Dog Days of Summer

This past week was the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and this past weekend was the 10th Anniversary of when the levees failed. All of which is a reminder that Dennis Hastert was right.

It is little understood elsewhere that Wisconsin (once Ouisconsine) was once part of France, and then Britain, and then later became the United States as part of the Northwest Territories. There the resemblance to Louisiana and parts south ends, with our temperate zone and snowy wetlands filled with wolves and foxes and eagles, as well as fish and turtles and the occasional shy little frog—hippity hop. And let’s not forget our Trillium and Wood Violet and Lady Slipper—our own temperate zone orchid. We love our dairy products, and daily bathing rather than mummy skin and keeping the body fresh.

Louisiana’s wetlands (or bayous?) contain a lot of Snakes, of various types and venoms, and if you get down to the Core of it so do, apparently, their cousins in California and Connecticut and Philly. Here in Wisconsin, there’s just one poisonous snake, the Timber Rattler. That one gives just a nip to say you got too close and it’s best to stay on the Trail. And let’s not forget the oil rigs and refineries. 😉

There is an old Story about Abraham Lincoln and his family. Not the family he raised with Mary Todd, but the family that raised him. It seems that while Illinois is the Land of Lincoln, Mr. Abraham was born elsewhere—Virginia actually. The family had to pull up stakes and head West, a bit too much trouble back where they came from. While the story of a humble childhood is well known, Mr. Lincoln did rise to the “highest office” in the Land. He freed a lot of People, as they say, and did more than possibly anyone else in the history of our Nation to promote the furtherance of Democracy in North America.

To a lot of people in the Upper Midwest, Mr. Lincoln really does exemplify the American Spirit. He did things for himself, he pursued education, worked to protect his community, and lived simply even at times when money was flush. I’ve lived all over the United States, and I can say without hesitation, that vision of what it means to be an American or live in America is not shared.

Back to Virginia, of course, the Land of Lovers, has its fair share of wetlands, with some wild horses and oil rigs. There’s likely a sign somewhere that Mr. Lincoln slept or visited some places, I’m not actually sure myself. I supposed there are those who return to the Homestate, and then there are those, like Mr. Lincoln, who walk away and don’t come back much. I suppose, if like Dorothy Gale, one finds oneself simply picked up and deposited in a strange place, it does take some time to learn the difference between an Emerald City and the Wicked Witch’s castle. And when one finds the Big Striped Balloon, there is a flush of relief and the winds blow one back to where one started out, with familiar faces and familiar ways of doing things. An adventure had and over, hopefully, just a strange and mysterious dream, with no harm done, and some stories about a wondrous and unbelievable Land.

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Heartlander of the Week: A Mighty Wind

This week’s Heartlander is El Nino because . . . .  Why Not?

I think we all need a reminder from time to time that there are bigger stronger forces in this World than us.  Mother Nature’s little ones running around the Globe and pounding shores and blowing through the leaves–a not so subtle stay home with the shutters closed and the hatches battened down.

Let the rain fall down on us All.  🙂

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Seen and Not Heard

Having repatriated to Suburbia about three and a half years ago, I find myself swimming in slightly different waters. Not so much with sharks, I have freshwater roots, after all—Large Mouth Bass might be more appropriate. Which is to say, I do understand the instinct and wish to tape shut the mouths of certain people—other females in particular. I’m picky about who I roll with, I admit, and mouthy is not my favorite look.

All that aside, watching “Jimmy Kimmel” sometimes last month, I was a bit horrified watching a heritor of the Johnny Carson legacy actually taking Scotch Tape to the face—mouth, nose and eyes—of a guest on his show (Katie Holmes?), multiple times, as part of some game. I was watching the show out of the corner of my eye and didn’t really catch what was happening at first, and then realized that the actress and guest had a face covered in tape. Mr. Host then got up from his chair and put more tape on her face . . . . While she was being filmed from an awkward lower angle kind of sort of up the skirt of her so short it is hard to sit in (on a TV talk show).

Like, OK, I’m old enough to remember “Feminist” “Feminazi” “Manhater” and other slurs for any woman who defends another woman and Jimmy Kimmel is one of the Folk Heroes of the contemporary era, but really? Com’on People, it’s the 21st Century—taping a woman’s mouth shut on mainstream TV as some form of entertainment. (Yeah, I know JK is just following the script.)

So, it’s like, I guess, you can say playing around with Scotch Tape is not that bad, but, really, what’s next, tearing a woman’s clothes off because she tried to say something? Maybe they could throw rotting food at her. Or, maybe she could slip and fall in the rotting guts of a dead, abused animal, like another show that I watched.

What is bothersome, is that this type of depiction of violence is insidious. It creeps into the consciousness and dull the senses and leads our minds in a direction of simply shrugging our shoulders—“eh, so what?”

Well, “yeah, what?” It’s funny until someone loses an eye—Yup, losing an eye probably would suck. So would having one’s nose cut off or mouth sealed shut. Or a lot of other forms of physical abuse or psychological abuse. A place holder for what is coming next, to see if anyone minds.

So, once again I’m the heavy, swimming upstream. Kick the feet, right then left, breathe as often as you want.

Later. :-/

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Gluten-free Monday: Live Simply

I think one of the most enjoyable things about gluten-free living is that it really makes life simpler.  Once you’re into it, eating at home, cooking breakfast, making desserts and sides and snacks, and even homemade bread is easier as well as fun.

I throw out very little food these days at home, because I’m using it.  And when I’m not using it, I’m going through the cabinets, looking for ingredients, or something that was set aside, whipped up a few weeks ago–or a few days ago.  And when you go to the trouble to find recipes, hunt up ingredients at stores, stir everything up, clean up the mess, hold your breath to hope it turns out right–you don’t throw it away, you don’t waste it.

And honestly, my own cooking tastes better.  😉

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Heartlander of the Week: Who’s Coming to Dinner?

This week’s Heartlander is he who is conspicuous by his absence at the Table—Lindsay Graham.

According to Quinnipiac, The Donald leads the Republican field. Mr. Graham is not on the list . . . .

Northern though I be, I am a bit startled that the Republican party has forgotten the handwritten invitation to a native born son from a conservative stronghold State. Who knows what the future holds, but the Gentleman certainly has experience in Washington, an interesting bio and ability to swing a State or two. Or three. Or might be a viable Vice President. Or Cabinet Secretary.

To Big Tents and many voices. 🙂

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Gluten-free Monday: Oat Rolls

So, to follow on last week, I made Oat Soda Bread Dinner Rolls.  (No pics, still on the Information Superhighway’s breakdown lane, traveling fifteen miles an hour single file and minding the guys with the orange flags.)

So, I used last week’s recipe, and used only 1 cup of buttermilk to have a dough rather than a batter consistency.  I split the dough into six parts and rolled them into sticky balls.  I did roll five of them in a bit of extra flour.  I made a cut in the top of each roll and then baked them in the oven at 375 for 20 minutes.

The result was fine, they rose a bit and were spongy and not too dense.  They were a bit dry–a shorter cooking time or slightly lower temperature might work better.  As dinner rolls, the bread did taste a bit mealy, as if maybe it didn’t completely mix or digest, again, I’m wondering if I should have let it sit longer.

Also, rolling the balls in oat flour didn’t seem to make a difference.  The result after cooking was largely the same as the ones that were rolled in flour.

I might try them as popovers in a cupcake pan as well.  Hmmm . . . .  Gotta love home cooking experiments.  😀

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Heartlander of the Week: Never Forget

This week’s Heartlanders are the investigators who are still searching for answers in the Malaysian Airlines MH370.

With all seriousness, events like this make a big splash in the news, the Masses follow the updates for a few weeks, and then it all slips into obscurity and we all keep going on vacation like we used to.  Except, of course, for a few families and friends and colleagues and neighbors and landlords and old teachers and classmates who will always wonder what really happened and will never forget that day.

Persistence is sometimes frustrating and scary to those who prefer to let things go and move on.  Hopefully, some day everyone will hear the answer.


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