2006-12-22 18:00 in /life
The day before we left for Thanksgiving, we took delivery of our new dining table:
It came from Tropical Salvage. They had a couple tables like this crafted from sections of a huge tree that was knocked down by wind in one of the Indonesian monsoons. It’s pretty imposing in our dining room, but we totally love it.
It still remains to find a set of dining chairs to go with it. Tropical Salvage does carry chairs too, but we didn’t love any of them. Partially I think that’s because we want upholstered seats and they only carry all-wood chairs, and partially we want chairs distinctive enough to match the table, and they just didn’t have anything that fit the bill. For now, we’re continuing to make due with our patio chairs.
2006-12-22 18:00 in /life/food/baking
Thanks to my mom, we now have a shiny new KitchenAid mixer. (Well, really it’s mostly matte black, not shiny, but cut me some slack.) I used to make my own bread back in college, but haven’t in many years. In preparation for our dinner party last night, I made two loaves: an olive oil bread, and a cranberry-pecan rye bread.
The olive oil bread turned out to have a bit of a doughy taste. In retrospect, I didn’t do my usual +15 degrees temperature adjustment for this oven, and didn’t use a bread thermometer to decide if it was done (because the recipe didn’t mention it). For the cranberry-pecan bread, I did both and it turned out quite well.
2006-12-22 11:30 in /life
I haven’t blogged much lately, and the reason is primarily that my thoughts of the last month or so have been predominantly unhappy ones. I feel like I need to purge some of this in order to move on to other topics, though. So, in roughly reverse cronological order:
Early yesterday morning, a good friend’s house burned down. A number of friends and acquaintances have lived in that house over the years: another good friend just moved out (and still had a few things there), and S. actually lived there briefly just before we met. We also had her baby shower there. So, in addition to our concern for our friends’ safety and wellbeing, there’s a lot of sentimental impact. (For the record, contrary to the news article, the fire started at the empty house next door. Our friend and his roommates went outside when they noticed the fire, and watched as it jumped to their own home.) [Update: donations to help these guys out are being collected via Paypal here.]
I spent all of last week back in Maryland. Two weeks ago, my mom called me and told me my grandmother was in the hospital again, and not expected to make it this time. I took a red-eye out there, and was able to see her at the hospital, although she hadn’t been responsive for about 24 hours so I didn’t get to talk to her. She passed away early the next morning. I spent the next week helping my mom and uncle to plan the services and to start sorting through her apartment.
Before that, we had an extended trip to LA for Thanksgiving which seemed pretty awful at the time (stuck without a car for days, unexpected dinner guests, various conflicts with various family members, illness), but, after all that’s happened since, most of it seems almost mild. We’re still digesting the rapid decline in the health of S.’s father, though.
Last night was the winter solstice. Most of the holidays around this time of year derive from some type of solstice celebration; and, although non-religious, our family also celebrates the changing of the seasons and the symbolism surrounding it. The solstice is the longest, darkest night of the year; traditionally a time of fear and uncertainty, although also a time where communities draw together to support each other. It also marks a turning point. For the next six months, the days will get steadily longer and warmer. Here’s hoping the natural phenomenon is reflected in the fortunes of our family and friends.