Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Does anyone else think that Scarlett O'Hara got it right: "I'll think about that tomorrow!" Or is it more that we agree with her but know she's wrong and whack ourselves in the head for thinking that way? Probably the latter but we don't want to admit it...or we realize the folly of our error at 1am while we're working on something we could have done earlier. Putting things off rarely pays off for me, although it has just enough so I'm not cured of doing it entirely.

Well, I don't want to think about that now (said with cultured Southern accent). Can you guess how my week's going? ;-)

Friday, May 18, 2007

May "Try This!" (sorry it took a while)

From my friend S, the next edition of "Try This!"

Try This!

May 2007


Pecan Pear Pesto over Baked Brie

2 pears – cored and chopped

1 C pecans

2 T honey

1 T Moroccan spice

1 T salt

¼ C fresh parsley

Toast pecans and chop. Add spices and honey and stir until caramelized. Add pears and parsley, blend in a food processor. Serve over baked brie.

I had this appetizer recently at a restaurant in Ithaca, NY and it was SO amazing that I got the chef to give me the recipe! The savory pecans along with the slight sweetness of the pears and honey, and the added spice makes for the most perfect topping to the warm brie. It’s heavenly!!

- Marilyn

Pasta with Lemon Sauce (Rotini with Salsa di Limone)
(Substitutions listed in parentheses)

1 pound penne pasta (rotini)
1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half (1-1/4 lbs Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced)
1 lg lemon, finely zested and juiced
1C shredded mozzarella cheese (1C crumbled feta or ricotta salata)
1tsp kosher salt
1tsp freshly ground pepper (1/2 tsp)

Cook pasta al dente, reserving 1C of cooking water.
Combine cooked pasta with remaining ingredients, adding half of the cooking water. Toss to combine, and add the remaining water if needed.

I adapted this recipe from Giada on the Food Network. I didn't have some of the ingredients, but I thought the basic premise of the recipe sounded great. The pasta was very good when I made it for dinner and served it hot, but I preferred the leftovers, which I ate cold as a pasta salad. Either way, it was easy breezy and yummy. Enjoy. (For the record, I listed the ingredients that I used, but I included Giada's recommendations in parentheses. I'm sure the dish would've been better with the recommended cheese, but I can't eat cheese, so I put what I had into my husband’s dinner. I also liked the extra pepper.)

- Sommer

Linguini with Butter, Arugula and Pecorino Romano

courtesy Giada DeLaurentiis

1 pound linguine
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups very finely grated Pecorino Romano
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 cup coarsely chopped arugula

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.

Add the linguini and cook until it is al dente, about 8 minutes.

Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Immediately toss the hot pasta in a large bowl with the butter to coat.

While tossing the linguine, gradually sprinkle the cheese, pepper, and enough of the reserved cooking liquid evenly over the linguine to moisten.

Add the arugula and toss to combine. Season the pasta, to taste, with salt. Divide the pasta among 6 plates and serve

This recipe claims to serve 6. I guess it could, but it usually serves us two plus a little for lunch the next day. So good! Add extra arugula for more of a bite.

- Lori


Fiber One Chewy Bars

They taste absolutely wonderful and have 9 grams of fiber in each bar. My favorite flavor is the oats and chocolate. You'll find them near the granola bars in your grocery store. - Tamarah


Kathleen Lolley (http://lolleyland.com/)

Love, love, love her! And feeling very “wanty” about

just about everything she's made. - Sara


Case Histories by Kate Atkinson

I am in the middle of this book right now and it's an intelligent page-turner, especially for those who like whodunits with true plot. There are three case histories that the reader realizes somehow intertwine. Detective Jackson Brodie investigates them all while trying to deal with his own life, complicated by a messy divorce, questions about his life, and paternal worries about his own pre-adolescent daughter. I've really enjoyed its twists and fascinating characters.
- Kary

The Dogs of Bedlam Farm: An Adventure with Sixteen Sheep, Three Dogs, Two Donkeys, & Me

by Jon Katz

It's a long title. It's such a wonderful read for anyone who loves animals - it's a true story about a writer who buys a farm more or less for his 3 border collies.


The South Beach Diet by Arthur Agatston

I know this is a book that everyone has heard of, but I wanted to give it my recommendation. I’m not using it as a diet book, (and I don’t even think the book should have diet in the title) but more of a lifestyle approach. With diabetes on the rise, this method of eating is an excellent approach to get control of your blood sugar.


What About Brian (ABC – Monday 10pm)

I never watch primetime shows anymore, but I was sick recently and went to www.abc.com to watch some free shows while I was lying in bed. I ran across this show and loved it! I watched all 22 episodes from this past season. It has great writing, realistic and touching story lines, and isn’t overly dramatic. It’s produced by JJ Abrams, the same man who brought us Alias and is known for his great work in television.


Children of Men

This is a terrific and dark/grim movie. I highly recommend it.



The Louis Vuitton Necklace for Cheap!

For those of you who read the Spring Vogue you probably saw the beautiful cloth beaded Louis Vuitton necklace. It sells for $750, but below are instructions to make your own for under $2!

- Marissa

1) Find some thin fabric. The best kind for this project is silk or satin. Vintage scarves work great for this pattern.

2) Cut a 5"/55" piece of fabric. If you are using an old scarf just cut the 5" pieces and sew them together to get the 55" length.

3) Sew the fabric inside out along the 55" edge.

4) Use a safety pin to turn the fabric inside out.

5) Use wooden beads roughly 1" in diameter to create the necklace. Put the first bead in the tube and center it in the fabric. Tie a tight knot on both sides of the bead.

6) Work 8-10 beads back and forth on either side of the first bead. The desired length is up to you. My preference is 10 beads.

7) When you're done threading the beads tuck in the fabric ends and sew them.



Are you in CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome)? Looking for a way to better manage household tasks? Check out the Fly Lady! Very helpful and practical. The Fly Lady yahoo group is fun to join - use a dedicated email address though - messages are prolific!

- Paula


For those who live to eat and for those of us who like to read about food. Recipes, stories, blogs, videos. If you want to find the best patio restaurants in Toronto, the best burgers in Kansas City, or the best best place to find frozen dumplings, this is the site to go to and get lost for about an hour. For instance I just now learned about nickel-plated cast iron skillets...

- Don


...we've been cooking on regular cast iron for decades and love it. Some people don't, it needs to be seasoned and you just don't wash it with soap and water as you do everything else. Nickel-plated iron sounds like the cat's pants, although it's pricey.

- Don

Writing about Writing

I just read an article about how handwriting is becoming obsolete; people can’t frigging WRITE any more. How is that possible? Doesn’t it help with fine motor development in a way that typing doesn’t? Am I really going to let my child first write by typing on some screen? Do I need to zombify my child any sooner than necessary? And how sweet is it to see that scrawly printing of a kid trying her first letters? I understand we’re in an increasingly digital world but I simply cannot believe that handwriting is becoming a tool of the past. What about Post-It notes? What about the fact that staring at some kind of computer screen, large or small, is bad for you for countless reasons? And doesn’t it make everything completely impersonal? How would it be if I typed all of my thank-you notes for the wedding? It would certainly take up less time, but I don’t think it right to use the same medium that I use to send forwards and receive spam. Will I have to type out my birthday cards in the future, choosing a font that looks “personal” enough to send to my friend/sister/grandmother? Certainly cursive is becoming passé; this same article states that 85% of the SAT essays were printed rather than written in cursive. Personally, I find cursive faster because it flows better. I think people can read my “joined-up” writing just fine.

Now, I know there are exceptions. My husband, for example, has problems writing due to dyslexia and must resort to typing in order to read anything—he has trouble reading his own writing sometimes. However, I still feel that handwriting has its place in the world. What about jotting down notes? What about the feeling of a pen or pencil in your hand, scribbling ideas down, tossing off a phone number before you forget it, taking a message? And hey—I know paper is susceptible to fire, age, mildew, etc., but so are computer chips. One more point: paper doesn’t crash or get hacked.

By the way, I realize the complete incongruity of typing this entire rant and putting it on the web. Don’t think I don’t. BUT—I wrote most of this on a piece of paper in purple ink (I was correcting papers) so I could remember it at the time, in that moment. Some of the best books in the world have come from a writer having a pen and a napkin handy. Good Lord, it made J.K. Rowling one of the richest people in the world.

So write your friends a letter! Write down notes! Don’t give in to the handheld, PC world, people!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

It was a dark and stormy night

Has anyone ever heard of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction contest? It's a contest to write the worst possible opening to a novel, based on the title above from Edward George Bulwer-Lytton's book Paul Clifford. They made books of the winners from the 80s and now a new one has come out. I've listed the site of the 2006 winners, although the actual site is www.bulwer-lytton.com. Some of these are HILARIOUS. Here's the winner:

"Detective Bart Lasiter was in his office studying the light from his one small window falling on his super burrito when the door swung open to reveal a woman whose body said you've had your last burrito for a while, whose face said angels did exist, and whose eyes said she could make you dig your own grave and lick the shovel clean."

Jim Guigli, Carmichael, CA


Monday, May 14, 2007

Hell on wheels

13 May 2007 5:30 PM Currently I am sitting on a fifteen passenger bus with my dearest, most darling, most understanding and patient of husbands…and thirteen teenage girls, most of whom are about fourteen. After their iPod died, DH took his and is currently playing “his” music. He’s driving the bus; I say the driver has those sorts of privileges. The girls, in apparent protest, have chosen to sing every song they can think of at top volume. It has hit a level of obnoxiousness I cannot even fathom. I, in the meantime, have honed my skills of concentration insofar as I have actually managed to correct papers while this madness rages in my poor eardrums: A battle of teenage voices versus Canadian rock. They’re currently butchering “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, which I actually like(d) as a song. The funny part is that they don’t know all the words so they sing part of a verse they know and then move onto the chorus, then the next song. It’s a special kind of torture. I now understand how they got Noriega to come out of his bunker. Oh my dear Lord, they’ve moved onto “BINGO”. Yes, B-I-N-G-O. Thank God they’re singing it at top speed and it only has five letters. Now it’s “Old MacDonald”. If ever I needed birth control, this is it. NO. NOT “The Little Mermaid”…. Noooooooo….

I think they owe DH an apology. Seriously. On a much lighter note, we did excellently at New York States, with boats respectively earning 4th place, 2nd place, and 1st place!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Sports in General

This weekend (today) we're headed to New York States in Saratoga. My rowers have the chance to do really well, and although I don't usually savor spending my entire weekend with 40 teenage girls, these girls have real dedication and I'm excited to see what they can do. Plus the weather will be MUCH better than the fall, when it inevitably pours as if the monsoons had come. I also think it'll be fun watching the Sabres game together--they're all huge fans and devoted screamers for their team, so the spirit of sportsmanship will flourish.

I myself am fiercely competitive to the point of ridiculousness (I can recall one infamous game of Trivial Pursuit which I rarely admit to) but also try to champion good sportsmanship. I mention this because a number of schools row out of the same boathouse and someone stole all the bungee cords from our brand new boat. We need them to keep the seats in place when we travel. It's not as though someone drilled a hole in the boat or broke the rudder or something, but it's that sort of poor sport nature that I can't abide. At the competition this weekend, I plan to support our local competition loudly and fully if my team's not in that race. It's just what you do. We don't allow our rowers to badmouth our competition, ever, especially not while we're all together in the same place. Thus it upsets me when I see bush-league behavior from fellow teams. I just would never dream of committing such a heinous act, so it still surprises me when it happens.

So I plan to go into this weekend filled with good sportsmanship and good wishes. And I hope we kick butt in both rowing and hockey.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Case in Point

Last night I took a break--turned on the TV at 6:30 and didn't turn it off until 11:00! And I got a little bit of work done, but not much. I did need the night off, however. Hey, how about LOST??? I was screaming at the end. What will happen?????

The leaves on the trees have just popped. It's such a sign of spring, and it covers up a lot of the October destruction. I love it--it means I can ride my bike to work! It's so calming, and with gas prices rising so exorbitantly, it's good to ride the bike for economical, physical, and environmental reasons. Plus I just like the wind on my face.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Quick Note

I have discovered that the best place to get work done is, shockingly, not at my home. I get nothing done. OK, I should write admitted rather than discovered. Have others discovered this as well, or did you figure out a way to do it? Want to share with me? I have waaay more productivity when I work either in my classroom at night (nobody to distract me) or at a local coffeehouse where the white noise gets me into this Zen Zone. Where do you work best, do you think?

Off to practice--we have States this weekend and we have to get ready! Enjoy the day.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Sorry, faithful readers!

I have been crazy busy since right before and after the wedding, and last time I tried to post the WHOLE THING got erased when the site just shut down for no reason.

Thus, as the end of the school year approaches and crew takes up almost every weekend I have for the next month, I am taking a planned hiatus. I promise I’ll write all about my wedding, which was lovely and perfect and wonderful, and my doings. I just don’t want you to keep checking and not have anything new. But don’t go away! I promise, promise I’ll update when I can; I just know that with exams looming and my time becoming ever precious as the rowing season intensifies (gone all next weekend, most of the following, and even more over the next two), I won’t be able to give you my anecdotes.

Tell you what—I’ll try for something really short every few days. How’s that?