Leslie's Latest News

Thursday, October 31, 2002

Fall colors are about at their peak in the Boston area and today was another nice bright sunny day that set them off to their fullest. There's one spot on my way to work where I drive past a grove of maple trees in full fire and I'm afraid that some morning I'm going to drive off the road because I can't take my eyes off them. I haven't been walking as regularly as I should because of the pressures at work, but this afternoon I decided that I needed a break. I convinced one of my co-workers to come along with me - a young woman from India who hadn't much experience with walking in the woods and who found the colors and the views entrancing. It sure felt good to get out in the sun for half an hour. I have to start doing this every day, especially now that we've lost daylight savings time and the sun sets so early.

Machinka has been missing for 4 days - the longest stretch that she's ever been away from home. I think I offended her because I shut down the cat door. But she had started bringing home dead animals and I just couldn't take it anymore. I broke down today, though, and unlocked the cat door again, because worrying about her is worse. I home she comes home soon.
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Monday, October 28, 2002

Work has been very intense lately. We're all tearing around trying to get a major new release out by the end of the year. There have been various frustrations related to a recent reorganization, and other frustrations on a purely technical level that I can't really explain without going into a lot of boring detail. Let's just say that work hasn't been a lot of fun lately. I've been hesitant to bring up the issue of going part time while we are in such a frenzy, but I still have hope that when this release is done, I might be able to manage it. So I'm hanging in there.

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Yesterday was really nice and it was great to be outside. I got a lot of garden cleanup finished up. The previous weekend, I'd started the job and turned the compost bins and finished up really sore all over. This weekend I wasn't quite so ambitious, so am not feeling quite so achy this time.

I've been starting a project to eat more fruits and vegetables. Both of the last two weekends I've cooked big batches of various different things and ate them throughout the week. I'm looking for quick and easy recipes that don't require a lot of fussing. Here are a few of the things I've done. Baby spinach, steamed in the microwaveable bag that it comes in, then topped with soy sauce, scallions, and a dab of sesame oil. Spaghetti squash, cut in half, cooking the microwave, scooped out and topped with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. Delicata squash (the absolutely best squash) just microwaved. and eaten plain. Brussels sprouts cooked according to a recipe found in one of Dean Ornish's books - the best way I've found to make Brussels sprouts edible (see below). Steamed green beans. Oven-roasted beets (from my garden) and beet greens steamed with soy and garlic. Macoun apples (the absolutely best apples) just plain or mixed with low-fat cottage cheese and walnuts, I also made an apple bread, but the recipe was rather odd and I don't much like the way it came out.

Brussels Sprouts with Garlic and Ginger (from Eat More Weigh Less by Dean Ornish, recipe credited to Joyce Goldstein). Brussels sprouts are rarely a popular vegtable because they are most often cooked until they are gray and soggy and smell like tired cabbage. Here's a recipe that treats brussels sprouts as a crisp fragrant, and green vegetable. Trim 1 pound Brussels sprouts and cut in half. Place, flat side down, on a cutting board and cut the sprouts into very thin strips; you'll have about 3 cups. (Note: This is important and the secret to why this recipe works. By cutting them into thin strips, you allow them to cook quickly and stay green and flavorful.) Bring 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water to a simmer in a large saute pan. Add the sprouts, 1 tbs finely minced garlic, 1 tbs grated fresh gingerroot, and 1 ts grated lemon zest. Cook, uncovered, over high heat, stirring often, until the sprouts are tender-crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Add more broth or water as needed. Stir in 1 1/2 ts anise seed and season with salt and pepper. (Makes 3 servings, each 86 calories and 1.1 grams fat)
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Thursday, October 17, 2002

Click on the pink ribbon to donate $1 to Breast Cancer Awareness.
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Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Another sniper shooting in the DC area. This one in a shopping center where my parents used to shop when they lived in Maryland. I am really hoping that they stop this guy soon. What a great argument for gun control!
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Monday, October 14, 2002

I don't know what it is, but I just love fall. After raining all weekend, the sun came out today, the sky is a clear deep blue, and the foliage is just starting to turn all sorts of brilliant colors. There's a sugar maple in front of my house that is struggling to stay alive because it was planted too close to the street, but this morning it just lit up my living room window with brilliant gold. On my way into work, there was a woman wheeling in a cart with 5 large pumpkins for some sort of decorative display, and seeing them just made me smile. They made me think of crisp apples and scuffling through the leaves and riding horses down golden country lanes. Gosh, I love fall.
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Wednesday, October 02, 2002

The most beautiful experiment in physics. And the New York Time's explanation of the top 10 most beautiful experiments.
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Tuesday, October 01, 2002

In an interesting article on the history of bathroom breaks in the workplace (Lavatory and Liberty), the Boston Globe points out that the workplace is the last vestige of Feudalism in a supposedly free society. This explains a lot. I know I have always hated the fact that I have so little control over my working life. Here's a brief excerpt:

Why do the freedoms that we take for granted outside the workplace suddenly disappear when we enter it? ''Belated Feudalism,'' a study by UCLA political scientist Karen Orren, suggests a surprising, and shocking, answer. According to Orren, long after the Bill of Rights was ratified and slavery abolished - well into the 20th century, in fact - the American workplace remained a feudal institution. Not metaphorically, but legally. Workers were governed by statutes originating in the common law of medieval England, with precedents extending as far back as the year 500. Like their counterparts in feudal Britain, judges exclusively administered these statutes, treating workers as the literal property of their employers. Not until 1937, when the Supreme Court upheld the Wagner Act, giving workers the right to organize unions, did the judiciary relinquish political control over the workplace to Congress.

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