Friday, April 18, 2014


Several years ago I started a Holy Week tradition of listening to the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar in the days leading up to Easter.  The two are a perfect fit, because the opera (one of the earlier works by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice) is loosely based on the Gospel accounts of the last week of Jesus' life. 

There are three versions--I have the rock opera one from 1970 (as opposed to the Broadway cast recording from 1971 or the movie soundtrack from 1973.)   When the album first came out my religiously traditional mother thought it was sacrilegious and banned it from the house. In her mind Biblical stories should not be set to rock music!  That just meant that instead of playing it at home I listened at my friends' houses. 

It wasn't until years later, though, when I got a copy on CD that I really began to appreciate the complex themes, lyrics, and music of the disc.  Now, driving around in the car I can crank up the volume and feel like I'm in my own personal concert hall.

The only problem with listening to the infectious songs, though, is getting them stuck in my head. At different times during the week walked around singing different snippets.  First it was "Hosanna" (Hosanna, Heysanna, Sanna Sanna Ho).  Next was "King Herod's Song" (So you are the Christ/You're the great Jesus Christ/Prove to me that you're divine/Change my water into wine.) and the latest has been "This Jesus Must Die" (What then to do about this Jesus-mania?/Now how to we deal with a carpenter king?/Where do we start with a man who is bigger/Than John was when John did his baptism thing?)

I could probably have worse things stuck in my head, though.

Five years ago today: It's Still Rock and Roll to Me

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Random Thoughts

Some random thoughts from my first grass cutting of the year:
--The bangs I got to go along with my new hairdo are now long enough to fall into my eyes, but too short to tuck behind my ears.  I'll have to get a haircut soon.

--I wonder what type of bird had sported the small pile of feathers I found scattered next to the maple tree, and what ate the rest of the bird?

--It's a shame the 'turf authorities' have deemed that violets and dandelions are weeds that shouldn't be allowed in lawns.  Their purple and yellow flowers go so well together.

--If they also reclassified chickweed and henbit as acceptable lawn additions, our yard would be one of the best in the neighborhood.

--I stepped on several fresh mole runs in the far corner of the back yard.  Someone once told me you'll only find moles in fertile soil with lots of earthworms.  Wonder if that's true?

--The neighbor's fence has wide cedar slats mounted on both sides of the rails.  One of the boards on our side has broken off and the piece is laying on the ground.  Would they appreciate me letting them know about it, or would they think I was fault-finding?  (If the shoe was on the other foot I'd want to know).

Five years ago today: Who You Gonna Call? FurBusters!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tax Day 2014

Am I the only one who hadn't realized the two spelling permutations?


Five years ago today: The Big Switch

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Bloomin' Delicious

Photo by Greg Hume
I recently read an interesting article about native trees and shrubs that you can use for edible landscaping and was surprised to find out that I had one of them, a redbud tree, growing in my back yard.  The article said that the flowers of redbud trees were "tasty and attractive additions to salads, pancakes, and muffins".  Since the tree just started blooming a couple of days ago the timing was perfect to find out if they really were.

Tonight after dinner Son Donald and I went out and collected about two cups of redbud blooms and buds.  Our redbud tree is about 20 feet tall, but it grows right next to the deck and the branches are easy to reach. I sorted and washed the blooms and added them to my standard muffin recipe. When it was mixed the batter looked stiff and lumpy, but the finished muffins were dense and moist, with a vaguely fruity taste.

Wikipedia told me that Native Americans consumed redbud flowers raw or boiled, and ate roasted seeds.  There just might be another redbud project coming several months from now.

Five years ago today: Apologies In Advance

Saturday, April 12, 2014

April Showers

Last Saturday when I got home from running errands there was a plastic bag tied to my front door. It took me a couple of seconds to figure out why it was there, but then I remembered it was April Showers time!

April Showers is a service project for the local Girl Scout troops. They collect personal care items, then distribute them to local shelters and food banks to pass them out to their clients. (Did you know that things like toilet paper, soap, toothpaste, deodorant, and shampoo can't be purchased with food stamps?  Could you live without them?  I couldn't.) 

The project lasts for two weeks.  The first day troops go door-to-door distributing bags. A week later, they return to collect the filled ones. On Wednesday I took my empty bag to the store and filled it, then set it on the table by the front door so I wouldn't forget about it.  This morning I moved the bag to the front porch. A couple of hours later when I looked out it was gone.

What an easy way to do a good deed.

Five years ago today: Don't Throw It, Grow It!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Who Wants To Dance?

Several of my Facebook friends, as well as a couple of businesses that I've 'liked', were kind enough to point out that today is National Pet Day. 

One of them suggested that in honor of the day I might want to give my cats a big hug and dance with them.  I was pretty sure I wouldn't have any takers for that idea, but I think I might be wrong.  Doesn't it look like Pepper's be ready to boogie?  Jackson, not so much.

Five years ago today: The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A couple of days ago Kenya G. Johnson wrote about her "men" eating all the hummus she'd bought for herself.  I commented that I have an easy hummus recipe, and she encouraged me to post it.  Here you go, Kenya!

Several years ago I found a recipe for "lite" hummus in the newspaper.  The first time I made it I knew it was a keeper.  Now I do it so much I started buying bags of dried garbanzo beans from the ethnic market, which I cook and store in the freezer in recipe-sized containers.

 If you have a food processor, it takes less than five minutes to put together a batch.  The only exotic ingredient is tahini (sesame seed paste), which you'll find in the Middle Eastern aisle of the grocery store.  It's pricy, but important; the combination of chickpeas and  tahini creates a dish with all the essential ammino acids for a complete protein.

This recipe is very versatile.   Sometimes I add a couple of handfuls of fresh parsley or cilantro.  Roasted red peppers make the spread a beautiful red color.  To give it some heat you can include jalapenos or a spoonful of  chipotle.  Any way you make it it's great!

The basic recipe:
• 1 16 oz can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans (2 cups)
• 1/4 cup liquid from can of chickpeas
• 3-5 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on taste)
• 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
• 2 cloves garlic, crushed
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
Drain chickpeas and set aside liquid from can. Combine remaining ingredients in blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup of liquid from chickpeas and olive oil. Blend for 3-5 minutes on low until thoroughly mixed and smooth.

Five years ago today: The Search Is On

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A True Survivor

There are several patches of common orange daylilies (AKA ditch lilies) in my yard. I like them because they're effortless.  It doesn't matter how much or little rain and sun they get, they pretty much grow themselves and the critters don't eat them.

However, sometimes they're too hardy.  Last week I noticed several sprouts coming up in an area under the deck.  This area is covered with a heavy plastic barrier and rock, but the sprouts found a way to get through.   I poured salt on the baby lilies, and most of them succumbed.  One of them, though, laughed at the harsh treatment and continued to grow:

I dumped some more salt on it today. Wonder if it will work this time?

Five years ago today: Walk This Way

Monday, April 7, 2014

Yay! Opening Day

Today was the baseball Cardinals home opener game. In St. Louis, where we love our baseball, this day feels like an unofficial holiday.  Tickets to the game have been sold out for weeks, but even people who don't have tickets rearrange their schedules so they can watch the game and all the surrounding pageantry on TV.

The official Opening Day hoopla started at 10 with a dedication ceremony for the Cardinals Hall of Fame & Museum. That was followed by a pep rally outside the stadium from 11-2, and pregame ceremonies inside at 2:30, leading up to the start of the game at 3:15. However, there were also quite a few unofficial events that started as early as 9 AM, and many downtown bars and restaurants were hosting game viewing parties.  

Today's rainy and chilly weather was less than ideal for baseball.  That didn't seem to matter to the people I saw from my seat at the mall Customer Service desk.  I took an informal survey before lunch; in a ten-minute period 2/3 of the people who walked by were wearing a red shirt or something with the team logo on it.  In honor of the day I got out the Cardinal earrings that had been packed away since October to wear with my uniform white shirt and black pants.  As the day wore on, though, there were fewer 'red' sightings.  The real fans were either lucky enough to have a ticket for the game or were getting ready to watch it on TV somewhere.

I got off work at 3:00, and made it to my car just in time to hear the end of the opening ceremonies on the radio as I drove home. The rain made the field too wet for the appearance of the Budweiser Clydesdales, but the rest went off as planned.  The motorcades of Hall of Famers and current players.  The raising of the 2013 National League Champions banner.  The National Anthem.  The ceremonial first pitch.  Finally, the game.

Hubby Tony got home from work about the time I did. He turned the TV on and we spent the next few hours watching the game.  The final score was Cardinals 5, Reds 3.

Five years ago today: Celebrate Poetry