Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Song of the Day

And the Song of the Day is:

I've been working on the railroad
All the livelong day
I've been working on the railroad
Just to pass the time away

Can't you hear the whistle blowing
Rise up so early in the morn
Can't you hear the captain shouting
Dinah, blow your horn

Dinah, won't you blow
Dinah, won't you blow
Dinah, won't you blow your horn
Dinah, won't you blow
Dinah, won't you blow
Dinah, won't you blow your horn

Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
Someone's in the kitchen I know
Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
Strumming on the old banjo, and singing

Fie, fi, fiddly i o
Fie, fi, fiddly i o
Fie, fi, fiddly i o
Strumming on the old banjo

I have been working on the new tour of Thomas The Tank Engine. The floor of the set is mostly train tracks (as one might expect from Thomas) so I've seen plenty of them, along with a round-house, a couple tunnels and about a million lights. But alas, I have yet to see an actual train. I guess they are coming in on Saturday. So far it looks quite well done & pretty cute. Time will tell. I do know that I'm out of shape on this stuff and it is whooping me pretty good. I'm hanging in there though and will hit the hay shortly!


Monday, February 26, 2007

Slow day in blogging world. At least for me.

I spent most of the day acting like a stage hand--something I was about 10 years ago. I pushed boxes, hung lights and ate donuts just like a real "techie" though. A lot of hours & nothing terribly exciting.

Although I planned to keep this blog mostly fluff, I unfortunately must divert. Tomorrow morning I have to go to a funeral for a very special and wonderful woman. She spent a lot of her life making other peoples lives better. Sometimes in small ways like sprinkling music note confetti on a table during jazz fest catering and also in larger ways as a one time social worker. Less than a year ago a small group of us sat around a table with her drinking wine and making each other laugh. Shortly after that they found a tumor in her head and in her lung. It is a terrible loss for anyone who knew her, she was truly one of a kind! We miss you Judy!


Saturday, February 24, 2007

Song of the Day

And the Song of the Day is.....

On Top of Spaghetti

For some reason we were singing this around the house tonight. The youngest person in the house is 14 is that really a song that would come to mind? We got stuck on the lyrics, so we looked them up on the World Wide Web so we could finish our verse. Except that no where on the internet, do they have the 3rd verse as we were singing it. The official lyrics, as reported by several websites including go like this:

On top of spaghetti,
All covered with cheese
I lost my poor meatball,
When somebody sneezed.

It rolled off the table,
And on to the floor,
And then my poor meatball,
Rolled out of the door.

It rolled in the garden,
And under a bush,
And then my poor meatball,
Was nothing but mush.

The mush was as tasty
As tasty could be,
And then the next summer,
It grew into a tree.

The tree was all covered,
All covered with moss,
And on it grew meatballs,
And tomato sauce.

So if you eat spaghetti,
All covered with cheese,
Hold on to your meatball,
Whenever you sneeze.

However around our house, there was a strong conviction that the 3rd verse was, "It rolled onto the sidewalk and then down the street. And that is what happened to my poor ball of meat" My husband was convinced he was missing the verse about it being hit by a truck. We never found anything resembling our version anywhere on the internet. Although what we did find, while searching for lyrics for this song, was a bit surprising. I am pretty liberal on anything resembling censorship (for my take on scrotums, vaginas and censorship there of, please visit Sarah Louise's blog), but I do not feel an images of nearly naked women with arched backs and links to "Anna Nicole's Last Minutes" are appropriate on a search for a children's song. But this site which lists the song as a children's song has links to soft-porn (I don't know maybe it's hard-core, I didn't follow the link) OH well, I guess I can't have my first amendment and my scrotum too.


Found Object weekend has gotten a slow start, I was updating corks on my wreath and The Girl started building a castle with cups and shoe boxes. I tried to start a project and she asked "What are going to make"
"Oh, I'm not sure about that," I replied. "Tap into your inner 5 year-old," was my suggestion. Since we didn't think we could build a Barbie, she started a castle. Sadly, I ran out of hot glue while repairing the wreath and we just have a pile of plastic cups in the middle of the tv room floor.


Yes I did go grocery shopping today. That is my normal Saturday self-abuse. Logically I know that some of my problem is that I go on Saturdays and not during the week, but that doesn't help me get the list together anytime before Saturday morning. I went to the Redner's today since I didn't have any "specialty items." It is a geared more towards the Hoi Polloi, so I have completely different expectations when I go there. I will say, they have a lot more ethnic diversity in their products and carry a huge line of Goya products as well as Tropical, so I can get almost any queso I want (Queso Blanco, Queso Fresco, Queso Frio, Cojito...) and Redner's is very rarely out of Tomatillos. And they have Taste of Thai noodle boxes, which are good for a meal on the run (which will be most of next week) But I can't find good shrimp there, fresh or frozen and their gourmet cheese selection is minimal. They generally have decent prices, but the store isn't bright and shiny or new. It, like many of it's customers, looks like it has seen better days. Today's trip was mostly uneventful, but I did find a few shelvingoddities I thought worth sharing.
  • Yeast. Not on today's shopping list, but I did see it near the dairy section. That isn't unusual, yeast often ends up near dairy in the refrigerated section, but it wasn't really in the dairy section. At the end of the dairy wall, in a small display against the wall, I saw the yeast, next to the EZ Cheese. A strange pair indeed.
  • Next, was the tahini. It wasn't in any of the "ethnic" sections (Old El Paso is considered "Ethnic" but Goya is in it's own world and Taste of Thai is in another aisle all together). So where did I find the tahini? Near the dessert toppings, but the next section. With the honey. Sesame paste-honey. I'm not seeing the connection.
  • And finally, in middle of the dessert section, next to Reece's crumbles and Oreo topping was pine nuts. Pine Nuts? with ice cream toppings? Somehow it doesn't sound right. Unless you are making a basil sorbet and then I guess the pine nuts could give it a pesto feel.
At least this week's trip was mostly amusing.

And on the dinner front:

I'm trying to cook things that will have good leftovers since I will be working all next week. So last night was Papa's Paprika's I started with my father's recipe for Chicken Paprika's (paprikash). He is 1/2 Hungarian, and tried to duplicate his mother's. I used Turkey Thigh (economical, easy, and quite tasty) and made a few other small alterations, including an accidental over measurement of the "hot" paprika. It was very good, but a mite on the zippy side. Unfortunately, there weren't a huge amount of leftovers.

Tonight's dinner was manicotti. I made some homemade tomato sauce a few weeks ago, so I pulled that out of the freezer. I stuffed my manicotti with ricotta, spinach, basil, and a little Italian cheese mix (from Kraft). My secret to stuffing it is to use a disposable pastry bag with no tip. It was pretty easy that way, even if my husband laughed at me.

Tomorrow's dinner will be Jambalaya in honor of Mardi Gras. I know it has passed, but I didn't get my act together to make any earlier in the week.

And now, it is past my bed time, so nighty-night!


Friday, February 23, 2007

Found Object Friday

Today's project is a Found Object Art project. Found Object Art is defined by Wikipedia as:

(Found Object) describes art created from the undisguised, but often modified, use of objects that are not normally considered art, often because they already have a mundane, utilitarian function...
There is mostly also some degree of modification of the object, although not to the extent that it cannot be recognised. The modification may lead to it being designated a "modified", "interpreted" or "adapted" found object.
(Above is Rastamama painted recycled wood, metal, found objects found on Trin Hesson's website,

I love the many ways found objects are adapted into sculpture or reinvented to become art. A reclamation of the ordinary that becomes something extraordinary.

I did not actually create any project today, though the day is still young and I have a creative 14 year-old step-daughter that will be here for the weekend, so who knows. I did help other children with their projects today. A dear friend came to town on a field trip with her home/cyber-schooled kindergartner (and pre-school sister) to GoggleWorks, our local Arts Center. Currently on exhibition is Mr. Imagination, you can read a piece about him here. Or see some of his work Here. His Imagination has brought him all over the world and his work can be seen at such diverse locations as the Smithsonian Institute and the House of Blues clubs in Las Vegas and Orlando. He uses bottle caps, brooms, paintbrushes, everything and it is really something exciting to see. (photo from GoggleWorks website)

With Mr. I (as he is known) as inspiration, the kids grabbed buttons, empty bottles, paper clips, poker chips, plastic champagne glasses, tin cans, styrofoam balls, recycled Christmas ornaments, pipe cleaners, and bottles of glue to create their own Found Object Art. There were statues and butterflies and ballerinas and robots. All created from someone else's "trash" Several of the items were then spray painted to give a uniform appearance. I love to see kids exploring their imagination and getting rid of any preconceived notions of what is or isn't art and what is or isn't trash.

The closest I have come to Found Object Art is making wreathes, Christmas Trees & out of wine corks, but I consider that more a craft than creating a work of art. (I won't go into the differences, that is just my opinion) but perhaps I will this weekend.

So my advice is, go out & be creative, somehow, someway!

PS I found a lesson plan on Found Object Art Here about mid-way down the page. And some finished work to go along with it.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

And today's entry is...

Gee, I was doing so well there for a few days.
I was blogging & finding random things for the "I want one" section & really trying to get here, but I'm drawing a blank today. And yesterday.

Yesterday was hectic, I had a committee meeting for the "Souper Bowl" to raise money for a local organization. They are:

a multi-service organization that improves the quality of life for children, families and adults who face various obstacles to independence, and supports their efforts to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency and well-being"
They are truly an awesome organization & this is a hugely fun event.
Each attendee chooses a “soup bowl” hand-crafted by a diverse collection of artists, students and other talented contributors. Part of the fun of this event is the challenge of choosing a favorite from the great selection of bowls. The event features dozens of delicious soups to sample, all donated by fine area restaurants. There is even a dessert floor featuring sweets and coffee

That meeting went long & then I met with another non-profit that I have been volunteering with to do some actual paid work. I'm going to be doing some database management, which I think will be a big pain, but at least I get a few bucks an hour and I am helping people and an organization that I like and believe in. Sadly, I am hugely rusty on Access, so I have to learn that in order to get the job done.

Today was spent running around a bit as well. After my appointment with my therapist, I went to the local outlets to buy jeans. After trying on a huge pile, I felt like I was ready to back to the therapist! I have not had an easy time buying jeans since I was about 12 years old. Once the curves started, the issues began. I am also about 50 pounds overweight, so seeing that squinched into jeans was fairly traumatic. I realize that sounds a bit overly dramatic, but really, I have been known to break into tears while trying to buy pants. I didn't today (good for me) and I walked away with 2 pairs of jeans for $19.97. I also had huge issues with spending money, since I'm pretty broke right now, but I got roped into working as a stagehand for the Premiere of Thomas the Tank Engine. Live on Stage!

Thomas the Tank Engine™ makes his U.S. live stage debut in this 90-minute musical adventure Thomas & Friends Live! On Stage in “Thomas Saves the Day.”

The inaugural North American tour of Thomas & Friends Live! On Stage offers Thomas enthusiasts and their families an exciting and fresh new way to experience the brand.

"An exciting and fresh new way to EXPERIENCE THE BRAND????" Experience the brand? That just sounds like they want me to spend money. That has got to be one of the worst marketing lines I've seen EVER. I think (not that anyone asked me or will listen to me) that it should say something more along the lines of "An unforgettable chance to see Thomas like you've never seen him before!" Even that isn't very good. Definitely not my best effort, but I'm tired and can't quite tap into my creative side today.

Even before the jeans, it was a rough day. And really this post sucks. So I think I'm going to stop wasting space and say good night.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I want one

After all, I am a Pirate Wench so I need some toast with attitude! ARRRR, pass the Marrrrrrrrrrrmalade! For other pirate needs, check out their site, but bring a translator

My Decks need swabbing, so a pair of these from Marie-Louise in Stockholm would be nice!
Check out her site, a lot of cool things to be found!
I also like the bench, but think I can create something
similar at home... (OK, get hubby-poo to create if I can get him off his...)

And when I skin my knee or get a boo-boo, only the finest band-aids will do for me. I think I need a little bling with my owie.
Sadly, they are sold-out.

So I'll have to go with these From Archie McPhee. Also home to Sushi Bandages, Bacon Bandages (with or with out the eggs) & (naturally) Pirate Bandages. Check out the whole line here.

Since I'm creating a wish(?) list of things that I will never buy, (some I'm not sure I really want, but hey it's fun to cyber-want)
I figure I can add something I do want, but probably won't be able to afford in this lifetime. I did dream that I had one of these in the back of my laundry room that I just hadn't noticed before. Ahh if only!

Thanks to Chef's Corner for letting me dream!

So back to my dinky electric stove for tonight's dinner. Hmmm do I want Thai Shrimp (similar to this) or do I want Tandoori Shrimp (similar to this)?? I wonder how the Tandoori spices would work on salmon? Since I use the mass quantity frozen shrimp & salmon (to make it affordable--besides, I can't get truly fresh of either in central PA) I like to give it enough flavor to transcend the mediocre quality.


Monday, February 19, 2007

What are these crazy Blogthingies?

I have noticed a few of the blogthingies on OPB (other peoples blogs) today, so I checked out a few.
I didn't need a quiz to tell me how sexy I am (84%, thankyouverymuch) and How many different names did I need? (20's, preppy, pirate...) but, at least I did find the important one:
What kind of Muppet are You? Really, not much of surprise:

I am the Swedish Chef

"Bork! Bork! Bork!"

Your happy and energetic - with borderline manic tendencies.

No one really gets you. And frankly, you don't even get you.

But, you sure can whip up a great chocolate mousse


Your Pirate Name Is...

Kiki, Evil Princess of the Schuylkill


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Before-N- After

This weekend had a few "Before & Afters" so that is what I thought I'd share.

a big bag of chicken bones (as mentioned here) purchased for $1 at the farmers market
a gallon & 1/2 of home made chicken stock. Tastes better & is more economical than the store bought stuff and I had dreams of chicken soup because it was simmering overnight.

Sorry no photo of gross chicken bones & a freezer full of stock

Before: I liked the little vase, but the glaze left something to be desired. I am more used to (and much prefer) a high fire glaze and like dipping rather than painting, but I'm using free clay, so Cone 04 it is.

The After is with a little touch up & some gold "rub-n-buff" (and a little better lighting)

Before: The dining room chairs as they have existed since before I was born:

After: A little fabric (that I have only had for 8 months...) and I have an updated look. (Is it redundant to try to Modernize Danish Modern?) The new covers have the added a bonus that they don't stick to my legs in the air-conditionerless summer time!

I guess that is it for what I accomplished this weekend. Hubby-Poo has yet to finish his chili. He spent most of the day on the computer & realized that he didn't really want cook tonight. Last night's dinner was a tantalizing Indian chicken & rice dish called Chicken Korma. It has cumin, cardamom, ginger, coriander, turmeric, safron and a little cayenne along with chicken, garlic , onions and yogurt. The recipe I have is pretty simple & tasty!

Look, I remembered to do the labels!


Saturday, February 17, 2007

It's Saturday

It Saturday & in my world that usually means shopping day. Today was usual, so off I went. First was the Farmers Market; I love Farmers Markets! We have 2 indoor year-round Farmers Markets within driving distance and a few seasonal ones in the spring & summer. One of the indoor markets is conveniently located across the street from the Redner's grocery store so I can theoretically do all my shopping in one trip & the other is next to a Giant grocery store, again, so I can theoretically do all my shopping in one trip.

Of course, it never works that way!

I love the big Market by the mall. Today I went to 2 different poultry shops so I could get the chicken & turkey thighs from the one I like, but I don't like his turkey sausage or his ground turkey (I like the "thigh burger" with all the fat to keep it juicy) So I got my thighs & a bag of chicken bones & went to the other guy for my sausage & burger. Hubby is making White Chili tomorrow, YUM. Quite Tasty, if he actually gets to it. Sometimes I get my sausage from a third guy, or even go to the organic place if I want a turkey andouille or something like that.

I also got most of my produce (shallots, carrots, onions, mushrooms...) but, even though I live in a heavily Hispanic populated area, I can't get my poblanos or tomatillos there. I can get fresh fish, fresh eggs, fresh milk, all sorts of imported cheeses, some amazing cajun food or sushi (when I'm feeling wealthy--a rare treat!) & even a bottle of locally produced wine, but no poblanos or tomatillos.

I also needed some other random grocery type items, so off I went. On today's list there was a bag of frozen shrimp, I can only get that at the Giant--and it has to be the "big" Giant across town, the little scary one on this side of town doesn't carry the frozen raw shrimp. So, off I went, to the suburban snobs Giant. Generally, this had been my favorite local grocery store. Which isn't saying much, because I truly, madly deeply dislike grocery shopping. As much as I love going to the market, that is how much I hate going to the store. Very rarely I can convince Hubby-poo to go to the store for me, (he knows how much I dislike it) but not today. He had other things to do. Since the piles of snow paralyzed our area for much of the week (actually, it didn't seem like it should have been that bad-we only had about 6-8 inches) but I guess no one left their house all week so today was get out & get in Kiki's way day. Cars that hadn't dug out were trying to & parking 1/2 in the middle of the road. People who were unburying their cars were throwing ice chunks into the road and even the areas that normally have 3 or 4 lanes were down to 2 with banks pushed up the side of the road. Add to that the normal chaos of double parking in this town and it was a pain in the (insert body part of your choosing here)!

When I finally did make it to the Giant, I realized that through out the town & suburbs everyone heard that I would be going to that Giant & they MUST GET THERE BEFORE KIKI! Ok, so I had to park at the far end of the lot. The sun is out, it wasn't a bad walk. Then I went in. The place was mobbed. Going for the tomatillos, I noticed that there were 4. 4 very sad looking tomatillos. OK, I think there is still some grilled tomatillo salsa in the fridge, maybe I can sub that. I guess the Giant forgot that people like to grocery shop on Saturdays--especially following a storm--because, they forgot to stock things. All over the store there were pallets & carts of boxes that should have been on shelves, many of them abandoned in the middle of an aisle so that the crowds that emerged from their homes in search of Triscuits and frozen pizza had to hurdle them or, worse yet, take turns getting around them. I stood at one "intersection" for several minutes just trying to get to the dried beans. When I finally made it over, I saw that they had dozens of varieties of beans: black, white, red, pink, navy, canary, butter, lima, black-eyed, but there were NO Great Northern. I only had one type of bean on my list Great Northern. OK, no tomatillos, no beans. Some chili that will be. On to the basics. Flour Tortillas are a basic in our house. (We eat burritos & wraps & quesadillas a lot so that is a basic) Oh boy, they are on sale $1 each Whoopie! Until I realize that they had none. That doesn't do me any good. grrr. Down the aisle to the butter. Giant butter on sale 3/$5 Whoopie, but wait. There is no butter. I can pay $3.00 for Land 0' Lakes. I want the $1.67 Giant grocery. I went digging through the cart full of stock and pulled out a box of butter, but it was the unsalted kind. That doesn't do any good. So, I left with no butter, no beans, no tortillas, no tomatillos. Gosh I hate grocery shopping!


Friday, February 16, 2007

Mystery Box

I did sort of get a mystery Valentine's Day present.
Yesterday when I got home from playing with clay, there was a UPS box in my vestibule.
Addressed to ME! (Note, that is not a picture of my box or my vestibule; I'm too lazy to take a picture & bring it up so I did a Google Image search)

The box was from Macy's, (what fun) and, of course, I opened it right away. Inside was a pair of lovely crystal goblets from my wedding registry.

Well that was sweet. I've been married 2 1/2 years, so it's a little late, but I won't complain.

The enclosed note said "Much Happiness, Martha" I only know one Martha & she was at my wedding. I don't recall what she gave us, but I know I thanked her. So I dug deeper into the box.

The shipping information was from a Martha Ford. I don't believe I know her at all. Sadly, I realized that I must have mistakenly received a gift meant for someone else. Probably a mix-up in looking at the registries. So I called Macy's and spoke with a very nice Customer Service agent named Tamekia. I explained that I didn't think these were meant for me. (I'm quite sure she hadn't received many phone calls like that before) Tamekia said she would call the number that Martha gave and get back to me. When she called back she said that phone number on the records was for a Citi-Bank, and they don't have any employees with that name. Tamekia told me to hold on to the box for a month, while they investigate and if no one claims a missing gift it is mine.

So for now, I do have a Valentine's Day present from a stranger. I'm very sorry that I can't give the correct owner their wedding present. I tried. Hopefully, the mistake will be realized and Martha's best wishes will find their rightful owner. I'm not sure I would feel right about drinking my boxed wine out of someone else's crystal any way.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day. Whoop-de Fricken Do!

Ok, I don't really feel like writing anything, so today we have some pictures
First are some pics of things I've done with clay. I don't really like using the 04 glazes, so I mixed some old stuff in with the new. The bottom left pot has a pretty cool glaze job, but I can't really get the nuances on my digital. The upper left was done mainly by "spin art"
Next we have me in my snow boots. I only took a picture because Sarah Louise would be proud of my pink boots. (Actually, they are raspberry)
The closest I really came to receiving a Valentine was that my husband started shoveling with out asking me to help. But then he whined until I did come out & help.

So I went out, & I have to say it was abominable! There was snow, ice & frozen rain all layered on top of each other. It weighed a ton. I'm not sure how much of each we got & I'm not really sure what the difference is. If I really want a good explanation of the difference between snow & freezing rain I call my Uncle. He has traveled the world & lived in Poland for a spell, he knew a Russian that could discourse on the peculiar distinctions between snow, sleet & frozen rain. After all "Rudolf, the Red, knows snow, dear!"
All groans aside, I must have looked pitiful because the neighbor came by with a snow blower
So that was my Valentine's Day. A year ago it would have been romantic to be snowed in with my sweetie. Now, since he works out of the house, it was just another day except that I couldn't leave the house.


Monday, February 12, 2007

I want one

I'm not sure why, but I think I need this for my phone. Would I want it as much if I hadn't heard this song? I'm not sure.

I just lost other pictures of things I want, and now I want a small glass of this:
It hasn't been in the budget lately, and I miss it. Not like an addiction, or a drunk. I just want a glass now & again.

I want to make an apron. I'm not sure why. I want to get a cool fabric, maybe a vintage print, and make something along these lines:

I'll use it to make my dinners seem like Donna Reed.

Food, Oh yeah, I was going to try to keep track of some of the things I cook. Sunday night we had had my yummy winter stew. I make it w/ Turkey Thigh & tomatoes and a secret blend of herbs and spices. I served it over noodles. It is rather new recipe, I'm still developing it. I think I liked it better the first time--a little more zip & less sweet. It is still on the yummy side of life. Last night was leftovers of the Pasta in Vodka sauce. It was quite tasty as well. Tonight I think I'm doing a chicken breast with some mushroom sauce & a carrot puree. At least that is the plan.

I'll probably do an occasional "I want one" thing, feel free to share what you want.


Day 7 I think

I think I'm going to have to stop numbering my days. I also need to figure out who's blogs to take the time to read if I'm going to write one. This is all very complicated.
I got an email this morning, BLOGGING IS NOT FOR WIMPS. It was from someone who really is much stronger than she thinks she is, but unfortunately, she hasn't to find that out for herself. And some days it is easier to forget how strong we really are.

I looked at a blog that went on about bras. I don't think I can a bra blog seriously from someone who just bumped up to a 36B. As a 38DD, or some times D. I can tell you about bras. Back when I was very young & had a much better body (a lot less fat, more muscle, curves instead of bumps, generally healthier) I worked at a Victoria's Secret. I was about a 36C then. Who do you think people trusted to talk about bras to me or some skinny thing that really only wears a bra because they give them boobs? 36C really was a good size for wearing bras. These big things just get in the way and you can never find a bra that actually fits. Now Oprah I would trust to tell me about bras. Unfortunately, she & I don't hang out together so I only hear 3rd hand that she did a show about finding bras that fit. I don't watch television (we don't have cable) so I can't even catch the reruns. I suppose I should look it up, but the idea of researching bras is less appealing than cleaning the tub. I find bra shopping to rank right up there with swimsuit shopping, jean shopping & burning my self with hot glue.

So I moved on to another blog. Say la Vee she had lots of nice little random pictures. Many of which looked like I was flipping through Real Simple Magazine. Their masthead says "Life made easier" really? if only it were true! But I do occasionally enjoy that magazine. Say La Vee's Blackbird also had a post on Anthony Bourdain. Who I LOVE she also had a link to a guest column he wrote on Michael Ruhlman's blog (Tony's column). So Thank You BlackBird!

So I spent all morning reading other people's blogs (OPB?) and sifting through. I now know that I need to take pictures, read more, babble less. I like to take pictures, it's pretty much laziness that prevents that. I like to read, but I get sidetracked & don't read as much as I want.

Books I have recently read, am currently reading, or want to read:
Heat : an amateur's adventures as kitchen slave, line cook, pasta maker, and apprentice to a Dante-quoting butcher in Tuscany / by Buford, Bill.

The nasty bits : collected varietal cuts, usable trim, scraps, and bones / by Bourdain, Anthony

Trap line / by Hiaasen, Carl

Stitch 'N Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook by Debbie Stoller

Revelations of Divine Love by Julian of Norwich

there are more on the list, but I can't think of them. And really, all morning reading other peoples things (one link leads to another--is that a song?) and so I now, really, I need to shower, eat, look for a job, play with clay, get my car's oil changed. It's time to stop with OPB & get to the list at hand!


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Day 5

OK, so it seems to be every day & 1/2 rather than daily. Still that's not a bad start. I'm really hoping for every days, but wanted to start by doing it.

Yesterday I spent part of the morning working on a sub-standard entry for this photoshop contest: Woot! Contest 110: The Day The Music Went Bankrupt I won't admit which one is mine.

I also looked for a job, which I do pretty much daily. Then I had lunch & went to play with clay. I loaded one of the kilns (actually, loaded it a couple times so I could get everything in. It is always a big 3-dimensional puzzle and everything has to go in just so) Tomorrow when I go in I will have several finished pieces, yay! I haven't brought home anything for a while, when I started I would spend a lot of time on the volunteer projects & not have any time to work on my own work. I am trying to find a good balance right now. I still spend more time on volunteer work then my stuff, but at least I am creating my own things now. In addition to loading the kiln, I worked on some molds for another studio, then I sat my self down at the wheel again. I used the kick wheel, which I think is neat. I still find it difficult to center. I like the electric wheel going really fast when I center, the friction of my hands trying to center the clay slows the kick wheel down & makes it harder to center and open. I think as long as I stick with smaller projects, I'll be ok centering on the kick. Yesterday I made the cylinder for a coffee mug, a vase and a bowl. The mug will be for my daddy's birthday next month--if it turns out! I was going to make a pair of mugs, but the second one decided to be a vase. It didn't seem to care that I thought it was supposed to be another mug, it wanted to be a vase. Oh well, at least vases are useful. The bowl will probably be donated to a local "empty bowl" event to raise money for the local shelter/transitional housing. I am on the event committee and love the event. I hope that I get some good "product" to donate.

Now I feel that in the anonymity of this blog, I can confess something I did today. I put on my dark glasses and went to the other side of town. There, in a store I've never been in before, I bought boxed wine. Those who truly know me would be shocked. My husband picked up some a few weeks ago and, despite my misgivings, we drank it. I didn't get the super cheap crap. I got a mid-range box--$18 for what amounts to 4 regular bottles. I very often need a little for cooking and like a glass with dinner (or while cooking). I am quite broke right now so I have been skipping the wine, but some times a recipe is just not right without it. So, I broke down & bought a box. I've tried the "Black Box" Cab Sav and today bought the "Banrock Station" Shiraz, my husband bought someone's Pinot Grigio. I don't remember who made that, but DH was quite proud that it offered a $10 rebate which brought it to $10 for the box--$2.50 a bottle. These wines have proven to be inexpensive & inoffensive. Not great wines by any stretch, but they are thoroughly OK. I like that I can open the box and have a glass and not worry about it turning. the pourer doesn't allow any air in, so oxidation is not really a concern. Since it isn't sitting in the bottle right in front of me, I don't automatically pour another glass or decide to "finish it off" instead of pumping the air out and storing it. I like the convenience. So I will wear my dark sunglasses & drink a glass to your health!

Now it is time to run off & make tonight's delightful dinner. Penne in Vodka Sauce with turkey sausage. Served with cheap red wine!


Thursday, February 8, 2007

Day 3.5

Ok, technically it is day 4, but I was gone almost all of yesterday and didn't post. I got home around 9:30 and instead of posting on my own blog, I went to someone else's and commented. It really seems easier that way.

I used to be an OK writer--not bad even, but now that I'm trying to write several times a week I find it very difficult. I commented on another blog & after thought that instead of writing a novel on hers, I should write my own. While my comment started off apropos of the blog entry, I did kind of go off into my own little world & blah blah blahed. Now that I created my own little blah blah blah world, I'm having trouble spitting it all out.

Yesterday I went to baby sit for the children of a friend. It all started out swell, everyone was happy to see Kiki. They, in fact, named me Kiki. I was only watching for a few hours with The Mama poppin in & out. It should have been a nice little escape & chance to play. Only the baby (3 years old) needed help with something. First I didn't do it like The Mama, then when I tried to move on to the next step, she yanked her arm away from me & ended up with "Nursemaid's elbow" it is basically dislocating the elbow. Her arm hurt really bad & we couldn't look at it or figure out what was up with out her screaming. The sister (6) kept trying to help, but didn't really understand that hugs hurt and picking her up was a bad idea. That also was made worse by being said by me & not The Mama. (Mama lets me pick her up, Mama doesn't let her eat by that tv, Mama gives her a princess band-aid. )

I'm told that it is really quite common. The Mama has a good friend who's 4 year-old son had the same problem, but it happened on my watch & I still feel unbelievably bad. It could have happened when she was swinging on something or holding onto the Mama when jumping out of the van or if someone decided to play "airplane" with her, but it didn't. It happened when I was watching her.

So The Mama had to take off work for the afternoon (like any of us can afford that). She took the baby to the doctor (again, not a very affordable option) I took the sister to the pool so she could have her swimming lessons and not have to stay home. I was without a vehicle, so The Mama dropped us off and went to the doctor. When lessons were over the sister wanted me to go swimming with her. By that time I knew the baby was OK & her elbow was popped back into joint so I thought it might be fun. Just as I was about to change, The Mama called and said that she and the baby were done and almost there. We discussed it and realized it was probably better for the baby to stay in the van (instead of getting in & out of a car seat then not being allowed to swim) so I should bring the sister out. So I said that I was sorry and we couldn't swim. Tears ensued. It is always sad to see a little girl that unhappy, but I kept talking to her and we went in to change. She wanted to take a shower, but we didn't have soap or shampoo and that was when it started to unravel. I'm still not sure what caused her to snap, but she just stood in a shower stall bawling and pulling the curtain around her. I tried to talk to her, I apologized about 25 times. I left her alone for a little while. I tried most everything, but she just went off the deep end and was screaming and crying. So after breaking the baby and sending the other into emotional turmoil, I kind of lost it. This was supposed to be a day away from all my stress & troubles so I could play with the kids and everyone ends up in tears. Then The Mama calls, so I had to explain that her daughter was standing in a shower stall bawling, I was standing outside a shower stall, also in tears and she needed to come save the day.

So, as Sarah Louise says, sometimes we just need our Momma. I miss mine unbelievably, but since it has been about 11 hours since began recovering from the past few weeks, I'm not going to dwell on it. It makes me sad, but rarely causes a breakdown anymore.

As an escape from all things sad & stressful, I went to the ceramics studio this afternoon. I spent some time shaking glazes & refilling the the containers of the brush on glaze and other such necessary chores. A group of kids, mostly inner-city, (3rd or 4th grade I think) had a class today, so I helped with that. All the kids got to try their hand at the pottery wheel. It was fun to show them how to open up the ball of clay so they could see what it is like to make a pot. There wasn't enough time for any of them to really get close to a finished product, but at least they got play with the clay and feel how it is done. It was definitely hectic. I had two kids at a time, we staggered them a little so I had one centering and the other opening and then opening and pulling up. A few of them really seemed to have a good feel for it. One little boy could have created a small pot if we had the time. I hope that they got a feel for it and stick with it. It would be great to see the natural ability and excitement for it be nurtured!

As for my own work, I glazed 3 bowls and a vase. They will hopefully go in the kiln tomorrow and be out by Monday. I think they will use the big kiln so it takes about 3 days to go through all the cycles. I am currently using a low fire clay that will be fired at cone 04, which is roughly 1920 degrees Fahrenheit. Or about 1900 degrees warmer than it is right now. Hopefully they will turn out well & I can post pictures. I have previously used cone 6 glazes (fires around 2200 degrees Fahrenheit) and generally like some of those better. At Cone 6 I use some textured glazes and oxides that I think are really cool, but since I got the free clay (all reclaimed) and it is low fire, I am trying that. Let's all keep our fingers crossed.

Since I have now written my longest post ever, I think I made up for skipping yesterday. Since I wrote this at night and not early in the day, I'm not sure I'll have anything to say tomorrow. Of course, that hasn't stopped me before!


Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Day 2

I'm stuck at home today. I don't mind being at home too much, but the idea of being "stuck" no car, no escape, depresses me. Especially since I didn't find out my husband's car was dead until after he left. (Oh by the way...)

So I'm stuck at home, cold & cranky.

I did get some of my pieces out of the kiln yesterday. A couple bowls, a little bitty cutting vase & a hand built flower vase. I'm not sure I'll be able to put any flowers in it, but it is shaped like a flower. I like it. I can't wait to finish it. I think I'm going to do a Raku glaze. I also trimmed a couple pots to go into the next firing. My old instructor said that one of them was very nice, which was good to hear. I made a couple on the kick wheel. Similar to the one on the left. I find it harder to center & open on the kick wheel (I need the constant speed of the electric, this slows from the friction of hands on clay) I definitely prefer to trim on a kick wheel. I find it easier to control for that. I am planning to continue throwing on the kick wheel to see if I get the hang of it.

Last night's dinner was shrimp with tomatoes, red onion & feta cheese; it wasn't bad for a quick dinner, but I think it needed more lemon. Tonight is turkey steak with exotic spices & a carrot puree. Hopefully it will turn out.

I'm watching a friends kids tomorrow so she can work, so I probably won't cook tomorrow. Or write. Today's is pretty boring, but since no one reads this, I guess it doesn't matter!

Oh well, maybe I'll go play Zelda


Monday, February 5, 2007

My first Blog

Ok, "Everybody's doing it" why shouldn't I?

I've never kept a diary, I really did try, for a day or two.
I don't really want to share much of the chaos that is my life currently.

But I am full of random thoughts. I am trying to nurture my inner creativity. I feel like talking, but don't feel like bothering anyone. I don't know, it doesn't hurt to try.

I'll start with the weather, it is remarkably cold. My toes are frozen despite the heater, socks & slippers. I'm wrapped in my quilt in front of the computer trying not to freeze. I want to go out today, my car needs an oil change, I want to go to the pottery studio & see my stuff that was fired today. I'm really trying to believe I won't freeze. I'm not convinced since I am freezing just sitting here.

Maybe some homemade stew will warm me from the inside out. It is quite yummy with turkey thigh, garlic, shallots, tomatoes, carrots, a little wine, and my secret blend of herbs and spices. It was really simple, done in a crockpot. I fiddled a little with the ingredients, then turned on the crockpot and went to the pottery studio. I had my hubby throw some carrots in an hour or two before dinner time and voila a stew. Served over noodles with a crusty bread.

I'm still hoping to go to the pottery studio, I had 4 "pots" that went into the kiln for bisque firing on Saturday. I hope they came out ok. Then I get to glaze! Glaze can really make (or break--no pun intended) I'm not sure if they have done a glaze firing yet so I have another waiting for the glaze firing. I'm not very good, but I am enthusiastic. Besides, clay is good therapy! Maybe I'll pull out the camera & take a picture of some of my stuff. If I don't hate it.

Ok, I've tried this blogging thing today. It didn't suck. I may try again tomorrow. If I feel like it.


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