Thursday, June 25, 2015

Saving seeds

 The garden harvest is just about to begin. This is the time that everyone dreams of, when you're inundated with never-ending streams of zucchini and tomatoes. There have only been a few zucchini so far, so they're still a treat. Come August, I'll be passing them out to anyone walking by on the street, I think.
     In the meantime, there are seeds to dry from the spring garden. The chamomile is a new addition to my garden this year, thanks to a seed gift from my in laws. I'll save all the flowers as they bloom, and then let them dry to use in teas. I have fond memories of chamomile, because it's popular in Germany as a soothing, healing tea. I had the impression from Germans that chamomile tea cures stomachaches, headaches, stubbed toes, flu, and pretty much any other ailment you can think of.
My not-so-fancy drying station is my living room shelf. That's one of the points about living in a small home - there's no spare rooms. So my seeds dry in the living room, my miter saw lives on the bedroom shelf, and my hand tools are stored under the bed. It's a cozy way to live.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Dinner Parties

     If you throw a dinner party well, you will have happy, well-fed friends, and (once they have gone home) you will have a thoroughly cleaned house and delicious leftovers. Thus, I am now enjoying the comfortable feeling of possessing enough ratatouille, cherry clafoutis, and vanilla bean custard ice cream to see me through the start of the week.
     I don't throw as many dinner parties as I once did. In part this is because it takes time in a new place to make enough friends who you can invite over. But is also rather more complicated now that I am single. When I was married, I did the cooking and my husband did the cleaning. This meant that I could throw a dinner together in a few hours. Now, it's all on my to-do list, so I started early in the morning to clean and tidy the house, bathe the dog, arrange flowers and set the table, and then cook three courses. It's worth it at the end, though, to see happy people having fun. And to have that leftover ice cream, of course.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

From Trash to Treasure

I had a terrific time on my trip to Ohio. The garage sales were perhaps not quite as prolific as last year, but I still found lots of deals. Below, my father and I show off our treasures (the copy of Matisse's Blue Nude is his). I picked up a spare ten-speed bike (currently stored at my parents' house), for when my three-speed dies; fabric to make trousers, yarn to make a sweater, and a 50-cent squash plant, which is already at home in my garden. 

I also bought a quart of strawberries picked fresh from someone's garden, which made awesome margaritas when we got home. Here, my mother connoisseur sips them thoughtfully.
I suggested that we celebrate Father's Day a week early, and offered to make my father anything he wanted for brunch. His choice was not surprising for a man who loves sugar - Cinnabon-style cinnamon buns. And they were just as insanely sweet as the ones you buy at the airport. To balance all that sugar, we also had strawberries, bacon, and shirred eggs.
One of the garage sale finds was a 1960's alarm clock. We took it apart to see if we could make it work. Alas, this was a failure, although I learned a lot about gear-based clocks. That's a quarter that was foolishly spent...

P.S. The coda to last week's post: A dose of Xanax did nothing for the dog, and she barked for hours. A double dose on the way backed helped a bit, but not enough. The vet has now authorized a double dose, twice as often, for the next trip. She is a dog who Does. Not. Want. To. Sleep.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Catching up

     I have a good excuse for not blogging - I've been working. June is a great conference month, because professors aren't teaching. I worked the last two Saturdays helping out with conferences, plus I had friends stay a few days. Visitors are awesome, because they give you an excuse to have fun and not do housework, but then they leave and the housework is still there.
     So I spent the day doing laundry and watching the dog not fall asleep. That might not seem remarkable to you, but I was doing a test run with some tranquilizers the vet gave me. Ada the dog has the unfortunate tendency to bark when she's in the car. When we first got her, it was just a few minutes at the start of the trip, but now she can easily bark several hours. This is stressful for her, and me (as you can imagine).
     I was supposed to dose her today, while I was home, so I could measure how long it took to take effect and how soundly she slept. I gave her a full dose, and the effect was... not particularly noticeable. She still got up and sat by the kitchen whenever I was there cooking. She followed me around the house. She went on a two-mile walk with me. Tomorrow I will be calling the vet to ask for some better drugs. Perhaps her time on the streets of Miami means that she's already had a lot of experience with drugs?