Goaty McGoatface
Monday November 20th 2017, 11:39 pm
Filed under: Food

(Title in reference to a certain research vessel.)

Milk Pail has every kind of cheese you could think of.

He came back with goat brie. Well okay, why not?

And so we tested that recipe. I generously buttered a pan, rolled a pound of frozen cherries in Bistro Blends fig balsamic (bought at Stitches back when one of their vendors was still selling there) and into the pan and threw it in the oven for about half an hour till tender. I covered the toast with the brie, shaved a little dark chocolate on, then covered every inch with half those cherries. Open face.

And back into the oven with you.

They came out bubbling and beautiful, just beautiful.

The remaining half pound of cherries in their–what shall we call it? Cherry gravy?–got thrown in the Cuisinart, where they turned into a fabulous marinade for I’m not sure what yet but trust me it will be. I’ll happily buy more cherries just to make more of that.

The sandwiches were not quite what I had originally expected given that extra tang in there. But yeah. We would definitely do that again. No artsy pictures here; they disappeared too fast.

To brie or not to brie, is that a question?
Sunday November 19th 2017, 11:05 pm
Filed under: Food

Sweet cherries rolled in good balsamic vinegar and then roasted, then piled on top of brie with a bit of dark chocolate for your grilled cheese sandwich. At the end of this week you could probably tuck a bit of leftover turkey in there, too.

The pictures are prettier than any words I could come up with. (Let’s see, got aged Cabot cheddar, maybe tomorrow…)

Food! Fruit! The patient is clearly feeling better.

A thank you, 45 years late
Saturday November 18th 2017, 11:05 pm
Filed under: Food,Friends,Life

She found me via the high school reunion messages and friended me and sent me a message: she was looking for my book. Turns out she’s a new knitter.

I promptly responded with, It’s yours. Happy Birthday.

And then I explained a little.

We were in French 2 class in junior high, stuck with the same teacher we’d had the year before for French 1: a woman I now see as terribly depressed, but in her classroom, we kids simply kept our heads down and tried to dodge being a target and there were a lot who did not continue on.

I remember a kid in Fr. 1 who, on being called to read aloud, made what to the rest of us was an obvious mistake, y’know, the kind of thing the other kids might tease him for–but what happened is that the woman demanded that he leave right now if he was going to be like that! “If you have been in my classroom six weeks and still don’t know that in French we…!” He was not misbehaving in any way. It was our first semester in a new language–what did we know? I just remember sitting there stunned. Way to make him want to learn, lady.

So here we were across the hall the next year and she called on me to read something aloud. Now, my folks had had a French couple come stay with us for several weeks when I was two, and I think again when their daughter was two so I would have been six? (Mom, Dad, am I getting that right?) And my parents talked to each other in French when they didn’t want us kids in on the conversation, making us keen to learn.

So I had a slight head start at least on accent on the other kids, and that teacher tended to see me as being less trouble than the others.

She called on me to read something out loud.

Now, there was this phrase that I’d seen a few times before but had never known what language it was in and there it was–it was French. Okay, that made sense. Having been immersed in phonics in elementary school, I dove right into it. The v came after the r.

English phonics. Just like that other kid had instinctively done.

Horse DOOvres. With an h, no less. There is no h sound in French.

The teacher roared in indignation, betrayed. The classroom was a mixture of loud relieved laughter that it wasn’t them and as much teasing as they dared say out loud in that classroom. This was the DC area and there were kids in that school whose parents attended embassy balls and political dinners and the like and were well familiar with such edibles, but not me at thirteen.

Charm, a desk or two over, whom I saw as one of the popular girls while I was not, rescued me with the quiet words: “Hors d’ouvres.”

Me, suddenly putting it all together, the sounds, the spelling–so that’s…! Oh! Then, brightly, helpfully, I echoed her. “Hors d’ouvres.”

The teacher grumbled.

I went on in French through my senior year in spite of her.

And horse doovres has been an in-joke with my husband for decades.

I’ve owed Charm a thank you for a long, long time now.

She marveled at my good memory as we typed, and I guffawed quietly and thought oh honey if you only knew. But on that one? I had been the target. And she had saved me from it. She was nice when she didn’t have to be, even risking bringing the wrath of that teacher on her own head for my sake back when we were all bratty insecure adolescents.

I owed her.

A candy-pink greenhouse
Friday November 17th 2017, 10:42 pm
Filed under: Garden

Now this is really cool: a greenhouse that is both solar-powered and still allows enough of the right colors of light through to let the plants inside thrive, while at the same time they require less water.

Someday our kids will ask us why we still call them green houses.

The Alphonso
Friday November 17th 2017, 12:29 am
Filed under: Garden,Mango tree

June bearing, said one site. Six months from flower to fruit, said another, with cooler temperatures triggering bud formation.

Well then this makes sense.

There are a whole lot of these; this is just the one at the top getting the earliest dose of morning sun and furthest along.

Each of those little brussels sprouts-y dots becomes a cluster of flowers (most of them male.) Hoping all goes well, we should get a fair number of mangos this year.

One for Danny, who inspired the tree planting, one for Phyllis, who aided and abetted and covered it from time to time for us, one for Eli, for saving it from the cold, too….

But it’s so soft and comfy
Wednesday November 15th 2017, 11:19 pm
Filed under: Spinning

The 93/7 merino/vicuna in a bunch of cones in cobweb weight: a joy to knit, a pain to have to spin together first. And it came in the color of earliest Fords only.

Black yarn, much less build-your-own black yarn was not at all what I was planning on working on today nor had I so much as thought of it but this morning those cones found me and bossed me around until I finally justified it on the grounds that a finished hank was an hour and a half’s project using three if not four limbs going at once: good gentle exercise for the recovering sick, right?

And thus 198 yards on the niddy-noddy. Now shrinking in the scouring, by design–better now than after the knitting.

Tuesday November 14th 2017, 11:02 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit,Life

I found a project that should have been done several months ago. I just have to pick up stitches along the edge, and…

…leaning way over thataway and checking…

Buttons on the right, right?

He looks at me funny.

I need to add a button band. Buttons on the right?

And hearts on the left!

Me, envisioning that and doing a head tilt: Say what?

He pats his chest with a grin: Heart’s on the left!

OHHHH. Oh Okay. I was picturing you in an oxford shirt with little red hearts all over on just one side and not even on Valentine’s and it just wasn’t… And I definitely wasn’t going to add them to the sweater. It’s the apostrophe I missed. For once in my life I needed to add an apostrophe, not delete it like all those other superfluous ones running around out there indicating possession when the person meant plural, or substituting for the i in is. Heart is on the left. I. See?

Got it.

Glad to have Mecha
Monday November 13th 2017, 11:52 pm
Filed under: Knit

Finished the afghan yarn at hand but its next hank was scoured this morning and not ready yet despite periodic attempts at hairdrying.

I pulled out the hat I’d almost finished on the airplane home.

In the dim light there, trying to get as close to finishing as possible while the number of stitches left on only one circ (the other one had ended up in the overhead bin this time) kept getting smaller and tighter, it turns out I had goofed.

There was nothing for it. You never regret frogging when you know you need to. I did, finished the new top of the thing, got it right, and bam! It is done.

For dyslexics
Sunday November 12th 2017, 11:41 pm
Filed under: Knit,Life

I actually made some noticeable progress on the afghan and it felt great. (After a four hour nap–not over this bug yet.)

Meantime, in case you know anyone with dyslexia, or just for sheer curiosity’s sake, I recommend this article. It says that the patterns of cones in the eyes (there’s a good graphic of them here* about halfway down) are supposed to be different between the two eyes so that the brain parses out the images via the differences. But the cones are lined up the same in dyslexics, so that mirrored images (think d and b) appear the same.

Fascinating. And they offer something one could do about it, with a simple flashing light. A little hope with your science.


*That would be at  https://askabiologist.asu.edu/rods-and-cones  but their website will not let me link directly to it.

Saturday November 11th 2017, 11:39 pm
Filed under: Mango tree

We had eleven days in October that were in the 80s or above. This is not normal.

And this is the result: a flush of new mango growth that has to adapt to the now-colder nights while I do my best to keep it warm (with fervent thanks for the help last week while we were out of town.) We might have blossoms at Christmastime and fruit in June or so if we can succeed this year.

I do think that one blackened new leaf is a goner. 

Held it in suspense
Friday November 10th 2017, 11:07 pm
Filed under: Knit,Knitting a Gift

This evening, at long last, I picked up the (overdue) wedding afghan project that I did not try to stuff into my suitcase last week and started purling the wrong side row.

While looking forward with each stitch to getting to the end so I could turn it around and remember: what was that pattern again?

It’ll come
Thursday November 09th 2017, 11:26 pm
Filed under: Life

Not a knitting day yet.

We are family
Wednesday November 08th 2017, 11:46 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,History,Life

Two moments from the weekend:

At the 65th anniversary party. Was it the cane? My hearing impairment? Or her own age? She would later tell me her childhood memories of LA going black at night after Pearl Harbor–no street lights, no headlights, no house lights near windows, just a total darkness that was new and strange.

She had to ask me twice, even though I actually did hear it the first time–it’s just that it was so unexpected that I had no idea how to respond and I didn’t want to be rude by bursting out laughing.

Again: “Are you Frances’s younger sister?”

(Frances IS the younger sister.) “No, I’m her fourth child.” Alright, then! And the conversation moved cheerfully on, no harm done.

Thing the second. When we stopped by my uncle’s house, we surprised him by coming, even if for just ten minutes or so pre-airport–he didn’t know we were in town–and he surprised us with two bound copies of some essays he’d had printed. He needed a little help figuring out again just what the connection was to his late friends but he knew there was one.

He had been the mission secretary to our daughter-in-law’s great-grandfather. This guy, in the man’s youth. And then he was in the Army with Conway, the man’s son.

There were memories in those pages and he’d wanted his late friend Conway’s kids to have a copy and there we were. Probably the best Christmas present we could possibly pass along to them–not that we’ll wait that long. Uncle Wally is 94 and he’ll want to hear back.

Just let me finish fighting off this bug. It’s down to simple cold status today.

Well not today
Tuesday November 07th 2017, 10:03 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

There were so many sick people in the airports, I forgot to wear a mask, and I bounced my nephew’s baby for awhile despite her cold: she was adorable, and she let me cheer her up even though she didn’t really feel up to it.

Today I know how she felt–it’s been awhile since I’ve been sick enough to sleep away nearly the entire day. And nobody to lift me up high and do head noogies on my tummy while making raspberry sounds. (Chicken soup, though, he did a great job adulting for me. Safer anyway.)

I prefer being just sick enough, if I have to be, to sit and quietly knit. Maybe tomorrow. Night night.

Yup, I got his curls
Monday November 06th 2017, 11:03 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

I got a few good photos of one of them, at least. Mom was always a blur of motion.

Here you go, though: Dad, at church before services started yesterday.

I hope I look that good at 91.