19 November 2008


I am not a locavore, but I find great delight and comfort in knowing where my food has come from. This week, I found Rainbow carrots, kale, garlic,and Delicata squash at the farmer's market. Honestly, I bought the carrots only because I thought they were beautiful. I have a bushel of carrots at home, but these were so extraordinary looking that I couldn't pass them up. Now, with Thanksgiving looming, I wish I had bought more. They are not sweet, in fact, they have an earthy, almost bitter quality. However, the kale, frost-kissed, is remarkably sweet and tender.

Finally, it's Mutsu season, so a trip to Cold Spring Orchard was in order. Cold Spring is a research facility of UMass Amherst and it is located in what is certainly one of the most beautiful sites in the Valley. They grow over one hundred varieties of apple including Goldrush, an apple I've never tried, but which is said to keep exceptionally well, retaining its crisp texture and developing its flavor over time. The Mutsu, developed in the Mutsu province of Japan, is a cross between the Golden Delicious and the Japanese Indo apples and it's one of my favorites. It's incredibly crisp, with a sweet-tart flavor. I've no pie-baking scheduled, but I think I could be persuaded to make the irresistibly toothsome Nigella Lawson Ginger-Jam Bread and Butter Pudding I made a few years ago.

03 November 2008

is it love, or is it Fancy Feast?

Someone is not going to be happy. An increasing dependence on that carb-laden Fancy Feast has turned la belle Foof into a frantic, snack-addicted tubster. My well researched plan for rehabilitating the dear one required a longish investigative visit to Dave's, a local pet food shop. I left with one can of Wellness Beef & Chicken, one can of Wellness Core Something or Other with Peas and Flaxseed, one can of Nearly Raw, But Still Edible Chicken and Other Things, and one can of plain quail for Bob, who has been doing a bit of podging out as well. If success is dependent on determination, then these cats will like their new dietary regime. Day One dosing instructions; a soupcon of new glop mixed in with a modest amount of old glop. Result? She ate it! The whole thing! A modest victory, but a victory nonetheless. Tomorrow is another day.

27 October 2008

pictures of cats...

That's it, just pictures of cats.

here's to Misinformation!

Two weeks ago it was there, and then, today, it seemed not to be there, but then, there it was; the bundle of Berroco Smart Mohair in the delicious Blue Opal. Finding it was integral to the Christmas gift plot I'm about to launch: a knitted throw. For Mum. So when I began feeling anxious about not finding it, and then relief when I finally spotted it on a shelf, I thought, "I'd better get this right now, because, the next time, when I look for it, it will be gone!". I drove off feeling pretty pleased with myself for having had the foresight to cheat an imaginary and wholly unlikely fate, and this put me in mind of a phrase my mother has used once or twice in similar situations: Moscow Rules. This, supposedly, is exactly the sort of thing you say when you spot something you really want, embrace the "now", and resist dithering. This is exactly the sort of thing I never get the chance to say because I am always dithering when I should be succumbing to wild impulse. So today I succumbed and now I get to say, "Moscow Rules", except I have the fundamental decency to admit that I really have no idea what this means, so it seems a little hollow. I know what my mother thinks this means, and she claims to have cribbed this from someone who attended a pretty good school, has affluent parents, married exceptionally "well", and is pretty much known for succumbing to wild impulse. My rule, which has nothing to do with Moscow or any other Eastern European city is, "When in doubt, look it up", so I did.
The Moscow Rules, (the word "rules" is a noun here; bear in mind that Mom, et al are using it as a verb), refer to specific rules of engagement as developed by the CIA for use in espionage. They are as follows:
  1. Assume nothing.
  2. Never go against your gut.
  3. Everyone is potentially under opposition control.
  4. Don't look back; you are never completely alone.
  5. Go with the flow, blend in.
  6. Vary your pattern and stay within your cover.
  7. Lull them into a sense of complacency.
  8. Don't harass the opposition.
  9. Pick the time and place for action.
  10. Keep your options open.
See the Wiki link here.

No good reason then to say "Moscow Rules" ever again, I think.

26 October 2008

68 Baker Bridge Road

We spent a pleasant Saturday recently touring the Walter Gropius house in Lincoln, MA. We were prohibited from taking photos inside the house, but that was really all to the good, as the interior shots taken from the exterior say a great deal more about the Gropius perspective on bringing the outside in, so to speak.

29 September 2008


The new sweater is now properly underway. The sleeves are being reknit in a rather impromptu fashion. As I'm using a different yarn, they were clearly going to be too large if I kept to the instructions, so I've been revising the pattern as I go along. One sleeve is completed, the other is in progress. The back is done, the front, yet to be knitted, features the same lace pattern as the sleeves. I'm hoping it will all fit together nicely and be wearable.

Post script: I hated this damn sweater. I took it apart.

22 September 2008


No, not just things, but nearly everything I own, is neatly and logically buried away in boxes stored in a spare room in my parent's home. For some reason I've yet taken little time to consider, I have spent the majority of my life looking for things, not an intolerable impulse as it affords me the thrill of hunting for something I think I absolutely need and then being quite pleasantly surprised when I find some unrelated thing I had completely forgotten about. Today, it was my flag of Great Britain, the Laguiole cheese set, and the NordicWare bundt pan, on the face of it, a frivolous possession, as I am made ill by sugary treats, but one never knows when one may be called upon to produce a cake. My copy of a Conservation International field guide to lemurs was another stirring rediscovery. All these things make up me and all these things are hidden away. So I decided, striding up the hill between the church and the college this morning, that, despite my resolution to give up reading newspapers, now would be the time to begin reading British papers, albeit online, so that, as a former resident of that green and pleasant land, I could vicariously reacquaint myself, (ye gods, I was almost about to use the utterly dehumanizing "reconnect"!), with the realities of England. Time also to admit that I'm fairly good at words, that they matter to me, that I use them in carefully considered ways, and that maybe, I need to grow up and commit myself to them more fully. Hence, the blog. Hence, this post. Hence, my conscientious reading of James Woods' How Fiction Works. One other admission: I have reached a point in my knitting where I am forced to challenge my assumption that I am capable of following simple directions. Pictures to follow.
Then there is Foof. And Bob. I am delighted that the cats have palindromic names. Perhaps, after the three week kitty sleepover party we have all been enjoying, they will remain with us in the sparsely furnished, but lavishly carpeted apartment. Possession. 9/10. The Law. Indeed.

11 September 2008

trothing my plight

11 September 2008

It seemed like an arranged marriage all along. Having to give up my reading glasses for specs with progressive lenses gave me a good excuse to stop wearing the dominating and overly heavy Tommy Hilfiger frames I had purchased ten years ago and adopt a "new look". Originally, I felt excited at the prospect, but after spending hours rooting about at optical shops on both coasts and finding nothing that looked like me, whatever that means, I began to feel discouraged. All the frames looked alike, tedious pairs of rectangles. I tried on a pair of Vera Wang's that made me look bitter and menopausal and a pair that made me look Speed Racer-ish. The frames I thought I was after, like the ones worn by Anouk Aimee in 8 & 1/2, were everywhere and made me look like everyone else. I decided that I was going to have to wear a pair that I could learn to love over time, and I guess these are those glasses. They were pricey. Someone suggested that they made me look like Sarah Palin. Someone else said she loved them, particularly the way they picked up the hazel color of my eyes, which are green. Here they are, a half-rim pair of Swissflex, too expensive not to tolerate at the very least.