Tuesday, June 28, 2011

grab bag

If you were to reach into the bag containing the last few days, you'd pull out some miscellaneous things, including:
  •  The backs of two of my grandchildrens' heads as they looked on Sunday.
  • My Monday morning trash, stacked neatly in the street by the gardeners who had to move the pile into the street so they could mow.
  • Monday night's delicious dinner of Thai Yom Tom soup made by my surprise houseguest who had called to say she was en route to New Jersey and wanted to see me. Of course, I told her to head right over here and stay the night. Yay!
  • This morning's breakfast out before we headed to my studio. We ordered two different things and shared.  More good eating!  Presumably, we walked it off ahead of time.  Spinach, mushroom and goat cheese omelette and chorizo, tomato and I-forget-what scramble, with salsa. Good coffee and great multi-grain toast.

Afterwards, we went to my studio and spent an hour or so while she helped me decide what to throw into the trash.  Then a stop at Jerry's for a couple of art supplies and back home. She had to leave (boo hoo) because she has things to do and people to see before she teaches at Peters Valley.  But what a treat for both of us this less-than-24 hour visit was! There is nothing like intensive quality time with an old friend.
So great to see you, Kerr.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

more on the "ugly" blocks

In theory, there is no end to what you can do with face-lifted blocks.  At first, after I cut the 3 redone blocks into 4 pieces each, I thought I might make a nine-patch with them.  This is probably the easiest way to go and it can turn a traditional way of working into something a bit funky.  This is an example
of what I might have done - and it is still an option.

Forever Plaid, 18" x 18" 

Instead, I did my usual "throwing at the wall and see what sticks" routine and played with the pieces on this bright, sunny (so far) Sunday morning. Not sure about it, so I will leave it there and contemplate it for a few days.  This is already not quite the original arrangement.  Maybe it is the center of something or maybe it will remain a small piece. Dunno.

I brought the original blocks home from the studio on Friday and did the work at home yesterday. Perhaps I will go back to the studio and retrieve more of the original block fabrics and  expand this piece.
If I had not sliced the redone blocks at all or if I had sliced them into thirds, this would be a different piece.  And it may yet end up a different piece. Or not.  it's not there yet - wherever "there" is. But this is where it is today.

After lunch, the studio to see what develops.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

the deer ate my...

daylilies. Again.  The rain washed away my anti-deer spray and by the time I got home this morning - total destruction. Sigh...
Last night I went to Jeremy's for dinner and ended up staying the night.  Today I have been in sewing; something I have wanted to do but never actually got to until today.

 I had a few ugly nine-patches that needed serious face lifts,so I was motivated to do something.
 I got to work with the rotary cutter.  
added some strips
and kept going till I had redone them.
Then I cut each one into quarters. That's as far as I've gotten.  Tomorrow I'll pick up where I left off and see where I go from here.   Meantime, off to bed.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

a weekend to smile about

Saturday, I headed into the city, not expecting to spend the whole day -- but I did.
It is very freeing to take public transportation!  I just wish it were a bit less time-consuming to get into the city - but such are the vicissitudes of living in the 'burbs.  Marty's cousin Rahla lives near Union Square, and the famous Union Square Greenmarket was in full force on Saturday.  I kept wishing I could fill a sack, then head back to NJ immediately before everything spoiled.  Instead, I wandered around, taking in the sights and fragrances of the farm stands before I headed over to Rahla's for lunch, wildflowers in hand.

Saturday was Coney Island's annual Mermaid Parade -- a celebration of the beginning of summer. It was only after I had seen many people walking around in what appeared to be princess costumes, that I discovered why.  My camera didn't work fast enough to get many pictures, but here are a couple i was able to snap later in the day, after it was over.

After lunch with the relatives, I hopped on the subway to Brooklyn and four stops later I was at Jessica's.  This was the sight outside of her building. Mermaids galore, who had just gotten off the train.
I'm not sure what this man was about, but I assume this scarf was his version of a costume. Ok, fine.

I went to dinner with Jessica, Tommy, and Emma and we ate outdoors at one of their favorite neighborhood restaurants, Flatbush Farm.  The weather was perfect for it.  Emma was looking for something-- maybe waiting for Cheerios to fall from the sky.

Today, Sunday, was another beautiful day.  Perfect weather to be outdoors. I spent it with Ross, Nancy, Nancy's parents from Rhode Island, and our grandkids.  Here I am with my granddaughter, Kayla, who is 12 and getting more beautiful every day. A happy end to a lovely weekend.  Hope yours was good, too.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

hail,mangoes, and so forth

Really! HAIL.  Thunder, lightning, a downpour that lasted and lasted and lasted! Lights that flickered.strange electronic noises. Blogger won't upload my video of the hailstones bouncing onto the deck and the thunder, but it was weirdness all the way around.

When the sun came out, I went outside and dug in the wet ground so I could plant the stuff I bought yesterday.  Too many roots and rocks in the ground for my taste, so I couldn't get the orange daylilies or the maroon-leaved coral bells. But I put in the pink flowering thing (whatever it is) and I moved a cinnamon fern. Shade, shade,shade.  No hostas because 1) I hate them and 2) the deer love them.
Then I got the hose and watered the pink flowering thing and the fern, even thought it had just poured for an hour. Sigh...

I also spent a good part of the day trying to get my webcam to work so I can be a guest on C&T's popular Digital Lounge on Wednesday Night, June 22 (next Wed - eeeek!). It's interactive in C&T''s chat room and is really fun to watch. Program starts at 6 PM Pacific time/9 PM Eastern time and you can figure out the times if you're in another zone.  I don't know what zone I am in, but I will be there on Wed night, followed by none other than Dale Ann Potter.  TUNE IN and watch me make a fool of myself on camera!

I wrote another ten thank-you notes and at the rate I am going, it will be July before I am done saying thank you to all of you who sent beautiful art, cards, and personal notes through the actual mail.
It is taking forever for me to do this and one friend thinks I am crazy, but I don't think so.
I am warmed by your caring and I need to tell you. 

Was going to sew tonight but instead, I was lured by the mangoes I bought last week and looked up a recipe for mango sorbet.  Do I need to tell you I did my own thing and made what purports to be frozen mango lassi?  Well -- it would be if I had not added some strawberries for color, lime juice to take away the sweetness of the sugar, and a drop of tequila to keep it from freezing too hard. Anyway, it is delicious and here is (more or less) what I did. 
2 mangoes
2/3 c. sugar (too much for me)
pinch salt
2/3 c plain lowfat yogurt (this was instead of the water in the sorbet recipe)
juice of 2 limes
Threw this into the ice cream machine.  here it is, smushing around (I believe the official word is "churning.")
On second thought I threw in a little more yogurt (not measured), a drop of tequila (they recommended rum but I don't like rum) and 4 strawberries rattling around in their plastic container, taking up too much room in the fridge.  After about 10 minutes it was already frozen, so I removed it from the chiller thingie and put it into a plastic container. 
It made only a little more than a pint, so I froze the pint and ate the half pint that didn't fit. LOL
The chiller thingie is back in the freezer; I should probably buy a spare so I can invite people over and wow them with this stuff, served immediately.  Of course, by then it could be winter and I'll have to make soup instead.

It's almost 2 AM eastern time. Tomorrow morning I am going into NY to visit Marty's cousin and her kids and grands from California who are here.  I haven't seen them in five years, since the last time Marty and I were in San Diego. I'm ready to go back there...or anywhere in California. I have some openings in the winter of 2012, I just had some mid-July dates open up because of a cancelled retreat, and now I'm free to pick up and go at the last minute.  

Maybe it won't rain tomorrow. Wouldn't that be nice?

Thursday, June 16, 2011


This ought to be my middle name.

I woke up before 6 and was going to take a walk but while I was putting out the garbage I  cleaned out the garage, instead. SORT OF.

There is still lots of STUFF left but on Thursdays the garbage men take random objects, so some of them are gone.  Two 4x8 warped Celotex boards that used to be a design wall in my house. I decided that if I ever need another design wall chez moi, I will buy more.  Various pieces of wood. Two old telephones, Marty's radar detector - which I will never use and is so old it is obsolete by now; the manual to his Lexus, sold when he stopped driving.  The guy who bought it for his daughter is the Lexus service manager - and anyway, she took it to Florida.  She has a problem, she can ask him! STUFF.

I won't go into what is left, but Ms. Closet would be proud of me.  My objective is to be able to put the car into the garage once the weather gets cold.  Marty was the one who always put his car into the garage and I had to spend hours cleaning feet of snow off of mine, which sat in the driveway of our one-car garage abode. But first, I have to get the remote garage door opening gizmo to work.  Another story.

This is so neat that I can hardly believe it.  These are supermarket bags inside of supermarket bags inside of...
I use them to recycle the newspapers, junk mail, and small pieces of cardboard.  Whole Foods is expensive but they have the worst bags: the handles break.  I think they are doing that to encourage you to bring your own. Nevertheless, I have quite a few of these.

By 7:am I had cleaned and vacuumed not only the garage, but the car.  I must be insane.  Then I came in and after breakfast, made gazpacho, which I had for lunch.  Then I went to the studio for a couple of hours and puttered. Sewed, sorted, threw stuff at the wall and took it down.  See this fabric with the stars on it?  Love it.  Got it from Usha last month.

 It looks entirely different when you cut it up.
Intending to do further work tonight at home, I schepped back a whole bunch of strips and units from my collection.  Then I called Ms. Closet and that was the end of THAT for the night.  Sidetracked!
I am going to bed. Now.  I promise.

soup, ice cream, and Midnight in Paris

Got sidetracked and now it's after 1:am East Coast time.  Can I make this a quick but boring one? Dunno.

The nasty cold/cough is pretty much gone, thanks to the matzo ball soup I took out of the freezer and to which I added ginger, hot pepper, lemon grass, thai green curry paste, shrimp, coconut milk, lime, and fish sauce.
A miracle cure. The matzo balls must have helped, too. Jewish Thai chicken shrimp soup: how can you go wrong?

Had a good night's sleep for the first time in a week and that helped restore my body and my spirit.

Tonight, I started out to make vanilla ice cream but it ended up as coffee - and much too rich.  I will spare you the embarrassing details of what a mess I made en train, but the result looked pretty good. The flecks are ground coffee beans. I think I will go back to frozen yogurt, which I can eat without turning into a blimp with clogged arteries.
The ice cream debacle took place after I got home from dinner with Rosalie and Arthur and then the new Woody Allen movie.  It was fluffy, pretty, mindless, predictable, and entertaining. Overrated but just what I needed.  One of the reviews had said it was a postcard of Paris and that was a good description. OTOH - the premise of the film is a valid one.

Tomorrow I have to see if I can get my webcam to focus on my face and my hands for a webcast I am doing next Wednesday for C&T's Digital Lounge. Live! Oh good, another chance to make an idiot out of myself on web-tv. I'll post the time when I remember when it will be on.

Very late and tomorrow I have a 9:am appointment so I will sign off and see if I can be more witty with my next post.  don't bet on it!  To make up for this boring post, something to make you smile.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

cough cough

I woke up sounding like Typhoid Mary this morning.  That should have been my first clue about the rest of the day.

I went to the bank but the ATM card didn't work. Oops. Then two round trips to the county courthouse because the first time, I had the wrong paperwork.  $7/hour to park, twice. And each time, I only parked for about 15 minutes. About $1 a minute to park? I'm in the wrong business.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

frozen yogurt diet and art

 Because it's YOGURT, it's nutritious - right? Right!  And because it's fat-free with only 75 calories/cup, and because I add only 1/2 c sugar (385 calories per quart of yogurt (i like it tart), and because there are eight 1/2 cups per quart (48 calories, approx) -- blah blah blah - by my mathematical figuring, including berries or lemon juice or such, 1/2 c. of the frozen stuff is only about 150 calories and good protein.

I have a few recipes for Lemon-Ginger Frozen Yogurt, but this is the first one I tried. The original recipe follows, but I changed it and added some pistachios. Makes 1 quart

8 cups plain yogurt (drained to thicken)
1/2 c light corn syrup (I omitted - bleh)
3/4 c sugar (I used 1/2 cup because I like it tart)
3 T. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp grated lemon peel
1 T minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup sliced crystallized ginger
Throw it all into the ice cream maker and follow directions.  It will be a bit soft, but you can harden it by putting it into the freezer.  Yummy!

Yesterday I did some errands I should have done a year ago and then had lunch in a new Turkish restaurant that opened in the town I was errand-ing in.  A treat -- 5 cold appetizers.  They each tasted different and I ate slowly, trying to assess what was in them.  The eggplant was loaded with lemon and dill and the stuffed grape leaves had raisins and pine nuts in them.  Lovely!  Next time I will try hot appetizers.

I've been getting out at night - something I had not done for a long time. Of course, new driving glasses help.  Tonight, I have a dinner date with dear friends of ours - a date I made while Marty was still around.  Yesterday I got an "opps I forgot to tell you"  e-mail from a friend about an art opening she was in and I went for an hour. The night before, my cousin called with a last-minute dinner invitation and I was actually able to go. Had a great time!

And Wednesday was an art day. Our fiber crit group went to the Princeton University Art Museum to see the Kurt Schwitters exhibition.  Collage that we think nothing of today was revolutionary early in the last century and Schwitters was a multi-talented, somewhat eccentric artist.  We had our own docent who really added a lot to the exhibit and was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable.

We asked to see the museum's Pre-Columbian collection and the docent obliged. What fun! The Pre-Columbians played lots of team sports because they had something nobody else had: rubber. This looks like a giant hula hoop but is probably rubber.  The objective was to not use their hands or feet, but to use their bodies and those giant donut thingies to hit the ball.
I don't want to know what this guy plans to do with the head in his right hand and the bowl in his left.
I thought these two made a cute couple.
 Then we have the Coneheads.  You will have noticed the guy in the first picture has a cone hat. Here's the story.   Corn (maize) was the biggest staple food and this was the most wonderful thing on earth to the pre-Columbian people. Some actually put their children's heads in a binding so their heads would be shaped like corn as they grew.  This group is an exaggeration, I think - but that's the way it was.  I hate to think what happened to their brains, but you will know when you see any sculptures with these elongated heads, it was to honor the corn.
That's probably enough of THAT.  Anyway, I have to go back to paying the stack of bills that is covering my kitchen table.  Ta ta for now.

Monday, June 06, 2011

a new week

Calendars always make Sunday the first day of the week, but they are wrong.  First of all, everybody knows that Sunday is the second day of the weekEND. End. E-N-D.  Everybody knows except the calendar people.  They just don't get it.

Why would the school week and the work week start on Monday if it weren't the first day of the week? Where are the people in the billing office when you need to dispute an invoice? Or the doctor's office when you are sick? OUT. The message says "please call back during business hours; Monday-Friday, 9:am to 4:pm or some such.  MONDAY is the beginning of the week the way September is the beginning of the year. Back to school. Back to work. A new season, despite what the calendar claims.

My new week and new season began today (Monday). I got two of my mother's bills paid and then the phone rang - a friend with a crisis. Two more friends called and then Jennifer and her son arrived so we could go shopping for a pair of black pants and a white shirt he needs for his middle school graduation.

Jennifer was Marty's beloved caregiver and has become my friend.  We did our shopping at one mall and then drove to the Short Hills Mall for lunch and to walk around and ogle the luxury goods that we neither want nor can afford.  When we got to Crate and Barrel, I had to treat myself to a Cuisinart ice cream machine.

Every summer I decide I need one and then I buy Haagen Dazs instead and never get to it. This time, it was sitting there and waving at me - so it came home with me. Now I have to look on the Internet to find recipes I want to make.  But that can wait till tomorrow.  I have been sleeping pretty well but waking up at the crack of dawn each morning.  Maybe tomorrow I will sleep till 7:00.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

partly cloudy/partly sunny

I never did understand the difference between partly cloudy and partly sunny. Is it the same thing as half full/half empty?  

In any case, here I am on this partly cloudy day thanking all of you for your gifts of love, support, and caring messages on this blog, on Facebook, and in the mail.  I have tried to keep up with the individual thanks but there have been hundreds and I am now doing a group thank for all of you whom I did not/could not get to, one-on-one. I cannot tell you how much you have cheered and moved me with your hugs. I return them, of course.

Last week, the house was full of our children and grands,friends, relatives from near and far, food, drink,  and laughter.  What else could we do when someone walked in, shook my brother's hand and said "so sorry to meet you."??  Or when I picked up the phone after the funeral, thinking it was a condolence phone call and a salesman wanted to speak to my husband about his financial needs. Afterwards, I was thinking of comeback lines.  Laughter.  Black humor, indeed - but a good counterpoint to the grief. THAT is what sitting shiva is about.

The official period of mourning ended Friday afternoon and my cousin left this morning. So here I am -- back to real life and living alone, which I have never done, ever.  I had to take the garbage and the tons of recycling out to the curb tonight: the young man next door saw me and offered a hand with the bags, which I accepted.  I barely know him but he offered to help with the cardboard and paper next week.

Tomorrow, the next leg of the journey begins.
I've always lived my life without a roadmap - just as I work without knowing in advance what the end result will be.  That might have to change a teeny bit, since I have to do a little planning ahead if I want people to do things with.

Things like going to the movies, which I refuse to do alone.  My cousin and I went to see the new Woody Allen movie last night and every single show was sold out.  SOLD OUT!! So now I either find somebody else who wants to see it or wait till it comes out on DVD. Hmmm.

Eating out -- something else I don't enjoy doing alone. Meals are social events.  No more "let's go out for dinner tonight" on the spur of the moment. People have their own lives. Lunch out with a friend is easier and that's ok,too.

I also have plenty to look forward to.
  • I'm teaching Soy Wax Batik and Sophisticated Screen Printing (with dyes) in Grand Junction, Colorado July 7-10 at Fabric Arts Studio.  There may even be couple of spots left.
  • Am excited about the launch of my new book in November and I'll be at Market in October to talk about it!

 If you want to pre-order a signed copy, go to the Rayna's New Book page at the top of the blog.
For now, I'm turning in early so I can start my new life tomorrow.

soup weather in June and a little more

DISCLAIMER: Blogger is giving me grief tonight, which you will see by the varying sizes of the type. Ye p, soup weather and it's ...