Digging up bones

Last night my sister in law had a movie night with her best friends in our shared home. I told one of the friends to check out the Qatiaf recipe if she is interested on my blog. Her response:”You have a blog?! What is it and why don’t I subscribe to it??!”

Her enthusiasm apparently excited something inside me to get back to MissCorrigan. Maybe it had to do with remembering how much I enjoy close friends doing nothing but enjoying the evening. Maybe its the power of nostagia; or the need to make sense of things so not to lose perspective…its so easy to go off track.

Earlier that evening, I lost perspective (for the upteenth time) and yelled at my husband for a couple hours-what was the reason for my anger? Ok-Anything that comes to my mind in anger-I went through the crawl space of my subconscious and found some things in there…

Spilled Milk

Spilled Milk

Then I went to sleep and dreamed that I was in the front seat of a roller coaster that I knew was completely absent of track at the end. It went way too fast and ended in a loopdy loop at the end dropping to the ground and ending my life. I felt the very end of it-my life and woke immediately.

But somehow today my mind is clear. It is currently uploading 42,900 memories  into my brain theater. I remember how I told a concerned adult at 16, when I felt the first twinges of real sadness (that is part of all lives but too deafening to deal with adequately as a naive human) that the reason I was depressed had to do with some girls at school making me feel bad. Almost 20 years later I am doing the same thing with my husband; telling him the reason for my tumultuous feelings had to do with this or that, him or her, and ultimately he was to blame.

But it never really is about any of that, is it?

Sunset on Hilltop

Sunset on Hilltop

Why do the saddest songs have the most enjoyable beats and catchiest lyrics? (See for example Slave Driver(B.Marley))

I also threatened to leave. And it hit me the many times I did just that to people in my life. The times I walked away, couldn’t forgive, gave up, started fresh. Usually I am thinking of those who left me in one way or another. Why at that moment when I yell at my husband do I actually believe that that is what I want? When my head is clear, its absolutely absurd.

“They say time can play tricks on a mem’ry
Make people forget things they knew”

I was mean too, as mean as I could be. I wish I could always be clear. My only hope is to pour my emotion into art, into body, and into mind. And leave the real joy that is real life for the loves of my life. They deserve nothing less and really, neither do I.

Hands in at all times. Except for when they are courageously up in the air in delight.

Top 10 Best Romantic Films

10. Officer and a Gentleman

Coming in last because of it’s sappiness and Richard Gere headlining, this film is best watched over and over and over again while simultaneously falling into a deep sleep…

9. Overboard

Love riches to rags stories!

8. Niagra

Who doesn’t love a quaint vacation with the lovely Marilyn?  You won’t want to miss the falls at night!

7. The African Queen

Humphrey Bogart wouldn’t drink the water while on set, and therefore was the only one who didn’t get sick while filming the movie. Kathryn Hepburn wasn’t so lucky, but hey, it wouldn’t be in the top ten, if it weren’t for her brave misfortune.

6. Roman Holiday

Embedded within the classics, this film isn’t in the top ten because of Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. No,  but because it is the best ending to a love story ever.

5. It Happened One Night

Now this one owes its place in the lineup due to the classics, the delightful Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert.

4. The Count of Monte Cristo

The book is also a great one to check out. It was authored by Alexander Dumas, who was reportedly very similar to Dante (The Count), having lost his entire fortune within his lifetime due to grand schemes of entertaining and the like.

3. V For Vendetta

A film which He saves Her.

2. Rocky

A film in which She saves Him.

1. King Kong

Prepare to ball your eyes out. Doesn’t matter which version you are popping into the VCR. When that ape goes down, so does the rest of the world..

Say What?

I have been hearing some interesting things about dolphins. For one thing, they each have their own name and they talk to one another using their individual names.

“A bottlenose dolphin identifies itself with a signature whistle. The signature whistle is so distinct that scientists can identify individual dolphins by looking at their whistle shapes on a sonogram.” (http://www.seaworld.org/animal-info/info-books/bottlenose/communication.htm

Scientists, I hear, are becoming close to interpreting dolphin language. I thought, to myself, when I heard this, that the day we interpret animals’ language, is the day we change as a human race.

The same goes for the day we learn there are extraterrestrial beings outside of earth. It will be the day we as humans have to change the context for which we make sense of the world.

In 1973, a botanist named Lyall Watson, claimed plants have emotions and they could be recorded on a lie detector test. (http://www.medicaldaily.com/articles/10247/20120611/plants-communication-survival.htm)

This botanist was largely ignored at the time, but today scientists are again claiming that plants actually do talk to one another. They have recorded clicking sounds made by roots, and are observing that plants respond to and grow toward sounds.

‘Clip one of us, and we all go down together!’

So it seems, we really aren’t alone.

And I gotta wonder, what kinda things do the plants and animals know that I don’t?

Jimmy the Gorilla

“I’m ready to speak your language.”

How different things would be, if we understood the world outside of our human terms…

Send Me an Angel

One year later, and I am still married. I wonder if it’s true what the say about the first year being the hardest. I don’t have enough experience to say.  If it’s anything like learning a new skill for instance, then the hard part about the beginning is not knowing which way is up or which is down.

Don't crouch down; the lion has seen you long before you saw it.

Don’t crouch down; the lion has seen you long before you saw it.

One year later makes marriage settle into the background and get comfortable.

It's comfortable in this here tree.

It’s comfortable in this here tree.

Although. Sometimes…sometimes… Ok, say you learn to play the accordion and later learn that you taught yourself upside down and backwards.  This is sometimes what it feels like.

Meow?

Meow? 

MEOW!?!?!!!!!!

MEOW!?!?!!!!!!

But that would be if we were doing it alone, and we are mostly certainly not.

...meow.

…meow.

Yep, we are part of something a lot bigger than what we can possibly imagine.

MeoW! Meow meow meow! Meow, meow?!...meow.

MeoW! Meow meow meow! Meow, meow?!
…meow.

So, the hard part? Nah. It ain’t no thing.

Yeah right.

Yeah right.

How To Rescue a Cat From a Tree

Materials Needed

Ladder or adrenaline

A rope with something somewhat heavy attached to one end (Or a long, thick extension cord)

Laundry basket

Directions

1. Construct pulley system using rope and laundry basket.

2. Climb as high as you can using your ladder if possible.

3. Throw the heavy end of the rope over a branch near the cat. (Do not hit the cat.)

4. Pulley the basket near the cat so he can jump in. Be patient. He will jump in.

5. Lower the rope to the ground.

6. Climb down and carry the limp little carrot home.

(Alhum.)

Ma’amoul (Shortbread Cookies With Dates)

What a wonderful time of year! A time in which many feel enormous gratitude and happiness. The long, yet too short month of Ramadan is over, and its time to celebrate with family and friends. Ma’amoul is a traditional dessert served. It goes perfect with tea, as I am enjoying the combination right now. Eating it is as important as the preparation stage. In some places, droves of women will gather in common areas and spread their blankets out and together, prepare the dish. While I didn’t have the pleasure of such, my experience this year was surely just as nice.

As a new wife, I am happily getting to know new family. Family with rich experiences, stories, and skills, have only just begun to unfold around me, and my heart is wide open. I vow to never let trivial squabbles ever come between us, we will not argue over money, and let’s never hold a grudge.  This is my Eid wish for me and my new family, and yours too! Now for the Ma’amoul courtesy of a beautiful woman, my new friend,  hard-working mother of three.

Pictures provided at the end of the recipe come from the oldest son(age 8), who borrowed my phone to snap some pictures, lending well to the atmosphere of our particular experience.

Enjoy and Eid Mubarak! (Happy Eid!)

Dough ingredients

9 cups semolina flour

3 cups Butter (or Crisco, yellow with butter flavor)

3/4 cups Mazola oil or canola

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Day Two Dough Ingredients:

Freshly ground anise

A couple of pinches of yeast

Warm water

Filling ingredients

Date paste (You can make your own using dates, but we used a package):

One teaspoon of butter

A pinch each of cinnamon and nutmeg

Step One: Prepare the dough one day ahead

Combine the dry ingredients, then add melted butter (not hot) and oil. Mix the ingredients very well, cover, and let stand. Your dough should feel very powdery to the touch and somewhat dry. The next day,  it is ready to be used.

You will now add your Day 2 ingredients (a couple of pinches of yeast, a pinch each of cinnamon and nutmeg and a splash of warm water.

Step Two: Add Day 2 ingredients to your dough

The water should only be slightly warm, not hot. Now you are ready to mix the dough with your hands. Add water until your dough can be easily molded. Set aside for two hours in a warm place.

Step Three: Prepare your pliable dough and let sit for 2 hours

While you wait for your dough to rise a little, you can make the filling. Add the ingredients and mix together.

Step Four: Prepare your date filling

Mold your filling into small balls about the circumference of a nickel.

Step five: Shape your filling

When your dough is ready, it’s time to mold your cookies. Pluck a bit of dough, just enough to cover your filling. Roll into a ball and then press an indent with your thumb.

Step 6: Shape your cookies around the filling

Round out the cookie and press your forefinger into the middle and rotate.

Rotate your thumb around while keeping your forefinger in the middle until you have a small ring

Fill an entire pan, and let sit covered for 20 minutes.

Step 7: Cover your cookies and let sit for 20 minutes

Now they are ready for the oven.  Pop them in at 350 degrees for about 11 minutes. If they seem to be able to use some browning, turn on the low broil for a minute or two.

Once they are completely cool, dust powdered sugar over them or leave plain.

Powdered Ma’amoul

Another option for molding your cookies is to use a cookie cutter that is traditional and recognizable. Ma’amoul can have other fillings, so this shape help identifies your favorite one when it’s time to enjoy.

Shape cookie and flatten into cookie cutter, pound out by tapping table

Traditional shape: Date cookie

Extra Step (Walnut Filled Cookies)

Other traditional fillings include walnuts or pistachios, and also have a particularly recognizable shape. We also made a couple of pans of walnut cookies, using the same dough.

Mix dry ingredients for walnut filling

The filling is very sticky, it includes walnuts, brown sugar, cinnamon, honey, and simple syrup. Do not add anise, as this is only for the date cookies.

Mix wet ingredients into walnut filling

Mold your dough, press into your cookie cutter, and bake

Well, what a day making such delicious  cookies, I hope you enjoy making them in your home. Don’t forget to take time and enjoy your company. Until next time!


On a Day the Moon Kissed the Sun

What were you doing on the day of the eclipse?

If you missed it, enjoy a walk on the boardwalk and kick up the sand…on a day the moon kissed the sun.

Don’t look directly at the eclipse now, it will burn your eyes out!
Awwww.
Go ahead and look.