Tuesday, December 25, 2012

So Far, So Good

I have ventured into baking again.

I know, I am a glutton for punishment.

But I had promised The Kid that she would have a lemon meringue pie for dinner tonight. (I am a glutton for punishment).

For those of you who are uninformed, my last effort ended up on the kitchen stove---minus a crust.

The stove top
The remainder

This time I used a cookie sheet and moved ever so slowly. Even putting the ingredients together. It took a LONG time.

I was extremely careful with the eggs. No yolk in the whites, said my mother; so there were no yolk droplets in my egg whites. Medium heat for the lemon custard; so medium heat. Stir constantly; so I stirred forever!

Then I added cream of tartar and vanilla extract to the egg whites and beat them shiny and stiff. I even added the sugar very slowly.

And this was the result.
Today's effort before browning

I carefully (oh, lordy, you don't know how carefully) transferred the pie to a cookie sheet. Then I carefully slid the whole thing into a preheated oven (I did that before I started anything so I wouldn't forget!)

Twelve excruciating minutes later I had to remove it from the oven. I had cleared large swathes of the kitchen counter so that I would not bump into ANYTHING.

I carefully removed the cookie sheet with the pie on it.

I made it to the stove top!

And then, it a miraculous feat, the pie, in one piece made it to the cooling rack ON THE COUNTER!!

I made it to the COUNTER!

It sits now, safe and sound, in the refrigerator for the mandatory 3 hours.


May you have peace in your life this year. And may your efforts be as successful as my pie!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Singing When It Hurts

Tonight the Vocal Arts Ensemble joined the Central California Children's Choir at a sing-a-long at the Performing Arts Center on the campus of Cal Poly. We do this every year.

We sing a couple of songs from our Christmas Concert, then the Children's Choir sings a couple of songs followed by the Advanced Singers of the Children's Choir and then us again.

Between choirs the directors lead the crowd in singing Christmas Carols. That is the VAE behind them in the picture.
Gary and Melody leading the audience in carols.

The crowd is full of children. From babes in arms to teenagers. There are a lot of older people as well. Many with walkers or canes. Some in wheelchairs.

Everyone is dressed for Christmas and the audience glitters.

At the end of the show, the children's choir joins the VAE on stage and we sang a song called "Hope for Resolution"

The song is a composite of  an old hymn called "Of the Father's Love Begotten" in English and a Zulu freedom song in Swahili . It was written to commemorate the meeting of President Frederik Willem de Klerk and Nelson Mandela. It was at that meeting that, as Dawn Spears said in her introduction, "the world shifted" because it was the end of apartheid and the beginning of acceptance of each other. 

I am standing next to maybe a 10 year old girl who is singing her heart out. I am singing and crying and trying to not to reach out and take her in my arms in a giant bear hug.

It would have scared her to death. 

She would not have understood how precious she is and why some stranger would want to hold her, to make her feel safe.

I wanted to feel safe. 

This week has not been good for us as people. 

We can make it better.

Sing. Laugh. Love.

Be good to one another.  

Friday, December 14, 2012

Peace, please

On day's like today, when the news is so awful, I try to go to a peaceful place.

Yesterday, as I was going to work, I stopped to take a photo of the fall/winter morning here on the mountain. I spent a lot of time looking at it today. This is my peaceful place.

Feel free to use this peaceful scene when the world is ugly and you don't understand.

I do.