Chickens and Hedwig

  • Back to work

    The holiday weekend was an action-packed few days of fireworks, boats, and cook-outs. We spent an entire 24 hours with the Manfre clan at their lakehouse on Highland Lake, NH. It was a really beautiful area, with a cute little cabin right on a lake……parked next to boatloads of who else but honest-to-goodness New Yorkers! They were everywhere, on their (loud) motorboats, their (loud) ATVs, and at their “peaceful” lakeside cabins. Matt and I slept on the screened-in porch, which gave us the full effect of the New York surround sound. To be fair, I was woken up one time by a gaggle of loons passing by, so I can’t blame my whole sleepless night on them. Matt was so restless that he got up to fish for awhile----between the hours of 4 to 5 AM, which is actually too early for the fish! We still managed to have a great time, and caught some amazing fireworks right over the water (shot off by the next-door neighbors. Luckily we were out in the boat). The Manfres are champion eaters, so we ate really well---steak, corn, doughnuts (my fault), brownies, ice cream sandwiches, and other foods too numerous to mention.

    We came back to VT Saturday afternoon and started Part One of the birthday production. Matt got tickets to see Beth Orton, who was performing at the MOCA. It was an incredible concert, at once transformative, delicate, and powerful. I would highly recommend any of her albums, although I haven’t heard her latest.

    The last part of my mini-vacation involved going to a friend’s house for a sixth of July party. Lots of good food and some heated conversations about how the Olympics have been ruined by media coverage, as well as the use of Spanish smoked paprika as a secret ingredient (try it—it works with anything). A relaxing time….and back to work today.

    Did you know that Pinot Noir is really good chilled?

  • [wp_caption id="attachment_8" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="Heirloom tomatoes"]Heirloom tomatoes[/wp_caption]

  • Happy Anniversary!

    We went about our day in a normal fashion, and had just gotten home with dinner (pizza with eggplant and goat cheese and Caesar salad) when Matt’s mom called. From my end of the conversation, I gathered that Matt was thanking her for a card we hadn’t yet received. I suddenly realized that it was our anniversary! Four years, which isn’t much in the grand scheme, but not too shabby. We both felt terrible that we hadn’t remembered on our own what day it was…and we would’ve been much nicer to each other if we had. Unconditional love is a nice thought, but sometimes dirty dishes get in the way…….

    I weeded in the garden for a bit today. Every day I venture out, vulture-like, to see what’s ready to pick. We’ve had some strawberries so far, and the blueberries are getting very close. The raspberries have started to turn, and I picked what I could from the edge of the patch. It always turns into a brambly mess as the weather gets nice, as hard as I try to keep paths clear so I can pick. Instead, I have to put on pants, sneakers, and long sleeves so I don’t get too scraped up.

    Tomorrow we’re going to New Hampshire for the fourth. We’ll be at the Manfre’s lake house, close quarters and hopefully fun times. I’ve always loved the fourth, since it’s right around the corner from my birthday. When I was little, we would go to Pennsylvania to visit with my Mom’s family. They would have a cake and present for me, and I would swim until my lips turned blue. There are pictures of me when I was six in my pink tiger bathing suit with the little skirt, eating cake.

  • I'm a blogger, too!

    [wp_caption id="attachment_17" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Sausage and peppers with fresh local squash"]Sausage and peppers with fresh local squash[/wp_caption]

    Well, those of you who have known me for awhile probably never would have thought they would see ME blogging. Since I am rather adverse to computers and technology in general, it is rather a stretch. I thought it may be a good project for someone nearing an important age (it's not 20). Maybe it's the fear, or just the novelty, but I hope to keep it going---at least for a few months.

    I am beginning my much-anticipated four day vacation. I plan to do lazy things that I don't normally have time for, like lying in the hammock (a new addition to the estate--check it out when you visit) and creating a brand new gelato flavor (I've been wanting to use fresh herbs in everything). Also, I am determined to make fun popsicles--all the rage now, but there's something very appealing about them. Like the Jell-O pudding pops that I loved as a kid--creamy and comforting, vanilla, chocolate, and swirl. My brother and I had them when we went swimming at my grandparents' pool.

    I also plan to get in the studio and try to remember what I do there. It's unfortunately been awhile...The good news is that 500 Handmade Books just came out (published by Lark Books), and my books are two of the 500! Not a very good percentage, I know, but good enough for me.

    Stay tuned to this space. I promise pictures and more.....

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Chickens and Hedwig

Sunday nights mean comfort, roast chicken and mashed potatoes. Which is exactly what we made tonight after an afternoon of working on the house. I roast chicken with the idea of getting the most flavor out of it, stuffing the inside cavity with quartered lemons and stalks of rosemary and marjoram, delicately separating the breast meat from the skin and tucking a layer of chopped garlic between, and seasoning the outside with olive oil, salt, and pepper. It was the perfect way to end a cold cold week and nice to remember that we still have a Monday to enjoy at home.

Williamstown, MA can be an unexpected place. So small town on one hand, with generations growing up in the very same place, families that are entwined from early history, and an esteemed (and old) college. It looks to be the perfect New England town, beautiful brick buildings that belong to the college and a cute, upscale downtown not bustling with people or stores but entirely pleasant. The summers bring in throngs of tourists, prospective students and parents looking at Williams but also celebrities, actors and actresses here for the Williamstown Theater Festival. It’s a different feel during the summer, more cosmopolitan, even happening. It’s entirely possible to spot an actor from your favorite sitcom as you’re standing in line for coffee or ice cream. In the winter, it feels rather desolate, especially when the students are on their winter break. This made it all the more surprising when we were out this past weekend. A group at Williams was putting on a Queer Festival at the little movie theater, showing a series of films including one of my all-time favorites, Hedwig and the Angry Inch. We went to see it with another couple. At the beginning of the movie, the organizers announced that there would be a DJ dance party event next door at the Williams College bar/lodge where the director himself would be spinning! This sounded utterly unbelievable to me, yet we went over, and sure enough, John Cameron Mitchell was there! He introduced himself to us as simply John, and I gushed for a minute until he was pulled away to set up. The whole thing was so unlikely for a Saturday night in a small town, yet there we were and it was most certainly real! Definitely our good luck.