Thursday, October 29, 2009

Culinary Adventures

Creativity in the kitchen waxes and wanes in this apartment. Of late I've been pushing myself to lessen my grocery store trips (Meijer is a mere three minutes away and therefore so very easy to "pop in") and really think outside the box with what I have on hands. As well as use freezer and pantry items. I'm down to being pretty desperate to grocery shop--tomorrow's endeavor--but still needed to pack a lunch for Jeremy today. While he was at a meeting this morning I quickly threw together a chicken soup using just about everything left in my crisper drawer (mushrooms, kale, chopped onion, garlic) along with two kinds of leftover rice, broth and chicken from cooking up earlier in the week. Jeremy's not such a big fan of soup, but because I love them so much I certainly keep trying and I focus on making them thick.

New recipes I've tried this week include:
Green Soup (from Love Soup by Anna Thomas)
Pumpkin Spice Lattes (in the crockpot)
Lettuce Wraps (also in the crockpot)
Mushroom Broccoli Risotto (in the rice cooker)

And cooking right now are:
Butternut Squash Soup
Gingerbread Latte (in the crockpot)

Every Friday night Jeremy and I have a small group with church and it starts off with a pitch-in. Tomorrow, since I'm still trying to cook from what I have, I think I'll bring black beans and rice.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I never imagined myself working extensively with the public via customer service. But, ever since graduating college, that seems to be what I've been doing. Such jobs are draining, sometimes rewarding, and always full of people encounters (which in my humble opinion is what makes the stories of life).

There is a man who comes into my library about once a week. A few of my co-workers refer to him as Mr. Frenchy. They know he's married with kids, but something about his French accent and his speaking French to his kids, makes these co-workers get a little weak in the knees (I only work with women, so you know...this happens, I guess). I'm not one them, but I get a small sigh of satisfaction when I get to help Mr. Frenchy and his kids at the circulation desk, because I know my co-workers are just a little bit jealous that I get to talk to him. (Oh, that's such a girl fault, isn't it?)

Last week as I was working my usual Thursday night, Mr. Frenchy arrives with his kiddos (two boys and a girl). The oldest boy--perhaps six or so--comes up to me at the desk and holds out a grubby, gray and white bird feather. "This is for a librarian," he says as he hands it me. My mind fights away the pictures of germs and imaginings of where this feather has been as I smile hugely and say, "It is? Where did you get it." He's very pleased and his French accented English is very cute, "At my house." I thank him, holding the feather as loosely as possible without dropping it. Mr. Frenchy smiles at his son and says, "Oh, I didn't know this was for a librarian. Tell her she must treasure it always." The boy says, "You must treasure it always." Mr. Frenchy looks at me and says, "No pressure, right?" I smile, still holding this feather, all those germs held in my hand! Little boy looks intently at the feather as they start to walk past, "Where are you going to put it?" I'm wanting to toss it in the trash can so badly, but I say, "I'm putting right here on the counter." They leave me to go into the children's room and I lay the feather carefully on a tissue and sanitize my hands. I know I can't throw this treasure away until they've left the library. What if the little boy asks for it back or asks to see it before they leave?

About a half an hour later, they come to the circulation desk to check out. I scan Mr. Frenchy's card and check out the DVDs. "Do you want to pay your $4 fine tonight?" He says, "How about the feather for the fine?" I laugh a little, "I'd love to, but I just don't think my manager would go for that." He half-smiles and rephrases the question as he gets out a $20 bill from his wallet and hands it to the smiling curly-haired daughter perched on the counter. I say again, that unfortunately we can't barter over fines. Little girl hands me the money and Mr. Frenchy says, "No more feathers for you." We both laugh and he and his kiddos leave to go home.

I toss the feather away and try to imagine what I'll tell little boy if he asks after the feather next time they are in--kids just don't forget those sorts of treasures.


I've been having trouble keeping up here. And for that I apologize to my few readers. It makes your trips here unexciting and I imagine increasingly infrequent. Every time I suggest that I'll do better, I don't. So, I'll try not to continue with vain promises and just say, I'll write here, I promise. But I can't say how often. Several time recently I've thought, oh, I'll write about that on my blog later and when later comes, I forget.

I need to collect small bits of interesting from throughout my day. I need to catch small bits of conversation from passersby. I need to notice more around me like I used to. And I need to enjoy those curious noticings by sharing them here, because such observations are usually enjoyed more in company. So, I ask for patience and in return, I'll open my eyes a little more and tell you about what I see.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


So, camping wasn't as successful as we hoped. But, you live and learn, right?

I had a delightfully crazy, but wonderful supper with my sisters last Wednesday.

Thursday my friend Kim (we went to college together and now live 40 minutes apart) came over for a few hours.

Friday night my friend Maggie, who I hadn't seen in over a year, unexpectedly came for an overnight visit.

Yesterday I saw my sister and nephews for a few hours. They're staying in a state park nearby. I plan to see more of them tomorrow and Thursday.

So, I know I haven't been updating, but that's an in-brief of my last week. Much busier with people than normal.

Have a great Tuesday!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Wish us luck!

Jeremy and I are off for a few days of camping. It should be an adventure as I'm the experienced camper and Jeremy's gone once. Also, the weather isn't going to be too warm. :) I'm thinking lots of fires with cocoa and coffee. Hopefully it will be a restful time away from busyness that is everyday life.
Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Recently added to my vocabulary...

Literary sub-genres:
Steampunk (
New Weird (

Check out the links and let me know what you think.
Steampunk particularly came to my attention two or three times in the last week and I'd never heard it before. Scott Westerfeld, a popular YA writer, just published Leviathan which is considered a Steampunk book. It's alternative history with steam technology set at the beginning of WW1. Kind of intriguing, huh?

Monday, October 5, 2009

It's October!

I love October! I think I always have.
After the decidedly cool summer, I was excited for fall. I'm slightly concerned that the weather will decide to skip fall and jump right into late-November/wintry weather. Please let me be wrong!
With the coming of fall, all I want to eat is soup and bread. Unfortunately, my husband isn't terribly fond of either. Still, I'm the cook, so I slip them in. It's just a necessity. Last week I made chili, potato soup, and white beans with rosemary and garlic. When Friday rolled around I hadn't been to the grocery for awhile and I just wanted to cook from my pantry, thus the beans (J likes beans, but not really bean soup, but I keep trying!). We both thought the bean soup was surprisingly delicious.

This is the recipe which I took from Alice Water's The Art of Simple Food:
Soak 2 c. navy beans in 4 c. water overnight
Drain and cook covered in water until tender (1 1/2 hr or so)
Add salt to taste
Heat 1/4 c. olive oil in skillet
Add roughly chopped garlic and rosemary (I added crushed red pepper flakes as well) and cook briefly until tender
Add to beans and heat through allowing flavors to marry.

The regular cornbread I made last week to accompany the chili was a hit so, I have plans to try an amalgam recipe for pumpkin cornbread this week.

In the vein of food, and also of reading because I must mention something about that, last week I finished Confections of a Closet Master Baker, which was just okay in my books. The amazon reviews were very positive, so I'm not sure what my problem was. Maybe the layout of the chapters which were intended to follow her daily routine, but seemed to jump around a lot? I don't know. The author, Gesine Bullock-Prado, (the sister of Sandra Bullock) tells her story of leaving Hollywood life for her own bakery in Vermont. However, each chapter ended with a recipe--deliciously sweet recipes to be exact--and I've kept the book around to copy down a couple Jeremy-friendly recipes before I return it to the library.

I hope you all are enjoying the early days of October!
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