leather like

I have never been a leather fan. My best friend loves the smell of it, I don't really 'get it'. I mean yeah I can smell it, it just doesn't do that much for me.

I have noticed how sweat can increase when wearing leather, and extra sweat not really my thing. Also as a child both my older sisters had leather furniture in their homes and I never found it comfortable. I never like leather in cars either. It's hot and sticky when the weather is warm, and clammy and hard when the weather is cold. If I have a choice I pick cloth over leather every time.

Imagine my surprise when walking through IKEA to have a chair call me across the room, a dark brown leather chair. It had a pretty shape to it, it wasn't squishy leather, and it was on a small scale something that is very important when we consider our 900 sq ft cottage. I sat on it. It was the most comfortable chair I have ever sat on. Not because it was so unusual, but because it's proportions were exactly right for me. Exactly. It was like it was built for some one of my height, my torso and my leg length. It was only $249 and I had to have it. [I can't seem to find it at IKEA online so I can't show it] Seriously the fact that it is leather although a bit baffling is irrelevant, it fits me perfectly.

My wife almost fell over in surprise when I told her that while she was gone I bought a leather chair. But then she got me, while looking for a couch, with her 'vote' being the deciding factor guess what she picked out. yep=brown leather. Here's hoping I don't regret starting all this. The furniture does look great in the cottage, it's the right scale and it is very practical there [because of the durability]. So far we love how it looks in the room and the problems I had with leather as a child and the things I dislike about it in car seats have not come up and it is super comfortable. It does mean there is a lot of dark brown leather in the room, but hopefully when the room is painted that will help lighten things up.

I guess we do change all our lives long but I suppose I'll never be able to use "I don't really like leather" as a fall back again. It seems that we are rounding the turn and shopping for the cottage is dying down.

appliance buying: a cautionary tale

You may be wondering is she really going to give us another post about appliances? The short answer is 'yes' the long answer would be 'I could probably write a whole blog about appliances' but I won't.

One of the delights about buying the cottage is the need for a couple of appliances. Some of the shopping and needs of the new place are overwhelming but appliances are nothing but a delight. I now realize though that some perfectly nice smart people in the world should not be trusted to buy appliances, some people don't even know there is an appliance color called almond. In fact some of us may be married to such people.

My wife called me from a mammoth estate sale. She felt a bit guilty because she knows how I love to shop for appliances but there were great deals to be found at the sale. She called me so I could participate vicariously. She is such a sweetie. There was a front loader washer. Now the cottage does not have a washer and the one here is limping along. It was only $200, I love front loaders, so I agreed it would be a shame to not get it. There was a new side by side fridge as well and the fridge at the cottage is quite old and rusty. We could limp along with it for awhile but she found such a good deal why not replace it. I agreed that it was probably wise at those cheap prices to snatch it up. I asked what color they were and she said 'white'. I said great and you totally see where this is going...

I looked forward to meeting my new appliances, I was a bit sad to not be there when they were picked out but I told myself sternly to not be a baby. My wife deserves appliance joy too. I ran out to the truck full of anticipation to meet the new members of my family and saw a big honking almond fridge. I pointed this fact out. My wife called it 'kind of off-white'. I noted that would be a good description of the color in the appliance world they call "almond", so would cream. The point is, it isn't white as you can clearly see when the it's laying right beside the white washing machine in the back of the truck.

Now we aren't very matchy people. An almond fridge, though I wouldn't pick one out, is not the end of the world. But it was a shock realizing my own wife doesn't know much about appliance colors. LOL I think I have recovered.

So if appliances are important to you, take heed. Do not assume that all adults know what you may know about appliances and their colors. I am happy to be the horrible example to avoid.

appliance love and goals

I love appliances. If I let myself I would be one of those people who always need the latest electronic/computer gadget as soon as it hits the shelves, you know except with appliances. Unfortunately my tree-hugging frugal part will not let me ditch an old appliance that is working just fine.

[The exception to this is fridges/freezers because the old ones even if they work well use tons and tons of energy to run.]

Anyway I had two goals for this summer, and I have completed them before summer officially starts.

I got a compost bin and started composting. [that can get it's own post at some point]

I bought a freezer. It is brand new and it is beautiful. It's an upright. It has an interior light, which I believe is a first for me in my freezer relationships. It has gleaming new shelves and bins. It has a 'soft' freeze' section that let's you store ice cream at a perfect eating consistency [apparently] I have been without a stand alone freezer since 2003 and I have really missed having one. I decided between the CSA and the garden that this would be the year we really needed a freezer and my wonderful wife agreed with my reasoning.

Once again I can freeze pick your own stuff, or produce other people want to give us. I can make soup stock and save bread crumbs and have a place to put them. I can even stock up on the occasional frozen burrito or meal when on sale for future emergencies. I can cook ahead of time and stow lunches away.

In many ways the freezer has been the best part of the week so far. The rest of it has been a wife traveling for work, physical discomfort and lots of tasks at work that I really don't like. But I feel great about the goals reached. I should make other goals that I can reach. It feels pretty fantastic.

the no eating out-Month 2

Some will remember our grand experiment in 'no eating out' in April. I promised to report on how we did in May and then got delayed due to illness.

So here it is, in a nutshell, we sucked at it. As soon as the 'real' motivation was gone. [saving for plane fare for India] we crumbled quite a bit. I cannot even remember enough of the month to say how many time we ate out together 8? 9? Don't get me wrong, I think we are eating out less, perhaps as a couple only 2x per week per average. So we made some gains. But I also know we have eaten out 4 times, perhaps 5, in June already.

Part of me wants to eat out less. I think my commitment to using the CSA box will help eat in more and more for the summer. But part of me feels so rushed and busy with getting ready for India and cottage stuff and now my in laws coming to town for a few months soon. Well, it just seems like a lot, all of which leads me to think 'heck, let someone else cook!'

I made risotto with par-boiled brown rice last night, using green garlic, scallions and spinach out of the CSA. It was yummy, it took forever. Sometimes it's hard spending the time and work to eat, we are just so far from that as a culture. Not sure if there is any conclusion there, just thoughts to mull over.

CSA start 2009

So last week was the week, Thursday the day. Our CSA started for 2009! It amuses me to think of how excited I am about our CSA this year. And I am reminded that although it is very common here in Mpls it is not in many parts of the country so I feel grateful as well. It's exciting to get a box of yummy fresh stuff and try to make stuff out of it. Try to not let it go to waste. Certainly challenging.

So one of the things I love about my CSA already is that they post on their website what they hope to have in the box come Thursday/Friday. That way if you are a planner, and you know I am, you can think about meals and so forth.

Another thing I like about them is that the weekly newsletter is typewritten. My old CSA used to hand write their newsletter. I think they were going for the personal touch but I always found it very hard to read. A minor thing but an improvement for me.

In the first box: Arugula, Spinach, Kohlrabi, blue Potatoes, radishes, green garlic, scallions, rosemary and lettuce. Everything I have tried so far is yummy. I had an arugula/spinach salad last night. I cooked the kohlrabi leaves this morning and had some of them topped with fermented soy sauce aside a fried blue potato with scallions and a poached egg. There are 3 of us trying to eat it up, we'll see how we do.

It's a bit overwhelming for some reason. Then I think how common this kind of eating was a century ago. You had a garden, things were ready to be eaten and you figured out what to do. It took thought, but also you probably get better at it the more you do. Just like pie crust.

I see that as a great line to end a post with, so more CSA adventures next week.

Just like pie crust.

pattern: angst and indecision

*spell check is flaking out on me for this post, good spellers read at your own risk*

As a personal gift from her Godmother I made Kat a sweet cross stitch for her bedroom. This was the first time in years that I have cross stitched and I enjoyed it.

So last week I was packing for four days at the cotttage and I had a brilliant thought. Why not bring up that garden cross stitch pattern that I love but have never started. It's the perfect, rewarding way to celebrate a long weekend up at the cottage.

So I look for it. I have all my craft stuff in 3 boxes in my office closet. It's a bit jumbled together but at least it is fairly well contained. The pattern is not there. I then look in a couple of places where I occasionally stash craft stuff in case it had migrated elsewhere without me remembering. Not there. Then I start tearing my closet apart looking into everything on the off chance I put it in something else but close by...then I start tearing apart my office...by the time my frezied looking spread to the hall closet I was tearing up. It was so frustrating, especially since I am a fairly organized person. Does this mean I get more frustrated with myself than care free types would? It was such a huge dissapointment, ever since I had thought of taking it I really looked forward to it.

I had an angry argument with myself when I couldn't find it. [no one else to blame] then I started panicking, what if it was gone for good? I couldn't even remember the designer off hand, and what if it was no longer available? The glass was not half full that day.

But I remembered enough to find it online [after our weekend] fairly easily. It is still available, and now I faced with the sure knowledge that if I buy it again I will surely find my old copy immediately afterwards. And now I am second guessing myself, do I really want to do this pattern? Perhaps I should buy one of the other ones? Perhaps the reason I didn't start it for all these years is because I didn't really want to do it?

So it has kind of ended happily. The pattern is not gone forever but now that I am removed from the immediate gratification [potential] of the moment I don't know what I want to do. Perhaps after my PMS is over the answer will come to me. I can't seem to make a decision, any decisions, at this moment.

garden grows

So with virtually no previous practical experience I planted my first vegetable garden last month.

I have bibb lettuce, peas, beans [bush and pole], cucumber, chinese cabbage, kale, swiss chard, cherry tomatoes, roma tomatoes, eggplant, another tomato, green peppers, red peppers. The bolded ones I planted from seed.

Herbs [which I have grown before]: basil, thyme, dill, italian parsley, rosemary, lavender, marjoram, oregano, sage and cilantro [which sadly died]

Except for the cilantro everything is still alive. Some are thriving. Some like the tomatoes are just hanging out waiting for hotter weather. The eggplant and cucumber actually have a flower on them. It seems like it's too early but they must know what they are doing. The lettuce is probably still too thick [baby greens to eat!]

I got a rudimentary watering system set up on a timer so that some watering gets done even if we are at the cottage. We had one of the three driest Mays ever in our area, only a half an inch of rain for the whole month. Watering is pretty important when that happens.

Gardening generates a lot of tasks of course. But I figure growing food should be at the top of my priority list. I need to get more mulch, there simply is not enough in some areas. I did get a compost bin last week, it was a wonderful gift I got in return for a donation to a good cause. But I need to get it out of it's box and put it to use. There is lots of weeding to be done, especially since we finally had a rainy weekend last week. I think I'll be totally bummed to leave the garden when I go to India, but still I am just so proud of it. I think I am starting to get an inkling of why people garden. It may sound a bit silly but I feel such pride when I look at it. finger crossed.

whoa! what happened?

So funny story, in my last post I was babbling about how great the ceremony went and how delighted I am to be a godmother. Then that night it hit.

I got so sick. I mean really sick. The only thing I can think to compare it to is when I had food poisoning at age 12, although then it wasn't coming out in two...um...places. [you don't want details, it was so gross] It was one of those times where you feel so miserable that really death starts to seem like a friend, the theory being at least when you're dead you must feel better. I spent the next 7 days recovering, it seemed to take forever to be able to eat more than an occasional cracker. People I saw in DC were sick also, but it sounds like a few people at work had the same thing as well. So who knows where it came from. My niece took her temperature, it was 102. I am delighted I never thought to take mine, I don't think I want to know.

Needless to say blogging did not happen, hardly anything happened, every iota of energy I could raise went to work, and that still fell behind. It was the nastiest thing, pretty much ever, for me. Then it took another good week to try to catch up.
Then I realized that there was no guarantee I will ever catch up so I might as well start doing fun things like blogging again. So here I am.

I sincerely hope the advice my doctor gave for 'iron guts' in India works, because I would hate to go through this again in India.

Of course a lot of stuff can happen in 2.5 weeks, and I probably only remember half of it. Hopefully future posts will be more interesting than this one. A big shout out to my wife for being so sweet to me and taking care of me.