Archive | November, 2009

Write a Note to a Stranger

30 Nov

I dare you..!

Originally uploaded by Crazy Princess

This is dorky: I have a pack of index cards on which I’ve written little dares for myself– “start a new piece of writing,” “try a new restaurant,”leave a book you love in a public place for someone to pick up,” things like that. They are, for the most part, not particularly daring, but they are fun. I’ll pull a dare and once it’s completed, I’ll pull a new one, and so on. FOREVER.

Fitting in perfect synchronicity with last week’s compliments post, I recently pulled “leave a note for a stranger.” This one is a little daring and also sort of creepy, but the perfect situation arose last week when I was pumping gas and a man on a sweet old motorcycle with a matching helmet covered in stickers pulled up next to me and went in to pay. The bike was cool, but of course he must get compliments on it all the time. It was the helmet that stuck with me. So I pulled out a scrap of receipt, scribbled “I like your helmet. -D” and left it on the seat of his bike and drove away before he returned. It was thrilling I actually giggled as I was driving away.


Things for Which I am Thankful Today

24 Nov

Off the top of my head, in no particular order.

  • a decent job
  • slow braised beef cheek
  • a healthy cervix
  • being treated to lunch by a dear friend
  • friends that live on goat farms
  • friends that let us visit for the weekend
  • progressive dinners
  • Benton’s bacon
  • Shawn
  • good books
  • fortune cookie fortunes from coworkers
  • sleeping late
  • This American Life free podcasts
  • mix CD’s
  • wrapping paper
  • coffee
  • footie pajamas
  • orange suitcases
  • big baskets full of gifts
  • magazines in my mailbox
  • pumpkin pie body wash
  • visits with family
  • talented friends
  • a full and exciting calendar for the holidays

New Frames

23 Nov

I’ve been busy.  These frames, plus some new tiny little mini collages I’ve been working on, will be for sale at the Handmade Holiday Trunk Show December 4 -13th.  Details forthcoming. 

Do Ten Things Today

20 Nov

I’d already planned on blogging about my life-revolutionizing ten-things-list-rule when I came across this interview, in which Umberto Eco (Italian Novelist) talks about the importance of lists.

To know me is to know that I love making lists.  Even if I didn’t love making lists (which I do), I am and have always been compelled to make them, regardless of the joy I may or may not take in doing so.  Part of the reason for this is that I’m constantly overcommitting myself and need my lists to keep track of the multitude of things I’ve decided I must accomplish in any given day, week or month.  These lists record what I would like to accomplish, but the lists themselves are the first step in actually doing something.  When I am overwhelmed and feel like there’s far too much on my plate, the simple act of making a list, of quantifying what it is I have to do, is often enough to calm me down enough to begin taking action.  But moderation is key with making lists (and most things, really) and I fear I’ve let my list making get a little out of control.  I have too many lists (one for home improvements, one for Christmas lists, one of things to buy, one of things to make, one for an upcoming party, one for this week, one for today) and each list just has too many things on it.  It’s disheartening to finish each day having accomplished just half (if that) of the things you set out to do that day.  And so, I’ve made a simple rule that I enacted on Monday, which has already made my life better: the rule of 10.  Any list related to a period of time (“to do this weekend,” “to do today”) can have a maximum of ten items on it.  And I can only have ten total lists of things to do in my possession at one time.  It seems simple, but I’ve actually been able to finish the items on my lists most days and I’m not swimming in post-its.  I worried that limited myself in this way would mean forgetting important things, but all it’s really meant is trimming the things that aren’t important enough to remember and being able to focus better on the tasks at hand.

Superbly Situated

19 Nov

Superbly Situated 
by Robert Hershon 

you politely ask me not to die and i promise not to 
right from the beginning—a relationship based on 
good sense and thoughtfulness in little things 

i would like to be loved for such simple attainments 
as breathing regularly and not falling down too often 
or because my eyes are brown or my father left-handed 

and to be on the safe side i wouldn’t mind if somehow 
i became entangled in your perception of admirable objects 
so you might say to yourself: i have recently noticed 

how superbly situated the empire state building is 
how it looms up suddenly behind cemeteries and rivers 
so far away you could touch it—therefore i love you 

part of me fears that some moron is already plotting 
to tear down the empire state building and replace it 
with a block of staten island mother/daughter houses 

just as part of me fears that if you love me for my cleanliness 
i will grow filthy if you admire my elegant clothes 
i’ll start wearing shirts with sailboats on them 

but i have decided to become a public beach an opera house 
a regularly scheduled flight—something that can’t help being 
in the right place at the right time—come take your seat 

we’ll raise the curtain fill the house start the engines 
fly off into the sunrise, the spire of the empire state 
the last sight on the horizon as the earth begins to curve

Check Out the Downtown North House Party

18 Nov

photo by jdshea

Time: Thursday, November 19 (tomorrow) from 7 – 9 p.m.

Place: 1208 North Central Street (across from the Time Warp Tea Room)

There’ll be music by Kevin Buchmeier, Four Leaf Peat and Eric Sommer as well as beer, snacks and chili AND art by some lovely vendors including yours truly. Come and support the Downtown North Association.

Make Parsnip and Turnip Gratin

16 Nov

Cost: About $15 in groceries (gruyere is pricey)

Time: About an hour, start to finish.

Materials: Ramekins, cookie sheet and ingredients below.

I recently made Parsnip and Turnip Gratins as part of my fall cooking kick and in order to pop the cherry of the eight little ramekins I’ve been hoarding, unused, since college.  They were subtle, a little sweet, not cloyingly cheesy or creamy.  Worth a shot if you’re in the mood for a nice little side that won’t steal the show.  Recipe is below the picture.


Turnip-Parsnip Gratin

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 gratin)


3 3/4 cups (1/8-inch-thick) slices peeled turnip
3 3/4 cups (1/8-inch-thick) slices peeled parsnip
6 cups water
Cooking spray
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)


1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Combine first 3 ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 7 minutes or until almost tender. Drain; let stand 5 minutes. Arrange about 1/2 cup vegetable mixture into each of 8 (5 1/2-inch) round gratin dishes coated with cooking spray.
3. Combine milk, broth, flour, salt, and pepper in a saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a simmer. Cook 4 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk until thick. Remove from heat; add cheese, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Spoon about 3 tablespoons sauce over each serving.
4. Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add panko; toast 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture evenly over cheese mixture. Place dishes on a baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown on top. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 196 ; Fat: 8.8g (sat 5.1g,mono 2.5g,poly 0.5g); Protein: 7.6g; Carbohydrate: 22.8g; Fiber: 5.3g; Cholesterol: 26mg; Iron: 0.9mg; Sodium: 424mg; Calcium: 236mg.
Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2009