Food and Naught Else.

John leaves soon to spend an evening and a day whittling schoolwork away. The computer leaves with him, so no bonafide shotsnaps post shall come until next week.

Fill 'Er Hup! update: I've posted the fried chicken recipe on BuildaBelly for any interested parties. (May Purdy chickens staunchly face their slaughter, and may their brave hearts be buttressed by the hope of being turned into fried chicken.)

Fall has arrived in earnest. Let the revelry commence!

One for here,

and one to go.


Speaking of hidden...

A bit ago, as I picked up the dropped and hidden, the forgotten and misplaced, and the all-around clutter of our living room, Millie came running out of the bedroom, glowworm in hand. She was supposed to be napping, and I watched her run around the back of the rocking chair, snatching at the air in front of her.

"Jacy," she sternly reproved, "Come here! It's naptime right now." Then with the elusive and invisible Jacy held tightly in her clasped fist, she marched back to the bedroom.

(Lately, Jacy's been going to work with John in order to buy flowers, but I suppose she stayed home today, hidden behind the rocking chair.)

Oh, and may I introduce Millie's most recent friend? Her name is Friendly, and she's, or at least I assume she is, quite friendly.


With an unrelenting autumn rain in the background, I give you picnic pictures from Summer's Last Hurrah. A friend of ours gave us the coolest picnic basket, complete with tablecloth, candles, and tableware (clothware?) for our wedding four years ago. This is the first time we've used it because our picnics are usually spontaneous or secretive (i.e. John packs a picnic in his backpack and surprises us). Using a cool picnic basket makes a picnic more picnic-y, the bugs less buggy, and the food more feastlike, and I'll not return to pre-basket picnics (unless they're spontaneous and secretive).

My midwife appointment on Friday would have been dull but for the sound of our baby's steady life rhythm. I'm an occasional overachiever and found that I've got a good chance to win the title of World's Largest Pregnant Girl (With Only One Baby Inside). I'd like to take this moment to thank last week's picnic, with its fried chicken, Italian bread and butter, tomato bruschetta, homemade dill pickles, cherry tomatoes + cucumbers, apples + sharp cheddar, deviled eggs, fizzy punch, and chocolate chip cookies. I couldn't have done this without you, and you've been there every step of the way....

I've decided to begin a regular practice (which will earn the title of "tradition" once a few years have passed) of Seasonal Picnics. We will have at least one outdoor picnic for each season, with season-appropriate garb and feasting. Autumn is next, spiced cider and pumpkin-infused. (I look forward to hot cocoa and gingerbread cookies in winter.) The baby will be here in time for our squelchy spring picnic. One last hurrah!

(Um. Has anyone noticed a recurring theme since my morning sickness has passed?)

This was part of the wedding picnic package.

With picnic food

Fellow feasters (all five)

Geese above

Geese below

And a Dread Tickle Monster (cleverly disguised)


Thought Process-- A Running Theme

My husband-friend loves tomatoes and eats them by the dozens.
He eats them until his belly aches.

My dad once told me that in the now-distant past, an admiring boy would exclaim, "What a tomato!" to appreciatively express the charms of any given girl.

An overwhelming percentage of the books I've read in the last few weeks had carny "freaks" as significant characters, and I just now realized it-- after reading six books of this sort.

The last such book I read was a tomato-- an sf jewel by Theodore Sturgeon that told of humanity and appearance and love beyond both, all wrapped up in a fine tale.

I have to can tomatoes today, but I have more tomatoes than canning jars.

And she thought I didn't notice her snitching these rubies...

Generous with the tree's plenty.

Beans and bunnies.


The Nixie hasn't learned the finer points of "less is more."

Maybe this girl's example has something to do with it...


I Spy...

...a new link in my sidebar. Click on it if you're one of the interested. Anytime anyone wants a recipe, shout at me, and I'll send it speeding thenceward. (I rarely won "I Spy," so this pointer is for those of my ilk.)

Leah, accept my apology. I can't find the Honey Oat Bread recipe anywhere, and I searched everywhere. I'll let you know if I uncover it.

I made homemade pizza on Sunday afternoon, and TIti's suggestion of using garden basil and tomato with olive oil, minced garlic, and cheese was devoured rapidly. (John devoured his normal pizza, too, but I ate my mini with a gourmet smile.)

Somehow, walking is more fun when your arms look like wings.

These boots were made for mailin'.

Millie engages in a pine-cone gathering ritual every time we walk to the post office.

She also likes to collect leaves.


test 2, stale giraffe


Switcheroo. Taboo?

Just a test.....should be large....aha! It worked.

What do you all think?
I know it looks somewhat sloppy overlapping the background, but the only other way to see these pictures in a larger format is to click on them and open them in a new window.

Will this seriously affect the page load speed for some of you?
Is the larger size annoying? What's your favorite color? Do you ever dream that you're flying or falling or dying or crying or trying too hard?
Am I asking too many trivial questions?


Worth my While.

I really enjoyed this site that offers views of some of my (and your) dearest literary characters and authors. Varied artists and illustrators offer their takes on favorites. Thanks to Drawn, I now know these exist.

From Pippi to Tolstoy and everything in between.
(Take a peek at Dostoevsky's beard, if nothing else.)

I Spoke It First.

Yep, I'm a housewife.

Take a look at the proof below. Monday I canned garden salsa. Yesterday I made a three-layer, devil's food dream-of-a-cake and a two-layer Boston Cream Pie for the birthday of one of John's co-workers. Today I made two loaves of oatmeal bread and two loaves of zucchini bread. The oven poured out infernal heat, but I, Abigail the Housewife, spread my superhero's cape...er... (apron) to the skies and pressed on.

Call the papers! Line the streets! Spread the word!
A time like this may never come again.

(And if you want recipes, let me know. May I recommend the three-layer, devil's food cake? The frosting has only three ingredients-- heavy cream, semi-sweet chocolate, and a smidgen of corn syrup. An Abigail's dream.)

On Tuesday, the girls and I took off for the fountains, which was a well-deserved break for the two sweet girls who've been jailed indoors far too frequently in this hanging-on summer. We're having a Chief Indian of Indian Summers, and I'm glad of it. The garden still gives us beans, sweet and hot peppers, a few zucchini and summer squash, and loads of cherry and large tomatoes, so I need not bring out the swaddling sheets yet. No frost to fear!

It will be good, though, when autumn arrives.
The mere thought of autumn's wind and color makes me glad.

I have no Baby Blueberry Apple news to share. I plumb forgot about my midwife appointment on Tuesday (or was it Wednesday?) until a call came telling me to reschedule. I anticipate hearing the whooshing "whumpita, whumpita, whumpita" of a baby's life surging forth to fill the room's dead space.

I have belly news, though!

1. It's large.
2. Mighty, mighty large.
3. And it's getting larger.
(That's the news.)

Workin' John's at school tonight, the girls are in bed (note- I did not write, "The girls are sleeping"), and I sit listening to Bonnie Prince Billy, whose voice and melodies, without effort, fill me with good memories. My brain is addled by zucchini bread. It's time to stop courting the computer; it's time to rest silently and listen.

Millie's contribution after nine o'clock p.m.

Garden salsa


Boston Cream Pie

Devil's food.

All that baking tuckered Millie out. Even her apron looks weary.

Still rarin' to go, apron and all. (I am Abigail the Housewife, after all.)

For the curious, she was driving Mr. Frumble's pickle car up and down the rocking chair's arms.

I snapped her unaware.

Joy observed.

Grandma Owen gave Millie birthday skates! She now skates solo.

Land, ho, or something...

Comfort with a kiss

Nothing beats the fountains.

Watching a low-flying plane...


Who knows?

This elderly man pulled up to the side of the road, got out of his car, and silently watched the play of youth.

I'm posting this because Millie had part of a cherry tomato stuck in her teeth, and neither of us knew it.

Soft smile.

(Beck, I found a way to easily double this doodle if she's still interested.)


I Saw a Man.

I was driving the car home from the store, when, dreamily, he nearly stepped off the curb into my path. I slowed, and the reduced speed allowed a close glimpse.

Parted carefully, his brown hair was combed sleek to one side, just above his horn-rimmed glasses. Grocery bags weighed down both arms. He had tucked his peach dress shirt into high-waisted pants, which were tightly cinched and pulled up and over his stomach.

He stared into the sky, mouth gaping, protruding teeth evident, and the arch of his back curved further and further as he bent backward toward whatever wonder transfixed him so.

I saw nothing in the sky, but I bet what I could not find was worth seeing.



A week or two ago I canned dill pickles and dill zucchini relish. When I was younger, I would come home from school and get a quart of my mom's canned dill pickles from the basement for an after-school snack. I remember eating the entire jar myself several times, paired with a few tall glasses of milk. (See- I paired unlikely foods before pregnancy was even a dot on the horizon.)

A real post will follow in a few days. This time between summer and fall bursts with busybusy, and I'll give a snapshot or two when the first lull comes.


To the Ends of the Earth

I usually tell anecdotes featuring Millie, but John deserves a place all his own.

The backdrop: Every time a telemarketer calls, John's antics get stranger and stranger, unless he's too tired and just puts Millie on the phone to jabber them away. A more recent attempt as follows:

Telemarketer: blah, blah, blah, blah, please buy blah, blah, blah...

John: What's your name?

Telemarketer: blah, blah, blah

John, in an earnest, oddly pitched voice: Sabrina, I can't talk to you! I'm a married man! No, no, no! I'm a married man! I can't be talking to strange women over the phone! Sabrina! I just can't do this! No, Sabrina, no!

This went on for several minutes.
You've got to give telemarketers credit for persistence beyond understanding...

Twenty-odd Glimpses.

The Great New York State Fair remains to me what it was when I was 12. This means a lot, as not all human constructs in the world affect one almost identically at 26 and 12 years of age. I was excited in the morning, the afternoon, and the evening, and we spent the whole day seeking one curiosity after another. I'm weary tonight and don't feel adequate to encase the exuberance I experienced in words, but be certain that I was exuberant for nearly 12 straight hours. Millie and Annika were wonderful and enjoyed the day, too, particularly Millie. We had a great time with my family and saw the sights there were to see (many of which I did not snap in order to enjoy them without distraction).

On Monday night, John took me to an Alasdair Roberts show. He'd surprised me by asking two girls from church to babysit for the night; it was the first time they'd had a babysitter (other than grandparents) except for the night I had surgery, which places this in the category of A Very Big Deal.

I found it strange to be out and about, night life thriving, without two girls grinning or snoring or scowling in our arms. I kept saying, "Oh! Millie would love that!" while the realization that I'm really and truly a mother sank deeper. It was lovely, though, to enjoy John's company solo, and to talk and listen without one-and-a-half ears tuned to background chatter.

The show drew about 30 people in a dark basement room. An odd couple opened, and Alasdair finally came onstage just shy of midnight. The simplicity of voice and guitar, absent other instruments, made his excellent playing obvious even to the unskilled (i.e. myself), which is something not as evident on his albums due to the presence of other accompaniment.
I was impressed with several things.
1. His skill with his instrument and the friendship between it and his voice
2. His appearance: the skinniest man in the world (sorry, Mr. Terry, but he's claimed your title fair and square), an honest Scot's face with crinkled eyes and a crooked grin
3. The show itself: He sang three of my favorite songs of his (Farewell Sorrow, The Whole House is Singing, and Down Where the Willow Wands Weep), and I was struck anew by his lyrical ability.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again. I'm very excited by the fact that he's singing not only traditional Scottish ballads but writing his own songs in the traditional vein. He's darn good at both, too.

So together John and I enjoyed the lilt of speech and song.

Speaking of the grandest husband-friend in the galaxy, John has begun school again. His last semester of full-time work and full-time school is off! Then we're onward to find us the best dern prison library in the country! I am truly proud of him, tho' I don't often share much beyond superficialities on this blog. He has a 4.0 thus far, earns honest respect at work, and continues to be my best friend and the beloved bearded dad of our girls.

I am relatively cut off from country/world news, hearing what I do in bits and fragments from people around me instead of the television or newspaper chutes. I've heard enough about the hurricane's devastation and the near destruction of New Orleans to feel as if I've watched a dozen newscasts, though. I feel badly for those who lost homes and property, but I have much greater sorrow for those whose dear ones died.
Sickness, toil, and danger live here below. May God give comfort to those in pain.

This was the Year of the Seneca on Turtle Mound. My sister-in-law is 1/4 Seneca, and although she has blonde hair, I bet she can dance pretty well, too.) Posted by Picasa

Watching the Smoke Dance. Posted by Picasa

This is Big Norm, the world's largest known living pig. We paid a dollar apiece to gaze upon his rolls because John was supremely excited to enter the tent. In John's words to the pig's owner, "He's a MAGNIFICENT pig!" (We all know he was only speaking of the amount of ham and bacon Big Norm has to offer.) Big Norm is about 8 feet long and weighs 1,600 pounds. When we asked if he gets much exercise, his owner replied, "Sure, he gets up and walks to his food and water..." (Follow the link for more info. on this fat pig.) Posted by Picasa

Millie was entranced by a naughty monkey. He'd stolen someone's chapstick and refused to give it back, nipping his trainer and screeching in protest when someone finally pryed it from his nimble fingers. Posted by Picasa