gate wreath It is Epiphany. Traditionally, this is the day to put away all decorations and remove all greenery from the house, so that is what I am doing today.

I will also be finally getting around to the fact-checking, doing errands and housework, and going to a party.

It is a potluck, and I think I will be taking Salade Nicoise.

It is possible, at this time of year, to get to a potluck and find that nearly everyone has followed the classic advice for what to take to a potluck when you are trying to watch what you eat: a salad. So there you are with a table full of salads, and that one person who brought brownies sure feels cheated.cat flag

On the other hand, it is also possible to arrive with your handsome green salad and find that there is nothing but saturated fats and simple carbohydrates, and eating a plate of your own green salad makes a person feel conspicuous and deprived of protein.

Salade Nicoise seems like a good compromise. It is a good main dish, but quite healthy. Here is a link to Julia Child’s classic recipe. Here is a French recipe that warns you not to put any potatoes in, and isn’t any too positive about tuna, either.

To my mind, what you need for Salade Nicoise is a good serious lettuce, lightly steamed green beans, tomatoes and cucumber, tuna and hard-cooked eggs, and chopped olives, preferably several kinds. Then I put some anchovy paste in the dressing, because I am wreath porchnot going to put those nasty-looking little anchovies in the salad and have people peering at them wondering if they are slugs on the lettuce.

For my walk yesterday, I strolled over to a little faux-historic section across the cemetery from my street.

Our Christmas tree was, I think, particularly pretty this year, but our outdoor decorations were kind of lame, so I was glad to have a final  opportunity to admire the decorations over here where people were making a bit more of an effort.

These houses have the grace of old buildings, but they were actually built all in a group just a few years ago. The architect is one of our local boys, the same guy who made our crumbling downtown look beautiful again, and I really admire what he has done.ranch section

It is  a little enclave in the middle of my neighborhood, which is mostly ranch houses from the seventies like these.

I live in one of the ranch houses. They are nice and comfortable, and I have no complaints, but no one will ever stop and stare at them and think how lovely they are.

In the faux-historic district, people do that.

You are walking or driving along and all of a sudden you find a bunch of beautiful houses in the midst of the comfortable brick ones.

little parkEach of the houses is a little different from its neighbors, but they all work together, and they even have their own little park.

The real historic district, which is about two miles from here, on the other side of my road, is not like this. There, you will find a stately Queen Anne next to a little brick building that is now a house but used to be the first free public school in our state (only African-American children were allowed to attend, but it is still quite a landmark). Then there will be a few little bungalows and the luxury condominiums made in the buildings that used to house the Catholic church and parochial school, and then another gorgeous Victorian mansion. It is clear that the historic district grew up organically.

The faux-historic district does not have that feeling of authentic history.faux-historic section

But maybe some day it will. Perhaps, as time passes, it will lose its uniformity and people will forget that it was sort of unpacked out of a box one day. Maybe people will think that it was there first, and the ranch houses grew up around it, as the new and rather ugly big brick houses have grown up in what used to be the woods around the historic district.

Right now, it is a place of pretty houses which do not have the continual plumbing and roofing and other problems which attend old houses. It is also in my neighborhood, within walking distance of my church and my work, as is my own house.

I am not rich enough to have to decide between living in the historic district and the faux-historic district, but if I were, I might find it a difficult decision.

 

swags

 I like the swags on this handsome building.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

toy soldiers And the whimsy of the toy soldiers here.

It was a nice day for a walk.

I am trying to change my workout around more, having some days at the gym and some walking and some doing a DVD workout at home.

Perhaps I will join my boys at rock climbing some day (okay, go ahead, laugh) or persuade them to join me in hiking.

But today I expect I will just take the dog for a walk as a break from domestic tasks.

I hope to get some sewing in as well, though, and a few more inches on the first sleeve of Pipes.

Perhaps I should get away from the computer and start actually doing some of these things.