FEMALE: the Adjective Denoting Sex

I have tried to remain relatively (perhaps uncharacteristically) apolitical in my entries.  There seems to be more than sufficient vitriol on the Internet to satisfy just about any political attitude.  But here is mine, as if you really need to read (yet) another essay extolling the virtues of one candidate versus another, or at least the reasoning behind supporting one candidate versus the other.  I will say, in my own defence, that the position I have come to I reached after much thought, especially during the course of the lively debates that led this nation to come down to two (realistically speaking) Presidential candidates.  I will only discuss two candidates, for they are, for all intents and purposes, the only choices.  Any other voting decision just obviously indirectly supports one of them, and that would be the one who must be properly put into his place as a flash-in-the-pan rich-kid political wannabe.  The Rump is (I almost said “probably”) the most self-congratulatory, self-promoting egotistical megalomaniac to ever have reached the status of being a Major Party Candidate.

Drumpf’s opponent, admittedly, has a PR problem:  she’s a woman.  She’s also a policy wonk, and someone who was more comfortable with the footwork of improving democracy, from the door-to-door interviews in rural communities regarding childcare, to studying federal policies and practices to introduce, even if not successfully passing, a new approach to healthcare.  Hillary Rodham Clinton is, indeed, an introvert who must be elected.  For the sake of all people, especially the social and political outcasts who foolishly currently support The Rump.  Even though they do not support Rodham, she will be a Commander-in-Chief who serves the entire population, not just those who stroke her ego.

I am positive Hillary Rodham Clinton has an ego, but she is not egotistical.  I’m sure she felt infinitely more comfortable supporting Bill Clinton as First Lady, speaking to influence the world’s attitudes towards women and children.  As Secretary of State, she worked with other leaders, allowing them to insert their egos into policies that were necessary to pass.  One might call her manipulative for doing so, but I assert that in influencing world events, both as First Lady and as Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton was certainly not doing so for the sake of stroking any sense of self-importance, even as important a figure as she eventually became.

One might claim that I, who, like Hillary Rodham, graduated from an Ivy-League institution (the same one, as the case may be), am, somehow, inherently “fixed” to support her.  Believe me, I did quite a lot of “soul-searching” (as one may call it) in order to reach my conclusion that she is not only the best-prepared, but also the best-suited candidate for the job of leading this country into the next phase of history.  Hillary Rodham Clinton has a strong and positive heart, and she will bring these United States of America through the difficult time ahead.  We must deal with Climate Change, political instability in many geographical regions of the Earth, and continuing inequality within our own borders. Hillary Rodham will choose the best advisors to help her as she leads the way forward.

If the Repugnicans retain their Congressional majority, Hillary Rodham will face unprecedented obstruction by an obstinate, yet zealous (and I use that word knowingly) Congress who will be hell-bent on causing her at least as much grief as they caused the first African-American President.  It will be undoubtedly worse.  After the 2008 election, I vehemently told everyone who would listen, that this country is, indeed, still more sexist than it is racist.  At least President Obama was physically tall enough to meet the taller Repugnican obstructionists eye-to-eye.  Hillary is physically shorter, but her intellectual acumen is at least equal to any sitting Congressional Representative or Senator, and I dare say that she is the intellectual superior of the vast majority of them.

I am heartened that two women are competing to take Barbara Boxer’s seat in the United States Senate.  Boxer is retiring after  decades of service, and I believe she is due a good retirement.  However, I wouldn’t put her away prematurely, because if another issue for which she feels the need to return to the public sphere arises, I’ve no doubt she will.  In fact, I had harbored a fantasy during the VEEP-vetting process, that Hillary would tap Barbara to be her running mate.  What a killer combination that would have been!  A female United States President (the word “woman” is a noun, NOT a fucking adjective!) is long overdue.  It is time.

 

 

 

Three Down!

I completed my third AutoCAD class at CADTeacher/VBCI.  I was the last one out (the keyboard became unplugged from the computer for several minutes so until it was diagnosed and fixed, I was without a means of submitting my work), along with Lisa Mulvaney Gillespie, who stayed with us while I finished up.

AutoCAD 4 will be an online-only class, so I’ll see how well I can follow the videos, but I am (kind of) excited, nonetheless.  It begins 5 September, which is a Monday, and will run for two weeks, through the 19th.  I had really enjoyed the classroom setting, because I was able to get answers to questions immediately.  Taking the course online will mean submitting questions and waiting for answers, which will challenge my patience.

Last night, Peter and I had dinner with a very interesting and friendly man named Jason, who is a newer member of SDNA&A.  We went to what is rated the 10th best sushi restaurant in the United States, Sushi Tadokoro, on Old Town Avenue.  Located in an unassuming shopping center, Sushi Tadokoro is an intimate space serving well-prepared sushi along with wonderful sides and starters.  We all started with a bowl of miso soup, which Jason commented that he always does whenever he goes for sushi.  Peter enjoyed a serving of shrimp tempura and I, the seaweed salad.  I didn’t taste Peter’s shrimp, but it looked perfectly cooked, and he commented that the batter was lighter than typically served in Japanese restaurants.

The three of us walked back to the Old Town Transit Center, where Jason caught the trolley to return home (he lives to the south and east of Balboa Park, in Golden Hill).  Peter had driven us there, since the 150 stops running earlier than our departure time from the restaurant, so we rode back to mine.  Once there, I decided enough time had passed for our dinner to have started digesting enough to eat dessert.  I served us (and Kat) slices of the semifreddo, which was, as expected, creamy and delicious.  I love making dishes that come out well, and the semifreddo came out perfectly.  Five ingredients:  one can of sweetened condensed milk, one can of coconut milk, one cup of stiffly whipped heavy cream, lime zest, and a pinch of salt.  Next time, I will fold it more thoroughly to mix in the heavy cream more completely, as this semifreddo turned out more marbled than expected.

Peter commented this morning that we can make a point of returning to Sushi Tadokoro sometime by ourselves, and I added,”…  when we’re feeling flush.”  He agreed.  Not inexpensive, but sushi never is.  However, their prices were higher than other places I’ve been to.  Next time, I’ll order the uni (sea urchin) , which is my favorite.

Roasted Hazelnut Macaroons

Made a batch of these last weekend to bring to our picnic at the first of the La Jolla Concerts by the Sea:

12 oz. raw hazelnuts

1 c. granulated sugar

2 (large) egg whites at room temperature

Roast hazelnuts at 350 degrees F. for about 15-20 minutes, until fragrant.  Remove from oven, then use a kitchen towel to rub off as much of the papery skin as possible.  The nuts themselves will be a rich caramel color.  It’s all right if you don’t get all of the skins off, as a little bit adds color to the macaroons and does not detrimental to the taste.

As the nuts cool, add a sprinkle of Cream of Tartar to the albumen, then beat the egg whites until stiff but still glossy.  Grind/chop hazelnuts into a coarse meal (the small food processor I used, made by Krups, did a good job of not turning the nuts into a paste, which would have been too fine).  Stir in the sugar, and then fold in the albumen until the mixture becomes a loose, grainy mass.  Form into macaroons using your fingers to pinch together what appear to be miniature mountain ranges.

Place on parchment-lined or silicone mat-covered baking pan and bake for about 12 minutes, or until they turn a nice deep brown (watch them carefully so as not to burn, which happens in the blink of an eye!).  Remove macaroons from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.  Enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea, or just as a sweet snack.

Unfortunately for Peter, Scott, and me, the flying rats (ie, seagulls) managed to open the plastic box I’d put them in while we were on our dive, so we didn’t actually get to taste them until I baked another batch in the evening!

The first week of the three-week-long Intermediate AutoCAD course has finished, and I feel okay about what I’m learning.  There are little things that I still want to practice (nice “tricks” that help save time and effort).  I just looked at the course catalog for the school, and the on-site Revit classes do not begin until October.  I’ve been on their website, and it appears that their only other software package training are all online, which does not really suit me.  I’m looking into test prep courses through everblue for the LEED BD+C AP accreditation, and it looks like there is one in a couple weeks, or else there is one in December.  I’ll contact my DoR counselor, Jeffrey, and program manager, Elizabeth, to make an appointment to adjust my IPE (Individual Plan for Employment).

 

Thoughts over Shortbread

I baked a batch of rosemary shortbread this morning:

1 lb. unsalted butter

4 c. a-p flour

1 c. granulated sugar

1/4 c. minced rosemary (I used dried, but fresh works just as well)

dash salt

Make sure you grind (dried) or mince (fresh) the rosemary into a very fine texture, or the oil and flavour won’t distribute throughout the shortbread as you’d really want.  Mix all the dry ingredients together, then cut in the butter until it looks right (you’ll know when you get there).  Press into a rimmed cookie sheet or baking tray (mine is something like 12″x17″) and refrigerate it while the oven preheats to 375 F.  Bake for about ten to twelve minutes, then turn the pan around to get the shortbread to bake evenly.  Bake for an additional 12-15 minutes, until the edges start to turn ever-so-slightly tan (you don’t want to overbake).  Take out and cut *immediately* into bars or diagonals, or whatever shape you prefer.  It’s important to cut them right away so they don’t crumble.  Use a serrated knife if you’re as paranoid about cookie crumbling as I am.  Allow to cool on the baking tray, then remove carefully to an air-tight container.  They’ll keep well.

While the shortbread baked, I perused facebook, almost always a time-sucker.  I read an article about women’s body shapes and body images, and finally read a post that made sense.  It’s another writer who also uses WordPress, so hopefully, you can find it to read.  If you can’t be bothered, I’ll just compact it into this:  treat yourself with respect, no matter at what stage of fitness or attractiveness you find yourself.  If you’re like me, you are on a continuing journey to find a better self, but are not totally dissatisfied as things currently stand.  I’ve been through the mill;  I’m not skinny-as-all-get-out, but I’m not curvy, either (most certainly NOT).  I wear a size “Medium” in most things, since I prefer to be comfortable rather than trying to squeeze into the smallest thing possible while sucking – or trying to, anyway – in my paunch).  I have a “medium”-sized frame, meaning that my wrist measures about 6″ in circumference.  I had a good friend in college who had the same size frame, and she was a 5′-10″ tall and totally muscular athlete.  So even among those who share the same measurement, we were pretty different in shape and appearance.

In other news, I’m almost finished with my first course in (re-) learning AutoCAD.  It’s gone pretty well, even though I needed help to log into the school’s server in order to complete assignments and take the required quizzes.  Monday is our last class for this course, and the next course begins the following Monday.  I’m having a pretty good time thus far, and expect it to go this way through the AutoCAD courses (each of which runs three weeks, two days per week).  I’m looking forward to learning the next program, Revit, which is more architecturally-inclined.  In the course of learning this new material, I’m also familiarizing myself (a little bit) with my new Windows-based computer.  It’s running Windows 10, which has a reputation of having a lot of bugs that are being corrected on an almost constant basis.  I’m logged in to get new releases as they come out (thank you subscription!), so I expect things to go as smoothly as can be expected…

Time to put the shortbread into a container to take to this afternoon/evening’s event.  That means I’ll have to put on clothes…

Experiment in Bread

300 g. a-p flour

100 g. corn flour (masa)

2 large eggs

1/4 c. EVOO

1 1/2 T. honey

7 g. yeast

15 g. salt

1 c. water

 

Stir together dry ingredients thoroughly.  Add liquid ingredients and eggs, and mix together until it forms a single mass – a few minutes in my stand mixer.

Place dough in bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap.  Allow to rise for about an hour and a half, then take out and knead gently, adding more flour as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking to one’s hands.

Shape into a round and place on a floured baking sheet.  Preheat oven to 375.  Allow bread to rise on the stovetop or other warm place for about 45 minutes before placing into oven.

Bake for 30 minutes, then check for doneness by tapping bottom.  If it sounds hollow, it’s finished in the oven.  Remove from oven and allow to cool, on a rack and covered by a teatowel, for at least an hour.

Kumquat Cookie Recipe

Produces about 42-48 cookies.

18 to 20 Kumquats, cut in half and seeded
1 c Granulated sugar
1 T Ground cinnamon
1 t Freshly grated nutmeg
1 ½ t Salt
2 t Baking soda
1 t Almond extract
1 ½ c A-p flour
1 ½ c Masa (lye-treated corn) flour
12 T Unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 Large egg
¼ c Coconut oil

Heat oven to 350°F.

Place kumquats into food processor and process until few large pieces of peel remain. Set aside.

In the bowl of stand mixer, blend butter and coconut oil for several seconds. Scrape bowl.  Add sugar and salt.  Pour in kumquats, and blend for several seconds. Mixture will resemble curdled milk. Add flours, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking soda. Mix until fluffy.

Line baking sheet with silicone liner or parchment. Place heaped tablespoons of cookie batter spaced about one-half inch apart. Bake 12-14 minutes, or until starting to brown. They may still be soft, but will harden slightly when cool, but remain fairly soft. Cool on pan for one minute, then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Store in an air-tight container at room temperature.

Enjoy.