Log in

12 January 2017 @ 02:48 pm
Another box entirely of repeats. It isn’t as if there is any shortage of things I’d like to try, including some I’ve tagged as "love."

Baobab & Raspberry Clusters: This has baobab and raspberry coconut chips, dried apple pieces, and pumpkin seeds. It’s 130 calories and reasonably interesting. I like that it isn’t super sweet and it is definitely interesting, something one wouldn’t get just anywhere.

Raspberry & Coconut Muffin: This is a deconstructed mixture of rasp[berry infused cranberries, almond slivers, amaretti drops, and coconut flakes, with 140 calories. It could be a bit better balanced, as I thought there was too much coconut relative to the other ingredients. But, aside from that, it’s pretty tasty, even if it is not very muffin-like. Graze’s infused dried cranberries are really quite remarkably good.

Strawberries and Cream Protein Granola Topper: This consists of oat and barley granola, yogurt-coated strawberry pieces, soy protein crispies, and freeze dried strawberry pieces. It has 130 calories. It’s a good, crunchy topping to put on yogurt, though I still prefer fresh strawberries over anything else.

Thai Sweet Chili Dippers: This consists of sweet chili sauce, with multigrain soy rice crackers to dip in it. It’s only 80 calories. It had been a while since I’d gotten this, and I liked it more this time, though it is still a bit too sweet and not quite hot enough for my tastes.

Veggie Caesar: This has ranch-flavored half-popped corn kernels, cheddar cheese bruschetta, and roasted edamame beans. It’s 120 calories and seems surprisingly filling to me. Overall, this is a good savory snack – wholesome and creative.

Booster Seeds: This mix of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and golden flaxseeds has 220 calories and 9 grams of protein. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s not very exciting. And the flaxseeds are tiny, making them a pain in the neck to eat.

Chocolate Pretzel: This consists of pretzel sticks with a chocolate hazelnut dip and has 140 calories. It’s one of my favorite Graze snacks. Simply delicious, assuming, of course, that one likes chocolate.

Summer Berry Flapjack: This is a flapjack, i.e. a soft granola bar, with berry-infused cranberries. It has 240 calories, but it is also quite filling. Like all Graze flapjacks, it's good, but I did find this one a bit on the dry side.
10 January 2017 @ 02:09 pm
Celebrity Death Watch: Charles J. Colgan was a long-time member of the Virginia senate and founded Colgan Air. Mario Soares served as President and Prime Minister of Portugal for a couple of decades. Nat Hentoff wrote for The Village Voice and The Wall Street Journal, primarily about jazz music and politics. Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani served a couple of terms as the President of Iran. Clare Hollingworth was the British journalist who broke the news of the outbreak of World War II.

Sister Frances Carr was one of the last three Shakers. There are now only two members of the sect at Sabbathday Lake in Maine. I have a long-standing interest in the Shakers (and other 19th century Utopian communities), who I admire for their philosophy of "hands to work, hearts to G-d." Their combination of egalitarianism, craftsmanship, and innovation is intriguing and their music is a huge influence on American folk music in general.

Om Puri was an Indian actor, who also appeared in a number of British and American movies, e.g. East is East. I am highlighting him because I had actually thought of putting him on my ghoul pool list, but didn’t because I thought he had died a couple of years ago. I should have googled him to check. Oh, well.

For the record, my list of people I predict will die in 2017 is:
20. Buzz Aldrin
19. June Foray
18. Beverly Cleary
17. Robert Mugabe
16. Gord Downie
15. Irwin Corey
14. Shannon Doherty
13. Valerie Harper
12. Tommy Chong
11. Frank Langella
10. John Cullum
9. Tommy Tune
8. Queen Elizabeth II
7. Javier Perez de Cuellar
6. Jimmy Carter
5. Dick Van Dyke
4. Sidney Poitier
3 James L. Buckley
2. Birch Bayh
1. John Paul Stevens

Titanic: I went to see Titanic at Signature Theatre on Saturday. Because of the snow, I used metro plus bus, which worked well enough, especially since I was lucky enough to not have to wait for the bus at all.

As for the show, the performances were excellent. I want to particularly note Sam Ludwig as the stoker, Frederick Barrett, who gets a couple of great songs – one comparing working on the ship to working as a coal miner and one proposing (over the wireless) to his girl back home. Tracy Lynn Olvera was also notable as a social-climbing second class passenger. I also thought Katie McManus was very good as the forthright third class Irish immigrant, Kate McGowan.

The show is grand and the second act (after the iceberg) is moving. But, there are both too many and too few subplots. It’s hard to care about characters when you’re switching between lots of them with each song. Unfortunately, I don’t see a way around that without making the show 4 hours long. I also have to admit that I didn’t really care for most of the score, which was rather more operatic than my tastes. There were exceptions, e.g. "The Proposal / The Night Was Alive" and the lively "Ladies Maid." I also want to note that Yeston apparently believed the myth that the band played "Autumn" while the ship sank (which is, I suppose, better than the "Nearer My G-d to Thee" myth), while historians now claim the actual hymn played was "Oughten."

By the way, every attendee gets a boarding card describing a passenger. I got Mr. William Cruthers Dulles, a 39 year-old first class passenger. They provide a web page to look up the fate of your alter ego. He died in the sinking.

JGSGW Meeting: I was really interested in the topic for Sunday’s meeting of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington, which had to do with how to get reluctant relatives interested in talking with you. How interested? Well, when I went out to drive to darkest Maryland for it, I found my car had a flat tire and I paid for a taxi to get there. (I got a ride home from friends.) I’m not convinced it was worth it. I did pick up a few tips, but most of the talk was stuff I already knew.

And, sigh, I still have to find time to get the tire replaced.

Hidden Figures: Finally, last night I went to see Hidden Figures, the current movie about African-American women who worked as computers for NASA, performing mathematical computations in the early days of the space program. The story is a compelling one, involving three women doing their very best to make things happen, despite all the obstacles (both racial and gender) thrown in their paths. It’s not a word I use often, but I found it inspiring and highly recommend seeing it.
05 January 2017 @ 03:00 pm
2016 was not a great year for me, though I did have a few great things happen. I had certainly underestimated the impact of changing jobs, mostly in terms of how much mental energy that absorbed. I can't count how many nights I went to bed more or less right after supper.

I did finish one life list item, namely seeing the stone monoliths of Babeldaop. I got somewhat more involved with the Style Invitational Loser community, going to a few related social events. I started doing graze, which has, in addition to providing interesting snacks, given me something to write about here. And I had a particularly interesting year with respect to storytelling and to genealogy. Here are the details, in my usual categories.

Books: I only read 88 books last year, 48 of which were fiction. Only 6 were rereads. The ones I disliked include Lenore Glenn Offord’s Clues to Burn and Parnell Hall’s The Puzzle Lady and the Sudoku Lady. The absolute worst was a Laos Travel Guide which had about 40 pages about Laos and 100+ pages about studying mixed martial arts in Thailand, plus a chapter on ketogenic diets. I described this as the literary equivalent of the movie Disco Beaver From Outer Space.

On the positive side, some of the nonfiction books I enjoyed wereCocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness and Leaving Before the Rains Come (two of Alexandra Fuller’s memoirs), Last Train to Zona Verde by Paul Theroux (about his travels in Angola), Crossworld by Marc Romano (about the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament), and Motoring With Mohammed by Eric Hansen (about Yemen). As for fiction, I enjoyed Christopher Buckley’s No Way to Treat a First Lady, To the Power of Three by Laura Lippman (who often writes teenage girls well), and three books by Tess Gerritsen - The Apprentice, Ice Cold, and, especially, The Bone Garden.

Volksmarch: Nothing, zero, nada, nil. Sigh. I’m not sure why, but I just don’t seem to have been very interested in walking other than as a means of transportation.

Travel: The biggest trip of the year was, obviously, the eclipse cruise in the South Pacific, which included the visit to Babeldaop, as well as seeing the giant stone money of Yap, and, of course, my third total solar eclipse. It also pushed me over the edge of qualifying for the Travelers’ Century Club, so I joined it, even though I still think their country list is pretty silly. My only other international trip of the year was to Martinique, mostly to take advantage of a cheap airfare.

I had business trips to Los Angeles, Florida (the Space Coast), and Colorado Springs.

Personal domestic travel included a trip to L.A. and Denver for Captain Denny Flanagan’s pre-retirement get-together, Stamford (Connecticut, that is, for the ACPT), Salt Lake City (for the NPL con), New York (for Lolapuzzoola and for my high school reunion), Pittsburgh (for Loserfest), Chicago (to see the Art Institute and go to an Elvis Costello concert), and Key West. On the way home from Salt Lake City, I achieved Million Mile status on United.

I should also note that I flew a few times on Jet Blue, which I hadn’t done before. I’m fairly impressed with their service, though I don’t think much of their frequent flyer program.

Culture: I went to several story swaps, of course, as well as several of the shows at The Grapevine and a couple of storytelling-related fringe shows. In terms of performing, I did the Washington Folk Festival. But, more importantly, I performed in three Better Said Than Done shows, including the Best in Show competition. I’m particularly happy to have the summer camp story on video. And I’m glad to be working with some family material in a way that I think works for humor without being disrespectful.

I saw 11 movies over the past year, with only one in a theatre. I think the best of them was The Imitation Game. I went to three music events. Both of those categories are things I would like to do more of this coming year. I also went to a Cirque du Soleil show and to a comedy show.

My biggest cultural activity of the year was going to the theatre. If I’ve counted right, I went to six non-musicals and 21 musicals. The worst of those was The Flick at Signature Theatre. As a friend said, "How many people walked out when you saw it?" Highlights included Matilda at the Kennedy Center, 110 in the Shade at Ford’s Theatre, The Lonesome West at Keegan Theatre, The Wild Party at Iron Crow in Baltimore, Freaky Friday at Signature Theatre, and, especially, Caroline, or Change and Monsters of the Villa Diodati at Creative Cauldron. The latter has become one of my favorite theatres in the region, with high quality performances in an intimate setting.

Genealogy: Note that I added this category this year. I made a fair amount of progress, particularly on my mother’s side of the family, with highlights including meeting a cousin and tracking down info on a couple of my grandfather’s siblings. I’m also proud of having funded the translation of the chapters my paternal grandfather contributed to the Lite Yizkor Book. And I got my DNA tested, though that hasn’t led me to any major revelations yet.

Goals: I pretty much failed miserably on my goals for last year, other than reaching million mile status on United. It isn’t even worth enumerating progress on others, all of which were, at best, one step forward and two steps back. I’m giving myself a 25% for the year.

As for the coming year, I still have hope that I can get things done. I’m tempted to write something like "oh, just grow up already," but let’s be somewhat specific and measurable.

  • Complete at least one household organizing project.

  • Complete at least one knitting or crochet project.

  • Complete at least one writing project.

  • Contact one "lost" family member every month to request genealogical information.

  • Spend at least a half hour each week reading things from the reading goals on my life list.

  • Treat myself to one indulgence (e.g. spa treatment or special meal or the like) every month.

03 January 2017 @ 05:15 pm
I will do the 2016 wrap-up and 2017 goal setting later this week. But, first, let's finish off a few odds and ends.

Celebrity Death Watch: To finish off 2016, Huston Smith was a religious scholar and wrote an important book on the subject of world religions. Tyrus Wong was the lead artist on the Disney film, Bambi. William Christopher was an actor, best known for playing father Mulcahy on M*A*S*H.

To start 2017, John Berger wrote Ways of Seeing, a very influential book on art and the basis of a BBC television series.

Quarterly Movies: 2016 wasn’t much of a movie-going year, I guess. I only saw two movies this past quarter. The first was Next Year in Jerusalem, an interesting low-budget film about a young Orthodox Jewish man coming to terms with his homosexuality, while his cousin, who has been living the gay life in lower Manhattan reconnects to his Jewish identity. I thought it had some good things to say about identity and family.

The other movie, seen in an actual cinema on Christmas Day, was Jackie. I have to say I did not much care for it, alas. It was focused too closely on the short period of time right after JFK’s assassination and, thus, did not really provide enough perspective on what about Jackie shaped her reactions.

Graze Box #16

This box was all repeats, so I’ll keep comments brief. It also came a full week late, for which I blame the post office at holiday times.

Kettlecorn Kern Pops: This consists of partially popped corn kernels with a sweet and salty coating. It has 130 calories. I like the texture and the taste is okay, but I prefer the more savory flavors of kern pops.

Snickerdoodle Dip: This cookie flavored dip with cinnamon pretzel sticks has 150 calories. It is delicious – one of my favorite Graze snacks.

Original Protein Flapjack: This is one of the rolled oat soft granola bars that Graze does so well. This particular variety has flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. It has 260 calories, but with 8 grams of protein, at least it is comparable to (if not better than) store-bought granola bars. Golden syrup is the key to the flavor of these, which made a good lunch for an inconveniently-scheduled flight.

Sesame Garlic Crunch: This consists of garlic sesame sticks, oat bran sesame sticks, and multigrain soy rice crackers. It has 140 calories. The oat bran sesame sticks are particularly good. Overall, this is a tasty savory snack.

Peanut Butter & Jelly: This is a mixture of baked salted peanuts, raspberry fruit strings, and vanilla fudge squares. It has 220 calories and 7 grams of protein. The fudge doesn’t really contribute much of anything as far as I’m concerned. The best part is the raspberry fruit strings. It’s a tasty combination, at any rate.

Cinnamon Pretzel: Poppyseed pretzels plus cinnamon and honey glazed almonds make a tasty sweet mix. At 140 calories this doesn't feel too damaging a treat. Though, really, I admit that the pretzels are superfluous.

Chocolate Cherry Protein Granola Topper: This has cocoa granola, chopped hazelnuts, freeze-dried cherry pieces, and soy protein crisps. And 150 calories. Overall, it’s a nice crispy addition to plain yogurt, with a strong cocoa flavor. The cherry flavor is pretty subtle, which makes it blend in well. Very good.

Malaysian Laksa: This is a somewhat spicy coconut broth, with a side snack of chili and lime cashes and coconut flakes. It has 140 calories.
29 December 2016 @ 04:09 pm
Celebrity Death Watch: Rose Evansky was a British hair stylist who popularized blow drying as a styling technique. Louis Harris was a pollster. Gordie Tapp performed on Hee Haw. Paul Peter Porges and Duck Edwing were both cartoonists for Mad Magazine. Robert Leo Hulseman invented the red solo cup. Piers Seller was an astronaut and meteorologist. Richard Adams wrote Watership Down among other novels. Vera Rubin was an astronomer, largely responsible for the theory of dark matter. George Michael was a singer before he went-went. George Irving was an actor, particularly well known for his work on Broadway.

Carrie Fisher was an actress and writer, best known for her work in the Star Wars series. She wrote interestingly about drug addiction and mental health issues in Postcards from the Edge and Wishful Drinking. Her mother, actress Debbie Reynolds, died the next day. Interestingly, Reynolds had co-starred with George Irving in Irene.

About 2016: Just for the record, I don’t for one minute believe that 2016 was a particularly horrible year with respect to celebrity deaths. There may have been more than in some other years (though that isn’t really clear, since there isn’t a set standard for who to count). But you should expect some statistical fluctuations and they really aren’t meaningful.

Dreamwidth: I see a lot of people moving to Dreamwidth because of the LJ servers moving to Moscow. I do have an account there and I should probably look at doing likewise. My recollection is that there were just enough annoyances about the site that kept me from switching there a long time ago, but I’ve kept the account in case there was some reason to. (Which was mostly a concern about DDOS attacks on LJ.) At any rate, I don’t expect to do anything before the weekend / new year if at all.

Chappy Chanukah: I went to the chavurah Chanukah party Saturday night. The drive was a bit scary as it was very foggy out. The party was fun, overall. My contribution to the white elephant gift exchange was a box of notecards, while I ended up with a few CDs. I’d made Moroccan orange salad (basically, orange segments, marinated in rosewater and cinnamon), which is kind of a pain since segmented oranges goes slowly. I really should make my mother’s potato latkes because, eating some at the party, reminded me that nobody else’s are anywhere near as good. I won't explain why, since I am sworn to secrecy.

Minor Vacation – Key West: I took a short trip down to Key West to thaw out a bit. I flew down on Sunday. I thought the flight would be emptier on Christmas Day, but I thought wrong. The advantage of going to touristy places on holidays is that lots of things are open. I’d arrived in the mid-afternoon and had enough time to do the Conch Train tour, which is informative, though a bit pricy.

I started Monday with breakfast at Blue Heaven, which a friend had recommended. Eating in the garden, amongst the roosters, was atmospheric, and the food was pretty good. Then I walked over to Hemingway’s House. I was glad I took the guided tour (included in the price of admission) as the guide was quite entertaining, particularly about Hemingway’s wives. After the tour, one could walk around and count the toes on the cats. Then I walked over to the Southernmost Point in the Continental U.S., where I waited in line an hour for a photo with the buoy, which marks 90 miles from Cuba. I got some key lime gelato in lieu of lunch, then browsed some shops for a while, buying a pair of Keene sandals to replace the last ones I destroyed.

After an afternoon nap, I had a light supper at Conch Republic. Then it was time for the ghost tour I’d signed up for. The tour was, alas, disappointing, with more emphasis on taking photos that might show orbs and ectoplasm than on the stories behind various allegedly haunted places. There were a couple of good stories, notably the famous one of Robert the Doll, but, overall, the guide just wasn’t much of a storyteller. There are several other companies doing ghost tours in Key West, so maybe one of the others is better.

On Tuesday, I had an exquisite breakfast at Sarabeth’s – lemon ricotta pancakes that actually tasted lemony. I walked up to the Butterfly Conservancy which was enjoyable, though overpriced for its size. I followed part of a walking tour I had downloaded, which took me over to the cemetery. Unfortunately, their office was closed, so I couldn’t get their tour map. I was still able to find a few interesting things, e.g. the graves of the victims of the explosion of the Maine and the monument commemorating that event. Oh, yes, I also stopped in at the Tennessee Williams exhibit. And had lunch at Margaritaville, where they were not, alas, playing Jimmy Buffett music.

Tuesday night, I had dinner with two high school friends (one of whom lives there; the other was visiting her) and their children (one has a son, the other a daughter). We had an excellent meal at Hogfish Bar and Grill on Stock Island. And even more excellent reminiscing, going back to junior high. (They lived at the other end of town, so we didn’t go to the same elementary school.)

I had enough time on Wednesday for a stroll through Harry Truman’s Little White House and a walk along the harbor front before going to the airport. My flight home was fairly uncrowded and would have been on time had we not had to wait for the gate at DCA. Overall, it was a good few days away.
20 December 2016 @ 09:07 am
I said yesterday that I'd include the pasta salad recipe below and then forgot to. I should note that this is not an actual recipe, per se, but more or less what I threw together, with reasonable success.

8 ounces or so of smallish pasta (I used a half box of orecchiete)
1 red onion, chopped
1 small can of chick peas
1 small jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1 small can of sliced black olives
1 small jar of chopped sweet red peppers
a few handfuls of pignolias

For dressing:
drained liquid from the artichoke hearts
1/4 c. balsamic vinaigrette
enough olive oil to make the whole thing add up to a cup
black pepper
a few pinches of dried thyme

Cook the pasta. Drain and chill it.
Throw in the rest of the ingredients and mix. Let it sit in the refrigerator a few hours before serving.
19 December 2016 @ 04:54 pm
Celebrity Death Watch: Hiroshi Arakawa was a Japanese baseball player and later managed the Yakult Swallows. Edwin Benson was the last native speaker of the Mandan language and made an effort to teach the language to children in North Dakota. Bob Krasnow co-founded the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Javier Echevarria Rodriguez headed Opus Dei, a controversial part of the Catholic Church and a favorite target of conspiracy theorists. E. R. Braithwaite wrote To Sir, With Love. Alan Thicke was an actor and talk show host, probably best known as the father on Growing Pains. Thomas Schelling was a Nobel prize winning economist, specializing in game theory and complex systems. Henry Heimlich invented the Heimlich maneuver. (Note: he did not die of choking.) Zsa Zsa Gabor was an actress and socialite, who was at least as famous for having had nine husbands.

Non-celebrity Death Watch: Another former colleague passed away earlier this month. Bernie Klem had an office catty-corner from mine, despite which we had an occasion on which we both flew from L.A. to Washington for me to give him a briefing. My favorite story about Bernie is the time he was checking into a hotel that asked him for a government ID to get the rate within per diem. He just said, "I'm traveling undercover" and they gave him the rate!

Three Holiday Parties: I have survived the party season, with minimal stress. My condo complex party has been less interesting since the Scottish guy realized that it wasn’t formal and, hence, gave up wearing his kilt to it. On the other hand, the food is good (as long as you get there early enough to get some of it) and the conversation can be interesting. It’s never a bad thing to get to know your neighbors at least a little bit.

The second party was at work and the stress level is lower now that they cater it, instead of doing pot luck. They were doing partial pot luck for a while, with folks doing appetizers and desserts, but they went full catered this year. They had okay Italian food with the definite highlight being the tiramisu for dessert. As for the white elephant gift exchange, my contribution was a hot cocoa gift box from Penzeys, which consists of cocoa, two hot chocolate mixes, a jar of cinnamon sticks (well, actually, cassia, but normal people are not as snobbish about this as I am), and bay leaves. Don’t ask me to explain the latter, because I can’t. Unfortunately, it got chosen towards the end, so it’s hard to say if it would have gotten stolen. I ended up with a set of teas and an infuser, along with hot chocolate sticks and a Trader Joe’s shopping bag.

The final party was at my former great-grandboss’s house. That one was pot luck and I find it intriguing that the offerings included Kentucky Fried Chicken and Wendy’s chili. I brought a Mediterranean pasta salad, for which I will offer a recipe below. There was good conversation and entertainment, in the form of our hosts (and their daughter) singing and me telling a couple of stories. The downside was that the party was in Manassas and, oy, that is a long drive. At least the morning ice storm was long since over and the roads were in good shape.

Flyertalk Dinner: I posted that it had been a while since we’d had a get-together, expecting people to suggest something after Christmas. But it turned out that a lot of people were free on Thursday night. We went to Sine Irish Pub in Pentagon City, which is always reliable. It was cold enough out to justify eating things like shepherd’s pie or fish and chips. And, of course, there was the usual travel conversation.

Silver Belles: This was a cute little holiday musical at Signature Theatre. The premise is that the Silver Belles of Silver Ridge, Tennessee put on an annual pageant for the local orphans. But now their leader, Oralene, had been struck dead by a bolt of lightning (which also, not coincidentally, destroyed her still) and they are struggling to put the pageant together. Oralene gets to influence things from beyond the grave.

There’s a lot of Southern-inflected humor and quirky characters and reasonably lively music. Donna Migliacci was excellent as Oralene. I want to particularly point out her expressive reactions to the crazy things the rest of the Belles do. There was also great chemistry between her and Dan Manning, who played her husband, Earl. The other outstanding performance is by the always wonderful Nova Payton. However, it bothered me that she as the one African-American performer was playing the sexy, vamp role.

I’m not big on either Christmas fare or country(ish) music, but I still thought this was worth seeing. It’s certainly a hell of a lot better than the umpty-umpth version of A Christmas Carol.

Carousel: Finally, I went to see Carousel at Arena Stage. I’ve always been lukewarm towards this musical. There is some lovely music, e.g. "The Carousel Waltz," but I have trouble with the whole "he’s your man, so you put up with him even when he hurts you" stuff. In short, I think Billy is a jerk and Julie is an idiot. And, yes, I understand the psychological damage abuse does and why Julie behaves the way she does, but it still annoys me.

The performances are excellent, with Nicholas Rodriguez as Billy Bigelow, Betsy Morgan as Julie Jordan, and Kate Rockwell as Carrie Pipperidge. It is also a pleasure to see actual dancing on stage. But, overall, I find the story too off-putting. If I have to see a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, give me South Pacific.
16 December 2016 @ 09:29 am
Yes, I am behind and I really do need to write a catch-up entry because writing 3 things at a time means I will only get behinder. But at least I can stay caught up on snack reviews!

Snack #1 - Protein Peanut Butter Dipper with Pretzel Sticks (repeat) This is pretty straightforward – peanut butter and unsalted pretzel sticks to dip in it. It’s 130 calories. I think they may have reformulated this as it was previously listed as having hemp sticks for dipping. There’s nothing wrong with it, assuming, of course, that one likes peanut butter. But it’s not exactly creative or exciting.

Snack #2 – Lightly Salted Popping Corn (repeat): 130 calories worth of microwave popcorn, this is about as straightforward as snacks get. It does pop up quickly and it is good that it isn’t too salty.

Snack #3 – Graze’s Grilled Cheese (new): This consists of hickory smoked cashews, cheddar cheese bruschetta, and mustard breadsticks. It has 120 calories. I am not very into cheese and hickory smoked flavoring belongs more with almonds than with cashews as far as I’m concerned. So I thought this was just okay. It’s tasty enough, but there are other savory combinations I like better.

Snack #4 – Sweet Rhubarb Jam (repeat): Dried apple slices, rhubarb slices, and cranberries make a surprisingly tasty sweet snack. While it does have 20 grams of sugar, the whole punnet is just 100 calories. This is the sort of thing I would never have eaten before doing Graze, so it makes me happy to enjoy it so much,

Snack #5 – Soy Roasted Seeds (repeat): This is a mixture of roasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds with soy sauce. It has 200 calories, but also has 7 grams of protein (and is also high in Vitamin E). It’s pretty tasty and not nearly as salty as you might expect for this sort of thing. Overall, it isn’t really exciting, but is good.

Snack #6 – Honeycomb Flapjack (repeat): This is a rolled oat flapjack (i.e. soft granola bar) with honeycomb and chocolate drizzle. It has 240 calories and is simply delicious. All of Graze’s flapjacks are good, and this is one of my very favorites. It’s the perfect thing to nibble on when somebody schedules a meeting that runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Not only did it keep me from being miserable, it might well have saved the life of the person who scheduled that meeting.

Snack #7 – Salted Fudge & Peanut Cookie (repeat): Two types of peanuts (baked salted ones and redskin ones) with miniature cocoa cookies and vanilla fudge makes for a deconstructed cookie snack. It’s 230 calories, but at least it has 7 grams of protein. It’s a nice touch of sweetness and I don’t mind how frequently I get this.

Snack #8 – Jelly Doughnut (new): This has raspberry fruit strings, raspberry-infused cranberries, almond slivers, and vanilla cookie drops. It is, surprisingly, only 120 calories. It actually does taste surprisingly like a jelly doughnut. And how does Graze make their infused dried cranberries, which are so very very good? Overall, an excellent sweet snack.
09 December 2016 @ 10:47 am
1) Thing the First is the ever popular celebrity death watch.

Sammy Lee was the first Asian American to win an Olympic gold medal (in platform diving in 1948). Pamela Robins wrote a lot of romance novels and smaller numbers of other novels. Greg Lake was the Lake of Emerson, Lake, & Palmer.

You don't need me to explain who John Glenn was. The first news story I remember being aware of (when I was about three and a half years old) was his orbiting the earth. He went on to serve in the Senate and got to fly on the Space Shuttle, too. By all accounts, he was a genuinely nice guy. Farewell to a true American hero.

2) Thing the second is an interesting idea from the conference I was at Tuesday and Wednesday.

They had 3 or 4 people each day appointed as "keynote listeners" who were charged with paying particular attention to a couple of themes and soliciting feedback from other attendees. They then summarized their observations towards the end of the day. I thought this worked well and did enhance the value of the conference, though it doesn't spare me from having to write up an after-action report.

3) Thing the third is a bit of whining about aging.

I really should have gotten an extended warranty on various body parts. A few years ago, I had issues with my left eye and my left foot. Now it appears to be the turn of my right side. Sigh.
08 December 2016 @ 03:41 pm
1) I am (obviously) not doing Holidailies this year. I feel vaguely guilty about that, but I am just too swamped with things to attempt it. I haven't even come close to meeting other goals and I just can't take on anything else. But I'm going to experiment a bit with seeing if I can do slightly more frequent entries based on just a few things at a time.

2) It's rare that I tell stories that other people tell, but it happened at Saturday night's swap. I wanted to run through The Most Precious Thing, which is the story of the clever innkeeper's daughter who marries a wealthy landowner. When she questions his judgment, he tells her to leave but take with her whatever from his home is most precious to her. She, of course, takes him.

One of our young tellers told a different version of the same story. The differences were fairly superficial, e.g. the exact riddles she has to solve to win him and some of the details of the setting. (And, in her version, the husband was a king, not just a rich landowner.)

Had she told before me, I probably would have told something else, so I thought it was interesting she went ahead with what she had planned.

3) I had a dream the other night which involved some event at MIT with set-up involving a truck creating a circle of portapotties. It is probably a good thing that I believe dreams are often random electrical discharges and not of deep psychological significance.