Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Seduced by Bacon

It's not a mystery that I love books. My office is so inundated with them, I'm starting to lose track of the titles because that they double stacked on the bookshelf. Along with my beautiful collection of classics and modern fiction, I am also an avid collector of cookbooks. I have sixty eight at last count. With fabulous titles like New York- Authentic Recipes Celebrating the Foods of the World and The Italian Chef's Encyclopedia. And I use every last one of them. But my favorite title today is Seduced by Bacon by Joanna Pruess and Bob Lope. That title just makes me giggle. A cookbook devoted entirely to one specific kind of cured meat!

Actually, I am not a huge fan of bacon .

I do like the taste. It just doesn't like me. I can almost feel it slowing my heart as it settles on my arteries. It whispers (Yes bacon whispers. Just go with it.) "Tomorrow's long run is going to KILL you because you ate me." So I don't eat a lot of it.

My husband on the other hand actually believes pork belongs on the food pyramid somewhere between Moosetracks Ice Cream and Cherry Twizzlers. He believes that bacon is the key to longevity because his grandma ate a bacon sandwich every day for eighty one years. Is it just me or does everyone have a relative who ate bacon daily for eighty one years?

Being married to such a devoted bacon lover, I learned along time ago that bacon is a religion with a devoted mass of followers. Apparently, I'm agnostic. I don't deny the existence of Pork but I don't feel the need to worship it. But that didn't stop my indoctrinated husband from buying me Seduced by Bacon for Christmas several years ago. And it didn't stop me from reading it. I can be open minded on matters of religion.

By the time I read the section ominously titled Baconology I knew I was dealing with something larger than personal belief. We're talking a major cult here. Every single recipe in that book includes bacon! Yes, there are the old standbys like Bacon Cheddar Biscuits and Classic BLT's but there's also a dessert section! How does Pecan-Brown Sugar & Bacon Ice Cream sound? *Gulp*

I am not even kidding.

Who knew bacon had so much versatility?

But for the love my spouse and my bacon eating children I have tried to embrace bacon. Okay, so it's more of a handshake kind of relationship. But I'm learning to adjust. (Do you want to know a little secret? Sometimes I still serve Turkey Bacon to the kids. They never notice. My husband calls foul every time. Curse his pork sensitive pallet.)

I think the biggest thing I learned from this family treasured cookbook (aside from what happens when you combine bacon and peanut butter) is that there is a right and wrong way to cook bacon. You are not supposed to pan fry it. Did you know that?

No. No. The correct way to cook bacon is to lay it on rumpled aluminum foil on a cookie sheet and oven bake it at 400 degrees for 18- 20 minutes. This prevents shrinkage and makes for long beautiful strips of bacon. I am a huge fan of this cooking method. It eliminates grease spatter and if you use two cookie sheets it's actually much faster. I can cook an entire pound of bacon at once with minimal clean up. Just toss the foil when your finished.

I'm still not completely converted to the Church of Bacon but I'm much more respectful of those who are. If you can swallow a peanut butter and bacon sandwich, more power to you.

Who knows, maybe Bacon lovers married to health nuts are really the ones who suffer.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Music Monday- Am I good enough?

Is it really eleven p.m.? My goodness how this Monday got away from me. Today was a fantastic day. In fact, I cannot think of a better day. Not only did I get to run with the rising sun, I ran again as it set. And to top it off, I enjoyed it with great friends and abundant laughter.

I am on a high. My training for the Wasatch Back in June is down to the wire. Which means I am logging hours and hours of weekly miles. In a word. Exhilarating. I can't begin to explain how much I have gleaned from pounding the pavement.

I've also discovered something quite exciting about myself. I love revisions. Yes. You read that correctly. Now to be fair, this is not my first round of revisions. I wrote a first draft last summer. Then spent the last six months rewriting the entire novel. The first go around, was very, very painful. So help me I will never try to write perfectly the first go around, ever again.


The gloves are off. At last, I can sentence swap and fiddle with words until it feels just right. I can't believe how much fun I'm having. I am NOT a writer. I am a rewriter. How liberating. I can fully give myself permission to write horrible, embarrassing first drafts. Because now I know the freeing truth. The draft can always be fixed later. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I can always fix them later! And the great news? They can be fixed. No matter how terrible the words flail about on the page. They will improve with each rewrite. I've read this dozens of times from other authors, but I never fully believed it until now.

Enjoy my song for the week. Call it a love letter to writing, or creativity or the daily ups and downs of living inside a writer's brain. Oh let's be honest, I just think this video is super cool. And since my sister-friend Melinda is looking for music to inspire a medieval yarn, I can't think of a better band than Evanescence.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Something funny

Don't know how long this will stay up. Enjoy it while you can.

Trekkies Bash New Star Trek Film As 'Fun, Watchable'

Monday, May 11, 2009

Music Monday- Ms. Judgement and Creativity- round 2

I just took a personality test. These silly little tests are popping up everywhere. I don't credit personality tests with being too accurate but this one was right on the mark. Yes, it would have been great to be one of the more sensible Jane Austin Characters, but let's be honest, if I were a Jane Austin Character, this is definitely who I'd be.

I am Marianne Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

It's time to pass the hat back to Creativity. Ms. Judgement has had her persnickety fun and now I'm going to bind, gag, and throw her in the root cellar. I'll leave her bread and water, though. And maybe the Chicago Manual of Style, you know, for light reading. She's been a good girl. She knows what she's doing. As much as Creativity tends to be unpredictable, it is very clear that Ms. Judgement is an old pro. My manuscript is bleeding in red ink, which means it's time to fix.

For Music Monday. I have two videos. One each for these dueling beauties . Ms. Judgment or Creativity. Which video best describes you today?

(FYI--Both Lenka and Gabriella Cilmi are Australian artists. However, Gabriella is from Italian ancestry. Love to see gorgeous Italians REPRESENT. Love my Pisans. :) )

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Throwing the Bat

My son loves baseball. Deeply. Which is a bit of a surprise since both my husband and I are not fans of spectator sports. We'd rather run a river, climb a cliff or ride single track going forty miles an hour with our kids than spend our Saturdays on sticky bleachers wilting in the sun. Just for the record, my children are incredibly spoiled. Most people never get the opportunity to see and do the things my kids have experienced. They canyoneer, run rivers, rock climb, backpack and bike every single summer. We nearly live out of tent, some summers, skipping from one activity to another.

I kind of expected my children would naturally love these activities. And they do. Apparently, they just love other things as well, like the Red Sox. Who knew?

So, my son announced he wanted to play little league. Which is a problem. We've done absolutely nothing to prepare him for this experience. He knows how to self rescue if tossed overboard in a class 3 rapid. He knows how to repel off a cliff or where his feet need to be when he climbs a slick sandstone wall. He even knows what to do if he gets lost in the wilderness and needs to survive for two days with only small backpack of water and a granola bar. But we've never taught him a thing about how to hold a bat or catch a pop flies. I didn't even know what a pop fly was until a week ago. To be honest, I don't even know how many players are supposed to be on a baseball field...diamond. Oh, you get the point.

But this is what he wants to do. So I support him. Every possible way I can.

Can I just say, sometimes it's incredibly hard to be a mother? Watching my children struggle kills me. Just drive that dagger in my heart and give it a twist. He really, really loves this game. Most of the other teammates have parents who've been playing catch with their boys since they were old enough to hold a ball between their chubby digits. My sons been paddling rivers. And it shows. So learning to play in front of the other boys has been hard. For me anyway. He doesn't care. He wants to be better.

After practice he stays a little longer for extra batting practice. And he practices any chance he gets.

"This kid has heart." The coach says.

I smile. I already knew that.

So my son swings at those balls. Again and again and again. For hours. Until his arms are so tired he can barely hold the bat. Then he swings some more. I simultaneously explode with pride and break every time he misses. Ah. The agony of being a parent. All the while, my boy just keeps swinging.

The other night after a rough practice, he and I walked to the car. He said. "You know mom, I really wanted to throw that bat and walk away tonight. I was so frustrated. "

"Yeah?" I said. My heart breaking all over again.

"Yeah." He sighed. "But I couldn't, because you never quit writing your book, even though sometimes it's really hard."

I nearly dropped my car keys. I am at that point where I want nothing more than to chuck my stupid laptop out the window and say. "That's it. I quit!" Every day I want to give up. I have no idea what I'm doing. And I feel just like my son, desperate to get it right and painfully aware how far behind I am. In the last few weeks I've really, really wanted to quit.

But I can't. As much as I'd like to. Because my boy loves something enough to do it even if when it's really hard; and one day he's going to hit that ball out of the park. I can't wait to write about it.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Music Monday- Savin' me.

I'm in the middle of edits. Ms. Judgement is pleased. She can be as persnickety as she likes and I'm just letting her have at it. I'm a little amazed at how easy it's been to divorce myself from my story. Everything on the page is fair game at this point. I'm not nearly as bothered as I thought I would be to 'kill my darlings'.  Rest assured faithful editors, I'm being merciful this go round. And I'm leaving in all the jokes, for now. I'll let my trusted friends give them the axe. 

Anyway, it sort of feels like surgery. Carefully cutting and stitching in red. So my song for the week seems appropriate.