rivka: (Default)
"When you read this you're tagged!If you feel like it: Take a picture of you in your current state, no changing your clothes or quickly putting on makeup. NO PHOTOSHOP. Show your F-List the real you!"

Picture 3

Christ, do I ever need a haircut.
rivka: (foodie)
This time I'll tackle the food questions.

[livejournal.com profile] ailbhe and [livejournal.com profile] minnehaha K: Your dinner.

Tonight we had baked chicken thighs, Southern-style biscuits with butter, and carrot sticks, and ice cream for dessert. Dinner was cooked by Michael, who is getting to be a better cook every day. (Usually the cooking is my responsibility.) The chicken skin wasn't as crispy as I like it (my fault, not Michael's, because he was following my directions) - we probably should've upped the oven temperature. But overall, it was very good.

[livejournal.com profile] hobbitbabe: Do you have any kitchen appliances for mixing stuff up, and what do you make with them and should I buy one or more of them? (giant immovable mixer, food processor, immersion blender, old-style blender, etc).

I have a Kitchenaid stand mixer, a generous gift from [livejournal.com profile] wcg a few years back. It is, as you say, giant and immovable. Unfortunately, it has to live in the pantry and be carried out every time I want to bake.

I use it to make cakes, cookies, and other desserts. It replaced an ancient underpowered hand mixer. The difference is most notable with stiff batters like cookie dough. I made pumpkin cranberry bars to give as Christmas gifts this year, another very thick-battered recipe, and found that my mixer could easily handle double batches. It's also excellent for things that need to be really, really, seriously, impressively well-beaten, like this gingerbread cake roll.

Oh, and the other difference I almost forgot about: because it has a paddle that is cleverly positioned in the bowl, rather than beaters, you almost never have to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl when you're mixing. Which is very nice. Should you have one? If you bake regularly, yeah, you probably should.

[livejournal.com profile] bcholmes: You seem to have a lot of things to say about food: different recipes, liking exotic vegetables, eschewing chef-boy-ar-dee. What kind of relationship did you have with food growing up?

It was uncomplicated, for which I am extremely grateful. My mother was a good cook in what I think of as the classic home-cooking style of the northern U.S.; her meals were simple (usually meat-starch-veg)
but well-prepared and tasty. Food was never in short supply, and we had free rein to help ourselves except for the hour before dinner, which was known as "starving time." I don't remember negative comments about people eating too much or too little or the wrong things, except in the context of taking more than your fair share of a scarce resource like leftover cake. We did have to accept on our plate at least a "no-thank-you helping" of everything served at dinner, and we were expected to at least taste some of everything on our plate. Oh, and we were required to have milk at dinner, but I loved milk so I didn't mind.

We had family dinner together every night. My mother would start watching out the kitchen window for my father's car at 5:55 every night, and the minute his car pulled into the garage she'd call us to the table. We rarely went out to dinner and almost never had fast food - not as a whole family, anyway. Just if we were traveling somewhere.

I ate a lot of junk food as a kid, and was really skinny anyway. I used to spend my school lunch money (65 cents a day, as I recall) on candy at the 7-11. I'd split it with [livejournal.com profile] kcobweb, and in turn she'd share the dessert from her packed lunch with me. That horrifies me today, but obviously I survived it and was reasonably healthy. My mother didn't buy tons of junk food - mostly for budgetary reasons, I think - but we always had cookies, chips, and ice cream in the house and it wasn't rationed. I remember being surprised to go to friends' houses and be told "you can have two cookies."

I have a lot of happy childhood memories about food. Holiday dinners, church potlucks, cookouts and picnics at the lake, standing on a chair to help my mother bake.

Grandma Susan: Given that there is so much conflicting information about nutrition and health, how do you decide what to believe and/or what to feed your family?

Honestly? I spend very little time thinking about nutrition and health. My impression is that this is an area where a lot of people, including health professionals, have very strong opinions - yet the data backing up those opinions is often weak. I think the whole food-as-medicine thing is hugely oversold in American culture. So I decide what to feed my family based primarily on considerations of taste. I try to avoid language about "good" and "bad" foods. I strive vaguely for balanced inclusion of a broad range of foods - proteins, carbs, veggies and fruits - but I don't worry about fat, carbs, sugar, etc. I wouldn't eat pork rinds 24/7 because it would make me feel like crap, but I'm not going to worry about the components of my reasonably balanced and varied diet.

I do try to feed organic foods to babies (Ack! We've veered into parenting territory!) based on the vague idea that pesticides may be more of an issue when concentrated into a very small form, but it's even more heavily based on the fact that Earth's Best organic baby foods taste so much better than Gerber. Oh, and I was careful about introducing potential food allergens into Alex's diet because of our strong family history of food allergies, and I'll probably do the same with Colin.
rivka: (Baltimore)
[livejournal.com profile] naomikritzer: You live in Baltimore, right? What do you like and dislike about it?

(I visited Baltimore once, for a WorldCon, and had a miserable time and hated the city. So you could talk about how awesome it is and maybe change my opinion.)

From what I've heard, a lot of people came home from that Worldcon with that impression. But I love living in Baltimore.

Baltimore is a nice-sized city, about a million people in the metro area. It's small enough that getting around is not particularly onerous, but big enough to really feel like a city, and to have plenty of diversity, resources, and places to go. I like the museums and the science center and the aquarium and Camden Yards and the symphony and the theaters and the huge old public library.

Compared to other cities, Baltimore is extremely affordable - even before the housing market tanked, we always knew that we'd be able to afford a pretty nice house here. Also, Baltimore's central location makes it easy and relatively affordable to get from here to other places.

I think Baltimore is pretty. I like the long stretches of red brick rowhouses, and the Federalist architecture, and the big graceful stone mansions in my neighborhood, and the Inner Harbor, and the view of city and water from the top of Federal Hill, and the way the city looks from the upper deck of the ballpark. I like the 18th century houses and shops in the old shipbuilding neighborhood of Fells Point, and the covered markets in several different city neighborhoods.

I really love my neighborhood, which was the height of wealthy fashion in the 19th century and is now the arts district and the gay neighborhood. It's economically and racially mixed. I walk out of my house and feel like I am part of something connected and vital. We can walk to the main branch of the public library and our church and the symphony and the theater where we often get season tickets and a great art museum with free admission and a grocery store and the light rail and tons and tons of restaurants. We have great neighbors. People talk to each other on the street. And our neighborhood hosts the book festival and the flower mart and free concerts in the park.

Baltimore has some excellent food. I particularly appreciate all the fresh seafood, and the Greek and Middle Eastern food, and sitting on a terrace or deck drinking local beer and cracking open steamed crabs on the brown paper table cover.

I like living in a place that has so much history, even if portions have been extremely unpleasant.

Things I don't like about Baltimore: the entrenched poverty, drugs, and crime. The fact that Baltimore continues to be one of the most segregated cities in America. The godawfully miserable summers. Corruption. Rats.
rivka: (books)
You guys know it's going to take me a while to get to all of these, right? Here are the book questions, grouped together.

[livejournal.com profile] kate_nepveu: Of the Aubrey-Maturin books you've read so far, which is your favorite and least favorite? Or, if that's too difficult, most memorable/lingering and least?

The Aubrey-Maturin books are so clearly chapters in the same long novel, rather than separate books, that I have great difficulty keeping track of what happens in which book. If I had to choose by whole novels, I think I'd say that Master and Commander might be my favorite. I love the beginning of Jack and Stephen's relationship, and Jack's first experiences of command. Least favorite: the last two books. I think O'Brian started to lose his touch about when to show and when to tell, and also in many ways he was just rewriting earlier bits; spoilers! )

Sumana: Are you missing any Cherry Ames books you wish people would send you?

It turns out that there's a sharp drop-off in quality after the first few books. The first four take you through Cherry's training, her efforts to decide between military service and civilian nursing, and her military career. Cherry Ames, Chief Nurse takes place in jungle hospitals on Pacific islands and is quite harrowing. I'm interested in the next one after that, Cherry Ames, Flight Nurse, because it continues the wartime setting, but judging from the poor quality of the later Cherry Ameses I've read, I have no interest in seeking out titles like Cherry Ames, Department Store Nurse.

[livejournal.com profile] marydell: What's your all-time favorite book, and why?

I can't do a singular favorite book! Hmm... it's totally cliche to say Pride and Prejudice, isn't it, but Jane Austen's books are ones that I never get sick of rereading, and P&P is my favorite of them. But yeah, total cliche. Jeez. Okay, the other book that comes to mind is Lois McMaster Bujold, either Barrayar or Memory. I'd say that Barrayar stands better on its own. I love the way it examines womanhood and motherhood from so many different angles, through so many different characters, and I love Cordelia. Memory is an even better book in some ways, but it needs the rest of the series to give it full resonance.

[livejournal.com profile] moobabe: What's your favorite nonfiction book?

If I had to pick one nonfiction book to have on a desert island, it would be the Norton Anthology of Women's Lives, which is a huge collection of excerpts from women's autobiographies.

[livejournal.com profile] ororo: What's the last book you read for your own pleasure? What did you like best about it?

It was Georgette Heyer's Cotillion. No, wait, it was Jennifer Crusie's Fast Women. That's not the best Crusie by any means, but I like that, like all her books, it has strong secondary characters who are important in their own rights - not just as appendages to the protagonists - and because there is much more going on than just the romance. Cotillion is the book I read just before Fast Women. It's my very favorite Heyer. The first time I read it, I misinterpreted the signals and thought the hero was gay. Not in a slash sense - I thought I was supposed to read the hero as gay. Boy, did the ending surprise me.
rivka: (talk about me)
Ask me a question or give me a topic that isn't about my children or parenting, and I will write you a post in which I pretend to be an interesting and well-rounded person.
rivka: (talk about me)
Because I am a bad person, I forgot that I owe [livejournal.com profile] lynsaurus an icon post.

- reply to this post with a reason why you want me to do this meme with you, and I will pick six of your icons.
- make a post (including this info) and talk about the icons I chose.
- other people can then comment to you and make their own posts.
- this will make sure you're entertained until the next meme rolls around.

[livejournal.com profile] lynsaurus picked the following icons. I appreciate that she explained why she likes them, instead of just giving me a list; I'll try to do the same if people respond to this meme. Read more... )
rivka: (ouch)
ZOMG how could I?!?!

I'm so embarrassed... and horrified...

(link brings up video; via Zoltan Lazar)
rivka: (panda pile)
Okay: that was an incredibly successful party. The mothers-to-be had blitzed, happy expressions on their faces the whole time, and the guests were all overflowing with joy for them.

The food was great. The quiches turned out perfectly, and warming them up at party time went very smoothly. I tried two of three, and they were both good, although next time I make the goat cheese and tomato one I may use a more strongly flavored cheese than chevre. Although I don't know - it was tasty, just subtle. There's plenty of tossed salad left, but the zucchini bread, fruit salad, and punch are pretty much gone. There were two quiches left over, so I guess I overestimated how much people would eat - but I sent the leftovers home with the mothers-to-be, who were grateful to have them. The bakery cake was even cuter than I thought it would be, and tasted delicious. It tasted like a real cake that real people made.

There will be pictures, because people promised to send me copies.

I am sooooo exhausted.

A nice thing about having most of the guests at your party be women in their 50s-70s is that they kept cleaning up, all through the party. We'll have a lot of dishes to wash, but they pretty much kept up with the disposable dishware.

I wasn't precisely sure how the game would go over, but it was a big hit. Except that I seem to have made the questions too easy, because every answer was shouted out immediately - sometimes before I finished reading the question. Even the ones I thought were hard. Oh well - people seemed to have fun with it anyway.

I'm including the quiz under the cut in case anyone wants to play along at home. If you get #12 without Googling, you win - it was a question tailor-made for the specific crowd attending this shower.

famous mothers game )
rivka: (baby otter)
Post 10 things that are going right in your life right now. I don't care how small. You're happy with your cup of coffee. You saw a flock of geese flying over. ANYTHING. Things that make you happy. Things that make you smile. No pressure.

It's small and it's simplistic, but maybe for the time you are compiling your list, you'll forget about the bad going on and focus on something good.

1. Obama is ahead in the polls and climbing, especially in the swing states.

2. We're having beautiful fall weather: crisp mornings, warm afternoons, blue blue sky.

3. Alex amazes me. It is hard for me to imagine how a kid could be cooler than Alex.

4. Niblet is kicking me.

5. My new secret Internet boyfriend, Nate, has all the incredibly detailed election information I could ever want to know.

6. I keep finding these tiny, gorgeous, bright scarlet leaves on the sidewalk. Usually city leaves are not particularly impressive.

7. Michael and I are going to see Great Big Sea for my birthday.

8. Soren DeSelby sang a scale and produced a couple of words of meaningful speech.

9. My pregnancy is feeling really good right now.

10. I wrote something creative, and someone else thought it was good. Do you have any idea how weird that is?
rivka: (talk about me)
Via [livejournal.com profile] fairoriana:

Post 3 things you've done in your lifetime that you don't think anybody else on your friends list has done.

See if anybody else responds with "I've done that."

Ask your friends do this in their journals to see what unique things they've done.

1. I dyed monkeys different colors. (I tested their vision, too, but that seems less outre.)

2. I interviewed Transylvanian villagers about their parenting practices.

3. I chauffeured Mary Daly around in my car.

Edited to add: I thought this one seemed familiar! The last time it came around there were ten things. I am interested to see that the Transylvanian one came out in the exact same words, years apart.
rivka: (Rivka and Misha)


As a 1930s wife, I am

Take the test!


As a 1930s husband, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

The second one doesn't surprise me. The first one, I'm a bit sheepish about. I mean, it's not like I vacuum in high heels! But I do, uh, cook and take care of the child and go to Sunday School... and I don't wear red nail polish or curlers in my hair. Maybe that's what does it.
rivka: (books)
Seen all around, but most recently at [livejournal.com profile] klwalton. least-read books meme )
rivka: (panda pile)

My score seemed impressive to me until they presented me with a list of the 187 countries I "forgot," which in many cases (e.g., Navassa Island, French Southern and Antarctic Lands) I had never even heard of.
rivka: (talk about me)
Or so [livejournal.com profile] papersky tells me.

My name derives from the Anglo-Saxons who had a settlement in the area. The headman was named Braenca, and his people who were pig hearders lived in a clearing or "leagh" in the forest of Anderida hence Braenca's Leagh. This has varied through the centuries to Braencsle, Brencheslega, Branchelegh, Brenchesle and finally to Brenchley.

After the Norman Conquest in 1066, the land was given to Richard FitzGilbert, the cousin of William the Conqueror.
I have quite an impressive history for such a small village. The Peasants' Revolt of 1381 was begun by one of my residents, and another was burned at the stake during the reign of Bloody Mary. My church is nearly 800 years old.

Take a look at my stunning panorama! I have "fantastic timber-framed buildings and idyllic church."

You're welcome to come by for a singalong on May 8th at 7:30. Or just stroll in my lovely gardens!

I am currently 7 degrees C, and hazy.
rivka: (Default)

Oh the rivka outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we've no place to go,
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Let It Snow
from the Christmas Song Generator.

Get your own song :
rivka: (talk about me)
From [livejournal.com profile] tammylc and [livejournal.com profile] kightp, the LJ Interests Collage. I was struck by how hard it often was to figure out what interest of mine was being portrayed by a given picture; they're not strictly alphabetical, and the connection with the image is often tenuous. But if you click through all ten (or whatever) images tenuously connected to the same underlying concept, eventually it's possible to figure it out.

Should you choose to make one of these for yourself, be forewarned: many of the images that come up are NSFW. Very, very NSFW. Even if you don't have any NSFW interests.

But no NSFW pics here. )
rivka: (Default)
The meme: Ask me to take a picture of any aspect of my life that you're interested in/curious about - it can be anything from the house I live in to my favorite shoes. Leave your choice here as a comment, and I will reciprocate by taking the pictures and posting them as an LJ entry. That way you get to see a little bit about my life (within reason).

ailsaek, eeyorerin, janetmiles, kalmn, hobbitbabe. )
rivka: (talk about me)
In my relief, I find myself not wanting to settle down to work. So instead, I am spamming you.

Meme from [livejournal.com profile] chargirlgenius:

Ask me to take a picture of any aspect of my life that you're interested in/curious about - it can be anything from the house I live in to my favorite shoes. Leave your choice here as a comment, and I will reciprocate by taking the pictures and posting them as an LJ entry. That way you get to see a little bit about my life (within reason).
rivka: (talk about me)
Man, my journal has really been all-Alex, all-the-time lately. I apologize to those of you who couldn't care less about OMG TEH CUTE BABY!!!11!one!.

Here's the deal: there are a few things that are completely obsessing and preoccupying me these days, and I feel comfortable discussing none of them on my LJ, for reasons varying from explicit legal advice to creeping paranoia. And, well, because they're completely obsessing me, not a lot of other subjects spring to mind. Except Alex, who is always safe and innocuous to discuss.

So, perhaps a meme, for variation and/or conversation starting. Via just about everyone:

How many times has someone on your friends list posted about something and you were really confused, but you didn't want to ask because you knew you SHOULD know? How many times have you felt guilty asking a close LJ friend a question that should be obvious?

Well, here's your chance.

If you've missed a few things, missed an entry and are confused, ask me any thing. Even something EXTREMELY basic, like where I live! I'm not allowed to get even slightly irritated at any of the questions - we've all missed things before.

This would also be a fine place to ask questions about things that I haven't referenced in a post, with the understanding that if it references one of the Forbidden Subjects I will probably hedge.


rivka: (Default)

April 2017



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