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Preheat oven to 400F

Mix dry ingredients in one bowl:

  • 1 3/4c Cornmeal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar (optional)

In a separate bowl:

  • Whisk 2 eggs until foamy
  • Whisk in 2 c plain yogurt (I used nonfat)

Stir the dry ingredients in to the wet ingredients and add one finely chopped jalapeño (I included the seeds). You can also mix in a cup of finely grated cheese, but I haven’t tried that version yet.

Line muffin tin with papers, or oil the tin, distribute batter evenly. bake for approximately 17 minutes (until toothpick/knife comes out clean)

These muffins are very fluffy because of the yogurt in the mixture, the jalapeño adds a delicious bite.

TALK ABOUT IT!!

Waterloo Bridge on TCM Vivian Leigh has whirlwind romance, can’t get married before fiancé ships out. Thinks he’s dead, becomes prostitute.

Of course he’s alive. Comes back and finds her tarted up but doesn’t put 2&2 together. Will he still want his fallen woman?

Spoiler alert! She tells future MiL, runs away instead of telling fiancé. He goes to her roommate and they search, the places she worked

Obvs she is on bridge where they met, he doesn’t think of that. She jumps in front of a truck. Whores must die, even if done as last resort

I was drawn in by a movie last night at 1am, so I did the logical thing and tweeted while watching. This one had SO MANY of my least favourite plot threads!

  • immediate/undying love with very little reason given for the connection
  • dead soldier fakeout
  • promiscuous girls don’t get a happily ever after
  • missed connections between characters (GO TO THE BRIDGE WHERE YOU MET!!)

and my all-time least favourite:

  • Keeping information from the Significant Other and making their choice for them

Seven Pounds did this, Will Smith decided to end his own life in order to give his heart to the woman who loved him, the woman who just possibly would rather have had him alive and lived out the remainder of her own short life together instead of knowing he’d be alive if it weren’t for her. Benjamin Button pulled a similar punk move.

In the early stages of the movie I was pretty sure there would be soldier fakeout death, it was pretty inevitable. I was actually surprised that the movie took on prostitution and thought it did a decent job showing that Myra and her friend Kitty were desperate for money and had no one to turn to. Once Cronin (the love of Myra’s life after being together for 24 hours a few years before) returns Myra struggles between hoping to have her dreams come true, but knowing it could all end because of her actions. INSTEAD OF TELLING HIM why she’s wearing a shiny dress and hanging out at the train station as soldiers arrive she keeps quiet. INSTEAD OF TELLING HIM that her meeting with his mom went poorly and as a result she was desperate in order to survive, she says nothing. Later, at his home she tells his mother (well, not specifics) BUT DOES NOT TELL CRONIN. Instead she makes his mother promise not to tell. THE MOTHER DOES NOT TELL. Which is worse Myra, suspecting Cronin might reject you if he’s told, or jumping in front of a truck? And do you really think so little of Cronin? Why not give him the chance to step up? Surely, even in 1940 it could be *possible* that he’d forgive you. But no, save his delicate feelings…. And they weren’t really saved anyway, he tracks down Kitty, they make the rounds looking for Myra, and it’s pretty clear what she’d been up to.

I get that the movie is meant to be tragic, but it was filmed in 1940, and clearly is meant to both give hope and instruct it’s audience. The reputation of whirlwind romance leading to love that endures though hardship is unquestioned. But ladies, becoming a prostitute out of desperation IS NOT OKAY. Myra bears sole responsibility in the movie for fucking up her happily ever after,. For the 1940s audience, if she hadn’t been a prostitute all would have been well. For the modern audience, blame is shared, but Myra still is responsible for ending her own life and the relationship. My suspicion is that Corbin suspected she’d had a difficult time while he was away, but he didn’t follow through and ask for specifics. Maybe he thought they had a lifetime to talk things over? FOOLISH MAN.

Preheat oven to 400F

Whisk together in a large bowl:

  • 2c flour
  • 1/2c sugar
  • 4tsp baking powder
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/4tsp baking powder
  • 1/4tsp powdered ginger

Whisk together in another bowl:

  • 1 lg egg
  • 1c plain yogurt
  • 3 1/2tbsp melted unsalted butter
  • 1tsp vanilla

Combine contents of both bowls stirring until just mixed

Fold in 1 1/2c blueberries

Line muffin tins with muffin papers, scoop dough in to tin distributing evenly (makes 11 muffins)

Bake for 15 minutes or until knife/toothpick comes out clean.

These are super fluffy and delicious, with a bit of tartness.

During grad school Thursdays were my designated weekly pajama day. Staying in PJs was my note to the world (and myself) that while I may be working, I would absolutely not leave the house. Lovely PJ days.

Today I declared PJ day for myself, and it’s been rather productive! Over 250 posts read from my google reader (only about 100 to go), dishes washed, fancypants lunch made (Mango-Chicken salad: in a hot pan cooked chicken and mango with cayenne pepper, ginger, and marsala, served over spinach), applied to jobs, RECEIVED A JOB OFFER!!!

I asked to think it over for the evening, but I’ll take it. It’s a level higher than the one I applied for, and I really like the manager I interviewed with. I would start training in on the 27th, which means I have some time to enjoy being unemployed instead of feeling alternately relaxed, guilty, stressed, broke, grumpy, nervous, bored by being unemployed.

Coming Out

From a friend I learned that someone from formertown posted on facebook about being an atheist. To give a little context, formertown was founded in the 19th century as a religious community, today most of the community are employed by the church or schools. It doesn’t surprise me that there are a few atheists mixed in, but one never knows who they might be. I felt incredibly isolated in formertown because I didn’t know if discussing my true beliefs would result in rejection and possibly also losing my job.  There are/were teachers at the school that weren’t raised in the religion, and I certainly did my best not to disparage it in public, but I felt that at best my work would be subject to additional scrutiny. There are a broad range of religious and political beliefs in the community, but the school has a major part in upholding the status quo, and the more conservative members of the community often have a louder voice, and larger donations. It’s a legitimate concern.

In addition, everyone likes to have an opinion and gossip spreads quickly. Though the opinions of others wouldn’t change my mind, I’m not really wanting to defend my decisions to everyone who asks. It’s one thing to explain my process to a friend, entirely different to have a confrontation at an event (ie. wedding, school, grocery store). While I am curious about how people might react, I also don’t really care about the reactions of random people I barely know, but who know my family tree and think they have the right to give their opinion.

Several of my friends know about the process I’ve gone through to reach my present beliefs, but there are many acquaintances that don’t really know, older friends from high school that have stayed religious and “like” various anti-atheist or pro fox news statements on facebook. I wind up feeling resentful that they feel so confident that I would share their beliefs as a matter of course. Simultaneously I have such admiration for people who make a public stand about who they are and why.

By connecting with the person who posted a public statement about atheism I have also connected with other community members who share my beliefs (I don’t know why seeking an underground network didn’t occur to me while I was in town!) i feel less afraid about making a more public declaration of my stance. One fear of moving away from religion, while thoroughly surrounded by a religious community, is the possibility of losing all community. But I’ve already extricated myself from the community, and live far away from local gossip, so that fear no longer has weight for me.

I’m debating next steps… do I email people I consider friends? Just let it come out in conversation (it hasn’t in past years, soooo). In this age of facebook, it would certainly be expedient to just post a note or a link that outs me, but that also seems pretty passive, though it would get the word out. So that’s where I am for today. Pondering.

Preheat oven to 350F

Bowl 1:

  • 2 sm. very ripe bananas
  • 3/4 c. lowfat plain yogurt
  • 2 lg. eggs

Bowl 2:

  • 1 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. cocoa powder, sifted
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  1. Combine both bowls until just mixed
  2. Fill 12 muffin cups
  3. Bake about 35 min

I found these rose fairly well and had a light texture, but they stuck to the muffin papers I used (probably because there wasn’t oil in the recipe). Next time I would try foils, or lightly greasing the muffin tins. I might also use a little bit of vanilla.

Perhaps I set myself up for disappointment. The novel begins by describing how Guardian society is different from that of eighteenth century England, namely that Guardian women have more equality with men than their “mundane” sisters. “Interesting,” I thought to myself, “perhaps this alternative history, including magic use, is a way to re-tell the story of war and include more female participation in historic events.” Sadly, it was not the case.

I read paranormal fantasy/romance with female protagonists because I enjoy the strength of these women. Generally there is an emphasis on team-building and problem solving, combining smarts, strength, and the heroine’s specific (usually unusual) powers. Many of the television shows and movies I watch undermine female strength, women are side-characters, victims, fit the Hollywood mold of attractive appearance, etc. Female protagonists in paranormal novels often have powers that both make them unique and contribute to their successes. Reading about characters facing down demons, vampires and automatons successfully, and growing in strength as they face their fears, is a powerful metaphor for me as I face much more mundane challenges of insecurity, complex relationships and job hunting. Another positive in several of these novels is that if the heroine is in a relationship it is a) on equal terms or b) does not last long as she does not deny her own power/instincts in order to please the man. A vast difference from most TV/movies I’ve seen!

Thus, A Kiss of Fate disappointed me on several levels (spoilers ahoy). Gwynne was raised a Guardian, but believed she had no powers, fortunately she is a scholar, which is valued in Guardian culture. Fine. I like a smart protagonist in my novels. However, after sexxytimes with her new husband they discover she is an enchantress, whose powers are not awakened until having intercourse. Really? REALLY? I get it, her powers are related to sexuality, and thus it makes sense they are awakened by having sex. But of all the powers to have, that’s what she gets?

From her first kiss with her soon to be husband, Duncan, Gwynne knows his destiny is linked to destruction and the Jacobite rebellion, a few kisses later she knows she will betray him; She marries him in order to mitigate the potential harm he will cause. As a point of conflict this one’s pretty lame. There is absolutely no doubt she will betray him. How does she betray him? By attempting to reach him body, mind and soul while he is following the Jacobites, this does not work, so she remembers that her powers are of the body. When she reaches out to him with her power of the pussy he arrives in her bedroom and they sex it up (she gets knocked up in the process). She then locks him in the castle dungeon to keep him from helping the Jacobites win. Though Putney writes that there is no possible way the hero and heroine will reunite, it is absolutely clear to the reader that they will. How do they do this? She leaves, he follows her, they sex it up “letting down all their barriers” and see each other’s intentions of course they are reconciled.

My three problems with the novel are as follows:

  1. After emphasizing equality and Gwynne’s intelligence, Putney gives Gwynne stereotypical feminine-wiles as a superpower.
  2. Gwynne could have had no powers and reached the same results: her husband loves her intelligence and sexuality and feels a connection to her even before she has sexxaysuperpowers.
  3. Including a magical element, or rewriting history, should bring something new to the story, for example, this is often an opportunity to re-examine class or gender roles, this novel does neither, though the set up lead me to believe it might do both.

If this was a basic romance novel I probably wouldn’t complain, though, I also probably wouldn’t have read it. Unfortunately, the premise of the novel included mages with the ability to change the politics of their day. It was clear from the beginning that Putney wasn’t writing a fully alternative history-the Jacobite rebellion would not succeed-but if that is the case then *something* else in her alternative history should have been fundamentally altered by the addition of magic.