Friday, October 29, 2010

Mozart, Haydn, Vaughn Williams....

That is the program for my concert tomorrow (Saturday) night. The Chorus will be singing the two Vaugh Williams pieces, Five Mystical Songs and Toward the Unknown Region. The Haydn and Mozart are orchestral pieces. The baritone soloist for the Five is fantastic, one of the best we've sung with. We can actually hear him over the orchestra and ourselves!

You can hear us live at 8pm eastern time here:

And the review from last night if you need an extra incentive:

Thursday, October 28, 2010


They are so predictable.
The boys are sacked out in the sun while Daisy is on sentry duty and helps me clean the house.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

November roses

When it's still 70 degrees without a hint of frost, the roses bloom happily through the end of October. You'd think we would realize that after living in L.A. for so long, but it's still a happy oddity. What a strange autumn! Here, I can enjoy warm weather late in the year, because I know that all too soon it will be snowing heavily. In California, this kind of autumn weather drove me crazy because I knew it would never actually become cold. Most people think I'm nuts for saying that, but I love that the weather here is always changing -- you can feel the rhythm of the seasons in every leaf, in every waft, and in every raindrop. It somehow feels more eternal this way than if it were always the same.

The secret ingredient

Everything that comes out of our kitchen has a little bit of something that makes it uniquely ours. I'm speaking, of course, of cat hair. We have a steady supplier that helps us keep it on-hand at all times.

Always in stock!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Our Afternoon Walk

Every afternoon the dogs and I take the same walk as soon as I get home from work. It's really a nice walk, just the same thing everyday. This time of year, though, the trees are very pretty as they are changing. Here are some of the things we see.
I really like these red bushes. I'm not sure of their actual name, but around here people call them the burning bush.

This is one of the biggest, most gorgeous trees on our walk. Its leaves have all dropped now.

One of the leaves from the above tree.

Another burning bush.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The apple crisp

Every fall I make apple crisp about once a week while the apples are in season. This week we were given some apples from friends' parents orchard. This is my favorite apple crisp recipe -- simple, caramelly, and delicious.

4-5 apples
1/2 c. sugar
2 t. cinnamon
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. all-purpose flour
7 T. butter (1 stick minus 1 T.)

I always use sweet apples when I can, like gala, Fuji, or honeycrisp. I don't understand why anyone would use tart apples in a dessert... OK, maybe I do, but this isn't a savory or semi-sweet dessert. It's more like a caramel apple in a pan. I also don't bother peeling the apples, because the skins become very tender and provide some texture (and maybe vitamins and fiber).

Just slice the apples (quarter, then core, then in thirds twice) and toss them in a 7x11 pan.
Sprinkle the white sugar and the cinnamon over the apples.

I always stir it up with my hands to make sure that all the apples are thoroughly coated. The amounts of those are approximate -- I usually don't measure. I think the original recipe also called for a little water, or lemon juice (if you like it tart!), but I find that the apples normally have plenty of water in them. I've also tried cloves and allspice, but I prefer it with just cinnamon. It doesn't even need the cinnamon, really, but I love cinnamon.

For the topping, cube the butter and put it in a bowl with the brown sugar and flour. Mix until it's crumbly (by hand works best). Sprinkle the crumbly topping over the apples, nice and deep.

In this photo, I used brown sugar in the pan and white sugar in the topping, kind of as an involuntary experiment, but I like it the old way better.

Bake 40 minutes at 400, or 50 minutes at 350, or something like that. I think I do it differently every time (I really ought to write it down!), but it doesn't seem to matter much. It will come out bubbly and gooey and awesome.
You can also cut the recipe in half, if you have a smaller pan or a ramekin. I frequently do that when I want just a single serving.

Monday, October 18, 2010

...Something Blue

A few weeks ago I finished a couple fun/functional winter projects for John and me.
This one is mine:

I've had this fabric for a long time, left over from some cute ponchos and matching hats I made for the girls when we were still in California. I really made a bad guess with their sizes, being the right size for a 7 and 5 year old, instead of the 4 and 2 year olds they were intended for. Oh well, they were the beginning of my sewing clothing adventure and first in the line of many wrongly-sized items.
It's such a pretty dark royal blue fleece with silver sequins on the snowflakes. I really can't wait to wear it, it's going to be so warm and comfy with a white turtle neck and jeans. Maybe I'll be really cheesy and get a picture with all three of us in our matching outfits!
This one is John's:

I bought this yarn at Stix in Bozeman this summer. It is an acrylic/wool/nylon blend, so soft and warm. I had intended to make something for me but John really liked it, so it's for him. It seems more of a masculine pattern anyway. It is the first ribbed crochet piece I have made. It started out as a knitted scarf, but after 6 inches and 3 weeks in it was so horribly out of whack that I ripped it out and crocheted it instead.
John has needed a scarf for awhile. It gets really cold biking in the winter, hopefully it will keep him a little warmer.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Vet Visit

Yesterday we took all our furry children to the doctor for their annual checkups. As soon as I got home we loaded the dogs in the car and drove to the vet, as we were pulling in we realized that we forgot the kitty! I drove back home and got him, fortunately the vet is only about 5 minutes from the house. The poor kitty wasn't very happy about being shoved hastily into a dirty carrier that's been sitting in the nasty basement for months, but we were in a hurry.
Ichy is just fine, no issues. He lost 2 pounds this year, which is great for a cat, and now he is in the healthy range. He had his booster shots and sat quietly in the scale while the vet checked him out. Then he went willingly back into his carrier. Who cares if it's dirty?
Daisy is just fine, too. Her weight is good, 32.1 pounds. She had her booster shots, heartworm test, and fecal test. All are normal and fine. The knee she has injured a few times is pre-arthritic, apparently my baby is getting old.

Tony has pink eye. Poor doggy! He was so good as the vet put a glowing green liquid into his eye to check for ulcers. (There weren't any.) He got antibiotics for his eyes, booster shots, and more than his fair share of treats. He is down to 49 pounds, but they want him to lose a bit more.

That's the update on our "kids". (I know, it's kinda sad.)
I was shocked at the bill details line that said "Senior Visit" for each of them! How did that happen?!? I'm going into voluntary denial about that.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

PC - Week 4

I realized this morning that I forgot to update this week on my progress. It's not really progress, it's a step back. I gained back what I lost last week. Grr... It seems like whenever I decide to start losing we are bombarded with bad food choices. I think most of the problem was over the weekend. Saturday we went to a dinner party for John's lab and then on Sunday I had an all day rehearsal with catered dinner from a local Italian restaurant. So that plus the fact that the office pantry is now restocked with all kinds of treats from Sam's Club equals me not making any progress. Hopefully this week will be better, although it always takes longer for the scale to show the downward movement than the upward.