Friday, January 15, 2010

7 Quick Takes: Volume 4

My home was without internet service for several days. Now that service has been restored and the shakes have nearly stopped, I’m back with 7 Quick Takes. Hopefully they won’t all be related to our sudden and protracted loss of internet connectivity, but I'm not making any promises.

(The idea of 7 Quick Takes Friday comes from blogger Jennifer Fulwiler, who hosts it weekly at her site, Conversion Diary.)


At the recommendation of a friend, last week I read A Christmas Carol for the first time. We have a collection of century-old Dickens books, and this is the first time I’ve read from one of them. Reading the story, it's easy to see why it’s been interpreted in movies and on stage so many times. Even though Dickens predates cinema by nearly a century, his writing is really cinematic. (In reading it, I discovered why it is that the Ghost of Christmas Past is different in every movie version, while the other two spirits never vary by much.)

The thing is, every stage and screen adaptation differs from the original story in some way. If you’re a fan of any of the various movie versions, you owe it to yourself to read the original — it’s only about 70 pages long. If you can get your hands on a volume from the 1800s, even better.


Some people are quick to restore their homes to pre-Christmas order. For these people, on January 1st the tree comes down and all the decorations find their way back into storage.

Not us. Even though it’s midway through January, nutcrackers still stand in a line along the mantel, watching over the deteriorating poinsettia on the hearth below. It takes us (OK, me) a while to get into the spirit of the season, and just as long to be done with it. Which is weird, because normally I’m so on top of things. (Right.)


Sometime last year I decided I wanted to make my own yogurt. I didn’t want to buy a machine specifically for that — like my hero, Alton Brown, I don’t like kitchen unitaskers. So I researched yogurt-making on various cooking sites, and figured out a way to make yogurt using a crockpot, canning jars, and a security timer. (Exactly how Ma Ingalls would’ve done it.) I’ve had good luck with it, but suddenly this week the process has stopped working as reliably. It’s disappointing to come downstairs in the morning expecting fresh yogurt for breakfast, and find jars of warm, curdled milk. I’m trying to figure out what’s going wrong.

In the meantime, I think I’ve stumbled on a way to make my own ricotta.


Apparently I wasn’t the only one having internet issues last week and this week. One of my favorite bloggers wrote about her several days of blog outage, comparing it to a bad breakup:
I didn’t even know the internet and I were having problems. Apparently the internet was afraid of confrontation and just decided to SHUT DOWN the blog instead of talking to me and explaining where it all went wrong. It was all very reminiscent of a break up I had in college, except that it didn’t end with me eating a one pound bag of M&M’s while I sang along with Sinead O’Connor as she sang ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’.
You who have experienced bad breakups (or internet outages) will want to read the whole post — it's priceless. I’m not giving away another word, except to say that Peaches & Herb make a cameo appearance.


I’m about to start another addictions course tonight (see take #7 here). I’m supposed to have the first 100 pages of the 1400-page textbook read by class time. And I just ordered the book on Monday. (See? On top of things.) Enter Google Scholar, which has much of my textbook available online! Oh internet… I’m so glad we’re together again…


My dad really liked my 80-gifts birthday blog tribute. If you have a loved one who’s hard to shop for, they might like a similar tribute. It doesn’t have to be long or flowery (or published on the internet), but you’ll want to take some time to think about the things you’ve appreciated about them. I wrote that post over the course of a few weeks, adding to it as things occurred to me. Since posting, I’ve thought of several others.

You say you think that would be impossible for you, because your relationship with your mom/dad has been difficult? I understand completely — my relationship with my dad has had rough patches too. Still, give it a shot. You might be surprised at what you come up with. I know I was.


My final take is a question for my fellow Facebook users: how do you handle it when someone you don’t know “friends” you? This happens to me once in a while — usually a friend-of-a-friend rather than a total stranger — but I’m always at a loss to know how to respond. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts.



  1. You don't know me, but I am sort of familiar with you. Rachel W. is a dear dear friend of mine going way back to high school, and my brother Seth had your son play guitar at his wedding (in Minnesota.) PLUS Matt worked at my friends Lindsey, Claire (and somewhat Sam)'s blueberry farm.

    And I have heard many many many positive things about you, and have been reading this blog for a couple of weeks now (blame Rachel...or credit her!) Just wanted to say I appreciate your thoughtfulness and writing ability...

    And I too enjoy Alton Brown, as well as disliking the "unitaskers" of the kitchen! Food Network is my "drug o' choice!"

  2. Welcome to the blog, Janelle -- and thanks for your kind comment!

    I feel like I semi-know you... like we are third cousins-in-law!

    So I'm off to Facebook to "friend" you, and get an answer to take #7...

  3. Ooh, yay, my two friends connected! You guys would love each other. Seriously.

    Pam, Janelle has mad cooking skillz. And I'm about to experience them on Monday when we get together to watch Julie & Julia and eat bruschetta. Mmmmmm!!!

  4. Bruschetta sounds great... but can you watch Julie & Julia without eating something smothered in butter??


All comments are moderated by the blog's author prior to publication.