06 March 2008


Several people have asked me about the last item on my New Year's non-Resolution list...

So I present to you, "The Beachy Look" (in hues of ocean blue and sand, complete with bamboo!). Travel packages are available now! Sorry, but the Hawaii discount is only available at your nearest travel agent's office, not on our website.

It's Somebody's Birthday Somewhere

I find biographies interesting, regardless of my previous knowledge of the person.

It's the birthday of poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, born near Durham, England (1806). She was the first to write and publish love poems in English from a woman's point of view. Many of her love poems were sonnets for or about her husband, the poet Robert Browning, whom she met after he sent her a telegram that praised her writing. She married him in 1846 in secret, when she was 40 years old. She ran away with him to Florence, Italy, because her father had forbidden her to marry.

It's the birthday of sculptor, painter, architect, and poet Michelangelo, born in Caprese, Italy (1475). During his lifetime he created some of the most important artistic work ever made, including the Pietà in St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome (1499) and the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (1508-12). He also wrote around 300 poems, as well as many letters. Most of the poems are love poems. He started writing poetry when he was young, but he wrote his best poems in the last 20 years of his life.
In 1505, Michelangelo was commissioned to build a huge marble monument for Pope Julius II's tomb, and he worked on this piece for 40 years. Pope Julius kept interrupting him to make changes and to give him other jobs, and the monument was never actually completed. Only fragments of it survive today.
One of the jobs that the pope gave Michelangelo that interrupted his work on the monument was the painting of frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. It took him three and a half years to finish.

It is the birthday of novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez, born in Aracataca, Colombia (1927). He's best known as the winner of the 1982 Nobel Prize in literature, and for his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967). He's also known as the main figure in writing known as "magical realism," which combines storytelling with elements of the supernatural.
García Márquez lived with his grandparents until he was eight years old. He was a shy boy, and his nickname in school was "the Old Man." He never liked playing sports and started telling stories from a young age. He said, "My earliest recollection is of drawing 'comics,' and I realize now that this may have been because I couldn't yet write. I've always tried to find ways of telling stories and I've stuck to literature as the most accessible."
García Márquez started writing for the Bogotá newspaper El Espectador, and he was eventually sent to Europe as a foreign correspondent. The government shut down the paper while he was in Paris, and this left him without any way of making money. He said, "For three years I lived by daily miracles. This produced tremendous bitterness in me. ... But if I hadn't lived those years I probably wouldn't be a writer."
One day in January of 1965, the complete first chapter of One Hundred Years of Solitude came to him suddenly while he was driving his car from Mexico City to Acapulco. He came home that night and told his wife not to bother him and locked himself in a room for eight to 10 hours a day for the next 18 months and wrote the novel. The original manuscript was 1,200 pages long, and García Márquez pawned their heater and his wife's hair dryer to pay for the postage to send the novel out to publishers.

HT: The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor

04 March 2008

New Books!

This has been a rather cloudy day due to an attack of the Crud, but there is indeed a silver lining!

Desiring God by John Piper, and Jesus Loves The Little Children by Danny Hyde.

Boise clouds

Not that clouds in Boise are more special than any other place, but... I'm biased because I like Boise. And don't they look spectacular against the snowline?

Big, bright, shiny yellow lemons...

could be made into lemonade, but

they make lovely lemon bars.

Chimichanga primer

Every once in a while I make a batch of chimichangas to keep my freezer stocked. I thought I would show you the little corner of my kitchen where I set up shop, even if the assembly line is only manned by one. :-)

On the stove is a simmering skillet of chicken, refried beans, salsa, green onion, and spices. In front of the microwave there is a plate ready to go with a stack of tortillas. Then you see a bowl of shredded Pepper Jack, one of my favorite cheeses. Next comes a stack of foil leaves, and you can barely see on the right side a small bowl of melted butter.

First you place a tortilla on the foil and brush it with butter. Flip it over (butter side down) and spoon 1/4 cup of filling down the middle. Sprinkle a handful of chese over top, then fold the edges: one long side first, then both ends, then roll so the remaining long side is on the bottom. Wrap the foil around it and throw it in the freezer!


(recipe from Mom)

16 oz. refried beans

2 1/2 c. shredded cooked chicken

2/3 c. salsa (may add chili powder to taste)

1/3 c. sliced green onion

3/4 tsp. + ground cumin

1/2 tsp. crushed dried oregano

1/2 tsp. salt

8 flour tortillas

1/4 c. melted butter

1 c. + shredded Pepper Jack cheese

1. Heat beans, chicken, salsa, green onion, spices, and salt in skillet until simmering.

2. Follow instructions above. :-)

3. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or freeze. When frozen, bake for 35-40 minutes.

Oh Crud

Your scratchy sore throat
leads to intermittent coughs.
In a day or two I'll be out of this boat
I think as I proceed to quaff
tea enough for a moat...
my addiction is really taking off.

But the cough persists and
soon can be heard by those
all around on shore and land...
the pastor stops to look
as I, with heavy hand,
punctuate his sentences.

My work must wait,
the meetings pass by,
as I face this weight
in my bones and I
upon the couch lay
as helpless as a one-winged fly.

Oh Crud you follow me
with wheezes and faint
eyes of red, left to be
sustained by broth and bread.
But oh! I shall sleep,
deep, deep sleeping comfort
be my rest and restore
til you are no more.

01 March 2008

I'll sew on patches to all you tear...

Off to the Ingrid Michaelson / Josh Radin concert tonight. Well, technically it's the JR concert with IM fronting. But I'm going mainly to see Michaelson, whose song "The Way I Am" has caught my attention. She has a unique sense of vocal phrasing; she doesn't always end a word in its logical place. I also think the use of bongos in "The Way I Am" is innovative. I heard her cover "Only Fools Rush In" on the radio today, live, and it was very sweet.
I actually haven't heard much of either artist, except for their radio releases, but my neighbor invited me, and this is the neighbor who will be moving away very shortly, so I wanted to hang out with her before she left. She's also one of my few sushi friends, and we have a pact to go to sushi by the time she moves. I was hoping for tonight, but twas not meant to be.
Here's to indie chill tunes...

Market Limone

My phone doesn't take great pictures. Obviously. But this is for illustrative purposes anyway. :-)
This is the flour section at Market Limone in Nampa, which is a very large (3 stories!) European shop carrying mostly organic and locally-made products. There had to be at least twenty different varieties of flour--wheat, spelt, barley, corn, you name it. I picked up the following:
Potato Bread (from Le Cafe De Paris in downtown Boise. Note about the bread: there were very few ingredients: roasted Idaho potato, supreme high gluten flour, fresh yeast, salt, and water.)
Herb-Dijon Mustard with Chardonnay (from Napa Valley)
Pure Maple Syrup (from Shady Maple Farms in Quebec)
Cashew Roll (from Dillon's Gourmet in Georgia)
Hummus (from Market Limone's kitchens)
Vanilla latte (Market Limone)
So granted, only 50% of my purchase was made locally, but I have to say I was impressed with the number of products made in Boise and the Treasure Valley. The whole place seemed sort of... empty... but I think that might be because the harvest hasn't started up yet. I'm looking forward to seeing fresh fruit and vegetables.