Monday, September 14, 2009

Black Watch Socks

Despite the lack of blogging in general, and the even more severe lack
of blogging about knitting, there has, in fact, been knitting going
on. Behold, the beginning of sock #1 of a pair for my wonderful Taz,
hopefully to be completed well before the holidays, considering the
long list of other holiday knitting projects I've decided I simply
MUST knit for various loved ones. But first things first: my
sweetheart must have warm feet! The pattern is a simple toe-up crew
sock using PGR short-row toes and heels, with 2x2 ribbing for the
cuffs. The yarn is Lorna's Laces in the Black Watch colorway (in case
you couldn't guess from the post title). I'm not too keen on the
barber pole effect I'm getting, but what can I do? Hopefully the cuffs
at least will have less pooling...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Meatless Monday #7: Thai takeout

There are some weeks when the days I have time to cook just don't happen to be Mondays. And although I'd like to think I'm at least a decent cook, it's going to be a while before I attempt anything like Pad See Ew with tofu on my own. It does somewhat assuage my guilt at splurging on takeout to realize that what the restaurant considers to be one portion is enough for two meals for me--which means this dinner really only cost me about $3.75.

My other meals on Meatless Monday: Grape Nuts with strawberry yogurt for breakfast, and a salad with pistahios, blue cheese and pears for lunch.

You may have noticed that I skipped a Monday. Last week on Monday, I spent the day doing a 9-mile+ hike in Shenandoah National Park with my husband, and by dinnertime I was so exhausted I just wasn't thinking about what day it was or remembering to avoid meat. I think I might have "inadvertently" eaten vegetarian one day later in the week, though, so I guess it evened out.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Couldn't have said it better myself

Sadly, Transitionland has hit the nail on the head:
An idealistic young man is promising, principled and future-minded.
An idealistic young woman is naive, stereotypical, and a liability.
An outspoken young man is a ambitious, intelligent, and possessing of wonderful
entrepreneurial spirit. He should be promoted.
An outspoken young woman is a bossy bitch who doesn’t know her place in the hierarchy. She should be put in her place.

I work in a place that's so packed to the gills with idealists, I'm not sure the first part applies quite as much in my specific situation, but man, there are soooo many workplaces (even supposedly "enlightened" ones) where all of the above rings painfully true.

Meatless Monday #6: Hard-boiled Egg Masala

Taz came home last night for his "summer vacation" and I wanted to welcome him back with a home-cooked meal. Even though I'm married to an Indian guy, I still haven't managed to learn to cook very many Indian dishes. Lately, I've been trying to change that, and Madhur Jaffrey's Quick and Easy Indian Cooking has been an absolute godsend. This Hard-boiled Egg Masala (which we just call "unda curry" around the house) is one of the first dishes I learned to make, and it seems to improve a bit every time. I can't share the recipe on my blog--you'll have to get the book for that--but here are some modifications I've found helpful:
  • Don't drain the tomatoes. In fact, rinse out the can with water, and add that too. Things can get too dried out after the recommended amount of simmering, so be prepared to add even more water after that stage.

  • It's ok to supplement the canned tomatoes with fresh, if you have some you need to get rid of, or if you don't have a big enough can.

  • Use more cilantro than you think you'll need, and set some aside for garnish.

  • You'll probably need more liquid in the spice paste than called for, too.

  • Save prep time by boiling (and even peeling) the eggs ahead of time.

  • Put out a dish of plain yogurt on the table for those with a lower spice tolerance to quench the flames.

Most Indian food, I've found, ages just fine, and a stay in the refrigerator overnight or even for a couple days will not hurt the flavor of this dish at all. I often cook this on a weekend, leaving only the rice cooking for the night I plan to serve it. I doubled the recipe this time, and that was enough for a dinner for two, plus two lunches for me.

My other Meatless Monday fare was much less impressive this week: raisin bran with soy milk for breakfast, overpriced organic grapes for a snack, and really awful leathery veggie gyoza-style dumplings from the gourmet-ish market around the corner from work. We also had red wine with dinner, but managed to open not one but two corked bottles before we found one that was good. Looks like it might be time to replenish the wine supply...

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Random Wednesday

In the spongy blob that has been my brain lately, here's what is squishing around today:

  1. Unpaid furlough days are great, except for that whole "unpaid" thing. Good thing I'm enjoying them, because I have to take five this month (every Friday).

  2. I am unreasonably proud of myself for getting up an hour early this morning to go for a walk/run on the trail by my house. The weather has been too hot and humid to bike to work lately (no shower at the office), but I had not replaced that activity with anything else (until today), which was NOT benefiting my waistline. Here's hoping I can keep it a daily habit!

  3. Speaking of health, it's interesting that my food-related posts have been getting more comments lately than my knitting-related ones (except when they've been getting no comments at all). I hope people don't think this has stopped being a knitting blog!

  4. It is totally unfair that I should have so many mosquito bites when I haven't even had the joy of camping this summer.

  5. I have no idea what to get my dad for his birthday, which is tomorrow. I mean, I know I should get him a book or a CD, but he already has sooo many of both, how do I choose? He is not the sort of person you give a gift certificate to, either.

  6. Now that, post-layoffs, I am basically supposed to be doing the work of two people at the office, my will to actually do said work has almost totally evaporated. I care deeply about the issues I work on, but I would still rather be knitting, reading, soaking in a nice cool pool, or some combination thereof. Not that I'm complaining about still being employed. I'm just sayin'.

  7. Another factor that might be contributing to #6 is the fact that Taz is coming home for his summer vacation for 2 weeks, and he gets here on Monday. The closer we get to Monday, the more that becomes the ONLY thing I can think about.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Meatless Monday #5: Salad with Candied Pecans and Blueberries

This is one of my favorite I-made-it-up-one-evening-with-what-was-in-the-fridge salads, and it's not as time-consuming as you might think. The dressing is homemade too, and that's waaay less time consuming than you might think.

- lettuce or mixed greens, washed and dried
- a handful of blueberries
- a handful of pecans
- white granulated sugar
- a couple tablespoons of crumbled gorgonzola cheese

Throw the pecans in a cold frying pan and cover them with a generous sprinkling of sugar. Turn on the heat to a low to medium level, and stir as the sugar melts and begins to caramelize. If you have a silicone spatula, that's the ideal implement because it's both non-stick and heatproof. Make sure neither the pecans nor the sugar burn, and once the sugar is melted and has started to brown, turn off the heat. Spread the pecans out to cool on some wax paper. While they're cooling, put the lettuce/greens, blueberries, and gorgonzola in a salad bowl. Then make the dressing.

- one clove of garlic
- 6 or so black peppercorns
- a pinch or two of salt
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- balsamic vinegar
- wine vinegar
- extra virgin olive oil

With a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic, peppercorns, basil and salt together. Then add about a quarter cup of balsamic vinegar. Pour the mixture into a jar or other container with some extra room (and a lid). Add a dash of wine vinegar (mainly to dilute the intensity of the balsamic), and top it off with a quarter cup of olive oil. Put on the lid and shake vigorously. Pour a few tablespoons of the dressing over the salad, add the now-cool pecans, toss, and serve. A nice big bowl of this is more than enough for dinner for me, no "main dish" required!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

In search of a Contrast Color

It's time to get a start on my holiday knitting, and maybe also pretend I'm actually participating in the Summer of Socks 2009 while I'm at it (it would be nice to finish at least one pair of socks before SoS ends). I have several people I'm planning to knit socks for, but I need help with my yarn choices.

1. Socks for S
This pair is going to be for a man with size 10 feet, and I plan knit the Diamond Waffle pattern (though probably with short-row heels and toes), and I want to use this yarn:

It's Colinette Jitterbug, and according to the ball band the skein has 267m. Although that's more in yards, it's still under 300 yds. So I'm planning to do the heels and toes in a contrasting color. These are the options:

I have plenty of the Lorna's Laces, but the yarns feel like a fairly different gauge (the LL seems thinner, although according to the ball-band info for each, the Jitterbug actually knits up at a slightly finer gauge), and the ply and texture are a bit different.

The Cherry Tree Hill is a similar gauge and texture/ply, but I was planning to use that for a different pair, for someone with perennially cold feet who will want socks as tall as I can knit them.

The Wildfoote (sorry that pic is so dark--the colorway is Brown Sugar, and you can see the colors better here) is closer in texture to the Lorna's Laces than to the Jitterbug, but I have plenty of it. I'm just not sure if the color combo with the green would look too Christmasy. This guy does celebrate Christmas, but I wouldn't want him to feel he could only wear these socks once a year!

2. Socks for H
I'm planning to knit the Herringbone Rib socks (here's a Rav link with better pics), using the blue Cherry Tree Hill shown above (approx 420 yds/sk). Or I might possibly knit Leyburn instead (here's a Rav link with better pics). If I use some of the Cherry Tree Hill as the contrast yarn in the socks for S, will I have enough to make nice tall socks for a woman's size 8 1/2 feet? If not, what do you think about doing the heels and toes in this color?

It's also Cherry Tree Hill, so no concerns about gauge or texture not matching. I think the colors go well together, and H likes fun bright colors in her socks. My only worry is if a contrasting heel/toe will look weird with the herringbone or the stranded pattern of either of the sock options. Thoughts?

3. Socks for me
I have been considering using the turquoise Cherry Tree Hill above to make a pair of Pomatomus for myself. Will I have enough if I use some for the heels and toes on socks for H? Another yarn I've been considering using for Pomatomus is this (Artyarns Ultramerino):

But I worry that the pattern won't show to its best advantage in a non-solid yarn.

4. Socks for C
Finally, I'm planning to knit some fairly large socks (I think men's size 12?) with this other colorway of Lorna's Laces:

I could just do basic ribbed crew socks, but I'm trying to think if there's anything a little more interesting I can do that won't be obscured by the variegation, and also won't be too weird for a guy. This is a man who's definitely in touch with his feminine side, but that doesn't mean he chooses to express it through his wool socks (that's what the platform heels are for).

There are actually two or three more pairs of socks (including one for Taz) I'm hoping to knit in time for the holidays, but let's not get carried away right now. I only have so many pairs of dpns! I am itching to case on for something sockish, though, so any advice on my contrast color issues will be much appreciated!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Meatless Monday #4: Zucchini Tofu Stir-fry

I've mentioned this in past posts, but here you finally have a photo. It seems almost silly to write down the recipe, since this is one of those things I tend to make with whatever is on hand, but it came out especially yummy this time, so here you have it:

- one medium zucchini, sliced
- half a pint of mushrooms, white or baby Bella, sliced
- half a container of firm tofu, cubed
- three tablespoons of cabbage, shredded or thinly sliced
- one large clove of garlic, minced or pressed
- 3/4 teaspoon of fresh ginger, minced
- a dash of sherry
- a few drops of rice vinegar
- soy sauce
- black pepper to taste
- olive oil

Heat up the olive oil in a wok or frying pan, toss in the mushrooms and zucchini. While they begin to brown, put the tofu cubes in a bowl with some soy sauce. Once the mushrooms and zucchini have begun to soften, toss in the cabbage, then use a garlic press to add the garlic (or mince it very finely if you don't have a press) and add the ginger too. Let cook for a minute or two, then add the rest of the ingredients and cook for a minute or two more. Stir gently to make sure all the flavors are well blended and all the veggies are cooked. Serve with rice.

Or you could be like me and skip the rice. I like the texture it adds, and the way it soaks up the extra sauce, but I just don't need the extra carbs (and I had forgotten to put any rice on before starting the stir-fry). This makes enough for two portions, so for me that means a dinner and a lunch. Yummmmm!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Oh yeah, and a very belated Meatless Monday update (#3)

Last Monday, this is what I ate for dinner--my fave potato salad, but with beets from my mom's garden mixed in. I had to make a ton, because both the beets and the potatoes were about to go bad. I ate this for lunch and dinner at least two days in a row (and no, I'm not planning to eat potato salad again this coming week). I think I had cereal for breakfast (again), and lunch was leftover stir-fry of beet greens, chard, and mushrooms. So, not the most exciting Meatless Monday, but since I was home sick Tuesday and Wednesday, I had more time to cook. That meant that later in the week I feasted on other meatless fare, including more of my mom's basil walnut pesto, another variation on the zucchini pancakes (what can I say? they're yummy!), macaroni and cheese with fresh tomato, a tofu smoothie, a pecan-gorgonzola-blueberries-baby greens salad with homemade balsamic vinagrette, and biscuits. Don't worry, not all at the same meal.

I was out of town this weekend, so I didn't get to the farmers' market, but I still have a zucchini left from last week, and I think I might try experimenting with legumes (probably masoor dal?) and maybe quinoa this week. Wish me luck!


This is my new Woven Gems Inca Cotton (the colorway is "Desert") that I got from Sangeeta when I went to visit her and watch HP6 together. I love it. So much that despite having so many WIPs that are *this* close to being done, I chose to spend my limited knitting time today swatching it to see what hoodie-sweatshirty type pattern I might be able to knit with it (possibly Under the Hoodie?--that's a Rav link). I'm getting 17 sts to 4 inches on US 7s, but I'm thinking of going down to 6s and seeing what happens. Meanwhile, any suggestions?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Meatless Monday #2

Sorry, no pretty pics for this post. But I am happy to report that my fridge is bursting at the seams with fresh local veggies, thanks to my mom's garden and a trip to the farmers' market with my parents, who came for a wonderful surprise visit with their dog Ozzie on Sunday.

Meatless Monday's menu
Breakfast was honey-nut cheerios, currants, soy milk and a Danactive. Lunch was mom's potato salad and a peach. Afternoon snack was applesauce. And dinner was linguine with sauteed baby bellas, mom's basil-walnut pesto, and extra parmesan. Doesn't sound all that exciting the way I described it, and without photos you can't see how yummy it all was, but I assure you, it was delicious. Nothing like Mom's cooking!

Planning for the week
Now comes the rest of the week. Although I haven't vowed to be meatless the rest of the week, I have an amazing amount of fresh veggies I will need to use up. Suggestions are welcome! Here is my inventory:
  • 3 large-ish beets, with greens attached

  • 4 or 5 scallions

  • about 1 lb of new potatoes

  • 8 or 10 huge leaves of chard (I swear, they're 2 feet long!)

  • 1 small sweet onion

  • 1 medium red onion

  • a decent-sized bunch of basil

  • 1 1/2 pints of baby bella mushrooms

  • 2 tomatoes

  • 3 or 4 pale green zucchinis (one very large, the rest fairly small)

Additionally, I have a package of tofu, some frozen trout, a dozen fresh eggs, and 2 hard-boiled eggs. I am thinking stir-fry for sure one night using some zucchini and mushrooms with the tofu, and probably fish another night, but beyond that, I don't know. More zucchini pancakes? Cold potato soup? Quiche?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Spain Socks

I didn't have time in Spain to do much knitting, but I did still manage to come home with one more FO: my Spain Socks! I re-started these a bit before my trip to Spain back in March/April to help Taz get settled, and I finished them on the way over to Barcelona on this last trip. They're basic toe-ups with PGR short-row toes and heels, and a 2x2 ribbed cuff. I knit them on US#1's, using Socks that Rock in the Knitter Without Borders colorway, purchased at MDSW 2008. Now I just have to figure out if any of my clothes will match these socks!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Alpaca Saddle

Oh my goodness, there were definitely moments when I wondered if I was ever going to be able to write this post reporting that the sweater for Taz is done. But it is!!! I wish I had better pictures, but the lighting was far from ideal in his Barcelona apartment, and I was working with an unfamiliar camera. I also wish he weren't so shy and would have let me show his face in these pictures so you could get the full effect of how handsome he looks in his new sweater.

Here's a Rav link to the project info. The pattern is from an old 1966 pattern booklet called “Men’s Classics” put out by Bucilla. I found it a bit difficult to read at first because the pattern is laid out almost like a chart, with columns--one with directions, and the others with the stitch count (or whatever) for each size. It's also written for two different yarn weights, depending on what you prefer. I didn't really do any mods, other than forgetting to use smaller needles for the ribbing. I would have expected so much straight stockinette (in gray, no less) on such small needles to get pretty boring pretty fast, but it truly didn't. I'm sure part of that was because it was such a labor of love (awwww), but I also really found it meditative, and the yarn was so soft and nice to work with, I actually found myself looking forward to knitting on this. That fact could have something to do with the fact that I actually finished a sweater project in less than a year. (Ask me how long it took me to knit Samus, or where I'm at with my other sweater projects).

Anyway, the verdict on this sweater from my end is that it was a joy to knit, and I'm proud of how it turned out. The verdict from Taz is that he loves the color and the softness, it doesn't itch, it seems to fit well, and it's going to keep him so warm he won't be able to wear it until November or December in Barcelona. I'll take that as a compliment!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Meatless Monday: first report

This isn't actually the first time I've done a meatless Monday, but I think if I report back about it every week, it will encourage me to be better with it. So how did I do today?

Let's work backwards. Just before I left work, I was taken with a craving for Chinese-style scallion pancakes. But I knew I didn't have any scallions in the house, so I started to reconsider. Then I saw the comment from yesterday's food post which had a link to this zucchini pancake recipe. Not exactly Chinese-style, but I thought I might be able to adapt it.

When I got home, I immediately set about grating the zucchini, summer squash, and onion. I ended up making the pancakes almost exactly as the recipe said, except that I used cheddar instead of Parmesan, and I was very generous with the basil. Instead of topping the fritters with diced tomatoes, however, I decided to give it an Asian twist by using one of my favorite made-up sauces, which is almost equal parts sriracha, rice vinegar, and light soy sauce, with a sprinkle of sugar and a bit of water. I had to go light on the sauce, though, because it almost overpowered the flavors of the veggies in the fritters. I had enough fritters leftover for breakfast or lunch tomorrow, too!

For breakfast today I had Kashi puffed grain cereal with dried currants and soy milk. Pretty boring, but definitely meatless. My midmorning snack was an oatmeal cookie. Lunch was a homemade potato salad, which is really the only kind I will eat. Not to be a snob about one of the Great American Summer Side Dishes, but I find typical supermarket potato salad to be too dry, too starchy, and waaaay too sweet. Here's how my mom taught me to make potato salad (with some adaptations from me):
1. Boil up some new potatoes* (cut into at least halves, or smaller if they're on the big side), but don't overdo it with the boiling. Cook them just until you can easily skewer them with a fork or paring knife.
2. Immediately after draining them, put the potatoes in a bowl and get them soaking in several tablespoons of cider vinegar.
3. While the taters are soaking up the yummy vinegar, chop up some fresh dill, a bit of onion, and some celery. If you have some parsley lying around, chop that up too.
4. If the potatoes seem to have way too much vinegar still pooled around them, you can drain some off, but otherwise, just dump your chopped herbs and veggies in with the taters.
5. Add a few tablespoons of mayo, and stir.
6. Salt and pepper to taste, and voila!

I wish I had taken a picture of the potato salad too, but I had already eaten it all by the time I thought of it. So, all that yummy food, and I still have two tomatoes and several potatoes left over from my Sunday at the farmers' market.

*My mom says russets are better because they absorb more flavor, but I really enjoy the smooth texture of new potatoes, and I like the color added by leaving the skin on, which you can't really do with russets.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Finally, some knitting

This is the reason I haven't posted anything about knitting (or anything else, for that matter) in the past couple weeks. I had been feverishly knitting on this Big Bad Baby Blanket (in Berroco Comfort) for Mazhalai. I don't know why I thought I could finish it in a week and a half, with after work commitments most nights, and cooking to do for the Saturday evening baby shower as well.

But right up until Saturday morning, I was convinced I'd find a way to do it. I was even knitting the borders and the knit stitch sections in continental style to make it go faster (I would have done it all in continental, but I realized early on in the project that my gauge is really really inconsistent when I purl in continental). Anyway, at some point as I was knitting furiously while getting my 9am pedicure, I saw the light. After my pedicure I went to the mall and bought some onesies and other baby clothes, and when I came home all I did was cook the unda curry I had committed to bring (recipe from this Madhur Jaffrey book).

But at the shower, I showed Mazhalai my progress, so the cat is out of the bag now, and all I have to do is actually finish the blanket sometime before, or at least very soon after, the baby comes. And best of all, I cam finally stop hiding from my own blog.

In preparation for Meatless Monday

Ok, so Sangeeta and I have a deal with each other to try and be healthful while also reducing our negative impact on the environment by reducing the amount of meat in our diets and dedicating at least one day a week to not eating any meat.

Lucky for me, the West End Farmers' Market is on Sundays. My haul this week, from top to bottom: summer squash, zuchinni, heirloom tomatoes, basil, and new potatoes. I have to use all this in 2 days, since I leave for Spain on Wednesday, so I won't have much space for meat in my
diet even if I wanted to!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The newest fashion

I had to share this wonderful photo with you. As much as I love yarn cakes, I have to agree, as a hairpiece, it's fugly.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Type A

Well, it took me long enough, but I finally have my whole stash catalogued on Ravelry. It feels great, even though it took me forever to do! Take a look if you want, but hands off--almost everything is destined for one project or another. Except maybe the Red Heart (please don't laugh). If you pay me enough to cover the rent for the rest of the year you're really nice to me, though, there are a few things I might consider swapping or gifting.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

This is how Sundays should be

I biked to the West End farmer's market this morning, and this is my haul. Clockwise from top left: snap peas, strawberries, asparagus, beets, new potatoes, zuchinni & summer squash, and Swiss chard. Apparently, Ben likes strawberries--he was licking one just before I took the photo.

Even though it's not the biggest farmer's market around, this one is by far the closest to me, and it's got a more relaxed atmosphere than some others. It certainly had everything I needed! Now I have no excuse not to cook at home and eat right this week.

Guard Cat

I was peacefully doing the breakfast dishes this morning, when suddenly I hear a growl--that deep, moaning growl that cats reserve for those they would like to banish to the deepest pits of hell. Now, Ivy and Ben have their tiffs and their daily wrestling matches, but they haven't growled at each other that way since the first week Ben arrived (a good beating and a puncture wound to his side taught him who was boss right away, and all he's done to Ivy since then is at most act like an annoying little brother). So I could not figure out what could be causing one of them to make the demon-growl.

That's when I remembered that I had left the living room window open for some fresh air, and so the cats could also smell and hear the birds they were watching at the feeder. And wouldn't you know, when I went to the window, there was a big black and white neighbor cat sitting on the outer windowsill serenely taunting Ben by his mere presence in Ben's Territory. That, and Ben was probably jealous because the other cat could, if he so chose, actually eat some of the birds at the feeder without having to scratch his way through a wire screen with declawed* front paws. So I got the spray bottle and sprayed the other cat through the screen, and he ran away. But Ben was so riled up that he continued yowling and pacing around the living room with his tail puffed up, and when Ivy walked in to see what was up, he turned on her. The she began her high-pitched scaredy-cat mewling and tried to retreat under the dining table. I was worried we were headed for a bloodbath, so I sprayed them again to distract them, and then tried to herd Ben into the basement so I could close the door. He was so keyed-up that he almost attacked me when I came near him, but I eventually got him in the basement, and after 10 minutes with the door shut and the cats separated, peace was restored, and all three of us were miraculously injury-free. Phew!

*Disclaimer: This is not a procedure that we put our cats through. Each of their former owners did, and since the first cat we got (Ivy) was declawed, we specifically sought out a second cat who had already been declawed so that neither one would have an unfair advantage. I am NOT a proponent of declawing, and would not myself choose to put an animal through such a painful and deforming procedure.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

You don't know what you've got...til you drag of out of the closet and make a huge pile of it

This is my stash. Well, minus about 6 WIP's, but basically, this is my stash. I am in the process of readying the guest room for my summer subletter, and that means emptying out the closet. After dragging all the yarn out of the closet and piling it on the bed, I had only two thoughts: "it's more than I realized" and "but thank goodness I'm still hundreds of skeins away from SABLE.*" I decided it deserved a picture.

Ben very graciously offered to be in the picture to give a sense of scale. You'll notice he's perched atop a set of plastic drawers (full of yarn, of course). That's a little something I bought back when I thought my yarn obsession could be controlled by limiting "convenient" storage space. Don't laugh--I really thought that! Seeing all this makes me feel way better about being on a yarn diet until next April. I (might) not run out. Now I just have to get my act together to catalogue and photograph it all for Ravelry...

*Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy (coined by Stephanie, of course)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Long live the Queen

I don't know how I missed this, but thanks to Rabbitch, I just learned that yesterday was Freddy Mercury Day. The music of Queen and Freddy Mercury saw me through the best and the worst of my high school years, and it is some of the only music that I listened to then that I still blast and sing along to at the top of my lungs every time I hear it. And some interesting trivia: did you know he was a Parsi?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Look over there! Alpacas!

Lacking anything new to show you, and also still not having finished seaming the alpaca sweater for Taz, I offer you these two cuties I saw at MDSW two weeks ago (which I now realize I don't have as many pictures from as I thought I did).

There hasn't been much knitting, an there has been much stress, mainly about how many of us at work are still going to have jobs to go to a month from now. It recently occurred to me that if I were giving myself more knitting time, I would not be giving myself an ulcer (no, I don't really think I have one). Lesson learned: I'm taking tomorrow off!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Not ready to say goodbye

I love this yarn and this sweater sooo much, I almost don't want the joy to end (which might be why it's nearly 6 months late). I'm almost done seaming Taz's sweater. I might even finish it before his birthday on Cinco de Mayo, but he won't get it until my next visit to Spain--I'm not entrusting this to any postal or delivery service!

More soon on MDSW, including pics of my treasures and maybe some cute animals.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My commute

I was proud of myself for biking both to and from work yesterday (12.25 miles each way). It had been a couple months since I was last on the bike, and I hadn't realized how much I missed it until I got on it this morning. I get such a different sense of my own neighborhood when I bike through it. I also love to watch the seasons progress in the different areas I pass through on my way to work. Sometimes I try to count how many different kinds of birds I see on my ride, but today I got distracted after the redwinged blackbird and the mockingbird (who made the sounds of about 6 different birds as I rode past). I was a bit out of shape, so the trip took me longer than usual, but I got as much exercise as if I spent 2 hours in the gym, and I didn't have to take out any extra time to do it!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Where on earth has she been?

Well, most recently, I was in Barcelona:

Barcelona at sunset from Parc Guell. Pic thanks to this site.

But only for 3 weeks, not for the year-plus that I've been absent from the blog. There's no way you want to hear about everything that happened in the past year (and no way my fingers would hold out to type that long either). Suffice to say, it's been busy, especially on the job end of things, and there hasn't been nearly enough knitting, but it's been good.

Now for the reason I was in Barcelona: Taz is doing a 12-month MBA program there, and I was helping him get settled in. We spent a lot of time apartment hunting, and during the first two weeks, he was in an intensive Spanish class for 6 hours a day. We finally found an awesome apartment right before I had to leave to come back, but the long search allowed us to get to know some neighborhoods of Barcelona that one never normally sees as just a tourist, and we also met some really cool people that I think he will remain friends with.

In between the end of the Spanish class and finishing the apartment search, we managed to get away for a 4-day trip for our 3rd anniversary (of wedding #1). We spent the first two nights in Girona, which is an absolutely gorgeous medieval town, with most of the walls still intact, so we walked around them one evening. The second two nights we spent in Figueres, which is home to the Dali Theater and Museum. However our first day there, instead of going to the museum, we drove the short distance to Cadaques, out on the coast, to see Dali's summer house in nearby Port Lligat, and also go for a hike on the easternmost point in Spain. The second day was rainy, so we went to the very crowded museum. My favorite part was a series of paintings of stones that formed other figures. This photo doesn't do them justice, but it's the only one I could find.

The last couple days in Barcelona, after we moved into the new place, were spent grocery shopping and getting to know the new neighborhood. It is really cool to be able to picture where he lives and goes about his daily life. Saying goodbye at the airport was one of the hardest things I've done, and the intensity with which I miss him doesn't seem to be lessening as the days pass, but we are talking on the phone as often as possible, and focusing on my next visit, which is only about 2 months away. Meanwhile, I'm trying to get my head back into my work, and also into my knitting. I'm currently seaming a sweater for Taz, and am close to having several other FOs to show you. Stay tuned--I promise not to go away for so long again!!