Fear Not!

April 29, 2016

I ran across this quotation the other day that has proven to be very accurate for me personally:

“The best way to gain self-confidence is to do what you are afraid to do.”
(William Jennings Bryan)

I can’t tell you how many times I have put this principle into practice, all with good result (once the initial fear subsided).  Being a volunteer-aholic, I have difficulty saying “no,” and have often times found myself agreeing to do many things that have been new experiences and well outside my comfort zone.  Yes, the fear was there, but so was the opportunity to learn something new and to enhance or develop a skill set.  The fear eventually subsides, so my only advice to others — don’t let the fear cripple you into inaction.  Move forward boldly and act.

Freedom!

April 28, 2016

Every now and then (usually when I’m on vacation where there is truly limited service) I will purposely “unplug” from technology and not check my phone or emails.  For only the second time in my life I found myself at work yesterday morning and I did not have my cell phone (I did not have the time to return home to retrieve it either).  At first I was a bit annoyed (and worried about what I’d be missing throughout the day), but then I realized that I had a very full day already scheduled with meetings and appointments and that not having my phone would not be the end of the world.  As a matter of fact, I survived the day quite nicely.  Yes, there were a couple of calls that I missed, but nothing that I can’t respond to today.  I may have to purposely start doing this more regularly.

It’s Good To Be Agreeable!

April 27, 2016

In my previous occupation, I often found myself in the position of having to dulcify many a situation, some more successfully than others.

dulcify

duhl-suh-fahy \, verb (used with a subject);

1. to make more agreeable; mollify; appease.
2. to sweeten.
And, according to Roget’s Thesaurus, here are some other words similar to dulcify (to ease the anger or agitation of):
appease, assuage, calm (down), conciliate, gentle, mollify, pacify, placate, propitiate, soften, soothe, sweeten.

 

 

In the Middle of Nowhere . . . !

April 26, 2016

Several years ago I’m composed a song on piano and dabbled with some lyrics, but unfortunately the lyrics were never finalized or written down.  I do remember how I started but I will have to recreate the remainder in the days and weeks to come (as the inspiration fills me).  So be patient, and bear with me as, I attempt to resurrect my thought on what I meant to express in this song.

It starts as follows (I’m not yet sure if this is a verse or the refrain . . . time will tell):

“In the middle of nowhere,
in a glen, by a stream,
Was a quaint little hut,
This bachelor’s dream.

It was simple, and spacious,
And, oh how divine,
Was nestled quite snugly,
Beneath the tall pine.”

So, check back later to see where this goes.  I will attempt to inspire an update every week or so until a complete set of lyrics has materialized.

A Pleasant Day in DC!

April 25, 2016

Washington DC has a lot of things to offer: museums, art galleries, history, culture, fine dining, and the list can go on.  The last few times I have found myself in the District of Columbia it has been for business and I didn’t have time to do much sightseeing.  This trip I managed to fit in a few sights. Unfortunately, my timing was a bit off — I was too late to experience the cherry blossoms, and I was a couple of weeks too early for National Police Week (celebrated during the week of May 15th).  But I did manage to pay a visit to the National Law Enforcement Memorial first thing in the morning where I paid my respects  to all of the officers who have given the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.  The rest of the morning was spent in the National Museum of the American Indian followed by an afternoon at the National Gallery of Art.  All in all, a most pleasant day in DC.

Potent Potables!

April 24, 2016

When it comes to mixed drinks, I tend to stick to the basics (nothing too exotic), but within the past couple of weeks I’ve encountered a couple of potables that sound positively delicious.

Not Your Typical Brandy

2 ounces pisco
2 ounces Granny Smith apple juice
1/2 ounce celery juice
2 teaspoons honey mixed with one teaspoon of water
1/4 ounce of fennel juice
Ice
2 ounces club soda (chilled)
1 stalk of celery (garnish)

In a cocktail shaker, combine the pisco, apple and celery juices, honey, and fennel juice.  Fill the shaker with ice and shake well.  Strain into a chilled, ice-filled collins glass, stir in the club soda and garnish with the celery stalk.  (Courtesy of Lindsay Nader, San Diego-based bartender).

The Gomez (courtesy of the San Francisco Hillside Supper Club)

Combine 1-1/2 ounces of cream sherry (Alvear Solera), 1, ounce of cold brewed coffee, 1-1/2 ounces smoked simple syrup, and 1 ounce of fresh lemon juice in a shaker.  Add ice and shake vigorously for 10 seconds.  Strain into a wine glass and garnish with a coffee bean or lemon twist.

Morning Shore Study!

April 23, 2016

morning-shore-studyLast October during the “Art in the Square” show at Utica Square, I found (and acquired) this wonderful painting by Joey Frisillo.  Over the years I have managed to collect several of Joey’s paintings (I think I have seven or eight of her paintings now) and found this one too irresistible to let go.  Title: Morning Shore Study, Artist: Joey Frisillo, Medium: original oil.  And, she didn’t even have to travel very far to capture this scene — this is the view from Joey’s studio in Sand Springs — not too shabby at all.

A Savory Pie!

April 22, 2016

Here’s a recipe that is reminiscent of a good old pasty (a folded pastry case with a savory filling, typically of seasoned meat and vegetables) a la the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Cheese, Ale, and Potato Pie

Ingredients
2 (14-ounce packages) puff pastry, chilled
2-1/4 pounds of medium Yukon gold potatoes
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup of ale (such as Bass, but any kind [light or dark] will do)
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons  of heavy cream
15 ounces (5 cups) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
3 large egg yolks, plus 1 large egg, lightly beaten
1-1/2 Tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard

Directions
1.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each puff pastry sheet to a 10″ x 14″ rectangle.  Stack the pastry sheets on a cookie sheet  with a piece of parchment paper between them.  Refrigerate until chilled.

2.  In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes with 1″ of water, add salt, and bring to a boil.  Cook over moderately high heat until the potatoes are just tender (about 15 minutes).  Drain and cool under running water.  Pat the potatoes dry , then peel and quarter and gently crush with your hand or a wooden spoon.

3.  In a medium saucepan, boil the ale over high heat until reduced to 1/3 of a cup (about 5 minutes).  Add the cream and cook , whisking until reduced to 3/4 of a cup (about 5 minutes).  Add the cheese and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce is smooth (about 3 minutes).  Remove from the heat and whisk in the egg yolks, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard.  Season the sauce with the salt and pepper and let cool.  Carefully stir in the crushed potatoes and season again with salt and pepper.

4.  Arrange 1 chilled puff pastry  sheet  on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush with some of the beaten egg.  Spread the potato filling on top, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around.  Top with the second sheet of puff pastry  and press the edges together to seal; crimp decoratively.  Brush the top of the pie with more of the beaten egg and cut a few slits for venting.  Refrigerate until firm (about 30 minutes).

5.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Bake the pie for 25 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees,  rotate the baking sheet and bake until the pastry is browned and the filling is bubbling (about 25-30 minutes longer).  Let cool slightly before serving.

Long Live the Queen!

April 21, 2016

On this the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, the longest reigning monarch in British history (63 years as of September 9, 2015), the Queen will spend the day in Windsor and will include a walk from he Henry VIII Gate of Windsor Castle towards the Statute of Queen Victoria at the foot of Castle Hill where she will unveil a plaque marking The Queen’s Walkway — a 6.3km self-guided walking trail connecting 63 points of significance in the town of Windsor.

Here is the list of other events planned for the Queen’s birthday.

Groan Before Reading!

April 20, 2016

I’m going to warn you in advance . . . here are some limericks that are real groaners.  And, they all have to do with mathematics.  Enjoy!

The Möbius strip is a thing,
Which somewhat resembles a ring.
But given the strength,
To travel its length,
You still haven’t done anything.
OKIE POKE

An arithmetic teacher names Jones,
Was reduced by the new math to groans.
And shortly expired,
Since he has not retired,
He now serves as Napier’s Bones.
EDWIN A. ROSENBERG

A little old lady from Becimal,
Arrested for stealing a decimal,
Was thrown in the joint,
The judge missed the point,
The sentence was infinitesimal.
M.L. GOODELL

To measure one really must try,
To learn about deci and centi,
Cause butter you know,
Will sell by kilo,
And a liter of bread you can’t buy.
OKIE POKE

Great mathematicians ’tis true,
Don’t think like both me and you,
They often abhor,
The idea that four
Is as simple as two plus two.
OKIE POKE

A modern mathematician,
When asked to do an addition,
Responded at once,
“Me add, you dunce!
That’s only a part of tradition.”
OKIE POKE

The calculator, per se,
Is always right in its way.
The problem you see,
Is usually me,
‘Cause the dern thing does what I say.
OKIE POKE

A mathematician so keen,
While programming a super machine,
Made an extension,
To an unknown dimension,
And never again was seen.
OKIE POKE

Source: “Mathematics and Humor,” Aggie Vinik, Linda Silvey, and Barnabas Hughes (eds.), p. 50.


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