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NO MORE .com

Sorry folks, but for the very few of you who visit via ducksandbooks.com you’re going to have to type in ducksandbooks.wordpress.com starting soon.

At $8.99/year, having a domain name was fine, then it was $9.99, now $11.99, and soon it will be $14.99 through 1&1 (the most bare-bones, cheapest domain name registration I’ve found). I just don’t see any value in it! That’ is two months of Nexflix or Hulu Plus and I actually USE those. Since I’m not even consistent in my self-branding (am I Violarulz or Ducksandbooks?), I’m just going to let both domains go.

Que sera. I’ve owned violarulz.com for 11 years, it was a personal blog, then this was and I turned that into forwarding to my Google+ account (does ANYONE use those?), and now I’m just letting it go. I suppose it matches with my “dumb phone” lifestyle, though I’m quite upset at Google for dumping 2 of my 4 favorite products (Google SMS, a service that lets me google via text message, and Google Reader, an RSS aggregator). They haven’t quit supporting Google Reader yet, I’ve backed up my subscription list but am otherwise in absolute denial that anything is going to change. Please, come hold my hand when it disappears on July 1?

Back to the stone ages!

Let me know if you have any issues with reading my blog, I’ll try and talk you through changing your RSS subscription or changing your bookmarks.

Here’s a quick weeknight meal, inspired by The Pioneer Woman’s “Best Spinach Salad Ever.” 

Where can you find kosher beef bacon? Both Grow and Behold and KOL Foods carry it. Some kosher grocery stores may carry it too. Sometimes beef bacon is called “beef fry” instead of beef bacon (and may look like fatty porcine bacon or be more processed, like turkey bacon). I can’t eat the grocery store kind, at least the kind that Kosher Mart carries, it has carrageenan in it (which gives foods a thicker/creamy mouth feel but also gives me sad tummy in moderate doses).

Oh, you don’t want an rant about my food issues, you want a recipe, right? Here I am, teasing you with a messy kitchen table photo of my dinner that I started to eat before photographing it (this salad is best eaten immediately after all).

Deena's warm spinach and beef bacon salad

Deena’s warm spinach and beef bacon salad

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 slices BEEF BACON
  • 1-2 Tbls good olive oil, as needed
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 4 oz white button mushrooms
  • 8 ounces, clean, dry, baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. reserved BEEF BACON grease (or beef bacon fat + olive oil to reach the correct volume)
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • small sprinkle of kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • OPTIONAL: 3 hard boiled eggs
  • OPTIONAL: chopped cherry tomatoes (I had some from my garden)

DIRECTIONS

In a tiny bit of oil, fry the beef bacon until crispy/chewy. Set aside on a paper towel.

Remove the warm grease from the pan with a spoon, add olive oil as needed to come up to 1 and 1/2 tablespoons, and set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the warm skillet and return to medium heat.

Slice red onions very thinly, add to skillet. Slowly cook the onions until they’re caramelized and reduced. Set aside on a plate.

Slice mushrooms and add to the same skillet. Slowly cook the mushrooms until they’re caramelized and reduced. Set aside with the onions.

Chop up beef bacon into little nibbles.

OPTIONAL: Peel and slice eggs.

Make hot beef bacon dressing! Add the 1 1/2 set aside bacon grease/oil, vinegar, honey, and Dijon to the skillet over medium-low heat. Whisk to combine and heat through.

Place spinach in a large bowl. Add onions, mushrooms, and beef bacon on top. Pour hot dressing over everything; toss to combine.

Top with optional eggs and/or tomatoes and serve immediately. Serve with focaccia or other fresh bread.

ducksandbooks:

Has someone been following me to write up this list?

Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

This… this is my soul song, people. This is my Vietnam.

1. You’re not anti-social, you’re selectively social.

2. At any given point, you have one (maybe two) best friends who are your entire life. You’re not a “group of friends” person. You can’t keep up with all that.

3. Social gatherings that are supposed to be “rites of passage” like prom and dances and other such typical nonsense is just… not for you. You don’t understand it. You want nothing to do with it.

4. When you do choose to grace a party with your presence, you are the life of it. You’re dancing on the table and doing body shots until 3 a.m.

5. … You then retreat into three days of complete solitude to recover.

6. You go out of your way to avoid people, but when you inevitably have to interact with them, you make…

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Every summer, without a doubt, I get a little homesick for camp. I miss the lake, I miss the fact that someone else will do all the cooking and dishes, I miss the order/structure (same wake-up time, play amazing orchestral music, music theory, lunch, classes in theater, piano, art, Alexander Technique, etc./chamber music/practice time and viola lessons/activities, dinner time, concerts or free time, and the same bed time 6 days/week, no classes on Sunday and only AM classes on Monday). I miss the immersion in all of arts and the weather. Today’s relatively low humidity (~50%) and high of 80F are much more Michigan-y feeling than DC. 

view from the deck of the Maddy Cabin

Green Lake from the deck of the Maddy Cabin, Summer 2012

I don’t miss performing (yet?), but I miss being immersed in art and having it available in all forms to fill me up. Feeling whimsical? Visit the sculpture studio. Feeling contemplative? Shakespeare or ballet. Restless? Ultimate Frisbee or free swim, or sailing (if you remembered to re-up your open water training). Feeling lonely? Poetry reading, organ recital, or new music ensemble! The smaller performances always had such a warmth to them, and usually some really friendly older patrons who love to chat during intermission.

The business was the best thing for me. Long, days filled with lounging make me restless.

why yes, that is a VERY tall man conducting NINE harps

HS Concert Orchestra, conducted by Mr. Holland, with Mrs. Holland’s 9 harps

I guess what I’m saying is that I need more activities in my life. 4th of July weekend and last weekend were GREAT, we did something everyday and I felt wonderful!

This year’s camp stats. It seems like the kids get more and more amazing each year. Or I’m just getting older and further removed. I was amazed by my peers when I was there too. It could just be that kids are amazing.

ducksandbooks:

“This is not to say that camp is a panacea for socially isolated people with disabilities. ” Nope, but for me it was a panacea for someone who didn’t know they were socially isolated (until they weren’t) who has no major disabilities.

Originally posted on Matan Koch's Blog:

“Holy sh**, that’s Matan” – Unknown shmirah (on-duty counselor) late July 1994.

These were the words I heard during the execution phase of a critical step in trying to sneak me across camp, from boys’ camp to girls’ camp on the last night of the first session of Eisner Camp in 1994.

Sneaking across camp, or raiding, was a time-honored tradition, especially on the last night.  I like to think that it was a little more innocent when I was a child than it is now, with the stories that I hear of rampant teenage sexuality, but there is no question that hormones were a motivating factor.

Despite being as motivated as any other 12-year-old boy, there were some significant complexities in the idea that I would participate.  The first was that sneaking across camp involved, well, sneaking, and I was in a large and very loud power wheelchair. …

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ducksandbooks:

No shame, I LOVE POP MUSIC!

Originally posted on TIME:

According to the calendar — if not the weather — it is officially summer.

That means it’s time to don the white pants, slap on the Coppertone and find out which songs will be dominating radio from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Last year, it was a toss up between two ubiquitous hits: Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” But which song will be blasting on beaches, blaring at barbecues and playing at pool parties from coast to coast this summer? We have a few guesses, but want to hear from you, too. Vote in our poll (located at the bottom of this post) and help us divine this summer’s mega-hit.

Here are 14 songs vying for the title of Song of the Summer 2014:

Pharrell – “Come Get It Bae” [feat. Miley Cyrus]

The man behind two of last summer’s mega-hits —”Blurred Lines” and “Get Lucky”…

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Problem Solved

ducksandbooks:

I’ve been eating commercially made Matzohla this year, but next year I’ll be making my own matzo-granola!

Originally posted on Proof of the Pudding:

In my experience, “Passover” and “delicious” and “weekday breakfast” are not words that belong in the same sentence. On Passover, Jews must remove all grains from their diet, including anything derived from wheat, barley, oats, rye and spelt. That means no cereal, no muffins, no bagels, no oatmeal — essentially, none of the staples that get me through my workday morning.

Sure, there are “Kosher for Passover” muffins and cereals made with matzo meal, but have you ever tasted some of these alleged breakfast goodies? Most of them are gritty, tasteless disasters. And of course there is always the taste sensation that is matzo itself, but somehow allowing my stomach’s first encounter with food in more than 8 hours to be an indigestible cardboard-like wafer seems like cruel and unusual punishment.

Friends have told me that breakfast is the “easiest” meal during Passover because you can eat scrambled eggs and…

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