Friday, October 2, 2015

Calabash, it's what's for dinner! (Fall 2015 things)

It's October! It's chilly! It's... likely because the East Coast of the U.S. is getting a hurricane! That's not very autumnal. But other areas of my life have been.

In late September I felt the urge to knit again--after a long hiatus. A friend introduced me to the HeartScarves program, run by Women Heart.

The mission: to visit women in the hospital because of heart disease, and to make their stay a little more comfortable with a red scarf.

Knitters can make red scarves--any shade of red, any pattern, and mail them in. I made a familiar pattern in a week, and it felt great to get back into the groove:

I found this in a bin at a farm stand. The sign said calabaza and nothing else.

I bought it, roasted it. Made it into soup. Read up on the calabash--a very ancient New World squash. Fun to eat, and the shells were used for making bowls, traditionally.

Calabash and coconut oil, very yummy.

One reality of working with children's programs is: You celebrate all seasons with (for) them.

This month I'll participate in one Haunted House fund raiser. Spoooky!

Also, this event is my life. But every year it ensures that I dress up for Halloween:

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Summer on the D&R Canal

I always called one stretch of a hiking path I love the Hutcheson Memorial Forest--and that leg is.

But it actually links up to a long line of paths, including one that leads to and through the Delaware & Raritan Canal. (It is ALSO linked to a network of paths that go from Maine to Florida. But that's another goal altogether.)

When the summer heat finally breaks and there's a beautiful morning, it is time for a long walk. Four miles in one direction + four miles back = eight miles = WOW VERY THIRSTY WOW.

This sight was so startling it stopped me in my tracks. A heron and two turtles seem to be posing:

They weren't moving at all! I can't believe I got to capture them (on film).

The canal was used for trade and travel generations ago--the hand cranks don't work now. But I'm glad they've bee preserved, so we can look back toward a very different NJ.

Also, turtles. SO MANY TURTLES!!

My spirit animal is definitely a sunbathing turtle.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Milwaukee gives me hope; Madison is wild.

I have some shame wrapped up in my introduction to Milwaukee, WI, when I moved there to begin college. I was a Marquette student--yeah, the overpriced private school in the heart of downtown.

Our introductory college tour, led by other students, warned us not to go west of campus. Don't go above 17th Street, I was warned.

I was told that over there, it was dangerous. People pan-handled. Students might get mugged. I had to figure out on my own that Milwaukee is an incredibly segregated city, and I was being told to keep out of a largely African-American neighborhood.

But guess what, 2004 freshman campus tour? We stayed in an AirBnB house around 32nd on the West Side, and I feel nothing but hope for the Merrill Park neighborhood.

Gorgeous old home, being renovated, slowly:

Look at the old wood flooring detail!

I was back in my favorite city this weekend. So many of my old haunts are still there.

Colect-what-now? I believe you mean Alterra at the Lake.

Art outside the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Obligatory pilgrimage to the Oriental Theatre.

Peace at Rochambo on Brady.

I like to tease Madison, WI and say its style is shabby chic. Something about brightly painted old houses with overgrown gardens of sunflowers as front lawns will always make me smile. Being mellow about garden upkeep/landscaping leads to a wild, overgrown vibe for Madison in August. And I love it.

Plus, historic homes. Love those historic Madison homes.

Sun coming out on Atwood, on the way to the farmer's market.

Basic Batch.

Dane County Farmers Market, Capitol Square.

Live Green:

Guitar garden.

Tomato garden.

Tip Top.

Strictly Discs.

The Union Terrace at sunset.


Oh, just one more microbrew...

This is the courtyard at Cafe Zoma. WILD, amirite?

Took that coffee back to bed--it was Sunday!--to dive into the spoils of our Comic Book Quest. (We wanted Scott Pilgrim vs. The World Vols. 3 and 4. And alll of the Sandman.) Madison sustains three comic shops; we visited two of them.

And then it was time to leave Madison. Mike and I sang along to Jersey Girl by Tom Waits as we started the drive. We were sad to leave, but for both of us, it was going home.

Before the airport: Stretching at Lake Park.

And then... some maintenance problems, interfering with a connecting flight, leading to a camp-out in the airport for five or six hours.

I was so bleary-eyed I hardly remember landing. Read all the damn comics.