Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Phlegmmy Mess

I'm just now starting to get over a rather nasty cold that knocked me out this weekend. It was a sort of jack-of-all-trades bug that started with a fever and sore throat, moved into my chest, but also found time to give me sinus hell and an odd achy soreness in my neck and head. I'm still a disgustingly oozy object, constantly hacking, wheezing, clearing my throat, snuffling, and blowing my nose. Gross.

Consequently, not much progress to report on the homefront.

However, we did buy a sample can of stain (minwax "Red Oak") for the shelves and stained the underside of the bottom shelf to see how it would look. Whoa Nelly! Too much stain! All dark and dull! It didn't look like a dark stain at all in the store, but I guess birch accepts stain really readily or something. Anyway, we're going to have to try something else.

Not much movement on the swing. We need to buy a couple more cans of rustoleum, turn the frame upside down, and spray its underside. We also need to varnish (or whatever the proper substance is) the slats. Will probably do that this weekend.

And it's rose-pruning time. To my immense pleasure, we haven't lost any roses since the last great die-off in early December. My impression is that cold weather stops this fungus in its tracks (which means it's out of commission for all of 2 months out of the year here in Elgin). With luck, the dormant period and recent rain has helped the new roses really dig in and get comfortable. I'm convinced that the one thing that fends off the fungus is a really healthy root system. Very nearly the only roses that were impervious to last year's fungal menace were the ones that came with the property.

In any event, it's time to do the annual pruning, check from incipient outbreaks, and transplant a couple of unfortunate souls that were placed a little too hastily last year. I'll have to buy a bottle of alcohol just for this pruning session--I'll want to dip my clippers pretty much between every cut to keep from spreading any spores.

I should also mention that Chuck & Ladonna came up for a visit last Tues. We took them to El Maguey to experience the margaritas in all their face-numbing strength. El Maguey was tasty, as usual. (I had the tacos el pastor. You never know what you're going to get with T.E.P. Every restaurant is different. El Maguey's version has the pork lightly coated in a red sauce, interestingly enough. It's savory and tender.) But I couldn't help lamenting the bounty of Mexican food choices back in Austin: Evita's Botanitas, with its madly un-gringofied selection of volcanic salsas; Polvo's, always a good choice for good quality Mexican staple choices; Curra's, with its interior Mexican offerings, like Cochinita Pibil; and, of course the Jewel in the Crown,
exemplary in every way, Fonda San Miguel. Fonda San Miguel is the place that proves that only a soulless dogmatist can every really, definitively, unswervingly answer the question, "red or green?" (Unless, of course, the answer is "both!") Their red and green salsas are both so good, you kind of wish your entree would never arrive. Red: smoky, sultry, plummy and fulsome. Green: tantalizing, tangy, elusive, and complex. If this were a food blog, I'd rave at length about my favorite dish, shrimp with lime-cream sauce, and their magnificent margaritas, but it's not, so I'll rein it in. In fine: Fonda San Miguel is damn tasty.

Okay, back from the digression. The really exciting news is that Ladonna had whipped up a couple of muslins (that's seamstress-talk for "mock-ups") of the valences for the master bath and guest bedroom. This is particularly pleasing because both of those rooms were decorated around the valence fabrics. So (the theory is) the valences should really pull everything together and make them look complete and polished (as much as is possible, anyway. We still have those horrible grey tiles in the master bath surround. Southern Living it ain't.) The Vests are going to pay us another visit in March, and at that point Ladonna will finish off the real things. I'm so looking forward to it. Thanks Ladonna!

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