A Different Point of View

I thought about The Wonderful Wizard of Oz on our recent trip to Brookings, SD, as we drove through Edgely, ND and Aberdeen, SD on our way.  Frank Baum lived in Aberdeen around the time he wrote the book, and the girl he used as a model for Dorothy was his niece who lived on a god forsaken farm near Edgely.  (That girl’s daughter became the first woman senator from ND). The area is pretty swampy and remote, in the James River Valley, close to the Red River Valley, but without the good soil. I confess I never read Baum’s  book, but I really liked Wicked, which was the story told from the point of view of the Wicked Witch of the West.

I liked Jane Eyre as a teen, but I really liked Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, which is the story told from the point of view of the first Mrs. Rochester.

I suppose one could argue that writing a story from the point of view of another character from an established novel or story is an easy way to make a buck, but I think it is so interesting  to consider. I also don’t know how they figure out copyright and royalty issues, but it must be doable.

What novel or story would you like to see written from another character’s point of view? What novel or story would you like to see written from the point of view of a character from a completely different novel or story?

Digging a Hole

I can get really dirty when I’m working in the yard and putting in a new fence post this week made for TWO seriously dirty days.

The fence was initially installed in the end of April 1991, right after I moved in, so I didn’t have to take the dogs out on leashes six or seven times a day so they could do their business.  One of the fence posts was replaced years ago and the others have slowly deteriorated over time.  I have a huge black steel fence post “holder” keeping one up and my handy man did a serious MacGyver on another one last November when the ground was already frozen.  YA and I decided to replace the saggiest one and see what lessons we learned before attempting the MacGyvered one.

All the online advice talks about how hard it is to get the previous concrete out and they weren’t kidding.  The hole was humungous because we couldn’t get any leverage in a smaller hole.  We finally got down to where we needed to be and we measured the post and I sawed it off to the right height.  Then on Day 2 we got an ugly surprise; the very corner where there post needed to go had an old remnant of the initial fence post.  Believe me when I tell you it doesn’t take thousands of years for old wood to calcify.  It took an hour, a saw, a drill with 2 different bits, one dandelion digger that didn’t survive the ordeal and a hammer to finally clear that corner.

So the post is in, I’ve taken another super serious shower and some ibuprofen for my sore shoulders.  YA and I had lunch after we had finished and we both agreed that we learned a lesson that we could apply to the gate post – that we were hiring someone else to do it!

Any projects that you’ve gotten dirty doing?

 

Tales of Woe

Last week I got bitten by a bee, on my bottom lip.  I felt the bee start to fly in my mouth (I’m sure that’s not where he/she meant to go) and I spit it out pretty quickly, but not before I got a mild sting.  No big swelling, no allergic reaction but it did hurt for a few days.  On Day 3, if I looked REALLY hard, I could see a teeny whitish blister.  Kinda.  Certainly no one else could see it, including YA.

Then on Monday, while hammering a nail in the bathroom, I missed the nail and whacked by left index finger something good.  I swore so loudly that I had to go apologize to the neighbors.  It really hurt.  No bruise, no blood under the fingernail.  Nothing except for the lingering soreness.

Now I don’t know about you but I think if you get hurt enough that it still hurts after a day or so, you should get a little bruise or a blister or something.  It doesn’t have to be some egregious wound, just a little badge of honor for your pain.

Have you ever received a trophy (or badge or prize)?

Who’s Choosing the Menu?

After the great naan breakfast recipe last week, we had ricotta cheese left.  I hate throwing out food so I bought some lasagna noodles and told YA what I was going to make.

The morning I started to make the dish, YA wandered into the kitchen.  “Make lasagna rolls instead of regular lasagna” she said.  I whined and said this was a lot more work than just quickly layering stuff into one pan.  She whined a bit more and I told her (as I was putting the noodles into the boiling water) that I would think about it.  This is straight-up parent-speak for “No, but I want you to quit bugging me about it.”

She left me in the kitchen and a few minutes later, I heard the vacuum running upstairs.  I made the lasagna rolls.

Is there anybody who can push your buttons this well?

The Underwear Tree

Guinevere and I have been expanded our walking routes, going a little farther and trying out new streets to walk down.  Last week we went down a street in Tangletown that we hadn’t tried before, heading down the hill toward the creek.  As we were walking I looked up and was startled to see a pair of women’s underwear hung on the tree close to the sidewalk.  On closer inspection, I discovered about ten different garments (all women’s undergarments) hanging from the tree.

As we continued on our way, I thought about tee-peeing, which was a popular prank when I was a kid.  I never took part in tee-peeing, but my house was the target of this prank once.  Nobody I knew ever fessed up, so I always wondered if it had been meant for Sam’s house; he was my next-door neighbor and a much more social kid than I was.  I wondered what kind of prank resulted in women’s underwear in a tree in a front yard.  Was this what kids do these days?  Where do they get the underwear?  Thrift shops?  Their mother’s dresser?  Or was it more nefarious – one spouse getting even with the other, hopefully not with a divorce looming on the horizon.

Then I was surprised yesterday to walk that route again and found the underwear still hanging in the tree.  At first I thought maybe the family was not at home the last few days, but there were golf clubs in a bag sitting on the front porch; surely no one would leave town with their clubs sitting out in the open.  The mystery deepened when I got home and mentioned it to YA.  She confirmed that the underwear has been in the tree for at least 3 weeks.  Now I’m really wondering what the story is.

What do you think?

Plants on the Move

Ligularia, or “The Rocket”, is one of my favorite shade plants.  We have several in our yard, and I like to pair them with Hydrangeas.  They can be somewhat alarming when it is hot, as they droop in the day, but then they perk right up again after it cools in the evening. They come in different heights and leaf colors. I like the large ones with big green leaves.

I am an impatient gardener, and I plant things too close. I seem to forget just how big Hydrangeas get, and that they will muscle out anything next to them if it isn’t far enough away. This happened recently on the north side of the garage. I had planted Ligularia too close to the Hydrangeas, and the they became completely covered.  Ligularia can become quite large, as you can see in the header photo.  The ones in the north bed were puny, so last Saturday I decided to transplant them to a more open space in the fern bed. It is shady and they can predominate over the ferns. I was amazed to see how resourceful the Ligularia were, and that they had actually migrated from the middle of the Hydrangea bed to the very edge of it, as though to escape the larger shrubs. I initially planted them in a straight line with the Hydrangeas, and here they had moved at least a foot north to the edge of the bed. It is as though they tried to transplant themselves.

We have become more strategic landscapers in the past few years,  but our tendency is to plant where there is  room and to fill in empty spaces somewhat willy nilly. I suppose that is why we end up transplanting things a lot.

What is your landscaping strategy?  What have been your successful and not so successful outcomes?

 

Nothing on a Stick

Well, we did it.  We found a fair food truck that had three of our favorite things and that wasn’t too far!  It was up in the Costco parking lot in north Minneapolis, so if you don’t count my having to backtrack because it turns out the 46th street ramp onto 35W is closed, it only took about 15 minutes to get up there.

We shared an order of cheese curds, an order of French fries and a bag of mini donuts (although I probably had more than half… YA likes them but not as much as the other things).  We sat in the car to eat and watched other folks wander up to the truck for their orders.

It was quite pleasant except for the fact that seven hours later I was still not interested in food – still not hungry.  If a half order of three items filled me up that much, how in heavens’ name do people eat so much at the fair?  I never get cheese curds or French fries on my solo fair days since I don’t have anyone to share it with, but even so, if you add up what I do consume on my own, it’s quite a bit.  I expect that the increased exercise from walking all over the fair is what keeps me from getting too full.  Since my only exercise yesterday consisted of the stationary bike for 30 minutes and the dog walk for just 20 minutes, my fair food kept me full all day.  Guess that means that without the whole state fair experience, I should probably stay away from too many food trucks this summer!

How are you getting your exercise in this summer?

For Sale?

I’m not sure what motivated me but last night I clicked on CNN.com.  I know, I know… what was I thinking?  It went against my ostrich imitation of the last couple of months (head in the sand), but something drove me to it.

But amid all the bad news, there was an interesting bit.  Apparently when asked a direct question about whether the U.S. is still interested in buying Greenland (despite it definitely NOT being on the market), a straight answer was not to be had from the Secretary of State.  Here’s a link to the story, which is kinda funny:  https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/22/politics/trump-buy-greenland-pompeo/index.html

I don’t really have much to say about this (since it is so beyond absurd that “absurd” isn’t a good enough word) except that I think I might prefer for us to get a tropical island instead.

What do you think?  If we have to buy an island, which one to you think we should put in our shopping cart?  

Breakfast Naan

Even though I have a strict rule about cookbooks (if I buy one, I have to get rid of one), it doesn’t stop me from checking them out from the library.  I love reading through cookbooks, seeing what different chefs/authors do, with new or old ingredients and techniques.  It’s been a while since a cookbook has been tempting enough for me to want my own copy, but I usually find one or two recipes that I like.

I found a Naan Breakfast Pizza recipe recently that I thought would be fun to adapt to my kitchen.  It turned out great.  Here is how I made my version:

(this is for one, but you can certainly make more at one time)

½ naan bread (I’m only socializing w/ the dog these days so I used garlic naan)
1 tablespoon ricotta cheese
1 egg
2 strips vegetarian bacon
2 tablespoons grated gruyere cheese
1 scallion, chopped
4-5 grape tomatoes (or any other kind of tomato you like, or have on hand), chopped
Salt & pepper to taste

  • Grease a pan (or spray it).
  • Spread the ricotta over the naan, making a slight “well” in the middle
  • Crack the egg into the “well”
  • Arrange the bacon around the egg
  • Sprinkle the gruyere, scallion and tomatoes over the naan
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Stick in a 400 F oven for about 10 minutes – until the egg is the way you like it.
  • Enjoy!

Have you tried anything new lately?

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