Thursday, January 31, 2013

since my hair was brown

I was waiting on a library patron the other day, a woman in her sixties with short, white hair. After a while she said to me, "You've been here a long time", and I agreed.  Then she said, "Since your hair was brown".  It was one of those unexpected but comical remarks and pretty darn funny - we had a good laugh over it. The conversation then turned to pros and cons of coloring hair. 

But yeah, my hair isn't brown any more.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Henry considers

 (why is he sitting up like that?)

(oh, no - don't you even think about it)

(good boy!)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

a splash of red

Yesterday.  You can always expect to see cardinals while it's snowing.

They're a bright patch in the otherwise neutral landscape.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Pride and Prejudice - 200th anniversary

I heard on the radio this morning that today is the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. So, how can I post about anything else?

I would read it again, but since I'm in the middle of two or three books, it's probably a bad idea, so I'll say something about the film versions. I have three (the Laurence Olivier isn't worth mentioning, it's so bad); and my introduction to Jane Austen began with the BBC/Masterpiece Theatre program from the early 1980s, which made me pick up the book and that's where my acquaintance with Jane began.

That early version is very faithful to the book and is still my favorite because of it. The acting is rather formal, Mr. Darcy is very stiff, the costumes were what the budget could afford, but for clever dialogue you won't be disappointed. Elizabeth Garvie played Lizzie and she's very lovely. The scene where she gives Lady Catherine her well-deserved set-down is priceless. The characters of Lady Catherine and Mr. Collins are very well played, I think - without any going overboard, as often happens (e.g. as in the latest film version).

The A&E version from the 90's is very well done, and Colin Firth is the best Darcy so far, but I was always disappointed at some of my favorite lines being left out.

The Keira Knightly film was a most excellent movie - beautiful photography, clever directing, excellent acting; but it took so many liberties with the story that while I love it as an entertainment, it lacks that Jane Austen air - the more atmosphere you add to Jane Austen, the less Austen-ish it seems to me. When you read her books, the thing which stands out so much is her cleverness of speech - her own, in her descriptions, and the characters' dialogue. There really isn't any "atmosphere" - certainly nothing like a Bronte novel, which is the feel you get from watching the latest P&P film. Still, I do love to watch it, and I think Joe Wright (the director) did the best he could in squeezing a complicated story into a two-hour film; it really can't be done properly, which is evidenced by the barely-touched-on Wickham episode.

What would Jane think if she could see all the spin-offs of her work? Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - good grief! I haven't read any of them (except the Stephanie Barron mysteries, which I've blogged about elsewhere). I did try P.D. James' - it was so wordy I didn't get far at all. What I really want is not for someone to continue one of her stories, but for someone to write just like she did - and that's impossible. (Although S. Barron very cleverly imitates it - try them, if you like an amusing mystery.)

I will leave you with the eminently satisfying scene in which Lady Catherine de Bourgh visits the Bennet household - the source of my favorite line in the book -  "The wife of Mr. Darcy must have such extraordinary sources of happiness necessarily attached to her situation that she could, upon the whole, have no cause to repine."  A very clever girl, our Lizzie!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

quick thinking

A quick bowl of cereal this morning after Mass and we took off to see Aunt Helen, who's temporarily at a rehab facility after a spell in the hospital.  I was so hungry the whole time we were out and didn't think I had the energy to make Italian wedding soup from scratch, so my wheels began to turn while we were on the way home.

In the freezer were two of those healthy chicken sausages  - I thawed them, then sliced and  browned them in butter and olive oil for more flavor, as I'd often seen my mother do.

There was a container of nice strawberries in the fridge, so some got cut up and mixed with salad greens with a bit of balsamic dressing, with brown sugar added to the extras.

Then I made up a batch of pancakes and topped them with boysenberry syrup which my brother got from a customer.

  A country dinner!

I have to say I'm not one of those who likes to make French toast or pancakes for supper - I'm not keen on so many sweets at meals. But, in a hurry - this was pretty good!

Friday, January 25, 2013

new green sweater, with reservations

I was recently looking for a green sweater and found a good deal at LOFT online, a sixty dollar one for only twenty. When it came, I looked at the fabric content - it said five percent angora rabbit hair.

I suddenly began to wonder if little rabbits are killed for the stuff. Poked around online and found out that they're usually shaved.

Then I found myself wondering if they minded being shaved; if they were kept in over-crowded pens, like chickens. I eventually came across a little video about keeping them for a side business and how to shave them. The bunny didn't appear disturbed by the process. I guess I was satisfied enough to keep the sweater, which I was getting ready to send back.

And then Purl Bee posted these knitted hat patterns with angora in them - Whitney says the hair is combed from the rabbits, at least with this yarn she used. Well, I'm glad to hear that things aren't as bad as I'd originally feared. I hope.

Joining Fiona for Green Day

Thursday, January 24, 2013

egg salad, nicely chopped

Debra and I got together a couple of years ago and she made egg salad.  When I marveled at how small and nicely chopped it was, she told me she used a potato masher.  I'd never thought of that!

It gives instant results; press down once, turn it a little to get those tougher whites chopped up, and it's done.

I use a recipe adapted from an old Gourmet

Egg Salad

  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tsp. tarragon
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • a couple of shakes of black pepper
  • a pinch or two of salt, if you're a big salt lover

If your family doesn't mind chopped raw onion, by all means add some! Over here, it isn't always welcome, so today I just threw in some dried chives which doesn't get a complaint.

The lemon juice gives it enough zip so that salt isn't really needed.  And if you put in some celery it will go farther, of course.

Every once in a while I find a recipe which we like so much that there isn't any need to try other versions. But if I was out of tarragon, I would naturally use something else. This mixture just hits the spot with us.

Monday, January 21, 2013

knitted zip pouches

I've been occupying myself and also using up yarn with these zippered pouches from a holiday craft magazine. (MSL 2006)  I made one, then thought I could have done better, so I'm knitting up a couple more.

The first was brown with a red zipper and colorful corduroy lining. I didn't know what to do with it until I discovered it was just the right size for a friend's gift.

I found someone who could use this one.

There's a pink zipper in this one, because this fabric is going to line it. It's a better match than it looks here.

I'm making different goofs with each one, but that's a good way to learn; at some point I'll have it figured out - I'll perfect it!

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Although today was surprisingly warm (in the fifties)

there's some cold air blowing in.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

knitting buddy

I do the stitching, she holds down my knitting bag. We're companion plants.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

stovetop shenanigans

How interesting an out of focus picture can be - but I still have to go clean the stove!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

snow at the library

Well, all over town of course, but I took these pictures there

I don't get tired of looking at it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

more cleaning cloths

I'd thought I had enough of these but when I got to the bottom of the stack, it was really nothing to make a few more - they are just perfect for cleaning in the bathroom.

Monday, January 14, 2013

rather messy or, haste makes waste

Well, not waste, exactly.

I had a bag of Wyman's wild blueberries in the freezer for too long and thought I'd make a pie. I added some cranberries to round it out and had it on the stove to cool.

And then it came to me that I hadn't put in any thickener, oh dear. I make pies so rarely - why, for two people? And when I do make them it's usually apple, and I don't use a thickener in apple pie.

It tastes very good. It's SO juicy. When the crust gives out, we can just eat the insides. No, it won't get wasted.

* my brother told me this story - a customer of his was in Maine, picking these tiny wild blueberries with her dog along. I'm sure you can guess it; her bucket was feeling rather light - the dog had eaten all the berries!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

January Saturday

 Today I put away many of the Christmas decorations

and forgot two

made a batch of meatballs for the freezer

and chicken soup for supper

with the Cambridge Singers Christmas Day in the Morning all day for accompaniment. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

a favorite banana bread

After rescuing some overripe bananas from my neighbor the other day, I decided to make this favorite recipe slightly altered from one of Nigella Lawson's books - How to be a Domestic Goddess, the one Anna often refers to. 

Here's the metric version - I didn't have any golden raisins, so used dried cherries instead. And I also substituted orange juice for the liquor - didn't have any of that, either. Then, because the batter is thick, I sprinkled mini chocolate chips on top before baking. Very moist and wonderful!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

a cat's life

I would like to nap under the tree. Even just once in a while.

Monday, January 7, 2013

a patch on a quilt

This flannel lap quilt has needed mending long enough - tonight I'm fixing it. I didn't make it, but it's a great favorite. A corduroy patch stitched on the machine and I can enjoy this cozy quilt again!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

scripture reading for feast of Epiphany

Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come,
the glory of the Lord shines upon you!
See, darkness covers the earth,
and thick clouds the peoples;
but upon you the Lord shines,
and over you appears his glory.
Nations shall walk by your light,
and kings by your shining radiance.
Raise your eyes and look about;
They all gather and come to you:
your sons come grom afar,
and your daughters in the arms of their nurses.

Then you shall be radiant at what you see,
your heart shall throb and overflow,
for the riches of he sea shall be emptied out before you,
the wealth of nations shall be brought to you
Caravans of camels shall fill you,
dromedaries from Midian and Ephah;
all from Sheba shall come
bearing gold and frankincense,
and proclaiming the praises of the Lord.

                                                                  Isaiah 60:1-6

Saturday, January 5, 2013

ornament casualties

A partial collection of things Dolly's knocked off the tree.

Friday, January 4, 2013

something ratty in Bethlehem

Saturday into Sunday we had the first big snow of the season. These pretty firs are across the street.

I was very happy to find some Ghirardelli peppermint bark on sale - I broke it up and made these cookies again.  mmmm

Funny, but - I don't think I've ever seen a nativity with a giant rat

until now, that is.

Actually, a friend was over for dinner on New Year's Day and after he left I found the cat toy - I don't think I should blame the cats for this.

Joining Leila today.
round button chicken