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Sunday, October 29, 2006  

Just a note - blogger isn't playing well with many folks, myself included, so expect intermittant posts. Check the new website for posts too. Might have to send in the troops to straighten those folks out in the meantime.

Batten down the hatches! Nature is sweeping things clean today so everything will be nice and tidy for winter. Right?

My constant companion - my camera - had to go for a vacation in New Jersey, so I can't show you right now the new fabric I got for the new quilt that's percolating. I'll get out my older camera in awhile and see how that goes.

Meanwhile I've been doing some house stuff, with mixed results. Oh well.

Nature's doing a good job though. If I hadn't mowed Friday I wouldn't have had to do anything about the leaves anyway.

And in my downstairs report, the worms are doing pretty darn good. They seem to be munching everything I've given them and Fortune will be glad to know - they just gobble up coffee grounds. All good!

Written at: 10/29/2006 11:32:00 AM

Sunday, October 22, 2006  
What the Wind Left Us

In spring the tent worms
Gnawed the leaves to nubs
And left the brown woods
Fringed in green.

The summerís record highs
Between crushing rains bent us
All down and swept away the rest.

So when fall came round, there wasnít
Much hope of familiar peak.
No need to pack a day-trip lunch
Yesterdayís rain was blinding,
Driven by a mean push of wind.

What the wind left us:
The hills bound up with twigs
Wearing an old wool shirt
Found hung behind a door.
The Berkshires show me Fall.

Not perhaps like Louisí glory
But more the glow
Of a slim gold ring
On a well-worn hand.

Written at: 10/22/2006 08:15:00 PM


I've begun some serious development work on the WordPress version of this. If you want to see what's going on and give your two cents, you can click the Orientation::Quilter II link in the blogroll at left or go here. I'm sort of done with the styling of the two sidebars. Now it's on to the title area and the ordering of the main content area.

Jolly. That whole CSS thing is coming back to haunt me. Mainly what I spent last night doing is doing trial and error hunting to determine what style codes are attached to what (hence some of the funkier font uses still in place). Commenting! Or - CLEAR commenting code writers!

Written at: 10/22/2006 11:22:00 AM

Saturday, October 21, 2006  

Seems like only yesterday, but true -- five years for iPod!

My original 5 gig iPod is still going strong, too. As is my 10 gig...

Written at: 10/21/2006 05:17:00 PM

Sunday, October 15, 2006  

And now for a different kind of religion...

Perhaps the delightful Suzette would like to comment on the appearance of a new edition of The Joy of Cooking as reported in the NYT mag as well today? We have had discussions in the past about the value of old vs new versions of cookbooks. One of my favs, for example, is the c1974 paperback Fannie Farmer Cookbook that my grandmother gave everyone for christmas one year. Mine is in tatters and in fact I picked up an identical copy on ebay, just as insurance.

Suzette is a big fan of JoC (despite their weird legal eagleness) but eschews newer versions for an older, gentler one that had useable recipes. On her advice, I purchased a nice 1964 edition on ebay that looks lightly used, couple of spots, worn dust jacket. It has two marking ribbons. These currently mark "remoulade" and a two page spread of pot roast, brisket and sauerbrauten. How will she feel about a new one if it has, as the NYT implies, sushi tips? This should be good for a few weeks of topics, eh?

Just to stir things up (ooops) I notice that the page facing the foreword of my copy bears the following:

"That which thy fathers have bequeathed to thee,
earn it anew if thou wouldst possess it."

goethe: Faust

Written at: 10/15/2006 11:40:00 AM


Your regularly scheduled program will return shortly

While reading the NYT magazine, this interview with John Ashcroft just stopped me in my tracks. I enjoy this column in the the mag because they often do ask questions that are a little forward and get some apparently pretty candid responses. This one takes the cake. No offense to anyone's politics or religion, but here goes.

Donít all the major monotheistic religions ó Judaism, Christianity and Islam ó teach compassion?

In some cases, they do. I canít really speak for them. Iím a Christian for a variety of reasons. Maybe because itís easy. What I have to do to please God is to confess that I am a sinner instead of trying to prove that I am good.

So you see yourself as a sinner?

Yes. I fail and do things that I wish I didnít do.

Such as?

Iím unkind on occasion, and I am selfish. For me, embracing the Christian faith is something that I do not because I am good but because I am not good, because I need help.

Carry on.

Written at: 10/15/2006 11:25:00 AM

Saturday, October 14, 2006  

People ask me if I have a bread machine. The answer is no, for many reasons, but taken out to the extremes, I don't have room for Pearl, my kitchenaid mixer on the counter, let alone a bread machine. Anyhoo, Fortune mentioned Carlo Middione's blog and in her pick of his posts is this great quote:

Even though a lot of people like bread baking machines, I don't. If I had a choice of no fresh-baked bread because I did not want to use my oven or use a bread making machine, then of course, I would do so. But making bread essentially by hand is my idea of deep satisfaction; craft at work.
No offense to bread machine users - keep making bread and enjoying it!

I was more struck by that last line. Since what I do other than bread-making is something stuck (for good reasons) in the art v craft debate, this strikes me as a wonderful concept: craft at work. I've always thought that the craft part is learning your chops, getting the skills, becoming familiar with the medium. Then, you add yourself, and it goes beyond and is art.

Written at: 10/14/2006 09:53:00 AM

Tuesday, October 10, 2006  

Holy cow! This will include my quilt!

Just when I was starting to calm down a bit....

Written at: 10/10/2006 10:46:00 PM


From the quote box:

If one advances confidently in the direction of their dreams, And endeavors to lead a life which they have imagined, They will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. -- Henry David Thoreau

I think I mentioned that I had been reading Walden, and found it was just packed full of quotes that I've collected over the years. There were parts I had to read out loud to figure out the direction of the sentences, and I'll admit to liking his accounts of the experience perhaps a little more than the political parts... but I think I would have enjoyed meeting him in the woods. We could have looked at long skinny things together.

I've long thought that the most important thing for all of us to do is just to look around and actually see what's there.

Written at: 10/10/2006 10:26:00 AM


Now, it could be the pears and syrup that are keeping me a little buzzy. Or it could be all the running around, filling out, proof-reading, labelling, stuffing, de-linting, packaging, double-checking, scheduling, waving bye bye..... and then realizing that two sheets of paper didn't get into the package! eeks! Oh no! OK, it can still get there. No prob.

Certainly the appeal of some Schadenfreude Pie while laughing at my own foibles. Naomi thinks my next incarnation will be as a pastry chef to the dark side. :-) Or you can enjoy my stress of getting the quilt and all the paperwork out, and my missing it already and I'll eat the pie. I'm thinking really dark chocolate here. Hello - checklist anyone?

Written at: 10/10/2006 10:06:00 AM

Monday, October 09, 2006  

Got red pears?

Friends - if not, GET red pears!

You know I love them, and it's so rare to get them that they're really good. But friends, you can have a true heavenly experience even if your pears aren't squeezably ripe, so long as they have real pear aroma. Beware pears that have been juiced-on by squished pears in transit.

OK, got pears? Make a sugar and water syrup. Not even as sugary as a normal simple syrup (equal amounts of water and sugar). Maybe a cup and a half of water and a couple TB of sugar? You judge. Depends on how many pears you want to cook and the shape of your pan too. And how crazy you go about the resulting syrup! the pears should be mostly covered with syrup later on.

Bring that to a simmer, throw in some powdered ginger. You can use fresh, but no need. We're talking comfort food. Add a dollop of port if ya's got. Red wine will do in a pinch. Just a splash. Fill the wonderful syrup with pears that you've washed, and then cut into 6 or so big pieces, taking out any core-bits. Leave that wonderful red skin on. Cut straight down on opposite sides of the core. Cut down the remaining two sides. Cut the first two big pieces in half. Done.

Simmer until the pears are firm but cooked all the way through.

Sit down and try not to eat the whole pot and try not to drink all the syrup. Best served warm.

Repeat as often as possible. Don't say you weren't warned. If asked, you can say this is a pear compote. It would work with good apples, too. I'm done.

Written at: 10/09/2006 12:31:00 AM

Sunday, October 08, 2006  

For those unafraid of loooooong skinny things, I offer links to photos (and for those afraid of loooooong skinny things, you can thank me for not just posting the images here).

  • What I almost stepped on during a walk yesterday.
  • His much larger, nearby friend*
  • My adventures in worm composting, which has been quite successful so far in reducing my garbage to trashcan mass. This began about two weeks ago. My goal was to find a way to compost organic matter year-round. There's not much incentive for having to shovel a long path to a backyard compost pile in January...

* Both of these have been identified via herp-loving friends and photos as being garter snakes. The first one is specifically an eastern variant. Apparently the longer one is another variant. The more common variety can be seen here.

I am not afraid of long skinny things, although when the first one changed from a cold-slowed, dead-looking thing to a coiled-up, hissing thing, I paused to reflect. And having just walked into a woods, over a stone wall in late afternoon, I paused a few more minutes to carefully scan the ground for more. That's when I saw number 2. I looked some more and then I carefully walked out, leaving them to soak up the last few BTUs of the day.

And on a different topic, this just in from the quote box:

Victory belongs to the most persevering. -- Napoleon Bonaparte

Written at: 10/08/2006 01:49:00 PM

Saturday, October 07, 2006  

OK, I'm still pretty excited by this week's new re Quilt National, but hey, there's paperwork to do, threads to snip, labels to make (could you tell I wasn't really planning on having to send it anywhere?), shipping to arrange.

But here's something even more exciting: I have an idea for a new quilt! What great timing. Not sure when I'll start it, but I'm got some plans.

Not that I was really concerned, but don't we all sometimes have that moment of doubt after finishing something big, something that's a bit beyond us - what if that's all there is?

OK, not this time anyway!

Written at: 10/07/2006 10:07:00 AM

Thursday, October 05, 2006  
1969 - The first episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus was broadcast on BBC1.
Thanks to the "on this day" section of Wikipedia. And somehow seems so appropriate, eh? No? What? You ask, WHY am I talking about Monty Python? I wasn't expecting a kind of Spanish Inquisition! And now returning to our normal programming.

Written at: 10/05/2006 12:30:00 AM

Wednesday, October 04, 2006  

Yes the cat, I mean the secret, is out of the bag: I got a very exciting email or two from the folks at Quilt National saying my quilt was accepted. I think I'm still seriously in the Oh.My.GAWD phase!

This quilt, "Brush" is one that was not made in my normal process, instead starting life as a bunch of blocks I made at a getaway weekend because I was between projects and didn't have an idea in my head of what to do for three days. So it was started in late May and finished for the QN deadline in September. Record time!

More details to come, but looks like a road trip to Ohio come May.

Written at: 10/04/2006 12:53:00 AM

Sunday, October 01, 2006  

As John and Paul wrote:

Listen, do you want to know a secret
Do you promise not to tell, woh, woh, woh
Closer, let me whisper in your ear
Say the words you long to hear
More to come. More to come.

Written at: 10/01/2006 06:29:00 PM


Give in to math. Accept what many know: Databases rule the world.

Written at: 10/01/2006 11:05:00 AM

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