Self promotion

(Trail at Quail Hollow.)

I’m not very good at it.  Self-promotion, that is.

You see, I have this little book.  And what I want to say about it is:

I have this little book.  It’s not much.  Just an experiment, to see how my photos would look in print.  It was also a joke of sorts, something I did for a friend while keeping other friends in mind.  I think it’s a bit overpriced, but all the same….

And so on and so forth.  Which is not, of course, good self-promotion.

So let me try it this way:

Blue & Purple
By Robin A. Simmons
Make a photo book with Blurb
Book Preview

And see if that works.

In other news…

My total mileage for 2009 is up to about 75 miles now.  I was hoping to hit 100 by the end of the month.  January is a nice long month, usually filled with expectations, goals, and motivation.  I still might make it to 100, but will have to really step it up to do so.

There’s a big winter storm on its way tonight.  At least that’s what the weather people are saying.  Usually when they predict massive amounts of snow, we get little.  I don’t mean to complain about the weather forecasters.  I know they do the best they can, and have trouble winning either way, whether they under-forecast the amount of snow or over-forecast it.

I suspect they may be right this time around.  The radar looks like we might get that 5-8 inches, but it’s hard to tell for sure since the radar is showing that it should be snowing right now and it isn’t.  Never mind the 5-8 inches.  I see they’ve updated to 7-10 inches.  That will look nice on top of the 18 inches we already have on the ground.

Not much else going on here in the Bogs these days.  M has been working on a grant proposal.  I’ve been trying to get my house back in some semblance of order.  I may start my spring cleaning very early this year as the house really could use a good scrubbing and decluttering.

Last Saturday I went in search of a dress to wear to M the Younger’s wedding.  No luck.  There must be a dress out there somewhere that’s just right for me.  All I have to do now is find it.

What a day

(In the front yard.)

The sun is shining and it’s snowing like crazy at the moment.  The snowflakes look like glitter falling from the sky.  Perhaps Mother Nature is celebrating along with many of us today.

What an amazing day, eh?

More fun!

(This evening’s view of the pond.)

It was a balmy day here in the Bogs.  The temperature at noon was around 22°F.  It’s funny how that feels warm compared to the below zero temps we’ve been experiencing.

It’s all a matter of perspective, eh?

The pond is frozen.  No ice skating has taken place yet.  M says the ice is rough and choppy.  If anyone out there owns a Zamboni and wants to come by and smooth out the ice for us, we’d very much appreciate it.  (Isn’t it wonderful that there seems to be a solution for things like this?  Not that we could afford to avail ourselves of that solution, but I think it’s cool that someone out there — namely Frank Zamboni in this case — had an idea and followed that idea to its fruition, inventing something that is now part of the skating world.)

Yesterday was a full day for us.  We paid a visit to the Padre who will be performing the wedding ceremony for M the Younger and his fiancee.  While we were up that way we stopped by the restaurant where we’ll be having the rehearsal dinner.  We paid the deposit and then had lunch there.  We decided to sample the lunch portions of the entrees we’re thinking of picking for the rehearsal dinner.  They were excellent.  When we finished the banquet coordinator stopped by with the check which turned out to be for drinks only.

Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch?

Well, okay.  Not exactly free.  The cost of the rehearsal dinner will more than make up for the cost of our lunch.  Still and all, it was a nice thing for her to do, especially since we’d already taken care of the down payment and there wasn’t much to be gained by giving us a free lunch except for our appreciation and thanks.

Yesterday evening we went out with friends and had a good time.  I know some (at least one) of you are reading so thanks!  I really enjoyed it.

Today M and I went cross-country skiing again.  Two Sundays in a row!  We’ll be pros in no time.  (Hahahaha!!)  We are getting somewhat better.  I’m proud to say I finally made it all the way to the top of a hill that has defeated me on previous attempts.  And I only fell twice today!  I’m not sure how many times M fell.  More than I did.  But we’re probably about even since last Sunday’s adventure in cross-country skiing saw me falling within the first few minutes, a foreshadowing of things to come.  The good thing about all this snow is that it doesn’t hurt a bit to fall.  The layers of clothing necessary for the cold help, too.

I will be sore tomorrow.  Not as sore as last week, but sore.  I’m thoroughly exhausted this evening and expect I’ll sleep well.  Fresh air and exercise are the best sleep aids I know of.

I wish I could write well enough to describe how beautiful and peaceful it was out on the trails at Quail Hollow today.  Snow was falling pretty heavily at times.  The only sound was the sssshhhh of our skis in the snow.

We may have to invest in our own skis so we can ski around the property or drive out to some of the other trails during the week.  Quail Hollow rents only on weekends so that limits how often we can go.

And in case you’re interested, I lose 2-3 lbs. in one hour of cross-country skiing.  It’s water weight, as they say, since I finish up soaked in sweat.

Happy Birthday!

(Bravo! Photo © 2008-2009 by Robin.)

Today is M’s birthday.  I won’t give away his age, but will mention that he’s older than me.  Not by much, though.

Happy Birthday, my love!

It’s a bitterly cold day here in the Bogs.  The temperature when we rolled out of bed this morning was -10°F.  That’s not wind chill.  That’s actual temperature.  We’re not the coldest state in the nation, but once it gets below zero, who cares?

(What below zero looks like.)

Boulangerie Beans and Potatoes

(Photo © 2009 by Robin.)

For Christmas I received a copy of Mark Bittman’s  How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food.  It was high up on my wish list and I was thrilled to find it under the tree.  (Thank you, C & B!)

Yesterday a friend, who also has a copy of the book, excitedly suggested I turn to page 620 and make the Boulangerie Beans and Potatoes.  Because I happened to have everything I needed to make it (including fresh thyme), I decided to cook up some beans and see what all the excitement was about.

The recipe is very simple and very basic:

  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 cups cooked white beans, drained but still moist
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 medium russet or other high-starch (baking) potatoes or all-purpose potatoes, peeled
  • 1 cup vegetable stock or water
  • 3 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 325°F.  Stir a tablespoon of the thyme into the beans, taste, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Spread the beans in a baking dish and set aside.

Halve the potatoes lengthwise and thinly slice into half circles.  Lay the potatoes in overlapping rows to cover the beans.  Pour the stock over the top, dot with pieces of butter, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and the remaining thyme.

Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue baking until the top is browned and glazed, another 45 minutes or so.  Serve immediately or let rest for up to an hour and serve at room temperature.

I used great northern beans (because I had them in the pantry).  In the book Bittman points out that you can use canned beans, but he doesn’t recommend it.  I started with dried beans, and used the quick soak and cook method.  The beans were ready in about three hours.  You can also use red or pink beans.

Obviously you will need to do a little planning ahead for this dish.  It’s well worth the time and effort.  The beans make it a hearty dish that works well as a main course.  Just serve with a salad and you have a full meal.

This is the first recipe I’ve used from the book.  I’m looking forward to many more happy meals from this “ultimate one-stop vegetarian cookbook.”


I’ve been spending a little of my computer time lately playing Human-Age.  That might account for the lack of blog entries lately (and in the future).

The game is described as a virtual simulation.  Here is the description of the game from the Human-Age FAQ:

The aim of the game is to make your character evolve throughout the ages of mankind. To do so, you must take care of him or her, and earn money so he or she can gain capabilities, and build a nice house. To get you started, you get 200 kneecaps, which is the currency for the first level. With the cash in your pocket, you can hunt, work or bet with other players to earn more money, and buy luxury items.

So far it doesn’t take up much time.  I just started playing this past weekend so I can’t say whether or not it will get more involved.  It should be noted that I have an interest in posting about the game.  I’ll earn 40 kneecaps (and boy, could I use them).

I have my friend the English Nutter to thank for this newest internet addiction.  Addiction may be too strong a word, at least for now.

Hop on over and join if you have a few spare moments of time.  You’ll find me with The Frozen Feet clan.  Pretty appropriate given the weather we’re experiencing here in the Bogs.  Bitterly cold (and about to get colder) with more snow in the forecast today.

Another Monday

(In the woods of Quail Hollow.  Photo © 2009 by Robin.)

It was a good weekend, all in all.  We got about 10 inches of snow by the time it was all said and done.  M and I stayed in on Saturday, enjoying a relaxing day, keeping warm inside while the snow came down pretty heavily.  Sunday we went cross-country skiing.

And today I am very, very sore.

We need to ski more often so my muscles will get used to all that activity.

Speaking of activity, the walking continues.

  • Total mileage for 2009:  32.241 miles

I’ve been doing a pretty good job of maintaining a regular (almost daily) yoga practice.

M and I watched Burn After Reading on Saturday night.  I enjoyed it.  It was entertaining.  I am a fan of the Coen Brothers’ movies.  I remember seeing Blood Simple (Director’s Cut) (not the Director’s Cut) when it first came out in the theaters in 1985.  It’s fairly easy to remember that one, though, as I was pregnant with M the Younger at the time and experiencing some pretty rough morning, afternoon, and sometimes evening sickness.

More snow expected sometime tomorrow, another 1-3 inches are predicted.  Along with the snow will be the return of bitterly cold temperatures.  The high on Friday is expected to be 6°F.  Brrrrr!