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Archive for December, 2006

Brian’s Holiday Music

Sunday, December 24th, 2006

brianhef_vox.jpgBrian has been busy recording. This time it is two for-web videos. He’s putting his work on vox.com, a new place for this sort of thing.

He has posted two solo uke musical recordings, one is Christmas Time is Here and one is a bit he made up, called Santa Claus Rag. He also has a little blog post there about his new ukulele.

Here’s Brian’s new VOX page:

http://brianhef.vox.com/

Mostly Gray

Sunday, December 24th, 2006

A Weather Report of Sorts

In the last few days, we have had a lot of rain and no sun to speak of. Two days ago just maybe 3 minutes before the sun was to set, it actually came out. It was beautiful. The shadows were very dramatic, with no leaves to catch the rays on the way down. The rays were nearly horizontal and the color was golden.

sunshineflamingo.jpgI noticed the sun immediately. The phone rang and it was April: “Let us go for a walk while we have sun.” I grabbed my coat and we were off! We did not walk long but I took some photos. First is a plastic yard flamingo in my side yard with a sharp shadow about as tall as it is. Second is the houses across the street from me, lit up with the final rays of the day. (I am not sure if I have ever shared a photo of this angle of my neighborhood before.)

Color? Not Much.

I counted today. Of eleven houses in a row, ten are painted white (notice the lone yellow house second from right). A year ago it was twelve of thirteen, but last year the house kitty-corner from us painted taupe rather than white… still colorless but not the same as the majority of others. Lansing is just not fond of color, especially in our homes. Occasionally you will find a purple door in a “nice” neighborhood. Most likely you find bright colors on homes in more affordable neighborhoods… the more pricey, the less color, as a rule.

sunshinewhitehouses.jpgFor the record, our house is also white (it’s aluminum siding and I do not want to paint that). However, we have the only brick-red roof on the block and the trim is lavender-purple and salmon (basically a lighter version of the red roof).

On Saturday (following the three-minute-sunshine day), the sky was one big cloud sitting about a dozen feet above ground level, or so it seemed. You could not tell where the sun was in the sky. It drizzled and spat rain all day. At 1pm the light situation felt like it could be 6pm. Miserable. It was a good day for socializing, and I did a lot of that.

The Great Web Migration

Perhaps I’ll write more later of the lovely socializing… but I’m still working on the moving/renaming/redesigning of my websites/web pages. Ten years making web documents is a long time (and a lot of pages) for someone like me who always has a lot to say! I have fourteen folders of web pages, each of them a sub-website, some more obvious than others.

For example, I have the LynnH SockTour which has 40 pages in it, and then I have a patterns area which has close to 20 pages, now all linked from my Online Shop. There is my ancient Mexico travelogue (it is ten years old but now at a new web address/URL) and my almost-ancient polymer clay site which requires some serious updating and has for about five years. I have a poetry/quotations mini-site which consists of 41 individual pages.

I actually did retire a few mini-sites that just were not valid anymore (pages showing off my previous Y2K computer consulting business, purpletree, the domain name of which I sold two years ago, and in which I have basically not worked for a handful of years). I had a calendar page with associated class information pages, and at least for now that same information is displayed on my new Google Calendar Schedule Page.

So for now it’s back to web pages, renaming, re-linking, placing the new navigation bars, looking for mistakes. When I think I’m done I’ll be running a contest for you guys to find mistakes (thanks to Sarah Peasley/Handknitter for that prime suggestion)… I hope that will be this week.

Meanwhile, goodnight.

More Latvian Mitten Photos

Saturday, December 23rd, 2006

There is a gallery of Latvian Mitten photos from the NATO summit. I was just overpowered by the incredible talent and history contained in these 4,500 pairs of mittens!

More Giant Knitting

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

I’m behind the times, but over a week ago there was a post on the blog Style Files (warning, tons of pics so it’s slow loading), showing the work of a woman named Christien Meindertma who knits enormous cables in rugs, etc… she worked with a farmer in Wales to make items from his sheep. It’s not a very long article but there are several photos including a rug featuring a cable/aran-like diamond pattern that looks a good bit wider than my shoulders.

Also on this same blog is an entry for large crocheted rugs. There are unmatching floral-style motifs sewn to a backing net. Fascinating.

This reminds me of Dave Cole’s “Knitting Machine,” where he used John Deere construction equipment and a team of workers to knit a giant American flag with telephone pole needles and felt fabric as yarn. I saw the flag very soon after it was knit, at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (usually called the Mass MOCA).

Ponderings in the Dark

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

sashimi.jpgSun, Shine on Me!

It is the darkest time of the year. Eric and Diana celebrate Yule which they will do tomorrow. Some calendars say tonight is the longest night, some say tomorrow. I say dark is dark and I’m glad to turn the tide. Come on, sun!!!

It is cold and rainy here. Bitter rainy, spitting mean, ugly rain. Not pounding rain, not a lot of it all at once, but the kind that feels as though it is slapping you in the face with its coldness. This sort of weather requires creative distraction. I live in the face of ugly weather much of the time, and I’m a wimp about feeling cold. People make it all worth going forth into the weather, at least for me.

People make the world go ’round

I had a pretty good Thursday, really. Started with a stop at the allergist’s office, they are a small office and the people are very good folks who really know me personally. I enjoyed exchanging holiday greetings there (they have next week off, lucky souls). Then I picked up a book at “Everybody Reads,” a new independent book store next door to the Gone Wired Cybercafe. Off I ran to see Altu for our weekly scheduled lunch, and when I got to her restaurant our friend Bev was there so I got to hug her also.

Food as Art

sushiroll.jpgWe had a great lunch at the sushi restaurant (Sansu) we often enjoy. It is wonderful to take time with her each week and just connect, really create space for our friendship. I will miss two weeks of Thursday lunches because I’ve consented to work holiday break afternoons at Foster Community Center for the computer lab. Four hours a day, three days a week, two weeks. I bore easily, and do not usually do anything for that many hours other than sit at my desk at home.

It can be very busy with children at the community center during holidays. I’m hoping my serenity stays intact during that vacation time. I will definitely bring my Ladysmith Black Mambazo CDs to play for myself. When I play a CD, my mind can focus on that music rather than the dueling commentary of all the video games, all playing at the same time. The CDs give my distractable mind something as a focus and I can come out at the end of my shift smiling. This is a very good thing… a success strategy before I get there.

Gatherings ‘R’ December

I have had a week of holiday gatherings, no doubt you all have had opportunities also. Last Sunday the Working Women Artists gathered and a friend presented me with some homemade spiced pumpkin butter. Three jars of pure heaven, pure ingredients, and lots of good vibes.

thermosfromrae.jpgThis friend had big surgery earlier this year and I brought her a homemade lunch one day, while she was still stuck in the house and bored crazy recuperating. The goodies were a thank you rather than a Christmas gift. She did not need to do anything in return, of course… for once I knew what I could do and I had the time so I did it. How often do we feel powerless over something? It was great to take her lunch that day.

But I tell you, I’ve really enjoyed the first jar of that sauce, it’s almost gone already… one day on buckwheat pancakes, and today on from-scratch oat/rice biscuits. There’s a little left of jar #1 in the freezer next to the other 2 full jars, and I will enjoy every taste.

More Unexpected Gifts

On Tuesday we had the big holiday event at the Mid-Michigan Knitters Guild. We had much amazing food available to eat, and much merriment. Rae brought me a gift, out of the blue, which was an Aladdin Stanley Thermos in lavender. A smaller version of the huge construction-green one I embellished a few years back, which is one of the most perfectly engineered products I’ve ever owned… it can fall from six feet (2m) and dent but not be injured in any real way.

I’m eager to decorate this new thermos as well. I’m well-known for my tea addiction (Rae included a box of my favorite tea in the world, as well) and I always seem to be leaving behind a tea mug at any yarn shop I happen to visit. This thermos will be well-used for years, I am sure.

We did a show and tell and a charity hat contest. (We knit hats for charity and we vote on which hats we like best, there are plentiful prizes to inspire us to knit away.) I’ve been really busy this season but I found a hat I knit years ago and never wore, so I donated that to the cause.

pumpkinbutter.jpgThere were some very fine contributions to the contest. One year I won the contest with a really special stranded-colorwork pillbox hat in about 8 yarns, but that was before I was in the knitting profession full time. These days there is not much time to knit for fun or charity, I’m sad to say. The days when I’d send 4 pair of socks to Afghans for Afghans or Children in Common are gone. One hat to a local charity is what I can do this year. I’m knitting for my family, my friends and my business. This is as it should be, for today.

Friends! The Best.

And I end the day with gratitude for my friends. Yesterday I drove to Detroit Metro Airport to pick up my friend Ulyana and her daughter. The airport is enough to make a person lose her cool, but the time with my friends in the car on the way home was priceless, and that is why I volunteered to go get them in the first place. They bought me a gorgeous woven “pashmina” and silk shawl in Chinatown, NYC, and it goes perfectly with my coat (even though they didn’t know what my coat looked like when they bought the shawl).

Hang in There

Remember, it’s a stressful time of year for most of us. We hear expectations all around us, what this should be like for us. (What is that word, *should,* anyway?) We are aware of all the losses we’ve had or the dreams we didn’t achieve. In order to stay happy at any time of year we need to look at what we do have, right now.

And so (luckily) as I was in the shuttle bus yesterday at Metro Airport, going from the place I’d parked to the place I should have parked near my friend’s arrival, I heard Julie Andrews sing “My Favorite Things” on the radio. A sort of syrupy song… but I adore Julie Andrews after all these years, and the sound of her voice made me stop and breathe. The song is basically a gratitude list. Raindrops on roses, and whiskers on kittens… Hmmm. Gratitude.

My Gratitude List

Tonight I’m grateful for heat, a roof over my head, wonderful food I didn’t have to cook, wool and alpaca clothing to keep me warm, a car that runs and money for gasoline to get my friend, a friend I love enough to give up an evening to get her at the airport, music, music, music, people I love, and especially my beloved Brian.

Photos: 1) Smoked Salmon Sashimi, on shredded daikon radish with sliced flavored ginger (pink) and wasabi horseradish (green at right). No, it was not cooked. Yes, I ate it and liked it. It’s smoked and salty, more like ham than anything else I eat these days. I don’t like any fish very often but I like the smoked salmon. 2) TNT Roll (fancy, spicy) with horseradish and ginger on the side, 3) Gift from Rae, 4) Gift from WWA friend.

My Winter Schedule!

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

I have finally filled in the last knitting class for January through early April on my Google Calendar. You can always get to it by clicking the “Schedule” link above on my navigation bar, which is probably the easiest way to get there.

Or right now, you can just lick on this link: http://colorjoy.com/weblog/calendar-colorjoy/

When you get there, you can click on any event to see more information including descriptions of the classes. I hope you find something to reward yourself after a bit of holiday knitting. I’m convinced that January should be designated “Selfish Knitting Month” after the crazy stuff we put ourselves through in December!

Diana’s Holiday Mini-Sassy Bags and Footies

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

Diana has done it again. The girl is prolific and creative, and takes the time to follow her muse.

christmasbabyfff12.jpgI thought maybe a baby Fast Florida Footie (size infant/O, as part of the 8 size for-purchase version of that pattern) would make a cute Christmas Tree ornament. She was up for knitting me a handful of them, at least one for each shop where I sell the pattern. I sent her yarn.

Next thing I know, she has ideas of her own! As in: the baby/coin purse-sized Sassy Summer Bag she designed (and which is part of the printed pattern for the larger purse) in Christmas colors? Oh, my! So cute! (I designed the adult-sized purse. When Diana test-knit the purse for me she came up with the coin purse version. I put it in the pattern with her blessing, it was so cute we needed to share it.)

christmasbabysassy12.jpgAnd then Wednesday night at Knitting Guild I was informed that the mini Sassy is the perfect size for an American Girl Doll? How cool is that?

If anyone is inspired to make one or more of these, my patterns are available for immediate download on KnittingZone.com. They are also available as paper/printed copies in page protectors… on my shopping cart in the Patterns section. I do ship same or next day, but it’s 1st class mail so some folks would not get it very quickly from Lansing, Michigan (which is where I am).

Or if you are very experienced in socknitting, you could get the free version of the Fast Florida Footies pattern and adjust it yourself to the 24-stitch cast-on size. That will not work for everyone, but it would be fast if you were an experienced socknitter who knows how to make adjustments.

For the record, these samples were knit in Cascade 220 yarn, I do not know the color numbers (Diana has the ball bands). I got the yarn at Little Red Schoolhouse a few weeks ago. The bags were felted and they used 2-stitch I-cord as handles.

The footies in this photo were not felted… we tried a few and they are not as cute felted as they are here. You could make the footies from regular sockyarn using size 0 or 1 (2.0 to 2.55mm) needles, perhaps, and get an even smaller and cuter version for tree trimming. I like the ones I got, they are festive stuffed with tiny candy canes!

Walking…

Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

I am on a new kick, one I hope will stay stuck. I am walking every day. Now, being the woman I am, sometimes I think I don’t have enough time to walk. So I have given myself permission to some days only walk around the block, which takes 5 minutes. I have now walked 3 or 4 days in a row.

On the best days, of course, April and little Isabel come over from across the street and we walk together. Those walks are slower most of the time, but sometimes they include running, skipping or hopping on two feet at a time. Sometimes they include walking while carrying a 2-1/2 year old child. I figure walking slowly with a 35 pound “sack of potatoes” in your arms counts at least as much as walking fast without her. I’d much rather snuggle the kid… any time.

I am lucky because it has been particularly nice weather this week. It is mostly in the 40’s F, enough above freezing to be pleasant… and the sun has been out more than usual. One day it was just under freezing and a little windy, so I wore my full-length lined wool coat (a man’s dress coat I picked up at a resale shop for $30 or so about a year ago, not colorful as I would like but warm enough to be forgiven for it’s grayness). The wool with a quilted lining blocks all wind and goes down almost to my ankles. It is a great walking coat for brisk weather, I think.

I have always liked walking. I must say though, that I have never particularly loved the “great outdoors.” I like to be out, preferably on the porch, only when it is nice weather. That is not particularly often around here for about 3/4 of the year. However, there have been years when I walked outside even in knee-deep snow (this was several decades ago, but I remember).

The Norwegians have a saying that translates something like “There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.” I do have great boots and a great coat and alpaca winter accessories, wool longjohns and legwarmers, whatever I’ll need. I just need to get into the habit of walking. It’s a bit hard because I don’t have a very regular schedule and it will take a while to get this down to a habit. However, if I can learn to cook every food I eat, I can more easily learn to walk once a day!

What else is up? I’m knitting like a fiend, Brian and I are practicing a bit more in preparation for our New Year’s Eve gig at the El Azteco in Lansing (near MLK and Saginaw), and I’m trying to catch up on all the computer work I need to do. It seems I’ll never remember everything I must do, but I keep plugging.

Sophia’s Lace Wristwarmers with a Twist

Monday, December 18th, 2006

sophiawristwarmer.jpgSophia took my class last Thursday night, on how to make my Wristwarmer pattern. She says she finished the pair the next day! Not only that, she decided to make the cuff a little more feminine. She inserted a lacy pattern and then ended with one round of a furlike “eyelash” yarn. Very creative and elegant for her friend, I would say. Go, Sophia!

Busy, still…

Sunday, December 17th, 2006

I have had a year of being away from my desk. I’m finally not teaching as much and therefore I’m dealing with a tardy too-long list of desk jobs. The shopping cart that went live the last week of November, I had started in May. I had web pages on four different web hosts and was paying rent to them all.

So in the last week I’ve moved all my sites to the same machine that holds the ColorJoy.com/ LynnH.com and Heftone.com sites. That of course means that the navigation bars I had on my zillion web pages was pointing to the wrong places. I had to redesign the navigation bar. Yesterday I put the bar on several dozen web pages including a redesigned http://ColorJoy.com main home page. Of course I had a lot of pages for my patterns and yarns that now are on the shopping cart. I haven’t converted all of them, but I hope I’ve converted the most popular.

It seems there is no end of the things I put off. My desk is so piled I can’t move without an avalanche.

But Saturday we did enjoy company from out of town, and dinner at Altu’s watching Ben Hassenger perform. There was excellent company… Stan, Brian’s boss; our friend from Ohio, Regina, and Ben’s wife Barb… great fun.

And then I went home and worked on the website while Brian and our friend had fun with music.

Sunday I get to go to a knit in and also Working Women Artists. The WWA meeting is at Gone Wired Cybercafe’ on East Michigan at 6-8pm, if anyone would like to hear a presentation by a talented young photographer. All are welcome… artists, non-artists, women, dudes, old, young, and all in between.
Have a great end of weekend.

Weekend Music Events, Lansing, Michigan

Friday, December 15th, 2006

Friday night at Magdalena’s Teahouse (8pm) will be a concert byArt Cameron “Songwriters Anonymous,” a group of Michigan songwriters. This group includes two of my good friends, Art Cameron and Ben Hassenger (of Mystic Shake and Blue Jello).

The other musicians in the group are also great writers and it will be worth while. Brian and I will go for a while before we attend a holiday gathering (it’s the time of year for schedule conflicts).

Saturday night you can catch Ben Hassenger at Altu’s Ethiopian Restaurant. That show is earlier… 6:30 to 8:30. The show was publicized as a Blue Jello Gig (Ben plus Mystic Shake friend Pat Malloy) but it turns out this will be a solo performance by Ben. All fun… a great show no doubt. We’ll miss Pat but we will enjoy Ben all the more. He is a great performer, really involves his audience and everyone leaves with a smile.

Catching Up: Last Weekend

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

altusscarletrunnerdec06lightened.jpgI had a musical weekend. Here it is Thursday, and I have been too busy to post about it yet.

Saturday Brian’s band, Scarlet Runner String Band, played at Altu’s Ethiopian Cuisine. Actually, their fiddle/harmonica player (Mike) was down with the flu so only 3 of them played, but it was great entertainment. Regina was there for dinner so I sat with her and we had a good conversation. She is good company.

minisockkeychainforabbottbros.jpgSaturday night after the Altu’s performance, Brian and I headed over to a little gathering for our other band, Abbott Brothers.

Two of our members have retired significantly north of here and so we do not see them enough. The gathering came about quite spontaneously because these two were in town for another event, and I had to put together gifts quickly.

Rae has those cute mini-sock-blocker keychains, the same kind she gave me recently. I love my little sock. I decided that since a few years ago I made mini socks for Abbott Brothers as tree ornaments, for their gifts, that I could make these mini socks this year.

I had not a whole day to knit five socklets. I barely made it but they sure did turn out cute! The top one in the photo is Socks That Rock, leftovers from Brian’s anniversary socks (and the sock is for Brian). That yarn I got from Rae’s. The two that match, are Arucania Naturewool teal/turquoise, also from Rae’s. The color is not very true here, it’s more turquoise than blue but with the green wrapping paper background you can’t see it.

cookiesmarilyn.jpgThe middle sock is one strand of a self-striping Regia sockyarn (from Yarn for Ewe several years back) held together with a strand of yellow sockyarn from Little Red Schoolhouse. The bottom sock is Dive Autumno (from Threadbear), left over from a pair of legwarmers I recently made for myself. It’s reeeeally soft merino that seems to not pill at all, and it’s a “singles” (sometimes called one ply) which I love. It also changes yarn slowly like handspun can. Nice stuff, though you can’t see the color change in something this small.

Marilyn (lady of the household at the home where we gathered) is a very creative woman. She did not miss a chance to make a beautiful presentation of holiday goodies for us to eat. I did not think to take a photo of the cookie tray until we had eaten most of the cookies, but this is how pretty it looked when we left. I guess the pretzels had white chocolate on them. They were really popular.

magdalenassethanddaisymaydec06.jpgSunday I spent time working on my yarn and dyeing business with my helper. After I took her home, I went to Magdalena’s Teahouse for the Seth Bernard and Daisy May concert. I never get over how good they are. I had a wonderful time being there and listening to that great music. Here’s one photo of them on stage.

Hmmm, I think that’s it for photos from this weekend. Maybe I can rest a minute now?

Whew!

Wednesday, December 13th, 2006

Wednesday was packed. I started the day helping my friend with her computer. From there I went to my private lesson on the west side, and then back to the east side to drop off a pattern order at Rae’s. I then proceeded to Foster Center to teach CityKidz Knit! program (those kids are just amazing, my glove girl finished 2 more fingers and started the thumb, I think she’ll finish a glove tomorrow).

After CityKidz, I ran home, changed into dressy clothing for the Habibi Dancers’ holiday gala dinner/party, then home briefly to change back into a warm sweater and back to my friend’s house with more computer hassles to figure out. I got home around 1:30am.

At CityKidz we dyed more yarn with Kool-Aid, great fun. I had a girl come back I had not seen since spring, that was great. There is nothing like my CityKidz to make my day into sunshine!

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Speaking of weather, it’s unseasonably warm here. It should be around freezing but it has been in the upper 40s F. It was 42 after dark today. It has rained a lot but not heavy rain, it has just been a mist most of the time. We have green grass and squirrels running around with nuts in their mouths. I don’t know if it looks like spring or fall, it definitely does not look like December in Michigan!

Adorable Knitted Tree Decorations

Diana tells me she made some tiny Sassy Summer Handbags as tree ornaments, and she also made some infant size 0 Fast Florida Footies. I sent her red and green yarn (Cascade 220) and she went to town being creative. I am excited to see what these look like, it’s bound to be really adorable. She’s sending me the items in the mail, maybe she’ll take a photo for her own blog before she sends them off.

More Fat Socks

Lately my knitting consists of sock after sock in fat yarn. I’m 2/3 of the way through a first afterthought-heel sock for Brian in Louisa Harding Kashmir Aran, a sort of pale teal. Really nice yarn, a great color, but one that Brian would wear more than I would.

I bought this yarn last year thinking I’d make warmish gloves. Then I found some affordable angora-blend gloves at Target and bought those. I love it when I find things already knit for me, in fibers/colors I like. These gloves are black but that allowed me to have warm fingers right away, and now Brian gets socks. Cool!

Photo Soon: Knitted Gift

At the Habibi Dancers holiday party I was given an incredible handknit gift. I will leave you in suspense until I can get a photograph. Sally (dance name Sara) knit me a very unusual item because she knew I’d really appreciate it. Photos I hope very soon.

Bedtime. Catch you Thursday.

Throw-Away-One-Hundred-and-Five-Things Day

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

msufarmdec06.gifIn September I posted that I was going to have a Throw-Away-Five-Things Day. I was really getting clear on how much stuff I had that I was NOT using and that I needed to let go of. I am terribly sentimental, especially about clothing, and clothing is the most extreme thing I had too much of.

Since that post, I have tried to toss things I didn’t like much, that I don’t use enough, or were worn out. I started in the right direction, but I ended up with one pile upstirs and one down, waiting to be hauled away. Not really big, but a sort of mess-shifting rather than eliminating.

A Major Turning Point

Today I was given the gift of love. A huge gift. My friend April came over for most of the day and helped me throw away TWELVE paper grocery bags full of stuff. Well, not throw. Those are going to charity. Another three or four are trash.

The give-aways are all in Brian’s car. One of our favorite charity thrift shops is very close to his regular path to work. He’ll take them on the way tomorrow.

Not only that, but yesterday when I spent a day with Eric and Diana (Brother and Sis-In-Law who I mention here so much), we went to IKEA and I got a small metal cabinet with six drawers big enough for my mailing envelopes. My kitchen has turned into my mailing center and yarn-winding area. This means that almost always I have one to three kinds of tape on the table, a few pairs of scissors, several types of writing pens/markers, envelopes, stamps, and other assorted related clutter, on the kitchen tables.

The new cabinet is just what I wanted. It was really affordable and yet it was exactly what I wanted. It looks like it’s from 1940 but it is not all scratched up. Since so much of our furniture is “retro” (original, not reproduction, much of it from MSU Salvage) the new piece works well without sticking out too much visually. Not only that, the six shallow drawers were the perfect setup for putting away tape and scissors, etc. I was able to really make a dent in the tabletop clutter and I’m very happy with the results.

Clearing the Kitchen Work Area

It was getting hard to function in the kitchen even before I had to start cooking most of my meals. With the new focus on home cooking in this house, the horizontal surfaces need to be available for food-related activities more and more. Not long ago I ate than half of my meals in (excellent, healthy) locally-owned restaurants but now I need a well-functional kitchen. It’s not really a space set up for two cooks but we are getting used to working together on meals from time to time.

Tonight after the cleaning push, Brian made fish and I made roasted rutabagas. I had been encouraged by many of you here to roast root vegetables (and we eat a lot of roots these days). I think my favorites are sweet potatoes and rutabagas, though we often make carrots and parsnips together and they are a great combination. Brian notes that we never ate this well before. The quality of our food is incredible these days and I’m really having fun eating new foods I had never tried before. The tasting of new veggies is a blast!

Nerves

However, the cooking/roasting is not yet fun for me. I don’t know why, but I can get really nervous before trying a new activity. I had never roasted veggies although I really enjoyed them when I have been able to find them in restaurants or at parties. (Zingerman’s deli in Ann Arbor often offers these in their deli case and they are wonderful). I was just sure I would chop them the wrong size, bake at the wrong temperature, put too much or not enough olive oil on them, turn them over too much or not enough or whatever. I think I’m just programmed to worry sometimes!

I was just sure I could not do it. I’m not afraid to try many types of things, and I’m pretty good at experimenting with baking cakes and quick breads. However, making main meal items is very unfamiliar to me, and thus still uncomfortable. I know how to make pasta in a hundred ways, I know how to cook a zillion possible meals with any bean or legume. Right now I can’t have those items very often and so I feel like a fish out of water, trying to learn new types of lunch/dinner meals. However, you can not get good at anything from avoiding it.

Success

The rutabagas were wonderful! It was a lot like eating potato french fries, but much much better. More moist, a little sweeter, a lot more tasty. I’m doing that again!!! Maybe on Friday when Brian plans to make another duck (he made one for Thanksgiving that turned out really well), just maybe I will try to roast some sweet potatoes.

The photo? Nothing to do with this post. It’s a photo of one of the farms at Michigan State University, last Saturday. There was snow that day. Today it is rainy and there is no snow anywhere. But I thought this was a great photo and thought you might like to see it! MSU is a beautiful place, I’m lucky to live so near the campus and see these fields so often. This farm is not a whole mile from my Post Office box, which is at the main mail-processing center (factory for sorting papers very efficiently).