Thursday, October 5, 2017

An interview so remarkable

That I was tempted to change the name of our blog to "Sane Women Doing Sane Things." Seriously, I can't believe there are living, breathing North American university professors who openly say such things (and I mean that in a GOOD way). Strange times, indeed.  Professor Paglia sees the death of Western Civ looming (don't we all), but I'd like to hope that if a few more of us have the courage to speak up and denounce the lunacy of post-modernism, there is still a chance to keep barbarism and totalitarianism at bay. Thank you, Dr Peterson, for all you continue to do. It has been life-changing for so many of us.

This video (like all his others) is worth every minute*, I assure you.

*Some may ask: "Where do you find the time to watch a video that long?" You may as well ask how a football fan finds time to watch a game, or how a chick finds time to watch a chick-flick, or how an epicure finds time to enjoy a dinner at his favourite restaurant.

PS Apologies for the sporadic blogging. I'd really meant to do better, but September decided to be a rather insane month.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Avett Love, continued.

What makes them tick? asks the filmmaker.  Hint: "Love one another" is a good place to begin. I can't wait to see this movie.

This remains one of the most exquisitely crafted songs ever written:

Saturday, September 2, 2017

It's not every day that the word "Lust" is printed on my birthday presents

But then, it's not every day that my birthday presents are in German. I had to do a double take when I saw this label. 

But fear not, it has an innocent meaning (though I'm sure that some of the eloquence must be lost in translation):

And when we're talking Römertopf  (Deutsch for “Roman pot”), "delight" is surely the operative word! I received a lovely 6 qt clay roaster for my birthday. It happened one or two years ago, but I'm only getting round to blogging about it now. (Procrastination is an ongoing issue; I'll deal with it someday.)

Contrary to what many might assume (that I received it from my daughter who speaks German and spent time working in Germany), it was given to me by my sister, Mrs. Doris Rose Jones, and she bought it in Saskatoon. But it was made in Germany, as all genuine Römertopf  products are. 

A friend once told me that she didn't collect things like this because she was not a gourmet, and to that I must respond by saying I DO collect things like this for exactly the same reason. 

I don't love Römertopf (or clay bakers in general) because I am a gourmet, but because such cookery is absolutely, positively idiot-proof​, and thus entirely suited to my culinary skill level. I quote from the (1970s era, thus the goofy title) Romertopf Cooking is Fun (why did everything have to be fun back then? I guess it was better than everything being an unconscious-bias microagression) cookbook my SIL gave me:

"Overdone" and "burnt" are words which are competely unknown in the Romertopf kitchen. Once a dish is in the oven nothing can go wrong(bolds mine)

What's not to love about that? Especially for cooks like me, who can vanquish even the simplest "No Fail" recipes. 

The baker is made of (mostly) unglazed and porous clay; you soak it in water for 15 minutes before patting it dry and putting the food in. The moisture given off during cooking prevents the food from drying out. Thus the clay baker is not so much a vessel as a process; it really can't be compared to glass or metal (even cast iron, which would probably give similar results, given the heaviness of the lid). Clay bakery produces the most succulent roast chicken and beef/bison/pork roasts we've ever eaten. Plus the heavy clay keeps the food warm for much longer than most other roasters (and if you like 'rustic', it's pretty enough to go straight to the table.) 

Fresh herbs make every chef appear Pinterest-worthy!

Das ist mir Wurst!

Translation: "That is my sausage/It's all sausage to me/I don't care"
(it's apparently an idiom, not just a declarative sentence.)

Friday, September 1, 2017

The world can end now (the Rhubarb Files)

Because I finally found a rhubarb cookie recipe that I like.

Rhubarb and I go way back. (It probably began because Auntie Anselma, God rest her soul, did not put enough sugar in her rhubarb pie. For that matter, neither did Mom, but she used more than Aunt Anselma).

I have never, ever understood rhubarb. I think it is one of the mysteries of the food universe, like tofu. I'm not alone: even the Wizard of Id made regular fun of rhubarb.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

I'm ready to have my maternal senses soothed.

I just love antique architecture, not least because back then, they knew how to design homes for families, and they didn't mess around with ridiculously large Master suites that take up half the second floor. I really love Colonial, but this 1920s design is fabulous too. Third floor attic playroom for the kids/grandchildren? Yes, please! 

This comes from the 1920's brochure describing the design: 
"All mothers should be free from those things which disturb and distress. [Amen, brother!] They should at all times feel a sense of restfulness, serenity, peace and poise. Conditions for such a state of mind cannot be found in crowded districts, but rather in ideal private homes, in the The Winchester class, where only those influences are permitted which tend to satisfy and soothe the maternal senses."
This was back in the days when "poise" meant grace, elegance, composure and dignity, not incontinence pads.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

You pray for humility...

Image found at
And you hope that God is going to answer your prayer by giving you a calm and gentle spirit that will amaze and inspire everyone around you. Instead, you wake up one day with a flaming, pulsing, hideous cold sore on your nose. And no--I'm not going to post a picture. This isn't Instagram. But here, for your edification, is Mother Teresa's 'Humility List.' (I guess as a blogger, I'm already breaking rule number one, but it does say "Speak" not "Write".)

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Day of Gratitude

So it's one of the last days of summer holidays. I slept in this morning. I convinced myself I deserved it, because the last 36 hours ten years or so have been plagued by insomnia.

I berated myself for sleeping in, and indulged in guilty feelings and other useless negative emotions. But then I decided to adjust my attitude and make good use of the hours that were left to me. 

I made the sign of the cross before I got out of bed. That was my quick morning prayer. I spoke the name of my God, who is a Holy Trinity, and I traced the lines of the Christian symbol of suffering on my body. Because life is (mostly) suffering.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Something Else Writers Love


As in, on January 7, you have the effrontery to call yourself a "writer" AND THEN YOU DONT WRITE ANYTHING FOR THE NEXT EIGHT MONTHS.

Well, that's not entirely true; I have been writing in my journals, but I'm not sure that counts, since they are never likely to be published (especially if I burn them before I die, or ask Mrs Beazly to do so aferwards, providing she outlives me).

I took a hiatus from all my column writing jobs in mid 2014, and co-authored a book in 2015, which was supposed to be published in 2016, but that didn't happen for reasons too numerous to list here. And now, here we are in the latter half of 2017. How does this happen? Is life going this fast for everyone else?

Anyhow, did you ever see the movie Amadeus? At one point, someone asks Mozart how he is prorgressing on a composition he'd commissioned. Mozart has nothing to show on paper, but assures the client that it's entirely written... in his head. I'm not remotely like Mozart in any way, but I can still relate to that sentiment. That's where I've been blogging (and column and novel and non-fiction writing) for the last 7.8 months: in my head. I did not intend to take all this time off. It just kind of happened. I thought of lots of blog posts, but somehow they were never written. Maybe they still will be (though the one from the fourth Sunday of Lent, "Better Laetare Than Never," might be a bit outdated by now).

 But as the new school year rolls around, maybe it's time for a fresh start. Lots has been happening in my life; perhaps it's time to share with the five or six DOH readers who aren't related to us by blood or marriage. Please stay tuned.

Like that guy said in that Monty Python movie, "I'm not dead yet."

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Things writers love

A clean desk, some fun pens, a coffee (tea, mulled wine, or Hot Toddy) mug, a retro lamp, and a BIG FAT THICK STACK OF CLEAN FOOLSCAP! Do you remember foolscap? Do they still make foolscap? Maybe. I don't know, but if they do, it's called something else. Because the word "fool" (when used as a noun) is probably some kind of micro-aggressive, unsafe-space, hate speech.

This is cool, and I did not know it. I always thought perhaps foolscap got its name because it made the best dunce caps.

Friday, January 6, 2017

It's about zippers

But it could just as easily have been an emancipatory cry of Victorian women who were sick of riding bikes and horses (to say nothing of playing Battledore and Shuttlecock!) while wearing long heavy dresses. Except that they didn't say "swell" in Victorian times, unless they were talking about bruises and such. 

But don't you just love vintage ads? I do. I thought this was so funny. Not least because zippers were called (by this company at least) "talon fasteners". Napoleon Dynamite would approve. 

Technically swimwear, but at least they were onto something...

Retro Cookie Charm

Yes, by golly, it's the vintage Tupperware cookie cutters! Did you have these as a child? (In other words, did your mom or grandmother?) Our mom did, and my sisters and I grew up baking with them. So much fun (but I never understood the pig. Why a pig? What holiday has a pig for an emblem? I found only National Pig Day, but that's a bit of a stretch, especially since the holiday only seems to date from 1972! Something to do with Ireland was the best I could come up with, but there is clearly no shamrock associated with the Tupperware piggy.)

Many twenty years ago or so, I was at a garage sale, and I found two of them: the Santa and the gingerbread boy. I was so excited, I bought them right away. But the entire set eluded me (eBay, of course, was not invented back then) Then last year (Christmas 2015), I received this set from the Beazly household. As I vaguely recall, I squealed in a most unladylike fashion when I opened the box and saw them all there.