Saturday, January 10, 2009
Friday, January 9, 2009
Well, prepare yourselves for more lameness.
I've been contemplating getting some winter boots for awhile, because I don't have any. I've been wearing my waterproof hiking boots most of the time, and when the snow got really deep, I was wearing the rubber boots. Rubber boots are not the ideal snow boot. In fact, they pretty much blow in the snow (HAAA). They're freezing cold and have very little traction. So A. told me he was going to get me a pair of winter boots for my birthday* (along with a kick-ass Patsy Cline CD, which I've been listening to pretty much non-stop), but I told him not to buy them without me. Not that I don't trust him to pick out footwear for me, but . . . okay, I don't trust him to pick out footwear for me.
The first place I looked was Sierra Trading Post, because they have a lot of rugged outdoor apparel for stupid cheap. Close-outs, or something. And wouldn't you know it, there, in the women's outdoor boot section, were Sorels. A. has a pair of Sorels and they are seriously rugged. They're also seriously expensive. I've coveted Sorels for some time, but never got any. But then I saw these at the STP site. And I saw that they were half off. And I saw that they were waterproof AND rated to twenty below zero. And I saw that while they were rugged, they were actually kind of cute.
So I bought them.
Happy birthday to me!
The fake fur at the top may prove to be a mistake--I can visualize it quickly becoming encrusted in mud and chicken shit--but I really like these boots. They look kind of girly and semi-stylish, so I won't feel ridiculous wearing them in The City, but they're not stupid pseudo-boots that will leave my feet cold and wet. AND, they have a zipper at the side, instead of laces. Laces seem particularly challenging to me for boots I have to get in and out of 20 times a day. The perfect marriage of Blackrock-required practicality and rest-of-the-world style.
I think it's love.* This may have had something to do with him being sick of hearing me whine about how cold my damn feet are every time he drags me out with him to work on fences in the snow. And now I don't have any excuse to go inside and warm up by the fire. Methinks I have just outwitted myself.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
The thing I hate most about packing all that stuff away--besides the inevitable depression that results when I realize the holidays and their cheer and bright lights are done with, leaving nothing but a grim stretch of winter months to be endured before spring--is the cleaning. Because, you see, the surfaces that I covered with cut evergreen boughs have not BEEN cleaned since I put the boughs there, lest I disturb the dried-out boughs and cause all the needles to fall off, a la Charlie Brown's Christmas tree--whoomp!
I decorated almost exactly a month ago. A month is a long time. Long enough for some serious filth to build up. Especially in the dining room, where the woodstove coats all surfaces in a layer of dust and ash. The accumulation of those layers over the last month, along with the webs spun by the industrious spiders who really like the warm dining room, meant that I was not so much wiping up dust as scrubbing away dirt. It was totally grody to the max.
I'm not a fanatical housekeeper or anything, but I was a little disturbed at the filth we'd been wallowing in for a month. The only benefit to cleaning something so gross is the resulting feeling of virtuousness. Blackrock affords many opportunities to experience that feeling, because I swear to God, our house gets dirtier faster than any other house I've ever been in. There are all the pets, yes, and tracking in mud and all, but I think the house just manufactures its own dirt.
I managed to get everything put away, cleaned up, and shining like a new penny (not really on the penny part) downstairs. And it stayed that way for two whole hours, until pets came in, people came home, mail was deposited, and the cycle began anew.
I can't be the only one who really wishes for a maid.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
In addition to his frankly creepy ability to see you when you're sleeping (really now--that's just freaky) and his knowledge of whether you've been bad or good, the portly gent in the red suit can also divine the future. And I know this because of a little something good ole Santy Clause left in my stocking.
Christmas morning I discovered a cute little basket had been left for me by the jolly fat man. Santa's Little Helper (a.k.a. the MiL) explained that it was for collecting eggs when the chickens started laying them. So I laid the basket aside (okay, so I really left it on the floor by the fireplace, because I forgot about it), figuring I wouldn't need it for months.
And then those tricky little chickens started laying eggs just one week later. Who would have ever guessed that would happen? Apparently, Santa did.
So now, every morning I traipse on out to the chicken coop with my little basket and gather the one brown egg from the nesting box and the one green egg (some breeds of chickens lay green or blue eggs) from the floor because the hen laying the green eggs can't seem to get her act together enough to lay the damn eggs in the box we built just for that purpose and nicely padded with straw. What a moron.
Thanks to Santa, I have the perfect little basket for my little eggs.
Isn't that just DARLING?
Thank you, Santa! Now, about this business of seeing me when I'm sleeping . . .
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
I can hear the smart-ass in the back of the (virtual) room going, "Tuesday." Snickersnickersnicker.
Yes, yes. You're all very smart. It is indeed Tuesday. It is also January 6. And does everyone know what that means? It means that Christmas is officially over.
What's that? You thought Christmas was one day in December? Well, that's wrong. In fact, Christmas Day is the beginning of the Twelve Days of Christmas (of partridge-in-a-pear-tree fame) that culminates on Epiphany. Which is today. Which is also known as the Adoration of the Magi, to celebrate the Three Kings (of rubber cigar fame). I've heard that some cultures exchange gifts on Epiphany. How has the relentless marketing machine of American consumerism missed this golden opportunity to guilt people into buying ever-more gifts? Shameful.
Some people hold to the tradition that Christmas decorations should come down on Epiphany. Some people also believe it is bad luck to have the decorations up after Epiphany. I guess that means I'll have bad luck, then, because I'm not going to be getting all our decorations down today.
And just to complete your January 6 education, I will close by saying that Shakespeare's play "Twelfth Night" takes its name from the twelfth night of Christmas, which is also known as Epiphany Eve.
You can all go and impress your co-workers with your knowledge now. Class dismissed.
Monday, January 5, 2009
What I won was a copy of a book called "The Cornbread Gospels," by Crescent Dragonwagon. First, I must acknowledge what may be the coolest author's name EVER. And then I must admit that I would never have bought this book for myself, because it's so specific. I gravitate more towards the multi-use cookbooks. But this is a very entertaining book, I must say. I like to sit down and read cookbooks like novels, and this is eminently readable. Also educational. For example, I have learned that while I cook cornbread like a Northerner (using flour in addition to cornmeal and adding sugar), I cut it like a Southerner (in wedges).
I am truly a citizen of the world.
The author makes much of the fact that when she was writing the book and told people she was working on a book about cornbread, every person would exclaim about how much they love cornbread. Well, yeah. I think this is true of any kind of freshly baked, homemade bread. But since I am not a baker and am unwilling to deal with yeast in any form, quick breads like biscuits and cornbread are my kind of breads.
So I made some cornbread. I started with the first recipe in the book, because it was pretty straightforward and I felt I should dip a toe in the cornbread waters (fields?) before progressing to anything that requires creamed corn. AND, I screwed up my courage and made it in a cast iron pan. I know very well that is how cornbread is traditionally made, but my mom never made it that way. The couple of times I tried it, there was a distinct taste of rust. But that was when I was using my own, relatively new cast iron pan. But NOW, here at Blackrock, I have the use of A.'s grandmother's cast iron pans. They were a gift when she got married in 1928. Almost a hundred years of frying with lard have had a good seasoning effect. And behold, they created an extra-crispy browned crust, with no taste of rust.
That cut piece went straight down my gullet as soon as this photo was taken.
While I will eat cornbread of many kinds, I have some preferences. I like cakey, slightly sweet cornbread, and I like to eat it with a gluttonous quantity of butter and honey. I suspect I am not alone in that, however.
I have no snappy ending for this post, so just consider the topic of the day to be cornbread, and go to town in the comments. Over and out.* I seem to win things a lot online. I may try online casinos next.