Thursday, July 22, 2010

Freezing Basil

Remember I told you how to wash and dry and freeze your parsley and basil?

I was using some basil tonight to make a nice tomato salad, and the camera just happened to be next to me.
So I grabbed a shot of it, to show you what it looks like if you've done it right:


See that? Perfect!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Stop The Presses!

I am...wait for it....six rows away from the completion of my first Real Lace Project.

Let us all bow our heads in silence to commemorate this most blessed event.

Thank you.

Monday, July 19, 2010

This is why I don't ride rollercoasters.

The day after school let out The Things and I grabbed a couple days worth of clothes, food, and toilet paper ('cause that's how I roll), and headed to the White Mountains National Forest.

No, before you ask, I did NOT camp. I 'go to' camp, with The Big Guy, because he does everything. On my own, I require running water, flushing capabilities, and electricity.

We endured a few days of sightseeing, swimming in a pristine lake, a heated pool, and fabulous food. The weather was perfect- 90' days and 60' nights.
It was tough, but we survived.
I didn't even have to break out my roll of TP.

On Saturday, at the crack of dawn, I woke up The Things and said it was time to pack out.
They happily got up and got dressed. Not.

We were on the road by 6am (ugh).

It. Was. Spectacular.

Now, I grew up in and around Boston, which means we left town every chance we got. We played up here many, many weekends in the winter.
I've skied all over New Hampshire, Vermont, and some of Maine.

I was young, and had health insurance.
And no kids.

That ship has sailed.
And sank.

Thing Two was very very little when he first encountered Mountains. He was totally impressed this trip.
"Mumma! Lookit how BIG they are!"
I had to check to make sure he was, in fact, talking about the mountains. He is his Fathers' son, after all.
Yup, they're big, all right.

The Things were awestuck driving around up there. It was such a treat to watch their faces.

So Saturday's trip home was programmed into the GPS to take us through the heart of the mountains, to take full advantage of the ...vantages.
Across the Kancamanus Highway. (pronounced kane-ga-mane-gus if you're from Boston. The locals hated us.)

The Kangamangus (yes, I'm going to spell it that way, every time) must be driven in the late winter to be fully appreciated.
That way, you can enjoy the New England phenomenon known as frost heaves.
Otherwise known as Nature's Speedbumps.
They suck.
(Do other parts of the country experience frost heaves?? I've only encountered them in New England.)

Every single winter I drove up there, I lost a muffler on the Kangamangus Highway.
It was all part of the experience, I'm told.
There's nothing like careening down the side of a mountain going 60 and hitting a frost heave.
We would hold contests to see who could catch the most air.
You know what I'm talking about.

So I chose to experience this ride once again, in summer this time, with my children.


It was sunny, and beautiful. It was 6am. We were the only fools on the road.
Or so we thought.

I stopped at a scenic turnout. (Or, more accurately, I totally was going too fast, passed it, and backed up. My kids were horrified. It wasn't until I turned in the lot that I thought about what I'd just done. I didn't stop again.)


While I took pictures, and lamented my lack of foresight in only getting ONE coffee at Dunkin' Donuts for this drive, I felt like we were alone at the top of the world.

Then a guy on a motorcycle pulled in. Thing Two turned his head to look at him, alerting me to his presence. I'm way observant like that.

And it was at that moment that I realized the Folly Of My Ways.

I was alone, on a mountaintop, at 6am, with my two kids...surrounded by a vast million-acre body dump site.


Mr. Motorcyclist barely slowed down in the scenic turnout, probably fearing for his life.
Think, 'Mama Bear and Her Cubs' Feral look on my face...
We beat feet outta there.

As we were pulling out of the lot, a green van was slowing to pull in.
A dark green Chevy van. A panel van. With no windows.
The kind serial killers drive.

I quickly took a picture of the van, another of the driver, and finally one of its license plate and texted them to my sister, with instructions to turn them in to the Police should we turn up missing.

I watch Dexter.

Needless to say, the driver looked... perplexed.

With the basics covered, we started down the mountain.

And right there, on that first steep slope, I remembered this:


That ridiculous, blurry picture is meant to show you two things.
1. I was smart enough to fill the gas tank (though NOT smart enough to get more than one coffee for the ride).

2. My brake light is lit.
(Also, I cropped out the speedometer so The Big Guy couldn't see it. Also, insurance company: I never take my eyes off the road while driving to take pictures or anything like that. Nope, not me.)

The brake light thing? Gave me a bit of pause, while careening down those mountains.


And around hairpin turns.


While holding the camera up, taking pictures.


at 50 mph.


With the sun in my eyes.


But I got so distracted by the woods and the pretty, and the kids' faces, that I forgot about it.


And was able to just enjoy the ride.

Because, if you do it right?

Life is just one loooong roller coaster ride.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Graduation Gift

Trent hit a home run with this one!

Our kids get pummeled with Hollywood's 'You only live once' mentality each and every day-
are we taking the time to reinforce real-world values at home?

Because, while some of the next generation will only live once, and will leave us too early...
someone's gonna have to run the world when we're gone.

Look around you.
Scared yet?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Doo Dah Dip-pity

Obviously, this ad campaign is being run by a twelve year old boy who shares my warped sense of humor.

I LOVE these commercials.

Good luck getting THAT tune out of your head today.

Doo Dah Dip-pity.

Friday, July 16, 2010

They've got my number

They had me with the Sock Monkey...

...but the song put me over the edge.

I'm pretty sure I'm looking at my next vehicle.

The Big Guy is not amused.
Apparently he does not choose vehicles based on music and knitted puppets.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Wha' colors U flyin'?

We moved onto this tiny island to get away from gangs, and violence.

But it's everywhere.


I blame the schools.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Lasting First Impressions

I was at the grocery store last Thursday, and saw a man eyeing me cautiously.

They all do.

I ignored him, as I do my children when I'm in the grocery store.

Finally he cruised over by me in the produce section. I guarded my basil protectively.

"How's your toe?", he grinned.

I looked at him hard for a minute.
I truly suck at remembering faces.
Something about the toe comment, though....

Oh My God.
It was the guy who was in the car next to me the day my toenail ripped off.
Sixteen months ago.

I make quite an impression, it seems.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Margarita Manicures

Why you should never paint your toenails while enjoying margaritas:


even if the color is called Strawberry Margarita.

Friday, July 9, 2010

24 Hour Baby Sweater

The winning combination of a spectacularly written, simple pattern and STR Heavyweight (drool) makes for some truly trance-inducing knitting.


The Seamless Baby Kimono, by Carina Spencer


Easy top-down construction. Completely seamless thanks to magic loop-ing the sleeves.

Love all around.


Socks That Rock. Softer than you can imagine, machine washable, pure heaven.
A total joy to work with.


And Thing One insisted that this was the perfect button.

Enjoy, Miss P. Though I fear you won't fit into it very long!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Most Fun You Can Have With Your Pants On

Our summer is a whirlwind of activity. We rarely leave the island in the winter (all 10 months of it), and we make up for it in the two months we call summer.
Yee haw!

I'll show you where we've been and what we did some other time.

Today, though...
Today I am just back from the mainland with a bunch of groceries.

While I am filling Bakery orders, I am putting up basil and parsley.
It's a labor of love, let me tell you.

It requires time and patience, neither of which I possess.
Yet here I sit.

The putting up of parsley and basil goes something like this:
1. Clean the everlovin' heck out of your hands, especially fingernails- most especially thumb nail, which does all the actual work.

2. Place all the parsley in a colander and run under cold water, agitating vigorously to get all the nasties off. And there are plenty of nasties.

3. Place the freshly cleaned cuttings on paper towels and spread out completely to dry. The leaves have to be completely dry when you put them up, or they will crumble and be useless.

4. Wish you had minions to do the next part.

5. Sit for about an hour, pulling each tiny leaf from its stem at the very base. Use your thumbnail to 'cut' it off. Enjoy the smell of the oil even as it discolors your thumbnail.

6. Know that your neighbors will think you are turning into an alien with green thumbnails.

7. Decide that's probably one of the better things they have thought about you.

8. Wish evil thoughts on them. Decide that's un-Christian, and focus energy back on smelling the yummy parsley.

9. Pack leaves tightly into jars and throw in freezer.

10. Enjoy being able to grab that container for the next few weeks, pull out a few leaves, and have fresh parsley on hand. (I'm lucky to have any left at the end of the week, but I know it lasts for a long time. I once found a container shoved in the back of the freezer months later. Jackpot!)

11. Decide to make dough right now, for a quick pizza margherita.

This is what I was doing this afternoon. This HOT afternoon.
While I was filling Bakery orders. So my kitchen was approximately 500 degrees, like my oven.

In between orders, I worked my magic with the parsley and basil, washing and setting it out to dry. It has to be perfectly dry, or it will not freeze right.

A few hours later, it was ready. Now, this is important: it can't sit around once it's dry, or it will wilt.
Wilt=rot = freezer burn = not fresh parsley in the freezer= waste of time and energy and food.

I was ready. The leaves were ready.

I was hot. I was home alone. I was sitting at my kitchen table. I was HOT.

So I took off my shirt.

And it was awesome. Nice breeze blowing in from the patio...
Good tunes on the ipod....
...and a freakin' knock at the door.

Ack! I jumped up, yelling. I have no idea what I was yelling, but I guess it sounded like "C'mon in! I love to be caught topless in my kitchen!" because the door opened, and there was my neighbor.
It was the fastest I'd ever pulled a shirt on in my life. And it was backwards.
Hard to say whose face was redder, but of course it could've been the heat.

The ultimate horror (because, frankly, I could give a crap about getting caught topless in my own house) is that he made me leave with him to let somebody in the school, and I had to leave my parsley and basil sitting on the table.

I was not happy.

I came home to find that some of my leaves had wilted.

Look how sad and dejected they are.

Especially when placed next to their perky and chipper counterparts.

It's like putting Ruth Buzzy next to Pamela Anderson.

I made pesto with the wilted leaves.
We don't really like it. I'm going to foist it on some unsuspecting guest.
Maybe the Dude who walked in on me!

The detritus.
I tie up all those denuded stems and throw them in soup.
I didn't make soup today. It was too hot to think about soup.
(Oh,no. I baked. THAT was a good idea.)
I put the tied-up stems in a ziploc in the freezer for the next time I make soup. The stems keep pretty well.

I swear, that nail was immaculate when I started.

Green, alien fingernails. Go ahead, laugh. But I will mind-meld you in your sleep.
I have no idea what that means, but it sounds like a Star Wars kinda thing.

I've never seen Star Wars. Or Star Trek.
Or any of the 19 Rocky movies.
That intel blows The Big Guy's mind.

That's all I got out of that batch. The container isn't even full.
It'll be gone in a week.

And I did basil, too.

And all is right with the world. Because I have parsley and basil in my freezer.