Saturday, March 29, 2014

Spring!

Now that I've given myself a bit of a setback and can't actually sit and haven't been able to work in the soon-to-be office, Calisto has rediscovered her cat bed in there:
I wish I looked this cute when I'm at my desk, but alas..........

Two weeks ago today I managed to twist my hip back out of place and didn't get it back in until the next day, so it was both a painful weekend AND left me completely unable to sit for a week.  I had physical therapy this week and I am all back in place, but everything is still "touchy," so I'm trying to behave myself.  Some days I'm better behaved than others, and there was a party I attended on full pain meds AND Valium which made me quite sick the next day, but overall I'm still making progress.  It just isn't going to be easy or, apparently, a straight line.  

For the sake of doing nothing awful, I'm enjoying the front flowers without getting worried about the weeds,
and I'm not going to bother about whatever died here leaving the blank spot,
though we're hoping to remember to add some more hyacinth and mini daffodils there this fall.  Now that I know they're only going to be 6-inches tall, I sort of like the little daffodils.  When I had to wonder what on earth I could have done to stunt their growth so badly, I wasn't overly pleased with them.  Who can be pleased over mutants?

I am behind on my seedlings,
since the only things even vaguely sprouting are basil, stocks, and zinnias.  Tomatoes?  Not yet.  Peppers?  Nope.  We might be buying starts this year, which is more money than seeds but far less than physical therapy bills, so we can live with it.  I actually really get a kick out of growing my garden from seeds, and get quite attached to my little plants as I replant them and harden them off and they finally graduate to the big outdoors, but I have decided that not everything has to happen this year.  Next year I'll be stronger.  Hopefully.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Gardening Resolutions For 2014

*  Just because I didn't plant the cold weather crops last month, it doesn't really mean I'm behind.  It just means I haven't needed to find creative things to do with an overflow of spinach.

*  There are many gardening techniques out there, and while many of them are perfectly valid, they might not work for us.  After failed potato boxes and 3 years of poor harvests, I am taking it as a sign and moving on.  We live in Idaho, for heaven's sake--we can BUY potatoes.

*  I no longer have any expectations that my phlox seeds will grow--now I just plant them as a sacrifice to the God of Fussy Plants

*  Just because I bought a little bag of onion sets, I'm not necessarily obligated to plant them..especially when we are just now finding onions from the ones I planted last year.

I'm much less concerned about trying to keep the yard looking nice for the sake of the neighborhood now that I know how many of my neighbors let their dogs crap in our yard

I'm a lot less worried about tomatoes this year since I still have two bags of them in the freezer that haven't been used.....

*  I'm sure I'll regret it in a couple months, but when they're just seeds, it's hard to imagine such a thing as too many snow peas......

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Finally

One of our first married Christmases, having heard about a really fun project where a woman cooked her way through Julia Child's cookbook in one year, I bought Mastering the Art of French Cooking and Julie & Julia for Andy, together with some nice balsamic vinegars and French salts and dried exotic mushrooms.  Later, we were given another copy of the J&J book because what could possibly be more OUR THING than this sort of project?

As it turns out, just about anything.  While I applaud Julie Powell for making meat jello and her willingness to actually get through the aspic chapter, I have struggled over and over to read her book and have always given up in disgust.  However,
last year a friend sent me Dearie by Bob Spitz, and I sailed through all 557 pages.  A fun read, I was delighted to find out that JC was a bit of a trouble-maker as a child, and her approach to learning to cook was as charming and fun as I had hoped.  I think it's no surprise that when asked, Julia Child did not like Julie Powell's project, but I do find it surprising that Powell could identify with Child.  Someone who has continual "melt-downs" and tantrums over recipes seems like the polar opposite of Child and of her entire cooking approach.  She had problems on live tv and shrugged them off while Powell the drama-queen might be the poster-child for narcissism.  But, we still had one copy left of Powell's book, and I had kept it thinking I should make another attempt, and then I discovered our library had it on audio book.  Mercifully, it was even abridged, which usually I don't like, but this was my only hope and then I could toss away Powell's book and feel guiltless. 

I believe Powell's blog must have been much more interesting, since I assume it was actually about the recipes and cooking them.  I might have cared about Powell's life if I found her likeable, but I don't in either case.  I was surprised, however, when at the end she was still disregarding JC's instructions in recipes, leaving me to wonder what Powell actually thought she was learning?  Reading about the long testing periods every recipe went through and JC's need for precision, I can truly see how JC would be repelled by Powell and what came across in the book as more of a stunt than anything.  However, 5 little cds have freed me from my guilt, and I can toss Powell's book with nothing but relief of clearing up shelf space. 

And Dearie has inspired me to try a few more JC recipes, though maybe the ones without all the butter........

Monday, March 10, 2014

Moving On

I still have a long way to go with my back, which maybe hasn't been helped by my recent over exuberance, but I'm still making progress.  Last week involved moving boxes around to find room for
a desk!  When we moved in, I gave my desk to Andy and haven't had one since, and after 7.5 years, I decided enough is enough and started checking Craigslist. I've always wanted a roll top desk, and we were able to find this one for a reasonable amount of money.  I spent several days cleaning up the back room, and Wednesday night a friend came over to help Andy drag the thing upstairs.  While I probably have the strongest back muscles of anyone we know, this thing is surprisingly heavy and my back is still tired just from the cleaning.  And, perhaps, from sitting on the ball too long.  Sitting on the silver ball instead of a chair helps keep my core muscles strong, but can also overwork muscles quite easily, so I'm trying to remember to alternate with the chair.  I'm quite excited to have drawers again, and it will almost make doing our taxes less painful. 

Since the desk would have to be for the very back room upstairs, basically everything had to be cleaned out of the hallway, and I'm still getting everything cleaned and put back. This year my cute little ornament tree is displaying our JOINT ornament effort for the year:
which is fun.  The one you can see most clearly is a woodworker at a scroll saw.  Aside from the baseball cap, which Andy never wears, it could be a self-portrait.  We'll be keeping that one I think.

The Look

Anyone who thinks cats can't learn things hasn't lived with one. It took Theo maybe a month into his diet to figure out that I can...