Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Ascension: Accent the Octave



One of the things I am learning about the Liturgical Year is that prior to 1955, the Church celebrated many more octaves than it does now.  As a procrastinator, this has been an exciting revelation to me, because now I have more opportunities to actually do something special if the feast sneaks up on me, which it so often does.

So today, the Octave of the Ascension, I am baking Cloud Bread and Lighter Than Air Chocolate Cake--flourless paleo recipes--and planning a picnic.   I will use the Cloud Bread for sandwiches.  I am going to make the cake recipe into cupcakes because they bake in less time, and I can skip lining four cake pans with parchment paper.  Plus cupcakes are more portable for a picnic, even though it will just be on the back patio.   The cake recipe can also be adapted for dairy-free by substituting coconut cream in the frosting.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Hair-Brained Ideas

Desperate for a haircut, as in "I-needed-one-three-weeks-ago" kind of desperate, yesterday I reluctantly dragged myself into a hack-and-whack chain "salon" after being advised of a three-day wait at the neighboring independent shop.

I resignedly scrawled my name in the sign-in book and looked hesitantly around to scope out the scissor-wielders.  Nobody particularly freaky, I thought, and sat down somewhat reassured to glance through the hairstyle books.

Why I do this, I never know, because every time I do, I become, as my mother used to say, "shocked out of my everlovin' gourd" at the photos.  I turned about 20 pages and started looking around for the book with the title, Hairstyles for People Who Just Want to Look Normal.  And the sequel, Hairstyle "After" Photos that are Actually More Attractive than the "Before" Photos.  

No such luck.

You would think from looking at these books that people want to shell out their hard-earned cash to have a whirling dervish run rampant on their heads.  A lot of the styles could easily be accomplished at home by cutting one's own hair while blindfolded, then slathering it with gel, turning on the vacuum cleaner, and styling it with the crevice tool.    Seriously.  Maybe that's how they do it in the salon, which would account for the snarling expressions on the faces of most of the models--they have suction headaches.  Or maybe they're just possessed, and if we had video instead of still pics, we would see their heads spinning around furiously.  That would be thrilling, especially with the ones who sport broad strokes of  iridescent peacock blue eyeshadow under their eyes which, frankly, is better than the black.  I think.  Maybe not.

Anyway, I determined to just tell the snipper lady what I wanted.  I actually enjoyed the haircut.  She talked about her baby and how she had no idea until she held her newborn son that you could love anybody THAT MUCH.  So we had a little mom bonding moment there, and it was good.

I left feeling enormously relieved.  My bangs were no longer in my eyes, and I still looked like a normal person, despite my inner craziness.

This morning when I blow-dried my hair is when I noticed that the left side is about a half-inch shorter than the right.  But I'm not going back.  No way.




Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My Paleo Lunchable and Kerry Gold Butter Dish



Usually we pack leftovers for lunches, but today we didn't have any.  I grabbed a plastic container and started filling it with odds and ends, and when I was done, I thought, "Hey!  I made a lunchable!"  Guess it was the rectangular container.  I broiled three slices of ham with provolone cheese on top, then rolled them up while hot with a thin celery stick inside.  I added carrot sticks, squash sticks, strawberries, and a container of Ranch dip I made from scratch with homemade mayonnaise.  I love that mayo!  I use a combination of walnut, grape seed, and olive oil, and it's delicious.  As much as I liked this meal because it is tasty, healthy, and gluten/grain-free, I read yesterday about a mom in Canada who was fined for not including any grain in her children's lunches, even though she had packed pot roast with potatoes and carrots, an orange, and milk.  The daycare person added Ritz crackers to the lunch.  Such stupidity.




My darling husband discovered this fabulous butter dish at an antique store recently.  It's wider than normal and perfectly cradles a brick of Kerry Gold.   We've been using the butter in its foil wrapper, which is seriously tacky, I know.   So I wanted the butter dish when he pointed it out to me on a crowded shelf,  close to the floor.   I just wasn't sure if it really truly was the right size.  Naturally, I tried to discourage him from getting it because of that.  Plus it was $12.95, which I thought was high, but after 34 years he knows when not to listen to me, thank goodness.  I have no clue how old this dish is, and I've never seen one like it.  I'm sure if there were a supply available there would be a good market for them.  It's such a relief to have an attractive way to keep this butter.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Writing in the Margins: Plato's Apology

"I hope you won't be too slavish about the Plan of Graded Reading.  My advice is, reach in anywhere.  If what you look at doesn't interest you, put it down and try something else.  Everything in this set will interest you sooner or later.  I recommend browsing as the best method of locating the possible world you want first to explore." 

--Robert M. Hutchins,  "A Letter to the Reader", Gateway to the Great Books, Vol. 1

How eagerly and happily I read this advice!

Mr. Hutchins goes on to explain in the Introduction that the works in in the 10-volume Gateway to the Great Books "are outstanding creations of the human mind, but they are not of the same order as the works included in Great Books of the Western World.  They consist of stories, plays, essays, scientific papers, speeches, or letters, and in some cases they are relatively short selections from much larger works.  In contrast, Great Books of the Western World contains whole books or extensive collections of books."

In the appendices of Gateway, Vol. 1, four graded reading lists are provided starting with "Suggested Readings for the 7th and 8th Grades" and progressing through "Suggested Readings for College Freshmen and Sophomores".  Each level includes readings from the Gateway set and the Great Books set.  If I were still homeschooling, I would definitely choose this as the basis for my junior/senior high curriculum.

In The Great Conversation: The Substance of a Liberal Education, which is the first volume of the Great Books set, there is a suggested 10-year reading plan using only the Great Books set.  Number one on this list is Plato, with two selections--Apology, Crito.

Taking Mr. Hutchins' advice, I followed my interest and started right in on Plato, finishing his Apology, which is from Dialogues of Plato.  This is Socrates defending himself to the Athenians.  I enjoyed it immensely, especially the way he tells about his experience of doing good by informing others that they are not truly wise and how in this manner he gains more and more enemies.  Too funny!  The Athenians of his time do not seem to be any different than the Americans of my time:  If you tell people  that they don't know what they are talking about, they usually are not grateful.  On the other hand, I can't think of a contemporary counterpart to Socrates.  And there is the whole issue of scale.  Socrates went directly to individual Athenians to question them.  He was well and personally known.  We have celebrities, but in general, we don't know them well or personally.

I also identified with his description of himself as a gadfly, "given to the state by God; and the state is a great and noble steed who is tardy in his motions owing to his very size, and requires to be stirred into life.  I am that gadfly that God has attached to the state, and all day long and in all places am always fastening upon you, arousing and persuading and reproaching you.  You will not easily find another like me, and therefore I would advise you to spare me."  We have many gadflies today, so many that I think we get hypnotized by their buzzing and do nothing.  Again, though, these folks are not in the same league as Socrates.  In fact, the most popular ones seem to be the ones whom Socrates would have found wanting in wisdom.

I also followed Mr. Hutchins' advice about writing in the margins.  He said that you can't really make a book yours until you make notes alongside the text.  Only then are you really engaging in a conversation with the author.   So I penciled in a few things.  I didn't feel really comfortable doing it, but it occurred to me that this was one way to share more deeply with my husband, who will be reading with me.  That encouraged me.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Catholicism in the South Radio Broadcast

Dixie can be a lonesome place for Traditional Mass Catholics.  I always assumed that was because the South was never a stronghold of Catholicism to begin with.  Catholic Historian Charles Coulombe says that's not so.  He will talk about Catholicism in the South tomorrow on Restoration Radio's series Catholic History with Charles Coulombe.  

In the interest of full disclosure, I am working part-time for True Restoration as its Social Media Manager, but this is something I would have shared anyway.   I am hoping that the radio program will get lots of callers, so that there can be a lively discussion.  I want to learn a lot more about this important part of Catholic history.  I will be paying particular attention to ideas and attitudes that may help us rebuild the South under the Social Reign of Christ the King.

This paragraph from the show description fills me with anticipation:

What does the antebellum period in the Southern United States tell us about Catholicism, and what happened to it during the War Between the States and in the "reconstruction" years? How is a Catholic to understand the successive chain of events that took the United States from the War of Nothern Aggression of 1861-1865 to the 1960s Civil Rights Movement which produced such figures as Dr. Martin Luther King?

The show starts at 9 pm, EDT/8 CDT.  I'll be glued to my chair with a glass of wine in my left hand, a pen in my right, and a notebook in my lap.  If you can't listen in for the live broadcast, don't panic, it will be available afterwards "on-demand".


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

On My Florida Vacation

I got to talk to a lady from Switzerland who now lives and farms in Bonifay, FL, and was selling eggs and jams and such at a farmer's market in Seaside, FL.  We talked about organic feed mills!  I was in heaven.  Her chickens free range all day, and she gives them a certified organic feed with NO soy.  That, my friends, is hard to come by.  You can buy certified organic eggs at the grocery store, but most likely the chickens who produce them do not have access to pasture, and their feed is full of soy.  The eggs will have soy protein in them.   A bag of certified organic, soy-free chicken feed costs about $35.  This lady sells a dozen eggs for $7.  I could taste the difference.

I spent the most glorious time playing in the Gulf.  I could not get enough of it.  I learned, via my husband's observations while snorkeling, that sand dollars crawl along the bottom and leave tracks!  For some reason, this little fact charmed me.  I spent many happy moments imagining sand dollars marching  resolutely across the sand, leaving behind their little sand dollar trails before burying themselves for some unknown--to me anyway--endeavor.

I also learned that my modest bathing costume alarms life guards.  I was frolicking along in about knee-deep water, happy and carefree, when a life guard paddled over to me on his surf board, or whatever it is they use.  He greeted me, and I thought, "What a nice young man!".  He asked me where I was from.  I told him and asked him where he was from.  I was thinking, "Now isn't he sweet to come over here and make conversation with me!"

Then, the bombshell.  "Why are you swimming in your clothes?" he asked me.

"I'm not swimming in my clothes.  This is my swimsuit," I explained.

"I always check on people who wear their clothes into the water," he said.

Because I didn't choose to wear undergarments to swim in public, he thought I was crazy? *sigh*  Later, my children laughingly explained it for me.  "Yeah, Mom, he thought you were trying to commit suicide!"  :(




Monday, July 29, 2013

Modest Motorcycle Mama Mondays: Time to Re-Boot

We didn't get to go riding this weekend, so I'll report on outfitting instead.  Boots are at the top of my priority list.  Right now I am wearing my cowboy boots, and the pointy toes are just too long and the heels too heavy and clunky.  They are fine for work boots, just not what I want function or aesthetic-wise for romantic getaways with my husband.  I am looking for some like the ones in the picture, but I want leather.  The ones pictured above are not.  I need the ankle coverage because that is where the exhaust heat gets me, but I don't want anything taller for summer.  It's just too hot.  The small heel is good, not too tall nor spiky.  I want good stability for getting on and off the bike.