Tag Archives: cooking

Euro18: and home

I woke on Friday morning to the iPad NOAA warning about extreme temperatures at Rienosslsgasse 3 in Vienna.

Fortunately, I was home in Saint Louis with moderate weather, but more humidity.

At some point my iPad will figure out that I’m in the USA. I certainly know that I am! Witness:

  • Iced tea!! I went for three weeks without it.
  • Taco Bell. I went for 3.5 weeks without it.
  • Airport staffs who are not multilingual (except in Spanish). Such a change from Europe.
  • Air-conditioning everywhere.
  • Cellular service everywhere without having to think of turning the phone on and off.
  • A fridge and a freezer. (Small fridge only, with no freezer, in Vienna.)
  • Loudness. Americans just talk so damn loudly.
  • Diet Pepsi! I went for 3.5 weeks without it.

But as my friend Alice said on Facebook last evening, she has little compassion for the slight frustrations, given what I was able to see and do. And I expect no boo-hoos for the cultural differences and the weariness because of the seeing and doing.

And DO I did.

The research grant proposed outcomes are essentially complete. The draft report is 75% there, with some details and nuance to ponder and finesse. In other words, I accomplished the stated goals. The grant outcome was successful. Now we move to implementation.

Along the way, I was a tourist nearly every day — in fact, save for last Sunday, every single day of the sojourn in Europe.

What did I not do? Well, I skipped the Salzburg and Venice/Dolomites excursions because I just was not feeling well. Summer allergies are, I’m told, quite severe in Vienna this year. I did not make it to all the art museums I would have wished, and since concert season was over, I attended only two musical performances.

What DID I do?

Enough art to keep me happy for months. Less-frequented locales such as the Snow Globe Museum, the Freud Museum, the Schnapps Museum, the Imperial Crypt, and the old Jewish cemetery at Zentral Friedhof. Anglican Church services in Florence and Vienna. Florence. Choral concert by a British choir at the British Embassy Church. A cruise on the Danube. Cooking class. Visited Mahler’s grave. Walked in the steps of Mozart and Beethoven and Schubert and Haydn and so many others. Melk Abbey. Heurigerabend. Organ recital at the Jesuit Church. Churches and parks and the Naschmarkt and gelato and beer and bubbly and schnitzel and . . . well, the whole five-senses experience indeed.

And I kept up with the daily office work. My email inbox is only marginally more crowded now than it was when I left, and no decisions have been punted to next week.

Now home for a few days, and with days off this weekend with few obligations, I can rest and recharge before the onslaught of the run-up to August 20 when contracts begin.

And I can love on Auggie, who apparently did indeed miss me.

Of all the pleasures of travel, returning home is the greatest joy.

Leg of lamb

I don’t recall ever cooking a leg of lamb.

But two weeks ago, I picked up a vacuum-packed 4.5-pound chunk of Australian lamb at Costco, and Sunday was the day to cook it.

I washed and patted dry the meat, then lathered it with olive oil.  I smeared on a paste of mashed garlic, dried parsley, and dried rosemary (both from my garden last year).  And into a hot oven it went.

The results were pretty tasty!

The twice-baked potato was also homemade. I’ll freeze the other two potato portions for some later date!

Homemade marmalade

So that 10 pounds of blood oranges that arrived from California one week ago? I’m never going to eat them all before the oranges go bad. I’ve given a few away, had my fill daily, and still there are blood oranges!

What to do?

Make marmalade!

I’ve now finished two batches of homemade blood orange marmalade and am considering a third one. The process is a bit more extensive than making jam or jelly, but the America’s Test Kitchen recipe is perfect, with no extra pectin needed.

And cooking is one of my creative outlets, so this is fun for me too!

Easing back in

Eight years ago this week I was in Oslo and Copenhagen. The weather was tremendously cold!

In the Vigelund park, with snow falling on Oslo.

Random Sunday afternoon thoughts:

After a strange and unexpected few weeks of travel and family and estate and such, I am easing back into the flow of the forthcoming semester.

As I write on this Sunday afternoon, we are expecting some ice and sleet to arrive.  My two voice lessons today both asked to postpone, and I am quite adrift in silence at home, which is delightful.

On the way back from Lee’s Summit two weeks ago, having just buried my father the day before, I stopped by one of the many antique malls that dot the I-70 corridor, and purchased an old floor lamp with a lovely and gaudy half-globe painted glass shade.  This is the only light illuminating my living room, where I sit in my chair and write.

After a full Saturday that included five hours of voice lessons and a visit with a friend, this Sunday has been peaceful.  I made some banana bread this morning, and have watered some sourdough starter this afternoon.  I’ve spent time in my home office and done some tidying and tossing here at home. I’ve done some laundry.  And I recorded some tracks for one of my students, texted about various things, and have read a bit today as well.  This is truly a lazy Sunday — gray and overcast and chilly but not frigid.

The past few days have been strangely internal.  The reality of my father’s death — of now being the eldest, with no one above me in my immediate family — has finally sunk in.  After days of doing the things that needed to be done, I’m now finally grieving some.  And then on Thursday evening I saw Call Me By Your Name, and I was gutted by the father’s final speech, not to mention to the entire film.  For three days now, all of this has been rattling ’round in my conscious mind, and probably in my unconscious as well.

Meanwhile, this week ramps up at work, culminating in a Friday afternoon faculty workshop (for which I’m not ready).  Spring 2018 classes commence on January 16.

[And just like that, Auggie hops up from his perch on the sofa, starts doing his I’m-about-to-puke routine, and I grab him from the Persian rug and put him on the hardwood.  He retched in the right place.  Aug did not eat his breakfast, so I wondered if something was amiss.]

I picked up a new voice student this weekend, and will enjoy working with him tremendously, I think.  He’s smart and grabbed onto ideas immediately at his first lesson on Saturday.

The bone-jarring cold snap seems to be over, with the arrival this afternoon of some freezing rain.  My frozen pipe has now unfrozen.  The forecast calls for more moderate temperatures this week.  And perhaps I won’t be running my furnaces 2/3 of the time now.  (I fear for my natural gas bill and electric bill after these last two weeks.)

Part of my inheritance from my father’s estate is a lovely Seth Thomas wall clock, dating from the mid-19th century.  The clock is currently at About Time, a local clock shop, for an overhaul and fine-tuning. I also picked up my parents’ cuckoo clock and took it to the shop.  The cuckoo clock had been boxed for well over 30 years, and the bellows are shot.  This one will take some work to repair.  My father’s safe deposit box also included two pocket watches.  One of them was a much-used American Waltham railroad watch with a serial number that dates the watch to 1902. This would have belonged to one of my paternal great-grandfathers.  It’s also at the clock shop for repair and refurbishment.

And with some of the inheritance I’ll be receiving, I’ve made two purchases, one for me and one for the house:

  • for the house, the final installment of new Pella windows for the living room.  I had purchased new custom-made windows previously for the master bedroom, the back porch, and the kitchen.  This will finish the window updates.
  • for me, a new gold and diamond ring.  I traded in my Uncle John’s gold wedding band, a red coral and gold ring I purchased in Santa Fe, and my father’s high school class ring (although I did keep a diamond and synthetic ruby gold ring that my father was wearing) . . . and upgraded to a lovely five-diamond gold and white gold pinky ring. The only jewelry I have ever really purchased is cufflinks or a pinky ring, and I think this one will be with me until my dying day.

Speaking of inheritance, executorship of an estate is a part-time job.  Just sayin’ . . . .