Monday, April 29, 2002

Change in plans

Unfortunately, I got sick and had to cancel my trip to see my new nephew and take care of my niece. How disappointing! I don't get sick often and so forget how helpless one is to make it go away.

So yesterday I lounged in bed all day reading the paper and sleeping while trying not to cough. Not much good news to report. 10th anniversary of the LA riots; more killing of Israelis and Palestinians; first part in a series about a respiratory therapist who killed elderly, sick patients at a nearby hospital; retelling of the story of an arson investigator who set a number of fires himself in the 1980s; and this article about the increased use of sugar in prepared foods. Manufacturers have been substituting sugar for fat in so-called healthy, low-fat foods. I've recently switched from vanilla yogurt to plain yogurt to try cut down on sugar.

Now I need to go lie down again.

Friday, April 26, 2002

Posting pause

I won't be posting for a while. But I'll be back!
One more thing to worry about

From an article in today's LA Times:
Wind-borne pollution from China and neighboring countries is spreading to California and other parts of the nation and Canada as a result of surging economic activity and destructive farming practices half a world away, according to new scientific studies.

Sunday, April 21, 2002

Study break

Yesterday afternoon, as a reward for a productive morning, I went to the Huntington to see an exhibition, Great British Paintings from American Collections: Holbein to Hockney. The paintings were hung at direct eye level, and because there wasn't an overwhelming number, you could linger in front of each one and still take in the entire collection without feeling rushed.

Susie had reminded me of the Pre-Raphaelites, who were amongst the painters in the exhibition, in two posts earlier this month: a painting of Mariana by John Everett Millais and one of The Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse.

When I was in London in 1984, I went to a Pre-Raphaelite exhibition at the Royal Academy knowing nothing about art (which is still the case). I bought a poster of a young girl in a harem holding a falcon. I've since lost the poster, don't know the painter or title of the painting, and haven't yet tracked down the image on the internet. When I find it, I'll post it here.

After viewing the paintings, I strolled through the Rose Garden. Many roses are in bloom, but there are still tons of buds, so I'll have to go back soon. After all, that's what annual memberships are all about—visiting as often as possible.

Saturday, April 20, 2002

April 20 or 420

I thought this LA Times article, "The Inside Dope on '420' Buzz", was an interesting glimpse into youth/drug culture and how 420 is being adopted by marketers and advertisers.

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

Welcome to the world

My nephew has arrived! Mother and baby are doing well. Born at 3:25 PM. 7 lbs 13 oz. 19 1/2 inches long.

There are so many things going on, including the non-stop whirring of my brain.
  • My sister-in-law is in labor and I need to figure out when/how I'm going to stay with her and take care of my niece, plus finish knitting the baby's present.
  • My sister's birthday is very soon, and I've not sent her a card or present yet.
  • My car is drivable once again, after a brand new rear shock snapped (fortunately in my driveway after I drove almost 100 miles round-trip to work and back and had dropped off my three carpool passengers). The tow truck driver said he'd never seen such a thing and neither had my mechanic in thirty years at his shop.
  • I have to finish editing a glossary for the commentary a retired professor is writing. He has a Mac and does not use e-mail.
  • I feel like I'm getting free, private tutoring from the professor while I work on his project. He's very passionate about Hebrew Bible scholarship. I'm learning so much, including how meager my thinking and scholarly efforts are thus far.
  • I am very late writing a short book note/review for my advisor.
  • My paper sits waiting for substantial revisions and additions, untouched.
  • Major changes are brewing/in the wind/in the offing/waiting in the wings—whatever other cliché you can think of—at work.
  • Change could force me to focus on hurrying up my degree, but then I worry about finding other income to pay rent, etc. Even if I find a cheaper place, I now have two cats and a piano to accommodate.
  • Taxes are done.
  • Last Wednesday, our church invited the Quakers who meet next door to join us for dinner at our church, and then we had dessert at their meeting house. One of their members performed a magic show for the children (and adults). It was such a simple way to spend an evening but significant somehow. One of the best parts was watching a little five-year-old from our church, who has cerebral palsy, sitting on the floor with all the other children, laughing in utter delight at the magician's antics.
  • Then on Saturday I played the piano at the funeral of long-time church member. Again, two churches came together—ours and the AME church, where the man's children attend and where he was well-known also. The remembrances people offered were profound and reflected a life well-lived. Afterwards I helped with the setup of the church hall where a meal was served.

Friday, April 12, 2002


I received a note from the author of the article I mentioned yesterday:
Yes, you read it all right! But I have now corrected the lazy grammatical flaw in the introduction and apologise for any stress it may have caused you.
Apology accepted. Please feel free to contact me if I make any grammatical or spelling errors!

Thursday, April 11, 2002

I don't believe I just read this sentence

"And Blogger has made the process of self-publishing so much more easier for people - especially since its main service is free." And in a British publication, no less.

On my walk around the block at work this morning, I noticed these two signs posted together on the neighboring company's land:
Private Property
No Trespassing
Violators Will Be Prosecuted
And right underneath it:
Beware of Rattlesnakes
[Symbol of snake]
Oh, the company's stock price hit its 52-week low on September 10, 2001.

Tuesday, April 09, 2002

A found alphabet

From Textism.
Pantry cooking

I am a fan of egg and cheese dishes and of cooking meals from ingredients on hand. Here is a link to some souffle recipes that show "souffle is just a pantry dish with airs."

Saturday, April 06, 2002

More milk

Susie sent me a note re: Thursday's entry below on my dislike of milk with a link to one of her journal entries on the same subject. Apparently the British exported to their former colonies this method of turning children off milk drinking. Let me elaborate further.

Now that I know the difference between pasteurized and homogenized milk, thanks to Susie's entry, I realize our morning milk was warm because it had just been pasteurized (not because it had just come out of the cows...). The milk was then put into a cooler (which I don't think was as cold as a refrigerator and thus allowed the milk to sour a bit) where it developed a layer of "skin" by the time of afternoon tea because the milk was not homogenized.

The cups of milk were carefully counted out, one for each child, so you could not not drink your cup. Fortunately, the cups were only filled about halfway. One technique for not drinking all the milk was to dump some out on the tray where the dirty cups were collected. However, it was rather obvious when too many children tried that ploy.

One year, because of the fighting in nearby southern Zaïre, the American embassy recommended to my parents' mission organization that the children be taken out of school. Our mission chose to do so. However, the other children remained at the school. When we returned, an extra cup of milk began not to be emptied and the blame was put on us. (I think the school staff were somewhat contemptuous of our mission—those whimpy Americans—for pulling us out of school.) Whoever had not been drinking their milk started to and the crisis was averted.

At certain times the milk was sour, not because it wasn't cooled properly, but because mangoes were in season, and the cows would eat ripe mangoes that fell from the trees into their pasture. Then we would have to gag down our cracked corn porridge with mango-soured milk.

Thursday, April 04, 2002

Zambia, again

I came across the website for Nchila Wildlife Reserve, established about ten years ago near the boarding school I attended as a child. When I was at the school, what is now a wildlife reserve was only a ranch, which supplied the school with meat and milk. (We had to drink warm milk for morning tea and cookies and cooled, slightly sour milk for afternoon tea and cookies. I've never liked milk since.)

On half-term holidays, one of our favorite excursions was to the nearby Zambezi River rapids for an afternoon of inner-tubing.

Tuesday, April 02, 2002

The food we eat

This past weekend's New York Times' Magazine has a fascinating, scary, (long) article on the industrialization of beef production. In order to fatten beef more quickly for slaughter, ranchers feed cattle corn in crammed feedlots rather than rather than having the cattle graze on grass; the government-subsidized corn is grown using petrochemical fertilizer, which requires oil to produce; (a steer that eats "25 pounds of corn a day and reaches a weight of 1,250 pounds...will have consumed in his lifetime roughly 284 gallons of oil"); the corn-fed beef has more saturated fat than grass-fed beef; animal fat proteins (think mad cow disease) are added to the feed along with antibiotics that protect against a new strain of E. Coli that thrives in feedlots, amongst other bacteria; the list goes on.

Doris Janzen Longacre, author of the More-With-Less Cookbook, and Frances Moore Lappé of Diet for a Small Planet, amongst others, have long advocated cutting back on beef consumption because of the resources mass produced feedlot beef requires.

My uncle still raises grass-fed cattle on the family farm, as my grandparents did. Hopefully, our family will continue the tradition.

In other farm animal news, the WSJ reported that raising chickens is becoming popular amongst upscale urban dwellers.

Monday, April 01, 2002

Blogging lull

My motivation to write posts to this blog/weblog has been flagging. So, just one link to articles many other weblogs already have linked to about the phenomena of blogs and weblogs: Microcontent articles by John Hiler.