Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Queen and Her Court

Queen Bernice Maples gives her subjects the royal wave on her 90th birthday during the feast held in her honor at Jimm's Restaurant.

She holds court with her consort and a couple of her male descendants. No, Logan is not her consort, the honor goes to Arlan. Son Steve looks on.

After the feast, it was hard to think about eating again, but today is the last day of January and I hadn't had my New Year's lentils. So, I whipped up a batch, and had a cup for dinner. I try to avoid using salt, so I jazzed this batch up with tons of garlic, balsamic vinegar, and garnished it with sour cream (has some salt in it, I think) and arugula. We get lots of arugula from our winter CSA share and I'm always struggling for ways to use it. I've made arugula pesto, salads, sandwiches, wilted, braised, and buried it in soups, pastas, casseroles, and omelets. Now, I've discovered I like its slightly peppery taste as a garnish.

Incidentally -- the deal with lentils in my family is that they represent coins or money and you are supposed to have them for New Years to insure a prosperous year. I've adopted a house rule that allows me till the end of January to consume them. I hope I'm not too late!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Two years ago, I fell in love with the pattern for this quilt. I agonized over paying $84 for the pattern alone, but finally succumbed when the store had only one remaining and I feared missing out. Then I suffered over buying seventeen yards of fabric all at one time for the front, back, and the binding. At $7-$10 per yard, it was a serious investment. When I won a $100 gift certificate from a quilt shop in Joplin, I bought the black fabric. I was committed.
Over the next year and a half, I assembled the blocks, using a technique called raw-edge fusible machine applique (or something like that -- don't quote me). Then I struggled with how to quilt it. Fearing I would screw it up, I decided to ask a local long-arm quilter (Dorie Hruska) to do it for me. For the first time, I relinquished "artistic control" and paid someone to quilt for me. I'm not sorry. The quilt and the quilting are gorgeous. All the local quilt gurus tell me I have to enter it in the next local quilt show. We'll see. Even though I spend a lot of time bragging about my quilts on this blog, when it comes right down to it, I'm kind of shy.

Yesterday was root canal #2. It went fine, we'll see how the recovery goes later in the week. I'm keeping plenty of Vicodin handy, just in case I need it, because we may be snowed in later this week -- possibly one or two days of school closure. More time to quilt!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Day Late

Logan said he wanted a "perfect food day" for his birthday. When I told him his birthday was on Friday he decided to reschedule and have it on Saturday. Monkey bread starts his day.

At lunch time he moved on to homemade mac and cheese with ham and peas, except we didn't have any peas. BBQ chips accompany the meal and a glass of ice water finishes it off.
In the middle of the afternoon, he had a cake break. We could only find nine candles, but, oh well, he blew all of them out in a single breath. The cake was filled with ice cream which kind of melted because the cake was still warm when I filled it, but no one complained.
He ended the day with salmon, garlic/rosemary roasted red potatoes, and green beans with bacon and onions. It's what a boy needs to nourish a 5'9" 160 pound body. I measured both boys yesterday and they are still exactly the same height, although Logan outweighs Ben by 50 pounds! He was delighted with his new computer, Risk game, and enough cash to buy the wireless controller he wants for his XBox.

BTW, this is my 200th post!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Happy Birthday, Tom

Born January 21, 1985 -- the Monday after Super Bowl Sunday, as I recall, delivered with a broken collar bone because he was too broad-shouldered to make his entrance otherwise. A few recollections:
  • His bond with his dog, Frank, who slept across the threshhold of his bedroom door, guarding him.
  • His love of trees and climbing. He cried when the tree in his front yard had to be cut down. He agreed to the move to El Dorado Hills on the condition he could have a tree house.
  • Legos, Legos, Legos and trains, trains, trains!
  • His early drawings of buildings -- skyscrapers with lots of windows and stairs.
  • The way he ran with his arm held out, slighty behind him, bent at the elbow, as though it was propelling him.
  • Years of ski trips
  • Being elected school president for his track the first year in El Dorado Hills
  • Getting "The Right Stuff" award at Space Camp
  • Traveling to England and France with me when he was 14
  • His fascination with government in high school
  • Our road trip to Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Mt. Rushmore, and the Badlands.
  • Smashing the head light of my convertible while "joyriding" in the driveway!
  • Moving away from home to go to school at South Lake Tahoe
  • Becoming a father with the birth of Mallaika
  • Graduating from UMass
  • Becoming a real grown up -- establishing a life, home, and family with Nichole and Mallaika
I'm proud of you Tom, I love you and wish you three more quarter centuries of a good life!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Prints Charming

Just finished this quilt for a baby boy today. I hope I spelled the alphabet correctly!

I'm trying to recover from Monday's root canal, but it isn't going too well. Hurts more each day. Tomorrow I'll go back to the endodontist. This does not bode well for the two to follow. The procedure was only minimally uncomfortable, but I'm not liking the way I feel tonight.

Countdown to Logan's birthday (Friday the 22nd) is under way. I'm getting him a new computer -- on the whole, I'd rather have a root canal than brave Best Buy. Tomorrow is grandson Tom's birthday. Ahhh, those Aquarians!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Farm in Winter

Just beyond a basket of the last of the tomatoes, a water-lily coated pond retains a bit of warmth in the green house. Very cold temperatures and short days have made for difficult growing conditions.

Lettuce, spinach, and arugula thrive under these conditions and produce tender greens. Last week's spinach was the best I have ever tasted -- I don't know if it was the growing conditions, or the variety of spinach, but it was yummy just eaten raw and plain.

Not sure what this green stuff is, but it will no doubt be in my CSA share in a couple of weeks.

Logan and Curtis are mixing potting soil which will be formed into little mounds for starting seeds. I had the job of planting the seeds. Some of them are very small and difficult for these clumsy hands to pick up -- only one seed to each little mound as germination rates are excellent and it is nuisance to have to thin them. I started lettuce, chard, and some flowers which are used to attract ladybugs. Logan built a raised bed, filled it with soil and planted garlic, chard, and some mystery green stuff. Fellow CSA member, Nicole Harrell worked with us today, but I didn't get a good picture of her forming the planting mounds with a special tool. It's hard work!

Ben wasn't with us today -- he was at an all day practice session for his winter drum line.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Pog O'Nip

Today's low is forecast to be 19 -- I guess they don't always get it right.

If it takes temperatures like that to create this, I can live with it. Pog O' Nip is what my grandmother called it, she said it was a Paiute word. I've also heard it called rime or hoarfrost. Whatever you call it, it's my favorite weather phenomenon. Everything is coated with this fairy frost and minute bits of it sift through the air like very fine glitter. It's freaking magic and makes my soul sing.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cover Girl

I made this quilt (named Cover Girl) using a technique called paper piecing. I loved doing it! The little girl who sleeps under this quilt will be under a blanket infused with joy. And if she experiences weather like we've been having, she'll need much more than this to keep warm.

It hasn't been above freezing for days and they forecast a couple more days like that. It's 7 degrees right now with a wind chill of -2. It really confuses Oreo, who repeatedly asks to go outside and then turns right around and comes back in as if to say, "What was I thinking?" The cold has made Ben's nose bleed -- it's just too cold to breathe. The schools have been closed for two days and the roads are still covered with blowing snow. There's not much of it, a couple of inches, but it keeps moving around.

Monday, January 4, 2010

You Can Judge a House by Its Driveway

Snow? What snow? I got places to go.

Maybe after one more cup of coffee and I finish reading the paper.

Gone to Florida, see you in April!

Teenage boys in charge here!

Neatness Counts

Bright sunshine and eight degrees! It's gorgeous, but you can't stay out in it very long. Perfect snow for sledding and the boys get tooooo cold. More to come at the end of the week (snow and lower temps).

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Ahhhh, Snow

Perfect snow, falling in big lazy flakes. The kind that makes me sit at the window and sigh as I watch it fall. The kind that makes Logan put on three layers of clothing so he and Cameron can go sledding and makes Ben pull the covers over his head. The kind that makes Oreo run back into the house very fast and Cinder run in circles biting at it. The kind that compels my control-freak neighbors from Alabama (on the snow-free gulf) to shovel their drive and walkway at dawn's first light, then watch the plow come and heap it back at the foot of their driveway and run back out to shovel again, go eat breakfast, come back out to see another inch has fallen, and shovel again.