Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fellini goes to the bank

This morning, I had to get blood drawn for my annual checking-in-on-myself and since part of that is a cholesterol test, I couldn't have anything to eat or drink beforehand. So I left the house pretty early for me and went to a lab where they take my insurance, did the whole thing, this isn't the interesting part of the story. It's just to explain why I was wandering around downtown Brooklyn, uncaffeinated and unbreakfasted, in a vulnerable and easily confused state after having my blood harvested before 9 a.m.

I went into an unfamiliar branch of my bank afterward, but there weren't any tellers in their little cage. I was clearly looking a little confused because some dude in a suit asked if I needed help. I said I just needed to deposit a check, he said he could help me, and then everything went ... weird. He took me through a rabbit warren of cubicles and sat me down at a desk and we embarked on a completely bizarre conversation I could not hope to replicate, but know this: at one point he drew a diagram for me about how a debit card works. Except that he just wrote $100-$50=$50, which is the part of the whole system that I am pretty clear on. When he had asked if I knew how debit cards work, I said um, maybe because I thought there was going to be a lot more to the answer. It was exactly like someone asking you if you know how electricity works and you said um, maybe because you know that there are currents involved and sometimes hamsters running on wheels but then the person who asked you VERY SERIOUSLY AND NOT UNKINDLY showed you how to plug in a lamp.


There's something that feels just a smidge pathetic about reporting on a weekend when you're much closer to the next weekend than the one being reported, but here we are anyway. This past weekend at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, I took a little detour into the native flora section, with cool stuff like tree-sized rhododendrons:
and weird, spiky grasses.
But the main draw was the rose garden, which was full to bursting with roses at their peak. Going back through my photos, I learned that I really like somewhat unusually shaped blossoms...

...and anything either multi-colored or orange. The orange was a surprise, I have to say. Not a huge fan generally, but I do love orange roses.

And anytime there's a bee on a flower, it's an automatic win as far as I'm concerned.

Friday, May 21, 2010

On the needles

So in the course of about a week, I got this much knit on Shannon Okey's lovely Rivulet cardigan.
Then I realized I wouldn't have enough yarn to finish it — it's my handspun, spun from some 50 wool/50 mohair I got ... somewhere ... at some time, so not possible to track down more — and ripped it out.

Then I cast on for another cardigan, this time one that's shorter and simpler, with no flare-y bits. It'll have a stockinette body with garter edges, some princess shaping and maybe a textured yoke.

But then I was going through the backlog in my Google Reader yesterday and saw Julia's post about what might be the cutest, summer-casual-but-still-good-for-work-and-also-in-the-fall-with-tights skirt ever. I bought the pattern immediately and went to the yarn store at lunch, where I picked out some Cotton Fine in Candy Apple. And then I went home and swatched and had to recalculate the pattern since I was getting 7.5 stitches to the inch instead of 6.5.
This is not going to be a rapidly completed project, but it will be a splendid, twirly creature when it's done. And it's lot of plain stockinette, which will be perfect for the four and half hours of Lost finale watching going on Sunday night.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

By the greening of my thumb...

Last week, I noticed that one of the sweet potatoes I'd had hanging around the kitchen for a while had sprouted. I had an extra flowerpot with soil in it already, so figured I had nothing to lose by planting it. It was the work of about a minute to lop off the sproutiest part, scoop out a cavity in the soil, and cover it up again. This is what it looked like last Wednesday, all purple stalks and tiny, pretty leaves.

And this is what it looked like this morning before I left for work, after a single week:
I, for one, welcome my new plant overlords.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday flowers

I wasn't sure I was going to make it to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden this weekend because it was supposed to rain pretty heavily Saturday morning during their free hours. I was bummed since I had missed it last weekend (out of town for work) and will miss it again this weekend (going to visit my parents), and I knew the bluebells were blooming and I'm crazy about them. Happily, I did end up taking a quick walk through because it actually did cut off a corner to walk through the garden from Eastern Parkway over to Washington Ave. and was not disappointed.

I love the bluebells.

But there was plenty of other good stuff to see too, like this gorgeous, all-over-the-place, cottage-garden-type arrangement of rich purple and pink and white.

It started raining while I was in there, so I had the pleasure of seeing these sodden peonies and roses, sparkling with raindrops and especially fragrant in the cool, damp air.

Oatmeal not-raisin cookies

I was walking through the greenmarket on Saturday with a friend who raved about the chocolate chip oatmeal cookies from one of the stalls. They were sturdier than I like my chocolate chip cookies — I fall on the barely-holding-together-globs-of-dough end of the spectrum — but also ... nice. There was something almost wholesome about them, and they got me thinking about sturdy, wholesome cookies, something that would fall between a cookie and a homemade energy bar, kind of decadent but in a good-for-you kind of way. I started with Mark Bittman's oatmeal cookie recipe and added all sorts of stuff, with the notable exception of raisins. I hate those little bastards. People are always adding them to stuff and ruining everything. They're sticky and gross and taste like the bottomless pit of despair that comes of being the kid at school with the lamest snack at snacktime.

The cookies, however, worked out pretty well and have been called into service as both breakfast and the kind of snack any little anklebiter would trade their Twinkies for. Oddly, as I've been eating my way through the batch I keep wanting them to have sesame seeds and coconut too. Next time...

Oatmeal not-raisin cookies
adapted from How to Cook Everything

1 stick butter, softened
½ c. white sugar
½ c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 c. all-purpose flour
½ c. whole wheat flour
2 c. rolled oats
½ c. oat bran
3 T. ground flax seeds
½ t. cinnamon
pinch salt
2 t. baking powder
½ c. milk
½. t. almond extract
½ t. vanilla
½ c. dried cherries
½ c. ground walnuts
½ c. dried apricots, chopped

Preheat the oven to 375F. Cream the butter and sugars; add the eggs one at a time and mix until well blended.

Combine the dry ingredients except nuts and fruit in a separate bowl. Add the vanilla and almond extract to the milk. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk, stirring by hand after each addition. Add the nuts and fruit.

Drop by teaspoons or tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets and bake until lightly browned, about 10 min. Cool for about 2 minutes on the sheets before transferring to a rack to finish cooling. Store in an airtight container.