Ten Things I Love, or at Least Really, Really Like

Steph didn't tag me for this list, but I'm pretending she did!

1. Hot cider with mulling spices. Last weekend we went down to an orchard not far from Madison with pick-your-own apples and came home with nearly fifteen pounds of them, and I also picked up a gallon of apple cider and some mulling spices in teabags. A steaming hot cup of spiced cider has become my evening treat, something to love about autumn.

2. The first hour after Daniel's gone to bed. This is the hour in the evening when I can relax with Stu, which we usually spend rotting our brains watching TV and drinking a glass of wine or local brew and I work on a knitting project or just zone out.

3. Oberon. We are unapologetic beer snobs and this is one of the best out there. It's also seasonal (sniff). Perhaps that fleeting quality makes this beer all the more precious.

4. Blogging. It's like crack to me.

5. The compost pile. Yeah, I know Steph already said it, but it's true! We eat a lot of produce in this house and as a result there's a lot of organic waste to dump out there. When we moved into this house a little over two years ago, building a compost site was one of the first things we did. The city of Madison sells composters for about $40 every spring, but we moved at the end of the summer and needed one right away. Not wanting to spend $120 to order a fancy-pants composter from a catalog, we went to the nearest hardware store and bought some wire fencing, a sledgehammer, and some thick staples. We fashioned a triangle-shaped enclosure using those materials and leftover posts we found under the deck and voila! We had a compost "bin." A few weeks ago I was cleaning out my sadly-neglected garden plot (I always lose steam sometime in August) and I decided to turn the compost pile to give it some air and see how it was doing. I saw beautiful black dirt and many, many earthworms. I also found a spoon we'd been missing for a while. Compost is such a simple but miraculous thing - you throw your apple cores, your vegetable peels, your eggshells and coffee grounds, and your autumn leaves in a pile and nature turns it all to good, healthy dirt. It's the ultimate recycling. It's as natural as natural gets.*

6. Daniel at bathtime. This kid loves baths. He loves being nekked and splashing around with his rubber ducky and the gentle massage of the washcloth and being wrapped up in a towel afterwards...it's all so damn cute! Unfortunately he doesn't love so much the putting on of the diaper and PJs immediately following, but that obviously doesn't belong on this list, does it?

7. Caller ID. This being election season, caller ID has been particularly handy. At least 75% of the time the phone rings before 7pm, it shows up as "Grassroots Campaign," "So-and-so for Congress," or a mysterious "Toll-Free" number. Now I don't have to answer the phone to tell them politely to bugger off. I just let it ring.

8. Wolf lieder. Forgive the esotericism, but if I had to pick one song composer to play exclusively for the rest of my life, I would have to choose Hugo Wolf (not that it would be an easy decision by any means.) I've had the opportunity to perform many of his songs, including the entire Italienisches Liederbuch and I don't believe anyone before or since so masterfully wed text and music. Never have I had to think so much about music I've performed. I probably spent just as much time thinking about the music as practicing it.

9. The Daily Show. It's linked on my news-roll. Jon Stewart is the only reason I can handle keeping up with the news these days. He's just so damn funny. Plus, he wasn't afraid of calling the U.S. House of Representatives a "bunch of insane jackasses," and that was before the Mark Foley scandal.

10. Digital cameras. I'm not much of a gadget girl, but I do love our DSLR. It was our big purchase last summer, and we've definitely gotten our money's worth out of it. Paying to develop the hundreds of pictures we have taken of Daniel would cost more than the camera. It's much better to have them taking up lots of hard-drive space as huge folders in iPhoto. Plus, it makes mo-blogging mo-fun:

*Stu just informed me that organic waste that ends up in landfills actually produces methane, a greenhouse gas! So you can either return to the earth what came from the earth in a completely natural way, or dump it in a landfill where it creates more pollution than regular trash. This one's a no-brainer.


Becca said…
I currently send most food waste down the garbage disposal. I'd like to compost, but what about the smell? Or critters coming to check it out? I live in an HOA on the edges of the desert--I don't need coyotes coming by sniffing around, or even worse, the neighbors!
Jenn Hacker said…
When Rachel and I rent a house together, I'm going to put in a garden and compost pile. My lease is up in March, so the minute we get a house, I'll be marking off a spot in the backyard for the garden, then finding a handy corner to put in the compost pile!
Suze said…
a healthy compost pile doesn't smell bad. critters check it out - squirrels and the like - but i just consider that a part of the natural environment, and those animals are going to be in the yard anyway. it's wise not to have a compost pile right next to your house, though. we have found that an open-air but fenced-in compost pile works for us, but you can certainly buy composters that keep animals out quite effectively. check a gardening center or catalog, or google it; i'm sure you'll come up with plenty.
Anonymous said…
Keep in mind, too, that you definitely don't want meat scraps going into your compost pile. That'll certainly attract unwanted visitors. You know, hobos and the like. :)

-Susan's "other" half
annalu alulu said…
Ooo! Stu!! How exciting. Anyway, I think it's amazing how much you look just like you did in high school. It's high school Suze with a mature expression holding a baby.
Suze said…
"mature expression"! i love it, ann :) but you must realize it's still a rarity around here!

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