I may be weird.

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It wasn’t until this morning that I realized my choice of reading material could be considered – odd, weird, strange, disgusting. Below and to the right I keep a list of the books I’m reading for the year. I enjoy looking at other people’s reading lists and thought the few people who read my blog might enjoy the same pastime.

During the busy season at the farm, like now, the only time I get a chance to read is at breakfast. Chris sits across from me reading a newspaper, the New Yorker or National Geographic. He’ll occasionally comment on an article and give me brief little snippets of what he’s absorbed in. I’ve been known to do the same, although I think he humors me – especially if I’m reading something about knitting.

Currently I’m reading The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn. If you enjoy cookbooks, travel and memoirs – I can highly recommend this less than 300 page paperback. The America author upon losing a well paid corporate job decides to fulfill her lifelong dream of attending Le Cordon Bleu. (Well haven’t we all?) A new love, an old city, and relearning a language makes for an enjoyable read especially when it’s thick with saucy tales of the persnickety chefs, cooking demonstrations, Paris, and the cutthroat world of the world’s most famous cooking school.

Each morning I try to get one short chapter read while drinking coffee and eating oatmeal. Each chapter evolves around a lesson in class and a personal anecdote. Chapter 17 is titled A Sauce Thicker Than Blood. I’ve, of course, heard of Coq Au Vin but never had the chance to partake. What I didn’t know was that coq is French for rooster. To quote Flinn, “…the original dish was finished by adding rooster blood, which coagulates and thickens when exposed to oxygen, lending the flavor a certain je ne sais quoi.”

For some reason I felt the urge to share this little tidbit with Chris over the breakfast table. I was thrilled with the new knowledge of this well known recipe. When I began telling him about the blood of the rooster he cocked one eyebrow and gave me that look – the look that questions my sanity. And that’s when it hit me. Most people do not appreciate the gory details of a meal over a meal.



A Poem for the Day

I’ve been to Sligo in Ireland, and Yeats grave. For me -our farm is my Innisfree.

Lake Isle of Innisfree
by WB Yeats

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:

Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee,

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow

Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;

There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evenings full of the linnett’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear the lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,

I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

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Second Time Around

The new house has a revolving door apparently. It’s funny that we’ve had more visitors in the month that we’ve lived in the new place than any month we lived in Tulsa. First Hillarey and Lance visited for my birthday. We had a great time and I think the kids love the new place as much as we do. Then my sister brought my parents out for a look-see. My mom kept ooohing and ahhing and telling us how much she liked it. It was a family fandango for a while there.

Then we invited our friends Emily and Mike to visit so I could make up for missing Mike’s birthday party. They had seen the house during several of the building stages and were eager to see the finished project.

Chris received an email shortly thereafter from a visitor we didn’t expect or know. Several years ago while bicycling on our tandem we joined a group called Warm Showers, which provides you with a list of names and phone numbers of people who would host touring cyclists in their home for a night – providing a meal and you guessed it – a warm shower. Our first Warm Shower guest was coming through Oklahoma sometime between Saturday and Monday. Emails zipped back and forth and Chris and I got excited about David’s visit.

David Byrne is on his second world bicycle tour. The first was in 1975 shortly after finishing high school. David traveled two and a half years crossing all of the latitudinal lines and visiting 29 countries.

Thirty-four years later David has decided it’s time to undertake another big trip — he’s recycling the world. This time around he plans to cross all of the longitudinal lines. There are only two points where David’s path will cross the original trek — his hometown in Minnesota and his birthplace in France where his parents were stationed after WWII.

As it happens Emily and Mike were scheduled to visit the same evening that David was scheduled to arrive. Since Mike and Emily have traveled many of the countries that David has been or will be on this trip we thought it would work out great.

David arrived first and settled into the old farmhouse. A bit later he and Chris were discussing travel options between Oklahoma and Houston, Texas that would provide a shoulder to ride safely out of traffic, offer camping possibilities, and some scenic enjoyment when Emily and Mike arrived.

After a quick tour of the house we all joined around the table and enjoyed a simple meal of quiche, kale, and stuffed mushrooms, with Tiramisu for dessert. Talk flowed freely of travel, movies and the personal histories and stories that make pleasant conversation a memorable experience.

The next morning after breakfast Chris took David next door to see the monastery before David climbed back on the recumbent bike for the day’s journey to Robber’s Cave. Below are a few photos I took of David and his gear. You’ll notice there isn’t much in the way of gear. David is traveling light – really light. One pannier is for clothing the other holds his sleeping bag and hammock, along with a few essentials. There’s one small daypack slung across the bar and secured to the pannier. A small bike bag rests under his seat and a crumpled plastic soda bottle holds and protects extra tire tubes and parts.

The gear is impressive. Or should I say the lack of paraphernalia? A former boss of mine, John, used to tell us how he longed to be able to pack everything he owned into one suitcase. While we just finished building a new house and I continue to buy more yarn than I need, I understand this desire. Mobility is so much simpler when you live lean. A few possessions are easy to pack and go when the urge to travel presses upon you.

David is a retired UPS driver and his wife Julie, is a teacher and also a bicycling enthusiast. Julie, who is taking a two-year sabbatical, will be joining David in Columbia for the rest of the tour.

Yesterday Chris and I went back to work with errands and tasks usual to our life. But for me, and Chris too I think, my mind keeps wandering about skinny spinning wheels and the feel of the road a few inches beneath our pedals. Maybe we’ll tackle the west coast from Seattle to San Francisco on the tandem next….

To quote Chris, “David is taking the trip of a lifetime, for a second time!”

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Growing Older

If you want to read one of the best essays from a wise woman growing older go to Goddess in a Teapot. Carolyn writes a beautiful blog that I subscribe to. I find everything Carolyn writes touches a place deep in my spiritual heart/soul/mind.

Happy Birthday Dearest Carolyn!

Another news of the day – today is the 50th Anniversary of Strunk & White’s Element of Style. Where would we be without it? There are at least three copies in our house. The one closest to my desk is 1979 Edition. The cover is tattered and stained, the pages are yellowed and becoming brittle.

Recommendation for the day – reread this important writing guide. Then place it close to where you write most. If you don’t have a copy – get one.

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Had to be a Knitter!

One of the really cool things about a new house is new appliances. Brand spankin’ new appliances with gadgets!

Now I’ve seen a refrigerator with the ice/water dispenser but never had one. Handy gadget!
Our range is pretty nifty and I’m loving using it.

But the handiest gadget had to have been designed by a knitter. Who else would think to put a nifty little rack inside the dryer so it whirls and heats but the items on the rack just rest there? It’s perfect for socks!

See what I mean?? Our washer & dryer are in our half bathroom across from the mudroom. Never in my life did I think I would take a photo in a bathroom!

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Pharmaceutical induced madness

It was one of those days that made me want to tell the world off. It’s not my fault really. Okay the mug is my fault but I had to have it after I saw Jackie’s.

Last week I called in my prescription for Synthroid (short story – years ago Graves Disease – radiation treatment – yada yada), which needed a doctors authorization to refill. Chris tried to pick it up last week but it still hadn’t been approved. I don’t like to go without but I had enough through Saturday so I thought it would be fine. By this morning when I got to the pharmacy and discovered they still hadn’t gotten approval – well I got cranky and called the doctors office myself. There I was after driving 20 miles to pick up the medication I thought would be ready having discovered I would have to wait – AND I was caught without any knitting.

After simmering for forty minutes in an uncomfortable black chair and watching the woman holding four big chocolate easter rabbits and two packages of peeps ponder which diet aid to chose – Alibi or Slimfast – the pharmacist finally filled my little amber bottle with thirty tiny yellow pills. He didn’t apologize for the wait. I popped a pill before I stuck the key in the ignition.

When I got home I chowed down on a greasy burger from the Hulbert Kwiki Mart and decided I needed to be productive or go berserk. So I tucked my jeans into my wellies and tromped through the mud to the studio with the intent of making a batch of soap. Soapmaking can cure many a mood. There is a process and concentration involved and people – it smells good. But that wasn’t to be. The plumber’s helper who installed our studio dishwasher is not a clever dude. The dishwasher runs fine – except that it has no water. Yeah. Of course, I didn’t know this when I loaded it after my last soap-making adventure. All of the pots and pans had to be washed by hand. By the time this task was complete I decided it was entirely too late in the afternoon to begin the lengthy process. There were other products prepared that needed to be labeled so that would fulfill my need to be productive.

I cranked out several tasks and returned to the house feeling almost human. I was a little tired but thought a few rounds on the little lavender pouch I wanted to make for Mom would be good – especially if I downed a cup of dark rich coffee. The lavender pouch is a fun little project from the Knitting Goddess. It’s simply a small square sachet of lavender that is inserted into a pouch knit from a tiny skein of 100% Merino sock yarn. Ohmygoddess incredible sock yarn! The colors are rich and saturated and the yarn is softer than sin. (I see a sock yarn order in the near future!)

Needless to say I sat down and knit a few rounds. Chris tried to talk to me about insurance…but suddenly I felt something come over me. Two things quickly happen when I miss a few of those tiny yellow pills – one is crankiness. I leaned my head back and suddenly I was deeply asleep. The other is exhaustion.

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Call it a good day!!

This is how you spend a birthday!!

You dive face first into a bag of Starbucks Chocolate Chai Truffles! Oh yeah – life is good!

I love the little tag on the top of the box
“When coffee dreams, it dreams of chocolate.”

Me too.

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