Friday, January 25, 2013

It's Back!

Finally Project Runway season 11 has started. My girlfriend L- hosted a premiere party and we had a blast both in person at the party and other guests Skyping in.

Of course she is the hostess extraordinaire with fantastic veggies, fruits, nuts, dips, and the best veggie spring rolls I've ever tasted. Delish.

But it was all about the first challenge. We chose sides, picked a doll and went "shopping at Mood" (grabbed the construction paper, scissors and tape). It was a hard fought battle, but in the end, my team dress won.

I was inspired by the way the light reflects off of the Hudson at sunset. A myriad of colors reflect in the blue waters like precious gems.

You can see it all clearly in my evening gown with its' skillful use of the Lord and Taylor glow in the dark accessories as well as the L'oreal hair salon twist tie avant garde hairstyle.

What a hoot!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Blaa Day

My DH and I were watching one of those international cooking shows. The ones where you could make absolutely the best food ever if you would only travel to their country - where of course you would stay at this wonderful B&B where they would take care of your every whim, and then you would cook with the 6-star chef in his accurately restored historic kitchen and serve delightful food on dishes that were national heirlooms.

Anyway. So we were watching a cooking show. And they made poached eggs on blaa. Which sounded pretty funny to us. You know - blaa.

So Sunday morning, my DH calls me down for breakfast (I know, right?) and he has made blaa. It was delicious!

Nothing blah about it at all.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Morning Cupcakes

Last night I was going to bake cupcakes to feed the volunteers at today's event. But I slept instead.

It was lovely.

So this morning I got up early and baked cupcakes.

They are lovely.

(What can I say? It's Saturday. They are cupcakes. It's a win win scenario.)

Friday, January 11, 2013


I spend most of my day either sitting for a long time or walking for a long ways. There's no middle ground.

So today I was reading an article about how it is important to take a day of change every week. Like how we used to all take Sunday as a day of rest, but culturally that just doesn't work for everyone anymore. And besides that, the literal translation of "Sabbath" is "rest" so the commandment isn't necessarily about church going.


The point was that if you are sedentary all week, take a day and move around. Or if you move around all week, take a day and be still. This could be physical stillness or mental stillness. It depends on your life.

It should just be a day of change.

So after thinking about it for almost 10 seconds, I realized that I sit or walk most of the week. So for my day of change, I think I'm going to have to stand around.

Bizarre. Maybe I should devote more than 10 seconds to the concept?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Iron Lace

I'm really sure I've talked about this before. Not just because I kind of remember doing so, more because I just must have. But if I did (or didn't) it's worth revisiting.

I just can't help but love all of the ironwork in the city. From a distance it's light airy and blends into the architecture. But when you get up close, you see how substantial and in some cases how foreboding it is.

This section of railing separates the sidewalk from the walkway leading below a building. They could have gone all brick - or (ugh) wall topped with barbed wire. But instead the chose this elegant ironwork which looks like filigree lace from a distance.

Love that.

So medieval in concept. Could you imagine carrying a spear around? But so graceful in execution. Maybe that's the wrong word here! I love that they took the time to design it, but more so that they take the time to maintain it.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Black and White Day

No, I'm not talking about those really good cookies. Today was just all greyed out. No color. No sunshine.

On days like this I feel I have to go out of my way to be extra cheerful and nice because if I don't, the weather will turn it into a miserable day. I don't think that grey days should be miserable at all. They should be soft days. Very calm. Very "tea and biscuits" kind of days.

Of course the skyline across the river always looks flat. A children's pop-up book for kids who are really into architecture.

Not too hopeful. But not hopeless either.

A neutral kind of moment.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Returning Light

One of the hardest things about commuting from country to city each day is living in darkness for about 8 months out of the year. I leave for work in the dark and come home in the dark.

This is why I love the weekend! Well, that and the usual reasons for loving the weekend.

But today I noticed then beginning of lightness as I was boarding the train on my way home. I could see a little blue in the sky. There was definitely a bit of light remaining.

It wasn't much, but I'll take it! It's the start of what will eventually be Spring.

My Favorite Place

Today was my first day back to the city after the holidays. Initially I was looking forward to getting back to work. It seemed odd to travel so far - purposeless - there ought to be some place closer to home where I can work. The city smelled like low tide and raw sewage as usual. The streets were wet and dirty. The people were rude, shouting at each other. Work was the stress of 2 weeks shoved into 1 day.

Then I got home, ran 2 hours of errands, did laundry, fixed a compute, fed the dog and did her training exercises. Talked yo my DH so he would remember who I was. Watched his team as they try to win a football game. It doesn't look good for them.

But after all of that, I curled up under my quilt with the heater running and heating pad on my knee, sipping a glass of egg nog. And remembered that my day started out really well and good.

That's what I'm going to focus on.

Ahead of the Game

I thought I was being all smart and such by getting all of my birthday card purchases for the month done at the beginning of the month for a change.

Okay, who am I kidding? I never get birthday cards done - let alone get them done on time - let alone get them done early.

So I was feeling pretty good about it all until I saw an entire rack filled with seeds. I ask you, it's January in the northeast, who among you living in this zone 5 is starting your seeds in January!?

(L - you don't count on this one. You're a pro and I know you started 2 months ago.)

I think I'm just going to ignore the whole seed thing and just focus on having gotten the cards early.

Sometimes you just have to choose happiness.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Poor Pup

Sometimes our little pup just doesn't understand that the laundry needs to be folded - and stay folded. Or that when the floors are freshly waxed it's probably not the best time to run across them with muddy paws. Sometimes she doesn't really get that piles of paperwork are not chew toys.

So on days when she really isn't getting all of those things, it's important for me to remember that maybe telling her no, no, no isn't what she needs to hear.

What she really needs to hear is - let's go for a walk or let's play B-A-L-L. Somehow this makes what could be a disastrous day for both of us into a good solid day of work and play.

Because she is such a good girl. Really.

Friday, January 4, 2013

One Down, One to Go

As you know, knitting socks is not my strong suit. Knowing this, I decided that maybe it wasn't knitting socks that was the issue, but it was the way I was knitting them.

You can knit top-down socks (my 1st attempt), toe-up socks (the one's I'm doing now), in pieces (I won't even be trying this - too many seams). You can use circular needles, straight needles, multiple needles. One at a time, two at a time, one inside of the other. There are at least 27 methods of sock construction listed just on Ravelry.

And let's remember we're talking about socks. Little tubes of fabric that you wear on your feet.

So I decided that maybe I should not look at it as sock knitting, but instead look it as learning new knitting techniques. It's not about the sock - it's an opportunity to learn a new thing about knitting.

Well, that and getting to use cute yarns with little patterns painted on them. I really like the little the dots on this one!

However I look at it, this pair is almost done. I think I like the toe-up pattern. I only knitted these 2 socks 1 1/2 times.

I Scream

Sometimes even if it's a vacation day, it doesn't mean that there's nothing to do. And just because it's a vacation day, it doesn't mean that everything will go smoothly and easily.

This is exactly why God created ice cream. More specifically, this is why God created ice cream sundaes.

Jus take a nice bowl. Add a scoop or several of your favorite ice cream. Top that with some (leftover) macerated strawberries. Top that with some chocolate sauce. Top that with some roasted peanuts. And finally top that with a smothering amount of whipped cream.

Then be nice and get a second spoon for your DH so he can share some too.

Really, it doesn't make the day better or anything like that, but it sure tastes good. And you just can't top that.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Sink, Sank, Sunk

They always say that historic homes have character.

What they mean is that in a historic home everything breaks and in order to fix it you have to build a custom bit of this or that to fix it. Then when you almost get it fixed, something else along the way is going to break as well.

Of course my DH and I have gotten wise to some of our bucolic manor's more devious little fixes. In January, every year like clockwork, the plumbing breaks. We never know exactly which bit of it is going to break. We can only guarantee that it will break.

So when the kitchen sink drain pipe burst, we were not terribly surprised.

As my dear friend S says - this is the joy of home ownership!

After rummaging through our spare plumbing parts, we found a flange that fit, the managed to get the rest of the pipes puttied, taped and put back together again.

Of course the house anticipated this and tossed another challenge in the form of a leaky hot water faucet.

All of this led to one thing...midnight pizza!

I got my dough recipe many years ago from a friend who worked in a pizza shop in Brooklyn. (Thanks E!) it's quite delicious.

Take 2 cups of flour, 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt and mix that together. Pour in 1 1/4 cup warm water. Mix that for 3 minutes. It looks like ... It's pretty disgusting. Don't worry, it gets better.

Knead in 2 more cups of flour or as much as it will take until it forms a dough.

Drizzle some oil in a zip top bag and put the dough in it. Let it sit in a warmish spot until it rises and doubles in size.

Punch it down and divide it in half for 2 regular pizzas. Let it sit for 30 minutes. I usually put 1 in the freezer for later at this point.

Oil a pan and stretch out the dough. Coat with 1/3 cup sauce, add topping of your choice. Bake at 475 for 10 minutes.

Perfect for a late night/early morning plumbers pizza!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year - New Post

Happy New Year!

I have to say that overall 2012 was a really good year here at our bucolic manor, so 2013 has a big shoe to fill.

Our New Year started off on the right foot. Friends gathered together with lots of great food, conversation and a designated driver so your's truly could enjoy a glass of bubbly to toast the evening. (Thanks T!)

Of course this morning I had to have my traditional fruit filled semi-healthy start to the year. Semi-healthy because there just had to be a little champagne for breakfast.

So a simple New Year's Trifle:

Take a pretty glass and layer in some crunchy granola, then top that with real yogurt - the kind with active cultures - and that gets topped off with strawberries that have macerated in a little sugar. Keep repeating the layers until your glass is full.

As my DH's sister says "Yum!"

Naturally you need a little beverage to go with it, so Sunrise Mimosas are on the menu as well.

Take a wine glass and put the juice from the strawberries along with a few of those macerated strawberries themselves on the bottom. Pour in a layer of fresh orange juice, then top it off with a nice pour of champagne.


A sweet start to a New Year!