Thursday, January 31, 2013

A repetition

He's coming!

Will you be ready? 


I have always loved Groundhog Day.  And really, what's not to love?  It is ancient and  mysterious and comes without any fanfare in your local shopping emporium!  It gives us some hope in the grip of winter, something fun and joyful and silly and profound.  It made for a great movie, too.

I'm not exactly sure how I managed to find a groundhog cookie cutter, but if you're feeling the need I see there's a similar one here.  I can't recommend the new recipe I tried for chocolate-espresso shortbread (way too dry), but if a deep dip in dark chocolate to represent that peek out from the burrow isn't appropriate AND taste-saving I don't know what is.

We'll be having fondue for dinner on Saturday, in front of a roaring fire and with that certain perfect movie on screen.

And I'll be thinking of my dad, who passed away 14 years ago on Feb 2.  I cannot believe it has been that long.  I still miss him and think of him every day.  And yet it's a little easier every year to smile when I think about all the jokes he would have made about passing away on Groundhog Day -- really, he would have found that endlessly amusing.

Celebrate the day, won't you? And let's hope he does not see his shadow....

Monday, January 14, 2013


I think I baked my first loaf of bread when I was about 9 or 10 years old. My parents had a friend who was a bread baker who was happy to bake a batch with me, and back then (early '70s) homemade bread meant dense, dark loaves with lots of grains and "stuff" that made the bread healthy and clearly homemade. Not one single thing wrong with that, and I do still love those kinds of breads.

I've gone in and out with bread making over the years -- varying degrees of time to devote to it, and varying degrees of interest around the house in eating it. I do make pizza dough every Friday, but that's a story for another day.

So it happens that Dean gave me The Bread Bible for Christmas, and I set aside time over this past weekend to try out the recipe for hearth bread.  It was the first time I went through the "sponge" process where you put the beginnings together one day and let it sit overnight before beginning to actually make the final dough. Wow. I turned out a loaf that's wonderfully rich and dense, yet not heavy (does that make sense?) -- Dean and Ken both declared it "restaurant bread-basket worthy." None of the steps was difficult, but it did require being around on "day 2" to manage the various rises and all. Totally worth the effort.

And now I get at least a few days worth of my favorite breakfast -- toast made with good bread. A nice reason to have winter, I think.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New again

I'm pretty sure that someone I know made a new year's resolution to be nicer/friendlier. It's kind of funny (and fun, and pleasant) to be on the receiving end; she wasn't necessarily evil, or anything, before, but she's noticeably nicer these days. Do you think it will last? I'm trying to be supportive by being a happy receiver of her chipper greetings and her new "so how are YOU doing?!" efforts and also trying to make a point of giving back even more random friendliness to her.

Meanwhile, this could be the first year of my life (since about, maybe, age 12 or so?) that I haven't really made any resolutions. Nope. No grand (nor quiet) pronouncements on New Year's Eve, no carefully composed nor hastily scribbled list. I did say that my goal would be to have a party at some point this year (it's been since about forever that we've had a party, unless you count Dean's birthday parties which I don't think I am going to count), and I'd really like to make that happen. But otherwise, nope.

It's not that I lack for self-improvement ideas, or more, um, meaningful goals than throwing a party.

It's more that I've decided to trust myself. Yup, it's a good idea to get up and take a walk whenever possible. I know which foods to eat more of and which less. Getting more organized would always help, as would finishing up projects. But I don't need to make lists and feel guilty and give up or whatever. I just need to enjoy life and be happy and balance doing the things I know I should, the things I need to do, the things I want to do. Do it because it's right/meaningful/necessary (or decide purposefully what NOT to do), but not because it's on a list hanging over my head.

As I get older, I am slowly appreciating more that being happy is what matters, and that there are all kinds of voices in my head that I need to shut OUT in order to just enjoy life. That nagging vague dissatisfaction (which can get driven by making too many lists!) is the thing that I am trying to cast out. Not getting all hyper-ventilate-y over having things go a certain way. Whatever! It CAN be all good, if that's how I decide to look at things.

Who knows how often I'll get here to post? I like being able to come here sometimes and look back at where I've been, and that's my incentive to keep putting things here from time to time. Happy to have you along for the ride, if and when your own spirit moves you.


And I may still do a 2012 in review here, because there's no such thing as "too late."