Thursday, October 30, 2008

Election Blues

I know I know, you are sick of all the election ads, snark, and bellyaching. I am too: there was one Obama ad that we saw so many times I thought I was going to put someone's eye out if I had to see it again. Besides, god knows you don't need the likes of me telling you why I support Obama or why I am so very disappointed in McCain.

However, I think something very important gets lost during a presidential campaign, and that is whether you live in a solidly blue or red state, or somewhere in between, there are local elections and issues which are every bit as important as the national campaigns. These can often have a larger effect on our day to day lives than the presidential election. So even if you choose not to vote for president, please consider voting for the local school/library/whatever millage, state representatives, etc. If you are not sure what is on your ballot, go to your state's Secretary of State website and look for voter information. It should not be difficult to find.

However, can someone tell me what a drain commissioner does and why this is an elected position?

On another subject: Clapotis as a social disease. Hahahaha!!! The LaRousse defines Clapotis thusly: clapotis = clapotement which meaning lapping. Clears things up nicely I think. By which I mean not at all. I'll stick with the disease.

Also, I did not provide a link to the first version of the green dress. It is here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Knitting and Sewing

My aunt Ann's funeral was yesterday. It left me with a lot of thoughts about funerals, which may coalesce into a blog post someday. Or not. I do remember, at her husband's funeral, my stepmother's grandmother commenting that she was sad that her husband was gone, but it was so nice to see everyone. I suppose that is the way it goes.

I was thinking about what to wear yesterday and decided I needed a new dress. I had acquired some black corduroy in a fabric buying frenzy with the intention of making a Retro Jumper. Looking at the directions, it seemed feasible to make in a couple of days, so...I did! Here is it with my patented Terrible Mirror Picture:

Black Jumper

To be honest, I think it is more flattering in person than in the picture.

I finished another dress a few days ago:

Green Duro

This is the same pattern that I used for this dress, but the long sleeve version. I made the bodice an inch longer and several sizes smaller, but left the skirt the same size (I gathered it a bit more). I've already popped armhole seams so I need to shore those up, but otherwise I'm completely in love with this dress.

Knitting: A few months ago, Stef offered me some Manos del Uruguay, which wasn't working out for her. When she offered, she used words along the lines of "I know you usually knit for that annual Euchre Tournament. I have all this yarn you might like to have." So when it came time to think about knitting this year, it seemed very reasonable to use the yarn (whether she meant it that way or not).

So I have in the works, a scarf:


The stitch pattern is Pinnacle Chevron. It took much too long to get comfortable knitting this stitch, but I love how it is coming out. I will probably make a hat to go with this.

And, the ubiquitous Clapotis:


This is going to be hard to give up, I have to say. The color is gorgeous and it is a perfect match (to me) of yarn to pattern.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Faith is an Island in the Setting Sun

My aunt Ann died last night. It was a long, difficult death. She was Catholic and I dearly hope she finds the comfort in her heaven she was unable, in the end, to find here on earth.

Title from Paul Simon's "Proof" on Rhythm of the Saints

Thursday, October 16, 2008


It seems I did not include the more than 26 pints of salsa in yesterday's list. Should be enough to last us a year. I hope.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I canned the last batch of salsa for the season a couple of nights ago. For some reason I got it into my head to count everything up. Masochism.

Dill relish: 10 pints
Sweet relish: 5 pints
Sliced dill pickles: 4 pints
Kosher dill spears: 12 quarts
Pickled jalapenos: 10.5 pints
Dilly beans: 5 pints
Zydeco beans: 6 pints
Ketchup: 8.5 pints
Peach jam: 9 pints
Blueberry jam: 12 pints

Gallons of vinegar used: numerous. I also froze a few pounds of beans, but I found a large number of last year's beans so I wound up giving a lot away (or letting them go bad in a very hot car because I forgot to bring them into work). We have plenty of tomato sauce and whole(ish) tomatoes left from last year, so I didn't have to mess with those (thank goodness!)

Completely unrelated:


Monday, October 13, 2008

Long Overdue Book Post

I read every night before turning out the light, even if it is just a couple of pages or flipping through a magazine, which means I usually finish books. Not always, but most of the time.

When last I posted about books, I was just starting Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner. It is a beautiful, sweeping novel about the nature and the cost of marriage, about the making of the American West. As I was beginning the book, I read several of the comments on Amazon, one of which struck me in particular: the commenter did not like the book, because she (or he) found the main character, Susan, unsympathetic and narcissistic. At one level, it is true, Susan is rather a snob (a trait upon which the narrator comments a few times) and sometimes very unlikeable. But that reading of Susan, of the novel, seems shallow. The characters are so completely human, and thus deeply flawed, it can be like looking in a mirror. I could go on and on.

Reading Stegner's very Western novel put me in mind of Willa Cather. I read her a lot when I was a teenager, and adored the books. Reading My Antonia again reminds me of why. Cather is something of an impressionistic writer, by which I mean although her stories take place over the course of time, they don't really have an overarching storyline. My Antonia is the narrator's memory of his childhood friend, Antonia, whose family are immigrants to Nebraska from Bohemia. Through Jim's memories, a picture of a particular place and time emerges. It is a lovely gem of a book. I also really love Death Comes for the Archbishop, by the way.

Now I am reading, in honor of his untimely death, David Foster Wallace's collection of essays, Consider the Lobster. I haven't read anything by DFW before, but Len has -- I had gotten him the book for Christmas, or his birthday, and many of the essays had been published in Harpers or the Atlantic to which Len was a longtime subscriber. Liberal elistest that he is. Wallace's writing is extremely intelligent, often funny, and very very dense (many footnotes, and footnotes of footnotes). He can seem offputting, but his writing is very rewarding.

I'm also re-reading Sarah Vowell's Partly Cloudy Patriot, because it seems appropriate for election season.

And a picture. Just because.


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Bad Tidings

I was planning to write an eloquent, yet furious rant about the state of the economy and the election and all of that, but I read that Fox is planning to remake Absolutely Fabulous.

Then my head exploded.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Now that canning season is essentially over (I am still hoping to eek out another batch of salsa), I finally have time to sew. Sort of. I have made a skirt, which is sitting at the bottom of my laundry basket, un-photographed, and hemmed a pair of sweat pants for a friend ('cos I'm nice that way). And I made a bed for Lizzy.



Cute! This was very easy, a big round pillow and a zippered casing. For some reason I have a hard time with zippers, my first few went ok, but now they just go badly. It doesn't matter so much for this project, but my machine came with free lessons and I think I will avail myself for zipper help. Stuffing the pillow was pretty hilarious (it took about 3.5 pounds of stuffing), the animals were all very interested. Whip stitching the opening took longer than Lizzy had patience for and she went to sleep (in her crate).

Simon Checks out the Dog Bed

Simon, however, approved. Of the bed, not the dog. I'll be interested to see who claims it, I'm laying bets on Simon.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Rainy Monday

The cats started waking me up at 4:30 this morning. Simon started it by biting my fingers. Why Simon? Why? Very Bad Cats.

On Saturday we had some friends over for some very bad sushi. Not bad in a raw fish way, that was fine, bad in a rice way. It turns out, making rice for sushi is a skill, possibly an art, and it doesn't necessarily come out right the first time. Or the third. Blech.

The cake was good, though.

Birthday Cake 2

Len thought it looked like Tim Burton had a hand in the decorating.

Chris and Aubrey brought flowers, which my camera had a hard time pulling itself away from on Sunday:


Pink Flower


Lit Up

Black and White

Pretty flowers. Perfect for a rainy Monday.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Home #11

I took Lizzy for a walk to the rarely used, but well maintained park yesterday and finally remembered to bring the camera.


These berries are all over. I can't help but suspect they are poison.


Park Benches

I think this scene will be prettier in the snow.