Pie Day

Thursday, 22 November 2007

DSC02375 Pie Day! Last night, we made pie. A slight alteration to my mother's pecan pie recipe [maple syrup instead of corn syrup] and a new one, an Apple and Tart Cherry pie. Debbie made the crust from scratch, impressing the hell out of me. It took a few hours, and I was exhausted by the time I pulled the pecan pie out at 11pm. I can't wait to eat them today, though. Recipe time, oh hell yes. Click on the picture to go to the whole set of photos from the night.

Pecan Pie v. 1.2

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 C. sugar
  • ½ t. salt
  • 1/3 C. melted butter
  • 1 C. fake maple syrup
  • 1 C. finely chopped pecans for mix
  • whole pecans for topping the pie
  • 1 t. vanilla extract

Instructions:

Mix everything together in a medium mixing bowl.
Line a 9" pie pan with the dough and bake for 5 minutes at 450°; remove and change oven to 375°.
Pour pie mixture into crust.
Cover entire top with whole pecans.
Bake for around 45 minutes.

I found the Apple and Tart Cherry pie recipe on Epicurious, posted there from Bon Apétit's November 1997 issue. Cardamom was a great and interesting spice to use, a first time for me. Although it looks like mouse crap when you de-pod it, it smells delicious after it has been sufficiently pestled and will be often added to my hot chocolate this winter.

Quandary

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Quandary These signs have been around Downtown for a month or so now. I still don’t quite know how I feel about them. I don’t know how bad the homeless/​panhandling sit­u­a­tion is here in Cleveland, and whether or not it war­rants a cam­paign with this lev­el of blunt­ness or scope. It is sup­port­ed by The Homeless Grapevine, and var­i­ous oth­er home­less-tar­get­ed so­cial ser­vice agen­cies, but it cer­tain­ly doesn’t give off a very char­i­ta­ble vibe. The Downtown Cleveland Alliance [DCA] web­site of­fers some elu­ci­da­tion:

One of the ul­ti­mate goals of the cam­paign is to show a dis­tinc­tion be­tween pan­han­dlers and the home­less. Many of the pan­han­dlers down­town are in fact not home­less and dam­age the im­age of the home­less that are in need. Our goal is to make sure people’s gen­eros­i­ty is not mis­guid­ed, but rather goes to­wards or­ga­ni­za­tions mak­ing a re­al dif­fer­ence. Instead of giv­ing mon­ey to a stranger on the street, peo­ple can now do­nate mon­ey to help rep­utable or­ga­ni­za­tions that have been pro­vid­ing food, shel­ter, coun­sel­ing and job train­ing to the home­less for years.

Nevertheless, it hurts to see those im­per­son­al signs next to the panhandlers/​homeless, on the streets. At the same time, it is an in­ter­est­ing chess game be­tween this ini­tia­tive and those it tar­gets, and the ter­ri­to­ry be­ing fought over is the moral mind of any­one walk­ing the streets down­town. I’ve wres­tled with this is­sue be­fore, but now that there is an­oth­er play­er it is eas­i­er to ex­am­ine my own re­ac­tions to home­less­ness and char­i­ty.

The DCA is try­ing to cur­tail pan­han­dling and si­mul­ta­ne­ous­ly force the home­less to ac­cept the so­cial ser­vices avail­able to them by re­mov­ing the DCA’s main com­pe­ti­tion, folks who do­nate on the street. I’m not mak­ing a moral judg­ment here, just show­ing what I see as the mech­a­nism be­hind this ef­fort. The ads play on the guilt of passers-by, and ab­solve them for not giv­ing while si­mul­ta­ne­ous­ly of­fer­ing them an al­ter­na­tive to as­suage the guilt on their own by do­nat­ing to the DCA.

The homeless/​panhandler re­sponse has been in­stinc­tive and quite clever, I think. By just about every sign there are one or two homeless/​panhandlers with their cups out. Their in­ten­tion­al jux­ta­po­si­tion com­plete­ly sub­verts the in­tent of the sign and strength­ens the guilt one feels by not giv­ing. The sign, next to an ac­tu­al hu­man in need, seems in­hu­man. Too bad the whole sit­u­a­tion is emo­tion­al­ly abus­ing to the bat­tle­field. A bit hy­per­bol­ic in this sit­u­a­tion, but:

When two ele­phants are fight­ing, the grass is what suf­fers.

Twenty-Seven

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Birthdays get pro­gres­sive­ly more bor­ing as one ages. Other than the ini­tial “Yay It’s my birth­day!” up­on wak­ing up to­day isn’t go­ing to be much dif­fer­ent than usu­al. Although I might stop by Dave’s and pick up a sug­ar-cream pie on my way home. Oh man, I love me some sug­ar-cream pie. One year ago, I put in my no­tice at my old job. That was a great birth­day present. Whenever I get frus­trat­ed here at the County, I just re­mem­ber how life-suck­ing the work at Thomson-West was and thank my lucky stars.

A lot has changed in a year. I’ve grown in­to my job, there is a new con­fi­dence in me when I hop around town talk­ing to dif­fer­ent County de­part­ments about im­prov­ing their web pres­ence. I ac­tu­al­ly have an ex­per­tise that can im­prove the way they in­ter­act with the pub­lic on the web, and the chance to use it. In the last year, I broke up with an old girl­friend, bought a house, found a new great woman, rode my bike to work for sev­en months, and took pub­lic trans­porta­tion for the oth­er five. I al­so broke a big toe and an el­bow and fi­nal­ly got to play Punk Rock Softball. I’m al­so se­ri­ous­ly cash-strapped as the house ab­sorbs all of my mon­ey. So if any­one wants to treat me to my new fa­vorite meal [a cheese­burg­er, sweet pota­to fries and a Guinness at Prosperity] tonight, I’m cer­tain­ly down for that. Tuesday is the day for the cheese­burg­er deal at hap­py hour, if I’m not mis­tak­en.

I didn’t make ribs this year, which was un­for­tu­nate. I am go­ing to have two Thanksgivings though, so that will make up for it.

I must be hun­gry.

Not Grounded

Thursday, 15 November 2007

A few weeks ago when I in­stalled a dim­mer in the mas­ter bed­room, I was heart­ened to see that the wall box had a ground wire in it, wait­ing to be hooked up. I hoped that this was a good sign for the rest of the house, which has un­ground­ed sock­ets. Unfortunately, tonight when I tried to change a sock­et, there was no ground wire present. That means I’m go­ing to have to have an elec­tri­cian come in and in­stall them through­out the house, in all the sock­ets that don’t have them. Only the kitchen, and the room im­me­di­ate­ly off of it have ground­ed plugs, and I’m not even sure if they are tru­ly ground­ed, or just have three holes and no ac­tu­al ground wire in­side of them. This is en­tire­ly pos­si­ble, be­cause even the an­cient plugs that are cur­rent­ly scat­tered about were in­stalled in­cor­rect­ly to my un­trained eye. You can screw the out­lets di­rect­ly in­to the wall box­es from the out­let it­self, but al­so through some ex­tra screws in the wall box. The old out­let was all bent out of shape be­cause this wasn’t done.

It is in­ter­est­ing and crazy at times to won­der what peo­ple were think­ing when they did cer­tain half-assed things. I mean, I haven’t done all that I can in the paint­ing of the two rooms I’ve done thus­far, but I haven’t don’t a shit­ty job on any­thing.

Also, near­ly three weeks af­ter get­ting my wis­dom teeth re­moved, I pulled a shard of bone from one of the up­per sock­ets. I’d felt a lit­tle hard nub­bin up there for awhile, but wasn’t able to get it out un­til to­day dur­ing the Use Case class I’m tak­ing in Independence, right down the street from my old job.

Physical Therapy II

Monday, 12 November 2007

I had my sec­ond phys­i­cal ther­a­py ap­point­ment to­day. The ther­a­pist put heat on my bi­cep for ten min­utes and then gave it a mas­sage for a bit more. She thought that it might be tight­ened and pre­vent­ing my arm from full ex­ten­sion. She was right, a bit. I’ve made good progress with the ex­er­cis­es al­ready, on­ly 10° [the hard­est ones to get back] from nor­mal on ex­ten­sion, and about 20° from bend­ing it in half. Pretty good con­sid­er­ing that I have four more ses­sions to get the rest back on track.