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.