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On Cameras

22 Jul

Anyone who is a regular (or even just occasional) visitor here can probably figure out quite quickly that I like taking pictures.

And it’s true. I do.

I recently went through a few weeks of withdrawal when I sent my beloved G9 back to Canon. It felt like a little piece of me had gone missing. I still had the little Casio Exilim I carry everywhere in my purse, and we spent some quality time together, but I was frustrated by its limitations. It’s a good camera for taking quick shots on my daily commute, but lacks the flexibility I have come to rely upon in my Canon.  Thankfully, though, my Canon came back just in time for our trip to Palm Springs, and all was well.

My love affair with cameras is an old one, first kindled in adolescence by 4-H.  Our club leader had a friend with a dark room, so he convinced him to teach us some photographic basics and how to develop our own photos.  Each kid had to supply their own camera though, and my father gave me the beautiful Asahi SLR that he had bought in Asia when he was on a tour during the early days of the Vietnam War.

On memory.

Dare

13 Jul

There’s something I dare not speak of.

You see that up there? And then do you see the other thing? I can’t, I just can’t. After last year, I just dare not speak of it.

And then there’s that other plant. You see that? You see all those?  Ugh, I can’t. I just can’t. I can’t talk about it.  I just sit and fret and chew on my nails and check the weather obsessively.  Ugggggh.  I can’t stand imagining another year of failure.

So! Let’s concentrate on the things I can talk about. Like garlic, turnips and cherries.

A Stove Story

13 May

I recently became enamored of a stove. (And of Google Books, too. You’ll see why below).

On Saturday night after a dinner featuring our first salad taken entirely from the garden, I settled down on the couch to do a little light Web surfing.  It started innocently enough. A little Facebook, a little New York Times, a little Twitter.

My Twitter feed is a little chaotic.  I tried for awhile to keep two Twitter accounts, one for work and one for me.  I spend my days as an editor at the business magazine Forbes and I spend the rest of my time gardening, cooking and being silly. So for awhile I had one for Serious Ann and another for Real Ann. But I couldn’t keep up with both and so now my Twitter feed is a motley collection of musings on Dow plunges, cooking artichokes and Scottie puppiesFollow with care.

But back to the stove.  On Saturday I noticed a bunch of tweets from a woman I follow about a really cool sounding not-for-profit salvage store in Astoria. In addition to sinks and diner signs and chairs, she also tweeted about coffins and topiary and heart-shaped hot tubs.  So I clicked over and started poking around Build It Green! NYC’s Featured Items.

I immediately fell in love with the historic terracotta tiles from the amazing Sun Building in downtown Manhattan (I would love to redo our kitchen with these). And for some reason, I really like these metal and wood Police desks from the ’80s.  But it’s this 19th century stove that really caught my attention.

Won’t you head down the rabbit hole with me? Yes? Then hop below the jump.

Finding Time

30 Mar

Where.  It’s a word I find myself using to preface many sentences lately.

Where has the time gone?  Where have I been?  Where am I going to find the time to … run? shop for shoes? get my hair done?  book a hotel?  weed? get a manicure? blog? start tomato seeds? go for a hike? take another meeting?  Where has my mind gone?

Fortunately, one of those questions has an easy answer: We were in Bermuda, just last weekend.  It was glorious.  Beautiful, warm sunshine, rippling water, pink beaches and everyone wishing everyone else a good day.  I love Bermuda.

One of my favorite things about the place is how easy it is to tell the locals from the tourists.  The locals are anyone still wearing a puffer jacket and a winter hat in 70º weather, the exact opposite of upstate New York, where in the winter any day without snow on the ground is an opportunity for shorts and flip flops.  Oh, and another thing I love about Bermuda?  English candy.  Especially right before Easter when Cadbury Mini Eggs profusely populate the shelves.

A less easy question to answer is: Where will the wedding madness end?  We’ve crossed the point where it’s under a month until the big day.  Things are coming together: Isaac’s family have booked hotels and flights, I found a dress, Isaac found a suit, dinner is set, the cake is ordered and we’ve settled on a photographer (what a tough choice, I would really like to be my own photographer, but I’m told that would be less than ideal), but it still feels endless.  People keep telling me “It’s your big day!” and yet everyone has an opinion about how the day should be.  I can’t wait until it’s over!

Just in time for a wedding, I get my hands dirty! That manicure (if I ever get it) doesn’t stand a chance. Find out why below the fold.

How Does Your Garden Snow?

3 Feb

It’s time to garden!

Well, kind of. At least it’s time to start dreaming about gardening if you live anywhere in the Northeast, Midwest or Mid Atlantic.  It’s time to pore through seed catalogs and to plot world domination over aphids and flea beetles.  It’s time to buy pots and soil, to take inventory of seeds, to cook from cans, to force bulbs and to aimlessly stalk birds. It’s also time to get your hands dirty.

Or at least that’s the theory behind winter sowing, a seed-starting movement¹ that Christina recently sent me a link to.  I was immediately hooked.  Winter sowing adheres pretty closely to a theory on seed-starting that Isaac and I have been scheming about since last summer.

Our idea is to start seedlings indoors on the windowsill (preferably in one of these gorgeous seed-starting trays).  We’re not willing to/don’t have the right space for setting up grow lights/heating pads, plus, we started a few things this way last year and they turned out brilliantly.  In the second step of our plan, once the seedlings have grown to a hefty state they will be moved to the back porch to toughen up in a makeshift, unheated ”greenhouse” cobbled together from a set of metro shelves, clear plastic sheeting, duct tape and Velcro.

But winter sowing makes even this level of sophistication unnecessary, and it also requires fewer shopping trips (which is both a plus and a minus in my book).  In winter sowing, you use recycled take out dishes, soda bottles, produce cartons or even Ziploc bags made rigid with scavenged cardboard (I really do think this guy is some kind of evil genius) as seed-starting containers.

Got a case of winter? Me too. Head below the jump to learn more about winter sowing and to leave a comment with your favorite way to beat the winter blues.