Monday, October 20, 2008


I'm dealing with the loss. We had a good year, alot of injuries, we had our great moments, and the Rays earned the title, we made 'em fight for it. And just like that, it's over. Another season. My constant companion since March, gone, left town, see ya in March. And I can deal with that. It will be a strange few nights, but my thoughts will turn to trades and looking ahead to the 2009 team. But this. This I cannot even think about. Tek. He is my guy. And he is a free agent. It's a very short clip. It makes me sad...

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Great Pumpkin Pie Bake-off of 2008 Part 1

This is the one thing from my childhood that I will not part with. It's a sifter that has seen better days, for sure!

My mom was a terrible cook. Thank god we were a "meat and potatoes" family, for the most part, and that, combined with frozen veggies and rice, got us by. I never even knew what garlic was until I left home. I know!!!

But the one thing my mom was good at was baking cakes. And a few other desserty things, but it was the cakes that we always did together. There were two things that were my job. The sifting of the dry ingredients, and the coveted batter remains after the cake pan was filled. I know, it doesn't sound like much, but trust me, this was the one thing we managed to connect with , no matter what else. My mom and I, well, on a good day, we were miles apart. But the baking, that was special.

Then there was my gram, my mom's mother. That woman could bake. She got by in the cooking department (she and I would never agree on the definition of "rare" when it came to meat. To gram , it meant "cook the ass off it". But the baking more than made up for that. I was fortunate enough that she always lived within walking distance of our house. And I was also fortunate enough that I could show up there anytime, no need to call ahead, and I could stay as long as I wanted, which was often days that turned into weeks until finally the phone would ring and I was told I ought to go home. (But I thought I already WAS home). And there was always pie at her house. Always. Honestly, I can't ever remember showing up at her house and there not being at least 2 kinds of pie for the choosing. My favorites were apple and pumpkin. Especially in the fall, because the apples were the freshest and the pumpkin was in season.

Fast forward to Fall 2008. We got 2 sugar pumpkins from the CSA. I offered to take them both and transform them into pie and roasted seeds (the first handfull of which I am munching on right now - yum!). Yesterday I roasted the pumpkins in the oven, and made pumpkin puree to use in the pies.

The first pie has been baked. It is the tried and true recipe I have always used, from the back of the One Pie can. Since I was using fresh pumpkin and not canned, I decreased the evaporated milk to 10 oz. It's out of the oven, and still cooling, but the little itty bitty piece I snuck tastes AMAZING!!!

I had some help though. The pie making thing? Yeah, that comes from my gram. And the sifter? I know not where it came from, if it was something handed down to my mom, or something she acquired. What does matter is that for a little while tonight, 3 generations gathered in my kitchen and created some pumpkin goodness. And I wonder - how might all of our lives have been transformed if but for one afternoon the 3 of us had gathered for some serious pie-making way back then? That I will never know. I do know that I have lots of pie-making and pie-savoring moments to treasure of me and my gram. And that is good enough.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Bake-off tomorrow night!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Balance - we findz it...

After arriving at the place I was at yesterday - end of week, once again burned out and exhausted and irritable - and after neglecting to pry myself away from my work yesterday long enough to go enjoy some of the beautiful day with my doggie, I decided that today was going to be all about him.

After a yummy breakfast at Jewell and the Beanstalk with the beautiful Jericka, I came home, changed my shoes, and me and Rusty headed off for an adventure.

Massabesic Lake is a treasure every city should be lucky enough to have. The water I am drinking right now comes from that lake. Of course I can't find the information on-line now, but I remember reading a couple of years ago about the history of how the city had the forethought to buy up all the land in and around the watershed. As a result, it is a wonderful place to enjoy a beautiful day anytime of the year when you don't feel like driving a great distance. I can get there in 10 minutes or less from my house.

Lot's of people bring their dogs there, so I thought Rusty would like going there. We hadn't been there in a long time, but that is another story.

I like it when my mom brings me places. There is so much to sniff here!! I really hope I make alot of friends today.
What was that? You hear it? Maybe it was a deer!

We came to a clearing and found this amazing uprooted tree...

I've never seen ducks here! (maybe 'cuz no one feeds 'em? public water supply and all that...)

No clue what this means, but I thought it was cool!!

We walked way farther than we ever have before. We crossed Rt. 121 in Auburn and came upon this trail.

At this point I put the camera away for a while, as we were leaving the lake. I know there are other trails that go around the lake, but we will save them for another day. We walked for probably a good half hour before we turned around.

I was thirsty, and very happy when we came back to this little stream. My mom let me go in and it felt really good.

This was the view downstream from Rusty's drink.

I have lived in New England my whole life. Believe it or not, I have never taken foliage pictures. This the first fall EVER, in my whole LIFE that I have loved - yes, that's right - LOVED fall. That little sunlamp thing has made a huge difference in me. Even my brother says he can't believe the difference. Seriously, it's as though I am experiencing fall for the first time in my life and it just takes my breath away. I am grateful.

At long last - friends!!

What a great fall day. We just got wrapped up in beauty for a couple of hours. I even left the phone in the car!

Friday, October 10, 2008

and the greatest of these is love...

The balance thing. I'm not quite there yet. I'm better. But, here it is Friday night and I am wiped. Too pooped to, once again, go to knitting. I'll get there. I need to learn to let the workload slide a bit. I'll get there.

So tonight I did go out to go to the grocery store. And, since I was glued to my chair working all day and didn't even take a time out for some Rusty fun, I decided to take him "shopping" too. First we went for his after dinner walk. I stopped to talk to my friend Scott, hadn't seen him in a while, and he hasn't been having an easy time of it. So Rusty played with their dogs and we had a nice chat. Came home and we piled in the car and went off to Rusty's favorite store, Pawsitive Pet Nutrition on Candia Rd. I didn't need anything, just felt like visiting my friend Gail who owns the business and spoils Rusty rotten. Had a nice visit with her. Left and realized I did not have the wallet with me, so had to come all the way home, then back out to the store.

I overheard something in the store tonight. Maybe it was just being so damn tired that made me have to really fight not to cry. Or maybe it is just the general energy on the planet right now making me more sensitive. Anyway...this group of people were talking in the grocery store. They were standing in a kind of in the way place - right where the meat counter starts - but people still managed to get by. Anyway, there was an older man in a wheel chair, a woman pushing the wheel chair, and another older woman talking to them. I heard woman #1 explaining that "he has dementia now and is in the wheelchair all the time.". I assumed she was his caretaker and just went on my way. You know, in that almost semi-conscious way we have of taking in a snippet around us, assigning it a story, and moving on. I made my way up and down the aisles and they were still there talking. And then I over heard woman #1 say "what else am I gonna do, he's my husband and I love him." And those words followed me around for quite a while. They just touched on something deep in my heart. Perhaps it was the heartfelt sincerity they were spoken with. Perhaps it was the look in his eyes when I walked by them again and smiled. I hope he is aware of how loved he is. And I'm also glad to know that in this upside down world I live in, that they have each other.
I think I must be pmsing.
Another hour til baseball. And it's the weekend. Boy, do I need the weekend. Breakfast with a dear friend tomorrow, drinks with another Sunday night, and in between lots of fresh air, Rusty and Zuni time, and exercise!!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I'm over it...

I just can't stand the corporate world. I'm very unhappy there. Love my job, love what I'm doing, but I do not belong in the corporate world. I've never worked for a large public corporation. I've always worked for smaller, privately owned companies. You wouldn't think there is that much of a difference, but let me tell you, for me anyway, there is.

I can't talk specifically about where I work, or what is going on there. And truthfully, it's not a bad situation. It's just not me.

I had this realization today. I chose to work from home. At home, I can just put my head down and do my work and not rub up against the corporate thing. I just don't care about org charts and mergers and metrics and buzz words.

So earlier this afternoon I took the dogs outside and I brought my spindle and some roving. It was a bit windy out, not too bad, and it felt nice just sitting in the sun. This spinning thing is kinda frustrating for me. I don't get the drafting thing. I don't know which hand is supposed to do what, which hand actually pulls out the fibers, and then there is my tendency to clamp down on the fiber to much and that makes it hard to draft. I think I might have found the drafting triangle. And so on this went for about 30 minutes. I'd get it for a little bit, then it would all go to hell again. The thing I really like about spinning on the spindle though, is that I think about things I wouldn't normally think about. I thought about how nice it would be to be sitting out in the sun in the country somewhere near a field and a lake with no sounds of civilization. No sound of cars, no planes. Just me and the sun and nature sounds. And I thought, well that's something I can easily make happen. Then I got to thinking about the spinning itself and I thought that 200 years ago that a woman much like me took a break from her chores and sat out in the sun in her dooryard spinning on a spindle. And that brought me back to the absolute one thing I would give anything to be able to do. And that is, boys and girls, have a farm. Seriously. If I had the money and the skills, I'd do it. If I had the money to BUY the skills, I'd do it. And I've been thinking about it the rest of the day. How it makes me feel when I think about that as a lifestyle, and how right it feels to me. And who's to say it can't happen? I believe in the law of attraction and that anything is possible. The only thing really standing in my way are my own self-imposed limitations and fears. In my heart I know that this would be right work for me. So universe - show me the way, I'm paying attention.

See, you never really know where .5 oz. of roving and a spindle may take you. I liked today's journey, and it is a good reminder for me to create more of these little moments in my days.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Substitute Blog Post*

*The title originally planned for this space was "Red Sox Take Back First Place in the AL East". You know what they say about plans. I didn't even stick around for the post game - something I always watch because I love hearing Tito answering the media, especially when they ask him stupid questions. Nope, last night the TV was off before they could say "stay tuned for Tom Caron and Extra Innings".

So it's a good thing I have a back-up plan. For some unknown reason, I decided I needed to take a ton of pictures last night to put up on Ravelry. Well, the ton ended up being a dozen or so...and they haven't made it to Ravelry yet...but it made me realize how little knitting really was accomplished this summer!! Anyway, here is some rare fiber porn for your enjoyment...

This is the Lisha Lace Scarf, designed by my friend Gina. I absolutely love this pattern, and the yummy yarn I am knitting it up in makes it even more pleasurable. It is Jade Sapphire Mongolian Cashmere.
Next is the Monkey Sock ( it does have a partner) done in Spunky Eclectic's Skinny Sock in the Peacock Colorway.
Love the pattern, the yarn is soooooo soft..but...they are a little big, especially in the heel. I am hoping they will still be comfortable to wear though.

This is the Cascading Leaves sock, my third time doing this pattern, and the yarn is Knit Picks Essential Tweed. I love this yarn, this is my third pair of socks knit in Essential.

This is my favorite yarn buy from the summer. Purchased at the New Boston Farmer's Market. It is handspun Corridale and the dark colorway is from a sheep named Corey!
This will become a hat and mittens for a gift!

Finally, I have been slowly learning how to spin my own yarn with a spindle. The spindle is a new purchase, it is a Cascade spindle, and I love it. I finally gave up on using my crap roving to learn on and have moved on to the good stuff. This is also from Spunky, more Corriedale, in the Mahogany colorway. I have made peace that it will be thick and thin homespun and I'm sure I will come up with something wonderful to make once I get it done.
So, that's it on the knitting front for now. I'm hoping to finish up the socks I have in progress (I also have a pair of Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn that I am knitting in the Oak Ribbed sock pattern from Vintage Sock Knitting by Nancy Bush.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What a gas...

I find it so interesting that as soon as the new announces that the price per barrel oil price has risen that the price at the pumps, overNIGHT increases. Yet lately we have had many, MANY announcements that the price per barrel has gone down...yet the prices at the pump do not reflect this. Case in point, from my local news station:

Oil Price Decline Takes Time To Reach Gas Pump

Gas Prices Still Higher Than Last Time Oil Was As Cheap

The price of a barrel of crude oil has continued to slide, but many drivers are wondering when those savings will trickle down to the pump.Crude oil slipped to $92 a barrel on Tuesday, the lowest it has been since last November. At that time, gas cost about $3 per gallon. But now, it's about 50 cents higher.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Loose Ends...

Having one of those nights when I just can't figure out what I feel like doing with myself!! There is a list a mile long of things that need doing, like cleaning, dishes, coloring my hair...nope, not happenin'. There is this other list of things I like doing like knitting, spinning, surfin', watchin' tv or a movie - nope, don't feel like any of those either. I KNOW - knitting?!? I am always knitting!! Just feeling a little out of sorts for no particular reason. Maybe I will go curl up with a book. No baseball tonight, can ya tell??

It all comes back to that balance thing. I am realizing that I come home from work every day and I'm not really taking enough "me" time. In a way tonight has been good. I spent some time hanging out with the dogs and writing in my new journal. Then Lisa and Rico came by and we took the dogs for a walk. Sabre is spending the night as her dad is out of town for the night on business. She is very content up here. And there was ice cream.

Not complaining. It's always a hard time of year for me, this transition from summer to fall. Feel like I didn't get enough summer, you know? And yet, I do love fall. Just not for another few weeks, until I see the leaves turning and start digging out my favorite snuggly warm clothes and I love being outside in the fall...

I'm rambling. I miss my kitty, she is spending the night at the vet as she was spayed today and I felt awful bringing her there!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Gameday Grape

Yesterday, before TS Hannah came to visit, I visited the grapevine in my backyard...

This approximately 1 pound of Concord Grapes
This approximately 3.5 pounds of Concord grapes.

This is the remaining poundage...
This is the bath...

These are 16 jars of Gameday Grape Jelly. Why Gameday? Because, aside from the picking of the grapes, everything else was accomplished while the Pats beat KC 17 - 10 and the Sox beat the Rangers 7 - 2. I also learned that I can stir a pot of jelly stuff and., as long as I remember to bring the remote to the kitchen, I can keep up with the games. There is enough juice in my fridge to make one more batch of 8 jars tomorrow night as long as I remember to pick up another package of pectin.

This is the most fun I have had gettin hot 'n sticky as a single person EVER!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Out of balance...

That is how I am feeling tonight. And for a while now, though I hadn't really taken the time to think about how I've been feeling. Today was my last day of work and I am about to start vacation. My mind is still at work though, and I feel wound very tightly. Normally I am really good about separating work from home. The past month or more I have not succeeded at this. I take alot of pride in the work I do. When it is expected that I perform A, B & C by a certain date, and then they toss in D, E, and F, I will do what it takes to accomplish what needs to be done, because we do have deadlines and if things aren't done in time, it affects everyone else. Unfortunately, some of my coworkers do not share that belief. They instead complain that there is SOOOOO much work to do, and they spend time making excuses as to why they are not getting the work they are assigned done. It makes more work for everyone. Now, I don't mind doing more than my fair share of the work. I do mind though when I have planned out my time a month in advance, and said co-workers repeatedly don't get their work done, and I end up either doing some of their work, or not having enough time to do the final testing in the manner it should be done. The other issue is that we have been without a manager since February, there is division in the department, and going to work every day has become kind of like living having to live with your partner after you've decided to part company until one of you finds a place to live. Only you're getting paid to do it. Don't get me wrong - I really do love what I do. I'm just tired of the system that is in place that doesn't work. I'm tired of working with people who complain, make more work than is necessary, have no concept of how to prioritize and basically act like 5th graders. Hopefully a new manager will help. But there is still the issue of the division, and I don't think that can be easily mended. I just want to not think about that place for the next week and work on finding the balance. For starters, I need to stop coming home and logging into work to work some more. And I really, really, really want to be able to just move out of the office and work from home full time.
So, here's to a much needed vacation. I'm heading to Maine in the morning and then back to NH Wednesday. Not a whole lot planned, my brother is on vacation as well, and then next weekend is getting the kid ready to go back to school...I am craving a few days to myself to do absolutely nothing. I have a big chunk of time off at the end of the year and am definitely scheduling at least a 4 day stretch to myself. But that is months away. I will have to plan a 3 day weekend in the meantime.
Time to find the balance between work and play, activity and rest!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

You can dance...

Went and saw Mama Mia at Chunky's tonight.

Meryl Streep can sing!! And she looks sooooooo hot in the overalls. And then she adds the toolbelt and the power tools...swoooooon!! OK, I admit it. I have always had a thing for Ms. Streep. I kinda forgot about it though. Then I heard about Mamma Mia and thought, yeah, I don't think so. Then I heard Meryl Streep was in it and I watched the trailer. Hmmmm...maybe I should check it out. So, off I went to meet up with the ManchVegas Knitters. The first 5 minutes I'm thinking - sigh - this is going to be one of those musicals that bore me to tears. After those 5 minutes? That there movie picked me up and took me on a feel good ride that had me smiling the whole way through. Yes, it is pure fluff. The story is simple and it is a pure escape from reality. Go see it. I'm going again, you can go with me!

I shouldn't be up. It's late. But I came home and worked for a while. I need to stop doing that!!

p.s. don't beleive a word Laurin says, I behaved myself the entire evening!!!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

All is well...

in Red Sox Nation. Carry on...

Great weekend!! T-dance yesterday, shopping in Ogunquit, got my tires rotated (yes, this was very good!), breakfast with an old friend, some knitting, lot's of baseball...that about sums it up. Oh! And new recipe...kind of a random creation mine and a combination of CSA and Manchester Farmers Market. It needs a name!! I had in mind making a sort of turnip hash, and the obvious name would be - Trash - but who would want to make that??


5 small - medium turnips
1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
1 garlic scape, or 1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 head cabbage, diced
1 tsp thyme
2 tbsp butter
olive oil

Cut up turnip into 1" chunks. Boil until mushy (think: mashed potatoes consistency), about 20 min. Drain. Mash.

In a wok or skillet, heat 1 - 2 tbsp olive oil oil. Saute' onion for 5 minutes or so. Add garlic. Cook a few minutes more. Add cabbage. Add thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until cabbage is soft. Add butter. Cook a few more minutes.
Add turnip. Smoosh (very technical cooking term) mixture as though you were cooking hash browns. Add more butter, or not, to taste. Cook until browned to your liking.

This was so yummy. i had no idea what to do with turnips, other than make soup, and I don't really eat soup in the summer (except for Friday when I had lunch at the Seedling Cafe in Nashua and had a (huge) cup of pumpkin walnut soup - yummmmmm!) so I just kind of improvised and the results are amazing!!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Before the weekend gets too much further behind us, I want to post some pics from the women's drumming circle I hosted in my yard this weekend! It's something I have wanted to do for some time now, and the women from the bookclub I belong to were interested. So, we made it happen. The weather was amazing - a little on the hot side but the shade came and made for a more comfortable gathering. Oh - wait - I guess it wasn't exclusively womenspace - Rusty and Lincoln were there as well!! I thought maybe they wouldn't like being around the drums, but they stayed in the circle with us the entire time (except to take a break for supper of course).

Drumming is so healing on so many levels. I have no formal training, yet my hands just seem to know what to do. I need to do more of it and plan to make it a priority. (and if anyone is interested, there is a community drum happening in Manchester on 8/16 with Akwaaba from 12 - 3 Bronstein Park, between Hanover and Union streets).

Anyway, back to Saturday. 3 of the group who attended were in not so great emotional spaces. Names and details do not need mentioning. I found it interesting though, that for each of these women, it was as if the universe say a healing space in their future and so threw them each a curve ball, knowing they would have the opportunity to shift things by drumming.

Sunday was equally as fun. I did something most unusual - got up at 6 and out the door shortly after 7. Wow - Sunday mornings are a whole lot cooler than weekday mornings!! For one thing, there is like no one on the roads. And the radio! There is a Beatles Breakfast on 100.7 at 8Am that I think I will listen to at home ( assuming of course I get up in time). So I picked up my friend Melissa in Portsmouth and we proceeded to the Museum of Science in Boston (Cambridge really) to see the Baseball in America exhibit. OMG. It is so worth going. In fact, I have convinced my brother that be must go and we will be going in a few weeks. Unfortunately there were signs all over explaining that this was a low light exhibit and no photography was allowed - which I totally understand as some of the displays were 100+ years old! Bonus points for being in the museum before 10, no crowds. Then we had lunch (also very reasonable) and took in a wonderful Planetarium show. We emerged from the cocoon of the Planetarium, hit the gift shop, and then realized the place was PACKED!! Time to go. Kudos to the MOS for making some much needed improvements. Can't wait to go back! (sidenote: ya know how the MOS has overnight lockdowns for scouting troops, church groups, school groups, etc? How cool would it be if they had a KNITTING OVERNIGHT?!?!?!?)

One week later...

I guess it is a good thing that I don't spend alot of time on-line these days, eh? Finally getting around to adding the pics and posting this...

Before everyone arrived:
Zoom in if you can and check out the expression on Lincoln's face... i love that dog!

Did someone mention that I should grow a pair?

Rusty and Lincoln were there the whole time!

Rosy was happy to find a new drum!

Monday, July 21, 2008

If a tree falls in my driveway and no one is there to hear it...

Walked out the back door this morning and didn't see my car in the on the picture to see the rest of the pics I uploaded to Picasa. Neither car had a scratch on it!! Don't know if it was lighting, or wind - it's obviously a healthy tree, so lightning? Scary storms last night, that's for sure!!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Neighborhood News

I know I have shared many stories of the fine neighborhood I live in. These tales have perhaps painted a rather bleak picture of said neighborhood. I was thinking this morning about how great the place I live is. The women who own the house are so cool, nice and amazing. I have a rare city perk and that is a backyard. There is all sorts of great stuff growing back there, and I have a nice raised bed garden to grow veggies in, shade from trees, and at the moment a bumper crop of raspberries. My apartment is charming to say the least. The whole house has a very positive, healing energy to it, as though it has always had good people living in it. Wood holds the energies of the past you know.
The house formerly known as the crack house has quieted down - the dealer was jailed last year and I never see the police over there anymore. The house formerly know as the tenement, scene of a bad fire in April, is getting a makeover. The screamers aren't screaming as much these days.
So tonight I am out walking Rusty and Lincoln, and I glance out in to the road and I see this . Warning - do not click on that link if there are children around, you are at work, etc. I'm l ike, are you kidding me? Is that really? I walked over and sure enough. Luckily I had my ph one with me and snagged that picture. Came home and had to text it to my one friend I knew would appreciate it. Her reply, "Was it buzzing?" I could not stop laughing!! Seriously. How does something like that end up in the middle of the road? I'm not sure I want to imagine!!!

Sox on the Beach

I brought some socks to the beach to work on today. The one on the left is Monkey, in some yummy Skinny Socks yarn from Spunky Eclectic, gifted to me on my birthday. The one on the right is some Noro Silk Garden sock yarn I got last night at Yarn and Fiber. I cast on 63 56 49 stitches and knit the cuff swatch in the 5+ hours I spent at the beach.

This is me and what my skin looks like after those 5+ hours at the beach:
This is the list I sat at this very desk and made this morning to insure that I brought everything I needed to the beach with me:

Feed Opie He is our turtle. I fed him.

So I loaded everything into my knapsack that was on the list, secure in the knowledge that the sunblock was already in there, because that's where it has been for like the past month, and off I went! Got to my usual favorite beach in Rye and there was actually a line to get into the $10 parking lot. I lucked out and got in right away and got a nice shady spot on the grass to park.

Set up my camp on the sand (the place was PACKED) and reached into the knapsack for the sunblock...what the...? Yeah. I took it out last night because I took the knapsack to knitting and was afraid of leakage. I distinctly remember thinking at the time that I probably shouldn't take it out as I would probably forget about it. Well, I had my trusty beach umbrella with me, since I have only been to the beach once all summer, and that was a month ago, I didn't want to do any damage to my skin. So no sun block, no problem, right? Wrong. Apparently the umbrellas don't block all of the UV rays. And the sun reflects off the sand. And I spent at least an hour unprotected while swimming or walking. And then there was that 1/2 hour that I took the umbrella down because it got windy and blew off at one point, landing on the chair of a woman who moments before had been sleeping there and luckily had gotten up to take a dip. Oh well, it was worth it, it is a mild sunburn and I am not in any discomfort, just feel hot and not used to feeling like I am on fire. Luckily I had put moisturizer on my face right before I left the house that is SPF 15 and I had my hat on for most of the day as well, so the face was spared. Kind of.

And now it is Saturday night and I am home and I don't have to be anywhere or do anything until Monday morning! Feels good to have some down time. Not complaining - the weekends have been packed with fun activities, but it is nice to have some time to myself.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mindless Fun

and because giving credit is the polite thing to do, here is where all the pics came from...

1. Melissa, 2. Cheese shop (3), 3. Arlington High School, 4. purple haze, 5. Jason Varitek 2, 6. Bowling pins, 7. Rooftops - Barra de Navidad, Mexico, 8. Good News Ice Cream!, 9. Eid Mubarak - عید فطر مبارک, 10. New family on Garda lake...., 11. A Boatman & His Dog Cruising Along in the Cannaregio Sestiere, Venice, 12. You are here in my Heart, my Dearest..

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.

The Questions (and my answers):
1. What is your first name? Melissa
2. What is your favorite food? cheese
3. What high school did you go to? Arlington High
4. What is your favorite color? purple
5. Who is your celebrity crush? Jason Varitek (even though we all know it's Rachel Ray, couldn't find a nice pic so went wtih #2!)
6. Favorite drink? a fine merlot
7. Dream vacation? Mexican coast
8. Favorite dessert? ice cream
9. What you want to be when you grow up? wealthy
10. What do you love most in life? my family
11. One Word to describe you. authentic
12. Your flickr name. jasminenh

Monday, July 14, 2008

CSA Week 1

So I want to keep a blog of the CSA each week and recipes we come up with. I'm too lazy to create a separate blog, so if you're not interested, just move along :o)

Wow. I can't believe how much my eating, cooking and shopping habits have changed in a few months. Saturday we made the first pick-up at the CSA.

What we got:
Pac Choi
Garlic Scapes
Yellow Squash
Pickling Cukes
Salad with the lettuce, radishes and cukes

First recipe:

Sauted Greens

1/2 bunch kale
greens from 1 bunch beets
1 garlic scape or 1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 pkg mushrooms
4 oz bacon, coarsely chopped (can use turkey bacon or veggie bacon)
1/2c chicken broth (or veggie)
1 Tbsp fresh thyme

Remove stems from kale and greens. Rinse. Add to a large pot of boiling water and cook for 6 minutes. Drain.
In wok, cook bacon until done, but not crisp. Remove from pan with slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
Saute mushrooms in bacon fat (there won't be that much). Add garlic scape or garlic. Cook for 6 minutes. Add greens, bacon, broth and thyme. Cook for approx 6 minutes or until broth reduces.


If anyone told me 6 months ago that I would be eating greens and loving it, yeah, hahahaha...

So me and Cindi are going to take turns coming up with ideas each week for cooking with the stuff we get, and posting our recipes here.

Plans for the rest of the haul are:
Juicing the beets with carrot and celery
Using the pac coi and carrots in a stir fry
Steaming the yellow squash and zucchini

Sunday, July 6, 2008

4 July

Four July is my favorite holiday. Think about it. There is no gift giving involved. No holiday dress-up. No traveling unless ya wanna. No cooking huge feasts unless you wanna have a cookout. Outdoor activities. Fireworks. I rest my case. It's also the only holiday I really have any fond memories of from childhood. Memories of feeling free, running around barefoot, cheeseburgers, favorite shorts, sparklers, screen doors, damp grass, holding hands in the the back of a station wagon, time stretching out endlessly, ice cream, baseball, more ice cream, fireworks, beach trips, skin warmed by sun, running and playing and laughing and ponytails coming undone and sleepy rides home. Way better than Christmas. Seriously.

This was an awesome 4 July.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Don't Feel Like Its"

Ever get them?

I was planning to go to knitting tonight - I sorta feel like it.
It would require showering though - don't feel like it.

My garden needs weeding from all the rain we've had. Won't have time this weekend unless the weather is decent when I get home on Sunday - don't feel like it.

Lot's of yummy stuff in the house to make for dinner - don't feel like it.

Do you sense a pattern here? lol.

Hey, look who's back!

Worked from home today. We had a most wonderful kick-ass thunderstorm this afternoon. It was still kind of crappy weather when 5:30 rolled around and I called it a day. Did something I never do - laid on the couch and fell asleep watching the news. Woke up an hour late. I know! Think of all the weeding or showering or knitting I could have been doing instead! And when 11 rolls around tonight and I am wide awake, I will remember why naps on school nights are a no-no.

Tonight however I am indulging my I Don't Feel Like It-ness. (or IDFLI - pronounced "i-dee-fly" with kind of a ghetto accent.)

Haven't even turned on the Game yet. IDFLI. Yet. Silence is nice for now.

This was the scene today in the (home) office:

Hundreds of dogs were seen milling about, I know, the camera couldn't capture them all, but here are Rusty, Lincoln and Sabre try to restore order. Then the kick-ass thunderstorm came along and it looked like this out my window. I was trying to get some of the giant forks of lightning, but missed them.

This was the garden last week. Now it's several inches taller and in need of a good weeding. Maybe Friday morning before I leave town.

On that note, I now feel like dinner and baseball. I shall leave you with these:

And this one is for Gigi. I had been hoping for a better picture than this, but ms Zuni is spending all her time on top of the refrigerator because of what she refers to as "the big goggie" I remind her that "big goggie" has been nothing but a gentleman to her and promise he won't chase her or eat her, but she will have none of that.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Lisha Lace Scarf

I am honored that the lovely Gina was inspired to create a beautiful pattern named in my honor. And I quote,
"This luxury scarf pattern was designed with friendships in mind...It was created and inspired by my friend, Lisha, and uses the beautiful, handpainted yarn of one of one my dearest friends, Heather of Sereknity Yarn and Fiber. My best friend, Jackie, was kind enough to model my design and makes the scarf look so lovely. This scarf would make a wonderful gift for a loving friend, especially a fellow knitter!"

my secret fantasy The lovely Jackie is modeling...
You can order the pattern here, and here. And, if I can ever get my head to wrap itself around how to make links here on blogger, I will have a link up as well. That is actually my goal this week.

Now I just need to get some of that yummy yarn from Heather and imagonna make me one! Cuz the Lisha needs to have one!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

In case you can't read what that is, it is 100 degrees. My weatherbug toolbar thing turned red when it hit 100.

Yesterday I went out and purchased an air conditioner. I was really afraid that my second floor apartment would just be too hot for Rusty and Zuni. Cindi offered to take them to her dads, and while I would feel comfortable letting Rusty go, I don't think Zuni would like it too much. So, I closed off rooms and plunked an a/c into the living room. This morning things had cooled down to a comfy 72. Yay! It will be interesting to see if the unit was able to keep up with it today though. At least last night I was able to do some spinning. TOnight I will try and post a picture of my first plyed yarn. Something finally clicked for me this weekend and I understand the whole spinning thing alot better. Thanks Sadia! Now to make plans to head up to Spunky and get a new spindle and some yummy fiber!

Tired today. I hate being cooped up inside and am looking forward to normal weather again. But for tonight, it will be cooped up again. Sox are playing. Bed early I hope!!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day BP

  • I managed to forget about all the stress that is work for 3 days. I was going to "log in" tonight and see what was going on...and I made myself not do it. Tomorrow will be here soon enough!
  • I have really come a long way in the last 2+ years. I've learned ALOT. I know myself so much better than I did 2 years ago.
  • I'm happy. Very happy.
  • But I'm still not ready for a relationship. For many reasons. I'm still enjoying being on my own so much. Not having to answer to anyone. And, just not ready to go there.
  • Yet.
  • My nephew was here for alot of the weekend. We had fun. He's a great person. We get each other.
  • My garden is planted.
  • If anyone has any ideas for building cheap/makeshift trellises for cucumbers and squash, let me know
  • I the almost 8 years that the Shrub has been our Commander-In-Chief, this past weekend was the first time I ever heard him say something I agreed with. He encouraged every American to place a flag on a veterans grave for memorial day. Wow. I did not have an opportunity to get a flag this weekend. But I will. And I will find someone to honor.
  • Because it makes me very sad to read in the news today that a Marine RESERVE unit is being deployed to Iraq for the 3rd time. And that most of the current members are going for the first time. 18 - 22 year olds. Kids.
  • They will patrol the streets. Those are the ones that get killed the most. Security.
  • The RESERVES are only supposed to get called up as kinda a last resort.
  • Back to the garden.
  • I had to drive to Portsmouth this afternoon to return the nephew.
  • We all went out to lunch in Portsmouth.
  • Avocado on a burger is yummy.
  • I thought about going to the beach. But it was really windy today.
  • And there was all the traffic.
  • So I came home. And grabbed Rusty and headed out to finish planting the garden.
  • When I was apartment hunting 2+ years ago, I knew when I saw the yard, and the vegetable garden area, that this was the place.
  • My first year here, I planted lots of stuff.
  • I was going through a really hard time and I didn't have the energy to really devote to maintaining the garden once I had planted it, but I dabbled here and there.
  • Last year I never got around to planting it.
  • Last summer I instead spent alot of time at the beach and did ALOT of healing and pretty much shunned anything that required my time and energy. It was good!
  • But I did miss the garden.
  • Last weekend I got a jump on it and went out and bought all my plants.
  • Saturday I got the plot turned over.
  • Sunday I planted tomatoes and peppers.
  • Tonight I spent about 2 hours out there. Hands, feet, legs, arms in the dirt.
  • It was amazing. I just felt the exchange of energy between me, and the plants and the dirt. I welcomed the plants and talked to them. Thanked them for gracing my garden. Promised to nourish them and tend to them and harvest their gifts.
  • See - there is more to me than the Sox!
  • The Sox are playing a late game. In Seattle.
  • Soon I will retire to my rather unkempt bedroom and fall asleep to the voices of Don and Jerry, and the crack of the bats.
  • I did put away a ton of clothes today. Clothes I can't really fit into at the moment. Clothes I am really sick of.
  • I need a major shopping spree
  • Instead, I will go back to the gym tomorrow. And set the alarm clock for 6 so I can get a 30 minute walk in before work.
  • I'm thinking the 30 minute walk every morning, plus 2 full body Nautilus circuits at the gym every week, plus evening power walks as the weather allow should help with the losing weight thing.
  • I hope everyone had a great long weekend.
  • I hope a year or so from now that I no longer live in the city.
  • Don't get me wrong. I do love my apartment. The positives FAR outweigh the negatives.
  • Sometimes the negatives the tenement that burned in April? Still sitting there uninhabited and boarded up.
  • And then there is the crazy guy with the Don King hair that lives in the 1st floor apartment on the corner. His car looks like someone takes a baseball bat to it every other day. He is a maniac. I saw him actually slug a woman a couple of weeks ago. I'm talking total right hook.
  • And I bet none of you went out last evening to take your dog for a walk around the block and came back to find a young Latino girl in handcuffs, 2 cruisers, and lots of people milling around. I think it was an immigration issue. But still.
  • I'm not a city girl.
  • But for now, it's good. And so am I!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Do you know Carolina?

True: My phone rings at 11:07 pm Saturday...

Me: Hello?
Mans Voice on Phone: Is this Melissa Riley?
Me: (pause) who's calling
MVOP: Manchester Police
Me: (heart skips a beat or 2) This is Melissa
MVOP: We're wondering if you have any information on how to reach Carolina Homespun
Me: (does this Officer knit? am I in trouble for buying those knitting needles today? I truly needed them to make the hat to match the sweater I made for CJs baby). um...they were at the Sheep and Wool Festival today...I made a purchase from them (oh great, did that just sound like I bought heroin or something - "made a purchase" - what was I thinking, I am so screwed) and I think I have a receipt here, let me see if there is a number on it. (Said receipt just happens to be right there on my coffee table.)
Me: No, there is no number on here, just an address
MVOP: Do you know if she is staying in town? She had something stolen from her today and we are trying to contact her.
Me: (did I fall asleep and I'm having a weird dream because I spent too much money on wool today?) Carolina Homespun is a business, not a person. They are at the NH Sheep and Wool Festival this weekend. I purchased some knitting needles from them today. Would you like me to go on-line and see if I can find a phone number for you?
MVOP: No ma'am, that's not necessary, we will contact her. Good night.

Wow. Sad to say, what happened is that at the end of the day on Saturday, someone did indeed steal the cash box from Carolina Homespun. Unbelievable. People who vend at these fairs, they are trying to make a living doing what they love. How sad that someone in NH has tarnished our reputation that way. Anyway, I read on Ravelry today that the box was recovered, minus the cash, all that was there were checks and credit card receipts. I paid with a check. I'm glad I did. People stealing from the little guy is just wrong!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Miso Soup Goodness

About 5 years ago, I worked for a few months in Copley Square. When I first started the job, I was sick with a cold. I remember walking around on my lunch hour looking for something to eat, but nothing was appealing to me. I wandered into an asian restaurant, and for the low, low price of $1.50 + tax, walked out with a pint of Miso soup. It was just the thing. It warmed me. It nourished me on a day when I just didn't feel like eating, but needed the energy. There were many more purchases of the stuff in the 7 months I worked there. And ever since, I have tried all the instant miso soup packets and bowls, but never found one that made me want to keep on buying. So this past weekend, in an effort to eat healthier, I braved the local Asian market (Saigon Market on Maple St. for the locals). I spent almost an hour in there examining all the goodies for sale. Alot of the labels were not in English, but some things I could guess at by sight. Some of the translations are fun as well. So I picked up a package of red Miso and was delighted to find a recipe on the back of the package. It called for something called Dashi stock. I figured that was something that came ready made, like chicken stock or vegetable stock. They were really busy that day, and the whole language barrier made it hard for me to convey what it was I was looking for, so I came home and did some Googling. Another trip to the A-Market on Monday, and I had all the ingredients. I just now made a batch and it is delightful.
Here is my recipe:
First, make the Dashi stock.

5-6 cups of hot water in saucepan
Soak a 5-6 in piece of Kombu for 10 minutes, then remove (I ended up tearing off a few small pieces and putting it back in)
Add 1/2c. Bonito Flakes (it's dried fish and I thought it would be disgusting, but it's not)
Bring to a boil and simmer until the Bonito sinks to the bottom.

I then took a large bowl, placed a metal collendar on top lined with a piece of paper towel, and strained the broth. Listen, my little kitchen is right out of the 70s, virtually no counter space, 20 year old set of pans, but I turn out some pretty marvelous food with just the basics.

Next I cut up a brick of firm tofu into 1 in. cubes. (note, next time I would use 1/2 as much).
Put tofu into the Dashi stock and brought to a gentle boil. Turned down heat to med/low and simmered for a few minutes.

Next I took 3 heaping tablespoons of Red Miso and put them in a little bowl. When I was ready to add the miso, I first took some of the soup from the pot and mixed it into the Miso paste. Then I added this into the soup pot along with a few thinly sliced small pieces of Kombu, a handful of dried Black Fungus (mushrooms) from the Asian market, and about 1/4 c. sliced green onions.

It's a little salty and I think next time I will use 2 Tablespoons of Miso and see if that makes a difference. I'll also check and see how salty the broth is before adding the Miso, as I may want to leave out the Kombu other than the initial soaking.

But it's reaaaaalllly good!! Yay!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Spa-wing Feevah (I haz it)

Today was just one of those days when nothing could get me down. I had a smile on my face all day, even when I was venting to one of my co-workers. On our ever-expanding walk tonight, the there was this burning smell in the air. It was everywhere. I wondered what was burning this time. The answer? Seems everyone in the city is barbecuing tonight. Smelled delish! I found myself just totally into people today (kinda odd for me). The whole way home I didn't swear at another driver once. No impatience. (The daughter will tell you how often THAT happens - she learned all the swear words riding around with me). Turned on the tv just before 7 for the game, and caught the last story on ABC news - a musician took a cab from NYC to his apartment in NJ, and realized he had left his $4M Stradivarius violin in the cab!! He called 911 (I would *love* to hear the tape of that call) and the instrument was found. As thanks, today he played a special concert just for the NY cabbies. I was reaching for the Kleenex. Then Charles Gibson said "I hope you had a good day" and I replied, "Absolutely", beaming from ear to ear "Yes, yes, I did, I had a wonderful day."

Today was just an ordinary day. I got up, went to work, walked the pooch, etc., etc. And yet, I am in this most delightful place tonight. I'm not pregnant. I'm not in love. Either of those hormonal situations would explain my mood. But, nope, they do not apply. Oh. Wait. It's SPRING!!! Finally, it feels like it is here.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Time Lapse

This is so cool! I came across this just now on Universal Hub. Tom is a camera man for NESN (he's the guy up near the Coca-Cola sign). He set up a camera (the details are here) alongside his NESN HD camera, and created a 7 hour time lapse video of One Day at Fenway. I can't wait to check out some of his other stuff!

One Day At Fenway - Letus Extreme Film - Time Lapse - HDTV from Tom Guilmette on Vimeo.

This is turning into more of a Red Sox blog than a yarn blog! Oh well - it actually was never meant to be either of those things, just a place to share my thoughts from time to time.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Virginia Tech

I saw this picture this morning while reading the headlines. These are the lyrics to the song* that was playing at that moment. The timing was perfect...

All at once the ghosts come back
Reeling in you now oh tell me
What if they came down crushing
It used to be
that you and me
play for all of the loneliness
that nobody notices now
I'm begging slow 'cause I'm coming here...
I'm only waiting I wanted to stay
I wanted to stay
I wanted to play
I wanted to love you
#41 Dave Matthews Band

Take a moment today if you can to pause and send out some love to these young people today.

Monday, April 14, 2008

and on a lighter note...

So I was standing outside just before noon today watching the cute reported getting ready for the noon broadcast...and this young, hot looking guy drives by and stops and asks if this is my driveway. I said yes. Then he informed me that he had some asphalt for sale and would I be interested in buying some. (Our driveway has a hump and could stand to be leveled out). I said well, I'm not the owner, and when pressed for more info explained that they live out of state. He said, oh, ok. Then he says "So, do you want to hang out sometime?" Now mind you, I wearing sweats and a baseball cap. To say I was extremely flattered would be a gross understatement. I flashed him a big smile and said no thanks. He looked genuinely crushed. My neighbor says he was probably a serial killer. I asked her to please not rain on my moment of glory. Hee hee.

Long Night


Last night:


Good thing I had a long nap this afternoon. Right now I am listening to the sound of every fire truck the city has working on a house fire in the neighborhood over at the house I call the tenement. Around 11 I was watching the Sox/Yankees game (what sles would I be doing?) and I hear alot of shouting outside. I muted the tv and then started hearing sirens. Lots of them. I looked out the window in my bedroom and I can plainly see the tenement is on fire, flames shooting out onto one of the porches. The good news is that everyone, including pets, got out ok. The bad news is that there are alot of little kids living in that building. I hope they have places to go to tonight. I just came in a little while ago. I'm pretty rattled.
When I was a little kid, my parents were what I call fire chasers. We'd be out in the car, and fire engines would go by and we would follow them to the f ire. It scared the crap out of me. I would get left in the car while my parents went off to watch. I had horrible nightmares about fires growing up. I know, I'm a grown up now. But I was out there talking to my neighbors and my little heart was racing. I'm going to have a glass of wine, finish watching the game (I paused it before I went outside) and then I will probably stay up and work for a few hours. It's too loud to get any sleep, at least in my bedroom which is in the front of the house.
What a way to start the week! Those poor people, I mean they are people who have nothing to start with and now this. I feel helpless. The Red Cross came and I know they will get what they need, at least in the short-term.

3AM update: Here is a link to the story at the Union Leader. The fire trucks have left. but there is still activity over there. It looks like the police are letting people in to get personal things, and there are alot of lights shining on the building.

The Sox won. I've been logged into work for the past few hours getting some work done, and soon I will try and get some sleep. I am grateful for a warm safe home tonight.