Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Another cool old pic

March 21, 2008, taken while Adam was cooking.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The most satisfying thing I got done today

I used the recipe from Cook's Country's The New Best Recipe, which, although it was a present to Adam from my mom, is fast becoming my most trusted source for really good whatever it is I want to make. These are fat and chewy and fan-fargin-tastic. I used Ghirardelli chocolate chips instead of Nestle and they are better. The recipe has you use melted butter and remove one of the egg whites. The melted butter lets the flour have at the water it contains early so gluten develops, which helps with the chewy. To keep them from getting hard, you need the fat in two egg yolks, but the extra water in a second egg white is too much water. This is their explanation, in essence. I like that they give you their process of experimentation and deduction before giving you the recipe they derived from it. I'm a big fan!

Found art

I'm going through old photos to organize and categorize. I love to do stuff like this, but who has the time, usually? So I found some time to do it and am looking at my old pics. I never took many photographs until I got a digital camera because I found the costs of film AND developing just prohibitive, or at least overwhelmingly constricting to my sense of spontaneity. I'm still not in the regular habit, but I'm getting better at remembering that I have a camera with me all the time, and when I see cool things like this sky, I can just grab a shot. This was September 17, 2005. I lived in the City, still. Days like this in September don't pass without one remarking to oneself that 9/11 had such a sky. This was at the end of the day, and some remarkable sun caught on the cloud before it (the sun) set.

So I took the first picture and then an airplane obligingly crossed into the frame, completing the reference.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas dinner, summarized

It was a wonderful feast. We had succulent goose and duck, my stuffing, Holly's wonderful salad, Adam's AMAZING mashed potatoes (courtesy of the "Cook's" team, the best mashed potatoes I have EVER had), and Donna's delicious chocolate cheese cake. It was a spectacular meal.

Here's Adam with his birds:

This is frickin' heavy, take the picture already!

Here is some of the meat; the duck is on the left of the platter (a wedding/Christmas present to us from my sister, as is the big bowl containing the stuffing), the goose on the right:

I was surprised at how dark the meat was, especially the goose meat.

Here are most of our happy guests (Adam's sister Tracy managed to evade the camera somehow):

The chef (at right) with his beautiful platter of goose and duck:

Almost all of the duck and goose got consumed. After their fats were melted off, they were actually smallish birds. Apparently this is normal. We all had plenty to eat, but not much left over. We gave to-go containers out to any who would accept them of stuffing (and the mashed potatoes, regrettably). We still ended up with some leftover stuffing, thank goodness.

* * * * *

And today, Adam asked me to go to Whole Foods and pick up some more cheese. We needed more. While I was there, he had me get a turkey as well.

I didn't get enough time in the kitchen, let me roast a turkey on the day after.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

For those who celebrate Christmas, have a lovely one today!

We're preparing for our dinner of friends and family, for which Adam is making a roast goose and roast duck. I made my famous stuffing, and Adam will also make mashed potatoes. He consulted his new Cook's Best Recipes book my mom gave him and read it to me; I love their scientific examination of all the variables that contribute to or take away from the perfect creamy consistency and best flavor. I'm looking forward to those! I've also requested he make my favorite gravy, which is that made from the Williams Sonoma base, in addition to the goose-drippings-cognac gravy he's making for those who don't mind a little food in their booze. :)

With a fair amount of squabbling and contentiousness last night we set up the tables (several times in an attempt to fit them into our rather small dining room) and put the new Target linens out on them. (Macy's failed us in our registry as far as linens go, removing our chosen items from availability, so I had to fall back on old Tarjhay.) This morning I set the table with our new china and silverware. Look how pretty:

Also, here are some photos of the swags of (real) pine boughs around the ceiling, with the new ornaments my mom gave us

and the ornaments my sister-in-law, brother, and their kids gave us (gherkins!)

as well as, you see above, an ornament I bought in Wyoming when we were out there this summer.

Now Adam's put on the WPIX Yule Log and has gone up to perform his ablutions. My turn's next.

May the peace and love of the holiday be with you all!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

'Stefane,' for Julianne

I finished the sweater for Julianne about a week ago. Today I washed it and it's now blocking/drying on a towel on the floor here.

'Stefane' by Cirilia Rose from Berroco #290, Vintage™ Arts & Crafts - Ravelry link

The arms look exceptionally long, even when you figure that it is supposed to come down to her knuckles and there is a thumbhole on each sleeve. However, the sleeve seams probably will sit on a raglan angle, bringing the sleeve length up a bit. I really hope it fits. The smallest size in the pattern (even though the booklet was for tweens) was a girls' large, and J is not that big a kid yet, so I made some modifications to the pattern while I was working. I also added a stitch on either side in place of a side seam so I could work it in the round. You can see here how that enabled me to do the decreases and increases into one column:

Unfortunately, as a consequence of these changes, the scye was a lot larger than the sleeve, and I really had to work ease into the seams there. I'm not 100% confident it will fit right. I guess I will have to wait to see how it fits ON her. Ugh - I hate not being certain about gifts I knit. Anyway, I'll update with a photo when she puts it on after I give it to her.

I HOPE SHE LIKES IT! There's nothing more daunting than trying to make a gift for a tween (well, except making a gift for a teenager).

Friday, December 18, 2009

Knitting club at work

I've been trying to form a knitting group at work for some time now. Unsuccessfully. My biggest obstacle is not knowing any other knitters here. I've spoken to a woman in HR to see if she had any ideas for promoting it, and she's enthusiastic but really busy. I got permission from the building manager to have our meetings in the canteen where there are free sodas and coffee, and even snacks. So all I need is some other knitters!

I have a friend at another of the dot coms here, and I belatedly discovered that she is a knitter, but the company sold them and they moved to another part of town (sad to lose her here too because she's a really cool woman). In my company, it's mostly guys. Women are pretty unusual in the programming world. So I always feel a bit embarrassed to knit around them, even when we are officially off work, at our Thursday night happy hours and such.

Anyway, I've put up signs on a couple of the floors of the building, but I haven't gotten any nibbles yet. I think I'm going to have to be more brazen and go up to the canteen and knit at lunchtime. It's the only way I can think of to advertise that I am a knitter and possible smoke out the other ones here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Still mulling over my options

So now I'm not so sure about the orange sweater pattern, because I just went and looked through ALL the Classic Elite patterns on Patternfish and I found some beauties, two of which I think I'm going to combine for my project.

First, there's 808, The Llama - A Beast of Burden (on the right, below):

I really like this, pretty much as is. However, then I saw this - 419, Lands End Labyrinth:

I love the picot edging around the neckline and I LURVE the bottom section as well, though I'm not crazy about the central giant cable and prefer the central vertical cable in the Llama and how, as they note on Patternfish, it "anticipates the V" of the V-neck. So I may add the elements I like in Labyrinth to the Llama pattern. I bought both of them - at $4 each, they are a bargain!

Or - since this is now veering far from the original sweater that I want to recapture, which was a slightly oversized stockinette V-neck - I might just throw out all these fancy-pants ideas and go with plain stockinette.

We had our potluck lunch and holiday cookie swap today at work - I brought lasagna that Adam made - reheated with extra sauce on top, it was quite good. (We were worried that it wasn't "saucy" enough and therefore too dry.) I also made gingerbread "persons" that went over VERY well. Here you can see some of them after I iced them:

And one that didn't escape:


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Rowan International

I know I've complained about errata in their patterns before, but I just joined the Rowan International club. After finding out that, on the occasion of the publication of their new book, Rowan's Greatest Knits, Rowan just made a whole slew of finalists-but-not-quite-winners (patterns) available on their site for free, I went over and perused the selection and downloaded a bunch of things, and remembered how much I love their biannual books, so I signed up for the membership. I also found the pattern I am going to use for my orange sweater, whenever I can get around to knitting it. (I have a backlog, including one secret and really cool project Adam and I are working on together.)

Monday, December 14, 2009

This one of many reasons why I love my job.

"So I was hanging around the office, and a mad game of four-dimensional tic-tac-toe broke out..."

Doug, who (a) is a math PhD and (b) has played this game a million times, was blue circles and the winner. Jeremy was red Xs and I was green triangles. This reminds me a lot of SET! The popular card game of visual perception. What fun!

I've been away from blog posting for months, during which time a huge amount of stuff has happened. Our cat died, we got married and went on honeymoon, and now the holidays are in full swing. I have been knitting a lot and spinning some during all that time. I'm back, and will post more about those projects soon.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"Awe Nuts" Treasury on Etsy

My yarn has been included in another treasury on Etsy by TheEarringBoutique:

Thanks, TheEarringBoutique!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Marie Antoinette Sock

The past week I've been knitting a pair of socks, the first I've made for myself in quite some time. I'm using another pattern by Anne Hanson of Knitspot called Marie Antoinette. It's a fun pattern.

I had a false start in size 1 needles using some pale yellow Dream In Color Smooshy yarn.

It's a very pretty colorway, but it's got kind of a hard hand, especially for a yarn called Smooshy, and I didn't really like the feel of the yarn, despite what its fans say. Unfortunately I have three skeins of it now - two in the same colorway bought at different times! - because I was beguiled by the photography online. Maybe I'll put it on destash. It was also too small on size 1 needles, or I'd probably have kept going anyway, but instead I pulled out all but the top bit. You knit the top of the cuff sideways across 8 sts back and forth, and then graft together before picking up sts along its side; I liked this as a little bracelet, so I rinsed it and blocked it and kept it.

I then went out and looked for some nicer sock yarn in a colorway close to that in the picture in Anne's pattern. I don't usually feel constrained to choose the same color as that shown in a pattern picture, but this was such a good honey gold color that I had to have it, or something like it. I ended up getting a great yarn that I can't remember the name of at the moment, but I'll add it here later. It's not exactly the same yarn, but its colors are in the same family, and I've really been enjoying working with it and watching its colors change. I also am using size 3 needles. I didn't have any size 2's, so I said what the heck. It's actually a tiny bit big around the heel, for me, so size 2's would probably have been better. Live and learn. Besides, they'll probably tighten up in the washer/dryer (no delicate treatment for handknit socks in our house).

The colorway appears a bit greenish in this light, but still very warm. I'm almost done with the first one. As you can see, we were driving (to work) when I took this picture, on Rt 3, behind a Honda CR-V.

This is the third pattern I've bought from Anne and I've really enjoyed them all. This sock is varied enough that you definitely never get bored; the various parts of the pattern are intricate enough to be a challenge, yet fairly easily memorized - I will probably be able to do the second sock without looking at the pattern. I've never done a pattern where you do yo's and then catch them back up in a knit stitch, the way the pattern does in the half moons along the cuff and down the back of the leg. My picture doesn't show this very well, but you can see it in the pattern. I am looking forward to the second one (none of the dreaded second sock syndrome here) and expect it to go by as fast as the first (if not faster)!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Fiber Photo 365 did me in.

I ought to have known that that was biting off too big a bite to chew. There are very few things I can do EVERY single day, and posting to my blog clearly isn't one of them. I am involved with some fiber art every day, or almost every day, whether it's spinning or knitting or just pawing fiber, but documenting it is not my strong suit. Not even close. So that was an experiment, let's call it, that gave back some information. No blame, just, let's move on.

This weekend I don't know what happened but I decided to finish a bunch of things. I actually finished the Juno Regina Stole, which has been in my not-progressing-very-fast-at-all pile since I started it in Dec '07. That's an extremely long project life for me. Things usually get done a lot faster than that, although I do have the occasional black hole. Here's a pic of it being blocked on my office floor right now:

I did the entire bottom part, from where the diamonds start back up, between Thursday night and last night. It was a lightning-fast completion, considering how slow the rest of the damn thing was.

I also finished a pair of socks I started about four months ago for my sponsor, Nora; I knitted them in about 2 weeks, maybe less, and then they sat uncompleted on a side table. I knitted an edge that I wasn't crazy about, but today I took it out and sewed it down so it's a really sweet picot edge that it always wanted to be.

I made a hat for the new baby of some friends of ours out of some leftover cashmere - I finished knitting it on the bus on Friday, and tucked in all the ends today:

I hope it fits her; that teddy bear has a pretty big head, and it's a lot stretchier than the photo shows. It's blue, which usually people reserve for boys, but it has a big bow on it, so what the heck. It's cashmere, and it's incredibly soft, and I hope they like it and put it on her once or twice.

And finally, I decided once and for all to give up on the Rowan Botticelli sweater, which was so draining once I realized the pattern was printed with the flower charts upside down. I lost all my interest in the project. Last night I ripped out all of it and threw out the bits and bobs of yarn that can't be salvaged because the pieces are too short, and am putting the rest away to be used in something else in the future.

All of this is to make room for a new project, a sweater in Interweave Knits that I quite like, the Alpaka Tunic by Deborah Newton. I got the yarn for a song at, and it's really nice yarn despite it's low price. I'm very excited to begin!

BUT WAIT ... Errata from Interweave:

Alpaka Tunic (page 110)

The yardage for the Schoppel Wolle Baby Alpaka Naturbelassen yarn was listed incorrectly. The correct yardage is: 219 yd [200 m]/100 g.

I knew 880 yards was mighty short for an entire tunic! Even one that is short-sleeved. Fie on them! Now I have to order the same amount again. I hope I can get the same dye lot! GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fiber Photo 365, day 22

These are two sport weight yarns I spun that I realized would go together well when I was packaging them up to put on Etsy. The lighter is merino wool, 433 yards, and the darker is 564 yards of wool of unknown breed. They both have browns and golds and plums and pinks; the lighter has some lavender running through it, and the darker has some silver in its place. I think together they'd make a really lovely shawl, or perhaps a vest. I may keep them for myself instead of trying to sell them...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Another Etsy Treasury!

I have a piece in another Etsy Treasury. I'm always very flattered by being chosen for these.

The Etsy seller who composed this Treasury was CaitlinSainio. Thanks Caitlin!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fiber Photo 365, day 20

This is so frustrating - the color of this yarn, which is handspun (superwash BFL, 333 yds, 2-ply worsted weight yarn), is a deep midnight blue color. Here it washes out to a gray. It's my camera, or my photography, that is doing this. When I take pics for Etsy, I color-correct them, and the blues reappear. But that's kind of FAKE, and I don't like it. Anyway, it's nice yarn.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Fiber Photo 365, day 19

More mystery - this is the project from a few days ago, but it's now finished. Ravelry users can see it here.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Fiber Photo 365, day 17

Missed another day due to being sick with this stupid flu. Can't wait until I can stop taking guaifenesin (generic Mucinex), because it smells and I can smell it in my nose and in my pee. Ugh. Not to mention, I'm tired of hacking up and blowing out yellow stuff. Okay, that's probably way too much information and/or an undesirable mental image I just gave you. Sorry! Perhaps this will compensate:

It's not spaghetti in tomato sauce ... It's Seduce, a gorgeous 40g of a viscose/linen/silk/nylon blend from Berroco that I am going to use to make ... well, that part is a secret. But I plan to enjoy working with this very much. The color is intense and the yarn has a nubbly sheen. It's like a beautiful necklace. In fact I am wearing it around my neck at the moment.

Wedding planning update

My parents came into town* for the weekend, and my mom, my SIL, and I went to meet a florist and to see the venue for our wedding. (We had planned to meet with a second florist but our times got too tight and we ended up canceling the second meeting. I might reschedule it for next week.) I know my mom feels a lot more in touch with the wedding planning now that she has been able to see the venue and talk with the wedding coordinator there about everything, including the contract. We had lunch and talked about flowers and centerpieces and budgets and all kinds of things. It was very girly and very fun.

*My brother's town, to be precise, but close enough to work with! :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Fiber Photo 365, day 15

This is some nice BFL SW that I am enjoying spinning much much more than the last roving I spun. I color-corrected for my camera using Photoshop and this pretty much matches the color in life, as much as that can be done.

I'm sick, still, and it's been something of a burden doing the Fiber Photo 365 project for the past few days. I went to the doctor today and she said I probably don't have strep, but I asked her to swab just in case. No antibiotics, at this point, just continue what I've been doing, i.e., neti pot and guaifenesin and blowing my nose incessantly. I can't wait for this to pass.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fiber Photo 365, day 14

Some more fiber from Pigeonroof Studios - my favorite source for spinning fiber.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fiber Photo 365, day 13

Missed several days because I was sick as a dog. Here's the latest, some yarn I made with my friend Pete's mom in mind:

He surprised me by buying it from my Etsy shop today before I'd even listed it :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Fiber Photo 365, day 9

This lovely thing is 564 yards of wool, spun by yours truly, roughly worsted weight, in some of my favorite colors to have all mixed together. I took a variegated gold roving and spun it, and a variegated rose roving and spun that, and then plied them together, and all those variegations rolling over each other makes me very happy. It's going up on my Etsy shop soon, but I wanted to use the photo here as well. Salut!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fiber Photo 365, day 8

This is a mystery project (not a mystery to me) which I don't want to show any more of, but I have completed half of it and am working away at the rest.

I almost didn't make it before the day was up, but I didn't forget, I just got sidetracked looking for pictures of hairstyles for my wedding. One has one's priorities.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fiber Photo 365, day 7

Yes, I missed a day. I went back and forth about whether to put something up for yesterday and back date it, and I decided I'm not going to do this perfectly, but I am going to do it honestly. So, I missed day 6 of my Fiber Photo 365. Sue me!

Here's day 7's photo:

This is 11.58 oz of BFL, dyed with plums, grayish purples, and a little gold scattered through it. The picture is more orangey; my camera is too high end to be so consistently crappy with blues, and I wonder if there's anything I could change in its settings to fix that. This is from Briar Rose Fibers and even though I have PLENTY of fiber to spin, I couldn't pass it up, as it was a tremendously good deal and too beautiful. It's also very soft, which is a plus. I'm looking forward to spinning it; I might have enough to knit a vest or even a small sweater (i.e., for a small person) with it. 11.58 oz is a lot but I think it will be enjoyable!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Fiber Photo 365, day 5

This is not a beautiful photograph per se, but it shows a bunch of work I've done lately - yarn I'm about to post in my Etsy shop. I'm sure I'm neither the first nor the last to observe that creating the product is the smallest part of selling it. (In fact, this is probably not the first time I've said it.) Once you've created it, you have to photograph it, Photoshop the photo to crop and correct for color, name it, label it, and list it on Etsy. I think the last one is the worst part, because it takes a long time for each one. I think my least favorite part is coming up with tags to describe it. I wonder if anybody has worked out a faster way to list on Etsy? Maybe via a feed? That would be tremendous. I'm going off to Google that now.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Fiber Photo 365, day 4

Surprisingly, the silk-baby camel fiber, which was so painful to shred through, and for which I admit I didn't have especially high hopes (which was why I was willing to sacrifice it for practice with Navajo plying), actually came out great. The Navajo plying was perfect for smoothing out and blending the color transitions, and it's now a slightly varied thickness, firm, worsted-weight yarn with a lot of softness and sheen. Go figure!


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Fiber Photo 365, day 3

This is silk noil for spinning. I'm dubious about what it will be like to spin, however, as it looks extremely neppy and full of vegetable matter.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Fiber Photo 365, day 2

It's merino/silk/angora (50/30/20), the latest selection in the fiber club from Spirit Trail Fiberworks. It's extremely touchable. When I took it out of the mailing envelope I buried my face in it, although it doesn't smell a nice as it looks, it feels very soft. That's the angora. It looks to be very thoroughly blended and probably will be a pleasure to spin.

(Unlike the baby camel/silk, shown yesterday, which I was glad to finish spinning last night, finally. I did not do that fiber justice, I don't think.)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A year in fiber starts today

Recently I read on another blog (and I can't remember which, unfortunately) that the blogger was working on taking one picture of fiber a day for a year. I was inspired by their example and am going to try to do the same.

By way of explanation, if necessary, here's another view...

This is the almost-complete spin of the second issue in the fiber club I joined a while back - I've been really struggling with it, because the two fibers in the mix are hard to spin together. I have probably one more night in front of the TV with this and it is done. I have in mind a Navajo ply (basically a looooooong crochet chain that spins into a 3 ply) for it. We shall see. Navajo ply is very new to me and my fingers get tired by it.

More shall be revealed.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Start Spinning: The Video

I want to get this video. This lady has the most soothing speaking voice you could possibly hope for in a spinning teacher. Adam would never be able to watch this - it would drive him crazy - but I could watch it some time when he goes out of town. It would be like being at a spinning guild meeting.

Follow along with Eunny Jang as she learns the ins and outs of spinning from spinning teacher extraordinaire Maggie Casey. This 2-disc DVD set will tak you from just wool to good yarn and beyond. Learn how, when, and why to pre-draft your fber; how to adjust your spinning wheel; how to spin good single yarn; and how to ply and finish a good skein. Plus, you'll see the basics for carding and combing, spinning with a long draw, spinning worsted weight, spinning from the fold, and more.

It comes out in about a week, and can be ordered here: Interweave Store

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Suburban Weekend

On Friday night, Adam went out with friends after work, and I hung out at home watching tv he doesn't care about and spinning. I am in a fiber club and the latest offering is half silk, half baby camel. This sounds wonderful, but in fact I'm finding it really hard to spin. My regular method of spinning, for which I don't know the name, doesn't work with this fiber combination - the silk gets taken up and the camel gets sort of edged out sideways. So I started spinning from the fold, which has allowed me to control better the way the fiber gets taken up and I can spin the two types together better. But it's still extremely frustrating and I'm not really enjoying it too much. And it's too bad, because it's really beautifully dyed, and I think probably it is I who is doing no justice to the fiber, rather than the fiber doing me wrong. Oh well. I am finding out what I enjoy spinning and what I find too challenging. So Friday was spinning "to the pain" and watching L&O episodes.

Saturday was yard work, because it didn't do the rain they predicted. Over the past two weeks, the maple tree in the front yard has spewed helicopters and polleny florets all over the front yard, so yesterday I spent a couple hours sweeping it up and bagging it. Adam mowed the lawn, front and back. Together we generated two full bags of vegetable matter. Our composter has been full for months already so we can only bag it for pickup. (On the plus side, most of what's in the composter is almost dirt, finally. How cool is that?)

I planted some radishes and some okra seed (since the okra seedlings I transplanted outside died) - if I get one viable okra plant that'll be plenty since I'm the only one who wants okra in any capacity. Fried is my particular favorite - there was an Indian restaurant near my office that made fried okra in an especially genius way - they sliced them lengthwise, extremely thinly, and fried them so they were light and crispy and fantastically delicious. It looks as though that restaurant is either getting a facelift or being replaced by something else, though, so I may have to figure out this fried okra method on my own.

Adam installed the outdoor speakers in the back yard, so we're one step closer to being ready for the keg party he is throwing over Memorial Day weekend in honor of his sister's graduation from college. We're probably going to get a bigger grill, too, although it'll remain charcoal grilling only in this household. Adam's preference.

Saturday afternoon Adam went to his comic book store (it was national Free Comic Book day) and I hung out in the back yard, sat in the sun and read. I'm reading a really engaging book about the cholera outbreak of August 1854, and the events which ended in the invention of epidemiology. It's fascinating, if a trifle gnarly. It's called The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World. I have another of his books on deck, The Invention of Air, when I'm done with this.

Last night we had our first cookout on the grill, speaking of, and it was great. Adam made steaks and shrimp skewers and grilled tomatoes and peppers, with sauteed mushrooms to top the steak. To finish it we made smores! It was fantastic.

This morning I made lemon pancakes, and since the rain arrived today we stayed in. I read some more until Adam put on the TV with things that distracted me. We started watching the Starz show, "Party Down" which is pretty damn hilarious. We had an ep of that plus some other of our standbys.

For lunch Adam used the leftovers from the cookout. I got a salad with steak and grilled toms and peps, on a bed of home grown lettuce, and he had a sandwich instead of a salad, with same. It was really good. Tonight I am making sloppy joes. And thus ends another lovely weekend in the suburbs!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

OMG they're here!!!


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Lilac nearing its zenith

Two days since I said it was about to be in full bloom, and here it is! And it smells amazing. If I smelled this on a person I'd be repelled, but from the plant world, and especially since it's so fleeting, I adore it. And it only lasts such a short time before it's gone, and then it's just a shrubbery. Ah well...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Spring cleaning & cooking

First, here's the lovely spaghetti sauce Adam made today:

I suspect I took a picture of the last batch we made. Who cares, I love taking pictures of the food MFA makes me. And yes, it tastes fantastic. This is a double batch, plus he made an extra batch of meatballs (tripled the recipe, in all) that I've put away in the freezer for next time.

Meanwhile, I made myself useful and partially cleaned up the garage and the mudroom and my office. It's still a pig sty back here (office) but it's getting better. At least I took out the bags of recycling (paper) and the box the printer came in.

When it gets cooler I will go out and do some more gardening, but 95 deg is too damn hot to be digging in the dirt. In the meantime, check out my apple & lilac, which are beginning to blossom:


Friday, April 10, 2009

Experience, Strength, and Hope

I love reading Cary Tennis's advice column because he is so kind, so compassionate, and so clearly has been there like all of us. He's not handing down best practices from some dais on high; he's passing along his own experience, strength, and hope. (I do feel that today he went a little off the rails into the political arena, but he generally brings it back home, and explains why he's gone off on the rant.)

Sometimes, he's quite blunt and intense:

We go through a lot of shit. The hitting-bottom thing: I so relate to that! I felt throughout my punk years that I had no right to my own rage because I myself had had it comparatively good. I was not from the gutter. I aspired to the gutter! But I came from the suburbs! I aspired to the gutter because the gutter would explain everything; it was the objective correlative to my poverty of spirit! I aspired to the gutter and eventually attained it but not without struggle and hard work! And then, having attained it, having reached my dream of ending up face-down in the gutter, I finally felt, having lost everything, that I had the right to my own suffering!

(From Mom is alcoholic, Dad is dead: Why do I feel so alone? Cary Tennis's advice column on Salon)

This paragraph reached out and grabbed me because once, I too "aspired to the gutter," and I've never really had a better explanation for it than how, upon reaching the gutter, my outsides finally matched how my insides had for a long time felt.

He said another priceless thing in this same column: "Do you identify with power or do you identify with those upon whom that power is cruelly exercised?" I've never heard it put like that before - I've often wondered why I always cheer for the underdog, relate to the tenant and not the landlord, raise a metaphorical fist for the downtrodden. I haven't been a member of the underclass for a long time, but I still relate to them better than to those with money, power, etc. Now I don't feel so mistaken about it.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

First day of gardening, 2009

We both got out into the garden and did some cleanup and planting. I bought some ranunculus (ranunculi?) in planters just to put out on the front stoop:

I love ranunculus and hope I can have them in my wedding bouquet, if they are hothouseable (because I don't think they're in season in November). But for now we get to have them on the front stoop.

I also cleaned up the bed under the apple tree, clearing away all the dead foliage from last year, and uncovered the hostas starting to come up:

I tried to take a picture of the budding pear tree and lilac, but they were too hard to photograph yet.

We also did some work on the vegetable garden but I discuss that in the Armageddon Garden Club blog. Please read further over there. :)