Sunday, November 29, 2009

My Pie

First, to set the scene: The hot fudge sauce has nothing whatsoever to do with the pie.

I had done two raised, round medieval pastry coffin pies before (and another couple of small rectangular ones, but those were in a mold). The first was perfect, the second was not.

Here's the tiebreaker. It's a pork pie. I used "Food in England" for a description of how to raise the coffin, and "In Service to our Middles," an SCA cookbook I've had for a long time, for the main recipe.

I could've left it in a little longer. I was able to move it from this pan to a plate just by picking it up and moving it, though!

Of the sauce, which was a long-cooked-down onion soup made with pork bones, basically, only a little fit into the hole. I stabbed in there to make more room, but still, not much.

To serve it, I removed the top and dished it out with a spoon and put a little of the soup/stock over it in the bowls. It's light pork meatloaf with lots of raisins.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

All in One Day

Cats in Albuquerque, my brother Justin and my sister Irene who's visiting him in Texas, Holly and Adam in England, all in the past 24 hours.

It's wonderful that I can get photos like this when they're still new. The cats might still be on the couch.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gratitude, the whole set

I'm very grateful that Holly arrived safely in England and that she's asleep in a warm bed, and that she can update us via the internet.

I'm grateful that we found a set of drums for Marty and he's putting them together right now.

I'm grateful that I made it to the post office before they closed, because I got some last minute orders I maybe should've saved but figured I'd just hurry, and it worked. Six Big Books, a Moving a Puddle, and three sets of Thinking Sticks, which will travel over Thanksgiving to Vermont, Oregon, France, the U.K., British Columbia... some other places in the U.S. I can't remember. :-)

I'm grateful that the new shipment of books arrived so that I could send out those orders today. I had been down to three copies.

I'm grateful to have this blog and a camera and a computer to go with it, and friends to read it sometimes, and for it to be a place where Kirby in Austin and Holly in England can get some news of home.

I'm not going to stop being grateful just because Thanksgiving is tomorrow.
(Oh! I'm grateful that we're going to Jeff and Jennifer's for Thanksgiving!)
I'll stop reporting on this weekly, though, and report other happy things.

Week 5 * Week 4 * Week 3 * Week 2 * Week 1

Monday, November 23, 2009

Holly's departure and (Meme)mento mori (sixth of six)

Holly's plane is probably leaving the gate as I write this. Here's how she looked just before I smelled her hair and kissed her face and hugged her goodbye until January.

Frank's blog had one of these, and that leads to others.

Choose the sixth picture from the sixth picture folder on your computer and post it.

Here's mine:

Ashlee and Marty at the zoo last winter or spring. They're still all kissy and "I love you" all the time. Mush. Sweet.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Science and other odd phenomena

Holly was looking at the projections of the sunlight through the doodle tops, and planning to take photos. Not a video, she said, but awesome photos. Perhaps in other Holly-places you can see those, but here's Holly working on great photos of doodle tops in the sunshine:

Then People Magazine came. Sexiest Man. Johnny Depp. Of course. But inside the front cover was this:

And it said "Ideas are sexy too." And then it was an advertisement for General Motors. I thought maybe I wouldn't need to scan it, because maybe there was an online version. What I found online was one blogger saying it was a good ad (having just gotten her copy of People too), and another blogger (male, I think) ranting on about how disgusting it was, and if GM had good ideas why did they take government funds and bulahh blah blaaa.

I think it's cute. I think it looks like a fusion of Mark Wahlberg, Sam Elliott and Albert Einstein. What human of any gender could complain about that!?

So then Keith came home. When he came home he was being Gunwaldt. We could tell, because he looked like this:

And he said when he was at the event today, which was a local day of arts and sciences, that he was asked a new question:
"How did you get your eyebrows to match your coronet?"

Sure enough they do. Details if you click:

When he was getting ready to go early this morning he was going to wear his hair down and said he needed something on it, but didn't want to wear his big county coronet, nor a hat, so I said what about your old viscounty coronet? "The one with the sword that stabs me?" Yeah, I said. The wings.

I hadn't considered that in the very many years since he had worn that, his eyebrows had indeed done that crazy-old-guy thing of sproinging up and out. So I'm glad I have photo documentation of his eyebrows having come to match a coronet he hadn't really worn since the 1970's.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Off to the Ball

There' a masked ball at Blaiddwyn (that's the University of New Mexico, but its SCA name). Here are photos of Marty, Holly and Ashlee as they got ready and left.

Marty is a cow. He found some archeological article about Viking masks of a cow and a sheep. Neither Keith nor I had ever heard of it. What he found said the masks were fastened to close-fitting hoods, and he had this hood from when he was younger. It's felt, and he painted the knotwork on with Holly's advice and assistance. It's jowls, a nose and eyebrows.

What Marty found is halfway down this page:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Classic Marty Dodd, and Indian art

Intent photo of Marty, by Ravi Bharadwaj, Sunday night. (Marty's eyes aren't always so red, but they match his shirt!)

After the rangoli demonstration and workshop, Beatles Rock Band drew everyone downstairs for a while. These and other photos are at the Monkey Platter Festival blog.

I still have photos to add there. Still working on it. I never did get all my photos from England up, so I might fail at "all" but I've already succeeded at "most." I think.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Gratitude Project, Week Five of Six

I'm grateful that Hema and her family were able to come and visit.

I'm grateful that others came to the various "Monkey Platter Festival" activities so that Hema's family could be around other unschoolers.

I'm grateful that Julie Daniel found some more errors in The Big Book that I could fix. Some were very subtle and artsy.

I'm grateful that Keith made a new step for the bottom of the "fire escape" (stairs down from the library deck).

I'm grateful for a warm bed and the possibility of a nap this afternoon, after one of the best and most tiring weeks of my life.

Week 4

Week 3

Week 2

Week 1

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Holly in my dress, and how I relax

Holly, in my wedding dress, yesterday:

Yesterday Hema and Ravi Bharadwaj left, with Raghu and Zoya, about 10:30. Zoya wasn't happy about leaving. I had a great week with them here, so I wasn't crazy about it myself. The rest of the afternoon I was very tired. Did the unschooling chat and it was a pretty good one. The last day of the Geesee chat code, they say. It should be disappearing from the world tomorrow. It was based in Eastern Europe somewhere, and it's been fizzling out for two years already, but I liked it all but the font being small.

Keith drove me to the post office to mail books ordered over the weekend, and we went to the grocery store. I was too tired to eat. I did watch House and The Big Bang Theory (with Holly, the second one), and I slept very happily.

So today I suppose I could be relaxing, but I'm cooking a turkey stuffed with whole grapes, apples and dates (because we got a free turkey the other day, and we'll be scattered hither and yon on Thanksgiving), and I'm draining the hot tub to clean it. I'm not making "a turkey dinner," I'm going to make bread and an orange/cranberry sauce and slice up some tomatoes.... I'm making turkey sandwich supplies. Keith goes to singing tonight. Rare for our lives, he's in a singing group I'm not in. (I could be, but I'm in an SCA burnout phase, generally speaking.)

That is the snapshot of my life today, I guess. Tomorrow, Wednesday, a current, rich, ripe Gratitude list.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Monkey Platter Festival, winding down gradually

This is Zoya Bharadwaj, in a photo taken by her dad on Tuesday at a park in Albuquerque. I'm putting pictures up from the Monkey Platter Festival days, which continue tomorrow with a workshop on rangoli. Sounds like a pasta dish, but it's a powdered-pigment art form, a little like sand painting, but not quite.

There are photos now and there will be more later:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Gratitude Project, Week Four of Six

This is coming in the middle of The Monkey Platter Festival, and so just in case I don't have time to get to the computer and write, I'm making one in advance.

1. I'm grateful to have several pairs of shoes. Often when I was a kid I only had one.

2. I'm grateful to have met all my grandparents. I was ten when the first one died, and grown with two children when the last one died.

3. I'm glad the physical therapists at the rehab center knew how to help me get my leg functional and strong again.

4. I'm grateful that a wooden hot tub made from a kit can last five years. (Maybe more, but five so far.)

5. I'm grateful for my MacBook because it's awesome and portable.

Week 3

Week 2

Week 1

Monday, November 09, 2009

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Music and imprinting and paper cutters

I cannot cut the top of the Rock Band Box.

I've been disassembling cardboard boxes to make shipping boards for copies of my books for a long time, but the cover on The Big Book of Unschooling is so pretty when it's pristine that I've been packing those extra carefully, with cardboard on both sides. So I need cardboard.

In cleaning up the downstairs for the Halloween party and Monkey Platter Festival (two cleanings for one! Or one cleaning for two)... the box that The Beatles Rock Band kit came in was there, taking up a lot of space. So... to the paper cutter I went, but it's huge. The easiest thing to remove was the top. And when it was flat and looking like a giant mounted Hard Days Night poster, I just couldn't cut it.

I walked away for a few days. I went back today and cut up the rest of the box, and I have to say that that is one of the finest, strongest and most awesome cardboard boxes I have ever, ever seen. It had a fully-reinforced bottom, which is to say that there was double cardboard around where the weight of the contents was going to be. It was a fold-in-with-tabs box for the creation of the sides (which were double cardboard on each), but it wasn't all one big piece of cardboard as some fold-up boxes are. There was some STRONG reinforcement where the plastic tab-through handle had been.

So I got about 18 cardboard panels out of that box, some with great Beatles art or words, and I still have the top of it whole.

That's not a photo of mine, that's an image from online. And lest anyone think I've gone goofy, gushing about a cardboard box, I have boxes I've owned since the 70's just because they're awesome. One was thrown away one Christmas lately, a box I had reused every Christmas for a dozen years and I think I might have cried. If not, I had to think hard not to.

Someone designs boxes that can be manufactured in mass, and some of those boxes are engineering artistry, and so some of those engineers are great artists.

So where was I... OH! Michael Jackson. Marty and Ashlee, Holly and I went to see This is It yesterday, the documentary of the rehearsals of Michael Jackson's to-have-been-last show. There were some stunning moments. And this morning when I was deciding again not to cut up the top of the Beatles box, I thought of how great a part of my life involved music, and of that music how much of it was directly or indirectly related to The Beatles and Michael Jackson. And I thought of having read, last summer that Fred Astaire, when he saw Michael Jackson dance, said he was glad he had seen his successor. There was art through and through that show about preparation for a show. Sets, costumes, instruments, the music, the courtesy, the clear admiration people there had for one another, and for Michael Jackson. Computer animation and film and lighting. It was bigger than anyone could built a box for.

Also, when you see that movie they give you a laminated stage-pass looking thing with a printed cloth lanyard that says Michael Jackson This is It all along the cloth.

You can click that to see it larger.

So I thought of what is big and good and special. And I thought about how many people decide to do less and to settle for plain instead of perking up and doing what they CAN do rather than just what they barely "have to." And I'm going to keep thinking about that for a while.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Holly's home

Keith and I met Holly at the airport. She was wearing her birthday crown.

She came home and opened these gifts:

There was a needlepoint card from Julie Daniel, in England, and a birthday card from Adam. There were flowers (arrived this morning) from the Daniel family, too. From the Dodd relatives were various DSi things, so she has a new DSi, four games and various accoutrements. And some thick shrinky-dinks plastic.


Holly's home!

Bonus gratitude

I got up early, 5:30, when Keith was leaving, for rehab. I have two more sessions, on my leg/hip. Usually they're at 7:00 a.m.

Keith's motorcycle is in the shop for brake callipers or something. So yesterday I told him to take the car to work, because I've run out of copies of the Big Book of Unschooling (more are on the way), and I didn't need to go to the post office today.

After I was up I looked at my physical therapy schedule and my appointments not until 8:00. Keith and I joked about it by e-mail.

I went out to feed the birds, as I do each morning, and saw in the driveway nothing but Marty's jeep. Huh. Keith took the car, and I need to go to the rehab gym.

So here's the gratitude part: I'm not frustrated about it, nor angry, nor embarrassed. I called Keith and he said "I didn't think about that," and I said "neither did I." Keith told me where the extra key to Marty's jeep is. I said if I couldn't find it I'd find Marty's key. Marty's asleep and usually wakes up at 10:30 or 11:00. I know calmly and for sure that if I use Marty's jeep to go to this appointment, he won't be frustrated or angry. He'll be calmly fine about it. I'll leave a note, and I'll be back at 9:20 or so. He'll still be asleep.

I can remember situations I witnessed or was part of, many years ago, in which this could have been a recipe for accusations and whimpering and cussing, but it's just not.

Calm builds calm. If someone had told me that when I was 25, I would have had no idea what it was about. I was years from "calm."


Holly comes home today. She'll be here for two and a half weeks. and then to England. I lifted the photo from her stuff elsewhere.

The note I left for Marty, in two places:


I took your jeep to rehab. I'll be back about 9:30, or sooner.

Keith has the car because the bike's in the shop. We forgot about it when he took the car to work. Sorry.



9:35 Follow-up: I came back and Marty was up. He pointed to the note on the door and said, "What does that mean?" I said "I'm back. I took your jeep."

The reason he was awake is that flowers were delivered, for Holly. From Julie, James and Adam, the family she'll be with in England. And Marty was wondering why his jeep needed rehab. So I clarified and he said I should've said "physical therapy," and he went back to bed, but all very nicely. So when you leave a note for a younger person, don't say "rehab" if you can say "physical therapy."

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Third week of gratitude project

I'm grateful that my children grew up whole and safe, healthy and happy. Holly turned 18 on Monday.

I'm grateful to have a refrigerator that works, and food to put in it.

I'm grateful for Keith's kindness and good nature.

I'm grateful to have a house with SEVERAL tables, because I just love tables.

I'm grateful that my interests and personality came together to give me a chance to honestly and truly change the world a little bit. That is an awesome and humbling and giddy thought.

Week 2

Week 1

Monday, November 02, 2009

Happy Birthday, Holly Dodd!

Holly Dodd, my youngest child, is not a child at all anymore. She was born November 2, 1991 and has made our lives richer and funnier ever since. She's made us think and feel things we couldn't have known without having had a little girl in the family. Kirby and Marty learned things from having a sister that they wouldn't otherwise have known. It probably makes them better boyfriends.

I won't get to see Holly on her birthday. She's in Corvallis, Oregon. She'll be home Thursday, though, and here for a few weeks before embarking on another adventure.

Holly, I hope you have a happy day and a wonderful year.

I've found and brought some previously-hardly-seen Holly photos as a celebration, or as decorations. That early make-up practice paid off. She got pretty good at it. The Aladdin and Jasmine photo was on her 9th birthday. The one with balloons was probably someone else's birthday, because there are Christmas gifts behind. The one of her and Marty is cute. He's very masculine and she's kinda girly there.

Those last two are "Holly Luggage." When Keith used to meet us at the airport, she would run and grab his hand and fold herself up into a suitcase.