Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lists: Things on the brain

-Autumn is here. I want to make apple butter, among other things.

-I want to get back into making almond milk and cooking beans on Sundays. The almond milk fell by the wayside because R wanted to order it from the bulk place but never got around to it. This is one of those things that really frustrates me: sometimes he won't do things because he's thought of a better way to do them, but the better way requires a little more effort in the beginning, so it doesn't get done at all. The beans will be easy to do though. I made a fabulous split pea soup last week, just split peas and a little bouillion and a lot of time. It was even better the second day.

-I keep reliving a course I had on Saturday with Ruby. It was perfect - we were the best we've been. I'd put together everything I'd learned from riding her and getting through all the tests she constantly throws at me. Then I failed, big time and was thrown into a coop. See, Ruby asks you a question before every single jump. About 6 strides out, maybe 7, maybe 5, she says, "Really?" What she is looking for is confirmation from you that you really do mean to jump it. Then she grabs the bit and drags you to the fence, so your next job, after answering her question is to keep her feet on the ground for as long as possible. So there she was asking and there I was answering. We jumped the hay bales and galloped down the hilllock and back up to the top of it, turned right and faced a coop that had the sun hitting it so it was glaring. "Really?" she said and I said, "Yes." She looked a little harder at the fence and asked again, "REALLY?" I said, more loudly, "YES". I thought this would be enough, but we arrived at the fence and there was no trouble keeping her feet on the ground. She stopped dead and I slid right down her neck and onto the coop. It's all on video.

-I have a list of things in my mind that I need to get the where-with-all and pantry space to make. One is bouillon from the River Cottage Preserves Handbook. It's a beautiful book that I bought at Powell's in Portland when I was there for my friend's wedding. I bought that book and Putting Food By, which has given me a very healthy fear of botulism. The River Cottage book suggests one or two methods of jam making that are, in capitalised letters, expressly discouraged by Putting Food By. 

-I also want to make apple sauce.

-R and I are talking about buying an allotment next year. Since I, in all likelihood, won't be working, I can contribute to the household by growing food, namely the things we do not get from our CSA. I can grow things and preserve them which sounds like a much more rewarding use of my time than trying to get reporters to by junk remedies or completing competitive renewals for grants. Maybe I'll be able to even sell a little and get that project going. Who knows how much time I'm actually going to have though. 

-I'm going to knit a bunch this winter. I have this idea that if I knit a 100% wool afghan, I'll be constantly warm, because I'll have it covering me as I knit. The flaw in this plan is that I have an idea to make a sort of sampler quilt by knitting a bunch of squares with different stitch patterns and in different colours and then bringing them together.

-I have a plan to have an indoor herb garden. Ryan is skeptical* and discouraged me in the past but a downstairs herb garden is just not practical when one cooks like me. Usually the thing is on the stove cooking before I think, "ROSEMARY!" and, as I am usually barefoot and in my pyjamas at any given time when I am at home, running downstairs and around the corner to get to the entrance of the yard, in full view of all the Northstar patrons enjoying their cocktails, isn't all that practical. I don't even care about being seen, really, it's the fact that I'm already in the middle of cooking. Sometimes, these days, it's dark when I finally start dinner, so I'm not really going to be all that great at finding whatever herbs I need, anyway.

-*Ryan is a sensible, very intelligent, pragmatic person who is almost always correct. Sometimes I am lazy and just believe him about things. This has bitten me in the ass more than once. I had an experience this last summer involving bringing bars of special soap for laundry from the Asian shop his sister goes to in Sacramento. He was convinced that the security people would think it was weird to bring several bars of soap in our carry on and that we shouldn't bother. His sister and I colluded and concluded that he was being a bit of a ninny and I went with her to buy the soap anyway. The worst we would be out would be the 80c I paid for the soap. There was no problem at the gate. In short, sometimes my husband is a little too cautious, so I am going to try an indoor herb garden.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I am an absent-minded person. I also have an inability to pay "attention to detail" (apologies for the use of that hackneyed job board cliche), in certain circumstances. I can actually have "attention to detail", I just don't seem to have a lot of choice in what I pay attention to... my horses, when I had them, were always spotless, my tack room, when I had one, was organised down to the alphabetised-according-to-ailment medicine cabinet and I make some excellent jam...but tossing lemon juice into the compost and keeping the seeds or doubling a cheesecake recipe that I've already doubled make for some hilarious after dinner stories that have given my husband a lot of mileage. I am not someone suited, ideally, for administrative work. However, combine a degree in physical anthropology and a personality that is singularly unmotivated by money or prestige and these are the jobs one gets.

I have been lectured at work for things I accidentally do, such as misspell a name or put something in the wrong place on a chart. It's not an often occurrence but it does happen occasionally.

At the moment, I am supposed to be doing something (procrastination is another fault of mine...) that involves going through files (hard copy) that were put together by my predecessor.

I do not feel so badly anymore and the next time I am sent into a spiral of shame and self-loathing by a supervisor, I will remember that other people are possibly just as forgetful or absentminded. One file has someone's name misspelled on every piece of correspondence, despite receiving correctly spelled correspondence from the misspellee.  Others are missing swathes of necessary papers. One even has the wrong first name for someone in several places.

In short: I may not be perfect, but other people aren't either. Also, I just spilled water all over my lap.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cornell Companion Animal Hospital is now on my enemies list.

Cornell Companion Animal hospital, you may have saved Jeeves life in June, but sending us scary emails following up on positive test results from six months ago that you neglected to inform us about in the first place and not having actual documentation of said test results (or other, similar tests!) and thus, no way of verifying whether it was in fact a positive test is too much to bear. Once you have given us our retest (which I do not expect to pay for), we will be taking our dogs elsewhere.