Saturday, January 31, 2009

Spare me O Lord!

I know that I live in a part of the country where racism of the more genteel variety flourishes. Beatings are rare and the more genteel racists deplore them. Out loud. I generally bite my tongue and change the subject, because enlightening the ignorant seems to be pretty much impossible.

If, however, the statement is too egregious then I tend to lose control of my mouth and say something along the lines of "You know, that's just ignorant"

"No, really. I mean that your statement is simply not true. You don't have the facts. Did you know that the vast majority of folks on welfare are white?" Or other similarly pointless remarks, because those folks just know that they are right.

I won't try to pretend that I don't have any personal biases, but these myths that any particular minority group shares the same character flaws just bug the hell out of me.

It is particularly unwise to follow up your ignorant statement with "I'm not a racist. I'm just stating a fact."

And when I've been awake for more than 36 hours, you are truly playing with fire if you try to go there. I did warn him.

I'm pretty sure he thinks I'm the ignorant one, because after all, he stood up for a minority co-worker when the chips were down and he even called the co-worker "Mr." when he talked to him. He couldn't possibly be racist, could he?

I probably should have just walked away when he started. I doubt I accomplished anything.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


As it turns out, there is no cliff at the tubing park. It bears no resemblance to a cliff at all.

Also, one cannot flop on their belly there as to do so would risk serious facial injury from the hard-packed snow walls of the tubing slides.

There was virtually no risk involved in sliding down the hill -- at least not unless another patron managed to follow too closely behind and hit you. I didn't see that happen even once, so I doubt it's a common source of injury. Common enough to be included on their posted list of risks, though.

There were 2 fairly risky spots though. One was the gentle downward slope from the end of the tubing run to the people mover. That would have been safe, except for the children who insisted on coasting toward the conveyor on their tubes without regard to the safety of other patrons and apparently with the blessing of their parents - or at least with their tacit consent.

I did find a very quick way to put an end to that. Threat of physical injury, even by small children, does not bring out the best in me.

"If you knock me over, I'm going to make a point of landing on you. I don't believe you'll enjoy that very much."

Either the kid would wise up or the parents would snatch them away before they managed to topple me.

The second danger spot was the conveyor-belt style people mover. Again, unsupervised, or marginally supervised children insisted on engaging in risky behavior immediately in front of or behind me. After asking politely for them to desist -- to no effect, I employed the tone of voice I generally save for first year residents who say things like "In my experience....." Works just as well on kids.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Don't use that word

My sister talked me into going tubing.

We'll take the kids, she said. It will be fun.

Cold weather. Big hills. Falling. Fun.


So I bought the tickets and reserved the hotel room.

I told the kid. He was definitely excited. He tried to explain just how much fun it would be.

"Look mom, you hold your tube like this. You run and flop down on your belly just before you get to the cliff.......

Too bad the tickets are non-refundable.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ditalini and Bean Soup

I love to make soup in the winter. It's easy to make good soup and I'm often asked for my recipe. The response is always the same.

Recipe? It's soup. You don't need a recipe!

I do steal concepts, though. This one is based loosely on a recipe I found on the box of San Giorgio Ditalini pasta. Instead of a 5 quart saucepan, though, I use my 12 quart stock pot. You'll see why.

Their instructions don't call for cooking beans. They recommend 2 cans of pre-cooked beans, but paying more for less when beans are easy to cook doesn't work for me so I started fairly early this morning simmering the beans - a pound of them. It takes about 2 hours to cook Great Northern beans to the proper texture, but as long as you don't forget them, you can do lots of other things while you're waiting.

Their recipe calls for chopped onion. Today I'm all out, so dried minced is the order of the day -- be careful to read the package and note that 1 tablespoon of minced onion is equivalent to a whole lot more fresh chopped. I try to keep that in mind as I sprinkle generously over the cooked beans. No fresh garlic today, so powder will have to do. If you have fresh, chop it and cook until tender, but not brown, in a little olive oil.

I have leftover ham from yesterday's dinner, so that gets chopped while I cook the beans. About 3 cups. 4 would be better, but 3 will do.

Tomato sauce - the recipe calls for a 28 ounce can for half as much soup as I'm making. I add two 26 ounce bottles of pasta sauce and 2 cans of diced tomatoes.

Salt, pepper, a little oregano to taste.

Once the beans are done, add everything but the pasta and simmer for 30-40 minuted to blend the flavors. Add water and adjust the seasonings if needed. I decided it was a little bland, so I chopped about 3 ounces of turkey pepperoni and tossed it in.

Bring the pot to a boil and add the pasta. Cook for about 10 minutes until the pasta is tender. You'll need to stir occasionally so the pasta doesn't clump at the bottom of the pan.


Freeze leftovers if you like. It reheats quite well.