Thursday, September 22, 2011

Home, Autumn, and Rain

Stories from the New York City trip to follow, but for now, this is my way of celebrating home, autumn, and rainy weather.

Autumn in a Stew Pot

(measurements are approximate)

about 3 quarts water
1 tbsp butter or margarine
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 small red onion, diced
1/2 tsp dried celery, crushed
1/2 tsp dried basil, crushed

1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
3 small red potatoes, cubed, skin on
3 stalks celery, diced
3 small carrots, diced, skin on

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp Italian spice
1/4 tsp salt
about 1 quart homemade tomato sauce
-chopped Roma tomatoes, garlic, onions, spices, water
(You could also use a pre-prepared chunky tomato sauce.)

Add about 6 oz of water to a large stew pot, with butter, garlic, onion, celery, basil, and a dash of pepper. Bring to a slow simmer on medium heat, and stir. Toss in carrots and celery along with another 6-12 oz of water (enough to keep the vegetables barely covered and to prevent sticking). Raise the temperature to high heat and stir periodically as it boils. Add the butternut squash, with more water, and then the potatoes. Add the salt and other spices at this point.

Stir in the tomato sauce. Once blended and boiling smoothly, reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and allow the soup to simmer, stirring occasionally. It should still be a thick consistency, not watery. Cook until the vegetables are at the desired softness and the soup is at desired thickness. Season to taste.

Total time-to-table, about 20 minutes preparation and one hour cooking.

Completely worth it.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Part of my job this summer has been to write very concise pieces of text about major world events, such as the Cold War, the Renaissance, and the 14th century plague.

The average word limit for the job? 300 words. Let's try that again.

Part of my My job this summer has been to write very concise pieces of text about major world events, such as the Renaissance and the 14th century plague. (Revised for wordiness.)

Imagine my surprise and "delight" to discover that one of the PhD programs to which I'm applying has the exact same word limit for the personal statement. No good skill goes un-recycled, as the saying goes [awry].

One would think that summarizing my [history, educational background, relevant life experiences, aspirations, applicable skill sets, research plan, and compatibility with the given program, or for lack of a better word, life] into 300 words would be much simpler than doing the same thing with the Enlightenment.

Funny. It's not.


Dear Strunk and White, despite your periodic absences from the zeitgeist of writing centers and rhetorical studies programs, I could really use some advice. Or a new red pen. Or the ability to write in Chinese characters.

I mean really--is that too much to ask?

I didn't think so.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Coffeeless Conundrum

So, the catch-22 of going a week without coffee is that you have to be awake enough to remember that you're going a week without coffee.


Without Coffee: 1 day 2 hours

In other news...This happened:

funny pictures - My Mistress' Eyes Are Somewhat Like The Moon...

Saturday, September 10, 2011


In contrast to the theme of August, ("Tumblings-apart"), I am so grateful for a weekend full of "bumpings-into." :-D

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Life in 10 seconds

This morning brought to you by my anti-aging medications of choice-- COFFEE, sour patch kids, the Mountain Goats, and noticing [pale green] things.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Proverbial Wisdom (2)

One cannot accurately judge the damage caused by an action until one is on the other side of a hot shower and a full night's sleep.

If a person were playing Frisbee and decided to slide on one knee across a patch of dried grass, the damage might seem minor. The burning sensation could be ignored in order to continue playing the game. The reddish color might seem insignificant at dusk. The subsequent judgment might be: it's no big deal. Keep running and, hypothetically, diving on the same leg.

The first rush of water in the shower is one clue: this might have been a bad idea. By 1 a.m., the bed covers feel like a cross between a brillo pad and a wax treatment. Two days later, the person in question realizes maybe she undervalued that skin just a little...

Lesson learned, proverb. Lesson learned.