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May 28th, 2011

11:59 pm: Nearly a year later...
 ...and hoping to visit Tony in Cincinnati this summer, after all. The trip last July had to be postponed. 

Forgive me, imagined blog reader, it's been almost a year since my last post. (Hey that sounds like something from a confessional.)  I ran out of room for photos in my free LJ account, and since I always found it much easier to post photos than eke out a few awkward words, that was a disincentive to continue. Lazy, language-averse me. Incredible that I once told myself I wanted to be a writer.

I have had this blankety-blank job for over a year now. Another excuse for blocked blogging. Well, I certainly didn't think I'd stay this long. Waste of time. What can you do. Necessary evil?

Feeling older, more tired. Discouraged but struggling.

Sometimes seeing everything as if it's all caught in amber--trying to hold onto this instant--but no, like everything in and of this world, wholly unprotected from bitter elements, the passage of time.

Grateful my mom and brother are okay, and that I have good friends.

July 11th, 2010

09:01 am: Cincinnati bound!
 Next month I will be visiting Tony! HOORAY!


February 2nd, 2010

11:20 pm: Wasting time...
 but reaching ever higher scores, playing Chuzzle (Level 14 tonight!)... Do I win an Amana Radar Range, a Cris Craft yacht, a year's supply of beans, a goat? Nah. Just a sense of totally squandered potential. And/or of being an idiot.


January 21st, 2010

09:04 am: Grandma's town

Grandma (Anna Blumenthal Marashinsky) left Jagielnica in 1921 to come to the United States. Throughout my childhood I listened, rapt, to her many tales about growing up in the town.

I heard about the family bakery, with the word Bakery (I presume in Hebrew) spelled out in roof tiles; about her six siblings (including her headstrong younger sister Blima).

I heard about the suffering she endured in school (having her hand rapped with a ruler, being tormented by Gentile children) and about fleeing from pogroms, hidden under sacks of potatoes on the back of a cart; awakening in a barn to find her braid being tugged through a hole in the wall by a rat.

I heard about the brief time she spent at a vocational boarding school in Vienna. One night when she was home again, visiting, she timidly asked for more potatoes at the dinner table. Her parents did not like how forlorn she sounded and decided she need not return to the school.

Of course, she told us (or did not tell!) many more stories than the snippets I've just sketched. My brother was also very close to Grandma, and so listened avidly to her history. He is likely to recall many variants or additional stories.

Grandma had very few photos. I remember one, taken outdoors, in a well-lit open area that might have been a town square--of her mother and two of her sisters. One sister held a book down at her side, with her finger inserted at the page where she presumably had left off reading. I hope to come across some of these photos again one day, am hoping they are in safe storage with other family memorabilia.

I'd already seen many of the still photos used in this video clip. Nevertheless, it was wonderful to come across this little tribute to the town which, via my grandmother, had always captivated me.






January 15th, 2010

05:20 pm: it's official...
I have the winter doldrums.

Maybe I shouldn't have just read Donald Hall's ultimately depressing memoir Unpacking the Boxes? Nah, it wasn't just that.

Unemployment is beginning to pall. I will be volunteering probably at the Andrew Heiskell Library for the Blind and at the Jewish Home for the Aged. The night after visiting the latter, I found myself in tears as I readied for bed.

The prospect of a close friend moving far away in a few months fills me with dread, as does that of another friend who will have to undergo brain surgery (luckily for a noncancerous tumor--but his health woes are too many).

Let's now sing "Always look on the bright side of life..."

I have evolved over the years, I think, from a considerably morose young person to a fairly cheerful middle-ager.

This darker spell shall pass, I promise...

But right now, don't anyone leave town, fall ill, or get mad at me, please.


December 22nd, 2009

01:48 pm: running stats
My first road race ever was the Corporate Challenge, 3.5 miles, in the spring of 2000.

Since January 7, 2001, I've run 103 races sponsored by the NY Road Runners (and a few dozen elsewhere) and 4 NYC marathons.

Since 2006 I've been using http://www.therunninglog.com to track my runs.

Oh the ups and downs!

Total miles:
2006: 1,584.83
2007: 455.84
2008: 211.52
2009: 744.56 (so far)

I've had to be patient through some stubborn injuries.
With all the times over the years I've been sidelined, I'm content now to run (or jog or shuffle, or slog or trot or amble) at any pace...

December 19th, 2009

09:47 am: growing up...

Mid 1960s, mid 1990s...

December 15th, 2009

08:52 am: apple pie morning
Even as I speak... or blog... I await two pies bubbling in the oven: one round nine-inch and one smaller oval (to make use of leftover apples and dough).

My grandmother used to make apple pies quite often. The fillings were always delicious, but the crusts could be rather thick and tough. Grandma's father and grandfather were bakers, but I wonder whether they ever told her to show the flour some mercy. Her cookies, which were also potentially tooth-chipping, might have come from the same dough. Not that anyone ever complained or refused an offering!

Well, pastry dough ain't easy. Not always, anyway. I'm wondering if the dry winter air had something to do with my struggle...

Yesterday I made the dough for the pies I am now baking. I followed a recipe from Apple Pie by John Edge, for "cheese straw" crust, using shredded cheddar cheese and cayenne pepper. (I'd made this a couple of years ago and don't recall any problem.) This time the proportion of flour to butter seemed too great (3 cups, 1.5 sticks) because the dough remained crumbly and resisted coming together. So I kept adding water and pulsing the food processor (despite instructions to pulse sparingly) and then chilled the dough overnight.

Today, with my Silpat mat and rolling pin pressed into service, I began on the bottom crust. Phew. Crumbs, cracks, frustration!

As with some previous pie efforts, I resorted to creating a "Frankenstein's monster" of a crust, patching sections together.

The top layer, perhaps because it had lost more of its chill, proved less obstinate. I then cut out a central vent ("the size of a dime" per the cookbook), rolled it onto the pin and off again, and it settled into place neatly. That's the crust that's visible, anyway, so I was pleased.

I brushed some milk over it, sprinkled on some turbinado sugar, and cut a few more vents to be on the safe side. (As if apple pie steam were something dangerous.) Whether the concoction is edible remains to be determined.

Oh, but I forgot to salt the apples. (Otherwise I adhered fairly closely to the recipe for the filling, adding lemon juice, vanilla, brown sugar, a bit of flour and some pumpkin pie spice where cinnamon was called for.)

My oven timer beeped! I peeked: golden brown. But I set it for another five minutes. Suspense builds...

November 29th, 2009

08:17 am: Silly hat

(Do I look like someone from that old TV series, "Northern Exposure"?)

* * *

I wasn't really tempted to buy this "Mad Bomber" hat until after seeing it at Paragon Sporting Goods for twice the price I'd noted at TJ Maxx.

Returning to the latter store, I succumbed...

and later photographed myself in my bathroom mirror, bedecked.

Will I ever have the nerve to sport this in public? Probably not.

Maybe on a very, very cold day.

November 23rd, 2009

09:37 am: Another attempt...
...to post an image. As usual, I'm being terribly mature about my choice of subject.

Eureka, success! I guess if I keep the files fairly small it'll work. Wonder what the limit is.

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