Thursday, November 29, 2012

Uncle Bori's Brussels Sprouts

I was discharged from the hospital after my recent bout of cellulitis (again) with the admonition to follow a "heart healthy" diet.  Please.  The reality is that most of my eating is reasonable.  I have oatmeal every morning (so good for fiber and cholesterol).  I drink nonfat milk.  I eat lots of raw nuts (not roasted or salted) and dried fruits (all that fiber, natural sugars, and antioxidants).  I use far less salt than I did when young, though I should never come near French fries where I am quite naughty.  I do not eat much red meat, tending toward lean pork and chicken without the skin.  I cook with olive oil.  I rarely use prepared foods as I like to know every item that goes into my cooking.

But I do cook with real butter and lots of it and I make sauces with heavy cream.  The cream is not something I use that often but the butter, well, I am half Swedish and the motto of Swedish cooking is "Smör och kärlek."  It translates as "butter and love" (in that order).

Winter is upon us and what could be more warming than Brussels sprouts in a cream sauce.  So here it is, something I have improvised and made several times.  It tastes really good and the hospital dieticians would freak.  I use some technical cooking terms here but you will easily figure them out.

I start with a package of Brussels sprouts.  It is best to cook them right away as they can spoil quickly.  I trim them ruthlessly, trimming stems and outer leaves and anything that looks yucky or proto-yucky.  See, technical terms.  The photo above is the trimmings which can equal the savings in volume.

 These are the trimmed sprouts.  I also halve them.  I don't think it makes any difference to cooking, though there are elaborate theories about this.  It does make it easier to absorb sauce, which is the whole point of this dish.

I rinse the sprouts, put them in a dish, cover with plastic film, and microwave for three minutes.  This is so much easier than parboiling.

 Meanwhile I need some chicken broth.  Not a lot, so the easy way is to use some Better Than Bouillon and about half a cup of water.  When the sprouts are microwaved I put the base and water mixture in the microwave and heat for 30 seconds, then stir.

 Now for a quick roux: equal amounts of butter and flour stirred until it starts to brown.

 Add the chicken broth mix and some heavy cream and a buttload of dill.  That's another technical term.  You may use any herb you prefer.  As you can see, I use lots.

Stir constantly as this thickens.  I add some sea salt and white pepper.

 Add the Brussels sprouts and keep stirring on high heat as the sauce continues to thicken and coat the sprouts.  Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

The end result is rich and yummy.  Those who don't care for Brussels sprouts might convert over this.

I did not make this for tonight but put it in plastic containers that will go in the freezer when they cool down a bit.  I promised some to a coworker who really liked this when I made it last winter.  My lunches will be iniquitous but oh so good.


--the BB

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Sharing a fresh prayer list from David@Montreal, prayer warrior extraordinaire:

remembering the joys and the challenges of living as the living Body of Christ i'm ask your prayers for:

young Nyland whose doctor and family are serious concerned about lymphatic swelling in the groin, this very young lad was born with immune defense issues which have kept his Mum and Dad hopping.

for E. a deeply cherished sister who is dealing with 'something not right in my body' and awaits an appointment with her doctor.

prayers for Thora C., a year shy of 90, who is having serious difficulty spiritually and medically, dealing with the increaed pain brought on by her deteriorating back.

for her grand-daughter Thea, less than a year old, with compromised kidneys, and Thea's young mum, Jennifer.
for Mark, recovering  from shoulder surgery.

for Doreen in her last months
for Jacques in his last months

for Prior Aldred, who last night received news of his mother's unexpected death.
for Beatrice, Aldred's Mum, that she may rest in peace and rise in glory.

for Rosemary:who recently celebrated her birthday, and who, tomorrow will be moving into a small, quite special longterm care facility.
for Jay, Rosemary's remarkable, generous  son

for Jon and Mary: with thanks for the news of his first day back on the job, after extensive an cancer hospitalization
for Marc

for all those living with loss: especially Susan
for those undergoing discernment: for a way forward and the means

for the people of St. Columba parish, Montreal. there church was closed last Sunday (Mam and i were present for the last service). their future is not yet discerned, and there is a lot of pain and confusion amoung the congregants.

for the people of Syria as they continue to pay such a horrendous cost for their liberation.
for the people of South Sudan

for young Montel and Aleisha, who continue to live in the toxic, chaotic environment of their father's addictions. for all those living with addiction, and those who love them.

thank-you my beloved Giants

love always-always Love

I would like to add my coworker Shawn recovering from arthroscopic surgery yesterday on his knee and my niece Jannita who has completed her radiation and chemo treatments.  May she now stay healthy for a long time!

--the BB

Monday, June 18, 2012

Volume Two of the Chronicles is published

The Light Bearers, the second half of Darkslayer, was released for publication this evening.

Paperback (ISBN 1477640487) is available immediately at CreateSpace eStore. If you wish to order it through Amazon, wait a few days and use the widgets in the right sidebar at OCICBW.

I expect the Kindle version will be available at Amazon by tomorrow morning. Again, OCICBW is a great place to shop.

--the BB

Saturday, June 09, 2012


It is a risky thing to be one's own editor. On the simplest level there is the danger of missing typos because one's brain sees what one meant to write even when the eyes record what one's fingers actually typed. On many other levels one reads what one intended, regardless of what one has written. Nonetheless, I take the risk and am grateful for one reader commenting on the high quality of editing and grammar in the first book. Bless you, Marguerite.

At this point I am reading The Light Bearers for what must be the fifth time, at least. Both segments of Darkslayer were completed back in 2007, at least in the first draft. I am indebted to those who pointed out typos in the early reading. It is interesting to read it almost five years after the first draft. I have a bit of distance now, though the tale is very much in my blood. Every now and again I tweak a sentence that seems unclear in either concept or grammar or attempt to straighten what is a bit too convoluted.

There is pleasure in a fresh encounter with phrases one has forgotten ever writing. One such is highlighted in the graphic above. Ian Darkslayer may have destroyed a demon of darkness but he did not banish darkness from the world or from his own soul. In a stark moment he recognizes how much he is part of the world's ills. For me it is the climactic moment of the second book, a true loss of innocence at the ripe age of seventeen. Along with his mystical experience of Uncreated Light and his encounter with utter darkness, this moment shapes forever the man Ian will become.

Since I am just beginning to write the fourth book, the one recounting the rest of Ian's life, it is good to revisit how he grew into manhood.

--the BB

Thursday, June 07, 2012

The false bodice ripper

I am proofing The Light Bearers, as y'all know. I am struck (you must remember this was first written in 2007 and I am now reading at a bit of a distance) by how it is laden with romantic play. So much so that I should probably blush. Oh well.

Confession: I am also enjoying it all.

Desh, the Raven, is the goddess of love. As our band of heroes sail toward the Holy Isle of Vios it is said of two besotted star singers that "Desh flew between their eyes." It is fun to coin phrases based on another culture's mythology, maybe especially a mythology of my own creation. We all know the look when the Raven flies between the eyes of people in love.

It has been a long time since I posted a writing/proofing update of this sort here.

--the BB

Wednesday, June 06, 2012


This evening I had dinner with a friend then came home and watered the garden. I checked in online then returned to proofing The Light Bearers, the second half of Darkslayer and Volume Two in The Chronicles of Mídhris. I am about one third of the way through, which is encouraging.

Then I loaded the slow cooker with small potatoes, onion, yellow and orange peppers, a ton of stewing beef, mushrooms, red pepper flakes, lemon pepper, sea salt, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and red wine. All stowed in the fridge. Now, if I can remember to take it out tomorrow morning and turn it on, I shall come home to stew for dinner (and many meals thereafter).

Not that exciting a day but a good one.

Sweet dreams, poppets.

--the BB

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Virtual cigars for all!

With little bands on them that say, "It's a book!"

Proud papa introduces the paper edition of my first book. It will show up on Amazon in 5-7 days. It is available immediately at CreateSpace. Over 500 pages of epic fantasy delight.

The photo above is of the proof copy that arrived today. I went through it and immediately approved it for publication.

Remember: It is published under a pseudonym, so search on "Grevedan Deveril." The title is The Demon Chasers.

Lots of extras at the blog dedicated to the series.

If you read it, please consider online reviews to help spread the word.

--the BB

Friday, May 25, 2012

What news lies behind these numbers?

Behold the ISBN for The Demon Chasers paperback that will be issued soon. I am supposed to receive the proof copy next Wednesday.

Can you guess I am excited?

--The BB

Monday, May 07, 2012

Prayer request from our brother David

I'd ask your prayers for dear brother Paul's Jannita who [began chemo last week], and for Gwendolyn's Jim who is to be prepped for radiotheraphy on the newly-discovered cancer in his brain.

prayers for justice for the Lakota man who while undergoing surgery was also violated by some sick individual who carved initials of hate on his chest prayers for all those who cry out for justice please. prayers for the two wonderful priests (margaret & Joel) who serve this man.

prayers for a transformative outcome to the vote in North Carolina today. and speaking of transformative opportunities, prayers for the peope of France and Greece: that they not abandon their inter-connectivity with the rest of creation and they try with their new governments to 'save themselves.'

prayers for the people Syria, for the people of Darfur, for the healing of Charles Taylor's victims.

prayers for the people who live in the shadow of the Mexican-American border, and those who sacrifice their lives there.

prayers for John Andrews and B.C.'s discenment. for all those in discernment. prayers for those needing a way forward. prayers for all those gathered up in Bishop Steven's powerful prayer/blessing today.

birthday blessings for Jane whose day it is.

thank-you beloved Giants

love always- always Love


Sunday, May 06, 2012

Heart thread - 05/06/2012

This is my niece Jannita who has just started chemo.  She has a good prognosis but we would all appreciate your prayers for her as her body goes through chemo and radiation.  She has five children and three grandchildren, with another grandchild on the way.  Many thanks for the prayers that have already come her way.  She was not keen on my taking photos but I know it is easier to pray when we can visualize.

I also ask your prayers for M. who is in rehab and has had a long struggle and for M's family.  And for K. and A. and N. and D. who have been working their way through lots of difficult tensions.

For the people of North Carolina as they vote on the hateful Amendment One on Tuesday.  And for all victims of oppression, prejudice, and bullying.

I give thanks for all who uphold me in prayer and who join me in remembering others.  You are a blessing.

--the BB

Published at last

It probably will not be visible on Amazon until tomorrow but I clicked "publish" this afternoon. For a mere $5.99 USD you, gentle reader, can now purchase the e-book of my first novel for Kindle. Don't have a Kindle? There is an app for your device. Just look here.

The title to look for is The Demon Chasers and the author name is Grevedan Deveril. You may read more about who he is at the sister blog dedicated to all things Mídhris.

If you can, please go to OCICBW and use the Amazon widgets in the right margin to order as this costs the reader no more but helps support a friend.

OK, fans of sword and sorcery, snaffle up those e-books. There will be more, God willing and the Rio Grande don't rise. Volume two before Christmas this year and volume three next year. Help me retire early!

Also, dear articulate friends, reviews on Amazon make for more hits and more sales, so if you feel so inclined....


-the BB

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Heart thread - 04/18/2012

My sister reports that my niece Jann's surgery went well and things look good. Now, of course, we await the pathology report. Jannita has a good attitude and the doctors are encouraged.

Thanks to all who have held her in prayer.

--the BB

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Heart thread - 04/14/2012

I ask your prayers for my niece Jannita. My sister reports:

Jannita will be having surgery on Wed. next week. She has stage 2 cancer, a grade three....

This has been rather sudden news.

--the BB

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Χριστος ανεστη

I know it is still Saturday here but I will be too busy tomorrow and it is Easter in much of the world.

Blessed Easter, everybody!

Αληθως ανεστη!

--the BB


Not the harrowing of Hell, though today we commemorate it, but a harrowing experience for my two best friends, Bill and Kathy. They had been led to believe, by me, that my errands were at an end yesterday and today I would be cleaning and cooking.

I, however, wanted to do more in the yard and so I got up and headed to Home Depot for the umpteenth trunkful of cedar mulch, some more mushroom compost, and a serendipitously located honeysuckle. Oh, and fifteen pavers to make it safer to negotiate the side of the house in wet weather. (Last weeks snow and rain taught me what a messy mud puddle forms.)

While I was away Bill called my house to touch base on tomorrow's dinner. He left a message. Meanwhile, I had not turned my mobile phone from vibrate to ring and when I got home I did not check for messages and put the cell on the dining room table while I went to work in the yard. I had no idea I had missed calls and voice mail on it.

After a while in the yard I headed back across town to Costco (right next door to Home Depot but the car was loaded on the first trip). I wanted more solar garden lights for the newly refluffed garden and some bottled water before the party, plus my usual stash of Diet Pepsi and oatmeal scones.

When I got home this time I checked for phone messages and there were two: Bill's initial call and one from Kathy. I turned on my cell to call and saw a text message from Kathy and missed calls and voice mail. I texted that I was home and she immediately called to say Bill was worried about me and on his way to my house, as was she. I called and Bill turned back home.

Alas, he was expecting to find a corpse at my house. It will take a while for his adrenalin to return to normal. I was fine all this time. I have even remembered to stay hydrated today, though I just now came inside because I could feel myself overheating, even in this lovely overcast day, perfect for gardening.

The cell is back on RING for now.

I am so sorry my friends were led to surmise the worst, though we are all fine, blessedly.

Death and resurrection, sort of, on Holy and Great Saturday.

May you all have a blessed Easter.

--the BB

Monday, February 27, 2012

A good weekend

There was tension as we all awaited news on the employment front. My colleagues from out of state have not been offered continuing employment. I have accepted the offer of the new contracting company and am very relieved. It is sad to see our numbers reduced.

Got a massage on Friday night, attended the Bernalillo County Democratic Party pre-primary convention Saturday morning then rushed home to cook. Lovely dinner party. The recipes were all re-runs of prior dinners so no photos but we all had a lovely time. Sunday I watered the yard, did several loads of laundry, had a date, and watched the second half of the Oscars. This morning there was a job offer in my e-mail. So this Monday went by swiftly, counterbalancing last Friday which seemed an eternity.

My leg looks good. No new complications. Now I need to haul my ass off to the gym.

Thanks for all the prayers, folks.

--the BB

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Heart thread - 02/23/2012

From David in Montreal:

beloved Giants
grounds for gratitude: my dear Mam who will be 90 this November woke from a nap to incapacitating pain in her back, yesterday after getting back from Church.unable to get out of her chair, there was a phone within reach and she called one of my sisters who lives out in the burbs near her and who has a car.
taken to the hospital, turns out she has a fractured spine, has been given medication for the pain and is staying with one of my four sisters overnight.
at her age it could have been a lot worse, so i am profoundly grateful.

i will be going out tomorrow to spend the day with Mam and get a better idea of what we need to do to support her during her convalesence.
in the meantime, I would also beg your prayers for the people of Syria and most particularly for the people of Homs who are being bombarded mercilessly by the tyrant, 24/7
a Muslim friend asks that you ask not only that the people of Syria be delivered, but that the extreme violence which has been inflicted on the people of Syria become a teaching moment for the Islamic leadership.

thank-you my beloved Giants
love always-always Love
The Prayer List is back at Of Course I Could Be Wrong. (Hooray!)

A huge THANK YOU to all who have loved, prayed, and meditated as I battle with cellulitis. I saw the doc this morning. Off antibiotics, finally. Blood tests have returned to normal. Compression and elevation. At the first sign of fever, chills, sweats I resume pills and call the office. Otherwise, back to daily life.

On the work front: A new company won the contract for the work we do. They seem like good people to work for and they hope to retain us. We had interviews today. The remaining question is how many of us they can afford within their bid. We should all hear within the next two days. Thanks for those holding me and my colleagues in prayer. If I can stay on I shall be a very happy bear.

My friends have so many needs and bear so many woes of others, I just offer a general prayer that all may find the grace they need.

--the BB

Monday, February 20, 2012

R.I.P. James O'Donnell

I learned this evening that James O'Donnell died peacefully at home this morning. James, aka Jimmy the O, was a UCLA friend of Bill's before I met Bill and one of the first people I met after meeting Bill. Jimmy was the life of a party, a great host and cook, someone who brought people together. He was one of several librarians who have been important in my life. He was taken way too young by cancer and that is a great sadness. He is survived by his partner Ben.

An acrostic poem I wrote when James turned fifty:

Upon the Occasion of Your Natal Festivity
Jim, how might I, at this mid-century moment, begin to describe, recount,
Affirm the blessing of your friendship? Those fortunate enough to
Meet you, share your table, hear your story, and most simply to
Enjoy your presence over time can all attest to the loving core that
Shines through your laughter, radiates in your embrace, and gifts us all.

Often you have joined with Holy Spirit, bringing souls together in love,
Drawing diversity into relationship, enabling community and communion.
Over the decades you have been steadfast, compassionate, present.
None can adequately praise the gift of you, nor say thanks enough.
Now that we celebrate the gracious act of God, enriching the cosmos-
Enough you say, yet it is true-with a particular configuration of energy, matter,
Love demands we say what we have known. James, your
Life has helped our lives become more whole. For you, we give God thanks.

Rest in peace, Jimmy; into paradise may the angels lead you.

--the BB

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Change - update

The contract under which I have worked for over three years expires in 14 days. I should appreciate prayers as I join so many of my friends seeking employment. Mercifully I have no dependents, no rent or mortgage, and Social Security kicks in three months from now. Still...

Ongoing prayers for the friends and strangers who have been seeking work for a long time now.

The new company that won the contract may well hire us and they would be foolish not to. I submitted my resume and request to be considered.

--the BB

Tuesday, February 07, 2012


Taking advantage of my work furlough week, I have been to the gym twice, started a ton of laundry, worked on my presentation for Spanish class tonight, and even cooked a nice meal for myself last night.

Boneless pork chops pounded even thinner; given a dry rub of ground juniper berries, black peppercorns, thyme, parsley, garlic power, red pepper flakes, and sea salt; sautéed in butter and oil, then sauced with the fond deglazed with brandy and beef broth. Brown rice enhanced with a sauté of leftover onions, sweet peppers, and mushrooms. Broccoli. Some leftover white wine.

More leftovers from Saturday's festivities: navel, blood, and cara cara orange slices.

It was not all virtue. For dessert I grazed. Still, not my usual weeknight fare.

Saturday was dinner for eight to celebrate Bill's natal festivity earlier in the week. Armenian was the theme. I made yalanchi dolma (stuffed grape leaves), muttering on Facebook that I now remember why I only make this once a decade. I was going to make sou boereg (phyllo triangles stuffed with cheese) but decided at the last minute this was too much pressure on myself.

For the main course we had stuffed peppers with lamb and beef, onions, celery, pine nuts, etc. I did cracked wheat (bulghur) pilaf with fresh mint leaves in it. Bruce brought pureed cauliflower with roasted garlic and caramelized onions.

Gail made an Armenian nutmeg cake that was delish, served with a dollop of whipped cream and freshly grated nutmeg on top. Ron, whose birthday was on Saturday itself, arrived with half a case of wine. We did ourselves proud on the number of empty bottles at the end of the evening.

Lots of fun. And I even had all the dishes washed and put away by the next evening.

For those wondering about my leg, it continues to improve. I am still on IV antibiotic and see the doc in two days to check the progress.

That's the news from Desert Farne today.

--the BB

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A milestone slips by

I knew it was coming up but was inattentive when it happened. This is post number 4002 on this blog. Whew.

Thanks to my visitors. You have been such a support to me over the years.

--the BB

Friday, January 20, 2012

Writing again

If you see my Facebook posts you already know I have resumed work on The Lion Throne, the second tale in the Chronicles. I am currently working on two scenes where the wives and children respond to husbands and fathers out pursuing their claims to the throne. Stars, I pity them!

And yes, I love writing. It's been too long.

I will continue to cook but I hope this signals a shift toward better balance in my life. Writing is one of the most introverted things I do, though I love to read aloud or recount the tales to willing audiences.

--the BB

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Happy Birthday, Little Sister

I called my Little Sister to wish her a happy birthday today. She wondered where her little girl photo on the blog was. The pressure is on!

My Little Sister Ivajeane with her namesake, Grandma Iva.

Happy Birthday, Sis! I hope your day was a lot more fun than whatever made your brows knit while posing for this photo. Love you.

--the BB

Getting better

Thanks to everyone for all the love, prayers, thoughts, meditations, and good wishes. Today I see the infectious disease specialist to assess progress and plans looking ahead. I have been going into the doctor's office every morning for my IV antibiotic and after about five days the progress became quite marked. The swelling, redness, tenderness of my leg all reduced dramatically. When I wake up each morning the right leg (infected) looks as slender and toned as the left leg (healthy). The lower leg muscles do not hurt. Actually, the remaining tenderness is in the lymph system in the upper leg, working hard to process all the nastiness. I believe the fire dragon in my leg is mortally wounded but we plan to beat it down under my feet.

Not sure who the auxiliary saint for legs is but St George is good for dragons, I hear.

--the BB

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Going home

Sorry I left off with such a dire message. I have been in the hospital Since Monday night. Saw an infectious disease specialist today and he is springing me. I will get IV antibiotics in his office each morning and should be able to return to work tomorrow morning (with my leg elevated).

Thanks for all the prayers.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Sick bear

Well, those who know me well may say, of course he's a very sick bear but that's another story.

Cellulitis in my lower right leg cropped up again suddenly Friday morning. Got on Avelox after work but it spread a bit between Saturday morning and Sunday evening (not since) and I had a low fever this morning, so the doc wants me to go to the ER. That is where I will be headed shortly. Bill will take me. Basically this is in case I need IV antibiotics. Not worried but prayer is always appreciated.

--the BB

Monday, January 02, 2012

Kitchen adventures

Although I cooked a couple of dishes for the Christmas dinner at Bill's, you may have read on Facebook about the dinner I canceled at the last minute because I fell and split my forehead open the morning of the dinner. But that was just over two weeks and twelve stitches ago and my head is healing nicely though I shall bear the mark of Voldemort forever, I fear. Still, I live!

I toyed with doing an early dinner on New Year's Eve and sending everyone home early but my energy was not that high and folks I talked to were leaving town or staying in. So the next meal will be this coming Saturday. With most of the guests from the one that was canceled.

The table is already set since I have today off and could do it, including ironing the tablecloth.

It will be the revival of an old tradition of mine, cooking spaghetti on the Saturday closest to Epiphany. I love making a rich sauce full of Italian sausage, ground beef, mushrooms, onions, garlic, tomatoes, herbs, spices, and red wine. The pasta is a minor excuse for eating the sauce. Simmered for at least four hours. It is not done unless I can set a wooden spoon in it at an angle and the spoon stays there. Dang, I look forward to it.

This will be the farewell to Christmas season as I am leaving the tree up until then.

Now, as to the party that wasn't, I still had all that food that needed cooking so I made the pork stew with prunes, carrots, fennel, brandy, and cream the next day. And the devil's food cake with buttercream frosting. Just had one guest for that meal and ate leftovers all week. Here is the cake.

I doubt I will do that much work often (of course the cake and icing were from scratch, and there's a pound of butter in the icing) but it was a fun adventure. And I will make the cake again.

That's the news from Desert Farne. May you all have a 2012 rich with blessings. I wish health, employment (unless you can afford retirement), love, joy, and adventures to you all.

--the BB