Thursday, April 30, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
There's been a lot written about no-knead bread. Two good articles from the NYT are here and here. It takes about 20 hours from start to finish but the actual labor is about 7 minutes total. Before I bake the bread I brush the top with olive oil and sprinkle on Kosher salt. This may become my standard bread.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
My neighbor, a great neighbor and a great human being, has a different gardening attitude than I. That's OK. That's just fine. I don't lecture, I don't criticize (other than in my head), I don't judge. Sometimes I benefit. Last year, she bought tons of plants to put in the tiny little rectangular strip in front of her house. Among the plants were three hydrangeas. I love these plants but so do the deer. My neighbor, while aware of the deer, doesn't try to keep them at bay. So of course the deer feasted on her three small hydrangeas. In the fall Ms. Neighbor dug up the shrub remains to throw them away. Yes, that's her general gardening strategy: buy new stuff each year, be grateful for what lives through the summer, but in the fall dig it all up, throw it away (!!), and start fresh each spring. Last fall I was in the right place at the right time so I inherited her hydrangea stubs. She was a little surprised that I wanted them. I planted them in my back yard, which is surrounded by deer fencing. And Look! They are beginning to show signs of life!
Monday, April 20, 2009
I know it's mating season so I hope this noise was just a moment when the earth was moving for some woodland creatures. But it sure didn't sound like someone was having a good time. This is just a tiny clip that I managed to record near the end, when it was all over. There was a LOT of this kind of squawking or snapping, and you can hear what sounds to me like birds cheeping behind the squawking noise. My guess: something was invading the nest of crows I've seen in a tall evergreen behind my house. Owl maybe? I've seen the red-shouldered hawks try to get into that nest but I'm not sure they would invade at night.
I don't know if they migrate away for the winter or just turn a dull green so I don't notice them. Must find out.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
This little plant and its two sisters have survived about 15 years of being nibbled to the ground all winter long by the deer, only to try again the following spring. Three years ago or so I moved them closer to the house, thinking the deer might not find them tucked up under some larger shrubs. Well of course they found them. So last summer I moved what was left of them to the back yard, behind the deer fences and near the deck. They seem to be thriving, at least this one. The other two are less sprightly but I think maybe they've found a place to get big and sprawling. A testament to perseverance.
[must find name of plant: it's a euonymus according to gardening guru Susan]
I think it's time to give up on this lavender. All the others have come back but this shows no signs of life.
Lettuce, alfalfa sprouts, and chives from Silver Spring. With avocados from Mexico (which I think bothers me less than eating avocados from California or Texas--or maybe not--tough call). Dee-lish.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
In mid-April 25 years ago when I was hugely pregnant with this child I worried that I wouldn't have time to love her as much as I loved my first baby, who was then 2 years old. And I worried that maybe I wouldn't have enough time to love him as much as I would love the new baby. None of that came to pass, of course.
She's home from LA for a much-too-brief visit. A little work, a little pleasure. Oliver is basking in the extra attention.
Love her to death. (And she doesn't ride a motorcycle either. As far as I know.)
Friday, April 17, 2009
In mid-April 27 years ago when I was hugely pregnant with this child I worried constantly that I would give birth to a child who would one day drive a motorcycle. I didn't want my little baby to die in an accident. If someone had said to me then, don't worry Pam, you will have a boy but instead of riding a motorcycle he'll grow up to be in a heavy metal band, I would have said "what? I don't think so." Well, kids have a way of surprising you.
His band had a show last night in northern VA. They sounded great. He gets his BS in Geographic Information Systems from U of MD next month. A very shy, very soft-spoken, very quiet (until he's on stage) heavy metal geographer. Love him to death.
Posted by Pam J. at 10:17 PM
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Not much story behind the giraffes or the glasses or Gus. The giraffes were carved by a Kenyan, the glasses are old and were among those collected by my pack-rat dad,* and the Gus is from heaven. Gus doesn't talk unless there's no one around. If he makes eye contact with a human, or even sees a human, he's mute. But once or twice a week, when he's around a corner with no humans in sight, or outside the closed bedroom doors at night when he can't see the sleeping humans, he wails and wails and wails. Mournful wails. But the minute you peek out the door, or around the corner at him, he stops. Strange. Just like all kitties are strange.
*Thanks for the gene dad. Not.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
The bottom picture is definitely Mexican evening primrose, returning for a third year. The top picture is probably a weed but looks awfully similar to the primrose and is growing nearby. The leaves have more color but everything else looks the same to me. Time will tell.
Friday, April 10, 2009
"Human beings created the idea of God. But the transcendent reality to which the idea of God nudges us is embedded in ... the human experience."
From a Bill Moyers interview with Karen Armstrong.
Compassion is far more important than belief. That is the essence of religion. All the traditions teach that it is the practice of compassion and honoring the sacred in the other that brings us into the presence of what we call God, Nirvana, Raman, or Tao. And people are remarkably uneducated about compassion these days....
We've got to do better than this. Compassion doesn't mean feeling sorry for people. It doesn't mean pity. It means putting yourself in the position of the other, learning about the other. Learning what's motivating the other, learning about their grievances....
People don't want to be compassionate. When I go around lecturing about this, I sometimes see the good faithful looking mutinous. Because they may know that they ought to be compassionate. But what's the fun of religion if you can't sort of slam down other people? This is ego....
We are not doing well at the moment. The three monotheisms, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, they have a besetting problem, a besetting tendency. That is idolatry. Taking a human idea, a human idea of God, a human doctrine and making it absolute. Putting it in the place of God. Now, there have been secular idolatries too. Nationalism was a great idolatry.
Paul Tillich said, "We are makers of idols." We are constantly creating these idols. Erecting a purely human ideal or a human value or a human idea to the supreme reality. Now, once you've made of something essentially finite, once you've made it an absolute, it has, then, to destroy any other rival claimants. Because there can only be one absolute.
BILL MOYERS: Who created God?
KAREN ARMSTRONG: Human beings created the idea of God. But the transcendent reality to which the idea of God nudges us is embedded in part of the human experience.
BILL MOYERS: But if we create God, then we can read into God. Our passions, jealousies, envies, animosities, aspirations.
KAREN ARMSTRONG: Yes and this is idolatry. When you are creating a God in your own image and likeness. When the crusaders went into battle with the cry, "God wills it," on their lips. They were projecting their own fear and loathing of these rival faiths onto other people. And we get a lot of secular people doing this too. We’ve got people saying, "We want to get rid of religion." Or Radical Republicans slanging Democrats. We are very agonistic society. Meaning competitive....
In our discourse, it is not enough for us in the western democratic tradition simply to seek the truth. We also have to defeat and humiliate our opponents. And that happens in politics. It happens in the law courts. It happens in religious discourse. It happens in the media. It happens in academia.