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Friday, November 23, 2007

 
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i had one of the best thanksgivings i've ever had yesterday. it was a long, lazy, lovely day with friends & good food. carl, kristen & todd shared in a delicious feast and congenial companions.

[centerpiece]


[small thanksgiving bouquet]

[todd's place card]

[making mashed potatoes]

[sven brings in the veggie roasts]

["carving" the roasts]

[thanksgiving buffet]

[mmmmmm!]

we started with bowls of valdosta pecans, an olive assortment & pumpkin seeds from our pie pumpkin for appetizers. todd was kind enough to go back out for carl once we realized he was stuck in north portland, so kristen helped cut potatoes and debeak green beans while sven & i finished preparing the meal.

this was my first all-vegetarian meal: instead of turkey we had quorn roast & celebration field roast. i thought my inner carnivore might balk at this, but i hardly missed it what with the mashed potatoes, stuffing, lemon pepper green beans almondine, salad, sven's fabulous homemade cranberry sauce, my delicious savoury biscuit experiment, chicken-flavored gravy, mushroom gravy, sparkling apple cider, reisling wine & zinfandel.

afterwards we were serenaded with an improv accordian concert featuring "ring of fire" & "particle man." nina *hated* the accordian and ran upstairs, where we wouldn't see her for the rest of the night. after we rested for a bit we headed out for a little walk through the neighborhood, dipping into powell butte for a bit and then coming home on the springwater corridor trail. it was beautiful but cold! so to warm up we had large mugs of hot chocolate with homemade whipped cream (i had "spicy mayan") and chatted pleasantly for a time.

the only disappointment was when we tried to locate comet holmes. because it was such a clear night, i thought it would be easy to find it, but it turns out that it's been losing brightness even as it has expanded to become the largest object in our solar system, so it's hardly visible with the naked eye anymore. plus, the moon was so large & bright it washed out almost everything, even with binoculars. *and* its path places it in conjunction with perseus' brightest star, mirfak, which additionally obscures it. too bad, because comet holmes was so impressive when sven & i saw it last that we wanted to share it, but it was too cold to stay out long.

so we came back inside to dig into the pie, a homemade pumpkin pie sven made with one of the pumpkins i grew this summer, and a pecan bourbon pie kristen & todd brought from grand central bakery. then we set up the red floor chairs from the studio on the floor and played a game of "apples to apples" -- which toby almost won!

we waved from the sidewalk as everyone drove away, then came inside to watch a dr. who episode. at this point, we've even cleaned up the dishes. :) hope your holiday was wonderful!

[thanksgiving cleanup]


Monday, November 19, 2007

 
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when i read this about comet holmes last night, i doubted my interpretation of it, which is why i wrote about fomalhaut & capella instead:

"The dust cloud created by whatever cataclysmic event caused its million-fold brightening on October 23rd now has an apparent diameter that is about as large as that of the Moon. In real terms this translates to a physical size that’s larger than the Sun! For now Comet Holmes is the largest structure in the solar system, and it shows no signs of rapidly fading for the near-term future."

REALLY? comet holmes is as big as the sun? it seemed too fantastic: i figured i must not be reading it right.

fortunately, carl confirmed the awesomeness of this astronomical event this morning: "The Sun is no longer the largest object in the Solar System. Okay? Not the largest object in ITS OWN SYSTEM."

he linked to the intitute for astronomy at the university of hawaii, which pretty much disambiguates it: Comet Holmes Bigger Than The Sun.

so poetically, the largest objects in our solar system are diameterically opposed: one hot star and one cool comet. it's the niftiest form of a binary system i've ever seen.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

 
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i never knew there was thanksgiving folklore associated with the stars! for instance, if it wasn't raining, we could look directly below the moon tonight for fomalhaut, which sky & telescope calls "the Autumn Star, shining at its highest in the south."

but the naval observatory's "the sky this week" has this gem: "As we take time to gather with friends and family to celebrate Thanksgiving, it is interesting to note that there is a star associated with the season. If you go outside at around midnight, a bright golden beacon is located almost directly overhead. Capella is the sixth brightest star in the sky, and it represents a nanny-goat held by Auriga, the Charioteer. The goat owes her special place in the sky to the infant Jove, who broke one of her horns while nursing on her milk. The horn became the fabled Cornucopia, or “Horn of Plenty”, which is still used today as a symbol of our annual national feasting day."

tangentially related: tonight i made soup from one of the pumpkins we grew. yum! we'll make pie with the other one for thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

 
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this time it's "paris in winter," by george winston.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

 
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tonight as i was driving home some boys jumped out as if they were going to run in front of my car. as i skidded past them, they leapt back onto the sidewalk laughing, and i shook my tiny fist at them, outraged. i turned around a block later and came back to them. they were trying the same trick with other cars, but i knew it was coming so i curved the wheel to get closer to them and rolled down the window. i was calmer, curious, but not angry:

"why are you doing that?" i asked.

"you almost ran me over!" the younger one said.

"no, you're jumping out deliberately into traffic. why are you doing that?"

"i'm just looking for the bus, man," said the older one.

"you scared me!" i said. "i was really afraid for you!"

"did you flip us off?" the younger one asked.

i look chagrined: "yeah, i probably did. i'm sorry, but i was scared!"

the younger boy sidles up to the car. "if you wanted to do something nice, you could give us a ride."

"i don't think so. i'm uncomfortable with that. but please be more careful, okay?"

he shrugs: "okay. have a nice day."

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

 
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our raspberries are very confused. it's november!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

 
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happy halloween! we picked pumpkins on sauvie island on a bright, blustery autumn day (bring your freddy's reusable bag: they make -great- pumpkin totes), but we had a hard time fitting in the carving so we just did little ones:



then we set them all outside in a big happy family and held our breath, waiting to see how long they would last before someone in the neighborhood would smash them:



toby & gregory got into the holiday spirit, too! toby wanted a cape so he could fly, and gregory wanted fangs:



my default costume is mad scientist, but i think it suits me. that night we had kristen & todd over to watch "from beyond." we seemed to have more trick or treaters than we did last year, judging by the rate of candy consumption (we had a huge bowl of candy and used up every single piece of it). the costumes this year were better than they were last year, when boys would come to the door with hockey masks over their faces and no other sign of a costume. sven says we see more neighbors on halloween than we do at any other time of the year.



so i was thrilled & relieved that this year, the trick-or-treaters left the pumpkins alone! i didn't at all expect someone to come along during sven's birthday party the next night and smash them, but that's what they did:



so i had to do emergency pumpkin cleanup while sven showed videos to the partygoers. fortunately, there was cake afterwards. by request, this is a cake from saint cupcake, but i used that 62 logo on everything this year, including cards, presents, crepes, puff pasty and apple slices! (thanks to little miss gocco & shu-ju's incredible edible ink!)