Friday, December 29, 2017

Date Nut Bread and No Looking Back

Possibly the last baking of the year, a date nut bread thing.  Some now reposing in the freezer for the next invitee to afternoon tea.  Some in the fridge for me to eat at whatever meal I think fits.  Could be breakfast, late night, mid afternoon, no rules on this.

Showing you here in the cast iron pan I swear by for baking.  I took a slice out to show you the crumb, nice texture, and to demonstrate how cleanly it comes out of the pan.  

The recipe is adapted from the one I use for my trusty standby banana bread, from the Sunset recipe book from the 90s, held together with masking tape and rubber bands.  Instead of bananas, which I didn't have, I used dates, which I did.  I'd already done all the work on soaking (they were dried), boiling and pitting, for the roast veg dish I did for Christmas, so they were ready to go.

Added in a handful of crushed walnuts.  And the last spoonful of homemade cranberry sauce. And, since the dates weren't as moist as bananas, I added in a sploosh of milk.  Worked fine. Those books that tell you you can't experiment with baking are all wet.  You can, within sane limits, substitute practically anything for anything.  Liquid for liquid, solid for solid, I mean by sanity.

And this is likely to be the last entry in Field and Fen for the year. But I am not going to do the thing I really dislike about end of year stuff, the lookback.  For one thing, I have a terrible memory for what happened when and where and to whom, and I have a massive aversion to looking back.  Life is forward movement to me. I do study history, largely to inform myself of the origins of what's up now, not just for nostalgia.  And when it comes to blogs, we can all scroll back if we want to see that stuff again!

The Dollivers point out that it would be good to look back and note all the stuff I failed to make for them, but that's a different sort of lookback. And I pointed out that dolls with new silk dresses have no standing to complain about what else they should have, neener.

The other thing is that is makes me feel really tired to look back over what I've done, and the more I've done, the tireder I get.  I read yet another book about writing a journal recently, since I often wonder if it's a good thing. I have never succeeded in writing more than a couple of little entries.  But some people have a shelf full of journals, their lives chronicled right there.  As they say, it's just the kind of thing you like, if you like that kind of thing.  For me, it's exhaustion on a shelf.  But I like to read about it, anyway. 

A friend of mine, now departed, used to say she loved watching DIY on HGTV.  Not that she wanted ever to do it, just liked watching other people working!  That's me and journals.

However, moaning aside, I do want to wish you, and all of us, a wonderful New Year, hoping for better things for many of my friends for whom this has been a very hard year.  

Take care of you, first, remember the oxygen tip.  Then your nearest and dearest, including your animal friends.  And thank you everyone who has emailed, commented, texted, written, and been in touch as a result of reading my blogs!  I'm honored that you do this, and I treasure every word from you.


Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Crown, Sugar Cookies Redux, and Libe Case in Point

Today being wildly cold, and since I was coughing, probably cold and dry atmosphere,  I stayed home and warm, with the cats, and watched more of Season One of The Crown, now on dvd at the libe.  PIcked it up yesterday, good timing.

Since I remember a lot of the era it covers, and the footage from then, it was interesting to see it from now, if you follow me.

Claire Foy plays the Queen, and does a terrific job of doing the weird accent she used to speak in, which always sounded like a parody voice.  She's moderated it a lot in recent years, and now sounds just like a horsey countrywoman, which I think she'd like to be anyway.   But back then, when poor old Margaret wanted to marry, shock, horror, a divorced man, pearl clutch, Elizabeth says, yooo went to meddy Petah?  Yes, yes, Margaret says, I doo went to meddy heem!

There are some scenes of the King's surgery which I had to not watch, tmi for me, lung cancer.  But other than that, no big scares.

I remember watching the coronation, I think I was about 12, up the street at one of the few houses with a tv in those days, kids all over the floor invited over to watch the endless doings, and falling asleep halfway through.  

The best part is definitely the Zadok the Priest passage, wonderful music.  Funny that I, a staunch anti-monarchist, should like the soap opera aspect of their lives.  But in my family much more significant was that Edmund Hillary and Tenzing climbed Everest, a big first.  And, an even bigger first, Gordon Richards, famous jockey, won the Derby!  all in the same few days.  Great mood of jubilation about the latter two, but, not being Londoners, but Northerners, fairly modified interest in the coronation.  

We did like Queen Salote of Tonga, refusing to use an umbrella in the usual English downpour, insisting on riding all the way in the procession in an open car, through the streets waving to the crowds, soaking wet, and very gracious about the whole weather thing.

Anyway, when I was picking up, at the library, I saw the usual kid's collection exhibit. Kids get to put their legos and teeny erasers and stuff like that in the glass cases, for a time, usually very young kids, doing their own labels proudly and getting all sorts of praise.  

So the legal notice made me fall down laughing, but I see it's one size fits all.  I didn't notice it on the case in a different part of the libe where I exhibited my artist books, come to think of it.  Maybe it's only little kids who are likely to have subversive finger puppets and dangerous keyrings.

And this afternoon, a pot of tea and a couple of sugar cookies seemed like a Good Thing. 

It's the rest of the Martha recipe, which I froze, and I am here to tell you that it works just fine.  Last minute sprinkle of sugar and lemon zest. Cookies came out lovely, and I have some frozen now again, but cooked, ready to take out next time I have a guest to tea.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Recovering from an excellent Christmas Day and looking out again

Here's Handsome Son, pouring out the prosecco for us to toast ourselves before diving into a great feast.  This was after the cheeses and crackers, and before the chocolates and eggnog...

Then today, I'm able to see outside again, and find that there's another pansy. End of December, these guys are intrepid.  We've had frost, snow, ice and rain, and still they persist.

As does this little downy woodpecker, who sat on the feeder for ages defying the marauding squirrel, which has finally figured out how to get to it. 

 He was on there so long I went out to check if he was stuck, but he flew off when I opened the door, so he's fine, just very annoyed with the squirrel. 


Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Dollivers wish us all a Merry Christmas!

The Ds, rockin' their new draped silk dresses, screams of rage from the four who didn't get a fascinator, when they saw Blondie Firstborn in hers, pacified by having each her own design.  

Those who wanted diagonals got them, NameMe wanted a posh cloak and dress, done.  Blondie Firstborn was the only one who thought of a hat, or titfer as she put it, having studied her cockney rhyming slang, so she got one.  It's possible that by New Year they will have ground me down into making four more.

Anyway, they helped with the creche, minimal decorating this year, and stopped arguing long enough to wish you all a good holiday, a Merry Christmas if that's your celebration and a good New Year to come for all of us. 

And I did a bit of displacement knitting, to help with my general struggle with the season, and have a new slot scarf to show for it. 

This is really fun to make, what with the slot and all. It's sage green, which turned into teal in the camera.

Marigold was snoring gently on the other side of the sofa throughout, she having her own way of coping with everything, which is to sleep through it.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Brunetti and Hygge in Three Clicks

At this time of year, I'm far from celebratory, more like tired and a bit down.  And the political news is not helping. However, all is not lost.  It's the solstice, so the days lengthen a bit from now on.  And the Dollivers are about to have new silk dresses, thanks to a gift from Cynthia C, a stitcher friend, lovely fat quarters in several colors, and it won't take much to make Dolliver dresses for their Great Return.  I have not mentioned this to the Ds, for fear of nagging.

My self care is a lot about mysteries, where evil is found out and punished, and good lives happily ever after, more or less.  Clearly, as Oscar Wilde would say, a work of fiction.

And this week it's Brunetti, the police inspector working in Venice, from Donna Leon's novels.  Very good police procedurals, with humor and real characters and amazingly enough, the main character has a happy home life with teenage kids driving him nuts. 

Anyway, some time ago a German production came out, but only now can I get the series with subtitles, since my German goes as far as how are you, and Hansel and Gretel.  I really recommend this is a series which does live up to some good books, worth your while. The only thing is that unless your German is up to it, you have to watch the screen, no knitting or freecelling, or you'll miss vital bits.

And then I finally got some lights.  I never have lights on trees or on the house, but I now have a little string of white lights wound around the branches of my ficus.  They are light in weight, which is good, since ficus branches bend and snap if you hang anything like a regular ornament on them.

My favorite part is that: there's a remote!  With one click, the lights come on.  Another click, and my fireplace lights up.  Third click, and the dvd is ready to go.  Hygge, that fashionable word for cosy, in three clicks!  Makes me laugh every time.  And the white lights can stay on the tree indefinitely, good in winter.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Pommes vertes au miel au-dessous de deux petites crepes

So, after a large bowl of chicken veg soup, for Sunday supper, there arose the need for some sort of dessert.  After looking around the kitchen in a wild surmise, I finally settled on a Granny Smith apple, which I peeled and cored, love that apple corer, use it all the time, then sliced thin and microwaved for a couple of minutes with honey drizzled about.

Then used up the last of the pancake batter to make two little crepes, well, pancakes, a bit sturdy for crepes.  

And it went down very well. 

So I thought I should give it the pretentious name you see above, no doubt what Aunt Dahlia's French chef Anatole, would have said. And Bertie Wooster would probably have been very impressed with. But I bet Anatole would add a dash of kirsch to the contraption.

Pancake batter keeps for days in the fridge.  Just shove all the ingredients into a blender, I add extra milk to the usual recipe, which comes out too thick for my taste.  And go from there.  A lot less trouble than pancakes usually sound.

Pancakes growing up in my house were usually strictly a ritual Shrove Tuesday event, since making them for a large family is a bit of a pain, so it wasn't a casual sort of thing. And the approved condiments were lemon juice and a scatter of sugar.  No honey, syrup, jam, nothing exotic like that. So I feel quite daring making them any old time, and  using honey instead.   And if you like cinnamon this is a good place to shake some.  Or amchur, come to that.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Plant care with early music

So today a lot of hanging plants took a shower and are now drying off in various sinks and tubs. 

 I've found over many years of plant care, that a lot of plants really love to be totally doused, then drained, rather than just a little bit of water now and then.  I think it may imitate the conditions of nature, where there's a rainstorm followed by a period of dry, at least for these plants. It also washes dust off the foliage, helping them breathe better.  

I have a lot of plants that have to stand on the floor, but I still water thoroughly and use a turkey baster to pull out standing water from the saucers. And the ever-shedding Boston ferns can be shaken into the tub and the foliage swept up later, better than having to sweep the floors.

Even the succulents like this treatment, to my surprise.  As long as there's good drainage, all is well.

Take a look at this staghorn fern, coming on by leaps and bounds, as Bertie Wooster would say. I discovered that submerging it about weekly, then leaving it to drain before putting it back in a western window, filtered light through white cotton curtains, suits it fine.  It's even started a new basal leaf, as you see, that little green plate at the bottom of the antlers.  In fact it's moving so fast I may have to study what to do next. 

And I did this today to the accompaniment of early music, of which I'm a total fan.  Recorder players typically are.  Early meaning medieval to Elizabethan.  The later baroque stuff is not to my taste, too showoff, look ma, I can trill, sort of stuff. I love the purity of the real early stuff.  

Of course, seven years of singing plainsong almost daily in my convent high school (hs started at that time at age 11 in the UK), may have affected my take on this.  We used to sing Masses for visiting priests celebrating in our chapel, which was an unusual one, in that it was fully equipped, consecrated, etc., like a church. Most chapels aren't.  

By the time I left school, I could sing ten different masses, and various other small services. From original plainsong notation, not modern transcriptions. Never occurred to us to think it was hard. Mother Gerardine said sing this, so we did..and most of us played modern instruments at home and could sightread modern music notation, too.  When I see early music now, in manuscript form, I can still sightread it.  Takes me right back to the choir gallery in the chapel.

Today it's Julian Bream's consort playing Elizabethans.  If you want to hear what I'm talking about, go here

Friday, December 15, 2017

Birthday joy, and chicken soup

Lovely day today, total lazy lounging about, receiving greetings, tweets, and this bouquet from sister dogonart

Just lovely, many colors,  has to be seen from all sides.  Posed in the kitchen, because the winter light's best there, hence the colander which got in there.  Perfect for a winter's day, as well as a birthday, thank you!

And since it's cold enough for snow, in fact it's snowing, it was a good day for chicken soup.  

Chicken thighs, carrots, yam, onions, scallions, garlic, extra chicken bones, big sprig of thyme, half a dozen curry leaves, salt, pepper, bit of Worcestershire added at the end.  Blended just a bit but leaving plenty of whole vegetable pieces.  Duncan bullied me into a bit of shredded chicken in his bowl, on the grounds that he wanted some. So now I have supplies of soup, always a good thing.

And I made a cool discovery, after the cable cord on my tablet sort of wore out.  In the course of looking online to see what I should buy to replace it, I discovered in the q and a that I could try any micro charger.  So I tried my Kindle charger, and it works a treat. Also has a much longer cord.  I was so used the notion that each device had its own charger and none matched any other, that I hadn't noticed this distinct improvement. My phone charger works, too. No shopping required after all.

Yesterday's joys included a visit from a couple in search of a birthday present for the wife, and we had a visit, tea, cake, chat, and found that her birthday is in fact today!  Happy Birthday Irene!  Not sister Irene, another one, but she pronounces it the same way.

So I guess we were all happy, they because they liked the monotype they chose, I because I was happy to send it to a good new home, and we were amused to find we were birthmates.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Birthdays, wine corks and washing machines

Some wonderful people are Sagittarians, not that we Sags believe in astrology, so let me shout out Piper, Diane, Mare, Tarang and Anthony, all celebrating this week!  Happy Birthday everyone, and many many more.  What good company.  I wish you all knew each other.  And I do thank all the great people who let me know they're donating to a food or rescue bank, and making it my birthday gift. I know they're all the sort of people who don't need to be asked, but it's lovely to feel I'm included!

Meanwhile, back on earth, before I even got the credit card statement for the washing machine replacement at my rental, my own machine here at the townhouse went the way of all metal.  Dangit, it pretended to go through the cycle, but was only phoning it in when it came to actually spinning and draining.

Sooooo, back to the people I now know by name, to see about another machine.  The good part is that I know who I'm dealing with now, that they did a good job, was it only two weeks ago, and that this time the space for the new washer is standard size, no going all over creation to find something to fit.

After I get my old Honda beater into the dealer tomorrow for a repair, which is probably, judging by the washing machine prices, going to astonish me.  Sigh.

I have to allow for a nice lady who's coming this week to pick out a piece of art, so I'd better wait a few days before I start emptying the walls, currently covered in art, and moving furniture to let the old washer come downstairs, round two corners, and the new one go up likewise.

Also today a not so good encounter at a local pretty upscale supermarket, where the employee I asked for directions to a product I was in search of, started to ridicule my request.  This happened one time before, different employee, and I read the riot act in writing to the manager, who humbly apologized, ran a staff meeting to remind folks of civility to customers, etc., and I eventually began to shop there again.  

This time I  wasn't so flustered, and met the ridicule with a steely glare and a repeat of my request in low, cold tones.  Whereupon the guy went red, his turn to be flustered and stammered, oh, sorry, sorry, didn't mean, uh, I mean..obviously having finally realized people get fired for this kind of  talk to women nowadays. And that I may be old and small and talk funny, but I can handle bigger men than he. And that he doesn't get to decide what's funny to me. So that store is off my list, and anyone who asks will hear why.

On the other hand, this time it didn't take a formal letter of complaint to elicit an apology.  So possibly the #MeToo wave is starting to wash over nonfamous men, too.  Let's hope.

Meanwhile, back to civilization, in the studio..several books on carving and whittling from the library, and I quickly realized that while I wasn't interested so much in what they suggested,  I'm still interested in some sort of carving adventure. 

And until I get my hands on some wood, I also realized, I have another carveable material to hand.  I've made stamps from wine corks, so I don't want to repeat that, but there are other possibilities.  

Since I can't drink my beloved red wine any more, having fingered it as the culprit in my ever increasing heartburn, dangit, why couldn't it have been oatmeal or whitefish or something, I may as well use up the corks anyway.

This will probably involve carving and painting, silly fun. And while I was waiting for the carving books, these slippers happened. 

What you make when you're waiting to make something.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

First snowfall of winter 2017 to 18

After a long fall and mild temps, flowering cherry trees out in bloom last week, we got our first snowfall of the season. Great air of urgency over our couple of inches! probably very amusing to readers in places where snow has been a feature for months already, complete with whiteouts.

I do admit to running out for milk this morning as the snow started, because with terrible timing, I was completely out.  Milk is a vital life force in this house.

Aside from that, my prep consisted of rummaging through my storage closet outside to find my snow shovel.  That's about it. 

Then indoor plant care was needed, complete with lugging plants about, sweeping up all the fallen leaves from the ficus tree, which is nearly eight feet tall, and at this time of year, when the indoor air is dry and warm, starts losing leaves. She'll recover next spring as soon as she can go outside again.  It's the time of year when I have to cut back on how much I do for indoor plants,since they're slowing down now, and trying to get a bit of a rest.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Bored book, chicken and biscuits

Current reading is Bored and Brilliant, really engrossing study of how using tech can splinter our attention, change our brains, and how all is not lost!  A while back I reported on my resolve to recapture my attention span for longer reading, and managed to do it.  Evidently I'm not the only person worrying about thoughts all over the map, and the danger of losing that long term attention span.

And to prove how engrossing it was, I eventually looked up and it was about an hour after I'd planned to start dinner.  That's because when I looked up at the top right corner of the page, there was no time indicator..So I jumped to it, and put the oven on, hot enough for my regular biscuit recipe, a castiron pan in, as it warmed up, then roasted two nice pieces of chicken from the fridge, along with baking the biscuits.  Chicken dusted with kosher salt, lemon zest (from the freezer, always good to have some around) and fennel seeds.

Biscuits done in 12 minutes, at 425F, chicken another ten minutes. Tonight's supper on the plate, tomorrow's chicken and supply of hot biscuits in the background. Really good, and I was able to get back to my book without too much delay. Well, aside from dealing with the smoke alarm which has a personal vendetta against any recipe requiring an oven hotter than a nice gentle 350F.  And toast. It hates toast.

About the book, though, it's really a plan, which people who follow her podcast Note to Self,  know all about, to develop a better use of tech, rather than be leashed to it at all times and feeling unable to complete a task or a thought, even, without checking something, anything.  It's well researched, and I think blogistas who use smartphones more than they ever meant to at the outset might like to look at it.  I heard her discuss the book on WNYC, and since she mentioned her kids, thought at first she had written a board book..noooooo, much better.

Many of our readers are not in the incessant use category, but it's an interesting read, even if for theoretical purposes! A lot of us were, ahem, mature, before the current wave of technology hit, so we have a lot of experience in reading print material, in actual conversation, in real time social life. That helps avoid being overwhelmed.

As an artist, I'm used to focusing on what I need to, and letting my mind go wherever it needs to in the course of developing new works.  In my own experience, the right brain is completely unimpaired by using devices, even my Twitter habit, unlike the analytical left brain, the reading part, which wants everything short and to the point.

I notice, however, and this relates to her point about boredom, that my best art ideas come when I'm tired and have decided to just retire from making art.  Just damn well stop.  That has lasted at most a couple of weeks, then ideas come at me from all over and I have to use them.  And the energy to do it comes back with them. It's emotional as well as mental energy. Art takes a lot of that.  

I think Minoush would probably say, aha, you just stopped dwelling, and let things unfold, that's the point!  And I think it is. Chance favors the fallow mind, as well as the prepared one.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Vicks plant, succulents and incidental finds

At the herb event I attended back in October, I was given a cutting of vicks plant by one of the gardening gurus, and stuck it in water at home until I could see what was what.  This is a velvety plant, which smells of vicks vaporub, in fact I would guess it's the natural origin of that mentholated stuff.  

It promptly rooted in the water, very exciting, then I bust off a piece to see if that would root.  And it did.  So I thought I'd better learn more about this plant.  Turns out it's related to coleus, species plectranthus, no wonder it rooted so obligingly.  And I found a youtube video about propagating, and found it's as easy as busting off pieces and rooting them in potting soil.  They used rooting hormone, which I've never bothered with, not being in a mad rush to get the roots going.

Then, in the course of digging out a suitable pot from the storage closet outside the front door, where I keep a bunch of them with soil in, like prep cooks doing vegetables ahead of time, I picked one out.  And found when the water wouldn't go through very fast, that it was the one I'd put the ginger roots in way back, which I'd given up on.  It got mixed up with the ones with soil but no occupants. But here it goes with a little shoot!  so it's back in the house to await further developments.  When there's something big enough for a pic, I'll pic it.

And another pot did for the little bits of vicks, seen here complete with now empty glass, scissors for cuttings, and spoon, the handle of which made a hole for each cutting.  All highly technical.

Then I put them among their friends, plants do seem to like company, to create a micro climate, but out of the direct sun.  We'll see if we end up with a much bigger set of plants. This is the kitchen, west-facing, window.  Soon I'll have to start cooking in the living room at this rate.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Play with your food!

So I found this idea in Martha Stewart, at the library, today, and thought, hm, that looks like fun.  And I had some wonton wrappers left from the Tiny Pie caper.

Wonton wrappers, folded twice, into quarter moons,  and cut out like those paper stars kids make, unfolded, fried very fast, sprinkled with confectioner's sugar.  I accidentally picked up two one time and had cut them before realizing. So you can do labor saving, and cut them in multiples if you get impatient.

At this point, don't look away for a second!  this is lightning fast frying.

They're crisp, crackly to eat, and just fun, really. 

 Craft and food intersect with this one.

Preserve hike today, bright sun

Great afternoon for a hike on the Preserve, sunny, cold, not windy.  Not many birds in evidence, probably too early in the afternoon, and none on the lake at all.  One sole turkey vulture swooping and soaring overhead, good updraft today.  

Two female deer browsing in the field.  The one you see here in sunlight.

I took a pic from two hundred yards away, and as soon as the little clunk sounded, one of them looked up sharply and watched me for a couple of minutes before she went on feeding. No pix, since their camouflage worked so well in the photo you can't pick them out.

A while later, after I'd walked in the beechwood 

and come out again, she again looked across sharply, but then went on feeding. 

Beaver activity evident today, some big trees felled.  I believe there's a beaver lodge in the lake just below where these trees have been cut down, or gnawed down.

Near here were a couple of fall warblers, judging from the way they fluttered about, like the butterflies of the bird world.  One went to perch in a tall white birch, and was promptly knocked back off it by a robin already in residence.

And I sat at the edge of the lake for a bit, just watching the water. It's very deep indeed here, nobody allowed in or on it, and the fish thrive.

 A fallen cherry tree is host to an interesting colony of fungi which look very much like seashells.

As I got up, a little hitchhiker fell off my sleeve, and began to make her way to some new destination.

So then I came home to tea.


Saturday, November 25, 2017

Dickinson, Durrells and Mendelson

I did some serious loafing and watching this weekend, having done all the gratitude earlier in the week, celebrating Thanksgiving early. I did turn the game hen leftovers into a nice soup, with carrots and spices.  But food not the centerpiece.

Something has to be really good to keep my attention for an entire evening of viewing, without even the relief of freecell going, or a book, or Twitter, or something.  It's the oh look a bird syndrome.

And it's this

a wonderful film, not a movie, about Emily Dickinson, great acting from Cynthia Nixon, Jennifer Ehle, and other superstars and written and directed by Terence Davies, whose work I didn't know before,  but really should have.

You know how in every good novel, film, piece of music, artwork, there's a passage which just says everything? The whole work is just the setting for that diamond? Like the debate between Rosamund and Dorothea in Middlemarch? Like the man's hand of the boy David in the Michelangelo David?

Here it's the scene where Emily has just shown her work to an admired outsider, and is waiting for him to read and react.  Her silent but totally eloquent waiting and all the emotions, suppressed and bursting out and being corralled in her tiny facial movements   we can read, is just a masterclass in how to do it.  

She's not depicted as a heroine, but as quite difficult and flawed as well as a genius, but full of uncertainty mixed with rock solid belief in her work.  Ehle plays her sister Vinnie, and there's a hilarious little point, obviously an in-joke inserted by the writer or maybe by Nixon, where Emily refers to Pride and Prejudice, and Vinnie brushes it off with yes, yes, I know about that.  Remembering her performance as Elizabeth Bennet, in the most famous production of PP there ever was!  It was a delicious moment.

And then, hardly fair to them, I came next evening to see the first season of The Durrells in Corfu, sort of loosely based on Gerald Durrell's My Family and Other Animals.  

It went fine for a couple of episodes, lovely scenery, getting to know a quirky family.  Then it seemed to me that the writers began to think that scenery, wildlife and Keeley Hawes as Mrs. Durrell weren't enough to keep on with, and introduced some wildly awkward subplots and deeply uneasy dialog about sexuality.  

Best roles were the boy playing young Gerry, and the man playing Theodore his tutor. Oh, and the woman playing Lugaretzia, the dramatic housekeeper, was good.  The others were largely overractors, trying so hard to be funny or poignant or something, and just sort of acting. Okay, but it did suffer from being seen after A Quiet Passion.

I doubt if I'll follow them to the second season.  But if you can deal with accordions as well as bouzouki music, you might like this one. 

Then there's a thing I just noticed about this, the great classic tome about housekeeping

Packed with research and detail, and very useful in a lot of ways.  But when it comes to actually making a home, though she claims this knowledge is part of it, I see a gaping hole in her attentions.
I searched all over for mention of houseplants, since to me they are a wonderful source of life, clean air, peace, and a bond with nature, in your home all year.  And there they weren't.  

I looked all over, in the index, nothing under houseplant, nothing under plant, in fact the index goes straight from plague to plastic without stopping at plant.  Then flowers, ah, one reference.  And she means, in a passing, throwaway sort of way, CUT flowers.  Flowers with their heads off, as my mom used to say.  And not important, just a tiny detail you might consider. Just decor.

So, this reminds me of the garden lady, Rosemary Verey, I blogged about some time ago. Despite her wonderful work on gardens she designed and with much generous explanation and help to other gardeners at all levels, she totally fails even to register, let alone discuss, birds and small animals who live in gardens. A vital part of the ecology of the garden, in fact.

This may simply mean that my idea of home is not that of Cheryl Mendelson, true.  But it does seem like a significant lack. Houseplants, even a tiny group, are a great part of the ecology of the home.  What she does write is fabulous, well researched and really well written, what a joy.  And there's a lot on pets. So I'm seeing what she doesn't write, how annoying of me. On the other hand, she spent years writing this one, and maybe she's at work on another massive tome on houseplants.  I kinda doubt it.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017, a bit early, but who's counting

Today was Thanksgiving 2017 chez Boud and visiting Handsome Son.  He's working on Thursday, so we did our celebrating today, both thankful that we're well, solvent, and able to serve another great Thanksgiving dinner.

Last evening, I ensured a very nice day for me today by setting up the game hens, with a couple of hot Italian sausages, lemon slices. 

And set the table, finding all the little cloths that come out of hiding at this time.  Including the Indian one from Kate, seen here on the tea and cheese table, and the Greek one from Donna, on top of the wedding present afternoon teacloth from a lady whose name escapes me. After all these years, it was 1963, the napkins have been worn to shreds and vanished, but the cloth is still lovely, drawn threadwork.  And the hand hemmed green one I made, with a set of napkins, years ago, and use a lot.  The big metal teatray I found in the street, rejected by the recyclers as not aluminum, but sheet iron!  lovely and big, useful.

And the cheese board, another fugitive, in fact another wedding gift,  and the little cheese knife.  And set up the tea tray.  It was great to have it done this morning, particularly when I realized I had no wine, and had to do a store run..

In the middle of the frenzied cooking this morning, about six things all working at once, neighbor came over to ask about Thanksgiving, wondering if I had plans!  I explained I was already doing it, and she laughed, and said, ah, carry on then!  

Nice thought on her part.  I think she worried in case I was ALONE, and didn't want to be. I love ALONE, but give her credit for thinking of it. She's visiting, not familiar with my shenanigans, and I think she thought she should check on the old lady next door..

In fact I have plans for Thursday which involve a lot of loafing, watching of BBC videos and eating a second dinner, leftover from today.  And walking on the Preserve if the weather works out.

So today it was game hens.  These are quite big as these guys go, and one was plenty to share today. The other one partly went home with Handsome Son, along with the rest of a full plate so he can serve himself another Tday dinner when he gets home from work on Thursday.  And sweet potato, stuffing (called dressing, I think, since it's in the oven, crisp on top, not inside the bird), mushrooms, baked potato for HS, corn from the farm, cranberry sauce.  I think I remembered to serve everything, doesn't happen always.

And it was a lovely day.  Crisp sunny weather, son brought good cheeses and crackers, and a pumpkin pie and cream. We got into it to the point of being surprised at seeing people coming home from work.  Oh, not the holiday, after all.  In fact I could check the mail, I suppose.

Usually on Thanksgiving, I get the thankfulness out of the way, then make requests for my upcoming birthday, in a couple of weeks' time, and Christmas, usually just so Handsome Son can plan.  Once again, my birthday gift will be a meal he comes here and cooks for me.  And Christmas I have asked him to give a little gift, food or cash, to the local food pantry.  Seems appropriate that people with plenty to eat can try to spread the goods around a bit.

And I have a request for my faithful blogistas, too.  This year, if you would like to help me mark my birthday (the last one of my seventies) and see out my eighth decade in style, would you please consider a donation to any food related organization of your choice?

Can be international, for children, or local, as in food pantry or bank, but it would be a fab gift to me if you would consider that.  Not that you wouldn't have thought of doing this anyway, but just make it special for me?  Thank you.

Next year I'll start my ninth decade and may be making huge demands...involving diamonds and limos and resorts and who knows what I might just get in now with a modest wish, you'll be glad you did!