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January 2009

One in Eight

Two Women Reading 28.5 x 23 inches That's the rough statistic thrown around about a woman's chance of getting breast cancer in her lifetime: one out of every eight women.

Sitting around with my book group last night, it seemed like more than that. One of my dearest friends told us last night that she had just been diagnosed with the disease. This woman has had more than her fair share of hardship in her life, and is already battling a different form of cancer.

As we sat in a circle offering support, I was amazed by how much first-hand experience there was with the disease in our group. Of 10 women, now four have had breast cancer. One woman has had it twice.  Information was exchanged about procedures (some had had lumpectomies with radiation, others mastectomies with chemo), along with surgeons, hospitals and rehab. There was more talk about whose mother had been treated for the disease.

Now the good news was that for the three women who had had breast cancer, the talk was, "that was 9 years ago," or "I can't believe it was seven years ago." Everyone had recovered. But I wish to hell my friend didn't have to go through this.

Hamlet On The Hudson

Kennedy You know, they used to call, you know, Mario Cuomo, "Hamlet on the Hudson," because, you know, he had so much trouble making up his mind.

But holy cow - what's with Caroline Kennedy? As you no doubt know, you know, Ms. Kennedy threw her hat into the ring of those who would be considered for, you know, Hillary Clinton's Senate seat. But she never seemed to, you know, articulate her reasons for wanting the job, and she got grilled for, you know, her verbal tick.

I actually have a lot of respect for Caroline Kennedy - she's obviously smart, she's advocated for public schools, written a couple of good books, and really maintained her privacy and dignity until this first foray into public life.

Now that she has, you know, withdrawn for "personal reasons," I wish the whole thing had never started. It was, you know, disillusioning.

What Keeps You Up At Night?

WbWLDobamaA11_narrowweb__300x447,0 I was going to write an entire post on all the things that are turning the witching hour of 3 a.m. into a roiling brew of anxiety and wakefulness. You can guess most of it - jobs, the NYT, the book proposal,  the economy, my future, the health of my family, and not in that order. I could go into gory detail on any one of these topics.

But instead, I decided to just run a cute picture of the new first family. Now isn't that a better way to start the day?

January 20, 2009

Obama.champion I can't believe this day is finally here. I remember shortly after George W. Bush was re-elected, bumper stickers began to appear on cars that simply read, "01/20/09." They depressed me at that time, because the date seemed so impossibly far away. But it's here! It's here!

Last night I was tossing and turning, in a combination of excitement over the inauguration and worry that I will miss part of it. How's this for ironic? This morning I have to go interview the out-going president of a local college for the NYT. If this forces me to miss the incoming of a national president, I will go nuts. I'm sure the college president wants to watch the ceremony as much as I do, but he doesn't have to drive 35 minutes to get back home.

OK, time to stop whining and start celebrating - it's a wonderful day!

Girl Scouts Volunteer, Helping Young Patients


Published: January 16, 2009

THE little boy was strapped into a wheelchair, with a helmet on his head and a tube taped to his throat. Tiana Shippa, 12, was patiently helping him string beads onto a pipe cleaner. Mackenzie Kelly, 12, sat nearby playing with another child, also in a wheelchair. This boy’s hands were bandaged, and his body was covered with burns.

The boys had each suffered traumatic injury. One had been in a car accident; the other had survived a fire. They are patients at Blythedale Children’s Hospital, which serves children with complex medical and rehabilitative needs. Both girls, volunteers from Girl Scout Troop 2746 in Chappaqua, seemed oblivious to the boys’ injuries.

“When I first came here, I was not knowing what to expect, but after five minutes you realize they’re kids just like you,” Mackenzie said. “It’s no different than talking to your best friend.”

Julia Desmarais, 12, who was making paper snowflakes with an 8-year-old girl who had a feeding tube in her throat, said of the medical equipment, “After you work a little bit with the kids, you just don’t see it anymore.”

The troop has been visiting Blythedale Children’s Hospital here for eight years. What began as a modest effort — as 5-year-old Daisy Scouts they planted flowers on the grounds — has expanded into a commitment not only to volunteer at the hospital, but also to promote understanding about people living with disabilities.

The girls in the troop have designed their own badge, called Challenges to Opportunities. It is meant to help Girl Scouts understand physical and mental disabilities — what they are, how they happen and how they can be overcome. The idea is to demystify disabilities and to promote understanding that people living with such challenges are not very different from themselves, with their own hopes, triumphs and disappointments.

Among the badge’s requirements: Girls are asked to try activities that will help them imagine what it feels like to have difficulty performing everyday tasks. For instance, they may wear a blindfold and try to walk, button a sweater, tie shoes or count change.

SCOUTS are also asked to research disabilities and to talk to someone living with a physical or mental challenge about their lives.

And they are encouraged to volunteer. Some of the girls remember the first few times they visited the hospital.

“I remember being outside and seeing a boy waving from the window and we all waved back,” said Emily Simon, 12. “I was scared at the beginning, but I was just in first grade and I really didn’t know as much. Now it’s just not a big deal.”

As the girls got older, their activities expanded. Eventually, troop leaders and hospital administrators judged that they were ready to work with patients. Over time they began playing with toddlers and doing craft projects with older children. Last year, they began a Reading Buddies project at Blythedale, meeting once a month with preschoolers to read stories and do craft projects with them.

“We started with small steps,” said Lena Cavanna, director of community relations at the hospital. “We met with them several times. We would tell them about our kids, show them pictures of the equipment, have them experience walkers, wheelchairs and canes.”

The girls also decorated hospital rooms for the holidays, hosted a Valentine’s Day party, made fleece blankets for infants and held a fund-raiser to buy a Nintendo Wii system for older children in the hospital.

When they became junior scouts in the fourth grade, the troop decided to work toward their Bronze Award. They wanted to continue their commitment to Blythedale but soon discovered that there were no badges related to people living with disabilities.

“To the girls, it seemed like a shocking omission, and they said, ‘Why don’t we make our own badge?’ ” said Laura Desmarais, a troop leader and Julia’s mother.

The troop decided the badge should focus not only on raising sensitivity for the challenges disabled18scouts.395 people face, but also on learning what people who work in the field do. The local council, Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson, approved the badge, and the girls earned it.

But then the council had a request for Troop 2746. Could its members put together a workshop that would allow other girls to earn the badge? The troop worked with Blythedale, and the hospital has now hosted two half-day workshops for Girl Scouts throughout Westchester and Putnam Counties.

At the workshops, girls were able to meet with occupational, speech and physical therapists. They worked with therapeutic equipment. They tried walking blindfolded, using canes. The girls also attended talks on subjects like injury prevention, where therapists talked about the fragility of the brain and emphasized the importance of wearing helmets when bike riding. More than 100 girls attended the last conference on Nov. 4, with a waiting list of 15 Scouts. Another workshop is planned for the spring.

The Chappaqua troop, meanwhile, is working on expanding the badge for older girls, which they hope to have included in the national handbook. Blythedale administrators described the Girl Scouts’ involvement as a “win-win” situation.

“We can provide our children with all the therapy, all the medicines, but these girls provide something else,” Ms. Cavanna said. “Being with other children from the community, where they will eventually return, gives our children a chance to be comfortable.”

The girls in the troop are in middle school now, an age at which the slightest difference can be fodder for cruel teasing. But these 12-year-olds seem to be gaining more than a badge from their hospital work.

“Kids who have problems are just like us on the inside,” said Kate Hawthorne, 12. “We’re just a lot more fortunate.”


26488516 All I can say this morning is hats off to Chesley  Sullenberger III, the pilot who ditched a USAirways jet into the icy Hudson River yesterday, saving the lives of all 155 people aboard. Amazing.

One more small thing, since I've been taking some flack for over-doing it on the death-of-print-media subject. The Weatherman has been out of town for the last two mornings, which means that when I wake up, the newspapers (we get two) are still sitting at the bottom of our driveway. What's worse, the coffee pot is cold and empty.

My morning routine is to read the paper while I'm still in my pajamas, slowly absorbing the news while I inhale, I mean sip, the nice, hot strong coffee. This tradition does not include putting on all sorts of layers of clothes (it is a whopping 8 degrees this morning) to trudge - in a pre-caffeinated state - across the snow to get said newspapers.

So I've actually curled up with my lap top to read the paper online the last two mornings, (the coffee and the pajamas were more important than the medium of news delivery)  and you know what - it's not so bad. And I'd be willing to pay for an online subscription and I bet if it was the only game in town, a lot of other people would too.

Journalism School Alumni Event

Columbia  Way back in the day, I got a degree from the Columbia University School of Journalism. It was long enough ago, boys and girls, that the school had no computers - only typewriters. The three concentrations (kind of like majors) they offered were newspaper, radio and television.

Don't get me wrong - it was an excellent program, and over the years the school has adapted to the existence of the web and all that it implies for the rapidly changing face of journalism.

So yesterday I got my invitation to the J School's annual alumni event and I flipped through the pamphlet to see if there were any seminars that might interest me. And what interested me the most was how the offerings reflected the most pressing needs of alumni - i.e. how the hell do we find work within an industry that's imploding?

There was "How To Develop A Book Proposal," which might have come in handy last year. (My method - find some really great agents who will shepherd you through the process. And readers, no word yet on my book proposal - it's out there, so please keep your fingers and toes crossed.)

Also one could attend "Reinventing Yourself," offered by "the founding partner a the career coaching firm SixFigureStart." That one kind of speaks for itself.

Or how about "Career Panel: Journalism and Beyond"? Emphasis on the "beyond," since the panelists are from corporate communications offices. I can promise you that it was not the dream of most people I attended Columbia with to write annual reports or newsletters.

I know, I know. I said I'd stop with the print media death watch stuff. But it's hard to ignore what's all around you.

Beauty Perspectives

14kandahar_600 I couldn't help but be struck by the contrast between two cover stories in today's NYT.

The first had this headline: "Afghan Girls, Scarred by Acid, Defy Terror, Embracing School." The story that followed told of school girls in Afghanistan who had been terrorized by men who threw acid in their faces on their way to school. The attackers are thought to be members of the Taliban, who do not believe women should be educated. The girls, even the injured, have all returned to school. The quote of the day came from this story, from Shamsia Husseini, a 17-year-old who was severely disfigured: "My parents told me to keep coming to school even if I am killed. The people who did this to me don't want women to be educated. They want us to be stupid things."

And speaking of stupid things, running just under this story is another with the headline, "Love14lash_650a The Long Eyelashes. Who's Your Doctor?" Yes, another advance in the cosmetic beauty industry. The company that brought us Botox, which paralyzes facial muscles to smooth those pesky wrinkles, is now introducing something called Latisse, which promises to grow thicker, longer eye lashes. (Side effects may include red, itchy eyes, changes in eyelid pigmentation, narcissism and hugely distorted priorities.) Or, to quote Shamsia, "They want us to be stupid things."

Monkeys Invade Campus

Rhesusmacaque_468x586 As a veteran of dozens of college tours (between both kids) I thought I was familiar with every query about life on campus. But never did it occur to me or any of the other parents to ask, "Do you have any problems with monkey attacks?"

But then, we didn't tour the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, in New Delhi, where - according to a report in The Chronicle of Higher Education - a troop of about 80-100 monkeys have been terrorizing the campus for years, "entering waiting rooms, biting people, and grabbing food from patients and visitors."

The marauding monkeys are Rhesus macaques, as pictured here, and evidently they share 93 percent of their genomic sequence with humans. That's why medical researchers like studying them and that's also why it must be especially unnerving to have them grab the soda right out of your hand.

The school has tried a monkey catcher (who knew there was such a job description?) and has brought in a pair of langurs, a type of monkey feared by the Macaques. But there has been no permanent solution.

And it gets worse - the latest problem on campus - stray dogs who are attacking doctors returning to their dorms late at night.

That's it - I never want to hear a complaint about cafeteria food again.

The End is Near

Times1 Really, I"m not trying to turn this blog into a print media death watch. But I couldn't let pass an article that appears in this month's "Atlantic," which speculates that the New York Times could cease printing as early as this May.

Shocking, but according to the magazine, plausible. It argues the following: the paper has some $400 million in debt, and will have to take drastic measures soon to avoid defaulting on the loans. As I've written before (and  given a speech at my alma mater on the subject), circulation continues to drop, readership is migrating to the web,  advertising has been slashed, and we all know the state of the current economy.

The company has some options - it can spin off some of its holdings (I'm not sure a certain family member knows that The New York Times Company owns a share of the Boston Red Sox). Someone might buy the paper out. But it certainly seems like the writing is on the wall - no, let me change that. The writing will be on the web, not the printed page. And how that will shake out is anyone's guess, but it will certainly mean huge lay-offs. The Atlantic predicted that in such a scenario, 80 percent of the staff could be let go.

None of this is reported (either by the Atlantic or me) with the kind of smirky triumph that sites like Gawker use to report the demise of print media. It may be inevitable, whether it happens this Spring or it happens years down the line. But much more would be lost than jobs, and I say that as a reader, as well as someone who has published more than 700 articles in the paper.

The Times has long been known as "the gray lady." It certainly seems like she's on life-support.

At Home At The Office

This is a photo taken in the home office of Nat Hentoff, famed journalist who wrote for the Village Voice for some 50 years before he was laid off last week. (Two things - one, the photo credit, which belongs to Marilynn K. Yee of the NYT, and two - he will continue writing for other publications, including, surprisingly, The Wall Street Journal.)

But enough on of Mr. Hentoff's career  - let's take a good gander at his office. I had just been feeling guilty about the state of mine - the stacks of papers and books are piling up again and there are sundry items like ink cartridges that need recycling, old coffee cups that should have been in the dishwasher days ago - even a federal express package from a publicist that's been sitting around for days unopened. (I know what's in there and it can wait - they should have sent it regular mail.)

Then I came across this magnificent photo of Nat Hentoff's office. And I realize that mine, relatively speaking, is a picture of organization and cleanliness. A picture, I might add, that you will not be seeing here.

Baked Shrimp Scampi

This was a very blog-worthy dinner. It is from "The Barefoot Contessa." My friend Carin recommended it and she did not steer me wrong.

2 lbs shrimp in the shell
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons dry white wine
salt and pepper
1 and 1/2 sticks of butter (yes, you read that correctly), room temperature
4 cloves garlic minced
1/4 cup minced shallots (I had none in the house and substituted onion)
3 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 egg yolk
2/3 cup panko (I used regular bread crumbs)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Peel, devein and butterfly the shrimp, leaving the tails intact. Place in a mixing bowl and mix lightly with the olive oil, wine, 2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Let the bowl sit at room temperature, marinating, while making the butter/garlic/panko mixture.

In another bowl, mix the butter, garlic, shallots, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolk, panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until well combined.

Arrange the shrimp in a single layer in the gratin dish, cut side down with the tails pointing up. Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp and evenly sprinkle the topping over the shrimp. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the shrimp are thoroughly cooked and pink.

Serves six. I served it over pasta.

My Boy The Slam Poet

Invite:program A few weeks ago, The Boy asked The Weatherman and me if we were free on January 7. "What's happening?" we asked. It was then The Boy told us that he would be competing in a Poetry Slam. I was astounded. I had a vague sense that he had been jotting down some verse in a notebook, but that was about it. The Boy's tastes generally run towards hockey and history. Now he was going to enter a creative competition and perform publicly?

I was in awe. So last night we braved the remains of an ice storm (only a handful of people I would do that for) and went to the event, which was in the city of White Plains. Holy Cow! It was amazing. First there was an open mike, and about 10 poets performed. Then the featured slam poet, Mike McGee, a two-time Individual World Poetry Slam Champion, performed some of his work.

After that, the Westchester Slam started. IPoet3 could no more do this than.... I don't even know what. You get up on stage, pick up the microphone and start your performance. You have three minutes. There are 5 judges in the audience. After you are done, they hold up score cards - just like in the Olympics - where you get rated from 0-10. It's all public, though I must say the audience was full of good will.

Poet My heart was in my stomach the whole night (Mom's vicarious nerves.) When The Boy got up I was an intense combination of excitement and nerves. And then he did his thing. I was blown away. OK, I know I'm his mother. But really, he was great. And I wasn't the only one who thought so - he was .01 points shy of taking third place by the end of the event. And it was his first time ever, and he was performing with people who do thisMikeMcGee regularly.

Anyway, the point is not the competition but the creative comradery around the whole event. What Paul not great struck me was the range in age of the poets, from one guy who looked younger than The Boy to older men with long grey pony tails. Scattered in this post are some very bad photos of some of the poets. (That's what you get with a bad telephoto lens.) Guess which one is The Boy?

Poet, bad     MCPoHo 

Wait - That Was Your Experience?

DSCN9545 Today's NYT reports that a best-selling spiritual author, Neale Donald Walsch, published a moving essay on his website about his son's kindergarten winter pageant. The children spelled out the song's title, "Christmas Love," only the kid who was holding the "m" displayed it upside down, so the message read, "Christ Was Love." Adorable, as were all the details about the pageant that followed.

The only snag was this never happened, at least to the author. It did happen to another person, Candy Chand, who wrote about it 10 years ago, had it published in a spiritual magazine and later again in "Chicken Soup for the Christian Family Soul."DSCN9544

OK, this guy isn't the first to plagiarize and he won't be the last. But what struck me about the story was his response to the accusations. He was sure he vividly remembered the whole thing. Later he acknowledged that he must have read it years ago and "then, somewhere along the way, internalized it as my own experience."

Boy, I wouldn't want to try that line with one of my editors. Anyway, the pictures today are of our backyard - it's hard to tell from the photos, but everything is coated in ice this morning. I wouldn't be surprised if The Boy wakes up and puts on his ice skates for a little street hockey.

Sending Baby Out Into The World

Newborn-baby-girl-three-3-days-old-first-time-in-pram-1-PAR No, not one of my kids. They've both been out there for awhile. I mean my book proposal. Today is the day that my agent is sending it to publishers. It's been nurtured and coddled and played with (i.e. developed and redeveloped and edited and re-edited) and now it's ready to go. Or at least we think it's ready. Or we're  tired of tinkering with it and think it needs to stand on it's own two feet. Who knows how it will be received?

The agents tell me to expect the following: first, silence. This should not be interpreted as anything one way or another. It takes time to read the thing. Second, rejections. They come in first. And finally, God willing, expressions of interest.

There's another story in today's NYT about the demise of the publishing business. (From one dying medium to another.) But I'm going to think positive. Good vibes! Good karma! Good luck!

Historic Visit

I wanted to spend some one-on-one time with The Boy while he was home on Christmas break. But sometimes it's hard to find an activity that's interesting to both a 20-year-old guy and a middle-aged woman. Of course, I love just hanging out with him, and we have played each other in some intense rounds of "Word Twist." But The Weatherman takes The Boy skiing and skating and to sporting events and I wanted an outing too.

And then it came to me - appeal to The Boy's inner history nerd. I'm not calling him names. The Boy, a history major in college, is a self-proclaimed history nerd and proud of it. So our destination quickly became clear: The New York Historical Society. There were two exhibits there that sounded intriguing - one on Grant and Lee and another on FDR's first 100 days in office. So off we went.

As soon as we got there, we were concerned. Look at this poor Civil War solider, who was obviously lost and ended up in Manhattan, looking somewhat bewildered.
Civil war soldier After greeting the poor lad, we went in and first went to the exhibit on Grant and Lee. It followed the two generals' careers from their days as students at West Point through Reconstruction in the South. The Boy was a little disappointed that the show seemed to gloss over Grant's prodigious alcohol consumption. Here is a picture of Lincoln and his advisers during the Civil War.
Lincoln and advisers Then we went upstairs to the FDR first 100 days exhibit. Obviously there were many comparisons to be made between what FDR faced and what Obama will soon reckon with.
Banner, new prez commands They even had a pair of FDR's leg braces, along with a time line of which programs he instituted in the first 100 days, and news reels from the 1930s. It was fascinating. Then we stumbled upon a third exhibit we hadn't planned on viewing. It was on campaign memorabilia. There was a whole wall of campaign buttons. This one certainly brought back memories:
Ferraro button But for sheer fun, check out this dress for the ultimate Eisenhower supporter:
Ike dress After our visit to the museum, we met My Daughter, The Boy's Sister, for a late lunch on the Upper West Side, and then the three of us took a cold but beautiful walk in Central Park. Days don't come much nicer than that.

New Year's Eve Feast - recipes included!

As per a relatively new tradition, The Weatherman and I spent New Year's Eve with our friends Amy and David, putting together an upscale pot luck dinner. We started nibbling on hors d'oeuvres at about 8 p.m., and the meal stretched out until nearly midnight. That gave us just enough time to waddle (er, I mean walk) into their living room, turn on the TV and watch the ball drop.

I brought the appetizers. I sure wish I'd remembered to take a photo of the hot artichoke dip before we were half way through it. It would have looked a lot more elegant. Here it is, half-eaten, along with the smoked salmon on pumpernickel bread:
The smoked salmon had a thin layer of creme fiche under it, and was topped with fresh dill. Here's the recipe for the artichoke dip , which was served with crackers:

Hot Artichoke Dip

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine in a medium bowl:
-1 cup mayonnaise, 1 cup grated Parmesan (4 ounces) and 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
Pulse in a food processor until finely chopped:
-One 13 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained
Stir into mayonnaise-cheese mixture, along with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Scrape into small baking dish. Sprinkle over the dip: 3 tablespoons dry bread crumbs and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Bake until browned, about 20 minutes. (Can be prepared ahead of time and warmed in microwave.)

Now, I would be able to have a nice photo of the shrimp and white bean first course that Amy made. Except by that time, we have probably imbibed too much of this:
Trust me, it was pretty and delicious. Next, and the photo does not do justice to the taste, was an incredibly tender and tasty steak. It had been marinating all day, and was cooked on the grill, despite the swirling snow outside. It was served with sauteed mushrooms, with asparagus on the side, and was out of this world.
Somehow, either Amy or David even remembered to photograph the salad, which followed main course:
I was a little nervous when Amy asked me to bring salad, because it is usually not my strong suit. But I decided to use a recipe, and while this was a little labor intensive, it was perfect for a special evening. It comes from Silver Palate New Basics:

Lemony Caesar Salad

1 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup walnuts
4 thin slices whole grain bread
1/4 cup anchovy spread (recipe follows)
1/2 large head of lettuce, rinsed and patted dry
1 cup Caesar Dressing (recipe follows)
4 ounces Parmesan cheese

-Heat the olive oil in a small skillet. Add the walnuts and saute over medium heat until lightly toasted, about 3-5 minutes. Set aside.
-Toast the bread: then spread each slice with Anchovy Spread, and scatter with the toasted walnuts.
-Tear the lettuce into pieces and toss with the dressing.
-Place a piece of prepared toast on each plate and top with a portion of the lettuce and dressing. Using a vegetable peeler, shave thin slices of Parmesan over each portion.

Anchovy Spread

12 anchovy fillets,drained
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 clove garlic finely minced

-Using a fork, mash the anchovies in a small bowl.
-In another small bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients together. Add ot the anchovies and mix until a paste has formed.

Caesar Dressing

1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine the lemon zest, juice, garlic and vinegar in a small bowl, and whisk well. Slowly add the olive oil, whisking constantly until smooth. Add the pepper and salt and set aside. Makes one cup.

OK - are you still with me? Because we are about to get to the most amazing part of the meal. Amy's incredible Baked Alaska. I showed a picture of it last year, and here's this year's version. But great news: Amy has parted with her recipe, which you can find below. Happy New Year!
DSC01156a DSC01159a
Amy's Baked Alaska

1. Bake your favorite brownies, using round 8" or 9" cake pans. (13 x 9 pan size brownie recipe translates to two round pans, and you need just one now. Save the extra for later.) Cool.
2. Press 1/2 gallon of your favorite (slightly melted) ice cream into a bowl lined with wax paper. (Keep 1/2 inch border at top.) Some great favorites are mint chip, coffee or chocolate. Freeze for 30 minutes.
3. Invert the ice cream over the brownies on an oven proof plate and refreeze until next step is completed.
4. Beat 5 egg whites, adding gradually 10 tablespoons of granulated sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form.
5. Totally cover the ice cream dome with meringue, and freeze again until ready to bake/serve.
6. Oven should be preheated to 450 degrees. Bake directly from the freezer for 5 minutes or until lightly brown. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before cutting.