Monday, August 27, 2007

The universe smiles on the tidy girl

Apparently, fate smiles on young wives who keep their apartments clean. I got up this morning at 6am and GOT MY CLASS. Big props to John for calling from Baltimore to make sure I was awake, especially since I only sort of was, and I never would have gotten registered if I hadn't been online exactly at 6am.

Fate also gifts you with a head full of Trains to Brazil by The Guillemots. Well, just the line about school.

Throwing stuff away and wiping the kitchen counters keeps the humidity low and the sun sunny as you walk across the park, and conjures the subway as soon as you set foot on the platform.

Finally, deciding to stop using the dishwasher and start doing it by hand means that your willpower stays intact all day long (even if you have to walk past Le Pain Quotidien's almond meringue four times!) and you are rewarded with the best peach of the season, even though the last few you had cut into were weirdly soft and mealy.

Ah, now the husband is home and my stomach is rumbling for dinner, which reminds me of a funny story. Last night, I grabbed my leftover "enchiladas" from the fridge and discovered they were actually the remains of a dinner comapanion's seasonal vegetable chimichanga. Reader, I ate it.

Excuses, excuses

I seem to have reverted to writing posts in my head again, and not on the actual blog. I'll try to buck that trend here.

It won't surprise anyone who knows me in real life to learn that I spent this (Sunday) evening soaking and scrubbing mussel shells that I insisted on bringing home from dinner Saturday. I'm not sure I'm happy with the result. I want to use them in a Cornell-type box, which I've been promising to make for John for several years. Every time I start, though, I'm overwhelmed by how difficult it actually is to create that kind of visual poetry. I've abandoned more than one shadowbox when the going got tough.


It's late, and I need to get up at 6am to try to register for the one open space in that math class. Think sweet thoughts for me.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Words of wisdom

It's from a Victorian devotional day book that I occasionally cut up for art projects.

I spent the whole day cleaning, really, the whole day. Kitchen cabinets scrubbed. Couch cushions vacuumed. Et cetera. But John came home in time for dinner, and we're enjoying the clean apartment together, sans annoying details.

Fun with cats

The other day, Molly looked very big,

and Gemma looked very small,

and later they cuddled.

Molly doesn't look so happy, does she?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Omnibus post

John came out of the shower this morning, as I was loading 80-odd images from the digital camera onto the MacBook, and asked if I was preparing for an omnibus post. I'll try to keep this succinct, but I recognize it has been a while.

I fueled up this morning with a luxe breakfast. Want the last bite?

It's an English muffin done French toast-style, with some boiled blueberries (not uniformly sweet enough for snacking) on top. Slobber. I love a warm breakfast, even in summer.

So, we were in Boston for a few days. We had such a great time! The weather was lovely, except for one afternoon, but we planned around it. We got in mid-day Saturday and headed to the North End for a ridiculous lunch at Neptune Oyster. So good. I had my first raw oysters.

I almost didn't, because my Dad had a bad (coma-inducing) oyster experience years ago and my Mom has always warned me off them. Oh, they were good. The one on the left was the ubiquitous Kumamoto, the other (I couldn't resist!) a Bee's River. I preferred the thinner, salty Bee's River (the Kumamoto was too gooey and sweet for my taste) and the server said this makes me a true oyster person. John and I shared a fried-oyster appetizer and he had clam chowder, then we each had a lobster roll on brioche. We waddled along the Freedom trail to work off some of our excess.

Sunday was our trip to Salem. You don't need to see Salem, do you? I didn't take any photos there, since the main reason for going was to see the Joseph Cornell exhibition at the Peabody Essex Museum, and no photography was allowed. It was a great show in a gorgeous setting, though John and I both felt like we had reached a saturation point by the end of it. Of course, it left me with second thoughts about my recent destash, but I just buried them under the bulk of another lobster roll.

Monday we had a rainy day to kill, and we did it at the New England Aquarium. We got there just in time for the fur seal feeding.

Fur seals are not as cute as sea lions. Can you see the pointy weasel-like nose? This is Cordova, who vocalizes like a drunken frat boy hurling in an alley. According to the trainer, they don't all make this kind of noise. I can only tell you, it was genuinely freaky, and they should post warning signs.

Back inside, we admired the clever sprinkler system set up to wash penguin poo off the rocks. We cooed over the Rockhoppers and oohed and aahed over the Little Blues, then turned a corner to find some African penguins doing the nasty!

Monday night John finally made it to the Promised Land and we had great seats to watch the Red Sox beat the Devil Rays at Fenway. I got my cotton candy and all was right with the world.

Tuesday we had time to run up to Harvard to see the Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass Models of Plants, aka the glass flowers. I could have taken pictures, but I don't think they would have done justice to the real things. Without a doubt, my favorites were the models of magnified cross-sections of stems and ovaries. These don't seem as fragile as the full-scale specimen models, and they highlight the symmetries and patterns hidden in the plant structures.

Since we've been home, I've been finishing up some WIPs that escaped the destash and moving the real trash down to the basement. Five moving boxes of art supplies still huddle on the living room side of the pass-through, and John gave them a contemptuous look when he got home late last night. But it's getting there.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Here's Gemma...

Obviously, I figured it out.

Thanks, Gemma.

Because I needed a reminder that my belly has gotten doughy, and nothing gets that across like a cat kneading your abdomen for ten minutes.

I have video, but I can't figure out how to post it.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

More magic in Madison Square Park

It seems like I spend a lot of time there, although we live nowhere near it. M and I were in the neighborhood, she needed to meet a friend, and Shake Shack was a good landmark.

It must have been fate, because we got to witness something really wonderful.

She was having such a good time and was totally confident as she loped around the sward. It's not clear from this shot, but this is the same area as the Conjoined sculpture I posted about a few days ago; she actually rested against it for a minute or two. Only in New York would M and I be the only ones gawking. The sunbathers in the grass around her were nonplussed.

I can see clearly now

When you ask to have your windows cleaned in our building, this is what you get: an Italian guy about my Dad's age, singing while he hangs out your ninth floor window. You can see, I think, how filthy the pane he removed is. The windows weren't spotless when we moved in, and we've been here four years. How bad was it? We didn't really need to use the mini-blinds for modesty anymore. We had to look for drops hitting roof-top puddles to tell if it was raining, because we rarely get rain on the window and couldn't see falling rain through the grime. It's a wonderful change.

Monday, August 06, 2007


So sorry for the spotty posting of late. Things chez Panique have been un peu triste, what with the gut-wrenching anxiety over getting (or, rather, not getting) the necessary math class and my decision Saturday morning to finally get moving on a long-delayed major destash.

For those of you unfamiliar with the lingo, destashing is a culling of accumulated craft materials, and in my case, half-finished projects. Argh. I swear, it's not about the money. It's about a feeling of one little failure (a failure to plan, a failure to research, a failure to execute) after another, piling up, until they fill two utility shelves and loom over you while you are eating (in the dining area) and sleeping (in the bedroom).

At least I started off with a cheery breakfast.

The aroma of boiling milk and oatmeal (I like the old-fashioned kind, but not the steel-cut, that's weird) roused John, but just enough to moan at me about the smell. He's not a fan of breakfast generally, and not of oatmeal specifically. So sad. He doesn't know what he's missing, and in spite of the recent guacamole reversal, he advises me not to expect any further progress on the food front.

I've sorted out about two thirds of my junk so far: that is to say, I've sorted and boxed up about two thirds of what I had, I'm not quite finished, and I'm already losing my attachment to a few things that went into the keep pile. It's a heart-stopping amount of stuff; each of these boxes in completely full. I haven't figured out what to do with it, but it will not, I repeat, not be moving to the storage space. Etsy seems out of the question, since I want this stuff to be gone. A non-profit, perhaps? I told John I'd make a decision by the end of the week.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Nice dream

In my dream, I had just finished reading a wonderful book. The book was short, and sweet. It was funny. The characters were resourceful and their motivations were believable, though the story was fantastic. I woke and realized it wasn't a dream! Stardust was just lovely.

I think these trees would look right at home in Faerie. Conjoined is the work of Roxy Paine and currently inhabits Madison Square Park, courtesy Mad. Sq. Art, a program of the Madison Square Park Conservancy. Yep, that's the Empire State Building in the background.

Another piece, Defunct. Is this view, with the wooden water tank, too artsy?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Lovin' it...

Yum, right?

I know it looks like breakfast, but it was lunch. There's cheese in the egg, and a little salt and pepper. It was preceded by a giant bowl of gazpacho 2.0, which I had the foresight to set out before I went downstairs to exercise, so it was cool but not icy when I got back. Sadly, I think I overdid the onion in this batch, so I kept tasting it all afternoon, even after eating the rest of the pint of blueberries and vigorously brushing my teeth.

Karen called mid-soup and I got to wish her a belated happy birthday. Hooray for birthdays! Hooray for friends calling!

Unfortunately, yesterday was not without frustration. Oh, Hunter College -- how would I keep my bood pressure up without you? While I was waiting for my math placement scores to become "official," the class that I need filled up. Now I have to cross my fingers and hope some kid's financial aid doesn't come through so I can squeeze in when students are dropped for non-payment. Erm. I went ahead and registered for chemistry and its lab, and I hope I can hang onto those for the time being. And I got a great art history course: Islamic Art. I loved the Art of the Book in Islam course I took at UT a couple years ago, and I've heard good things about this one.

Last night I returned the rest of my math review workbooks to the library and picked up Neil Gaiman's Stardust. I was delighted to see that it appears to be of a normal length, which is to say, less than half a Harry Potter. The movie trailer looked intriguing, and I know that his fans are rabid, I mean, devoted. Speaking of, I think I'll take it to the park.

Off I go!