- The bird watching in my backyard has been particularly good lately. The birds and bats helped themselves to a papaya and it's been fascinating to watch them.
- On Sunday night Noriega returned to Panama. I was out for a run, when suddenly (about the time he was arriving at the prison) there was an explosion of clanging pots. (People banged pots to show their opposition back when he was in power.) It gave me a strange shivery feeling, that clamour in the night. There were only four or five people banging, but the sound rang so plaintively through the night air... When I finished my long run I went home and read (until late) all about Noriega, and Oliver North and the 1989 invasion.
- Some books are just for fun. We are reading Attack of the Vampire Snowmen. It is ridiculous and so frothy after The Graveyard Book. I guess I'm teaching my kids to distinguish between high and low culture (or something).
- I hope it stops raining, mostly so I don't have to deal with wet, muddy running shoes every day. My daughter is in day camp. They play soccer and volley ball and go to the pool. It is excellent and she is having the best time. The only problem is her shoes. This morning found me trying to dry them in the oven. I don't mind the mud, but I'm a little worried about trench foot.
- Every year I look over the 'best of' lists and find something I'm not nearly cool enough to have discovered on my own. This year was no exception. I love this:
I might have bought the last bag of frozen cranberries in Panama yesterday (probably not, but possibly the last bag in my supermarket). I love cranberries; they are one of a number of gringo indulgences that I partake in this time of year.
cranberry carrot bread
4 tablespoons butter (room temperature), plus more for the pan
2 cups flour (I did a combination of 1½ cups all-purpose and ½ cup whole wheat)
1 cup brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup milk
¼ cup orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 cup grated carrots
1½ cups frozen cranberries
Heat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with butter.
Stir together the dry ingredients. With a mixer, add the butter a tablespoon at a time. This works great with a stand mixer.
Mix together the milk, orange zest and juice and egg add the grated carrots. Pour into the dry ingredients, mixing just enough to moisten; do not beat and do not mix until the batter is smooth. Fold in the cranberries, then spoon the batter into the loaf pan.
Bake for about an hour, or until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing.