Sunday, May 30, 2010

Saturday scores

Let me set the scene: It was Saturday of Memorial weekend. A ripe time for yard sales. I knew my friend Kat was coming down for a little debauchery, while our respective men were away at afestival. Kat and I are both of good, frugal, resourceful upstate-New-York stock. We know how to re-fashion and re-finish and re-purpose, and most of all, we know how to haggle.

Was there any suitable way to spend the day but at a yard sale? But first, some waffles.

A good, hearty breakfast is important. Especially when perusing an entire table of elephant knick-knacks, and picking the one among the denizens that speaks to you.

The chair is my favorite: $10.

My Dad has one sort of like it: old and oakey, with brass fittings. Do you ever find your present desires shaped by something you loved and lived with 25 years ago? Me, too.

Not pictured: a lovely set of vintage sheets, white with the most delicate sky-blue viney flowers. They were taking a tumble in the dryer while I snapped these pictures.

What has the long weekend brought you so far? Good things, I hope.

Headed down to visit some wonderful friends tomorrow, be back Wednesday!

Friday, May 28, 2010


Friday series: a few snatches of beauty from my week, and a few words.

This is Dame's Rocket (Hesperis matronalis) most beautiful of all beautiful roadside weeds. It's not native, and a bit invasive, and so I was able to justify pulling armloads and armloads one insanely hot June morning (two years ago) for our wedding. It was in bouquets and vases and pimped-out drywall buckets. On tables and buffets and altars and in the bathroom.

It smells spicy, and a little sweet. It smells like summer. It smells like walking down a mile-long aisle carrying flowers, wrapped in eighty layers of tulle while sweat drips down the backs of your knees. At least, that's what it smells like to me.

When I see it start to bloom on the roadsides, I know our anniversary is coming soon. And it is.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What I'm Wearing: Simple

Dress: Thrifted, altered by me
Necklace: Tom's Gifts, in Binghamton
Shoes: Dansko

Somehow, we have chanced upon a week of July in the middle of May. It's been in the high eighties all week (headed to ninety today) and it's causing me great concern for my new transplanted tomatoes, and great desires for a glass of cold chardonnay and a breezy hammock.

Though I miss the fun layering opportunities of winter, there is something to be said for dress + shoes + necklace = outfit.

It's the perfect hot-weather dress. It was $2.50. I shortened the straps by like a mile (why do they do that?) and now it's all good.

Happy Wednesday, everyone.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Arugula pesto pizza with roasted tomatoes

See those arugula leaves up there on my blog banner? Yeah. That was four weeks ago, before my sweet, demure little seedlings turned into bushy green monsters. Four weeks of unseasonable warmth, and arugula casts aside its cooperative, leaf-growing ways and sends up a spindly stalk of flower buds. This is my second year growing arugula, and by now I know: it's time to make pesto.

Arugula pesto. This recipe calls for four packed cups, enough to justify pulling the offending plants up by their heads and plucking them clean.

In this sort of weather, it takes very long to go from holding tender little leaves in your grateful little hands to pacing in front of the cold frame thinking, Bejebus! What am I going to do with all this stuff?

A quick rinse and a whirl in the food processor with pistachios, lemon, cheese, and a drizzle of oil, and it's pesto, folks. Perfectly delicious on pasta, but eating it on pizza with roasted tomatoes is our preferred way.
And our cold frame is safe from burgeoning arugula plants again. For now...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mom's birthday

It was everything it should've been, and then some.

When your own mother is having a prestigious birthday, you want perfection. At least, I do. As I planned and made lists and scrubbed and sweated last week, I examined and re-examined the interior of my mind, and why I was driven to such a minor frenzy. The answer: it's my mom, silly, the woman to whom I owe my existence. Of course I'm cleaning with Q-tips, double-steaming the rugs, applying lemon chiffon frosting in patient, studied curves with the blade of an offset spatula. At five, it was piles of crayon hearts; at fifteen, red geraniums planted in her flower pots. Now, at 27, it's dinner parties and calico buntings and lemon curd layer cakes with chiffon frosting.

The Menu

Asparagus and Mushroom tarts
Spring Vegetables
Couscous with Fennel and pine nuts
Spring green salad with creamy chive dressing
Lemon curd layer cake

Beforehand, there was the requisite Grandpa Time for Diesel. (My Dad, lover of all dogs small and large, is quickly becoming Diesel's favorite grandparent.)

Dinner is served. This why I garden: the recipe called for pea tendrils, and pea tendrils I had. And plenty.

I cobbled together a bouquet of chive flowers, lily of the valley, euonymous, and rhubarb stalks. Has rhubarb ever been used in a bouquet before?

Haaaappy biiirthdaaay tooo yooouuu...

After cake, we went out to a bar with an oldies cover band, and Mom stayed groovin' and on her feet until after midnight. Her happy and proud daughter (that's me) was right there groovin' by her side.

Being an only child isn't always a picnic. In fact, as I get older I find myself wanting a sibling more and more. But this, I will say, is a definite perk: feeling more like a friend or sister than a child, and knowing her appreciation and love and approval is all for me.

Happy Birthday, Mom.

Friday, May 21, 2010


A new Friday series: a few snatches of beauty from my week, and a few words.

What I did last night instead of mopping floors and ironing napkins...

I'll be back on Monday, with tales and pictures of Mom's Birthday Feast. Have a good weekend, everyone!

Thursday, May 20, 2010


This calls for a celebration. This weekend, my radiant, tireless, ever-patient and extremely put-upon mother is turning sixty. (I'm sure she'll bean me for telling you that.)

The stove has been scrubbed. The counters have been polished. The cake has been baked. Tomorrow after work, I'm going to rush home and begin cooking like a fiend-- braised lamb, puff pastry tart, homegrown lettuce salad-- because dinner's at 6:30 and it better be good. Fantastic. Decadent. For this wonderful woman and everything I owe her.

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