Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hail yes!

I thought we were going to have to start building an ark here a few hours ago. Torrential rain, wind, hail, thunder and lightning. When the first storm passed by I thought it might be safe to venture out to the pharmacy, but I turned on the news to see that another, even bigger, was due to hit my area at 4:48. The time? 4:47. Never mind.

Some aspect of the storm actually broke a leaf off my eggplant plant and the soil around the tops of the lettuce roots was washed away--that's how hard it was raining--but I think everything will be fine. It's a fun aspect of gardening that it makes weather a much more important part of your life. I find myself studying the predictions and making bets on whether I should water or not. I try to water in the morning but most of our rainstorms arrive in the afternoon so it's dicey. I also can't apply the much-needed insecticide until I know whether it's going to get rained off or not.

So tomorrow is So You Think You Can Dance! You know you're a big dork when you find yourself counting the days until it's on again. I can't decide what I think about this season so far. I have a few favorites, namely Twitchington, Mark, and Will, but no one's really jumping out at me (no pun intended) just yet. I'd like to ask, though, where the HECK does judge Mary Murphy shop? The trashy animal prints, the cleavage, the jewelry. Is there a Wet Seal for grownups somewhere? God, so hideous. And can someone PLEASE tell her that the screaming and the "hot tamale train" references are so, so over. People think Paula Abdul is drugged up, they should get a look at Mary.

And is Shane Sparks too busy with the Dance Crew show on MTV to do stuff for SY? (I refuse to type out even SYTYCD--too long!) I know he did the opening number for last week's results show, but I want more! Shane Sparks rules. I think this season is missing the kind of energy he always brings to a routine. I don't know if the choreographers are cutting this season's kids a break or what, but there haven't been many routines that have been truly amazing. I know, it's early days. My husband and I took Argentine tango lessons before our wedding and then did a tango for our first dance, so we were particularly tuned in to the tango routine, which featured one of my favorite moves. But what's the deal with regular tango vs. Argentine tango, and why would you bother with the former when it is a pathetic and boring shadow of the real thing? Also, I can't say I agree with Nigel that the tango should be sleazy. A little dirty, maybe, but that's not the same thing. Can't wait to go to Buenos Aires someday and go to a real milonga. In the meantime, I covet these shoes.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Paging Dr. Freud

So I guess I shouldn't blog so much about my garden, because last night I dreamed that where most of the plants had been, there were only empty squares of dirt. Goodbye, zucchini. Addio, tomatoes. It was very sad. I was crushed. Happily everything is still there in real life. (It wasn't really a Freudian dream at all, just anxiety.) I do need to spray some insecticide (organic, natch) to get rid of these little beetles that like to eat the leaves and who knows what else. I keep discovering them in flagrante delicto nestled in the zucchini flowers. I'm sure it's very cozy in there, what with the warm golden light filtering through the blossoms, a perfect spot for romance, but get the hell out, bugs!

In other news--there is no good way to segue here--I've recently noticed that my son has leg hair. I swear it wasn't there a month or so ago. But maybe I am just noticing now that he wears shorts more often. It's these little things that sometimes make me realize how he's growing up. A few months ago I felt for the last remnant of his fontanel and it was gone. In less than 2 months he'll be 2 years old. I'm sure in a moment I'll turn around and he'll be shaving, driving, and graduating from high school, God willing. I realized at some point that part of what's so weird about having a child is that I still feel like pretty much the same person. I still listen to WFNX (after a few months just after ASH was born in which I steadily listened to the local classical station, because I do love classical music, and supposedly it's good for babies' brains and all, until one day I just couldn't stand it anymore. Give me back my Beasties and my Nine Inch Nails!). I still swear more than I should (particularly in the car, alas, and only too late do I realize what I've just said to the idiot in front of me while my little pitcher sits inches away). I still like sharing drinks and gossip with friends. I still like wearing makeup and high heels (even if my feet don't). I don't know what made me think this would all magically fall away and I would switch to sweatpants and smooth jazz. I'm the first of my main circle of friends to have a baby, and I'm enjoying showing them that it is possible to retain one's sense of self while wiping spit-up off your concert t-shirt. Not to sound smug, or like I don't have plenty of days where I don't bother to try to look pretty, or like there weren't days at the beginning where I felt having a baby had been a bad idea (don't tell ASH). Being a parent is the most ridiculously difficult thing in the world. So hard that I genuinely believe if people knew how hard it was, they wouldn't do it. BUT. It is also the greatest, most rewarding, most bringing-love-into-your-life thing you can do. In my opinion. I have Moxie and her commenters to thank for showing me all the different ways there are to parent, and to show me that I'm not alone. And some days, to remind me to be grateful for the challenges I do have, because when you are tired from your 22-month-old waking up crying at 3 AM one day out of the month, you go to Ask Moxie and see someone commenting who is still nursing her cosleeping 2 1/2-year-old 3 times a night...well, then you feel MUCH better.

This is the randomest post ever, no? I'll stop now. :-)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Holy Toledo

So I'm reviewing those posts I just made, and like, Jesus, look at those motherf-ing zucchini, man! I'm sorry, I am probably the only one who cares about this, but I can't get over it. Look at the first batch of garden photos, the 2nd of the group, below the one with the cage. See in the top left square, those 2 or 3 little leaves? (The suare to the right of it is empty.) Now look at the newer post, the 3rd photo down. This is the same view, you can tell by the phone junction box or whatever that is on the house. Look at the zucchini! It fills up the whole bottom left corner of the photo. Admittedly, there is one of the cousa plants in there too now, but I don't think that's what's responsible for all those leaves. I think those are the original zucchini. (The cousas are behind because I grew them from seed instead of plants.) But srsly, I am in so much trouble. After this summer I probably won't be able to ever eat zucchini again, I'll be so sick of it.

I know, I am the biggest dork ever. It's OK.

In other news, isn't it exciting to run around the house closing the windows when there's a big thunderstorm? I always think so. I know--dork.

Blogging newbie

Aside from the other problem new bloggers probably all have (that is, expecting to post every day or so and then letting days and days go by instead), I am also having a bit of trouble figuring out how to integrate pix and text. Hence this new post, which is really supposed to go with the last post. Oh well.

Here is what the garden is looking like today (well, this week):

I took these pix a few days ago (planning to post them that day, ha ha!) and already things are bigger. The aforementioned zucchini plants, in particular, look about ready to declare independence and start running their own country. In the photos above, they are the ones with the giant Jurassic-Park-like leaves.

Here is the broccoli I'm wondering about:

See how there are 4 stalks together? They came like this from the garden center (although of course the plants overall were smaller). Was I supposed to divide those into 4 separate plants, spaced 10 or so inches apart? Gardeners, I call on thee. Help.

As you can see, everything is divided into compulsive little squares. This is a technique called Square Foot Gardening, the brainchild of a guy who seems to be a bit of a nut, but the regimented organized aspect of this appealed to me. Also the part about not using your own soil (instead you use a mix of compost, peat moss, and vermiculite) because living as we do in a neighborhood of old houses (ours dates from 1890) I figure our soil is full of lead and God knows what else. So far I feel this system is woirking great, although I wish Mel had mentioned that one square foot is really not enough for zucchini. Or maybe it would be if the garden center hadn't packaged 2 seedlings together. Again, was I supposed to divide these? Why don't they tell you these things?

If you're not too bored with my garden yet, here are my roses. First, the climber on our makeshift trellis. We planted this rose 3 years ago, intending to put up an arbor right away, or maybe the next year. Call me June Cleaver but I love a rose climbing over an arbor. As you can see, no arbor yet. But THIS is the year! At last, we are ready. Pix to follow. Obviously if we'd had any idea that the rose would grow so fast and so vigorously we would have waited. Oh well.

Here, the side yard roses. Soon to be joined by annuals.

And a close-up, sadly out of focus (looked fine on the camera!):

I can't wait to harvest. My tomatoes, especially the cherry tomatoes, are really going strong. Just green still, but soon to be red, or yellow as the case may be. I love seeing the squash blossom. So far I haven't been able to catch them before they open so I can stuff them with a filling of ricotta cheese and chives and fry them, Italian style, but I hope to soon. There are both male and female flowers (who knew?) and at the base of the females (I think) you can see the baby zucchini! I feel so fecund.

Son of a BITCH!

Yesterday there were two strawberries where in this photo we see only one. As of this post, there are NO strawberries. Damned chipmunks. I suspected this might happen, because I also have an Alpine stawberry in a pot, and last year when a strawberry was getting ripe I would think to myself, "I'm going to give that one more day to get a tiny bit riper, and then I'm going to eat it." The next morning, it would be gone. T made me an elaborate cage to cover my garden plots, but it is so elaborate it's hard to put in place, so I haven't been doing so. I was waiting to see if I really needed to, hoping this year the chipmunks would be super stupid...or something? Maybe it is I who is stupid. Anyway, we'll figure out some kind of cover. I think we'll reconfigure the elaborate one into something more manageable.

Here are more garden photos. Already I can see that I am going to have WAY too many zucchini. I knew that everyone who plants a garden ends up with too many, so I wasn't going to get a lot, and then I don't know what happened. I came home from the garden center with two green zuc plants when I only wanted one (I think I meant to put one back when I found a better-looking plant, and then forgot). And then I special-ordered some cousa seeds, so I could grow this particular squash I became obsessed with last year. So hey, if you live near me (you know who you are) and you want some cousa seeds, or, in a few weeks, some of my giant glut of zucchini, do let me know. Actually, if you want the seeds and you DON'T live near me, let me know too, for I can just pop them in the mail. You'd have to plant them next year, though--I think it's too late for this year.

Alors, les photos:

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


The title means "a little of everything" in Italian, and "comincia" means "it begins." I'm starting this blog because I realized that though I feel like I'm in touch with far-flung friends (and those not so far-) through their blogs, they are not in touch with me. The title refers, perhaps uncreatively, to my many interests: children, my new garden, cooking and (even more important) eating, reading, watching trashy reality TV, knitting, &c. I will also be counting myself among the mommy bloggers, as my 22-month-old son, ASH, is the best thing that ever happened to me (along with his father, my husband T). And I've been partly inspired to start blogging by the amazing Moxie and the equally stupendous Snickollet. I'm very proud to say I know both of them IRL. (But OK, if I'm being truthful, Moxie and I went to the same college, and we didn't really know each other particularly well. Alas. One of these days I will get to see her in New York, I hope.)

Another goal for this blog is to find out how parents in other countries do things. I find that here in the US, not only do a lot of the parenting books tell you that their way is the ONLY way to prevent your child from growing up to be a sleep-deprived ax-murdering Twinkie-addicted junkie, but also imply that their way is the way all right-thinking parents everywhere do things. When my son was starting solid food, for some reason I couldn't stop thinking about what was OK to feed him. Though I was obsessed with feeding him the "right" things, I couldn't help feeling like nobody in Italy (where I lived for 5 months in Siena in 1995 and almost a year in Reggio Emilia in 2001-02) was tearing her hair out wondering if it was OK to feed her 9-month-old some pasta. If I ever get some international readers, I hope they will feel free to say how they do things in their part of the world. What are children's first foods? Do they sleep in a crib by themselves or do you cosleep? Do you nurse to sleep (do you nurse at all?) or do you put them down awake? And will someone tell me if I can feed ASH prosciutto crudo? It's technically raw meat, so I feel like he shouldn't have it yet. And I doubt he would eat it if I offered. But I wonder.

I'll wrap this up for now, but check back later for posts on So You Think You Can Dance (can this season possibly live up to the glory that was Danny, Neil, and that cute B-girl whose name I've forgotten?), growing broccoli (should I have already divided up the 4 or so seedlings that were packaged together in a cup when I bought them at the nursery? I thought the contents of the cup got planted and that was it!), and my son's first joke.