Friday, April 27, 2007

Where do I begin?

How bout somewhere warmer? Like Miami. The trip was full of productive worky things, a rally/protest/march through Fort Lauderdale, a nice morning stroll on the miami beach boardwalk, and a Portuguese Man o' War.

Seeing about 10 of them washed up on the beach made me suddenly a little gladder that I had forgotten to bring my bathing suit. Frankly I don't know how anyone could stand to swim in the same water that a school of men o' war (man o' wars?) are inhabiting. My brother had a nasty run-in with one when he was 7 in Melbourne Beach, FL. The thing stung his whole right leg, then he panicked and tried to wipe off the tentacles with his hands making it twice as bad.
I'm going back to Miami on Tuesday and I AM bringing my suit so those Iberian, war-mongering jellyfish* have 2 days to clear the area.

I'm going to skip ALL of the time between London and Miami and instead talk about this past weekend. I spent most of it in the garden! I was notified about a month ago that I had gotten a
plot in the community garden I signed up for in August.
Here is a 'before' picture. My garden-neighbor Juan told me that the plot hasn't really been used for 2-3 years.

I've had 3 intense weeding sessions in the last week and as such have discovered new muscles I didn't know I had. This is especially good cuz they seem to be in areas of the body that could use some more attention - generally speaking, the back-side. I don't really know when I can start planting things. Many of my garden neighbors have delighted in giving me advice on how to get things done since I'm a newbie. This is much appreciated because I really don't know what I'm doing, however, if I were to follow ALL of their nuggets of wisdom, I probably couldn't start planting until August. I guess they all have different ways of preparing their plots and I'm going to just have to pick a method and stick with it if we're to enjoy any home-grown veggies this year.
Here are the nominees for things I might grow this year:

  • tomatoes (a must)
  • peppers - green or red, I'm not particular. My stingy self is leaning towards red since they're much more expensive than greens at the store.
  • cucumbers
  • green beans
  • radishes: shout out to mika.
  • zucchini
  • basil
  • a leafy green: romaine? lettuce? spinach? I haven't decided yet.
  • cinnamon basil: the National Arboretum sale was out of regular basil so I got 1 cinnamon basil for kicks.
  • Annual Honesty/Money Plant: also purchased at the Arboretum. My mom grew this in her ginormous herb garden when I was little and I remember thinking the seed pods were cool.
  • Stevia/Sweetleaf: from the Arboretum as well. I've never heard of this herb but the tag said the can be used as a sweetener (it's 300 times sweeter than sugar) and is commonly used in Paraguay and Brazil. I'll be trying it in tea.
And finally, a reward for the knitters who are getting bored of this very unyarny post.
My needles were busy in March and April. First is a pair of armwarmers I started for myself sometime in winter. They had 3 purposes: use up stash yarn (free from a swap!), practice fairisle and pattern-making, trial run for a gifted pair of armwarmers in the spring. I like them and wore them throughout DC's last gasp of winter, so mission(s) accomplished.

These were followed by a baby cardigan I made for a former coworker who just had her baby last week! She knew she was having a girl so I was excited to use this purple/pink elann cotton that bought last year. Although there are better baby wrap-cardigans out there, few are free so I went with this pattern from Crystal Palace.

The mom lives in El Salvador so I was hoping this mercerized cotton would be cooler than most of the wooly things out there. And wouldn't you think a wrap cardigan would be more breathable? I'm not sure, but I went with it.

Finally, the gifted armwarmers - I used Fetching from Knitty.

My friend lives in Philly in a basement apartment. So even though her birthday was last week, I think she still might get some use out of these this season. Knit in the same yarn as the fairisle armwarmers above. Thanks to the SnB DC yarn swap!

Currently on the needles is sock #2 for Mr. Beta. I've never knit him socks and rarely knit him anything. Even though I've barely turned the heel for the 2nd sock, I think they'll be done in time for his birthday this week especially since I'll be spending time in a plane and a couple airports. I did get him other things (not giving away any surprises here though cuz he's nosey!) because knitted socks are really more fun for me than for him. They're my first experience with Lorna's Laces (Shepherd Sock) and I loves it. Colorway is camouflage to help boost the manly factor.

And once again I've created an obnoxiously long post and given myself blogger-burnout. Ugh. Luckily, I know someone will remind me when too much time passes before the next post so hopefully you won't have to wait too long to hear about my pathetically domestic spring endeavors. I wish I could stop feeling guilty that my list of leisure activities includes cooking, knitting, and (now) gardening. *sigh*

P.S. YES, I am STILL reading the same book. I'd like to lie and say I just haven't had time to change out the sidebar. Reading Lolita in Tehran is good - but my new job is closer to home so I ride my bike every day; I haven't figured out how to make up that lost reading time from bus rides. And now that I've added gardening to the list of things I try to squeeze in on weekday evenings, I'm afraid the libraries around here may start to feel the sting of my decreased patronage.

* The Portuguese Man O' War is not actually a jellyfish. It is (according to Wikipedia) a siphonophore - a colony of specialized polyps and medusoids. I learned something new :)


PassionKNITly said...

Wow. I thought those were jelly fish too!

I'm sending you some gardening books. I think they're like basic books too, so should help you out.

I should start bugging you now for another post. The more you post, the less you have to post!

Your armwarmers are lovely! Both pairs (though, I like the color ones more - though I hate doing colorwork I love the way it looks when others do it!)

MikaJ said...

so a manowar is like a group of evil stinging things? wild! i need to look up that wiki listing!

thanks for the shout out! mmm radishes!

and dont ever, EVER, feel guilty that your free time activities include overly domestic things! you and i are bringin' domestic back, baby! ( :

princess said...

Just for the record i do not live in a basement apartment. t is a bilevel apartment and the bottom floor just happens to be below ground. I dont want to live in a basement. :(