Sunday, September 30, 2012

I made a tiny thing

An experiment in moss stitch and a three-needle bind off. I realize this delightful knitted seam is not my original invention; but I did discover it on my own, and feel rather proud of it.

Homework is tyrannical. I mostly finished this at 1 o'clock this morning, after 16 hours fabricating a paper from scratch.

And how is your life? Is it tyrannical? Have you made any tiny things? A meal? A knitted tube? Do you feel behind? In addition to more (much, much more) homework, I have overdue replies to two cheering letters. I need some exercise. The dishes and laundry are still backed up, though I must try to get to them before the weekend is over. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Banana Bread-Not-Cake (nevermind, it's still cake)

I'm baking today, in between essay-writing sessions (4 pages on the Psalms for English 240--The Bible as Literature). Since school started we haven't been eating nearly as well, and today I'm trying to make meals  for the upcoming week: banana bread, baked beans, borscht . . . there's probably an alliterative poem right there. 

A couple of months ago, since I couldn't find a banana bread recipe that was
a) suitable for semi-regular breakfasting
b) a good keeper
c) comestible, in Tim's opinion
d) composed of cheap ingredients
e) reasonably nutritious
f) easy to make and clean up from
--I took some liberties. The following recipe is an amalgamation of Emily's hardcore banana bread, Alton Brown's banana bread, a couple of random internet recipes, and my desire to turn banana bread into clafoutis.

So. Preheat your oven to 375 F. Get out your big mixing bowl and mash together:

- 4 overripe bananas
- 2 eggs
- scant 1/2 cup olive oil or softened butter
- scant 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Stir in until just mixed:

- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup wheat germ
- 1 and 1/3 cups rolled oats, blended into coarse powder or 1 cup oat flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Stir in:

1/2 cup chocolate chips and/or
1 cup whole blueberries

Pour into greased cake/loaf pan or muffin tins.  Bake until middle is no longer gooey. (It may be a long bake.)

Eat plain, or with butter. Store on the counter up to four days.

ETA: 1 banana, 1/4 cup wheat germ. I've changed this recipe slightly since first posting it, to make it a little bit healthier and a little bit more moist.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Not everything has to be easy to be good

Because I think Sunny is, as usual, spot-on with this post, I'd like to blog some of the seamy side of life here lately. (I'd like to own my shit.) I don't, however, just want to leave you with a list of failures and unpleasantness; I want to leave you with two lists: One list of failures and unpleasantness, one list of triumphs and pleasantness that has emerged from smack in the middle of an imperfectly-lived life.

Without further ado:

- the sink full of dishes
- the hamper full of dirty laundry
- walking into my rhetoric class yesterday and realizing that everyone else was gripping printed and stapled sheets of paper . . . I had no idea we had an essay due
- literally hundreds of fruit flies suddenly springing up out of the ether (um, tomatoes) and infesting the kitchen
- whining to Tim that I didn't want to attend my seminar; barely getting there
- eating bread and jam (and nothing else) three times in a day
- popping every single pimple on my face
- a kitten who still sometimes thinks the avocado plant is a litter box
- two ripped cardigans
- spending whole evenings browsing the internet, when I have 10 hours of homework to do
- Tegan and Sara's new single: sexy, but disappointing
- the backyard foot-deep in weeds
- a slightly sticky keyboard
- more fights since school started
- my bicycle lock lost
- a too-expensive trip to the vet, which took up the entire morning
- two weeks without fasting
- a sickly fig tree

- photographs taken anyway
- an A- on an assignment I almost didn't bother to hand in
- clearing skin from religious application of benzyl peroxide (sometimes the evening's most productive activity)
- tomatoes, cheese, pita bread, an apple, water for breakfast
- not-dreading work
- staying in class without panicking about the forgotten essay
- a brand-new avocado sprouting
- Italian hot chocolate and a walk across the high-level bridge with Ros, cooking pancakes together for supper
- arranging a knitterly trade with Cat
- showing Simpkin and the new issue of Room to my Dad
- 450 pages of reading caught up
- putting on lipstick anyway
- 10 poems written over the past couple of weeks
- a safely innoculated and mite-free Simpkin
- an almost toilet-trained Simpkin
- watching The Hunger Games instead of fighting for the rest of the evening
- loving two of my classes
- buying Tim a tiny apple pie
- bicycling five days a week

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Finishing Project--Day 7 (that is, 9)

Indian Summer

Forget your gift of an Indian Summer.
We do not want it;
We run on towards Winter.

This pulpy haze seems kinder,
But we gnaw the pit,
And your gift of an Indian Summer

Deflects our dive for the center.
Like the whitening rabbit
We run on towards Winter. 

We crones won't stand the meander--
Our short time is split.
Take your gift of an Indian Summer,

Give way to the year's inevitable splinter,
Let us begin the fit;
Forget your gift of an Indian Summer.
From here we will run on towards Winter.

An imperfect villanelle, to finish off. Yes, this one's for school too.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Finishing Project--Day 6 (a day late)

Revisiting a theme:

Kitten's Title

We call you Simpkin Minnaloushe Mildew:
Pestilence, roasting-pig, cat--

Caterwauling bleeter.
Pisser. Pen-eater. 

Attention: I am ridiculously excited

To all readers here, whether you've made your presence known or not,

Would you like to knit and trade these delicious cowls with me?! The postal service is a marvelous thing . . .  
Photo copyright Marc Smollin

If yes, please send me a message! I would even be willing to arrange a swap, if more than two people are interested.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Finishing Project--Day 5

Haplessly stray,
We have adopted the tiny grey
Cat and named him Simpkin
After the cat in
The Tailor of Gloucester
By Beatrix Potter.
He must be three months old.
It's already getting cold.

Edited to . . . edit things.

The Finishing Project--Day 4

The first of two poems regarding the cat; one a haiku, the other lifted straight from this post and made to rhyme. "The goal being simply to produce finished work" . . . 

The kitten crying
Uncanny like a baby
Distracts us in bed

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Finishing Project--Day 3

We went for a walk

We went for a walk and realized how much
We liked each other. Still and again,
Love, still and again. In wool coat 
And red tam, six minutes in, away 
From the house, we were waist-
In-arm, neither the dishwasher
Still and again, Love. Still. (Again.) 

Yesterday's entry.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Last Rose of Summer Tea

Ros and Grace, two of my little sisters, put on a tea party. Scones, cucumber sandwiches, Victoria sponge, lemon squares, lemonade, clotted cream. Coconut cream for my sister's sinuses and my mum's Orthodoxy. Black tea. Red plums in miniature. Roses and shortbread. Something about a fully laid table suggests fairies  before anyone sits down.

Reading our etiquette colouring books at ages 7 and 8, this is what Ros and I wanted to concoct. 

For your hours of work, blatant care and planning, genuine elegance and courtesy--well done, sissies. I was in awe.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Finishing Project--Day 2

Plates, pitchforks, knives, dishes
And extra bought
All we have for the loaves and fishes
All panicked, caught

Crumbs, soupbowls, bones and cups
And broken plates
All the dishes wash them up
All we will wait

Another ENGL 294 assignment--surprise! A nursery rhyme. I'm not bothered, using school writing for this project, so no one else needs to be bothered either. It's a small miracle that in September I'm writing anything but smarmy essays. 

ETA syllables

a red tam

Oh those words yesterday were not enough. More later. Meanwhile, I always manage to find time to knit when I need to be writing. May I present . . . a red tam.

Raveled here.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Finishing Project--Day 1

I've responded to Candace's invitation to The Finishing Project--one poem a day for a week, the goal being simply to produce finished work. This is Day 1, and I have a poem.  I must fess up, and tell you that I'm killing two birds with one stone here. I've been assigned 10-12 lines of blank verse for my Introduction to Writing Poetry class. These are them.

A Misuse of the Word 'Entropy'

Pining for nothing more or less than pure
Fabrication, now that I can't construct
A thing, and unlike before, nothing will
Materialize out of thin air under
My hands, and more and more, even more appears
Under others' hands in China. We know
"Longevity is the antithesis
Of fashion". We feel the horror of that
Life which causes visible wear. The scab
Of repair, a darn or a patch, will peel
Back to gnashing of teeth, detritus, debris--
We must make all things new every morning. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

more legwarmers

I wanted to post words tonight. But I just got home, after 12 hours at work and a grocery store trip. There's kitten sick in my study carpet, and I desperately need a shower and a cup of tea. I've got homework to do. A photo it is.

I finished these last week. They will repel the snow.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

a revelation regarding a precocious life

I am not stretching and straining a line that has been fully reeled out.

I am not at the end of my rope.

I have not arrived.

I have growing up to do. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

in which I grimace

and finally, finally show you the sweater I knit almost a year ago. This was the first cast on. That sweater shrunk; my minuscule friend Amelia got it. Then I knit a sweater for Justina. At long last, I finished this one:

Why yes, it's a little big. And why yes, I do . . . struggle with portraiture . . .

Tim took the photos. The faces are not his fault.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

harvest (some bragging)

In an old-fashioned way, I can't help fawning over the not-unimpressive quantity of food I have harvested and preserved during the last month. We have:

yellow and green beans--cut in half, blanched, and frozen on a baking sheet rather than in a lump

crab apples from my Opa's trees--sauced and canned

rhubarb, raspberries, saskatoons, gooseberries--jammed and canned

tomatoes--sliced and dehydrated

chocolate mint--dried for tea

potatoes--washed, left to air for a day, boxed in a shallow layer

carrots and beets--scrubbed and filling both vegetable drawers in the fridge

Only the hot peppers, onions, and the unripened tomatoes are yet to bring in. Tim and I are debating the merits of dehydrating vs. pickling the peppers. (We don't have a peck, but we probably have a couple of litres.) Strong opinions on this?

ETA: I also jammed and canned some red plums over the weekend. Time to quit with this sort of thing and concentrate on scholarly pursuits.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


I finally wove in the ends yesterday morning. Behold! A proper image for September the first, I think. School starts next week!