Wednesday, February 27, 2008

“The most serious charge which can be brought against New England is not Puritanism but February.”

I've been thinking of Charles Dickens, who wrote, in David Copperfield. :

"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."

But I've been thinking of it in reference to the weather. Something like

'Daily temperature 35 degrees, no precipitation, sunshine, result happiness. Daily temperature 35 degrees, no precipitation, no sunshine, result misery."

It's amazing the difference the sun makes. The earliest birds have returned from their Southern migration and are beginning to sing. I"m told by Son of COG that a lot of the first ones to arrive are young males, who come early to establish their territory so they can attract a mate. They sing whether or not the sun shines - it's about sex and territory, not weather. But, when I hear them singing in the morning and the sun is shining, my heart lifts and I know that Spring is around the corner.

Today, on the other hand, has been unrelentingly grey and gloomy. Sheba and I took a long invigorating walk, but now we are back home and the house is dark and cold. The kitchen will soon be warm and bright, however, so that's where I'm going right now to make dinner.

The quote in the title is by Joseph Wood Krutch (pronounced 'krootch') who, according to Wikipedia, was an American writer, critic, and naturalist. He was born in Tennessee, taught at Columbia for many years, and then spent the last 20 or so years of his life in Arizona writing about nature. He seems never to have lived in New England, but he was right about February.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ireland 2008: Dustin The Turkey - Irelande Douze Points

This is what we are laughing at today: Ireland's Eurovision Song contest entry - Dustin the Turkey.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Snow, Vertigo, Johnny Cash

It's snowing very prettily right now. We are expecting 6 to 8 inches over the next 12 hours or so. The good thing about these late February snows is that they melt quickly. Also, it's so much prettier when it snows that a couple of days of snow cheer me up and get me farther through mud season.

I have vertigo today. I get it occasionally and it's particularly bad today. The floor is uneven, rolling. I'm dizzy, seasick. In fact, the treatment is motion sickness medicine. Tomorrow, it will be better. Or the next day.

Just watched Walk The Line and really enjoyed it. Reese Witherspoon and Jaoquin Phoenix were terrific. A perfect film for a snowy, vertiginous Friday.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Weather: Good News and Bad News

It's 60 degrees today. That's the good news. No walkies for Sheba, however. The bad news is we have torrential rain and high winds. Sigh.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Bride Is an Ikeahacker

Today the Bride delved deep into her inner Geek and built herself a combination docking/charging station and computer stand. Since she has a larger screen, mouse and keyboard, the computer is often just closed on the desk, taking up room, along with other devices. This docking/charging station was her own invention, an Ikeahack based on the Estetisk desk storage with compartments.(The Bride's inner geek can't figure out how to copy a picture from Ikea, here's the url: Estetisk is intended to be stood up and used to hold pens and desk clobber, but for this application it is on it's side.
The construction was simple. Drill 3/4 inch holes through the back of each pigeon hole(you can't see these holes in the picture) and also through the back (you can see these). Then, put clear plastic 'gripping pads' on the top (you can see them in the picture if you look hard). These are to elevate the laptop slightly so it won't overheat. Also, to hold it in place so it won't slip around.
Here it is in action. Phone, Ipod, Nano, camera head-phones, all neatly tucked away. Wires that go to the surge protector (phone, camera) go through two holes (compartment and bottom shelf). Wires that go into the computer (headphones, nano, ipod) are neatly coiled in the storage section at the back, leaving just enough wire to plug in to the side of the computer.

The Bride is Cranky

I've been out shopping for bath gels. I was looking for a pump bottle (easier in the shower) of some nice scent: lavender, jasmine, sandalwood, almond, rose, lemon verbena, gardenia or vetiver. Not that picky, just some wonderful scent. In a pump bottle.

And what I found is all kinds of bath gels with food scents - strawberry, cinnamon pumpkin, vanilla, coconut, melon, mango, banana smoothie, chocolate truffle, daiquiri, cucumber mint, orange, apple, grapefruit, peach etc. Even the floral scents were mixed with food: lavender/ vanilla, rose/ red currants.

It makes me cranky. I don't want to smell like a banana smoothie. I want to smell like a gardenia or a rose. And not a rose with red currants. Maybe a rose with lavender.

Is this phenomenon somehow related to the American obesity problems?

I finally found a Caswell Massey almond scented one. I know, I know - almonds are a food, but the almond scent isn't food-like, so it works for me.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Chic and Slim

The Bride is working on her personal style these days as a part of her overall obsession with slimming. She has been reading a book - "Chic and Slim: How those chic French women eat all those rich foods and stay slim" by Anne Barone. Probably out of print, but it predates French Women Don't Get Fat by 5 or 6 years.

The author has a list of 100 Do's, of which #5 is Develop or refine your own personal style. The Bride is doing some of the other things on the list, too, but she hasn't felt it necessary to share that she is chewing more slowly or eating regular food.

Here's as much of the list as The Bride can be bothered to type right now, in the order the Bride likes best:

1) Develop or refine your own personal style.
2) Get adequate sleep.
3) Wear lingerie that makes you feel pretty and special.
4) Ask yourself what one thing you hate doing the most and stop doing it.
(That's a favorite of the Bride's. She does it over and over. Soon she will have entirely stopped housekeeping.)
5) Clean out your closet.(The Bride notes that you can then fill it up again.)
6) Never eat when you are angry or upset. (Try writing one of your sympathetic sisters an email complaining. You can't put food in your mouth while you are typing.)
7) Eat good bread.
8) Find something you enjoy doing more than eating, and do it regularly. (The Bride gives thanks for the internet)
9) Shop for fresh, high-quality fruits and vegetables. (The COG says that they must not come from Central or South America or China) (The Bride says, why not shop for other things, too. Shoes are always good.)
10) Take at least 20 minutes in the day just for yourself. (The Bride's theory is that if 20 minutes is good, a couple of hours must be better).
11) Say no to exploitive people. (The Bride says, why stop with exploitive people? Say no to all unpleasant or difficult people).
12) Spend time with people who make you laugh.
13) Regularly treat yourself to a massage or facial( The Bride adds, or manicure or pedicure or aromatherapy head massage or whatever).
14) Avoid people you don't like.
15) Get outside in the fresh air at least 1/2 hour daily.

16) Sing a lot - you can't eat and sing at the same time.
17) Enjoy afternoon tea.
18) Go to France and watch chic French women eat.
19) Learn to make Parisian style French Onion Soup. (Which The Bride has already done and blogged about on Hotdish Bleus).

OK, those are the Good rules. The rest are things like, Eat smaller portions, limit alcohol, Eat real food, not diet food. Eat only when seated. Take small bites, chew slowly. Eat meals in courses.

Bor-ring.Blah blah blah.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Lovely Day Shopping at Ikea

As I mentioned in my last blog, the Cranky Old Geezer volunteered to come to Ikea with me. It's so cute the way he loves the place. He had such a great time that he wanted to prolong our shopping experience by having something to eat in the dining room there. I wasn't hungry at all - I'd had lunch before we left, but the COG was in such a jolly mood and we were having such a lovely time shopping that I didn't want to spoil it for him by refusing.

And he loved it. If he hadn't been so happy, I'd have thought he didn't feel well, because he wouldn't eat a thing. But he kept pushing food on me. I really only wanted a coffee, but I finally said I'd have an open-faced sandwich, just to satisfy him. ( I don't think he's that familiar with Swedish cuisine, because he seemed to think they'd left off the top piece of bread as a clever cost-reduction measure in response to the recession and it made him so cheerful that I didn't want to disillusion him.)

I finished the sandwich and he insisted on getting me some Swedish meatballs and pasta. I pushed it around on my plate for a while, gazing dreamily into his lovely blue eyes while he talked about the recession and I plotted the rest of our shopping expedition. I pretended to go for seconds, but came back with the same full plate. When he insisted on going to get me a dessert, I dumped the meatballs in the trash. Did the same thing with the cake while he was getting me another coffee. He was in such a good mood and he had such a lovely time that I'll make sure we get back to Ikea soon.

I really think his sense of humor is the thing I love best about him. He kept joking that this was my Valentine's Day gift. Hilarious

Friday, February 8, 2008

Big Blue and Yellow

The COG has promised to come with me to Ikea tomorrow.  Better than that, he says he'll buy me lunch there, since it's nearly Valentine's Day.  What a guy!  

Snow Update

OK, the 'Wintry Mix' turned to snow and now it's cold.  As someone I met in town this morning complained, it has now been snowing for 24 hours and we've had 1/2 inch of snow. Hardly worth the trouble and annoyance. 
It's very pretty because everything is coated in 1/2 inch of white, but wheeeeen will winteeer be ooooover......  

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Wintry Mix

We have a kind of weather here in coastal New England that we didn't have when I was growing up in Minnesota - it's called 'Wintry Mix.' After couple of days of pouring rain, complete with thunder and lightning, the weather changed overnight to Wintry Mix - this is when the temperature hovers around freezing and the precipitation is part snow, part rain. Other times it means that there's snow overnight, but as the day warms up, it turns to rain. Either way it can make the roads slick and icy, and the commute a nightmare.

As I am not employed, however, I just stay indoors and admire the view. This is from our bedroom window this morning. Pretty, eh?