bear - ingn.1 the manner in which one comports oneself; 2 the act, power, or time of bringing forth offspring or fruit; 3 a machine part in which another part turns [a journal ~]; 4pl. comprehension of one's position, environment, or situation; 5 the act of moving while supporting the weight of something [the ~ of the cross].
Ever since I found a convenient source for free-range "organic" humanely raised chickens, I haven't cooked much chicken.
This sort of makes sense. You see, although the chickens are very yummy and don't require an extra trip -- they are sold by the same folks who sell me milk and eggs and cheese every week -- they only come in the form of "whole frozen bird." (OK, they're plucked and headless and feetless). The problem is that my meal-planning algorithm classifies dinners by type of dinner, and the only chicken paradigms I have ready-made in my brain are "cook a whole chicken in a fairly complicated recipe, then eat leftover chicken for a couple of days" or "simple, quick dinner made with boneless skinless chicken breasts." I don't want to eat chicken three days in a row very much, even if the last day is soup from luscious homemade stock, and I don't have much time anymore for complicated recipes. Also I never seem to have time to let the darn thing defrost. I still want to eat chicken, but now that I have a source for humanely raised chicken, I don't buy boneless chicken breasts at the store. Clearly it is time for a new plan.
The solution was obvious when I actually sat down to think of it. America's cooking repertoire is full of simple, quick dinners made from boneless skinless chicken breasts, 'tis true. But! America's cooking repertoire is also full of simple, quick dinners made fromchopped cooked chicken meat. And if you've got a whole frozen chicken, producing chopped cooked chicken meat is hardly any more work than cooking boneless skinless chicken breasts. So I need to replace one mental set of recipes with another. That's all.
A couple of days ago, I got a whole frozen chicken from the dairy. I stuck it frozen in the slow cooker at 10 pm (here's the rub -- the chicken has to fit in your slow cooker even when frozen, else you have to defrost it so it will squish) and added salt, pepper, about a half a cup of water, and a bay leaf. It cooked on low until about 8 AM when I pulled it out and transferred it and its liquid to a bowl in the refrigerator. When I had time, that afternoon, I picked about six and a half cups of chicken meat off the bones, leaving the wings intact. I divided the meat into thirds. One third I set aside for enchiladas that evening. Into each of two zip-loc freezer bags I put one third of the meat and one of the chicken wings. (About eleven ounces of meat per bag, plus the wing). Those went, labeled, into the freezer. And of course, the carcass plus most of the liquid went back into the slow-cooker for stock.
Here's my thought. If I process one chicken like this every three weeks, we can have one chicken meal per week plus all the stock we need. By freezing a wing with each batch of chicken meat, I can better adapt recipes that call for braising bone-in chicken parts -- I'll throw the wing into the braising pot with vegetables, then when it's all done pull the wing out and put in the cooked chicken meat. I'm planning to try this method with my paprikash recipe next week. Since there's only eleven or twelve ounces of meat per meal, it meshes pretty well with Mark's cook-less-meat -for-a-better-world plan.
Hannah and Recipezaar.com helped me come up with a list of recipe ideas and classes of meals that would work with cooked chopped chicken. Here is what we came up with:
chicken tortilla soup
chicken fried rice
lasagna with velouté sauce instead of traditional béchamel
chicken wild rice casserole
chicken pot pie in several variations
a skillet dinner I used to make with pork, rice, tomato sauce, provolone cheese, and green beans -- chicken should substitute for the pork
calzones -- maybe with artichokes!
wrap sandwiches of all types -- I'm thinking of one I had at a restaurant that was turkey, wild rice, sweet potato, and cranberry sauce...
TypePad recently upgraded their user interface, and my aging laptop is having a really tough time dealing with it -- I hit a key, it takes three seconds for the character to appear on the screen. It's not so bad if I'm willing to type raw HTML instead of using the WYSIWYG screen. They claim it's a common complaint and they're working on it, so I'm crossing my fingers and hoping it gets fixed in a few days. Till then I may blog a bit less often.
Last night we gathered up all our camping stuff, including the new big tent, and took it to Hannah and Mark's house in the suburbs to camp in the backyard, you know, just to make sure everything worked okay. Thunderstorms threatened, which was perfect for testing out the new tent. It started to rain while we were setting up, and within a few minutes we were bedraggled and yelling at each other and at our friend who was trying to help. Just like real camping!
"Grab the other end of this pole! No, not THIS one, this OTHER one!"
"Where's the door? Is this the door? The vestibule has to go OVER THE DOOR."
"Don't put the fly on yet, we still have two poles left. MARK! DID YOU HEAR ME?! Two poles!"
"Quick! Unclip everything and rotate it! What? Uh, one hundred twenty degrees. No, one eighty."
I came around the corner of their house, mostly soaked, and found the other invited guests waiting on the porch. They turned to me with big "So glad to meet you!" grins, so I said, "Hi! Um. I don't live here. I'm just camping in the back yard." Then Hannah opened the door. "She's the one who lives here," I explained and then went back to my car to get more tent stakes.
After the party, during which I learned from one of the other guests (weirdly) that some poor graduate students at the university are still being made to read my thesis, the sky cleared and Mark and Hannah pitched their tent in the backyard too. Mark built a fire in the fire ring. We'd also pitched the little three-man tent that Mark and I used before we had children, and the bigger boys clamored to be allowed to sleep in the little tent by themselves. What better time to see how that would go? We all guessed that the boys would creep back into their respective families' tents before too long. Anyway, we all turned in about ten-thirty.
Around midnight I woke with a start and had that go check on the kids feeling. But I was really tired, the baby was latched on, Mark was asleep, we were in a fenced suburban backyard... everything had to be fine. I suppressed the urge and fell asleep.
Suddenly I was startled awake by the boys' voices, shouting. I sat up. I heard Hannah calling, "Boys! Be quiet!" They didn't pay any attention to her.
I shook Mark awake and told him to go make the boys stop that awful noise before they woke the neighbors. He sat up, fumbled for his glasses, and slithered out of the tent. I heard him mutter, "Who left the rainfly open?" Then I heard his voice, alarmed: "Where arethey?"
Instantly I was outside standing in the wet grass in the dark. The boys' voices lingered a moment and faded rapidly, just evaporated into the night air, like a dream. Their little tent was open and their sleeping bags were empty. Hannah was running into the house. You have to understand that I was so certain I had heard them calling out, just a moment before. I can't remember ever being so disoriented, confused, and frightened (and not really certain I was awake) all at the same time.
Of course everything made some sense in just a moment, when Hannah came out of the house and reported that they were both upstairs in her eight-year-old's bedroom fast asleep. We all rolled our eyes and wondered aloud why they didn't just come into one of our tents, and pointed at the lit windows and laughed, (they'd apparently turned on every light in the house), and swore we'd let them have it in the morning. Hannah's Mark went inside to sleep and the rest of us stayed out with the little kids in the tents.
We never did figure out what the noise was that awakened us. Probably some cats. In the morning we found out that they'd tried to get into our tent but hadn't been able to find the zipper pull in the dark, so -- rather than calling for us and "bothering" us -- they decided they'd rather just go inside.
You know your dry run has been a success when after it's over, you pour yourself a beer and say to each other, "Thank goodness we didn't try this when we were camping for real." After one lecture, and one mental note to buy zipper pulls that light up in the dark, we declared the mission accomplished.
Mark, getting more and more interested in sustainability, has been urging me to cut back on the animal protein in favor of vegetable protein. I see his point -- sure, our family can afford to eat as much meat, fish, eggs, and cheese as we want, but six billion people can't eat like that. We could make a few sacrifices without sacrificing our health and be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.
I am the only trouble. I'm the only person in the family with any sort of chronic health problem at all, and that problem is overweight. Combine that with a family history of diabetes, and it's a high priority in meal-planning to make it easier for me to keep my weight down. The easiest way for me is to stay fairly low-carb, and the way to do that is to get most protein from animal sources, since legumes and grains mostly pack a high starch load. That's why in the last few years we've moved away from the vegetarian dishes that used to make up about a third to a half of the dinners I made, and towards meat-veg-veg plates with the occasional side of rice or potatoes or pasta.
But the rest of the family doesn't seem to have that problem, so maybe we can cut back on animal protein as a whole family while still letting me follow what I've learned works for me. When I make my meal plan this week, I'm going to try for combinations that use some meat and some vegetable protein, that I can serve to family members in different proportions. Hannah helped me brainstorm some possibilities that will seem natural and not complicate things too much:
Meat and bean enchiladas: make some very beany and some very meaty.
Chicken picadillo enchiladas: make some very almondy and some very chickeny.
Pan grilled salmon served over lentils, a very nice recipe I will share sometime.
Mjadra, a middle eastern lentil-rice-onion dish, with grilled sausages on the side.
Extra-beany minestrone soup with shredded cheese on top.
Vegetable stirfry with a bit of meat stirfry on the side, served with high-protein quinoa instead of rice.
Ma po tofu, a pork-and-bean-curd-and-green-pea dish.
Bean soup with ham, the ham shredded separately and mixed back into the soup in varying proportions.
My fast chili, made extra beany and with some of the browned meat kept back out; also, the kids and Mark can serve it over pasta, and I'll eat it neat.
Now that there are some new higher-protein pastas, macaroni and cheese can be an excellent protein source; I can have it as a side dish with a serving of ham or tuna, the kids and Mark can have a little ham or tuna mixed in.
Black bean tostadas -- always a favorite around here -- with chicken or beef as a topping.
Serve high-protein edamame as a vegetable next to a smaller portion of meat -- that's tonight's plan (see below).
Pitas stuffed with hummus, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, and a bit of seasoned ground beef (all you need is oregano, onion, and salt -- a little yogurt-dill sauce and you're in business -- my family loves this meal and it goes together very fast).
Stuffed peppers -- some with rice and hominy, others with mostly beef.
Spaghetti and meatballs. I'll just eat the meatballs.
A simple approach: Make a mess of vegan rice and beans in the beginning of the week, and serve it every day as a dish to stretch whatever else we're having. Recipes are earnestly requested (that's the blegging part); hit "comments."
I'll start tonight -- the plan is for grilled fish, edamame, a big salad, and some rice. I'll try to make the rice more interesting, like fried rice or pilaf, to see if the family can be satisfied with only 2 oz of fish per person. Since fresh wild-caught fish is freaking expensive (I decided never to buy frozen packaged fish again, it's so frequently yucky -- we're getting it from The Fancy Grocery Store fish counter or else from a can from now on), I'm thinking my cheapskate frugal husband won't mind.
Today is the first day of our "summer break." The scare quotes are there because (a) it's barely spring, and (b) we only sort of take a break in the summer. Oscar (finishing second grade) will drop all the "subjects" and continue with spelling and math, each only twice a week. He also will work through a "50 States" workbook in preparation for American History beginning in the fall. Milo (pre-k) will finish up the Saxon Math K, which is tied to the calendar, in June, and after that he will only work on phonics. I elected not to teach any new Latin over the summer, but we'll drill on it once a week so we don't forget what we've learned.
I rearranged my days for the summer, too, to keep the kids outside when the sun's low and inside when it's high:
Morning is for outings: clean up breakfast; pack a snack; be gone a couple of hours and come home for lunch. I'm envisioning a lot of trips to the local playgrounds and parks.
Early afternoon is "inside time," for stories, chores, light schoolwork, and indoor play.
We have tea/snack sometime between 3 and 4.
After tea is "back yard time." They have to go outside and not come in until Mark gets home.
So far so good. We had a bit of a wrench thrown into our schedule because the kids were all exposed to chicken pox a couple of weeks ago. No spots yet, but the potential contagiousness has already kept us out of music class and postponed one long-planned playdate.
But today? Great.
My biggest problem right now is that I'm overusing videos during the day, especially for Milo (who's 4). I have a hard time keeping him out of trouble while I'm concentrating on teaching his older brother, at the same time that I've also got Mary Jane to manage. As a result, Milo's getting at least an hour a day of screen time. That is more than I really want him to have. I allay my feelings of rottenness a bit by showing him a lot of edu- and quasi-edu-videos (Signing Time, nature shows, The Electric Company), but I'd really like to cut everybody back to one video a couple times a week. With exceptions for rainy days or illness or... a chance to sit and talk to my husband for a little while without being interrupted, maybe.
Sigh. Maybe I could just start by saying "No movies on Mondays." And then I could expand it to Tuesdays. And so on. I wonder if I would learn how to cope. It's more about disciplining myself than disciplining them. As is most of parenting, I have noticed.
The Rev. Daniel Walz, disturbed by what he said is Adam's dangerous behavior, filed court papers to bar him from the Church of St. Joseph with a temporary restraining order against his parents. The Races are ignoring the order, which they see as discriminatory, and getting support from advocates for the disabled.
But before you come down hard on Rev. Walz, consider what he has to say about the boy, who is 6 feet tall and 225 pounds:
Walz, the church's pastor for three years, said in an affidavit that as Adam has grown, the situation has worsened, and the boy has been "extremely disruptive and dangerous" since last summer.
Walz alleges that Adam struck a child during mass and has nearly knocked elderly people over when he abruptly bolts from church. He also spits and sometimes urinates in church and fights efforts to restrain him, Walz wrote.
The pastor wrote that Adam's parents often sit on him during mass to restrain him, and sometimes bind his hands and feet, pulling a rope under the pew so his father can control the line from behind.
Walz wrote that Adam once pulled an adolescent girl -- an exchange student staying with the family -- on top of him, grabbing her thighs and buttocks. And, at Easter, Walz alleged, Adam ran from the church, got into the family van and started it, then got into someone else's car, started it and revved up the engine.
If you read on, you will find that the mother does not contest these claims much, although she uses different words to describe them. According to the mother, for example, Adam pulled the foreign exchange student onto his lap because his parents often sit on him to comfort him.
What an awful situation for everyone involved.
"Disruptive" -- noisy, very distracting, interrupting, etc. -- is one thing. 'Tis a fact of life that small children can be disruptive through no fault of their own -- even if their parents scramble them out of the room as fast as they can climb out of the pew. And yes, disabled youth and adults can be noisy, interrupting, and distracting too, through no fault of their own. This is all just a fact of life. Some people just happen to come with more obvious problems than the rest of us. We still have to welcome them to the sacraments.
"Dangerous" is another matter. The mother admits that the boy climbed into the driver's seat of a stranger's car in the parking lot and that it was running? One word: LIABILITY. It is pretty hard not to see that there is a problem here.
The article claims that the church offered the family certain unnamed accommodations, and the family refused; and that the family asked for certain accommodations -- one is mentioned, it's ambiguous, but I think it means that they asked to have all the other parishioners get out of the aisles while the family leaves the church -- and the church has not provided them. It is hard to judge the situation without knowing what the suggested sets of accommodations were. Certainly the parents, their son, the parish priest, and the other parishioners all have rights under Canon Law that must be respected. I'm also wondering if the bishop has been involved at all in the decision to ask for a restraining order against the family.
Note that this takes place in rural Bertha, MN, where it's not quite so easy to shop around for an accommodating parish as it might be in the Cities. (There are only 2 parishes within 10 miles and 14 within 25 miles). I think if my family was struggling with a family member who, because of a disability, was making other people reasonably frightened, I might be inclined to look for a Mass offered at a hospital chapel, or find a priest willing to celebrate Mass at least sometimes for my family in my home.
A bit that I liked very much, and that can inform a great deal of contemporary discussion. The Episcopalians, apparently in the midst of a split along the lines described in the first part of this quote, should take it to heart!
(Except where noted, the emphasis, the bracketed comments, and the paragraph splits are added by me.)
The confidence with which Jesus' birth from the virgin is denied today [he means, I think, by theologians in particular, not the average Joe] cannot be explained on the basis of the historical problems [e.g., the age of the biblical texts, the existence of similar stories in non-Christian traditions]. The underlying, actual cause which spurs the historical questioning lies elsewhere: in the difference between our modern world-view and the biblical affirmation and in the presupposition that this biblical affirmation can find no place in a world scientifically explained.
At this point the then the question must be raised: what is a "world-view"?
To what extent is it a determinant of our knowledge?
Closer scrutiny and reflection...of components of our own and previous world-views allows us to say this: a world-view is always a synthesis of knowledge and values, which together propose to us a total vision of the real, a vision whose evidence and power of persuasion rest upon the fusion of knowledge and value.
This is, however, the very basis of the problem: the plausible values embedded in the practice of a specific time attain through their conjunction with what is known a certitude that they do not enjoy of themseves and which, under certain circumstances, can become a barrier to more exact knowledge. The plausible [that is, I think, the set of commonly-held cultural values] can direct investigation toward truth, but it can also be truth's opponent.
I think it would be instructive here to consider-- to the limits of my own historical understanding -- a past error caused by a past world-view, namely, the general rejection of the findings of Copernicus and Galileo. To the theologians of the time, the metaphorical "centrality" of man in creation (a value shared with today's Christians), together with observations of heavenly bodies (a collection of true knowledge), together with a plausible-for-the-time idea that creation reliably reflected metaphorical realities (a value that is very different from one held by most of today's Christians) implied a physical centrality (an untruth).
The world-view which would force us psychologically to declare the virginal birth an impossibility clearly does not result from knowledge, but from an evaluation. Today, just as much as yesterday, a virgin birth is improbable, but in no way purely impossible. There is no proof for its impossibility, and no serious natural scientist would ever assert that there was.
What 'compels' us here to declare the...improbabilityan impossibility, not only for the world but also for God, is not knowledge but a structure of evaluations with two principal components:
one consists in our tacit cartesianism---in that philosophy of emancipation hostile to creation which would repress both body and birth from human reality by declaring them merely biological;
the other consists in a concept of God and the world that considers it inappropriate that God should be involved with bios and matter.
The following sentence, I suspect, is much wittier in German:
...[T]he cause of the denial is due to the world-view, yet its consequences touch our understanding of God (our God-view).
Contrary to the usual presentation the real dispute occurs not between historical naiveté and historical criticism, but between two preconceptions of God's relationship to the world.
MODERNIST: "You only believe in the incarnation because you don't understand history. If you knew how the biblical texts were really produced, you'd understand what they really mean and what they really imply."
CDL. RATZINGER: "Excuse me, let me restate this to be certain that I understand. I affirm the real truth of the incarnation and the virginal birth. And this is because, according to you, I do not know very much about the current scholarship in the field of biblical exegesis."
(long pause, deadly penetrating stare)
MODERNIST: "Aaaah! The eyes! Like gimlets! They burn!"
CDL. RATZINGER: "Very well then. Moving on."
For the preconception that what is most improbable in the world is also impossible for God conceals the tacit presupposition that it is impossible both for God to reach into earthly history and for earthly history to reach him. His field of influence will be limited to the realm of the spirit. And with this we have landed back in pagan philosophy such as Aristotle elaborated with a singular logic: prayer and every relation to God is, in his view, "cultivation of the self".
If in the final analysis this is reality, nothing but the "cultivation of the self" can remain.
This is of course an argument that I have seen repeated many, many times, but doesn't Cardinal Ratzinger have an elegant way of putting it?
After I finished taking a year of swimming lessons a few years ago, and started trying to swim for fitness, I only managed to do it a couple of times a month. Part of doing it more frequently has been developing a well-stocked, ready-to-go swim bag.
I started with the bare bones. My bag had
one lap suit from the local sporting goods store
one ugly old beach towel (I wanted one I wouldn't miss if I kept it in my bag), big enough to wrap up in
ordinary Speedo swim goggles from the local sporting goods store
one ordinary black latex cap from the local sporting goods store
my YMCA membership card
This is, I think, the minimum that anyone needs to swim for fitness. About 2 minutes into my first swimming lesson, I discovered that the swimsuit I bought a few years back mainly because it flattered my figure was no good for lap swimming; it wouldn't stay put. So I bought a proper lap suit on sale for about $45. It took a few more lessons before I finally admitted that I would be more comfortable with goggles and a swim cap (if your hair is very short, a swim cap is optional). The towel goes without saying. My "Y" card represents, of course, access to a pool or body of water in which to swim.
As I decided I needed them, I acquired a few more things to stuff in my bag. Much would be good for any exerciser, not just swimmers. Let me stress, though, that none of this is necessary -- I could get a good workout with nothing more than suit, goggles, and towel.
A pair of "flip flop" sandals to get me from the locker room to the pool to the shower. It's safer to navigate the stairs (yes, there are stairs at my Y between the locker rooms and the pool) and shower room with something on your feet. Also, I can slip them on to pick up a child from swimming lessons without breaking the no-street-shoes-on-the-pool-deck rule.
A second towel, one of those super-thirsty super-compact PackTowls, to help get my hair dry faster (or even to wear on my head out of the locker room in a winter hurry). I still use the ugly old beach towel too.
A mesh hanging bag, full of all the stuff I need to shower and get presentable in the morning: shampoo and conditioner, facial cleanser, moisturizer, anti-perspirant, razor and extra blades, toothbrush and toothpaste, comb, and a handful of hair clips and a bandana for tying my hair up or back if necessary. If I was a makeup wearer, I'd have that too. None of this is actually necessary for most workouts -- a good rinse in the shower is enough to get most of the chlorine out -- but it's extremely convenient to have it, especially for early morning. Who wants to get ready twice when once will do? (A nice bonus: with all this stuff pre-packed, it's a snap to prepare an overnight bag on short notice.)
A waterproofed workout plan:
The plan. It's a piece of paper on which I've written out the drills and laps I want to do in the order I want to do them. Ideally I would make a new one for each session, but it's good to have a sort of "default" plan ready to go. Mine is pretty simple and fits on a 3x5 piece of paper. Having a plan makes the workout more interesting, and more beneficial than just "oh, I'll swim for 40 minutes and stop."
The waterproofing. You can laminate the plan -- very effective but perhaps time consuming if you don't own a laminator. You can put it in a page protector -- not too bad but bigger than I need. You can put it in a Ziploc bag -- an excellent and easy solution. Or (my favorite solution) you can recycle old Tyvek envelopes: Cut them up and write on the scraps, wet or dry, with a #2 pencil.
A one-touch lap counter. This little toy was a bit of a splurge, but I love it for timed workouts. I always lose count and then I don't know how far I swam.
A combination lock.
All these things live permanently in the bag. When I get home from swimming, I take the bag right to the laundry room, where I either put the towels and suit into the next basket of laundry waiting to be washed or hang them up to dry and be re-used; the bag stays in the laundry room until the towels and suit are dry and I can repack it.
There are a few other things I would like to put in the bag. Here is my wish list:
A set of workout clothes, with sports bra and running shoes, kept dry and separate from the swim gear, so I could substitute a treadmill workout for a swim workout -- for instance, if the pool turns out to be crowded or closed.
A set of spare clothes and a diaper for my toddler.
Hand paddles and swim fins, a great way to increase resistance and also to develop stroke. One of these days.
But to put anything else in there, first I am going to need a bigger bag...