Good words

"From the first moment I met you, your arrogance and conceit, your selfish disdain for the feelings of others made me realize that you were the last man in the world I could ever be prevailed upon to marry."

Ahh... Jane Austen via Hollywood.


Liveblogging the Inauguration

9:10 PM: Jason Wu, apparently...

8:32 PM:
THERE IT IS! The dress! It's light yellow? Cream? Maybe ruffly? In any case, its details don't stand up amazingly well to harsh onstage lighting.

4:11 PM:
"Tell us Soledad O'Brien... Michelle was walking in those high heels. What is that like?" Ugh.

2:52 PM:
So, it was Teddy.

2:44 PM:
Good grief... Wolf just called Nancy Pelosi Dianne Feinstein. So, since toasts are still going on, the collapsed Senator must be okay.

2:43 PM: Oh, shit. Maybe it was Ted Kennedy instead?

2:42 PM: A Senator collapsed in the Statuary Hall lunch. We don't know who, yet. Maybe Robert Byrd.

2:38 PM:
It's The Moment on CNN! The "Synth!" Kind of cool, but utterly useless on TV. I imagine in person it would be cooler.

2:30 PM: This is entirely unrelated, but this commercial made me inexplicably happy. Link to video.

2:25 PM:
CNN has finally noticed whitehouse.gov. That took long enough.

2:19 PM:
In case you missed THE HAT, here's video.

2:14 PM:
I'm just looking at the new whitehouse.gov and I've got to say the agenda points are inspiring. Also, on The Blog there are a ton of posts from 12:01 PM, the first minute they could post on behalf of President Obama. Very happy-making.

2:06 PM: Also, what the hell is up wiht CNN prattling on constantly about Reagan?

2:02 PM:
A note: Yes, it is remarkable that a black man has been elected president. But perhaps more important is that it is this particular black man. What if it were a war-mongering, neocon, bad man and not this specific, intelligent, young, progressive, fabulous man?

Also, unrelatedly, I hate when journalists interview college students and say "What was the ... coolest ... part of this for you?" Ugh. How condescending and disingenuous.

1:54 PM:
Was Bush's daughter actually wearing leggings and a metallic mini? Because it kind of looked like it when she was just boarding un-Air Force 1.

1:49 PM:
OOH! More CNN exclusive technology! SATELLITE PHOTOS FROM SPACE! A 3D photo compilation of the President at the moment of his address! Woo! Sad no hologram, though. I do respect CNN for getting Q to work for them.

1:39 PM:
Alice Walker had advice for the President:
"We are used to seeing men in the White House become juiceless and as white-haired as the building; we notice their wives and children looking strained and stressed. They soon have smiles so lacking in joy that they remind us of scissors. This is no way to lead. Nor does your family deserve this fate. One way of thinking about all this is: it is so bad now that there is no excuse not to relax. From your happy, relaxed state, you can model real success, which is only what so many people in the world really want."
Full quote at Jezebel.

1:35 PM:
CNN has Colin Powell right now. I don't respect all the decisions he's ever made, but I am still really pleased and grateful that he so eloquently and forcefully endorsed Obama.

1:30 PM:
1. Anderson Cooper just had to correct himself from saying "Barack Obama" to saying "President Obama."
2. I still can't *quite* believe that Obama got elected. It's almost too good to be true.

1:28 PM:
Vice President Joseph R Biden and Dr. Biden! (It's terrible that I didn't know she was a Dr., probably.)

1:27 PM:
Aww... bipartisan seating chart at the Congress lunch. Rahm Emanuel seated with the McCains!

1:13 PM:
Sullivan's whole post "Hello to all this" is really good and hits the nail on the head. Also, it has full text of the address.

1:11 PM:
This photo, via Andrew Sullivan, is great on a lot of fronts.
1. Lincoln Bible. Looks pretty good. Bound in red velvet, silver metal frame, heavily gilded edges, I've heard.
2. Look at those gorgeous gloves!
3. Obama's ring is cool!

1:09 PM: There's Al! I love that big meaty Tennessean.

1:05 PM: Facebook status update roundup time:
every time cnn says "former president bush" it makes me happier."
Has the whitehouse.gov site changed design? I quite like it."
Awesomeness reigns at last."
is gettting back to Bar Study. Seems like a let down. But the Pres would want me to be responsible!"
is finally proud to be an American."
is transfixed by the sense of history happening around her this day."

1:03 PM: Obama signing nomination papers! He looks so little in that big chair! Also, according to Wolf Blitzer, his penmanship is excellent and has "a little flourish."

1:02 PM:
Jeebus. Can fox news not get over Clinton? He's NOT slimy!

12:58 PM:
Photos via Jezebel:
Gothic: Dick Cheney
Chipper: Bill
Frackin' Cylon: John McCain

12:56 PM:
Not to spoil the happy tone of the day, I'm a little pissed that they're delaying Hillary's confirmation for a day. WTF gives? She's going to get confirmed anyway...

12:55 PM:
Of the Bidens and Obamas standing together watching the old regime depart, wjh says, "they are wearing the german colors together!!"

12:52 PM: Michelle fashion update: the gauzy bits are actually ties on the jacket - repeat - the jacket ties in the front. AND a scarf underneath. All impeccably matched to the brocadey fabric of the dress and jacket. They're calling it "maize-colored," but it's almost mustard-y and a little metallic. Also, I've decided that it is elaborate beading at the neck, not a necklace.

12:50 PM:
Obama walking Bush out of the Capitol now. Obama's face says, "Ciao, sucker!" Bidens/Cheneys looking much more cordial. Oh, and Jill Biden's gorgeous red coat makes my knees weak.

12:49 PM:
Ohhhh, Roberts screwed up the oath, not Obama. Probably an elaborate Bush-camp ploy to make the inauguration unconstitutional.

12:45 PM:
Michelle's suit is by Isabel Toledo. Cuban-American designer who headed up Anne Klein for a couple years. The suit is really pretty - lovely textured fabric and the color is gorgeous on her, but not on almost anyone else. I also like the gauzy bits around the neck (attached? a separate scarf?). Note: both Michelle and Laura Bush are wearing suits with long jackets (same length of the shift underneath) and no lapels. Almost funnel necked in LB's case.

12:43 PM:
Cute picture of Sasha and Malia.

12:40 PM:
Back to the important things: is that thing at the top of Michelle's dress a necklace or some elaborate beading on the dress itself?

12:38 PM:
Biden just took a picture for Malia! Awwww....

12:37 PM: "When black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, and when the red man can get ahead, man."

12:36 PM:
"Tanks will be beaten into tractors"

12:35 PM: Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery's benediction is pretty great. We will "turn to each other and not on each other ... we will make choices on love and not hate, on inclusion and not exclusion, on tolerance and not intolerance."

12:31 PM:
Obama's face has changed since he took the oath... kind of a transformative moment, I guess. He looks less nervous, more self-assured in his (HIS!) power, now. He looks very calm, whereas while he took the oath and just before, his face was a little shaky, his chin wrinkling a little to contain overflowing emotion.

12:30 PM:
Edifices is not an easy word to say.

12:29 PM:
Elizabeth Alexander is on message: things to repair, children in school, power of language, curiosity beyond our own borders.

12:27 PM:
What a damn good speech. And I'm happy to report that Bush looks sheepish. Cheney is wearing a fedora and managed to stand up for a handshake. By the way, how gothic is it (to steal my sister's word) that he showed up in a wheelchair? My first thought was, "What, now that he's off the hook we can actually see how weak he is?"

12:25 PM:
"In this winter of our hardship..." He's literate! And articulate!

12:23 PM:
Oooh good rhetoric: "These things are old. These things are true."

12:22 PM:
Katrina reference followed up by an economic reference. Good parenting, all good things. It's an Aaron Sorkin inspired "Ask not..."

12:20 PM:
"We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist."

12:19 PM: "We will not apologize for our way of life and we will not waver in its defense." Kind of hawkish, but sounds nicer coming from someone who has really benefited from the good parts of our way of life. I.e. that our country makes room for things like constitutional amendments and the civil rights movement. It's not another oil-fat straight old white man vowing to fight the little guy.

12:18 PM:
Has it occurred to you all that we can be happy about reading the news now? Bush can't do any more harm!

12:17 PM:
"Founding fathers?" Didn't he used to say Founding Parents?

12:16 PM: Economic regulation! Yay!

12:14 PM: Science! Renewable energy! Education! Hooray!

12:13 PM:
A mention of American innovation and inventiveness. "We must begin the work of remaking America." I've missed his rhetoric over the last couple months.

12:13 PM:
"They saw America as greater than the sum of our individual ambitions."

12:11 PM:
"Greatness is never a given. It must be earned."

12:10 PM: "The time has come to set aside childish things."

12:09 PM:
So very happy. "Less measurable, but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across the country." "The challenges are real and they are many. They will not be met easily, but know this, America, they will be met."

12:07 PM:
For all you geeks out there, I thought I'd share the text of the last inauguration we were all happy about:
"I, Laura Roslin, do now avow and affirm that I take the office of President of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol, without any moral reservation or mental evasion that I will protect and defend the articles of colonization with every fiber of my being."
Compare to:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
12:06 PM: Hell, yeah. Little bumpy in the recitation, but I think we can put that down to emotion.

12:02 PM:
No Oath, yet, but congrats, President Obama.

11:59 AM:
JOHN WILLIAMS? When they first announced Itzhak Perlman and Anthony McGill (clarinet), I was hoping for some Presidential klezmer.

11:58 AM:

11:57 AM:
They'd better make it snappy. Obama becomes pres at noon, oath or no.

11:56 AM:
Here's a good article about past Inaugural prayers.

11:54 AM: I never much liked "My Country 'tis of Thee" before. Maybe politics just needed a little soul...

11:52 AM:
Is the Lord's Prayer traditional at these things?

11:50 AM: That water carafe next to Obama is a Crate & Barrel design.

11:49 AM: "You are loving to everyone you have made." That's surprisingly inclusive.

11:48 AM: Bracing for Rick Warren - only a smattering of applause... very little. Is that because it's Rick Warren, or because people don't clap for a prayer?

11:47 AM:
"Real and necessary change." "Renewed call to greatness."

Dianne Feinstein. "Peaceful transition of power" mentioned for about the 73rd time today. It is pretty awesome, of course.

11:42 AM: All the bigshots walking out now. Obama with assorted Congress leaders (yay Nancy!). As a sidenote: "Hail to the chief" was composed circa 1821, based on some verses from "The Lady in the Lake" by Sir Walter Scott. It was made the President's official theme tune in 1954.

11:41 AM: He's using the Lincoln Bible - it apparently hasn't been used *since* Lincoln's inauguration... not bad.

11:36 AM:
Also: Michelle O's gloves! Olive leather!

11:27 AM:
Could Aretha Franklin be any cooler? What a killer hat.

11:22 AM: Wow. There's a moving van at the White House even now. Kind of awesome.

11:06 AM:
"That will be the last time they play 'Hail to the Chief' for Bush."

10:15 AM: Guess who isn't President anymore!!


Mental Health Break

That's what Lucy looks like, plowing around in the snow. Here's a still photo for comedy value:

First Foray into Fine Cooking

In keeping with my maybe resolution, I'm trying one recipe (at least) from this issue of Fine Cooking. This month I'm trying out Roast Pork Replay. The idea is that you "Cook once, eat twice." This does seem to be a misnomer, as the leftover recipes still require a bit of thought and effort, but still the principle is a good one.

This recipe appeals because 1. I love a roast, 2. I love pork, 3. Pork shoulders are CHEAP and stretch quite far, 4. I'm looking forward to the Pork Ragu and Polenta leftovers.

It is daunting, though, on two fronts: 1. I am very impatient with cooking (as with knitting). 2. This is by far the largest hunk of meat I've ever tackled.

So, last night I wielded my butcher knife ("ChrisSY! Bring me the big knife!" - 5 Points if you can identify the film) and removed the skin from an unsettlingly large hunk of meat (I had the butcher de-bone the sucker). While doing so, I wondered whether my 5 quart saucepan would be big enough - roasting pan (wedding present) hasn't arrived yet, but alas, the meat won't wait. (It turned out that the pan is *just* big enough for the meat and hopefully the veg that gets added to it later on.) After the skinning, and testing of pan size, I massaged the meat with a hefty dose of salt and pepper and put it to bed in the fridge for the night.

This morning (10:30) I pulled it out and according to the recipe, let it sit around for an hour and a half before pre-heating (only 300? Slooooooow roasting...) and popping it in the oven.

Here's a before shot. (Apologies to vegetarians and the squeamish.)

1:57 PM UPDATE: After an hour and a half or so in the oven, the pork is largely unchanged, save the fat beginning to curl up and melt off. Hopefully this process keeps the pork moist? I'm very suspicious of this roasting-without-liquid process, but I trust the Magazine.

3:12 PM UPDATE: There's now a big pool of fat around the bottom of the meat... still a LOT of it on top. I hope that will all melt off in the next, what, hour? It's smelling splendid.

3:46 PM UPDATE: I've just checked the meat again. (See above comment about impatience.) It is progressing. More fat coming off. I did the first fork check and it's tender in some spots, VERY dry and tough in some spots, troublesomely. Also, fat poured out of some spots when I forked them. Lots of fat. Maybe this meal isn't the healthiest?

6:14 PM UPDATE: Well, it's done and looking delicious. Right now it's loosely tented in aluminum foil and "resting" while I cook potatoes for mashing and wait to be able to skim fat off the juices. Can't wait to dig in. Photos to come.

8:24 PM UPDATE: WOW. That was a good meal. Very simple, rustic one might say. But thoroughly satisfying. Lots of good pork fat-ty goodness and the juices became delicious - just water and white wine and lots of garlic and onions and a very few carrots and MAGIC. Pictures below.
Figure 1. The whole platter of goodness.
Figure 2. One full plate. Mashed potatoes, peas, and pork.

Feet upon feet of snow = time for baking

Yesterday, inspired by deep-seated boredom and the approximately two feet of snow (and higher drifts) that have piled up around the house, I decided it was time to do away with some leftover bananas and a heavy dose of malaise by baking. I took another swipe at this banana bread recipe. This time, I used real eggs, a hand-me-down Kitchen Aid stand mixer (thanks mom!), more vanilla and twice as many bananas than the recipe called for, and walnuts. The results were very, very tasty. Banana bread having been accomplished, I decided I wasn't satisfied yet. I decided to make pizzas for an early, delicious dinner. I used Joanne Weir's recipe for crust (from Wine Country Cooking), which worked out DELICIOUSLY. I messed up the first step (the yeast/water/flour mixing part), but it worked beautifully anyway. Here's the dough before shot:I was worried about how small the dough was before rising (it did NOT look like enough for two 10-11" pizzas as I had been promised), but in an hour it had almost tripled in size! It was a light, fluffy, almost frothy dough, which resulted in puffy, crunchy, perfect crust. Crunchy under the sauce and toppings, but it had enough body that munching on the crusts afterward was pleasant. I wish I had reserved some sauce for dipping.

Speaking of sauce and toppings... while the dough was rising, I assembled toppings (with Dan's able help).There you see (clockwise from top left), 1. the wine I was drinking, 2. green peppers and zucchini, 3. red sauce (I whipped this up from some canned crushed tomatoes, lots of rough-chopped garlic, dried thyme, salt and pepper, and a generous dose of cayenne for kick), 4. mushrooms, sauteed with salt and pepper to release the juices, 5. rough-chopped broccoli, 6. rosemary prociutto, chopped, 7. goat cheese, 8. fake pesto I made from that basil in a tube stuff (kind of gross, but effective), some garlic paste (ditto), salt, and pine nuts (whole), 9. Ricotta. We then assembled these toppings into these two pizzas:1. (top) Veggies with spicy red sauce (broccoli, zucchini, 1/3 of the mushrooms, and green peppers, dusted with shredded mozzarella, topped with lots of good pecorino romano).

2. (bottom) The piece of resistance (as Dan and I have started saying): Green Pizza. (fake pesto base, LOTS of mushrooms, rosemary prociutto, clumps of goat cheese, and dollops of ricotta). It was Ridiculously Tasty. I heartily recommend this recipe, but maybe with real pesto instead of the fake stuff. But keep the whole pine nuts. They're delicious.

Clip Show

It's been a slow-blogging season, but I'm back now, packed with new resolutions and resolve to do everything better and more this year. Not realistic, but optimistic, you've got to admit. Winter has settled in on Watertown and I find myself buried under snow as well as much-procrastinated work. Here are some highlights:

Before Christmas, I baked these:
Apricot and Nut Cookies with Amaretto Icing. Delicious and Not Too Sweet!

This is what I did on my Christmas Vacation:Then we came back to town and showed Boston off to Dan's mum and aunt:
While we were gazing at Boston (from the Top of the Hub), we drank lovely cocktails and looked at the lovely orchid on our table:Finally, Lucy is dismayed by the snow. It sticks to her. These are what Dan refers to as chesticles:


This is what a feminist looks like

Oh, Hillary.

Read this and tell me she isn't great.


A Maybe Resolution?

My mom gave me a subscription to Fine Cooking magazine for Christmas. Maybe I'll try one recipe from each issue? Just for starters?