Daniel Defoe, despicable moral ambivalent or daring, dogged dreamer?

I first met Defoe (who was actually born Daniel Foe, adding the more aristrocratic “de” to separate himself from his very common father a tallow chandler) in a Children’s Illustrated Classics Robinson Crusoe. For those born to late to experience these wonderful introduction to the great stories of literature, they were chapter books with every few pages a lovely pencil action shot or charming evocative landscape. The pictures were part of the story, leading me both towards the original authors works and comic books. The footprint will stay forever with me, both in printed word and line drawing.

I found him again as a history and journalism enthusiast in my early adulthood, but as then I found the world so clearly devided between the good guys and the bad guys, his apparent ambivalence and choice to survive at all costs did not endear him to me even if he was one of the fathers of the novel and of modern journalism.

In this century Mr Defoe and I became reacquainted through the works of one of the great storytellers of this century, James A Owen. I compare his literary realities to Tolkien and Lewis.  In another time he would certainly have been an Inkling. If you have not read the series yet, begin now. If you have read them, then begin again as the last volume appears later this year.

In the Imaginarium Geographica series, that begins with “Here There Be Dragons,” Defoe is somewhat of a villain  although his real life adventures as a spy have always made me wonder of his true allegiance.  Like the Potter series, or most aptly referenced here “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Chronicles of Narnia”, good and evil are most clearly delineated at the start and grow more shades of gray as the story progresses.

I will reread Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe again but thought to try his more controversial novel and am just about to finish “The Fortunes and Misfortunes of  the Famous Moll Flanders,” and have to says I am pleasantly surprised at the strong feminist tone of this novel and cannot wait to find a good biography of the man to help flesh out my picture of him. I still think he was a man whose instinct to survive was greater than his ethical adherence, whose need to be admired, liked and seen as “somebody” was bent by a youth of being a “nobody” and led to many of his own misfortunes. However, it was that uncanny ability to survive and thrive in a time of great change and social turmoil that helped bring into fruition the modern novel and journalism so I can only be grateful.

I recommend “Robinson Crusoe” for the easier and more moving read (yes, I have read the unabridged version and was just as enthralled) but recommend “Moll Flanders” for its social context and for those who like reality TV, I mean this was the Jersey Shore of its time!

Most importantly I recommend reading, turn off the TV tonight and open a book, any book, and let the screen in your mind light up with all the wonderful pictures and places the words can lead you. I have started a Book Club over on FaceBook called the “Imaginarium Geographica Classics Club” that I hope you all will join. Pick any author running about those pages and one book he wrote and add it to the comments section on the page. An exciting contest is soon to be revealed revolving around these books and authors.

Oat and Hemp Seed Porridge with 18 grams of protein; easy and tastes good too and a really funny thing to watch while you eat!

It has been unusually cold in Arizona this winter and cold weather means HOT breakfast.  I get to use more of my delicious porridge recipes this year which makes me happy.  Sweaters and porridge don’t get a lot of mileage in Phoenix, a fact that I both relish and regret.

This morning I am eating my favorite porridge. It is simple and as nutritious as can be with 18 grams of protein, 30 percent of my daily iron needs, 16 grams of fiber, 400 calories and no added sugars and no bad fats, although I will admit to eating it with a nice Tablespoon of Earth Balance on top which adds another 100 calories and some saturated fats.

Here is the very simple and easy recipe.

In small saucepan stir 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1 cup water, 2 T of dried fruit (my favorite is Trader Joe’s organic dried cranberries although I have been known to buy the HUGE bag of  Ocean Spray Dried Cranberries at Costco when feeling particularly frugal), and a dash of salt. Turn the burner onto medium heat and bring to a boil, cook for 3 minutes or so with a good stir here and there to prevent burning. Turn off the heat and cook to preferred consistency. Add 3 T of Earthly Choice Raw Shelled Hemp Seeds and stir and serve. Yum! In under 10 minutes of kitchen time we have a delicious and healthy hot breakfast.

For my day at home away from others (I am in my first 24 hours with one of the bugs raging through the United States so contagious, meaning avoiding others completely) I finished with a nice homemade latte of Organic vanilla soy milk and started with a fresh squeezed glass of OJ, so my breakfast calorie total was 717 calories. This may sound like a lot of calories, but compare it to a fast food breakfast where just one McDonald’s Big Breakfast comes in at over 1000 calories for  comparable amounts of protein (only one that has same amount of protein  but less nutrition and a much higher glycemic index. )

Anyway, that is my recipe for the day, as to my exercise, I have two dogs who badly need an outing, as they just are demonstrating while chasing a bird through my already suffering garden, so gotta go….

Maybe later a poem or personal update.

But for now let me leave you with an awesome video to watch while you eat! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftNG15GpnTU!  I have not laughed this much in a looooong time. I already love Geek and Sundry, and have to watch (get to watch?) more than my share of children’s programming with my job as a pediatric nurse. I think of  “LearningTown” as kind of what would have happened if the original Saturday Night Live crew had taken over for Mr. Rogers.  Of course that is because I am old, I am certain their is a much cooler (hipper?) analogy just as I am certain the villains have no relation to a certain NickJr  program. But then, I don’t know, why don’t you go watch it and let me know. And Hey, tell them Crowfae sent you 🙂


Hello 2013, what ya got to say for yourself?

Well, here I am at the brink of 2013.  I gained 5 pounds over the Christmas Holiday after finally breaking through my personal goal of 199 lbs.  The reasons were the both the usual suspects (tasty food and beverages) but also a bit of a lung thing that kept my my running shoes still and no time clocked in the pool. Returned to working out yesterday and after 10 minutes on the elliptical on level 1 and 30 minutes of strength training got dizzy and nauseated so didn’t swim. Today was just patient care for exercise, tomorrow I will do a walk or swim and a wee bit more strength training. I got goals you see, big goals, at least for me. Here they are

Swim 52 kilometers (not at one time, for the year!)

Bike 104 miles (ditto)

Run 800 Kilometers (in 5k and maybe even 10k stretches)
and be able to pop out 50 pushups, 50 crunches and one real pull-up.

And yup, I will be running a couple races, doing one or more mini triaths and at least one maxi!

Now on to the more important stuff like what am I cooking,

Simple and Cheap with flavor that can’t be beat!

Black Eyed Peas, Vegan Style.

Sort, rinse and soak a pound of dried black eyed peas overnight, rinse again in the morning (this helps make them less “musical” if you catch my drift, LOL)

Poor the hydrated beans in your slow cooker and cover with water (about 4-6 cups), add a tsp of red salt (or kosher or sea), two small bay leaves, 2 tsp of dried oregano, and a 1/4 tsp ground pepper. Close the lid put it on low and get on with your day! In 4-6 hours serve up a delicious and nutritious bowl with cornbread, or for a special treat add collard greens or spinach the last half hour of cooking.

Its cheap and ooooh so good in the cooler months, and purported to bring good luck!

Eating some even as I write this.

Namaste friends