Tuesday, October 24, 2006

fall color, delegating and a busy schedule

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

fall color, delegating and a busy schedule
Current mood: full

Wow, the leaves in the mountains yesterday were GORGEOUS. If you get a chance this week to drive around in North GA and check out the fall color, I highly recommend it. They are prettier than I recall seeing for the past few years. We had a lovely hike (planted a new letterbox, too!) and I got some great pictures. Plus I got to share a caramel apple with my boy. How fun is that? ;)

I think I need to learn how to delegate effectively. Which is something I've known, but not really understood until recently. It's a skill I'll have to practice.

Whew, we have a busy week coming up. Starting Wednesday night, it's non-stop Halloween and birthday (Littleman's 3rd!) festivities for awhile. Billy's sister joked that Littleman needs his own mini daytimer! (Pictorial, of course). It's wild that even when I try to keep things low key and easygoing, we can end up with a non-stop schedule sometimes. Makes me wonder who I'm trying to please. . . but I know it will be fun, and we'll all be glad we did it.

I thought about writing creatively tonight, but I am too tired. (And a little muddled with a glass of wine). Had a nice dinner with my sis, who doesn't see her nephews enough. (eh, G? ;) ) It was fun.

Fading. . . fast. . . still must check laundry. . .

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Spiced Pound Cake

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Spiced Pound Cake
Current mood: satisfied

Been busy busy busy (so what else is new?)

I love October- I like the color, the cool weather and that crystal clear quality in the light. Plus of course, it is Littleman's birthday month and Halloween! But it is a busy month for me.

Wow, I'm rather distracted by H. Johnson's show on public radio- he's playing something by Rufus Harley. (guessing on spelling). A jazz bagpiper. Ain't never heard nothin' like that before.

Anyhow. . .
I haven't updated frequently, not only because I've been busy but because I haven't been "called" to do so. I'm interested to note that despite the lack of fresh posts, my blog still has several hits over this past week. Thank you all for continuing to read- it keeps me writing even when I might otherwise slack off until I quit entirely. I feel like I should keep a supply of fresh posts for my loyal readers, LOL! But therein lies the beauty of a blog- the interactive format, however abstract, is an automatic incentive to keep it going.

I tried a new pound cake recipe yesterday (for a bake sale held at Littleman's school) and it's quite yummy- here it is, in honor of Autumn:

Spiced Pound Cake:
1/2 lb (2 sticks) softened unsalted butter
2 c cake flour (or all-purpose)
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg (fresh grated, if you have it)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 c sugar
5 eggs
1 Tbs bourbon (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9x5" loaf pan, coat lightly with flour and set aside.
- Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and spices in a bowl and set aside.
- Use an electric mixer to cream the butter until it is very smooth. Add about half the sugar, mix well and then add remaining sugar. Beat until the mixture is fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Separate the eggs and beat the yolks into the mixture one at a time. (Reserve egg whites).
- Using a spoon blend the dry ingredients into the butter-sugar mixture just until smooth; do not overmix and do not beat. Add the bourbon and stir until blended.
- Beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Fold them into the cake batter gently but thoroughly.
- Turn batter into the loaf pan and bake for about 1 1/4 hours, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake rest in the pan about 5 minutes before inverting it onto a rack. Turn cake right side up and allow to cool before slicing.

I got this recipe from How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. A great cookbook!

If you make it, I'd love to know how it turned out for you. It sold well at the bake sale. :)

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

a carp encounter

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

a carp encounter
Current mood: pleased

The Carp as a spirit guide (gleaned from a google search, so take it for what it's worth):

- Symbolizes courage, true love, foresight and the ability to attain high goals
- Encourages overcoming life's obstacles leading to consequent success

What an encouraging and aproppriate message for me, considering how overwhelmed I can get with all the things I hope to acheive.

- Fish in general symbolize good luck and prosperity, so that's a nice reinforcement.

Then I looked up Salmon, which I have a more in-depth reading of, and which is likely to carry similar symbology to Carp because they share some key characteristics, most importantly that they both swim far upstream to spawn. Salmon's tradition rounds out the reading nicely:

- (from the Druid Animal Oracle) "Braden brings not only wisdom but youthfulness and inspiration, but remember that to find these things you must maintain an attitude of openness and innocence rather than strong-headed determination."

So I have here reinforcement of my goals, encouragement to attain them and a suggestion on how to get there. Nice!

* * *
This all stems from my rather magical encounter with a monstrous carp last Sunday. I was relaxing all by myself (amazed? I was) in my kayak in the small lake at Billy's parents' place. It's a lovely spot anyway, but it's particularly special to me because Billy and I were married there, on a dock over that lake. Anyhow I'd paddled around for awhile, and was happily sitting back, just drifting aimlessly and daydreaming in the middle of the lake. A motion caught my eye, and I peered to see what it was- turtle? beaver? snake? fish? Interestingly enough, it was a dorsal fin- swimming lazily, poking out of the water shark-style. It wasn't huge of course, but I could tell it would have to be a pretty big fish. I decided to see if I could paddle for a closer look without scaring it away.

One of the lovely things about a kayak is that you can get around very unobtrusively, so quiet that you can observe wildlife more easily. It took me a long time to get very close, since I was being so careful and the fish was swimming away from me. When I did finally get alongside though, I was amazed- nose to tail, the thing was probably almost as long as I am tall. It was a huge lake carp. I drifted next to it for a few minutes before it suddenly noticed me, and vanished. It was beautiful encounter.

Sunday, October 1, 2006

nature trail

Saturday, September 30, 2006

nature trail
Current mood: calm

The trees meet overhead, creating a tall tunnel for the nature trail. Plenty of light streams through, illuminating select trunks and dappling the gravel path, dancing through the undergrowth like half-seen sprites in the forest. Every once in awhile I zip past an opening in the knotted plantlife to my left, and brief vistas of rich wetland flick past my vision before being swallowed by the trees again. I stop the bike at a particularly nice view and admire the woven stretches of water and grasses- vibrant greens fading to muted gold, ochre and some lavender. Groups of pines tower here and there, and farther down I can just see the tangled construct of a beaver dam. Last time we were here it was evening, and the cricket, frog and owlsong swelled as a huge blue heron took flight. Magic, magic. The veil is not so thin now, in early afternoon. But it is beautiful nonetheless.