Thursday, October 16, 2008

Random Notes on the Day

Up at 4:30 a.m. 24 degrees. Getting up before 5:00 a.m. feels semi-adventurous, even when nothing extraordinary is planned.

Fire building time. No heat can possibly feel as nice on a frosty morning as the heat radiating from a wood stove. I'm happy-thankful for that nice stack of wood sitting on the deck.

A banana-strawberry-orange smoothie tastes really, really sweet first thing in the morning. No sweeteners were added, but, still, the taste, at least today, seems next to mainlining sugar. That banana was too ripe.

Oh, I love the low early morning sunlight when it makes the western hills turn pink. I can't stop looking at that beautiful sight. Morning is such a lovely, fresh, hopeful time. "Your mercies are new every morning..."

Morning coffee. Morning spirit. Across from the woodstove. The sun might be shining, but it's cold outside!

Looking through Donna Hay's book, The Instant Cook, as I stay warm by the fire. I definitely need to cook from this book more often. Her food is so pretty and delicious, and all of these recipes are easy. Have got to try that Carmelized Pear and Rocket Salad because it's perfectly seasonal right now (and I'm getting delicious arugula from my CSA). Why do they call arugula "rocket" in Australia?

An email from my one and only big sister. Sooo nice to read. I have an image of this sister in my head right now. She's just arrived home from a day in first grade, wearing a cute little Swiss-looking pinafore dress, hair braided and sort of mussed. She's standing in the kitchen talking to Mom, and I'm looking at her, suddenly struck with reverence and awe and bursting admiration. I go in the bathroom and try to braid my too-short hair. I want to be like my sister. I love my family and miss them all.

Cleaning the house a day after a visit from Michelle and the boys brings a smile to my face. A stack of picture books on the rocking chair. More books on the ottoman. Another picture book or two on the floor. A few legos strung across the family room. The boys' plastic cups in the dish drainer. The afghan in a messy ball on the big chair. Those boys are spunky little bundles of smiles, songs, dirt, energy, and joy.

This morning's low temperature dropped to only 24 degrees, so why does it feel so extra chilly in the extremities of the house today? Maybe it's more humid than usual?

A fleece jacket is much warmer than a cotton housecoat. Even if the housecoat (last year's Christmas present from Melissa-- sewn from a vintage pattern) is way, way cuter. Warmth eventually trumped cute this morning.

Thinking of Melissa at work, staying warm in her (charcoal colored?) Ugg boots-- the boots that she loves to wear all the time in cold weather. And she looks so darn cute in them!

See?

What is it with me today?! Even a tiny piece of dark chocolate tastes cloyingly sweet. But, I suppose this is not a bad thing...

That was quick. 1, 2, 3, done! I like ordering from Amazon UK. I'm looking forward to reading the book I just ordered-- Elspeth Thompson's
The Wonderful Weekend Book: Reclaiming Life's Simple Pleasures after finding out about it at the Yarnstorm blog. I've enjoyed gradually perusing Thompson's website and blog-- a little here, a little there, as I have time. Pretty, "green," inspiring stuff.

How did the new dental floss dispenser get into the washing machine?

Rake, rake, rake. Then some more. And rake some more. Take a break and rake again. Those pesky, long Ponderosa pine needles (some of them are a good 8 inches long) seem to affix themselves to the ground. Raking them gets to be frustrating work, but it must be done because they are thick across the lawn. And then I have a brilliant idea, an idea that I'm sure everyone else with this pine needle problem thought of long ago. I will suck them up with the lawnmower. Once I lower the mower blade, it works wonderfully well. I guess machines can be our friends after all.

A phone call from Roman that went like this (very quickly, in one breath): "I want to make cookies when I come over tomorrow, okay, Grandma Susy? I love you. Bye." Then he was instantly gone before I could respond. Michelle came on the phone to say that she and Monty and some friends (including Melissa) want to get together and do something tomorrow night. And would I babysit? Of course. And, yes, we can bake cookies, Roman. But you have to take them all home to your dad.
How could I ever say no to babysitting these two (who, by the way, climb on the bench on their own to play the piano together-- they actually look at the music and turn the pages, but they have no idea what it all means)?

Bacon (all natural, no-nitrate bacon, of course) can be burned so badly that there's not even the tiniest remnant of bacon taste left. It can get as black as charcoal, crumble at the slightest touch, and taste like charcoal, too. And, wow, does it smell acrid! It's also very difficult to get that nasty taste out of your mouth. And the smell out of the house.

Arugula has a strong and wonderful affinity for beets, blue cheese, walnuts, and basalmic vinaigrette, especially when they all come together in one salad. Lunch. Yum. (We were going to see how bacon would go with this, but that didn't work out...)

The girl who sells me my raw goat's milk and eggs is a sweetie. Her face is radiant when she smiles.

The lady at the natural foods store is nice, too, even if she did blame the full moon (and its powerful effects) for my recent sleepless night. The folks at the store ordered more Cinderella pumpkins just for me, so I thought I'd better pick up at least one today. And onto the porch it goes.

Melissa and I don't seem to eat actual dinners, or even regular/typical meals, lately. We mostly eat this and that throughout the day, depending on what we have around from the CSA pickup. We don't eat many grains, so toast and cereal get fit in here and there. Like now. I'm eating sprouted grain cereal at 3 p.m. Recently, we've been having smoothies, melons, carrots, beets, greens, squash, potatoes, shallots, tomatillos, sweet peppers, zucchini... and are trying not to waste a thing. But we also try not to overeat, so some of it goes to Michelle's family.

I still love green lemonade. Every day. And it loves me. I definitely feel better when I drink it regularly.

Juice a head or two of romaine, a couple of big handfuls of spinach, two apples, and a lemon. Add a bit of cold water, give it a stir, pour into glasses, and enjoy.

Why is the vacuum cleaner still out? I used it ten hours ago, and it's still plugged into the wall and sitting in the dining area. I must have walked by it 20 times today, and I just now noticed it.

Maple-roasted buttercup squash for dinner. A perfect fall dish. I love that the skins don't need to be peeled (except for the warty spots, of which there were many on this one). Those skins roast soft and tender, right along with the squash. A 3 to 4 lb squash, cut in wedges or chunks (wedges are prettier), tossed with 2 T. olive oil, 3 to 4 T. maple syrup, and about 1 t. kosher salt, roasted in a 425 degree oven til fork-tender (about 35 to 40 minutes), stirring every ten minutes for even roasting, is easy and delicious!

Mapley-gooey yumminess on the outside.

Melissa and Michelle are texting each other.

Took out the garbage, and it looks like fall outside. Lowering sun. Glowy evening. A little pile of pinecones on the porch. A stack of pumpkins by the door (the three of them piled on top of each other look like an orange snowman). Mower in the middle of the yard. The wheelbarrow heaped with chopped up pine needles from the mower bag. (More mowing tomorrow, then I'm done.)

Just a few of the Ponderosa pine cones I set on the porch while I was mowing. They're big (and prickly), but not big like fir cones.

Phone call from Aimee. She got to have a nice dinner last night with some very special family friends from the east coast who were on a quick trip to Portland. I love that my kids call me to chat. (Another brief call from Aimee not long after the first one.)

And now, though it's only 7:30 and there's loads of excitement left in the day, I shall desist, post this, and do some evening puttering.