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Archive for April, 2007

Thirty degrees

When it is warm Boston is just the best place. Walking out of our apartment yesterday we were hugged by twenty-three degrees, no wind, and people all around smiling like the sun was shining for the first time in six months. Everything felt happy, and calm, and we took a picnic up to the water reservoir which was a mistake because there was no place to sit, just all the dogs and their owners and walking around and around, and us wanting to sit on some grass and eat brownies and read our books ‘n that.

 Three tiny yellow birds and a big butterfly landed on the still leafless trees (not for long!) before we left and that made the long walk worth it; that and the vegetarian steamed buns in the cafe on the way home. We lay in the park near our house instead, and families had picnics, and lots of people read books and lay in the sun. There is something about lying on the grass. I always imagine how far the earth goes down underneath me, and how we are spinning slowly through the day, and around the sun in space.

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Today it is hotter, thirty point eight even. It is exciting. People look funny to me, suddenly slipping into summer clothes. A peek of summer, and better than I remember! I am inside, feeling a bit average about my work, and hoping it really will be finished in time, and good enough to be all over. At least it is technically nearly over, though it doesn’t feel like it. I am getting closer to knowing what sort of job I’d enjoy, which is an up side. So on, and back to work. I’ll look forward to an ice-cream if I make some progress and even if I don’t.

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Feijoas and custard

I have two ideas for getting rich. Number one is marketing feijoas to the USA, in both whole fruit and juice form. I know they are falling from trees all over the place in New Zealand right now. The last feijoa I had was in December. It cost four dollars. I found it in a supermarket, packed up like the Hope Diamond. Fanfare trumpets played and a beam of light warmed it a little, it and the five other little feijoas there in the fruit basket nest. Like dinosaur eggs. I say bring more, bring the feijoa to America… didn’t they start off so close? Where did they go?

As an aside, speaking of bringing it to America, are you haunted by An American Tale? I mentioned that movie to Mark the other day and tears came to his eyes. It was the first movie I saw without an adult, and my sister and I couldn’t believe the little boy mouse lost his whole family and then the sister sang that song “some where out there….” oh bawl.

My second idea for getting rich is custard powder. There is no custard powder in America, and unlike how little mouse thought there were no cats in America and there were, there really is no custard powder. Tonight I wanted a custard square, which is evidently as ‘New Zealand’ as a pavlova. We are going over to a friends house for dinner on Saturday and she asked me to make a ‘Moldova’. I am thinking she means Pavlova, because I googled Moldova and it is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe. This will be my fifth pavlova, amazing seen as I had never made one ever before I came here.

So tonight I had to make custard from egg yolks and cornflour, which was fine because it did go really thick and so nice. But custard powder would have just made things easier, so how come it isn’t here? Maybe it is somewhere and called something else, like thick yellow milk maker. Anyway, I am glad I felt like a custard square tonight because it means I am finally over the custard square ruining of ’98.

I went to a boarding school for two years when I was fifteen. One day for dessert, David, the Chef, served custard squares. I was really excited about that and went back stage to say how I loved custard squares and how wow! they were so good thanks! From that point on, any time I saw David the Chef he would give me a custard square in gladwrap. Often it was frozen. And that was the ruining of custard squares. But he was so lovely.

So those are my two rich ideas. I don’t mind if you steal them because really, I just want the feijoas and the custard.

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Write write writing

I am chewing four pieces of chewing gum. It is Glee gum, which is real gum, from a tree in a rain forest or something. It tastes like other gum. I think it is sustainable or something, though chewing on something from a tree in a rain forest doesn’t feel like sustainable. A squirrel is trying to break into my house because I left an oats packet on the window sill and it has starvation probably from this never ending winter. I hate squirrels, which I have said already. It will have to wait until summer when one bite on the mosquito net will bring it home.

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I have read the whole internet today. Interesting place the internet. Full of weirdos and nice people and many clever funny ones. Much like the real world. Now I am posting for the third time today, except you don’t get to read the other two posts because they were more inane than usual so got deleted.

I went to knitting but came home because no one was there. Half of the people have gone off to have varying amounts of babies, all boys. The one having twins was most nervous and I hope that her mother got her visa in time. The other knitter is in Vegas and I’m not sure about the rest.

It was good I came home because I NEED TO WRITE MY LAST CHAPTER. More. It is currently the consistency of cornflour and two times too big. You think it is hard because there are words in paragraphs that look a good size, but then it is actually all runny over the place. I am working on making this last chapter of this thesis more dozen egg like, as in all lined up and ordered. Point one, two, three, four. Just like that.

Must go back.

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April already

We’ve had a spring storm. Rain trumped snow and I was glad about that, especially seen as it meant birds came out and ate worms and tweeted. With the rain and the tweeting I had a ready-made soundtrack to my weekend.

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Saturday and Sunday were quiet in a sage green kind of way, rather than the quiet of the white-grey variety. White-grey weekends would be illustrated with dirty pigeons, observing, window shopping, and quiet, quiet, silence.

This one was full; embroidered napkins, a shopping trip for birthday presents, radio, and conversations with friends from far-away. It also featured two-for-one Ben and Jerry’s Ice-cream (ew ‘phish food’ flavour is so over-rated: I didn’t see any fudge, or marshmallow, or chocolate cows which is kind of creepy anyway, who feeds fish cows? Creme Brulee however, was dreamy mmmm, little bits of burnt sugar-mmm. Lucky Mark likes to share), videos, a Vietnamese dinner, and lots and lots of rain.

On Sunday I finally got around to making these for some friends who were Civil Unioned long enough ago to make this present very late.

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Well, I better get back to chopping and editing. I have a lot of work to fill up this week with, including some serious reducing and de-mystifying my last chapter. I can’t believe it is April 16th already.

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Good Thursday

I intended to put a bunch of photos on here illustrating my nice yesterday but I can’t find the camera cord. No doubt it is in the box with the sewing machine I sold.

My good Thursday started out with no snow, but lots of rain. I love rain, it is liquid and loud and means it is too warm for snow, even if it is only 2 above zero.

Secondly, I had the best goodbye party ever at my english class that I tutored. It probably sounds a little preemptive, we don’t leave for a while yet. I decided to stop early because I need to finish my thesis this month. I was afraid no one would come because of the weather but everyone was there with plates and bowls of food and nice words and flowers and it really was the best, teaching that class I mean, about my time in the US of A.

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edit: found the cord, but I’ll only put up one picture. This is a present from one of the students.

Someone said to me it was funny that I’d come to the US and spent so much time with people who were from overseas, but in a cheesy kind of way I think that was kind of cool, I mean most of the people are new ‘Americans’ whatever that is, and I think that is sort of a bit of what the US is ideally about, not that I am making country generalisations or anything, plus it is better than coming overseas and only hanging out with kiwi birds right?

I also cut my hair so I no longer look like Rip Van Winkle.

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our separate ways

I sold my sewing machine today, after a short six-month relationship. In part because we leave in less than two months (hurrah!). Huh. Actually, I also decided to have a break because the last little bag I made was so terrible.  I sewed it with a gleaming clutch bag in mind and ended up with a crooked sock thing I could hardly fit a hand into, and three broken needles! (RIP).

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Bye, bye baby. It’s better this way

I learned to sew from my Mum, and also to cook. The rule was wild abandon, well maybe just do it and see what happens… which works really well for cooking, but not so well in sewing. It was pretty cool when we were little because we were always giggling in the kitchen. I remember her offering to make the pair of black pants I needed as part of my high school uniform. They could be any style so long as they were black. I can’t remember what was in fashion, and I am not sure I would have known but I thought it would be okay if she made them. She announced they were ready to be tried on and I maneuvered past pins and pulled on a leg and then the other but I couldn’t get it past my ankle because the opening leg hole was the size of a coffee cup. I have no idea how that happened. She is actually a great sewer, we got custom made bubble skirts, MC Hammer pants, psychedelic skirts, overalls, an amazing wolf costume and even a giant pink octopus suit with eight arms that moved for that time I was in drama club and got made the comic relief.

A nice woman came and picked up the sewing machine a few hours ago. She hasn’t ever sewn before. I was the machines first owner and I hope I didn’t curse it with my impatient and frantic style. I felt so nervous selling it, I was worried I was charging her too much, and that it might suddenly break when she got home; I gave her my patterns (funnily enough I never actually used a pattern for anything I sewed…) and some fabric so that made me feel a bit better about taking her dollars.

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Even though it snowed a few days ago it is spring. I ‘sprung’ cleaned… spring cleaned last night and rearranged our house, finally getting rid of the wintry twiggy tree decorations for some spring ones.

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Spring twigs

People don’t get a holiday for easter like in New Zealand, I think they try to make holidays fair and non-religious, but I am not sure if that is the reason really. So no hot crossed buns. They must be an English thing that didn’t survive the transplant, or maybe German as a German friend makes a special spiced bread at easter. We made some American style bread with cranberries and raisins and maple syrup glaze. MMMM

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We put about 2 cups of warm water, two teaspoons of yeasties and two tablespoons of brown sugar in a bowl to rise. Then I added a cup or so of flour and lots of nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and ‘pumpkin spice’, which is a mix of things; and then some cranberries and raisins. I folded it up till it was all sticky and left it for about ten minutes, then added the rest of the flour and got kneading. For a long time. Then it rose again for half an hour, then got made into little buns and left to rise up again. Then into the oven which got turned on once they were in, at about 200F, and then after ten minutes turned up to 300F. We glazed them with milk and lots of maple syrup about ten minutes before they came out. Wrapped them up in a wet tea towel to get soft instead of crunchy because crunchy is not so good, and then ate them up with hot chocolate in my new tiny op-shopped polka dot teacups and saucers. Only 50c each. What a deal.

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Tiny tea-cups that make you sing: “hold me closer tiny dancer”

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