Category Archives: this and that
It was so cold and miserable yesterday, I had to have something hot for lunch. There weren’t any leftovers, and I didn’t feel like having anything from a can. So I made some lentil soup, from Puy (French) lentils I’ve had in the cupboard for, oh, probably three or four years. (Me in bulk food store: “Oh, look at those lovely [lentils, peas, beans, walnuts, hazelnuts, mixed dried vegetables, chunks of chocolate, etc etc]! I’ve been meaning to try making [lentil/pea/bean soup, nut bread, veg soup, real chocolate cake, etc etc.]” Buy food. Sit food in cupboard. Periodically open cupboard and consider food. “Oh, look, I never did get around to making [lentil/pea/bean soup etc etc]. Must do that.” Close cupboard, forget about food. Months later, open cupboard, consider food…)
Anyway, I just sort of randomly threw this soup together. Lentils have the advantage that they’re the instant-food variety of the legume world, i.e. they cook in under an hour, as opposed to dried beans which have to pre-soak and then simmer away most of the day. So lentils lend themselves relatively well to impulse cooking (haha, see what I did there? Im-pulse).
So here’s what I did:
3c stock (I used ham stock I had in the freezer, but I think even water would work)
1/2 c Puy lentils, rinsed
3/4 tsp salt (could have used less)
chopped green onions
1/2 grated carrot
black pepper, pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp dried lovage, pinch dried oregano, large five-finger pinch frozen parsley
Dump in pot, bring to boil, turn down heat, simmer for about 45 minutes. To serve, I threw in some grated cheese. Very tasty and warming.
I also found out something: for a while now, I had this theory that the words “lentil” and “lent” are related – that perhaps we call lent lent because people used to eat more lentils then; or vice versa. But, alas, I was wrong. “Lentil” comes from Latin lens, meaning, well, “lentil”, while “lent” comes from Old English lencten, meaning “springtime”. I guess eating lentils in lent is just a coincidence. It was a plausible theory though, don’t you think?
Life, the Universe, and Lenten Soup. I think I’ll have the rest of it today.
Today’s rabbit trails:
Read the news headlines – click on the one about the Syrian air strikes – read what Justin Trudeau had to say about it – watch brief video clip on Angela Merkel’s comments on it – wonder about her accent and where she’s from – look up Angela Merkel in Wikipedia – find out she’s from the Uckermark – wonder where the Uckermark is – look it up in Wikipedia – see on Wikipedia page picture of gorgeous castle, Schloss Boitzenburg – click through to Schloss Boitzenburg’s page – find out it’s the ancestral home of the von Arnim family – remember that that’s one of the principal families of German Romanticism, i.e. poets, fairy tale collectors, friends of the Grimms etc. – look up the von Arnims, including Achim von Arnim and his brother-in-law, Clemens Brentano…
All that remains is to find Schloss Boitzenburg on Google maps, click through to the home page of the castle itself, find out that for €45/night one could rent a room, and get lost in dreams of a holiday in the von Arnims’ castle in North-east Germany.
And there you have it: even the daily news can lead to Romantic literature. You just have to be determined enough in following rabbit trails.
We’ve got the flu in the house. I wasn’t quite sure if I was coming down with it or not, so I cancelled today’s scheduled event (didn’t want to spread the love around, dontcha know) and spent the morning parked on the couch.
I intended to have a nap, but instead I got sucked into spending a whole bunch of time and mental energy on People Being Stupid On The Internet. (Maybe you have to be German to understand how intensely irritating that is, and how you’re practically forced to do something about it? Or maybe not. But Germans are especially good at it.) In this particular instance, there was a guy who was dissing Duolingo in favour of his own (expensive) language program, and in the comments to his article loudly objected to anyone disagreeing with him, telling them they’re “disrespectful” (yeah, he’s German too). Boy, did I light into him! I slew him, I flattened him, I completely out-argued him in an extremely eloquent and lengthy rebuttal of his post. Hah, take that! It was quite satisfying.
Oh, you want to read my amazing piece of the debater’s art? Sorry, I didn’t actually post it – I typed it out, and then deleted it. I just needed to get it out of my system, but I didn’t want to actually engage with this troll. The Nanny Goats Gruff, unlike their brothers, the Billies, figured out long ago that the creek is quite shallow and you can simply wade across it – in some places, hop over in one short jump. No need to even use the bridge, let alone tangle with the troll; it takes far too much energy and is really pointless besides.
However, this being, as I said, a couch day in which I’m a little short on energy, I guess I kind of missed my footing. The road to the bridge is the widest and most obvious; the little path to the ford needs more discipline to find. So I went the easy route today, and before I knew it I found myself spending a bunch of my time and energy on something as useless as shadow-boxing trolls.
Well, maybe not entirely useless – it was an exercise in articulation of thoughts, fairly successful, at that. And I did lie on the couch while I was doing it.
Speaking of couch, INFJoe had a great post yesterday:
I quite relate to this. Except that I, of course, still have a teddy as well as a book. Maybe if I’d have stuck with Steve, book, tea, and blankie, I could have saved myself the effort expended on trolls under the internet bridge.
Ah well. I’ll know better for next time, I suppose. And now I can go back to practising Duolingo, which (contrary to the troll’s claim) is very educational. I already know how to lie in Spanish by saying “Soy un pingüino” or “Soy una vegetariana” (saying that I’m a penguin or a vegetarian, respectively, which are equally untrue); and if I ever see my cat sleeping on top of a monkey, I can describe it in detail (“El gato duerme sobre el mono”).
Life, the Universe, a Couch Day and Bridge Trolls. El oso Steve duerme sobre el Clive.
A few days ago, just after that big snowfall, a thaw set in. The roads are mostly clear – where they aren’t icy from melting snow running across the pavement – and the sunshine is brilliant today. I rambled up into the woods earlier and stood for quite some time next to the wrecked car, looking out over the white expanse of the frozen lake and thinking, to the sound of the twittering of hopeful birds and the drip-drip-drip of the thaw. And then a row of Canada geese flew over the lake, honking. I like Canada geese; they’re so very – I don’t know, Canadian.
I thought of many things (though shoes and ships and sealing wax were not among them), and some were trivial, some profound. One was that I needed to make a new gmail address with the periods removed from between the words, and when I came home and tried it, it turned out that gmail had already done so for me – apparently a.m.offenwanger is the same to Google as amoffenwanger. Who knew?
Oh, and I was going to give you some News from the Writing Trenches. I’ve been working on my latest piece, off and on, although it’s been very slow going since the end of NaNo. But it does still go. As for Star Bright (Septimus Book 4), it’s in the revision stage. I’d like to finish writing one book before I edit another – but maybe that’s not a feasible idea. There are a few other pieces that need editing; some short stories among them. And I’m hoping and/or planning to write more shorts to submit to contests or magazines.
So, all that to say, yes, I am still working on my writing – although sometimes it feels like I do more talking about writing than actual writing. However, writing blog posts is writing, too, isn’t it? And then there’s all those pictures I’m accumulating on my phone – worth a thousand words each, right? Okay, maybe not. So on that note, I’ll sign off now and go do some real writing.
Life, the Universe, and Monday Meanderings. Spring is on its way.