Monthly Archives: January 2008

Must. Get it. Together.

I think that because I know vacation is just a few days away, I am really having a hard time getting my act together. I have to get everyone’s clothes packed and make sure we have everything we’ll need for the trip. I want to put together little “car trip bags” with a few things to keep the boys occupied on the way down. (It’s only a two hour drive, though, so I’m not too worried.) And I want to put together a few learning-oriented projects since Jake will be missing some school next week. And I have today and tomorrow to do it because I’m working on Saturday. And what have I done all morning? Not much. To be fair, though, I did have a nasty headache early on. It wasn’t a migraine or anything, but it was this nasty, random, stabbing pain above my right ear. Some Advil seemed to take care of it, though. I really should get my butt in gear, and get a few things accomplished before lunch!


brautigan.jpgThese days I can barely remember the birthdays of my friends and family, let alone favorite cultural figures. Luckily, Garrison Keillor always keeps me in the know when I listen to “Writer’s Almanc” every morning on NPR. Today I was especially glad to be listening because I was reminded that today is the birthday of my favorite writer: Richard Brautigan. (Listen to today’s broadcast here.) I think that people either understand Brautigan or they don’t. You love his work or you raise your eyebrow and move onto something else. For me, Richard Brautigan’s work has been hugely influential as well as inspiration. I have to thank my friend Jen Linck (of Craftsbury, Vt, in case she ever is looking for mentions of herself online – please write!) for introducing me to his work back when we were in high school. Though I have a hard time staying in touch with her, I think of her every single time I see my Brautigan books on the shelf. And so, in honor of what would have been his 73rd birthday, here are a few of my favorite poems:

“I Cannot Answer You Tonight In Small Portions”
I cannot answer you tonight in small portions.
Torn apart by stormy love’s gate, I float
like a phantom facedown in a well where
the cold dark water reflects vague half-built
and trades all our affection, touching, sleeping
together for tribunal distance standing like
a drowning train just beyond a pile of Eskimo

Everybody wants to go to bed
with everybody else, they’re
lined up for blocks, so I’ll
go to bed with you. They won’t
miss us.

Do you think of me
as often as I think
of you?

A few years ago I read “You Can’t Catch Death,” a memoir written by his daughter Ianthe. The book does a great job of making him a real person, and I consider it required reading for anyone who wants to really learn more about him. Hopefully there are a few readers out there who adore him as much as I do. And, maybe even better yet, maybe someone new will discover how amazing his words are.

Pizza Crust for the Bread Machine

Steph had commented on a previous post and asked me for the recipe I use for my pizza crust. Late is better than never I hope! Here you go:

Pizza Crust (Bread Machine)
3 cups bread flour
1 cup hot water
1 packet of yeast
3 Tbsp. olive oil
3/4 tsp. salt

Add water, oil, salt, bread flour, and yeast to bread machine pan in the order suggested by manufacturer. Select dough/manual cycle. When cycle is complete, remove dough from machine to a lightly floured surface. If necessary, knead in enough flour to make dough easy to handle. Stretch into desired shape and assemble pizza.

I know a lot of people like to use cornmeal between their pizza stone or pizza pan and the dough, but I prefer to use sesame seeds. I used to occasionally get a slice from a Cambridge, MA pizza shop that had a sesame seed crust and was inspired to try it myself. Personally, I like the taste better, but by all means use your own tastes as a guide!

More Basement Thoughts…

When we got the Sunday paper this week, we were checking out the bars advertised in the Namco flyer and the more we think about it, the more we think we’ll probably try to focus on a nice-sized wall unit/hutch and maybe just a small actual bar. I don’t know how often we’d really be sitting at the bar itself, but it would be nice to have something just for looks. I’ve also been thinking about how to decorate down there, and being that Drew is a big film buff, it would be cool to frame some posters of his favorite movies (I was inspired by Lisanne, who for her husband’s birthday, got all the materials to have his Star Wars movie posters framed). It would be awesome if I could find some rare movie posters, but reproductions of some of the classics would work just fine. Drew is so not a sports guy, so there is no way sports memorbilia makes sense. I think film is totally the way to go.

Dishcloth Swap TOTW

It’s time for the second weekly topic for the Winter Doldrums Dischloth Swap! Here we go:

There are many people who ADORE receiving hand-knit or crochet items; but there are just as many who have no appreciation whatever of how much love, work, and time goes into a hand-made item. Share a story of a hand-made gift you gave to someone and how it worked out – good, bad, or ugly!

I’ve made many handmade gifts and I guess they have gone over pretty well. If the people I gave them to didn’t like them, at least they didn’t tell me, LOL! I’ve made many dishcloths as quick gifts, including this one I gave to Lisanne. I knit my husband the Irish Hiking Scarf as a gift one year. I made my sister-in-law a felted bag. I knit a cupcake for a friend’s birthday. Plus back in the old scrapbooking days I made a few albums as gifts. I hope that people do appreciate my efforts and if they don’t I think I’d rather not know about it, LOL!

You’re on your own, Claire.

utheotw.jpgIt’s been a rather boring night here at work, so I’ve been busy scouring CNN to find stories I haven’t read yet and I came across this: Satellite is weeks away from hitting Earth:

“A large U.S. spy satellite has lost power and propulsion and could hit the Earth in late February or March, government officials said Saturday. A senior government official says lawmakers and other nations are being kept apprised of the situation.

The satellite, which no longer can be controlled, could contain hazardous materials, and it is unknown where on the planet it might come down, they said. “

I immediately thought, “Hey, isn’t this a movie plot?” Those of you familiar with the work of Wim Wenders will immediately think the same thing because that’s part of the plot of “Until the End of the World,” a fantastic early 90s movie. Nick Cave does some music, Tom Waits makes an uncredited appearance, and it’s just this “on the road” kind of movie with this nuclear satellite that is expected to fall to earth and cause imminent danger. That facet of the movie is just kind of in the background the whole time. The movie has a lot more to do with technology and relationships.

Anyway… this was pretty much just a random thought and a random post. Drew will be so proud that this movie (one of his favorites) was the first thing I thought of, though.


I just was checking my Upromise account and realized that my current CVS card isn’t registered there! I have to get that done right away considering that I am shopping there more now. Every little bit helps, doesn’t it? We’ve actually saved quite a bit through Upromise by adding in the numbers of all our family members grocery cards. I can’t even imagine how much it’s going to cost tuition wise to send out boys to college, and Upromise is an easy way to squirrel bits away here and there and then transfer them to a 529 account.

Waiting, waiting…

For the new issue of “The Second Glass” to arrive. The one that has my article in it. I wrote a column about “winter warmer wines” (such a far cry from topics I used to write about like corporate performance managment (CPM) software). An issue came earlier this week, but it was an older issue. I’m very impatient to see it!

I’m Gonna Need Some Beet Recipes

When we first moved up here, Drew was telling me about Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs). The idea sounded very cool, but it was far too late in the season to join one at that point. The following spring/summer was a little crazy — Drew’s grandmother wasn’t doing well and I was pregnant, and we probably didn’t even think about it. We spent the next two summers trying to sell the house, so we didn’t want to commit to anything. Last summer I waited eagerly for my friend Dara to snap photos of her weekly farm share. And then I realized that Margie also was in a CSA and I looked forward to checking her haul as well. I started to seriously investigate local farms, seeing as how the real estate market was just slumping further and further into oblivion.

One of the farms had e-mailed me in December letting me know they were taking members for the 2008 season, but we were afraid to jump on it because… well, what if? There was still this slight chance our house would sell (ridiculous optimistics that we tend to be). So we waited. And here we are. January. Not selling the house. No one is ill. I’m not pregnant. This morning I e-mailed the two farms to see if shares were still available and I was thrilled this afternoon to hear back from Sisters Hill Farm! They still have openings! So we’re printing and mailing our application post-haste. I spent some time looking at their blog posts from last year and I am just so excited to be part of that this year. The produce looks amazing, the flowers are gorgeous, and everyone there really seems to love it. Plus, on a culinary level, I’m looking forward to the challenge of cooking with ingredients I probably wouldn’t buy in the grocery store, such as bok choy (which I love, but have never prepared). Here is a sample harvest schedule. Beets will be my biggest challenge. I don’t really like beets. Neither does Drew. But there’s got to be at least one way to prepare them that we will find enjoyable. And I’m going to find it!

Kind of exciting!

Since we’re not going anywhere in the near future now that we’ve decided to not relist our house, we are seriously considering finishing off our basement. It will actually be a relatively painless job because we have Superior Walls and the way it’s all constructed, basically we just have to put the drywall up, which makes that part easy. Drew went to Lowe’s and started pricing everything and looked at the materials to put up a dropped ceiling, as well. While we were discussing this project he mentioned how glad he was that when we first moved in, he took the time to run the phone, DirecTV, and Cat5e cables up right away to wherever we thought we may, at some point, need them.

But that’s not the exciting part. And really, the exciting part is just a maybe, but I would be super excited if it does work out. Drew’s mom has a piano. (See where this is going?) There is a chance we might be getting this piano, provided we have it moved. Let me tell you — if it all works out, we are going to have one sweet game room in the basement: bar, pool table (or air hockey table — I’m kind of pulling for air hockey because I think it would get played more), and piano. Everyone will want to come over and hang out at our house!

The the question becomes… do I allow Drew to teach me piano? He tried to teach me how to play guitar, and that didn’t pan out so well, LOL. At any rate, nothing is certain yet. But we shall see!