Saturday, December 29, 2007
I did practice with my new art supplies today. I painted my nude redheaded woman. She's a subject I fall back on a lot. I'm working on her. I used to do fantasy illustration. Mermaids and princesses were a repeating motif. And unicorns. And roses. I haven't done a good rose in a long time. I looked at one of my friend's notebook a little while ago and was stunned at how much his technique has improved compared to mine. We both used to do dragons but now his leave mine in the dust. Though I admit it's been a while since I've done a dragon.
Monday, December 10, 2007
I think pretty much all of my Christmas shopping is done. I enjoy spending money but I abhor fighting through crowds. Internet shopping is the way forward. I left my medium coat at my mother-in-law's house so I've been choosing between my light jacket and heavy coat to go out in. The heavy coat is lovely and warm but weighs a lot (it's wool and reaches below my knees) so I get tired out quicker when I wear it. My medium coat is also wool but just goes to my hips. And it's bright red. So it's my favorite. I need it back.
It's about time I went and took the dog for walkies. There difference between unwalked and post-walked behavior is markedly different. The unwalked dog is tense and irritating. The post-walked dog is calm and obedient. When she doesn't get walked for a few days she starts to act out. I call it walkie frustration.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Someone gave Partner about five boxes of old National Geographic magazines. I enjoy this august organ as well as any moderately informed citizen of a first world nation, but--five boxes. In my living room. Have I mentioned Partner and his unhealthy fetish for junk? I do my best to simplify our surroundings and minimalize unnecessary clutter. I find that an uncluttered space is a relaxing space. Partner seems to need things because someone gave it to him ten years ago and it still fits fine even if it's got three holes and an oil slick down the front. For example.
[complain] I distinctly remember when I took my full-time job, Partner promised to perform half of the household chores, because I now work equal (or greater) hours to himself outside the home. I feel this bargain has not yet been fulfilled. Today, my day off, the chores loom. I don't remember the last time I had a fun day off on my own (we generally do not have the same days off) . Partner says I should laze around all day in my bathrobe. He only says this so he'll feel justified in doing it himself when it's his day off. [/complain]
This is my 100th post.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
So we got a kitchen floor after all. Partner persuaded me to go to a closing down sale at a home improvement center and there was some very cheap flooring which is now in the kitchen. It looks so much better now. Curtains will be next. And some wall hangings of a sort. I was thinking of creating some very large abstract art to go on one wall. Very large and very red. Or I might go for a more traditional look with some classic prints. Right now we have a Monet on one wall and two original Chinese watercolors on the other.
Whether this is coherent or not, I cannot say. I will leave it for the reader to decide and head downstairs to find some food.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Our dog likes tea. Last week Partner put his cup of tea on the floor next to his chair in the living room and a few minutes later we heard a loud slurping noise. As a further experiment, last night Partner poured her a little bowl out of what was left of the teapot and she drank it dry. It was Earl Grey; she has a sophisticated palate. However, she also rolled in poo yesterday so even though she's a bit of an epicure, she's still disgusting.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
It's just about bedtime for me. I got up very early this morning to cook breakfast at work. I like working breakfast because it means I don't have to work evenings. I can manage five o'clock wake up calls. If I have to.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
The dog keeps tearing off new growth on my newly planted rosebushes. When she wants to get past she just bounds through them and if any branches snag on her coat, she takes them with her. So far she's carried off about three twelve-inch lengths. I asked Partner to build a little barrier to hold until they get bigger and stronger, but it doesn't deter her. I used a bunch of bamboo canes and made a little wall today. I hope it holds.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
I suggested to Partner that for Christmas this year we buy each other things we need, such as a kitchen floor. We still don't have one. I think it's been two years now. Me personally, I want a few things for the garden, such as three bags of tulip bulbs and a cherry tree. I also want some new clothes seeing as I'm going a bit threadbare. I think Partner could use some new clothes too. He loves new socks. Whereas I dislike socks in general and avoid them wherever possible.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
I've gone from a weekly paycheck to a monthly paycheck and it's been a bit tough this past month. But since I'm getting paid tomorrow hopefully things will be a little easier. I've also switched from part time to a full time position; my pay ought to be a bit higher.
It's been a great year for mosquitoes here. I think we have an army of them living in the house, making themselves coffee and watching soap operas while we're out. And then feasting on our blood when we come back. They're just floating past the computer screen as I type, minding their own business, not doing any harm. But those are just diversionary tactics while a stealth battalion creeps up from the rear, guerrilla-style, to perform a shock and awe attack, only to disappear back into the woodwork. By the time I hear the whining of a hundred tiny wings, it's too late. I must say, these mosquitoes know a lot about demoralization.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
The dog and I went on walkies by ourselves for the first time in weeks. With my new hours I have no time or energy for the dog so Partner usually takes her out. I like to go out with her when it's nice weather.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
But I am glad to be back home. Partner couldn't come with me and I've missed him. He's still at work so I haven't seen him yet; his mother picked me up from the airport. And the dog stayed with her while I was gone--luckily she doesn't seem to hate me for abandoning her. But she has been looking for Partner. I think she's missed him as much as I have. And I know Partner missed me because there was a pile of dishes and a basket of laundry waiting for me. (He's not allowed to do laundry but he IS allowed to do dishes.)
Saturday, August 18, 2007
How much poo
Could a little dog poo
If a little dog widdled and pooed?
I don't know how one dog can generate so much fecal matter. I collect a whole shopping bag full every week. I know it's only hers because the yard is air-tight. No dogs get in or out. And it's not like she's a Rottweiler or anything. She's just a little terrier. But she can perform miracles: turning water (or something) into poo.
She'd poo all she could
That little dog would
If a little dog widdled and pooed.
I don't know how one dog can generate so much fecal matter. I collect a whole shopping bag full every week. I know it's only hers because the yard is air-tight. No dogs get in or out. And it's not like she's a Rottweiler or anything. She's just a little terrier. But she can perform miracles: turning water (or something) into poo.
Friday, August 17, 2007
I pulled up some of our carrots and made them into soup last night. It was pretty darn yummy. I also pulled up a few beets for our dinner. Our peas and beans are also steadily increasing but it's been a bad year for tomatoes. I doubt we'll get much. My selection of cut flowers has been so-so. I've been picking vases but have to be creative in order to induce any sort of variety. I have plenty of carnations and the roses aren't doing too badly. And the dahlias are beginning to show. That's all, really.
I've been taking to locking the dog in the living room in the mornings because she tries to destroy any mail that gets delivered. She'll begin by barking and bouncing, and as soon as the letters slide through the slot she'll grab them and start ripping. If no one is there to stop her, she'll attempt to take them outside and bury the evidence. Luckily most important mail is in stiff envelopes. The flimsy junk mail takes the brunt of her anger.
Friday, August 03, 2007
Partner and I were given a sofa and two matching chairs by a relative who didn't want them any more. Our old couch is currently hanging out in the dining room but only temporarily I hope. I want to get rid of it but I'm not sure anyone will want to take it except the dump. It's hopelessly ripped and needs new slipcovers desperately. I do kind of like having a couch in the dining room, however. It's a south-facing room with a very big glass sliding door and is lovely to sit in the sun on a comfy seat during the morning. The dog thinks so too.
I have a week off work at the end of August and am going to spend a few days in Germany with my father. Partner can't get the time off work so I get to go alone. I'm slightly nervous about flying to a foreign country on my own, but I'm counting on the fact that the airport staff will speak English. Or at least someone will. Because I have to find my own way from the airport to the hotel. It's a bit scary.
Friday, July 27, 2007
I'm surprised how early I got up today and might go back to bed.
Monday, July 16, 2007
I hung a few of my paintings on the walls. I want to paint more. I'm thinking of branching out into landscapes. I love painting flowers but I think there's only so many flowers one can put on one's walls.
My foot is a lot better and so long as I keep it completely level when I need to put weight on it, I can walk quite fast and even run a bit. Walking down stairs still presents minor difficulties as I need to keep my whole foot on the stair in order to navigate. We walked around York yesterday and as long as I avoided the cobblestones, I could walk easily on the pavement. York is a mass of uneven cobbled streets and sunken ancient flagstones and modern brick paving. Charming, though slightly hard to walk on with injured feet or high heels.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Thursday, July 05, 2007
I'm working on storage solutions for our house. We don't have a lot of built-in storage so we have to make the best of movable storage, i.e. dressers, shelves, and boxes. Problem is, our house is full of junk. If it were just me I'd toss it all but Partner loves his junk. He needs his junk (allegedly). What's more, he loves to get new junk. I blame it all on him. After all, not one piece of the junk in all the house belongs to me. Everything that belongs to me is useful and necessary.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
The other night at about midnight the dog started yammering about intruders and so Partner went downstairs with his stick with a nail in it (only the nail seems to have fallen out) and when he opened the door he nearly stepped on a tiny hedgehog. In his bare feet. Apparently the hedgehog was attempting to break into the house, or so the dog thought. Partner called me down and we shut the dog in the next room and we watched it uncurl and snuffle off. It was literally right there in front of us and we could have reached out and picked it up, had our hands been adequately protected. The other hedgehog that lives in our garden is quite big--almost the size of a Yorkshire terrier. This one was about the size of a tennis ball.
Our wedding anniversary is coming up in about two weeks. Number three. Partner has hinted that he's going to get me a present that I will absolutely love. I wonder if that means he's giving me plenty of time to get him something equally appropriate. I kind of wanted to get a present for the both of us.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Our hedgehog has put in several appearances so I'm beginning to think it's now a regular feature on an evening. Beauty really likes the hedgehog but I don't think the regard is mutual. We like it too: it scurries around munching sluggies and buggies. And it's adorable.
I think I made a reference to Partner's baseball team in the past, the Strikers. It was my opinion that they were named after their skill at batting. Well, after seeing them in action twice now, I have concluded they should be called the Suckers per their skill at baseball. I think in the whole time Partner played for them they didn't win a game. I can see why. He's still not playing because of his arm and is not allowed to ever again. But if he does, he should join a different team. I saw only one batter get on base with a hit, some very bad fielding errors, and the slowest fastball I have ever witnessed. I think I could throw a faster one. I did provide some heckling of the other team, though, mostly in the form of "Ooooo"ing at the pitcher after he struck two batters with a pitch. I would boo but I'm too polite.
Monday, June 11, 2007
We bought a push mower this weekend and had a lot of fun mowing the lawn. It doesn't take a whole lot of strength, but since the last mower has been broken for a while, the lawn was very overgrown. So it took a lot of pushing to trim it all off. I was scared of the other mower so I wouldn't use it, but I don't mind this one.
At last I have enough flowers to pick and bring indoors. I made three very happy arrangements of roses, daisies, pinks, foxgloves, campanula, and irises. As I have I think twelve rosebushes of various colors suitable for arrangements, I have plenty of variety. I also have about twelve other rosebushes of various colors that have tiny sprays of blooms which can work for cut flowers but look better on the bush. I still don't have a red rose though. Partner says this is white rose country and those helicopters we see flying over every week are the rose police, making sure no one is trying to get away with a surreptitious red rose. Something to do with the Wars of the Roses (and those Lancastrian scum). I'm not quite sure if I believe him. He seems to think I'll get deported if I plant a red rosebush.
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Earlier today the dog was rooting around the bushes while Partner and I were looking at our flowers and we suddenly heard some very frantic chirping and flapping and the dog appeared with her mouth full of blackbird. I think Partner was more upset than I was. To me, it was just a dog being a dog. But he got it away from her and she didn't actually kill it though it may have staggered off mortally injured for all we know. We know she likes to play with soft toys (she positively decimated a little furry shark the other day) and I think it's just her instinct as a terrier to catch and kill little fuzzy things.
We went on an hour and a half walk today and saw all kinds of flowers and butterflies and tadpoles and Beauty very politely met some other doggies. We saw a beautiful field of scarlet poppies. We have a print of Monet's poppy field hanging in our dining room. I wished I had brought my easel and paints. Maybe I'll go out tomorrow with them.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
There are several things I want to get done today: cleaning and cooking for the most part, but I also want to go to town to the garden center and possibly the grocery store. I hate going to the grocery store and I haven't really been there in ages since Partner generally shops for us, but we do need some stuff. I also need to walk the dog but I'm loath to go out in this weather. Yesterday and the day before the three of us went out and I brought an umbrella but needed two hands to keep it over my head. And those hands got very cold.
Partner has been writing music and I'm so proud of him. I think he's really talented. I listened to some recordings of pieces he'd written in college and was really impressed. And I listened to what he wrote down last night on the computer and thought it was great. In my opinion, he should write all the time since I know he's got stuff in his head. He needs to write it down.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
I planted up my hanging baskets at last and they look good. I poached some plants from my mother-in-law when we visited the other weekend, plus had some of my own which had sprung up as volunteers from last year. Self-seeding can be great. She also gave me several other plants that she had extra such as a rhubarb, but I'm a little worried: it's really wilted and doesn't seem at all happy. I hope it perks up. Partner doesn't care much for rhubarb but I quite like it; it's so nice to have something edible and fresh from the garden after a long winter. I'm considering asparagus as well, though I think that takes a few years to establish. Still, it would be worth it. And Partner wants an apple tree though I'm leaning more towards a cherry. I know just where I'd put it. I wonder if he'd be upset if I went and bought one?
Friday, May 11, 2007
More than half of my seedlings have been planted now. We have two very long vegetable plots with onions, beets, beans, garlic, tomatoes, and fennel planted. Plus carrots and spinach in two small beds. My herb bed is looking lovely and perky. The roses and peonies that I moved earlier in the season are all looking wide awake and happy. Both roses were in quite shady spots before and didn't really perform well but now they have a lot more sun and room to stretch. And it's finally raining. I think it hasn't rained since February. The ground at the local park has been all cracked; there was a news story about many owners withdrawing their horses from an important jumping event because the ground was too hard and would damage the horses' feet. From an individual's point of view, I've loved the sunshine and warm weather. But as a gardener, I really hope it rains a lot.
Last year I had about 50 cosmo plants but this year I only have about a dozen. I've got tomato volunteers springing up everywhere in my beds. And my zinnias have been very robust this spring, outstripping the marigolds. My dahlia tubers have gone in the ground and I look forward to their return.
We're going to visit Partner's parents tomorrow for the day; we haven't seen them since January. His mother hasn't been well enough to drive up to see us and his father doesn't drive and this is the first time we've been able to actually get away. When we visited in January we took the train. Now we have a car.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
One time in Vermont, a friend and I were driving around Montpelier and we spotted a really big slide in a playground so I convinced her to stop and try it out. It was a bit wet from a recent shower, but I figured that'd be ok--a little water doesn't hurt. When we climbed to the top, we realized just how big it was. Probably three kids could have slid down side by side. And as for height, think fun-fair slides: the kind you ride down on a burlap sack. So my friend goes first. All is well. She shoots down it and jumps off at the bottom and waves back at me. I get on. I'm a little nervous but I can't back down now, so I push off. And go faster and faster...I'm wearing a wool skirt and connecting with the metal that my friend so conveniently dried off for me, I am soon out of control. I hit the bottom. Only I'm still on my bottom. My skirt flies up. I skid along the ground for a couple of feet before I grind to a halt. And I'm only wearing thong underwear, so it is my butt cheeks in direct contact with the dirt. The pain was awful but I simply couldn't stop laughing. I don't know if it was more funny for my friend who actually saw it, or me who sees it in my mind's eye as brilliant sort of cartoon comedy slapstick. My friend found some water in her truck and poured it onto my offending parts while I did my best to rub the mud off. I couldn't sit down for a week. It still makes me laugh to think about it.
I caught the dog sleeping on the couch the other night and when I told her to get off she just rolled her eyes at me. She didn't even lift her head to look at me. Naughty doggie. She knows it's where the boss likes to sit and since she wishes she were boss, she sits there. She also let herself into the bedroom the other morning when I was asleep and hopped up onto the bed with me and woke me up. I'm the boss so I get the best den. She's the subordinate so she doesn't get to sleep in the best den. When I let her know that, she gave me a very sad look. I almost gave in. But I am slightly allergic to her and if her hair gets on my bed I won't sleep for allergies. Plus, she's not the boss; I am.
Friday, April 27, 2007
So while walking the dog today I remembered to bring the camera and took a few photos of the fields near us. But the dog was a bit camera shy: she wanted to have a good sniff at the camera before she'd give it her ok. Though it's a bit hard to take a steady picture when you have a dog on the end of a leash attempting to jiggle your arm and cause a comedy blurred photo. She chose that moment to let loose a string of about ten sneezes. I was not amused.
It has been a lovely spring day but I have to get ready to leave for work in about half an hour. Last night it was SO busy at work. The night before, too. We run out of clean dishes regularly and then have to put a delay on food. Though I don't mind if it's busy; the only thing is we sometimes finish late because of it. But the time passes really quickly. I'm still working evenings and that means I can get some stuff done in the morning before I have to work. If I work days, I don't feel much like cleaning or walking the dog afterwards. Too tired.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
We have a new dog. Like Lucy, she's a rescue dog. Her name is Beauty, and she's a tiny who-knows-what-mutt, but she's very elegant and dainty. Partner thinks she looks like a miniature German shepherd: she certainly has the same brown/black coat markings. She's a bit shy and nervous but very sweet and quiet with good manners. We think she's about five or six years old. I also think she may have been neglected or even abused by past owners as she's slightly skittish and very very thin. But I love her already. Lucy could be a bit of a pest and was very headstrong and could be trying. I had to grow to love Lucy. Beauty is just naturally winsome. I am slightly scared though that she'll die suddenly like Lucy did. I know it's a bit irrational. There's no reason why she should. She's up here now with me while I'm at the computer; I put down an old hoodie of Partner's on the floor and she's happily curled up on it.
We walked to the local pond yesterday and saw Mother Duck and her dozen ducklings. They whiz around like they have little outboard motors. I guess they're a little early in the season but then, it is almost May. We also walked through a field of canola plants in rampant flower, like a bee's paradise. I think the smell is absolutely divine though it makes some people sneeze. The color too is enough to drive a nectar-eating insect into a frenzy: bright bright gold, so much that you can't see the foliage when the flowers are in full bloom.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
I took photos of our garden today and uploaded them. They can be reached by clicking on the link on the top left of this page below my picture. The first twenty-five or so are new ones.
We've got frog eggs at last and today we heard a frog peeping in the pond. Some of them burp, but this one peeped. It's the first one verified this spring. Of course we've seen lots of them--as Partner says, they look like one trying to jump over another but got stuck halfway. Partner has very delicate sensibilities. When once at the zoo I saw a mandrill grab another and start bouncing back and forth; most of the people turned to the next exhibit quickly (I think my gramma covered my little cousin's eyes) but my mouth dropped open and I couldn't tear my eyes away. There was, however, something almost indecent about it: mandrills have little hands and little hips just like humans. I think my first memory of the zoo as a tiny child was seeing the big bull elephant peeing. Like someone had strapped a long grey hose to his underside, it just kept coming and coming. And he made a veritable pond at his feet. A person can learn a lot at the zoo.
Sunday, April 08, 2007
We've had more good weather so I've been in the garden a lot. Partner cut down a small evergreen tree from our front yard and I think I want to move one of our hydrangeas there. We have two of them at the moment and one is very small and sickly. I think it needs moving to a more hospitable spot to grow a bit bigger. And the new ones I've been attempting to propagate from our big bush are not dead yet. I also want to propagate our clematises in the same way.
Easter has been ok for us. We haven't done anything huge and I did have to work, but I feel like I've had a good day. Partner cooked us a full Sunday roast dinner with meat, potatoes, and two veg and made some really tasty iced tea. We looked proudly at all our new flowers (tulips, forget-me-nots, and irises) and I had nice walks to and from bus stops in the sunshine.
Sunday, April 01, 2007
We've been pretty low on funds recently but hopefully that'll turn around soon. And we don't have a car nor have we had one since November, but Partner has been shopping around for a cheap old beater that'll last us a year. My new work schedule is such that I will be working moderately late nights and I'm not comfortable waiting for the bus home at 10.30pm. The bus only goes from work to our house once an hour, unless it doesn't come at all.
The weather was such today that I washed two whole loads of laundry and everything dried wonderfully outside. Washing machines in this country take more than an hour to go through a normal cycle so laundry can be an all-day affair. I much prefer to hang the laundry out to dry than put it in the dryer. They only things that go in the dryer are sheets and pillowcases. I'm trying to save the environment. And our electricity bill. Other things that I do to save e&e is unplug the entertainment center things (tv, dvd, etc) overnight and I try to turn off the computer at night too, though Partner likes to keep it running so he can download stuff. But I make him turn off the moniter at least.
I'm also trying to make sure all the dishes get done at night and the counters wiped down before we go to bed since we occasionally we see mice in the kitchen. If they find a free meal, they'll keep coming back. We have a few traps: one that kills and one that just catches. I don't like the kill one. I really don't like coming down in the morning and seeing a dead mouse on the floor. But then, coming down and seeing mouse poo on the counters doesn't exactly make my day either. When a mouse gets caught in the live trap, Partner will take it to work and set it free. I like mice. I like them in fields or forests or the pet shop. They're cute then. But house mice are not cute.
Ok they're cute; but I still don't like them.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Today is also predicted to be a scorcher (as far as possible in March) but at the moment a thick stew of fog covers everything. So I don't think I'll make a start on gardening just yet. I had thought I might move all my crocuses to the front lawn: they look lovely when naturalized in grass. I think I must have about thirty or so bulbs--just about right for our tiny lawn. And over time they'll increase themselves so maybe one day in the future they'll carpet the whole lot. Crocuses remind me of little Easter eggs nesting in the ground.
Since it was hot yesterday I cooled off indoors with a bit of tidying. Slowly my disgraceful house transforms into a spotless haven. Slowly being the key word. Now that the days are longer than the nights I feel more energized to get some things done. Good for me.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
This weekend Partner and I put up some wallpaper in the bathroom. Two walls are done and it looks a lot brighter. We've also stripped off wallpaper in the kitchen which ended up a mighty task. It also is only half done. When Parter did the living room, the wallpaper pretty much fell off in his hands. It only took a quick tug and the whole section gave up the ghost. But in the kitchen it involves a lot of scraping with thin-edged instruments after misting the paper thoroughly. Partner claims he has shoulder pain, residue from last year's injury, and that he can't possibly do any sort of repetitive motion with it. So I've done most of the scrapeage.
When Partner walks in from work on a day like this his greeting kiss is always so cold I call him Freezy Man. But more often it's Freezy Me since I get colder easier than he does. I think body hair has something to do with it. He's got a natural fur coat and unless I grow my hair a lot longer I'll never catch up. I'm pretty darn hairless. And he thinks a beard makes him look manly, however I prefer a shaven face. A beard goes up my nose. But I draw the line at a moustache. I won't kiss him if he has just a moustache without the beard. If he ever kissed a moustache he would understand.
Friday, March 16, 2007
I was also thinking of moving some of my red peonies to the front. They are kind of overshadowed in the back and, since I have redefined a lot of the beds, are out of place. One of them is big enough to think about dividing it. We divided one I think two years ago and it didn't flower the first year but it did the next. I also think my yellow peony could be divided but I'm loath to disturb it. It flowers much earlier than the red ones and I always look forward to it. My gramma and her sister have so many different kinds in their yard that they have peonies all summer long. That would be wonderful.
Since about two weeks ago I have half-emptied my composter spreading it around my beds. I still haven't got a second one, but in a pinch I suppose I could just throw the stuff in a pile. We used to have a pile. It was huge. Unlike a pile, with a composter I don't have to dig to the bottom to get the yummy stuff. There's a little door at the bottom so I can just open it up and chip it out.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Yesterday I made sushi for dinner. Talk about YUMMY. I think I could eat it every day. A lot of people think sushi is raw fish. Sashimi is raw fish. Sushi is technically vinegared rice usually served with vegetables and fish--raw or cooked. I made broiled salmon to go with ours. And freshly pickled ginger. You dip the fish/veg/rice in soy sauce and gobble it up. Then you eat a piece of ginger every several mouthfuls and it goes zing. I've had sushi rolls before but I've never eaten at a sushi bar or anything. I'd like to. I'm really interested in Japanese cuisine now. Since I saw Lost in Translation I've really wanted to go to Japan. Well, even before that. I fell in love with Japan once I saw Spirited Away. I saw another animated movie (Partner says it's by the same director as Spirited Away) called My Neighbor Totoro recently. It really bowled me over.
Partner's downstairs right now watching rugby. I don't quite understand it. It's kind of like American football only they don't wear any padding or helmets and they really don't stop gameplay at all. The ball is constantly moving. If they get tackled, somebody else picks up the ball and runs with it. Or kicks it. It's confusing. And they all look like they've been hit a few times too many. Actually Partner used to play rugby as a teenager and damaged his back playing it. He was confined to bed for two years and now endures chronic back problems. Luckily he didn't suffer any long-term brain damage. Getting hit in the head a lot will do that.
Monday, March 05, 2007
During the day I planted carrots, onions, lettuce, spinach, cosmos, marigolds, and delphiniums. Just seeds, of course. I have five little trays indoors and three outdoors under our cold frame. Partner cut back some of the rosebushes and did some digging. I thought I heard frogs burping in the pond but I may have imagined it.
We're both looking forward to my mother's visit in two months. We've got a few places in mind that we want to take her to such as Fountains Abbey and the city of York. I think the bluebells will be in flower when she comes. And we can go walking on the moors if the weather agrees. She's going to bring material to make curtains for my kitchen. I think Partner and I may try to redecorate the kitchen this week. He's got the week off and so do I. The wallpaper is falling off the walls but no matter what I'd still want it replaced: I don't like grasshopper green. I want the walls to be plain clean white and the cupboard doors repainted red. Right now they're kind of a medium blue. And I'm going to have red and white gingham curtains.
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
I actually picked three vases of daffodils this week. It's hard to believe but they are opening up all over the place now. And there's plenty more to come. I guess I must have several different kinds of daffodils because some of them are still only little shoots and won't flower for a few more weeks.
I buzzed off Partner's hair this weekend and he claims he's chilly now. He threw the hair out into the backyard for the birds but I don't think there have been many takers yet. Instead it looks like the cat killed something large and fuzzy and slightly grey. I remember when I had my hair cut off from waist-length to two inches. There was a lot of hair on the floor. I think my hair is about half way down my back now. I had it all cut off seven years ago, then kept it quite short for about four years, then when I got married I just started growing it again. I like having long hair but I also liked having short hair. When I had my hair all chopped off the first time the stylist asked me if I was going to cry. I wasn't. I really really wanted it to be cut off. She also asked if I'd ever had hair that short. I said no, but my brothers look good with short hair so I should be ok. After it was done I was so happy. I think she was happy too; I doubt she got to make radical haircuts like that very often. I was amazed the first time I went to wash it. It took hardly any time at all. I was also amazed when I first walked out of the salon: my head felt so much lighter and (since it was the middle of November) colder.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
My baby lavendars are also not dead yet. I grew them from seed last year and planted some of them in the two big planters next to my front door. I have visions of being able to brush past them on the way in the house, releasing their lovely scent. As of now they're only a couple inches tall but growing. And you should see my forget-me-nots. I planted tons in the front yard and they are strong and happy and have bulbs previously put down growing between them. On one side there are wood hyacinths and on the other tulips. I can't wait for them all to flower.
And I even have a few crocuses--bright buttery yellow ones. I'd forgotten completely about them. I don't know who planted them, whether Partner did it or whether they were here when he got here, but they never cease to amaze. Though sadly what few snowdrops we had last year haven't made an appearance this year.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Partner's black eye now looks like normal though he says he still has vision problems. He jokes that when the ball hit him, another player called, "Keep your eye on the ball," and he thought it literally was. Ouchies.
For Valentine's Day we made ourselves eggs Benedict for breakfast and then later on I made us some really yummy brownies. I have the most fantastic recipe that makes the gooeyist, softest, delectable not-too-sweet-or-bitter brownies ever.
4 ounces dark chocolate
1/2 pound butter
1 & 3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup flour
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, chocolate chips, caramel chips, etc (optional)
In a heavy saucepan, melt butter and chocolate together on the lowest possible heat, stirring often. Set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, beat eggs, sugar and vanilla until slightly frothy. Add the cooled chocolate mixture.
Add the salt and flour and nuts/chips and stir till completely mixed.
Bake in a greased 9" tin at 325F for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out almost clean. Let cool before eating.
In my oven it actually takes more like 40 minutes, but my oven is picky. The recipe written as it is calls for 20-25 minutes. So keep a close eye on it. I don't actually add nuts or anything to my brownies; I love them plain. And the toothpick should come out just a little sticky. Not dripping, but a little bit of goo. Trust me, it'll be perfect.
(Postscript: I don't know why the above recipe is spaced so widely. I tried to narrow it down, but it's either all in one paragraph or as it stands. This new blog format is warped.)
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
My first daffodil flowered yesterday but it is likely to snow tomorrow. I hope the rest will be ok. These past several days have been very sunny but cold with a hard frost at night. Not much to do garden-wise in these conditions so I've actually gone and done a painting. Hard to believe, I know, but I saw my yellow orchid in the window with the sunlight streaming over her and was inspired. I had planned on painting my white orchid at some point--she's so delicate and pretty, but the effect of the shadow and light on the yellow one really struck me. I scanned it but am not pleased with the quality of the scan. Though I guess it gives some idea.
Partner's softball excursion last weekend ended in tragedy. He's been to a total of three different hospitals and has a huge black eye. He says he got hit with the ball but it looks like a very disreputable injury. Luckily they don't think they'll have to amputate. I won't comment on the amount of times he's been to the emergency room compared to the times he's played sports. He asked for suggestions on alternate sports he could play: less dangerous sports. I suggested competitive gardening. So he told me I'm not allowed to make facetious remarks until he can roll his eyes again.
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Partner is off playing an indoor softball tournament today. I was invited but I'm not big on softball. And I was up all night with a bladder infection. Early this morning Partner went to the store to get me some cranberry juice which now, three and a half hours later, is beginning to take effect. I don't think I could have managed getting to the store and back without any bathroom breaks. So I'm pretty tired but it's daytime now and it's sunny. I could even venture to say Super Sunny, which begs for gardening. And laundry hung on the line. Not for sleeping.
I got a present from my mother and grandmother and great-aunt yesterday. It was postmarked December 15. When I opened it up (a file-sized soft package), I saw red yarn and was unsure as to what it was. Then I pulled it out and said wow. It is a big handmade yarn bag/purse made of a red sweater with pockets and beadwork and adorable buttons. It was made by my great-aunt, bought by my mother, and sent by my grandmother and I LOVE it. I've never seen anything like it and it is awesome.
I'm still waiting for my movie footage to come, but my dad says it's been mailed so I just have to wait. But if the last package from home took a month and a half, I dread to think when it'll arrive.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
I've been planning my garden for this year with what kind of flowers I want and where. Right now I have a tentative plan for the front yard. There are lots of early and late spring plants already down, plus a few winter-flowering perennials so I will just have to fill in the gaps for summer. The back yard is a different story however, with lots of blank canvas at the moment. All my daffodils are sprouting and some already have heads on them. The tulips and wood hyacinths are just starting to make an appearance but no buds yet. Spring bulbs are really the best.
Partner got me a bouquet of red tulips and a dozen red roses. They are so pretty and cheerful. When the daffs flower I'll pick bouquets of them too but I don't have enough tulips in the yard to pick them. And when the roses flower I pick them but I have never had a dozen at a time. Well I have but they aren't the type to fit in a vase, but the type to climb up the garage wall. I pick them anyway and put them in really small vases with other flowers of the short stem variety.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
I've been thinking about making a patchwork quilt for my bed. I learned how to do patchwork when I was a teenager and have always admired it. When I was little I had a wonderful red and white patchwork quilt with cats sewn on it. I can't remember if the cats were quilted or just embroidered but I loved that quilt so much. As a child, red was my favorite color and cats were my favorite animal. Then I got bigger and switched to purple and horses, but now I'm back to red. As far as animals go, I don't really have a favorite any more but I do feel an affinity towards bears. They're big and furry and they stand in the middle of streams and salmon just jump into their mouths.
I did actually get out in my garden yesterday. It was sunny and not too windy and the grass wasn't too wet. I weeded a bed and emptied out the hanging baskets which were looking a bit forlorn. I also hung a load of laundry on the line and it got mostly dry. It wasn't exactly warm yesterday--I wore two sweaters--but it was sunny with a light breeze. Due to the natural process of compost, my composter had some more room at the top so I forced in some garden material that had been hanging around going black: dahlias (but not the tubers), cosmos, and yucca leaves. I don't put weeds in my composter, just legitimate plant waste. In the summer it gets a lot of grass clippings. In the winter it mostly gets whatever odds and ends are left over.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Partner isn't that much taller than me. I think maybe two inches at most. And I'm pretty tall when it comes to it. I generally give my height as 5'8" though I think I get up to 5'10" with moderate heels. The nurse at my last physical measured me as 1.75m while wearing my shoes. That's 5'10". And hey, I just weighed myself for the first time in ages and I've gone down to 145# which is a loss of about ten pounds total from this time two years ago when I started this blog. But I'm still as soft and squidgy as ever. What I really want is to be able to fit into my old skirts that I'm hanging onto for some perverse reason. I have a gorgeous little burnt orange suede number that I haven't been able to wear since before I got married. But I think if I continue on this path of weight loss, in two more years it'll fit perfectly.
Friday, January 12, 2007
Our bulbs are just starting to perk up outside. Remember those three bags of daffodils I planted? I believe they are starting to think about showing. I really hope they all come up. I could do with some flowers. I never got my tulips, but there are already tulips down anyway, so I'll still get some this year. Those spring bulbs are the best. Lots of color and shape and they last a long time.
I've done a small bit of artwork recently, though nothing earth shattering. I've done a few sketches and quick ink drawings to try out my new pen and ink set. Partner got me a fabulous set of colored inks and the red is my favorite. It's a great color to work with. I should study a bit of calligraphy too. I've always liked fancy writing.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Our vacuum cleaner has a terminal illness, I think. I was attempting to vacuum the stairs and it started growling and smelling funny, so Partner took it apart and concluded that it's eaten too much long hair over time. The brush isn't brushing and the motor is burning itself out trying to force it. And I must be going bald, considering how much hair was on that thing. But I guess being bald wouldn't be the end of the world. I could always get wigs. Actually I already own a wig, a purple one. I used to wear it occasionally. Now that I have quite long hair, it's a bit difficult to get it on. I have to force my hair into a nylon net and then put the wig on over that. When I bought the thing my hair was about two inches long. Now it's about eighteen inches long. I've told Partner that when it reaches my butt I'll dye it black and curl it every night.
We took the train to London this time. It took about the same amount of time as driving, though perhaps not as comfortable. We had to take a bus to the train station on the way there, but on the way back we took a local train to the next village over and then hired a cab to take us the last two miles. We could have walked really and I have walked there before but it was dark, cold, and inclined to rain so into the cab we went. I couldn't believe how fast the train was. And cheap! Next time we go there we should get on the train.