Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Week that Was

It's been a busy week. As June comes to an end camps kick into gear, plans for our summer trip take on more urgency, and there are various finishing-up things to do after the end of the academic year. Here are a few highlights:
  • I turned in my annual report. Early!
  • I met with Claudia for coffee and discovered that she grew up in my neighborhood. I knew Richmond was a small town, but I hadn't quite realized how small.
  • I re-knit something I'd knit in March. It is oddly satisfying to rip out an entire garment (OK, just a stole, but still) and re-knit it so that it actually works. I did some more ripping out (of something as yet unfinished) yesterday, and that was satisfying, too. I realize I like the process of knitting enough that ripping and re-knitting is not so bad.
  • There's a lesson here, I think.
  • I finished a long article on fantasy literature and education that's been percolating for a while, and got friends to read it on a ridiculously tight deadline. Good friends. One more pass through the revision mill and I can send it out.
  • Friday night I got to go to a free "art-tasting" at the Visual Arts Center and made a fabulous glass pendant. Now I want to buy a soldering iron so I can make more!
  • The four of us went to see Wall*E yesterday--what a sweet movie!
  • Went to a "Unite for Change" Obama party last night and was blown away by the engaged, thoughtful, articulate group of recent high school grads there. They, almost as much as the candidate, give me hope about this election.
  • Heard the rough cut of some of the music we recorded earlier this month; now I can't wait for the rest of it!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tuesday again!

So it looks as if I haven't posted since last Tuesday. I have things I want to write about--movies I've seen, things I'm doing--but since I'm doing them, I'm not writing. That may change, or it may not--no promises.

But in the meantime, here's what Mariah's recent graduation made me think about.

By the way, one of the awesome friends I mention in the piece is responsible for the fact that Mariah is now driving/riding a bubble-gum pink scooter, on a long-term loan/rent-to-own deal. I can see her--Mariah, that is, not the friend--out the window of my office as she is strapping on her helmet to go to a job interview.

There, see? Some news!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Parenting in the News...again

Over at the Mama, PhD blog at IHE today I'm talking about Lisa Belkin's shared parenting piece in the NY Times magazine, as well as two pieces more specifically focused on academic women and academic parenting. Let me know what you think!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Vegan Food for Meat-Eaters

We threw a graduation party for Mariah on Saturday, and I put her (mostly) in charge of the menu. Since she's been vegan since about September, she wanted to provide food that was 1) food she could eat and 2) food that would prove to meat-eaters that vegans can eat well. I think she satisfied both conditions.

Here's what we made (sorry, no pictures--I was running late and it was all I could do to get the food on the table within the first hour of the party!)

  • raw veggie platter (grape tomatoes, cucumbers, baby carrots, sun-dried tomatoes)
  • grilled veggie platter (zucchini, asparagus, red peppers, mushrooms--Mark was a hero, standing over the grill in the hot sun so we could eat)
  • home-made sushi (carrot and cucumber rolls)
  • samosa-stuffed baked potatoes (from Mariah's favorite cookbook, Veganomicon. These were a huge hit.)
  • chips and salsa
  • home-made hummus (also from Veganomicon) and black bean dip
  • pita crisps
  • sesame tempeh (also a big hit)
  • fresh fruit: grapes, cherries, strawberries
  • chocolate-chocolate chip-walnut cookies (yes, vegan ones, also from Veganomicon, though we used pecans instead of walnuts)
  • chocolate-raspberry cookies (ditto)
  • chocolate cupcakes (one recipe of crazy cake makes two dozen cupcakes; I used balsamic vinegar instead of plain to fancy them up a bit, and I bought canned frosting which has no dairy products. Next time I'll look into vegan icing...)
I also forgot to put out the broccoli florets on the raw veggie platter, and the watermelon and canteloupe with the fruits. Oh, well.

The sesame tempeh is so delicious, and so easy, and so "meaty," that I thought I'd post it here. The sauce is from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone; I got the technique from my sister and brother-in-law, but I don't think they've ever posted it. So here it is:

Tempeh with Sesame Sauce

2-3 packages multi-grain tempeh (2 packages serves four generously as an entrée)

¼ cup toasted sesame seeds
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
6 tablespoons soy sauce
4-6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed (or already chopped)
1 teaspoon ground ginger (either fresh or dried works)
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Cut tempeh into slabs or chunks

Combine the next 9 ingredients in the blender and puree until smooth. Pour the sauce over the tempeh slabs/chunks in a shallow saute pan that holds all the tempeh without too much overlap, and heat until almost boiling. (I think you could also stand the tempeh on end in a saucepan if that's what you've got, but I like to have the most surface area possible getting caramelized at the end.) Reduce heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, turning the tempeh so it caramelizes a bit on both sides. You can do this ahead of time and then barbecue the tempeh briefly, or simply serve it as is. The longer you let it sit in the hot pan the more sauce the tempeh will absorb. You can serve this hot or at room temperature; it's tasty and filling either way.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Books for Babies

I went to buy a book for a colleague who had a new baby recently...

As I picked up each book, the anonymous big-box store faded away as the memories flooded in: sitting in the frayed armchair with Nick in my lap, late one night, reading Little Bear's Visit until we reached the part we wanted to hear. Initiating the call-and-response of Eric Carle's Do You Want to Be My Friend? with Mariah, and hearing her echo back the text. Laughing together over the smart dog who travels along with the safety officer in Officer Buckle and Gloria. I could outfit a different library for a new baby every day of the week, if I had money enough and time, and all the libraries would be good.

Read the rest here...

(Cross-posted, as usual.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mothering at Mid-Career

Someone asked me the other day if school was out for the summer, and I'm afraid my reply ("as much as it ever is") was a little too brusque. Maybe this is what I should have said?

(In case I'm being too subtle: read my blog post over at the Mama, Ph.D. site at Inside Higher Ed...)

Oh! and my copy of Mama, Ph.D. arrived yesterday. Only great self-control--and heat-induced exhaustion--prevented me from staying up way too late to read it. And we have a houseguest arriving today and two graduations this week, so I'll have to portion it out rationally. Drat!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Bullet Points

  • Today is the third (fourth? I'm losing count) day in a row of unbearable heat and humidity.
  • Highs have been over 100 F. My brain doesn't really function in this heat.
  • So far the prediction for tomorrow is more of the same.
  • I've been experimenting with vegan ice cream. Recipe to follow, when I get it right.
  • Vegan ice cream has one great advantage over "real" ice cream: no need to cook.
  • Actually, there's another advantage: because you don't have to cook it, you don't have to cool it before you can put it in the ice cream maker. Faster ice cream=happier family.
  • Mariah and I spent about 12 hours at church between Thursday and yesterday.
  • Almost all of it choir-related.
  • We sang one service and one concert, and did a long recording session as well.
  • Eventually there will be a CD.
  • Mariah and Nick both graduate this week. I should get off the computer.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Gap Year

It's Tuesday, so I'm blogging at IHE's Mama, PhD site again today, and I'm thinking about the year past, and the year ahead...