Friday, June 25, 2010

Some Failures

I made another attempt at tamago yesterday.  Clearly, the second time is not the charm.
Everybody in the youtube videos was using chopsticks to roll their eggs and it looked so easy.  The reason it looked easy is that they know what they're doing.

The crumbly, exploded one is the one I made using chopsticks.  I didn't pour enough batter in the pan right off so the egg ripped when I tried to roll it.  I thought it might recover if I put in plenty of batter in on the next go but it just kept right on ripping all the way through.

Lesson #1 - use enough batter.
Lesson #2 - you can't repair a ripped tamago.
Lesson #3 - use a spatula until you get the batter amount right.

I don't mind practicing making tamago.  I sure like having it around to eat!

I was out gardening yesterday.  While weeding, damaging the tomato plants and stomping on the lettuce it occurred to me that maybe I should start a gardening blog.  It would be called "Don't Do It This Way."  Yeah, a how-not -to-garden blog.

When I first started gardening I read this book: Mrs. Greenthumbs: How I Turned a Boring Yard into a Glorious Garden and How You Can, Too and found it very encouraging.  One thing I read that I'll never forget was that "plants want to live."  The gardener doesn't grow the plants, the plants grow because thats what they really want to do.  The gardener's job is to give each plant everything it needs to thrive.  You help a plant first by putting it somewhere where it will be happy.  Provide the proper nutrients and water and keep the competition at bay and the pant's (usually) all set.  

If you don't keep your plant happy it will still try to grow as best it can.  It might live, it might not make it.  Either way it will be pathetic to watch.  This is where I find myself.

I have good intentions.  I have my sun plants in the sun and my shade plants in the shade.  Have I done adequate soil testing?  No.  Do I keep up with the weeding?  HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!

My poor roses are about ten inches tall!  Most of them are flowering, one or two little brave blooms.  I can't find the rhubarb.  The basil is yellow and gone to seed two weeks after I put it in and something ate the cleomes.  And another thing: GRASS IN THE PERENNIAL BEDS.  And you know what else?  When the hell will the daffodil leaves cure?  They're acting like weeds by looking messy and blocking the light to the other plants.

Okay.  There, I've vented.  I'm done - for now.  On to the rest of the day.  Who knows what fresh triumphs this day will bring?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Garden Visitors

I took Fay out in the front yard today at around 10:30 for her mid-morning squeezing.  While I was standing around looking at the weeds in the garden that I really ought to do something about it came to my attention that the birds were freaking out.  I had just read that chickadees make rapid chipping sounds when there's a predator in the area so I started looking up into the tops of all the tall trees.  I couldn't see anything so I thought maybe I was imagining things and returned to idly peering around the yard.  After a bit my glance fell on the apple tree.  There was a hawk sitting right there (where the red arrow is pointing) maybe thirty feet away from me, twenty from Fay.

Don't go looking for it in this photo - I didn't have my camera on me at the time.

Not your typical hawk vantage point.  I would never have looked for it there.  But there it was, looking right at me all nonchalant, like "What?  I'm just seeing how the apples are coming along.  I always relax here."

I try to be careful when I take Fay out in VT, especially at night.  There are things here that could eat her with no problem: big owls, coyotes, fishers.  I doubt a bear would eat her but I still wouldn't want her to meet one.  I'm pretty sure this hawk was smaller than Fay.  None the less, I went ahead and squeezed her.  When I looked up again the hawk had moved on.

I've been enjoying this volunteer foxglove that sprang up in the garden.  It has some fair competition from the mint but I'm hoping it will go to seed and start a colony.  I can hope.

I think it's elegant and etherial and that it goes well with the bird bath.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Little Everyday Stuff

I know you all want to come over to eat now.  We do have a dishwasher though.

Hello good-lookin' - I mean, dinner.  If you did come over you might get this.

I really need to get on painting the apartment.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Tooth And Claw

The world is showing me its scary face today.  Or maybe I'm just agreeing to look today when I choose not to on other days.

Some days it seems like life really is a brutal struggle for survival - like on that nature series, "Planet Earth."  On those days my very first impulse is to make cupcakes.  Actually, my first impulse is to pull the covers over my head and stay in bed.  But if I do that I just think about how scared I am and I have to get up and distract myself somehow.

So I want to make cupcakes.  Small, cute, sweet, positive.

I was also thinking about the "attention to the moment" concept.  It does work.  It is calming.  At the moment I am having a nice cup of coffee with half and half and my belly is full from the scrambled eggs I made.  I even used truffle salt on them.  In a minute I'm going to get myself a cinnamon donut.  I'm sitting peacefully in my apartment, I don't have any itches, it's quiet, I have every expectation of tranquility and security.  Why worry ahead of time about things that may never happen?

I'm not even thinking about anything that might happen to me.  I'm thinking about horrible things that have happened to other people.

And despite the fact that I am quite comfortable I want to make cupcakes and buy nail polish and go to a book store and wear red shoes and do all of the things that make me think that life is stable and pleasant and not so bad after all.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Random Cooking And Eating

My first attempt at making tamago with my new tamago pan.  As you can see I need a great deal of practice.  Maybe I should have watched the "how to" videos on Youtube before I tried out the pan?

In other news, I misplaced the lid to the Nutella jar.  I guess that means I have to finish the jar.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Deeeeep Thought

I have a lot of decorative thoughts.  I'm always adding extra atmosphere to my experience, thinking about what is happening to me with kind of a theme in mind.  I don't know if I can explain it better than that but I'll try and maybe you'll understand what I'm talking about.

For example, back in the early 80's I usually had a sort of apocalyptic, sci-fi, futuristic filter with blocks of neon colors that I tried to see things through.  The pop culture of the time, music, movies, music videos, helped to enhance this.  It made things seem more romantic and important I guess.  It helped take my mind off the suckiness of adolescence.

More recently I'll use a more gothic approach or try to see things as magical or mysterious.  Sometimes I'll go kawaii and think of everything in terms of puffiness, sparkliness, light, sugar, artificiality and high oxygen.

I guess I've always wondered what reality would be like if I looked at it this way or that way.  I don't think I can manage a full-on, hallucinogenic invention of reality - just a superimposed what-if scrim to look through.  It seemed like a good modus operandi for a person who is trying to make things.

I imagine that anybody who has a distinctive fashion style does the same thing: Steam Punks, Goths, Rockabilly folks, surfers, minimalists, Martha Stewart acolytes, etc.

The goal of meditation is to have the practitioner  experience "the moment," unadulterated, while meditating.  Eventually the goal is to live constantly in the moment.  This, you can see, is the antithesis of my mental practice of a lifetime.

Supposedly it is better to experience life as it really is (whatever that means) so that one can act and feel appropriately.

That's logical, I guess, but what about imagination?

Clearly I don't know.  Maybe it's true and if everybody lived always in the moment no one would cause anybody else any hardship.  Unavoidable difficulties would always be dealt with philosophically and peacefully.  Then we wouldn't need imagination.  (No imagination sounds dreadful to me)

It seems very unlikely that that will ever happen.  What I want to know is is it really better for me, right now, to live in unadulterated reality?

I'm trying it and it's really hard.  I feel impoverished.  "Real life" isn't doing it for me.  I'm not even sure it is "real life."  What if what I'm experiencing now is just a different aesthetic interpretation?  One that is less to my taste yet still one that I have chosen for myself?

It's putting me in a really crappy mood and making it harder for me to get any art work done.  Supposedly if I keep at not making my life feel more comfortable than it really is the things that aren't working in my life will become apparent and I will be able to act on them.

The problem is I'm not very good at acting when I can't get out of bed due to depression.  I'm uncomfortable but I don't exactly know why.  I certainly don't know what to do about it.  There has to be some sort of balance or incremental reward to doing this.  Or else maybe I shouldn't be trying to take it that far.

That's probably the key.  Keep the mindfulness to the meditation time and let that slowly change how I think at a pace that I can deal with.  I can be a goofy as I like the rest of the time.

Whoo!  Alright!  I can paint myself pretty pictures again!

Did I really figure this out or did I just let myself off the hook?

Has anybody out there tried this?  Do you have any insights?  I'd love to know.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Shy Girl (I Think It's A Girl)

Look who was kind enough not to bite the hell out of me when I picked up my gardening gloves today:

I found out she's a "Pisaurina Mira" or "Nursery Web" spider.  They don't trap prey in webs, they hunt and catch their prey.  They are no danger to humans but they can catch tadpoles and fish.