Year in Review: 2014 (MultiMEDIA Splice #5)

{Link up your favorite post of 2014 below (or a review post): MultiMEDIA Splice, a link party.}

Year in Review: 2014

Blooming basement sunflowerJanuary

New Life Amid the Polar Vortex

I’ve never been a gardener, so it was eye-opening to see how much I loved coaxing sunflowers to bloom in my basement in the dead of winter.

“Last week, while the polar vortex swirled outside my Connecticut window, little triangles pushed forth from the center of the biggest plant. A bud was swelling, and inside that whirl of shapes, a flower was waiting to emerge.” (Continue reading)

Completed 101 things in 1001 daysFebruary

101 Things in 3 Minutes

I made a three-minute video that features every one of my 101 challenges, set to “Ripple” by the Grateful Dead. So much fun!

“I still feel the effects of completing 101 things in 1001 days rippling through my life.” (Continue reading)

Runner-up: Lost in Cuzco.
Getting lost in Cuzco, Peru: jet lag, altitude sickness, bad Spanish, worse navigation, and a rat. What more could I ask for in a story?

Sleeping in the Sahara Gargleblaster collage 1000March

Sleeping in the Sahara

My first Gargleblaster (a 42-word writing challenge) was one of my favorites.

“In the Sahara, collapsed on a carpet, air so dry my eyeballs ache, colors transform, beige to orange to black.” (Continue reading)

Walk across the Brooklyn BridgeApril

Birthday on the Brooklyn Bridge

For my birthday, my husband took me to New York to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.

“We had a gorgeous spring day after a week of cold weather, so it made for a spectacular crossing. We started on the Manhattan side in a crowd of tourists, overhearing snippets of conversation in languages from around the world.” (Continue reading)

Runner-up: Three Finales that Worked.
I don’t write about television often, but I enjoyed the finales of Breaking Bad, Dexter, and How I Met Your Mother, unlike the rest of the world, it seemed.

Pan Galactic Gargle BlasterMay

Ode to the Gargleblaster

This post celebrated both a bizarre cocktail and a 42-word writing challenge: The Gargleblaster.

“I was tapped out, my stories all told, with no new ones up ahead. Then came the Gargleblaster, and I was assured at least one post a week to get excited about. I had loved the inspiration for the challenge, the novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,  as a kid, when I used to whisper “42” as a secret code to screen people in the know, so I was instantly drawn to it.” (Continue reading)

Runner-up: In Peru, the Inca are Everywhere.
The ancient Inca still have a strong influence in Peru.

Engaged Encounter GargleblasterJune

Gurgles at the Engaged Encounter

My husband (who was my fiance at the time) confused a priest with his intestinal distress.

“When the priest raised sexual relations, my fiance’s intestines gurgled. Other couples turned and stared, so of course we giggled.” (Continue reading)

101 things articleJuly

When the Interviewer Gets Interviewed

Introvert alert! I shared what it felt like to be interviewed by my local paper about my  book: Timid No More.

“He and I laughed over my scary trapeze class, my Dance Central ineptitude, and my suburban confusion about how exactly to milk a cow. He confessed a fear of heights himself, and we commiserated over mind-numbing moments trying to climb a simple ladder. I caught myself enjoying the attention. I then had over a week to stew about the article.” (Continue reading)

1334732402_d00accd764_nAugust

The Princess and the Peed Off Copy Machine Woman

A first year teacher’s obstacle: The copy machine woman disliked me from the start and held my copies hostage.

“I looked past her at the bulletin board and focused on a tableau of one cat wearing a feather headdress and another cat wearing a tricorn. Columbus Day? A Thanksgiving preview? Dear God, what were those poor creatures having to endure?” (Continue reading)

Image by Ross Berteig (CC by 2.0)

Runner-up: Fitbit to be Tied, Part 2.
I got active again with the help of an activity tracker.

Driving test Venn diagramSeptember

From the DMV to the DMZ

Oy. Teenage boys. And how to use math to end a fight.

“I resisted the urge to plunge my hand into his chest and pull out his still-beating heart. I said, ‘That’s unacceptable. I’m not talking to you until you apologize.’ I knew this was a stupid thing to say, but there we were, and several days of cold shoulders passed.” (Continue reading)

Garlic and Harvest Festival, Bethlehem, CTOctober

Oh My Garlic: The Garlic and Harvest Festival

I challenged myself to make a video of my visit to a garlic festival. I was pleased with how it came out, but that garlic stayed with me for days!

“Garlic ice cream … garlic pickles … whole roasted garlic cloves …garlic vinegar … garlic pesto … garlic cannoli…. Yes, you heard that right: garlic cannoli.” (Continue reading)

Runner-up: What I Ate in Thailand: The Best Food in the World.
Of all my travels, Thailand had the most amazing food. And squeasel too.

Pork carnitas dinnerNovember

Pork Carnitas: Meatlovers, Prepare to Swoon (MultiMEDIA Splice #1, a new link party)

This incredibly delicious meal was also the launch of my new link party, MultiMEDIA Splice.

“The first bite: tender and crispy, rich and spicy, with a touch of sweetness from the orange and an unexpected hint of Chinese five spice giving it that je ne sais quois…” (Continue reading)

sandals covered in mud in Essaouira MoroccoDecember

Searching for Jimi’s Castles Made of Sand

I searched for fabled ruins in Morocco.

“I needed a little magic to get me over the despair of the last 24 hours. I needed a little Jimi.” (Continue reading)

Runner-Up: I accidentally angered a psychic.
I don’t believe in psychics, but I still worried about hearing my future from an angry one.

What was your favorite post this year? Feel free to link it up below.

Year in Review 2012 Year in Review 2013 Year in Review 2014

December calendar year in review strip

Bloggers: Welcome to the fifth week of MultiMEDIA Splice. Please join me by linking up a multimedia post on this week’s theme: Review.

{Next week’s theme: Blue. Something blue? Feeling blue? The deep blue sea?}

How to link up:

MultiMEDIA Splice #5
  • Copy the above code and paste it into the text view of your post.
  • Then link up your post by clicking “Add your link” below. (Link up every Sunday.)
  • One more thing: Please don’t link and run! Try to visit and comment on a few blogs that link up.


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Beyond 101 Things: 15th Quarterly Report

{Link up your favorite post of 2014 or a “year in review” post at Year in Review: MultiMEDIA Splice #5.}

15th Quarterly Report: October – December, 2014

I finally shook off the doldrums after completing my 101 things in 1001 days list, just in time for my one-year anniversary of finishing it. Here are my list-worthy pursuits from the last three months.

Make a festival video

Oh My Garlic: The Garlic & Harvest Festival: I set a personal goal to be a roving reporter at the Connecticut Garlic Festival. I liked the final product.

Hand out blog business cards

(Don't Be) Too Timid and Squeamish business card

Oh My Garlic: The Garlic & Harvest Festival: I just had to overcome a little shyness for this one. I handed out blog business cards to each person I interviewed for the festival video I mentioned above. From a careful review of my stats, it didn’t seem like anyone followed this up with a visit to my blog, but it still felt like a mild victory.

Try garlic ice cream

Try garlic ice cream

Oh My Garlic: The Garlic & Harvest Festival: It was yucky, but it was the most novel thing I tried at the Connecticut Garlic Festival.

Make caramel milk candies

rp_Making-caramel-candy-collage-640x499.jpg

Make Caramel Milk Candies: Fun to try, plus caramel.

Go to a psychic

Beyond 101 things

I accidentally angered a psychic: I pushed myself out of my comfort zone for this one, but the psychic got mad at me.

Make homemade Baileys Irish Cream

Christmas Eve cocktail

What I Ate on Christmas: Getting Figgy with It: I like all things Irish and all things homemade, and the homemade Baileys was easy and delicious.

Make figgy pudding

Christmas figgy pudding with hard sauce

What I Ate on Christmas: Getting Figgy with It: This was fun to try, too, and what could be more Christmasy for dessert?

MultiMEDIA Splice

In other news, I started a new link party, MultiMEDIA Splice, but I haven’t gotten much participation yet. Too difficult? It’s a multimedia link party with a weekly theme.

Link up your favorite post of 2014 or a “year in review” post at Year in Review: MultiMEDIA Splice #5.

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What I Ate on Christmas: Getting Figgy with It

{Link up your favorite post of 2014 or a “year in review” post at Year in Review: MultiMEDIA Splice #5.}

Christmas day snack
Warmth (Daily Post Photo Challenge)

With older teens at Christmas, the focus isn’t much on the presents anymore. It’s on relaxing together as a family, listening to Christmas music, and coming up with some special food I don’t serve during the rest of the year.

The breakfasts are always the same, though. I assemble an egg casserole, and it cooks while we’re opening our presents.

Christmas breakfast casserole

Grandma's Bird's Nest CookiesLunch usually doesn’t happen.

We did, though, make a batch of Grandma’s Bird’s Nest Cookies, some with raspberry and some with lemon.

I tried a few chocolate ones this year too.

Randy and I also had a delicious cocktail of homemade Baileys Irish Cream by the fire while the kids had eggnog. I made the cocktail with Jameson Irish Whiskey, cream, sweetened condensed milk, homemade chocolate syrup, vanilla extract, and coffee. It tasted just like the real thing, but also somehow a little better since I mixed it up myself.

egg nog cookies and homemade Baileys by the fire collage

I had a special dinner planned, but first I had to get to work on the figgy pudding.

This was a lot of fun to make since there are old rituals connected with it. I needed a good luck trinket to bake into the pudding. I chose a lucky amulet I had picked up in Thailand.

Good luck trinket for figgy pudding

It is an elephant god astride a rooster.

Good luck trinket for figgy pudding

Whoever gets served a slice with the trinket hidden inside gets extra good luck for the new year.

figgy pudding mix collage

Another ritual is to have everyone stir the pudding at least once for good luck. I interrupted my boys, who were gaming in the basement, so that they could take their turn. (I’m sure they appreciated it!) My husband was napping on the couch by that point, and I let him continue sleeping rather than take his good luck stir. (I’m sure he’s not too disappointed.)

I also picked up some Christmas crackers. Like Christmas figgy pudding, it’s an English tradition.

Randy with Christmas cracker

There were little prizes and paper crowns inside the crackers. Fun!

Randy David Daniel Christmas dinner

Dinner was delicious: (half a) leg of lamb with mashed potatoes, balsamic-roasted shallots, Bourbon-glazed carrots (a hit in a previous year), and Brussels sprouts.

Christmas dinner lamb

The figgy pudding steamed for two hours. Finally, it was time to serve it. I doused it with some brandy and tried to light it on fire.

figgy pudding collage

Alas, it didn’t flame up like I envisioned, but if you look closely in the right-hand photo above, you may be able to spy a very tiny blue flame. On second thought, it is really tiny, and you probably can’t see it. (Can you see it here?)

Christmas figgy pudding with hard sauce

I served the figgy pudding with hard sauce. No one was served the slice with the trinket, so we’ll have to try again.

Christmas Eve cocktail

Merry Christmas!

What’s your favorite Christmas food or tradition?

Christmas Eve cocktail 101 things in 1001 days

Years of Christmas past:

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Link up your favorite post of 2014

Love locks on the Brooklyn Bridge

In honor of the coming new year, I will be relaxing the rules on my new link party, MultiMEDIA Splice, and inviting bloggers to link up their favorite post of 2014.

I hope to see you on Sunday. Merry Christmas!

Update: Link up your favorite post of 2014 or a “year in review” post here–Year in Review: MultiMEDIA Splice #5.

Solve Christmas riddles Grandma's Bird's Nest Cookies

rp_Multimedia-Splice-Link-Party-300x300.jpg Hat tip to ProBlogger, where I saw this idea. It’s cool to see the wide variety of posts that the site’s readers linked up.

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I accidentally angered a psychic (MultiMEDIA Splice #4)

{Link up your favorite post of 2014 or a “year in review” post at Year in Review: MultiMEDIA Splice #5.}

First Congregational Church


.
I’m not superstitious.

Sure, I knock on wood when something could jinx me, and I throw salt over my shoulder when I upset the shaker. And there was the Great Fortune Cookie Scare of 2011. I see my little rituals as quirks, though, since I don’t really believe they change the dynamics of the universe.

tarot card quotationI mulled this over as I drove to get a psychic reading. I go by the place all the time, and the pretty engraved wooden sign always catches my eye. I was curious about whether the “psychic” would be an outright con artist, or whether she would truly believe she could tell the future.

I didn’t know whether I should pretend to believe. I decided as I walked up the steps to just be honest. A little nervous, I rang her bell.  I didn’t hear it ring and tried it again before knocking. Still no answer.

I walked away vaguely disappointed, but a little relieved too and thought I might as well get a picture of the sign while I was there.

I took a few shots before being interrupted by an annoyed shout: “Can I help you?”

“Oh, hi!” I beamed. “Are you doing psychic readings?”

“Yes. Why are you taking pictures of my sign?”

“Hi,” I said. “I tried your doorbell.”

“What are you doing taking pictures of my sign?”

“I think it’s pretty,” I said.

“But why are you taking pictures of it?”

“I drive by it all the time, and I like it,” I said. This was true.

“You just go around taking pictures of things you like?”

“Yes,” I said, which was true again.

“I don’t understand why you’re taking pictures of it.”

“My dad used to do woodworking,” I said. “I like the beveled edges.”

She scowled at me.

What nefarious reason could I have for taking pictures of her sign? And if I did have a nefarious reason, shouldn’t she of all people know about it?

“I tried your bell, and there was no answer. Sorry. Was it wrong to take a photo?” I asked.

“No, it’s just weird for you to go around taking photos of my sign.”

“You give psychic readings, and it’s weird for me to take photos?”

Full disclosure: I didn’t say that last part.

Then it was time to get down to business. I selected the walk-in special, a $10 tarot card reading. I can declare I’m not superstitious all I want, but it’s still ominous to hand over ten bucks to someone to tell me my future.

“When was your last reading?” she asked.

“Never,” I said. Again, the truth, but she looked even more suspicious.

Great, a pissed off psychic now held my future in her hands.

She spread out the tarot cards and asked me to choose three. For each card, I had to ask a question. I clearly made up the first question off the top of my head, which annoyed her further. I asked whether my kids would go to college, chose the middle card, and flipped it over.

She threw in some mumbo-jumbo with her answer, and I was still rattled about the sign, so I missed the gist of it.

“Sorry, was that a yes?” I asked.

“Yes, I said yes at the beginning.” This was not going to get any friendlier.

For my second question, I asked if my mother was happy, curious if this chestnut would bring out any particularly psychic declarations. I flipped over the card on the left. She answered simply that my mother is happy where she is, not giving any indication whether she thought she was living or dead.

For my final question, I asked whether I would retire early. I flipped over the card on the right. The tarot card was upside down, which I thought significant based on my knowledge of creepy TV psychics, but it didn’t faze her. She said I would retire early, but that I’m the type of person who would stay busy. I was grateful to escape any gloom and doom predictions.

I had a strong impulse to take a quick picture of the three tarot cards. I let it pass.

As I got ready to leave, I offered to delete the photos of her sign, and she repeated that she just thought it was weird. At that point, I almost mentioned that I might be writing about it on my blog, but she was so annoyed, I just got the heck out of there.

Since I didn’t ask her permission, I won’t be sharing a picture of her pretty engraved wooden sign and instead shared a picture of my town square.

I drive by it all the time and think it’s pretty, so I stopped and took a picture of it.


This scene from the excellent HBO show Carnivale has the eerie atmosphere I was imagining when I went for a tarot card reading, but my psychic had a perfectly mundane dining room with a vacuum cleaner in the corner. If you’re looking to binge-watch a TV show, Carnivale was amazing–until HBO canceled it prematurely. (Video link)

Witch wand New Orleans strip

MultiMEDIA Splice #4: Superstition

Bloggers: Welcome to the fourth week of MultiMEDIA Splice. Please join me by linking up a multimedia post on this week’s theme: Superstition.

{Next week’s theme: Review. Year in review, holiday review, movie review, musical  review…?}

  • Thanks to Jon for linking up last week with his post on Reverse Ruins in China.

How to link up:

MultiMEDIA Splice
  • Copy the above code and paste it into the text view of your post.
  • Then link up your post by clicking “Add your link” below. (Link up every Sunday.)
  • One more thing: Please don’t link and run! Try to visit and comment on a few blogs that link up.

101 things in 1001 days Beyond 101 things


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Searching for Jimi’s Castles Made of Sand (MultiMEDIA Splice #3)

{Join me in “MultiMEDIA Splice,” a link party. Directions below.}

Mud in Essaouira Morocco
An expanse of deep mud separated us from our quixotic destination, having been abandoned by the tide hours before.

My husband shook his weary head at me. Surely I didn’t want to drag our boys through the mud on the off-chance that we’d find ruins that may have inspired an old Jimi Hendrix
song?

Jimi quotationOf course I did.

We had arrived in Essaouira, Morocco the day before. I had been terribly ill, and I was depleted and cranky. We all were. I don’t regret our family trip to Morocco, but it was our most stressful, least favorite trip.

A blurb in our guidebook said that some ruins in Essaouira were the inspiration for Jimi Hendrix’s song, “Castles Made of Sand.”

I needed a little magic to get me over the despair of the last 24 hours. I needed a little Jimi.

(Press play above.)

“And so castles made of sand
fall in the sea, eventually.”

I egged my family on–“It will be an adventure!”–and we set out.

Camels on beach Essaouira Morocco collage

As we walked down the beach, we picked our way though a gauntlet of touts selling horseback or camel rides before we reached a deserted area.

Camels on beach Essaouira Morocco 2

Our only clue was the tiny blurb in our guidebook, so we tried to ask for directions from a passerby. He didn’t speak any English, and I briefly considered whether some air guitar of “Purple Haze” would help. Not my air guitar.

We continued on.

Searching for Jimi in Essaouira Morocco

A sickly dog followed us the whole way, wagging its sad, scruffy tail, and I wished I had a snack to share, but I had nothing.

Dog and mud collage Essaouira Morocco

We muddled and slipped our way through the mud. We were low on clean laundry as it was, and if one of the boys fell in the mud, I would never hear the end of it. Although I was the one most likely to fall, I kept reminding the boys to be careful.

(Video link)
You can see us muddling through the mud at 5:46.

As we got into a remote area, I heard people up ahead. I worried for our safety and thought the dog might protect us, but it was just a few people riding horses in the muck.

We blundered on.

And then we found the fragments of a ramp, and, a little further on, the remains of a wall, and then sections of buildings, broken down and covered in sand.

Boy and Man at ruins in Essaouira Morocco collage

I imagined Jimi Hendrix seeing these same stones, collapsed in the sea, like castles made of sand. My mood soared–victory!

Ruins in Essaouira collage

Although, it wasn’t.

Boys at ruins Essaouira Morocco

After I got home, I researched the song a little further. Jimi recorded “Castles Made of Sand” in 1967, but he took his one and only trip to Morocco in 1969. Not only had we probably not been at the right ruins, but the site wasn’t the inspiration for the song anyway.

It seemed a fitting end to my story about Jimi’s song of irony and disappointment.

“And so castles made of sand
fall in the sea, eventually.”

No worries, though. I’d sought an afternoon filled with adventure and family fun. I had found it all right.

sandals covered in mud in Essaouira Morocco

The mud was just a bonus.

Ruins in Essaouira Morocco

Ruins Slideshow

“Shame on those who remain unmoved, whose pace fails to quicken, on entering one of these old habitations, a manor-house falling to wrack and ruin or a desecrated church!”
Petrus Borel

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Some of my favorite ruins from my travels.

camels on beach strip

MultiMEDIA Splice #3: Ruins

Bloggers: Welcome to the third week of MultiMEDIA Splice. Please join me by linking up a multimedia post on this week’s theme: Ruins.

{Next week’s theme: Superstition}

  • Thanks to Jon for linking up last week with his exploration of life underground in a Chinese city: Tunnels.

How to link up:

MultiMEDIA Splice
  • Copy the above code and paste it into the text view of your post.
  • Then link up your post by clicking “Add your link” below. (Link up every Sunday.)
  • One more thing: Please don’t link and run! Try to visit and comment on a few blogs that link up.


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Tunnels of Love (MultiMEDIA Splice #2)

{Join me in “MultiMEDIA Splice,” a new link party. Directions below.}

“Wish on everything. Pink cars are good, especially old ones. And stars of course, first stars and shooting stars. Planes will do if they are the first light in the sky and look like stars. Wish in tunnels, holding your breath and lifting your feet off the ground.” — Francesca Lia Block

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


(Press play above)

I’ve been drawn to tunnels since I was age eight or so, when I first read of giant insects  tunneling their sweet way through a magical peach in James and the Giant Peach. I’ve always been repelled by them too, though, by the claustrophobia, the entry into the unknown, the darkness, and maybe even those same giant insects from James and the Giant Peach.tunnel quotation

In Greece, we walked back to our hotel in waning light after lingering in downtown Athens to view the Parthenon at night. There was a taxi strike, so we had to walk into the darkness. It was only a mile, but to get to our hotel, we had to go by a creepy patch of not-so-family-friendly strip clubs and cross the highway through an underground tunnel. By the time I crossed the threshold, my anxiety had ratcheted up plenty, fearful of any people (or giant insects) who might be lurking down there.

What I found, though, was a brightly lit space filled with cheerful graffiti.

For me, tunnels capture the conundrum of having my fear of the unknown right smack alongside my love of adventure.

How do you feel about tunnels?

P.S. Here’s a peek at me as a zombie in a tunnel. Good times.

Tunnel strip

MultiMEDIA Splice #2: Tunnel

Bloggers: Welcome to the second week of a new link party, MultiMEDIA Splice. Please join me by linking up a multimedia post on this week’s theme: Tunnel.

(Next week’s theme: Ruins)

Thanks to Jon for linking up last week with his fascinating post on Meat in China (肉).

How to link up:

MultiMEDIA Splice 2
  • Copy the above code and paste it into the text view of your post.
  • Then link up your post by clicking “Add your link” below. (Link up every Sunday.)
  • One more thing: Please don’t link and run! Try to visit and comment on a few blogs that link up.


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Pork Carnitas: Meatlovers, Prepare to Swoon (MultiMEDIA Splice #1, a new link party)

{Join me in this new “MultiMEDIA Splice” link party. Directions below.}

Pork carnitas
Pork Carnitas: Meatlovers, Prepare to Swoon

First bite of pork carnitas quotationSure, I’ve had some success serving my family root vegetable tagine or butternut squash pasta sauce on Meatless Mondays, but the fact is I live amid a household of meatlovers.

Sometimes, you just gotta give the people what they want.

By far, what they’ve wanted the most lately is this beauty: pork carnitas.

I’ve enjoyed pork carnitas in a few different restaurants, but this version that I made myself, hot from the oven? So much better! The aroma enchanted us for hours, just an extra perk.

  I used Chef John’s recipe. Check out his video for easy to follow, entertaining directions.

First, my husband and I got to work carving up the pork butt.

Carving up the pork butt

(Press play above.)

Some singing is recommended during this step:

“I like big butts and I can not lie.”
–Sir Mix-a-Lot

Yes, a pork butt is really from a pig’s shoulder, but that’s not as fun.

Carving up pork for pork carnitas

Adding spice mix orange peel and garlic to pork

I added a mix of spices, orange peel, and garlic cloves to the pork chunks before dousing them with freshly squeezed orange juice and popping them in the oven to cook low and slow for hours.

Adding orange juice to pork chunks

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

While the pork cooked, I pickled some red onions to serve on top. Definitely take the time to add these–it’s so easy, and the pickled onions give the perfect burst of sharpness against the richness of the pork.

Pickling red onions

Then, it was just a matter of waiting it out for the entire afternoon.

Pork in the oven

Finally, our wait was over. I stabbed my fork into a chunk straight from under the broiler, barely bothering to protect the roof of my mouth from burning.

The first bite: tender and crispy, rich and spicy, with a touch of sweetness from the orange and an unexpected hint of Chinese five spice giving it that je ne sais quois (literally–I don’t know what it is.)

To the real chefs out there, please forgive me when I admit the silly impulse that flashed through my mind the moment I tasted it: I need to open up a restaurant and serve only  pork carnitas. There will be a line out the door….

OK, back to reality. I made some homemade corn tortillas and served the pork as an open-faced taco with black beans, brown rice, sour cream, cheddar, and vegetables.

Pork carnitas dinner

The men in the house were in heaven, and, OK, so was I.

Before I know it, my sons will be off to college. I know a Sunday dinner that’ll keep them coming back.

Serving pork carnitas dinner
Check out that mound of food my husband assembled. He loved this photo.

Pork carnitas plate

P.S. I also tried making crackling for the first time by broiling up the skin. I was not a fan.

Pork carnitas strip

MultiMEDIA Splice #1: Meat

Bloggers: Welcome to the first week of a new link party, MultiMEDIA Splice. Please join me by linking up a multimedia post on this week’s theme: Meat.

Check out the Daily Post multimedia challenge for some great information about multimedia posts.

(Next week’s theme: Tunnel)

How to link up:

MultiMEDIA Splice #1
  • Copy the above code and paste it into the text view of your post.
  • Then link up your post by clicking “Add your link” below. (Link up every Sunday.)
  • One more thing: Please don’t link and run! Try to visit and comment on a few blogs that link up.


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Thanksgiving Outtakes

Every year for 15 years, I gather my sons in the yard to take a Thanksgiving snapshot. Some years there’s a turkey to baste, some we have to hit the road. Some years snow, some brilliant sunshine. Some years with a fence, some on the sidewalk.

No matter. The ritual is always the same. The boys clown, the boys annoy. I cajole, I wheedle. They smile. We laugh.

Every year love comes through.

I choose one to save and delete the outtakes, but the outtakes tell a story too.

Thanksgiving outtakes 1 PhotosBooth_Template_TipSquirrel Thanksgiving outtakes 2 PhotosBooth_Template_TipSquirrel

15 years of Thanksgiving snapshots 2000-2014

Thanksgiving snapshot 2014 Dan and Dave

Happy Thanksgiving!

Years of Thanksgiving Past:

  • Four Tales of Gratitude
    Skydiving gone wrong, Nina Simone, a Slaughterhouse-Five hobo, and Monty Python were all part of feeling gratitude last Thanksgiving.
  • My Pet Peeves
    This video’s about my (not so very) long list of pet peeves.
  • Benign
    I got good news about a biopsy the day before Thanksgiving.
  • Leftover Turkey Oatmeal
    Sometimes you can only eat so many turkey sandwiches.

Set table Thanksgiving morning

   Multimedia Splice Link Party  Join me on Sunday, Nov. 30, for a new link party, MultiMEDIA Splice. First theme: Meat.

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Do Only Fuddy-Duddies Question Comedians and Interstellar?

Little house and old books

How many times have I been that teacher in the front of the room when the kids are supposed to be working quietly, but wave after wave of suppressed giggles come forward? Does it even matter whether someone really cut the cheese or he was falsely accused when these giggles lift the veil of boredom for scant moments, breaking up the day, and what’s wrong with a little fun, anyway?

Have I entered the old fuddy-duddy phase of my life?

When I stood over my husband’s shoulder to watch Christian comedian Tim Hawkins make fun of atheists, should I have lightened up? Don’t I always love a man with a guitar? Did I just imagine that the whooping laughter from the audience was tinged with hatred for those pathetic atheists who go around thinking they’re so superior?

Am I the only one who sees lyrics like “Reason why, reason why, we exist, but there’s no reason why” as refreshing?

Is it wrong to want to live in reality? Isn’t it good to raise children in the here and now, to show them there is no wizard behind the curtain, and we have all the brains, heart, and courage we need, right here?

Don’t I get it, that people ache to wonder, “Is that all there is?” Don’t I too want a payout after a long investment of time and energy? Wasn’t I the one who watched six seasons of Lost, expecting a finale that would tie it all together, even though it was apparent for ages that there was no way? Were they just making it up as they went along, though?

Do only fuddy-duddies complain when the music’s too loud?

When I got home from seeing Interstellar, why did I jump into a debate about theoretical physics that I couldn’t quite grasp? Why did I bother, when my biggest impression was nausea over how ridiculously loud it was, an assault on not just my ears but my psyche? If someone needs to cause me physical pain to make his movie dramatic, then shouldn’t he have workshopped the script a little more?

Would the kids in the back of the class stop giggling, please? Don’t you know that people are trying to focus on their quizzes, for Christ’s sake?

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