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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Can't Get Enough of that Oatmeal

Oatmeal Pie is a very good thing. I'd never heard of it before, but it was much like pecan pie. Very sweet. Very, very yummy.

I think I may have been overly ambitious when I imagined what this blog would be. Often my summer plans turn into fall's long to-do list once school starts. Perhaps I need to rethink. After all, what's romantic about life when you're being called to previously unannounced "mandatory" meetings after school every other day and when you arrive home so talked out that your voice croaks? In my heart I believe I can retain a sense of wonder and romance - even in the onslaught of life. I have to believe that. After all, most people work twelve months of the year at their jobs. I hate to think that Thoreau was right - that the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.

September flew by for me. I didn't get (or take) the opportunity to enjoy it enough. It was here and it is now nearly gone. It's a double shame because the weather was so perfect - not like some of the hotter Septembers I'm used to. This one was coolish and there were cloudy days and the starts of color in the trees. Just right. I haven't been out in it enough though. Not enough walking. Not enough porch sitting. The one thing I did get right was the baking and cooking. My house smelled like autumn with the windows open and the scent of spices and vanilla in the air. I regret not having really lived this month. I find myself wanting to make a personal vow to really observe October (which is my favorite month of the year).

So, what are some things I can do to take advantage of these last few days of the month? This weekend the observatory is holding an open house. I've wanted to go for years but haven't. My husband emailed me the other day that he'd found it was going to be open this weekend and asked if I'd like to go. Being with husband at an observatory - romantic - check.

The idea of studying the stars and the night sky is a terribly romantic notion for me. I am awed by the vastness of all that's out there - known and unknown. On Saturday nights on PBS I watch the little Jack Horkheimer Stargazer show. It's about ten minutes long and is on right before Dr. Who (have I mentioned here before that I'm a huge Who fan - a real Wholigan). Anyway, he's a funny little man (Jack Horkheimer, not David Tennant), but I love to watch because I'm always finding something to be watching for in the night sky. And, what's more fascinating is the concept of light years - that a star or a planet I'm looking at right now isn't even in that spot anymore, but was thousands of years ago - I'm looking at something that isn't there. It's so magnificent! The scope of space, of this universe - it's just so awe-inspiring. I'm so struck by God's - well, His Godness - when I consider what all He's made and how little I understand of it.
So, observatory visit - romantic. Definitely.

What about. . .
Buying a pot of mums for the porch - this year I may buy the deep wine-colored ones
Finding a nicely shaped pumpkin
Picking up a fallen leaf that catches your eye
Listening to the Ahn Trio's c.d. Lullibies for My Favorite Insomniac
Listening to Kenny Loggins' c.d. Return to Pooh Corner
For that matter, rereading Winnie-the-Pooh, because, face it, you're never too old for Pooh
Crunching into an organic Fuji apple
Buying some cloth napkins at the flea market and stop buying paper ones
Training yourself to wipe a drippy nose with a real hankie - the kind with embroidry on it
Reading To Kill a Mockingbird and then watching the movie with Gregory Peck

Or, going through your mother's or grandmother's old recipe file and trying your hand at something that sounds wonderful when you read it - something like Oatmeal Pie.

Friday, September 18, 2009


I don't know what it is with me lately, but I am absolutely hooked on oatmeal. Not only that, but I am in the kitchen cooking several nights a week and baking on Saturday mornings - and enjoying it! I am a self-proclaimed cooking-hater. I always have been. I've always felt inadequate in the kitchen. Now I'm making curry and beautiful pumpkin canneloni for weeknight suppers and baking oat bread and pumpkin oat muffins for breakfast. Right now, on a Friday night after what has to rank as one of the lousiest weeks of my teaching career just because every single day of the five was stink-o, I have an Oatmeal Pie in the oven. I found the recipe in my grandmother's old recipe box. Neither she nor my mother ever indicate how long to bake things. They just write "until done." So, I set the timer for 20 minutes and am hoping for the best. It smells wonderful!

Maybe I should credit the movie Julie and Julia which I saw on a Saturday afternoon with my mother and then convinced my husband to see with me on Labor Day. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and related to Julie's feelings about her job - doing my best to help and being smacked down at every turn. Her commentary about cooking at the end of the day bringing some sense of continuity to life, being something you can count on, really hit home with me. And, while I'm not willing to kill a lobster or debone a duck, I am having fun with some vegetarian recipes and am actually putting to use the small collection of vintage aprons that heretofore were merely decorative in my kitchen.

Twenty minutes turned out not to be long enough, but I'm keeping a careful eye on it. I only have enough calories left today to sample an extra-small piece (what Grandma would have termed "a sliver"), but I'm looking forward to it. Let the public education system twist itself into knots if it will - I'm eating oatmeal.