Sunday, December 31, 2023

Last day of the year, 123123!

Yesterday I suddenly felt like making a Tiny Tapestry, hauled out my lovely handmade and signed Hokel handheld loom, and here's what happened

Still on the loom in case I feel like making another little house on the same warp. 

The plants have been repatriated next door, except the bromeliad is staying here and I'm free cycling my spider plant.

Let's hope for a better year coming up.

Happy New Year everyone, thank you for taking part here this year, and we'll continue in the new year which is already here in the Southern hemisphere.

photo AC

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Chili and other good ideas

Yesterday afternoon was spent on the Making of the Firefighter Chili. Here's where the recipe is to be found

They give the recipe for a huge crowd, hence the men stirring a  vat, but they do give a column for the family size, too

And here are the spices, looking and smelling wonderful, right before they joined the onions and garlic and ground turkey then tomato paste in the pot. After this the tomatoes and the broth and they use cornmeal, I use chickpea flour, for thickening.

This recipe is really a journey of scents and textures. It takes a couple of hours, start to bowl, and makes about six big helpings.

Scallions and grated cheddar on top. It's a great recipe, very recommended. It's hot, and I sneeze and tear up and thoroughly enjoy it. 

 The mail brought this nice material from the Arbor Day people, with questionnaire about trees and prizes. 

Yes, it's a fundraiser.  I think the foundation may be past its day now, what with HOAs and cities making tree decisions, however you see I did use the bookmark right away in my WCK cookbook. I think bookmarks too are a bit of a relic, though I have quite a few.

And since I recently tossed out the squirrels'  favorite, butternut squash seeds, it was only a short time before they showed up to fight over them, this one playing King of the hill

While I'm waiting for Yellowface, another library selection came in, which I confused with another writer, thanks, Sue.

This one stunned me by opening in a location a few miles from here, at a Jewish funeral, before moving to Manhattan, Brooklyn and Ithaca in the course of the narrative. 

The central figures, officially narrated by a fourth, later child, but really an omniscient narrator,  are in vitro triplets from a wealthy family.  They feel no connection with each other, attributing it, dubiously, I think, to their petri dish start. There's their wildly wealthy art collector father,  and complications of Cornell, (hence Ithaca, for non American readers, its location), sexual orientation,  infidelity, issues of art as experience and as commodity, and wait,  there's more.. 

Paintings also show up as characters, by Brice Marsden, Cy Twombly and others of the time, real ones in the fictional collection, with roles in the story. There's also what used to be known snobbishly as Outsider Art, understood by the collector,  but seen as puzzling lucrative commodities by the art world's insider dealers and agents. 

It's the art of untrained people, often with religious significance, sometimes in the throes of mental illness, often stunning in effect, but there's the, well grounded, I think, fear of artist exploitation by the art establishment.  Anyway this book has a lot to say,  in an accessible, unselfconscious style, and I'm finding it gripping. Its narrative is full of real toads in imaginary gardens.

Since New Year's Eve is almost upon us, when we're all supposed to wear hats, blow horns and generally get all partied up, or feel envious/guilty if we don't,  I thought you'd like this absolution

Simple pleasures for simple folk. Happy day,  everyone, enjoy the weekend with your version of reading, food, or hats and horns.

Friday, December 29, 2023

Misfits, Yellowface

 Tiny misfits order this week

mainly about the pot of chili from World Central Kitchen I plan to make to go into the New Year, with a green salad.

And I've read a sample of this, now waiting for my turn at the library. It's a novel about a westerner, a writer, whose wildly successful young Asian writer friend dies suddenly, leaving a powerful manuscript unpublished. She presents it as her own, and I'm waiting to find out how it goes. 

It's a reflection on appropriation of currently sought after minority identity, cultural assumptions, plagiarism, and I expect more. Very readable, so I hope my turn comes soon.

End Game didn't come through with the hoped for forecasting about the English establishment, but it was okay, much of it I knew from other sources.

And speaking of different viewpoints, here's one

 And here's a favorite viewpoint. I love her buildings, much more than the flower paintings. They're quieter, eloquent.

Happy last weekend of the year,everyone, enjoy it like all the others. I started my own new year on my birthday, with the poem a day. Which I'll go and read now.

Photo AC

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Chicken soup, visitors and Shakespeare

Yesterday I simmered and simmered the rest of the roast chicken, still with meat on it, with plenty of garlic powder and onion powder, then added in the last of the corn and peas from Christmas, and the spaghetti. 

And now I have half a  dozen bowls of really good chicken soup, doesn't look exciting, but it's really lovely. Those little free range chickens from Misfits evidently have a short life but a  happy one,  judging from the old fashioned flavor.

And yesterday's plans to read and veg out were punctuated by many sudden  irruptions from Gary  with a variety of things he suddenly wanted to tell me, largely about wildlife he'd found indoors in the course of removing built-ins in order  to replace the floor.

Evidently he had a colony of crickets and a habitat in one place, a nest of ants in another. So he's added in  removing these to the plans.

Then in the evening, these plants came to visit until after the floor is finished. The bear is  examining them with interest.

Yes, this senior is far from isolated and lonely! For someone who lives alone, it's amazing how often my activities are interrupted!

And after I'd finished shellacking Shakespeare the other day, the poem of the day yielded this gem, to remind us he's a great poet.

Happy day,  everyone, when the rain stops and our local flooding recedes, I'll get out walking, to see the  shapes of winter trees again.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

It's about tea and reading

It's the time of year when Christmas, which affects everyone including non celebrants, is over, the calendar New Year isn't here yet, it's cold and dark and raining all over the planet, so here's the plan. The setup

the current (re)reading from the complete Provincial Lady on my Kindle, still as funny as ever, and highly recommended.

Current listening while I knit, the latest Andy Carpenter and dogs mystery

Then a movie to be picked up on DVD from the library for viewing pleasure just unserious stuff I'm finally getting around to now that I find Emma Thompson is in it.

And upcoming reading

I saw him in an extended interview with Meredith Constant and was impressed by his quiet, intelligent analysis, with aspects of history, here Royal history, I hadn't thought of. 

This is a long serious book about the juncture of the current English establishment, which I think is worth some time, given the current juncture of the Western world.  It's not the gossipy froth the tabloids would like you to think. 

Meanwhile, yesterday was the follow up with my doctor who asked me to bring in my own bp cuff to check its accuracy against hers. Readings on both are high, mine higher, the little overachiever, and after she'd listened to areas all over with a stethoscope, probably in search of some sneaky problem, she concluded that we can just increase one med. She also said don't worry about measuring bp for now. See her in February.

So that's fine for now, and happy birthday, did I have a good time, she's very good on spotting potential loneliness in single seniors.  This senior is doing fine.

Happy day everyone, enjoy your reading and listening and if you have any recommendations, please mention them.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Christmas present and past

We had a lovely day, thank you all for your good wishes. 

Our dinner was a joint affair, Handsome Son bringing ham, roast potatoes, ginger ale, crackers, eggnog, plus home baked cookies from his co worker, sent for me! Joined with the  cheese, vegetables and cranberry sauce, and the many edible gifts around here, we did very well. Also pots of tea.

After he left, I slept quite a while.

One Christmas Day when he was quite young, we took him to the reenactment of General Washington crossing the Delaware, on Christmas Night, 1776,  only about 45 minutes from here, figuring that every American should see this at least once,  to pay our respects.

If you're not familiar with one of New Jersey's main claims to fame, read on

And, credit where it's due, here's the militia group that did the heavy lifting of getting Washington's Durham boat  across a wild river in a snowstorm.   Many other boats were also commandeered to get the army across.

Nowadays the  reenactment is done in daylight, and only weather permitting!

The scene of the Battle of Princeton is about a 15  minute drive, from here, well known locally. Inger and Steve, I expect you're familiar with it. New Jersey is full of historic places where battles were fought, and when I had Brit guests, I'd take them around to all these places where we  were hammered yet again and got our little red coats all dirty. 

And here's a Christmas wish from my friends including dog Jennie, who among many good social works, knit in their rec. time, well, Jennie helps, and include my socks and gloves in their knitted offerings to the County outreach which cares for homeless people.

I particularly like that a community dressed in black and white has a black and white dog and cat. Harmony.

Third from left is Sister Monica, my knitting contact person, and second from right Sister Suzanne Elizabeth, who arranged the goldwork embroidery workshop a few years ago which changed the direction of my artwork. Much to thank them for. They're all stars in their professions, aside from being nuns, scholars, social workers, a force for good. 

My reading is also historic. I finally got around to Crome Yellow, Aldous Huxley's first, much quoted and referenced, novel. It's a satire on the mores of his time, full of real people and places, disguised and fooling nobody.

It's pretty heavy going, doesn't hold a candle to his later brilliant essays. I think, once again, that the early twentieth century English canon is full of works written and published by a tiny group of people with great social standing and privilege. I doubt if they'd make it in a competitive modern publishing world. Mitford, Forster, Waugh, Greene, readable, but I don't think the same works by writers without their access would have been accepted. 

I'm always a bit sceptical about "classics" for this reason. Some, such as Middlemarch, A La Recherche,  all of Austen, are certainly works of genius, but there's a lot we needn't get all excited about. 

Even the great Shakespeare was best in the tragedies and histories. His comedies are just plain unfunny, the tedious old Falstaff clunking about, usually overacted, probably good in their time in a different environment, different audience.

On a cheerier note, here's a little bouquet, courtesy of Emma Mitchell. 

Happy day everyone! Enjoy your day despite grouchy bloggers!

There's usually some kind of little bouquet to be found.