Saturday, August 25, 2007

What I Ate for Lunch: Yellow Pancake Roll-ups

"Yellow Pancakes" is the name my children gave crepes when they were small.  I haven't eaten them in years, but lately, I've been on a yellow pancake kick.  They are so easy and quick and allow me to eat healthy, non allergenic food without spending too much time cooking. 

The old basic recipe was this:  1/4 fourth cup flour, 1 egg, 1/4 cup milk, blend and cook in a crepe pan with butter.

My new recipe is this:  1/4 cup organic whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup rice milk, 1/4 cup egg subsitute, added seeds and bran.  I cook them until they "harden."  It it not necessary to turn them but I sometimes do for color.  I do NOT use a blender, I whisk or stir them by hand.  (No blender to wash).

Then roll in your favorite sandwich ingredients.  E.g.:  fresh garden veggies and homemade salsa, rice and beans, fruit and homemade fruit jellies (for dessert.)

They are delicate and messy but oh so delicious and quick and easy.  I am sorry I have no pictures, I always get excited and eat them before I remember to photograph them.

Remembering to Notice

One of the first tenets of Zen Buddhism is awareness:  noticing.  But Noticing is hard work.  I am having a problem with noticing in simple areas of my life.  Pills for example.  If I take the same pill three times a day every day, one time blends into the next.  I can't remember if I've taken one at a given meal.  I've tried logging them, but I can't remember if I took them to log them.  I shake the bottle to bring my attention to what I'm doing.  I turn the bottle upside down.  I'm afraid I'm getting senile and will have to get one of those pill things with 5 times a day to take pills that my Mom had.  I should have taken hers when she died.

Right now, I am noticing that even though it's hot and muggy outside, my bare feet are cold in here.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Biker Buddy rules




We were out walking and a huge storm came rolling in with thunder, lighting, wind and sudden hard rain. Biker Buddy ran home and got the car and picked me up--he got soaked--and then took me to the mall to complete our walk--even though he was still soaked! There was six-eight inches of water in the streets and the traffic lights were out. Hard driving waiting turns at every light and puddling through the water. The sky looked GREEN but it doesn't show up in the photos. Tornado warnings.
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flower photo Friday


It's been a long time since I've done a flower photo Friday, but here's one for today. I like the bell-like shape this hibiscus made in yesterday's rain. Click image to view larger. See another view of this.

PS: just a reminder: I'll be away and incommunicado all next week.
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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Face along the Milk River

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Murphy Mess

I didn't sleep much last night, didn't even lie down until after 3:30, lay awake for long time, and was awake again before 7:30.

For breakfast, I made myself a pancake which I intended to serve with apricot syrup. It was a new bottle and the top was tight; I couldn't get it off by hand so I used a nut-cracker to loosen it and set it aside. After the pancake was on the dish, I grabbed the syrup, and since it was new, I gave it a shake. I'd neglected to retighten the top and it exploded all over and made a huge mess.

These things happen to me much more frequently when I haven't slept, and I am also more easily upset when I haven't slept--double jeopardy! Darn Murphy.

Away Note

Away note: I will be away next week and prolly off-line the entire week. I am helping Leaf Lady move her cats to California.

Self-portrait of the Artist as an Insomniac #070822-m: Separated from Sleep


Self-portrait of the Artist as an Insomniac #070822-m: Separated from Sleep
(Guess what I didn't do last night.)

Click image to view larger.
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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Here Come the Hibiscus!





Blogs make an interesting phenology if the pictures are posted on or close to the days they are taken. These hibiscus photos were taken Sunday in Jackson, Michigan where the giant hibiscus were in full glory in spite of the rain! If we photographed or journaled about them every year, they might serve as a marker for global warming or climate shifts and fluctuations.
Anyway, they're pretty this year just like they were last year.
(Last year in this blog, though, there was more writing and fewer pictures.)
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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

ONE MILLION LOVE MESSAGES

I've had some of my art published on one million love messages as the love messages that they are. They are trying to collect a million love messages from all over the world, so if you ever write love notes, take love photos, make love art, please go to:

1millionlovemessages.com

Friday, August 10, 2007

What I ate for lunch: Blueberry Pancakes with Vanilla-Caramel Syrup



What I ate for lunch: Blueberry Pancakes with Vanilla-Caramel Syrup

All from scratch. I made whole-wheat bran flaxseed blueberry pancakes and I made the caramel vanilla syrup from scratch. It has a hint of orange because I put it in the same squeeze bottle (intentionally) as my orange syrup. I thought the hint of orange would be good and it is. And the blueberries are high in antioxidants. Yay!

Here's how I made the syrup: a cup of sugar heated on high and stirred constantly until it melts, turns light caramel color plus a little, and boils. Remove from heat, add 1/2 c rice milk and 1/8 c canola oil. If you do dairy, add milk and butter. CAREFUL--it boils up hard. Return to heat, stir to melt the hardened sugar back into the rice milk. Remove, cool, add 1 tsp vanilla. If you want a hint of orange, add 1 1/2 tsp frozen concentrated OJ. Here is a recipe for Caramel Sauce that I modified for mine. I don't do dairy, so I can't use butter and heavy cream.

Today's Detroit Photo: RAZOR WIRE!
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Thursday, August 09, 2007

What I Ate for dinner

               I made myself a weird "dose-dessert" pancake with strawberries inside and strawberries over the top.  I made the pancake with whole-wheat flour and bran and baking powder and dash of salt and undiluted orange juice and rice milk.  I cut the strawberries up and put about a teaspoon Grand Mariner and a little undiluted frozen OJ on them.  The pancake came out custardy and the whole thing was quite delicious, but since I made it like I usually do, by guess and by gosh, I not only can't fully explain it, I probably can't do it again.  But boy was is good.

Blue Jay



Cricket Time
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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: "Look what I caught!"

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Stolen!








Piano Boy Speeds along the Sidewalk

Stolen!

When Piano Boy left to “hang out with his friends” (the word "play" slipped out, but he quickly took it back) yesterday, I told him to call me and let me know where they were and to remember that he had an orthodontist appointment at 6:30. He was supposed to be home by 5:30, no excuses, to eat and brush his teeth.

The orthodontist called and left a message to ask if we could come in at 6 instead, since he had a cancellation and needed to leave the office. I didn’t call back, since I didn’t know where Piano Boy was or how to reach him.

At 5:30, no Piano Boy, at 5:45, no Piano Boy. We ate dinner without him. Since he lost his cell phone, we had no way to contact him. Then, finally, he called to say his bicycle was stolen. He was going to Yamaha’s to call the police.

The orthodontist appointment was a consultation. When he hadn’t shown up by 6:15, we left without him. As we were pulling in to the orthodontist office, the phone rang and he was home. Biker Buddy went back to get him. The orthodontist asked me when they’d be there. I said soon. He was annoyed and wanted to leave, but waited.

The appointment was strange. I wrote about it last night, and will add it later, if I have time. (I have to download it from my PDA).

Piano Boy said that Houston had locked their two bikes together and both bikes were stolen. That may be the truth, or it may be that they weren’t locked at all and he’s afraid to admit it because we had told him hundreds of times to always lock it to something that couldn’t be removed, like a tree, sign or bike rack. Bicycle theft is a popular and all-too common crime in our area. Around here, there are so many bicycle thefts that the chances of getting the bike back are near zero. The cops essentially ignore the problem. Sometimes, the stolen bikes are dumped into the lake. Other times they disappear into the ghetto or elsewhere.

So, the “new” bike is gone. Whose fault is? Well, first it’s the fault of the thief. The thief is ultimately to blame. But then, it is Piano Boy’s fault. He’d been given not one but two locks and carefully instructed in their proper use. He’d been reminded and encouraged to lock his bike and told that if it were stolen through his neglect, we would NOT replace it—at least not immediately.

This morning, Piano Boy asked me to drive him to Jake’s. I said no. He could take the other old bike or walk or stay home. He needed to suffer some consequences in order to understand why we tell him to do certain things. He said he would not ride the “ghetto bike” (it’s not “cool enough” for him). He took “my” roller blades instead.

I’ll probably have to drive him to Choir day camp next week. That will take time from my busy schedule. Or, we could let him take money from his bank account, the non-college portion, to buy a new bike. His carelessness is going to be a burden to all of us. And it’s sad; it’s an unnecessary and unhappy loss. It makes me question human nature. Why do we have thieves, computer hackers, rapists and murderers? Right, let’s put this in perspective. Piano Boy is OK. Maybe he’ll learn to take better care of his things. Maybe. But I’m not holding my breath.

Today's Detroit Photo.
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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Not Ducks, Bunnie! (Braces)


Tonight, we had an orthodontist consultation for Piano Boy’s braces. The whole thing was confused, upset and delayed by Piano Boy having had his bicycle stolen. He says he has it locked to Houston’s bike and that they took both.

The doctor had plaster casts, photographs and X-rays of Piano Boy’s face mouth and teeth. It was all little strange and weird. The plaster casts of his teeth reminded me of those ducks and other strange creatures that artist Tim Burke made at Heidelberg. The photos of the teeth and X-rays were a little gruesome. And there were diagrams, drawings and technical terms. I asked what the consequences of doing nothing would be, just to see what he's say and he was really articulate about explaining the pros and cons. The consequences of getting braces but not keeping your teeth clean could be worse than not getting them all at, which worries me because we can hardly get Piano Boy to brush his teeth even when nagging him.
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What I Ate for Lunch

My blogger friend, Leah, is beautiful and looks young for her age. She's a great blogger and nonfiction writer, a poet, a photographer, and a wonderful perceptive kind loving friend. I love her.

One day at lunch, as bloggers do, we talked about blogging. We both admitted that we like to blog, we sometimes resent the time involved, and we don't always like other people's posts. Some are great, some OK, some boring.

"I hate reading about what people ate for lunch!" Leah told me emphatically. I winced. I myself am guilty of writing about what I had for lunch.

This reminds me of a story. I had a stalker for a while, at least, that's what everyone called him. So I'll refer to him as Stalker Man. He used to come by my house and leave me notes and presents. That would have been worrisome enough, but worse yet, he meddled in my life, sent threatening letters to my ex-husband, without my permission (or prior knowledge), and to my boss, etc. I was really afraid of him and relieved to move away where he could hopefully no longer bother me.

During the time after my second husband left me, I dated a number of men, mostly briefly, before I gave up on men entirely for many years. Stalker Man was one of the reasons for my giving up on men. (Biker Buddy was my sole reason for starting up with men again.)

During the time I was dating, I dated a man who worked in construction. He was a stonemason and carpenter. He was rough looking on the outside but kind, gentle and sweet. I adored him. I'll call him Mason Man.

Stalker Man came by my house almost every day while I was at work. He drove a big truck, and every time he drove in and out of my driveway, he drove across the grass. In the spring and winter, he made big muddy ruts in the lawn.

Long after we quit seeing each other, Mason Man stopped by to visit me. He too drove a big truck, to haul construction supplies. Because there was a car parked in my driveway, Mason Man drove up on the lawn in case the person to whom the car belonged needed to leave. (She didn't—it was my mother's car and she was in the nursing home.)

During the course of my conversation with Mason Man, standing in the yard with his truck, I was noticing the deep ruts in my lawn made by Stalker Man. Understand: I really like Mason Man, whereas I was afraid of Stalker Man and found him annoying. I mentioned Stalker Man's ruts to Mason Man, and he apologized profusely for driving on my lawn. I was SO embarrassed. It hadn't occurred to me that Mason Man would think I was criticizing HIM. I wasn't! I wouldn't. I didn't care if he drove on my lawn. I was angry at Stalker Man and it had nothing at all to do with Mason Man. I told him that, but I didn't think he believed me, and I felt really bad. I wish Mason man knew I didn't mean to criticize him. That I cared about him and never meant to upset him. The worst thing is, I haven't seen him since the day I criticized Stalker Man to him. I've been unable to tell him again I care about him and had no intention to criticize him. He could drive on my lawn all he wanted.

What does all this have to do with what I ate for lunch? I don't know whether Leah meant to criticize MY talking about what I ate for lunch or whether she meant the criticism as an analogy for boring posts in general or some specific other blogger who wrote often about food. In a way, it doesn't matter. Because I love Leah, and her criticism of my blog, whether intentional or unintentional, is well taken. Her blog is much more interesting than mine.

Here's what I say (excuses, excuses):

I have a lot going on with my family and life right now with the death of my mother, her estate, and the sale of her house, my move (still not unpacked), my art my writing and so on.

I am putting my writing energy into my novels and poetry. Also investing time and energy in my art.

I could go on, but I won't. Why do I blog then, if it's not the highest priority in my life. I don't really know, maybe I shouldn't.

But I have another issue about what I ate for lunch. I had no lunch, and it's 1:38 PM and I may not get any lunch. I often miss my lunch. I seem to be so busy lately. It's ridiculous how busy I am, and for what?

Busy-ness, though, is not the worst problem with talking and writing about food. The real problem is, I have issues with food. I am overweight, my weight threatens my health, and I can't get it under control. And all my doctors can't help. Or don't.

Maybe I shouldn't be writing about what I ate for lunch. But I like to. I'm interested in food. Supposedly, one should eat to live, not live to eat. I'm not in either category, but I do like to eat and I like to write about eating and food.

I recently wrote a story about Key Lime Pie, but I didn't post it, because I was thinking about what Leah said about not liking to read about what someone had for lunch. I thought about making a separate blog and naming it, "What I Ate For Lunch" and putting food talk and recipes on it. But, I have too many blogs already! I'd like to cut down on the number of blogs I maintain, not increase them.

So, I am going to label all my food-related posts, "What I Ate for Lunch" plus a subtitle. Then anyone who doesn't want to read about what I had for lunch can skip that post. And yes, Leah, if you're reading this, I DO realize you might not have meant me (Hence the story about Stalker Man and Mason Man.)

So here then, finally, is my "first" (new) post under the "what I ate for lunch" category. It is not really the first one, but it will be the first one with that label. I will go back and label the old ones and then maybe post the Key Lime Pie story and some addendums to it. Maybe. If I ever have time.

"What I Ate for Lunch; Spicy orange Syrup on Whole Grain Pancakes"

As I'm sure you realize by now, I'm getting old. I'm 61 years old. I have a problem that bloggers rarely blog about: constipation. It's unpleasant and I don't intend to talk about it here, at least not much. I've tried all sorts of remedies without much success. The one thing that seems to work fairly well with a minimum of unpleasant side effects is bran. But bran is hard to take and no, psillium pills do not work.

I've experimented with various delivery systems for the bran, and my current delivery system is pancakes. With every meal, I make a whole-wheat bran pancake, because it's quick and easy and the taste is fairly acceptable. But it's better with syrup.

Syrup is "bad." It's high in sugar and being overweight, I do not need a lot of sugar in my diet. I also don't like paying the high cost of maple syrup, even though it's yummy. So I've been experimenting with homemade syrups. My mother used to make homemade syrups.

I made a delicious vanilla syrup. I made an elderberry syrup (I'm done at the doctor's and headed out and that's another story, a story about honesty and truthfulness and the goldfish I'd LIKE to write about.) My favorite syrup so far is the one I made last night, spicy orange syrup. It's perfect on my bran pancake and it tastes so good it's almost like a dessert. And I don't need desserts!

Here's how I made it. I did NOT use a recipe; because we got home really late last night and we were very hungry and I didn't want to waste time looking up recipes, so I invented one. I made it while concocting an ad hoc stir-fry (not sure if ad hoc is the right word here). I put one cup or sugar and about 2 tablespoons of water in a large saucepan on medium heat. The water did not entirely dampen the sugar but made it dissolve faster as it heated up. I heated it and stirred it until it boiled and then about two more minutes, took it 3/4 off the heat and added about a quarter of a cup of frozen concentrated (undiluted) orange juice and 2 sprinkles each of cinnamon and cloves. I stirred it until well mixed over the ¼ burner, cooled it, and decanted it into a plastic squeeze bottle to squeeze onto my pancake. It was wonderful.

Next time I'm going to try adding a little orange zest.

It could be served on dessert pancakes. For presentation, sprinkle the pancake with powdered sugar from a sugar shaker and then make a spiral or other design with the orange the orange syrup. Serve with a wedge of orange and three cherries or a scoop of vanilla ice cream also decorated with the orange syrup.

I made the pancake with a scant 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour, ¼ cup mixed bran (wheat, oat and corn), ½ teaspoon baking powder, a sprinkle of salt and sugar, a teaspoon of canola oil and enough rice milk to make a batter. I fried it in a teaspoon or two of canola oil. Crepes would work well with the syrup instead.

Today's Detroit Photo

I'm a Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving!




You're A Prayer for Owen Meany! (I am, according to the quiz.)

by John Irving

Despite humble and perhaps literally small beginnings, you inspire
faith in almost everyone you know. You are an agent of higher powers, and you manifest
this fact in mysterious and loud ways. A sense of destiny pervades your every waking
moment, and you prepare with great detail for destiny fulfilled. When you speak, IT
SOUNDS LIKE THIS!



Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.


WOW! I'm impressed and excited because I really like John Irving! Also surprised. I haven't read this book--maybe I should. OK, putting it on my wish list now.


For those one or two of you who might visit me regularly, I should explain that I've been off-line since Thursday when Biker Buddy accidentally cut the internet cable with the hedge trimmers.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Stuart Smalley Meme

I was tagged for this meme by Berrybird over at Lake Loop. It is like many of the other list meme going around except for one little twist: this list of ten things has to be ten things you like about yourself. This is quite a challenge for me because like Berrybird, I've been feeling a bit poopy of late. I too could use a boost.

I should be doing something important. Like sleeping. Or cleaning. Or a thousand other things, but hey, why not? That's what they make tomorrow for. So here goes:

1)I like the fact that I am smart. As I am aging, I sometimes fear that I am less smart than I used to be, but I am still pretty smart. I'm really glad. It's allowed me to excel at school and at work. It's allowed me to learn things I want to know fairly readily. As Berrybird pointed out, there are different kinds of intelligences, I am happy with the kinds I have. I love my love of learning and my curiosity.

2)Creativity: I am so happy to be creative. I am a creative cook; creativity touches nearly every aspect of my life. I am a poet, a writer, a photographer, and artist and an editor. And glad of it.

3)Intensity: I am a very intense person. I feel deeply, cry hard, laugh loudly, get very angry, play hard, concentrate deeply. Sometimes it gets me in trouble, but mostly, I like it. I'm glad, because it makes me feel ALIVE.

4)Strength: I have a great deal of physical and emotional strength, for which I am grateful.

5)Love: I have lots of love in my life. I have a loving husband and loving children, a loving extended family and loving friends. Like Berrybird, I am grateful for my loving family and friends and know not everyone has that good fortune. I am glad that I appreciate them all and don't take them for granted. And I am glad that I'm a loving person able to respond lovingly to others.

6)I am grateful for my ability to appreciate beauty. My appreciation of beauty is so intense it almost hurts and it resonates in me like a song. I'm glad I love natural beauty, music, art, dance and poetry. I love opera, and I'm glad of it!

7)My facility, knowledge and skills with the outdoors and with plants. I'm copying Berrybird here, because it was such a match. I always had an easy time learning plants, although to be honest, I struggle with what I call horts, or the landscaping plants, the weird hybrids and such. Maybe because I don’t find them while walking around in the woods or maybe just because I don't find them quite as interesting and engaging. I like my outdoor interests and skills. I used to teach survival skills and orienteering and nature stuff. I was a naturalist. I loved it and my interest expertise in those areas. I was a mountain climber, camper, snowshoer, skier and am glad of it!

8)I like my eyes, too. They are hazel, forest greens and browns. Perfect.

9)Copying Berrybird again: I do appreciate my civic-mindedness. I too have voted in every election since I was able to vote, and that was a lot of elections! And I am an environmentalist. I may not be perfect, but at least I care and am working at it. I like helping people whenever I reasonably can.

10)I'm glad I'm a reader. I have so much fun and learn so much from books. And, I'm glad I'm a writer, because it is fun and challenging. I love my love of books.

Oh, and now I have to tag people. This will be hard, because I don't have a very big readership. I tag jo(e), Marie, hpy, Blue Rose, Lupo Grigio and Pam if they haven't already been tagged, as well as anyone else reading this who wants to play along.

Words for Wordless Wednesday

Why I married Biker Buddy: see Wordless Wednesday pictures below. The pictures were taken at Cranbrook on Sunday.

Wordless Wednesday




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The Goldfish




The goldfish of yesterday's conundrum is now ensconced in its new home with Kit and Henrietta and crew. I hope it lives a long happy life. I miss its little flash of orange on the kitchen counter.
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