Thursday, May 26, 2011

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tomatoes: How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Patio

Sometimes you want to stretch yourself; find a way of doing something that by rights you shouldn't be able to do. And sometimes you just need to accept who you are, and where you are, and buy a patio tomato.

Granted, this is about as far from an heirloom variety as I'm going to get-- a plant that has been bred more for its size (small) and the sturdiness of its stem (not needing a stake to support it) and resistance to disease (looking a lot better than the heirloom seedlings, which have not exactly died, but are not making a lot of progress on the "growing" front)  than for flavor. But when life gives you a patio, plant patio tomatoes because, after all, even sub-optimal fresh tomatoes are better than no fresh tomatoes at all.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Shoesday: A Doll's Shoes

Ibsen would be proud.

I know what you must be thinking."Wow," you're saying to yourself. "Those are some seriously rockin' shoes Daisy has got there." (These days, you think in ironic hipster slang. No, I don't know why.) "But her legs look kind of funny. Has she lost weight? And why is the pile on the carpet so deep? Is it hard to vacuum that?"

Good questions, I reply. Also, were you aware that you're speaking your thoughts out loud? Just thought you'd like to know. Anyway, the truth is that I do own these shoes, but I don't wear them, because they don't fit me. They fit this doll:

Who is, incidentally, dressed head-to-toe in Zac Posen and far more fabulous than I could ever hope to be. She lives in the room with my computer, and I would not be surprised if one of these nights she climbs up on the desk and writes a scathing indictment of my pathetic attempts at style, just because she can.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ballad* of the Mushroom Log

Sometimes, when the weather is nice on a weekend day, Cameron and I take some reading material and a bottle of wine and go sit out on the patio, to enjoy the sunshine and the view of the WheelWorks across the street. And sometimes, when the weather is nice for an unusually long time and the internet (via my iPad) is easily accessible, I drink slightly too much wine and buy a mushroom log.**

It came just before we left for the East coast, so I didn't have time to prep it for sprouting according to the directions. So instead I followed the instructions for setting it up for a rest period and left it to rest on its packing material (the directions didn't specify otherwise). So it was a surprise when I got home and Cameron told me that it sprouted:

The harvest is modest, but I figure it's not that bad for not trying. I could get into this kind of gardening.

*This post 100% ballad-free.
**Also, a home-cheesemaking kit. More on that later.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

On the Inspirational Properties of Travel

I'm back!* Yes, having survived my sojourn to the wilds of the Northeast, during which I had to contend with my inadequacies at a) candlepin bowling, b) pool and c) explaining what it is I do for a living without giving away the fact that I don't entirely understand it myself, I have returned home and to my true calling of writing severely run-on sentences for the internet. And despite what I just said, the trip was actually pretty good, though more so in the parts where Cameron and I were visiting Mary and Sean's lovely place in Cambridge, and less so when I struck off on my own for the work conference at the site in not-exactly-as-lovely Worcester. But, hey nothing wrong with meals you can expense.

There were plenty of interesting and informative presentations at the conference, some of which I even stayed awake for, but by far the best thing I learned there is that our company's laboratory site in that city** was built on the grounds of an old insane asylum. My boss, who was sitting next to me at the table at dinner when we learned this (and is aware of my not-exactly-literary ambitions) immediately declared that I should write a book about that, and I think he may be on to something. I mean, just think of the possibilities!

It starts slowly; a mysterious image in the UV picture of an agarose gel, a pool of blood on the floor that everyone blames on the guy doing the whole-blood work, even though he swears he didn't do it. Then all the mice in the animal facility start murdering each other, and someone discovers that the cold room has been maintaining its temperature despite the fact that the compressor has been broken for several months, and whenever anyone tries to generate a protein sequence all they can get, no matter what the real sequence, is a long series of repeats of "aspartic acid-isoleucine-glutamic acid."*** Then someone stays to work late, and the next morning his body is found in the autoclave, and pretty soon all kinds of science-type Hell is breaking loose. 

I think it could be a hit.

*Since Wednesday night. But I think it's petty to dwell on details like that, don't you?
**I'm avoiding mentioning my employer by name here on the off chance that someone there has figured out how to use google alerts, and puts me on some kind of watchlist.
***For assistance in understanding this joke, please see this page.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Thurscheese: Roomano

There are a few things I ask for from my cheese. One is, of course, to be delicious*. Others, in no particular order, include spreadability, failure to make the refrigerator smell like a lower class of toxic waste dump, and help with my taxes.** It hadn't occurred to me to ask for a name that is fun to say, but that one's going on the list now. ROOmano!

I assume this is some sort of relative of the more common Romano, as in parmesan, but I lost the Handy Information Sheet and I'm in kind of a hurry so I don't have time to look it up. Supporting this theory is the fact that it tastes quite a bit like a good parm, smooth and salty and toothsome. And, as someone who has for most of her life eaten the parmesan rinds as a kind of special treat and didn't realize this was weird until she did it in front of someone else, I think I know whereof I speak.

Speaking of non-sequiturs, I'm off to Boston (and nearby Worcester, which is much more annoying to spell, and possibly also to visit), so blogging is going to be kind of sparse for the next few days unless I can get blogger to cooperate with my iPad. On the other hand, there will probably be a fair amount of tweeting, mostly on the subject of how boring work events are, so stay tuned! Or not.

*That's really the main thing.
**Hey, it never hurts to ask.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Tomatoes: Reloaded

That's right everyone, we're back, and tomatoer than ever. Actually, that's not true. My patio-gardening plans are much more modest this year, as evidence by the fact that I didn't start any seedlings at all. I wasn't actually sure that I was going to grow any heirlooms, but my coworker Jenn, who I had given some of my extra seedlings to last year, had had such great success with them that she has become a total convert to the heirloom tomato, and started some of her own this spring. And this time she was the one with the extra seedlings, and I was the recipient.

It's like the circle of life, only with fewer baboons holding up lion cubs, and more tomatoes.

So now I have five little tomato plants which, true to form, I have planted much too close together, because I don't have that much space. I'm trying to get them as much sun as possible on our shady balcony, and only time will tell if they are to become sturdy, fruit-producing machines or sad, wilty mold victims.

Fortunately, for their sake at least, none of them are upside-down. I'm sure they're grateful.