Thursday, November 26, 2015

Baklava: Recipe

I've been making baklava since 1982. 
The first time I made baklava--three decades ago--it was a disaster.

Having recently returned from six months studying in Jerusalem (Jan-June 1982), I decided to tackle this Mediterranean treat.

As a novice, I accidentally added the syrup before baking the butter-layered pastry filled with nuts and spices.


I assembled it at my apartment but baked it at a reunion--held at one of our teacher's home,  David K. Ogden aka DKO.

When others asked me about the progress of this dessert, I remember looking in the oven and then shouting back over my shoulder, "It's swimming in so much butter and syrup that it's doing the backstroke!"

I've had 33 more years to practice making baklava.  May you benefit from my slow learning curve!

Gathering ingredients. 

1 pound of nuts* (4 cups of halves)
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup of melted butter
1 pkg (16 oz) phyllo dough aka fillo, thawed

1 cup of water
1 cup of granulated sugar

1/2 cup of honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

*I prefer pecans, but others use pistachios, walnuts or even mixed nuts.  If they are already chopped, you only need 3.5 cups.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Books about the Death Care Industry

Photo by Tim Green.
Over the last year, I have been reading books about the death care industry: the goods and services that people use after a person dies.

Goods include coffins, headstones, cremation jars, and so forth.  I haven't read much about death care industry goods.

Mainly, I have read about services.

These range from body removers, organ donation surgeons, coroners, medical examiner, funeral home directors, cremation employees, and researchers.

I realize that this is a grim topic.

In an attempt to face my fears about dying and death, I choose to read.   I hope that by learning more about the fate of bodies postmortem, I can have greater courage when the time comes.

Fortunately, no one close to me has died who required me to make final arrangements.  However, the older I get, the more likely I will be working with employees in the death care industry.

Here are the books that I have read on this topic so far, arranged by reverse chronology.

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Measure of Maturity: Quote

Click to enlarge photo by Kelley Boone modified by KDA.
Currently, I'm experiencing a lot of conflict and change in my life.

My previous responses to similar situations have been to rant, complain, throw things, or feed addictions such as shopping and eating.

I've had enough experience now that I can see that these responses will just expend a lot of energy and produce no results.

Or even worst, these responses will just create additional problems.

Consequently, I am adopting self-soothing practices that are more productive: moderate exercise, devotional reading, meditation, deep cleaning, and even just losing myself in my day-to-day responsibilities.

While looking through my cache of age-related quotes, I found the following served me at this time:

"Maturity is the ability to think, speak and act your feelings within the bounds of dignity. The measure of your maturity is how spiritual you become during the midst of your frustrations."

Samuel Ullman (1840-1924), American businessman, poet, and humanitarian.

I currently live in Kansas, so I'm using this image: I hope to survive like a country church endures on a stormy prairie.


Books on Aging and Spiritual Growth
Quantifying Wisdom
Am I Old or Am I Young? Quote