The Western Canon – what’s your take?

Earlier this week I came “out” as not having taken a Literature course since High School. Whether that’s ironic or not depends on what you think of someone with a freshly minted MA in English not having taken a lit class in the better part of 20 years …

Despite that, I did spend that time that I wasn’t in school doing a pretty significant self-study of the Western Canon – I didn’t read it all … it’s a lifetime pursuit … and I intentionally omitted Victorian Literature and American literature from the same era.


The internet wasn’t what it is today when I started it – I actually got the hardcover version of Howard Bloom’s book from the Library & used it to select my reading (I see there’s a new text called All Things Shining that might serve as a shortcut to the Bloom text)


But now that we’ve got our ever present albatross (monkey? demon?) Wikipedia, the contents of the Western Canon are a lot easier to list than they once were:

For purposes of discussion – let’s use the Harvard Classics  (copied wholesale from the Wiki page) – what would you add? what would you remove?

Contents[edit source | editbeta]

The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction[edit source | editbeta]

The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction was selected by Charles W. Eliot, LLD (1834-1926), with notes and introductions by William Allan Neilson. It also features an index to Criticisms and Interpretations.


UPDATED with a challenge ;) Culture: make your own – no not yogurt – and quit letting 2 people define culture rot

Can’t speak for anyone else but I think this needs to be said:

What matters to you, your kids, your life, your happiness, your satisfaction happens right there within your family. Turn off the t.v. if it offends you (duh?) If you object to the lousy role models you see on t.v. then FIND OTHER ROLE MODELS. It’s not difficult. If you can’t find a grandparent, teacher, coach, volunteer, or other excellent role model in your day to day life, there are MILLIONS of them in the US alone.


There are 4,495 Title IV eligible degree granting institutions of higher education in the US and 14.6 MILLION full time college students. Fourteen point six million people pursuing higher education and you’re focused on a music awards show. YOU ARE AN IDIOT. Regardless of your “margin of error” 2 people vs 14.6 MILLION isn’t statistically significant.


Ok, degree granting institutions are too intimidating for you or too far away? There are one hundred nineteen THOUSAND nine hundred eighty-seven (yes, 119,987) LIBRARIES in the united states.


You say you don’t want to read a book, look at a magazine, thumb through the paper, borrow a movie, listen to an audio book to absorb the single most wonderful miracle in the entirety of humanity: human & the pursuit of knowledge? Fine. Go to a museum & absorb it there.

There are 17,500 museums in the United States.

The US is composed of about 3.794 million square miles.

And the average licensed driver in the US drives 13,476 miles per year.

So every year with your car, you’re covering enough distance to encompass 15,858 full time college students, 15 degree-granting institutions, 426 libraries and 62 museums. And you’re focused on 2 idiots on an awards show as representing our “culture rot”?

I’m willing to bet the people who are sharing the 2 idiots – whether positive or negative – on Facebook haven’t spent as much time at museums, libraries, or universities COMBINED in the past year as they’ve spent complaining about those 2 idiots.

It’s marketing … and not only is it working … it’s making you its slave. Who’s the idiot? You or them?

P.S. if you can find 5 people who posted a photo of or the names of those 2 examples of “culture rot” in the past 4 days AND have also been to a Library, Museum AND University (for the pursuit of new knowledge, not for alcohol, drugs, standardized tests, or athletic events) in the past year – I will read a piece of Victorian Era literature or one of its American contemporaries (which I loathe as much as the whigners loathe the 2 examples of culture rot). So bring it on – prove to me you’re not a bunch of uncultured whigners and I’ll be lady enough to read Brontë or Austen or Tennyson. One piece of Victorian literature per five “found” exhortants of culture rot who’ve been to a museum, library AND University in the pursuit of knowledge in the past year (yes, online universities count)

What’s a Blog when you’re a student? A holding tank for all those brilliant thoughts we have for school but haven’t yet brought to fruition in our professional lives … case in point:

As achievers in a world of armchair critics, it can be challenging for us to bust out of our comfort zones and share the opportunity to extrapolate opportunities for success … but when we work together with others in a successful way, we ALL have greater success – especially when it comes to client satisfaction.


It took me 34 years of life & 15 years of professional experience to FINALLY understand how that’s actually true … and while there are still times when the uncompromising innovators such as Ayn Rand’s Howard Roark are needed more than the Peter Keating-esque conformists; it’s easier for me to see how the archetype of teamwork applies in multiple areas.


The clean house, sleeping child, savory smells coming from the kitchen, ginger lime fragrance from the candles on the mantle, the operating vehicles in the driveway, the solid roof over our heads … they’re not solely MY doing … I sure as hell can’t build a Jeep … and I definitely didn’t grow or roast the coffee that’s brewing; I bought & ground & measured it.

Teamwork is everywhere … and sometimes being a stubborn ass and building tools for teams is as essential a part of teamwork as being a good follower … we just have to know when it’s worth taking the “I’m an ass” chances 🙂

Discoveries …

The past week has been interesting. Adding a 34 page proposal on top of the usual mix of work/school/mom/etc definitely pushed the limits of my sanity & ability to coexist peaceably with others by 5pm Friday.

But along the way I discovered the following –

First, The Perks of Being a Wallflower has become one of my all-time favorite movies and I’m so glad that I rented that instead of watching that awards show that every other blog on the face of the internet has been talking about since Sunday. Also, if you’re a mom and you try not to let the laundry steal your sanity, you will end up wearing the same black & white striped cami / black sweater / black dress slacks combo 3x in a Friday to Friday span … and it will be clean every time you wear it … indicating that it might be time to lighten up on the laundry a little LOL

Second, I got eaten alive by some kind of really itchy bugs last Saturday at Ren Faire

Third – it’s possible to make a double batch of deliciousness during an hour-long sports practice … as evidenced at this site: – where there were the most fabulous PB & J Blondies

Fourth – my reputation as The Anti-Marketing Maven has stopped preceding me in battle … someone had the audacity to tell me I should “go pro” in marketing because I successfully green-washed Pampers with sufficient research … I’m sorry, the only BS in my life is in a frame stashed on a shelf in the closet next to my desk … I won’t be making a career of it anytime soon; but thanks for the A on the project, I did work my tail off for it.

Fifth – that split infinitives are easier to recognize than to describe in a conversation … to boldly go … stupid Star Trek … everyone knows Star Wars is superior

Sixth …

And the 300+ page Salt River Allotments Vegetative Management preliminary environmental impact study (which you can download at this site  – public comments are welcome until early April, if you’re interested, speak up – email addresses etc below in the original blurbs I put together about this and other TNF news for an environmental communication project this week)

Seventh …

The music of Eliza Doolittle, Joss Stone, and Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears.

Eighth …

And really? I’m trying not to get really tired of being sequestered to sneakers all the time – which is definitely a more comfortable accommodation than the 16 weeks I spent last year in that damn boot/walking cast thing – but really? I’m looking at pretty spring dresses & realizing that I’m stuck in black dress pants until I can start wearing “real” shoes again in early August. 5 more months.

Good thing I’m reading AJ Jacob’s The Year of Living Biblically because it reminds me that there are more significant pita than the sneakers 😉

Ninth … I’m tired of Lent already … specifically: I wanted Gyros for lunch on Friday … and the cheese crisp I had instead sent me to the Tums 2x between 12pm and 5pm. At least gyros would’ve been worth the heart burn …

Tenth … I’m not in the least bit ready for the HFMA CHFP exam that is haunting me … I’ve got til 4/30 to sit for the exam. YIKES.

Eleventh  – putting this first because I have NO idea if it’s really going to work, but I ordered the yarn and will try it this week …

Twelfth – watching movies with Kristin Stewart and Winona Ryder back to back is a BAD IDEA – bad acting is bad acting … (and I can’t decide, having seen it now, if the last Twilight movie was the worst of the movies or just doing the best they could with what was left of the story line … )

Thirteenth – I didn’t miss anything in the last season of AMC’s The Walking Dead … because I was asleep less than 10 minutes in to the 2nd episode …


What’s New In the National Forest?

Residents of our region enjoy the Tonto National Forest every day. Here’s what’s new:

Signal Peak’s Communication Permit up for Renewal in April

Signal Peak’s communication permit is up for renewal in April. Along with 26 other permits including those issued for communication sites on Humboldt Mountain, Carol Springs, Blackjack and Cooks Mesa, Signal Peak’s communication site permit is expired. The National Forest Service proposal is to reissue the permit for ongoing activity. If you’d like to learn more, visit: or contact Rebecca Hoffman at

Land-Swap to Provide Camp Consolidation for Kids

Currently, the USFS is working to swap some lands in the Tonto National Forest (and 3 others) for land in the Pinetop region. The purpose of the Pinetop land would be to provide consolidated camps for children, rather than the existing isolated special use camps. The project is estimated to complete in December of this year. If you’d like to learn more, visit or contact Randall Chavez at

Fossil Creek to Get River Management Plan

Building on the 2009 declaration of Fossil Creek as a “wild and scenic river” by Congress, and the Public Input received over the ensuing years, 2013 will bring a Comprehensive River Management Plan to Fossil Creek scheduled to be completed in July. To learn more visit:  or contact Elizabeth Dykstra at

Firefighters Needed in Arizona and New Mexico to Ensure the Ecosystem of the National Forests

The Southwestern Region (region 3) of the National Forest Service has 10 positions to fill this fire-season in Arizona and New Mexico.  Qualified candidates may view the Consolidated Outreach Statement here: Applications are due by March 22, 2013.

Livestock Grazing Management Evaluation Pending

The time for public comments is now – February 22 through April 8. Public comments and ideas pertaining to the grazing and management of the plant life in the Tonto National Forest / Salt River Region to This autumn, the US Forest Service will be reevaluating the Salt River Allotments Vegetative Management. To download the report visit:

Operation Beautiful – have you heard?

Yesterday MadiKinz and I made our first OperationBeautiful notes together. We’d both left them around town individually, but yesterday we had a pack of PostIt Notes and a pen at RenFaire together. We didn’t take photos, we didn’t need to 🙂 we knew – and now you do, too.


We hope you’ll join us and read the books and start posting your own Operation Beautiful notes

2013 Reading List – Updated August 29, 2013

8/29/2013 Update

this got away from me while I was finishing school (obviously LOL)

Currently reading:

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

The Maeve Series by Elizabeth Cunningham

A Research Primer for Technical Communication by Hughes & Hayhoe

Writing Studies Research in Practice by Nickoson & Sheridan

Up next:

Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore

Recently finished:

The English Girl by Daniel Silva

The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Porchlights by Dorothea Benton Frank

The Heist by Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg

Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich

I’m sure there are others since the end of March (not counting the 63 combined texts & journals that I read for my capstone)



3/9/2013 Update

Finished The Year of Living Biblically was so positively influenced by the text that I emailed the Author (AJ Jacobs). I’ve never done that before.

Started The Know It All


Yesterday at the Arizona Renaissance Festival we encountered a booth from Bookmans‘ – and when I mentioned that I’m a reformed number-cruncher an English Major they gave me some extra I love books goodies (OMSQUEE! I do love books) which prompted me to move my 2013 Completed Books List off Facebook (where I keep losing it on my wall anyway) and over here where I can’t lose it 🙂 it’s also on a white board in MadiKinz room since we’ve got a goal of 20 books read between us before we go to The Sugar Shack for a scoop of perfection.

The rules are simple – not counted toward the 20 (although listed here) –

  1. Books we’re re-reading (unless it’s been 10+ years since the last reading)
  2. textbooks and/or books for school (or work) unless we fall so truly-madly-deeply into the text that we just keep reading far beyond the required chapters in the required timeframe  (i.e. I was supposed to read Peopleware by Demarco & Lister over the space of the 16 week semester – I read it in 2 weeks and told people at work that they needed to read it too LOL)

So here ya go – my reading for 2013 through 2/24/2013 (and updated 3/2/13)


  1. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
  2. The Grapes of Wrath …………….. (imagine my book-loving disappointment that there’s not a separate book for each of 12 months for this program)
  3. Cold Days (Book #14 of The Dresden Files) by Jim Butcher
  4. The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs (still reading) – Kindle Edition
  5. Peopleware 2e by DeMarco & Lister
  6. The 4 Disciplines of Execution – Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals by McChesney, Covey & Huling
  7. The Truth about Getting the Best from People 2e by Margaret I. Finney
  8. Operation Beautiful (both versions: tween & adult) by Caitlyn Boyle
  9. Managing your Documentation Projects by JoAnn T Hackos
  10. Environmental Communication and the Public Sphere by Robert Cox
  11. Writing Proposals by Johnson-Sheehan (2d)
  12. Communication Skills for Conservation Professionals by Jacobson
  13. The Year of Living Biblically by AJ Jacobs
  14. Rhetoric and Community – Studies in Unity & Fragmentation by Hogan
  15. Health of Nations 3d by Graig
  16. Communicating in Organizations by Peterson
  17. The Craft of Research 3d by Booth, Colomb & Williams
  18. Technical Editing 5th by Rude & Eaton

Audio Books

  1. Lamb by Christopher Moore (AB)
  2. Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead (AB)
  3. A Prince Among Frogs by E.D. Baker (AB – actually the entire series … it’s perfect for time on the elliptical … but Prince Among Frogs is a first-time listen)

Love and Other Indoor Sports

The title is inspired by that wonderful (timeless, unforgettable, every-little-girl-should-read but isn’t ever found on reading lists) book by Judy Blume: Starring Sally J Freedman as herself … it was my first introduction to WWII fiction for young ladies mini nerds um girls like I am – it was the perfect “pre Diary of Anne Frank” book … and I think I was probably married and considering formative books of my childhood before I understood what Sally’s reference to someone signing notes “love and other indoor sports” LOL but I do consider cooking to be one of the “other indoor sports” ….


Once Upon A Time …. there was a person who couldn’t and didn’t cook … that time was 5 years ago and that person was me …

since then I’ve learned a lot about pots and pans and things I can do with my hands 🙂

and after finally getting over the creeping plague virus that was going around town last week I was itching to make some magic in the kitchen

So much so that I commented to a couple of people that I should change my name to Kitchen Witch. Then I thought about some of my fundamentalist / evangelical / 700 Club / religious friends and decided that Kitchen Witch was probably offensive / overly pagan / pushing it so I decided just to add some recipes to my blog & have a little category of Kitchen Witchery … if you’re offended, don’t be … it’s more a comment on the seemingly magical transition across 5 years from being someone who couldn’t cook to being someone who can (almost as magical as my assortment of diplomas, and those don’t offend you, right? LOL)

So here goes … these are the recipes that happened in my house this past week … feel free to try them (or don’t) or follow me on Pinterest (or don’t) … just remember: if you follow me on Pinterest & I can see your pins and you’re posting during “normal” parent/kid time (and you’re not at work staying awake on the late shift) about how important your blessings children are to you or how much you want to have a normal day like at my house go on a mommy daughter date I will be sitting here rolling my eyes sighing wondering what your kids are doing while you’re posting about how important they are (mine’s sleeping, it’s a snowy Sunday morning & I”ve been beyond burned out frustrated irritated done with my insidious ankle-biting back stabbing church since last Easter – so no, we’re not going there these days … but that’s a separate post)

SOOOO Recipes from last week:

Slow-Cooker Balsamic Pot Roast

Rate and Comment

Makes: 6  servings

Prep   15 mins
Slow Cook  10 hrs  LOW
Slow-Cooker Balsamic Pot Roast
Nutrition FactsServings Per Recipe 6

  • Amount Per Serving
  • cal.(kcal)371
  • Fat, total(g)11
  • chol.(mg)103
  • sat. fat(g)4
  • carb.(g)11
  • fiber(g)2
  • pro.(g)53
  • sodium(mg)256

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet


  • beef chuck or bottom round roast, about 31/4 lbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • onion, chopped
  • carrots, chopped
  • ribs celery, chopped
  • loves garlic, chopped
  • cups unsalted beef stock (such as Swanson)
  • 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Prepared polenta and sauteed sweet peppers (optional)


1. Spray slow-cooker bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Season roast with salt, thyme and black pepper. Place in bottom of slow cooker.

2. Scatter onion, carrots, celery and garlic over roast. Pour stock and balsamic vinegar over top. Cover and cook on LOW for 10 hours.

3. Remove roast and allow to rest 15 minutes before slicing. Skim fat from cooking liquid. Mash vegetables in cooking liquid to slightly thicken sauce.

4. Serve sliced roast with sauce and, if desired, polenta and sauteed peppers. mashed potatoes.

Chicken Shawarma

Rate and Comment

Makes: 6  servingsYield: 6 sandwiches

Prep   20 mins
Broil   10 mins
Chicken Shawarma
Nutrition FactsServings Per Recipe 6

  • Amount Per Serving
  • cal.(kcal)546
  • Fat, total(g)19
  • chol.(mg)120
  • sat. fat(g)4
  • carb.(g)49
  • fiber(g)11
  • pro.(g)35
  • sodium(mg)1098

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet


  • pieces naan or lavash bread
  • teaspoon ground coriander
  • teaspoon ground cumin
  • teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 1/2 pound package boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 3/4 cup prepared hummus
  • plum tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 large cucumber, sliced

Original Directions

1. Heat oven to broil. Wrap bread in foil and warm in bottom of oven. Coat a broiler pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a small bowl, combine coriander, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Stir in lemon juice and garlic to make a paste. Rub all over chicken thighs.

3. Place chicken thighs on prepared broiler pan and broil 2 to 3 inches from heat for 5 minutes. Flip over and broil another 5 minutes, or until thighs register 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Transfer to a cutting board and slice into strips.

4. Spread 2 tablespoons of the hummus onto each piece of bread. Top with some of the tomato, cucumber and chicken. Fold in half and serve.

What I Really Did

1. Place 3 bone-less, skinless chicken breasts (halved) in a ziptop bag – add the herbs/spices/seasonings and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and 1 sliced lemon (I like to slice them like wagon-wheels, you can cut them in wedges, they don’t care) and put it on a plate in the fridge so it can marinate for 24 hours (probably I should’ve pounded the chicken thin, but I’m not that skilled yet)

2. When you’re ready to cook them – prep the grill (different for everyone) and preheat to normal baking temperature (350 for me). Grill the chicken. Heat the naan on an electric griddle set at 200 degrees (if you trip the breaker in your outlet, reset it) and keep them in a tortilla keeper or plate covered with a tea-towel while you’re heating the others (I had the naan in the freezer so it took a little longer than normal)

3. when the chicken is grilled to perfection (aka looks like cajun blackened LOL) bring it in off the grill, let it sit for 5 – 10 minutes so the juice doesn’t run everywhere when you slice it

4. serve a few slices of the chicken with slices of cucumber, tomato (and dill pickle if you’re like us) on hummus schmeared naan (2 tablespoons seems excessive) or use tzatziki (

(Do NOT post on Facebook about grilling outside barefoot in February – you. will. get. snow. twice. in. the. subsequent. week. – possibly with a sunburn to add to your joy)

Moo-Shu Chicken

Rate and Comment

Yield: 10 rolls

Prep   10 mins
Cook   10 mins
Moo-Shu Chicken
Nutrition Facts

  • Amount Per Serving
  • cal.(kcal)190
  • Fat, total(g)5
  • chol.(mg)19
  • sat. fat(g)1
  • carb.(g)25
  • fiber(g)3
  • pro.(g)12
  • sodium(mg)897

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet


  • tablespoon sesame oil
  • cloves garlic, chopped
  • bag (10 ounces) shredded coleslaw mix
  • bag (8 ounces) shredded carrots
  • scallions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • tablespoons reduced- sodium soy sauce
  • 10 flour tortillas (6 inches)
  • cups shredded cooked chicken (from a rotisserie chicken)


1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, coleslaw mix, carrot and scallions. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, until vegetables are softened.

2. Stir in the hoisin and soy sauce and cook 2 minutes. Add chicken; stir to combine with vegetables and heat through.

3. To serve, heat tortillas following package directions. Spoon 1/2 cup of chicken mixture down center of tortilla and roll up.

What I Really Did

1. On Sunday afternoon I baked some chicken breast seasoned w/ salt & pepper in the oven (because I think the rotisserie thing is silly … especially when boneless skinless chicken breast is on sale … and my family doesn’t like dark meat …)

Then on Monday night (on which MKinz has basketball practice and my better-half is working the late shift, my better-half did this so that supper was ready)

2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, coleslaw mix, carrot and scallions. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, until vegetables are softened.

2. Stir in the hoisin and soy sauce and cook 2 minutes. Add chicken; stir to combine with vegetables and heat through.

3. To serve, heat tortillas following package directions. Spoon 1/2 cup of chicken mixture down center of tortilla and roll up. (for the gluten intolerant amongst us, use lettuce leaves instead, please)

Chile Verde – Crockpot style (from this book:
1 tbsp oil
1 large onion chopped
2 lbs lean chicken or pork cut into 1” pieces
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp ground cumin

3 cloves garlic, crushed (I added garlic powder – again til it smelled right)
15 green chiles roasted, peeled, seeded & chopped (frozen or canned work fine too)
1 1/2 cups fat-free, low sodium chicken stock

Sautee the onion & garlic in the oil until the onion is browned (I season it with the cumin and garlic powder and some coarse ground black pepper – the recipe says to add those to the crockpot separately). Add the meat and cook til no-longer-pink. Add the flour and stir until the meat is browned. Put it in the crockpot, add the chiles and the chicken stock. Let it cook for as long as you want – all day or whatever. Serve it how you like it.

And the piece de resistance …. and the only reason I’ve ever found in 34+ years of living to want a stand mixer (although I did make this quite successfully with a 5 speed mixer) … and I should have purchased good cocoa powder (I used store brand that had been in the cabinet for a year). (and I skipped the framboise because I hate don’t have a sophisticated enough palate to appreciate raspberry & chocolate together)