Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Count ... down*

  1. Number of ankles I've sprained in the last 3 weeks. Having never broken or sprained anything before, I was really intrigued by the injury that whole week as evidenced by the numerous pictures I took to document the ever-changing bruising and swelling patterns. I will spare you those photos. Luckily I wasn't really ever in any pain. It's still a little swollen now but I've been told that's normal. And the trooper that I am, I hobbled to work after sustaining the injury (falling down the stairs in our building) simply because I had a job interview that afternoon...which I limped to in low heels.

  2. People from my high school days came to visit in November. They took the Chinatown bus from Philly. It was an awesome weekend! Thankfully they'd already seen most of the monuments and good museums so we were free to find other interesting things to do like having falafel in Adams Morgan (yay Amsterdam), meeting up with 2 other friends from Philly who happened to be in DC as well, hanging out at our favorite bar: Adams Mill followed by a nostalgic visit to Milly & Al's (where we ran into ANOTHER person from our high school), and of course, brunch at Asylum.

  3. is one of my favorite numbers (the other being 7).

  4. days i spent in Rhode Island for Thanksgiving. For once it wasn't too hectic. This is my niece Rosaline. She stole the show from the turkey (who acted very bitter about the whole thing).
  5. socks I've knit in a row. 2 pairs plus 1 that ended up being too big and had to be ripped out.

  6. days since my most recent (and bestest) job interview. I don't kiss & tell about work stuff here, but I will say that it was for a research position with a nonprofit. It felt really good to finally walk out of an interview and not have any regrets about what I said (or forgot to say...).

  7. types of beer that were featured in our informal beer tasting held the weekend that the Philly-friends were in town. Erich worked hard behind the scenes buying the right size glasses, researching the various types and the best examples of each beer-type, and even calling the American Homebrewer's Association to get some pointers. The Beer Tasting was supposed to go along w/ brewing a batch of Chocolate Cherry Porter, but once we realized how many people were coming and how much work it is to keep everyone's glass filled w/ the correct beer while explaining the intricacies of that style, the brewing had to be postponed to the following weekend.

  8. (+5) people we crammed into our living room for the beer tasting. It was hot and crowded - perfect for beer drinking! That's a total of 13. I couldn't think of anything to go with 8, 9, 10, 11, or 12.
* MadameBovary reminded me that this is a count up not a count down. But seriously,who says "Count up"? And I refuse the change the order of the items to make it a count down. So there.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Autumn Overdue

I started this post almost 2 weeks ago. I'm so lazy I'm not even going to edit it before posting.

Last weekend got off to a great start when PassionKnitly jumped on a Chinatown bus in NYC to visit us. While the bus company did its best to try to keep her from us (leaving over an hour late, backing up on an off ramp on 95, leaving the engine running while filling up at the gas station), she was victorious and we made up for lost time by staying up WAY past our bedtime talking.
On Saturday we caravanned (caravaned?) in 2 cars out to Homestead Farm where we had planned a day of apple picking and picknicking. We had gorgeous weather, some of learned to juggle, and E* and I picked 14 lbs. of apples. Yes, you read that right, 14 lbs. Since then, I've devoted a few minutes each day to looking up various apple-intensive recipes including apple pie, apple brown betty, pork & apple, apple crisp...etc. I have yet to start making a dent in our gi-normous pile of apples. Maybe I'll pawn some off on the group tonight because I'm hosting stitch-n-bitch. Apple slices and nutella anyone?

Is that a gourd in your pocket....

But the day didn't end with our lazy picknick on the farm (after which we all passed out in the grass from apple-picking exhaustion). Saturday night was a bowling birthday party at Strike - the swankiest bowling alley I've ever seen. Thankfully, they don't have a dress code unlike some pretenious establishments.

This is the hottest rooster I've ever seen:

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Fall, Food, and Friends

That was quite possibly the best 3 day weekend I've had in a long time. It consisted of (here we go with another list):

  • 2 roast chicken dinners (made by Erich and me)
  • Sunday brunch at Asylum w/ our neighbor friends (who were victims of Chicken Dinner #1 the night before)
  • a loaf of zucchini bread w/ some muffins thrown in for good measure - a surprise for Erich since he had class on Monday.
  • a free rental at Blockbuster: Wag the Dog (inspired by this 'blunder' Fox made last week)
  • my weekly bike-ride-to-Trade-Joes exercise routine
  • and a started and finished finished Food & Friends scarf (my first one cuz I'm lame and apparently pretty stingy with my yarn)

EDIT: Just found this gem on You Tube: MSNBC coverage of Fox's completely accidental mistake

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Part I in the "Things that Annoy Me" Series

This is the first installment in a new series that will serve as my soapbox for various neurotic tendencies I might have.
I'm going to begin by railing on a piece of our society that I particularly loathe:
The Mobile Billboard.

Have you seen this phenomenon? It's disgusting! I can handle an advertisement on the side of a truck that is actually transporting goods. But these mobile billboards are such a senseless waste of fuel!
There are people out there spending more than they want to on cars because they feel a hybrid is better for the environment. Others ride bikes to work, or take public transportation. Some people become recycling and composting gurus or participate in annual buy nothing day.
So how could the advertising executives who came up with the mobile billboard be proud of the contribution they're making to society? I'm not against the advertising industry per se (and I'll admit that there might be a few flaws in my argument) but when fuel costs are spiking and we have so much damning evidence about the negative impact of carbon emissions on the environment - how can a team of people pitch this kind of idea and then go home at night satisfied with their place in the world?

Am I being too harsh? Maybe I should mull this over a bit more.

*Off to turn on the AC because of this freak heat wave, but I'll have to leave the windows open for the breeze.


Monday, October 02, 2006

A post to replace the last one

I should begin by saying that this I'm posting this now ONLY because E* complained that he's sick of looking at the other post every time he checks the blog. So if this post is less than stellar, I blame him because I wasn't really in the blogging mood just yet.

On to crafty business.

This past Sunday was the Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts Fair in Adams Morgan (my 'hood). I almost forgot about it until some thoughtful friends checked to see if I'd be meeting up with them. The theme of this year's festival seemed to be T-shirts - mainly silk screened with quirky sayings and an abundance of animal characters. While most of the wares were really stunning, a lot was out of my price range and/or items I'm not allowed to buy for awhile (bags and t-shirts). These kinds of fairs also tend to spark this kind of monologue in me: "Ooohh, pretty. I could totally make that! So I shouldn't buy it, cuz it'd be SO much cheaper if I made it. I really going to find the time or patience to actually make it? Probably not. Argh." My cheapskate inner-self usually ends up beating my practical/pessimistic inner-self and I walk away from the booth hoping I'll remember the interesting technique that artist used so I can reproduce it later. Apparently, other people were much more excited about everything going on that day - so much so that they simply fell asleep, exhausted by the effort of haggling over handmade bibs and then bragging about it to their friends:

(this kid was out like a light. I didn't want to point the camera in his face and disturb the peace his mom was probably enjoying. hope no one called that phone and woke him up!)

2nd crafty note: I finished the Falling Leaves socks tonight! Most of my progress on the final sock happened at SnB yesterday after the Crafty Bastar-noon. The stretchy bind-off I experimented with for sock 1 worked again (switched to size 7 needles for the bind-off row) and aside from the HORRIBLY mis-matched toes, I'm pretty happy w/ these suckers.
BUT, I just saw that the pictures of the socks came out like crap, so instead you get to see this crazy bug that hung out on our window last week for a few hours. Hey, bug friends - is this a cicada?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Code in my Nose

I stayed home sick yesterday. I caught a nasty cold that started Monday afternoon. The symptoms are winding down today so I'm at work, trying to take the recommended dosage of Cold-eeze.

Finally, I'll leave you with some better (and more sanitary) news. You'll notice that there's a new book in my sidebar. The author is my friend's husband! His book is actually one of three that come out this fall whose authors are friends of mine. I suddenly feel like a little book groupie - I can't wait to have him sign my copy! And some of you know that I NEVER buy books. The Last Town on Earth is about a small town in Washington state that quarantined itself during the 1918 flu epidemic. The genre is right up my alley! I keep seeing parallels between it and the last book I read - The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. There are a lot of references to the union movement around the turn of the century and the wandering lifestyle of many marginalized working men who moved from town to town trying to earn money in various dangerous industries. It only arrived yesterday but since I was already home sick, I jumped right into it. I highly recommend it despite the fact that I'm only 1/4 into it.
These are the other 2 books I'm pimping*:

*Thanks to MikaJ for starting this.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Melodious Geography

I've been struck this week by two songs about geographic locations.

This one is about my quirky little state: "Rhode Island is Famous For you" (the mp3 is linked on that page). You might notice that the song actually says very little about RI. It somehow manages to say a bit about every other state, while leaving RI extremely vague. But I find it endearing because of the cute melody and the sheer number of times she sings the words "Rhode Island."

The second song says loads about a place that I'm not at all familiar with. It's by Neko Case and sadly, I found no references to its lyrics or an .mp3 link after googling the crap out of it.
So, I decided to jot the lyrics down myself so that the next person who hears this song and wants to know more about it can find this blog entry. Note that this is my break tonight while working on cover letters. Is it Friday yet please?



Fast-forward to 30 minutes after I started transcribing the lyrics. I noticed that MS Word was trying to correct the spelling of the song's pivotal word: Takoma. It preferred that I spell it "Tacoma". I guess I should take this as an indication of the amount of time I've lived in Washington. "Tacoma" looks silly to me, whereas "Takoma" - of Takoma Park, MD, for instance - looks much better.
And now you see why my google search for Neko Case and Takoma was fruitless.
Now that you've patiently read this far, I'll reward you with MY transcribed lyrics sans Word spelling corrections:*

Thrice All American
by Neko Case and her Boyfriends (from Furnace Room Lullaby)

I want to tell you about my hometown
It's a dusty old jewel in the South Puget Sound
Well the factories churn and the timbers all cut down
And life goes by slow in Takoma

People they laugh when they hear you're from my town
They say it's a sour and used up all place
I defended its honor, shrugged off the put downs
You know that you're poor, from Takoma

Buildings are empty like ghettos or ghost-towns
It gives me a chill to think what was inside
I can't seem to fathom the dark of my history
I invented my own in Takoma

There was nothing to put me in love with the good life
I'm in league with the the gangs guns, and the crime
There was no hollow promise that life would reward you
There was nowhere to hide in Takoma

People who built it they loved it like I do
Their was hope in the trainyard of something inspired
Once was I on it, but it's been painted shut
I found passion for life in Takoma

Well I don't make it home much, I sadly neglect you
But that's how you like it away from the world
God bless California, make way for the Wal-Mart
I hope they don't find you Takoma

* in the hopes that the next time some schmuck like me goes to search for these lyrics, she/he actually learns of the truth before wasting a bunch of time with headphones and fast typing.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Post without a Title...almost

Remember when Thursday night was the BEST night for TV? I'm still a die-hard Friends fan so it's probably not surprising that I loved the Thursday night TV lineup.
I bring this up because Thursday was my favorite day this week. It beat the other days hands down, thought it had nothing to do with TV.

First happy thing: I finally applied for another job. I decided 2 weeks ago that I have to buckle down and proactively do the job-hunt thing. Did I mention that I'm frustrated with my job? Yes, well, I am. The phone-answering, mail-gathering, pdf-ing, coffee-brewing, grunt work daily grind is kind of getting old. And its not what I had in mind when I was working on that degree.
SOOO, I've been passively reviewing but in the last 2 months I've only applied to 2 jobs. I'm not going to get anywhere on that timeline so I'm trying to set aside time every other night to devote to the search and the miserable task of writing cover letters. I DETEST them so much. I don't think anyone else I know complains about them as much I do. I spend the whole time trying to think of deep ways of describing how impressive the work I do is and why I'd be an asset to the National I'm Going to Save the World Organization....but here's the catch: if I actually thought that what I was currently doing was that amazing, I probably wouldn't be trying to get a different job. So it pretty much dooms me to creating sentences that are borderline white lies. I go from assisting with proofing letters in real life, to "preparing documents for national distribution" in the cover letter. That's not right. But I think that's how other people "play the game".

The OTHER happy thing on Thursday was that I finished my clapotis!! It was pretty touch and go though for awhile. I had to borrow OldandBusted's leftover yarn from her already finished Clappy. I parked myself at Stitch-n-Bitch and got to work on the final decrease rows, keeping the ball of yarn in the bottom of my bag so I wouldn't be tempted to stare at the shrinking pile and worry if I could finish. I was actually ok with the idea of finishing it w/ a flat end in the event of a yarn shortage. But of course, the closer I got to the final pointy bit, the more I wanted to be able to finish it properly. The girls kept reaching in to feel how much yarn was actually left and just repeated that I should keep on trucking. Just before 10 they were all convinced I had enough to finish and said they wouldn't leave until I did. No pressure there though.
In the end, not only did I have enough, but there are about 1 1/2 yards leftover! OldandBusted, I'll drop that in the mail for you ASAP. ;)

I have to cut this post short. I'm off to help celebrate a couple birthdays!
Since I opened with a picture from E*s trip to Peru, I'll close with one as well. Ah, symmetry.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder...?

Is that true? Did my month-long hiatus make you yearn for another Beta post? Haha.

I'm not really sure why it's taken me so long to update this. I'll assume its a good thing and means that I was having a wonderful and busy August.
I did get to take 3 vacations:

  • A weekend in NYC with Passionknitly
  • a week in Rhode Island to catch a Jimmy Buffett concert
  • and a week in Key Largo w/ parents at my aunt's summer house
I should add that I LOVE the benefits at my job ;)

Also, sandwiched between the 2 big vacations was a busy week at work where I didn't get home before 10pm the whole week. We had all of our international staff members in town and we had to show them a good time of course. The 'good times' included a Nationals Game (its hard explaining baseball to people from Indonesia, Kenya, India, etc), a walk around Adams Morgan and Dupont circle at night, ethiopian food, a barbecue on Capitol Hill, and a happy hour at the Front Page.
Ok, so maybe my "busy week at work" isn't really anything to complain about.

I do have photographic evidence of the last month's adventures, as well as a 75% complete falling leaves sock but they'll have to wait for now.

Lately I've been sacrificing knitting time for reading.
Recent reads* include The Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri and The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. Next on the docket is My Ántonia by Willa Cather.

*A little homage to mikahasablog

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


This is mostly defined by the heat wave we've all been having. Truth be told, I haven't suffered much due to the wall of AC at every destination in my travels. I even managed to ride my bike to work on a couple of the hottest days.
Other evidence of summer-ness:

  • Sunday is our 1 year anniversary. Its kind of surreal. How did that happen? This has been the fastest year EVER! To celebrate we're having dinner on Saturday at DC Coast, thereby FINALLY using a gift certificate given to us exactly one year ago by some great friends. And on Sunday we're going kayaking on the Potomac! I've never been kayaking in the area and I have no excuse. We kayaked on our honeymoon in Nicaragua so I'm looking forward to reliving the 'magic'.

  • Trips! At the end of the month we'll be hopping over to Brooklyn to visit PassionKnitly (creator of the famous wedding afghan). And in August we're spending several days in Little Rhody with family. The timing of the trip centers on a Jimmy Buffett concert on the 10th. Yes, I am the daughter of a full-blown Parrot Head (which in Buffett-lingo makes me a Parakeet). I've only ever been to 1 other concert (in 2000) and it was a blast. I grew up listening to his tunes :)
And now a knitting update sans photos. I gave the mother-to-be the finished Daisy cardigan about a week ago. It went over very well. I showed her the two sets of buttons I had picked out and told her after the baby's born, I'll sew on whichever set she chooses. It was my first baby shower and the best part was seeing the story books that everyone brought as requested on the invitation. I brought There's a Monster at the End of this Book and A Child's First Book of Poems. The mother-to-be wasn't familiar with the Grover book so one of her friends proceeded to read it aloud to us.
I've since cast on for another Daisy cardigan using the exact same yarn for an older baby in RI. It's going kind of slow however. In the most recent knitting vs. reading battle, the book won so I must heartily recommend the Time Traveler's Wife because of its victory over Daisy 2.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Knitting update

The Daisy cardigan is nearly finished. I just have to finish sewing the arm seams and weave in ends. It was so fast and very satisfying. I was even pursuaded to order 2 more sets of the same yarn (one is the same color, the other is blues/greens) for 2 other babies I know. Clapotis is rounding the final stretch, but I fear I will run out of yarn. I'm really bad at guessing how much yarn is needed towards the end of a pattern so I'm holding off on ordering more until there's only an 8 in. tail hanging. Team M2 has lapped me and thereconstruction since they already have a completed Clapotis. Before, I was using the excuse of the cardigan interruption, but when you see how many projects Seal Daze has whipped out since she started Clapotis you'll see why my puny excuse is embarassing. I originally thought I wouldn't be able to wear Le Clapotis until the fall, but the level of AC in our building (and many others in the city) now means I can wear it at work all summer!! I knew there was a silver lining to the foot-numbing temperatures of our chilled office.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Mac vs. PC

Nothing earthshattering here, but I LOVE the Mac vs. PC commercials.

I still want to fight the trend of using the term PC in these instances. Why did that become the standard word instead of IBM or IBM-compatible? Is it simply because there are fewer syllables in PC?
Anyway, I know Macs have plenty of their own problems, but I find these commercials so entertaining! Another gem is this anti-mac spoof:

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Football & Knitting

Sounds like a fun weekend, huh. I LOVE rainy weekends when I don't actually to be anywhere. Our skylight in the living room makes the rain and lightning so much more entertaining.
I've felt kind of annoyed with myself lately because while I love the World Cup and can actually tolerate watching soccer games (as opposed to nearly all other sports), I have not made any effort to catch a game in this year's World Cup. I think I was expecting that despite the very inconvenient times of the matches, I could just sit back and one would fall in my lap while flipping channels in the evening. This method doesn't really work. And I also nixed the idea of leaving work at 11am or 3pm to find a bar that's showing the games. So that leaves the weekends. Last weekend we were camping in the Shenandoah without electricity, TVs, cell phones, etc. I've been making up for lost time this weekend: yesterday was Mexico vs. Argentina at 3 and today was England vs. Ecuador. This obviously is very conducive to knitting. I'm still working on clapotis and I've finally gotten to the decrease rows towards the end. I freakin love dropping those stitches!!!!
I realized though that I have quite a baby-backlog - friends having babies and I haven't knit them a darn thing. The last baby item I knit was a hat last November. So I took some yarn off of Mika's hands and cast-on for the Daisy cardigan last night. I usually try to finish 1 project before starting another but in this case, there's really no reason to finish clapotis anytime soon. It's more of a fall piece. Plus, I LOVE the feel of suddenly switching to a different project with new colors, texture, patterns, etc.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Two yanks who went out west


I scared ya, didn't I? You clicked over here expecting that same old book post and instead you're hit with a spanking new entry!

E* and I just got back from a wonderful trip to Colorado. It started with the wedding of a friend and continued with a bit of family fun and the requisite death hike.

Let's begin at the beginning. And because bullets on the screen are preferable to real bullets..

  • This friend studied with me in the DR 3 years ago. She is now the blushing bride of a recent air force academy grad. Their honeymoon is 60 days long! (basically that's how much leave he has until he begins the next appointment in Florida). The wedding was gorgeous - that air force academy chapel is intense! E* and I were joined by my very good friend Titties McGee from Ohio who also studied with me in the DR. She was our hotel room chaperone to make sure we didn't get fresh. We managed to squeeze in a midday traipse around the Garden of the Gods before the wedding. What a cool place!

  • As the weekend came to a close and people headed back to their homelands, E* and I drove 30 min. north of Colorado Springs to Larkspur to visit my aunt & uncle who pretty much live on the side of a mountain. They warned us before a short hike behind their house to watch out for bears, mountain lions, and rattlesnakes. Nice. While I admit I did get a little giddy that I might actually get to see a moutain lion in the wild, we were not granted the pleasure. However, we were graced with multiple, up-close encounters with foxes, mule deer, hummingbirds, and butterflies.

  • Its been a full week now since our Hike of Death and I feel I have enough distance from it to be able to speak about it. ;) We had been chatting with various REI people over the weekend about the feasibility of hiking Pike's Peak. It was to be a training session for E's Machu Picchu/Inca Trail extravaganza in August. While most of them said we could probably handle the hike, they were all fairly hesitant about their statements because the weather changes on Pike's Peak so quickly and severely that even very experienced hikers are suddenly put in a lot of danger. After a lot of back and forth, we decided to nix it in favor of another challenging hike with similar levels of altitude since that's really all E wanted to experience: how his body would respond to 9, 10K feet.

  • On Tuesday morning we set out from Larkspur through Colorado Springs and eventually headed west into the mountains. We pulled over at the trailhead for the Waldo Canyon Loop around 9 am, two hours later than we had wanted to start the hike. We were packed with tons of water and lots of snacks even though the hike was only supposed to take 3 hours and covers 7 miles. The thinking was it would be good for E* to get used to carrying a heavily laden pack. I'll spare you all the gorey details, but sometime around 1:30 (1 1/2 hrs. after we were supposed to be limping over the finish line and back at our car) we started realizing that the trail we had been following was a little 'off'. As in, it was difficult to match up what our guide book said we were supposed to be seeing with what we were actually experiencing. And the trickle of hikers and tell-tale dog poop we had seen throughout the beginning of the trail had fizzled off to nothing. We're not sure when it was that we stopped seeing other people. But we hadn't been concerned because we were definitely following a well-maintained path. It just...didn't seem to be a well-maintained path that was mentioned in our 2 guidebooks. Also, we hit about 3 forks in the trail that were NOT marked. On the Waldo Canyon Loop, there AREN'T any forks. That's why its a LOOP! So we spent the next 2 1/2 hrs. trying to back track and figure out what the hell happened. We started thinking that we had stumbled off the main path and were completely entangled in an adjoining network of paths. But this made me angry for several reasons. 1) why weren't these other paths mentioned in our guidebooks? If only as a warning! 2) Why weren't these paths marked themselves to let a wayward hiker know that they were indeed NO LONGER on the Waldo Canyon Loop such that the mantra of "just keep bearing right around this clockwise loop" would be completely useless? and 3) why the f*&# was our guidebook entitled "Best Easy Day Hikes in Colorado" and in particular, the Waldo Canyon Loop was called, "the most popular hike in the Pikes Peak region"!!??

  • Highlights of this unmarked network of trails that we affectionately refer to as Death Hike include, the Wagonwheel Meadow (where you enter a clearing and are faced with 5 different paths that head off in opposite directions), Rattlesnake Alley (where we were the tallest thing around noting approaching thunderclouds over the neighboring peak, and we were surrounded by very low brush and cactuses...and small holes in the ground about the size of a tennis ball), and Billy Goat Trail (this was the icing on the cake: a VERY steep path lined with about 3 inches of gravel where one had to snow-plow down ski style and that's with 2 walking sticks!). It was just after that last section that we were suddenly dumped out on what appeared to be the very first part of the original hike. 20 minutes later we reached the trailhead again and took the final pictures documenting our success at survival.

I apologize for the slight melodrama. To wrap up, we made a beeline for REI to consult their maps to find out where the f*&# we had been. There was ONE map there that showed dotted lines for a network of trails heading northwest from the main loop. It appears that we made 1 wrong decision about 1/4 of the way into our clockwise loop where we took a left fork instead of a right fork (we maintain that this was not marked but I'll admit that it was slightly moronic to take a left fork when we were supposed to be going CLOCKWISE/right around a circle). After that short lapse in judgement, we were punished for 5 hours. The REI guy estimated that we probably hiked 14 miles instead of the intended 7 and hit a max elevation of 8600 instead of 8100. There is potential for Death Hike Part II since we are going camping this weekend in Big Meadows. You can start placing bets on where our stellar navigational skills will lead us.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

More on the book front

I liked the book. But I don't think I love it. Not yet anyway. I'll think about it for awhile and see if my opinion of it changes over time. I'm certainly glad I read it though.

Now that I've taken up the last 2 months reading the same book, its time to move on. Its taken me awhile to get my hands on these books from the library. Then of course, I suddenly got both at once when I was at the libary last week. 100 Years of Solitude was shelved incorrectly (with the M's instead of the G's) - my good deed for that day was taking the rest of the incorrectly shelved Garcia Marquez books and putting them with the G's. And that's how I found the copy that had eluded me online for so long. I was on a waiting list for Memoirs of a Geisha. But now I have a tough choice. I fear that I will only have time to read one before the due date. But they're both in such high demand, that I probably won't be able to renew the one I choose to read second. I'll have to return it unread. What to do...
Memoirs of a Geisha
100 Years of Solitude

The back story is that I was a Spanish major and have read several of Garcia Marquez' short pieces. This book escaped my reading lists and now I find that a lot of random people I know LOVE it. My original goal was to read it in Spanish. But I can't take another 2 months of the same book which is surely what will happen if I attempt Cien Años de Soledad.
Memoirs of a Geisha simply got on my book list because I wanted to read it before seeing the movie. The movie has come and gone in the theaters and I couldn´t get a copy from the library in time. Also I think I lost interest. But there's a Crafty Geisha I know who has reminded me about it :)

Care to weigh in?
In an upcoming post, I'll unveil the rest of the books on my list. Can you handle all this excitement?

Friday, May 19, 2006

Don't read so good

Notice the book that's been in my sidebar for awhile? It's still there - not because I've been lazy about updating it. But because its actually taken me SO long to read it. I feel like a slow 4th grader. I've had to renew it twice! I was shocked to see that I first checked it out on March 28th. What the hell!? Anyway, it's still a very good book. I'm hoping the reason its taking me so long is that I've been über-productive for the last 2 months and haven't made time for reading. That sounds respectable, right?

Monday, May 15, 2006


My weekend was loosely defined by movies and knitting. Yeah I know, my life is tough. E* started the weekend with a saturday morning exam and spent the next 2 days studying for the rest of his final exams. It's during periods like these that I try to rent movies that he wouldn't ever feel like watching. Lately, that's meant foreign films for me! A month ago I rented Nowhere in Africa. I actually meant to devote a whole post to this movie because I enjoyed it so much. Its in German, English and Kiswahili. I'll leave it to IMDB to provide you w/ the synopsis. I LOVED it.

I went to the video store on Friday thinking I'd rent Pride & Prejudice or Monsoon Wedding. I ended up with the latter, though I almost got North Country. Monsoon Wedding didn't disappoint. It's along the lines of My Big Fat Greek Wedding but its not a comedy. I was planning on sewing zippers into my new pillow covers while watching the movie (cuz you all know that I can't just sit with my hands still while watching the tube) but I ran into such troubles before I even turned the sewing machine on. I really need to befriend someone in the building who knows her/his way around a sewing machine. I tried online tutorials for inserting zippers, but the language they all used was too advanced for me. Besides not having a special zipper foot or the interfacing they recommended, I couldn't see a way to sew the zipper in AFTER the 3 other seams have been sewn. I had to admit defeat and ended up working on sock #2. Still, not a bad night.

Saturday included a field trip to Trader Joes and Target where I bought heat-bonding velcro. Why? To conquer those pillow covers once and for all. They now have a velcro seam - far classier than anything I could have produced with the sewing machine I'm sure. And this project was accompanied by Shop Girl. E and I were disappointed by the ending - it was so lame. Maybe it was because it tried to follow the book but didn't have enough time to do so properly. Ugh, whatever the reason, the ending was enough to leave a very bad taste in my mouth even though I enjoyed most of the rest of the movie (but since it has Claire Danes and Steve Martin I can overlook most of bad flavor). I also finished sock #2 (sorry, no pics yet) and my feet rejoiced.

And finally Sunday - CLAPOTIS! I cast on for it Sunday morning and it kept me glued to my seat all day. That, and the afternoon downpours and Kicking & Screaming. I'm just about finished with the increasing section. I can't wait to start dropping the stitches. Thanks to Passionknitly and I got through the first steps including PFB (purl into front and back loops). So I would warn Team M2 that Team Beta-Reconstruction has eaked ahead. Oh wait. Was this not a competition? Sorry. My bad. Apparently I was bluffing at Sheep & Wool when I said I was going to have to finish a couple of other projects (seaming, fringe, etc) before starting Clapotis.

Ooh - and I'm tacking today onto my extremely long narration of the weekend. While walking to work this morning, Warren Brown (of Cake Love and Sugar Rush) walked right by me. I smiled, but only a casual good-morning smile, not a I-just-saw-you-on-TV!-smile. The rest of the day at work was a blur of technical difficulties while the internet went down for 3 hours among other things. But it ended with a great round of frisbee with E and Dom. It seemed like a much better alternative to my scheduled gym session.

Wait. Did you hear that? Shhh... There it is again...
I think the nascent Clapotis is calling to me from the living room. It is saying, "hou hou! Come to moi - I am zoft and ze colours sont tres belle."
I surrender.

(Note the other pillow cover which was supposed to be a joke/trial-run but is now probably going to be a permanent fixture. I got the fabric in a $1 bin at a cheesy fabric store on Columbia Rd. The more we make fun of it, the more we like it where it is - fitting that it matches the "dump chair".)

Friday, May 12, 2006

Surveying the damage

Actually, I behaved myself.
The peanut gallery has asked what I bought on Sunday at the infamous Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival.
I've got just 2 words:
Brooks Farm
The 3 ladies and I went back to this lovely vendor from Texas about 2 or 3 times. Each time it was because we couldn't find anything better after looping around the whole festival and trying to hit all the barns and stalls.
I ended up getting 2 skeins of Four Play: 50/50 wool and silk in Bandanna - destined for Clapotis. As well as 1 skein of Riata: 36% mohair, 48% wool, 16% silk in Deep Blue Sea (no purpose as of yet). I'm pretty proud of myself for not going overboard as some people warned me I would. I had sort of told myself that I wouldn't ever knit Clapotis even though I LOVE how it looks and feels. I think I just thought it was such a popular pattern that I wouldn't feel special knitting it. But when the 3 people you're with force you to join their Clapotis-cult and knit along with them, well what choice did I have? T* and I will join forces against Team SealDaze in a battle to the finish with our respective dueling colorways.

Firsts for me:
I pet my first alpaca and llama (and angora bunny I believe)
Ate my first funnel cake (is this or is this not the same thing as a dough boy but in a different shape?)
Bought my first skeins from Texas
Met Ubu for the first time. (Your devotion is understandable M*)

Peeking out from behind the top photo is the fabric I found at G St. last week which has since been sewn into 2 pillow covers for the living room. Yes, it's been a pretty domestic week for me. Not so much knitting but enough fiber was inhaled on Sunday to provide hairballs throughout the week (gross, sorry for that).

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Sheep & Wool Festival tomorrow!!!!!

That's all. :)

Monday, May 01, 2006

Boox are phun

From here
1. Copy & paste.
2. Bold the ones you’ve read.
3. Add four recent reads to the end. - I'm doing 2 recent and 2 old favs.
4. Tag! - nah.

The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Great Gatsby - F.Scott Fitzgerald
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter 6) - J.K. Rowling
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story - George Orwell
Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
1984 - George Orwell
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3) - J.K. Rowling
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book 4) - J.K. Rowling
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter 5) - J.K. Rowling
Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
Angels and Demons - Dan Brown
Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Book 1) - J.K. Rowling
Neuromancer - William Gibson
Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson
The Secret History - Donna Tartt
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2) - J.K. Rowling
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
American Gods - Neil Gaiman
Ender’s Game (The Ender Saga) - Orson Scott Card
Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson
A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
The Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Good Omens - Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman
Atonement - Ian McEwan
The Shadow Of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Dune - Frank Herbert
The Unberable Lightness of Being - Milan Kundera - I was given a copy in German and after 4 years, I STILL can't get through it. But I'm bolding it anyway.
Hey Nostradamus! - Douglas Coupland
The Nature of Blood - Caryl Phillips
Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules -Ed. David Sedaris
I Know This Much is True - Wally Lamb
Empire Falls - Richard Russo
American Pharaoh: Mayor Richard J. Daley - Adam Cohen & Elizabeth Taylor
Devil in the White City - Erik Larson
Seeing - Jose Saramango
White Teeth - Zadie Smith
Sophie's World - Jostein Gaardner
Ursula Under - ingrid Hill
Mountains Beyond Mountains - Tracy Kidder
In the Time of the Butterflies - Julia Alvarez
God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy

The World According to Garp - John Irving

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A Family Affair

We were graced by the moms last weekend. It was wonderful. I think they really enjoyed themselves and didn't kill us in the process! It helps that they get along so well. Mothers-in-law in the same hotel room - jealous? The weather was not so cooperative, but on the 'glass is half full' side, it didn't rain as much as they had predicted and we never saw the dangerous storms they had said would hit us on Saturday.

High points:

  • They cooked dinner for us on Thursday - what a treat. They were only mildly amused by our tiny kitchen.
  • Fri: Got to sit in on one of E*'s med school lectures. It was pretty cool, except the professor was covering the entire digestive system and we were SUPER hungry.
  • Walked east to the White House; took your standard tourists pics there.
  • Proceeded to the Mall and hit the WWII memorial (E*'s fav), reflecting pool, Lincoln, Vietnam, and Korean Memorials, and finally dragged ourselves to the Smithsonian metro stop.
  • Ate leftovers and watched Mr. & Mrs. Smith.
  • Sat: lazy morning followed by musuems. Freer & Sackler Gallery was first: ancient pottery for E*'s mom and Hokusai for me. We whizzed through the impressionist section of the National Gallery for Cezanne (not worth the wait in line) and a little Renoir and Manet.
  • Dinner at the Reef! I think their favorite part was that the fish tanks flanking our table housed 4 of the characters from Finding Nemo.

They had an early flight out on Sunday morning and of course, the weather cleared up about 2 hours after they left.
It was really nice to have them both here.They loved seeing our apartment and pointing out all the little pieces from our families' homes that they recognized. The neighborhood wasn't too shabby either - their hotel was about a 4 min. walk from our place.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A tale of two bridges

It finally happened. They blew up the bridge. The old Jamestown bridge was demolished yesterday. My dad got to watch from a DEM boat and got the whole thing on film (it's a Rhode Island thing, you understand).

Here are 2 before and after shots. I know its hard to see the difference, but trust us, this is significant. They built the new bridge in 1992 and named it the Jamestown Verrazano Bridge. But no one ever called it that. The old bridge was from 1940. That's 14 years of old bridge and new bridge living side by side. Last time I was home, I think my family and neighbors spent at least 45 minutes discussing the bridges and demolition day.

I once heard that they almost filmed part of True Lies here so they could use the footage of the bridge explosion.

This article has links to video of the demolition.

RIP old Jamestown Bridge

Friday, April 07, 2006

I can't think of a pun for 'cherry blossoms'

I don't know how the cherry blossoms are fairing now after the odd weather we've had this week. They supposedly peaked last Thursday and Friday, but then we got zapped with a small cold snap and intermittent rain. I'll survey the damage this weekend.
For the last month, my grandmother has inquired about the cherry blossoms every time we've talked on the phone (at least once a week). She LOVES them. She's also quite irked that my mom is not expressing the same excitement over them - the moms are coming to visit in less than 2 weeks. Anyway, you may remember that I was at a loss as to what to get Gram for her 80th birthday. Well, of course I was informed the day before my trip to RI that the flowers had suddenly bloomed. I learned that their 'peak' is not like autumn in New England. It's not a gradual transition whose climax lasts for almost 2 weeks. The local news reported that the peak would last about 2 days. That left me no time to take any photos. Or so I thought. A certain friend of mine did not see my imminent departure to RI as an obstacle to photo-taking. Her response was, (on Thursday night) "just get up early and take the pictures before work. You know, sunrise IS the best time for that kind of photography." Awesome. I sort of just laughed at her. I was going to have a suitcase with me for cryin' out loud!

But then I went home and thought about it. And thought about how much my gram wanted to see the cherry blossoms. And how I was being whiny. I turned it into an adventure.

On Friday morning I got up around 6:30, made coffee for my Newport Yachting Center travel mug, finished last-minute packing, and headed for the 14th St. bus to take me down to the Tidal Basin. I maneuvered that suitcase around the tourists and elderly people who must have agreed that 7:30 am is the best cherry blossom viewing time. I took about 20 photos; most of them weren't that great because I didn't have time to run around the entire basin looking for the best shot. But a few were exactly what I had been hoping for. I spent Friday night on my parents' computer, photoshopping a couple of the best ones to bring out the colors. I printed them Saturday morning, stuck the best one in a frame and she got to unwrap it at the restaurant after we all surprised the hell out of her. I think she was very pleased.

On Sunday we took her to see IMAX: Deep Sea 3D; narrated by Kate Winslet and Johnnie Depp. It was really amazing. I'm so glad she suggested we see it. AND Alan Shawn Feinstein was there to greet us and tell us all how wonderful children are - to reward all the children in the theater for being so great, he passed out free hologram cards. Or as he called them, "cahhds".

Frothy morning

My mornings have improved dramatically recently because I found my milk frother in RI last weekend. I shall explain. Once upon a time in high school, I worked at several cafes and thought it was appropriate for me to get more in the coffee groove. So I bought a french press (I think it was in anticipation of living in a dorm room) and not soon thereafter, a Bodum milk frother. I'm not sure I ever used that french press in the dorm room. But I did use the milk frother at my parents' house to enliven their crappy, weak coffee. The 2 pieces of the milk frother got separated at some point and for the last 3 years, I've been unable to get the 2 pieces in the same place at the same time. I find the glass beaker part and tell myself to put it in a safe place so when I find the plunger, they can be reunited. But I always managed to lose part 1 just before finding part 2. Yada yada yada, I found the plunger in our DC apt. 3 weeks ago and the glass beaker in my parents' liquor cabinet last weekend. Ta-da! So my mornings have gotten better because I get a yummy cafe latte with foam on top right at my desk. Our office orders fair-trade, organic coffee from Mexico - we don't mess around.

I think I'll keep this post short and save the other topics on my mind for some up-coming posts. I don't like the marathon entries I tend to write that cover too many topics. Even I can barely read them to the end without getting distracted.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Spring thoughts

Things I'm thinking about...

  • I think my rosemary plant caught whatever killed my basil and I had to throw it out. My windowsill is now left with only mint (which has been thriving after this 2nd attempt to grow it from seeds) and parsley (which now looks like a cross between 2 plants). I blame the old pots for the death of basil and rosemary. We stole those pots from the yard of a plant store that was closing in Wickford. They never looked very good and often had white powdery stuff on the outside. Last weekend, I bought an eggling with basil seeds because I miss fresh basil and it looks so freaking cute in the eggy ceramic pot.

  • I'm going to RI this weekend! But don't tell my gram cuz its a surprise. It's her 80th birthday and my mom has been planning a surprise lunch for her at her favorite restaurant - I think she invited 15 people! It's a good thing my visit is a surprise cuz I couldn't think of a single thing to get her so it looks like my presence will be the present. Lame, I know.

  • UPS delivered my yarn today! Using up a gift certificate to YarnMarket from Xmas 2004, I ordered the extra skein of Cascade Fixation for the socks and 2 skeins of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky in coral. After seeing the luscious results over at SealDaze on her Anthropologie-inspired Capelet from Peonyknits, I had to join the club. I know another SnB already had knit the popular cardigan, but she doesn't have a blog so she doesn't get a link here. I was tempted to get something in blue (surprise, surprise) but I broke with tradition and got coral. I had a coral halter top once that I loved. And I have a skirt that I don't wear very often because it has such a strange mix of colors in it, including coral. And in case you are also in the dark like E, it is not a green, but rather a mild pink/orange/melon. I like this pattern because it seems like a good intro to actually doing a full cardigan, it's the perfect weight/length for spring, and since it uses so little yarn, its a very cheap sweater.

  • E and I had a very domestic weekend 2 weeks ago. Wedid some marathon shopping at Ikea and came out with an entertainment center, floor lamp, 2 table lamps, and a pendant lamp for the kitchen table. The entertainment center replaced this black plastic/plywood crappage that I got at CVS my sophomore year. It now houses the new (to us) Pioneer tuner/receiver that E found on Ebay. And of course it needed speakers so he hunted around for some deals and now we have surround sound! Now I can hear NPR from the kitchen. With the new furniture came a mini-makeover and we changed the orientation of the room. I'm not really one to do actual spring cleaning. So the work we put into the living room felt like a nice alternative. Things did get cleaner, old stuff was moved out, and the new look is light and airy. I can't wait to start leaving the windows open all the time.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Does this mean I get to buy new shoes to show these off?

I started my first sock sometime last year. I don't really recall when exactly cuz much of last year was a blur of wedding planning, moving and then all of a sudden it was Christmas.
Anyway, I'm using Cascade Fixation which is VERY elasticky (is that a word?) and the pattern is from Wendy's Toe-Up Sock pattern. After the excitement of doing the toe, I really lost interest in it, and I started to despise the yarn. I think its just not a good choice for a first sock. Anyway, I had nothing to knit for Sunday's SnB having finished my mom's scarf - mostly - so I dug out the abandoned sock. It took me forever to remember where I had left off, but it turns out I was JUST about to turn the heel! Wheeee... And now I have a completed turned heel. I'm very glad I'm done with those short rows and the tedious wrapping it required. Not to mention that I hate purling with these needles and this yarn. Now it's just straight shooting up the ankle and nothing but knit (I bet that's already been taken as a blog name). Any suggestions for how long it should be?

When I ordered the yarn, I was in denial about how much would be needed for 2 socks so I only ordered 1 skein. Another skein must be ordered immediately lest I fall victim to the one-sock blues - which is very likely since it took me so long to get moving on #1.

I could forego ordering new shoes and just sport the socks w/ sandals look. Nice.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

New look

I'm testing out a new banner. I'll probably change it again in a few days. I want to see if it grows on me. Just figuring out the necessary html code took up most of my energy to work on a new banner. It'll be much easier now to swap in a different image since the code is the way it should be.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Continuing the food theme....

I've been perfecting a snack mix over the last several months using items from Trader Joes and Safeway. People seem to like it so I'll share it here. I don't have a name for the mix yet, so brownie points for any witty suggestions.

  • peanuts (preferably unsalted or lightly salted; dry roasted is yummiest)
  • dried edamame (a friend and I exploded with joy when we first saw these at Trader Joes. And then we nearly ate the whole bag on the car ride home.)

  • honey-sesame sticks
  • raisins (golden raisins work too)

  • sunflower seeds (hulled. although I often find these are too small for the mix)

  • diced pineapple (getting harder and harder to find so i've had to substitute it with various dried fruit mixes when I don't feel like going to Whole Foods.)

I've put a lot of work into finding the magical balance between taste, nutrition, and sometimes more importantly, cost. I'd like to add yogurt chips to the mix but I can't find them ANYWHERE. Yet, do you know how many ready-made trail mixes come with yogurt chips? Why don't those same stores carry just the yogurt chips too? When I search online, I'm directed to pet food stores because (apparently) rodents love yogurt chips. I just can't bring myself to order rodent food for our trail mix.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Fondue-bie Doobie Do

On Thursday night Erich and I got to use one of the restaurant gift certificates given to us as a wedding present. The Melting Pot is a franchise dedicated solely to fondue. We had a lovely time and if you can afford it, I recommend trying it out. We were a bit surprised, however, at how the meals are structured. As in, how you are supposed to eat everything. We learned that you cook everything yourself at the table. And at no point do you get to dip meat into cheese. Their menu doesn't fully clarify what will happen at the table. So this post should serve as a "how-to fondue" for those interested in the Melting Pot.

1. Fondue for Two is the menu option most recommended for groups of two (big surprise). Under this option, you choose from one of 4 cheese courses (shared), one salad from among three options (each), and finally, an entree option (shared) from 3 choices.

2. The cheese courses are the Cheddar Cheese fondue (cheddar, emmentaler, beer, garlic), Wisconsin Trio Cheese (Fontina, butterkaese, bleu cheese, white wine, scallions, sherry), Tradiditional Swiss (Gruyere, swiss, white wine, garlic, nutmeg, lemon, kirschwasser), and Fiesta Cheese (cheddar, mexican herbs, spices, jalapeno, salsa). We chose the Cheddar Cheese fondue. The waiter then brought all the ingredients to the table: shredded cheese blend, fresh garlic, and some beer. He slowly added the ingredients to the pot that had been preheating on the table's built-in coil burner. He stirred it constantly so the cheese melted evenly and soon it was a piping hot cheesy dip. Yum. We were given an assortment of breads, apples, and raw veggies for dipping. It was hard not to overdo it on the first couse.

3. Salad course: We both chose the California salad. It was tasty, but has nothing to do with fondue so I'll leave it at that.

4. Entree: A little more complicated. Not only do you choose an entree, but you also have to choose a "Cooking Style Selection." This totally perplexed us. Basically, at its simplest form, the entree you choose can EITHER be cooked according to the traditional, european method with canola oil, or you can opt for a slightly healthier broth base. Those would be the "Fondue Bourguionne" and "Fondue Court Bouillon" respectively. The restaurant also offers 2 more jazzy cooking methods called Coq au Vin Fondue (herbs, mushrooms, spices, garlic, burgundy wine) and "Mojo Fondue" (a Caribbean bouillon with citrus and cilantro). We opted for this last option because it was based on the Bouillon base method, but with cool flavors.

5. Entree part II: The pot on the table now starts preheating with whatever cooking style selection you chose. The waiter brings out a platter of all the meat that comes with your entree plus veggies and potatoes (all raw). We also got at least 6 different dipping sauces! The favorites were curry sauce and a teriyaki-honey sauce. We chose the "Signature Selection" entree which includes tenderloin, shrimp, teriyaki marinated sirloin, chicken breast, and salmon. Then you begin the exciting and fast-paced process of sticking your piece of meat onto a skewer and resting it in the simmering pot. Within 2-3 minutes, you can remove it, dip it in a complimentary sauce and wolf it down. We each had 2 skewers and before long, we could barely keep up with the cooking time and sauce options. The vegetables could be thrown in at any point and would just float for a few minutes until cooked.

Everything was so good - we definitely didn't have room for dessert which disappointed our waitress cuz that's her favorite course. That just means we'll have to go back for an entire evening of just dessert fondue. Just a word of warning: the experience is deceivingly pricey. I wouldn't have expected such cheap ingredients to translate into an expensive evening. Thankfully we had both the gift certificate and had peeked at the menu online and knew what to expect. Drinks are especially expensive. This is really a shame because it seems like a great group activity but its cost is prohibitive. It almost makes the restaurant seem pretentious.

Thanks to Minerva and G-Love in Philly for hooking us up with the fondue-funds (which I almost just typed as 'fund-dues' but thought it looked weird. i love puns).

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I Dream of Duggar

I really should be writing about the amazing weekend I had (it included a bike ride in the park, a museum, the DMV, and a couple of happy hours) but instead I feel like exposing you all to something I'm calling the Duggar Phenomenon. I vaguely remember once hearing about this southern family that had a lot of children...around 14 kids. But it was only a vague memory. Then, on Friday or Saturday, Erich and I caught a little 1 hour special on the Duggar family of Arkansas.
We watched it. I was mesmorized. Then, TLC ran another special about them last night (it actually kept me up late!) which revolved around the process of them building their 7000 sq. ft. house. I think I even dreamt about them last night! I have so many unanswered questions. Do they have a large extended family too? Do their cousins like them? Since they are home-schooled, do they get extracurricular interactions with other kids, or is it only through church group? Are these kids going to grow up normal? Cuz see, the odd thing is, they really appeared to be normal on TV - both in how they interacted with each other and the way they spoke on camera. Except for their matching outfits, the obscenely large collars that the girls' dresses had, and the fact that they have 14 siblings (I think its actually 15 now) they really seemed well-adjusted, intelligent, mature, etc. But I wanted nothing more than to judge them and critcize so much of their life. Are those kids going to grow up and want nothing to do with having babies? I spent a good chunk of my time today researching their philosophies, daily life routines, and trying to figure out which religion runs their life. I think it's most likely fundamentalist Southern Baptist, but I can't tell if "fundamentalist" is just a word that people who are not like them impose on such families. It doesn't sound like a label anyone would ever voluntarily have. They also follow a particular life principle known as "Full Quiver" after the passage in the Bible that recommends having as many children to fill a quiver (gross paraphrasing). I am hereby not responsible for the feeling you have after seeing the results from googling "full quiver" and "duggar" - or even just full quiver. I haven't even reached the tip of the iceberg yet on the questions I keep thinking of. They'll probably keep me up again tonight. I was hoping this entry would be a bit purging.

On an unrelated note, and STILL not getting to the point about the fabulous weekend, look what finally arrived at work today! It's my first kitchen scale. A friend of ours asked me tonight, "um, why? i mean, why did you order that?"
Haha. Ok, well see, a lot of the recipes I pick out give ingredients in mass measurements only. And because I never really took a lab science or cooked much with my mom, I can't guesstimate ANYTHING - 5 ounces? 200 grams? 1 lb, 3 ounces? No idea. I get by looking up rough conversions on the internet and saying things like, "well, it asks for 5 ounces of x liquid. And a regular glass of water is considered to be 8 ounces. So fill a little more than half of that glass with x liquid and you'll probably be at 5 ounces." And I KNOW that most of the cooking I do probably doesn't require the precise measurements that a kitchen scale will yield, but if I'm going to fuck up a recipe, I'd like it to be from my own ignorance, shortcuts, or risk-taking. Not because I can't achieve the portions the recipe calls for.

Here are a couple snippets of the wonderfully warm weekend:

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Hump Day (giggle smirk giggle)

I don't really have a reason for posting tonight. Other than that it's been over a week since the last posting and I'm a little paranoid that my friends will remove me from their sidebars. Truth be told, I've just been so sick of the computer in the evenings. Work has been pretty intense for a few weeks and most of it has been computer-heavy. Also (and feel free to start gagging) coming home now to my best friend is less condusive to getting in computer time. Back in Petworth, in my 1-room world, I was content to spend evenings in my computer chair eating dinner, watching TV, chatting on Trillian, blogging (ok, LJ'ing), browsing, etc. It was actually quite pathetic how much time I stared at my screen back then. Think of all the time I could have been knitting!! In my defense, a lot of it was due to wedding planning which had to be in electronic format for the most part.

A day late, here's last night's attempt at Self Portrait Tuesday. Mind you, I'm not actually participating in it, just contributing a little bit. I think Bugheart said the theme for the month was Time. Well, I didn't really consider that when I took this. So let's see if I can fake it: The writing on the mirrored wardrobe behind me shows "Energy Storage Pathways of the Human Body" from Erich's biochemistry class. He drew the diagrams last weekend....but they're still there. And he's about to enter the room (the camera was on a timer as usual). So I'm sure a more clever person could draw some philosophical parallel between his movement into the room, the static diagrams, and the act of knitting that somehow would illustrate the theme of Time. No? Too much of a stretch? I get an A for effort though.

And here's an older photo from when PassionKNITly came to visit us in DC and drop off THE AFGHAN. We romped around the capital and took many touristy photos. This was my favorite of the people-less shots.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Unexpected Gold

Last night I trekked up to Takoma Park to join some knitters in a closing ceremonies celebration. Three of us were knitting olympians, though I must confess that I never really considered myself part of the team. I mentioned that I had unofficially given myself the deadline of the closing ceremonies to finish Erich's sweater and try to make mittens. And just like that I was given one of the awards of the evening. I'm now the proud owner of KnitLit the third and a certificate: "the Joey Cheek Gold Medal for knitting with intent to enrich the lives of others". Thanks to Hook and I for "hooking" us up with great munchies and an evening of knitting.

Friday, February 24, 2006

A Post for Bugheart

Ha! You've bullied me into it. Now you get a post named after you.
Can I blame my lack of posting on too much olympic watching? No? Ok then. The truth is that I used to get a lot of blogging (or LJ'ing) done in the morning at work. When people get to the office late, I often didn't have much to do until 10. However, last week was the workiest week I've ever had. There was no down-time, nor lunch breaks away from my desk. Not even sudoku or the panda-cam saw the light of day! That's intense. Thursday was the peak - I was at the office until 1:30 in the morning and then had to get up again at 4:45 on Friday to be at work by 6.

It's now 1 week after the annual meeting and I guess it took me about 4 days to fully rejoin the land of the living. I got to watch Tai Shan/Butterstick hang out in a tree, have read all necessary blogs, and on Thursday I enjoyed a lovely SnB w/ a small crew.

First up, we have photos of the layer cake I made last week for Valentine's Day - Chocolate layers, with raspberry buttercream filling, and vanilla cream cheese frosting (a rough replica of our wedding cake flavors). Oh was it rich - it was not a good precursor to Erich's cholesterol tests. I apologize for the odd lighting on most of these shots. There is a long story that went into the baking of this cake. But the short version is that it is VERY hard to live with someone and keep something food-related a complete surprise for 24 hours. Thankfully, he made my job somewhat easier by going along with his friends whom I convinced to keep him at a bar for at least 2 hours after I got out of work - surprises are easier to pull off when booze is involved. Can I also say that I might have bitten off more than I could chew as evidenced by the fact that I DREAMT about the stupid thing? And it was borderline nightmare. See, I wasn't able to finish everything before he got home. So I put all the unassembled pieces and fillings into a huge box and hid it in the closet. My plan was to wake up at 6am the next day to put it all together. Of course, I then dreamt that when I opened the box the next day, a rodent of some kind had gotten into the box and nibbled at everything. That disaster never materialized though, and the cake was a hit. I think we're a bit fatter though now. It's as if the marriage license came with a rider that we must gain 20 pounds before our 1st anniversary. Erich and I are right on track.

Next on the list are the mittens I finished during the first olympic week. The mitten you saw in the last post is ready to be unraveled because it really didn't fit properly. It did teach me a lot about the pattern and how to calculate all of the measurements. Mitten #2 was really the first of the pair I would end up wearing. Mitten #3 was on track to match it's mate, until I found a stupid break in the yarn half-way up the palm - except it was tied together at a color-point much farther away. In other words, because of the break they had tried to repair, the mitten suddenly went from yellow/orane to dark red. That TOTALLY disrupts the beauty of Kureyon!! My OCD self slowly got over that though and I've come to terms with it - besides these kinds of mittens just beg a Punky Brewster aesthetic.

And finally, we have the olympic sweater. Do you get the double meaning? Both in the timing of when I finished it and in the way this project reached monolithic heights - hannging over me for over a year and mocking my inability to pick the pieces up, tapestry needle in hand. I must confess that it's not really done yet. That would just be too easy. I still have to sew over the collar, crew neck style, as well as weave in the ends. And truthfully, its much too big for the man. The sleeves and torso are too long - I sort of knew that would be the case because I picked the pattern size based on his chest size, but then never decreased that number of pattern repeats in the body to yield a shorter garment. Meh. first time knitting a garment - it could be worse. At least there are holes for a head, and 2 arms. At SnB, Bugheart reluctantly suggested that there is a method that involves cutting away a chunk at the bottom and then unraveling to the correct length (taking into account the final section of ribbing. This of course scares the crap out of me. But because of the nature of this sweater, it kind of deserves to at least FIT the owner. Right? Perhaps that kind of yarn surgery is the only option. Any volunteers?

Final thoughts: I had my first tastes of podcasts this week. It started with Cast On and NPR's Story of the Day. I'm hooked! First of all, I take back all the skeptical silly thoughts I had about the idea of a knitting podcast. It's surprisingly engaging and funny. Thanks PassionKNITly for cluing me in. I highly recommend checking out Cast On with Brenda Dayne. I've had trouble locating the NPR clips that I usually listen to on the radio: All Things Considered, This American Life, etc. Instead, I've only downloaded Story of the Day and Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me. The only drawback to these podcasts is that I now find myself walking down the street or sitting on the bus with this dopey grin on my face because I'm so amused. Its worse than just tapping my feat to a song. But I just tell myself that the world needs more people wearing dopey grins as they commute to work.