Tuesday, March 31, 2009

So Long, March.

On one hand, it's not February. On the other hand, it seems that all I do this month is wait for April.

Then, into my eyes floods that infinite light, and that's when I need a walking stick, a dog, a hand, faith. And as you pass by me, touching the chill with your soft silence, blindly I sentence you to give names to all that I now do not know. Spanish Lyrics here. Version Original here.

(Happy April. Happy Poetry Month.)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Personally I love puns, and I love them precisely because of how fleeting the humor is. One has just enough time to groan a bit, maybe shake one's head before moving on. Often, that's all one needs.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour.

You know, I just checked out the 'GBH website and saw that after Vicar of Dibley, there's a Chef! marathon. Cool.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Dispatch #3:

"Hope you're doing okay. We got a fair bit of rain last night - really made things start smelling like Spring. Went birdwatching last wkend: saw a downy woodpecker (a female). Also went to visit my friend Marcia + her family about 20 miles away on the commuter rail (It's so seldom that I leave Boston that the train ride is a major deal.) Don't know if you remember Marcia, but you've met. She sends a hello. In other news, flax added to oatmeal cookies makes them really rich. Keep taking care."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

At the bakery, turn the corner and you find yourself on Spring Street. Walk up about half a block or so and stop. Wait if you have to for cars to pass, for things to calm down, then listen carefully. You should now be able to hear water running underneath the pavement. That's the spring that gives the street (and, coincidentally, the hill I now live on) its name.
I love passing by the Italian bakery on Somerville Avenue just across from the Dollar Store. Hot white bread just from the oven always smells good (though I'm not nuts about how it tastes); it smells especially good on cooler days like today.

This afternoon while running errands, I passed by Christina's. Checked the chalkboard for the featured flavor: Sour Cream Pomegranate.

On the return trip, stopped in for a taste. Oh, was it was good. Treated myself to a scoop for the walk home.
Last night's wind kept blowing the trashcan over, so after several times braving the cold to right things, we gave up and put it back behind the house.

This morning, got up a bit late and rushed out just in time to see the garbage truck pass by.

Caught a gust of wind on the back: just as strong as last night's, but almost as warm as breath. My shoulders loosened up a bit. Felt the hint of a smile at the corners of my mouth. (Was so much better than yesterday's twitch.)

Picked up a papaya at the market on a whim. I do this every now and again.

I want to love this fruit so much. Euell Gibbons sung its praises in his Beachcomber's Handbook. I remember a few of them making their way home in suitcases after various relatives' Hawaiian vacations.

It's beautiful.


Sorry for the blur: the kitchen's pretty dark in the evening and I hate using the flash.

It's romantic.

The seeds call out to be touched (and saved) after the fruit's been cut. Have 1/2 a juice glassful of them in the fridge waiting to be planted.

But I just can't get to liking how it tastes. Perhaps I'm serving it not ripe enough (or too ripe)? Maybe I should try something other than just dousing it in lime juice or making fruit salads of it? Maybe it'll never taste as good as it looks to me?

Monday, March 23, 2009

The world stands out on either side
No wider than the heart is wide;
Above the world is stretched the sky,—
No higher than the soul is high.
The heart can push the sea and land
Farther away on either hand;
The soul can split the sky in two,
And let the face of God shine through.
But East and West will pinch the heart
That can not keep them pushed apart;
And he whose soul is flat—the sky
Will cave in on him by and by.
Are chickadees late afternoon birds? Are cardinals? I only seem to see them in the yew tree later in the day.
By contrast, such a gorgeous afternoon.



Have to remember that there can be beautiful stuff out there, even when everything feels like doom.
Rough Day, as what The Visit started, this is bringing into full bloom.

School was like sunshine after several weeks of rain; just felt back to be in a living, real-working world. Was kind of proud of myself to have made it in. Managed, too, to keep the twitching to a minimum during class.

Language is going to come with difficulty for the foreseeable future. I'm lucky I can form sentences at all either speaking or writing. (I hate it when this happens. Am in a bubble, but can't seem to break it. Am at the bottom of a well shouting up - hear the echoes on the stones. Can't find the strength to climb out, though.)

Back to the land of the living? Well, we're going to give it a try, anyway.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Just got through watching a squirrel try to take down the feeder out back because we weren't quick enough getting the suet out. Now am watching the Holstein attempt to rip a branch off the tree in the front hall.

Someone's eating the mums and the oxalis in the kitchen.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Just about a week ago, my dad let me know that one could actually contact my brother. Bought a bunch of cards from the post office and am sending a weekly dispatch out.

Last week:


Only just got your address from Dad the other day. Hopefully, you're doing OK. Spring is finally coming to Boston - you should see all the birds and squirrels in the backyard! I can sit + watch them for hours.

Am planning a garden in my new place - lots of peppers, squash, turnips and onions so far (stuff I save seeds from).

Take care, ok?"

This week:



Happy Spring! Here the sky's so blue it's like an inspirational poster. Maples, forsythia, crocuses are budding + in bloom. Birds are singing a lot(Gonna have lots of nests in the yard.) My allergies have started up big time.

For St. Paddy's Day, made bangers + mash, a soda bread and lime (jello) parfait for dessert. Actually, liked it better than the normal, routine dinner.

Am reading a lot: Edith Hamilton's "Mythology," Arabian Nights, and the Federalist Papers. Am also getting into knitting lace. Made a Spring scarf + am now making a vest for work. You take care."
OY! I thought that this was the stuff of urban legend.

I understand that people are afraid of spiders. (Myself, am allergic to them - have gone into ana ana ph - you know, the thing where you get all swelled up and can't breathe) after having been bitten. Around here, we have brown recluses who do amazing damage (have seen this firsthand), so of course I wear gloves when I garden.

Killer spiders in bananas, though? Old one. Probably about as likely as the scorpions in the Peter Mayle story, too (sigh).

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pavel's been playing this all evening. I don't do computer games, but I do like the soundtrack on this one. Have been leaving it running in the background while doing other things.
So we *are* getting a tea party. Several, it seems. Good.
Have been going on about the //s between the French unvetted, underqualified, hyper mediatized president and ours for some time. Things continue here like they are over there (will get into that later), we're going to start seeing stuff like this, I'm afraid.
Haven't been feeling well at all today. Turned down coffee for tea with lemon, even took a hot bath with alcohol to try and clear up the chest (it's bad when I do that, because the bathtub here is so small I have to sit with bent knees). Ended up dosing myself with some sleepy-type allergy medicine and taking a nap for a while. Girl Kitty was pretty happy and spent a good time wrapped around my head purring.

Am hoping that it's just allergies to all the dust and mold I've kicked up the past couple days.

Just in case, I'm thinking of making my favorite burn the cold outta ya soup with fish tonight. Have really got a taste for it.
For me, anyway, too high expectations were never a problem.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Got another chunk done in the back yard. This is going to take a *long* time. If it's kept at, though, it will be nice.
Another victory of sorts.

If she really was there as some are reporting, what courage it must have taken to stand him down. Wow.
Yes, it is a this is a victory of sorts. Am glad about the concessions she got for her co-wife.
Didn't feel much like having boiled dinner last night, but did want something fairly seasonal. Opted for fake bangers and mash (fake because I didn't have any bangers, so substituted fresh kielbasa. Am pretty sure that my "mash" wasn't authentic, either), a salad, and a pretty decent green mousse-like concoction improvised from jell-o and Greek yogurt.

Of course there was soda bread:

Soda Bread

Couldn't skimp on that. Used the Vegetarian Epicure's recipe, substituting soured milk for the buttermilk and adding extra soda. Also substituted caraway seeds for the cardamom, as all I had was pods and didn't feel like cracking them. Oh yes, and those are actual currants, too.

(Pavel's taking one loaf to work. Promised the Frenchie that, the next time he visits, I'd make him some.)
Yesterday, in an effort to forget myself, threw me into a bunch of mindless tasks that would show concrete results. Got four loads of laundry done. Mopped the house, cleaned the bathrooms. Vacuumed. Started cleaning up the back yard.

Today, I'd like to get some mending done, get tax stuff organized and start tackling my health insurance boondoggle. (Really don't want to be nailed on taxes for last year.) Also would like to tackle a bit more in the yard. It's been neglected for so long that it's going to take lots of time and effort.

I really should get some schoolwork done, too. It's Spring Break and there's some serious catch up to be done. Fell behind terribly in February.

Ultimately, it'll all get sorted out. It kind of has to.
Am currently watching the Alpha Squirrel make light work of a suet cake in the yew tree. He's certainly the biggest one of the bunch who hang around here. Interesting to watch him chase the other, littler ones out of the yew. Seems to have a pretty serious problem with mange, unless squirrels molt in the Springtime like birds or cats.

We're trying to decide whether or not to get any more suet. They've gone through quite a lot over the past week. There's plenty of good stuff in the compost pile and would rather see them go after that, now that it's thawed out.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Oh, and by the way:

(Hope you made it a great day!)
The Frenchie mentioned something about Soc Gen having insurance against bad investments and that that was a reason for an AIG payoff (given that they're an insurance company and all). Makes sense, but still doesn't make me feel any better about this government making us responsible for the debts they've taken on.
Comfort Food.

Fried bologna and onions on pumpernickel bread. Just had it for lunch.

Makes things feel a little less awful, anyway.
My tax dollars went to France and all I got was this lousy pocket calendar.

Pocket Calendar

Pocket Calendar II

Wonder how much Kerviel's bosses got?
I honestly can't say that it never occurred to me that I'd end up in shock from my visit to the Heimatstadt. Naively, I hoped that things would turn out differently. Of course, things were as they'd always been and now I'm left feeling flayed or burned or whatever.


The surface world, the world above the puddle or pond I'm skimming in right now (reality?) is kind of fuzzy, a bit distorted. Where I'm resting now has all the allure of a water world, an echoing, cushioning medium sort of separating me from the outside. Here I don't really feel much of anything. My nose is numb and I feel a slight pressure on the forehead and chest.

If I dive a bit deeper into this (and I really don't want to), all I want to do is cry. (What would that solve?)

I know that there are so many out there who have it so much worse than I do, believe me, I understand that. Still: I feel so. damn. awful.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Then there was the Coffee Hour in the yew tree downstairs.

Squirrel at Lunch
Things were pretty calm in the cathouse this morning, though the boys were a little raucous due to Pavel having shut his door in the middle of the night. This got me up at around four-ish to feed them and thus buy a bit more quiet.

Girl Kitty

Girl cat's been pretty affectionate lately; as soon as she notes motion in my bed after sunrise, she begins purring like an outboard motor, then jumps off her bed to join me for a bit. (Very shades of Bashi. Funny, too, as she never met him.)


Antoine keeps up his vigil. He bothers her, but not as much as Trouble (the Holstein) does. Just as well that Trouble was lurking around downstairs - I can't take another night of him starting fights through the window. (Two nights ago was at around 3:00 am.)

Next project up: curtains and window-cleaning. (Note the nose and paw prints.)
A Reminder:

Be sure to watch your backs today.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dad's got a great post up about a perennial favorite.

No emotional a prioris. Just love the total pragmatism behind the song.

(Maybe is part of why I've done so badly man-wise in aggregate.)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


My latest happy bit of airplane knitting is complete. Couldn't find the blocking pins, so just steamed it with the iron to get the lace pattern to show up better. It's going to look awfully nice with a white tee shirt or blouse, maybe.

Cascade Detail III

Usually my knitting goes out to other people and the process of making something is like a prayer or a sutra to the intended recipient. Broke with this, though, when I first nuzzled the skein of silvery alpaca. It was so soft, so airy, and I really needed a bit of comfort.

Though I've got a ton of other things to work on, have decided to start another project for myself. There's no reason why I shouldn't benefit from my own good wishes. It's going to be lacy (meaning, will require a bit more presence than straight knitting) and it's going to be a nice Springtime-y, licheny green. Am looking forward to the process.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Every Night It's the Same.

Stalker Kitties

The orange one wants the girl cat's food, the holstein-looking one wants to pee on stuff. Both want the girl cat as their girlfriend. She's old, though. Old enough to be their mom. She hates them.

Still, they sit here night after night, undressing her with their eyes.


Sunday, March 08, 2009

Well, the good news is that this is finally out of my head.

The bad news is, it's been replaced by this:

(Mahalo, Pavel.)
Couldn't Resist.

Seems as though the Obamas have succeeded in something I'd never have thought possible: Making the Sarkozys* look like class acts. That's talent.

That said, I would like to point something out to folks going on about the region code thing. I live in zone one and the Frenchie lives in zone two. I buy him DVDs all the time off the Amazon US site and send them or bring them over. His player has the option of handling one zone other than his own, and it wasn't even an expensive one.


* Heading off to Brazil for Christmas, then to Mexico for Spring Break after telling the citizens that there'd need to be a lot of belt-tightening is not good. Suing people who poke fun at you, or using your position to further your career as a mediocre pop singer is somewhat of a no no as well.
Would really like to plant some sweet potatoes, peppers, melons and squash this year. Have been saving seeds from the Winter Hill estate and heaven knows there's plenty of space here.
Be's House of Fertility.

Turnip Babies

We've not gotten the chance to eat any of the turnips we bought this past Fall/Winter. How could one cut a little green top down in its prime?

Leeks Gone to Seed

No, they're not fertility symbols, but rather leeks gone to seed. Picked them up at Reliable in Union Square. The lady at the register was pretty excited that I was buying them to try and get them to bloom, then possibly harvest the seeds. Am thinking of planting them out back when the weather gets better. Lady at the market says that they'll be big, white puffballs if (and hopefully when) they bloom. Would be nice to get some chives to offset them. (Allium would be cool, too, but don't want to go too overboard on the theme. Have some sprouted garlic that I'm going to plant as well.)
Am so close to done with this.

Falling Water

Would love to have it blocked and ready to wear by tomorrow, but I think that that might be a bit ambitious.

Falling Water Detail

(Am sure that blocking would even out the cockeyed stitches. Have lots of tension-related issues; think it's another curse associated with left-handedness.)
Winter Garden into Spring.

Backyard Detail I

Backyard Detail II

Backyard Detail III

Funny to think that this was all covered with several inches of wet snow yesterday. Looks pretty rough now, but all I'm seeing is the potential.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

And on that note, it's time for bed.

Sweet dreams and don't forget to set the clocks forward.
Set a blood orange on each placemat for dessert tonight. Was surprised that Pavel had never seen or tasted one before.

"What a weird color. It's purple."

"That's why they call it a blood orange. Get it?"

He sniffed it. "Smells like an orange."

"I like them - maybe they're less acidic? Don't know. They taste slightly different from other oranges."

He broke off a section and bit into it. "Not as sweet as a clementine. Looks like a bruise. Looks like a hematoma in a rind."

Looked at him sideways. "Looks like something I'm going to find on the lawn after all the snow's melted."

(I won!)
Not a lot accomplished today. Wanted to get out to somewhere away from The City, but Speed Racer wasn't cooperating. Sounds like the muffler was punctured or something. Anyway, didn't want to risk anything by driving too far out, so just left him in the driveway and wandered over to Porter to run errands.

Got a fair bit of reading done for class, as well as a good chunk of my scarf finished (pictures tomorrow, maybe). I need to turn in a paper, but am totally blocked; not good.

Dinner was something simple that turned out really well:

1/2 red onion (color unimportant - that's what I had in the fridge)
1 1/2 c frozen peas
3 T olive oil
4-5 slices prosciutto

1/2 bag frozen cheese ravioli (80 count)

Dice onion, saute in 2 T olive oil until tender. Add frozen peas. Cook until peas are soft. Lower heat (to about medium-low); cut prosciutto into thin strips, add to peas and saute until glossy and opaque.

Cook ravioli according to package instructions. Drain, then add to pea mixture with last T of olive oil. Shake pan/stir/whatever works for you until ravioli are coated with oil and everything's mixed. Serve with cracked hot pepper and parmesan cheese.

Makes 4 servings.
Aah, Springime.

Friday, March 06, 2009


(= How many pictures from France I just uploaded to flickr. Will get them all sorted and treated in due time.)

Vue de Monmartre

The view from Monmartre.
On Living Across the Street From a Hospital.


The street's always the first plowed.

A great emergency room is conveniently located out the front door.


Snow gets plowed into the driveway approaches.

Lights are always flashing out the window at all hours of the night.

Entitled hospital visitors nearly constantly blocking the driveway, idling in permit-only spaces or even parking in the driveway.

Biohazardous waste strewn all over the lawn and driveway.
Home, decided to take the compost out back. We have two huge piles at the other end of the garden; a bit of a schlep when there's still a bit short of a foot of hard-packed, half-melted snow on the ground. Put on my boots and sallied forth>

However, on the way back, had to fish out yet another pair of discarded latex gloves and half a spool of gauze. Sadly, this isn't a rare occurrence.
Not a tremendous lot of things went on today. That's good, given what the past few weeks have been like.

Heard from the Frenchie - he got back from the hospital okay. Nothing terribly wrong; all things in order for now.

Got some paperwork together for school stuff. Everything's not completely in order, but, well, close enough for jazz or government work or whatever.

Went out to visit my best gal Aimee at work today - it'd been ages since I'd seen her; heck, maybe haven't seen her since before Christmas. Was good to catch up. She's had her own craziness going on, what with a family, school, the place I used to work for to juggle. Though my life's been nuts the past couple years, at least I don't have a toddler and a rotten job to deal with.

Had a good walk up and down Cambridge Street, talked about crazy moms, guys, school. Ran errands and window shopped. Ducked into our favorite yuppie bah (Bukowskis) for chili dogs and sodas, then went on our ways.

Checked out the bank balance, and was none too pleased by that. Will have to get the resume out and find another petit boulot to stave off dipping into the savings again (am saving that for a later, hopefully sunnier day). Am not looking forward to the runaround involved.

Had a loverly walk home, as the sun finally came out. Actually was able to take off the coat and swing it over my shoulder like Fred Astaire or something. Gosh, life is good sometimes.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

"Everything is Amazing Right Now, and Nobody's Happy."

We were howling at this today. I'm not that old, but I remember party lines (my grandparents had one until the early 80s) and relay operators. I remember physically having to go through a catalogue full of actual index cards in a library in order to do research. I remember coffee shop coffee *before* Starbucks. Heck, I remember when my blog was just a bit of scribbles in a notebook (pictures and video not included).

We are spoiled nowadays and I think sometimes that we're too dumb to realize it.

(Thanks, Anna!)
Recent Stuff.

Pavel's valentine this year was a little cardinal.

Boy Cardinal

He's sitting in his knitted nest in the kitchen window looking out on the yew tree. Maybe he's even daydreaming about finding a girl cardinal to cuddle with. (One of our regulars is a gorgeous, olive-plumed supermodel of a female. Don't blame the knitted boy if he's a bit smitten with her. I know I am.)

After I finished the Frenchie's scarf (and a hat from the leftover yarn), decided to pay a visit to my favorite market stall in Versailles for another treat. This time around, I got two skeins (at less than five euro a piece! For Alpaca, for crying out loud!) of Katia Andes Alpaca in a cool silver color. Told the lady that, since it was Spring, I wanted to do a bit of lace.

Falling Water Scarf

Ultimate Airplane Knitting. This lace pattern is so simple and so, well, gratifying, that it's practically knitting itself. The yarn worked out well with the airplane needle - an size seven plastic circular that I received one Christmas with a bunch of other old knitting accessories.

This really caught the eye of a few of the flight attendants. Received lots of compliments, both on the pattern and the yarn. Can't wait till it's done, blocked and ready-to-wear. Am keeping it for myself (for a change).
I mentioned the housemate making pancakes yesterday because he wasn't too worried about getting into work late. It was nice to have him around in the morning, to sit, talk and to watch the birds. However, the news of his impending layoff is kind of weighing on him.

Myself, I've been pretty cavalier about leaving my job last August. I'm not too worried about finding un petit boulot to tide me over until I do decide to find serious work again, either. I've never really defined myself by what I've done for a living. Pavel's a bit different, though. He's always worked in his line of work, rather to the detriment of other aspects of his life. Though he's all set financially and, to be honest, he didn't really even *like* the work he was doing, this is a bit of a setback for him. A huge chunk of time is now going to need to be filled and, well, though they let him off easy, he still got dumped. That hurts.

I suggested that, as soon as work's done (end of the month), he take a vacation. He'd been to Hawaii before and absolutely loved it. Why not spend more than just two weeks there? Afterwards, there're plenty of around the house projects to work on (setting up the dining room, for example) and Spring planting to do. I'd love that he take a cooking course, as well. Oh, and maybe take a class somewhere, too. (His degree's in Mathematics, but he's worked as a programmer forever. Has spoken about doing some work in CS/theoretical programming. Might be good for him. Get him out of the house a bit). The Frenchie would love it, too, if he'd come visit Paris.

All this is not really a crisis, and there's so much opportunity for him. I'm hoping for the best, as he has all sorts of potential.
Left to my own devices today, I had some whole wheat toast with a bit of prosciutto, a banana and a cup of coffee. Not much in terms of pyrotechnics, but still pretty good and decently balanced I guess.
Just after twittering my breakfast yesterday morning, I received this from the Frenchie:

Somme nous tous debiles de vouloir partager des images de nos petits-dejeuners? C'est mieux que de partager des images d'autres choses, enfin. (Originally from a Labview forum, One of the Frenchie's favorite hangouts after the Citroen-owner gab sites.)

My response? How easily he forgets.

Breakfast of Champions

One of my all-time favorites - the Frenchie's omelet with salmon and broiled tomatoes. How easily a girl could get spoiled from this sort of treatment.
Am slowly making up for the lost sleep. Not totally there yet, but will be soon.

Decided to drop Interweave Knits (haven't been crazy about the projects, the editing, the photography lately. More do-able projects in Vogue the past year or so, actually) for Piecework, which is another Interweave publication. This isn't exclusively knitting, but is more within my realm of interests (technique, history, other culture stuff) than its sister publication. This month's edition's primary focus is on textiles for Historical Reenactment; the projects concerned being mainly from the Civil War era. I particularly like the sontag pattern.

They feature a lot of embroidery, as well. Haven't done that in years, save for a bit here and there to decorate knitting. Will be interesting to see if this prompts me to get back into that.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Valley Girl Presentation Aside,

This is actually pretty spot on.
Back Again.

Am still a bit woozy. Travel was pretty hellish yesterday, though not as bad as it could have been. Have a lot of sleep to catch up on, as was up for nearly 30 hours straight.

Having a hard time reconciling the fact that just a couple days ago, I was out sunbathing, too. Oh well.