born to herd

When we took Tasha to the vet for the first time after bringing her home in 2005, she told us that Tasha looked like a beagle-terrier mix. We agreed given her appearance and behavior. We further refined our breed designation when Terry opened a new page on the dog calendar that a friend used to give her every year. Terry looked at the picture and looked at the name of the breed and she immediately knew that was correct: border terrier! Tasha has to be a beagle-border terrier mix.

TashaShe certainly knows about herding. If I don’t head into the kitchen about 6:30 to start dinner she’s nearby trying to get me in there. If we don’t head into the bedroom right after dinner to put our feet up on the bed and read the paper, she makes clear which direction she wants us to go.

One recent evening I didn’t need to worry about dinner as it was going to be leftovers in the microwave. We were watching the The Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special which we had recorded. It ran longer than I had expected and it was about 7:00 when we turned the TV off. Tasha made sure that I headed right into the kitchen. Then as I was getting dinner on the table, Terry went off into the front hall for some reason. Tasha went trotting after her to get her back into the dining area. (“What does a puppy do have to do to get these humans to stick to the schedule?”)

That’s our Tasha. Born to herd.


Chicken Marsala

Chicken MarsalaI recently made Chicken Marsala for Terry’s birthday. I have long had a Weight Watchers recipe in my database for this dish. It simply called for thin-sliced chicken breasts, salt, black pepper, olive oil, sliced mushrooms, flour, and Marsala wine.

I made some alterations, of course. I could never season something simply with salt and pepper. You know that. I seasoned the chicken with lemon garlic seasoning. I added butter for sautéing the mushrooms and threw in garlic powder. I used cooking sherry in place of the Marsala wine, and threw in some vegetable broth.

It all worked out well. Terry definitely enjoyed her birthday dinner.


The History of Spain

History of SpainThe History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad
Professor Joyce E. Salisbury, Ph.D.
The Great Courses
Audio download $34.95 when on sale
If the course is not on sale, check back– the sale price will come around again

This was a fascinating course that spans a vast amount of time. Professor Salisbury covers the history of the Iberian Peninsula from the stone age up until the modern day. She describes the Roman period, the coming of Christianity, the Islam conquest of the peninsula, and the Christian Reconquista which returned the peninsula to Christian control. She talks, all too briefly, about al-Andalus when Muslims, Christians, and Jews all co-existed peacefully. She discusses the Spanish empire and the various royal houses that ruled Spain. She discusses the wars of the twentieth century and on to the current decade.

As always I bought the audio version as I listen to these lectures on my walks. I could tell that I was missing a lot from not having the video, as there were lectures on the visual arts and architecture. Nonetheless, this course was well worth the price. Salisbury is an entertaining lecturer and I learned a great deal.


Sacred Music Friday: Es ist ein Ros entsprungen

From a VOCES8 recording session for their album, Equinox.


NPR comes through again

Book ConciergeA few years back National Public Radio came up with an amazing innovation to allow book lovers to browse the best books of the year. Rather than simply present a list of their picks for the year’s best books, it developed NPR’s Book Concierge.

And now they have released their 2017 Book Concierge. Such a delight! NPR compiled what it considered to be the best books of the year and then labeled each book with one or more categories. Categories include things like Staff Picks, Biography & Memoir, Historical Fiction, etc.

What is great is that you can mix and match categories. So, for example, you can select Eye-Opening Reads and Historical Fiction to get the books that are tagged as both. Or you could select Biography & Memoir along with Seriously Great Writing.

It’s a lot of fun and a great way to select the next book you want to read. If you’re a book lover you’ll want to check it out.


creamy skillet chicken cacciatore

Creamy Skillet Chicken CacciatoreThe Recipe Critic seems to have a lot of “creamy” recipes. I recently pulled one of them, her creamy skillet chicken cacciatore, out of my database.

The recipe calls for Italian seasoning, garlic, bell peppers, mushrooms, crushed tomatoes, heavy cream, and broth. The chicken is boneless breasts.

I followed the instructions relatively closely. It’s a simple, straightforward recipe and qualifies as one-skillet if you don’t serve it over pasta as the recipe indicates. I didn’t. It was quite sufficient in and of itself.


an apology

I have to apologize. The blogger in the cartoon below? That’s me. I recognized myself immediately when I first saw the cartoon. That hurt. But I suppose it’s a good thing that I did recognize me.

I’m hoping that I can say that was me. I want to believe that I’m not that way anymore. I was that way, though. Just ask my friend Lynn, with whom I would meet for coffee before Terry and I moved south. Lynn, I apologize. That’s not a good way to treat a friend.

This cartoon comes, by the way, from the TED talk 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation given by public radio host Celeste Headlee. I highly recommend it. It has had more than nine million views, and there’s a reason for that.

And in my case I trust that reading my blog is not necessary for friends to learn about what is happening in my life.

cartoon: Read My Blog