Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Channeling My Inner Princess

I visited a friend last week and she asked the simple question- "Don't you ever do something without worrying what someone else will think?" I honestly answered "no." Bad answer.

Somehow the question rolled the conversation around to what you wear. Why can't we just be like little girls and wear the things that make us the happiest. We discussed throwing a party with the theme of "Princess" where everyone just puts on their favorite clothes with total disregard for matching, appropriateness and propriety. My role model would definitely be my four year old niece featured in the gallery of photos to the left..... she does a pretty mean monkey face.

The next morning I regarded my jewelry selection which included many rhinestone treasures from the boyfriend's vintage collection. I love looking at them but rarely wear them. Throwing caution and conventional taste to the winds I put on two pink rhinestone selections to adorn my periwinkle cashmere sweater.

My 8 AM meeting started with compliments for the jewelry and kept on up through the day. People loved the pin in particular- which is a real knock-out piece! I am thinking I need to put conventional tastes aside and pull out my red shoes and rhinestone jewelry a little more.

Viva La Princess!

Minor Rule of Life

Henry in his warm weather sleeping position. In the colder months he curls up into a fur muffin.

I have a little rule for myself: never walk past my dog without reaching down to pat him. It is not quite as obsessive as running back to the house to check if I turned off the coffee pot or tapping on a door frame three times before entering, but a rule nevertheless. Sometimes I forget and have to turn around to complete the task.

Why? You might ask........ if I didn't do it I would feel it was an opportunity lost. That could be an opportunity lost to express my affection for my dog or just a more general opportunity to reach out (literally) and change a moment.

Or I suffer from a mild form of ocd.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cooking with Gas

Last night I left work a little early to make chile rellenos for my annual Mexican/birthday Fiesta in January. If you are a Capricorn you either embrace the season and throw a sliding party or you search the cuisine of the Southern Hemisphere to find an appropriate way to pretend the weather outside is balmy. As a young girl sliding parties seemed adequate. Now tequila & tamales seems a far better way to go. But, I digress....

We finally had a hard frost a couple of nights ago necessitating the garden purge. All fruits and vegetables were picked and shuttled to our house for safekeeping. This means everything needs to be eaten, frozen, cooked.... or composted. The poblano chile crop tipped the scales at about 1/3 bushel. That's a lot of chiles!

It is also a lot of chile rellenos. I roasted, skinned,and deseeded for about three hours. The on to the actual assembling. I stuffed them with Monterrey jack cheese, dipped them in egg and then dredged them in corn meal.... for a gluten free relleno. I fried. They cooled. Then I wrapped them all between layers of plastic wrap and into the freezer. My party will be in January.... it almost makes you long for winter!

Bon Apetit!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I Had The Time of My Life

He isn't Patrick Swayze, but....

The other day at work my young colleague announced "I just have to say this. I am so sad that Patrick Swayze died. I just loved him in Dirty Dancing."

Really now. I did some math and then asked her if she was even born when it was made.

"Two years before- in 1985."

How did she know when this movie was made?!?!?

"Oh, I have a copy of it. All of my friends do."

I confessed I had never seen the movie so she generously lent it to me. Last night I watched it. The critics were right. It was a bad movie- hokey plots, bad lines, predictable outcomes. But I can see why the movie has staying power. Patrick Swayze is every girl's dream of the misunderstood, bad boy who really is noble, intuitive, sensitive and don't forget "Oh my God, look at that body!" While the movie was undeniably steamy, there was still a lot of innocence to it. The steamiest scenes were always on the dance floor. The film made me smile- right down to the oft quoted "Nobody puts Baby in a corner" and Swayze's athletic leap off a stage. I don't think a woman in the world would kick him out of bed for eating crackers.

I wonder how I had managed to never see this iconic film. Where was I in 1987? Perhaps I had just moved to Taos, New Mexico and was too hip to partake of the death knell of disco. But my youth is complete now that I have seen Dirty Dancing. And I, too, am sad that Patrick Swayze died.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Back on the No-Wheat Wagon


So for a brief couple of months my body was all copacetic with the ingestion of all things gluten. After almost 10 years of intolerance of the stuff I went on a bender. I was eating bagels! And real pasta! Cookies! I suppose if it had tasted better I would have eaten whole bags of flour.

Of course- old habits die hard. I couldn't seem to remember that I could make sandwiches with bread instead of rice cakes. I continued to eat my cheese and crackers without the crackers.

Then things started going a little haywire about a month ago. My lower legs started itching wildly, then my torso. Red dots broke out and I had scratched my legs raw in some areas. My knee and ankle joints hurt to the point where I curtailed my walking. These things could be chalked up to an over active imagination prone to hypochondria. Then the other shoe dropped.... constant diarrhea.

I had a final bagel and called it quits. I was back on the no-wheat wagon. Within two weeks my symptoms have disappeared. With a quick shrug of the shoulders I have accepted my fate. I am going to miss all that good stuff, but worse things in life have happened. I have already been through the experimenting stage to see what makes a good gluten free muffin, how to pack a satisfying lunch and how to find GF snacks in convenience stores for the occasional hunger attack. I'll live.

I suppose I should be thankful for my brief reprieve.

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Quick Look-See

Nothing too special going on the garden beyond its usual wonderfulness. Although it could be mistaken for Versailles, what with all the weeding, sculpting & primping I have been doing. I am still loving this new sculpture.

My hydrangea didn't bloom very well this year. I experimented by cutting it all back to the ground this past fall. That could be its problem. Or the lack of sunshine coupled with too much rain this summer could be the cause of its non-performance. Not a huge loss (like the Rose Chafer Beetles eating my Peonies), but something to be noted.

This is the best Hosta I own. Its gold color, seer-sucker leaves and sheer size make it a knock out. I wish I knew what variety it was, but many of my Hostas were saved an ignominious death in a formerly well tended garden going quickly to ruin.

I love fall.

Ode to the Garden's Bounty

It is that time of year when everything is looking mighty tempting in the boyfriend's garden. The tomato plants were really whipped by a blight from all the rain but still managed to produce. They look a bit pathetic with so few leaves but are covered with the most important thing- big, juicy tomatoes!

These are some winter squash that are as big as bowling balls. I LOVE winter squash almost as much as I love my new Helenium!

The fenced off area where we keep the compost operation doubles as a grape arbor. This year the vines have crept right across the top creating a green gate way. It looks in to some old broccoli plants. If I squint my eyes a bit I can pretend I am in a French cottage garden.

Every year the boyfriend worries that the Poblano Peppers will not pull through, but this year looks to be another bumper crop. They are a favorite of mine. Their earthy and slightly piquant flavor makes the best Chile Rellenos.

He grows lots of things just for me- beets are one of them. They are a lot of work to prepare and cook, but they are a childhood food memory for me that makes me smile. These are the size of softballs!

I think I'll go eat!

New Love

I was consulting with a neighbor/friend, who happens to be one of my gallery artists (whose show is opening this coming Friday- shameless plug!), about extending the garden at our local library. We both love gardening and are quite serious about it. Perhaps one of these days I will do a post on her charming gardens.

After a little poking in the soil to determine that tree roots will keep us from doing several things, she suggested that we do a little field trip to a traffic circle in a neighboring town. Just 200 feet up the road she had an even better suggestion. "There is a tiny little nursery called Robert's Greenhouse in a tiny little town. " The nursery is so tiny that it doesn't even have its own website. So away to Webster, NH we drove.

It had a field full of sheep panting in the September sun to keep my dog occupied and a fine selection of good looking plants. Despite the freeze on my plant buying budget I broke down and bought this Red & Gold Sneezeweed- I prefer the more sophisticated name of Helenium. Its beautiful velvety red flowers made me weak in the knees.

It took me two days to decide where its permanent home would be..... next to my low blue spruce. The rusty red is a perfect foil for the blue green. I am in love. Who knew at this age?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Night Walk

This time of year is so pretty as the day turns into night. Fog rolls in. The skies are so clear and full of stars. The humidity no longer weighs down every step.

This is the field next to my house looking towards Bald Sunapee, my very still windmill and the moon illuminating my driveway.

Ahhh..... fall!

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

The boyfriend has been pestering me to customize his old beater pick-up with agricultural plates for quite some time. He uses it to pick up hay, manure, etc.

Looks pretty speedy- aye? Covers up some rust too.