Quantity Cooking

On Saturday night I finished baking the last of the 10 dozen sweet rolls for our hand bell choir’s Easter breakfast. We plan to serve sweet rolls and egg bakes to our congregation on Easter Sunday as the first fundraiser for our trip to New York in November when we play at Carnegie Hall.  They are quite large, and can be cut in two for an astounding number of rolls.  The other bell choir members are supplying the egg bakes.

The rolls are in our freezers and just need to be thawed and iced on Easter.  I will set them out to thaw in the church kitchen on Saturday when we rehearse with the brass quintet that is accompanying us on one of our pieces. We have two ovens in the church kitchen and we can have four egg bakes cooking and four keeping hot all at the same time.  It will take some coordination as we play at both the 9:00 and 10:30 services and will need to bake and serve and play bells, since people will be eating from 8:30 until 10:30.  I think we will be exiting and entering the sanctuary all throughout the services in between playing.  I just love doing things like this.

In true Lutheran Church Basement Ladies fashion, members of the funeral service committee have volunteered to help out.  It will be an exciting day.

What is the largest meal you ever helped prepare? What would you serve a crowd? 

I’m Melting!

For most of my life I have felt too tall. I reached 5’9″ in Grade 6.  I felt like a giantess, even though I was one of the shorter women in my extended family. My mother was 5’11 and her mother was 6 feet tall.

Husband and I remodeled our kitchen about 15 years ago, and the contractor was concerned when we replaced the soffits with cupboards extending to the ceiling that it might detract from selling the house in the future.  “Not everyone is as tall as you and your husband” he warned. “Some people could have trouble reaching those top shelves”.

Well, “some people” now includes me. I am 1.5 inches shorter than I was 15 years ago and the top shelves are a real stretch.  For the first time I regret losing some of my height.  That inch and a half has made quite a difference in my reach. My doctor isn’t too concerned. I have a good diet rich in calcium.  I get exercise. I often call on husband to get down the things I need. I make good use of tongs and grabbers. I haven’t yet resorted to a kitchen stool.  For some reason, a Joni Mitchell song keeps going through my head whenever I have to get something down from the top shelves in the kitchen:

What didn’t you know you had until it was gone? Ever done a remodel you regretted? What is your favorite Joni Mitchell song?

April Fool

One of my children is very adept at pranking me on April 1, usually with plausible texts about rash decisions or changes in career that I fall for every time. This year I turned the tables and it was satisfying, albeit subtle.

On Monday morning I sent the following text :

In honor of today I thought of sending you a text asking you to please not play an April Fools trick since my newly diagnosed heart condition couldn’t handle it, but I thought that would be a mean thing to do, so I didn’t.

I got the following response:


Then, after a few seconds I got the following text:

So, no heart condition I’m assuming?”

I assured the recipient (someone who is always concerned about  my health) that no, there was no heart condition, but thought to myself “Yes!! I got them!!!!”

Tell about neat tricks you played on someone or tricks someone played on you.

Big Splash

We live very near to an important geologic area called the Hell Creek Formation.  It covers parts of western North Dakota, Western South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming. It contains some of the richest fossil beds from the Cretaceous period, the era that ended with the death of the dinosaurs.

Recently, two paleontologists published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences  titled “A seismically induced onshore surge deposit at the KPg boundary, North Dakota”,  outlining just what happened in what is now North Dakota in the minutes following the crash of an asteroid in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. This was the asteroid that is thought to have killed all the dinosaurs.

Based on what they found in a grey/ black layer near the top of a butte on a ranch near Bowman, ND, about 80 miles from my town, they estimate that in minutes after the asteroid crashed in Yucatan, seismic waves of water and molten rocks smashed into what is now the Hell Creek Formation.  Molten glass particles filled the air, choking any living thing.  Fish (salt water and fresh water), trees, rocks, dinosaurs, and beads of molten glass were swept up into a jumbled mass, preserved in the mud and debris for the modern paleontologists to find.  The fish fossils in the KPg boundary dig  were so well preserved that they could see that their mouths were open, gasping for air.  It triggered fires within 1500 miles of the impact and formed a plume of fire that rose halfway to the Moon.  They estimate 70% of the world’s forests burned.  Almost all life on the planet died.

Well, I find that pretty awe inspiring and amazing.  I like it when scientists can make things real and exciting.  Yucatan is a long way from where I live. That must have made a really big splash when it hit.

What has amazed you recently? Would you want to be a paleontologist? Did you ever do cannon balls?


New Horizons

I found a recipe online that I wanted to try, but it needed two items that I’d never heard of. A quick search made it clear that the only place I would find these items would be in a specialty market.    These days you can find so many different kinds of things in regular grocery stores and I don’t visit any specialty markets (think Asian grocery or Mexican grocery) often.

So there I am in the middle of aisle upon aisle of items that I don’t recognize, some of which I can’t even GUESS what they are. Unfortunately I was on my lunch break so didn’t have time to wander and linger.  I asked about my two items, was shown where to find them, checked out and went back to work.

But now I think I’ll have to go back next week when I have more time. I hope I don’t spend too much when I do!

Do you have a favorite ethnic/specialty market or restaurant?

Seymour’s Desk

Anyone who looks at my desk at work or at home would be correct in thinking that I don’t like to file and organize my papers.   I only do so under duress, or when I want to make a good impression on a new client or house guest. I am proud to say that no matter how messy my desks look, I know where everything is.  I lose things when I tidy up. Husband tries to keep his things filed and organized, and invariably can’t find things when he looks for them.

The other day I  looked at the pile of papers on my home office desk and realized that it resembled the piles of papers I saw on the desk of one of my favorite graduate school professors.  Seymour was a prodigious pack rat, and threw piles of papers on his desk until he couldn’t see over them.  (He was an incredibly short man, so the pile didn’t have to be too high to obscure his vision.)  I was always amazed when I went to his office and asked for a paper I had written for one of his classes the previous semester, and how he knew exactly what layer the paper was at, and that he could retrieve it from the pile without knocking all the other papers over.

Seymour was a wonderful psychologist and a very funny man.  He spoke in a thick Bronx accent and a slight lisp.   Once he got flustered in court and referred to a Canadian judge of Queen’s Bench  as “Your Majesty” when giving expert testimony.   I believe he is still alive, in his late 80’s or 90’s.  I wonder how high the paper pile  on his is desk now?

What is your organizational style?  

Good Stewards

Today’s post comes from tim.

i take my compost to the compost drop off spot by bush lake near my house.

i knew there was something special about this time of year and the woods but i didn’t put my finger on it until yesterday.

during the winter the woods are trees standing in a white floor that makes the woods feel like a vista of strategically placed trees in the word of white.

In the summer the undergrowth fills all the available space with things springing forth and only the path that is well worn is passable in the city scape.

up north where the canopy is so dense that the undergrowth can be filtered so effectively that the walk through the woods is a dream like crunch of leaves and twigs and a graveyard of fallen trees and broken branches left to figure out how to deal in a natural way with restoration.

from mid march til may 1 the woods are brown and gray with subtle shades of yellow rust and green that allow you to envision what could be if the buckthorns weren’t devouring the available light and space,choking out the wildflowers and ferns and grasses in their way.

i see a new creeper in the ditches that is slowly but surely covering the adjacent space with a vengeful lust. A 10 foot run three years ago turns to a 50 foot run and then an entire landscape with the nearby former plants buried by the blanket of the new invader

a while back i lived near bush lake and loved walking my dogs along the trails and paths that are there. I was aware of the problem with the invasive plants and the choking out of the native plants that comes along with it. The buckthorn issue is one i have heard about but it wasn’t until walking my dogs that i thought about it.

now i wish i could figure out a way to inspire people to work the area within a block of their house. maybe a grading system for a buckthorn collecting contest.

documented progress and maintenance reports. grading that makes the neighborhood aware of the invasion the solution and the progress realized and aspired to

i can do a 10×10 area of the woods. it feels like something that can be accomplished but a milllion acres feels like too much.

stewardship is such a admirable thing. maybe free park passes to minnesota state parks for picking up after the invasion? lions, church groups, neighborhood communities  and pta organizations taking responsibility for a chunk of the woods like they do picking up a mile of the freeway today would be a start.

if you could pick a little corner of the world to fix what might it be (take 2 they’re small)



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