Monday, March 28, 2016

the laundress

I worked a 6:30-2:30 shift at work today, because my husband went skiing with his dad and so my morning ride in needed to be a bit ... early. I managed to get home around 4, hand-wash a bunch of sweaters and hang them out to dry (this one just needs to be aired; I snagged it on ebay and it's awesome but it smells like a used clothing store - it's febreze, right, that smells like that?), sow some foxgloves and then squeeze in a good 45-minute workout on the elliptical before Cass got home and we made dinner.

We're supposed to have a whole week of sunny weather here. Remember my blues? So ready for a break from the rain! I was shooting photos of the hellebores in the garden tonight; they were so gorgeous in the dappled evening sunlight. I suppose just about anything looks gorgeous in sunlight by now. 

And now I'm so tired that I think I'll shower and hit the sack - I thought I'd get some drawing time tonight, but I just don't think I can hack it. Oh well. We're drinking some SoCal pinot and watching Flaked, that new Netflix series - it reminds me of when we lived in SoCal, in a charmingly nostalgic way. I pretty much just feel like drinking California wine and curling up in bed!

Sunday, March 27, 2016


Ah, yes. Finally. A day at home. Pouring rain kept us indoors (except for a very brief 15-minute planting stint between showers this afternoon). A dinner party last night meant we finished cleaning the house yesterday. And no freelancing this weekend. At least - no immediate deadlines.

So today there was time. Time to roast beets for dinner in a couple days; time to mix up yogurt and salt and start it fermenting and straining on the table to make labneh for dinner another night; time to sew.

Twenty-five foxes and counting. Just about two-thirds of the way through this quilt top; it'll be a photo finish to complete it before the birth, though. Now, to make some oatmeal breakfast bars for the week, hit the elliptical, eat dinner, and head to bed - we have an extra-early morning tomorrow. What a lovely day it's been!

Saturday, March 26, 2016


You know how I said in my last post that I'd been working a lot lately? Yeah, phew! Finally caught up with all the freelancing and have a little time to rest and recenter.

Tonight we have friends coming over to eat dinner and play board games - a little low-key fun. We're keeping things simple, with some marinated shrimp tacos and an orange-and-avocado salad. To add a little special touch, I decided to make a rhubarb elixir for cocktails and/or mocktails (or just to drink warm, as tea).

I've posted this rhubarb tea before; today I'm riffing on it with blood orange zest instead of lemon (because, to be honest, I started the pot then noticed that we were out of lemons), and with the addition of some dried rosehips, dried hibiscus, and lavender. For those who have missed the previous post, this is just 10-12 stalks of rhubarb, washed and sliced up, thrown in a pot with fresh rosemary and the aforementioned ingredients. I'll simmer until the rhubarb is absolutely falling apart (about 30-60 minutes), then will strain out all the solids, and sweeten the resulting elixir with good honey (the best you've got - I'm using some Scottish heather honey to layer in extra floral notes). If the flavor is weak, you can return it to the pan and slowly simmer it to reduce and concentrate it. The resulting brew is wonderful as a flavorful herbal tea, or added to sparkling water or sparkling wine for a fun drink (we'll pair it with a brut champagne-method rose tonight). And as the spruce and doug firs come into leaf, substitute young evergreen tips for the rosemary!

Try it sometime - it's a beautiful little bit of kitchen magic!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

the blues

I've been working a lot lately. It's also been raining. A lot. Wettest winter on record. Normally this doesn't really bother me; in fact, I usually don't notice excessive precipitation for weeks, sometimes even months - I just go about my business, thinking, oh, it's raining today, as if it hadn't been raining yesterday, the day before, the day before that, all last week, all month ...

But it's starting to seep into my consciousness - or rather, my subconscious. This week I had vaguely unsettling dreams about water: about needing to make a connecting flight by flushing myself, Ministry-of-Magic-style, to a gate - only the large public restroom toilet, in the weird, beige-carpeted, filthy underground mall that was the airport in my dream was broken, and we missed our flight. Or I dreamt I was a seagull (unsettling in itself), fishing - only to land in the net of a big fishing boat; as the ropes closed around me, I thought, Shit. I'm dead.


The one thing that has been going well lately is the garden. Maybe we're overcompensating for everything else, everything we can't fix or make better, by going out each weekend, rain or shine, and gardening like we're a pair of bonkers hobbits. I'm talking eight-hour-days of gardening levels of bonkers. Friday-evening-after-work gardening-in-the-rain-as-it-gets-dark kinds of bonkers. It's immensely satisfying to work such an incredible transformation so quickly. It's also nice to get so much fresh air, and to be doing something together. But it's also incredibly exhausting. And the physical exhaustion is combining with the exhaustion of so much work, so many deadlines, and poor sleep of late.

I've got the blues, friends. I've got the spring-better-come-cause-I-need-it-now blues.

The big leaf maple blossoms are almost in bloom, and I feel myself clutching maybe a little desperately at every flower: COME ON, NOW. I NEED SOME SUNSHINE!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

spring flowers

The first plum, quince, and cherry trees are starting to bloom. Forsythia going strong, everywhere. Spring is here - or at least, the first heralds. I've been stuck inside quite a bit this week; I had my first migraine (or something close to it) in twelve years (UGH), and I've been picking up extra freelance work to try and make ends meet. This gorgeous amaryllis has been brightening my days!