Tuesday, December 09, 2008

What's new with me

  • I'm cranking along on Christmas knitting projects! Finished: scarf & hat set for my niece, socks for my gram, and felted purse for my MIL. Not so finished: pink scarf for aunt, the yarn for which is on back order (I'm not very happy w/ the online yarn store...won't get into that now), blue chenille scarf for my mom, and crocheted snowflake(s) for family friend. I was especially glad to realize one Tuesday that I was FINALLY knitting an actual project to be felted AT Felt-n-belch.

  • I switched over to Google's new internet browser called Chrome a couple of months ago and I love it. Just so you know.
  • I have jury duty tomorrow. While I am generally supportive of fulfilling this basic civic duty, I'm mad about having to serve this time. Why? Because DC Board of Elections and Ethics blocked every attempt I made to get my absentee ballot. Despite their final claims to me that they FedEx'ed it out on Oct. 30th, I never received it and therefore didn't get to vote. And my jury summons most likely stemmed from the fact that I was registered to vote. From what I've read (and experienced) the DCBOEE needs a serious overhaul on their systems (really, lack thereof) and accountability. It was shameful. I have a full-page chronology of the entire thing (with bullet points and dates of course) if you're interested. ha.
  • I'm afraid I'm addicted to roasted chickpeas seasoned with garam masala. I'm going through 1-2 cans a week and I've moved on to dealing. Now my mom and a couple of friends are hooked though I don't think they're using as much as I am. There are lots of different spice combinations that people recommend, but I haven't budged from the garam masala because I don't want to be disappointed.

    Ok that's a lie. Once I made them with rosemary and a little lemon juice. They were fine but didn't have the kick I was looking for. Over Thanksgiving, when I didn't have access to my usual stash of store-bought garam masala, I actually made some from scratch: bought the seeds my mom didn't have, roasted them whole and ground 'em up.
  • My other addiction, which seems to be little more respectable is a soup recipe my mom adapted from Cooking light: Sweet potato, sausage, and kale. My mom's adaptations were to split the potatoes into half red potatoes and half sweet, and use 1 can each of canellini and red kidney beans. Oh, and Cooking Light seems to have a typo in the list - obviously it should say "sweet italian turkey sausage." I think I've made this 4-5 times in the last 3 months. I'm eating so much of it that I ran it through one of my favorite nutrition-y sites to see it's nutritional breakdown: Protein - 19g, Dietary fiber - 13g/52%, calories - 317 (from fat, 62), iron - 29%, vitamin A - 148%, vitamin C - 51%. And more importantly, it's delicious!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Chile Chocolate Cupcakes

I've had this recipe on file for awhile, awaiting the right opportunity. A couple days after I got back from Miami, the temperature started dropping here in DC. So these cupcakes that pack some heat seemed like a good idea during the chillier days. A member of our knitting group is leaving us for Chicago next week (and a better job in yet another restaurant that I can't afford :) so I made some cupcakes for her last week here. She's always brought yummy homemade baked goods to Thursday night SnB so it was nice to return the favor.

Recipe mod: I couldn't find Pequin chilies very easily so I substituted with Chilies de Arbol... thanks to a well-stocked latin grocery near us. While they came out pretty spicy, I didn't hear any complaints that they were too hot so I'd probably stick with that level of heat (3/4 t. of ground chile in both the batter and in the frosting).

Saturday, November 08, 2008


Several decisions have been made since last I blogged.
Here's the result of one of them:

Another decision that was made carries less importance for the country, but still affects the quality of my sleep.
Here it is:

Thanks for all of your input!!! 

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ms. Passionknitly comes to Washington

Who wants a list!? 
My mom's flying in tonight and staying for a week so if I don't post this now, it might never get done. Thus, we're opting for the list format to speed things up. 

  • Sox game. Yay!
  • Sculpture Garden and Fountain by the National Gallery of Art. Lot of knitting and people-watching. Someone (not one of us) got asked to leave after she jumped (fully clothed) into the fountain.
  • Beverage break (and more knitting) at Teaism.
  • Homemade pizza (mushroom, tomato, and corn) and more Sox game. Ugh.
  • House party to see a couple of friends who moved out of town this year but were back for a visit. I may have overdone it with the dancing and hurt my back. I think we made it home on the next to the last train.
  • Reserved a cooper mini zipcar so we could check out the National Arboretum and a yarn store in Hyattsville. The arboretum rocked! We checked out the orchid show and sale as well as the bonsai and penjing collections. We were running out of time so we had to miss the Capitol Building columns and the herb garden.
  • Stitch-n-bitch at Teaism. 2 new people plus faces I hadn't seen in awhile all while enjoying the gorgeous weather outside.
  • Dinner at Wonderland on the patio
  • A long walk around the Tidal Basin, the Roosevelt memorial, and the Jefferson Monument at night.

  • Portrait Gallery: knitting in the Kogod courtyard and the "Women of our Time" exhibit.
  • Potbelly's for dinner before heading to the airport.
  • Sox game. Ugh.
Ah, it was truly a relaxing weekend. I'm really impressed with our balance of activities, knitting, and vegging.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The environment vs. my health

I was putting some milk in my coffee the other morning in the office kitchen when someone I don't know (from another department?) said, "You know those are bad for you, right?"
I looked up and realized he was referring to my small Nalgene bottle which I fill with milk at the beginning of the week and keep in the fridge at work. 
I replied that I was aware of the issue but that I had never really taken it that seriously and since I have about 7 or 8 various sized Nalgenes, I hadn't really considered throwing them all away. He said a few other things about how the dangers are pretty cut and dry, etc and generally looked at me like I was crazy. I also said something about not really believing that the studies were that conclusive with respect to the level of exposure necessary to increase one's risk of cancer.

If you're not familiar with the issue, here's an excerpt from the Nalgene entry in Wikipedia:
"In recent years, studies have suggested that polycarbonate plastics such as the ones Nalgene used may leach endocrine disruptors. Nalgene denies that the quantity leached from their products posed a significant threat to health.[5] Among the secreted chemicals, Bisphenol A (BPA) is an area of concern as it binds to estrogen receptors, thus altering gene expression. Other research has found that fixatives in polycarbonate plastics can cause chromosomal error in cell division called aneuploidy. Nalgene claims these chemicals are only potentially released from Nalgene products when used at temperatures outside of the designed range.

In November 2007, Mountain Equipment Co-op removed all hard, clear polycarbonate plastic water bottles (including Nalgene-branded product) from their shelves and no longer offers these items for sale. In December 2007, Lululemon made a similar move. In May 2008, REI removed Nalgene-branded polycarbonate water bottles and replaced them with BP-A free Nalgene bottles.

On April 18, 2008, Health Canada announced that Bisphenol A is "'toxic' to human health". Canada is the first nation to make this designation. On the same date Nalgene announced it would phase out production of its Outdoor line of polycarbonate containers containing the chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA). Nalgene’s current product mix, includes the recently launched Everyday line and the original polycarbonate bottles made from materials that do not contain BPA."

Also, a New York Times article from this past April: NYT: Bottle Maker to Stop Using Plastic Linked to Health Concerns

So after knowing all that, it does kind of sound silly that I continue to use these bottles. I've tried to find out if there's a decent way to dispose of them if I were to come to that decision. So far, the only solution seems to be to find a recycling service that accepts plastics with the #7 on the bottom. I think that generally, your neighborhood recycling service doesn't accept those items. I REALLY don't want to just chuck them in the landfill. But should I be looking out more for the environment or my health?*

Would you throw yours away? Have you already?

Oh, and my replacement of choice at this point would be Sigg bottles.

*I realize that my personal health is in many ways tied to the health of the environment.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Duvet short list

I swear, this is almost over. We will soon be back to our regularly (and equally mundane) programming.

After lots of helpful input, we have this lovely short list. Feel free to weigh in again! I've tried to add one semi-negative comment for each one. Don't ask me why - that seemed like a good idea.

Fairhaven: No blue!

Twighlight: Matches our shower curtain. Is that good or bad?

Marimekko Ruovikko: Not enough color?

Zen: Color might not work in our bedroom

Sea Reeds: Too much blue?

Morning Bloom: Seems a tad cartoonish?

Branches French Blue: Afraid of getting sick of the pattern

Cove Organic: Hard to keep clean, EDITED: super expensive

Valerie: Hard to keep clean

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Time to buy some bedding

When we got married, we didn't put any bedding on the registry. We were already happy with what we had (same goes for towels, bathroom stuff, etc). But over time, I've grown to loathe how haphazard our bedroom feels. Between the navy blue duvet cover and the various pillowcases on the bed at any time, we're looking at navy blue, black, white, and forest green. I don't like the furniture either but that's not something we can tackle in the near future.

So my first thought was to just replace all of the pillowcases with 1 fun print that has at least SOME navy blue in it to match the duvet. That hasn't been as easy as it sounds. So now I'm leaning towards replacing all of the bedding and getting a duvet cover with a print along with solid, matching pillow cases.

After checking out about 6 stores' online inventory, here is the short list:

CrateandBarrel "Marimekko Ruovikko"
Macys 1 "Sea Reeds"
Macys 2 "Morning Bloom"
Macys 3 "Glacier"
Overstock "Branches French Blue"
Pottery Barn 1 "Tatum"
Pottery Barn 2 "Koi Fish" (just the pillow cases)
Pottery Barn 3 "Songbird"

My mom and gram have a strong favorite from this list - I think I agree with them. I'll reveal which one in a couple days.

EDITED: This is so fun - thanks for voting ladies!
Here are a few more I just found - a couple seem to be out of stock and/or are probably too expensive. Man, do you see the common thread among all these? Who knew my taste was so specific. 
Bugheart - I KNEW you'd pick the Marimekko one. That's also my mom and gram's favorite.
In a couple days, I'll probably post a ranked top 5 list based on your input. Can we say overkill?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Weather, a cold, and a cardigan - Fall's on the way

We went to a wedding last weekend - the bride and groom were especially thankful that their guests came out to celebrate despite the near hurricane conditions outside. Also, Erich and I learned that the quasi-salsa and semi-swing dancing we do impresses lots of people. I think the trick is to know about 4 different kinds of turns/spins and make sure the follower knows the leader's signals. Then when 2 or 3 of those turns are done in succession, you can impress everybody.

The bride and groom at the after-party practicing the Dirty Dancing running-jump-catch-thing. This was one of their weaker attempts, though a couple were quite good.

Cold all week - which has meant sleeping on the couch a few times because either my coughing or nose blowing would have woken Erich up. The rotation he's on right now has him up every day at 4:45am and on-call (overnight at the hospital) every 4th night.

Finished Tangled Yoke cardigan! - With Erich on call Mon. night and my cold getting going, there was nothing left to do but weave in ends and sew on buttons. I still don't know how I got the blocking done so fast. I LOVE it. I wore it to work once this week and I know it will get a lot of wear. The buttons that I picked out during my last trip to NYC are perfect and I'm sure they no longer mind the many many weeks they sat in the bottom of my knitting basket.

2 things I learned through this project: buttonholes and 3 needle bind-off.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Labor Day weekend

The following was supposed to just be an outline for a more interesting post. But too much time has past so this is all you get.

Context is that our good friend Darragh had been visiting for nearly a week and went home to England on Wednesday afternoon. Erich had the next 4 days off with only his personal statement for the residency application on his to-do list.

  • champagne and photo organizing for scanning
  • I realized I took a lot of photos my freshman and junior years of high school
  • Natl. Building Museum
  • Ayoti (Indian food for date night; we'll definitely be going back)
  • Work
  • Grocery shopping
  • Madness of King George and Short Circuit (thanks to Netflix Instant Watching which we JUST discovered)
  • Garden
  • Wonderland Ballroom w/ A & M, Wii time
  • Bike through Rock Creek Park to Trader Joes (7.2 mi.)
  • Made mozzarella, basil, tomato salad
  • Knitting at Teaism
  • Building-wide BBQ on the Roofdeck with chicken kabobs, naan, and salad
  • Bike through Rock Creek and Capital Crescent Trail to Fletcher's Boathouse. BBQ-going-away party (11.8 mi.)
  • Knit tangled yoke cardigan in party room while watching Bread & Roses
  • Target

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I love weekends like that!

There are so many other weekend updates that I had planned for you. But you'll have to settle for just this one for now.

Red Derby - E* and I met up with a friend we hadn't seen in awhile. Red Derby is about 6 or 7 blocks north of us and they've been open less than a year. I think they're known for their crazy selection of canned beer. That might be all they have - beer in cans. Also, we learned they don't accept credit cards. The beers were good, the food might have been good but I can't say for sure because I've been kind of sick for several days. So like, I feel really sick about 3 bites into any meal. I knew that on Friday, but I kept thinking that the worst was over and that I could start eating like a normal person. I think I ate about 1/3 of the burger and some sweet potato fries. Couldn't finish the beer either.

Goodwill - We've had a box of housewares and a bag of clothes taking up a ton of space in our closet since we moved in. It's just hard to donate this stuff because there's no Salvation Army or Goodwill that's close to anything in the city. It has to be a special trip. So after lazing around Sat. morning, I headed out to the Goodwill in NE that's close to nothing except the Maryland border. But the trip was shorter than I expected so I decided to take a detour on the way home to...

Value Village - a few of my friends make nearly-weekly pilgrimages to Value Village but somehow, I'd never been. I took several passes through the housewares aisles, specifically looking for a key rack for our entryway (it must have a shelf!) but I struck out. I did however score a new-looking mini-muffin tin to augment the one I already have so I can bake off a whole batch in one step (the current tin is just a tad too small).

Garden - Immediately after coming home, I drove out to the garden (opposite direction from everything else) to water and weed. Things are looking better in there - I'm ahead of the weeds, things are finally ready to start harvesting, and there haven't been any deaths of late. I took home a perfect cucumber and a green bell pepper. The tomatoes still aren't ready - maybe this means I'll be eating tomatoes well into the fall unlike last year...? E*'s hops still look good, but no buds yet.

Tonic - We met up with 2 other friends we haven't seen in awhile. We had to keep it a little short however because E* is taking his Step 2 Board exam on Thursday and is in full study mode. Because he's strapped for time, he's following a very aggressive study schedule. Tonic is right between our place and our friends' apartment, about a 5-7 min. walk. We immediately liked the vibe and decor. The food was so-so but we'd heard that about them before. Once again, I barely ate and STILL ended up feeling miserable. Seriously, I haven't had a regular sized meal since Wednesday afternoon. That usually means I'm ravenous when I go to bed, when I first wake up, etc.

Calvert Cliffs - Since E* was taking an 8-hr. practice exam, I escaped the city with a friend to hunt for fossils at Calvert Cliffs. Unfortunately, she's a big liar and there are in fact, no fossils or shark teeth to be found there, but we had a good time nonetheless. It was so nice to smell the sea and play in the sand.

Solomons Island - After a few hours at the Cliffs, we drove 6 miles down the road to Solomons Island. It's just a cute, sleepy seaside village which of course reminded me of Wickford and Block Island. As we approached the main street, I realized I had actually been there before. A couple of years ago, a group of us headed to a beach somewhere on the western shore of MD, got lost, and had to ask for directions in Solomons Island (it actually doesn't feel like an island at all..I don't think it is). Anyway, we stopped for ice cream and looked out across the Patuxent river at more of Maryland. It was such a relaxing day and welcome break from the city. I wish the day could have ended with vegging on the couch due to a sun-coma instead of packing for a work trip.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season

Look at my view! Aren't you jealous?

Flew in to Miami this morning just in time for Tropical Storm Fay.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Ok, I have this whole other entry lined up to post, but I'm preempting it for no good reason.

Charcuterie. That is the reason, albeit, not a good one.

I don't remember ever reading this word before this morning when I happened to be reading yet another mention about the upcoming opening of Commonwealth in the 1st floor of our building. It states, "The menu of British-style pub fare includes butcher boards of charcuterie (don’t miss the ultra-flavorful Surrey County ham), house-made head cheese, stuffed pigs trotters, deviled sweetbreads, pork belly, and Scotch eggs wrapped in sausage—the chef’s favorite."

Now, I didn't know what it meant initially. But later on, I checked out the picture slideshow, saw the lineup of sausages and other meat products and guessed at the meaning of the word.

And now we get to the reason for this post. Just now, I came across the word again here (under Eric Denman). "Now he has a software job during the day, a bar job a couple nights a week (Rustico, in Alexandria), and an unhealthy obsession with brewing beer, making charcuterie, and learning to play the mandolin in his spare time."

I'm sure this happens to you too. Where you learn about something you never knew about and then suddenly it starts popping up all over the place. I think most people will say that said 'thing' was always popping up, but you just weren't atuned to it. But after you learn about it, you're more inclined to notice when it pops up again. Bullshit. I don't think that answer accounts for all the times it actually happens. Maybe only 40-50% of the time. The rest of the time, I think it actually is a freaky coincidence that defies laws of nature and society.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A question and an update

Does anyone know what this plant is?

I started growing it from seed in the old apartment. And I could have sworn I labeled the little carton it was in with permanent marker. But when I went to transplant it into the window box, there were no markings, and it wasn't looking at all like a zucchini plant (which had been my guess). The fruit that it suddenly sprouted last week looks like Okra. But I don't own any okra seeds. Bizarre.

So Wednesday was our 3-yr anniversary. We joked that at this point, there's really no turning back. For real. I made him chicken tikka masala, his favorite restaurant meal and I have to say, it was awesome!!! I used a combination of a Cook's Illustrated and Food and Wine recipe. I tried to find something on epicurious and Cooking Light but I struck out.

I also got him a cordless, 18V, lithium-ion battery, Makita power drill/driver. Cuz the 3 year anniversary is either leather, or power tools. ;)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Moving Part V

Sadly folks, this is the final installment in this riveting series.

10. Cleaning the old apartment

We woke up early on Sunday morning to go clean the old apartment and take the last of the small things we had left behind. We were expecting to meet up with our landlord at some point while we were there since she had scheduled an open house for that day at 2. We probably spent about 2 1/2 hours vacuuming, sweeping, wiping, etc. and left around 11:30 or noon. Since she still hadn't arrived, we weren't able to do the final walk-through. Also, who schedules an open house for the SAME day that the previous tenants clean without doing the walk-through or checking that things are in order!?

We booked it back to the new apartment to eat a quick lunch before heading to our friend D's house to help HER move into a new place. Yes, we are crazy. But she only had a small Budget van so it wasn't that bad. And by the time we got there, most of her stuff was already in the van. So our role was to help her unload it at the other end. Her move took her farther than ours did since she was making the leap from city life to suburbia. *tear*

Moving on to Monday, we get an email from the landlord saying she was disappointed with the cleaning job we did. What?! Among her list of things that we still had to take care of if we didn't want to get socked with a cleaning fee was "the kitchen, bathroom and living room floors were not cleaned, the carpets were not vacuumed." She also mentioned that the stove and fridge were dirty - I'll give her that because we totally forgot to clean them. But her other comments were infuriating! It's like the move that wouldn't die. All we wanted to do was just organize and enjoy our new spot and we kept getting pulled away. The most irritating thing about her comments was the mention that the apt. had been professionally cleaned before we moved in - as if renters are supposed to meet those standards when they move out!

So Tuesday evening found us back at the old apt. once again! More cleaning supplies. More mp3 player hooked up to speakers so the silence and toxic chemicals wouldn't make us insane.
Sometime that week, we also managed to sell Erich's computer desk on craigslist - that's hard to do when you're not actually living at the place where the item is residing.
We left the apt. still not sure if our extra 2 hours of sweat were enough to meet her standards, but we had stopped caring. We went home and it felt good.
We were rewarded the next day with a much more positive email from the landlord saying she found the apt. "clean as a whistle."

11. Parking anywhere = illegal

Ok, last story.
Those of you familiar with DC's parking rules know that much of the district is broken up into parking permit zones so that you can get a residential sticker for the zone in which you live which allows you to park on streets that non-residents would only be able to park for 2 hours. Within any zone, some streets are unzoned meaning anyone can park there for as long as they want. But generally, the more dense the neighborhood, the more likely the streets are to be zoned. So in our section of Columbia Heights, nearly all of the surrounding streets are restricted to Zone 1 parking permits.

The Monday after the move, when I was back at work, Erich trekked down to the DMV and found that the wait was likely to be at least 2 hours. But he persevered and changed over his license and registration. However when he tried to get the Zone 1 sticker, he was told that our address is on an unzoned block and that we therefore don't qualify for Zone 1 parking. Argh!!!
Over the next few days, we talked to a few other residents in the building, the leasing office, the DMV, the DOT, and the police dept. It was such a mess! We got different answers from each of the agencies - some said we don't qualify because we're in a large apt. building, others said it was because our block was already listed as unzoned and to change that we'd have to submit a petition where 51% of the block requested Zone 1 parking, and a few even speculated that the situation was the result of a deal between the developer and the city that they would provide a parking garage in exchange for not seeking Zone 1 status. However, the parking garage was not a solution for us because it costs $200/month! Totally unacceptable.

There is another resident in the building who has been very active on this and other issues since we met him. He's like our partner in crime. Upon learning of the parking nightmare, he immediately called our Councilmember's office and got things moving there. Then he drafted a flyer that we planned to distribute to residents on the roof on the 4th of July. It described the parking glitch, mentioned the petition we had started, and the address for our newly formed list-serv (on google groups) that I had set up that week.

Long story shorter - we think things are just about resolved. The Councilmember has gotten a commitment from the DMV that our address will be added to the database for Zone 1 parking and will be sending a certified letter to each of the residents that they can take to the DMV in case they have any more trouble. Up til now, we've been parking on neighboring streets using a 15-day visitor's pass from the police department. We were prepared to just keep renewing that pass every 15 days until August at which point we expected we'd have a good answer from the city or we were going to suck it up and find a private parking space for rent somewhere in the area. I would say I'm cautiously optimistic. Knowing our luck lately, celebrating too soon could be fatal. I'll celebrate once I have that sticker in hand.

To reward you for reading this far, a couple of visual nuggets.

For my birthday, Erich got me (among other things) a garden gnome and cilantro, basil, and rosemary for the deck. I've wanted a gnome forever!!!! He's so cute.

Remember that "before" shot of the living room from a couple of posts ago? This is how it looked about a week later. The couch we ordered will be going where the black computer chair is.

One of my other birthday presents! We somehow managed to lose our old granny cart in the last year, though we're not sure how we could lose something that big. Since our new apt. is a couple blocks from the grocery store, Best Buy, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Marshalls, replacing the granny cart was a priority. This baby makes it almost fun to run errands.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Moving Part IV

6. Dawn's car
When last we spoke, I had finished describing everything up to our arrival at the new apartment.
The fun didn't stop there of course.
One of our friends had afternoon plans so after helping us all morning, she brought a carload of stuff to the new place and then headed home. Or tried to anyway. She called me about 3 min. after I had helped empty her car to say that her car had broken down about a block from where she had parked. This is the same friend who was the most impacted by the Caribbean Festival. I can't help but wonder if the numerous detours she had to take just to make it to our place contributed to her car's meltdown. Anyway, there wasn't much we could help her with so she called a tow truck, canceled her afternoon plans, and I think the car is still in the shop.

7. Sharing the freight elevator and loading dock
Ok, so I finally make it to the loading dock with an armful of stuff from Dawn's car and I see E* in the moving truck just hanging out near the sidewalk. He explains that apparently someone else was scheduled for the loading dock and freight elevator at the same time as us. I should have seen that coming. The building's leasing office had been very clear that we needed to schedule our move-in time to be assured that we could use the only elevator that you're allowed to fill with furniture. So we complied. We scheduled a 3-hr. block on Sat. afternoon. We think another group scheduled a block in the morning and then at some point, a 3rd group was given a block of time right in the middle of the day, partially overlapping with both the morning group and with us. WTF?!?! The poor couple that was ahead of us has been waiting since 11am to use the freight elevator. I started to panic that we had a truck full of stuff, 5 ready and willing friends, and no means to get the stuff up to the 5th floor. We then realized that because of the major hassles with Budget that morning, we were somewhat behind schedule which meant that the couple ahead of us was just about done. Yay!

8. Rain
Because we had to wait around a bit for the elevator to be freed up, I decided to go grab a couple pizzas to help get keep our friends in a docile state (didn't want any uprisings). It was right at that moment when I headed to the pizza place that the skies opened up and in a freak deluge. Luckily, Pete's Apizza was only about 50 ft. from the apartment's lobby, but it was enough to get soaked.

9. The Freight-to-Level G2 Shuffle
The final installment from moving day happened after we had successfully gotten everything up to the 5th floor and into the apartment. Everything except those boxes that were destined for the storage unit we rent in the garage. Everyone was tired, a little fatigued, and probably sick of our pack-rat tendencies and love of books. So I'm a little amazed that they all didn't just walk out on us when we discovered a snafu with the storage unit.
Here's the deal: The freight elevator only goes as far as G1 (the 1st level of the garage). However, our storage unit was on G2 - 1 floor below. In order to get our things to G2, we had to take one of the regular elevators (of which there are 2, but on that day only 1 was working....all day). Wait, it gets better.
So all our things for the storage unit are at the lobby level near the loading dock. The only elevator you can access from that point is the freaking freight elevator - which you can't take to G2! AND you can't hold the regular elevators open for more than a minute and a half or else an alarm goes off and all of the elevators lock up for like, 5 minutes (ask us how we know this!).
And that's how we came up with the Elevator Shuffle. It consists of everyone jumping out of the elevator as soon as the doors open, grabbing whatever boxes they're closest too from the landing, and then squeezing back into the elevator in under a minute. Then you ride down to G2 and do the same thing in reverse. You repeat those steps about 5-6 times until you eventually have the whole pile waiting for you at G2 to make the final trek of 30 feet to the storage unit.

Except, remember how I said that only 1 of the 2 regular elevators were working that day? That meant that we would often get interrupted during our Elevator Shuffle by field trips to other floors to take on other passengers. Often the elevator was just too full of our friends holding our stuff so the side trips were in vain and the other passengers had to wait til we unloaded at G2.

And then Saturday was over. Some of us celebrated on the roof deck later with beers, leftover pizza, and ibuprofen. A picture of the view to be added later.

** Edited to add picture:
The (tiny) Washington Monument is in the center. Check out a school's roof-top playground on the left in the foreground. (Click to embiggen...thanks to YarnHarlot for the word)

Friday, July 04, 2008

Moving Part III

3. The little Budget Truck that Couldn't and
4. Sicky

Last Friday ended with a couple of more carloads to the new apt and last minute packing projects at the old place. We went to bed late and extremely exhausted. My exhaustion was mainly due to the cold I had been suffering since Thursday. E*'s exhaustion was probably due to picking up the slack when I had to rest. This made Friday and Saturday feel much harder than it was.

Speaking of Saturday, we got up around 7, had coffee, packed some more stuff and then at 9, headed down to the address on our Budget rental confirmation sheet: 2205 14th St NW.

Turns out, that address is a boarded up building under construction. After about 30 seconds of disbelief, we both started calling Budget - once we were finally able to talk to a real person, she told us our reservation had been moved to a different location about 15 min. away. Awesome.

So we speed over to the other (equally sketchy) location in NE while I try calling that office's number about 6 times so I could confirm that they indeed had our truck. But of course no one answered the entire time. We pulled up just after 9:30 and there were 10 people ahead of us. The line moved very slowly so I left E* there to finish the job so I could be at the house in case any of our friends showed up in the mean time. He texted me an hour later saying they didn't have our reservation. Shocking, huh? Apparently the national office claimed what we had was a 'quote.' Even though our print-out had a confirmation number for a reservation. Luckily, the guy in the local office stood up for us and forced a reservation through right there. So about 2 hrs. after we started the trunk rental activity, we had a truck. And we later learned that only 2 more people after us in line got a truck before the lot was cleaned out.

Of course this snafu threw our whole morning off. While I was at home waiting to hear about the status of the truck, 2 friends arrived to help. But without a truck, helping is kind of tough. So we resorted to bringing all the boxes from the study and bedroom out onto the deck. This made it easier to get the furniture out once the truck arrived. I guess we made pretty good use of that awkward time.

Another friend arrived just as E* pulled in with the truck and things started to get back on track. Until a 4th friend called saying she was trying to get to our house, but had been turned away by cops at every intersection she had tried. My first thought was that we were under one of those security checkpoint projects that the DCPD has been trying out lately. I freaked out at this thought and immediately tried to confirm the suspicion by going online while trying to talk my friend through an alternate route to our house. However, we had already moved our modem and router to the new apartment so I was resigned to using a 1-bar signal from someone else in the neighborhood. It was just enough to let me browse some of the backlogged emails from the neighborhood list-serv.

5. Caribbean Festival, aka Georgia Avenue Blockade

Photo by Yolmak

And that's when I discovered that we weren't behind a security checkpoint. We were on one side of the annual Caribbean carnival. And our friends were mostly on the other side of that festival. And so was the new apartment. Essentially a 3 mile stretch of a major north-south route in the city was shut down for the parade which started at 11am. How could we have missed the news of the event in the week leading up to the move?! Not only was the major artery closed down, but traffic on many nearby roads was at a stand-still because everyone was forced to detour...creatively. I really don't know how our friend made it to our place given that the alternate directions I tried to give her were pretty useless.

Let's skip a description of how the rest of the truck-loading went. I should add though that the process of getting the truck and our friends to the new apartment was much more complicated than we had anticipated. Because of that lovely Caribbean festival (which is actually quite fun if you're not trying to drive near it) we couldn't take the obvious direct route to the new apt. That probably would have taken about 7 min. on any other day. But last Saturday, we had to drive about 4 1/2 miles out of the way to skirt the parade route. Here you can see the circuitous alternate route we took to the new apt. Points A and B are the parade route. Point C is the old apartment and D is the new apartment. Doesn't that look fun? Oh, and for much of that ride, we were in bumper to bumper traffic.

Now that you've read this far, would you like to see what the new place looked like after we released our friends from servitude?

Taken the following morning before we headed out to clean the old apartment.
Remind me to tell you how that went later.

Moving Part II: Comcast

1. How Comcast kept E* prisoner for 7 hrs.

I took the day off work on Friday and E* was finishing up the 1st week of his vacation. In addition to taking several carloads of boxes to the new apartment, we had planned to have Comcast set up the digital cable and internet on that day. Our appointment was from 11-2. I dropped E* and some boxes off in the morning and then went home to pack more things.
He waited for 3 hrs in the empty apartment mainly by lying on the bedroom floor and reading a magazine by the light of a naked lamp. Finally around 2:30, I rode my bike over to give him a chance to get out of the apt. for a minute.
Our first step was to quickly unload the car in the garage and bring everything upstairs to organize. Well, the force of murphy's law was strong with us that day because just as we arrived back in the apt. about 10 min. later, erich's phone beeped saying he had voicemail. It was of course the comcast guy saying he had come by the building but we didn't answer so he kindly left us a number to call to reschedule. E* immediately called back and learned that the dispatcher has no way of reaching the driver/technician. WHAT!?! They must use the same system as UPS. Our main point of contention was that the technician didn't call us 30 min. before he arrived which is supposed to be one of their policies. Had we gotten that call, he would NOT have gone down to the bunker/garage during the next hour lest he miss the call.

So in addition to have a minor melt down on the phone, E* rescheduled for the following Tuesday. After a few more phone calls to Comcast, he was able to chat with a helpful operator who found a different technician on a job about 2 blocks from us. She said he would visit us right after that job. Which meant E* had to race back to the new apartment and I continued to pack up the old place with just my mp3 player as entertainment.

It's a good thing E* hauled ass to the new place, because it was another 3 hours before the technician finished his other job and made it over to our place. The end of the story is a lot better: technician was nice, hooked everything up, provided some helpful advice, etc.

Things we're most excited about: the music channels for instant playlists by genre, our temporary access to food network HD, and the channel/listings guide so I don't have to keep taping the channel list to the back of the remote.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Moving Part I

As most of you know, E* and I really enjoying moving and as such, decided to kick off the summer with a move to another apartment in the same zip code. Last Saturday was the big day, though we started with just our car on Friday. To cut right to the chase, this move was BRUTAL. We were hit with snafus on all fronts.
Here's a handy summary list to guide you through subsequent posts (see how optimistic I am that I'll get multiple posts out of this? That essentially dooms me to failure as I rarely follow through on specific promises w/r/t posting.)

  1. How Comcast kept E* prisoner for 7 hrs.
  2. Patio Furniture
  3. The little Budget Truck that Couldn't
  4. Sicky
  5. Caribbean Festival, aka Georgia Avenue Blockade
  6. Dawn's car
  7. Sharing the freight elevator and loading dock
  8. Rain
  9. The Freight-to-Level G2 Shuffle
  10. Cleaning the old apartment
  11. Parking anywhere = illegal
So those were all the bad things. And here's a good thing:

Our lovely view from the balcony. Admittedly it gets a little loud when the sliding glass doors are open, but we got to see a minor car accident as it happened the first night we moved in. That's worth something, right?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Duggar Family Update

I know you all rely on me for Duggar Family news. Sorry I missed the boat on their most recent announcement.

It should come as no surprise that the news involves another pregnancy. Yup, Michelle Duggar is expecting her 18th child next January, as announced on the Today Show on May 9th. Given that the other 17 children's names all start with J, let's put some guesses up here for the possible 18th name and see if we get it. Feel free to vote or add another. I'm not sophisticated enough to add a real voting gadget like Sara.

  1. Jamie
  2. Jane
  3. Jacqueline
  4. Jocelyn
  5. Judith
  1. Jacob
  2. Jared
  3. Joel
  4. Jonathan
  5. Julian
*Edited to add current Duggar children per request:
Joshua, Jana & John-David (twins), Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy-Anna, Jedidiah & Jeremiah (twins), Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah, and Jennifer

*Further edited to respond to comment: I will take the trouble to add a proper poll gadget when someone else takes the trouble to post a photo.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Part IV (?) in the Things-That-Annoy-Me Series: NBC.com Full Episodes

NBC.com vs. ABC.com

Full disclosure: I'm endorsing ABC.com

As boring as this topic may be for some of you, I had to post this as a public service announcement.
I must implore you, that you if you are waffling between watching an NBC show or an ABC show online, go with the latter!

Here's the background. For about a year, I've had an odd obsession with ABC's Ugly Betty. It's very strange considering just how few shows I care about. But the kicker was that it airs Thursday nights, which many of you know is stitch-n-bitch night. So, since this is 2008 and I don't tape TV shows anymore, my only other option was to watch episodes on the abc website. When I first discovered this, I was ecstatic! And I think that for a long time, it was the only network providing full episodes for free on its site. For much of the last year, you could only watch the most recent 4 episodes, but that didn't bother me since I always prioritized watching the newest episode as soon as the weekend started.

Fast forward to a couple of months ago when I was discussing The Office with a coworker. I lamented that this was also a show I was never able to see 'live' because of the Thursday night thing. But since it's an NBC sitcom, I pretty much had to write off the new seasons and just watch whichever seasons are available on netflix. But my coworker piped up that you can now watch full episodes on nbc.com! That news was seriously the highlight of my week.


I was extremely disappointed in nbc's execution of this wonderful service. I don't want to sound like I'm ungrateful, but we're talking about NBC - they have the resources to provide a quality product! Especially given that ABC has pretty much done it better already - how can NBC not rise to this challenge?

Allow me to elaborate (I know, how can this get any more boring)...
Here are my issues with NBC.com's full episode service. (get ready for another list)
  1. The commercials they play throughout the episode are SO LOUD! I know they do this when it's broadcast on TV, but to carry that over to my computer? So uncool. I hates it. We usually connect the laptop to the TV so we can both watch comfortably. Then when the commercial comes on a few decibels higher, we get to race each other for either the TV remote or the laptop's mute button. This is lame.
  2. I also think that NBC plays more commercials per episode than ABC. This wouldn't be that bad except for problem #1 (see above).
  3. Since we connect the laptop to the TV, I usually set the computer to project 2 screens: 1 for me so I can continue to work and 1 for the TV so we can watch the show. This works great with ABC.com/Ugly Betty. However, the problem with nbc.com is that whatever I do on my laptop screen seems to affect the 2nd screen on the TV. What this means is that if i set the episode player on the TV to full-screen, it will stay like that until either 1) they play a commercial (argh) or 2) I try to do something on my laptop screen. Like, press any key or scroll down a website page. As soon as I do that, the TV projection of the episode shrinks back down to a 3" x 4" square. If I had never used abc.com, I probably would have assumed this was a problem with my computer or browser. But alas, this is just another example of NBC suckery.
  4. This is a placeholder for another problem that I can't remember at the moment. Believe me, it will be filled.
They're lucky that The Office is so damn good otherwise I wouldn't continue to put myself through the torture that I've just outlined here.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

An edible list

1. We ate fresh strawberries while weeding at the garden yesterday. These are compliments of OldandBusted and her gardening efforts last year. Her strawberries, rosemary, oregano, thyme (?) and we think even a pea plant survived the winter and the transplanting. Thank you!

2. This morning I threw a little more than half of a pork shoulder into the crock pot along with a bottle of coke and some beef broth. It cooked on low for the next 8-9 hours, then Erich trimmed it up when he got home, threw it back in with a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce and we drooled over the smell for the next 1 hour or so. At 9:30 we sat down to an awesome dinner of pulled pork sandwiches, homemade coleslaw, and a cucumber & tomato salad. I think we are the last of the crock pot owners to discover the wonders of homemade pulled pork. So delicious and easy. And I couldn't even see the fat at the end so I know it must be lowfat ;)

3. Pizza on the grill - sort of. We made a variation of our usual pizza: Boboli crust, pizza sauce, mozzarella, spinach, mushrooms, corn, and fresh oregano. We put it on the pizza pan (the kind with holes) and then onto the grill. We didn't notice a huge change in taste, but the texture of the crust was better. We were afraid it would get too burned if we put it directly onto the grill.

4. Hops. Ok, you can't eat hops. But it goes with the food update because good hops yield good beer which can count as a meal in the right setting. Erich planted 4 types of hops rhizomes and 2 have finally germinated! The Willamette rhizomes are already 6-8 inches tall!!

Monday, May 26, 2008


I was going to write this big long post and end it with some big news. Kind of a reward for those who actually read to the end (I know I can be wordy).
But I also tend to blurt things out. So the big news is that we're moving!
We decided sometime early last week (or rather, I was strong-armed into agreeing with Erich) that we should move. Our main reasons are that we haven't felt totally safe in this neighborhood - it's gotten frustrating not being able to walk home from the metro after 9. And we've felt isolated from the rest of the city (mainly since we can't just walk every where like we did in Adams Morgan). We want to prioritize the neighborhood over square footage, parking, and uh, the budget.

So we viewed a couple of apartments throughout the week and built to a flurry of 4 in one day on Saturday. Oddly enough, in the end we went with the one that we first saw right at the beginning of our search (we saw it a 2nd time on Saturday). As of Saturday afternoon, it was really down to 2 places. And because I like lists, here is the breakdown:

Place #1

  • neighborhood: smack in the middle of Columbia Heights - on top of the metro
  • gym, pool table, roof deck with hammocks and grass
  • balcony
  • brand new; 1st ones to live in it, sweet kitchen
  • safety

  • no parking
  • top top end of our budget
  • unit is pretty small and living room is a little awkward, so we'd have to get rid of some things, including the grill.

Place #2
  • neighborhood: also in Columbia Heights, about 4-5 blocks from the metro
  • tiny outdoor space slightly below ground where we could keep our grill
  • parking included
  • a little more square footage than our old place in Adams Morgan and Place #1
  • 3 yr. old condo, sweet kitchen

  • Basement apartment
  • no roof deck or gym
  • no bars on front door and window, not sure if that's a safety issue
So after an agonizing afternoon of icecream cones and discussion, and another look at Place #1, we decided to put in an application and deposit. We were cleared today, but we actually celebrated on Saturday night with a bottle of wine that friends gave us when we got married :)

Moving day is June 27th - pretty much the same day that the apartment is due to be completed - oh, did I mention that they've only finished floors 1-4? Our floor will be finished up in the next couple of weeks.

We're so excited to live in a more central area, have a gym in the building, and relax on that roof! We're a little less excited about figuring out which furniture we have to get rid of as we downsize by about 200 sq. ft. To that end, we have spent obscene amounts of time playing with Google Sketchup trying to fit our existing furniture into the new apartment's layout. This was more fun than last year since we had already measured and built our furniture for the last apt hunting season. This time around, all we had to do was build a new living room, bedroom, and kitchen floorplan based on the layout they posted on the building's website and add in our furniture models. We've already started a list of things we need to sell or give away - stay tuned.

I'm all typed out - this is the only news this post will be getting. I'll save the lesser news for another post. I bet you're already on the edge of your seat.

The entry is next to the kitchen. And we haven't really sketched the bathroom, but you can sort of see it in the corner between the kitchen and the bedroom.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A case of the Mondays?

This week started out...interesting.

We had been subjected to drenching rains for about 3 days which (for a couple zip codes in the area) resulted in a power outage Monday morning. Our house lost power between 7:21am and 7:29am. I know this because my alarm went off at 7:21 and I immediately reset it for 7:30 (part of my normal routine). But I wasn't awoken at 7:30. Instead I lazily opened my eyes at some point and mused over how long those last 10 minutes had felt. I glanced at the clock. But when I couldn't read it, I assumed it was because I wasn't wearing my glasses. It turns out, the clock was totally off. and it was 7:40. I was pretty lucky I guess that I woke up on my own only 10 min. after I was supposed to.

When I went to take a shower a few minutes later, I discovered just how little natural light our bathroom actually gets. I didn't know this before. So I lit about 6 candles and had a lovely candlelight shower. It almost felt romantic except for the creepy flickering shadows and the fact that I was home alone - I was little freaked out about by the end, seeing flashbacks from Psycho.

The only other event of the morning was when I missed the stop to transfer to my 2nd bus. Luckily I realized it at the next stop, ran out, and was able to catch up with the 2nd bus. Why did this happen? Probably because I was distracted by a particularly scintillating passage of the book I was reading. It was pretty graphic. Yeah. Embarrassing.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Happy May Day, Sorry April.

Damn, I let a whole month go by. I had been so good about getting a post in by the 28th or 29th day, but I wasn't as lucky this time.
Oh well. This weekend will be full of blog-worthy events so stay tuned: someone I know says goodbye to their 20s, someone else gets married, and a secret surprise on Sunday will hopefully please a brand new 30-yr old.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Invisible Title

First, I give you a 2nd lolcat to vote on. He made it weeks ago but it didn't get promoted here yet because I've apparently fallen out of blogging again.

funny pictures

My reason for not blogging has been totally valid. Work. Lots of it. I was blindsided. For a little over 2 months I've been splitting my time evenly between 2 campaigns and they both converged in a perfect storm of deadlines nearly 2 weeks ago. That meant taking work home every night and part of the weekends. But unfortunately for you, I can't delve into more of these gripping details...work and blogging are a bad combination.

In other news...

Check out my new bike!!! I loves it!

Oh, did I mention my bike got stolen? Yeah, that was a sad Monday morning. I learned a valuable lesson. The U-lock is indeed the most secure bike lock....however, it's most effective when used to lock the bike TO a stationary object. Simply locking the front wheel to the bike frame and then 'hiding' the bike with trash barrels will not do the trick.

So after a week of mourning and obsessively checking every bike that rode by to see if it was mine, I starting thinking hard about what I'd like for a new bike. I was on the fence between a road bike and a sleeker hybrid than my previous bike. I knew I didn't want the upright, comfort-style hybrid, but since every brand defines the category differently, it was impossible to figure things out with online research. So it shouldn't be surprising that we ended up spending 4 1/2 hours in the bike shop last Saturday. Hubby also needed a new bike because his 10 year old, 3-sizes-too-small, gear-shift-challenged, mountain bike was becoming a safety hazard.
During these 4+ hours of monopolizing Uma the Bike Lady's time, we each tested about 2-3 hybrids and roads. I am still not sure exactly how we ended up choosing the exact same bike in the end.

Yeah, now we're that couple.

Monday, March 03, 2008


I was going to include this in the last post as part of my "Weekend Update," but it really deserves it's own post.

A friend lent us her copy of Once over a month ago and we somehow never got around to watching it (probably because we had never heard of it and therefore weren't motivated to make time for it.)
But after watching the movie's leads win an Oscar for Best Song and hearing their endearing acceptance speeches, I was suddenly gripped by a desire to watch it.
Which we did on Saturday morning - we were floored.

I highly recommend it if you're into indie music and quirky, low-budget films. Both Erich and I woke up this morning with the main song stuck in our heads (odd in its own right) so I scratched the itch by listening to the soundtrack over and over today at work via the Fox Searchlight website. I acknowledged today that I'm probably going to buy the soundtrack because after their sincere speeches about struggling artists, I wouldn't be able to justify burning the songs from someone else.

3 quick updates

We finally made it over to the Portrait Gallery the weekend before last. I have no shame and can admit that my primary reason for going in February was because of the Stephen Colbert portrait, which is only going to be displayed until April 1. Although I did hesitate before asking the woman at the info desk which bathroom the portrait was located outside of. After wandering around the lobby and part of the 1st floor hallway a bit, hoping to see a sign posted, I broke down and asked.
(It's across the atrium courtyard, up to the 2nd floor, left-hand hallway.)

I feel bad for the people who actually had to USE the restroom. The portrait viewers were definitely in the way and were oblivious to others' needs.
The portrait and it's plaque are awesome.

This past weekend we had a different kind of fun at the med school's formal. We got dressed up, drank less than last year, and pretended to dance to 2 songs. But we also got to catch up with some friends that we haven't seen much since everyone started their 3rd year.

And on the bread front...
We decided to take a bread hiatus - we could stand to ease up on the carbs for a bit, especially judging by my self-esteem level throughout last week's dress-buying process. Ugh.
So the only thing I cooked last weekend was a variation of my new favorite fake indian dish. I start with 1/2 jar of Masala Simmer Sauce from Trader Joes and add garlic, onions, chicken, and whatever vegetables that I have on hand that go well with the spices. This time it was peas, 1/2 can of diced tomatoes, and carrots. The first time it was peas, spinach, and a little cauliflower I think. I usually serve it over cous cous but this last time it was jasmine rice that I FINALLY cooked perfectly! It tasted so good that I almost didn't even think about how it wasn't brown rice.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Rare sighting of a lolgoat

Check out this lolcat (ok, really it's a lolgoat) that E* made!

**** EDITED: Click picture to vote for it over at the website!!! *****

funny pictures

iz funny, no? Then plz for u to cast ur vote.

Monday, February 11, 2008


I've discovered a lot of great new artists recently. But the dirty little secret is that the majority of them only became known to me through commercials. I know. Makes me feel like a sucker of the capitalist machine.

Anyway, the silver lining is that after getting those commercials stuck in my head, I ended up researching the artists and even bought some of their work. The first example of this was Ingrid Michaelson towards the end of last year - only in her case, I first heard the song on Cast-On. Followed shortly thereafter by the Old Navy commercial of course.

Then last month Erich and I heard the new Mac Air commercial...and we were instantly hooked. Both by the product and the song. And thus we have our new favorite artist.

Meet Yael Naim.....

And finally we have an artist brought to our attention by a couple of Rhapsody ads.
This is Sara Bareilles

*Ohrwurm (Earworm)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Adventures in Bread-Baking

I finally got fed up enough with the outrageous price of fresh bread in bakeries. Erich is a sucker for Firehook's bread in particular. But we consider it a luxury that we rarely indulge in.
However, over the past several weeks, I've been following the RealityTour of no-knead bread making, partially based on a recipe in the New York Times that I had actually bookmarked MONTHS ago. His successful experiments were very inspiring!
So last weekend, I picked up some yeast and got down to business. Unfortunately, after letting it rise for about 16 hours, I decided to read through the rest of the recipe and suddenly remembered why it was I had never tried the recipe before - it requires a cast-iron pot w/ lid or dutch oven. Neither of which live in my kitchen. Doh! So about 2 hours before the dough was supposed to be moved to such a vessel, I started frantically researching for alternative containers.
Results were a little inconclusive, but deep within this site I found a couple of reader comments from people who had improvised using oven-safe pots and mismatching lids (in one case, it was simply an inverted oven-safe bowl. So I plunged ahead with renewed confidence in my spaghetti pot and metal lid (Calphalon says its oven-safe up to 450).

By that afternoon, my improvisation rewarded me with an awesome boule of fresh bread. Until then, I had only ever baked bread in a loaf pan and while adequate, the loaves always reminded me of sub-par commercial sandwich bread from the grocery store. It never had the great crust that bakery-bread has (all 3 times that I actually baked bread).
However, not wanting to be left out, I had Erich pick up an inexpensive enamel-coated, cast-iron dutch oven from a big-box store during his errands later that day. A dutch oven has been on my wish list for quite a long time, but their expense was always a deterrent. But then I read some encouraging reviews of the Lodge products and I decided that I probably won't cook with it often enough to even warrant a pricey version.
I got to try her out this afternoon for a 2nd loaf of bread and the results are yummy! Besides the container, the only modification I made was to shorten the time it bakes without the lid. Makes the crust a little more manageable - last week's loaf sounded a bit like a hockey puck as I turned it out onto the cooling rack. It seems like the cast-iron pot helped the loaf puff up a little more in the middle which is plus in my book.

I'd say the biggest challenge is to not eat the whole loaf in one day. It's really a weekend activity so if we run out by Monday, we might be tempted to get our fix by raiding the bakery just to make it through the rest of the week.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

2 Patriots

This week didn't start out so well.

We were stunned Sunday night - New York fans rushed the field on TV, and our apartment became like a morgue as friends put on their coats and headed home quietly. In true Boston-fan fashion, we expressed some guilt that perhaps we had celebrated too fiercely when the Pats scored that touchdown in the 4th quarter to pull ahead. Mea Culpa. I can't believe this week of mourning is only half over.
And I wish creative sorts of pain on the next person who says, "Well, I'm not really a Giants fan, but I just couldn't support a dynasty so I'm happy."

On to more uplifting things...
Can you tell what this? No? Look closer. Now squint a little. Now let your imagination wander.

Do you see the bald eagle now? Good!
So I was chatting with a coworker in his office and spotted a large bird circling the neighboring buildings. My first thought was that it was a hawk (cuz somehow that sounded more normal than an eagle in Washington, DC in February). But when I asked him what he thought it was, he went nuts exclaiming it was a bald eagle. Apparently he's really into birds and is 100% convinced that's what we saw. Based on my very limited knowledge, I'd have to agree. We discussed whether the sight of our nation's bird flying overhead stirred feelings of patriotism.
It did not. It was awesome, but in a bird-watcher kind of way, not in a I love America way.

I can tell you it had a white head and tail feathers and a dark body. That's about all I could see though it did circle quite low right outside our window. Maybe it was looking for rats? I don't know that the south side of Dupont is exactly a rat haven, but maybe this eagle was hunting rats fed on fancy food. Oh, and apparently bald eagles really prefer fish - guess he went home hungry.

Friday, January 18, 2008

As Promised, Loot

As you can see, I really struck gold in the Christmas knitting loot category.
Counter-clockwise from top left:
  1. Socks that Rock medium weight from PassionKnitly- not for Christmas but since she picked this up for me at Rheinbeck and I got it at Thanksgiving, it still feels new and part of the holiday season. First STR EVER! Colorway - Spinel
  2. Recycled Sari Silk from PrincesSara - 3 skeins total, 509 grams. Still no idea what I'm going to do with this. But if I continue in my stash-busting mode and try to [loosely] use a first-in, first-out method, then the sari-silk will be with me a good long time.
  3. Knitpicks Options from MIL
  4. Stephanie Pearl McPhee Casts Off from E - Yarn Harlot
  5. Stitch-n-Bitch notebook from E
  6. At Knit's End from E - by the Yarn Harlot. This has already been put in the bathroom, replacing Secret of Life of a Knitter.
  7. Sheep measuring tape from PassionKnitly
  8. Frog doo-dad caddy from PassionKnitly
  9. Eucalan from PassionKnitly- Needed this for hand-knits and blocking for a long time. And recently I used it for a few commercial sweaters! Smells great.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Obligatory post-Christmas list

Wow, I'm off to a stellar start with my plan to post more often.

As I am a knitter and have a blog, I think I'm required to post a run-down of the holiday knitting gifts and loot.

1. A feather & fan scarf for my gram done with Brooks Farm Duet, previously written about here and here. I finished it in November which I've decided is an excellent way to mitigate some of the December-knitting stress. I should do this more often.

2. Red Sox red socks for my brother. I knit these with Dark Horse - Fantasy which is *gasp* acrylic. I chose this yarn after a lengthy, and somewhat public hunt for inexpensive, solid red , superwash sock yarn. I failed to find anything adequate in time, so after talking to a helpful person at Knit Happens, I was able to accept this high-quality acrylic because it came so highly recommended and I didn't trust my brother with higher maintenance yarns.

3. Red Sox red socks for PassionKnitly. Knit with Lang - Jawoll superwash sock yarn. That's right, I eventually found what I was looking for at A Tangled Skein.
I'm cheating a little in putting this on the "given" list since I immediately took them back after she opened them. I had a good reason though - they were unfinished! I was totally on track to finish them by Christmas until I ran out of red yarn just after the heel on the 2nd sock. And THEN I had the tragic realization that I left the 2nd skein in Washington! I tried to recover by calling 4 yarn stores in RI, but sadly none of them stock that yarn in solid colors. LYS's seem to have an unhealthy obsession with variegated sock yarn! I'm now finishing up the cuff on said 2nd sock and hope to re-give them to the lovely recipient within the week. No picture for the blog though. Instead I will leave you with this very cute pic of Passionknitly's family's new puppy taken by my hubby. Hi Brandy!

4. His So-Called Scarf for Erich. This wasn't actually a surprise gift, but I wrapped it up and put it under the tree anyway. I think he likes it even though he no longer has frigid bike rides to work and despite the recent heat wave here in DC.

Ok, I've just run out of steam so the loot will come in a later post.