Friday, March 30, 2007

A Bit of Maudism

I saw Harold & Maude for the very first time about a week and a half ago. Its a movie that I'd imagine a person would either HATE or LOVE. For me - it stuck. It seems to be a sick, twisted, dark humor, laugh out loud, hysterically ridiculous, poignant, heart-wrenching, loving, brilliant reminder to live life, not just exist - LIVE! - with a big fat exclamation mark after it!
Maude: That little tree. It's in trouble. Come on. [They walk over to a tree growing through the sidewalk in front of a building]
Maude: Look at it, oh. It's suffocating. Well, it's the smog. You know, people can live with it, but trees — it gives them asthma. They can't breathe. The leaves, look, they’re turning all brown. Harold, we have got to do something about this life.
Harold: What?
Maude: We'll transplant it. To the forest.
Harold: You can't do that
Maude: Why not?
Harold: This is public property.
Maude: Well, exactly.
Harold: Maude.
Maude: Hmm?
Harold: Do you pray?
Maude: Pray? No. I communicate.
Harold: With God?
Maude: With Life.
Harold: This is real nice. Makes me want to do somersaults.
Maude: Well, why don't you?
Harold: I'd feel stupid.
Maude: Harold, everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Trumping the Four Leaf Clover

A few weeks ago I started to glance around the post office's clover patch to see if I could find a four leaf clover. I'd never found one - nor had I even looked - and the post office had a rather large crop going - seeing as how they had not done the first mowing of Spring. I gave up after my third strange look from the package and envelope laden post office goers. So very randomly this evening as I was putting out more bird seed I decided to search around a bit to see if I could find one in the few patches here and there in Paul's back yard. Wikipedia says the odds are 1 in 10,000 for a four leaf clover. I found a five leaf clover! I snatched it up and ran in to show it to Paul and then went back out to another patch and found a four leaf - this time I snapped a few shots before I pulled it up to tuck into a book to dry. So next time you're near a patch of clover take a chance and look you just might find some extra good luck waiting for you too!


Sunday, March 18, 2007

6 Odd Things About Me


The thumb on my left hand it double jointed. So I can bend it backwards, down in the direction of my wrist, which looks pretty freaky. I don't have anything else that's double jointed as far as I know, just my thumb.

2. Cans and Fake Sweets

I avoid drinking from aluminum cans, or eating anything with aspartame in it. Some time ago I heard a study about Alzheimer's patients having large concentrations of aluminum in their brains, possibly being one of the causes of their disease. I had a grandmother who was reduced to a completely different personality and finally silence just before she died - and it was all from Alzheimer's. I think it was the worst death a person could ever have - not knowing your family and dying utterly and mentally alone, in a prison of your own mind. I think it would be worse than drowning or being shot, or starving, or falling down a 400' pit. Way back when everyone used aluminum pots and pans, and ate off plates of aluminum etc, so its very easy to imagine how all that aluminum was absorbed. I avoid all aluminum cookware. And it has been proven that sodas can eat small amounts of aluminum from the inside of their cans - the longer they sit - the more they flake off. My friends in high school made fun of me because I wouldn't drink from cans. And some still do. I know, I know - call me paranoid - and it isn't completely proven- but I do avoid drinking an awful lot of soda also - which has its benefits too.

Aspartame - whenever I have tried it - make me feel hyper and squirrely. I get the jitters and can't calm down for hours. Its really weird. And as a side note aspartame has not really been completely ok'd in medical studies. Hence - I will NOT consume it in any form or fashion! You'd be surprised - but almost every chewing gum now contains aspartame.

So next time you pick up that can of diet soda - read these: Aspartame & Aluminum

3. Say NO to Cocoa

I don't like chocolate. So I refuse M&Ms, candy bars, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, etc. I do like white chocolate - which has no actual cocoa in it. There are a few exceptions to the rule: a. Thin Mint cookies - because they only taste minty, b. the interiors of 3 Musketeers bars, and c. Oreo cookies - but only dipped in milk.

I've gotten some pretty interesting reactions to my refusal of chocolate, among them are:
"Are you female?," "What are you, communist?" and "That's just un-American."

4. Sticky Feet

I don't like wearing shoes without socks. It drives me crazy! Sticky feet in tennis shoes are so icky. I will wear flip-flops since they are totally open and airy.

5. Good Clean Dirt

I enjoy the earthy smell of dirt and clay, (and caves of course.) I guess potting plants and cuttings at my grandfather's & father's nursery growing up sort of nurtured that.

6. Stabbed in the Back

The only recurring dream (nightmare) that I've ever had I kept having in grade school: I dreamt that I was in a huge warehouse full of row after row of boxes and crates (picture the last scene in Indian Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark), and I was running up and down the rows as fast as I could. The Incredible Hulk was chasing me and every time the dream ended I'd wake up with a start and a back spasm, knowing the Hulk had finally caught up with me because he'd just stabbed me in the back.

The Incredible Hulks supposed to be a good guy, right? Haven't had that that dream in years but there's an odd permanent kink in the middle of my back right where I'd always thought I'd been stabbed. If it gets pushed on it makes my whole back spasm, even if I push on it myself. The one and only time I tried having a massage a few years ago -the gal doing it, found "a huge knot" in my back and tried to work it out, every time she hit that goosey spot on my back - my back would spasm, until I finally had to tell her to stop trying to fix it. She told me that I should go see someone about it to get it worked out. I passed on the idea. And probably will never have a massage again. Darn that Incredible Hulk stabbing me in the back!

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Talucah Cave

Went caving Saturday on the Huntsville Grotto's horizontal trip for this month. It was wildly fun - especially the guano slide, of which I slid down at least 20 times. Haven't got any pictures of myself doing that, but I'd say a few others do!

The crew in the first room of Talucah. At one time they held church services in this room with the natural skylight. You can find remains of the wood floor strewn about the rocks.

Roy in a crawl.

Andrew on the guano slide (2.5).

A nice baby salamander I noticed on the way out.

The whole muddy group. And yes, some are doing the funky chicken.

Mark and Michelle doing a bit of clean-up.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Blast From the Past #34

Aunt Sally, Gary, Mom and Paul in Crossings Cave

You've been gone one year.
But we still miss you Gary.

Gary Cotney
More Gary Cotney


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Spring is in the Air, and the food.

Had a little dinner party. Gerber Daises - the quintessential flower - adorned the table.

And my slick plates, 1950's Russel Wright Residential - melmac were set at each place. The colors are always bright and cheery - so fun to mix and match. Table cloth and napkins courtesy of Target. Silverware by IKEA.

We dined on Paul and I's own recipe:Salmon Veggie Crepes

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Cookbook Review

I seem to have somewhere become addicted to cookbooks - especially ones with nice photos of what the food is supposed to look like. Pretty food presentation invariably can make things taste even better than they already are. Because the "layout" looks nice - it makes you want to eat it. A pretty plate with accoutrements of bright green veggies, and a dash of strawberry or cherry tomato red tantalizes your brain, making it a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds.

I have 56 cookbooks (not including my 3-ring binder collection of individual recipes) - and I just added 5 more! Mikes Merchandise usually has excellent prices on their books and being a bit weak when it comes to books caved-in on the following:
  1. Indian Home Cooking ($32 - Mikes price $8)
  2. The Silver Spoon ($40 - Mikes price $10)
  3. The Panera Bread Cookbook ($18 - Mikes price $6)
  4. Wok ($20 - Mikes price $8)
  5. Meals Made Easy ($25 - Mikes price $8)
The Indian Home Cooking book is really user-friendly and provides quite a lot of information on substitutions, with each consecutive recipe getting more complicated as the chapter goes on. The majority of the dishes are vegetarian which I really like for a change of pace, or if you want, you could use many as a side dish. There is an explanation for all the different styles of particular Indian dish at the beginning of each chapter and more before each recipe. The author encourages experimentation, suggesting to make recipes even it you don't have all the ingredients. So far Paul and I have made our very own dal - which is a thick bean dish. We substituted lemon as suggested, left out the ginger, and did not have or chillies, so I added red pepper flakes instead. (We had all the other spices thanks to the lamb sag Sabrina B. fixed for us when she and Noone and Dustin and Maya came to visit us) The chickpea dal was quite good - very unusual flavor - nothing like I'd ever fixed before - but I've never fixed Indian at home. Then again, I've never added so many spices to any dish before either. It smelled fantastic as it was cooking! I've included the recipe below if anyone would like to try it out - its big enough to print and read:

The Silver Spoon is an Italian Cookbook. Let me rephrase - it seems to be THE Italian cookbook. They translated from Italian to English - so its the real deal - so no swimming in heavy recipes of spaghetti and meatballs. Each page has about 3 to 5 short concise recipes on it. And the book itself has 1199 pages (the index of 64 pages brings it up to a whopping 1263). There are various full-page photos and merry illustrations spattered throughout and then two ribbon bookmarks built into the spine (bonus points there folks!). Each section is color coded and covers the following: sauces & marinades, antipasti, first courses, eggs & frittata, veggies, fish & crustaceans, poultry, game, cheese, desserts & baking - and then goes on to list quite a number of full up menus from famous chefs for about 70 pages.

I bought the Panera Bread book because #1 - it had a recipe in it for Kalamta Olive Loaf - which - if you've never had it - is amazingly wonderful. And #2 when I finally build my mud oven(this summer!) I will need some bread recipes. Basically this book gives you all the yummy things you can buy at Panera (or St. Louis Bread Co. for Paul's family).

The Wok book is definitely eye candy - lots of beautiful photos of wok prepared dishes, with just a handful of recipes. We have a new wok and would like to fix something other than "shelf #1 and 2 stir fry" - not that there's anything wrong with that - its usually fairly good - just trying for something a bit more authentic. The majority of this book is fairly specialized - and will require quite a few exotic ingredients and special trips to the store. Most likely a special occasion will be needed to try out some of the time-consuming recipes.

The last book is from the magazine - Real Simple, and is called Meals Made Easy. This book has a beautiful, very clean layout with lots of air around the text and a photograph of every single recipe, and a built in bookmark also (bonus!). The instructions are very good and they give estimations on preparation time (hands-on) - and total with cooking. Topics include: One-pot meals, No-shop meals, 30min Meals, No-cook meals, freezer meals, shortcuts, and reliable sides. This book is compiled around FAST and simple tasty meals, and will be very handy for hectic evenings.


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Blast From the Past #33

Mom and I + a ridiculously large pair of underwear=

So this is a blast from the recent past in December 2006. And of course this is at Mike's Merchandise in Guntersville, AL - where else would you find huge boxers that two people could fit in? I'm not sure if the lady in the background was horrified at the fact BOTH of us were trying them on - (one at a time please!) or of my father taking photos of us trying them on while we were all laughing our assive munderwear off!

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