Precious People

My little brother is incredibly special. He is sensitive, enthusiastic, and downright adorable. Sure he has his mood swings and we quibble, but that only makes him a believable little brother. My little brother also happens to have Williams Syndrome.

This is a fairly rare, hereditary disability which affects mental, social, and physical characteristics in some very distinct ways. (If you’re interested, check out the Williams Syndrome Association’s website here.) But please, do not feel sorry for my brother. He is a very happy dude and I would not wish him to be different.

Anywho, my little bro just started high school this year (ca-razy!) and is in the special ed program at a local high school. A couple of days ago, I joined his class for their weekly day of Community-Based Instruction (CBI). Much to my brothers’ delight, this week’s excursion into the big wide world was at the fire station. Though 16 years (and 8 months) old, he still has all the enthusiasm of a 4 year-old boy when it comes to fire trucks and sirens. It was precious to see my little man in his peer group having a “Grrrrrreat!” day.

Many thanks to the TFH firemen of Station 2, who were incredible with the kids–answering all their questions, calming any nerves, and keeping them engaged–and to the teachers of CHS who faithfully serve these precious people every day.

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~a beloved nobody

A Grey Day

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On a day that is particularly gray and dreary, there is nothing to do but snuggle up with a cup of tea and a good book. When this past Saturday decided to be gray and rainy, I decided to try out these Earl Grey muffins in addition to my cup of tea and Jane Austen’s Emma.

Perfection.

~a beloved nobody

A Golden Time

Its the first night of spring break and I find myself in an empty house, with an empty stomach, and an empty schedule. Too tired after midterms to go out, I decided to enjoy the peace. After all, silence is golden…

Speaking of golden, I recently found On Golden Pond (1981) in a $5 movie bin. It stars Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn (love, love, love her), both of whom won Oscars for their performances. I couldn’t resist buying it then, and I can’t resist watching it now.

I do love a good theme, so I thought I’d make a movie night out of it by making this delicious golden pasta. It’s easy, fairly light, and terribly comforting.

What’s in it:

.75 lb mini shells pasta

Tbsp olive oil + tsp for topping

1 yellow onion, sliced thinly

Tbsp balsamic vinegar

.75 c. frozen sweet corn

12 oz. frozen winter squash, thawed

1.5 c. pasta water reserved from cooking

.5 c. breadcrumbs from an old, crusty loaf

.25 c. grated parmesan cheese

lemon pepper, dried rosemary, paprika, and ground cinnamon

what to do:

First, preheat the oven to 400*F and get your pasta water boiling. Cook the pasta for 5 minutes–it should be under cooked, otherwise it’ll be mushy after baking. Reserve a cup and a half of the pasta water before straining the pasta.

Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp oil in a pan (make sure the pan’s deep enough to simmer all the ingredients together later) and cook the onions on medium-low heat with .5 Tbsp lemon pepper for 7 minutes till they’re translucent and sweet. Add in the balsamic vinegar and corn and cook for a couple more minutes.

Once the pasta is done, add the pasta water, squash, 1 Tbsp rosemary, 2 tsp paprika, and 1 tsp cinnamon to the onions and simmer 5 min on low until thickened to a nice sauce. (Be sure you taste the sauce before calling it quits. My mom usually thinks I don’t put enough salt in my food, but I’ll let you be the judge.)

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While simmering the sauce, mix together the breadcrumbs, parmesan, olive oil, and spices to taste.

Finally, stir the cooked pasta into the sauce, pour the mixture in a greased 13×9 dish, top with the breadcrumbs, and bake in the oven 25-30 min (just enough time to clean up the mess I made) until golden brown and crispy on top. Enjoy!

Oh, and I finished On Golden Pond while writing this up for you. The music was a bit too 1981 for my liking and story was rather simple, but Fonda and Hepburn were splendid! Their dialogue was full of all the classic charm and wit I hoped for, and their relationship was so tender I couldn’t help but smile. Well worth the watch for their sake.

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Warmest regards,

a beloved nobody