Tuesday, January 22, 2008

More Portuguese Music Info

I looked up Amalia Rodriguez on Google and found out she was a famous Portuguese singer (not Brazilian). She specialized in Portugal's famous "fado" music. Here is a Wikipedia article about Fado:

There are musicians today who still specialize in singing Fado style music - I'll have to investigate them too.

Amalia Rodrigues was one year younger than my father. She was born in 1920 and died in 1999. Her music was popular in the 1940's. She was known as the "Queen of Fado" and evidently pushed that style of music into the mainstream and eventually, to the attention of the world.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Oh My Gosh - This is Beautiful!!

Listen to this woman's singing!! Her name is Amalia Rodrigues and she was popular in the 1940's, in case you can't tell by her clothes and hair.

I went immediately to Itunes and downloaded what I could find of hers. She is singing in Portuguese, which sounds like Russian a bit to me - weird. I have heard lots of Spanish and even Italian, but Portuguese is especially soft. French is more nasal and it is soft also, but Portuguese sounds like an Eastern European language a bit because of all the "zh" sounds in their speech. I wonder why, out of all the Romance languages Portuguese sounds so unique.

Oh how beautiful are these songs!! The singing starts at about 1:01 if you don't want to wade through the Portuguese and don't understand what they are saying. I sure don't - but I don't care - the singing is absolutely beautiful!

I found her because I had also previously found Sylvana Mangano, a singer and actress popular in Italy in the late 1940's - here is HER video - I love this song, also, but there is little singing, just "bailar"ing - or dancing....

Cookbooks From Early 20th Century

I have a number of old cookbooks. My collection started because I was given my paternal grandmother's cookbook, "Larkin Housewives Cook Book". It is circa 1914 and she was married in 1917 or 1918 to my grandfather This cookbook is practically in shreds. I found that my grandmother had scotch taped pages together, thus hiding pages of recipes that I guess she didn't use, to emphasize her favorite recipes on the pages she was strengthening by taping together. I untaped all of these so that the cookbook has it's original number of pages. I also purchased another identical one from abebooks.com online. The one I purchased wasn't much used and is in excellent condition, so I can compare them.

I was glancing through another old cookbook I have called, "The Fashion Book of Recipes" by Jessie Marie DeBoth, director of Homemakers' Schools of Chicago, New York and Canada. This cookbook is 20 years younger than my grandmother's - it was published in 1934.

Aside from the fact that I notice food was much more bland in American cookbooks back then, I also notice that a lot of gelatin and tapioca were used. Gelatin for vegetables, molds with flavored, home-made mayonaisse. There were feeble attemps at Chop Suey, and something that doesn't sound very good called, "Columbian Dinner", which consisted of tomato soup, flaked canned salmon and onions served over noodles and topped with cheese. It just doesn't sound very good - not sure why - probably the tomato soup, rather than sauce - and the salmon.

There is a whole chapter on a "reducing diet" which is excellent. Fast for two days on water, coffee or tea (if necessary) and orange juice. Then eat their 1000 calorie menu for a week. If you lose more than 5 lbs. in that week, then switch over to the 1500 calorie menu since you shouldn't lose weight too fast. The menus aren't too bad, although there are some old fashioned items that aren't popular today, like tapioca. I know there are people who eat tapioca today - but it doesn't seem to me to be as popular a dessert as it once was.

Here is how to choose and cook a chicken from scratch - and I mean scratch.

"Poultry and Game"

The term poultry applies to domestic birds suitable for food, such as chicken, fowl, turkey, geese and ducks.

Game applies to all wild birds and animals used as food, such as quail, partridge, pheasant, wild duck, deer rabbit, etc. The flesh of game has a stronger flavor than barn-yard fowl.

Fresh poultry should be firm and have a fair amount of fat under the skin. Any tame or wild fowl should hang until the animal heat is out, from 8 to 24 hours. One way of detecting the age of chicken is by the pin feathers. They are absent in old fowl; also the breast of young chicken is pliable and the flesh is lean.

Preparing a Chicken

Cut off head of live chicken and allow it to bleed well. Do not have feet tied." (Note - there is no mention of the - to me - horror of the chicken running around headless, or flailing around until the blood is all out....it sounds misleadingly calm here).

"Next, remove feathers. If young bird, pluck by pulling feathers toward tail; if old bird, plunge in scalding water, then wrap in paper few minutes before plucking. Remove all pin feathers and stubs.

Next, singe the bird to remove the hair. Do this by taking chicken by neck and legs and holding over a flame or blazing paper. Do not scorch skin. Remove pin feathers between sharp knife and fingers or with tweezers. Cut out oil sac above tail.

Cut away the legs just below knee joints" (Knee joints? Chickens have knees??) "and draw out the tendons. Make a lengthwise slit along the neck and take out the crop and windpipe. Cut off the neck at the shoulders. Make an opening on the right side near the vent about 2 inches long, or large enough to admit the hand. Work around the organs loosening them from the body. Remove entrails, being careful not to break any of them. Throw away all viscera except heart, liver and gizzard. In cutting away liver, take care not to cut the gall bladder when removing it. Remove bits of lungs and liver that cling between the ribs. Rinse the cavity thoroughly, scrub the outside. It is now ready for stuffing or for cutting. When stuffing, do not pack in dressing - to do so will burst the skin when cooking...."

The cookbook goes on to explain how to cut a checken and/or truss it. Then, how to prepare giblets and broil the chicken. Then there are several recipes.

I must say that after completing the cleaning of the chicken, I would not want to eat anything. THAT would be a great weight loss trick - prepare your own food from hoof to plate......

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Note how the tone of the posts change from 1/14 to 1/16. I was happy as a clam on 1/14 and by 1/16, I was in the pits of despair. I'm sure there is something to learn here....


Right now I'm at work - and I'm having difficulties. First of all, I didn't want to go to work today - it is my late day, so I had time this morning to get interested in doing some projects and then found out I hadn't time to do them. I resent that more than most anything else - the fact that I have to give up what I want and often NEED to accomplish to go put in time somewhere else. Somewhere else where I don't care what happens - the place could burn down and I believe the community would benefit. My feeling this way is from my experiences at this job. I worked very hard for over 10 years and rose up to a certain level. A good level. Two and a half years ago a new boss came in and his secretary wanted all her friends to work for her - so my work life was made a living hell in efforts to get rid of me - they couldn't fire me because I had done a great job. After I was removed from the job I knew how to do, I was placed in a position for which I have no experience or knowledge - and so it continues. I just don't fit where I am now, although everyone is very kind. It seems to be accepted that I won't be of much use to anyone. I AM thankful because in other jobs, I would be out the door - that won't happen here - at least for now.

Today, the difficulty is within myself I know. But the pressure just keeps building. Right now, behind me at a conference table are a bunch of women who are about to have a meeting. They are discussing their retirement plans. One woman has talked about how she won't have to work anymore in a few months - and how they are building their retirement home on property they own in a country place. That is like placing a sword in my side. How I wish we weren't in the financial circumstances we are in. How I wish I didn't have to work. How I wish we didn't live where we do. I've wished these things for years, and as time goes by, the yearning grows deeper and stronger. Most days I am fine - and then a day comes like today. I probably need to just ignore myself and my feelings and just do whatever is physically necessary to get through the day.

Then the ladies talked about diets - and I think how these women are no different than me. The "shoulds" get us all the time and the guilty feelings if we don't do the "shoulds". I listen to them discuss their diets, their eating "sins" and watch as they each compare themselves to the others. The successful ones, the ones to emulate, are the thin ones who are ready to retire.

I'll make it through today, give myself a healthy shake, and try to re-adjust my thinking.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Good Year

I just celebrated my 52nd birthday on the 12th of this month. My coworkers gave me a lovely party, with wonderful gifts (mostly gift cards, which I LOVE, since it prolongs the fun); my husband showered me with cards (he kept pushing them under the door in whatever room I was in) and gifts and flowers. For the past month, since before Christmas, I've been feeling so much better. I'm not sure why, but I think it's my greater attention to the things of the Lord Jesus Christ. During my time off from work (16 whole wonderful days!) I read inspirational fiction, studied the Bible, prayed, listened to Fernando Ortega music (so beautiful) - and dropped the worry, anger, jealousy and fear I'd allowed to sneak in around the cracks of my soul.

When I went back to work last week, I was afraid that my peace would all go right out the door, but that didn't happen at all. So far, so good - I don't want to let go of the peace the Lord has given me, and I pray that He doesn't let ME let it slip away.

I hope to have more pictures soon - it's supposed to be cool this weekend, which is a perfect opportunity to get out into nature again - plus, it's a 3-day weekend. Yay!!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Speaking of Thorns

Well - after exactly 16 days off, it's back to work tomorrow. Sigh. I didn't win the Lotto and no strange relative left me financially independent.

However - I'm so thankful I have a job, that the job I have doesn't work me to death - and for all the blessings the Lord gives.

Happy Monday everyone - may yours be blessed!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Photos for January 1, 2008

My husband and I went for a short ride into the Everglades today and below are some of the photographs I took. Our first stop was along I-75 just before the first major rest stop. I noticed some herons and ibis perched on a low bush next to the exit. Amongst them I thought I saw something pink! The Mr. managed to turn us around so we could retrace our steps - and sure enough, a roseate spoonbill was in the bushes with the herons and ibis. I've only seen spoonbills at Flamingo Gardens in captivity,
never in the wild, so this was wonderful! Here he is looking at me as if to say - "Hey! You lookin' at ME?"

Here he is flying away

Next - we got off I-75 at Government Road and I caught a little blue heron flying away

Finally we made it to Huff Bridge Road where there was a damselfly in the grass

There was a pretty yellow wildflower, better known as a weed, alongside the gravel road

I also noticed an orange dragonfly

There was a mystery hawk in a distant bush - I could not identify what type he is, but I thought he was beautiful