wise words from Julia

I was watching an episode of Sara Moulton’s Weeknight Meals the other week, and while cooking with her son next to her as he played the role of sous chef, she made a slight error from which she quickly recovered. She said:

quoteNever apologize, never explain.

Her son asked where that came from and she said it was Julia Child, and then repeated the statement in a proper Julia Child voice.

Based on my Google search, it appears to me that that is in fact a legitimate Julia Child quote.

Good advice for the kitchen.

enjoying my office

Shortly after we arrived here I wrote about my transition from a much-loved loft office to my ground-floor (read windowonly floor) office. I said that I thought I was going to enjoy it, and I have. The room has a lot of light, and because the windows face east and south, I am sensitive to the sun’s move south, as I wrote in October. As the days have grown shorter, I have realized that I need to close the blinds in the evening. I look right out on the street, and when it’s dark out passers-by can see right in.

But it is a comfortable space and I love it. Since the last photo I shared with you was taken before I had much on the walls, here’s a photo of my office as it is today.


we hadn’t planned it that way

What we hadn’t planned that way was two vegetarian dinners in a row last week. It just worked out that way. And that was a Good Thing given the amount of meat we’ve been eating.

Tuesday I made Jeff Mauro’s Turbo Broccoli Cheddar Soup from our favorite Food Network show, The Kitchen.

On Monday we had visited our local Middle Eastern market, which we first learned about when an employee thrust a business card into our hands at the October Harvest Festival. I picked up a box of falafel mix, a package of pita bread, and a jar of tahini sauce.

Wednesday I made the falafel mix, and though I’m not big on fried foods, it turned out well. Terry loved it. And we have enough for two more meals.

It’s nice, sometimes, to venture beyond the familiar.

And it’s good to prepare a vegetarian meal periodically.

Between You & Me

betweenyouandmeBetween You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen
Mary Norris
W. W. Norton & Company, April 6, 2015
241 pages
Kindle edition $11.49, Amazon hardcover $15.26

Between You & Me is a lot of fun for a language lover like me. However, Mary Norris, a copy editor at the New Yorker, has written a memoir cum style guide that covers a lot of territory.

I wrote last week about her defense of the serial comma. And while she writes about the hyphen, the semicolon, and the diaeresis (the two dots over the second vowel in such words as “naïve” and “reëlection,” which most of us mistakenly call an umlaut), she also gives us a some autobiography. We learn that she drove a milk delivery truck after college. She digresses from a discussion of gender in language to a recollection of the struggles that her transgender sibling faced.

Norris describes the processes used in her job and the hierarchy of dictionaries referred to in her department. (Sadly, the American Heritage was nowhere on the list.) She talks about her preference for No. 1 pencils and her frustration as they became harder and harder to find in the face of the far more popular No. 2. She writes about her relationship with her copyediting mentors and supervisors Eleanor Gould and Lu Burke.

Between You & Me is a fun and light read, but you’ll learn a few things as well.

Sacred Music Friday: Better World

Sometimes YouTube can yield a pleasant surprise. I was looking for something else and I came across this beautiful performance of Better World by Ryan Cayabyab and arranged by GP Eleria. Enjoy!

In case you were wondering, what I was actually looking for was an old favorite of mine, this Limeliters classic.

left turns

I’m talking about left turns literally, not metaphorically.

In the Bay Area, from Redwood City to Gilroy, which represents the northern and southern extremes of the places I lived (and, interestingly, the first and the last as well), most intersections that were at all busy had protected left turns. In Gilroy, where Terry and I spent seventeen years, only the quietest intersections that had signals did not have protected left turns. There was one notable exception to that, which was from the very busy east/west First Street onto the quite busy north/south Church street. I simply avoided making a left turn there.

Here in Hemet it is a different matter. While there are a lot of protected left turns, there are a number of busy intersections that don’t have protected left turns. I haven’t used that part of my brain in a very long time. The irony is that it was here in Hemet where I learned to drive. And at that time there were almost no protected left turns.

Nonetheless, it has been forty-one years. I need to get that area of my brain sharp again.

Tower Records

There is a new documentary out about Tower Records called All Things Must Pass. It has received some very good reviews. Since it has been very much in limited release I am hoping that it will be available on Netflix soon.

Seeing the review in the Los Angeles Times reminded Terry and me of our experience with Tower. During my Claremont days in the 1970s I believe the only Tower store in the vicinity was in Westwood. I think I visited it a time or two.

TowerDuring my years of exile in Texas and Oklahoma I only visited a Tower Records once, in 1982 or thereabouts, when I was visiting my friend Alison in Palo Alto and we went up to San Francisco. I bought what was then the new Joan Baez album, Honest Lullaby. Needless to say it was on vinyl.

After I moved to the Bay Area in 1985, Tower was very accessible. There was one store in San Jose, on the border with the city of Campbell, near the Pruneyard shopping center. There was another in Los Altos, just across the Mountain View border.

Everyone, of course, remembers their huge selection. Terry and I both remember the separate, soundproof classical area. In the days of vinyl they had a great selection not only of the major labels, Deutsche Grammophon, RCA Red Seal, Columbia Masterworks, and so forth, but also of the budget lines: Nonesuch, Vox, and Turnabout.

Tower Records has been gone since 2006, but I still miss them and I still remember them fondly.