Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Quote du jour/Hazel Nina

I made a scrambled egg for Hazel Nina. When she finished she said, "Oh, no, egg gone. Come back, come back."

Later on Pop read her this book, and she fell asleep.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Leaving Facebook

Some of my readers may have noticed me around the blogging world a little more often recently. That’s because I quit Facebook on Saturday April 23. I initially joined two years ago just so my kids wouldn’t have to bother to send me text photos of pictures they had posted on Facebook. But it grew and grew. You know how it goes. Someone asks to be your friend, and you think of people you ought to send a friend request to, and boom you’ve got a whole bunch of Facebook friends. There were very occasional requests that I did not accept. But I still ended up with some friends that I barely knew or had never met. I’m not the kind of person to ‘unfriend’ so I’d keep getting information from them. I connected with some high school friends, and just like when I was actually in high school, there were some people I liked and others not so much. A lot of my friends were younger, Margaret’s friends, who so very kindly welcomed me. At first it was loads of fun but then it was not fun anymore. There were too many notifications and too many items in my feed. It was too busy, too quick. 

I’m a sensitive soul who takes people’s troubles (and joys) to heart. I responded with words and not just a 'like' most of the time, especially when I could tell someone needed a boost. Some conversations took place via messages. It all took a lot of my time and a lot of my emotional energy. When I listen to radio news stories, I can turn them off if they are too troubling. There was no turning Facebook news off. Tom has the gift of not paying attention to sidebars or scrolling items. I don't. I read everything and my heart ached too often. 

Five weeks later I feel terrific. I’m calmer, more contented, and I just plain feel easier in my life. The people I love I’ll still be in touch with, but I really can’t take daily contact with hundreds of people. It began to feel like I lived in a noisy, bustling city instead of my quiet, rural home, or that I was at a constant party with everyone talking at once. 

Facebook took up so much time and thought that I didn’t have the energy to write blog posts or to read other postings very often. And I didn’t even have Facebook on my phone! I would come to my desktop and settle in a few times a day, reading and commenting on my friends’ postings. I was always bothered by the ephemeral quality of Facebook. Here for a minute and then a different post takes the place of another. And some people post several times a day. Whew! I just couldn’t keep up, and decided I really didn’t want to. If I miss something I’ll either find out about it or I won’t. Since I've left, there has been a baby born, and a death has occurred. I didn't hear about them immediately but soon enough Margaret let me know. As I said, I feel a whole lot better, and even if all the world is on Facebook, I won’t be. 

I greatly prefer the focused reading of blogs. I love the blogging world for its quiet, contemplative, thoughtful postings. I love the slowness of blogging. If I don’t have time to read one day, I can catch up the next. And I don’t have any of those alerts that tell you there are 200 blog posts waiting to be read. I have a blog list on the side of my blog, in order of most recent postings. I still am not able to visit blogs, comment, and write my own as often as in Tom's pre-retirement days and in our pre-grandchildren days, but that's okay. I do my best, and am no longer split between blogging and Facebook.

I am exceedingly happy about this choice. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Heimlich Manoeuvre

This may be a stretch to offer for Weekend Cooking
but I couldn't resist sharing a fantastic bit of news.

Dr Henry Heimlich uses Heimlich manoeuvre for first time at 96
Surgeon employs anti-choking technique that bears his name to dislodge hamburger from woman’s airway in retirement home

The surgeon who gave his name to the simple but dramatic procedure used to rescue people from choking saved someone’s life with the Heimlich Manoeuvre for the first time this week aged 96.
Dr Henry Heimlich’s technique for dislodging food or objects caught in people’s throats has been credited with saving untold thousands of lives around the world since he invented it in 1974 – but he had never once had cause to use it in an emergency situation himself.
Last Monday, however, the retired chest surgeon encountered a female resident at his retirement home in Cincinnati who was choking at the dinner table.
Without hesitation, Heimlich spun her around in her chair so he could get behind her and administered several upward thrusts with a fist below the chest until the piece of meat she was choking on popped out of her throat and she could breathe again.
“It was very gratifying,” Heimlich told the Guardian on Friday by telephone from Cincinnati.
“That moment was very important to me. I knew about all the lives my manoeuvre has saved over the years and I have demonstrated it so many times but here, for the first time, was someone sitting right next to me who was about to die.”
After initial reports emerged of Heimlich and his son Philip declaring this was the first time the retired surgeon had used his technique to treat someone who was choking, an account emerged of an earlier incident.
A 2003 BBC Online report quoted Heimlich talking about using the manoeuvre on a choking diner in a restaurant in 2000. Interviewed again on Friday afternoon by the Guardian, the 96-year-old Heimlich said he did not recall such an incident. His son Philip also stated that he had no knowledge of his father using the technique in any prior emergency.
Heimlich lives in Deupree House, a senior assisted living centre in the city, where he and other residents have their own apartments but get together for meals in a communal dining room.
Fellow resident 87-year-old Patty Ris, who was quite new to the facility, sat down near Heimlich for dinner when she suddenly began choking on a piece of hamburger meat. A member of staff was heading over to attend to the emergency, when Heimlich calmly stepped in.
“I did the Heimlich Manoeuvre – of course,” Heimlich said. “She was going to die if she wasn’t treated. I did it, and a piece of food with some bone in it flew out of her mouth.”

Heimlich demonstrates the manoeuvre on Johnny Carson in 1979. Photograph: NBC/NBC via Getty Images
Heimlich said that the woman never lost consciousness, but after being able to breathe again she was so startled she was unable to talk at first.
“I, however, just sat there absolutely smiling as big as I could,” Heimlich said.
The two had dinner together the following night in celebration.
“She told me how wonderful and fortunate she felt,” he said.
Standard practice for dealing with choking prior to 1974 was to thump the afflicted person on the back. But Heimlich argued then, and still does, that that can force the obstruction further into the gullet, not dislodge it.
He worked on various theories until he finally came up with the procedure in 1974, designed for use by the general public, not just medical personnel, of putting one’s arms around the casualty and exerting upward abdominal thrusts, just above the navel and below the ribs, with the linked hands in a fist, until the obstruction is dislodged.
In June 1974 Heimlich published preliminary findings from his experiments with anti-choking techniques in a US medical journal. Newspapers around the US quickly began picking up on examples where readers, including restaurant owners, had caught word of Heimlich’s article and had tried the maneouvre on choking casualties, with successful results.
Word spread, and that summer the Journal of the American Medical Association published an editorial in which, with the surgeon’s permission, the technique was officially referred to for the first time as the “Heimlich Manoeuvre”. A year later, Heimlich wrote a peer-reviewed paper for the JAMA on his life-saving discovery. The technique became widely adopted nationally and internationally and is today explained via diagrams on posters in most US restaurants and is also taught in many schools, according to his son, Philip Heimlich.
The surgeon, who studied at Cornell University in upstate New York, is also well known in the medical community for pioneering various surgical techniques and a device called the Heimlich valve that can be used for administering triage on chest wounds in the field, including in battle.
Heimlich’s son Philip, who lives near his father in Cincinnati, said the elder Heimlich was widowed three years ago, but although he lives in assisted accommodation for the elderly he is very fit for his age.
“He swims three or four times a week and he goes to the symphony and the ballet. I hear he performed his manoeuvre with great agility. I have always been very proud of my dad and I believe he is the person who has saved more lives than anyone living,” he said.
In the US just over 4,800 people die annually from choking through various causes, with around 3,000 of those believed to be from choking on food, according to the US National Safety Council. Between 175 and 200 people die a year in the UK from choking on food, according to the Office for National Statistics.

After her brush with death, Patty Ris wrote Dr Heimlich a note, saying: “God put me in this seat next to you,” she told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Thursday evening dinner

Before we went over to Burlington to see Raffi, I looked on the internet for a good place to eat. I found one that I knew we would love, and made reservations. It is called Istanbul Kebab House. I had the very best meal I’ve ever eaten in a restaurant. You may read more about Turkish food here. This is my favorite food. I could eat it every single day and never tire of it. 

I had
Turkish red wine
Red Lentil Soup

Falafel with yogurt sauce for dipping

Blurry, but I wanted you to see the inside.

Tom had
Shepard salad

For the table:

Lavash bread to scoop up the hummus. It's a little like pita bread, but puffy.

Baklava made with Vermont apples and maple syrup

And Tom had Turkish coffee afterward. So thick he could spoon it up when the liquid was gone. The white square is some kind of sweet which you eat, and then take a sip of coffee.

Afterwards we met Hazel, Margaret, and Matt’s sister at Ben & Jerry’s. 

We had gotten Hazel Nina a Peppa Pig at Barnes & Noble.

We walked around Church St. 

until it was time for Raffi. Honestly, one of the happiest evenings of my life.

I don't think I've ever done a restaurant post for Weekend Cooking, and it is fitting that it be the best one I've eaten at!

Friday, May 20, 2016


Both Tom and I feel there are two great men whom we ‘met’ when our children were young. One is Fred Rogers, and the other is Raffi. Sadly, Mister Rogers has left this earth, but happily, oh how happily, Raffi is still with us, and we saw him last evening in Burlington, Vermont!! It was a lucky happening in that Margaret and Hazel were heading over that way to stay a couple nights with Matthew’s sister, and Raffi was going to be in town. And in one of those unexplainable, cosmic sorts of things, May 19 is the day that Margaret’s adoption was finalized.

Raffi was the man, the artist in the 1980s at Windy Poplars Farm. Oh, I was aware of Men At Work, Huey Lewis, Boy George, The Police, and even bought their albums, but the main music in the house and in the car for those years was sung by Raffi. He brought humor and fun and warmth and caring to the lives of little children. As we heard those songs in person, I smiled and I cried with joy. The years slipped away and I was a mother of little children again. And then I’d look over and there was one of those children holding her child, and the tears would just flow at this wonderful circle of life. 

Raffi calls the people like Margaret ‘Beluga Grads’ from probably his most famous song, Baby Beluga.

The video was from 1988 when Raffi and I were both 40. 

He sang a couple new songs, but mostly he did the songs all those ‘Beluga Grads’ came to hear. We were his back-up singers. Everyone knew the words to The Wheels on the Bus, Down By The Bay, Apples and Bananas, and my very most favorite, All I Really Need. No video, but the music and lyrics. It is like a meditative mantra to me.

I put the words up on my 67th birthday post here. And I featured his Christmas album here

The show was about an hour long, perfect for all the little ones in the audience. He chose the line-up of songs just right. Lively and interactive, then a couple slow lullaby-like songs, and then some move-your-body kinds of songs. He got a standing ovation. We were in the presence of a holy man, I truly believe. His life is devoted to children, through music, and through his Child-Honouring.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Today's cd/Moon Whale - Keven St-Ours

I just today heard of Keven St-Ours on my local public radio station. From the website:
All the music in this story, by the way, comes from Moon Whale, the debut piano solo album of Canadian composer Keven St. Ours. Keven is 29, and lives in Quebec.  He spent the last three years recording his first piano album and at the moment is trying to figure out how to get people to listen to it. “He’s working mostly by himself,” Keven’s girlfriend Sarah told me.  “He’s using mostly YouTube and Soundcloud for people to hear what he’s doing.  Each time he has a new piece, he’s putting it on the web.”Another thing Keven has been doing – he’s been sending public radio reporters links to his music and asking them to make use of it.

Credit Keven St-Ours

I so loved the music that I went to iTunes and bought the album. I find it very, very beautiful. 

Here is one of the pieces. No video, just the pure music.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Mrs Bale pops up on the blog for the first time in three years

The last time Mrs Bale appeared in my letters was three years ago this month. She is here to say that before Tom went to bed he read on one of his many weather-geeky sites that rain would begin at 11 pm tonight. I was absolutely flabbergasted when I heard it at 10.54.

I'm watching As Time Goes By again, and thought I'd post a picture of the very first time the 'Plantagenet face' makes an appearance. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Mid-May flowers at Windy Poplars


Violets are everywhere

We moved the forsythia bush away from the patio and over with the other smallish trees - crabapple and plum. By the way, I learned in a garden book by Anne Raver that it is named after William Forsyth who is said to have introduced the plant to England from China. And that it should be pronounced - for sigh thia not - for sith ia.

We were so pleased there were any flowers at all because Lucy thought we hired her to prune it, and pulled off most of the branches.

One of the sweet smelling plum trees has blossomed.

May is just so wonderful! There should be some more flowers by the end of the month.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Today's picture - Last day of a tee shirt

On Friday, Tom went down to pick up Hazel Nina, and I asked him to bring up a spare shirt and pants. This is the shirt he grabbed. It was Margaret's tee shirt when she was Hazel's age, so we're talking almost 32 years old. Sadly, I think Friday was its last day on tee shirt earth.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Today's poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Love’s Philosophy

The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of Heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single,
All things by a law divine
In one spirit meet and mingle - 
Why not I with thine?

See the mountains kiss high Heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea - 
What are all these kissings worth
If thou kiss not me?

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)