Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Today it begins. Something I've been deeply enjoying looking forward to since April. Don't think we're moving yet; no, that won't happen for awhile. What I'm beginning today is a month off. I've tried, but I'm not sure I can get my head around that idea.

Busy is the girl with three jobs. That's me. Two years ago, as you might be tempted to read in the archives of this blog, I had zero jobs. I spent my days productively, canning and growing and wifing and home-making, and it was thoroughly enjoyable. I didn't necessarily want a job, but I knew that to move forward with life, one was necessary.

And then one came along. I started taking care of Patrick's grandmother in April of 2009. Then I started working one or two nights a week at Cyber Cafe. And then, recently, because my two other jobs aren't particularly creative or intellectual, and because neither one of them have anything to do with what I went to school for, I started writing for Grow and Make.

The cafe and the writing will continue for September, but the grandmother care will not. I will spend my time at home, where I love to be, especially in the cozy-ing up time of fall.

I'm not sure I would rather have off any other month. Think of the antiquing. Think of the nesting. Think of the canning! There are no less than fifty pounds of tomatoes downstairs in my kitchen as I write, and tomorrow they will be turned into sauce.

Corners will be excavated, and organized, and cleaned, and put back together. The pantry moth problem in my cupboard will be addressed. Apples will be picked. Many little articles, and one big, glossy, important article, will be written.

I'm making lists like crazy. I'm de-fragging my computer. I'm picking my husband up and taking him to lunch later. I love this. Isn't there someone who would pay me just to stay home and be awesome?

Get back to me on this, house-wifing is seriously addictive.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Buffalo: Day 2


I mean, whoa.

When you're driving with your sweetie towards Niagara Falls, and you see smoke and wonder idly, "Gee, I wonder if there was a fire or something," it's not smoke, you knucklehead, it's mist from the falls.

When people tell you "Eh, don't bother with the American side, the Canadian side is so much bigger," folks, it's still a really big freaking waterfall. We stepped aboard Maid of the Mist to get a closer look.

Whoa. That was sort of the word of the day. The weather, and the light, could not have been more cooperative. After being overcast all morning, the clouds broke a few minutes before we stepped on the boat. There we were, getting progressively soggier, drifting across the choppy waters towards a gorgeous waterfall.

I got lots of pictures of us in our sexy blue ponchos. In this one, I'm pretty sure Patrick is saying, "Dude, what's up with your bandanna?"

Not that Patrick is really the type to say dude.

We spent the whole day at the falls, soaking up the culture and taking our all-inclusive day pass for everything it was worth. We tourist-gawked. We watched the birds. We ate lunch at the Punjabi Hut, because the number one notable thing they don't tell you about Niagara Falls is this: There are more Indian restaurants per block than New Delhi. We like Indian food. It was delicious.

When dinnertime rolled around, we settled in back at the site, amply provisioned with firewood. And beer.

We cooked campfire potatoes, and green bean paninis over the coals. And we drank our beers, and we watched the moon rise.

It was a pretty good little trip.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Buffalo: Day 1

Well, hello there! Sorry to have dropped off the face of the earth for a few days. I fully intended to let ya'll know where we were headed, but in the rush of a pre-vacation Friday afternoon, it slipped my mind. Who hasn't been there?

Patrick and I went to Buffalo. I'm a lifelong New York native who'd never (until Tuesday) been to Niagara Falls. We had to be out in Western NY for a family function anyway. The trip practically planned itself. Sunday afternoon, we drove up the shore of Lake Erie to Grand Island, marveling at some seriously beautiful old shoreside factory buildings along the way. It was rainy, rainy, rainy.

Monday morning, rain kept us in the tent until nearly nine, and I was starting to wonder if our vacations themselves are the cause of the rain. It finally subsided enough for us to eat, shower, and head off for a day in the big city.

We went to the zoo. Patrick loves zoos. He took nearly a hundred photos on my camera while we were there. This is one: rhino, peafowl, and ducks.

We did lots of walking. Lots and lots. We checked out the theatre district, and had lunch at City Grill. We toured the beautiful old house where TR was sworn in as President. We walked probably three miles up and around Elmwood St., hoping to find a classy-but-not-dressy place for dinner, and came up empty. Instead there were row after row of beautiful houses to marvel at, and lots of terrific signs to admire (see top photo). At the end of the afternoon, we cut our losses and headed back to camp for dinner.

And a little nature-gazing.

Dinner: Patrick's Ultimate Veggie Burgers. With sliced garden tomato.

Camp cooking is the best part of camping. Indeed.

Tomorrow: Day 2!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Antiquing for the new house

An old printer's type tray.
A round milk-glass shade, probably from the thirties.
A smallish hamper basket.
The perfect curvy-topped mirror.

This is what women used to do, a century ago: hope chesting. Squirreling things away for a future life they were dreaming of.

If would take a darn big chest to fit all my goodies, so I've designated a corner, instead. This is the time of year when I start to get into antiquing again. Autumn stirs my hoarding instincts. When I'm not busy stocking the freezer or pantry for winter, I'm feathering the nest with treasures. This year, it's treasures for the new house.

Wishes, hopes, and dreams. To soon to be real, they're already taking shape in my head.

This is a wonderful season of life to be living.

And this was a really wonderful pizza. Happy Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Garden Tomatoes

Blessed event, we have waited so long.

All summer I've been watching my plants stretch upwards, bending with the weight of the fat green orbs they're hoisting skyward. The brown blight-spots would show up in rainy weeks, causing the gardener (me) to wince and bite her lip. Sunny days would come, the blight-spots would go. Just this week, the ripe ones have started rolling in, three or four at a time. I'm sure that doesn't sound like much to you lucky folks with big gardens, but bear in mind I have only ten plants.

They're not big, but goodness, they're delicious. Homegrown tomato season is so short, (and my luck with them admittedly not-so-great), that it's pure novelty to go out to the garden and pick a ripe one straight off the vine. All the rest of the year, our tomatoes come to us in canning jars and freezer bags, or else as handfuls of leathery sun-drieds or ladlefuls of sauce. If you think I feel I'm missing out on something, October through July, you'd be wrong.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Living without fresh tomatoes for most of the year turns waiting for the first ripe one into courtship. Walking to the garden one evening, I spy a red one hanging there seductively, daring to be noticed. My head turns the way it did in college, when a hottie would appear on the dance floor. It's almost flirtation: Well hello there, you sexy thing. Won't you come home to dinner? I wouldn't trade this for anything: the anticipation, the triumph, the glee. The taste.

Last night we simply halved some tomatoes, sprinkled them with feta, pepper, and coarse salt, and broiled them for twenty minutes. They come out darn near as sweet as peaches.

Now that garden tomato season is here, I don't ever want it to end.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Long Point

We try to get back at least once a year.

This is Long Point State Park on Cayuga Lake. It's a scenic spit of land jutting out into the water, planted with hickories and willows and basswoods, and covered in smooth gray-blue stones. It is a good spot for many things: swimming, boating, beachcombing. One calm, sunny day in February four and a half years ago, we drove up there for the first time together, for our second date. We walked, we talked. We skipped rocks and beachcombed. I think it's where we began, where we found and started following the good path we're travelling.

I have a handful of beach gleanings from that date: a piece of polished purple beach glass, an old metal coat button, a few lucky stones. Somewhere, I'm sure Patrick does, too.

Every relationship has its origin. This is ours: these blue-gray stones, these quiet smiles and scraps of conversation. This is where I started getting to know this guy, and where I started falling in love. It's been a long, gleeful slope, this love-falling business. Every day, a little further along.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Baby quilt

Summer is definitely a slow sewing time for me. There's a few birthdays to prepare for, but otherwise I'm pretty much content to close the door on my sewing room and turn my creative energies to the garden.

This one, however, could not pass unmade. This is for my expectant friend Stephanie, the one whose shower I catered back in July. The main front fabric and all the "flowers" are from my stash. The back is pale green minky fabric; the trim is jumbo purple rick-rack.

As with most of my hand-sewing projects, it's done some travelling. It's been to Syracuse and Oswego, and to Canandaigua for a Phish show. It was with us on the Fourth. Next week, it'll complete the last long leg of its journey in an airmail envelope bound for Saskatoon. Hopefully, it'll get there before the baby does!

Welcome to the world, Ximena Katherine. I can't wait to meet you!

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