Monday, July 25, 2011

Now is that kind of time.

Happiness and joy to you. Much is afoot. Now is the preparing time, the waiting time. Let's just say that the past weeks have not been blog-friendly. Yes, I am sleeping again. Yes, there is too much to do to fit into a day. On days like this, I search my music program for "baroque," hit shuffle, and play.

So let's try it on YouTube.

Trevor Pinnock - Ramcau, La Villageoise

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Only three hours of sleep last night.

Mannaggia la miseria.

The Dandy Warhols - Sleep

Saturday, July 09, 2011


I have had the worst insomnia for the last two weeks - basically since the start of the summer class I am teaching. It seems that the only time my body wants to sleep is from 6-11 a.m. - precisely when I need to be moving on teaching days. Apart from about two nights in the last two weeks when I think exhaustion drove me to sleep earlier, I can fall into a light sleep from about 3-6, but real restful sleep seems only available in the mornings. Hooray, then, that today is Saturday and I slept in until eleven. I feel more alert than I've felt in days.

Yes, I am a nightowl, but this is rediculous.

So I haven't been ignoring the blog, I just haven't been able to concentrate enough to put anything coherent together.

This summer, I was supposed to be reading Paradise Lost with Amilynne. She waited for two months to read it with me. Summer finally started and I gave her the go - and I got to page 2. She texted me the other day that she has finished it. I just told her that it wasn't happening for me. So last night I looked around the book shelves with free eyes - for the first time in 2 1/2 years, I am letting myself choose a book I really want to read, not something related to work (although I have read some fabulous books for work in the last couple of years). I decided on Il barone rampante by Italo Calvino - a book I have tried to start about four or five times and failed - and last night it was like the story reached out and took me in. The description of a sister who cooks every strange animal of the forest into really sadistic presentations for her family, and of the two little brothers who desperately plot to set a barrel of snails free had me - I was retching at the descriptions of her past presentations of snails.

The book has been translated into English as The Baron in the Trees and is available on Amazon. If you order it and start reading it right away, don't tell me the ending - I'm not the fastest reader in Italian, but I'm getting much better.

Italo Calvino is one of my favorite writers - If On a Winter's Night a Traveler is one of my all-time favorite books. His books take the normal to a point of absurtidy - the whole time you're reading, you're thinking "Is this really what's happening?" and it really is.

Here's a song that sounds like insomnia to me.

DM Stith - Easy to be Around (Diane Cluck cover)

Thursday, July 07, 2011


I'm feeling them from my walk this evening. I feel kind of "yay" and that is good.

In general, summer is "yay"-making, and right now that is definitely how I feel.

Tonight's walk took my most awesome take-a-walk-motivating friend and me around an island in the middle of the river. And it was the perfect time of evening: the sun was about the right height in the sky to still be daytime but it had lost the worst heat of the day, the water was blue, the swimmers were out on the rocks. Looking at it for a while, I thought how I would like to take a sketchbook there and do some drawing; maybe I will sometime.

Time to schedule another beach trip.

Summer is the best.

Janis Joplin - Summertime

Sunday, July 03, 2011

3 am Bonus Track

OH! I just found the most wonderful, lovely, lovely, lovely thing. Oi. Who would have ever thought this song would make you want to jump up and dance your feet off? And yet it SO works.

Mumford & Sons - England (cover of song by The National)

Summer Dessert Recipes

This afternoon I went to the grocery store to pick up some ingredients for desserts for a 4th of July cook out. I had a box of graham cracker crumbs in my basket and midway down the dairy aisle a lady stopped me because she had a recipe that used graham crackers, and was what I had the same thing as what she needed? I was a little surprised when she started digging into her wallet and pulled out a folded up recipe - for Chocolate Eclair Cake. Oh! My enthusiasm for it must have been evident, as soon we were walking the aisles together to find what she would need to make it.

This seems like one of those recipes that belongs so firmly back home, but here it was, and I guess that in the age of the Internet, there is no recipe that will not travel.

Do I dare say I enjoy talking with other people at the grocery store? Please don't take me for a loon, but the one place in this world where I can shoot the breeze is waiting in the checkout line. Don't ask me why; I am at ease there in a way I will never be at a party. Maybe because we all know we'll be out of there in five or ten minutes. Maybe because food is interesting and that's the topic at hand at the grocery store.

So, what am I up cooking tonight? A Junior Mints Cheesecake. They had the recipe on the box years ago, and it is a winner. You will like it for sure. Here's the recipe.

Junior Mints Cheesecake

6 oz. Junior Mints (4 - 1.6 oz. boxes)
3 pkgs (8 oz. ea.) cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
Graham cracker or chocolate crumb crust for a 9" springform pan*

1. Place Junior Mints in freezer
2. Preheat oven to 350F. With electric mixer or in food processor, combine cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Pour into crust.
3. Chop cold Junior Mints and sprinkle onto cheesecake.
4. Bake 40 to 45 min. or until just set. Cool on wire rack, then chill several hours or overnight. Makes about 8 servings.

*NOTE: for crust, combine 2 cups crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar, and six tablespoons melted butter or margarine. Press into bottom and - if there is enough - up sides of pan.

Delicious. Tonight, just for fun, I also scooped out the guts of a vanilla bean and threw them in with the vanilla extract. Somehow I don't think I did wrong. It smells pretty good in the oven. Of course, I'm baking this at 1:30 a.m. because even with an air conditioner, who wants to bake during the day in the summer?

Well. I should run - I've got dishes to do and a lesson to finish prepping for church tomorrow. Would you like a song? The National has fallen off the front page again, so here is something from them.

The National - The Geese of Beverly Road