taylweaver: (Default)
Last night, my parents treated me to a Broadway ticket to see Newsies with them and my sister, and I am so grateful to them, because the best I can do to describe how it was is to say, wow!

We were seated in the second to last row of the balcony, and they were actually the perfect seats, because we had a beautiful view of the amazing dance numbers, and there were many of them.

But it wasn't just the dance numbers that made it amazing. There was something so beautifully nostalgic about hearing those familiar tunes. As soon as the music kicked in, I'd feel this swell of emotion - this comforting, heartening sense of familiarity - that nearly brought tears to my eyes. Santa Fe, Carrying the Banner, Seize the Day, The World Will Know, Once and for All... all the songs I used to hear over and over. (I may be getting some of the titles wrong. But if you know Newsies, you know which songs I'm referring to.)

They changed a few things in the plot. The biggest change was that they turned the male reporter female so that they could combine her with the love interest, who was a much more minor character in the movie. I liked that change, and they even dealt with the fact that she was a female reporter in a time when such a thing was the exception to the rule. 

They added in some new songs, but they fit in with the others so well that they didn't bother me. (And one or two of them really brought a smile to my face.)

They changed some lyrics, but that didn't bother me either. 

The familiarity was still there - and also the beautiful, uplifting message - that the powerless can band together and change the world for the better. (And that's only the main message. There were other messages too.)

I especially like that it's based on a true story, because that makes the message hold that much more power. 

In today's world, with so many rights being trampled on here in the USA, it's an important, essential message. 

Broadway shows are expensive. The show has to be pretty amazing to warrant spending that much money on a ticket, even for the least expensive seats in the house. Newsies was worth it. 
taylweaver: (Default)
So I decided it was time to print another draft of novel, in order to revise by hand on the printed copy. This is a good thing. This means I am ready (or nearly ready) to actually make changes rather than just planning out what changes to make.)

I was nursing a dying ink cartridge for the first 50 or so pages, and then, it stopped cooperating, so I changed the cartridge. This involved a fight with my printer, but I eventually won.

Then, on page 260 of 272, my printer ran out of paper, and I didn't catch it quickly enough. The printer then promptly decided that it was going to declare itself out of paper, even though I had refilled it, just to be contrary.

After retrying and deleting the print job a bunch of times, and shutting off the printer and turning it back on, I decided to shut down the computer.

Apparently, my file didn't save properly before I did this.

No, don't panic. The file still existed. I had exported a file from Scrivener (a program for writing things like novels) into Open Office (like Word, only free), and the file was still there. It's just that some of the formatting changes I'd made (line spacing, margins, etc) weren't.

I redid the changes.

And discovered that I had a different number of pages than the last time around.

I have no clue how this happened, but it made the simple act of printing 12 pages into the more complicated act of figuring out what pages to print.

Also, it left me wondering where those extra 13 pages appeared from. And also why some of my dialogue symbols decided to turn themselves into something that looked vaguely like Japanese.


Anyway, it's printed now. Half an hour later than it should have been. 

But still... grumble, grumble...
taylweaver: (Default)
So I had a dream involving things like a Tardis, and traveling back and forth between two times in the same huge, complicated, hotel-like building. There was this other character I was working with, and I was pretty sure she'd end up taking a lead role, and, while dreaming, I found myself thinking that there should be tension between us before I got used to the fact that she'd be the leader, not me. 

The dream also involved running repeatedly down long, complicated corridors, ferrying items like china dishes from one time to the other. I kept thinking that, in any good story, I should succeed at this a few times, and then, I should get caught, or at least run into trouble. This made me anxious.

Apparently, my inner editor was having way too much fun critiquing my dream - but I'm not sure I mind.
taylweaver: (Default)

This is, more or less, the d'var Torah I gave at Hadar this past Shabbat. I say more or less because I was still revising it after Shabbat started, which is to say that the last set of revisions never made it onto the physical page, so there are probably a few lines that came out a bit differently. 

This is also the first time I've given a d'var Torah that was read from a page with 12 point font. I didn't even have time before Shabbat to print out an easier to read copy. 

Also, I write in my Hebrew by hand, so when I typed in the last set of corrections this afternoon, I put in the shorter pieces of Hebrew in italics, but not the longer pieces. For those spots, I wrote, [INSERT HEBREW HERE], but when I actually gave the d'var Torah, I had the relevant quotes written onto the page in those spots.

Anyway, here it is: 

D'var Torah )

taylweaver: (Default)
As we inch closer to November, I've been spending a lot of my writing time focused on getting the next story idea ready to be turned into a novel during Nanowrimo. Sometimes, this happens naturally, and I get hooked on an idea and keep developing it in my head. Other times, I have to actively work at it. This year is one of those other times. 

Still, the idea is getting developed, slowly but surely.

In the meantime, another idea made a lot of noise in my head, an idea from this time last year, an idea for a Sukkot story.

So I wrote it. 

And I revised it.

And I revised it some more. 

And now, I have a children's story about Sukkot, and I'm ready to let folks read it, and give me feedback. Would you like to be one of those folks? You may have already responded to my facebook or g+ status. If not, feel free to reply here.
taylweaver: (Default)
   Share #6 had some good things in it. Unfortunately, a number of them went bad much more quickly than I expected them to.

Here's what happened to Share #6:

The chard got used last night as a bed of greens under poached eggs. I sauteed it with garlic. 
The ears of corn got used for a small Shabbat dinner a week and a half ago. Not all of them got eaten. I got through most of the leftovers, though.
Half a summer squash got sauteed and mixed with pasta. The other one and a half died far more quickly than I expected, so I never got to eat them. I think they were picked before the hurricane, so they'd already been hanging around for the better part of a week before I got them. And that was the last of the CSA summer squash for me this year.
The tomatoes: hmm... I think one died, one got eaten raw, and one got used to make a sort of tomato sauce to put on my pasta.
The cucumbers got eaten raw, as did most of the peppers. One of the green peppers had some unexpected heat to it, which made it useless to munch on (at least for me), but I cooked with it when I made the poached eggs. (See below)
The eggplant got roasted with some zucchini from the supermarket. (Had I realized the CSA squash was on the way out, I would have used that instead.) It came out pretty yummy.

New recipes/experiments:

1. Roasted eggplant worked really well. Olive oil, salt, pepper, into the oven at 500-ish for a while.

2. Poached eggs with sauteed green pepper on a bed of chard: I got these little silicone egg holders so my poached eggs wouldn't lose half their whites in the water. I wanted to get rid of that pepper, so I sauteed it, and put it beneath the raw eggs so that it cooked into the bottom of the whites. Then, all of it went onto a bed of chard sauteed with garlic. 

Unfortunately, the chard was very much on the way out, the garlic burned, and I had too many flavors going on to really figure out what I did and didn't like.

And now for this week's share:

- 3 small carrots
- 7 small beets
- 2 jalapenos
- 3 small peppers
- 1 winter squash
- 6 leaves of collard greens
- 1 bunch of sweet potato greens
- 1 fennel
- 1 eggplant

Thing that went into the swap box (first time I swapped!): fennel
Thing that came out of the swap box: more carrots. Magic.

Thing I considered putting in there but didn't: beets. I should really learn how to do something yummy with them.

Things I'm excited to try out: collard greens and sweet potato greens

Thing I have no idea how to cook: winter squash. Should be interesting.
taylweaver: (Default)
So it turns out the farm out produce comes from took a hit from Irene. It did some damage. This week's share looks pretty normal, but we'll see what happens in future weeks. 

As for last week's share (my part of it), I think I actually managed to eat the entire thing, a first for me. (Well, unless you count the last two carrot sticks/part of an ear of corn left on my plate at the end of various meals...)

The corn got microwave-steamed.
The mini peppers went into egg omelets, a zucchini dish (I think), and got eaten raw with some salad dressing.
The tomato got used in an eggplant recipe (see below)
The zucchini got sauteed and also used in the same eggplant recipe
The cucumber got eaten raw
The carrot got eaten raw as carrot sticks
The eggplant got used first mixed in a sautee with zucchini (in which I discovered I should have peeled it) and then in a recipe based on one from the produce recipe book I got at the farm store in Gaithersburg. (Farm store being a produce stand located at the edge of an actual farm.):

I sauteed onion, eggplant and zucchini with salt, pepper and oregano. Then, I mixed in some tomato until the tomato got all mushed up and the other stuff turned all red. 

The first time around, it came out yummy. The second time, not as good. Not sure why.

This week's share:
- 6 stalks of chard (basically, I'm guessing one serving)
- 4 ears of corn
- 2 tiny summer squashes
- 3 small tomatoes
- 2 smallish cucumbers
- 7 small peppers
- 1 eggplant

This will be the first share that carries over into a work week, so we'll see how it goes once my lunch vegetable has to be packed into a lunch bag.

taylweaver: (Default)
At the moment, most people in NYC are either freaking out over Hurricane Irene, or laughing at the people who are freaking out over Hurricane Irene. This makes Tuesday's earthquake old news, but I'm going to post about it anyway.

See, I'd never felt an earthquake before Tuesday.

Here in New York, it was a small, subtle earthquake. I wouldn't have felt it if I hadn't been sitting still, but I was, and I did.

I was sitting in my apartment, at my table. I don't remember whether I was finishing up lunch or working on a papercut. I feel like I should remember. I feel like I should know what my hands were doing when the apartment began to vibrate, but I don't. I was watching an episode of Torchwood on Netflix. That part, I remember, because at a certain point, when I began to wonder whether or not it was an earthquake, I paused the episode. Later, when I returned to it, I had to rewind, because I stopped paying attention to it even earlier.

The apartment was vibrating. The floor, the table. I put my hands down on the table and sat very still, just to be sure. I wondered if maybe it could be an earthquake, and the possibility excited me. But no, it probably wasn't. Someone was probably doing some work on our building, or somewhere else nearby.

But then, the table began to sway, and my chair was swaying too. Was it just my imagination? That was when I hit pause, and slowly, tentatively rose to my feet.

I wasn't scared. After all, I could barely feel it. Clearly, I wasn't in danger. I wasn't concerned about losing my balance. After all, I ride the subway.

Those weren't the reasons I hesitated.

I hesitated because I didn't trust it, because if I rose to my feet, maybe it wouldn't be real.

I've always wanted to know what an earthquake felt like. Not a big, scary one, but a little one, the kind that lets you know it's there, but doesn't do any major damage.

And there I was, standing in my living room (or dining room or bedroom, depending on your perspective), feeling the building sway gently beneath my feet. Wow, I thought. Just wow.

It happened at 1:51 pm. I know because the internet told me so. I didn't fully believe it until about two minutes later, when I finally found a website that listed recent earthquakes. There had been an earthquake in Virginia at 1:51, it told me. The tentative measure was 5.8. Later, they would change it to 5.9. My computer clock read 1:53.

When I looked up from my computer, my blinds were swaying from side to side. That, and the website, were the only proof I had, but they should have been proof enough.

I still wasn't ready to accept it as real, though, not quite.

Then, I opened a facebook window to post about it, and found that many of my friends had beaten me too it. A number of them reacted the way I had: with a touch of disbelief. Things along the lines of, "Did I just feel what I think I just felt?" and, "That was real, right?" And I was finally ready to say, yes. Yes, it was.

It occurred to me to wonder what brachah one says over an earthquake. (I'm guessing the same one we say for thunder.) I never actually said one, but maybe it's the thought that counts. Maybe it's the fact that one of my first thoughts immediately afterward was that there should be a brachah to say, that I felt the urge to say one.

See, the reason I had moved so slowly when I rose from the table wasn't fear, and it wasn't a lack of balance. I moved so slowly because I wanted to absorb the moment and hold it deep inside. I felt a feeling that I haven't felt in a very long time: awe.

taylweaver: (Default)
So, as you some of you know, I'm in Gaithersburg, MD at the moment on vacation. A good friend picked up Share #5 for me, and we will be splittng it. 

Here's what's in the share:
- 2 ears of corn
- 3 mini peppers
- some cherry tomatoes
- 3 tomatoes
- 1 large zucchini
- 1 medium cucumber
- some basil
- 1 head of lettuce
- 2 small eggplants
- 2 carrots

I will probably be getting:
- 2 ears of corn
- some of the mini peppers
- 1 or 2 tomatoes
- half a zucchini
- 1 cucumber
- 1 small eggplant
- 1 carrot

A nice bunch of veggies - and all things I've heard of before, which makes them easier to use. On the other hand, that means I have to put in actual effort if I want to do any experimenting.

Here's what happened to Share #4:

Corn: got boiled and served as part of a Shabbat meal. There was some left over, but most of it got eaten.

Green peppers: one of them got mixed into various egg omelets (I threw some onion into both, and some jalapeno into one of them). The other one ended up coming with me to Gaithersburg, and may or may not get eaten.

Lettuce: was supposed to go into a salad, but the salad never got made. Sadly, this ended up in the trash.

Zucchini: mostly got sauteed with garlic and eaten as a side dish. Some of it went bad before I could get to it

Cucumber: not sure which cucumber I used where... some of this got eaten on its own, and the rest went into a salad with purslane

Cherry tomatoes: got put out as nosh when I had people over Shabbat afternoon. Many but not all of them got eaten. (I'm not a fan of cherry tomatoes, so I let other folks eat them.)

Basil: Got turned into pesto and is now in my freezer. I haven't had the chance to try any of it yet.

Purslane: Got put into a salad that was based on a recipe I found online: purslane leaves, jalapenocucumber, tomato (I used heirloom tomato for it), and lemon juice. I was too scared of the jalapeno, and didn't use enough of the hot part of it, so it was hard to tell it was there, but otherwise, I guess it came out okay...

So I guess I didn't do anything exciting with the last share... we'll see what happens with this week's. I bought a vegetable cook book at a farm store on Friday (we went to buy fruits before Shabbat), so maybe it will give me some interesting ideas.

taylweaver: (Default)
 Here's what happened to the rest of last week's share:

Basil: most of it didn't get used before it started to go, but some of it was drying out, so I now have a little container of dried basil leaves. Any suggestions for dried basil?
Dill: went bad before I could use it, but there was very little of it to begin with.
Corn: all got eaten; all got steamed in the microwave due to laziness. The ear last night tasted less good, probably because it was two weeks old.
Zucchini: some of it got sauteed with garlic, as already noted. Some of it got sauteed with onion, a bit of red pepper, and Italian seasoning, and served at Shabbat dinner. (I still have a bit left over, but not very much.)
Onion: most of the massive onion got used, between the Shabbat dishes already mentioned in this post and the last one, and a little bit of it in the egg omelet I made last night. 
Lettuce: hooray! All got eaten in my usual salad, some the first Shabbat (mixed with Share #2 lettuce), some the second Shabbat, plus leftovers from both during the week. 
Fennel: I tried roasting some. It's not a flavor I like. Next time, it goes in the swap box.
Cucumbers: Some in salad, some on its own, all yummy. All gone.
Arugula: What didn't die in my fridge got sauteed with garlic and stuck into pasta with sauce and cheese. Yummy both times.

My favorite recipe/discovery from this share: arugula in pasta.
- 1 clove fresh garlic
- some arugula (not sure how much)
- elbow noodles
- tomato sauce
- cheese (in my case, muenster)

1. Sautee garlic
2. Add in arugula and sautee with garlic
3. Meanwhile, cook pasta until it's done
4. Mix pasta, tomato sauce and arugula mixture
5. Put cheese on top and melt it in the toaster oven

And now, on to this week's share. Here's what we got:

- 8 ears of corn
- 2 jalapeno peppers
- 2 smallish green field peppers
- 1/2 pound purslane (it's an edible weed, if you haven't heard of it. I hadn't either before various friends got it in last week's share.)
- 1 head of lettuce
- 2 zucchini (smaller this time)
- 1 cucumber (larger this time)
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
- 5 stalks of basil
Thing I need to research on: purslane
Thing I forgot to buy Tuesday night when I went to Bed Bath and Beyond: a hand mixer with a food processor attachment (or something like that) so I can make pesto out of all that basil.
Thing I may not be able to eat: jalapeno. I am open to suggestions on how to use them to add flavor without adding too much kick, since spicy doesn't work so well for me.
taylweaver: (Default)
 Hi all. 

Just for the sake of consistency, here's the post from last week that went directly onto Facebook because LJ was down.

For those of you seeing this on facebook, I'll try to delete this note once it cross-posts so that you won't see it twice.

Here goes:

Hi all.

So I can't refer back to my CSA list because that's in a Livejournal post, and Livejournal is down at the moment. But here's what I've done with my share so far - and how I used up some more of Share #2:

Share #2: One more update

Broccoli and kohlrabi actually got used! I had a surprise Shabbat guest (hooray!) who is vegetarian, and since I was taking her along to meals with me, decided that an extra side dish wouldn't hurt - and gave me an excuse to use up the veggies I couldn't eat. I did an internet search for broccoli and kohlrabi together, and found an interesting recipe - that I then modified based on what was in the apartment, since there was no way I was leaving my AC for another shopping trip in 100 degree weather.

- 1 head of broccoli (greens already eaten)
- 1 and a half kohlrabi (what do you call an individual kohlrabi? Again, greens already eaten.)
- olive oil (for sauteeing)
- onion (from Share #3!)
- craisins
- slivered almonds

1. blanch the broccoli (the internet tells me this takes 3 minutes). Boil the kohlrabi for 2 minutes. I did both in the same pot, and left them in for a bit longer because there wasn't enough water so I had to add more which made it un-boil.
2. chop the broccoli into small pieces and chop the kohlrabi into what the recipe calls matchsticks.
3. toast almonds (I had leftovers from another dish I had just made. Otherwise, I would have tossed them in untoasted. They weren't in the original recipe anyway.)
4. sautee craisins (because I like them better sauteed than not, and it doesn't at much prep time.)
5. sautee onions
6. make a dressing with balsamic vinegar and sugar that no one will use anyway, because they all liked it without the dressing just fine (which is to say, not doing that next time.)
7. mix everything together and serve at room temperature because that's just how it happened.

I think the recipe I based it on came from

Share #3 so far:

I used the microwave to steam one ear of corn. It mostly tasted good, except for one spot that was a bit rotten, and the top was missing some kernels. But the good part (most of it) tasted good.

I used the lettuce remaining from Share #2 plus some from Share #3 to make that same salad again for Shabbat, the one with apples and cucumber. (and finished the leftover salad today at lunch.)

I also ate half of a cucumber on its own with lunch one day.

I used some of the onion as noted above, and also in another side dish I made for Shabbat (string beans with sauteed onion and toasted almonds - hence the leftover almonds.) I think over half of the huge onion is now gone.

I sauteed a small amount of zucchini with garlic, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning and it was yummy as a side dish last night.

This evening, I experimented with arugula. I sauteed it with garlic, then tossed it in with some pasta and a bit of tomato sauce, then topped the whole thing with cheese. Either the garlic or the pasta masked the bitterness, and it worked well.

I also used some of the basil on top of a pita pizza again.

I think the basil won't get used up before it dies. The arugula may suffer a similar fate because it is dying quickly - but at least I found a way I like to eat it. I think the onion, zucchini, cucumbers, corn and lettuce will mostly get eaten. I still have to do some research on how to use the fennel and the dill - not that I have much dill. Also, I still have some beets left from Share #2, and I should probably get around to eating them at some point... (Hmm... wonder if there are any fennel and beet recipes out there... maybe I should do an internet search...)

And that is all.
taylweaver: (Default)
So I headed home on Thursday night to spend five days with my family, including a mini vacation with my mom and sisters in Atlantic City. We had a lovely time, but it's part of the reason so much of my share went uneaten. I didn't really do anything innovative with the rest of the share, so here's the quick rundown, followed by the list of what I got this week:

Basil: never got finished, and probably went bad by now.
Tatsoi: see previous post - already done
Kohlrabi: not finished because it seems I can't eat kohlrabi after all, which is too bad.
Broccoli: after seeing that I couldn't eat the kohlrabi, I didn't bother trying the broccoli. Chances are, I still can't eat it.
Curly endive: did not get finished
Zucchini: the two I hadn't eaten yet got sauteed with onion, red pepper and thyme at my parents' house, because my parents were out of Italian seasoning. The verdict: too much thyme, so I didn't like it.
Beets: still in my fridge to be eaten this coming week, because I am guessing they will last
Beet greens: I sauteed them with garlic and mixed them into rice again. Apparently, this works a lot better when the rice hasn't had a chance to cool off yet, but Shabbat prep in my parents' kitchen was too crazy to allow for that. Oh well.
Cucumbers: I brought the second one home, and we ended up eating it sliced into sticks in Atlantic City with one of our meals. It would have tasted better if we'd had salad dressing for it, but we hadn't made it to the supermarket yet. (That, and a leftover green pepper one of my sisters brought along were the vegetables with our dinner, so it came in handy.)
Kale: brought it home to use with the beet greens, but found out my father isn't so into it, so it never quite got finished off. I ate some of it Thursday night with poached eggs. That dish works better with some of the other greens than it does with kale.
Lettuce: I have to check the fridge. Either I finished it, or I finished most of it by eating it with my lunch.

Things that got finished: tatsoi, kohlrabi greens, broccoli greens, beet greens, cucumbers, zucchini, maybe the lettuce
Things I didn't finish: basil, curly endives, beets, kale, maybe the lettuce
Things I can't eat and should give away if they're still good: kohlrabi, broccoli

This week's share:

- 5 stalks of basil
- 2 stalks of dill
- 4 small ears of corn
- 2 nice sized zucchinis
- 1 onion
- 1 head of lettuce (same texture, but different color this time)
- 2 fennel
- 3 cucumbers
- 1 bunch arugula

So now, I need to explore uses for dill and fennel. Also: Note the relative lack of greens. How different!
taylweaver: (Default)
So here's hoping this shows up on facebook without funny formatting...

Halfway through my second CSA share, but may not get to eat much more of it, since I am leaving tomorrow evening for some family time, and won't be back until Tuesday. But here's what I have done so far:

First, some leftovers from Share #1:

Dish #1: Turnip green chips
Results: I only had a few turnip greens left that hadn't turned yellow. I tore them up into small pieces, put them in some oil on a tray in the toaster oven, added some salt, and left them in until they stopped sizzling. They were a bit burnt, but still tasted good. I have a feeling this would be tricky to reproduce in larger quantities, though.

Dish #2: Shnitzel with cilantro, Version 2
Results: I found a better way to get the cilantro to stay on the chicken. Instead of putting it into the egg mixture, I sprinkled it on after the egg and before the matzoh meal, so each piece got a lot more of it - though only on one side. Once again, it worked really well.

And now, on to Share #2:

Dish #1: Poached eggs on a bed of sauteed broccoli greens
Results: This worked really well. The greens taste like broccoli, and I think I sauteed them without any seasoning. They also went well with the eggs. Still haven't had a chance to test my intolerance to broccoli, but I now know I can eat the greens. And they are yummy.

Dish #2: Kale sauteed with garlic
Results: Yes, I used real garlic this time, and yes, you were all right. It tastes better that way. I also got rid of what was still good from the previous bunch of kale, so this also used some Week 1 greens.

Dish #3: Salad made with lettuce, cucumber and apple
Results: the sweetness of the apple cut the bitterness of the lettuce for me - either that, or the lettuce was just less bitter this time. This salad worked well. I've been eating it with my lunch all week.

Dish #4: curly endives blanched, then sauteed with garlic powder and salt
Results: yes, I got lazy with the garlic. I used real garlic in the other dish I ate that night (see Dish #5). This dish tasted better cold than it did warm. I think next time, I'd try it without the salt, since I think that enhanced the bitterness. Overall, not yet a fan of curly endives.

Dish #5: penne pasta cooked in the water from the curly endives, then cooked baked ziti style with tomato sauce, muenster cheese, sauteed zucchini and garlic, and basil put on top at the end
Results: Really yummy, and while I don't usually use penne (I usually use macaroni), it worked really well for this dish.

Dish #6: sauteed tatsoi
Results: I tried it without any seasoning because I'd never eaten it before, and I think I like the flavor. It would also probably work well with garlic. Nice to meet another green I like - especially because I'd never heard of this one before.

Dish #7: "pizza" made on a whole wheat pita, with tomato sauce, sauteed zucchini and kohlrabi with garlic (and salt and pepper), muenster cheese, and basil added at the end.
Results: I don't think the basil went with the kohlrabi, so I wouldn't add it next time, but the rest of it worked okay. Apparently, I can eat kohlrabi. It tastes a bit like broccoli - except that, unlike broccoli, it seems I can eat it.

Dish #8sauteed kohlrabi greens with garlic.
Results: these were yummy. I even ate the last few bites later in the evening.

What I have left:
- cilantro (from share #1!)
- some basil
- broccoli (now without greens)
- some curly endive
- 2 zucchinis - plus a bit of the third
- beets (and beet greens)
- one cucumber
- some kale
- a small amount of lettuce

What I actually finished:
- tatsoi

So... a lot left to eat, and not so many opportunities, because I am going away. That will be the challenge. (Some of it will be going away along with me, I think...)

On the plus side, I have a sense of what I want to do with all of it. It's just a matter of finding the time...
taylweaver: (Default)
So I got my second share today, which is definitely bigger than the first share was - and I haven't finished that one yet, so we'll see how this goes...

So here's what I came home with this week: 
- 5 stems of basil
- 1 head of tat soi
- 1 head of broccoli
- 1 head of endive (I am told I should specify curly endive)
- 3 medium zucchini (at least, I think I took medium sized ones...)
- 1 bunch of kohlrabi
- 1 bunch of beets
- 2 small cucumbers
- 1 bunch of kale
- 1 head of lettuce

Eep, that's a lot! Wow!

Stuff I know how to use:
- zucchini (so happy about those. And I got 3 different colors, too)
- beets (because I learned with the first share!)
- cucumbers (which I may just eat by themselves)
- kale
- lettuce (lemon juice, here we come)

Things I have never used before (and, in some cases, never seen before):
- tat soi (never even heard of it)
- endive
- kohlrabi (with greens attached)
- fresh basil (though that one, I can probably figure out...)
Thing I probably can't eat, but took anyway:
- broccoli (figured I'd at least try the greens. And maybe try to figure out which part it is that I'm intolerant to. Maybe I can at least eat part of it. Also, there was nothing good in the swap box to trade it for, where good is defined as "vegetable I know how to cook and like to eat.")

taylweaver: (Default)
So, I'm not so into this past week's share, and my attempts to eat my way through it have met with mixed results. 

Since it's been an entire week, I may be misremembering when I ate what. 

Things I learned along the way:
- arugula is incredibly bitter
- sauteed arugula is considerably less bitter
- sauteeing flat greens (like turnip greens) doesn't work as well, because they stick together

Attempts I have made to eat my vegetables: (stuff from this past week's share are bolded - don't know whether that will transfer to facebook, though.)

Dish #1: Salad with lettuce and arugula, with a dressing made with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, garlic powder, sugar, cilantro and scallions
The verdict: the arugula was way too bitter - so bitter it was sharp - and the greens needed something better than that dressing, and possibly more vegetables, but I forced myself to eat some of it anyway.

Dish #2: Sauteed arugula with salt
The verdict: Success! These came out all crispy and yummy. I think I did them a second time with another meal.

Dish #3: Roasted turnips and beets with olive oil, salt, rosemary and thyme
The verdict: I liked some bites of turnip and beet but not others. Not sure whether I liked the bites with more spice, less spice, or just one spice over the other. Roasting them cut up worked better than roasting them whole. 

Dish #4: Sauteed kale with garlic powder
The verdict: This is a dish I do often, but it didn't work as well with this set of kale as it usually does. Go figure.

Dish #5: Sauteed turnip greens with garlic powder
They verdict: They were bitter, even sauteed. I may try parboiling them first next time and see whether it makes a difference. I ate them, but I didn't enjoy them.

Dish #6: Lettuce with cucumber, red peppers and Italian dressing
The verdict: The idea of buying other vegetables to get through the ones in my share is not one I like. Also, these vegetables still didn't help me like the lettuce. Maybe I just don't like this lettuce.

(part of) vegetable I still haven't tried: Beet greens
Vegetables I have left: some of everything: lettuce, turnips and greens, beets and greens, arugula, scallions, cilantro, kale
Vegetables I know what to do with: kale, arugula
Vegetables I have plans for: turnip greens and beet greens (will try a mix of parboiling and sauteeing)
Feel free to offer suggestions for the rest of it. 
taylweaver: (Default)
 So I finally got my first CSA* share of the year!

I am hoping to use that share as an impetus to blog more regularly.

Here's what I got this week:

- 1 bunch of beets
- 1 bunch of sweet turnips
- 1 bunch of scallions
- 1 bunch of kale
- 1 head of lettuce
- 1 bunch of arugula
- 1 bunch of cilantro

Item I already know how to prepare: kale (yum!)
Item I seriously considered tossing into the swap box: cilantro (But I decided everything is worth trying once. Maybe I will find a recipe I like it in.)

I feel like a lot of these items are going to require the purchase of other vegetables, which defeats part of the purpose of the CSA, but oh well.

I am open to recipe suggestions. 

* CSA = Community Supported Agriculture. I paid a flat fee to get assorted seasonal vegetables from a local farm every other week. (I have a half share. If I had a full share, it would be weekly.)
taylweaver: (Default)
It's been a while since I've posted about my writing.

Lately, I've been getting back into the habit of trying to spend an hour a day on my writing. Right now, that means revision. While my Nanowrimo novel from 2008 sits on the back burner for a bit (it needed some feedback, and I couldn't stand to look at it anymore), I am working on the second draft of my Nanowrimo novel from 2009.

I realized tonight that, depending upon how you measure, I'm 2/3 of the way through it. Since I'm basing that on what page I'm up to relative to the last page, I'm probably further than that, since I deleted a bunch of scenes and pages along the way. The end is in sight, and this makes me excited.

I don't know why, but I actually enjoy chopping out parts of my story. One less paragraph or page or scene to spend time reworking/rewriting/tweaking, I guess.

But sometimes, I worry I've chopped too much. That scene that seems to add nothing, what if it tells us something about the character? What if it helps with the pacing? What if I've taken out all of the quirky parts just because I don't think they drive the plot forward? What if I've somehow sanitized it, made it more generic?

These are the thoughts that sometimes go through my head, the worry that, in revising a scene, I will somehow make it worse instead of better.

But most of the time, I just enjoy the process. This time around, I made some massive structural changes from Draft 1 to Draft 2, and I've also been enjoying how the novel keeps getting shorter, because I know my original word count was too high, and the new one will be significantly lower. And there's something satisfying about making it all work. 

And there's also something satisfying, in general, about just getting back to my writing. Over the winter, I moved away from it for a bit. I forgot how good it feels. I keep wanting to stay up later to work on my story. It's a good feeling.
taylweaver: (Default)
If you want to eat an apple, then you have to get it out of the fridge.

When you open up the vegetable crisper, you'll find other things that have rotted, and you'll have to throw them into the trash can.

Once they are in the trash can, you'll realize that the trash needs to be taken out, because it stinks, but before you do that, you should probably clean out the rest of the fridge.

When you clean the fridge, you will find the sticky mess on the fridge shelf, and remove the entire shelf to clean it.

Your sink is too small, so you'll have to clean it in the bathtub.

You move the bath mat out of the way - and find mold on the bottom of the mat, and on the tub, so once you're done with the shelf, you'll clean that too.

Cleaning involves rags, and tends to make them dirty, which means you'll also have to do some laundry.

If you're already doing laundry, you might as well take that pile of dirty clothing on the chair and throw that in the wash at the same time.

Of course, that pile has some sweaters in it that need to lie flat to dry, so you'll need to clear some space on the floor by getting rid of that pile of old papers.

When you pick up the papers, you find an old cereal bowl buried beneath them, so you take it to the sink to wash it.

While you're at it, you might as well wash all of the other dishes that are piled up in the sink.

Which means you'll need to put away the clean ones still sitting in the drying rack from the last time you did dishes. 

And once you're done with all of that, you'll probably need a snack, so you'll open the fridge to take out an apple...

**Disclaimer: The mess that needed to be cleaned was actually the one from the rotting stuff in the crisper drawer. And I decided to save the bathtub for another time - so the rest of this didn't really happen. But I hope you found it entertaining anyway.
taylweaver: (Default)

I could tell this was not going to be my favorite subway ride when the greeting from the guy who sat down next to me was, "how are you, baby?" (or "hi, baby," or, "how're you doing, baby." Some greeting that ended with "baby.")

He didn't look very threatening. In fact, he even gave me a bit of a gay vibe - though clearly, he was not gay if that's how he was greeting me. When an overweight woman sat down on my other side a stop or two later, he even moved over a seat to give me more space - which I didn't take, because I was kind of hoping someone would sit down between us.

He saw my netbook, which I had pulled out to work on my novel (it being November and all), and he started a conversation about netbooks and getting a signal on it while traveling. I'm kind of used to these conversations happening sometimes on the subway, so I was polite and answered him the same way I'd answer anyone else.

At that point, I was still willing to dismiss the "baby" bit as an anomoly. Plus, I have yet to figure out how *not* to engage in conversation when someone else starts one with me on the subway without feeling rude and awkward.

Then, the train got more crowded, and he moved over to give another guy a seat. Of course, he moved closer to me.

Remember how the woman on my other side was overweight? Well, I was definitely all the way at the edge of my seat (this being a 1 train, it comes fully equipped with clearly defined seats that are not quite large enough for the average New Yorker). And the guy who sat down on his other side wasn't overweight, but was large.

So that was when he took his arm and laid it across the window ledge behind me, almost as if he had put his arm around my shoulder, only without touching me.

I ignored him, and went back to working on my novel, but I was definitely Not Happy. 

Thankfully, he didn't get off at my stop. When he did get off, though, he said good-bye to the woman next to me, and also to me, at which point he gave me a pat on the back.

And what did I do? I just sat there. 

Still not quite sure whether I should have said something (not about the pat on the back - he was gone five seconds later, but about the arm.) Still wondering whether it would have been better or worse to get up and move. I looked around for someone elderly/with heavy bags/etc. to offer a seat to. That would have taken care of things without looking like I was moving away from him. I suppose I could have gotten off at an earlier stop and switched to another train, or waited for the next one - but I didn't think of that until just now, and besides, what if he had followed me off?

Like I said, I was happy when he got off at a stop earlier than mine.

Anyway, so that's what happened, and I just sat there. Not sure what I think of my response. Not even sure what my reasoning was.

What would you have done?
taylweaver: (Default)
So it's Tisha B'av again. That day when we all communally mourn by getting collectively dehydrated.

And, in general, I have trouble getting into the mood, even with the fasting. Sure, I go through the motions. I listen to Eicha while sitting on the floor. I deprive myself of food and water. I try not to do anything fun - at least until the afternoon. (Netflix. Tomorrow afternoon will be all about the Netflix.) But I don't get into the mood. I feel a bit weak and icky, but not sad. 

Even this evening, as I followed along during Eicha, word for word, my mind wandered, and I didn't really process what I was listening to. I was thinking about my upcoming move (on Wednesday) and how exciting it is, and all the stuff I need to get done before then. Not in a stressful way, just in a bored one.

But I also got to thinking about when Tisha B'av *was* meaningful, and what made it feel that way.

Up until the age of 10, Tisha B'av was a day to wear jellies (remember those? I think that was what they were called, anyway. Those slipper-like sheos made of plastic.) and be aware that my parents were fasting. That was it. 

But then, when I was 10, I spent my first summer at Camp Ramah in the Poconos, where Tisha B'av was the only Jewish holiday that fell during the summer. (Unless you count Rosh Chodesh - which isn't really a holiday, or sometimes the 17th of Tammuz, which we ignored completely.) Tisha B'av at camp was a Very Big Deal. They really worked hard to set the mood.

On the evening of Tisha B'av, each edah (age group) would meet individually to say - not sing or chant, just *say* without any tune at all - the beginning of Ma'ariv. Then, when we reached the point where it was time to read Eicha, the edot would head, one by one (I think they coordinated with phones or walkie talkies, or maybe they just had a schedule), to the Beit Am, the room that was big enough to hold the whole camp on its cement floor. 

They turned out all of the lights in camp, and one of the oldest edot set out paper bags filled with sand that each held a single candle. These candles lit the path that each edah followed to the Beit Am. 

They made us walk in silence, and sit down in silence, and wait in silence until every edah had arrived. Sure, there was some whispering, but it was, overall, pretty quiet. We sat, as I said, on the floor, and all of the lights - except for the emergency lights - were off. A choir made up of staff members stood on some risers at the front of the room, and sang sad songs a capella. (Stuff like Al Neharot Bavel, opening lines of Eili Tzion, Eili Eili, Mima'amakim, etc.) At the front of the room sat a long line of campers, all ages, each of whom had learned a few p'sukim of Eicha.

They handed out Eicha booklets with Hebrew and English, and we all turned on our flashlights to follow along. The singing stopped, and a microphone was passed down the line of Eicha readers from one end to the other until the entire thing had been read. More than once, I wanted to record the sound of three hundred pages turning in unison each time we reached the end of a page. I don't know why, but even that was powerful in an oddly understated way. When we were done with Eicha, we all stood together to sing Eili Tzion, and say (but not sing) the end of ma'ariv, reading Aleinu aloud without any tune at all. Then there was more singing from the choir as the campers filed out, again, in silence. By then, the candles were out, and we had to use our flashlights to find our way back to our bunks in the dark. 

The next day, we slept in because much of the camp was fasting. After tefillot - and a second reading of Eicha, we had special activities - classes or arts and crafts, whatever they were - that related to the topics of the day like the destruction of Jerusalem, bad events, or just plain Jerusalem for the younger kids. At some point, the younger kids who weren't fasting (I think) returned to the Beit Am to set up benches. Midday, the entire camp met there for Mincha, and we got to sing this time, and they would explain how the day gets more hopeful in the afternoon. Then, lunch for those not fasting, a nap for those who were. In the afternoon, we watched serious movies like Exodus, The Wave, maybe Schindler's List. The younger kids once watched Harriet the Spy to talk about Lashon Harah. This let us keep the mood of the day while also letting those who were fasting stay in one place and not move very much - whether staff or campers. 

But what sticks in my mind the most is Tisha B'av night. 

The mood was appropriate. It was quiet and somber. It was a Big Deal. 

It was also beautiful.

As a camper, I'd sit there, transfixed, as I listened to the a capella singing. I wanted so badly to be a part of that choir. 

For six years, I spent Tisha B'av this way, and every year, I felt the seriousness of the evening. Then, I went on USY on Wheels. I don't really remember what we did. I think we read Eicha outside in a parking lot, and not really the whole thing, and some of it in English. The next day, we took a bus tour of Yellowstone, and the only thing that made it feel like Tisha B'av was that we were surrounded by dead trees, just by coincidence, due to a recent forest fire, and that we stopped, midday, to daven mincha in a clearing. Two people had to hold our (fake) Torah open in midair (It wasn't respectful to carry a real one with us as we traveled, so we used something that looked like a Torah but was actually a copy) and I read two of the aliyot. A staff member faked the third one. Then, many of us drank water, because it was hot enough out (and a high enough altitude - somehow, this mattered) that we needed to.

The year after that was my summer in Israel. Tisha B'av should be meaningful in Israel, right? But Tisha B'av was really late that year, and we returned to the US before it happened. Since my mother was on staff at camp, I went for Shabbat once I was back. Tisha B'av was Saturday night, I guess, because I was still there. I was glad to be back at camp for it, and to have the experience I had missed the previous summer. What had been meaningful at age 10 was still meaningful at age 17. That's how well camp did it.

After that, I spent five and a half summers on staff, which meant five or six more years of Camp Ramah's Tisha B'av experience. (I am pretty sure I was there for it that last summer, but I might not have been.) As a staff member, I finally got to do what I'd always wanted to do as a camper. I got to be in the choir. 

We called ourselves Makheilat Misery (Makheila is choir in Hebrew, or so I am told), or the Gloom and Doom choir. We had a ton of fun at rehearsals. There were inside jokes galore. There were no auditions. Any staff member could take part. And somehow, we sounded good anyway (at least to my ear). 

And we got to stand there on the risers, in our white tops and black bottoms, and set the mood for the campers as they entered the Beit Am. And even though I always ended the evening on a high (hooray! I sang! I performed!), somehow, it was still serious and sad.

It was also still beautiful. 

Sometimes, sad is ugly. It's sobbing and snot and feeling sick to your stomach, and you don't know when you'll ever feel happy again. That's the sort of sadness the Jews of Jerusalem probably felt when their city was under siege and under attack. But other times, sadness is gentle, and calm, dignified, and even beautiful.

That's how it was for 13 summers at camp. That's what I think back to every Tisha B'av now, when I don't have that same atmosphere to help me get into the mood. I think about how Ramah really knew how to set the mood, with proper lighting and sound, with certain kinds of behavior. And I think about that dignified, communal, beautiful sadness, and how it has always stuck with me.

I have yet to recapture that feeling outside of camp, but I hold onto the memory of it instead. So my wish for all of you who are fasting (like me) is that you have a meaningful fast, and all those who are observing in other ways have an equally meaningful day. Whether you are fasting or not, may you have the kind where you are sad not in a messy, miserable way, but in a way that is gentle and calm, and maybe even beautiful.


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April 2012

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