May 16, 2010

I had a record player when I was a kid. It was blue. And it played real records, not the plastic things that the other "record player" we had played; that was really a music box that could play a number of different songs. To go with the record player, we had a small collection of kids records, usually abbreviated versions of Disney movies with a picture book. I suppose it was a kind of read-along experience, kind of like Caitlyn listening to a Skippyjon Jones disc while looking at the book. I think we had one for the Aristocats and Cinderella.

But my favorite was Robin Hood. I don't remember why - was the record longer? More songs? I do remember that the record contained almost the entire movie soundtrack - songs and dialogue - so that when I finally saw the movie one Sunday night, I could almost recite it. (I still sometimes say "I'ma gittin, I'ma gittin!", quoting Trigger, one of the prison-guarding vultures.) As we've started watch some of these older animated Disney movies with Caitlyn, I keep recognizing voices, all in context of the characters of Robin Hood. Thomas O'Malley from the Aristocats and Baloo from the Jungle Book were voiced by Phil Harris, the voice of Little John. The voice of the Sheriff is also the voice of the old dog in The Fox and the Hound.

This evening, we watched Robin Hood with Caitlyn. I still remember lots of the dialogue. Caitlyn, of course, announced that she "wanted to see it again, right away," but she says that for all the movies she sees, even the ones she doesn't seem to like much. I know she won't have the same relationship with it that I do, seeing as I gave that blue record player to some neighbor kids when I was a teenager instead of keeping it in a box against the day I had my own kids (I wonder if I regret that?). But it's fun to have seen it with her. And when I sang a little bit of The Phony King of England at bedtime, she said, "Sing it again."
Too late to be known as John the first,
he's sure to be known as John the worst -
A pox on that phony king of England!

May 12, 2010

Caitlyn: "Do kangaroos climb trees?"

Me: "No, I don't think so."

Caitlyn: "I'm going to invent a tree-climbing kangaroo, then."

And I'm left wondering where this can-do spirit goes when it's time to clean her room...

May 10, 2010

We've come to the time of year when I start to think that if I just sat still long enough, I could see the plants growing. I trimmed the lawn out back a couple weeks ago and it's all fluffy again already. Because it's an Eco-turf lawn, it's more than just grass and the little daisies in it are blooming again. If I let it go one more week, I might get clover flowers, but I'll also not be able to find the cat next time he gets outside.

Anyway, I thought I'd test my theory. Not the cat-losing theory but the can-I-watch-the-plants-grow theory. So yesterday morning I took pictures of the seedlings in the sun room.

pumpkin seedling in the morning

This is a pumpkin seedling.

pumpkin seedling in the evening

Same pumpkin seedling, approximately 8 hours later. The first leaves (they have a special name for the first leaves a seed makes, but it's not in my head right now) have separated.

basil seedlings in the morning

These are basil seedlings.

basil seedlings in the evening

Same seedlings at the end of the day. The most noticeable growth is in the right side of the picture, with the seedling pushing it's way past the dark soil clump.

It happens with such regularity every year and yet this small miracle of germination and greening always blows my mind.

May 09, 2010

Things I did today:

- made a batch of experimental pancakes. The blueberry sauce helped make them a bit more like breakfast and less like raisinless oatmeal raisin cookies. Caitlyn didn't like that we told her she couldn't have syrup on them.

- made some colby cheese. This cheese was less than 6 hours from initial pot sterilization to cheese in press. Either this recipe was simpler or I'm getting better at this. We'll know in 2 months after this one is done aging.

- finished assembling 3 dozen confetti eggs. Must remember to take a picture of them all together before they get smashed.

So, basically I spent all afternoon in the kitchen, except for the time spent pouring watery whey on the peas outside. While I was there, it felt like my list of Things Accomplished was going to be longer. Maybe I should count the eggs individually. Clearly, my Quantity/Quality slider is off.

May 04, 2010

puttenesca and garlicky beans

What's new in the photo above? There's a side dish next to dinner.

Historically, I haven't done side dishes. It's always one more thing to think about when it's time to make dinner, and since we don't eat dinners that feature chunks of meat it's never really seemed like I was missing anything. I don't know what the inspiration was this time, but I found myself slicing garlic and sautéing it into a little butter before adding half a jar of frozen green beans. By the time the beans were hot through, they were wonderfully garlic-infused but still crispy crunchy. The best part: Caitlyn ate every single one that was on her plate. Without prompting or coaxing. She ate them first, before the noodles, which I think you have to have had first-hand experience feeding someone younger than 8 to appreciate.

The other thing on the plate is my standard puttenesca, a hearty, chunky tomato sauce. It's an easy dinner this time of year since almost everything is stored in a pre-cut state. Onions and garlic have to be chopped up fresh, but the (dried) peppers are already diced and the (home canned) tomatoes are easy to chop since the canning process already softened them up. The hardest part: slicing kalamatas without squirting them off the cutting board. Oh, and maybe finding the optimum level of salt.

May 02, 2010

I've stolen some time that I should have spent doing other things to work on another quilt project. This is the other quilt we have that Ian's mom made:

quilt repair -before

The center panel is printed to look quilted, and it's torn. The edges are pieced from old jeans and some shirts, I think. But it's definitely related to the other one I repaired recently.

Figuring out what to do with the center panel has been a challenge. I didn't want to take it out since nothing about this quilt is truly square; removing the center would structurally damage the whole. But there's no way I can patch the torn portion and have it look consistent. For a while I thought about doing some sort of Civil War sampler thing, but that seemed overly complicated.

The original quilt was made for functionality first and made from old clothes. To remain true to that, I settled on a simple, classic 9-patch pattern and fabrics already in my stash.

9 patch squares

I think I may have done a 9-patch something a billion years ago. I've not been particularly drawn to them, either because they look so simple or because they don't look like stars. These turned out to be surprisingly fun to put together. If I were making a large quilt out of them or making super-tiny blocks, strip piecing would have made them even easier. Perhaps a scrappy 9-patch quilt might be a good way to use up some of the fabric stash…

By the end of last weekend, I had this:

new center panel

Next up: attaching it to the original quilt.