Reggie and the Rainy Dilemma

21 November 2009

I hear Virginia's been having quite a lot of rain lately, much to the consternation of certain comfort-loving canines. Here is what my mom wrote about Mr. Reg:

The backyard sogginess has put extra demands on our Reggie. You know how he hates rain to begin with and he hates being sprinkled by wet, overhanging tree branches and he hates yard puddles; well, after nearly 80 hours of constant rain, he has had to rank-order his demons and it's a hoot to watch his facial expression as he sifts through his possibilities. (Knowing his propensity to make the evil decision to go in the middle of the yard when the mulch is wet, he is firmly supervised so options in the criminal realm are not available). This morning after several false starts looking forlornly out the back door, he trudged out and crept along the back fence, before heading up toward the new neighbor's side. He surmised that right behind the gardenia bushes was as high and dry as he was going to find (or perhaps nature was making further progress impossible) so he did his business and then, was paralyzed as if he was caught in the blueberry bush bird netting*. He couldn't go left- over hanging tree branches. He couldn't go right, because there was a bottomless pond at the end of the hedge to almost the street. . He looked like Adam perched modestly behind the shrubs in the Garden of Eden as he froze, indecisively with his head just clearing the gardenias, every muscle on his face giving evidence to the cognition within. A couple of minutes went by and his face went into a resigned, "I accept my fate. I shall die in this very spot." I yelled out, "I'm NOT coming out there to get you, Reggie." Still he waited and waited. I did not cave. (I was NOT going out there!) He then moved gingerly forward, tapping the hedge with his nose as if considering how bad it would be to go straight through the gardenia hedge, which as you know has pretty much woven itself into a wall. "Sure, I thought, why would you pick the hardest route? Sure enough, finding that virtually impenetrable he sat down, thought a few seconds and then burst through it like Super Dog. Our Reg! He had risked that shower of water droplets and even the inevitable prickliness.He stopped, shook it all off, grinned up at me. He inspires us all.

*a quirk of his

19 November 2009

Don't ask; just click.

If you want more, click here.

Word File

18 November 2009

lachrymose: sorrowful or tearful.

example: "That was a stirring speech you gave in there, Mr. President."
"Mighty indeed; we can but do our duty to safeguard democracy, Mr. President"
"...protect the peace..."
"clean it up in no time..."

"Mr. President?"

"Mr. President?"
"Mr. President?"
"Hmm? Oh, yes of course," he roused himself; "peace. We must be strong in the months ahead. Yes...such is our duty..." He looked up and I was startled. His eyes were rimmed with shadow--haunted almost, as if every brave word he recited were treading some deep lachrymose well.

We shuffled uncomfortably out, and as I closed the door softly behind me, I saw him put his face in his hands and weep.

pumpkin + chocolate II

16 November 2009

Keeping with the theme of pumpkin, here is another recipe that I've enjoyed of late: pumpkin cheesecake brownies.

Perhaps it seems over-the-top?

It is. Enjoy it.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies
recipe by Cara's Cravings

Brownie Batter
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon

Cheesecake Batter
6 oz cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp flour
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp each ground ginger and ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8x8" square metal baking pan.

Beat together melted butter, sugar, and vanilla, then beat in eggs one at a time. Combine dry ingredients and then gradually stir into butter mixture with a wooden spoon. In separate bowl, beat together cheesecake batter ingredients.

Spread about 2/3 of chocolate batter into prepared pan, and spoon cheesecake batter over. Dollop remaining brownie batter over cheesecake batter. Swirl the batters together by running a butter knife back and forth through the pan.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until center is set. Cool completely on wire rack and chill before cutting and serving.

*This makes a good treat to take to the next pumpkin party to which you're invited. And the best part is that if guests eye the combination of chocolate and pumpkin dubiously, you'll get to take more home!

Word File

14 November 2009

Immure: to enclose, imprison, or entomb

example: Like the rootbound basil on her windowsill which had ceased to grow, so she, immured within her sentimental recollections, had ceased to participate in the present.


12 November 2009

As the days turn brisk, I find myself marking time by the mugful--hot coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon, perhaps even cocoa in the evening. Lately, however, I have enjoyed a special concoction made for Fall: pumpkin hot chocolate. The broad, creamy flavor of pumpkin bolstered with the cloves and ginger seems to compliment the thinning temperatures perfectly.

Spiced Pumpkin Hot Cocoa
an Eggs on Sunday original recipe
serves 3
For the hot cocoa:
3 cups milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin or pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons maple syrup (I substitute brown sugar for the costly syrup)
And for an extra special cup...

maple whipped cream:
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons maple syrup

any of the following for dusting on top: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, raw sugar

*note: I make up a concentrate of this and keep it in the fridge. When fancy strikes, I need only add the rest of the milk and cart it to the microwave.

The ABCs...are ruthless?

10 November 2009

I've never considered the affect of the phonetic alphabet upon our culture, but Marshall McLuhan (originator of the famed "the medium is the message" concept) discusses its power to disconnect the individual from the community and one sense from another:

"This stark division and parallelism between a visual and an auditory world was both crude and ruthless, culturally speaking. The phonetically written word sacrifices worlds of meaning and perception that were secured by forms like the hieroglyph and the Chinese ideogram . . . Many centuries of ideogrammic use have not threatened the seamless web of family and tribal subtleties of Chinese society. On the other hand, a single generation of alphabetic literacy suffices in Africa today, as in Gaul two thousand years ago, to release the individual initially, at least, from the tribal web. This fact has nothing to do with the content of the alphabetized words; it is the result of the sudden breach between the auditory and the visual experience of man. Only the phonetic alphabet makes such a sharp division in experience, giving to its user an eye for an ear, and freeing him from the tribal trance of resonating word magic and the web of kinship . . . Separateness of the individual, continuity of space and of time, and uniformity of codes are the prime marks of literate and civilized societies."

("The Written Word: An Eye for an Ear" in Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man by Marshall McLuhan)

Word File

06 November 2009

Sesquipedalian: using long words; polysyllabic.

example: The student's sesquipedalian sentences clamored dissonantly out from the essay, and the professor ran her hand over her aching brow. A thesaurus in the hands of an undergraduate is deadly.

Word File

04 November 2009

Dislimn: to dim or fade into indistinctness; vanish; obscure.

example: He shook his head and slapped his cheek vigorously but presently the scene dislimned into smudges of greying color and muffling sound. He closed his eyes and slept.

Word File

02 November 2009

Celerity: swiftness.

example: His celeritous exit conveyed the embarrassment he felt over his faux pas.