Archive for January, 2011

lunch at my desk

Oh, the perils of “working” at home. I saw this recipe on 101 Cookbooks this morning; since then, I have been sitting at my desk and accomplishing nothing. Time for a lunch break! Oddly, enough, I happened to have Shichimi Togarashi but no rice. Or mushrooms. I can’t remember why I bought this little orange jar in the first place—some recipe I saw and then forgot about, probably—but I was glad to try it out, at last. It’s kind of spicy, but not very. I added some extra sesame seeds. And soy sauce, because that much kale needs some serious salt.

And now, back to staring at my Word document. But maybe I should bake some bread. Or hem the curtains, finally. Oh, home.


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Well, empty no more. My tiny room is filling up again, in the usual fashion— that is to say that things are not going so smoothly. I was a little annoyed with the West Elm furniture delivery guys when they first arrived; anyone who tracks that much salt and sand on my wood floors is bound to make me a little grumpy, but my affections were not increased by the repeated wall-bumpings and furniture-droppings. After about 45 minutes of trying to assemble this bed, I started to feel bad for them. The thing had to be built in the room and they couldn’t figure out how to get it to fit at all on the shorter wall of the room, so I gave up and had them leave it on the longer wall (where my desk usually is). It looked terrible there and took up way too much of the space; the entire point of this venture was to increase the visual space in the room. So, after I tipped them for their attempts and sent them on their way, I flipped the frame up and took off one of the shorter sides. The bed couldn’t be lowered down as it is because it’s just barely narrower than the room is.

And now, for a never-before-seen look at the plumbing of my house:

I took off the hatch for the tub access (lovely, isn’t it) and used that extra space to reassemble the bed–with the side taken off, it was narrow enough to lower back to the ground.

The delivery guys were stumped by these long bolts; the reason they couldn’t assemble the bed in place where I wanted it is that they couldn’t get the four-inch bolts in on each side with only about an inch to spare. The tub access allowed me to fit the last bolt into place. I’ll have to remember this when it is time to move.

I’m still working out the throw pillow situation, but here’s the assembled bed, complete with a bonus pillow, who seems pleased that I managed to make this work. Although he liked sitting on the rolled-up futon mattress just fine—after nearly three weeks, it’s a relief to have that out of the living room. And I did it all without my “husband,” who, for some reason, was a subject of great interest to all parties involved—apparently, he gets to make the decisions about what kind of discount West Elm will be providing for thoroughly scraping this bed before it got to my house. For the moment, I’m finding the sexism vaguely entertaining and rather useful; it’s nice to have an imaginary someone to blame for things. My “husband” made me call and demand a discount. A lady would never do such a thing.

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(almost) vegan

Lately, I’ve been sliding towards veganism. For a life-long vegetarian, this is not really that much of an adjustment; I’ve never really liked milk and have always been disturbed by eggs in most preparations. I received The Veganomicon as a gift last Christmas but only just discovered how wonderful the banana bread recipe is; it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for through many failures of too-heavy, greasy loaves and strangely-textured, healthy ones. It rose beautifully and the texture is just right (I think that the molasses helps). Of course, I went and un-veganed it with some mini chocolate chips that were lurking in my pantry. I’m getting there.

I’m reluctant to post the recipe since I barely adapted it at all, but this version from Joy the Baker seems like another adaptation of the basic recipe. I used 1/4 c applesauce instead of pineapple, 2 T molasses instead of the extra 2 T sugar, toasted walnuts and chocolate chips instead of coconut, nutmeg instead of allspice and ginger, and, for once, all white flour instead of whole wheat–I’ve decided just to go for it when it comes to banana bread.

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The perfect parking space: nobody to dent my doors (watch out for avalanches, though).

A confession: some of you already know this, but when it comes to parking spaces I am completely deranged. I generally park as far away from other cars as possible, squeezed way over to the end of a row. I don’t park illegally. Just carefully. I can’t stand those rusted little door dings that come from being squeezed in a row of mammoth SUVs. I used to do this even with my old car (which had some rust issues of its own), but I’ve gotten more extreme. I know it’s crazy. It’s two degrees out and I’m parked underneath a glacier, half a mile from the entrance to the grocery store. But look: it’s even kind of scenic.


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Today I noticed that my blog has somehow reached over 10,000 hits. I found myself wondering who these individuals were; after all, even I am often perplexed by the way that the topics here range all over the place— from Victorian literature, vegetable lambs, and couches to J. Crew, knickknackery and  fleeting nostalgia for the weirdness of my high school.

A peek at the search engine terms that have brought readers here does nothing to resolve that feeling of randomness. I can’t help but feeling a little proud, though, at the search terms I have come to own.

All of these are fairly generic—I’m surprised that anyone ended up here when looking for:

curiosity cabinet
ikea chairs
sir hans sloane
framed doilies
thrifting finds


These are a little more specific; they all describe my blog (and my life) pretty well:

to escape is the greatest of pleasures woolf
j crew starfish necklace
tintern abbey mirror
necklaces with sea things blogspot
tea pot shaped like a cauliflower
anthropologie parrot armchair
octopus necklace (I am really racking up the hits with that sealife series)
lobster dress
owl +christmas tree
synchronized ballet
sparkly deer shirt (oh yes)
cluster necklaces


These are just amazing:

.jpg maypole
sea life theam based necklace (I like the spelling)
limes composed a few miles abouve tintern abbey (again, I like the spelling: also, the citrus.)
chocolate chip scones hy vee
storage of beanie babies (who is really struggling to preserve those at this point? I suggest a bonfire.)
ice cream truck front (I don’t want to know what prompted that)
hermit crab accretion shell (I was kind of asking for that one)
vegan novelty socks (since when are socks generally not vegan? this worries me.)
what is lamet beans (I do not know. Sorry.)
eating waffles and ulcers (could be a description of grad school? maybe that’s how they found me.)


But I’ve saved the best for last, because somewhere out there, my soul mate is looking for me:

“j. crew”+”ballet flats”+starbucks


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I can’t find the charger for my camera. The camera on my new smartphone* is apparently only slightly worse than my Nikon, but I am enough of a Luddite** to cling to it anyway. I was going to take pictures of the growth of these paperwhite bulbs, but they’re moving too quickly. I planted them only last week, but I could swear that they slither up another centimeter or so each time I leave the room. I had a few pictures without Puck’s tail. Since none of them were very good, though, I just went with it.

Paperwhites are pleasing (though I find the scent of the blossoms in full bloom a bit too much to bear). Other winter whites I’m liking: the quilt on my bed, the baskets and towels in my newly-reorganized hall closet, and the snow that’s falling right now. The world had gotten a bit gray and ugly after an unseasonable thaw and I really don’t want to look at the state of my lawn right now (I should have thrown those pumpkins away before they froze to the ground).

*I tried to resist, but buy-one, get-one-free Androids proved too great a temptation. I am now a much more boring person.
**I am fascinated by the literal, loom-smashing meaning of that term (hence the capitalization).

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cicada song

For the first time in a long time, I felt homesick today; homesick, oddly enough, for the winding drive down the pretty unremarkable suburban road that leads to the house I grew up in (well, one of them). I don’t know what made me think of driving down that road on a muggy, still summer night; it’s hardly my favorite place or my favorite time of year. Summers in St. Louis can be wretchedly hot and the nights provide little relief. All of a sudden, I remember, though, winding down the windows of the car just to hear the chorus of cicadas, all fighting to shake that dense air with their screeches.

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The room I’m writing in is rather empty right now. Furniture arrangements are always in flux in my house, but this one’s pretty elaborate. The room that you see here is the small, 7′ by 10′ second bedroom in my house; it’s always been my study. It will still be my writing space, but with some improved function as a bedroom that I will probably never use (but that future house shoppers might like to see here). The only pieces of furniture still here are my small Ikea writing desk and a small estate sale bookshelf. With some shuffling, my grandmother’s antique secretary (that could be an interesting double entendre) has been relocated to the living room and the less-evil of the white chairs has moved downstairs. Its evil twin has been banished to the garage because I finally did get a new chair (!). Maybe I’ll take a picture of that soon; it’s funny how much time I spent agonizing over what chair I would buy because the one I did buy is completely smothered in a quilt all of the time so that the cats can’t get to it. Anything could be under that quilt. Why do I bother?

Of course, the reason that this is all happening now probably has something to do with the fact that I am supposed to be writing pretty much everything. You know what that means: emptying out the closets and cleaning everything in sight (and many things that a normal person would never see). But I’m enjoying this bit of empty before it gets filled back up—a bit of visual calm before the semester starts.



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