Wednesday, February 28, 2007


I finally actually finished Minesweeper on expert mode. I've been trying for since I was about ten. I've done the beginner and intermediate no problem. And now the expert holds no mysteries for me. I think part of it is that I've been doing the "Killer" sudoku in the newspaper every day. I've also been doing the cryptic crossword as well, and while I'm still only getting about two to five words for every thirty or so clues, I'm improving. When I first started doing them I couldn't get even one. I can do the easy crossword without much problem so I don't really bother any more. Just the cryptic. Same with the easy sudoku. So I'm keeping my brain sharp. Ish. At least I'm counteracting all those video games I play.

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

Just gardening

My garden is starting to wake up a bit with lupins appearing, and shoots on my roses and clematis. I'll have to cut the roses and clematis back so they grow well and don't get spindly. I have a dark purple clematis that interweaves with my white climbing rose and looks absolutely gorgeous. I also have a maroon clematis that hasn't flowered much since I've lived here but Partner says it's young and we should expect great things in the future. And I have a new one planted last year out front which is an early spring flowering one and is a lovely pink. I'm really hoping it flowers this year but we'll have to see. It might be too young also.

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

In dark

We got our snow but very little of it. I think at most it was half an inch. In some parts of the country they got a lot. I wanted a lot. I wanted to make a snowman. But the next day it turned to rain and all washed away. My daffodils are still going strong. Six are open now.

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.

My Super Special Brownies

4 ounces dark chocolate

1/2 pound butter

4 eggs

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

Gold orchid

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


My crocheted afghan is now finished. I completed it a few days ago and it's currently on the bed but I think it might go downstairs on the couch. I want to do another one and I have a pattern, but I need yarn. So I'll have to wait a bit.

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.