Sunday, October 28, 2007

Another busy weekend -- over so quickly!

Again, so much to tell you about my weekend, that I think the numbered random observations are the way to go:
1. Saturday morning, Paul headed off to pick up some plants I'd put aside at the nursery while I went to the Nanaimo Golf Club for a fund-raising brunch for West Coast LEAF, an important organization that works to realize a "vision of women's full equality through public legal education, strategic litigation, and law reform." We were privileged to hear Ann-Marie MacDonald read from her novels, Fall on Your Knees and The Way the Crow Flies and her play (Good Night Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet). She was funny, inspiring, passionate, and thoughtful. I saw so many women there that I've come to know through my twenty years in this community but who I don't often bump into anymore -- made me think a bit about the power of women's communities and how I can work more of that back into my life. As well, sitting at a table of my colleagues, I was struck again by how fortunate I am to have such a divergent group of open-minded, thoughtful people to work alongside.
2. As for the plants Paul was picking up -- we've acquired an aronia melanocarpa (Black chokeberry), a euonymus alata compacta (Burning Bush), a callicarpa bodinieri (Beautyberry), and 3 small imperata cylindrica rubra (Japanese blood grass). We need to pick up more peat moss and seasoil before these go in the ground -- certainly enough rain now to make this a very good time for planting (and we've got another few weeks, I hope, before we have any serious frost). I promise pictures soon -- the purple berries of the callicarpa and the black of the aronia are especially striking. Not much to the euonymus at the moment beyond its spindly twigs.
3. We had a former student of mine and his friend, both here from Morocco studying, over for tagine last night. I've never invited students here before and wondered if it was a good idea to muddy those borders, but Tarik is not a student anymore and I was just so aware of how homesick he is for the food and the eating style he's accustomed to. I bumped into him a few weeks ago and he was telling me about the desserts his parents had sent him for Ramadan -- I told him I'd bought a tagine and if he brought the desserts, I'd try to create a Moroccan-inspired meal. I can't remember when I've had such an enthusiastic eater! From the moment they walked in the door, the two young men (very young, just 20 -- and so far from home for so long!) were sniffing appreciately, commenting on the spices they recognized. Tarik must have devoured between 2/3 and 1/2 of the baguette on his own, so pleased to finally be able to eat with fingers and bread the way he's accustomed to and pleased that we knew about this custom (from our friend, Yassine, who fed us so well when we were in Paris).
The tagine was really not much more than a glorified stew -- beef chunks, turnips, carrots, potatoes, onions, and tomatoes elevated by the addition of saffron, garlic, cumin, and ginger. I served a simple salad of oranges, pine nuts, and onions alongside -- not especially Moroccan but Meditteranean, at least, and we finished off with an apple crisp and a plateful of Tarik's mom's lovely goodies -- sesame seeds, honey, peanuts, and cinnamon combinations, yumm!
The conversation was lively and interesting as well. Tarik's friend is still quite shy with his English, but there's not much shyness in Tarik. He's passionately interested (and well-read) in philosophy and excited about math (really, excited!) and politics in equal measure--especially enjoyed talking about Canadian and world politics with Paul, who's well-informed, follows politics with a passion to equal Tarik's and won Tarik's respect by his reference to the French news which Paul watches regularly. Paul and I both found Tarik polite and thoughtful, but strongly opinionated -- Can I be honest with you? is a frequent query, which made me chuckle as I came to realize it was likely to mean a criticism of some form of Western culture. I'm not sure how soon I'll have students to my home again, but I'm glad I did this time -- and perhaps some day we'll get to Morocco, where Tarik assures me I'll find many friends in his family.
4. I've been playing with Ravelry, the very cool database set up for knitters FOR FREE by a very clever, generous young couple -- so far, entry is by invitation only (I think I was about 13000 on the list!) as they try to work the kinks out. I've entered projects I'm working on as well as a few patterns I'm thinking of for the future. Wonder if there's such a site for gardeners -- wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to track what you planted when and where? (I know, organized gardeners already have books for precisely that -- I have messy drawers-full of receipts and plant tags!)
5. And I've got a picture of my new FO for you. This is the Montego Bay scarf from Interweave Summer 2007, which I made sans fringe -- not sure if I'll regret that omission or not. I suspect this will be a gift anyway, as there's probably too much orange in the colourway to be flattering on me. It's such a glorious colourway (Seasilk's Sangria) I just couldn't resist it in my LYS (Mad About Ewe in Nanaimo).
6. Coming back from my run today, I savoured the fall air: it's a mix of spicy, sweet, earthy, musty, and smoky scents with the salt air mixed in. Makes me think of something between Lagavullun and a good shiraz, with a spritz of my Terre d'Herm├Ęs to mix the olfactory with the gustatory! Just scrumptious, at any rate -- I love this time of year, even as the clouds sit heavier and heavier on the horizon. Here's something to brighten the grey day: our Ginkgo biloba (Autumn gold) finally hitting a size and maturity where it makes an impact on an October day.

7.My California readers will have paid attention this week to the presence of the Martin Mars, a BC-stationed water bomber. The news reminded me of watching this behemoth fill up several times within 100 metres of my front deck in summer 2006 -- watching it manage to get airborne is tense and exciting!

8. You know, there's still more I want to tell you about -- I want to show you my photos of the Community Gardens, planted now with winter season goodies; I want to tell you something about Great Expectations and Mister Pip; I have a few observations about teaching that I want to share. (As I quote R.L. Stephenson on my sidebar "The world is so full of a number of things")It will all have to wait. Paul's headed back to face his work week, and I'm on my own again. So after I get a bit more marking done, I'm going to settle down with my next-best-thing-to-a-husband -- my Angel DVDs and my knitting!

1 comment:

  1. How thoughtful of you to invite Tarik and friend into your home for dinner. Sounds like he really appreciated your hospitality. The spices must have smelt wonderful.
    What a great fall red. In London everyones wearing scarves. Lots of the loosely knit ones like yours but thicker materials. I love the lightness in textures with the bold colour in yours.
    ps aren't ginkos the cutest little trees.


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