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Monday, May 26, 2008

Saturday Morning Walkers - April 20, 2008

Hi everyone,

I am starting this blog entry sitting at the Burbank Airport waiting for my delayed flight to board. We've had a wonderful week here with Jexy, Joe and Jacob - Jack joined me here on Thursday. Other than reading my assigned Chapter 8 in A New Earth, I was too distracted to do much reading this week.

Book Report:

Libby does have a book recommendation for us - The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perotta

From Publishers Weekly
SignatureReviewed by Jennifer Gilmore Tom Perrotta knows his suburbia, and in The Abstinence Teacher he carves out an even larger chunk of his distinct terrain. Set in the northeastern suburb of Stonewood Heights, Perrotta's sixth book takes on the war between the liberals and the evangelists. When single mother Ruth Ramsay, the sex ed teacher at the local high school, tells her class that oral sex can be enjoyable, the Tabernacle of the Gospel Truth church begins its crusade. Believable or not, the school agrees to an abstinence curriculum and in marches JoAnn Marlowe with her blonde hair and pumps to instill in Ruth the tenets of the new program. Gone are the days of rolling a condom over a cucumber; now Ruth is required to promote restraint, which she does wearily and halfheartedly. These are heady days, when students rat out their teachers and the local soccer coach—Ruth's daughter is on his team—is a divorced ex-druggie and active Tabernacle member. When Tim leads the team in prayer, Ruth wrenches her daughter from the circle and the hostility between the opposing camps grows. Who is bad and who is good? Ruth's youthful promiscuity rises slowly to the surface, while Tim's struggle to stay sober makes him constantly confront his past. He's lost his wife and daughter—also on the soccer team—to his addictions, but now he's clean and married to a Tabernacle girl. His Jesus-loving ways, however, are in direct conflict with his desires, rendering him the most complex and likable character. When he loses his own battle with abstinence at a poker party, the finest scene in the novel culminates with his keying Jesus across the hood of an SUV parked in the drive. Ruth would gladly have sex if it would only come her way, and she also drinks on school nights. A less well-drawn complement to Tim, Ruth is a tolerant liberal with a newly toned body who plays therapist to her gay friends, but who can't accept that her children are interested in Jesus.The lesson is that everybody must give up something. Even Ruth's ex-lover, once a pudgy trumpet player, no longer eats to maintain his abs of steel. So what is lost when we cannot succumb to our desires? Who then do we become? The book is rife with Perrotta's subtle and satiric humor (the Tabernacle is seen as a place of diversity, while the punks, Deadheads and headbangers of Tim's past are all predictably the same), but these questions get lost as the plot winds down. Issues of sex and religion that have shaken the town become, in the end, the story of what Ruth and Tim's newly forged relationship will soon become. (Oct.)Jennifer Gilmore is the author of the novel Golden Country, which will be out in paperback in September.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved

I would like to share a poem with you that Jacob wrote in school - I will present it first in his inimitable spelling style. Apparently, the teaching technique used in his kindergarten writers workshop is one that encourages the kids to sound out their words and not worry about spelling at this point - I will follow it up with a translation:


i hav iscream - I have ice cream
i lic iscream - I lick ice cream
i wont iscream - I want ice cream
i lov iscream - I love ice cream
i am iscream - I am ice cream

I spent quite a bit of time at the Little Flower Candy Shop during the week while Jexy was at work and Jacob was at school. Christine makes the most amazing almond croissants - check out this review by Jonathan Gold in the LA Weekly - Although I did indulge, I also got some good exercise in - a couple of workouts at the Rose Bowl weight room and a couple of mega walks around Pasadena.

On Tuesday, Joe's mom, Barbara and I had lunch together at a lovely restaurant in Eagle Rock - Camilos - Barbara had the Greek Salad and I had a melted brie sandwich - yum! Before heading home, we stopped for at the Little Flower for a sweet treat - almond cake for Barbara and a delicious chocolate chip cookie for me.

Wednesday, April 16 was Jacob Milo Rowland's 6th birthday - I was lucky enough to deliver the non-edible treats for the whole class at the end of the day at Odyssey Charter School. Dinner that night was Jacob's request for Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs (see recipe below - actually adapted from Giada's Penne with Turkey Meatballs) followed by a trip out to Coldstone Creamery for iscream.

I had a great day on Thursday - had a pretty extensive walk around Pasadena in the morning and ended up at The Little Flower for lunch with Jexy - I know it looks like I'm going after some kind of record. That evening before Jack arrived, Jacob and I went to the South Pasadena Farmers Market with Carrie, Frank, Tyler and Jesse. Jex was at her class (she's in the process of getting her administrative credentials) and Joe was at the Shambhala Center in Pasadena where he saw a Pema Chodron video.

On Friday morning, I had to take Jack (along with Jex and Joe) to try one of Christine's almond croissants - I acually had something different this time - a bran muffin like no other I've ever tasted!
Friday night, we returned to a favorite barbecue place, Zekes, in Montrose. Terrific ribs and chicken! It was such a beautiful evening, we got to enjoy eating outside.

Saturday was a full day - we celebrated Jacob's birthday with 4 of his friends (boys only!) at Build-A-Bear Workshop in Glendale. They had a great time - pizza and ice cream for all!
Jexy and I spent the afternoon preparing food for the Passover seder, led by "Rebbe" Joe. We were joined by Jacob's other grandparents, Barbara and Morrie. I loved using Jexy's seder plate for the symbolic foods that are part of the seder - it had been a wedding gift from my sister, Marjorie. See the menu and recipes below.

Website of the Week: - real people, real reviews about just about anything you might be interested in your area.

Podcast of the Week: a specific Nextbook podcast - Before the Exodus - - in honor of Passover

Vocabulary Word of the Week - macerate - from Wikipedia
Maceration is a word that derives from the Latin maceratus ("to soften"; past participle of macerare). It may refer to:

Maceration, in chemistry and herbalism, the preparation of an extract by soaking material (such as animal skins or parts of fibrous plants) in water, vegetable oil or some organic solvent. The word may also refer to the same process when used to produce perfume stock.
Maceration (wine), in viticulture, the steeping of grape skins and solids in must, where alcohol later acts as a solvent to extract colour, tannin and aroma from the skins during the wine fermentation process.
A macerator, in sewage treatment, a machine that reduces solids to small pieces in order to deal with rags and other solid waste.
Maceration (bone), a method of separating of bone from soft body tissue by controlled putrefaction.
A macerator, in chicken farming, a high-speed grinder used to slaughter unwanted male chicks in large numbers.
Maceration, in biology, is the mechanical grinding or kneading of semi-solid food in the stomach into chyme.
Maceration, in dermatology, is the softening and whitening of skin kept constantly wet, leaving it more vulnerable to infection or damage by tearing.

Cooking and Dining Report:

Most of the dining has already been reported - you may notice that food is always the main event when we travel. Here are some of the recipes and websites:

Jacob's Birthday Dinner - Penne with Turkey Meatballs from Giada DeLaurentiis, The Everyday Italian - we used spaghetti.,,FOOD_9936_22338,00.html

Here's the menu for the Passover Seder:

Gefilte Fish (not homemade!) with horseradish
Matzoh Ball Soup - homemade by Jexy - forgot to get the recipe from Jex!
Crispy Roast Chicken - recipe from a recent Cooks Illustrated - I have shared that with you so you can search the blog site to get it again -
Brown Butter Green Beans with Pine Nuts - from Fine Cooking -
Baked Garnet Yams (Jex did these on her barbecue - yum!)
Flourless Chocolate Cake with Macerated Srawberries -,0,6879410.story

Libby made a roast chicken tonight - she used an old family favorite recipe - pretty simple - a clove studded onion and garlic in the cavity and a flour, ginger, clarified butter rub on the skin.
She served it with Spinach and Parmesan Gratin from Fine Cooking -

That's it for now - we arrived home a bit later than we had planned but we're here safe and sound.

Have a great week - for those of you in the Boulder area, take advantage of the milder weather and enjoy a walk on the Grillo Center Labyrinth -


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