27 July 2006

He did something RIGHT?

Will wonders never cease? I'm watching Larry King Live and it seems that President Idiot actually did something I approve of. He signed a law named after Adam Walsh, the son of TV star John Walsh, who was abducted from a mall in Hollywood, Florida twenty five years ago today. When John Walsh was on the Today Show in 1981 to beg for help for his missing son, I was 7. I don't remember that, but I do remember the terror that swept through my community (several hundred miles away from Hollywood, FLA, I might mention) and changes that our local mall made to their security procedures.

I'm quoting a conservative website here, but the salient points of the law are that it:

1. Establishes a national sex offender registry available on the Internet.
2. Requires convicted sex offenders to be entered into a national registry before they are released from prison and update the registration in person within three days of moving.
3. Offenders must verify their registry information every month in person. Failure to comply is a felony.
4. An offender who knowingly does not register and moves to a new state can be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison. If an offender who has not registered commits a violent crime, the offender can be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison.
5. Establishes a sex offender tracking office in the Justice Department.
6. Some sex offenders may be required to wear tracking devices.

The thing is that this is the right thing to do, no matter which side of the aisle you’re sitting on. Ohio has a registry available online, and I searched it about 6 months ago and found that there are 13 registered sex offenders within a two mile radius of both my home AND my office (and one is on the south side of my hometown; the other is on the north side). This is a really scary thing, y’all. I don’t think that pedophilia is curable; “treatment” for those who terrorize, prey upon, and kill children is lethal injection.

Which makes me think that I’m not as much of a liberal as I’d like to think I am, but hey, this is real, honest emotion. The work that I do makes me react like an overprotective mama bear. And since we’re sliding into bad territory there, I’m on to the next thing. The info on this law being capitalized on by conservatives is yet another example of how Dems are missing the boat over and over and over. Anyway.

Check out my articles on Growers and Grocers tomorrow and Saturday; tomorrow’s is about a journey DH and I took to a winery far, far away, and Saturday’s is about your tax dollars at work in mad cow disease testing. It is a editorial and I’m pretty riled about the recent changes to testing standards, which is a bit odd b/c I don’t actually eat red meat. But many of the people I love do, and the danger of the human form of mad cow is real.

Larry King is over and Anderson Cooper is on. He's hot.

25 July 2006

Feelin' hot hot hot

Had a wonderful anniversary; went to visit a winery here in OH and got just a weee bit tipsy. It doesn't get much better than this; you can sample all 11 wines that they make for $3. Yes, $3. They give you an ounce of each one and so that adds up to 11 oz of wine.

I wrote about it for Growers and Grocers, it will post on Friday.

The West Coast is sweltering under record temps, and we're not exempt from it in the Midwest. Yesterday and today were lovely, but we have a heat advisory for tomorrow and I'm expecting much unpleasantness from the heat. I hate the heat. Have I mentioned that before? I think a time or two.

Anyway. I did some checking about the test that the radiologist wants me to have and it turns out that the overwhelming majority of women who have a ductogram end up having surgery to remove the milk duct or cyst that is causing the problem. I don’t wanna have surgery. Don’t have time to either, now that I think about it. And I’m fretting unnecessarily because until I consult with the surgeon, none of what I think or have read will definitely come to pass.

I don’t spend much time talking about television, (or ever watching it, really) but there are two summer replacement series that I want to touch on. Sci-Fi Channel’s Eureka! Is something my DH has gotten in to, and I like it against my better judgment. Then USA Network has Psych, which I don’t really like. I am a huge fan of Dule` Hill, I really liked his work on The West Wing, and so I really wanted to like it, but I just don’t.

This is a classic case of escapism, because I’m watching stupid television programs to avoid watching what’s going on in Iraq, Iran, and Lebanon. Happy Tuesday!

21 July 2006

July, nearly over

Once again the summer seems to be slipping away from me. I have been very busy with work and un-motivated to post lately. I'm blaming it on the heat. It has been so god-awful hot and humid that anyone with any sense either collapses in the air conditioning or lies submerged in a pool, river, or lake until the sun goes down. Really, today's high wasn't all that bad; I think it was only around 81 (26/27 C) but the HUMIDITY is what's killin' me. For anyone who has never experienced it, think of swimming through a pool of water. The air is thick, heavy, sticky on your skin. Rather than taking deep breaths, you end up chewing on the thickness of it all. Asthma sufferers (yep, that's me) experience an increase of attacks in times of high humidity.

I detest the heat. Yes, yes, sunny days are fine when the relative humidity is in the 40% range. After that, unless I'm at the lake or in a pool, 73 degrees and low humidity is fine fine fine with me.

I have a couple of things to talk about today and not much time, so enough bitching about the weather.

First on my list; tomorrow is my wedding anniversary. Happy Anniversary to me and DH, married 6 years ago during (thank god) a very cool summer! I’m going completely off the grid for our anniversary weekend; no mobile telephone, no pager, and no computer. This will be the first time in 2 years that the pager has been off. I’m really excited about it.

Next, didja know that beer will kill slugs? Check out FitFare on Wednesday next week for my next article.

Which is really related to the third item on my list; I've agreed to write for Growers and Grocers, also a Well Fed site. My first piece there will post tomorrow. I’m very excited about this, because it is another area that fascinates me. US legislation about food production, and checking into locally grown produce….my first article is about organic labeling standards in the US and the next one will be about a locally produced wine. Yes, they DO grow grapes that make damn fine wine in Ohio. Who’da thunk it?

Next, I’ve had a dreadful scare. I had a mammogram this week and must go and consult a surgeon next week. Let me say this from the start: I do not have breast cancer. What I have is a miserable family history (breast, cervical, and uterine cancer abound) and a very cautious OB/GYN. All of which is fine until they tell you that you just need to have a little more invasive procedure done, just to be sure. And then the very helpful radiologist (who I’m sure is a perfectly nice woman, really) tells you just E-X-A-C-T-L-Y how they DO that procedure…..urgh. Details I’d rather not know, thanks all the same. Anytime needles are involved and I’m not sedated, it ain’t a pretty picture.

Finally, did everyone in America manage to MISS “W” aka President Idiot making an ass out of himself at the G-8? Good lord. Wake UP! How DID this man get re-elected? I don’t need to enumerate his faux pas here, but glo-reeee, did he ever make a bunch.

Oh, and one more thing. The last bit I want to mention is a piece that I heard on NPR yesterday. Please, if you are one of the small percentage of my fellow citizens who STILL support the Iraq war, give this a listen.

08 July 2006

news that I haven't felt like following.

I'm shocked that Kenneth Lay died. And that there's some wacky law on the books in Texas that could allow his widow to keep all that money. I think that's awful, but it isn't what I want to post about today.

"W's" press confrence from Chicago....North Korea launching nuclear test missiles...Kuwaiti women being allowed the vote for the FIRST TIME EVER....a great commentary that I read in the Wall Street Journal about women's rights in other islamic countries...

I have been very busy with work lately...if you know me IRL then you've heard all about that verboten topic...and I've not been able to post as frequently as I'd like. And I've been too tired to come up with intelligent commentary about the news. Since that's the case, why don't you run along to Dooce's post on Alpha Mom about Brittney Spears? Cause it is really well written even if you don't like Brit-Brit.

Cheers on a Saturday!

03 July 2006

Midsummer Pics

The party was wonderful. I wanted to post the pictures and the recipes from the Swedish food. The picture above is of K's hand holding one of my Darlencian Horses, a very typical Swedish symbol. There's 4 types of crispbread and a Swedish cheese on the platter.

Next, Choklad Bollar

I know it is bad form to compliment yourself, but damn, that's a cool picture that I took. Chocolate Balls are comfort food for Swedes. I first encountered them in Västerås, at language school. They were sold everywhere and I got them at cafes, convenience stores, wherever. The first time I ever tried to make them myself back here in the states, though, it was a complete disaster. They've got butter, oatmeal, sugar, and cocoa in them, and how hard can that be? You don't even bake them, for heaven's sake. My mistakes weren't just in the ratios of the ingredients, but in my methods, as well. The butter and sugar must be creamed for a very long time by hand, or done in the food processor, which is the definitely the easiest way. Then the oatmeal; this time, I used steel cut oats. That wasn't a mistake, exactly, but I won't do it next time. I will repeat what I did with the steel cut oats, though. I ground them in the coffee grinder until they were powder fine. That makes a big difference in the final texture, so I will keep on doing that, even with rolled oats.

1 stick of butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 2/3 cups oatmeal (DO NOT COOK THE OATMEAL!)
6 TBSP cocoa, unsweetened (I used Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa)
2 tsp vanilla sugar or 1 tsp vanilla extract
5-6 TBSP milk

In a food processor, grind the oatmeal into a fine powder. Remove the oats from the working bowl of the food processor and cream the butter and sugar in the food processor. Add the oats, cocoa and vanilla sugar and pulse until the mixture resembles gardening soil! Remove the mixture from the food processor and put into a large bowl. Add milk, one tablespoon at a time, and mix with your hands. After each addition of milk, check to see if the dough will hold together. When it does, you're ready to roll! I used a #60 ice cream scoop to make sure the balls were all roughly the same size. Roll the balls in coconut, cocoa powder, pearl sugar or nuts. Store in the fridge. You could substitute coffee for the milk, and have Mocha Balls. I don't know if rum or another booze would work, but it would be fun to try!

I doubled the recipe and ended up with 58 balls, and used only a couple of tablespoons of coconut. I had some trouble getting the coconut to stick to the chocolate balls, and I don't know why. The original recipe that I got off the web said to chill the balls first, then garnish. I didn't do that, I garnished them as I rolled them. But that seems counter-intuitive to me that the garnish would work better after they're chilled. I would think that they would accept a garnish better while warm.

Next is the dilled potatoes.

I love potatoes, and I love dill. There's no real "recipe" to this....
Boil 3 lbs "B" size potatoes and drain. Melt one stick of butter and add 3 tablespoons chopped dill. Allow the butter and the dill to hang out together for a while, like brewing a cup of tea! Toss the taters and the butter in a casserole dish and garnish with a blossom from the dill plants. Keep warm until serving time.

These are lingonberry pears, or lingonparon. You can find lingonberry jam if you hunt for it. Hell, my local grocer in Ohio carries it, so it can't be that hard. But check a local IKEA if your grocer doesn't. Anyway, I did these the cheating way by using canned pears. This means I didn't peel, core, or cut the pears. They are better when you use fresh pears, of course, but I was short on time. I bought pears that were in light syrup and rinsed them well to rid them of the syrup, although that doesn't get completely rid of it, it does decrease the sugar content a bit. Then I took the whole jar of lingonberry jam, added some water, lemon zest, a cinnamon stick and a few whole cloves, and boiled it for a few minutes. Add the pears and stew for a little while. Serve warm with vanilla sauce or sweetened whipped cream.

Add lots of friends, a bunch of alcohol, stir well and keep the stories going until at least 1 am. Repeat annually.