Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Magna Carta, Bloomsday

 Yesterday was the nth anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, at Runnymede, by King John, the only English king of that name, pretty much at sword point, the barons having finally had it with his tyranny, and wanting to wield a bit of it themselves, I suspect. 

But the calendar has been fiddled with since 1215, so who knows really. Thirteen days went missing at the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in the sixteenth century, named for the Pope who did it to straighten out the Julian calendar drift because of leap years. Or something.  

I've always wondered about the poor guys who had vacation planned then, and suddenly found they were instantly scheduled to go right on working instead.. joke, joke.

Anyway it was a declaration of human rights and power sharing. However, England specifically appears to be in the process of abandoning it, and I thought I wouldn't get too excited yesterday.

Today however is another matter.

It's June 16, Bloomsday. The day Leopold Bloom, the hero of  "Ulysses", spent wandering the streets of Dublin, encountering friends, stories,  himself, Molly, and literary history.

It was Sylvia Beach, owner of the Shakespeare and Co. bookstore in Paris who first published "Ulysses"  when the establishment wouldn't.

On his fortieth birthday, February 2,1922. I wonder if he had many and complicated thoughts on the date. Born on the Feast of the Purification, hmmm.

Here's my tiny annual tribute, where I read more of it, as you see getting near the end

 and the massive blast of trumpets that is Molly Bloom's tour de force

Thank you to Sylvia Beach, and Kindle, which keeps my place from year to year. And Norah Barnacle who probably kept Joyce going. It's usually the surrounding women who ensure that great things happen and great literature is written then made available.

Here's to centering them! Acknowledging their own art in their own right. 

Meanwhile I have to get on to Ulysses again. Maybe I'll get to the end this year, before I run out of years 

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Cauliflower Capers, and yet more pockets

So the day started fine, attached three pockets, end of pocketing for now.

Blue shirt, pinned in place

Now stitched, and a nice size for my hands, phone etc.

And the pink shirt with the tiny patriarchy smashing pocket in place. You can just get a couple of fingers partly in..

Then I thought I'd make a lovely cheese cauliflower broccoli bake, plenty of cheese in the house, and did so.

Well, I almost did so. I think despite its good looks, this may have been an end of season cauliflower. Fibrous, tough, after lengthy steaming and half an hour baking. 

Usually when you bake it, you want the cauliflower a little firm so it's still shapely after baking. This one had other ideas. The tips were tender, the rest could have used power tools.

However the cheese sauce was excellent, good cheddar, the last of the garlic spread, and the broccoli was fine. 

So after fuming for a couple of minutes, I ended up tossing the very toughest bit, then blending all the rest in the pot with a good chicken broth. It tasted fine.

So I declared it cream of cauliflower soup. Half a dozen helpings there.

Here's the trial bowl, with Japanese style garlic scapes featured.

Austenland came in, thank you for the recommendation, Debra. I'll watch it tonight.

This afternoon will be about reading one of the many choices I have lying around, including Unmarriageable on my Kindle, which I think is another Austen adjacent item, West with Giraffes, Ashton Warner, among a lot of others.

There's a textile presentation from HGA later. I'll see about that. If it's good I'll let you know tomorrow.

An up and down day in a way. Oh well.


Sunday, June 13, 2021

Pocket coda, friendship coda with cicadas, chai coda, pasty coda

The coda on friendship: I did reference human friendship and everybody politely stayed within the frame of reference. But my friends include animals and plants. 

Two of these converged yesterday when the five year old grandchild visiting next door came to show me her new friends, cicadas in a jar. Just caught for a while to see them up close. 

She took one out to introduce me, and it gave a rattly squeak. I said he's talking to you. She: Yeah, when I pinch his butt he does that. Me: Do you think he's saying  ouch? She: Ohh. Maybe. Me: I like him. She: Yeah. Im putting him in the tree now. And off she went,  mission accomplished.

I doubt if I will live to experience another 17 year cicada season. So this was a great moment of friendship across race and species and age, all at once.

On to less weighty subjects.

More on the endless world of pockets, with another Pro Tip from Polly Pockets here. 

Here's another beloved linen shirt, altered to suit. Roll sleeves, cuffs long gone into some art or something, tail shortened to my liking. It already has a pocket but things can fall out if you bend to see stuff out walking. So it does need help.

As you see, the tail, complete with one button and button hole, still available. Which gave me a cool idea.

Before the cool idea, see that little pink item. It's a Tiny Pocket, a finger in the eye of manufacturers who love them. It's going on the chest opposite the side of the Useful Pocket on the pink shirt. More than one way to achieve balance. Small can weigh large. And a couple of square inches of linen can be a political statement.

And the cool idea is: these two cut out pocket bits, where the shirt tail curve is the pocket top, very well finished already, the front side finished, too, and only the hem and underarm side need my finishing. 

Tune in here for Simple Stuff I Can Do to Get Pockets and Smash the  Patriarchy.

This will happen tomorrow in daylight. 

Meanwhile another version of pasties, this time they probably have a name I don't know, and if you do, please say.

Granny Smiths, with nutmeg, cinnamon, golden raisins, small amount of sugar, usual tortilla dough except bolted flour. 

The flour is very delicate in this recipe, probably needs regular wholewheat combined. That's why it looks a bit lacy. I mean artisanal.

They were very good though, plenty more to come, and triggered another Clever Tip for Cooks Running to Catch up with the Big Kids. 

I finally got around to finding a little shaker for the confectioners sugar, see here. Filled it before I could say I was too tired, and there it is.  This has taken years to accomplish.

When I was first learning American labeling, a friend who cooks and bakes like a pro, gave me a handwritten itrecipe for her lemon bars, which I've since made many times for appreciative audiences. 

I noted the abbreviation she used for the sugar and asked her "what's this ten times sugar?" Such a look of compassion she gave me, never forgotten. 

And now it's short stories and chai.

That's another of those trap words like tea. 

If a Brit invites  you to tea, you're not going to get a cup of hot water with a teabag in it.  You've been invited to a meal, all baked from scratch. At my house, anyway,  including the bread in the little sandwiches, and the jam, a couple of kinds of cake, maybe a savory, and a fresh pot of tea, choice of lemon or milk. Nice cups. Napkins. Clean tablecloth.

When an Indian offers you chai you get this recipe I made, made slowly and with care, with milk. 

Yet chai just means tea. And you can get spice mixes called chai which are lovely, but not the classic Indian recipe.  It all depends on context.

I blame the English for all this confusion. For everything, really.

Sunday quiet study of patterns

Just a wander round the houseplants, to look at design and pattern. 

Notice how many of these are used by fabric designers. And see if you can name the plants, all pretty common houseplants. Just fun. No prizes. Other than a smug badge.













Blogger decided where the numbers should go. A bit freeform.

And it's the season to give lavender to neighbors. 

This bunch went across the street and a chat ensued. About flowers and the neighbors and the HOA and the weather.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Textiles, prayer rugs

First, the Inner blogger needed to deal with food. Namely what about the butternut squash and red lentils there? I'd baked the squash last night, idly thinking about soup.

But today I was penetratingly tired of making soup, and it occurred to me that I need a little something in case Handsome Son drops by. Why not banana bread only with bnut squash? 

No sooner thought than mixed, adding in chopped walnuts, sliced almonds and golden raisins. That Polish beater is the best, definitely, so much more even mixing.

The rinds and seeds went out for Butternut Boy's pleasure. I saw him the other day rummaging about in the ground cover and retrieving a pear core I'd tossed out earlier. He knows where to look.

Still quite a bit of cooked squash, now in the freezer for when I feel like soup again.

Then the red lentils. I boiled them, mashed, added a nut of butter and a bunch of ginger in dice. Nice side dish if ever I decide on a main.

Then a cup of tea from the thermos, that worked quite well, abd a sample slice of bnut raisin multinut bread. Ready for today's textile adventure.

Today's presentation was on prayer rugs and the Islamic tradition of design and purpose.  It's based in notes on the ongoing research of the presenter, a kind of advance view of work to be published next year.

The sound was muffled, so I had to settle for the gist, but the slide images spoke for themselves. The discussion is mine, drawing on my own background in art history and religious iconography, as are the conclusions. Any blunders are mine, ss usual. 

In fact, though you probably realized this a while back, though I didn't mention it, most of the conclusions you read in my textile presentation blogposts are mine, based on what the presenter said. I draw on my own knowledge, such as it is.

Back to the presenter. She explained that the prayer rug, usually about three feet by six, to accommodate a single person, has the arch image indicating both direction, to face Mecca, and the metaphor of the opening, leading to God through prayer. 

In mosques, the floor covering is a series of ranks of the prayer rug design, so that the faithful can pray in straight lines together. The straight path has significance, too.

Here's the Archangel Gabriel appearing to Mohammed, inspiring the founding of Islam

Prayer is preceded by preparation, washing, so that a clean body and willing spirit, in a clean place on the rug will be present to the communication with God. This is a ritual seen in other religions, too, out of reverence.

The literal and metaphorical concept of light refers to the divine presence and how it illuminates life. Lamps appear in the imagery for this reason.

And here's the embodiment of paradise as a walled garden, with a gate to enter by.  This idea recurs throughout literature and holy texts, as a celebration of the gifts of nature and our stewardship.

Here are worshippers organized into prayer formation.

The arch symbol and meaning also appear in the curtains of the Torah Ark in Jewish synagogues, too, and were even made by the same artisans for both mosques and synagogue.

During the q and a she explained that women do exactly the same procedures in prayer,  but usually at home.  They may also pray in the mosque, in a separate section. But it's accessible to both sexes. 

Prayer rugs can be woven, or knotted, or embroidered. The oldest known rug, in the Hermitage museum, dates to the 1400s, but there were probably many preceding it, Islam having been founded in 610 AD 

Another free gift from the Textile Museum. No charge, no membership needed though they'd love it. Just sign up, they send you the link and reminders.

Another quiet day chez Boud, nothing to see here, move along now..


Drama and pockets

Today's Summer Film Fest, since the cold rainy weather needed some help, featured the Ang Lee, Emma Thompson, Sense and Sensibility, and it was even better than I remembered. Filled with brilliant touches, tiny gestures that meant everything, great acting.

If you've seen it you know. If you haven't, I'd recommend it.

Then, and this is related, it really is, on the endless subject of pockets and why more is better, I suddenly had this thought. 

To be exact, in the middle of watching a moving and engrossing scene in Sense and Sensibility, high drama, where Elinor is finally having her breakdown of relief, on finding maybe she does have a future, despite all.

Try as I will, to quote a Heyer heroine, I cannot be romantic.

Anyway I was wearing a favorite linen jacket once a shirt jacket, which I'd altered years ago. I'd cut off the cuffs and hemmed the sleeves to make elbow length roll ups. I love it but today I wished it had at least one pocket. 

And I was watching the movie on the little TV right next to the supply closet where the scrap crate is. I expect my brain was working on this while I thought I was getting into Austen.

Later the thought about how to have matching pockets took shape. As you see.

I remembered the cut-off cuffs. Being quality linen, I expected to find them preserved,  in the scrap crate. And did. Readymade pockets. With pleat detail, machined pocket top.

So later, while I listened to an Angela Thirkell (August Folly) I tried one. Cut it open, stitched it around, attached it, steam pressed the lot.

See the tiny arrowhead point below the hemline? Posh detail.

And it looks pretty sharp, as well as being deep enough to put things in without having them fly out. The tiny arrowhead sticking below the hemline? I love that detail. It's the button placket from the cuff. And there are pleats on the back, at the yoke, that echo the pleats on the pocket.

I may not put a second pocket on, one may be enough, but I'll wear it and decide. 

This linen is beautiful to stitch through, needle just glides.

You may have noticed the skirt hasn't progressed far. That's because a high thread count cotton mix, with a finish designed to withstand wear, is difficult to push a needle through for more than a few minutes. It will get there, but I can't clickety click along with the seams.

Meanwhile this linen jacket which I got for a couple of dollars at the thriftie about 15 years ago, designer brand, continues to earn its keep.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Friendship, Festival, Friday and neFarious other stuFF

Yesterday I was at a loss for what to cook, but frozen baby bellas worked again. Cooked in butter until almost browned, roast chicken from freezer, the last of that chicken I bought ages ago, bechamel sauce, farfalle pasta, all cooked then mixed in a buttered souffle dish, old Bay seasoning, warmed through at 385°f.  Colby Longhorn grated over.

Served with garlic scapes, already big enough to pick.

I hadn't thought of these ingredients going together, until I ran out of ideas and just tried it. This made three meals. The mushrooms are what makes it good, though.

Nice touch of garlic flavor.

The English breakfast tea I ordered at the suggestion of a friend arrived yesterday, along with the Answer to a Single Lady's Needing a Cup of Tea when she's not Up to Making it Right Now.

The thermos with two, count them, cups, is going to be the future early morning tea in bed, all being well. 

And the tea, though not as good as my original that was replaced by an impostor, is acceptable, with none of the twigs and dust of the inferior stuff. What my mom would have dismissed as floor sweepings. So, for now, the whining is down to a dull roar.

Great report on the bolted flour. I made this batch of scone things, raisins and walnuts, and the texture's great. Not heavy but it holds together, doesn't crumble when you cut into it to insert butter. A keeper.

Tree expert  blogistas: is this a sycamore? I'm going by the bark, didn't check the leaves.

It's beautiful from all sides, anyway.

And Maggie Rudy is working on a mouse sized diorama for the Washington State History Museum. Here's Captain Vancouver.

Isn't she great? Pitch perfect always. Check it out if you live near. 

Report on the Film Fest: Clueless was up yesterday and I realized I had in fact seen it before. But the lines are so funny it's worth a second look.  I had subtitles enabled, to make sure I caught them. Good start.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is wonderful. I read it several times so as to catch the detail.

In current reading, the essays by Tim Kreider are oddly dated, though only about 12 years old. They read like the work of a man who can't really believe women are actual people. 

The sort of man who says people meaning men, and kids, meaning boys. It's particularly poignant in the account of his trying to understand the situation of a longtime male friend who transitions to being a woman. He tries so hard, wanting to be there for the friend, but without the insight that would help.

Likewise the essay about being ghosted by another longtime friend,  where he's baffled, can't grasp why, makes repeated attempts to reconnect without success. Which makes the reader wonder how he failed to read the room so completely.

I do wonder about people who profess total bewilderment when they're ghosted. They didn't see the signs, messages, attempts to detach? They see it as a full on friendship that suddenly screeches to a halt, the end.

Or perhaps they didn't realize that what they thought was a friendship was more situational. Once they'd fulfilled their purpose in the friend's life, gone.  Or the friend's life changes to the point where an old friend doesn't fit any more, and is amazed to realize it.

It's true of activity friends, once the activity is done. Workplace friendships, too,  often don't survive the departure of one of the group. 

When I've been ghosted I've generally managed to detect, eventually, what happened. It's not kind, though. Better to detach gradually I'd say, try for the least hurt.

Arabic has a whole lot of words to describe degrees of friendship. English is a bit lacking.  I wonder if friendships have a lifetime as partnerships do.  And the lifetimes vary.

Please let's hear your take. I wonder a lot of things on this subject.