Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Proof He's Not Grown Up

I guess I felt like I needed some.
Bear with me as my ever present camera collects the evidence.
I found him:

frog hunting,
sliding with his friends at our own little white trash water park,

fighting over a soapy watermelon,
making lego AK 47's ?,

practicing two notes on his new horn,

still practicing those same two notes,

and falling asleep early on my bed with his buddy.

Ok, I'm convinced.
Happy birthday, little boy.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Morning Fog Scarf

My version of the Beautiful Dawn Neckwarmer is finished.

This scarf is extra special to me because not only is it a chunky cable pattern, but it was designed by one of my Flickr/ Ravelry buddies, Jennifer at jaykayknits.  It's been on my list for a year or so, and with fall approaching, I thought it's time had come.

Jennifer used a really beautiful, hand-spun, thick and thin yarn for the original, but since I'm usually relegated to the local hobby store, I went with Bernat Roving in light gray held together with a strand of darker worsted wool for a little color depth.

This was an easy knit, but not so simple as to be boring.  It knit up so fast in bulky yarn that it seemed a shame to stop after two repeats of the cable pattern, so I just kept going with it and went from neck warmer to scarf (a total 7 cable patterns, I believe.)

For now, I'm just using one button, but may add another (or make them yellow, I'm not sure.)

Here's the full length shot of it below taken when it was in the upper eighties.  I'm thinking "winter" like a mantra lately.  Are we never satisfied?

  I'm also thinking I need a hat in the same color.   But, first, I'm finally knitting the Owls sweater.  You can't see me but I'm jumping up and down in anticipation as I type this.

 more on my Ravelry

Friday, September 23, 2011


This is the mellow version of me, choosing my focus for the day.   

Do I want to see every detail,   

 every changing nuance?
 The structure of the things or people in front of me?  Maybe I'd appreciate it all more. 

But if it amplifies my imperfections,

distorts the size and severity of things...

if it personalizes the imperfections around me that aren't mine to change,

then it changes and legitimizes my mood.  And there's a thin line between mellow and melancholy.

I have to look farther than that for something good to expect today.

Lately,  I never wear my glasses.  I'm getting used to blur.

I use this one a lot: Philippians 4:8

...whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

...In Between I Drink...

... iced coffee.

I can't pour a cup without hearing the lyrics to Black Coffee in my head, only with "iced" inserted for "black."

 iced coffee day 228

I finally got around to cold brewing my coffee.  I say that as if it's difficult and time consuming.  Obviously, it's not:

 Dump 1 cup of coffee into my french press 
add 2 to 2 1/2 cups of water and leave it alone over night.  
Press it the next day and pour the concentrate into a mason jar and refrigerate. 
That's it.  

So, why the wait?  I couldn't remember to do it the night before.   That is, until I tasted it.  Now, it's a priority.  

I mean, it is that much better.  I can pour a little into a glass and fill it the rest of the way with cold water (about a 1/5 ratio) and only require a spoon of half and half.  It's so mild, no sweetener is necessary.   

This article about the inventor of the Toddy cold brew system explains how heating the grounds releases 3 to 4 times more acids into the coffee.   This bitter taste is avoided by brewing it longer in cool water.  Most recommend 12 hours, but I've done it in 7 and thought it tasted fine.  It doesn't require complete, scientific exactness, or the finest beans, or a Toddy.   I'd like one, but I find my press works just as well.  And there's always the good, old mason jar and sieve.

Next up to try:  the frappe recipe (1/2 cup coffee concentrate, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup ice, and 3 scoops of ice cream.) 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Ugly Places

I go on lots of walks, runs, and rides in my little town.  I see it's pride and joy: a high school remodel with the biggest jumbotron in this part of Texas, new housing editions that are all glare and brick, or a handful of fast food restaurants. 
Then, my excursions take me through the backside of town: broken sidewalks, cheap rent houses, refineries, and railroad tracks that end in a field.  I kind of like the ugly places.  It's a habit to look for pleasing things in them- a certain light on water, a tuft of grass in concrete seams, a pattern in a shadow... whatever, and capture a bit of it.   The rivers and parks of last summer vacation seem like another planet to me as I run down our crumbling streets and past our smelly river. 

But, water is water, even if it's kind of smelly; and sunlight is light, even if it's setting over a tank farm.    

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

This is a Recipe Post

There are lots of reasons I don't usually photograph recipes I've tried.  For one, thing, I'm not really food driven.  That's what my sister says about my lab, but it's true with me too.  Then, there's the fact that I don't always "work clean" (restaurant-speak for cleaning up as you go) in the kitchen.  I'm not exactly Martha in there; more like the Tasmanian Devil... only quieter... and listening to music... lost in thought and burning something.  And if that's not happening, then supper time is mass chaos.

I did manage to take these pics of a few recipes I tried over the summer:

The Cucumber, tomato, and feta salad was different than our usual ceasar salad with all the Kalamata olives and heavy on the feta.  Nice for a change, and it features my son's one favorite vegetable- cucumber.  Lots and lots of cucumber.

 day 227

The avocado and crab soup is one of my favorites meals to try in a long time.  But, I'm an avocado person.  I could eat one every day.  Keep in mind, its a chilled soup and it's green, which doesn't always go over well with kids.  If I served this too often, there'd be mutiny.

 day 229

I finally got around to trying kale chips when I saw Erin, of Just a Day in the Life of This Mommy, do it with such ease.   So I removed the bottoms and ribs of the leaves, then washed and patted them dry.

I tossed them with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and sea salt

 and spread them out on a baking sheet (parchment paper might work better, but I didn't have any and was crazy hungies, so...)

 day 247

They baked at 300 degrees for 20-ish minutes and voila:  kale nachos.

They were really good straight out of the oven, would make a great salty snack instead of chips, are an easy way for one person to consume an entire bunch of kale by themselves if they should want to, but for loaded nachos...

not so much.

I think I'd like this best crumbled, with parmesan, into popcorn, like this.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Coffee Ritual

The coffee ritual is strong in my family.   My father has it, I have it, and my sister has it.  And, like every other family, we have our own rituals and brewing methods.   

The above percolator is an emergency replacement on a camping trip.  Gross coffee is better than no coffee... almost.  Even when we're in a trailer, especially then, I need to have a little time to drink my cup in the early morning without being rushed.  I love it when it's cool outside and the coffee is super steamy.  Once I'm done, it's okay for us to hurry off on some trek, but trust me, not a moment before.   Coffee should not be rushed.

Most mornings my husband and I press Community coffee (they're the ones with a chicory blend) and try for a leisurely breakfast.  But it usually ends with everyone scattering away from the table packing and combing things like mad, everyone but me.  I forego a sharp appearance (I'm just going to run like a native anyway) to stare into space a bit longer.  Unless it's Saturday morning, then we all take our time and stare into space with SpongeBob.

After a run, I may have coffee with my dad and some of his buddies that walk up, off and on, throughout the morning.  We may all sit around him on upturned milk crates, drinking coffee while he works on a lawn mower, but usually he uses company as an excuse to go inside for a cup and break from his work. He's always got freshly brewed Folgers and has mastered his coffee system.  He's been using the same kind of drip pot and thermos my whole life.  I used to wake up very early in the morning as a little girl to have cawk-ee (how Precious Moments of me) with him, basically just milk with a hint of coffee, then I'd want to go right back to sleep.  Some things never change.

Oh, and don't ever try to wash his pot with soap.

He probably passed the ritual on to his children because, though they entertained with it and he had many a meeting about labor disputes over it through the seventies and eighties, my mom never drank it.

My sister and I, on the other hand, arrange our visits together around it like most people arrange theirs around meals.  We don't need the meal, really, just the coffee.  It can be pressed, dripped, percolated or espressoed.   It's not really about the drink, but the time to talk together, anyway.   However, I will say Mexican mochas nurture the best spontaneous conversation ( just a pinch of cayenne.)

Even if I'm home alone and drinking it iced, I fall into my family ritual of using coffee as an excuse to slow down and relax.  It doesn't have to be social, I'm cool with drinking it while I knit in silence or sit on the patio.   Anywhere is good, as long as you don't rush me.