Saturday, December 27, 2008

On The Way To Work

Here's something I meant to post earlier in the year: photos taken out of the car window on the ride in to work. (I was the passenger, no worries.)
Traffic, traffic, traffic. Spend time at the lights looking at window decals. Someone tried their darnedest to scrape this one off. What does it say? "Never forgotten." Should've taken the hint, pal.

The streets are well-patrolled, especially near these familiar shops:

Looks like we'll be patrolling on foot today...

And here, outside York College, we have the saddest-lookin' ice-cream truck in the world:

Oh, crap. I guess this street's closed again...

This railing, dressed as if for Mardi Gras, cheers the neighborhood up:
Finally, we arrive at work to find that someone has deposited a small pile of mulch, cotton wool, and bird feathers behind some of the books. Um, what the?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

How Much Do YOU Love To Scuba?

Do you think you love it as much as this person?
I guess it discourages anyone who might otherwise see the wetsuit in the car and be tempted to steal it...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Bleak Snowflake

The bare ribs of the summerhouse will be soaking up the sun of the winter solstice tomorrow morning at 7:04 Eastern Standard Time, and we should all take heart, because after that, the days will get longer. So although the solstice brings us the longest night of the year, and signals only the beginning of winter, it's also the light at the end of the tunnel, literally.
This time of year, the birds and I are both grateful for the sight of the Callicarpa japonica near my side door, whose bright-colored fruit always starts that CSNY song in my head: "Say can I have some of your purple berries
Yes, I've been eating them for
Six or seven weeks now, haven't got sick once,
Probably keep us both alive..."
Welcome the sun tomorrow, know that the garden needs its sleep too, and the wooden ships are on the water, very free and easy.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

In The Horn-Tooting Department, One's Own Division

Will you look at that, it's next Tuesday already! Time flies when you're d*&!ing around on Facebook instead of, well, d#!*ing around on your blog.
Anyway, it was a pretty exciting weekend, if you were me. Friday night we attended a high school drama production, which is one of my favorite things to do, as it is so earnest, so raw, so transparent, and so much more affordable than Broadway. Plus I usually know some of the actors. Always a cool thing. An extremely brief excerpt is posted here on YouTube, and here and here, thereby violating perhaps a half dozen codes of ethics.
Then, on Saturday, the postman brought the issue of FiberArts magazine in which three of my photos are published! And in which accompanying article I am extensively quoted! (Indeed, quoted to a point which makes me feel I am owed a shared byline, but whatever.) It's not an online article or I'd link to it here. And good luck finding the magazine on your local newsstand; neither Barnes and Noble nor Borders seems to carry it. Perhaps that ginormous news purveyor in Penn Station has it; you know, the one opposite the LIRR ticket windows. What's the name of that one? Neil says it's Hudson News.

To clarify, per commenter's request: this was a one-page article on the NYC Easter Parade, which I posted about last spring. I didn't even post any bonnets, because Neil had done such a good job at that. But I put a few on my Flickr page and a freelancer found them and requested permission to use them in this article she was writing. Remuneration? Um, personal satisfaction and a couple copies of the magazine? I'm not good at making money. But here's one of the photos, and there are others still on Flickr, keyword "Easter" on my page. Then, on Sunday, we had the attic insulated, some flooring laid down up there, and an attic ladder installed for access to it all! More news on that later. But first, I have to go put in the brackets for the basement window shades. I tell you, the excitement never ends.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Food, Glorious Food!

"Glorious" is indeed the adjective to employ when you're talking about Audrey D's cuisine.
It's no wonder the carrot in this matzoh-ball soup is smiling!
She is the multitalented woman who knitted this scarf I mentioned earlier. Here, she created the most heavenly chicken pot pie in the world. And, get this, she had never made one before!

As cooking is the most ephemeral of the arts at which she excels, I wanted to immortalize some of it here.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

My Hero

The first snow this winter fell last night, but didn't interfere with the running this morning of DH's first official race, a 4-mile run benefiting the Lynbrook community. He came in 286th out of a field of 484, with a very respectable time of 39 minutes, 7 seconds. Pretty darn good for his first competition!The Lynbrook Middle School ,where the race began and ended, was open and full of sponsor tables handing out water, fruit, and little giveaways. Kenny went inside while I waited at the finish line for a few more minutes to watch other people coming in. Then I went inside to look for him. Hm.... he's not in front of the tables full of apples and bananas...or looking over the various awards and raffle baskets. Where could he be? Oh, of course... collecting the best swag of all: the complimentary massage!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

We Interrupt(ed) This Blog...

...for a wicked virus involving feverish delirium, muscle weakness, and much bronchial tumult, followed by Thanksgiving, a return to work on Bookish Friday (the day after T'giving,) a restorative outing to see our favorite bar band, and now, frantic rearrangement of junk so that the basement windows can be replaced today. My apologies to faithful readers. Both of you. Until something more interesting happens (soon, I promise,) here are two happy orange things that buoyed my spirits while I was sick: my new little Nertera (also known as coral-bead or pincushion plant,) and some of the prize-winning peach jam that's handmade in Vermont every year by my friend Kathy.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Yes, I Do Cook Sometimes

The cold autumn rain kept us indoors this Saturday, and I baked up a storm. Brownies and oatmeal raisin cookies and apricot-blackberry-oatmeal bars. I don't know what came over me!
Here's the oatmeal thing, which is supposed to be cut into bars, but all I had clean was a round pan, because of the aforementioned brownies. (Where is my other square pan?!) I plan to pop this in the freezer before I think of a reason to eat it. The brownies and cookies? Took them to a party. My willpower goes untested today.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Princess and The Pea, 21st Century Style

Okay, there's a dead pixel on my monitor. One dead pixel. One.
And it is

Friday, November 14, 2008

Colorful Cauli

We took a leisurely drive out to the North Fork this past Sunday, and came back loaded down with wine, fruit pies, old Cheddar cheese, and some outstanding produce, like this beautiful purple cauliflower. It looked so dramatic against the black tile in the kitchen, I photographed it for posterity, just before DH chopped it into salad.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Talk To The Tail!

I scolded this guy for scarfing up the birds' breadcrumbs this morning. He took issue with that. You talkin' to ME?!

I don't see anysquirrel else here, so you must be talkin' to me.

But man, I ain't got time to waste talkin' to you. I'm out.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Isn't Something Going On Today?

It didn't look like anything special was going on when we voted this morning at the Lonely Little Polling Place, our local firehouse, shown above. That's what it looked like at 9 a.m. on Election Day, while elsewhere, (like at Queens' Central Library, also a polling place,) the lines stretched for a block or more at the same hour.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Spider Soup For Hallowe'en

The eggs started to boil and I took them off the flame to sit for 25 minutes. That, by the way, is the best way to make hardboiled eggs. Put 'em in cold water, bring that just to a boil, turn off the heat and let the eggs sit for 25 minutes in the water. Then ice-water 'em and pop 'em in the fridge.Add Image
About fifteen minutes in I looked at the cooling pot and noticed this unfortunate:

Was he there all along? Don't know. Can't imagine he crawled into hot water on purpose.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

You Gonna Eat That?

Are those nuts? They look like nuts. In fact, they look like almonds. Are they almonds? Are they your almonds? I don't find almonds around here too often...they look good. Are they good? I bet they're good. I remember having almonds once, and they were good. Sure would be great to have some almonds again sometime, but you know, not much around here but acorns....acorns are okay, of course, but they're not almonds. Once in a while it'd be nice to break up the monotony of...what? oh no, I couldn't, I mean, you shouldn't be encouraging me, I could have rabies...okay maybe just a handful.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Spirit Photography

As I was sorting through photos I came across this remarkable image. I mean, I've always known these two are a coupla really great people, but ...can anyone else see the haloes floating a short distance above their heads? Who'da thought??

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Late Bloomers

The garden hoses are drained and tucked away; now it's time to gather up the glass flowers and bring them indoors. I like having them outside in the flowerbed all summer. We made these at the Corning Glass Museum; there's a movie of it here. That was part of our Upstate Adventure Trip a few months ago. Corning is a great little town surrounded by beautiful country, and the museum is wonderful whether or not you're especially interested in glass; if you like color, design, engineering, industrial arts, history, ancient Roman'll love it. There. Now I feel better for not mentioning it earlier, when I was going on about Cooperstown. We love ya, Corning!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Delicious Pest Control

Looking for ways to discourage ants from excavating an apartment complex throughout the backyard brickwork, I came across numerous claims that ground cinnamon would send them packing. This seemed too good to be true, but easy enough to try, and darn if it hasn't worked like a charm! Didn't cost any more than a can of pesticide; I used about six ounces on 144 square feet of brick, just sprinkling it on and brushing it into the spaces between, as you can see there. I didn't worry about Miss Fi strolling about and lying on it. And, it smelled delicious outside that afternoon. That was almost three months ago. This week there was a small troop of them at work in the garage, carrying off the cat food night after night. I sprinkled a few tablespoons of cinnamon on the outside of the garage, at the point they were coming in, and...that was it, they didn't come back. Poof! So, let me offer up my anecdotal testimony of the efficacy of this particular home remedy.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Happy Birthday Ken!

Happy Birthday to my DH, who is the simply the best. And who is still in Florida, but not for much longer...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Frame More Beautiful Than The Art

And now, more old news, about stuff we did ages ago:
We took a Circle Line tour (I think it was my first) to see the river art project by Olafur Eliasson.
If you didn't get out to see his "Waterfalls" installation along the river in New York earlier this year, it's too late now. The exhibition is over, and you'll have to content yourselves with YouTube movies of the event. It was beautiful to the extent that moving water always is, isn't it? But somehow, despite the ginormous size of the constructions, the work as a whole felt dwarfed, overshadowed by the NYC skyline. The river was just too big for them. The one under the Brooklyn Bridge seemed best situated of them all, but still the eye, my eye at least, is drawn to the bridge. As a marvel, as a spectacle, as a suggestion of human scale...the bridge and the river and the skyline all attract my attention first. That was a little disappointing, because we'd seen and loved an earlier work by the artist:

In November of 2003 we were in London at the right time to visit "The Weather Project," Olafur Eliasson's mesmerizing, immersive installation in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern. That was a memorable experience, perfectly suited to the site and thoroughly compelling. (You kinda have to take my word for it, as it was hard for me to take a good photograph in a dark, foggy, cavernous hall lit by mono-frequency lamps and mirrors.) Other people took pretty good movies.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wrapped In The Blues

This amazing length of cerulean coziness arrived in the mail late this summer, a surpise gift handmade by a talented friend. I've had it hanging in plain sight ever since because it's just so pretty. Look at this funky yarn close up; what look like spangles are just satin-stitched squares of thread, surrounded by soft flufffliness. Fluffness. Yes, those both sound better than would the correct word. So it feels great. Let the cold weather come.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Chlorophyll Shortage In Vermont

It's stunning how beautiful a chemical reaction can be.
When the tree leaves stop producing chlorophyll for the year and the green stuff starts to break down and disappear, the other colors of the leaves, hidden all summer, are exposed and have their moment in the sun: yellow from xanthophyll, red from anthocyanins, orange from carotenes, and brown from tannins, the leaf's waste products. New York's Buffalo Museum of Science has a really good explanation of it all.
We were in Vermont with my brother and sister-in-law a week ago and this kind of sight was unavoidable. Besides a lovely walk in the woods on the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller estate, we visited Ben and Jerry's factory in Waterbury and the Hope Cemetery in Barre. (Check out Neil's page for great photos of the cemetery markers.) There was a roadside waterfall, milkweed seed pods ready to be picked, and good barbecue to eat. A fine weekend all around. More photos on my Flickr page.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Nature Loves A Spiral...

...and here she puts a decorative scar on the very last of the tomatoes.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I Have One Question

It's the twenty-first century, right? (That wasn't the question. That was rhetorical.) I look around at my house full o' wonders. Over there is the clothes-washing machine...there the clothes-drying machine...but why am I still flattening my clean clothing by hand with a heavy piece of hot metal? Where is my clothes-ironing machine? That was the question. Now I'll just go ahead and answer it. I hate the smell of perc and don't want to dry-clean my clothes anyway: too expensive, too toxic, the list goes on. And clothing steamers, while they might be nice for the occasional delicate knit item, are time-consuming, humidifying, and just can't put a crisp crease in your duds. We wear a lot of cotton, and there's no getting around it. So whereas washing and drying have come a long way from when I was a kid helping my mom put wet clothes through the wringer in the basement sink and then hanging them out to dry on clotheslines held up with long bamboo poles (where they would often fall off into the dirt or get caught in the rain,) I'm ironing things exactly the same way she taught me, with a device that looks, feels, and works exactly the same way. And it takes just as long to complete the task now as it did then. The only difference? Now I'm listening to an iPod while I do it.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Smells Like A New Year

L'Shana Tovah, everybody. We'll be munching honeyed apples and challah at the aBode with the Kugler half of the family on Monday. Hope yours is golden, too.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Blue Skies and Broken Hearts

The Long Beach boardwalk was lined with American flags, and there were hundreds of kites being flown from the sand when we happened upon the seventh annual Freedom Flight last week, held in remembrance of those who lost their lives in the September 11th attacks.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Pardon the meta-post, but I just have to say, this is a blog which, if it garners 4 hits a day and 2 of them are from my brother, I feel accomplished. And that's what it's been garnering, for all 16 months or so of its existence. Then today, I use the word "graffiti" in a post title and not two hours later I've got 28 hits! I mean, I guess it could have been the word "library" in the title of the previous post...but who'm I kiddin'? And I know 28 is bubkas for a blog, but for me, at the moment, it's a personal best. (Even if it turns out to be from a 'bot.)
So, that's it. From here on in, all future post titles will contain the word "graffiti."
(Even if I do have to look up the spelling every damn time I want to use it.)

Graffiti As A Good Thing

It takes a proper stencil, thoughtful placement, and a message we can all agree on, but it can be done.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Unexpected Ornament

How come I never knew about this? Do Star Wars fans know about this?
It happened years ago, but I missed hearing about it. I guess I'm really glad the kid wasn't a fan of Jar-Jar or anything. So, church and state? Ostensibly separate. But church and commercial culture? Likethis.