Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Halushki aka Slavic Soul Food

Now there are at least five words for cabbage in Ukrainian that I know. It and potatoes are the ingredients in almost every piece of peasant cooking east of Germany until you hit Kazakhstan. Halushki is one of my favourites. First make some egg noodles ( and buy the good ones and don't even think of using plain pasta). Reserve those when they are done; you want a little over eldente. Alternatively a light egg dumpling works.
Take an onion ( a big one) and sauté it on medium heat until it is clear in about half a stick of butter. While the onions are cooking cut half a normal sized cabbage or a whole small cabbage thinly as possible with out going crazy. Toss that cabbage in with the onions and reduce the heat to a medium low (high enough to brown but not high enough to burn).

Cook until the cabbage is starting to brown adding butter as necessary or desired. Season with salt and pepper. Toss in the noodles and serve right then.

Trust me it's yummy.


Monday, February 26, 2007

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My Evening Labours

I guard the front desk of a dorm in Saint Cloud. It's a rousing six hours from midnight to 6 am. I knit a lot but this evening turned to one of my earlier crafts. I broke out the beads.

The necklace with pendant is moss agate for the light green, Japanese terra cotta beads for the dark green and a slice of moss agate for the light green.

I restrung my favorite strand of amber and put together a new strand of blue freshwater pearls.

I made two bracelets. The turquoise is a combination of round and tube turquoise seed beads in three strands , they are different lengths so it fits flat on my wrist and has two rings because I ran out of one of the types of seed bead and didn't ant to ruin the pattern. The silver and purple is hematite and amethyst which I got two years ago in San Francisco.

I love shiny stones.


Sunday, February 25, 2007

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

We were at the College of Saint Benedict for a faculty concert and the gallery in their arts center had a series of fired ceramic seals. This one was my favorite entitled " True North".


MAC/Windows Humor

Monday, February 19, 2007

Friday, February 16, 2007

On the Lake at Saint John's

So we went out to Saint John's with the intent of walking across the lake to a small chapel that the monks had placed there in an odd fit of monastic whim.

It was a rather overcast day

Here is Flopper pointing the way ( very helpfully might; I add it's easy to get lost in the middle of a frozen lake)

And Here is the Chapel. It is distressingly picturesque.

I really like taking pictures of trees in winter. There were a few on a small island on the other side of the lake so Flopper and I wandered in that direction.

I am not certain what sort of tree this is but I loved the curve of the trunk. It's a pine of some sort not found in the woods of Pennsylvania.

And here are some shots of driftwood jutting out of the ice near the Island .

Finally these are two shots of the monastary church which I rather enjoy for a building constructed like a very pretty nuclear bunker. The honeycomb window is really quite striking The dark middles space is the balcony seating/ choir loft and probably accounts for a third of the total seating in the church.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Smoker Gloves

I can smoke cigs with these super cool gloves Eikon made me.
(Eikon: GROSS he does not smoke with my beautiful gloves or ever for that matter)

Dan Vera! Look I'm an orchid!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Commie Computers and Fingerless Gloves

In Communist Russia computer uses you!

Flopper got a new laptop an IBM going by the name Lenova.

Now Ibm has not updated its looks in forever very begrudgingly meeting any aesthetic principles

The result is Olga Flopper's new laptop.

I have been working on a pair of fingerless gloves for him for forever and just finished one

It is a bit too wide but not so much so as to be unfunctional. I saw the Knucks pattern on Knitty and just sort of cobbled them together. They are made from my Favourite Yarn Malabrigo Merino


Monday, February 12, 2007

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Polenta and The Ancient Game of Go According to the Inestimable Flopper

So I tried my hand at the making of polenta a described by the most admirable Woolgatherer .

In Vukinyebinya Podunk Lake Woebegone , Mn they don't do gorgonzola and so I substituted Gruyere and altered the spicing a bit.

We had them with Biscuits. which I have a lovely recipe for taken from a colonial shortcake in my Williamsburg cookbook.

After an intermission from Flopper he returned and we decided to play a game. I pulled the Go board off the side table and decided to teach him to play one of my favourite games.

He instituted a "I get to place two stones whenever you place one" rule Resulting in the above mess.

Fortunately I gracefully admitted defeat when he started eating the stones.


Monday, February 05, 2007

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Gian-Carlo Menotti, peace.

ROME - Gian Carlo Menotti, who composed a pair of Pulitzer Prize-winning operas and founded the Spoleto arts festivals in the United States and Italy, died Thursday at a hospital in Monaco, his son said. He was 95.

"He died pretty peacefully and without any pain. He died in my arms," said Francis Menotti by telephone from Monte Carlo.

The Italian composer won Pulitzers for a pair of the 20th century's more successful operas: "The Consul," which premiered in 1950 in Philadelphia, and "The Saint of Bleecker Street," which opened at New York's Broadway Theater in 1954. "The Consul" also earned him the New York Drama Critics Circle award as the best musical play of the year in 1954.

He also wrote the Christmas classic "Amahl and the Night Visitors" for NBC, which was broadcast in 1951 and may have been the first opera written for television. Menotti also authored the libretto for "Vanessa," which was composed by Samuel Barber, and revised the libretto for Barber's "Antony and Cleopatra." In addition to working together, Barner and Menotti shared a house in Westchester, a New York suburb, for many years.

By 1976, The New York Times called Menotti the most-performed opera composer in the United States.

His Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy, and Spoleto Festival USA, of Charleston, S.C., sought to bring together fresh creative forces in U.S. and European culture. The tradition launched young artists into impressive careers. Shirley Verrett sang her first performance of Bizet's "Carmen" in Spoleto in 1962; in 1959, Patrice Chereau launched his opera career with a
much-praised production of Rossini's "L'Italiana in Algeri"; and Tennessee Williams' "The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore" premiered in 1962. From Spoleto's stages, dancers such as Paul Taylor and Twyla Tharp went on to shape the direction of contemporary dance.

Menotti said he was on the verge of giving up his direction of the cultural festivals several times ‹ in 1990, he said he wanted to quit the South Carolina event because he was being "treated like the clerk."

He eventually did leave the U.S. festival, in October 1993, after a series of bitter disagreements with the festival's board about financial and artistic control.

But despite his frequent urges to leave, Menotti seemed always as engaged as ever ‹ even more. "I feel like the sorcerer's apprentice ‹ I've started something and I don't know how to stop it," Menotti said in 1981 in Spoleto.

For three weeks each summer, Spoleto, population 35,000, is visited by nearly a half-million people. The festival also surrounded Menotti with the "affection and warmth" that is "so important for our creative life," as he put it.

"Many composers live in an ivory tower, composing for a small group of aficionados. Here, I'm surrounded by the life of the festival," he said.

He once compared his work at the festival to making bread ‹ a hands-on process requiring time and attention.

Despite the care, Menotti delighted in improvisation. Festival programs were rarely set more than a year in advance and often saw last-minute changes, giving the artistic programs freshness.

"Fate has blessed me," he told The New York Times in 2001. "But if there's one thing I regret, it's this accursed festival. It's robbed too much of my time from composition and from the chance to just be curious about life, art and philosophy. Suddenly there's no time left, and it makes me feel desperate."

Born July 7, 1911, in Cadegliano near Lake Maggiore and the Swiss border, he was the sixth child of Alfonso and Ines Menotti. A boy wonder who began composing songs at age 7 and wrote his first opera at 11, Menotti was for a time the most decorated and sought-after composer of
his generation.

Encouraged by his mother, he received formal musical training in Italy and the United States, studying at the Verdi Conservatory in Milan and later at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia.

His first mature opera, "Amelia Goes to the Ball," in 1937, earned international recognition.

Many of his works written in the TV age lent themselves well to the medium. Among his later operas were "The Old Maid and the Thief," "The Medium" and "The Telephone.

Menotti also wrote music for ballet, orchestra and other productions, as well as the librettos for all his operas. He also directed operas ‹ his own and works of other composers.

Among his achievements in his later years was an ambitious staging of "Parsifal" for the 1987 Spoleto program. He was also commissioned to write an opera for the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Reflecting about Spoleto's meaning during the 30th anniversary of the festival's founding, Menotti said in 1987: "I needed to feel that I was needed. Thirty years ago, Spoleto was on the verge of bankruptcy. Now it's a flourishing town that owes its life to the festival."

Menotti, who lived in both Monaco and Scotland, returned to the Spoleto festival every year to celebrate his birthday, including this past July.

Although he held Italian citizenship, Menotti called himself an Italian-American.

Said Menotti in 1981: "I started Spoleto because I did not want to be the marginal person, the entertainer. I wanted to have a community, to be part of a community."

Menotti, a gay composer and the partner of Samuel Barber, is one of my favorite composers. How lucky he is to have chosen a career that will truly leave us remembering him forever. Pictures get old and yellow, memories grow dim, music lasts forever.