Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cookie Blast

Dang it! I was looking at a cooking blog on Sunday as i was getting ready to bake these cookies for my friend's birthday. "Why don't my cooking pictures turn out look this? These are gorgeous!" I thought to myself. I reassured myself that part of the reason the other photos looked so good was that the blogger clearly had a fabulous kitchen with great natural light. Still, I knew I could do better and took a ton of pictures of the subsequent baking process - which I was very happy with.  Yesterday morning I set a couple of the leftovers on a plate to take a picture of the finished product in the morning sun.

Well, today the pictures are missing from my camera and my computer! I'm not sure what happened - were they corrupted on my camera when I improperly disconnected it? Did I delete them by accident, thinking I'd already loaded them? Argh! I'm so disheartened I think I'd better go eat a cookie over ice cream!

Sunday, February 26, 2012


My roommate and I threw a sock hop in our living room. We carefully crafted a playlist of 50s hits - doowop, rockabilly, rock and roll - and hung up mock 45s made from colored paper and glow bracelets to mimic neon diner lights.

We had cheeseburgers and pigs-in-blankets. We weren't sure if onion rings were popular in the 50s, yet, but we made them anyway. And, of course, we drank milkshakes.

We danced to "Be-bop-a-lula," "Lollipop," and "Hound Dog," and then we crowded around the piano and sang "Summer Nights" (not strictly a song from the 50s, but a song about the 50s).

The night was full of anachronisms. Guests snapped pictures with their iPhones. I made a cardboard jukebox to put over my computer, which was streaming 50s hits from the web.

This afternoon I had leftovers, nostalgic for yesterday's nostalgia.

Of course, it's easy to be nostalgic for things we never experienced and don't actually remember. While my memories of the 90s - my actual childhood and adolescence - alternate between nostalgia for bike rides, lightning bugs, glitter nail polish, and the smell of brand new French textbooks to slight chagrin at slouch socks and scrunchies to the actual terror of stomachaches, long bus rides, spitballs, and unrequited but desperate crushes, my pseudo-memories of the 1950s - now those I can get behind.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Getting Started

A new day is starting -
Lent is starting -
a new start is starting -

etc. etc.

I'm too hungry to think! 

I'm not a good fast-er.

And this king cake came today from a mystery sender! 

But I didn't start eating it.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


As I wait for the subway, I listen to the stilted, robotic announcement, "Ladies and Gentlemen, the next train is now arriving. Please stand away from the platform edge, especially as trains are entering and leaving the station," and I warily back myself beyond the non-slip yellow stripe that separates me from the abyss of the track, the third rail, the puddles and sports drink bottles and occasional soft-grey rats. I was downtown last week, and while the train was nowhere in sight I peered down the tunnel, and then onto the track. I recognized a tube of lip-gloss and a pen, things dropped by accident on top of the muck. I wondered what would happen if I dropped something valuable on the tracks.

Yesterday I brought a small knitting project in my messenger bag and took it out as I waited for the train. I kept the ball of yarn nested in the bag as I worked. I have mixed feelings about my messenger bag because the soft canvas pouches always fold themselves against my body in such a way as to complicate or completely prevent my attempts to put in or take out the various items that I may need, at least with one hand. When the train came, I quickly finished my row, stuffed the needles in (towards, at least) my bag with the yarn, and carried the whole thing towards the opening doors, but as I got the edge of the platform I heard a clink, and saw the glint of one needle bouncing off my bag, off my shoe, into the gap between the door of the train and the platform, and disappearing into the dark. 

Well, there's no use crying over spilled milk, or spilled needles. I had a third needle with me that I had planned to use as a cable needle halfway through, so I continued knitting with that one, although it meant committing what I'm sure is a great knit pas of using two different sized needles. I knitted until I got to the twist in the cable, which I needed to finish at home with another needle to serve as the cable needle.

And then, ta da! I had a bow for my hat! My mom made me a cloche hat for Christmas, and now I that I've made a bow to add to it, I feel that it's a great mother-daughter collaboration. (Didn't she do a great job? I've gotten so many compliments on it!)

Today I made a foray to Michael's (Oh, shucks! An excuse to go to the craft store! Just what I didn't want really wanted!) to get a replacement pair (okay, two pairs) of bamboo needles, even better than the old ones. HURRAY! So I'm a bona fide "knit-diot" now.

Today's Gospel was about the friends of a crippled man who were so desperate to get Jesus to heal him that they carried him to the house where Jesus was staying, fought through the crowds, carried him above the house and took the roof apart, and lowered their friend inside the house. There was no obstacle that would keep them from finding healing for this man, their friend.

My favorite thing about knitting is the way it fosters friendship. My mom, as she's honed her knitting skills, has always been able to rely on one of her closest friends who will come over to decipher a new pattern or inspect dropped or twisted stitches. When I started my first knitting project, I was excited for my mom's friend to come over and see my tentative, wiggly stitches. One of my coworkers started knitting this fall, too, and we excitedly talk about our projects and share ideas. And it was the friend who explored the botanical garden with me two weekends ago who told me how to knit cables, which I used for my bow, a single cable-twist. No matter how often we tangle our yarn or confuse our stitches, or drop our needles onto train tracks, our knitting buddies are there to see us through the obstacles. 

So knitting has allowed me the chance to reflect on friendship, to give thanks for friends who will go to any length necessary to see us whole, healed, and at peace, and to give thanks for the great friendship of God, who will let no obstacle stand between our confusion, or frustration, and God's holy, healing presence.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I hope you felt loved yesterday. My mom and dad were my valentines, as most years.  My mom sent me peanut butter and chocolate hearts and knitted a little flower to pin on to my cloche hat (which she also knitted). My parents also sent me a really sweet, kind, colorful card, and today my dad sent me a drawing he found that he said reminds him of me. (He was spot on!)

Today I watched the series 2 finale of Downton Abbey - there's only the Christmas special to go. I won't spoil it for you if you haven't seen it, but let's say there was plenty, and I mean plenty, of romance, dashed hopes, honor, and Lady Sybil passionately arguing and then lovingly making up with her father. How Valentine's-y!

This Valentine's Day, I'm definitely thinking about and grateful for my family. I can be headstrong in a very Lady Sybil way. My parents and I have certainly disagreed from time to time - I'm most stubborn when I'm disagreeing with them, it seems - but when it all shakes out, I know they're always in my corner.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Another Spring Preview

After my daffodil bloomed on Friday, Saturday turned out to be a seasonably cold day. The sky was clear and sharp, but the cold wasn't biting - just bracing. It felt like winter ought to feel on a perfect February Saturday. I went to meet a friend at the botanical garden, and we headed straight for the conservatory to see the tropical rainforest and African desert. It was so hot inside our glasses fogged up, and we stopped in the entryway to unentangle ourselves from our scarves and mittens.

As we walked through the paths, we noticed which plants looked like the ones in our mothers' gardens, and talked about helping them and watching them when we were small. In one greenhouse, where the vines arched over our heads and flowers dripped down, I asked my friend if she wanted me to take a picture of her. She said "No, that's all right," then "Yes, because my mom always asks why I don't send more pictures of myself."

After the tropical gardens we wrapped our woolens back around ourselves and discovered that both our mothers had taught us how to knit over the Christmas holidays. (My friend's first project was very impressive!)

When we got to the outdoor gardens we discovered plum blossoms and hellebores, snow drops and papery yellow flowers were already blooming. That made me feel like my daffodils were less of a cheat! So spring is coming early everywhere, not just in my kitchen - although my dad says that February will surprise us with a blizzard.

For the first time this year

Well, it's happened already. I completely forgot that yesterday was Wednesday. I already have some photos picked out, so I will update this post when I get home tonight!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

It's Spring! Is it?

I absolutely could not resist these two bunches of daffodils when I saw them in the grocery store on Thursday evening. The bouquet came with a tag that proclaimed, in a gentle and friendly way, that the daffodils were grown in Ireland and sent like the glint off a pot of gold across the misty Atlantic. It implied that the daffodil workers thought of each individual bundle as a personal gift for the Americans (possibly their long-lost relatives?) who would find them in the grocery store and whose evenings would be warmed by the crinkly yellow petals.  The pot of daffodils were grown in Canada, with a more prosaic tag. But they were just green shoots, which meant I'd be able to watch them, hoping and waiting. 

On Friday when I woke up my daffodil pot had already bloomed! I was overjoyed and basked in the tremendous treat of yellow I had gotten for myself. I felt that I deserved the flower after a long, hard winter, when I realised that this winter has been neither hard nor particularly long. In fact, it hasn't really arrived yet. As happy as I am to see my daffodils each morning, they feel a little bit like sneaking into the present hiding spot before Christmas.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I Want Candy

Yesterday I came home from work determined to resist the cherry gummy candy that I gotten for Christmas and hidden under my bed. First I ate a vegetarian spicy cheese sandwich with a handful of mixed nuts. I was still hungry, so I had a piece of fruit leather and a spoonful of marmalade. I followed that with seven or eight Shrimp Town kumquats and settled down to watch Downton Abbey with the end of a bag of tortilla chips; then I made tea and finished my knitting. Then I gave up and I got the cherry candy out. Sometimes you just want what you want.