Friday, September 28, 2007


It's amazing how Zion mimics our words, and how Liel mimics Zion's. This morning I was giving my dad a rundown of the foods available for breakfast and concluded with "but the pears aren't ripe, so I'm afraid you're out of luck there." Zion looked from me to dad and, unable to resist the chance to try out this new turn of phrase said "Grandpa, I'm afraid we do not have any ripe pears, so you are out of luck!"

We went to the zoo today and as we headed towards the Bug Carousel Zion said, very earnestly, "I want to ride a praying mantis, but I will have to see what is available for myself" (and yes, a praying mantis was available).

Liel's mimicking usually isn't quite as charming, since she latches onto peculiar madeup words of Zion's for the most part. So she will launch herself at you shouting "Unny-unny! I minnow you!" (Ok, maybe it's a little cute). Someday we hope to figure out what the hell unny-unnying is. Or means. Or something.

Perhaps it's a synonym of Uzzy-uzzy?

PS In the interst of full disclourse I must admit that Zion's mimicking isn't always cute, either. A few weeks ago we stopped by a local winery to pick up a case of their mead (let the record show that the rest of their wines are not our style at all- Jenna accuratly described several of them as "tasting like cough syrup" as she enthusiastically pushed the little plasitc tasting cup towards us. The mead, however, is outstanding). The last time we were there he'd apparently seen some chickens while out wandering the grounds with Joe. Zion was most eager to see more chickens. But luck was not with us that day, and as we headed towards the car to leave he asked, in a tone of voice usually suited to commenting on the weather, "Mama? Where the hell fuck are those chickens??"

I didn't say it wasn't funny.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


It was fairly warm and humid when I came home today, so I decided that instead of putting Liel in the Mei Tai and walking down to Zion's school to get him I would put her in the wagon. I love wearing her (so much so that I feel sad knowing that our babywearing time is almost up), but when it's hot and humid her extra weight and heat just make me hotter and sweatier. So into the wagon she went.

We had a nice walk down, esp once I figured out how to manage the wagon's intertia down hills. We got there early for a change, and chatted with another mama and her son until the kids were let out. Not surprisingly Zion opted to ride in the wagon rather than power himself home, so we headed off with the wagon quite a bit heavier. Which was fine- until the hills. And wouldn't you know it, the steepest hills are right at the END of the walk home. Damn hills. By the time we got home I was a red faced, sweaty mess. And my legs were tired. They aren't used to pulling 50+ lbs around! I mean, sure, I can carry 24 lbs on my back easily enough for an hour or more, but for pulling twice that my current limit is apparently 15 minutes, with hills.

On the one hand I'd like to keep taking the wagon down for school pickups, cause I bet my legs'd get all super strong and I'd be buff(er). But on the other hand, I truly love carrying Liel and holding Zion's hand, and frankly, the wagon (like a stroller) made it difficult for me to interact with the kids on our walk. And I'm kinda lazy. But also interested in being buff. You can see the dilemma...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Signature moves

OK, so this season's Bachelor is looking to be a roaring success. The highlight from last night was...well, a bit of background for you non-Bachelor watching weridos ;)

The Bachelor meets 25 girlies on the first night ("25 BEAUTFIUL ladies!"). They party all night and at sunrise he eliminates 10 of them (by not offering them a rose) and keeps the other 15 for future fun. A couple seasons ago they introduced the "first impression rose", to be given to whoever the Bachelor really LIKE likes that first evening. Everyone wants the first impression rose, even though there has been no correlation btwn receiving it and "winning".

So last night the heat was on to get the first impression rose, as always. The camera panned to two girls sitting together. One of them announced that, as part of her effort to get The Rose it was time for her "signature move". Are you ready for this? When the Bachelor came over she kicked off her heels and showed him her webbed toes. Most girls try to show off thier talents (usually painful to watch or hear), or thier raw sex appeal. But this misguided soul busts out with her webbed feet. You can't make this shit up! Camera cut to the Bachelor, reliving the moment after the party, and the poor guy could barely talk he was laughing so hard. By the end he actually had tears he was wiping away! We made our third call of the evening to Jenna (who was not by her phone, most annoyingly), and Robert gasped out the tale to her voice mail between bouts of laughter. Where do they find these people?? How can having webbed toes be a "signature move", and who on earth would find that so blindingly attractive that it would catapult you over the ranks of 24 other girlies?

This girl needs some help. If she hung out with me I could show her MY signature move: fitting my mouth around a Coke can. Or my fist. Or stuffing it full of 43 grapes.

Yeah, some folks got the class and the REAL moves, and some don't. That's all I'm sayin'.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Tron, Dammit!

In class today we were discussing possible topics for future Open Thursdays. I suggested that we could do a day on religion in South Park and The Simpsons, since those shows are usually dead on when they do religion. As an example I mentioned the "Jewbilee" episode, where Moses is represented as the Master Control Program from Tron. Students laughed appreciatively (who doesn't love South Park??), but Student A objected that Moses wasn't represented by MCP from Tron, but by some Power Rangers thing.

Um, no. MCP from Tron.

No, Power Rangers.

Student B: I can't believe you're arguing over this.

But it's from TRON!

But, Tron's like, that movie from the 80s!

Um, yes. I know what Tron is. I grew up in the 80s. Y'all were barely even born in the 80s. It's Tron.

(An aside: Trey Parker and Matt Stone also grew up in the 80s. Why on earth would they reference the Power Rangers?? Man, break out of your limited generational thinking! My generation's where it's at!)

Happily, Wikipedia will provide the smackdown I need to prove my point in class Wednesady. Childish? Maybe. But I like to think of it as educating :P

The Bachelor

Now, normally I prefer to blog about, you know, my life and not TV. And normally that's pretty easy, cause we don't really watch TV anyway. But I must confess: we have watched every season of The Bachelor. Is it a kinda suck TV show? Yep. But watch it with some friends and some snacks and some (OK, plenty) wine and you have yourself a ready made good time. Maybe it's a bit unfair to pick on such an easy target (kinda like kicking someone when they're down), but in the immortal words of the's fun, too!

So tonight you can find me with my wine and my TV. Sadly, Jenna, our stalwart Bachelor watching friend has moved 3-4 hours away and won't be with us tonight. I'm considering calling her tho, so we can watch together on the phone. Good ol' reality TV, bringing people together in my very living room...

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Oh, my hair!

I have moderately thick, sorta dry, loosely curly waist length hair. I stopped using commercial shampoo on it about 3 years ago. For a about a year and a half I used shampoo bars (I like the ones at Chagrin Valley best! They make excellent soap, too.). Then a friend with curly hair started no-pooing and got a bunch of us on the bandwagon. No-pooing is any number of ways of cleaning your hair without using shampoo, and it tends to be much healthier for hair and scalp. This page explains the why and ins and outs very nicely. And an added benefit of no-pooing for curly girls is that it's really great for curl enhancement!

So for about a year I washed with baking soda and rinsed with apple cider vinegar diluted in water. My hair was pretty happy and curly. But then I hit some kind of rut. I don't know what but my hair wasn't looking great any more and I still had a shampoo bar in the shower so I started using that again. At first I could barely tell the difference, so I kept it up. Then I thought better of it and started using the Conditioner Only cleansing method (CO). But after some months my hair became less curly. And then about a month ago I noticed that it was really dry, too. And about a week ago I finally noticed that my hair had gone from curly to wavy. Back to no-poo!

I made a snap judgement and decided that since we have hard water, the baking soda was to blame for my hair blahs with no-poo. Right now I'm experimenting with using sea salt to wash! All the expermentation can be a bit of a chore, but even after just one wash (I did an ACV/water rinse, sea salt scrub, ACV/water soak and final rinse with nettle tea with a touch of honey and lavender EO) my hair is curly again. See?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Further comments on honey cake

1. the tea is steeped, very dark and strong. some recipes use coffee, I prefer tea.

2. this time i put chopped walnuts on the top before baking. YUM.

3. when the cake came out of the oven i poked it all over with a knife and then poured a honey/tea syrup all over it. EXTRA YUM. (this was leftover tea mixed with enough honey to form a syrup, very simple)

I highly recommened 2 and 3!

Breaking the fast

No, I haven't done it yet ;) But I'm planning, and after this post I'm going to start cooking. Here's what will be on our menu:
beef stew
mashed potatoes
honey cake
The beef stew and mashed potatoes will be courtesy of our CSA veggies (and Alan The Meat Man, of course!). I was going to make a pear crisp (hello CSA again!) but Zion voted for honey cake, and since I misplaced my recipe and didn't make one for Rosh Hashanah this year I was pleased, cause what're the High Holidays with no honey cake?? And my recipe is teh awesome, if I do say so myself.

Oh, you'd like my honey cake recipe? Well, if you insist!
2 1/2 c flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt, baking soda, cinnamon, lemon peel
1 t cardamom
1 c honey
1/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c apple sauce
3/8c oil
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
3/4 c black tea
slug of rum

baked @350 in 10" springform pan
(I use egg replacer instead of eggs, of course. And this year I'm going to replace the applesauce with delicata squash, cause we have some cooked and sitting in the fridge.)

Friday, September 21, 2007


I don't like it, and am not enjoying the anticipation of it.

I am so blessed to have sufficient food for my family.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Buy your holiday gifts from meeeeeeee!

In yesterday's Daily Candy shoppers were alerted to the existence of the Pidge. Now I'm all for handmade items being appropriately valued- the few times I've knit things to be sold I've priced them so that I get paid $1-2 an hour, because otherwise the cost of handknits can really skyrocket (example: my Tree Jacket used approx. $20 of yarn (and this figure is very low, most sweaters use more like $30-40 of yarn) and took me approx. 30 hours to knit. If I were to sell one I'd charge $20 for yarn (if the same yarn were used) and $2/hour for me = $80. At $6/hour it goes up $200, etc. etc.), and since I've sold them to friends I haven't been trying to make much profit- just get more yarn money!

So, um, if you are tempted to buy hand knit items, might I suggest that you Support Your Local Knitter (even if that isn't me, lol)?

But I'm not sure how it got there...

Yesterday evening I was cooking dinner in the kitchen and the kids were playing in the living room. Suddenly Liel started crying. My finely tuned mama ear could tell that it was an anger and frustration cry and not an emergency so I called out, "Zion? What happened? Why is Liel crying?"

There was a pause and then Zion said, "Oh, she is crying because she fell over".

"Did she fall over because you pushed her?", I asked shrewdly.

"Well, I pushed her but it was an accident and I am sorry", he said. He sounded relatively sincere, too. He doesn't quite understand the term "accident" yet, and tends to use it to indicate that he lost control and lashed out in frustration, even though he knew it was not appropriate behavior. Super ego letting Id slip momentarily from it's control and all. Which, all things considered, really is some kind of acciddent, if not exactly of the pushing kind.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Shout out

The Talmud (rabbinic discussions and rulings on Jewish law, history, etc.) says: "'Praiseworthy is the person who…gives charity at all times.' Is it really possible to constantly give charity? Our Sages explain that this refers to those who care for their young children."

This is for all of you raising (or who have raised) the next generation. It's not always easy, but it is a constant act of love. You may not hear it often, but your work is important, and praiseworthy. I may not say it enough, but I am inspired by you.

In love, respect, and peace.

PS the excerpt above is from this website.


None of you seem to have taken me up on the jam making excursion, so how bout we try applesauce?

Applesauce made at home is quite different from the kinda the store. I like the store kind alright, but made at home? I can eat applesauce all damn day. It has a more satiny, unctuous body and an incredible honey finish...not just food for kids or invalids, I promise!

Here's what you do for every pound of apples:

Peel if you don't have a food mill or a potato ricer or like peels in your apple sauce
Cut into biggish chunks
Put in pot with 1/4 c water (again, this is per pound of apples) and a spoonful of sugar
Cook over medium high heat with lid on, stirring occasionally, until apples are tender and falling apart- 12-15 minutes.
Smash the apples (this can be done in the pot if you peeled them, or in the food mill or ricer)

Done! You can add various flavorings if you like- a cinnamon stick or cloves or red hots while cooking, or ground spices afterwards.

This is so good that I've just reinspired myself. I'm off to make applesauce!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Words! Where are my words??

Holy hell, yo.

At the most recent meeting of the American Psychological Association one Dr. Roy F. Baumesiter of Florida State University gave a talk entitled "Is there anything good about men?". The conclusions that this man reaches are fairly...well, I'll let you read some (or all) of what he says (in short he says that women are less motivated (aka lazier) than men).

1. "Return for a moment to the Larry Summers issue about why there aren’t more female physics professors at Harvard. Maybe women can do math and science perfectly well but they just don’t like to. After all, most men don’t like math either! Of the small minority of people who do like math, there are probably more men than women. Research by Eccles has repeatedly concluded that the shortage of females in math and science reflects motivation more than ability. And by the same logic, I suspect most men could learn to change diapers and vacuum under the sofa perfectly well too, and if men don’t do those things, it’s because they don’t want to or don’t like to, not because they are constitutionally unable (much as they may occasionally pretend otherwise!)."

See, women like to vacuum under the couch and change diapers. So it's only fitting and right that they should do so, while MEN, who do not like these things, go ahead and teach physics at Harvard. Really, it's all so simple!

2. "Likewise, I mentioned the salary difference, but it may have less to do with ability than motivation. High salaries come from working super-long hours. Workaholics are mostly men. (There are some women, just not as many as men.) One study counted that over 80% of the people who work 50-hour weeks are men."

Yeah, but what that study didn't count were the number of people who work MORE than 50 hours a week...and may not get paid for most (or any) of them. Remember that woman who was chaning diapers and vacuuming under the couch? Or does it not count as "work" if you are unpaid and underappreciated?

3. "Creativity may be another example of gender difference in motivation rather than ability. The evidence presents a seeming paradox, because the tests of creativity generally show men and women scoring about the same, yet through history some men have been much more creative than women. An explanation that fits this pattern is that men and women have the same creative ability but different motivations."

Hmmm, it wouldn't be possible, just possible, that men appear to have been "more creative" through history because they weren't burdened with primary (or sole) responsibility for childcare and housekeeping? Nah, that couldn't be it. Women clearly prefer diaper changing to creative enterprises. Diaper changing is rote and easy, just the way we like it.

4. "Giving birth is a revealing example. What could be more feminine than giving birth? Throughout most of history and prehistory, giving birth was at the center of the women’s sphere, and men were totally excluded. Men were rarely or never present at childbirth, nor was the knowledge about birthing even shared with them. But not very long ago, men were finally allowed to get involved, and the men were able to figure out ways to make childbirth safer for both mother and baby. Think of it: the most quintessentially female activity, and yet the men were able to improve on it in ways the women had not discovered for thousands and thousands of years."

Wait, did this asshat seriously just take the credit for giving birth and hand it over to men? Think of it, girls! For thousands of years we were suckers, laboring and birthing in pain and squalor, all because we weren't "motivated" enough or "creative" enough to try to improve our sad station. And men were just beating down the door, trying to help us! Eventually, despite our best efforts, they got in, and in a matter of minutes were able to clean up our sorry enterprise. Baumeister is probably a fan of Hobbes (who famously suggested that perhaps people would need to be forced to be free. They might not want to be free, but since it was in their best interest they would have to be forced into it at first.).

As someone who mindfully, carefully, and purposefully chose to avoid birthing in this newfangled "male" way, I am deeply offended by his claim that what my midwives and I did to bring my children (safely, I might add) into the world was somehow the choice of the less motivated, or the uninformed. That's why "according to a recent study in the British Medical Journal, "Outcomes of planned home births with certified professional midwives: large prospective study in North America" (Johnson & Daviss, June 2005), concluded that outcomes were just as good and "medical intervention rates (such as epidural, episiotomy, forceps, ventouse, and caesarean section) were substantially lower than for low risk US women having hospital births." For example, amongst the home birth women, 3.7% ended up having a caesarean section compared to 19% for the US as a whole (for a similar risk profile) [2000 data]. The intrapartum and neonatal mortality was 1.7 deaths per 1000 low risk intended home births after planned breeches and twins (not considered low risk) were excluded.[5]"

Of course, one does have to wonder why men spent thousands and thousands of years dying from simple infections and suffering pain from minor (tho unmedicated) surgery if they were so damn clever, right?



Tonight we went out for burgers and beer ( of us had beer. Take a guess as to who!) to celebrate Robert's newest professional acheievement. We walked down to the village, stopped at the bank and the yarn store (I needed buttons for Juliet!) and then on to our favorite burger spot.

On the way home we walked by one of the many firestations in our village (seriously, there are at least 3 in a village of about 8000). The kids always like to peer in the windows at the firetrucks. This time, much to our surprise, there was a fireman on the other side staring out. Even better, he opened the garage door and let the kids in to see the truck up close AND let them both take a turn "steering" from the driver's seat (Zion also got to climb around the back where the firemen ride). He was super friendly and the kids were thrilled.

Downside? No camera!! So you'll just have to imagine how cute they were. (They were both wearing sweaters I knit them, which I like to think actually manages to UP their cuteness quotient. The yarn store lady noticed that I had made both their sweaters and my shawl...I was feeling a tad embarassed, but then she noticed the skull on Zion's sweater and said, "Is that a skull?? Scary!" "No", I said, "It's a pirate skull". "Oh, are you a pirate?", she asked Zion. "Actually", said Zion, "I am not really a pirate, but I just have one on my sweater". See? Even cuter!)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Planted Placenta

After Zion was born we planted his placenta with a tree on my parent's property. We were living there, he was born there, it was easy and natural.

After Liel was born we weren't sure what to do with her placenta, so we put it in a ziploc bag in the freezer. We considered planting it in my brother's backyard (since his house was a couple of blocks from where we were living and she was born), but just didn't feel right about it. Eventually we decided to send it home with my parents when they came out to visit, and they could plant it at their place, as with Zion's. They flew out about 2 months after Liel's birth and...we forgot to give them the placenta when they left.

So it stayed in our freezer.

Then my brother was headed out West, so we all decided that HE could take the placenta to my parent's place. We moved it to HIS freezer. And...he forgot to take it with him.

So it stayed in his freezer.

A few months later we headed out to my parent's along with my brother. And we forgot to take the placenta with us. Again.

Eight months later my mom came out here for a visit. We thought she could take the placenta (still in my brother's freezer!) home with her. But she forgot it.

In June my brother again travelled to my parent's home. By this time I'd nearly forgotten about the placenta- but not he! And he brought it!

Last night my parents called to tell me that they had planted Liel's placenta along with her tree. Let's do this ala MasterCard, shall we?

Time in my freezer: 6 months
Time in my brother's freezer: 14 months
Time in my parent's freezer: 2 months
Finally having Liel's placenta out of the d@#$ freezer and in the ground with her tree: Priceless :)

Juliet, so far

Here's what my Juliet sweater looks like at the moment. I figure I have about an hour's worth of work to put in before it is done. Then I'll need to find some enourmous, cool buttons for it!

Eh, poor Juliet isn't having the best picture day- forgive her!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Finally, Tree Jacket

I finished this 3 weeks ago, but here at last are pictures of me in the Tree Jacket!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Sneaky Ninjas

Lately, Zion has become interested in ninjas. It started with a shirt I gave Robert a year or two ago which boldy declares that "Pirates are way cooler than Ninjas". His interest grew when he watched the Beastie Boys video for "Body Movin", which features a ninja attempting to steal a tomato sauce recipe. Sometimes Zion pretends that he is a ninja.

Tonight Zion, Liel and I were playing Hungry Hungry Hippos. Liel's favorite part of the game is popping the marbles out of the chute next to her hippo (side note: the quality of this game has gone WAY DOWN since I was a kid, let me tell you. Flimsy plastic, box sized so that you have to disassemble the game to put it away, and the marbles are plastic! Pride, people! Pride.). I filled her chute and Zion leaned over, said "I am going to pop Liel's marbles out!" and started whacking away at the button. "Zion!" I shouted, "Stop! You know Liel likes to release her own marbles!"
"But I am a ninja!", Zion protested in an early attempt at self defense.
"Well", I said, "I would like you to be a nice ninja".
Zion scowled at me and flailed his arms about in frustration. Then he started rubbing his hands on my leg. "I am a sneaky ninja!", he shouted, "And I am wiping snot on you!"

More decisions

I started a new knitting project yesterday: Juliet from the amazing girls over at Zephyr Style. I love, love, love their designs! They are super fly and use my preferred top-down construction style (very little seaming/finishing work and you can try it on as you go!). I'm doing Juliet in a dusky, almost charcoal plum color.

Shortly after I cast on for Juliet yesterday the new issue of Knitty went live. Well. Two patterns jumped out at me right away: Roam and Cherie Amour. Cherie Amour even uses yarn that I've been wanting to try (tho not in that colorway)! I'd been planning to knit the Simple Knitted Bodice next, but now I'm not so sure. Thoughts?

Tomato days

Remember a while back when I had cucumbers from my CSA coming out my ears? And then I decided to try making refridgerator pickles out of them? And then the cucumbers stopped coming? Yeah. Well, now I have tomatoes coming out my ears. We got 6 lbs last week, and 5 lbs this week. Zion will eat some fresh tomato, but Liel won't, so this works out to Robert and I eating 5+ lbs of tomatoes EACH each week. They are delicious tomatoes, but that's a bit much, you know?

So, if you have clever ideas for my tomatoes (we're on top of tomato sauce already), here's your chance to tell me about them before I run out of tomatoes for the season!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Tea and Tubi

I love tea. A lot. My brother knows me well, and part 2 of my birthday gift arrived yesterday, from Zhi Tea. Zhi Tea is pretty fly, cause all their tea is organic AND fair trade, so they score automatic points in the tzadik department. I got sample packs of 5 teas (Turkish Spice Mint, Coconut Tea, Ever Drop, Sweet Dessert Delight, and Cacao Chai), and I would have tried them all today, but damn if the kids haven't run off with my one tea steeping ball! I even went to the local health food store in search of a new one, but they told me they don't sell them. Humph. So these delicious sounding teas sit in their cute little packages, waiting, and taunting me.

Luckily Kenn also sent me a package of Tire Tread red licorice, which required no additional equipment for full enjoyment. This licorice is the total package: 1. no corn syrup! 2. very well reviewed among licorice lovers and 3. Tubi Tire Tread? Hello?! Tubi?? I'm a goner.

My rug

Remember my sad post about my beloved Persian rug? I thought I'd post some pictures of here, in a kind of tribute. Last night I sent pictures to a rug guy and after looking at them he told me the rug is a Yayla rug from Iran (as I'd thought) and was about 150 years old (quite a bit older than my estimate). It's quite an antique! It really used to be gorgeous :)

See, here's a part where the knotting hasn't all worn off.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Shanah Tovah, y'all

It's a gorgeous day for it here in New York :) Early fall, crisp, sunny, still warm and breezy. We have piles of honey in the house, but no apples.

Zion's second day of preschool went well; he found two slugs in the sandbox and managed to scoop one up with his shovel and deposit it on the grass. I arrived for pickup just in time to marvel at the sandy slug in his shovel, the upside of which is that I can now give the answer he's after when he asks "Do you remember the slug I found, mama?" He graciously allowed another child to rescue the second slug- or maybe the other kid just got there before he did, I'm not sure.

Liel has developed quite an interest in bras lately. At least once a day she will give me a coy sideways look and say, "Wearing bra, mama?"

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Shawl Heaven

Even though SOME people don't seem to care much for shawls (love ya, super secret internet girls!), I am intensely pleased with the way this one came out. I used my favorite yarn (Malabrigo, if you're counting) and it is like spun marshmallows it's so soft and fluffy and smooshy! I was originally planning to do just do it in the green color, but I ran out and had some of the purple leftover from my sweater and in the end I'm quite pleased with it's hip two tone-edness and asymmetry ;)

Monday, September 10, 2007


I designed this sweet little hat for my family of Longhorns/robot lovers. It turned out quite small (bigger needles next time!), but the intarsia I designed is pretty cool, no? I was hoping the hat would at least fit Liel this winter, but it's looking to be too small. Well, hopefully some of our UT lovin' friends and family will have a baby who can use and love it!

Eventually there will be at least one bigger version of the hat, too.

Big boy

Here he is, on his first-ever day of school!

We got him (and Liel, she has a matching one) the dragon shirt as a kind of school starting gift. What's it got to do with school? Nothing in particular, except that his favorite tshirt is so well loved that it won't come clean, and I figured a dragon shirt would help convince him to go to school looking tidy ;)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Plum Jam

I made plum jam from our CSA plums last night. They weren't the best eating plums, to be honest, but they made some delicious jam! Smelled just like the plum jam I used to eat as a kid.

Making jam is really, really easy and really, really tasty. I don't use a recipe, but here's the general process and what you'll need:

-glass jar(s) - these needn't be canning jars unless you're planning to store the jam for a while. If it's for pretty immediate use and kept in the fridge any clean glass jar with a lid is fine.



-heavy bottomed saucepan

-wooden spoon

Not much, right? I roughly chop the fruit, and pit if necessary. Then I put it in the saucepan over a medium or medium high heat. Stir as necessary to keep the heat even and fruit from burning or sticking. When the fruit is at a low boil and is soft and has mostly fallen apart, add sugar. I don't like my jams super sweet or super thick (I find most commercial jam to have a texture like jello which is NOT delicious), so I usually put in about 1/2 or 2/3d's as much sugar as I did fruit. Last night I had about 3- 3 1/2 cups of plums, so I used 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Stir pretty constantly once you add the sugar and keep it at a hard boil. Cook until it's thickened slightly. I use a highly scientific method for this, and drop spoonfuls of the hot jam on the counter next to the stove and run my finger through it when it's cooled slightly. If my finger leaves a visible trail (ie the jam isn't so liquidy that it runs back together immediatly) it's done or pretty close. I cook my jam less than 10 minutes after I add the sugar- last night I think it was 6 minutes. I find this makes a fresher tasting jam.

And that's it! Delicious jam in 30 minutes or less.

Saturday, September 8, 2007


I got a suprise package in the mail today. It turned out to be from my totally rad brother and sister-in-law: the Land of Plenty cookbook I've been coveting!! I am so, so excited. I've read the Prologue and this book is so going to have a place of honor on the food bookshelf. Good, good stuff.

Excuse me, I'd like to be alone with the book now.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Swiss Chard, a Love Story

As far as I'm concerned, swiss chard is an OK vegetable. Nothing wrong with it, but nothing particularly exciting, either. So when we got swiss chard in our CSA again I decided to try something a little different from my usual. And it turned out to be soooo delicious! Liel kept coming back for more, and she's usually pretty neutral about vegetables. Here's what I did:

Chop swiss chard stems and leaves seperately. Sautee an onion til golden, then add the chard stems. Sautee another couple minutes, then add leaves, some chopped raisins, chopped kalamata olives, and a bit of water. Simmer til tender and sprinkle with toasted walnuts!

Now with more sweaters

Here's Liel's finished butterfly sweater. Someday you may actually get to see a picture of her in it, but for now you should probably just be grateful I got around to photographing the finished product, with or without the baby in it.

And here is the sweater I'm working on for Zion, with a badass orange pirate skull!

Hippies, hippies everywhere!

This afternoon we are attending a welcome-and-beginning-of-the-year picnic for Zion's preschool. It's a cooperative school and parents are required to be fairly involved, which suits us. Zion is excited to meet other children, and swing. There will be tie dying, and everyone is asked to bring a dish to share. When Robert came home from the CSA yesterday and announced that we had 6 lbs of heirloom tomatoes (including my favoritist tomatoes ever, Green Zebras!) I knew what we were bringing: Tomato and Fresh Mozzerella Salad. I told Robert my plan and he said, "That sounds good. And the hippies will all like that!" "Hippies?" I said. "Everyone likes tomato and fresh mozzerella salad!" Robert gave me a "duh" look and said "Um, yeah".


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Sweets to the Sweet

Ok, after that self-indulgent bit of whining, you deserve pictures! And what on earth could you possibly want to see more than my knitting?? Why, pictures of my cooking, of course! (I'm reasonably certain that pictures and descriptions of my cooking cause my poor parents some mild distress. The girl they raised so healthfully! Baking...well, almost junk food!)

Here's the (vegan!) chocolate cake I made this weekend, with my own recipe for Bittersweet Rocky Road Ganache.

Perhaps just a bit closer?

Mmmm. Cake.

A Small Good-Bye

I've been kinda down lately. About a week ago I really did find a dog that I wanted to adopt- I think she would have been a great fit for our family, and she is just the cutest little English Bulldog! Our landlord had OK'd a small dog about 6 months ago, but when I called this time he said he'd have to talk it over, and then called back saying no. We offered everything we could think of to convince him that we have the best interest of his property at heart. This is our home, after all, and we take good care of it and aren't interested in having it trashed. We offered more security money, and to have the dog wear booties indoors (thus making it impossible for her to damage the wood floors). And still it was no.

I'm sad because I'd really fallen a bit in love with this dog, and imagined her in our life, sharing our home and activities. And it's hard to let that go, even if it was imaginary. I'm sad because I feel frustrated that our high rent, impeccable rental history (here and everywhere else we've lived), rather large deposit, and demonstrated care of the house apparently mean nothing. When we moved in here the backyard resembled a very small dump. There was literally garbage (plastic plates! cups! broken toys! plastic bags!) littered around, and we had to SHOVEL cigarette butts to clear them out. The finished part of the basement was pretty gross, too, and we filled our vacuum canister twice down there in a 150 sq ft room. The day before we moved in the people in the upstairs apartment just left- walked out on their lease. And it took our landlord a month and a half to find a new tenant. So given what I've seen in terms of previous tenants on the property I'd have thought our landlord would appreciate us a bit more. Perhaps it isn't personal, but it feels that way.

And I'm sad. Good-bye little English Bulldog girl. I'm sure you'll find a happy home somewhere else, but I'm sorry it couldn't be with us.

Oh THERE you are!

Yep, my students are back. Oh sure, they've been in school for nearly 2 weeks now, but just today I decided they are really BACK. Most of their excitment about starting college is gone, and has been replaced by a dull annoyance at having to get and go to an 8am or 9am class. They haven't sunk to the depths of despair, but the shine is clearly gone. At least things are back to normal, right?

Monday, September 3, 2007

Wonder Woman!

I had Wonder Woman Underoos when I was a kid. I loved them. A few years ago Hanes told me (yes, I contacted them directly!) that they were planning to start making adult sized 'Roos soon. That hasn't materialized, but for all you other 80s kids jonesing for your childhood I present:
Wonder Woman (almost) Underoos!

Wonder Woman Sweater!

The sweater is just amazingly cool, imo.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Know what's cool? Rag rugs!

My great grandmother was a craft maven. She knit clothes for her family, crocheted lace, made rugs and (much to my eternal childhood envy) sewed each of my grandmother's dolls an entirely new outfit (knickers to hat) each year. She may well have sewn clothes for her family, too, I don't know. I was mostly fixated on the doll clothes as a kid, and on the knitting as an adult.

Lately, tho, I've been fixating on her rugs. They are made of wool (oh yes, my family still has them and they are in excellent shape! That's craftswomanship for you. And heirloom quality. Go handmade!) strips of fabric, knotted/woven/crocheted into rugs. Some are smallish, some quite huge.

And I like rugs! Love them, in fact. Two of my favorite home furnishing items (there are 6 on the list, if you're curious) are these amazing antique rugs I've inherited. I believe they came originally from my great-great-great aunt, who never married but did travel quite a bit. I've been told they appear to have come from Iran/Turkey. They are silk and wool and slightly over 100 years old (and again...Go handmade!) and totally gorgeous. Sadly, one of them is really falling apart. All the knotted colorwork is coming apart and coming off in little tufts of yarn and it's breaking my heart. I finally faced the facts a few weeks ago and had Robert take it out of the living room and move it to the basement for storage. Maybe someday we'll have an extra 5-10k laying around and can get it re-worked.

But I'm trying not to dwell on my rug, but instead concentrate on how to bring new (and also totally kickass) rugs into my life. And a thread on Ravelry has led me back again to my great-grandmother. I will make rugs. Or at least rug. This online tutorial was totally inspiring because my G-d, who knew it was so easy?? Now I can hardly wait to get started. I just need a giant crochet hook (mine are all in the tiny to medium range) and miles and miles of fabric. Sheets, I'm thinking.

Give me your sheets! Your tired, your...well, not dirty, but used, your sheets which bore you! With me they shall have a new life! (Or make your own rug! We can all be in a cool rug making gang together!)

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Oh Oysters Come and Walk with Us

I know the Walrus and the Carpenter were planning to eat the oysters, but let's pretend for the moment that they merely desired their company. Would their housing situation allow it? So many places seem so pet unfriendly, and I'm told by lifelong residents that the city I live in is becoming more and more intolerant in this regard. Many people who own their own apartments (and pay high maintences fees for the entire building) are not allowed pets. Most people who rent are not allowed them.

The rental situation is unfortunate, in my opinion (I am, after all, a pet lover), but renters clearly have fewer rights than those who own their home. I once had a potential landlord tell me that they allowed pets because they'd found that responsible people had responsible pets. That seemed entirely sensible to me, since I've yet to meet the person who would take good care of an apartment himself, but allow his pet to trash the place.

But the co-op/condo owners...oh my! As an aquaintence said...they should be allowed to have a damn elephant if they can fit it through the door. I know that people buy into buildings knowing the rules but 1. rules can be arbitrary- a co-op or condo board often votes on each individual case and 2. housing options, especially affordable ones, are pretty thin on the ground in these parts. And it seems unfortunate to me that people should have to choose between their pet(s) and thier housing.

No oysters for you!