Monday, October 25, 2010

3 Things

3 things that I learned today:

1) I have diabetes

2) I will beat this (as much as it is possible to do so)


3) I really hate that it took this diagnosis to get me to do the things I know I'm supposed to.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Peach Crisp

One of my favorite desserts as a child was apple crisp.

Now that I'm older, I've realized that it's not just apples that work deliciously in a crisp.

This lovely bit of tastiness is the peach crisp.  I'd gotten some lovely, and very ripe, peaches that needed to get eaten.  This was the way I went about it.
 As they were so ripe, they were extremely easy to peel and seed.

 I cut each peach into even slices,

then tossed them with some granulated sugar, a little powdered ginger, and a bit of flour.  I added some pats of butter to the top, then covered with some strussel. It was then baked and served warm from the oven with some vanilla ice cream.  Perfect.

Here's the recipe, but it's really more like a guideline, as I didn't really do any measuring.

8 very ripe peaches, peeled, cored, and sliced
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1/2 C. plus 2 T. all purpose flour
1/2 t. ground ginger
1 stick (1/2 C.) butter, divided
1/2 C. brown sugar, packed
1/2 C. old fashioned rolled oats
1/8 t. baking powder
1/8 t. baking soda

Preheat oven to 375ยบ F.  Combine the peaches, granulated sugar, 2 T. of flour, and ground ginger in a 9"x9" baking dish.  Cut 3 T. of the butter into pieces and evenly place on top of the peaches.  In a medium bowl, combine the remaining flour, brown sugar, oats, baking powder, and baking soda.  Melt the remaining butter, and add to the oat mixture.  Mix well with a fork until all the mixture is moistened and is coming together in clumps; sprinkle evenly over the peach mixture.  Place in the oven and bake for 30-35 min. or until the top is browned and the filling is bubbling.

This is best served warm over vanilla ice cream.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, A Review

The story is about a hardscrabble farmer named Ethan Frome, his unhappy marriage to his hypochondriac wife Zenobia (Zeena), and his love affair with his wife's cousin, Mattie Silver.

Ethan is broken in body when he is introduced, but his spirit had been broken long before.  As a young man he had a promising future, on his way to leaving the farm he was raised on and becoming an engineer, until his father was in an accident and he was left to care for his ailing mother.  Help came in the form of his cousin Zenobia, who knew what to do to help his mother, and stayed with her until she died.  At this point, fearing being alone, Ethan proposes to her and they marry.  They make plans to sell the farm and move on to bigger and better things, but time passes with no sale, Zeena shows herself to be a miserable hypochondriac, and remorse over a hasty marriage soon sets in.

Then along comes Mattie Silver, an orphaned cousin of Zeena's with no place to go.  The Fromes take her in to be a help for Zeena.  Mattie, however, having been the beloved daughter of a wealthy merchant and unacquainted with work of any kind, was deemed "delicate" and failed to make even an adequate showing at her duties.  This left Ethan to pick up the slack, but because she was so beautiful and cheerful, he didn't mind.  Well, that, and the fact that he'd fallen in love with Mattie -- a sentiment she returned.

Zeena, a miserable, complaining woman obsessed with her "ailments", truly excelled at making the people around her miserable as well.  She was not, however stupid, and saw what was going on.  To deal with it, she hied herself off to yet another doctor for treatments they could ill afford, leaving Ethan and Mattie alone together.  It is during this trip that they share their feelings with each other, and that a treasured wedding item of Zeena's gets broken, giving her cause to send Mattie away.

Neither Ethan nor Mattie can deal with being parted, so Ethan hastily conceives a plan for them to run away together.  When it becomes apparent to Ethan that there are too many hindrances to his plan, it is discarded, and preparations for goodbye are made.  On the way to the train station, they stop at a particularly dangerous sled run (it's winter) that they had decided to go down earlier feeling confident that Ethan could keep them safe.  As this is their last opportunity to do so, they decide to make the run now.  After safely making it down the hill, their time of parting is at hand.  Instead, Mattie asks Ethan to take her down the hill again, but this time to purposely crash so that they would never have to be parted.  And so their suicide run commences.  Spoiler Alert: They fail.

They both end up badly injured and disfigured, but Ethan heals enough to work to support them again, while Mattie becomes an invalid.  Zeena is left to take care of them both.

Spark Notes

I understand that Ethan and Mattie are meant to be sympathetic characters, and Zeena isn't, but I must say that I couldn't stand any of them.  I could find nothing redeeming in either Ethan or Mattie, and the only redeeming quality that Zeena had is that she did, in fact, stay and care for them after their attempted suicide.  I didn't care at all for this story.

I had never read anything by Edith Wharton before, and all I knew of her is that she was unhappily married, making me wonder if this book was at all autobiographical (apparently, it wasn't).  I find her writing to be everything it is purported to be -- a rare occurrence.  Clear, engaging, descriptive without being verbose, her use of symbolism is impeccable.

Her talents are, however, wasted on this story that wasn't worth the telling.

I would dearly love to have back the hours that were wasted on reading this. 

If you would like to read it yourself for free, you can do so here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

15 Years Ago

On this day, fifteen years ago, I was blessed.

On this day, my precious son arrived.

Through the years I've watched him grow,
Had the privilege of getting to know and love him,
And been blessed by the man he is becoming.

I am so grateful that he's mine.

Happy birthday, Jordan!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Test Knit: Gallitan Sweater

I'm sure that most of the knitters who stop by here have received their Oct. 2010 Knit Picks Catalog.  Well, you know that gorgeous colorwork sweater on the front?  I didn't knit it, but I did test knit the Gallatin sweater.  I did it in the largest size -- making sure the yarn amounts were correct for the kit.

This sweater is knit with Wool of the Andes Bulky.  That means it knits up VERY quickly.  Colorwork?  Intarsia? And quick?  YES!  And the end result was a sweater I think is very beautiful.  Hats off to Nina, for a lovely, well-written, and easy-but-looks-complicated pattern!

The body is seamless, and the sleeves knit separately in the round, until the two parts are joined for the raglan shoulders.

Knit on the collar, do the belt, et voila!

Please excuse the dirty mirror.  My teenage son cleaned the bathroom, and guess what he forgot to do?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Time Passes...

And so much has been happening. 

We have a new addition:

His name is Bogey.  As in golf, not boogers.  But he kinda is one and we call him that too. ;D

More books have been purchased:

And these are but a few of the additions.  I haven't photographed the rest.  It's the book sale, you see.  I just can't control myself.

But I haven't just been buying books.  Oh no, I've been reading them as well.  Don't worry, you'll hear more about that in a bit.

Then, of course, there's the knitting and spinning.  Oh!  So much has been done.  So much is left to do.  For all the hard work I've put in, I have very few finished objects to show for it.  It seems I've burdened myself with a whole lot of projects that are large and knit in pieces.  I'd love to show them to you anyway, but I've misplaced my camera.  (Sigh)

There's also been baking.  Lots of baking.  I even have pictures of some of it.  Here's a sneak peek:

More photos and a recipe to come.