Friday, June 19, 2009

Garden Goodness

Despite being rather unmotivated to do a garden, not mention the remarkably chilly spring, things are growing. Edible things. It never ceases to amaze me.

Lettuce Bouquet

A pretty lettuce bouquet. The cool spring has been a boon to the lettuce, when I've planted it before, it usually bolts to seed.


The weather has also been good for radishes. I've never planted these before. An old boyfriend once claimed that radishes are a garden's equivalent of instant gratification. No kidding: these are close to the last of my first planting.

Radish Innards

I had no idea how much I love radishes. Len claims to like them, but he hasn't eaten many. I, on the other hand, am totally addicted.

Homemade Butter, Radish, and Sea Salt

Especially when eaten with a touch of homemade butter and a sprinkle of sea salt. To die for.

I'm feeling a little more motivated now.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Decision Made

I had decided that I wasn't going to go to the Silver Springs Knitting Retreat in September. The timing is terrible, I always take the last week in August off to help Len with the rental properties, and the retreat is two weeks later. Plus, the garden is producing like crazy at that time of the year, and when I returned last year, I discovered Len hadn't picked a single bean. Grrr. So, no. Too hard, go to the one in February instead.

And then the registration form came. I was sent into a tailspin of indecision, but finally I realized two things: I don't have to go for 10 days as I did last year, and if I don't go now, I would manage to talk myself out it in February, too. And I really really really want to go, and if a few beans go bad because Len is too lazy to pick them, so be it. We will probably survive (as will the library).

Speaking of the library, there is a profile of one of our faculty and her research in the Miller-McCune Online Magazine. I think it is a very interesting look at what she does in particular and why population study is often so very crucial. Her work on teen pregnancy and racial health inequality is very controversial to both liberals and conservatives, and if she is right, the crisis (and it is a crisis) is more complex and intractable than anyone can imagine.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Book Binge

I've been on a bit of a book buying binge. I think this is an attempt to keep at least some of my brain cells around during the the Great Stackhouse Massacre*.

The Home Creamery. I think I saw this on Angry Chicken -- the possibility of making our own sour cream, cottage cheese and butter proved too irresistible. 'Cos, you know, I need to fill all that free time I have. The book also has a couple of mozzarella recipes, which I have failed at in the past. A friend of ours makes cheese (of all kinds), her feeling is that my failure has to do with the rennet or citric acid I have, so I ordered from her supply house, Leeners (I placed the order on Wednesday and got it yesterday).

Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them. I had heard the author on Fresh Air many months ago and thought this sounded fascinating. I have fairly complex ideas and beliefs about religion in general and Christianity in particular, which I would expand on if this were a different sort of blog, but my interest in this book is more about being a bit of a history geek.

Rethinking Thin: The New Science of Weight Loss -- and the myths and realities of dieting
. I had heard an interview with this author over a year ago and promptly forgot the title and author. I would occasionally think I wanted to read the book but had no idea how to go about finding it (bad librarian!), then last week Sharon left a comment on Valerie's blog with the title. I bought it immediately.

Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto. This is one of those books that keeps popping up on my radar and I finally broke down and bought it. Essays on pop culture from my generation.

Dead Star Twilight. This is only available as a download and the only time I've bought this kind of book (aside from a weaving booklet). I've been reading Chez Pazienza's blog for awhile and really like his writing, which is often brutally honest and wickedly funny. Here is a review from Pajiba.

*There is some sort of weird psychological effect going on with these books. I'm almost done with the second one and I'm starting to find her terrible writing kind of endearing. I just thought of another advantage of reading these: one of Len's sisters keeps trying to convince to read the Twilight books -- I will be able to tell her that I have had quite enough of vampire fiction for the foreseeable future (rather than coming off as the snob I really am).

Tuesday, June 09, 2009




Quilt Back

I'm sorry to say, I loved making this quilt.

Free Motion Quilting

I thought the free motion quilting would be the most difficult part, but after a couple of false starts (on practice pieces) it went rather smoothly and was quite fun, though a bit of a workout for my seriously underused arms. The tutorial has a diagram which implies that you should quilt half of the width, then the other half. I found it easier to go up each stack of blocks separately, the scribbling blended in well enough that even I can't tell.


The only part I'm not in love with is the binding. I think it would be nicer with a darker green or blue, but I'm certainly not taking it out now.

Of course I have big plans for another quilt, as well as fixing one my dad made for me many years ago. And another obsession is born.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Two Books

I don't have much to report. Knitting is chugging along and isn't very photographable. The quilt is, too. I am sewing on the binding which isn't as tedious as I imagined it would be. At my current rate I should be done this evening. The garden is going in very slowly. I haven't been able to get excited about it, the seeds I started in March came up but didn't go any further (they barely have secondary leaves) which has been a bummer.

So. Books instead. I am actively reading two (and have two on inactive status, which I think means I will get back to them. Or not).

The first is Honky, by Dalton Conley. Conley is a sociologist who studies race, class and inequality (and is kind of famous in my little professional world). Honky is his memoir of growing up white in a prominently black and Hispanic New York housing project. One the one hand, he brings a very personal voice to what can sometimes be a very academic field of study, and on the other hand a fairly dispassionate view of the forces that propel some people out of poverty while trapping others.

The other book is actually a series. The Sookie Stackhouse books. They are the literary equivalent of speed (not that I'd know): terrible, not that great of a high, and very addictive. Perfect for summer and I fully expect my brain to be rotted out by the end of them. There are nine, god help me, I've committed to the first seven. The HBO show is just as bad and just as addictive (with the added pleasure of Anna Paquin's awful accent).

Monday, June 01, 2009

Vacation All I Ever Wanted

I was on vacation last week. I didn't go anywhere, or do much of anything except knitting and sewing. It was awesome.

I didn't even take very many pictures, except of some iris.

Iris Bud

Wet Iris

Crumpled Iris

I took this picture before I left. It is one of my favorite buildings, reflected in the windows of the building where I work.

Window Reflections

I hope to have sewing/knitting/garden news sometime this week, but for now, that is all.