Stardust to Stardust

For this perpetual student, Coursera has got to be the best invention ever.  So far, I have taken a philosophy course out of University of Edinburgh (land of Hume and haggis, what’s not to love?), exercise physiology from University of Melbourne, science of gastronomy from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Big Bang and Dark Energy from the University of Tokyo.  This last course, in particular, has fired my imagination.  In my less lucid moments I think I must have missed my calling as a particle physicist.  Or theoretical physicist.  Or what I really want to be, the Director of the Universe 🙂  I confess I never thought about the point of SLAC when I was at Stanford, and certainly when CERN went live, I still didn’t know what all the fuss was about.  Don’t we all want to know where we come from, and how it will all end?  I am fascinated by people who REALLY WANT TO KNOW what happened at the BIg Bang — not three minutes out, or one trillionth of a second out, or ten to the negative 26th second out, but the moment.  Stardust to  stardust . . . .

Up next, all about the angst of Kierkegaard from the University of Copenhagen, and something about city planning from University of Pennsylvania.  Massive Open Online Courses — who would have thought this twenty years ago?  I don’t participate in the forums or discussions, but there is something really cool about the idea of thousands of people all over the world participating in the same class, all — presumably — in search of human knowledge.  Now, if I could just get The Teenager to think of knowledge, rather than The Grade, as the goal!

Overheard at the Farmers’ Market, from a 4-year old girl:  “You can never have too much greens!”

CSA Share Week 18:  strawberries (2+ flats!), rhubarb, hakurei turnips, broccoli rabe, spinach, Swiss chard, onions, green onions, eggplant, tomatoes, eggs

Week 18 Recipes:  roasted turnips; strawberry rhubarb crisp; chard and green onion quiche (and who knew guinea pigs love chard stems!); curried lentil/barley/tomato stew; turnip greens with toasted garlic and bread crumbs; broccoli rabe in goat cheese sauce; eggplant in tomato basil sauce with rigatoni

You Mean, Aside from the National Park?

Quote of the Day:  “What is there to do in Estes Park other than shopping?”


I am surprised I still have a tongue left.

The Three Sisters were guests during my third (and final) innkeeping stint of the summer, about a week before The Flood of 2013.  They were actually nice people, just high-maintenance (and unaware that they were high-maintenance).rmnp hail stormDH and I went on a short hike one afternoon and got caught in a hail storm. Luckily, we were no longer in the open at that point and took shelter under some pine trees, but we were still less than half-way home . . . .

After five days of steady rain, Estes Park is under water; the bed and breakfast is in reasonable shape except for the innkeeper’s basement flat, which is flooded.  And, spur Highway 66 is in danger of failing a few hundred yards up the road from the inn.  The town will bounce back, as it always has.

CSA Share Week 15:  Asian eggplant, summer squash, green beans, spaghetti squash, carrots, strawberries

Week 15 Recipes:  eggplant pasticcio (from The Greens Cookbook by Deborah Madison: did not use mushrooms, used The Teenager’s heirloom tomatoes, and even though recipe did not call for squash, I threw it in there anyway and it turned out great); green beans with olive tapenade; roasted spaghetti squash and carrots

CSA Share Week 16:  garlic, Russian kale, dragon’s breath beans, potatoes, baby bok choy, Asian eggplants, summer squash, onions, strawberries, acorn squash, eggs

Week 16 Recipes:  eggplant pasticcio (because it was so good last week :-)); dragon’s breath beans simmered with tomatoes (the beans were surprisingly bland — definitely not a CSA highlight); sautéed garlic ginger bok choy; roasted potatoes; kale quiche (the Russian kale was sweeter than the usual kale and worked beautifully with the lovely orange and black cherry tomatoes from The Teenager’s garden)

CSA Share Week 17:  Asian eggplant, summer squash, rhubarb, strawberries, arugula, spinach, potatoes, carrots, onions, beets (kept the greens, gave away the beets), green beans

Week 17 Recipes:  rhubarb-apple betty (I think I had more than 1 pound of rhubarb, and even with halving the amount of sugar, the betty had the right balance of sweet and tart; recipe from The Greens Cookbook by Deborah Madison); Zuni stew (also from The Greens Cookbookused squash, green beans, garlic, and onions from CSA, and heirloom tomatoes from The Teenager’s garden); white beans and eggplant gratin (from The Greens Cookbook); beet greens quiche; spinach noodle pudding (from The Greens Cookbook); roasted carrots/potatoes/green beans; arugula lasagna (recipe found here, and fabulous, even though my arugula was a week old, and I did not have shallots so used onion instead!  My hat off to Annelle Williams, a wonderful cook!)

Aha! Moment

A couple of weeks ago, the Mutual of Omaha “Aha Moment” truck came through town.  It was parked in front of my favorite bakery, but at 7:30 in the morning, nothing was happening.  My Aha! moment came a few years ago, and unlike other moments that I thought were Aha! moments, this one really was.  I decided I was not going to argue with my mother again.  Ever.  And suddenly, life on that front became so much easier.  What did it mean?  My mother is 81; if she doesn’t know by now what my stance is on x, y, or z, she is never going to know.  And quite simply, it doesn’t matter that she doesn’t know — my fundamental relationship with her will not change.  Helen Hull (unjustly neglected writer) put it wonderfully in her 1932 novel Heat Lightning:

She meets him where he stands, not where she is, herself.  She doesn’t care about justifying herself to him . . . .  When Geoffrey yells at me, I holler back.  Always.  But why should I do all the work?  I want Geoffrey to know where am.  Maybe you can’t both know, at once, can’t both see what’s pinching the other into such unreasonableness.  

I am working on doing the same thing with DH.  It is a lot harder, no doubt about it; it’s because I am, of course, always right.  And I want him to know it!

CSA Week 9:  squash blossoms, pickling cucumber, summer squash, hakurei turnips, carrots, grilling onions, green beans, heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, eggplants20130720_095905

Week 9 Recipes:  baked squash blossoms stuffed with herbed ricotta; cucumber salad; curried quinoa with squash, scapes, and toasted pine nuts; glazed hakurei turnips with turnip greens; roasted carrots, onions, green beans, and scallions

CSA Week 10:  squash blossoms, harkurei turnips (last of the season!), strawberries, rainbow chard, carrots, summer squash, Walla Walla sweet onion, eggs

Week 10 Recipes: baked squash blossoms stuffed with herbed ricotta (because they were so good last week!); sausage, apple, and sage quiche; roasted carrots; cous cous with squash/eggplant/scapes/pine nuts/raisins; glazed hakurei turnips with turnip greens; chard and new potato curry, recipe from River Cottage Veg: 200 inspired vegetable recipes, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (note to self: next time, feel free to leave some jalapeño seeds in the mix!)

Those Damn Liberals!

While snooping through The Teenager’s Facebook page, this gem of an exchange (and I am not responsible for grammar problems):

SEH:  Always check Snopes before posting.

KLS: Yes and no.  Snopes is run by a liberal husband and wife team, so you have to be careful what issue you are checking with them. In addition, they are a “.com”, is a more reliable source and they are a “.org” non-profit.

Yup, .org confers sainthood — or at the very least, the holy trinity of truth, justice and the American Way.  Like, I suppose.

Opie “I’m a non-profit” Pig, wondering about those “.net” groups . . . .

CSA Share Week 18:  cucumber (gave away), green onions (gave away), parsley (gave away), garlic, onion, spinach, potatoes, kohlrabi, kale, Yugoslavian finger squash (that is one goofy-looking squash), carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, eggs

Recipes:  broccoli and cauliflower casserole, green chile-cheese-corn-cornbread (from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone), spinach and basmati rice casserole (Vegetarian Planet), roasted root vegetables

CSA Share Week 17:  cucumber (gave away), spinach, lettuce, potatoes, bell pepper (gave away), garlic, cauliflower, green onions, celeriac (gave away)

Recipes:  karnabeet (from Greene on Greens), spinach and potato casserole

CSA Share Week 16:  cucumber (gave away), spinach, kale, lettuce, potatoes, carrots, eggplant, bell pepper, tomatoes, kohlrabi, eggs

Recipes:  pico de gallo, eggplant and potato curry, kohlrabi/potato/carrot stew, spinach pie


A very dignified Romney ram

. . . .  not to be confused with:

romneyn.  1.  One who demonstrates incompetence, lack of social conscience, and general disregard of at least 47% of the American population.  2.  One who is affronted by reality checks (see also, palinn.)

In other news . . . .  I am not sure what it means to be a “brainiac cheerleader” — from a breathless introduction by some news announcer, brainiac cheerleaders are “required” to have “advanced science degrees.”  And indeed, some do have these advanced science degrees: A dentist!  A Ph.D. in cellular molecular medicine!  A Ph.D. candidate in biomedical engineering!  But then, there’s the phlebotomist, and the financial analyst . . . .  A group of brainiac cheerleaders goes around the country performing cheerleading routines to “encourage” girls to study science.  Really?  If I were a young girl, I’m not sure what sort of message I am meant to be receiving, but as a woman with one of those “advanced science degrees” and mother of a teenage girl, I know what message am getting.  These women are  great examples of very smart women who think being smart and beautiful means also pandering to male fantasies.  I suppose that’s why  “mommy porn” along the line of Fifty Shades of Grey has been so depressingly popular.

CSA Share Week 15:  lettuce, cucumbers, green onion, onions, potatoes, heirloom tomatoes, chard, spinach, parsley (gave away), bell pepper, kohlrabi, broccoli, eggs

Recipes:  kohlrabi hash (kohlrabi, potatoes, green onions, onions), broccoli with polenta (from Simplicity from a Monastery Kitchen), spinach with raisins and pine nuts, chard tian (from Simplicity from a Monastery Kitchen)

Knitting for the Fall: Wingspan

About 25 years ago, I knitted a multicolored jewel-toned sweater for DH (this was the 1980s, and Bill Cosby was popularizing really colorful men’s sweaters on The Cosby Show).  I think the pattern was from Calvin Klein, and used DK-weight Reynolds yarn held double.  It was my first time knitting a sweater from sleeve to sleeve: the entire pullover was made up of vertical cable panels, each one a different pattern.  Anyway, DH never wore the sweater because it was too small, although a school friend of mine borrowed it once to wear on a date — and it looked great on her 🙂

Fast forward to last summer, when I dug the sweater out of the “couldn’t bear to part with it” pile and painstakingly took it apart, separating all the doubled strands with The Teenager’s help.  A week ago, I found “Wingspan” — and all its variations — on Ravelry:

The Jewel Wingspan

Pattern:  “Wingspan,” by Maylin of Tri’Coterie Designs, lace variation by Helena Forde.  A wonderful example of a complex-looking pattern that is actually a cinch to knit.  I had no problems with Helena Forde’s pattern, probably because I ignored the lace charts and just followed her written instructions.

Yarn:  DK weight wool/acrylic blend yarn from Reynolds.  I bought the yarn from Nancy Bush’s yarn shop in Salt Lake City, The Wooly West, sadly no longer in business.

Modifications:  I used a different lace pattern in one of the panels, knitted 9 big triangles instead of 8, and used a DK instead of fingering weight yarn.

Thoughts:  Loved the pattern — and I am not a shawl/wrap/scarf -knitting kind of person 🙂  I love being able to reuse all the jewel-toned yarn now in the stash.  It is such a great pattern that I may break the unwritten rule of not knitting anything twice . . .  I am wearing it right now as I type — it is a late summer morning, and I can finally feel the autumn briskness in the air.


CSA Share Week 13:  spinach, collard greens, green onions (gave away), zucchini (gave away), yellow squash, carrots, cucumber (gave away), parsley (gave away), green leaf lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, fingerling potatoes, sweet peppers, corn (gave away), eggs

Recipes:  greens and tomatoes with cumin, roasted carrots/potatoes/squash, creamy tomato pasta sauce, spinach with garlic and raisins

CSA Share Week 12:  spinach, radishes (gave away), green onions, zucchini (gave away), cucumber, yellow squash, carrots, eggplant (gave away), heirloom tomatoes, fingerling potatoes, sweet peppers, jalapeño peppers, corn, Romaine lettuce, eggs

Recipes:  Awendaw bread (from Greene on Greens), roasted carrots, tater tomater pie (from Greene on Greens), roasted fingerling potatoes with spinach/parsley/oregano pesto