Saturday, April 4, 2009

Trip to Scottsdale, Arizona

The Artist wins Third Place in Wood

The Artist won Third Place in Wood, ensuring him a spot next year at the Scottsdale Arts Festival! He was surprised; I was not.

It was very hot in Arizona. Mostly 90's. I got a little tanned, a little burned, a couple fever blisters and a rash, from either the heat or eating too many grapefruit. But it was GREAT!

Got to visit our friends and little Ralphie, a bichon. My friend broke her arm in the garden, so I planted for her and cooked a little, although she was surprisingly adept after 5 weeks in a cast.

Visited The Poison Pen, a mystery bookstore, so now we have several more books. Actually, we need a new bookcase.

Planted our small garden today: two tomato plants and parsley in the front yard. We have horrible gophers this year so we decided to redo the back yard with gopher wire and a higher border. (This year's major home improvement project. Will they ever stop?) However, we think we'll hire someone to do it. This will help stimulate the economy and eventually allow us to spend less money on food. I have to admit, I've been influenced by my friend's waist-high cinderblock-walled garden. However, the older I get, the less I expect to be able to bend over and haul dirt, and those gophers just take all the fun out of gardening. I always wanted an English garden, so, when all those factors are put together, it's a new wall for the garden. If this is successful, maybe we'll do the front the same way and make that a real English garden full of flowers.
Onward to Spring!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

How to Paint an Office and Gallery

How to Paint an Office
  1. Buy a new love seat - this will force you to realize just how bad the walls and trim really look
  2. Pick a long weekend to paint - in this case, Martin Luther Day 3-day weekend
  3. Decide on the color based on the function of the room. This was easy. It will be an office and gallery showing The Artist's work. White reigns. It was white when we started, just 5 different shades of white.
  4. Remove all the furniture except the computer, desk and file cabinet. (Remove the computer? Can't do. Move the file cabinet? Impossible.)
  5. Make alternate plans to paint around the computer and file cabinet. Bring in the "fork lift", a thinly disguised hand truck, to raise an end of the file cabinet, place a wooden roller under it and roll it about a foot away from the wall. (The Artist is a genius.) Move the computer and desk away from the wall very carefully.
  6. Remove switchplates.
  7. Tape the windows and hardware.
  8. Ask The Artist to patch a few holes in the walls.
  9. Get out painting supplies.
  10. Go to the paint store. Get 2 tarps and paint.
  11. Tape the plastic tarps to the carpet and cover computer.
  12. Change clothes to painting clothes. Put on latex gloves.
  13. Open windows.
  14. Paint walls, ceiling and trim
  15. Return to paint store for more paint and a roller for the doors
  16. Let paint dry.
  17. Remove tape.
  18. Fold up tarps.
  19. Admire work. This is probably the most important step. At this point, you are exhausted and the only thing that helps is sleep.
  20. Admire work again in the morning. Tell yourself that you will never again paint a room yourself.
  21. Admire work one more time while it is still empty. Realize that the carpet has a huge dirt spot.
  22. Ask husband to shampoo carpet where computer used to be.
  23. Admire work again just before you start putting the furniture back. Thank your husband profusely for helping you and tell him that you never could have done it without him.
  24. Admire room yet again. It really looks nice. Say out loud that you could probably paint the big wall in the bedroom that beige color over Memorial Day weekend.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Lemon Chutney

Lemon Chutney

I finished reading Laurie Colwin's book, More Home Cooking, last evening. While reading it, there were several times I just wanted to drop her a line and tell her how much I enjoy her books. I consider it one of the great injustices in life that she passed away before I even heard of her. We could have had great fun sharing recipes.

Anyway, one of her last recipes in that book was Lemon Chutney. Now, I love chutney. Cherry, pear, fig, peach. I've made them all. But never lemon. I just happened to have a tree full of lemons, plus about five left from when my friends were here from Arizona for Thanksgiving and brought the biggest, juiciest lemons I've ever seen. So instead of making lemon curd this weekend, I made Lemon Chutney.

Fortunately, I read the recipe on Saturday, because it's a two-day process. It calls for letting the pulp and chopped up rind sit with two tablespoons of salt. Next time I will use two teaspoons of salt and I think it will be tastier. However, with chutney, you never know. As The Artist said to me, "Just let it sit and do its chemical thing." (He graciously ran out to the store for me for apple cider vinegar in the middle of the process.) I usually make chutney in the summer and serve it for Thanksgiving and it's just the ticket for that Thanksgiving surprise. The jury is still out on this one, I'm disappointed to say.

Next weekend - Lemon Curd!