Thursday, 31 May 2012

GiOrangeade -- A recipe

A sinus inflammation always makes me crave oranges and ginger and something to drink. Sadly caffeine is out of my life so no more tea and therefore no more ginger tea. But, I decided to try something new. I am going to call it GiOrangeade = Ginger Orangeade. I tried two versions. First one I did not like that much. The second one I loved.

Version One of GiOrangeade:

Juice of 2 large navel oranges
1 cubic inch piece of ginger, peeled.

Cut the ginger into very thin slices
Boil it in 1/4 cup of water to make a sort of ginger tea.
Let it cool.
Pour it into freshly squeezed orange juice (dump some pulp in, if you like)
Mix and drink up!

Version Two of GiOrangeade (much simpler and much better):

Juice of 2 large navel oranges
1 cubic inch piece of ginger, peeled.

Smash the living daylights out of the ginger in a pestle and mortar.
Empty the contents of the pestle and mortar into the freshly squeezed orange juice.
Mix and drink up.
Munch on the mortal remains of the ginger at the end!

Enjoy. Your sinuses will thank you. And sorry, no pics. I drank up well before I even thought of making a post out of this!

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Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Kitchen Garden Update

I harvested my first batch of methi (fenugreek, vendhayam) leaves for my methi omelette today. I did not get much out of it, just two hands full. Normally I like to have a whole bunch for to omelettes. But nipping off the tips will probably make these guys grow bushier.

Methi -- two weeks ago.

The basil is also looking good, although it will probably be a while before I have enough for batch of pesto. Here is a "file photo" of the basil from a couple of weeks ago.

Basil -- two weeks ago.
And here it is now:

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Random rant.

On somedays all I want to do is take a really good book, preferably hard bound and huge -- like say the Mahabharata or something and then lob it real hard at life. The trouble, I find, is that while metaphors like this are so satisfying to visualize, they are of no use. I am unable to pin life down to any one physical form.

Today is one such day, where I wish I could concretize life to one object and then lob things at it. I just wish I did not have to be so many things to so many people and have so much to do. But then again, if wishes were horses.

Minor irritant number one: I am sick again and can't seem to drum up enthusiasm for anything.
Minor irritant number two: I almost made up my mind to hire some one to do something on the house. A large scale thing. Turns out that although they claimed to be Better Business Bureau certified, I can't seem to find them on the BBB listings. A seed of doubt has been sown and I can't seem to sleep! Now that means, the screening, interviewing and everything has to start all over again! But more importantly, it means I am still gullible.
Minor irritant number two point oh one: I discovered today that they guy we hired to do some electrical work and who had apparently praised my halloween sculptures a lot to my husband has, in deed, broken my ground breaker!
Minor irritant number three: I bought too much stuff for the yard that needs to be done. I am nervous that I may let things slip by one more year.
Not so minor irritant number four: Dad is not doing all that well and I am nervous about how my Mom is going to manage alone.
Slightly major irritant number five: I have two major deadlines and a conference coming up.
Slightly major irritant number six: I am losing steam on workouts -- actually have no interest it seems which is more important than just not making it to workouts. Apparently I prefer to procrastinate like I am doing now!

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Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Bambi goes Bananas!

My yard is under constant attack by several critters: hares/rabbits,
White tailed bunny
deer, groundhogs, woodchucks (which is another name for groundhogs) and whistle pigs (which is also another name for groundhogs). When I started my garden here, deer were the biggest Eaters of Everything. I learnt very soon that roses and hostas were deer candy. So I fenced the backyard in to keep the dogs in and the deer out and moved the hostas and roses inside.

The day after I returned from my recent trip to India I transplanted some bushes from my raised garden by the front door to the main front garden, wondering why it was that I had not done this earlier. The next day, this is what I found:

uprooted plants
Something had uprooted these plants in its feeding frenzy. The culprit had left enough unmistakable foot prints for me to see:

guess who came to dinner?
I also noticed that the lilies that had grown to a nice height had also been lopped off at the top. Deer love tender vegetation and apparently these asiatic lilies are also deer candy! I had saved most of them last year by bringing them into my backyard, but some bulbs seem to have escaped me.

Deer pruned lilies
That evening I transplanted these guys to a pot to recover from the injury and left them in the back yard until such time as a bed is readied for them!!!

This morning when I went on a regular trip around the front yard and noticed this:
daylilies: chomped down to a nub!


They did it last year, and I thought it was because they were too hungry from the crazy winter. This year, they had let the things go until now. Apparently, day-lilies are not safe either. So, I will have to relocate all of these guys -- that would be 6 more plants for which I have no soil!

But there is some good news in the yarden.  The lilies I saved from Bambi last year are flowering pretty
asiatic lilies
And the red hot pokers that I thought were gone for good are actually poking out. Take a look at the chocolate sunrise, which is, well, rising.
Chocolate Sunrise Unfurling
And there is always the bowl of peonies to keep me happy

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Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Garden Acquisitions

So this year I went a little crazy buying new plants. The list is somewhat like this:

  1. Agastache: 6 (deer resistant -- yippee doo!)
  2. Canna Lilies, chocolate sunrise(don't they really come up with delectable names for these things?): 10 
  3. Asiatic lilies: 3 (rolls eyes at her own obsession with these things. I thought they were going to be stargazer lilies like the ones I had previously and which died suddenly under mysterious circumstances. Those smelled heavenly. These ones though, seem to be more like the common asiatic lily that are not really fragrant.
  4. Red hot pokers: 5. 
  5. Clematis, red, 4.
  6. Lily of the valley: to fill out and hopefully crowd out the english ivy that is choking the life out of my cherry tree in the back yard. I have huge plans for that area, where I hope to finally tame the jumanji-esque growth of tough weeds that really choke everything else out there.  
  7. Elephant ear -- black metallic leaves: 1
  8. Elephant ear -- just black!
  9. Gaucamole Hostas
  10. Astilbe: pink and darker shade of pink 
  11. Phlox (blue assorted, says the box)
  12. Azalea (like I don't have enough already!)
  13. Caladium: which I had the good sense to start indoors towards the end of the non-winter of last year.
  14. Huchera
  15. Huchera: 
  16. Camelia
  17. Bleeding hearts

So how far have I got with all this, you ask?
I have potted all the chocolate sunrises, seeing as they are only annuals, they need a head start if they are to even produce one of two flowers before they will have to be brought in for the cold weather.
So, this is how they look now:

Two of them even got a pretty pot!

Can't wait for them to produce their chocolate first and then their sunrise -- if we get that far this season.

I dutifully planted the red hot pokers symmetrically in my front garden bed, but they are not showing any signs of life at all. I will be disappointed if they don't show up.

One elephant ear is looking good. By which I mean, it has stuck its head out

The astilbe's are in the ground and look as if something might happen there. Although, they are not yet visible to the camera's eye!

The huchera, I am seriously worried about. In fact, I was not even sure if I was planting it root side down! Oh well....

The asiatic lilies are doing good and one of them already wants to make a flower!
Eager-beaver lily!

The Caladium which I had already started in the pot, is looking all happy

When I got to this point in the post, I realized that it is probably much more important to put the rest of the plants in something resembling soil, even if the beds are not ready, so that they don't rot in their plastic cages (bags). So, I salvaged as many pots as I could and dug out as much soil as I could remove from the pile of mulch which became soil before I got around to using it and assembly-lined my plants. Every thing except the lily of the valley and the agastache are now safely in  pots! They are all standing like little toy soldiers in the back yard waiting to grow up.

The lily of the valley will have to wait until I clear out the cherry tree area which looks like this now:

Formidable, if you ask me!

And here is that pesky ivy climbing up the cherry tree around the back where I have not yet got to!

And here is that other, horrid, insidious creepy weed that's everywhere in my yard.

And here is a shot of how it is slowly killing the tulip tree!

But getting back to the list. Sixteen plants!! Really? What the hell got into me?!
Somebody please physically stop me from doing anything like this next year!

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Monday, 21 May 2012

It's Raining Irises

And I miss my real camera! :(

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Thursday, 17 May 2012

Let the Show Begin

The garden is beginning to put on its show.

Here is the first peony of the season:

The first roses:

The first irises:

And the first look at part of the garden:

Happy growing season everyone!!

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Sunday, 13 May 2012

Some Confessions of a Belly Button Gazer

The trouble with jet lag is not that you feel sleepy all the time. Well, it's partly that, but I have my nice natural sleep aid with me, so that when I sleep at night, I sleep well. The trouble with jet lag is that you are out of touch with your body in so many ways. It's not that you feel ill, it's that you just don't feel.

You don't feel hunger. You are not sure that you are not hungry either. You don't feel your brain working. You are sort of vaguely aware that it is there. But you are not sure that it is all there, you know what I mean? And so you plod along the day as best you can with a major mental handicap.

When my brain fog cleared sufficiently, my first thought was "I have a mid-life crisis!" It may well be that this is true, but it may as well be due to the midriff crisis that I am currently going through. See the thing is, hospital visits and thinking about your aging parents, while taxing enough, is not really a work out in the traditional sense of the word. So, the body never really joined in the party. And believe it or not, at the end of a month I have put one 7lbs of weight. mostly -- you guessed it -- around the midriff. The jeans that was loose when I went to India was not just snug, but was quite the struggle to get into on my return trip!

But this is not the whole of the truth. The truth is much more insidious. (See, using words like "insidious" just makes me feel like I have not lost all of it just yet. So bear with me mmkay?).

The truth is that I have not been working out regularly for two years -- at least. And my body's "get out of jail free card" finally expired. It had been sneaking up on me and if I had not had the time to sit around without internet connection in the hospital room, bored enough to go back and leaf through my old photos, I would not have realized it. The truth is there for all to see-- the slow fluffing up of me. For the record, I am now at the same weight I was (ok one pound shy of) what I was in my pre-work out days nearly seven years ago.

But all is not lost. The body composition is definitely not what it was seven years ago. The strength levels were not what they were seven years ago. Now I can squat about 115 pounds. Far cry from the 12 pound bar that many years ago.
The truth though, is that if I had actually worked out three days a week for all these years like I did in the beginning, I would have been closer to squatting my  bodyweight. But, as Sheldon would say, "Could've, would've, should've, Raj!".

Once this realization hit me I promptly spent a couple of days moping around. I did not go to the gym for the following very viable reasons:

  1. I am going to look like a dork with my tummy getting to the gym three minutes ahead of the rest of me.
  2. None of my gym pants fit me the way they used to.
  3. My hair looks really, really messy and there is nothing I can do about it. (seriously, sometimes it just is that way!)
  4. I can't find my water bottle.
When I hit reason number four, I was struck by the ridiculousness of my excuses. Sometimes jet lag is good. If you don't feel hungry when the rest of the world is eating, then you have the gym all to yourself! So, fortified by a bowl of yogurt and grapes, I hit the gym.

Here is what I did:
  • Warm up on the elliptical
  • Squats: 115 lbs
  • Bulgarian squats: 15 lbs
  • Low, seated, cable row: 63lbs total (yay! I can use my right arm. Has my elbow finally healed?)
  • Bicep curls: 12 lbs per arm (carp mon!)
  • Seated, upright flyes: 20 lbs per arm
  • Seated, upright chest presses: 20 lbs per arm
  • Some stability work -- stiff arm pull downs
  • Planks (good old planks)
  • Russian twist with dumbell: 35lbs
  • Stability ball hamstring work
  • Shalabhasan
  • 20 minutes on the elliptical-- this would have to be the first ever. Thank you, sound track of Rang de Basanti!
It's a start. Question is, will I manage to make this a regular thing, or am I going to slip back to my slacker ways?

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