Home

Spring Rolls: Take One

September 6, 2020

It was a good effort, is about all I can say for it, but it’s a good starting point for future efforts.

Made Vietnamese fresh spring rolls.. that is, raw ingredients, wrapped in rice paper, eaten cold, just like that. Not fried. Not cooked in any way.

Dipped in dipping sauce.

Let me start with that. The recipe actually called for a sauce that is made with something called preserved black beans. When the coop did not have such a thing, Jim brought home regular black beans. When I read that regular black beans are not a substitute for preserved black beans, I ditched that dipping sauce recipe and found another that sounded pretty good. And it was.. best part of the whole dish, actually.

You whisk together some hoisin, peanut butter and a little pork broth (I used chicken broth). Then, quickly fry up some minced garlic in a little bit of oil, add the hoisin mixture, then some sugar, let it simmer a bit, and cool. It was too thick for dipping (even though they said to let it thicken), so I added a bit more broth. It was great.

Then prep some: basil, cilantro, mint, bean sprouts, chives and red bell pepper.

Those are the rice papers on the left.. they’ll be set in cold water until they get soft (but not soggy), about 30 seconds. This is the before.

Rolled up, they look like this:

Not the tidiest rolls. And in fact, the tighter and denser, the better. Lesson one (of many).

And here’s the whole presentation with that great dipping sauce, chopped peanuts and chopped chives (and peaches and frosty white wine.. because: summer).

So.. our evaluation was: They were pretty raw and lacking in substance. Were it not for the richness of the dipping sauce, they’d be pretty dull. So.. you could add rice or chicken or shrimp… something. And, as I said, pack them tightly so they don’t fall apart.

The First to Hit 50

September 5, 2020

Teri and Chad are the first (by orders of magnitude) among our generation of Frame sibs and cousins to reach 50 years of marriage. Jim and I, for example, just a few years behind them in age, will be celebrating our 24th anniversary this year. Helps to get married at 20… and not 43, if you’re looking to hit the big numbers!

I made a little slide show.. really little — only four photos… here are two of them.

And here’s what we looked like, the whole lot of us.

We actually talked for nearly two hours! Teri, Chad, Brian, Amy, Jim, Kari, Peter, Marty, Marie, Mark, Monica, Dror, Ben, Nina, John, Maita, Matthew, Dean, Mary, George, Cece, and Alan.. who showed up about 1:40 minutes in (he thought it was next weekend)!

Covered a lot of territory, a lot of years, so many stories (it’s a Frame gathering, after all!).

They met in a chemistry class at Piedmont High School and got married while in college (UCD, UC Berkeley). Theirs is a story of respect and devotion. And life-long love. Happy happy anniversary Teri and Chad.

Sentimental-y

September 4, 2020

Sentimental is what happens on those days when you get to have a long conversation with your far away son.

Then, when digging back into the archives for something else (check back tomorrow for what), I came across these two ..

Peter’s 11 here.

Respite

September 3, 2020

[Note: Still trying to get my sea legs with the new block editor here.. so not attempting anything too fancy tonight. I should say, the tech support team was pretty great last night. Couldn’t solve all my issues last night but this morning I got final resolution on the last of the problems — a few lines of code I needed to insert into my engine.. that was a bit new for me.. but it worked. There will be more changes, but I’ll explain those later.]

So.. the respite to which I refer in the title is respite from the smoke! Vicki and I could walk today. We were able to complete the entire loop around the arb.. which was the first time in OVER TWO WEEKS!

Here is a celebration photo.

You can see all the poop; these guys have just moved right in and claimed this whole section of the path on the far west end of the arb. I think they got kind of used to a people-free environment while we were all stuck in our houses, and maybe got a bit to comfortable. We’ll see if the gaggle remains as the days go on.

The other thing celebrate today is another summer bounty dinner. It was a night of leftovers, but it was summer fare-rich… you got your tomatoes (best of the summer so far), avocados, peaches, zucs, broc, more tomatoes, basil, cabbage, garlic, and rice. And Turkovich.

It looks like I eat a lot. And I do. (#immagoodeater)

I am exhausted trying to will this blog into shape.. but I will say it’s easier tonight than it was last night.

The nice tech support woman told me I’d be best off changing my theme. That is hard for me; I’ve used this “Simpla” theme since 2008. So we’ll see what that change brings. I do feel a renewed sense of anxiety around getting this entire blog into print form. I’m a lot of years behind on that. This seems like a good time to go there.. been putting it off for a very long while. After inserting those lines of code, I feel a bit emboldened.

First Day for the Ages

September 2, 2020

[FYI, WordPress has seriously messed with the editor and I do not know what I am doing, especially do not know how to add a photo. And this has happened within the same week that Facebook changed its format and forced me out of “classic” mode. I’m extremely irritated and NOT amused.]

Did that work?

Good lord… I can’t even tell you what’s appearing in my editor…

On the assumption that this is working, I will tell you that the above is what will serve as Peter’s first day of school photo, on this, the third day of PhD school.

And with that, I will attempt to publish this… wish me luck.



WTFJHT

September 1, 2020

Ever since the 2016 election, I’ve been reading–daily–an email summary of the news, written by a guy named Matt who lives in Seattle. He was incredulous about the firehose of shocking news blasting us from day one of the current clown car of an administration and started his daily summary, entitled, “What the Fuck Just Happened Today.”

He starts with a single paragraph that captures the main news items (as relate to the machinations of the administration), then, fully referenced, provides detail on each item below that, interspersed with resources and some humor. He’s a funny guy, and from what I can glean, smart and full of humanity.

I’ve sent him some money here and there to support his effort, and own a WTFJHT t-shirt. I’m a fan. He’s got a huge following; I recommend subscribing.

Last week, at the end of the day’s newsletter, he posted this blurb:

Screen Shot 2020-09-01 at 9.41.58 PM

Sounded like a great project, so.. I thought about it and came up with this:

IMG_7771

IMG_7773

 

Not entirely sure it’s what he was looking for, but it was fun to think about.

 

First Day of PhD School

August 31, 2020

Been thinking a lot of Peter today on this, the first day of classes at UM.

Not having a picture of him starting school today, I decided to post my favorite of all the first day photos.. his kindergarten picture. Never fails to bring a smile… the look on his face says so much. He obviously knows it’s a big deal, as the paparazzi parents are snapping pictures like there’s no tomorrow. In this picture, he’s in a line up and I’m sure there is a gaggle of parents goofily and tearily looking on, clicking away. And he’s all fresh in first-day-of-school clothes, new shoes with laces tied just-so (and double knotted!). He’s got his sensible hat and his paperwork, so right off the bat: such a responsible big boy! To me, I see a bit of nervous energy in his slight stiffness, and that smile… it’s a bit brave and tentative. But I also see a good measure of pride. He was ready, if apprehensive, to start kindergarten.. he’d heard so much about it. Undoubtedly, there were some kiddos in that vicinity who were not so sure about all this and were clinging to parents who were trying to convince them that entering that classroom was a good thing. I know there was drama and I’m sure he was glad not to be a part of it.

147-4706_IMG

 

2003…  that was only 17 years ago. Gosh.

So.. yeah.. all the compulsory school: over;  the undergraduate college years: over. And now.. as Yali said on Facebook this afternoon… It’s the first day of PhD school!

It’s a weird time to be starting school, of course, because the whole country’s talking about students returning to classes this fall.. the little ones as well as the big ones. Public health officials worry about college kids because of the invincibility factor and the expectation that they’ll flaunt guidelines. Dr. Birx came out publicly today to say that if a college kid does contract Covid-19, they should stay at school and recover there. She warned that the spread, should they come home, would cause worse problems. So there’s that. I just hope Peter will wear his mask. I’m pretty confident he will.

Lamenting that I cannot get a first-day-of-school photo… so I’ll share the closest I could come to a current photo of Peter in Ann Arbor:

This is about a week ago. He’d just had his second meet up with Aaron–his advisor/major professor– but the first academic conversation, and he was pretty jazzed, so called us to tell us all kinds of things about what they’d talked about, his readings, his questions.. and it had gone well, he thought.

IMG_7656

 

And another… he’s describing something that’s going over our heads..

 

IMG_7642

 

Maybe this.. (he screen shared something from a paper he’d been studying):

IMG_7653

 

As I recall… that thing that looks like a smudge is actually a ton of plot points for something measuring the turbulent flow of some fluid?  Maybe.

Anyway… another first day of school under the belt for our student.. Year 18 is now underway!

#LoveHimSo   #WearYourMaskHoney   #UnlockTheMysteriesOfTurbulence!

 

 

 

Zoom and Doom

August 30, 2020

goodnight zoom

 

Been feeling so unsettled and agitated. Let’s review:

  • Pandemic: Check
  • Fires: Check
  • Air so bad you have to stay indoors: Check
  • Canceled socially-distanced social outings: Check
  • Big time election stress: Check
  • Lying, corrupt conman still in office: Check

 

And it’s not Zoom’s fault, it’s not Sister District’s or Indivisible Yolo’s fault… but good lord almighty, I attend a lot of Zoom meetings. I like them, even. But: I. Will. Be. So. Glad. When. This. Mad. Schedule. Slows. Down. 

Mostly, I just wanna go outside. I wanna be in the sunshine with a blue sky above. I want to be with friends, like right up close, without feeling like we all have deadly cooties.

I’m reminded of a song that Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows sings… so plaintively…

Raining in Baltimore

This circus is falling down on its knees
The big top is crumbling down
It’s raining in Baltimore fifty miles east
Where you should be, no one’s around
I need a phone call
I need a raincoat
I need a big love
I need a phone call
These train conversations are passing me by
And I don’t have nothing to say
You get what you pay for
But I just had no intention of living this way
I need a phone call
I need a plane ride
I need a sunburn
I need a raincoat
And I get no answers
And I don’t get no change
It’s raining in Baltimore, baby
But everything else is the same
There’s things I remember and things I forget
I miss you
I guess that I should
Three thousand five hundred miles away
But what would you change if you could?

I need a phone call
Maybe I should buy a new car
I can always hear a freight train
If I listen real hard
And I wish it was a small world
Because I’m lonely for the big towns
I’d like to hear a little guitar
I think it’s time to put the top down
I need a phone call
I need a raincoat

 

 

Song sounds like a dirge the way he sings it.. so down.

 

 

Grateful for the tech wizards who figured out this technology. Video conferencing goes back decades, but, now it’s a couple clicks on a free app… shockingly simple, enormously robust.  Thanks to the global pandemic, video chats, video meetings, video socializing, video celebrations, video everything have all become mainstreamed and commonplace…a daily part of life.

Zooming’s become a verb.

I do believe we’ve crossed into a new paradigm of communication. The technology’s not new, but our reliance on it sure is. I’m guessing as the pandemic wears on and on, and we continue to have to remain distanced, that people will grow more and more comfortable with remote communications and soon will favor it. Like…. I don’t want to have to go somewhere for a meeting if I could just as easily hang out at home, not have to mobilize, not have to be totally presentable. It saves a ton of time and works beautifully. Especially those 7am meetings. And the 7pm meetings. We’ll have a meeting next week to which 60-80 people will show up.. and no cars, no parking, no gas, no room set up (and no room fees), no refreshments.  Is that great, or what?

This morning, we came up with the idea of having a 50th wedding anniversary party for Teri and Chad.. in a week! We “planned” the whole thing in a flash. Nearly thirty people–from all over the country–will be able to be there. And there will no additional planning, zero travel, zero cost.  Of course it won’t be the same as having an in-person party, but it will still serve a huge part of its purpose.  We can’t travel anyway. Can’t get close to anyone safely. But we can be zoom together.

Now zoom’s an adjective.

I was on a two-hour phone bank zoom this morning, calling voters in Pennsylvania about supporting Biden and Harris. Jim and I hung out with Monica and Dror for an hour and a half this evening after dinner. Then Peter logged on to say hi, and we hung out for another hour and a half (if you’re counting, that’s five hours of zoom time).  Not unusual at all these days.

And look how cozy:

IMG_7736

Just like he’s here with us..

IMG_7734

 

Feelin’ Chefy

August 28, 2020

This one made me feel fancy, worthy of my apron and sharp knives and cooking gadgets. It was another Christopher Kimball.. and another super flavorful dish.

Started with sweet paprika, hot smoked paprika, fresh chopped thyme and kosher salt:

IMG_7725

 

Blended that and then rolled a small pork tenderloin around in it.. massaging a little to really get the herbs and spices to stick. Let it sit for 15 minutes.

 

IMG_7726

 

While that sat, I measured and prepped the rest of the ingredients.

Then in a large, hot pan, browned the pork in 2T of canola oil, then stuck the whole pan into the oven (450) to roast ’til done.. took 11-12 minutes to get the meat to 140 degrees.

 

Removed the pork.  In that same pan, sauteed 6 sliced garlic cloves til toasted, then added 2 teaspoons of honey until it started to turn brow, then added 3/4 c of chicken broth and reduced until the sauce became slightly thick. Added 2T of sherry vinegar and after 30 seconds or so start adding 6T of butter that had been cubed into 10 pieces…. these you add one at a time, swirling each until melted before adding the next. He called this emulsifying the sauce. Do not know why you do this, but this whole sauce part of the prep makes you feel like a chef.  You then take it off-heat and stir in 2T of chopped flat-leaf parsley.

Now, slice up the tenderloin and spoon this incredible sauce over the slices, and holy cow (or pig), it’s insane. The meat alone packed quite a punch, but with the sauce.. wow.

We served it with some angel hair tossed with olive oil and a few more garlic cloves that I’d also sliced thinly crisped in olive oil a little earlier, and served with parmesan.. and some broc and tomatoes.

Here ’tis… a close up of the pork.. such a perfect cut of meat.

IMG_7729

 

And the whole scene:

IMG_7728