Sacred Music Friday: For the Fruit of All Creation

Plymouth Choir and Congregation of First Plymouth Church, Lincoln Nebraska


Hippie coverHippie
Paulo Coelho
Knopf (September 25, 2018), 304 pages
Kindle edition $12.99, Amazon hardcover $16.25
I somehow managed to snag this title when the Kindle edition was briefly on sale for $2.99

I have known Paulo Coelho’s work for some time. I read his novel By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept quite a few years ago. Terry read his more recent novel, The Alchemist.

This book is something of a departure for Coelho. It is autobiographical, but he tells the story in the third person, referring to himself as Paulo. He writes about his younger days and a bus journey he takes across Europe headed for Nepal. Before he gets deep into that story, however, he describes his unjust abduction and torture by a paramilitary organization in Brazil. That incident informs his encounters with authority throughout the book.

The main narrative begins in Amsterdam where he encounters Karla, who convinces him to join her on a trip on the “magic bus” headed for Nepal. Said magic bus is in fact a rickety school bus filled mostly with young hippie types seeking enlightenment. Interestingly, Coelho describes what he believes to be Karla’s thoughts, even though the book is supposed to be entirely factual.

The book ends before the bus arrives in Nepal because Paulo does not stay on it. But how that comes about and what happens to Paulo and Karla’s relationship I will leave to you to discover when you read the book.

paprika chicken

paprika chickenI saw this recipe for paprika chicken on Trisha Yearwood’s Food Network program. The recipe called for a whole chicken cut up; I used boneless leg meat. The recipe called for onions, which I omitted as usual. I pretty much followed the recipe with respect to the seasonings, browning the chicken, and using bell pepper, tomato paste, broth, and sour cream.

The recipe took less time than the recipe specified because I used boneless chicken rather than bone-in chicken pieces. It turned out quite well.

Terry enjoyed it, which is always the most important thing.


For a long time I was an Audible member and listened to audiobooks while I was out walking. Amazingly, my old Audible account still exists and I was able to see that I was a member from 2002 to 2010. I cancelled my subscription because I was not happy with the selection of books available from Audible at the time and because I was not happy with the cadence and tenor of how many books were read. I also discovered The Great Courses. I found the thirty-minute lectures perfect for my walks and the rhythm of the lecture more natural to my ear.

AudibleI am rethinking that. There are a lot more books available in audio format these days. It seems that most books from the (few remaining) big publishing houses are available in audio format. Many books are read by the author, which is a big plus. And as much as I love The Great Courses, I have listened to most of the courses they have in which I am interested and their newest courses don’t always match my interests.

But here’s what caused me to write this. Penguin Audio has re-released an old audiobook, originally published on audio cassette (remember those? I no longer even have a cassette player!), of Elaine Stritch reading selected stories of Dorothy Parker.

Did you get that? Elaine Stritch reading Dorothy Parker! Here’s the review in The New York Times Book Review.

That is more than enough to make me think about listening to audio books once again.

real whipped cream

Terry and I had a good Thanksgiving. We were joined by Terry’s sister Julie who drove up from El Cajon with Laura, long part of the family, who would have been Julie’s mother-in-law had it not been for a fatal car accident decades earlier. With Terry recovering from her knee-replacement surgery we chose not to cook but rather ordered a take-out pack from Hometown Buffet.

whipping creamThe package included two pies, a pumpkin pie that we enjoyed here and a cherry pie that we took out to my brother’s house later in the day. I made the decision, without really telling anyone, that we would have fresh homemade whipped cream. The day before Thanksgiving I made a dinner that called for heavy cream in the recipe, so instead of buying a small single-use carton of cream I bought a large one.

I put the cream in my Kitchen Aid stand mixer bowl, threw in a little sugar, attached the wire whisk and turned the mixer on high. I had a few moments of panic when the cream did not become whipped, but I kept my Kitchen Aid running, kicked it up higher, and soon, voilà!, I had whipped cream.

Terry, Julie, and Laura were surprised and pleased. I was happy with my accomplishment. It made for a nice touch on an already fine Thanksgiving.

Sacred Music Friday: We Gather Together

Sanctuary Choir, First United Methodist Church, Houston

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tales of the City

Tales of the City28 Barbary Lane: “Tales of the City” Books 1-3
Armistead Maupin
Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (December 6, 2016)
869 pages
Kindle edition $11.99, Amazon paperback $16.99

How it is that I never got around to reading Tales of the City until now, I have no idea. The up side is that I have had the delight of reading it and enjoying it for the first time here in late in 2018.

You now doubt know that the stories contained herein were originally published as a serial in The San Francisco Chronicle and later compiled into books. The present volume consists of the first three books in the series: Tales of the City (1978), More Tales of the City (1980), and Further Tales of the City (1982) .

The time is the mid-1970’s. Mary Ann Singleton has just arrived in San Francisco from the Midwest and rents a room at 28 Barbary Lane in a house owned by a mysterious Mrs. Madrigal. There she meets a variety of San Franciscans, both gay and straight. Being a 1970’s kind of guy and being a Bay Area kind of guy I was in my element.

This time around I only read the first book. It’s like ice cream: you can only take so much at a time. But I’m delighted to know that two more books await me.

cod in spicy Thai sauce

The source recipe for this meal was pan-roasted cod in spicy Thai broth. It appeared in the October 2014 Coastal Living, and was excerpted from the then just-released The Pollan Family Table.

cod in spicy Thai sauceThe broth contains coconut milk, lime juice, garlic, red curry paste, dry white wine, fish sauce, sugar, coriander, ginger, and tamarind paste. I failed to put coconut milk on the shopping list, and so used leftover condensed milk I had in the refrigerator. I bought the lime and failed to use it. That’s me. I couldn’t find tamarind paste so I used a quarter of a package of tamarind soup mix.

It was supposed to be a broth. It came out a sauce. It was marvelous.

I cooked the cod on the stove top rather than in the oven.

The overall result was superb. I rarely give a recipe five stars in my database, but this was one.

two more LEDs?

surge protectorThere are electrical outlets on either side of the bed. On the left, Terry’s side, the upper outlet is controlled by a wall switch. We have a lamp plugged in there. The bottom had the bed warmer plugged in, and Terry unplugged it in whenever she used the heating pad. So she didn’t have to do that I plugged in a three-plug extender. That worked fine for a long time. But after her knee replacement surgery she needed cold not heat. She did, however, use the lower plug for charging her iPhone. Problem was, the three-plug came out with the charger, aggravating Terry, who had enough to deal with.

So I moved the bed warmer plug over to my side. To do this I tried to install a six-plug extender that we had on hand. Turned out it was dead, dead, dead. Instead I plugged in a five-outlet surge protector that I had in my trusty wire box. It has two LEDs. With all of our electronics, we have LEDs all over the house.

So now we have two more. I guess that’s OK. What’s two more LEDs?