Monday, April 27, 2009

Quick Boston Visit

We were invited to friend Peter's surprise 65th birthday celebration to be held in Boston where he has been on sabbatical the past 8 months. We drove up Friday, arriving at brother Larry and Pat's home in Cambridge around 8:00. A nice reception with food and wine and talking and a stroll on a warm night to Inman Square for ice cream.

Up in good time and out for some fresh bagels and lox and then off to the Boston Museum of Fine Art for a show of flower arrangements inspired by works of art. Also a chance for me to see some Sam Maloof chairs in their collection, inspiration for my next project. Can't say the flower arranging thing really grabbed me but so many other things did. Museums are fun.

From there on to a walking tour of artist's studios in North Cambridge, but the beating sun took its toll and the highlight was a nice relaxing lunch in a Greek cafe.

Home in time to get cleaned up and off to the party, hosted by friends of Peter and Laura's in a lovely home near Boston College in Newton. A round of toasts to a dear friend, a wonderful meal created by the host's son, and lively, easy conversations with nice people. One reason for our going was to take the "memory box" I made that Laura had purchased for Peter. Laura pulled it off, a wonderful party. Peter was pleased.

Up in good time on Sunday for the long drive home. Smooth sailing with the AC cranked on an unseasonably hot day. First stop at home was the ER to pick up Dylan but that's another story.....

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Gotta love the spring thing

Comparing the climates we live in with a Califorinian I remarked that I would miss Pennsylvania's change of seasons. He replied with a touch of sarcasm, "Oh yeah. Isn't that like banging your head on a wall because it feels good when you stop."
Could be true, could be true. But I think there is a yin yang thing goin' on here. You wouldn't know what a good cup of coffee was if there wasn't a bad one. And if all your days are a clear 70 degrees I think one would stop noticing.
So when Spring finally rolls around here it is a wake up call. It reminds us we are on a spinning ball circling the sun and we are coming 'round to the other side. We who live higher up on the ball have been catchin' just a glancing blow and now we get to lean into that baby and ooooo it feels good. And I gotta tell you everybody, I mean everything, knows it.
OK, I admit it, it's a little bleak. It's been monochrome gray, not enough day. People get SAD. Critters look challenged. But when the change comes it's a rush. The green comes in just a hint at first, this pale green blush. But a week or so and some rain and this lush carpet is everywhere, this deep greengreengreen. And everywhere you look everything is growing. Plants are just going nuts. In short order we have gotten a whole new playground. Makes me smile from the inside out.
Today was gorgeous. A few pictures from the day-4/18.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Weekend

It started with Carolyn saying she and David planned to visit. Then Rick said he and Holly would make it too. Larry, the farthest away in Cambridge, had been wondering when he would get down again, sorted his schedule, and he and Pat made the long drive to join us.
Saturday they picked up Mom and Dad on the way through town and all gathered for lunch at my house. An adventure for M & D, they hadn't been here for over a year, but with so many helping hands it went well and they enjoyed the outing.
Got the folks back to their place for afternoon naps, I got in some tennis with Dylan, and everyone back for a 4:00 walk with Lucy the dog. A simple supper, a wee bit of wine, and a chance to catch up.
Sunday dinner at Foxdale and then just before leaving we line up for another family portrait. How many times have we done this? But now, with Mom at 90 and Dad at nearly 94, it always flickers through my mind that this might be the last one.
How lucky it has gone on so long. Another nice family reunion.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Magic Tree

This isn't what I expected. I'm just trying to get some firewood. Usually when you cut through the base of a tree it falls down. Not this time. All the trees in the woods and I get the magic one. Great. I take out a whole three foot section just to make sure and still no luck. Now what. I don't really need this, I got work to do. This hasn't happened before so I'm kind of at a loss. Is there a magic tree hot line? I mean I don't even know who's in charge of gravity so who's gonna help me. Hey, what about the law of gravity? This is probably illegal. Awww, shit.

Beer. Beer might help. I think I'll go have a beer.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Kitchen Knives

I sharpened all the kitchen knives. If I was good I would do this more than once in a blue moon. This was brought on by a conversation with a friend who can't resist a nice knife and has a large collection. It got me thinking about our own kitchen cutlery. These tools we use every day and many have been with us a long time. We have our favorites that we reach for and like the way they feel and do their job.

1. I bought this at a farm auction long ago - a light weight meat cleaver. I was thinking of it in use as more of the oriental style to cut up veggies and scoop them off the block with the wide blade. But it's a little heavy for that so I don't use it much.

2. This little knife was made by my brother-in-law's brother, Wayne Stanley. It is a favorite cheese knife.

3. Warther Knives - these 4 knives are made by a small family owned operation in Dover, OH. It was started in 1902 by a man whose hobby was carving exact replicas of old steam engines. His carvings are on display in a small museum adjoining the factory and they are astounding. A wonderful little side trip if in the area. And these are wonderful knives.
The first - a boning knife came from Mom's kitchen tools. The second, a paring knife, was a replacement for the temporarily lost 3rd one. The 3rd spent a year or more in the compost pile which is why its handle is a darker color. And the 4th, a slicing knife, was part of the original set that came with a cutting board and paring knife that we got when visiting the museum.

4-7. Sabatier Knives - made in France. These knives can be found in any quality kitchen supply store in a myriad of styles.
#4 is an old one Margy got probably in the 70's - regular steel instead of stainless and it might be our favorite, something about the edge this blade takes. The handle is getting pretty funky and I'm thinking about replacing it myself if I could find the right rivets.

5. This one came from Mom too - it used to be an inch and a half longer but I tried to pry something with it and snapped it off. OK, repeat after me, "go get the right tool for the job". I reground the end which explains the odd shape. Still works but not quite as nice as before.

6. Basic nice knives - not sure when or where they came from.

7. Another Sabatier that Margy got long ago but a little different look than most you see.

8.Ecko Waverly Edge bread knife. Looking into this brand's history it started as a small business in the 1880's making tin pans for bakeries. Many business acquisitions later, by the late 1950's this company made 65 percent of all kitchen tools and 40 percent of all cutlery in the US.
This was an inexpensive knife that Margy got in the 70's quite possibly in a supermarket. I've used other more expensive bread knives but never one I liked better. I think it has the right serration - not so fine as to make dust but enough to get a bite on a fresh made loaf.

If you feel like it send me a picture of your favorite knife.