March Marvels

Here are the top three things that make my heart sing this month:


1.  Beer bread.  At the recommendation of a friend in Dublin, I made my first batch of this sweet, yeasty bread about a week ago.  I like to make bread in general; I enjoy working with flour and making a huge mess, but I love – love – kneading.  I’m not sure why, except for the fact that this was a part of the process that I, as a child, was invited into.  It’s impossible to screw up.

Kneading aside (because in this recipe, there is none), this beer bread is absolutely the easiest food item I think I’ve ever made.  You just mix the batter and pour it into a loaf pan – you could even make it in the pan if you want.  The recipe doesn’t call for yeast, but the bread still rises in the oven, which makes it a wonderful beer science experiment (the best kind).    Check it out, and let me know if you get a crunchy but supermoist loaf like I did.  Feel free to not use the full stick of butter, but if you swallow hard and accept that you can make up for it by eating salads all week, you’ll be thankful you did.  It’s worth it.  I ate half the loaf while it was still warm, and should still be munching lettuce, but life is short and I have no regrets.

2.  The Good Men Project.  I found this book project via another blog awhile back and finally ordered it on Amazon.  I’m only a couple of entries in, but I am already wowed.  It is a collection of stories told by guys, for the good of other guys.  I’m obviously not the target audience, but I am struck by the nature of what these men have experienced simply by being men.  I am of the opinion that we live in a world driven by lunatic women, so I appreciate this effort at balancing the scales.  Here’s an excerpt written by Perry Glasser, a writer and father who had recently taken custody of his young daughter.  It’s titled Iowa Black Dirt.
I’d planned hot breakfasts against the Iowa winters.  I’d stocked up on oatmeal.  I’d bought a washer and dryer within days of moving into the house so that Jessica’s clothing would be washed spotless.  I practiced ironing.  Jessica’s complexion would be creamy, she’d never, ever, catch cold, and her hair, her glorious hair, would always be lustrous.
But my idylls of perfect parenthood are wrecked by a hairbrush.  Knotted about two inches from her scalp above her ear, it rests five inches from the tangled ends of her hair and a light-year from all I had imagined.  I recall my mother telling my sister it took a little pain to be beautiful, but pulling Jessica’s hair by the roots from her scalp seems too great a price to pay. 
I give up and carefully scissor out the brush.  Within days, her head resembles a bird’s nest in molting season.  She looks like a perfectly happy child raised by wolves. 

3.  The iPhone.  I don’t really want to toot a horn about this, because that’s irritating and it’s a very expensive bobble, but I just can’t help it.  This small wonder has enabled me to do a myriad of things, most importantly, access the internet and communicate with the larger world.  Granted, I graduated to this Ferrari from a flip phone with a ringtone of chicken squawks (I’m not kidding), so as you can imagine, the adjustment has been a little overwhelming.

Remember, I live outside of access to any internet provider except for satellite, and the weather conditions up here would almost guarantee that we'd never get a solid signal.  In a strange twist of fate however, we do have cable in our cabin (which we've never had before), and initially were hoping to get DSL through that service, but – get this – our cable provider doesn’t have a website.  Clearly, they were not our solution.  Thus my iPhone has become an important part of village life.  I pay my bills with it, use it as a hotspot, take pictures with its camera, play a gingerbread man game on it (here's Oven Break, being reviewed by a six year-old), and watch Netflix.  It’s spectacular.

Another awesome fact is that when I first used the phone, I had to call to be sure that my closest cell tower was actually still in the United States and that international data service wasn’t going to show up charged on my bill.  Initially, the customer service lady didn't know -  she’d never seen this problem.

Regardless of how wonderful it is, if I ever lose it, I’m not getting another.  As a Verizon customer, I got it during their promotion, but unless they start making them with the ability to dress me and make breakfast, I’m not paying $700 for one.  I’d rather lose my mind.

I'm sure someone is convinced.  www.badcell.wordpress.com

These are the items that have made my heart go pitter-patter of late. After reading my top three, what are yours?  Your village might look pretty different from mine, or perhaps it's the same village, so I’d love to know what turns your frown upside-down. 

Have a happy weekend, and as a friend of mine says, “Make good choices!”.  So when you ride that shopping cart backwards into a light pole, don’t say I didn’t warn you.


  1. Here are the things that are making my heartbeat feel extra strong and happy today:
    1) Extremely mild weather and sunny skies. Something about a slightly warm breeze through the crabapple blossoms and just-opened magnolias makes me want to cartwheel barefoot across a lawn.
    2) The moment I caught myself thinking "I'm so excited about all the things I know now!" after a day of studying endless bacteria and their associated infections. Self Aware Nerd Alert!
    3) Not falling over in my very first yoga class ever! And throwing away my skepticism about yoga being a 'real' workout. Hah!

  2. Hooray for bacteria and yoga!! Please send some magnolias our way!

  3. haha so I've read a few of our blog posts, they are so good! but I just thought I'd add, beer bread is amazing isn't it?? In the fall, you should try it with pumpkin beer (my favorite is shipyard pumpkinhead) with Cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice, just a thought! maybe we will see you guys at Easter!


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