Dec 6, 2007

Raggedy Grace

We had our first snowfall of the year yesterday, and this is Zane's first snow ever. He licks it up very fast, as if someone is going to snatch it away from him any second. Here is in a rare moment of repose last evening.

You know the Raggedy Ann in the pictures from yesterday? She was such a good sport about that. Well, I was going to give her to a little girl I know, but Will wants to teach her to fly. And he calls her Raggedy Grace. So I guess that's that.

I've got a major deadline tomorrow, so wish me inspiration and sheer doggedness. I need to stop editing myself before I've put a single word on the page, and I must not be so distractible. I'm going to put my laptop computer in the sunroom, where our wireless doesn't work, so I can't Google anything, check on Facebook, Sitemeter, or anything. It's house arrest for me today.

I promise to write about my project sometime soon.

Dec 5, 2007

Due to Popular Demand, Photos and Even More Description of the Toilet

Oh, all RIGHT. And this is totally the last post about the toilet. Here it is, in use and solo. The tank is much smaller than the 1935 tank we had, so now we have room for towering bottles of body lotion on the top. Very sleek, no? This morning we asked
Will if he flushed it and he said, "Yes, three times!!" I'm not sure he gets it. The button on the left is for pee and the one on the right is for poop and pee, or just poop if that's your style. To spell it all out to you, geez.

Another nifty way to save water (I read somewhere that the word "nifty" is in use again, just as I was about to discard it) is to put an empty plastic bottle in your tank. How elegant is that!

I obviously have no clue how to do layout. My first blog pictures, and they are of a toilet. I'm going to cry.

Dec 4, 2007

We Are Now the Proud Owners of--

A Toto Dual Flush toilet!

What? You know not of what I speak? Please. Let me introduce you. It has two buttons on the lid, one for a small amount of water and one for a larger amount. They're used all over the world. It should save us lots of water over the years, although the toilet cost us a little bundle, and the installation took a while, so installation probably costs more than the toilet. "Tricky" was the word Rick the plumber used. So we said farewell to our old toilet, which Rick said was dated September 11, 1935. That helps us date our house back to exactly . . . 1935!

Rick is still up there, cleaning up, I need to leave in a few minutes to get Will and Jack for swimming, so I'm gettin' a little antsy. We cannot sit on this wonder for six hours. Should I post again on how it works? If there is any demand out there, I'd be glad too. Or that may be Too Much Information.

Dec 3, 2007

Media, PA. It's the place to be.

Every time I go to Media in the evening anymore, it is buzzing! It's the social hub of the county. Now there is a new restaurant of a higher caliber than anything else in the town. It's called Azie, and it's very sleek and sophisticated. John and I went on Saturday, and got a table by the front door. While I wouldn't normally choose that table, it was fun for our first visit, because we got to see the constant stream of diners, of all ages, who came by.

By the time we left, at 8:30, the bar was filled and a line was forming. They opened on October 24 to very good reviews, and we weren't disappointed either. Our waitress was a little overly enthusiastic and peppy, but once we were well into our bottle of Sauvignon Blanc she seemed kind of adorable. We shared an order of Spicy Yellowtail Sushi and a Sashimi Salad. Then John got Pan-Seared Diver Scallops and I got the Yakitori Bowl. Everything was delicious, especially the Sashimi Salad. Its vinaigrette was delicate and floral, and the crab, tuna and (one other fish) was velvety and fresh. For dessert I got green tea ice cream, which was a bit gummy, not gummy-old but just like it had too much carrageenan in it. John got a "Fruits Tart" made with a creme anglaise and fresh peaches, mangoes, blackberries, blueberries? He's not remembering it all. I blame that Sauvignon Blanc.

It's not a small restaurant by any means, but each dining room seems intimate. There's a warmly lit upstairs that we could see looking up to a balcony. We'll ask for that next time. And there's another first floor dining room that is busy and Manhattan-ish in some way I can't define.

Before dinner we browsed at Earth and State, and also at Local Home + Gifts. Earth and State (my ampersand doesn't work) has all fairly traded crafts, and Local Home + Gifts is a very hip store (for Media) with the most amazing scented fir candles burning. We were the only people in the store who weren't gay males. If you want to pay more than 20 dollars for a glorious-smelling candle, or if you are looking to pick up a smashingly groomed 30-something gay male with dreamy eyes, this is the place.

Eat your heart out, Main Line and West Chester.

Shoveling a Path to the Clothesline

We're taking a big step here. We're trying not to use our clothes dryer.

We're hanging clothes either on the beautiful clothesline that John and my father in law installed right after Thanksgiving, or on a drying rack in basement. I ordered an extra large wooden drying rack that should be in any day, and I just got some eucalyptus lavender fabric softener. Three sets of solid one-piece wooden clothespins are also on their way, along with a clothespin bag. It's a strange time of year to inaugurate an outdoor clothesline, but we really must give Mervin, my father in law, a job when he comes so he doesn't hog my computer playing solitaire. Also, when I saw the clothesline with cedar posts advertised by the Verm*nt Cl*thesline C*mpany, I simply had to have it. Mervin copied the design from their picture on the web, and bought the cedar locally.

So we're a tiny bit more green. I read that a family will save 100 dollars a year not using the dryer, and a blogger somewhere says she saves 60 dollars a month. I guess it depends on your electricity costs, the size of your family and how you define dirty clothes. Some people apparently just wash everything after one wearing, and even wash bath towels after one day! These are not people who line-dry. When you have to actually hang everything up clothespin by clothespin or hanger by hanger or rack by rack, you begin to set more reasonable standards. My boys just throw everything in the hamper because it's easier, and then I cull. (Of course, a little retraining is in order too.)

Hanging laundry outside, when it isn't too cold, is pleasant, even meditative. Our back yard is very private, which helps. I'm not sure how people around here feel about seeing laundry, not that I care. I do hide certain garments behind big towels, and wonder what that says about me. I guess I do care. Oh, speaking of towels, they end up scratchy, but you can fluff them up in the dryer for 5 minutes if you must. My tactic is to use fabric softener, snap the towels before hanging, and then see if anyone complains about them being scratchy. No complaints yet . . . .

Here is something the poet and memoirist Kathleen Norris wrote about hanging laundry. She lives in North Dakota, where the winters are long and severe. I love this image.

During the unspeakably brutal winter of 1996-1997, with nearly thirty inches of snow on the ground by Thanksgiving, I had had enough by the time the spring blizzards came--another three feet of snow and high winds on the eighth of April--that I set out one morning, ablaze with the warmth of an angry determination, to shovel a path to the clothesline in order to hang something colorful there. As I began to handle the wet clothes, my hands quickly reddened, stung with cold, but it seemed worth doing nonetheless, simply to break the hold of winter on my spirit--and to disrupt the monotony of the white moonscape that our backyard had become. And even though the clothes freeze-dried stiffly and had to be thawed in the house, they had the sky-scent of summer on them. And it helped.

Kathleen Norris, The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy, and Women's Work, p.34