Archive for the ‘Handmade by me!’ Category

This ominous little rhyme has been whispering in my brain all month, and I have finally finished an animation gathering the images together, available here. It does not make a lot of SENSE, except in the way that a nightmare makes sense.

My next endeavour will be in Mother Goose territory, a much milder and more genial clime.

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I just realized that I need not give up on Flash, that beloved program! Even though Chrome spits on it with contumely and scorn, and every other browser does the same–HA HA! I can make little animations in the despised program, and then EXPORT THEM AS MOVIES! Which then have to be transformed and otherwise messed with, but I can do that!
My life is no longer empty of purpose! I can waste HOURS, DAYS on this stuff.

This charming animated gif was
1. Created as a Flash file
2. Exported as a .mov
3. Transformed into a .mp4 (using Faasoft Video Converter, purchased)
4. Transformed into a gif and cropped (using EZGif.com, FREE)

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On Sunday evenings I welcome a darling son to dinner, and thus have a delightful afternoon of cooking and baking–and as I am having a party NEXT weekend, I also made up a few batches of cookie dough in preparation for future festivity.
Sunday is also the day my darling daughter calls from her far away habitation in the exotic northern parts of the United Kingdom, and we chat pleasantly for a time.
Sunday is in fact a charming catch-up-with-family day.
Yesterday’s menu featured chicken pot pie, a favorite dish. As I chatted with far away daughter, I got the chilled pie dough from the fridge and commenced rolling it out. Up and down, back and forth! Finally it was the right size, I set it over the chicken filling, brushed it with egg wash, sprinkled with salt and pepper and WHISKED it into the oven.
An hour later, out it came, handsome, brown, bubbling: a triumph!
But as we ate our pie, it seemed to me that it was somehow–sweeter than chicken pot pie usually is. Good, you know, but...sweet.
The pie dough still languished in the fridge. I had used the cookie dough to top the pie.
Still, rather tasty. We ate it without complaint.

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In all the excitement of Christmas preparation, it may have happened that I purchased a few more food items than were strictly necessary.

Or even, MUCH MORE than a few.

Adding an impetus to the problem, many of my family found themselves unable to relish their meals due to a superabundance of truly wicked Germs, which caused non-festive behavior and led to much time spent in the smallest room of the house. So that in making a current comprehensive assessment of available viands in the house, I find I could readily entertain as many people this weekend as I did during the festival itself.

However, my children are all fled to the far corners of the earth, and I own to a longing for quiet. Lucky thing there is the FREEZER, that seemly apartment for storing food. Mine is luckily quite capacious. There is also the fact that the current COLD temperatures keep any food items carelessly tossed into the garbage from making themselves known via heinous bad stinks.

So, mostly we are back to pre-holiday status here, aside from the lavishly arrayed freezer. There was however a large container of ricotta which had to either be tossed out or used. HA! There was also a large bag of dried figs (what MADNESS descended on me as I bustled through the bursting aisles at Costco, truly, I am baffled at such wild behavior) and suddenly I thought—FIG AND RICOTTA PIE!

Nice looking, no?

Though what the hell I am going to do with it, one wonders–my powers of eating are limited– but at least I have used up the pint of ricotta!

So there’s that.

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When we were little, our parents played us all kinds of music–from Ledbelly to Portuguese ballads to Pete Seeger to French chansons, and of course, much more besides, classical to modern. Attending the concerts was not always my favorite part (I still remember my indignation at discovering that having sung some long tedious bit in the Messiah, the singers would then REPEAT IT OVER AND OVER AGAIN–had they no shame?)
I always particularly loved Léo Ferré’s unabashedly sentimental song about the brave but starving artistes of Saint-Germain-des-Prés–silly and yet irresistible. I have put together some images and made a short animation of the song, here. If you are using a Flash-phobic Apple device (DAMN that Steve Jobs) I have also put it up on Youtube, here.
And in looking up Ferré’s details, I found that he also wrote another of my favorites, Pauvre Rutebeuf, which I only knew from Joan Baez’s interpretation. Of which I also made an animation, several years ago.
And I listened to some of his other songs, including the devastatingly sad Avec le temps (link has film clip and translation).
Why do we enjoy listening to sad songs? And yet, we do.
Or at least, I do.
Avec le temps…
Avec le temps, va, tout s’en va
On oublie le visage et l’on oublie la voix…

In time …
In time, it goes, everything goes away.
We forget the face and we forget the voice…

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I was given to understand that the venerable sleigh bed in one of the tiny upstairs bedrooms was UNACCEPTABLE and that sleeping on it was quite impossible. Princesses and Peas came to mind. HOWEVER, being a loving parent, I hastened to purchase a more comfortable bed (from Amazon, of course), and had to have the peccant article removed to make room for its replacement. I have found that CraigsList is astonishingly effective, particularly for items in the FREE category. Rugs doused with cat pee, furniture with wonky legs, and broken air conditioners have been enthusiastically scooped up by members of the public. So when I published the ad for the FREE sleigh bed, I was not surprised by the multiple instant responses. As is the honorable custom, I gave it to the first person to respond, who arrived within an hour to collect it. Joy and I had sweated and struggled to bring the various parts of it downstairs, and it was all neatly stacked by the window. The mighty hero who picked it up–a powerful black man (who told us he worked for Georgetown Day School, where 3 of the 4 Robbins kids had gone to school, SMALL WORLD, no?) first took the wooden bits out to his car, and then returned for the rest. He picked up the MATTRESS IN ONE HAND AND THE BOX SPRING IN THE OTHER, and bidding us adieu, strode out the door. WHOA! HERCULES! We were fainting with admiration!
So, here is the story from the cat point of view. They didn’t notice Hercules so much, as they were hiding in the basement.


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Another chapter in the thrilling Madawaska cat saga!

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Bertie has been thrilled with my recent fling with detective shows, and simply CAN’T WAIT for the next episode. He is a real fan!

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