small batch balsamic fig jam

1.5 lb figs
400 gr sugar
3 tbsp citric acid solution (100 ml water and 4 gr citric acid)
balsamic vinegar to taste

peel & chop figs, mix with sugar, cook at simmer over medium heat until spoon dragged across bottom of pan leaves a good track (about 30 minutes). add citric acid and balsamic vinegar.

ladle into prepared jars with 1/4″ headspace; boil in canner for 10 minutes.


i haven’t blogged in ages. AGES, i tell you. why? most likely because i’m not working.

this isn’t as strange as it sounds at first blush. when i’m working, i keep up on news and current events and the like. i deal with people. i ride public transportation. i get up at oh-dark-early.

all of these things are fertile fodder for blogging.

but i haven’t had an income-generating job (is there any other kind?) in a year and a half. once the oddity of this wore off (about six months in), i was able to sleep in. until seven thirty. which is where my morning has remained.

in an effort to pay more attention to the world, i picked up a print subscription to the washington post. so every morning, i get up, shower, go downstairs, let the dog out of his crate, make breakfast, fetch the paper from the lawn or the path or the bushes (always different! sometimes a challenge! thank you, paper delivery person!), eat and read.

i’m better informed than i was a month ago. but i’m also more anxious. i may have to revisit this. (i don’t even know if i really want to watch the state of the union tonight.)


now i’m just rambling, listening to an audio post on someone else’s blog. i’m going to go knit something.

oh! wait – photo goodness. here. the last sweater i finished. (not really – i made a lace & cable vest for mom after finishing this. but that only took 13 days.)

two thoughts for this morning

first: i’ve discovered that the content of the internet can be described as an ever-decreasing fractal. it goes something like this:

  • most of the content of the internet is porn.
  • of the portion of the internet content that is not porn, a proportion equal to (porn)/(total content) is taken up by questionable online vendors.
  • of the portion of the internet content that is neither porn nor questionable online vendors, a proportion equal to (porn)/(total content) is stupid emo shit.
  • of the portion that is not porn, questionable online vendors, or stupid emo shit, a proportion equal to (porn)/(total content) is devoted to anthropomorphizing cute animals.
  • of the portion that is not porn, questionable online vendors, stupid emo shit, or cute animals, a proportion equal to (porn)/(total content) is absorbed by religious and/or political zealotry.

and so on, and so forth.1 if i could find my notes from my undergrad 4th dimensional math class (primary text: flatland), i could probably even graph it out in something other than an ever-narrowing pie chart.

2. nothing gets my goat like a badly-written survey instrument. if you’re going to ask about sexual behavior and accept the fact that non-monogamy exists, you might want to ensure that your followup questions aren’t written with a monogamy bias so strong that it’s impossible for a multi-partnered person to answer them in a way that won’t give you crap data. yes, i’m looking at you, university of indiana PhD candidate research.2

1 these categories are not exhaustive, nor are they necessarily in the right order. i’m open to suggestions.
2 honestly, if that’s the type of instrument design that gets approved, i’m glad i never went further in public health academia than an MPH. it seems there’s more rigorous design and pre-testing in the commercial world, where millions of dollars of marketing and r&d money are assigned on the basis of research findings.


whether the weather be hot
or whether the weather be not
we must weather the weather
whatever the weather
whether we like it or not.


despite having a startling similarity in appellation, i’m pretty sure that janet napolitano is no relation to johnette napolitano. which kills any chance of hearing the DHS secretary sing joey

anytime soon.


in reproductive health news, it’s looking likely that the FDA will be making it easier for 17-year-olds to buy plan B. the u.s. district court for the eastern district of NY has told them to, at least. (PDF of the memo & order in tummino v. von eschenbach

i like the judge’s straightforward approach:

…the gravamen of plaintiffs’ claims is that the FDA’s decisions regarding Plan B – on the Citizen Petition and the SNDAs – were arbitrary and capricious because they were not the result of reasoned and good faith agency decision-making.

Plaintiffs are right.

Indeed, the record is clear that the FDA’s course of conduct regarding Plan B departed in significant ways from the agency’s normal procedures regarding similar applications to switch a drug product from prescription to non-prescription use, referred to as a “switch application” or an “over-the-counter switch.” For example, FDA upper management, including the Commissioner, wrested control over the decision-making on Plan B from staff that normally would issue the final decision on an over-the-counter switch application; the FDA’s denial of non-prescription access without age restriction went against the recommendation of a committee of experts it had empanelled to advise it on Plan B; and the Commissioner – at the behest of political actors – decided to deny non-prescription access to women 16 and younger before FDA scientific review staff had completed their reviews.

somehow i don’t think the rank & file up in rockville are too broken up about the district court’s decision.

cold snap

it wouldn’t be this cold out if i hadn’t put my winter clothes away last weekend.

in case you were wondering…


As a 1930s wife, I am

Very Poor (Failure)

Take the test!

i think it’s because i don’t wear red nail polish.


first coastal brewing company bought old dominion and closed their brewpub. then they announced that they were closing VA operations entirely, and moving production to delaware.

granted, this is old news to those in the local beer know (the brewpub closed in ’07 and the move was announced in october ’08). i just found out about it this morning. it’s grumpifying (although not to the level of tuesday’s grump-inducing events).

i’m not a die-hard OD fan, but their beer (except for the burnt-tasting stout) is generally solid stuff. the founder of OD was a colleague of my parents’, and i went to a launch party of sorts for the beer in ’89’90, the summer before i started after my first year of college. (don’t do the math.1 i was advised to keep my mouth shut about my age as i walked to the bar with several people from the office where i was interning.) it’s just a shame we’ll be losing our only local brewery.

obviously, there’s only one appropriate response to this: james, it’s time for you to get off your butt and make some more homebrew.


saw rob riggle at the 6th & i synagogue last night. hilarity ensued.
1 my mother, of course, did the math and informed me i was off by a year. so i wasn’t quite as underage as i thought.