A Compendium, to Assuage Guilt

August 9, 2009

Right after I made a quiet pact with myself that I would be more attentive to correspondence (which encompasses not only my weird habit of written epistles, but also blogging and such tasks), I hit a patch in work and life of blackberry-vine-like density and sharpness. Anyone who grew up around here knows that you cannot run blithely through humps of invasive Siberian blackberries, instead, each cane has to be laboriously lifted, gently, gingerly grasped between thorns and held aside. And you will definitely end up with scratches and stains. Such has been this week.

Despite my preoccupation with navigating my way through sharp and pointy things I do not want to lose track of some happenings of personal note. Without ado:

  • Mr. Pencil and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary this week. This year’s theme (traditional) is fruit and flowers. This should have been a no-brainer with respect to David: the man raises orchids and dreams of once again working his days away in a nursery, helping those with green thumbs find the right shrub or additive or attitude. And yet the perfect gift, from me, was elusive. But, boy, did David nail it. He gave me a hand-crafted copper Portuguese alembic for distilling hydrosols and essential oils out of, among other things, flowers. I cannot express how happy I feel when I look at this marvelous and exotic piece of equipment; I feel like a Byzantine alchemist or a medieval magician. It has one part that looks just like an Eastern Orthodox cathedral’s onion dome, another part that looks like a hammered-copper cauldron. Here is a very blurry photo of it from David’s camera phone because I have been just that busy that I haven’t had a chance to capture a photo of it:

    Today between work crises and dull domestic requirements we managed to distill a batch of Douglas-fir needles. Outcome? Disgusting. Smells like nauseating floor cleaner! On to lavender!
  • We went to the Long Beach peninsula in Washington state last weekend. We bought oysters and herring and sat on bleached wood looking out at Willapa Bay. We visited Cape Disappointment’s light house. It makes me sad that Lewis & Clark were so disappointed. Granted, it did rain on them a lot.

    Oysters, Cheap and Plentiful, in Oysterville, Wash., on Willapa Bay

    Oysters, Cheap and Plentiful, in Oysterville, Wash., on Willapa Bay

  • I attended a baby shower, and a wedding, and a wedding reception. I hope to catch my breath soon.

  1. Catherine says:

    Took me awhile to figure out that in Ireland, blackberries that you eat have blackberry vines, everything else blackberry (the invasive bits in your garden, etc.) are called brambles. We wear leather gloves to garden. All the time.

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