Thursday, July 24, 2008

Check it out!

The Marvelous Emily, long time customer and friend, is involved in a really creative fund raiser for the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center. Get the details here!
Go Emily!
P.S. I just bid on your cowl! So beautiful!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The People At Mu Sang Sa

There were so many great people at Mu Sang Sa. I feel such a connection with the people that I sit retreat with. As with Hwa Gye Sa, there was someone from the Cambridge Zen Center sitting at Mu Sang Sa.
This is Barbara, the director of CZC. She sat the whole three months!
These two where my kitchen buddies. We got to do the breakfast dishes every morning and then cut up vegetables for lunch and dinner. That is Inn on the right. She's from Singapore. Singapore was very well represented at MSS. I believe that is Jae Un on the left, though I can't find my little book with everyone's name in it. She's from Korea and would help translate in the kitchen. It was a truly international scene in there. The Kitchen Master was Chinese, one of the other helpers was Hungarian and the Kitchen Lady, also known as Bosal Nim (translation: boddhisatva person) was Korean. Not everyone spoke Korean or English but enough people spoke both that someone would always translate.
While we were taking this picture, Barbara popped out of her window to take a picture of us.
Isn't she cute?Notice the laundry hanging up? Laundry was a huge obsession with everyone. We only had access to the washing machines once a week and when things took up to four days to dry, there was a lot of strategic handwashing of clothes.
This Sun Jae. She's a kindergarten teacher in Seoul. She sat next to me at formal meals and helped me remember which bowl was which.Here we have another Chee Song. He was one of a number of people who, when greeted in Korean, responded in perfect English with "Yeeeahh, I'm Chinese." I actually ran into him at Hwa Gye Sa and we both came down to MSS on the same day.

Being a monastery, there were, of course, lots of monks and nuns. In Korea, monks and nuns are both refered to as Sunims. Sunim is a contraction of the words Sungha (congregation) and Nim (person). They are some of the sweetest, kindest people you ever want to meet. This is Myung Hwa Sunim. She is from Poland orginally.I can't remember the names of these Sunims but the one on the right was the Financial Director of the monastery and the one on the left was the Work Master.This is Kwan Haeng Sunim. He is from Cambridge originally! He was the House Master and what a thankless job that was. I know those of us in my room pestered him plenty!This is Myung Haeng Sunim. He was the Head Monk for the retreat. Speaking of thankless jobs, imagine taking care of 40+ people that are doing something that is both emotionally and physically demanding and doing it with a smile on your face. I hope that I can go to MSS again sometime and sit longer. I was glad to go when I did, though. They were just getting into the hottest part of the summer and I was ready find some place with air conditioning. I went back to HGS for the night then to the airport the next day. My flight to San Francisco was uneventful but I had an eleven hour layover there. Fortunately, Lea and her husband carried me off for a few hours for a snooze at their house.

It was a good thing I got that rest. I took the red-eye to Chicago then got stuck there for five hours. I also got seperated from my bag in the cross country flight. It was so full of dirty laundry that I was pretty sure it would crawl home by itself. Fortunately, when I got to Boston, there it was. I treated myself to a taxi home and promptly collapsed!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Tour de France

I've been into (obsessed with) the Tour de France lately and thought this would be a fun thing to have on the blog.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Korea Trip-Mu Sang Sa

Here are the pictures from my visit to Mu Sang Sa temple, only a year after I was actually there. The trip to Mu Sang Sa was the first time I'd really been out of Seoul. I got to ride on one of So. Korea's high speed trains and it was seriously fast! It made a two hour trip in one hour! I love the Korean countryside. It is very lush and mountainous. People grow food in every square foot of free space and take a lot of pride in good land management.
The temple itself is half way up the side of a mountain. This is the view from the parking lot.
Here is my room. I really enjoyed the accomodations. I shared this room with three other women but the best part was that our room had it's own bathroom! No more climbing up and down four flights of stairs in the night! Here are my roommates. From the left, they are Eu Young who lives in the US, Grace from Seoul and Swannie from Hong Kong.The buildings all have these wonderful walkways all around the second floor. This was such a great shady place to hang out and relax.
This is the view from our floor over to the Meditation Hall. In Korea, they have seperate rooms and sometime entire seperate buildings for a lot of the things we all do in one room here. This hall is only used for meditation, no chanting, no ceremonies.
This is my seat in the Meditation Hall. I spent most of my time right here looking out that window you can just see at the top of the picture.One day, I looked out and there sat this bird in the tree. He stayed there all day and I can only assume he is some kind of owl. One way or another, we sat together all one day. It was kind of cool.For chanting and ceremonies, we have the Buddha Hall. We walked up the hill to this building every morning and evening for chanting.
Here is another view from the top of the hill. It is a little bit hard to tell but this building is very ornately carved. My favorite carvings of all were the dragons looking out the front of the building. Why were they my favorite? Because we had dragon heads looking out of the front of the building and dragon butts on the inside!

This whole building has since been painting. I'll have to dig up the link to the pictures. The place looks completely different.

Some other sights around Mu Sang Sa were this baby Buddha peeking out of a stone lantern,

the beautiful hydrangeas,everyone's pal, the big toad under the hydrangea,and, lastly, everyone's shoes by the door. This is an image I will aways associate with my trip to Korea. My shoes are the white sneakers just to the left of center.I have more to post about Mu Sang Sa but I've got to do it tomorrow. My sales slips are not going to enter themselves into the computer and my second quarter sales tax is due on Monday.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Yarn Harlot's Top

That top that the Yarn Harlot just posted about is Ashland Bay Merino Top in colorway Hollyberry. She got it when she was here a couple of years ago. Stephanie-that came out really nice!
I'll be ordering more early next week which means it will be here about a week after that, if it's in stock at AB. I'll keep you posted.
Here are some pictures of Stephanie actually shopping for the top she just spun.

These are from when she was here promoting either her second or third book (getting old, can't remember). What fun it was to meet her in person!

You think she's funny on her blog. In person, holy crap!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I'm Back

You know you have the right job when you can't wait to get back to work after your vacation! I actually was ready a few days ago. It may have something to do with the fact that I've done so much every day that I was looking forward to the shop opening just so I could sit down. One way or another, I'm glad to be back talking to my customers about knitting and actually doing some knitting myself!
I'll be posting later this week about my trip up to Maine. I saw all kinds of cousins as well as my dear friend Cordie. Had a great time!
Also, since it is a year later I should probably finish posting my Korea pictures. I never finished doing that for some reason. That situation will be attended to shortly.
Not today, though, shop's been wicked busy.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Beet Thing

Several people have asked for the recipe for Beet Thing so here goes!

One or two bunches of beets, sliced (bonus if they've got the greens attached). If you use small beets, you don't even have to peel them. Just scrub them and cut them up. Big beets need to be peeled.
One large sweet onion, chopped
2-3 T olive oil
1 t cumin seed
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional- 3-4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
Seriously, folks, I never measure anything so all these amounts are estimates at best.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. The skillet needs to have a lid.
Add the cumin seed and toast until brown. This does not take long, a minute at most.
Add the chopped onion and sautee until clear and just starting to brown.
Add the beets (and carrots if you have them). Cover and turn down the heat a bit. Cook them until the beets are tender. This may take 20 minutes or longer depending on how big your beets are. If they are starting to brown too much, add a half cup of water every so often until they are done.
If you have the beet greens, chop the stems and the greens seperately. Be sure to wash the beet greens thoroughly. They can be awful sandy little bastards.
When the beets are almost tender, add the stems, wait 5 minutes and add the greens. Cook just until the greens are wilted. Swiss chard works well if you don't have beet greens.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

So, there you have it. Let me know if you have any questions. If you try the recipe, I'd love to hear how it comes out!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


I got the second coat of polyurethane on the floor. It only took me about an hour and was pretty painless. I'm only one more coat away from glory!
My only other plan for today was to go to the farmer's market with Doria. It is in Davis Square, about a mile from here. This farmer's market goes on every Wednesday, 12-6 throughout the growing months and in eleven years of living here, I've never made down there. So, today was my day! The only hitch was a huge squall that blew through here right after noon. This included thunder, lightning, gale force winds and hail(!!!). We've been having some crazy weather lately but this was the craziest so far. Fortunately, the rain and wind let up after about 20 minutes and we headed over there. I was wondering if there was even going to be anything left after all that wind. Surprisingly, there was! Only one booth had packed up and left. All the others were still there, a little damp and windblow but definitely open for business. I asked one vendor how they kept all the tents from blowing away. She told me that all the customers at the booths grabbed the tent poles and just hung on during the entire storm. The community saved everyone's tents and produce by working together and not letting go. I'm very moved by this. Gives you hope for the world.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

And Tomorrow, Coat Number Two

Thanks for all the nice comments about the floor. If only it took just one coat. I'm girding myself to sand and put on the second coat tomorrow. Wouldn't you know, all the tired from everything I did the last three days caught up with me today. I'm planning to go to bed early and get up late!
BTW, the "Dry" setting on my air conditioner works really well! I don't think it would have dried this fast with the humidity the way it is. And it doesn't seem to be cooling the room so, hopefully, my electric bill won't be through the roof.