Late Summer Beauty

We had a rough time with our corn this year.  (And by we, I mean Scott.)  Birds kept finding the seeds, and Scott kept replanting until the birds finally gave up.  The struggle between man and bird means that our planting, which started out right on time, ended up being a little bit behind the neighbors.  Because we live in a place where almost everyone around us also has corn in their yard.  It’s fun.

cornBut look at it now!  Those tassels are starting to turn dark, which means it’s almost corn eating time.  There were actually a few harvestable ears this week.  It really is amazing how delicious food is when you know it came from your yard.  It would probably be even more wonderful if I had planted and/or tended it.  Oops.  At least I can claim the rosemary plants in the front.  (The rosemary plants don’t require any tending, for the record.  I claim the drought-resistant plant.)

There’s also some art on my mind, thanks to an artist friend, Pinterest, and Richard Shilling (who is not said artist friend). 

photo (and art) by Richard Shilling

photo and art by Richard Shilling

Isn’t it pretty?  It makes me want to think creatively and walk through some crispy fall leaves. 

Richard Schilling works in ephemeral art–a field that I’ve always enjoyed.  I love the idea of taking something natural and already beautiful, moving it around into a purposeful something or other that’s also beautiful, and leaving it to blend in again with the rest of its surroundings.  It’s like singing a song when you’re by yourself.  It doesn’t last, and it might not reach a lot of people, but that somehow adds to the beauty.  It’s a personal moment of pretty.  Or it can be, anyway.

Happy late summer, y’all!

Becoming Your Mother (The Happy Way)

It’s been obvious since I moved out on my own that I am in fact turning into my mother–slowly but surely.  The good thing about that is that my mom is pretty darn amazing.  If I have to come to terms with the idea that she and I will always be a bit eccentric in the same direction, I can do that.  In fact, I’m more and more okay with it as the years pass.  She’s cool.

Unfortunately, I didn’t inherit all of my mom’s good traits.  For example, she’s one of the hardest workers I know.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a lazy bum by any stretch of the imagination.  But I have a tiny bit less stamina for unfun projects than my mom does.  She can start a project that she’s dreading, work extremely hard for a week, and still have energy to finish the project until the very last thing is done. 

I, however, might get sidetracked here or there.  I might procrastinate on said project in favor of something less dreaded.  I might start the project, get into another project, and come back to the first project three weeks later.  You get the idea.

Last night, I was caulking a few last pieces of floor trim, taping and taping and taping, and generally not enjoying my project.  I thought I was finished caulking, and I felt a glimmer of happiness welling up inside of me.  Then I looked up and remembered that there was this weird gap between the ceiling and cabinets that I’ve been eying with frustration since I painted the cabinets white.  It’s been a while.  Why was that stupid gap still there?  Now the happiness was mixed with DIY angst.

the horror!

the horror!

Then I realized that I had white caulk in my hands, and the ceiling is white, and the cabinets are white, and music started playing in my head.  This was my moment to become the awesome Finish It All version of my mom.  Yay!!! 

post-gap

post-gap

So I did.  Look at that smooth, professional joint between cabinet and ceiling!  (Oh, you’re wondering about our “open concept” cabinet there?  Well, it turns out that when you change flooring, sometimes that changes how your fridge fits under your cabinets.  And sometimes you have to shave off part of a cabinet door to make it fit back into place.  We’re just glad the fridge still fits.)

Thanks, Mom.  You were definitely my project inspiration last night.  The house projects aren’t super fun right now, but they are the last details to get to the really fun part called moving stuff back into the room. 

Finding Momo and Sniffing Peanut

One thing I love about the internet is that you can find pretty much anything on it.  That can be a very bad thing, because there are lots of things in the world that I don’t want to know about.  Usually, it’s a great thing.  Your brand of humor exists somewhere on the internet.  Someone who likes the same types of books you like is writing about their favorite stories somewhere on the internet.  Someone is creating recipes you would absolutely love and posting them to the internet. 

Scott showed me a new-to-me website yesterday that is right up my alley–Find Momo.

Do you see Momo?  Momo is Andrew Knapp’s dog (Andrew Knapp is a photographer), and Knapp posts pictures in which Momo is hiding.  Lots of them. 

photo by Andrew Knapp

photo by Andrew Knapp

photo by Andrew Knapp

photo by Andrew Knapp

Some of them are more about Momo than about the scenery around Momo.

tumblr_n8lw4c19As1rl7jb2o1_500

photo by Andrew Knapp

What do I love about this site?  Well, it’s all about a man, his dog, and the adventures they have together.  It takes a lot of dog awesomeness to hide and be patient like Momo.  Good job, Momo!  The pictures are nice, and the dog is cute.  What’s not to love?  Plus, the Where’s Waldo aspect of the site is pretty fun.

All of this Momo fun made me think about what Peanut would be able to do for daily pictures.  Stand on things like Maddie

photo by Theron Humphrey

photo by Theron Humphrey

Nope.  The best thing I could come up with is “Guess what Peanut’s rolling in.”  Not very inspirational.  It would also get very predictable after a while.  The options really boil down to A) deer excrement, B) dead frog, or C) dead rodent.  Yep, that’s the short list.  And yet Peanut gets new joy out of the experience every single time and repeats it regularly.

At least we have a happy, beloved critter, right?  A happy critter who was bathed on Sunday and Tuesday because he indulged in some rolling where he shouldn’t.  Long story short, Momo and Maddie are very talented dogs with talented photographer owners, and I’m glad they share the joy with the rest of us.

Library Laughs

I promise I won’t ever embarrass a library patron on my blog.  Ever.  But if someone says something that makes me laugh and I can quote them without in any way betraying who that person is, well, that’s a different story.

Last week, a patron came up to the desk while I was there alone.  She said, “You helped me with this last time.  Do it again.”

She held up a piece of paper, and I desperately tried to remember what I might have done for her that ended up on that paper.  Absolutely no memories were sparked.  There’s another librarian who works in my department, and we’re both in our 30’s, female, and have brown hair.  We’re completely interchangeable to patrons, so I said, “I don’t think that was me.  Could you give me a few more details so I can help you right now?” 

We struggled through the conversation, got everything printed that she needed, and we were both happy.  As she was walking away, she said, “Oh, you right.  It was another girl who skinnier than you.”

Aw.  Thanks.  I almost laughed out loud, but I caught myself just in time.  Veneer of professionalism maintained?  Check.

Rainy Days for the Indoorsy

I hate saying that I’m indoorsy.  Sure, it’s a fun word, but I want to be outdoorsy.  I want to be athletic and adventurous and all sorts of fun things.  But honestly, I would rather curl up with a book on a soft chair most days.  You get to enjoy all the benefits of a good author’s adventures without any of the inconvenience of real adventures.  And if you end up falling asleep and napping for an hour, so much the better.

photo from weheartit.com

photo from weheartit.com

There is one perk of being secretly indoorsy, however.  It makes rainy days wonderful.  And weeks that call for rain all week long?  Even better. 

Rainy weeks mean that for several days in a row, I can stay inside guilt-free.  I don’t have to worry about the 10,000 weeds in the yard that are growing feet a day because of all the rain.  I don’t have to think about the running that I should be doing (well, not too much).  I can just do my inside projects and enjoy the sound of rain outside.

Do I feel vaguely bad that the weather I love makes our dog absolutely miserable?  Yes.  Do I worry about that?  No.

Happy.

[Important side note: I wouldn't want to be inside ALL the time.  I just enjoy the lack of outdoors-related guilt on rainy days.  There's nothing like a good hike or a real adventure sometimes.]

Friday Funnies from Liz Climo

You know what I love about reading through magazines of upcoming books?  Finding things that I never would have discovered without lists of new books.  Sometimes I like my job a whole lot.

Yesterday I looked through the Graphic Novel section of a book catalog for a minute or two, even though I don’t buy books for that section of the library.  Just broadening my knowledge base, you know?  And thank goodness I was being responsible and whatnot, because I found a new-to-me artist named Liz Climo.  These are some of her cartoons, which I love:

art from lizclimo.tumblr.com

art from lizclimo.tumblr.com

That’s Peanut in small, dinosaur cartoon form.  He’s good at getting cuddles no matter what.

art from lizclimo.tumblr.com

art from lizclimo.tumblr.com

That’s me stealing Scott’s candy corn (and chocolate and marshmallows) and trying to be stealthy about it.  While failing at the stealthiness.

tumblr_mpwc2yfITc1r5ml59o1_1280And that’s just funny.

Thanks for the cute, Liz Climo!

People Who Know What They’re Doing

Sometimes I have no idea how famous people came to be famous.  Some of them are rich, and I understand that.  But the ones who aren’t rich and don’t seem particularly awesome at their craft?  That I don’t understand.

The good news for today is that the more I see of Bobby Flay, the more I understand why he’s famous.  That’s the good kind of famous person.  Famous chef, amazing recipes.  Well done!

Last night’s dinner menu might not be a normal everyday menu–we had Bobby Flay’s Grilled Peaches with Arugula Pesto and Prosciutto and his Sticky Glazed Chicken Thighs in Butter Lettuce.  (In case you watch Bobby’s show, that’s exactly half of what he made in the last episode that aired.)

photoWe ate like royalty last night!  And you know what?  Other than the prosciutto and pine nuts (which you can avoid by using walnuts instead), the ingredients were totally standard, inexpensive things we would buy any old time.  Well, the arugula might be on the fancy side, but we got out of that by using basil from our front yard for the pesto.  Having three giant basil plants in the front yard is A) easy and B) saves a ton in fresh herb costs.  If you want to eat high on the hog without paying for it, plant some basil pronto!

So here’s my suggestion based on our cooking: make this chicken all the time.  All the time!  It’s an inexpensive cut of meat, a great sauce, and a simple recipe to put them together.  And those grill marks?  They were the best!  The sweet sauce caramelized to perfection.

photo-2The peaches?  Well, they were one of the best foods I’ve eaten in months.  That said, I would probably only make these occasionally in the future.  They’re simple to put together, but they feel like party food.  That’s exactly what you want out of party food, right?  Easy, rich, and just downright incredible.

photo-1But I’m not sure I’m a girl who can eat grilled peaches with homemade pesto and prosciutto on a regular basis.  Some things need to be shared with friends.