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2004-12-04 - 7:50 p.m.

A Winter Day

I’ve not been as loyal about writing the past few days. Once the elections were over my passion seemed to dissipate – the doldrums, I’d say. Although many people just write about their days and how they’re filled, mine just don’t seem that interesting to anyone but me.

For instance, today I baked bread for a beautiful basket Marci brought over – a donation for the silent auction at the Madrigal Dinner tonight. The basketful of bread and three refills are one of our items. Ed donated an introductory flying lesson in a Cessna 172. We also gave two nights at our vacation home in Ashland, Oregon, affectionately named by our guests, the Blue Shutter Inn. And I gave a few hours of either my reading/writing tutoring or editing service, which brings me to my other activities of the day.

Besides baking bread today, I’ve worked on critiquing/editing two manuscripts – both murder mysteries, interestingly enough. One is historical in nature – about when the Hetch Hetchy Dam was under construction. The bread took a lot longer to rise today than usual – a bit cooler – so I had plenty of time to work on the novels.

My Favorite Italian Bread

Recipe By :Joan Callaway
Serving Size : 50 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories :

Amount Ingredient
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
3 cups warm water
1 Tablespoon yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
8 cups flour -- (6-8 cups)

Dissolve sugar in the water and then sprinkle in the yeast. Add 1 cup flour...and then let stand for half and hour or so to proof yeast. Add salt and 3 cups of flour and beat until smooth. The more you beat at this point, the lighter the bread will be. Add in enough flour to make a good stiff dough. Turn out onto floured board and knead until smooth and soft. I never measure the flour, so this is all approximate.

Oil a good sized bowl and turn bread into it...and over, so that oiled side is up. Cover with towel or plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in bulk in a warm spot...sunny window. When doubled, punch down and divide into three parts...briefly knead each and return to bowl to rise again until doubled in bulk. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Meanwhile knead gently and shape dough into two long loaves or three football shaped loaves. Place on a large lightly greased baking sheet (I use a double Italian loaf pan which I got from King Arthur's Flour). Sprinkle with sesame seeds...Score bread with a sharp knife very lightly and mist bread with water before placing in oven Mist several times until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on bottom...about 30 minutes.

* * * * * * * * *

Ed is filling in for my daughter Marci tonight, serving at the first Madrigal dinner – oh, poor dear, he has to hear our grandchildren sing an extra night. The parents of each of the singers are responsible for serving one of the two nights they present the dinner concert. Marci did something to her back yesterday (they are doing a bit of sweat equity in the remodel of their house…and she must have overdone it!), and thought perhaps carrying trays of food might be a bit much – especially since she wants to enjoy the concert tomorrow night.

Besides she and Chelsea leave for Chicago next Thursday with the Buffalo Babes and the Junior Olympics.
It just won’t do to have back troubles for a long plane ride! Ed was thrilled to be able to “help out” – not to mention hearing the concert. Laurie had a bit of a preview yesterday. She drove a part of the choir to S.F. for a performance at Moscone Center – a large group – I think she said about 2500 – something to do with State School Board conference. She especially enjoyed the huge screens on either side of the auditorium focusing on individual singers or small groups, as well as the whole group – brought them up close and personal and bigger than life.

I also did a bit of holiday shopping on-line as soon as I received a “Wish List” from my great-grandson. Happily, his wishes were easily found at amazon.com and while I was there, I found a James Christiansen book, Journey of the Imagination, which will be perfect for one of my granddaughters, who is an amazing artist at the tender age of 10.

Now you can understand why I don’t write everyday…exciting? Not.

Tomorrow we’ll enjoy being ushered into garlanded hall for the Sunday version of the Madrigal Dinner by one of the velvet-clad singers, perhaps even one of our grandchildren. The trumpets will sound, our names will be announced to the crowd, and we’ll be escorted to our seats for a splendid holiday feast for the ears, as well as the palate. Wassail! Wassail!…and figgy pudding, too.

Oh, bring us a figgy pudding;
Oh, bring us a figgy pudding;
Oh, bring us a figgy pudding and a cup of good cheer
We won't go until we get some;
We won't go until we get some;
We won't go until we get some, so bring some out here

A grand kickoff for the holiday season.

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