debgeisler: (headshot2)
Every family has a few recipes they cling to, either out of wistful remembrance of childhood events (as our family does to the making and creative frosting of gingerbread creatures) or because they are just damned wonderful (see the family recipe for sweet rolls) or because they are old or new recipes that we've shared around at holidays and are perfect for special occasions.

One of the holiday comfort foods from our youth is what our family has always called "Scrabble." The rest of the world knows this food as "Chex Mix," but the recipe we use is different. The name was either a marketing ploy jointly by General Mills and Selchow and Righter (the name goes back to the 60s at least), or it was a family sobriquet granted because vats of this stuff could be consumed during game play. (We were always a family of wordsmiths.)

The secret to our version of this food is probably the peanut oil - and that was also the subject of my sister-in-law Denise's email yesterday: how did I spice my batch, and were there alternatives to the peanut oil? One of my nieces is violently allergic to peanuts. My brother found out how violent that allergy was when he'd been eating Scrabble, touched my niece's face, and a few minutes later she had a welt in the shape of his hand on her jaw.

I know that some more modern versions of this snack mix involve butter, but here's our original version. )

The second recipe that is a special one is new - it is what my sister Lib's family calls, simply, "The Sauce." This is a rich, flavorful port & wine reduction that is just positively yummy on good beef. (We're cooking a tenderloin roast tomorrow, and we will use this liberally on it.) It is also good, apparently, on damned near anything.

Several years ago, Mike and I made "ultimate hash" when we had a bunch of tenderloin left over after a party. Add some boiled potatoes, carrots, onions, all minced fine. Then bind together with "The Sauce," and you have a roast beef hash that people might well offer lotttts of favors to try.

And here's Lib's recipe: )

Right now, my house smells very wine-y and pepper-y...doesn't smell like Scrabble, 'cuz I made that yesterday.

Have a tasty New Year!
debgeisler: (headshot2), fun, laughter, good food, and we are forced at least once a year to clean the silver.

debgeisler: (headshot2) getting home.

The trip was farking unbelievable - given all of the possibilities of snow, sleet, freezing drizzle, and generalized ick in 700 miles in the northeastern US, we hit roughly 10 minutes of sleet near Erie, Pennsylvania...and nothing else. Really. Nothing else. There was *sunshine and no snow* at Syracuse, New York. This is nearly unheard of in the winter. Hell, not having snow in Syracuse is almost unheard of in the *summer*!

Aside from some lunatics trying to kill me outside of Albany and at the junction with I-495 in Massachusetts, the driving was fine. Mike and I listened to a lot of good music, chatted amiably, ate fast food (inevitable, when you're going to travel on Christmas Day), and whined in tandem that the BMW's seats are just not cut out for our butts being in them for 11 hours at a stretch.

We started the day with a visit to my brother in the hospital (a damned lousy place to be through Christmas), which took only a 10 mile detour or so. (And Su? If you're reading this and haven't already been cued in, feel free to call my cell.) I've got my fingers and toes crossed that they fix him up very, very soon. (A diagnosis will help.) He's missed all of the Christmas celebrations, and that just sucketh mightily when you've got two cute young daughters (and a wicked spiffy wife).

Tonight? Sleep in own bed. Yippee!

Own coffee in the morning...laundry...and groceries before the storm hits tomorrow night. Hah! Beat the storm!

Hope your day has been joyous and productive and filled with love.
debgeisler: (Default)
May the day bring you joy and peace and bits of childlike laughter.
debgeisler: (Default)
...but two pieces of spam from you in one day has ensured I will never buy your vapid women-as-objects art...or any other project of yours, including art books.

Now go away, or I shall taunt you again.

P.S. If I find out where you got my email address (and I suspect I know), I will never again do business with that person or group.
debgeisler: (headshot2)
...sitting on the couch with my best guy.

"If mom was going to paint the walls, why didn't she straighten the paintings?"

Mike: "She doesn't have a level."

"Neither do"

Mike: "Got an iPhone."

"Nah sir. There isn't an app for that!"

Mike: "Betcha."

(A few minutes go by while Mike finds an app. Meanwhile, I run a search on this iPad.)

"There's an app called 'Plumb Bob 5th'! Plumb bob! For the iPad! Are you really downloading the level app?"

Mike: "Done, now."

(Several minutes go by, with one iPhone falls off a painting.)

Mike: "Happy, now?"

(I look at the cluster of three paintings in their tidy glory.)

"Yes, thank you."


Plumb bob...for iPod, Pad, and phone. The future is a strange place, my friends.
debgeisler: (headshot2)
Were the Mayans specific?

'Cuz I need to know when to reserve a table for dinner.

And then tha alien colonization starts tomorrow, according to the it'll be damned near impossible to get a good table.
debgeisler: (headshot2)
The Orleans Parish, Louisiana board of education last night passed a resolution that read, in part,
No history textbook shall be approved which has been adjusted in accordance with the State of Texas revisionist guidelines nor shall any science textbook be approved which presents creationism or intelligent design as science or scientific theories.
This flies in the face of recent actions by Louisiana's governor, Bobby Jindal, whose pet voucher program (giving voucher credit for students to attend private schools teaching creationism) has been under fire for quite a while.

Further, adds the Orleans Parish School Board,
No teacher of any discipline of science shall teach any aspect of religious faith as science or in a science class. No teacher of any discipline of science shall teach creationism or intelligent design in classes designated as science classes.
Perhaps if conservative groups stopped aligning themselves with religious idiots who fight scientific discovery every step of the way, more scientists might be conservative in leaning. As it is, a 2009 PEW study showed that only 6% of scientists surveyed self-identify as Republicans. Most of the rest of us (either natural or human scientists) cannot reconcile the current Republican party with scientific rigor or sensibility.

Humans riding dinosaurs in the name of Christian ideology? I don't think so. Keep your faith - whatever faith that is - out of our science classrooms.
debgeisler: (headshot2)
I've been making these sweet rolls...they're rising now. )

The recipe for the dough is online from when I was a GoH at Minicon in 2004. The first one is a batch of cinnamon pull-apart rolls; the second are pinwheels, half filled with cinnamon and the other half with cinnamon and raisins. The latter will also get slathered with frosting once they're baked and cooled.

Cookies later. And a putanesca sauce for pasta for dinner.

:-) House already smells good. Once this all starts baking? Freaking amazing!
debgeisler: (headshot2)
...there was a guy biking along Cambridge Street yesterday wearing a bike helmet with a pigeon on top of it? I thought it might be a real pigeon, but no bird would have sat still for the bumping that bike took.
debgeisler: (headshot2)
Via CNN.

Charlotte, 6; Daniel, 7; Rachel Davino, 29; Olivia, 6; Josephine, 7; Ana, 6; Dylan, 6; Dawn Hocksprung, 47; Madeleine, 6; Catherine, 6; Chase, 7; Jesse, 6; James, 6; Grace, 7; Anne Marie Murphy, 52; Emilie Parker, 6; Jack, 6; Noah, 6; Caroline, 6; Jessica, 6; Avielle, 6; Lauren Russeau, 30; Mary Sherlach, 56; Victoria Soto, 27; Benjamin, 6; Allison, 6.
debgeisler: (headshot2)
Slate posted a picture of some poor sucker's Facebook page claiming it belonged to the killer of kids. Eventually, the poor sucker, who shared a name with the elder brother of the killer, posted from a bus on the way home, saying he was alive and hadn't shot anyone. (I'd post the link, but Slate has apparently deleted it, because they don't like people to know they are fuckwits.)

Several different sources - allegedly professional news outlets (one I saw was Houston's Fox News station) - tweeted links to a Twitter account that was clearly the killer (still the name of the actual killer's elder brother), since he was posting stuff about being distressed. He started yesterday with 30 or so connections...he's now being followed by more than 5,000 lurkers.

Among the things that were incorrectly reported yesterday about this horrible event:
  • The killer did not kill his father first. His father and mother were divorced, and his father lived in another state. The killer killed his mother first.

  • The killer did not kill his mother in her classroom. His mother did not teach at that school. His mother has never taught at that school, not even as a substitute teacher, notes The New York Times.

  • See above, where the killer's elder brother's name was incorrectly released as the killer.

  • Reports yesterday claimed that everyone had been shot with handguns. The medical examiner today noted that rifle fire killed every victim. A semi-automatic rifle was found near the killer's body.

    And blah, blah, blah.

    Instant gratification? Screw that.

    Get it right, or don't report it.
  • debgeisler: (headshot2) taking a break from grading finals, and sitting here, while rather helpless tears roll down, reading of the horror which is Newtown, Connecticut. Where a 20 year old man started his day by killing his father, then went to the elementary school where his mother taught and killed her.

    And, in the process, he killed at least 18 children, we are told, with a total death toll currently being reported as upwards of 30.

    Today, I am glad there is no one in my classrooms and that the hallways are abandoned. Today would not be a good day to see my students.

    Far better to imagine them packing up and getting ready for a holiday.
    debgeisler: (headshot2)
    ...that I don't get paid enough for this job.
    debgeisler: (headshot2)
    ...human beings saw this live on location for the last time:


    Let's go back.
    debgeisler: (headshot2)
    Today is 12/12/12...take a good look. We won't have this sort of day/month/year (or, in the US, month/day/year) combo for a while.


    And now, nine days before the Mayan end-o'-calendar, on 21/12/12 (or, in the US, 12/21/12...which is rather more elegantly patterned).

    Also whoop!

    Hope this finds you well, no matter what date floats your boat.
    debgeisler: (headshot2)
    To the gentleman who waited on us at lunch: Yes, I like that you were eager to help. But do not bring us refills for salsa or drinks without asking - we did not want more of either, and we hate to waste food. I'd rather you stopped by and asked than that you dropped refills we did not want. Perhaps this is how the restaurant trains its employees...if so, they should stop. There are too many hungry people in the world for me to ever feel good about wasting food, even salsa and lemonade.

    Your grade: B+

    To the woman who waited on me at the clothing store: Smile. It won't crack your face. Be pleasant, even if some of the other customers were not. Explain that you are told by the store to ask me for my telephone number - "Phone number?" is not a good conversation starter. When you think you've found me in your system, do not then read out my address in a voice that could be heard halfway across the store. And really? I'm pretty sure you could have had that conversation with your co-worker after you finished waiting on me. There wasn't anything of urgency in it, but there was something of rudeness in it.

    Your grade: C-

    To the gentleman who took care of us at the grocery store: You are an absolute dear. Your bagger is likewise. Don't change a thing, and turn that smile on all of the sourpusses in line. They won't be sourpusses any more. (And the seafood guy who got me the shrimp? Also a wicked nice grin. Don't stop!)

    Your grade: A
    debgeisler: (headshot2)
    ...depends on who you ask. Hurricane Sandy was responsible for a a lot of damage, but I can't think of a scarier place to be in such a storm than in a tall ship at sea.

    Right now, we're watching the story of the HMS Bounty sinking and rescue (recorded from the Weather Channel this evening)...and, sitting on the couch watching it with us is Doug Faunt, one of the survivors. Really? It doesn't get any more fascinating. He's having us stop it occasionally to point things out or give us more information.

    And, of course, we get to watch him being interviewed on the actual show, too.

    Wicked cool.
    debgeisler: (headshot2)
    The vote on the bill introduced to the House by Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) was 397-0.
    debgeisler: (headshot2)
    Since 911 calls are available to the press and public, we get to hear the worst (and sometimes, but more rarely, the best) of human nature.

    Today, CNN has posted the 911 recording from the home where a Kansas City Chiefs football player shot and killed the mother of his child before, later, going to the Chiefs' locker room and killing himself.

    I'm not going to play that video. The horror of the man's mother as she made the call about what her son was doing is not something that we should *want* to share. Instead, let me send her clean pity, untinged by hearing her anguished screams.

    And CNN? Way too early. And what purpose is served by posting this?
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