Saturday, October 18, 2008

Saturday Musings and Catch-up

Not much has been happening around here lately, as you probably figured out from the lack of blog postings. A lot of co-workers were at a conference this week, which gave me time to work on some older projects without a lot of new things coming my way. Wednesday was the university’s annual Tech Fair, and although I usually don’t go because there’s nothing I’m in the market for (nor do I want to be marketed to), Dan was working the fair and it was a chance to see a lot of my old IT friends, so I went and hung out for a bit. Sometimes it’s good to go to these things for no other reason than to have a little face time with people you know, keep your name out there and all that.

Now that the weather is cooler, I don’t have to start my Saturday long runs so ridiculously early. So today instead of driving to Memorial Park at 5 am to run where it’s safe to do so in the dark, I started my run around 6 here at home, running around the university until there was enough light to head out to Hermann Park and Rice. Nothing special happened on the run, but it was nice to do a route I hadn’t done in awhile and that didn't require I drive somewhere first. And in case you’re wondering why the university is safe at 6 am but not 5 am, it has to do with the arrival time of work and cleaning crews for both regular operations and the seemingly endless activities and events that go on over the weekend. The police presence seems to step up around that time, too. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to upcoming time change. More morning daylight is a good thing for early-rising runners.

Here are a couple of recipes I’ve tried recently:

Oatmeal and Prune Muffins: In spite of prunes’ reputation, they’re moist and tasty dried plums that aren’t any more likely to send you to the bathroom than any other dried fruit. I made a loaf of quickbread out of this recipe instead of muffins, baking it on 350 for about 45 minutes. The first time I made this recipe the salt-to-sweet ratio seemed off but I followed the instructions exactly. My suspicions were right. The second time I reduced the salt by half and added raisins and chopped pecans just for fun. The result was very tasty. And since it contains molasses and raisins, I can claim it as a source of iron! Okay, maybe that’s pushing it a little. But it’s good and healthy, regardless.

Bulgar Salad with Grapes and Feta: This was a nice dish to prep ahead for weekday lunches. It requires no cooking other than boiling a little water. I’m not crazy about sweets in my main courses, so I skipped the grapes and used grape tomatoes. I added some finely chopped fresh spinach, since I had no fresh herbs handy, but the herbs of your choice and/or some fresh chives would work nicely in this. Top with freshly ground black pepper before eating and enjoy! As noted in the recipe, it only serves two so I recommend doubling or even tripling it.

And that's about it for news in my life. All the excitement is in my current fiction project. Although I've written some amusing scenes in previous fiction, this is my first novel-length work intended solely as a humor piece. It's been a fun ride so far and a welcome distraction from post-hurricane stress and the gyrations of the global economy. I could write a lot about the economy, although I don't know if I will because I try to avoid controversial topics on this blog. I will say, though, that if you aren't going to be retiring for at least another decade or more, this is a time of great opportunity. Play it smart.


the Bag Lady said...

Glad to hear your weather is cooling off. Ours is, too, but quite a bit more than yours will! It's still pleasant during the day, but the nights are getting cold. Winter's coming.....

d. moll, said...

Hmm, play it smart......BTW I keep meaning to buy your book (print, it tastes better) because I want to read your work and I really don't enjoy reading on the screen. I think I'll do that right now. Spots send regards to fellow spot.

Glenna said...

Glad to see you back! Love the prune recipe & will try it this week on vacation. I think prunes (and other dried fruits) only get that reputation because sometimes people realize how tasty they are and inadvertently overdo.

I totally agree about the economy and we had a lively discussion in my accounting class about the opportunities out there--i.e. stocks in companies that have plunged only because the market did so, despite the company making a tidy profit and manufacturing many products that are recession-proof.

Thomma Lyn said...

Our weather is cooling off big time! It's gonna get down in the low-mid thirties tonight. I love cool nights -- great sleep weather!

But I'm kinda fussy about the prospect of the time change. Works great for early rising runners, but it's kind of an adjustment for afternoon hikers! :-D

Seriously, though -- enjoy, my friend! I'll just have to get my butt outta bed earlier, heh!

Rabbits' Guy said...

It's about the best time of the year for running here! Although our days are getting quite short, the weather is cool and mostly decent. And will be until late December now!

Actually if one is already retired and never did do anything too stupid it is a good opportunity as well! Our cars were very old (18 and 17 years old!) and needed to be replaced and we got two very dandy fairly new ones at ridiculous prices!

FrecklesandDeb said...

Yesterday was a beautiful day here. Went for a walk along the creek by our house and watched the ducks play in the water.

That bulgar salad sounds delicious!