Monday, June 16, 2003

Reading: Currently in the "active" reading pile are: Undaunted Courage, A Painted House, and Foundations of Customer Service. Undauted Courage is excellent. I am completely sucked into it. I am awed by the courage and tenacity of the explorers. They are paddling and pulling heavily packed boats UPSTREAM! They have no medications (even though they have all picked up venereal diseases from the friendly Indians who share their wives), they are working hard all day everyday and need to consume 9-10 pounds of meat each day to keep their energy. I don't eat that much meat in 2 weeks! This book doesn't have a lot to say about Sacagewea but she really amazes me. She is 15 years old, just had a baby, is the only woman in the group and is hauling her baby on her back over the plains (they are not yet to the mountains). I think I will read about her next.

A Painted House is by John Grisham and I would not have picked it up if it weren't for Mom insisting. It is very good, so far! I generally don't read Grisham because once you have read one, you have read them all. This one is different, though. Not a lawyer in sight. It takes place in the 50's, in rural Arkansas, on a cotton farm. The narrator is a 7 year old boy, son of farmers who rent their land and therefore do not have a painted house. It makes me glad I am not a cotton farmer or a Mexican or "hill person" hired to pick the cotton.

Foundations of Customer Service is one I am reading for work. It is boring. I get $50 if I pass the test after reading it. (I wish I got $50 for every boring book I pulled myself through)

Eating: I don't think I have written about Enchilada Casserole yet but I can't remember the whole recipe so I will come back to that one. We had chicken fajitas last night. I use the Schilling season packet to make them. Not too difficult.

This weekend I hope to go strawberry picking. The berries should be ripe. Last year, the berries at Bauer Berry Farm were absolutely beautiful. Big, juicy and sweet! I froze a bunch of them on cookie sheets and then packed them in freezer bags so I could have a few at a time. The smoothies I made were delicious. I keep a big tub of vanilla yogurt in the fridge so they are a breeze to make. A couple big spoonsful of yogurt, a splash of whatever juice available, a handful of frozen strawberries, another of frozen blueberries (also from Bauer Berry) or half a frozen banana or a kiwi. Puree until smooth. The frozen fruit is easier on your blender than ice and the smoothies don't get watered down.

I also would like to go to the Minneapolis Farmer's Market. Besides all the good fresh produce, there is a stand there that has excellent tortillas in a variety of flavors (garlic, herb, tomato, etc.) and in a couple different sizes. I think I may have missed asparagus season but there is always something in season. My rule at the Farmer's Market is to avoid the stands where they sell pineapple. They are not selling local products and if I wanted California produce, I would go to the grocery store.

Gardening: On my day off on Friday (I work 80 hours in 9 days and get every other Friday off), I finished planting my shade garden. Finally! I only had a dozen or so plants left to put in--polka dot plants, begonias and coleus--and then I finished mulching the area. It looks lovely, if I do say so myself. I don't think I will ever be DONE but I am done with the plants I had already purchased. Saturday I planted my long-planned sunflower hedge and got a sunburn on my neck and shoulders. When will I learn?!

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