Monday, June 28, 2010

I should know better.

Did you ever have the thought that when you are having a really good day, you will pay for it later with an equivalently bad day? I have that thought all the time. I have really good days and I just know that I'm gonna pay for my happiness. It's just how I think. And I'm always right about this.

Here is some stuff from my really good day. I went to Linvilla orchards with Jaime and her daughter. We picked raspberries, peaches and blueberries, in that order. Trust me when I say that is also the correct order...pick raspberries when you are fresh and full of energy, and won't be dissuaded by all of the prickly thorn scratches, peaches next because they are easy, and blueberries last because they are the friendliest, most relaxing fruit I have ever encountered in its natural form.

Raspberries...the black ones are meaner than the red ones, but surprisingly more abundant.
Raspberries, black and red

Peaches. Easy.
Peach Tree

Blueberries. The color combination of ripe blue berry with unripe green berry on the bush seriously hypnotized me. If I could bottle this sensation and take it with me everywhere, I would. It borders on being synesthetic for me, I think.

I used my raspberries to make raspberry jam using this recipe. It is the greatest thing I have ever tasted. I purposely made pancakes to enjoy the jam, since I was too lazy to drive downtown to get some good bread. This jam is too good for store bought sliced bread. The peaches and blueberries still languish in the refrigerator, awaiting their culinary demise. It will probably be in cobbler form.

After the fruit picking and jam making, the weekend definitely went downhill. I sliced the top of my thumb open pretty badly while slicing bread at dinner on Saturday night, and that's the BEST thing that happened between then and Sunday night. I will refrain from airing the remaining portion of my weekend in the world of the interwebz, but hoo boy, I've seriously had it. Enough. Put a fork in me, I'm done.

Monday, June 21, 2010

I've Decided...

I'm having a nervous breakdown. Seriously. Life just continues with its wacky loops. Eh. There is not enough wine in the world to help me cope. I've been living with random moments of panic, and then fleeting bits of contentment. Life is weird.


It's been a while since I've done anything even remotely crafty. Lack of mojo, I suppose, is the culprit. Since I've tossed most of my self made clothing into the "cut into scraps for a quilt" pile (that's what inevitably happens when you make stuff from quilting cotton), I've avoided my sewing room, only entering to iron various pieces of clothing and put food in my cat's bowl. So, it was time to "do something." Enter chutney.

Ever since I took that preserving class taught by Marisa McClellan, I've wanted to try to do some preserving on my own. Armed with the recipe from the class, I assembled all of the tools that I needed. Lest you think it is easy to come upon canning supplies in 2010, let me assure you that the opposite is the case.

First, I tried a trip to a local Walmart. I hate Walmart, but really, you would expect them to carry this sort of thing. They had nothing. I then tried a small, local hardware store. Apparently, small, local hardware stores aren't open on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. (This is why Home Depot and Lowes win...the convenience factor). Hence, I was forced to use Amazon to gather my tools: jar lifter, canning rack, lid magnet, wide mouth funnel. Despite having a Prime membership, FedEx decided to never deliver the order to me, and I was delayed an additional week while Amazon shipped replacement tools.

I then discover that the canning rack that I ordered is four inches bigger than my largest pot, so I was forced to buy a 20 quart stock pot. On Friday night, I made my husband schlep me around to three different stores to be sure I was getting "a deal." I refused to pay that much for a pot that I would use only a few times. In the end, I did spend more than I wanted to, and now I have a pot that is so large, I could cook myself in it.

Finally. I made a trip to the farmer's market on Saturday morning and grabbed some rhubarb and a few apples. I chopped, mixed, boiled, and voila. Chutney.



Lessons learned:

-20 quarts of water takes a LONG time to come to a rolling boil.
-Making chutney requires a lot of vinegar. The house will smell like vinegar for days after the chutney is done. It's actually kind of gross, and worries me for when I eventually make pickles.
-The canning rack that I bought on Amazon is a piece of crap, as it rusted immediately. WTF.

Next up in my preserving journey: a trip to Linvilla Orchards this Friday, picking some berries, and making some jam!

Friday, June 4, 2010

I am the punchline.

Last night, I took my nieces and nephews shopping to get a gift for their mom's upcoming birthday. When we were done shopping, I brought them back to their house and I hung out with them for a bit to play outside. The littlest nephew, age four, at one point dropped his tennis racket, raced up the steps the front door and called out to me without preamble that he would let me know when he was done pooping. Right. Because, I deduced, in the absence of any other responsible adult, I had to wipe his butt. About five minutes later, he yelled that he was done, and I proceeded up into the toilet chamber of doom. He immediately asked for new underpants, before I could even evaluate the poop situation. Apparently, he didn't quite make it up the steps in time. Great. Then, after the new garments were produced, and the old were sanitized, it was time for the final clean up. What I discovered was that the little man had been having a bit of a rough week in the number two department. His little heiney was sore. The screams of horror that emerged from his mouth as I did the wiping broke my heart. He finally cried to me, "I want my mommy to wipe my butt." With a level stare, I replied, "I want your mommy to wipe your butt too."


Today, I took a walk at lunch. I grabbed a few books at the library, then headed over into Chinatown to get a Lemongrass Tofu Banh Mi sandwich for lunch. It was a lovely, leisurely walk, albeit a bit on the hot side. Banh Mi and books in hand, I headed back through Chinatown to my workplace. (Aside: Why do all Chinatowns smell so badly?) Then it happened. I was casually strolling on the sidewalk, thoughts elsewhere, when I heard a voice shout, "Look out," and I immediately felt a pain on my shoulder. Yes, I had been hit by a random piece of construction debris from an overloaded wheelbarrow being pushed by an overweight toothless laborer at an adjacent building's construction site. If any time ever called for the use of these letters, now is that time: WTF. I'm used to getting pooped on by birds while walking, it's kind of my "thing." Apparently, I now need to look out for stray pieces of building. The gentleman rolling the overloaded wheelbarrow was concerned that I might return and sue. I assured him I felt fine (although I could tell that I was going to have a nasty bruise at the very least) and continued on my way.

I realize that I have an easy case: careless construction worker harms innocent pedestrian on public's kind of open and shut from an insurance perspective. But karma has been laying some heavy shit on me of late, so I'm using this as my "pay it forward" moment. I will not sue the neighboring building and its contractor, unless of course I wake up tomorrow and find I have a broken clavicle or something. All bets are off in that case. Karma can kiss my ass.