Archive for September, 2012

Pumpkin update

September 28, 2012

The fall has turned rainy, which is good for my pumpkins. There are two that are growing big and a handful of smaller ones on the way. I don’t know how many of them will grow big enough to be picked before the frost sets in, but I’ll be happy for whatever I get.

This pumpkin is growing big, but is still green

This one has gone yellow, starting to shade into orange.



Puer natus est

September 22, 2012

We have another nephew!  Same family, third child.  We are delighted to be the overseas aunt and uncle.

Dinner in Ithilien

September 16, 2012

“After so long journeying and camping, and days spent in the lonely wild, the evening meal seemed a feast to the hobbits; to drink pale yellow wine, cool and fragrant, and eat bread and butter, and salted meats, and dried fruits, and good red cheese, with clean hands and clean knives and plates. Neither Frodo nor Sam refuse anything that was offered, nor a second, nor indeed a third helping. The wine coursed in the veins and tired limbs, and they felt glad and easy of heart as they had not done since they left the land of Lórien.”

A dinner fit for both rangers and hobbits

The evening meal that Frodo and Sam shared with Faramir and the rangers of Gondor in their hidden encampment in Ithilien is a simple one, but not so rustic as some of the meals cooked in the wild. The version I made was based on the meal as described, but was made just a little more comfortable. We had baked ham for the main dish, for which I made a sauce of dried fruit and wine. I made fresh bread to go with it. I’ve had mixed luck with bread in the past, but this one came out pretty well. We had butter and cheese to go with the bread, as mentioned. Since the meal as described was lacking a vegetable, I made a simple salad of sliced cucumbers with vinegar and fresh herbs. We drank our favorite wine, a moscato, with the dinner.

A little bit rustic, a little bit refined

E. laid the table in a simple but elegant way. I think she is getting tired of trying to figure out settings for meals in the rough and is looking forward to getting back into civilization.

Previous Lord of the Rings dinners:

January: A long-expected party

February: Farewell to Hobbiton / March: Supper at the Prancing Pony

April: A rangers’ dinner in the wild

May: At Elrond’s table

June: A Dwarven dinner

July: Of Herbs and Stewed Chicken

Early morning

September 15, 2012

I woke up at a little past four this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I came downstairs and did some work. My body was feeling restless, so after a while I packed up my swimming bag, headed to the pool, and swam my usual routine. I felt much better afterwards, but I can safely say that I have never gone swimming quite so early before.

E. was up by the time I got back, so we walked out together to our favorite local diner for a nice breakfast. A few trees here and there are starting to show color and the nights are cool, but we’re still getting warm, sunny days. Yesterday we had the grill going to cook burgers and ate dinner out on the back deck. Fall is coming in, but only gradually.

Back to the ivy-covered halls

September 9, 2012

Fall classes have started. This semester I am teaching a couple of World History 1, as always, History of Ancient Greece, and Roman Law. I find that classes take a few weeks to settle in and find their personality, so it’s hard to judge from just the first day’s experience, but I have a good feeling about all of my classes so far.

The university remains, shall we say, pragmatically challenged. In the three different classrooms I was teaching in, each of the clocks was set to a different time. One whiteboard came equipped with four erasers and no markers. One of my classes had its room changed at the last minute, so the first five minutes of class time were taken up with just making sure that everyone was in the right room. But I can live with those things because it’s the people who make a difference, and the people– both my fellow faculty and staff and my students– are wonderful.

We have a job search going on this year to hire a new faculty member in middle eastern and Islamic history, something we’ve been lacking for several years. I’ve volunteered to be on the search committee, which will be my first time. We’ve had three job searches during my time in the department, so I’ve seen plenty of the process, but I’ve never been a part of the team before. It’s looking like a very interesting year.