Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wednesday Morning Notebook

This early morning. . .

I was up early, but I didn’t make my bed like I usually do first thing every single morning because I’m going to wash my sheets today. I came into the kitchen/living room and turned on the heater and the lights of the little fake Christmas tree. It’s just a little, kitschy ceramic tree with plastic bulbs, but it does a great, cheery job, and I like it. I pulled my Stumptown coffee beans out of the cupboard, ground them fresh, and brewed a cup of coffee using a Melitta filter. Then I took my coffee into the living room for my morning quiet time.

I sat on the rocking chair in front of the heater to read my Bible. I love verse 3 on this page:

". . .nor did their right arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them." Seriously sweet.

Right now I am. . .

(Besides typing.) Sitting in the kitchen at my little green table, looking into the living room and wishing I was standing over there by the warm heater. I am sipping the last of my cold-ish coffee. I am wearing red and white Scandinavian-looking slippers, blue jeans, a super-soft grey cardigan with tiny white dots, wildly messy hair, and my reading glasses.

I am hearing. . .

The heater at work. The ticking of a clock. The fast, rhythmic tapping of keys on the keyboard. A car in the distance. Mostly, it’s pretty silent, and I that’s how I like my mornings.

In the kitchen. . .

Well, today I will be eating this for dinner. I posted about it at my HDH blog:

And I will be making this for fun (my niece and I are planning to watch another episode of Sherlock together this evening, and I can contribute treats!):

Chickpeas are soaking on the counter, where they sat overnight. I’ll cook them this morning. I use a lot of chickpeas, and I love home-cooked chickpeas so much better than canned—there’s really no comparison!

I’ve been making a quick and easy form of coconut milk. I don’t like to buy cans of coconut milk anymore because I always waste some of it, and coconut milk is expensive. I do like to use it, though, and since I had a big ziplock bag full of coconut flakes my sister gave me, I decided to make my own coconut milk. I followed a recipe from the website of a great local business, Mountain Rose herbs. The milk isn’t as thick as the canned version, but I like it. It can be used just as regular milk would be used in any recipe.

I’ve been eating a lot of cauliflower for some reason. I prefer it roasted. Roasting works magic on cauliflower, turning it into a super-delicious treat. My favorite way of roasting it is to cut thin slabs all the way across the cauliflower (whole or halved), then I rub oil on both sides and salt it. I roast it til it's nice and roasty-colored, turning the cauliflower in the middle of cooking. (Okay--on the second thought--I probably like roasted florets as well as I like the "slabs".)

I try to have dark greens and some kind of orange vegetable daily or close to it, plus I add plenty of other vegetables to my diet. And fruit. And yogurt.

For example :-), I cooked a whole gob of arugula last night:

Because I ate this for dinner from the cookbook, Plenty:

I am Reading. . . 

The other night I was online doing something for a class, and on a page I was reading, this article from the Harvard Crimson popped up. I think it feel into my lap it within moments of its being put online, and I found it really interesting. It’s a brief, light student-written opinion piece that fairly well aligns with what I think about school and elitism and a lot of things, though I would say it differently.

Oh, and of course I am reading cookbooks. Which ones? Well, here is a snapshot of what books happened to be sitting on my couch this morning:

The three cookbooks? Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi, Twenty by Michael Ruhlman, and Arabesque by Claudia Roden. The other book, the non-cookbook on the pile? The Craftsman by Richard Sennett.

I started to read some Wendell Berry but the content was too akin to a class I just finished (and liked very well), and my tired brain rejected the reading. I’ll pick him up later.

Healthy life. . .

Lots of fresh air and walking.

The dark green and orange vegetables, etc., that I mentioned above.

Sleep. I’m every-so-slightly sleep-deprived, but not badly at all, and I don’t feel tired. It’s just that sleep is a very important matter to me, as I am convinced it was one of the keys to getting back my health when it was deteriorating inexplicably years ago. I’ve been trying to take brief naps whenever I can. Naps are really good for you! They correlate with better cognition, longer life, and a number of other benefits.

My plans for the day. . .

One of the lava tube caves at Lava Beds National Monument,
just across the southcentral Oregon border in California.
This is natural lighting. The caves are diverse and interesting.

I will write a paper about this place for my geology of the national parks class. It’s a place where you can explore lava tube caves that were created by flows of basaltic lava from the Medicine Lake shield volcano not far away.

The park has an interesting, tragic history. It was the scene of a war between the Modoc Indians and the United States army. The native Americans created a stronghold in the caves because they knew how to survive there, and the terrain is extremely tricky to navigate:

The unique geology of the lava bed and the Modocs' understanding of how to survive in and use that terrain were the foremost reasons the Modocs were so successful. Bleak and forbidding, the jagged, sharp lava rocks became the allies of the Modocs, who used the land against their enemy in the truest sense of guerrilla warfare.

NPS Photo. Area near Lava Beds.
Amazing and wonderful middle of nowhere.

My family lived not too far away from the Lava Beds, and we occasionally went caving there. I have fun memories of exploring the area with my really good, real-life friend, Laura, and her family. When they visited once, I wanted to take them to see the caves and the surrounding terrain because southern Oregon and northern Caliornia on the east side of the Cascade Mountains is very different from the Oregon most people imagine. It is a desert and the region where I lived is extremely barren, wide open, and sparsely populated. I truly loved that feeling of living on what felt like on the edge of nowhere. In fact, on a stop on the way to the Lava Beds with Laura’s family, Bob said something about just that—about being in the middle of nowhere—and  he added, “I’ve never seen so much nowhere in my life!”

Plans for the weekend. . .

I get to see some of my family! Michelle, Monty, and gang, and Melissa, are coming down for a day. Yay! Visiting, playing, food, fun, being together. I adore my family.

And now I’d better get to making my rice krispie treats, starting my laundry, and writing my paper. It’s the last thing I have to do this term, and then I will be freeeeeee!

Happy day to you!


  1. The Crimson article was a good reminder. That guy doesn't know what a service he's doing, giving people who have done exactly the proper thing their whole lives a chance not to take themselves so seriously.

    I'd forgotten Bob said that, but it does sound like something he'd say! And it's true; there's more in your nothingness than there is there in many cities. It's gorgeous! I loved visiting the lava beds and I want to go back!

    We ate borage for dinner (since I'm 9 hours ahead), in soup as described in The Unplugged Kitchen. It's pretty fuzzy stuff, but it makes good soup! Will definitely try roasted cauliflower--why have I never thought of that?

    Glad you're almost done! How long do you get off from school?

    1. Hi Laura, I just sent you an email, but I'll also reply here! :-) I did like that article. It's a good reminder for *everyone* of what matters and doesn't, I think! Yes, good old Bob! I still laugh out loud sometimes when I think of things he's done or said. And the time we took over the bed and breakfast near Mt. St. Helens--haha! I have never eaten borage. I need to try it now. I need to get out Unplugged Kitchen again! Thanks for the reminder. (Thankfully, that is a book I kept--can't imagine ever getting rid of it.)

      I don't start next term until the 7th of January, I believe, which is soooo nice!

  2. Good Morning - I love your day-book entries. Today, I have had a cup of espresso, followed up by a mini-latte, courtesy of my amazing Nespresso machine (a gift from a friend returning to the States - wrong electrical plug after all :-) I just consumed my super delicious Emmi yogurt with blackberries (the Swiss are super at yogurt, it has spoiled me for all others).

    On the agenda -- a train ride to a nearby town (just 10 min. away) to pick up some pills (doggy advil) for my Lucky dog. And ironing. Maybe I will watch a beloved Christmas movie to make the chore easier.

    Reading? Trying to get into JK Rowling's The Casual Vacancy, but it's bumming me out. Instead, I am reading a few Advent devotionals, and just starting The Snow Child.

    Thanks for sharing your day with us.

    1. Oh, I am jealous of your espresso and your food. Between you and Laura from Italy (above), I'm feeling really jealous of your coffee/food lives! Oh, let me know what you think of The Snow Child! And, by the way, I think your day sounded truly lovely! :-)