debgeisler: (headshot2)
...at least at the Benveniste & Geisler house, where we made a plethora of pies, most of which have left the house. This was our weekend to cook for the soup kitchen (the last time was just after Christmas and surgery), so we opted for chicken pot pies.

I’m going to duplicate the recipe here...with a warning. )

We are about to eat the leftover bits from our little chicken problem. Yum!
debgeisler: (headshot2)
They're not the flash or the sizzle.

They are Alex Deibold, who took an unexpected bronze in snowboardcross. This is his second Olympics, sort of.

He was at the winter games in Vancouver four years ago - as a wax technician, keeping the boards in shape for the four men who were actually on the US team. Now? Now the 27-year-old Vermont native has a bronze medal...and we can hope that he'll get real sponsorship, so he can concentrate on his sport instead of the variety of jobs he's held to pay for his passion.

And there's gold medalist David Wise, who is not the bad-boy-rebel-type of freestyle skier.

Wise is 23, married, has a 2-year-old daughter he dotes on, and, while he has some sponsorship, it's not the splashy sort. He hasn't been featured on sports magazine covers. While he does some advertising, the television ad he was in before Sochi...was for Pampers. :-)

Steady. Solid. The very opposite of the showy and self-absorbed athletes the media usually focus on.

I like these guys. They're damned fine role models for future Olympians.
debgeisler: (headshot2)
After all, they're all rodents. Rodents of unusual size with good PR firms and cutesy names.

atehim
debgeisler: (headshot2)
Okay, I'm not watching this year's Super Bowl for the game. While I'm fondish of Seattle, loathe Denver, and hope the Seahawks prevail, I'm not hugely invested in the outcome of the game. Me, I watch for the ads...and my students and I will be discussing them on Tuesday in my Persuasion class.

This is, however, one of those modern food occasions, when people get together with friends, swill beer, and eat many things. Sausages seem to be one "traditional" food. Chicken wings. And Mexican specialties like guacamole, chili, chile con queso, tacos, and lots of tortilla chips and salsa.

Our Super Bowl dinner is "Gina's Hot and Spicy Tortilla Soup," together with whatever munchies from the antipasto (peppers, cebollitos, etc.) we got yesterday...and, later, caramel apple bread pudding.

Here’s the recipe for my memory banks... )

I think this is the best chicken soup that can be made in 1 hour or less, providing you like the ingredients. (It is not overly hot at all, btw.) It is probably one of the best chicken soups period. Mike first made it one night when I was teaching a night class, and it was cold, wet, and nasty out, and I was completely exhausted. I came home to this. It was *amazing.* So, of course, is Mike.

The recipe makes enough for two meals for two people, and it reheats well (since you don't anoint the base soup with tortilla chips, etc., until it goes in individual bowls).

Think of it as Mexican pho.
debgeisler: (headshot2)
...but I'm pretty sure our Walmarts in the US (a chain I avoid going into if at all possible) do not stock live frogs, pig faces, or crocodiles with oranges in their mouths. But the ones in China do.

Spiffy!

(Via Reddit.)
debgeisler: (headshot2)
My friend [livejournal.com profile] gerisullivan moved to Boston a decade or so ago from Minneapolis. At some point, she experienced her first Boston winter, which is very different from Mpls winters. Ours go something like this: mild, mild, mild, enormous snowfall, cold, thaw, no white, mild, mild, enormous snowfall, cold, thaw.

Well, like that.

See, when Minnehopeless gets snow, they get to keep it, sez Geri. Sometimes, they get to keep it for *months* at a time.

In 2003, Boston had a stretch when the temps didn't crack 25 for ~2-3 weeks. In a row. It was horrible. We were crying (ice cubes) in the streets.

Then we had our thaw (which, in some years' winter months, often means the temps go up as high as 60°F during the day), and all was right with the world.

* * * *

So you may have heard about/experienced the effects of this year's "polar vortex": a time when the Canadians, who have been hording the sub-zero temps for years at a time, "release the hounds," which come barking out of the north and freeze places like Baton Rouge...and everybody cries (ice cubes) in the streets of a couple of dozen states.

Did this affect greater Boston? Well. Er. No, not really.

Chicago has been wanting to cry, but they're so cold their tear ducts don't work any more. Mpls has closed school quite a bit because of the sheer coldness of it. Even my native Ohio has been slammed by the ice weasels of the north.

Here in greater Boston, we've had one or two days when temps actually fell below 0°F at night, but no days when the high was that low. It's surely a mark of the impending apocalypse when it occurs. No horsemen saddling up around here.

And what has happened to our temps this month? Well, for a change, the thawing days have often hit on the weekends. On Sunday, the NWS is predicting a high of 47°F for Boston. While we had (according to the nice folks at the Blue Hill Observatory) the 10th snowiest January on record (30" or so), we've also had this really weird temperature roller coaster, which has led to massive, regular thaws. In fact, we had 3 days over 50°F this month, and another six over 40°F.

None of these facts will stop us from complaining about the weather, because we're humans. But whenever Mike and I hear someone from Chicago saying, "Oh, you're from Boston? You must hate the winters there," we laugh. Yes, we tend to get our snowfall in massive chunks...but it *does* thaw. On balance, I'll call it a win.
debgeisler: (headshot2)
This chart shows current consumptions of condiments in the US.

Really, I should send this to the members of my family whose tastebuds got shot off in the war...and who believe (as most Americans *do not*) that Miracle Whip is better than mayo...or, indeed, that Miracle Whip is food.

Yuck. Ptooie.

Go Mayo!
debgeisler: (headshot2)
Over the years, I've put some recipes here, mostly those recipes which we've modified from the original, so we remember what we did. This recipe comes from The New Basics Cookbook, a splendid work by Julee Rosso and the late Sheila Lukins. We got the cookbook as a gift at our wedding shower, and it is one of our three favorite cookbooks.

We got married in 1991, and in 1993, I went to Spain and lived in Madrid for four months...without Mike. He visited for one week (not enough), we were both terribly bored without each other (he watched the Westminster Dog Show!), and we both spent a lot of money on phone calls. (While we had email, there was no Web, and no way to have online chats, save typed.) One weekend, I called Mike. The conversation went something like this:
Me: "Whatcha doin'?"

Mike: "Baking bones."

Me: "Um. Whose?"
This was the week or so before I came home, and Mike was starting what would become a tradition for us: making beef stock. Our later stocks would become the basis of our bœuf bourguignon(ish). What follows, then, is the recipe as we modified it from the original New Basics version. It makes a bit north of a gallon of stock. I post it here for my friend Elizabeth, who'd like a recipe to start with that she can also modify. :-) Because that's what we do.

Mike and Deb’s Modified New Basics Beef Stock )
debgeisler: (headshot2)
When you see these photos of snow- and ice-encrusted trees near the Arctic Circle, it's really easy to conjure stories of Frost Giants.

Pretty awesome.
debgeisler: (headshot2)
...and particularly sweet, for a mass murderer.

(Okay, of fictional characters. But still.) (Via Reddit.)
debgeisler: (headshot2)
...sayeth my friend Ed Dravecky on Facebook about this piece, where Facebook rebuts a study by Princeton.

Nice rebuttal. :-) Also, wicked funny.

Bad Princeton. No referees; no biscuits.
debgeisler: (headshot2)
Pastafarianism makes as much sense as many other faiths...and is tasty, of course, since the Flying Spaghetti Monster plays quite well with either a good puttanesca or bolognese sauce. But I had never read the important prayer to its FSMness until today, via Reddit.

Our Pasta, who art in colander,
Draining be thy noodles.
Thy noodle come, thy sauce be yum,
On top, some grated parmesan.

Give us this day our garlic bread,
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trample on our lawns.

Lead us not into vegetarianism,
But deliver us some pizza.
For thine is the meatball, the noodle and the sauce,

Forever and ever.

R'amen.

(Of course, I had not considered that there are creative suckers all over teh interwebz.)
debgeisler: (headshot2)
I had two awkward and difficult conversations today. Both were warm and charming and (the awkward part) far, far too complimentary.

To #1: It's important to remember that nobody is successful in our sorts of ventures unless a lot of other people want them to be...and unless a lot of other people do damned astounding work. You guys were the best. (I'm pretty sure if you are reading this and were part of "you guys," you know who I'm talking to.) You know what peeves me now, nearly 10 years later? That when someone says, "That was amazing," you all don't get to hear that. Because you deserve it.

And, to #2: if there is aught in this brain of mine worth using, it's yours. Why did I become a teacher? Because if I know cool stuff, it infects me. I can't keep it to myself. I want other people to be as excited as I am...and don't want them to be hurt by doing the wrong thing if some of my time could show them a right thing. But I'm no hero, and pedestals are cold, drafty, lonely places. Ignore my age (oh, *please*), and just share what I've got to give.
debgeisler: (headshot2)
Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) made some unfortunate stupid and selfish statements about the current US government shutdown and how he's not giving up his congressional salary during the government shut-down that he's partly responsible for, since he has a nice house and kids in college.

I wanted to know more about this idiot, so I surfed to Wikipedia just now. It's quite possible that the Wikipedia page about Mr. Terry will already be repaired, but here is a screen shot of what it said five minutes ago.

This is the first time I've knowingly hit a page that was changed by someone with a grudge, but I doubt it will be the last.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why you cannot be sure about the veracity of what you read on a wiki.
debgeisler: (headshot2)
My husband and I were dressed and ready to go out for a lovely evening of dinner and theatre. Having been burgled in the past, we turned on a 'night light' and the answering machine, then put the cat in the back yard.

When our cab arrived, we walked out our front door and our rather tubby cat scooted between our legs inside, then ran up the stairs. Because our cat likes to chase our budgie, we really didn't want to leave them unchaperoned. So my husband ran inside to retrieve her and put her in the back yard again.

Because I didn't want the taxi driver to know our house was going to be empty all evening, I explained to him that my husband would be out momentarily as he was just bidding goodnight to my mother.

A few minutes later he got into the cab all hot and bothered, and said (to my growing horror and amusement) as the cab pulled away:

"Sorry it took so long but the stupid bitch was hiding under the bed, and I had to poke her arse with a coat hanger to get her to come out! She tried to take off, so I grabbed her by the neck and wrapped her in a blanket so she wouldn't scratch me like she did last time. But it worked! I hauled her fat arse down the stairs and threw her into the back yard....she had better not shit in the vegetable garden again."

The silence in the taxi was deafening...

(Repeated, via Reddit, but too good not to share.)
debgeisler: (headshot2)
...in 1,000 years. Very spiffy video. (Wish there was a running date counter, though.)
debgeisler: (headshot2)
...at the picture of the man who woke up this morning and decided to kill a dozen people, wound others, and die in a shoot-out with police? Do you find yourself wondering, "WTF made you do that, you damned monster?" Do you find yourself looking, as if somehow there will be little tell-tale marks on his face or lips or eyes...and we can then stop the next one?

Of course, there won't be anything uniquely "mass killer" about how they look. There never is. It's not in their eyes, and we can't see into their souls.

But we keep looking, trying to figure out why.

Only there's no why that a sane person will understand. No "reason" where we think, "Oh, of course. That's why you had to kill a bunch of random people you didn't know."

And the press, who promise that "authorities are trying to find a motive," forget that monsters aren't motivated in ways that non-monsters will get. So they don't understand that they'll never be able to give us any of that information...because it doesn't exist.

And still, we look at those pictures.
debgeisler: (headshot2)
...some of us around here will not be able to do more than grab a quick bite, if that. So, there are blueberry muffins in the freezer, instant oatmeal packets, and a large pot of Deb's mixed-bag Italian pasta sauce. (Sauce contains ground beef, diced tomatoes, three kinds of not-very-hot peppers, mushrooms, tomato sauces, garlic, lots of Italian spices, yadda yadda.)

Boil water, add pasta, cook, drain, ladle in sauce, stir until warm, pour into bowl. :-)

Tomorrow, I have to get sodas, more fruit, and fresh bread.

Oh, and flowers for the guest room.
debgeisler: (headshot2)
A friend on Facebook from another country recently told me I didn't understand how changeable weather could be. As evidence this is so not true, I present our next few days, courtesy of the U.S. National Weather Service (Oh, and the low last night? 42°F.):

weatherish

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