Friday, January 29, 2010

"Nevermore" Times 5

Back in October I had planned to post a poem from Edgar Allan Poe after the people of Baltimore had a funeral for him in memorial of his death on October 7, 1849.

But I never got around to it.

Then I planned to once again post a poem from Mr. Macabre to celebrate Halloween that same month.

But I never got around to it.

And then I planned to post a picture of some birds in my backyard after thinking, "ravens or not, this pic would be a great intro to a Poetry Friday post of 'The Raven'."

But I never got around to it.

Until now.

Edgar Allan Poe's birthday was last week--January 19 (1809)--the perfect opportunity to lay this Poe post to rest.

I'm going to pick up toward the end of the poem where Poe has been asking numerous questions only to have the bird answer "nevermore." Kind of like when Spongebob and Patrick had a magic conch shell and whenever Squidward would ask it a question, he would always get "no" as a response.

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore—
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

Then Poe writes about 60 more words that basically mean "GET OUT!!" And...

...the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted—nevermore!

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Apple Pie

I mentioned earlier that I've compiled a list of about 15 recipes from some old Cooking Light magazines that my sister gave me. I've made a few of those recipes already with a lot of success but last weekend I was craving apple pie--and not the light version either. With both brown sugar and white sugar, flour and butter, this was nowhere near "light". But it's so good. And with ice cream? So very good.

Disclaimers: 1)My skillet is only 8 inches across which is only big enough for 3 apples. 2)There's no bottom crust so it's not really going to hold it's shape. 3)I'm fully aware that the picture above may not look appetizing so some but trust me, it is!

Apple Pie

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored, cut into quarters THEN cut the quarters into quarters
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 TBS flour
1/8 tsp salt

1/2 cup sifted flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter

Combine all ingredients for the filling and pour into a greased skillet or baking dish. Blend all ingredients for the crust together with a pastry blender and sprinkle over apple pie filling. Bake at 350 degrees until the crust is brown--about an hour.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cute Boys And Bad Poetry

T.S. Eliot was wrong. April is NOT the cruellest month. For race fans it's December and January--the only 2 months of the year that are race free. Remember back in November when Jimmie Johnson was crowned NASCAR champion? My 7 year old son cried while watching the Victory Lane ceremony. Seriously. He was so sad it was all over. At the time, February 14th was an eternity away. But now there's just a couple weeks to go until the start of the season and the boys are getting excited. And so am I. And I know this isn't 'Poetry Friday' but I just can't hold it in any longer...

December and January are the cruellest months,
breeding weeds out of the cracks of the cold asphalt,
mixing exhaust fumes with hope and anticipation,
covering idle engines with snow and ice.

(With apologies to T.S. Eliot and his poem The Waste Land)

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Kuno And Dellah

See this distinguished looking gentleman?...

...His name is Kuno and he's my great-great-grandfather.

He came over from Germany with his parents in the early 1850s and they settled in New York. His dad worked in one of the many macaroni factories there in the city but when Kuno came of age he chose a profession that offered travel, adventure and, ultimately, romance. The railroad.

While riding the rails through Arkansas he saw this vision of beauty...

...Dellah. He was in love.

He promised her that he would come back and marry her. And, luckily for me, he kept that promise. He returned to rural Arkansas, became a farmer like everyone else and he married Dellah, 15 years his junior, in 1886.

They had 11 babies over the years and buried 3 of them. And when he lost his Dellah in 1912, he followed her in death just 2 months later.

Now that's a family portrait.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

That's Strange Part III

Time for the monthly meme because I got nothin' today--paying some bills, folding some laundry, boring, boring, boring. It's the Strange Question Meme. In November I posted questions 1-10 and in December I posted questions for 11-20. Here's my answers for 21-30.

21. Do you drink your soda with a straw? Depends on where I'm at. If I'm at home I don't but at a restaurant I prefer a straw.

22. What did your last text message say? "Done!" It was to my sister--she's been without her laptop for couple weeks and I did a little computer work for her.

23. What are you doing tomorrow? School, chores, exercise, to school again, dinner, bedtime rituals. A full day of same old, same old.

24. Favorite color? Green.

25. Look to your left; what do you see? The door to the back porch. The Huskies are curled up on their dog bed and I'm resisting the urge to smooch them.

26. What color is your watch? I haven't worn a watch in years. I rely on my archaic Nokia flip phone.

27. What do you think of when you hear "Australia"? Wow. That is a strange question. I don't know. Kangaroos and dirt. (Sorry, Australians)

28. Would you strip for money? Ha! I think I would make more money if I promise to keep my clothes on!

29. Do you go in a fast food place or just hit the drive-thru? Drive thru but only if I know immediately what I want to order.

30. What is your favorite number? Hmmmm. Maybe 4. Or maybe 1,185. Or maybe 1,634.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Church Chatter, Mass Musings, Religious...Something-Or-Other

Lent begins in less than a month?! I'm keeping my coffee and Dr. Pepper and I'm thinking of giving up 15 minutes of sleepytime to say the Rosary every night. I think that's a good habit to get into. I think I say that every year, though.

There is a sign on one of the columns in church that states that this is a house of God and please be quiet. It's only written in Spanish and if I was Hispanic I would be very offended.

There's a sign (written in both Spanish and English) in the cry room that reminds parents to please control their children. If I could control my child would I be in the cry room?!

My 7 year old begins his first step in preparing for the First Communion by attending a meeting Saturday morning. I'm required to accompany him for that TWO AND A HALF hour meeting and I have to admit I'm not looking forward to it.

In the bulletin yesterday a special collection was announced for Haiti along with the message: Our generous support of this collection will unite us in solidarity and love with our sisters and brothers in Haiti who are suffering extreme hardship and grief from the devastation of the earthquake on Jan. 12. Let us also unite with them in our prayer and ask God to give them the grace and strength to persevere through the difficult days of mourning and recovery that await them. Now THAT, Pat Robertson, is how you respond to this tragedy. Sheesh.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup

My 7 year old loves my belly. He says it's soft and bouncy like a trampoline. I, on the other hand, do NOT love my belly. Because it IS soft and bouncy like a trampline. So in an effort to make it less bouncy, I've gone through my sister's old Cooking Light magazines and collected around 15 recipes that I would like to give a try this year.

Butternut Squash Soup, the first on my list, was a success! It's thick and creamy, slightly sweet, and chock full of vitamin A. You'll definitely want to double this recipe.

Butternut Squash Soup (from Cooking Light)

1 tablespoon butter
3 1/2 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3/4 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
2 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup half-and-half
1/8 teaspoon salt

To prepare soup, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add squash, carrot, and onion; sauté for 12 minutes. Add chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in half-and-half and salt.

Place squash mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape), and secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Questions And Comments To Confuse And Befuddle

I started blogging because I'm awful at scrapbooking. Blogging seemed like a much better way for me to have a journal of my memories. I love that people are interested reading about my favorite recipes and my favorite poems and my favorite boys. I appreciate all the kind words you leave in the comment section, it means a lot to me that you take time out of your day in order to brighten mine. It's easy to forget that I'm putting this thing out there where all the world can see instead of just talking to friends.

But sometimes I get a comment that jolts me back to reality and makes me crawl under my desk with a roll of cookie dough.

Exhibit A: In response to a picture I posted from a grocery store ad of Elliott Sadler (a NASCAR driver) selling fabric softener, Tyler said: what is this? I don't even...

Of course Tyler has his profile set to private and his email isn't enabled. It was the only comment I got for that post so maybe he just felt sorry for me.

Exhibit B: In response to the Toscana Soup recipe I posted, Mark said: thanks for the recipe. however, I've just made this and the salt content suggested is WAAYWAYYY too much. 2-3 tablespoons? Wow.

I could've done without the "Waaywayyy" and the "wow" and if only Mark's email was enabled or if his profile wasn't private I could let him know that a couple tablespoons of salt in a pot of boiling water with 3 of those jumbo baking potatoes isn't so bad.

Exhibit C: In response to the Honey Chicken Stir Fry recipe I posted, Anonymous said: please where can I buy a unicorn?

Okay, so this one actually put a smile on my face and brought me back up from under the desk. Thank you Anonymous!

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Best Recipes Of 2009

Last week I had the difficult task of choosing only one book that I had read last year as the Best Book of '09. But it's impossible to choose only one recipe as the Best of '09. I posted over 30 recipes--some were new and some were already family favorites-and they were all good so I decided to pick 10 recipes that really stood out from the bunch. Still, not an easy task but with some input from WD I came up with a list of the Top 10 Recipes of 2009.

Pesto: I could eat this stuff with a spoon. And in a box. And with a a house...with a mouse...anywhere! (vague, mangled reference to Green Eggs and Ham with all credit, devotion and honor to Dr. Seuss for inspiration. Please don't sue me.)

Banana Pudding: Leave it to Paula Deen to put cream cheese in banana pudding. Yum.

Sugar Cookies: This is Big Pup's great-grandmother's recipe and it's his favorite. Mine too.

Triple Chocolate Trifle: Do I even need to explain why this made it in the top 10? Oreos, chocolate mousse, brownies, hello?!

Praline Cheesecake: In all fairness, I have never made this. But I have devoured it on numerous occasions. It's my mom's signature dessert.

Sweet Potato Chips: Forget french fries, this has become our go to side for burgers and sandwiches.

Cabernet Sauvignon Hot Fudge Sauce: I could eat this stuff with a spoon. And on a boat. And with a the rain...on a train...anywhere! (vague, mangled reference to Green Eggs and Ham with all credit, devotion and honor to Dr. Seuss for inspiration. Please don't sue me.)

French Dip Sandwiches: It's meaty and cheesy and messy and easy and delicious-y.

Chicken Tacos: I'm pretty sure I can eat 20 of these.

Taco Soup: Another recipe from mom. It's a great slow cooker recipe that can feed a crowd.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Bloggy Look At '09

January: My theory on alien life. WD thought I was crazy for posting it but I think it's a pretty good theory.

February: I have butter containers spilling out of my kitchen cabinets but I can't seem to throw them away!

March: My baby turned 7 and I ate too many cupcakes.

April: My other baby turned 5 and again, I ate too many cupcakes.

May: I celebrated National Police Week with a poem from Ralph Waldo Emerson.

June: Vacation! We took the boys to Memphis for a NASCAR truck race and had a great time.

July: A border collie mix showed up on our doorstep and has never left. We named her Indie and gave her ham hocks.

August: Back to school! Big pup started 2nd grade and Little pup started Kindergarten and man is it quiet around the house during the day now.

September: I complained about all the rain we were getting because I had a ton of outside chores to do. I still haven't completed that list:(

October: Ahhh, my Monday morning routine--McD's latte and grocery shopping. I've missed that routine the past few weeks because of the Christmas break and I've been looking forward to everyone going back to work and school so it won't be so crowded in town.

November: You can tell the busy-ness of the holidays got to me. I only posted 12 times in November and almost half were Wordless Wednesdays.

December: T'is the season for giving and I gave over $400 to my van in hopes that it will keep running for another year.

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Friday, January 1, 2010

Best Book Of 2009

Happy New Year!

The past few days I've been working on my my reading journal. Not only does it help me keep track of the books that I read, but it's nice to be able to read back through my reviews to remind me of whether I liked a particular book or not. My memory. Pffft.

So out of the 13 books I read in 2009:

The Associate by John Grisham
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore
This Just In by Bob Schieffer
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang
Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
She Got Up Off the Couch by Haven Kimmel
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (4 books in the series)

...the Twilight series was my favorite! And now I need to start my list for 2010 and I need some ideas. What was your favorite book that you read during 2009?

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