Friday, February 26, 2010


Finally! Finally we got a proper winter storm: a snowday, an excuse for hot chocolate, even a short-lived state of emergency thrown in for good measure. Working at the cafe last night was the high point. I watched, hour by hour, as a blowing wall of white enveloped the city. The crowd was sparse but hardy: they stumbled in looking like so many abominable snowmen, approaching the bar and ordering the hottest drinks, the strongest beers. One fellow even ventured down on skis.

This morning, Patrick and I went out to play in the fourteen marvelous inches of exquisitely packable snow. We donned our long underwear. We lobbed a few snowballs. We dropped Pete into a snowbank fully against his will, because he is, after all, a rat bastard and could use an ego check.

It was an excellent snowday.

PS: Yes, the hat is a flowerpot.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A small triumph

Oh yeah, remember this? I haven't forgotten about it, really. In fact, I'm still making progress. See?

See that pretty piece of fabric clinging to the back, almost like it was made to go there? Almost as if I had crawled around on my hands and knees with a disappearing-ink marker, painstakingly tracing each piece of old fabric I'd pulled off the frame, painstakingly cut them out, and painstakingly sewed them together? See how it sits perfectly in the divot between the cushions? It's almost like the fabric was edge-stitched, then gathered by hand, then sewed together with a strip of bias tape on the back, and then the bias tape was threaded with twine, and then the twine was pulled taut and stapled at each end!

(Oh the many sleights-of-hand involved in making a couch, none of which will ever be properly venerated!)

I've already cut and sewed together the pieces that fit over the arms, too. And they do just that: they fit. You should've seen the hyper fit of a happy dance that ensued in my kitchen last night, after the trepedation was vanquished by sweet success.

Things are coming together. Things are fitting together. This is the part of the project where I'll probably get over-confident and wreck something... but until then, this is actually fun!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What I'm Wearing: Purple passion

Ok, folks. It's February, it's snowy, and I'm outside wearing leggings and the thinnest of cardigans. I'm going to look cold. That's just life.

This is the bravest pose I was able to manage: arms uncrossed!

Cardigan: Modcloth
Tank: Old Navy
Skirt: Made from a thrifted women's dress shirt
Leggings: Tulle
Shoes: Thrifted
Earrings: Etsy shop Strands of Light
Necklace: Tom's Gifts, right here in Binghamton

Here I go, layering buttons over buttons again. I'm pretty sure there's some picky little Emily Post-era fashion rule dead set against doing this, but nuts to that. I like it. It's nice in a quaint, ladylike, untidy librarian sort of way.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

That's using your noodle

Over the weekend, Patrick and I had our first fresh-pasta-making adventure. We threw eggs and flour into our stand mixer. We watched excitedly as it became stretchy, daffodil-colored dough. We folded and pressed (and occasionally cursed) as we fed it through the rollers. And then we turned it into noodles.

And then we sat down and fed ourselves a bowl of daffodil-colored noodles with spicy tomato-pepper sauce. I have the feeling this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Monday, February 22, 2010

On its way, slowly

Though I was born an optimist, and a guilelessly romantic one at that, I was pretty sure we wouldn't see anything more inspiring than a little mud on our Sunday hike. And mud we saw, and plenty. Also dripping branch-tips, and south-facing slopes melted bare. Fresh woodchips on the snow, signs of little birdie nest-building exploits. Though neither one of us admitted thinking such licentious thoughts, as we made our way around the lake I'm pretty sure we were both sinking deeper into temptation. Signs of spring? Could it be too early for skunk cabbage?

Each year, on some late winter/early spring hike, the possibility of skunk cabbage crosses my mind. It is, without question, the earliest of all the early spring plants. Its blood is photosynthetic antifreeze, its primitive heart is as hardy and wild as a plant can be. It grows in February, for goodness sake, out of a barren, frozen swamp. Even I was skeptical, as we neared the swamp, but I couldn't resist taking a look.

And of course, there it was. The season's first new growth. Our life raft out of winter. From here, it only gets better.

it doesn't matter what is buried
compared to what is pushing through.

~from Skunk Cabbage, by Thom Ward

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The show must go on: our four-year anniversary

April 2007.
I'm still feeling pretty queasy. I've eaten nothing but saltines and ginger ale since Tuesday night. But, my goodness, today is our anniversary! And if that isn't a reason to smile, I don't know what is.

February 18th, 2006, was the day we met. I wrote all about it here. This anniversary, our so-called Dating Anniversary, has always felt more meaningful than our wedding anniversary. It was the very beginning of us, our origins, that day Patrick drove all the way to Ithaca with a flowerpot full of garden seeds in his backseat (because fresh flowers would've frozen in the cold).

It was the start of something big. Things were sweet and calm and almost formal for the first few months. We arranged dates via cordial emails. He started calling me every night. He brought me flowers a lot. Once we passed the three-month mark, things started happening, fast. We said I love you. We met each others' parents. I started thinking, quietly, that he might be The One.

The sweetest part was when I realized he'd been thinking that, too.

Tonight, there will be wine, and homemade pasta. There will be candelight and shared smiles and reflections on how lucky we are to have spun a relationship out of a chance Myspace meeting.

Four years. Here's to forty more.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What I'm Wearing; Sitting this one out

If I were to compose an outfit run-down for today, it would read as follows:
Extra large polarfleece nightie: LL Bean
Today I make no attempts at being fashionable: I am sick. All I want is my mom to hold my hair back, tell me to drink lots of fluids, and read me Charlotte's Web until I fall asleep.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Valentine's Day

Vermont is a magical state. The people are warm. The buildings are historic. The wine is homemade, the sweaters are handknit, and the roasted chicken led a pleasant life of green grass and sunwarmed caterpillars. Everywhere you look, if you're paying attention, there's something to smile about.

Heart-shaped doilies and mini marshmallows, ready for festivities.

Aforementioned roasted chicken, simmering in the soup pot.

Husbands holding babies, and wearing hearts.

Wives also holding babies, and wearing hearts.

Enthusiastic folks young and old, bravely strapping on their skates. I took mine for a spin, as well, and quickly came to the conclusion that I'm no better at skating than I was the last time I tried, eight years ago.

Warm feet, fuzzy mittens, a cup of hot chocolate by the fire. The snow began to fall, fluttery and romantic, perfect for Valentine's Day.

As the light began to fade, everyone came inside for soup and bread. I brought a loaf of my favorite bread, and Monroe approved. The kid does not hold still. When you're two, there's just too much to see.

Shortly, the guitars came out. Like a magnet, the music drew everyone into the living room, close to the woodstove. A banjo and a mandolin joined the circle, and we sang the Carter Family, Gillian Welch, and the Weavers songs for a few dreamy hours.

There's nothing more intimate than sharing songs with new friends, nothing more seductive than a warm woodstove on a cold night. And scribbledy, handmade hearts from your new two-year-old crush are the sweetest kind.

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