Who knew I had such good sense?

Actually...such a good sense of smell, which I don't. Nakeid IT, on the other hand, has the olfactory system of a hound dog. All I can say, it's a good thing hand-dyed yarn and new shoes don't come scented.

Back to the stink-ems. Sampling perfume is an affordable indulgence, but it is indulgent. For $15 you can get seven samples from this New York shop, which, if you could beg from Nordstrom's would be free. (But that would mean breaching the phalanx of bored, perfectly coiffed sales girls, who scared the tar out of me when I worked retail. And they wouldn't carry these nichy scents, besides. Fifteen dollars starts to look pretty cheap.)

The above source won't get you the classics. For those, go here. You'll pay more for seven samples, but this retailer will introduce you to the Big Whoops of the industry as well as the smaller players.

I started with a sampling from Guerlain and was underwhelmed. Remember I have the nose of an apneic truck driver, so consider that when you read the following:

Shalimar smells, well, old. Like a box of old talcum, hidden in a closet with the fox-collared coat Dad gave Mom the Christmas of '66 and your second knitting project--that hideous four-foot long stocking camp, riddled with holes before the moths got it. But you can see why people love it; it's not a simpering 18-year-old celebrity in a skirt short-enough to make her stage mum writhe. No, it's definitely lady-like, but crepey, a Revlon-lipstick of a scent that's had a life and traded her heels for Danskos.

Jicky was just icky. Originally created in 1889, Jicky was a ground-breaker, one of the first perfumes made with synthetic components. It comes out of the vial, honking herbs and citrus and Port-o-John like a guy proud of his giant, swaying belly. Jicky raised my bile, and I spent an uncomfortable evening, hoping he'd take this sweaty hands off me. We had a very bad date, Jicky and I. There won't be a second.

But then I met Sous le Vent, which had me at "allo!"

Sous le Vent rustles in as fresh as a new silk blouse and wears just as well. This lovely is all "ooh-la-la, let's have a nice dejeuner of salad and sweets and wouldn't it be divine to have a new scarf, too, regardless of le Euro?" Designed in 1933, Sous le Vent whistles in the face of the Depression, a flirty, fun escape until you view it's not-so-breezy price.

Maybe my nose isn't so bad after all?

Sniffing around perfume samples

After reading Coming to My Senses, I've gone a little bats about perfume.

Working from home there's little reason to apply much stink-em, unless there's a big do. But by the time a big do rolls around, the spray on your No. 5 bottle's jammed, your Coco's turned and your autumn favorite's been discontinued. (Hana by Aveda, they had no right.)

So you go around smelling like Burt's underarm deodorant. There are worse things.

Then you remember how lovely it is to smell...lovely. That feeling, eye's rolled to the ceiling, as you smell your wrist, that sense of delight in the middle of a dreary day from a simple sniff. Suddenly you're no longer the goat at work--your hair is combed, you're striding through the Algonquin Hotel and you're wearing gorgeous pumps, black, pointy-toed, dainty of heel but comfortable (it's your perfume fantasy--in a perfect world all shoes are fabulous looking with memory foam insoles) to enjoy a late afternoon cocktail (not that you drink them but you're stuck at work with your wrist in your face, so you might as well enjoy a $15 fantasy beverage) with an editor who's just offered a six-figure advance...

See what the right scent can do?

So you find one that you love. And you think, wouldn't it be nice to have another? Something darker, spicier but just as private?

So you start making orders. A few samples here, a few there. You sample the classics trying to educate your nose, which has a mixed history (Charlie and Love's Baby Soft?) Only about one out of five is a keeper (more on this later) and the ones that are cost hundreds for a small vial.

So there you are in your home office in a dirty t-shirt smelling of vintage Chanel.

A sweet New Year

Of course, this is only a fraction of what our tree produces. But aren't they stunning? I love their wabi-sabiness, the scratches and dents and insults perpetrated by squirrels and worms alike. And the color.

Nature does it up right.

We enjoyed a lovely apple cake last night, recipe courtesy of Mama Elaine. I back off on the sugar a bit, 1.25 cups instead of two and split the flour between all-purpose and whole wheat. And use more apples, for obvious reasons.

L'shanah tovah, a happy and healthy and sweet New Year to all our friends and loved ones!

Yarn crawl

"Crawl" really does describe my participation in Yarn Along the Rockies: I crawled to class, bought yarn, made my students rip out their projects and came home. (My students, they love me.)

Was delighted, however, to see the parade of knitters in and out of the shop, smiles on their faces and yarn in their bags. Happy buzzing all around.

To all the hardworking LYSOs who participated in the crawl: You done good. You've created a real community.

Oh, and the yarn? More Sleep Season. Natch.

A change of seasons

One of my knitting students referred me to this wonderful blog, Advanced Style, which follows ladies of a certain vintage, who are still so in love with life, style and play, well, you'll see, they're an inspiration. The perfect distraction as the season changes from oppressive to Chanel No. 5.

The organic question

Y'all probably read about the Stanford study that compared the nutritional content of organic and conventional produce. The authors of the study conducted a massive review of the literature, identifying 237 for further scrutiny. These studies looked at many variables, including the nutrient content of the produce as well as their bacterial, fungal and pesticide load. None of the studies compared the longitudinal health of populations consuming largely organic or conventional crops.

Based on their meta-analasis of the literature, they found no significant difference in nutritional content; organic produce didn't necessarily contain more vitamins, though there was some indication that organic milk yielded more omega-3 fatty acids. Organic produce tended to have about 30 percent less pesticide residue but was not pesticide free. Two studies on children demonstrated that kids consuming organic diets had less pesticide in their urine than children on conventional diets. But the health benefits or detriments to the kids are unclear.

The researchers were careful to note the limits of their work, mentioning variations in farming practices, weather and soil influences and different testing methods among the studies. And they also were quick to say there are other reasons to buy organic apart from how much vitamin C might be in your tomatos.

Here at Casa de Nake-id we don't buy all organic goods. It makes me writhe to pay $4 for a cup of raspberries or $5 for two cucumbers. Plus Big Organic has a reputation for putting profits over poultry, so the idea of buying organic for the greater good only goes so far when it comes to how animals are treated, especially in large operations.

The food I trust the most comes from our garden. (Though after suffering a wasp bite washing chard, I'm not so sure.) I trust it not because it's healthier (Lord knows what's in our Northwest Denver soil), but because it's here. This time of year, I can often glean an entire meal from what's coming out of the ground and hiding in our cupboards. Apples, kale, arugula, zucchini, tomatoes, herbs.

Our garden is small and not particularly ambitious. When a real gardener shares the fruits of her labors with us--it's a delight. Like slipping on a handmade sweater, there's something about food grown by friends.

I started this post intending to get all huffy about the Stanford study--about how the issue is bigger than the phytonutrients in your carrot and how buying organic puts a big green thumb in the eye of Monsanto. But my point, really is this: The healthiest thing we can do for ourselves is cook. You can take back your palette and your health by learning to whip up a couple of great salads and soups, bringing leftovers for lunch instead of Lean Cuisine and eschewing meat at every meal.

Yes, buy organic when you can. Support farmers who grow organically even if they aren't certified. And learn to make a mean stir fry. If you learn to love cooking even a little bit, you'll be seasoning your food with the healthiest ingredients of all--your care, attention and love.

Woman attacks husband with knitting needle: Finished Object

The other day, I stumbled on the headline: Woman arrested in knitting needle attack on husband.

My first thought was, Addis or Knit Picks?

Then, what could have possessed her?

But when I showed Mr. Nake-id my latest FO, he tossed off this comment, "Looks like something a clown would wear."

I think I get it now.

Knit in Sleep Season sock yarn, pattern adapted accidentally from Mizzle by Patricia Martin.

Clinging to the summer with free-stone peach sangrira

Sunday was one of those magical mountain evenings where the air was so crisp and clean and dry, it sparkled.

We dined al fresco bundled in fleeces and sweatshirts, feasting on a meal largely culled from everyone's gardens and trees. Robyn created the libation pictured above, peach-and-basil sangria, from her own canned peaches and garden basil. It was the perfect start to this end-of-summer repast, tasting as it did of afternoon sun and mown fields. With a kick.

And, of course, there was the meal. And the flowers. And the company.

As we all return to laboring for a living, there's satisfaction in knowing that we celebrated the season so rightly and so well.

News and new obsessions

(Well, it is Friday. Hence the cat blogging image, which bears no resemblance to what follows.)

This is the last day of August and here at Chez Nake-id we're asking the hot weather to be gone. The crisp mornings are making us think of hearty soups and roasting things and the sweltering afternoons make us not want to make those hearty soups and roasting things. It really is enough already.

Ninety-degree days or no, September comes and with it a brand-new season of knitting, school clothes (whether you plan to matriculate or not) and nesting.

Some things to do, upcoming: The Salida Fiber Festival and Yarn Along the Rockies, the first-ever Front Range shop hop.

Something to knit: This splendid shawl.

Something to smell: Seven samples for $15. Includes shipping.

Something for your wish list. (In black and white or why not all colors, since we're wishing?)

Something great to do with chard.

Something to support.

Something to watch. Again. (For the writing, the art direction, the men!)

Something to wrap around your neck.

Something to make. (From Kathy in Westcliffe.)

Something to dig out of your drawer!

May your weekend be full of discoveries.

 

Photo courtesy of the divine Ms. Lisa.

What to do with all the kale?

Gardens, we're discovering, aren't linear, preditable things. One year the tomatoes are so prolific, you can't manage the marinara production. Another, broccoli abounds to the point you're giving it to the neighbors in bouquets. This year, it's greens. The kale. The chard. The arugula. All bitter and tangy and astringent, the greens are a forest of dark, swaying fronds so dense, the cats can hide and we're nary the wiser.

With some gift funds still available in my Amazon account and in my recumbent state, it's been easy to click "add to my cart" when something promises ideas for these things other than steam, plug your nose and chug.

Which is how this ended up on my doorstep. (There's recipes to be had if you click on the link...)

Spend a few minutes on Sara's site Sprouted Kitchen and you'll immediately notice the care and attention she gives the food and her readers. Glowing with her husband's evocative photography, Sprouted Kitchen serves up plate after plate of wholesome, mostly vegetarian dishes, heaping inspiration and simple goodness into every post.

Her book is exactly the same. A collaboration between she and her husband, Hugh, The Sprouted Kitchen is a dance between Sara's food and Hugh's images: Shot in extreme close-up, the Coconut Lime Tart coyly displays only a corner of the dessert, pistachio and coconut crumbs in delicious dishabille in the foreground. Or the Asian Tofu Tacos with Hoisin Slaw? You'll just want to crawl in between the folds of those whole-wheat torillas and bed down.

I'm up and about some at this point in my convalescence, and while curried tempeh leftovers were on tap for dinner, I snuck out the garden so as to try the Tuscan Kale Chopped Salad. Glistening with parmesan vinaigrette and punctuated with apples (our tree giveth and giveth) and dried cherries (in the pantry), the kale salad seemed just the thing (and so good for the eyes!). I whipped it, up eschewing the croutons in my tender state as well as the chickpeas, and substituted a tiny bit of raw garlic in the dressing for the shallots.

Hearty and packed with flavor, Mr. Nake-id must have eaten three platefuls.

We topped the meal off with Sara's Mango Mint Lassi using lemon as a stand-in for fresh orange juice, adoring its sweet, comforting coolness.

Yes, I'm smitten. Tonight we'll try the Honey Mustard Broccoli Salad, broccoli from the garden, and the Creamy Millet with Roasted Portobellos (topped with kale!)

So happily smitten.