Rookie Cobblers


Here they are!


They're orange, and I love them. They are exactly the style I wanted, and they fit perfectly. I didn't go in thinking I'd make orange sandals. Serendipity at its best.


And now? Wyatt wants a pair. He doesn't want a pair exactly like these, of course, but he wants a pair perfect for him, and preferably orange. And why not? I mean, from his perspective, I can obviously make sandals. So why would I hold out on him?

I wouldn't hold out on him. But he has no idea how much assistance Rachel gave me during the workshop. She helped me a lot--I almost made two right sandals before she stepped in. But the truth is, Wyatt has a 2-week long spring break coming up, and aside from finally updating our earthquake kit (dreaded task), we've got few plans. Sandal making could be fun! And best case, we solve some summer footwear issues. Worst case? We don't.

I sat down today to price the tools we'll need, and they are, in total, about the price of the pair of sandals Wyatt likes but whose leather is, in his opinion, too rigid and uncomfortable. In other words, the tools are not that expensive when you consider the sandals he wants-but-doesn't-want will spark arguments and not get worn much.

So we have a plan: Spring Break Sandal Making. I'll let you know how it goes.


Also, in case you're hungry, I have a new recipe to share! We've made Sri Lankan Dal with Coconut and Lime Kale twice now, and it's delicious. It works well with whatever kale or other hearty greens you've got around this time of year. Today, I used a combination of kale and swiss chard, and it was great. One note: The recipe calls for "mustard seeds." I use black mustard seeds, because that seems right to me. Don't skimp on the yogurt when you serve it! It would be a pity to miss out on how it balances the flavors and textures of the dish. 

(In case you're wondering, we are still cleaning out the house. It is spring, after all, which around here means Spring Cleaning. Roughly two weeks until Easter, and we've got the garage and one closet left to go.)




So Long, Summer

We had a great summer, full of fun camps and new friends for Wyatt, and room for creativity with less driving for me. We closed summer out with a truly wonderful family vacation. Then, back to school arrived with a clattering crash. We're all still adjusting.

When Wyatt was a toddler, I remember complaining bitterly about how hard transitions were. Getting from one place to another, literally and figuratively, when he was a preschooler, was daunting. And you know what? I was too hard on him. Transitions suck for everyone, including me.  I mean, surely you noticed there was no blog post last week. Oh, you didn't? I'm sure you're in good company. I was too deeply in mourning over the end of summer and too busy trying to finish a knitting project to write anything.

Wyatt has been back in school for 7 days; today, he is home sick. Such is the magic of back-to-school. Usually, sick days are pretty boring, but this morning we were treated to a naked guy doing a high-step-saunter past our house. My neighbor called to tell me about him, and to suggest we not go outside just then. Such a good neighbor.

Of course I'll take naked-sauntering-guy (or just boring) over the storms and floods so many people are dealing with right now. Climate change is real, and the effects are intense.


Last week, in recognition of the end of summer and library due dates, I returned the final third of our summer reading list. All the books were, once again, terrific. In reading to Wyatt, I learned about music and musicians I knew little about (I And I, Esquivel! Space Age Sound Artist, Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow), and Wyatt began to understand about boycotts (Joelito's Big Decision). Wyatt said his favorite book of this group was I And I. He isn't sure why, but I can guess it's because the poetry and illustrations were so beautiful, and because the prose explanations were so clear. We're still reading Rad Women Worldwide, so we renewed that one.

Lest anyone think I only read picture books this summer, I let me assure you that's not true. I joined Audible a few months ago and have recently finished listening to the audio version of the novel, Homegoing, and the podcast, The Butterfly Effect. They're totally different types of work (obviously), but I found both totally engrossing. I also listened to The Sympathizer (it was fine), and Between the World and Me (an absolute must-read-or-listen). Also, I enjoyed Lincoln in the Bardo with my eyes instead of my ears, but I understand the audio recording is remarkable.


I just started reading The Cooking Gene. I had the pleasure of hearing the author, Michael Twitty, speak at Omnivore Books recently. He was so engaging in person, I wondered how his written word would compare. I'm so delighted that his writing is equally captivating. As one reviewer put it,

Should there ever be a competition to determine the most interesting man in the world, Michael W. Twitty would have to be considered a serious contender. Twitty, a self-taught independent culinary historian who lives in Rockville, Md., is partial to dressing in the period attire of antebellum slaves, picking tobacco to get a sense of how his African American ancestors once lived and cooking using ancient methods so fiery that he singes the hair off his arms and eyebrows. He is a man of substantial girth — and proud of it. He has described himself as “four time blessed” — 'large of body, gay, African American and Jewish.'"

There's a fascinating interview with Mr. Twitty on Civil Eats here. And you can buy a copy of the Cooking Gene (signed even!) from Omnivore Books, or wherever you like to buy your books.


Speaking of food, well-meaning friends suggested that after a week of vacation in a hotel, where I couldn't cook, I'd be so happy to get back to it when we got home. Guess what? They were wrong. I didn't miss it even once, and getting back to it has been kind of annoying. I have, however, made one new dish, thanks to my aunt's urging. You all know I am no fan of substitute foods (zuchhini as noodles, for example), but this Spice Merchant Cauliflower Couscous is terrific.  I doubt it tastes like couscous, but it looks a little like it, and is a delicious way to prepare cauliflower. Against my better judgment, I even included the golden raisins, and they were actually good. I know. This recipe is breaking all my rules. I'm going to make it again this week.