debgeisler: (Default)
I haven't posted much strictly to Dreamwidth, and that was several years ago (when Dreamwidth started).

But, like many of my friends, the change to LiveJournal's T&C has been enough to shunt me to Dreamwidth permanently and lead to the deletion of my LJ content.

That content will be deleted at the end of next week.

Ciao. Ta. G'bye
debgeisler: (headshot2)
I celebrate Christmas because my family does. It gives us joy and hope, and it brings us together. And if I meet a Christian this time of year, I wish them "Merry Christmas," even if their celebration isn't on Dec. 25.

I don't celebrate Chanukah because my husband does not. If he did, I'd be all over that dreidl. But I wish friends and acquaintances and inlaws who are Jews a Happy Chanukah, because spreading joy is a good thing.

When Muslim friends and students observe Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr, I wish them Eid Mubarak. Because it is the courteous thing to do. And if they celebrate Mawlid al-Nabi, we'll try to honor that this weekend, too, wishing them joy and peace.

And when I don't know someone's faith (and it's so not my business) or know their holy times, I just wish them Happy Holidays because I want to say something nice without diminishing them.

So don't get on your high horse and tell me it's a season all about Christians. Because human beings have been celebrating joy and good things and sun return and stuff around this time for tens of thousands of years. Stop acting like you own the calendar and no one else's feelings matter.
debgeisler: (headshot2)
The American Society of Newspaper Editors today sent this email to its members:

Statement on First Amendment from American Society of News Editors

ASNE stands ready to defend
First Amendment rights, strong democracy

Columbia, Mo. (Nov. 9, 2016) - After this long, tortuous election season, Americans went to the polls Tuesday to exercise their right to vote, perhaps the ultimate expression of free speech in the United States. However, throughout this campaign, Americans have seen extraordinary assaults on their First Amendment rights to free speech, freedom of religion and freedom of the press. These assaults have come from many political spectrums and walks of life. At some universities, students expressed outrage at the practice of chalking, writing messages on campus sidewalks, when those messages were in support of a specific candidate. At a religious-based campus, a university official censored a student who wrote a column in opposition to GOP nominee Donald Trump. It has been suggested that some political candidates' rhetoric amounts to hate speech and, thus, should be censored. We have heard instances of Americans being targeted because they practice a specific religion. We have also heard proposals to weaken the nation's libel laws to make it easier for individuals to sue the press. Elected officials, as well as candidates, have tried to control their messages by refusing to talk to journalists, attacking journalists personally and sometimes harassing journalists' sources. And on it goes.

The American Society of News Editors, representing newsroom leaders across the country, believes that the First Amendment and the freedoms that it protects are fundamental underpinnings of our democracy. We know that attacking the press is a well-worn tradition in our country's politics. We also know that our Constitutional rights to a free and independent press, to speak freely and to practice the religion of one's choice have served as a beacon to the rest of the world for centuries. In many countries, one can still be jailed for political beliefs, and journalists are persecuted for reporting on sitting governments and corruption. As America introduces the 45th president, ASNE stands ready to fight vigorously for all the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment so that democracy, however messy it may be, thrives for generations to come.


About the American Society of News Editors

The American Society of News Editors is dedicated to the leadership of American journalism. It is committed to fostering the public discourse essential to democracy; helping editors maintain the highest standards of quality, improve their craft and better serve their communities; and preserving and promoting core journalistic values while embracing and exploring change. Learn more at, or follow us on Twitter @NewsEditors.
debgeisler: (headshot2)
In recent years on election day, people in and near Rochester, New York have been putting their “I Voted!” stickers on the headstone of Susan B. Anthony at Mount Hope Cemetery, to thank this one of our foremothers for helping make women's suffrage a reality.

We can’t all get to Rochester! So, rather than getting frustrated, I pulled together a list of 70 or so women from the suffrage movement who we might be near. If one of the women below is buried near you or passed away in your area, consider (1) putting a flower on her grave, in memory, if she is buried near you (“I Voted!” stickers are fine, too, of course – but flowers make me feel happier right now. YMMV.); (2) reading about her history and contributions to our shared heritage of rights; (3) donating a few dollars to a cause about which you care, in her memory. Myself, I'll do all three (I've learned a lot putting this list together!), and I'm particularly interested in going to Melrose or Cambridge or Jamaica Plain this weekend.

Some of the women below are very well known in the Women’s Suffrage movement in the United States. Others may be less known, but no less valuable, to our shared history of demanding equality as human beings in a democratic society. They cared to be part of the important process of coming together and building a government of *all* of the people, by *all* of the people, and for *all* of the people.

List is behind this clicky cut. )
debgeisler: (headshot2)
So, if the monsters do wake up because of the shouting and try to crash the party, suddenly everybody forgets their animosity?

But some remember.
debgeisler: (headshot2)
Worldcon 75’s shameful public accusations against one of their former volunteers – accusations without legal standing or proof, by an organization with a position of power over the regulation of volunteers – are a hideous breach of their responsibility as the World Science Fiction Convention.

As a former Worldcon chairman, I am completely, utterly, shockingly appalled that the convention's leadership would choose to publicly attack this volunteer they fired. If the convention felt it had made a legally and fannishly justifiable action in firing this volunteer, it should have remained silent.

That the convention has chosen this particular tactic of public vilification indicates to me, at least, that it wants to so damage this former volunteer’s reputation that nothing he says will be believed and so that he can no longer engage in the activities he so enjoyed in fandom.

Choosing to use the bully pulpit to shred our fannish volunteers in social media is a cowardly, stupid, and fannishly reprehensible action. (Oh, and hey, good work on not letting him reply on your page in his own defense.)

I hereby state that under no conditions will I attend the 2017 World Science Fiction Convention. Further, I will sell my membership in the convention to the first person (who is not affiliated with the committee of Worldcon 75) who offers me $1. Drop me a private message, and it’s yours.

[Edit, 9:58 a.m., 9 October: the membership has been "sold." The purchaser is making a donation to the SFWA medical fund in lieu of payment. I'm really pleased about that.]
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In 1990, the World Science Fiction Convention was in Den Haag (The Hague), Netherlands, and a lot of my friends (and Mike and I) didn't go to it. International travel was more difficult (I'd never been outside of North America, then, nor did I have a passport yet) and took a larger wodge of our financial resources. Our friend Leslie Turek had been nominated for a Hugo Award that year (which she won...yay, Leslie!), and our friends the Olsons decided we needed to have a party during the Hugo Ceremony to cheer Leslie on, since she couldn't go either.

There was, of course, no streaming of the ceremony. No Instagram. No Facebook. No World Wide Web. Some of us were on the NSFNet or Bitnet, but most people today would not recognized those, with their text-only interfaces. And there were no portables to take into the Ceremony for blogging. Instead, we had to wait for a phone call from Leslie's acceptor (I don't remember who). So the best thing to do was nibble on Dutch food whilst we waited. It was tastier and more nutritious than fingernails.

My aunt, Margaret [Shannon] Snoeren, married a Dutch man (you might be able to tell that from the last name) she met while serving in the Peace Corps in Nigeria in the 1960s. Marge is a pretty great cook, and she developed a collection of Dutch recipes over the years. So, when Priscilla Olson said the theme was "Dutch/Indonesian Rijsttafel (Rice Table)," in honor of the first Dutch Worldcon, I called Aunt Marge.

The recipe she gave me that day was a major hit. Moreover, it is a recipe Mike and I have made dozens of times, because we love it. (Thank you, Aunt Marge!!!) This is an Indonesian-styled Satay recipe, probably as modified by the Indonesian immigrants in the Netherlands. The marinade is important for the meat (which is beef or pork), and the peanut sauce that accompanies it is the best, most interesting variant I've ever had. It is zippy and not, as so many are from the Thai or other traditions, overly sweet. We *do* serve it with a Thai cucumber "sauce" or salad, because we love the stuff. Sometimes, we make it as a main course for ourselves, add the cucumber salad, make up some rice, and call it supper. Yum.

Marge’s Indonesian Dutch Satay with Pindasaus )

Since we cook sometimes for a soup kitchen, we cook for them like we cook for ourselves or our friends: same food; same ingredients. We've made a lot of interesting dishes for them in the past, and Mike suggested we do this for our contribution this Saturday.

"We'll have to make enough for us to save some out for ourselves," I said, after drooling while re-reading the recipe.

"Of course we will," said Mike.

We'll probably triple or quadruple the recipes. :-)
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Not long ago, I had an epiphany of sorts, while trying to understand grief and how I continue to feel about my mother's death. The epiphany was an awareness that the childhood longer existed. She was gone and dead, just as Mom was gone. There was no one else left who remembered me from day to day as I grew up. My siblings remember snapshots, but they are also all younger than I am. My aunts remember snippets, but those are even more few and far between.

It's hard, this giving up of self. Each time we lose someone, we lose the shared memories that no one else was privy to. The closer they were, the more private moments...and the more they remember us from a different perspective than anyone else.

I wonder, then, if my grieving is for Mom (who, after all, was ready to go and honestly at peace) or, in a very selfish way, it is for the me of yesteryear.

Today, I stumbled on this quote, never having read the work, and this hit me all over again:
“The pleasure of remembering had been taken from me, because there was no longer anyone to remember with. It felt like losing your co-rememberer meant losing the memory itself, as if the things we'd done were less real and important than they had been hours before.”
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
Yeah. That, too. There is no looking at Mom and saying "Do you remember?" So the memory itself is a feather, easily blown away.

When I want to feel better (and am I lying to myself in saying this?), it is to ponder that my remembering means Mom still exists...the Mom of my childhood, "Deb's Mom," is not really gone.
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Eleven years ago, we started a count-down to the World Science Fiction Convention in Boston. A week before the convention started, we were putting together displays, laughing, packing many, many boxes, laughing, eating take-out together at the NESFA clubhouse, laughing...

It was exhausting, but rewarding. We were building something special for fandom, and our ego-boo was in seeing it all laid out and running. Not running perfectly...but hell, we didn't do this professionally, we had to do it on the cheap, we did it in our spare time. We wanted it to be perfect, but we settled for 90-95%, most of the time. That was damned good.

Today, there is a group of people who are starting their own week-long count-down to the World Science Fiction Convention. This one is in Spokane, Washington. Their convention has been fraught with difficulties. Many of their people are not laughing. They're not even grinning.

They are still trying to build something special for fandom. They're often not getting much satisfaction. In fact, some are sitting around right now, wishing they were somewhere else, dealing with something else. Perhaps at a villa in Tuscany...perhaps in Port-aux-Français (since that's as far away as one can get from the Spokane Convention Center and still be on land) in the Kerguelen Islands (also known as the Desolation Islands - you can get to the irony of that on your own).

Perhaps any Worldcon that lost its co-chair two weeks after winning the right to host the convention would be taxed. Certainly, it was a devastating blow. This Worldcon has also borne the brunt of attacks on fandom's prized Hugo Awards and, as a result, some of the most difficult and disruptive public scrutiny ever for the convention.

I'm not going to point fingers at anyone here. Not one person. I'm attending the convention and taking part in its program, but none of my sweat has gone into making this year's "fannish family reunion." (Yes, I'll listen when my friends need a, that's not the same thing as sweat equity.)

What I will say is this: If you are going to the convention, say something nice to the people you meet with a "committee" or "staff" or "volunteer/gopher" ribbon. You don't need to compliment them on things. Just say something nice. Or maybe something that will make them laugh. Or smile at them and say nothing at all. (This last works particularly well when you don't much like them.)

For those of us who have slogged this slog, sometimes a smile from someone is better than a paycheck. Hell, it *IS* the paycheck.
debgeisler: (headshot2)
I'm not going to completely duplicate this recipe here...instead, I'll just pop the link in here, and you can look at it at your leisure. The picture on that site of a sweetroll is about 17" across.

There are two filled (almond and apricot) in the oven right now.
debgeisler: (headshot2)
Since I am not Italian (and my brother did not meet his wife Denise until he was a grownup...ish), these cookies were not a feature of my childhood. But I shared with my mother a love of licorice. She and I would do battle over the black jelly beans, and we both loved anise as a spice. While the cookie recipe below originally called for all vanilla, that made a wicked bland cookie. I've changed that up to lemon, almond, and anise in the past, and the anise works out the best.These are not Italian cookies of the sort my sister-in-law makes, so I post the recipe with no shame. )

*And Geisler-Benveniste, in this case...
debgeisler: (headshot2)
This is the original "Chex Mix" recipe. It is not what you will find today, and we called it "Scrabble" growing up. Can't tell you, 57+ years on, if it was called "Scrabble" because of some joint marketing effort between Ralston Purina and Parker Brothers...or if it started as a snack mix created by someone else...or if the family just ate a lot of it whilst playing the eponymous game (and trying to beat my maternal grandfather, Lewis R. Shannon,* who used to include names of archaic farm implements and other things). We ate a lot of it, later, playing pinochle. Many, many games of pinochle. Here is additional background and the very yummy recipe. )
debgeisler: (headshot2)
So, this is the recipe we ended up developing, based on what Mike wanted to craft. It is mighty fine...lightly smokey, a titch warm (but mild enough for most people), looser and soupier than our usual (but, again, I like it that way). Here's the recipe. It's easy to cut in half, as long as you don't chop the pot in 2. )
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In October of 1988, William C. Geisler, a 54-year-old Korean War naval veteran, manager at Sears, Roebuck and Company, father, grandfather, and husband, succumbed to Lou Gherig's Disease, or ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). He was my father, of course.

Dad did not live to see my wedding. He never met most of his grandchildren. The Internet didn't really exist when he was alive. There were no cell phones, nor iPods, nor...well, half of the tech in my car. When Dad took his last breath, Ronald Reagan was still the president of the United States, and the Soviet Union still existed.

When Dad found out he had ALS, the first thing he told us kids was, "It is almost never hereditary." He wanted us to know we didn't share his death sentence. My dad wasn't always the best person - lord knows he had his failings - but he didn't want us to face the sort of end he knew he would have. And he did have it. ALS is an ugly, brutal, horrifying end. It leaves the mind alive as it strips the body of strength, volition, and dignity.

How would my Dad feel about the ALS ice bucket challenge?

He'd laugh his ass off. He would crow that so many famous people are involved with this silliness so that they can draw attention to a killer people have ignored for too long. If he were still alive, he'd be right there with the ice brigade.

So, to those who say "it's all political," tough toenails. I mean, really, I do not care a whit what you say. If you haven't lost someone you love to ALS, your opinion about this absolutely does not matter to me.

Does every person "challenged" have to sit still and have ice water dumped on them? No. Am I absolutely delighted with the publicity this is all giving to ALS research and the amount of money being raised by the ALS Association? You bet your sweet bippy I am.

And bravo to all of the challengers, including former US President George W. Bush...and the lovely Laura Bush, of course.

According to the ALS Association, the ice bucket challenge has raised $31.5 million as of today. Excellent work.
debgeisler: (headshot2)
Typical recipes for au gratin potato dishes involve heavy cream. I don't think this recipe (which uses bacon fat for the roux) is *less* caloric, but it is an interesting take on the average recipe. We like it very the recipe first from the cookbook Favorite Brand Name Cookbook. This was not a cookbook I would have bought for myself, but we've gotten 3-4 really exemplary recipes out of this book, including this one. (We just ignore when it tells us to use specific brands of ingredients.)

Here's the recipe. )

This is one of those meals that helps when the temperature is 45.9°F on 28 May. That would be why we made it tonight. :-)
debgeisler: (headshot2)
Today was our day to cook for the "soup kitchen" down in Waltham, and Mike said our jambalaya was requested. (They requested either the jambalaya or the grape leaves...) This is the recipe we created about a dozen years ago:

Deb and Mike's
"No, we're not Cajun,
but we do have leftovers" Jambalaya

Apologies for not putting it behind a cut originally! )
debgeisler: (headshot2)
Yesterday, some friends came over for a very tasty potluck. Dinner consisted of many (yeah, too many) tasty things...including three-meat (chicken, beef, shrimp) satay, Vietnamese lettuce wraps with beef, an Asian chicken and cabbage salad, a Balinese pork curry, and an excellent dessert course of three ice creams (green tea, red bean, and ginger), spiced oranges, and "cigarette" cookies.

Our part of dinner included:
  • Steamed Jasmine rice
  • Appetizer plate of lychee, shrimp, grape tomatoes, and fresh pineapple
  • Spicy mango salad
  • Vietnamese style prawns and hearts of palm with green tea soba noodles
  • Thai salad with cashews
  • Thai stir-fried greens with oyster sauce
  • Of the new-to-us dishes we made, the only one that was sort of a bust was the prawns and green tea soba noodles. We *would* make it again, but skipping the soba noodles and adding in other salad components. The flavor profile is amazing, but the pasta adds nothing and actually detracts from the prawns and hearts of palm (the stars of the show).

    The ones we'll make again? All of the rest. The Thai "greens" involved Chinese broccoli and were particularly nice and balanced.

    Everyone who joined us cooked quite wonderful foods. There are even some leftovers for tomorrow. (Tonight we had soupe l'oignon and crusty French rolls.)
    debgeisler: (headshot2)
    We had to start this recipe several weeks ago. Actually, we could have started it Monday last, but life got in the way. This recipe is a dish by Moroccan cooking guru Paula Wolfert of chicken, preserved lemon, olives, fennel, and a melange of improbable spices. The ingredients came together to form an amazing dish that can only be described as "unctuous."

    First, preserve a mess o’Meyer lemons. )
    Once you have preserved lemons in the fridge, you can make:

    Paula Wolfert’s Chicken with Preserved Lemon, Olives, and Fennel )
    debgeisler: (headshot2)
    While this is mostly for a project [ profile] gerisullivan is doing, it's always a good idea to save these recipes, just in case my iPad goes kerblooie.

    First, the tzatziki sauce/salad/stuff. )

    Next, the stuffed grape leaves. )

    Serve dolmas with tzatziki, lemon wedges, and pita cut into triangles.


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