Tuesday, August 30, 2011

hangeth-ing in

Yes, Karoda - I am following your advice (and Beverly's second of it).  I stayedeth in yesterday, despite the gorgeous weather I wrote about.  Many roads not passable and I did not HAVE to go anywhere.  Today I have a lunch date, but I can walk (and probably should since I have not been to the gym since last week).

There is still a boiled water advisory and the water company is giving away 2 gal of bottled water per car for the people in town who have no water or low water pressure.  Thankfully, I am not one of them - and I also have pre-storm water in the fridge.

Sunday night, when the power came back on, I sliced up this ugly block and reinvented it.

Then, last night, I started to stitch a small quilt I had previously made from another reinvented vintage block.  Got too tired to finish it and went to bed, but here is what it looks like - before and after.

Since I am unable to do anything but mindless work these days, these things are keeping me amused.
Now, time to make coffee (from boiled water, of course) and get on with the day.



Monday, August 29, 2011

after the storm

Perfect fall weather: a tiny nip in the air, blue sky and sunshine and a street gloriously unscathed. The woods are intact and gorgeous: not a single fallen tree.
 And my basil plant looks none the worse for wear after having been inside for a couple of days.
 I am not going anywhere, however.   We still are on a "boil water" alert, and roads are flooded and closed all over the place. 750,000 households have no power and people are rowing around in boats, waiting for the rivers to crest and then recede.

This is the boathouse at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ and Route 18, which I travel frequently, is completely under water.   Part of route 287 collapsed and there was all kinds of other disaster stuff I won't go into because it is too sad.



After this brief midday interlude, back to work!  I will have more to post tonight - but not about this.
Thank you for all your caring and wonderful emails and facebook comments.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

it's raining

I have not watched tv in about 10 years.  Today, I have the tv going, watching the news - which is all about the weather. The Jersey shore has been evacuated and likewise, the NY city coastlines. People are nuts - about 30 of them refused to leave Fire Island, which now has no power. 

The NY City mass transit shut down at noon today. Bridges now closed. Elevators turned off in apartment buildings so nobody gets stuck. Two wacko men in a kayak had to be rescued and got tickets. Idiots!  In fact, I am astounded at the number of 20-something people out in the street who have never experienced a hurricane and seem to think it is fun. HUH?
 
9,600 flights in and out of NY/NJ have been cancelled and Jessica, Tommy, and Emma are fortunately in Milwaukee, s afe, in beautiful weather, visiting Tommy's family. Jess rebooked a flight for Tuesday but who knows what will be by then?

My son Jeremy is in charge of the disaster management in his town and called to warn me that this is going to be BAD.  I hope those of you to the south of me are staying safe: North Carolina and up through Virginia, D.C., MD and Del.

Hilary & family are hunkered down, hoping no big trees will fall on the house.  

I have a battery-powered lantern and numerous yartzheit candles. These are great because 1)they are in glasses so they are safe and 2)they burn for 24 hours.  Have packed the freezer with ice cubes and the fridge has a lot of water in plastic containers.  Plenty of food- all of which can be eaten cold if necessary.  I just remembered the battery backup for my old desktop computer (now never used) and brought it upstairs for my laptop, just in case.

Most important - before the power goes and the ice cream machine doesn't work -- I got busy!  Divine and I'll write about it later, when I take it out of the freezer. Yesterday I made curry ice cream; tonight, saffron vanilla. The best thing I have ever tasted. Here is the saffron as it is being churned.

Earlier tonight I was going to do some UFO reinventions

 but didn't get very far - too drawn by the hurricane news.  3:am-noon worst winds and rain. I hope to be asleep for about half of that time. If there is any light to work by tomorrow, I will divide these and tackle them.



Thursday, August 25, 2011

more on tomatoes

I am sure there must be a good recipe out there somewhere for tomato ice cream, but this was not it.
It was not as odd as the avocado ice cream from a month or two ago, but it was tasteless. I'm sure it would not even have achieved Marty's famous "perfectly adequate" rating. A true oxymoron. finally added some vanilla and cinnamon and it was not bad.  But "not bad" is not the same as "good."  Of course, it was not the recipe's fault that the skins didn't come off so easily and that there are lumpy bits of it in the ice cream - but at least the bits added - uh - texture.

I would have done better to have made ice cream from the FABULOUS cold tomato-peach soup that Mark Bittman made on the Today show I saw at the gym yesterday. It was so good, I ate it hot, right out of the pot. And then at room temp. Did I give you this recipe? It is divine.

Recipe: Cold cream of tomato and peach soup


Ingredients
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 pounds chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 pound chopped peeled peaches
  • 1/2 cup cream (optional but good)
  • chopped tarragon.
Preparation
Cook 1 chopped onion in 2 tablespoons butter for 5 minutes. Add 2 pounds chopped tomatoes and 1/2 pound chopped peeled peaches. Simmer until the tomatoes break up. Add 1/2 cup cream (optional but good), purée, and chill. Garnish: chopped tarragon.
I had lunch with Judy Langille today - we hadn't seen each other all summer, so it was good to catch up.
Afterwards, we stopped at Jerry's so she could buy Yupo paper and I could buy charcoal and a large sketchbook. Then I went home and spent the rest of the afternoon with the Verizon tech who fixed my phone line.  Now I have Internet from two sources. Great.

20+ lbs of plum tomatoes


for $15.  How could I resist? (rhetorical). This is just the tip of the iceberg.  I've already made some sort of sauce and some Shakshouka - an Armenian dish Todd and Lesli raved about when they were here on Sunday evening. It was perfectly fine but I wouldn't RAVE about it. 
Of course, I threw a bunch of them into the food processor with an onion, hot pepper, garlic, lime juice, salt, and coriander.  SALSA.  I just happen to have a bag of corn chips. Do they count as a vegetable?
If I had a cucumber and a green pepper I could make gazpacho but I don't.  I have  to say, however, that when I drained the tomato juice from the salsa I realized it would make a great (albeit thin) bloody mary.  Maybe I'll try that next time instead of just drinking the delicious juice. 
This reminds me, I have 5 ears of corn from same farm I bought for Sunday night dinner (to go with the order-in pizza). All a non-event because the kids left without eating to continue their trip home to D.C
and by now I need to do something else with them. I am sure Mark Bittman will have some good ideas - corn and black bean salad?

Yesterday, while I was on the treadmill, Mark Bittman was on the Today show. (mind you, I don't watch tv but what could I do? it was right in front of me). Fresh tomato recipes - and he had the most divine looking peach and tomato soup.  Of course, I immediately bought some peaches and that's also on my make-it list for tonight. AS IF I have nothing else to do.

Still a lot of tomatoes and frankly, they are not that great to eat out of hand. It occurred to me that there must be a recipe for tomato ice cream somewhere. AHA! Great idea!  And I have a pot of basil - so I might make tomato-basil ice cream or do them separately (a better idea, maybe).  I'll let you know how this turns out.

TOMATO ICE CREAM


Read more about it at www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1613,159168-250196,00.html
Content Copyright © 2011 Cooks.com - All rights reserved.
2 lg. whole ripe tomatoes
7 oz. fresh cream
2 2/3 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. orange liquor
Wash tomatoes and cover with wrap individually, putting stem at the bottom. Cook on 100% power (high) for 3 minutes in microwave. Cool in water and peel. Strain in strainer, using wire whisk, make tomatoes puree. Set aside.Combine fresh cream, sugar and orange liquor. Stir the mixture into tomato puree. Pour the mixture in a metal bowl, covering with wrap. Keep in freezer. Stir 2 or 3 times before freezing completely.

All this is in the way of avoidance, of course.  I spent all afternoon yesterday paying bills and was up till 2:am reading a Ruth Rendell mystery called End in Tears.  I haven't read her before (for some reason) but if I like this book I will no doubt go on an Inspector Wexford binge. police procedural binge.

Ok - off between the large raindrops to have lunch with Judy Langille, whom I have not seen all summer. Maybe I will check back later - and maybe not.

Monday, August 22, 2011

the problem with not blogging

is that by the time a few days have elapsed, I have so much to say that it is daunting.  I was in NY over the weekend with no Internet access. None. Zero. Zip.  My friends have a gorgeous apartment but since they are there just for weekends or random times, it doesn't pay for them to have Internet. SO - I went  cold turkey.

P.J. Clarke's is a NY Landmark, built in 1884 and still going strong.  When a college date took me there in 1960, I had no idea then what a venerable place it was.  Surrounded by skyscrapers, it is a small building on the corner of 3rd Ave. and 55th St. that was once part of a whole row of similar tenements dwarfed by the 3rd Avenue El.

Saturday morning we took the subway up to the Met to see the exhibit of Richard Serra's drawings. We couldn't take pictures but click on the link, read about him, and visit his drawings. I have to say that I have never been a fan of his huge metal sculptures but the exhibit of his drawings was spectacular.  The way he uses space in his work is amazing and inspiring; he conveys so much with so little.  We spent hours there and had some wonderful conversations with very knowledgeable guards. I plan to visit Dia Beacon again and take a look at his sculpture with new eyes.

When we first got to the museum we headed for the roof to see what was up there.  I don't remember what cast this shadow but I had to photograph it.

I do know what cast this shadow but I photographed it anyway, just to amuse myself.
There is always some exhibit or other on the roof - weather permitting.  This time it was Anthony Caro's sculptures.  Here are a couple of them. 

The weather was gorgeous and so was the view.  We just sat and relaxed -- very Zen.
As we walked away from the museum, I had a brief moment of feeling I was in Paris (where they probably sell similar art crappé to the tourists).
Through the park and past the Plaza Hotel.
After a yummy lunch at Sarabeth's, we kept walking. As we approached 55th St., we headed to a small park by the East River.  This is the Queensboro Bridge made famous by Simon & Garfunkel's 59th St. Bridge song.  They have attempted to name it the Ed Koch Bridge but nobody will ever call it that.
That spot of green is Roosevelt Island.  Behind the bridge you can see some of the apartment buildings. The island is accessible by tramway, which once stopped in midair. There is no ferry and there is no subway, so when the tram is out of order...not good.  I have never been over there; it has a rich history and once was a privately owned island.  In the past it has housed a prison, a lunatic asylum, and other institutions. Today, co-ops.  Having just spent 1/2 hour on line scanning its history, I am tempted to get there some day.

Sunday we went to MOMA for a little while. The architecture exhibit was poignant (to me) and absolutely fascinating,

On the way back to the apartment, we passed this guy on Park Avenue.  I think there was a picture of him in the Times - he is heavier than he looks.
Today, back to real life.



Friday, August 19, 2011

on hold with customer service


Considering that I spent the entire day and night (it is already tomorrow) getting service for my Internet from Comcast, I am remarkably mellow.  You do not want to know how many calls and how many hours I spent on hold and talking to people who were supposed to call me back and did not.  Amanda, Alan, Marcus, somebody else, and finally Daryl.

Comcast unilaterally assigned me the user name rgillman@comcast net.  The only trouble is that I was then deluged with junk mail for RICHARD Gillman, who is or was also rgillman@comcast.net.  So then I spent another 3 hours trying to get to someone who could delete rgillman and set up a primary account for me as raynag@comcast.net.

NOW I can't find a way for my rgillman@studio78.net to get forwarded to me @comcast.net -- blah blah blah - so I have to go onto their server to read all my email till I can get THAT straightened out. Tomorrow, if I am lucky. Meantime, use the above email address to which everything gets forwarded, anyway.

Since I spent my entire day with this, I have no pictures to post (unless you want to see photos of my new modem and router - LOL). Tomorrow, I call Verizon to say goodbye.  And then I am heading into New York City for the weekend.  With any luck, I should be able to post pictures when I get home on Sunday night. I am sure my friends do not have Internet in their pied à terre.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

a colorful couple of days

It used to be that baking was my favorite thing to do at night - usually around 9-10 o'clock.  My kids still remember baking chocolate chip cookies with me at night (ok, so it was 8:00) when they were little. This evening activity stayed with me - and I almost never baked during the day unless I had to.  I suppose it was my way of relaxing - it was a great way to de-stress after a long day at work.

These days, it is frozen yogurt I make at night. Faster and less work.  These days I make a pint at a time -- last week it was the best strawberry on the planet: 1 cup nonfat plain yogurt, 1 pint strawberries mushed in the food processor, and a little bit of sugar. It was fabulous. The next batch wasn't as good and I attribute it to the quality of the strawberries.  Tonight it was blueberry. Here it is in the ice cream machine.  Now I know where the name for the frozen yogurt brand, Pinkberry, came from.
OMG - this is so fabulous (can you tell I am eating it as I write??) that I am sorry I made only a little bit! I even don't mind too much that it is pink: you can't have everything. To die for - and hardly any calories. Really!  I am not even a fan of blueberries but they are so good for you that I bought some today. 
 1 cup yogurt
 1 cup blueberries
a little less than 1/4 cup sugar
a little lemon juice + a pinch of cinnamon
Whirr in food processor till berries are chopped and mixture is pink. Put in ice cream machine for 15-20 min (or till it gets thick).

 Yesterday I was in the studio for the second day in a row and I actually got something done. The yellow therapy strips I started sewing together in April have turned into something and I sewed most of it together - although I was still auditioning a few different arrangements and taking pictures so I could look at them on my computer and make a decision.  This is a detail; the green was unexpected - it crept in on its own. Amazing what a piece will do when you are not looking!


Two other pieces are still in process - more therapy strips that are dawdling along, enjoying their journey but not in a rush to get to where they are going. Mostly because they have no map and aren't sure which paths they are following. I started sewing the gray on the left together in January, 2010 when I was in Florida.

From pink to neutrals, my days have been filled with colors and choices. Still working on these two and will probably put them away again till they decide what they will be when they grow up.

As you see, I have Internet.  I finally called the phone company kicking and screaming. They claimed it had nothing to do with the strike (a coincidence??)  Bad line. They keep telling me that and it never gets better.  Comcast is supposed to come tomorrow.
good night.





Monday, August 15, 2011

my five minutes of Internet

Don't ask! It is Monday noon.  I am off to the studio, where we have Comcast and am switching back to them at home, but the cable guy can't come till Thursday.  So my postings will be random (if any), intermittent and possibly without photos.  ARGH.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Lowell, day 3

Last day in Lowell was another busy one.

SAQA had a regional meeting at the Quilt Museum yesterday morning, so I went.  It was so great to have an active SAQA group that was inclusive and serious about getting exhibits, doing mentoring, and talking about marketing.  New Jersey has nothing. I saw the trunk show, "This is a Quilt," that Diane brought to the meeting to hand off to the MA group and honestly, it was terrific.

Spent the afternoon going back and forth between the excellent show at the Whistler and the one at the Brush.  The Whistler did not have a theme this year. Norma Schlager has a quilt at the Brush and here she is at the Whistler opening with Diane and Karen Bettencourt.
Over at the Brush I ran into Pokey, which was - as always - a treat. Here we are in front of  Gerrie Congdon's beautiful piece (sorry we blocked it, Gerrie).
Yesterday in Lowell was another day of perfect weather and when  left, I drove home in less than 4-1/2 hours.  As soon as I got home it started to rain and has been pouring ever since.  I am so glad I left a day early; it would have been horrible to drive home in these rainstorms! Where was the rain in July when my garden died of thirst?

I got home to no Internet, since Verizon is on strike.  A little while ago I called Comcast to go back to cable because I am totally fed up.  Internet service came on a few min ago so I thought I had better blog before it goes off again. GRRRRRR.  Who knows when it will be up again? If I'm not blogging, this is why.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Friday, continued


Yesterday was nonstop.  After lunch, Linda Dunn, Suzanne Abrams and I went over to Western Avenue Studios to the exhibit in the Loading Dock Gallery.  Linda's work and Sonja Lee's work comprised a two-person show which was excellent.  I treated myself to a piece of Linda's work, but it has to stay there till the exhibit is over so I will post it when I receive it.

Afterwards, we went upstairs to see Ann Lee at Friends Fabric Art. She has expanded into the adjoining studio space and the shop is open, airy, and has plenty of room compared to the original space. 
As always, Ann has a gorgeous selection of hand-dyed threads and all kinds of goodies for art quilters. And the best selection of interesting, not-readily available books I have seen anywhere.

Here I am with Linda and Suzanne. Behind us, you can see how spacious Friends Fabric Art is these days.
Afternoon activities over, we all went our separate ways and I went back to the hotel to meet up with Sandy Gregg, Diane, and Yvette.  Sandy and I grew up next door to one another and have not seen each other in about 50 years, so that was a real treat for me. She has a piece at the Brush; her work is simply beautiful.  It was great to catch up with her.

Later, Jane Steinberg and I went over to the Brush Gallery so she could see the quilts. I took this with my iPhone 4. Love that you can take your own picture if there's nobody else around to do it for you.  You can see what a happy time I am having with old friends in Lowell - it is pure joy!
We headed over to  La Boniche for drinks and at 6:00, Diane, Yvette, Sandy, and Suzanne waltzed in for dinner.  Need I say more?  Busy day; Diane and I fell into our beds early.

Now we are going to check out of the hotel and go to the SAQA regional meeting at the Quilt Museum.
Cheers!









Friday, August 12, 2011

I'm in Lowell

This has been a tough week with Internet. Verizon is on strike, so it has been a frustrating off again/on again (mostly off) week for blogging and email. I've been reading my email on my iPhone but blogging from the phone has been annoyingly impossible for me.

Now I'm in the hotel in Lowell and I can get Internet but my email doesn't come into my box - I have to read it on the server. GRRRRR.  But at least I can blog.

Drove up yesterday and am happily rooming with Diane Wright.  Diane and Yvette Howard were over at the quilt show, so I went over to meet them there.  They were finished (it took about 20 minutes, they said) and were the second people to tell me not to bother wasting my money. Apparently there were not many quilts compared to former years, nor were there many vendors.  I did go in for a minute and found Jane and Carlos Davila who are here vending (or she is vending and he is keeping her company).

Then, Diane, Yvette and I went over to see the exhibit at the Brush - a breath of fresh air (sea air,actually, since the theme was "the sea.")  First time the Brush has had a theme and while I am not a big fan of themes, there is some knock-out work in the show and it is hung well, with sufficient room around the pieces.  Thank goodness!  The new director was so pleased with the entries and the results that you can expect more themes in the future for Art Quilts Lowell.  You will have enough lead time to make something if you wish to do so.

However, since I don't take pix without the artists' permission, I will wait till later to take and post.  The opening is tomorrow afternoon, as is the Whistler opening.

We had dinner at an excellent restaurant last night - Centro at 24 Market St.  Here are Diane and Yvette after dinner (notice how their clothes seem to match the décor) - and below them, my empty glass.




So far, this morning I had breakfast at the Owl Diner with the amazing Jane Steinberg(forgot to take a picture, but I hope to buy her a drink later this afternoon and will try to remember: she looks wonderful).
Then, Yvette, Diane and I went over to the Quilt Museum. And shortly I am going to meet Suzanne Abrams for lunch and a trek over to Western Ave. Studios. 
So, I will be back later.