November 30, 2007

Today’s the last day of NaBloPoMo and folks all over have caved, crashed, and burned. Even my beloved Smitten Kitchen didn’t make it. I gotta admit, it’s been hard. But I posted every day!

Which now means that I’ve officially fallen behind on everything else: sweeping, cleaning the bathrooms, dealing with recycling, painting the closet door in the bedroom, sewing my curtains, keying the radiators, hanging the wreath, planning the new course, writing the article, doing laundry, flossing, cooking, walking, meditating…you name it, it needs doing.

I’m giddy with completion. Sorry, I can’t help myself:


The Leftover Family

November 29, 2007

My sister calls my family the Leftover Family.  It’s got a certain ring to it, no? It’s not about all the ways we bring disparate people together; it’s about how we think of food,  what we eat, and what we do with what’s left.

When we were kids, we called our dad the leftover king. This was usually said with both affection and suspicion because he sometimes combined things together that made some of us, uhh, uneasy. (There was an incident in the 80s that involved mixing someone’s shampoo and conditioner…together.  Nuf said.) But most of his leftovers got doctored up or remixed or made into some kind of patty.  For example, he recently cooked these amazing turkey hash patties made from the parts of the turkey my sister had rejected the previous day. Rather brilliant,no? (Sorry little sis if you didn’t realize the origins of the breakfast…)

So I guess it’s not surprising that I now love leftovers. I  love them for what they represent–a kind of frugality tied up with utility and creative inspiration.  I know of people who consider their fridge a giant cold layover on the journey to the garbage can. But where’s the fun in that?  Leftovers present the ultimate challenge: how can you make a new dinner out of last night’s old food?

This being said, I now need to go figure out how to make my leftover butternut penne pasta interesting again. I’m thinking spinach and milk.  Or perhaps a patty of sorts?

Wish me luck.

Buddha Nature

November 28, 2007

Owning a house seems like the antithesis of Buddhism. Owning a house forces you to dwell a lot in the past (as in, what the hell were the Previous Owners thinking?). It also forces you to focus a lot on the future. All home repairs, maintenance, and renovation are future-oriented and goal-driven.

Today I’m wondering how to bring a bit more Buddhism to homeownership. Sometimes it feels like the house owns me, runs my life, and takes my time. But what if I were to see the house as an opportunity to practice dwelling in the present moment? So tonight, I’m breathing. I’m practicing non-attachment and non ego-clinging. As Sharon Salzberg writes in LovingKindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness:

The fulfillment we feel in owning, in desiring, is temporary and illusory, because there is nothing at all we can have that we will not lose eventually. (52)


Tangential post

November 27, 2007

Okay, so this post isn’t about the house. But it is about what happens in the house–in the kitchen, to be more precise. In all my browsing through the blogosphere, I found the trailer for the new movie King Corn and this great interview with Aaron Woolf over at Bay Area Bites written by my long-lost friend Meghan Laslocky!

This adds a whole new meaning to the old adage that “we are what we eat”:

Basement Walls

November 26, 2007

Every once in a while I hear a strange sound in my basement. It’s not a scary or mysterious sound.  The sound is soft and feathery. It’s the sound plaster pieces make as they shiver off the old painted walls.  I take comfort in the fact that it’s the sound of gradual decline rather than of imminent decay, but nonetheless, it’s not a sound I relish. Shhhvvvrr. Plop. Silence. Shiivvvr. Plop. Silence.
Part of me thinks that I may need to paint the basement walls.

Part of me thinks that’s a big NO. Which in my book means Next Owner.

Plus, I’m hardly ever down there except for doing laundry, gathering TP supplies, or wringing out the carpets.   Where does a homeowner draw the line between routine house maintenance and Big Expensive Projects? How do you know when you need to tackle a project and what you can safely ignore? These are the things I’m pondering this cold rainy night at the end of November.

Poems for the Northway

November 25, 2007


Two-lane highway home

Jersey Jetta on my ass

ribbon of slow cars.




Southbound travelers


hidden cops thrive in the trees

middle lane is key.

Room With A View

November 24, 2007

My trip north brought me to a whole other climate. Up here, it’s officially winter. We’re talking longies, parka, snowboots, and serious mittens.  I’ve gone on some snow adventures, but now I’m  cozied up by my favorite kind of stove (propane) and about to do some school work.  It’s amazing how restful it is to spend time in other people’s houses; no worries about the plumbing, the thermostat, the recycling, or snow removal.  My biggest decision today was about fruit condiments– cranberry or applesauce as a side to the amaaazzzing turkey pot-pies we made.