am so pale that I catch on fire in the sun so at night is the only time I really get to enjoy the beach. I love the sound of the ocean, the quiet dark and the occasional sea turtle or iridescent algae.

A few plans for the rest of the week
Work on my presentation for school and review my lesson plans for next week.

Words I am pondering
“I must learn to love the fool in me- the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries, it alone protects me against that utterly self-controlled masterful tyrant whom I also harbor and who would rob me of human aliveness, humility and dignity but for my fool." Theodore Rubin

Here is a picture I am sharing, I love elephants and am fascinated by India so here are the 2 in one spot. . .

Monday, March 28, 2011

Outside my window:

It is cloudy and in the low 70s. My lawn needs to be mowed and my wonderful lawn guy Eric is not coming until next weekend. Yes friends it is March and I need to mow weekly.

I am thinking:

Even though I just whined about my yard I am so very happy to be out of the Michigan winters.

I am thankful for:

That I am able to grow and expand even when it feels like I can't go on another step, somehow I am able to go on and as a result I change and become better.

From the kitchen:

This weekend I am going to smoke a rack of ribs for the first time ever. Barbeque is sort of a religion here in Texas and I am generally not a devotee. My plan is to rub em down with some rub bought from my favorite rib joint, Cattle Drive, and then sloooowwww cook em. I am serving the ribs with home made coleslaw, corn on the cob, ranch black beans, and some sort of delicious cobbler or boy bait for dessert. To drink some good cold beer, wine and iced tea for those non booze hounds in my guests.

I am wearing:

The usual, scrubs

I am creating:

Plans for a grand Texas barbeque dinner this weekend, I am even going to decorate the yard with cute little lanterns and set up a table outside. I love dinner parties and as long as the pesky outside bugs stay outside of my screen gazabo, we should be good.

I am going:

To go to a giant Volkswagen rally in Fredricksburg in a couple weeks. I am looking forward to it for sure. This will probably be the last camping trip before the blast furnace of summer opens and I have to wait until fall to camp again.

I am reading:

A book of Japanese myths and folk tales

I am hoping:

My new neighbors tone it down so I don't have to call the cops on them. They have been boozing it up VERY loudly in the front yard all weekend. I am hoping it is just the whoo-hoo-we-just- moved-in celebrating. I hate to be a cranky curmudgeon but dang, 3am and I have to be up at 5:30am, it is too much. Why don' t they do this in the BACK yard.

I am hearing:

My students working on their test

Around the house:

I am the worst housekeeper in the world, I have decided. My house looks like a bomb went off in it, school stuff all over the dining room table, an abandoned project in the livingroom, the kitchen looks like am 8 year old was cooking, it is not pretty at all. It is a good thing I am going to have company this weekend so I have to clean. If it were not for company I am convinced I would live in a space that is a cross between an absent minded professor's office and a Disney bumbling wizard's cottage.

One of my favorite things

I really love the sound for trains blowing their whistles in the distance. I live about 3 blocks away from train tracks and I hear the train blow every night as I am going to sleep. It makes me feel good and sleepy to hear it.

A few plans for the rest of the week

Clean my house, do everything I can ahead for the food prep for the weekend, do partial water changes on my fish tanks, put up my weather proof decorations for the party.

Words I am pondering
“I must learn to love the fool in me- the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries, it alone protects me against that utterly self-controlled masterful tyrant whom I also harbor and who would rob me of human aliveness, humility and dignity but for my fool. Theodore Rubin

Here is a picture I am sharing
I went to walk around the Johnson Space Center at lunch a couple days ago and here is the picture I took of the shuttle, it is HUGE. I tried to climb on it but for some reason they take offence to that, go figure.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Outside my window: The sun is just setting and it is still pretty warm out (around 60), tonight and every night this week it supposed to get into the high 30s. It is so strange to be in the winter and have days in the mid to upper 60s and nights in the high 30s. I keep waiting for the snow shoe to drop.

I am thinking: About intuitive eating and being in touch with food that nourishes my body and makes me feel good. Culture is so full of messages about not trusting one’s body and that certain foods have moral value. It pisses me off.

I am thankful for: Starting up my gratitude journal again. About a week ago I was just an angry miserable injured grizzly bear wreck (part of the residual holiday joy) and I decided to write down all the little things I was thankful for. I felt BETTER! So now I am trying every day to write in my journal at least one thing I am thankful for. It makes a huge difference in my outlook to avoid the whiny minutia and focus on all the good big love in my life.

From the kitchen: As I type this 2 crock pots are busy cooking my dinner. I am making pulled pork and chocolate mess. Both recipes are from the Hillbilly Housewife site. I love this website it is written by a woman who takes frugal living seriously and has fantastic tips.

I am wearing: A sequined copper ball gown with gold opera length gloves, a pheasant feather boa, and a tiara, or more likely I am wearing navy blue scrubs and nurse shoes

I am creating: A teacher tool book based on a class I am taking right now. The class is about learning styles and brain dominances. I am trying to integrate the information from the class into my teaching for this class and my next one.

I am going: to go to the ocean tomorrow to eat my lunch. It is supposed to be clear and warm tomorrow so I am packing up and heading to sit with the jelly fish, crabs, urchins and pelicans and eat my left-overs. It should be mah-velous.

I am reading: “Thinking in the Shadow of Feelings” by Dr Reuven Bar-Levav. It is about what it takes to freely feel while remaining logically sound. Something I have a hard time with, actually. I tend to turn my feelings off completely or at least put them on a long delay. This is proving to be very interesting and applicable reading for dealing with that lag. For fun I am reading “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince” by JK Rowling. I am rereading the series in light of the events of the “Deathly Hallows” book, it is a much better series now knowing what I didn’t know then (then being when I first read it).

I am hoping: That my tax return will get here quickly so I can fix my breaks, my oxygen sensors and get a new inspection sticker before I get pulled over.
Note to add: Why the hell are o2 sensors so frickin expensive, I notice no difference in the way my car runs and in fact I am currently enjoying a period of increased gas mileage. To replace these phantoms it is going to cost me $350.00, insane. Oh and of course these useless pieces of gadgetry on my car not working means I cannot pass my inspection grumble grumble grumble.

I am hearing: The air handlers and the teacher in the classroom next to mine teaching

Around the house: My room needs a serious overhaul. I got a new dresser and I need to find a place to put it and reorganize everything, seriously it is looking like I am a bag lady, or rather a piles of clothing and box lady.

One of my favorite things: My friend's cat has a litter of kittens and last week I went over to visit and all 5 of the little kittahs climbed all over me and purred in my ear, they are so cute. Several of them fell asleep on my neck and chest- it was like having a live fur collar on my shirt.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Finish part 2 of the class I am taking and get ready to take the assessment.

Words I am pondering: “Eat foods you like, as much as you want” from a blog post by the fat nutritionist, click to check out her page.
Here is a picture I am sharing: This cracked me up. . .