Initially, I was going to have this post consist of a single picture:
This was the sight that greeted us this morning, just outside our kitchen window, at the back of the house.
But this is what it still looked like out front:
Here in Maryland, they’ve been begging us to stay off the roads. At the moment, I can’t see any roads, no problem with that.
I couldn’t help recalling with a sort of bitter nostalgia the days of newspaper delivery, mail delivery, trips to the library to get yet another of my gazillion reserves…
I won’t deny it: I was getting cranky.
But in the afternoon, a crew making the rounds gained access to our front door and asked if we wanted to be dug out. Well, I guess so! And so they did the job.
Now, it looks like this:
It’s better, but until they plow out the cul-de-sac, we’re still stuck.
I have been trying to employ my time in useful pursuits. I have two presentations to prepare for, one a week from this Saturday and the other, in July.
The first is a presentation for the many book lovers in my AAUW chapter. It is called Book Bash. I’ve been involved in this event for several years now. Sometimes others collaborate with me, but this year I’m going solo. I’m basing my presentation on last year’s True Crime class and calling it “Time for Crime: True and Imagined.” Here’s the handout I prepared and sent out in advance:
Time for Crime: True and Imagined
Last year, I was offered the opportunity to teach a class on the literature of true crime at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Johns Hopkins. I chose as my principal source/textbook True Crime: An American Anthology, edited by Harold Schechter and published by Library of America in 2008. Several copies are available at the library, call no. 364.1523T
Here are some especially interesting excerpts from this anthology. Where these excerpts are available online, I’ve provided the URL; additional URL’s contain related material of interest:
- “The Recent Tragedy” by James Gordon Bennett p. 63
- “Crime News from California: The Criminal Market Is Active” by Ambrose Bierce pp. 80-81
- “A Memorable Murder” by Celia Thaxter p. 131
- Murder Ballads: “The Murder at Fall River” p. 205; “The Murder of Grace Brown” p. 203
- The Eternal Blonde” by Damon Runyon pp. 236-246
- Excerpt from The Gangs of New York by Herbert Asbury p.303
(Lots of additional material concerning true crime is included in the above blog post.)
7. “The Trial of Ruby McCollum” by Zora Neale Hurston p. 512
8. “The Black Dahlia” by Jack Webb p. 524
9. My Mother’s Killer” by James Ellroy p. 707
10. “Nightmare on Elm Drive” by Dominick Dunne p. 737
The Beautiful Cigar Girl by Daniel Stashower
“The Murder of Marie Roget” by Edgar Allan Poe
An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
A Place in the Sun: film starring Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift
An American Tragedy: opera composed by Tobias Picker
Double Indemnity by James M. Cain
Double Indemnity: film starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, and Edward G. Robinson
My Dark Places by James Ellroy
Justice: Crimes, Trials, and Punishments by Dominick Dunne
British Library Crime Classics
Resorting To Murder: Holiday Mysteries, edited by Martin Edwards
Capital Crimes: London Mysteries, edited by Martin Edwards
Antidote to Venom by Freeman Wills Crofts
The Sussex Downs Murders by John Bude
Mystery in White: A Christmas Crime Story by J. Jefferson Farjeon
The irreplaceable excellence of Ruth Rendell
A Judgement in Stone
A Fatal Inversion (as Barbara Vine)
The Wexford novels: http://www.stopyourekillingme.com/R_Authors/Rendell_Ruth.html
The absolute wonderfulness of Sue Grafton, as embodied in
I’ve included many mysteries and quite a few works of true crime in my yearly round-up of favorites:
The second presentation is actually a book discussion I’m planning to hold with the Usual Suspects. I’ve chosen to discuss Capital Crimes: London Stories, edited by Martin Edwards. (It’s one of the British Library Crime Classics mentioned above.) I’m trying to decide which stories to single out, but they’re all so good, it’s proving to be a real challenge. (My friend and fellow Suspect Pauline is assisting me with this task. Thanks, Pauline.)
Oh – and one other useful pursuit for today: I made a batch of famously mysterious Lacy Parmesan Wafers.
I often bring these little guys to meetings and get-togethers, and whenever I do, folks tend to wax rhapsodic. What’s in them? they demand to know. Well, let’s see, there’s shredded Parmesan cheese… That’s it – just that one ingredient. Make little mounds of it – about a tablespoon in volume – and space them out regularly on a cookie sheet. (I put nonstick aluminum foil on the sheet.) They go into a 400 degree oven for about eight minutes. Take them out, give them several seconds to cool, then transfer them to a paper towel to await the arrival more Lacy Wafers. Keep doing batches until you run out of Parmesan cheese.
That’s all there is to it. And it makes a great snack for diabetics like Yours Truly. Cheese is blessedly low in carbohydrates, often containing only trace amounts or none at all.
So, this single-ingredient thing is my idea of hassle free cooking. It’s the only kind of cooking that I have the patience for, at present.