27 July 2014

Weekend linkage


This is important: Contraception That Kills.
To say blithely that there is a higher “miscarriage” rate is to admit that the presence of an IUD causes loss of a pregnancy after implantation, which by any definition is called an abortion. So IUDs can end a human life, as the owners of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood have claimed, and as the author admits.

This is not important: Can You Tell The Difference Between T.S. Eliot and Rap Lyrics? I didn't think it was that hard, but then, I like Eliot.


A new Jane Austen waxwork. Sweet.


From the Barnes & Noble blog, "Ten Characters Who Ended Up With the Wrong People." Honestly, though, I don't agree with most of these. I guess I get sucked into the author's logic. Jo and Laurie would have been so wretched.


I want one of these sweatshirts so bad it hurts. One of these would also be highly acceptable. Too bad neither will fit me till January . . .

This was a very literary linkage.

22 July 2014

a simple homemade pizza sauce

As I mentioned in last week's family snippets, pizza is often on our menu these days. I love using summer veggies as toppings. (And one nice thing about pizza is that you don't have to use meat to make it delicious . . . we eat a lot of meat, and I don't have a problem with that in principle, but the budget does.)

Another nice thing about pizza is having the leftovers cold for breakfast the next morning. I know this disgusts a certain segment of the population, but I belong to the segment that likes it.

Anyway, to make good pizza you need a good sauce. Here is mine. I hope to can a lot of it this summer, though of course I will have to add several extra steps to get from fresh Romas to cooked diced tomatoes.


Simple Pizza Sauce
(based on a recipe from The Kitchn)

1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, peeled

Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor, and blend until thoroughly combined. (If your blender cannot handle whole garlic cloves, mince the garlic beforehand. I use the sauce/dressing setting on the Blendtec.) Makes enough for two to three large pizzas. Refrigerate or freeze.

19 July 2014

Weekend linkage


Stuck in a traffic jam for seventy years?
According to an urban legend these cars were left behind by US soldiers from World War II, who could not ship them back to the US so they decided to hide them in a forest until they could come back and retrieve them. The locals disagree and say that it’s simply an old car dump of vehicles made after the WWII.

No job? No Svalbard archipelago for you!
Homelessness, like unemployment, is banned. All residents must have a fixed address, a rule that ensures that nobody freezes to death in a place that is closer to the North Pole than to the Norwegian capital . . . The government does fund a school and a hospital, as well as the governor’s administration, and also subsidizes Svalbard’s biggest employer, a loss-making state-owned coal company. But it shuns the leftist, leveling consensus that according to conservative critics has made working almost a lifestyle choice in the rest of Norway. Taxes are much lower than elsewhere in the country.

“There is no welfare system in Svalbard,” Mr. Ingero said. “If you are unable to support yourself with work, you cannot stay here.”

"Why fifty percent of Chinese women are opting for C-sections."


I know, from one short bout with depression, a tiny bit of what it's like to struggle with your brain. It's terrifying and dark. A friend of mine who has bipolar disorder has begun a blog and it promises to be as remarkable as he is.


As it's picnic season, Saveur offers the perfect picnic generator!


This is the sweetest ad I've ever seen. (Keep in mind that I am also pregnant and full of baby love.)

18 July 2014

Family snippets

"I just don't feel sorry for Brazil. They're like the Yankees of soccer."
-Jared reflects on the World Cup

This week brought such lovely weather. Ellie and I were able to take several morning walks, where we usually found dogs, squirrels, and rabbits for her to ooh and ahh over. Working out in the garden is also a pleasure in this weather, except for the mosquitos. I would like to find an essential oil-based repellent but have had no luck so far. Help please?

The first batch of pickles was successfully canned. In a couple of weeks, we'll find out how successful they taste. I used an old Mennonite recipe, with a few extra seasonings tossed in, and I'm not sure how they could possibly taste bad. Well, even if they do we have scores more cukes with which to experiment.
I suspect that I will need to dig out my maternity box soon. My pants fit just fine, but I am getting dangerously close to Shirt Stretching territory, which would be sad. I'll need a few more t-shirts and am excited that our Old Navy now carries maternity clothes. There aren't a lot of options around here and I hate ordering things online. Grow, jellybean, grow!

Ellie has started to yell "Hey!" at anyone she meets. Visitors to our house, people at the grocery store, kids at the library. It makes her sound so excited to see everyone, which is probably true. She is quite social and-- apart from a few brief clingy phases-- always has been.

What did I cook this week? Anything interesting? Oh, I made a great salad dressing from Fresh. It's a sweet onion poppyseed dressing and it is 100% delicious (and simple). Tonight is pizza night; now that I can eat gluten again (yay!!) I make pizza almost every week. Last week it was pesto with caramelized onions, fresh herbs, and assorted Italian cheeses. This week it's tomato sauce with mushrooms, peppers, and Havarti.

12 July 2014

Family snippets

Ellie is turning into a complete clown. When I come to fetch her after a nap, she starts shrieking and running around her crib. She squishes her face against the screen door while I'm outside hanging laundry on the line. She "dances" to music whenever she realizes that it's playing. As soon as we put her shoes on, she stands up and stomps loudly on the wooden floor. She loves to dress up (sometimes with a necklace of plastic links, sometimes a makeshift cape composed of a kitchen towel or a piece of outgrown clothing).

Her younger sibling isn't doing anything worthy of note, though in a few weeks I will get to hear the heartbeat for the first time. I am now officially in the second trimester, which explains my rapidly receding "morning" sickness and rapidly increasing bump. I so look forward to feeling this little bean move, though that probably won't happen for quite a while.

Our garden is growing like a weed (as are the weeds, alas). The cucumbers are attempting to take over the entire bed, but the tomatoes are valiantly fending them off. It's gotten pretty hot here so the sugar peas and lettuce have tipped past their prime . . . my one surviving bush of green beans continues to bear abundantly . . . and the zinnias have exploded into bloom.

(Sorry I haven't been posting the funny things Jared says lately. I think having a baby did something to my memory! I laugh just as hard as I ever did, but can't remember his quips in order to record them for posterity.)

11 July 2014

Weekend linkage


Why You Are Wrong. This applies to just about every internet debate out there.
I shall now appeal to authority by quoting a philosopher who agrees with my premise, thereby wrapping my argument in the wisdom of the ages. Yes, I said a philosopher—a guy who gets paid to sit around all day and think about stuff like this. Are you a philosopher? No? You don’t spend all day thinking about stuff? What’s that? This topic isn’t in your area of expertise at all? Just checking. Because my guy was thinking hard with his brain his whole life about stuff like this, and he agrees with me.

"The seven deadliest fashion trends of all time." You know you want to read that.


"Why Icelanders are wary of elves living beneath rocks." You want to read that too.


Two from The Toast: "The Hobbit, Improved" (Chapter Ten: Absolutely Zero Goblins But Plenty Of Sandwiches And A Good Steady Fire) and "Every English Novel Ever" (make sure to read the suggestions in the comments, which had me laughing till tears came).


Funny post on childhood obsessions (again, the comments are gold).


"Snacks of the Great Scribblers." Whitman's did not surprise me at all.


"The Pathetic Provincialism of American Feminists." Amen to this.
One of the few insights from Karl Marx still relevant is the need for international solidarity among oppressed people. If American women truly believed they were oppressed, they would have all the more reason to zealously advocate for the liberation of their African and Asian sisters . . . In an irony invisible to the Left, American feminism has become an elitist expression of upper-class concerns. Highly educated and paid women endlessly describe their own inconveniences, while ignoring the legitimate suffering of the poor, in foreign countries and their own cities.

07 July 2014

I am a writer, but I'm not a blogger

"The miracle of turning inklings into thoughts and thoughts into words and words into metal and print and ink never palls for me."
- John Updike

The first thing I ever wrote was a story about two electric eels. If memory serves, they were named Flip and Flash. I forget what happened in the story, but I spent at least one long afternoon on it-- a lot of concentrated time for a seven-year-old. It had illustrations and everything.

Girl Writing, Henriette Brown
Since then, written words have been an absolute pillar of my life. They are the best and easiest way for me to communicate (don't count on me for a coherent conversation, but afterwards I promise to write you a really nice explanation of what I was trying to say).

I have written diaries, essays, applications, interviews, love letters, thank-yous, and apologies.

I have taught over 150 kids how to write, or at least write better.

Our courtship was originally based on writing.

Other people's writings clutch at my mind like nothing else, probably why we have more books than shelves. I'm not sure what happens to language once it's put down into solid characters, or why that inked language speaks to me so piercingly-- though if I philosophized long enough I could come up with a reason. However it happens, words stick to me. They come out of me. So I would say that I am a writer: not by profession but as part of my truest self.

Yet I still do not consider myself a blogger. To be a blogger, I would need to be truly devoted to my internet space, and I'm not. Once upon a time I had the time and energy for it. I wanted to invest hours into daily posts. I don't do that anymore, simply because I don't enjoy it when the pressure is on. Since I only enjoy writing occasional posts and this is not a priority for me, I would say that I "have a blog," not that I "am a blogger."

I am a writer. I employ that in many ways; I'm not restricted to the blog. These days I feel free to post when it suits me, and skip it when we are busy with other good things. Unlike making dinner, and mopping the floor, and giving Ellie a bath, I don't have to blog unless I want to. Happily, then, I will leave the Official Bloggery to people more dedicated and interesting.

Speaking of which, what are your favorite blogs lately? Any new gems? I am always up for reading suggestions.