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Race Comes to Milwaukee

Unless you’re on heavy tranquilizers, or really not paying attention, you know that the Republican Presidential candidates’ debate was in Milwaukee, on Tuesday. The headline on the Milwaukee paper when I brought it in Wednesday morning was “Race Comes to Milwaukee” which made no sense at all to me. “WTF”, I thought, “race has always been in Milwaukee, it’s one of the most segregated, if not THE most segregated, Northern city”.

Republican candidates, picture from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Republican candidates, picture from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Anyways the headline reminded me of two, or maybe two and a half,  race-related things, that I think I put into a half-written blog post that I never published. If I did publish it and I’m repeating myself, I apologize (which reminds me of watching the last half of The Giver a few nights ago; they say that a lot).

I think the best thing Bryan Stevenson said when he was here to give his Go Big Read author talk (behind UW NetID; those of you not affiliated with UW can watch his TED talk) was when he said that the real evil of slavery in the US is that we made it race-based. Slavery had existed for thousands of years, as a state that almost anyone could end up in, through bad luck or consequences of war, but could also get out of, not that it was easy, but it was possible … until we made slavery race-based. Think Game of Thrones – or the Roman empire. Born a slave, die a slave, is not necessarily true in either of those cultures.


Wisconsin Public Radio did a show a couple of weeks ago, that I think I heard because I was up and in the kitchen a little earlier than usual on a Saturday, on white privilege. One of the commentators on the show, Naomi Zack, a philosophy professor at University of Oregon, said another thing that stuck with me. She doesn’t like talking about white privilege in conjunction with events like the Michael Brown shooting, and other violations of Black people’s rights. Her reasoning, which seems sound to me, is that being able to walk down the street and not get shot, to not see your children shot, are not privileges, they are rights. So we shouldn’t talk about white privilege in contrast to these violations of rights.

But hey, I’m white and middle class. But I’m female and I’m old. I’ve suffered very little serious hardship in my life, unless you count always feeling like I should do the right thing, instead of whatever the fuck I wanted to. I by no means wish to equate this with the years of systematic racism that Black people have been subjected to, but I still can remember feeling discriminated against, in the 1970s, because I was female, and young. So I’m with Naomi Zack – not keen on reducing the discussion to white privilege – it does seems a reduction, to me.

All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Where you could easily sub in person for family.

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Missing the last outdoor market


That's Matt Smith, Blue Valley Gardens

That’s Matt Smith, Blue Valley Gardens

Right now, I am missing the last outdoor Dane County Farmer’s Market. I’m in Chicago to take Al out to dinner for his 27th birthday, which was just a little over a week ago. I’m not doing so well at taking pictures – and, even worse, looks like I never even posted about my last Chicago trip. That one was in mid-October. I got the 1:00 bus from Madison on a Tuesday afternoon, and we went to see the Chicago Symphony that night. There was a guest conductor, Semyon Bychkov, and he had big hair, curly, and the soloist, Renaud Capuçon, violin, also had big hair – he was very French, big forelock.

On Wednesday morning I met Al for coffee. I had lugged a foot bath and bag of accessories (probably handmade soap) an early birthday gift from (his girlfriend) Emma’s mom on the bus, and I wanted to deliver the stuff. We went to a place I’d never been to before, that’s a Chicago limited chain – Dollop. I got a PB&J with my coffee and it was pretty much like what I would’ve made at home, bread sliced off some kind of whole grain boule, toasted, with natural peanut butter and black berry jam. The coffee was good too. I came back to the apartment and graded websites for as long as I could stand it (actually what I’m supposed to be doing now, too). We went to dinner with our friend Joe, who’s on sabbatical, so he can travel around to places where people he likes live, at Viaggio. Which turned out to be a good, traditional, Italian Chicago neighborhood place. Bread with powdery Parmesan, olive oil, roasted peppers and olives. They’re known for their meatballs, which are the fluffy kind. We all started with salads and then had pasta – Joe got the vodka  sauce with sausages added, Mark had Bolognese, and I had the Sunday gravy – shredded pork in tomato sauce with a blop of ricotta in the middle.

What’s reminding me of all that is that last night, we stopped for dinner at Cochon Volant, a newish place in a Hyatt on Monroe St. I wanted to go there because I read that the executive chef is Roland Liccioni, who, 25 years ago when I lived in Chicago, had a fancy prixe fix restaurant in Wheeling IL, called Le Francais – that we always talked about going to, when my parents visited, but it was a 2-hour seating and long drive and what would we do with the kids ….. Cochon Volant sounded ever so much more accessible. And it was, good French bistro food. We split a Caesar, that came with potato chips on top, and then we both had stuff with frites, moules for madame, steak for monsieur. The waiter, like our waiter at Viaggio, had a restaurant French accent (the Viaggio guy was Italian American – he even said badda bing at one point) that we assumed had to be fake. Is there a school for waiter accents in Chicago? Tonight we go to BellyQ, a hip Asian place, so we’ll have to see what their waiters sound like.


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Advising week

Advising week this year – which was last week already – at the library school probably wasn’t as busy as some. I had about 17 30-minute student appointments and last spring it was 21. I think I had more other meetings in between and all around the student appointments this year, though.

I’m feeling uninspired and un-creative – I haven’t posted a recipe in months. And it’s that time of the year when it’s basically impossible to photograph food at night in my kitchen, under its harsh lights.

I made a big batch of naan last Thursday night, to go with a curry – I used this recipe from the New York Times that seems to be attracting notice, but I made it with cauliflower & potatoes instead of chicken.


On Friday we were going to a concert, and I had some big ideas of what I could cook (that I don’t exactly remember now) but in the end Mark had a sandwich and I had Halloween candy.

I went for Tipi’s kale deal – 6 bunches for $12 – even though I knew it could potentially be upsetting to Mark to have all that kale in the house. I started blanching it and packing it in cartons to freeze on Thursday and finished on Sunday. I left three bunches whole leaf and chopped the rest in the food processor, ready for kale-a-kopita.

This is one bunch of kale. Order by multiples of 6 bunches.

This is one bunch of kale. Order by multiples of 6 bunches.

On Saturday, I roasted peppers and steamed and pureed pumpkin and made another batch of the Food52 hard squash hummus, with kabocha squash this time. Which made a very thick and dry hummus, and it’s spicier, too. There’s still the neck of a large butternut in the fridge waiting to be made into something. We went to an early movie (Bridge of Spies) and after, for dinner I made a pasta with some of the kale and ends of goat and feta cheeses and pepper from my CSA box and some cream and half & half from the back of the fridge. We ate it with salad and the roasted shallot dressing I made last weekend. Mark made sure to not get any kale in with his noodles.

We left the Halloween candy in the vestibule with the inner doors locked and outer doors open. And my funny looking pumpkin on the porch.  It’s supposed to be a slice of pie with a fork underneath from a Food52 template.

2015's rather sub-standard jack-o-lantern - tried to scoop & carve it in 45 mins, to not be late for movie

2015’s rather sub-standard jack-o-lantern – tried to scoop & carve it in 45 mins, to not be late for movie

Sunday morning was an almost full English breakfast – no sausages and no mushrooms. I took a walk before breakfast and photographed leaves. Since I used up the pork in the baked beans, later Sunday evening I made some of the extra rice I’d cooked to go with the curry, that I originally thought would be made into pork fried rice and I even bought fresh ginger at the Saturday market, into coconut milk rice pudding. And I made applesauce – pureed with my immersion blender, and I’m not quite sure if I like its smoothness, or if it’s too babyfood-like. And in the true spirit of using stuff up, fig butter to use up the dregs of two bottles of red wine. Yum.

Still on my stuff to cook list – Butternut squash and black bean chili? Or Squash gratin. Broccoli with peanut sauce. Green chili stew. Mexican lasagna (I never fry the tortillas when I make this, and I always leave out the raisons). Squash and beans and kale and cilantro …

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That was fun

Dave Rawlings Machine at the Capitol Theater at Overture Center.

They started & ended with songs the Dead also covered – Monkey & the Engineer (Jesse Fuller), and Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad (trad. arr.)

Here’s the set list:

Dave Rawlings machine 10/30/2015
Monkey & the engineer
Is it candy?
The weekend
Wayside/back in time
Young boy (is to be sad, is to be high)
Luminous Rose – Robyn Hitchcock, from Globe of Frogs, my first Robyn Hitchcock album, but Peter Buck doesn’t play on that track so I didn’t pay as much attention to it as Chinese Bones and Globe of Frogs.
Keep It Clean – Willie Watson sings lead
The trip
Too easy

The last Pharoah
He will set your fields on fire – featuring the bass player (Bill Monroe cover, I believe)
Sweet tooth – another one about candy
I hear them all – this land is your land
Call & response – Stewball
Don’t go chasing white ponies
Short haired woman blues
Queen Jane Approximately – covered by the whole Dead and I think JGB as well

Miss Ohio – I was wishing for a Miss Ohio – which I of course first heard performed by Robyn Hitchcock, with Gillian and Dave – and Peter Buck, and John Paul Jones
Going down the road feelin’ bad

Don’t leave nobody but the baby – acapella
The weight – which seemed appropriate since I had just watched (on YouTube) RH the Sadies perform Stage Fright entire, at Winnipeg Folk Fest. 

And, I like how the cover picture looks like a daguerreotype.


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Some pig

So, life should be back to normal, whatever that is, after house sales and moving apartments and pie palooza.

But it’s been a busy week, and I have a cold and “reading the news, and it sure looks bad”, like the Joni Mitchell song says. Way too much Paul Ryan, dismantling various WI clean government entities, like campaign finance and the government accountability board.

Let’s see if I can even remember what happened this week. Monday I managed to get out for a walk before work. I had a meeting on Bascom Hill that went to 12:30, and I walked a little more up State Street to get some lotion and fancy soap and cash. I stopped for an iced honey latte at Colectivo. The last time I got one it was perfect – cold, milky, sweet, but not too sweet. This one was way too sweet. I watched the barista make it – she had the plastic cup filled with ice and milk, OK, and the honey in a little measuring cup, into which she poured the hot coffee shots to melt it, also OK. But it looked there was at least three tablespoons of honey, maybe a quarter of a cup of honey – no wonder it was too sweet. I drank half and poured it out. I think I had a salad for supper and made pumpkin muffins, to use up the pumpkin, the last carton frozen last winter, that I started using for the pumpkin scones last weekend. There’re still a few left in the fridge.

Last five pumpkin muffins

Last five pumpkin muffins

Tuesday I had a funny back and forth day. Started off in the office, only one meeting at 10:15. I took the muffins and the last of the scones to work with me, and good thing too, as we shall see. I headed home to be there at 3:00 to let the cleaning lady in and pay her, and to grab my carefully packed dinner to take back to work with me. Where I needed to be until 8:00 PM, to help run an info session in Adobe Connect for prospective students interested in our online masters degree. In which we had about every possible technical glitch. I logged in about 15 minutes in advance which should have been enough, but my Adobe Connect chose that moment to update. I should have noticed that the icon on my phone had got different from the one on my computer. Then the director had no sound. Lots of background noise and feedback. And I forgot to start the recording, but we all agreed that a clean recording later would be better. And I forgot my dinner – I had a scone and an apple instead of the soup and bread with pepperonata I had packed.


Wednesday I has an 8:30 meeting. I walked in because I thought it was going to rain. After the meeting, I needed to do major catch-up in the “how-to-teach-good-online” course I’m in – if I complete at least most of the work, I get a big stipend that I can use for travel. I had a student logging in (from Qatar) at noon (about 8:00 PM her time) for an online help session, then a 2:00 meeting. I headed home – I started walking but the bus went by and I got on – and got my bike and went and bought some milk, since there wasn’t even enough for the next day’s latte. Then I made a big stir fry for supper, and and got upstairs in time to meet the next student who needed help. (They’re hand coding small websites, and I have offered individual coding help by screen sharing) Her questions were easy so I had time to eat before class. Then another student after class – which meant I was working until 9:30 PM.

Cultural mashup bottom of the vegetable bin stirfry with onions, sweet potato, carrots, ginger, soy sauce & sesame oil and garlic, and kale and bok choy - and baby Parmesan cheese ravioli

Cultural mashup bottom of the vegetable bin stirfry with onions, sweet potato, carrots, ginger, soy sauce & sesame oil and garlic, and kale and bok choy – and baby Parmesan cheese ravioli

Either Tuesday or Wednesday I sat at the kitchen counter and had a microwave S’more – I’m guessing it was Tuesday, of the forgotten dinner.

Microwave s'more

Microwave s’more

Thursday it was 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM meetings. I drove over to pick up my CSA box, the one I was making the crazy mixed up stirfry in anticipation of, because I was feeling the effects of my head cold. It was a good box: a head of Savoy cabbage, a small Butternut squash, 2 big leeks, a bag of carrots, 4 or 5 frying peppers and 2 poblanos, a head of garlic, a smallish cauliflower and two nice trees of broccoli. I could only be a tiny bit disappointed, because in the newsletter they had pictures of gold and purple cauliflower and the fractal vegetable Romanesco broccoli – and I just got normal stuff – white cauliflower and regular green broccoli. Still nice stuff. I had one last student help session, and then I ate leftover pumpkin pie from pie palooza, and collapsed on the couch.

Which seemed to help my cold a lot – on Friday I felt much better. I felt relatively prepared for the f2f meeting for my “how-to-teach-good-online” course; I got enough work done so that I left work before 5:00 (I mean it was about 4:50, but that’s still before 5:00). It was really raining, so I left my bike and computer at work to be picked up on Saturday.

We went to see the Steve Jobs movie. I liked it better once I figured out it wasn’t comprehensive, just the events around the Mac launch in 1984, NeXT in 1990, and iMac in 1998. When we got back, I baked dark sticky gingerbread to take to Steve & Heike’s – we were planning to go see their new house either Saturday or Sunday. And, in more anticipatory cooking, I put a pork roast in the oven that was the last piece of meat from the last pig we bought last winter – this year, I’m going in with 3 other families on a whole pig. Anyways, it was an overnight slow roast – basically like this from Food52 – and man, did it make some good pig.

On Saturday, Mark and I had pulled pork sandwiches on big buns with coleslaw (remember, Savoy cabbage in my CSA box) and pickles. They were so good that Mark packed one to take to Chicago – and he usually doesn’t like to pack food. We also went to book fest stuff – we saw David Maraniss talking about his book about Detroit. we had to sit out in the overflow seats and watch on TV, but it was OK. Stu Levitan asked a good question – “what do you think might’ve happened if Detroit got the 1968 Olympics?”

I think I get to have another sandwich as my reward for making it through Monday dinner, and maybe I’ll get better pics then.

Pulled pork meat

Pulled pork meat

Pulled pork sandwich fixings

Pulled pork sandwich fixings

Black sticky gingerbread

Black sticky gingerbread

Sunday we went out to see Steve & Heike’s new house out on the Northside. It’s right by the house where I lived for about 9 months in 1986, the period when Jeff & broke up, until we started seeing each other again, to go to Dead shows, mostly – and I got pregnant with John and we got married. On Sunday we walked around in the nature preserve and behind Dane County Human Services, which is grand old building and a county park, where I used to go for foster parent classes, oblivious to how close it was to where I once lived. We ate the gingerbread with some apple-pear sauce I made from the not so great pears I got at the farmers Market Saturday, and one of each variety of apple I had in the fridge. I smoothed it out with the immersion blender and it was perfect with the gingerbread.

Ovens banner in Steve & Heike's new neighbor's basement - that they bought from the woman I rented from in 1986

Ovens banner in Steve & Heike’s new neighbor’s basement – in the house they bought from the woman I rented from in 1986

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Stevie Nicks Moment

Yesterday I closed on the sale of the house where for 7, almost eight years, I had run my underground dining club. This morning I woke up worrying if I’d have to drop my CSA share next year, when not only will I have no dining club, my older son’s girlfriend, Megan, won’t be living with us any more either….

A Stevie Nicks, Landslide, can I handle the changes in my life moment. A song I first heard performed not by Stevie, but by Gene Corbin, a folk singer I knew in Pittsburgh, who I think lives in New Mexico now. One of my old boyfriends, Dave Kreimer, played soprano sax with Gene for awhile. And, as Ed Feeny, another of my musician friends, but here in Madison, rather than Pittsburgh, calls her, Stevie Nicks is the amazing pig nose woman, a snarky reference to her appearance and cocaine habit back in the ’80s, the type of thing that record store guys, like Ed used to be, are allowed to say.

I got up and made pumpkin scones.

My scone on Saturday morning

My scone on Saturday morning

I’m not sure where to start the saga of selling the house – with the new cork floor, installed in July?


Old floor – the worst spot, out in the old sealed porch with the fridge and Thelonious the cat’s food


New floor

With the fact that if Stephen my renter paid me the back rent he owes, it would pay for the floor with almost $300 left?

With all the work I got done in July and August, windows washed, yard de-jungled, a little over $4000 worth of painting?

With all the trips to move my stuff out, and take leftovers to the the city drop off recycle site, cleaning up the shattered glass table top that we left on the sidewalk when the renters moved out?

Once I finally got the house listed, I got one low offer within the first 5 days – while I was still in the midst of answering crazy questions from one set of lookers:

Q. Why does the basement floor go up at the bottom of the stairs?

A. Gosh, I don’t know – I never noticed that in 9 years of owning the house.

Q. Why don’t the lights in the front hall and the basement work?

A. The switch for the basement lights is actually on the wall in the kitchen, so you can turn the lights on before you go down. If the front hall lights are not working, they must need new bulbs – I’ll get those replaced as soon as I can.

I was up on a step ladder – that I had to bring over, because everything else to stand on had been moved out – replacing the front hall light bulbs when I got a call from the realtor that we had a much better offer.

Then came inspection, over Labor day weekend. I think they had an inspector who didn’t really know old houses. The report started off by recognizing that it’s an older house and some “deferred maintenance” was to be expected – and then proceeded to point out every worn tile and broken sash cord and de-laminating countertop. The three big things were they thought there was an old, possibly leaking, oil tank under the house; they thought the insulation was asbestos; and there was knob & tube wiring that should be removed.

Obviously the oil tank was the least fixable. There’s a big clean dry hole behind the house – accessible through a hatch, that’s like a mini slanty basement door. Everyone else who ever looked at it thought it was probably a cistern, which were common in Madison in the 19203 and 30s – and the house was built in 1924. We got the inspector to come back and agree that there wasn’t an oil tank.

Kind of the same thing with the insulation – they took another look and agreed it had been safely encapsulated.

That left the knob and tube. My realtor got one estimate, and the buyer’s realtor got a cheaper one, so I went with that. Neither bid specified any amount for dry wall repair. I set it up from Canada, calling on Skype while I was there for TIFF, and went to let the electricians in on the first Wednesday I was back – having gotten back on Monday night (must’ve been Sept. 23). All seemed well – except it seemed to be taking them long time. I went over on Thursday a week later, to try to figure out how to move home the big black pedestal table. Megan was just finishing up work at East High, and came in with me. To discover plaster dust absolutely everywhere, and holes bashed equally everywhere. The estimate had said “access holes will be required” – but sure seemed like they weren’t very careful. In one of the upstairs bedrooms, they knocked out three pieces of lath and just stuck them back in the hole. So much for my $4000+ worth of paint.

Most egregious hole punched by electricians

Most egregious hole punched by electricians

I woke up at 4:00 AM Friday morning and couldn’t go back to sleep fretting about it. I called my realtor and she talked to the buyer’s realtor. I called the electricians, and got them scheduled to come back and clean the following Tuesday. And, then in the late afternoon, I got a call from the realtor, and evidently the buyer had seen the electrician’s aftermath, and said, “I thought there’d be more holes”. So that was settled.

The next thing was the weatherization stipulation. There’s always some crazy last minute document that you need at the closing. I had signed something when I bought the house that I would get a weatherization inspection. I remember going over to meet the inspector – he got up on a step ladder, measured the insulation, came down and said, “You’re fine”. But no one, not me, not the realtor, and not the register of deeds, could find the certificate. I even found an email to my renter that I was coming over to meet the inspector in the afternoon, on Friday August 17th, 2007. But no certificate.

So I just had to get another inspection, cost $250, but it was actually kind of fun. The inspector liked old houses, and was pretty impressed with mine. So that was settled.

I’d gotten the electricians to move the black table into the garage, and Megan and I went over there with a zipcar SUV but it didn’t fit. For a little while the closing was going to be moved up to October 9th, so I thought I needed to get the table out – but the buyer needed to wait on some money, so the closing went back to the 16th and I had more time. Mark and Megan and I went back with a zipcar pickup truck and got the table in that, no problem. So that was settled.

I couldn’t find the keys the electricians had used when they came back to clean – I thought they were going to leave them in the kitchen – turned out they hidden them under some cushions on the wicker love seat on the porch. So I went back to get them the day before the closing and had my own farewell walk through.

The closing was completely uneventful. The buyer is a nice young guy, first house, an engineer – why he wasn’t worried about the holes in the walls. He really wanted this cat foot stool – it used to be my mom’s, and when I had the supper club I had it by the front door. It got moved to the basement while my renters had the whole place, but when I cleaned up to get the house ready to sell I put it back by the door. I told him I had another – there’s a stripey one too – but the tail always falls off. He got out his wallet, but wasn’t seriously interested.


I took the check from the closing and went directly to the Credit Union to pay off Kendall. I was at the corporate offices/mortgage services building – not a regular branch There’s a reception area, with a receptionist, a woman at the time I walked in,  stuck there, all by herself surrounded by closed doors. The payoff must’ve been the most interesting thing she got to do all day. And coincidentally, the mortgage guy who helped me buy the house in the first place wandered through, too – knew me right away, said, “hey, did you get tired of the supper club?”

No, I’ll miss it – have to think of what to do next. Bye old house.

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Three CSA boxes in a row

Because of going to TIFF, and rescheduling boxes, I’ve had three CSA boxes in a row. Here’s what was in each one, with what I’ve made so far listed following various vegetables. Pictures to follow when I have better light.


green bean casserole

September 24:

  • Red potatoes, 3.5 lb – green bean casserole*
  • Italian beans, 1.75 lb – green bean casserole*
  • Broccoli, 1 – 3 heads depending on size – Roasted and eaten on salad, and just eaten, cold, right out of the container
  • Leeks, about 1.5 lb – leek confit, which in addition to being plain old delicious is also delicious mixed into mayonnaise and spread on a cheese sandwich
  • Slicing tomatoes, about 2 lb – some of these were sliced and eaten with the leek confit above, and goat cheese on a baguette
  • Red bell peppers, 2 – roasted and frozen along with 2 others from the Farmers Market
  • Zavory “not-hot” habanero chiles, small handful – Borlotti bean & squash mole, with kuri squash from the market – but I didn’t cook it two hours; the squash woulda dissolved
  • Cilantro, 1 bunch – made into salsa with the tomatoes and roasted poblanos and a jalapeño purchased at the Farmers Market BT (Before TIFF) – cut the slimy parts off; then I made the salsa into Spanish rice a few days later. The rice and the mole were good together.
  • Garlic

Leftover salsa Spanish rice

October 1:

  • Red bok choy – part of the bunch has been made into a veggie stirfry† along with some of the green beans and carrots and onions and half a red pepper and some of the pretty, fresh ginger and cookable greens, like mustard and mache pulled out of a bag of mixed greens from Jones Valley, with ramen noodles
Stir fry with as much CSA box stuff in it as I could get

Stir fry with as much CSA box stuff in it as I could get

    • Edamame soybeans, 1 bundle – finally got around to cooking these about a week later. Kind of a chore – they come in the CSA box as a bundle of silage; beans on stems. You have to pull the beans off the stems, wash them, boil them, and then pop the beans out of the pods. Good bundle this time – I got a whole cup of edamame. I think I will put them into a bean salad.
Whole cup of Edamame

Whole cup of Edamame

  • Carrots, 2 lb
  • Cauliflower – cauliflower gratin and roasted
  • Italian beans, 1 lb – Cooked the beans (except for the handful I’d put into the stirfry†) from the 24th and Oct. 1st on the 7th – then finally, on the 9th, made them into a *green bean casserole, that’s kind of a shep’s pie – with mashed potatoes on top, and beans chopped and cooked with hamburger meat and diced onion and the other half of the red pepper
  • Frying peppers, 3 – pepperonata
  • Oranos peppers, 2 – 3 – pepperonata
  • Tomatoes, 1 to 3 – sliced tomatoes with basil
  • Yellow onions, about 2
  • Jalapeño chiles, 2
  • Basil, 1 husky sprig – sliced tomatoes with basil
  • Baby ginger, 1 knob – stirfry†

October 8:

  • Sweet potatoes, about 2+ lb
  • Broccoli, 1 head, some are small
  • Red kale, 1 bunch
  • Carrots, 2 lb
  • Bell peppers, red or green, about 3 – pepperonata, and sliced to eat with hummus
  • Yellow onions, about 2
  • Fennel, 1 head with fronds
  • Japanese eggplant
  • Anaheim chiles, HOT, 2 – 3
  • Scallions, 1 bunch
  • Baby ginger, 1 chunk
  • Garlic, 1 head

Stuff still to make:

Cauliflower gratin from the NYT; to test as a possible pie filling for my savory veggie offering for REAP;

I guess I’ll have to make another stirfry with ginger and other assorted veggies, like broccoli & peppers & carrots

Pepperonata or pepper & onion confit as Deborah Madison calls it, peppers cooked slowly in olive oil with onions, and a little tomato paste and water and then some balsamic vinegar at the end to finish – I have A LOT of peppers! This will freeze and it’s good on bread and eggs and pizza.

Bean salad with edamame

African peanut stew with eggplant and sweet potatoes

Fennel! – I think I will put fennel fronds into the bean salad, in lieu of celery.

And here’s what really happened:

I burned the beans for the bean salad, but it seemed to be only the bottom layer. Instead of adding lots of other ingredients, like peppers and fennel, etc., I just combined the Rancho Gordo beans with the Edamame and added some chopped scallions.

Rancho Gordo beans & Edamame

Rancho Gordo beans & Edamame

Un-cooked Rancho Gordo beans

Un-cooked Rancho Gordo beans

So I’m still not sure what I’ll do with the fennel, and instead of eggplant & sweet potato peanut stew, I think I’ll make greens with peanut sauce (using the kale) and we’ll have that over couscous.

I made the cauliflower gratin and it’s quite good -I think when I use it for savory pie filling for Pie Palooza, I’ll put a pinch of red pepper flakes into the tomato sauce – and/or maybe one of the hot peppers Tipi sent me.

Cauliflower Gratin with goat cheese

Cauliflower Gratin with goat cheese

Extra roasted cauliflower

Extra roasted cauliflower

I made the pepperonata on Sunday – put in all the peppers except the hot ones, and few that I sliced for Rach to eat with hummus.



I made carrot muffins to use up at least one of the three bags of carrots the fridge.

Carrot Muffins

Carrot Muffins

And they didn’t use up any vegetables but I made a round challah – only a month late for Rosh Hashanah – and a couple of challah rolls. I still want to make honey cake.

Challah Rolls

Challah Rolls


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Moving apartments in Chicago

After a long week – I told you about some of it already – like the shelves trying to come down on my head on Tuesday when I was trying to get towels down to sop up the flood – I’m in Chicago to  move apartments. No internet because it’s already shut off at the old place and we’re not in the new one till Monday.

State St. apartment on move out weekend

State St. apartment on move out weekend

So enforced no work although I met with one student online this AM before we left to help with an assignment and I’ve been emailing with two others about the same assignment all day. And I might go use the wifi at Chicago Public Library tomorrow if we get enough packing and cleaning done.

We took the train down and so far went to the UPS store to return the Comcast converter box and buy packing boxes, and to Whole Foods for a few things for breakfast and while-packing snacks tomorrow, and Target for a bucket. Next, Lou Malnati’s and Black Mass.


From something like 5:45 until 6:45 PM Saturday: We’re at Lou Malnati’s trying to get pizza & a salad before the movie.

Art at Malnati’s that reminded me of Jen’s, and the bathroom tile floor

Didn’t work so well – they were having some kind of problem and it took so long to get the food – even though I pre-ordered the pizza – that at 6:37 I realized that even if we got the food we wouldn’t have time to eat it. Mark went to the bathroom and of course the salad arrived. While the waitress was dishing that up I asked to cancel the pizza and just get the bill. So of course the pizza arrived with the bill and we got it to go.

We jumped in a cab and made it to the theater in plenty of time to get decent seats and watch all the previews. I even went to the bar and bought a water and a beer. The bartenders talked me into getting the larger 20-oz. beer, “have to make it through the previews”, which I predicted at 6, and they said 25 minutes.

Black Mass was well done, not prettified at all, and I suspect Johnny Depp will get an Oscar nomination. Seemed like a lot of good actors with small parts in it, too.

We went back to the apartment and ate the pizza and went to bed. So all’s well that ends well, except I had kind of stress dreams in which one of our exchange students had head lice and I had to deal with that and washing bedding in time to pack and working at my computer with all kinds of metal shrapnel all around. Must’ve been the big beer and pizza consumed at 10:30 at night – too close to bed time for an old lady like me.

On Sunday we got up and packed, then went out for coffee (at the Roosevelt Rd. Starbucks, which must be the worst Starbucks in Chicago) and sat by the Legs, and set up with Al that we’d meet for dinner at a pasta place. Then back to the apartment for a little breakfast, and more packing and cleaning. We both showered and Mark scrubbed the bathroom. I went over to Chicago Public Library to use the free wifi to work for a few hours. While I was working at a table on the 8th floor (Art), I got a text from Al, ditching us. As usual. So instead of pasta at 7:00 at a place up on Halstead with Al, we went to a burger place at 5:30 and then went to see the Martian. Which was much more uplifting than Black Mass – it was good hard science fiction, American ingenuity, people that are too smart to fit into the rules and regulations. Lots of actors that I like, Sean Bean and Jeff Daniels, and that everyone likes, Matt Damon.

On Monday morning the move itself was ridiculously easy – I hung around after the movers left and vacuumed. I especially like that they took away all the shrink wrap and other packing materials they’d used on our furniture so we didn’t even have to throw it away.

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Tuesday thoughts about the weekend past

Friday was Mark’s 64th birthday. I made a pie on Thursday night, so that we could come home after the first Madison symphony of the season on Friday and have pie and ice cream. We went out for dinner on Saturday, and I made his request for brunch on Sunday, but I don’t think I did any better at getting Mark thoughtful gifts for his birthday than I did at Christmas – in other words, I kinda sucked at it.

Mark's birthday pie for "When I'm 64"

Mark’s birthday pie for “When I’m 64”

Saturday we slept in a bit and then went to the Farmers’ Market by bike. I just got a CSA box Thursday and think I will be getting boxes the next two Thursdays as well, because of shifting boxes to go to TIFF, so I tried to be conservative in what I bought, but all the fall riches were so tempting. I bought 3 squashes – an acorn, a butternut, and a red kuri; 2 red peppers to go with the 2 I had from the CSA box;  4 apples – Cox’s Pippin and something else; 5 poblanos; 6 oz. of mesclun; a basket of borlotti or cranberry shelly beans; a head of romaine; and a dozen eggs.  Doesn’t sound too conservative …

I ran some errands – bought a new smoke detector, to replace the one that was meeping at me and Megan the night I was packing for TIFF, and Mark was able to install it pretty easily. I spent the rest of the afternoon processing tomatoes and roasting peppers. I have 2 quarts of Marcella butter tomato sauce, and 2 quarts of spicy pizza sauce with tomatoes and roasted red peppers, and a trio of yogurt tubs of diced tomatoes.

Butternut & acorn - the kuri and the borlotti beans went into this mole from Heidi, except I didn't bake if for two hours

Butternut & acorn – the kuri and the borlotti beans went into this mole from Heidi, on Tuesday. I only baked it for one hour, not the two hours called for.

We went to a neighbor’s 60th birthday party – a big to-do with a tent in the backyard and a DJ and a bar, then walked Estrellon, Tory Miller’s new tapas place, for Mark’s birthday dinner. I think I had too much to drink, good thing we walked there and back to get some of the alcohol out of my system.

Sunday I made Mark’s mom’s sour cream waffles, at his request, for brunch. I was going to finish up my TIFF blog posts before breakfast, but instead spent the time taking apart the beater attachment for the Miele. I’m trying out a new cleaner who will use my supplies and equipment, instead of the service I’ve been using that cleans everything with weird sprays and brings their own vacuum cleaners. I watched this funny video to help me take it apart – he got confused at the same places I did. I ran a bunch of car errands, like Target to stock up on cleaning supplies for the new cleaner. I was determined to use up P&G coupons and came back with like 3 Tides and 3 Downeys. I was going to make myself a Caesar salad for dinner – with the Farmers Market romaine – and I made the croutons – but instead I ate leftover pie, and toaster s’mores, and tried to watch TV, and see the super blood moon lunar eclipse. I went downtown to make sure I’d left a tip at the tapas place the night before, and had a good view of the start of the eclipse from the roof of the parking ramp, and then saw a little more of it through our 2nd floor windows. I tried to get NASA’s live stream, but had to sign up for a U-Stream account – which I finally got working on my phone in time to see the reddish moon when I got into bed around 11:00. I was waiting until it was time to pick up Megan at the bus, and I kept falling asleep in front of TV. It could’ve been from the too much to drink the night before, or it could’ve been because what I put on – Scarlett Johansson in Lucy – was truly terrible.

Detail of Supermoon Total Lunar Eclipse and Lightning Storm Image Credit & Copyright: Jose Antonio Hervás - see original at APOD

Detail of Supermoon Total Lunar Eclipse and Lightning Storm
Image Credit & Copyright: Jose Antonio Hervás – see original at APOD

It rained hard on Monday night, and the new stock of cleaning supplies made the rickety metal shelves in the basement top heavy, so they tried to fall down on me Tuesday morning, at 6:13 AM, when I was getting towels to sop up the rain water flood. After sopping up the basement I went to help serve a food pantry breakfast at the community center, to campus to be on a panel discussion about academic staff issues, then back to the community center for a meeting about the upcoming pie sale. It’s been a long day. I think it’s time for a cup of tea and collapse in front of TV.

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Sunday at TIFF 2015, Monday back in Madison

On Sunday, the last day of TIFF, we got up early and walked down to the Scotiabank multiplex to see Lolo, an oh so French romantic comedy, co-written and directed and starred in by Julie Delpy. The TIFF description compares it to a Nancy Meyers rom com, and that’s pretty apt. It was nice to start the day laughing throughout a film.

When we walked out of Lolo, we were basically in the same area where we went looking for bakeries on Friday night – the financial district/West King/Queen/Spadina. I yelped around for bagels to take back to the airbnb after the movie, and we ended up at What A Bagel on Spadina. Got a couple of bagels and an out of season Hamen taschen, and went back to the apartment for breakfast. We had three nice tomatoes and some ham and cheese, so Mark scrambled some eggs with one of the tomatoes, and I ate another one on top of my bagel with cream cheese and Siracha.

What A Bagel in Toronto

What A Bagel in Toronto

Bakery case, showing Hamen taschen at What a Bagel

Bakery case, showing Hamen taschen at What a Bagel

We checked the TIFF website to try to find out what the People’s Choice Award would be, trying to plan our night – would we be going to a movie at 8:00 PM, or just coming home and packing? I even tried the livestream of the awards ceremony, but that was obviously going to take forever, so I just opened a browser window to TIFF’s Twitter (@TIFF_NET).  Mark went and got coffee while I recorded my “what’re we doing this week?” for both of my classes, these 5 – 7 minute screen captures where I open up the course module for the week, and go over what’s there for students.

We had Maggie’s Plan at 3:00, with Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke, and Juliane Moore, all actors I like to watch. Bill Hader and Maya Rudolf are also in supporting roles as Maggie’s married friends. One reviewer described it as “light, but it’s not trifling” – and it did make Sunday truly our rom com day. It’s set in New York City, and portrays relationships between a bunch of academics. Ethan Hawke is an adjunct professor of “ficto-critical anthropology” whatever that is – I think it’s defined in the Onion – at the New School, where Maggie works as some kind of advisor. She describes what she does as helping students bridge art and business. I think they made it all up for the film. I guess it got a Sony pictures distribution deal out of showing at TIFF.


We’d found out that the people’s choice was Room, based on a novel by Emma Donoghue (note to self – put on hold at library, or buy an e-book), so we knew we wanted to go. I wanted to wait until one of my recordings finished uploading, and that got us to the line at Ryerson a little too late for a prime spot on the wall. But we still had OK seats for Maggie.

I’m not sure why Room got the People’s Choice. The acting was very good, but we’d seen a lot of good acting in a lot of different films. There was something quite absorbing about Room – I sort of forgot I was sitting in the theater, and just was in the film – maybe that’s what made everyone vote for it. Either that, or it’s because it was so obviously filmed in Toronto. Since I’d finished working, I treated myself to a Grolsch (of course) on sale at the theater, and I could bring it back to my seat in a covered plastic cup. Used up $8 of my remaining Canadian cash, too.

Last two movies

Last two movies

Growing pile of ticket stubs from been-to movies

Growing pile of ticket stubs from been-to movies

On Monday, we got up and took out the trash and recycling, and shoved the last things into our suitcases. I packed a cream cheese bagel and fruit and Kind bars for the trip. I thought I’d get to meet our airbnb host, Adam, but we had to go, leaving the keys for his partner on the counter in the kitchen, so that we could make it to the train. It was a 20-minute walk dragging mammoth suitcase to a smooth 25-minute ride out to Pearson. Getting through customs was its own mysterious self – why were only 3 out of 29 service windows open?; why did the agents who were minding the lines carefully get us all lined up pointing at desk #8, and the agent there let about 3 people through, then he put on his jacket and went on break? leaving us to wait for another agent … plus I thought I was never going to get to the baggage drop, and be able to stop dragging mammoth suitcase. After that, going through the actual security x-ray was easy. And my packed apple was deemed OK, even though you’re not supposed to import food, because it had a barcode on it.

I made the 1:00 bus from O’Hare, and was in Madison by 4:15. There was a TIFF trailer that we saw before every film, promoting a show they’re doing at Bell Lightbox on Andy Warhol’s films. There were three variants, actually, one with Billy Name, one with Nico, and one with Edie Sedgewick, B&W and silent, like Warhol films are supposed to be, but then closing with some clanging Velvet Underground guitar chords. I don’t know what song the guitar chords came from, but all the while I was traveling on Monday, those chords merged with a John Cale tune from Songs for Drella, where John sings things that Andy (might have) said – Style it Takes. “This is a rock & roll band called the Velvet Underground; They have a style that grates; Let’s do a movie here next week”.

Ghostly young billy name, and what he looks like now - from this Guardian article about a show of his photographs currently in the UK

Ghostly young Billy Name, and what he looks like now – from this Guardian article about a show of his photographs currently in the UK



Posted back in Madison; I started writing on my Tuesday that felt like a Monday, my first day back – but I am finishing up on the Sunday one week later – and now gotta go record this week’s “what’re we doings” for both classes.

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