Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pumpkin Leather

I came across the website of the National Center for Home Food Preservation. (Note to readers: If your reaction to that sentence is "Wow! Cool!" or "Old news. I've had that bookmarked for ages," you are as big a dork as I am.)

They have a recipe for Pumpkin Leather, so I'm giving it a try, of course.

Pumpkin Leather

  • 2 cups fresh pumpkin, cooked and pureed
  • (can substitute 2 cans pumpkin)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon powdered cloves
  • Blend ingredients well. Spread on tray
    or cookie sheet lined with plastic wrap. Dry at 140ºF.

    The general directions for making leathers are over at their Fruit Leathers page:

    Preparing the Trays

    For drying in the oven a 13" x 15" cookie pan with edges works well. Line pan with plastic wrap being careful to smooth out wrinkles. Do not use waxed paper or aluminum foil.

    To dry in a dehydrator, specially designed plastic sheets can be purchased or plastic trays can be lined with plastic wrap.

    Pouring the Leather

    Fruit leathers can be poured into a single large sheet (13" X 15") or into several smaller sizes. Spread pureé evenly, about 1/8-inch thick, onto drying tray. Avoid pouring pureé too close to the edge of the cookie sheet. The larger fruit leathers take longer to dry. Approximate drying times are 6 to 8 hours in a dehydrator, up to 18 hours in an oven and 1 to 2 days in the sun.

    Drying the Leather

    Dry fruit leathers at 140ºF. Leather dries from the outside edge toward the center. Test for dryness by touching center of leather; no indentation should be evident. While warm, peel from plastic and roll, allow to cool and rewrap the roll in plastic. Cookie cutters can be used to cut out shapes that children will enjoy. Roll, and wrap in plastic.

    Chances are the fruit leather will not last long enough for storage. If it does, it will keep up to 1 month at room temperature. For storage up to 1 year, place tightly wrapped rolls in the freezer.

    I, in typical fashion, started this project, and put it in the oven before I realized I needed 18 hours in the oven. So I should take it out. . . tomorrow at 1pm. Smack in the middle of the work day. So, uh, I'll be playing this one by ear. But I'll let you know if it works or if I've screwed up completely. I have high hopes.

    When asked to write a 1-page autobiography during an in-class exercise...

    I was born on [my birthday] at either 6:37 or 6:43 am. (My parents disagree.) I would eventually be the oldest of 3 girls. One sister (never referred to as a "younger" sister) is 15 months my junior, and Carreen was born when I was 5.

    I went to 3 years of Catholic school, and it took until high school to stop feeling like "the new kid" after switching to public school for 3rd grade. After graduating [my high school], I went to Georgetown for undergrad.

    My large extended family, few of whom live more than 15 minutes away, were and are a huge part of my formative years (I'm pretty sure the early 20s are still formative years). I'm one of 20 cousins on one side and a paltry 11 on the other. I've often said - and meant it - that I like my relatives more than most people like their friends. (That doesn't mean I don't also fight with my relatives more than most people fight with their enemies.)

    College began what have so far been the happiest years of my life. I made friends of a caliber I'd never had before, and started dating my boyfriend just before graduation, when everything else was perfect, too. (I also study museums.)

    Monday, March 30, 2009

    Pun for the Ages

    I'm not much of a punster, but merely a fan of this form of humor and the inexhaustible humor it offers. Nontheless, I think my kind is being maligned in this NYTimes Op-Ed, but I don't care; it furnishes too many glorious puns in the course of disparaging them:

    I asked a friend of mine, an inveterate punster, whether he punned while on dates. “Sure, I pun on dates,” he replied. “On prunes and figs, too.”

    Check for the rest: Pun for the Ages

    Friday, March 27, 2009

    7 Quick Takes Friday Volume XII

    Click on the graphic for more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary!

    1. I have to point anyone who hasn't seen it to this post over on Faith and Family Live. What a great story! I was going to mention my own "saints work in mysterious ways" experience this week, but the story of how I lost my work ID badge and prayed to St. Anthony but still couldn't find it, but then the security officer at work happened to check (presumably prompted by good St. Anthony) and saw that my new badge had come in and I didn't need the old one anymore, anyway is a much less cool story.
    2. You're going to think this is inane, but sometimes I'm just amazed by the things we know without even realizing that they're things we know. Can you imagine how much more complicated some very simple things would be if you didn't know instinctively which months were designated by which numbers? I think about that all the time.
    3. I looked at some genealogy last night for the first time in weeks, and ended up awake until 2:30 am creating a personalized Google map that mapped my relatives' homes in Brooklyn in the 19th century against the churches that were in Brooklyn based on when they were founded. It was so very exciting!
    4. Lately I've really wished I were a friendlier person. I just admire friendly people so much. There are two women in particular, who I work with, who are just always so nice. They make very pleasant conversation with people they barely know (e.g. ME!) and it's impossible not to come away from an interaction with them feeling good. I wish I were more like that.
    5. Especially since it's Lent (though this is a late start, I know), I feel like I should be doing something worthwhile with at least some of my time. Several weeks ago, after Mass, there was a talk by one of the Little Sisters of the Poor. Sr. Pauline talked about what they do and asked for contributions. Her story of taking care of the elderly was so moving that I was crying and crying in the pew. I donated money, of course, but felt like I should do something more. Tomorrow morning, Rhett and I are going to their volunteer orientation. I'm a little intimidated, but I'm also excited.
    6. Tonight is the 23rd birthday of one of my best friends, and he's having a party. I haven't seen any of my friends in a while - several weeks, at least - so I'm really excited to go out and have fun. I'm also a little scared of the condition I might be in in front of the Little Sisters tomorrow morning at 9:30.
    7. There's a commercial out for Ask.com that asks What's the difference between white eggs and brown eggs? It made me really curious, so I decided to find out. (In proof that advertising isn't always effective, I went instinctively to Google.) According to all the results Google offers, the difference between white eggs and brown eggs is that white eggs are white and brown eggs are brown. What would we do without the internet?

    Thursday, March 26, 2009

    Pumpkin Rice

    Like I said, I'm on the look-out for pumpkin recipes to try with all the many many bags of frozen pumpkin puree that are in my apartment right now. For the most part, "being on the look-out," for me, involves quite a bit of googling. Not having grocery shopped since I got back from spring break, I realized that pretty much my entire options for dinner were pumpkin or rice. Not being a big fan of either on its own, as I expect most people aren't (Never mind that most people do seem to like rice in and of itself. That is something I have never understood), I googled "pumpkin rice" and. . . Voila!

    From Meals Matter, a recipe for Good-For-You Pumpkin Rice by user kittychic2.

    1 cup Brown rice or couscous
    1 tsp Butter
    1 can Low-sodium chicken broth
    1 cup Canned pumpkin
    1/2 tsp Cinnamon
    1/4 tsp Each nutmeg & cloves
    1/4 cup Onion minced

    Precook rice or couscous with butter. Season to taste. After rice cooks, stir in broth, pumpkin and spices and let come to a simmering boil. Reduce heat to low and let cook for 20-30 minutes. Add onion to taste.

    I didn't have cloves or onion, so I just skipped those parts. I'm sure it would be even better if I hadn't, but I wouldn't say they're necessary.

    It's simple, but really quite good - unlike the other top Google results for pumpkin rice, which seems either hugely complicated or not really good dinner material.

    I was planning on having this as my complete dinner, because it was all I had, but Rhett decided to come over for dinner. When I told him I was going to make pumpkin rice, we had this conversation on Gmail:

    Rhett: that sounds....interesting
    me: well then, prepare to be interested

    Not being much of an adventurer in the food area, he proceeded to go to Safeway, buy some chicken, and make us lemon chicken for dinner (although he did say he actually liked the pumpkin rice once he got here!).

    This was a good, easy pumpkin recipe that I may be using more in the future to use of my stock of pumpkin. I've only got another month or two in this apartment, and I may be eating pumpkin for every meal between now and when I have to clean out the fridge to move.


    When I said "tomorrow," I must have meant "next week" or something. I'll get to the anti-highlights of the trip eventually, but first I've got a 6 page paper to write that I put off until the night before it was due. I'm at 4 pages now, and it's only almost 1 am. Not half bad.

    Monday, March 23, 2009

    Why my city is cooler than your city

    Reason #87342 - Giant Fireballs

    A recently received e-mail:

    Subject: Notice on TV filming simulated explosion

    A simulated explosion scheduled for Wednesday, March 25. Please alert those in your school and your school communities that the explosion is simulated.

    Subject: Notice on TV filming event

    For the filming of a TV pilot, there will be a simulated explosion on Wednesday, March 25 between 9:30 a.m. and noon near Key Bridge in the District. The explosion will produce a 20 to 30' fireball that will last for approximately 2 minutes.

    Please pass along this information to others appropriate. The Department of Homeland Security and D.C. Police and Fire departments have been notified, along with the Washington Airports Authority. The Virginia State Patrol and Arlington Police Department will be contacted. If you have additional questions, contact Kathy Hollinger or Burt Warner with the DC Film Office at ###-###-####.

    The explosion will take place on the Potomac River just north of the Key Bridge and Jack's Boathouse (K / Water Street, NW under the Whitehurst Freeway). In the scene to be filmed, there will be six (6) sculling boats on the Potomac River and one of them blows up.

    CBS Paramount television is filming a pilot titled "Washington Field." This is a new television series about the elite Washington field office of the FBI and a team of agents with exceptional and diverse skills who are called together for only the most critical cases.

    Update: Later reports say that this e-mail was a huge exaggeration, and I assume it must have been, or I would have heard at least as much about these fireballs after they happened as I did before they were supposed to happen.

    Spring Break, Part I


    1) The seafood lunch we had at Bill's Seafood Restaurant in Chincoteague, VA. Amazing clam chowder.

    2) I always love an aquarium, so the Virginia Aquarium in Virginia Beach was a LOT of fun. I did not touch the rat they told me to pet, though. I consider touching rodents the kind of thing that happens only accidentally and is forever the kind of story you tell to gross people out. "And this giant rat ran across my foot in Manhattan, and I was wearing flip-flops so it touched me!" not "And it was kind of cute and the handler told us it was okay to pet him..."

    3) Kitty Hawk. I love small museums, and I learned a lot. I'd always thought of the Wright brothers as adventurers, outdoorsmen - I never realized how really freakin' smart they had to be to invent the airplane.

    4) The Rice Museum in Georgetown, SC. Don't laugh. It's cooler than it sounds. It was really interesting to watch, though, how the museum dealt with slavery. As a "museum person," I'd heard plenty about how difficult it is for institutions that are proud about parts of their history to include the fact that those parts of their history involved slavery, but I'd never seen it done. Maybe because I was thinking about it as an "industry insider," it was very obvious to me. I had to point it out to Rhett, though, and I think that's the danger - it can be subtle and insidious endorsements of the institution of slavery that aren't clear to people who aren't looking for it. Still, very cool museum.

    5) Charleston, SC, and the first day we saw the sun.

    6) The utterly delicious dinner we had at Vic's on the River in Savannah. I've wanted to try fried green tomatoes ever since I read Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe. I finally tried them here, as an appetizer, and they were incredible.

    7) The Nats' Spring Training game in Melbourne, FL. It was fun in its own right, but the best part was watching Rhett, who, eyes shining and bouncing in his seat like a ten-year-old, was more excited than I've ever seen him.

    8) A story that Rhett told me about him when he was 6. He'd prefer I stop bringing it up to him and collapsing into uncontrollable laughter, and I'm not allowed to tell other people about it, so I'm pretty sure he wouldn't be okay with my posting it on the internet, but oh. my. goodness. Funniest story I've ever heard.

    9) A story we heard on an episode of This American Life we were listening to on the way home. It's way funnier to hear than to read, and probably much funnier for people who know Italian, but it went like this:

    Skinny white Jewish kid who only speaks a little Italian is studying abroad in
    Florence. Despite now knowing much Italian or anything about football, he agrees
    to help coach Italians playing American football. On his first day, he asks them
    to show him their drills. They line up, and he hears the leader start yelling
    "Die! Jew! Die! Jew!" (Here's where I burst out laughing while Rhett still looks
    befuddled) as they start running in place and dropping to the ground. (What's
    obvious to anyone who's ever played a sport in Italy is that he's actually
    yelling "Dai! Giu! Dai! Giu!" which basically means "Go! Down! Go! Down!")

    10) They say a couple's first vacation alone together is a "test." While I didn't really think this would put our relationship to the test, I definitely at least thought we'd get on each other's nerves and argue some. After all, it's not normal for any people to spend every minute of every day together, which we essentially did. We didn't argue at all (except, actually, the night before we left). Instead, we had great talks and lots of fun, didn't fight, and I came out of it more confident than ever in our relationship.

    11) We're lost in Orlando, trying to find something fun to do when we're not doing Universal or Disney or any of that stuff that's not in our budget. I'm trying to read a map, I come up with bad directions, we make wrong turns and can't turn around. Rhett is clearly very annoyed. He doesn't speak much and is short when he does. When we finally find a mini-golf place and get out of the car, he turns to me and says, "I'm sorry I lost my temper in there for a little while." I start laughing at him. Lost his temper? No dear, what you did was keep your temper, despite being angry. If that's "losing his temper," I'm a very lucky girl indeed.

    12) A St. Patrick's Day party at my cousin's house and then a St. Patrick's Day parade on Sunday when we got back home to NY. Green mimosas, corned beef, devilled eggs, Pipe and Drum bands, local schools, veterans' organizations, etc. Couldn't ask for more.

    Stay tuned for a much shorter list of anti-highlights tomorrow!

    Monday, March 16, 2009

    Potentially THE major difference between pro-choice and pro-life

    I know it's old news, and I don't necessarily think it's worth rehashing, but I was reading again, this morning, about Obama's opposition to the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, and this piece of his testimony jumped out at me as being particularly illuminative of the attitudes involved:

    As I understand it, this puts the burden on the attending physician who has
    determined, since they were performing this procedure that [the abortion], in
    fact, this is a nonviable fetus; that if this fetus, or child — however way you
    want to describe it — is now outside the mother’s womb and the doctor continues
    to think that it’s nonviable but there’s, let’s say, movement or some indication
    that, in fact, they’re not just coming out limp and dead, that, in fact, they
    would then have to call a second physician to monitor and check off and make
    sure that this is not a live child that could be saved. (http://ilga.gov/senate/transcripts/strans92/ST040402.pdf)

    What really struck me about this was that, in his view, the optimal outcome, the hoped-for result, was the baby in question "coming out limp and dead." If that doesn't happen, something's gone wrong, and the question is whether an excess burden on the physician that would help to ensure that the child remained not "limp and dead" was too much to ask.

    There are issue on which I think people who are pro-life and people who are pro-choice can agree, and then there are issues on which I think common ground might be a lost cause.

    Between an unwanted pregnancy and no unwanted pregnancy, I think we'd both prefer no unwanted pregnancy. (The issue of how to ensure that is another matter entirely.)

    Between an unwanted pregnancy where the mother chooses abortion and an unwanted pregnancy where the mother chooses life, I think we'd (mostly) all prefer an unwanted pregnancy where the mother chooses life. (The exception being those who insist that the abortion choice carries no moral weight and that neither option, thus, deserves any preference over the other.)

    Once a mother has chosen abortion, between an abortion procedure that is successful and results in a dead baby and an abortion procedure that is unsuccessful and results in a live baby, I choose the live baby every time. That just seems like self-evident best outcome to me, life instead of death. The more I think about it, though, the more it seems that this would not be the case for people who are pro-choice. As much as they may want to - or at least may pay lip service to wanting to - reduce abortions, the mother's choice is paramount. Once a woman chooses an abortion, a live baby would be in opposition to her choice. Though they may say they want fewer abortions, do they necessarily want fewer dead babies?

    (Apologies for the constant use of the phrase "dead baby" in this post. While accurate, it's also inflammatory and graphic, and something I try to avoid. It was inescapably suggested by the above quote, though.)

    Friday, March 13, 2009

    7 Quick Takes Friday Volume XI

    1. The lifting of the ban on federal funding for stem cell research has been on my mind a lot lately. I just can't wrap my mind around people actually thinking it's OK to use human life like a tool, as a means to an end. Is nothing sacred?
    2. In the same vein, I'm trying to figure out why the general opinion is that cloning for research is A-OK, while cloning for reproduction is morally repugnant. I think they're both morally repugnant, but if I really, really had to choose, I think I'd have to prefer cloning for reproduction - wouldn't you rather create life to let it live than create life to destroy it?
    3. Like I said, I'm leaving tomorrow on vacation. I hope to have internet access sometimes, so I may post occasionally, but don't expect much action over here, especially as I don't have many posts scheduled.
    4. As I was walking down the street this weekend, I overheard two girls talking about how unfair it is that women have a biological clock and men don't. "I mean, a girl has to find a husband, marry him, and have kids between the ages of, like, 28 and 35." I'm sorry, honey, did your bio teacher forget to mention that you can have kids beginning in puberty? I'm not advocating 13 year-olds having kids, but do you really have to chop off the first fifteen years of a woman's fertility?
    5. I've been thinking about how and if one should engage people who are pro-choice. A girl in one of my classes - not a friend, but a friendly acquaintance - regularly wears a pin like this one:

    Its meaning is obvious. The issue itself, though, hasn't come up. If it did, of course I'd defend life, but do I have an obligation to bring it up anyway, when someone's wearing a pin like that? And even if it weren't an absolute moral obligation, should I do so anyway?
    6. I've been thinking a lot about NASA lately. Theoretically, I find space so interesting. When I was little, I wanted to be an astronomer when I grew up, and I got a telescope for my 8th birthday. I always loved learning about planets and stars. And yet. . . large parts of me can't stop from going, "But it's SO expensive!" We spend so much money in space - it's inherently expensive, obviously - and what's the point, really? It's essentially knowledge for knowledge's sake, and I want that to be reason enough, but I can't decide whether it is.
    7. It was snowing when I left the house this morning. Snowing. I'm leaving for spring break in the morning. I thought I'd be packing shorts. Maybe not?

    Thursday, March 12, 2009

    Road Trip!

    My spring break from school is next week, and, having decided to take the cheapest spring break trip possible, we're leaving Saturday, road-tripping to Florida to see a Spring Training game, and then heading back up North to make it to NY in time for a family party I'd like to make it to the following Saturday. Our planning, apparently, is very last-minute, and so our iternerary is not yet complete. Does anyone know any must-see (or even sort of cool) things to see or do between Washington, DC and somewhere in Florida? We have a couple major things planned out - Virginia Beach, Kitty Hawk, Savannah - but want to see all the interesting little "world's largest ball of string"-type attractions on the road, too.

    Any ideas?

    How many popes do you know?

    Rhett and I and some of our friends have been addicted to www.sporcle.com lately. It asks you to race against the clock to list things - Beatrix Potter tales, NBA teams, first ladies' names, Asian countries, Angelina Jolie movies. I thought that this one was particularly interesting, and particularly challenging - How many popes can you name? I got about 100 (of course, almost a quarter of those were Johns), but I missed some easy ones. You need to include the pertinent Roman numeral, too - so John I, John II, John III, etc. (I used C&P for the Johns so I only had to type the numerals. Is that cheating?)


    Most of the other religion games are a little boring (Can you complete the Hail Mary? Can you complete the Lord's Prayer?) but there are lots of cool games. Political uber-nerds like Rhett can even try to list US Senators by state, and people who know pop culture can list name who played James Bond in which Bond film. (I skipped both of those.)

    Wednesday, March 11, 2009

    A big 24 hours for Abe Lincoln

    Check out these two CNN stories on Lincoln artifacts discovered over the past day or so:

    Pumpkin Bars

    Yesterday afternoon, Tuesdays being my day off, I made pumpkin bars from the recipe that Maria left me in the comments on my first crock pot post. (I had asked for them when she mentioned them on Faith and Family.) They were so amazing that I simply have to repost the recipe.

    Pumpkin Bars
    3/4 cup flour
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    2 eggs
    1 cup brown sugar
    2/3 cup canned pumpkin
    1/4 cup cooking oil 1/2 cup nuts (optional)

    Mix dry ingredients. Beat eggs, add sugar, then oil; add dry ingredients
    with pumpkin and nuts. Pour in 9x9x2-inch greased baking pan. Bake at 350
    degrees for 30 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Remove from pan and frost, if

    I didn't have a 9x9 pan, so I put mine in one that was more like 5x6. (Do pans that size even exist?) Mine were much thicker, I'm sure, than Maria's are, and had to bake for more like 40-45 minutes. I think I'd try to go with the larger pan in the future, as these go very quickly (and, um, I'm the only one eating them), so it'd be nice to be able to make them stretch/control myself more easily. I highly recommend these.

    Maria said that she had added oatmeal and chocolate chips on top, which sound good, but having given up chocolate for Lent, I went with the basic recipe. I tried to add nuts, but failed at doing so. (After crushing some walnuts, I left them on the other side of the counter and didn't realize I'd forgotten them until I was cleaning up. Then I tried to figure out what to do with them. Did you ever try to snack on crushed walnuts with your fingers while watching tv? I recommend a spoon.)

    I also made a pumpkin soup last night, but I don't have the recipe right now to post it. Does anyone else have any good pumpkin recipes? I have a ton of pumpkin puree in the freezer, and I'm looking for things to do with it!


    I came across this blog about Synchronicity. It's kind of New Age-y for me, perhaps, but a good opening for one of the coolest coincidences I've experienced.

    A few months ago - it was Homecoming, I think, so in September or October - a number of friends and I were meeting for dinner in Georgetown. As Rhett and I sat on the bus, me crocheting (I was still working on the baby blanket then), the bus made a stop and four of my friends got on. They thought it was a moderately cool coincidence - until Rhett and I explained that we hadn't gotten on the bus together. With no more plans than to meet at a certain restaurant at a certain time, I'd gotten on the bus near my house. As it passed Rhett's apartment, he got on. And several stops later, the rest of my friends got on.

    I think having watched everyone get on in succession left me much more impressed than everyone else. Plus, I'm easily amused.

    Tuesday, March 10, 2009


    The most difficult thing, for me, about the recent change in regulations regarding embryonic stem cell research is the public reaction.

    If you check out the comments on various media stories that came out yesterday, they're overwhelmingly along the lines of "Finally! Now science can move forward!"


    It very much disturbs me that most people don't even see how this could possibly be a problem, how it could be anything but a good thing.

    I never thought I'd see the day when I wouldn't want science to move forward, but when scientific progress becomes synonymous with "killing innocents," I become very skeptical about science.

    All of the sudden (or maybe not so suddenly. . .) human beings are viewed as tools, as a means to an end rather than goods in themselves.

    And don't try to tell me they're not human. If they're not human, let's just sidestep the ethical quandary by using guinea pig embryos, why don't we? Try to object to that without insisting that the embryos have to be human for stem-cell research to work.

    Necessarily lethal medical experimentation on subjects who can't consent. People as a means to an end. Killing the innocent. Who thinks this is okay?

    Monday, March 9, 2009

    Obama's Remarks on Embryonic Stem Cell Research

    In which we learn that the best way to "restore scientific integrity to government decision making" is to allow government funding of medical research on subjects who lack the ability to consent.

    As if we weren't already 3/4 of the way down the slippery slope

    Even the NY Times can see that government funding of embryonic stem-cell research will lead to the wanton creation and destruction of human life at the whims of mere mortals:

    Obama is Leaving Some Stem Cell Issues to Congress

    If you're going to claim that creating, experimenting on, and destroying embryos is "controversial and fraught with ethical implications," how can you not realize that the destruction of embryos for stem cells for research, is, you know, "controversial and fraught with ethical implications"? (Not to mention just plain wrong.)

    Pic from the New York Times

    Hehe. Is it juvenile that I find this endlessly amusing?

    Friday, March 6, 2009

    7 Quick Takes Friday Volume X

    1. I've been thinking about getting my tonsils out. I wish I knew what the indicators were for needing your tonsils out. Is getting lots of sore throats enough? Because that's exactly what I've got. They're usually just part of a cold, but they're the first symptom I get, and they outlast the rest of the cold by weeks. I'll get over a cold, and feel completely fine and healthy, except for a lingering sore throat that won't go away. I got over my last cold weeks ago, but the sore throat only went away last week - and now I've got a whole new cold, complete with new sore throat. I felt so icky Tuesday morning, when this came on, that I skipped class and sat on the couch in my PJs all day.
    2. On that note, am I the only one who likes crunchy foods when I have a sore throat? Chips, crackers, cookies, granola bars. The last thing I want when my throat hurts is what seems to be expected - yogurt, applesauce, ice cream. I'm wishing the only tortilla chips in my apartment didn't belong to my roommates, because I'd be eating them by the handful (instead of sneaking one or two at a time throughout the day, that is).
    3. And on that note, I love the theory of feeding a cold and starving a fever. Totally gives me license to eat what I want. (Shouldn't, but does.) Especially because, when I have a cold, I feel like eating a lot (see #2). And since I came across this article, I figure that's just my body telling me to do what's best for me. Bodies love to do that.
    4. So, I wrote my first three quick takes when I was sitting at home on Tuesday, miserable in the throes of a beginning of a terrible cold. I usually don't call in sick to work or class, but after skipping class Tuesday, I got up early to e-mail my boss that I wasn't coming in Wednesday, too. Then I went back to sleep for another 5 hours. When I woke up - still a little congested - I felt a million times better. You mean it might be better to take a break and recover than to forge bravely on ahead as if I weren't sick at all? On the other hand, it could be attributed to feeding my cold with cookies throughout the afternoon.
    5. This Quick Take was almost a link to my cousin's music. She's and up-and-coming singer-songerwriter, and she's awesome. (That's not just bias speaking, everyone I know who's heard her thinks the same.) She was even on the radio recently. But then I chickened out, because I'm not sure I want the people I know in real life getting wind of this blogging thing until I'm a little more comfortable in my skin, at least. Best not to have any connections to the real world at first.
    6. My crock pot meal was a great success. I love this thing.
    7. A thought that I can't get rid of lately: Why can I accept on faith so easily something as literally incredible as bread and wine becoming Flesh and Blood at Mass, and yet have such trouble with something as conventional as sex being for marriage?

    Thursday, March 5, 2009

    "I love you, too, snookems"

    Rhett and I celebrated our first anniversary last Tuesday. Monday night, as midnight rolled around, he composed a text message to me that read, "We shared our first kiss exactly a year ago. I love you, Scarlett."

    Note that I said he composed a text message to me. I didn't say that he sent a text message to me.

    The response he got, from a friend we'll call Paul: "Thank you, Rhett, but I'm afraid no such thing happened. I love u too snookems."

    It's been a week. I'm still laughing

    Wednesday, March 4, 2009

    Anti-War Protests at Church

    An article from my home-town paper about a group who's protesting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by showing up at churches on Sunday morning, during services, and holding banners - not outside, but inside the church - with anti-war messages.

    Anti-war protesters take cause to churches

    I have nothing against anti-war protests - I might even agree with them; the war's one of those issues where I'm not sure where I stand - but this is absurd, not to mention rude. They say they've "visited" Protestant, Catholic, and Unitarian churches, but no synagogues or African-American churches.

    I wonder how either of my churches would react if something similar happened. I think the ideal would be to ignore them completely, having them quietly escorted out if there are ushers available, but I can't help but assume that they would cause a major distraction, pull everyone's focus away from the Mass, and make it hard to regain concentration, even after they'd left.

    Here's a blog post, from the newspaper's religion blog, discussing whether their tactics are even legal.

    Tuesday, March 3, 2009

    Might Makes Right

    I think this is a really good post by Mary Jo Anderson. This is my favorite quote from it:
    In "freedom of choice," the baby has no choice; thus, the procedure is simply a
    "might makes right" move against an innocent being.

    If we can do it, there's no reason we shouldn't do it, right? Right? Oh no, wait. That "logic" is completely immoral. I also like the "Choose what?" response she discusses. Check it out over at Inside Catholic!

    Monday, March 2, 2009

    Crock Pot! Woo Hoo!

    Saturday night, Rhett and I were at a friend's and she was telling us how much she loved her crock pot. Another friend joined in with praises, and by the next afternoon, Rhett and I had gone out and each gotten ourselves a crock pot. (This is the one I got.) He bought a slow cooker cook book, too, but I thought it was too expensive, so while he's been cooking away, I've been endlessly searching the internet for recipes that utilize ingredients I already have in the house. (Hint: in the future, go shopping the day after finding lots of recipes to try, not the day before.) My cooking style tends to be pretty simple, so the ingredients I have in the house are, too. The first recipe I'm going to try, tomorrow, came from About.com and is reproduced below:

    Italian seasoned chicken with potatoes, cooked in the slow cooker.

    Cook Time: 7 hours


    • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
    • 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
    • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (or mix basil, oregano, crushed red pepper, and garlic powder to equal same)
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
    • 4 to 6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges or thick slices


    Place chicken in bottom of Crock Pot. Sprinkle with half of the Italian dressing, spices, and the grated cheese. Put the potatoes on top or around the chicken. Sprinkle with the rest of the dressing, spices, and cheese.

    Cook on low for about 6-8 hours, or until the chicken is done and potatoes are tender.
    Shared by Ness - www.thriftyfun.com

    Chicken, potatoes, Italian dressing, basil, hot pepper, garlic powder, grated cheese - I've got all that! I'll let you know how it goes.

    I'm dying to try a pumpkin soup. Several months ago, when I had an uncut Halloween pumpkin just begging to be used, I cut it up, cooked it, pureed it, and froze it. I couldn't let it all go to waste. It is now waiting in my freezer for me to figure out how to cook with pumpkin. My throat is bothering me a little, too, so soup sounds perfect, but they all call for milk! I don't drink milk, and whenever I buy it, it goes bad, so I don't keep it in the house. (I thought my roommate usually did, but she doesn't seem to have any now for me to, um, "borrow.") As soon as I can get some milk, I'm going to make me some pumpkin soup!

    I ordered a slow cooker cookbook on amazon, too - cheaper than the one Rhett bought! - so once that gets here, I'll have lots more things to try. As it stands, I'm super-excited about crock-pot cooking, anyway!