Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

Last weekend I was in New York, where we had an 80th birthday celebration for my mom. Family and friends gathered at a charming restaurant near my parents’ home, and there everyone sipped hot cider (well, not me – I was busy taking photos) and visited until lunch was served. I got to help Mom get ready for the big day; due to her memory impairment, it’s not so easy for her to put together a festive ensemble (though who among us, regardless of memory issues, has not experienced similar difficulties?). She looked pretty swell!

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My sisters – who do these things especially well – coordinated all the details, and everything went without a hitch. It’s not often you can get all three of us girls into a single photo, but here we are with Mom:

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Rather than try to fit 80 candles on top of that delicious-looking cake, we went for the “Less is more” approach with the numbers “8,” “0,” and a few stars for good measure. Good thing Mom did NOT have to blow out 80 candles; as it happened, she had a dizzy spell after blowing out the ones you see here… and that’s all I’m going to say about it. Except that the title of this post may suggest what came next. No, not an assassination – just an unanticipated, hasty end to the festivities. But Mom is fine now, and, in fact, has forgotten all about it – her birthday, the cake, etc. So it’s a really good thing we have photos, and that everybody else will remember the occasion for her. Happy birthday, Mom!

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Here’s the toast I made in her honor:

When we were little, we loved to watch Mom get dressed up for an evening out with Dad. She was a beauty then, and she still has style and grace to spare. With her artist’s eye and sensibility, she has always believed that “less is more” except where her affection is concerned, and that is when “more” has always been better.

She appreciates all forms of beauty, whether inside a muesum or outside in nature, and has taught others to appreciate it as well. A free spirit, she has always experimented with her creativity, willingly tries new things, and greets life with open curiosity, with a “yes” or a “why not?”

Early on, she shared her love of reading and language with her daughters, beginning with our family tradition of Saturday morning trips to the public library, and continuing with crossword puzzles and competitive games of Scrabble.

Mom has always been a loving mother and a wonderful grandmother as well. From hand-painted birthday cards to her eagerly awaited “face cookies,” she has always known how to make each of her three grandchildren feel special and loved.

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Here’s to you on your 80th birthday, Mom. We love you.

Ghost In The Machine

As hand-saving devices go, this knitting machine just may turn out to be my new best friend. The learning curve is steep, to be sure, but for basic design exercises it will have its place. And being able to design on it will save my hands for the hand-knitting I have been able to do only for very short periods of time. I have not even begun to explore the electronic component of the machine yet, but that will open up whole new worlds of possibility from felting to Fair Isle. And because so much of its operation is manual (but without the damaging stress on individual fingers) and somewhat resembles weaving, I still have the creative interaction with the yarn and the fabric that a totally mechanized piece of equipment would not permit. So we’ll see how it goes… I am cautiously optimistic.

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Tonight’s full “beaver” moon was quite spectacular from just outside the back door. I photographed it both with and without the flash, quite taken by the ghostly specter it presented one way, and its bright suspension in the late afternoon sky. So, okay, being back on Standard Time isn’t all bad if it allows me to capture such moments of humble drama.

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Have You Any Wool?

Well, we all know I’ve got plenty. But that didn’t stop me from venturing north with a friend on the last day of October to the Yolo Wool Mill near Sacramento, for their annual sheep shearing festival. I had never seen mill equipment in action, let alone yarn in so many of its formative stages, so the carding and spinning operation tour appealed to my nerd side.

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It was fascinating – and these were old machines from New England that had been shipped out to California when the owner decided to get into the wool milling business many years ago. Can you imagine the detective work that would be required to figure out what went wrong if this machine suddenly stopped in mid-cycle?

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This wool waiting to be spun was gossamer soft, plush and airy.

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This odd couple met us upon our arrival; at first I thought the rabbit must be terrified of the dog, who kept nosing at its cage. But as it turned out, far from cringing in fear, the rabbit pressed its own nose right up against the mesh cage with equal enthusiasm. The two turned out to be buddies, strangely enough. But the rabbit could not be counted on not to run away, unlike the dog, which explains why one is caged and the other not.

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Not surprisingly, there were flocks of sheep pastured all around the mill and farm. These two darling little guys lay patiently as children petted them. Not a lot of yarn for sale at the little booths that were set up on the grounds, which was a bit disappointing.

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My favorite sight occurred on our way back home, when we took a wrong turn and wound up on a dead-end road traversing a marshy wetland. Suddenly, there rose up from the reeds and cattails this majestic bird – wingspan approximately four feet. The air was so still, and had that particular brackish smell of still water mixed with dried grasses. I don’t know if this was a heron or some other variety, but he was stunning.

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Fifty-Six

No, that’s not my age or my house number. Rather, it was the temperature inside my house when I awoke this morning. Fortunately for me, I had gone to bed wearing pajamas and gym socks. Only around midnight, when I just couldn’t seem to muster enough body heat to fall asleep, did I roll reluctantly out of bed to don a sweatshirt as well. But I did not – no, I did NOT – turn on the heat. The thought never even occurred to me, even after the cat had insinuated herself under the covers to lie pressed against my side in an effort to warm herself. It was only October 28th, after all.

 You see, when we first moved to California we made a rule that has stuck with us even nine years later when our blood has thinned out and we have pathetically low somewhat reduced tolerance for the early morning chill and the raw rainy days of Bay area winters. Even now that we have become self-professed “delicate California flowers,” our rule prevails. That rule is: we don’t turn on the heat before November first.

Despite the cooling off, or perhaps because of it, the camellias are starting to bloom in the garden:

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All I have to add is this: thank goodness Sunday is November first!

Our Nation’s Capitol

I have not been a tourist in Washington, DC in many years. Although I lived in and around that city for a total of seventeen years in the ’80s and ’90s, I have not had reason to return until recently, when a dear friend had one of those big birthdays that deserve to be celebrated. This has been a banner year for our friendship, in that we’ve seen each other three times, after many years when all we managed to do was exchange letters, emails, and the occasional phone call.

The first time we got together this year was after she had a brain tumor removed. Florence Nightingale that I am, I went to help out for a week. Then, this spring, I was stranded overnight in DC due to bad weather (thanks so very much, Continental Airlines!) on my way up to a tiny regional airport in NY… the perfect excuse to couch-surf in her cozy apartment and share an impromptu visit. But this time, we were able to walk everywhere, playing tourist in the cool but humid October days.  Ate some fabulous meals, chiefly at the Old Ebbitt Grill (where, among other delicacies, I had some wondrously fresh raw oysters) and Sequoia down at the Washington harbour – the latter of which was the site of the Big Birthday Dinner:

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These chandeliers at Sequoia had to be twenty feet tall, managing to be both sculptural and illuminating:

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The leaves were changing dramatically enough to thrill my autumn-color-starved eyes:

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The White House is more barricaded than ever but just as lovely and impressive once you slip your camera between the iron fence rails for an unimpeded photo opportunity:

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We also toured the National Holocaust Museum, which I found extremely difficult to see, yet unforgettably moving. While certainly not a cheerful way to spend two hours, the Holocaust remains arguably the most compelling historical event of the 20th century. An entire museum dedicated to preserving its memory is not too much to ask. Even the busloads of schoolkids touring it with us seemed to take it seriously. The United States behaved shamefully during the war, I am sorry to say; our government’s leaders knew full well what was happening to the European Jews, yet did almost nothing to help them until it was too late.

An antidote was to be found at the public garden at Dumbarton Oaks. It was a breathtaking place to spend an afternoon, tramping through the wild yet manicured grounds. We had the place practically to ourselves – and around every corner was another wonder of casually calculated “natural” beauty:

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By the end of the weekend, I was ready to move back.

Color and Couture

Where have I been? On a very long Amtrak ride from San Jose to Santa Barbara, to take part in the first-time-ever Color and Couture knitting workshop! Long train rides, like long flights, are premium knitting opportunities, and our group took full advantage of the time. Our train was incredibly comfortable – far more so than the economy section of any plane I’ve ever been on. The seats were enormous, leg room was generous, and there were wide pull-out footrests to ensure total traveling comfort. The train had an observation car with floor to ceiling windows and swivel chairs, the better to appreciate the landscape shifts outside:

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We passed through the Central Valley:

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Lots of farms, some with cattle grazing on the hillsides, some with vineyards marching as far as the eye could see, and some with fields planted with strawberries and other colorful crops. What a way to see the California countryside! And about an hour outside of Santa Barbara we reached the coastal tracks, where it got a bit nerve-wracking as we traversed bridges that appeared to be cantilevered over the ocean cliffs.

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My good friend Sandy accompanied me for the weekend, so it was a girlfriends’ road trip as much as a knitting retreat. Sandy moved away from the Bay area about four years ago, and our town has never been the same. She works at Jimmy Beans Wool in Reno, so she has the inside track on all the new yarns and pattern books coming out each season.

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Here are two of our instructors (and the coordinators) for the retreat, Susan Schlesinger (L) of  Bonita Knitting Store near San Diego and Erin McGee (R) of Bobbin’s Nest Studio in Santa Clara. They did an incredible job with their workshops on Color Theory and Updating Your Knitting Repertoire. In addition, the take-aways from this retreat were outstanding! I came home with several free skeins of luscious yarn (and that’s not even including the ones I purchased at the “boutique” set up in our conference room), at least a dozen free patterns and a couple of new books, as well as a fabulous assortment of knitting notions, needles, and more. It was a challenge to zip up my suitcase, to be honest, even after I opened up the expandable section!

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If you’ve never had an opportunity to take a pattern fitting workshop with Joan McGowan-Michael of White Lies Designs, I encourage you to seek her out. Her seminar on achieving the perfect “couture” fit for any hand-knitted garment was masterful. Joan has a comprehensive design background, and is the author of Knitting Lingerie Style, one of the books I refer to often in my knitting library.

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Here is Joan’s trunk show featuring just a handful of her original designs… every single one of them is gorgeous; beautifully finished and outrageously feminine.

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Not everybody made it into this group photo – there were about 30 of us altogether. Lots of different knitting skill levels, but everyone benefited. A great group of women from both northern and southern California, brought together for one glorious weekend.

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For me, the high point of the weekend was that I finished re-knitting and re-assembling my striped Noro V-neck sweater. It’s hard to tell from this photo, but it really does fit me much better. My mods were to add 2 x 2 ribbing to the hem, and long ribbed sleeves (wrist to mid-forearm), as well as a 2 x 2 ribbed neck band. These small touches gave the garment just a bit more of a finished look.

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The Eyebrows Have It

Among the vicissitudes of aging, I was prepared for the AARP membership invitation that recently hit my mailbox. As prepared as I could ever be, I guess, for the sample AARP magazine issue on newsprint-quality paper that practically begs you to lick a finger before turning each page. I’ve embraced my laugh lines with good grace, mostly, although the aches and pains that follow my gym workouts, somewhat less so.

What I never expected was that once I hit fifty, my light brown eyebrows would fade into a nearly invisible shade of white-blonde.

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Or is that simply white? It never occurred to me that I might finish out my days with a look of perpetual astonishment on my face, but that is exactly the expression looking back at me in the mirror. For if eyes are the windows of the soul, then eyebrows are definitely the bold signposts of the emotions. Summon a mental image of the great screen actresses from the 1940s like Joan Crawford or Claudette Colbert, and which defining feature comes to mind? That’s right! Whether arched in surprise, cocked in skepticism, or furrowed in anger, for those femmes fatales their eyebrows were the most emphatic punctuation on their beautiful faces. And I’m not talking about the current high fashion trend seen on the runways for painted-on “eyebrows” that are too thin, too high, and too dark to have even a fraction of the assertive grace of their forebears’ eyebrows. 

The disappearance of my own eyebrows into a state of pallid neutrality has rendered mute an integral feature of my expressive repertoire. Now I’m beginning to appreciate why eyebrow restoration, coloring, and even false eyebrow sales are a multi-million-dollar component of the cosmetics industry. I’ve realized why my elderly parents – eyebrow-less like me – seem to regard the world’s craziness with nothing stronger than mild amusement. And why my octogenarian neighbor – the one with eyebrows so bushy, so lush, that they hang like silver awnings over the tops of his glasses – seems so fierce in comparison.

It’s all in the eyebrows, and given the choice I’ll take fierce over mild. So as soon as I pop that AARP membership form into the mail, I’ll head out in search of an eyebrow pencil that can restore the faded focal point of my emotions to their former eloquence.

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Shadow quite likes her eyebrows, just as they are.

High on the High Line

Anyone visiting New York City this fall will undoubtedly be urged to fit in a visit to the High Line, the elevated park (and former rail line) that runs from Gansevoort St. up to 20th . It will eventually continue up to 34th St. as funding and time allow, to be completed in 2011 if all goes according to plan. I’m here to tell you those urgings should be heeded, even if all you have is an hour to spare.

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With a free morning during my visit a couple of weeks ago, I headed straight over to the West side without having any idea what to expect. I climbed the stairs at the 20th St. access point and when I reached the High Line my first thought was, “This is it? This is what all the fuss is about?” Because there is a walkway with plantings on either side, and railings over which one can see varying street views. The old rail lines have been left in place, where they now form ground-hugging industrial sculpture that snakes around the plantings in wonderful patterns.

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As I began my stroll south along the wide path, I began to focus on those plantings that had at first seemed so pedestrian; no different, really, than the weeds one would find in any abandoned lot anywhere in the city. Gradually, though, I began to appreciate the incredible variety of the plant life all around me… yet all of it seemed to be native to the area – or at least it could be if cared for and allowed to thrive. And then I became aware of a delicious fragrance that reminded me of my herb garden at home… only better. Birds, bees, and butterflies were flitting around among the flowers and grasses.

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Not only was the plant life captivating, but the architectural details were equally noteworthy. Especially remarkable were the colored glass panels that represented all the colors of the river…. done by an artist who had blown up photographs of different sections of the river and isolated a single pixel of each, until he was able to assemble a collage of colors, and light, and mood – and then transpose them all to glass panes.

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There were uniformed, hatted employees working throughout the park, weeding, watering, and fertilizing the plants. When I inquired about the fragrance, I was told that it was the “drop seed grass,” which smells similar to the herb cilantro. Ahhh, yes. Every once in a while, I’d pull over to the railing to see what I could see. And the views were wonderfully diverse: road, overpass.

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Water, boats. Parks, skyscrapers. People, people everywhere. It was the the life of the city from a quietly fantastic, more-serene-than-usual perspective, and I could easily have spent all day taking it all in.

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And I was not alone in that. Although when I first arrived I felt almost as if I had the place to myself, by the end of my visit there were many other people enjoying it with me, strolling along the path, sitting on the benches that had been placed thoughtfully about the park, leaning up against the railings to admire a particular view, taking photos. Lots of tourists speaking French, German, and other languages, but just as many New Yorkers taking a breather from the energy of the city. I can’t wait to return at a different time of year to see how the High Line’s atmosphere and views change with the seasons.   

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Every curve in the walkway seemed designed to provide a different angle, to offer a new perspective on the park, and all of its geometry was softened by the thriving, fragrant plants. In its own subtle, quiet way, it was quite thrilling.

Good-Bye September, Hello October

How did it get to be October already? And when did I realize I am oh-so-ready for fall? Maybe it was that final day last weekend, on my DD’s college campus, when the weather suddenly turned from sunny and in the 70’s to raw, rainy, and in the 50’s. Having brought nothing but sandals and short-sleeved tops on the trip with me, I was ill-prepared for the change. But if nothing else, I developed a new understanding for how the university sells all those unlovely navy and screaming orange sweatshirts (yes, those are the school colors) in the campus bookstore. I, too, added one to my wardrobe that day, and wore it gratefully as the temperature continued to drop. 

Even returning home to the Bay area, I was struck by the decidedly autumnal shift in the air. Mornings are dark now when I awake, and dusk comes much earlier. The official first day of fall has come and gone. Seeing my daughter so happily ensconced on her college campus reminded me of Rod Stewart’s bittersweet song, Maggie May. It was late September, and I really did feel as if I should be back at school.

Maybe it was picking the last of the figs from our tree, and realizing that fig jam and desserts are over for the season – although I did take some of these and combine them with Braeburn apples and dried Montmorency cherries to make a delicious fall crisp for dessert last night.

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 Maybe it was that enormous pot of Tuscan kale and bean soup I recently made, stirring it with images of cozy winter dinners in mind.

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Back at home after last week’s travels, I picked the last of the tomatoes and started harvesting the first fragile lettuce leaves from the fall planting a few weeks back. Radishes and beets are still weeks away, but the baby greens are a tender addition to salads. The large tomatoes are ripening on sheets of newspaper, and a few last pounds of the cherry tomatoes ended up on a puff pastry and parmesan tart for dinner the other night.

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There’s nothing I’d love to do more right now that knit, and it has been incredibly frustrating not to be able to. I sit and watch TV in the evenings, and it feels strange (not in a good way, either) to have no knitting in hand. I suppose I could hold my last WIP in my lap and fondle it while the programs unfold before me, but it just wouldn’t be the same. I’ve been dreaming for weeks about new sweater designs I want to make, and once my bandage came off I even sketched them into my design notebook. But recuperation from my hand surgery continues slowly (and working on the computer does nothing to aid my convalescence, I admit), with my hand still swollen and somewhat weak. I can’t make a fist because the scar tissue is still tender. However, between that  “Oh, it’s September – time to learn something new” mindset and my growing acceptance of the limitations I may continue to have post-hand surgery, I’ve made what feels like a very big decision. 

I’m going to invest in a knitting machine and in the lessons to learn to use it properly. Although it will never take the place of hand-knitting, it will give me a fighting chance of creating all the new designs I’ve had in mind. And it just may save me from further surgeries. And that, I’ve gotta say, would be really nice.

Alert: Yarn Pron

No trip to New York would be complete without a visit to School Products, one of my favorite yarn shops, located on Broadway around 29th St. And so with an hour to spare one afternoon, I made my way there. In addition to a range of Karabella yarns, they stock gorgeous cashmere and other luxury mill ends from Europe. Berta Karapetyan, the owner, was there that afternoon – she is the author of Runway Knits, and is a gifted hand-knitter and designer. I never leave School Products empty-handed, as you can see.

 

 This rustic-looking, Italian-milled charcoal tweed wool demanded to go home with me, and with roughly 2,000 yards on the cone it will probably end up as a new sweater for DH, who supports my yarn and knitting addiction so graciously. The surprising thing about this yarn is that considering its slightly rough and nubby appearance, it is deliciously soft. 

 

 Two skeins of this plied 80% cashmere/20% silk blend hand-dye amounts to about 300 yards. It also feels wonderful to the touch with a slightly dry hand from the silk content, and the steely blue-gray color with sparks of light (again from the silk) is truly a winner.

 

 A final indulgence – and I really do mean indulgence – is this 100% cashmere. Hand-dyed in the U.S., it is the richest possible shade of garnet (quite a bit deeper than my photos would suggest) and is divinely lofty and soft. I took home three skeins, enough for a hat and mitts, or possibly a hat and cowl. Bliss, pure bliss. I think we need to see this one close up, don’t you? (Wipe that drool off your chin, please…)

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Brave New Knits Update

I was in New York City last week for a specific, very exciting reason: the photo shoot for my upcoming knitting book, Brave New Knits. Never having participated in such an event, I was not about to miss the chance. And since my hand surgery a month ago has required a depressingly long hiatus from actual knitting, this was two days of blissful compensation. 

What an amazing experience it was! Everyone from the models to the photographer (that’s you, Jared),

from the stylist and make-up artist to Rodale’s art director and editor, were on hand in the studio to make sure the shoot went smoothly. Having a stylist and models with experience modeling knitwear made a huge difference; they really understood the need to make the knitted projects the focus of each shot. 

I can’t show you much, but I can give you a peek:

 

 

      It’s all in the details, right?

Playing Hooky

Malibu coastline

Malibu coastline

Yesterday I played hooky from my life for just one day, thanks to a super-cheap plane ticket that took me to Los Angeles in time for breakfast. I went to visit my friend Jill, who moved down there more than four years ago and has been missed by many old friends in the Bay area ever since. It had been way too long since our last visit, and the timing was right, so off I flew. Breakfast was the first order of the day, right on the beach. Didn’t hurt that it was 75 degrees and sunny with a light breeze blowing off the ocean. You can understand why people are willing to take the risk of  The Big One (earthquake) to live in such a paradise.
Random father and son; who is cuter? Hard to tell.

Random father and son; who is cuter? Hard to tell.

Paradise Cove in Malibu; breakfast on the beach, toes in the sand!

Paradise Cove in Malibu; breakfast on the beach, toes in the sand!

Once we took off along the beach for a hike (across packed sand that is only accessible during low tide), we saw all kinds of sea creatures both in the tide pools and walking along the sand, some two-legged, and others many-legged, and some with flippers.
Starfish in the tidepools

Starfish in the tidepools

This little guy got beached in the rocks at low tide. We stuck around long enough to make sure he made his way back into the ocean.
This little guy got beached in the rocks at low tide. We stuck around long enough to make sure he made his way back into the ocean.

It was an amazing day; not only did I take a wonderful hike along the fabulously scenic coastline with a dear friend, but I walked off my breakfast omelet, as well as the Pinkberry double scoop, the Delicious Bakery chocolate babka (just a slice, honest – to keep us fortified for more walking), and an authentic deli dinner before Jill returned me to the airport for my flight back up to San Francisco. I was home by bedtime… wondering if it had all been a dream.

Planting and Cooking While Bandaged (Do Not Try This At Home!)

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A last bouquet of these dinner plate dahlias, my favorite, has graced the kitchen table this week. The blooms are spectacular, and this year I actually remembered to stake them before they got too tall.

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The lemon cucumbers were not as prolific as I had hoped they’d be, but the few we got were delectable. Next year, I’ll have to scope out a sunnier spot for them, which may be a challenge now that the next-door neighbor’s maple tree is three stories high and blocks the sun all summer until noon. In retrospect, it’s probably a minor miracle that we got any lemon cucumbers at all this year! I fantasize about sneaking over there in the middle of the night with a gigantic bottle of Round-Up, and “accidentally” spilling it all around the trunk of that tree… oops, my bad! But then, what makes them think it’s okay never to prune a tree that has at least a dozen large broken branches dangling over their own yard as well as mine?

Over the weekend, I had a helping hand from DH to replant the vegetable garden with cool-weather produce. He dug out the beds and raked in the bone meal and fertilizer. I, hand bandaged and be-gloved (is that even a word?) for protection, had the onerous task of sprinkling seeds into the ground and covering them up with a half-inch of soil, and of planting seedlings into shallow holes. To be fair, I really ought to say that DH had the helping hand from me, since he did all the heavy lifting. The only thing that hurt afterwards was my pride; not such a tough cookie after all, I had to go inside and ice my hand as soon as we were finished. Yeah, I guess I have a bit of a tendency to overdo it.

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Here’s what we planted: three kinds of lettuce, two kinds of chard, radishes and beets, sugar snap peas, and tuscan kale. Yum!

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Speaking of tuscan kale, we bought some at the farmer’s market over the weekend, along with savoy cabbage, leeks, and swiss chard. Back at home, I raided the cupboard for cannellini beans and stock, and turned all those luscious veggies into this Tuscan kale and bean soup, which should warm us happily on several winter nights (since the recipe made one and a half gallons!!!):

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Tomato Bliss

Although the full size tomatoes are not impressive in the garden this year, the cherry tomatoes are going like gang-busters. Both the Sun Gold and the Chocolate Cherries (so named for their dark burgundy-brown color, not for any resemblance to chocolate in the flavor department, unfortunately) have been prolific, and look as if they’ll keep pumping out the fruit for another month or so.

A person can eat only so many tomatoes. I’ve had more than my share, to be sure. They go in the dinner salad every night, and accompany my tuna or hard-boiled egg, or whatever I’m eating for lunch that day. But my basket overfloweth. Over the weekend, it was necessary to take drastic measures – again. These:

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after oven-drying for two full hours at 250 degrees (thanks, Anne, for the recipe!), ended up in a freezer baggie so I can scoop out as many as needed to add to soups and other recipes. Halving all those tiny tomatoes without too much discomfort to my hand was a major kitchen triumph.

All Wrapped Up and No Place To Go

This is what happens when you leave the garden untended for a couple of days while sitting inside feeling sorry for yourself recuperating valiantly from hand surgery. The zucchini morph into inedible, super-size proportions, making them suitable for use only as lamp bases, baseball bats, and the like.

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Meanwhile, the hand that was subjected to the surgery on Monday is super-sized in its own right, and not just from being swathed in yards of bandaging. Bruising and swelling and aching, oh my. Only ten days until the stitches come out and I can begin physical therapy. Which means there is hope that I will be able to return to knitting bliss before the fall weather turns really cold. Yay!

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Of course, it’s my left hand, and I am left-handed. My right hand has been often and derisively maligned as a “useless appendage,” but now that it is the only one I have that functions, it’s suddenly worth its weight in gold. I’ve discovered that there are all sorts of things I can do with my right hand that I never would have thought possible as recently as last weekend. And most of them are even fit for polite company. Typing with one hand is painfully slow and surprisingly inaccurate, but at least I can do it.