Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Dainty Down Feather Stuck Atop Toe Region of Bismuth Pink Christmas Sock, Found on a Quiet Evening





For some reason, the image of a tiny feather stuck to my giant pink sock reminded me of a certain poem by Billy Collins:

Reading An Anthology Of Chinese Poems Of The Sung Dynasty, I Pause To Admire The Length And Clarity Of Their Titles
It seems these poets have nothing
up their ample sleeves
they turn over so many cards so early,
telling us before the first line
whether it is wet or dry,
night or day, the season the man is standing in,
even how much he has had to drink.

Maybe it is autumn and he is looking at a sparrow.
Maybe it is snowing on a town with a beautiful name.

"Viewing Peonies at the Temple of Good Fortune
on a Cloudy Afternoon" is one of Sun Tung Po's.
"Dipping Water from the River and Simmering Tea"
is another one, or just
"On a Boat, Awake at Night."

And Lu Yu takes the simple rice cake with
"In a Boat on a Summer Evening
I Heard the Cry of a Waterbird.
It Was Very Sad and Seemed To Be Saying
My Woman Is Cruel--Moved, I Wrote This Poem."

There is no iron turnstile to push against here
as with headings like "Vortex on a String,"
"The Horn of Neurosis," or whatever.
No confusingly inscribed welcome mat to puzzle over.

Instead, "I Walk Out on a Summer Morning
to the Sound of Birds and a Waterfall"
is a beaded curtain brushing over my shoulders.

And "Ten Days of Spring Rain Have Kept Me Indoors"
is a servant who shows me into the room
where a poet with a thin beard
is sitting on a mat with a jug of wine
whispering something about clouds and cold wind,
about sickness and the loss of friends.

How easy he has made it for me to enter here,
to sit down in a corner,
cross my legs like his, and listen.
                                    --Billy Collins

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas! (From L.B. and Me!)

L.B. visiting with Mouse and Oatmeal Owl #1.

All of us in House are a bit sick with sniffles and upset stomachs,
but L.B. is keeping us entertained with his shenanigans. 

He has am immune system of...of...fluff?...
It works! 

I shall wash and mend his trousers when I am feeling better. 

Until then, I will listen to Handel's Messiah and eat Jello!


Merry Christmas!

Schumann: Piano Quintet in E-flat major, Op.44

I was supposed to be looking up music for my chamber group, but I got a bit sidetracked...

Here is the first movement of one of my favorite piano quintets. 

I love the dialog between cello and viola.



Monday, 19 December 2011

Oh Annie Dillard and Her Cats...

As I read Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, I remember just how much I miss Virginia. 

I walked to this dock every day. It was not my dock, but I liked to pretend it was.
 
I am not a true Virginian since I was not born in Virginia. 
My neighbor Cornelia always reminded us non-Virginians of this fact. 
 
She is a true Virginian, but her husband is not.
He's from Mississippi, I think,
except he calls it "Missuhs-sippeh".

(Or was it Louisiana?) 

"But no hard feelings, honey."
That's what Cornelia would always say,
in addition to other not so repeatable phrases.

I love that lady.
She'll tell you whether or not your Whiskey Cream has enough whiskey in it.
(It usually won't have enough.)

...
I am glad Annie Dillard always had a cat no matter where she lived,
whether in Puget Sound or Virginia...

When Hannabee and I lived in Virginia, we asked God to send us a cat. 
..
And He did.
Courtesy of A.O.
He was a very handsome cat. 
 
I am sure he did the things any other cat might do,
like kill birds or eat bugs,
or pretend you don't exist until you feed him.

Maybe he was a mercenary cat,
or maybe he was just hungry.

Either way, he was another living creature who could soothe our lonely hearts in a way that trees and bodies of water could not.
...
 
I still miss Virginia, 
and I miss the rivers and trees,
and especially the Cat. 

But I am glad to live near friends and family again,
even if there are no rivers,
or quite as many trees in Southern California.

My family is here,
and my cats are here.
Someday I will learn to call this city my home.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

A Thought

Courtesy of dear C.Larsen


I wonder if the trees feel sad when all the students go home. 
Campus is left so still and quiet.
...

Maybe the trees feel relieved. 
Maybe they are introverted trees.
...

I will visit them each during my morning walk,
Each Liquid Amber, Ash, and Pepper Tree,
Especially the Pepper Tree.
And then,
                         I will go home,
                         And leave them to their silent reverie. 
 

Friday, 9 December 2011

Hmmm.

Today I found this photo of L.B.:


How did he manage to make ride up and down in my desk lamp?

(I wondered.)
...


Then I found this photo:



Sneaky Little Bear.

(Revenge for not getting to ride Vacuum last week.)

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Adventuring

L.B. is out adventuring this week.
...
L.B. ist im Ausland. 
Proof that I am studying.
 ...

He chose a First-Class Pocket for his travels.

L.B. mit A.S. 



They make a jolly pair. 
 
 
L.B. sent word to me this morning:
 
"Skadsflasjaweidfzkkldfzklmdfs."

Translated:

"I am well."
 
(I am learning the language of The Paw.)
 
 


Thursday, 1 December 2011

Comfortable and Quiet Day...And Trousers.

My house is terribly messy right now. Little Bear suggested that the mess was brought by last night's windstorm. I think that is his way of politely agreeing that yes, the house is terribly messy right now. 
I took the hint.
To remedy the terribly messy situation, Little Bear and I made Grand Plans for Afternoon House Cleaning. 

(Little Bear just wanted to ride the vacuum.) 

As happens with most Grand Plans for Afternoon House Cleaning, our plan...did not take place. 
My reasons involved pain killers and general loopiness. Little Bear's reasons involved Trousers. (Why? I do not know.)
We did manage to spend a very comfortable and quiet afternoon doing all manner of comfortable and quiet activities. 

He and I compiled a list of every jolly and comfortable thing we did today.
It was a good day.

Here is our list:
-Eating Noodles and Soup
-Blanket Nest on Green Couch
-Exploring Green Couch (L.B.)
-Sleeping on Green Couch (Me)
-Eating Hot Fudge Sundaes Before Supper
-Cooking Sweet Potato Hash and Scrambled Eggs
-More Sleeping (Me)
-Smiling and Generally Looking Happy (L.B.)
-Bath with Bubbles (Me)
-Somersaults (L.B.)
-Using More Spoons and Forks Than Normal (Me and L.B.)
-Not Washing Spoons and Forks After Use (Me...and L.B.)


Little Bear wrote a short composition about today and asked to share it with the general public. 
My edits/notes are italicized.

"Every Trouser Wearing Day is a Good Day. [Does he mean every day that wears trousers? I would like to see this.] Although I was bitterly disappointed to not ride The Great Machine, I was comforted by the knowledge that my Trousers would remain intact and safe. [Reference to a past occasion when his trousers were caught in the vacuum? Definitely before he took up residence in my house.] Almost crushed by sleeping beast on Green Couch. [Thanks, L.B.] Enjoyed pudding before supper, and was amused that supper consisted of orange and yellow foods. Splendid choice of colours. Reminiscent of a sunset and appropriate for evening. All in all a satisfactory day."

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

L.B.

...
He is a jolly fellow.

...

He reads The Biography of His Trousers to his friends,
...

 ...
And they listen.
...


Saturday, 12 November 2011

Weekly Waltz: Waldteufel

"Skater's Waltz"
or
"The Ice Skaters"
or 
"Les Patineurs"




How can you stay cranky while listening to this? 

Feel free to waltz around with your broom.
I won't watch,
mostly because I'll be busy waltzing with my broom. 

Cheers!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

The Good, the Other Good, and the Somewhat Bad and Ugly

I'll start with the Somewhat Bad and Ugly:





See this mean, lean, dirt-eating machine? 
We were allies this weekend in the Pesky Pest War of 2011. 
I don't want to write about the bugs.
The very thought of them makes me itch.
 
What do college students do on a Friday Night?
They fumigate their house, 
of course.

After vacuuming, prepping, spraying, fumigating, laundering, and vacuuming again,
I came to four realizations:
 
1) You fight the bad with more bad. 
So many chemicals...I know there are more "natural" ways of dealing with bugs, but when your legs
are scarred from months of bites, you'll do anything to have some relief. 
 
2) Americans have (insanely?) high standards of cleanliness. 
This is both a blessing and a curse. 

3) Dealing with pest infestation is much harder than studying for a German quiz 
or writing a term paper. Also, studying for that quiz or writing that paper
become harder when you feel displaced from home. 

4) CALM DOWN AND EAT SOME FRUIT.
...
Oh wait,
I mean

Calm down and eat some fruit. 

Honeycrisp Apples from Trader Joe's cover a multitude of...bug...sins,
er,
they just make life that much better.
("That much" being A Whole Lot.) 
 
There was The Good (and The Other Good) this weekend,
but I must first study for That Quiz and write That Paper. 
 
...And maybe eat That Apple. 
Not The Apple.
Just That Apple.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

To Autumn, With Love

I miss Virginia.


Autumn, you think you are so sneaky. You trick me with your Summer-like weather, but I know you are here,
              and darling, I think you are wonderful.

Your coming is always heralded by the arrival of pumpkins and squash at my local market. Why do squash come in such funny shapes? They make me laugh!

Oh yes, I bought my first pumpkin this week. I thought it might make you happy to know.

Also, all I want to do is eat root vegetables and listen to James Taylor. You probably knew that already, because, well, it happens most every time you arrive.

Remember when I made my first sweet potato pie?

 Do you remember how awful it tasted?  It was a romantic idea, though. Oh well.

Autumn, thank you for bringing woolen sock and sweater weather.
Thank you for making me feel like Laura Ingalls whenever I wake up in the morning and hurry to dress by the heater.
I promise to cook something with bacon. Y'know, the bacon I squirreled away in my deep-freeze, back when, I, uh, butchered my pig...Kind of...

I'm going to go roast some squash, Autumn. Please send some Autumnal culinary inspiration to me, mostly because my last attempt at squash was a disaster.

We'll be seeing each other soon.

(As soon as I walk outside.)

Cheers!

Love,
-Me

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Once Upon An Afternoon...

HannaBee 

and E.

sailed to Governors Island...

   
The Ferry was crowded, as you can see.

...to attempt the Peabody,

and

to visit some cars.


They still cannot dance the Peabody.

...
But maybe you will learn,

if you attend

this event:

 

in 2012?

(HannaBee, why don't we host our own party? Champagne sorbet and the works!)

Friday, 16 September 2011

The Makings of a Wonderfully Restful Day

  • Sleeping in until 8:30 in the morning.
  • Semi-cloudy weather.
  • Time to send the laundry through Wash and Dry. (Finished the bedsheets. Plans to finish clothing and towels tomorrow.)
  • Freshly baked cookies.
  • Episodes of TV Show That Shall Remain Unnamed. No judge. 
  • Trader Joe's with Sam. (Fresh Grapes AND Pear Sauce! Yes!) 
  • Phở dinner with my Pa. 
  • Dessert with Pa.  
  • Quiet house and a clean kitchen.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Monday, 29 August 2011

If I Were A Rich Man...

I would add these little friends to my collection (consisting of Hedgehog and a wedge of Cheese):

Little Lamb Eating

Source: Here

And Here


Hoot! (Meaning "Here")

Little Lamb Running (to here!)
And here...

 And we musn't forget...

St. Nicholas...Punch those heretics!


Ahem...
Yes...

Well, if you are ever out of Christmas present ideas.
...
Birthdays.
Saturdays...

Ostheimer Toys!

I'll even let you come over and play with them!




Tuesday, 23 August 2011

A Happy Moment On An Otherwise Hot and Sticky Afternoon

Yesterday my friend R. gave me a little piece of chocolate for "on the road to the Library". Being the silly goose that I am, I put the chocolate in my bag (for safe keeping) and forget about it during my walk.

Oh well.

I was very happy to later find a somewhat squashed and melty piece of chocolate in my bag! Luckily the piece was still wrapped in foil and free of Roaming Bag Fuzz, leaving me with a clean bag and an edible bit of chocolate. Hooray!

...

I think chocolate rejuvenates those who are weary from reading pages and pages about fallen and blessed angels.

...

R.'s little gift of chocolate reminded me of the communal aspect of food. As I shared the melty candy with the fellow-book-reader-to-my-right, I realized that even a little square of chocolate can bring people together. Remember when Hagrid brings Harry a pack of squishy sausages and that birthday cake (with green icing letters)? What a very merry and beautiful act of kindness, pocket fuzz and all. Harry receives cake and a friend!

Rather like in Betsy-Tacy, or Heidi, or The Odyssey.

Mmm. Much to ponder. I'm looking forward to Soup Saturday with chumlet S. 

Thanks for the chocolate, R.!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Sun Gold Glory in San Francisco

"We ate fistfuls of tomatoes by the sea."
-A. 


I promise that I was not grumpy when this photo was taken. How can you be grumpy after eating Sun Gold tomatoes?  
Photo Credit: A.O.*

Today I introduced my sister to Sun Gold tomatoes. 
She loves them just as much as I do.
:)

And I love my sister much more than I love Sun Gold tomatoes!
(A different kind of love. Yes, yes, I know.) 

My sister and I picnicked on the dock overlooking the ocean. 
Our luncheon consisted of chicken pot pie and Sun Gold tomatoes.
It was a perfect meal. 

Later, we walked through the Ferry Building and picked out presents, jam jars, and little sweeties.
When an angry madman accosted us, 
(Something about not giving him blueberries. What blueberries?)
we hid near the Cheese Shop. 
He never found us.
Whew!

I wish I were a better photographer. Then I could finally take decent pictures of my sister.
Until then, check out her blog*.


Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Holberg Suite, Opus 40: Praeludium

~*~*~*~*~*~
Tonight I played a game of "Name That Musical Excerpt" with my computer. It's not as easy as "Name That Movie" or "Name That Book" since I can't search Google for notation, pitch, or rhythms like I can search for words or quotes.  Silly me.

Nevertheless, I tried everything to identify the little excerpt that had been stuck in my mind (all day!). 

First I tried singing to the search bar: 

Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdah Bum-buhdahBum-buhdah:

DAHHHHHHH, dahhhhhhhh, daaaaahh duh (dahhh dooo)
dah dah daaaaaaaah daaaaaaah daaaaaaaaah duh (daaaaaah doo).

....

Fail. 

...

Then I searched for "famous orchestral pieces". Stravinsky's Rite of Spring popped up first.
....Erm...no....not exactly. At all. Nope.
"Really beautiful orchestral openings" didn't help much either.
Or,
"Opening rhythm consisting of Run-Pon-y Run-Pon-y."

...

Fail again.

...
My next search was for all the works composed by Gustav Holst.

Closer, but not quite.

...

And then I called my sister.

Me: "A.! Who composed this piece?" (repeat above Bum-buhdahs.)
A: "Ohhhhh...It sounds like----"*cshhhhhczzzzshhhhhhczzssshhh* (curse you, Finicky Connection!)
Me: "Like what??"
A: "You know, that piece by----"*cshhhhhczzzzshhhhhhczzssshhh*

Noooooooo.

Luckily, we still had the chat system.  (Curse and bless you, Computer-Technology.)

My sister suggested I try "Grieg", and she was right.

The "Praeludium" from the Holberg Suite, Opus 40. 

~*~*~*~*~*~

Here are three different recordings:
the Piano version (original?),
the orchestral version,
and....saxaphones?!

It's fun to hear how the different combinations of instruments create
a unique mood for each rendition.

Enjoy!


...


 ...

 

Sunday, 31 July 2011

"One Little Daisy"

Yesterday I found a poem I wrote when I was nine or ten. It is scribbled on a piece of white printing paper (the kind without lines), so I know it must have been a "serious piece of work". (White paper was reserved for "serious work" when I was little.)

Here it is, typed out exactly as it is written on the page:


~*~*~*~*~

One Little Daisy

One little daisy goes out to play,
Outside, the daisy plays all day.
When suddenly a noise comes through,
That sounds quite harsh and mean!
But daisy just stays in the grass,
For there's nothing to be seen.
Daisy just stays out in the sun
listing[sic] to the awful noise, when
a big red thing comes towards
her toys and takes her off
her poise. The noise stops.
The red thing stops, and
daisy is relieved, until she
is plucked out of the dirt,
and put between a book. after [sic]
A while, daisy's dry and taped
onto a paper. So daisy's days
are filled with hours stuck on a
big caper.


~*~*~*~*~

You don't have to classify this as a poem if it's too painful for you to do so. ;)

I remember imagining a big red lawn mower charging towards a little daisy. I think my original plan was for the daisy to get eaten by the lawn mower, but my sister must have vetoed that idea. Perhaps I confused daisies and dandelions? I really didn't like dandelions when I was a little girl.

If I could talk with my nine year old self, I would ask her the following:

1) What do daisies play with? What are her "toys"? Did I mean June Bugs? Other flowers? A rubber ball?
2) What do I mean by "Caper"? I don't think I was referring to the pickled bud. I knew what those were, and they were gross. (My sister ate them.) Did I mean some sort of shenanigan? What can you do while taped to a piece of paper?



....

I was a fairly odd child... My poor Ma and Pa.
:P

Apparently I wrote them another daisy poem for Christmas. Let's hope this one was a bit less...strange.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Good Eats

Well, I kept my promise. Ellie and I had fun, and we ate very well, too. Rather than spending my vacation money on traveling, I indulged in a most amazing grocery splurge at Trader Joe's. It was important that my fridge be filled with delicious yet allergen-free foods since Ellie and I both have sensitive stomachs. Grocery shopping is always such a pleasure! Especially when your options are limitless and your pocketbook is feeling a bit less tight.

Ellie and I filled our cart with everything delicious: hummus, salad greens, a red and orange pepper, grapes, apples, sausages, bacon, different kinds of meat, ice cream, chocolate, and two kinds of cheese (herbed goat cheese and English Cheddar with caramelized onions). It was a very good day.
...

It was a very good week!

...

Despite the fact that I am not a very good cook, Ellie and I still managed to eat delicious suppers every evening. We agreed that they got better each time. I think I'm finally learning how to properly season and bake chicken tenders. Finally.

...

Sometimes remembering our meals helps me feel a bit less sad now that Ellie is home in N.M. Here you go:

Proof That You Can Eat Delicious Meals sans Gluten/Corn/Soy/Nut/Nitrites/Guargum/Tropical Fruits:

Monday's Supper
Rice Noodles alla Puttanesca with Herbed Goat Cheese and Salad Greens.

Tuesday's Supper
Burgers topped with Caramelized Onion Cheddar and Bacon.
Served with Salad Greens and Steamed Sweet Potatoes.

Dessert: Flourless Chocolate Cake drizzled with Rum and served with Coffee Ice Cream.

Wednesday's Supper
Pasta with Sautéed Squash and Herb Seasoned Chicken

Thursday's Supper
Wednesday's Supper was so very delicious that we cooked the same meal again.
:)  

Friday's Supper
Pan Fried Chicken Sausages served with Green Beans, Squash, and Potatoes sautéed in Garlic Butter.  

Saturday's Supper
Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, and Tomato and Green Bean Hash.  

Sunday's Supper
Pork Chops with Apple-Onion Chutney
served alongside Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Sautéed Summer Squash.

Dessert: Dark Chocolate Mousse
...
My little food adventures with Ellie taught me a few things about cooking:

-Garlic Salt. Use it. Enough said. 
-Chili Pepper Flakes. Use them. Also enough said. 
-Squash tastes delicious when cooked in butter. Everything tastes delicious cooked in butter. (Almost.) 
-Garlic Salt. Salt. Don't under salt. 
-Taste your food throughout the cooking process! Avoid over salting! 
-Be patient with yourself. Cooking is hard! There is no definite right or wrong method, but you know when something tastes good, and you definitely know when it tastes bad. Delicious or disgusting. You know what I mean. Think of term paper writing: Practice, practice, practice. Have a plan. Ditch the plan. Fail. Try again. Fail again. Try again. Practice, practice, practice again. 
-Perhaps the activity of eating becomes "meal-taking" or "partaking of a meal" when you are joined by all the people you love. Maybe this is why people get married and buy dishes together. They want to cook meals! What a happy little thought.

:)

Happy meal-making to you all!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Hurrah for Thrift Stores!

Ellie and I visited the local thrift store,
and I found these treasures for my personal Children's Literature Library:


I am especially excited about The Grouchy Ladybug, since 1) I'm a fan of Eric Carle books, and 2) Sam and my sister have decided that I get infected with "grumpy bugs" after 11 P.M.  
...

Grumpy Bugs,

Pokey,

Cranky,

Grouchy.

Poor, poor Ladybug. 
I empathize with you! 

But wait! It's after 11 P.M. and I am not grouchy, or cranky, or pokey, or filled with grumpy bugs!
Well, what do you know about that?

I should go to bed before this wears off!

:)




Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Old Friends...

My dear friend Ellie is visiting me this week.
We spent our wee little-one days together in the New Mexican desert
learning violin, singing in choirs, and generally being very, very silly. 
 Ellie also suffers from the same kind of gastrointestinal problems that I have.
Partners in pain?

 (Circa 2008?)

~*~*~*~

We both tried being music majors (at different schools),
quit our attempt,
and are now re-attempting the arts again. 
(She's in theater and I'm in music.)

We used to improvise opera during long car rides.
Actually, we still do! 

Ellie is one of those sorts of people who can catch on and join in when I hum the first few measures of the Overture to Candide or Borodin's Polovtsian Dances.

We had a jolly time making cymbal clashing noises.

(Go listen: Here and Here)
 
~*~*~*~

When I am with Ellie, I remember why I love music so much. 
We can enjoy music without the pressure of being perfect performers.
We can joke about violinists being divas,
because we have both played violin,
and I'm sure we have both been divas.
(We would love to eat bon bons from a silver tray. At least I would...)

Yesterday we sat on the drive way and talked about babies,
because girls sometimes need to talk about babies. 

Then we came inside and ate a late night snack.
 
~*~*~*~

Thank you, New Mexico and the M. Family, for sharing your daughter with me!
I promise that we will have fun. :)
 


Sunday, 17 July 2011

Wheeeeeee!

Have you ever experienced the immense relief and bliss that accompanies a decision well made? (Or in my case, finding a solution that works tremendously better than the current option.)

It's the kind of feeling that makes you want to jump about and run around and sing sing sing.

Hurrrrrrrrahhhh!!!

YES YES YES!

YIPEEEEEEEEE!!!

Whew!

Laaaadeeeedaaaaa!

Try this!


"I fixed the faucet!!!"

"I found my lost sock!!!!" (I wish!)

I HAVE TIME TO FINISH SCHOOL! 
I don't have to finish now,
at the school where I began,
with the same programs and majors.

I HAVE TIME TO BAKE COOKIES!!
I HAVE TIME TO BUILD A GARDEN BOX!!

Hooorahhoorahhorraaaaahhhhhooplahhoooorah!!!

Yes...
I'm a silly goose. 

But Sousa Marches are the best, so hopefully the piece is adequate payment for the abundance of exclamation marks and caps.

!!!!!

Friday, 8 July 2011

Summer Reading and Not So Very Long Ago...

Shakespeare 2009
The best of times...

 The French Royal Family Portrait.
My mother was my brother, 
and my father was my friend. 

See the resemblance? 
...
But where is Choo?

Monday, 4 July 2011

In Honor of The "American Sound"

~*~*~*~*~
What forms the American musical ethos?

Hint: It has nothing to do with Rebecca Black's "Friday". May good American music have nothing to do with this...song.
Amen.
Wikipedia, I ask you this: Must "Americana Music" be synonymous with "Country Music"? 

What makes the music of Aaron Copland sound so distinctively "American"?

Again, what is the "American" sound?
Brass? Why so much brass?

Sometimes Wikipedia is helpful: ...Don't kill me.

"The open, slowly changing harmonies of many of his [Copland's] works are archetypical of what many people consider to be the sound of American music, evoking the vast American landscape and pioneer spirit. ~*cough*courtesy of wikipedia*cough* 

Do you want to witness the vast American landscape? Try road-tripping across America. 
In fact, why not do it twice? 
You might appreciate Copland more if you do. ;-) 
You'll also appreciate fresh vegetables more than you ever thought you would. 
(But don't try to drive through Texas and New Mexico in one day. Bad, bad, bad idea. Never again.)

~*~*~*~*~*~

 In honor of today:
(please excuse the Space images.  I picked this recording because the of the sound quality. However, watch this video if you have time. James Levine! His epic conducting face.) 
Fanfare for the Common Man
(Composed by Aaron Copland)


Apparently this piece was inspired by a speech about "The Century of the Common Man" given by former vice president Henry A. Wallace. You can read the excerpt here if you are interested. I especially suggest it to all you Johnson House Sophomores. Yet whether or not you agree with his arguments, please, please spend some time listening to Aaron Copland's music. :D

In fact, go out and buy a CD that includes his Appalachian Spring*. Wake up early in the morning, pour yourself a cup of tea (toaster waffles are suggested, too), and listen to the entirety of this piece.


(*It's funny that Copland did not write this ballet/piece with the title in mind. In fact, the title came after the piece was composed. However it's hard not to think of Spring (the season) or springs (water) when listening to the piece. Why? Maybe the power of suggestion is too strong. Hmm.)

Also,
when you need a pick me up in your day, skip the drink and instead listen to Leonard Bernstein's Overture to Candide.
 
Oh, why not watch it now?

Conducted by the Bernstein himself!
(Fine, fine. Have the drink, too.)







Saturday, 2 July 2011

"We would picnic by the James River...

...shielding ourselves with a yellow umbrella in a manner befitting those from the Orient."
~September 20th, 2010



Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Who Put The Bomp...?

Being the recovering perfectionist/type A/achievement driven Asian that I am, (ha), I sometimes feel the need to "CLEAN ALL THE THINGS" (courtesy of Hyperbole and a Half!). However, the "recovering" part of me finds daily dance parties in the kitchen a necessity. So what happens when you combine dancing + cleaning + bad biomechanics + one unfortunate-"the-dishrack's-too-high"-reach via tippy toes?

You'll wind up with some mean ol' Metatarsalgia.

So much for Ballet this summer. :-P

Ah well.

Now I have time to...
...READ ALL THE BOOKS.

Oh wait.
There I go again!
 ...

While my sister drove me to In-N-Out for luncheon (isn't my sister the best?), we listened to the radio and discovered this Doo-wop jem:


Alright, you probably think it's a weird nonsensical song. Hang in there, though. My sister and I thought it was strange the first time we heard it, too. Especially this part:

When my baby heard
"Bomp bah bah bomp "
"Bah bomp bah bomp bah bomp bomp"
Every word went right into her heart...
 Seems unbelievable that any girl/baby/pretty mama would fall for a guy when she heard "rama lama ding dong"...But maybe that's the point?

My sister guessed that the song pokes fun at the way Doo-wop music inserts nonsensical wording after heartfelt declarations. Whoever wrote the Wiki article seems to agree.
Either way, I was glad to learn that the song wasn't meant to be taken too seriously. ;-)

Silly old me! 

Ah well.

Even though I can't dance or clean all the things right now, I did try to figure out "Who put the ram
/ In the rama lama ding dong?".

Hmm.

The Edsels?
Enjoy!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

If you're washing dishes in 90 degree weather,

Amuse yourself.
Practice singing harmony.
Enjoy the pitchy fiddle!
(My apologies for the rather not-so-pleasant blue screen with white lyrics. 
However I didn't feel comfortable posting the original music video
even though the Old Crow Medicine Show cover is my favorite. Their sound is a bit heavy and scratchy, rather similar to the way hot and smoggy California afternoons feel. Scratchy from all of the flies? I don't know.)


So turn away from your computer screen,
and commence dishwashing!

:)

Or you can sit on the front porch and drink a Fat Tire (if you're my sister). 

Many thanks to Han and Dr. Guy for the introduction (to Wagon Wheel, not Fat Tire). 

Oh wait!

It's summer! 

Why are you washing dishes in the afternoon?

Fry some pancakes or something.





Saturday, 30 April 2011

A "Little House" Day

Sometimes I like to pretend I'm a Pioneer Woman and a friend of the Ingalls Family. I think Laura would find me too stuffy, but maybe Mary and I would get along. Maybe. 

While I don't butcher pigs or milk cows, I still find shopping for a week's worth of groceries deliciously satisfying. And of course I buy good and wholesome foods, like bacon. Oh, and dried cranberries. (And bacon.) And almond milk. (And bacon.) And frozen green beans and a package of Persian cucumbers. (And perhaps bacon again.) 

Don't worry, I only bought one package of bacon. 


Then to come home and lay bacon slices on a tray to freeze, because, you know, winter is coming (in 8 or so months). Or because I can only eat so much bacon before it spoils in the refrigerator! Even better is putting a tray of lemony-garlic onions, potatoes, and chicken in the oven to roast. (And freezing the leftover pieces of chicken, 'cause, well...winter, right?)

Didn't Ma do something similar? Except she probably slaughtered, drained, and plucked the chicken herself. And she set it to bake with Rye n' Injun bread and a pan of beans. 

OH WAIT. 

Wrong Mom. That's "Mother" (Almanzo's) who always did that.


Don't forget the sour pickles, quivering salt pork, piles of mashed turnips, and that final slice of pumpkin pie. Yeap, it takes a lot to feed a growing boy.


It takes a bit to feed a girl who-won't-grow-much-taller, too. 

While my cooking does not always turn out tasty, I still enjoy the weekend when I have time to shop and play "Little House" in preparation for a busy week. 

And there's something so fun about wrapping meat or slices of cake to squirrel away in the freezer for  later. 


Can I name my freezer "The Attic"? 


I need strings of onions! 


But I'll pass on the headcheese, thank you.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Simple Saturdays

I'm beginning to savor my Saturdays again. 

Rather than filling my weekend with half-hearted homeworking,
I leave the house and search out a grassy lawn.

You know,
the kind of lawn on which you can sit and color pictures.
..
...
..

 ..
...
..

...And sometimes I find little treasures.

..
...
..


..
...
..

What sort of treasure do you find?

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Lovin' Spoonful(s)

Some Saturday mornings call for something deliciously creamy and comforting to eat...



This Saturday morning was no exception. 

I was glad to find several recipes online for dairy-free rice pudding. 
(My tummy was glad, too.)

Here's the final version of the recipe I adapted from here
(I cut the recipe in half and replaced the water for almond milk.)

Dairy Free Coconut Rice Pudding
  • 1/4 cup basmati rice (rinse)
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 cup almond milk (or soy milk/rice milk/cow milk) 
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar (I used brown sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of nutmeg 
1. Combine rice, coconut milk, almond milk and sugar in a saucepan.
2. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring often. 
3. Remove from heat and add cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, and the pinch of salt. 
4. Although you can eat the pudding right away, it tastes best when slightly warm or chilled.


Serves 2 or one extremely hungry bear
(Fills one soup bowl full of pudding)

Enjoy!
 

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Co-Sleeping...

Feline Style...


Yes, my cat likes to sleep next to me at night. 
In fact, she decided that her body MUST be touching some part of my body. 

I'll often wake in the middle of the night to a cat snuggling inside the crook of my arm.

...Or paws batting my face.
Or a little tongue licking my cheek.

Cats have rough little tongues!

(If you look closely, you can see the tiny nick in my cat's ear. I've grown rather fond of that nick. It's how we tell her apart from her twin, too.)

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Rain

We've received rain for two or three days this week, and now the soil is soft enough for weeding!

Good-bye, Geraniums. Good-bye, Dandelion.

I need to buy some rubber gardening clogs and knee pads...because I still have Oma Knees.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Jolly Week Fail

Well, E. ended up catching The Sickness on Saturday. Sniffles, fever, and the achies did not ruin her plans for a jolly week. They did however make thinking and functioning in general a bit more difficult. E. is very grateful not to be a full time student right now! 

Her suggestion for living with The Sickies: Avoid reading Dante's Inferno right before bed, especially if you have a fever. Fever dreams are weird enough, but fever dreams+Hell? (No wonder E. woke up in a cold sweat. Or was that just because she was sick? Maybe both.)

3 Days until Birthday!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Birthday Week!

A certain Birdy-Girl is having a birthday next Saturday, and this Birdy-Girl is just a teensy bit excited! Birthdays always call for Birthday Family Dinner(!), and Birthday Family Dinner always includes Birthday Dessert! This means Birdy-Girl gets to think about desserts for a whole week!

Well, not really. I think she already decided on what she will make. (Tiramisu, anyone?)

Anywho.

Since birthdays are a Jolly occasion, Hedgehog and Cheese has decided to celebrate Birthday Week by posting about something jolly or celebratory or splendidly lovely that happens each day. Little Bear is hoping that one of these jolly activities will be "Fixing Trousers". Poor Little Bear.

So here's to a very happy week!

*Also, happy birthday to Birdy-Girl's lovely sister, A., who will celebrate her birthday tomorrow!