Sunday, July 12, 2009

Art, Pastry, Fruit and Knitting.

I am in the Half-Hour. It's Sunday, you see....around here, we call that "Fosamax Sunday". Now, that's not a plug or product placement or anything, because the truth is that it's "Alendronate Sodium" Sunday. Admit it, doesn't have the same ring. But what that means is this: 1) I apparently have...or am teetering on the brink of...osteoporosis; 2) I therefore take a pill once a week to shore up me creaky bones; 3) When you take one of these, you must "remain in an upright position" for a half-hour.

Which makes me, unrepentant hippie passive-aggressive that I am, want to: 1) lie down; 2) stand on my head; 3) ask "WHY??" However, I am also an Old-and-Therefore-WISE old lady, so I will: 1) stay upright; 2) throw over the headstand anyway, as it would be: 2a) uncomfortable; 2b) undignified; {and I hear that cackling over there, NEVERMIND! } and 2c) whaddya, think I'm outta my mind? (Which question is RHETORICAL, Peanut Gallery.)

But wait, there's more. ALSO during the half-hour post-pill period, I cannot drink anything but water, nor eat ANYTHING. That includes the rest of my morning regimen of pills (think: I'm tempted to just toss the lot in a bowl with milk and sugar....) AND it includes....


These are delicate scrolls of pastry, Greek in origin, which are made by some arcane method - and then drizzled in a thin syrup of honey. The honey permeates the layers without making them soggy. When they're finished, the bakers (in this case, some nuns at a convent, I'm told) lean over and whisper "Cinnamon" over them. It's not so much a flavoring as a scent in the throat.

I learned about Diples as part of my college education. There was a place called The St. Clair Broiler (over on St. Clair Avenue, as it coincidentally happens) which served, along with decent burgers and the usual college chazerai - very large, perfect Diples. They were also open late, for the benefit of we Macalester scholars who were unencumbered by stuff like dating and so wandered over there from the "Libe" in an intellectually-superior knot for something to eat.

"So, Dale-Harriet, where then have you obtained another example of this ambrosia, all these long, vast, centuries months later?"

At the Art Fair on the Square! This is an annual event, huge as you can see. The weather was fine and we met another couple and strolled around together.

NOTE: Since I began writing, the half-hour has expired, I have taken my cereal-bowl of pills and.........eaten two of the diples. I will now return to the scheduled blogpost.

There were many fine things to see at the Art Fair: some beautiful, ethereal paintings (waaaaaaay to spendy for me) and some wonderful wooden bowls, artsy baskets -- one might say "the usual". We also trailed throught the Art Fair OFF the Square, sort of an adjunct show but only Wisconsin artists. The things are no less showy but are somewhat less spendy -- but I saw nothing to complement my Early Salvation Army - Mid-Student Housing decor, so we didn't buy anything. (I must say, though, the High School Pottery Group, displaying delicious bowls and cups and things made by students from all the schools in town - I'd have come away from that with something, had anything truly caught my fancy.)

As we wound up our stroll and were JUST about to walk down to The King of Falafel for a fine repast, I saw it: GREEK PASTRIES!! Trays and trays of all manner of diples, baklava, those things that look like shredded wheat but are filled with chopped walnuts and are positively DRENCHED in honey.....'scuse me, I have to go get a napkin.....OK, I'm back. ANYway, I bought some. Nine. Six diples, three of the shreddy-wheaty things. For the record, since ending my Half-Hour I have eaten two of each. Nevermind.

After you've spent a couple hours walking up and down and back and forth and examining Fine Art, it can sort of alter your perception of things. For example, I noticed this reflection of our beautiful capitol dome:

Or maybe it's just that all the artsy-fartsy vibes got to me -- but you know, I bet if I print this as an 8x10 on glossy paper and make up some clever caption in German, I can sell it NEXT year at the Fair! From what I saw, it should bring me about Eleventy-thirty hundred dollars. Hmmmmmm.

Some other things that have occupied me these last few days: BERRYING! Yes, since identifying my lovely berries as really-truly Black Raspberries I've been going out every day or so and plucking them as they ripen. Like regular rasps, you can tell they're ripe when you touch them and they fall into your hand. I didn't drop any, and I'm glad, because I'd have been down there amongst the thorns trying to find it. However, we have a few mosquitoes around here, and I was delighted when Mr Dearling provided me with a relic from his Outdoorsy Past:

OK, OK!! I'm not looking to win any aesthetic awards here! You may laugh and jest (in fact, if you're NOT laughing and jesting you're a more serious soul than I) but I have to tell you, the dorky thing works! I managed, this last time, to get my berries with both of my eyes OPEN the whole time. However.........I have to tell you, the sound of thousands of mosquitoes buzzing and buzzing around trying to get to you to suck out your blood and eye juice and spit and soul -- that's pretty unpleasant too. I've just e-mailed and rescinded my application for Chief Entymologist in the Rain Forests of Borneo. But at least I did emerge victorious, with THIS:

Now, to be truthful, this is ALL the berries I've gathered; I've been putting them in this bowl each day and keeping them in the fridge. But ladies and gentlemen, these berries' hours are numbered. SOME time today, Mr Dearling and I are going to have small bowls of rich French Vanilla ice cream, spangled with our very own organic Black Raspberries. I will write a proper Food Critic commentary on the experience in the next few days. I am frightful tickled with these, and with the canes, and I'm VERY grateful to whichever birds out there ate someone else's black raspberries and managed to hold it together until they got into MY back yard to.....eeeeeew. Nevermind. Suffice it to say, I'm glad Mother Nature gave'em to me, and I'll think about something other than Her methods. Thenk yew.

OK - I've managed to write a whole LONG post (that's what happens when I leave off for a few days) without once mentioning cats, sticks or books!! The books are going to have to wait for another day (but believe me, it's not for a dearth of material on either one) but I. HAVE. BEEN. KNITTING! I finished two Calorimetry head bands, a fine toque (replacing the goofy one I made before), and I have begun another requested toque:

Yes, ladies and gentlemens. You ARE seeng right. If your computer has "tru-tone" or some kinda thing that gives you the full and authentic color on your screen, I must apologize for failing to warn you. That IS a toque on the needles, it WILL be a perfectly-authentic (in design) French-Canadian toque of the voyageurs-wore-them variety. But NO! This is NOT a color which would probably have appeared in ANY 18th century palate. No....this toque is for a gentleman (a fellow-reenactor, true enough) who, recognizing a very decent style of cap useful in our Wisconsin winters, has asked for one, NOT for his reenacting, but for his time-honored Wisconsin tradition, The Autumn Deer Hunt.

I think the law states that if you're out there you must wear blaze orange ALL OVER; that's so that you can't be mistaken for a deer by even the drunkest, most inexperienced bleary-eyed hunter in the forest. (They're NOT from Wisconsin, by the way...hunters come here from far and wide because we have a veritable scourge of woods rats ....errrhm....a vigorous deer population. The females are so CUTE (rumor has it that the original drawing of Bambi's mother was taken from a Wisconsin doe) but there are NO (I repeat NO) blaze orange deer here or anywhere else. So the decision to have such a safety-conscious and warm head covering is not only wise but sensible and forward-thinking, and although I find I have an after-image for about three hours after knitting on this, it: 1) IS "knitting"; 2) is a laudable request; 3) is kinda fun in a perverse way; 4) may provide some comments when I take it to Late-Night Knit next week.

And in closing (you're on your own about the "books") I present to you Mistress Evangeline, Priestess of Bast, Grand Dame of the Household, Precious Feline Fuzzydaughter, looking her most snooty -- mildly-disapproving. Her mood improves in direct proportion to the number of Green Crunchies I am dropping into her bowl.

You're going to post this, aren't you?



Anonymous said...

Can you knit standing up? That could make the half hour pass quickly.

MollyBeees said...

Beautiful Capitol reflection pic, but I would pay you even more for the dorky looking headgear. Today, for the first time in MY LIFE, I had to buy DOG insect repellant! Never seen the bloodsuckers as ferocious as they are this year.

teabird said...

Ooh, I love those shredded-wheat-honey things. Any Greek pastry, in fact (and nearly any Greek salad, spinach pie, cheese pie, stuffed grape leaves.......)

I was taking Actonel for 5 years, and it did help with the osteoporosis, but that 1/2-hour was SO annoying. I switched to Reclast this year - once a year you get a drip for 1/2 hour and that's it! Much less annoying.

Jamwes said...

I'd give you a dollar to see you do a head stand.

Chanter said...

Ooooh, that description of events on the square today is making me wish I'd gone! It was a toss-up between 'go to the square after work' and 'stay in and catch up on the sleep I missed last night.' The sleep thing won out, because I have little to no willpower to speak of. Sounds as though I'd have liked the goings-on at the fair off the square... oh well. And rats. Glad you enjoyed it, though. :)

On another note, mmm, black raspberries! You know, if I've ever had those I can't remember it? Blackberries yes, red raspberries yes, strawberries absolutely, but black raspberries... not to my knowledge. Then again, maybe I have and just didn't know it at the time. And hmm. I keep hearing rumors of *white* raspberries; they're supposed to be a very pale yellow, if not truly snow-colored. Ever heard of such an animal? Or am I a bit on the misinformed side again. It's happened before.

the only other thing I'll say here? Yiiicch, mosquitoes! Nasty little beasts, they are. Between those and the no-see-'ems... yuck! and to think they weren't nearly so terribly bad a few weeks ago...

gayle said...

Must now go look for a diples recipe...
Can you knit the toque wearing sunglasses? Wouldn't want to risk permanent eye damage.

CTJen said...

oh i'm surprised those berries are even able to make it into the house. I know I would be standing in the bushes shoving them into my mouth as fast as my hands could catch them. :-)

Randi said...

Heh, heh, I made one of those Blaze Orange toques for my hunter son-in-law. Now I have leftover yarn. What can you do with that??

Alwen said...

I guess I'm living in black raspberry heaven, then. Also asparagus heaven, blueberry heaven, cherry apple peach strawberry and-so-on heaven.

Well, mosquito heaven, too, but we are SO not talking about that!

eeeeeeeeeeee! slap

marjorie said...

heh. There's a reason I can't go deerhunting. I hate orange! :) LOVE the shot of the capitol!

Greek pastryhoney mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Ducky said...

I have fallen under the spell of Mistress Evangeline. I am left helpless and happy.