Sunday, August 30, 2009

Rest In Peace, Mr. Kennedy

I spent some time yesterday watching the final ceremonies for Ted Kennedy at Arlington Cemetery.

There was a man who was truly loved.

Listening to his young grandchildren deliver their final words to a deeply adored Grandpa was as poignant as one might imagine. Or more so.

Although I've never been a huge Kennedy fan, still, I couldn't help but be moved by the poise, the grace, the overall dignity of this family. The memories that all of the speakers shared at the different ceremonies showed an man who, while as flawed as any human being can be, was also a giving, and, at times, humble person, who BELIEVED. He believed in public service, he believed in trying to make this country a more livable place for many who suffered. He believed inthe love and strength of family. Stories of how he would have no qualms about having his name removed to the background on important bills, stories of how he helped everyday people, stories of how he called people directly to check on their well being.

I'm sorry I only learned these things after he died.

Will the Kennedy legacy live on? Do we even live in an age where such a thing as "legacy" even exists anymore? Is the magic of the Kennedy name gone, with the death of the final, famous Kennedy brother? Maybe. Or maybe it continues in more quiet way. Without the hype, without anyone trying to make legends and heroes out of good people who are trying to do good, the best way the know how.

Whether you liked the man or his politics or despised him -- I think it's hard not to see how deeply he affected our country, the state of Massachusetts, and his own family. And for that, respect him, honor him. And, let the dream live on.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Now playing on Twitter

In case anyone is interested, I'm now playing on Twitter: @jgoldstein2.

Follow me, if you dare :-)

(not that I have posted anything particularly scintillating there...)

Cooking experiment #1 - Peach Buttermilk Soup

Lately, I've been reading the cooking section in the New York Times. Lots of good stuff there. I decided that once a week, I'll try one of the recipes and see which ones are keepers.

First up at bat: Peach Buttermilk Soup. (

Basic ingredients: Peaches, buttermilk, honey, nutmeg, cardamom (which is hideously expensive), and cinnamon. It looked like a very simple recipe so I decided to give it a try -- especially since I adore peaches.

Now, pitting peaches is supposed to be easy. Run a knife down the equator and then twist. My peaches were astonishingly uncooperative. Was it because I blanched and peeled the fruit first (but that's what the recipe said to do!)? In any case, the twisting became an exercise with how to smush fruit by hand. What a sticky mess! Afterwards, I rechecked the method for pitting peaches and yes, everything I found said to cut and twist. Ha! I'll believe it if I ever get it to work.

The rest of the recipe was essentially, dump the ingredients into a blender and puree. Of course, I didn't read the recipe carefully and put all of the ingredients in at the same time. But, I suspect it didn't make much of a difference (and was easier).

The end result was not as yummy as it looked in the picture. I'm thinking I needed more peaches (or less buttermilk :-) ). I expected a thicker consistency. Maybe I'll add more pureed peaches?

I was originally planning to bring the soup to a friend's gathering, but I wasn't totally thrilled with the result, so I ended up making a strawberry/yogurt soup instead.

For next week...not sure. I just saw a really interesting recipe for Baby Back ribs (which I've never cooked). Doesn't look too hard and doesn't require a day's worth of effort. Although it's not a NYTimes recipe, this one might get on the Experimentation list.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

New Fridge!

Friday: The automated voice from Home Depot tells me that my new fridge will be delivered on Saturday, between 7 am and 11 am. Great, a morning delivery. My guess, the delivery will happen later, rather than earlier.

Friday night: I pull everything out of the freezer and cram everything into a cooler. I'm a bit surprised to see that I have two packages of peas, two packages of green beans. I guess that's what happens when your freezer is a disorganized mess. And then, there's the stuff that was absolutely ancient. I toss all the old stuff from both the freezer and the fridge. I leave the rest of the food in the fridge, figuring that I have plenty of time to take everything out before the delivery men arrive.

Saturday, 6:45 am. The phone rings, I'm still in bed and they're arriving in 15 minutes! I throw on some clothes and fly downstairs. I grab the vacuum cleaner and get the worst of the dust behind the old fridge cleared. Then I start emptying the rest of the food from the fridge. And right on schedule, the delivery men arrive.

Moment of truth. Despite the many times I've measured my space and compared it with the specification sheet for the new refrigerator, I'm still not 100% sure that it will fit.

But it does! I have about 2 inches clearance between the top of the new fridge and the bottom of my cabinets (not counting the cabinet frame). And, although the new fridge is wider and deeper than the old one, it still fits well in the space.

The new fridge is quiet, quiet, quiet. I haven't had the ice maker connected yet -- need to call the plumber. I've read that it's noisy but I might as well have it turned on. All in all, I'm quite pleased with the new refrigerator.

And now I'm feeling a bit more inspired to do the rest of the renovations on my list. We'll see how long that lasts :-)

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Icebox Cometh...

Waiting to hear from Home Depot about the delivery time for my new fridge. Oddly enough, I feel just a touch nostalgic about the old one. Until recently, it never complained, never gave an ounce of trouble. It just worked. Now, that I have to let it go, I'm feeling a little sad.

Silly to feel sad at saying goodbye to an appliance, no?

The new icebox is bigger--wider, deeper, and taller. I'm thinking that I'll probably end up walking into it in the beginning because it will extend further into the kitchen space than the old one. But, I think it will be OK.

Tonight..I have to clean out the old box. Figure out where I'll put the perishables until the new box is up and running. And set up an appointment to have the plumber connect the water line for the ice maker (the one negative comment that I heard about my new fridge is that the ice maker is quite noisy but how often does it make ice, I wonder?).

Farewell, old've given great service all these years. But, it's time for you to retire and stop working so hard. I will think of you fondly.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I own the words!

Having been a technical writer for what seems like forever, it's not often that I actually get excited about my work. Don't get me wrong. I *like* what I do for a living. It's just that, after all these years, a lot of what I do is a repeat of what I've done before.

At the beginning of this week, the product manager let me know that I will be responsible for all of the words in the user interface. For one thing, it takes this burden away from the developers. We have 2 UI developers and they are just swamped with work. For another, the wording that they've used so far is...well, not horrible, but certainly needs work.

So, I *own* the words! I've never had this responsibility. Usually, I've been able to work with the User Experience person and help to edit what they do. Or I have to log bugs and hope that someone actually pays attention to them. So, having this responsibility is new and I'm quite pleased about it. I get to make a real impact on the product, that everyone can see and I get to do something new.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Loyal readers?! and thoughts about condo renovation.

I haven't posted in ages and was surprised when I checked my blog stats to see that I still have readers! I'm impressed. And flattered, I supposed.

So, just to reward the faithful, here's my latest update.

I've decided to put some intention into my life and get going on doing some condo renovations. I've neglected the place for awhile and there's a ton of stuff that needs doing. I'm vaguely considering moving next year, which means the work has to be done if I can expect a decent price at all. Here's the list of things that I need to do:

1. New refrigerator (DONE!) - the old one is, well, old. Periodically, it makes odd, scary sounds. One time, it sounded like a dog's squeaky toy. And the gaskets need replacing. I'm getting *MILDEW* on them. ewww....And things freeze in the refrigerator. But, I just ordered a new one which will arrive next week. I'm praying it fits. I insisted on getting a fancy-dancy french door version and most of them are too tall for my space. I found one from LG that should fit (I've measured about a gazillion times)'s hoping.

2. New dishwasher - the soap dispenser release thingy broke awhile back. And it's just not cleaning dishes well. It's getting worse over time. Most likely, this is the next item to do. Probably next month.

3. New carpeting for the bedrooms. Both of these rooms have the original carpeting. The pads are completely worn out. I think I'll do the master bedroom first and then the guest room. Can't do both at the same time...too much furniture to move and not enough room to put it. I'm hoping I can call on some strong friends to help me move stuff. I'm starting to think of appropriate bribes.

4. Touch up painting. I love my color scheme but there are nicks and chips everywhere. I'm not even sure I can get all of the same colors anymore, but I'm hoping.

5. New flooring in the kitchen and bathrooms. The wood tiles in the kitchen needs replacing. It was an amateur job to begin with and it just needs to be replaced with a real, hardwood floor. The bathroom floors deserve nice ceramic tile instead of the cheapo vinyl.

6. New countertops in the bathrooms. The orignal laminate is, well, lame. I want marble or corian or possibly recycled glass.

I think that's the list. Oh, and the rest of the carpeting is desperate for a cleaning. That goes on the list as well.

Thank you, my loyal readers. There may be only a few of you, but you've stuck with me!