Me Do My Stuff

The jarring season approaches. We won’t see fresh local fruit for some time, but I want to be ready. Last year, I was motivated to get something into jars every weekend and did, but doing so was complicated by constant grocery shopping. Time spent searching for agave syrup, kosher salt and capers over and over was time I could have spent much better. I mean, I ran out of capers halfway through a batch of caponata. That’s too stupid to do twice. Today, we started stocking the food preservation pantry with white vinegar, olives, capers, lemon juice, brown sugar, turbinado sugar. Can’t wait to set up buckets of ingredients and label them with Italian words: sale, farina, and zucchero. Next: we find a restaurant supply store that will let me leave with a case of sea salt without taking a hostage.

Yesterday's clothesline drama; in the background, debris you might remember from the house fire next door.

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Blame It On the Train But

Last year's spinach variety turned out to be perennial. Is that normal?

WordPress is a dog. Sometimes text is invisible; sometimes it’s visible only with certain browsers. I’m sorry: that’s bad code. Look, how am I supposed to be a storyteller when someone’s screwing with my words? The caption for the photo to the left here is “Last year’s spinach variety turned out to be perennial. Is that normal?” The picture is key but the question is crucial. What the fuck, why did last year’s Asian variety of spinach, the name of which eludes me, volunteer? Isn’t spinach an annual?

Pete spruces up the concrete foundation for the clothesline after setting up the rain barrel.

Pete set up the rain barrel to capture runoff from the top of the garage. This represents progress. We would like to pick up at least three more rain barrels this year and more after that. Four rain barrels in the front of the house would go along way toward cutting down summer water use. As for the clothesline: the other day, I looked out the window and the thing was nearly perpendicular to itself, so this morning, Pete mixed up some concrete and poured a larger anchor. This is really good news, as we remain committed to using the clothesline whenever weather permits. We used it a few times over the winter, but it was shaky. In few days: not so much.

There’s a lot of work ahead of us, but we feel like we’ve got a good start.

No Anchovies, Please

Pete’s decided to make bagels from scratch, I kid you not. There’s dough resting in the fridge for some sort of crazy boiling and baking ritual tomorrow that he assures me will result in actual bagels. Until he announced that he would do this, I would have thought making your own bagels from scratch would have been just about as possible as my flying to the moon. So we’ll see what happens.

This afternoon, the extended family got together to spring a surprise birthday party for my sister Corinne at Corinne’s mother’s house two towns over. Pete and I drove over after we closed the family stores at 6 and found the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party-themed soire in full madness. The kids ran in every direction. The adults streamed from room to room for reasons unknown to me. At one point, half my family and a bunch of strangers piled into the basement. Pete and I sat on a couch in the dining room, perplexed, but from our perspective, it was a nice gesture, them leaving us alone with the colorful and enchanting dessert buffet. I should send them a card or something.

After an hour or so, we had to leave. The supermoon was rising, helicopters circled overhead and News12 New Jersey was mum about the cause. The fourth pass by the helicopter signaled an end to my socializing. I stepped between Pete and one of my nieces and pushed him out the front door, yelping something like, “The thing about leaving is that the going requires you actually go.”

Topaz is curled up on my left, one paw over her nose. Sweetpea snores and twitches on my right hip. Pete’s sitting in a chair, head back, eyes closed. I’m almost ready for sleep. Drusy alone hunts in the kitchen, eyes bright. She knows something. We may find out what in the morning.

A Roller Coaster And I Am Not

This here is Ground Zero for my particular kind of crazy.

Pete and his father renovated the kitchen about fifteen years ago. As designs for shared kitchens go, it’s perplexing: six-foot persons should share it with seven-foot persons and all of them should be skinny like cornstalks. I would put things I used often where I could reach them and Pete put them back up where I could not. I told him to quit it; he told me to use the fuzzy, rickety folding stool. I explained how we were gonna get divorced with the help of a wood chipper if he didn’t quit hiding the crystallized ginger behind the kosher salt; he laughed and I rearranged his salt collection. The third time the bottle of olive oil fell on my head I swore in three languages and bought this spice rack. We scrubbed out the cabinet, brought bottles and jars down from the top two shelves and Pete and I did not get divorced.

Be There For Bungling At Which

Topaz curled up in my lap an hour ago and my legs fell asleep. The tiny tiny cat is insistent that no task at hand could be more important that petting her. I can barely reach the keyboard, but what’re you gonna do? Topaz is a cat; ergo: her logic is impeccable.

Tomorrow is the last appointment for this round of physical therapy, which I described to my doctor as “my new lifestyle.” The future in which I plan my own daily exercise regimen is nearly upon us. The weather has changed from frozen to muddy, but the temperature is rising a bit every day. By next week, I’m hoping to climb back on the bicycle and crisscross the river on sunny work days. Last Saturday, I met a Hatha Yoga teacher and though the idea of sitting cross-legged on a cool floor meditating fills me with several kinds of dread, a weekly class four blocks from my house makes a whole lot of sense.

Well, what the hell. While other people are omming, I can warble Why Do Fools Fall In Love.

A block from the yoga teacher’s new digs a tai chi school has set up shop with an eye-catching program for arthritics. Classes are ungodly expensive and the schedule is a little confusing. I’m thinking this seems like a practical way to burn some vacation days if I suddenly win the lottery. Today, I had a hard time sashaying from the library to my car. Maybe I should ease on down to the drug store and buy a lottery ticket.