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P is for Pinakbet

Today's letter is P . Pinakbet.   What a chicken says when it wants to gamble? Nope. Pinakbet. An Ilocano dish with eggplant, bittermelon, tomatoes, and long beans? Yep, that's it. If I happen to have kabocha squash and/or okra, I'll throw some into the mix, too. Depending on my mood, I'll make it with or without pork. On rare occasions, I'll go classic and add a bit of bagoong (fermented, finely ground fish or shrimp). I say rare because that stuff is very salty. Click here for a photo of what pinakbet looks like. How do you pronounce pinakbet? I say pin-auk-bit .  But, you must realize that I don't have an Ilocano accent. Never had. Pinakbet is one of my favorite dishes. When I was growing up, the mama cooked it often during the summer. Except for the onions and garlic, all the vegetables for the dish were freshly picked out of the daddy's garden. I have yet to eat a version that has topped or even come close to the mama's.  And, now, the mama's

Book Review: Jane Eyre

I didn't think it would be possible. That another book would bump Pride and Prejudice off the top of my all-time favorite list, and that it would be Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. To think that I let 40 years go by before I read Jane Eyre . Oh, the condensed version was assigned in high school, but I merely skimmed it. I probably didn't like the opening pages because Jane's sour rich Aunt and her bratty cousins rubbed me the wrong way. I was an impatient reader in my youth. If I didn't like a tale by the end of the first chapter, that was it for me. And most likely I thought Rochester was a simp and Jane one, too, for being in love with him. So, what got me to finally read it? The BBC movie of Jane Eyre with Tobey Stephens and Ruth Wilson. After watching it a few years ago, I was sold on the plot and the characters so much that I bought the book. But, I didn't read it. A couple weeks ago, the movie was being shown again on TV. It was a two-parter and I couldn'

Book Review: Travels with Zenobia, Paris to Albania by Model T Ford

Travels with Zenobia, Paris to Albania by Model T Ford, A Journal by Rose Wilder Lane and Helen Dore Boylston, and edited by William Holtz. This book is the journal kept by two friends who travel from Paris to Albania.  This is a true story about two women in 1926.  Rose Wilder Lane   was a well-known author of the times, who later would become known as one of the founders of the libertarian movement. You, dear readers, may also know Rose as the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of the Little House on the Prairie books. Rose's friend, Helen Dore Boylston , known as Troub, was also a writer, but during this time frame she was still learning her craft. Have you ever read any of the Sue Barton, Nurse series? They were written by Troub, who served as a nurse in WWI. Zenobia is the name of the Model T Ford that Rose and Troub bought in Paris. Buying the automobile was easy, but getting it out of the showroom was not. It took about 6 weeks for them to get the proper paperwor

Lessons Learned

Yesterday was a 23rd date for the husband and me.  The first of 2011. Our date was a pleasant ramble that developed and changed with the circumstances and, in so doing, we experienced many new things in our area . I don't know about the husband, but this newly old gal learned—and relearned—some new tricks. For Instance. . . When an waitress arches her eyebrows as we say that we're heading over to the area where she lives and she says it was covered with tule fog when she left for work that morning, take her a bit more seriously. The fog was so thick, we could've eaten it with a spoon. Really. When the fog is too thick to continue safely onward with an adventure, come back another day. The husband and I easily concurred at our first stop—a picture taking opportunity with a golden bear—and drove back down the mountain and back into the sun. Slowly and meanderingly, we crossed our small valley to drive up the mountain on the other side of it.  When a state park's sign say

Ornery the Eighth, I am

Today's letter is O . A forewarning: I'm in an ornery and outraged mood. So, if you'd rather check out other "O" posts, I understand completely. Please click here to head over to Alphabe-Thursday, hosted by Jenny Matlock at Off on My Tanget. The husband and I don't have health insurance. We're self-employed writers in our late 50s, so the cost of monthly health insurance payments would truly put us into deep debt. Fortunately for the past 10 years, we have been able to afford our medical bills and prescriptions, which comes to about a third of what it would be to pay for health insurance. Ornery, the first, about which I am. Some people think we're taking a big risk by not having health insurance. What if, heaven forbid, one of us needs to go to the hospital? Ornery, the second, about which I am. A few weeks ago, the husband and I spent five hours in the emergency department at our local hospital. Nothing major, as some of you, dear readers, know .  A

N is for Naysayer

Brrrrrrrrrrrr. Temperatures have been dipping into the 30s and 40s the past month. Ha! So what! says this blooming rose in the Mama's garden. Head over to Alphabe-Thursday , hosted by Jenny Matlock, to read other N posts.

Z is for Ziplining

Mt. Hermon Redwood Canopy Tours Oh boy! Because this week's ABC Wednesday (hosted by Mrs. Nesbitt) features the letter Z , I can blather about ziplining again. Ziplining through the redwoods in the Santa Cruz mountains, as some of you dear readers know, is what I did for my birthday last month.  I hung happily in a harness from a pulley attached to a cable about 13 stories high. When it was safely time to go, the guide slightly nudged me forward and I was gliding quickly along that cable through the redwood forest to the next platform. Swhooooooooooosh! This is the equipment I wore. The zip lines ranged from 110 to  440 feet long. Waiting for my turn was longer than the ride between the platforms. Exhilarating really is the perfect word to describe how it feels to dangle from a pulley and ziiiiiiiiiip among the trees. The initial fear was gone after completing the first zip line.  Yep, that tiny simple machine of a pulley can really hold me up. I may have swayed in my harness as I