Sarah and her little one Josiah are visiting for a few days. I am thoroughly loving having a 6-month-old to cuddle and kiss. He is such a sweet baby! Today we introduced him to the wild wild west with an eversohot tour of the Desert Botanical Gardens. We did so, logically, after first stuffing ourselves silly with carbs.
Carbs, gardens and babies — that’s how I roll.
I might also have tested the pair at every opportunity about their knowledge of desert life.
“Did you know, Sarah, that the saguaro can hold more than 1,000 gallons of water after a storm? Did you?!”
(I see photos like this and wonder how I have friends at all. Those are some bossy shorts I’m wearing.)
In truth, we had a great time at the gardens. I always learn something new and Sarah is a little in love with Arizona flora and fauna. This amuses me to no end. We had three hours of serious conversation about plants and neither of us grew bored. (Really, there is no wonder why we are friends.)
Also, she and the wee one are troopers. It was 106 today. They should get a refund and apology from the Arizona Department of Tourism.
In the meantime, I’m plotting an escape to cooler climes for even more carbs. To be continued…
I am on a knitting mission — use the yarn I have to create thoughtful holiday gifts.* Yes, I realize we are months away from the holidays. But I am not quick with the knitting needles. I dally, ponder and spend a lot of time watching movies, drinking wine and ripping out rows gone awry as a result.
It’s this slow, plodding repetitive pace that I find comforting and meditative after commuting like a mad woman, racing through a business day and gulping one too many cups of caffeine.
This skein of yarn came as a gift from Shelley when I visited this summer. It is Vero wool from Italy and was delightful to work with. I love the colorway and I take particular joy from creating something with just one skein. It seems so efficient and tidy. I didn’t follow a pattern but simply knit like I cook — but trying a little of this and a little of that until I figured out what I liked.
(Spoiler!) I so enjoyed this project, I think Christmas 2010 may be year of the cowl.
*Use what I have. I must, I must use what I have. Enough shopping for art supplies. Time to go through what I already own!
These sweet ladies read my book for their recent book club, which they discussed over Ethiopian food. Love!
Have you ever heard of Ockham’s razor? Essentially this is the concept that the easiest explanation is probably the right one. Think horse instead of zebra. It’s also called the law of parsimony. Named after an old English smarty — William of Ockham — who wrote, “entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem.”
Or, for us normal folk — “entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity” — which translates to “stop over-thinking it.”
I heard about this most recently in an episode of This American Life and have been thinking about how it can apply to good storytelling. Some of my favorite stories don’t require twists and turns that confuse and boggle until the last page. They do require characters who are admirable in some way, and interesting in many others. One of the more daunting aspects of plotting a novel has been creating conflicts that are believable, clever and not transparent.
An example I can think of is in Barbara Kingsolver’s “Prodigal Summer.” A character slowly begins gaining weight. As a reader you have an idea why, but the fact the character — who is so very smart — can’t figure it out causes just the right amount of confusion. When the character later discovers she’s pregnant, you can’t help but feel relieved your initial instinct was correct and duped that you didn’t have it diagnosed the chapter prior. This is the perfect shave, a la Ockham’s razor.
I’m busy working on the second novel. I haven’t been cooking or crafting much, but I am creating, dreaming, contemplating and avoiding critics. Putting the pieces of the latest puzzle together…
I was selected to do that Ignite thing later this week. I’ve been to Ignite before and applied twice with the same presentation — all about Fruitful Harvest. I’m excited to be one of the dozen speaking at Ignite ASU Thursday night at the Tempe Historical Museum about the project.
The idea is you have 5 minutes to present 20 slides to convey something you are passionate about. The theme of the evening is change. How can we change our community? How can we change ourselves?
Plant a tree. Pick some fruit. Feed a kid. My message is simple. The ability to speak just 5 minutes? There lies the skill.
If you live in the neighborhood and can swing by, I’d love to see you. A little birdie and her baby bird from Missouri will be in the audience. RSVP here. (The event and food served are free!)
Seasonal eating is tricky; it’s hard to walk away from bananas, kiwi and avocados — knowing full-well these gems have traveled legions to reach my plate. I’ve become accustomed to sushi, ceviche, pineapple and maple syrup whenever and wherever I want them. This is the American life. And this is what is so very wrong with the marketplace.
But I’m trying. Little by little, I’m transforming my suburban American consume-first-think-second ways.
Like making salad with as many locally grown seasonal items as possible. It isn’t a perfect science, but it’s getting better.
Kale from the farmers market turned into veggie lasagna.
End-of-summer market fruit turned into a tasty appetizer with locally made goat cheese.
I’m not sure these figs are in season. Or were grown in Phoenix. I’d guess neither are true. But I do know for certain that I’m contemplating my next garden and ready to dive into a more sustainable living.
Little by little, the bird makes its nest.
This weekend’s Phoenix Permaculture pancake breakfast was a huge hit. We had more than 100 people attend, learn about harvesting desert plants for food and enjoy a hearty breakfast. Thank you to everyone who attended. I am so very pleased by the support we received!
My friend Sheila’s got a birthday this week and when I was last in Golden visiting her lovely family, she mentioned she liked that beautiful orange three button wrap Tina made for me.
What a great chance to return the kindness loop by knitting one for another! And so, I ordered a box of Arucania organic cotton yarn and spent the next 4 weeks of Netflix knitting stockinette. I am pleased as punch by the results.
I bought a bunch of the same yarn in a dark, ruby red for a Christmas gift I’m planning. I love this pattern, and in the cotton, it is so incredibly soft and warm to wear.
Happy birthday, S!
I’m volunteering with the Phoenix Permaculture Guild to promote this mesquite and carob flour pancake breakfast this weekend in Tempe. It costs just $15 and you’ll be stuffed full of delicious, locally grown and ground carbs. Details for the event can be found here, including the Paypal link to join in the fun.
If you are interested in how native desert plants can provide delicious, low-glycemic, gluten-free foods — that ohbytheway are also probably already growing in your yard or neighborhood — attend the class I’m helping teach beforehand too.
This is how community is built. People with similar passions coming together to figure out ways to use resources more appropriately. I hope if you are a local Phoenician, you’ll grab your friends and family and come down Saturday for a plate of progress.
When Jen asked last week when we could get together, I asked “crafting or dinner?” She responded, “Both,” and promised to bring her hand quilting project. (Stunning work. Truly. If I didn’t already know the girl was southern, I would have thought she was Amish.)
Kara would just have to join us too. I haven’t seen her in ages and the girl needed a creative break from her burdensome work/intern/school schedule.
(Of course, my sewing machine was also apparently invited to the dinner table.)
The menu included pesto pasta, proscuitto and melon, roasted Italian squash, and ice cream with berries for dessert.
I love the grassy, fresh taste of homemade pesto. The farmer’s market this time of year is drowning in basil. I wish I’d purchased more.
Kara even managed to get some sewing in, throwing together a “pencil pouch with a pocket for post-it notes.” Try saying that three times fast with a mouth full of proscuitto, prosecco and pesto. Perfecto!
Time with the girls to craft, gossip and eat well was the therapy I needed after a nutty work week. Fueled with their laughter in my ears, this week promises to be far kinder.
My friend Gracie asked the other day if I’d make her a new work bag. She takes public transportation in Italy and she worries about pick-pockets. Could the bag include zippered pockets?
Well, yes it could. But I’d first have to learn how to do so. Thankfully, Autumn’s tutorial all but literally holds your hand through the process. A few minutes later and Gracie’s Commuter Bag had two deep pockets, with zippers, to adorn the red velvet lining.
It’s going in the post tomorrow. I hope it brings good fortune and keeps shenanigans at bay.
Without a doubt, Novella Carpenter has influenced me. I’ve been dreaming (literally) of chickens and a bountiful vegetable garden. This time of year, it is hard to drive to the grocery store without losing your mind from the persistent heat, so gardening is simply out of the question. Not for all Phoenix gardeners; there are the hard-core hippies who don’t mind the September sizzle. I’m over it. I absolutely am not spending another second outside in 100-plus degree heat unless it involves a fruity drink and stack of gossip magazines.
(What? She didn’t completely change me.)
Farm City encouraged me to appreciate seasonal eating buy voting with my wallet. I hit the Phoenix downtown market this morning and spent a pretty penny on a handful of late-summer treats. These will be transformed this week into several meals.
Again, thinking of my future home in the making, I would like a large chalkboard in the kitchen to write what produce is in season and the corresponding gardening dates with what’s growing outside. If I took it to crazy-land, perhaps even a list of recipes to cook during the week that coordinate the two.