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[Error: unknown template qotd]Beginning with the last question: A viable TB vaccine would be wonderful, with AIDS as my second choice (purely because TB still affects more people).

As to the second question: HELL NO! Some people are allergic, and, especially early in the vaccination schedule, people should be observed to make certain they don't have an adverse reaction.

And to answer question 1: I've already written a post where I've listed everything I've been vaccinated against. I'll throw in that because I was a military brat (and because I'm over 50), bubonic plague, smallpox, and the old "killed-whole-cell" typhoid fever vaccine were among my innoculations. The last of those has some interesting side effects including a high fever localized to the injection site (seriously, I could put my hand two inches away from my arm and feel the heat) and soreness.
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As many of you know, I'm a vegetarian because an illness about 18 months ago left me unable to digest meat. I can do dairy -- though not as much cheese as I'd like -- eggs are tough for me. No poultry, but for some reason I can still handle fish occasionally (like once every couple of weeks). This means that I'm basically lacto-vegetarian with a fortnightly hit of fish.

When I was a kid, I loved my mother's zucchini patties. They may have been "Depression Food" (as in the Great Depression not anti-depressant), but they were also comfort food.

As an adult, my standard meal in the evening (because it's cheap and quick) is whole grain pasta with a simple olive oil based sauce. I start with garlic or onion in olive oil, add herbs and/or spices, throw in a third of a package of broccoli slaw (or slice up another vegetable or mushrooms to go in it), add either wine, liquor, or cider to the pan, and by the time the pasta is cooked, I have a nutritious and delicious topping for it. Sometimes I forgo the alcohol and add lemon or lime, sometimes I'll use sesame oil for the cooking, but on weeknights, this is my staple meal.

Any of these can have seitan (which I especially like with mushrooms and red wine) or tofu added to the mix.

Common variations:
onion, tarragon, white wine or sherry
onion, mushrooms, thyme and/or bay leaf, red wine
garlic, thyme, lemon peel and juice, and gin (this one needs a little water added)
garlic, onion, rosemary, canned tomatoes
garlic, gin, fresh dill added after it's all cooked (again a little water -- for hard liquors I use a tablespoon or less)
onion, thyme, sliced apple, hard cider, pink peppercorns
onion, sesame oil, orange peel and juice, ginger, Cointreau

garlic, hot peppers, (anchovies, optional), for cauliflower
olive oil, mustard, and salt, for brussel sprouts
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The Wind in the Willows and Peter Pan are two chapter books that I think work well read aloud. I prefer to read to myself because I hear the voices differently than the voice of the reader. It's not so bad with non-fiction.

I've given Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain to many of the children in my life.

For the younger set, I like Everybody Eats Rice which has recipes from different cultures and celebrates an urban neighborhood. There are three other books by the same author, each geared to a different time of year and a different staple food.

I like the Anne of Green Gables books for two reasons: Anne goes to college (along with several friends from Avonlea and elsewhere) and she and Gilbert work hard to build a future -- first by teaching to earn money for college and then with Anne working as school principal while Gilbert completes his medical training.

Mostly, I hope they'll find things for themselves and share them with me.
fabrisse: (Persephone)
I know my childhood was unusual, thanks to the military.

We were living in London when I turned 8. There was a pop song by Sandie Shaw that talked about going to Paris for the day, AND we'd been studying the Mona Lisa in second grade. So when my parents asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I said that I wanted to go to Paris for the day and see the Mona Lisa.

Bless my parents, they looked into it and found that the USO had a day tour of Paris that wasn't too expensive to take a 5 year old, a not-quite-eight year old, and their parents.

It was great. Yes, the Mona Lisa's eyes follow you around the room, but she was smaller than I'd thought she'd be. In some ways, I appreciated the experience of having seen her when I was eight more when I went back to Paris at fourteen. By then, there was bullet proof glass and an enforced distance from the painting. I had seen her up close, and the adults in the group let me have a few minutes to see if she was always looking at me. The experience six years later was completely different.

The Eiffel Tower was orange. I remember being surprised by that. It was probably a primer coat before the next phase of painting, but it was wondrous to an eight year old.

My other two very strong memories from that trip -- other than my sister crawling on Dad's lap to nap on the bus -- were of the Venus de Milo and the Nike of Samothrace (or as I called it then, Winged Victory).

I was slightly shocked at Venus not wearing a bra, but other than that it was the fact that the adults were familiar with her that sticks with me.

The Nike, though...

The old entrance to the Louvre can be seen in the Audrey Hepburn movie Funny Face. Right after we passed the ticketing area with our tour guide, there was a huge stair case with red carpeting and Winged Victory at the top. I know I must have seen sculpture before, but I genuinely remember this as the first sculpture I saw. Walking up those steps, getting closer to her, seeing a couple of fragments of her (nose and a hand), all of those things were just subsumed in the power of that piece of art. It's truly glorious, and I'm very happy to know that it is still possible to enter the Louvre there instead of going through the I.M. Pei pyramids because her being the first piece of art a patron sees is part of the overall glory of the experience.

I knew better than to touch, but, even now, I long to. I love her. I don't know if she'd have the same power whole. I think she'd still be beautiful, but the way she struck me might have been different.

I've had some magnificent gifts, but this was definitely the best ever.
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I live in a city of trees and gracious buildings. I live in a city of parks and imposing architecture. There are so many potential answers to the question that I nearly didn't try.

Instead I'll break it down by type.

Best Park -- I have a couple that I like, but really, as long as the Cherry Blossom Festival is over, my favorite is the Tidal Basin area. They have paddle boats in the summer. The trees are beautiful, and it affords a wonderful view of the city. Best of all, the Jefferson Memorial is there. It's lovely and rarely as crowded as the mall. There are small parks with dog runs or children's playgrounds in the city, and I love them too. But Washington is about the big spaces and this one is lovely.

Best Memorial -- The big imposing ones are wonderful. I try to visit each of them once a year or so -- I mean I see them all the time, they're part of my daily walks, but actually to go to them and be part of the crowd reading Lincoln's or Jefferson's words or the group looking down at the city and wondering what we're looking at is a great thing to do.

My favorite though is the Taft Carillon. I like the fact that Taft insisted his statue not be larger than life. I love listening to the bells. I love how shady the little patch of ground it's situated on is. It's peaceful in one of the busiest parts of the city. It gives us music at unexpected times. I love it.

Best Architecture -- Outside DC proper, my favorite building is still Dulles Airport. The grand sweep of the roof in the distance still makes my heart jump into my mouth every time I see it.

Inside the city, I'll count the Capitol and the East Wing of the National Gallery as my runners up, but my favorite is The National Building Museum. The grand sweep of its interior is amazing; it was obviously thought out well to take as much advantage as possible of natural light. It's a huge brick basilica with a Civil War frieze around it. The building was originally the pension office for Civil War veterans.

Best Church -- This is a city of churches nearly as much as a city of trees, but National Cathedral is unique. Yes, it's a Gothic cathedral, more in the French than the British style in spite of the denomination being Anglican/Episcopal, which made it an anachronism before it was begun. But it's beautiful. I love the tympanums, even though they were controversial when they were installed.
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Mrs. Tish made the second half of fourth grade a living hell. She decided early on that eight of us were "troublemakers" -- I never found out her criteria. She put the desks of these students in a row perpendicular to the Teacher's desk in order of perceived trouble. I was sixth or seventh on the row and the only girl.

We were sideways to the blackboard; we only saw the sides of our classmates heads.

First of all let me say that other than this teacher, Cherrydale Elementary School was the best school experience I had. The school was the first one I attended where we changed classes. Even though I was in fourth grade, I was taking second grade math and eighth grade English (I was the youngest in that class). I was in fifth grade level for at least one of my other classes, and took fourth grade history with most of the rest of my classmates. For the final three months of the year, there was also a Student Teacher who taught us French.

I lisped. Once a week I had a meeting with a speech therapist. I came back to class one day after my speech therapy and was told I was going to be suspended for cutting class. I reminded Mrs. Tish that I had been taking speech therapy at the same time every week since she began with us (we'd had a different teacher right up through Christmas). She told me it didn't matter. I burst into tears, and she informed me in front of the whole class that it was so much FUN to make me cry.

I was not well liked among my classmates, but she was hated. A couple of weeks after that incident, the boy who had the first desk on the troublemaker row, went ballistic over something. Now, this boy was tormenting my sister at the bus stop in the morning. In fourth grade, he was well over five feet tall, and he delighted in bullying. I stood up to him as best I could -- I was barely 4'8" -- but it wasn't always easy. He ran out of the classroom. Mrs. Tish followed and told us all to stay at our desks. The entire room, except me, went to the doorway. I heard several of them say that she hit him.

When Mrs. Tish returned, she screamed at us. Then she assigned us a one thousand word essay on obedience because we'd all gotten out of our seats. I protested that I hadn't -- and every single one of my classmates supported me. They all agreed that it would be unfair for me to complete the assignment because I'd obeyed her rules. She screamed some more, but finally agreed that I wouldn't have to do the assignment.

I'm torn about what I would say to her. I regret obeying her, although I'm glad that the inherent unfairness of that assignment made the class unite against her. It never occurred to any of us that she could be reported to anyone for anything. My mother took her side because I was a stubborn kid who needed to learn discipline.

I was getting A grades in 8th grade English and French. I passed science well. The only class I didn't do well in was the only class I took from her -- Virginia History.

Maybe I'd say something about her being a sadist who hated kids.

I really don't know.
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I have many. My sense of smell is excellent, but the one that sticks with me...

When I was ten, my mother went to work and the first job she got was a night job. She did detailed backward planning to instruct me from a distance in how to cook dinner for me, my sister, and my father. I also, for at least part of this time, had a paper route. There were days, especially in the autumn and winter, when I started dinner and then delivered the paper. (The Washington Star, now defunct, was an evening paper except on the weekends.)

Short ribs with dried apricots was one of the great budget meals from my childhood. I can't remember a time when Mom didn't make it, and it was one of my favorite dinners as a kid.

I remember coming home from the paper route and smelling the short ribs. I looked for Mom for a minute or two, until I remembered that I was the cook. It was the first time I thought of myself as a cook, and I was so proud that I'd made it smell right.
fabrisse: (Mariana)
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Yes. In my private life I talk about "paying rent" for the life that I've had. I've worked a suicide hotline, volunteered at events large and small for organizations as varied as New England Leather Alliance and the Smithsonian, and I've tutored in math, social studies, literature, and, currently, technology. I'll take time off from volunteering every once in awhile -- sometimes due to outside circumstances, sometimes due to burnout -- but I always come back to it. I don't know whether this will be a lasting mark or not, but I hope the world is better for my being in it.

I probably wouldn't have responded to this question today if I hadn't heard of the passing of Marian of Edwinstowe.

The lady has left behind a huge legacy. Her home has been shared with many of my friends for greater or lesser periods of time. Her talents as a baker and her dedication to historic cookery are legendary. I've spent time as an assistant in her kitchen, both for the Battlefield Bakery and for dayboards and feasts. Safety was always her first concern, and that's important in a busy kitchen, but she always took the time to explain things -- the why behind the step being performed.

When I did my first dayboard (and my deepest thanks to Morgon who helped me stuff sausages and Rhonwen who still won't even look at a parsnip thanks to me), Marian took the time to tell me what she thought I'd done right and make suggestions for my next one. I was so zonked from all the work that I never feel that I thanked her properly for taking that time and being so kind.

Several of my friends learned to bake scones from her. I'm not a baker, but I hope one of them will take the time to teach me Marian's way of the scone and in time that I will share it with others. Because good food may be ephemeral, but the meals, and the cook who brought us together, are long remembered.

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I've had many that were bad, though the vast majority were good.

The worst was arriving in Greece during a banking crisis only to find, on the second day, that there were demonstrations against Americans going on in the streets of Athens.

Seeing the Archaeological museum with all its vast treasures, attending the sound and light show at the Parthenon on the first night, and recognizing the word Acropolis on the bus (I was twenty, but somehow the idea that the Greek buses would use the Greek alphabet hadn't really occurred to me.) were all wonderful moments for me and my sister.

Having to stay at an expensive hotel because all the banks were closed and the hotels would only cash traveler's checks for their own guests and holing up in the room after dark on the second night while we listened to the demonstrations, were definitely a bit scary.

I have ended up on the periphery of worse riots, but those were at home in DC.

Still, traveling with just my little sister in a country where I couldn't even figure out the language from cognates made me pretty nervous. Sis and I practically kissed the ground when we finally arrived in Brindisi.

(The cognates thing... I attended a Greek Orthodox service, many years after the incident above, with a Greek friend. The service was extra long that day, at least two hours, which she apologized for by saying, "and you couldn't understand one word." I said that wasn't true, I'd understood six: evangelicum, mysterium, eucharist, christe, kyrie, eleison.

Contrast this with arriving in Brindisi on that trip mentioned above and spending over an hour of the time between Brindisi and Rome translating, in both directions, a conversation between an American and a Neapolitan even though I don't speak any Italian because I could understand the French cognates.

Yeah, Greece made me nervous.)
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I want a Goddess. That's the nickname for the Citroen DS. I know it's not eco-friendly. I doubt it's the fastest car on the road anymore. But it's love, what can I say? The convertible is especially cool.

Failing that, I loved my little Deux Chevaux. I had the burgundy and black Charleston paint job. I could carry four passengers and the engine was rated at, I think, 25 horsepower. It was a joy to drive. Besides, how many people know how to use a manual choke these days? I do.
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[Error: unknown template qotd] An elephant standing on a mirror.


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